Monday, 30 August 2010

workin' nine to five... ish

So, I turned up on Tuesday last week to talk to this guy at university about work 'n' stuff. We spent about an hour trying to thrash out just what I ought to be doing, and then another hour talking about motorsport. Turns out that we've been in the same place at the same time before; the pit lane at Brands Hatch for the 1984 British grand prix. He was working for the Williams team as an engineer of some description; I was a little further down the pit lane in the Brabham garage, wearing a bad sweater and hanging out with my new pal Riccardo Patrese.

Anyway, it turns out that the nature of my work is such that I can pretty much do it all from home; and so I spend half my day researching fuel saving aerodynamics, and the other half playing minesweeper.

However, I do take my minesweeping commitments quite seriously; and so there has been no time for toy soldiers, my busy work schedule allowing for only the most essential booze-soaked engagements such as The Boy's birthday (many happy returns 'n' that), and banger racing in the picturesque Mendip hills followed by a delicious roast lamb dinner (thank you Charlie Cat).

Monday, 23 August 2010


I recently served a mad woman in the Big Gay Department Store. The conversation went something like this.

"Hello darling. Does this come in a box?" She's brandishing a frying pan.
"I'm afraid not madam, it comes as is. I could wrap it in some bubble wrap for you...?"
"That would be wonderful darling, thank you." I set to expertly smothering her shiny new cookware in bubble wrap.
"You're doing a marvellous job..." she looks at my name badge "...Ben."
"Thank you. You're very kind." And possibly quite mad.
"You don't have spiky hair like him." She gestures to my colleague Tim, a quite exceptionally gay man with whom I hardly flirt at all.
"No madam, he's a wild anarchist. I'm more of a mild-mannered hippy."
"I see. How old are you Ben?"
"I'm thirty-two."
"You must call me mummy."
Cue shrieks of laughter from Tim.

In an entirely unrelated story, the Pixie and I bimbled over to see my parents last week. We spent a pleasant few days battling giant spiders, smashing furniture with axes and devouring delicious Thai food. The day after our return I inadvertently found a cure to my near crippling Forza/toy soldier painting addiction, by getting some sort of job or something. It's a temporary full-time position, working at the university for some guy that's researching fuel saving aerodynamics. Essentially, it's Pimp My Heavy Goods Vehicle. I start tomorrow, when we'll have a bit of a brainstorm in which we'll try to work out exactly what my job will be.

All of which means that today was pretty much my last chance to get any painting done; and here it is.

Yup, I finally managed to get some actual boyz painted for my super retro old skool rogue trader ork army. The photo is a bit blurry, because a) it's late, and I've had a few glasses of delightfully cheap red wine; and b) this conveniently covers up what a rushed job I've done on them.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

no stories, just toys

It's not that I haven't been doing stuff; although I must confess that now that I am solidly entrenched in my summer break, my days are mostly filled with toy soldiers, endless repeats of Top Gear, and bold voyages of 90's indie rediscovery.

But there's also been weddings, and barbecues, and day trips to medieval cities. Problem is, it's all been great; and no-one wants to hear about that.

I should probably start getting back into some project work in preparation for my fourth and final year. That'll give me plenty to complain about. Meanwhile, here's more toy soldiers.

This hideous creature is the warcaster for my Cryx force, which means it's her job to make sure that all my exploding steam-powered zombies shuffle in the right direction and explode at the right time. Apparently her name is Master Necrotech Mortenebra; but I like to call her Clicky Woman, as that's the noise I imagine she makes as she scuttles along on her ghastly robot spider legs. She is accompanied by a goon called Deryliss, who helps to cast spells and makes the tea.

These chaps are Defilers, although "the community" tends to refer to them as Death Chickens. As far as I can tell, their job is to rampage about and blast things with sticky corrosive goo before being smashed by bigger stuff.

And finally, Mechanithralls. Their special moves include punching stuff with their big fists, catching fire and dying (thanks Matt).

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

it is indeed the loveliest of days

I let The Boy trick me into going to a bar gig at The Croft this week. A good thing too, as I actually got to see a couple of very cool local bands for less than the cost of a pint, and drink pints of imported lager for slightly more than the cost of a pint.

First of the two were the splendid Mustard Allegro
. As it turns out, it was guitarist Alex's birthday; which meant that all of the handful of people in attendance had to sign a card for him. It also meant that he had down a shot at the very start of their set, and then another after every three songs played. Unfortunately for him, Mustard Allegro songs tend to be frantic blasts of surf guitar seldom lasting more than a minute, and they played a lot of them. On the plus side, the music all has a somewhat room-spinning quality to it anyway, so nothing seemed particularly out of place.

Merch was available from the Asda bag that the drummer kept with him. My only complaint about the otherwise very excellent mini album Dwarf Shortage that I purchased is the title; if they had only called it Shortage of Dwarves, there might be a possibility of 'shortage' becoming the collective noun for dwarves.

The other band were Narco Lounge Combo, a groovy/sleazy drum 'n' guitar two piece. They mostly did lounge covers of songs by dead people, along with a few original numbers. "This one's about a far off and exotic place; it's called Aztec West." Mostly it all had a very cool Tiki space-lounge vibe to it, helped in no small part by the pair of electronic gizmos that made haunted jungle noise and flashing lights happen. "These are powered by very small nuclear devices, no bigger than a cigarette packet. They're perfectly safe, of course; but please don't look directly at them during the xylophone solo."


Meanwhile, in toy soldier land...

This thuggish brute is Borukk Mukmasha. So right now, my army resembles that of a twelve year old kid; consisting as it does of one warboss, four dreadnoughts and no troops.