A Box Full Of Eyeballs And A Bottle Of Pineapple Juice

…not real eyeballs, but still, ewwww!

The headache that stopped me from posting yesterday is still here, so only one post today. I’m hoping to do two tomorrow.

365 People, Places & Things #68

On this fantasy world, you can make a silk purse out of a sows ear, metaphorically speaking.

Pigs Is Pigs: Pigmaylion

When he was a much younger man (well, he was 68, but he’s a hell of a lot older now) and freshly famous for his near single handed defeat of the Skudoran Hordes in the War of the Four Crystals, the Wizard Dyb VanElp made a very foolish wager.

Fueled by foolish pride, newfound celebrity and liberal consumption of wine, Dyb announced to the King, Queen, assembled Court and especially Wix VanOte, the High Wizard, that he could cast the Resounding Bell of Plenty spell in under 6 months time. Since that had never been done before (it usually took at least 8 months) and since Dyb was being very seriously considered to replace Wix, the older wizard offered a wager: if Dyb could indeed cast the spell in 6 months, Wix would give up his position and his estate to Dyb. If, however, Dyb should fail, then he would accept banishment to the Isle of the Great Statue for a period of 300 years. Wix figured that by then, he’d be dead and Dyb could return to annoy the next High Wizard.

To reduce a long tale to the basics, Dyb failed to cast the spell in the allotted time and was taken the 1,000 miles out to sea to the island. There, after being properly ensorcelled with the spell that would keep him there, he began exploring. He found a modest home, livestock and gardens. The rest of the 5 mile long island was hilly woodlands and meadows. Over it all towered the 500 foot tall statue of some ancient humanoid from which the island got its name.

For the first few years, Dyb spent much of his time tending his gardens & animals, exploring the island and continuing his magical studies. This took his mind off his isolation, but eventually he did yearn for the company of a woman. He was far too distant to teleport one and he figured he was about 1,000 years of sexual deprivation away from making a deal with a demon for one, so he decided he’d have to make one.

He had, years earlier, given most of the animals he was not going to eat (horses, goats, pigs, ducks) the power of speech and human level intelligence. He had noticed that pigs were by far the most human like, so he selected a young sow and began his enchantment.

It took 4 sleepless days and nights of spellcasting and a half dozen potions before he was successful, but there before him finally stood a beautiful young woman, whom he named Pigmaylion.

She stood 5’6” tall and had long black hair. Her eyes were very dark green and she was quite shapely. Her skin was a bit pinker than an ordinary human might have, but it enhanced, rather than detracted, from her beauty. She had a melodious voice and loved to sing and dance. She also enjoyed coking and eating, but did not partake of alcohol.

She was a very fast learner and within a week was the mental equal of any educated woman Dyb had ever met. She was an equally fast learner when it came to the boudoir, much to their mutual pleasure. Eventually, she told Dyb that she would like to study magic, something he was more than glad to hear. She learned the Art as fast as she learned everything else and showed a natural talent for potions and enchantment.

Things went wonderfully for that first year, but on the anniversary of her transformation, Pigmaylion became a pig again. The change, which Dyb had no explanation for, lasted three days, at which point she became human again. This happens every year and the couple has learned to live with it. She was, of course, still able to speak, so she and Dyb could at least have their usual spirited discussions.

After some years, they had children, two boys and two girls. When they grew of age, Dyb created a boat to take them to the mainland for a proper education and the chance to live among human society.

A bit over 200 years later, Dyb was released from his obligation and he and his wife left the island. Wishing to avoid any notoriety, they settled in the small kingdom of East Pidwin, where they lived another 200 years before finally dying on the same day of old age.

The One About The Seven Hour Bike Ride With The Asian Lady

…it wasn’t like you think…well, not entirely

A short request: POST COMMENTS!!!

365 People, Places & Things #67

These little piggies are trekkin’ through space

Pigs Is Pigs: Ginger, Maxie & Zonk

In the year 2185, the colony starship “Spirit of Earth” left on a trip to another solar system that is 235 light years away from Earth. Seeing as how the ship could only reach 20% of light speed, it’s going to be a long trip. Fortunately, the 50 mile long, 10 mile wide cylinder was built to allow the 10,000 colonists and their descendants to live inside a very Earth-like world. There are many different terrains and climate zones and a wide variety of flora & fauna.

Keeping this all functioning properly is the job of the human scientists, the several AIs built into the ship and the 35,000 autonomous robots that do much of the real dirty work. Three of these are robot pigs named Ginger, Maxie and Zonk.

Ginger is the smallest of the three and usually acts as the eyes and ears of one of the maintenance AIs. She is also the fastest and the best climber. When needed, she can operate under water.

Maxie is the middle pig in size and can extend robotic arms that can use a wide variety of tools. His eyes can fire welding lasers. He is the robot most likely to be assigned to interact with ordinary humans.

Zonk is twice as big as Maxie & Ginger put together. His specialty is moving heavy things, collecting samples and digging. He looks a lot like an African Warthog.

On their off time, the three robotic pigs enjoy acting just like real pigs, downloading entertainment feeds (robot version) and discussing why humans act the way they do.

The Care And Feeding Of The Portuguese Love Python

…I’m bad…so bad

365 People, Places & Things #65

It’s a proven fact that pigs rank very high in intelligence tests, but this pigs is something else again.

Pigs Is Pigs: Brenda, The World’s Smartest Pig

In 1997, on the Earth just next to ours, geneticists at the University of California at Davis injected a sow and a boar with human genetic material in the hope that it would raise their intelligence to near human levels. The results were disappointing, but not entirely bad, so the bred the two together and then injected their offspring. Of the 6 piglets born, all were somewhat smarter than the parents except for the runt, a little sow named Brenda. She was way smarter than her siblings. In fact, she was way smarter that the humans around her, one of whom was a Nobel prize winning biologist.

The more they tested Brenda, the more amazed they were with her capacity to learn and use her knowledge. Inside of a year, they were communicating with Brenda using software based upon the type used by Stephen Hawking, but vastly improved by Brenda’s suggestions. Six months later, Brenda was equipped with two mentally controlled robotic arms of her own design. By now, the former runt weighed in at 300 pounds and was 6 feet long from snout to tail.

At any given time, Brenda would have 5 or 6 projects in the works, in fields as diverse as biology, computer engineering, psychology and chemistry. She became an international celebrity and appeared on all the talk shows as well as hosting her own highly rated program on the Science Channel. Naturally, she was an ardent supporter of animal rights, although being a natural omnivore, she was not against eating meat (which rather pissed PETA off, but nobody really cared), with pork being the exception, of course.

Despite the government putting a ban on raising animal intelligence, Brenda and her human colleagues did it on the sly and with a good deal more success than the initial scientists had. They raised the intellect of hundreds of mammalian and avian species, then quietly released them into the wild with the goal of protecting the environment. This worked out very well indeed, but is another story.

At the ripe old age of 45, Brenda retired and spent her remaining days writing. Oddly, she specialized in complex murder mysteries, most of which were made into VRE (Virtual Reality Experiences).

Upon her death at age 60, Brenda was responsible for a restored environment, about 2,000 technological advances, all of the bases & settlements off Earth, cures for cancer and many other diseases and, of course, the vast reduction of the human populace and the establishment of the Worldwide Trans Species Government.

365 People, Places & Things #66

Ahh, the love of a boy and his faithful…pig?

Pigs Is Pigs: Porkchop, A Boy’s Best Friend

On Earth 7A, a plague killed off all of the domesticated dogs in the world in the year 1620. Needing something to replace dogs in their lives, people tried breeding foxes and wolves and other Canids, but unfortunately, whatever causes them to rapidly evolve into protodogs also made them susceptible to the virus that was still in the evironment.

And then somebody gave pigs a try.

As we know, even the dumbest pigs are a good deal smarter than the smartest dogs and the smartest pigs are as intelligent as the average chimpanzee. This means that it did not take the porkers long to realize that if they helped humans out, life could become pretty sweet. Thus was born the pet pig. In under a century, they were fulfilling pretty much all of the roles dogs once had.

Now we flash forward to 1959 and the premiere of a television show based on the books and movies about Porkchop, “A Boy’s Best Friend”. The series starred Ronnie Howard as Tommy Dayton, Andy Griffith as his father Roy, June Lockhart as his mother Betty and a young sow named Wendy as Porkchop, the beloved family pet and constant companion of Tommy. Each week, Tommy and Porkchop would get into funny and/or mildly dangerous situations from which the pig would extract them. On some shows, Porkchop would come to the aid of Roy, Betty or any number of neighbors (most often Reverend Parker, played by Don Knotts).

“Porkchop, A Boy’s Best Friend” ran for 12 years and won 15 Emmy awards, including 3 for Wendy herself. The series finale, which saw Tommy heading off to college with Porkchop tagging along, was the highest rated television series of all time and held that position until the famous Doctor Who/Star Trek: The Next Generation crossover episode in 1997.

Wendy passed away at the Motion Picture & Television Home For Acting Animals in 1979, at the age of 22. Her direct descendant, Abigail, starred in the 1999-2008 revival of “Porkchop, A Boy’s Best Friend”. Wendy has a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame and her hoof & snoutprints are preserved in cement at Mann’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood. Ron Howard, who went on to become an Academy Award winning director, named his eldest daughter Wendy in her honor.

Beers For Fears

…or did I get that wrong?

365 People, Places & Things #64

Our first porcine character ready to barbecue…everything in his path.

Pigs Is Pigs: Atomic Hog

In the early 1950’s, fallout from nuclear testing fell on the hog farm of Mr. Dudley Calhoun of Winslow, Arizona. A few months later, among a standard looking litter of 8 piglets, there was one that grew much faster than the rest. In just a few weeks, it was nearly as big as the mother sow. Farmer Calhoun, thinking that he had a prize winning hog on his hands, started feeding the young porker all it could eat.

The problem was, it wanted to eat him. And one day, when the hog was about the size of an Angus bull, it did just that.

In fact, the hog not only ate the farmer, but his wife, 5 children, mother in law, brother, hired hand and all the other livestock on the farm. This vast influx of protein acted as a catalyst and caused the hog to grow to the size of a large elephant. It also gave the giant pig atomic fire breath and super tough hide.

In no time, the atomic hog was destroying farms, ranches and out of the way gas stations and stores. Local police called in the FBI, who in turn called in the military. The hog was cornered several times, but wiped out it’s attackers while taking very little damage. By the time the military withdrew, the hog was twice the size of an elephant…and growing.

Eventually, scientists were able to get the atomic hog to eat truckload of sweet potatoes that had been heavily dosed with radiation. The chain reaction that followed reduced the hog to a large pile of ashes. Once more, the world had been saved!

The Box Full Of Money And What Maggie Did With It

…I mean, after she called her ex husband to gloat

365 People, Places & Things #63

I’d say this stronghold has gone to the dogs, but they built it.

Strongholds: Dog Hill

From the notebooks of Duke Shepherd (as read by Professor Toby Basset)

A few years after the Fall of Humanity, when things were still pretty dicey for everyone, including Dogs, we left the Ranch in our thousands, then separated into smaller groups of 400 each. Dr. Rendell and Dr. Brogofsky had drilled us on the plan until we had it thoroughly memorized, so my group knew that we were headed for Oregon. Things went pretty well, all told and we only lost 6 Dogs and 5 Apes along the way.

Once we got to our assigned area, we began building The Hill. Using every resource we had…the Apes, our telekinetic “hands” and our own muscle power, we moved the heavy concrete pipes into position and connected them. Then we mixed and poured the concrete for the rooms. Finally, we covered it all with soil, leaving only three entryways.

And then we did it all over again for the next five levels.

Once The Hill was finished, we put a half dozen Apes to work planting grass and flower seeds on it while the rest of the Apes and most of the Dogs started building the perimeter wall. Now, at first the wall was just made of posts and wire, but after a few years, we got a really tight thicket of thorny vines going and anything bigger than a fox was never going to get through it. The two gates were made from strong woven wire and steel rebar. Even a rampaging bull couldn’t get through it, and I ought to know because one chased me and I barely got in ahead of him.

Guards patrolled both inside and outside the fence 24 hours a day. We had a watchtower on top of The Hill and it was constantly occupied by an Ape and at least one of the smaller breeds of Dog. We could see for nearly a mile and a half on clear days. Of course, this being west central Oregon, there are quite a lot of not so clear days.

Over time, the settlement grew and the gardens and flocks of animals provided most of the food we needed. Still, hunting patrols brought in a good amount of game, whose populations were rebounding now that the human population was a tiny fraction of what it had been and most of the human towns and cities were recycled by the nanowave.

Once things settled down, we began our assignment of rounding up the now quite primitive humans so we could watch over them. Life went on and The Hill was our home, now and forever more.

Further comment by Professor Basset

And so here we are class, four centuries later. The Hill is now five hills, plus numerous outbuildings, barns, storage areas and farms. The old hedge still stands, but now the moat and several new fences have added even more protection from the wild creatures and the odd roving band of defective humans.

Back then, a Dog could expect to live perhaps 22 years and our Hands could barely lift a half pound rock. Now, some of us are living to nearly 50 (which, I assure you, is no picnic) and our Hands can easily pick up things as heavy as 5 pounds. The Apes, always longer lived than us, are significantly smarter now. We have many conveniences that those Dogs of old would have loved to get their hands on.

So never forget your roots, young pups, and perhaps give a thanks now and again to Duke Shepherd and our founding fathers and mothers.

A Stoat, Floating On A Moat With A Goat In A Boat, Chewed On An Oat And Decided To Vote

…man, I love doing those

365 People, Places & Things #62

This stronghold has a lot in common with the Hotel California.

Strongholds: The Safety Dome

The Australian government had more time than any other when the dead started rising up and eating the living. Since the Zombie Rising started in the northern hemisphere (Kyrgyzstan), Australia had time to stop all air and sea travel into the country and prepare for the worst.

By the time the zombie plague hit the country, they had managed to build the largest structure in human history, the Safety Dome. A mile across and a quarter of a mile high, the dome is made of a steel frame, carbon fiber netting and thick tempered glass. Outside the wall is a ½ mile wide circle of concrete with regularly spaced gun turrets that stand 30 feet tall and are entered only by underground tunnels from the dome. The turrets have machine guns and flamethrowers. The very top of the dome has a heliport and three helicopters. Two of these are military gunships, while the third is a large transport vehicle.

No zombie has ever made it even halfway across the concrete.

Inside the dome, the 10,000 residents live both above ground in two apartment towers and underground, where pretty much everything else is. Most of the surface area is given over to growing food and food animals. Deep wells bring in plenty of water. Life is not bad in the dome, once you accept the fact that you can never leave.

See, in the rest of the world, the humans that survived hid deep underground in government survival facilities designed during the late Cold War period. They sealed themselves in and the zombies cannot sense them. But the Dome does vent air to the outside and that air has the smell of humans in it. Apparently, zombies can pick that smell up even over thousands of miles, because waves of zombies are still coming ashore (nothing eats zombies, including sharks) and heading for the Dome. True, half of those zombies fall apart before they ever get to Australia (because zombies that don’t eat regularly start to decay), but enough get to the Dome to keep the gun turrets and choppers busy every few days. Additionally, the zombie virus lingers until the last scrap of zombie flesh has rotted away.

So the domies go about life awaiting the day (about 3 to 5 years from now) when the last zombies finally die off, at which point they are going to wait 20 more years before going outside to explore. If the zombies and the virus are gone, then they’ll leave the Dome. If not, it’s back inside for another 40 or 50 years.

Chocolate Covered Love

…Mmmmmm

365 People, Places & Things #61

Here’s a stronghold smack in the middle of a major metropolitan area.

Strongholds: Justice Island

In 1964, when the federal government closed Alcatraz Federal Prison, it sold the island to the well known superhero team Defenders of Justice. Almost immediately, the team began removing all traces of the previous buildings on the island and building their new headquarters. With such powerful heroes as Miraclo, The Green Titan and Miss Magical, the construction went fast. While the buildings went up, other team members (Doctor Science, Golden Ghost) worked on building many defensive security gadgets. Other members of the team (Blonde Blur, Catgirl, The Tank) took care of furnishings and supplies.

When the team was done, a very space age looking red white & blue building was located in the very center of the 22 acre island. A landing strip ran the length of the island and security towers dotted the perimeter. Unseen by the public were the very extensive underground facilities, including a submarine pen, a missile silo, a small nuclear power plant, extensive laboratories and several holding cells.

Within days, the first villains (The Mutator and Fantasmia) attacked, but were quickly defeated. This set a pattern that lasted for until the present. About 4-5 times a year, villains, alone or in groups, would attack the island and the Defenders of Justice would kick their asses. The closest any of them ever got to actually destroying the facility was when The Atomic Assassin and the Chaos Cult actually managed to blow up about half of the headquarters building before getting turned to stone by the recently installed Medusa Gas dispensers.

Despite (or perhaps because of) the regular battles, the island is a very beloved site to Bay Area residents and tourists from all over the world. It is also one of the top ten most photographed places on earth, especially during a battle.