Archive for May, 2008

Can’t Get No Satisfaction

“In a wide range of studies, people have been shown to be poor predictors of their own enjoyment and happiness,” they said.

Posted on May 31st, 2008 at 4:13am by Shawn

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Terrain Fest Impending

Paint Fest is this Saturday. But that’s not what this is about.

On June 6-8 I will be out at my house making a metric ton of terrain for my own amusement.

If you would like me to make you A) a set of gaming terrain, or B) a display board then let’s get the ball rolling for that as follows:

I usually charge $15, $30, $45, or $60 per piece depending on complexity. That’s for the standard wargame table stuff that is modular, you know, terrain for a regular game. It costs $200-400 for a full table (can be spread out to two tables in most cases).

You set a budget and I get to work.

I ask for broad artistic license; that produces the best result. So, you might say “Make me a table of desert world terrain for $200″. If you don’t think it’s worth it when I show you the finished product I will refund your half-down deposit and gladly absorb my masterpieces into my private collection.

There is a $35 shipping charge for that on account of the huge box. Some (I think ALL) shipping services have accounting for volume in their charges.

A Display Board costs $200-400. Again, you set the budget and I get to work. It has to fit in a 24″ x 24″ x 14″ box so I design them to accomodate that. However, I usually get around that restriction by using strong magnets and other tricks to make it modular.

There is a $35 shipping charge for that on account of the huge box. Some (I think ALL) shipping services have accounting for volume in their charges.
Please contact me if you want some terrain done. My terrain is very good. It is made with high quality materials and there is a spark of creative power in them.
PS- What about density? A Warhammer table is 6×4′ and requires 8-12 pieces to populate decently. So, you could have denser terrain on your 4×4′ War Machine table or proportionalize the cost.

Posted on May 30th, 2008 at 3:31pm by Shawn

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Thursday May 29 2008 Pulling a Homer

Picture: an Empire Wizard plastic kit re-imagined as a Heirophant for an Inquisitor and Retinue.

[At the time of this writing it is 3am and I’m watching the Simpsons. “Who would have thought a Nuclear Reactor would have been so complicated.”]

My day began, unwillingly, at 2am this morning. I started clearing ye ole inbox until I fell asleep to an episode of Star Trek: Enterprise at around 4am. Episode was “The Observer Effect”. It’s a good one, mentally stimulating.

I got up again around 8am, went out and fed the two rabbits and the guinea pig. Those rodents got it good with a daily dose of greens and veggies. I re-filled their water bottles. As usual everyone was sleeping in. Funny, once you get rid of the alarm clocks, everything sort of falls into a natural schedule. We go to sleep when we’re tired and get up when we’re not tired any more.

Tamara is having a rough pregnancy: heightened sense of smell and nausea and overpowering lethargy. Yet she still managed to make me breakfast this morning: eggs, bacon and toast. We ate that over a book catalogue at the dining room table.

Reading for the day:
I would absolutely love to hear what you think.

Most of the big news has to do with new crew down at the studio. However, I am in the habit of waiting 3-6 months before face time. Not an iron-clad rule. Let’s just say that shaping up very, very nicely. Each time I “cast the net” there are more and better applicants.

Of course, my objective is to get the crew set in place and have no turnover. But things are proceeding apace; a solid core of old-timers with a natural progression of new recruits. As it stands now, we’re set. My goal is to form an elite cadre of professionals; a phalanx of trust-worthy artists who will grow along with Blue Table Painting.

I was hoping to have a game with Renn, but we were both toooo busy. We made a Forge World order today. I picked up a Chaos Hell Talon for a client. Renn is getting a Bloodthirster for his “Yellow Devils” army. We’re playing a game tomorrow for sure. I plan on doing final documentation on the studio Tau Verdaan army.

I managed to get a few projects through digital photography and get home by about 9pm where I found my loving family watching Ben 10. I actually really like that show. It’s like Scooby Doo but with science fiction, and doesn’t suck. Ooooooh! I went there, girl-friend.

I wonder how my life will go. I wonder how I will die in the end. I hope I die in my sleep at a reasonable age. I’d like to write my memoirs. I want to bless my children and grand-children. I don’t want to grow like really, really old. I do plan on working until the bitter end. No retirement for me. Maybe lighter hours would be nice.

Posted on May 30th, 2008 at 9:09am by Shawn

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Warm Words for an Ice Cold Army!

Hi Shawn,

Yet again you and Heather blew me away with you craftmanship and skill you both have. The display board is “freaking sick” and with the extra room gives me a reason to have additional High Elves painted even though my tourney army is completed!!!

You and your team have been a pleasure to work with and will be conducting further projects with you again. Now its time to think of a new army and in the meantime decide what extra High Elf models to add to this set ( Tyrion & Lion Chariot). Thanks again Shawn and Heather for doing the standards a second time and creating an amazing display board!!
Best Regards, Corey

Posted on May 28th, 2008 at 10:12am by Shawn

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Tuesday May 27 2008 Busy Bee

Picture: a carnifex from Hive Fleet Medusa. This color scheme worked out well, I was pleased. I’m trying to cook up a color scheme for the upcoming studio Tyranids army, and this is on the list now.

If you are looking to do a Tyranids army, and you’re willing to flex a little on the artistic license, I’m ready to do a deal. I have a special slot in the schedule set aside just for this– you can get immediate attention.

Flashback to Monday: Renn and I took off to see the new Indiana Jones movie. It was pretty bland– an un-hate-able villain, a non-sparks-flying leading lady showing up too late, and an eye-rolling plot. In fact, I think the experience turned me off of going to see movies at the theater.

If I want to be entertained for two hours I’ll play a game of Warhammer or Hordes.

Today, I was at the studio bright and early at 10am (ha) and it was a late night (10pm). Check the video bar to the left for some highlights.

The big news at the studio is that the staff is coming together. We have a couple of new artists who are really something else. We are catching up (not that we were really *that* behind), and in fact, there are some open slots in the schedule coming up. I think at long last Equilibrium might be in reach.

Here’s the long awaited project update!

The following projects are due for completion in the next few days OR are already done
Witch Hunters 01 KO
Witch Hunters 04 DM
Lord of the Rings 01 SG
High Elves 02 CM display
Tyranids 01 JB
Nordland 02 EL

The following are under the brush but not exactly sure when they’ll be done, check in with me in a few days I’ll have an update.
Tyranids 02 JM
Mordheim 05 DF
Mordheim 06 DF
Dark Angels 01 JM
Chaos 01 GS
Inquisition 01 PC
Heroes 01 BR

The following projects are due to go under the brush this coming cycle, to be completed in the next 6-11 days:
Wood Elves 01 SB
High Elves 03 PF
Orks 01 JM
Ultramarines 01 AH
Emperors Children 07 EB
Eldar 02 LD
Dark Angels 02 JL
Eldar 02 GS night spinners
Vampire Counts 01 LG (now back on track should be done in 3-5 days)
Vampire Counts 01 LE
Inquisition 01 RT (will take 2-3 weeks)
RPG Heroes 01 CS
Tzeentch 02 JS
Legion of the Damned 01 MN

The following projects, among others, are in Assembly getting ready to be painted in early June.
Winter Eldar 01 PP
Chaos Daemons 01 TT
Ghost Warriors 04 AS

There are more, but I am still sorting out Assembly.

Random memory: when I was about eight we lived in the Alaskan outback (no electricity, no running water– unless you count the stream). Our dining room was a mesh tent. My job was to be get the bumblebees out of there. At first I used a cup to trap them and scoot them out the front flap. But after a while I just cupped my hand over them.

I had a pet salmon, too, that I kept walled up with rocks in the stream. It had a fin down its back.

Posted on May 28th, 2008 at 8:53am by Shawn

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Eldar Inspiration

If this doesn’t inspire you to create an Eldar army then I don’t think you’re human.

I got a really good idea from this: I’ve always wanted to do a themed Banshee or Scorpion army. Use the Chaos Daemon list as if the Eldar were warping in through Gates. Something like that.

Posted on May 28th, 2008 at 4:22am by Shawn

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Sunday May 25 2008 Dungeon Master

When I was twelve years old (in sixth grade) I went over to a friend’s house and found him and another boy playing Dungeons and Dragons. There were these funny-shaped dice. They were playing Q1 Queen of the Demonweb Pits. They handed me a piece of lined paper that had a character on it; “Human Fighter”.


I was enthralled! I soon took over the role of DM becuase I understood and could explain words like “Dexterity” and “Psionics”. That year we had school camp where I met what would become my friends all through school for the next six years.

I was always the DM, and through junior high I created my own systems. My first one I named Elfquest and it was insanely complicated. In seventh grade I took typing class so I could make my own character sheets (I learned to type on one of those old manuals). My mom worked at a local copy shop and I was always down there cutting and pasting.
I absolutely loved Champions and I learned to do mental math with that game. Basically, I was prolific in my actual application of schoolwork, from math, to typing, to the use of word processors (and later computers) BECAUSE of roleplaying games. I didn’t know it at the time, but I needed glasses badly. I didn’t get them until after I had graduated. I always sat at the back of the class with twenty pounds of D&D books in my pack.
If it weren’t for RPGs I probably would have flunked out.
By the time I had graduated from High School I had hand written well over two feet thick of detailed adventures, maps and fiction. Basically, almost all of my academic skill came from roleplaying games. They kept me out of trouble. They sharpened my mind and my imagination, something that has served me well into adult life.
I would be thrilled if my children took up role-playing games or miniatures battles games.
People ask me sometimes if RPGs are “evil”. I ask, “Is a movie evil? Does it influence for good or ill?” The answer is “Depends on what you do with it.” Do you watch horror movies for twelve hours a day? Or do you watch a reasonable amount of uplifting fare?
The mind is a sensitive organ– anyone is right to be careful what to put in there. But RPGs are not inherently unhealthy for your mind. In fact, there are many, many beneficial effects.
Once in my mid-20s a few of the players in one of the RPG campaigns brought over a copy of White Dwarf. That’s how I ended up buying my first Eldar army in the summer of 1996. And the rest, they say, is history.

Posted on May 26th, 2008 at 4:06am by Shawn

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Quotes/Thoughts from "Leave Us Alone"

It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people’s minds.

–Samuel Adams

First, I suspect that I will eventually suffer some kind of persecution for speaking out on this matter. I think it will come from my own government. The “Looters” don’t like it when you stand up to them.

My own comments appear in green.

“That is the problem with government these days. They want to do things all the time; they are always busy thinking of what things they can do next. This is not what people want. People want to be left along to look after their cattle.” –Obed Ramotwse

Now some quotes from an excellent book:

The center-right movement… is a coalition of groups and individuals that have one thing in common. They do not want the government to give them something. Or take something from others. On the key issue that motivates their vote, they want one simple thing from the gonvernment: They just want to be left alone. p3

I, Shawn Gately, want my money to be left alone. I don’t want to pay into Social Security. I want to manage my own retirement. I can handle it. Social Security is a mega-rip-off. As it stands now, I have to take care of myself, plus carry a government worker on my back, PLUS flush my Social Security payments down the toilet. On top of that, I am forced through threat of fine and imprisonment to be the government’s little tax-collecting collaborator and see the same thing happen to all the people that work for my company. I’m super-ultra-pissed about it.

Jobs are, of course, not created by the government. The government can take the money out of the real economy (defunding a job in the private sector) and drag the money into the government coffers and spend it to “create” a new job. This is the economic equivalent of taking a pail of water out of one side of the lake, walking around the lake (spilling some water) then holding a press conference surrounded by cameras to be filmed pouring what is left into he bucket into the lake. “Vote for Fred, he is filling up the lake with water.” Government cannot create. It can only take and relocate. It cannot give you anything, including jobs, which it didn’t take by force in the first place. -p7

Did you know that if you have a job that pays you $10 an hour, that your employer has to pay another $1 per hour (that otherwise would go to you) for “employer paid” taxes/rig-marole? “But Shawn, the employer pays that otherwise he would pocket that money”. Really? Just think that through a bit. Why doesn’t every job pay minimum wage? In fact, hardly any jobs pay that. They pay higher based on the demand of the free market. I can guarantee you, get rid of the hideous taxation and that money will flow right into the pockets of skilled workers.

When a hundred workers are laid off by General Motors to pay the taxes for some new environmental fad or government spending program, who makes the connection? The politicians would claim the money was free, came from nowhere, had no cost… – p9

The Leave Us Alone Coalition is not antigovernment. It simply wants properly limited government. -p17

Inflation was caused by the federal government printing too much money. -p25

Gas prices aren’t going up. There are more dollars in circulation after the mass printing of paper money in 2007. When there is an “emergency supplemental appropriations bill” they just fire up the presses, print the money and make ALL YOUR MONEY worth less. The printing of money is a huge problem. But why don’t you hear about it? Because BOTH parties want to keep doing it. It’s only a fight about who is going to run the presses.

I found out that my Congressman, Chris Cannon, voted for these things almost without exception. He stood by while they fired up the money presses and made all my money worth less. He did not protect my interests. And I’ll bet that your congressman is pulling shenanigans up there, too.

I keep seeing things on TV where gas station owners are “gouging”. Are you kidding me? If anyone deserves a profit, it’s the station owner! The congress has robbed you! Every last one of you!

Gas prices aren’t up 20%. There are 20% more dollars in circulation. Or at the very least, that’s a big part of it.

He [Bill Clinton] ran promising change. America did want to change the government that under George H. W. Bush was raising taxes to spend more money and exploding the regulatory state. But Clinton did not want to change the government. He wanted to use the state to change America. -p27

Everyone is free to believe and argue for what they believe– on their own time and their own dime… If you want everyone to be like you, approve of you, or believe as you do– advocate for free love, believing Baptist or Cubs fan– you are free to go be a missionary for your views, spending your own money. The line is drawn at using the state and its power to force others to subsidize your views or demand that they agree with you. -p33

The relationship between rich trial lawyers and the Democrat party is symbiotic. Billionaire trial lawyers have been created and protected by those politicians. They have been given “letters of marque” and operate as privateers despoiling the real economy, killing the jobs, and looting the retirement nest eggs of millions of Americans. They are … give[n] laws that make it easy to sue, and pliant judges, who shower them with other people’s money. -p45?

The future envisioned by the American left can be glimpsed in Europe today. Near-guaranteed job security and unemployment payments almost as high as the after-tax pay for work. This is in return for a lower standard of living: only 74 percent of America’s per-capita GDP. More security and less innovation. Everyone will be more equal. Poorer all, but but more equally poor. Little chance to create tremendous wealth, but also little chance that your neighbor will make you feel bad by creating the next Microsoft while you were in the pub. -p115

The left has a good head start in trying to make a functioning majority of Americans see themselves as dependent on the government. The construction of this Venus flytrap for once-independent men and women, this enticing lazychair covered with superglue, this Faustian bargain where one trades one’s independence for security and barters with the state for one’s vote rather than competing in the market with one’s work and talents, has taken a great deal of time and effort. -p117

When I was a teacher (yes, I confess shamefully that I was a government worker) I was “given” health insurance. I paid part of it. It was $850 a month, but the district “paid” half of it. Thank goodness! Because there’s no way that I could have paid that by myself. I was so grateful that the almighty State gave me something I couldn’t hope to get for myself. When I quit to start BTP I found out that a comparable private plan only cost $350 a month. I could have ditched the government plan and still had thousands in my pocket at the end of four years.

Oh, they “took care of me” all right. Just like a farmer takes care of its cattle. I’m a wild Mustang now, baby. Live free or die.

And now a quote from good ole Samuel Adams:

If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.

If the business community increased its political activism to the point where it simply invested in politics rationally– as it invests in normal business activity [eg to stop shoplifting]– it would dwarf all other political spending and sweep all political opponents before it. -175

Shoplifting might take 1% of your revue. The government will loot you for over 20%. It’s my opinion that government should be able to perform ALL PROPER functions with less than 5%. I think that’s actually very high.

Our worthy ancestors dumped tea in the harbor and started a war for what percentage? Any guesses? I challenge you to find it on-line. The information is suspiciously missing. It’s about ONE PERCENT!

In the Book of Mormon, enslavement (“bondage”) is defined as 50%. Oppression is marked at 20%.

The power to tax is, quite simply, the Power. The goal of Americans who love liberty is not to wield that power but to reduce it. To control it. To bind it down with the chains of the Constitution and popular will. To destroy much of that power lest it fall back into the same old hands. The goal is not to try and use the ring of power for good, but to hurl it into the first of the pits of Mordor…

The British tax burden on Americans was about 1 percent of income. This was completely unacceptable, and Americans fought from April 19, 1775, in Lexington and Concord until victory at Yorktown, Virginia, on October 19, 1781, to put an end to this. Since then there has been some backsliding. -p228

Congress never holds a vote on whether or not to spend too much money… The Bush administration has perfected the strategy of pretending to send up a budget and then showing up later with “emergency” spending requests to pay for such “unexpected” costs as pay and equipment for the hundred thousand American troops in Iraq that have been there for years, but somehow… forgot this when they wrote their budget. -p295

Likewise, the damage done to the economy is not done by the deficit, but by the total size of government spending. -p299

In an America where every young person looks to the stock market and the business community to create his personal retirement wealth the part and movement run by and for trial lawyers, labor unions and government workers is a dead man walking… Every trial lawyer is a potential parasite damaging your personal retirement accounts… Union bosses siphon off $500 per worker… Government workers living off high property taxes, sales taxes and corporate income taxes are looting your personal savings account every day.. The first thing every American will want left alone is his retirement wealth. -311

Imagine a future where every check written by your school and every contract signed… is public information available at all hours on the Web… The understandable fears that sweetheart contracts would be let at the expense of the public good are best protected by the disinfectant of public scrutiny. -p331

This book was very thorough and covered all bases. I read a lot of political type books. Most of them reek of one-sided-ness. This one was pretty even handed, explains things clearly with good thought-experiments and at the end actually lays out a reasonable plan for tax reform.

It has to happen a step at a time.

I am sick about the presidential race. Both candidates are huge statists. Do you want to have an enormous State Power that oversteps its bounds by maintaining an enormous Welfare State or an enormous Warfare State?

What sort of chains would you like? Iron or steel?

I don’t pretend to understand it all. But I’m working on it.

I despise McCain. He’s going to expand the state and go WAY outside constitutional bounds with a huge American Empire abroad and undeclared Wars. Then again, I’m loving where he’s going with the reduction of taxes, Social Security, and health care. Ugh.

For me the question is, which one will do less damage?

In my dream universe I get to vote for Ron Paul again. I’ve got my Ron Paul sign outside. People ask me when I’ll take it down. I say NEVER! There’s a Ron Paul lawn sign in my soul.

PS- for the record, I do NOT recommend tax evasion. As a Mormon I believe in up-holding the law. I will let the chains chafe me.

Posted on May 24th, 2008 at 1:41pm by Shawn

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Friday May 23 2008 As if in a Dream

Picture: a Bone Ooze by Reaper. It’s some of BTP’s earlier work.

Blue Table Painting now has a solid core of artists. Two of them, both veterans, are a bit camera-shy, and I respect that, so you won’t see much (OK anything) of them. Then there’s Renn, Heather, Angela and Mike. Each one is extremely talented just beyond belief. Both personally and professionally I have tremendous respect for them.

There are also three new artists, each on part time. I am very careful and picky when it comes to new staff. I don’t let just anyone touch client projects. They have to really show their stuff first. I am quick to give new talent a shot, but slow to bring them into the fold. I always tell the veterans “be friendly, be helpful, but don’t get emotionally attached for the first few months.”

I have a saying: “you can’t hold crazy in for thirty days.” And boy that is the truth. Pressure really brings out the real person. We call it “implosion”. Like a submarine that has cracks in the hull. The first six months are the hardest.

That’s not to say that I’m not optimistic. I’m terrible at HR and hiring because I can only see the positive in other humans. I have high hopes and I believe that with hard work and sticking to it anyone can succeed.

My goal is to form an elite cadre of professionals who will grow with the company. I’m eager to see what will happen when eight people each have five plus years at this full time are all pulling in the same direction. I mean, we do well as it is with a relatively green staff.

I’m really looking forward to Paint Fest this month. It’s going to be like a Superbowl party, but for painting. That’s the last Saturday in May. Not sure yet what I’m going to paint because I just finished my Tau. Oh, wait, there’s the Daemonhunters studio army. Time to get those going. I got the models in today. I’m thinking golden armor.

Picture: check out this photographer.

And now the personal stuff. Today was like a dream. Like I didn’t really wake up. It’s raining softly and the world is deep green, lime, moss… the trees look like a cloudscape of malachite and jade.

I got an inexplicable headache and left the studio early for home. I pushed Griffin on the swing for the longest time. I did some reading in bed where I fell unconscious for almost two hours, awakening refreshed.

I am reading a book called “Leave Us Alone” by Grover Norquist. One of the best political type books I’ve ever read. Summary and review forthcoming. I am 97% done with it. It really covered the bases.

There were like ten kids over today, just the neighborhood gang playing with nerf and watching TV.

Posted on May 24th, 2008 at 5:28am by Shawn

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Thursday May 22 2008 Royal Beast

Picture: a new Beast of Nurgle. This is a sample model done by a new painter to show his stuff. It’s for sale if you want to check it out.

It was raining gently this morning. I love the sound, smell and feel of rain. I love rain. I can’t get enough. It could rain nine months of the year and I’d be happy.

This morning I was up at the crack of dawn; 6am and got to work. Tamie is feeling mighty pregnant already and that means me picking up the slack. I had a very bizarre breakfast: succotash, lettuce, and taffy cookies.

I got to the studio where I was expecting someone to come in and give me a hand with Assembly. I had three projects all lined up, too. But that fell through. I was mighty disappointed. Right now we’re on the hunt for a split position; half working as my right-hand-man/woman and half with Renn as an assembler. I’m spinning about five plates on that right now and we’ll see what happens.

Heather was down working on a High Elf winter tower display. That has an experimental element– a back extension held on by powerful magnets. This allows it to be shipped even though it is very large and YET still transport an army on a single platform at a tournament.

I had a new artist in (a few month on, no face time until you’re six months in) with an Ogre army and that turned out well. He was still putting on the finishing touches at 7pm when I left. Was it 7pm. Angela was in for a while, she just had a few questions about armament on some Black Templars AND to drop off a Menoth force.

My major challenge now is unpaid-for projects. I’m biting my nails over it. But all will be well in the end. It’s a rare occurence, especially an unholy conjunction of like five.

What else?

I left my car lights on, so Renn had to give me a jump.

When I got home, I found my wife transformed into an unproductive couch-lump and we got into it about that. Why can’t I just keep my mouth shut for like 30 minutes when I get home? I think it’s because I get home all wound up. Soooo, I vented by getting the kids working on housework, and me with them. I have a goal to reduce the net mass of the household stuff by at least 50%. Those of you with 10+ years married under their belts will understand.

I have not updated on projects here on the blog because things are getting moved around a lot. I ask for clients to take a deep breath and have faith it will turn out well. We are proceeding at a clipper pace. Just a few things are lagging, so don’t get worked up just yet.

If you are interested in having something done, I’d love to get the ball rolling for late June. Best to get started.

Posted on May 23rd, 2008 at 5:26am by Shawn

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