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!


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!

A Piece of Niceness done to Thomo the Lost

Thomo is unemployed at the moment but looking for full-time work. Currently his bank account is pretty empty and he has been feeling rather stressed lately.

So tonight, young Julius Flywheel (he knows who he is), resident in Melbourne, I believe, sent Thomo the following message:

Apropos of nothing, I was wondering if you were a NWS member?
I replied
Used to be. Have not rejoined for a few years.
Young Julius then wrote:

You’ve done a lot of things over the years I’d have liked to have bought you a beer over. Not likely our paths will cross anytime soon, so was wondering if you would be agreeable to accepting an esub membership of NWS as a thank you from me.

Now, the NWS is the Naval Wargames Society and they do indeed have an electronic membership subscription.

The last part of the conversation went something like:

Thanks mate
Julius Flywheel:
Honest to God pleasure thomo really
I’m still feeling stressed but there is a warm feeling inside as well. Thanks again mate, your timing was immaculate and the thought wonderful. And Julius, the next time I am in Melbourne, we will definitely have that beer – hopefully I’ll be working then too and able to pay for it 🙂

Superstitious? Me? Well, maybe!

I was preparing some figures for painting tonight. I had some pre-cut bases, attached magnets to them and as part of the process of gluing the figures to the bases, I was adding a label underneath. The figures were 6mm World War 2 and I was making sure that I could identify the tanks again at some point in the future (after a while, it is sometimes hard to remember exactly what the armour and organisation was – was it an MMG or an HMG; a Kyu-go or Ha-go, that sort of thing).

I therefore attached little labels underneath the bases. The magnetic basing still works quite well through a single sheet of paper so colour coded labels it was.

As I was writing on the labels, I noticed that I was ensuring that when I based the tanks and infantry, all the  labels would be facing the same way.

I then started thinking back to the Romans I was basing earlier in the day and remembered that, in fact, I had kept all the figures in the same order as they were on the tongue depressors I had tacked them to for painting. Subconsciously I guess I was assuming that the inanimate little metal chaps would fight better on the wargame table should they be next to the chaps they went through basic training (in this case basic painting) with.

I suppose this is the wargamer’s equivalent of a footballer using the same socks, unwashed, after a successful first game of the season, just in case!

Anybody got any wargaming superstitions that they hold to – either in the preparation phase or in a game itself? It seems I have 🙂

Merry Christmas

To all my friends, acquaintances, associates, faithful readers of Thomo’s Hole, let me wish:

Merry Christmas to one and all
God jul til alle
Nadolig Llawen i bawb
Prettige Kerstdagen aan iedereen!
Joyeux Noël à tous
메리 크리스마스 모두에게
God Jul til alle sammen!
Selamat Natal untuk semua
Maligayang Pasko sa lahat
Frohe Weihnachten an alle
Merry Christmas бүх
Аз жаргалтай Зул

I think that’s all of you! 🙂

A Blogging Hiatus

Thomo’s Hole has been rather quiet of late.There have been a couple of reasons for it but principally it has been medically related. I had a small cut made in my back a while ago to remove a melanoma. I’ve spent a little while recovering from that and waiting for the final histology report to come in and tell me all is clear … but I’m still waiting, I suspect the Singapore pathologist (histologists?) are a little miffed because their initial reports were not fully correct. In addition, the dermatologist that removed the spot originally was also a bit timid so it had to be taken a second time.

This second surgeon (the one who has caused me a little back pain) looks like he got his cutting training from Erik the Red at least, hence the quiet blogging period. Also, the pain in my back had really prevented me from doing any painting.

The pain, however, is diminishing so the brushes are coming out. Once the final histologist report is received I will write up the full process, if only to send it on to a couple of doctors as I did have to organise quite a bit of the process myself.

Friday night I hope to get the first wargaming post out with the completion of my Early World War 2 Soviets. Then will be a “next on the painting queue post”, some pictures of some terrain I hope to have made over the weekend and a look at the opposition for the Soviets.

Stand by … more will be coming soon.

Mortality? Moi? Je vais vivre pour toujours!

Me old mate Douglas over at a Lead Odyssey has gone and got himself all philosophical with a post, “Intimations of Mortality & Wargames Executors”. What’s worse is he’s laying the responsibility firmly at my feet … or rather my somewhat-too-quick-by-half-from-time-to-time tongue!

It all started with a passing reference I made in an email. Doug was being pressed into writing for Slingshot (great publication by the way) about wargaming with Sassanians and I noted, “Yeah, and I might even get around to painting my Sassanians … along with the 5.5 kgs of other lead sitting in the pile over there!”

Phil Hendry then noted that the mentioned pile of unpainted soldiers wasn’t so much a mountain but more of a molehill1. Anyway, Doug then got around to noting that, “I am now realistically comparing my painting pace with the amount of lead, and glad I have appointed a wargames executor..     at least 53 major projects, I get through about two a year, and I am 50 next year…”

A wargames executor?

Doug then goes on to point out the sad case of a ship modeller whose ships were thrown out on his decease and how that would disturb him should that happen to his wargames collection. To prevent that, he has appointed a wargames executor in his will. He also challenged us to have a think about it … will we finish it, who will get it when we go ten toes before it’s all finished and so on?

Well, to paraphrase my favourite TV doctor, “I’m dead Jim!” Really, couldn’t give a rat’s rectum. I will have cast my mortal coil and either won’t know what happened with my collection of wee little men or will be so busy worrying about other things that they will be the last thing on my mind.

I know that our better halves will likely hang on to one or two treasured figures (Asterix in Doug’s case, some of my little ships or tanks in mine) and they will then call one or two of our wargaming buddies to dispose of said collection for a handful of shekels or two. As for having 53 major projects in the wargames shed still and getting through about two a year and being nearly 502, well, that has you finishing the projects by 75 so I think you better get out and start buying some more figures!

1.I should note that I am in sales at the moment and therefore have great experience making a mountain out of a molehill – almost as big a mountain as marketing executives could make! 1.I wish I was nearly 50!

Some Interesting Blogs

Trawling around the Internet over the weekend and I came across a couple of interesting blogs:

Gruntz 15mm – Weathering Tires has a good description of painting 1/300, 1/285 scale tyres to give them that weathered appearance. I’ve always found black is too black and grey is not black enough. Gruntz does an excellent job.

The other is a period that I have always wanted to dabble in and there  is a lot to be said for dabbling in said period in 6mm as well, Wargaming France 1940 rediscovered. A nice picture of some Heroics & Ros tanks on the banner and you’re in to it.

As if I didn’t have enough projects on the go now … my mind is starting to contemplate even more!

Anyway, both blogs are worth stopping by, especially if you are into 6mm.


Monday is washing day, is everybody happy? You bet your life we are!
Monday is washing day, is everybody happy? You bet your life we are!

One of the joys of living in an HDB ((Housing Development Board built apartment)) in Singapore is being able to hang your washing outside to dry in the sunshine, even when you are living on the 17th floor.

I do, however, refuse to hang my underwear out there … just in case it excites the locals too much or in case there is a Singapore Government regulation about too sexy underwear!

Well this is perplexing – Virus Report

Bloody hell - I must have been very busy surfing!
Bloody hell – I must have been very busy surfing!

I use avast! anti-virus software on the office PC ((I use Microsoft’s Security Essentials on the home PC)) and once a month avast! gives me a report of it’s activity over the previous 30 days.

That’s the report out there to the right – or at least the guts of the report.

Files and Documents scanned – 59,354 over the month – yeah, I can believe that as I shuffled a few folders around, copied and restored a number of files and generally tidied things up a bit so that seems quite reasonable.

Emails scanned – 533 scanned over 30 days – yeah – that’s believable – it is about 25 a day (work days that is) so seems about right.

Web & Network Protection – 300,591. Really? There were 22 working days in the last 30 days here. So that means that every day at the office (some 8 hours of work time as I am away from my desk for the lunch hour), I surf 13,663 web pages? That is 1,708 pages per hour or about 30 pages a minute.

Now the boss knows I goof-off from time-to-time, sometimes checking Facebook, sometimes checking Twitter but 13,663 pages a day? A page every two minutes?

I think there is something wrong with the statistic, my guess being that avast! is counting each separate element that makes up a web page as not even I could goof-off that much!