Well, things are in complete disarray here in the Grand Duchy of Stollen. Virtually all of the books are packed in carefully labeled, book-sized moving boxes and lined up in the middle of the living room floor. It no longer looks like our apartment. So, I’m taking a little breather right now and typing an update for the blog.
First, the Spencer Smith cavalry are getting there – very slowly. I finally was able to snatch an hour or so a couple of late evenings ago and finish the white bits before starting on the yellow facings and turnbacks, something that I might get to finish this evening. Then, it’s simply a matter of filling in the blue on saddle cloths and coats, tan on the breeches, and the various metal bits for the swards, stirrups, and scabbards, plus the stirrup leathers, etc. If I only had a few consecutive evenings where I didn’t feel worn out by 9PM!
Of course, as luck would have it, I am in the midst of reading and grading student papers right now too. This isn’t bad on those all too rare occasions where you get a thoughtfully written essay without too many glaring mechanical errors. Sadly, though, these are the exception rather than the rule. Most of what I get has obviously been rushed through where thought, development of ideas, and the skills of proofreading/editing one’s work (despite the various classroom activities and discussions to that effect) are concerned. And these are college students!
During my darker hours, it is discouraging to think that we have raised a few generations now of people, in the United States at least, who, although they might possess VERY basic reading and writing skills, are still functionally illiterate when it actually comes to using those skills. And everything I read tells me that the ability to communicate effectively in writing will only become more important as time and technology march on. Yet most of my students, regardless of their age, simply refuse to acknowledge that writing has any importance in their lives at all. So, they continue to turn in badly written assignments, despite my extensive commentary on each paper that I return to them. It’s very, very sad. And no, I’m not being funny or sarcastic here.
On a happier note, the lovely Grand Duchess Sonja (pictured above) prepared a special evening meal last night. Albondigas , a Mexican recipe of spiced meatballs on a bed of rice with a type of salsa on top. All of it was homemade and delicious. There was even enough left to reheat for supper this evening. We speculated on the recipe’s origins as we enjoyed dinner, and concluded that it might have originally been a Spanish, or even Moorish, dish. If any of you Grand Duchy of Stollen regulars know, please drop me line.
The book project is moving ahead. Slowly, but forward nevertheless. At the moment, I am fleshing out the chapters and outlining everything before I sit down to begin typing drafts. Unfortunately, that will have to wait until post-move in May or June, once the Spring semester ends, and we have the new house (and Der Stollenkeller) more or less unpacked and set up. April will be a busy time with the spring semester winding down. But it will be lots of fun to unpack, put away, arrange, and hang our things and resume a reasonably normal life. As reasonable as life can be for two former graduate school reprobates at any rate! That was an attempt at humor. ;-)
Finally, with all the talk of model ramparts and redoubts recently over at the Old School Wargaming Yahoo group, I’ve been thinking about the same. And I’m a bit torn. While I certainly might have a go at some point, making my own from things like heavy cardboard, balsa wood, and/or Styrofoam, there are a number of plastic kits out there, produced by too many companies to mention.
So, I spent a few minutes late last night looking at some of this on the Michigan Toy Solider Company website (link -- http://www.michtoy.com/ ). While many are not specifically intended for 25-30mm gaming, I imagine they might still be useful if one is not too obsessive about scale. Then, I stop and think, “But Stokes, think how satisfying it would be to build this stuff with your own hands.” Well, it’s nice to think about all of this stuff as I pack and tape up boxes.
"Ok, back to the salt mines!" as my maternal grandfather used to say.