Welcome To The House Of Strange

…where we live with strange pets

 

CATCON/DOGCON UPDATE

NOTE:I don’t usually post stuff about DogCon/CatCon in between actual con trips (though, of course, these con trips are imaginary), but several things have happened, so I figured I’d give everybody a heads up.

First off, as most of you know, we lost Lucy to cancer back in August. It was a sad time, but we are doing better now. More on Lucy later. A few days after Lucy’s death, we adopted our sweet little Basset Hound girl, Daisy. She has become a beloved family member.

(Daisy: Hi there, folks!)

Next, our imaginary Nigerian Dwarf Goats, Abigail & Beatrice, have been offered a chance to come live in Critter City, Texas, as part of the Trained Goat Review, doing shows at the Rock Hard Cafe. It’s a pretty big show that plays twice daily during the heavy tourist season and three times a week during the off season. Abby & Bea have decided to take the offer, so they will be leaving us soon. We’ll miss them, but we’ll get to see them at the con every year.

(Abby: It was a hard decision, folks, but Mom has always told us to follow our dreams.)

(Bea: We’ll miss everybody here and the yearly trip on the Magic Bus, but we’ll put on a really great show in Critter City. Come see us!)

Our imaginary cat, Flash, did not take Lucy’s death well. He stopped eating, cried all the time and seldom left his apartment. The female cats stopped coming around and he got pretty surly. After awhile, he started to hit the catnip pretty hard. He really missed his big sister and partner in crime.

But then, well, the way Joe explained it to me is like this. See…

(Sasha: I’ll be taking over the explaining here, folks, since listening to Dad try to explain anything high tech is pretty painful and embarrassing.

To give you the short version, with the help of Joe, Bea and Sadie Misiaszek, I braintaped Lucy just days before she died (thus preserving a copy of her katra, or spirit if you follow human religion) and then uploaded it later into a cyborg body. I just could not stand to think of losing my sister.

Well, it all worked out reasonably well, even though it took longer than we expected to get some of the parts from Eosonia Cybernetics and Massive Dynamics. The biological parts took a couple of days longer to grow than we expected, too. Still and all, I think Bea, Sadie & I did a hell of a job considering we don’t have hands or thumbs and Callurian Arm Units are a pain in the ass to use.

And for those of you who ask “Why didn’t you just clone her?” see below.

The only tiny problem was that the polyphasic silibrain that we copied Lucy into doesn’t hold information indefinitely unless it’s in a functioning body, which means that when we hooked up her brain, she had some holes in her memory, plus a few very minor changes to her personality. Unfortunately, none of those changes seem to make her less likely to get into trouble with Flash.

Anyway, after about 3 weeks of fine tuning, we figured it was time to tell Mom, Dad, Flash & Abby about her. It was a very interesting family meeting, but Joe did a good job translating for Bea & I. Of course, I use the term “very interesting family meeting” in place of “the shit hit the fan”. Mom & Dad & Abby were speechless for about 10 seconds, then they all started talking at once, often in foreign tongues or straight out cussing.

Poor Flash, who was stoned out of his mind, just said “What?”

Then I trotted out Lulu (we all had agreed that she was no longer exactly Lucy Louise anymore) and everybody stared and then cried and stuff.

First thing Lulu did, tail wagging all the time, was walk right up to Flash and say, “You are now and have always been my friend. I am now and always will be yours.”

Yeah, I sorta reprogrammed her to be a Trekkie.

So Flash just stared at her and then he jumped up on her back and started wailing like a lost kitten and it was two days before he fell off of her, exhausted. He then slept for three days and has now been off the ‘nip for a month.

Mom told Bea and I what good girls we were and fed us a great meal.

Dad stood and looked at us, then smiled and said “That’ll do, pigs” and gave us the Vulcan salute.

You gotta love Dad! Well, except when he talks about high tech.

So Lulu is a part of the family now. She still needs a few upgrades before she can go out in public. The one red cyber eye makes her look kind of Borgy and I’m damned if I can get organics to grow on her tail. She also needs a few memories reinforced. Still, she’s in pretty good shape and we’ve got our sister back. Mostly.

And now I’ll return you to Dad.)

(Abby: You did good, girls. I’m proud of you.)

(Flash: I love you guys and Sadie and Joe!)

(Lulu: There is no way I can thank you, Winker.)

(Sasha: It’s Sasha, sis. Keep saying my name like I told you to, while thinking that you need to activate module 888-C.)

(Lulu: Ok. Sorry, sister.)

(Sasha: It’s ok, Lulu.)

…and while she doesn’t act or look exactly the way she used to, she’s pretty much our girl. Well, except for the 47% that’s machinery, but you can’t see most of that anyway. Amazingly, she does still eat food, but she doesn’t poop or pee very often. And she’s not afraid of a goddamned thing!

So there you have it, Gentle Readers. If anything of a similarly big nature happens, I’ll let you know.

And now…DOCLOPEDIA GOODNESS!

The Doclopedia #1,081

Golden States: The Magical Golden Kingdom

On a bunch of Earths, the United States of America exists in a magic filled world. In most of those worlds, California is a major player. However, on Magic Earth 12, thingsa are different.

California is a land of great wealth, happy people and powerful magic. Unfortunately, all of the kingdoms around it are populated by evil scumbags who covet the riches of the Golden Kingdom.

To the east is Nevada, home to both the Gambling Elves and the Dark Trolls. Both have attacked California several times, but failed to gain any ground. Fortunately, these two groups hate each other and will never work together.

To the southeast you’ll find Arizona, a wretched desert kingdom that is ruled with an iron claw by the Snake People. They have attacked California twice, the last time in 1980. They were beaten back and badly hurt by a Rain of Fireballs.

Immediately to the south is Mexico, home of all sorts of terrible creatures. The worst of the lot are the Aztec Mummies and the Dire Chupacabras. While not overly intelligent, these creatures are many and persistent.

Finally, to the north is Oregon, home of the Rain Dwarves and the Beaver People. They are formidable opponents who work together well. Fortunately, they cannot devote enough manpower to a full attack on California because then the Dragons of Washington would attack from the north and the Idaho Goblins would ravage the east.

We won’t even get into the odd threats from the Salt Demons of Utah, the Volcano Giants of Wyoming or the Skinwalkers of New Mexico.

All of the above are why 60% of California’s GNP goes to defense.

Twelve Angry Hens

…who puts chickens on a jury anyway?

Ok, I got the following strange note from Joe, our quantum mechanic for the Magic Bus, a little while ago. I have no recollection of what he’s talking about, but apparently some shit went down last summer and he managed to fuck with time and fix it. I checked the DogCon5 entries and see no reference to it.

Crazy friggin’ timey wimey shit!

 

Boss,

I’m writing this to you just in case you have some partial memory retention of the unaltered past. I’ll be deliberately vague on some things, so if you don’t remember, it won’t mess with your head too much.

So, after that thing that happened with the bus after DogCon last summer, I figured I was all alone against those interlopers. That was gonna make things rough for me, but it turns out I had some four footed help. We kept those punks busy running around and repairing stuff, except when they were off the bus causing trouble.

Anyway, just a few days ago, we popped into a world where magic works and let me tell you, that raised some hell with the less advanced equipment. But when the aforementioned punks left the bus, me and my helpers snuck out and went looking around. Turns out, the helpers could talk on this world!

We found a guy who put us on to a wizard that he said could help. Sure enough, the wizard, (who had the damndest name I’ve ever heard) once he hears our tale of woe, rounds up the punks and strips them of all their cool gadgets. Then, he pops ’em over to another Earth where it’s the Age of Piracy. That seems about right to me.

Then, this wizard offers to send us and the bus back to you, but my helpers decide to stay in that world, because there, they’re Smart Animals. Also, on your Earth, there’d be duplication issues.

After that, I went back the past, fixed a certain problem in the warehouse and it’s all good now. Never happened. Well, never happened to you.

So here’s the bus back. It’s stuck looking like a bus again, cos I ripped out the chameleon circuit. Needs work. I also tightened up the Tardis unit so there won’t be any strange rooms popping up. Oh, and I enlarged the main pantry a bit.

Hope you and the missus are doing well and if you can’t make heads or tales of this note, blame it on the timey wimey stuff.

Joe

 

Mr. Porkwaffle Brews Beer

…a fine brew it is, the aardvark incident notwithstanding.

DogCon 5, End Of The Line

Well, we’re all home now and , it’s good to see the old homestead. The bus is parked, the critters are in their proper places, Grace is in bed and I’m about to join her. I hope you all had fun reading about our antics and I’m looking forward to doing it again next summer.

Until then, I’ll see y’all online.  Doc out.

Flash: Folks, we critters are adding this into this last post as an edit just seconds after Dad posted it. We all just wanted to say goodbye to you all. I hope I get to talk to you next year. Bye for now and remember: Be kind to cats!

Abby: Thanks for reading all of this, folks! We like telling you about the trip. See y’all next year.

Bea: I hope I did a good job with my comments. Bye until next year and eat more goat cheese!

Sasha: This was a pretty great trip.  I’ll be back next year, so I’ll see ya then!

Lucy: Goodbye for now, folks. I hope you enjoyed reading our comments. Hug your dog!

 

DogCon 5

is over.

But the Cross Family & Friends will return in…

CatCon 6

 

You Can Tune A Piano, But You Can’t Tune A Matamata Turtle

…you thought I’d say “tuna fish”, right?

The Doclopedia #730

What’s That Sound?: Squeee…squeee…squeee…squeee…KLONK!

This is, of course, the sound of one of the new Clockwork Executioners limbering up, then administering the blow that severs head from body. Invented in Bavaria by the possibly mad, but undeniably brilliant, clocksmith Rudolf Gortmann around 1730, these Executioners proved to be very popular. They require no pay, last at least a couple of lifetimes and never miss the mark.

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The Doclopedia #731

What’s That Sound?: Chuggachuggachuggachugga…beedeloopbeedeloopbeeddleee

Well, sir, that there is the sound of the TransMartian Express chugging along and emitting a sonic warning to any Sand Cows that might get too near the track. Doesn’t happen too often nowadays, but when I was a kid and the line was new, they’d hit one of those squishy bugs every few miles. Didn’t hurt the train, but Holy Moley, what a stink! Didn’t look too good having your shiny new locomotive all covered in guts, either. But then they figured out the right sounds to send out and the problem pretty much went away.

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DogCon 5, Con Day 4

Recap of the rest of Saturday: The radio show went very well indeed and I’ve heard that the writers might film the episode later this year so they can show it next year.

The street party was a blast and a half, with lots of free beer and at least 5 bands. Several of us did a sort of rolling nosh from one restaurant to another while checking the party out. I think I ate at least 6 different cuisines. I know I didn’t hit the bed until about 2:30 AM.

Sunday: I did two seminars, one of which was the ever popular “I Hate…” bitchfest. The other was the Con sponsored “Tell us how to improve the con” deal. Surprisingly little got said there, because the con is so damned good to begin with.

The rest of the day was spent saying goodbye to folks and buying games. We bought many games, including several new games designed just for pets. I have no idea how you play them, butthey seem to like them.

Once the con was over, we went to the Post Con Pie Party and, as always, ate way too much delicious pie. I had a pineapple cream pie that was just crazy good. Later, I had some blueberry pie just to clear my palate…for a big slice of coconut cream pie!

Filled with pie, we all climbed on the bus and left Critter City, another DogCon in the history books.

Now: We started out of town with the plan to do a spatial jump to Maryland to drop off the Joneses, followed by jumps to Canada and Washington state to drop of the Mystery family and Sharon the World’s Greatest Petsitter, respectively. Once we were about 30 miles out from Critter City and in the middle of nowhere, I fired up the spatial gizmo and

next thing ya know, we’re in Maryland. After that, things went according to plan and everyone got home safe & sound.

 

Grace, Avis and I decided to drive back to Sacramento from Washington, which was fun. I just put the bus onto Interstate 5 and had Data drive and we watched movies and ate and played games most of the way. Avis popped back to her universe just as we got to Redding, but our Avis called to thank us for a wonderful time. That dual memory stuff must be kinda freaky.

 

So, we’ll be home in a couple of hours and I’ll write the final entry then. Right now, I’m getting a nap in.

 

More bloggage later.

Sasha: Fearless Guard Dog

…if she’s guarding her food. Otherwise, not so much.

DogCon 5, Con Day 3

Recap of Friday: I ran another 4 hour TOON game, ably assisted by my Co-Animator, Cody. After that, I jogged over to the “Ask A GM Anything!” seminar. You could see the predatory look in the eyes of the audience as they waited for the second hour, when you could ask non game related questions. As with past years, there was a musical request. This time it was for some A capella doo wop. The 7 GMs present did ok on “Teenager In Love” and “Blue Moon”.

Lunch was off one of the many new food trucks that park out in front of the park across from the convention center. One of them had actual fish & chips, which Spike and I agreed were excellent.

After lunch, there was the Spa Trip and Party, which 24 humans and 16 pets attended. After two hours of food, drinks, massaging, etc. We were all looking pretty darned good and smelling sweet!

Flash: I only endure the bath for the treats later.

Sasha: You’re nuts, Flash. The bath is way fun!

Lucy: I liked the brushing & combing.

Abby: I enjoyed the bath and the massage.

Bea: I’m with Flash, the baths sucked.

Back at the con, I ran my last official game. It was a 4 hour Over The Edge session set in an alternate 1930s Al Amarja. Doc Mystery, Mary, & Avis were among the 8 players. It was a spooky murder mystery set in an old mansion just outside the city limits of the Edge. In the end, it was revealed that the police inspector was actually a crazed murderer.

Dinner was pizza, then I had about an hour before Doc Mystery was going to run a Pulp Era game set in the Interior Earth. I played George Fowler, a mercenary who was leader of team security for the explorers. Sadly, he bought the farm just before the game wrapped up, heroically jumping into the gaping maw of a 60 foot long Phobosuchus. He had a grenade in each hand. His death was spectacularly bloody.

After the game, it was 2 AM, but some of us went to the Open gaming room and talked to folks for another hour.

What Has Happened Today So Far: Saturday morning/early afternoon for me was pretty much all about the Dealer’s room, with an hour out for being part of the “Light’s, Camera, Dice” seminar, then a quick lunch before rehearsals for the Old Time Radio Show tonight. This year, we are doing a one hour episode of “The Adventures of Gamers, Incorporated”. It’s part comedy and part adventure. We are about to do the second reading, with sound effects and music. There are 16 actors here this year and I’m doing bit parts and announcer duties.

Grace has played in three boardgame tournaments and won one of them. The critters have been at the biggest Pet Amusement Park all day and are now sleeping it off in their room. Our two petsitters are sleeping it off in their room.

After the show, there is a big street party planned by the con staff. I shall be there.

More bloggage tomorrow.

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The Doclopedia #724

Threesomes!: The Valley Of The Beast

On DogEarth 3, where humans died out because of a plague, the now intelligent Dogs rule much of the world with a gentle hand. Much of the Wild is still unexplored and the Valley of the Beast is one such place. This large and heavily forested valley is located in what was once British Columbia. Only a few Dogs have tried to explore there and most of them have died. The terrified survivors have all related tales of a great beast that is fast and deadly. Descriptions of this beast vary wildly, but it is always bright green in color. Now, one mighty Dog explorer will venture alone into the valley and solve the secret of the beast. His name is…

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The Doclopedia #725

Threesomes!: Kuon Hounderson

…Kuon Hounderson and he is not the largest or strongest Dog, but he may well be the smartest. It is also said that he has the ability to use not one, but two telekinetic “Hands”, something no other Dog has ever managed. Kuon has also mastered several styles of Caning Martial Arts, some of which use those very same Hands to deadly effect.

Kuon will need all of his intelligence and skills to survive in the Valley of the Beast, but he’ll also need a piece of high tech from the Human Era that was modified by early Dog scientists. This device is both a source of protection and a mighty weapon. The Dogs call it…

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The Doclopedia #726

Threesomes!: The Eye Of Dog

…The Eye of Dog. Originally intended to project a force field around a small probe being sent to the surface of Venus, this device could also project a laser beam to analyze chemicals in the Venusian surface. It was never used due to humanity dying off, but when Dog scientists found it, they transformed it into a weapon and a mystical symbol. Worn as a sort of chestplate, the Eye can now shoot forth a laser capable of burning clean through a large animal while also providing a force field that can stop bullets. Powered by solar cells, the charge won’t last forever, so the wearer must use it judiciously, then wait until it is fully charged up.

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The Doclopedia #727

Threesomes!: The Dark Tiger

The evil doers of Bangalore, India, have a fearsome enemy in the Dark Tiger. This night roaming vigilante has the reflexes, strength and agility of a great cat. Add in enhanced senses and a belt pouch full of gadgets and criminals don’t stand a chance. The Dark Tiger has only been on the job for 6 months, but already the crime rate in Bangalore is down by 10%. Of course, this could also be due to the activities of a more secretive masked vigilante…

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The Doclopedia #728

Threesomes!: Jadugar

…known as Jagudar, which is Hindi for “Wizard”. This hero (or heroine, nobody knows the sex of either of Dark Tiger or Jadugar) seems to be able to manipulate the laws of physics as well as control the minds of humans and other animals. No description is available because no criminal can ever remember exactly what Jadugar looks like. What is known is that record numbers of crooked government officials, police officers and businessmen are confessing their crimes to television reporters. So many, in fact, that there is a new nationwide television show called “Criminal Confession”. It is very popular and has attracted the attention of…

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The Doclopedia #729

Threesomes!: Boss X

…the secret king of the Bangalore underworld. Nobody knows who he is due to the full face mask he always wears, but they do know he is a large and powerfully built man who has killed and blackmailed his way to the top of the criminal heap. He has a very large reward out for Dark Tiger and is thinking about offering an even larger one for Jadugar. This has his army of thugs & killers ready to put aside their fear and go bounty hunting.

The Old New Stuff

…with a new old coat of paint

 

Doclopedia entry not available today. Will do 2 or 3 tomorrow.

 

DogCon 5, Con Day 2

Recap of yesterday…

Grace: Played 6 different boardgames, bought a few t-shirts & dice and played in the Livestock LARP with Abby & Bea. I’m told that the LARP was “pretty fun as long as you watched where you were stepping”.

Abby: The winners of the LARP were a pair of pigs and a cow.

Bea: We came in second. It was kind of a challenging LARP, puzzlewise.

The Critters: Aside from the Livestock LARP, there was a Cats Only LARP, which Flash did not finish due to amorous activity.

Flash: Just call me Dr. Love!

The All Dog LARP was won by the team with Lucy & Sasha in it.

Lucy: It was us, two Pitbulls and a Pomeranian all the way!

Sasha: Wow! These LARPS are hella fun!

Our dogs also ran themselves into solid napping at the Robot Rabbit Chase Park.

Lucy: I’m getting too old for that shit.

Sasha: I nearly caught it!

Doc: My TOON games sold out and were way fun. My “one man show” seminar about how to get started writing was well attended. My D&D game, which had Avis and Spike playing in it, was sold out and the players did a fantastic job of killing the lich and looting his castle in just under 4 hours.

The capper of the evening was my turn running the dungeon crawl that lasts the length of the con and has a rotating roster of GMs and new players every 6 hours. I rant the 10 players and their characters thought the first half of the “Level of the Fire Goblins”. For this event, we use a 3D dungeon set up and sound effects, props and other goodies. There is also an audience and the whole game is on the con tv channel. It was great fun and I’ll be GMing another segment on Saturday.

Today: More of the same for everyone, plus a break around 1:00 pm for our annual Spa Trip and Party.

Must run. More bloggage later!

Mexican Jenny Stole My Stuffed Fish

…his name was Pete the Perch

 

The Doclopedia #721

Threesomes!: Annie Carver

On the Steampunk Earth #7, Annie Carver is a 25 year old inventor, explorer and champion of equal rights for women. She has made a name for herself by discovering all manner of lost places and creating the inventions that help her do it. She is usually accompanied by her best friends Katie Cohnager and Lisa Maklovich. On her next exploratory mission, she will be aided by her most amazing creation…

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The Doclopedia #722

Threesomes!: Sam

…a steam powered robotic Mastiff dog known as Sam. Besides being big, strong and nearly indestructible, Sam is also very intelligent because he has the brain of Annie’s late fiancee, Samuel Dirksley, implanted in his head. This intelligence will come in handy as they go searching for…

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The Doclopedia #723

Threesomes!: The Lost Temple Of Apollo

…a temple of Apollo that was said to be the greatest ever built. Legend tells of a crystal sun orb that can grant a single wish to whomever finds it and makes the proper offering on the altar of the temple. Annie is determined to use the orb to restore Sam to human form. However, she’ll have to get their first ahead of her archenemies, the Russian Countess Smedyovich and the British treasure hunter, Lord Graves.

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DogCon 5, Con Day 1

Quick recap of last night: Pre-Con Party was great, although seeing so many guys in dresses who should NEVER wear a dress (including myself) made my eyes bleed. Plenty of food, booze, great bands and lots of lively talk made up for it.

The Cross Family schedule for today

Grace: Wandering the Dealer’s Room…playing boardgames…joining Abby & Bea in a Livestock LARP…more board & card games.

The Critters: Pet park visits…LARPS (Abby, Bea & Flash)…Robot Rabbit Chase Park (Lucy & Sasha)…Naps…Treats…LARP (Sasha & Lucy)

Doc: GMing TOON Game (2 hours)…Seminar (How To Get Started Writing) (1 hour)…GMingTOON Game #2 (2 hours)…Lunch (1 hour)…GMing D&D Game (4 hours)…Dinner & Rest (2 hours)…GM part of the “All Con Long” Dungeon Crawl (4 hours)…Sleep

Recaps of today will appear tomorrow, so, you know, more bloggage later.