Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas Meme

1) Link to the person that tagged you (King Tiger) and post the rules on your blog.

2) Share Christmas facts about yourself.

3) Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs. Yeah, we'll see.

4) Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Here goes:

1. Wrapping or gift bags? I'm a wrapper, my wife a bagger.

2. Real or artificial tree? Faker. Easy cleanup, and it's all I've had since I was very young.

3. When do you put up the tree? After my wife has asked me twice to bring it up from the basement- usually the first or second week after Turkey Day.

4. When do you take the tree down? Sometime after New Year's. Probably after the BCS Championship game, this year.

5. Do you like eggnog? Eh. Rather have a Coke.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Sad to say, I can't think of one. I remember some disappointments, though... (someday, huge Grinch Doll, I will find you!) Maybe my Battlestar Galactica Viper that actually shot the red plastic bit across the room.

7. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes, but the figures have been replaced with my Hallmark Star Wars figures- Boba Fett, Stormtrooper, statue of Bob Marley, etc.

8. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Not getting the aforementioned Grinch Doll. It's 30 years later, and I'm still bitter. Maybe the year I sacrificed Birthday and Christmas gifts to get a bike- nothing special, just a regular old 10-speed.

9. Mail or email Christmas cards? Enclosed in the cookies I mailed this week. If you didn't get cookies, well, ya didn't make the cut!

10. Favorite Christmas movie? Die Hard.

11. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Sometime in December. I buy very few gifts, for my wife mainly.

12. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Wife's cookies and brownies. Dove Chocolates.

13. Clear lights or colored? Colored! What's the point of clear?

14. Favorite Christmas song? Little Drummer Boy, Vienna Boys Choir can make me cry. We Three Kings version by Book of Love is fun, as is Christmas Wrapping by the Waitresses- but I'd have to say my favorite is Fairytale of New York by the Pogues with Kristy MacColl.

Travel at Christmas or stay at home? STAY AT HOME. The greatest thing about finally being an adult and owning a home- people now come here!

16. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? Um. Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Candi, Lari, Bunny Sexin? Rudolf?

17. Angel or star on the top of your tree? Angel.

18. Open your presents Christmas Eve or Christmas morning? Christmas morning.

19. Most annoying thing about this time of year? People.

20. What do you leave for Santa? A written warning about trespassing. Next year I won't be so nice.

21. Least favorite holiday song? That stupid shoes song.

22. Do you decorate your tree with any specific theme or color? No, but next year our tree will be only Hallmark ornaments. The side of the tree facing my chair in the living room has all my Hallmark Star Trek and Star Wars ornaments, as well as my scary freaky ornament collection- including the little zombie Amish Girl.

23. Favorite ornament? My Talking Darth Vader.

My “tags”

I'm punking out on the tags! The chain stops here, man!

Friday, December 14, 2007

New addition to blog roll; The Johnny Law Chronicles

and from him I found Another Day at the Hall-

Both are good, Law-Enforcement type blogs. I grew up around many LEO's,
and I have always had profound respect for them and the jobs they do. Cop's are always
10 feet tall and who you go to when you are in trouble- at least, they still are in my book.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Retail Hell, pt2

Christmas shopping season is killing me (aka we're busy, which is good). I hope to have a real post soon.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

There's Hope Yet

A boy rode his bike up to my store today. I'd guess his age to be around 10 or 11. He came into the store alone, and barely acknowledged my greeting.

He turned to his right, and headed to the toy soldier section. I wandered over, to see if he needed any help finding what he needed- I knew some kids had a project for school, and had stocked Civil War soldier in anticipation.

I asked if he was looking for any type of soldiers in particular, he silently shook his head and stared intently at the bags of plastic warriors hanging. I walked back to the counter, leaving him to make his choice.

A few minutes later, he approached the counter with a bag of your classic Green Army Men.

"I'd like to buy these, please" - he said in a soft, quiet voice, the first words he had spoken since entering the store.

As rang up his purchase, I asked him if he liked army men and toy soldiers.

He nodded his head.

As I gave him his total, he pulled out a ziplock bag of loose change. He slowly counted his money, double checking his count many times, then slid exact change across the counter to me. I finished the sale, and put his army men in a bag, and thanked him.

As he went out the door, I called out "Take Care!" as I try to do with everyone as they leave the store. He said "Thanks", in a normal tone- his loudest yet. He got on his bike, and pedaled away.

As he rode away, I noticed he did not wear a helmet, or safety pads, or have a flashing warning light on his bike.

Man, there goes one lucky kid.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Another One

As seen on Michael Z Williamson's Blog (Read his books!)

I was ___ years old the first time I...

Fell in love: 11
Lost your virginity: 14
Lost someone close to you: 12
Smoked weed: 18
Got your heart broken: 11
Got arrested: Never
Smoked a cigarette: 16
Broken a bone: Never
Got cheated on: 17
Rode the city bus: 6
Went to a concert: 15 Ronnie James Dio- my ear still ring (I've had Tinnitus since)
Met someone famous: 15- President Reagan.
Dyed your hair: 16
Got your first cell phone: 32
Got a Myspace: Never
Snuck out of the house: 13
Got your own digital camera: 25
First time you got drunk: 15
Read Harry Potter: 28
Traveled across the ocean: 24
Wore a toga: 7
Traveled out of state/country: 19
Shopped at Abercrombie/M&S:Never
Went to Disney World: 11
Went on a date: 16
Saw a Broadway/West End play: Never
How old are you now: 37

Monday, November 12, 2007

Retail Hell

As we approach the holiday shopping season- and Black Friday looms- I want to ask you a question;

You are shopping, especially in a low-pressure, casual environment like a hobby shop. You ask the guy wandering around the shop, checking on customers, a question about a product. Do you want the clerk to lie, and tell you it's great no matter what, or validate your existence and confirm your thoughts, or do you want an honest opinion/appraisal.

If you say honest opinion/appraisal, what do you do when the retail wage-slave tells you something bad, or something you don't want to hear?

Also, would you return a plastic airplane model with a broken propeller, or just fix it with model glue? Hey, I just consider it an extra, undocumented step myself....

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Fab 5

After witnessing the meme started by NRAhab, then Tam, then AD and finally from Parallax Adjustment ; well, I just had to put my foot in. The hard part is thinking of only 5 a/c, and 5 that no one else has- no matter how cool. One of my areas of personal interest is the Soviet War Machine, but I must limit the influence. Hrmmm.

I'm going to limit myself to jet powered a/c, and I guess I'll start with throwing the previous sentence out the window! Besides, this is my favorite aircraft, not the most important or world war changing or anything. AD already cornered the cool connection/story angle.

5) The TU-22M "Backfire". I love the two-tone Soviet Naval Aviation scheme, the sleek, predator look.

4) BAE/McD&D Harrier Family I had the distinct pleasure of flying the USMC simulator for this aircraft in a previous life. Not to use too many buzzwords, but it introduced a paradigm shift in aviation. Maggie showed us they worked as air-to-air combat aircraft.

Dang, this is hard deciding on only 5!

3) The ME-262. First real fightin' jet. 'Nuff said- even if it is a Kraut plane.

2) SAAB JAS-39 Gripen I'm been obsessing about this aircraft for since high school. Followed the slow developement via Aviation Week & Space Technology through the '80's and '90's.

1) Sukhoi SU-34 "Fullback" I had no previous knowledge of this aircraft before I saw the prototype when my previously mentioned previous life took me to the Paris Air Show in 1995. I've loved this ugly beast ever since.

Maybe we should do tanks/armor next?

Friday, November 9, 2007

Eh, it's only money.

Anyone who build models for a hobby can tell you, kits are getting more and more expensive. I was just remarking today that the latest models from Dragon (DML) have crept above the $50.00 mark. Granted, most of their kits don't require much in aftermarket parts- but similar kits were $35.00 or so earlier this year.

Of course, a good kit and the fixin's still cost less than a good meal or a night's drinkin'. Not that my customers care. Daily, I get regaled with tales of $0.25 kits and how glorious those days were. None of them remember the horrible fit of those kits, or how the amorphous blobs barely resembled the appropriate subject matter- but those were the days! Apparently there was free beer flowing from taps marked "Testors" as well. Dang my luck!

And when did DML become the King-All-Importer of all Asian models not Tamiya or Trumpeter?

One last thing- because I can feel my rant getting on, and it's late. What's the constant fascination with German equipment? It's gotta be more than just the variety of subjects. I swear, I could fill a jar with feces, slap a swastika on it, and sell it.

BTW-are either one of my readers model builders/kit collectors?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Proof the Blog Readability Test has a... sub-optimum ability to grade blogs-

cash advance

Or, I ar s-mart!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


As per the urging of both my readers, I have installed Haloscan comments. Let's see how this woiks out....

Are you excited?

I am.

Of course, now I have to figure out how to port the old comments over.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Blogger Code?

Anybody Understand Blogger enough to tell me how I can make this
section bigger? Not that I plan on embedding lots of movies, but I hate that hidden section.

Comments Redux

In case you don't read the comments sections;

A King Tiger double feature;

OK Guys
Here is something fascinating.
What if TF 34 had been waiting on Kurita?

Dirty Little Secrets

One of my favorite bands is the British rock-folk band Steeleye Span.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Trying to figure out all these cool Blogger things- like images and stuff.

Where's the "Launch Alert Vipers" button?


David over at Random Nuclear Strikes brings up a good point, one maybe I should touch upon.

One of my aims is to try and tell some of the fun and bizarre stories from the shop in a humerous light. Now, I'd be lying if I said I didn't scowl at the lady with the paint bottle return mentioned earlier; but, as I said in my comment over at Random Nuclear Strikes, I get very upset with my guys if they don't greet every customer that comes through the door, and do it with a smile. Nothing irks me more than entering a retail store and no one says boo.

Also, is it so much trouble to actually clean the floors and straighten the shelves in a hobby shop? Not in mine- but some of them... (shudder!)

It goes with what I was saying the post below; it's tough being a hobby shop today, and customer service is one of the few things we have over the Internet and the chain stores. The old style, surly attitude of the grizzled hobby shop guy just won't cut it anymore. You have to get off your damn stool, come out from behind the counter and interact with people- and hopefully in a pleasant manner. And you've got to be nice to the kids- they're future customers!

We do get some real characters in the hobby shop- given that we carry everything from wargames/miniatures, scale plastic models, model railroading, radio control vehicles, rockets... well, you get the idea. Like the homeless guy, who was designing an airplane for NASA that would travel at hypersonic speeds due to the gases he would vent along the leading edge- and he needed our help (!?the hobby shop guys???)to design it.


Anyway, David- if you're ever in my store, you'll be greeted, and greeted with a smile!

(PS: I don't own the store, I just run it)

14" of Hot Steel, Streaming Through the Night

First, allow me to welcome Shooter from Parallax Adjustment to inaugurate my new section, "Blogs I Like." He added me to his linky-love section, and it would be not very cricket of me not to do the same!

In the comments below, King Tiger, or as I think of him "Der Königstiger" (also added to Blogs I Like), speaks of the death of the local independent hobby shop. Alas, this is very true. Our primary competition comes from ye olde Interweb; some other pressure from the chain stores and such. So, like most small "mom and pop, brick and mortar, etc" stores, we try the "Value Added" approach; knowledgeable, helpful staff, repairs and advice, that sort of thing. The sad truth is, even modelers need to watch their hobby budgets now days, and they try to help us out with their everyday purchases- but small dollar paint and glue sales won't keep our doors open.


Each month is tougher than the last- but enough of this maudlin horsepiss.

So, I know that many bloggers have been remembering Agincourt (... we band of brothers!) or Lord Cardigan and the Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava (I say, that's a nacky bit of gunnery....)- but not only I am a big history geek, I am a NAVAL history geek!

So, today marks the end of the three day battle know inclusively as "The Battle of Leyte Gulf." The greatest sea battle ever, IMHO.

So, to you few, wonderful, treasured readers I have- here's an assignment.

Halsey- idiot or incompetent...?

For Extra Credit- If Mitscher hadn't been such a grumpy old codger, would events been any different?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Nothing like watching someone drive up in a $40K Lexus SUV to return a $3.00 bottle of model paint.

That's been half used.

The arguing with the minimum wage clerk for a refund, as if by returning the paint the customer was exercising some inalienable, god-given right to free model paint, and we were going to return the money or we'd loose them as a customer.

Sometimes, just to make them leave, we give 'em the money with a smile. Ok, a scowl.

Other times, we make our little Custarian stand, and we will by-god hold these over-privileged, be-perfumed barbarians at the gate. Over three bucks, plus tax.

I live for those little petty dictator moments.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I work in a locally owned hobby store. As anyone who has worked retail can tell you- they said it best in the movie Clerks;

"This job would be great if it wasn't for the f***king customers."

We have this guy who calls on a regular basis. He has a snivelly, weird nasal voice. Every other words seems to be an "Um" or an "Ah." We'll call him Fred.

A typical Fred Call;

Me- "Thank you for calling ****, how can I help you"

Fred- Um, ah, yes. Is So-and-So there? (he alternates which employee he asks for)

Me- This is he/he doesn't work today/he will be in later

Fred- Um, ah, what do you know about P-51 Mustangs?

Me- A little, what can I help you with Fred. (as there is no doubt who the caller is)

Fred- Oh, ah, um, yes; on the P-51, there are three lights on the end of the wing....

Me- Yes, the formation ligh....

Fred- the formation lights. Now, on the P-51 *D*, what was the color of the *third* light, on aircraft flying over Europe in 1944? Was it Green or blue. Because on some pictures, it looks blue, but they are supposed to be green.

Me- ....

Fred- Also, on the Merlin engined ones, built after 1944, the oil filter....

Me- Yes?

Fred- what color was it?

Me- .... blue.

We've all gotten to the point where we just make up answers for Fred.

Holy Crap! Two shout-outs from two of my favorite bloggers!

Thanks Cajun!

Thanks Tam!

Now to see if I can write some intelligent sounding posts....

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Friday, September 28, 2007

FIRST!! Oh, wait- damn....

This is my blog. There are many like it, but this one it mine.

I don't know how often, if ever, I will post here. I mean, I made the damn things weeks ago, but only today made a post- because I told someone about it.

Yeah, maybe I'll pick up on one of the ubiquitous memes going around....