We Never Stopped Liking Monkeys, We Just Took A Short Break.

…okay, it was 7 years


Confessions Of A Time Traveler

If Nobody Ever Finds It, Is It Really Lost?

As you may or not have heard Sasha mention in her rants, time travel is strange and wonderful and you cannot change history. You can cause history, you can spin off new timelines and you can kind of “cheat” history, but you can’t change it in any meaningful way.

It’s that cheating part I want to talk about today.

Sasha and I have told you about the “have your cake and eat it, too” way of duplicating a famous person (Abe Lincoln, Jack Kennedy, Ada Lovelace, Frank Zappa, etc) and bringing them to a point way in the future so they can live another, hopefully beneficial life. I’ve done it a couple of dozen times.

But what about stuff? Things? Can you bring those back to the present?

Yes, but…

You can do it with pretty much anything, but the more you bring or the rarer it is now, the harder it is to explain. I love my complete collection of comics from the 50’s & 60’s, but since they are in brand new condition and complete runs, explaining them would be very difficult. Same goes for my DVD collection of every Doctor Who episode, even the lost ones.

Now, what I mostly want to cover is bringing loot from the past. Gold, silver, diamonds, artwork, etc. Stuff worth a lot of money. I’m not saying you go back and rob a bank or an art gallery or something, but then again, maybe you consider it.

Generally speaking, you can’t do that easily. For one thing, if somebody gets a picture of you as you leap into your getaway car, it can cause no end of headaches later. Of course, there is also too much chance of getting shot or caught. But what you can do, is research “Lost (fill in the blank)” and then go find that stuff. Why? Because if it was never found by the time of your Absolute Now, who’s to say what happened to it.

An example: A gang of 1920s bank robbers hit a bank for $100,000.00. They get away, but two days later all of them die in a shootout with the cops. The money is never found and the folks in the 21st century who make television shows about lost treasures have another story to try and solve.

But you, Friend Time Traveler, go back to the day of the robbery, put a small tracking device on their car, then use a drone to follow them. You learn that they put the money into an old well in Nowhereville, Kansas, so you get there after they leave, grab the cash and go back to your present secure in the knowledge that the well gets filled in sometime in 1933 and has a bigass grain elevator built on the spot in 1953.

Art the Nazis stole? It’s yours, dude! You could keep it in a private collection or you could “find” it at some point and get huge rewards and your name in all the papers. Same could go for all the artwork the Nazi scum destroyed, but that is trickier to get hold of.

Did you ever wonder why they don’t find more wrecked ships full of gold, silver and other loot? Time travelers! Ancient treasures, like, say, what was in those looted Egyptian tombs? Time travelers! Movies, recordings, television shows that are “lost”? Yep, time travelers.

So remember, kids: Finder’s keepers, losers weepers.

Oh, and to keep from having to write another variation on this piece, collecting extinct animals or lost humans (IF they were truly lost. Many “lost” folks just get new identities) is WAY easier to do. Assuming you have a place in the present to hold them.



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Don’t Look Behind Your Chair!

…you looked, didn’t you?



Confessions Of A Time Traveler

Scum & Villainy & Me

As you may have guessed from the title, this confession is about politics and my meddling therein. Not all of my messing about was aimed at creating new timelines. Some of it was that old time travel situation where you find yourself in a circumstance where you are responsible for our history going according to plan.

The best example of that when I accidentally used the term “national parks” during a conversation with Teddy Roosevelt several years before he was elected president. I also may have not done my best at warning Julius Caesar about his impending death. You win, you lose.

Most of the time I’ve gone into our past has been with the expressed intent of spinning off new universes. It’s fun and it gives others a timeline without the same scum and villainy we know.

A great example is the several times I managed to get J. Edgar Hoover out of the FBI by about 1940 or so. I usually neuralize him into just stepping down, but a few times my dislike for the blackmailing little son of a bitch caused me to frame him for crimes ranging from embezzlement to first degree murder.

Getting rid of Hoover often has some interesting cascade effects. In particular, it spells bad news for the Mafia, since Hoover’s refusal to admit they existed slowed efforts to take organized crime down. But if you have old Eddie go to the joint on murder charges, or even just resign because he was embezzling, the FBI suddenly starts to distance itself from him. The result is a whole lot less Mob.

Another effect is improving race relations because the Klan gets infiltrated earlier and better. Oh, and another really great effect? Ronald Reagan either stays a Democrat or becomes a much less influential Republican.

Speaking of Ronnie Raygun, I have clipped his political wings dozens of times. Of course, I’ve also had him be very successful as a liberal Democrat. In fact, he was the best Democratic president since FDR, and maybe even more popular. He was certainly the most popular governor of California until Kamala Harris came along.

Communism is fun to stamp out, but also pretty easy if you just waste Marx & Lenin early on. Or maybe convince them to emigrate to the USA and become pig farmers.

In China, some well used neuralizing caused a huge wave or pro-American democracy to get rid of the previous infant communist government.

Moving over to England, you’d be surprised at the changes that happen if you make Queen Victoria less of an empire builder and more of a suffragette. It also helps to not let Prince Albert die until the last year or two of the Queen’s life.

Naturally, you can effect huge changes by preventing Lincoln or either of the Kennedys from getting assassinated. Or by having Tricky Dick Nixon, not run for president in 1968. Or by having him actually get impeached and found guilty. Or by having that happen and he goes to jail. Good times.

I’m sure some of you wonder about new timelines where the current orange pinhead is not president. I’d love to tell you exciting stories about the many ways I prevented that, but the fact is, I just went back several generations and made sure his ancestors never left Germany. Ever. Just for good measure, I kept his mom in Scotland, too.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go visit the Founding Fathers with a much more detailed Constitution in one hand and a neuralizer in the other.


The Doclopedia #1,465

The Alphabet: R is For…Reverse Dungeon

On Halloween, 2014, fifty of the biggest names in the tabletop roleplaying games industry got together for the Third Annual NotACon. NotACon is a three day get together designed to let the people who write, edit, illustrate and publish RPGs just get together to hang out and play games. No running a booth, no meetings, no talking to customers or distributors, no panels, just playing games, eating food & drinking beverages.

That year, six well known industry people declared that a game would run for 30 hours of the con. 30 straight hours. The six GMs would rotate and run the game for 10 players at a time. Players could play for as long as they wanted, then tag out with another player who would take their place. No actual breaks for meals or anything else. A timer would count down the time.

The system was AD&D first edition and the plot was simple: Over centuries, PCs has looted the Dungeon of Tarkon until nothing was left. Tarkon, now a god, got pretty pissed off about that and decided that if his dungeon was not fully restored, stocked with loot, traps and monsters, he would destroy the known world.

A very nice map showed that the dungeon was equidistant from three great cities and many temples, dungeons and ruins. Plenty of places for the PCs to find what they needed. The problem was, they could not tell anyone why they needed so much loot. As you might expect, that created many problems.

The timer started immediately after Tarkon finished telling the PCs what was up. At that moment, to quote one woman who played, “shit got real”. For the first 14 hours, the PCs frantically ran around stealing, begging, buying and even making loot. In doing so, they started a couple of wars and got themselves wanted by every kingdom around.

The remaining 16 hours saw 7 of the 10 characters stocking and trapping the dungeon, while the remaining three went out to trap monsters or persuade the sapient ones to go live in the nice new dungeon. This went about as well as you might expect for a few hours, but then they began to get takers.

When the game ended, they dungeon was finished to Tarkon’s liking and the players had 11 minutes to spare. Everyone declared the game great fun and then all 50 attendees got together to “recap the madness” and have a few drinks.

Several months later, a team of 8 GMs ran a very similar game over a 48 hour period for a total of 164 players at the world’s largest gaming convention. Since then, Reverse Dungeons have been run at cons all over the world, including every year at NotACon.



The Doclopedia #1,466

The Alphabet: R is For…Roof Goblins

In late 19th century Paris, gangs of street children took to using the rooftops to travel, thus avoiding the police on the street. Soon, these young thieves and scalawags became known as “gobelins au toit, or roof goblins.

Usually lead by a teenager or two, most of the kids were pre-teens. They lived in attics, besements, down in the catacombs and even in empty apartments. Anything not nailed down was something they could steal, especially food. Panhandling was another source of income.

To make getting across the city easily, roof goblins would mark the best paths to take. These markings were considered public property, so all the gangs used the same signs and nobody messed with any of them. The kids also made use of ropes, ladders, wooden plank bridges and zip lines. One of the most famous chases occured in 1896 when police chased young Alain Courbet almost all the way across the city. 37 policemen were involved and 9 of them suffered injuries. Courbet escaped and was never caught. In 1955, at the age of 71, he was interviewed for a documentary about the roof goblins. He called the chase “great fun”.

By the end of WWI, there were few roof goblin gangs, mostly due to them preferring the catacombs. By 1930, there were no more roof goblin gangs.

I’m Back

…thank you for all your condolences about Silky


Confessions Of A Time Traveler


Holmes, Sweet Holmes


One of the big problems of jumping around time, space and alternate realities is that you very often meet people out of what some would call proper chronological order. No example points this out better than my long relationship with the Sherlock Holmes of Earth 199-D.

Earth 199-D, starting around 1830, is a more steampunk world than ours. The laws of physics are a bit looser to accommodate things like giant steam mecha and cities beneath the sea. There are no fantasy races or creatures, but there are lost civilizations, cryptids and odd powerful ancient relic. The whole world is just a lot more adventure filled.

Things on that earth are also much more egalitarian than they were (or are) on our Earth. Seeing women or people of color in positions of power is pretty common. And that leads us to Sherlock Holmes, Consulting Detective and his wife, Jenny Watson Holmes, Freelance Inventor.We’ll just let that sink in a bit.

So, to speed things up, Sherlock’s mother was Spanish, his older brother Mycroft is less fat and more entwined in the workings of the Empire, John Watson still writes up Sherlock & Jenny’s adventures (from his home in London), Jenny and Sherlock married young and they live on a cattle ranch east of Oakland, California, with their 5 children and Jenny’s mum.

Now, I first met the Holmes’ when I accidentally fell through a time portal into a warehouse in New York City in 1881. No sooner had I landed upon a very large and soft pile of wool blankets than a strong feminine hand clasped itself over my mouth and a Scottish tinged voice said “Please be quiet, Doc, or you’ll get Sherlock killed”.

Having become pretty used to weird shit happening to me over the years, I nodded and she let me go. Standing up, I saw a slightly taller than usual woman dressed in boots, trousers and a black cotton shirt. Her hair was red and cut in a bob. She was very pretty, but not beautiful. She had a bit of grease on her cheek.

Obviously, she knew me pretty well, because after a second, she hugged me and told me in a whisper how glad she was to see me again. After the hug, she brought me up to speed on things, sort of.

It seems that I had met Sherlock first when he was a boy, then again just before their wedding. The current time was 8 years after the wedding and Sherlock had let himself be taken prisoner by Professor Moriarty so he could find out about Moriarty’s latest plot. Now, she told me, was the time to rescue Holmes and give Moriarty his comeuppance.

A couple of minutes later, as the Napoleon of Crime raised his hand to shoot Holmes with a “freezing ray”, Jenny shot two of his henchmen with some sort of electrical tommy gun while I ran forward and body slammed Moriarty into a heavy wooden container. A couple of punches later and he was out cold and his other two henchmen had run off at full speed into the waiting arms of the police.

Jenny released her husband from his bonds and then HE gave me a big hug.Then he kicked the awakening Moriarty in the head. I was processing everything that had just happened when the two of them started laughing.

“Oh Doc”, Jenny said, “The look on your face is priceless!”

“You might want to close your mouth, old friend. There are flies about.” Having said that, Sherlock laughed in what was, to me at least, a totally unHolmesian manner.

After another minute, they composed themselves and we set about tying up Moriarty and his thugs. We then loaded them into an impressive looking steam touring car and carted them off to police headquarters where Sherlock explained that Moriarty had planned to rob the North American Diamond Exchange later that night and make off with ten million dollars in diamonds. The police commissioner thanked us all profusely and then we left for the Holmes’ hotel suite to clean up before going out to dinner.

Along the way, Sherlock explained to me that I would meet him again when he was 10 years old and away at school. I would talk with him and give him some insight on both girls and doing what you loved to do in life. Apparently, that set him off on his adult path.

The second time I would meet him was two days before he and Jenny’s wedding at age 18. He was a bit vague about that meeting “so as not to spoil the surprises”, but it seems I had told him about meeting him tonight, which is why Jenny and the big pile of wool blankets were ready for me.

Like I said, time travel is seldom really linear. Or, as the other guy said, it’s all wibbly wobbly.

The rest of the evening was filled with a sort of mostly one sided chatting between old friends if one of those friends had just met you. It was a bit strange, but a couple of bottles of champagne smoothed things out. They were and are two wonderful people.

As we walked out to the car, Jenny again hugged me and gave me a kiss on the cheek.

“It was so very good to see you again, Doc. Give our love to Grace and the critters.”

Then it was Sherlock’s turn to give me a hug and shake my hand.

“So long, my dear friend. I look forward to seeing you again sometime, hopefully much less surprised.”

And then a time portal opened under me and I fell into the swimming pool on the Bus. From another room I heard Sasha yell, “Softest landing I could think of on short notice, Daddy”.

I was home.

I Have A Very Large Duck

…no, wait…goddamn it, spellcheck!

The Doclopedia #1,387

Potion Ingredients: Ankaski Rainbow Sand

The island of Ankaski lies 700 miles off the coast of the southern Draan Empire. It is 97 miles long and from 5 to 50 miles wide. A tropical island, it is home to many deadly beasts both large and small. The sea around it teams with creature like the Greater Sea Drake, Crab Turtles, Flying Sharks and Bloodkelp. No sailing ship could survive the voyage there, even if by some miracle you found a captain and crew willing to try.

So, how does one get to the volcano at the north end of the island that produces this sand, which is the most expensive potion ingredient in the world?

You fly there.

About one in five expeditions to the island return and all of them used flight to get there and come home. People have used flight belts, trained hippogriffs, skyships, magic carpets and, in one case, an ensorceled young dragon.

Of course, getting the sand means dodging hungry beasts and possibly molten lava, but if you get back home and sell it for upwards of 5,000 gold pieces per ounce to alchemists and wizards who will fight like dogs for it, you’ll swear it was worth the trouble.

Confessions of a Time Traveler


I, along with my wife, assorted friends and dogs, have been to the Woodstock Music and Arts Fair in our universe 6 times. Most of us cannot go again because of the annoying fact that if you are too close to yourself in the past, it is dangerous.

The effects don’t occur until you are within about 100 feet of yourself, but they start with a bad headache. Get a bit closer and you get a blinding headache and a nosebleed. Get closer still and you’ll probably have a stroke and die. So, with 6 of us at Woodstock for 3 days, we’ve just about reached the safe limit. Still, we had a great time every time we went.

Now, I need to qualify that “great time” statement. Unlike most of the attendees, we did not have to stand/walk/camp/have sex in the mud. We had a nice stable wormhole that transported us into the Bus anytime we wanted to eat, sleep, use the bathroom or whatever. The Bus was parked in a wooded area 56 miles from the concert.

The big question people have is why, if there are multiple versions of us there, they don’t see us in a single photo or film footage. Well, the answer is, you do see us! We all used a different android body each time, so we are actually in dozens of photos and shots from the movie.

The second question we get is “How was it?”, and the answer is GREAT! So much incredible music in one spot! On one trip, we even hung out behind the stage and met some of the performers. I killed a bottle of wine with Keith Moon of The Who. My friend Spike had his picture taken with Jimi Hendrix. It was very cool.

The third most asked question is, “Did you fuck around trying to change history?” and the answer is “Of course!”

We replaced the brown acid with windowpane. We changed the weather to sunny and warm all weekend. We made sure that all the equipment worked. We got about 100,000 more folks to the concert, including 15.5 year old me all the way from California. We got Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, Bob Dylan, Procul Harum and The Doors to perform. Tried three times to get Frank Zappa there, but he refused each time. We…well, we did a bunch of things that spun off several new realities. It was fun.

So, if you ever get a time machine, I highly recommend going to Woodstock. And if you meet a tall thin white guy with red hair…or a short African American woman wearing a “WEED!” t-shirt…or a chubby kind of nebbishy looking Jewish guy going prematurely bald…or a big Italian biker with a scar across the left side of his face…or an 18 year old blonde hippie girl with silver gogo boots on…or a 25 year old version of me, say hello. They’re all me.