2012 Year in Review

So here it is 2013, so time for another “year in review” blog!

spring-magnolia-001

Circle of life, and all that.  Here’s my magnolia tree early in the Spring. The lovely flowers bloom for about a week, then fall like snow.

Speaking of which, I spontaneously composed a poem to my friend Rod one day while we were on campus texting each other, late in our last semester at KU:

Cherry blossoms drift
softly on two travellers
trading cricket songs.

I remembered that just now while looking at the picture above, so I thought I would share it on RA.

KU-Kendo-Party-2012

That’s the KU Kendo/Kumdo Club, or most of us anyway, gathering for the end of year party. It was really nice, with a pile of great food, some very nice plum wine, and lots of good conversation! I didn’t play kendo nearly enough in 2012, which is something I plan to correct in 2013.

KU-Grad-001

AND I FINALLY GRADUATED! The most exciting thing to happen in 2012, hands down. That’s me and a friend from my non-fiction class, a Mr. Tim B. Rod was somewhere behind me and to my right, as he graduated too. I don’t normally go in for that sort of thing, but when we all put our arms around each other and sang the school song, it was all I could do to keep from crying like a child. A happy, happy child.

KU-Grad-003

KU-Grad-002

Some shots after the graduation ceremony. I carried different things to the ritual to remind me of who I was and what helped me achieve my goal: the pin and cords from Phi Alpha Delta, a 1″ button with the “dancing rudeboy” on it, a couple of dice, a Valknut carved from bone gifted to me by a friend from JBK, and, of course, my oxblood Dr. Marten boots. I don’t wear those much anymore, but damned if I was going to walk down the hill in anything else.

grad-photo-watermarked-001

This is the proof for my official graduation photo. As you can see, it came from Jolesch Photography. I have the full sized version, but I didn’t feel like scanning it just now…

hansel-and-gretel-001

New additions to the family: Hansel (on the right), and Gretel (on the left.) They are brother and sister cats that Ma picked up, and they settled in quickly, as you can see. It was very sad when Bob passed away, and the house just seemed so empty without a cat. Ma and Pop hadn’t been without a feline in the house since 1980, or so. I’m glad Ma adopted these two.

hansel-001

Hansel, doing what he does best.

graduation-party-001

OK, so I thought I was going to a generic summer family gathering. I thought the balloons that read “congratulations!” were sort of strange when I was walking up the stairs, but I was honestly surprised when I walked through the door and everyone yelled, “SURPRISE!” These wonderful, generous people had put together a surprise graduation party for me, and I was completely unprepared for it.

graduation-party-002

And they got me this awesome Dungeons & Dragons themed cake! They are awesome people, and I’m glad I have them in my life.

rotc-001

What else I’m glad to have in my life are my two sons! My youngest went to his first ROTC summer camp in 2012, and I picked him up that morning to drop him off at the school. Seeing him in his ACUs (or whatever they call them these days) put a lump in my throat. He looked all grown up and serious, and I suddenly thought to myself that he could be heading off for the Army in just a couple of years, rather than a summer camp. It’s a sobering thought. I couldn’t be more proud of him, though.

don-rotc-summer-camp

My and Pop drove out to Fort Riley to watch their final assembly. I can’t imagine that me and my mates looked much different that the above when we were at Fort Benning, all shaven headed and painfully young…

dad-don-me-rotc-summer-camp-001

Did I mention how proud we are of him? Because we are. Very.

house-001

This summer I began cleaning and fixing up the house. I started with the porch, because it had got pretty shabby. I’m going to finish up this summer, and over the winter I’ll be fixing up the interior. I may not get to leave “the Kansas Rectangle” as soon as I’d like, but while I’m here I’m going to make the best of it. It’s funny, because for years I couldn’t wait to finish college so I could shake the dust of this place off my feet, but now I’ve got a real solid life here. Before I wouldn’t have hesitated, but the deep connections I made after I got over my antisocial phase really make me think twice about heading off for the coast like I’ve been talking about. Maybe leaving Leavenworth would be enough, but for now my house is a really comfortable home, and I love my neighborhood (even if I hate the town it’s in.)

grandmas-table

Speaking of fixing up the interior of my home, I’ve got some interesting antique furniture, the above of which is probably my favorite. It’s on loan from my parents, not really mine, more of the family’s. This library table was pulled out of the river in northern Alabama following a gigantic flood upriver. Apparently there was a lot of stuff in the river because of it, and people were salvaging some really good furniture. My great-grand father fished this out for use, and later on my two uncles, Shorty and Jud, refinished it for my grandmother. When Grandma died Ma collected some things of hers to remember her, and this table was one of them. I’ve also got on loan from the family an antique bed frame and matching vanity, also former belongings of Grandma. It’s nice to have her things close and to use them. I miss her every day, and love her very much.

secretary-001

A recent acquisition, this secretary was only $20 from a local consignment store. It’s in pretty rough condition, but I like to think of it as character. It’s now a smoking station for my pipes and tobacco, and I love it. This photo was before I cleaned it up much.

ma-pingpong-001

Enough about stuff, here’s Ma representing the Environmental Protection Agency at the 2012 Kansas City Corporate Challenge. She’s an ace ping pong player (ping pong-er?), but unfortunately met another ace in the first round, and didn’t go further. So no medals this year, but I’m super proud of Ma.

6th-edition-release-001

What would an RA blog post be without mention of my hobby life? This is a snapshot I took at the midnight release of the 6th edition of Warhammer 40,000. My beloved Chaos Marines got a new codex in October, which I was very pleased with.

glorious-while-it-lasted

Yes, I am pleased with the new edition of both the game and my faction, even though I can no longer use the unit pictured above. Khârn leading a unit of twin Lightning Claw Chosen with Mark of Tzeentch was just too fun for them not to make illegal or ineffective. First 6th edition tweaked the melee weapon rules, making LC AP3, then the new codex said that ICs with different Marks than the unit can’t join them. And also MoT works different now. So there went my favorite answer to Grey Knights, and now I’m stuck with Abaddon/TDA retinue, or plasma Chosen, neither of which are nearly as fun. But, on the other hand, the new Baledrake has kept me happy.

Chaos-Apothecaries

Here’s the very last conversion I did in 2012, speaking of hobby. The new Chaos Marines codex gives us Marks separate from Icons, which is cool (though it sucks that Icons lost the deepstrike guidance ability.) I’ve been using the Icon of Excess for different troops to help keep them alive in the new, shoot-y game, and having a model that confers FNP just screamed Apothecary to me. Because this makes more sense to me than a magic flag that nobody esle can pick up once it gets dropped. And the Iron Hounds aren’t into the Ruinous Powers anyway. Also, my lawyer advises me that I must say that those models are copyright Games Workshop, because I used GW bits to make them and all that…

friends-001

I’m bad about keeping connections, but I do try. Here I am with some old friends last Autumn, Amanda M. and Joe E. Even in the wild parts of my life I managed to make and keep decent friends, and they are two of them I have a lot of love for. I have a lot of great people in my life. Some of them I see every week, some of them I only see rarely, and some of them, unfortunately, I really don’t get to see at all anymore. Such is life, but I always have my family and friends with my in spirit, wherever I am.

Yule-Goat-2012-001

Speaking of great friends, I did Yule with Mike L. and his family, who are always generous and kind to me. For New Year’s we had the usual Yule Goat and Yule Wreath. This year I think we made the best Yule Goat yet. I say that every year, but that’s because we’ve been getting better at it every year. It snowed on New Year’s Eve, so it was nice and seasonal, though it kept guests away on account of the roads. It had stopped by the time we got to my favorite part:

yule-goat-002

2012: it was a very good year!

In the interest of tracking these sorts of things, here is some information about the blog itself:

top-5-posts-2012

RA isn’t really a gaming blog, but the gaming posts are the most read thing I do. The unboxing I did for the Battletech 25th Anniversary Introductory Box remains the most popular thing ever, probably because I list every mech included, which is the sort of thing I would want to know if I were going to buy it. Which is, of course, why I included it. In an attempt to make my blog hobby relevant, and pursue site hits and all that, I’ve got a review of the Reaper Bones minis that I’m working up, too. That will probably be a good one for visits, too.

top-searches-2012

Homemade Camper made the list of top searches again. WTF people?

reader-locations-2012

My readers are from every-damn-where. Everywhere that people care about 40k, anyway. Most of my readers are looking for conversion ideas, is my guess.

monthly-stats-2012

And here is the chart for 2012. Not bad, considering I didn’t really post much this year. My popular posts were all from 2011, I think, when I was much more diligent about hobby blogging.

So that’s the 2012 year-in-review. It was a great year, and I’m looking forward to 2013. I know it’s going to be a good one too!

Reverisco!

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Filed under Budo, Event, Family, Iaido, Kendo, Learning, Personal Reflection, Right Living, The Heathen Gods, University of Kansas

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