Saturday, March 27, 2010

This is the kind of thing that made the girls fawn in high school.

Great game.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Warhammer Fantasy Battle tournament on Sunday was a blast. Honestly, as long as the sportsmanship is good, any game is fun. I missed the first game but played the last two, which is plenty. 2250 point WHFB games take a few hours just to get going.

I played the empire first and our artillery just pounded each other as we ever so slowly inched towards close combat. I got lucky as his cannon misfired and the crew was killed in the first round. In the end I won by a few hundred points and ended up with a draw. If we had another hour to play I suspect the game would have broke much stronger in a given direction -- a direction I am unsure of.

The second game was my umpteenth match against Andrew. Always fun and always good gameplay. His wood elves zipped left and right across the board and were always out of line of sight of my dwarfs and out of a flank shot from my bolt thrower. I made a few tactical mistakes early, but my Hammerers caused some Glade Guard to panic and I found some breathing room. After 2.5 hours he had taken 1800 points off my side of the table, but our differential was only 500 points, giving him a Marginal Victory. That's a lot of spilled blood just to get a MV.

So much fun.


After visiting Pearl Harbor I really want to build a USS Arizona plastic model kit. Revell makes one for around 20 bucks. I've built plenty of model cars and planes (and am building a Revell Fighting Falcon right now), but never a ship. Sign me up.


Though I play mostly table top wargames, I have a soft spot for old Dungeons and Dragons. I've played plenty of it throughout my life and have a pretty sizeable collection of the stuff. Lately I've had the bug to reread some of the older modules and rulebooks and have been having a lot of fun with Hackmaster stuff. I've been noodling through the Ghost of Lion Castle lately and then found myself standing in a games store in Honolulu, looking down on pile of Hackmaster stuff at 40% off. Done deal. I just get so much enjoyment out of reading older styled modules. It's such a cultural touchstone for me.


Facebook is nothing if not a grade school reunion generator, and good for that. While I have connected with a fair amount of St Nick's '89 Tigers over the last year or so, the reunion has only been mentioned as a good idea someday. It looks like an '88 reunion happened in Mt. Greenwood the other day. I recognized a lot of the people in those pictures. An '89 reunion would be a blast, and I mean that beyond the initial bald/fat checklist it would secretly be. I'd win the travel distance award for sure.


I took my cross bike into the shop for a new handbuilt rear wheel and a tune up. It needs some love after being shoved into a dirty corner soon after Cyclocross racing season ended. Spring is just around the corner!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Random Kauai

We had a condo, so our first day was a trip to Costco to load up for a handful of breakfasts and lunches cooked in our condo. It's a good approach to save money and time. We stocked up on snacks as well -- plenty of macadamian nuts, a locally grown pineapple, and oranges. I like oranges a lot and the warm, tropical atmosphere had me in the mood to eat a pile of them. So I quickly grabbed the 10 lb box, slid it in the cart, and watched Becky blink and smile, "That's all you. I don't really like them."

"No problem. I love them."

Well, it turns out 10lbs is a lot of oranges. We lost one to mold, and Becky ate a few. Otherwise, I at many oranges each day. Many.

At the airport we were told that any produce whatsoever cannot head back to lower 48, so there I sat slamming down 3 oranges before heading to our gate. There was nothing else was in my stomach.

Do the math. Even in the 30 minutes before boarding you can't go to the bathroom enough to diffuse those oranges. I inconvenienced the guy seated next to me more than a few times during the first half of that flight.

I will be hard pressed to not think of oranges when I think of Kauai. I still love oranges and need to buy some soon.


There are chickens everywhere on Kauai. I cannot overstate this. They have no predators and along with the wild pigs number around 300,000. There are 60,000 people on the island and as you can imagine these chickens start screaming every morning around 5 am. After a few days it became kind of charming in the way a unique quirk about a foreign place is to the visitor. I suspect the moose have this effect on Alaskan visitors.


Kalua Pork is ridiculously delicious. I think I ate it at least 4 times. We purchased some of the red Hawaiin sea salt and will be trying to make it at home very soon. It seems easy enough.


I don't remember exactly what my expectations were regarding the perceived high points of the trip, but after leaving I cannot forget the Na Pali coast. It was beautiful and unique almost beyond words. Our dinner cruise brought us close to the shoreline and it was magnificent. I still think cruising down Turnagain arm is prettier, but this was stellar.


Hawaiian prices are pretty close to Alaskan prices, so we missed out on the sticker shock most people feel when they visit the islands. You do get hit with sales tax though, which is always an annoyance to us tax free Alaskans.


The USS Arizona memorial is extremely impressive. While waiting for our time to shuttle over to the memorial itself we watched the 15 minute film setting the stage for December 7th. Halfway through that flick I was ready to bomb Japan again, today. Within a few minutes the context and history of things crept back in and I was fine, but for a 20 second window I was ready to go.


It is now light to almost 9 pm here! It's time to get my bike to the shop for a tune up and get ready for the snow to melt next month. With any luck we won't get an early May snow dump.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

And the trip to Kauai ends in the Anchorage parking lot on Monday night. I'll have more to chat about later, but for now I am left to readjust to snow and mountains. It is nice to be home, but maybe a little nicer to still be in Hawaii.

Loads of pictures here.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

The Iditarod starts on Sunday and we'll be in Willow tailgating on a frozen lake at the official start. It's a beautiful event. You stand around a fire, whistle down a few reindeer dogs, glance at Denali (it was out last year), and listen to the state song of Alaska as mushers zip by every 5 - 10 minutes. Aside from hoping Lance Mackey pulls it off again (even though he won't smoking weed this time), I've tried to pick out a few underdogs to cheer for. They won't be winning the race, but they certainly can make a good run. I'm a fan of Zoya thanks to her interesting journey from Madison, WI to Alaska. Also, how can I not be a fan of the first Jamaican musher? Awesome. This has Cool Runnings 2 written all over it.


It's really hard to think of anything but Kauai. We leave on Monday.


As I get older I have to embrace being an adult more and more, which means getting excited about purchases that are not exciting. A Colnago road bike is exciting. So is a new Warhammer army. A new front loading washer and dryer should not be, though it is. Our dryer went the way of the dodo a few weeks ago and since it was part of a stacked washer and dryer combo, it was time to shop for both. We settled on independent units that stack quite nicely, sing songs when they are finished, and have controls more akin to a cd player than a churning old machine. It's all very exciting and we still get a big kick out of using it. We're silly about it.