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.

The Amazing Adventures Of Doctor Tempest And The Master Of Illusion

…from the September, 1897 issue

 

DogCon 5, Trip Day 12, Con Day Zero, Part 1

When we woke up this morning, Data (our autopilot, if you are just tuning in) had us parked at our final roadside destination: A Trip To Hell. No, it’s not a recreation of my first marriage, it’s a sort of ride created by the Lord’s Church Of Jesus Christ, of Wango, Texas, to show sinners what they can expect after they die unless they straighten up and fly right and get some of that old time religion.

Our youngest traveler, Lauren, stayed on the bus with Sharon and the critters. I’m told they spent the time in the Slide Room. The rest of us laid down two bucks each and got on the little train that was actually being pulled by a converted electric golf cart thingy. To an alternating background of gospel music and scripture quoting, we saw all manner of scenes of hellish torment, with each one geared towards a different sin. Many of these sins had to do with sex of one type or another, which I’m pretty sure was meant to scare local young people into terrified celibacy. The one of a “Chronic Masturbator” getting his genitals fried by demons was pretty funny. Actually, most of the ride was pretty funny because this trip to Hell was done on a tiny budget.

When we were done, we bought the t-shirts, but declined to confess our sins (not NEARLY enough time for that) and accept Jesus. Grace got a good laugh from the group by saying “No thank you, my husband and I are from California”. I’m pretty sure that was enough to convince the preacher that we were doomed to damnation.

Lucy: Of course, you humans spell Dog backwards anyway.

Flash: And they think Ceiling Cat is a joke!

A bit over two hours later we first caught sight of the Critter City Dome (yes, the whole town is now covered by a huge clear dome), which was still 20 miles away! That sucker is 1,500 feet tall at the center and 2 miles across at the base. The website says that it is kept at a balmy 75 degrees with a 30% humidity level all year. Pretty sweet!

We parked the bus in the humongous three level climate controlled parking garage just outside the dome, then got on the electric trolley that serves the town. As usual, our rooms were in the Hyatt, but this year, Grace and I got an adjoining “Pet Room” that connects with our room and the one shared by Sharon and our other petsitter, Arcadia, who lives in Critter City and is a veterinary student. It was a pretty nice room for the pets, with an easy to clean astroturf floor, a nice safe enclosed balcony, several watering spots and plenty of beds and pooping boxes.

Sasha: Holy Hopping Hamsters! You guys weren’t kidding about this place!

Bea: Wow! This town knows how to treat a pet!

Flash: You two ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

After a short time to get our stuff put away, we all met up and headed off to get our swag bags, badges and to meet old friends for lunch. Among these old friends are Lee and Barry Gold, who are this year’s very first Filking Guests of Honor along with our own Mary. Believe me, folks, that right there is a whole lot of filksong creativity.

As always, the line to get con stuff was long, but moved pretty quickly. We met many friends there, including our home gaming group (Arn, Sam & Paul), a contingent from the Madison, Wisconsin area (Brian, Lori & Nibbler, John K) and a ton of Facebook & Twitter friends. A lunch meeting spot was determined, then we grabbed our bags and headed out to JimBob’s Texas Style Pizza.

I’ll skip the info about humans & critters eating huge amounts of pizza and list what was in this year’s swag bag. By the way, our badges this celebratory fifth year? Made of stainless steel and shaped like the critter of your choice. Mine is a Basset Hound.

In the bag, we found…

Hardbound program book that looked like a novel

Assorted commemorative polyhedral dice, which when turned to the high “number” spelled out DogCon 5.

A very snazzy t-shirt

A new card game

A new dice game

Coupons for free food & drink around town

A postcard that showed several of us doing last the Old Time Radio Show last year

A card for “One free dice re-roll in any official con game”

Many adverts for games, businesses, etc.

Once lunch was over, we all went back to our rooms to relax and plan our con schedule. Well, actually, some of us had our con schedule planned out months ago. Later, there will be dinner and then the Pre-Con Party for Guests of Honor and Gaming VIPs. The theme this year is “Girls Will Be Boys And Boy Will Be Girls”. I foresee a dress in my future.

More bloggage later.

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DogCon 5, Trip Day 12, Con Day Zero, Part 2

Quick update, since I am being fitted for an ankle length black cocktail dress by Grace & Avis & one of the fitting ladies the con provides. Someday, my nephew Zach will stop laughing, but not tonight. Still trying to decide if I’ll write him out of my will. The ladies look much better, since they can just wear guy clothes. Grace has chosen a truck driver look while Avis has decided to go with a three piece suit.

Dinner, by the way, was at Big Slabs O’ Meat, where you can really unleash your inner or outer carnivore. Well, except for the goats, who ate a selection of veggies and fruits and now both look pregnant.

Abby: Might…explode…soon. Must…rest…now.

Bea: It was like Goat Food Heaven, but I look like a beach ball now.

Ok, time to choose shoes that will fit my huge gunboats. More blogging tomorrow.

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The Doclopedia #718

Threesomes!: The Cloak Of Time

While wearing this rather drab looking green cloak, the wearer can speed up or slow down the rate at which time passes in an area up to about 60′ across. Thus, they can slow down time enough to easily dodge even a lightning bolt or speed up time to effectively allow them out wait a monster that has them trapped. A very useful item, which is actually the only thing that will allow an adventurer to make it alive through the dangerfest known as…

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The Doclopedia #719

Threesomes!: The Castle On The Rock

…The Castle on the Rock, which lies about 30 miles off the storm ravaged coast of Horgravia. The island it sits on is really just a big rock about a quarter mile on a side. Built by the Wizard Portimius, this huge, 6 story castle is home to many deadly creatures, even more traps, the ghost of Portimius himself and great gobs of treasure. The most sought after of these treasures are…

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The Doclopedia #720

Threesomes!: The Bones Of Lorak

…the ancient, yet incredibly preserved bones of the demigod, Lorak the Teacher. It is said that if these bones are laid out in the Valley of the Gods and the proper ritual is performed, Lorak shall arise once more and bestow great wisdom and many skills upon those who helped him to return to our world.

The Rare And Beautiful 9 Colored Hovering Blimp Mice Of Potawango Island

…they hover just out of arm’s reach, giggling and eating berries

 

The following Doclopedia entries are part of a new theme with three  entries that link people, places & things. I hope you like it.

 

The Doclopedia #715

Threesomes!: Falit The Monkey

Falit gur Samkali, known to both the criminal underworld and the Caliph’s Enforcers of Order as Falit the Monkey, is the most successful burglar in all the land. His climbing and acrobatic ability are as legendary as his boldness. Falit has pulled off several of his greatest burglaries, including the theft of the Golden Camel of Jekhar, in broad daylight. The reward for his head , and that is quite literal, is half a person’s body weight in gold. If he were not such a good burglar, the Family of Thieves might have already collected that reward.

Despite being a carefree wandering soul, Falit does have one thing in his life that is tempting him more every day to settle down and go straight: his great love for…

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The Doclopedia #716

Threesomes!: Zormina tar Ozal

…the beautiful and intelligent Zormina tar Ozal, whom he met when he climbed in her window one night. Zormina was sitting up in bed reading an old text on the subject of woodcarving when this young and handsome man came through the window. She gave a small “eek!” then threw the heavy volume at his head, missing by only an inch or so. Falit, ever the gentleman, apologized for violating her bedchambers and handed her back the book. He was about to leave when Zormina, in an impetuous moment, asked him to stay and tell her about the life of a burglar. He did so and that lead to many other nocturnal conversations and, ultimately, love.

Falit and Zormina have talked about going away and getting married many times. This will surely come to pass before long, once Falit makes a really big score on a burglary. The main thing that could stand in their way is…

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The Doclopedia #717

Threesomes!: Walak gur Ozal

…Zormina’s father, the High Captain of the Enforcers of Order. You see, besides being a very protective father to his only daughter, he is also sworn to finding Falit the Monkey and removing Falit’s head from his body in a very public display of justice. In fact, if he knew of a way to execute the burglar more than once, he would.

A large, determined and brilliant man, Walak is closing in on Falit. Recently, he has stepped up pressure on the Family of Thieves and certain other known associates of the burglar. Once enough people agree to help him set a trap, Walak will spring it on the cunning lawbreaker and that will be the end of Falit the Monkey!

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DogCon 5, Trip Day 11

Seeing as how we have a shitload of distance to cover in a day and a half, I scheduled Data to start driving the bus south starting at 3:00 am this morning. By the time I rolled out of bed at 8, we were halfway through Western Colorado and nearing our first fun stop of the day the World’s Largest Waterslide.

Folks, they were not kidding about that. This thing is FIVE MILES LONG! It’s made of clear Lexan tubing about 8 feet across and starts at the top of a big freakin’ mountain. The initial drop is 500 feet long and damned near vertical and gets you up to 70 miles an hour! On your five mile trip, you’ll go through corkscrews, hairpin turns, several smaller drops, a couple of detours out into open space and three loop dee loops! You’ll do most of this while whizzing through forests, rocky outcroppings and even underground tunnels, all face first on specially designed mats at never less than 50 miles an hour. It is just crazy cool.

With the notable and probably sane exceptions of Grace, Sharon and Avis, we all chose to pony up $20.00 each and wait in line for an hour to take the ride. There is a shuttle service that brings folks back up to their cars, but we didn’t need it, since Data drove the bus down to meet us.

It was insane fun! Also, for an extra $20.00, you can get a video of yourself that has footage from a helmet cam and continuous footage from their many security cams, which I opted for. Also, our non-sliding friends could watch the live stream from the the company website, which they did. I’m sure their commentary was amusing.

At the bottom of the hill, we all agreed that it was money well spent. Later, watching the video of me and Mary (you go down the slide two to a mat) shooting along like we were rocket propelled, we all agreed that Mary and I made enough noise for any 10 other humans.

Flash: That looked pretty cool, except for all that water. I mean, you can slide in the Slide Room all day and not get wet.

Sasha: Yeah, that slide looked too much like a high speed bath for me.

After our slide-a-thon, we all relaxed while Data drove us to out next stop, 200 miles southeast. The World Famous Giant Ship in a bottle is, in fact, a full sized replica of a Spanish galleon that was used in pirate movies back in the 1940’s. The much more interesting thing is how much planning and expertise it took to create the ginormous bottle it is in. It was done in one piece by a company in Oklahoma in 1963 and then hauled to Colorado by truck. The glass is 18 inches thick and in 1995 it was coated inside & out with a protective plastic coating. The ship was dismantled, then reassembled inside the bottle. Unfortunately, you cannot go inside the bottle, but you can take all the pictures you want from outside it. As you have probably guessed, we bought t-shirts, fridge magnets, bumper stickers, etc.

About 90 minutes after we left the ship in a bottle, we stopped for lunch at a place right on the Colorado/New Mexico border. They served Southwestern chow as well as burgers & such. We all chowed down and were just finishing when some big, possibly intoxicated, local doofus declared that he could eat any hot pepper known to man and he had $50.00 to back it up. Everybody in our party slowly turned to look at me. They knew that it was a throwdown I’d have to step up to.

The owner of the place said he had some hot peppers we could use, already roasted up and ready to go. Doofus & I plunked down our fifties and sat down to eat some heat. When we were asked what we wanted to drink, Doofus chose beer, but I chose heavy cream. The owner smiled and winked at my choice, knowing that milk products actually help reduce the effects of capsaicin.

We started off with a couple of jalapeno, which were nothing to a couple of chili heads. From there it just got hotter and hotter. By the time we ate the Scotch Bonnets, Doofus looked ready to burst into flame, my mouth was numb despite the cream and we were both sweating enough to relieve the local drought.

Then came the finale: Trinidad Moruga Scorpion chilis, the hottest peppers on Earth by an order of magnitude. We are talking 1.2 million Scoville units here, folks! Just smelling them nearly blinded me. They look like a Scotch Bonnet, only a bit wrinklier.

Doofus looked at his and I could see fear in his eyes. I had on my poker face, although both the entrance and exit ends of my gastrointestinal tract were screaming in fear.

The owner said, “On three, guys.”

I said, “You can back out now, dude”

Doofus said, “No way, hippie!”

When the owner got to three, we did the deed. The difference was, I took a bug drink of cream and then swallowed my pepper whole. This was not unlike swallowing basaltic lava, but had the advantage of being quick.

Doofus gave his two chews, looked like he had suddenly been given a vision of Hell, then spat it out and started gagging, coughing and drinking beer like a madman. I noticed all of this as I slammed down a full pint of heavy cream. After that, I kind of ignored the cheers of the crowd and concentrated on breathing and such. I did remember to grab my winnings.

Back on the bus, at the request of my traveling partners, I used copious amounts of mouthwash. I was also informed that if I even THOUGHT about burping or farting, I must run to the farthest part of the warehouse to do it. Or jump off the speeding bus, my choice.

Later, as we were getting near Taos, we saw a sign advertising Zeppelin Rides. Once again, this was something that we could not pass up. We continued on into town and saw more signs leading us to the airport, where we found…

…the motherfucking Hindenburg! Well, an exact replica, but still, it was there and it was huge and it was calling our names. There was a pretty long line and tickets were $50.00 each for an hour ride, but we were ok with that.

Sasha: Meanwhile, back on the bus, we critters were again locked up in the Meadow Room, but Dad had gotten Jot to create doors connecting it with the Shoe Room and The Slide Room, so we had plenty to do.

Flash: Of course, all the doors leading to other parts of the bus were locked up tight.

Lucy: Yeah, well, Mom is still threatening to trade us all in for some goldfish.

Abby: As if anybody would trade a couple of goldfish for you two hooligans.

Flash & Lucy: D’OH!

Bea: Hee hee hee!

The Zeppelin ride was so cool I’m surprised we didn’t suffer frostbite. There were snacks and drinks and the view of Taos from the air was spectacular. Brian, Spike and I kind of lamented the fact that their were no Nazis to fight with or heroes to help out.

Once our ride in the sky was done, I told Data to get us to Amarillo for dinner at the Big Texan Steak Ranch (a tradition on these trips, most years) for dinner by 7:00 pm. After that, we watched a couple of old movies. First came “Attack of the Snake Men” (1956) and then “Castle of Doom” (1938). Both of them were from the alternate world film library and both of them were pretty cheesy, with a few real scares tossed in.

We got to the Big Texan at seven on the dot, although Data informed me that he had found it necessary to hit a few cop cars with EMP blasts and change the appearance of the bus 16 times. I thanked him and then we all went in to eat a great dinner.

Abby: And we got tons of leftovers!

Lucy: Mmmmm…steak bones!

Afterward, there was game playing and sliding and some hot tubbing and other stuff before bed, all done as Data drove us across Texas towards our last roadside stop before getting to the con. It’s midnight now and as usual, I’m taking the critters for a bathroom break in the meadow before hitting the sack.

More blogging…including from Critter City and the con…tomorrow.

Radio Station: “The Wolfman Jack Show” This was coming from a world where it was 1965 and he was still broadcasting out of XERB just across the border in Mexico.

Destination Sign: Bedrock

Don’t Open The Door To The Crazy Shed!

…Damn! Too late.

The Doclopedia #713

We Haz MORE Technobabble!: Spacial/Temporal Anomaly Deflection Beam

If you have ever watched any television science fiction series, you know that space is littered with these annoying anomalies. If your starship even gets too close to one, you’re screwed. But fear not, brave spacefarer, because with this handy beam unit, you can deflect those nasty anomalies out of the way and just proceed on at Warp 16.

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The Doclopedia #714

We Haz MORE Technobabble!: Psychotronic Nanotech Disintegrator

You say your nanotechnology has gotten loose and is threatening to turn the planet into gray goo? Well, my friend, you need this handy dandy disintegrator unit to clean up that problem! Just put on the helmet, grab the gun and start wiping out those rogue nanites with the POWER OF YOUR MIND! After that, maybe you can rejigger the device so that you can disintegrate other stuff.

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DogCon 5, Trip Day 10

Oy, has it ever been a busy day! Here are the highlights, Gentle Readers.

Breakfast: We ate at a busy little place called the Lakeside Diner. Great food and plenty of it. The Sausage & Egg Platter has 4 kinds of sausages on it. Yum!

Flash: Still being on Double Secret Mom Parole, we sweet and innocent pets stayed on the bus, double locked into the Meadow Room.

The World Famous Eastern Oregon Giant Jesus: Yet another giant Jesus can be crossed off of our list. This one is 90 feet tall and carved from a single humongous Ponderosa pine. He looks a bit skinny for his height, but the carving is superb. We all bought t-shirts. By the way, as far as we can determine, there is no Western Oregon Giant Jesus.

The World’s Largest Potato: Oregon and Idaho both grow a shitload of spuds, as does Washington. This watermelon sized Russet is in Oregon, about 15 miles from the Idaho border. Just reading how they managed to preserve the damned thing was worth the $2.00 each we paid to see it.

Potato World: This place is a whole lot like Onion World, because it was built and is operated by the same company. The main difference is that they serve potatoes about ten times more ways than the other place serves onions and you get the message that potatoes from Oregon and Washington are pretty damned questionable and potatoes from Maine are just plain old Communism.

We ate lunch at Potato World, thereby fulfilling our potato needs for about a month.

Lucy: Who knew that a Potato Burger could taste so good?

The Haunted House: This place might have been really scary when they opened it up back in 1953, but now it’s mostly interesting as a sort of roadside attraction time capsule.

We rolled into Wyoming about 6:00 this evening and while everybody else fixed dinner, I let Miranda, who has her learners permit, drive the bus.

Now, the cool thing about the Chameleon Circuit is that when the bus changes shape, so does the driver area and the handling of the whole rig. Thus, the young Miss Jones got to drive a school bus, a Toyota Corolla, a ’65 Chevy Impala, a 1999 White Freightliner big rig, an Aston Martin DB5, a 1961VW Beetle, a ’53 Ford pickup and a 1970 Corvette Stingray. She did very well with all of them

We stopped at about 7:30 in a KOA. Dinner was delicious and then we played boardgames. Now, it is bedtime. More blogstuff tomorrow.

Radio Station: “Reggae Opera Channel” which is as strange as it sounds.

Destination Sign: Red House

Pinball Lizard

…creepy looking, but he can sure play

 

The Doclopedia #711

We Haz MORE Technobabble!: Electronic Phase Warping Missile

It’s a missile that can phase right through armor…or buildings…or anything…then explode! Is that cool or what? I mean, you can shoot this bad boy right through a freakin’ mountain and it’s all “Hello, terrorist douchebags! BOOM!” and they’ll be like “WTF?” and shit! Oh sure, they cost about a billion dollars each, but think of the money you’ll save when you don’t have to shoot around things!

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The Doclopedia #712

We Haz MORE Technobabble!: Microtronic Cellular Expansion Unit

Old way to make somebody into a giant: stimulate cellular reproduction so that they started growing uncontrollably. Side effects: acromegaly, heart not growing as fast as the rest of the body (which leads to not enough oxygen to the brain), strange mutations and on rare occasions, near invulnerability to harm.

New way to make somebody a giant: pop one of our microtronic units into them and just make the cells that have larger! No fuss, no muss! Warning: do not enlarge cells more than 10X so as to avoid having the subject collapse into a puddle of goo.

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DogCon 5, Trip Day 9, Part 1

One of the good things about having a non-drinking bunch of traveling companions is that when you sleep in until 10 in the morning after a night of carousing with members of your tribe, they have breakfast and precious tea ready for you.

Flash: And they take care of your beloved pets.

Sasha: Including Mom and Sharon making us nice warm FOOOODDD FOOORRRR PETTTTTTSSSSS!

Bea: Oatmeal with sweet potato chunks! That’s what I’m talkin’ about!

Abby: And alfalfa pellet muffins!

Lucy: Let’s not forget the Milk Bones for afters!

Once I was done with eating and stuff, we left the bus to visit our first two roadside attractions of the day: The Mushroom House and the Glass Maze.

The Mushroom House looks like a huge mushroom, all red with yellow spots. It has 5 floors and, we were told, has 18,000 feet of floor space. In fact, the place is mostly set up as a hotel now, so you don’t get to see the whole joint. It’s still pretty cool though, because the mushroom theme is everywhere.

The really cool attraction is right next to the Mushroom House and it’s the Glass Maze. Yep, a 5 acre maze with 10 foot tall walls made of glass a foot thick. And not your nice clear glass, nope. These walls are made of old busted bottles & jars & other glass stuff that has been fused together at an old glass factory a few miles away. The factory cranks out 10′ X 30′ and 10′ X 10” slabs that are transported to the maze and then put into place. Glue holds one slab to the next and the maze is huge and complex. We wandered around for nearly an hour before Zach spotted the way out. It was lots of fun.

When we left the Glass Maze behind, we traveled on to Walla Walla and the Onion World Amusement Park, which we (Grace, Sharon & I) had visited two years ago. The park has had a big upgrade since then and we had a blast.

Flash: Meanwhile, back at Folsom Prison…I mean, on the bus…we were restricted to the Meadow Room.

Lucy: And we hadn’t even done anything wrong!

Abby: Yet.

Flash: Hush, goat!

We rode the Onion Coaster, the Walla Walla Whirlygigs and a bunch of other rides. Doc Mystery and Grace both won large plush onion characters (Walla Walla Wally) at an onion toss booth and we all ate burgers & onion rings for lunch. Later, we rode the “History of Washington Onions” ride, where you learn that Vidalia and Maui onions are not fit for proper folks to eat, but the Walla Walla onions will make you a happy and productive citizen and they may just improve your sex life, too.

Once we were pretty much onioned out, we got on the road to head towards Idaho. Imagine our surprise when, just 5 minutes from Onion World, we saw a huge billboard advertising “Uncle Ferdies All New Trained Squirrel Review” just 3 miles ahead. Even if I had not wanted to stop and check it out, I had a busload of folks who had heard the legendary story of our last visit and they demanded that we stop and see the show.

The new place looks good, with a big domed arena for the review and what looked like a mini prison for people to leave their pets in. That last part can be directly blamed on Flash & Lucy.

Flash: It’s a fair cop.

Lucy: Yeah, we did it and we’re glad we did it!

Sasha & Bea: Holy shit, you mean the story is true?

Abby: They hardly stopped talking about it during that whole trip.

Flash & Lucy: We are legend!

Despite Grace & Sharon arguing that we not only lock the critters on the bus, but perhaps clap Flash & Lucy in irons, I decided that Uncle Ferdie had thrown down a friggin’ gauntlet, so the critters went into the Supermax Pet Holding Area before we all went to see the show. Gone were the pimply faced teenage pet attendants. Now, there were steely faced ex-Marines armed with cattle prods and teargas guarding the place. There were 50 or 60 dogs, maybe 30 cats, a few pigs and even a couple of other goats inside. I left the critters there and joined the rest of the gang in the dome.

I should also point out that, if there had been betting on it, I gave the critters even odds versus the Marines. As you’ll see, I was way too conservative.

It cost us $10.00 each, but we all agreed that the 90 minute extravaganza was well worth it. There was dancing, acrobatics, reenactments of famous movie scenes, comedy bits and a rousing squirrel race. Uncle Ferdie and his wife have done a stellar job of training the 20 different species of squirrels & chipmunks they use in the review.

You’ll note that this year the show did not devolve into a cat & dog caused riot. Nope, everything went off just great. At the squirrel show, that is. Outside, things had a more…apocalyptic…look to them.

It seems that the squirrel review dumps out the dirty food dishes from the trained squirrel cages onto the asphalt behind the dome. This attracts rats, mice, squirrels and other rodents by the dozens.

Flash: We could smell ’em! Sweet Ceiling Cat, it was like being next door to a smorgasbord!

Lucy: We could all smell those furry little bastards!

Sasha: There were HUNDREDS of them!

Abby: You folks see where this is going, right?

Bea: Who are you talking to, Abby?

This naturally makes the pets a bit agitated, which the guards can normally control, but on this day, they had the added agitation of Flash, Lucy & Sasha. They also had the 6 trained dogs and 4 trained cats of “Professor Barkwell’s Magnificent Mutts & Clever Cats”, who, as it turned out, were trained just a bit too well.

Now, I’ve only pieced together a bit of what happened, and that was from a 6’4”, 300 pound ex-Marine who was crying like a baby, but I think…

Abby: No, Dad, I think we had better tell the story. We were there, after all.

Flash: Right, Abby. So, as soon as we could, Lucy and I started telling the other dogs & cats that there had to be a way out of this place. Turns out that most of them had heard of the Great Squirrel riot of 2010 and were pretty impressed that we were behind it.

Lucy: Yeah, they wanted all of the details. Those circus dogs & cats were amazed that just the two of us could get such a thing going.

Flash: Anyway, we all started thinking of an escape plan that would let us all go to Rodent-Fil-A. The big problem was those 4 guards. They were big tough looking guys & gals armed with weapons that could stun a moose.

Abby: Meanwhile, over in the livestock paddock, I warned everyone that the carnivores were going to do something stupid.

Bea: The goats agreed that this was a bad thing. The pigs, being omnivores, not so much.

Sasha: I came up with the diversion plan!

Lucy: Yes you did, sis, and it was a good one! She said that some of them could start a mock fight and the rest of us could take out the guards who came to stop it. Then one of the trained dogs, Moxie, said that he and his crew could take out the guard in the security cubicle that controls the door. The security cubicle that has no ceiling. Heh heh heh.

…from what he said and from the layout of the destruction, that there was a mass jailbreak that involved everyone except the goats, who pretty much walked out after the big breakout and then proceeded to eat tens of thousands of dollars worth of landscaping. I know the guard in the booth was terribly scratched up and had been badly tear gassed from her own canister. It also seems that the electronic controls shorted out when somebody peed on them.

Flash: The “fight” started with a huge wolfhound “attacking” a poor defenseless kitty. In fact, these two grew up together and had wrassled hundreds of times. It was the vicious growling and the Oscar worthy screeching that made it sound real. Almost immediately, several other dogs and cats joined in. I know is sounded terrible to the humans, but mostly they were laughing.

Lucy: As the guards came running, the rest of us tripped them up, joined by five pigs. They all fell down into well placed poop and all three of the guards got shocked by their own shock thingies. Flash was riding on my back as we jumped on one guard and ripped his shirt.

Sasha: Those six trained dogs ran over to the control booth and formed a pyramid. Then, the four trained cats ran up it and jumped over the glass walls into the booth. That poor guard never had a chance. After about a minute, the prison doors opened up.

Flash: By the way, folks, if you’ve never seen pigs curbstomp a human, that’s some rough shit!

Abby & Bea: Meanwhile, we goats waited for everyone else to clear out, then we went out looking for a bite to eat.

Flash: A “bite to eat”? HA! More like you chowed down on every expensive plant they had!

Abby: Hush, cat!


So, once the assorted animals were out of the pet penitentiary…

Lucy: Good one, Dad!

…they proceeded to go completely apeshit on the wild rodents, the landscaping and, well, everything. Holy crap, did they ever wreak havoc!

Sasha: Hey now, that dumpster only caught on fire because that goofyassed Airedale jumped into it with that shock stick doodad he got from that guard! He was lucky he didn’t get burned!

Flash: Yeah, and that truck full of septic tank pumpings that crashed through that fence and into that big pine tree would not have crashed if the dumbass driver had been looking at the road instead of us!

Lucy: And that fancy fountain only got filled with garbage and mud because…well, ok, that was us. But…well shit, a dog/cat/pig has a right to cool off after a rousing rodent chase and/or lawn rooting episode. Am I right?

Sasha: Damn right! Also, the goats climbed up on that guys Maserati convertible and crunched in his roof and fucked up his paint job..

Abby: Yeah, we did, but who knew such an expensive car would have such a weenie roof? We could have hurt ourselves!

Bea: I kinda felt sorry for that guy. He was crying like a baby as his trophy wife picked goat poop out of the seats.

Shit was on fire and covered in raw sewage and there was garbage all over and several cars were messed up or full of panicky rodents…it was kind of cool and horrific and surreal.

Thinking quickly, I stunned our critters via the keychain doodad and we gathered them up and beat a hasty retreat to the bus, which I quickly made look like a 2005 Honda Element. We locked everybody down tight and then some of us humans went out to help as best we could and find out about what happened.

All animals got rounded up pretty easily, none of the guards were hurt too bad, although a couple had pig footprints all over them and no innocent bystanders got hurt. Fortunately, Uncle Ferdie did not come out to survey the damage while we were there. I feel so sorry for him. From now on, I think we’ll just order his videos from Amazon.

Flash: It happened again! One moment, I’m about to pounce on a pigeon, the next, I’m waking up in the joint!

Lucy: What the hell, dude? I mean, the robots were nowhere near us!

Sasha: Unless they have cloaking devices. Do the SmartBots have that kind of shit?

Abby: They must! How else can you explain it?

Bea: Man, have you seen the look on Mom’s face? I’m glad we are locked up,

Flash: Yeah, she does look pretty pissed off.

We left just as the local law enforcement arrived. For good measure, I had Joe teleport us 50 miles ahead and across the state line into Oregon. The critters are on lockdown until Grace calms down or hell freezes over, whichever comes first. Also, I have been given the “you should probably not say any words for awhile” look, so I’m just up here in the Ralph Kramden seat driving this bus.

More bloggage later.

Sasha: Anybody got a harmonica? If so, play along. “Nobody knows the troubles I’ve seen! Nobody knows but the Lord!”

Radio Station: “The World War V Channel” featuring songs and news clips from that era.

Destination Sign: Solla Sollew

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DogCon 5, Trip Day 9, Part 2

It is now going on midnight and we are in a campground in Oregon. Tomorrow, we are off across northern Oregon, Southern Idaho and into Wyoming before we turn south for the drive through Colorado, New Mexico & Texas.

The critter were finally paroled (and bathed) after dinner tonight. They all seemed remorseful, if not rehabilitated. Even as I write this, Flash is sleeping next to Grace in our bed. Sasha is sleeping with Miranda & Lauren, Lucy is sleeping in Zach’s room and Abby & Bea are sleeping in their little goat beds in the living room.

We have a few interesting stops tomorrow, most notably Potato World in Idaho, which is the tuberous version of Onion World. I am reliably informed that Grace has requested high tech leashes & harnesses from Joe, just in case she decides that “my” pets can leave the bus.

I’m off to bed now. I’ll blog more tomorrow.

Radio Station: “The Relaxation Channel” featuring relaxing background sounds.

 Destination Sign: The House On Haunted Hill

Wombat Ranching Quarterly

…all the latest news for you wombat ranchers

 

The Doclopedia #709

We Haz MORE Technobabble!: Hypersonic Mental Neutralizer

So, let’s say most of the humans in your town/city/state/continent/planet go completely bugfuck insane one day. Could be any reason for it, but what can you do to stop these now crazed folks from fucking everything up? Why, you zap them with this handy device and before you know it, they’ll be as gentle as lambs. Yessir, this bit of high tech is like having an instant lobotomy team! Even better, if you set the beam for “wide angle”, you can zap hundreds of nutjobs at a time!

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The Doclopedia #710

We Haz MORE Technobabble!: Dynamic Throbulation Unit With Artificial Reality Software

It’s an ultra-tech sex toy, ok? Jeez, you’d think the word “throbulation” would give it away! You climb inside it and the A.R. Software kicks in and pretty soon you’re on the road to Happyland. Can you believe we’ve had Trekkies or whatever the hell they were get pissed off because it wasn’t a real raygun or warp drive or some shit? Jeez!

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DogCon 5, Trip Day 8

I woke up early…like, 5:00 am early…and decided to get the bus on the road after dealing with the critters, who basically peed, ate First Breakfast and went back to sleep.

Flash: Because, you know, 5:00 am!

After a fortifying bowl of Cap’n Crunch and an even more fortifying mug of tea, we were on the road by 6:15. It was a reasonably pleasant drive into Seattle and by the time we got there, everybody was waking up and cooking breakfast and stuff. Afterward, we went to GeekFest, a huge gathering of the tribe sponsored by Seattle, one of the geekiest cities in North America. There is gaming, tech stuff, comics stuff…pretty much everything geek. Including a big stage for music, which is where we were scheduled to do our Annual Musical Number at about 7:00 pm.

But before that, we all wandered around and checked the place out. We met many of our gamer friends who had taken time off from pre-GenCon activities to come see what musical madness we had planned for this year. We also had a great lunch and dinner with our friends from Green Ronin Publishing, who all got a look inside the Magic Bus. In fact, we thought a couple of them might not leave.

Sasha: Yeah, Miss Kate kinda wanted to explore some more. Also, she likes rubbing my tummy.

Lucy: Dad loaned Chris a bunch of alternate world WWII movies.

Abby: They had to pry Nicole out of the kitchen.

Bea: And they all liked the Slide Room.

Flash: They were nice folks, but they smelled of bunnies.

Sasha: Why do you think I was so friendly with them?

Abby: Umm, because you are a tummy rub slut?

Sasha: D’OH!

When the hour of our performance grew nigh, we all got into the bus and got costumed up. With Joe handling out chameleon circuit and our teleporting, we hit the stage. It went like this…

Announcer: “And now, an exclusive appearance by The All Doctor Kazoo Orchestra”

About 11,000 sets of eyes are on the stage when a blue police call box slowly materializes, complete with the TARDIS sound effects. You could actually hear jaws dropping, but they hadn’t seen anything yet.

Door on the police box opens…the Doctor Who theme starts up, played on kazoos that are being digitally messed with to sound somewhat less kazoo like.

From out of the police box, one at a time, come all 11 Doctors playing kazoos! Jaws drop, heads explode and I’d bet an eyeball that at least a few geeks orgasmed.

Note: To prevent arguments, our two youngest members were dressed as the Fourth (Lauren) and Tenth (Miranda) Doctors. I, by virtue of being old and having long greyish hair, was the First Doctor. The remainder were…

Second Doctor: Avis

Third Doctor: Brian (Doc Mystery)

Fifth Doctor: Caroline (Mrs. Doc M)

Sixth Doctor: Mary

Seventh Doctor: Sharon

Eighth Doctor (the “Movie Doctor”): Spike

Ninth Doctor: Zach

Eleventh Doctor: Grace

Oh, and the critters? K-9 (Sasha), 2 Daleks (Abby & Bea) and a Weeping Angel (Lucy & Flash), all wandering in a preset course around the stage eating pieces of kibble or goat chow.

As we finished the Doctor Who theme, there was a pause of about 3 seconds while the kazoos were readjusted, then we launched into “Crazy Train” by Ozzie Osbourne. As usual, Mary and I sang the lead with everyone joining in on the chorus. Those of us handling the kazoo-as-guitar parts (Spike & Zach) did a stellar job.

As we finished that number, we started up the Doctor Who theme again and went, one by one, back into the police box/bus. Once we shut the door, we teleported to the other side of a large building and looked like a bus again.

Later, watching the video of it all, we saw an avalanche of geeks hit the stage to try and figure out how we “pulled off the disappearing trick. When they saw there was no possible way we could have faked it, many more heads exploded. Spike thinks we may have started a new religion, too.

Once we were shed of costumery, I pulled the bus around to a pre-designated area and our Seattle based friends, numbering several dozen, came on board for a party that lasted until around 2:30 in the morning. It was a rockin’ good time and the booze, food and chocolate flowed freely. I finally staggered to bed at 3:30, about 10 minutes ago. I’ve programmed Data to drive us to our first roadside attraction of the day and I’ve set my alarm for 10 am.

More blogging later.

Radio Station: N/A

Destination Sign: A Club Down In Old SoHo

R.I P., Mom

…June 1, 1928 – August 10, 2012

My mother, Geraldine Blades, passed away today after a long illness. I left this day’s page blank because I knew I would come back and do it when I was ready. Now, 2.5 days later, I’m ready.

Someday I’ll write a long piece about Mom, but for now I’ll just say that she was always proud of my ability to tell a tale or write a story. She had all of my books on the shelf in her living room and would point them out to people.

Mom, this post is for you. I love you and miss you.

 

The Doclopedia #706

We Haz MORE Technobabble!: Anomalous Dark Matter Collection Grid

So there you are, cleaning up your little hunk of space and you notice bits of dark matter floating around. Even worse, it’s that crappy anomalous dark matter that you can’t even recycle.

Well, get yourself one of these grids and hook it up to your space tractor, then go to town on cleaning up that stuff! When you’re done, just toss the disposable grid into the nearest black hole and you’re done. It’s as easy as 1…2…3!

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The Doclopedia #707

We Haz MORE Technobabble!: Z-Ray Powered Robotic Assassins

Do you want your Robotic Assassins to be powered by old fashioned fusion energy? No way! No, the young hip bleeding edge maker of robot death machines wants plenty of power, the kind of power you only get from Z-Rays! With that kind of power, your ‘bots will leave a wide trail of death behind them and still have plenty of power to spare. These robots are the droids you’re looking for!

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The Doclopedia #708

We Haz MORE Technobabble!: Trans-Species Fertility Serum

Remember a few years back when all of those half human/half sheep creatures started showing up in New Zealand? Remember all of those sheep ranchers getting their DNA tested? Heh heh heh…so do we, which is why we found the very rare flowers those sheep had been eating and synthesized a serum that allows cross fertility between Mammals, Birds, Reptiles, Amphibians and Fish!

So buy this and create an army of deadly chimeras to destroy the world. Or maybe just use it to come up with new creatures to make cheap Science Fiction Channel movies about.

 

 

DogCon 5, Trip Day 7, Part 1

It is a fact of life that men of a certain age, say, MY age, sometimes find themselves getting up in the middle of the night to pee despite the fact that they take pills to alleviate that problem. Actually, in my case, this is caused by pills that treat something else entirely. So it was that I stumbled into the bathroom just off of our rather huge bedroom at 3:12 this morning. Imagine my bleary eyed and glasses free surprise to find that our bathroom had been replaced by a temperate forest. After a moment of surprised goggling and a softly spoken “What the fuck?” I peed on a mighty oak, then went back into the bedroom for my specs, slippers and gym shorts, the better to have a look around.

I walked about 100 yards and saw many birds, several squirrels, a couple of rabbits and a deer. The weather was very mild and it looked to be around mid morning. When I came to a good sized creek, I turned back. A call to Joe was in order before Grace woke up.

Unfortunately, as I approached the door, she stepped through it. She was not pleased to find the bathroom gone, since she also had to pee. My suggestion that the she just go over by a bush was greeted by the kind of stony glare that only women seem to be capable of. I quickly told her I’d call Joe and she could just use the bathroom down the hall.

Joe arrived a few minutes later and rattled off a bunch of technobabble that flew right over my head. He said he could replace the bathroom easy enough, but the forest was going to be part of out rolling abode for “quite awhile”. Grace told him to relocate the forest near the Meadow Room and then clear out so she could go back to sleep.

Joe was done in record time, again proving that his survival sense is excellent.

Now we fast forward to a few hours later when the forest is the topic of much breakfast conversation. It was agreed by all that since our first roadside attraction of the day was about 90 minutes up the road, we’d all take a little hike in the woods to see what it was like.

Flash: Oh yeah, I’ve been smelling squirrels and stuff all morning! It is so on like King Kong!

Lucy: Is that rabbits I smell on the other side of that door? Why, yes it is! Rabbits that I shall chase!

Sasha: Ok, I’m ready for the hunt! Rabbits, squirrels, foxes, what the hell ever! Girls is gonna get her hound on!

Bea: Oooh! I smell grapevines and ferns and…sniff, sniff…is that watergrass? Freakin’ Goat Buffet, here I come!

Abby: Oh yes, this is all going to end well.

Once all the critters were suitably harnessed and leashed…

Flash: Motherfucker! I can’t catch a break!

Lucy: Damn!

Sasha: This really blows!

Bea: WTF? Goat’s gotta eat!

Abby: I could be wrong about this, but we shall see.

…we started off down a trail after I put a SmartBot on guard duty at the door.

Flash: I’m looking at you, robot!

Lucy: Yeah, robot, we’ll see you again!

We followed the trail to the creek, then down a sloping hill into a little valley. The forest is not very dense, but it is just packed full of life. We saw all sorts of birds and animals. Spike thinks he saw an elk on a hill off to the north and we found signs of otters near the creek. As you might imagine, the critters were a handful, what with the goats (especially Bea) wanting to eat half the plants we saw and Flash & The Girls wanting to chase after every animal we saw.

Lucy: Holy Crap! There were rodents and rabbits and stuff everywhere! Curse this damned harness and Dad holding my leash!

Flash: Mom had me on a short leash and kept telling me to calm down. Calm down? The rodents were taunting me! TAUNTING ME!

We were about halfway across the valley when two things happened: We smelled meat cooking and Sasha pulled the leash out of Avis’ hand. She was off like a shot after a rabbit and heading towards the smoke we could now see. I handed Lucy over to Sharon and took off after Sasha.

I was right behind her…she had lost the rabbit at a small creek…

Sasha: Well, actually, that cookin’ meat smelled better than that damned fast bunny.

…when she stopped. I nearly ran over her before I stopped and then we both saw the camp, the fire, the meat…and the elves.

That would be your Tolkien style elves. Tall, good looking and pointy eared.

We looked at them. They looked at us. They blinked. I blinked.

Then Sasha, tail just a waggin’, walked up to the lady elf cooking the meat and started whining for a piece.

Well, from there it was introductions all around (the rest of the gang had caught up with me) and an explanation of how we came to be here and stuff. The elves looked rather dubious, which is understandable, but they were nice and asked us to join them for lunch, which we did even though we had just had breakfast an hour earlier.

Turns out our forest is just part of a much larger world straight out of a fantasy roleplayer’s dream. Elves, Dwarves, Humans, “Small Folk”, Dragons…the whole deal. I could see various reactions in our group, from some who had that “Oh yeah, I could so spend some time here” look to others who were checking the skies for dragons and looking into the woods for trolls or orcs or whatever.

The food was good…

Lucy & Sasha: Venison for the win!

Flash: Mmmm…fried squirrel. You hear me, you bushy tailed bastards? FRIED SQUIRREL!

Bea & Abby: Greenery….mmmm!

…but after about 45 minutes, Data sent me a text that we had arrived at the World Famous Living House, so we had to bid our Elven hosts goodbye.

Which, as it turns out was probably a good idea, since discussion on the way back revealed that, to those of us at or beyond puberty, those elves smelled really sexy. I mean nipple hardening, undie dampening, petrified woody inducing sexy. There was some mild discussion of going to see the roadside attraction in an hour or so, but how could we tell our single unaffected little girl that Mommy & Daddy & everybody else would be in their bunks? So, somewhat frustratedly, we went to see the Living House.

Flash: After locking us all in the Meadow Room and posting a really big SmartBot to guard the even more securely locked Forest Room.

The World Famous Living House, which you will pay $5.00 per person to see, unless some of you are under 10, is very large house built so as to incorporate as many natural and living materials as possibly. As our guide, Amber, explained, about 50% of the house is alive and growing. This includes big pine trees that act as pillars, mosses that act as both inner and outer insulation, big rocks for furniture, thick walls of logs & clay, a small creek running through the middle of it and a moss carpet for the entire first floor. The place is four stories tall and has lots of south and west facing windows. No sense putting windows on the north or east sides because there is dense forest there.

18 people live in the Living House, along with a great deal of animal life, mostly insects, reptiles and amphibians. 10 of those people are permanent residents and the other 8 are university students who stay for 6 months at a time.

It’s a pretty cool place and is all green energy and stuff, but we all agreed, as we bought the usual suspects, that it’s just a tad too green for us.

Our next stop was Astoria, Oregon and we spent about 4 hours there seeing the sights, eating lunch and generally being all touristy. The critters met many other critters, as it seemed that everybody was out walking their pets.

Flash: Oh yes, the lady cats all want some of my lovin’!

Lucy: There was this hot looking Rhodesian Ridgeback who was…oh my. Mama like!

Sasha: Did you see the ears on those two hunky young Basset Hound brothers? Talk about hung!

Bea: When we walked past that urban farm with those other pygmy goats, the smell of those three young bucks was just crazy hot!

Abby: Amen, Bea, amen! Whew!

Our next stop, and the last one for the day, is at Aberdeen, Washington. Not only will we be camping here, but we will soon be walking just down the road to see the World Famous Giant Roadside Attraction Museum, the home of giant sized Paul Bunyans, cowboys, Muffler Men and lots of other bigass statuary designed to attract customers to various businesses or towns. Just the thought is making me squee a bit.

More bloggage soon!

Radio Station: “Punk Rockers Go To War!

Destination Sign: Gasoline Alley

DogCon 5, Trip Day 7, Part 2

We arrived at the Cozy Camp campgrounds at about 4:30 and were assured by the managers that we had plenty of time to walk down to the World Famous Giant Roadside Attraction Museum and still get back in time for the free hamburger & hotdog cookout.

The walk between the two spots is about ¾ of a mile and we got there pretty quickly. The critters came with us, with me walking Lucy and her frequent rider, Flash.

Lucy: He ain’t heavy, he’s me brother.

Flash: D’oh!

Avis had Sasha’s leash and Grace and Mary each had a goat. I can only imagine how we looked to the cars that drove past us on the highway.

Sasha: Auntie Avis has been taking lessons from Dad & Mom, because she kept me on a short leash when a rabbit ran by.

Once we got to the collection of roadside coolness, we ponied up a couple of bucks each (critters got in for free) and gazed upon the wonder of it all. Words sort of fail me…

Flash: Ahhahahahahaha! That’ll be the day!

Lucy: My money is on Dad still talking 3 days after he’s dead.

Sasha: Yeah, Verbosity is Dad. And Uncle Spike, for that matter.

Bea: Auntie Mary says they suck up most of the oxygen in a room once they start talking.

Abby: Mom says there is only one thing Dad likes more than talking. She never said what it was.

…so I’ll just list what we saw.

7 Giant Paul Bunyans. 5 were painted, 2 were unpainted, but carved from huge logs. Three of them were accompanied by Giant Babe the Blue Ox.

6 Giant Muffler Men. These 12-18 foot guys used to stand outside muffler shops holding giant mufflers. 4 of these still do.

9 Giant Chickens. 7 roosters, 2 hens. The hens advertised places selling farm fresh eggs. The roosters advertised fried chicken joints.

3 Giant Cowboys. One of these was on a giant horse.

4 Giant Native Americans. All of these came from places selling native made stuff in New Mexico, Arizona & Oklahoma.

2 Giant Jackrabbits. Both from places in Texas.

2 Giant Crabs. One from Maryland, one from Oregon. Both came from restaurants.

1 Giant Rattlesnake. From a Texas roadside reptile exhibit.

7 Giant Gorillas. These ranged from 7 feet to 24 feet tall and advertised all sorts of places.

1 Giant Skunk. The museum owners have no idea what this originally advertised, but the bought it from a farmer in Ohio.

2 Giant Pirates. Both came from amusement parks.

6 Giant Dogs. Including a 12 foot tall Basset Hound!

5 Giant Women. 2 waitresses, 2 hula girls and two cowgirls.

16 Giant Dinosaurs. These varied from very realistic to something you might see if you were going through the DTs.

1 Giant Porcupine. Which had advertised a town in Michigan.

1 Giant Sea Serpent. Origins unknown, but it was 70 feet long.

3 Giant Astronauts. Used to advertise motels in Texas and Florida.

3 Giant Goldminers. 2 with burros, all from California.

2 Giant President Lincolns. Both from Illinois, neither killing vampires.

4 Giant Dragons. A couple of these need to be on top of my house.

Flash: Yeah, Dad, I’m sure Mom is on board with that idea.

It was a really cool place to visit and they even boxed up and mailed home the 30 kazillion things Grace & I bought at the gift shop.

After that, we walked back to the campgrounds and chowed down on burgers & hotdogs & all the fixin’s. Later, we watched some alternate world Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes, then went off to our respective beds.

Tomorrow, we descend upon the unsuspecting geek populace of Seattle with our annual Outlaw Musical Number. I predict that many jaws will drop and drop hard.

Radio Station: “Geek Talk Radio

Destination Sign: Talislanta

 

 

 

Chapter 204: In Which Our Hero, Traveling Under Cover Of Darkness And Fog, Seduces The French Queen And Then Steals Her Pig

…later, he and the pig shared some excellent wine

 

The Doclopedia #703

Mixing Magical Potions: Potion Of Polymorphing + Potion Of Animal Control

The mixing of these two potions will have very different effects depending upon the race/species of the consumer.

Humans: You will be able to control small mammals for up to an hour. Sadly, you will be polymorphed into a shrew for about a week.

Elves: Look forward to peeling skin, boils and the overwhelming urge to yell whenever you speak.

Dwarves: You will be polymorphed into a chicken, but you will be able to speak.

Halflings: All of your hair will fall out and you’ll turn orange.

Half Orcs: Expect to be polymorphed into some sort of living teddy bear.

Goblins: You’ll be changed into a puddle of goo.

Dragons: You’re internal heat source will rapidly heat up until you explode. The blast radius will be about half a mile.

Dogs & Cats: You will polymorph into a human for 24 hours. Sorry about that.

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The Doclopedia #704

Mixing Magical Potions: Elixir Of Giant Strength + Potion Of Shrinking

Mixing these two potions has no ill effects, except that a few days after you mix them, you will begin shrinking or becoming terribly strong at random intervals. There will be no warning of this. These random effects will last about 10 days.

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The Doclopedia #705

Mixing Magical Potions: Potion Of Fireproofing + Potion Of Bravery

This is a very bad pair to mix. Side effects can include duck feet, melting skin, ringing in your ears, monster attracting sweat, greasy hands, greatly enlarged nose, loudly popping joints, uncontrollable crying, random tentacles, flammable urine, sticky spit, exploding spleen, flexible teeth and bursting into song.

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DogCon 5, Trip Day 6

(Gentle Readers: Please insert stuff here about waking up at 6:00 am to wife snoring in my ear and cat sleeping on my sweating neck. Add feeding & walking of critters, plus morning routine, etc, etc.)

So, at 9:30 we started driving up the highway towards Crescent City and, beyond that, the Oregon Coast. Once we got to Crescent City, we stopped for a bit of a walking tour and to see The World Famous Iron Colossus.

As the name tells you, this is a 110 foot tall statue of a man, or maybe a robot, built out of scrap iron. It took three years to build back in the 1970s and it still gets added to every so often. It’s actually pretty cool looking and since you can see it for free, they sell lots of stuff to make a buck for upkeep, since the sea air rusts the hell out of iron. We did our part to keep Old Rusty (his local nickname) in good shape.

Flash: Oh, Dad, think of the pet toys you could have bought with that money!

Abby: You have like, a million cat toys already, Flash.

Flash: Quiet, you!

The next few hours were spent driving, stopping for pix/videos, sightseeing and lunch. Lunch was great, by the way, being mostly a ton of Dungeness crabs. Around 2:00, we hit our second roadside stop, The Undersea Tube.

It’s one of those cool clear acrylic tubes that you find most often at aquariums or water parks, only this one extends 300 feet out into the ocean. For $20.00, you get on a sort of train thing that then goes down the tube and out under the sea. The guide, an oceanography student from the University of Oregon, pointed out all sorts of cool and sometimes goofy looking fish and sea mammals. And yes, we all sang “Under The Sea”. You stay down there for about 45 minutes and it is well worth your money. Afterward, you buy a bunch of stuff.

Sasha: Before the humans left, they put us in the Meadow Room, but they forgot to fully close the door…

Flash: Your bad, Mom!

Sasha: …so we decided to explore the Warehouse, which had the only other interesting open door.

Bea: I would have preferred the Greenhouse, but after the last time Abby & I visited there, Dad locks that place up tight.

Abby: Jeez, you eat a few daylilies and you’re a criminal.

Flash & Lucy: Welcome to our world.

Sasha: Anyway, that warehouse mostly has stuff in crates and boxes, but, umm, somebody managed to knock one over and have it bust open. Inside it were a bunch of old books, which didn’t even smell tasty to the goats.

Abby: Nope, too old for us.

Sasha: So, instead, we just played hide & seek, since the Warehouse is like, half a mile long and about a quarter mile wide.

Back at the bus we dumped our purchases and then went to check out much noise in the Warehouse. Grace loses 2 Wife/Mom points for not fully closing the Meadow Room door. The critters were mostly running around the Warehouse having fun, which is ok, but then I heard Avis calling my name and saying “You’ve got to see this!”

Holy Hamsters, it was a crate busted open and about 350 Doc Savage pulp magazines had spilled out. I think Doc Mystery and I both wept a bit, especially when we found out that these were alternate world pulps that continued the tales of Doc and his crew right up into the late 1950s. Even better, they were in near mint condition! We lovingly carried them to the library, then I fed the critters until they were ready to pop.

Lucy: WTF? Dad was feeding us steaks and stuff!

Bea: He pretty much dumped a whole garden in front of Abby & I.

Flash: Fish and more fish! Oh man!

Sasha: I don’t know what we did, but we did it well.

Another couple of hours on the road and we pulled into a state park near the beach. After dinner, there was beach walking, movie watching and, for some of us, pulp magazine reading.

Tomorrow: More of Oregon and then into Washington before heading east, then south.

Radio Station: “The Dr. Demento Channel

Destination Sign: Arrakis

Doc Tempest And The Eyes Of Lucifer

… from the Jan. 1966 issue

 

The Doclopedia #700

Mixing Magical Potions: Potion Of Shadowy Form + Potion Of Speed

It is an unfortunate fact that if these two potions are consumed within 4 hours of each other, the consumer will be teleported to the ninth level of Hell for a period of not less than 1 but not more than 3 days. Said poor S.O.B. will arrive butt naked and weaponless. Most who come back from this journey suffer from multiple phobias and a hatred of hot weather.

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The Doclopedia #701

Mixing Magical Potions: Elixir Of Endurance + Elixir Of Persuasion

The Good News is that combining these two potions makes you irresistible to the opposite sex for 48 hours. The Bad News is that this means the opposite sex of ALL species, sentient or not. It’s no big deal to have your leg humped by an ant, but it’s quite another thing to have a horde of Ogres suddenly look at you with lust in their eyes.

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The Doclopedia #702

Mixing Magical Potions: Potion Of Healing + Potion Of Protection From Cold

WARNING!: Never use these potions within 2 hours of each other! Doing so will turn you into a Magenta Slime, the most disgusting and hated creature ever, for at least a week. Hundreds of species, sentient and otherwise, kill Magenta Slimes on sight. Additionally, you will be able to eat and digest only feces, rotten flesh and the snot of Greater Demons.

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DogCon 5, Trip Day 5

When my alarm went off at 7:00 this morning, I woke up in a zoo. Well, not really, but Grace had decided that the critters could sleep in our bedroom, so there were Abby & Bea snoozing on the floor, Lucy curled up on the loveseat, Flash sleeping on the pillow next to Grace and Sasha sleeping in between Grace & I. Normally, Flash is the only critter who sleeps in the bed with us, but Sasha would not be denied.

Sasha: I like being on the bed!

Flash: Did you know that you woof in your sleep?

Anyway, I got up and rousted our little menagerie with the promise of food, at which point we all headed for the kitchen. Once eating was done, I took everyone to the Meadow Room and left them there to do their business.

Abby: Once we were done, we frolicked a bit.

Bea: Yeah, we goats are big on frolicking.

Lucy: Dogs like frolicking, too!

Sasha: Yeah, we hella frolic!

Flash: I was too busy hunting mice.

When I got back to the kitchen, I found that Zach was there, so we started knocking out breakfast. At 7:45, I put “(Nothing But) Flowers” by Talking Heads on the intercom and announced that breakfast was mere minutes away. By 9:00, everyone was fed and washed and we were on our way to our first roadside attraction, the “House From The Sea”.

It was a short drive of 20 minutes to get there and you could really tell that this house had been built from stuff that had washed up on the beach about a mile away. The whole place is about the size of an ordinary 2 bedroom home, but made out of everything from old rowboats to fishing nets to assorted plastic doodads that fell off of cargo ships.

The tour, given by the owners, Mr & Mrs Henrik Heinneman, costs a buck per person, but the critters got to go for free. Mr & Mrs H were hippies back in the day (like many other roadside attraction creators seem to be) and, as Henrik put it, “decided not to let all of this shit go to waste.”

The place is cozy and pretty normal looking inside, but the back & front yard are just as gonzo looking as the house is. They do have a fantastic number of iris varieties in both yards and I bought a bunch of bulbs from Mrs H. we also bought a bunch of t-shirts and postcards.

Sasha: That place smelled really strange. Kind of like a pile of old wet lumber.

Lucy: Yeah, it did. I also smelled weed growing back up the hill.

Flash: Speaking of fun weeds, they had catnip growing in their garden!

Bea: Yeah, Flash, we know. Mom had to carry your goofy ass back to the bus.

Abby: Just say no to drugs, Flash.

Flash: Hahaha! You two ought to be on Comedy Central.

Back on the road, we drove another 45 minutes until we came to Fairy Woods. Judging from the near full parking lot, it’s a pretty popular place. It’s a five acre park done up with fairies & fairy stuff, both fairy sized and human sized. If you are thinking this is a little girl magnet, you are right. Since we had Doc Mystery’s little girl on board, we figured she’d like it. We weren’t wrong. Actually, we all liked it because its a well constructed park and the hand carved fairies (900 of them!) look great. We all wandered around the place for about an hour, then partook of some killer cookies before buying the usual swag.

Lucy: Not being allowed to go on this tour, we all stayed on the bus and played Diablo 3.

Abby: We kicked some ass, we did!

Flash: Yeah, and we also had the music cranking with some crazy house beats.

Sasha: And we ate a whole loaf of sourdough bread that Dad left out.

Bea: Shhh, Sasha! We might get in trouble.

When we got back to the bus, the critters had music blasting and were playing Diablo 3. There was also the small remnant of a bag that had once held a loaf of sourdough bread.

Sasha: Aw shit!

Since it was my bad for leaving the bread out, I just turned the music off, but let them keep playing the game.

Sasha: My luck holds! The Force is strong in young Sasha Jane!

Abby: Oh jeez!

Our next stop was The World Famous Redwood Balloon Tour. This is a totally cool helium balloon excursion that takes you straight up into the canopy of a small grove of ancient redwoods. It’s not cheap at $50.00 per person, 4 person minimum, but it is totally worth every penny. Grace, who is not a fan of going up in balloons, and Zach, who was feeling a bit under the weather, remained on the ground. The remaining 9 of us went up in two groups. First up was Avis, Sharon, Miranda and I.

The upper limbs of redwoods are complete ecosystems, with species totally unique to the various altitudes. Reptiles, amphibians, insects, molluscs, plants, fungi…all living up there and getting water from the fog that waters the redwoods every day. Everyone took hundreds of pix and asked bunches of questions. After it was all over, we bought copies of their book and bought t-shirts.

We stopped at a rest area to scarf some sandwiches, then I drove us to Eureka and both our final roadside stop and our days end. The roadside stop was “Parrot World”, a really big parrot breeding operation that, besides selling expensive parrots as companions, also breed rare species for sale to zoos and for restocking low wild populations.

They have dozens of species of cockatoos, macaws, conures, amazons and other types of parrots. They also have the best trained parrot show I’ve ever seen. Naturally, our critters were locked in the Meadow Room on the bus.

Flash: I’ll dream about tasty parrots tonight. They can’t take my dreams away!

Lucy: Yeah, well, I was ok with avoiding those big parrot beaks.

Sasha: I would have barked at them from a distance.

Lucy: Parrots can fly, sis.

Sasha: Yowza!

One sweet little Rose Breasted Cockatoo really took a liking to Avis, but a $3,000 price tag and her cat, Leon, ruled out her getting an avian housemate. I caught Grace looking a bit too hard at a Hyacinth Macaw, that, while very tame and beautiful, was $7,000 and a clear violation of the Bedroom Accords that state there won’t be anymore pets. Thus, I was forced to put my foot down. Fortunately, Grace did not protest. I did let her buy several t-shirts and parrot fridge magnets, because, you know, I like the sex.

We are now at our stop for the night just south of Arcata. We’ve got pizza cooking in the brick oven (oh man, do I love this kitchen!) and movies waiting in the theater. Tonight our double feature will be “Mothra & Gamera Go To Paris” and “Giant Monster Attack: 1980!”. Gotta love those alternate world kaiju flicks.

Tomorrow, we continue up the coast into Oregon, where more roadside coolness awaits.

Radio Station:Space Cowboys”, music from the wild west…of Mars

Destination Sign: Abbey Road

The Incredible Turtle-Man Meets The Evil Supergrannies!

…the battle YOU requested! By Lee & Kirby!

 

The Doclopedia #695

Mixing Magical Potions: Potion Of Strength + Potion Of Ghostly Form

If you drink these two potions within an hour of each other, you may experience one or more of the following side effects in addition to the two potions canceling each other out: Rapid growth of all body hair, auditory hallucinations, severe (and we mean SEVERE) constipation, itchy feet, transformation into a duck, violent sneezing of highly acidic snot, the ability to float in the air, increased sexual appetite and incorporeal arms.

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The Doclopedia #697

Mixing Magical Potions: Potion Of Invisibility + Elixir Of Healing

The Adventurers Guild has recorded the following side effects from consuming these two potions within a time period of less than 15 minutes: Explosion, colorblindness, gooey face, butterfly wings that are useless and a sudden allergy to water.

Additionally, if you are an Elf, you may undergo transformation into a Mud Goblin or suffer from various sensory hallucinations.

Dwarves and Half Orcs will have all of the side effects except explosion. They will also smell like gardenias for 6 hours.

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The Doclopedia #698

Mixing Magical Potions: Elixir Of Protection VS The Undead + Potion Of Flame Breath

Humans and Halflings may mix these two potions without ill effect. Indeed, in some cases they will actually have the third effect of making ones skin much tougher than normal.

Dwarves who mix them will get stomach cramps and blurry vision, but will still get the benefit of the potions.

Elves will turn bright yellow and only the Potion of Flame Breath will take effect.

Half Orcs who drink this mix will turn into mice. This will last 48 hours.

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The Doclopedia #699

Mixing Magical Potions: Potion Of Flight + Potion Of Night Vision

For all races, the only known side effect of mixing these two potions is a tendency to giggle frequently and farts that smell delicious to all known monster species.

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DogCon 5, Trip Day 4

We started today with doughnuts and assorted drinks, then drove over to Market Street, where we left the bus looking like a Homeland Security SUV. I figured that way, nobody would fuck with it or give it a parking ticket. I was correct.

From there, we walked around a bit, then went to a crack house…I mean, used book store.

Flash: When I say most of these humans have a book buying habit, I actually mean “addiction way worse than heroin or crystal meth”.

The critters were unimpressed, but most of us humans left with bags of books. Big bags of books. When we got back on the bus, I asked Joe if he could pop us up a book storage closet, which he did.

The next couple of hours was mostly sightseeing, although we adults did go visit the “Museum of Human Sexuality” for about half an hour. As you might expect of such a place, it was pretty eye opening even for a jaded old fart like me. A couple of our group were still blushing hours later.

Sasha: Meanwhile, back on the bus, we were having big fun in the Slide Room.

Flash: The Slide Room is just freakin’ great!

Bea: Oh yes it is, except that after about an hour of sliding, your butt gets sore.

Lucy: Yeah, I think I might have worn the fur off the underside of my tail.

Abby: I can’t get my tail to wag, but it was still hella fun.

For lunch, we descended like geeky locusts on a place in the Mission District that makes great Mexican tortas. I had the pork, Grace had beef and everyone else pretty much tried most of what was on the menu. I was pleased to introduce several of my companions to horchata for the first time.

Flash: I just love Mexican food! That barbacoa…mmmmm!

The Other Critters: We’ll be putting on our gas masks.

Flash: Oh yeah, like dogs & goats never fart.

About 1:30 we climbed on the bus and rolled out of The City, heading north to Wine Country. We only stopped at a couple of places, but wine was tasted and purchased. We also stopped at a cheese shop and bought quite a lot of assorted cheeses.

Abby: Including several goat cheeses!

Bea: Goat cheese rules!

Sasha: And it is very tasty stuff!

At 6:30, we arrived at a State Park campground just south of Fort Bragg. I’m writing this as everybody else is walking along the beach. In a few minutes, I’ll be starting dinner, which will be steaks. After that, it will be time for board games until bedtime. Tomorrow, we’ll be hitting no less than four roadside attractions, one of which is “The World Famous Redwood Balloon Tour”.

Radio Station:Alt. Beatles”, music from the hundreds of alternate versions of The Beatles, a couple of whom are, in fact, beetles

Destination Sign: Castle Dracula

 

 

Not In This Issue: Bluebirds, Happiness and Vodka Martinis

…shaken, not stirred. The vodka martinis, not the bluebirds.

DogCon 5, Trip Day 3

Our only stop for roadside weirdness today was the Miniature Farm, which is a full sized farm with miniature versions of normal farm animals. Bantam chickens, call ducks, dwarf rabbits, mini cattle, pygmy goats, mini burros & horses…Flash and our goats felt right at home.

Naturally, our carnivorous pets were well harnessed and leashed.

Bea: It was very cool! The goats were good folks and the mini horses were almost as small as us!

Abby: That black & white buck goat was hot property, oh yeah!

Flash: Dude! Tasty little poultry just standing there and I was trussed up like Hannibal Lecter!

Lucy: Did you see those bite sized rabbits just looking at us?

Sasha: Man, I really wanted to go exploring and maybe chase those chickens.

After that stop, we rolled on up the road to Carmel for a walking tour and some tasty cookies at a local shop that made cookies for both humans and dogs & cats. Fortunately, dog and cat cookies are ok with goats, too.

Abby: Unless it’s an all meat cookie, we’ll eat it. Peanut butter and apple? We are so there!

During our stroll around town, we made a few purchases despite the high tourist rates they were charging. I bought a couple of bandanas, one of which featured local boy and former mayor Clint Eastwood. Mary bought a full color map of the area and I think Avis bought some art cards.

Back on the bus, we drove up to Monterey and visited the Aquarium and sundry other sites. At some point, it was decided that the women wanted to split off and go do stuff sans males, so we put the critters on the bus and then went off looking for stuff to do. That mostly turned out to be hanging out at a video arcade full of vintage games, where I’m proud to say we older fellows held out pretty well against Zach (age 30) in games like Missile Command, Ms. Pac Man and Centipede. He did beat us pretty badly at Donkey Kong and Galaxian, but by then we were claiming old injuries as our reason for losing.

We also checked out a local comics & games shop that got none of our money due to tourist prices and no used games for sale. After that, we headed back to the bus, where Joe had just finished his upgrades. We have our ability to mess with space & time back,

Flash: Insert many fearful comments here.

Sasha: Insert Mom & Sharon saying many curse words here.

but the coolest news was that we now have a working Chameleon Circuit!

Yep, that’s right, our bus can now assume the exterior shape and appearance of almost anything smaller than a house or larger than a VW bug.

Including a vintage British police call box. Oh yeah, I got all giggly.

Flash: Oh no, are we gonna have to call him “the Doctor” now?

Lucy: I haven’t seen Dad this happy since our white trash neighbor got his muscle car stolen.

Sasha: What’s a “Hippie Van”?

Bea: They kept getting on and off and looking at the bus from outside and laughing.

Abby: Humans are a bit nutty.

Flash: Ya think?

Anyway, when the women returned, we met them in front of a tie dyed VW van. Once I explained everything, they admitted it was kind of cool and would be much easier and cheaper to park. Miranda also noted that it would look pretty funny when we all started piling out of it at the next stop.

Nobody agreed that I should now be referred to as “the Doctor”. Another dream dashed. I shall weep.

Abby: Melodramatic much, Dad?

Flash: Thank Ceiling Cat! Dad has enough of an ego without acting like a Time Lord.

From Monterey, the rest of the day was spent on a leisurely drive up the coast to our stop for the night in San Francisco. We toured through the city and then went to dinner at a great eatery in Chinatown, then we adults went out for a bit of live music and, for those of us who drink, adult libations.

Now, you might think that leaving a teenage girl and a preteen girl in a VW bus (despite the very large interior) in Chinatown at night might be risky. Well, beyond the built in security measures, some of which are pretty lethal, our vehicle also enjoyed the protection of the Hip Sing Tong, a venerable organization that nobody willingly crosses and with whom I have had friendly dealings in the past.

Lucy & Flash: Wait, what?

So, as Miranda & Lauren ate popcorn and played games and played with critters,

Sasha: We all played King of the Hill in the Shoe Room.

Bea: Abby won!

they were considerably safer that we adults probably were.

Around midnight, we all returned to the bus and it was time for bed. Tomorrow, more wandering around The City, then it’s up to the Wine Country.

Radio Station:The Old Time Radio Channel”, featuring Old Time Radio programs from dozens of Earths

Destination Sign: The Other Side

Salamander Salad

…relax, it’s FOR salamanders

 

DogCon 5, Trip Day 2, Part 1

We are all awake and chowing down on breakfast here inside the bus. Zach and I got up early to do the cooking and we have everything from bacon & eggs to bagels & lox to hot & cold cereals laid out. Since the critters were fed shortly after their morning constitutional, they are now in the meadow room.

Flash: But we can still smell all that food, Dad!

Sasha: Bacon! BACON!

In just under an hour, we’ll be starting up the coast with our first stop being in Santa Barbara for a visit to the World Famous Button House. No doubt we’ll also see some other interesting sights, but a hose made of, or at least decorated with, buttons? That’s the big attraction.

From there, we’ll head just a bit up the road to Lompoc, the nearest town to the Village Of The Giants, about which I shall say no more, except that it is also World Famous.

Our final stop on today’s roadside attraction triple header is at Cambria, home of the Weird House, which absolutely nobody on this bus wants to not visit. I mean, come on, “Weird House”?

Lucy: And this will be different from where we live how?

Abby & Bea: Hahahahaha! Good one, Lucy!

Now, I shall tuck into my bagels, lox & cream cheese before assuming my role as bus driver. More bloggage soon.

Radio Station:Guys Named George”, Music by and about men named George

 Destination Sign: The 8th Dimension

DogCon 5, Trip Day 2, Part 2

We are all sipping ice cold drinks at a small cafe just now, but I’ve gotta tell you about our visit to the World Famous Button House. On the trip up, during which we missed much of the worst traffic on the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway), we all took turns guessing what the Button House would look like. The general consensus was “old lady cottage covered in buttons with button covered knick knacks”.

We were way off base on that one.

The Button House is an 11 room Victorian mansion covered in 14.25 MILLION buttons! Every square inch of the exterior, all the floors and all the ceilings are button covered. The floors were given a coat of resin to make them smooth, but everything else feels buttony. Did I mention the doorknobs? Bigass buttons! Light switches? Buttons! The furniture, doors, window frames, appliances, fireplaces and about 3,000 other things? Covered with BUTTONS!

Our guide, a lovely young lass named Deena, told us that the whole thing started in 1898 when the young Stuart and Mathilda Todd, button collectors the both of them, built the house and then decided to indulge their button obsession. Over the next 68 years, they not only buttoned up the whole place, they raised five children, made millions in ranching & banking and lived to a ripe old age. Upon their deaths, the house was set up as a museum to buttons and has remained that way ever since.

It was an interesting tour, you bet. Some of the buttons are very old and worth big bucks to collectors. According to Deena, there are buttons made of 217 different substances, from bone to titanium. They range in size from one eighth of an inch to 6 inches across and they come in every color and pattern you can imagine.

In related news: t-shirts, fridge magnets, bumper stickers and…buttons were purchased.

Time to climb back on the bus and head for the World Famous Village of the Giants. More bloggage soon!

Radio Station:The Dr. Demento Channel”, featuring new stuff and past shows from his long career

Destination Sign: Fortress of Solitude

DogCon 5, Trip Day 2, Part 3

Ok, so here’s the deal on the World Famous Village Of The Giants: It’s way out in the sticks, it costs you $3.00 a head to visit and, like many roadside attractions, it has seen better days. Still, it was interesting to see.

Lucy: Once again, we were trapped in the bus and could only think of all the rabbits and deer and other wildlife we could smell.

Sasha: And cows! Boy howdy, could I smell cows.

Flash: Oh, what I would give for opposable thumbs!

Abby & Bea: Carnivores is da cwaziest people!

It seems that back in the late 60’s, rancher Bill Sankey got a great deal on giant sized props from various movie and television studios. Giant pencils, telephones, books, etc. Anyway, Ol’ Bill reckoned that all these giant props could do with some giant folks, so he hired a bunch of artistic types to make him some. By about 1978, he had 22 giant people, 6 giant dogs, 4 giant cats and a giant mouse. They were all set up so as to be using those giant props and then Bill opened it up to the public from 1979 to 1993, at which point he retired to San Diego and his sons inherited the ranch. Never really having liked the giant stuff much, they pretty just handed the place over to the caretaker and told him to run it until further notice, which he still does.

Without any sort of money for repairs, the place has slowly run down until everything needs a paint job and some minor to major repairs. A couple of the giant people are looking pretty shabby and one of the giant dogs is missing a tail and a hind leg. The whole self guided tour took us maybe half an hour, after which we bought t-shirts that I suspect were made in the late 90’s. A few minutes later, we were on the way back to Lompoc and “Big Larry’s Steakburgers” for lunch. The steakburgers are pretty damned good and the milkshakes are great.

Upon departing Lompoc, we began the two hour drive up the cost to the small town of Cambria, thence to see the “Weird House”. There is very little on the internet about the place, but my cousin Jim said he visited it back in 1990 and it is indeed a very odd place.

About 45 minutes into the journey, when most everyone else was either relaxing and watching the coast go by or having a little siesta, I heard Miranda yell “Uncle Doc, the goats are fighting the robots!” (something one doesn’t hear much even in a Toon game) just before many loud noises drowned her out. I hit the autopilot button and ran into the living room just in time to see Abby kick a SmartBot about 15 feet into a wall at the same time two SmartBots were trying to, as far as I could tell, polish Bea’s horns.

Abby: They tried to shear off my hair!

Bea: I’ve never had my horns polished. No fun!

Of course, where one finds mayhem, one also tends to find a certain black hound and a certain pint sized cat and, sure enough, they were in the thick of it. Lucy had a SmartBot by the arm and Flash was on top of another trying to scratch through the poor bots face.

Lucy: Oh yeah, it was on! I’ve wanted a piece of those robots for ages!

Flash: It was self defense! Those bots have terrorized us for years!

Fortunately, this year I had thought ahead to such animal antics, so all of the critters were wearing Stun Collars. I pressed four buttons on my keychain remote and ZAP, both goats, the cat and the dog were laid out flat as mackerels. No permanent damage, just a 2 minute long trip to slumberland.

Flash: Holy fuckin’ shit! One moment we’re kicking robotic ass, the next I’m waking up in lockdown! WTF?

Lucy: It must have been some damned robot trick! Those little bastards zapped us!

Abby: We woke up in the meadow room with the door locked! What the hell happened?

Bea: I don’t know, but maybe we’d better steer clear of those robots.

Sasha: Man, I go to take a little nap with Mom and I miss all the fun. That blows!

After questioning SmartBot Control, I found out that the bots had mistakenly tried to groom the goats, which the goats are not cool with. After a bit of reprogramming, that won’t happen again. On the other paw, we have long known that Flash & Lucy hate the SmartBots with the same passion they hate the vacuum cleaner at home, so I gave SmartBot Central the frequencies for their Stun Collars. I predict near daily stunning of cat and hound.

And then I had a large glass of iced tea before going back to driving.

When we got just south of Cambria, we saw a big sign telling us to take the next right turn to get to the Weird House. It was about a mile off the highway, back in an otherwise normal housing area and it stuck out like a sore thumb.

First off, it’s big, as in four stories tall and as wide as three regular houses. Then there’s the paint job: every exterior wall is a different color with a different color and style of trim. (Note to self: This could be the next way you fuck with the neighbors back home) Finally, all of the walls are cockeyed and the windows and doors are doubly so.

Still, that didn’t quite fulfill our expectations of “weird”, so we piled off the bus just in time to join a family of six who, after gawking at said bus, got out of their minivan to take the tour with us. We walked up to the front door where a sign said…

Please knock and have your $4.00 each ready”

It only took a few seconds after we knocked for a young guy about 25 to open the door, tell us hello his name was Ethan and start taking our money. The actual tour was lead by another young guy named Zeke and a young lady named Liz. And let me tell you, folks, the inside of the house was some no shit weird stuff.

For one thing, there are about a dozen secret passages and hidden doors. Some of the doors are pretty much impossible to spot from the outside without a guide helping you.

Then there are the round rooms that not only rotate, but slowly raise up or lower to let you out on a different floor. Some of the windows use mirrors to show you a view that is not the one you expect…but if you turn away, the mirrors shift and then you see another view.

The floors in some rooms tilt slightly as you cross them, which made some of us queasy. The basement is a big maze and at some point while I was taking a leak in the fourth floor bathroom, it lowered to the second floor.

After the 45 minute tour was done and we had bought the usual stuff, I asked Ethan, Zeke, Liz and the Stanley family from Millgrove, Kentucky (they of the minivan) if they’d like to see a REALLY weird house. They agreed, so we showed them the inside of the bus. By the time we left, 20 minutes later, Ethan had refunded all of our money and the Stanley family were exiting a bit too quickly and praying to their Lord Jesus while doing it. I think it was the Slide Room that got to them.

But yeah, the Weird House is weird alright.

We’ll be camping out in the Los Padres National Forest tonight and pasta of several types is on the dinner menu. After that, there will be gaming and movie watching, since tomorrow is a bit of a lazy sightseeing day with only one roadside attraction stop planned.

Ah ha! Joe has just checked in and he has the parts he needs plus “something cool”. I can hardly wait to find out what it is.

The blog, she will resume tomorrow!

Radio Station:The Woodstock Channel”, featuring the music of Woodstock Nation

Destination Sign: Whitechapel, 1888

 

 

Dr. Silkmelon Measures A Carnotaurus

…a damned tricky process, that!

 

DogCon 5, Trip Day 1, Part 1

Only Sasha and I are awake, and then only long enough for her to pee outside and me to tell our autopilot, Data (who can now drive above the speed limit if he needs to), to drive the bus to San Diego. Yes, we are officially starting out from San Diego this year. However, we will NOT be going straight from there to Texas. Where would be the fun in that? No, we are first going up the length of the Pacific Coast to Seattle, then down a wandering path to Texas. See, the left coast of Our Great Nation is almost as rich in nutty roadside attractions as the Midwest is, and as readers of past reports know, we loves us some roadside strangeness.

Anyhow, due to circumstances beyond my control, I did not get to bed early, so I’ll take up my duties as bus driver when we leave San Diego.

(Sasha: All done peeing, Dad!)

Now I’m off to fire up Data and hit the sack like everybody else. More bloggage in 8 hours or so.

Radio Station:SteamRock”, the best of 1880’s rock & roll

Destination Sign: Terrapin Station

DogCon 5, Trip Day 1, Part 2

After just shy of 8 hours of sleep, I was awakened by the smell of bacon and eggs and toast and waffles and all manner of wonderful breakfast smells. Turns out that we had stopped in San Diego 45 minutes earlier and my lovely bride and most of my friends had started brekky while letting me sleep. Once I was awake, I was joined in bed by critters and a tray of food, which I’m pretty sure had a strong connection.

Sasha: Dad shares his food with us sometimes. Today, I got some scrambled eggs.

Bea: That was good toast. I love marmalade.

Lucy: Mmmm, sausage grease on toast!

Abby: Sliced bananas! Yum!

Flash: Cereal milk…Cap’n Crunch flavor!

After food, tea and a hot shower, it was time to take a remarkably short drive (3.25 miles) to our very first roadside attraction, The Garbage Zoo. Located smack in the middle of a very wealthy neighborhood, it covers three acres of land owned by the wealthiest family in San Diego county. Featuring larger than life size statues of over 300 animals, all built from assorted types of non-food garbage, it apparently attracts over a million visitors a year (at only $3.00 a head), much to the chagrin of the neighbors. The place opened in 1989 after a series of lawsuits and, I strongly suspect, greased palms of politicians & judges.

Now, none of these statues are permanent, as our guide informed us. Most are kept around for 6 months or so, then taken apart and either used to build new statues or recycled. This building and rebuilding is all done by art students from UCSD and is paid for by a hefty grant from the folks who own the property. The mostly recyclable materials are donated by the county landfill.

It’s all quite cool and I reckon Grace & I took about 400 pictures. Unlike real zoos, pet type critters are welcome, so ours got to check out this place. Overall, I’d say they enjoyed themselves.

(Flash: That was an…interesting place.)

(Abby: The rosebushes were very tasty.)

(Sasha: There were squirrels living in that humongous giraffe!)

(Lucy: You wanna hear about squirrels, little sister? Oh, Flash and I can tell you about squirrels!)

Flash: Heh heh, oh yeah, we got a squirrel story alright!

(Bea: They had some pretty choice herbs growing in those herb gardens by the enormous hippos.)

The whole tour took about an hour and most of us agreed that the coolest statues were the troupe of mountain gorillas made entirely out of crushed plastic bottles and gallon milk jugs. The big silverback male was 15 feet tall and had pretty amazing detail. Several of us posed in “look out, King Kong has escaped” poses with it.

Of course, once the tour was done we hit the gift shop and bought our first round of t-shirts, postcards, bumper stickers and refrigerator magnets. Having done that, we are now on the road up the Pacific Coast to our next destination, Carlsbad and the first of not one or two, but three tourist traps.

More bloggage soon.

Radio Station: “Newsreel”, Great news reports from 1922 – 1959

Destination Sign: The Moon

DogCon 5, Trip Day 1, Part 3

We interrupt this section of the trip report to finally tell the story of: The Return Of Avis & Avis.

OK, so readers of last years report know that Avis got duplicated due to a goofy series of events that triggered some quantum level timey wimey shit that I’ll never come close to understanding. The cool thing about it all, once everyone got done freaking out, was that my good friend could finally go to CatCon (remember, the con name switches between canine & feline each year) and go to GenCon, which she hasn’t missed in decades and which you know we are missing because we are going on this imaginary con trip.

Anyway, Avis was at home a few days before we were due to leave for DogCon and she woke up on a Thursday morning to find her duplicate snoozing next to her. As she tells it, it took her 4 seconds to realize what happened and then call me. I’ll mention in passing that Avis woke up at 7 AM that morning…on the East Coast. That means my phone rang at 4 AM.

To her credit, Avis was not quite as panicky as she had a right to be, probably from being duplicated a year ago, which I think tends to reset your Weird Shit-O-Meter. She asked me what the fuck was going on, a question I had no answer for, especially at that unholy hour of the day. Generally speaking, at 4 AM I’m doing pretty well if I can give you my name. I did my best to calm her and then told her I’d get Joe right on it in a few minutes. Then I suggested that this might be a good time for her to take care of stuff around her house and such. She agreed that was a good idea, then said goodbye and hung up.

I called Joe and gave him the scoop. He then called Avis and talked to both of her, after which he called me back. It seems that Avis had been thinking of the trip last year and wishing she could go to both cons again. Meanwhile, the other Avis, who apparently actually comes from a reality almost exactly like ours, had been wishing the same thing. At this point you can insert about 15 minutes of Joe talking about “transdimensional convergences”…blah blah blah…“echoes in the quantum foam”…blah, blah, blah…”spontaneous energizing” and even more blah, blah, blah. The upshot was that Avis would be in two places in our reality for at least the duration of the trip and the con.

After that, I called Avis and told her I’d send her some money from the “Chocolate Account” (we found out last year that we could sell the chocolate from the Chocolate Room for a nice profit) via PayPal and one of her could fly out here to the West Coast to join us for the trip. Thus, a couple of days before we left, Avis arrived. She said that by the time she left, her house was shiny clean and organized, her various chores were caught up and she had read 11 books.

Lucy: We critters love Auntie Avis! She gives good tummy rubs!

Flash: Yeah, and she knows how to treat a cat!

Abby: And she likes goats, too!

Bea: She said I was very pretty!

Sasha: She rubbed my tummy and petted my ears!

We now return to our regular trip report.

Our first stop, in Carlsbad, was actually a big time tourist attraction, Legoland USA. It was fun and cool and we spent a couple of hours there, but really, you can read all about Legoland online.

The really cool roadside attraction, which coincidentally is also based around kids construction toys, is only a couple of miles further inland: Tinker Toy/Lincoln Log City. According to our guide, the now 75 year old youngest son of the original builder, this place started because his dad wanted to spend time with his three sons and all of them loved building stuff with Tinker Toys and Lincoln Logs. It helped that old dad had made a bundle in cattle, oil and later, real estate, because it allowed him to buy a couple million buck worth of both toy sets straight from the factories over the years.

They put all those colored dowels, little wooden hole filled rounds and pre-cut mini logs to great use. Housed in a big warehouse now, the city measures 275 feet by 100 feet and has buildings up to 60 feet tall. There are also farms and fields where strange Tinker Toy creatures frolic. It was actually more impressive than Legoland, which was built by a big corporation.

We were there for about an hour or so and actually bought all of the t-shirts they had left. Sadly, no fridge magnets.

Next, we did a couple of hours of San Diego sightseeing.

Flash: During this time, we critters spent our time in the meadow room, where I stalked, dispatched and dined upon a few mice.

Bea: I wonder why those mice or insects never leave the meadow room?

Lucy: It’s because of those damned SmartBots!

Sasha: That meadow is fun to run around in!

Abby: The meadow has tasty tasty weeds!

Insert a quick stop to eat burgers, fries and shakes at In N Out, which for several of our happy crew was a first.

Flash: Son of a bitch! If I had known there was gonna be burgers, I wouldn’t have scarfed all of those mice! I slept through the entire lunch stop.

Sasha: Sucks to be you, Flash. I had a Double Double, minus onions.

Lucy: Ditto on the Double Double action!

Abby: Bea and I had fries & shakes.

Bea: They were yummy!

Flash: I hate all of you!

Our third stop of the day was up the road a ways and right next to Camp Pendelton, the big Marine Corps base. It was “The World Famous Camp Pendelton (not affiliated with the United States Marine Corps) UFO Museum. It’s in an old house on a big cattle ranch and if you think the old couple running the joint are a bit odd, you are on the money. As with most UFO museums, this one started off because the old couple saw “strange lights in the sky” which they soon decided were “spying on our military” nearby. Oddly, the Marines don’t have a clue about any of this, which our hosts told us was “proof of a government cover up”.

As with almost all of these places, the photos and videos were shaky and blurry, the “strange metal fragments” could have been anything and there was a self published book you could buy. Spike bought one of the books, several of us bought t-shirts & bumper stickers and we were out of there in under an hour.

Lucy: We were out in the country, with rabbits and cows and chickens and things…and we were locked in the bus! WTF, Dad?

Flash: What Lucy said!

Sasha: Yeah, we could have been going walkies!

Abby: Carnivores…go figure.

Bea: I went back in the Meadow Room for a frolic.

We are now stopped in San Clemente because there ain’t no way I’m driving in rush hour traffic in the City of Angels. Instead, we are about go walk along the beach before continuing on around 7 PM. After that, we’ll be spending the night in Malibu.

The blogishness continues later.

Radio Station: “Punk Broadway”, Punk bands doing the great Broadway show tunes

Destination Sign: Grandma’s House

DogCon 5, Trip Day 1, Part 4

We are parked in Malibu, in the parking lot of a popular seafood restaurant owned by my old buddy, Tony Sanchez. Tony and I go way back and he was more than happy to let us stay here overnight. He also treated us to a seafood dinner the likes of which we may never see again. Hot damn, was it good! He even fed the critters, which explains why they are all konked out. Of course, so are almost all of the humans, too.

Our trip here from San Clemente went smoothly. While I drove, everybody else watched half hour episodes of the live action tv series “Dungeons & Dragons”. I am reliably informed that the series did not suck. Later, after dinner, we played some boardgames and I got my ass handed to me at both Kill Doctor Lucky and Settlers Of Catan. Just was not my night.

Tomorrow, we are going up the coast where we should hit three more roadside attractions before stopping for the night. Also on tap for tomorrow, Joe expects to get the parts we need to fully repair the TARDIS unit.

I’m off to bed now, Catch y’all tomorrow.

Radio Station:Born In The USSA”, Celebrating the music of Ruby Springsteen and the E Street Band

Destination Sign: Sunnydale, CA

 

The Funky Chickens Go Looking For Trouble

…down in Ducktown

DogCon 5

This year, our fictional con trip report is dedicated to Winker (2004-2012), who was with us in person as we took the previous four trips and will be with us in spirit as we take this one. We all miss you, Winky.

DogCon 5, Trip Day 0

(Notes: As always, comments by our pets are in italics. Additionally, if you are a new reader to these faux con reports, I urge you to read the first four, which were reprinted over the last couple of months on this very blog.)

Yes, folks, it’s that time of year again when we pack up our old kit bags, round up our critters both real and imaginary, gather together friends (at the very least, that means our petsitter, Sharon), climb on board the recently released from storage Magic Bus and set out on the fictional open road for Critter City, Texas and DogCon 5, the greatest imaginary gaming & sci-fi convention in the world..

This year, we start our trip without our sweet Winkerdog, but with our sporty little basset hound, Sasha,

Sasha: Hi everybody!

our big girl hound, Lucy,

Lucy: Hello, folks!

our imaginary Dwarf Portuguese Jungle Cat, Flash,

Flash: Yo! Wassup?

our imaginary Dwarf Nigerian Goat, Abigail,

Abby: Greetings, folks!

and…

Apparently, going more than two years without getting a new imaginary pet is unacceptable to Grace. Thus, allow me to introduce our SECOND pet Dwarf Nigerian Goat, Beatrice.

Bea: Hello there!

She’s a fine, sweet tempered, brown & white, well behaved girl, but I have had to put my foot down on any more pets. No, really, Grace, I’m serious. Stop chuckling.

Flash: Yeah, right Dad. My money is on Mom.

Abby: Can You really ever have too many goats?

Lucy: Apparently not, according to Mom.

Sasha: I think having too many goats is like having too many dogs, not a real problem.

Bea: Unlike, say, having too many cats.

Flash: D’OH!

In other trip related news, we (meaning myself and Joe, our quantum mechanic) have made some modifications to the Magic Bus for this trip. Despite the total coolness of the three story (actually seven stories, if you count the 4 basement levels that nobody sane would go into) setup we had last year, at the urging of Grace, we went to a single level plan for the interior of the bus. I’ll miss the Bradbury Building style elevator and the firehouse pole that could let you go up or down, but the new setup is pretty swell.

The main room is now 60 X 60 feet with a 10 foot ceiling. Heading off rearward from that room is a long hallway that has 8 bedrooms (each with a bathroom), the critter bunkhouse (which is pretty friggin’ nice, even by human standards)

All Critters: It’s pretty friggin’ nice by animal standards, too!

and terminates at the greenhouse.

Abby & Bea: Mmmmm, the greenhouse.

The left hand hallway off of the main room is where you’ll find the gym (with pool), game room, library, room of shoes (an 80′ X 80′ X 20′ tall room full of big…like, 15′ tall…piles of all kinds of shoes. The animal love it and most humans like it, too.)

Lucy: Oh man, do we ever love that room!

Sasha: Shoes, glorious shoes!

Abby: King/Queen of the Shoe Pile! Best. Game. Evar!

the warehouse (where, sooner or later, you can find anything)

Flash: Dad and Zach found a jet pack in there! But don’t ever remind Mom about that.

Abby: Mom was so pissed off after that incident, she was cursing in tongues!

Lucy: I think she even breathed fire!

and the theater, which seats 50 and has an amazing inventory of movies not from our reality.

Flash: One of which is “The Adventures of AirCat”!

Off to the right of the main room, the hallway contains the kitchen/dining room, the pantry (which is about the size of our house),

Flash: The pantry…such a sacred and wonderful place.

Storage Room Alpha (where all cleaning supplies are stored), Storage Room Bravo (where we store and recharge the little SmartBots that use those cleaning supplies),

Flash & Lucy: Aargh! Those fucking robots! Oh, how we hates them, my precious!

Sasha: You two are crazy. Those robots just do their jobs. It’s not like they’re squirrels.

the meadow room (which sports a one acre meadow & woods for our critters to play in)

All Critters: The Meadow Room is the best place on the bus!

the hot tub room

Flash: Soaking for hours in hot water? Humans are nutty!

and, new for this year because sometimes odd rooms just pop up, the slide room.

All Critters: The Slide Room? Oh. Hell. YES!

That last room needs some explaining. See, partly because of the TARDIS Unit that allows our bus to be bigger inside than out and partly because of some quantum shit that makes my eyes glaze over and my mind start thinking of pizza when Joe tries to explain it, this room has a half dozen interconnected slides that cover all four walls, the floor and the ceiling. It’s all very Escher looking, but crazy fun, since once you start down a slide, you’ll keep sliding all over the room until you say “Enough!”, at which point you slide out onto the small slideless patch of floor just inside the doorway. When we first discovered this room, all of us spent about an hour sliding.

Flash: It was hella fun!

Lucy: I like the corkscrew slide part!

Sasha: I was sliding up a wall and across the ceiling upside down! UPSIDE DOWN!

Abby: There’s that one long straight stretch where you go like 60 miles an hour!

Bea: And what about the loop dee loops? Wow!

As always, the normal looking door next to the picture window in the main room leads to the Room of Chocolate, which is a smallish room that is always full of gourmet chocolate products.

(Flash: And off limits to animals, which we think sucks.)

We also have the multiversal QM radio on board, which means that we can listen to satellite radio stations from many other versions of Earth.

Bea: I hope we get to hear some roots reggae and maybe some ska.

And the destination sign on the bus has had many new places added to it.

Unfortunately, or maybe not, depending on your point of view, the part of our Tardis Unit that often lets us screw around with spacetime is not working. Joe has parts on order, but as of now they haven’t arrived. This means that for at least part of our trip, there will be no choice but to drive on the roads of our world, in the present day. Oddly, most everybody but me thinks this is a swell idea.

Lucy: Count me in that group!

Flash: Yes! Me, too!

Abby: Oh yeah, you betcha!

Sasha & Bea: That blows, because we’re new and haven’t got to do the timey wimey spacey wacey stuff!

Finally, our fellow travelers for this trip are the three members of the Jones family, the three members of the Mystery family, my nephew Zach, our good friend and petsitter Sharon and our friend Avis (who, for quantum blah blah blah reasons has split into two people again this year). I’ll write more about Avis and Avis tomorrow.

Just like past years, our trip will be long and meandering and include many stops at roadside tourist traps & attractions, especially any that are World Famous.

Ok, time for some sleep. The trip starts in a few hours.

Adventure Module Z-1: Secret Of The Pirate’s Tomb

…ooh, spooky!

 

A reminder to you, Gentle Readers, that the 2012 DogCon 5 trip/con report will start up on August 2 (this coming Thursday) right here on this blog. We’ll have 11 folks plus 5 pets (3 of them imaginary and all 5 doing commentary) on the bus this year and we’ll be taking the very very long way to Critter City, Texas and the con. Many roadside attractions, nearly all of them World Famous will be visited, plus there will be a super special musical number performed in Seattle. There may or may not also be…

Slight trip diversions into other times/places
Naughty pets
Elves…real no shit Elves
Squirrels!
Iron Chef: Magic Bus
The Return Of Giant Roadside Jesus
Pie
LARPs for animals
Duplication of a live human being
Lots of Chocolate
Aliens

So tune in here starting Thursday.

NOTE: Some days will have more than one daily report, so check back often.

And now, Doclopedia posts!

 

The Doclopedia #671

Two Characters In Search Of An Adventure: Super Armored Man & Gadget Hero

Horoshi and Gen are childhood friends who have always been obsessed with superheroes. As children and young teens, they would hang out for hours reading comic books. Fortunately, they both had parents who chased them out of the house to go get some exercise, which they mostly did by tramping around the mountains near their rural community. As the grew older, they stayed nerdy, but were also active in sports, with Horoshi doing very well in wrestling and baseball and Gen being captain of the track team.

One day, when the boys were very near to leaving home for university, their final hike through the woods took them near the home of eccentric old Professor Okano, a mad scientist according to local rumor. He had recently died and the house was awaiting his estranged son, an important businessman in Tokyo, to come and take care of selling everything off. Being very curious, Horoshi and Gen decided to go into the place just for a quick look around.

Once inside, they could find no evidence of a laboratory until Gen accidentally pressed a button on what he thought was a television remote control. The next thing they knew, a piece of the floor slid away revealing a stairway that went down 24 steps into a very large high tech laboratory. Naturally, they just had to go check it out.

The wonders that laboratory contained were amazing and the more the boys found, the more they realized that this stuff could not be allowed to fall into the wrong hands. Besides, there was stuff here that a couple of superheroes could use. Armed with this knowledge, they decided to make the lab their secret base. This was made a whole lot easier when they found the rear entrance that lead to a secret door in an ancient and abandoned shrine in the forest.

It’s now four years later and Horoshi & Gen are out of university and working for a big corporation as IT guys. It has also taken them four years to learn about and learn how to use the hundreds of gadgets that the lab contained. This was made much easier once they figured out how to activate Yoki, the super computer AI that runs the lab, including the little Fabricator Bots who build things.

The time has come for Horoshi to don his armored battlesuit and for Gen to put on his costume and select some gadgets. There is crime that needs fighting and Super Armored Man & Gadget Hero are just the heroes to fight it!

.

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The Doclopedia #672

Two Characters In Search Of An Adventure: Tammi & Val

Tamara Mendez and Valentina Roberts were just two cousins from East L.A. who were off on a road trip to visit their grandparents in Texas after a short detour to Las Vegas to party a bit. They didn’t know that they’d end up meeting and later beating the crap out of a couple of guys that, besides being a bit too damned sexually aggressive, turned out to be aliens. They also weren’t prepared to know that those two aliens were just two of many who want to conquer Earth. They sure as hell weren’t expecting an ultra-secret government agency to offer them training and jobs hunting the Alien Menace.

They almost turned the job down until they were told what they would be payed. That changed everything. Best of all, they could work out of their home neighborhood because Los Angeles was a hotbed of alien activity. Not really surprising, when you think about it.

Now Tammi & Val are trained, geared up and ready to put the Latina Smackdown on any aliens they can find.