Thursday, 29 March 2012

The Non-Adventures of Geek Dad

Afternoon all,

So normally on a Thursday I'd cover how things are going trying to balance work, study, hobbies and raising my child.

As you know, last week I was sick with the flu, so no adventures then.

Today has been even worse: allow me to explain...

For the past year I've been battling on and off with gallstones. For those who don't know, these are mineral and bile deposits built up in the gall bladder. Sometimes these stones get lodged in the bile duct, and when this happens it is excruciating agony. If you have never had them, it's impossible to describe, I understand that even liver and kidney stone pain is supposed to pale in comparison.

This is the reason why this morning at roughly 0300 I was in an ambulance making my way to The Lister Hospital in Stevenage while being given a combination of Morphine and Gas&Air (and as an FYI, that combo is often the same thing given to women during child birth, that's how serious the pain is)

Anyway, it's now 13:45, I've been discharged and sent home and am now in the bath trying to get the smell of A&E off me.

This is the reason my friends why today there are no adventures, this is also the reason why I can't wait until 1st May, as that's when I'm having my gall bladder cut out, and personally, I can't wait to say good bye to the little bugger :D

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

And The [Geek] Shall Inherit the Earth

Good Wednesday all,

So earlier this morning I was reading a response article to a Forbes article about Fake Geek Girls, and how apparently women pretending to be interested in geeky things is destroying our lives (or something to that effect).

This got me thinking, what actually is it to be a geek? And who are we to determine that someone either is, or is not, a geek?

I'd like to take you back to October 2010, Blizzcon, Chris Metzen one of the creators of Warcraft did a speech titled "Geek is:"
You Tube Link

As part of this he described the word Geek as:
"This word is power. This word is identity."

I would say that it's safe to assume this word has become to those of us who call ourselves 'Geeks' what the N word is to African Americans: It's our word now! We've reclaimed it from outsiders who used it in a derogatory manner in the past. "never again", so to speak.

But for me this is not enough, it has been said that words have power, and it is my experience that the same is true for Geek, but I am concerned by the motivation and almost ignorance behind this, to some it's simple a label, with little to no meaning, but to others it's a semi exclusive club where only with the secret decoder rings can you access the inner sanctum.

Let's start by looking at the history of the word:

Now the furthest back I can trace this word is to the 1900s (and I would be very interested if anyone can find an older use) to the travelling American Freak shows.

You can see the legacies of these today with performers often referred to as 'block heads'.

These performers have genuine talent and can move a crowd in a unique way, but back in the day it was not so.

Instead of housing Block Heads, the circus would normally have a young adult, virtually always mentally challenged, they would be dressed in rags and would be pulled around the stage by a chain.

This side show attraction was called The Geek.

The purpose of this character was to do nearly anything that the ring master demanded, more often than not this was to eat anything that the crowd would throw at him.

Because of the popularity of side shows and the Geek character, crowds would often bring things from home just to throw at the Geek and see him eat it, this would even involve broken glass and human shit.

In short the role of The Geek was to 'ingest and partake' in that which your 'normal' person would not.

Fast forward to the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Popular culture and 'traditional values' dictated that many things the modern geek enjoyed we're abnormal, after all, a normal adolescent boy spends his days playing football, not busing computers and role playing as dragon slayers!

From here it's not hard to see how the insult of Geek would have been thrown around, the irony of course is that now the word is synonymous with 'loser' rather than 'shit eater'.

But is it the correct term to use in today's society?

I asked myself, do I consider myself a Geek? The answer was clearly YES!

I then asked myself, am I proud to call myself a geek? The answer to that however was NO! Not because of embarrassment or shame, but to me being a Geek is just part of me, like the colour of my skin. It's like asking if I'm proud to be white, or male. To me that seems like a silly question.

Instead I look inside the umbrella that is the term Geek, what's inside?

To me there's many different titles, Video Gamer, War Gamer, Aliens obsessive, artist, writer, dreamer, imaginer and collector!

All of these I am proud of, each end every part of these I have poored blood sweat and tears into and I will fight for that.

I suppose you could argue that all of those elements fall under the title of Geek and so it just makes things easier, but to me that would be like lining up an Olympic swimmer, a bodybuilder and a footballer and saying "your all athletes, therefore I'll treat you all the same".

I'm sorry, but that's just wrong. Show me a Predator fan, or an AvP (comic and video game) fan, and I'll fight by their side through thick and thin, but present me with a Star Wars fan, or someone who thinks the best Alien film is AvP or AvP2, and I'll punch them in their crap lousy face :D

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Update on my works

Morning all,

So this weekend could have gone a little better.

I may be back at work, but in no respect am I counted as 'well'.

This translated to the weekend.

However I did manage to get some painting done for some terrain I bought from HobbyCraft:

As you can see from the above picture, I picked up a number of walls for my town, the scale is annoying, it's almost perfect, apart from a lack of a base.

These walls and gates for example, I wanted them to be in line with a human's pectorals.

If you remove a model from its base and place it up against the walls/gates, then that is exactly how high they are, however when mounted on bases, the models appear two big.

One way around this would be to base the walls, this will raise up the height and put it in line with the models.
- the problem there however is that these walls are designed to be slotted together, allowing for near infinite combinations and shapes.

I'm looking to have a game with the board either this weekend or the weekend after, I guess I'll just see how it goes.

Another purchase I made was for modelling plaster (I suppose that's what you would call it).
Essentially it's a plaster like what you would spread on a ceiling to make it textured.

My intent is to buy some 3x3 wood, cover the top with this stuff, before it drys add some sand/basalt/kitty litter and then spray paint/dry brush the whole thing a suitable desert colour.

The first problem I have here is deciding on what wood to use, any thoughts?

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Friday, 23 March 2012

What a difference 3 days make: 72 little hours!

Hi all,

So as you know I haven't been too well recently. Turns out what I thought was just a cold bloomed into full flu which I then passed onto my wife, but thankfully not yet to the kid.

But today is my first day back at work, and so id like to try and write something to keep everyone up to date with things

So today I would like to try and cover a couple of things:

1: thoughts on the WoW: MoP beta info currently released.

2: a few things I've noticed recently about the apparent narcissistic tendencies of your blogger.

3: thoughts and implications on the Dreamer errata and Bury changes.

1). MoP!

For those of you who don't know, this is relating to World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria.

So yesterday the beta went live, and as I expected (but hoped would not be the case) I didn't get into the initial wave of invites, so I did the next best thing:

I read MMO Champion

What I saw was very interesting, very little about the new continent itself, but NPC models of the creatures found there, and I must say, I am impressed!

Take the cloud dragon, this creature puts out puffs of air from its nostrils, each puff looking like it belongs in a far east painting!

Then I saw the female Pandaran, available in 2 flavours: Black and White or Red and White. The latter is complete with a raccoon style tail.

Now this looks fine, just one little problem, the red and white - with tail option, this is to make it look like a Red Panda, however despite sharing the same name, a Red Panda is actually a closer relative to the raccoon family than the panda. It's like Koalas, some may call them Koala Bears, but that doesn't mean they have anything genetically in common with a grizzly!

Next up is the new glyphs. These look fun! Warriors who go on fire when they enrage! (I have a warrior, and this visual cue would be very helpful) Druids who can be ridden, Warlocks who can give their dread steeds trails of fire, this is all great stuff!

Then I read the rogue's and saw a few stat adjustment glyphs. As my main is a pve rogue, this was very disappointing.

2). I'm actually going to skip this bit for now and come back here later. Instead let's jump to:

3). Dreamer and Bury errata!
Dreamer Errata
Bury Errata

So let me summarise the two for you!

Pre rules change, in Malifaux, Day Dreams and The Dreamer could pull through Chompy because of The Dreamer's unbury spell. Now this has been changed so it no longer works with Chompy, instead you can only unbury Chompy with the (0) cost placement. This causes you to sacrifice mobility and also makes it a lot harder/near impossible to pull off the Chompy Slingshot which the master was famous for.

Reading the Internet this had the community by the throat, people thanking god because now the master will be beatable and others claiming that Chompy is too weak now 'post nerf'.

As someone who's only recently gotten into The Dreamer, I like this change. The first time I ever played him, I played him the exact way that this rule change will force players to use, and believe it or not he was still fun and he still packed one hell of a punch!

Next up is the bury rules.

Essentially it says that anything with a buff on it, loses that buff when it gets buried. - there's a lot more to it than that, but this is one of the most important aspects.

Again, I'm lucky. So far I have played 4 games (hardly any I know) with The Dreamer, and I have yet to bury anything other than The Dreamer or Chompy, now this is actually an example of poor tactics from me, but it means that I don't need to learn anything new other than "what I never used before, I can't use now".

Personally I can't see that being a problem.

And now for 2!

2). The Narcissistic Tendencies of the average blogger.

Ok, now I know that I count as a blogger, this is a blog and so to one extent this does apply to me too, and at the same time, please take what I say with a pinch of salt, these are just my thoughts and observations, and after starting far too many unintentional desktop revolutions I know how moving/motivational the written word can be.

So here it is...

WTF is up with some Internet writers and their delusions of grandeur?

I mean seriously? It seems the minute people have viewers (read: followers/hits/diggs etc) they turn into the biggest ass wholes on the planet?

There's this one guy who's articles are on a gaming website I regularly read (I'll say this now, no names or sites will be listed here, consider this a nameless rant at the state of the Internet - yes I am aware of the irony/hypocrisy i am posting here).

Anyway, there's one website about video gaming that I read every day, and it has this one guy who posts at least one article a day. I don't know if he gets paid for it and I seriously hope he doesn't.

These articles are his random thoughts about other news that other websites and companies have published, essentially he's a blogger.

That's fine, I have no problem with that by itself.

No the problem is the content.

This man writes about his thoughts and feelings like they are fact.

A fact is that when a non-colour blind person looks at a clear sky at mid day in the UK they will see a blue sky. That us fact at the time I write this.

If said person thinks the blue sky in question is too blue, the existence of this thought, that would also be a fact that the thought existed while the person thought it.

However to say "the sky is too blue" is not stating fact. It's opinion, and opinion is not fact, neither is it news.

And so it angers me so much to see someone almost daily spout personal opinion as if it was fact: This game sucks because of X, This is amazing because of X.

No! Enough!

Another example, I was reading today a blog about WoW and someone 'outing' someone else who at some point snubbed them over something.

Essentially saying "you diss agree with me and the 5k followers I have over your 200 proves I'm right and your wrong".

Seriously?!? Please, if I ever become well known for my writing and I start acting like this, please please please, wrap a bag around my head and hold it tight until I stop wriggling.

Where do these people get off?

What event in their life made them think that people SHOULD listen to what they say?

I know this is where my own hypocrisy comes in, or would apparently do so, but I promise you, anyone reading this, I don't think you should.

Quite the opposite, I think my writing is quite poor, often uneducated and opinionated and about subject matters that even fellow gamers have no interest in but for reasons I can't explain ive got some regular readers and to these people I am very grateful.

You see, you people, the ones who've sat through my waffle before and doing so now, you give me the strength to keep writing, but would I do it even of no one read?

Of course I would! Why? Not because I think my message must be heard or anything like that, but because it's generally a good way of passing time during my morning/evening commute.

These people, these bloggers arn't like that.

I would hope that when I write an article I encourage people to post their own thoughts. This is for a few reasons:

1). To promote discussion about something I personally am interested in

2). Because I know I'm not always right, any someone reading this might be right and can put me so.

But these people don't want discussion, they want to be told how right they are, and anyone who disagrees with them is either stupid, immature or plain wrong.

And so I'd like to finish this very long post with a quick sentiment.

Thank you

Thank you for reading my own Narcissistic BS, for leaving your comments, for never hesitating in calling me out when I'm either unfair or wrong, and also for having your own blogs which I read whenever there's an update and is not like the arse holes I've described here.

*edit* as an added thank you for getting this far, I give you the big reveal, that's right, Dr Loxley is pulling back the curtain and showing everyone what the wizard really looks like:

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Monday, 19 March 2012

Too sick to blog

Morning all,

I'm afraid to say that I spent all weekend being very ill, and sadly it's still with me today.

For this reason you won't find any new blogs from me until I'm feeling better, otherwise you're likely to just have a dribble for a post.

Hope your all feeling better than I am.

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Thursday, 15 March 2012

The Adventures of Geek Dad: Part Six

Good evening all,

A bit of a change to today's Geek Dad as I've had the day off from work as annual leave. As such rather than writing this on the train during my morning commute, instead it's from the comfort of my bath at 2100!

Anyway! This week has been pretty interesting. For starters earlier today I found out that Diablo 3 finally has a release date (15th May), I also discovered that Aliens: Colonial Marines is due out on 30th March (in the UK), and to top it off my wife bought us our tickets to Salute2012!

But perhaps more important than all of these, we think we have come to the bottom of our daughter's crotchety behaviour! That's right, it all came to a head on Saturday when my wife was having her bath and the Mini Moo refused to stop crying with me, we didn't know what to do, she had been fed, she had been changed, but she wouldn't stop crying.

It was then my wife found out about something interesting: it turned out that at this age the baby's development is focused around hand manipulation and the thought processes around this. As such they require more sleep than normal, but as an added irony, their brains are almost stopping them from sleeping.

So come Sunday, we went into town, picked up a baby monitor and started what we're calling "enforced nap time". So far it's working wonders, she's like a different baby, she still sleeps through the night, but she is so much more pleasant during the afternoons/evenings.

We've even found that if she goes down at 1930, she stays asleep until around 2300. This gives us most of our evening back to do almost whatever we fancy!

I have no idea how this is going to continue, it might carry on as beautiful family bliss, or it might go horribly wrong, but for now, I'm loving my geek time!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

To Play or Not to Play? That is the question!

Good Tuesday all,

I would like to start off today's post with an explanation of yesterday's end:

The rules in my house regarding my hobby are simple: I'm allowed to make one purchase a month. The value of this purchase is flexible, but it should include no more than 1 box, or 1 box plus accessories.

This 'allowance' was agreed between my wife and I after 9 months graft to get my money out from the red and into the black.

You see, when it comes to money I am rubbish, I always have been and I always will be, so we've created these rules to stop me maxing out my entire payslip on models and not allow for bills and mortgage.

-if anything, id say the current set up is very generous, because my wife is now on statutory pay, she has even less to treat herself.

The reason it's been so long is for one reason: advanced purchases!

You see at Xmas my wife bought me the Dreamer's crew. I knew I would need Day Dreams and a Teddy to make it playable, but that counts as 2x purchases which covered December and January.

Then in January I picked up some GorkaMorka stuff off eBay, that covered my February payment meaning nothing till March's pay.

Since then there have been countless trips to B&Q for modelling supplies, SSX and other things, we're being nice and combining all of that into one purchase.

This means nothing till April, which works for me as there should be plenty at Salute I want to grab.

That said, I've requested 2 days leave for the end of this week, if I can wrangle it (it requires HR getting a data report to me on Wednesday rather than Friday, not easy) then I should be making a trip to Stevenage HobbyCraft. I have no idea how this will fit into the budgeting - I'm sure my wife will be more than happy to let me know after reading this - but there is one thing in particular I've set my eyes on:

They're 1:72 scale, which from what I have read is marginally bigger than GW minis, and as Malifaux is marginally bigger than GW it should be perfect, but I want to see it for myself before I purchase.

Anyway, my thoughts today are of a suggestion a friend on Facebook made, it was about World of Warcraft and arranging some sort of Guild Catch Up.

You see, WoW has been playing on my mind a lot recently, and my wife and I have discussed this in great detail.

It's not that I hate WoW, I don't! As a game I love it, and I have many fond memories there, it's just with the current content Cataclysm, I have very little to do.

You see this expansion has been more difficulty focused than any other before it. Because of a vocal minority, the game has been staggered to make even the easiest of end game tasks very difficult and requiring constant team synergy.

Sure, I know what your thinking: "what's wrong with a game requiring skill?" nothing! I just don't want to have to spend 2 hours planning and running a heroic run after I've been out for 12 hours at work.

The way I see it, I get paid to work, my hobbies that I pay to do, they should not feel like a job.

When I first started playing in TBC? That didn't feel like work. WotLK? That wasn't work either, plus the theme of Northrend and ol' Lichy Poo himself was fantastic.

But Cataclysm, with it's 'IM DEATHWING! I'M A FLAMING DRAGON OF BEARDY HOT MAGMA' yeah it gets old.

So what do I do? I miss playing with the guild, but with my free time existing only in short - baby free - blocks, do I really want to spend my free time playing a game I really don't feel the desire to play?

I think I'd rather wait till Mists of Pandara expansion myself.

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Monday, 12 March 2012

Monday thoughts and weekend catch up

Morning all, I can't say I'm feeling all that great today, my whole body hurts and it's the start of the week:


Anyway, ever since I finished work on Chapel Hill my hobby experience has been a little lacking.

I know it's only been a few days, but it feels like a lot longer.

Instead I've been playing some games on my PS3 and we've been trying out something new with the Mini Moo and her sleeping, but more on that later in the week.

One thing i'd love to share with you all is the majesty of the game SSX.

For those who don't know, this is a snowboarding game which originally featured on the last gen of consoles, and they have very recently released a new one on the modern gens.

Yes, while everyone else in the world appears to be playing Mass Effect 3, I've been grinding up the powder all over the world!

Now this isn't the time or place for a review, but let me tell you, if you enjoyed the older versions, especially Tricky and SSX3 then this is a game you should get!

Next up: so apparently Wyrd are hiring!
The most intriguing thing I think about this is the position of RPG dev.

Now while I may not have much free time, one thing I always make time for are RPGs! Especially the P&P versions, I love those hardback sourcebooks that take a good few days of solid reading to get through.

It's this love of source books which is why my game shelf in my den is almost bending under the weight of the combined mass of Vampire: TM, Werewolf: TA, WoW, Babylon 5, Champions and Paranoia.

So with that in mind, I hope with the deepest of my hopes that Wyrd follow this through and release a source book with new fluff and beautiful artwork.

Oh and some bad news on the model front. My intention was to make my next purchase an Insidious Madness, it still is, but it was pointed out to me, due to spending too much at the start of the year, I'm unable to make a purchase until April. Rubbish I know.

And so we come to an end of my weekend. Not the most enthralling of posts I know, but hey, it's Monday, not even 9am and I'm already dressed and on my way to work

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Friday, 9 March 2012

Chapel Hill: Complete

Good Friday all!

Well it's been a long time coming but Chapel Hill is finally complete!

In order to show case this I would like to cover from start to finish the entire project. Please remember this is the result of two weeks work that cost only a combined total of about £5 in materials.

Step 1: Cut out the flat plateaus from hardboard.

Step 2: From newspaper and masking tape create the general shape required.

Step 3: Create paths with cardboard

Step 4: Cover the whole thing in paper masche

Step 5: Paper masche onto a hardboard base which is cut to size along with ridges for paths

Step 6: Craft fences out of matchsticks with the strike cut off and attach tree skeletons to their desired location

Step 7: Glue basalt to the plateaus and paths, all the while gluing unused cat litter to the base

Step 8: Remove the trees and spray paint the whole thing a dark brown

Step 9: Holding the spray can at a distance spray the whole model with a lighter sandy colour

Step 10: using a sandy coloured emulsion paint, dry brush the entire unit, being sure to get all the lovely creases in the rock surfaces and each grain of basalt

Step 11: Glue trees to place, paint the fences by hand as you would painting 'wood effect' on a mini, attach lichen to trees to make leaves and floor for bushes and static grass/long miniature grass.

And your done!

And now for the guided tour of Chapel Hill:

Here we have Overkill and The Executioner on the 1st Tier while Lady J and Austringer overlook the town.

The path leading to the 2nd tier

The entire of tier 2 including fence close ups

The back of the hill including the path connecting Tier 2 with Tier 3

A shot showcasing a crevice in the side of the hill

And there we have it! I realise as I am sat on the train commuting to work that there are a few features I should have taken proper photos of, the sideways growing tree and the overgrowth at the front for example, but hey why not instead see if you can come to The Titans War Games Club located in Finchley North London and I'll see if I can bring it along!

For now, thanks for keeping up with this project, I hope you've enjoyed reading as much as I've enjoyed doing it, and now back to the drawing board for another project!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Thursday, 8 March 2012

The Adventures of Geek Dad: Part Five

Hard to believe it's been a week since my last Geek Dad, it really feels like a lot less.

Well last night was my usual Daddy & Daughter night, but it felt quite uneventful, so I'll probably try and cover the week instead.

Last I left things it was the end of the week. Recently Mummy Moo, Mini Moo and I have been trying 'drinking in' when it comes to our weekly coffee shop visit, but I seem to have jumped ahead; let me take you back 4+ months when my wife and I didn't have our child;

Every Saturday we'd have our trip into town, we'd walk in, grab ourselves a Starbucks and have a relaxing while enjoyable discussion on one of the many benches in our town.

Ever since the birth of our little one this has had to change - but I must be honest, it's not just because of her.

Due to the cold and having a baby daring to wake and be noisy , our trips have been as short as possible, often drinking while walking, but recently we've tried drinking in at the many coffee shops and so far it's working well.

It's been really enjoyable to sit down, have a hot drink and talk about life the universe and everything. Now don't get me wrong, it's not that we haven't been talking, but the past few weeks have felt different.

I'd like to take this opportunity to give some advice to any expectant dads out there: Please, when your baby comes, whatever you do, don't neglect your wife's and your relationship. This probably sounds really obvious to most, but let me tell you, when you've been up for the N'th time in the night, or tired and grouchy, you feel envious because even though they spend most of the day looking after the baby alone, they're still home and not at work, all you'll think about is the things that you used to do but now can't.

In my case this was the following: going out for a 4 weekly meal with the wife, spend whole days and nights on the computer playing games and stay in bed until whenever I wanted.

Yes I know those things are really unimportant, but that's how I felt.

And you know what? She's feeling the same too! She'll even have her own things she feels grumpy and jealous about; you see, it's not that your a bad husband or father, it's that your struggling to come to terms with the life changing event that is child birth!

Think of it this way, your partner has had 9 months of growing the child inside them, they've felt it move and develop and when it was born their body released hormones to force them to bond with it. For men this doesn't happen, and this can leave us feeling alienated from our wives and babies (especially if they're fed 100% on breast as all we get to do are the nappy changes).

This is why it's important to do things like coffee house trips. You get to spend time together, it's not so formal that it's a real problem if the baby starts crying and needs soothing and your also in a situation where conversation and communication is encouraged! I believe it's these trips and our weekly Saturday routine which have stopped my wife and I having any major arguments, and when the home is a happy and stress free environment, then your baby is more likely to be happy and stress free.

Anyway, this week I was finishing off the penultimate book on my Accounting course, this was what I did on Monday and Tuesday. But that's not all! I also managed to squeeze in some more work on Chapel Hill:

First off I under coated it dark brown with spray paint from the local B&Q.

Then on Tuesday I gave it a distance spray of yellow-orange to act as slight highlighting.

Then yesterday I dry brushed the whole thing:

This was done with the film Jarhead on in the background. Possibly my favourite war film currently in circulation.

It was just after this was done that the Mini Moo woke up with a vengeance. Up until now she had been asleep, but now she was awake and needed a feed.

So on goes the universal pause button on my modelling and out comes the bottle.

Next up I took the hill upstairs to my den, rearranged the terrain on my 3x3 board and placed things in a semi usable formation:

There were a few reasons for wanting to do this. Firstly I wanted to see how it looked with the rest of my terrain, and secondly because I didn't actually know how much space it took up on the board.

As you can see, it's sizeable but does not make everything else useless.

Then with modelling glue I attached the tree skeletons and have left them to dry.

So plans for the week/weekend:
Firstly I need to add fine details like the foliage to the trees, I also need to add burnt grass to suitable places.
At some point there is also the task of painting the fences. This is probably what I'll try and do tonight.

And so there we are, I hope you've enjoyed this week's Geek Dad, and I'll see you again next week: same geek time, same geek channel!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Super Gaming Bros 2

Morning all,

So yesterday I tackled the idea of video gaming vs war gaming.

It was left saying that it was obvious that one hobby was deemed more socially acceptable than the other, and so I decided to research this a little further through friends and twitter.

The response was pretty much universal, everyone agreed that in modern culture war gaming is seen as a taboo, something that should be hidden from prying eyes and something we need to "come out" with, where as video gaming is just assumed for any male between the ages 12 and 30.

The more I gathered this data the more apparent the issue became, people were embarrassed and in some cases ashamed of their hobby, and I wanted to know why.

You see my first thought that if we knew why it was considered taboo, then we could look into eliminating it, the more I thought about it, the more I realised there was one resource which was currently untapped:

My own experiences and beliefs.

So here we are, raw data and case studies thrown to the wind and in it's place my own story:

I'll put my hand up and admit it, I am embarrassed by my own hobby. I will so rarely talk about it in the open world forum, and before a few weeks ago the many friends I have on Facebook had no idea that this was something I do.

I was leading a double life, explaining to the people I work with about what I do, all the whole remaining as vague and cryptic as possible so I would never have to use the words, war and/or miniatures.

But why is this? It didn't used to be like that, years back when I would openly display my work and my hobby with pride, but somewhere along the lines this changed.

The first aspect I believe is my relationship with Games Workshop.

Now this company is the figure head of war gaming in the UK, and when I was a kid I was proud of that community, but that there is the crucible of the problem: I was a kid, now I'm 28 years old and I've outgrown my hobbies of childhood, except for war gaming.

I go into a GW shop and I see a group of 12 year olds buying models and I'm left thinking "i must look like some pedo trying to groom kids", another thought is "I hate kids"...

I hate to admit it, especially being a father myself, but I hate other people's kids, teenagers especially. I know that I was the same, and I know it's all part of growing up, but that's just me.

I believe that this is the crux of where my debilitating fear has come from. I know that war gaming and miniature modelling and painting is not for children. It is a wonderful hobby to get them using their imagination and talent, but the quality of work I output now (and there is still massive room for improvement) is infinitely better than what I did as a teenager.

However despite what I know, I also know that the world doesn't see it like that. It sees the 12 year olds playing with space marines, then it sees a grown man doing the same and it assumes he is autistic.

With gaming however I felt much more confident, I wasn't playing with dolls, I was doing a war time simulation, acting out the role of a USCM fighting off Cameron's Aliens! That couldn't be for kids, the game (and the films these games were based off) were adult rated!

So where do I go from here? I suppose it's a lot like my WoW hobby. At one time I thought people would laugh at me when I told them about it, it turns out when I have come out as being a geek they've either asked questions because they don't really understand how an MMOS works, or they admit to being one too.

Maybe the same could be said about war gaming, and I guess that's part of why I wrote this blog. Sure it passes the time during my commute to work, but I was tired of living a double life, I wanted people to see my work I spent hours and days over and what better format than a day by day account of my works, thoughts and feelings?

I hope this has been either helpful or insightful, and I hope some of you will join me for an afternoon drink on Saturday 21st April at Salute 2012, we may be the pariahs of society, but hey, better to be a pariah and proud, than accepted and ashamed.

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Super Gaming Bros

Good Tuesday all!

It's been a while since I've made a real post and I'd like to try and get the ball rolling again.

Today is the topic of what I would call: Super Gaming Bros.

As many of you know I'm a bit of a closet (less so now) war gamer. What you may not know is that I'm also an avid video gamer.

Back in 2000 I ran my own Aliens vs Predator clan on PC, used to meet up with friends on a semi regular basis and take part in Quake 3 LAN parties, have owned plenty of consoles, and currently trying to squeeze in as many opportunities to either replay Dead Space 2, replay Deus Ex: Human Revolution or complete Skyrim.

As time has gone by I've noticed many similarities between War Gaming and Video Gaming and I've come to see Video Gaming as sort of like the younger brother, sort of like Luigi to Mario, Raziel to Kain or Tim to Newt.

There have even been many situations where the two have merged, especially with Games Workshop; Shadow of the Horned Rat, Chaos Gate, Dawn of War and of course the recent Space Marine.

But for some reason, War Gaming continues to have the appearance of the 'uncool' brother.

You see, when I was younger and the Mega Drive was king, I remember video gaming was very 'in'. When Sonic 2 was released, everybody who was anybody HAD to own it.

As time went on, the machine and the in crowd parted ways, video gaming became the realm of basement dwellers who never washed and their only girlfriend was their right hand, with the release of Everquest this became even more public opinion, especially as news spread like wild fire (thanks of course to The Daily Mail and other similar newspapers) about families being torn apart by the evils of a fantasy world.

Does that last sentence sound familiar? It should, as not too long before, similar words were used to describe wargames, role play and AD&D (Advanced Dungeons & Dragons).

Let's not forget about that crazy teenager in the US who killed his family "because Mind Flayers told him to".

Is this a new phenomenon? Of course not! While doing some quick research into this topic I very quickly stumbled onto the infamous Columbine massacre which was blamed on both music and the game DooM!

And so here we stand, two brothers in gaming, both of who have been the fall guy for countless acts of cruelty and depravity, and yet some how Video Gaming has done what War Gaming could not:

It has bridged the gap between 'cool' and 'uncool'. Through sport, racing and nearly every Wii game, Video Gaming has become socially exceptable, just look at Call of Duty!

But why is this? As much as I hate to say it, I do think a massive problem lies in the nature of the wargaming hobby.

Socially LAN games are still seen as the lepper of the gaming world, but sitting on the sofa and playing some xbox after a day at work is seen as acceptable.

Likewise, what is the most common method for wargamers to play? Local Games Clubs.

I'll be the first to admit, there is nothing cool about 10+ dorks meeting up once a week to play with tin soldiers, I say this keeping it in mind that I'm one of these dorks as well.

And so I am afraid that I seem to have run out of steam, do I feel like I've resolved this issue? No.

Instead it is my belief that Wargamers will always be ostracised and maybe that's the way we like it? I know when I play my computer games the last thing I want is a drooling joypad console fanboy getting in my face about how they can pwn me with their iron sights and aim assist, so like wise why would we want to take our table top out and away from our close knitted community?

I'll leave this with one last thing: ask me again after Salute 2012.

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor

PS: I'll just leave this here:

Monday, 5 March 2012

WIP Chapel Hill

Morning all,

Apologies for the lack of postings recently, my mind has been on other things.

One of those things is my ongoing project: Chapel Hill.

Last we left I was at the following step:

I had finished the paper masche, added a base and added some ridging to the path ways.

Since then I added some more details:

First thing I added were trees. As you can see I have yet to add foliage to these trees, and they are currently attached by just pushing them into the paper. Once I have finished the painting stage, then I'll attach them properly.

Next up was to make some fencing and walkway(s).

These can be seen along the left hand pathway.

The walkway was made in order to widen a part of the path which wasn't wide enough to hold a 30-40mm base. This consisted of matchsticks cut to size and laid out across each other, sort of like a wooden pallet.

The fencing was just as simple, matchsticks on cocktail sticks.
They may look a little basic, but I think it encourages a rustic feel - that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!

Last but not least, on Saturday I added pathways and base effect:

The pathways were done with basalt bought from a hobby store. It's a little expensive, but it is great for making slopes grippable by bases, and as it is uniform in appearance it is perfect for pathways.

The basing is my favourite medium! Kitty Litter! It's so cheap and makes a great rocky formation.

In the past I have had problems with kitty litter staying attached to the base, so I read a technique of watering down PVA glue, thoroughly mixing the two and then liberally applying this over the litter once it's stuck to the base. I've tried this, and this morning it appears that it's finally dried, and so far indeed the litter seems to bd firmly stuck to the base!

Well, tonight and tomorrow night I have to study for my Accountancy course, same with tomorrow, so stay tuned for an update with Wednesday's Adventures of Geek Dad! Where among the usual baby alone time, I'll be popping outside to spray paint the whole thing a dark brown.

Stay tuned!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Thursday, 1 March 2012

The Adventures of Geek Dad: Part Four

"This place is a tomb" possibly one of the most iconic lines from the film Event Horizon, (after "Liberate tutame ex inferis" of course) which coincidently is also possibly one of the best films by Paul Anderson.

This was the background setting for last night's film which played while I looked after my young one.

The night's plans were pretty straight forward, put film on, change her, feed her, put her down for a nap while I finish off my paper masche from last weekend.

Sadly things were not quite that straight forward:

Film on? Check!
Baby Changed? Check!
Baby Fed? Not quite...

You see just prior to my wife going for her bath and Mini Moo's night of geekdom began, we had dinner, fish fingers, potato rosties, potatoe waffles, a fried egg and tinned spaghetti. Not the most imaginative of meals, but my god does it taste amazing.

Just before dinner I gave the MiniMoo a feed to try and satiate her while I ate too, however after only 2 fluid ounces (she's currently on 5-6) I put her down early as my dinner was ready, this was with the full intent to carry on her feed once I had eaten myself.

Yeah... That didn't go as smooth as I would have liked, when it came to resume her feed she was having none of it, she was complaining about being hungry, but whenever I tried to feed her she would pull away.

Now let me tell you, as someone who regularly feels detached from other people and struggles to fully understand what many people feel this is quite distressing. You don't want her to be upset, you know the noises she is making relates to her being hungry, but she won't let you feed her.

So after what felt like a 30 min long battle of wills, and me reheating her bottle 2-3 times to keep it a pleasant temperature for her, finally Geek Dad won, and MiniMoo fed and was happy to be put on her squiggle mat and given a rest.

This allowed me to bring down my paper masche and get started with attaching it to its base and finishing off the paper masche.

Currently the project is looking like this:

With hope this will be dry tonight and I can get started with gluing the kittie litter to the case and basalt to the paths.

But thankfully the rest of the evening went well, she seemed to enjoy the rest of the film, and Geek Dad managed to finish this stage of his project.

That's what I call a win/win!

- Next week's film of choice? Jarhead!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley