Miniature Mondays: Brant Benoit aka Ghool

I haven’t finished painting Princess but I have been watching miniature videos on YouTube. One of my favorite painters to watch is Brant Benoit. He’s won multiple awards from Wyrd and Privateer press. I’ve been reading his articles on Hand Cannon Online, since I started playing Warmachine and Hordes. He also started making videos which are great for beginners. If you have questions, you can comment on his YouTube videos and he usually gets back to you quickly. He’s one of my painting role models and I hope to reach his level one day.

You can check out his YouTube page here.

Happy Halloween everyone!

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Loot Crate November 2016 Theme: Magical

Taken from the Loot Crate email.

Next month is the theatrical release of two anticipated movies, Doctor Strange and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I’m not a huge Doctor Strange fan but the trailers look interesting. I’m a fan of the Harry Potter series and I can’t wait for another movie. It’s set in the United States, which will give us a new perspective of the wizarding world. Game of Thrones is my favorite TV show right now and I hope it something good. I just saw Big Trouble in Little China not too long ago. It’s now one of my favorite Kurt Russell films.

Rumors of items in this crate are a Dr. Strange figure and a Fantastic Beasts wearable. I hope we get a Big Trouble in Little China shirt but I’m not holding my breath. I’m also curious what the Game of Thrones item will be.

If you’re into these franchises and want to sign up use this LINK, also use the promo code SAVE3 for $3 off any subscription. I get credit towards more Loot Crates if you use the link. If you have any questions, leave a comment at the bottom.

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My Week As Rx (Probably Scaled): October 10 – October 16

 

Monday

Overhead Squat – 6×2 at 80%I was only able to work up to a set of overhead squats at 170 lb. I’m not at 100% yet but I’m trying to work up to it. Taking six weeks off is starting to take it’s toll.

Partner WOD – AMRAP 20 Minutes

Assault Bike (100 Cal.)

-then-
6 bar facing burpee
9 alt. pistol squats
12 power snatches (75 lb.)
Initially the WOD called for a 100 calorie row but their wasn’t enough rowers. I opted for the bike instead of the ski erg. The gym just added the bikes not too long ago and I was eager to test them out. The second portion of the workout would be alternating movements.We decided to split the work into 25 calorie sets but that changed after 50 calories. I was winded so we switched to a set of 15 and then a set of 10. The second portion of the workout was just as hard. The movements were alternating but I couldn’t catch my breath fast enough. I tried to keep a steady pace on the burpees and pistol squats. I had to break the snatches into sets of two. We finished with four rounds, six burpees and nine pistols.

This was the only day I was able to make it to the gym. I had a lot of things I had to do and wasn’t able to make it for the rest of the week. I’m still getting back into it and hopefully next week will be better.

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Miniature Mondays: Princess

The Butchers Mascot: Princess

Next on the painting table is Princess, the Butcher mascot. I’m not sure what the color scheme will be but I’m leaning toward white and brown. Something like this:
This may take a few weeks since I’m working on some honeymoon videos and more posts about our trip but I’ll try to get it done.
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Europe 2016: Honeymoon Edition

Europe 2016: Honeymoon Edition

September has been a great month. I got married and went on an awesome honeymoon to Europe. We visited four cities: London, Paris, Rome and Amsterdam. I brought my GoPro with me and took a few shots using my new Feiyu Tech G4S Stabilizer. It worked really well and I hope the video comes out great. I posted a lot more pictures on my Instagram (@ENPalomo) if you want to see some stills.
After reading a lot of posts about pick pocketing in Europe, my wife bought a Pacsafe Venturesafe 150 GII cross body pack. I used this instead of a body wallet that people usually recommend. This worked great on the subways and buses throughout Europe. It has a lot of anti theft features which makes it a great alternative to a body wallet. I might do a review on this after all the cities.

Cell Phones 

We purchased SIM cards in London, Paris and Rome. We did not purchase SIM cards in Amsterdam, instead we used our previous SIM cards and roamed. This lasted about three days into our trip to Amsterdam which was enough.

Airfare and Transportation

 

I booked my tickets using Kayak and my train ticket using Eurostar. Each city has a different system for public transportation which we picked up after landing. We also used Uber for a few rides in London and Paris. This was the first time using Uber and it took a few rides to get used to using it and the etiquette when using it. The app didn’t update numbers when switching SIM cards which I found out the hard way. Overall, I had a great experience with Uber and the drivers I interacted with.If you plan on using taxis to get to your accommodation, use a legitimate one. Their will be people asking you if you need a taxi in the airport terminals and some of them are not legitimate. Make sure they have a meter and a taxi sign or licence. They prey on tourists and will overcharge you.

Another great app to download would be City Mapper. This app was a lifesaver on the trip. It requires an internet connection but you can use it offline if you save routes. You pick a starting point or use your GPS location and pick a destination. The app then calculates the quickest route to your destination including all forms of public transportation. It also calculates driving, walking and rider sharing apps like Uber. This made navigating the city that much easier. It doesn’t have all major cities so check the website to see if the one you’re visiting is on there.

Accommodations

 
Trying to find hotels that fit within our budget and proximity to the city center was extremely difficult. We opted to go with AirBnB. This was my first experience using AirBnB and it was great. It was also more affordable and located in great areas within the cities. At first I was hesitant to use this site but after talking to multiple friends we decided to give it a try. Each place we stayed in had an excellent guest ratings and had a minimum 50 reviews. I also read all the negative reviews if any. We had a great time in each place which I’ll discuss in each city review.
Attractions and Restaurants
We primarily used the website Trip Advisor to look up attractions and restaurants. I’ve used this website to plan past trips to Tokyo and Seoul. They have a great forum if you need to ask questions about places you’re going to visit. I would also save locations using Google maps. I will talk about the few we visited on our trip.
Money Exchange
We took some cash with us with the intent to change it at a currency exchange. In retrospect, it wasn’t the best way to obtain foreign currency. We should have brought half the amount of cash and pulled the rest out of ATM’s. When I added up the fees from the ATM transaction, it was lower than the fees from currency exchange. Most European bank ATM’s do not charge fees, with most of our fees coming from our local bank. Our bank fee was about $2. Try to avoid independent ATM’s and stick with bank ATM’s.

Some currency exchanges have commissions and the trading rate was higher than the bank rate. Make sure you inform your bank before traveling. Most banks will lock your account since withdrawals from a foreign country looks suspicious.

Credit Cards

My wife and I have a travel friendly credit card. We do not get charge foreign transaction fees and we get the best dollar to euro/pound conversion rate as opposed to cash. The rates are made by Visa which is close to the bank currency exchange rate.

I will be writing about the cities in the order I visited them, London, Paris, Rome and Amsterdam. I’ll try to finish one each week.
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Miniature Mondays: Boar (Finished)

 

Boar is Finished

I finally finished Boar! He came out better than expected. I haven’t painted in awhile and visiting Europe made me appreciate art and the skill that goes into it. I also visited a few game stores and a lot of their models looked great and I saw a few that won awards. This inspired me to paint a lot more in the coming months. We’re going to start playing some Guild Ball at a LGS and I would like to finish my team soon. Painted miniatures look better on the table.
I tried to do some new techniques which turned out better than expected. I still need to work on painting skin but this is great step in the right direction. Need to work on blending as well. I’m not sure what I’ll paint next but it will be something from Butchers.
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My Week As Rx (Probably Scaled): October 3 – October 9

 

Monday

I’m finally back in the gym! After six weeks of no exercise, I can finally lift some weight again. I will be doing the class workouts for this week and maybe next week before resuming the barbell club training. I will be trying to incorporate the class workout at least once a week.
Overhead Squat: 4×2 at 90% (195 lb.)
I wasn’t looking forward to this. After not doing any work for the past few weeks, I wasn’t sure if I could lift my 90%. I decided to take it slow and take it one set at a time. After a few sets, it became clear that I wouldn’t be able to hit my 90% and to attempt it now would risk injury. My body wasn’t used to this much strain. I decided to at least get up to my 80% (175 lb.). Did two sets at 165 lb. and then did one set at 175 lb. I’m confident that I will get back to my old self if I keep coming to the gym.
WOD – Every 3 Minutes for 18 Minutes
15 Overhead squats (75 lb.)
10 Burpee over bars
5 chest to bar pull ups
This workout was extremely difficult. The first round wasn’t too bad. I was able to get through all 15 overhead squats unbroken. The burpees however killed  me. I was breathing very hard by the time I got to the chest to bar pull ups. I did those in singles trying to catch my breath. I finished the first round in two minutes. I tried to catch my breath but a minute wasn’t long enough. I started on the second round and couldn’t finish the chest to bar pull ups under time.It was at this point that I made a decision to skip the round and rest for three minutes. I was gassed. I stripped the bar and tried to catch my breath but I couldn’t. Before I knew it, it was time for the fourth round. The overhead squats were easy but the burpees took a lot of time. I finished the burpees but I couldn’t get to the pull up bar. I decided to catch my breath and sit out the fifth round.

I was determined to finish all reps in the sixth round. It was a grind but I was able to finish the last rep of the chest to bar pull ups with 30 seconds left in the round. I felt light-headed, my legs were weak and I decided to sit down on the floor. I took me a few minutes before I was able to stand up and walk towards my water bottle. I felt better about 10 minutes after the end of the workout. Thankfully we didn’t have a buy out.

This was an eye opener. I have a lot of work to do and I’m more determined to get back to the fitness level I was before the wedding. It’s going to be a long road but I know I’ll get there.

Tuesday

Behind the Neck Split Jerk – 1 Rep Heavy
 
My quads were still sore from Monday. I pushed too hard and my legs were paying for it. I wasn’t going to make the same mistake today. I didn’t want to try and hit a PR instead, I wanted to work up to something under my current 1RM. I was able to hit 205 lb. and I think I could have done more. I was hesitant to push it though, seeing how going to hard too fast didn’t workout out for me on Monday. Next week we’ll be attempting a new 1 RM, hopefully I can set a new PR.
WOD – 15 Minute TC
 
1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10
Handstand push ups
Deadlift (185 lb.)
I decided to scale the deadlfit from 225 lb. to 185 lb. I haven’t deadlifted anything heavy in awhile and I didn’t want to strain my legs and back. This would also allow me to focus on my handstand push ups. The first few rounds were easy and I didn’t have any problems until the seventh round. I tried to break up the handstand push ups but my shoulders and triceps were starting to give out.
I hit the tenth round and I gave up. I had about three minutes left and I couldn’t finish. I was about four reps into the handstand push ups and I just stopped. CrossFit is very humbling. I thought I was doing great in class and then I get to a workout that takes me down a peg. I know I can get better, I just need to get to the gym!
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Miniature Mondays: Boar

 

Attacking Midfielder: Boar

I haven’t done much painting lately but I just got back from Europe and picked up some brushes. A Da Vinci, a few Raphaels and some Rembrandts. Seeing all the museums in Europe has inspired me to continue painting and has renewed my interest. I can’t wait to try out my new brushes on a few models. Since I painted Ox instead of Boar, I decided he would be next. I’ll be following the same scheme but I’ll be slightly changing some colors. I want to finish this guy over the next week or two. He’s one of my favorite characters from the game. Here are some pictures before I paint him.

 

 

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October 2016 Bam Box Theme: Watching

Taken from the Bam! box website.

A New Subscription Box

After visiting the many museums in Europe, I have found a new appreciation for art. We purchased a few prints from various museums and we are planning to hang around our house. Besides fine art, I also wanted to display art pieces from my nerdier side which is why I decided to subscribe to the Bam! Box. This monthly subscription box comes with at least one autographed item and is worth about $60+. Every box  may have an upgrade or limited edition items. 1 in 10 boxes also contains an extra autographed item.

 

I’ve seen a few unboxings and I like the items that come in it. The signed items are what interest me the most. I hope they include a few prints that I can frame and hang up. I’m not a huge horror fan but I decided to sign up for this month anyway. I hope I get some good stuff. I might cancel after, we will see how it goes.

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