Friday, May 31, 2002

Talking of radio, Radio 3's show Late Junction now has it's own Record Label - their first 4 releases include LJ1, a compilation of the chilled eclectic world-musicy late night stuff they play on the show. This is high on my shopping list for the weekend - but will it sound as cool if I play it in the morning?
Radio Paradise is fantastic! It's doing no good for my productivity or the network traffic at work though.....
Phil got a letter from Dave yesterday. It was a declaration of war - or at least a challenge to play him at Paths of Glory. Dave's obviously put a lot of thought into this:

I've lined up a powerful backup team. Steve's advising me on tactics and how to confuse your opponent. Nick's agreed to ensure I don't get dehydrated.

Thursday, May 30, 2002

Read Nick Denton on the Saudis as the enemies of America.

Myself I'm puzzled and a bit discouraged by the American government's plans to attack Iraq - it seems to me that this is a continuation of pre-Sept 11 geopoliticking. If they are serious about the war on terrorism and "making no distinction between terrorists and the states that shelter them" then they should be going after the Saudis. Let the old alliances die with the old priorities - it's a different world now.
Amazing service from POS - a third party Psion repair service. I sent off my broken 5mx on Monday at lunchtime, it arrived, fixed and well packaged, in the post on Wednesday! Now I can get my life back together again.....

Tuesday, May 28, 2002

Poor Rosie, my little 15-year-old cat, had to be put down yesterday. She was very ill and unhappy, with a deep-seated infection that two courses of antibiotics had failed to shift. I'll miss her a lot, especially our usual morning greeting - a stroke of her head from me and an affectionate lick of my fingers in return. Her parting gift to me was a deep puncture wound on my finger when I was giving her a tablet last week. It was of a piece with her character - within the pretty domestic puss there lurked a savage feral beast.

Goodbye Rosie.

Monday, May 27, 2002

I'm starting to wonder if it was really such a good idea to teach Phil Paths of Glory. He insisted on starting another game this weekend. As the Central Powers he had me thoroughly rattled in the West, smashing through the fortress line in short order. The climax of his attack was a beautifully conceived pincer attack that only failed to isolate two French armies in Verdun because I rolled a six and Phil rolled a one (years of wargaming karma came through there!) This led to a swirling battle of counter-encirclements that finished with the French reeling back exhausted towards Paris, and four French armies in the deadpile.

It's a bit like playing Dave only with common-sense! He's hammering away at France but still chasing me on War Status, and covering the Eastern Front as well. Still, it's not over yet. I'll fix the little upstart........

Friday, May 24, 2002

The bottom has just dropped out of my world! My Psion 5mx has stopped working - the screen has gone. Help! What do I do next? What's happening tomorrow? Who's my doctor? How much money have I got? Who are my friends, and what are their phone numbers? Somebody help me - organise my life....
At last, a sneak peek at the counters and map for GMT's upcoming Napoleonic Wars. It looks gorgeous. I've already ordered my copy!

Thursday, May 23, 2002

A posting on alt.books.cs-lewis pointed me to this amazing resource - The Online Medieval and Classical Library, which includes translations of many of the Icelandic sagas, some by William Morris (yes, the wallpaper guy.) Has the Internet increased your anxiety about mortality? There's so much wonderful stuff out there that I will never get the chance to explore....
Not sure how I've only just become aware of this excellent site. The Games Journal has a wealth of material about Eurogames. It's not immediately obvious from the homepage, but click on archives to find loads of game reviews, rules, and articles, including How to Repair Split Boxes - a nimrod classic!

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

I don't like to blog about things I've bought. Makes me sound like some airhead consumer living from one spending buzz fix to the next. But wargames have to be exempt from this rule. Surely. This is a boardgame geeks site isn't it?

So.....ebay is great. I won an auction for Clash of Giants last week. Got a shrinkwrapped copy of the game for about half the UK retail price, even after I've paid for shipping from the US! Should be here soon. But am I undermining GMT's efforts by buying second-hand? Sigh.....more guilt.

Tuesday, May 21, 2002

At the Ashmolean Museum website there's a collection of aerial photos of Stonehenge dating from the 1930s.
It looks as if Rosie the cat still has a few lives in hand. She must be about 15 years old now, a small, grumpy, pretty tortoiseshell. I lost touch with her for a few years during the divorce, but like a lot of stuff she found her way back to my place, and now she's a fixture again.

Over the last month or two she's been off her food and losing weight. John was over last week and commented on her thinness, scolding me for my slackness about getting her to the vet. So I took her on Saturday, worried that something serious was wrong - cancer or kidney failure perhaps.

What a relief! All she has is a nasty abcess under a back tooth, which they removed under a general anaesthetic on Monday. That evening Phil and I enjoyed the company of a woozy but visibly happier cat. Of course I'm £160 lighter - you could get a lot of kittens, vaccinated and 'seen to', for that........

Monday, May 20, 2002

Why spend a lot of time looking for wargaming opponents when you can breed your own?

Phil was at home Saturday evening - unusually - and announced that he wanted to play something "with strategy and a map". So I got Paths of Glory out of its box. Phil took the Central Powers, and very quickly got the hang of the rules (he's a clever boy). Unfortunately I forgot that we were playing the Introductory Scenario, which led to accusations of cheating later on Sunday, when I was using my Limited War deck to activate the Italians and send them marching into Southern Germany. But he loves the game, and wants to play it again.

And so another nimrod is born........
That was satisfying!

I've cleaned up the nimrods template a bit, deleting links to blogs I never read, adding some to blogs I've recently discovered and would like to read. I want to go round this loop a few more times - there are still too many US sites and not enough British ones. And too many warblogs, I should maybe thin them out a bit. Reading too many warblogs just makes me angry.

And I dropped the links to old skiing holiday photos. So if anyone out there is still interested, bookmark these while you still can:
Lauterbrunnen (L02)
Schladming (TA12)

Thursday, May 16, 2002

This is a first for me! Commercial recognition at last? (Probably not.) I was emailed the other day by Mars Hill Review who asked me to plug their site (and their paper publication) on nimrods. And as it turns out I'm very happy to do so, it's right up my street, focussed on the crossover between Christianity and culture. The two articles I looked at on the website - on Johnny Cash and O Brother, Where Art Thou? - are of the very highest quality.

Mars Hill Review is a journal of provocative thought and transcendent stories. We challenge common assumptions that music, film, literature and other narratives are inherently secular or sacred.

And they offered me a free sub.....

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

Great! Another boardgaming blogger - Matthew Baldwin writes Defective Yeti. Also check out Aces Up which is his dormant but opinion-rich games website.

On certain days I try to write about certain things.
Mon: Books
Tues: Politics
Wed: Humorous Observations About Yogurt*
Thurs: Games
Fri: Movies

Tuesday, May 14, 2002

I think I'm in love with Michelle Yeoh.

I watched Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon on Sunday and was bowled over by it. This page at Magic Lantern has loads of background information, including stuff about wuxia pian, the storytelling tradition that the film grows out of:

The wuxia pian, or film of martial chivalry, is rooted in a mythical China, but it has always reinvented itself for each age. Like the American Western, the genre has been reworked to keep in touch with audiences' changing tastes and to take advantage of new filmmaking technology. Yet at the center it retains common themes and visceral appeals.
Dave and I had great fun yesterday evening trying out Clash of Giants. We ran through the first five turns of the Tannenburg game in less than two hours, reading the rules as we went along (the whole thing is 15 turns). The game is beautifully produced, with large, good-looking counters and an attractive map. It took me back to wargaming's golden age in the 70s, games that I cut my teeth on like Napoleon at Waterloo or Winter War with low counter densities, simple rules, and absorbing gameplay with loads of replay value.

Monday, May 13, 2002

Fascinating article from USS Clueless about the Mongols. I'm particularly interested because the Mongols are the only miniatures army I have ever had the persistence to paint (in adult life anyway).

In the mechanized age of blitzkrieg in the 1940's in Europe, an advance of 30 miles in a day was considered near miraculous, and it couldn't be maintained. A sustainable rapid advance was on the order of five to ten miles per day. But the Mongols could move fifty miles per day and keep it up for weeks. No army in history has ever moved overland as rapidly as the Mongols.

Friday, May 10, 2002

Very exciting news on ConSimWorld this morning! GMT are definitely offering Richard Borg's Ancients BattleCry on their new P500 list at the end of May. I love Battle Cry, and the idea of this style of game - simple rules, fast play, card-driven, visual spectacle, lots of toy soldiers - transferred to Ancient warfare, is very appealing. Very appealing indeed!

P500 is your chance to make sure it happens folks, so get those credit cards ready!

Thursday, May 09, 2002

Last Saturday driving over to Bristol with Phil to visit his brother Gavin at Bristol. Phil, who wants to be a lawyer, was chatting away, on a roll, when he came up with the idea of genetic assault, the idea that you can inflict harm on someone by passing on your genes to him. Says he wants to see it enshrined in English Law.

I now have a clear duty, for the good of my country, to do everything I can to stop my son going any further with his education.

I've already taken the first step, which was to buy Gavin's PS2 off him and install it at home. That should scupper Phil's A-level chances.....

Wednesday, May 08, 2002

Re the MMP sale - on the other hand, they charge $23 for shipping, which makes it not such an attractive proposition. Oh well, do I really need any more wargames anyway?
OK I'm having a really busy day at work, but this is important - Multiman Publishing are selling off most of their Gamers and AH inventory at 50%. So you can get Breakout Normandy (my favourite WW2 game ever) for $17.50 for example, or Stalingrad Pocket for $17!
My plan for the bank holiday weekend was to avoid all Siren calls of pleasure and concentrate on the task of painting the outside woodwork on my house. But first I just had to pop into town on Saturday morning and pay some bills etc. And why not phone Nick and meet him for a coffee while I'm at it?


Over coffee Nick talked me into a Thirty Years War session on Sunday. Sunday afternoon came round and we started the Intervention Scenario, with me as the Protestants. I quickly lost Gustavus in battle and my powerful Swedish army got worn down and defeated by attrition from alternate attacks by the Bavarian and Imperial armies. We enjoyed that so much we immediately swapped sides and started again, when I did exactly the same to Nick that he had just done to me. There must be a way for the Protestants to win this one - we just haven't figured it out yet.

Then it was over to Nick's place for dinner with Anne and their friends Jay and John. Everyone was keen to play Lord of the Rings, which was great fun, even though we all got killed in Shelob's Lair, so we played it again, getting a little further but still perishing. And the evening was rounded off with a game of Chrononauts which didn't go down as well - it was the wee hours by then, and I think we were all tired.

Who needs games conventions when you can get totally gamed out in Salisbury?

Tuesday, May 07, 2002

Lots of gaming fun on Sunday, but no chance to write about it yet as working on several nested computer crises today..........

Friday, May 03, 2002

Oh no! My Mum has just figured out how to do text messages!
A nicely presented Planetary Alignment photo, should help me work out which is which. (via EvilGaz)

I actually got a good view of the planets on Wednesday night when I was driving home late, but as I was doing 70mph on a bendy road at the time and couldn't find anywhere to stop, I didn't give them my full attention. But I get a reasonable view westwards out of my bedroom window, except for a pesky urban tree which blocks out Mercury, and a bit of light pollution of course.
Hmm, perhaps it's time to go back and do a little redesign work? The Scourge of Arial: Arial's ubiquity is not due to its beauty. It's actually rather homely. Not that homeliness is necessarily a bad thing for a typeface. With typefaces, character and history are just as important. Arial, however, has a rather dubious history and not much character. In fact, Arial is little more than a shameless impostor. (via plep)

Thursday, May 02, 2002

The new photos from Hubble are amazing - my favourite is the "Tadpole".
Blogging for the Lord: Christian bloggers are exploding. No, let’s start that again. The number of Christians with weblogs devoted largely to spiritual matters is soaring. (via Relapsed Catholic)

Wednesday, May 01, 2002

It's my guess that the tribe of frothers are very closely related to nimrods - probably genetically indistinguishable, but with slight variations in customs, traditions, and dress-sense.

You are a David Weinberger.

You are smart, savvy, interested in why people do what they do,
enjoy questioning yourself and are not balding.

Take the What Blogging Archetype Are You test at