In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Joining the Family Tradition

It's been a week!

Soon after starting at the Forges of Mordor I got a call from my daughter's boss, asking me to come in for an interview. I had heard about my daughter's dept. manager (she works in the deli and bakery at a local grocery store) calling in and quitting without notice. So I went in and said "I hear you're short on responsible adults. I'm a responsible adult looking for a job" and gave him my resume. A few weeks later he called... gave me a job...

So I finished my week in Mordor and started at the Buy Food last night stocking shelves in the grocery department.

Mordor didn't go too badly really. The last few shifts I was running a die cutter, punching out corrugated plastic totes and dividers for bins, which once I got the hang of, was pretty good and I stopped getting annoying nicks on my finger tips. My supervisor was pretty decent, I was reasonably far removed from the welders and grinders and on the last shift she was pretty impressed with my output. (I'm wierd that way, I like to leave everyone with a good impression...)

But it was only a Temp job and I was as disposable as last night's McD's wrapper once they got their contract fulfilled.
And the snow driving home at 12:30 AM really sucked!

It's nice to actually be hired by someone. This is my first full-time job in 15 months (almost to the day).

The shifts are sucky and all over the map (I'm the weekend midnight manager/adult in charge), but it's 40 hours a week. Plus I figure I was spending about $10 a day on gas going to Mordor, so even though the pay is less I'm further ahead. My Snugglebunny will have the car more too and less hours spent commuting is more time for me.

Me and Chad Vader are gonna be tight now...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Some Light in the Darkness

Still in the Forges of Mordor for the time being. It's not a horrible job, the pace seems OK. But the fumes get up my sinuses leaving black crud and my throat has been sore since Thursday night.

Saturday morning I had an interview at a local grocery store. Only minimum wage and 32 hours a week but it saves me 1 1/2 hours of driving every day, so I said 'yes', although I am still hopeful that the Printer's will call me for a second interview for the proof reader's job. I am hopeful that this is the pivot upon which my fortunes will at last begin to turn.

It'd be nice to work straight days and use my education for once in my life.

It'd also be nice to get out of Mordor before the Foreman comes up and puts a hand print on my face. I'm too short to be an Uruk anyway.

I've also been reflecting on things theological in all this too and am really struck by how, to paraphrase the Beatles; I've been getting by with a little help from my friends.

Money has anonymously arrived in our mail box more than once. Another sent a cheque just in time to pay for Snugglebunny's blood pressure meds. Others strongly suggested I sell my painting services and even more have stepped up to give me their business. One fellow who also loves bunnies, keeps bringing food for my warren and figures for me to paint and sometimes pays extra and in advance. Another fellow comes over to talk while we paint and does his best to shore up my sometimes flagging spirits. He and another are also always ready to give me a lift somewhere if I need it. And then there are the encouraging phone calls and emails and some good advice and even a few job leads.

Every little helps.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Slaves of Mordor

Well I got called by the Temp agency again.
So I had to rush over to Kitchener to their office to do the paper work and do the WHMIS test and get the H&S briefing so I could then go to Woodstock for a 3:30 to midnight shift. Man a lot of driving.
The place makes the racks that Toyota parts are shipped in.
Lot of steel and welding sparks and fumes and grinding. Noisy. Badly lit. Really shitty ergonomic layouts. But as I move further down the automotive foodchain the working conditions get worse.
Lot of Temps all looking resigned. Guys without their HS diploma and piercings and tats. But all this Just in Time inventory nonsense means the Forges of Mordor need Just in Time staffing too.
I did get three extra hours though.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Black dog

I call it my Black Dog. The anxiety and despair that swirls about the bed at 3 in the morning keeping me awake with it's soft padding and snuffling.
Being out of work and out of money in the winter has to be the worst.
Shakespeare's opening from Richard III "Now is the winter of our discontent..." really rings true right now. Everything is cold and grey and shitty. You want to turn on the furnace but worry about the gas bill.
Drove to London in crap winter weather for a Job Fair today. Lots of booths for different companies trying to attract the Fanshawe students. Not many taking resumes but just encouraging people to apply on their corporate websites. Got a few leads, but everything takes soooo long. I'm sorry I can't wait until March.
One company that does corporate call center support emailed me right away though. Maybe they want someone ASAP. At least it's incoming customer service calls, not cold calling sales work.
While I was doing this I missed the Temp agency calling to fill a shift for this afternoon.
My Snugglebunny is starting to get supremely anxious about keeping the house.
So my Black Dog of despair is hounding me pretty heavily today. I think he's brought a few puppies along.
It's really hard to keep my Faith that everything will turn out alright. I've had enough testing God, I'd just like to see the Promised Land now thanks.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Time to Put the Kettle On

Well there's bugger all on the Job Bank today to apply to. Time to put the kettle on and lose mysel fin the latest Pascoe and Dalziel novel The Cure for All Diseases. More death and mayhem in Yorkshire.
Funny series. One starts off liking DS Pascoe and hating his fat, gluttinous crude boss DI Dalziel, but as one goes through the series you get to like the rough Yorkshireman and find his well educated subordinate rather annoying.
Dalziel like Columbo isn't as dumb as he acts and Reginald Hill captures the voice really well. You can hear him talking when you read the dialogue.
Almost makes one want to go to Yorkshire...
But yesterday's interviewing went well I thought. Hoping to be called for a second interview later this week. They're getting into their busy season and want the job filled ASAP.
I can do ASAP. I could start tomorrow if they'd like. Hell, tonight even....

Something for myself!

Back in December 08 when I was first laid off and thinking naively that I'd be back to work in March of 09, I thought "Good time to revisit my Medieval armies and revise my rules."
So I spent the Christmas season rebasing all of my many Medieval figures who had been based on balsa wood, with plaster of paris and to the old WRG frontages!
A pikeman on a single 15mm wide base doesn't stand up very well. The bigger bases made from the balsa were all warped and the plaster was chipped off.
Time for a rethink.
I'd been looking at other armies on the blogosphere and liked the square 40x40 bases. So off I went and cut out a sheet of nice art board (it has a thin layer of plastic sandwhiched in the center to give it strength and prevent warping) into dozens of squares and standardized my basing. 2 skirmishers, 3 archers or 4 heavy foot on a base. 2 cavalry on a 40x50mm base.
I also had a good start on an Old Glory Wars of the Roses army in my horde of unpainted lead. I got them in trade from a friend for some painting. Working on my Medieval rules (Blood & Chivalry) inspired me to do up some more foot. You can never have too many longbowmen or polearmed infantry for playing the Wars of the Roses scenarios. So here they are. The flag is from the Lance and Longbow Society, I can't remember whose banner it is though.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Life and painting

Like my new Profile Picture?
He's a Games Workshop character from their old Bretonnian army when it was still very Hundred Years War meets King Arthur. Not sure what it is now. But this little fool rode around on his hobby horse with a troubador knight bonking enemies with his inflated pig's bladder.
He's part of my Norman/Fuedal/11th-12th century Medieval collection. The Old Glory Norman Command pack contains a Norman knight playing some fiddle thing and singing (a reference to a fellow who did that prior to the battle of Hastings), so I got the fool to accompany him when one could actually buy bits from the GW packs out of the warehouse (back when GW Canada had a warehouse, and an office...).
I like him. He makes me smile. He's a bit of a personal avatar and alter ego I think.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Finally a Positive Sign!

Well after almost 15 months of unemployment I have some good news.
Got called yesterday and interviewed over the 'phone for a company I applied to last month. The job I applied for was filled but they called me for something else. The company is a big commercial printers and they want a proof reader.
Too cool. Right up my alley.
It'd be a nice conflation of my previous automotive QA experience and my part-time editorial work with HMG Magazine.
So I go in Monday afternoon for testing; math, spelling and some computer stuff. My only worry is they're probably on Windows 98 and my recent retraining was all on Vista and Office 07! But I did OK at my clerical testing on the same software at the Temp Agency of Mordor so I should be OK.
I'm confident.
OK, OK it's too early to count chickens and all but still it's a well needed dose of good vibes after the last two weeks of depression and blindly firing resumes into the darkness without any feedback.
Some money coming in would be nice. A job with prospects and a future would be nicer. Benefits would be sweet too. Everyone is needing new glasses and some teeth cleaning!
So can we at least put the champanade on ice to chill?

Some More Painting

Thinking back on the past year I've been quite productive. Too bad it's mostly been for others. The money has been helpful but like the cobbler's children going without shoes I've had trouble getting my own lead pile worked on!

These are some 28mm Pontoonier British infantry from the Second (?) Burmese War of 1885. They should be in kahki but the customer wanted them in Home Service scarlet for fighting off invading Martians or Russians. And the customer is never wrong!

Really nice figures, with lovely sculpting details and fine casting. Very little flash.

Too bad they've got a non-existant web presence and one only seems to be able to buy any of their figures if one finds them at a convention. I'm not sure how the pack contents are arranged since there were three officers, three sergeants and two buglers.

But as you can see the proprtions, animation and details are quite well done. The selection of figures given to me to paint were some kneeling and standing firing line types, some advancing skirmishing poses and the command pictured plus two buglers.

Like the Natal Carabineers they are all based on 1 inch fender washers. I then build up the base with epoxy and coat in a fine white sand-blasting medium. Once the glue dries I paint the base dark brown and dry bush kahki before gluing on tufts of flock. My 15mm WW2 Canadians get much the same treatment.

Some lovely figures.

I got these in November to paint up for a friend. Empress Miniatures 28mm Natal Carabineers (dismounted). Really lovely sculpts with lots of crisp detail. One can even see the "NC" badge on their helmets. The Martini-Henry Carbines are very nicely done. There are the four poses; two standing, two kneeling one of each loading and one firing. Trouble is the one kneeling and loading is a Sergeant. 5 packs to make up a 20 figure unit makes for 5 Sergeants; which seemed a bit much. But with a bit of trimming and filing 3 of them got demoted to Corporals.
He was very happy when he got them.
I'm trying to tell him he needs to get some of their mounted comrades. He needs cavalry and the Empress horse sculpts are some of the best in the business.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

In Which Rubberman Ponders this Blog Thingy

Hello faithful readers! Here is Rubberman trying to take his thrilling adventures into the 21st century.
I suppose I really should be called Rabbitman now. After all the Rubber is long gone and the Robots didn't last long either. The rabbits have really gotten to like having me off work for 14 months. They've gotten a nice routine going. I think when I do find work they're going to be rather upset.
It's been so long it's an odd concept now. The thought of punching in and performing drudge work for 40+ hours a week. I treated school like a job, but it was a pretty nice job. A bad day at school is much better than a good day at a factory any time! (Well the money is worse, but...)
That's the motivator isn't it? It's all well and good to "follow your dreams" and "do what you love" (and the rest of that bollocks they filled my dreamy head with in school) but if that doesn't pay the bills then it's "Hey ho!" and off to the mills of Mordor to make a paycheque.
Well Snugglebunny just got home. Time to put the kettle on and see what's for lunch.