31 October 2008

Adventures in the Swamp

31 October …..

Today is All Hallows' Eve but you would never know it out here, as today is just like any other, well at least in the construction area it is, as the rafters on the headquarters building were completed and all of the walls are up on both the hospital and chapel.

Our head cook, a Black Leg sergeant named Marion Louis Thibodeaux III, is of Cajun French descent and hails from Beaumont in San Jacinto Province. Without a doubt, the man knows his way around the kitchen. To make a long story short, last night upon hearing RSM Taggart and I speak of our adventures all thought it was humorous and when the part about the turtle came up, he jumped from his seat with his eyes wide and foaming at the mouth. He started talking rapidly in his French patois, followed by one of his trademark OOOEEEE’s. Everyone just looked at each other as he stormed out of the NCO Mess Tent.

This morning, he and Private Mistrot (mee-stroh) - the only other Cajun in the camp - were not at breakfast. About lunch time, Mistrot comes running into camp and talks to Sergeant Garcia with arms flailing in the air and next thing I know, he is following close behind Garcia as they run up to my position. Sergeant Garcia asks me if he can take Spot out towards the swamp to help Private Mistrot and Sergeant Thibodeaux. It seems that our crazy Cajun cook has got the turtle we saw yesterday cornered (according to Private Mistrot’s ramblings). This got the attention of RSM Taggart, and now we were all interested and had to see for ourselves how a 5’ -9”, 190 lbs. Army cook could have cornered a ten foot long, 900 lbs. Venusian turtle!

We were all on top of Spot, heading toward the swamp, and anxious to see what trouble our cook had gotten himself into. We were sure Mistrot had just got his story backwards, what with his somewhat loose grip on the English language. As we got closer to the spot we saw Sergeant Thibodeaux in a tree and knew that he was in trouble with his enormous turtle. The next thing that happened took us all by surprise, as the crazy Cajun cook jumped from the tree onto the turtle's back and stabbed the turtle in the neck repeatedly with his Bowie bayonet. By the time we got to the turtle, it was dead and Thibodeaux was a mess: exhausted, bloody and with a torn uniform that looked as though he had defeated the Kaiser's whole army by himself. For a while, he just laid on top of the shell staring at the sky. I could not believe how big this turtle was when we got right next to it. RSM Taggart and I were unsure if this was the same turtle, but I am no turtle expert. We eventually got Thibodeaux on his feet and drug the turtle by rope behind Spot all the way back to camp. The thick shell protected the carcass pretty well from the dragging across the jungle floor.

When we entered camp, everyone had to have a look, and were in awe that a turtle could get that big. Sergeant Thibodeaux has his work cut out for him as he has to cut the thing up for cooking, and only a few hours to do that in before the massive carcass starts to go bad in the heat and humidity of the Veiled Planet. I am tired from our adventure and look forward to a day off this Sunday.

[Editors Note: The Bowie Bayonet is a foot long and shaped just like the infamous knife of Colonel James Bowie.]

30 October 2008

Adventure into the Wilderness

30 October...

Wow, what a day!
My men worked like mules on a mission. The walls of the Headquarters building are now up and two walls are standing at the hospital. Sergeant Garcia and Corporal Cromwell kicked me out of camp, saying I needed to get out and have a look around. They fear I will burn myself out and are only trying to look after me as I do for both of them. Garcia and Cromwell have been with me a good long while, ever since I was a sergeant and they were just no-rank sappers; we met at the Battle of Palmetto Bluff. They were fresh recruits, wet behind the ears, and I was their Squad Leader. We were all nervous as our beach landing was definitely one to remember on that day on a hot Yucatan beach. Sergeant Robert Conner Garcia, from New Glasgow, Sonora Province is married, with two kids. He is of Irish and Mexican descent, the product of Ireland's potato famine and intermarriage with native Catholic Mexicans. Corporal Fredrick James Cromwell is from Creel, Chihuahua Province. He is also married, with three kids, and is of German and English descent. Needless to say, I heeded their words as they kicked me out of camp.

RSM Taggart was kicked out as well by his troops (I suspect a quiet conspiracy amongst the other NCOs), and so we ventured out on Pachysaurs towards the tar pits. The Pachysaurs have their own... unique smell to say the least and their gait feels much different than riding a horse (being they are bipedal creatures). I have to say, they have a good temperament and are definitely protective creatures. We rode around the tar pits and pressed on further south towards the swamps. Many reptiles ran from us and we actually got to see a herd of strange looking beasts: they had one horn, but otherwise were a miniature version of a Triceratops. It was about three feet taller and five feet longer than a Texas longhorn bull. They did not seem to mind us and continued eating plants as we rode past. As we entered the edge of the swamp we also noticed a huge turtle, not unlike a snapping turtle, except for its immense size. We could have made enough turtle soup out of him to feed the whole expedition!
RSM Taggart and I tried to find a good way to the coast, as we are both wondering what the Venusian seas are like. I have heard that the sealife is very large and very aggressive. Sounds to me like a good day's fishing! The coast is only about twenty miles from Fort Humid, but we couldn't reach it before it was time to return to camp. After acting like schoolboys on a lark for the entire day, we headed back to camp and enjoyed a good meal of grillag and potatoes. Some of the Black Legs brought potatoes to plant in the soil as the foothills on which we live reportedly have wonderful soil for potatoes. Not that it matters much, with potatoes.

Well, I am going to make my rounds and check the watches as it is our turn tonight to man the guard towers and internal roving patrols. I will be glad when Lance Corporal Jones finishes the still so we can have some proper ale once again. For some reason Lance Corporal Jones knows exactly how to build the still from memory. I dare not ask what his family’s occupation is. Once he tried to tell me about a story of his father back in the homeland of Wales and some altercation with a magistrate. I will end her and maybe tomorrow a pigeon will head our way.

29 October 2008

We few we happy few......

29 October ….

Today is the third day and still no pigeons, or any type of word from our patrol to Camp Trafalgar. We have made great strides as the floor and walls were constructed on the first structures in Fort Humid. The men did not speak much as this was a day of remembrance for our lost comrade. This day we lay to rest our Brother in Arms, Private James Simmons Allen, from Roswell, Santa Fe Province. Father Flannigan gave a speech from Henry V today just before the torch was lit, he talked of St. Crispin and there was not a dry eye in the whole combined force, as both Black Leg and Marine equally gave their respects to our fallen brother.

So this day I will end in short verse as there is still work to be done before I hit the rack.

28 October 2008

[OOC] New Arrivals!

Today I got in two of the three packages I have been waiting for with baited breath. In the smaller package were ten Safari, Ltd. Spotted Eagle Rays, better known to my readers here as Golden Whorled Deathrays. So now I just need one or two more to finish off that project. Oh, and painting the riders and casting up about 9 more saddles. Then its just glue it all together, add the straps, and mount on the flying stands. Woohoo! Project finished!
The second package I got today was quite a bit larger. It contains... a 25mm scale aerial gunboat, scratchbuilt by Joseph Dragovich of Pittsburgh, PA. Once I repair the damages from the rough handling while being shipped (USPS), I will take some photos and post them, make official announcment type stuff, etc. I also got five aeronaval crew and an officer. I will need to get a couple of weapons to mount at the wing spots, but those can wait a few weeks.
I am still awaiting a package from the north side of town, an order from Little Wars in Houston. Its just a few small packs of Papal Zouaves and infantry from Freikorps in 15mm. Been almost a week, though, and no contact. I must say I don't like that, though I know they'll get here eventually.
Lastly, there is yet another new project on the boil for Venus, but that will remain under wraps for now. The only thing I will say is... keep an eye on the foliage.

A Day of Sadness

28 October ….

I am saddened as I write this evening, because early this morning Private James Simmons Allen passed away. He remained unconscious since the attack, so we can hope that he did not feel a thing. Father Flannigan, Doc Armstrong and Herbalist Dempsey have tried to work their magic but to no avail. This just shows how dangerous this planet can be as Venusian Malaria can kill in a week and a Bloodeye bite we have just found out can be fatal as well. Services will be Wednesday and the body will be burned per doctrine to rid of any disease that might be fatal to others. In order to honor Private Allen we have renamed the tar pits to the south “The Allen Tar-pits” (since his patrol was near the area when they were attacked).

On the brighter side of things it has been a whole day and then some since the patrol left for Camp Trafalgar; after seeing the flying reptiles again I doubt the pigeons will make it back to our location. They are at least five feet long in the body and fly extremely fast as one buzzed our tower today within thirty feet and it sounded like a hurricane wind after it passed the guard tower.

I am short on words today as we are honoring our dead. I will end here this evening as the Rosary starts in five minutes.

[Editor's Notes: Herbalist is the title given to enlisted men in the Surgeon's Corps who have received some medical training. Their purpose is to assist the doctors and dentists. They can treat minor wounds, set fractures, prescribe some medicines and draw blood, but they are by no means fully trained nurses. Herbalist School is seven months in length and is located at Camp Zavala in Kingsville. A number denotes the individual's rank within the Surgeon's Corps, ranging from 1 (lowest) to 7. They are technical experts outside of the regular chain of command, and are only placed in charge of other Herbalists and stretcher bearers within the Surgeon's Corps.]

Week Two Begins

27 October ….

Today we managed to layout the piers for the headquarters building, hospital and chapel. All SET-Huts are elevated four feet off the ground to help alleviate problems with unwanted critters from entering unannounced. We should have the first buildings up and ready to move in by Wednesday, followed by the Officers' Barracks and then the Galley. It will be nice to tear down the tents and get this place looking like a proper fort. The typical SET-Hut is 20’ X 40’ with a gable roof. The Headquarters building is three SET-Huts laid out in a T. The hospital and chapel are two SET-Huts laid end to end. Each barracks will be a single SET-Hut.

We also managed to build a riding platform for the Triceratops that Sergeant Garcia has named Spot. (If Garcia ever manages to get the thing to roll over and fetch, I'll have to take to the bottle). It seems to work quite well as Garcia and three others took a mounted patrol southward toward the swamps. He managed to find tar pits roughly five miles south at the edge of the swamp. It is amazing how much you can see of the terrain when you are fifteen feet off of the ground.

The officers and a squad left this morning on the Pachysaurs headed to Camp Trafalgar; Mr. Griggs said he will keep us informed via carrier pigeon on their daily progress to make sure everything is well. I still think it will take longer than a week to get there and back.

Today RSM Taggart and I checked on Private Allen today. You may recall he was wounded yesterday when a bloodye frog bit him. Unfortunately, he is not doing well and has the fever. After we left his tent, Doc Armstrong told us he is not expecting Allen to recover, as the swelling has worsened and the acid has created impurities in his blood system. I hope Doc is wrong, but as we left Father Flannigan was returning to the tent to give Last Rites to the poor lad.

Well it is once more time to end, we'll see what happens in the morning but my prayers go out to Private Allen and his family.

27 October 2008

Photostatic Evidence

The Wicked Hun's "Agricultural" Equipment!

While the Venusstadt government may claim this is merely an agricultural implement designed for clearing the heavy forest and undergrowth of Venus for planting crops, I think my readers may judge for themselves the obvious military potential of the massive hulk.


I would estimate the titan at 20 to 25 feet tall, if the German officer in the foreground of this photo is any indication.
Here is another view of the Landwirtschaftspaziergänger, or farming walker, clearly showing the colonial ensign of Imperial Germany.

"Ghost" Archers Uncovered




Previously reported, the mysterious Martian archers have appeared for the first time in photostatic glory. It seems that these are 'unfinished' specimens of some sort. Yet, as these are the first verified images of these unknown, possibly menacing primitive Martians, I felt that it would be wise to print them. Loyal subjects of the Queen's Crown Colony take heed! If you see any Johnnies running about dressed in this manner, contact the authorities immediately. Officials of Her Majesty's Colonial government would very much like the opportunity to ask questions of these individuals.
[Editor's Notes: The ghost archers above are the final two in an 8 figure series showing the step-by-step development of the ghost archer's painting. The German walker is a virtually unchanged MechWarrior Dark Age mech, with some new paint, a flagstaff, and a coal bunker on the back of the engine.]

26 October 2008

First Sunday on the Veiled Planet

26 October ….

Today was an interesting day, to say the least. We started off nicely with a wonderful Mass from Father Flannigan, followed by a nice lunch of grillag. It tastes quite well as our cooks seem to be able to create a seven-course meal from the most modest of resources. Unlike Earth, where it seems that everything tastes like chicken, grillag tastes somewhat like an alligator tail as the meat has different flavors. The men followed lunch with a friendly game of rugby, matching Marines versus Army. A few black eyes and muscle strains occurred during the match, but it was a good way for the troops to unwind.

On the interesting side it seems as though one of the Army patrols was ambushed by a bunch of ‘Blood-eye’ frogs. Private Allen was on point when one of the beasts jumped on him, thankfully for him, Corporal Garza was on point as well and is a reliable shot with his Martini-Henry rifle. Garza was able to kill the beast with a single shot through the beast's blood red eye. We had heard of these dangerous giant frogs during one of our briefs by British Royal Marines while at Fort Anahuac, but were not really sure of their existence. After all who would believe that frogs are carnivorous? I mean, more than just bugs and such? One of the Black Legs is a ‘Combat Correspondent’ and he managed to take a picture of three of the amphibian beasts. They were relentless and their burping sound echoes just before an organized, wolfpack-like attack. Thankfully, only Private Allen was hurt during the exchange, suffering a grotesque bite and a broken shoulder. It also seems the saliva from the beast is of some sort of an acidic substance as the skin has a slight burn around the bite.

Tomorrow morning the Officer with a squad of men are off to Camp Trafalgar and will get to see how the endurance of the Pachysaurs maintains over the long trip. Mr. Griggs is estimating it will be a week to ten days on the trip total. Personally, I think it will take longer, as the undergrowth on Venus is like nothing I've ever seen. RSM Taggart will be in charge of the Black Legs and I will be over my Marine Sappers.

Today while making rounds Sergeant Garcia was with the Triceratops, and it is amazing to me the way he has with animals. I have seen the way he can tame a wild horse and wild dogs, and I would not have thought it would be the same with a six ton Triceratops, but to my amazement he literally had the thing eating heart fruit right out of his hands. When I asked Garcia about it, he says his family has always been able to speak to animals. He told me a tale about how his grandfather when he was a boy tamed a pack of wolves near the Guadeloupe River while he was fishing.

Well off to discuss schedules and plans with my Army counterpart RSM Taggart. I must close and will write more next week.

Terror Weapon of the Hun on Venus

Gentlemen, I have confirmed a report that the Kaiser's troops on Venus have secured an infernal device destined to swing the delicate balance on that planet in their favor. The streets of Venusstadt are now stalked by a giant armored vehicle, marching about on two legs. It is armed with a large flame throwing device and a sort of... well, the other arm seems to be some sort of spinning blades, set parallel to one another, and spinning at high speed around an axle.

The Imperial German News Service reports that their scientists have created a highly mobile forest clearing device, and not some gigantic weapon for militaristic adventurism on the Veiled Planet. Those reports are assuredly as reliable as their denial of their repsonsibility for the loss of the launch from HMES Orion.

Dear readers, rest assured that we shall keep a close watch on the nefarious schemes of those treacherous Huns.

25 October 2008

Royal Xenological Society, Vol. 1

Triceratops Tamed!


On the steamy jungle planet of Venus, great lizards very much like our own long extinct dinosauria still roam the surface, fly through the skies, and make water travel very... exciting, to say the least. One such creature is the immensely powerful, but moderately docile Triceratops. Recently, a group of Texican Marines operating south of Her Majesty's Camp Trafalagar location have reported the domestication of a trio of the gargantuan beasts. Surely, our friends and allies the Texicans will be forthcoming with their training methods for the better utilisation of animal power on Venus.


Bloodeye Swarm in Swamps of Veiled Planet

The carnivorous amphibian 'Bloodeye' frogs (Rana venustica phlegboptica ) are swarming through the southern swamps of Venus. Seen below is a photostat captured by a Texican journalist who is part of their recent military expedition to the Veiled Planet. As you can see, the amphibians are quite large, and have no fear of mankind or our weapons. Thankfully, they are thin-skinned, and a round or two from a rifle will do for them.


Martian Volcano Peppers - A Fiery Sensation!

A staple of Martian cooking, the volcano pepper is becoming increasingly valuable as an export item to Earth. The fiery hot fruit of this plant is quite popular in Texas and India. Additionally, the wood of the plant secretes an oil which is flammable, and useful as a fuel substitute to coal on the Red Planet. It has, in fact, been used to heat homes through the cold Martian nights for millennia. Our photostat comes from a typical farm in the Ikora District of the Martian Crown Colony.




[Editor's Notes: The Triceratops is a Schleich, which I purchased over the summer while they were on sale at Target for $0.96 each. I added a small scratchbuilt wooden platform to its back and some fine brass chain and rings for control, and there it is. The bloodeye frogs are just tiny little plastic frogs I got at the Dallas Zoo gift shop, 10 for $1! Finally, the volcano peppers are snips from an interesting fake flowering plant I saw at Hobby Lobby, superglued to some resing root stumps I sculpted for the specific purpose of utilising resin overages. I pour the extra resin into the mold with several roots in it, then cut out.]

Venus +5

25 October ….

Today marked the fifth day we have been on the Veiled Planet. Camp Humid is coming along splendidly as four towers and a 10-foot tall wooden perimeter fence now surrounds the whole ten acres of the camp. With help of the “Black Legs” (who have helped to drag posts into their desired location for erection), we are ahead of schedule. Captain Higgins of the Army and Subaltern Griggs have been working closely together. Additionally, the RTS Santa Fe left yesterday after gathering maps of our location and some plant species and other samples of the soil.

Chief O’Malley left me with the recipe for Venusian Ale made from local foliage. We just have to convert some of the 'surplus to the needs of the Service' tin and copper tubing in to a suitable still. After all, we were guaranteed a pint a day from the Republic when we took the Blue Coin. He will be back in three months as they are to bring supplies and correspondence once a quarter.

The Army, after two days of patrolling the area, managed to find three Triceratops to use in place of oxen; they are definitely a help and are much stronger than oxen. I also find their temperament easier to deal with, and they eat grass which makes it a relief to all of us as I could not imagine anything of their size being carnivorous. Sergeants Gregory and Dixon (RA) have managed to catch a dozen or so Pachyosaurs (bipedal herbivores for riding) and we are using a modified version of the British-issued Pachy-Saddle. We brought a total of thirty saddles to use and we were happy to find the Pachysaurs as they can travel at speeds up to twenty miles an hour while carrying a rider and his gear. Captain Higgins, Subaltern Landowski (RA) and Mister Griggs are planning on a link up with the Brits over at Camp Trafalgar, which is an estimated 150 miles due north of our location.

Tomorrow will be Sunday and after Father Flannigan performs Mass, we will have a day of relaxation. The men already have a friendly rugby game planned and the cooks are going to experiment with cooking some Grillag (a four-legged reptile, roughly 120 lbs). I am so glad our British friends have already tried all of the species of plants and reptiles to eat as it can be dangerous when trying to eat in unexplored regions. Well, enough for tonight. I still have to go over the plans for the headquarters building we are to begin building on Monday.

23 October 2008

For the Adventurous Gentleman...

Arms Suitable for Discriminating Men with a Taste for Adventure
The following personal protection devices were located through search of the very popular auctioning site known colloquially as "Ebay." While all have been sold already, the gentleman who produces such fine devices would, I am sure be quite interested in selling additional units.


The Mad Scientist


The Gentleman's Pistol

Personally, I believe I really need one of those Gentleman's Pistols. You know, just in case these Martian Johnnies start getting out of hand. Like those Afghan chaps did, what? I wonder what cost to ship one out to the Red Planet?


If you are interested (and this Journal has no financial stake nor advertising revenue from the manufacturer - I am merely passing along an item that I believe my fellow adventurers of the etherways might find beneficial), you can contact the manufacturer through their seller. He (or she) goes by the nom de commerce of "spydersales" on that auction site. Obviously the dealer fears governmental rebuke for indiscriminate sales of top quality arms.

[Editor's Notes: These are all real shooting Nerf-type guns. How cool are these? Almost enough to get you into costume ('cosplay'), or as I like to think of it, RenFaire for the Victorian Age.]The Shipmate's Sidearm

[OOC] Quick Tip and Bad News

First, the bad news:

The Age of Extraordinary Gentlemen PBEM game is apparently deader than... well, disco came back for a bit. But it's dead. Which in a way is a shame, because I enjoyed the idea, but in a way is okay, because I wasn't really enjoying my character. Oh well, perhaps another time for that.

Now the tip:

I have been doing this for a bit, but thought I might share it. For games where the ability to form trained troops into line, column, etc. is important, I put those troops on square, preferably metal basaes. They can be used with magnetic sheeting in the bottom of your case, and they will still be able to neatly form line and column. For irregular troops (Pathans, Zulus, Martians, etc.) I usually base them on circular bases. At a glance, i can tell that they can not use close formations.

Its very early on Thursday morning - near 0200. Time for bed.

Goodnight, Irene.

22 October 2008

HYDRIUM!

Hydrium Discovered in Ghola District!

   Hydrium, that marvelous Martian miasma, is of course what provides so many large creatures on Mars with the lift necessary for flight. It is naturally occuring in many animal species, and in at least one plant species, the hydrium tree, more commonly known as 'liftwood.' The fact that hydrium has a greater lifting potential than hydrogen while remaining totally non-flammable makes it an extremely valuable commodity.

   "Coupled with the slightly reduced gravitational effects on the Red Planet," states Professor Percival Botham, "naturally occurring plant-based hydrium makes very large objects capable of flight without the use of cumbersome gas bags. With gas bags, the scale of such aerial behemoths becomes astonishing."

   Until recently, it was thought by Earthly scientists that hydrium was a natural digestive byproduct unique to Martian biology. However, the eminent Texican geologist, Howard Burroughs, has discovered a natural 'well' of pure hydrium gas in a secret location in the remote agricultural Ghola District of the Martian Crown Colony. Mr. Burroughs was searching for petroleum deposits when he noticed the distinctive mango-like scent of hydrium in the air.

   The ramifications of this discovery may upset the delicate balance of power between the European states on Mars and their allies, thanks to the frontier location of the sleepy Ghola District. Naturally, Her Majesty's Government lays claim to the strategically important mineral, as is only right, providing Mr. Burroughs with a handsome percentage of the profit to be obtained from hydrium development without burdening the man of science with the tawdry financial details.

"Ghost" Archers Developing

   This journal hopes to be able to produce an 8-part photostatic essay on the creation of a Martian "ghost" archer in the near future. Please be so kind as to keep an eye out for these mysterious red devils of the deserts. While no one knows their plans at this time, such furtive, secretive activity can not possibly indicate trustworthiness. The author suspects the hand of the perfidious Hun behind these strange natives.

The Prince in Flight

   As promised, good readers, here is a rather poor photostatic image of the Prince Gopotty astride his mighty flying mount. The photographer was severely mauled by the golden whorled deathray immediately following the capture of this image; donations to his widow may be sent care of this journal, made out to cash.




[Editor's Note: Hydrium is a wonder gas introduced by James Oppel in his novel Airborn. I highly recommend it for younger readers and as a light read. Not exactly Victorian, but it has zeppelins and air pirates, so how bad could it be?]

21 October 2008

The Prince is Ready!

Whorled Deathray Cavalry Take to the Skies

At long last, His Highness, Prince Musta Gopotty has finished training the first of the golden whorled deathrays for cavalry service. Eleven more brave Martians have volunteered to train with the Prince in the art of aerial cavalry. Some are armed with guns, some with lances, and two are known to have been in possession of musical instruments when they volunteered. Perhaps once a few more golden whorled deathrays are captured and saddled, they will be seen practicing their graceful yet deadly art in the skies of the Red Planet.

Photostats of this momentous occasion in Martian military history are forthcoming, awaiting only proper lighting conditions for a better quality photo.

"Ghost" Archers Sighted In Outlying Agricultural District

In other news, we have sighted a few Martians dressed in strange headdress and carrying bows sneaking about the countryside. Martian militia units have also been sighted in the same area, armed with a mix of guns and swords. Only time will tell the intent of these furtive figures, but this journal would suggest that the Government send patrols to the Ukana District.

Sentinel #2 Preparing for Service at Orlock

From Orlock Ironmongery of Mars, reports filter out that bombardment rockets for the long-awaited Sentinel #2 are in development. Only time shall tell what form these terror weapons shall eventually take, as security has been extremely tight (good show, that!) and many copies of misleading evidence have been allowed to be discovered, in order to confuse the spies of Napoleon III and Kaiser Wilhelm.

[Editor's Note: I must remember the silly names I give these Martians, for continuity's sake. I rather like Musta Gopotty, though. Be careful to wear nitrile gloves when pouring resin. It does not come off of skin easily. Please let me know if you like the 'new' look of the posting - more like a newspaper, I think. It won't be every post I make, but...]

20 October 2008

The Pledge, as of October

Well, gentlemen, I find myself in trouble in regards to the Pledge. If you recall, I Pledged I would paint mroe than I bought this year, and that solemn oath is in serious danger of being broken.

Some would say, "Oh, but surely your illness this summer justifies your failure to whittle away at your immense stores of unpainted miniatures." To them I say, poppycock. A few days in hospital here or there certainly doesn't eliminate one's word of honour!

Others might remind me that the storm certainly disrupted what seemed a promising period of accomplishment in the reduction of the lead mountain. Coupled with the additional inhabitants of the domicile since the storm and pursuant lack of space and freedom from distraction, it makes a good excuse for limited progress. Again, I say twaddle! A few days without civilised comforts and a few weeks with four extra houseguests cuts no hay with me, sirrah!

Then, to add to the problem, I use the newly restored telephonic differencing engine weave to place order for several additional figures. If the lack of progress in reducing the previously accumulated stockpile was possibly forgiveable, the lack of discipline in not purchasing additional figurines is most certainly not.

Gentlemen, I need to get back to work, and that is an end to it! Enough fiddling with terrain bits - they cut nothing off the Pledge numbers. Wish me luck, as in the next two months I foresee a difficult time setting aside the necessary hours. But I shall endeavour to keep my sacred bond.

Venus + 1

20 October ….

After a long day of cutting trees and trimming limbs the men are exhausted I had an additional half pint added to their ale ration for appreciation of a good day's work. One timber tower was 90% completed and only lacked a roof covering of plant leaves and tree branches. Sergeant Garcia and I shot more grades and set markers today with our prized transit, while also driving markers for the post holes to be dug. We have picked good terrain that is thirty feet above the surrounding land. This hill we are on is of good size and will be sufficient enough for the original camp to double for expansion.

Mr. Griggs went on an expedition today and has drawn many pictures and documented new species of plants and animals. So far we have been lucky and have not encountered the Carnivorous Reptilians other nation's parties have been attacked by. Around noon during our lunch break Private O’Rourke pointed out flying reptiles in the distance. He was using my telescope to get a better view when a flight of three flew close enough to our position to hit with a rock. The things are humungous and would feed a company for at least half a week. I'm guessing they would taste like chicken if fried up. Sapper Jones (not to be confused with Private Jones or Lance Corporal Jones) wants to go hunting for them with his Martini-Henry as he is anxious to shoot something. He is one of my best scouts and can hit a target at 500 yards with little trouble, so maybe this Sunday after services I will let him and another go with a Black Leg patrol. We will see what time permits however as we are very busy.

The Black Legs are changing watches in the tower and the perimeter. I must say they are probably competent enough but I would have felt safer with other Marines manning our perimeter. I still do not understand how the War Department came up with the crew mixture for this journey; but I suspect it has something to do with the Chief of Staff Major General Pummel being a Black Leg himself. Well, enough for this evening as I will walk the lines with Sergeant Garcia and Corporal Cromwell, before the sun sets.

19 October 2008

[OOC] Other Projects in the Works/Planned

There has been a sort of request to mention all of the plans I have for VSF gaming, as I listed all the aerial stuff previously. So, here's the ground and riverine stuff. Note that this does not include all the stuff already completed (which is as nothing compared to the nefarious grand plan)...

15/18mm:
  • Pontifical forces: Zouaves, Infantry, and Artillery [Freikorps]. Purchased via Little Wars on Saturday, awaiting shipment of the order. Call it 45 minis.
  • Texicans: Already have the minis [Freikorps Span-Am War Americans], just need to paint.
  • British: Lancers, already have Old Glory minis, just need to get to painting them. Need to finish repaints on purchased naval brigade troops.
  • Sidewheeler gunboat: Purchased. I have been adding wooden decking to it, and some cladding. Totally unpainted and still in need of lots of work. Will have interchangeable flagpole.
  • French. Need some kind of cavalry and artillery. They only have infantry [Stone Mountain FFL] and one walker, though I have parts for more. Want at least one more officer figure for use with native troops if I give them over to the French for a scenario. I need pilot figures, though. Hmm...
  • Steam launches. Technically, could be used as small boats for 25/28mm as well. Assembled, working on paint. Three of these, one pretty much done, except I need to rig up the sails, and come up with some kind of boiler. I am trying to make it where I can rig it either way - sail or steam. In addition, you can change out the flags to change nationality. Otherwise they are pretty non-specific.
  • German Armored Suit. A "paint, flag and coal bunker" conversion from a MechWarrior: Dark Ages figure. Flamer and big slashing blade harvester thingy. About 2/3 finished.
  • Martians. Black Hat, via Scale Creep. Just ordered some Ghost Archers to try out. Also, some Imperial Martians with guns and more with swords. I probably ought to do some more Imperial Guards, too. Two guns is enough, though.
  • Dinosaur Howdahs. Have 9 Schleich Triceratops, which I want to mount platforms upon two or three. Rest are wild. Will be used with 25/28mm as well.
  • Dinosaurs. Need at least three more Schleich Velociraptors. No, they are not to scale. So what? Will be used with 25/28mm as well.
  • Germans. I have one German officer. That's it so far. Need at least one more officer and some troops, probably 20 or so, plus a gun.
  • Prof. Maton: Have a mini, started painting. Assistant? Minions? Still need those. I do have a generic Oriental woman, maybe she's a mysterious Eastern assistant/spy for Fu Manchu? You can never trust your fellow evil geniuses...
  • Personalities: Her Majesty, God Bless Her. Theodore Roosevelt. More mad scientist types (Tesla, etc.)
  • Zombies. Yeah, I gotta have some of them, too. Raised from the dead by a fiendish device of some mad scientist, or the ancient technology of the Martians (Black Hat's Martian Thought Projector? Hmm...)
25/28mm:
  • Sentinels conversion. One essentially done, only needs dullcote and pennant. Other completely untouched, although I have started to try to sculpt the big bombardment rocket launchers for it.
  • AT-ST: Convert Star Wars Miniatures AT-ST to German walker. On hold.
  • Steam-powered cavalry. Lots of different MageKnight toys being used here. Horses and rams (US or Texican, not sure yet), and cats (French). Need cavalry figures to mount on them, bases, paint touch-up, and so on. Essentially, nothing done but getting the mounts themselves.
  • Martian Askaris/Sepoys: RAFM Colonial Martians. Ten down, nine to go (I think). Painted in neutral khaki, can be used for any native troops, be it German askaris, British sepoys, or even French tirailleurs martienne.
  • Masked Minions: Purchased, but not even undercoated yet. These are the human minions of Professor Otto Maton. Need a special weapons figure or two.
  • Clockwork Men: One down. Have one more, need to get a few more from London War Room. Maybe three or four more. Also used with 15/18mm.
  • Hoverbots. Technically aerial, I guess, but not mentioned previously. Hydra Miniatures, IIRC makes a great hoverbot that I want to get for these - ten of them. I am going to add some details (maybe a clockwork key) and they will be Maton's flying minions. Also will be used with 15/18mm.
  • Steam Spiders. Wyrd Miniatures. Nine of ten done. Also used with 15/18mm.
  • Prof. Maton, Himself. Almost finished. Basework, a highlight on his massive wrench, and dullcote, he's done. But he needs an assistant or two. Need to find one (or two).
  • Venusian Lizardmen. Two types, gex [GW old skinks] and gaters [GW old saurus]. Probably have about all the gex I need, but have a lot to paint still (about 40 or so left.) Way short on my gaters. Need to get enough to finish second unit of regular gaters and then I need Temple Guard for elite gaters. Also used with 15/18mm.
  • Pappegaivolk: Have the parts for ten [GW Kroot]. Have begun on the project, but... slow progress. Eventually want 20 total. Could be used with 15/18mm, but are really too darned big for that.
  • Germans. Mordians for VSF weapons, need more of them. Want grenade launcher, a few riflemen, sergeant and officer, have several mortars and flamethrower. Also, just need some good Seebattalion or Schutztruppen. About 20 or so of them would be good. Do have a good commanding officer in dress uniform, Herr Oberst Hans Klarkopf.
  • British. Just about done. Have to finish up a few Praetorians that I (and everyone else) will use for VSF weapons (the voltaic rifle, the flame projector, the Portable Shoulder Mount Miniature Congreve Launcher, the Caloric Ray Emitter, etc.)
  • German Landship. Got to either scratchbuild or purchase one of these. Leaning towards building.
  • British Landship. Backburner, but definitely want to do one eventually.
  • Martians. Parroom Station Martians. I want to get some Sverdvolk or whatever they call them, and Royal Infantry (maybe 40 or so of them). Also, I have a few of their characters, and want more civilian types. RAFM as well. Real mixed bag on the Martians.
  • Turks. Over the Wire figures wanted.
  • Texicans. Searching for suitable figures. Leaning towards Boxer Rebellion US Marines or Span-Am American infantry.
  • French. Foreign Legion (Legion Extraterrestriale), Spahis or some sort of cavalry to mount on steam cats. Probably one gun. Leaning towards Askari Figures.
  • Pontifical. At least some Zouaves. Need to find figures.
  • Plantmen. Hydra Miniatures has some really cool looking plantmen, the Vardu, that I am dying to use as well. I may just get the smaller ones and use them with 15/18mm though, as I already have two major races in this scale for Venus.
  • Personalities: Her Majesty, God Bless Her. Theodore Roosevelt.
Sadly, there are probably at least a half dozen more ideas and projects currently on the boil. Plus terrain. Add in the dabbling in 15mm Napoleonics (check that out on my other blog www.leadwellington.blogspot.com), and the straight Colonials (also in two scales!) and... no progress, it seems. I also want to get in some Aeronef stuff, eventually. Maybe in 2009.

I hope this list helps to spur up some creative juices for all of you guys and gals. Goodnight, Irene.

Land Fall on the Veiled Planet

19 October …

After two weeks of flying through the Aether we have finally made landfall on our new home for the next eighteen months. It was strange to see the Veiled Planet from a distance; first it was just a mysterious marble and each day she grew, at night we would take our daily ration topside and view our new home.

On one of my evenings spent trying to make out land features and checking maps, Mr. Griggs caught me topside. We chatted about the famous explorers of our Earth and wondered how Christopher Columbus felt when he reached the Americas. I commented about the Vikings making it to the Americas first. Mr. Griggs stared at me for a moment then asked me finally where I had went to school. When I told him my mother was a school teacher and we (my brothers and sisters) were required to read after dinner and how I was always interested in history, and how my mother visited Dickinson Women’s College every week and had brought me home two history books to read. This seemed to be quite surprising to the subaltern as he had the impression that all enlisted men were from farms or fishing boats on the wharves and were unable to even attend school, much less graduate.

After spending a whole day searching for a proper site to make camp, this morning we started work on our new home Fort Houston (the men refer to it as Fort Humid). The clearing of trees has been a horrible task. I cannot believe Fort Anahuac is less humid than this place! I think I have sweated more in the last two days than I have in my entire existence above ground. The Army “Black Legs” have been busy pulling security and scouting the terrain as us Marines have been working on the construction of the SET Huts. After a few huts have been finished, the construction of a moat and perimeter fence will begin. My chief concern is how we are going to build suitable roads in this environment.

Last night Private Jones produced an official Rugby Ball - God Alone knows where he stowed it as space was very limited aboard the Santa Fe. The men played for about thirty minutes and Mr. Griggs played a little as well, seems as though he was an eight man on the Academy's team.
Well, I must turn in as tomorrow will be a long day.

18 October 2008

[OOC] Aerial plans

Previously, I mentioned that...

"I have a variety of other flying devices and mounts and plans and such for 25/28mm, including High Martians, airships, etc. Nothing else currently on tap for 15/18mm, though I would like to get on to scratchbuilding some kites and airships for them as well."

Actually, that statement was not entirely true. It omitted somethings that were already in the works, and all of my nefarious future and past aerial plans. So, I thought I would, in the interst of full disclosure, describe my existing plans for aerial combatants in VSF games over Mars, Earth, and Venus.

In 15/18mm scale:
  • I have an airship already purchased, the Lee Scoresby airship from the moving picture The Golden Compass. It requires modification. Quite possibly Texican.
  • Figures called 'ornithopters' for a game called "Crucible". I won them in an auction. These have yet to be removed from packaging, and the package photo is less than stunning, so I am unsure of how they will be used. Perhaps French, or American.
  • Martian deathrays, mounted on golden whorled rays
  • Martian flying boat, with 3-D sail plan.
  • A German zeppelin. C'mon, you pretty well ahve to have one of these.
For 25/28mm, I have:
  • A purchased scratch-built aerial gunship, essentially an Aphid-class - purchased and on its way.
  • High Martians from RAFM in my plans
  • Mage Knight mechanical dragonflies for dragonfly lancers (need lancers, though)
  • Rocket pack Americans (from Great Rail Wars)
  • Idea of helicopter packs for German troops (whirlytotenfliegers)
  • Martian deathray riders - yeah, I decided to do it in both scales and just need to suck it up and buy more minis and rays.
  • Martian flying boat, with 3-D sail plan. Probably use the flying skiff sold by London War Room along with their Parroom Station line as the basis, then add sails.

Some new photostats have arrived

Gentlemen, I know many of you have wondered what a Martian farm must look like. So, I present to you, a typical farmstead.

The dome atop the farmhouse is the atmospheric water condensation device, which comes in very handy on the arid plains of the Red Planet, away from the life-giving canals.
Also, note the unusual trees next to the farmhouse. This is the famous Martian leatherleaf tree. The Martians often use the tough leaves of this plant much as we use leather. Once properly cured, they will last for years, staying as soft and pliable as deerskin but as tough as elephant hide.

Note also some reinforcements for the Royal Martian Crown Colony's sepoys have been arriving (in 25/28mm). [RAFM Space 1889 Colonial Infantry] Pictured here is Private Gleepa, his Martini rifle at the ready.


Next, we have additional photostats of the newest mechanical marvel from the minds of Britain's top engineers: the Sentinel-class light cavalry walker [modified GW Praetorian Sentinel] For some reason, this trooper is not flying his identification pennant. I am sure a few days of fatigue duty will remind him how a proper soldier of Her Majesty should make ready.


Finally for the evening, I present to you an in-the-works photo of the Pappegaivolk, Parrotmen of Venus. [GW Kroot, unmodified except for parrot-y paint job]


Gentlemen, I think its time for a round at the Club. Good even to you all.

[Editor's Note: the field photographed up at the top was made by spraying a cheap doormat from Target (about $2.99 for a 2'x3' mat) with dark brown paint. Then a few dustings of other colors (terra cotta and tan), and voila - a plowed field. I will be doing more from the same mat, adding some vegetation and such to show crops coming up. The farmhouse was a butter tub and Easter egg half, painted, with some basswood accents added on. It's not entirely done yet.]

17 October 2008

Painting poll results are quite interesting

According to the poll, almost as many of us pay someone else to paint the little lead boys and girls as paint them ourselves. Most of us that do paint our own lean towards quality over quantity (I myself fall into that category), which I did not find surprising at all.

I suppose I was surprised by both the relatively large number of responses for one of my little polls (the other polls are doing well also) and the number of gamers that apparently send their miniature soldiers off to be painted. I have considered it many times, but have yet to bite the bullet. I have a hundred Zulus in 15mm just dying to get painted so they can die in droves while rushing Her Majesty's invincible Thin Red Line, for instance.

I wonder if its lack of time to paint, or lack of interest in painting that leads one to pay for it. Not that there is anything wrong with that. I would probably do it myself if I had more money. At least for big lot jobs, like the Zulus, where I mostly just want to get the little buggers painted and on a table.

New Auction House Connection Added

Friends, I have added a new connection under the Business listings in the sidebar. Please go and peruse the offerings of this auction house, run by a gamesman, an adventurer who moved from Britain to the Mysterious East to open his own artistic business, a man of vision and talent...

This is an alternative to the large and all-powerful auctioning house to be found on the telephonic weave. You know of which entity I speak, though I dare not outright mention its name for fear of solicitors calling on me with papers in hand. I do so despise paperwork.

Have a look, see if it interests.

14 October 2008

Deathray Dilemma

Gentlemen, I have a quandry, which I hope that you may help me resolve. I truly despise indecision, so I must make a stand quickly.

Here's the situation: I have 18mm Martians [Black Hat], and two sizes of deathrays. I am thinking of buying more 25/28mm riders for the larger deathrays and more smaller deathrays [Spotted Eagle Rays from Safari, Ltd.] for the smaller riders.

I have a variety of other flying devices and mounts and plans and such for 25/28mm, including High Martians, airships, etc. Nothing else currently on tap for 15/18mm, though I would like to get on to scratchbuilding some kites and airships for them as well.

12 October 2008

For the record...

Photostats are just too difficult to layout properly in this journal. Has anyone else had a similar difficulty? I think from this point onwards, I shall simply pop small photos into the center and put any text above or below them.

Reports of Progress on Deathray Training

Gentlemen, we have received alarming reports that Prince Musta Gopotty of the Martian state of Galfor, that implacable opponent of all things Right and Proper - that is to say, British - is readying troop of soldiers mounted upon devilish flying mounts. The Martian Deathray is a rightly feared predator of the Martian highlands, where it gracefully soars under the twin moons of the Red Planet. Never before has anyone even tried to keep any in captivity. Their enormous size and strength and well-known ferocity indicate such would be nigh on impossible!

And yet, the impossible does seem to be happening! As these photostats clearly show, the renegade Prince has mounted one of the smaller species of deathrays, the golden whorled deathray. While smaller than its cousin, the Great Deathray, it is much faster and more agile, and clearly capable of carrying off a man, or carrying one mounted on its back.
[Editor's Notes:]
The ray is a spotted eagle ray toy I bought at the Dallas Zoo. I think it was manufactured by Safai Unlimited or something like that. I scraped that info off the bottom - oops! Then I drilled a hole in its belly and popped it onto a clear flight stand. The rider is a Martian prince in 18mm from Black Hat miniatures. The straps are some strips of sueded lacing that I just superglued onto the toy.
The big problem was that the cast miniature would not sit on the flat back of the ray. So I had to make a saddle of some sort.
I bought some clay, mold putty and two part casting resin at the local Hobby Lobby. I sculpted a saddle out of the clay and baked it hard, per the package directions (I used green Sculpey Primo).
Next, I made a mold using the mold putty. It was really easy: knead the two equal sized bits of putty together, then press onto the master and let it sit. It took all of about 30 minutes for the mold to be ready.
I popped the original 'green' out of the mold and
mixed a small amount of the resin - still way too much, it turned out. Poured the resin into the mold, waited about 10 minutes (just to be sure), and popped out the little white beauty you see here, next to the original.
The whole process was really easy. Granted, the sculpting is primitive and a simple form, but I am still very happy with how it came out. I can make more saddles for the Great Deathrays now. I have even figured a way to modify them to make a two-man saddle possible for the bigger rays.
Other projects are moving along as well. I have been working on several Martian buildings from plastic containers of various shapes and sizes, filled with expanding insulating foam for extra rigidity, and then the bottom given a layer of Water Putty for heft. When I get one really finished, I'll post pictures. I even have some "in progress" shots. I am nearing completion of the entire squad of 28mm British Secret Weapons troops [Praetorians from GW], and have one of the two modified Sentinels ready to go except for a final shot of matte spray and the banner.
I bought some dried plants to make more Martian terrain, as well. Some strange looking trees will be making their appearance on the gaming table soon.

10 October 2008

RTS Santa Fe One week Down

10 October ….

   This is the first entry I have been able to make in the logbook as things have been very intense the last few days, as the good Mr. Griggs is covering every aspect of our mission in needlessly minute detail. Seems as though his dreams have been about nothing besides the Veiled Planet for the last week; luckily, my dreams have been about the missus! Since someone of importance one day will probably be reading this log, I will not go into details about those dreams. We have studied the SET (South East Texas) Hut drawings at least fifty times and although I have built too many in my time in the service, we are still looking at the blueprints. The camp arrangement is another ordeal, as we have planned out at least thirty different camp arrangements and the guard towers have moved forty times in the last two days! I made the mistake yesterday of telling Mr. Griggs that the terrain will dictate the final camp layout and this has added much pain and never before have I looked forward to my daily pint of rationed ale as I do now.

   I am extremely thankful that this vessel has a Chief’s Mess, so I am able to escape from Mr. Griggs, as neither officers nor junior enlisted are allowed in the 'Goat Locker.' Chief Boatswains' Mate O’Malley and I are old acquaintances from the RTS Goliad and we often talk of the days when our hair was thicker and of a darker shade. Then we talk of our troubles and laugh. There are nine senior enlisted on board. Two are Army, so we give them a hard time just because it is amusing to us and it helps pass the time.

   My Army counterparts have trained every day doing physical training. Not to be undone, my NCOs, Sergeant Garcia and Corporal Cromwell, have been putting the boys through some hard training as well, because we are Republic Marines, and we must live up to our image and history. After all, nothing like Esprit de Corps to bring people together.

   Well I must end this day's entries and join my mates for a daily pint in the mess.

09 October 2008

Other goings on...

Work continues apace on the recruitment dirve for Martian askaris [RAFM Space 1889 miniatures]. An additional five recruits are nearly through their training.

We have located another tribe of gex warriors, red of hue and fierce of heart. Ten of these fierce tribesmen are nearly ready to threaten the peace of Venusstadt.

General Sir Edmund Blackadder [Minifigs 25mm mounted British Officer] has recently arrived in the Royal Martian Colony as well. As soon as his baggage is sorted, I shall provide a photostat of his arrival, mounted upon his favorite steed, Baldrick.

Three small but stout-hearted reinforcements have arrived to complete a platoon of British regulars in the colony [Stone Mountain 15mm].

Once basing is complete on these figures, the Pledge shall be updated to reflect this progress, the first in weeks.

Goings on in Port Oglethorpe

I have recently come into possession of correspondence from an old acquaintance of mine, who is currently involved in the ongoing situation with Lady Constance Forthmorington in the Pashalik of Lotzasand.

He has assured me that their endeavour is in need of additional assistance. If you are interested in helping an intrepid group of American and European adventurers, please make contact at this differencing engine location: http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/Age_of_Extraordinary_Gentlemen_PBEM/.

06 October 2008

RTS Santa Fe Day 2

06 October ……

Yesterday evening the sky was tremendous as the Earth seemed to slowly shrink like a marble as it is thrown then rolls away slowly. I could pick out the coast of the Republic and spent most of the evening staring in amazement at how small we are. The Captain of the ship celebrated our departure from the Earth by doubling our daily ale ration.

This morning we sweated out the evil by performing close order saber and 'Repel boarders' drills for four hours; it seemed to work well and it also helped to pass the time as needed. Mister Griggs was busy reading his manual and playing with a sextant as he began making his own map of the stars along our journey. I inquired to what he was doing, seeking to make polite conversation and he responded about how he minored in astronomy at the Academy. It seems he was the star pupil. Ha!

I was reading a fabulous book about space travel written by a Frenchman named Verne. Mister Griggs thought it was strange that an enlisted man could read something more than a muster list and information for reports and commented on how he himself enjoyed the book. I must be cautious, or I might begin to enjoy this young pup's company. That would never do.
Well enough for the day as I have to make the rounds and check the men standing post.

05 October 2008

Her Majesty's Fleet of Aeronefs

A photostat and some descriptive instruction on the production of the Aerial Armada can be found here: http://billwerks.blogspot.com/2008/10/british-aeronef.html

It is likely that aeronefs and digs shall make an appearance in this journal in the next year or so.

Minor progress was made this weekend on some new structures to replace the Earth-style buildings used previously. I think that Earth buildings will be kept apart, perhaps in an Earther conclave or compound. Martian and Venusian architecture is going to be a bit different, and I hope interesting.

Voyage of RTS Santa Fe

04 October....

This morning we departed Houston in the newly commissioned RTS Santa Fe (an armed merchant ether flyer we recently purchased from the British). We are a company of Marine Sappers attached to the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Regiment of Army pukes aka "Black Legs". Our final destination is to the Veiled Planet, where we are to build an advance base in the swamp and marsh of this miserable planet. After training in the swamps around Anahuac in July and August, I cannot imagine this planet being any worse as the mosquitoes and gators kept us up during the night.

My men are itching for a good adventure and their spirits will remain high as long as I keep my comanding officer away from them. Subaltern Fredrick A. Griggs is fresh from the Academy and a real by-the-book officer, though if I ever catch him leaving that damn book (The Correct Manner of a Republic Officer in the Field) lying around, I will use it for kindling in my fire or let Private Jones use it for cleanliness after a good meal.

Being a Gunnery Sergeant in the Republic Marine Corps, I have been on board a few vessels at sea but nothing prepared me for this kind of voyage. This hulk is noisier and shakes more than a Chinese whaling vessel.

Well, I must end the log entry as I am going topside to see the Earth from the stars.

02 October 2008

Added poll and other features.

Loyal followers of this Journal can now create subscriptions through feed services, located in the lefthand margin near the top of the page. I hope that this will keep you more informed and give you the news you need, when you need it. You may also (at the bottom of the page) ad yourself as a Devoted Follower of the Journal.

The October poll is up and running, so feel free to speak your mind on this important topic. Please note that you may choose more than one response.

There is also a new counter. I set it to start at 1300 hits, since I was above that mark when the old one died on me. Shoddy Oriental workmanship, I suspect, rather than proper British Engineering! With luck, this one shall produce better results than its predecessor.

Finally for tonight, I am toying with the idea of renaming this 'blog.' The one year anniversary is coming up, and I feel that it might be time to shake things up a bit. Expect a short-lived poll on the subject very soon. Perhaps even tonight.

Another month, another poll, and results discussed!

Well, good friends, we see that another month has passed. The storms have cleared, and life here in the Colonies is returning to normal.

This month I'll post a new poll that coincides with the common October theme of horror. So be looking for that in the next day or two.

The September post had a rather low number of responses, and a surprising result. Venus shall henceforward primarily be referred to as the Veiled Planet. Truthfully, I was shocked to see "Jungle Planet" lose out, as it had started strongly and maintained its lead quite well throughout the month. In the last few days, however, the eventual winner pulled out in front and finished strong. Rather exciting, for a silly journal poll, don't you think?

I still have only limited access to the journal, and also restricted access to my workstation for progress on any of my multitude of projects. Perhaps this weekend, though I shall also be occupied in observing my youngest son's athletic endeavours on the field.

Until next time, good friends, I remain your faithful correspondent.