Gaming Retrospective: The Wild West Shootout

The year 2012 was very memorable for me. My wife and I moved twice that year, and I went through one of the more challenging phases of my career as I prepared to assume the duties of a submarine department head and return to sea. In addition to all of that upheaval, this year was also a big one for me as a gamer. It was in 2012 that I went to my first convention (and, incidentally my first Geek Nation Tours), played in my first 40k tournaments, met tons of great folks who I am friends with to this day, and in general greatly expanded the horizons of my hobby. This post is a little bit of a retrospective on the first of the two conventions I went to in 2012: The Wild West Shoot-out (WWSO) 2, held in Mesa, Arizona five years ago this month.

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Happy New Year!

Whew, it has been a very hectic couple of weeks. Thanks to my business trips, our holiday prep time was severely curtailed, which meant that Gwen and I were doing crazy things like taking the boys to see  Santa…on the 23rd of December. As one might expect, the lines to see the Big Man were extravagant…we waited with the boys for three hours before we finally got to the front and had our pics taken! Then, of course, was the shopping; Gwen finished hers up on Christmas Eve, while I was at home working on wrapping stuff. I finally got everything wrapped around 2 AM Christmas Morning; Gwen was up until 3. And, on top of all of that, James had a medical emergency the Tuesday before Christmas that resulted in a trip to the Emergency Room and the removal of his left testicle (ouch!) All in all, this was a strange and very hectic holiday season for us. However, it was also a good and blessed one; our sons were both healthy and home with us on Christmas, and we all got to spend some quality time together over the holidays. And, after all the hustle and bustle, the dust has thankfully settled somewhat. Now, it’s time to take on 2017!

Looking ahead, Gwen and I are looking forward to taking William and James out more now that they are a little older. There are all kinds of interesting things to do with them in the area. We are also planning on taking them down to Florida in May for Gwen’s Aunt’s wedding. I’m really looking forward to that one, as we plan on taking the Amtrak Auto Train, which is something I’ve always wanted to do. It will also be an opportunity to introduce the boys more fully to the joys of train travel. Also on the train-nut agenda is a potential trip up to Strasbourg, PA to see the Strasbourg Railway and the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum. However, the immediate next big thing for all of us is an impending trip to Indiana in a couple of weeks. My sister Sarah and brother in law Chris recently moved into a new home, and we are planning on visiting them to have a belated holiday celebration. The only worry at this point is some sort of winter weather event shutting us down. Fingers crossed…

The coming year is also looking pretty good to me from a hobby perspective; there are some cool new things coming out for some of my favorite games, like Dystopian Wars, and I am also starting to play variants of a couple of games I already own; Team Yankee for Flames of War, and KonfliKt 47 for Bolt Action. I’m also looking at going to some conventions again. I’ve already reserved my badge for Adepticon, going as part of the Geek Nation Tour again. That will probably be my biggest gaming trip/event for the year. I’m also looking at attending some other events, but Adepticon is the only one (as of now) where I’m planning on staying on-site the entire weekend.

Until next time!

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The Fallon “Petting Zoo”

As I mentioned in my previous update, I was at Naval Air Station Fallon this past week for a conference. Near the building where that conference was being held is what the aviators refer to as the “petting zoo,” which is a static display of a number of US and Russian aircraft. Here are the pictures I took of the display!

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A Stranger in A Strange Land


Greetings! It sure has been a busy few weeks. Last week and this week I’ve been on the road for work; last week to San Diego, and this week to Fallon, NV. It’s a bit of a bummer to miss this much time with Gwen and the boys this close to Christmas, to say the least. However, the work I’m engaged in has been interesting, at least. It is an interesting experience seeing Fallon for the first time…this place, the home of the “Top Gun” air-to-air weapons school, is deeply  entrenched in the Naval Aviation culture, which is a very different experience for this submariner! Continue reading

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My Adventures With Kerbal Space Program

Space…the final frontier. These are the missions of the intrepid Kerbalnaughts. Their often short-lived mission: To explore strange rocket-powered contraptions, to seek out new ways to blow up on the launchpad due to staging issues, to boldly explode in ways no Kerbal has exploded before!

Here is my Mun base! The Mun is sort of like KSP's version of the Moon.

Here is my Mun base! The Mun is sort of like KSP’s version of the Moon.

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One Year Later

Hard to believe, but Gwen and I have been back in Virginia for a whole year already! Having the boys around makes things seem to fly by quickly. It’s been a busy year! On top of taking care of the boys, we’ve been getting settled into the house, getting used to my new job, and taking some time to make trips to Indiana for family visits. Of course, I’ve also made a few gaming convention trips, but that’s besides the point!

Lately, I’ve been using my limited free time to either work on my Man Battlestations stuff, play video games (specifically, Kerbal Space Program), or paint models, which is why there hasn’t been a ton of updates here. But hey, what else is new! I do have a few more posts planned for the (hopefully) near future, including one on how I’ve been blowing up Kerbals in the name of exploring space. Stay tuned!

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Reading List

One of the activities that had to kind of go by the wayside during my department head tour on the boat was reading; I managed to knock out the occasional novel on weeks where the work on duty days didn’t go too late into the evening, and my discovery of Audible was also a revelation. Still, my To Read pile has been steadily growing over the last several years. So, I thought I would talk about a handful of the ones I’m working on as I try to gain some headway on my backlog!

Fighting the Great War At Sea – Norman Friedman


This is a timely book given that we are in the centenary of the First World War, and it is by one of my favorite naval historians to boot! This is a well-illustrated and lavishly foot-noted tome that provides both a very good overview of the naval side of the Great War as well as insights that I have not encountered in all of my previous reading on the topic.



The Elegant Universe – Brian Greene


This book was a gift from one of my JOs (Thanks Brendan!). I’ve been working on this one during my bus rides to and from work, and its been a very interesting read so far. It goes into the advances modern theoretical physics has made with string theory, but does so in way that is accessible even to History majors like me. If you ever wanted to know more about the stuff Sheldon talks about on Big Bang Theory, this is the book for you.


Makers of Modern Strategy – Peter Paret, Editor


I just received this as a gift from a friend (Thanks Ben!) who had two copies of the book. It is a collection of essays that discuss influential strategic thinkers and their works from Machiavelli to the nuclear age. I’ve only had time to skim a few of the essays so far, but this looks like it will be a fascinating survey of centuries of strategic development.

Until next time!

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Return to “Normal”

Or, at least what passes for “normal” around here, anyway!


It’s hard to believe that it has been over two weeks since Gwen, the boys, and I got back from our vacation in Indiana.  Since then, we have been trying to re-establish some semblance of a routine, with a moderate degree of success. Complicating matters is that I’ve been somewhat busy the last couple of weeks at work, and the boys are getting more and more active, which means Gwen has been kept pretty busy looking after them during the day. Still, we have managed to get something of a routine going, and I’ve been pretty successful at getting the boys to sleep around 10 PM. After that, though, I’ve been bad about getting to sleep myself. For that, I blame my budding addition to Kerbal Space Program!

Speaking of William and James, they are both pulling themselves up into a standing position now. It won’t be long until they are running around the house! We are in trouble…14068375_1372745549421032_7328485165767647050_o

14107725_1372745546087699_4669024515426049261_oJames also recently hit a big milestone…the doctors have given him the all-clear following his cleft pallet repair, meaning he is no longer limited to soft foods. Time to start feeding him crackers! This is a big relief for both Gwen and I; it has been a little nerve-wracking at times over the last couple of months, hoping that his incisions heal and another surgery would not be necessary. Thankfully, all our prayers were heard and he healed right the first time!

I’ve got a big day on Saturday…I’m going to be playing in a Firestorm Armada tournament at a local gaming convention called the NOVA Open. Should be a lot of fun! I’ll do a write up on it afterwards. Until then…

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Gen Con Recap


This past weekend I had a great time at Gen Con in Indianapolis. I have been looking forward to attending this event for years, and that anticipation has been building ever since I made my reservations with Geek Nation Tours (GNT) back in March. And I have to say, the trip did not disappoint! So, here is a quick day by day break-down of my experiences.


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What month is it again?!

Yikes! I can’t believe it is the 31st of July already! Given that my informal goal is to update this blog at least once per calendar month, this is getting in under the wire. has been very busy around here lately. Not long after my last post, Gwen and I hosted a part to celebrate William and James’ first birthday. We had something like 20 people there between her family and mine. Suffice to say, it was a Great Success! Looks for some pictures of the event at the end of this post.

After the party, I’ve been very busy with my job, which has cut into my free time quite a bit. In general, I’ve found that I’ve had enough time to support only one of the following activities on any given evening: 1) Play video games; 2) Paint Models; 3) Do Internet Things. Of these, 1 and 2 have been winning out lately. And, when I have made time for #3, it’s mostly been directed towards doing things for Man Battlestations, rather than writing for this blog. And, there has also been more than a few evening where I haven’t had time to do any of these things! However, I’m just fine with that. The reason, of course, is that William and James are getting more active, and as a result are taking more time  to take care of. And, if I’m being honest with myself, I have been having a lot of fun spending that time with them!

Looking ahead, Gwen and I are getting ready to head out to Indiana on Tuesday. We are going to be out there for a couple of weeks to spend time with my family. I’m also going to be going to Gencon for the first 4-5 days as well, as Gwen and Aunt Sarah are being nice enough to look after the boys while I’m geeking out. Thank you in advance! Sooo…Gencon. This is a show that I’ve been wanting to go to for years now. This is the Big Show in the table top gaming world; boardgames and Role-Playing Games are its bread and butter, but there is some miniature gaming that goes on as well. It is kind of ironic; I was born in Indianapolis, but I’ve never been to this show. Part of the reason for that is that I didn’t really get into gaming until well after I’d left home for the Navy. I’m planning on participating in several Axis & Allies War at Sea events, and also picking up a few new games that sound interesting. I plan on posting updates over the show, including updates here on the blog. So, stay tuned for that!

Likewise, after the show I plan on making some updates here on the blog, especially since this will be the boys’ first experience with the swimming pool at Aunt Sarah’s house!

Until next time…

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