Category Archives: photo paffoonies

The Encounter

Life, like a good Dungeons and Dragons game, is basically controlled by rolling the dice of random encounters.  Even if there is a great over-arching plan for this reality in the brain of the Great Dungeon Master in the Sky, it is constantly altered by the roll of celestial dice and ultimate random chance.

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Thusly, I managed a D & D encounter in the middle of the night last night.

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I generally have a sleeping skill of only +1.  That means, that if sleeping is a simple skill, I can add my +1 to the roll and only have to get a 6 or higher on a twenty-sided dice.  At 3:10 a.m. I rolled a 3.  I had to get up and wander bleary-eyed to the bathroom, a -2 for terrain effects to successfully to make it to the bathroom and pee through a prostate that is swollen to the size of a grapefruit, most often a difficult task, requiring a 15 on a twenty-sided dice.  I got lucky.  I rolled a 19.  Then, on the way back to bed, the dog rolled a natural 20 on her get-the-master’s-attention roll and let me know she had to go to the bathroom too.

I have to tell you at this point, that since I am trying to be more of a nudist, I seriously considered taking her out naked (by which I mean me, not her).  Dressing up in the middle of the night can be daunting.  And no one was going to see in the dark of the park at 3:15 a.m.  But I thought it probably wasn’t a good idea to go adventuring without armor in the darkness, so I at least put on shoes and a magic +4 bathrobe.

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So, we went out to let the dog poop in the park, a thing she can do profusely on a roll of 3 or higher.  We got it accomplished with little fuss.  Oh, there was some complaining and growling, but the dog manage to ignore me when I did it.  Then we had to find our way safely back to the house, and bed…. but we had a random encounter roll that didn’t go in our favor.  I am always on the lookout in the dark for aliens or black-eyed children or even the onset of the zombie apocalypse.  But what I got was the monster from under the bridge.

One of the denizens of the city suburbs that most enjoys the nightlife in the city and thrives even though it isn’t human is the horrorific creature known as a raccoon.  She’s a sow that I have seen a number of times before at night.  She lives under the bridge in the park and often has three or four cubs trailing behind her in the spring.  And she has nothing but contempt for humans with dogs.  She immediately launched into her fear-based hiss attack.  And coming from a possibly seven-foot tall monster sitting atop the pool fence and hissing in the night, it seized the initiative with a very effective attack.  She rolled an 18.  The attack succeeded.

I tried the ever-popular pee-your-pants defense, but failed, rolling a 2.  The reservoir was previously emptied, and I wasn’t wearing pants.  The dog bolted for the kitchen door and dragged me with her.  Her magic bark attack wasn’t even tried.  We were in the house before my heart skipped its third beat.

Surviving the encounter in this way is probably good for the heart.  It beat really hard for a bit and got thoroughly exercised.  But I went back to bed and reflected on the fact that random encounters like that are entirely dependent on the roll of the dice.

 

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Adjusting the Barbie Shelf

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I put up Christmas lights over my bed again to use as winter night lights.  But this year I installed hooks to hold them.  Needless to say, the drilling and hammering of hooks made numerous Barbies and other dolls leap headlong off the shelf and into my bed below.  So, once the construction stopped I had to lift them back up into place.  But there were new places for old residents and new residents to fill old places.

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Most of the Minions now occupy new spots where they are less likely to dive off the edge.  Their little unposeable feet don’t balance very well, so it is helpful to put them where they are held back from suicide a bit by Barbie legs and other Minions.  Frankie Stein from Monster High joined the guitar-girl Barbie next to Stacy dolls and My Little Pony Fluttershy.

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Esmeralda is a Goodwill-rescue Disney doll that joined the shelf near bare-chested Ballerina Barbie, also a Goodwell rescue doll.  I haven’t figured out how to keep Ballerina Barbie’s bazzoom-ohs covered by the buttonless jacket she wears.

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The third and final picture shows the remaining shelf leapers back on the shelf with Cat-Burglar Barbie added where she’s never been before.  My Little Pony Applejack decided she was too tired for upright just before the picture was taken.  Oh, well, leaping off shelves really takes it out of you.

I know there is more to show of the Barbie shelf, but it will have to be saved for another day.  All the leapers came from the East end where all the hammering happened.

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Life By a Roll of the Dice

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These are Warhammer 40,000 Harlequin Warriors I painted myself.

Over the years I have played many role-playing games.  Virtually always I have done so as the game master, the dungeon master, the story-teller behind the action.  Players decide what to do about the story problems I represent to them.  They have characters that have painstakingly advanced in skills and levels of skills to use for the problem-solving the plot centers around.  But ultimately, when they take action, the outcomes are decided by a roll of the dice.

Life is like that.  You labor hard to control what happens next in your life.  But random chance intervenes.  If you are the Harlequin Space Elf known as Smiley Creaturefeature (the masked elf in the green robe on the front row, far left in the picture above) and your band of high level Harlequin War Dancers have come to Checkertown City Square hunting for your hated enemy, Bone-sucker the Space Orc, it is entirely possible when you use your scanner operator skills to find him, you could roll a “1” on the twenty-sided dice.  This would mean failure.  Not merely failure, but failure on a spectacular level.  The scanner would explode, killing your entire squad, yourself included.  And all those weeks of building the character up to level 17 in order to defeat Bone-sucker and his mutant minions, would be lost and become all-for-nothing in the disappointment department.

Of course, a benevolent game master would alter the outcome in some way to keep the story going.  Perhaps the exploding scanner, instead of killing everyone, created a mini worm hole in the fabric of space-time and transported them to a parallel dimension where Bone-sucker is actually the chaotic good hero of Checkertown, and you must now work out an alliance with him to fight his enemies, the other-dimensional versions of you that are actual Evil Smiley Creaturefeature and his band of Evil Harlequin Space Elves.  You must then defeat your evil selves carrying out the evil plot that the game master had originally designed for the villain Bone-sucker to employ before returning to your own original dimension.

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Real life does not work that way.  It works more like you see above.  The lovely, metal-bikini-clad female barbarian of swimming pool repair is faced with the attack of the giant rats of city pool inspection, necessary electrical repair, and limited finances.  You can see, if you look incredibly carefully at the purple twenty-sided dice, that her defensive attack roll is a “2” for catastrophic failure.  Her sword cuts off her own leg and causes personal bankruptcy.  The giant rats roll a lucky “13” on the black twenty-sided dice for successful tooth and claw attacks.  They then go on to eat her and force the pool to be removed from the property, using up all the money the player (who is me, by the way) has left.

No game master steps in to create a more reasonable outcome.  The worst possible outcome is what happens.  That is how real life works.  Roll the dice, and lose your swimming pool.

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Filed under action figures, angry rant, Dungeons and Dragons, feeling sorry for myself, metaphor, photo paffoonies, self pity

Novel Nudists

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I have known nudists for a long time, since the 1980’s in fact.  I have recently dabbled my toes in the cold waters of being a nudist myself.  I did work on pool cracks this past summer while naked.  I made one visit to a nudist park and actually got naked in front of strangers who were also naked.  It is a certain kind of crazy connection to nature, my self, and the bare selves of others to be a nudist, even if it is for only a few hours.  I used to think nudists were crazy people.  But I have begun to understand in ways that are hard to understand.  And being a novelist, that was bound to creep into the piles of supposedly wise understanding that goes into the creation of novels.  I say “supposedly wise” because wisdom is simply the lipstick on the pig of ridiculous human experiences.

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The Cobble family appeared first in my novel, Superchicken.  It is a semi-autobiographical novel that uses some of my real life experiences and the real life experiences of boys I either grew up with or taught, mixed in with bizarre fantasy adventures that came from my perceptions of life as an adult.  So the Cobble family really represent my encounters with nudism and the semi-sane people known as nudists.  Particularly important to the story are the Cobble Sisters, twins Sherry and Shelly, who fully embrace the idea of being nudists and try to get other characters to not only approve of the behavior, but share in it.  Sherry is the more forward of the two, more willing to be seen naked by the boys in her school and in her little Iowa farm town.  Shelly is the quieter of the two, a bit more shy and a lot more focused on the love of one particular boy.

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In fact, the Cobble Sisters are based on real life twin blond girls from my recollections of the past.  The Cobble farm is out along the Iowa River and just north of Highway Three in Iowa.  It is a real place where real twin girls lived when I was a boy.  They were blond and pretty and outgoing.  But they were not actually nudists.  There was another pair of twin blond girls from my first two years of teaching who actually provided the somewhat aggressively sensual personalities of the Cobble Sisters.  The real nudists I knew were mostly in Texas.

The sisters appear in more than one of the novels I have written or am in the process of writing.  They appear for the second time in the novel Recipes for Gingerbread Children which I finished writing in 2016.  They are also a part of the novel I am working on now, The Baby Werewolf.   That last is probably the main reason they are on my mind this morning.  Writing a humorous horror story about werewolves, nudists, pornographers, and real wolves is a lot more complex and difficult than it sounds.  But it is hopefully doable.  And my nudist characters are all basically representative of the idea that all honest and straight-forward people are metaphorically naked all the time.  That’s the thing about those nudist twins.  They don’t hide anything.  Not their most private bits, and certainly not what they are thinking at any given time.

So as I continue to struggle with revealing myself as a writer… and possibly as a nudist as well, I will count on the Cobble Sisters to make certain important points about life and love and laughter… and how you can have all three while walking around naked.

Sherry Cobble22

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Filed under doll collecting, foolishness, horror writing, humor, NOVEL WRITING, nudes, Paffooney, photo paffoonies, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Thank God I am Poor

Yes, now that I am bankrupt, I thank the God who made me that he made me poor and saved me from the terrible torture of being rich.

I know that sounds like a joke.  But I am serious.  In this world where you have to be willing to climb over the bodies and crushed hopes and dreams of your fellow human beings in order to be rich, I would prefer to be on the side of the downtrodden with a clean conscience and an empty wallet.

 

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I have a castle of my own, but it isn’t very large.

I am actually a bit miffed after this last week.  The swimming pool that has given me ulcers from significant financial reversals all summer is still not removed.  I keep having to pay more and more.  I had to declare bankruptcy because my credit rating was degrading and all insurance companies and mortgage companies punish that crime by charging you more money.  The city is pushing hard to get the pool removed, but on Friday their city inspector failed to inspect the pool which must happen before the demolition can begin on Monday.  In fact, the inspector never showed his face or called to explain why.  But the city did not fail to contact the bank that holds our mortgage lien to make them reconsider the value of our property and the payments we are required to make.   Chapter 13 bankruptcy doesn’t protect you from such things as that, by the way.  In fact, it doesn’t help protect you from debt.  I still have to repay everything I owe Bank of America and the other credit card banks I owe money to.  The only thing it does do is stop the snowball of finance charges from rolling further down the mountain, and then it reorganizes my finances with outside guidance to guarantee the banks get paid off.  That is because, even though I had to pay lots of money to the lawyer, and will have to pay more before we’re done, taking care of the banks’ needs is the first priority.  So, I am on my own with the city and their demands and their bullying to make certain their demands are met too.  It is probably a good thing that I have decided to become a nudist.  After all, there will be no money left for clothes.

You will have to forgive me for beginning to think dark thoughts about rich people.  One way or another, the wealthy minority are to blame for most of what’s wrong with my life.  Congress right now is trying again with the Graham-Cassidy Bill to make certain that my next health reversal kills me.  It is very important to them that Obamacare is repealed.  And why would that be?  Is is it because Obamacare works because it takes more in taxes away from one per centers, and the Republican-controlled Congress wants to give that all back to the rich folks?  They need the extra millions more than I need to keep living, right?

I am tired of fighting over numbers in bank statements and credit card bills.  I am poor.  I have paid an awful lot of money to get to that point.  I will be satisfied to defend my tiny kingdom to the death as the orcs of wealth-acquisitions overwhelm me.  After all, I have a certain satisfaction with how I have lived my life, and no matter how badly it ends, that satisfaction cannot be taken away from me.

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Filed under angry rant, battling depression, conspiracy theory, feeling sorry for myself, grumpiness, photo paffoonies

Playing with Metal Miniatures

My family Dungeons and Dragons game has always been enhanced by my vast collection of miniature figures that I have collected and even painted over the course of almost forty years.  But I am always ready to collect more.  I even still have a large number of unpainted minis to finish.  But Walmart recently started selling collectible metal minis in box sets for $5 apiece.   So, that has brought Harry Potter to the Cardboard Castle.

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Here you see Dumbledore leading Harry, Hermoine, and Ron to the front castle gate.

These metal miniatures are a little larger than the usual scale, so Ron doesn’t quite fit through the tower door on his right.  And I don’t have character game statistics on these particular wizards, but that won’t take me long.

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Dumbledore meets a swordgirl I painted over a quarter of a century ago.

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Harry and friends meet a couple of happy wererats that arrived at the castle before them.

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The gang gets to check out some of the unique scenery and meet some of the resident monsters.

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Big Jumbo the elephant has volunteered to guard the castle gate if everyone goes inside for a big feast.

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Ditty and the Gladiator kill a dragon to make dragon burgers for the feast.

So this week’s D & D post is about metal miniatures.  It shows you how bad this old man has gotten when it comes to playing with his toys.

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Evil Wizards

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Evil Voldemort has now appeared atop the highest tower of Cardboard Castle.  Please ignore the snake who appears to be doing something really creepy and x-rated.

In the Dungeons and Dragons game, just like in good fantasy fiction, it is the villain of the episode who makes or breaks the story.  Good villains in D & D often means an evil wizard.  After all, what would the Harry Potter saga be without Voldemort… (sorry, I mean “He who must not be named.”

Like H.W.M.N.B.N., a good villain must have a truly evil goal in mind, something for the heroes to thwart or fail to thwart until the world is on the edge of ultimate doom.  Brother Garrow, the shape-changer masquerading as a vampire cleric of the Blood of Vol religion, wanted to find an ancient mechanical evil in an earth-rending robot, and bring it back to life.  He was fully thwarted and died a horrible death, but the robot would later be given life and unleashed anyway.  Malekith the Pyromancer wanted to subvert the entire college of magic at Cymril University and set them on a path to a new age of necromancers and undead evil.  Unfortunately, the heroes got side-tracked with looting the Peppermint Wizard’s Candy Store and Alchemy Shop, so he is still out there subverting successfully.

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Morgoth the Mad and the High Lama of Krakatos

Some wizards, like Morgoth the Mad are based on published game characters, and some are entirely my own creation like the High Lama.  Both of these wizards are not only lead figurines that I painted myself, but they both lend an oxymoronic meaning to the idea of “Good Villains”.  Morgoth was certainly evil when he tried to sack the city of Gansdorf.  But his son, Kath, was adopted by the heroes and raised to be a hero himself (though one that bore endless suspicion because who ever heard of a hero with bat wings?)  The High Lama did only evil magic spells, but he also raised an orphanage full of adolescent were-rats.  Any mentor and teacher, no matter how evil, cannot be all bad in my book.

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Lucan Stellos was not actually a wizard himself.  He was an agent of the Kingdom of Breland who should’ve been a great hero, but got turned into a vampire by the evil vampire queen of Sharn.

His sister, Grilsha Stellos, however, was a level 6 sorceress who used her magic to help her brother carry out the will of his evil mistress.  She loved her brother and fought for him courageously, but in the end she fell in combat with the player characters.  It was her death that shook Lucan free of the power of his mistress, and so he let himself be captured, expecting to be destroyed.

Instead, the heroes set him on a path to redemption as a good vampire, killing other vampires in the name of a forgiving god and vengeance for his lost sister.

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And let me end this silly list of evil wizards with the Lizard Wizard.  Old Lizzie is dragon-born, half man, half dragon.  And he uses his evil dragon magic to loot and plunder for the pleasure of himself and his lizard-man minions like Kato who follows him here. In the picture, you can see old Eli Tragedy trying to drive the Lizard Wizard out of the Cardboard Castle with his magic wand of really painful cold sores.

And that is not the end of my list of evil wizards.  They are immensely fun to play with, so naturally I have a lot more.  But I will not inflict them upon you here and now. Too much evil in one essay is never a good idea.

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Filed under Dungeons and Dragons, heroes, humor, making cardboard castles, monsters, photo paffoonies, villains