Category Archives: Me

Baking!

I have celiac disease, a hereditary autoimmune disease, that makes wheat and gluten a toxic and staggeringly painful substance to ingest.

And I love cinnamon rolls. And grilled cheese sandwiches. And donuts. And lots of things that are traditionally made with wheat flour. Sure, there are gluten-free retail options available, but many taste like foot, or crumble like sand, and it’s expensive and crappy. Some things are good, but not many. I decided that if I wanted fresh baked items that tasted good I was going to have to learn how to bake. I’m still learning, and this year I entered six items in the State Fair Baking Competition. They’ve done pretty well. ๐Ÿ™‚

Here are the recipes for those who want to play along at home;

GF Cinnamon Rolls

GF Eclairs

GF Irish Soda Bread

GF Cake Donuts w/Maple Glaze

GF Sourdough Sandwich Bread

GF French Bread

My favorite store bought GF flour is Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1. It’s not the best, but it’s reliable and easy to find in stores. I buy big bags, buying in bulk saves. GF Sourdough starter takes a fair amount of patience, it took mine over a week of feeding with flour and water twice a day to get going. Now I use it all the time and sometimes I like to add it to the French Bread mix. If you do add it to the French Bread you need to reduce the proof time by about 5 minutes and add about 10 minutes to the bake time.

The Fair Baking Competition has two rounds so I’ll be submitting four new recipes next week.

Happy Baking!

Advertisements

Spider Dreams

Not miniatures or crafting related, just a late night message from my subconscious.

A large orange spider jumped onto the back of my daughter’s neck and was wrestling her to the ground. I removed the spider and tossed it away, I didn’t want to kill it as spiders are supposed to be helpers. Then another came down the wall and headed for her, this one I cut in half with scissors as I was through being polite. I decided I needed to get to the root of the spider problem and either exterminate them or seal my house so that they couldn’t get in. The door to my downstairs bathroom became the entrance to my non-existent dark basement, which was swarming with big orange spiders the size of tarantulas. I started out popping them with a pellet pistol while my family helped out by smacking and spearing any strays that got past me. The pistol was too slow though so I had to switch up to a fully automatic BB machine-gun, very messy. Still not enough though as the faster I killed them the more of them that came swarming towards that door. Finally I had my daughter slam the door and we stuffed towels under it to keep them from getting in. Good thing I don’t really have a basement.

Have fun with dream analysis, I’m quite certain I know what this was all about. What to do besides just slamming the door and hiding hasn’t come to me yet though.

HalloweenSpiderOrnament-Orange.jpg

Print-n-Play

When I was kid I lived on an island.

I didn’t know how cool this was at the time, nor how how it would shape my life in regards to resource management, self-sufficiency, creative problem solving and a true love and healthy respect for the natural world. There were no trees, we were #3 ring on the crank-powered party-line phone, food and supply barge would come every six months, sometimes a plane would drop off a film and everybody would gather at our house to watch it as we had the biggest living room. Later on, when vcr’sย  were invented, a tape would arrive every day from Anchorage with four hours of whatever; news, entertainment, incomprehensible commercials-from a week ago. It was a little glimpse into the future, four hours at a time, of what was happening in the rest of the world. Eventually were voted off of the island and rejoined civilization, but I’ve always carried the islands lessons with me.

One of those lessons was, “Do it Yourself”. In those little glimpses of the World I would see things like a “GI Joe Action Playset!”, and ordering one was really out of the question, so I made my own out of cardboard and string with ramps, platforms, bay doors for tank access, working elevators, etc. It was great fun and I had done it myself. Years later when I rejoined the world I saw a movie called Star Wars, you may have heard of it, and I, like everyone else, was enraptured by the final Death Star trench run sequence. When I got home I wanted to recreate that same excitement and drew up a boardgame that worked a lot like Chutes & Ladders but with X-Wings trying to get down a trench with a Darth Vader Tie Fighter steadily closing in from behind. I brought it to school and my classmates played it until the tape fell off and the paper wore through. Sometimes nobody won, but that was okay. Some kids wanted to borrow it to play at home, but it was my only copy, and why couldn’t they just make their own? Probably because they grew up in a city, so I painstakingly built another copy to loan out, which never returned.

I’d made lots of toys and other little boardgames like that over the years, but it was never easy to share my ideas and toys with others, until this thing called The Internet came along. No longer was I #3 ring, now I could tap into a global community of many other like-minded peoples. I still think it’s pretty cool. ๐Ÿ™‚ The best part, for me, is the evolution of Print-n-Play games and toys available online. Now when I have a fun idea for a toy or a boardgame I can put it online and people all over the world are able to print it out at home and play with my creations, and I can do the same the same with theirs. Even better, if I lose a part, or don’t have enough of a certain type, I can just hit print again and make all I need. The internet has given me an almost infinite toybox. ๐Ÿ˜€

And now, because I’m me, a plug for a friend who is also a Print-n-Play advocate; https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/872350932/temporum-oblitus-time-forgotten

This fine fellow, Aaron Hopkins, has been working diligently on crafting an entire galaxy-spanning saga of conflict and destruction involving aliens, robots, dictatorships, and freedom fighters and is making it available in it’s entirety as a PnP download so that everyone can make their own version of his world. Yes, there is a lot to build and craft and assemble, but that’s part of the fun. And once that’s done it’s play, play, play. ๐Ÿ˜€

Best of luck Aaron and Happy New Years to the rest of you. ๐Ÿ™‚

Crikey I’m tired…

…but it’s a good tired. Two months ago I took over the One Monk Miniatures empire from Sanity Studios. They’d really lost interest and drive in the operation and I’d been a long time supporter of the enterprise and hated seeing it floundering and didn’t want to see it perish. So I bought the assets; website, forum, company blog, downloadable products and many gigs of support material. Naively I thought the operation would be much easier than it turned out to be. Some of that was my own fault for not realizing what I was getting; I thought I was getting a nice house full of cool toys, instead I got an empty lot with boxes of building materials…and the previous owner still had some of the house keys to the non-existent house up until just last week so that I couldn’t entirely move in. All better now.

I re-built the website at onemonk.com (go check it and see what’s broken), put the forum back on it’s feet, and sales are rolling along at a steady trickle though the online vendor outlets. I’ve also got a slew of new models and miniature kits in the work that will start popping up in the next few months, lot’s to do, but at least its fun to do.

Except for the interface at GoDaddy; like swimming through gravel some times.ย  Their tech support is great though.

I haven’t painted anything in a couple of months, there’s a big red demon sitting in my paint area looking mournfully unfinished. Did get in a test game of Harder Than Steel, the beta rules for a possible Ganesha Games sci-fi miniatures wargame, I’ll try to post about that soon. Also went to an Anime Convention and set up a sales booth, didn’t make any money but had a great time.

Image

Yes, that’s the Eagle V Winnebago from the Spaceballs movie on top, very much the crowd favorite and caused many people to stop and look over the rest of my toys.

I still don’t get to paint tonight as birthday season is still ongoing and I need to make a Minecraft style birthday cake for my daughter’s birthday this weekend. Pics of that in a few days.ย Oh, and Reaper Miniatures has just launched another huge Bones Kickstarter, looks even more amazing than the last one.

Bye for now!

Thirty.

WordPress is very happy to inform me that this is my thirtieth post, I’m not sure why that’s special. They just seem to like inventing and then celebrating milestones, yay! I was going to talk about painting an iron golem, but it’s 30th post time so I’ll start with something else, I’m still going to talk about the golem but he’ll be farther down the page, just jump down to the pictures.

When I turned thirty the world had turned upside-down. I had been working that summer as a Scenic Design instructor at the Fairbanks Summer Fine Arts Camp, back when they still had a big theatre program. Fairbanks gets ridiculously hot (104 degrees+) so I ate a great deal of ice cream at a place called Hot LIcks-which was totally awesome-sauce! They made all of their own ice cream and had some amazingly good flavors like Alaska Blueberry and Prudhoe Mud-slide (extra double-chocolate) and they were a life-saver to me as I’m a serious heat weenie (it’s the ice in the blood).

Image

My then girlfriend and now wife…sounds weird to write it that way, feels like we’ve always been married ๐Ÿ™‚ … came to visit me at the camp and I got to show her around to places like Hot Licks and a spot where the pipeline passed close by the city and there was a little park there, I guess for viewing the pipeline, although there isn’t really anything to see…it’s just a big pipe.

Image

However, when I took my later to be wife there I was overcome with the urge to propose, apparently pipelines are inherently romantic to theatre technicians, but didn’t, because I’m a technician and I analyze everything to make certain of teh consequences. She did sense that surge of excitement in me though and quizzed me about years later, she had guessed correctly what was on my mind, but waited for me to say it, but that didn’t happen for eight more months.ย She went home and I thought it over and decided it was the right course for my future, but then I got a phone call about my uncle Hans. I say uncle but actually he was no relation, my family kind of adopted him when they met him out in the Aleutians before I was born. Hans was a German immigrant who grew up in post WW2 Germany and had fantastic stories of being knocked out at a bread riot…by a loaf of bread, German bread is much harder than American cake bread. Anyway, Hans kind of raised me when I came along. My Dad and I never really connected, he wasn’t a bad guy, just busy, and tired, then sick for a long time before he passed away almost 14 years ago. He was a great guy, I just didn’t really know him. Hans was a huge determining factor in who I am today though and before I turned thirty, before I got married, before I had my children he died quite painfully in the hospital. The phone call I received in Fairbanks was that Hans was extremely ill in Homer and was going to be moved to Providence in Anchorage, which was good because small town hospitals are the death for serious illnesses, and he was seriously ill. Hans had been sick for quite some time it turned out, but hadn’t been telling anybody about it. He had also been a hardcore alcoholic his whole life and had managed to wreck most of his body internal body functions, but you wouldn’t know it as he always seemed so robust, unlike my dad who always seemed tired. I finished my summer contract and got back into Anchorage just in time to see Hans and talk with him for the few days before he passed. He gave me some money at the hospital to go buy him some socks as he claimed the doctors had stolen his so he couldn’t get away. A few days later he slipped into a coma and died. And I turned thirty. He did leave me a great deal of money, which was an immense surprise, so I was able to pay off my student loans, which left me free of debt and in a position to look forward in life, instead of always backwards at the mountain of debt I’d been carrying. Hans loved kids, I wish he’d gotten to meet and play with mine.

Thirty.

Image

Hey look, a bronze golem!

I was working away on him, close to being done, and noticed the cracks on the back of his kilt and thought they were an odd choice. I looked in the Reaper online mins catalog and it turns out he’s a stone golem…well, whatever. For this fella I painted him black and then hit his body parts with a dark bronze metallic paint, then dry-brushed a copper metallic paint on top of that as I thought that process would add more luster and depth to the metallics.

ImageImage

I also washed him with a chestnut ink to see what that would do, seems to have made him shinier.

Image

A bit of leather for his armbands and belt andlots of white brushing so his kilt would be bright.

Image

Then some sand for his base, still not quite happy with my desert sand basing, I think I need to brush in some better highlights on the sand bits.

Image

Next up, some muscle-bound dudes and Superfly go toe to toe to toe. ๐Ÿ™‚