Sunday, December 12, 2010

2nd Annual Fleet Review

A few years ago when researching color for my miniature of Graf Spee I discovered the King George VI's coronation fleet review. Last year, I saw a short clip of aerial film, which I've not been able to find again since. Seeing that many ships in one place at one time was . . . breathtaking. And I decided, I've got a decent harbor and a couple of hundred ships and boats. Maybe I should have a fleet review. I recall it was about this time of year, as I got a December order in the middle of the thing and incorporated them into the review, just to see how they'd look.

Well, this year, just before my birthday, I decided to make it an annual tradition. And this time I was smart enough to take pictures. So I present to you my own Second Annual Fleet Review. I wish I could show you just how impressive a sight it is to see the masts of two hundred miniature ships fading to the horizon when you view them from eye level, but it's hard to take it in with a camera, and the flash creates a contrast that obscures all but the nearest ships.

So this oblique view will have to suffice.

(The harbor isn't in the loveliest of surroundings, what with the warehouses, factories, and barracks.And the lighting isn't great, since it's underground. Further, the brown water is a bit unsightly. I suppose I could dye it blue, or even just lay out a sheet, but the review was rather impromptu, as you can see. The next will be more elaborate, no doubt.)

Further, I took bird's eye views of the different nations that constitute my own private fleet. Here is the US Navy contingent:

The Royal Navy is, of course, also quite well represented:

The Imperial Japanese Navy is also quite intimidating:

The French Fleet is a good bit smaller and still somewhat more drab, not having benefited from the modernizations that other fleets have been afforded:

The Italian Fleet is, at least, colorful:

The German Fleet is, of course, a shadow of its Great War glory, but at least it's here:

(The Russians, Greeks, Turks, Chinese, and Brazilians, for instance, haven't even made it yet.)

To finish things out, here are a few Norse and Swedish merchantmen, and some representative tugs, lighters, barges, and harbor craft. Oh, and two small floating drydocks:

I hope you find this fun and enjoyable. I've certainly had fun building the fleet. I'll try to follow up with a more serious post in the near future.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Fierce winter wind

Mist and snow, driven on parallel winds,
Swirl in front of me.
Like frozen
Fire the delicate white tendrils
Twist around my
Feet, bright in the headlights of
Oncoming cars.
Dark against the grey road. Lost in their own
Terrifying midnight shadow when the impromptu
Caravan has passed.

They burn with their intensity, these
Greedy jewels that glitter in the dim grey
Light of porches and parking lots.
They are chips of the
Eternal, shattered in some
Medieval examination and found

And I wander among them, one more
Fragment blown on the
Fierce winter wind.

11 December 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

Am I gay?

I'm sitting in my car crying to the end of the first act of Nutcracker. And I come in the door spinning like some kind of freak. If I didn't like girls so much I'd question my own sexuality. No wonder all the kids at my middle school were so darn certain I was gay.

On the other hand . . . Tchaikovsky did write some very good music. Maybe if I were gay I'd also be rich and famous. (And somewhat more talented than I presently am.)

Yeah, it's been an emotional and goofy year. But I' do like Pyotr Illyitch. And all those folks that insist that Brahms is salvation and Tchaikovsky (or Wagner) an untalented hack can go suck it. Don't get me wrong, I like Brahms too, but I'll tell you what, I'd much rather play (or listen to) Tchaikovsky. Which means half my professors will now officially hate me.

And oh yes, there is a point to Christmas. It's not Christmas without mice and little girls having whacked out acid trips. And I officially like cultures where fairy tales are for grown ups. (For the curious, Russian opera is also replete with fairy tales. Fairy tales with big hairy men that sing really low and gardens full of lithe exotic princesses . . . And dwarves who keep their magic in their beards. It's just that kinky.)

But then Russia always did fairy tales better than Disney. Better music, better stories. Just . . . better.

Ladies and gentlemen, it's the holidays, so go out and crack some nuts. And dance!