The Mysterious and Tense, Yet Somewhat Psychedelic, Story Of Mostly Purple Patty And The Meatloaf Of The Damned

…co-starring her best buddy, Orville Sweetcracker

Doc Update

Time for an update about life here at the D&G Cross Home For Wayward Basset Bitches. I haven’t been doing these as regularly as I used to, so maybe this will be the start of renewed personal updatage. Or not.

Healthwise, I’m now taking blood pressure meds due to my previously excellent BP going a bit high recently. I’m only taking half a pill a day, so I guess I’m not in danger of keeling over any time soon. I’ve also been told that my blood sugar is “nearly into the pre-diabetic range”, which pretty much means “lose some weight, fat boy!”.

Grace’s low level diabetes has cranked up a notch, so she is taking pills now and keeping a much closer eye on her numbers with twice daily tests. She has lost something like 75 pounds over the last year or so, but will keep on losing until things improve.

Winker is still taking her blood thinner and her diuretic, so she is doing pretty darned well for a dog who was so close to death just about a year ago.

Lucy and Sasha are as healthy as can be. In fact, our efforts to fatten Sasha up just a bit (she was very skinny when we adopted her) have not been as successful as we hoped. Being a “sporty” basset, she just burns off calories at a hell of a rate. Still, we have gotten her to a point where you can’t see her ribs.

Jobwise, things are still the same, which means we will be on our Adventure In Poverty until we either get fat raises or win the lottery.

One speed bump in our financial road will come when I am off work after my shoulder operation in March. That will be about 6 weeks, depending upon how well my physical therapy goes. Things will be very tight on the money front for awhile.

Gardenwise, I don’t know if we’ll have a veggie garden this year. Between the goofy ass weather (as in NO WINTER!) and my surgery/recovery, we’ll probably just have a couple of tomato plants and maybe some green beans.

In gaming news, I’m looking forward to my annual trek to Dundracon. It will be good to be immersed in geekdom and hang out with my tribe for a few days. Beyond that, I’m planning on getting my gaming group together in late April for some regular roleplaying again. I’m not sure what genre we’ll play in, but some sort of Pulp Era game sounds good.

Hark! I hear certain hounds telling me that it is time for walkies. More bloggage soon!


After The Change Came: Series 2

Sin On Horseback

Once again, I haven’t written in a week. This time, the reason is that Doc and I have been drafted by several Wizards to go off on some cockamamie road trip looking for, as they put it “signs of something troubling”. Did they know what the signs would be? No. Did they know what the troubling thing might be? No. Did they know who the hell was behind these signs of troubling crap that Wizards didn’t know anything about? Hell no! They just told us to head northeast from Sacramento starting at noon on Tuesday, which we did. On horseback. Well, actually, muleback, since Doc prefers mules to horses.

Not that these are just any mules, don’t you know. Sirroco (Rocky) and Bellflower (Belle) are, Smart Mules, born of the first Smart Horse and Smart Donkey. Unlike many brothers and sisters, they get along very well. Unlike most mules, they are both fertile, so one day if they find mates, they could produce more Smart Mules.

So far, our trip has taken us way up into the Sierras, where besides freezing our asses off, we happened upon the remains of an abandoned lakeside village that had burned to the ground some months ago. After a bit of sleuthing, we determined that it had been torched on purpose, almost certainly by magical fire.. Doc, ever the Nature Boy, also noted that there was a very faint trail leading west. We followed it down into the foothills, passing areas that might have been camps last summer. At one of these camps, I found some large footprints in what had been mud, but was now nearly hard as rock due to our dry winter.

The footprints were nearly as large as Doc’s feet (which means long and very wide) and whoever made them probably weighed in excess of 200 pounds and wore soft leather footwear. Doc looked at those footprints a long while, then went to a pond about half a mile away. When he came back, all he would say is that his spider sense was tingling and we needed to pick up the pace.

That was yesterday and this morning we lost the trail after coming to an intersection of two paved roads. After thinking a bit, Doc decided to turn north for a bit, which is why tonight we are staying at a small hotel in Chico. I am so glad to have a hot shower and a real bed to sleep in. Unlike Old Yellow Eyes, I’m a city boy. Camping out is fun about once or twice a year…in the summer. This winter camping and riding all day is nuts. My poor ass feels like it has been hit by a truck after six days in the saddle. I’m also not too happy to have to dress all butch for a week or more.

Unfortunately, my complaints would fall on deaf ears even if I could find a Wizard to bitch at. Doc understands that this isn’t my preferred lifestyle, but we appear to be onto something big and he’s all in thinking mode, so it would be wrong to bother him. I guess I’ll just slip into the nice warm bed and sleep until the inevitable too fucking early o’clock wake up call.

More bloggage soon.

My Other Dog Is An Ankylosaurus

…and nobody wants to pet him

The Doclopedia # 399

The Alphabet, Again: B is for…Banana Plague

This deadly plague got named for the fact that in the final stages of it, the victim’s skin would turn bright yellow just before it began pealing off the body in large strips. This was a terrifying thing to see and was quickly followed by the death of the nearly skinless victim.

The Banana Plague was unleashed when an accident released it from a secret Soviet biological weapons lab in Cuba. It killed an estimated 25,000 Cubans in the first two weeks. Carried by refugees to North, Central and South America (who were unaware of what was going on), it killed 2.3 million people there, plus another 4.6 million in Europe and Asia.

A vaccine was finally perfected in March of 1978 and distributed worldwide. There have been no outbreaks anywhere since July of 1981.

Butter On The Fritters

…Mmmmm, buttered fritters

The Doclopedia # 398

The Alphabet, Again: A is for…Amy The Barbarian

On Earth 221, there are many powerful kingdoms and ravaging barbarian hordes. Among the various races of barbarians, none are stronger and deadlier than the People of Lakora. Life in their land is fraught with terrible weather, deadly animals, rough terrain and constant clan warfare. You grow up tough or you don’t grow up at all!

From this savage land came Amy, a petite warrior woman with blond pigtails, a cute face and big blue eyes. She was armed with a small pink shield and a 3 foot long sharply pointed stick. She skipped down the road, aiming to kill, steal and pillage her way through the civilized lands.

Upon her first encounter, with a band of seven burly Thudarkian mercenaries, she was laughed at and mention was made of possibly taking her as a sex slave. The mercenaries laughed so hard at her threats of violence that she had killed three of them with a sharp stick through the throat before the rest realized what had happened. At that point, it was too late for them. Moments later, a gore covered Amy stood on the chest of the lone survivor, who would now never have need of a sex slave.

“Listen to me, you wretched son of a troll! I am Amy, a warrior and thief of great skill and cunning. I have spared your worthless life so that you may go out into the world and spread the news that I will not be trifled with by scum like you, lest I leave a wake of bloody corpses behind me. Now go, run and tell all that Amy is coming!”

Between the terrified mercenary telling everyone he met about the little woman who now used his scrotum for a coin purse and Amy slaughtering everyone who messed with her, the legend of Amy the Barbarian spread quickly across the world. Soon, kingdoms would fall and armies would clash as Amy made the world her own.

Congratulations! I Am Being The President Person Of Nigeria Bank With Money For You!

…please to be giving me your personal information

The Doclopedia #397

The Alphabet, Again: A is for… Artichoke Kid

The Artichoke Kid was a vicious psychopath and mob enforcer during the 1920-1928 time period. Originally from Castroville, California, he got his nickname from his preferred method of killing: stuffing a small artichoke down the victim’s throat, thereby choking them to death.

Originally named Henry Danvers, he left home at age 13, leaving several corpses throughout the Salinas Valley. Once he got to San Francisco, he went to work for Albert “Bert the Bear” Colletino. At first he was just a numbers runner, but within weeks he was breaking the limbs of loan shark customers who were late with payments. Moving up to contract killings was only a matter of months away.

It is believed that Danvers killed at least 38 people, including mobsters Joe “Big Bones” Morelli, Little George Sponato, Shotguns O’Brien and Nick “The Barber” Santoni. In one day in 1926, he killed the mayor of Sausalito, the police chief of San Francisco and a greengrocer who had no artichokes that day. He shot the greengrocer, having gone to his store because he had run out of artichokes himself.

The Artichoke Kid died on June 4th, 1928 in a shootout with federal agents in San Francisco. It was verified that he had three pistols and a half dozen artichokes on his person at the time.


After The Change Came: Series 2

Sin And The Burning Questions

Hello, folks! Now that I’m recovered from that damned crazyass 24 hour New Years Eve Party AND a few days in Wizard Time (which I cannot discuss right now), I’m going to do what I said a couple of posts back and answer Reader Mail. If this goes well, I may do it again sometime.

Our first question is from Sandi Pelski in Ann Arbor, Michigan: “What was the 1972-1973 Looking For Trouble World Tour?”

Well, Sandi, when we (Doc, Avis, Candy & myself) graduated (Avis & Candy with honors, Doc & I by the skin of our teeth) from Hobart’s School For Young Ladies & Gentlemen on June 3, 1972, we took a year off to travel around the world. This was funded by the many moneymaking ventures that Doc & I ran during our time in school. At first, Avis & Candy didn’t think it was a good idea, but Doc is a silver tongued Yankee devil and before long, he had them convinced and we were off on a big adventure. At some point early on, Candy said that traveling with “these two insane white boys” was just looking for trouble. That came back to haunt her when, on a drunken night in Melbourne, we all got the previously mentioned tattoos. When she woke up the next day, Avis was so aghast at what she had done, she never got drunk again in her life. I’ll note that that time was actually the only time she had ever gotten drunk. Doc’s attempt to cheer her up by reminding her that we had originally wanted to get the tattoos on our asses did little to console her. Anyway, we were gone for a year and a day, had a wonderful time (certain international incidents notwithstanding) and then it was Harvard for Avis, MIT for Candy, the California Institute of Fine Arts for me and ten years living like a hippie in a converted school bus for Doc and the recently graduated Grace.

From Boris Skalnikov in the L4 Colony, the question is “I have heard mention of Weerloos by both you and Doc. What exactly are they?”

It’s good that I’m answering this question and not Doc, because if he did, this would be an obscenity filled rant. Weerloos are one of the many new races of sentient beings created by the Wizards during/after the Change. They look pretty much like humanoid crocodiles and stand about 4 feet tall. They are quite primitive, living in small tribes that are loosely part of a larger clan. They are vicious, war loving, carnivorous little fuckers who, truth be told, aren’t very smart and don’t hold to most diplomatic agreements unless they are backed up by a very real threat of violence. That last would be why Doc is known among the Weerloos as “Taker of Tails & Teeth”. He tends to practice “aggressive diplomacy” when dealing with them.

Weerloos are mostly found on the West coasts of North and South America, with a few clans found along major rivers farther inland (here in California, that means the Sacramento River north of Sacramento to just south of Red Bluff) and in river deltas. They are semi-nomadic, seldom staying in one place for more than two years. There is no inequality between sexes, but if you are very young or very old, life is tough. The young must fight for survival, initially by killing most of their nest mates. Old Weerloos who do not have significant political or magical might (and Weerloo mages are very rare) will find themselves either forced out of the tribe to survive alone or just plain dead.

Once in a while, a few clans will band together in an attempt to conquer or kill a few other clans or maybe some group of another species. This almost always fails due to Weerloo clans turning against each other in mid battle. Back when the 5 Clans of Blood attacked the Short Troll town of Longport (just south of Chico, CA), the battle did not go well due to the Short Trolls having a more organized militia and better weapons. When the Weerloos regrouped, fighting broke out and more than half the forces died. The rest ran home with new hatred of the “traitor clans” in their hearts.

To quote Doc: “Weerloos suck. They really really do.”

Geoff Darcy of London, England asks “Do you always wear ladies clothing?”

No, Geoff, I don’t. Well, except for undies. Those are always feminine and always silk. But when I’m working or doing “guy stuff”, I pretty much dress like any other fellow. I have a whole closet full of concert/band/gaming & sci-fi/touristy t-shirts and several pairs of jeans from vintage Levis to cheaper brands. I even have a couple of suits, including the Armani tuxedo I wore at Doc & Grace’s wedding, which shocked everybody into speechlessness.

All told, I’d say I dress up all manly about a third of the time.

Well, folks, I must get out the door now. There are two paintings, a bunch of errands and a dinner date with a young lady that need my attention. More blogging later!

World Of Whorecraft

…it’s WAY more fun to play

The 366 Days of Blogging Hell

Gentle Readers,

It is just after midnight on January, 29th, 2012, my 58th birthday. As I promised a few weeks ago, I now start a leap year (366 days) of daily posts here and twice weekly posts on the fiction blog. However, since I set a goal of 500 posts on this blog, that will mean somewhat more than once a day posts. You might see 4-5 Doclopedia posts a day for awhile, then only one a day for a bit. After my shoulder operation on March 7th, there won’t be any posts for a couple of days.

Note that that’s just Doclopedia posts I’m counting, so with a few rants or other posts each month, I should be closer to 600 here. The fiction blog may see more than two posts a week, but don’t count on it.

I apologize in advance for any crazed gibbering I may do on Facebook or Twitter come about October or so. Please just smile and nod and forgive me my descent into madness. Grace, Lucy, Winker and Sasha: I love you and I hope I don’t turn into too big a bastard.

I thank you in advance for comments on either or both blogs. They will mean a lot to me, at least before the hallucinations set in.

And now, the first of many Doclopedia entries on the topic of The Alphabet, which I did last year. This year though, I’ll do more than one post per letter.

Again, thank you.

Your Humble Narrator

PS: My annual fictional convention trip report will appear here, not on the fiction blog, come early August

The Doclopedia #396

The Alphabet, Again: A is for…Agent A

Agent A, whose real name was never revealed, was the hero in a series of bestselling spy novels on the Earth where most people are cowardly wimps. Actually, even the daring and bold people on that Earth are pretty wimpy. I mean, a guy who waits until the first rain to put up his storm windows is considered a reckless fool.

Anyway, Agent A had thrilling adventures in which he drove over the speed limit, raised his voice in a surly manner to the villains (who were armed with sharp objects and stuff that might permanently stain your clothing), ate food from other regions of the country and had sexual intercourse with women he hardly knew! The books (16 novels and 3 collections of short stories) sold in the millions. The series of movies based upon them (Doctor No Thank You was the first) made even more money. Starting in 2014, the plots of the movies became original works. Tomorrow Probably Won’t Die was the first of these.

After The Change Came: Series 2


Sin And The Magical New Year

I’m drunk. Very very drunk. This is, in fact, the umpteenth time I’ve been drunk in the last 24 hours. See, Doc…who is a devious Yankee scalawag…had been hanging out with Wizard Bongo Longo and Wizard Suzy Creamcheese (who cannot be all bad if she got her name from Zappa) and I don’t know how many other Wizards and they all said “let’s celebrate New Year’s all the way around the world!”. And so about 500 people showed up at Washington Square in San Francisco and we were off to some island in the Pacific with food and booze and music and about two hours until midnight.

After that, it was rinse and repeat in each time zone and on various islands & continents. When the assembled crowd got too blitzed, POOF!, magic sobered us all up. Pretty cool, really. And the food and music are wonderful. Different type of music in each zone. This zone, it’s Celtic Punk. I hear that next zone will be Old School Country & Western. In the zone with Vegas, it’ll be all Rat Pack. Cool.

Did I mention that we can change our outfits instantly? I am wearing Edith Head just now and looking like I’m waiting for Mr. DeMille to shoot the next scene. Grace is wearing some incredibly sexy toga thing and even at her advanced stage of pregnancy looks like a million bucks. Avis is looking good, too. She has on a red dress and naughty shoes.

Doc has changed bandanas for each time zone, which is the best we can hope for from him.

I think Roscoe might have changed his earring, but Gigi has gone through a dozen bows and a few necklaces

I must go now. Sobriety and the next zone are moments away and there will be young honeys to ring in the year with. Thank goodness for magic or all this ringing would wear out my bell:)

More bloggage after a couple days sleep.

It’s All Fun & Games Until You Just Walk Into Mordor

…we should have listened to Boromir

New, pre-Death March Doclopedia entry! I actually cried a bit writing this one.

The Doclopedia #395

The Infinite Doc: Doc Cross, Canine Hero

I wasn’t always a dog, you know. Five years ago, I was an ordinary suburban homeowner, just about 4 months past my sixtieth birthday. Life was good, if not as financially stable as I would have liked. Then one day, while I’m standing in my own front yard, two teenage gangbangers driving at high speed and being chased by the cops lose control of their car and crash right into me. I was tossed right through the front window of the house and onto the living room floor. The gangbangers, not wearing seatbelts, only made it through their windshield and onto the outside wall.

So I’m laying there, all busted up and shit, and I have just enough time to tell my sweetheart that I’m sorry and I love her and then everything goes black for a few moments. Then I’m standing there, looking at her and the dogs and the cops coming in the door and I know I’m dead.

Oddly, I was not freaked out by this. I was, however, pretty pissed off at those dickheaded teens who killed me, so I stepped through a wall to kick their asses. I saw the cops kneeling beside the bodies, pronouncing them dead. A few feet away, the gangbangers were well and truly freaking out. They were crying out for Jesus to save them and all that sort of stuff.

I was about to tell them they were about one car crash too late, but a woman popped into existence between us. She was young and pretty and smiling and smelled like freshly baked bread. Well, at least, that’s how she looked to me. To the two unfortunate dipshits on her other side, she must have looked pretty scary, because now they were screaming and trying to crawl away. She waved her hand and both of them transformed into flies, which buzzed off in a big hurry.

Turning towards me, she said, “Now they must spend a very long time as flies, but fully aware that they were once human.”

“That’s really going to suck come dinner time”, I replied, somewhat bemused by how little I was affected by seeing all of this. “So, is this Judgment Time? If so, I’d just like to point out that in my youth, alcohol was often tied to my assholish behavior.” I took it as a good sign that she chuckled at that.

“In a way, you will be judged now, just not in the Biblical straight to Heaven or Hell sense. It’s all about reincarnation, Doc. Depending upon how good you were, you get to come back higher on the ladder. If you were really bad, you get to repeat your initial reincarnation form over a few times. Adolph Hitler is still a tubeworm on an undersea volcanic vent at this point.”

About then, I was figuring I might get used to being a chicken, provided it was free range. I had not exactly been a saint. Mammalhood did not seem likely, although I might luck out and come back as an echidna.

“So, what will I be coming back as? If I get a choice, a wild macaw would be nice, but I wouldn’t sneer at a few decades as a duck.”

She chuckled again. “Oh, you weren’t quite that bad, Doc. I think you’ll enjoy yourself for the next couple of decades.”

And then my next memory was being born in a nice warm pile of blankets. My memories of being human were very dim as my mother licked me clean. After that, somebody picked me up and put me near a nipple and it was chow time.

I was a puppy. To be precise, I was yellow Labrador Retriever with four sisters and a brother. The next few weeks flew by. It was a pretty sweet life, mostly because we were pedigreed show dogs. Luckily for me, I was not quite of show quality, so I was going to be sold as a pet. That would have been cool, but at the tender age of 12 weeks old, the Reincarnation Lady appeared. Somehow I knew that my life as a pampered pet wasn’t on the agenda.

Sure enough, she told me that my destiny lay in another direction. I was supposed to roam around as a stray and help humans and other animals. With a wave of her hand, the breeders forgot all about me. I found that I had aged a couple of months and was standing in a lightly wooded area near a creek. The Lady was nowhere to be seen, so I went over to the creek and sniffed the water. Smelling no bad stuff in it, I had a good long drink and started trotting west. After about an hour, I came to a road sign saying that I was 35 miles west of Cody, Wyoming. I could easily hear all sorts of things around me and smell about a zillion more. Ok, I could dig this new assignment. Could be fun and being a dog with a mission beat the hell out of being a fly eating shit.

It took me the better part of two years to get back to Sacramento. Along the way, I helped lost children, saved the life of a trucker after a wreck, woke up two different families when their houses caught fire and helped the police catch a few dozen fleeing fugitives. Don’t even ask me how many animals I helped. I carried one poor injured cat in my mouth for 15 miles until we got to a vet’s office near Reno. I hung around until he got better (avoiding animal control pretty easily and eating food the vet put out for me every night) and then I helped him escape from transfer to a shelter. His name is Al and he travels with me now, often riding on my back. He’s a really good friend.

When I got to Sacramento, I went home, just to check things out. I had thought about doing it for most of the last few months, often nearly backing out on the idea. In the end, I just had to know if things were ok.

The house was fully repaired and repainted. The yard looked great. Grace wasn’t home, but The Girls were. They were pretty surprised to see me as a dog, but got over it pretty quickly. They were more surprised to see me consorting with a cat. We chatted through a window that was open about an inch. They told me that Grace was doing alright now and had used my insurance money to pay off all the debt and buy a new car. They had been doing a fair amount of traveling recently and all of them were in good health, although Winker and Lucy were pushing 13 and 14. They said Grace would be home soon, but I decided to move on. I said my goodbyes and then Al and I headed down the street.

I’m not sure where we’ll head next, but I do have some friends on the East Coast that I’d like to check up on. That can wait a bit though, because it’s looking like that guy up ahead is following that woman and she smells like fear and he smells like crazy person.

I am SO going to bite him.

Handsome Joe Goes Camping

…lots of things to sniff in the woods!

My Advice To Young Men

Young nerdy men often approach me and ask, “Mr. Cross, how can I become a shining example of male coolness like you?” Of course, other young men, much less nerdy than the first group, approach me and ask, “Can I see some ID? What is your business here?”, but this piece is not about them.

For the former group, I offer up a few suggestions that can really boost your coolness factor, especially among women.

1: Listen to what women have to say.

Oh, sure, you won’t understand some of it and other parts might cause your eyes to glaze over, but keep listening. Sometimes, you’ll learn things you might not want to know. Much of this will revolve around the menstrual cycle. Other times, you’ll learn valuable info, such as sexual preferences and who has geeky leanings.

WARNING: Don’t be too good of a listener or you’ll run the risk of moving into “You are SUCH a good friend!” territory, at which point you might as well be her gay shopping buddy.

2: Go easy on the geekery.

Look, buddy, I’m one of your tribe, a roleplaying gamer/Whovian/Star Trek loving techie fanboy, but even I don’t want to hear about your friggin’ 15th level Barbarian War Mage and his +5 Sword of Headlopping. A little geekiness goes a long way and too much will hang the “Too Geeky To Get Laid” sign around your neck.

Fortunately, geeks are way cooler than back in my day and there are plenty of geek girls out there. Still, ixnay on the nerdy rants.

3: Don’t dress like a trendoid, but don’t be a slob.

Trendoids all look the same and slobby geeks all smell the same and both are pretty damned disgusting. Find a look you like that isn’t too strange, go with it and practice proper hygene.

4: For sexual success with women, learn about the female body.

Find a woman (older is better) who will let you explore, show you what is where and tell you how to do things. If this requires that money changes hands, so be it. It’s money well spent, my droogies.

I do have a few tips on this subject…

First off, Caress, Don’t Grope. Try to control your enthusiam. Her body isn’t going to suddenly disappear.

Secondly, Learn To Give Good Oral Sex. Really, cunnilingus is your friend.

Third, except when it gets to extremes on either end of the scale, Size Does Not Matter. Odds are, you have a perfectly good johnson, so stop worrying about shit you can’t change.

5: Learn to cook.

Yes, women love a man who can put them on the express train to Orgasm City, but they really love a guy who can feed them a great home cooked meal before hand. Actually, if you do the latter, it often leads to you getting a crack at the former. On a related note, if the only things you ever learn to do around the house are clean a toilet and wash dishes, you’ll still fall into the “Worth Keeping” category, all things being equal.

6: Shut the hell up and let her pick the movie once in a while.

Yeah, I know, “Iron Man 5” is coming out on Friday and you want to go see it more than anything. Well, brother, if she wants to go see “Weepy Chick Flick 3”, you’ll score big points by manning up and taking her to see it. Preferably at an early screening, so that after a nice home cooked dinner and some hot sex, she won’t mind if you go out and see “Iron Man 5”.

Ok, enough of this lecturing. I must go call my geeky, sexy, chick flick hating, home cooking loving wife. More bloggage later


After The Change Came: Series 2

Sin And The Family

Greetings from Charleston, South Carolina, my hometown and birthplace. I’m here until Wednesday morning, then it’s a quick Wizard Portal home for Babe and I.

I’ve got to say that my parents and family are just great to hang out with. So unlike the old days when most of my family was all wrapped up in what the neighbors thought and keeping up our family name. Now that most of them are gnomes, Christmas is a bunch of fun. To be honest though, I’m still a bit dazed to see my dad laughing and joking and happy all the time. Seeing my mom actually cooking food was pretty brain frying, too. Ok, so it was also pretty strange seeing my oldest sister, Scarlett, behave like a normal person and not a candidate for sainthood while my brother, Brendan, never once mentioned money or conservative politics and my other older sister, Thomasina, seemed actually interested in other people besides herself. Val told me it might take a few years for it all to seem normal, and she should know.

Of course, the important part of Christmas, now that religion has faded into the background for most folks, is presents, and I scored some good ones. Mom and dad actually got me a gorgeous fur trimmed silk robe that looks like it might have been worn by Jean Harlow back in the day. I actually wept when I opened it, since it was the very first time my parents had ever acknowledged my alternative lifestyle.

Scarlett got me an actual flying carpet (kind of slow and with a limited range, but way cool anyway), Thomasina got me some slippers that not only change color, but stay warm on cold days and cool on hot ones. Brendan gave me two gifts. The first was a picture he painted of the beach near our grandparents house, which I loved to visit. The second gift was a bottle of 20 year old scotch. We drank half of that one.

Valentine, after decades of bemoaning the fact that I “looked lopsided” having only the one tattoo on my right shoulder (the same one that Doc, Avis and our friend Candy have, it shows a globe and the words “1972-1973 Looking For Trouble World Tour”) gave me a gift certificate to get one on my left shoulder at Voodoo Tattoo in San Francisco. I love my little sister.

During this stay, I’ve met a ton of relatives I hadn’t seen since 20 years before I died, plus my 16 nephews and nieces (Val is not yet married, but the others are, with big gnomish families). There were Mayhews and Tanners and Jacobs and Penningtons galore, plus a whole slew of other surnames I can’t recall.

So, I’ll be showing Babe around town (most folks here have never met a Smart Rabbit), enjoying real Southern cooking (with the exception of Mrs. Cross, most Yankees just can’t properly do Southern food) and taking a break from painting other people’s stuff. I’ll blog again once I get home, maybe with a Q&A blog. If y’all have any questions, let me know.