Pink Tank, Big Table

Two weeks!

Two weeks without gaming.

This is a long dry spell for us.

The cracks are starting to show.

I know as I write this I am potentially cursing this weekend in the same way someone washing their car causes rain, BULLSHIT I say. The ick has left the house, Barb’s work schedule has cleared, and other obstacles to three days of gaming have been cleared.

The funny thing is long periods, in this case two weeks after months of gaming, really do affect all us in different ways. Moodiness, listlessness, and the constant talk about the games we could be playing “if this and that” weren’t in the way. To distract most of us, we have painted and planned. Lots of miniatures sit on shelves in rows waiting their chance to hit the tabletop and wage war for us.

We cannot wait to see them and show them to you. Sure there will be plenty of gray figures (those not painted yet), but the focus for us will be playing. To that end we have a laundry list of games to play and while I am positive not all of them will get played, we will do our damndest to game.

At this moment, our new game table has Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Rise of the Goblins set up, waiting for us to gather round tomorrow evening. The new table is almost as exciting as the thought of playing. For years we have tried to cram one game after another on a long diner table. Games require space and a diner table has space for food and feasts and no matter what size feast we have had just about every game takes up more space.

Frustration they name is when there is not enough space to roll dice without scattering pieces or needing a second table to hold other pieces. Frustration begone! Devil us no more, at least at the gaming table. That picture is our new gaming table, notice the space! I said NOTICE THE SPACE! Everyone has enough space for their character and the pieces necessary for play. Hot damn!

This table allows us to play miniature games, such as Warhammer 40k as they were meant to be played, with space to set up terrain, armies, and move them about without knocking just about everything around.

So here is the deal, I hope, starting sometime in the evening Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Rise of the Goblins. I think we are shooting for finishing the first Adventure Deck. Then a mini-game of Get Bit, Roll For It, or Oregon Trail. Something small and light to break up the long games of Pathfinder.

The next day, Warhammer 40k. I have to teach the rules to three people that I know of and they have been working on their miniatures to one extent or another and want to play badly. Which brings me around to a request from our daughter, a pink tank to match (match is used rather liberally) her pink Imperial Guard squad.

I have no problem at all painting miniatures anyway someone wants. I use the various and numerous army lists and images as reference only. I have painted armies solid black with anarchy symbols, another like KISS, another with pinstripes, another with bubblegum balls as camouflage, and so on. My paint jobs have driven many a purist into a frothy rage. Fine with me, I play better than I paint. So, over the last two weeks I have painted a lot of figures for play, tonight I finally got to her tank; right now base coat of pink, bright blue tiger stripes to come. 🙂

And after all of the above is done there is talk of Sushi Go Party! and Tokaido. If all goes well (knocking on wood) there will be several Games We Play. 🙂

An Explosion Of Reading

I don’t like cleaning up after other people, read my family, however that is one of my many jobs as a stay at home dad. Before you click away, this is not a post about bitching about anything, especially cleaning. This is a post about reading. Yes reading.

While cleaning up I have picked up six books and I know when I go back to cleaning I will find more. We are a family of readers. We did not used to be a family a readers, we used to be parents of children who did not want to read. Those were sad times.

Barb reads one book at a time, I read several books at a time. The point, being both of us read and have read around the children all of their lives. Part of their bedtime routine used to be Barb reading to them Harry Potter and more. Lots of reading. I believe reading is important for everyone for every facet of life. Reading has so many benefits.

The children wanted nothing to do with books or reading beyond what was required of them-school or rules for a game on a card put in front of them necessary for play-see really specific.

Then something happened. I have no clue what or exactly when; one day no reading and no desire to read then BAM books everywhere. Maybe not that fast, but one day our boy who hated reading wanted to play Warhammer 40k and read the rules. The rules lead to a codex, then another codex, then another codex, and then books.

Our girl began reading before him, she picked up a book and ran with it. Awesome we had lots of books for her to read and at her pace we thought we had plenty of time before we needed to get more. DONE! Her pace went up dramatically, along with her retention and comprehension.

Her reading got him reading more. Then his reading upped her game and her upped game, upped his game. The bonus, a lot of changes around the house:

The television died, sure they still watch something from time to time, but the days of coming home and plopping down in front of the TV are over…for now.

Conversations are deeper, richer, more frequent, and not about whatever toy they want.

As a family we have three main vices: game stores, bookstores, and craft stores. The kids did not like book or craft stores. Now, and this just happened, birthday trips (a tradition of ours, the birthday person gets to go wherever they want within reason) are to bookstores.

Instead of no books or one book bought grudgingly, a stack of books for each child. Books are one thing we do not mind spending money on. We are rethinking that a tiny bit. 🙂 For her birthday, our girl left the bookstore with three books, she wanted the remaining nine in the series.

Faces in books, great conversations, books for us to read (read one of your kid’s books just so you can carry on a conversation), and more family activities, doesn’t get much better than that.

 

Nail Clippers, Pages 25 & 26

Remember how I said, way back when I started this, that I felt the whole story went off the rails and then I gave up? Sure you do, if you don’t it’s in writing. Here is where the wheels really began to wobble. See, I like Old Man Jenkins. I like him as a serial killer of sorts. However, I like him not as a serial killer of sorts. When I wrote this I wasn’t ready to make a decision, he kept being loveable and creepy. So I extended the story by adding new characters, in fact here are two now, a police officer and a reporter…see where this is going? Good, cuz I hope to get there. Enjoy. 🙂

Previously.

“Awesome game Banks,” Officer Coughlin said as he walked past Chloe Banks standing at the bar.

“Thanks,” Detective Chloe Banks said over her shoulder, “Bobby another round for the team.”

Already celebrating their victory over division rivals, the bar erupted in cheers.

****

“Silverberg!”

Running his hands over his unshaven face, he wondered what he had done this time. Standing outside the editor’s office, Jacob ran a hand through his thinning hair and straightened out his suit jacket. He tried to put on his best smile, but the best he could muster was his “not so downtrodden” expression.

“Shut the door!” Editor in Chief Ramsey yelled.

Jacob shut the door and sat down with a thud in front of Ramsey’s desk. Even though Jacob barely respected his boss, he always admired how clean and organized the man’s desk and office was. Jacob’s desk was a mess from top to bottom.

Ramsey held Jacob’s latest story between his thumb and index finger waving it in Jacob’s direction, “Do you read what you write before you send it to me or do you write it 15 minutes before deadline and hope that nobody notices?”

****

Parking in front of their garage, Jax checked the clock on dashboard. He looked over at Jetta who was looking back at him.

“One hell of a night,” he said, putting the car in park.

“Sure was.”

Later, lying in bed, Jetta rolled onto her side to face Jax finishing another book on crossbreeding roses, “What do you think about having Mandy over for dinner this weekend?”

He turned the page, put his finger between the pages, and set the book on his lap before responding. “Sounds like a great idea to me. We could use the grill.”

“I’ll call her and see if she has the time. How is the book?”

“This might be the ticket,” Jax said holding the book up, “I’m taking plenty of notes.”

A stack of Post-It-Notes sat on the nightstand. Jetta loved his note taking, she found some of his notes stuck to walls, clothing, or in other random places all of the time. Each time he responded the same way, “I had an idea.”

Rolling over she said, “Don’t stay up too late.”

****

Jenkins checked the kitchen clock, eleven fifty-nine flashed twice before noon flashed. Anytime now, Jenkins thought. Barbossa hopped onto the kitchen table.

“Meow,” she said sniffing around the table, doing her best to not look interested in the plate with two strips of bacon.

“Go ahead,” Jenkins said.

Barbossa sniffed the plate, snatched a piece of bacon, and hopped to the floor with her prize. Barbossa stopped eating, ears up. Jenkins looked outside, a Mayer’s delivery truck pulled into the driveway at that moment.

“Your ears are much better than mine,” he said, tossing the last piece of bacon to her.

Half an hour later Jenkins threw open the doors to the tornado shelter. The deliverymen had been nice enough to bring the boxes to the tornado shelter. Carrying the first box, he descended into the shelter, the musty odor overpowering. Jenkins set the box down and fumbled for the string to turn on the light. With a tug, the light illuminated the shelter, dirt walls and floor with vines sticking out of the walls here and there. Lots of potential and work, Jenkins thought as he headed up the steps to get the rest of the boxes.

“Meow. Meow,” Barbossa said rubbing up against Jenkins leg.

He looked down at Barbossa, “Go play.”

“Meow. Meow,” Barbossa said with a tone Jenkins recognized as hunger.

At that thought, Jenkins’ stomach rumbled loudly. Odd, how long had he been working, he thought as he looked to the tornado shelter entrance and saw night sky. He looked around the shelter; boxes and packing material lay in a pile in the center of the room. A wooden table and pegboard were against the back wall. A variety of hammers, saws, and other tools hung from hooks in the pegboard. Several blue storage tubs sat in the corner next to the table. Next to the tubs a large wooden frame stood. Where Jenkins stood, pieces for a larger table lay in a pile. On top of the pile were two table legs attached to the tabletop. Time flies, Jenkins thought.

“I’m sorry,” he said to Barbossa, “I did not realize how long I had been working. Let’s get some food.”

Puddles and Whiskers New 12

Previously.

Making Arrangements

“Why noodles?” Eth asked as he pointed at his bowl of noodles with his neon pink chopsticks.

“What’s wrong with noodles?” Chuck retorted around a mouthful of noodles.

“Don’t point with chopsticks,” Puddles said while pointing at Eth’s chopsticks with her chopsticks.

“What?”

“I said, what’s wrong with noodles,” Chuck repeated after swallowing.

“Not that,” gesturing with his chopsticks Eth said, “the chopstick thing.”

“Heard it somewhere,” Puddles answered.

“I like noodles,” Whiskers spoke up setting down a neon orange with red swirled cup.

“Every time?” Eth asked. “Every single time we meet, we meet at a NiHo’s. Why?”

Puddles slurped down a chopstick load of noodles, Chuck looked to Whiskers, and Whiskers took another sip of tea, “Cheap, healthy, and best of all who is going to come here to listen in on any conversation?”

Looking around, “Good point,” said Eth.

Returning to his bowl of noodles, Eth ate in silence for a few moments.

“Anyone want to share some dumplings?” Chuck asked.

Puddles held up her chopsticks. Using the tabletop holo-menu, Chuck ordered dumplings. Eth set down his chopsticks and put his hands together in front of his face, thoughtful look on his face.

“What is on your mind, Eth?” asked Whiskers.

“Shouldn’t that be my question to you?” gesturing at them with one hand Eth responded.

“You look like you have something to say is all.”

“Number two dumpling platter,” the waiter announced to the table as he set a large steamer full of dumplings in front of Chuck.

“Thank you,” Chuck mumbled around a mouthful of noodles.

“I need you to do something for me,” Eth said talking over the waiter and Chuck.

Looking up from her bowl of noodles, Puddles said, “From us.”

“In exchange for what?” Whiskers asked.

“My usual fee.”

Puddles, Chuck, and Whiskers exchanged looks, “Must be important to you,” Puddles said.

“It is, but not just for me, some friends. Deal?”

“Deal,” Whisker responded.

“Great what do you need from me?”

“Two gangers.”

“Just two? Not a whole gang?”

“Just two and they need to want mechanical augmentation.”

“Why?”

“Long story, we need to get into a doctor’s office. They only take gangers who get augmentation…or at least we think. We can’t get inside.”

“I see.”

Whisker slide his tablet across the table, “Our information.”

Eth spent a few minutes reviewing the information before sitting back, hands in front of his face. “I think I can find a few gangers for you. It will take a day or two.”

Puddles said, “That’s fine. What do you need from us?”

“I need you to find Red Twist,” he said with some finality.

“Who?”

“Head of the Red Hands?”

“Still no clue,” said Puddles.

“Wait, the bike gang?” Chuck asked.

“That’s them.”

“Is he lost?” Whisker asked sarcastically. “I would think you would be able to find him,” he said to Eth.

“He’s hiding from some friends of mine…”

“And you owe them,” Puddles interrupted.

“Something like that,” he shot back.

“We just need to find him?”

“That’s all, find him, and keep an eye on him until my friend arrives.”

“Since we have a couple of days of waiting, we can get right on that,” Puddles said looking to Whiskers and Chuck.

Menagerie: Strike

“What a piece of junk,” Three-Tusk was never one to keep his opinions to himself, Wheez thought.

Wheeze shook his multicolored mane that flashed through several shades of red before settling on a deep red color. He looked over his right shoulder towards the back of the command deck where Three-Tusk operated the weapons console or at least looked like he was. In reality, he sat there staring. His porcine face, mouth open vividly displaying all three of his namesake tusks, at the vid-screen and the massive bovine merchant ship displayed.

The bovine ship was a long block-shaped beast. The front end was blunt nosed, with several square protrusions extending from each side. Extending from the back of the front-end block a long square tube that ended where the engines began; four massive engines that provided just enough power to keep the ship running. Spaced evenly along the length of the center tube were four cargo pod rings; the extra cargo pods could be ejected in case of trouble, but most often just to off-load the pods from the center cargo bay. Painted black, various degrees of damage all over the ship and the name “Majestic” painted on the front and engines completed the image of the bovine merchant ship.

“Yes, Tusk, that is the target. It may look like a piece of junk, but it is full of food and supplies that we can sell for a lot of isstas,” Wheez said sharply. “Do you have a problem with my choice of targets? Tongue, have they detected us yet?”

“They don’t know we are here. Move us in for the kill?” Long Tongue asked.

His tongue swept over his teeth and lips like he had just finished a huge meal and was looking for any morsels he had missed. Long Tongue’s unadorned mane shook as he adjusted the controls bringing the Death Cackle into attack position above and behind the Majestic.

As the ship began its attack run, Wheez began to laugh, a series of wheezes turning into a loud barking cough, echoing throughout the command deck. Long Tongue started his loud cackling laugh like a maniac shortly after Wheez started to laugh.

Looking like a knife, all edges and dangerous looking, the Death Cackle bore down, engines at full burn, from above and behind the Majestic. Red lances of energy from the Cackle struck the Majestic’s engines instantly melting the metal, causing the engine plating to buckle and the engines to shut down. As the Cackle moved along the top of the Majestic lances of lasers continued to strike the Majestic causing rows of damage all the way to the tip of the front of the ship.

“Excellent!” Wheez shouted and laughed at the same time, “Bring us around and make connection with the central cargo bay, we don’t want them jettisoning a cargo pod while we are in it.”

500 And 1 Words At A Time: So Many Stories

I am a storyteller.

I like to tell stories all of the time.

Telling stories is one of the reasons why I enjoy being a gamemaster more than being a player. I want to tell the stories that other people experience. More than that I want people to play through, live if you will, through the stories and by their actions impact, change, alter, and improve the story. Unfortunately, I have not had the pleasure of running a game in a while.

I also enjoy writing stories, regular readers are familiar with some of the stories I tell here. Some of the stories go some place, even if I am not sure where, most have a scene or three that I write out and then done. I have no idea why this happens. Perhaps just a tale to tell and nothing more.

Puddles and Whiskers is a story going somewhere, even spawning tangent stories and pulling in stories from other places. Worldship Horizon is going nowhere, try as I might, each piece I write is self-contained with no connection to anything else. Hero was the same way, the origin story of a superhero and once I finished that, nothing. Many of the stories involving Stroud before Puddles and Whiskers were the same way, a story told with little or no connection to the other stories other than the same setting.

In a way, there is a connection between many of the stories the city of Stroud. Stroud is a location I created, built, modify, and use constantly for all sorts of stories; name a genre and there is a story with Stroud in it somewhere in my files. There are so many stories.

I used to be happy with telling the stories or writing them down and moving on. Lately, as Puddles and Whiskers grows, going through drafts and revisions, story moving forward, I am not as happy with stories written down and…nothing. I keep finding stories, this happens when you have harddrives packed with them, that I read and think to myself, I have the skills to fix, correct, and maybe even add to this.

And I pause. Of course I can make old writing better, I went to school for that. After I improve the writing, then what?

Pause.

Lengthy pause.

Time to ponder, not necessarily a larger future for my writing mostly because of my insecurities with my writing, which is funny given that I share my writing daily here and on other blogs for the last five years. My pondering is more along the lines of is there such a thing as too many stories here. I know, my blog, my decision, but it has me wondering.

Knowing me, I’ll post a lot of them. Such as this sample…

“What a piece of junk,” Three-Tusk was never one to keep his opinions to himself, Wheez thought.

Wheeze shook his multicolored mane that flashed through several shades of red before settling on a deep red color. He looked over his right shoulder towards the back of the command deck where Three-Tusk operated the weapons console or at least looked like he was. In reality, he sat there staring. His porcine face, mouth open vividly displaying all three of his namesake tusks, at the vid-screen and the massive bovine merchant ship displayed.

How Hard Is It To Get It In The Box?

The past few days have been filled with professional writing for others, editing and revising for others, painting for others, and building furniture for others. You might think I am an altruistic person based on that statement and maybe there is some truth to that, but right now based on the last thing, building furniture for others, I feel irked.

For the most part I do not mind writing for others, I have over my time written a history paper-got an A for someone, a bunch of letters, some other assignment, letters of recommendation, and a few resumes. The times I mind are when people give me shit about what they asked me to write. That has not happened for a long time, thus I am not irked about any of the writing I have recently done. In fact, I am pretty happy with a couple of them.

Editing and revising also put a smile on my face, granted not as big of a smile as writing, who likes to edit after all? Put your hand down. I really enjoy assisting with resumes. Alas! No resumes this week, lots of emails and letters to people who I don’t know. Still enjoyable to take an idea or thought and craft it into something the person can send away knowing it says what they wanted. And I might add, my edited/revised work has a good success rate. 🙂

Our girl wants to join our games of Warhammer. However, she does not want to paint her miniatures or at least not those for her army. I can understand that, she likes to paint dragons, frogs, and princesses-there are no princesses in Warhammer 40k. And she also was under the impression there was no pink either. At her request I spent the week painting her Imperial Guard squad. I let her choose the colors and went to town. She has been geeked seeing them and she has impatiently asked for her tank (she had to have a tank) to get painted, that is my next job.

Painting has not irked me either. Sure, I would like her to learn how to paint her own miniatures like her brother is, but these things take time and she is enjoying painting other miniatures. Until then, she has a pink squad and soon tank to play with. Hers is hardly the first non-traditional colored army I have done, remind me one day to tell you the story of the bubblegum camouflage and the gamers who couldn’t cope.

What has me irked today is the non-adult furniture that is missing hardware. Without hardware what do I have? A pile of “wood” and shattered dreams. Okay the shattered dreams is a bit much, but the “wood” is not. Thus, while the children occupy themselves, I fume. The plan for the weekend, while Barb is at work, I build, organize, arrange, and then we play games when she got home. Now I have to tell her to avoid that pile of “wood” there and figure out if packing everything back into the “box” is worth it or just order the parts. Ugh.

Just ugh.