The Still Harts Café Open was held on Saturday, May 27th, 2023 at Quail Hollow Golf and Country Club in Oakham, MA. It was a beautiful day – and we had a great turnout of 110 players. Because we had so many players, we once again had 4 divisions/flights of teams of 6, 7, or 8.
All of the four flights were very competitive. No team won by more than 2 strokes over the second place teams. That’s a testament to the competitiveness the committee is trying to establish (and yes, being on the committee I am a bit biased!).
In the Nicklaus Flight, the win went to the team of Chris Depasse, Rich Dupell, Jim Lovett, and Kristen Depasse with a magnificent 10 under par. That team also had the distinction of the lowest overall score in the tournament. Their team edged out the second place team of Reece McLeod, Ed McLeod, George Fiske, and Jeff Bennett who shot a very good -8.
In the Player Flight, two teams came in tied at -8. Those two teams were that of Fran Lamothe, Joe Nichols, John Wheeler, and Mark Bruso and that of Kevin Paradis, Rich Casault, Paul Boulette, and Deb Durgin. The ensuing playoff ended after one hole, with the victory going to Fran Lamothe’s team.
In the Palmer Flight, the team of Jim Kularski, Peter Davis, Mike Kularski, and Lisa Persson scored a 6 under par, eking out a 1 stroke victory Ken Frazier, Tom Cocker, and Anne Jette (who were playing minus a no-show D player).
In the Daly Flight, the team of Beth Potvin, Tom Orszulak, Jim Lapierre, and Barbara Orszulak edged out two teams by two strokes. The two teams in second place were the team of Mark A. Morin (yes me), Dickie Ford, Kevin Kokansky, and Tony Woodman and the team of Steve Whitman, George Jette, Brandon McEvoy, and Jeff McLeod.
There was only ONE skin won as shown below – congrats to Beth Potvin, Tom Orszulak, Jim Lapierre, and Barbara Orszulak for the Eagle made on the 3rd hole! Additionally, closest to the pin was won by Jim McKeon for his team on the par-3 17th hole at 3′ away!.
The results are below – and click on any of the photos for a bigger image. Congrats to the winners!
The June Tournament is the Toomey-Lovett Classic, scheduled for Saturday June 17th – sign ups are on the Facebook page, as well as physical sign up sheets at Quail Hollow and Still Harts Café. The registration time is 7:30 AM at Quail Hollow. The cut off to sign up will be Saturday, June 10th. Sign up early as possible as we are growing and as I’m sure that you understand that the course cannot handle an infinite number of players.
Lastly, if you have any feedback or comments on this blog post – there is a comment section that you can use below. As I wrote, I will be putting up the next event on Facebook – but if you are not on Facebook and want to sign up, you can use the comment section here. The same cutoff criteria applies, as well as the need to vet any new players (the committee will want to get a good idea of your golf game).
Also, if you want to check out my other hobby posts here in this blog – feel free to do so– my guess is you will be surprised at what you see.
Thanks again to all the players, Still Harts Café for sponsoring, and to Gary and Debbie Donlin, Jim LeBlanc, and all the staff at Quail Hollow who work so hard to make the Tour of the Brookfields possible.
For a listing of all the links that will bring you to a listing of all of the 2023 Tour of the Brookfields results, go to this page.
My blog has always been titled “Life, Golf, Miniatures, & Other Distractions“. Usually, the vast majority of my posts have been about my miniatures and wargaming hobby activities. For those new to this blog, that’s dealing mostly with toy soldiers and using them in various games. For golf, and especially the Tour of the Brookfields monthly tournaments, I mainly used Facebook to share information and results.
However, last year I had a few issues – such as FB inexplicably pulling down my posts on my page that I ran for the tournaments. The explanation (such as it was) was that the posts or pics “violated community standards”. These included pictures (similar to the ones that you will see below) of golfers and some videos of folks swinging clubs etc. I never got an exact explanation of how “community standards” were violated – despite my objections that I sent to Meta. I want to prevent that going forward – hence using my blog.
This year, I will be using my blog to share tournament results and pictures (I cannot share videos). As not everyone who plays is on Facebook, by my posting information here I can get and share it more widely as you only need the link. I will still use FB for coordination and sign ups, but I will be posting results here. This will give access to everyone who wants to know the results and/or see the photos.
On to the Country Auto Open – which was held on Saturday, April 29th, 2023 at Quail Hollow Golf and Country Club in Oakham, MA. It was a cold and slightly drizzly day – but we had a great turnout of 104 players. Because we had so many players, we went to 4 divisions/flights of teams of 6 or 7. The results are below – click on the photo for a bigger image.
COUNTRY AUTO OPEN RESULTS
Most of the flights were very tight – and the Nicklaus Division went into 3 playoff holes before a tie was declared. Congrats to the teams of Jackson Davis, Jim Wilson, Jake Malin, Bob Tilton and Corey Heyes, JP LeBoeuf, Mike Kularski, and Bernie LaPierre Sr. for enduring the 18 holes and 3 playoff holes as well. As my good friend Bob Tilton is approaching 91 – and played 21 holes – that was something to see. Additionally, this marks the 4th tournament in a row that a team with Bob on it came into the money!
In the Player Division, the team of Kevin Paradis, Tom Foley, Amanda Pierce, and Greg Wypych eked out a 1 stroke victory at -7 over two teams (both the teams of Matt Brown, Dickie Ford, Ed McLeod, Wyatt Alm and that of Leon Wetherell, Ron McCann, Jason Kenney, and Spencer Rice came in at -6).
The team of Chris Smith, Shane Chabot, Brian Egan, and Leo Egan won in the Palmer Division with a -7, giving them a narrow two-stroke victory over the team of Jeremy Moran, Tom Orszulak, Jim LaPierre, and Clayton Rice.
In the Daly Division, the team of Matt Desimone, John Markey, John Davis, and Dick LaPierre at -9 edged out the team of Tom Waugh, Joe Nichols, Dan Foley, and Ed Sanborn by one stroke. That team also had the distinction of the lowest overall score in the tournament.
There were three skins won as shown above – all by winning teams. Additionally, closest to the pin was won by Paul Sanborn for his team on the par-3 17th hole.
I don’t always get a chance to take a number of photos – but here are some to share that I took while everyone was waiting to start (and trying to stay warm).
The next TOB is the Still Harts Café Open and will be on May 27th – with a registration time of 7:30 AM at Quail Hollow. I will put a sign up on Facebook and there will be physical sign up sheets at Quail Hollow and at Still Harts Café in North Brookfield. The cut off to sign up will be Saturday, May 20th.
Lastly, if you have any feedback or comments on this blog post – there is a comment section that you can use below. I will be putting up the next event on Facebook – but if you are not on Facebook and want to sign up, you can use the comment section here. The same cutoff criteria applies, as well as the need to vet any new players (the committee will want to get a good idea of your golf game).
Also, if you want to check out my other hobby posts here – feel free – my guess is you will be surprised at what you see.
Thanks again to all the players, Country Auto for sponsoring, and to Gary and Debbie Donlin, Jim LeBlanc, and all the staff at Quail Hollow (like Tara!) who work so hard to make the Tour of the Brookfields possible.
2022 was one hell of a busy year. Every year I try to recapture just what the hell I got done hobby-wise – both for miniatures/wargames and golf-wise. Then I try to assess (for my own purposes) what I set out to do at the year’s start and how well I achieved – or failed – to meet those goals. As another year has rolled by, it’s time to take that look in the old mirror. This blog, “Life, Golf, Miniatures & Other Distractions” covers my activities – and I do like to use the blog as an outlet to likeminded folks. So let’s take a retrospective look at 2022 AND a forward look into 2023.
Doing this is an old habit from when I actually worked full-time before retirement. Back then in “the dreaded private sector”, I had sales goals to hit every period – be it yearly, quarterly, thrice annually, or whatever. Of course, there was the inevitable review period where every manager would ask you what “stretch goals” you would “commit to” doing. This was a farce as the sales quotas you were given from corporate were never layups anyways. Plus, you needed to account for the previous year’s performance in any case.
Still, I’ve always set personal goals and found that it’s always good to have a plan and try your best. I also want to be honest with myself and be accountable to my own plans. How well did I do – let’s see…
I set out some goals for myself back last December for 2022. Some were around gaming, some around hobby production, some were around golf, and more.
How did I do versus my 2022 goals?
Paint 150 figures or more.
I did break this one with a strong push in November and December – (see pic below). I managed to finish 202 figures!
Complete the remaining conquistador figures for Civilizations Collide.
I definitely did this! I have a page in my blog that catalogs all things Aztec/Conquistador/Maya/Tlaxcalan here.
Complete the remaining terrain for Civilizations Collide, to include the brigantines.
It was a big effort, but check!
Complete the remaining Maya figures for Civilizations Collide.
I managed to get these done by November – and they will be on the tabletop soon. This capped 300 figures done for the period since I began.
Complete the scenario booklet for Civilizations Collide.
Not quite done – though I have completed fleshing out and writing 9 scenarios, plus I have 3 mostly completed, and 4 in concept mode. All have or will be used at conventions.
Complete my figures for Wars of Ozz, ok at least 40 of them.
Better late than never! This is now the project that I am into quite deeply. I managed to paint up 93 figures for Wars of Ozz in November and December alone. There is now a page in my blog that catalogs these here.
Paint up a platoon from Wargames Supply Dump for Combat Patrol™ .
Never got to this – but will try again in 2023 (sorry Roger).
Try to get my Nomonhan WaT project off the ground.
I did want to get to this, but not enough time.
Attend and run games at conventions or club nights or both, if possible. This would include TotalCon34, HMGS South Recon, HAVOC, HUZZAH!, Historicon, and BARRAGE .
I will give myself a good grade here. I did not go to BARRAGE due to a golfing tournament conflict, but otherwise I did all of these conventions PLUS HMGS Fall In! in November. Plus I won some awards at three conventions – HUZZAH, HAVOC, and at Fall In. My gaming club, the Mass Pikemen, met a few times – and hopefully will do more in 2023. For 2023, I am going to track my gaming progress as well as my hobby production progress.
Get the Mass Pikemen more active once the pandemic diminishes.
Could have been better – will work on in 2023.
Celebrate my wife’s retirement (and mine belatedly) with a nice trip.
Finish the garage+ and launch that baby successfully.
Well, it’s finished and we do enjoy it – just have not managed to play a wargame in it yet. Otherwise, yes indeed, it’s done!
Post on the blog 48 times or more – and in good quality.
As for the quality – the readers are the judge. However, I fell off a bit and only did 42 posts.
Be a good blog follower.
I hope I was this – but certainly not a measurable statistic!
Have multiple Zoom chats with fellow hobbyists.
Success here – if we got together you know who you are and thanks – great conversations and wonderful camaraderie. I’m always open to more!
Go to a golf school and get my golf handicap down below 18.
Mixed bag here – we did go to a golf school during our Florida trip. My handicap started the year at 20.7, peaked in July at 22.6, and I was able to improve to 18.9 by season’s end.
Play golf (in season) at least twice a week.
I played close to 80 rounds this year – and usually played 3-4 time a week in season – so hell yeah!
Win my flight in the Club Championship.
My biggest miss as I got hurt AND played horribly – coming in dead last.
Be a competitive golfer.
Despite the previous miss in the Club Championship, I did manage a few good showings in other tournaments. I’d say in general I was competitive.
Personal Highs in 2022
The Florida trip and golfing with my wife (she’s getting better)!
Getting the garage DONE.
Getting together with family especially my daughter Ellen and my granddaughter Tabitha.
Finishing all of the figures and terrain for Civilizations Collide!
Continuing to serve my Town (East Brookfield, MA) as the elected Board of Health Chairman during the pandemic.
Participating in multiple gaming conventions and winning awards at: HAVOC (the “Al Award” for the game with the most stunning visual appeal); two awards at HUZZAH (2 best in time slots), and a “Pour Encourager Les Autres” at Fall In.
Getting going on my Wars of Ozz figures!
Getting together with Dave Wood, Buck Surdu, Greg Priebe, Chris Palmer, and Duncan Adams, Eric Schlegel, and all of the other HAWKS in person.
Being on the Committees for the Tour of the Brookfields tournaments and the New England Service Academy golf tournaments,
Having fun Zoom chats.
And again, being with my wife Lynn, every day (seriously, and she won’t likely read this).
With the unhappy demise of our beloved Caesar on New Years Day (discussed here), and Lynn having subsequently joined me in retirement, we found ourselves for the first time in many years being able to travel. We decided to drive down to the Orlando Florida area in April to visit with friends, for some recreation, to attend a Marriott golf school, and to attend the RECON HMGS South Gaming convention. It was a needed break. The garage+ project would continue while we were gone – so no need to hang around in Massachusetts – off to Florida!
We drove because frankly we prefer it. We were in no mood to deal with airlines, masking requirements, and the rest. Besides, we could more easily bring all the stuff we wanted to take that way.
It took us three days to get down to Florida (really two and a half). It’s a roughly 1200-mile drive. We left on 4/13, and stopped south of Richmond, VA and in Savannah, GA on the way.
The ride down was mostly done on I95 (avoiding NYC metro as that’s a nightmare). However, the most surprising aspect of the drive down was the number of dangerous/reckless drivers we saw – and really seeing no traffic enforcement to speak of on the way. Even while we were in Florida (where along with the metro DC area) we saw many drivers who were totally oblivious to safe driving practices. The only times we saw any cops on the highways happened twice in Florida when they shut down I4 – both for fatal crashes. Maybe this chaos was so because it was spring break week – but for the ride back we took a longer path inland towards I81-I84 and it was far less like a post-apocalyptic Road Warrior movie or a game of GASLANDS.
Arriving at our first hotel on Friday the 15th (the Wyndham in Kissimmee), we checked in and hit the pool deck for some needed drinks and relaxation. This hotel was also the site for the HMGS South RECON Gaming convention, but that was not to happen until the following weekend. That night, we got together with the Surdu’s (Buck and Candy) for dinner with them which was great fun.
As for Easter weekend, we decided that Disney and Universal costs were way too expensive – and we had visited both previously. Nearby SeaWorld owns both itself in Orlando, and Busch Gardens in Tampa. They had a decently-priced deal for visiting both parks in 5 days (well better than the ridiculous fortune that the other parks were asking for). We had not been to either before, so the plan became Busch Gardens for the 16th, and SeaWorld for Monday the 18th, with Easter Sunday being a hangout day at Casa Surdu.
On Saturday the 16th, we drove to Tampa to visit Busch Gardens theme park. It has a LOT of roller coasters and is a pretty good zoo. Neither of us like roller coasters, but the experience was good. The animal exhibits were quite good. Below I have put up a few photos:
We had an enjoyable day. The next day, Easter Sunday, was excellent as we got to hang out with Buck and Candy – whose hospitality was superb and thanks again you two.
On Monday the 18th we went to SeaWorld. Of course, it is known for its orcas. I have to say it was a very nice sea-themed park with fauna from all ends of the globe. Certainly they have changed practices with all of their animals since the unfortunate trainer death a decade+ ago.
Both Busch Gardens and SeaWorld have partnered with Sesame Street to have a kids section of their respective parks. I thought it was tastefully done.
We also had purchased the “all-day dining” package – which was really not all it sounded like. It did not cover beer, and any food purchased under the plan started a 90-minute clock that prevented any other freebies until that 90 minutes was up. Also, most of the special kiosk foods were not covered (like the pretzel one below). Otherwise, we enjoyed the park – which also is loaded with roller coasters that we didn’t ride. The exhibits were really cool, as were the special show-type ones such as for the seals and the orcas.
Now both at Busch Gardens and at SeaWorld there were some promotional displays. This one also made me think of our favorite Aussie gardener/landscaper IRO. And no I did not spend my entire vacation thinking of him – just being reminded of him was enough!
That night we left the Wyndham for the Marriott Golf Resort/School for two days of relative luxury and golf school for us both. Lynn picked up a lot, and I used the opportunity to rework my swing (which is now coming around as I write this in early June as expected two months later). Lynn and I have been playing golf more and it’s nice to have the chance to play together. She’ll never be a die-hard like me, but we’re having fun. The Marriott resort there is really nice too.
After two days (the evening of the 18th-20th) at the Marriott, it was back to staying at the previous Wyndham where HMGS South was having their RECON gaming convention. Lynn was indeed missing the Marriott…so I plied her with a blue drink…
Still we managed to have fun on the 18th – the Wyndham had an interactive game of dodgeball with zombies on a projection screen. Apparently the blue drink does not help accuracy with dodgeball against the undead.
Still we were having a good time.
The next day (April 21st), I had the privilege of gaming with with Buck back at his amazing gaming room (which you can see below). As a bonus, my old West Point roommate Dave Wood and Buck’s buddy JJ were there. We were also joined via Zoom for this gaming session with Greg Priebe and Chris Palmer of the Maryland-based HAWKS gaming club. While Candy took our spouses out, we wargamers playtested a massive Napoleonic game using a derivative of Buck’s Wars of Ozz rules. It is in development and will be called Wars of Eagles and Empires.
Then we moved on to run a final test of Dave’s RECON WOOD (Wars of Orcs and Dwarves) game. This also uses Buck’s Wars of Ozz-type mechanics, but with changes for fantasy gaming. It is close to publication. Here are some images – we would also play this game at RECON after any modifications.
The next day (22nd) was our day 1 of RECON. We reran the Hobbits raid on the Orc village scenario at the convention and it was a hoot.
I want to give EXTRA credit to Lynn as she agreed to game the whole day with me. During a lull in the game, I asked her with iPhone in hand if she was enjoying herself…
Seriously, she was a good sport but one day of gaming a year is the best I can expect!
We then played in aCombat Patrol™ game involving Star Wars figures that was fun.
The last game Friday was a 7ITV game that Lyn and I played. There were three side-by-side games – and Lynn and I played the Scooby-Doo scenario.
Saturday morning Buck ran a Philippines 1941 Combat Patrol™ scenario that I helped him as an assistant GM. I truly enjoyed this!
The next game was my favorite – a massive Wars of Ozz game where I commanded a brigade of Winkie zilk-riding cavalry (think giant birds of prey). I maneuvered the brigade to assault the Quadlings and Munchkins opposing me.
The game was an overwhelming Winkie and Gillikin (my allies) victory.
Lastly, Buck, JJ, and I (Dave left Friday) played a neat Spanish-American scenario for Blood & Steel. The GM did an excellent job – and the game came down to a final roll of the dice, which went for Buck and JJ, but it was a lot of fun to play them. The scenario was a very fun skirmish game. (no pics sorry).
After this, we said goodbye and I headed back to my room where Lynn and I packed up for the return trip to Massachusetts.
I have to say it was a great trip – and one I will always remember. Big thanks to Buck and Candy!!!! Dave and JJ too!!
Next up – how I built a Conquistador fleet for the Battle of Lake Texcoco for HUZZAH 2022 (in between taking this trip and HAVOC 2022)!
Yes, I am alive…at least I think I am, which counts for something I guess…
Apologies for not being as active – or more precisely not being a contributor at all – on the blogosphere since March. I HAVE been reading the blogs I follow but have not commented or hit “like” or anything of the sort. Why you may ask, have I been seemingly dormant?
The truth is I have been busier than a 1-legged man in an ass-kicking contest!
One would think that retirement would have slowed me down. It has had exactly the opposite effect.
Prepared for and ran 4 four-hour tabletop Feudal Patrol™ games at a three day gaming convention (HAVOC) in Massachusetts.
Drove 1200 miles to Florida and 1200 back over two weeks for another gaming convention (HMGS South’s RECON where I gamed for three days), two days of golf school, and a lot of leisure activities and travel with my wife.
Built a completely new MASSIVE naval game for Feudal Patrol™ – Aztecs vs. Conquistadores on Lake Texcoco – which required me to build 5 brigantines and 5 guns and 5 three-man crews – let alone the game rules, markers, dashboards, etc. I just finished it in time and debuted it at HUZZAH convention in Maine in April (150 miles away).
Went to the aforementioned HUZZAH and ran 6 four-hour games in 4 days!
Continued on the garage never-ending but close to ending now project…now the driveway is completely paved, and the final pieces and landscaping are happening as I write.
Started golf season – started off really frigging cold but warming up now. Hey, I’m in Massachusetts after all.
Ran for reelection for Board of Health in my town. I was unopposed but got 82/99 votes (only a 6% turnout for a municipal election).
Played in 8 golf events and two weekly golf leagues as well as participating on a committee for three other tournaments. Plus trying to groove a new swing.
Also in March we had a funeral for my brother in law – he had been sick for a while so not a surprise.
Been driving my granddaughter to and from school 3 days a week.
I guess I had a blog birthday (my 7th) back in March – missed that too!
Yeah, I’ve been idle and lazy…
So where do I go from here?
Basically I am going to restart and regularly read more of the blogs I follow.
I am also going to post about all of the above-mentioned conventions. I have run a dozen convention or club games this year as a GM so far, and played in nearly as many others too. I’ll share some info and pics about epic games I ran (IMO – hint – some of my games I ran were award-winning) or played in. These were at RECON, HAVOC, HUZZAH, and the Mass Pikemen that I think you will enjoy.
I’ll post about the building of my Conquistador brigantine fleet and their falconet & lombard crews.
Going to throw in some vacation and golf stuff as well – after all this blog IS titled “Life, Golf, Miniatures, & Other Distractions“.
Again, glad to be back and hopefully I won’t overwhelm you with new posts – and to those of you who inquired about me, thanks for caring and checking in. Thanks for missing me!
2021 was another one that we all want to forget in many ways, but not all.
I set out some goals for myself back last December for 2022. Some were around gaming, some around hobby production, some were around golf, and more. Back when I was working in “the dreaded private sector”, I had sales goals to hit every period – be it yearly, quarterly, thrice annually, or whatever. Every manager would ask you for “stretch goals” – which was pretty unnecessary as the sales quotas you were given from corporate were never layups anyways. Still, it’s always good to have a plan and try your best. It’s also good to be honest with yourself and be accountable to yourself. Hopefully, that’s what I did with regards to my goals in 2021.
How did I do versus my 2020 goals?
Paint 250 figures or more
That did not happen, though my production was pretty good at 104. For three months I did not do any painting (August-October) as I was pretty involved with the new garage+ project.
Complete the figures and terrain for Civilizations Collide
I have to give myself full credit here – the building of the Aztec cityscape was an epic project. However, I still am finding that I have more to do as I develop scenarios for my Spanish Conquest scenarios booklet – so yes I built what I planned – I just have more to do to flesh out the other scenarios with terrain and figures.
Complete my figures for Wars of Ozz, ok at least 40 of them
Big miss here – did not get to them. I did get to play a game at Christoricon though – commanding the Greater and Lesser Pumpkinheads.
Paint up a platoon from Wargames Supply Dump for Combat Patrol™.
No retro sci-fi games or WaT games this year – but I did run multiple games of for Feudal PatrolTM using my “Civilizations Collide” supplement, to include at Historicon.
Get my golf handicap down below 15
HA! I have hovered around 20-21 all year. I did get new clubs this year, and I won my flight in the Club Championship (and as a caveat it was the D Flight, but I am proud of that).
Play golf (in season) at least twice a week
I did do this!
Make between 30 and 36 blog posts of value and quality
As far as quality, I would judge them as up to standard (but that is the reader’s judgement, no?). Quantity-wise, I did 54, so that’s a “check”.
Get back on the Imperial Rebel Ork podcast
Well IRO euthanized his podcast earlier this year, so that wasn’t possible. Understandably, the man had a cabin to build!
Build a new garage
As most of you know, that is on-going, so not yet done.
Personal Highs for 2021
Continuing to serve my Town (East Brookfield, MA) as the elected Board of Health Chairman during the pandemic. Specifically, getting over 500 seniors vaccinated (1/3 from neighboring towns even), and getting nearly 100% of the 56+ residents vaccinations.
The project continues! Although I was so late with Week 10 that I decided to combine weeks 10 and 11. As you will see from this post – a lot went on from September 19-October 2, 2021. Some of it involved construction, some not – as you will see. I’ll do my level best to make this interesting by including not only some construction photos, some other stuff, to include golf and a bit of hobbies!
There are a lot of pictures here – click on any of them for a bigger view.
Let’s start with electrical work and some progress around the cellar. Wait, the cellar? Why there? Aren’t you building a new garage and house deck Mark? All valid questions that I am presupposing that you may be asking! So let me attempt clarification.
To power the new building, I needed to get the service upgraded from 100 amps to 200 amps. Our electrical service meter and box was in the back of the house over the old (now removed) house deck. Previously, electrical power came from the National Grid pole out front on the street to the house then went along the soffit and into the cellar at the back right-hand corner of the house if you will. The plan was to make this bigger and better by moving the meter and building a new box for it at the front left corner of the house. A new hole had to be drilled for the new power cable, and that needed to be run to a new replacement distribution box in the basement. This work occurred on September 21st.
Drilling through the old sill was a bitch. The sill was quite thick – 13″ – and made of solid oak. The hole drilling destroyed two hole saw bits.
Outside, work went on the new meter box and running the cable and hooking it up to the power grid.
Back in the cellar, the old distribution box mounting monstrosity was removed and a new sheet of plywood and some lumber from the garage build was used to build a suitable mount. The new configuration is bigger and we will need to move the dryer to the wall to the left of the distribution box so that the vent hose is not right next to it. But, as we were using the old the shelves I never got around to paint it as you can see – and it looked like hell.
Also, I need to back up a bit. It had been necessary for me to clear a lane along the wall for the electricians to run the power cable prior to their starting work. After I did that, I got a good chance to look at the wall and the crappy homemade shelving/cabinet. I noticed a lot of old paint flaking on the wall near the dryer vent and some puckering where I had painted the corner in the front left of the house. The puckering was due to efflorescence, not water leaking, even with the excessive rain we have had this summer. An old dry well that I had built over a decade ago in the front left corner of the house was no longer doing its job, so the rain water outside the basement wall was not properly draining – leading to the efflorescence bubbling up behind the paint. We decided that the shelving cabinet needed to go and the wall repainted.
Before I did that, I rebuilt the drywell. When I originally built it, I had dug down about 3 feet and hit sand, so I had then assumed that the soil was free-draining. When I dug this time, I went a bit deeper, and to my surprise I found that there was yet another soil layer under the sand. This one was a loamy clay – that does not drain well. So, I dug down another 3 feet and backfilled it all with sand from the excavations in the backyard. I replaced the downspout extensions and doubled the length. The we covered the area with a filter fabric and then covered that with river stones.
I then spent the time to take down the shelving/cabinet with my wife. She was able to recycle the doors as shelving in another section of the cellar. I scraped off any flaking paint and exposing any efflorescence. Then, I used a mildly acidic product, Drylok Etch, across the wall to clean and prep for painting with bright white Drylok Extreme (both from Home Depot). This took a while, but came out well. We are taking the opportunity to clear out some stuff and have a yard sale this weekend to get some new homes for some good stuff we don’t need anymore. Plus, I can’t do any hobbies as you can see below!
Back in the garage, the septic line was stubbed up in the floor with a cleanout.
On the 24th, it was time to place the concrete floor in the garage. I say “place” and not “pour” because that was drilled into me in the US Army Corps of Engineers as the appropriate terminology – and that stuck.
This was no problem as this plywood will be removed eventually when the door is installed.
Because of the many rain days, Andy Cormier arranged to get help to finish off the septic line installation.
Having the septic line in the ground and attached to the septic tank allowed for its backfilling as well as work to proceed on the driveway excavation.
On Monday, September 27th, Lynn and I participated in the annual West Point Society of New England’s annual charity golf tournament, along with our friends, Lisa and Jim Kularski. This year, the beneficiary was Homes for our Troops. It was a nice break while construction work continued.
When we returned home, there was a lot of dirt moved around. It turned out that the soil under the driveway had the same layering issue that I found in my dry well excavation – so a lot had to go, and be replaced with clean fill.
Of course, Tuesday the 28th brought yet more downpouring rain. Therefore, earthwork and any other work could not happen. We only got a delivery of deck material for the house deck.
On Wednesday the 29th, the skies cleared and work could proceed. The driveway was excavated and brought to grade. Old asphalt, and interfering roots and stumps (including a 4-5 ton maple tree stump) were removed in this process.
At the end of the day, the driveway was filled, and all the holes were filled in.
The next work skipped a day (rain), and that involved the framing of the replacement house deck. This was October 1st. Jonny also got ready to install the rain gutter system for the garage deck.
To make up lost time to rain, work continued on the deck on Saturday the 2nd. This weekend I had not one but two competitive golf tournaments. The first was on Saturday which was the Finals of the Tour of the Brookfields. If you are on Facebook, the group link is here. I am a member of the committee. My team was in the lowest division, but we did not come in the top three. Still, congrats to the winners!
After the tournament, I returned to see progress on the house deck.
So, a lot of progress was made over the two weeks!
(Lastly, I previously mentioned a couple things that I need to circle back to – the first being the Sunday Founder’s tournament at Quail Hollow Golf and Country Club (where I am a member). This was an individual event and I played better, but not well enough to be the winner (only one male and one female winner out of dozens of players so no big deal). However, back during the annual club championship (a two-day 36-hole tournament of individual medal play from the back tees) on July 31-August 1st – I was able to play my best golf of the year (98/88 for a net 2 over par for the event) and win the D flight against 11 others. So Sunday, I got my reward.
What you see here left to right is a comic statue that belonged to my grandfather Marcus (a WWII vet who gave me a love of golf), my unlucky conquistador “Franco”, my trophy, and as it’s October, my Halloween mini-diorama with Ral Partha 25mm figures of classic monsters from the 30’s Universal Studios movies.
Ah, but I digress – week 12 is well underway and I will have much more to share. I hope that you enjoyed this and thanks for looking!
It’s been a very busy time here at home since my last blog post in early June. Some of you have wondered if I had gone past my expiration date. Rest assured, I, for better or worse, am still on the top side of the fairway (or maybe the rough anyways).
This post will be a bit different than the standard fare I usually offer here. Yes, the title of my blog is “Life, Golf, Miniatures, & Other Distractions”. Too often, however, I neglect everything EXCEPT miniatures here. But as I now have a good deal to share on all of these, well, I guess for once I’ll give equal billing. You see, I have been building my Aztec cityscape. It’s a tabletop wargame set up that needs its own (and probably multiple separate) posts.
That is NOT the subject of this post – you did read the title friend?
No, this time instead, I’ll ramble through each of the aforementioned title topics about “stuff” that has gone on in the last month. I’ll share some hopefully interesting photos and a few observations that will (maybe) make you say wow! Or Hmmm! Or Huzzah! Or WTF? Or a combo? Your choices of course. Chuckling is allowed and strongly encouraged
As its been over a month since my last post, sit back and enjoy – I think that I did for the most part.
This section is dedicated to the more important parts and events of my life – you know, the ones that I don’t usually write about. But they are important – and yes, even more important than minis or golf (oh please don’t make me write that again but it’s true). Most of this section is organized chronologically, but not aligned with the other sections – a lot of this is about family, vacations, and food!
As the pandemic really kept the planet at home, and as I am often remiss each summer in taking my wife to the beach as often as she’d like, I felt that it was important that this year I make an effort – especially as she was to be on vacation – to get her to the beach. Now, she likes Newport, RI, but I’ve always preferred Hampton Beach, NH. And she likes it too by the way – so I’m not a total ass! As her vacation weeks were fixed (I’m always off so no big deal for me), we looked at the calendar and June 28th looked like the only day of her first vacation week that would not be rainy. It also was hot as hell – so, we made the 90 mile trek to the New Hampshire coast.
Now please understand, the water here is truly cold – usually not warmer than 50 degrees Fahrenheit (that’s 10 degrees Celsius for you metric types). No Gulf Stream here to warm the water. As this day the air temp was 89 degrees Fahrenheit with a slight breeze (that’s 32 degrees Celsius for you metric types) – it felt like we were in a convection oven even under our umbrella. I took a couple mile walk to get the photos and some exercise and despite sunscreen got a (mild) sunburn and a couple blisters from the hot sand! Amazing to experience such heat with such cold water so close. Yes, I know that it gets hotter in other places (and I’ve lived down South too plus some time in the Sahara), but for us this was really hot. Lynn and I decided to head out for the boardwalk and some old (like us) video games, shade, and a snack, and some shopping. Oh yeah, and especially shade.
After our little saunter along the boardwalk (which was much cooler), we decided to head out and grab dinner. Years before we met, unbeknownst to either us, both of us were aficionados of Brown’s Lobster Pound in nearby Seabrook, NH. We both had gone there since we were kids. It was nice to discover we had that in common when we met, and have been there every time we went through the area. We always get steamers (steamed clams) and lobsters. It’s a BYOB place, so we grabbed a few adult beverages and grabbed a nice spot on the picnic tables inside and waited for our orders.
That was a fun day. The rest of the week was rainy, to include the weekend. On the third of July, we managed to gather to celebrate Buck Surdu’s birthday…ok, we did not do that… 😁 – but we did get in a belated Father’s Day for me, a partial belated birthday for Lynn, and a day early Independence Day celebration. I got some cool gifts and cards! As it was my second Father’s Day celebration without my Dad, it felt better, especially with family.
A week later Lynn and I were again having seafood withdrawals, so we hit a favorite place of ours, Red Crab Juicy Seafood in Worcester, MA (just 10 miles away). It specializes in Cajun seafood.
Ok, enough about food. We have been working on replacing our garage since before the pandemic. It looks like a Dr. Seuss house, only less useful. The previous owner of our house had won the Massachusetts State Lottery back in the 1970’s when it was a $50,000 drawing once a week (now it’s made up of dozens of games and much bigger payouts). He’s long dead now. In any case, my understanding is that with his winnings he bought a new car, one that was too big for his garage. The easy fix for him was to cut off the end of the garage, cut the stringers on the left side, and use scab lumber to extend the garage in both directions. As you will see from the photos below, while his fix lasted his lifetime, it was not going to rival the pyramids.
Now our good friend IRO is converting a carport into a shed using recycled materials, and is doing a FAR better job than was done with this monstrosity. In any case, it needs to go. We knew we wanted to do something extra here as we wanted some entertainment space and a deck to overlook the pond in back. Before the pandemic, we hired an architect, Lasse Aspelin, to design us a new garage with a second floor and a 16′ x 16′ deck, plus a new deck for the back of the house. We now have cleared the Town’s Conservation Commission, Building Inspector, and Zoning Board of Appeals (not going to bore you but that took a long time – over a year), and demolition starts this week. Here is what we are going to build:
It’s a big project, but one that will allow us to fully benefit from our home and property for years to come. Plus, now at least one car can come out of the snow in winter! We have hired Ready Installs of Shrewsbury, MA to do the project – and they are working with subcontractors like Andre Cormier of Cormier & Sons out of Fiskdale, MA.
News Flash!! As I write this post, Andre showed up with the excavator and we are excited! He even might let me take the first whack! Have some preliminary silt protection (for the pond) installed and the power cut to the building, but we are that much closer to starting!
I play golf at least two-three times a week. 18 holes on Tuesday in a scramble format on Tuesdays, 9 holes of medal play on Thursdays, and 18 competitive holes of some type on the weekend either in the club sweeps or a tournament. I have taken a couple of lessons this year and am making some swing changes which is not an easy process. I have also been hitting range balls at least once a week.
In May, I got fitted for new clubs (my last new set was 10 years ago). I got on the launch monitor and was fitted for Ping G425 MAX driver, 3 wood, and 3,4, and 5 hybrids. For irons, Ping 710’s. Basically, I’m brand loyal to Ping. More on that in a bit.
I played in two tournaments – one was a scramble in the monthly “Tour of the Brookfields” on June 19th. I did not lead my team to victory, as we ended up only -4 (67) and 63 won our flight. It was another rainy and cold day too, so a tough scoring day.
On July 1st, I got good news and bad news on my new clubs. The good news is that the G425’s finally arrived. The bad news was that the irons would take until mid-August – remember they were ordered in MAY!!
These new sticks were available for the second tournament, the Member-Member at Quail Hollow in Oakham, MA on July 11th. I played with Dan Befford as a partner. I shot a 96 (net 79) so I felt like I could have done better, but the new clubs were a help. We did not win anything, but we did have a good time.
I decided that based on my last post, where I showed the raid scenario I ran at the Mass Pikemen, that I needed a few things made. Both were fairly easy. The first was a cornfield that could provide some nice tabletop scenery as well as potential Aztec cover. Inspired by Chris Rett’s creation, I stole his HO scale cornfield idea and built one for myself.
I also wanted a few magnets for affixing to my steel figure bases in games of Feudal Patrol™ using my Civilizations Collide supplement for the Spanish Conquest. These would be for situations such as loading the falconet, figures losing a shield or a weapon, or just getting away from the leader for any reason (see below).
On June 26th, I took that game (replete with my new magnets and the cornfield)on the road to Great Stories in Uxbridge, MA. There, I reran my rural “Surprise Raid on Outpost” scenario again.
We had 5 players, and the randomness of the setup put the Tlaxcalan archers on the left flank of the defenders. The Aztecs had better luck this time but still fell short of victory due to their incurring excess casualties. You can see a lot of the pictures of the battle here and here (I was too busy as GM to take more than the one’s below):
As a result of this game, I will be adjusting the victory points and making some “BERSERKER” markers.
I offered a raffle prize from my stash and Ryan won it. I wanted it to have a good home.
There was also a store raffle, and I won – and got my grandaughter the Minnie below!
Lastly, on the miniatures front, I was happy to see a couple of my ideas and posts shared! One was a What a Tanker game shout out (in English) from Naval Gazing, and one was a French post from Small Maya that was dedicated to this blog! Check out these posts! Very nice and thank you!!
As I wrote, as my cityscape is finished, I will start posting about it!
Ok, I did not know where to put this, but “Other Distractions” seemed to be about right.
I walk a lot for exercise – especially if not a golf day. One of my favorite hats has been a gray “Aussie Chiller” hat that works well for a sunny walk or golf. On a windy day, because it’s one size too big, it can fly off my head in a stiff breeze. I’ve had the hat for several years.
Two days ago, a Sunday golf tournament I was to play in had to be canceled because the course was too wet – we’ve had nearly 5 inches of rain in July and 1.7″ came Saturday night. The weather broke, and I went for a walk with my Aussie Chiller on as the wind was low.
However, during my 5-mile walk, a dump truck drove by and the breeze it made took off my hat perfectly like a frisbee. Unfortunately – this happened as I was walking over the spillway for Lake Lashaway. Helplessly, I watched it land in the torrential spillway’s dead center, never to be seen again.
RIP Aussie Chiller hat.
I did order another one, but as you can see, they are NOT cheap.
Oh well, until next time dear reader – I now have a month of followed blogs to read!!!
But, as always, let me know what you thought of this post! Happy Summer! (OK Happy Winter Aussies!)
2020 was – HOPEFULLY – a once-in-a-lifetime experience. As we all did, I had highs and lows on the personal side of life, the hobby side of life, and the golf side and others.
First, my deep thanks for all of you who regularly follow this blog and share your feedback with me. My thanks also to those whose blogs I follow. Your work inspires me.
As readers of this blog know, I am currently knee-deep in finishing up my forces for Feudal PatrolTM games. But I did set some goals back in January 2020 – so here I’d like to examine and share how I did – or did not do – versus those benchmarks, how my production was in 2020, how the blog did, and my personal highs and lows. I’ll also set some 2021 goals for myself. This is really to hold myself accountable here – and please know I’m open to any and all feedback.
How did I do versus my 2020 goals?
These are the goals I set for myself and how I did:
Run convention games at TotalCon, HAVOC, HUZZAH, BARRAGE, and the Fort Devens Game Day (and a few more maybe) –
Complete a supplement for Feudal PatrolTM for Mesoamerican warfare (Aztecs, etc).
Yes – this was a big part of my February and March. Civilizations Collide was published on the Sally 4th website and Buck Surdu’s website as free downloads. This is the accomplishment in 2020 of which I am most proud.
2. Be productive, but never sacrifice quality
Well, you dear reader can be the judge of that. I did paint 181 figures this year versus 153 in 2019. My project total was only 403 versus 775 in 2019, but I did a lot of scratch-building numerous game aids (410 to be exact while I only did 146 in 2020), so my production was different. Still, almost 181 figures is a lot!
3. Grow the blog and find new ones to follow!
I definitely did both of these. As for the blog, it grew by about 12% in terms of views and visitors, and my followers are up too. My posts were fewer by five – so that is something I need to work on.
4. Entertain my audience!
I think so – again – you are the judge of this, not me!
Get my handicap below 14 (if I have enough non-gaming time!)
I did a lot of research in March and wrote Civilizations Collide, a supplement for the upcoming Feudal Patrol™ card-based wargaming system from Buck Surdu. The supplement covers the Spanish Conquest, to include the Conquistadores, the Aztecs of the Triple Alliance, Aztecs of the Aztec-Chichimec Alliance, the Maya, and the Inca. I cannot quantitate this as a hobby project, but it certainly was one!
18 Aztec Novice Warriors painted for Feudal Patrol™ (28mm scale), from Wargames Foundry Aztecs line (12 from 2 blisters of #AZ016 Novice Aztec Warriors I, 6 from 1 blister of #AZ028 Novice Aztec Warriors III).
Figures assembled (32):
8 Tlaxcalan Novice Warriors assembled for Feudal Patrol™ (28mm scale), from Outpost Wargames Services (#TX2 Tlaxcalan Novices in Padded Vests)
8 Tlaxcalan Elite Warriors assembled for Feudal Patrol™ (28mm scale), from Outpost Wargames Services (#TX3b Elite Warriors in Feather Costume)
1 Tlaxcalan Captain assembled for Feudal Patrol™ (28mm scale), from Outpost Wargames Services (#TXC01 Tlaxcalan Captain with Conch Blower)
1 Tlaxcalan Conch Blower assembled for Feudal Patrol™ (28mm scale), from Outpost Wargames Services (#TXC01 Tlaxcalan Captain with Conch Blower)
6 Aztec Warrior Priests assembled as Tlaxcalans for Feudal Patrol™ (25mm scale), from Ral Partha’s 1200 A.D. line, circa 1988 (#42-302 Aztec Warrior Priests)
8 Aztec Novice Warriors assembled for Feudal Patrol™ (28mm scale), from Wargames Foundry Aztecs line (6 from 2 blisters of #AZ016 Novice Aztec Warriors I, 2 from 1 blister of #AZ028 Novice Aztec Warriors III).
Well, yes – a golf post for a change (this blog is titled Life, Golf, Miniatures & Other Distractions after all)!
Please note that normally I would not just post a mundane golf story about myself. So, apologies in advance if I seem to be a bit self-focused here. I would not want to be too narcissistic, but some background for the reader may help.
I have been playing golf, mostly as a hacker, since I was 12. My late grandfather (who drove an M24 tank in WWII and was a hero of mine) got me started. He was absolutely terrible – he would be lucky to break 110 or even 120 for 18 holes. He did imbue me with a love of the greatest game – and I carry that with me to this day. I still have golf balls of his that I carry in my bag to honor his gift to me.
In the Army, I played when I could, and even joined clubs at Ft. Rucker, Alabama, at Ft. Belvoir, VA, and even the Canadian Forces course at Lahr in Germany. That Canadian course was fun as for one you had CF-18 fighters zooming overhead (quite low) and secondly it was the only place to be able to get Canadian beer like Labatts (the Germans would not allow it to be sold and the US had only American and German beer for sale at the Class VI store). I left the Army in 1992, and I did not play very often until 1998.
At that point I had moved to East Brookfield, MA, and was happy to discover that there was a golf course 0.3 miles away! The first tee was closer to my house than it was to the first green! That was Bay Path Golf Course – and I was a member there for 21 years. I was playing nearly 70 rounds a year (mostly at Bay Path), which is a lot when you consider that our Massachusetts weather is only good for golf from April to October for the most part. I kept a spreadsheet of all my scores, just to track progress and focus on improving. One goal eluded me, that being getting an eagle.
For those of you non-golfers, an eagle (not to be confused with my Eagle Warriors) is a score that is two shots under par. On a par three, it would be a hole-in-one. On a par 4, it would be a 2, etc. At Bay Path, it became a running joke that I had not gotten an eagle, even just from luck. I came close several times, only to be denied. I even hosted a pool for charity where members could bet whether I would get an eagle that year or not. Most all bet “not” by the way. Last year, Bay Path closed (sadly), forcing me to join a new club, Quail Hollow in Oakham, MA. It’s about a 15 minute drive from home. It’s a nice club, but a much more difficult course than Bay Path.
According to my spreadsheet, by last Tuesday, June 9th, 2020, I had taken 115,136 plus strokes since 1999 with never an eagle. That equates to 1,293 rounds – not including any scrambles by the way, So effectively, that’s about 5,172 hours of golf – or 215.5 days of golf! Many birdies, but no eagles!
Even more sadly, play was delayed here because of COVID-19. So while normally I would try to play in March or April, I did not get to play or even practice until late May. My game does not rely on any real talent – it’s based on hard work and practice. I also track my golf progress here for myself on the blog (see the main menu as well). So I had little expectations about early play and knocking off any rust.
There is a group that plays on Tuesdays at Quail that I joined up with called “Pit’s Crew” after the guy that runs it, Pit Caron. We play a 4-man scramble. On June 9th, we approached the 3rd hole, a par-4, 249 yard hole. I was the “B” player, and drove my ball right next to the green on the left fringe – maybe three feet off of it. For me this was a very good result as the fairway is quite narrow and the green is guarded by a deep bunker in the front. I then used my 56 degree wedge and chipped my second shot – it went up, up – it rolled – and plunk, it dropped in nicely!
I was happy that one of my teammates was a fellow former Bay Path golfer, Jim Kularski, who was our “A” man. It was gratifying that he got to see me accomplish something that he knew well that I had been trying to get for so very long. I also had on lucky golf gear from my West Point reunion last year. While it was a scramble, I played the same ball (a found Titleist Pro-V1 that I was using so as not to lose one of my preferred Titleist ProV1X’s), from the same position, so I am counting the eagle as having been my first. After all, at this pace, my next one will be in 2060 when I am 98…
Oh yeah, we also came in first place out of 18 teams.
So here’s some pics (thanks to Jim Kularski for the pictures – again, more to commemorate than to brag – but like I always say – it ain’t braggin’ if ya do it!