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)

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Chapter 704: In Which Our Hero, Being Without Funds, Cons A Pig Farmer Into Giving Him A Five Pound Note

 

…and a rasher of bacon.

 

DogCon 9

Day Six: In which I  update this report throughout the day, just to be different.

8:00 am: We started our day with a delicious breakfast at Pancakeville. That place never skimps on the portions. I highly recommend the cheesecake pancakes.

9:00 am: While most of our traveling band went off to play various games, Sasha and I did a seminar entitled “Mad Science In Your Game”. It was well attended and the audience had many thoughtful and borderline disturbing questions.

10:15 am: With Sasha off to address meeting of the Central Texas Non-Human Terran Association, I got into a game of Lords of Waterdeep. I am not winning, but it’s fun and it should be done in time for me to meet Grace & The Girls for lunch.

 

12:00 pm: We had lunch at Curry On Eating!, a damn fine new Indian buffet. We were joined by Avis and Ginie. There is some small possibility that we all crossed the line into “Ate Too Much” territory, but damn, fresh warm naan and goat curry!

 

1:00 pm: We met up with the rest of our party and some other folks for a rehearsal of tonight’s Old Time Radio broadcast of “The Adventures of Doc Mystery: The Laughter of Death!”. It will be an hour long and run from 8:00 to 9:00.

2:30 pm: Spike, myself and 4 other gamers over 50 did a panel  called “You Kids Get Outta My Dungeon!”, which for being a bunch of old farts talking about gaming pre-1990, was well attended and full of laughs.

4:00 pm: I ran another Toon game, this time for 24 players, including Grace, Silky, Sadie, Lauren, Mary and Max. It ran for 2 hours and we probably had 50-60 spectators at any one time. I was knackered when it was done.

6:30 pm: We had dinner at Chez Mom’s. I ate a chicken fried steak the size of a large frisbee.

7:45 pm: We are all in the Green Room at station KRTR awaiting the start of our show. More bloggage later before yet another party.

9:15 pm: Radio show finished. Some of us (Grace, Mary, Silky, Lauren, Sadie) went back to the hotel to relax and sleep. The rest of us are heading to the Costume Party, This year the theme is Zombie Robots, costumes will be provided.

 

2:30 am: Tipsy, but not drunk, Sasha and I are back from eating chili after the party. It was another very fun party, considering everybody was made up to look like badly rusted robots. We shall sleep now.

 

 

Radical Lorikeets Angered My Skinks

…you do not want to deal with angry skinks

DogCon 9

Day Seven: In which, while we humans eat an expensive dinner prior to yet another party, the critters discuss their day at the con.

Sasha: I started the day playing in the live critters only dungeon with Silky, Roxie and Sadie.

Sadie: It was lots of fun! I played a thief.

Roxie: I was a wizard of the School of Fire. I fried several zombies and a bugbear,

Silky: I was the cleric of the party, Sister Orella. I had my work cut out for me between healing Sasha & Sadie and smiting unbelievers.


Sasha: I was a barbarian with a bigass sword. We kicked ass.

Daisy: Max and I played board games until I had to do my panel on GMing.

Max: Yeah, I really liked “Mars Explorer”. It’s a competitive, but you also get points for helping other players out of jams.

Leon: I got into a minis war game at 8:00 am that lasted 6 hours. It was United Planetary Marines versus Martian Warbots on Mars. It was a pretty fast moving game considering there were 10 players.

Max: After Daisy went off to do her panel, I played a game of Paranoia with Sasha and Sadie. That was some funny shit.

Sadie: Yeah, we blew through about 4 clones each before we even got out of the briefing room.

Sasha: And another 3 down in R&D!

Roxie: Silky and I went to watch some anime. The first few episodes were Magic Girl stuff, which is fine, but then they started showing some goofy high school romance comedy that was just too goofy.

Silky: Yeah, the Japanese have a different sense of humor, for sure.

Leon: When my game finished, I went to the all cat play area. It was fun for a couple of hours. Then I went to the Dealers Room and bought some minis.

Sasha: Yeah, the three of us hit the Dealer’s Room, then went to the arcade to play the hell out of Pac Man and the like.

Max: I rule at Venture!

Sadie: I set a new personal record for Centipede.

Roxie: Sounds like we all had a fun day. So, who wants to order room service before we meet the humans at the party?

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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.

 

The One Day Late, But Still Shiny New, Story of Mostly Purple Patty And The Talking Ginko Tree.

…c0-starring her pet mink, Alma

 

DogCon 9

Day Four: In which we visit a bunch of places and then attempt to change history.

Our day, which began at 7:00 am, was longer than the actual hours of daylight and was pretty tiring. Because of this, you get the condensed report.

Places we visited

The Haunted Ranch House: Legend has it that in 1989, the lady of this remote place went batshit insane and killed her husband, her mother and father in law and three cousins. Since then, the place has reportedly been the site of all sorts of spooky shit, enough that nobody has lived here since 1960. The solemn, yet perky young Texas A&M coed that lead our tour showed us the areas where bodies were found and where spooky stuff was said to have happened, Sadly, nothing spooky happened on our 45 minute tour. Note: This place was destroyed by arson in 1994.

Rattlesnake Acres: This is your basic small farm that has been dedicated to housing 2,500 rattlesnakes of about 20 species and 18 subspecies. It’s pretty interesting and more than a bit scary. Unlike most Texas rattlesnake establishments, this place only milks them for antivenin and does not kill them for their sdkins. They also breed rare and endangered species of rattlers. Note: Still in business in 2016.

Jesusland: This is, or was, a sort of small fundamentalist theme park. In 1986, it has been open just over a year. There was a small roller coaster, a merry go round, bumper cars and a few other rides, all with a Biblical theme. There were maybe 200 people there today. Note: Jesusland closed in 1990, reopened in 1992, closed again in 1997 and was razed to make way for a Wal Mart in 2004.

Tiny Town: Yet another example of the type of roadside attraction based upon people with plenty of spare time building tiny houses and stuff and assembling them into a town. This one has an Old West theme and was somewhat more intricately built. Note: Still open in 2016, their 79th year.

Bob & Bessie’s Big Bad Barbecue: This alliterative place is where we stopped for lunch and the chow was crazy good. Some of the best barbecue I’ve ever eaten, which is saying something. Note: Still open and with three times the seating in 2016.

After all those stops, plus driving nearly halfway across Texas, we stopped for a bit so everyone but Spike, myself and Sasha could take a nap. The three of us, however, had other things to do, or rather, undo.

With Sasha along as a skeptical observer, Spike and I traveled forward in time and space to Roosevelt, Washington in 2010. We were right outside the building housing “Uncle Ferdie’s Trained Squirrel Review”. Yes, the same trained squirrel show that Lucy, Winker and Flash caused a riot at on our trip to DogCon 3. Our goal was to prevent that debacle AND another one a few years later.

Now, changing history is impossible, as Spike and I have learned the hard way. However, making sure history happens is dead easy. What we did today was a twist on the latter, but not really. Here’s how it went.

Spike and I set our ambush up about 5 minutes before our 2010 bus crew arrived as the humans got off the bus, we neuralized them and had them get back on the bus. Then we zapped them AND the critters, gave them memories of the whole event, then told them to drive 10 miles down the road, wait for half an hour, then proceed on with the trip, false memories intact. It worked like a charm.

Sasha’s jaw nearly hit the pavement.

We then went forward in time to our second visit to Uncle Ferdie’s, then implanted more false memories of a debacle. Again, it worked like a charm. We even implanted the thing were if we google Uncle Ferdie, we remember reading how he closed down a year after the Second Great Riot.

Except, of course, he didn’t. Uncle Ferdie’s Trained Squirrel Review is still in Roosevelt, Washington and doing 4 shows a day, 6 on weekends.

When we returned to 1986, we told everyone what we had done and they were pretty amazed. Spike and I celebrated with milkshakes.

And now we are at an RV camp about 45 minutes from Critter City, preparing to hit the sack. Tomorrow: the pre-con usual stuff,

More blogging soon.

The Real Housewives Of Hobbiton

…they mostly cook and eat

Our Dogcon report proceeds.

Day One: In which we travel through 1954 California and see many Giant Oranges.

At a few minutes before dawn this morning, we drove the bus over to Auburn Boulevard (about a mile from our house), popped back to 1954 (when it was also Highway 49) and headed west until we got to Highway 99 South. Our trip had started.

(Daisy: And all before any dogs…)

(Leon: ...or cats…)

(Max: …or rabbits…)
(Daisy: …were fed.)

We have traveled to some strange places, folks, but driving along roads I use every day, but 62 years in the past and a good 57 years before I remember first ever traveling on them was hella strange. Some buildings are still there in 2016, a few even still occupied, but most are gone. We saw motels, burger joints, diners, gas stations (remember, this was and still is part of the Lincoln Highway), houses, farms (!) and all manner of businesses. “Hamburgers! Buy ‘Em By The Bag!” read one sign. “Ice Cold Beer!” read another. “Rooms: $5.00 per night” was on a motel sign. Gas, by the way, was about 18 cents a gallon.

(Silky: Wow, the past smalls funny, yet oddly familiar.)

(Sasha: People smell a little stinkier, at least to us dogs. We approve of this.)


Everyone was looking out the windows, checking this all out. Spike was riding up front with me and we chatted about how this might be a fun thing to do in Baltimore, Toronto and other cities.

Speaking of Spike and I, it behooves me to point out that everybody on this trip has been fitted with a personal holo-projector that will make sure we look period proper in the 50s and beyond. With our long hair and beards, Spike and I would stand out like whores in church in 1954. The womenfolk would also attract unwarranted attention. And just to avoid any REAL catastrophes, the critters will be in android bodies whenever off of the bus. Also, our destination sign is off and the bus is no longer tie dyed, it is now white and says “XXXX First Church Of God” (with the XXXX being constantly updated to a town 100 miles further along the road) in big blue letters. We also have a sound unit to make the normally quiet bus sound like a 1940 school bus with high mileage.

After about 2 hours of driving the 60 mile an hour speed limit and stopping to take pictures every so often, we ate breakfast at the Red Barn Restaurant, in Lodi. I’m pretty sure at one time or another, every town in North America had a Red Barn Restaurant, most of them little independent joints like this one. The food was great, the service was great and the prices were crazy great. 12 people ate for just over 25 bucks, including a buck fifty tip. The only slight eyebrow raiser for out waitress was when Max (a vegetarian because rabbit) asked for fruit for breakfast. Thinking quickly, Daisy said “My fiance is having some digestive problems” and all was cool. Well, except for Max who was stunned to hear Daisy use the word “fiance”.

(Max: It just caught me off guard!)
(Leon: Dude, you looked like a deer in the headlights!)
(Sasha: I checked as we left to see if he pooped.)

Around 8:45, full of very tasty food, we got back on the bus, but only after “Pastor Cross” was asked by a carload of folks traveling north to do a little pre-breakfast prayer for them. Despite me being a lifelong atheist, many generations of Southern Baptists, Irish Catholics and Portuguese Catholics is in my DNA, so I was able to pull it off very convincingly.

(Sasha: I got the feeling that Daddy would make a hell of a fire and brimstone Pentacostal evangelist.)
(Silky: He’d sure be making more money.)
(Roxie: He has a nice preaching voice.)

We drove for another 3 hours, stopping once to take pictures of the House Made Of Glass, which was closed to the public and scheduled for demolition, and once for the Giant Jesus Of Merced. As Giant Jesuses go, it was merely ok. It was barely 18 feet tall and the sculpting and paint job were very average. Still, another one for our photo album.

(Daisy: Definitely not even in our top 20 Giant Jesus List.)
(Leon: What kind of family has a Giant Jesus List?)
(Sasha: The kind with our Dad in it.)
(Daisy: Don’t even ask about the competing Museums Of Body Parts Lists that Dad and Auntie Mary have.)

As we drove along 99, we saw a vivid memory from my early childhood: Giant Orange drink stands. Indeed, you’d see one about every 20 miles.

For those of you not from California or born after about 1970, these stands were, well, let’s read this bit from the Weird California website.

In 1926 Frank E. Pohl started his chain of “Giant Orange” stands opening up his first orange shaped stand on what was 11th Street near E Street in Tracy. Before trying out orange juice stands, Pohl had a giant lemon from which he served lemonade in Menlo Park called Jumbo Lemon Stand. But his first “Giant Orange” was in Tracy, California and spawned a franchise and imitations throughout California. The franchise peaked in the 1950’s with approximately 16 different stands built throughout Northern California from Bakersfield to Sacramento to Merced and Redding. It’s rumored that a stand could easily go through six thousand oranges during a week as it quenched the thirst of weary travelers who pulled over for a quick drink.

So yeah, there were more Giant Oranges along 99 and other routes from Redding to Los Angeles than you could shake a stick at. Naturally, we stopped at a couple for cold drinks and pictures. I think the last time I drank at a Giant Orange was about 1971.

The rest of our trip saw us stopping at a burger joint for lunch (cheeseburgers were 20 cents each, real milkshakes were a 30 cents), viewing a bunch of plaster statues telling the history of Fresno and closing down a roadside zoo.

For those of you who are under about 45 years of age, roadside “zoos” used to be very common. They generally featured wildlife native to a given area, plus a few monkeys and maybe a chimp and a lion or bear. They were almost universally small, dirty and terrible for the animals. When we saw the first sign advertising one at a truck stop north of Bakersfield, I could see the critters tense up. Being pretty pissed off by the thought of suffering animals, I was also pissed off and so we stopped.

It was pretty large as such things go. Lots of local wildlife, including 4 deer, plus two lions, two bears, a wolf, two chimps, a half dozen monkeys and an elephant. The cages, while clean, were way too small and little was done to mitigate the 100 degree heat

Normally, if one of us is going to go off on a tear and try to change history, it is usually Sasha or I, but this time, it was Silky (in an 18 year old looking human body). Below, the transcript.

(Silky walks up to the owner of the place, a big beefy ex-Texan, with her fists clenched and a neuralizer in her hand. There are about 30 other patrons standing around.)

Silky: “Hey, you son of a bitch!”

(Texan turns quickly to look at her and she drops him with a roundhouse right.)

Silky: “I did NOT fight Nazis in the war just to come home and see this shit! Game over, motherfucker!”

(There are many gasps in the crowd. Silky holds up the neuralizer and zaps everyone but us.)

Silky: “You will all get back in your cars and leave here. You will NOT ever again tolerate animals being treated like this! You will be KIND to animals for the rest of your lives! Now get the fuck out of here!”

(The crowd disperses rapidly. Silky turns back to the Texan. Spike, Sasha and I look at each other. It is looking like this is an instance of MAKING history, because you cannot change it. Silky zaps the Texan.)

Silky: “Listen up, you cowboy asshole. You are going to close this zoo permanently TODAY. You will release the animals that can survive in the wild and then take the exotics back to their homelands OR a really top notch zoo. You will spare no expense in doing this. You will then devote the rest of your life to helping animals and shutting down these fucking roadside zoos. Now DO IT!”

(After a few seconds, the Texan springs into action, yelling at his helpers to cool these animals down. We all get back on the bus and Silky, now back to more or less normal, asks Jeeves to please pour her a double synthehol bourbon on the rocks.)

After we were back on the road, Sasha checked the timeline and found out that, sure enough, that guy and many other animal rights activists started their careers that day. Another case of one of us causing history to happen as it should.


(Daisy: Holy fucking shit!)
(
Roxie: That was incredible!)
(
Leon: That was a wicked bad punch she gave him!)

The rest of the trip was much less eventful, being mostly through the desert to Blythe, where we stopped for the night. We had dinner in Palm Springs and saw several big name stars like Bob Hope, Ray Milland, Benny Goodman, Shirley Temple and Barbara Stanwyck. Even better? A ritzy meal for 12 cost me only $157.87! SCORE!

So right now, we are parked off a side street in Blythe. Tomorrow we shift to 1968 and drive across Arizona. Right now, however, I am off to play some games and partake of pints of Guinness.

More trip reportage tomorrow.

Jollyfish

…MUCH happier than Jellyfish

It is that time of year again, folks…

DogCon 9

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Mink On The Brink Begins To Drink And Think

…and yes, stink.

CatCon 8

Day 12: In which we head home, but only after hitting a brand new roadside attraction.

So, we interrupted out trip home (actually, our trip to Spike & Mary’s) with a stop at the, you guessed it, World Famous Sex Toy Museum. As museums go, this one is both fascinating and a bit repetitive. I mean, you see one dildo, you’ve seen them all, right? Well, except for the one from ancient Egypt and the solid gold one and the one that looked less like a dick and more like a snake.

One thing you learn is that not only has vibrator technology improved, but sex toy technology in general has improved. One look at a blow up sex doll from 1980 next to one from today will prove that.

So we bought the t-shirts and stuff and took pictures standing next to the 30 FOOT TALL DILDO in the lobby. Quite a way to remember our visit.

After we took Spike & Mary home, we started back toward California. About 10 minutes later, Avis popped out of our universe and we used some gadget of Sasha’s to send Leon home.

(Sasha: It was a goddamn TELEPORTER, Daddy! You knew that. “Gadget”…HRUMPH!”)

We are all home now and relaxing, another trip to Critter City on the books. We hope you enjoyed this years report, even if it was a bit shorter than in past years.

Doc out.

CatCon 8 is over

but the Cross Family & Friends will be back next year for…

DogCon 9

The Almost Certainly True, But Still Damned Hard To Believe, Story Of Mostly Purple Patty And The Singing Dugongs

…co-starring her mom, Mostly Green Josephine

CatCon 8

Day 11, Con Day 4: It’s all about the pie!

The convention is almost over and, as we do every year, we had big fun. Last night’s Old Time Radio shows went of without a hitch and were very well received. Next year, the con staff wants to do Old Time Radio broadcasts all 4 days of the con, from noon to midnight. AND, they want to do a different decade every day. I volunteered to do a late 60’s freeform FM show.

(Silky: I’m looking forward to that.)

As we do every year, Spike & I (this year joined by Peter, Brian and 4 others) took part in the two hour “Ask A GM ANYTHING event. This year was another treasure trove of questions ranging from goofy to well thought out. Most fun question? “Can you read from a rulebook like a preacher reads from the Bible?” We used the first edition AD&D books, mostly quoting Gary Gygax at his most verbose and, dare I say, preachy. I gave my reading a real old fashioned fire & brimstone treatment.

(Daisy: Daddy got several “Amens” and even healed three people of their addiction to house rules.)

We also did the “I Love It/I Hate It” event. As one might expect with a room full of over 500 geeks, there was a wide variety of things to hate or love.

And now, Gentle Readers, we are about to head into the Post-Con Cooldown Party, which many of you will remember is a huge pie eating festival. This year, they have 50 different kinds of pie. Since we have an ever full ice creal locker, we supplied 50 kinds of ice cream. I predict many full tummies.

(Sasha: One of which will be mine.)

After going comatose from pie eating, we will get on the bus and head to the “Oklatexas RV Park”, up on the state line. Tomorrow, everyone goes home and this trip is a wrap.

Blog ya later, alligators!

The Pastry Goblins Attack The Ice Cream Dwarves!

…it’s war!

CatCon 8

Day 10, Con Day 3: It’s all about the Old Time Radio!

Very quick report today, kids!

Breakfast: Ate at Mistress Diana’s Breakfast Dungeon. Great food and the décor is quite eye opening.

(Daisy: WOAH! WTF?)

(Leon: And humans laugh at us because we lick our butts?)


Seminars: Went to two. Sasha went to one. Daisy moderated one on “Gming for a Human Group”

(Daisy: I had a full house for mine!)


Games: I played in one, Sasha in one, Silky in three, Daisy in two.

(Silky: To be fair, mine were all short demos.)


Other Fun: The girls and Sadie & Leon are going to the Pets Only Amusement Park tonight.

(Daisy: Sasha has a date with a foxhound!)


Lunch: Hot Dogs from Ed’s Big Weenie

(Silky: Mom & Auntie Mary giggled the whole time.)

Buying: Too much to list.

(Sasha: Because you know we don’t own enough games already.)

(Silky: Says the dog that owns 8 Cadillacs.)

Rehearsing: TWO Old Time Radio shows. “The Adventures of Doc Mystery” and “At Home With The Geekmans”

Dinner: Ate with a big group at Taco The Town.

(Leon: Fish tacos = love.)

Leaving now for the big broadcast. Afterward, it’s the Game & Dance Party.

More blog-o-rama tomorrow.

Bucky & Squint Take A Goose To The Movies

…not their best idea

CatCon 8

Day 9, Con Day 2: It’s all about the warm mud!

This morning, a great number of us had breakfast at Waffles From Outer Space!, which I may have mentioned in the past has BACON & BUTTER FLAVORED SYRUP.

(Sasha: Every year, Daddy buys a 5 gallon jug of it to take home. It seldom lasts beyond January.)

After loading up on some crazy good waffles, we all went off to do various con stuff until it was time to meet up for out annual outing to the Mud In Your Eye Spa.

This year our group of spa goers numbered 20 and with the exception of Leon, we all slid into our tubs of warm mud.

(Leon: HELL NO! You humans & dogs have lost your damned minds.)

As always, laying in very warm mud for 45 minutes drinking mimosas is pretty darned relaxing. We chatted about all sorts of things, including the 24 hour Killer Dungeon that started at 10:00 am.

(Silky: I was so relaxed, I dozed off.)

(Daisy: So did Mom, Auntie Avis and Uncle Peter.)

After the mud soak came the massages and we all pretty much fell asleep. When we were awakened, we got dressed and, relaxed and full of energy, hit the con again.

(Silky: Mom, Sasha, Auntie Holly & I walked around the Dealer’s room.)

(Sasha: Notice how nobody called me Doctor Octopus?)

(Silky: Well duh! After you slapped that 350 pound, 6’2” guy around yesterday, they all fear you.)

(Sasha: Mmmm…tasty human fear!)

Spike, Brian, Peter & I had a seminar panel (Alarums & Excursions: The Monthly History of Roleplaying) to be on. Avis & Mary sat in the audience, which was pretty big.

(Daisy: Leon & I went to play in the Dogs & Cats Team Up For Charity arena game.)

(Leon: We played a Barbarian Swordsbitch and Wizcat!)

(Daisy: We finished second. A Doberman and a Tonkinese won the event.)

(Leon: $4,600 raised for the SPCA, baby!)

Later, we all had dinner at Chez Mom’s. I ate about half of a large meatloaf. Grace had a slab of catfish filet that was bigger than Daisy.

(Sasha: I am SO FULL!)

(Leon: Yeah, full of…)

(Sasha: I will skin you out and make a rug out of you, catboy!)

(Leon: GULP!)

Now it’s time to go play in that killer dungeon, then go to the Midnight Dance & Ice Cream Social.

More thrilling stories tomorrow.

To Grill A Mockingbird

…first, get your grill nice and clean

CatCon 8

Day 8, Con Day 1: It’s all about the LARPing!

Note: For info on the new names that appear below, see previous con reports.

On top of the gaming, seminars (two for me, three for Spike), GMing (me, Brian, Peter, Daisy),

(Daisy: I ran a dogs only Paranoia game. It was hilarious.)

eating (Pancaketown, Big Slabs O’ Meat, Ring of Fire)

(Sasha: I love Big Slabs O’ Meat! I want to live there.)

(Sadie: Oh yeah, love that meaty goodness!)

and other frivolity, we joined about 200 other folks, human & otherwise, for a village adventure LARP entitled “The Secret of Winkleville”. We all played villagers, with the exception of myself, Avis, Silky and a goat named Reggie, who played agents of the King. Unbeknownst to us, Grace, one other woman, a cat and a pig were playing agents of the Queen.

(Sasha: I played Sookie Fullbottom, a halfling artist.)

(Daisy: I was Wurfee, the ghost hound. I pretty much scared the crap out of everybody.)

(Leon: I was Rudolfo, the wizard’s familiar.)

(Sadie: I played Mrs. Junkins, a cranky old woman.)


It was a fun three hour LARP and mysteries were solved, love was declared, evildoers were vanquished and a Belgian Malinois was elected mayor. I should also add that at one point, the agents of the King & Queen got into a duel. Grace was about to run me through with her sword when we all sighted our mutual enemy, Baron Thugg and gave chase. We eventually caught him and hauled him off to jail.

(Daisy: Mom is still giggling about beating daddy in a sword fight.)

After the LARP, we all went off to do other stuff. Right now, we are resting up before attending the First Annual CatCon Film Festival.

More bloggage tomorrow.

White Drunks On Pope

…Irish Catholics, no doubt

CatCon 8

Day 7, Con Day 0: It’s all about the goodie bag!

We arrived in Critter City about 10 am this morning, after stopping for a hearty breakfast at Chuckwagon Jim’s, a pretty darned good place to eat.

(Silky: Biscuits & gravy for dogs!)

(Leon: Fried catfish for me!)


Our rooms were ready for us at the Hilton, so we were able to unpack and get set up in record time. After that, we started off for the convention center to get our badges and goodie bags.

When we saw the con center, we all stopped dead in our tracks. There, above the entrance, was a big mural depicting Lulu (back when she was still Lucy) & Flash winning the big Dog Race. Under it were the words “Goodbye, Lucy/Lulu & Flash. We will miss you.” Several of us cried.

(Daisy: It was beautiful!)

(Sasha: I bawled like a puppy.)

Once we composed ourselves, we went in and got our stuff, then went over to Mink’s Cold Drinks (run by Ed & Georgia Mink) for refreshments and to check out the swag. The inventory was…

A great looking con t-shirt

(Silky: I got a red one.)

(Daisy: Mine was orange.)

The con book, which looked like a 1930’s Popular Mechanics magazine

A deck of “Muskrats: The Gathering” cards

Coupons for many businesses in town and in the dealer’s room.

(Sasha: Including one for dinner at Chez Mom’s! Yum!)

A comic book about the adventures of Captain CatCon

A miniature. Mine was a pig wizard.

(Daisy: I got a rabbit barbarian.)

A snack box containing a chocolate chip cookie, a bag of M&Ms, a bag of Critter City Chili & Lime potato chips.

(Daisy: The snacks were different for critters. Venison chews! YUM!)

A “Make The GM Re-Roll Once” ticket, usable in any game at the con.

(Daisy: I predict these will see much use.)

Assorted fliers for Various old & new games

A token for one free beer (human or animal approved) at Moses & Jeff’s Texas Brewpub.

(Leon: Non-alcoholic beer for cats? A Sadine IPA? I’m in!)

A small booklet of photos from the previous seven cons.

(Silky: Lots of pics of us and those no longer with us. Very nice.

While we sat and checked that stuff out, many friends found us. We made dinner arrangements to all meet up at Thai One On! For dinner.

Now we’re all heading back to our rooms for a short nap and then some goofing off before dinner.

More blogging tomorrow

The Rare & Beautiful Hopping Red Barrel Cactus Of Potawango Island

…try to stay out of their way

CatCon 8

Day 5: In which we recreate a hair raising ride, experience nature & Stupid Tourist Tricks and then just eat the hell out of ice cream

Glacier National Park, so far: To start with, I need to point out that on our first trip here (DogCon 3, in 2010), our Magic Bus was 32 feet long. This meant that it could’t traverse the Going To The Sun Road, the only road that bisects the park. This is because, due to the narrowness of the road and the steep dropoffs and the lack of guardrails along much of it (due to winter avalanches), no vehicle over 21 feet may go all the way through the park. To solve that problem, we simply made the bus into a shorter, 19 foot bus.

Now, the Going To The Sun road is cut right into the sides of the mountains, with steep hills on one side and steep drops on the other. Many of our party back then were a bit put off by this.

(Sasha: Having heard Mom, Auntie Sharon, Lucy & Flash recount the ride, I’d say “terrified” is the proper word.)

So as to prep everyone for this year’s drive, I ran us all through a cool virtual reality version. The results were less than great.

Grace hid in our bedroom. Silky joined her.

(Silky: NOT a fan of long drops!)

Leon disappeared for the whole trip.

(Leon: I was hiding in a cupboard. Flash was right, Uncle Doc is insane.)

Avis read a book and only looked out the window twice.

(Daisy: Auntie Avy is not insane.)

Spike seemed unfazed.

(Sasha: He even brought us drinks.)


Daisy buried her head under a pillow next to Avis

(Daisy: When my death comes, I don’t want to see it.)

Mary & Sasha sat right up front next to me and made ghoulish jokes about crashing off the mountainside.

(Sasha: And we sang a couple of songs, like “She’ll Be Crashing Off The Mountain When She Comes” and “Sixteen Pieces” (to the tune of Sixteen Candles).)

(Sasha: I’ll also not that in a rare showing of common sense, Daddy barely broke the speed limit throughout the entire trip.)

Things are indeed scenic and wonderful and natural and fucking near glacier free here. Thanks a bunch, global warming. We saw a fair amount of wildlife on the way up (we are now at about 8,200 feet altitude). When we got to the scenic viewing area at the top of the road, everyone left the bus (some faster than others) and we took in Nature’s Splendor. We also took in, as with last time…

Stupid Tourist Tricks!

Trick #1 was some dipstick trying to take a selfie with a couple of bighorn sheep in the background. The sheep did not find that amusing. Seconds later, they were chasing the doofus down the mountain. He escaped them by rolling and bouncing about a mile.

(Silky: Several of us who have either given birth or are just old laughed so hard we peed ourselves a bit.)


Trick #2 involved yet another dummy, this time a hipster guy, feeding marmots. Allow me to recount how this went in 2010.

There was the woman who was feeding peanuts to the marmots. After a few minutes, there were about 50 peanut jonesing marmots around her. Then she ran out of peanuts. You’d be surprised how fast a chubby middle aged woman can run when pursued by a seething horde of high altitude rodents.

When the hipster ran out of nuts, the marmots were on him like zombies on a slow runner. Luckily for him, he panicked and ran right off the side of the mountain. He rolled almost as far as the bighorn sheep annoyer, shedding marmots the entire way.

(Leon: I will still laugh about that when I’m old and dying. What a maroon!)

(Sasha: Talk about saying “Fuck you, hipster!”)

Trick #3 was the big finale as a teenaged girl, pissed off because there was no cellular coverage way up there, threw her iPhone way out into the open air off the mountainside. I’m guessing it went 2-3 miles before hitting a big rock. She realized what she’d done almost immediately and started to cry. Her parents & two younger brothers were no help, doubled over with laughter as they were. Then, to really ice the cake, a ranger told her she’s be fined $1,000.00 for littering unless she walked down and picked up all the pieces. As we were leaving, she was just passing Marmot Boy and Sheep Guy as they were staggering uphill.

(Daisy: I think her parents might have laughed themselves sick.)

(Leon: Bet your tail that her brothers will never let her live that down.)

After all that fun, everyone went back into hiding/whatever on the bus for the ride down to St. Mary’s, which was pretty much all on fire, necessitating us to make a jump to western North Dakota, where we decided to have a Pig Out On Ice Cream And Play Boardgames night. I think we must have eaten 40 kinds of ice cream.

(Leon: Tuna flavored ice cream? Hell yes!)

(Daisy: I like how Auntie Avy kept saying “well, maybe I’ll just have a bit more of this non-dairy ice cream”. That Fresh Peach had her hooked.)

(Sasha: Some day, I shall do a monograph on how much ice cream Daddy can eat. I think it defies laws of physics and biology.)

Now, it is time for bed. More thrilling trip reportage tomorrow!

Destination Sign when we started: The Sea Of Green

Destination Sign when we ended: The Motara Nebula

Radio Station of the Day: MERB, Martian Rock & Roll Radio, circa 2109

FOOOOD FOOOORRRR DOGGGGSSSSS! With Extra Stinky Sauce.

…dogs love the stinky sauce

CatCon 8

Day 4: In which we revisit a legendary roadside attraction and a tear or two of joy is shed.

It was in Dufur, Oregon, in 2010 that we went to see the World’s Largest Toilet paper roll, which was actually TWO huge competing rolls that were destroyed minutes later when their creators went batshit crazy. We all shed tears of sadness

(Sasha: I heard from Lucy that only Daddy shed any tears.)

For three years, the world was bereft of a giant toilet paper roll, but folks, I’m very happy to report that there is now an All New World’s Largest Toilet Paper Roll! HUZZAH!

Created by grandsons of the two original loonies, with help from several of their Cal Tech buddies, this roll was made in only 3 years and is twice the size of the other two COMBINED! No kidding, folks, it’s like 110 feet tall and set up in a weatherproof, climate controlled building. It’s beautiful!

(Daisy: Can you guess which of us chose this place to stop at?)

(Silky: Our Daddy is “special”.)

We paid our $25.00 group rate and went in to see things up close. There is a really nice presentation on the original rolls, with pictures and home movies. Then you see the story of how they were unraveled (much like the two old farts who did the unraveling) and how the grandsons vowed to rebuild this World Famous Roadside Attraction. There is an in depth explanation of the robotic toilet paper roll switcher that they built, as well as the rolling mechanism. It is inspiring.

(Sasha: Mom said it nearly inspired her into falling asleep.)

(Daisy: Auntie Mary wondered how many butts you could wipe with that huge roll.)

(Leon: I’ll never understand the human butt wiping thing.)

The place also has a well stocked gift shop, where we bought bumper stickers, fridge magnets, t-shirts, etc. I will wear my “I saw the World’s Largest Toilet Paper Roll in Dufur, Oregon” t-shirt with pride.

After seeing that attraction, we pretty much just hung out in the bus the rest of the day. Really, what could top what we had seen?

(Sasha: Ok, folks, here’s the real lowdown on Daddy. See, he REALLY likes goofy shit and that goddamn bigass toilet paper roll seems to hold a special place in his heart. So when we all got back on the bus and we all saw how satisfied Daddy was, we just didn’t have the heart to suggest going on to another place. Instead, we all went sliding in the Slide Room, explored the Warehouse, played games and had dinner at the Cobalt Club in an alternate New York, circa 1933.)

Destination Sign when we started: Mystara

Destination Sign when we ended: Frostbite Falls

Radio Station of the Day: WNYC, New York City, circa 1933

Mr. Feathers, Private Duck

…quack quack, tough guy!

CatCon 8

Day 3: In which have encounters of the canine kind and, late at night, there is a dog party.

A few years back, we were near Boise City, Oklahoma, when we saw a sign advertising the Dog Days Festival and we knew we’d have to stop. Turns out that Dog Days is a big gathering of dogs and their humans and it was hella fun.

We stopped there again today and it was just as much fun as before, except maybe for Leon, who is a cat and therefore not the target audience. Still, even he had some good times, what with being the only kitty for maybe 5 miles and people wanting to pet him.

(Leon: Yeah, it wasn’t so bad, especially with The Girls telling other dogs to shut up and show some respect.)

There were hundreds of dogs present, including at least 22 other bassets. We wandered all around eating snacks, listening to music and talking with dog owners.

(Silky: One booth had venison jerky snacks for humans and dogs. They were great!)

(Daisy: I only came in fifth in the Longest Ears Contest. Some Bloodhound from Tulsa won first place.)

We got t-shirts and dog collars and all manner of chotzkies. I even picked up 2 new bandanas. The big finale of Day One was a bluegrass concert and a barbecue.

Well, that’s not quite true.

(Sasha: Here it comes, folks.)

Since I am a member of the Frequent Urination Society, I had to get up about 2:30 am to take a leak. During that time, I could faintly hear music and other noise coming from somewhere in the bus. I went to take a look and when I got to the Meadow Room, I saw that a full on dog party was going on. Must have been 80 dogs in there. They were dancing to some dogpunk tune and barking and chasing each other and rolling around in fresh compost.

(Sasha: The song was “Hot Piss On a Cops Leg” by The Leghumpers.)

I saw Silky talking with a couple of black Labs, Daisy dancing with a Beagle and Sasha acting as DJ. I stood in the door for about 10 seconds, at which point they all smelled me, then saw me. Except fot The Girls, everyone was out of there in under 30 seconds. I then just said “BED!” and the three party hosts trotted off to bed while showing various levels of guilt.

(Daisy: It was Silky’s idea!)

(Silky: I said “let’s invite a couple of dogs over to talk for a bit”.)

(Sasha: I regret nothing!)

The next morning I told Grace about it and, in a moment that dropped all of our jaws, she merely said “Oh well, girls will be girls!”.

(Daisy: Daddy asked her if she was a pod person.)

More bloggage later.


Destination Sign when we started: Kandor

Destination Sign when we ended: Highway 61

Radio Station of the Day: KFRC “The Big 610” circa 1968

Zany Bullfinches Pestered My Hoopoes

…google it

CatCon 8

Day 2: In which we check out some monsters, the cheekiness of jackrabbits is discussed and Auntie Avis bakes pies.

Day 2 of our trip found us in Kingman, Arizona, where we visited the newly renamed and upgraded “Monsters Of The Desert!” Years ago, desert sculptors with time on their hands built something goofy and big, a kind of octopoid looking alien creature with three eyes. But in the last couple of years, they’ve added 5 new Monsters, so naturally we had to check it out.

(Silky: This was my pick of where to visit, folks.)


One of these monsters looks sort of like a giant praying mantis made out of stainless steel, crushed glass, plaster and about 15 colors of paint. It stands across from two 30 foot tall creatures made of old plastic milk jugs, flattened tin cans and some sort of plastic foam. They look like crazed yetis.

(Daisy: Real yetis are much scarier. Flash & Leon once poked one with a stick It was not amused.)

(Leon: No shit! That damned thing chased us 3 miles! It was wicked pissed off.)

Then there is the winged triceratops creature that uses an old school bus as the basis for it’s body, then added on tons of plumbing fixtures. Finally, there is “Ograntor!”, a 75 foot tall giant ape/ant/platypus thing built out of concrete, steel and what looks like about 6 months worth of the empty booze bottles from Las Vegas.

(Sasha: Hmmm…giant apes…hmmm.)

(Leon: You are crazy, Sasha!)

(Sasha: What part of “mad scientist” confuses you, cathead?)

We wandered around for about 90 minutes, because what the signs along the highway don’t tell you is that while there are only 6 giant monsters, there are over 150 smaller ones scattered about, some no bigger than my fist. Some can move a bit and have motion detectors built in, so they only move when you get close. This startled some of our group.

(Daisy: HAHAHA! One of them scared Sasha so much, she pooped!)

The whole place is surrounded by high chainlink fence, too keep out vandals. Our critters discovered that the local jackrabbits like to hang out just on the other side of the fence. They do not seem to fear human, yowling cats or barking dogs.

(Leon: Open up that fence and we’ll see who’s laughing.)

(Silky: One of those cheeky little bastards peed in front of Sasha and I when we barked at him.)

(Daisy: They called us rude names!)

(Sasha: We’ll see how fuckin’ smug they are when my flying monkeys come for them.)

Before leaving, we stopped off at the concession stand for Desert Monster Dogs, which were delicious foot long hot dogs. I had two with chili. We also drank Monster Shakes, which were both tasty and large.

(Daisy: Oh, baby, those were tasty hot dogs!)

We got back on the bus and dimension hopped over to a Hawaii that never had humans settle there. Most likely, this was because it is a popular place with the Megalodons, Giant Octopi and the Rocs that live up in the mountains and prey upon the Megalodons & Giant Octopi. It’s a peaceful place, if you’re not one of those three species.

(Leon: Humans pick insane places to go! Those Rocs were enormous!)

(Daisy: I know, right? They had like a 400 foot wingspan!)

(Silky: One of them grabbed a 65 foot shark like it was a goldfish!)

(Sasha: Eh, could have been worse. Could have been dragons.)

Anyway, being way too small to eat, we mostly hung out on the beach or wandered around in the bus. It was while wandering through the greenhouse that Avis and Silky found several blueberry bushes loaded with ripe fruit. After picking a bunch of them, Avis told us all that we’d be having blueberry pie for dessert tonight.

(Silky: we may have eaten a pound or so as we were picking.)

Sure enough, when the rest of us came in, the bus was filled with the delicious smell of fresh baked pies. After a dinner of steak, potatoes, spinach and rolls, I got a gallon of French Vanilla ice cream out of the Ice Cream Closet and we had blueberry pie ala mode. Totally yummy! You did well, Auntie Avy.

(Daisy: Auntie Avy, Queen of Pie!)

Once we were all stuffed with pie & ice cream, we got out the dice and I ran Grace, Avis, Spike, Mary, Daisy & Silky through “The Megadungeon of Horrible Doom!” Much fun was had, even when Spike rolled two critical fumbles and fell into a pit full of Snot Goblins.

While we played D&D, Sasha & Leon were playing a new video game called “Assault Of The Robodemons”, which is part RPG, part shooter. Judging from all the yelling, they enjoyed it.

Now it’s time for bed, Gentle Readers. More fun & frivolity tomorrow.

Destination Sign when we started: Mirkwood

Destination Sign when we ended: Camelot

Radio Station of the Day: Duck Rock Live From DuckEarth 5

Harry Potter And The Horny Hungarian Horntail

…NOT a book for kids

 

Dog Con 7

 

Day 17, Con Day 4: In which critters strut their stuff, games are purchased, games get played, seminars are attended, Daisy has a birthday, critters strut their stuff and pie gets eaten.

8:00 pm

We are all on the bus and getting ready to leave Critter City. As usual, a quick recap of the day.

Breakfast at Pancake-A-Go-Go, a new place in town. Great food, but kind of slow service due to a big Sunday crowd.

We bought the hell out of games! Grace bought several cubic feet of boardgames, Daisy bought, well, she bought all sorts of things.

(Daisy: Phasers! Sonic screwdrivers! D&D stuff! A sword!)

I bought mostly games and t-shirts. Sasha and Silky bought dice and other stuff.

(Silky: I bought some Buffy DVDs.)
(Sasha: I bought a bunch of comics and some steampunk clothes.)

I’m not sure what Flash & Jazz bought, but I know Lulu bought a bunch of swords & knives.

(Lulu: A girl can never be too well armed!)

(Leon: But you’re indestructible, right?)
(Lulu: What’s your point?)


While our group was buying stuff and playing games,. Spike and I once again took part in the panel for “Ask A GM ANYTHING!”. As with every year, it got crazy. Spike balanced a jar of maple syrup on his head, I explained how to kill a werewolf with a butterknife and our moderator (a mother of young twins) sang an impromptu song about dancing through the dungeon. It was a fun time for all.

At noon, many people and critters besides our gang assembled in one of the smaller halls for a celebration of Daisy’s third birthday. There was cake and dog biscuits and ice cream for all.

(All The Other Critters: Happy Birthday, Daisy!)

Immediately following that was the big charity “Pets On Parade” event. It raises money for many rescues and shelters and costs $5.00 per critter to enter it. There were about 6,000 animals in it this year.

(Roxy: That was a whole lot of critters!)

(Jazz: I was surprised to see so many pigs.)


Finally, the big voice in the sky said the con was over, which meant that it was only 30 minutes until the Post Con Cool Down Party & Pie Fest. My goodness, they come up with more new kinds of pies each year. We all ate too much while saying goodbye to folks we won’t see until next year.

Now it’s time to fire this bus up and head to Canada, where we’ll drop off Brian, Caroline, Lauren & Sadie in the morning. More bloggage later.

Destination Sign: The Hundred Acre Wood


Music: 24th Century Classical

The Day The Newts Attacked Austin

…it barely made the nightly news

 

Dog Con 7

 

Day 15, Con Day 2: In which there is gaming, seminars, mud, more gaming, food and a haunted house

10:30 pm

The steampunk party last night was great, with a wonderful bunch of evil bastards present and fine music, food and drinks.

Now for a quick recap of my day at the con.

Up at 8:00 for a 9:00 start on a game of Traveller. I played a scientist sent with a team to investigate a possible discovery of an ancient alien city on a frontier planet. Turns out, it was there alright, but not very ancient. Action & adventure ensued.

I had 5 minutes to get from that game to a seminar on “Kids In Gaming”. It went very well and it was good to have actual kids in the audience.

I caught half of another seminar, “Running Spy Games”, but had to bolt so as to get to a Toon game that I was, for once, not running.

The young lady running the game chose to use one of my adventures from Toon Tales, “The House That Jerks Built”. It’s a madcap adventure wherein the characters try to build a house. I have never heard of any group even getting a framework up. We all had tons of fun.

At 1:00 pm, gaming stopped for our band of travelers so we could all enjoy a spa day. Said spa day consisted of being immersed in warm mud, then bathed, them massaged. It’s very nice and relaxing. I’ll note that the critters had a spa day, too, minus the mud.

(Jazz: That was great! Even the bath was not bad.)

(Daisy: I even liked the ear cleaning!)

Once we were all clean and relaxed (and fed. They give you yummy sandwiches), we were back at the con, where Brian, Avis and I partook of a Savage Worlds adventure titled “Zeppelins vs Monsters”. It was a real rip snorter and, as the Brits say, a damned close run affair. Tragically, both Avis and I died when we decided to crash out fighter planes into opposite sides of a kaiju’s head. We did kill the kaiju.

Back at the hotel, pre-dinner, we all just mostly sat around discussing our day. Grace told us that she came in second in the “Settlers of Mars” tournament. Leon won the “Dogs Against Humanity” card game he played in. Mary got into some filksinging for several hours.

Our choice for dinner was Indian and it was just crazy good. We ate like starving wolverines. After dinner, we had a nice stroll around town.

From 8 pm until 11 pm, many of us were in the People & Pets LARP “The Old House On The Hill”, a haunted house adventure. It has been running all through the con and teams explore and try to solve the mystery of the very large three story (plus attic and basement) “V. Price Home for the Criminally Insane”. Our intrepid players were:

Sasha & I

Sadie & Brian
Leon & Avis
Roxy & Ginie
Flash & Spike
Daisy & Mary

Jazz & Caroline
Silky & Miranda

Grace, Lulu & Lauren sat out the game, but watched us on one of the big screens.

The whole thing was very realistic and half of our number was dead by the halfway point.

(Leon: Mom & I got taken out by the room full of snakes. I may have pooped a bit.)

(Silky: The psycho ghost with the ax got Miranda & I.)

(Sadie: Dad & I avoided the ghostly dogs, but got caught in the crushing corridor.)

(Jazz: Caroline & I went into the basement, like we had never seen any horror movies. Met the machete maniac.)

Sasha and I got to the attic and found the diary that would stop the ghosts if read aloud in the main parlor. Unfortunately, we also found the trap door that dropped us all the way to the basement.

(Sasha: That was not fun.)

After that, Ginie and Roxy died when the kitchen utensils came to life.

(Roxy: Done in by cheese graters!)

And Flash & Spike bough the farm in the greenhouse.

(Flash: I will NEVER trust a grapevine again.)

But mere moments from death by all out ghost attack, Mary & Daisy read the diary aloud and cleansed the house of ghosts.

(Daisy: We were hella scared!)

Now, with the critters and most everybody else asleep or nearly so, Spike and I are gonna go hang out with fellow gamers and shoot the breeze.

More true life tales of gaming tomorrow.

Chapter 45: In Which Our Hero Slaps A Bishop, Outruns The King’s Men, Aids A Duck In Peril And Sails Off To Portugal

…the duck was most grateful

 

Dog Con 7

 

Day 6: In which we proceed north at a rapid pace, certain dogs and cats wage war on squirrels, we eat great burgers and have another fun game night.

11:45 pm

We had an interesting and fun day today. The bus was going along at about 150 mph (with stealth tech switched on full blast and antigrav lift engaged so we were about 24 feet above the road) and those of us inside enjoys the Slide Room, Shoe Room, Gym and reading in the Greenhouse. Much talking and petting of dogs 7 cats as done and we had delicious salads for lunch.

(Daisy: The humans had salads. We all had beef stew.)

(Sadie: And plenty of it!)


Speaking of those dogs & cats, they once again got into a bunch of trouble. See, the antigrav units get hot after a couple of hours, so we have to stop to let them cool. That takes about an hour. We had stopped in the rather large town of Queenville, thinking to get some fresh air and walk the critters. There is a nice big park smack in the center of town, so we headed in. Being a fenced park, we only had to station guards at the three entrances, then let our furry pals off their leashes.

For a couple of minutes, it was OK. Then the squirrels up in the trees started chucking pine cones down on them.

(Flash: Damned little tree rats hit me on the tail!)
(Sasha: I caught one in the ribs!)

(Jazz: And they were sticky with pitch!)

No doubt the squirrels thought they were safe, but they had not reckoned with Lulu & Sasha. Using, respectively, adamantium claws and 6 foot long tentacles, those two girls were up in the trees so fast the squirrels didn’t know what hit ’em. In seconds, it was raining squirrels down toward the waiting dogs & cats.

(Daisy: It was SO cool! Sasha was whipping through those trees like some giant spider!)

(Roxy: Lulu just ran right up that tree! Squirrels were diving out of her way.)

(Silky: They were scaring the poop outta those squirrels!)

(Leon: I got a squirrel by the tail and then we got to fighting!)

(Flash: Man, I was pimpslapping me some squirrels around!)

(Jazz: I rubbed pitch all over one. Quid pro quo, bitch!)

(Sadie: I showed those little gits some Dog Fu.)

Eventually, the fighting stopped as the squirrels all fled the park. We brought the critters back onto the bus and then drove away before the stunned locals could call the cops.

(Sasha: Not the first time we’ve done that.)

The rest of the day was pretty chill and when we stopped for the night in the Yukon Territory, we had Docburgers. Brian asked if there would be bacon on them and I told him “on them, under them and IN them”. He nearly wept with joy.

The burgers were a mix of ground beef and ground goat with cooked bacon added to the mix. There were 16 kinds of cheese available, plus all the standard veggie toppings. We also had fries and onion rings. Everyone, including the critters, had a full tummy by the time dinner was over.

For game night, we ran Basic D&D games. Spike, Brian and I GMed for the women & critters. Three groups in three parts of the game room playing the exact same adventure, “Lost Dungeon of the Golden Idol”. All three groups made it in and out, but all three also suffered some losses.

(Sadie: Miranda & I got killed by a mummy.)

(Leon: I bought the farm when I tripped a poison dart trap.)

(Silky: Mom & I fell into the acid lake.)

(Lulu: I was polymorphed into a cockroach.)

(Sasha: That’s because you just HAD to drink that friggin’ potion!)

Now, the games are done and pretty much everyone is sacked out. Tomorrow: ALASKA!

Destination Sign when we started: The House On Haunted Hill


Destination Sign when we stopped: Village Of Hommlet

Music: Klingon Jazz

I’m Back

…still mourning, but back.

Day4 (Con Day 0): In which we see cowboys versus monsters and arrive at the con.

Because I’m running a day late on my con reportage, this is for Wednesday and it’s rather short. I hope to catch up tonight.

Synopsis of Wednesday

Got up…ate, etc…Critters behaving, with Sasha, Sadie & Bea hanging out downstairs with Joe and the two cats entranced and entangled by yarn.

(Flash: You’ll not get the better of me, yarn!)

(Leon: Fear not, my friend! I’ll come to your aid once I’m untangled.)

At 10:30 we stopped at a new attraction not far from Critter City, “Cowboys VS Monsters”. It’s a full on replica of an 1870’s Texas town being attacked by such things as the walking dead, werewolves, swamp creatures, vampires, mummies, Frankenstein type monsters and bug eyed aliens. All of the figures were created by skilled artists and look very realistic. The scene of two cowboys blowing holes through walking dead guys is very cool (and gory) and several of us took pics of each other smiling through those big abdominal shotgun holes. The entrance fee of $5.00 each was waived for us because the owners are gamers who were getting ready to head to the con.

At noon, we entered the big dome covering Critter City…checked into the Hilton…critters have their own room…got con badges and swag…went to lunch with many other gamers at Ring of Fire…wenty back to rooms and rested, then hung out discussing con plans…Dinner at Chez Mom’s…went to pre-con party, the theme of which was “All Singing, All Dancing!” and yes, pretty much everybody got dragged on stage to sing & dance a bit. Unfortunately, all available video of Spike, Brian and I in a chorus line seems to have been accidentally deleted.

Returned to the hotel at 1:00 AM…checked on the critters and thought I saw tiny blinking lights on Lucy’s head, but decided it was a delusion brought on by the free booze these damned Texans had provided…went to bed.

(Sasha: That’s right, Dad, it was the booze.)

More bloggage soon

Destination Sign when we started: The Cotton Club

Destination Sign when we ended: Fillmore West

Radio Station of the Day: Alt. Beatles & Stones

My Life Among The Laid Back Tomato Vines

…in my garden

CatCon4: Day 7 We wake up to the sound of music…breakfast riots occur…swag is gotten and plots hatched…dogs & cats race together…more food is eaten, sans rioting…a fine party is attended

Since this entire town is wired up for every sort of electronic communication you can imagine, the ConCom woke damn near everybody in town up by playing the Star Trek Next Generation theme song as done by meowing cats. It drifted in through our slightly open (so pets can use the small balcony yard to do their biz) balcony door at 8 AM. Since Grace and I were both hungry, we got up and got ready for breakfast. Once calls were made to various and sundry friends, we and the critters headed out to “Waffles From Outer Space”, which we really enjoyed last year, not the least because it has Bacon & Butter Flavored Syrup.

Well, it would seem that a whole lot of people liked it, because the place now has about 4 times the seating it had last year, including pet seating and a kids play area. It was the pets and kids that started the riot just about the time I was digging into my country fried steak, gravy, two scrambled eggs and 2 huge eggnog waffles.

One moment, everything was cool, the next, kids and dogs and cats and goats and pigs and birds and ducks and a whole menagerie of other animals were running hither and yon and screaming and barking and meowing and such. There did not appear to be any violence, fear or animosity involved, it was just some sort of instant happiness explosion that lasted about 5 minutes and pretty much left the place in great disarray. Unlike some of the folks, I had no trouble rounding up my pets. A simple “Fooooooddddd Fooooorrrr Doooooggggssss!!!! in a booming voice did the trick.

(Flash: It was really cool! We were just all going nuts!)
(Winker: It’s called a “flash” mob, which is a pretty appropriate name for sudden unthinking mayhem, if you ask me.)
(Flash: Say what?)

After breakfast was over and everyone was stuffed, we strolled over to the convention center to grab our badges & swag. Badges this year looked like police badges (except for the pet badges, which looked like Old West sheriff stars on a day glo collar) and the con book looked like a “true crime” pulp magazine. Swag in the bag included…

A t-shirt…a convention only comic book featuring the adventures of Cat Boy and Dog Girl…a commemorative D20…a coupon book for dealers at the con and various businesses around town…a fist full of game company fliers…a pair of miniatures from the new wargame “World War IV”…a countdown poster for DogCon 5 and a hologram postcard. If you were a pet, your bag held treats, treats, more treats and a brush.

I must speed this post up, because I’m heading out to the Pre-Con Party in a few minutes, so here are the highlights.

1: While in the fast moving badge/swag line, chatted with a great many friends. Made plans for several get togethers and games.

2: Entered Flash & Lucy in the big Charity Dog & Cat Race. This had the cats riding the dogs, which flash & Lucy do pretty often anyway. Bets are placed and all proceeds go to local animal shelters. The winners get food prizes and a free deluxe grooming. The race is an obstacle course 500 winding feet long. The dog chases a fake rabbit over, under and though obstacles. The cat hangs on and tries not to fall off.

Since Luck is only part basset hound, but is much more some longer legged sort of hound…and Flash is the smallest adult cat you’ll ever see…they were heavily favored in the odds. When the gun went off, they were in third place pretty quickly…BUT, the lead dog lost his cat about ¼ of the way through when he went through a long tube.

(Flash: Yeah, he scraped that snotty little American Shorthair right off!)

By the halfway point. Lucy and a smallish pitbull were neck in neck. Then they hit the pond and the pitbull ran into it while Lucy took a flying dive and pulled ahead by 6 feet.

(Flash: Yeah, that pond…not fun!)

After that, it was Team Cross all the way. We were all very proud of Flash & Lucy. Later, they ate more food than your average lion.

(Lucy: Beef stew…for dogs!)
(Flash: Tuna cakes! TUNA CAKES!)

3: Lunch was Chinese, dinner was barbecue pizza. In between, there were various baked goods and ice cream consumed. We also found out that starting right after the con ends this year, the whole town of Critter City is going to be covered in a huge dome, which will be finished by the start of next years con. Cool!

4: The theme of the Pre-Con Party is “Me and My Sock Puppet”. Everybody is going to get a sock puppet that they must wear AND converse part of the time through. In my opinion, this beats the Playing Doctor theme from a past party.

And now I’m off to said party, accompanied by many of my traveling companions. More bloggage will surely occur sometime soon.

Les Paul Built My Air Guitar

…and I can rock it, baby

Gentle Readers,

It is that time of year again, the time when, in lieu of actually getting to go to GenCon, I post a wholly fictional convention trip report about our trip to CatCon 4. This will take about 14 days to do and will not interrupt the regular Doclopedia posts.

To get up to speed on DogCon/CatCon you can go read the previous reports, which are found in the archives. Be aware that the 2010 report was huge, taking in over a month of posts. the starting archive dates are…

DogCon 1: August 13th, 2008
CatCon 2: August 8th, 2009
DogCon 3: July 20th, 2010

It would probably be a REALLY good idea to read the archives first, so this years report doesn’t make your head explode.

Enjoy!

Your Humble Narrator

CatCon4: Introduction

(As always, commentary by non-humans is presented in italics)

Ok, unlike other years where I start this off by telling you how we’ve just left home on the Magic Bus and are on our way to a series of tourist traps and roadside attractions created by goofballs with way too much time on their hands, this year, we start of sorta halfway there. Kind of mid story, as it were.

If you’ve guessed that this has something to do with jacking around with time & space via the Magic bus and our transtemporal mechanic, Joe, you are right.

It all started way back in February, when my sweet angel of a wife, who we should not forget has NEVER shown a liking for taking little side trips into alternate realities or the past of our own Earth, suggested that with a bit of temporal wankery, we could go to Disneyworld in Florida before heading on to CatCon4.

I sat very still and said nothing, fearful that this pod person posing as my wife might try to kill me or something.

Flash: Winker, Lucy, Abby and I all just sat their in slackjawed amazement. We thought Mom had gone insane.

Eventually, it dawned on me that this was not the first time My Sweet Little Oven Bird Of Passion had done an about face on something. It was she who told me in 1999 that she did not like camping, then in 2001 suggested that we drive to GenCon and camp out along the way. Figuring that since this was her idea, I was ok, so I asked her to tell me her
plan. It went like this…

Take a spatial shortcut from Sacramento to Orlando, then use the old wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff to shift back in time a couple of weeks and have our Disneyworld vacation, then drive to CatCon, then afterwards drive home. Having had a similar idea some years earlier, I praised her on her great thinking, then put in a call to Joe.

Joe arrived a few minutes late, heard Grace’s proposal, then ran a sort of medical scanner over her to make sure she wasn’t a pod person. Convinced of her human nature, he allowed as how he thought it would not be a difficult thing to get us there and back in time, but he’d have to insist that Grace not yell and panic if we went through some “pretty strange territory”. She agreed and, as an old friend of mine used to say, the game was afoot.

Deciding to use this whole situation to improve things on the bus, I also told Joe to add a few rooms to the interior. After a moment of discussion, I decided that a whole third story would do the trick. He said it would be no problem and left to get right on it.

To make a really long story somewhat shorter, in a couple of months, Joe brought the bus around and we took the nickel tour. First off, our ever changing tie dye pattern of a paint job now includes glow in the dark paints for after the sun goes down. Sweet!

Under the hood, we now have some sort of compact fusion power plant, so it’s adios to fossil fuels. We also have some sort of gravity reducing suspension and regenerative tires. Oh yeah, and QM radio, which means we can get programming from all over the multiverse.

Inside, the ground floor main room measures 30 X 60 feet and has doors leading to the gym, the pool, the kitchen/dining room (with a table that can seat 20), the meadow (a 100 X 100 foot area for the critters to frolic in), the hot tub/pool area, three bathrooms, the pantry and the theater. One of those cool cage elevators runs between the three floors, but there is also a spiral staircase and a firehouse pole, which I think is way more fun to use. Yes, you can use the pole to go up, too.

The second floor has four bedrooms (each with a private bathroom), a couple of storerooms, the greenhouse, the library and the chocolate storage closet.

The third floor has four more bedrooms with private baths, the game room, the room full of shoes (which everybody, critters included, seems to like) and the warehouse.

Joe tells me we have a 4 level basement, but I’m kinda scared of going down there.

Lucy: You should be scared! I smelled big hairy things down there!

Ok, so here is how our trip has gone so far…

July 28th : We (Me, Grace, critter sitter Sharon, my nephew Zach and The Critters) leave Sacramento at 4:00 AM, heading south on I-5. At about 5:00 AM, we do a shift that puts us on the Trans Canada Highway back around 1965. I drive for about an hour and then Joe pops us back into the present, except we are on I-10 just outside Las Cruces, New Mexico and it’s only 5:45 AM. Cool! We stop for breakfast (chile relleno omelet FTW!) (Flash: And yet again, poor starving animals only get animal food!) and then we are back on the road. When we get past El Paso, Texas, Joe does his thing and we are on a humongous 20 lane highway on some planet with two moons and houses that look remarkably like giant female breasts. After 20 minutes of driving there, we pop back into our reality 12 miles west of New Orleans at 10 :15 AM. About twenty minutes later, we pop onto what I think was a road leading to Rome a couple thousand years ago. I say this because I just barely avoided running over a shitload of Legionnaires. Fortunately, they ran off in terror, screaming in Latin, which I do not speak. Anyway, after a couple of hours of leisurely driving through the pleasant Roman countryside, we popped back into the present a mere 20 miles from Orlando, Florida at 1:30 PM.

Unfortunately, we could only go back in time a week due to some quantum mechanical shit I’ll never understand. Still, we made a couple of adjustments to our plans and everything was cool.

From there out, you can insert a great two weeks of vacationing with our friends Avis Crane, The Jones family, Peter & Holly Hildreth, the Mystery family and my gaming group (Arn, Samantha & Paul) from back home. We had tons of fun and then all got ready to leave on Tuesday, August 2nd (by using the bus to, in fact, go BACK to August 2nd so Peter, Holly, Avis and my gaming group could all fly to GenCon (P, H & A) or home (gaming group). The temporal backup went well…except for the part where we accidentally duplicated Avis.

Oddly, it seems that if not everyone is in the main room of the bus…AND any missing person is in First Floor Bathroom #2…WHERE a very naughty goat had earlier kicked a wall while being bathed (Abbie: I don’t like baths!)WHICH caused a Vemellian Transverse Coupling Circuit to reset itself in the wrong way…AND the bus is traveling at exactly 52 mile an hour…WHILE trying to go back in time…WHOMEVER is in that bathroom gets “tempro-spatially replicated” when they leave the john. Which means that, 30 seconds after she walked out of the bathroom, Avis walked out again. Presto! An extra Avis!

(Winker: Yay! Two Auntie Avys to rub my belly!)

Yes, yes, this caused much freaking out and yelling until Joe informed us that it was only temporary and the two of them would merge back into one in about 10 or 12 days. Once we got everybody…most notably the two Ms. Cranes…calmed down, I noted that this wacky accident would allow Avis to attend both CatCon AND GenCon at the same time. Spike helpfully pointed out that she couldn’t very well have two of her at GenCon, so she might as well go with us. Avis, ever the level headed person, agreed that it was a pretty good idea, but was not sure how she could afford it. I told her that we’d figure something out. Despite looks of distinct disbelief at my saying that, everyone agreed that Avis should go to CatCon.

Then we drove on to the airport and dropped off everyone who was flying out and then headed off towards Texas…after we went back to July 28th. We were then leaving Orlando at about the same time we left Sacramento. Yeah, I know. I try not to think about it too much. Sometimes time is more wibbly wobbly than others.

Oh, yeah, before I get on with the trip report proper, we got Avis her CatCon money by stopping at a candy distributor and offering him $7,000.00 worth of imported chocolate for three grand flat. Once he saw we were, well, if not legit, at least truthful, the deal was done. Damn, I love our chocolate closet!

More con reportage soon.

Music: Tom Waits Sings The Great Broadway Hits
Destination Sign: The Room Of Requirement

Secret Monster Hunter Yumi

…more fake anime

DogCon 3: Day 1, Part 2

Ok, so let’s review my schedule and see how my day went.

11:00 am – 1:00 pm: Running Toon game “The House That Jerks Built”
This game went very well, as it has the last 52 times I’ve run it. Oldest player this time: 46 Youngest player this time: 11 Percentage of house actually constructed: 15% At what point in the game did everything explode?: just past halfway.

1:00 pm – 4:00 pm: Lunch & Dealer’s Room
Lunch was Mexican food off a taco truck. Muy bueno. I spent a surprisingly small amount in the Dealer’s Room, but had some excellent chats with folks.

4:00 pm – 5:00 pm: Seminar (panel): “Neglected Games”
This was a pretty good seminar. Many old (and some not so old) games were discussed.

5:00 pm – 6:00 pm: Seminar (watching): “Dungeons & ?”
The idea with this one was to mix fantasy/dungeon crawling, with other genres. My idea for “Dungeons & Disco” was roundly reviled.

6:00 pm – 7:30 pm: Dinner and a shower
First off, the place we ate at, “Big Slabs O’ Meat”, was spot on in the truth department. Grace had a steak that covered more square footage than out main bathroom and I had a porkchop that, had it been much bigger, would have been outside rooting around in the restaurant garden. Also, by the time out friends Sam & Paul were done with their beef ribs, it looked like an siesmosaur had died on their plates.

The critters got big bowls of chow, too and I swear, Flash (weight: 6 pounds) ate 7 pounds of fish.

8:00 pm – midnight: Playing in a game “The Lost Valley”
This game used the Basic Roleplaying system and was a pulp adventure into an African valley where dwelled the descendents of some lost Crusaders. It went very well and I doubt any of us husbands will be sleeping on the floor tonight.

Midnight – whenever: a nightcap & chatting
After getting Grace back to our room (where the critters were all still in food coma land), I went to seek out friends and have a wee dram of the good stuff. Naturally, I had 3 wee drams and we closed the joint.

I’m now back in the room and soon to bed. Tomorrow’s schedule is…

10:00 – 11:00: Seminar (panel): “Son Of Ask A GM Anything”
11:00 – 12:00: Cam Slave Booth visiting friends at GenCon
12:00 – 1:00: Lunch
1:00 – 2:30: Spa Trip
3:00 -4:00: Seminar (panel): “Old Gaming Farts Tell All”
4:00 – 6:00: Cruising Dealer’s Room & Other Con Areas
6:00 – 7:00: Pizza Dinner
7:30 – 10:30: I’ll GM my segment of the “Open To Close Dungeon” (this starts when the con starts and ends when the con ends. GM’s work 3 hours or more, players take over from other players.)
11:00 – 2:00: The Secret Event. I have no clue what the hell it’ll be.

More bloggage tomorrow.

It Was The Chinese Monkey That Screwed Up The Entire Operation

…I think he was working for the feds

DogCon 3: Day 1, Part 1

Last night’s party was a blast. Free candy…free drinks…three rockin’ bands including the all female Led Zeppelin tribute band, Zeperella…both male & female hotties serving drinks & candy…lots of great conversation…Stupid Human Tricks…and best of all, no hangover today!

By 9:00 this morning, while I was eating a free breakfast here at the hotel, Grace, Sharon, Arcadia and the critters were off to one of the famous DogCon Pet LARPs. Yes, a LARP for animals and their people. They are actually pretty fun and run several times a day during the con.

Speaking of pets, I’m told that the con expects several thousand humans and TWICE that number of pets.

And now, my schedule for today…

11:00 am – 1:00 pm: Running Toon game “The House That Jerks Built”
1:00 pm – 4:00 pm: Lunch & Dealer’s Room
4:00 pm – 5:00 pm: Seminar (panel): “Neglected Games”
5:00 pm – 6:00 pm: Seminar (watching): “Dungeons & ?”
6:00 pm – 7:30 pm: Dinner and a shower
8:00 pm – midnight: Playing in a game “The Lost Valley”
Midnight – whenever: a nightcap & chatting

Oh, yeah, you know how last year the con staff had 6 GenCon attendees wearing camera helmets and we could see what they saw on bigass screens here? Well, they upped the ante this year with 10 people wearing helmet cams for general viewing and 6 more all cammed up for individuals to watch and control (for $25.00 an hour). You sit in a booth with a large monitor, a webcam and a microphone & speakers. You then tell your cam slave (yes, they call them that) where to go. Your face and voice are showing on a iPad they wear around their necks, so you can interact with folks at GenCon. This is, of course, totally fucking cool.

Anyway, I’m outta here. More bloggage later. Oh, and check out my updates on Facebook.