Summary of events in Thailand

A great deal has happened in Thailand since I last posted.  The anti-government protests continued into early December with violence by both anti- and pro-government supporters (1, 2, 3).  In November, anti-government protesters escalated their efforts by taking over Thailand's two main airports. 

In early December, the Thai Constitutional court banned the new prime minister and several ruling parties for electoral fraud.  As a result the anti-government protesters called off their takeover of the airports.  Now that the larger parties were banned, the Democrat Party, one of the opposition parties, formed a new government with Abhisit Vejjajiva as the prime minister.  The anti-government protests were suspended though its organizers have vowed to renew demonstrations.

The supporters of the banned parties expanded their non-violent protests and have blockaded the parliament building.  They are trying to prevent the new government from operating and are calling for new elections.

Domains moved over. Yeah!

It took a bit, but it is finally done.  I have moved over to a new domain name provider, and hooked them up to this blog.  Email works as well.  With this change I can now create subdomains and made the three photo albums on this blog their own subdomains.  Also, I added the latest few Twitter posts to the front page and rearranged some of the items.

I am very pleased.

Painting progress: FA Whitestars & Shadow Cruisers/Scouts

Over the last few days I have been able to finish up a bunch of the Babylon 5 miniatures.  The sixteen AOG Fleet Action scale Whitestars are done.  The three Shadow scouts are done (I glued them together either before priming or after.)  The Shadow cruisers just await gluing. 

A bit on how I painted them.

For the whitestars I:

  1. primed them in gray,
  2. painted them with two coats of Testors Acryl silver paint,
  3. made up a wash of Floquil German Mauve (i.e. purple) and water (I forgot the ratio, but it was mostly water), and washed the entire miniature since they are small.  If it looked like there was too much purple, I would use the brush to better distribute it.  I put two coats on the top and one on the bottom.  The effect is to give it a splotchy purple/silver pattern,
  4. painted the weapons in gunmetal,
  5. finally, after a night or two of drying, I sprayed them with Testors glosscote.

For the Shadow ships I:

  1. primed them in black,
  2. painted them with two coats of Floquil NATO Black,
  3. made a wash of the Testors Acryl Silver (16 drops) and water (80 drops) and spread it over the miniatures using the same technique as the whitestars.  I coated both sides twice.  As a result the miniatures have bits of silver sprinkled over the black that looks similar to what the ships are supposed to look like   [Note: Looking at them now, I think I either needed to add more silver paint
    to the wash or do more washes.  The silver shows up better when the
    light isn't quite as bright as daylight.],
  4. finally, after drying, I sprayed them with Testors glosscote.

I like the way they came out and hope to post pictures before the weekend is over.

Now that I have gotten a hang of the wash technique, I am looking forward to starting work on some of the ancient Greek and Phoenician triremes I primed and sprayed with a tan base coat.

Playing Heroscape with my son

My son has been playing Heroscape for over a year now and quite enjoys it.  My wife and I have a fun time playing against him.  He has a tendency to set the terrain and forces to suit his tastes.  Since that tends to include the monsters, my wife and I are left with the outnumbered humans.  We do our best against stacked odds and just have a fun time.

In a recent game we had, he and a friend followed standard practice of selecting all of the heavies and the very advantageous terrain.  I decided to even the odds.  Since he laid out the terrain and chose the forces, I got to decide from which direction to attack.  Naturally, I attacked from the rear.  To make sure things weren't too much in my favor, I chose a smaller force that was high on ranged weapons and low on Vikings. 

The attack went well and I ended up destroying most of his heavies and his hive.  I should have set my objectives better since I let myself get bogged down fighting his light forces instead of destroying his commander.  With my remaining Samurai, I got to a hex away from him, before succumbing to his light forces.  Oh well.

The next game my son and a different friend set up their side of the board.  I setup the side for my wife and I with lots of high terrain that our ranged forces could use to good effect.  We did pretty well, holding off my son's light forces and taking down many of the heavies run by my son's friend.  Our forces got whittled away, though, and we were left with the Vikings and a lone four-eyed wolf-like beast.  I decided to have my remaining forces perform a fighting withdrawal.  Amazingly, the four-eyed wolf-beast took down their dragon and I called off the withdrawal and just played to the death.  We lost, but took out 2/3 of his force.  Everyone had a good time.

Rethinking how California elects its legislature

The New American Foundation just put out one method that California could use to make its legislature more representative (pdf).  It looks like a regional form of mixed member proportional representation (MMPR).  MMPR is used by Germany to elect the Bundestag (i.e. parliament), and by number of other countries such as New Zealand, and in Scotland and Wales.  Various Canadian provinces have entertained adopting it as well.  I highly recommend that folks read the report if they are interested in changing our seriously flawed electoral system.