The Rare And Beautiful Red Spotted Toad Eater Of Potawango Island

…they eat toads

 

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CritterCon 10

Day Eleven, Con Day Four


Quick recap again, folks, because we are zipping down the interstate at roughly 175 miles per hour, avoiding both accidents and cops due to very small outside size (a Smart Car), a cloaking device, off road capability and ultra tech computer navigation. And we are all sitting around chatting.

After breakfast at Mistress Diana’s Dungeon Diner, I ran my last Toon game (The House That Jerks Built), then ran one of four final battles in the 24/7 D&D game, went to lunch at the recently opened Killerburger and then met Grace and the Fabulous four to have one last go ’round of the Dealer’s room.

After buying a few things, I left to be on the “We Loves It/We Hates It” panel. As always, it was equal parts geek hate and geek love. No sooner was it over than I ran down the hall to hear what had been decided after reviewing last year’s big questionnaire.

Unsurprisingly, the #1 request was taken care of this year: Not being on the same days as GenCon. We were told that next year, the con will be two weeks before GenCon.

Other requests were not so major: more activities for kids, expansion of the waterpark, earlier starts to some of the big parties, try to get a couple more donut shops, etc.

One big request that they are still mulling over is to add a movie room next to the anime room and to have not just Old Time Radio, but CritterCon exclusive television shows. We’ll know how this shakes out sometime in October.

Once that was over, our band of merry pranksters just hung out and chatted with the great number of other folks waiting the last few minutes of the con out, then the 30 minute gap until the Post Con Cool Down/Pie Feed.

Stuffed with several types of delicious pie, we left the con and Critter City about 7:15. At our current rate of speed, we will be in Baltimore to drop off Spike and Mary in the early morning, then in New Hampshire to drop off Avis, Ginie and the cats a few hours later. From there, we’ll go airborne and kick the bus up to about Mach 4 to get Gabriel home in Los Angeles. After that, out little family will be home about 30 minutes later.

All told, this was the usual swell fictional convention and trip. I know I could have written more, but I’m not the young 53 year old I was when we went to DogCon 1.

Anyway, thanks for sticking with us again this year.

 


CritterCon 10

is over.


But we will all be back next year for…

CritterCon 11

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And The Beef Goes On

…wait, wrong lyrics

 

OOPS! Forgot to post this last night. I blame the partying.

CritterCon 10

Day Ten, Con Day Three


My day so far…

1: Woke up…no hangover…ate breakfast at Pancakeville.

2: 9 am panel on Pulp Games with 5 other folks, one of whom was Brian Misiaszek…went very well, lots of good questions.

3: Went for our annual spa session at Spa La La…soaked in hot mud, then washed off and got a great massage…might have fallen asleep and drooled during massage.

4: Lunch at Pizza My Heart, which has a killer lunch buffet now.

5: Ran my second 3 hour Toon game (The Perilous Predicament of Petey Penguin) for 10 players…Everybody had big fun, including the wife who played Psycho Petey and her husband who played Sweetie Petey and their 12 year old daughter who played Neaty Petey.

6: Just finished a 90 minute session of running the 24/7 D&D game. Spike took over from me…all the players during my time were human females, female dogs and a female goat…they kicked ass on a Goblin horde.

7: Next up is a seminar on What’s New In Gaming, then a quick dinner, then putting on two Old Time Radio shows back to back: The Adventures of Doc Mystery and Life With Bucky & Squint.

8: Starting at 9:00 is the Bigass Party, which features 5 bands, an open bar and geekery as far as the eye can see.

More bloggage tomorrow.

Simple Salamanders

…great starter amphibians

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CritterCon 10

Day Eight, Con Day One

Quick recap of last night: Dungeon Diner for dinner. Great food, spanky leather ambiance, about 40 people in our group.

The ice cream social was great. Delicious ice cream, plenty of folks there. Then those damned Texans brought out about 50 kinds of bourbon and next thing you know I’m being tucked into bed at 1:30 in the morning by Grace & Silky.

Okay, on to today’s action packed schedule.

Breakfast: I skipped it to sleep in an extra 45 minutes before heading off to the Dealer’s Room. Later, just before my Toon game, I ate a large carne asada breakfast burrito.

Games: Hoo boy! Ran a Toon game (A Foogleproof Plan) for 8 people, played in a game of GURPS Reign of Steel, ran a very short (20 minutes) portion of the D&D 5E game that is running 24/7 during the con and played a game of Pirate Fluxx.

Lunch: Same taco truck. Fish tacos.

Seminars: Participated in the Building A Village seminar. Ended up with a pretty good village.

Dinner: Meatloaf at Chez Mom’s with a bunch of folks.

The Drag’n Age Party: While there were indeed several men who looked good in drag, the vast majority of us did not. Maybe it was all the facial/body hair. On the other hand, almost all of the women present looked good in drag, be they wearing tuxedos or workingman clothes.

In all other ways, the party was great. The band played covers of music from the 50’s through the 2000’s. And yes, they were in drag too. The party ended at 2 am. I was back in the room asleep by 2:15.

CritterCon 10

Day Nine, Con Day Two


It was a LARPy day for most of us. All the critters, plus Grace, Mary, Avis, Ginie & I were in the Star Trek LARP. Max & I played Klingons, Sasha and our friend Brian Misiaszek played Romulans and in the end the Klingon Empire gained control of the planet we were all fighting over. Qap maH!

After that LARP ended, Daisy, Max & Roxy headed off to a Critters Only D&D LARP, Avis & Ginie went to play in a steampunk LARP, everbody else ran off to play other games and I went to join Spike in the “Forgotten Games” panel.

After that panel, we grabbed lunch at Waffles From Outer Space! (BACON AND BUTTER FLAVORED SYRUP, Y’ALL!), then went to our next seminar, “Yes, Tell Us About Your Character…In Three Minutes”. Some folks had great characters to talk about, but many others made us glad for the three minute limit.

At that point, Spike and I parted ways and I was off to a “Dads & Daughters” game of Mutants & Masterminds with Silky. The plot of the game had father & daughter super heroes trying to stop Captain Calamity and his daughter Miss Chaotic from taking over Bigge City. It was a hell of a knock down/drag out fight with some hilarious moments.

My character was a speedster named Warpspeed and Silky was my daughter, Tsunami. She got her name because beside having my speed, she had inherited the ability to control water from her mother. She would basically run fast at her target while pushing a couple thousand gallons of water in front of her.

There were ten players in the game and the only other Human/NHT pair was a fellow from Tulsa and his four year old pit/coonhound mix, Belle.

Around then, it was dinner time and we all gathered with many of our friends to eat at Thai One On. Much Thai curry was consumed.

There was no one big party tonight, but there were about two dozen smaller ones, so several of us made the rounds. By about one in the morning, we were all back in our rooms.

Tomorrow’s high points wil be our annual Mud Spa Day and, later on, our annual Old Time Radio broadcast.

More blogging later.

Make Big Money Printing Big Money!

…you’ll wonder why you never thought of it before

 

CritterCon 10

Day Seven, Con Day Zero

I have to make today’s entry fast & dirty, so here are some of today’s highlights.

1: We stopped the Bus at a beef jerky factory. Very fun and they gave out free samples. The Fearless Four did not want to leave.

2: Avis took Ginie into the Library and the two of them got to walking and looking at books and ended up a two miles from the entrance. Fortunately, the Librarian summoned the trolley car for them to ride back.

3: We arrived at Critter City about 10:30 in the morning and checked into the hotel. The critters are all back in their regular bodies and the hotel staff was delighted to see them.

4: We picked up our con books, swag and badges, then went to Ed’s Big Weenie for lunch. The con book looks like a early 1960’s Montgomery Ward’s Christmas Catalog. Pretty cool.

5: Con swag this year includes: a really snazzy black t-shirt with a parody of the movie poster for Big Trouble In Little China, but with humans and critters instead.

A real silver 10th anniversary commemorative coin.

A d6 with cats, dogs, parrots, bunnies, pigs and goats in place of the pips.

A card game called “CritterCon: The Card Game. Several of us (Me, Spike, Sasha, Daisy, Max) are on cards.

A mini board game called “Save Critter City”.

Coupons for discounts on all sorts of stuff.

A small box of edible goodies.

6: We saw many folks who came here this year due to it being a week ahead of GenCon. Quite a few of them will be joining us for dinner at Mistress Diana’s Dungeon Diner, which has been redecorated and expanded in size.

7: Saw a new Cajun restaurant had opened. The name? Stand Bayou.

8: Got advanced notice that this year’s Friday night party is “Drag’n Age”, and that means everybody attending has to be dressed in drag to get in. I’m glad the Wardrobe Room on the bus has plus sized dresses. I will not, however, be wearing high heels.

Well, folks, we humans are about to head out to the aforementioned dinner and then to the Ice Cream Social/Bourbonfest. The Critters are all going to dinner at an NHT only place, then will head to the social. I hope I see some of you at the con tomorrow.

More bloggage soon.

Destination Sign When We Started: Jungleland
Destination Sign When We Stopped: Discworld

QM Radio Station: KRTR FM, Critter City, Texas

Chapter 200: In Which Our Hero, Washed Up On The Shores Of An Island, Begins A Friendship With An Ape

…rum might have been involved

 

CritterCon 10

Day Five

We spent last night in Yuma, Arizona and the Bus left town at 7 this morning. We all were up by 8 and had a terrific breakfast of waffles and assorted meats.

(Silky: Folks, if you ever get a chance to eat a breakfast prepared by an android version of Julia Child, I suggest you take it.)

(Luke: Oh man, those sausages were delicious.)

(Leon: I needed a nap after that breakfast.)

(Sasha: You’re a cat. You need a nap after a long fart.)

Our only stops today were not terrible long or impressive. Giants of the Desert, located just south of Tombstone, turned out to be big clay and sandstone sculptures made to look like they had been made thousands of years ago by some “lost tribe” of Native Americans. In fact, they were made in the early 1920s by some guy that would bring folks out to see them, then con them out of money for either “research” or to find some lost treasure. The tour took 20 minutes, the cost was $3.00 each and the gift shop was okay.

(Sasha: I considered telling one of the folks running the place that the biggest statue was covering up a crashed Yonarian space probe, but then I thought better of it. That probe has been there 900 years. Another couple of centuries won’t hurt it.)


The Junk House, near Douglas, was considerably more interesting. This is a large old house, about half of which is home to all sorts of stuff that Herman and Delores Arthur have found in the desert over the last 60 years. Everything here has a story, from the rubber baby doll that the found way the hell up a mountain, to the gold tooth that they found imbedded in an old fence post way up near Flagstaff. To be honest, most of the stories get kind of repetitive, but there are enough interesting or funny ones to make it well worth your $2.50 admission price.

(Daisy: The story about finding those old booze bottles after getting chased by an angry raccoon was pretty hilarious.)

(Max: “Ever time we’d think we outrun him, here’d come that goddamn raccoon!” Hahaha!)


We stopped near the Arizona/New Mexico border for a short walk in the desert. And by “we” I mean me, Spike, Gabriel and the critters. It was 114 degrees out. And by “short walk”, I mean about 500 feet and maybe 15 minutes. We didn’t see any wildlife.

(Roxy: That’s because all the wildlife was too smart to go walking around in the 114 degree heat!)

(Silky: Thank goodness for our android bodies.)

We ate lunch on the bus as we headed for I-10, then we played a few boardgames (Terraforming Mars, Kill Doctor Lucky) and the critters, now back in their own bodies, frolicked in the Shoe Room and Meadow Room.

When we got to Las Cruces, we stopped for the night and had some great Southwest chow for dinner, then had another movie night. Tonight’s double feature was “The Shadow in San Francisco” (Earth 1-C, 1940) and “The Shadow Knows” (Earth 1-C, 1942). Both were very good.

I’m about to go have a beer with Gabriel and show him the Warehouse Room. After that, it’s bedtime. Tomorrow we cross New Mexico and half of Texas to end up near Critter City and the con.

Destination Sign When We Started: Oz
Destination Sign When We Stopped: Sin City

QM Radio Station: All Surf Music!

Happy Birthday, Luke!

…9 years old!

 

CritterCon 10

Day Four

Today was a day full of great roadside coolness and even cooler gaming on the bus! This probably explains why about most of our happy crew are sound asleep at 11:00 at night. Truth be told, I’m running on empty myself, so I’m gonna skip my usual rambling and just get to the good parts.

(Sasha: I’m the only critter awake, so it falls to me to do our commentary.)


Luke’s Birthday

Today was our boy’s 9th birthday as well as his one year anniversary with us. My present to him was to take him back to 1952 to have lunch with several big movie stars, including Cary Grant, Fred Astaire and Rosalind Russell. He had a great time.

(Sasha: He could not stop talking about it. Love ya, big brother.)

The Mutant Chicken Museum

This small museum is out in the farmland east of San Diego and has a collection of about 100 mutant chickens caused by a former chicken farmer feeding his flock mineral grit illegally taken from a nuclear test site in the 1950’s.

(Sasha: Hmmm.)


The place is small and not well air conditioned, but it’s only $2.00 to get in and these are some damned strange looking cluckers, folks. I’ll also note here that the young fellow who now owns the place, while being nice, is more than a bit creepy sounding when discussing his “chick chicks”. Oh, and these chickens are stuffed and mounted, the last one having died in 1965.

(Sasha: He was very creepy and he smelled of chicken feathers.)


There are two headed hens, a rooster with four wings, another rooster that was 3 times the size of a normal White Leghorn, a hen with extra long legs and many other mutants of the atomic age. Mr. Creepy (real name: Devin) also told stories about legends of mutants that escaped and ran off into the desert. Among these was the chicken that weighed 60 pounds, stood 3 feet tall and had an alligator like mouth full of teeth. He even finish with the classic line “and some folks think it’s still out there”. Excellent!

(Sasha: Humans. Sometimes I just can’t even.)

Creatures of the Desert!

Not to be confused with Monsters of the Desert! over in Arizona, this is a bunch of giant sized statues of normal creatures. It’s about a mile out in the desert and it’s free to visit. The scorpion you see as you drive in is very lifelike and about the size of an SUV. There’s a rattlesnake, desert tortoise,

assorted lizards, a roadrunner and about a dozen other creatures. Every one of them is made out of metal by several artists who live on the premises. A pretty impressive collection. Great t-shirts, too.

(Sasha: I was impressed. Of course, I could probably whip up a real giant scorpion in my lab.)

Our Lord, the Giant Jesus Christ of the Desert

(Sasha: Here we go, folks.)


Yep, that’s what the sign says when you turn off and drive just shy of two miles into the desert to see the big mack daddy of Giant Sons of God. No actual fee to go see it from the parking area, but if you want to go inside the 12 foot tall razor wire topped fence to get up close and personal, the church that runs the place, God’s Divine Ministries, asks for at least a $7.50 “love donation”. They also state that only“True Christians” will be allowed to pay another minimum of $5.00 per person to ascend into the viewing room in Jesus’s head.

Fortunately, I prepared all of us with ID that proved we were members of the First Baptist Church of God in Roscoe, Alabama, R. Cross, Reverend. I also

had Sasha whip up a fat roll of Benjamins that would totally disintegrate in about 12 hours. Thus armed, we went to see the statue.

(Sasha: Dad also gave everyone universal translators set with the proper Christian redneck accent. It was all I could do to keep from laughing.)

Once I donated a cool five large, we were escorted in by our own personal tour guide, Sister Amanda. I reckon she was about 18 and still full of the dewy eyed religious fervor that would begin crumbling once she went off to college and faced the real world. She gave us a quick tour of the compound, then took us to the feet of Big J himself.

My friends, if you enjoy collecting visits to Giant Jesus statues, or really any Giant Statue, you must know how I felt standing there. It was, by far, the best looking statue I have seen yet. 350 feet tall, excellent detailing, well painted and maintained…oh my, it was breathtaking. I can only imagine how a non-atheist would feel.

(Sasha: It is a hella nice statue, folks. A lot of work and the money of many deluded humans went into building it.)


After taking 74 pictures and 15 minutes of video, I was ready to lead my flock to the head of Jesus. I donated five more c notes and we all piled into the elevator and went up.

(Sasha: I REALLY wish I could see the faces of the guys that run that place when a cool grand just disintegrates about 1:00 am.)


The view is great and, since I figured it would be the thing to do, I lead the group, Amanda and about 15 other visitors in a prayer. I really pulled out all the stops and was glad that several of my traveling companions concealed their smiles and chuckling by yelling “Praise Jesus!” and stuff. Gabriel was especially great when he started yelling that he could hear again out of his right ear and his right arm had full movement. A couple of folks not in our group swooned.

(Sasha: Once again, I’ll say that the world should be damned glad that Daddy is not some money grubbing televangelist.)


After the praying, we all looked out the windows and man, you an see a long way. Not that there’s much to see in that part of the desert, but there it was.

We spent near 45 minutes admiring the view and taking pictures and stuff, then bought about $300 in tchotchkes down in the gift shop before we left, praising Big J all the way. All in all, it was an incredible experience.

(Sasha: Well, it was for Daddy.)

On the D. Cross Giant Jesus Rating Scale, this Giant Jesus rated as follows.

Size: 10! 350 feet tall!

Climbability: 10! Elevator, baby!

Appearance: 10! Extremely lifelike looking and in primo shape.

Pose: 10! He’s standing with his hands on his hips and smiling AND looking down at you, not up at the sky or off into the distance.

Religiosity: 10! Hell, maybe a 12, if my scale went that high. There’s a whole religion strip mall in that compound.

I…I need a minute, folks. I’m verklempt.

(Sasha: Oh, Daddy, you big old nut.)

CAR WARS NIGHT!

Okay, although this was the fist full of cherries on the banana split of our day, I’m fading fast, so here are the basics of our Car Wars races on the new holodeck.

The Teams: 7 humans, 7 NHT? A natural pairing! Drivers listed first, gunners second.

Me & Roxy

Daisy & Grace

Avis & Max
Sasha & Ginie
Spike & Luke
Silky & Mary
Gabriel & Leon


The Races (all cross country, 50 miles long)

1: London, abandoned by the living, full of slow living dead. We raced from various points on the map to other points, finishing at Trafalgar Square.

2: Straight up run along I-5 between Sacramento and Stockton. Debris all over, the odd minefield (clearly marked) and automatic guns firing at random.

3: A Potterverse version of Yellowstone park. All of our weaponry was magic based, plus we had wands. There were many creatures, too, including a North American Yellow Tailed Dragon.


The Weapons

We all drove identical mid sized SUVs with forward mounted machine guns, side mounted machine guns, rear facing flame throwers, spike droppers, oil slick spreader and one roof mounted rocket. Our armor was Medium.

The Winners

1: Spike & Luke, by about 30 feet and just before Sasha & Ginie shot off their two remaining tires.

2: Me & Roxy, because everybody else hit mines. Mind you, we had no doors or hood or windshield.

3: A tie! Avis & Max and Sasha & Grace. Everyone in those two cars were hella up on their spells and driving. Plus the dragon took out my car, Gabriel’s car and about half of Spike’s car.

A totally fun night! And now, I’m off to bed. More blogstuff tomorrow.

Destination Sign When We Started: Stately Wayne Manor
Destination Sign When We Stopped: Cimmeria

QM Radio Station: Elven Swing

Under The Onion Tree

…and other stories

 

 

CritterCon 10

Day Three

Having planned this trip out carefully, I decided that between Castroville and Santa Barbara, there were no roadside attractions worth stopping at, or, if there were, they were ones we had already been to. With that in mind, the Bus started heading down the highway about 3 in the morning so that when we all woke up at 7, we were not only in the Santa Barbara area, but in the parking lot of Lugo Makes Breakfast!, a very tasty place to eat.

I had eaten here before, so I knew the drill, but did not fill anyone in when we all filed inside at 8:00. See, Lugo only makes one kind of breakfast: bacon, eggs, hash browns, a biscuit and whatever you choose to drink, as long as you drink coffee, tea, milk or water. There is no menu and all you get to choose is how your two eggs are cooked. That’s it, baby. $7.00 a pop and if you dawdle over brekky, the waitresses start saying rude things about you. So we ate and got the hell out.

(Silky: Dad neglected to say that you get four slices of bacon, the hash browns are seasoned wonderfully and that big ass biscuit is fluffy and delicious.)

Our only other stop in Santa Barbara was the Bird House, which is a pretty standard 1960’s ranch style home set smack in the middle of an aviary the size of a football field. Said aviary is home to 97 species of birds, from tiny wrens to ostriches. The tour takes about 45 minutes and costs $5.00. Many of the birds are not afraid of humans and will land right on you.

(Roxy: That’s cool when the bird is a little finch, but alarming when the bird is a hyacinth macaw.)

(Leon: AUGH! My cat instincts were at odds with being in a humanoid body.)

Upon leaving the Bird House, we all relaxed on the bus as we made our way to San Diego. Gabriel and I got to doing a comedy bit where he played Rocco, a Chicago mobster, and I played Maxie, his dim bulb of a right hand man. It was mostly Rocco asking about how the latest plan went and Maxie telling how he and the boys screwed it up. An example…

Rocco: So, Maxie, I told ya to go corner the market on D&D. How’d it go?

Maxie: Oh, boss, the first night was so tiring. My feet hurt from all that dancing.

Rocco: Dancing? What the hell?

Maxie: Yeah, D&D, Dames & Dancing. Them gals was cute, though. This one blonde…

Rocco: MAXIE! D&D is not about dames and dancing! It’s…

Maxie: Oh, we figured it out, boss. It was Ducks & Drinking. Lemme tell ya, them ducks cannot hold their liquor.

And so on. We had everybody laughing.

Around 11:30, down in Los Angeles, we stopped at our next attraction, the World Famous Murder Mansion. I mean, who wouldn’t want to tour a seaside mansion that has been the site of 14 murders, starting in 1924 with the last one in 1998?

This place is huge and sits on 10 acres of land. After you pay your twenty bucks per person, you enter the mansion and see the scene of the first murder, where silent movie actress Dondra Durban shot her cheating husband and his mistress six times each (she reloaded her revolver, drank a bottle of wine and shot them again).

(Silky: She was plenty pissed off.)
(
Daisy: Ya think?)

From there, you go to…

The 1930 mob hit on Frankie “Box Office” Tanetelli in the front driveway. No convictions on this one.

The 1941 unsolved decapitations of the twin Onslow brothers in their separate bedrooms.

The 1947 murder by strangulation of actress Jenny Robbins, committed by her ex manager in the pool house.

(Silky: I remember hearing about this one on the radio.)


The 1959 triple homicide (shooting, stabbing & beating) in the dining room of Mr & Mrs Waldefski by their business partner, Ed Niddle, who was the one shot by the dying Mrs Waldefski.

(Leon: That was one hell of a business disagreement.)

The 1970 poisoning of record producer Buddy Leaper and his girlfriend. They ate poisoned cookies in the master bathroom while bathing. Girlfriend’s mother was convicted.

The 1979 death by bomb in the car of B movie director Sam Sterling. Bomb planted by his ex-lover, B movie star Trent Nash.

(Daisy: Hey, he made “Teenage Lizard Girls From Outer Space”!)
(
Max: And “Surf Of Death”. That one with the deadly kelp!)


The 1988 dismemberment and partial cannibalization of Richard Milligan, a gardener, by his employer, millionaire Alex Rader. The bodies of 11 other people were found at Rader’s ranch near Santa Maria.

(Roxy: EWWWWWW!)


And finally, the 1998 murder of Mr. Harry Culbertson by his wife. In the Kitchen. With a Frying Pan. On a Saturday. Because he was an Insufferable Asshole.

(Silky: She died on Death Row in 2009.)

The whole tour takes over 90 minutes and yes, folks, they do have a gift shop. Oddly, when we got back on the Bus, several folks didn’t want to eat.

We rolled into San Diego at 5:00 and rested up before dinner. After dinner, we played two sessions of D&D 5th edition. I ran one game and Daisy ran the other at the same time. Everyone had fun.

(Daisy: Daddy ran them through a dungeon and I ran my group through the Forest of the Doomed. It was pretty fun to scare the crap out of them with Ghost Trolls, Night Slimes and Fungus Orcs.)


It’s time for bed now. Tomorrow, we’re off across the desert, with one of our stops being

Destination Sign When We Started: Lair of the White Worm
Destination Sign When We Stopped: Townsville

QM Radio Station: Dog Punk 101