I Used To Be Like That But Now I’m Like This.

…and not dead.

My body is fighting off two different infections, so there won’t be a new Doclopedia post. Instead, here is the post from this date 10 years ago.



Uncle Doc’s Gardening Tips

1: PLANT A VEGGIE GARDEN! In these tough economic times, why the hell are you paying $3.00 for a tomato? All the cool kids are starting Victory Gardens and you should, too! Yes, you do have room! Many veggies grow very well in pots or hanging planters.

2: Herbs will grow in all but the most terrible of soils. You can plant several herbs in a relatively small space.

3: When planting snap beans, plant the purple podded varieties. You can see them much easier among the plants foliage and thus will not miss any come picking time.

4: Cantaloupes, squash and the smaller pumpkins/watermelons will grow just fine on a trellis. This will save you many square yards of ground space.

5: Mulch, mulch, mulch! Yes, even when growing in pots.

6: Heirloom (non-hybrid) veggies generally taste WAY better than hybrid varieties, but may not have as good a resistance to disease. Heirlooms also generally produce less. In the case of heirloom tomatoes, they can look rather ugly, but I promise you, the taste will more than make up for it.

7: You only need 1 (ONE) zucchini plant! Trust me on this.

8: Newspaper makes great mulch. Just make sure you layer it 6-8 sheets deep.

9: Straw makes a good mulch only if there are NO WEED SEEDS in it. If you can get rice straw, get it. No seeds and is lasts a long time.

10: DON’T OVER WATER OR OVER FERTILIZE! Let the soil almost dry out before watering. As for fertilizer, mix some chicken or steer manure (say, 4 cups) with 5 gallons of water and let it sit for a day, stirring a few times. After that, use this manure tea to water your plants once every week.

My garden this year (2009) is a “modified square foot garden” that uses 12 X 12 X 12 inch plastic milk crates lined with a good plastic trash bag (with holes in the bottom for drainage) and filled with potting soil mixed 50/50 with good compost. I’ll be growing…

Tomatoes: 6-8 plants of 5-6 varieties

Spinach: Until the hot weather hits

Zuchinni: 1 plant

Cucumbers: 1 plant

Snap Beans, bush type: 14-18 plants

Italian Snap Beans, bush type: 6-8 plants

Pole Beans: 4 plants (these vines are going to provide green beans just for Winker, who loves ’em)

Cantalopes: 2 vines, 1 variety (Ambrosia)

Watermelons: 2 vines, 1 variety (Moon & Stars)

Chile Peppers: 8-10 plants, 6-8 varieties (Bells, Jalapenos, Anchos, New Mexicos,
Habaneros, Cayennes)

Winter Squash: 4 vines, 2 varieties (Butternut, Acorn)

Herbs (including the ones I have now): Sage, Cilantro/Coriander, Thai Basil, Genovese Basil, Lemon Basil, Chives, Garlic, French Tarragon, Rosemary, Lemon Thyme, Common Thyme, Dill, Fennel, Summer Savory, Marjoram, Chocolate Mint, Spearmint, Common Oregano, Greek Oregano, Lemon Grass, Lemon Verbena, Stevia, Bay Laurel (a 15 foot tall tree) and Italian Flat Leaf Parsley

Potatoes (grown in a mound, not a box): 2-3 plants, 1 variety (Yukon Gold)

Corn: 32 plants, 2 varieties (Gold Queen, Silver Queen) (all 32 plants will grow in 2 square feet)

I’m sure I’m forgetting something, but you get the idea.


Silence Of The Yams

…but, they are always silent

The Doclopedia #1,490

Is This Your…: Shoe?

It is? Okay. Yeah, I found it just back there by the old graveyard. At first, I thought maybe it was just some old shoe, ya know, because it looks like one of those old timey shoes and it’s dirty and stuff, but then I saw you with only one shoe.

I don’t mean to pry or anything, but are you an actor? I mean, your clothes look way out of style and you’re wearing makeup and, well, you look like you might be going to be in a horror movie or something. Or are you doing Vampire cosplay? Or a LARP? My former girlfriend was big on Vampire LARPing.

Dude, you look hungry. Would you like some of this cheesy garlic bread? I got way to much at Antonelli’s and I have them put extra garlic… Hey, why are you running off? Dude?


Chapter 329: In Which Our Hero Tickles A Wench And Makes Saucy Comments To A Nun

…the nun was not amused


The Doclopedia #1,489

Is This Your…: Cat?


I’m just asking because you have several cats, Mrs Fenster, so I thought you might have a new one. I mean, he comes over to my house every night and I feed him, but I used to do that with your one cat, Sonny. I liked Sonny.

Yeah, he is pretty, isn’t he? I’ve never seen an orange cat with black spots before. He’s got strange colored eyes, too. He’s a big guy. Must weigh 15 pounds or so. Funny, because he eats mostly fresh vegetables and only a little bit of tuna. He likes coffee, too.

Yeah, I know I look tired. I’ve been sleeping 8 or 9 hours, but I still wake up tired. It’s been going on maybe two weeks now, about the same time as I found this cat outside my door. I have these strange dreams about soldering wiring and gathering up electronic parts and chemicals. And welding, too, even though I don’t know how to weld. I’m lucky my job as a security guard lets me catch a nap or two during the day.

Noises from my garage at night? Huh. Couldn’t be me, I’ve been going to bed early. Maybe I left the radio on out there. Or maybe it’s the aliens from that UFO the cops say they saw a couple of weeks ago. Hahaha! Yeah, I think they were smoking weed, too.

Well, if this isn’t your cat, I’ll just hold onto him for a couple…or maybe 7…more days. Thanks anyway, Mrs Fenster.

Nowhere To Go But Sideways!

…at least it’s unpredictable


The Doclopedia #1,488

Alt. Rocks 2: Rhymestone


The Rhymestone is a cursed jewel that is hated by everyone who ever explored a dungeon. Quite simply, it is a jewel about the size of a small chicken’s egg and it is cursed to make the person who finds it speak only in rhyme for a full 30 days. Moreover, at the end of 30 days they have 24 hours to return it to a dungeon or be cursed for another month.

The jewel changes each time it is placed in a dungeon, so while it may be a diamond this time, it might be a sapphire next time. It always looks to be worth at least 500 gold.

Any attempt to just throw the Rhymestone away, or sell it, or destroy it, will cause it to reappear in your pocked and will add 5 more days to the curse. Likewise, you just cannot toss it down a dungeon entrance. You must take it at least 500 paces into the dungeon. And no pacing in circles or back and forth. The Rhymestone knows.


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Letters From My Granddaughter

…so far she has given me W, J, O, Z, G, E and T


The Doclopedia #1,486

Alt. Rocks 2: Boulderlings

Calm down, elf! Them’s just boulderlings. Ya see ’em all the time down here in the upper and middle depths. I’d say them is about 10 years along and headin’ for an area with the right minerals for to grow ’em some more. At this age, there ain’t a one of them more’n 50 pounds. They’ll need at least twice that weight before they go to the surface to become Bouldrons.

What, you didn’t know that? That’s what comes of livin’ deep in the woods and huggin’ trees all day. Ha ha ha! Yeah, these little fellers go up to the surface once they hit 100 pounds or so, then they start growin’ fast. Why, in just about a century, most of ’em will weigh nigh onto a ton. Then they’ll form up proper faces and watch what goes on around ’em. Sooner or later, some daffy bunch of bastards like us come along and ask ’em questions in exchange for sand or salt. They can’t lie, so the info ya get is good.

Now try to get yer wits about ya, pointy ears. There be stuff down here that’s a damned sight more dangerous than a few strolling boulders.



The Doclopedia #1,487

Alt. Rocks 2: Soft Rocks

Yes, Senator, those are the famous Martian Soft Rocks. Yes, you can touch them, but please put on a glove first. Yes, it is pretty amazing to see what looks like a hard stone turn out to be as soft as a marshmallow. No, you can’t mold them into other shapes, really. They go back to their original shape pretty quickly.

No, they aren’t alive, at least in any sense we know. They don’t breath or eat or drink. They don’t move or reproduce. We’ve cut some in two and they have no organs of any sort. They are just rocks that are soft.

We found them in two craters that were about 5 kilometers from each other. There are thousands of them there. No, sir, we have not seen them anywhere else on the planet. They aren’t even found below the surface in those two craters. Yes, yes, it is a hell of a mystery.

Now, if you’d like to pose holding some of the rocks, we can get that on the news tonight, Senator.

New: Squid Cream Oreos


The Doclopedia #1,485

Alt. Rocks 2: Memory Quartz

Memory quartz is a magical mineral found on several Fantasy Earths. When treated with the right substances, it can be made to retain the memories of any one person. There are limits, of course, but as a rule of thumb, a piece of memory quartz the size of a deck of cards will hold six third level spells. The memories stored inside the quarts will remain there, pristine, until they are removed or the stone is destroyed. A piece of memory quartz the size of the one described above will sell for no less that 500 gold.

The Ice Cream Dwarves Go Mining For Salted Caramel

…yum yum



The Doclopedia #1,483

Alt. Rocks 2: The Stone Testicles Of Yurr

Okay, first off, yes, those two huge ovoid stones really are the testicles of the ancient God Of Life, Yurr. They are, in fact, all that remains of him. Every other bit of his body was gone 3,000 years ago.

The testicles are made of a type of stone found nowhere else on the planet. Although the resemble marble, there is no way that marble could remain this smooth and unblemished after thousands of years out in the weather.

Yes, madame, they do give off a sort of energy one can feel. One can only assume it is “life energy”, since we are in a 9,000 acre wetland full of living creatures in the middle of a desert. In fact, this wetland increases by a few acres every year. It is truly amazing.

Ah yes, the barrier fence. It is there, surrounding the testicles for our safety. If any of us got any closer, we would find ourselves pregnant with at least triplets if female, or sporting a very painful and long lasting erection if male. Trust me, neither is something to be wanted.



The Doclopedia #1,484

Alt. Rocks 2: Hot Gravel

Right, lads, let’s get to work! Now, for every 10 carts of regular gravel we put in the big hopper, we need to add 1 cart of Hot Gravel.

What? You don’t know what Hot Gravel is? Oh, wait, of course you don’t, you’re new to the job. Sorry. Old timers like me tend to forget that everyone hasn’t been laying roads for King and Country for 40 years.

So, this gravel here is Hot Gravel. Now, the name is kind of wrong, because it never really gets hot. It gets nice and warm and it can transfer that warmth over a pretty wide are of non-hot gravel. The Crater Gnomes up north mine it and trade it to us for all sorts of metals they don’t have. We mix it with regular gravel and use it to make roads that stay snow free in the winter and have a very soft glow at night.

Well, now that you know what Hot Gravel is, let’s get to work. Like I said, 1 cart of Hot to 10 carts of Not. Run the mixer in the hopper for 3 minutes, then fill up 2 big gravel carts with mix. Then do it all over again until it’s time to knock off work.