Apes In Toyland

…did I mishear that?


CatCon4: Day 11 (Con Day 4) 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 had 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. I’m not quite sure how she keeps so many memories of the same days straight.

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 hop 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 traffic 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 hopped. 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.


Winker: Oh, Daddy, you’ll never learn, will you?

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

DogCon 5


Caution: Contents May Include Strangeness

…heh heh…”may”…heh heh


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

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

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

Flash: You can call me The California Flash now, pardner.

Winker: And I’m Kid Winky, fastest woof in the West!

Lucy: You outlaws better vamoose, because Judge Lucy is in a hangin’ mood.

Abby: And Marshall Abigail will hunt ya down!

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: Got 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: Did the above mentioned show with a cast of 16, a live audience of 300 and live streaming to the whole fuckin’ world via the internet. 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. Mary played 8 or 9.

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: Smooched wife, loved pets, showered, 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.


Lucy In The Sky With Dogtoys

…she likes the Squeaky Snake


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 got 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 toward where I was standing!

Abby: They had a fun “Jungle Pyramid” that I climbed with a bunch of other goats and several cats & dogs.

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. He was a Cocker Spaniel named Boo.

…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 all got to come back as zombies (some good, some evil). It was big fun and ran from 9 PM until 2 in the morning.

After that, we were very glad to see our beds, you betcha.


George Washington Did Not Sleep Here

…but he and Martha did knock off a quickie in the woodshed


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!


Greedy Moose Infuriated My Albino Lungfish

…we had to pour him a stiff drink


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 up damn near everybody in town up by playing the Star Trek Next Generation theme song as done by meowing cats.

Flash: On the one paw, that was cool, but on the other hand, I nearly fell off of Mom’s chest when it started up.

Lucy: I woke up thinking that the Cat Uprising had begun!

Winker: I thought the room was full of Space Kitties!

Abby: I slept through it.

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.

Flash: Also, they make Fish Pancakes (catfish, in this case) for cats!

Lucy & Winker: They make beef stew for dogs!

Abby: For non-carnivores, they make cornbread with veggies in it, placed on a kudzu salad.

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, but the next thing we knew, 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!

Lucy: We were having fun!

Winker: It’s called a flash mob, which is a pretty appropriate name for sudden unthinking mayhem, if you ask me. Of course, this one was truly spontaneous, since none of us had cell phones.

Flash: Say what?

Abby: Sometimes Winky is a bit strange.

Lucy: You get used to it.

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 (each side had a number and a critter)…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 war game “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.

Flash: Mmmm…they have excellent treats here.

Lucy: Yeah, I love those dog brownies.

Abby: We herbivores get alfalfa cubes and dried fruit.

Winker: And after we eat all of our stuff, we can get brushed so we look beautiful. Except Flash, who will always look like a little scalawag.

Flash: That’s MISTER Scalawag!

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, we chatted with a great many friends. Made plans for several get togethers and games. We also met plenty of pets.

Winker: Yay! Nibbler is here!

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 Lucy 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! Hahaha!

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!

Lucy: Damn, that pitbull was fast!

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!

Abby: If by “cool” you mean no more humid Texas heat, I’m for it.

Flash: Yeah, I’m down with that.

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.

Flash: Meanwhile, we critters will just hang out in the Pet Lounge and play Dungeons & Dogs.


Gnomes Reading Tomes In Their Homes Made Of Domes


…would have been longer, but I’ve yet to have my tea

Hey! Stay tuned after the CatCon 4 report for my 600th Doclopedia post!

CatCon4: Day 6 A short entry

Our trip report for Tuesday goes like this…

8 AM: Wake up, eat, hit the road

Abby: Mom and Mary took me on a walk and I got to eat my fill of kudzu.

Winker: Dad gave Lucy and I Dog Rice with Canned Dog Food Gravy. Yummy yum!

Flash: I got a can of sardines. Dad rules!

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. We bought…aw, hell, you know the drill.

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

Flash: Never feed chili to dogs. Just sayin’.

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 really 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”!

By the way, for those of you interested, it seems that Uncle Ferdie has put his theater and show back together and will reopen in summer of 2012. He has apparently moved the pet waiting room to a large steel building with good security.

Flash & Lucy: Well, that sucks!

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

All Critters: We LOVE this place!

And then we slept.

No Music

No Destination Sign




The Doclopedia #600

A New Breed Of Dog: Giant Basset Hound

Earth 58 is a fantasy based world with plentiful magical energy. On it, the islands that make up Great Britain and Ireland are considerably larger and known as Gargantia, home of the giants. Everything there is about 10 times larger than normal. It is on Gargantia that the humans bred those lovable, but somewhat dangerous dogs known to the rest of the world as Giant Basset hounds.

Their description is simple: just imagine an average 60 pound, 12 to 15 inch tall, 2.5oot long (not including the tail) Basset Hound, then make him ten times as big. You now have a sweet tempered, loving pet that stands at least 10 feet tall, is 25 feet long, weighs about a ton and has ears that are up to 11 feet long and 4 feet wide.

The giant humans use these hounds for hunting and as pets. Like all Basset Hounds, they can run and play or hunt for long hours, but then collapse into a big pile of loose skinned sleepiness for a few more hours. As we said, nothing about these dogs has changed from their smaller relatives.

The danger of these huge hounds comes from them accidentally laying down on a normal sized human…or knocking them over with their big waggy tails…or slobbering on them…or just trying to play with them. The dogs don’t realize how big they are.


…it’s a polar bear martial art


CatCon 4: 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!

Abby: It would have been better with a few goats.

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.

Flash: Just walk in to our house, will he? I think not!

Lucy: Little punkass hoodlum!

Abby: Have some Goat Fu, you little punk!

Winker: He tried to hurt Lucy, so I bit a piece outta 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.

Flash: A house made out of cow crap? And they get upset if we pee on the floor?

Lucy: Humans are the only mammals who would build something like that.

But it looked pretty damned ordinary to us, because it was painted white and styled like pretty much every southern 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.

Abby: Dad thinks not getting to see a house more obviously made of shit is a ripoff? WTF, Dad?

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”.

Winker: They all got excited about that one, because humans = crazy.

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 by God alligator fuckin’ 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 live 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: The Zombie Jazz Quartet “Brain Music”

Destination Sign: Downtown Atlantis