Thursday, December 26, 2013

Xmas loot and what not

Well, I hope everyone had a good Xmas with family and friend and got cool stuff or did things that were fun.  I was stuck away from home for Xmas this year (this is not the first, nor will it probably be the last time either.)  So I got to celebrate Xmas earlier this month with my family, but I just did not post up anything about it until now.  There was a snow storm in the middle of my time off at home, but it really was not that bad.  Hopefully for all of you out there, you didn't get stuck in any bad weather.

Always be prepared to drive in the snow or be willing to help those that don't

First off, what I did during my time home: 

Besides hanging out with family and friends, I worked on cleaning out my gaming area in the basement (I can walk around my gaming tables again!) and sorting through my 15mm WW2 stuff it keep or sell (a list will be coming out soon.)  As part of the cleaning out, I bought two more 2’x4’ tables and now have them set up to have a gaming area of 4’x8’.  I don’t plan to use that much of an area, many 4’x4’ or 4’x6’ depending on the game.  The remaining unused area will be for drinks, rules, minis not on the board, etc.  Other than that, I saw two movies.  One was “The Hobbit 2”, which I really enjoy.  I was bored during the Lord of the Rings movies, but both of the Hobbit movies have kept me entertained and never bored.  The other movie was “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”, which I saw on Xmas day.  I enjoyed it, but it was really different than both the short story or the original movie in terms of Walter Mitty’s daydreams cycle (i.e., in the story and the original movie, they happen regularly throughout the story, where this one has them regularly at the beginning and then they taper off to none before the end of the movie.)

Now, on to the Xmas haul:

Generally, over the past several years, I just ask for gift cards, especially now that I have a Kindle for the last couple of years.  I rather have electronic versions of books, music, and movies instead of physical copies for a bunch of reasons.  This year I got few physical copies of things, but mostly gift cards like I asked. 

Physical copies:

Book
The Armored Fist: The 712th Tank Battalion in the Second World War by Aaron Elson.  This is a book about the tank battalion that was assigned to my grandfather’s division through most of the war in 1944-45.

DVDs
“Bond 50: The Complete 23 Film Collection”, Blu-Ray – I love James Bond movies.  Some were real dogs, but overall, still one of my favorite series.
“Casino Royale” (1967), Blu-Ray – This along with “Never Say Never Again” are the two non-Eon James Bond movies that are not part of the complete film collection from above.  Now, I only need to pick up “Never Say Never Again” in Blu-Ray.
“She-Wolf of London: The Complete Series” – I have this series already on DVD’s from my recording it back when it was on the Sci-Fi Channel back in the 1990’s, but they have commercials and etc.  So, I am glad to get this set.

With my gift cards, I picked up the following electronic copies of books:
War of the White Death, by Bair Irincheev:  a book about the Winter War of 1939-40, which should make a nice companion to Frozen Hell, by William Trotter, which I am just about 50% done with now.
The Soviet Invasion of Finland 1939-40 (Soviet Military Experience), by Carl Van Dyke: another book on the Winter War that is more about the Soviet failure and how they responded to that from Russian documents instead of Western documents, so this will hopefully give me a better understanding of things from the Soviet side of the war.   This will probably be my last of the Winter War books on the ground combat, unless I find a first hand, personal account in English.
The Little Rock Arsenal Crisis: On the Precipice of the American Civil War, by David Sesser:  this is a short book about the events leading up to, and after, the surrender of the Little Rock Arsenal in Arkansas in February, 1861, by federal troops to the pro-secessionists forces.  Had Captain (later, Brigadier General) James Totten had received orders to hold, the shelling of Fort Sumter would just have been a forgotten footnote in history.
Company I, "Governors Greys" 1st Iowa Volunteer Infantry (3 months) in dress uniform
The Lyon Campaign In Missouri In 1861, Being A History Of The First Iowa Infantry, by Eugene Fitch Ware:  This is the personal accounts and general history from of one of the soldiers that served in the 1st Iowa Infantry (3 months).  It covers the 90+ days that regiment served in Missouri under General Lyon, including the Battle of Wilson Creek.
Special Forces Pilot: A Flying Memoir of the Falkland War, by Colonel Richard Hutchings DSC: this is an account of a Sea King helicopter pilot from the 846 Naval Air Squadron during the Falklands War.  It covers his part of the SAS/SBS insertion operations, the Pebble Island raid, and the failed SAS raid into Argentina, including his escape into Chile.  I am still hoping that the Pebble Island book by Cooksey will become available in electronic format soon.
Jungleland: A Mysterious Lost City, a WWII Spy, and a True Story of Deadly Adventure, by Christopher S. Stewart: this is about the 1940 expedition in Honduras by Theodore Morde, who would claim to have found the “Lost City of the Monkey God”.  Besides being an Indiana Jones like story, the “Lost City of the Monkey God” is supposedly not too far from where I was stationed in some very small villages in Honduras while I was in the army.  It is a shame that I did not know about this back then, otherwise, I would have been asking the locals about it.
Riot: A Behind-The-Barricades Tour of Mobs, Riot Cops, and the Chaos of Crowd Violence, by Loren W. Christensen: this is a balance look of riots, why they happen, the conditions needed for them to start and to continue, methods of suppressing them, and personal accounts from all sides.  I have always been interested in riots ever since back in the days in my riot control training.  It will be an interesting read.
The Bear Went Over the Mountain: Soviet Combat Tactics in Afghanistan, by Lester W. Grau: this is a replacement for a hardcopy that I have to help cut back some of the books that I own.  This is the first book of a trilogy about the Soviet-Afghan War of 1979-89.
The Other Side of the Mountain: Mujahideen Tactics in the Soviet-Afghan War, by Lester W. Grau and Ali Ahmad Jalali:  this is another replacment of a hardcopy of book that I own.  It is second book of the trilogy about the Soviet-Afghan war.  The final book, The Soviet-Afghan War: How a Superpower Fought and Lost, is still not available in an electronic format, but I am hoping that it will some day.
The Last Invasion of Canada: The Fenian Raids, 1866 – 1870, by Hereward Senior: this is yet another replacement of a hardcopy.  It is a short, but good account of the Irish Fenian raids into Canada.  I am still hoping that Ridgeway by Peter Vronsky comes out in electronic format as it is the definite account to read about the Battle of Ridgeway, the largest of all of the Fenian raids.

Sapper

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