Neologisms VII

Here’s a few more inadvertent neologisms I’ve run across in my own writing — happy typos that amuse me. The first one is the least necessary, but I think the second and third might catch on, depending on where you work.

inordinant — (found; inordinate) adj. that fails to regulate. The inordinant official allows this injustice all the time. n. one who denies or revoke ordination. The archbishop will serve as inordinant at the excommunication of the monks.

rasponsibility — (found; rasp + responsibility) n. an irritating responsibility. It is my rasponsibility to keep track of my child’s phone charger, apparently.  

varify — (found; verify + vary) v. to alter, especially after an agreement has been reached. Your supervisor will varify your responsibilities.


Published in: on January 15, 2020 at 6:00 pm  Comments (1)  

The relics of Notre Dame

As you will have heard, the fire at Notre Dame cathedral did not destroy two of its most famous relics: a, I mean the, Crown of Thorns sported by JC at his last public appearance, and the tunic of St Louis, supposedly worn by the king turned saint when he brought the crown back to France. It was given as a bribe to Louis IX in exchange for his support of king Baldwin, who had pawned the crown as security against a loan for 13,000 gold pieces from the Venetians.

The crown itself has no thorns, as these were distributed to other sites as important relics. But happily by the power of sympathetic magic, I mean Divine Grace, many more thorns were transformed into  relics (third class) by being touched to thcrown.

It’s kind of cool that human chains of the faithful rescued and other valuables from the fire this week. But technically they needn’t have bothered: any medieval theologian could have told them that real relics can’t be burned. But if you read Burgs & Bailiffs Trinity  you knew that.

Published in: on April 16, 2019 at 12:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Quote of the day, perhaps applicable to current events

“If a man has character, he has also his typical experience, which always recurs.”

— Beyond good and evil,  Aphorism 70, F.W. Nietzsche.

Published in: on February 12, 2019 at 9:14 pm  Comments (1)  

Ten years of Swords & Dorkery!

Posting has dropped off some, especially in the last couple of years as I navigated a new job in academia, the end of my marriage, and a move. But today marks the tenth anniversary of this blog, which has led me to some great friends online and off, pushed me to publish some gaming stuff both online and in print, and generally been a blast.

Ten years ago, I started this blog to document a project I was working on, having been inspired by someone else who was working on similar project: to revive the old “Paint & Play” dungeon crawl games produced by Heritage Models USA in the early 1980s. The blog had a different title for the first month or so (and I’m actually drawing a blank on what it was, something like “Heritage Dungeon Project,” though I used to see it on some blogrolls years after changing it). Within the first year it moved beyond being a showcase for my crudely painted miniatures and maps as I began to engage the “old school revival” in RPGs. I used it to chronicle a pair of D&D campaigns I ran, and post reviews and appreciations of books, movies, and music. More recently I went back to posting photos of miniatures, as I found time to paint again, and while I may never return to the rate of posting I managed for a couple of years at the beginning of the decade, I hope to continue posting as I find time.

It’s hard to tell how many visits the site gets any more, because WordPress can’t seem to count how often the mobile app version that Google hosts is accessed. I’m sure visits dropped off due to lack of posting, but I’m always pleasantly surprised by the number of views per day, which hovers around a couple hundred.

I don’t make anything off the ads which WordPress inserts, but I suppose it pays for the site, which WP also doesn’t charge me for. I did however make a few bucks from the sale of my book, at least some of which must be traceable to the blog. The blog has also been my entry point into the “gift economy” of the OSR, and I’ve gotten several small collections of wanted lead figures from readers and sent out figures, books, and other stuff, as well finding buyers or trades for other things, which has been nice. I hope the stuff I make for free (which is the vast majority of the content) entertains or is useful.

I’m always shocked by the number of follows the blog has too, though I know some are random bloggers who follow in hopes of reciprocal follows to boost their ad revenue, and lately I’ve been getting a few follows a week from Outlook addresses that look a bit scammy to me. Speaking of which, the only real downside to the blog has been finding my pages and posts copied without credit or link on other sites — mostly sites selling herbal remedies, real estate opportunities, or other scams. One Russian site claimed to offer a PDF of my book for free, and no doubt delivered a virus-laden file to anyone unwary enough to try it. There’s another “4CHAN” type site that appears to illegally post game pdfs too, and at some point my book was posted there too. Sigh.

Anyway thanks for reading, whoever you are!

Published in: on August 25, 2018 at 8:00 am  Comments (8)  

Neologisms VI

It’s been a minute. Almost all my figures and gaming stuff are packed up in anticipation of moving, and my job has been pretty brutal of sucking up all my free time. But I’ve finally compiled a few more neologisms. The second was coined intentionally by a friend, but other two are repurposed typos, which are my favorite kind of neologism.

obscore (obscure + score) n. A composition by an obscure composer. adj. Relatively unknown, as a composer.  You wouldn’t believe the obscore pieces on the symphony’s program this month. This is first time any of them have been performed.

queerum n. (queer + quorum)  The minimum number of players required to avoid canceling game night. If John and Richard can’t make it, we won’t have a queerum and D&D is off this week.

sarchasm n. (sarcasm + chasm) The feeling of alienation that arises when one’s sarcastic remarks are taken literally. I can’t talk to him anymore, the sarchasm is too great.


Published in: on April 24, 2018 at 1:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

I missed the moon!

Sadly clouds this morning in my area, so I missed the moon. Also I was misinformed that the super blue blood moon would be tonight, not this morning. Ugh.

As you will know, the moon was extra puffy today, which astrologers call a “super moon.” This is because it has grown visibly larger. Rotund even. Please be respectful and don’t stare, it’s been a rough time for the moon lately.

As you will also know, it was a bleu moon. This means the Penicillium always present in the cheesy crust of the moon’s surface has grown particularly densely and literally changes the coloring of the moon. So the moon would look blue, except is it also bloody from a savage beating it’s gotten from an unnamed heavenly body or bodies. The red blood and bleu cheese left the moon looking purplish. You don’t see that every day.

We will not get the puffy, purple moon again for something like 200 years.

Published in: on January 31, 2018 at 2:51 pm  Comments (1)  


The clubs post was appreciated, so here are a few more things I’ve carved at various times, mostly as gifts.

Below, some Christmas ornaments (Santas or wood spirits, I guess) from the same unidentified shrub as the spiked club. Each is maybe 2 or 3 inches long. The “hats” are just the bark left as it was. I think the one with the nose might have been from a maple branch, and gave me the idea for some other ornaments I made the following year.

I did a few different types of ornaments. This year I went a little more extreme with the noses, using branching bits, and I decided to use some fiber for the hair rather than paint. If I do this again I’ll save some milkweed fuzz to use instead so they’re all-natural.

This was the most crooked nose of them. so I kept it for my tree.

As you can see the bark is still a bit green in spots; I cut this from my Japanese maple in the fall and it didn’t have time to finish drying out completely. Time will tell if the ornaments will crack as they continue to cure, but I think they’ll be OK.

Here’s the other one I kept.

I also made a bunch of snowmen, and also snowman heads in long hats. I gave all of them away except for one snowman head; unfortunately he spent a year in a houseplant’s pot and some of the paint has peeled off from getting wet, despite the coat of polyurethane I’d sealed it with. I was pretty happy with how the landscape on his hat came out.

The nose is the end of a toothpick, whittled down a bit (the whole ornament is maybe three inches long). The snowmen were made from thick pieces of branch, carved into three rough globes with a top hat; the carrot nose (a bit of toothpick), arms (tiny twigs) and a yarn scarf added after painting.

A bigger project was a Mother’s day gift (my Mom really loves ravens and crows):

The base is just a slice of a log; the heart and crow are carved from some 2 x 6 lumber I happened to have laying around. I don’t remember how I stained the heart; it might just have been some watered down red paint. I cheated and used a saw to cut the rough shapes, and did a lot of filing and sanding. My carving knife is more suited to softer woods, like the shrub or stuff like basswood. I can’t claim the idea is original; I saw a photo of a similar, more stylized piece in a newspaper add for a local gallery.

This is a gnome I carved out of a block of basswood:

It took a long time mainly because I didn’t do a very good job of sketching him out first. I could have saved a lot of effort with a saw or chisel if I had. He’s maybe seven inches tall, including the hat.

This is a woodpecker toy I made for my Mom for Christmas a few years ago.  The bird (a downy woodpecker, which is one of the two species of woodpecker I know of in Ohio) is carved from basswood. If you tap the lever it pecks the stump. The bird is about six inches long, I think.

I made a similar one for my sister’s birthday the following year, and a bunch of mini woodpeckers as ornaments to give as gifts.

They work too — the little twigs are levers to make them peck the trunk. The smallest woodpecker is a little under an inch long.

It should go without saying I am completely self-taught. Anyone can carve wood. You just need a sharp knife, which you’ll find yourself strapping a lot to maintain the edge. I was given a very nice one real carvers use; I’ve tried using some of the junk they sell at craft stores and you’re better off with one or two good tools than a set of crap. Just remember to cut away from yourself and keep an eye on the grain of the wood and you should be OK.

I got the plans for the woodpecker toy in old a book on making wooden toys, and the gnome design was based on a plan I saw in another book, both from my local public library.

Published in: on January 20, 2018 at 11:55 am  Leave a Comment  
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Not exactly swords but in that domain.
I amused myself this fall whittling and varnishing a bunch of walking sticks, which I thought I’d give as gifts but never did. I used a variety of sticks I’d gathered from my property, friends or relatives. and even parks. Theses are some clubs I made from shorter scraps. Not the best photos, sorry.

This first one, my favorite, is made from part of last year’s Christmas tree, and is probably the only one I’ll hang on a wall.

Being from a conifer, it’s extremely light and although the head looks intimidating it would likely break if you used it in anger. I was going to carve it into an Iroquois-style club with a rounded knob but I like all the stumps as spikes.

The next one is more sturdy; it’s from a piece of an overgrown red maple I pruned. Being hardwood it’s pretty strong, and while the head wasn’t large enough to carve, I love the way it handles. Ultimately it’s just a smoothed out branch though so I’ll probably take it apart eventually.

The last one is made from a bush of some kind I removed two years ago. It has extremely strong, yellowish wood under a grey-brown bark, and I think it might have been an overgrown boxwood of some kind. (The previous owner of my house must have done zero maintenance of the yard for at least a decade before we moved in.) It’s a very dense wood too, and seemed perfect for a club. I added some spikes for fun — the blade was the top-spike from an Indian wall-hanger axe (see the last axe on this page) I remounted on a new haft. The other spikes are just small carriage bolts with their heads ground off.

This one is slightly curved along both axes so that it’s really not very comfortable in your right hand but feels right in your left — I’m left handed. I’m sure I’ll disassemble this eventually when I think of a better use for the blade but it was fun to make.


Published in: on January 5, 2018 at 10:56 pm  Comments (1)  
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The toof mouse

So some time back I was driving listening to NPR and someone brought up the “tooth mouse.” The tooth mouse is basically the tooth fairy in other countries — particularly Spanish speaking countries, as well as France, and according to the commenter I heard also in former colonies of France or Spain. The tooth mouse supposedly takes the teeth to build its house, in one version of the story. In any case it usually leaves some small gift. My daughter Riley happened to be in the car and while she stopped believing in fairies and such in first grade or so, she had a loose tooth and suggested she’d leave it for the tooth mouse. Ever since, she would leave her teeth on her dresser, or on a banister by her door, and I’d write a silly thank-you from the tooth mouse (who has terrible spelling and grammar and just signs things “the toof mous”) and some trinkets like glass beads, sea shells, and some coins. The tradition fell by the wayside eventually but this week she lost one of the last three baby teeth she has, and the next day casually commented that the tooth mouse didn’t find her tooth. Riley’s going into seventh grade this year and I know there may not be a lot more of these kinds of moments. So, knowing how much she still loves hunting for toads when we go on hikes, I thought I’d paint the tiniest toad possible for her. It was so small it took only a few minutes really, and I couldn’t get my phone to focus very well on it. But here it is, based on a penny:

I tried it without the flash, not much better.

Honest, it looks pretty good in real life. It’s from the set of familiars Julie Guithrie sculpted for Ral Partha. Somehow I ended up with two of the sprues, so I still have another toad/frog like this and third slightly larger I think from Reaper.

Anyway here’s the card too, front, inside, and back.

Published in: on August 14, 2017 at 9:41 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Happy Holidays!

"""""""BOAS FESTAS"""""""
"""""""'N PRETTIG KERSTMIS"""""""

This is a polyglot Yuletide greeting formerly posted annually to library forums by the late J. McRee (Mac) Elrod of Special Libraries Cataloguing. Whatever you celebrate or don’t, however you do it, I hope you have the company of friends and family in these dark times.

Published in: on December 22, 2016 at 8:34 am  Leave a Comment  
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