I Don’t Look Like John Goodman Do I?

0051_small Well, do I?

I arrived back in Singapore tonight and as I was collecting my bags one of the ground staff at Changi said “you look like that star, you know, the one who played Fred Flintstone”.

My immediate fear was the cartoon until I recalled the movie.

“Who, John Goodman” says I?

“Yes, that’s the one” said she, “but I mean that in the nicest possible way”.

Well, I guess it is an improvement from the past. When I lived and worked in Korea I had a beard and I was always being mistaken for Kenny Rogers – so John Goodman works for me!

Wikileaks Strikes Thomo’s Hole

thomos_hole_stats Thomo’s Hole consistently gets around 130 to 200 hits per day and has done so for some time now (thanks folks).  There was a sharp decline the other day however. We dropped to 94 hits on 11 December 2010. This coincided with the Denial of Service attacks on Visa, Mastercard and Amazon amongst others.

Thomo’s Hole is hosted on Amazon and I guess this explains the negative result for the day.

Of course, the thing I can’t understand about the whole Wikileaks thing is that Wikileaks is not stealing these documents. All Wikileaks is doing is the same thing that the New York Times or the Sydney Morning Herald is doing and that is printing already leaked documents.

Weighty Matters

imageSome of you may recall the image of Thomo suspended on high and being lowered to the ground by a delightful young lady a third of his weight. I did.

I therefore decided that I would do something about it. I’d noticed that my weight had not really changed all that much over the past couple of years – well, there was a loss of weight in the periods I lived and worked in Korea and Mongolia and an increase in the time I was in Saudi Arabia but overall it had remained the same within a range of a few kilograms.

This suggested to me that my daily intact of nutrient (cheeseburgers, pavlovas and the odd meat pie washed down with beer being the preferred nutrients) was about equal to my daily expenditure of energy, at least proving to some that I did not necessarily just sit on my fat ding all day.

What I therefore needed was a way to expend some more energy and perhaps, at the same time, a slight change to my eating habits. I joined a gym and targeted to spend at least three days of each week doing a little exercise. Periodic weigh-ins have indicated to me that this is having some effect and in the direction I wish to go, although the last couple of weeks indicated a retro step.

So, I will continue this process – exercise and more careful eating, maintaining my Subway addiction.

“What’s your target?” I hear you ask.

Overweight. That is my first target – to just become overweight. Then I’ll sit and assess my next target at that time – oh, and maybe consider a trip back to Singapore to see if I can get myself hung-up again!

Travel, History and Wargaming

I was walking around the city today, it was lunchtime after all, and pondering what the next wargaming period would be after I finish the WW2 Italians, the Napoleonics and the WW2 Russians that are all on my acquiring and/or painting queue at the moment. My thoughts started to drift to the Great Northern War (1700-1721), famous as much for the commanders (Karl XII of Sweden and Peter the Great of Russia) as for the struggle. It also occurred around the time of the War of Spanish Succession in Europe. The thinking went something along the lines of

… hmm, what to eat for lunch
must get some food tonight – do the shopping
need to paint some more Prussians
Napoleonics …Prussia, Confederation of the Rhine, Duchy of Warsaw, Saxony
oh, northern Europe, Denmark (NATO modern), Danish Napoleonic fleet [must paint them soon too]
… Sweden [maybe I should do Swedish Army for Polemos?]
… Sweden, Saxony, Poles, Denmark, hmm, Great Northern War
… maybe I should do the Norwegian forces of the Great Northern War.

Convoluted process but the result of all that was starting to think more about wargaming the Great Northern War. this is something I have thought about many times before. I have rules, books and some figures, in both 15mm and 6mm scales. But why was I thinking about building a Norwegian Army for this war, after all, at that stage Norway was part of Denmark and their troops really did not have a great involvement in the GNW, being only at best a small sideshow?

It occurred to me that the reason I thought of Norway (and Denmark) was that I had visited the “festning” Kristiansten and Munkholmen in Trondheim as well as the main fort in Copenhagen and these all date from around those times. Indeed, Trondheim was the site of a successful defence of Midt-Norge (Middle Norway) against the Swedes who sent a small force of 3000 men to invade that part of Norway. I travelled to these places, lived in Norway in Trondheim for three years (and I would happily live there again at the drop of a hat) and find that I have developed an interest in modelling their armies in wargame terms.

I then started to see a connection between history, travel and wargaming and noticed that there were a few armies I was particularly interested in modelling in wargame terms, such as the Swedes, Norwegians, Danes, Mongols, Koreans from the time of the Three Kingdoms and Choson, Arabs (conquest or to about 1400), the English Civil War and South East Asia (Khmer and Thai in particular). Those are armies that have been inspired from what I have seen when travelling (Thomo doesn’t only sit at bars drinking beer when travelling, although truth be told, there is a lot of history in many bars as well). More though, they are the armies of the places I have spent a lot of time in rather than just visited for a week or two. The last strong motivators for me are books as well – and the Centurion series (Macro and Cato) are stimulating me to consider Roman and Briton armies.

So, now I know what motivates me. I live somewhere for a few years, have a look around, learn some of the history then later, when looking for inspiration for the next big thing wargames wise, I select a period or army and conflict related to one of the countries I have resided in.

Travel, History and Wargaming all becoming related for me. The exception? Ships.!Love ships!

Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Lose

CnW-19Or … some days you are the dog, some days the fire hydrant. Much as it is fun to win, it is impossible to win all the time. Whilst it is good to succeed when you test yourself again, sometimes you may fail. I failed. You can see the result in the photo – Thomo looking a bit like a beached whale minus the beach.

We went to Sentosa Island in Singapore for a company function. Part of the fun for the day was some time spent on the Mega Zip and the climbing course attached to it. Due to Thomo’s more fulsome figure the Zip itself was out of the question, however, the climbing course was in. I climbed! I worked my way around the intermediate climbing level, even falling at one spot but recovering myself. However, finally, I got to the stirrups. I was doing fine even there as I managed to get about half way over before slipping. Falling wasn’t the problem, regaining my footing was. I spent about 20 minutes trying to get back on my feet and failing each time. Eventually the sun, the heat and the effort got too much and I needed to get assistance to get down.

The young lady helping me out is under half my weight but she came up and managed eventually to get me to get into a position where I could be winched down.

I was winched down!

Apart from my thanks to the staff at Mega Zip, the only remaining thing for me to do was to face the music from the ladies in my life who proceeded to ask me if there was not an easier way to commit suicide.

Why did I do it? Well, if you don’t try things you’ll never know. Putting in the effort is important. I will go back there in the future and do that again … but I will do that when I am a little less fulsome.

In the meantime, enjoy Thomo looking a little uncomfortable.

A Little OC

I’ve been a little stressed lately and not able to relax. I was sitting on the train this morning, still stressed, and thinking about writing. I’ve mentioned it before here. I enjoy writing – not just expressing ideas in words but the physical act of actually writing. I enjoy typing as well but a good keyboard is not as satisfying as the perfect combination of pen, paper and words.

Thinking about that got me to thinking about being a little Obsessive Compulsive. I guess we all are to a greater or lesser extent. I know, for example, when I am hanging washing on the line to dry, if I put a red peg on a garment, all the other pegs that go on that garment are the same colour. I have not got to the extent that all pegs on one line are the same colour but I guess that would be the next step.

I wondered about OCness then. Wondered about it again this morning as I was pondering on the train, wondered about it some more as I made some notes in my notebook today (thinking how well the pen suited my writing style). It then occurred to me that in times of high stress, a little OCness seems to calm a little, to make it easier to deal with the stress.

Now, where did I put my pen.

Thomo’s Facebook

I surrender – Facebook wins for idiocy. I cannot register “thomo.the.lost” as a Facebook username as Facebook thinks it might be a naughty word … or at least the “homo” in “thomo” might be naughty.

So, I have registered the username “thommo.the.lost” instead. I could say that it was in honour of those of my friends who type my nickname as “thommo” but it was not – it was just Facebook.

So, if you want to check my Facebook (and goodness knows why you’d bother, here is much more interesting), I’m now at “facebook.com/thommo.the.lost”. Mark Zucker-thing-a-me-bob may have made a motza setting it all up but you’d think he could afford a couple of bucks extra for some half decent programmers.

Three Years On and my Lips are Still Smiling

It’s been three years since Dad’s passing and nothing much has changed since last year. I still think of him every day. Something I say, something I see or something I hear tweaks the memory and thoughts of Dad drift into my head again. I still miss him although the pain is not so great any more. I still miss his wit, his wonderful view of life and his love of life. Others tease me but none so well as he could.

Mum is still doing it hard. She has times when she looks around and goes to tell him something then notices that he is not there any more. At least she feels comfortable in his train room now, occupied as it is with my books. I know she has blue days still, something she hears, or sees, or smells, or remembers and “gets a little weepy”. I guess that is the strength of the love she shared with Dad.

Still thinking of you Dad.

Windows Live Writer

I’ve played with Windows Live Writer (WLW) before, especially as I like to be able to write blog posts offline, especially when researching stuff about ships and what have you. It’s just more convenient. Unfortunately, WLW used to leave some odd characters in the post when I used it before so I was left with editing in Word 2007, then cutting and pasting to WordPress. This was not an optimum solution however it was all that was available.

So, I tried WLW again today and the issues that were there before have since gone. In fact, I am using it now. WLW lets me handle the layout of blog posts and pages much easier as well as the embedding of pictures and such. Seems to be good.

Well, Thomo has a new toy to play with again so will undoubtedly be in a good mood for a few days as a result.

Well done Microsoft.