Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Whimsical Wednesday - Mickey Mouse Riot Police

I don't know if I should be laughing or be worried....

By Bopchara (Link)

Minor Updates

So, what have I been doing this year so far?  Well, I have not been painting miniatures for one thing!  The last few weekends I have been working on Saturday and Sunday I have been busy doing other things, like visiting the Georgia State Railroad Museum and the Revolutionary War site for the Battle of Savannah, GA.  This last weekend I went home for the weekend.  Next weekend, I will most likely have to work Saturday and Sunday is the Super Bowl, so I might get some painting done in the late morning and early afternoon. 

I was pretty happy to get to the GA State Railroad Museum.  I got to ride on a train that included being on one of the last dozen or so operational turntables in the US.  Also got to go through a couple of executive passenger cars and got see an old 1870’s passenger car and a 1890 Baldwin Steam locomotive.  The battlefield was fairly small, but the original site was pretty much lost in the 1800’s.  So there is now a reproduction fort that the British were using during the battle that is now there.

Book wise, I am still plugging away at the Ian Fleming’s James Bond series.  I am now reading the 6th installment, Dr. No.  I am glad to finally get around to reading these.  I was always a big James Bond movie fan since I was a little kid, whether it was watching the TV movie night re-runs of the Sean Connery films or seeing the Roger Moore ones at the theater.  I have watched them all, including the three non-EON productions!  While Sean Connery and Roger Moore were my favorites, Daniel Craig’s Bond is favorite by far now.  Now that I am reading the novels, Daniel Craig or Timothy Dalton really are the closest portrayals to the book version.

As for audio books, I finished the Kaiser’s Pirates and it really is worth it to read / listen to if you have an interest in WWI naval.  I am currently listening to The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman.  I can easily see why she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for writing it.  I am going to have to look into reading / listening to her book on the Zimmermann Telegram.  


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

2015 Commitments

So, let’s look towards my goals and hopes for my 2015 commitments.  Part of my issues on some of these will be that I probably be working out of town most, if not all, of the year with one or two weekends a month home.

Personal Related:

  • Change my diet / eating habits to lose weight and become more health oriented.
  • Try to exercise more, mainly by walking
  • Try to clear out more items from my aunt’s house and get a Building Inspector to find what needs to be corrected for possibly renting it out or selling it
  • Go back to cleaning up my basement
  • Try to get rid of more books and start reducing my CD & DVD collections

Entertainment Related:

Read / listen to a minimum of 24 books by the end of the year, especially since I am not planning to read many novellas or essays this year.  Specially, I want to finish reading the current Ridgeway book that I am reading and finish off the other two that are on my list to read on the same subject.  I also plan to read a couple of books on WW1, some books on the Argentine side of the Falklands conflict, and to finish off the Ian Fleming’s James Bond series.  After that, my main goal is to read the four volume opus by Bruce Nichols’ Guerrilla Warfare in Civil War Missouri (just over 1600 pages including notes & indexes!)

I play to track on my blog’s 2015 Commitments page also all of the radio plays / dramas and movies that I watch as well.  I am sort of interested in see how many different things that I watch / listen to as well.  The catch will be that I will only list it one time if I listen / watch it multiple times. 

Traveling to site-see or visiting local sites will be at a minimum this year as I plan to spend most of my free time and time off working on my aunt’s house or my house.  However, I do plan to go to the Missouri History Museum to see the Utopia: Revisiting the German State in America exhibit.  Otherwise, anything else will not be planned.

Gaming Related:

Here is where I am going to make up a bunch of wild and out-right lies.  I know that I am lying to myself, but here we go!

My basement gaming table is one of my top priorities for 2015.  I want to get everything cleared off that I got on it, which really is not much, but I need to sort, inventory, and bag it for selling instead of just sweeping it in to a trash can.  I think I can realistically do it in two days, if I can only commit myself to it when I am back at home.

Continue on with my 15mm Ridgeway project in painting my Canadians and start repainting my Fenian figs.  Next I am going to lay out a scale map and see what I need for terrain to make this a playable game prior to the 150th anniversary of the battle in 2016.

I am planning to restart my 15mm ACW project this year too.  I am going to try to mirror it when I start reworking on my Fenians for Ridgeway. 

If I get my Ridgeway project near completion, I might start back up my 1/6000 Falklands Conflict naval project.   This should be an easy painting project due to the smallest of the models.

I plan to start working / buying up more terrain.  This will be pretty restrictive as I will really only be able to do it the weekends I am home since I will be limited to how much space I can pack of gaming items that will need to  be transported back with me in my car at the end of the out of town project.

I am hoping to run at least three games this year: a 20mm Falklands game, a 10mm Vietnam game, and the third to be determined later, but I am thinking of running an ACW game using paper figures from Billy Bones Workshop until my 15mm ACW figures are done.

Due to other commitments for spending free time on cleaning out my aunt’s house and other projects around the house, I am not planning to attend any gaming conventions this year.

I will start back up on my downsizing of my dead gaming projects and try to get back to selling stuff off, but if I am out of town for most of the year, I might only try to sell off only a small amount periodically as I will be limited to what I can carry with me in the car along with all of my important items (clothes, cooking ware, etc.)

One thing that will be good this year is I will have my house finally paid off!  So now I have what I have being using to pay my mortgage can be spent on other things.  Most of it will go to making sure my aunt’s house will pass inspections, increase in my insurance for a second home, extra property taxes, etc. and another large chunk will go to savings, but I should have extra cash for gaming.  I am probably going to start buying more pre-made terrain, especially snow/winter as I really don’t have any of that.   Then I probably start sending stuff off again for painting commissions. 

Finally, new projects – I am planning to avoid doing any new projects this year.  Yeah, I tend to break this one every year, but I am trying to really mean it.  I am going to only buy things to finish off or add to existing projects.  The only exception that I might make is breaking down and buying the 28mm Perry’s ACW / British Intervention figures to do Ridgeway in a larger scale.  I guess one could argue that this would be a new project, but I am looking at it as an extension to my existing project…but there are no plans to buy the figures now.

As always…cheers!


Sunday, January 4, 2015

A Year in Review: 2014

Well, another year as come and gone and a lot of broken resolutions from 2014 were never made.  So with tears in my eyes, lets cover what I resolved in January of 2014, copied right off from my entry in January in Italics, and my end-of-year answers in red:

Weight loss: To weigh 10 lbs lighter by the end of year, but to strive for more. Yeah, this was an epic failure.  I gained weight.  I have since lost some of it, but not the 10 lbs that I wanted.

Orienteering Society:  If I am relocated to a major city that has an orienteering society, I will join it and be involved in at two events, more if possible  Never even tried...sigh

Clearing out the house:  I will take a week off in March/April/May, weather & job dependent, and get a “Got Junk” dumpster delivered to get the old furniture out of the basement & garage, then go to my aunt’s and do the same in her garage.  Sadly, this came too true.  I did get a truck load of junk out of my basement and garage in the Spring (roughly 400 cubic feet of crap!)  However, with my aunt passing away during the summer, we also had to get rid of a lot more at her house then what I was planning.  I still have much more to go through.

Inventory / Sell books:  Complete my inventory and sell/give away to charity at least two banker boxes of books Sadly, again this was not completed in some ways, but like the one above, it was more than what I wanted to do.  I did not complete my inventory, but did give away one banker box of books to troops overseas.  My aunt was avid reader too and we have been giving away most of her books.

Record with books I read:  Record which books I read over the year for a review at the end of the year. Done and also started to add audio books & plays to my list later.  I read / listen to a total of 52 books, essays, thesis's, novels, and novellas.  Of which 33 were Non-Fiction and 19 were Fiction, which almost gives me a 3:2 ratio, which is highly unusual for me as it normally more like 5:1.  I think that it was mainly due to the fact that majority of the Fiction books were novellas, instead of novels, making them a much faster read.

Blog:  Make at least one post a month, but with the goal of doing three a month.  The subject and length is not important, get me to keep with some regular activity is important. Sort of made it.  Some months were less than 3, others were more than 3.  As an overall goal of 36 entries for a year, I had 37 total.  Unfortunately, several of them were about my aunt's illness and death, followed by the rioting & looting in Ferguson only 2 to 3 miles away. 

Sight-Seeing/Events: Go to the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Pilot Knob, Missouri.  Also visit the Cahokia mounds.  Take one week off to travel to both western Missouri and eastern Kansas for the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War’s Price’s great raid, plus Bleeding Kansas sites, or travel down to eastern Arkansas and western Tennessee and Mississippi to see various Civil War sites.  If the finances and work are good, take one week off to go to New England to see American Revolutionary sites and Lovecraft’s territory. Happily, the main event was successful and I did get to go to Pilot Knob to see the 150th anniversary with Steve H & Pat L.  I also did get to see a battlefield for Black Jack in Kansas and the 150th anniversary reenactment at Fort McAllister, GA.  Besides that, I worked in Richmond, VA, for two weeks and got to visit the Edgar Allen Poe Museum & the Tredegar Iron Works Historical Site.  While at home, I got to go to the newly opened Civil War Museum in historical Jefferson Barracks; went to a Civil War book signing at the Soldier's Memorial and along with a nice historical walk of downtown St Louis with Steve H & his bother Phil H; sat on a lecture from Dr Mark A Lause about his book on Gen. Price's failed 1864 invasion of Missouri, as well as a lecture from James W Erwin on his two book series on the guerrilla war in Missouri; and finally, I went and saw the Prohibition exhibit while it was in St Louis.

Game Related:

Gaming area:  After the removal of the junk furniture in the basement, clear off my table space and run a game at my house no later than June 7, 2014 (incidentally, I am planning to run a D-Day game on that day for the 70th Anniversary), but earlier would be better.  Sadly, another failure as I only ran one game and have not finished clearing off my table in the basement, even if it is almost done.

Inventory/selling “Lead Mountain”:  To completely sell off everything 15mm WW2 that is not specifically for my core company size forces.  To completely sell off everything of my 10mm WW2 project, except specific pieces for display.  To completely sell off everything of my 15mm Plains Indian wars.  To start inventorying and selling off my 25mm projects/figures that are not part of any project that I really want to keep. Another complete failure.  I started to redo my inventory and create an Excel spreadsheet and give each baggy of items a code number so I could keep track of who bought it, did they pay, the tracking code for mailing (if any), and a record that I did get rid of it so I would not be looking for it again if I found an old list.  But with my aunt's illness and death, that project sort of came to a stop and I never got back to it.  I did however give the 15mm Plains Indians figures over to Steve H.

Painting:  Commission out my 25mm Winter War figures and finish off my 20mm projects first.  Anything beyond that will be part of my 15mm WW2 projects. Ha!  I only painted one (1!) figure this whole year and never sent anything off to be commissioned.  Epic failure!

20mm Anarchy in the UK project:  1) Buy the needed vehicles from BW Models before they close for good.  2) Buy more civilian vehicles from Oxford / other sources.  3) Finish making my base cover for the urban environment and have enough buildings done to do a 4’x4’ game in an urban area. See above

25mm Winter War project:  1) Build the bases for the forest sections and work on game mat. 2) Paint (or commission) at less one platoon for both sides (see above) See above

Run games:  Run at least four games, at least one at my house: 1) 20mm WW2 D-Day using TFL’s Chain of Command; 2) 20mm Falklands using TFL’s Chain of Command; 3) 20mm Anarchy in the UK to be determined (could be two platoons skirmish, Gangsters/Police, Humans/Zombies, etc); and 4) 10mm Vietnam using either Charlie Don’t Surf or Tour of Duty. I only got the 20mm Falklands game off (Link to the AAR).

1/6000 Falklands project:  Paint and base the ships I really want to start crying now...see above

15mm Ridgeway project:  Read Vronsky’s “Ridgeway” and take detailed notes. OK, I am reading Vronsky's book and taking notes.  Also the only figure I finish painting is for this project.  So I give myself a successful mark here.

Well, there you have it, my Year in Review.  I am going to try to type up my 2015 commitments later tonight. 
Until then...be see you!


Xmas Pressies: 2014

Well, sorry that I have not got around to this but things were rather busy for me the last couple of weeks.  So I am a bit behind on a lot of things (including replying to various emails & comment on my blog.)  Now that is out, let getting rolling on this entry, shall we?

This year, my family agreed not to give any gifts with the passing of my aunt in August was still too recent, but instead to spend the amount that we would have spent on ours for ourselves.  At first I did not know what I wanted and only on New Year's Day I decided to spend it mostly on audio books from Audible.com which I am a member (giving me a discount) and had several book credits available still (hence why the list is so long below!)  But I also bought some CD's from other sources which I will have to wait until I go back home from my out-of-town project to pick up.  So what did I order?

From Audible.com I order the following: 

Radio Plays / Dramatizations (credit to the play group)
  • Star Wars by National Public Radio
  • Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back by National Public Radio
  • Star Wars: Return of the Jedi by National Public Radio
  • Frozen Frights Vol 1 by Icebox Radio Theater
  • Frozen Frights Vol 2 by Icebox Radio Theater
  • Icebox Radio Theater:A Day at the Lake by Icebox Radio Theater
  • Icebox Radio Theater: Creature Feature by Icebox Radio Theater
  • Icebox Radio Theater: Out of the Shadows by Icebox Radio Theater
  • Agent 13 and the Invisible Empire Pt 1 by The Colonial Radio Players
  • Agent 13 and the Invisible Empire Pt 2 by The Colonial Radio Players
  • Allan Quartermain and the Lord of the Locusts by The Colonial Radio Players
  • Murder on the Orient Express by BBC Radio 4
  • The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial by the LA Theater Works
  • Seven Days in May by the LA Theater Works
  • War of the Worlds by the LA Theater Works
  • The Goon Show Classics Vol 1: the Dreaded Batter Pudding Hurlery of Bexhill-on-Sea & the Histories of Pliny the Elder by The Goon Show
  • Escape! High Adventure by various 1950's radio shows
Then for books:
  • Violence Is the Only Solution: 3 Vic Powers' Crime Tales by Gary Lovisi
  • Classic Railway Murders by various authors
  • Star Trek: Spock vs Q by Leonard Nimoy
  • Star Trek: Spock vs Q, the Sequel by Cecelia Fannon
  • The Siege at Peking by Peter Fleming
  • Island of Vice: Theodore Roosevelt's Doomed Quest to Clean Up Sin-Loving New York by Richard Zacks
  • Gallipoli by Peter FitzSimons
  • Kokoda by Peter FitzSimons
  • The Kaiser's Pirates: Hunting Germany's Raiding Cruisers 1914-1915 by Nick Hewitt (especially pick this one up as Blake W. is reading it and I figure that I would listen to it as a pseudo book club!) 
I also order three out-of-print CD's for the audio drama Space 1889 series from Noise Monster Productions.  These included The Steppes of Thoth, The Siege of Alclyon, and The Lunar Inheritance titles.  However, I am missing the first volume, Red Devils! I have been searching for it on Ebay and on the web and can not find a copy of it.  If you know where I can get a copy or willing to part with yours, please let me know!
Anyways, stay tune as I am going to try to get up a Year in Review for 2014 and what is planned for 2015 up later today.