Sunday, September 30, 2012

Know your blogger

A somewhat skewed "Know your blogger":

  1. Favorite wargaming period, and why: Victorian Science Fiction, because of the humor and imagination that seems to go with that period.
  2. Second favorite: Napoleonic naval battles, probably because of all the Horatio Hornblower stories I've read.
  3. Favorite roleplaying game: "All games are roleplaying games". I'm generally willing to play anything I can. What I've played most is Champions and D&D.
  4. Favorite scale for miniatures: I'm torn between 15mm and 25-28mm. I've tried 6mm figures, and I can see how they'd look good in mass, but I don't think I'd be happy with them except for micro armor games. For Napoleonic naval, the scale is 1:2400.
  5. First wargame: not counting chess, it was Avalon Hill's Luftwaffe.  Not exactly what I should have started with, as on their 1-10 Complexity rating, it was a 12. Of course I didn't know that, I just knew it looked cool. 


On one or another of the blogs I follow, someone recommended Wool. And it had something like a thousand 5 star reviews, and quite a few 4 stars, and almost no 3, 2 or 1 star reviews, so I got it.

I have no idea how it got that ratio of 5 star reviews. Absolutely no idea.

The setting is a post-apocalyptic silo, or underground city. The silo has access to mineral ores and an oil well, which may sound improbable, but renders the place self-sufficient. Nobody has to go outside, which is good, because no one who does, even in a sealed suit, lasts long enough to walk up the hill. The outside is a toxic wasteland.  Sounds interesting, in a rather depressing way.

And that is apt, because the first interesting character, dies. Second interesting character, dies. Third interesting character, gets permanently exiled. This doesn't kill her, but does take her out of the setting. If the point of the story is "an interesting setting", then "take your interesting character out of that setting" may not be the best move, from a storytelling standpoint. I'm 55% of the way through, and I'm on the fourth character who was intended to be interesting, but hasn't qualified yet. Thinking back over it, the others weren't all that interesting either. The first one was suicidal for reasons, the second was old and tired and regretful, the third was curious but passive.

It's not bad, it's just not good. I think we're supposed to be intrigued by the silo and ...something. The history, who set it up, something like that. The fact that I'm not sure what aspect we're supposed to find intriguing is probably a strong indicator that I wasn't all that intrigued. Add a depressing setting and fairly bland characters, and the sum does not entice me to read further.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

R. I. P. White Van

We're losing a family member. Yes, the 1995 Dodge Caravan, which has been with us since around 1998, is on its last legs--or more accurately, its last transmission. I replaced the engine at around 110,000 miles; we're now at 225,000, and it's time to put it out to pasture. Diana was sad to hear the verdict...right up until I said "Of course, whatever car you buy will have a functional air conditioner."

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.
--G B Shaw

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Affection is responsible for nine-tenths of whatever solid and durable happiness there is in our lives.
C.S. Lewis

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Counterfeits and Fakes

Apparently China has been buying gold and silver using "ghost steel" as collateral; when people go to look in the warehouses, the steel isn't there. On the other hand, someone's been shipping "gold" bars that are mostly tungsten, which costs about a dollar an ounce. Are the Chinese paying with ghost money and getting counterfeit gold? Sounds like a caper movie where you're trying to figure out who is really cheating whom.

The Meaning of Life

A friend asked me "what is the meaning of Life?" So here it is:
"the condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organisms, being manifested by growth through metabolism, reproduction, and the power of adaptation to environment through changes originating internally."

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Return Date

Josh is coming back to the US in mid October. Gwen is coming in mid December.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


It's been a long time since I bought a suit, as I don't need one for work, our church isn't too worried about what you're wearing (suits, cut off jeans and tee shirts, whatever). But I felt it was about time to get one. Got it from James at Stark & Legum in Norfolk, which is where we usually go for this sort of thing. It's being tailored and I'll pick it up next Saturday.
Lunch afterwards at Doumar's.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Bridge of Birds

Now reading: the Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox: Bridge of Birds, a tale set in mythic seventh century China. From one of the reviews:

The Chronicles consist of three books based on folkloric Chinese ghost stories. In Bridge of Birds we meet the two main characters. Number Ten Ox is a strapping young man from a peasant village in which all the children between the ages of eight and thirteen have fallen into a coma-like stupor. He travels to Peking with the collected savings of the village to find a wise man who can figure out how a plague can learn to count. Unfortunately, or so it seems, his village is a poor one, and all he can afford is Master Li, a 100+year-old, alcoholic sage with, as he describes it, a slight flaw in his character. The two set off on an adventure that takes them all over China and brings them into contact with such wonderful characters as Miser Chen, Doctor Death, Pawnbroker Fang, Ma the Grub, One-Eyed Wong, the Ancestress, Henpecked Ho, Cut-Off-Their-Balls Wong and Lotus Cloud.


Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.
--Phillip K Dick

Saturday, September 1, 2012

More books!

Part of the Josh Collection, imported from Canada:
  • The Smoke and the Fire (John Terraine)
  • Military Uniforms of Britain and the Empire (Maj R Money Barnes)
  • Model Soldiers (W Y Carman)
  • Weapons of the British Soldier (Col H C B Rogers, OBE)
  • The Law and the Profits (C Northcote Parkinson)
  • Regimental Heritage