Monday, 29 October 2012

So what's going on this week...?

Well, for starters, it is half term week part two, with one child back to school, and another just starting her half term. The weather here in the UK is finally taking a turn for the worse, as winter proper begins to set in.

What am I playing?

The Pathfinder campaign continues, and our party of adventurers has now reached 6th level. Ric came down from Manchester last week to take over Sebastian's character, as Sebastian was away at a Warhammer 40,000 party (I hasten to add that Ric did not come down especially to run Sebastian's PC...he did have other reasons!) We have now completed the second story arc in the Carrion Crown campaign.

On the PS3 I've started playing some Oblivion - the Elder Scrolls, although I'll leave first impressions for another post. I'm also preparing the next installment of my Lord of the Rings miniatures campaign, which sees Frodo setting off from Hobbiton into the wilds of the East Farthing as well as a play test of Tomorrow's War in the Star Wars universe.

What am I reading?

I am about halfway through Guy Sajer's excellent and gripping The Forgotten Soldier, about his experiences as an infantryman in the German army on the Eastern Front in WW2. In my quieter moments, I'm continuing to dip into 1812 - Napoleon's Fatal March On Moscow (Adam Zamoyski), as this is the bicentenary of the events depicted in that book. On the comics front I'm reading the second story arc in the Baltimore series from Dark Horse Comics, The Curse Bells. More on this as a potential setting for the Savage Worlds RPG in a future post. Another comic I'm just getting into is the hardback first installment of David Petersen's awesome  Mouse Guard series, Fall 1152.

On the gaming front, I'm dipping into Kenneth Hite's Trail of Cthulhu, largely as I try to get my head further around the Gumshoe system with a view to finally running it at some stage, possibly using my own Dunchester setting.

What am I eating?

As the clocks have now changed and the nights are drawing back in, my tastes are also changing from summer fare to something more autumnal. In this case I've been experimenting with pumpkins, as you can buy decent-sized pumpkins here in England for a pound in the run up to Halloween, making them cheaper than chips, literally. I slice off the top, take out the core, and cook a filling made of mince, chopped peppers, chick peas, onions and garlic. I usually add some Vegeta and a bit of paprika and Worcester sauce to taste. I stuff the pumpkin, put the lid back on, and cook in a pre-heated oven at 190 Celsius for about 60 minutes, although much will depend on the size of your pumpkin. You can eat it on its own or with steamed vegetables. Wash it down with some 2008 Bestue Finca Rableros or a good cider, ideally Breton.

What am I listening to?

I'm doing most of my listening in the car at the moment, ferrying family members around Brighton. Most of the time we're listening to Ellie Goulding's album Halcyon, which is actually not bad. When left to my own devices, I'm listening to Burning Copper, by Live. On the podcast front, I've been really impressed by Ken Hite and Robin D. Laws' podcast, Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff. This is not just about gaming, although both contributors are games writers. I'd say gaming makes up about 40% of each podcast on average. There is a fair amount of chit-chat about the history of the occult, world politics, and what-if/alternative history scenarios, plus plenty of discussion about themes that impact gaming, like Kickstarter for example. I got into podcasts in a big way when I was down with a horrendous cold a few weeks ago, and started listening to this when I was waking up in the night at 3.00 a.m. I got hooked and have now branched into other podcasts, although luckily I'm not waking up in the middle of the night anymore!

What am I painting?

I'm slowly working my way through my core Tyranids army for WH40K. This is creeping along like a hungover slug. The aim is to paint up two Genestealer broods plus a brood of Termagants and some Ripper swarms. I'm hoping to muster 500-600 points before Xmas with any luck, although I've yet to figure out what my HQ option will be. I've temporarily shelved my 6mm Carthaginian army which I was starting to find a tad fiddly. I've also got some Barrow Wights on the table for Lord of the Rings and some Bretonnian knights who have turned into something of a communal painting project with the kids (I'm doing the final tidy up and basing work).

Sebastian and one of his friends have been busy over the weekend building more Space Marines as well as some Orks, and they have also got some Lizardman Cold One cavalry painted up, which look rather fine. I'm hoping I can mobilise the kids to do more painting work going forwards, as I'm simply have not got time to paint units for armies, preferring instead to worry away at personality models and figures for RPGs and skirmish games.

What am I watching?

Having recently finished The West Wing, all seven series of it, I'm now embarking on Lost in a big way. I completely missed this when it was on television here in the UK. I picked up the first three series for a song at an open air market last year, and now the nights are drawing in, I'm settling into it. I'm actually quite enjoying it. I can't believe it was a hard sell to the cast: "Hey, wanna come and make a TV series with J. J. Abrams? We're going to be filming on a beach. In Hawaii." Hmmm....let me think about that one.

As discussed in a previous post, I'm also following Hunted on BBC iPlayer. If you don't live in the UK, it will no doubt be coming to a small screen near you in the not too distant future. I also finally managed to catch Inglorious Basterds on DVD last week, which I loved. Trademark Tarantino, and interesting how he managed to sew the whole theme of cinematic entertainment into a tale of WW2 espionage. Great stuff.

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