Friday, January 1, 2016

2016 Goals

Well, looking back on 2015's goals I seemed to fail miserably.

In a way.

I did satisfy the reading section.  The 2 Pulitzer prize winners I read were The Road by Cormac McCarthy and A Visit by the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan.  I also read some gigantic books by Brandon Sanderson, and Stephen King among a bunch of others.

My physical goal was derailed by an injury.  Stupid age.  Stupid deadlifts. I stopped pursuing this before the summer -- because I hurt my back.  It sucked.  It still kind of sucks.  I will take another try at this in 2016.  But it will be to simply get back to lifting.  Its a bit nerve-wracking after hurting yourself.

The art ones ... I didn't draw much, but I did build and paint models and miniatures instead.  I put the finishing touches on a few miniatures that were "almost" done, and had been that way for a few years.  I also started and completed 3 models.  I learned how to really use an airbrush.  I haven't had as much fun or success with models for a long time.

The pinhole car pictures didn't happen out of laziness.  And I didn't purchase a large format film rig to do the portraits with.  I still want to do these.  Purchase wise, a 4x5 camera has been high on the list of "wants".  But, given this is really unneeded in the grand scheme of things, it is a low priority.

I didn't really "redo" any rooms in the house either.  But they are arranged decently enough.

I did end up pursuing some things hard that weren't on the list.  I have always enjoyed archery and flinging arrows about.  But, I ended up chasing that target center much harder in 2015 than I planned.  It was a lot fun.  My daughter, and my wife, both ended up with bows as a partial consequence of this.  I, personally,  kept the bow I have had for 3 years.  It ended up with new strings (necessary), new sights (not really truly necessary), and new stabilizers though (I needed a real stabilizer, but maybe not as fancy as the one I bought).  I also switched my release--- which resulted in re-learning how to shoot.  I enjoyed the process.  I will be shooting in at least one league in a 2016, and I hope to get out hunting.

I did learn a few guitar solos from the Shady Grove album.  I also learned a few chord progressions, and have worked through some of the melodies for various songs.  Including, but not limited to, Reckless Kelly's Wicked Twisted Road, Metallica's One.  No lessons though.

I also got my Maryland Hunter's Safety card. That was an odd experience.  It was mostly about firearms, which, I personally don't care that much about.

The goals aside, 2015 was an interesting year.  No year is perfect, but I'm just going to discuss the things that were fun.  I got to see Ray Wylie Hubbard play.  He's a little bit country, a little bit americana, a little bit blues, a little bit rock and roll, and completely entertaining.

I got to shake Ray Lewis' hand at a book signing.  One thing that stood out to me was how much effort he put into having a small conversations with the kids there.  If you follow the link, you will see I have a picture of the same conversation the WTOP reporter captured. [As an aside, she was using her iPhone for her coverage.  It is all that is needed, no doubt, but it still saddens me a little bit. But, that didn't really stop me from putting a few phone pictures in this post!]

So for this year:


  • I will carry over the 5 car pinhole pictures.  It will be a fun project.  I just need to make the proper time for it, and meet a few more car people.
  • Make one photograph for each hour of the day.  They won't be hours from the same exact day. This will be interesting for a few reasons.  It is "discipline" photo project like a 365 project, but on much less demanding scale.  I have a feeling hours 3-6AM will be the difficult ones to get.
  • I have a bunch of model kits.  I'd like to finish a few.

  • Get back in a routine like I had last year before hurting myself
  • Still not going to run

Setting goals for this seems hard.  I have done so much reading the past few years it is only natural to continue, so I'll name some specific things
  • Read a book from an author I have never read a book by before
  • Read a book that inspired a movie
  • Still going to read the Bible.
I will also hope Winds of Winter comes out.

  • Participate in some type of organized shooting
  • Not sure what I want to do here yet, I will update this when figure it out

Tuesday, December 29, 2015


Why? Because everything that is not a chicken has been too easy to photograph.

These chickens all have names that range from the straight forward like "Peaches" to the much more complicated "Mr. Fancy Pants".

In case you are wondering, chickens are harder to herd than children.

Monday, December 28, 2015

USS Pine Island

USS Pine Island Model

The USS Pine Island is the ship my grandfather served on from August 7, 1947 to January 6, 1950.  I built a Revell model kit of the ship as my mother's Christmas present this year.

Models are the reason I didn't hit the majority of my goals this year.  I worked on them instead.  When I made my goal list I wasn't even considering models.  Its fitting that I spent the last few months of the year getting this one together.

This was more complicated to build than my last one, but the paint scheme was a little less complicated.  Although, trying to build the greys up so they were interesting and not flat was a challenge.

As I said I build this as a Christmas present.  However, I was tempted to keep it.  I had a spot all picked out and everything!

However, I'll end up sticking a rotation of Star Wars models up there.  But, I'll need to build them first!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Bunnies with hats.

Dueling Bunnies

Managed to get a few more subjects in front of my camera.  These are the pet rabbits we keep.  They don't usually wear hats.

Sheriff Bunny

This one is quite the little stinker.

The final two didn't quite make "the cut", but I left them here out of completeness.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Tobias as a Sailor

Sailor Tobias

My parents have my grandfather's Navy shirt.  It fits Tobias.  Either Tobias is very big, or my grandfather was small at 17 and 18.  Perhaps, it is both.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

National Zoo

We didn't go to the beach this year, at least not yet anyway.  But we did get sneak down to the National Zoo.  It was the first time I have been there since my kids were around that it was not over 100 degrees.

These aren't generally photo trips for me, but I do take some snapshots.

The two most important birds in the country are represented.

The picture of the cheetah could have been better, but I got burned by the terrible battery level indicators. So, the picture I really wanted to make din't happen because the battery died before it materialized.

At the end of the night on the way home we had a short conversation with the Maryland Batman.  Unfortunately he was killed  in an accident only a few days later.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

My new little friend

I go through cycles of creative "stuff" that I involve myself in.  The one constant is photography, which is why this blog even exists.

Other creative stuff I find myself doing are video making, guitar playing, painting, drawing, building "useful" stuff,  programming, writing, miniature and model building.  But these other things come and go in seasons.

Right now it I've spent some time doing models.  I also learned a new word, "gunpla", and literally made a new "friend".

A friend of mine picked up a RG grade 1/144 scale MS-06F Zaku II model for me.  When I opened the box and looked at it, I had a moment of panic.  Looking at all the nifty parts in the kit I was given made me realize I really needed to use an airbrush.  They are flat, wide, and much larger than the miniatures I was bristle painting.

I have never used an airbrush on a scale model.  I have an airbrush, and I used it to paint R/C car bodies.  But the skill involved to do a basic R/C car body is minuscule in comparison to what it take to paint a model.  You don't have to worry about the "finish" on the R/C car body because you are painting the inside of a clear material.

To learn I ordered an "SD" kit of a similar 'mech.  I felt they'd be fun to show next to one another, providing my learning experience went well.  And if it didn't, the kit was cheap enough to try stripping it down to redo.

It went okay.  No disasters.  I need to be more aggressive cleaning mold and seam lines.  I also need to learn a little bit more control paint thinning.  But, I didn't end up with an orange peel finish, or other major problem.  I just had small problems!

My process was pretty basic.  Built sections up as large as I could (head, arms, two body sections, feet, weapons, shield, and shoulder pad), remove seams, prime, dark shade coat, lighter shade coat, hand paint, gloss coat, line with ink, add some weathering, and dull coat.  Because of the size and part count it only took me 10-12 hours over the course of a week. This included learning how to airbrush.  Of course, like a drawing or a painting, it could never truly be finished.

Materials and tools used (Listing because I've seen a few people make lists like this and I found it helpful):

  • Bandai's SD kit #231
  • Xacto knives, side nippers, sand paper files, and various and sundry modelling tools
  • Tamiya paint: Pink X-17, Red X-7, Dark Grey XF-24 (airbrushed bits)
  • Vallejo Game Color paint: Black, Cold Grey (hand brushed bits)
  • Citadel paint: Boltgun, Chainmail (hand brushed details, mostly weapons)
  • Winsor and Newton ink: Scarlet, Nut Brown, and Blue (lining and washes)
  • Pastruct Plastic Weld
  • Squadron putty
  • Dupli-color white automotive primer (spray-can) [I love this stuff, even though I usually use black]
  • Testors gloss cote and dull cote (spray-can)
  • The stuff I mix up my various hand painting thinners with... Liquitext Flow Aid and Slow-Dri w/ distilled water
  • Paasche VL airbrush #5 needle/nozzle set driven by a industrial compressor and tank
  • Winsor and Newton Series 7 #2 and #3 water color brushes
It was fun.  Although, I'm slightly suspicious, I think Bandai tricked me into building an action figure on my own.  

If you have never done a scale model and this makes you curious to try, I recommend these little SD Zaku kits as a first stab.  You can do a very basic build with the included stickers and the color of the plastic and some marker lining.  The only tool you'd really need is a pair of nippers.  You could also take it to a really cool extreme.

Or you can hit somewhere in between like I did.