Fingers Crossed for Spring!

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Hello all! I’m hoping that the snow we got here in Virginia on Friday will be the last we see. This week we are supposed to break into the 70’s, and peak Cherry Blossom season won’t be too far behind!

It’s been a while since I’ve done a general status update, so there is a bit to talk about. As far as my new assignment is concerned, things are going pretty well! I’m continuing to learning a lot about the DoD’s budgeting and programming processes, which means I’m getting steadily less confused about what it is I’m supposed to be doing from day to day.

Gwen and the boys are doing well. William and James are now teething in earnest, with their lower front teeth being the first to emerge. Naturally, this has made them a bit crankier than they have been previously, but we’ve been able to keep it mostly under control for them with teething rings and topical anesthetics (and no, that is not a code name for whiskey!). We are going to be getting them baptized soon, as well, probably on Easter Sunday at Immanuel Anglican Church, where Gwen and I have been attending services since moving to Virginia.

For hobbies, I’ve mostly been working on getting models painted for Adepticon, playing tabletop games once or twice a month, and playing the odd video game when the time permits. I’ve found that after all is said and done, and the boys are settled down for the evening, I generally have time to do one activity. Here lately, that activity has been modeling for my miniatures gaming hobby. I’ll probably be shifting back towards video games in the near future, though. I’m feeling the itch to play more World of Warships, plus there is a new Battlefleet Gothic video game on the horizon

I think that about does it for now! Coming up shortly, you can expect at least one more Star Trek-related post, as well as a few more Adepticon related posts. The show is only a few weeks away, and I’m getting really excited about it!

Proceeding deep…

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Star Trek Movies: My Ranking

enterprise-destruction-startrekiiiStar Trek in my mind has always been best suited for the episodic television format it was created for. However, Hollywood being Hollywood, there is no way that could be left alone. Oh no! Instead, Star Trek has found its way onto the big screen no less than 12 times, with lucky number 13 on the way in July. 6 of these movies were with the original TOS cast, 4 were with the TNG crew, and of course the last 2 are the JJ Abrams reboot of the franchise. With this much material, it is only natural that we have something of a mixed bag; some of these movies are great, some are so-so, and some are quite bad. So, without further ado, here is my list, starting from worst to best! Continue reading

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The Star Trek Itch

trekI’m not sure why, but I’ve been on a bit of a Star Trek kick lately. I’ve started listening to the music again during drives and workouts, for example. I’ve also dusted off my Blu-Rays of the TNG and watched a few episodes. I’ve even gone back and played a little Star Trek Armada III! It seems to be something about the late winter/early spring timeframe that gets my Trek juices flowing.

I do have a couple of more in-depth posts about Star Trek stuff planned, but I just wanted to get a few quick hits out there. First of all, the third “Abramsverse” movie, Star Trek Beyond, is fast approaching. From everything I’ve read, this will be the last one. Part of me is a little disappointed in that, but for the most part I feel a sense of relief. Don’t get me wrong; I do like the new movies. I think they are technically well made, with cool effects, well scripted action, and a cast that was perfectly selected for the job. It’s just that, well, it doesn’t feel like Star Trek to me. I’m at the point where I’d almost rather get this trilogy “over with” so that we can start seeing Trek get back to its roots of being optimistic, speculative sci-fi.

Speaking of which, a new series is in the works too! I’m cautiously excited about this one. It sounds like the right people are involved, and what little we know makes it seem that it is headed in the right direction creatively. However, the fact that it is to be distributed only through CBS All Access concerns me, as I think it will hurt the amount of viewers that will see the show. What I would like to see from this series is a return to the episodic nature of TNG and TOS; there had better be an Enterprise in this show, and it has better start with Courage’s theme and the “Boldly Go…” speech too. The last time we really had that, in my opinion, was in TNG. I’m sure we will get more information on the show as the year goes on, so we will just have to wait and see!

Proceeding deep…

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Adepticon Prep: Modeling

logoglowAdepticon is just over a month away! Now that my Planetfall Directorate are done, I’m turning my attention to the task of making sure that the models I need for my fleets that I’ll be using in the two events I’ve registered for are ready to go. That will involve painting the following models from scratch:

-3 Space Marine Hunter escorts (BFG)
-8 Terran Frigates (FSA)

In addition to these new paints, I’ve got varying degrees of touch-ups and repairs to do on the rest of my BFG fleet, which was been “in the warp” for 6 years and 5 moves since the last time it hit the table! Specifically, my Retribution-class battleship is in a few pieces, I’m missing antennas on one of my cruisers, and there are several spots that just need general touch-ups either due to chipping or poor craftsmanship at the time of “launching” (I was VERY new to the hobby when I painted all of these ;)). I also need to re-base some of the tiny “attack craft” (fighter and bomber minis) for the tournament, as they are on non-regulation basses; they have to be on 20mm square bases instead of the 10x30mm bases they are on now. Here is a pic of what I’m working with:

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I have to admit, I’m both excited and a little trepidatious about painting more stuff for BFG. On one hand, the minis are still great, and it is a fun bit of nostalgia to be painting them again. On the other hand, looking closely at these early minis of mine makes me painfully aware of just how much my skills have grown over the years. I definitely would approach things differently if I were to paint this fleet from scratch today! That being said, I am not interested in trying to repaint these minis. For one, I don’t have the time to spend on that right now, with the con so close and so much else going on. For another, I almost feel duty-bound not to disturb the paintjobs on these things too much. For better or worse, these minis were painted by me as a new hobbyist to the best of the ability I possessed at the time. It somehow seems “wrong” to go back and mess with them now!

Until next time…

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Firestorm Planetfall Directorate

My Directorate Core Helix for Firestorm Planetfall is done! It took me about two weeks to paint these guys. All total, the core helix includes 2 heavy tanks, 6 medium tanks, 4 EW tanks, 10 recon buggies, 2 APCs, and 12 stands of infantry. Here is the whole thing at once:

IMG_1254I’m pretty happy with how these guys came out! These are the first ground units that I’ve painted in a while, and I have to admit the change of pace felt good. Here are some close-ups of individual units:

Until next time…

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Winter TV Round-Up

Hello again! This post is on a topic I’ve wanted to discuss here for a while, but hadn’t before¬† found time to actually get around to. Specifically, I want to take a few minutes and talk about the TV shows that I’ve been watching recently, or are gearing up to watch!

The Expanse

expanseThis is a new SyFy channel show that is an adaptation of a series of books by the same name. The season just concluded last week, after running for 10 episodes, and I have to say I thought it was great! The story, effects, characters, and acting were all top-notch. I think this might be the best space-based show since Battlestar Galactica. In some ways, the intrigue and interwoven stories of the show remind me a bit of Game of Thrones, though there aren’t quite as many layers in The Expanse. It’s a shame the season was so short; I can hardly wait for the next one!

Mythbusters

mythAfter more than a decade, Mythbusters is coming to an end. That is bittersweet; this has been one of my and Gwen’s favorite shows since, well, forever basically! However, I’d feel a lot worse if the last season episodes haven’t been so dang AWESOME! Highlights so far have been the implosion of a rail car and a mass fight scene with a horde of “zombies.” I gotta say, Adam and Jamie seem to be going out on top.

Outrageous Acts of Science

outrageousThis show is fun, and might very well be the best science-based show left standing after Mythbusters ends. It is essentially a YouTube variety show that showcases 20 videos each episode, with a number of actual scientists discussing the science behind each video. While generally enjoyable, I’ve found the episodes are a bit uneven. Some of the clips they show are pretty incredible, while others are a bit “meh.”

Forged in Fire

forged in fireI consider this one to be a bit of a guilty pleasure. It relies on all the classic “reality” show cliches; artificial time limits, overly suspenseful music, drawn out elimination sequences, and cliff hanger commercial breaks.¬† However, for me the selling point of this show is the actual craftsmanship involved in making the knives, swords, and axes showcased on each episode. The first season was great, and the second one is due to kick of on February 16th. I’m a little concerned that the formula may get a bit stale by the end of this season, but we’ll see.

Until next time…

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The Road to Adepticon

logoglowAs I’ve mentioned once or twice, I’m going to Adepticon again this year! The last time I went was way back in 2012, and a lot has changed. The show has moved to a new, larger, location, and the number of events has only grown. Just like last time, though, I’m going to be going as part of the Geek Nation Tours group, which will give me some unique meet and greet opportunities, some privileged access to parts of the show, and simplify my logistical planning to boot!

This time around, I’m going to participate in two organized gaming events. The first one is the Schaumberg Prime Offensive, which is a Firestorm Armada tournament. The second is a Battlefleet Gothic tournament. That won’t be the sum total of my gaming, though, not by a long shot! I also plan on getting in a lot of pick-up games. A good-sized contingent of guys from the Man Battlestations community will be there, and we are scheming to get all kinds of Dystopian Wars gaming in, along with whatever else strikes our fancy.

With all that being said, I have some preps to do. Here is a not all-inclusive list:

  • Prep my fleets for the two organized events.
  • Paint any necessary models that will need for the events that haven’t been painted yet.
  • Finalize the list of games that I am going to be taking.
  • Organize all the stuff I’m taking so as to minimize the luggage foot-print (an important consideration considering it has to fit in along with the Wife, the Twins, and all our other stuff!)
  • Study up on the rules for the games I’m playing
  • Finalize and procure all the Man Battlestations promotional items I am planning on bringing.

As I write this, we are now 51 days out from the start of the show! I’m getting excited, but as you can see there are lots of things I have to do to get ready. Stay tuned for updates! Proceeding deep…

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2015 Gaming Summary & 2016 Forecast

I’m a few weeks late on this one, but I wanted to take a moment to round up my gaming activity from 2015. Lets get started!

Miniature Gaming

For miniatures, I played a total of 15 games. These games included Firestorm Armada, Dystopian Wars, Star Wars Armada, and Star Trek Attack Wing. The game I played most was Dystopian Wars, with 5 games played. My overall record for 2015 was 6 wins, 5 losses, and 4 draws.

Board Gaming

For board games, I played a total of 11 times (that I remembers to write down, anyway; I suspect there are a few games I forgot to log!). The most played game for me in 2015 was Tiny Epic Kingdoms, and my overall record was 7 wins, 4 losses, and 0 draws.

Forecast for 2016

2016 looks to be the biggest year in gaming for me since 2012! Due to the fact that I’m on shore duty, and planning on going to two major gaming conventions, I expect that I will easily shatter the number of games I’ve played in 2015. In fact, I might very well play more games than I played in 2015, 2014, and 2013 combined. Looks like it will be a good year!

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Time to Hunker in the Bunker

WinterStormJonasAs I write this, snow is just starting to fall outside. However, those light flakes fluttering to the ground are just the advance guard of a diabolical snow horde colloquially referred to as “Winter Storm Jonas” that is descending upon the DC Area. The forecast is calling for up to two feet of snow…for a region that goes to pieces if it gets two inches. And here Gwen and I thought we had left the blizzards behind when we moved from Maine! At least there, people knew how to successfully live, work, and drive in snowfalls measured in feet. For those hardened denizens of the New England tundra, two feet may as well be a dusting. By way of contrast, the average Virginia driver’s solution to a half and inch of snow fall is to put on their hazard blinkers and drive 5 mph down the freeway.

Thanks to the snow, I didn’t have to go into work today, which was nice. Gwen, the boys, and I are now safely holed up in the house, ready for whatever Winter Storm Jonas can throw at us. To be sure, I’ve got a few thinks I’m looking forward to doing…the boys always need attention, of course, but I’m still playing lots of Fallout 4, I’ve got models to paint, and several books to read. So, I would say I’m pretty much set for entertainment, regardless of whether we keep our power or not.

So far, 2016 has been a fun but busy time. It is very entertaining to watch the boys grow and gradually expand their range of interactions with the world around them. They are getting closer to crawling every day, so we had better watch out! My job at the Pentagon has been going pretty well, too. I’m gradually figuring out just what it is that I’m supposed to be doing, so that “fish out of water” feeling is gradually diminishing. Speaking of the Pentagon, check out this neat picture I found:

012d5ce5fa68970268db646579f604058f6a3c293dGiven that I walk the halls of the Pentagon every day, this is probably the best scale reference to the Enterprise-D that I’ve seen yet!

In the mean time, I’ve been lucky enough to be able to play some Fallout 4, play a game of Dystopian Wars, and even work on painting some of my miniatures back log. I’ve also started a naval wargaming podcast with a friend of mine as the co-host. If you are interested, make sure to check it out!

And as always, here are some new pics of James and William. Until next time!

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The Inevetiable Episode VII Post

Star_Wars_The_Force_AwakensIt’s probably past due for me to write this, given that I watched the movie weeks ago, and its been out for nearly a month already! Still, better late than never. Oh, and it should be obvious, but if you haven’t seen it yet, there are spoilers below. Continue reading

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