Gooby, The Musk Ox Who Thought She Was A Dog, Goes To The Fair

…where she ate 17 different deep fried foods

My Gaming Life Is Shifting Into A Higher Gear

So far this year, my gaming life, both boardgames and RPGs, has looked like this…

Run a D&D 5E game, play in a D&D 5E game, run a game or two at cons, run & play in games about once a month at Your Turn! events.

A nice, steady situation where I played something once or twice a week. Now let’s look at what lies ahead starting in September.

Every other Saturday: I run D&D 5E
Every other Sunday: I play D&D5E
Every other Monday: I run boardgames at Game Kastle
Every other Tuesday: I run RPGs that are NOT D&D 5E at Game Kastle
Once a month: Games at a Your Turn! event.

So, gaming twice, maybe three times, a week, every week. Still not up to the amount of gaming I did in the 80’s, but close.

Now, this holds true until late November, when I can add in running a couple of games at the local fall game con. December will no doubt see a few games less due to the holidays.

Then we get to January. Now, the D&D games and the Game Kastle games will stay the same, but at Your Turn!, we’d like to ramp up to at least two events a month. On top of that, I plan on hitting up as many as 5 NorCal/Nevada gaming cons in 2020, which would be a new record for me.

Of course, the Your Turn! ramp up totally depends upon getting more dedicated volunteers to show up, which is a big problem, but we hope to lure in a few at various events. And as always, my exact con attendance depends upon money being available and our dear old car not dying.

So it looks like I’ll be doing a bunch of gaming in the next year. I’m not complaining, but damn, I’m going to really have to stay on my toes to keep up.

NOTE: Should any of you reading this think you might like to join us at Your Turn! Community Game Events, just pop on over to: yourturnevents.org and fill out the Volunteer form.

The Utterly Too Cool For School, Yet Very Peppy, Story Of Mostly Purple Patty And The Battle Of Blackberry Hill

…co-starring her rival in all things, Very Pink Penelope.

Thoughts On Gen Con 2019

First off , before I get to anything else, I want to thank my very dear and wonderful friends, Peter Hildreth and Avis Crane for paying my way to the con, putting me up in Peter’s room, buying my meals and everything else they did. Just seeing and hanging out with the two of them after a 12 year gap would have been more than enough for me. I love you guys, Peter and Avis!

As to the con itself and my reactions to it, I can do the basic sum up like this: I was sick and/or in some amount of pain most of the time, and, after not going for 12 years, was completely out of the Gen Con mental flow.

Now, that is not anyone’s fault, including mine. I had to have a tooth removed by oral surgery on the 25th of July which left my jaw very tender, bruised and swollen. The tenderness and pain were gone by GenCon Sunday, but the bruise is just now faded on Tuesday after the con. Again, not much I could have done to speed things up, but it made eating pretty damned challenging.

Indianapolis, or maybe just the whole Midwest, triggered an allergic reaction in me, so you know that was the opposite of fun. Allergies hit when they hit and you recover as fast as your body allows. In my case, that seems to be today, nearly a day after the con. Dog bless Calye Lacefield and Avis Crane for having allergy meds on hand. As of Tuesday (today) I am about 95% okay, with the exception of some excess snot production probably triggered by something here in the Sacramento Valley.

Being out of the Gen Con mental flow is a whole other thing. Again, it’s not anyone’s fault. When you don’t do something for that long, you stop thinking about it with the excitement you had when you were doing it every year. Even the gap from when I went in 2007, after skipping 2005 & 2006, had me feeling a bit lost when I got there.

I don’t know, maybe age has something to do with it, too, but I really think I just have not exercised my “Gen Con muscles” in so long that it was a bit much for me.

Moving on to other things that affected my enjoyment of the con, and no, this whole piece is NOT going to be a pity party of me bitching, the fact that I was old & out of shape and the con is spread out all over downtown Indianapolis did not help. All that walking with fucked up knees and hips was not pleasant, so there were events and things I didn’t go to. My own fault, really. I had 7 months to work out on the treadmill and I could have packed my superduper ibuprofen.

Now on to the good stuff.

Seeing old friends again after many years was just fucking excellent! Of course, for some unexplained reason we all looked older, but they were still the same fine folks they’ve always been. Sadly, there were a few folks who did not make it to the con this year. I’m not going to name names, because shit happens. Still, it was wonderful seeing the folks I did.

And then there were all of the people I’ve talked to online that I met for the first time! I’m not going to try naming them all, because I know I’ll forget somebody, but rest assured that they are all fine folks. Curiously, about 70% of them were women in the gaming industry, which of itself is a great thing.

One thing that kind of sucks, and not just for me, is the fact that the con is so big and busy, especially for folks in the industry, that you only get to see each other for very short periods of time, if at all. Not much to be done about that, I’m afraid. Maybe someday those folks will get their long dreamed of Relaxicon for industry folks only.


Before moving on to other things, let me say that I have never gotten so many hugs in so short a period of time, outside of a family reunion. I don’t know when hugging hello and goodbye became a thing at cons, but I heartily approve of it.

I hugged straight cis men, gay men, straight cis women, trans women, lesbians, bisexuals, old farts, a couple of ladies young enough to be my granddaughters (a damned sobering thought, since both were over 18), and 2 dogs. I may have hugged a couple of aliens, but it is impolite to ask. Anyway, this hugging thing is a very good idea. Go out and hug some people.

Everyone always asks two questions when you return from Gen Con. Let me address those now.

1: “What games did you play?”

I played in 2 official at Gen Con in 1991, my first time at the con. I had purchased a few tickets, despite not liking the idea of paying to get into games at cons, so I used them. That was the last time I ever played in an official game at Gen Con, although for several years I ran official games and ran demo games for Steve Jackson Games.

Most years, any RPG I play in is either a “room game”, wherein myself or a friend runs a game, or, in rarer instances, a quick game in a bar or empty con room.

This year, there were 3 room games. They were all great fun, including the one I ran for Peter and Avis which, from rules to dice to plotline was completely done on the fly. What can I say, I have mad GM skillz.

And no, I did not play any board games. I was too druggy or sore or tired most of the time.


2: “What games did you buy?”

My game & dice buying this year were not only dictated by my limited funds, but by my limited baggage area. I do not do checked baggage on plane trips. This is due to my inherent distrust of my fellow humans and the fact that I have had baggage arrive days late due to airline fuckups.

So I bought the following: Wizard, Melee and the combined solo Deathtests 1&2. That was it for games. I also bought some interlocking dry erase map boards from Gaming Paper. Aside from that, I bought dice for both my gaming groups, dice for my dice collecting wife and dice for me. I will never go to a game con and not buy dice. It’s an addiction.

Now that we have my gaming purchases summed up, let me say that I saw tons of stuff I may buy in the future. Mostly that falls into the smaller boardgames category, but there were some RPG books that tempted me despite the fact that I have drastically reduced my RPG buying over the last few years.

One thing I did not do at Gen Con, and this is amazingly common for me, is take many pictures and I took NO pictures of friends. I took a few pix of stuff in the Dealer’s Room and other areas of the con, and I took several short videos around various places, but no pix of people I knew. I didn’t even take any selfies. Pathetic.

So, let’s wrap things up. I had a good, but not great time at the con. It would have been much better if I had not been sick. I got to meet lots of folks, which is always good. All in all, a good, but maybe a bit of a strange return to Gen Con.

Will I go to Gen Con again? Well, I never say never, but unless Grace and I start traveling around the country after she retires…or unless I get a job that pays pretty well…and unless Indianapolis get a bunch more hotel rooms downtown, I kind of doubt it. The con has morphed into something altogether different than the con that used to excite me so much. That’s not a bad thing or a good thing, it’s just a thing.

I think if I travel that far from home again to go to a con, it will probably be to go to Origins. It’s been ages since I went to an Origins. And then there are all the West Coast conventions I don’t get to. Finally, there is the fact that I’m a board member of Your Turn Community Game Events and we put on lots of game days. At some point, we’ll put on a gaming weekend and if we aren’t real careful, that could well turn into a con of our own.

Which would pretty much mean I’d be working at a con and not playing at it. Just like my game industry friends. I’m sure there is some sort of Circle of Life, analogy there, but I need to finish this up.

So there you have it, friends, my trip to Gen Con 2019. It was fun and I suggest you go if you’ve never been before.

Doc Cross, signing out.

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We Put The Art In Fart!

…but nobody appreciates us

 

Dog Con 7

 

Day 16, Con Day 3: In which we see an all goat musical review, indulge in more gaming, eat more food, do more LARPing and perform our annual Old Time Radio show.

11:45 pm

Another quick update of our day.

Breakfast at Waffles From Outer Space.

Saw Abigail & Beatrice, our two dwarf Nigerian goats, in the Critter City All Goat Review matinee show. They were great, as were all of the other 50 or so goats who were part of the show. They danced their caprine hearts out to tunes from Broadway, Disney films, 1950’s rock & roll and more. We were all very proud of our girls.

(Daisy: They were beautiful in their costumes.)
(Sasha: And they danced so wonderfully!)

(Silky: It was great to finally meet them.)

(Flash: Those were my sisters up there!)

(Lulu: If I could have cried, I would have. I remember when they were just babies.)

After the show, we all went off to do more gaming and/or Dealer’s Room cruising. I played a couple of rounds of a card game called Dungeon Poker, which is kind of like regular poker, only you bet attacks and defenses against the other players. If you get killed, you’re outta the game. It was pretty fun.

(Flash: Us critters went to the Animal Amusement Park.)

(Jazz: That was lots of fun. I liked the merry go round.)


Lunch was footlong hotdogs off The Weenie Cart. Pretty damned tasty, they were.

Avis, Grace, Spike and I played in a timed LARP event where tou have exactly 60 minutes to explore a pretty extensive dungeon. We got through 6 rooms, killed 8 monsters, found 5 treasures and none of us died, although spike and I only had 2 hitpoints each left at the end.

At about 4:30 we all went to the DogCon Radio Theater room to get ready for the annual Old Time Radio presentation. We practiced for about an hour and a half, snacking on the delicious spread they always put out.

At 6:00, we started things up. This year’s broadcast was an episode of Max Mystery, Occult Detective. I played Lt. Danby (a cop) and Nigel (a sinister, yet cowardly, butler). Others of our group who acted in the piece were Brian, Caroline, Mary and Ginie. It was a well written and creepy mystery, with a bit of a Lovecraftian flavor.

(Sasha: We were back in our suite by then, so we listened to it. It was really good.)

Right now, I’m taking a short break from a humongous dungeon adventure. The guys running it built this great miniature dungeon and every half hour, they remove a piece of it. It started out 30 feet by 30 feet and it has lost three 3X3 pieces so far. In another hour, they’ll start removing them every 15 minutes. If your character is in a square when it goes, you’re dead. Naturally, this has the 30 remaining players pretty jumpy.

More blogging tomorrow, as we finish off the con.

Adventure Module Z-1: Secret Of The Pirate’s Tomb

…ooh, spooky!

 

A reminder to you, Gentle Readers, that the 2012 DogCon 5 trip/con report will start up on August 2 (this coming Thursday) right here on this blog. We’ll have 11 folks plus 5 pets (3 of them imaginary and all 5 doing commentary) on the bus this year and we’ll be taking the very very long way to Critter City, Texas and the con. Many roadside attractions, nearly all of them World Famous will be visited, plus there will be a super special musical number performed in Seattle. There may or may not also be…

Slight trip diversions into other times/places
Naughty pets
Elves…real no shit Elves
Squirrels!
Iron Chef: Magic Bus
The Return Of Giant Roadside Jesus
Pie
LARPs for animals
Duplication of a live human being
Lots of Chocolate
Aliens

So tune in here starting Thursday.

NOTE: Some days will have more than one daily report, so check back often.

And now, Doclopedia posts!

 

The Doclopedia #671

Two Characters In Search Of An Adventure: Super Armored Man & Gadget Hero

Horoshi and Gen are childhood friends who have always been obsessed with superheroes. As children and young teens, they would hang out for hours reading comic books. Fortunately, they both had parents who chased them out of the house to go get some exercise, which they mostly did by tramping around the mountains near their rural community. As the grew older, they stayed nerdy, but were also active in sports, with Horoshi doing very well in wrestling and baseball and Gen being captain of the track team.

One day, when the boys were very near to leaving home for university, their final hike through the woods took them near the home of eccentric old Professor Okano, a mad scientist according to local rumor. He had recently died and the house was awaiting his estranged son, an important businessman in Tokyo, to come and take care of selling everything off. Being very curious, Horoshi and Gen decided to go into the place just for a quick look around.

Once inside, they could find no evidence of a laboratory until Gen accidentally pressed a button on what he thought was a television remote control. The next thing they knew, a piece of the floor slid away revealing a stairway that went down 24 steps into a very large high tech laboratory. Naturally, they just had to go check it out.

The wonders that laboratory contained were amazing and the more the boys found, the more they realized that this stuff could not be allowed to fall into the wrong hands. Besides, there was stuff here that a couple of superheroes could use. Armed with this knowledge, they decided to make the lab their secret base. This was made a whole lot easier when they found the rear entrance that lead to a secret door in an ancient and abandoned shrine in the forest.

It’s now four years later and Horoshi & Gen are out of university and working for a big corporation as IT guys. It has also taken them four years to learn about and learn how to use the hundreds of gadgets that the lab contained. This was made much easier once they figured out how to activate Yoki, the super computer AI that runs the lab, including the little Fabricator Bots who build things.

The time has come for Horoshi to don his armored battlesuit and for Gen to put on his costume and select some gadgets. There is crime that needs fighting and Super Armored Man & Gadget Hero are just the heroes to fight it!

.

.

The Doclopedia #672

Two Characters In Search Of An Adventure: Tammi & Val

Tamara Mendez and Valentina Roberts were just two cousins from East L.A. who were off on a road trip to visit their grandparents in Texas after a short detour to Las Vegas to party a bit. They didn’t know that they’d end up meeting and later beating the crap out of a couple of guys that, besides being a bit too damned sexually aggressive, turned out to be aliens. They also weren’t prepared to know that those two aliens were just two of many who want to conquer Earth. They sure as hell weren’t expecting an ultra-secret government agency to offer them training and jobs hunting the Alien Menace.

They almost turned the job down until they were told what they would be payed. That changed everything. Best of all, they could work out of their home neighborhood because Los Angeles was a hotbed of alien activity. Not really surprising, when you think about it.

Now Tammi & Val are trained, geared up and ready to put the Latina Smackdown on any aliens they can find.

 

In The Elevator To Hell With The Skull Faced Woman

…taken from a dream I had last night

Stuff On The Half Shell

1: Content for the E-zine’s first 3 issues is accruing at a nice rate. Still no title for the damned thing yet and I’m trying to figure out a cover style for it. Pulp or dime novel? Played straight or go for humor? A bit of art or all text. Also, fake ads or not? Decisions, decisions.

2: As a rare change of pace from the Biblical deluge of ever mounting debt, it seems that I may be getting a few more hours at work. Still only a part time gig, but better than the pitiful hours I get now.

3: Still cold here. My garden is not getting bitchslapped as bad as it did in the great freeze of a few years ago, but it’s not coming thru unscathed, either. Might lose some of the lemon grass, which is ok, since I need to transplant most of it in the spring.

4: I have submitted a seminar proposal to DunDraCon. It’s a bitch/love fest idea called “We Loves It/We Hates It”. We shall see if it gets the nod.

Time to go earn the almighty dollar. More bloggage later.

Sixth Floor…Lingerie…Ladieswear…Shoes

…Oh, Mr. Cross. Going…down?

Ok, ok, so I ripped off Aerosmith.

(Note: This con/trip report is dedicated to Daisy ann Cross, who left us far too soon, but is always with us in our hearts. Fuck cancer!)

(Note: Comments by our dogs, Lucy & Winker, are presented in italics)

The Trip To CatCon2: Day Zero, In which we get a bus & a mechanic.

Your Humble Narrator has gotten literally thousands of imaginary emails asking if we ever bought a bus or van like we mentioned at the end of last year’s fake Con Report. The answer is yes, so I’d like to tell you about what we have come to call The Magic Bus, as well as our mechanic, Joe.

In early October of 2008, I bought a bus from a former co-worker at the pizza place I used to work for. It was an average sized school bus, built in 1970 and pretty much exactly like the ones I had ridden to school as a lad. I paid him $1,200.00, 90 pounds of salt pork, two albino budgerigars (both male), a bottle of Yukon Jack and a photograph of Prince Charles dressed up as a cheerleader. He’s a strange kind of fellow, but I could hardly pass up the deal. I do kinda regret that I didn’t talk him down to one budgie.

The bus was in very good shape, but lacking a motor and a transmission. Oddly, this did not prevent me from driving it home, but after that it refused to run any more. It was painted a rather garish shade of purple and my neighbors hated it. This pleased me greatly, so I left it sitting on my side yard for all to see. I even installed lights so it was visible after dark.

The next morning after I bought it…and by “morning” I mean 3:12 AM…there was a knock on our door. Being almost 10% awake, I answered it, hoping that it was not some vampire Jehovah’s Witness or zombie Mormon missionaries, and saw that it was a burly looking fellow in coveralls. His name tag said “Joe” and he cheerily informed me that he “came with the bus” and asked if it was ok if he took it to the shop to put in a new engine & transmission. Ever wary of strange mechanics showing up in the wee hours to screw me out of money on auto repairs, I asked how much it would cost. He told me all repairs were $24.95. “Per hour?”, I asked, hoping he would explain things and go away, because I had to pee. He replied no, that was the total price for all ordinary repairs. I told him to go ahead and fix it up and also give me an estimate on turning the bus into an RV. He winked and said “You betcha, Doc!” and walked off toward the bus. I could not recall telling him my name, but as I mentioned, I was 90% asleep. Then I went and peed before returning to bed, which is always the best order in which to do those two things.

I slept for another 5 hours and when I woke up, the bus was gone and my neighbors were having an impromptu party in the street. Some hours later, I left for work, mildly regretting that I had not gotten a phone number from Joe. Still, if you can’t trust the mechanic that comes with your bus, who can you trust?

The bus was still gone when I got home, but it was there when I woke up the following morning. Grace gleefully pointed out to me that if you listened, you could hear the neighbors sobbing. Joe showed up a few minutes later with a bill for $24.95 and an estimate of $302.73 for the RV conversion…$309.11 if we wanted hardwood floors. Grace and I agreed that this was way more than fair and opted for the hardwood floor version. Joe also suggested that we might want to “snazzy it up” with a digital destination display and wireless internet access. We told him to go crazy on it and send us the bill. We offered him breakfast, but he politely declined saying that “Earth food gave him heartburn”. Joe’s a strange kind of fellow.

A week later, Joe and the bus were back. It was looking really sweet, with a paint job depicting famous wizards from film & literature, plus four different colored tires and tinted windows. Inside, we had a drivers chair made out of a Laz-E-Boy recliner, a small kitchen area, a fold out sleeper couch, a tiny toilet area, another recliner, a big screen tv and a king sized bed. There was also a great stereo system and plenty of bookshelves. And the aforementioned hardwood floor, which was solid walnut.

We took her out for a spin and she ran like a champ. When we got home, Joe told me he would put the bus in storage until we needed it. The rest, as they like to say to shorten things up, is history.

Our trip will start in a few hours, once I am rested up and ready to drive. More blogging soon.

 

CatCon2: The Trip There, Day 1

(NOTE: The following is all fictional.)

Well, more like Day .35 to be exact.

So, having gotten everything packed and ready yesterday, I slept in the house from 1pm until midnight. Everyone except me went to bed in the Magic Bus about 11 pm. At the Witching Hour, I got up, showered, ate a bowl of Shreddies and, after a quick once over, boarded the bus and started off down the road to the musical tones of snoring women (our dogsitter, Sharon, is travelling with us this year) and dogs. After about a minute of snores, I activated the music program and settled into some Tom Waits.

Our route this year will be avoiding SoCal, Arizona and New Mexico in favor of going across Nevada, Utah, Colorado, a bit of the Oklahoma panhandle and then into wildest Texas for the con itself.

We stopped in Busted Flush, Nevada for breakfast and dog walkies. The diner we ate at, The Cowboy Chowhouse, was a nice place with good food in large portions. The Girls got our leftovers and are now in a food coma. Grace and Sharon are watching “Harry Potter and the Hound of the Baskervilles”, that great Holmes/Potter crossover movie.

Wildlife spotted so far: 3 hawks, a snake and two jackrabbits.

More bloggage later.

Doc Tempest VS The Nova Mob

…from the July, 1969 issue

Well, I was actually able to run my arena battle game at ConQuest Sac on Saturday. There were only 4 players…and two of them were Sam and Paul from my regular gaming group…but it still went well.

Even better, on Saturday night I finally got a really good nights sleep, so I’m feeling pretty good.

Alas, unless I fall into a pit of money, I won’t be going to any more cons this year.

Gotta go now. More blogging later.