Sunday, June 25, 2017

Unboxing Games Workshop's 8th Edition Warhammer 40K Dark Imperium Set

Lost amongst the hustle and bustle of wife's birthday and Father's Day was my receipt of Games Workshop's 8th Edition Warhammer 40K Dark Imperium Set as my Father's Day present and part of the purchase from the funds of the sale of my beloved Salamanders.

To be honest, I've never been so impressed by a box set.  This thing just oozed quality.  Upon removing the plastic, I realized that the set was broken up into two boxes within the box.
The top contains the Primaris and Death Guard minis while the bottom box houses the rule books, dice and bases.  Get this- the top box has an artificial seal (sticker) that you have to break open to access the minis.
I broke the seal ("Hehehehehehehe... he said break the seal" in my best Beavis voice) and was able to view the minis and the books in all of their glory.
Here's a close up of the books.
The rule book is a full-sized hardback book with one of those ribbon things to save your place!
The dice aren't those cheapy plasticy dice but rather made of nice clear red acrylic.  The ruler isn't paper but nice clear plastic too!  There's also a mini rule card for the sake of convenient gaming.
Here are my faves, the new true-scale Primaris space marines.

And their counterparts, the contagious, plague-ridden Death Guard.
I've never been more excited about a box set for a game.  If only Privateer Press could deliver something this cool...  But heck, their Widower's Wood game looks pretty good.  I have that coming on the way and will review that too. 

Games Workshop successfully delivered a hit with the quality of the packaging and the awesome minis and books inside.  I'll be back over the next few weeks with posts of my Primaris marines as they are built and painted. 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Happy Father's Day! Miller's Ale House; Lombard, Illinois

Happy Father's Day to all you fathers out there!  Although money is tough due to the job situation, we dipped into savings for a special Father's Day dinner.  Instead of Yorktown Mall's food court as originally planned, we chose Miller's Ale House in Lombard, which is right across the street from the mall.

The Ale House, as we used to call it, is not a new dining experience for me.  Years ago when I was in entertainment with Disney at the Parks in Orlando, the Ale House was a favorite hangout joint.  I remember sipping cherry cokes and eating while watching Blackhawks games on the screens because it was the only place in Orlando I knew of that would honor requests to watch out-of-area games.  Fast forward to nearly 20 years later and I am bringing my wife and kids to an Illinois location of one of my faves.  The good thing is the interior looks the same (many, many, many T.V. screens) and the menu still has the same great affordable eats such as burgers, sandwiches, steaks and other comfort food (although sadly, the baked seafood platter I remember from my parade days is not on the menu any longer).

Instead of Orlando Magic, Tampa Bay Lightning and Buccaneer bling on the walls, Miller's proudly displays the Hawks, Cubs, Bears, Bulls and Sox.
 T.V. screens, T.V. screens, T.V. screens and more T.V. screens!!!
Since it was my special day, I chose the 17.99 Father's Day Surf and Turf Special.  The steak had just the right amount of seasoning.  Most importantly, the steak was cooked perfectly medium and the lobster tail was not overcooked.
Wifey chose the Key Lime Chicken Salad.  Both of us liked it.  The chicken was not tough.  See the trend here?  Meat cooked the way we like it.  The dressing was zingy but not too tart.
The kiddies picked the Mac & Cheese and Burger kid meals.  The kid meals were a great value, 4.99 each.  The meals come with a drink and ice cream as a dessert.  I was really surprised because my seven-year old completely finished her burgers.  That means... the food is good.
Sitting there listening to my family talk and enjoying the good eats together made me feel extremely lucky.  And while I miss my Mulan Parade crew from my Disney entertainment days dearly, I wouldn't trade anything in the world for the company of my awesome wife and two wonderful little stinkers on our first Father's Day together in the U.S.

Back to the Ale House, I give it five out of five steaks for great food, affordable prices and memories of my days with Disney.   Thanks for the read, and take note of the weekly specials below as of June 2017.  We'll definitely be back on a Tuesday night.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Santa's Village Azoosment Park; East Dundee, Illinois

Thanks to sister and brother-in-law's generosity, we were able to go back in time and visit Santa's Village Azoosment Park in East Dundee last weekend.  Due to a funny case of mistaken Santa's Villages, the whole crew showed up early (a California Santa's Village has a 10am opening time but our Santa's Village has an 11am start time).  Luckily, there is a Wendy's just outside of the park where we were able to grab an early lunch before the theme park festivities. In retrospect, this worked out to our advantage because the food at Santa's Village is rather expensive, as expected, and there is very little indoor seating anywhere in the park.  It was hot but not unbearably hot on the day we went, but the guy below didn't care:
After being to the Disney Parks so many times in the past, Santa's Village really seems like the minor leagues in theme park quality, but we still had a fun time.

First, on the day we went, we had very short wait times.  The rides are a notch above carnival rides.  The newest ride, the Super Cyclone, is a pretty fun, low thrills roller coaster.  People my age probably remember the Super Cyclone as being the Galaxy... And it is still the same two-car no-loop coaster.
The intended crowd for Santa's Village is clearly evident as the rides are mostly the spin around, little-kiddie type.  My body can't handle spinning, so there are quite a few rides that I cannot go on at the park.  Here are some more ride pictures:
 In addition to the Super Cyclone, we rode on the Ding-Em Dodge'em Bumper Cars, the Tri-nado, the Mega Velocity (Scrambler), Jed's Antique Country Cruisers (Speedway cars) and SVFD Engine #3.  Not bad for only a few hours in the park.  My littlest one is just about 48" so she can ride everything in the park.

In addition to rides, Santa's Village also has animals, mostly ones from the farm.  So if you expected the Azoosment Park part of the title to mean tigers, lions, crocodiles or other cool beasts, you came to the wrong place.  However, they do have the Parakeet Paradise, which is a blast.  The Parakeet Paradise is an indoor parakeet enclosure where little feathered friends are up close and personal and everywhere around you.  For a few bucks, you can get some parakeet feed on a stick and then they get really close.  Here are some pictures:
Santa's Village has a tortoise enclosure too called Tortoise Island, and my blog entry wouldn't be complete without a picture of my favorite type of animal:
Finally, Santa's Village has carnival games where we couldn't convince my oldest not to play the dreaded impossible ring toss. I really like her stubborness against the odds.  Let's see how I feel about that when she is 14.
Comparing the current iteration of Santa's Village to the memory of the park from my childhood, it is much smaller and at most, a half day event.  But it doesn't really matter how I feel but rather how the kids' experience is.  That said, it is worth the 25-dollar or so admission because the rides and animals are perfect for the 12-and-under crowd.  What's more, the rides do not still have that awful stale plastic smell that I remember from my childhood in the 80's.  Just make sure you bring in plenty of bottled water (they don't prevent you from carrying non-alcoholic drinks into the park), sunscreen, sunglasses and hats on a hot day because there are very few indoor venues at Santa's Village.  Thanks for the read.

Second Appeal Rejected for Mail Claim

Well, you can't say I didn't try. The second appeal for the insurance claim for my damaged miniatures was rejected last week. You can read more about this here.

The second appeal is the last line of administrative remedies and the next steps would be to press forward in court. Going to court over a 150-160 dollar claim for damaged miniatures is way too much for me. So not only did I end up with a broken batch of Warmachine/Hordes miniatures, I lost hours of time and sanity working on this claim. I'll find out via snail mail why the second appeal was denied, but I assume it was the fact that I did not have a valid receipt, evidence of purchase, etc. This is an important lesson- if you send items to loved ones or trade items, it's probably not worth it to insure them because the USPS' evidence standards for valuating items are high. Mind you, if I had made an eBay purchase, this would not have been a problem since I could just send the USPS my eBay receipt to valuate the damaged goods.

My trading partner, Patrick, was awesome though and sent me some replacement miniatures as a token gesture. If not for him,I'd be much more pissed at the USPS. Thanks for the read.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

End of an Era, Goodbye My Beloved Salamanders

I spent most of 2015 and 2016 painting my latest Salamanders force for Warhammer 40K.  With the upcoming release of the 8th Edition of the game in mid-June (and less funds than I've had in a long time), really have no choice but to sell my Sallies in order to get the new codexes and Primaris marines.  The eBay auction is here:

Here are some good memories of painting them over the years.  Pretty simple job- primer, desert yellow spray and then multiple layers of green Army Painter inks.

Here's the gang from my apartment in Myoden outside Tokyo in May 2016:

Here's my badass Leviathan Dreadnought in the process of getting painted:

Here's some of my rank and file space mahreens in process:

Love the fact you can see my socks in the above picture...  My Librarian, not the hot one in that Tears for Fears "Head Over Heels" video:

And my faves of all time, my Tartaros Terminators which were done here in Wheaton, not too long before my previous company showed me the door:

Here they are in all of their glorious final forms:

For spending time in Tokyo and Wheaton with me and giving me the pleasure of building and painting you, I salute you and will miss you guys dearly!  Go win some battles for another lucky gamer.  Thank you for the read and good luck bidding.

Friday, June 2, 2017

National Donut Day; Mail Insurance Claim Update; Circle Update

It's National Donut Day so I headed out to Mariano's (local Chicago grocery chain) to pick up donuts.  The good: they had a maple bacon delicacy with actual bacon.  The bad: they didn't have any fruit flavored donuts, not even jelly filled ones, because they weren't popular enough.  The ugly: I got stuck behind a woman with like 20 items in a 15 item only line at the register.  Here are the donuts:

My Gatormen liked them!

The maple bacon donut was particularly good.  As to my ongoing mail insurance claim story, the second appeal is still pending after over two weeks.  You can read more about it here.

Finally, got a little more done on my Circle battle group:

Thanks for the read and have a good one today!

It's Been A Long Time... Favorite Stuff I Got Recently: SNES Classic/Star Wars Shirt/Spiderman/Apples/Boo Berry

There's been a lengthy lag in time since my last post.  It's because...  I got a temporary counsel position with a medical device ...