A Cute Newt In A Zoot Suit Had Plenty Of Loot And Fruit To Boot

…but he had scoot

Grace Update: My Sweet Little Broken Armed Gingerbread Cookie Of Passion took a 2 mile walk this morning up to the McDonalds to get an Egg McMuffin. she did well, although it tuckered her out and she’s now sleeping like a comatose log.

Dog Update: Winker & Lucy are healthy and spoiled. They have both been VERY good girls since Grace broke her arm. Oddly enough, they are also sleeping just now.

Doc Update: I’m doing fine healthwise, but mentally I’m going “AAAAIIIIEEEE!!!!” because of tending to everybody here at the old homestead AND dealing with idiots at work AND psyching myself up for the dive into doing even more writing AND getting ready to do self publishing of PDFs. However, I’m NOT asleep right now.

The Fat Old Hippie Dances

…and frolics, too

Here it is, folks! The 365th of my 365 posts in 365 days! Go me! The winner of the Bribe-A-Thon was Avis Crane, the ONLY one of you scurvy dogs to offer a proper bribe.

Note: There will now be about a week or two before I resume doing Doclopedia posts at a rate of about 3 a week.

The Doclopedia #365

The 365th Post Bribe-A-Thon Winner: Avis Crane, AKA The Nightbird

In the year 1900, Steam Age San Francisco can be a dirty, hard and dangerous place to live. Between the Steam Barons, the corrupt politicians & cops, the dozens of criminal organizations and the several Mad Scientists, the City By The Bay and most of the rest of the Bay Area is a constant scene of turf wars, dog eat dog business deals and plain old murder. You can’t trust anyone and everyone is out for themselves.

Avis Crane, Private Investigator, is right in the middle of it.

Nicknamed “The Nightbird” for her singular name and her nocturnal habits, Avis works out of a dreary office in the heart of the Tenderloin, one of the worst neighborhoods in the city. On a good day, she pays her rent and her bar tab by getting the goods on cheating spouses. On bad days, she’s dodging bullets, double crosses and most of the police force while trying to piece together a murder. If you asked her why she stays there, risking her life for $10.00 a day plus expenses, she’d only shrug and say “ I’ve got nothin’ better to do.”

Little is known about the first 35 years of The Nightbird’s life. Rumor has it she grew up back east somewhere, maybe Ohio, maybe New England. Nobody knows for sure. From some of the things she says, it’s a fair bet that she was university educated and later fought in the Great War of 1880. She never mentions her family or her life before coming to San Francisco seven years ago. She’s not married but does see a couple of different men from time to time, when she not working.

As far as friends go…real friends…Avis can count them on one hand. There’s Jen Chiang, her oldest and best female friend. Jen is a doctor working out of the Chinatown hospital and has patched Avis up more than once.

Then there’s Inspector Ben Carlson, SFPD. He’s a mostly honest homicide cop with a good deal of respect and affection for Avis.

Hank and Paulette Gaines are a couple of mechanics working for Consolidated Industries that also invent things on the side and keep Avis’ 12 year old automobile running. They are very fond of her and keep trying to steer her towards a better way of life.

Finally, there’s Doctor California, one of the most wealthy, powerful and intelligent of the Mad Scientist/Criminal Mastermind ilk. He has a great admiration and fatherly love for Avis. While he will not actually provide her with resources of a tangible nature, he will very often send her packets of information that help her out on a case. He has also, discreetly, provided back up for her on a few occasions, none of which Avis has been aware of. In return for his help and guidance, Avis has sworn to never “be a problem” to him. This is made easy by the fact that Doctor California almost never commits crimes in the Golden State.

Beyond her few real friends, Avis has pals, acquaintances and contacts all over the Bay Area. From lowly bag men up to wealthy socialites, to cabbies to dozens of bartenders, The Nightbird has many ways of getting information.

Avis Crane stands 5’11” tall. Her hair is brown and worn unfashionably short. Her eyes are green and there is a small scar under the left one. She’s slender, but pretty muscular. If you saw her in the nude, you’d comment on all of her scars.

Avis is a strange mix of world weary cynic and Romantic optimist. She doesn’t believe in pointless violence, but when she thinks there’s a point to it, she can dish it out hot and fast. Her hand to hand fighting skills are very good and she’s a crack shot with either her Colt .45 or her Wilson Arms Magnetic Pistol. She also carries a couple of knives.

Being a sucker for a handsome face or a well told sob story are probably her biggest flaws and at one time or another, both have gotten her arrested, assaulted or both. She will admit that she should learn something from all that, but she never seems to.

Her office is at 750 Maple Street, third floor, in the back. Open from 3:30 PM until dawn.

Tales Calculated To Make You Go “EWWWWWW!”

…on sale now!

The Doclopedia #364

Basset Hounds…in Space!: Captain Roscoe

Captain Roscoe T. Dogg, commander of the starship “Fetch!”, is the most famous captain in Dogstarfleet. He has won many battles (both military and diplomatic), discovered many new worlds, made first contact with many new species and had sex with more alien bitches than the next 6 captains combined.

Captain Roscoe is a red and white Basset Hound with rugged good looks and long ears that the females love (and you know what they say about long ears on a male:). He is always in great physical shape and never shies away from a fight. He’s an older dog, but he’s always learning new tricks. Many of these tricks are learned from the above mentioned alien bitches.

His command style is a very effective mix of easy going and demanding of perfection. He works hard and plays hard and expects the same from his crew. He is not a “by the book” kind of dog, which drives his superiors crazy. Still, they always have to admit that his way of doing things is effective. Of course, that’s also why he is the #1 Most Hated Enemy of the Kittycat and Ferret empires.

The Mooniper In Juniper

…no, I don’t know why

The Doclopedia #363

Assorted Books (Bad Style): The Book of Winning

“Any young person who reads The Book of Winning, by Reverend Bertram K. Bonner, will surely profit from it. The sound moral stories and examples of how leading an upright life will help one “win” in life, especially when absorbed at an early age. This book is highly recommended for boys and girls age 8 to 12. 400 pages, $1.10”

That’s what the advertisement said in 1900 when the book was published, and it sold over two million copies in the United States, but for people who knew how to really read it, it offered a hell of a lot more than a righteous life.

The truth was, “Reverend” Bonner was merely one of the many identities used by Stanley Jessup, a con man & gambler of legendary talent. Young grifters who showed a natural aptitude were often referred to the book by their older counterparts. By reading only certain sentences, one could learn dozens of secrets for separating the gullible and/or greedy from their money, as well as the best ways to avoid detection by the police or detective agencies and which parts of the United States were best for which kind of cons.

Not a bad deal for only $1.10!

The Most Dangerous Babe on The Block

…she was trouble from head to toe, except for that one small spot on her left arm

The Doclopedia #361

Worst. Smells. EVAR: Gilvian Cat-Ape Sweat

The scent of the Cat-Apes, found thankfully only on Gilvia 4, is disgusting enough to begin with, but when they begin to sweat, it’s enough to make a robot want to hurl.

Described as a combination of the worst aspects of rotting chicken flesh, human diarrhea, a corpse lily and the fart of a dying wildebeest, it can and does drive away most of the other animals, including predators, for hundreds of meters around, with the exception of the Gilvian Stonewolf, which has no appreciable sense of smell and only eats Cat-Apes.

The Doclopedia #362

Apocalypse Survival Kits: Kaiju Attack Kit

Thank you for purchasing the DocCo “Kaiju Attack Survival Kit: Fire Breathing Dinosaur Version”. In this kit you will find…

One bottle of Kaopectate
One fireproof/radiation proof suit
One “Giant Multiheaded Dragon” holographic projector
One “Giant Multiheaded Dragon” CD, with CD player
One battery power packet, with timer
One Kumitsu Motors 500cc “Starfire” street/dirt motorcycle.

To use: First, upon hearing that a kaiju is approaching your city, drink the entire bottle of Kaopectate. This will help you not to shit yourself when you see the kaiju.

Next, go about a mile from your house and set up the holographic projector and the CD player (with CD loaded) by plugging them into the battery power pack.

Now, estimate how long it will be before the enormous fire breathing kaiju gets within visual range of where you are standing.

Then, set the timer for one minute after that.

Finally, jump on the motorcycle and start hauling ass in the opposite direction of the kaiju as soon as he sees and hears the hologram of his most hated enemy. Kaiju are not smart, so you should have at least 15 minutes to put your home behind you. Don’t stop until you are at least 200 miles away.

We hope you enjoy our product and urge you to check out the Giant Ape, Humongous Moth, Terrifyingly Huge Shark and Motherfucking Enormous Octopus versions.

Doc Tempest VS The Giant Of The North

…from the August, 1958 issue and co-starring Doc Mystery. Master Detective

The Doclopedia #359

The Seven Kingdoms: Brindolhoff

The mighty kingdom of Brindolhoff is the largest of the Seven Kingdoms, being 150 miles from north to south and 700 miles from west to east. It is also the most populous, with 4,000,000 people…a quarter of whom are part of the military and/or police.

Why so many? Because Brindolhoff is charged with protecting the other 6 Kingdoms from the Northern Horde. Brindolhoff receives a nice bit of gold and goods for this service.

Although it is the northmost Kingdom, Brindolhoff is not a cold and rugged place. In fact, it is made up mostly of rolling hills, river valleys and light woods. Most of the Seven Kingdoms grain comes from there, as do all of the best horses and cattle.

The Brinders (as they prefer to be called) are not an overly tall race, with few reaching 6 feet, but they are a muscular and tough bunch. Their army is feared only slightly less than the Undead Legions of Nor-Halat. They prefer fighting from horseback using bows at distance, then axes up close.

Every year, in the capital city of Durgarf, the Brinders hold what amounts to a week of drunken revelry. Twice they’ve nearly burned the entire city to the ground. Those years are very fondly remembered.

The Doclopedia #360

Poultry That Saved The Day: The Duck Who Killed Hitler

In July of 1943, Adolph Hitler and Joseph Goebbels got on a plane in Berlin and began flying west to a still unknown destination. At about the two hour mark of the trip, a very large mallard duck crashed through the cockpit window, killing the pilot, mostly blinding the co-pilot with flying glass and then causing the cockpit door to be jammed shut. The plane rolled three times, causing the passengers to be thrown around and seriously injured. The co-pilot, despite his failing vision managed to right the plane, but then passed out from blood loss.

Amazingly, the plane kept flying, though on a slowly descending path. By the time it was spotted by British pilots,who were pretty certain that the demolished cockpit meant it was no longer manned, it was low enough that they could predict that it would crash just a few miles from the British coastline in Suffolk. And sure enough, it did just that, right into a farmer’s pond. The plane sustained minimal damage, but the few badly injured survivors were killed.

Within hours, Churchill himself was the scene. It is said that he welcomed the very much dead Hitler and Goebbels to England. The headlines the next day read “Hitler Comes To England…To Die!” The effect upon the British people (and much of the rest of Europe) was electrifying. The effect on the German people, including the military, was devastating. Soldiers deserted in droves and many industrialists began getting the hell out of the country. In 6 more months, the war in Europe was over.

The body of the duck was given a full royal funeral and he was posthumously awarded the Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire and his tomb, on the grounds of Buckingham Palace, reads “Sir Mallard, Savior of Britain and Europe”. To this day, the hunting of mallard ducks is illegal in the United Kingdom and much of Europe.

Would You Like A Big Bowl Of Suck With Your Birthday Cake?

…well, you’re getting it anyway!

Yesterday, My Sweet Angel, Grace, fell and broke her upper right arm. Today is her birthday.

Great googly moogly, what a day. Only got to sleep for about 4.5 hours. Have been assisting Grace, shopping, etc, etc. will sleep well tonight thanks to my old pal Guinness and my recent buddy, Exhaustion.

Grace is doing better. She saw an orthopedist at the clinic a short walk from here and he gave her a better arm restraint. Her Vicodin pain pills seem to be working well.

Dear Mothra, I’m Sorry I Stepped On Those Two Tiny Women

…please don’t destroy Tokyo again.

Two Doclopedia posts today, and one of them is a crossover to a fiction blog entry! Woohoo!

The Doclopedia #357

Diners, Cafes & Burger Joints: Asteroid Burgers

Welcome to Asteroid Burgers, an old fashioned drive in restaurant…in space! We feature a variety of hamburgers and cheeseburgers made with the finest cloned beef and the freshest Lunar vegetables. Our buns are baked fresh daily and our famous fries are cooked in small batches to ensure freshness. Our shakes and malts are made with real ice cream made from the finest dairy products and freshest fruits.

For your safety, please shut down your drive units once you have docked at a service bay. For those of you with ships over 90 feet long, please use our larger docking area to the rear of the asteroid.

Our special today is a delicious 1/3 pound Chili Cheeseburger with a large order of fries and a 32 ounce drink for only 20 credits! Add bacon for only 3 credits more!

Asteroid Burgers: They’re Spacetacular! 250 locations to serve throughout the solar system!

The Doclopedia #358

The Colors: Green

Green is the color of Green Ladies, the servants and defenders of Gaia aka the Earth. There are always only 10,000 mature Green Ladies on the planet, although there can be any number of immature Ladies. “Maturity” in this case has nothing to do with age or a physical state, but with a level of wisdom. Even then, a Green Lady only reaches full maturity if she replaces an older Green Lady who has died (or, as they call it “returned to Our Mother”).

All Green Ladies have green skin, hair and eyes, although the shades of green can vary quite widely. They average 6’1” tall, but some can be as short as 5’8” or as tall as 6’6”. All green ladies have full and voluptuous figures and they all bear the Mark of Gaia (a small butterfly) on their right breast. An interesting fact is that Green Ladies always give off a faint, yet pleasant odor of plants. These odors change every few hours and can be any plant smell from pine scent to ripe fruit to new mowed hay to any of several thousand other scents.

All Green Ladies are constantly in contact with Gaia and often in contact with The Ten Thousand. They often “zone out” and behave as though they are seeing a world that normal humanoids cannot see. They also often forget to wear clothing, which can partly be explained by their resistance to extremes of temperature.

No Green Lady has ever been bitten or harmed by any living creature. They are, in fact, beloved by them, especially Dragons. Most humanoids except humans regard Green Ladies as demigods and will not accept their money for any good or service and will look upon even the slightest kind word as a blessing.

Green Ladies take human males as mates and can interbreed successfully with them. One of their children will always be a Green Lady, but the rest can be Mutants or Humans.

Rum, Rum Rum!

…breakfast of champions for pirates!

NEWS UPDATE: The final 10 entries for my 365 Doclopedia posts will all be singles for 10 different themes. Enjoy!

The Doclopedia #356

Unknown Famous Explorers…: Hubley Withers

Doctor Hubley Withers, an archaeologist from the University of Kansas, was visiting the Pacific island of Loowali when he found an old diary in a shop. This diary had once belonged to the great French explorer, Henri Gaillard, and his notes for February, 1855 detailed how he had found the possible location of Lost City of HamoHamo, one of the most sought after finds in all of archaeology.

Reading more, Hubley saw that the reason nobody had ever found HamoHamo was that it was underground! The cave leading to it was deep in the jungle near Mount Kamapalo, an active volcano. Filled with visions of fame and an escape from his heretofore unimpressive career, Hubley decided to tell nobody what he had discovered until he made sure that Gaillard had been correct.

After buying some supplies, Hubley set out for the location noted on Gaillard’s excellent map. Three days later, he located the rather small cave and made the 300 foot descent to the huge cavern that held HamoHamo.

It was spectacular! At least 2,000 people must have lived there and the level of preservation was incredible. There were statues and carvings and more things to study than a team of 100 archaeologists could catalog in a year! Oh yes, there would be prizes and recognition and fame for this find!

Hubley was so excited on his climb back out of the cavern that he did not notice how the near constant earth tremors of the past two weeks has intensified. Not that it would have mattered if he had, because when he was just over a mile from the cave entrance, Mount Kamapalo Blew up with the force of 6 Mount St. Helens, creating enormous pyroclastic flows and massive lahars that covered hundreds of thousands of acres in ash and mud 10 meters thick.

Including the spot where Hubley’s last thought was “Aw shit, now I’ll never be famous.”

Country Fried Rat With Fungus Gravy

…not as popular as you might think

The Doclopedia #355

The Rise Of The…: Replacements

And by replacements, we of course mean a new and better adapted form of hominid who did to Homo sapiens what Homo sapiens did to Neanderthal and all the other hominids they encountered: wiped them out and took their place.

The new species of human first popped up in China about 3,000 BC, in a group of small villages in a remote valley. Since interbreeding among the villagers was common, the mutation got established pretty quickly. At first, they were just healthier and stronger than other people, but after a few generations, they began to realize that they were quite a bit more than that. One night, all of these “new people” left the valley to find a place where they could figure out why they felt so different. It wasn’t until all 128 of them were on the road that they realized the idea had come to each of then separately and they had never verbally discussed it with each other.

After they had found a place to live (in the wilds of western Siberia), the people figured out that they could communicate ideas in their sleep. They also came to the conclusion that if normal humans knew about them, there would be trouble.

So it was that they went out and found mates among the local people, slowly growing their population. Only one child in 6 was a new type human, so it took awhile to get a good sized population bred up. In the mean time, they used their superior intellect to make plans to increase their numbers further…and hide from the normals.

By the time Jesus was allegedly born, there were hundreds of the new race hidden in plain sight among many cultures. They had bred into all ethnic forms and skin colors, but no matter what they looked like, they were always better than normal in all ways. Of course, they hid that, too.

And they could communicate with each other telepathically.

By the time Columbus reached the New World, the Inheritors (for that is what they called themselves now) had a knowledge of science at least a century or two more advanced than the rest of the humans on Earth. By the time the first steam engine chugged to life, they had traveled to the moon. Every “airship” or UFO sighting after about 1880? That was them.

It would make a thrilling story to tell you how the Inheritors wiped Homo sapiens out after years of war or conqured them with superior weapons or just waited until they killed each other off, but that’s not how it went. One day, the Inheritors just used their combined mental powers to mind control all the Homo sapiens into getting themselves and their children sterilized. After that, they just let them live out their lives doing whatever peaceful thing they wanted to do. Sure, the normals didn’t like it, but after a few armies committed suicide, they calmed right down. After another century or so, all the Homo sapiens were gone and the Inheritors, well, inherited the earth…and the rest of the solar system.

It’s All Fun & Games Until Somebody Opens Up That Jar Of Flesh Eating Spiderwasps

…then it pretty much turns into antifun

CatCon4: Day 10 (Con Day 3) Last day of the con…mucho merch is bought… games are played…seminars are attended…pie is eaten…we head home via the old spacey wacey/timey wimey

This being the last day of the con, our merry band of travelers hit the Dealer’s Room early and hard. There are a whole bunch of sellers who are going to sleep well tonight after counting the $$$ we spent.

At 10 AM, it was time for Spike and I to hit the “What We Hate!” seminar, which was packed and lots of fun. It lasted until 12, at which point we had an hour for lunch and then went on to the last seminar of the day “What We Did At CatCon 4”. As you might imagine, this was a best/most funny/most awesome/strangest con memories thing and it was often screamingly funny.

Once that was over, at 2 PM, Grace (who had been doing even more shopping) joined Sharon, Avis and I for the Charity Pet Walk (or, in Winker’s case, the “get towed by Dad in a wagon”). People once again ponied up big bucks for local animal charities.

At 3 PM, it was one last sweep of the Dealer’s Room. At 4:00, the dealer’s room closed and we all went back to the hotel for packing up.

At 4:30, we all went to Pizza My Heart for some chow, but left plenty of room for the deliciosity that is the “Post Con Cool Down Party” where pie is the star attraction.

When 6 PM rolled around, we went to the party and just ate the hell outta pie. There was much chatting and goodbye saying and at 7:00, we headed out, got on the Magic Bus and bid adieu to Critter City and CatCon 4.

About an hour after we left, and fortunately after she told us all goodbye, our duplicate Avis popped out of existence. Two minutes later, my cell phone rang and it was the original Avis calling from GenCon to say what fun she had at both cons.

Fifteen minutes later, Joe flipped switches and turned dials and we popped up in the middle of London, circa 1972. We had not been moving, so when we popped out of nowhere, it was a real crowd stopper. Joe said we had to wait 5 minutes before we could teleport again, so I gave in to a mad urge. After running to one of the closets, I hurriedly threw on a rather gaudy outfit, complete with a top hat and cane. Then I left the bus, where a couple of hundred people stood looking at it in slackjawed wonder and trafic was backing up badly.

I walked up to a largish group and said “Hello, I’m the Doctor. Can any of you tell me how to get to California in 2011?” Jaws REALLY dropped then, plus three people fainted and one guy dropped his bag of groceries.

I then got on the bus and, while the Doctor Who theme played through the external speakers, we teleported. Joe informs me that we most likely created the trigger event for spinning off an alternate reality. Cool!

We popped into Toronto, at which point we then drove the Mystery family home. Next stop was Dundalk, Maryland, where the Joneses said goodbye. From there, it was home, sweet home, California.

That was an hour ago. Grace is snoozing, Sharon is gone, Zach is driving home, The Girls are asleep, Flash is in his imaginary cat tree, Abby is in her fictional pygmy goat house and I am drinking a glass of iced tea.

Next year, as always, we hope to get to GenCon. If we don’t, there will still be DogCon 5.

Of course, even if we do make it to GenCon, there’s still that “tempro-spatially replicated” thing that duplicated Avis. It’s a big bathroom…big enough to hold several people, plus critters.

Hmmmm…

CatCon 4 is over, but the Cross Family and Friends will return in…

DogCon 5…maybe

Otis Was Not The Cat’s Real Name

…but he used it to commit kitty crimes

CatCon4: Day 9 (Con Day 2) Again, a quick rundown, but with added critter comments

Grace: Took a tour (with Mary and Miranda) of a local herb garden…bought several books at a local used book store…went with no less than 15 other gamers folks and several pets to the mud baths and spa, where we all first lounged about in warm mineral mud, then git cleaned and massaged to within an inch of our lives (lunch was also included)…went to watch our now wonderfully clean canine children participate in an all dog LARP…took a nap…entered Abby and Flash in the Pet Costume Contest as Donkey and Puss in Boots from Shrek (they took third place)…played in the Killer Bunnies tournament…ate dinner…went to the Couples Only Dungeon LARP with Your Humble Narrator.

The Critters: Spent the morning at the Pet Jungle, which is a really cool jungle themed park (Flash: They have fake alligators in a pond! I nearly pissed myself when one swam at where I was standing!) (Abby: They had a fun “Jungle Pyramid” that I climbed with a bunch of other goats) (Lucy: I ran all over the jungle with a bunch of other dogs chasing a mechanical monkey) (Winker: I played with two little girls and their dog)…went to the spa with us (All Critters: We love the spa! They cleaned us and combed us and massaged us and gave us lots of treats!)…played in LARPs (Winker & Lucy: We were the McWoof Sisters in the dog LARP “The Haunted Doghouse”)…wore costumes (Flash: I made a pretty dashing Puss in Boots, if I do say so.) (Abby: I looked good as Donkey, but the contest winner was a pig named Louie dressed up as Iron Ham.)…had long naps in our suite…ate a great dinner and watched movies with Arcadia (Sharon was playing in a game of some sort)

Doc: Toured the Dealer’s room…took part (with Spike) in the annual “Ask A GM Anything!” Q&A. This year, one of the questions was “Can you do a few lines from one of your favorite movies?”, so I did a few from the original “King Kong”…did the spa party thing…watched about half of The Girls doggie LARP…ran an OTE game titled “The Revenge Of The Dead”…sat in on a seminar whose panel included Spike and Christina Stiles. Subject was freelancing…ran yet another Toon game, “The House That Jerks Built”…played a card game about war in the barnyard…ate Mexican food for dinner…went with my spouse, Mr. & Mrs. Jones, Doc & Mrs. Mystery and my nephew Zach & Avis Crane to the Couples Only LARP. Obviously, it is not just for married folk, or even folks in a relationship. You just had to be two people that were a team. It was a Murder Mystery with Fantasy and Steampunk elements (and drinks & eats). The object was not just to solve the murder and expose the killer, but keep from getting killed AND expose the vile bastards behind it all. Both Spike and I got killed, while Mary nearly drank poison. Players were dropping like flies for a while, but we got to come back as zombies (some good, some evil). It was big fun and ran from 9 PM until 2 in the morning.

CatCon4: Day 10 (Con Day 3) An even quicker recap

Grace: Spent very nearly the entire day in several boardgame tournaments, two of which she won (Bean Trader and a giant version live action version of Kill Doctor Lucky)

The Critters: Played in two LARPS (as a team) and went to an Old West pet park.

Doc: Once again tried to kill himself with the following schedule…

9-10 AM: Seminar titled “How to Be Funny”

10-11 AM: Seminar titled “How To Write Stuff”

11-11:30 AM: Ate world class chili dogs for lunch

11:30 AM-12 PM: Get ready for the annual “Old Time Radio” broadcast…but this year, the whole damned show was improv, including the music by a local swing band.

12-2 PM: Do the above mentioned show with a cast of 16, a live audience of 300 and live streaming to the whole fuckin’ world via the net. We managed to squeeze out a detective drama, a variety show, a newscast and a comedy show reminiscent of the Jack Benny Program. All more than slightly skewed from the normal due to the improve aspect. Doc Mystery and I each played at least 7 roles.

2-3 PM: Caught my breath, used the bathroom, drank iced tea

3-5 PM: played in “The World’s Biggest Superhero Steel Cage Match” where 48 players had their characters slugging it out with, basically, anybody in the cage that came near them. My character, a kind of Metamorpho knockoff) lasted 1 hour, 22 minutes before a teenage girl had her character use molecular manipulation to turn Morpho into glass, at which point a Hulk like fellow shattered him.

5-6 PM: Seminar titled “Everything I’ve Learned, I Learned from Bad Movies”

6-8 PM: Smooching wife, loving pets, showering, dinner at a great Indian place

8 PM until-3AM: Played in a Savage Worlds game, “Attack Of The Zombie Ninjas”, which was actually a lot more serious that the title implies. Avis played in this one with me and her crack shot, hard drinking, two fisted adventuress saved the bacon of my absent minded and somewhat mad biology professor (as well as most of the rest of our group.

More bloggage after a few hours of sleep.

Al Capone VS The Daughter Of Dracula

…1956, an American International Picture

CatCon4: Day 8 (Con Day 1) A quick rundown of what transpired

The Pre-Con Party on Wednesday night: Rocked, plain and simple. Everyone had loads of fun and at one point, we had a group of sock puppets doing various Monty Python sketches.

On Thursday, the con officially opened and…

Grace: Toured the Dealers room (which features not just gamer stuff, but pet stuff…went to a couple of seminars…took a virtual stroll through the computer generated Village of Hemdale (which she said was totally cool)…played some board and card games…joined Sharon, our hired pet co-nanny Arcadia and our critters at a water park…and took a nap.

The Critters: Went to the above mentioned water park…went to another pet park…took naps…ate treats….played in the pets only LARP “Lost In The Dungeon”…ate more food.

(Lucy: The LARP was fun, but not very challenging. Funniest moment: a very chubby beagle named Tug got stuck in the cat door leading to the Hall of Zombies.)

Doc: Toured the Dealer’s Room…participated in the panel discussion on “Why Vampires Suck!”…went from there straight to a seminar on “How To Scare Your Players And Their Characters” (which was SRO and full of sick and twisted GM advice)…ate lunch at Gonzoburger with the above mentioned sick & twisted seminar panel…ran “Kill The Wabbit!” a 2 hour Toon game that had 14 players…played a couple of card games…got a massage in the Relaxation Room…ran another 2 hour long Toon game entitled “Night Of The Living Bread”, this time for convention GMs only…stood in the Dealer’s Room chatting with several gaming industry folks…ate dinner with Grace, Avis, Sharon, Zach, the Joneses and about 15 other folks…talked, drank and played a traitor to the Reich in the awesome pulp adventure “Sky Raiders vs The Airship of Satan” (players included Avis, Spike and Doc Mystery). Big fun was had…hung out with other GMs at a dive bar until closing time.

More bloggage later. Friday looks to be even busier for everyone!

Jet Powered Robot Kid

…more fake anime

The Doclopedia #353

My Family: Uncle Smitty

Old Uncle Smitty was about 85 when I was 10 and he used to tell us kids all sorts of great stories about having been an accountant and an insurance salesman and living in the same small town (population: 2,500) all his life. He told great stories about actuarial tables and tax shelters and meetings at the Oddfellows and Elks. We loved listening to him.

Imagine our disappointment years later, in our teens at his wake, when we learned that he had actually run away from his home in New York City at age 13 and bummed around for several years. Even worse, we found out that he had fought in the Spanish American War with his close friend, Teddy Roosevelt! And been decorated for valor!

It got worse! We learned that he had been a spy for the United States government in Europe and Asia…that he had been a top spy during World War I and had seduced many European women to get information…that he had personally killed dozens of German soldiers with his bare hands…That after the war, he traveled the globe having many adventures…that during World War II he was a trusted advisor to both Churchill and FDR…and that he only settled in that small town (from which he ran a top secret branch of the CIA) shortly after the war.

We all agreed that he had been an old fraud and broken our hearts. Fuck him.

The Doclopedia #354

My Family: Aunt Fern

Aunt Fern believed that she was actually the secret granddaughter of Emperor Joshua Norton, whom she claimed actually lived until 1899 under the name George Hastings, a farmer in Merced, California. Of course, Aunt Fern also believed that gnomes lived under the local Moose Lodge and that her cat, Sammy, was actually the reincarnation of her late husband Gary. She also sometimes danced butt naked in the moonlight in the park near the old Western Auto store.

One day when she was 77, Aunt Fern decided that she knew how to get to the Emerald City of Oz by using the interstate highway system. She packed her old Ford station wagon up and she and Sammy hit the road. That was the last time we ever saw her in person, although we would get postcards from her over the next 20 years. The last one came from Wonderland. As my father said when he saw it, I guess she made a wrong turn at Albuquerque.

My Life Among The Laid Back Tomato Vines

…in my garden

CatCon4: Day 7 We wake up to the sound of music…breakfast riots occur…swag is gotten and plots hatched…dogs & cats race together…more food is eaten, sans rioting…a fine party is attended

Since this entire town is wired up for every sort of electronic communication you can imagine, the ConCom woke damn near everybody in town up by playing the Star Trek Next Generation theme song as done by meowing cats. It drifted in through our slightly open (so pets can use the small balcony yard to do their biz) balcony door at 8 AM. Since Grace and I were both hungry, we got up and got ready for breakfast. Once calls were made to various and sundry friends, we and the critters headed out to “Waffles From Outer Space”, which we really enjoyed last year, not the least because it has Bacon & Butter Flavored Syrup.

Well, it would seem that a whole lot of people liked it, because the place now has about 4 times the seating it had last year, including pet seating and a kids play area. It was the pets and kids that started the riot just about the time I was digging into my country fried steak, gravy, two scrambled eggs and 2 huge eggnog waffles.

One moment, everything was cool, the next, kids and dogs and cats and goats and pigs and birds and ducks and a whole menagerie of other animals were running hither and yon and screaming and barking and meowing and such. There did not appear to be any violence, fear or animosity involved, it was just some sort of instant happiness explosion that lasted about 5 minutes and pretty much left the place in great disarray. Unlike some of the folks, I had no trouble rounding up my pets. A simple “Fooooooddddd Fooooorrrr Doooooggggssss!!!! in a booming voice did the trick.

(Flash: It was really cool! We were just all going nuts!)
(Winker: It’s called a “flash” mob, which is a pretty appropriate name for sudden unthinking mayhem, if you ask me.)
(Flash: Say what?)

After breakfast was over and everyone was stuffed, we strolled over to the convention center to grab our badges & swag. Badges this year looked like police badges (except for the pet badges, which looked like Old West sheriff stars on a day glo collar) and the con book looked like a “true crime” pulp magazine. Swag in the bag included…

A t-shirt…a convention only comic book featuring the adventures of Cat Boy and Dog Girl…a commemorative D20…a coupon book for dealers at the con and various businesses around town…a fist full of game company fliers…a pair of miniatures from the new wargame “World War IV”…a countdown poster for DogCon 5 and a hologram postcard. If you were a pet, your bag held treats, treats, more treats and a brush.

I must speed this post up, because I’m heading out to the Pre-Con Party in a few minutes, so here are the highlights.

1: While in the fast moving badge/swag line, chatted with a great many friends. Made plans for several get togethers and games.

2: Entered Flash & Lucy in the big Charity Dog & Cat Race. This had the cats riding the dogs, which flash & Lucy do pretty often anyway. Bets are placed and all proceeds go to local animal shelters. The winners get food prizes and a free deluxe grooming. The race is an obstacle course 500 winding feet long. The dog chases a fake rabbit over, under and though obstacles. The cat hangs on and tries not to fall off.

Since Luck is only part basset hound, but is much more some longer legged sort of hound…and Flash is the smallest adult cat you’ll ever see…they were heavily favored in the odds. When the gun went off, they were in third place pretty quickly…BUT, the lead dog lost his cat about ¼ of the way through when he went through a long tube.

(Flash: Yeah, he scraped that snotty little American Shorthair right off!)

By the halfway point. Lucy and a smallish pitbull were neck in neck. Then they hit the pond and the pitbull ran into it while Lucy took a flying dive and pulled ahead by 6 feet.

(Flash: Yeah, that pond…not fun!)

After that, it was Team Cross all the way. We were all very proud of Flash & Lucy. Later, they ate more food than your average lion.

(Lucy: Beef stew…for dogs!)
(Flash: Tuna cakes! TUNA CAKES!)

3: Lunch was Chinese, dinner was barbecue pizza. In between, there were various baked goods and ice cream consumed. We also found out that starting right after the con ends this year, the whole town of Critter City is going to be covered in a huge dome, which will be finished by the start of next years con. Cool!

4: The theme of the Pre-Con Party is “Me and My Sock Puppet”. Everybody is going to get a sock puppet that they must wear AND converse part of the time through. In my opinion, this beats the Playing Doctor theme from a past party.

And now I’m off to said party, accompanied by many of my traveling companions. More bloggage will surely occur sometime soon.

The Cupcake Elves And The Cookie Gnomes Go To War!

…meanwhile, the Ice Cream Dwarves just sit back and watch

CatCon4: Day 5 A lazy day…Critters Assemble!…we view two houses made of stuff

Our Monday got off to a later than usual start. This can be blamed on: adults going out for adult beverages and fun the previous night…and everybody being tired from walking around the city streets yesterday…and it being a vacation…and it’s friggin’ New Orleans!

So after rising at the crack of 10:00 AM, we humans went down the street for a hearty breakfast and left the critters on the bus with a movie playing on the big screen tv.

(Flash: It was “The Incredible Journey”. I love that movie!)

Unfortunately, in my muzzy headed and hungry state, I neglected to activate the security system, so when we came back 45 minutes later, we found the front door open and heard all hell braking loose inside.

I hurried in just in time to see Abby head butt some young street punk in the ass while he tried to simultaneously remove Flash from his neck, Lucy from his pants leg and Winker from his arm. He wasn’t doing very well, as was indicated by his pleas to me to call them off and his profuse bleeding. Being a kindly sort, I only let them fuck him up for another minute before I called them off. He thanked me as he sat cowering. When he saw everyone else enter the bus, he began the street punk chant about “just messing around” and “didn’t mean any harm”. He was still saying that when I tossed him off the bus face first into a parked car.

Then I raided the pantry and fridge for rewards for the Animal Avengers.

(Lucy: A whole pot roast! Oh yeah, baby!)
(Abby: Man, that was a lot of apples and grapes. *BURP*)
(Winker: Pizza! Delicious all meat pizza!)
(Flash: Smoked salmon and raw shrimp! I’m gonna go pass out for a day or two.)

Minutes later we were back on the road and hauling ass for Texas. We made good time and were coming up on Lake Charles when Avis, who has been sitting in the co-pilot/dog chair, pointed out a sign that said “World Famous Manure Mansion: 20 miles” and had an arrow pointing north. A quick vote said that no damned way could we pass up that bit of roadside greatness, so we made the turn. In less than 20 minutes, there we were, in front of a huge mansion made of (as the big sign out front said) cow manure mixed with concrete.

But it looked pretty damned ordinary to us, because it was painted white and styled like pretty much every souther plantation house ever made. The sign went on to explain how the owners brother ran a cattle feed lot in Texas and had lots of manure, so blah, blah, blah! It was a big disappointment. We were expecting stacked cow patties or a house shaped like a giant turd or something. What a ripoff.

We were, however, more than repaid for that bitter disappointment by what we found just over the Texas state line near Beaumont: “The World Famous Gator House”.

Friends and neighbors, this place is not only right off the highway, it’s cheap ($3.00 a head), has a guided tour and is gator by God central! The house itself is 120 feet long, two stories high and looks like a very realistic alligator. But wait, there’s more! The entrance arch over the long driveway? Made of 4 big concrete gators! The pond in the middle of the front yard? Fenced and full of gators! All of the furniture, appliances, artwork, rugs, etc? Looks like gators or is covered in gator hides! Hell yeah!

They had FIVE different t-shirts…about a dozen kinds of fridge magnets…scads of postcards and a bunch of other gator related stuff. I may need to have Joe create a new room to hold everything we bought.

(All Critters: ALLIGATORS! BIG HUNGRY FUCKIN’ ALLIGATORS! We all hid in the shoe room!)

And then we drove on to Plum Grove Texas and our stopping point for the night.

More late ass blogging later.

Music: QM Radio “Old Time Arcturan Radio” featuring 4 episodes of “Kwip Wevip, Consulting Jurmox”

Destination Sign: 221 B Baker Street

CatCon4: Day 6 A short entry

Our trip report for Tuesday goes like this…

8 AM: Wake up, eat, hit the road

10 AM: Short stop (15 minutes) at “The House Of Blue Glass”. Small house, but really made entirely of thick slabs of blue glass. The man and wife who live there are more than a little strange.

Noon: Stop for barbecue and chili because we are in TEXAS, damn it!

2:30 PM: After fully securing all pets, especially those named Flash and Lucy, we go watch the 20 minute show at “Big Mel’s Trained Rat Theater”. They show was pretty good and the rats were smart and well trained, but I was too paranoid to enjoy it after last year’s unfortunate incident at “Uncle Ferdie’s Trained Squirrel Review”.

(Flash & Lucy: Even once you’ve paid your debt to society, you are forever branded.)
(Abby & Winker: You two spent the whole time we were locked down trying to escape so you could “chase us some rats”!)

4:30 PM: We arrive in Wilted Springs, which has officially changed the town name to Critter City. We check in at the Hyatt and nap before dinner at “Pizza My Heart” and then a stroll around town, meeting gamers and pets every few yards.

And then we slept.

Music: QM Radio “All Alt. Polka, All The Time”

Destination Sign: Toad Hall

Reggae Dogs

…Bow wow, mon. how ’bout I and I be eatin’ some noms?

The Doclopedia #351

My Family: Aunt Tessie

Aunt Tessie was famous in our family as an artist. She loved to paint scenes with animals, flowers, butterflies or trees. Often, she’d fit all of those in the same picture. She had real talent and she won awards and sold her art for good money.

The problem was, Aunt Tessie was both hyperactive and had OCD. She might also have been bi-polar, but if she was, she hardly ever hung out at the depressed pole. Of course, back then, we just thought she was kinda nutty. The biggest problem happened was she ran out of canvases to paint on. That is why most of the flat and non flat surfaces of her house had something painted on them. Uncle Ferd fell asleep watching a Giants game one night and when he woke up he was covered in butterflies, lilacs and a kitten. After that, if any of us visited Aunt Tessie, we brought along syuff for her to pain on and we never sat still for too long.

The Doclopedia #352

My Family: Cousin Lars

I liked Cousin Lars, but he was pretty much a total wackjob. He was a big believer in UFOs, Bigfoot, Men In Black, world spanning conspiracies and the hollow earth, to name but a few. His house was full of evidence and research and suppressed books and stuff like that.

By the time he turned 40, Lars was as paranoid as a cat in a yard full of sleeping pitbulls. This made him fun at family events, especially since my family likes to fuck with people’s mental issues. There would always be a couple of strangers there, often dressed in black. It really livened things up.

Lars vanished in 1995 and most of the family think he just went totally bonkers and ran off to the deep woods or something. His longtime girlfriend and fellow wackjob, Dawanda, has a different story. She says he was abducted by alien sasquatches who work for a vast conspiracy that is based inside our hollow planet. She says that she had actual video tape of the abduction, but that she was forced to give it up to Men In Black who threatened her with a chupacabra on a leash, then put a microchip in her brain.

I think Lars would have liked that.

The Politically Incorrect, Yet Totally Funny, Story Of Mostly Purple Patty And The Magical Toilet Seat

…costarring her pet hippopotamus, Vern

CatCon4: Day 4 We perform musically for Yazoo City, Mississippi, then make a quick escape…Clowns are viewed…We enter New Orleans

If you are going to do “The Time Warp” in full costume with pre-recorded musical backup, where and when better to do it than in Yazoo City, Mississippi on a Sunday morning in an intersection where there is a church on every corner just letting out after services?

In fact, it was two flavors of Baptist, one Methodist and a Catholic church. There were a couple of other churches within earshot. There were pickups with gun racks everywhere. We had a big old hippie bus disgorging a bunch of made up people and animals. Our Destination Sign read “Transexual, Transylvania”. Loud rock & roll music was playing out of 10 speakers.

What could possibly go wrong? Actually, for most of the song, not a whole lot went wrong. I was singing the Riff Raff part, Mary was Magenta and her daughter Miranda did the Columbia part (with tap dancing!). Everybody else was a Transylvanian. There was plenty of pelvic thrusting, which seemed to render the good churchgoers of Yazoo City speechless. It went well until the end, when silence fell, the audience began an ominous murmuring and we heard police sirens getting closer and louder.

At that point it was back on the bus and out of town with just a short teleport via someplace that was on top of a high desert mesa. We popped back into our dimension 10 miles outside of town and only 2 minutes ahead of when we teleported. I commend Joe on his skill with the quantum whatevers.

(Winker: That was fun! I’m sure that Mom is wrong and we will someday be able to visit Mississippi again. They wouldn’t really hang Dad.)

About two hours later, in the small town of Wesson, we saw a sign reading “Clownland! Only 3 Miles ahead! Bring the kids!”. Since we were all still hyped up and full of adrenaline from our little musical production,we decided to give it a look.

What you find in Clownland are clowns in a clowny looking village. Scarecrowy clowns, big fiberglass clowns, carved wooden clowns, garden gnome sized clowns and about 50 real live clowns. The deal is, the founder of this little village, Hobart Franks, was a retired circus clown who had inherited the land. He started inviting other old clowns to move there and they started building the clown town. Soon, younger clowns began coming here for vacations or during the off season (who knew clowns had an off season?). By 1987, Clownland covered 45 acres of land and, if our Sunday visit is any indication, gets a fair stream of visitors.

The entrance fee is $4.00 and to tell the truth, the whole affair has a pretty high creep factor due to A: Clowns are creepy anyway and B: Old (and by the smell, alcoholic) clowns are even creepier. We stayed about 30 minutes. They had t-shirts, postcards & fridge magnets, so…well, you know.

At 4:00 PM we rolled into New Orleans and began trying to eat the town clean of food while also seeing as much as we could, all to a soundtrack of jazz music.

Tomorrow, we begin the long haul to the con, with at least 4 roadside stops along the way. More bloggage later.

Music: Nawlins Jazz!

Destination Sign: Barad Dur