08 December 2006

It's the Final Day of the Semester!!!

You know Christmas is on the way when the fall academic term FINALLY ends -- and today's the day for my wife and me to kick up our heels in celebration!!! I think this calls for a bottle of wine this evening.

It hasn't been a particularly bad term, just long and busy (a four-course load this term). Too many hastily conceived and poorly written student papers and too much whining from too many young people much too old to behave the way too many still do.

Sure, 10-15 % of the students I work with are great -- hardworking, nice personalities, eager to learn, and curious about the world. But then there's everyone else -- little to no work ethic, no discernable interest in anything, and flying endless holding patterns where their lives are concerned.

What keeps me in the profession? Have to admit that I don't know. A bottomless well of optimism? Sheer determination? Pig-headedness? Stupidity? It's hard to say. Probably a combination. Once in a while, though, there is an especially good day, and then you think, "Well, all of the usual nonsense is worth it!"

But on to happier thoughts! Next week is our relatively quiet finals week. So, after a few days of reading papers, calculating, and submitting final grades, Sonja and I can relax at last and look forward to Christmas and the New Year. We'll decorate our Christmas tree and apartment/flat next week. We've also got another Chicago day-trip planned next week to visit the yearly Christkindl Markt, an authentic German Christmas market set up in downtown Chicago. And, all of you regular vistors to this blog will appreciate this, Sonja has promised to bake me a stollen!!!

Of course, painting soliders will assume prominence once more as is only right and proper. So, expect to read and see some more updates on how things are coming along right here.

On that note, I've got a regiment of 30 Revell Austrian SYW 1/72 dragoons waiting right now on my painting desk for their pre-basecoat soak in soapy water. That gets done first thing as soon as I've arrived home and changed clothes. Must say that even unpainted, the 30 figures look impressive mounted on their charging steeds, all lined up in two ranks with the colonel, guidon, and drummer arrayed in front, and a third supernumerary rank bringing up the rear.

By the way, the picture above is of the Ansbach Dragoons -- not the color scheme I'll use necessarily, but I like it anway. Plus it provides some much needed visual interest for this particular post. Charge!

To the left of the dragoons on my painting/radio table stand several Zvezda Napoleonic Saxon cuirassiers, who have received new Austrian SYW musketeer heads. These are an ongoing project. . . A certain someone has recently asked for photos of my conversions to go along with a recent article submission I made to his magazine. Hopefully it will not be terribly long before the article and photos appear for your enjoyment.

Finally, My battery of grey-coated, green-faced artillery is almost finished. Just a few touch-ups on the guns, and then it's a coat of Future floor finish. Hopefully, I can do that this afternoon or evening, following dinner. The two brass-barreled cannon sit on red carriages with black metal work. They look striking, especially when manned by their crews. Next on the painting agenda are three MiniFig mounted officers -- two generals and an Aide de Camp! Tally Ho!!!

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