31 July 2010


I've been watching some videos of rally racing over the last week.  That is a crazy sport.  As I understand it, the cars race one by one over a specified course with varying terrain to see who can get the best time.  Each car has a driver and a navigator, who tries to keep the driver updated on which turns to take and what to expect while the driver concentrates on keeping the vehicle upright and pointed in the proper direction.  Here are some pictures I nabbed off the net.

I don't think I've got the innards to drive like these maniacs, but it sure is exciting to watch.  If you like cars at all I suggest you do a search for 'rally racing' on Youtube and check it out.

28 July 2010

Giving Up the Ghost

Today there were some thunderstorms and a big burst of rain in the afternoon.  Today there were also contractors on top of the building re-doing the roof.  During the morning they'd been using a front-end loader to get supplies up and down, and apparently it cracked a hole in the roof.  After the rainstorm all the water on the roof pooled up above my supervisor's office and came down through the ceiling, knocking out the tiles and flooding his office.  We got most of his stuff out of there before things got too wet, but judging by the visitors we had, it was one of the most exciting things to ever happen in our building.  Even the cashier at the PX had heard about it by the end of the day.  He saw my supervisor's name tag and said, "Hey, you're the guy whose office flooded, aren't you?"  Exciting stuff for those in cubicle land.
Because of the forecast I chose to drive the old Subaru.  It rolled over 240k miles this last week, and it is in the beginning stages of giving up the ghost.  On the way home from work it died on me twice, both times at intersections, and it really cannot be trusted anymore.  Just to repair the known issues with the vehicle would cost a couple times what the car is worth, and I really don't want to dump that money into a vehicle that I only need until the middle of August, when I depart for other climes and become reliant on government-issued transportation (even if that comes in the form of four new pairs of boots).

In anticipation of my eventual triumphant return to home station I've been researching commuter cars.  What I'd really like to get is a gently-used Subaru WRX, a vehicle that both my wife and I have appreciated from afar since I can remember, but the fuel economy on that particular model is merely average.  I could go with an Impreza, which sacrifices a little pep and loses some of the aggressive styling, but gains enough gas mileage to split the difference between the WRX and the subcompacts I've been looking at.

The most promising little car I've run into so far is the Honda Fit.  The upcoming Ford Fiesta receives very high marks, but used examples will probably still be a little out of my preferred range at the time I'm looking for my next ride.  The fit does look sort of like a mini-minivan, but gets better reviews than anything in its class outside of the aforementioned Fiesta.

Either way, I've got about a year to think about it and I hope the current old Subaru has still got a few hundred miles left on it.  I just need it to get through another 3-4 weeks and then it can go off to that Pick-a-Part in the sky (or the one here in town).

Of course, thinking about Foundry's book sale has rekindled my Pirate tavern brawl plans.  I've been packing up my hobby room so that my wife will have another room to use while I'm gone.  Her mother might come up here from Georgia to help with the babies as long as she can, and having that room available will be more convenient than making her sleep downstairs.  She can't have the closet, though.  I have to put all my stuff in there.  She can't have my desk, either.  Or most of the bookshelf.  But the rest of the room she can have.

Anyway, I was packing up my stuff and I came across my dozen or so painted Foundry pirates, and two or three lots of unpainted Foundry pirates I've accumulated over the years (probably 45 different figures), and I got to thinking about how neat it would be to have some town guardsmen and some musketeers and some townsfolk and the governor (and his beautiful daughter) and some regular civilians and a harbor with some ships and a tavern with a suggestive name and perhaps even a fort. Oh, and a shark.  It is hard to discipline yourself when you have a shiny toy complex.  I really don't think I'll act on all of that any time in the near future, but it's a rush to imagine the spectacle of it all.

Wargames Foundry Books 50% Off

Wargames Foundry is having a sale on their books.  I'm not sure how long the sale will last, but all of their books are 50% off.  I've got most of the Foundry books I want, although the Foundry Compendium and a few packs of soldiers to fight my Pirates is a tempting proposition.  Any order from Foundry that includes books comes with free shipping, which helps a little to subsidize the high cost of the figures.  Usually I buy my Foundry books through Amazon, but under the sale the Compendium can be had for $15.75, beating out the Amazon price of $21.67.  Most of the recent glitzy rulebooks (The Rules With No Name, Napoleon) can be had for $26.25, while they are on Amazon for $35.10.  So if there are any books from Foundry you've been looking at, now could be a good time to get them.

I, like much of the hobby, it seems, have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Foundry.  I really like their sculpts, but their regular list prices always seem to be a little more than I want to pay.  Even their sale prices leave me feeling a bit iffy.  I've been wanting one of their Pirate Horde deals since probably 1997, but I've never actually been able to bring myself to complete the purchase.  Usually I just pick up random lots on eBay or through The Miniatures Page at steep discounts.

One thing I would like to try is the Foundry Flesh Paint line.  I've grown a little tired of the same three Games Workshop colors and I'd like to add a little diversity to my Empire and Imperial Guard armies.  The Foundry paint is more expensive per bottle, but it contains more paint and works out to be cheaper per unit.  I've got nothing in the hobby budget at the moment, so I'll probably wait another year or so to give it a try.

26 July 2010

Trades and Inventories

I've been taking a few minutes here and there over the last month to inventory all of my Warhammer and Warhammer 40k figures.  The other game systems will have to wait a little while for me to get to them.  I loaded my Dwarf figures into Army Builder and what I've got on-hand comes out to almost exactly 2500 points, depending on how I gear out my characters and how the unit sizes shake out.  That's a pretty decent number and I can't think of anything that really needs to be added to the collection, although a unit of elite warriors like Hammerers or Ironbreakers to hold the center of my line wouldn't be a bad thing.  Supposedly Dwarves have been helped by the new rules, with increased charge distances and the new shooting rules.  I wouldn't know if that's a legitimate rumor, but that's what I've heard.

A few days ago I completed my first Fantasy Baseball trade of the season.  It will probably also be my last of the season, as Yahoo! Public Leagues aren't very active on the trading front.  Half the managers just draft their teams and forget about them for the rest of the season, and the rest are overly attached to 'their' players.  I am one of those that gets attached to my teams, but I consider myself fairly open to offers.  The guy I traded with was asking for one of my closers in exchange for a batter who has been pretty bad for most of the season but has been top 5 for the last month.  I've got a pretty good lead over the rest of the league for saves and my batting really needs some help, so I accepted the offer and I think it improved my team.  Then I went and picked up a newly-appointed closer off of the waiver wire and basically came out as if I hadn't traded my guy away.  Crafty, eh?  My team is sitting in third place with a lot of ground to cover if I want to move up in the standings, but this move should at least help me to stay on the podium.  It's probably not worth a blog post, but since it's likely the only trade I'll complete this year it qualifies as an event.

24 July 2010

Today was a pretty good day. We went out for smoothies and spent a little time at one of the local arcades. The boy had a good time on the carousel and all of the little toddler rides. We played a few games and won enough tickets to get him a little toy car prize. I don't have a lot of weekends left before I take off for my extended vacation, so I'm trying to make time for the family. It's unfortunate that I have to take off while my boy is at such a fun age. He loves to horseplay with me and during the day when he hears a noise outside he points to the door and asks my wife, "Papa?" I try to keep it in perspective by reminding myself that one-year deployments are a relatively new development. Past generations often went away until the war was over, and you read a lot about people leaving their homes and families to get a job and send money home. I'm still not sure how having twins halfway through my absence will work out. One baby is a crazy thing to deal with; two babies and a toddler just seems a little over the top. I hope that her support system is able to keep things going for her.

I've been considering what exactly I'm going to do while I'm overseas. I know I'm going to try painting up my Dwarf Warhammer army and I want to work toward a higher PT test score, but I'd like to do something that's new to me as well. I'm thinking about building a website, mostly just a glorified blog. The trick is that I want to learn about optimization and build it as a money-making venture. From what I've read on the subject, a blog site that is well-networked and has good content will take a year or two to really make any money. I'm hoping to make enough from it to fund my hobbies, but I've seen a great number of bloggers out there who make a living from their websites. These are generally the well-established bloggers with large readerships and regular updates, but it's something to work toward. Anyway, it's an idea I'm kicking around.

I Am No Longer a Flaming Ball of Anger

I'm more of a Smoldering Mass of Inner Discomfort, now that I've put a day or so between me and stress of the retail experience. I went to the DMV this morning, as my wife pointed out to me that if I didn't get the vehicle registered today she wouldn't be able to legally drive it over the weekend. The DMV here locally is never very busy in the morning. Today I was at the counter within probably 45 seconds of getting a number and sitting down in the waiting area. The time before that I think I was about 10 numbers away from being called, so it took a good fifteen minutes to get to a counter and complete my transaction. The greatest danger is really forgetting to set my phone alarm to ring instead of vibrate so I wake up on time to get there at opening time instead of an hour later. That leads to burning a little more leave than I would like.

A few exciting things to post about today, for me at least. Normally I might break this up into two or three posts, but I'm tired and just want to get something up without a lot of messing around. In the world of Warhammer, photos have been popping up of the figures that will be in the upcoming Island of Blood starter set for Warhammer Fantasy. I've placed a few of the leaked photos from the Skaven below, as Elves hold no interest for me, especially the High Elves. First up we've got this Warlock Engineer. He looks all right, but I think I prefer the older metal model with the whole pile of gadgets and junk on him. This guy just seems to be a much-simplified version of that old model.

These Rat Ogres, on the other hand, are in my opinion light years ahead of the old models. It's too bad there are rumored to be just two of them in the set, as you need at least three models to make up a full rank of monstrous infantry in 8th edition. Maybe this is a sign that a boxed kit of some sort in the newer style is coming out at some point.

And finally we have a model for the Poisoned Mortar that showed up in the latest rulebook, as well as an updated Warpfire Thrower team. The old Warpfire Thrower team really looked aged compared even to the last edition's models. It's nice to have a sleeker model for it.

In other news, Nike thankfully released a Trainer 1.2 for Bo Jackson that wasn't in Oakland Raider colors. This one can be seen on the Eastbay blog and is part of the MLB Legends series, so it features Kansas City Royals colors. If I had to choose a favorite team based solely on colors, I think Kansas City would be it. I just like it a lot. Maybe if I wanted to be obnoxious I would choose the ugly era Astros (1975-1986), but in my opinion you can't beat Royals blue. This is just an attractive shoe. I suppose it's a bit flashy, but apparently I like flashy shoes. I never really would have pegged myself as that guy, but my wife doesn't have the mental filters in place that I've got and she maintains that in spite of my vision of self, I am that guy who likes to wear bright colors on my feet. At least my personal fashion quirk isn't leather pants or sequined catsuits.

Also on the Eastbay blog is the announcement that the Hyperfuse is up for pre-order, including the green colorway that Rajon Rondo wore in the playoffs. I do wonder if all the mesh would help keep my feet from sweating and overheating, but I'd have to actually play some ball before the benefits would be anything but hypothetical.

Speaking of cars, shoes, and miniatures, I find that with the large lead times that the internet affords I am often tired of a product or see it as old news before it's even released for sale. Often photos or spoilers will be released many months prior to the drop date, and constant over-exposure will numb me to a product before it's even available to me. I wind up not buying the product because by the time it releases it has been discussed and rated for six months prior and everyone's moved on to something else. If I were to ignore all the press and the internet hype and just stumble upon a new release in the hobby shop, I think I would be much more excited than I am in the current environment. Perhaps too much information has numbed me a little bit to the excitement of the new and unknown? I think that was all much too philosophical, so I'll end with a couple pictures of those sweet Astros uniforms (with a bonus mustache!).

Honestly, that mustache belongs on the face of a general or dictator, not a baseball player. It's like an automatic +10 to Charisma (my wife would say it's more like a -10, but I don't think she fully understand the power of a thick mustache) if you can grow a lip-warmer like that one. That guy needs to be put in charge of something right now. I bet he'd be great at it, whatever it was.

Oh, and I guess since my wife posted it on her blog, I can also reveal that the baby in her belly is actually two babies. That's the main reason we needed a minivan. As long as everything keeps progressing well, we're going to be having twins early next year.

21 July 2010

Let's Not Do That Again

We finally made it back from the car dealership with the new (to us) van. Buying it was a horrible experience from start to finish. There are very few experiences that are as frustrating and awful as purchasing a vehicle. By the time I am finished dealing with the paperwork, the sleazy salesmen, the stupid contract games, and the bank I am so angry that I can't even stand to look at the new vehicle. Buying my truck was a bad experience, and buying this van was more of the same.

Purchasing my motorcycles wasn't anything like this. The salesmen are generally pretty pushy, but the paperwork seemed to go a lot faster, they didn't run back to the manager 15,000 times to check on things, and I was generally on the bike and on my way long before I became too angry to care anymore.

The only auto sales place I've come away from feeling good about the transaction is Oasis Auto in Boise on State Street. They specialize in Subarus, but usually have a few other things on the lot as well. The salesman worked with us, didn't try to push a bunch of baloney on us or hide a whole pile of crap in the contract that had to be dealt with, and the guys in the service department have always treated my wife well, even though we bought one of the cheapest cars on their lot. I wish that they'd had anything in their inventory that matched our needs, because I would go back in a second to avoid the jackasses that are employed at every other dealership we've been to. I think I'll just have to try the private party thing next time, since I won't have a trade-in or anything to worry about.

I think I will miss my truck a bit, but in the end they're all just boxes to ride around in. At least I can cross the Peterson Autoplex, the Edmark Superstore, and Mountain Home Auto Ranch off of my list of dealers to look for cars at. I'm probably going to be angry for three weeks just thinking about it. I hope that when I'm thinking about buying another car someone can point me to this post and remind me that I don't want to go to a dealership, no matter how good the deal looks in the ads or on the lot. I feel like a moron for doing it again this time.

20 July 2010

Well I Guess This Is Growing Up

We found out a while back that the IUI (fertility treatments) took hold and my wife is pregnant again, so that's pretty exciting. We had the ultrasound a week or so ago, and realized that as long as everything goes well we are going to need a larger car for my wife to drive around while I'm in the Middle East doing the Army thing.

After getting some advice, looking around online, and making a plan we went to a dealership tonight and arranged to buy a minivan. The best arrangement for us is to trade in my truck and my wife's current vehicle, so for the time being we will just have the van and the motorcycle. We looked at a few family-hauler SUVs, but the available options weren't exactly what we were looking for. I'm glad we will be able to finally get something nice for my wife to drive, as she deserves it, but I will miss my truck. When I get back home we will look into getting a commuter car for me and hopefully an old beater work truck, too. For now we're lucky to be in an arrangement that gets us out of a bad truck loan, gives my wife reliable and roomy transportation while I'm away, and allows us to concentrate on paying off some other stuff.

This weekend I had a diagnostic PT test for the National Guard. My run pace has been a bit off the mark for the last couple of weeks, so I figured I would do my best and see where I was at, but didn't really think I would be able to beat the minimum time for the 2 miles. The first event (push-ups) went better than I anticipated, so I got a little pumped up from that. My push-up score wasn't anything special, but it was okay.

For the run my goal was to try to hang with the younger guys for as long as I could and hopefully at least finish the two miles without walking. I kept up with them for a while, but they started to pull ahead or fall back and I found myself alone between groups. Usually I slow down a lot on lap 5 or 6, but my Platoon Sergeant started catching up to me around that time and I pushed myself to stay ahead of him. He finally caught me and we ran the last couple of laps neck and neck until I sprinted at the end to beat him by a few seconds. I only beat the minimum by about 20 seconds, but I passed the test and the scorers were duly impressed the sprint at the end. I could hardly walk for the rest of the day, but my knee hasn't bothered me much today aside from the occasional twinge while stopped on my motorcycle.

I have to keep up the running because I will be taking another test for record next month. You have to designate whether a test is diagnostic or record before you take it, so a passing diagnostic test can't be recorded as an official test. I hadn't anticipated passing the run this soon, so I hadn't properly made plans to reward myself with a copy of the Warhammer Fantasy 8th Edition rulebook. I'll probably just wait until I get home or save up some of the discretionary money set aside in the deployment budget.

13 July 2010

Running on Empty

I was finally able to run the full two miles, although to be honest I walked a bit, especially on the last of four laps. The knee hurt a lot on the first lap, went down to a dull ache for the second and third laps, and went back to hurting more on the last lap. The pace was better than I expected, as I was only off the bare minimum time for my age by a couple of minutes. I should be able to make it if I can cut out the walking and pick up my pace a little bit. I think hydrating properly during the day would help my run time immensely. It's one of those things that you can't do all at once right before you go running. That's the sort of thing that makes your lunch go back out through the entrance.

There are a few wristband-style GPS devices that can track your runs/bike rides and some of them can even be pre-programmed with a specific route and pace, then beep to let you know when you're exceeding or falling behind on your time. They seem pretty neat, but really all you need is a ten-dollar watch with a stopwatch feature and a little motivation to keep running. It won't upload your routes to a website and track where, how fast, and how far you've run, but the optional gadgets are just that, optional. Some of the major shoe manufacturers have their own versions with different features and associated online communities, and Garmin has a few different devices too. I'm not sure if Garmin has an online community or not.

The boy has been waking up very early in the morning and refusing to go back to sleep. It leaves us with a dilemma, as at least one of us has to get up and chase him around or do battle trying to keep him in his bed on the off chance that he might go back to sleep. He is an extremely vocal child, so usually once he's up and yelling it means both parents are stuck being awake regardless of who is actually in his room applying the ineffectual go-back-to-sleep-it's-two-hours-before-my-alarm-goes-off process. It starts out firm and demanding, but as official wake-up time approaches the meter swings over to the pleading and despair side of things. In the daytime it's easy to say that we will stand firm and not let a two-year old dictate our schedule, but in the dead of night we lose some of our strength. I hope things improve soon.

I helped my parents out with moving some heavy stuff yesterday. Riding out to their house gave me a chance to grind the footpegs on my bike a little bit. It always surprises me how easily the cruiser touches the ground when negotiating turns at speed. I don't usually catch my boots on the road, but sometimes I do scrape a little. After the moving was done for the evening they took me out for dinner, so it was a winning situation for me.

10 July 2010

Oh My Goodness, Nolan Ryan!

I ran into an interesting post on the Nice Kicks blog featuring some upcoming shoes that honor various athletes. Two of the shoes highlight a couple of my favorites, Nolan Ryan and Bo Jackson.

Nolan Ryan is one of the great pitchers in Major League Baseball history. He set a lot of records in both positive and negative stats, much like Brett Favre in the NFL (without all the retirements and comebacks). He was saddled a bit by his wild pitching and the fact that he played for teams that were often mediocre. Like my favorite basketball player, Hakeem Olajuwon, he played for a Houston team and wore the number 34, so it only makes sense that he would be one of my favorite players. Those uniforms were a bit silly, though.

I guess he was a pretty intimidating pitcher, and he was involved in a couple of famous fights on the field, probably the most famous being the time he put Robin Ventura in a headlock and punched him six times.

"(Nolan) Ryan's the only guy who puts fear in me. Not because he could get me out, but because he could kill me. You just hoped to mix in a walk so you could have a good night and go 0-for-3." - Reggie Jackson

Unfortunately, this shoe doesn't commemorate Nolan Ryan as an Astro. Instead, it is in Texas Ranger colors and celebrates his 7th no-hitter in 1991. It also features a train logo, as Ryan's nickname was "The Ryan Express."

The Bo Jackson shoe is in Oakland Raider colors, which is again an unfortunate turn of events. My loyalty to the Denver Broncos would not allow me to wear these colors, especially given how awful the Raiders have been the last few years. The only teams I hate more than the Raiders are the Chargers and the Chiefs, the other teams in the AFC West. The Raiders of yesteryear are maybe not quite as despicable as today's sorry team, but they're still the Raiders. Aside from the Raiders affiliation, the shoes are pretty sharp-looking.

Warhammer Fantasy 8th Edition

I went in to the local Hobbytown today to have a look at the new Warhammer rulebook. I saw it, and they also had a few sets of the Limited Edition Skull Dice (some old-timey-looking dice with skulls instead of pips) and a few Engineer's Ranging Sets (a huge set of stylized plastic calipers and a similarly-styled plastic fold-out ruler). If I were younger and had ten bucks to blow, the dice might be sort of neat, but the Ranging Set just looks cumbersome to use and is pretty overpriced as far as quirky gaming aids go. I didn't see anyone else there looking at Warhammer stuff, but the store here in Nampa is pretty slow most time anyway. They've got a fairly active trading card game community and there is usually someone in there looking for R/C Car parts, but that's about it. The Boise store may have had a few more people in for the release, but I didn't want to drive all the way out there to look at a shrink-wrapped book.

I didn't buy the rulebook. They've got a pretty decent price on it and I have a coupon for an additional $5.00 off a purchase, but I really have no need for it at the moment. My last game of Warhammer was in July 2007, and since then my Skaven have been changed so much by the new army book and now the new rulebook that I'm wondering if I can adapt them or if I'll have to replace whole sections of the army to make them work under the current rules. Most of the changes can be read about online, and that's probably all I need to make army lists and occasionally paint something. I doubt I'll be playing any games before late 2011-early 2012, so I'll either pick up the book or the starter box then and probably save myself a few dollars.

The only reason to pick up the book now would be to fulfill some inner desire to participate in the gaming community's excitement over the new rules and the changes to the various armies. This would be somewhat misguided, sort of like a banker who buys a Harley as a way to feel like a rebel biker by wearing leather and riding around on the weekends, as I am not really a member of any gaming community here locally. I've got a couple of acquaintances who are mildly interested in miniatures, a cousin who plays various games, and a lot of gaming blogs that I read, but in spite of my best intentions I really just exist on the fringes of the community, never really actually participating. That's sort of a theme for my life, not just the gaming side of things, and goes a long way toward explaining why I don't really have any close friends (some immediate family excepted).

I may make purchase of the book/box set an incentive-based thing, perhaps contingent on my ability to pass the army-mandated physical fitness test. The doctors say my knee injury is healed and so I've got a 90-day window in which I have to pass the test. I've been running after work, but my knee hurts so much that I haven't even completed the required 2 miles, much less to the time standard. I'm going to have to find a way to get there, though, as my actual window is much less than 90 days. With upcoming training I've probably only got a month or two before I absolutely have to pass it. The implications are pretty deep, as we are depending on the upcoming deployment to help us get to a good place financially. Additionally, failing the test at this juncture would negatively affect my military career, which directly affects my ability to keep my civilian job. So I've pretty much got our entire livelihood resting on a wonky knee that so far isn't cooperating very much. My skills aren't that marketable outside of the military world, and my skills at marketing myself are abysmal, so I really feel a lot of pressure to perform at the moment. It's got me pretty worried, and with everything that's going on professionally I haven't been able to spend the quality time with my family that I'd like to before I go away for a year. Even when I am home, I feel so grouchy and low that I must be unpleasant to be around. I guess that's enough ranting for one day. I don't think I will be making much progress on the hobby side of things for a while, although I might post a few ideas or something here and there.

06 July 2010


This is going to be a long, rambling post that may never go anywhere, so I won't blame anyone for bailing out after the first few sentences. It's one of those ones that I write mostly for my own benefit.
I've been reading a lot of personal finance blogs lately, with a few frugal living and investing sites thrown in. I think the thing about finances that I like is all the projections, planning, and calculations that are involved. It's like Fantasy Baseball, only the numbers are actually relevant to my life.

Lately I've been turning my eye toward transportation costs and thinking about selling my truck. Aside from housing, getting my keister to and from work is the biggest cost I've got. I finally remembered to reset the trip meter on my bike so I could get a reading on the fuel economy I've been getting. On the last tank of gas I got 51 1/2 miles per gallon, a far cry better than the 15 1/2 mpg my truck gets. I love my truck, but paying for gas and whatnot is an increasingly heavy and meaningless burden. When I first got the truck, my round trip to work was just over 8 miles. Then I got a new job and the commute tripled to about 26 miles. Then we bought a house and my commute extended by another 20 miles to a 46-mile round trip. It's nice having the truck to move bulky or heavy things, but we don't use it for that often enough to justify the expense of using it as a commuter. So I've been thinking and calculating and reading and projecting.

It would be nice to ride the bike to work all the time, but the variable weather makes this impractical or uncomfortable several months out of the year. If we have a wet spring like we did this year, the riding season is pretty short. The next best thing to the motorcycle is a little economy car, either something newer with really good gas mileage or something a little older that I don't have to make payments on. I projected out the various fuel costs, and over 100,000 miles (approximately 7 1/2 years) the economy car would basically pay for itself versus keeping the truck and driving it. I knew that driving the truck was hurting my wallet, but until I projected the numbers out for a couple of years I wasn't aware of how much.

All of this led me to look at various options. Selling the truck if I can find a buyer for it is pretty much a given. After coming up with some pretty solid dollar amounts I just can't stomach the thought of giving up all that just for the privilege of driving a truck to work. For a lot less I could drive a commuter car around, pay cash for an old beater truck to be used when I really have to haul something, and use the savings to fund things that are important to me, like increased retirement savings, a nice vacation for my family, motorcycle upgrades, all the miniatures I could ever want, or any number of things that are far more important to me than getting from point A to point B on a particular set of wheels.

There are even those who would argue that for a fraction of the price of motorized commuting I could purchase a very nice bicycle and commute under my own power. With a little maintenance I'm sure a good bicycle would outlast most cars while being a little less finicky about weather than a motorcycle. The health benefits alone would probably serve to make a strong case for bicycle commuting. But riding 23 miles every morning and evening sure sounds like a lot of work, although there are some days when the bicycle commute would surely take less time than the Interstate. It's an idea, but probably one that I'm not quite ready for.

I have wandered far and wide from my hobby-centric blog, and posts like these make me wonder a little if I should split up and write a few different blogs for each topic of interest to me (miniatures and gaming/personal finance/sports/news and interaction with family). The more I think about it, though, the more I think that splitting things up would just be confusing to me and annoying to those folks who follow my ramblings. Besides that, this blog is very self-serving, mostly functioning as a place for me to work out things in my mind. Even when thinking about things that I don't post here, I often try to form the ideas in my mind as a blog post as a way to edit my thoughts for clarity.

With my upcoming trip overseas I would expect that hobby posts will be few and far between, perhaps for quite a while. I do intend to pick up the new Warhammer Fantasy rulebook at some point in the future and I have plans to build a kit with paints, brushes, and my Dwarf army to stick in a footlocker to accompany me to the Middle East. Hopefully I can find a place and some time to paint an army while I'm away.

But for now I am focused mostly on preparing the house and family for my departure and getting practical things out of the way, like selling my truck and clearing stuff out of the garage. It's not great fun, but I would like to leave my family with a few less things to worry about while I'm off playing Army.

03 July 2010

On Friday I left work a little early so I could go rafting with my family down the Main Fork of the Payette River. It was a pretty good day. We came into the last rapid, AMF (Adios Mother Flipper) turned wrong and a big wave flipped the raft over. I spent a few seconds underneath the raft and got banged around a bit by the rowing frame, but we were able to recover everyone and only came out missing an oar and a couple pairs of shoes. I'm feeling it a bit today, though, as every one of my limbs has got some sort of bump, bruise, or strain. Going through the last part of the rapid in my life jacket was an interesting experience. The waves look big when you're in the raft, but they look even bigger when you're down in the water. I was on the oars when we flipped, and I think it could have been avoided if someone with more experience had been steering. The boat kind of got away from me after the first couple of waves.

I'm glad we went when we did, as on the drive home the road headed up to the river was bumper to bumper with everyone going up for the long weekend. We beat the crowds by a couple of hours, which was nice. To me there's nothing worse than trying to enjoy the outdoors surrounded by a couple hundred thousand other people.

Tonight we had a friend over for dinner, and then we played Super Smash Bros. on the Wii for the rest of the evening. That was pretty fun, although my thumbs are getting a bit sore from so much video gaming. Not to the point that they'd get when I was younger and I had to put Band-Aids on them to squeeze a few more hours in, but they're pretty sore. Now it's time to get to bed, as the boy will wake up early whether we want him to or not.