Update

Well it has been quite some time since my last post. Was I posting about games and starting a review about interim agencies little over a month ago: in the mean time I have been up and down the lenght of the Netherlands a little too often to my liking. Despite the awesome economy, I was finally hired and got a new job! Not exactly what I had thought of when I first applied, but a job nonetheless. And quite surprisingly in the construction sector of the job market. With all the huge declines happening, and all the budget cuts, its really good this has happened indeed.

 

Not surprisingly: a new job is like a new stage in your life. A new place to commute to every day. A new place to get to know the routine of. The hierachy and the pecking order. The ego’s and the no-go’s. And ofcourse a new place to assert yourself, and find your own spot.

 

I am excited and tired!

Job applications I

ImageOn the first of August this year I was let go. After having worked for nearly 6 years at a subisdary of Randstad, and fullfilling assignements for them (with the longest one lasting for 4 years in Germany), they were not able to find a new job for me for a whole 6 months. Thus they offered to let me go with a settlement. And that was that.

 

Not going into the somewhat depressing period you get after losing your job (despite the fact you were very happy with the job and its perks), the positive side of being let go is ofcourse the opportunity of finding an even better job (with better perks…… well thats what you try to get anyway).

 

Now the biggest hurdle I faced in the beginning: I work in construction (not on the site itself, I am a structural engineer after all, thus I get to sit in a comfy chairr and decide what the boys outside need to do). And as some of you might have noticed, with the current crisis going on, in the Netherlands, construction is not a very favourable market to be in. Not counting the number of businesses which are going out of business at the moment!

 

Lats backtrack a little. Since the first of Jan I havent had an assignement anymore. Add in the 6 months, and you can fill in that by the end of May/June it was clear I had to find a job outside of the company that I worked for at that moment. And I was quite amazed at what happened after I filled in the proper words in my job title on Linked In. Companies started calling me left righ and center. However one small little thing stood out: none of them were actually companies you could work for. For the lack of a better word, it was only “head hunting that” was done by companies like Brunel, Maandag etc.  Contacting construction companies themselves netted me nothing. They liked my resume but no, sorry, we really don’t need your services, or we don’t have the money (one company literally wrote me that), or some other excuse. This, coupled with some other adventures in job hunting, got me thinking lately: the big corporations hav recruiters and the like, and post many job applications on their websites. However, from my perspective most of the jobs are being filled in by these glorified resume skimmers. And I wonder what an HR department does in terms of recruitment if they rely on these agencies for proper candidates? Or is my view point to narrow?

 

Anyway stay tuned for part II as at the moment I am on the verge of picking between 3 jobs, and yes all of them are through tertiary agencies (as they seem to be the only ones being able to cut through the outer layer of many companies.

WANT WANT WANT

Forgeworld posted a new preview video on youtube about their upcoming book (and implied new models on top of what they have already published) here: http://goo.gl/tK3bY

Eventhough I don’t actively play the game (I love the lore and working on the models, which reminds me, I have to take pictres of the last models I painted up a long time ago), I am still very much excited about this.

Why?

Well the video implies “older” models (instead of the year 41st millenium, we are now focussing on the 31st milennium), and models like the cataphactii terminators. And THATS quite exciting. Now lets hope Forgeworld will release a whole slew of models, and not just one or two every two weeks or so. Time to take the painting hobby back up (and collected all my painting materials from my old house). And my wallet will hate me in a few years time.

Boardgaming nostalgia II

In an earlier Blogpost I reminisced about the game Starquest. But travelling down nostalgia avenue, you can’t help but also stumble over its “sibling” Heroquest. Also published by Milton Bradley by the way.

With Starquest being inspired by Warhammer 40k, Heroquest is (obviously) inspired by the fantasy setting Warhammer. If yor not familiar with the concept of Heroquest (not the tabletop wargaming parent Warhammer), a small rundown of the game:

You play with 2 to 5 players, of which one has to be the dungeon master (D&D as a guideline to simplify matters?). You have a standard board, on which the dungeon master has to set up doors and cave-ins, according to the setup as prescribed in the manual. The players each have a Avatar. The game is set up to be played in a succesion of maps or levels (each one different from the previous one). With a simple start, each level gets progressively more schallenging, but the players also get the cahnce to upgrade their heroes in between levels. Movement and combat is doen with simple dice, and those characters able to use magic have a finite amount of magic cards which they can use (but cannot be replenished). The characters are the standard fare: a barbarian, a wizard, an elf and a dwarf. As with Starquest, you could get a number of add-ons which expanded the game with soldiers for hire for the heroes, magic and villains for the dungeon keeper, and more and varied missions and monsters to battle through and with.

In our family we got our gifts and games quite fairly. I had Starquest, my younger brother had Heroquest. Although it seemed we played Heroquest more often in the first few years after we got it. Whilst I obviously loved the science fiction setting of the game I had, it seemed to appeal to my imagination more thatn it did to my sense of actually playing it. Perhaps also because, if you played the game-master, the chances of you winning were quite small the further you progressed in the game. Heroquest, while also slightly suffering from this, played out faster per “level”. thus making it an easier game to get into and set up. You did not have the bleeps you had to move around. And especially in the beginning of the game, the models that were actually on the board were low in numbers. Meaning less moving around, and more actual playing (and more turns to do something!).

For me, the game was great fun. Though it did not leave a lasting impression on me the way Starquest did (having flung me into the world of 40k), we did have quite a bit of fun when we played it as kids. I do highly recommend to play it with friends or family if you still have it.

Boardgaming nostalgia I

Space Crusade

Space Crusade (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For some reason I stumbled upon a rehash of a board game: the Horus heresy board game. I was quite surprised there actually is a board game about the Horus heresy, all the more as it hasn’t been done by Citadel (seeing as they produce nearly everything Games Workshop churns out). Being the little google-Wikipedia-whatever sport, I clicked on and stumbled upon the previous incarnation of the game. With its accompanying artwork. And a wave of nostalgia struck me: It looked VERY familiar.My interest in warhammer 40k, and its expanded universe can be traced all the way back to a game based upon this game and universe: Space Crusade (or Star Quest as it was known in the Netherlands). Although it had been around for some time, it wasn’t until it hit the bargain bin that my interest was peeked. Well, to be fair, my family also didn’t have the budget to get it at its normal price, hence it wasn’t even a consideration till the price dropped.

I loved this game. I remember hanging over the rule book and the tiny background book for hours on end. Reading everything, reareading it, and flipping the book over again. I studied the Space marine models for weeks. And I studied the box art on the sides of the box. Always wondering if I could ever imitate the way they had painted the models up. I played this game till the cards bent. Afterwards, a booster with new models came out, and ofcourse I had to have it. With a friend of mine we played this every time I came over. He even managed to crank out his own adventures to be played out. And so we extended the game play of the game by several weeks.

The demise of the game in my interest corner started when I took the bold step of painting the miniatures. I didn’t have the expert model paint to do so, and with the thick Revell model paint (all you airplane model builders will know what I mean), I splashed on the cours as best I could. A few years back I re-examined the results. Lets just say, it wasn’t all that good.

The second step was the fact I stumbled upon an expansion pack when I was on vacation with my parents in Sauerland (a region in Germany). It wasn’t known to us in the Netherlands, and I had to have it. But like all things kids want. The answer was no (and for good reason in hind sight). Could have, would have, should have, but the interest faded.

Last but not least was the fact the local toy store started carrying leaflets and models for the 40k tabletop game. This was everything I loved about Space Crusade and more. More history, more fluff and more models to, well, drool over. And a well fleshed out range of models, not limited to what the board game could provide. Space crusade dissapeared to the top of the cupboard, and never came back out (well, not counting the times I accidentally pulled it out trying to get something else just right underneath the box).

I loved Space crusade. In hindsight it was a very limited game. You only had a limited number of scenarios, with little to no maneuvering space. And playing as the “good guys” (the Space Marines), especially after the first expansion, it was next to impossible to lose. The only way would be a particularly unlucky round with the dice. But the dice heavely favoured the Marine player. The game is set up around the Space marines. In space they find derelict conglemorates of abandoned and shipwrecked spacecraft. Boarding these wrecks with a small team of marines, super engineered humans, the insides of the ship, or more accurately Hulk, is explored in a series of mission. The enemy gets control over a wide array of alines. From goblins and orcs, through to chaos marines and alien like genestealers. Unknown to the marine player, the enemy can set up his pawns with hidden counters on the board called “blips”. Only when the marine player gets line of sight will it be revealed what is actually underneath a “blip”. And from there on players take turns squaring their forces off against one another, shooting and meleeing as they go. Everything decided by a properiety set of dice courtesy of Milton Bradley (the producers of the game).

Although too straight forward, it was a good game to get into tabletop gaming. I never went beyond the painting, modelling and fluff stage of full scale miniature warfare, the board game still delivered that side of the hobby in spades as well. A small trip down memory lane well deserved (and if you have a box sitting at home, I’ll play ya!).

Father’s day, looking back

Father’s day is an interesting day. Dating back all the way to 1910, it was first celebrated in Spokane. After a slow start, it was until the 1930’s, and with the backing of trade groups (I see similarities with Valentine’s day here), it was brought to national awareness in the US. And from there on it spread out over the globe.

Originally portrayed as a companion to mother’s day, commercial hype has brought it to the level of being the panultimate day to celebrate being a dad. Lavish gifts are being promoted as something that has to be bought to celebrate this day. Though the core value is the one that matters: appreciating the fact your father is your father. And for me personally, that is the thought that counts.

It is rather painfull then that I am one of an ever growing number of fathers who rarely get to see their child(ren). Just a few years back my ex and me broke up, with our son staying behind with her. The unfortunate side effect of having a full-time job, and not living close to your child after the break up. A break up usually leads to weird situation. What to do with the remnants of the family during holidays, and commemorative days? And Father’s day is not unlike the others. This year (as the previous years) I did not get to see my son. It was not “our” weekend. And though I am acceptant of this fact (it happens), in the back of your mind it still stings. I am sure a lot of divorced fathers feel this as well.

I do not feel sad. It stings, but I know deep in their heart, even if you do not get to see your child(ren), the love for you will still be there. Just keep giving them the love they deserve. And remember that as a divorced father, despite everything (including a new partner for your ex), your are not alone. There are more fathers like you out there who feel like you do. Despite everything (good or bad) keep believing everything will be alright.

One of those days

Once in a while it happens. You wake up, get out of bed and get ready to go to work. And the unmistakable feeling of, for a lack of better words, “something” keeps gnawing at the back of your mind. One of those days that you just don’t feel like anything, and nothing can truly satisfy you intelectually or emtionally. And today is one of those days, for me at least. Not that there isn’t anything to look forward to, hell everything is going great. I am positive, good things are looming at the horizon, and above it all I am healthy and well. But in the end all I can say, let’s just mope around till this days passes and something interesting walks by. And enjoy doing so!