20 January 2008

Frigid winter weather and no appreciable snow mean that it's time for various indoor activities. . .

As I mentioned below, it’s been a busy week. Many odds and ends to take care of, concerning the new house. Lots of discussion and dreaming about how the Grand Duchess and I will set things up and arrange our belongings, furniture, and, indeed, our lives for the next 30+ years (at least), which has been taxing at times, but also a great deal of fun.

Then there was the faculty talent show this passed Friday evening to raise money for research into autism, put on by the physics student honor society. Considerable, surprising, and interesting talent was on display at the hands of university faculty and staff: puppet shows, chemistry and physics demonstrations, Swedish and Irish fiddle music, and the like. And just how did yours truly fit into all of this?

Well, I closed the show on my guitar with four old rockabilly/R&B tunes from the 1950s and early 60s, and managed to do it without flubbing any of the guitar parts or forgetting any of the verses, something I did during the late afternoon sound check. Even managed to hit all of the notes with my voice. Surprising how into it those 350-400 young students were, considering that I’m very close to the age of their parents. . . and these songs predate me! Many were dancing in the aisles, clapping their hands, and singing along.

The final number, “What I’d Say” by the late, great Ray Charles left no one in the auditorium sitting. I haven’t played before any sort of audience in about 10 years, and it was terrific fun to do it again. Another faculty member even invited me to sit in with his rock band sometime! By the way, more than $600 US was raised through several raffles that took place during the show.

Yesterday evening, the Grand Duchess and I saw jazz great Wynton Marsallis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Ensemble play a concert of big band favorites composed by Duke Ellington at our recently opened Center for the Arts in downtown Bloomington. This was a birthday present to me from Sonja in early November, and well worth the wait. A packed house and a really tight band of about 15-18 excellent jazz musicians resulted in about 2/12 hours of amazing music. Our seats were in the first row of the balcony, so we could see and hear absolutely everything. I realized that I was smiling throughout the entire concert. Funny how well-executed, live music will do that!

Finally, I will be able to finish the metallics and a couple of other small things on those Spencer Smith cavalry today. I spent several hours yesterday fixing some mistakes and painting some other areas on the figures. I’ll post a photo or two here later this evening. I also cut out small rectangular cardboard bases for the 33-figure regiment of RSM French musketeers that my in-laws sent me for Christmas.

These finely sculpted little miniatures are something to behold. The are somewhat smaller in stature than the RSM Prussian grenadiers and fusiliers, closer in fact to 25mm than 30mm, and they are perfect match to my plastic Revell figures. In addition, these “French” RSMs are in the firing pose and look remarkably like the Willie figures pictured on the rear cover of Charge. Therefore, it seems only right that I paint them in the same red coats, breeches, and vests with dark green facings and white gaiters as that mercenary Irish regiment in Brigadier Young’s collection. So, these figures are now glued onto their individual based and stand next in the painting queue after I finish the third and final batch of Spencer Smith cavalry, know as the Grenadiers zu Pferd (horse grenadiers) in the Electorate of Zichenau.

Finally, a recent dispatch from the Stollenian frontier region on the northern back of the Lesser Zwischen River indicates that the two armies have gone into winter quarters following the Zichenauer victory at Zollamtstadt a few weeks ago. The Zichenauers, under General Philip de Latté, have set up camp in and around that town and its key bridge, busying themselves with off-season socializing among the town society (in the case of the officers) and outright debauchery among surrounding rural population (where the enlisted men a re concerned). Stollenian farm girls are so easily impressed! Or at least that’s the popular wisdom among members of polite society in this political and social backwater of northeastern Europe

For its part, the army of Stollen has retreated along interior lines to the vicinity of the capital Krankenstadt, where grand Duke Irwin-Amadeus II (dressed in a winter version of his famous lobster costume) and his generals have busied themselves with shaking out and reorganizing the badly disorganized and shaken troops. Word has leaked from the palace that a new campaign may commence in late May or June, in which the Grand Duchy of Stollen attempts to deliver a serious counter blow to the pompous and overly confident Electorate of Zichenau. It is hoped that additional recruits and mercenary troops will be available to the Grand Duke and his generals by that time.

4 comments:

tradgardmastare said...

I give you joy of your figures and forthcoming campaign!
I am still awaiting the samples - my brush waits with mounting enthusiasm.
Glad the concert went well- and a super cause. I have taught some children with Autism over the years and know the importance of trying to move forward to help Research projects.

Snickering Corpses said...

Sounds like a very good time to be had, and a lot to look forward to, my friend. I'm happy for you! Give my best to the Grand Duchess as well.

Fitz-Badger said...

Hmm, now you've got me wondering... what does a winter lobster costume look like? haha

Bluebear Jeff said...

Stokes,

I've emailed you . . . but in case it doesn't reach you . . . take a look at this URL:

http://tinyurl.com/39bor9


-- Jeff

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