Jollyfish

…MUCH happier than Jellyfish

It is that time of year again, folks…

DogCon 9

Day Zero: In which I once again set things up for the actual con report.

Greetings once again from the Magic Bus, currently parked in the driveway of the D&G Cross Home For Not At All Normal Basset Hounds. It is just past 10:30 at night and with the exception of myself and Sasha (Sasha: Had to pee, then eat a snack.), everyone else is asleep after a busy day of hanging out at the Meadow Room, Slide Room, Warehouse, Living Room and then eating too much barbecue for dinner.

Our con going contingent this year consists of myself, Grace, The Girls (Silky, Sasha & Daisy), our friend Avis (the original, this year. Her double from Earth 2 will be staying at her house running errands and reading books) and her cat Leon, our friend Ginie and her cat Roxy & Spike & Mary Jones. We will meet up with other old friends when we get to the con.

Our route this year is, from a driving standpoint, pretty straightforward: head south until we almost reach Mexico, then hang a left and head to central Texas. On the other hand, from a temporal standpoint, the route gets much stranger. Just as we leave home, we will time travel to 1954 (the year of my, Avis and Ginie’s birth) and do our first day’s driving then. The second day, we’ll be in 1968. Third day, 1975. Fourth and final day, 1986. On Monday morning, when we awaken about 45 minutes outside Critter City, we’ll be back in 2016. I’m quite sure everything will go smoothly.

(Sasha: Ha! We can’t change the past, but I reckon we’ll be spinning off alternate realities the way a cat sheds fur.)

Anyway, Sasha and I are heading off to bed, so I’ll continue this report tomorrow. Tune in then!

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Mrs. Wangdoodle Takes A Selfie

…to put on her Facebook page

Hey, look! It’s a new entry for Life On The Magic Bus! Yay!

Life On The Magic Bus

WARNING! WARNING! Temporally Displaced Post! This Post Is From The FUTURE. Read At Your Own Risk!

Doc Clay was racing along on inline hoverskates at about 25 miles an hour. The giant mutant rat behind him was closing the gap at 28 miles per hour.

“SHIT!, he yelled, “Here we come!”

Doc passed under a low hanging branch and, a few seconds later, so did the rat. The difference was that Doc did not encounter the business end of a Urokan Vibronic Pickaxe and the rat did. It’s head exploded in a spray of blood & gore and the body tumbled about 30 feet before it stopped. A moment later, Sasha swung down gracefully from the branch using her Ottopus tentacles. She was covered in that blood & gore and hoisted the pickaxe above her head before shouting “Who’s the killer bitch around here? This gal!”

Doc chuckled at that. It was true enough. He and Sasha had been using this some ploy to kill these goddamn rats for a week now, ever since the Magic Bus had been forced to stop for repairs on this post apocalyptic version of Earth.

Yeah, yeah”, he said, “You’re a badass, Now let’s get you cleaned up before the Mom Unit sees you.”

Back at the bus, he hosed Sasha off until she was mostly clean, then sent her inside to be properly washed up by a SmartBot while he washed his hands under the faucet. Despite this world being devoid of human life, he had to admit that 3,000 years of letting Mother Nature have her way with it had turned out pretty well, giant carnivorous rats aside. It was a very peaceful place to break down.

Well, “break down” wasn’t quite the term for it, but it was easier to say than “Stopped because the bus caught a nasty cold”. A bit easier on the brain, too.

He dried his hands and did some stretching moves. 68 years old was probably not the optimal age for hoverskating hell bent for leather through a forest with a giant mutant rat hot on your ass. It was fun, though, despite what Grace, Avis and his other two dogs said. And it would be a great story to tell the grandkids once he got home.

He paused before going inside, so he could watch a flock of what he called Golden Day Bats pass overhead. They were the size of fruit bats back home, but completely diurnal and insectivorous. Beautiful.

Then he went inside the bus and took a long shower before dinner.

Doc Tempest And The Devil Of The Desert

…from the June, 1958 issue

Yet MORE “Life On The Magic Bus” entries! Only a few more to go!

Chapter 4, Part 3: On The Trail Of Giant Jesus

Winker arms herself
Lucy & Sasha go unarmed

4/27/2009

Destination Sign: Central City

When Winker entered the living room wearing her new mechanical arms, the reactions were…

Lucy: “What the hell?”
Sasha: “WOW! Winky is a cyborg!”

Grace: “Where did you get those things?”

Doc: “Uh oh! Dogs got hands. We are screwed now.”

The Magic Bus had been parked at the Seaside Haven RV park for the last day & a half while Doc had written the piece for Roadside Attractions Quarterly and they all took some Grace approved time to enjoy the beach. During that time, Winker had decided to tackle the “no opposable thumbs” problem. She had taken the easy route by finding a set of Zerillian Arm Units down in Joe’s workshop.

The body harness fit ok, if a bit tight around the tummy. The 6 foot long quadruple jointed arms, however, were taking some time to get used to.

“I got them from Joe, Mom.” She said this as one arm slowly reached out to pick up a chew toy. “The people these were made for don’t have actual arms or hands, so they use these.”

She missed grabbing the chew toy on the first two tries, but got it on the third attempt. Damn this only having one eye! Maybe she ought to look into a bionic eye. Maybe a bionic eye with a laser! No, no laser. The Parental Units would not like that.

Having picked up the chew toy with her four fully opposable mechanical fingers, she placed it on the nearest coffee table.

“I’m still getting used to them, but Joe thinks I’ll be handling tools like a pro soon.”

Doc came closer to check out the arms.

“Those are pretty cool, Wink,” he said as he ran his hands along the cool metal surface of one of them. “You look kind of like Doctor Octopus from the comic books.”

Sasha came over for a look. “Yeah,” she said with a giggle, “we’ll call you OctoWinky!”

Without even thinking about it, Winker gave herself a facepalm. This was exactly what she feared. Nicknames stuck like poop on a blanket.

Several hours later, just before dinner, Winker had practiced enough to be pretty skilled at most simple tasks. Dad had been really impressed when she poured him a pint of stout.

“Thank you, sweetie!” He smiled as he accepted the mug.

“Your welcome, Dad. Just don’t get any ideas about Winker the Barmaid.”

Later, she showed Lucy and Sasha how she could throw a ball, pick up & fold a dog blanket and drive a nail into a board using a hammer. They were impressed.

“Can we get arms like that?” Lucy asked. “I could catch some squirrels if I had arms.”

“Yeah,” agreed Sasha, “and I could play video games using a human based controller. And I could use tools & stuff!”

Winker has known this was coming. Fortunately, the answer was simple.

“Sorry, sisters, but there is only one set of these arms on the bus and now they’re imprinted to me.” This was the truth, although she had not mentioned that new sets of arms could be ordered from the W’Grrit & M’Lkuk catalog. Sasha was too young for arms and Lucy was, well, too Lucy.

That night, before going to bed, Winker brushed her sister’s coats before brushing her own. Then she got out of her arms and went to bed, where she dreamed of using wrenches and drills and impact tools.

Chapter 4, Part 4: On The Trail Of Giant Jesus

On the trail of gnomes

Grace shows Giant Jesus the light

4/28/2009

Destination Sign: The Darkness On The Edge Of Town

At 9:45 in the morning, the Clay family departed the Magic Bus and went to visit the Gnome Forest near Astoria, Oregon. Doc and Sasha were eager to see the “over 2,000 garden gnomes in fun poses”. Grace was pretty much just along for the ride, Lucy was hot to sniff out “assorted vermin, including those damned squirrels” and Winker was half asleep, having had a long night in the shop rebuilding a toxic vapor accumulator with Joe.

(Narrator: Speaking of squirrels, you might be interested that Uncle Ferdie was able to round up all of his squirrels. They were not physically injured during the riot, but several of them were mentally scarred for weeks. For that matter, so was Uncle Ferdie.)

The Gnome Forest was essentially a two acre plot of woods with garden gnomes placed in interesting and humorous spots. Several of the gnomes had been custom made, like the one who appeared to be taking a leak on a tree. There were also little gnome sized houses and gnome dogs & cats. The trail through the woods had many signs that told about the scenes one was seeing.

The walk took about 55 minutes, during which Doc & Sasha sang songs like “Gnome, Gnome On The Range” and “No Place Like Gnome” and “My Old Kentucky Gnome”. By minute 30, Grace was threatening to shove pine cones in their mouths and Winker was using some naughty words to describe their singing. Lucy was mostly complaining that her harness and leash were seriously impacting her rodent chasing skills.

(Narrator: Contrary to what Lucy might tell you, no squirrels were mocking her, although a few did mock Doc & Sasha’s singing.)

After bidding the Gnome Forest goodbye, they drove down the coast an hour to the World Famous Giant Jesus Of The Rock. This 70 foot tall statue was standing atop a tall rock about 100 feet offshore. Tourists could reach it by using a long steel foot bridge that Winker thought was of dubious engineering quality.

Despite the old hound’s misgivings, the whole family trooped out to the statue along with about a dozen other humans and two other dogs, one of whom Lucy declared to be a “stuck up little asshole of a bichon frise”.

This Giant Jesus had originally been meant to be used as a lighthouse, but then the government built a proper lighthouse just two miles away, so that aspect of it was dropped. Now, the light was only lit for an hour or two on religious holidays.

Jesus of the Rock was, externally, very good looking. The craftsmanship of the stone carving was excellent. Doc noted that the face and hands were some of the best he’d ever seen on a Giant Jesus. Sasha noted that his upraised right arm and hand had seabird poop on them, as did the back of his head.

Inside the structure, everyone climbed the stairs up to the top except Winker, who decided that she was too old for the climb. Grace stayed at the ground floor with her and the two chatted about various family matters.

Then Grace noticed that a power cord was very near to falling out of the outlet that it was plugged into.

“That’s not safe,” she said as she pushed the plug firmly into the socket.

It took Winker just about a second to put two and two together and yell, “NO, Mom! The light!” before everyone up in the head of Jesus began yelling. Grace quickly pulled the plug, but the damage was done.

First down the stairs was Sasha, who had escaped being blinded because she was busy licking her but with her eyes closed when the light came on. Next was an old guy who was blind to begin with, then a steady stream of blinking and temporarily sightless humans and dogs.

One woman was wailing that Jesus had blinded her for her sins, while Lucy said “Fuck that! I’m a dog and I’ve never sinned.” Winker thought that, while true from a strictly theological viewpoint, Lucy was not a beacon of purity.

Doc seemed to be blinded only in one eye, since he had been looking out to sea through the telescope mounted in the right eye of Mr. Christ. He gave Grace a mild stink eye, which made her blush.

After only a few minutes, everyone’s sight began to return and they left. The sinful lady seemed greatly relieved that Jesus had only warned her not to sin again. The old blind guy muttered, “Bunch of goddamned pussies.”

Back on the bus, Doc had Grace drive for a bit and Lucy laid on one of the sofas and griped that the spots she was seeing looked kind of like squirrels.

Chapter 5: Emails From The Road

Doc shuts down some twits
Sasha reports the news

5/2/2009

Destination Sign: Gondor

To: spiketronic@zmail.rpg

From: docrocket@zmail.rpg

Glad you and Mary made it home okay. That long layover in Minneapolis must have sucked. On the plus side, not much going on there at 2:15 am on a Tuesday anyway.

Things here are going just swell, if you don’t count my scaring the crap out of a couple of wealthy old twits who were parked next to us at an RV park for two days. They kept saying shit about how “quaint” and “rustic” our bus was, while continuously showing off the half million dollar land yacht they had. Finally, I invited them onto the bus.

You should have seen their faces! Eyes were not meant to open that wide. Jaws were dropped, oh yes.

LOL! By the time we were done with the nickle tour, they were speechless, which was the effect I was aiming for. They left the park a couple of hours later.

Regarding the situation for DogCon in Texas, besides you, Mary, & the twins, we have Avis, Ginie, Peter, Holly, the Mystery family and Sam & Rani staying with us so far. Not 100% sure but we may also have Poppy and her boyfriend du jour with us, too. Should be fun. Joe tells me he can expand the slide room and make it into a waterpark.

Gotta go. Tell all your womenfolk we love them.

Doc

From: graceclay@eol.com

To: madsciencegal@mit.edu

Hello, sweetheart!

I hope school is going well for you. I know this last year must be crazy, what with you going for dual doctorates and all. You know, your dad and I really admire you and your brother, since we didn’t go to college for years (in my case) and ever (in your dad’s case). We are very proud of you.

Our trip & our retirement go well so far. This whole idea of traveling around checking out goofy roadside stuff has been pretty fun, so far. There have been a few “Uh Oh!” moments, but mostly things are going great. Having Sasha & Winker on my side when your dad has one of his questionable ideas is a real plus. Of course, he does often have Lucy on his side, but we still outnumber them.

Yesterday, we saw a house made of old cars and went to a driftwood museum. Earlier today, we visited a Santa Claus Town that was in pretty bad shape. Your father said they ought to let it decay a bit more, then reopen it as a Zombie Santa Claus Town. The old couple who run the place were not amused. I thought he had a pretty good idea. The place couldn’t me much more creepy with zombies.

I’m attaching some pictures of the trip so far. One of them shows Winker wearing her robotic arms. She has gotten quite adept with them. Yesterday, she even managed to cook an omelet.

Time for dinner. Write or call when you get a chance.

Love,
Mom

From: lucylou@pmail.com

To: avb900@zmail.rpg

Hi, Auntie Avy!

I’m typing this by talking, since I can’t use robot arms like Winky does. It’s pretty cool.

How are you & Emma & Lydia & Spock? It said on the news that you had snow the other night. We have only seen snow on the distant mountains so far. I thought we ought to go play in the snow, but you know how dad feels about the “awful white stuff”.

We are on our way to see some albino deer. Earlier, we went to a kind of creepy Santa Claus Town that was just full of mice and chipmunks. Mom kept me on a short leash so I couldn’t chase them. That sucked.

Mom said that we will see you next month at a convention in Boston. That will be great! I hope you can bring Spock & the girls. They will love it here on the bus. Wait until they see the shoe room!

Daddy is reading your latest book, the one about the murder on the cruise ship. Every so often, when he gets to a twist in the plot, he says, “Damn it, Avis!” and we all laugh at him.

Ooh, Mom says we are at the deer place. Gotta go. Write to me soon.

Love,
Lucy

From: oneeyedbitch@pmail.com

To: customerservice/trilthoksubtronics@vintoth.com

Dear sentient,

Thank you for your timely replacement of the D-wave smoother that I received recently. The replacement functions perfectly. Your help in explaining where I went wrong in ordering was very much appreciated. I am somewhat new to having manipulative organs.

Respectfully,

Winker Sue Clay

From: sashajane@pmail.com

To: busterboy@pmail.com

Hi, Buster!

I’m glad we could get you on the bus and smarten you up before we left, so you can do email and stuff.

This has been a fun trip! I woofed at a bear and scared a bunch of humans! It was hella funny!

We have gone to lots of weird houses and stuff. Most of them smell funny, like rat poop and old wet stuff.

Me and Lucy and Winker and a bunch of other dogs caused a riot at a squirrel show. No, really, there were like, 100 squirrels there. We didn’t catch any of them and Daddy had to drive the bus out of town fast. Mom said we are scalawags, which I guess is ok, because her and Grandma G call Daddy and Grandpa Bill that all the time.

I gotta go, but you write me an email soon, ok? Tell Smokey and Duke and LeeLee and Toby and everyone else that I said hello.

Your buddy,

Sasha

Handsome Joe Goes To The Petting Zoo

…and meets some goats

 

Sasha Explains It All

My Family: An Adventure In High Strangeness

I know what you’re thinking, folks. Everybody has a strange family, right? You’ve got that crazy aunt or that strange brother or the funny uncle or whomever. Every family has at least one strange member and many families have several.

Well, I’ve got you beat. Right off the bat, what you’re reading right now was written by a not quite 6 year old dog using the tentacles of the symbiotic air breathing octopus that she created in her ultra advanced genetics laboratory. You’re grandmother who drives in off road races can’t touch that.

At first, I was going to do this piece rating my family from least strange to most, but I’ll be damned if I can choose who is strangest. I do know that my human mom is the least strange, but after that, it pretty much comes down to fractions. Instead, I decided to go from youngest to oldest, so here you go.

Daisy, Age 3, Basset Hound: Daisy has been my sister for just over a year and is sweet, goofy (a term that applies to all of the Cross family) and as big a nerd as you’ll ever meet. No, really. I’ve seen her argue for hours about the best Star Trek series, the best Doctor or why a certain set of roleplaying rules sucks. She is into cosplay, filksinging and pretty much anything to do with fantasy or science fiction. On top of all that, she is also a brown collar in Drunken Fox style Dog Fu. I have seen her kick the ass of a brutish 120 pound mixed breed male, folks. She’s not cocky about her martial abilities and mostly comes off as a loveable & mildly hyperactive geek.

Her best pals and gaming/geek partners include humans, cats, dogs, pigs, rabbits and a skunk. (Janet, the same skunk that Flash had a drunken interlude with) They get together to play AD&D, watch Doctor Who or Star Trek or anime and do the Mystery Science Theater thing with bad old movies.

Daisy also enjoys painting (surrealist style), helping Dad cook and chasing squirrels.


Jazz, Age 4, Dwarf Longhair Portuguese Jungle Cat: There is mounting evidence that Jazz might be either a reincarnation of Janis Joplin or quantum psi linked to an existing Janis in some other reality. We’ll know more when my friend Stephen (whom I met via my friends Tony & Bruce) examines her.

Anyway, Jazz is the wife of my brother, Flash, and she is a top notch blues/R&B singer. She can really belt ’em out, but is also great at the slower tempo songs. Jazz also writes songs and, using an Ottopus (our name for the symbiont octopi) is learning to play guitar. She also likes boardgames (she’ll kill you at Settlers of Catan) and LARPs.

Jazz has only been married to Flash about a month, but we’ve all known her most of a year and she has known Flash for two years. Her early days are almost as much a mystery as Silky’s are. We do know she was born into a small family in Texas, but spent a couple of years “on the road”. At one point, she lived on Willie Nelson’s bus, but left because she got tired of being high all the time.

Jazz is a big fan of fish, both raw and cooked. She is also pretty fond of bacon, but then, who isn’t? She does not like Mexican food much.

Jazz also enjoys reading mystery novels, trying to convince Flash to start a family and chasing squirrels.

Flash, Age 5, Dwarf Shorthair Portuguese Jungle Cat: My brother, Flash Alexander Cross, was adopted into the family at 5 months old. He was born into a very large family (litter of 10!) but left home at 10 weeks old. Mostly, he just hung around with lounge singers, comedians & showgirls in Las Vegas until joining Mom, Dad, Lucy & Winker just before the trip to DogCon 3. He and Lucy became especially close, mostly because they were both prone to violence, property damage and other bad behaviors. However, contrary to some rumors, neither Flash, nor Lulu is a psychopath. They are just rowdy amoral goofballs with a profound lack of trust or respect for authority figures. See also: Daddy.

Flash is a HUGE fan of Frank Sinatra, but really enjoys many styles of music (he’s also a big fan of Warren Zevon, Pink and Bob Marley). He’s a pretty good singer, too. He also loves action and superhero movies. Despite only weighing 8 pounds, Flash is a 100% alpha male. He is known to have fathered at least 4 litters, back in his younger days.

Flash pretends to not like geeky things, but he really does. He’s a big Star Wars fan and his Wars vs Trek arguments with Daisy are legendary. He also loves LARPing at DogCon and playing video games.

Earlier this year, Joe and I built Flash a suit of Tony Stark style power armor so that he and Lulu could go to an alternate reality and kick ass on Nazis. When he wears it, he calls himself “Iron Cat”. Mom has still not completely forgiven me for making that suit. Fortunately, Mom & Dad make us keep the armor under Level 5 security most of the time.

When Lucy died in 2013, Flash just fell apart and started using catnip pretty heavily. When we revealed Lulu to him, he cried and cried and didn’t leave her side for days. Despite the way he talks all macho, like Daddy, he is a big old marshmallow inside.

Flash enjoys record collecting, fishing, trying not to become a father (which he will ultimately fail at because he likes sex) and chasing squirrels.

Me, Age 5.75, Basset Hound: I was born into a family of 5 puppies, a mom and a dad back on Jan. 2, 2009. I was adopted by a nice older man when I was 11 weeks old, but by the time I was 1.5 years old, he could no longer care for me properly and gave me to his daughter and son in law. They mostly kept me in their back yard or garage with two bigger dogs who were, to say the least, thick headed idiots. When Mom & Dad came to adopt me after the young couple had a baby and could no longer really care for any dogs, I was nervous, but glad to be gone. Little did I know that exposure to our bus (AKA The Magic Bus), would change me forever. But that’s for another rant.

My first love is working on machines and I am a pretty skilled mechanic, both on the ordinary and ultra tech levels. I have a pretty good knowledge of transtemporal/spatial theory and quantum foam vibration effect (the thing that keeps the realities apart). I’m also about at the PhD level for ordinary physics, chemistry and engineering. Gotta love being mentally connected to an Ottopus and a T-Control Computer.

About a year ago I undertook and passed a course on Mad Genetics from the Narbon Institute. It was loads of fun, gerbilsnake/gerbilspider/gerbilwolverine escapes notwithstanding. I later took the advanced course, which allowed me to create both my Ottopus symbiont, Otto, and my pet giant garden spider, Joyce. Genetics will always be fun, but will always take a backseat to mechanics for me. Nothing like getting grease on your tentacles.


I’m a pretty big geek, with a decided leaning towards RPGs, anything steampunk and superhero/kaiju/science fiction movies. I can play the piano well and my idols are Elton John and Fats Waller. My favorite food is an In N Out cheeseburger with bacon added. I’m also a really big fan of sex, which is why my FWB Buster and I hang out together. (Note to humans: No, ordinary spayed female dogs do not have a sex drive, but I’m not ordinary, am I?)

Although it is a subject of a future rant, I do feel obliged to say that, like Daddy, I am Mad. Not insane, really, but Mad. You might even say I’m barking Mad. Heeheehee.

Other things I enjoy include reading parts catalogs and quantum mechanical journals, rebuilding my 1959 Cadillac and chasing squirrels.

Silky, Age 8, Basset Hound: Silky has only been with us since Father’s Day of this year (2014), but she has fit into the family very well. Much like Mom, she lends an air (a thin air) of normality to things. It’s actually kind of amazing how quickly she got used to all our strangeness.

On the other paw, normal is relative and Silky has more than her share of strangeness. First off, she seems to channel the memories of somebody, canine or human, who lived through the 1960’s. Not all the time, but in flashes that last about a minute. This could explain why she is such a big fan of the Grateful Dead and other Bay Area groups. She and Jazz have some pretty interesting conversations.

Secondly, Silky does not speak about her first three years of life. If you ask, she just says “I was out and about and had some adventures.” Daisy thinks she was hanging with bikers and Flash thinks she was a spy. Whatever the case, those years might explain why she can speak fluent French, Owl, Hedgehog, German, Bear & Spanish AND how she knows so much about computers, security systems and baking.

Shortly after her third birthday, Silky was “sold into bondage” to an older Hispanic lady and her family and was used as a breeding bitch by the old ladies son & daughter in law. They bred her once a year for the next four years, then moved away. About a year later, the old lady gave her up for adoption and she came to live with us. She was VERY happy about that.

Silky likes boardgames and is getting into card games and RPGs. She really likes old school computer games and plays the hell out of Tetris. When it comes to food, she likes most types, but doesn’t eat broccoli or carrots. Her favorite television shows are CSI, Grimm and Downton Abbey. Musicwise, she likes soft rock and old country music.

Other things Silky enjoys include reading spy novels, writing her memoirs and chasing squirrels.

Lulu, Age 11.5, Robot Dog: Lulu was born Lucy and we know next to nothing about her early years except that some foul human woman kept her in a crate most of the day because the woman’s little dogs did not get along with her. That set the tone for the next 5.5 years of Lucy’s life until a couple rescued her. A few months later, Mom & Dad adopted her.

Lucy had many mental problems due to her terrible upbringing. She took years to get even partially better. Then, in early spring of 2013, she was diagnosed with terminal lymphoma. She died peacefully at the vet’s office on August 14th of that year.

Well, her body died. Her katra (a Vulcan word for intellect/life force/soul) had been transferred into a silicon brain by me a few days earlier. To make room for the best parts of her, I wiped most of her memories before she came to live here. I put in a vague memory of being a puppy, but everything after that and before Mom & Dad is a blank. We also gave her the new name of Lulu

Lulu’s original body was a cyborg deal that I kind of cobbled together quickly to get her new brain into. Later, she got a snazzy new body with an adamantium skeleton and a vibranium outer shell. She is damned near indestructible by anything here on Earth. She is powered by a mini sized Mr. Fusion, which is why she sometimes eats organic matter. She also sometimes eats inorganic matter that her nanotech innards use to repair her. If she needs to, Lulu can mount up to three weapon pods on her sides & back.

Lulu loves kaiju movies, robot movies, westerns and Marx Brothers comedies. In stark contrast to her appetite for destruction, Lulu likes to paint landscapes to relax. Her favorite food is carne asada tacos with a sprinkling of copper and titanium.

One little note here: That evil woman who mistreated Lucy? I used the bus to go back to the day after Lucy left her and gave her several crippling mental disabilities, chief among them agoraphobia, to keep her a prisoner in her own house. She also has a severe phobia of dogs. She will have these for the next 20 years or so. Fuck with my sister, fuck with me, bitch!

Other things Lulu enjoys are playing computer games, having cybersex with military grade autonomous robots and chasing squirrels and/or velociraptors.

Mom, Age 56, Human: Despite being mother to all of us and having been married to Dad for almost 18 years, my mom is a beacon of sanity & reason in our family. Well, most of the time. Sometimes even Mom has her moments.

There is less to say about Mom’s strangeness than there is to say about her acceptance of strangeness in others. Which, if you think about it, is pretty strange in itself. And kind of recursive.

Mom is the eldest of 4 children born into a Catholic family. Fortunately, she got better. She is also a veteran of the United States Army.


Anyway, Mom takes most of our shit in stride, but when she slams down the law, we all are quick to step & fetch & straighten up. She has “The Mom Look” down to a fine degree. She has been known to stop Dad, Flash & Lulu dead in their tracks.

Mom very much enjoys going to school and learning things. She usually has a 4.0 average, which boggles Daddy, whose philosophy in school was “if it ain’t an F, it’s ok by me”. When she retires, Mom plans on taking classes for the rest of her life.

Activities Mom enjoys are reading, doing stuff on computers and taking naps. So far as I know, she has never chased a squirrel.

Dad, Age 60, Human: My three favorite things about Daddy are that he loves animals, is very funny and, like me, he’s mad as a March Hare. Really, if you don’t think Daddy has paid in full the toll that madness takes, go read the Doclopedia. Actually, I’ve found that a great many creative types are Mad.

My least favorite thing about Daddy is that explaining anything more technological to him than a hammer is pointless. What really makes it frustrating is that he uses ultra-tech with no problem. I’ve seen him pick up a Thovian Cellular Knitter and use it to heal a cut as though he were taught to do it from birth. But if I try to tell him how it works, his eyes glaze over and he starts thinking about beer or something. He does that when Mom tries to explain computer stuff, too. Sometimes you want to just hit him on the head.

Daddy is the eldest of three children and was raised way out in the country on a farm. Actually, Grandma used to say he and his sibs were less “raised” than they were “prevented from getting killed”. She also said that Daddy resisted becoming fully civilized until he was in his 30’s. Most of us think the jury is still out on his civilized status.

Mom says she and Daddy met on a computer BBS back around 1994. Daddy says they met when she pulled a thorn out of his paw. Whatever the case, they got married in 1996 and are coming up on 18 years of wedded bliss, even though there are days when I expect Mom to use the bus to go back and marry a nice sane guy.

Daddy is a dedicated roleplaying gamer and an avid boardgamer. He’s also a first class cook, has a good singing voice and is, so I’m told, that rare human male that will willingly clean a toilet at home.

Daddy has many hobbies and interests, including Sherlock Holmes, collecting books, writing, traveling, collecting little plastic figures of all kinds, gardening, basset hounds, wildlife, being deliberately goofy and eating insanely hot & spicy foods. Rumor has it that he has chased more than his share of squirrels.

So there is my family. Strange as all hell, but I love them.

By the way, you all may have noticed that I left out my two goat sisters. This was by their own request, since they are up for parts in a movie and didn’t want me to blow the deal. Love you, Abby & Bea!

Until my next rant,

Sasha Jane Cross

A Cute Newt In A Zoot Suit Had Plenty Of Loot And Fruit To Boot

…but he had scoot

Grace Update: My Sweet Little Broken Armed Gingerbread Cookie Of Passion took a 2 mile walk this morning up to the McDonalds to get an Egg McMuffin. she did well, although it tuckered her out and she’s now sleeping like a comatose log.

Dog Update: Winker & Lucy are healthy and spoiled. They have both been VERY good girls since Grace broke her arm. Oddly enough, they are also sleeping just now.

Doc Update: I’m doing fine healthwise, but mentally I’m going “AAAAIIIIEEEE!!!!” because of tending to everybody here at the old homestead AND dealing with idiots at work AND psyching myself up for the dive into doing even more writing AND getting ready to do self publishing of PDFs. However, I’m NOT asleep right now.