Thursday, December 25, 2014

Top 10 Christmas Movies



   These are my Top Ten Favorite Christmas Movies. To qualify, they have to meet the following very stringent criteria:

  • They must have a Christmas theme in some way.
  • I have to think of them, right now.
  • I have to like them a lot.

   There is no real sense of order here. Happy Christmas!

10. Die Hard

Because nothing says "Our Savior is Born!" like a rogue cop whacking terrorists/bank robbers in a half-completed building in LA. 39 F-bombs, 19 dudes with mustaches, and 22 bad guys taken down with extreme prejudice. Yippee-ki-yay...

9. Lethal Weapon

Yep. Set at Christmas time. What is it with criminals in LA? Have they not learned the rogue cops all bust loose at Christmas?

8. Bad Santa

Billy Bob Thornton as the most grotesque mall Santa ever.

7. Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

Edmund Gwenn as the best department store Santa ever. Oh, and it has Maureen O'Hara in it, too.

6. Gremlins

Because it teaches you to follow the rules. Always follow the rules.

5. Trading Places

One of Eddie Murphy's funniest movies. Dan Aykroyd is is brilliant in it as well. "Is there a problem officers?" "Who's been putting their Kools out on my floors?" "Looking good, Lewis. / Feeling good, Billy Ray!"

4. Scrooged

A modern re-telling of Dickens's classic Christmas tale, starring Bill Murray. I remember taking a date to it, one of the first movie dates I ever did without chaperonage. We made out a lot in the back of the theater. Saw it again later, and enjoyed it.

3. A Charlie Brown Christmas

Charlie Brown, you're hopeless. Depressed by the rampant commercialism of Christmas, Charlie Brown is just trying to find his Christmas spirit. This is a movie I make my sons (now 16 and just shy of 19) watch with me every year. Highlight for me is Linus telling the Christmas story.

2. It's A Wonderful Life

The sappiest movie of all time? Perhaps. But I know I never really feel like its been Christmas until I see it and hear Jimmy Stewart saying "Zuzu's petals!"

1. A Christmas Story

Ralphie. Red Ryder BB Gun. Bunny suit. Leg lamp - "Fragile." I could say more, but I need to go watch it. Again.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Projects List, 2014

Just to keep a record of what I am up to, gaming-wise... to be included, there has to be either actual minis in-hand (painted or otherwise) or particular forces planned but not purchased (marked with asterisk). Finished, or nearly finished projects are in green. Not many of those.


  • FOW British 8th Army (Indian)
  • FOW German DAK
  • 15mm SCW Carlistas
  • 15mm FOG-R TYW German (Catholic/Imperial)
  • 28mm SAGA Vikings
  • 28mm SAGA Welsh*
  • 28mm Dark Ages Terrain*


  • Dystopian Wars Prussians
  • Dystopian Wars Federated States of America
  • Dystopian Wars Britannia (w/ Indian Raj and HEIC)*
  • Dystopian Wars Terrain
  • 28mm British
  • 28mm German
  • 28mm Russian*
  • 28mm French
  • 28mm Japanese*
  • 28mm Martians
  • 28mm Automatons
  • 28mm Lizardmen
  • 28mm Police (IHMN)
  • 28mm Servants of Ra (IHMN)
  • 28mm Lord Curr's Company (IHMN)
  • 28mm Society of Thule (IHMN)
  • 28mm Brotherhood Monks (EotD)
  • 28mm Characters
  • 28mm Victorian Zombies*
  • 28mm Victorian Vehicles (Hansom Cab, Omnibus)*
  • 28mm Terrain
  • 15mm Martians
  • 15mm Automatons
  • 15mm Lizardmen
  • 15mm French
  • 15mm Texicans
  • 15mm Papal States
  • 15mm Japanese
  • 15mm Terrain
  • 6mm Germans
  • 6mm British
  • 6mm Martians
  • 6mm Terrain
  • Sky Galleons - Martians
  • Sky Galleons - British
  • Aeronef  - Italians
  • Sky Galleons/Aeronef Terrain

15mm Sci-Fi:

  • Chuhuac
  • Human (Khurasan Federal Army)*
  • 15mm Sci-Fi Terrain*


  • 28mm VBCW - Republic of Wales
  • Warhammer Fantasy - Empire
  • Doctor Who - 28mm Daleks
  • Doctor Who - 28mm Doctor and UNIT*
  • Doctor Who - 15mm TARDIS
  • BattleTech
  • Ogre Miniatures
  • 6mm Quar (for Ogre or BattleTech Aliens)
While I am quite sure there are more things that I am currently forgetting, this is the majority of my miniatures-based gaming. Now, add in some RPG and boardgames, and you are looking at a pretty hefty load.

I'm mad. That's the only explanation. And now you know why I sometimes feel overwhelmed and never seem to feel as if I am making progress...

Friday, December 19, 2014

New Issue of The Aethergraph available via Google Drive in PDF format. You can get the link on the post on my VSF-dedicated blog, Victoria's Boys in Red. Or just click on the link below if you don't want to visit my pretty VSF blog. *sniff*

   Volume 3, Issue #3 is pretty much dedicated to In Her Majesty's Name, a great set of VSF skirmish rules published by Osprey and written by Craig Cartmell and Charles Murton. But, there are ideas in it that I think you can use with any set of rules.

  • New official rules from Craig and Charles about using mercenaries in IHMN
  • A biography of Lord Ronan Curr by Craig Cartmell
  • Paul O'Grady's Armoured Naval Landing Party
  • A brief history of Otto Maton's Minions
  • New Mystic Powers
  • Venusian Saurian Tribe Adventuring Company
  • Some thoughts on adapting IHMN for Extraterrestrial Adventure
   Plus some photos, adverts, classifieds, a little fiction... 16 pages of totally free VSF fun. Please let me know what you like, what you don't like, and any constructive suggestions to improve the magazine would be greatly appreciated. As would submissions! Always looking for art, battle reports, house rules, unit histories, biographies, reviews, classifieds...

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Shub-Niggurath Awakes! Investigators Devoured.

Shub-Niggurath, from Art Ogre Studios

  Zach, Dane, and I played another game of Arkham Horror yesterday afternoon. The Ancient One drawn was Shub-Niggurath. We've never faced her before. Yow! Tough one, and we lost.

  We added in the King in Yellow expansion this time as well, using the Permanent Production and Herald options. This was a first for us (it was an early Christmas gift from Zach), and it went... not well. Not that it made the game less fun - far from it! I appreciated the extra encounter cards and the new items and spells and such. It does increase the difficulty level a bit, though. One reason we lost was the Herald and those darned Yellow Signs tokens! These are used whenever the Terror Track increases, and you have two options: advance the Doom Track or accept a Blight, which is sort of like a universal, permanent, negative Ally. We only had the Terror Track creep up on us twice - we are pretty good at keeping monster numbers down - but the advancing Doom track and the Blight we drew might have done us in.

  It started off so well. We each sealed a gate in the same turn! Only three left, we thought... Ashcan Pete (me) managed to get a second gate closed, finally, for a total of four. And then, just as I was ready to pop back into Arkham from the Great Hall of Celeano with five Clues, disaster struck: a Blight. And this particular Blight meant that it would take six Clues to seal the gate. SO much for that brilliant plan.

  At that point, we only had two spaces left on the Doom Track. Shub Niggurath awoke. We fought, but... without appropriate equipment or bonuses, defeating Shub-Niggurath was just not possible. We were all devoured, the Ancient One rampaged across Arkham, and it was a Bad Day for Massachusetts.

  Next time we are adding in the Innsmouth expansion. That was my gift to Zach. Great minds think alike, I guess. It looks diabolically difficult as well. Those Ancient Ones need to stay sleeping!

I hate my wife's dog.

  Actually, she's a puppy. And I shouldn't, because she is just doing puppy things.

  Last night she knocked over my portable painting station, aka the TV tray. This entailed her carrying off three bottles of paint and my brush cup. Which was about half full of water at the time, so now there is paint water in the carpet. Joy. And of course the bottles of paint (Vallejo) were thoroughly chewed up. Can't even tell what the label says. The brush cup too, but that's not a major loss.

  To top it off, she snatched away two bases of almost finished FOW Indian mortars. Gnawed one of them up pretty well, but didn't swallow any lead. Did manage to pop some of the figures off of the stand, though, and got about half of the basing material down her mouth as well. Luckily for her, health-wise, it was just sand and PVA glue, and the paints are all non-toxic acrylics. Still...

  Anybody want a 7 pound female Chihuahua?