Mid year Update 2018

Well, it’s mid way through the year so here is a collection of updates on various random topics. Squirrel!

Michelle is now doing training for doing Casual HIMS coding for Alberta Health Services in Calgary in addition to the rural areas around Calgary. Hopefully that will give her more work and cut down on the gas bills and wear and tear on our poor little KIA Soul.

We are still in recovery mode financially after two years of schooling and took a bit of a hit when we had to do some unexpected bathroom repairs. We discovered that the wall behind the shower was weak and ended up having to replace the back wall along with the side walls. Continue reading ‘Mid year Update 2018’ »

Happy New Year 2018

This year is starting out with a sputter rather than a bang.  I came down with a nasty virus right at New Year’s and it’s still hanging on.  That means there are a few things that I wanted to get done on my vacation time that just didn’t happen.  However, that just means I’ll have to fit them in around my regular schedule.

As far as 2017 goes, the biggest accomplishment was that Michelle finished her courses and practicums at SAIT and passed her certification exam with CHIMA to become a Health Information Management professional.  She also got hired as a casual rural employee with Alberta Health Services, and when she isn’t booked with them she can still book in doing her previous profession as a sign language interpreter.

So, after two years of squeaking by on basically my income and tapping into our savings, we are moving into recovery mode.  Fortunately I’m still working full time at Calgary Laboratory Services and enjoying that.  I work with a great group of people there and there are some interesting developments that were recently announced that will mean an expansion of what we do to a provincial level.  It will come with an name change as well, but that hasn’t been settled on yet.

I also spent way too much time in 2017, and late 2016, following American politics.  As a Canadian, I’ve never really invested a great deal of time paying attention to what the US does but things down there have gotten so wacky and dangerous I can’t help but watch.  It’s like a big impending car wreck on a global scale.

As I posted earlier in the year, we did finally get our basement put back together after having it flooded in 2016.  We still want to get some remodeling done in Michelle’s stained glass studio, design and get built some storage for all her sheets of glass, then she can finally get back to working on some projects, which will be nice.

My big project this year was working on my Family Tree, primarily on the Knorr side.  I teamed up with Morris Knorr, who wrote a couple of books on the Knorr history, and we started the “Knorr Genealogy Canada” Facebook group in May.   We are now at one hundred and two members and have members across Canada, Australia, Russia, Germany and many other places.   I’ve filled in a lot of missing information, and just recently we tracked down one missing branch of the Knorr family that Morris had been trying to find for many years.  It’s been such a success that I started a “Grywacheski – Lozinski Genealogy” group just recently for my Mom’s side of the family.

As for other things, I did manage to get almost all of the miniatures I had purchased over the course of the last two years assembled and primed and ready to paint, both the spaceships and the characters.  However, I’ve just barely started the actual painting.

I see I didn’t do a New Years posting for 2017, but looking back to the one for 2016, Happy New Year 2016, most of what was said there remains true.  I did do a major revamp on my ICE Webring Site mid 2016 with additional changes in April 2017 and that’s about the last time I’ve done anything with it.  I also haven’t done any work on my Battlestar Galactica D6 RPG project either.  The BSG Roleplaying Community on Google+ has basically stalled out as well.   The photographing of concert tee shirts and old cabaret posters hasn’t happened yet, although that might actually occur this year.

Still looking through the 2016 posting, I did do a pretty major downsizing in my library, including a large portion of my Star Trek books.  As expected, getting rid of my Roleplaying games proved to be too hard to do, so I still have almost all of them.  Moving the CDs into sleeves also stalled out, but I did get the majority of the “extra music” into iTunes instead of being stored separately.

I could also pretty much copy the weight loss and exercise portion of the 2016 posting verbatim and it would apply for this year, although I am starting the year at 260 lbs and not 268 lbs like 2016, so some progress has been made.

Some additional goals for 2018 will be to get back in touch with some people that I haven’t seen often enough in the last couple of years.  I think a few meals at some of the board game cafes, or over at my place will be in order, and maybe some “Locked Room” events.  I did a couple of those this year and they were a lot of fun.

That’s it for now, I might come back and add a little more once my head clears up from this cold 🙂

Family Tree – Ancestor Locations, Mom’s family

One of the things I’ve always wanted to do was mark on one map as many of the important locations in my Family History as I can find.

I’ve always been told that my background is Polish, Ukrainian, German, Russian and a little bit of Gypsy.  I always joked that all my ancestors probably lived within 10 miles of each other but that the borders kept moving.  Turns out it’s not as much of a joke as I thought.  The distance might have been a little more than 10 miles, but borders certainly did move around and a village that used to be in one country could suddenly find itself in another country.

So, to get things started, here is a list of some of my ancestor’s and the locations associated with them from various sources.

From “Norquay Nostalgia” I have the following about my Great Grandfather on my mother’s father’s side:

In 1901 Mike Grywacheski set sail from Tekliwka, “Selo” in Western Ukraine for the United States, as a very young man of only 20 years of age.

The same year (1903) he met Domka Ladoniewsky who had arrived in the United States from Tomorin in Poland about the same time as Mike

From a chain of emails that Nick Ladanowski shared, I also have the following information about Tekliwka:

Teklivka (historical Ukrainian place name) (Teklowka in Polish spelling) exists today, but it is a very, very small place.
On current maps of Ukraine, the village spelling is Tekliuvka.
Shtetlseeker has Tekiyevka as another spelling (that’s probably Soviet-era spelling).
Tekliuvka is in Ukraine’s Ternopil oblast/Zalishchky raion.
Here is a map: http://maps.google.com/maps?z=9&q=48.7667,25.8000+(Teklyuvka)
Old A-H map: http://lazarus.elte.hu/hun/digkonyv/topo/200e/43-49.jpg
Tekliuvka is a very small place.

Here it is located on Google maps, zoomed out from the link mentioned above. I haven’t had any luck finding it on the Old A-H map, or matching anything on that second map to Google maps yet.

As for Tomarin Poland, I didn’t have any luck finding that, but I do have a couple options listed in the notes, not sure where I got them from:

Tomaryny, Poland Page
Other names: Thomareinen
Latitude 53.7333 Longitude 20.2333 Altitude (feet) 390

Tamarino, Ukraine
Latitude 47.0167 Longitude 33.0000 Altitude (feet) 78
Tamarino Alternative Name: Tamarino
Name Type: Native Area / State: N/A
Coordinates & Location type:
Area Type: Populated place
Location Type: Populated Place
Latitude: 47.01667 Longitude: 33 (Decimal degrees)
Latitude (DMS): 47° 1′ 0 N Longitude (DMS): 33° 0′ 0 E
(Degrees, minutes and seconds)

I found Tomaryny Poland, which seems to be the most likely candidate:

I didn’t find Tamarino Ukranine, but at the coordinates given, I did find Tamaryne. I think this is less likely, but certainly possible. I’ll have to do a little more digging

On my Mother’s Mother’s side, I have a great deal of information back to my 3rd great grandfather.  The “”Treasured Lozinski Memories” book, subtitled “From the Valley of the Dniester to the Assiniboine” by Larry Lozinski has a great chapter with several good maps and a “History of Galicia”.

The main location from there is the village of Gleboczek (Polish) or Hlubochok (Ukrainian)

The author’s grandparents, on both sides of the family, came to Canada from the Galician village of Gleboczek (or as they said in Ukrainian, Hlubochok), which was located about ten kilometres northwest of the regional centre (Poviat or Rayon, meaning region) of Borszczow (Borschiew), which is about half way between the Zbruch and Seret Rivers about 40 km north of where the Seret River dumps into the Dniester River in the province (Oblast) of Ternopil’ It is quite likely that they travelled by horsedrawn cart from the village to the nearest railway station, most likely at Borschiew, 10 km to the south east or to Ozeryany, 8 km to the north, to take the train, which would whisk them away from their homeland for ever.

I  matched this up on Google Maps using the information above, and the map from the book below, it and it turns out to be quite close to Tekliuvka mentioned above and shown as a star below.


Family Tree

I’ve played around with Family Tree Maker and Ancestry.ca on and off for a few years and am thinking of trying to publish some of the information to this website.

I’ve been looking at a plugin called “RootsPersona” that looks promising.

First I’ll have to make a long overdue backup of this site, then I’ll create a small test GEDCOM file that goes back a couple generations and includes some living and deceased family members. I want to set the import to have deceased members visible to the public but living members either only visible to me (if possible) or else not included at all.

I’ll do a post on how it all goes.

The Basement is Back

The Basement is back! By that I mean both the actual basement in my house and this blog. This blog got the name “Brent’s Basement” because most of what I post about is either Roleplaying Games, Miniatures Games, Board games or model building.

Almost all of those activities either take place in the basement of my house, or the materials required for them are stored in my basement.

As I’ve mentioned in a couple of places, my basement flooded back in July 2016.
Fortunately most of our stuff is either stored on bookshelves, cabinets or in plastic bins. So, other than the carpeting and the drywall, we didn’t lose much.
The physical bookshelves did soak up water, so they were also lost, but the items on the shelves were fine.

Unfortunately, it did mean the floors and walls needed to be redone, so everything that was in the basement got boxed up and put into storage.
That happened fairly quickly. And then things stalled. It took several months for the insurance company to approve all the estimates for getting the flooring, carpeting and walls redone. Once they finally did do the approvals, the actual repairs went reasonably quickly and our contents were finally returned.

Except, everything had been packed into boxes, but because a lot of the boxes contained books and games, they only filled them a third to half full. So when they came back they literally filled the basement from wall to wall, with just barely enough room to walk from room to room.

This was the bottom of the stairs

Then moved into the Media Room

Then into Michelle’s studio, which had the most available space:

Into the Library and my main hobby room:

And the hallway and pantry area leading from the stairs past the laundry area and into the Library.  Had barely enough room to get the freezer and refrigerator opened:

This was a fairly typical box and how it was packed:

And, another example:

I ended up stacking as many boxes as high as I could on one side of the room to free up some wall space on the other side, then unpacking and stacking the contents on the floor as high as I could again without the whole thing falling over:

Eventually the new Billy Bookcases arrived, I had some family members come over for a building bee and with some shuffling of boxes and some fancy maneuvering, the bookcases got built and things started getting put back into place


It took a long time to get things unpacked, then reorganized, new bookcases built and filled, but that process is now 95% finished and I’m at the point that I can start working on projects again.
Now I just need to decide if I want to paint some Character miniatures, some Starship miniatures, or build a few Starship models. And do some posting about it in this blog along the way.

Battlestar Galactica Character Miniatures (part 6) – Crooked Dice Game Design Studio

The last miniature company that I ordered from was Crooked Dice Game Design Studio.
More Cylons!  This time called “Argonauts” and mostly found under the “Villains and Monsters” section.
They don’t have anything that really looks like Viper Pilots, but they have a ton of other very nice minis for all sorts of shows including “Planet of the Apes”, “Space 1999”, and even a “Mork” mini. I had to order some of the Simians along with my Argonauts and I’m sure I’ll be ordering more from them in the future.

These came in a padded envelope and in zip lock bags inside. I’ll have to snap a few better pictures of the actual minis when I get mine out of temporary storage.









Battlestar Galactica Character Miniatures (part 5) – Nexus Miniatures

The fifth stop on my tour of miniature companies was Nexus Miniatures.
I finally found some great miniatures for Cylons, and as a bonus, some really good Viper Pilots as well. At the time there was an “Ancient Enemies” Deal on, which isn’t available at the time of this posting but the individual figures are, at least for the Viper Pilots, called “Dino-Rangers” on the site. Right now there only seems to be one Cylon, referred to as “Caprican Legion” on the site. I wasn’t able to locate the Caprican Legion/Cylon figures that came with “Ancient Enemies” deal.
I emailed the owner to see if that is just an oversight in the store or if they have been discontinued. He let me know that the molds are being retooled so they are temporarily out of stock, but will be returning. Once they are back, I’ll update this post with the additional information on them.


This one was actually a fight to get, the package was shipped three times and lost three times.  The customer service from Nexus Miniatures was great, he eventually went down in person to talk to the new Postmaster at his local depot and the Main Sorting office.  Apparently there were a lot of mistakes that had affected a lot of people.  The Royal Mail covered all the losses including the shipping costs, and Nexus gave me a nice discount voucher and free shipping for a future order.  The package was sent for the fourth time and arrived safe and sound and in a reasonable amount of time.

I have placed a new order for several pre-order products that look really nice, but I’ll cover them in a future post.

The minis arrived in a regular sort of mailing box, there wasn’t any extra padding inside the box itself, but the minis and stands were packed in nice and tight and were quite secure.  I had ordered two sets for the deal, so they were sufficient to fill the box.



The Viper pilots,err, Dino-Rangers are available as a set or individually. It would be nice to see some female Dino-Rangers, but there aren’t any available yet.



Major Caprican, Supreme Commander of the Legion I don’t have this one yet, but he’s on pre-order

Battlestar Galactica Character Miniatures (part 4) – Tin-Soldier.com

The fourth company I ordered miniatures from was Tin-Soldier.com.  At this point I was looking more for something I could use as Cylons rather than humans.  I had ordered some Star Wars Super Battle Droids which I thought would work okay for the Re-imagined Cylons in a pinch, but wasn’t really happy with them.  I did find and ordered some interesting miniatures from Tin-Soldier, but still not a great match for Cylons.

The mini’s came packed reasonably well, not as much protection as some of the other companies, but they arrived intact so that’s all that really mattered.  Also, everything came labeled as “Reviresco” rather than “Tin-Soldier”.  A little bit of Googling came up with: “Reviresco Products is owned by head designer John McEwan. It was formerly known as McEwan Miniatures until a name change around 1990 to Reviresco (the latin motto for Clan MacEwan). Reviresco’s current in-production figures can be found at Tin Soldier.”

Everything I ordered is found under the “Starguard” section of the website.




The pictures of the miniatures on the website aren’t great but I’ll include them anyway.  I took some photos of them when I opened them up and included those as well.  The Valkyrie Fembots might make an interesting variation on Cylons that could freak out the players in my game :).  They might also be a good test for some “Plate Mail Metal” color primer I’ve been eyeing.  The other figures might make decent BSG characters in a pinch, but I think some of the other miniatures are better, especially some of the later finds that I’ve ordered but haven’t arrived yet.





Fabian Viper Squad img_1749_sm I think I’ll use these guys as painting practice for viper pilots to see if I get the colors the way I like



Rep- Com Combat Detachment img_1747_sm More dudes for painting practice, maybe I’ll do them as Marines or something



Imperial Terran Scythe img_1751_sm I don’t actually remember why I ordered this one, just liked the look I guess



Ralnai Fleet Tug img_1753_sm I figured this might make a good Millennium Falcon

Battlestar Galactica Character Miniatures (part 3) – Reaper Miniatures

The third stop on my quest for Battlestar Galactica characters was Reaper Miniatures which has a huge selection of miniatures for all genres.

I accidentally ordered one miniature on it’s own instead of adding them all to my cart and then placing the order.  I found out their site is a little odd when it comes to trying to cancel or change an order.  To quote a section from their FAQ:  “In short, if you don’t catch us before 5PM CST, M-F, it’s unlikely you’ll catch us in time. On the weekends, we’ll be unable to catch these requests at all.”

The good news is this is because they are very quick on the shipping.  Anything you order one day is usually on the truck being sent for delivery the next morning.

The packaging was decent as well, no snacks but some sample paint and dice.  No bubble wrap in the packages, but it wasn’t needed as each miniature is on it’s own card.





Here’s the list of miniatures that I ordered, with links to the page on the Reaper Website:

50149 – Natalia, Female Secret Agent. This is the one I ended up with two of, one will make a good test for my rusty painting skills.




80025 – Bonnie.  This one is plastic and mine has a very sharp lean where her foot attaches to the base. I think heating it with a hair dryer then bending it will fix the problem but I haven’t tried it yet. It looks very similiar to the Veronica Blaze mini so it will be interesting to see how they compare once they are painted.


50032 – Jake Ryan, Hero Explorer. Something about this one just screamed “Starbuck!” to me.


50178 – Andre Durand, Time Chaser. Okay, this guy’s not really going to fit in to Battlestar Galactica, but I just really liked the mini.


50197 – Alien Overlord Boss. You might be able to get away with using this one as the Imperious Leader, but he really does scream “Mars Attacks!”