Tuesday, March 31

Painting a Watery Theme

Well, I'm now faced with the conundrum of how to paint an army with watery effects. I'm thinking a mottled blue fading from dark to light in patches...mimicking how water looks from above. The other way is to base dark blue and slowly fade to lighter blue (but not by much) on raised areas. Use a silver for trim.

I tried the mottle with little success but I was also being impatient. I might need to pick up PP paints for this.

I'll have pictures up on my progress soon.

Monday, March 30

Water & Climate Change

Interesting article that I found while browsing for information: Water & Climate Change.

A few facts that I've picked up from the different websites so far-
  • 2.5% of water on Earth is fresh water. Most is still frozen in the ice caps. About 0.7% of water on the planet is fresh water available for consumption.
  • Approximately 800,000,000 to 1.1 bn people live without access to good water.
  • Another 2.5 bn people live without proper sanitation.
  • 67% of water consumption is used in agriculture, the basic industry of developing nations. Yet a majority of these nations in Africa, the mid-East & Asia lack access to freshwater.
  • Climate change plays a big impact on the hydrological cycle on earth. Interruptions in the cycle won't replenish water fast enough to match consumption. Additionally, many of the sub-Saharan & mid-East nations live in an arid environment where water is already scarce.
  • While dams & reservoirs alleviate water scarcity, they are dangerous to rely for two-fold - (1) the environmental impact & (2) unequal distribution of the benefits. Many people may be displaced due to damming, but they and many impoverished will not see the benefits of the dam - clean water and sanitation. Water from the dam typically services the needs of nearby cities instead. City populations are slated to grow due to urbanization - Asian cities alone are predicated to grow by 1 bn.

Water, Water Everywhere and Not a Drop to Spare

Well, when I first starting asking for suggestions for an issue to help raise awareness, I was flooded with responses from my group of friends ranging from silly nonsensical issues to Breast Cancer.

However, there was one issue I was floored with - Water Quality and Scarcity.

Think about how much water we waste, yet knowing that approximately 1.1 bn people in the world lack access to drinkable water. Even more suffer from poor sanitation. Violence has flared over the rights to drinkable water and riverways for more than a millennium.

I wish I could say more. It's such a basic issue, so prevalent in third world countries and even here in America. The best that I can do at the moment is learn more like everyone else.

I have provided some links to different sites for now and I'll post news as I can. Many of these are very informational to providing a better idea on water quality and water scarcity issues.

Circle of Blue - a very informational news site that brings together articles dealing with water issues, ranging from the droughts in California and Australia to water wars in southern Ethiopia.

Overcoming Water Scarcity & Quality Constraints - an economics paper dealing with the variety of water issues and how it affects the world, according to the viewpoint of economists.

Charity Water - this was the link that my friend sent that originally floored me and one of the two charities I will be donating to. They work through various different charity organizations, including Water for People, Healing Hands, Gram Vikas, Concern Worldwide & many others. While not explicitly a Christian charity, they do work with LWI & HH.

Wateraid - Another charity that I will be donating to. Wateraid beat out Water for People for two reasons: (1) Charity Water works with Water for People on projects, so I felt like I was duplicating work & (2) Best Business Bureau rated Wateraid higher than Water for People due to WfP's failure to meet BBB's compensation standard. This bothered me slightly. You can read more about it on BBB's entry.

Water for People - notable charity for water scarcity & quality improvement.

I have already decided that I'm going to run the Magnus agenda and will be building 500 & 750 pt armies. I would love to go to GenCon with this army, but I'm afraid that I'm going to have use 4-Star for that, so unless something changes real soon (aka Magnus gets another warcaster to work with), I don't see how that's going to be possible. Although I think I can participate in Hardcore, although the meaning of the army is slightly lost.

Sunday, March 29

Count-down 3...2...1... and GO!

Well, some things have changed drastically.

It started with Thrall Harvest & Foodmachine. The idea of donating cans to food pantries and integrating the donations into receiving benefits for the tournament. This year Foodmachine raised over 10,000 cans. With 4,000 from my meta, the NJ SOB's.

And I donated approx 1300 canned goods. And other foodstuff that did not count, but I wanted to give to the food pantries anyway. Some may see it as trying to buy the tournament, but we limited the cans to 150 per game and pooled them all together. I felt that a person who even raises 20 cans from friends deserves an equal chance as I do, since they worked just as hard.

From there, our meta held on-and-off discussions of how we could work in charity events with tournaments - donations, raising money, etc. We frequently pointed to Breast Cancer Brawl, held in October, as a perfect example. We wanted to try it, but we lack support from the store.

Then I stumbled onto Yann's (aka Devilsquid by the PP forums) pink armies, supporting Breast Cancer that he plays with and possibly auctions off after Breast Cancer Brawl will be finished this year. Last year they raised a little over $200 from an army that everyone donated one miniature to.

Stubbs (our pressganger) and I plan to attend Breast Cancer Brawl.

But that's not the news. Not at all.

I've been inspired by Yann, my meta, and the Harvest Thralls. And by whatever greater powers be guiding me.

I'm going to paint and play armies for different factions supporting different causes.

The basic idea is at the beginning of the new year/end of the previous year, I start designing an army. That army is going to be painted in the colors of the cause I choose to support publically that year and colors of charities affiliated with that cause. Any winnings I receive from tournaments will go to the charity. At the end of the year (I'm forecasting Nov/Dec, but there will be exceptions), I auction off the army. Entire proceeds go to the charity or charities I have chosen. Furthermore, I will match whatever I make in tournaments and through the auction.

I feel this is my calling. I love the game and the hobby, but feel we're not active enough in our community. I also believe many of us play and paint and zero solely in on the game itself. In many ways, I want raise awareness by going to different tournaments and playing different people. I want to bring the cause to my opponents, rather have my opponents stumble over it and just ignore it. If my army is a threat to their's in a competitive environment, they'll remember it. It's just a matter of piggy-backing the cause to the game.

I see several problems, one being which cause do I select to support publically for that year? There's a whole slew of them and all are equally important. Cancer runs in my family in the form of colon, breast, lung, and stomach cancer. I have lost family members and have those dear to me beat it. I'm marrying a very lovely girl who has diabetes and a prominent member of the NJ SOB's does too. The HIV/AIDS epidemic is too large to ignore, but I know many people who either support or work with children who are autistic. Hunger, poverty, inequalities, you name it and there's a cause to support.

What I can say is that I'm not going to support the cause in a political atmosphere. I don't want those strings attached and to turn away people because they think I'm conservative or liberal. It doesn't matter - all of these causes should be supported no matter what political stratosphere, what race, or income demographic you come from.

In addition to the causes, when I finally pick the cause, the question then develops into which charity or charities am I going to support? Thankfully many have websites and many can be found on charity or business rating websites like Charity Navigator or Best Business Bureau. There are many flaws in the different ratings, but understanding the financial strength, compensations, and, in the case of BBB, 20 standards that apply to all businesses and charities, I can configure how my donations are going to work.

Lastly, what faction/army to play to help represent the cause? This problem is actually the least pressing, as I can probably figure something suitable out. Mostly it's avoiding factions that already utilize colors represented by the cause. I feel this is a cop-out and the cause is dilluted in what people see as normal colors. Devilsquid's pink armies for Breast Cancer are amazing, but it's also because pink (representing Breast Cancer), is a non-typical color in PP's game.

Some points I'd like to make:
1. I will not donate to a charity that has an explicitly expressed political or religious goal. I intend this to be without either as the message can be muddled through politics or religion.
2. I will not be recouping expenses for the painted armies. There is no administrative cost - all of this is out of pocket. I make no profit.
3. Yes it's easier to just donate money. But only the charity benefits - once, with my donation. It's my hope that by bringing the cause to my fellow gamers and gaming communities they'll start participating. At least the issue will be on their mind.
4. Each year will be a different cause. But that doesn't mean I'm going to stop privately supporting the cause. I'm still going to personally donate to those charities and I'll bring each issue that I've supported in the past up in conversation.
5. I will not accept other people's money. If I do, it means I have a computer handy right by me so I can move personal funds immediately instead of waiting. I would rather have people personally donate themselves though.

It's about awareness. It's about caring. It's about starting now.

Because there is a point when it's too late. When your loved one has passed on or when the world is reeling backwards in shock about how big an issue has gotten.

It's time to support and show you gotta pair.

Friday, March 27

Reboot 2.0

Blog is undergoing some major changes...you can already see some of them...

Updates should be finalized 4/1.