Mexican Jenny And The California Kid Conquer Halloween

…in drag, as a matter of fact

CatCon4: Day 3 Your Humble Narrator plays catch up…an Iron Chef competition happens

Having fallen behind by a day, I shall now make an earnest attempt to catch up by compressing Saturday into a “highlights reel”.

8:00 AM: Our company begins waking up. I and the critters have been up for an hour. Breakfast is eaten, including tasty Paannncaaakessss Foooorrrr Peeeettttssss! By 9:30, we are on the road.

(All Critters: Those were great pancakes! Our Dad Rules!)

11:00 AM: We stop at the Toy Soldier Museum in the tiny village of Tyler. The museum is in the largest building in town, a converted warehouse that at one time held cotton. Now, it holds 190,000 toy soldiers and military miniatures, some of them nearly 200 years old. While civil war figures are most prominent, you can find soldiers from every war since Alexander the Great went out & about. Before then, actually, since there is one battlefield set up to show Neanderthals fighting Homo Erectus. All of the scenes are impressive and Spike informed me that the War of 1812 scenes were very accurate. Best of all, the whole place can be toured for $3.00 a head. T-shirts were $15.00.

1:00 PM: We stopped to eat at Mother Smith’s Kitchen in Greensboro and Mother Smith was so impressed with our bus and our critters, she made them plates of food. The critters, not the bus. We ate all manner of fine chow and were soon back on the road to adventure.

(Flash: She gave us fried catfish and hush puppies! What a wonderful human being!)
(Winker: I got some pudding, too!)
(Lucy: I had a sausage and some gravy!)
(Abby: My salad had apples in it. It was delicious!)
(Flash: Afterwards, back on the bus, we played Dance Dance Revolution. Abby won. Girl can dance, you bet.)

2:15 PM: The road to adventure was short, because just on the other side of Greensboro, we encountered another Giant Jesus! This Colossal Christ was 90 feet tall and you can go up inside him via stairs, then look out through his eyes. Many of our party wisely opted out of the climb, but Spike, Mary, Miranda, Doc Mystery and his daughter Lauren decided to give it a try with me. As you might expect, the teenager and the kid reached the top way before the rest of us, but we all did make it. After sucking most of the oxygen out of JC’s head we finally looked out the windows. It was a hell of a view. As we were leaving, a group of church type folks entered the room and asked if we felt the presence of The Lord. My reply was “Not unless it feels like a heart attack and the need to fall down”. They did not see the humor.

Once back on the ground, we climbed back on the bus and loaded up on pain meds for our backs and legs, then started out for the next stop.

4:30 PM: Did you know that just outside Meridian, Mississippi is the “World’s Longest Outhouse”? It’s right next to the “Truck ‘Em In” truck stop and it can seat 100 people. No charge to look at it, but the doors are nailed shut and there is no odor, so the whole thing is a fake. That was kind of a letdown, as most of us could imagine 100 Ku Klux Klan members in there after a big cross burning.

5:30 PM: We pulled into the KOA outside the tiny hamlet of Wiggins. It was decided that we would have an Iron Chef Battle for our dinner entertainment. I was to be the Iron Chef. My nephew Zach was to be the challenger. Three dishes each using the three mystery ingredients selected from our extensive pantry/fridge by our youngest (Lauren) and oldest (Sharon, since I was Iron Chef) audience members. The secret ingredients were: Ground turkey, fresh carrots and duck eggs. Judges were all of the womenfolk and commentary was by Spike & Doc Mystery. The results were…

Appetizer: I won with tiny omelets filled with assorted cheeses and panchetta.
Main Course: I won by a single point with my Savory Turkey Burger and Carrot Loaf. Zach’s Turkey Sausage Pizza with Carrot & Tomato Sauce was very tasty.
Dessert: Zach won with a very delicious Duck Egg Custard with Caramel Carrot Sauce, handily defeating my Chocolate Chip Carrot Ice Cream.

(All Critters: Also, they dropped lotsa stuff on the kitchen floor for us to eat!)

After dinner, there was rehearsal for our version of “The Time Warp”. It went pretty well. More than that I shall not say.

And then it was time to go to bed, so we did.

Music: QM Station “Janis”, playing music from her 60 year long career.

Destination Sign: Over There

Stop That Fooling Around!

…or I swear I’ll pull this blog over and make you walk home

The Doclopedia #349

My Family: Cousin Delbertina

My cousin Delbertina is a big woman…6 feet 9 inches tall, 400 pounds. My Grandma used to say that Delbertina could go bear hunting with a willow switch and a scary look. This was not true. She actually needs a two by four and a scary look, unless she’s PMSing, in which case all she needs is the scary look. You want to know why bears shit in the woods? Because they see Delbertina coming at them with a two by four! She is currently married to her fifth husband, Yuri, because she keeps breaking them. Husbands, not two by fours. In 1987, Delbertina and her then husband Norman went on a hike through the Cascade Mountain Range. This prompted no less that 54 reports that a sasquatch was kidnapping a human. It didn’t do a hell of a lot for her mood and reports of terrified bears running into the flatlands skyrocketed.

The Doclopedia #350

My Family: Uncle Mephisto

Uncle Mephisto was one of my more fun uncles. He loved to invent things that almost always exploded, shorted out in a huge flash of sparks or just burst into flames. Now, he wasn’t trying for these pyrotechnics, but we kids sure loved watching them, despite our mothers telling us to “Stand back! Farther! FARTHER!” Aunt Deedee, Uncle Mephisto’s wife, was a patient soul who became so adept at treating burns that she was asked to give lectures at medical schools. When Uncle Mephisto vanished in the unfortunate “Jet Powered Skateboard Accident of 1995” (really, he hit about 125 miles an hour and he and the skateboard just disappeared), Aunt Deedee went to work as a burn center nurse. Some years later, she married a man named Otto who owned a worm farm.

Blue Food Blues

…I gots ’em

CatCon4: Day 2, Part 2 We venture into the wilds of Alabama…Cornbread is eaten and sat upon…battling attractions for the WIN!

Now that I’m sitting in my comfy recliner, enjoying a cold beer and watching my dog (Lucy) chase imaginary squirrels in her sleep, I’ll reveal the facts about Project Applesauce.

It’s pretty simple, really: we decided that instead of cutting across the tiny portion of Alabama and the slightly larger portion of Mississippi that Interstate 10 runs through, we’d drive on up a ways into Alabama, then cut across both states until we hit Louisiana, then haul ass to New Orleans and I-10 again.

Naturally, we wanted to hit as many tourist attractions as possible, but the ever creative and slightly nutty Mary Jones and I had an ulterior motive beyond that of our traveling companions: empowered by our rousing rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody” for a a herd of cattle last year, we are determined to get all on board the bus to join us in performing “The Time Warp” for an unsuspecting herd of Southerners. Oddly, some in our group did not see the wonder, splendor and genius of our plan (which, I’ll point out, includes make up and costumes) when we announced it shortly after crossing into Alabama today. Still, we remain sure that they’ll come around.

So once we entered the “Heart of Dixie”, we began heading northeast along state routes and county roads, heading for the Montgomery area where we’ll turn west. Imagine our delight when we entered the town of Lottie and found it was right in the middle of the annual Cornbread Festival!

Folks, there are food festivals all across this great nation of ours and I try to stop at every one I see, so when Gerry & Bill’s baby boy sees a whole town doing a tribute to one of the great foods of the South, he stops.

We ate cornbread of all sorts and flavors. We had it dripping with butter & honey, topped with jam, dipped in chocolate, filled with chunks of hot peppers and deep fried with gravy as a dipping sauce (if it weren’t for deep frying and gravy, many southern folk would starve to death). I did my southern ancestors proud. Several of our party did their ancestors proud, too, including those whose ancestors were Canadian,

(Abby: I love cornbread and apparently many southern children think feeding a goat on a leash chunks of it is great fun.)

And just because you’ve got to do something screwy with your chosen festival food (I’m looking at you, Gilroy, CA and your garlic ice cream), the good people of Lottie baked up a humongous slab of cornbread that measures 18 feet across and is done to a hardness that allows you to sit on it, which we all did and we’ve got the pictures to prove it.

And lest you think otherwise, we hit the t-shirt/commemorative beer glass/bumper sticker booth hard.

Once we left the cornbread filled streets of Lottie behind, it was mostly pleasant driving through small country towns until we reached the tiny town of Old Texas, where we found that much sought after thing that roadside attraction aficionados lust after: dueling attractions.

If you recall from last year, we encountered the two “World’s Largest” toilet paper rolls, which was totally cool and ended in the destruction of both of them by the same nuttyass old guys who made them. (Follow up note on that: I got an email from the wife of one of the old guys and it seems that in their mad rush to see whose toilet paper roll really was the longest, they incurred littering citations in 146 counties in 7 states. Both were also held for psychiatric evaluation in their final stop, Tuscon, Arizona.)

This year, the dueling attractions were…I shit you not…the World’s Largest Dinosaur Built Entirely Out Of Toothpicks. On one side of the road, you’ve got a twice life size Tyrannosaur. Across the way, you’ve got a humongous Brachiosaur. T-Rex is taller, the sauropod is longer and heavier. Both of them are pretty impressive and a glowing testament to what human beings can do when they have lots of free time, a assload of toothpicks and most likely plenty of corn liquor. We took pictures and bought all of the usual tchotchke subjects. Grace and Spike spoke with a local fellow who told them that the two fellows that built the dinosaurs were twin brothers. It took them 32 years to finish their monuments to prehistory, during which time they had many fistfights, yelling matches and the odd bit of small arms fire. By the time they were done, they were 77 years old and both of them died within 6 months.

And I thought my family was cracked. Well, ok, they are, but nobody has built a toothpick dinosaur. Yet.

After that little stop, we drove an uneventful drive to the South Montgomery KOA. Once there, we did the eating and relaxing thing. It is 11 PM now, everybody but me is asleep and as soon as this beer is done, I’m hitting the sack.

Music: Assorted Artists “Best of Doo Wop”

Destination Sign: Somewhere Over The Rainbow

The 14 Things You Need To Know About Babies

…#1: they leak from all orifices

We are taking a bit of a break from the longer Doclopedia posts so I can get ahead on things while also doing the CatCon reports (one of which will be up here in a few hours)

The Doclopedia #348

My Family: Uncle Enoch

Uncle Enoch was actually my mother’s uncle, but we all called him “uncle”. He had been a rather famous big game hunter in his youth, until it was discovered that he had in fact never killed an animal and the trophy heads on his walls were actually attached to live animals who were trained to stick their heads through holes and then stand very still. Uncle Enoch lived to be 85 and died in somebody else’s sleep.

Betty Was A Little Bit Goofy, But Boy, Could She Dance

…often for no reason and without music

CatCon4: Day 1, Part 2 We eat and watch movies.

We ate a good dinner at a Cuban restaurant last night, then watched a couple of movies. The first one was “Escape From Toronto”, directed by John Carpenter, starring Kurt Russell and William Shatner, with running commentary by former Toronto resident Spike Y Jones. The movie was better than “Escape From L.A,”, but nowhere near as good as “Escape From Miami”.

Our second feature was “Invasion Of The Slime Apes”, which had surprisingly good SFX for a movie that probably cost $29.95 to make. The acting was ok, in a very polished high school acting class way. A fun flick.

As often happens, I was the last one to go to bed, since it is my job to let the critters into the meadow room to do their late night business. It took a while, since Winker and Abby decided to get rowdy and Flash & Lucy joined in.

(Winker: It was fun, Dad! We were chasing each other and barkin’ and stuff!)

(Flash: Yeah, it was fun, but Winky should take it easier because of her heart.)

(Winker: I’m ok! Stop worrying about my, you little poop!)

Once the frolicking was done, I was off to bed.

CatCon4: Day 2, Part 1 I accept a cereal eating throwdown…we stop to see a really big gator…Flash & Lucy raise hell

The KOA has a free pancake breakfast, so at 8 AM we all got in line for it. After a couple of minutes, Mary noted that there was a sign for a cereal eating contest at the same time. A $50.00 prize would go to the winner. Now, anyone who knows me well will tell you I can eat a lot of cereal, so I decided to accept the challenge.

There were maybe 20 people ready to scarf up cereal, some of them kids and a few women, but mostly big guys who looked like they could pack away some groceries. I remained undaunted and told the contest attendants that I’d start off with Rice Krispies, no sugar, low fat milk. Most of the other folks were going for the sugary stuff, except for one big guy who was starting off with Wheaties.

No time limit, eat until you can’t eat any more. The host said “GO!” and we hit it.

I won (barely), with 7 big bowls eaten. Why? Rice Krispies are mostly air and sugar will upset your stomach after a while. I did let fly with some record braking belches, but I had room for a lot of cereal. The big Wheaties guy quit about three spoonfuls before I did. I waddled back to the bus with $50 in my pocket. I didn’t eat until dinner time.

Just before we passed over the Alabama border, we saw a sign announcing “See the World’s Largest Alligator”. In searching out roadside attractions, “World’s Largest” is very nearly as good as “World Famous”, so in we went.

We kind of expected a stuffed alligator, or maybe one made of something not living, but nope, it was a live gator. A huge live gator.

His name is Dewey and he’s really big…the biggest recorded alligator ever, in fact. 20 feet 4 inches long and just shy of 1,900 pounds. He’s also 66 years old and eats a dozen large chickens, a couple of large carp and 5 pound slab of beef at every meal, which he gets about every 5- 6 days.

Ol’ Dewey doesn’t do much, but when your that fuckin’ big, you don’t need to. The owner of the place said we could have our picture taken sitting on him, but I was the only one to take him up on it. I will say that my friends yelling and pleading, coupled with my wife asking if my life insurance was paid up and could I leave the bus keys with her first, rather detracted from the moment. For his part, Dewey didn’t twitch. I figure if I’d just eaten a dozen chickens and all that other stuff, I wouldn’t twitch either.

After that, we bought our share of souvenirs and headed out. Or would have, if the bus had not been littered with shoes.

When I stepped through the door, there was Flash dragging a high heeled shoe downstairs to a big pile of assorted footwear. (Flash: Oops! Busted!) I could hear Lucy barking her happy bark as shoes rained down through the holes in the ceiling where the fireman’s pole goes. When I reached the third floor, there she was, digging into the humongous pile with shoes flying out behind her and most of them falling down the hole.

(Lucy: But Daaad! Birds gotta fly, fish gotta swim, dogs gotta dig!)

I’ll note that Abby and Winker were in the shoe room, but playing peacefully way back in the corner. (Abby: Some critters are good girls!) (Winker: Really? Who?)

To be fair, I had left the door to the room open, so as to let the critters get some exercise. Still, naughty is naughty and Lucy and Flash went into a 1 hour lockdown and lost their video gaming privileges for two days. (Flash & Lucy: It was a fair cop.) We humans spent the next half hour picking up shoes. Several of us did find some nice ones, including the silver and green Converse high tops I’m wearing right now.

We are now about to pass into wildest Alabama, at which point we divert from our previous direct course and initiate Project Applesauce.

More bloggage later.

Music: The Ink & Paint Big Band, featuring Jessica Rabbit: Hot Night In Toontown

Destination Sign: Cimmeria

Peanut Butter Filled Squid

…I’l bet some foodie would eat it

CatCon4: Day 1, Part 1 We see turtles galore…barbecue is eaten…a house of driftwood is toured…we encounter Driftwood Jesus

Finally in the proper place and time, we rolled out of Orlando heading due west. The plan was to drive up the eastern side of the state to Pensacola, then go north to Interstate 10 and take that pretty much all the way to CatCon in Texas. Along the way, we would be stopping at various strange and/or interesting tourist traps & roadside attractions, most of which are “World Famous”. In fact, if you ever come to a roadside attraction that isn’t World Famous, you might want to think twice about paying to see it.

So, about halfway to the coast, we see a sign for “Big Ed’s World Famous World of Turtles”. Now, even if I wasn’t a sucker for anything to do with turtles, I’d have stopped here anyway because it’s a World Famous roadside attraction, and that’s how we roll on this bus, baby!

The entry fee to Big Ed’s chelonian wonderland is a mere $5.00, so we all ponied up our money and went on in. The first thing you see is a really nicely made and planted pond full of ducks, geese and about a dozen species of North American turtles, mostly from the southern states. There were sliders and painted turtles galore, plus a few mud turtles, musk turtles and map turtles. A bit farther down the path, there’s a really nice habitat for box turtles, then another for desert tortoises.

The enclosure for the really big South American river turtles was quite impressive, since it also had exotic fish, birds and even monkeys in it. Our tour guide, Ed’s daughter Mandy, told us that it was the second most expensive exhibit in the whole place. The most expensive exhibit was the next one we saw, because it held a whole bunch of 100 gallon aquariums that housed 38 different species of land and water turtles from around the world. It was very cool to see that many species in such a well maintained setup.

The final stop on the tour is the reality check for the whole place. See, for Ed to be able to afford to house and breed the more endangered turtles, he raises thousands of a much more common species (Chicken Turtles) to be exported as food to various Asian countries. The turtle farm has been there since Ed’s grandfather built it in 1933 to breed turtles for the pet trade. But in the 1970s, when the FDA banned the selling of baby turtles, Ed’s dad switched over to raising them for food.

As long time readers of these con reports have already guessed, there was a gift shop and we dutifully bought t-shirts, postcards, fridge magnets, hats and toy turtles. Ed made a fist full of bucks off of us.

Leaving the land of turtles behind, we continued our drive to the coast, then turned north and began heading to the Florida panhandle. By now it was pushing 1 PM and we were all getting hungry. We were about 5 minutes into discussing what we all wanted to eat when the heavenly smell of barbecue wafted in the windows and up ahead we saw “Bubba Chuck’s Barbecue”. The discussion ended right then.

Bubba Chuck’s is an authentic barbecue shack sitting all alone by the side of a busy highway. There were about a dozen cars, as many motorcycles, 3 motorhomes, 4 big rigs and two police cruisers parked next to it. That’s a damned good sign that it’s serving some fine ‘cue.

We (including critters, because all seating is outside) descended on the place like hungry locusts and ordered up about two hogs worth of ribs, pulled pork, chicken and side dishes. It was absolutely delicious and we left a pile of bones that, if buried a few million years, would be a paleontologists wet dream.

(Lucy: Rib bones! Sweet Mother of Dog, everyone was tossing us rib bones! It was like some beautiful dream!)

(Winker: Oh wow, was that every a Yum-A-Thon! I thought my tummy would pop!)

(Flash: Chicken! Pork! Macaroni & Cheese! I may not eat until tonight.)

(Abby: Mac & cheese is yummy, but so was the bread and the macaroni salad and the beans and the rosebushes and the kudzu!)

Full of slow cooked smoky meat goodness, we continued on our way. I drove and chatted with Doc Mystery and Spike for awhile. Flash was snoozing on the dashboard, Abby was snoozing on the floor behind my seat and The Girls were snoozing in their doggy beds. In fact, most of the women folk decided to snooze, too. It was a full belly snoozy afternoon.

Around about 4 PM, I saw a sign up ahead that read…

“World Famous Driftwood House and Giant Driftwood Jesus”

Hell yes we stopped.

The Driftwood House is a 3 bedroom two bath ranch style place and it is built entirely of driftwood and concrete. What’s really impressive is that since it was built in 1964, it has withstood 7 hurricanes. After the third hurricane, the owner/builder, Mr. Henry Norton, built a 60 foot tall statue of Jesus right behind the house. It has withstood the next 4 hurricanes.

The statue is pretty well done and old JC looks a lot more happy and relaxed than most statues depict him. We bought postcards and t-shirts, since that’s all they had for sale, then got back on the bus.

We’ll be pulling in at the Pensacola KOA in a bit and spending the night there. Decisions might be made about altering our route a bit, since we still have 5 days before we need to be in Wilted Springs. Whatever we do, more reporting will follow.

Music:
The Vulcan Science Academy Orchestra: T’vol Symphony #5
Destination Sign: Where You Least Expect Us

Les Paul Built My Air Guitar

…and I can rock it, baby

Gentle Readers,

It is that time of year again, the time when, in lieu of actually getting to go to GenCon, I post a wholly fictional convention trip report about our trip to CatCon 4. This will take about 14 days to do and will not interrupt the regular Doclopedia posts.

To get up to speed on DogCon/CatCon you can go read the previous reports, which are found in the archives. Be aware that the 2010 report was huge, taking in over a month of posts. the starting archive dates are…

DogCon 1: August 13th, 2008
CatCon 2: August 8th, 2009
DogCon 3: July 20th, 2010

It would probably be a REALLY good idea to read the archives first, so this years report doesn’t make your head explode.

Enjoy!

Your Humble Narrator

CatCon4: Introduction

(As always, commentary by non-humans is presented in italics)

Ok, unlike other years where I start this off by telling you how we’ve just left home on the Magic Bus and are on our way to a series of tourist traps and roadside attractions created by goofballs with way too much time on their hands, this year, we start of sorta halfway there. Kind of mid story, as it were.

If you’ve guessed that this has something to do with jacking around with time & space via the Magic bus and our transtemporal mechanic, Joe, you are right.

It all started way back in February, when my sweet angel of a wife, who we should not forget has NEVER shown a liking for taking little side trips into alternate realities or the past of our own Earth, suggested that with a bit of temporal wankery, we could go to Disneyworld in Florida before heading on to CatCon4.

I sat very still and said nothing, fearful that this pod person posing as my wife might try to kill me or something.

Flash: Winker, Lucy, Abby and I all just sat their in slackjawed amazement. We thought Mom had gone insane.

Eventually, it dawned on me that this was not the first time My Sweet Little Oven Bird Of Passion had done an about face on something. It was she who told me in 1999 that she did not like camping, then in 2001 suggested that we drive to GenCon and camp out along the way. Figuring that since this was her idea, I was ok, so I asked her to tell me her
plan. It went like this…

Take a spatial shortcut from Sacramento to Orlando, then use the old wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff to shift back in time a couple of weeks and have our Disneyworld vacation, then drive to CatCon, then afterwards drive home. Having had a similar idea some years earlier, I praised her on her great thinking, then put in a call to Joe.

Joe arrived a few minutes late, heard Grace’s proposal, then ran a sort of medical scanner over her to make sure she wasn’t a pod person. Convinced of her human nature, he allowed as how he thought it would not be a difficult thing to get us there and back in time, but he’d have to insist that Grace not yell and panic if we went through some “pretty strange territory”. She agreed and, as an old friend of mine used to say, the game was afoot.

Deciding to use this whole situation to improve things on the bus, I also told Joe to add a few rooms to the interior. After a moment of discussion, I decided that a whole third story would do the trick. He said it would be no problem and left to get right on it.

To make a really long story somewhat shorter, in a couple of months, Joe brought the bus around and we took the nickel tour. First off, our ever changing tie dye pattern of a paint job now includes glow in the dark paints for after the sun goes down. Sweet!

Under the hood, we now have some sort of compact fusion power plant, so it’s adios to fossil fuels. We also have some sort of gravity reducing suspension and regenerative tires. Oh yeah, and QM radio, which means we can get programming from all over the multiverse.

Inside, the ground floor main room measures 30 X 60 feet and has doors leading to the gym, the pool, the kitchen/dining room (with a table that can seat 20), the meadow (a 100 X 100 foot area for the critters to frolic in), the hot tub/pool area, three bathrooms, the pantry and the theater. One of those cool cage elevators runs between the three floors, but there is also a spiral staircase and a firehouse pole, which I think is way more fun to use. Yes, you can use the pole to go up, too.

The second floor has four bedrooms (each with a private bathroom), a couple of storerooms, the greenhouse, the library and the chocolate storage closet.

The third floor has four more bedrooms with private baths, the game room, the room full of shoes (which everybody, critters included, seems to like) and the warehouse.

Joe tells me we have a 4 level basement, but I’m kinda scared of going down there.

Lucy: You should be scared! I smelled big hairy things down there!

Ok, so here is how our trip has gone so far…

July 28th : We (Me, Grace, critter sitter Sharon, my nephew Zach and The Critters) leave Sacramento at 4:00 AM, heading south on I-5. At about 5:00 AM, we do a shift that puts us on the Trans Canada Highway back around 1965. I drive for about an hour and then Joe pops us back into the present, except we are on I-10 just outside Las Cruces, New Mexico and it’s only 5:45 AM. Cool! We stop for breakfast (chile relleno omelet FTW!) (Flash: And yet again, poor starving animals only get animal food!) and then we are back on the road. When we get past El Paso, Texas, Joe does his thing and we are on a humongous 20 lane highway on some planet with two moons and houses that look remarkably like giant female breasts. After 20 minutes of driving there, we pop back into our reality 12 miles west of New Orleans at 10 :15 AM. About twenty minutes later, we pop onto what I think was a road leading to Rome a couple thousand years ago. I say this because I just barely avoided running over a shitload of Legionnaires. Fortunately, they ran off in terror, screaming in Latin, which I do not speak. Anyway, after a couple of hours of leisurely driving through the pleasant Roman countryside, we popped back into the present a mere 20 miles from Orlando, Florida at 1:30 PM.

Unfortunately, we could only go back in time a week due to some quantum mechanical shit I’ll never understand. Still, we made a couple of adjustments to our plans and everything was cool.

From there out, you can insert a great two weeks of vacationing with our friends Avis Crane, The Jones family, Peter & Holly Hildreth, the Mystery family and my gaming group (Arn, Samantha & Paul) from back home. We had tons of fun and then all got ready to leave on Tuesday, August 2nd (by using the bus to, in fact, go BACK to August 2nd so Peter, Holly, Avis and my gaming group could all fly to GenCon (P, H & A) or home (gaming group). The temporal backup went well…except for the part where we accidentally duplicated Avis.

Oddly, it seems that if not everyone is in the main room of the bus…AND any missing person is in First Floor Bathroom #2…WHERE a very naughty goat had earlier kicked a wall while being bathed (Abbie: I don’t like baths!)WHICH caused a Vemellian Transverse Coupling Circuit to reset itself in the wrong way…AND the bus is traveling at exactly 52 mile an hour…WHILE trying to go back in time…WHOMEVER is in that bathroom gets “tempro-spatially replicated” when they leave the john. Which means that, 30 seconds after she walked out of the bathroom, Avis walked out again. Presto! An extra Avis!

(Winker: Yay! Two Auntie Avys to rub my belly!)

Yes, yes, this caused much freaking out and yelling until Joe informed us that it was only temporary and the two of them would merge back into one in about 10 or 12 days. Once we got everybody…most notably the two Ms. Cranes…calmed down, I noted that this wacky accident would allow Avis to attend both CatCon AND GenCon at the same time. Spike helpfully pointed out that she couldn’t very well have two of her at GenCon, so she might as well go with us. Avis, ever the level headed person, agreed that it was a pretty good idea, but was not sure how she could afford it. I told her that we’d figure something out. Despite looks of distinct disbelief at my saying that, everyone agreed that Avis should go to CatCon.

Then we drove on to the airport and dropped off everyone who was flying out and then headed off towards Texas…after we went back to July 28th. We were then leaving Orlando at about the same time we left Sacramento. Yeah, I know. I try not to think about it too much. Sometimes time is more wibbly wobbly than others.

Oh, yeah, before I get on with the trip report proper, we got Avis her CatCon money by stopping at a candy distributor and offering him $7,000.00 worth of imported chocolate for three grand flat. Once he saw we were, well, if not legit, at least truthful, the deal was done. Damn, I love our chocolate closet!

More con reportage soon.

Music: Tom Waits Sings The Great Broadway Hits
Destination Sign: The Room Of Requirement