Sunday, January 18, 2015

X-wing Miniatures In-house Tournament

"All wings report in."
 We had an in-house tournament last night for fun with some of my buddies. This is what I flew:

  • Corran Horn (E-wing) + Advanced Sensors + Push The Limit + R2-D2
  • Wedge Antilles (X-wing) + Determination
  • Biggs Darklighter (X-wing)

I ended up going 3-1 on the night, beating a Whisper/TIE Advance list, a Whisper/Interceptor list, and a Decimator/Whisper list. My only loss came in a rematch against the Whisper/Advance list I had previously won against.

Against the Decimator/Whisper list, I managed to keep out of Whisper's arc and focus fire Chiraneau's Decimator down, although I lost Wedge and Biggs to him. Heavily damaged, I chased him down with Corran, regenerating shields and rolling phenomenal green dice, and finished him off right before time expired. It was definitely most hard fought win of the night and tons of fun! I would also like to add that the inclusion of Determination on Wedge saved his life in two different games... Not bad for one point! I'm looking forward to attending the Huzzah Hobbies tournament next week as well.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Chet; or mourning the loss of a friend

Chet & Gimli on their first day with us.
When my now-wife, Chrissie, moved into my apartment in 2006, we decided that we needed a cat. It made sense, considering we both grew up with cats in the house. Chrissie requested a grey kitten and so the search began. After driving to multiple shelters across Northern Virginia and coming up empty handed, I was on the verge of giving up until my cousin Cheryl found an add in the paper about kittens needing a home. I called her to confirm that she had a grey kitten, which she did, but also said someone else was interested. She told me that he has a brother and if we took both, she'd give us priority. It turns out she was a crazy cat lady so in reality, we saved them from living in a house with 30 other cats (that isn't an exaggeration either). It was the start of a friendship I will always remember.
Chet a couple days before he passed, snuggling on his blanket.
Other than his affection to my wife and I, Chet exemplified the typical aloofness of cats, not taking well to strangers or even our kids. He had a reputation with the veterinary clinic as being especially "spirited," and he came by that reputation honestly. However, in spite of all of that, he was a kind and loving cat, especially to me. He followed me around the house and would spend time in my lap every chance he got. No matter if I was watching TV, playing video games, or trying to paint some models, he had to find a way to sit in my lap. He had a habit of sleeping with his rear end nestled in my armpit, paws wrapped around my arm as if hugging it, and his head tucked in my hand. Just about every morning when I took a shower, he would sit on my folded towel and beg for sink water after I got out. He loved to headbutt me and 'make biscuits' on fluffy blankets. I was never closer to an animal than I was to Chet; I can honestly say that he was my best buddy.
How we spent most of our time together.
Chet hours before before his final journey.
Being a particularly large cat, weighing close to 18 pounds, we decided over the summer to put him on a stricter diet to help him shed some weight. It seemed to be working well because he had started to lose weight and began returning to a more appropriate weight. However, last month he decided to eat some fake Easter grass out of a gift bag my wife brought home. He had a habit of eating random things he found on the ground, and after I saw him vomit the grass out, I didn't think much of it. Within the week, I noticed that he was eating a lot less and eventually just about stopped eating altogether. Concerned that he might have a piece of fake grass bound in his stomach or intestines, I took him the the vet for an x-ray. The veterinarian said she saw some "clumping" in his intestines, but nothing too concerning. She recommended isolating him to ensure that he was eating and using the litter box. After a couple of miserable days stuck in one of our bathrooms, Chet had eaten some food with the help of an appetite stimulant and used the litter box (but not pooped, which was concerning to me). We let him out and he returned to his normal self. As the month wore on, I again noticed he wasn't eating and that his weight loss was increasing. This time, however, I decided to get a second opinion from another veterinarian. After they performed an exam, ran blood work, and received a copy of the previous clinic's x-rays, the veterinarian was able to determine that Chet had a large mass in his abdomen. The tumor was pressing against his intestines and was clearly visible in the previous clinic's x-rays (I know this, because they showed it to me) and our new veterinarian confirmed its existence with an ultrasound (which was complimentary and much appreciated). The blood work indicated that Chet was suffering from lymphoma. Our options were not good nor easy: subject Chet to more trips to the vet, more tests,  and possibly surgery and cancer treatments or humane euthanasia. We elected for the latter. As any pet owner can tell you, it is not an easy choice to make no matter how ill your pet is and this was no different. We chose Wednesday, January 14 as the date in order for me to finish my upcoming shift at work and to give us more time with him. After seeing his condition deteriorate over the weekend and finding someone to cover part of my shift at work, we decided to move his appointment to Monday afternoon.
Like all cats, Chet loved getting in boxes and bins!
Chet at the tender age of 4, shortly after we bought our first home.
In the days and hours leading up to his trip over the Rainbow Bridge, we made sure he got to spend his remaining time with us comfortable and content. He got to spend his last days snuggling on his favorite blanket, eating his favorite treat (ham), enjoying the effects of catnip (which he loved), and receiving endless love from his family. I wasn't ready for him to leave me and I know I will feel this pain for a long time to come. Our home and my heart are a little more empty now and I miss him dearly.
Chet as a kitten, doing what cats do!
Sleeping in a pile of laundry.