Mexican Jenny And The Naked Slip & Slide

…which got alot slipperier once we busted out the vegetable oil

Well, my little chili dogs, your Uncle Doc is about half wasted due to a combination of working my ass off in the garden and then pounding down a 40 of beer. This post may not be as long or as coherent as I would like, but what the heck:)

As is the case nowadays, I started off the morning with a healthy round of gardening. I hoed, dug, raked, shoveled and pruned like a man possessed. Had to dig up a 3 year old Lemon Verbena that had sent most of it’s roots down 2 or 3 miles into the earth’s crust. By the time I got that fucker uprooted (and transplanted the stump that had many small roots AND sprouts on it), I was sweating like a horse and pretty sure I was having a heart attack:)

After more weeding and watering and general messing about with the soil, I laid out the area that will (starting tomorrow) be my main garden. I’ve got room for 10 tomato plants, about 6-8 bush beans, a couple of squash plants and my New Zealand Spinach vines. The remainder of my garden (more tomatos, more squash, melons, spinach, carrots, chiles) will be spread out hither and thither…including a new raised bed that will sit on half of our driveway (which we don’t really use, having only the one car).

After about 2-3 hours of my flailing away in the garden, I came inside, showered and ate lunch. Then Grace and I went off shopping. She bought slippers, a book and an umbrella. I bought compost, manure, herbs, marigolds and a Cape Honeysuckle. And then, we hit the annual SPCA used book sale and bought about 35 pounds of books for $14.00. That came to, I think 20 books…mostly gardening books, cos I, like, don’t have enough of THOSE:)

Once we got back home, I knocked out another 2 hours of gardening, then took my THIRD bath of the day…the ate dinner…then drank my 40 while watching The Incredibles with My Sweet Little Beef Enchilada Of Passion.

I have one of those “letter” memes to do (my latter is H), but I’m too tired and beer infused. I’ll do it tomorrow.

More blog-o-rama when the sun rises.

The Astounding Adventures Of Dr. Tempest At The Earth’s Core

from the May 1895 issue

More Doc Tempest steampunkery:)

Doc Update

Things go well here at Cross Central. Work for both Grace and I is…well, still work, so what can ya say? At least it brings in money.

Healthwise, things are better now that we are both pretty much over our colds. I have a sneaking suspicion (based upon my own non-medically trained observations) that My Sweet Little Double Fudge Pudding Of Love may be nearing menopause time. Of course, I could be wrong, so we’ll see what her doctor says after her next visit.

The garden is going well. Every day after work I spend a couple of hours planting, transplanting and FUCKING WEEDING. Sweet Dog in heaven, those weeds are harder to control than a Republican Congress! Still, my weed jihad continues.

Ya know, every year in the garden is a learning experience and this year, I learned that starting spinach early indoors is not a good idea. From now on, I’ll just sow the seeds outdoors and be done with it. On the other hand, starting tomatos, beans, squash and some herbs early and indoors has been a very good idea.

Gamingwise, I’m feeling the urge to GM something. I’m leaning towards an action packed fantasy adventure game, tho a pirates + fantasy game has some pretty strong appeal, too. Ruleswise, I’m considering a wide variety of options, from True20 to AD&D to modified Savage Worlds to modified Basic Roleplaying.

Also on the gaming from, I’m doing prep work on the next phase of the Kingdom Building Game. First, I rolled several dice to see how far in the future the game moves. The result was 183 years, which is a pretty good jump. Far enough to allow for some history to accumulate, but not so far as to make what has taken place become ancient history.

Next, I rolled on my Metaplot chart. Some of these metaplots were determined before the game ever started, some came about during the creation of PC/NPC cultures and some came about during play. To keep things simple, I rolled for 2 Major Metaplots and 2 Minor Metaplots. One of the major ones (which took a roll of 1 or 2 on a D30) was a real asskicker and will result in the world 183 years hence being way different from the one now. The other, which had a pretty high probability on the chart, was less of an asskicker, but will effect a goodly number of changes to the current PC cultures. The two Minor Metaplots are actually pretty minor at present…but of course, PC decisions could change all that:)

One big change that I’m mulling over is to let each player get a map of the entire continent at the start of the game. Of course, there’ll be precious few details…except for natural features…and a few vague political markings…but it will make things easier for all of us as far as mapmaking/viewing goes.

Time for work…will write more bloggage later.

Dogs On Harleys, Cats With Guns

…they’re high on roadkill and catnip and looking for trouble

Damn…it’s only Tuesday and already my next weekend is laid out before me like a massive battleplan. Actually, in a way, it IS a massive battleplan. See, once a year the local waste disposal company comes by and picks up trash and junk that they don’t normally allow in residential garbage cans. Busted old furniture, old lumber, tree limbs, etc, etc. Well, yesterday, we got a notice in the mail saying our pick up date is May 1. That means that this weekend, I’ll be (with Grace’s help) cleaning out the garage and dragging junk from our Backyard From Hell.

And that’s on top of all the gardening I must do…and going to the movies…and taking a 2 mile walk each day…and other chores.

I get all the fun.

Sweet Hot Robomonkey Love

…with sprinkles

WAR: They Came, They Saw, They Whipped Some Roman Ass

Oh, my brothers & sisters, such a war was fought today! Oceans of blood were shed…magicks both dark and bright were tossed about…monsters ravaged the land…the dead rose up and fought…and the forces of good did yet prevail!

The War against the Neo-Romans was fought today on my dining room table. My friend Arn, one of the players in my Kingdom Building Game, set forth his armies in a massive sneak attack on the Romans. This was a pre-emptive strike to stop a planned Roman invasion of some of Arn’s NPC allies.

Planning for this sneak attack has been going on for 4 years of game time. Arn’s people, the Varralonese, teamed up with a race of Dwarves and a race of forest dwelling folk. The assault involved several factors, including…

Having the Dwarves tunnel deep into Roman territory, so the Allied forces could pop up at or near a variety of places, mostly at the outer perimeter of watchtowers.

Developing all manner of magical or magic/tech weapons, including flamethrowers, rock to mud + fireball bazookas, magical armor & weapons, communications crystals, illusion devices and self propelled/rapid fire catapults and ballista.

A 2 year long program to work a kingdom of Minotaurs (who lived, unknown to the Romans, about 100 miles to the north of them) into a paranoid killing frenzy. This was accomplished by using troops dressed as Romans who were seen “spying” and “plotting” by the Minotaurs. When the attack came, 25,000 highly pissed off Minotaurs swept into Rome from the north.

Training a special forces unit that functioned much like the Marine Corps Rangers and the Navy SEALS.

Inciting a big flock of Pterasaur-like creatures to attack a couple of Roman towns on the morning of the attack.

…and other tricks and stuff.

The Romans, despite having 30,000 infantry and 15,000 cavalry (all VERY well trained) never had a chance. The sneak attack (especially the “wave after wave of berserk Minotaurs”), caught the Romans with their togas down. They put up a helluva fight…and in the end they nuked their own capital city (after sending out several thousand women and children) with a humongous fireball (which took out about 20,000 Minotaurs, too).

Arn’s forces freed many thousands of Roman slaves and gave them the lands of their former masters. And then I let a big GM time bomb drop…

Big Announcement To My Players (and other interested parties)

The Horticultural Whore Spreads It Around

…compost, that is

I headed up to my mom’s house this morning. After a couple of hours of visiting, Mom gave me a bunch of plants from her garden. When I got home I went out and planted some of them and did a bunch of other gardening, including…

transplanting some Irises (not the proper time of year for that, but it had to be done) and some Sweet Woodruff

whacked a bigass bunch of weeds that were attempting to take over Garden Plot A47 (I was getting tired of calling them Garden Plot 1, 2, 3, etc)

spread compost hither and yon

poured several gallons of compost/manure tea on various plants

moved most of my seedlings outside

did some pruning

put Geranium cuttings in water so they’ll form roots

tossed pieces of sedum all over, so as to promote a nice groundcover

and then I rested:)

Meme Time Long memage behind the cut

Fresno Freddy Makes The Big Score

…and he even got the girl, too.

I resumed my walking routine last night with a brisk jaunt around our block. It comes out to seven tenths of a mile, which is a nice start for a guy who hasn’t done any exercise walking in almost 6 months. No lasting aches or pains, so I’ll slowly build up my legs until I’m walking 5 miles (or more) at a stretch. Yes, yes, I’ll take it slowly…Grace is making sure of that. I reckon it’ll take at least 3 weeks before I’m up to 5 miles a night.

In other news, War has come to the Kingdom Building Game and on Sunday, my friend Arn (the only one of my players who ISN’T on the internet) and I will play out the battle on my dining room table. I hold out little hope for the forces of evil, since Arn has been directing most of the resources of his kingdom (and those of his NPC allies) towards a sneak attack on the New Roman Empire. Some of his strategies are pretty unique and interesting…and some of his allies are even moreso. I shall report from the front lines on Sunday.

Just out of curiousity, have any of you bought TOON Munchkin? If so, what did you think of it?

The fast approaching weekend, besides being filled with the thrill of battle, will be a gardening/cooking weekend. I need to get my veggies planted and I need (with Grace’s help) to cook up enough food to last us at least a week. That way, when we get home we can just heat stuff up and chow down. I’m thinking spaghetti…maybe some Docburgers…possibly a taco dinner…hmmmm.

Time for me to go toil in the pizza mines.

The Horticultural Whore Does The Happy Springtime Dance

…with extra frolicking!

It has been sunny and in the low to mid 70’s for the past couple of days and that trend seems to be what we can expect for at least the next week. This means that I’ve been out in the garden after work, yanking weeds. Holy Chocolate Dipped Cheerleaders, do I have a garden fulla weeds! Some of those fuckers are 2 feet tall with a tap root that reaches halfway to the Earth’s core! Still, my yearly jihad against the invading hordes of botanical infidels goes well. It would go better if my electric weed whacker had not died last year, but using the good old manual weed whacker does give me some excersise.

This weekend (after a quick trip up to my mom’s house), I’ll be potting, repotting, planting and sowing seeds. Gonna be a hugeass veggie/herb garden here at Casa Cross this year. I’ll be planting more flowers and shrubs, too. Next year, by Dog, I’ll have so much groundcover growing that I’ll choke most of those fucking weeds out!

Right now, I’ve got dianthus, purple lantana, daffodils, sages and my beloved peach verbena blooming. Oh, and what I think is a grapefruit tree is blooming. It’s only 3-4 feet tall and it’s planted in a terribly wrong spot, but man, is it full of pretty red blooms.

On my ever growing list of things to plant this year: more dianthus, more gazanias, more lantana, more thyme, more sedums, more daylillies and more geraniums. I’m thinking a dwarf lemon and a dawrf blood orange will be on the list, too.

Yes, life is looking good for us garden addicts:) Plus, now that the good weather is here, I can FINALLY restart my nightly walking program. I hope to be up to 5 miles a night within a month or so.

Well, time to sign off and go play Psoriasis VS Skin Cancer: The LARP, then go off to work.

The Day Was Bright And Merry

…but the night was foul and scary

1906 + 100

Just in case you don’t watch any of the various Discovery Channels or live somewhere other than California, today is the centennial of the Great San Francisco Earthquake And Fire. It was a helluva shakeup, folks. How bad, you ask? How does 32 times as strong as the Loma Prieta quake back in the mid-1980’s sound?

Of course, another humonguous quake is due any moment/day/year/decade/century now, as the scientists and people from other states never stop telling us. Does this stop anyone from visiting The City By The Bay? Hell no…we Californians (and apparently many of you non-Californians, judging from the tourist biz in the Bay Area) are a brave and self-deluding bunch. Everyone knows that next big geologic boogaloo won’t happen while WE’RE in The City.

Anyway, 100 years ago the earth moved, a fire started and it pretty much wiped most of a city (28,000 buildings) off the map…for awhile. And it will happen again.

And it is STILL better than having a fucking Tornado Season or a Hurricane Season. People who live in those areas are just fucking insane.

The 10 Blue Budgies Start A Gaming Group

…and an epic level campaign of “Budgies & Balrogs”

Well, boys & girls, today finds Uncle Doc about 90% recovered from his cold, but his Sweet Angel is feeling very sick from her cold. This means that, while I am off to work, Grace will be staying home and resting.

My creative juices have been flowing (tho not as generously as my nasal juices were flowing on Friday) during my recent confinement to the house, so I may have some interesting ideas to share with y’all later tonight.

Now, I must get dressed, go get my megadose of UVB radiation, then proceed to work.

The Rare And Beautiful 6 Legged Hamster Of Potawango Island

…they’re fast little suckers

Well, as could almost be predicted, just as I’m getting over my cold, it would appear that I’ve passed it on to my loving spouse. Poor Grace is feeling congested, sore throaty and generally not good. I shall do my best to doctor her.

In other news, after two dry days when I could have been gardening but for my sicckness, today it is raining fit to drown a duck. I just can’t friggin’ win.

I Often Miss The Dancing Elks

…and the violin playing badgers

Well, I’m not dead. In fact, I’m feeling somewhat better than I was when I last posted. However, knowing that when I start to recover from a cold, I often start over exerting myself, My Sweet Little Blueberry Muffin With Melted Butted Drizzled Over It Of Love has decreed that I shall “stay inside this house and continue resting” for at least another day. Of course, I shall not argue with She Who Must Be Obeyed. Even tho it is NOT raining outside and the weeds are taking over my garden like Germany took over France (altho none of my plants are surrendering). Thus, I remain here in my Lazy Boy armed with bottles of vitamins & minerals…the omnipresent mug of water that I shall drain dry every hour or so…the remote control for the tv…a bit of tea…and my trusty laptop.

I hate being housebound, but at least it gives me time to think (which may or may not be a Good Thing). So, despite sleeping about 14 hours yesterday, I did get a few non-strenuous things done. Such as…

1: Consulted with my rather sparse pre-launch notes for my Kingdom Building Game. This was mostly done to check on my predetermined timeline as to when I would end this phase of the KBG. My players should expect an email soon. Please note that this will NOT end the KBG…just this first phase of it. The second phase is going to be much more personal.

2: Made some notes on how to set up ShadowCon 2007, my “con within a con” for GenCon 2007. Most of the notes boil down to “discuss this with…” anmd then name various GM friends of mine. I won’t really start in on ShadowCon planning until AFTER GenCon 2006, but I want to have a framework ready for all of the discussion and plotting…err, I mean PLANNING:)

3: Made notes regarding a TOON Wars minis rules set and possible future TOON MUnchkin books. Not sure if any of this will ever see print, but I WILL be running TOON Wars at DunDraCon next February.

4: Started a zine for next months Alarums & Excursions. And there was much rejoicing.

And now, time for pills, water and a movie.

Bouncy Dog Revue

…bring the whole family

My sore throat has indeed blossomed into a full blown head cold. I’d say I feel like shit, but feeling like shit would be a step up. My headache sneers haughtily at most pain relievers, my nasal cavities are working at about 150% efficiency in the mucus production area, my joints (which are middle aged and achey to begin with) feel as tho I’ve been beaten on with a big stick and my throat goes from feeling merely sore to feeling like I’ve deepthroated a wire brush.

And now, I must go to work. Thank you for listening to me whine like a little fuckin’ wimp.

Creamy Fish Pudding

…with chocolate sprinkles

Gah! For the past 3 days I’ve been trying to keep a sore throat from becoming worse (and bringing more cold symptoms with it) by using the “Sick Animal” method. This mostly consists of spending most waking moments (when I’m not working or some other necessary stuff) curled up sleeping in my warm burrow (aka bed), drinking large quantities of water and generally looking pitiful. I draw the line at eating grass, but I am taking lots of vitamin C. Hopefully, my body shall fend off these invaders and I’ll be healthy again in no time. I hate being sick and I hate head colds most of all. I’d rather have a week of stomach flu than a day of head cold.

And now, off to the unfortunately necessary work.

Banana Slug Express

…slow, but reliable.

So I’ve been thinking of future writing projects (and thinking of old projects I can dust off) and here are a few that I’ve come up with.

1: City guides that would be very “Over The Edge” like. The base idea is that every city has these strange places/businesses that only people in the know can find.

2: TOON miniatures wargaming rules. I actually already have a fair amount of this done, since I’ve run TOON Wars at a couple of cons. Naturally, this game would NOT be for serious wargamers:)

3: An series of linked adventures that begin in a D&Desque prehistory, continue thru ancient Rome, the Age of Piracy and the Pulp Era and, finally, finishes up in the mid-21st century. I’ve run something similar to this many years ago, so it wouldn’t be to hard to write up.

And now I must go be exposed to UVB rays, then toil to earn my daily wage (plus tips).

Conquest Of The Big Tomato

…with geeks & games

Just got back from the second day of Conquest Sacramento. Altho I had zero sign ups for my seminar or the two games I volunteered to run (and I’m not alone…RPGs seemed not to be doing very well), I had fun and it is pretty sweet to be able to drive home every night (or for lunch, as I did today).

The miniatures room and the board/card game room did well, tho things were tapering off when I left tonight. The dealers room seemed to be doing ok today, as did the flea market last night and tonight. Didn’t see much action at the movie room every time I peeked in, but there was a small gathering for the costume contest. The only LARP I saw seemed well attended.

I am told that attendance was better than expected, so that’s a good thing. I did play in a couple of games run by Patrick Sweeney, the man behing Firefly Games. The first was Cyborgladiators, which I’ve played several times before and it is always fun. The next game, played earlier today, was Faerie’s Tale, a soon to be released (well, GenCon soon) RPG.

I’m telling you, folks, Faerie’s Tale is a very fun game. You play various kinds of faeries who do all sorts of things that faeries do. In our case, we went to the Fey Tournament and not only participated in several events, we stopped the nefarious plans of a dark faerie and his goblin minions. Much laughing was done and we all had a great time.

The game has very simple and easy to use rules and is designed for ages 6 and up. I think it will be a great RPG for kids and their parents to play together (or seperately). I’m really looking forward to buying it when it comes out.

So, to sum up, Conquest Sac, despite not allowing me to do my Seminarial/GM thing (which actually doesn’t bug me, since I’m dealing with low level allergy crap), has so far been a success. I’ll go tomorrow to have a look around and get me pre-reg refund, then wait unmtil next year to see how much better Conquest Sac 2 is.

Doc Tempest and The Living Shadow

…from the July 1941 issue

Stuff

1: One of the pre-made characters in my Conquest Sac Over The Edge game is Agent Roscoe of the FBI’s X Unit. He made his first appearence a few years ago in my “Special X Unit” series (which was a combination of “The X Files” and “Special Unit 2”). Yes, he’s a dog, but not your ordinary dog:)

2: Ya know, if one of you Loyal Readers wanted to buy a copy of TOON Munchkin (available for a mere $8.95 at Steve Jackson Games e23 site) and then review it on RPGnet (or any other RPG website), I wouldn’t bitch about it:)

3: We have a sunny day here in NorCal!!! Unfortunately, it is going to be followed by at least 5 more days of fuckin’ rain!

4: Speaking of the above mentioned TOON Munchkin, I downloaded my comp copy of it and it looks pretty great. Words by Doc Cross, illustrations by John Kovalic…what more can I say?

5: There is no 5. Move along.

6: Recent discussion of a “Level Zero/Dungeons & Hardy Boys” game has finally caused me to reach GM Critical Mass. If you come to Conquest Sac, I’ll be running what I hope to be the start of a regular series. In Open Gaming, natch. Probably on Saturday afternoon.

7: Work beckons. I’m outta here.

BREAKING NEWS!

Both TOON and Tooniversal Tour Guide (both of which are required to run TOON Munchkin) are now available as PDF downloads from e23! Life just keeps getting better and better!

Squishy Lunar Cupcakes

…green cheese not included

I was going to post this last night, but about 47 different things conspired to prevent that. Anyway, here we go…

Game Discussion Part 3

To sum up my “Level Zero” series idea…characters start in a limited geographical area (their home town and evirons)…characters have very low level skills and stats (due to being kids/teens)…characters may or may not know what they want to be when they grow up…adventures are used to determine which of their stats get bonuses or minuses and which skills they develop first, as well as giving them a chance to collect a bit of loot to finance their future lifestyle.

Pretty simple, really, and I think it would be alot of fun. The ever creative Doc_Mystery has compared the idea to running a “Dungeons & Hardy Boys” series and he’s pretty much spot on the mark. The Hardy Boys series would make a good template, as would The Little Rascals if you used younger kids.

So, will I actually RUN this series? The answer is…yes. If I can get a gaming group formed again here at Cross Central, I’ll start them out using it. If that doesn’t happen, then I may well run a “Young Adventurers In Training” game as part of my ShadowCon idea at GenCon 2007.

Now to toss out a couple of ideas for the next round of game discussion: assuming it was arranged that somebody could create official PDF products for Over The Edge, what would you like to see?

Next, I’m planning on discussing my CyberPulp alternate 1930’s world setting. Anyone interested in hearing about it?

And now, from the Home Office in Hilo, Hawaii, here are…

The Top Ten Domesticated Animals That Never Quite Took Off

10: Wolverines raised for milk production
9: Harpy Eagles for egg production
8: Companion Jellyfish
7: Attack/Guard Rabbits
6: Draft Pigs
5: Spiders raised for meat
4: Companion Rattlesnakes
3: Riding Grizzly Bears
2: Roadrunners for meat (by the time you catch ’em, yer too tired to eat)

And the Number One answer is…

1: Bobcats raised for wool

Now I’m off to Dr. Yen’s EZ Bake Oven, then work.

The Kitty Cats Start A Garden

…but all they grow is catnip

Random Stuff

1: Conquest Sac starts THIS FRIDAY! If you live anywhere near Sacramento or if you just have the spare time & money, you should attend it. I’m doing a seminar on Friday at 6 PM, then running a TOON game at 8 PM. On Saturday, I’m running an Over The Edge game at 8 PM. I may also run a game or two in open gaming.

2: Ok, it’s time for the fucking rain to lighten up and leave Northern California.

3: The characters I’m creating for my Over The Edge game at Conquest Sac all (well, except for one) have to have some paranormal power that relates to time. This is an interesting challenge, especially given some of the Flaws they have. After the con, I’ll post the characters here.

4: I’m debating going to KublahCon in May, at least for 1 day. The Flea Market there is very nice and quite large. Anybody else gonna be there?

5: After giving it some thought, I have to say that, INMHO, Green Ronin is the best goddamn game company out there. Now, I loves me some Steve Jackson Games products (including TOON Munchkin, which you can download as a PDF from e23 for a mere $8.95) and Atlas Games has much cool product, but Green Ronin just keep cranking out high quality, well written, innovative and just plain FUN stuff…lots of it. And they are all great people, too.

6: Two months have passed without an Iron Chef Aslin Way battle, mostly due to Grace and I being busy, forgetful or a combination of the two. I plan on changing this in a week or so.

7: Sweet Mother of Pearl, I love our new tv!

8: I think that once the car is paid off (NEXT MONTH!!!), I’m gonna go to a paid account here on LJ. I also plan on posting some pix of the home and garden here at the Cross Estate.

9: Tonight, the Game Discussion and the Top Ten lists will return.

10: I’m outta here and off to work.

A Redhead Was On My Left And A Blonde Was On My Right

…and I didn’t recognize the bedroom I was in

Boy howdy, things are hitting a helluva a stride in the Kingdom Building Game. Empires are rising and (maybe) falling…monsters and strange creatures roam the land…war may be in the offing…and that’s just among the PC kingdoms! I’m thinking that within the next couple of turn, my head will explode:)

In other, more agrarian news, I’ve got about 20 spinach seedlings already popped up outta the soil. Go me! With any luck, Grace and I will have more than enough spinach to last us until the fall planting starts rolling in.

I’m going to grow a bunch of herbs this year, mostly because Grace and I tend to use so much herbage in our cooking. If I have extra herbs left after I dry them, I’ll try to share with y’all. And that includes ground and powdered chiles, too.

And now, I’m off to do character creation and adventure writing and stuff.

Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Guinness

…in which the Gryffendor’s get drunk and rowdy and kick Slytherin ass

Doc’s Day

1: Huge brekky at Hometown Buffet with My Sweet Little Golden Spider Monkey Of Sweetness

2: Put in about 2 hours on map updates for the Kingdom Building Game

3: Grace and I went to see “V for Vendetta” and quite enjoyed it. If I were in my 20’s again (in these trying political times), I would find this movie to be hugely…inspiring.

4: Started about 60 carrot seeds (variety: Nantes Orange)

5: Planted a Geranium and 2 Asters

6: Did Laundry

7: Ate a delicious dinner prepared by my Sweet Angel

8: Websurfed and watched “SS Doomtrooper” on the Sci Fi Channel. It had the virtue of not being one of their many movies that feature either prehistoric animals or creatures of legend.

And that’s it so far. Tomorrow, it’s character creation time for the games I’m running at Conquest Sac next weekend. BTW, the Game Discussion will resume soon, as will the Top Ten Lists.