Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Shadow Ops: Control Point

Shadow Ops: Control Point has a good concept. Magic breaks out in the modern world. The government takes control of as much as possible; if you can use magic, you're pretty much limited to being in the military or being a hunted outlaw. The main character finds out that he has magic; we follow him through getting captured, taken to the military's off-world training base, and screwing things up royally.

And we don't really care, because there's no reason to like the main character. The primary thing I hated about him was that he can't make up his fuzzy little mind. He is torn between "I'm a slave for the government, I hate this, I don't owe them anything and would risk anything to escape" and "They're training me, discipline is good, I'm learning a lot of stuff, I'm helping people." And he's generally not feeling both at the same time and trying to reconcile them intelligently; it's all one way, and then in the next chapter it's all the other way.

If he were a hero, he'd decide what he wanted and then push to achieve it despite all obstacles. This guy can't get the first step right; and when he does accomplish something, it's because he was pushed.

I see the second book in the series has a different main character, so if I see the sequel in the library, I might thumb through it, but that's about the most I can recommend.

Saturday, January 26, 2013


Mead is wine made from honey. Until recently, there wasn't anywhere around here to get it; however, now that Total Wine has opened a shop that carries so many varieties of alcohol that my boss, a foodie and former bartender, got overwhelmed and couldn't pick anything out. And they carry three different types of mead. And it turns out that "wine made from honey" tastes  Quite a lot like wine. Wine with a little bit of a honey taste to it.

Labeled as "micro adventure" because I tried something new and different, even though it didn't turn out to be nearly as new or different as I expected.

Saturday, January 19, 2013


Snow! It started snowing at 3:15, and had accumulated about an inch by 5pm, when I started driving home from work. It took me 40 minutes to go the 2.8 miles from Hilltop to home. I passed several car whose owners had put in the extra effort to get into accidents or slide into a ditch, and I passed two cars whose owners had apparently just pulled over to the shoulder and abandoned them in panic. However, despite the traffic silliness, the snow is beautiful.
And cold. Last year it barely got below freezing, today it was 21°. Brrr.

Close Action: Battle of Cape Henry

Josh and I drove to Albert Parker's place in DC for a Close Action scenario, the Battle of Cape Henry. Full AAR at Battle Honors.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Gaming Session

We've had a couple of small Close Action games at the house before, but this Saturday was our first RPG session at the house. Josh and I had characters who investigated a derelict galleon...

Friday, January 4, 2013

Fiscal cliff

As expected, after a stupid amount of brinksmanship and name calling, the government finally got around to passing something dealing with the Fiscal Cliff. As expected, despite promises that taxes would not be raised on the middle class, taxes were raised on the middle class. Because what we really need, with an economy teetering on the brink of another round of recession, is more taxes.

I suspect if 536 people were credibly told "If, at this time next year, unemployment is above 6%, or GDP growth is less than 2%, or inflation is more than 3%, you will all be shot", our economic problems would be fixed in short order. And if not, the next batch of 536 would certainly be motivated to make sure they got it right.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Simo Hayha

Hayha was a short little guy--5'3" tall.
He was also the sniper with the highest number of confirmed kills in any major war. And he accomplished that in about three months, during the Russo-Finnish Winter War in 1939-1940. Using iron sights rather than a scope.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Willa's Red Pepper Jelly Cheesecake

As soon as Willa put this out, Josh and I claimed it for our own. That is, he claimed it as his, I claimed it as mine. We worked out a detente without bloodshed, and we even agreed to save some for Gwen. Not sure that Gwen ever actually saw it...

8 oz. package cream cheese
1 egg
2 (or more) cloves garlic crushed
5 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese ( use ½ to ¾ pkg. Imperial cheese)
4 oz. (1/2 cup) spicy red pepper jelly

Mix all ingredients except jelly in food processor.
When ingredients are well mixed, add in red pepper jelly.
Pour into an oiled 6" spring form pan -- or use two large ramekins).
Set into pan of water and then bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until browned on top.
Cool in refrigerator for several hours.
Drizzle additional pepper jelly over top
Serve with crackers.

PS. Freezes well