Saturday, October 03, 2009

Lord of the Rings Movie Marathon

So I saw on one of my favorite websites a notice about a Lord of the Rings Extended Edition movie marathon occurring today. As big of a fan as I am of the movies, I've never watched all three of them back to back in one sitting (that's about 12 hours viewing for those of you not familiar with the length of the extended editions). I thought it would be great fun to watch the movies back to back to get a better feel for the epic-ness of the story. In addition, according to the website, during the marathon, movie fans from all of the globe would be watching at the same time, all the while chatting online on TORN's servers about the movies. So I decided to give it a shot.

I settled in just before 10am with the first movie loaded on my desktop with my laptop nearby...ready to watch and chat.

Update: It's now 2:20pm and I've finished the first movie and about to start the second...The Two Towers. Watching with up to 100 others in an intimate setting (even if it is online) is certainly a different experience. I like it.

Update: It's now 9:30 pm est and we are about to start disc two of the Return of the King -the final disc. Can't believe I've almost made it. Can't feel my legs from sitting all day but still in a great mood.

Update: It's now 11:37 pm. I made it but I'm exhausted! Who knew watching three epic movies back to back would be so exhausting? It's been so much fun but I'm mentally drained...gotta stretch my legs then go to sleep.

Final Update: It's been several days now and I thought I'd post my final thoughts. First of all, I'd like to thank Maegwen from TORN for putting together the LotR Marathon, keeping all the participants in sync during the viewing (in sync via well planned stops every 30 minutes or so to keep all the viewers in roughly the same spot in the movie), and for moderating the chat for almost 14 hours. I'd also like to thank all the folks that dropped in during the day. I'm not sure I could have lasted that long without the all the great comments, jokes, and discussions from some of the greatest LotR fans in the world. But most of all I'd like to thank the four of five others that lasted the entire marathon with me. You were all great fun.

Now that it's over, would I do it again? Yes...definitely. It was a long day but totally worth it. I only wish there was a way for me to watch the movie more closely while keeping up with the chat. I'll have to experiment with a few options before next year's marathon.

Wings of War Table

I recently finished making a gaming table for the Wings of War game. The project came out OK but I would definitely make a few changes.

Wings of War table with planes ready for action.

First of all, I'd purchase a different type of wood. I tried to go the cheap route and get the least expensive in the size I wanted. Unfortunately the wood proved to be less than ideal for the project. I'm not sure what kind of coating or residue was on the wood, but some of the paint would not set correctly during application. The blue for the river was especially difficult. I had to wipe of the paint several times after it clumped up and pooled. It was almost as if some type of oil was on the wood.

Notice the sheen in the blue river. Perhaps from an oily coating on the wood?

Also, as you can see from the side profile photo below, the wood is a bit on the thin side and is already starting to droop. I could get something a bit thinker or maybe even put some support rails underneath the table along the edges. Actually, this thickness might have worked but I suspect that the South Florida humidity played a role in the wood warping over time.

Even supported correctly, the wood is starting to bow and curve.

Secondly, I'd want the paint to be lighter to represent the fact that the features below are being viewed several hundred feet up in the air. Though I kept the nozzle a good distance from the wood to keep the pigments light, the effect just isn't what I had in mind.

Finally, I'd like to try putting in a few man-made features such as battlefield bunkers, hangers, and a few bombed out buildings. But just like the issue above, the most difficult part would be creating the features with the effect of seeing them from altitude. Spray paint will not work for such details I think so I'll need to experiment with options.

The full board completed and ready for action.

Even though it's not perfect, the table does the job it was intended for....playing Wings of War. Now I think I'll start on a playing board for some of my miniature games.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

From the Ashes....

OK, so it's been over two years since my last entry. Not quite what I had in mind as far as posting frequency goes when I started this little project. Maybe this time will be different.

I've actually been working on several different projects lately. A couple of them have been related to a heraldric design I use as my personal SCA device and Kinship symbol for LotRO. It's an eight-pointed star with the southernmost ray slightly elongated. The star is painted in white (or argent to use proper heraldry terms) on a field of black (sable). I'm quite fond of it for asthetic reasons and for the symbolism it has both in my real life and in my created roles.

The design, which I affectionately call the "Argent Star" has found it's way onto several projects. One is on another SCA shield, which I will use for display only. I'm still torn about adding the three ships above the star which can be seen on my fighting shield (see the post below for a pic). I may just leave the chief blank or experiment with another design.

The same decision holds true with the banner I made. The Argent Star looks pretty good by itself and adding other elements may make the banner look too "busy". Whatever I decide, I still need to mount the banner on a pole. I've stained the upright but still need to work on the cross staff. The last step (besides trying to clean the white spot from the right where I spilled some paint) is to finish sewing the upper corner and attach the tabs for the cross staff in the back.

I'm also in the process of adding the Argent Star to a few leather books I made last year. I'll post a photo as soon as I'm finished.