13 April 2010

I need to make a confession

I have an couple of addictions that I feel a need to confess about. The first one is tough and only through living life in the Navy has it put a dent in this addiction only slightly. That is wargaming.

Wargaming is an very old hobby going back centuries to when chess came into vouge with the common people. It is also used by militaries and nations around the world to plan/teach tactics, tech military theory, plan a national policy for the future. One of the most famous places that I can think of in the US that really started using wargaming to do all of that was the US Naval War College. Which if I ever have a chance to visit Rhode Island, going to Newport and walking around on the campus would be really cool to me. Anyhow, I digress.

My addiction to war gaming started early on in my life. In one of the schools that I went to for elementary school, had a chess club. If you have ever played chess, then you have wargamed. As it was, the chess club didn't last long, but from there I started to learn more about some of the various games. Everything from the basic "beer and pretzel" games like Risk or Axis & Allies up to some of the more complex ones like  Advance Squad Leader or some of the monster games like "Pacific War" by Victory Games. Being that I was young and couldn't afford much from some of the smaller jobs I had when I was younger. So it always seemed as if I was permenately in hock to my parents for some of the money they loaned me for the games. My very first "true" war game, was a game called "Flat Top" by Avalon Hill.
It was a game set in the South West Pacific from the opening days of World War 2 until the final carrier battle for Guadalcanal. At the time I bought it from a local toy store in town called Ted's Toys, the game set me back about fifty dollars. Going through the rules they had all sorts of different litttle rules from things like replenishment at sea up to how to show storms on the game board. I was ten at the time I bought the game and really had a hard time understanding all of the rules. In stead with a couple friends of mine we used what rules we could understand and then made up the rest as we went along, as well as introducing house rules (like letting the Hornet once a month launch B-25s, I know, but we were history junkie kids). As I got older I picked up a few others here and there. Such the "Fleet" series of games by Victory Games and Gulf Strike. As I hit high school though, most of my wargaming fell off to the wayside as more important things seem to rise up. However, that isn't completely true either. As in my junior high time frame I ran across a computer version of a game called "Harpoon". This was originally published by a company called Three-Sixty Pacific. It was being demostrated at a local computer shop to show what the new VGA graphics board and 500mb hard Drive could do for your computer. In the end I asked for it as either a birthday or Christmas present from my dad. Low and behold that next Christmas I had this game unde the tree. I spent the rest of the holiday using submarines to sneak inside a NATO carrier group to put both missile and torpedo into the side of a American carrier or try and defend Iceland from a WARSAW Pact invasion force using only under armed RAF and USAF units and some small escort forces. That is when the hook for war gaming was made even worse for me. I found that I didn't always need to have some on to lay a game with. Rather I could try and see if I could defeat the AI programming.
Since then that has been the primarly wargaming that I have been playing. Though at times I have thought of trying to get back into beer and board gaming. For a while when I was stationed on USS Neverdock I played a few times of the latest boardgame version of Harpoon with some friends. Usually over a duty day when it was after work and instead of sitting around waiting for some drill or watch to come up. We would sit around in a work space and waste time some some scenario. We did ones from scenarios to understand how the rules worked to just plain silly scenarios that never would have happened except for never. Since then I have slowly started to get back into regular war gaming. At times it is still hard since I haven't run across that many people wear I live who play nor that many clubs at my end of the world.
The other half of my addiction to computer wargaming can easily be put in check at time because of the cost at times from ordering some of the wargames that interest me come  from small online only publishing houses. Put two or three games in thier shopping carts and your looking at 200 dollars by the time shipping and handling is figured in. At times though, that itch starts to scratch the back of my head.

At the end of the day, this little addiction can be fun and at times trying on my life. There have been a few times I have been up till the wee hours of the morning living on tea and classic rock while telling myself just one more turn, and there have been times that I start to get going and get my butt handed to me only to try it differently. Only to realize that I have basically dug a deep hole for myself and need to pick the lesser of two devils to get myself out. At which point I only make a few turns before going on to a couple of my other addictive hobbies.

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Back for a little bit, but may have the programming pre-empted again

Okay all. I am back. Having returned from my 8 month deployment and really only gettting a month home before heading back out again for another two months. I am hoping soon to get back into blogging and just putting all my thoughts about the world, my life, and sea stories out there. I hoping that some of my regular readers may come back and please understand that at a number of times real life interupts me to keep from putting a post up for a while.



12 January 2009

A fun filled new year

Well dear readers I have been busy the past few months. About two months ago I got married. I have been busy dealing with adjusting to married life and living as a Geo-Bachelor. I also transferred from one VAQ outfit to another VAQ outfit. This time I will be going on a WestPac cruise, or Western Pacific Cruise. Heading to places such as Hawaii, Japan, the Indian Ocean, Persian Gulf, and hopefully some fun places such as Singapore and Australia. One of the downsides though is that I am working in a work center outside of my normal rating. I also walked into a work center that is afu'd eight ways to Sunday. I have to spend a whole bunch of time trying to figure out how to bring this work center back in line with local instructions and in line with the master program called the CNAFINST 4790.2a. On top of that I have to prep for an inspection coming along in this week. It is really going to be a fun year. Since basically my career is going to be based on how well I am able to bring this one work center around to being what is ruled "On track" or at a minimum "Needs Work" from the various inspectors coming down the pipeline. Some where in there I need to find time to prep a LDO package and a CPO package. Why? Because I will be eligible for taking the CPO exam in Jan of 2010.

On the home front the honeymoon is almost over. Now we are planning on trying to move into a house in the Pacific Northwest Region. Someplace that we both can afford and it isn't a killer commute for either of us. Someplace that is cheap, has a lawn, and various other features. You know the American dream of having a home, picket fence, and hopefully a ton of kids toys out front. What I really want though when we get a house is a dog. I would love to have a Lab. Honestly, how can you not smile coming home to dog that is just so happy to please and is a great family dog, either that or a German Short Hair Pointer. Both of these are fun, happy, family style dogs. However, my significant other wants to have a small dog. Which I am not opposed to. I just haven't grown up with a little dog. Oh well, just one of those things that I will need to work through as life comes along.

As to the rest of the house. I would love to just have a man cave for myself and a few of my hobbies.



08 December 2008

A speech that changed a nation

Full text of the speech:

Mr. Vice President [Henry A. Wallace], Mr. Speaker [Sam Rayburn], members of the Senate and the House of Representatives: Yesterday, December 7, 1941 -- a
date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and
deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace with that Nation and, at the solicitation
of Japan, was still in conversation with its Government and its Emperor looking
toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, one hour after Japanese
air squadrons had commenced bombing in Oahu, the Japanese Ambassador to the
United States and his colleague delivered to the Secretary of State of form
reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed
useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat
or hint of war or armed attack.

It will be recorded that the distance of
Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many
days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the Japanese Government had
deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and
expressions of hope for continued peace.

The attack yesterday on the
Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces.
Very many American lives have been lost. In addition American ships have been
reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

Yesterday the Japanese Government also launched an attack against

Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.

night Japanese forces attacked Guam.

Last night Japanese forces attacked
the Philippine Islands.

Last night the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending
throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday speak for themselves. The
people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well
understand the implications to the very life and safety of our Nation.

As Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy I have directed that all
measures be taken for our defense.

Always will we remember the character
of the onslaught against us.

No matter how long it may take us to
overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous
might will win through to absolute victory.

I believe I interpret the
will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only
defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make very certain that this form of
treachery shall never endanger us again.

Hostilities exist. There is no
blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in
grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces -- with the unbounded
determination of our people -- we will gain the inevitable triumph -- so help us

I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and
dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December seventh, a state of war has
existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire.



07 December 2008

A date which doesn't seem to live in infamy anymore

Today is the 67th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. As this day passes more and more of the men and women who survived this day die from old age we lose our contact with history. Even worse is less and less people know about this day and what a history/life changing day it is. How that day lead to our involvement in the Second World War. How this day lead to some of the world changes we say in the last fifty plus year. I would suggest that you take your time head to Survivor's website and find a local Pearl Harbor Survivor's chapter (regional offices can be found under the contact link) . Take time to head out and listen to their stories when they have their meetings. These are some of the most interesting people you can meet and actually be able to say that to your children (or have your children meet) that you meet someone who made history.
I meet a survivor myself years ago, a CWO-4 named Wallace Louis Exum. He was at Whidbey selling and signing a book that he had written named "Battleship" years ago. I still have that book and it is a signed copy. It was very interesting to meet this man and listen to him for a few moments talk about December 7th and the months in Oahu before that day.

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