Thursday, January 6, 2022

Matrix Resurrections


Yeah, there will be spoilers ...

I mentioned in an earlier post that I liked this one. I should probably clarify further to "I didn't hate it as much as some people seem to online" but I do agree with much of the criticism. Then single most applicable word I can apply here is "unnecessary" as in no one was really asking for this movie to be made. 

The original 1999 Matrix movie is great, was incredibly impactful in its time, still holds up today, and is a great, self-contained story. If someone was only going to watch one this would be the one.

The first two sequels, Reloaded and Revolutions, are good movies in a lot of ways and they do expand the universe and we do see much more of the story of freeing humanity from the machines but most opinions feel I have read feel like they do not quite achieve the same level of greatness as the original. I'm in this camp as there are a ton of cool moments in them but I sometimes feel like we see too much ... by telling the rest of the story it limits what one might envision as "the rest of the story". I don't think they're bad but I think you can stop with the original and not be missing a lot of crucial information. 

The original is the story of Neo becoming The One - that's the trip we are taking. When you talk about a sequel you have to figure out what story we are telling. Is it a big picture on the war against the machines? Is it still about Neo using his new powers? Is it about Neo and Trinity? Is it about the scrappy band of rebel characters led by Neo and they're actions in the war? Is it really about the awakening and transformation of Agent Smith? There are elements of all of these in the sequels and that may be one of the things that weakens them.

For Resurrections it's still a good question. Time has passed, some kind of reset button has been pressed and Neo is roughly 20 years older and looks about like he would if he had kept on going on his original pre-red pill character's career. Trinity shows up on the fringes of his life and there is clearly some kind of connection but their lives have been configured to keep them apart - and yes, it is quickly evident that they are in the Matrix. 

One weird part is that scenes from the original Matrix are playing in the background regularly and at one point the entire opening sequence is re-done with different actors and even some different characters showing up. We end up going through the journey of "awakening" Neo all over again as well which to me is truly pointless. Then he decides to go get Trinity too so we go through the process one more time in the film. 

A mistake that is made during all of this is that the backstory that is presented as far as what has gone on since Revolutions, a civil war between machines, some of which allied with the humans, sounds like a more interesting story than what we are watching. You could have made that a sequel with resurrecting these particular characters and continued the story of the world without needing to continue those characters - but that's not the direction they went. 

And no, it doesn't retcon the events of the sequels so yes, Neo and Trinity did die. The new Architect type character decided to bring them back to life and talks about how it was difficult ... but he did it to fix some of the disruptions to the world and created a new Matrix. This is all pretty loosely defined so don't ask too many questions. 

There is a lot of self-referential, meta, inside baseball type stuff, especially early on but I thought it was fine, if not quite as clever as the writers maybe thought they were. I didn't think it damaged the movie.

My best effort at finding the point of this movie is as a take on aging. Those movies are hitting the 20+ year mark now and if you look at it through this lens some of it makes more sense. There is one line that drove this home for me:

I took it as a parallel for life in some ways: Something you thought was fixed or resolved years ago turns out not to be and ends up turning your current OK-ish life upside down. Can you measure up to those glory years or will you fail trying? What if getting your old team back together isn't enough? Then there's all the "ex" stuff and moving on, then not moving on, "who you're really supposed to be with" ... the whole Neo/Trinity thing is probably worth more examination. 

That's my best take on it.

As far as why we needed to see again the red pill sequence, the unplugging, the rescue, the training sequence complete with Morpheus and a dojo ... I don't know. I don't think we did but that's where they went. 

Overall there's no awesome moment in the film like the lobby fight or the helicopter escape, or "dodge this" or any of that. Nothing like the car chase in Reloaded, or the mech defense in Revolutions. The fights themselves are ... slow. They do not approach the fast, crisp, amazing fight choreography of the earlier movies and that was a shame. 

So I come back to "unnecessary" as my ultimate feeling on this one. Sure, it's fun to step back into the Matrix. It's cool to see some of those characters again - even if many of them have changed actors. It's just that a lot of it feels like a loop back through the first movie. It's revisited but not really enhanced or improved. There is more story for Neo and Trinity but I never felt like it was a better story and so I'm not sure why we did all that work to get ... nowhere really. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Looking ahead for '22


It's a little strange -  I haven't done one of these new year type posts in a few years and I think my approach has shifted.  I don't feel any real urgency with the goals this year as far as must-do or must-have type things. I'm fairly happy with where a lot of things are right now and I'm guessing that has a lot to do with it. 

For example EN World has a Most-Anticipated RPG list every year and there are usually a few entries that have my attention but this year ... man there is nothing there that grabs me. Partly because of subjects, partly because of systems, and also because for some of them I can think of how I could run them in existing games without much trouble. D&D 5th is still rolling along as is PF2. Star Wars and Star Trek both have well-supported games. Superheroes are well-covered too. That new Marvel game scheduled for March is really the only thing on the horizon I am sort of excited about but even there it's very much a wait and see kind of feeling rather than thinking up a new campaign.

RPG-wise I expect to keep running Deadlands for the near future, hopefully to the conclusion of this particular campaign. I like the system and the setting, my players seem to as well, and for a published campaign it's pretty open and flexible. Pinnacle's plot point approach works pretty well for me. 

When that eventually wraps up we will have some decisions to make. I usually like to change things up and I've been talking up ToEE for 5th edition as our next game but you never know. I'd say Savage Rifts is a strong candidate as well. I'd still like to do at least a short run with some version of Star Wars but we will see. The ever-burning hope of an ongoing supers campaign is still around but I suspect some of these options will have to wait until I feel like I can run a second game alongside a main campaign. I've done it before but this past year or two has worked best with one campaign going that everyone can plan around. FOCUS! Do not split the player-party!

I haven't played an RPG in a while and that's something I miss. Paladin Steve's years-long Pathfinder  campaign ended in late 2019 and Variable Dave's 50 Fathoms campaign was blocked by quarantine in 2020. he eventually started running it online but I just do not like the online option and they eventually wrapped it up last summer. There has been talk of starting up something new but nothing has happened yet. Maybe this year will see a re-kindling.

Battletech was a surprise end of year option and we have one kiddo at least very much interested so that might become a thing this year. I'm not sure if it will stay a board/minis option or if it might erupt into the RPG side too but it would be fun after this long to actually spend some time with it. It's not like I really need to buy or build or paint anything for it so it's an easy option. 

On the miniatures front 40K will stay the big dog. First goal is to finish the Necrons, then the Blood Angels and then we will see. Maybe Eldar, maybe Chaos ... plus there is always power armor work to do too. Not sure I will do a new army this year.  The robots were a unique situation being in the starter sets and all. The Tyranids are the only other army I don't have that really tempt me these days but I don't feel they're a must-have yet. The other likely candidate is the Custodes because hey, you only need about 20 models to make an army. 

Besides 40K I'd -like- to paint up and play my Flames of War ... and my Kings of War ... and some Sigmar ... and maybe try Legions.  Legions is pretty likely at this point to be the "new game failure" for me in 2022. More to come there for sure. 

That's right - Total War Warhammer III is coming soon too - that'll be fun.

I've had a weird urge lately to go retro. We know there's a reborn old-school Warhammer coming some day and I'm tempted to start building an old-school army to go with it. I still have my Chaos Warriors but all that stuff sitting half-done for Kings of War would look good on individual bases. Dwarves are also an inclination as I've never built a fantasy dwarf army in any game ... also Empire and all their crazy variety ... and Dark Elves for some reason. Not sure where this will go. It's not an urgent feeling but more of a "hey I could get a unit here and a unit there and have something ready to go whenever the new rules arrive."

So yes, this year feels way more casual than many in the past - laid back if you will. No hard schedule or agenda, just knowing what I'm doing now with a rough outline for later. The last couple of years have shown me that hard plans for 6+ months are likely to be disrupted so keep them loose. Worry about the now thing and maybe the next thing and leave the rest flexible.

More to come. 


Friday, December 31, 2021

The New Year's Eve Post for 2021

2021 was not a bad year here. Personal and family stuff was good and that's about all you can ask for these days. Hobby-wise ...

  • I ran a fair amount of 5th edition D&D earlier in the year. One of these days maybe I will write those sessions up. That campaign was paused but I suspect we will come back to it down the road. It gave me a reason to spruce up the monster miniature collection and clean up the storage for it too. 
  • The campaign that closed out the year was a new Deadlands campaign I discussed here. One of the goals for the new year is to put up some session summaries here and then keep up with it going forward. it's been a long time since we've had a sustained western type campaign and I do like the Savage Worlds rules quite a bit so it's been nothing but good. It's been on hold for the holidays and my convention crew but we will pick it back up in Jan/Feb. 
Looking back I don't think I ran any other RPGs this year, even one-shots. That's pretty light for me. I suppose I should look at it as maintaining focus at a higher level than usual but it still feels a little weird. I certainly added enough new ones to the pile and of course there are ideas for way too many campaigns buzzing around my head but my players are happy with what we are doing so I feel like I'm doing something right. 

Miniatures-wise we played a reasonable level of 40K and I got a -lot- of painting done so that feels like a total win too. Close to wrapping up the Necrons and I am very happy with that. Simple paint scheme, as terminator-ish a look as I can give them. It's pretty much silver/chrome, red eyes and gun parts, and desert type basing. I won't quite finish them by the end of the year ... errr ... tonight ... but some of that is due to weather as you can't spray that final clearcoat if it's too cold, or too wet, or too windy and we will cover all 3 of those this week. 

  • The Blood Angels were also a big focus later in the year and I do now have a couple of Sanguinary Guard squads and enough Death Company to field a squad or two. This also pulled me into working on the BA dreadnoughts I've had laying around, the assault terminator squads half-built for a couple of years, some old unfinished tac squads and dev squads, and also finally figuring out the rhino & razorback situation I've had with them as not everything can have a jump pack or be dropped out of a Stormraven. It feels good to have these guys rounding into shape as my other major marine army
  • I added some stuff to my Crimson Fists - a landspeeder with two more almost done, a pair of stormtalons that have been "almost done" for a few years now - now they are "really done" - and I finished up some leader types - rebased, decaled where applicable, touched up, and clear-coated. There is more to do ... I suspect there will always be a backlog with these guys because they are my "normal" marine army and there is always new stuff coming out for marines, but they are in a good place for now. 
  • I played my Grey Knights early on but I haven't played them with the new book yet.  I have some units to build and tweaks to make and I need to focus on them for a while to do it - that will happen after the current wave is handled. 
  • I played the Imperial Guard early on as well and my force needs some tweaks (and a more experienced commander). All I really added was some more demolisher cannon turrets  - hopefully they stay good - and the lascannon gunship (Vulture? Vendeta? I don't know but it seems nasty) because I could and I'd like a flying tank destroyer to help protect my own tanks. I'm really kind of waiting for a new Guard codex to dive back into this army and tune it up.
  • I played my Orks in a Crusade campaign before the new codex came out and it is a really fun way to play the game. I got hammered pretty hard by Blaster's Ultramarines primaris gunline force but my warboss managed to wreck his redemptor dread regularly and to crunch his captain a few times too so it was not completely one-sided. With the new book I have added some bikes and since I mostly run Goffs I have the new Ghazghkull in the painting queue now too. I need to take a month next year and just play my orks only through a few games and I'll get them done. Also: The Great Re-Basing will happen as I have the base expanders sitting on my workbench to bump all the old boyz up to 32mm. not super exciting but it's a chance to change up how I base these guys and considering a lot of my army dates back to 2nd & 3rd edition I'm looking forward to it.

I did dive into Flames of War early in the year as this year's "miniatures game I will dive into hard and end up not playing" ... which is exactly what happened. At some point you might think I would learn but hope springs eternal. A few years ago it was Bolt Action, then it was Star Wars Armada (though we did play a few games of both) then Age of Sigmar ... I have played enough Kings of War that I don't count it as a non-starter but it was quiet this year too. Check in tomorrow for next year's candidates!

I did work on building an Undead army for Kings of War ... and also for Sigmar as that book came out while I was feeling it and so progress was made but not completed on both. I held off on 3rd edition AoS as we haven't played since 1st and I'm trying to be better about throwing resources at rulebooks I may not use. Armies - sure. We can play a few games with the old rules if we can get some armies together and make sure it's something we want to expand. 

Overall the miniatures situation is better then last year. I got a lot done and I also took the time to reorganize my work space  - cleaned out the workbench completely, picked up some new drawer/organizer things, and went through a bunch of paints and tools and supplies and got rid of a lot of clutter. I've enjoyed it more the last few months than I have in quite a while so I'm calling that a win. 

Then, last week of the year, the big surprise - we ended up playing Battletech of all things. We haven't played BT since the boys got interested years ago so I decided to go back to the original source and we played with the original BT boxed set, mechs, and map. This all came about because Paladin Steve's oldest son was asking about the 40K miniatures again when he was over for our boardgame night and rather than try to explain all that we started talking about how if he want to have giant robots moving around and punching and shooting each other Battletech was a better bet than 40k. It's also cheaper to get into if he really liked it. Paladin Steve hadn't played in 20 years but he was interested in dusting it off - so that's what we did. One mech apiece ... 3025 tech ... one original map board and we ran for several hours. It was a lot more fun than I expected - even when my Wolverine went down to a punch in the face that crushed my cockpit. 

Going through all of that old material hit me with a pretty heavy nostalgia wave. All those custom mech sheets, some sheets that still have damaged marked on them from battles 25 years ago, and even re-discovering old Mechwarrior character sheets ... we spent a LOT of time playing Battletech in the 80's and 90's. I have a ton of painted BT miniatures some of which I painted back in the 80's and it always feels good to put those on the table again. 

It was a ton of fun and Apprentice Boom Gun was already asking when we could play again before we finished the first game. That's a good sign. It was a nice way to wrap up the gaming year. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

40K Wednesday - Tau Headline Does Not Lie

 From today's Warhammer Community post:

Ok, we've seen hype like this before ...

Gulp! But it's only 1 shot ...

Nice. But what if you're fighting a horde army?

Ah, well ... covers all the bases then doesn't it? I mean it hurts big targets, ignores invuln saves, gets a re-roll, causes automatic mortals, and has an option to do mortals to big groups. This is what a "big gun" in 40k -should- look like.

It does raise a question though - can we get some upgrades for some other lackluster "big guns" in the game? Necron Doomsday Arks wish they were in this ballpark. So does the Leman Russ Vanquisher which has been getting progressively worse as the "tank killer" cannon in every new edition of the game. The recent leaks show the Eldar big guns improving so I don't think they're feeling as left behind but there are definitely some holes out there. Here I am finishing up Necrons ... the oldest, most powerful race in the lore ... and they have nothing as good as just slinging a solid metal slug at something at a very high rate of speed. 

The best way to make a single or very limited shot gun feel better in play is to give it some reliability - nothing feels worse than to have your big gun fire and roll a 2 with its 3+ chance to hit. They've done a LOT of that here. Multi-meltas went to two shots this edition and that has made them much more interesting. Missile launchers only have the one shot with krak missiles but they have the frag option so there is some flexibility. Plasma Cannons get d3 shots with blast boosting them against hordes. Lascannons are feeling a bit down this edition I think because of the only-one-shot statline and only 1d6 damage. If it's going to stay at one shot then it would be nice if there was some kind of bonus or re-roll on that damage so that you get more out of it. Doesn't have to be the d3+3 of the Eldar lance weapons but some kind of boost would be nice. 

I do like that they are exploring the design space more when it comes to the numbers and also that they are trying to make different weapons actually feel different. I don't like the spreading out of the "can only be wounded on a 4+" type mechanics or the "can only take x wounds per phase" silliness so I'd like to see more innovation on the defensive side but at least they are trying on the offensive side. 

I always thought the Hammerhead was one of the coolest looking tanks in 40k - now we might finally see them on the table again.

Anyway, today's info on the Tau - which I do not play - have me feeling pretty positive about the upcoming Eldar codex - which I do. A lot. 

Friday, December 24, 2021

The Christmas Eve Post


With a little time off it's been a good month.

  • I watched The Witcher season 2 - I liked it better than the first season.
  • I watched the Wheel of Time season 1 - and I liked it.
  • I watched Matrix Resurrections tonight - I liked it too. More on that in another post ... possibly. 
  • My Sanguinary Guard are now built and base coated.
  • My Death Company are now built and base coated with a start on some details.
  • The 2021 Necron army is completely built and base coated - almost 3,000 points! Yes I feel pretty good about that.
  • I managed to work in an evening of boardgames with some friends too for the first time in a long time. 
It's been good and with more time off to come I am looking forward to getting more done. 

Thursday, December 9, 2021

The Wheel of Time TV Series


So Amazon has a new fantasy series ... based on the well-known book series which I know about (ha!) but never read. It was a big deal in the 90's but I opted out as my interest in overlong fantasy -ilogy's was worn out by then. 

So I'm going into this one fresh. I have no preconceived ideas or perceptions about it other than there were more than ten books in the series which should certainly give them enough material to run for a while. I've seen the first 5 episodes and ... I don't hate it. 

I'm sure many of you know the feeling when a new fantasy show is announced, particularly one you do have some attachment to, and maybe you feel some cautious optimism, then it comes out and just completely fails in some way. Maybe the acting is bad, or the writing, or the effects are just terrible, or it's done as camp instead of taken at least semi-seriously ... I'd say most fantasy TV shows fail. Even Game of Thrones, which was looking unstoppable there for a while, managed to drop the ball at the end. 

This one so far though looks pretty good. The acting is decent. The effects are decent. The writing has not jumped out at me as bad. The landscape and scenery has a Middle-Earth look to it but is not exactly the same.  It is serious and not a comedy show. It's made me interested in seeing more about the world and the various power groups and the characters and how it all goes together and that's rare these days. At this point in life I've seen a lot of bad fantasy and I do expect to be disappointed - I am not disappointed thus far. 

There are some tropes - there is an ancient dark power that is reawakening, there is one man prophesized to be the reincarnation of the one who can defeat him, and a group of good wizards is searching the world for him - not super original there. There is a wrinkle in that they aren't sure who he is, exactly, and apparently it might even be a she so they are rounding up a lot of candidates. Now I was worried that it was going to be a little too simple black and white but then the various colors of wizard started showing up and some of them are not very nice. Ah - nuance! Conflict! Then the magic-hating even-more-religious organization showed up and ... yeah, I like the angles developing here. So far these are all supposed to be good guys" in that they follow "the light" but they clearly have different agendas and some of them will not get along at all. I hope they keep it complicated and interesting for a good long time. 

Episode 4 is where it picked up for me - if you're not sure I'd say give it at least that much of a try and see how you feel about it. 

I know they changed some stuff from the books. I'm sure some people are unhappy with that. I didn't read the books so I don't care. 

And no, I'm not going to go read the books. I want to see where the show goes as its own thing.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

9th Anniversary of the City of Heroes Shutdown


I haven't noted this every year and yes there is a version of the game back online for a good two years+ now but I still felt like mentioning it this year. Homecoming and the others are great and they have added some new stuff to the game but it's not quite the same. 

I'm not sure why it feels different but it does on some level. With none of the old characters or supergroups carrying over there was some loss even after recreating many of them. It's a different crowd these days. The loss of the old forums that were such a repository of knowledge and a ton of fun. A lot of it may just be life changes over the past nine years. Time and life march on, tastes change, people come and go ... it would probably be different now even if the game had never shut down but it did so we had a clean break for almost 7 years for things to drift.

This is certainly not intended as a complaint about the revival - far from it! I was super happy when we were able to log back in again and I'm still glad it's around even if I do not play as much as I did those first six months it was back. It's nothing but a positive development. 

I am a little disappointed that we don't have "more". We have the original game with some enhancements but I was really hoping we would have "Paragon City: The Next Generation" by now. None of the successors have launched with an actual game nine years later and none of them have anything more than an alpha/beta/early adopter type option. I was pretty optimistic about them in 2012 ... I am far less so these days. 

Some of the in-the-moment posts:

Friday, November 26, 2021

Not-40K Friday - The Evolution of Warhammer Dragons

There's a cool post over on Warhammer Community that runs through the designs of dragons for Warhammer over the decades and it's worth a look if you've been around fantasy miniatures for any length of time. There are 4 or 5 of the metal "S" dragons floating around here so it felt relevant. You can see changes over time in all of the fantasy ranges, not just Warhammer, and the trend has been towards the bigger and bigger, especially the last 5-10 years. That's one of GW's brand new big dragons up top and I admit it's pretty impressive and hits a lot of the right notes for me. 

This is one of the classic S-dragons, maybe the first as the high elves were I believe the first army to be able to take an actual dragon as a mount for some characters. This version was around 4th edition (there was at least one earlier non-S version for 3rd) and set the pattern for many years. I have a pair of these, plus a pair of the dark elf version of the same vintage, plus some of the orc war wyverns with a similar look. I had mixed feelings about some of those color choices even when this thing was new but that was the look they used across the entire range.

This is probably the least-Warhammer paint job I have ever seen on one of these beasts but it does show that the old models hold up pretty well if painted well. This makes me want to do something with my unbuilt models like this. 

I remember when these came out for 6th or 7th edition and it was shocking ... compared to the old guard metal models above this thing is just a revolution. That pose! Apparently plastic does allow a much greater range of options as there's no easy way to get something like that out of the old versions. It would take a ridiculous amount of pinning and also never moving it anywhere for any reason to get one of the older models to look like that. 

These newest versions ... that's another one up there ... they're just amazing. bigger and beefier, less serpentine and more dino-beast. They look more like D&D dragons have looked for a long time. Also more of a Hildebrandt-looking dragon:

Nothing wrong with that. I've probably used my old dragon miniatures more in RPG encounters in recent years than in straight-up miniature battles in recent years. It's always a big moment when a dragon shows up - at least it should be - and I do like having a decent miniature to drop when they do. Even the RPG-specific dragons have much bigger options now than they used to with some of the Pathfinder Battles gargantuan dragons coming on an 80mm base. 

Anyway it sent me down a trail so I thought so I would share.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Friday, November 19, 2021

40k Friday - Catching up on the Blood Angels


I was looking over the shelves last week and realized that while I have a pretty decent set of painted Blood Angel units I somehow have managed to not have a finished, painted squad of sanguinary guard, nor do I have a fully painted unit of death company. It's a weird gap. I haven't played them recently but I want to and so with some time off next week that's the current goal - get those two units built out and basecoated and then see how far I can get with finishing them.

Loadout will be 9 swords and power fist just because that seems pretty flexible. I will probably build 5 more with axes since I have the models and might want to mix them in the future.

I am very interested in mixing in some inferno pistols but I'm not sure it's really worth it. I like the idea of being able to jump in and vaporize a tank or cripple a knight but they are 5 points apiece, and then it would make sense to give them fists as well if you're going after the big targets and there's another 5 points so now they running about 50% more expensive than normal. Maybe the 5-man axe unit gets infernos instead to keep the cost down - BA's would be wounding vehicles on a 4+ anyway so it might work as well. Fists would hit on a 4+, wound on a 3+ while swords and axes would hit on a 3+ and wound on a 4+, barring other modifiers. 

Sure, sending them in with the warlord would give them the easy +1 to hit but I'm not sure that's what I want them to do. Maybe if I'm going with a smash-captain anyway but I'm thinking death company with thunder hammers would probably be better for that.

So settled on the melee for the most part but still need to sort out the guns.

Death company ... I have a ton of these guys both old metal and current plastic and I actually disassembled some of them to retool them for 8th edition's awesome option of bolter + chainsword ... which went away with the 9th edition codex. It probably should have as it's never been an option before to give them full ranged capability and full melee capability, but it was attractive enough that  I got sucked into chasing that particular meta ... and now I get to change them back. I should know better but insert eyeroll here.

Loadout for them, well, I'm starting with a back-to-the-basics ten guys with bolt pistols and chainswords. Once those are in playable shape I'll start looking at other options. I know I want  some power weapons to mix in and the idea of a 5-man unit with all thunder hammers is too attractive to let go. I'd like to get in a few games with them and see what they can do and then mix in some options. 

I also need to look over the character options as well. With 9th restricting marines to one captain + one lieutenant  per detachment I do like the idea of cheating past that with the death company versions since they do not count against it. It seems like at least one plus Lemartes and/or Astaroth would work alright, especially if I'm bringing multiple squads. 

Those are the main 2 units I want to focus on for now. I do have some others in the backlog though.

  • I have another Baal predator kit that I want to build as the flamer version just to try it out and to have the option in the army.
  • I have a mostly painted and mostly built redemptor dread that I need to finish, not to mention other regular dreads in the queue.
  • I have some phobos characters that need to be finished too. 
I finally settled on a new paint scheme so now I can finish the primaris stuff I picked up and built and primed but was holding off on this year. It's mainly using an army painter red so I can match up spray and bottle paint to try and get this stuff done. I don't need it to win awards, I just need it to look like I had a plan and come out "good enough". If the weather will cooperate I should make some good progress this month. 

 More to come ...