Sunday, 27 November 2011
Having not been properly gainfully employed for too long (I was quite some time at university) the novelty of regular pay has not worn off even after 22 months in the job. I don't expect that it ever will! Up until late October I'd only taken about two weeks of my annual leave entitlement; we get 4 weeks each year in New Zealand so I'd managed to accrue a fair bit. The great thing is that it's paid leave so I came home from my three-week holiday to the Americas flush! And promptly went and built myself a new gaming PC...
I did do my best to justify the purchase, at least rhetorically! My older PC was a Core 2 Duo that I built back in 2005/2006. It certainly wasn't on it's last legs and could play most new games that came out - though on low settings (thankfully I'm mostly a fan of RPGs and strategy games which aren't spec whores like cutting-edge first person shooters). But I thought what the hell, I'd got 6-7 years out of my old computer, I don't know when I'm likely to have extra cash in the future, and to be honest with the way compute technology is at the moment its the perfect time to build a gaming computer. The technology race has slowed down a bit to the point where brand new upgrades only give minimal improvement and there isn't a whole lot of contrast anymore to affordable PCs.
Anyway, the connection to wargaming is that I've been a bit distracted by new games over the past two weeks, while also getting back into the swing of things at work after my holiday. My gaming purchases are the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and FIFA 12. The consequence of this is that I haven't actually achieved anything in the wargaming field since Garth and I ordered some terrain from Waylands back on 13 November. I'm going to have to get disciplined and at least try and do a little bit every night. We shall see.
As for the games, I'm really loving them. I haven't been able to play anything at the top end of the spec spectrum in a very long time; it's just wonderful how smooth and beautiful the graphics are. I guess a fairly chunky graphics card, a Core i7 and 16Gb of RAM do that! Yes! 16Gb! Just insane.
Skyrim is so very much better than Oblivion; I'm very impressed. The world is so much more interesting, and the atmosphere and flavour of everything really pulls you in. It's the first Elder Scrolls game that I've really enjoyed playing. I dabbled with Morrowwind and did my best to get into Oblivion (Morrowind was certainly better than Oblivion in my opinion), but neither of them had the combination of aesthetics, gameplay and atmospherics that Skyrim has. The ambient sounds and tension as you work your way through wight-infested barrows really are very immersive - and the fights are a lot of fun. Anyway, enough gushing.
What is in the immediate future for wargaming? Well firstly I'm going to finish basing my Kiwi mortar platoon. Secondly I'm going to finish cleaning and prime a Commonwealth platoon and then into the grind of painting. It isn't going to be a quick project, especially with Summer coming up, but I'd at least like to get those two things done before Christmas. I'd also like to make a start on one of my Infinity miniatures. All that beauty in a box and it's just sitting there. Need to get onto it. I've also got terrain to make and a table to build. It does seem a bit insurmountable at the moment, especially considering that this weekend just been was my first weekend at home in two months. Hopefully I'll have a quiet Christmas holiday! I'm taking three weeks off so in between hanging out with the lovely A I'd like to get some painting done.
In other matters, the books that I bought from Warhammer Historical in their sale have not yet arrived (I ordered them on 5 and 12 October and previous parcels have taken under three weeks to arrive). I bought Trafalgar, Warmaster Ancients, Warmaster Ancient Armies an two of the Legends of the Old West supplements. To be frank, I'm a little pissed off. I've sent two emails to Warhammer Historical over the past two weeks and have not yet had a reply. Today I posted a message to them on their website. If I don't hear from them in 48 hours I'm going to give them a call - not my preferred option given the time difference and the cost of calling international, but I probably don't have much choice in the matter. It's a little bit frustrating really. I love the products but the retail service they provide really isn't up to the modern standard. Their books are probably overpriced, and their shipping definitely is. I'm willing to pay full price for the books because they're great products, but when you pay premium dollar you expect premium service. I'm not really pissed off with the staff; I'm sure they're understaffed and get minimal support from GW, including investment in an adequate online shopping solution. I'm so used to receiving automatic notifications and prompt customer support that it really gets up my nose when an online store doesn't provide it - it's got to be a fundamental aspect of conducting business online I reckon. So the punchline is, if you're going to purchase products from Warhammer Historical be aware that you're not likely to get much customer service. I'm unlikely to shop with them again.
Anyway, enough of a rant. Best wishes to everyone leading into Christmas, I'll let you know of any progress I make with the painting!
Thursday, 17 November 2011
Well I made it back safe from my trip! Didn't get arrested, mugged or sick (well, sick that wasn't related to jagermeister and my debut cigar) so I think it was a success!
The short of it is, I really didn't like LA, Vegas was fun but crass and exhausting, Oaxaca was beautiful, and San Agustinillo on the Oaxacan coast was simply amazing. I'm not in a hurry to go back to urban America (though I'd love to go back and do the western national parks), but I will definitely go back to Mexico. Such a great place with fantastic cuisine, friendly and hospitable people, and some must see sights. And pretty cheap too!
So things have obviously been a bit quiet on the wargaming front. I've got 400 blog posts to catch up on in my Google reader (along with 300 work emails to catch up on during the day) to begin with, and I haven't managed to get near any painting since I've been back. I did have to go down to Wellington for a course on my first day back at work, so I stayed with Garth and in between beers we ordered the beginnings of our terrain table. A work in progress.
In other news, much of my time this week has been spent ordering and putting together the components for a new pc. One of the joys of paid annual leave - you come home flush! I'll post some details when its done, but suffice to say, skyrim will be beautiful!
I'll leave you on an interesting note...I went to the gun store in Vegas and shot an MP40 and an M249 SAW. Good fun! The MP40 was pretty soft, certainly a spray weapon. I shot a pretty tight group with the SAW though so happy with that!