Saturday, September 8, 2012

20 Questions


So, Ray at Don't Throw a 1, and apparently much of the blogosphere, have been doing a 20 Questions thing.  As a creature of whim and enthusiasm, there's only so long I can be expected to hold off on following suit.  As such:

1. Favorite Wargaming period, and why?

Horse and musket, more specifically, the "long 18th century".  The whole period fascinates me, insofar as it essentially involves the emergence of the modern world, the birth of the nation-state, the rise of democracy, the last age of Kings, the emergence of the European great-power system, the consolidation of Europe's hold on North America and it's loss, capitalism, the Enlightenment, etc.  As a wargaming era, there's tremendous internal transition, and a bewildering variety of conflicts, troops, and themes to explore.

2. Next period, money no object?

A close second to the above is the period from the death of Alexander to Rome's defeat of Carthage.  A little bit of a longer span, but with much the same sort of theme - the rise and fall of civilizations, intrigue, politics, transformation and change, the struggle of great powers to define the development of their world, etc.  Within that time frame, there's two projects I've always wanted to do, namely an Indo-Greek successor list, and Hannibal's Carthaginians.  Scale would be either 15mm (some of the nicer stuff like Xyston) or maybe 28mm, given some of the cooler plastics now coming out.  I'd want to do it old school, though, with a metric craptonne of figs, and have some suitable opponents.  This, in turn, would necessitate a large table, a dedicated geek room, and by extension, a house.

3. Favorite 5 films?

In no particular order, but based on my general willingness to always watch them:

a) Young Frankenstein
b) Big Trouble in Little China
c) Midway
d) Laurence of Arabia
d) Kung Fu Panda

4.  Favorite 5 TV series?

Again, the same criteria as above:

a)  Deadwood
b) Firefly
c)  Simpsons
d)  X-Files (though it has lost some of it's appeal over time)
e) First 3 seasons of the Battlestar Galactica reboot.

5. Favorite book and author?

Book = Julian May's Saga of Pliocine Exile.  Author, yeesh.  The one I return to most for "comfort" (re)reading is probably Robert Parker.  I've yet to come across something of his I don't enjoy, though I'll admit he gets a little cookie cutter.

6. Greatest General?  Can't count yourself!!

Hannibal.  Consistently did what contemporaries considered to be impossible, was brilliant strategically, tactically, diplomatically, and logistically.  With better political support from home, would probably have beaten Rome, and utterly changed the development of Africa and Eurasia.

7. Favorite Wargame rules?

Privateer Press' Warmachine.  Still the tightest rule set I've ever come across, no questions.

8.  Favorite Sport and team?

Baseball, Toronto Blue Jays.  It's been some time since I've cared about professional sports, but I'm still happy to watch a ballgame pretty much any time, and if I'm going to root for anyone, it's the Jays, even if only for nostalgic reasons.

9. If you only had a one-use time machine, when and where would you go?

Part of me would love to see a lot of things - the Academy, renaissance Florence, Rome under Augustus.  Then I remember things like plumbing, and dental hygiene.  So, hey, pick a revolution.  You know that point where the idealistic, but irresolute, reformers lose control to the pragmatic and ruthless extremists?  Then.  With guns.  Big ones.
10.  Last meal on Death Row?

Fresh garden tomatoes, still warm from the garden, with basil and a little rough sea salt.  Fresh garlic bread.  Veal Shank / Oso Bucco, a nice ballsy red wine.  Roasted asparagus drizzled in olive oil and a little parmesean.  A selection of profoundly well-crafted cheeses with apples and pears.  A glass of Calvados.

11.  Fantasy relationship and why?

Oh, hell, I dunno.  Problem with fantasy women is they're almost certainly nothing like what you fantasize them to be.  I'd go with someone historical, like Theodora.  You'd figure she'd be fun in bed, smart as hell, and interesting, but then you run into those plumbing / dentistry issues noted in regards to the time machine above.  For sheer cheesecake, I'd likely go with that brunette from the Snorg Tee ads.  Or maybe the readhead.

12.  If your life were a movie, who would play you?

Seth Rogan.

13.  Favorite Comic Superhero?

Superhero?  Spiderman.  Comic book / series?  Hellboy / BPRD.  Spidey's mostly nostalgia, but he remains one of the most appealing reluctant heroes in pop culture.  Dude's just looking to get by, but won't evade his responsibility.  Hellboy, and the whole Mignola oeuvre, remain the single most arresting, engaging, addictive comic series I've ever encountered.

14.  Favorite Military quote?

"Merde!"  God, I love the French.

15.  Historical destination to visit?

On the bucket list is a plan to walk the old Santiago pilgrimage, down the Rhine, across southern France and Northern Spain.  So much history.

16.  Biggest wargaming regret?

Not sure if it's a regret, since I had good reason to do it almost every time, but I do find myself regularly missing the various painted armies I've traded or sold over the years.  Eldar, Orks, Cryx, Napoleonic French, Magnus, Soviets, Cryx, Soviets, etc.

17. Favorite Fantasy job?

To be honest, I'm pretty close to having it, as a a contract professor.  I'd obviously love the stability of a tenure track job, but as it is, I make a decent living doing an interesting job that affords me tremendous personal discretion over the bulk of the work I do.  Not much more to hope for really.  In another life and age, I think I would have liked being a blacksmith.  I did a (very) little bit of forge work when I was much younger, and don't think I've ever found any other craft work so engrossing.

18.  Favorite Song top 5?

a) The Band, "The Weight"
b)  Queen, "Somebody to Love"
c) J. S. Bach, "concerto for 2 Violins"
d)  Bizet, "Au fond du temple saint" from Pearl Fishers
e) The Beatles, "Come Together"

19. Favorite Wargaming moment?

The first time I did a melee assassination run with pAsphyxious in mark 1 Warmachine.  Mighty, mighty, beatstick!

20.  The miserable Git question, what upsets you?

The slow erosion of simple courtesy, and the sense of civic community.  Whether just walking around, or on the road, it really does seem like casual rudeness, and an "I've got mine, screw you Jack" sensibility is the order of the day.  Drives me mental.


  1. A nice and fun to read!

    I think Firefly takes the prize of the most repeated item of all lists that I've seen so far. Just awesome series!

    Lee was my favourite general, but I did agree that Hannibal was probably the greatest, because of the reasons you gave and the quality of the opposition he faced with what he had.


  2. Thanks, Christopher. I've found the whole 20Q thing fairly interesting - it's nice to get a glimpse of the person behind the blog. I'm curious about Lee, I know his reputation has come under attack a bit of late. Are you staunchly old school, or do you just not find some of the more recent criticisms convincing?

    1. It is fun isn't it!:-)

      In regards to Lee it depends on how the criticism is being put forth. I pretty much ignore the critique's of folks who simply over simplifying decisions in attempt to elevate themselves as a critical thinker and/or supporting other commanders in trying to boast their reputations in an overly aggressive manner. However, I have no problems with those seeking to answer or ask questions of decisions Lee made and the possible alternatives he could have chosen.

      For a very quick example lets take Gettysburg and if a statement was phrased " Longstreet's advice to Lee to go on the defensive in the Gettysburg campaign had some merit" would interest me in a discussion. On the flip side if the statement was "Longstreet's advice to Lee to go one the defensive was correct and Lee ignored this" would tune me out.


    2. I want to add I do not think of myself as an authority on Lee, but rather an enthusiast who has done some reading on the great man, but written no novels or thesis of any kind.:-)


  3. Excellent answers! I'm glad you enjoyed the questions, your last meal looked tasty!! And a lot of others also mentioned the Battlestar reboot, me included, what a fantastic series that was!!