Monday, August 26, 2013

Krampus for Christmas: Arbor day

Krampus hated hippies to the monster they were vile.  Even snacking on their children didn't give the beast a smile.  They were stringy and only vegetarian fed.  Cooking em gave off vapors that hurt his furry head.  Each year he avoided the annual earth day, Finding it best to go away. 

This year Krampus headed for Canada around the 24th of may, They celebrate trees in September but Krampus used the American date anyway.  His mighty claws dug up lawns several nights before, some he forgot to plant trees in he'll admit his planning was poor.  The irate canucks wondered who disturbed their happy homes.  Their dogs wondered who stole their well hit bones.  Krampus laughed in triumph glad to see their woe.  The chaos was so wonderful the monster never wanted to go.

But the great white north looked much like Christmas and Krampus worried to much time was lost.  He always worried when his fur felt a little snow.  Too much April wine the monster felt it was time to go.  Back home july was well on it's way, besides food choices were bad the beast couldn't stay.  At home children were stuff with ice cream and hot dogs.  They would delicious and fat a well larded hogs.

De Profundis: Black Waters and Sumped Shores

My Fellow Gentlemen

The heat of mid afternoon vexes me of late.  These days I am oft to traverse the dark watered byways of the mountain streams.  My hope is for relief with the cool waters origined in high reservoirs. They are a comfort to the weary heat, though company offered is course and yokel.

I fear my sabbatical from matters arcane draws to end.  My rambling have caught the attention of unwanted eyes.  An associate of Crowley who haunts the backwaters has noted my goings and now appears on many of my jaunts.  Even travels far to the east have proven this man intent on following my comings and goings.  Upon invitation I traveled to the observatory to celebrate the installation of the grand refracting lens, again the man stalked my journey.  The serpentine trail to ascent the mountain makes countless spirals and turns in its climb.  The specter was first seen on the third snaking and again well past half of the climb.

I await a wrapping upon my door but my folly was at least well mannered; arriving as a well inscribed letter.  I am advised to find myself in the dreary sea side town of Alviso tomorrow noon.  A brackish sump land even the sea has found sense to abandon, I have no desire for this meeting whomever awaits.

Yours very truly
J.L. Reichl

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

De Profundis: Dreams of the Sea

My Fellow Gentlemen

Last eve lingered pleasant upon the hedgerows, I awaited a languid night from the veranda.  Of my mind, I desired change and sought only space to allow it to occur. The nagging matters or the expanding beyond were content to dissolve into a Mediterranean clime.  This retreating pleasant was salvation and mount olive my fellows

Sleep would come to me in my books as would dreams, of these I recall only shadows betwixt vaguely remembered fright.  The nagging callers haunted me and found me everywhere.  Should I cast myself upon the wind and fate they would greet me wherever I arrived.  Always established and ingratiate to the new metropoli.  I a stranger even unto myself.

The dark beast and his mentor presented to conspire round robin to vex me.  Though oft the specter was the two intermingled to a single entity of dread.  Dreams of the sea were my sole comfort, I could throw myself into the gyre of its mercy, though even the deeps held something in mind.  The waters wretched me out as bile again and again, and there on the shore my paired spirits awaited.

Yours very truly
J.l. Reichl

Monday, August 19, 2013

First Thoughts on Monty Cook's Numenera

Howdy folks

I have been reading through The Players Guide for Monty Cook's Numenera game.  I wanted to pass along a couple of thought for people considering buying it and those who may not know about it but should buy it.  I will start off by saying I am not done reading it, I have reached the part talking about "class" powers which mostly wraps up the book.

So Numenera is as close as you are going to get to Digest Publishing Groups failed AI project as you are going to get.  I have chatted with Joe Fugate through email and have a decent understanding of what AI was intending and Numenera is it.  They both used even used the Asimov quote about sufficiently advanced technology being indistinguishable from magic as a design philosophy.  Magicians work out to be humans who can manipulate nano swarms existing in an area in AI, where Nano's are the wizards of Numenera.  The reason I supported the kickstarter was immediate fear this would be very similar to the game I have been working on for years.  The art work in Numenera immediately conjures elements of my own setting.

The rules for doing things in the game are light but elegant.  I am quite a fan of the idea of melee range, which is a nebulous distance where the fight is occurring.  You just can attack people in melee range, you don't worry about speed or attacks of opportunity.  Combat is fluid and moving.  It really makes maps and miniatures completely not needed.

Skills are also simple yet elegant.  You just roll a d20 verse a target number/target number step.  A target number step of 1 may require a roll of 3+ and 2 may require 6+.  The Game Master Sets the difficulty number and the players must roll it.  The player uses their skills not to add or subtract to the roll but to decrease the skill target number step.  So having a skill in jump will make that 2 step become a 1 step and drop the target number to 3+.

I have yet to get my hands on the Core Book so we will see if my impressions continue to ring true.  I have a feeling The old Dark Space setting may also be influencing the game as well.

Follow up:  I guess i should talk about the Adjective Class who Does Stuff mechanic.  This is something that comes in at the end of the book. It allows for mixing of ideas and developing your character into a thematic concept.  You have adjectives like Rugged and Mystical which allow for extra skills and stat pool points.  These can work to expand your character into new areas or specialize your skills, a rugged nano being more well rounded and a mystical nano being specialized.  These work in theory but i am not sure if there shouldn't be a few more. 

The Does Stuff mechanic needs more options.  From a crunch perspective this is very similar in that it just adds to your class.  This can be things like controls beasts or Wields two weapons, basically creating the what type of class you are.  I am going to come right out and say they need more, what they have is ok as it works to create a feel for the setting. But in looking to create the more iconic characters from my own setting, I see no way the game handles necromancy.  I guess the nearest you get is telekinesis if you are moving a corpse like a puppet.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Bright Window

close down and shut off the light.
Go home and find a chair
where quiet melds with dark.
Be silent as shadows across walls.

Turn down the worry,low.
Let the moment steep through
until you're momentarily the same.
Still and stillness, breath gale.

Accept the nagging not quit right
And work out peace with it.
The fixing disturbs your quiet
hunting finds more that sit wrong.

Sleep should you fall to it,
even living it the moment is gone.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Soda Fountain Odyssey: Lime Rickey results

I am not sure about my Lime Richey as I think i ended up with something closer to Taco Bell's Classic Limeade.  It was good but I am not sure if I hit the rickey.  I am going to track down some alcohol free bitters and see what that does for my results because I think I am looking for something crisper than I ended up with.

My mix was simple I used Nelle & Joe's Key West Lime Juice, Simple Syrup and Canada Dry Seltzer mixed to taste. 

It turned out cloudy like the picture shows which makes me think limeade rather than the Rickey. Its funny I tossed some salt in and it was pretty much a lime Gatorade with fizz.  I would actually drink it which I can not say for Gatorade that stuff is vile.  It was cool and refreshing with or without the salt and gave me the energy I needed to deal with my child not wanting to go to bed.  They had everything I needed at Now Hill grocery across the street I best most grocery stores with a decent booze department would too.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Soda fountain Odysssey: Recreating The original new york seltzer

Well i continue with this soda fountain hobby.  I found a recipe for New York Seltzer online and gave it a try last night.  The results were pretty solid but refinement is needed.

You can check out the recipe I started with on this site:

I went for the vanilla version which was always my favorite.  It turned out more difficult as I don't have measuring cups and was trying to reverse engineer a flavor I haven't had in 20 years.  But all in all it was a good attempt.  My recipe turned into Canada Dry Seltzer, Simple Syrup and Torani Vanilla flavor.  The mix was entirely by eye so I can't give you anything exact.

It's a pretty difficult combo to pull off because you are going for something pretty sweet and vanilla'y but also very crisp and light.  Too much of the syrup gets murky flavored overpowering the vanilla, but the original flavor was quit sweet so you need it there.  It may be a smaller amount of more concentrated syrup with vanilla extract is required.  Also a soda siphon may be required to get the right fizz.

I really need to get my hands on an old bottle to check out the ingredients list. I am not entirely sure Seltzer was the only ingredient it may be a bit of phosphate in there too, which would make it closer to a club soda base.  Color is another thing eluding me as its naturally colored.  Maybe I should be cooking down sugar water and fruit compote to get a better favoring agent.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

The State of Jefferson part 1

In those days we were but a vessel for selfish genes.  The divine now mundane and laughably wrong. The long con told us, rut in the material, and I dissented.  Anyone selling you the demise of freewill surly is looking looking to take it from you.  That said let me tell you freewill doesn't exist, they are always going to make you pay.

For me it was streets lingering with the feeling of home.  Creek sides that held embellished tales of youth.  The temperate sun of southward San Jose.  And friends; I could find a new movie house and track down my hobbies in a new land, but friends they were hard for us.  Even my Daughter mourned he friends lost to our northern egress.  Some family would follow but others we would seldom see.  Our jobs unsure we had wagered everything for a act of will.  No it wasn't free.

Soda Fountain Odyessy: Virgin Red Mocho Cooler

Well last night i was trying out mixing torani flavors to make sodas and Italian cream sodas.  The idea hit me to mix it with the egg cream and I think I may have created a virgin Red Mocho Cooler. 

As my wife put it, "It should be good, but its just not!"  Mine was sparkling which alters from the Koolaid recipe but it was certainly disgusting and the cream eruption certainly fit the color of the drink.  It was awesomely awful!


Monday, August 05, 2013

Soda Fountain Odyssey- Egg Cream results

I tried my hand at old time sodas over the weekend.  My goal was to make an egg cream and after a few attempts I went from horrific to hey that's not bad.  The egg cream is a fancy name that sounds much more complicated than it is.  In essence its just soda water added to chocolate milk.  The thing is being a dairy soda combination you have a large margin of error.

This seemed the logical start for my soda odyssey considering my patent Dr. Pepper and cream.  Thought this proved to be the reverse of that wondrous concoction.  Where the Dr. Pepper and cream you float in the dairy like a civilized person the egg cream relies on the foaming of soda hitting dairy.  I have used this foaming for effect in the past but more as a novelty in my Snow Ball sodas.  Its sort of a pain in the ass as there are several places too much soda dramatically change the character of the beverage.

Basically you are told to make an even mix of whole milk and chocolate syrup.  You are going to be told to use U-bet brand but that is improbable to find in California so I went with Hersey's.  I am going to admit my milk was only 2% so i tied some half and half I had laying around which provided better results.  Separation of chocolate flavors and mellowing of the soda.  Next add in the soda. I used Seltzer and would advise it against club soda.  You are not trying to make a phosphate just keep the flavors clean to start with Seltzer, siphoned for best results.  Go slow here is my best advice, add a bit and sample.  You are going to find there are about four flavors you can get here depending on the mix.  One is basically a sharp chocolate milk if you add only a bit of soda, you get more of the chocolate flavor to stand out.  Then you have the flat cream soda that is what i go for in my Dr. Pepper and cream drinks.  Next you have an effervescent cream soda that is light and still rich in chocolate flavor this is probably where you want to hit to recreate the original.  Next you have the slightly chocolate club soda flavor.  Not sure how my seltzer got a club soda flavor but its horrid and there is not turning back here just dump it.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

I shall be the king of all soda

There are many skills I would love to have improved or mastered.  Shooting and fencing sure!  Changing a guitar string, yep.  Being able to empathize with human, i guess.  But most pale in comparison to Soda Jerking. What a delightful ability!  Tea totaling barmanship at its awesomest! 

The freedom to craft new concoctions at will, what joy.  My Dr, Pepper and Cream would be just a beginning, what wonders I could create.  If one was around being taught there secret arts of soda would be my birthday wish.  What the hell is a phosphate?

I want one for my house, though i have no idea where i would put it.  Still who would argue with the man with a soda jerk in his house, no body they would just line up out my door for lime rickies and root beer floats.  Then who is the soda millionary, ME baby.