Merry Christmas

Ho, ho, bloody ho!
Ho, ho, bloody ho!

As Christmas Day has just slid past in Oz, at least on the East Coast, I thought I should get my Christmas Greetings out. Today was great, a nice relaxed day, large lunch, afternoon nap and now sitting in the cool of the evening and reflecting on the past year. More on that later.

Today, let me wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a safe, happy New Year. As for me, I promise never again to spend nearly 6 hours with three gay hairdressers for a Christmas Party appearance. I certainly will never bleach my beard again … the smell was overpowering. The sparkling grey hair has turned to Ash Blonde so is due for the chop later this week.

Normal Thomo is resuming life as we know it!

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And Another Year Passes at the Hole

Thomo’s Hole clicked over another year recently. Actually I have no idea what the exact birth date of the Hole is other than sometime back in 1996 or 1997 about the same time I went to work in Norway – 20 years ago!

I thought about the birth date over the weekend when I needed to re-register thomo.coldie.net for the domain within WordPress so that the link that has worked for probably 10 years or so kept driving to my blog. Whilst blogs are so last decade and I should now be snapchatting all this, the blog still has a good turnover of readers – around 100 views average every day and most come for more than one page. They come for a mix of reasons as well with popular posts and pages being the Korean’s that were captured by the Allies on the beaches of Normandy, the poem The Sad Tale of a Motor Fan, and the Idiot’s Guide to Painting American Civil War figures  to name three.

Whilst I have been particularly quiet over the last few months, I am starting to feel more relaxed and creative than I have been for a while so expect more updates soon. There are some book reviews pending which I will get to shortly and I am planning to actually get my brushes out on the weekend after the AFL Grand Final and put paint to figures again.

I did decide that as I had been so quiet and as another year passed in the Hole, I should adopt a new theme for Thomo’s Hole as the first step back and this is it.

So, stand by for the new and cruise back through the old, Th0mo the Lost is back!

Blog to America – Follow-up

Way back in October 2007 I received a letter from Andrew promoting a website (well, blog really) called Blog to America. The principle of that blog was outlined as:

Our goal is to find individuals like yourself to help increase global awareness and create a greater understanding of the way the United States is viewed across the world. Our site allows people to write a letter addressed to the United States telling the world how they feel about any and all topics relating to the U.S.

If you are interested in writing a letter to the United States or simply interested in reading letters written by others from across the globe, please visit our site at

http://www.blogtoamerica.org

I noted at the time that I would certainly promote his blog however not contribute to it as Thomo’s Hole was and still is a “creative release which I guess you can see from the diversity of content – some serious, some light, some related to military history and wargaming, much travel related and much railing against stupidity (no – don’t start me on the Ministry of Licentiousness and Lasciviousness again).”

I was concerned that Blog to America was simply going to “end up as a place where people who find the US a difficult nation to deal with come to vent their spleens, with supporters of the US defending their feelings in ever more acrimonious exchanges that achieve little but take trolling to a whole new level.”

Well here we are, 9 years on. Thomo’s Hole is still around in probably its fifth or sixth iteration. Blog to America is gone. I guess for a blog’s longevity it is a matter of doing it for the creative release and the fun. altruism comes, passes and leaves. Thomo’s Hole has been around since 1996 (20 years now) and has been in blog format since December 2004 (12 years). Whilst using something like WordPress saves me time and effort, I really did not find the HTML coding all that onerous at the time.

Now to relieve some of the past idiocy of those buffoons, the Ministry of Licentiousness and Lasciviousness again!

A Moment’s Indecision

I’ve been caught with a moment’s indecision. I am siting back in Oz at the moment, typing this from my local office (read, the area under mum’s house what has all my crap stored), and having a wargamer’s moment of doubt.

  • What project do I do next?
  • Do I start a new project or finish one if the existing ones?
  • Do I touch up some almost completed figures that I am not using for the moment?
Part of Thomo's Macksville Hole
Part of Thomo’s Macksville Hole

All these questions and more are causing me to lose sleep … well, not so much lose sleep but rather engage my waking, thinking hours when I am not wrestling with project plans, migration strategies, status reports and reconciliation of data that is unrelated in format or content.

There is a strong desire to complete more of the Peshawar project, at least the conventional land forces and all the terrain items I have to do.

There are two Aeronef fleets here in Oz and two waiting paint in Manila. I can work on them, finish those up here (add a metal washer to the flight stand for stability and paint the stands blue) or work out a better method of mounting the ‘nefs (rare earth magnets maybe) as well as mount and paint from scratch those in Manila.

Part of the Macksville lead pile
Part of the Macksville lead pile

I have the 10mm South American Armies (Chile and Bolivia) to mount and base and find some rules to use.  was thinking of 1870 but I am open to suggestions.

 

There are still 6 x 6mm ancient armies for DBA in Manila ready to base and paint to finish the Singapore Ancient Project.

I was also looking at the World War 2 fleets for the USN, IJN and RN – all Pacific action and probably around 300 vessels to research the camouflage on and paint. Then there are a number of other fleets – Italians and RN from the Mediterranean (think Matapan) and German vessels from the Atlantic. All are in 1/3000 scale and are Navwar.

Then in Manila there are also the fleets from Jutland and probably soon some 3mm Napoleonics. Oh and there are a number of board games I want to get around to playing as well!

The rest of the lead pile ... yes, neat is not in my vocabulary here
The rest of the lead pile … yes, neat is not in my vocabulary here

Did I also mention the modern 1/700 scale aircraft I have to complete the three modern fleets?

 

Or I could just do what every wargamer does when they can’t make up their mind and open a beer and hunt online for a new period or figures, because you can never have too many!

Something shiny and bright that comes to mind in 6mm Seven Years War or Great Northern War for use with either Polemos or Horse, Foot and Guns (I blame you for that Doug!).

Lastly there are a few elements left to round out my Danish Moderns or, and here is something novel, I could finish either my World War 2 Desert Italians or my 6mm Napoleonic Prussians.

One day I will be able to devote sufficient time to see a project through to the end … one day … but not today!

2014 – That’s a Wrap

Rather than engage in the simple vanity of letting Facebook decide what my 2014 was like, I thought I would tap it out for myself, warts and all.

2013 was a pretty good year with the exception of some medical issues for both myself and family. These issues left us at the end of 2013 fairly hale and hearty although with severely empty bank balances and well maxed credit cards. I had a melanoma removed … twice, The first time the dermatologist made a small incision and took the lesion off my back. That healed quickly. However, after several rounds of pathology and an argument with Australian Quarantine (it seems that Australian tissue is expected to come back into Australia still attached to the Australian), it was discovered that not enough tissue had been removed.

I went to a proper cutter this time who seems to have learned his knife skills from Mac the Knife (queue the music) which resulted in a great hunk of my back being removed (about a $30 steak worth). Literally, from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Enter 2014

I returned to Singapore from Christmas in Australia. I was promptly retrenched. The company I had worked with for five years had decided that there was no role for Business Development any longer in Australia, Indonesia and a couple of other locations. OK, that’s a fair cop I suppose, even though that same company had pulled me out of two potential deals in 2013.

I asked about retrenchment benefits which are not required by law in Singapore but which are encouraged by the Ministry of Manpower. After two weeks and I guess a few thousand dollars spent on legal fees, I was told that they were not required by law to pay them and anyway, I was being dismissed for poor performance (even though I was the only sales staff to have received any bonus in the past 4 years and in any case, had been pulled from two deals by the company).

My company lied to me – at least one bald-faced lie so I pity any customers – how can you trust a company that lies outright to their staff’s face?

To compound the problem, they screwed up my final salary calculation twice, have short-paid all their Singapore staff over the past few years (and still owe me funds for that matter) as well as breached Singapore tax law (a matter that I am pursuing currently).

Anyway, I left. I had two good prospects for new work over the first six months unemployed – and ran second in both races. Both employers are currently regretting not having selected me as I understand.

Around July 2014 things started looking up and I started work with my current employer in August in Manila so we moved city and country. This has brought much relief to our abysmal financial position. The Philippines is, however, an exciting place to live and in our first three months here we’ve had the tail-end of a typhoon, two tropical rain depressions, an earthquake (which we barely noticed) and Mayon, a volcano near Legazpi City, and only 200 kms away, has been rumbling!

Over that period of February to July I came to truly appreciate my friends – those that found some temporary work for me, those that lent money against some temporary work I was doing, those that just lent funds with no real expectations of when and if I could ever repay them and those that helped out with the odd lunch, the odd beer and the odd session of morale building and those that paid me way over market rates to paint some soldiers. You all know who you are and understand how much I appreciate the help, burgers, figures to paint, whisky, beer, massages, more excesses of beer and tequila drinking, lots more Auchentoshan …. well, you get the idea. A bloke really would be hard pressed to find a better set of mates.

So, what of 2015?

Wargaming and painting I’ll cover in a separate post. Work-wise, consolidate this project in Manila and get the tasks complete. Ensure that 2015, 16 and 17 continue to be better than 2014 and trust to karma.

Thanks guys and gals for all the help, the love, the warmth. Now on to 2015!

Happy New Year!

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 42,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 16 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Bloody Stupid Processing

thomo_the_lostFaceBook are guilty of it. So is the Asia Wargaming Net. I went to register tonight and guess what? My handle, one I have used for nearly 20 years now, “Thomo the Lost” is unavailable Why is it unavailable? Because useless lazy programmers who haven’t got a brain in their heads think the string “homo” is somehow dirty, or worse, their even lazier team leaders and managers have just accepted some file of potentially dodgy names without considering what they are trying do!

Of course, the truly ridiculous thing is that I can set an in game name that is considerably worse – as in the two of the examples below (don’t read mother, there is a very naughty one there).

shag

threefuk
In fact, if I replace a “c” with a “k” I can make a much worse combination of letters and that is also accepted!

Idiots!

Thomo’s Hole Back on the Air

There was a slight downtime in the last 24 hours brought about by the registration of the domain pointer for thomo.coldie.net expiring coupled with HSBC bank refusing the $13.00 online payment I made from the Philippines, even though there was $500 in my account AND I had been making payments from the Philippines over the previous two weeks.

Boo Hiss HSBC.

Last night I had intended on renewing the domain name, using madam’s POSB Debit Card (Yay for POSB – better service levels than HSBC) however several beers and a Murphy’s Gutbuster breakfast for dinner along with a cafe latte from Starbucks on the way home ensured that as I settled on to the couch for 10 minutes before going to my PC I would not wake again until about 4:30 this morning when it was time to switch off the TV (there was nothing on anyway) and roll over and return to blissful, beer induced slumber.

This morning I tried the renewal again – still failed on HSBC (boo) but paid first time with POSB. Isn’t it illegal for a bank to prevent us from accessing our own money?

Anyway, Thomo’s Hole is back, I swam for the first time in  months this morning (oh the agony), weight loss has steadied from its initial move south and no beer is contemplated until … well … next weekend … perhaps!

Thank you Google

OK, I’ll admit it, it’s my Birthday and I’m not getting any younger. Imagine this though:

  • no TV (I can remember when Mum and Dad bought our first second-hand black and white TV)
  • no mobile phones (I can remember by grandmother saying into the telephone “Turramurra 4568 please”)
  • no personal computers (I did my statistics at university with pencil and paper and calculator)
  • no calculators for that matter (I can remember Mr and Mrs Morrison buying me an LED based calculator about the size of a small brick from the duty free store when they took a holiday to Fiji)
  • when the Boeing 707 was an amazing piece of new aircraft technology and English Electras plied the air routes in Australia (yes, life before jumbo jets)
  • when the British made passenger aircraft
  • and lots of other amazing things

So, it was amusing for me to start Google this morning ready to make a search and see the following Google Doodle. It didn’t occur to me what it was for until I hovered over it.

Yep - Happy Birthday to me!
Yep – Happy Birthday to me!

Clicking on the doodle took me to my Google public profile. Now I know that this is not so amazing but it is really quite neat when you can remember

  • life before fast food chains
  • life before supermarkets where a couple of times a week you’d walk to the shops and buy meat, ham and such
  • life before refrigerators (and therefore knowing what the ice box was)
  • life before the Internet
  • and especially life before a connection to the sewer (I can still remember the night cart coming around early in the morning and the swearing of the bloke taking away the full pan of poop as he tripped over one of my toys left lying around beside the house)

Thanks Google – I know it is easy for you to remember the date but it is nice to see the greeting!

Books

I was on the bus late last night, coming back from an evening swim at one of the public pools in Singapore1 and I was looking for a book to read from my Kindle cloud2 when I noticed a young lady further up the bus take a near new paperback from her bag and start reading.

The book itself, physically, was appealing and it occurred to me that since I have been reading books and magazines almost exclusively on my phone and tablet3 I may have lost something. I remember posting  back on 15 February 2006, whilst I was still working in Mongolia, that I enjoyed writing, not so much stringing words together on a page to communicate an idea but the physical action of writing words with a good pen that just felt right into a notebook that similarly felt good.

Reading a physical book gave me the same pleasure, a pleasure that I have sacrificed to technology and the future.

I still have physical books and some of them I would not trade for electronic versions. These are books like reference works on uniforms and such. To use them electronically would require a whole rethink by the publishers on how to present them, something that has not happened yet.

So, have e-books and magazines taken something away from me? Yes, they have.

On the plus side however, on the bus after finishing my book, I did have the choice of reading one of about 5 pieces of Scandinavian crime fiction that I had parked in the cloud. I also did not have to worry about whether or not I would finish the book I was reading before going out as I could always select another from my cloud based bookshelf!

Technology giveth and technology taketh away!


Really Intelligent Comments

1. $1 entry, $2.60 in bus fares … winner for those of us with absolutely no bloody income whatsoever
2. Yes, like the physical bookshelf, I have purchased books in the past on my Amazon Kindle accoiunt on the grounds that I will get around to reading them in the future
3. I have even given up using my Kindle now!