Work Outs: Oct 11 – 17, 2020 (The King’s Circle and the Stairs to Nowhere)

I mentioned last time that I would put up some pictures of a modest, little circle of stones I constructed a few years ago and have been tending off and on ever since. I was going to take some shots but I noticed that I had some pictures sitting on my cell phone that I took over the span of a couple of weeks this past Spring.

Sun, October 11th

  • Afternoon Workout
    • Stationary Recumbent Bike: 30 Minutes, Manual Program, ~ 70 rpm’s, Level 8
    • Stretched for about 10 minutes.

Calories: 2066, Protein: 93 g.

Mon, October 12th

  • Morning Walk: 1.97 miles.
  • Afternoon Training
    • Superset: [CoC Gripper (S): 2 sets x 5 reps; (T): 2 set x 5 reps] +
      • (Set 1) Full Squats: 22 reps
      • (Set 2) Dead Bugs (2-ct): 22 reps
      • (Set 3) Crunches: 30 reps
      • (Set 4) Wood Chops (each side): 12.5 lbs. x 20 reps
    • Super Set: [Twist Yo’ Wrist (up and down twice): 6 lbs. x 2 sets, 8 lbs. x 2 sets] +
      • (Set 1) Walking Lunges (2-ct): 7 reps
      • (Set 2) Side Kick Stretch (ea. leg): 12 reps
      • (Set 3) Front Kick Stretch (ea. leg): 12 reps
      • (Set 4) Alternating One-Handed Russian KB Swings (2-ct): 15 lbs. x 12 reps
    • Worked on my Side-Lunge Stretch, which is one of my current goals.

A little closer look at the entrance. One doesn’t want to violate the integrity of the circle so I established this portal. The stick seals the barrier and I occasionally chalk runes and such on the larger, flat stones. It was raining a lot when I took these pictures so the chalk had washed off.

I enjoyed looking at this cluster of mushrooms for the short time I had them. It is wet in the Spring but once it dries out the mushrooms go away on my property until the rains return.

Calories: 1996, Protein: 112 g.

Tues, October 13th

Rest Day. My strange itch to assemble models continues, so I busted out a box of Game Workshop’s Zombies of the Ancient Sculpts or as GW calls them, Deadwalker Zombies. I’ve had these things sitting around for many years now. There are 20 in the box and I put 10 of them put together, including the three zombie percussion section. I’ll post pictures of them once I assemble the whole box.

Calories: I don’t really know because we had takeaway from our favorite Mexican restaurant in the area. I suspect that I’m high for the day, but probably not overly so.

Wed, October 14th

We’ve owned our house for about six years now and have this stout set of stairs in our basement that ends at the top in a wall. This reminds me of the trips we’ve made over the years to the Winchester House in San Jose, California, which sports similar innovations and many more besides.

Over the past few months, this lack of a door has been a problem since we started working out in the basement. So I dug out my Sawzall and decided to finally do something about The Door That Goes to Nowhere. It’s basically like a hobby project, right?

No workout today but where there was a wall now there is a door!

This will also allow us to leave the garage door closed while we work out and will be particularly nice when the weather is inclement. Also, several people, near where I live, do a poor job of securing their large, semi-unfriendly dogs so it will be nice not having to keep half an eye open for someone’s dog wandering in my basement while I’m doing curls or something!

Quite a bit more work to go on The Door to Nowhere but we’ve made a good start.

Calories: 2045, Protein: 100 g.

Thurs, October 15th

Didn’t do any training today but I did some more, lighter work on the door, put in a little threshold at the top of the stairs and painted. I also put together the rest of my zombies in the evening with the exception of the final one, who will carry the mob totem, which looks like a wooden cross with someone’s hands tacked onto the horizontal spar.

The moss-covered rotten stump seemed a good focal point in The Circle. I periodically decorate the stump with things I find in my travels, such as some shells I found down on the beach in Santa Cruz, and a mysterious, little clay bowl I dug out of the ground in some random place in the forest. Sometimes I’ll stick feathers I find on my property from owls, Stellar’s Jays, doves, red-tailed hawks and the like.

Oddly, I’ll come back a week later and stuff will be moved around or missing. In this picture my clay bowl was turned over and the pinecones moved around. Fortunately whoever (my money is on rogue squirrels) is moving the stuff around isn’t messing with the 20 pound concrete frog so there’s that.

Calories: 1784, Protein: 87 g.

Fri, October 16th

  • Afternoon Workout
    • CoC Gripper (S): 3 sets x 7 reps; 1 set x 18 reps (right hand) and 11 reps (left hand)
      • In the FAQ on the Ironmind site, they suggest working with the next higher gripper once you can do 10 – 12 reps on the current one. On the last set I stopped only when I couldn’t close the gripper entirely. Based on this, I think I can move on more to the Trainer gripper.
    • Leg Complex: FOUR SETS { [Full Squats: 13 reps x sets #1-2 and 15 reps x sets #3-4] + [Side Kick Stretch (2-ct): 12 reps] + [Walking Lunges (2-ct): 6 reps] + [Romanian Dead Lift (2 lb. DB’s): 12 reps] }
    • Dead Bugs (2-ct): 23 reps
    • Stretched for about 10 minutes. I was able to achieve and hold the side lunge stretch with my right foot (in shoes) flat on the mat so that is a little step toward one of my current goals. I still have to work the stretch up on the ball of the left foot, however. After that I’ll work on the stretch with bare feet.

I’ve been using my spring bars for about a year now. My husband bought the larger one and I could bend it maybe about half way. That darned thing was (and is) no joke! So he bought one the smaller one, which is the one I’ve been training with. I had completely forgotten about the heavier one, which was languishing in the back of my closet until I stumbled upon it when I pawing through my Mountain of Unassembled Plastic.

I’m glad I found the old spring bar because the lighter one has become pretty easy. The heavy one is difficult, but I’ve started working it into my training. On Saturday I was able to fully bend it twice and then had to complete my set using the lighter bar. I think that is pretty good progress from not being able to bend the thing at all. This inspires me to set a goal for myself of being able to fully bend the heavy bar for a set of 8 repetitions. I’m going to put that as a new goal on my Goal Page.

Calories: 2020, Protein: 131 g.

Sat, October 17th

  • Morning Walk: 3.34 miles.
  • Afternoon Workout
    • Shoulder Complex: THREE SETS { [Twenty-One’s: 10 lb. DB’s for lateral, front raises, and rear delt rows] + [Arnold Presses: 20 lbs. x 10 reps, 25 lbs. x 10 reps for set #3] }
      • (Rested for 90 seconds between each set.)
    • Standing Push-ups using stairs: 4 sets x 10 reps
      • This was a bit harder than using the basement counter.
    • Bent Over DB Rows: 15 lbs. x 3 sets x 12 reps, 20 lbs. x 1 set x 12 reps
    • Standing Cable Flies: 12.5 lbs. x 12 reps (set #1), 12.5 lbs. x 6 reps + 10 lbs. x 6 reps (set #2), 10 lbs. x 12 reps (sets #3-4)
    • Spring Bar [alternated sets of hands supinated and pronated]: Light Bar: 2 sets x 8 reps, Heavy Bar 2 reps + Light Bar 6 reps (sets #3-4)
    • Super Set: Tricep Cable Pushdowns (tri bar): 35 lbs. x sets #1-3 x 12 reps, 40 lbs. x 9 reps + 35 lbs. x 3 reps (set #4) +
      • (Sets #1-2) Wood Chops: 15 lbs. x 12 reps (one side each set)
      • (Sets #3-4) Face Pulls: 10 lbs. x 12 reps
    • Super Set: Standing DB Curls: 15 lbs. x 3 sets x 12 reps, 20 lbs. x 1 set 12 reps +
      • (Set #1) Dead Bugs (2-ct): 20 reps
      • (Set #2) Two-Handed American KB Swings: 15 lbs. x 12 reps
      • (Set #3) Calf Raises: 20 reps
      • (Set #4) Full Squats: 25 reps
    • Worked on the side-lunge stretch and did a little general stretching to end the workout.

Calories: 2024, Protein: 107 g. (I was flat on weight loss this week so my total remains 16.2 lbs. so far.)

Work Outs: Oct 4 – 10, 2020 (The Land of the Messed Up Trees and my friend the rock)

I had a good week of workouts. I’m hoping to add more pulling work soon, though my latissimus dorsi have been getting fairly sore doing the current workouts. (I suspect is it because I’m making a point of doing the incline push-ups through a full range of motion as well as emphasizing the eccentric portion of the movement.) Also, I am noticing less soreness from just doing the Romanian Dead Lifts as a range of motion exercise. I’ll probably slowly start adding some weight using dumbbells.

I mentioned the “Land of the Messed Up Trees” during last week’s workout post. I didn’t get a chance to take new pictures but I did happen upon some pictures I took a couple of weeks ago, which I forgot about.

The funny thing about these formations of many trunks is they are localized phenomenon in the park and I only see them in quantity in this one area, not too far from the Fence Made of Branches.

Sun, October 4th

Rest day. I worked on putting together a box of wraiths I’ve had sitting around for quite awhile now. Calories: 2178, Protein: 80 g.

Mon, October 5th

  • Morning Walk: 2.14 miles. My husband’s schedule continues to be tight so we’ll probably have to continue with the abbreviated walks and hikes for awhile longer yet.
  • Afternoon Training
    • Stationary Recumbent Bike: 30 Minutes, Manual Program, ~ 70 rpm’s, Level 8
    • Superset: [CoC Gripper (S): 3 sets x 5 reps; (T): 1 set x 5 reps. I was very near to closing the Trainer grip with my right hand for the first couple of reps.] +
      • (Set 1) Full Squats: 21 reps
      • (Set 2) Dead Bugs (2-ct): 21 reps
      • (Set 3) Face Pulls: 10 lbs. x 15 reps (increase weight next time)
      • (Set 4) Twist Yo’ Wrist: 5 lbs. x (down and up twice; increase weight next time)
    • Stretched for 20 minutes following a video, “Stretching for the Splits (Taekwondo),” on the Global Martial Arts University Challenge.
  • Evening Model Assembly: Finished putting together the last of the mob of ten wraiths I started on Monday.

Calories: 1735, Protein: 82 g.

Tues, October 6th

Rest Day. Worked some on Frank’s Pig Demon. Concentrated mostly on the trident and tidying up the basecoat on its clothing. Calories: 2084, Protein: 114 g.

Wed, October 7th

  • Morning Walk: 2.02 miles.
  • Afternoon Training
    • Superset: 4 Sets [Standing Pushups using basement counter: 12 reps] + [Standing Cable Flies: 10 lbs. x 12 reps]
    • Superset: 3 Sets [Twenty-One’s: 10 lb. DB’s for lateral and front raises, 5 lbs. for rear delt rows] + [Arnold Presses: 20 lbs. x 10 reps]
      • Rested for 90 seconds between each set.
      • To perform Twenty-One’s, you perform a set of Lateral Raises, then Front Raises, then Rear Delt Rows with no rest between exercises, only between sets. You do 7 reps of each exercise, hence the name “Twenty-One’s.”
    • Super Set: 4 Sets [Tricep Cable Pushdowns (tri bar): 35 lbs. x 12 reps] + [Bend Spring Bar: 3 sets x 8 reps with lighter bar and 1 set x 5 reps with heavier bar.]
    • Super Set: [CoC Gripper (S): 2 sets x 5 reps; CoC Gripper (T) or Trainer: 2 sets x 5 reps] +
      • (Set 1) Crunches: 30 reps
      • (Set 2) Dead Bugs (2-ct): 20 reps (had to grind out the last few)
      • (Set 3) Alternating One-Handed American Kettlebell Swing: 15 lbs. x 12 reps
      • (Set 4) Jumping Jacks (2-ct): 12 reps
    • Walked one loop of my driveway holding my workout rock over my head.
    • Stretched for about 12 minutes. While I was stretching I did a couple of sets of finger extensions with my 8 lb. bands in help balance out all of the hand flexion training I’ve been doing.

Calories: 1868, Protein: 115 g.

I love my workout rock. It is neither too light nor too heavy for what I want to do with it. I decided to weigh the rock after posting this and my husband asking about it and it is 36 pounds. It was originally part of a bunch of rocks piled up, with some bungled attempt at mortar work, forming the makeshift corner foundation of our house. A few years ago we jacked up the corner and put in a proper foundation.

Many of the rocks ended up forming the circle in an area I dedicated to our friend, The King of the Good People, and this rock ended up neglected out in back of my yard for a few years. (I’ll post a picture of the Circle next time.) After everything closed down but before my home gym, I started working out with this rock. The rock was my home gym and even now, despite having a bunch of equipment, I like to keep working the rock in because it feels like an old friend, who was there when I needed her.

Thurs, October 8th

Morning Walk: 3.36 miles. Calories: 2584, Protein: 152 g.

Fri, October 9th

  • Morning Walk: 3.31 miles.
    • Standing DB Bicep Curls: 15 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
    • Superset: Four Sets [Wrist Rolling: 8 lbs., rolling up and down twice while standing on 16″ platform] + [Finger Extensions (band): 8 lbs. x 12 reps]
    • Leg Complex: Four Sets [Romanian Dead Lift (broom handle): 12 reps] + [Full Squats: 13 reps] + [Walking Lunges: 6 reps] + Side Kick Stretch: 12 reps] Rested 90 seconds between sets.
    • Face Pulls: 12.5 lbs. x 12 reps
    • Dead Bugs (2-ct): 20 reps
    • Stretched for about 15 minutes.

Calories: 2143, Protein: 115 g.

Sat, October 10th

Rest Day. Calories: 1980, Protein: 120 g. (Lost 1 pound this week for a total of 16.2 lbs. so far.)

Works-in-Progress: Frank’s Pig Demon and Wraiths Assembled

I’ve made a little hobby progress this week, working on Frank’s long-suffering pig demon. I’ve been alternately painting and ignoring this miniature for a very long time, but finally I think I’m starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel.

I had some ambitious ideas for the trident and have painted the weapon maybe four times now. None of my attempts have felt very successful. Given my recent determination to give Frank is pig demon back, I decided the best thing was perhaps a simple gold scheme. I hope to finish the trident this weekend and make further progress beyond the base coat on the loin cloth. For the clothes I plan on following Duncan’s Crisp White cloth video.

I felt like putting together some models earlier in the week, so I assembled a box of ten Bladegheist Revenants I’ve had sitting around for quite awhile. I don’t know if or when I’ll paint them, but at least now they leave my unassembled mountain of plastic and join their compatriots in my hill of assembled plastic.

That’s it for now. I hope everyone has a good weekend.

Ann’s Work Out Goals

This is where I will maintain a list of current goals and update later on when I’ve achieved them and come up with new goals.

  • Goal Posted: October 17, 2020
    1. Fully bend heavy spring bar for a set of 8 repetitions using both supinated and pronated grips.
  • Goals Posted: October 4, 2020
    • Close my Captain of Crush “Trainer” gripper five times with each hand.
      • Close the (T) gripper to 16mm with my left hand for 4 sets of 5 reps (Posted: Oct 19, 20.)
    • Side-Lunge Stretch: Plant foot (in shoes) flat on floor while doing this stretch, rather than going up on the ball of plant foot.  I used to be able to do this a few years ago when I was taking Tae Kwon Do. After that I will work toward planting my bare foot, which is a bit more difficult.
    • Perform a set of 100 full squats without stopping and without being overly tired at the end. After that I will start doing pistol squats using a post as an assist.
    • Perform a set of 100 two-count Dead Bugs without being overly tired at the end.

Work Outs: Sep 27 – Oct 3, 2020 (The Fence Made of Branches)

Our basement home gym is taking shape. We found a slightly used double cable machine for a good price, which will add a lot to the types of exercises we can do.

Here is a picture of a fence made of dead branches along one of the trails in one of our favorite hiking areas. It varies from about four to over seven feet high. From what I understand people have been maintaining and working on it for quite a long time. I’m glad it didn’t burn in the recent fires!

Sun, September 27th

Rest day.

Mon, September 28th

Did a morning stretch that took about 30 minutes, following a video, “Beginner Flexibility Routine,” on the MadFit Youtube channel. It looks like we probably won’t get in as much walking this week as last because of my husband’s schedule.

Calories: 1916, Protein: 102 g.

Tues, September 29th

Early morning walk in the forest for 2.84 miles.

Afternoon: Dead Bugs (2-ct) x 20 reps | Did the “30 Min Full Body Stretch” video by Pamela Reif.

Calories: 1972, Protein: 87 g.

Wed, September 30th

  • Morning Walk: 2.02 miles.
  • Afternoon Training
    • Superset: [Standing Pushups using basement counter: 4 sets x 12 reps] + [Standing Cable Flies: 10 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps]
    • Shoulder Complex with 5 lb. DB’s: Three Sets { [Side Laterals x 7 reps ] + [Front Raises x 7 reps] + [Rear Delt Rows x 7 reps] + [Arnold Presses x 10 reps] }
      • Set 1: Sitting on floor.
      • Set 2: Kneeling.
      • Set 3: Standing.
      • There is no rest between exercises or sets. This shoulder complex is from Jeff Cavaliere’s “Dumbbell Shoulder Workout” video.
    • Super Set: [Tricep Cable Pushdowns (tri bar): 30 lbs. x sets 1-2 x 12 reps; 35 lbs. x sets 3-4 x 12 reps] + [Bend Spring Bar: 2 sets with hands pronated and two supinated x 12 reps]
    • Super Set: [CoC Gripper (S): 3 sets x 5 reps; CoC Gripper (T) or Trainer: 1 set x 5 reps but not able to close it completely very well with either hand.] +
      • (Set 1) Crunches: 30 reps
      • (Set 2) Dead Bugs (2-ct): 20 reps
      • (Set 3) American Kettlebell Swing: 15 lbs. x 12 reps
      • (Set 4) Full Squats: 20 reps
    • Did “Introduction to Krav Maga – White Belt Class #1” video by Global Martial Arts University.
    • Stretched for about 10 minutes.

Calories: 1916, Protein: 121 g.

Thurs, October 1st

Rest Day. Did 20 minutes of stretching, lacrosse ball and foam roller restorative work.

The Fence Made of Branches is located in the small, faeriesque Land of the Messed up Trees. You’ll note the tree in the upper right of this picture. There are many of those trees in the area. Maybe next week, if we happen to hike again in that area I’ll take some pictures in the Land of the Messed Up Trees and post them with next week’s work out.

Calories: 1931, Protein: 117 g.

Fri, October 2nd

  • Afternoon Training
    • Standing DB Cable Rows: 40 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
    • Superset: Four Sets { [Standing DB Bicep Curls: 10 lbs. x sets 1-2 x 12 reps; 15 lbs. x sets 3-4 x 12 reps] + [Wrist Rolling: 5 lbs., rolling up and down twice while standing on 16″ platform] }
    • Giant Set: [Face Pulls: 10 lbs. x 12 reps] + [Alternating one-handed American Kettlebell Swings (2-ct): 15 lbs. x 12 reps] + [Leg Raises x 12] + [DB Wrist Curls: 15 lbs. x 12 reps]
    • CoC(S) Gripper: 2 sets x 5 reps; CoC(T): 2 sets x 5 reps. Can’t quite close (T) grippers yet, which is 100 lbs. versus the 80 lb. “Sport” set, which I can close easily.
    • Stretched for about 20 minutes.

Calories: 1964, Protein: 113 g.

Sat, October 3rd

  • Afternoon Training
    • Stationary Recumbent Bike: 30 Minutes, Manual Program, ~ 70 rpm’s, Level 6
    • Leg Complex: Four Sets { [Romanian Dead Lift (broom handle): 12 reps] + [Full Squats: 12 reps] + [Walking Lunges (2-ct): 6 reps] + Side Kick Stretch (2-ct): 12 reps] }
    • Stretched for 10 minutes.

Calories: 1995, Protein: 95 g. (Lost 2.6 lbs. this week for a total of 15.2 lbs.)

Captain of Crush Grippers

This post was originally on my now defunct workout blog. I decided to rework it a bit and present it here. I hope to get some painting done on Frank’s Pig Demon this weekend. My goal is to finish its trident and tidy up the base coat on the cloak and such.


I added a new Ironmind Captains of Crush gripper — the “Sport” or 80 lb. gripper to my little collection of hand and forearm strengthening devices. The series goes up to a magnificent 365 lbs., which I’ll most certainly never be able to close though my husband might someday.

I bought the Sport gripper because I wanted a warm-up gripper lighter than the “Trainer” gripper (100 lbs.), which is what I’m working on getting better at closing. I can close the Trainer maybe once or twice with my good hand and almost close it once with my left. I’m working toward being able to close the Trainer five times with either hand. Hopefully by the end of the year….

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Right now we have up to 237.5 lbs., which in Ironmind parlance is Level 2.5. I originally purchased the set as a Christmas present for my husband and we kept them on the coffee table. These days they live in the basement we are putting together as our home gym.

Work Outs: Sep 20 – 26, 2020

I used to keep track of my workouts, before I was online, in three-ring notebooks, most of which were lost in the mists of time, flooded basements, cross-country moves and the like, though I still do have one from my early-80’s Army days that makes for semi-entertaining reading. With the advent of the internet in my life during college I started putting them on 5.25″ (and later 3.5″) floppies. All of those records have been lost to the mists of time, hardware changes, crashes, upgrades, purposeful obsolescence and the like. Turns out digital media is far more ephemeral than my old notebooks but hey … in a hundred years who’s going to care?

About a year ago I decided to start another blog specifically to keep track of my workouts. I made a good start and after a couple of months realized that trying to have more than one blog at a time isn’t for me. I ended up duly neglecting the work out blog, though I was still doing the training.

So I thought, Why not just create a new section here and put up weekly posts of what you are doing? Why not indeed!

Sun, September 20th

We walked about 8 miles on the local hiking trails in the afternoon.

Mon, September 21st

Afternoon walk covering about 4 miles.

Tues, September 22nd

We did an early morning walk that was about 3.5 miles and then an afternoon walk that was about 4 miles for a daily total of 7.5 miles.

Wed, September 23rd

Morning walk for 2.5 miles and an afternoon walk of 4.5 miles for a total of 7 miles.

Thurs, September 24th

My husband spotted this little beastie scuttling at high speed along the inside of the railroad rail during our afternoon walk today. Fortunately for me it froze for a moment and I was able to grab a picture before our friend continued on its way.

  • Morning Walk: 3.3 miles.
  • Afternoon Training
    • DB Bench Press: 20 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
    • Arnold Press: 20 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
    • DB Flies: 5 lbs. x 12 reps | 6 lbs. x 3 sets x 12 reps
    • DB Lateral Raises: 6 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
    • Superset: [DB Skull Crushers: 6 lbs. x sets 1-2 x 12 reps | 10 lbs. x sets 3-4 x 12 reps] + [Bend Spring Bar: two sets with hands pronated and two supinated x 8 reps]
    • Tri-Set: [Dead Bugs (2-ct): 4 sets x 12 reps] + [CoC Gripper (S) x 4 sets x 5 reps]
      • (Set 1) Crunches: 30 reps
      • (Set 2-3) Side Crunches: 30 reps
      • (Set 4) Full Squats: 20 reps
  • Evening Walk: 4.5 miles

Fri, September 25th

  • Morning Training
    • Leg Complex: [Romanian Dead Lift (broom handle): 4 sets x 12 reps] + [Full Squats: 4 sets x 12 reps] + [Walking Lunges (2-ct): Sets 1-2 x 6 reps | Side Kick Stretch (2-ct): Sets 3-4 x 12 reps]
    • Standing DB Back Rows: 10 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
    • Superset: [Standing DB Bicep Curls: 10 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps] +
      • (Sets 1-2): Wrist Rolling: 5 lbs., rolling up and down twice while standing on 16″ platform
      • (Sets 3-4) Standing DB Hammer Curls: 10 lbs. x 12 reps]
    • Dead Bugs (2-ct): 20 reps
    • Standing DB Back Fly: 10 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
    • Finished off the workout by walking the loop of my driveway holding a moderately-large stone over my head.

Sat, September 26th

Rest day. Turns out I need it!

I’ll sign off with a picture of some small, coastal redwoods along one of usual haunts at Henry Cowell State Park, Felton, California. I wonder how long ago that one tree in the foreground splintered and fell?

Parcheesi 40K: Khorne vs. Ultramarines

My husband and I like to play Parcheesi off and on as a quick, low commitment way to get a little gaming in when the mood strikes us. It often works out for some reason that my dice tend to fall so I have late game zergs where I roll a lot of doubles and hence get to cover a lot of ground quickly with my pawns. I often play the green pieces and when this strangely ubiquitous phenomenon begins I have taken to “Declaring the Waaagh!”*

This gave me a spur of the moment idea: why not use our long-neglected Warhammer 40K pieces to play Parcheesi?**

I decided upon a tetrad of bloodletters, including one with a horn and of course their Banner of Hate probably constructed from the flayed skins of their victims. My husband used four of his Ultramarines he painted some years ago. The fact he had a missile launcher made me a little nervous but at least it wasn’t a flamer or that scary Assault on Black Reach captain!

The Ultramarines took an early game lead by getting two marines into the home square as you can see below.*** However, the forces of Khorne had some rather Tzeentch-like tricks up their sleeves where they posted themselves on the blue safety squares in an attempt to take the skull of the unfortunate banner sergeant.****

The Ultramarine banner sergeant turned out to be tricky as space marines in general that chapter in particular are known for. Thanks to some well executed maneuvers and dice tricks he was able to avoid my blue square snares and post himself with his colleague in a protective blockade. Unfortunately for the bad guys, my tricky Tzeentchian-Khornate bloodletters had a very strong position with a blue square blockade of their own with one of their fellows (top left corner) waiting to pounce.*****

I’m sad to report that despite everything, my daemonic blockading plans fell flat and both marines were able to escape past my red home row unmolested. (Note the position of both marines in the picture below relative to the picture above.) My daemons have to move up into the home row toward the home square so anything past that is safe territory for the Imperium.

It is a tight game. Two marines are already in the home square but the balance of my forces are a bit closer to home. Still, I’d say at this point it is a small advantage to my husband’s squad.

In the end I had my usual late game zerg but then so did the Ultramarines. Happily, the Khornate good guys won but it was a close thing: the last marine was in his home row only two squares from victory. So the game was almost as near a thing to a draw as you can get in Parcheesi.

The marines failed to close the warp portal before a massive incursion of Khorne goodness vomits into real space. The imperial fall back plan of Exterminatus fails when their bombs are possessed by daemons. Their primitive machine spirits become existentially enraged so the bombs immediately launch themselves toward the nearest highly populated worlds. Perhaps in a future game of Parcheesi 40K we’ll see if the space marine fleet can catch both the daemons and their own rogue bombs in time!


* I wish I could claim credit for thinking this up but it was my husband who first mentioned it, harkening back to our old 5th edition 40K games of marines versus space orks that always seemed to end somehow in my guys moving absurdly quickly all at once, overrunning his forces in a painful but mercifully short episode of buckets of dice being rolled and sanguine massacre. Actually it didn’t happen all the time: I think my husband forgets all of the times where his guys shot half my army off the table by turn two but hey I’m probably biased.

** The older 25mm bases worked well for doing this. I don’t think the newer 32mm bases would have done the trick because they are too big for the squares.

*** Sweet, sweet victory is achieved by getting all four of your pieces into the home square before your opponent does. Given the You Go/I Go nature of the game, a tie is not possible though I do remember a game I played as a child where my opponent got mad and flipped the board and tried to declare it a draw. She wasn’t the nicest of losers and sometimes used the same pernicious tactic in Candyland.

**** The blue squares are “safety zones” where pieces are safe from capture by the enemy. On the white squares, you may capture an enemy piece by rolling a number that allows you to end your move on the opponent’s square, sending him back to his home circle. Skulls for the Parcheesi Throne!

***** A blockade is formed by having two of your own pieces on a square. Neither your own nor the enemy’s pawns can move through a blockade. A blue square blockade is stronger still, because when you move a piece, breaking the blockade, your other piece is not vulnerable to attack. It is a common tactic to try and capture an opponent’s pawn by denying it the ability to move by means of a blockade, and use another piece behind to threaten a capture.

Miniatures of Magnitude Painting Challenge Round-up

May through June saw the Miniatures of Magnitude painting challenge where the idea is to paint something that is on the larger side.  The model didn’t need to be large, but it had to represent something large.  As I wrote back in early May, “Aircraft, daemon engines, tanks, giants, trains, cavewomen riding mammoths, ships, and beasts that are great, writhing masses of tentacles, eyes, and maws that tumbled down from the stars or crawled up out of the sewer all will find a home in this challenge.”

As usual, if I missed anyone, please let me know and I’ll make sure you make it into the (amended) round-up.

Flying Battleship by John of Just Needs Varnish ink sketch clip art effect

First up is Wudugast’s of Convert or Die Warcry bell tower, complete with gibbets and “fiddly” skeletons.  I’m glad he included the skeletons because I think they add an osseous touch of class to the piece.

Belltower by Wudugast

Wudugast also painted this very nice Chaos Space Marine Obliterator. Our heretic astartes is bristling with weapons of all kinds, as you would expect. He’s got some sort of assault cannon, a heavy flamer, a hefty power fist complete with little claws … heck, let’s face it, the only thing he’s missing are pants!

Next up is Tom’s Imperial Knight Castellan.  I know Tom because he used to work at the local game store I often frequent.  Some time ago, Tom made the trek north from Santa Cruz to Stockton, California where he opened his own store, Dragon’s Den Games.

Tom Douglass Imperial Knight front view

Tom’s knight is the largest model he has painted to date.  He says that it has “technically more surface area than a Bloodthirster” and the latter being “mostly skin and wing so they go a heck of a lot faster, especially with Contrasts!”.  I’m glad Tom persevered because I think his knight came out looking good and will surely strike terror into the hearts of his many nefarious foes.

Look to the skies! David, of Scent of a Gamer, painted a huge dragon who is just waiting to blot out the sun as it soars through a fantasy sky on xanthous wings. David tells us that this miniature is “from the Dragons Don’t Share boxed set that was originally released as part of the Bones II Kickstarter.”

Green Dragon by Scent of a Gamer

David used a “dark green/black mix” for the body and contrast paints for the wings.  He was going for an “eye of Mordor” feel with the dragon’s eyes and I think he succeeded because the eye reminded me of that when I was looking at the pictures in his post before reading the text. I really like that baleful eye!

Continuing with our “Look to the Skies” theme, watch out for flying battleships!  John of Just Needs Varnish! painted a couple of 1/1200 scale aeronefs, which are “ships that fly using some form of gravity-resisting technology to stay airborne.”  The miniatures are produced by Brigade Models.*

Below is a Japanese Shinano class dreadnought. Nicely done and cute spotter plane too!

Japanese Flying Battleship Shinano class Just Needs Varnish

Check out John’s post if you want to see some pictures of the models before they were painted as well as his thoughts about building and modifying these models.  He also shows off some of his older aeronefs in his post as well. John also painted a Russian Poltava class dreadnought, pictured below.

Russian Poltava class dreadnought by John of Just Needs Varnish

Maybe we’ll see more aeronefs from John in the future.  He writes that he has “some lighter aeronefs to finish for these two fleets” and he also has the better part of a Chinese fleet done, and a French fleet to paint.  Let the 19th Century steampunk skies be filled with flying warships!

All of these aerial pictures makes me wonder: can aeronefs drop bombs on each other and the general landscape as well?

Russian Poltava class dreadnought by John of Just Needs Varnish aerial view

It pleases me to continue with the fortresses that can fly and things with wings, so next up is a nicely painted succubus by Dave Stone of Wargames Terrain Workshop. I like those wings by the way with the veins and such.

Dave reports that his demon miniature is about 70mm or 2.75 inches in height, which puts it into the ogre-sized category. Demons come in all shapes and sizes, especially given many of them are shape shifters.

Next up is the prolific Azazel of Azazel’s Bitz Box. He finished quite a passel of miniatures for the challenge. Where to start? How about something with wings such as his Ashardalon the Red Dragon, which he painted with Contrast paints, from the Wrath of Ashardalon board game.

Ashardalon the red dragon by Azazel left front view

Makes me think my friends and I should paint the miniatures from the D&D board games we play, though we probably won’t.

We’ll end the current aerial theme (but not Azazel’s contributions to our challenge — there is much more to come!) with his crashed Aquila lander from the Warhammer 40K 4th edition starter set. I’ve seen a lot of these in games over the years and this one is very nicely done.

Azazel's Aquila lander 01

Azazel writes in his blog that I “was not quite so enthusiastic” about the idea of the Eagle lander being a miniature of magnitude when we talked about it a couple of months ago. I have mostly forgotten the conversation but apparently I was willing to be mollified so long as “there was some kind of giant monster smashing through it.”

Yes, that sounds like me all right. I’m not sure why I was previously unenthusiastic since the lander fits the challenge as much as, say, a Rhino APC would. Probably part of a now forgotten master plan to get Azazel to showcase some of his monsters, which I favor. It worked because he included a “Kaiju shot with not one, but TWO giant monsters …” as you see in the picture above. We even get smaller bonus monsters too and kind of a Nurgle meets Tyranids meets Lovecraft thing. It is great when a plan comes together!

The two larger monsters in question from the “Kaiju shot” are Mudgullet the Froghemoth and Goremaw the Devourer, both from the Reaper Bones line. I’m leave it to the reader’s perspicacity to determine which is which!

Going back to the Wrath of Ashardalon board game for a moment, I quite like Azazel’s Rage Drake. I think this one would be a whole lot more intimidating when it is plunked down on the board than the unpainted ones I’ve seen when I’ve played the game myself with friends. I particularly like the light stripes on the neck.

He’s also painted an Otyugh, also from Wrath of Ashardalon, which jumped (or perhaps burrowed is way past) the queue “because ‘need it for the game.'” I have a soft spot for this monster because of a rather strange dungeon I ran back in the early ’80’s, which heavily featured these creatures. I won’t say any more about it here because I don’t want to digress.**

These four (air, water, earth, and fire) elementals are from the Temple of Elemental Evil D&D boardgame. Yep, they are bigger than a standard ogre!

We’ll cast Plane Shift and leave the world of Dungeons & Dragons for Zombicide, where Azazel’s Abominations can be found. They are certainly both colorful and corrupt, which is just how we like our zombies.

He also painted an Orc Abomination too. This one comes from “Black Plague’s standalone expansion, Green Horde.”

Azazel has been doing a lot of experiments with Contrast Paint lately and has been mostly “emphasizing how things have gone well.” These Trun Hunters from the Shadows of Brimstone board game, are according to Azazel, are “an example of when Contrast Paints combine with bad models to create … something not good.”

I won’t comment except to say while they probably won’t win the 2021 Golden Demon, they are certainly table top quality and fine for board games, where (at least with my crowd) the figures are usually unpainted. So this green-skinned trio has us beat, board game-wise at least.

We’ll end Azazel’s challenge contribution on a sort of virenslithic happy note with the mighty Mossbeard the Treeman. We’ve saved the largest for last here: Azazel reports that this is “the largest model I’ve painted to date.” I like all of the grass, moss and such; it really adds a lot to the model. Many of the people, who commented on his post, think so too and they aren’t wrong! Here is a little slideshow of this most magnitudinous of ents.

Next up is Steve of Dreadaxe Games and his Word Bearers Rhino. Our friendly Chaos Lord’s goal with this new addition to his painted forced was to “keep it in line with everything that I liked about the Chaos Vehicles: the spiked top sections, the grumpy gunner, the variety of gruesome trophies, etc.” As you can see Steve’s APC has lots of suitable, heretical bling. I wonder if that doom caster he’s got will still make it harder for people to shoot overwatch in the coming 9th edition 40K rules? I hope so!

Mcmattila of mcmattilaminis painted Mollog, of Mollog’s Mob from Warhammer Underworlds. Colorful and as usual, his painting is very good. I think that his miniature pictures could be used as art on some of the miniature boxes or in the army books. They are that polished. I particularly like the big, squishy toad and the dorsal mushrooms are none too shabby either.

Argentbadger, of The Bovine Overlord, completed a Chaos Knight War Dog in “deep red in honour of the Blood God.” With the giant melta arm and another melta on its back, as well as a nasty-looking chainsword arm, I don’t think I’d want to be sitting in a tank watching this thing as it scuttles my way. I thought it was a nice touch that Argentbadger used the head from a Juggernaut of Khorne kit, which fits these things nicely, both in look and in the canine spirit of the name. Besides melta, this dog’s got some teeth!

We’ll close the painting challenge with a visit to the world of Blood Bowl where Faust of Double Down Dice has added another ogre to his burgeoning roster of malcontents, murderers, and gridiron mavens of mayhem.

His human team can field one of these guys as a special player. If they are anything like trolls, which Faust assures us they are, then they are easily confused and will often just stand around on the pitch and do nothing, but as he goes on to reassure us, “the strength of an Ogre is nothing to scoff at, when they decide to work with you.”

Thank you very much to everyone who participated in this June-July challenge. It took me awhile to keep this round-up posted and all I can say on that front is I spent the last couple of months in the dark prince’s court within the nacreous cloud spire atop his Eidolon of Indolence. It was time well spent and now I am feeling the whole blog and painting thing again. I hope everyone is doing well and as always, “Paint On!”

* John’s ships remind me of a show I used to love when I was teenager called Star Blazers, complete with flying battleship.

** Back around 1980 or ’81 I wrote up an adventure for my friends where the boss was a Xorn with magical spells and very high intelligence. Its upper level minions were a bunch of Otyugh. The secret entrance to the Xorn’s inner sanctum, which was the interior of a huge geode, was beneath one of their enormous crap piles (mostly the accumulation of waste from slaves) through which the Otyughs had burrowed an elaborate network of rooms and passageways. One of the players coined the title, “Dungeon of Dung,” which stuck, though I originally named it the Fane of Feces. Perhaps if one of these days I decide to run some D&D, I’ll dig out this old chestnut and see how it stands up to the march of decades and my older (but hopefully) wiser eyes. That was pretty long-winded for a “I won’t comment” comment.

Dragon Egg Gazette, Issue 3

The Dragon Egg Gazette

Issue 3: June 19, 2020

A student newspaper that is part of the “Enchanted Forest” D&D campaign. 


From the Editor’s Desk

It has been more than three months since we published an outer planes issue of The Dragon Egg Gazette.  This paper originally came about from a conversation I had with Ann Wycoff, my human friend and frequent visitor to Dragon Egg from the outer planes.  She sometimes plays a sort of storytelling game with her friends called Dungeons & Dragons, which is one part board game and another part acting where the players take on the role of a hero or adventurer. Ann is usually the facilitator or “dungeon master” of the game.

The most interesting part of Ann’s game, in my mind, is she uses our real world as the setting or backdrop, but all of her players think it is a fantastic realm of make believe because their reality doesn’t have any dragonborn, elves or even goblins!

Apparently there have been a lot of big, important things going on that has put Ann’s D&D game on hold for awhile now.  So she hasn’t been around to help us with the outer planes stuff.  Fortunately, Ann visited Dragon Egg recently to procure some ingredients for a magic wand, and to “check out the Haunted Bridge for myself.”  (Scary!  I wish my parents would let me go see it.)  She also stopped by our offices and made arrangements to publish this issue you are reading now for the humans back home.  Thanks, Ann!

If you have an article you’d like to see published in The Dragon Egg Gazette, let me know in the comments or email me (c/o Ann if you are a human from the outer planes) via the email address on her Greetings page.

Wondermist

Flying Glowing Green Dragon clip art

The Haunted Bridge

by Staff Writer

“The keen-eyed traveler will notice a stone block here, poking up through the verdant carpet of the forest floor, perhaps another nestled under a fern before coming upon the crumbling, masonry pilings that are all that remains of the site once called Blood Drinker’s Bridge,” Forcrath Silverspur wrote in Points of Interest in the Enchanted Forest: An Adventure Tourism Guide, which introduces his article about the Haunted Bridge.

Haunted Bridge area as seen through Darkvision

Area near Haunted Bridge site as seen via darkvision.**

The ruins are located some distance south along the road a little over half way from Dragon Egg to East Egg.*  Here are five facts you may not know about the Haunted Bridge from Doctor Forcrath’s 1972 book.

  1. The now non-existent stream, which the Haunted Bridge used to cross, was magically dried up in 1605 when a vampire named Torsten the Fierce and other unknown casters completed a powerful series of spells that evaporated all of the streams, pools and other natural, standing bodies of water within the Enchanted Forest.  This took place during the Vampire War and was done because it is well known that most vampires cannot cross such bodies of water.  Torsten’s actions were a prelude to a general invasion.  Such was the power of Torsten’s magic that the stream has never come back in the more than four hundred years since.
  2. The site is not believed to be intrinsically dangerous, but it is thought that select dark spells and the creation of forbidden items can be facilitated by ingredients available on the site, such as certain powdered minerals and odd salts.  As such, the Haunted Bridge is sometimes frequented by dangerous individuals it is better not to meet.  Be careful if you visit!
  3. No one knows who built the bridge.  Scholars agree that it dates back to the 12th or 13th Century and facilitated trade with the human inhabitants on what was then the edge of the Enchanted Forest, which was much further south then than it is now.
  4. While plant life flourishes in the environs around the Haunted Bridge, magically-inclined or sensitive people report feelings of “general unease,” nightmares, and so forth when they stay in the area for more than a few hours.  Some also report bouts of bad luck after prolonged contact with the ruin.
  5. Mindless undead are attracted to the area.  The Dragon Egg Special Arbor Service conducts regular patrols to deal with the skeletons, zombies and so on before they build up to a level that becomes a problem.

* See Issue One for a map of the Enchanted Forest containing among other things, the location of the Haunted Bridge (Ed).

** Photo credit:  Thoolmar.  I’d love to learn that spell she used to make a picture while she was looking at the Haunted Bridge once I get far enough along at school and learn to cast high enough level spells.  Perhaps in a year or two you’d like to trade, Thoolmar? (Ed.)

Tree Symbol Clip Art

A Short Interview with the Introverted Hermit

by Biri Blackwing

We have been following the exploits, for quite some time now, of the human artist from the outer planes known as The Introverted Hermit.  She is best known in Dragon Egg for her Monday Mandala feature, where each week she shares a new mandala of her own creation.  The Hermit is up to #47, as this paper goes to press, so she has been doing this for awhile.

The Introverted Hermit also recently started an Etsy shop.  She is currently selling black & white downloads of some of her mandalas suitable for coloring.  Seems like coloring one of those with crayons or colored pencils or maybe even using some water colors might be fun.

Butterfly 125 wide

Q:  Why did you start making art?

Hermit: I’ve always had a need to be doing something creative – whether it was painting, dancing, writing, or drawing.  It speaks to and calms my soul in a way nothing else does.

Q: ‘Mandala 25’ is very attractive, especially with your colorization.  I have talked to several elves, who speak very favorably of your use of geometric patterns.  I read in your article, “Progress,” your reference to “Native American” and “Nazca art.”  What inspired you to create this piece, in addition to evoking themes from the aforementioned traditions?

Hermit: I think every artist is inspired by something.  I’ve always been fascinated with geometric, abstract patterns as well as by the art of the Nazca people.  I’ve also always had an interest in the art of Native Americans, since that is part of my own heritage.  The feelings those patterns and themes evoke allows me to explore my own thoughts and feelings during the process of creation.

Q: Is there an element of Art you enjoy the most?  What do you find the most challenging?  Why?

I think the most joy I get out of creating is in the process itself – allowing my own thoughts and feelings out onto the paper without worry or fear.  The most challenging part for me is to quiet my inner critic and to allow the joy and wonder of the process to just flow.  I think we all subject ourselves negative self-talk and overcoming that criticism, that fear of failure, can be very difficult.

introverted hermit mandala 25 colorized

Mandala 25 created and colorized by the Introverted Hermit

Q: I read some of your thoughts concerning being an artist, “imposter syndrome,” and so on, here and here.  (We think you’re a great artist by the way.)  How would you define what it means to be an artist?  Do you think there is a distinction between an Artist versus ” a creative” versus someone who simply “does art?”

Thank you! I think everyone is an artist – it’s just that we sometimes don’t recognize it.  Working with numbers is an art.  Working with words is an art.  Cooking is an art (one I certainly haven’t mastered!).  We all show our creativity in different ways, but everyone – from the tallest to the smallest, from the richest to the poorest, is an artist in some way.  And everything overlaps.  A painter is an artist, sure, but there are many other things they have to know – color theory, composition, lighting, musculature, how bodies move, ratios for color mixing, etc.  Art, and artists, are everywhere, if you just look.

Q: One elvish reader asks, “I see from reading your work that you sometimes encounter challenges moving forward with your work and getting things done.  I have started having this problem more and more myself, especially after I passed into my fourth century.  Do you have any tips or tricks to recommend that I could use to continue to move forward with my projects?  Thank you.”

I think as we age, it’s easy to become jaded and bored with things we want or need to do.  One thing I find that helps me is to have several projects going at once.  That way if I get bored or frustrated with one, I can move to another one and give myself a bit of break.  Once you’re concentrating on something else, your subconscious will often work out a solution to a problem and you’ll be able to see it when you return to the work.  And sometimes, we all just need a break – a rest, to recharge those artistic impulses.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I’m flattered to be asked about my work.  One of the best things about creating something is to see how other people interpret what you’ve done.  Often, they will have a reaction that you weren’t expecting, and for me, that’s one of the biggest joys.  It’s like watching that creative spark jump from my work into someone else and that’s an amazing thing.

Introverted hermit mandala 25 black and white 125 wide

Shopping in Dragon’s Egg

by Thulunil Ummair

Everyone knows that adventurers love nothing better than to go shopping after getting back to town following their latest successful quest.  Smart adventurers know that some of the best shopping around can be had at the businesses in our own town of Dragon’s Egg.  Even people from the outer planes sometimes come here for their magical and mundane needs!  Here are five well-known establishments.

  • Bamira’s Stones (Gems and common magical components).  Owner:  Bamira Burntree (dragonborn).  While her public shop is quite small and features mainly mundane items, a much more extensive collection of wares can be had if you are one of her “preferred customers.”
  • Feather Fall Archery.  Proprietor: Oram Brightspear (elf).  A wide selection of long and short bows as well as a sideline of thrown weapons.  There is a sign prominently visible as one enters the shop that reads, “Crossbowmen not welcome.”  Even mentioning the word “crossbow” is enough to receive a permanent ban from the shop!
  • Kobold Or Go Home (General Merchandise).  Owner: Queequeg (kobold); Proprietor:  Gree (kobold).  Does a lot of business with goblins, which is ironic because Queequeg is well known to dislike goblins.  Yet he has a reputation for scrupulously fair dealing, and some of the people who sing his praises the highest are the aforementioned goblins.
  • Temple of the Green Dragon.  First Priest F’Rhogar Goldleaf (dragonborn).  The religious center of Dragon Egg dedicated to our god, Great Dragon.  Aspects currently emphasized are The Warrior, The Guardian, and The Healer.  A green dragon magician, Chrysophylax, lairs on the premises.  There is also a shrine within the outer gardens dedicated to all of the other gods, both draconic and otherwise.
  • Twelve Hammers (Metalwork).  “Dragon Egg’s Finest Smith Shop.”  Owner:  Falasar Moonclaw (dragonborn).  Large staff  of artisans fabricating everything smithing-related from basic tools to highly ornamented weapons, gatework, etc.  Can also contract for precious metals work, and so on.  Has a reputation for high prices and excellent quality.  Can have long waits if you are not a regular customer.

Corrections & Clarifications

The Temple of the Great Dragon contacted us concerning our story, “Raising the Dead:  Did You Know?” from the previous issue.  They pointed out that Great Dragon commonly gifts clergy with the spell Revivify, “making it possible to return an individual to life, who has just died.  This dweomercraft is effective even in the absence of a great vow, and has saved many lives on the battlefield, during parturition and so on.”

The temple representative went on to say, “Spells like Revivify are common magics but gods can gift us in many marvelous and unusual ways too.  Their will and power sometimes transcends system and category.  Remember First Priest Goldleaf’s words:  “Those who think that magic or magical beings follow universal laws or some system of Causality or Necessity are gravely mistaken.'”


Staff

Biri “Wondermist” Blackwing, Editor-in-Chief
Thulunil Ummair, Assistant Editor
Ann Wycoff, Contributing Editor/Outer Planes Correspondent
Your Name Could Be Here!

Dragon Seated black clip art