Halloween XXIII: The Return Of Michael Myers’ Cousin’s Roomate’s Cat

…insert spooky piano music and meow here

I did not plan for this to go up on Halloween, as it is neither spooky or funny, but this is how things work out. I’ve been meaning to write about this for years.

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The Final Goodbye

Let me preface this by saying that I do not at all believe in the supernatural, from the existence of ghosts to God. I don’t believe in any of it. Dead is dead.

That being said, I do understand I could be wrong and would be interested in any concrete scientific evidence to the contrary. So far, none exists.

What I do believe in, backed up by mountains of scientific evidence and personal experience, is that the human mind deals with strong emotions in endless ways.

The emotion I’m going to talk about is grief and how my mind deals with it.

And I’m specifically talking about grief after losing a non-human companion.

ROSCOE


In 2005, our first dog, Roscoe, died. He was old for a basset, nearly 16, and had health issues that only got worse in his last couple of years. His death was not unexpected, but still hit us very hard.

It was 18 months before we felt ready for another dog, at which point we adopted Daisy Ann (November 2006). A month later, we adopted Winker Sue (December, 2006). They filled a huge hole in our hearts.

In that 18 months before we adopted Daisy & Winker, I thought about Roscoe often, but I never had a dream about him or really felt that final moment where you really let go. I just sort of rolled along. After we got The Girls, I thought about Roscoe somewhat less often. I was dealing with two rowdy dogs and life and such.

But in February of 2007, just before I was due to go to Dundracon, I was sitting in the living room late at night when it happened. I was very tired and had just looked at The Girls sleeping in front of the TV when I saw something out of the corner of my eye.

It was Roscoe. The front door was open a foot or so and he gave me a doggy smile and a little woof. Then I heard him say, “You’ll be okay now, boss. I’m outta here.”

Then he walked out the door, which shut behind him.

I jumped in my chair, no doubt coming fully awake. Everything was totally normal. The Girls were still sleeping, the tv was still on the Food Network and the house was otherwise quiet. At that point, I felt tears running down my face and said “Goodbye, Roscoe”.

From that point on I felt a weight lifted from me. I still thought of the old boy, but I wasn’t sad. Even on the first anniversary of his death, which is always terrible, be the deceased human or NHT, I was not as sad as I expected to be.

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DAISY ANN


Fast forward a bit less than two years and we lost Daisy Ann to cancer. She was just over 6 years old and Grace, Winker and I missed her. I had been taking nightly long walks, sometimes up to 5 miles, with Daisy and I called her My Old Walking Partner. After she died in early January, 2009, I stopped taking nightly walks. My heart was not in it and Winker was not inclined toward long walks.

But after about 3 months, I decided to start taking walks again. For a couple of weeks, I avoided the streets that Daisy and I walked, but one night I set off on our favorite walk, just to see how I’d handle it.

I got about 4 blocks from home, at the intersection where we usually paused to decide which route to take, when I got the very distinct feeling that a dog was beside me. I looked down and just for a fraction of a second, saw a black & white blur turn down one street. I did not hear a voice, but I got the overwhelming feeling that I was supposed to keep walking while Daisy went off on another route.

I walked for well over an hour non-stop, crying for the first few minutes. After that night, I felt okay about taking walks in that area.

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WINKER

Winker was born with a pretty bad heart murmur and when we adopted her at age 2+, the vets from UC Davis told us she would never live the average 10-12 years that bassets usually do. We accepted that and loved her very much. She was our little one eyed sweetie.

In 2011, she nearly died from congestive heart failure, but with medication and love, she pulled through. However, the vet told me that her time was limited, with maybe one more year. As it turned out, she died just a few days over a year later, going downhill rapidly over about 3 days.

When Winker died in February of 2012, we had had Lucy for almost 3 years and Sasha for 2 months. That and knowing that Winker was on borrowed time tended to lessen the hurt. Having been through what I now called “The Final Goodbye” twice, I waited for Winker to do hers.

And I waited. And waited some more.

It was 6 months later, in August, that it happened. It was a Saturday morning and I was sleeping in. Grace was out on some errand and Sasha & Lucy were asleep in the living room. Then I felt a dog lick my hand (which was hanging off the edge of the bed) and I heard Winker’s distinctive whine. I was waking up when I heard her happy bark. Of course, she was not there, but I still cried a bit.

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LUCY LOUISE

Lucy was a mental mess when we got her. I have written about that before, so I won’t go into it here, but by the time she died from lymphoma, in August of 2013, she was much better. She had issues with most other dogs, but she loved Grace and I like crazy.

We had about 4 months to come to terms with her impending death, but of course, it is never easy. The fact that we adopted Daisy Mae just a few days after Lucy died did a huge amount toward healing us.

About two weeks after she died, I saw a dog that looked very much like Lucy at the dog park. For a variety of reasons, I had taken Sasha and Daisy there early in the morning and for even more reasons, I was about 3 days into some seriously shitty sleeping at night. I was pretty tired and a bit punchy and I still missed Lucy.

Turns out, that was the perfect formula for that dog to sort of morph into Lucy, but a happy and unafraid Lucy. She was running and barking having a great time. It lasted maybe 30 seconds and then I blinked and that dog was not Lucy, but I felt pretty happy. Sad, too, and still punchy, but happy. I took The Girls home and had a 5 hour nap.

And now we are on a path toward Silky dying. We have no real time frame, but if she is still here at Christmas, I’ll be surprised. Will Silky have a final goodbye for me? By now, I’m pretty certain of it. My mind will find some way to have one last moment with her, one bit of strong self-healing. It will let me know that it’s time to move on.

EDIT FROM 12/6/18: Silky died November 20, 2018. As of this writing, she has not said her final goodbye.

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We Have Love Biscuits!

…made with extra love, seasoned with lust

 

CritterCon 11

Trip Day One (by Daisy)

Hi, folks! Daisy here with our Day One trip report.

Daddy woke us all up at 6 this morning and Jeeves served up some great BREAKFASSSTTT FOOORRR DOGGGSSS! And cats, rabbits and skunks. We all chowed down and then found comfy spots for a little nap.

(Silky: In a living room with never fewer than six long sofas, it’s easy to find a comfy spot.)

(Goldie: This bus is insane, but also the most dog friendly place I’ve ever seen.)


The humans got up about 6:30, just as we were leaving South Sacramento headed toward Elk Grove. It’s pretty strange to look out the window and see all the houses spaced so far apart, but it’s also kind of nice. Businesses and stuff all seem to be in large shopping centers or malls. Same goes for any sort of industrial stuff.

Anyway, our first stop of the day was actually just south of Elk Grove and a few miles off the highway. It was the World Famous (because humans just love to use that term) Dice Museum. If you think for half a second that Daddy, Uncle Spike, Uncle Peter, Uncle Brian and Uncle Gabriel were gonna pass this up, you’re nuts. Fortunately, it opens at 7:00 in the morning for some reason, otherwise they might have broken into it.

(Sasha: Oh, I don’t think anybody but Daddy would have actually broken in.)

(Sadie: True. The others would have just waited for him to come open the door.)

(Roxie: Humans are strange animals.)

Now, I’m a gamer and own a few hundred dice, but this place was just crazy. The two dudes that own it, Rich and Tony, have 275,000 dice! Yes, you read that right, over a quarter million dice. The museum is in an old warehouse and has three levels. There are all sorts of plaques and stuff telling the history of dice and dice games and stuff. It was hella interesting and we spent two hours there. I think the only reason we left is because Mom and Auntie Mary started tapping their feet and folding their arms and giving Daddy & Uncle Spike the stink eye. Before we left, we bought t-shirts and bumper stickers and fridge magnets and yes, dice. Heroin got nothing on dice addiction.

(Misty: I must remember that foot tapping thing when Luke gets all absorbed in chatting up another fan of old musicals.)

Daddy put the Bus on autopilot and we all lounged around the living room talking about dice and games and how cool it was that everything was at 1980 prices.

(Leon: Cat food is like, less than half the price it is in 2018!)


About 45 minutes later, just south of Stockton, we stopped at our next roadside attraction, a Giant Jesus. Those of you who have read previous con reports know that Daddy loves checking out giant sized Son of God statues, especially if you can go up inside them. Auntie Mary is nearly as bad.

(Sasha: It’s some mental illness.)

(Luke: Says the dog who has never met a classic car show she didn’t stop at.)

(Silky: Or a dogpunk band whose album/cassette/cd she didn’t buy.)

(Sasha: You two suck.)


So I need to explain that on this Earth, in this United States, religion is not nearly as popular as it is on our world. Also, they tax churches if they make over a certain amount. For some reason, the tax code taxes “religious statues and historical monuments” at a much lower rate, so the churches put up these bigass statues or they try to get things and places recognized as historical monuments. All of them ask for donations for “upkeep” because they cannot charge for admission. And, of course, they have gift shops.

(Leon: Gift shop owners weep with joy when they see Uncle Doc coming.)

So this particular Jesus is about 70 feet tall and in excellent repair. He’s pretty realistic looking, too. Only 4 humans at a time can stand in his head, but only Daddy & Auntie Mary went up. The rest of us actually spent most of our time looking at a herd of cows that some cowboys were driving across the highway. When the two of them came down, they agreed that it was a good Giant Jesus, but not a great one.

(Max: Probably a good thing that Mr. C has no grandkids, or the poor little tykes would have to listen to him tell endless stories about Giant Jesus statues.)

When we got back on the Bus, those of us who are NHT went to the Game Room to play assorted games. The humans spent the next half hour chatting.

(Janet: I really enjoyed playing Dixit.)

(Penny: Yes, that was fun. So was Kill Doctor Lucky.)


Our third stop, at around 11:00, was in Modesto at the Old Toy Museum. Apparently, it’s not World Famous. The humans all really loved this place, with the words “I used to have this!” being repeated dozens of times. There are a whole lot of toys at that place, so if you are a human and ever get over to Earth 1-G, you ought to check it out. Personally, aside from the Star Trek stuff, I was not impressed. No rubber bones, no squeaky toys, not even a tennis ball!

(Silky: I opted to take a nap instead.)

After spending 90 minutes looking at old toys, everybody was hungry. We went to a place called Mama Marie’s Pizza and damn was that some excellent chow! We all got on the Bus almost an hour later with full bellies. Napping ensued.

(Leon: We may have answered the question “Can you eat too much pizza”.)


We actually got to our next stop an hour later, but Daddy let everyone sleep for another half hour before waking us up to see World Famous Skeleton Town in Chowchilla. Yes, it is exactly as the name says, an Old West town populated by skeletons posed in ordinary ways. Skeletons at the saloon, skeletons at the church, skeletons at the general store and jail and livery stable ans school and walking on the street! Human skeletons, horse skeletons, cow skeletons, dog, cat and bird skeletons. Skeletons of all sizes.

(Misty: I am now totally convinced that The Doctor possesses the mad ability to find the strangest roadside attractions.)

(Sasha: Oh, girlfriend, that one was nothing. The Serial Killer Museum and that goddamn Zombie Toontown or whatever they called it, were WAY creepier.)

(Sasha: Also, stop calling him “The Doctor”. You just feed his ego.)

(Misty: Sorry mate, but I’m an English bitch and when I meet an eccentric bloke named Doc who owns a TARDIS, he’s The Doctor to me.)


Now, dear reader, nobody likes a bone better than me, but this place was a fuckin’ creepfest! Okay, not as bad as the serial killer museum we once visited, but not far behind. Just to add to the creepiness, the family that runs the place is cheery and wholesome and now that I think of it, that makes them creepy, too. We spent 30 minutes there and I’ll probably have nightmares tonight.

(Goldie: I had a nightmare that bones wanted to eat me!)

After Creepfest 1980, we drove almost straight through to Bakersfield. I say almost because we stopped to check out another Giant Jesus, but it was only 25 feet tall and you couldn’t go inside it and it was kind of run down. Daddy was pretty disappointed.

(Luke: The rest of us, not so much.)


Right now we are all on the Bus, which looks like a Ford Econoline van and is parked in a Motel 6 parking lot. The kitchen bots are cooking up a feast and then we are all going to watch some local tv and old movies. Tomorrow, we resume our journey.

Live long and prosper,

Daisy

Destination Sign When We Started: The Mountains of Madness
Destination Sign When We Stopped: Cucamonga

The Happy Go Lucky, But Still Somewhat Creepy, Story of Mostly Purple Patty And The Road Trip To Saugus To Visit Uncle Ferd.

…co-starring her little brother, Very Green Gary

 

Random Stuff

1: Besides being hotter than 14 motherfuckers here in Northern California, the air is totally shitty with smoke from several fires.

2: The heat waves we have had off and on played hell with my garden. The squash and watermelons would not set fruit and my green bean vines just burnt to a crisp. Half of my tomato plants shut down, altho the cherry tomatoes slowly set fruit and 3-4 ripen each week. I’ll try again, next year with more afternoon shade.

3: I am considering going to Origins next year. GenCon is both too expensive and too much of a hotel room clusterfuck. Origins would not be cheap and I would not see as many friends, but it might be doable.

5: Alternatively, I could hit as many as 5 NorCal cons for the price of going to Origins. The two Sacramento Conquest cons cost me pretty much nothing, since I run games and they are about 4 miles from my house. KublaCon is getting big and is a great con I have not been to in years. DunDraCon, of course, is a given after 30+ years. Big Bad Con is also one I’d like to hit up.

6: Going further afield, but still on the West Coast, OrcaCon is another I’d like to get to.

7: Finally, it has been 13 years since Grace & I took a long driving trip. While having 4 dogs does make such a trip problematic (we do not board our dogs and we need to REALLY REALLY trust a dog/housesitter), it does not entirely rule it out, especially since we will have another car by next spring, something much larger than our current tiny Mazda 3.

That’s it for now. More bloggage soon!

Support this blog on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/DocCross

Dye Hard

…a little shout out to tie dyers

DogCon 9

Day Seven: In which we spend our last day at the con and finish it off with plans for next year.

This will be short and sweet, folks, since it is almost 1:00 am and the bus is rocketing across our great country at just under 150 miles per hour. Fortunately, we are cloaked and using back roads.

We had our final Critter City breakfast at Waffles From Outer Space, after which the day was all about playing games, buying games & other geekery, attending seminars and giving seminars. Spike, Daisy and I were all on the “Ask A GM Anything” seminar and then Spike and I were on a panel with two other folks for the “We Loves It/We Hates It” seminar. Both of those were the same great fun as every year.

The Post Con Cool Down party was quite different this year. Oh, there was still a huge variety of pies to try and much chatting and goodbye saying, but there was also a six page questionnaire about what we would like to see at the con next year, for the tenth anniversary. Over 1,600 people filled them out, plus in a few days it will be available to fill out online. Folks, there were many great ideas floated, let me tell you.

We left Critter City at 7:30, headed to Baltimore to drop off Spike & Mary, then New Hampshire to drop off Avis, Ginie, Leon & Roxie. After that we will make a beeline for home.

At some point in the not too distant future, I’ll expand this year’s report and add in missing critter comments, but for now, bedtime beckons. Until next year, this is Doc signing off.

DogCon 9

is over.
But we will all be back next year for…

CritterCon 10

(even if some of us go to GenCon)

Support this blog on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/DocCross

Introducing Luke Skywalker Cross

…8/6/16

And now we are six.

Doc, Grace, Silky, Sasha & Daisy Cross are very happy to introduce our newest family member, Mr. Luke Skywalker Cross. Luke is a Basset Hound/Standard Poodle mix, 8 years old and has had a very rough last few months. His owners died, he looks to have been a stray for a while and he got pretty badly hurt when he was hit by a car. He has healed up from the injuries, but being an older dog, was getting passed over at the shelter.

Cross family to the rescue!

Adopted today, we will get him cleaned and groomed, then put a few pounds on his underweight body. Luke is a gentle fellow who is fascinated by The Girls and eager to sniff out his new home. For their part, The Girls seem to have accepted him pretty quickly, as is the manner of Bassets and other hounds traditionally kept in packs.

He will be going onto the Magic Bus soon, so as to get up to mental speed with The Girls and Grace & I. Being half poodle, I’m thinking he will be smart. Being surrounded by three sisters, he will probably be smart to not bug them too much.

Pix coming after his grooming session.

Support this blog on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/DocCross

 

Hot Damn! It’s The Dancing Elks!

…and they’re wearing tuxedos

DogCon 9

Day Five: In which we reach Critter City, meet up with lots of friends and prepare to party.

Having spent the night less than an hour from Critter City, we all got up late today, around 9:30. After a fairly light breakfast, we got on the road and rolled under the big dome at 11:45.

After parking in the Hyatt underground and then getting all of our stuff into our suites, we went to meet assorted friends and then get our con badges and swag bags. Among the first dozen friends we met were Brian Misiaszek, his wife & daughter & dog. The Misiaszek family and Sadie have traveled to this con with us before several times and Brian is always involved in a couple of the old time radio productions we do, to say nothing of panels and games.

The swag bags at DogCon are always good and this year was no exception.Our bags included…

A t-shirt depicting a movie starring ConDog, the lovable mutt mascot of the con as “Dogtor Strange” and looking sort of Cumberbatchy.

Three six sided dice (mine were electric blue) with the 6 replaced by the DogCon 9 logo.

A poster for a low budget, Kickstarted movie called “It Came From Under Space”, which looks to feature a giant mole.

A super yummy (and safe for critters) lemon cookie the size of a tea saucer.

A book of discount coupons for favorite eateries like Chez Mom’s, Thai One On, Ed’s Big Weenie, Pizza My Heart, Waffles From Outer Space! (BACON & BUTTER FLAVORED SYRUP!) and Mistress Diana’s Breakfast Dungeon, plus a few free drink coupons.

A mini board game called “Carp Wars”

The con book, which this year is done up to look like a steampunk Journal Of SCIENCE!

Having gotten our swag, we all made our way to Ed’s Big Weenie to eat delicious hotdogs and look through the con book.

Since I have your attention, I will note that besides the seminars, panels and games that Spike, Brian, Peter, Sasha, Daisy and I run, this year will see Grace & Mary as part of a 6 person panel with the title “I Married A Gamer”. I am told it has already been moved twice to larger rooms.

And now we are back from dinner at Thai One On and are letting our tummies rest before heading out to the pre-con party and alcohol fest. This years theme is “Marvel VS DC” and costumes are provided. Oh, yeah, this year, there is also a critters only party sponsored by Non-Human Terrans of Texas. The theme for that party is “Summer of Love”.

More blogging tomorrow.

 

RAISING KOBOLDS FOR FUN AND PROFIT

…of course, you do have to feed them a baby or two

DogCon 9

Day Three: In which we do not have the most interesting of days, but still manage to spin off a new timeline or two.

It was hot in New Mexico today, averaging 103 most of our way across the state. Our East Coast contingent does not deal well with hot dry weather, so that plus a surprising lack of places we wanted to stop made the trip a mostly driving one.

Travel Tip: You cannot go all the way across New Mexico on I-10 because after Las Cruces (about a third of the way across the state) it dives down into Texas. Thus, we split off to Route 70 when we left Las Cruces, took that to Alomogordo, then took Route 82 the rest of the way to the Texas border.

Aside from stopping for lunch at a swell Mexican Restaurant in Alamogordo for lunch before going to learn all about how the USA learned to blow shit up atomically at White Sands Visitor Center, we stopped at two other places.

First was “The Strange Spot”, a place a few miles off I-10 near Deming where the desert rocks are set up in such a way as to cause multiple echoes and strange sounds from the wind in a sort of maze-like 50 acre area. You ride through it in golf carts and stop every few minutes to yell, then listen, then take pictures. The whole tour takes about 45 minutes and I’m pretty sure that without the small personal cooling units Sasha provided, Avis and Ginie would have melted away. But it was worth the buck fifty each and we did get t-shirts, bumper stickers and other stuff.

The next place was in the town of Artesia, where we came across the “New Mexico Youth Talent Show” being held in a rather large high school gymnasium. Now, at first, we were going to just pass it by, but when Daisy saw the sign saying “Free Admission” and “Everyone under the age of 18 free to perform” she told me to stop, then gathered the other critters and went off to the Meadow Room for a meeting.

About 45 minutes later, after the rest of us had played a couple of rounds of “Love Letter” and “Murder of Crows”, they came and said we needed to take the bus back in time to just before the event started at 10:00 am (it being by then about 2:45). We did so and they went to the Clothes Closet (which is about the size of a large Wal Mart) and came out wearing very nice suits (for Max and Leon) and skirts (for Daisy, Sasha, Silky and Roxie). The clothes were vintage early 60s lounge act looking.

Going into the gym, we noted that there were maybe 50 other acts and about 600 spectators. The critters signed up as the “Smooth Tones” from Taos. We humans got our seats and began a quiet conversation about what the hell was up. We didn’t worry about changing history, but we did wonder if this might cause some sort of temporary local disturbance that might see us making a hasty retreat to the bus.

The Smooth Tones were the fifteenth act on, coming after singers, dancers, magicians, two trained dog acts (one very good) a poetry reading and a couple of young men with excellent juggling skills. As the critters (in their teenage android bodies, I remind you) came out, the stage lights dimmed and they began an slow and loungy a cappella version of “Video Killed The Radio Star”, no doubt spurred by today being the 35th anniversary of the launching of MTV. They were terrific, as you might imagine from sentients with perfect pitch due to android bodies. The crowd, never having heard the song, was dead silent. Spike leaned over to me and asked my odds on this spinning off a new timeline, seeing as it was 5 years before the song would be released in England and 6 years before MTV would debut. I put it at about 85%.

When the song was done (including lead singer Max pointing right at a local TV camera as he sang “Put the blame on VTR!”) the crowd went wild. The critters came up to join us, followed by several young folks and a guy who gave them his card and said he was a talent agent from Dallas.

We watched another two hours of acts, including a young lady who sang a hymn with a voice that indeed sounded like that of an angel. The crowd loved her.

After all 50 acts had done their thing, the entire crowd got to vote. Angel Voice came in First, the Jugglers came in Second and the Smooth Tones came in Third. They won $100.00. They also signed a shitload of autographs, which I reckon raised the new timeline spinoff to 100%. Then we took out leave back to our proper time.

Note: The hundred bucks was donated to a local charity.

Having spun off an alternate timeline where, in a few years folks would say, “Hey, the Buggles ripped off that song!”, we drove the rest of the way to Highway 18, then down to Hobbs, where we are stopped for the night. We have all praised the Smooth Tones, in particular Max, and they will get their favorite meals for dinner, lovingly prepared by ChefBots Alton, Julia & Jacques. The rest of us will be eating Indian fare, also prepared by the ChefBots.

Entertainment tonight will be six half hour episodes of “Doc Savage: The Animated Adventures”, which make up the story arc “Devil Doctor”, featuring Doc vs Fu Manchu.

Tomorrow, it’s Texas and 1986! More blogging soon.