Doug's Workshop

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About Doug's Workshop

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    Indianapolis, Indiana

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  1. We moved to our current house eight years ago this month. We had lived in a neighborhood that was . . . less than stellar. One neighbor lived in a $60k house, drove a brand new Jaguar, kept the blinds closed, and had an assortment of people knocking on his door at all hours of the night. Hey, he was quiet. Not much can entice me to move. We've got five acres on a small lake. My boys get to play with snakes and frogs, and we see coyotes and deer regularly. I would say in about 15-20 years the work to keep the place up will become too much for us and we'll have to relocate.
  2. Yes, with time to spare. And we did overpay, so will be getting a refund. Normally I don't like to overpay that much, but a couple years ago my math skillz totally failed me, and I ended up having to write a big check. Just under the amount where I would incur penalties. My plans for the refund include a modest date night with my wife, and the remainder gets tucked away for future inclusion in our Roth IRAs and the little Workshops' college funds. As I live in the US, I guess I don't get to answer the latter part of today's question. Probably for the best.
  3. Self driving cars . . . . I understand that computers can have better safety records than humans. And I appreciate that such features can be added to vehicles. However, the "internet of things" is a great big danger. The software isn't allowed to be modified by me for better security, or more efficient use of the vehicle. I, as the end user, can't access the software, even though I rely on it to work properly. Furthermore, all that technology means you're always connected to the web, so you get tracked everywhere you go. Advertisers already do that on your computer. This gives them the opportunity to tailor billboards to your "interests." Going to the store? Hey, there's an ad for Kroger up ahead that let's you know bananas are on sale. No, thanks. (Note that this applies to lots more than just cars. Smart-phones, smart-thermostats, smart-refrigerators . . . all the same problem.) Add on to this that I have an aversion to "experts" telling me how to do what I want to do. Want to go to the store? Well, our self driving vehicle will take you there along the preprogrammed route. No, you can't go down that street. You can't go faster. You go where we tell you to go. It's a short hop from that to "No, you have exceeded your mileage for the month, so you must pay an extra 25 cents per mile as a useage fee." Finally, what happens when (not if) the computer malfunctions and an accident ensues. Studies already show that if you take drivers out of control of their vehicles, their minds wander or they are much more likely to fall asleep. So any override feature is useless. For maximum safety, the driver must remain in command of the vehicle and any computer system acts as an auxillary to the driver's ability
  4. The least used is probably the garlic press. Turns out that if you have a decent knife, it's quicker and easier to just use that. The most used? Well, since I don't have many gadgets, and I'm gonna say a knife doesn't count . . . probably the mandolin.
  5. The only time I use beer is for an awesome beef stew.
  6. Based on the information I found, it appears that the manufacture of the Neo is subcontracted, so the quality control process wasn't quite up to snuff. After having some of these issues brought to their attention, Iwata apparently worked to fix the issues. Knowing third party manufacturing like I do, it makes perfect sense that there would be wide variation in the overall quality of the final product. That said, stepping up to a more expensive brush might be the right way to go. My oldest son hasn't started building models yet, but if he does, I think I'd rather have a brush that can do some finer work. Plus, I like the idea of weathering terrain. Of particular importance now is trying to decide how far up, which really means the cost of the compressor. I will be using the airbrush in the garage, but I still don't think I want a noisy compressor. I'm now leaning towards an Iwata Eclipse, which has the added benefit of a local art store having spare parts. But there's a nice Grex kit that probably isn't much more expensive overall. . . . .
  7. Thanks, knarthex. The more I've researched, the more I think it might be worth it to spend an extra hundred to get a little bit better set-up.
  8. The Iwata Neo. I had thought about one of the knock-off brands, but I figured if my first experience with an airbrush was any indication, I actually want something that's halfway decent. The kit seems decently priced, even if the compressor is a bit small. Years ago, I bought the basic Testor's airbrush. The plastic thing (single action siphon feed) that used canned propellant. I think I got through the first can and decided I never needed to use an airbrush again.
  9. As I am about to pull the trigger on an airbrush purchase, I appreciate the help and insights.
  10. I can't remember where I heard this, but sci-fi games were generally intellectual properties because the "stuff" in them was usually created by someone specific, as opposed to fantasy games that could rely on fairy tales and mythological critters. That is, Vulcans were part of Star Trek, while elves are creatures that have a long history in Norse/Celtic lore. As for me, I try to stay away from Star Wars games because most gamers are familiar with the movies. We know how they end, so there isn't as much of an opportunity for us to create our own stories. I am not a huge fan of Star Trek, so playing a game in that universe doesn't excite me. I did enjoy the Serenity/Firefly universe, but again, I'd rather not play games based on television episodes I've already seen. I'm partial to Stars Without Number by Sine Nomine. The core rules are free; it's based on the system you probably already have played. There are supplements that let the game become more Gamma-World-ish or large-scale Naval campaigns, or on running a Merchant ship. I actually use some of the stuff as part of my version of "Expedition to the Barrier Peaks" (that is, characters investigating a crashed space ship inhabited with strange aliens and weird technology). There's also White Star by Barrel Rider Games, which runs off the Swords & Wizardry White Box rules. Simple, easy to pick up, cheap (that is, free). The default game has "star knights" which warrior mystics with laser swords, totally not something else that's IP protected. But the game is what the GM and players make it. I'm sure Starfinder will be successful. Whether it's hard sci-fi or a Spelljammer-like universe, there's probably enough demand for the material. I'm pretty much out of buying new RPGs, though, and prefer rules-light stuff, so obviously I'm not the target market.
  11. It seems the old rumor about not dying until all your miniatures are painted is true . . . .
  12. It depends on the dragon. Traditional dragons (living up on a mountainside, away from people) are probably bat. Fae dragons are butterfly because of the ethereal nature of the Fae. Linnorm dragons get none, which is also true of jungle dragons (all the trees interfere with the wings). Swimming dragons get ribbed because those ribbed wings take too much muscle to actually "fly." Dragons don't have feathered wings. Quetzalcoutal have feathered wings. Hippogriffs have feathered wings. Griffons have feathered wings. Dragons are none of these.
  13. I don't get insomnia, although I've used the mental trick Pezler mentions for as long as I can remember. I've built a very nice castle by the sea in my mental workspace. Don't ever try doing that sort of exercise while getting drugged at the dentist's office, though. I wound up with one weird building with three entrances on one wall and a chimney that stretched around from one side of the house to the other.
  14. Heroic Fantasy and Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu Setting Sourcebook Autarch, the folks behind Adventure Conqueror King, have a new Kickstarter to fund an alternative version of the rules focused on "heroic fantasy" where magic is subtle and likely more dangerous, like Robert E Howard and JRR Tolkein. Think more "secret cults of forbidden knowledge" and less "Wizard's Guild." Adventurer Conqueror King laid a mathematically accurate framework for building your character's domain (such as building a kingdom), as well as fun things like a coherent trade system, and "hijinks" for the rogueish characters. I've been very pleased with the book, and use it to supplement my old-school games. The Heroic Fantasy books looks like the rules, while the Barbarian Conquerors setting book is inspired by pulp worlds of Howard and Burroughs. Science-Fantasy and secrets man was not meant to know.
  15. My other story comes from years and years ago and is hidden just in case my definition of PG-13 has been warped by hanging around the wrong crowd.