Saturday, February 15, 2020

The Painter’s Progress

Here's some 28mm furniture I painted today. The barrels and table probably look best, but the bookshelves were more ambitious. I'm still having trouble properly applying thin, even coats, and there are still tiny unpainted spots that really bug me. But little by little I'll get better. 

Friday, February 14, 2020

My 2020 Valentine

How lucky I am to share my life with this wondrous person! Happy Valentine's Day, Sylvia. It's too bad we're both too sick to go out for dinner like we planned, but there's always tomorrow...

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Earl and a Garden Gnome

Here's another of the images my cousin David sent over: me with a garden gnome, maybe a day or two before or after yesterday's image. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Summer of '70

Here's a nice discovery - a photo of Mom and Dad and me that I've never seen before, shot in the summer of 1970 in southern Manitoba. My cousin David has been going through some old family photos and thoughtfully sent this along. 

Monday, February 10, 2020

My 2020 Oscar Ballot Results

20 out of 24! That might be my best showing ever. And for the first time in years, I really have very few quibbles about the Academy's choices. (I saw all the Best Picture nominees, nine out of ten of the screenplay nominees, all of the sound and VFX nominees, all of the production design nominees, all of the score nominees, all of the editing nominees, all of the costume design and cinematography nominees, two out of five of the documentary features, and about 75 percent of the acting nominees. I didn't see any of the feature films or the shorts, only one of the international features, and only two of the makeup and hairstyling nominees.)

Sunday, February 09, 2020

Earl's 2020 Oscar Ballot

Here are my best (read: wild) guesses as to which artists go home with Oscars tonight. I'll update after the show is over, which I may or may not watch live. The writing bug has hit today and if my creative juices keep flowing, I don't want to stop them prematurely. 

Saturday, February 08, 2020

The Fall of Seafall

Tonight, after  two  three years to the month of playing, Scott, Sean, Mike, and I completed SeaFall, a so-called "Legacy" game with a board, pieces, characters, and rule set that evolve as you play.  In SeaFall, players take on the role of a provincial leader who competes with other leaders to explore the sea and unlock its secrets and treasures. Players earn points for building colonies, upgrading ships, finding treasures and secrets, trading goods, and accomplishing tasks. Player choices alter the way the map looks and plays, as well as their own characters and ships, and there are several important strategic and tactical decisions to make every turn, and, more widely, over the course of the long arc of the total number of games that it takes to finish the game. 

The game has a number of strengths and weaknesses. Exploring the sea and its islands and uncovering its secrets for uncertain rewards is fun, and provides a sense of progress and accomplishment. You get to customize your ships, colonies, islands, and advisors with names of your own choosing, often to humorous effect. Each game ends with a set of rewards commensurate with the number of points you earn, and those who finish last need not fear, because there's a balance mechanic that gives you a leg up on other players the next time you play. 

On the other hand, it's very hard to switch your overall strategy midway through the campaign, so once you focus on a particular playstyle, you're incentivized to stick with it or fall further and further behind your rivals. We also suspected early on that Scott was going to run away with the win, and that certainly proved to be the case. Congratulations, Scott, Emperor of the Provinces! 

All in all, I'd say it was a rewarding experience, but having completed the game, I can't say I'm tempted to return to it for the post-conclusion play options. Our heroes have earned their rest. 

Friday, February 07, 2020

Dune Thing

Washed ashore, this fine debris
Hard-shelled bounty from the sea
Found by Gilligan, first mate guy
Baked by Mary Ann into coconut cream pie

Wednesday, February 05, 2020


Good fit
For today
Don Trump's acquittal
Gives lie to the lie that lies count

Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Wax On, Beard Off

Sometimes I wonder how many times a man would have to wax his facial hair before follicle damage stops it from growing back, freeing him from the tyranny of shaving. If you started at, say, the age of 15, would your facial hair stop growing by 25? 35? Would you eventually get used to the pain of ripping out your beard?


Monday, February 03, 2020

Today's Little Frustration

For many months now, I've followed all the tips and tricks I can find to get my Windows 10 computer to recognize my iPhone 7 for long enough to transfer over my movies and sync my music. But noooo, I'll get one or two images across from one folder to another, or midway through a sync, and then the dreaded "lost connection to computer" appears. Man is this frustrating, especially when the recommended solutions do nothing. Yes, I'm running the latest version of Windows and the latest iOS and the latest version of iTunes, yes, I've restarted both the computer and the phone, yes, I've updated the drivers, yes, I've tried on other computers, yes, I'm using an official Apple lightning cable, yes, I've tried more than one official Apple lightning cables...sigh.

Saturday, February 01, 2020

Arrow Strikes Home

Arrow has had its ups and downs over its eight-year journey, from the heights of the early seasons to the lows of the middle seasons to its final course corrections in its final years. Arrow's eighth and final season was devoted mostly to serving as the lead-in to the ambitious Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover, and that role reinvigorated the show with new storytelling techniques and the highest possible stakes to keep the action and drama taut and exciting. While the final season stumbled with its dreadful penultimate episode, a backdoor pilot to yet another spinoff, the show's finale features all the best elements of the series - its character building and its exploration of what it means to be a good person - combined with a well-earned, bittersweet happy ending for all concerned. It's also chock full of cameos from seasons past, and it all feels very organic and authentic. The final episode also teases what's to come in Arrow's world even though we won't get to see it all onscreen, but those teases, and one in particular, should delight fans of the show and the world it's created.

Plenty of television shows leave their fans with weak finales that make us feel like we wasted years investing our time. Arrow's finale leaves us glad we stuck with the show.