Wednesday, January 8, 2014

2013: a Year the "was" and 2014 a Year that "will be"

Time for the dreaded annual retrospection, where writers cast about to turn the trivial into the triumphant.  Doing these little diatribes is actually part of the user agreement with Google's blogger product - it's in section 2305(b), right after the clause where we sign away our privacy rights.

2013 was an extremely eventful for year for me, both personally and for my gaming hobby.  It was also damn busy, but there's a good side to being busy.

WARNING: Sentimental Proud Parent "Stuff" for the next few paragraphs.  Blood sugar levels may rise upon reading - you've been warned...

The biggest event from a family perspective was the transition of our son from a senior at River Hill High School to a college freshman at Carnegie-Mellon University (hence the intro picture of Sean and Mary Beth at the end of Move-In day).  This process saw Sean complete his competitive robotics "career" by leading two teams in different competitive categories at the FIRST Robotics World Championships and winning a very prestigious "Inspire Me" personal award there.  The first half of 2013 also saw Sean earn the rank of Eagle Scout, which is a very grueling process and a great way to cap-off his time in scouting.   Scouting may not be viewed as "fashionable" or "current" by some, but I'm both very grateful for and a big proponent of the benefits the Boy Scouts bring to helping a child transition into a young man.

What I'm most proud of Sean during the course of 2013 are not his success but how he handled adversity.  The admission process for Carnegie-Mellon University (CMU) is taxing and particularly so for Sean as he got in literally at the last second off the wait list.  Each time his application was deferred, he took it as a personal challenge to prove the that the admission committee made a mistake.  He never gave up and literally wore them down until he was admitted in late May.  CMU has the worlds best robotics program and Sean has wanted to go there since he was in 7th grade.  I spoke with a member of the admissions committee during "Move-In" weekend last August and she let me know that "your son's never say die attitude was why we realized he needed to be a student at CMU".  That was a very good day.

As far as the transition to being a college student, it's gone smoothly - his grades are good and he's very work focused.  More importantly, I don't think he could be happier and is in an environment that literally is a nature preserve for nerds.  He's bouncing between majoring in Theoretical Physics or Computer Science or Mechanical Engineering with a minor in robotics.  All are fields that are beyond my feeble skills to advise on so we'll see what decisions 2014 brings

Our other transition to being empty nesters has been better than I expected but we do miss the little guy (all 6'4" and 240lbs of him) but know he's where he wants to be.

In terms of my figure painting and gaming goals for 2013, surprisingly, I did pretty well - let's look at the replay tape....

Figures Painted:
28mm Infantry                   411 (lots of Confederates plus a few WW2 Brits and Japanese)
28mm Cavalry                       2
28mm Artillery Pieces         12
28mm Vehicles                      7
1/2400 Ships                          1

28mm Buildings                    6
Tree plates                             8
28mm Stone Walls                8 feet
28mm hedges                        4 feet

28mm dominated my workbench in 2013, we'll need a bit more variety in 2014

2013 Goals:

(1) Attend / Host a Game at Historicon                                                        Done!
In fact Mike M and I hosted 2 linked ACW games featuring a 28mm scale model of the CSS Tenneessee built by Mike.  Both games seemed to go very well and I think I'll be focusing on ACW games for any future cons

(2) Finish the ACW Project                                                                          Done!
By Historicon I had two playable armies of 10 infantry and two cavalry regiments each.  I did "cheat" a little and had just about all of the Union stuff done by either MMPS painting or Mike M but I did 95% of the confederates.

(3) Compete in two types of tournaments                                                    Done!
I played in two Bolt Action tournaments (Cold Wars and Fall-In) and played in the Fall-In Flames of War doubles tournament with Luke from WWPD.  All of these events were a lot of fun and a great way to learn a game system.  I've always been a bit leery of the FOW tournament scene but found those concerns were ungrounded.  I do recommend that if you want to try a FOW tournament doing so via a doubles format is a great way to do so.  In terms of performance at these events, I'm happy to say I never came in last, although I severely tested Mr Melia's playing skills in the FOW tournament as he did have to carry me a bit!

(4) Finish Game Room Re-Model                                                                Half Done!
During December 2013, Sean and I made a trip to IKEA and got some inexpensive but nice (gotta love that combo) display cases so my armies all not all hidden in plastic boxes.  Sean also got my a video screen with an Apple TV device and showed me how to setup a Netflix streaming video account.  All that needs to be done is get some new chairs for the card table  and frame some military prints.  Almost there but not quite "done"

(5) Place in the top ten of the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge         Done!
Ok, I just eked out 10th place but that still qualifies.  The "Challenge" has become one of my favorite hobby events (this year's version is going on now).  It's a great event and really shows how the internet boosts hobby interaction - well done Curt!

Overall not so bad.

So what are the goals for 2014?  Well they're very similar to 2013

(1) Attend all three HMGS cons in 2014 (Cold Wars, Historicon and Fall-In)
Ever con I've attended has been a lot of fun and they're only a two hour drive away in any direction

(2) Host a game at Historicon
It will be either another ACW game (perhaps with 2 ironclads this time) or a "All Quite on the Martian Front"  Heck, I might do both!

(3) Play in a FOW tournament

(4) Finish two armies for "All Quite on the Martian Front"  (Martians and a US force).
Some of you may have seen or even participated in the kickstarted for AQMF, I know I was a backer. I've also been a play tester for the game and can tell you it's a blast to play and the models are a lot of fun to paint - I think this will be a big hit in 2014.

(5) Finish the game room by the end of March!
Enough talking about the damn remodel, just get it done!

(6) Place in the top 5 for the Analogue Painting Challenge 
This one will be a stretch

(7) Start ONLY ONE new Historical army
The hard part here is the whole "ONLY ONE" thing, hence the dramatic BOLD and underline fonts


Paul´s Bods said...

section 2305(b), right after the clause where we sign away our privacy rights. :-D Good write up.

Francis Lee said...

Good read and good luck on a No.5 finish especially!

Paul of the Man Cave said...

Well you are the first person I've seen to not fail at any of their hobby ambitions for the year so well done indeed! I've enjoyed watching your output though your blog.

"I'm both very grateful for and a big proponent of the benefits the Boy Scouts bring to helping a child transition into a young man." - I could not agree more and love it as an organisation, which is why I am so involved as a Leader.

Please pass a hearty BRAVOOO to your son (the traditional way Scouts congratulate eachother here is Australia) for his fantastic achievement in making Eagle Scout. It is indeed a proud milestone and one which you can take almost as much credit for your support over the years.

May 2014 be wonderful for you and your family Miles

James Brewerton said...

We have enjoyed following you through your big year and look forward to watching your plans being ticked off one by one this year
Peace James

Paul Robinson said...

Excellent review and particularly pleasing about your son.

jmilesr said...

Thanks for the kind comments