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

Blue Ink Node

…nope, no clue


Dog Con 7

Day 9: In which we finally see that animated Giant Jesus, Silky wins a prize, many of our party spend too much time in a book store and we visit a gold museum.

Very tired after a very long day in Fairbanks, Alaska. Quick capsule reviews of the days events follow.

OK, so that animated Giant Jesus? It was ok, even though it was only 40 feet tall and the animation consisted of him raising his arms and face to the heavens above. When you go into the gift shop, you get bombarded by radio preachers coming out of about a dozen speakers. High point of the visit? When Sasha and Silky started to tell the people about the Word of Dog. They got so freaked they told us to get out and forgot to charge us for the stuff we were gonna buy. SCORE!

(Lulu: Bless her heart, Auntie Avy didn’t realize that until 11:45 tonight. She wants to go back and pay, but when she called the place, they told her to keep the stuff because we were the spawn of Satan.)

(Sasha: I never even got to tell those twits how Dog told us to watch over humans.)

Next up was a pet parade and carnival. Naturally, we took the critters in and everybody had fun. Best of all, Silky won “Best Howl” in a howling contest. She got a ribbon and a big back of all natural Elk jerky treats.

(Flash: As pet events go, it was pretty nice.)

(Daisy: Those jerky treats were pretty nice, too!)

Sadie: Yeah! Two of them and my tummy was full.)

Our walk around Fairbanks kind of came to a stop when we saw a used book store. The science fiction area was very well stocked with books and there were also several boxes of games. We spent about 90 minutes in there before leaving for a nice lunch of mooseburgers, which were darned tasty.

(Flash: Honest, folks, you ever want to lure bibliophiles to a bloody doom, put a sign saying “All books on sale half price!” in the window of a deathtrap that looks like a used book store.)

(Sasha: By the way, mooseburgers are the FUCKIN’ BOMB!)

The Fairbanks Gold Museum has plenty of gold in it, you bet, including a couple of nuggets the size of my fist. We bought t-shirts, but were a bit too poor for the gold jewelry.

(Leon: That place was infested with mice.)

(Jazz: Oh lordy yes! I could smell them everywhere!)

Speaking of money, we racked up a cool grand selling chocolate and Ice cream to a local ice cream shop.

(Daisy: Dad never passes up a chance to make a buck.)

We also visited an animal shelter, a couple of thrift stores and a seller of fine smoked meat products. After a pretty full day that included miles of walking, we all got back on the bus and went to the Slide Room for an hour or so before eating pizza for dinner. After that, it was mostly just goofing off until bedtime.

(Silky: That was a pretty nice animal shelter, for Alaska.)

Tomorrow, we leave for Hawaii. More bloggage soon.

Destination Sign when we started: Io

Destination Sign when we stopped: Westeros

Music: Old Time Radio shows

Don’t Forget To Feed Grandpa!

…but please, no raw meat


Dog Con 7


Day 8: In which we meet even more real bears, Flash & Leon insult an otter, we visit a museum dedicated to booze, we see a Giant Salmon and it’s a females vs males game night.

10:45 am

Last night’s movies were alternate Earth comedies. We saw the Marx Brothers reunion movie, “Summer Camp”, which was from 1959. It had Groucho, Chico & Harpo working at an elite summer camp. The plot was tissue thin and involved commie spies. Very funny, but not up to classic Marx.

The next one was “Abbott & Costello Meet The Living Dead”. It was surprisingly funny, considering it was made in 1965 and both Bud & Lou were showing some age.

We are currently stopped at a place called “Alaska Bear Rehabilitation”, where orphaned cubs and injured adults are prepared for life back in the wild. As you have no doubt guessed, Flash and Leon will not be on this excursion.

(Flash: HELL no!)
(Leon: We’ll be on the X-Box playing “Grand Theft Auto 7”, which y’all won’t get for a decade or more.)

More bloggage after the bears.

2:30 pm

Well, the bear rehab place was really interesting. Those folks are doing great work. We got pictures taken with both cubs and their mascot, a humongous female grizzly named “Peaches”. Peaches can never go back into the wild, being blind in one eye and having a a gimpy hind leg. She is, as I said, very large, but also very sweet tempered and she loves people, dogs and cats. We took many pictures and also bought the ever popular t-shirts, bumper stickers, fridge magnets, etc.

A bit later, we pulled over next to a river for lunch. Lulu once again committed mosquito genocide and we ate sandwiches and chips. At one point, a couple of otters came up the riverbank and we gave them some fish from the pantry. Unfortunately, Flash and Leon were a bit rude to them, causing the male otter to kick their asses all over the riverbank.

(Sasha: He made them his bitches! Hahahaha!)

(Sadie: Serves them right for asking if he was part fish.)

(Daisy: Those boys will never learn.)

(Flash: Hey! We had him on the ropes!)

(Leon: We could have taken him!)

(Lulu: Really? Was that before or after he tossed you both into the river, then threw you back out into that thorn bush?)

11:45 pm

The rest of our day included…

The Alaska Museum of Strong Drink, which has a truly amazing selection of booze bottles from the early days of Alaska. In a place where winters are long and cold, the amusement options were limited and women were in short supply, strong liquor was a basic necessity.

(Silky: Apparently, early Alaska was one big AA meeting waiting to happen.)

The Giant Salmon at the FreshCo Salmon Company. How giant is it? Try 150 feet long and about 20 feet long and high. You can walk inside it, where you will find a cafe, bar and gift shop, all of which we indulged in.

(Jazz: Oh my goodness. All those fresh salmon scraps!)

(Roxy: I need a nap.)

(Daisy: Oh my, a cat needing a nap. Alert the media!)

Just before dinner, the critters all got to try on the land octopi that Sasha bred for the bachelor & bachelorette parties and weddings. To say they were a hit would be an understatement of a cosmic level.

(Flash: Coolest. Thing. EVER! I can actually hold a gun now!)

(Leon: And swords!)

(Jazz: I can brush my own hair now!)

(Daisy: OMG! So freaking cool!)

Our game night was Females versus Males, with myself, Spike, Brian, Flash & Leon going up against Grace, Mary, Caroline, Sasha & Roxy in an X-Box 5 game called “Puzzle Dungeon Of Death”. Said dungeon was filled with puzzles, traps, monsters and treasure. After three hours of playing, the ladies won.

(Sasha: Meaning we handed them their asses, beating them by 30,000 points.)

Bedtime soon, after a bowl of cereal. More of the blogging tomorrow.

Destination Sign when we started: Avengers Mansion

Destination Sign when we stopped: Al Qadim

Music: The Filksong Channel

The Journal Of Applied Applications

…about appliances

Dog Con 7


Day 5: In which we see more (teddy) bears, Flash goes flying and we visit the Giant Jesus of the North

3:30 pm

Today was fun, starting at around 10:30 when Sasha woke Flash and Leon out of a deep sleep by yelling “BEARS!” There was much laughing on the part of the other critters and maybe some humans. I did make Sasha clean up the boys poop.

(Flash: Fuck you guys! That was just not right!)

(Leon: I was dreaming about bears! I almost had a heart attack!)

(Daisy: The best part was when they both ran headfirst into that SmartBot.)

(Lulu: And it teleported them into the Meadow Room. Heeheehee.)

(Sasha: That was payback for the time you two wankers told me the cold fusion plant was heating up.)

Our first stop did involve bears, but of the teddy nature, not the cat devouring type. It was the World Famous Canadian Teddy Bear Museum and yep, it’s full of teddy bears.

250,000 of them.

There are teeny tiny bears, very old bears, humongous big bears (9+ meters tall!), ordinary bears, strange bears…pretty much every kind of teddy bear you can imagine, plus many more you can’t imagine (Vulcan & Klingon bears, Lovecraftian bears). The displays are very nice and you can pose with many of the larger bears. Brian, Lauren, Mary and I all posed with our heads inside various bear mouths. Avis posed with a James Bond bear. Daisy posed with all 13 Doctor bears and all of the Trek bears.

We bought t-shirts, bumper stickers, fridge magnets, the Teddy Bear Museum book and, yes, teddy bears.

After that stop, we ate lunch next to a beaver pond.

(Leon: OK, so they aren’t giant prehistoric mice.)

(Flash: They looked tasty, but man, those teeth.)

(Silky: I wish I could swim that well.)

After lunch, we traveled for a couple of hours, letting the bus drive itself. Most of us spent the time reading magazines from alternate Earths that we found in the Warehouse. The issues of Time and Newsweek were pretty fascinating, especially the ones about the Zombie Wars and the mass human die off (caused by comet dust) and the Beatles reunion in 1976.

Around about 2:00, the critters all went off to the Shoe Room to play. At some point, Flash got the bright idea to leap off a big pile of shoes onto a very large sneaker and then surf to the bottom of the pile. Unfortunately, about halfway down, the toe of the sneaker hit a buried boot and Flash went flying through the air. Just before he would have smacked headfirst into into the door, Grace opened it to ask if they wanted to come over to the Forest Room to see some deer.

Flash flew over her head, across the hall, through the Forest Room door and right onto the back of a big old buck. They both went racing off into the forest at high speed. About ten minutes later, Flash came staggering back, saying “Whoa! That was SO cool!”. He then went to the living room for a nap

(Daisy: Jazz, you might want to rethink the whole having kittens thing.)

(Sadie: Maybe Sasha & Joe can build you some robot kittens.)

We are now in the far north of British Columbia and only minutes from the Giant Jesus of the North, which we CAN ALREADY SEE! That sucker must be huge. More blogging later.

5:00 pm

We are stopped for the night in the town of Gruntly. Not a very large town, but the campground is very nice.

The Giant Jesus of the North was indeed huge. 300 feet tall and perched on top of a tall hill, you can see it from ten or more miles away. It was build and is maintained by the First Church Of Our Lord Jesus In Canada, the founder of which is a multimillionaire.

Old J is made of concrete, steel, marble and glass. He stands with his arms outstretched, as most giant Jesuses do. Thankfully, there are elevators that take you up to his head, from which you get an incredible view. The inside of the head is also just chock full of scripture and stuff.

Down at the inevitable gift shop, we bought the usual suspects. We did pass up the Deluxe Giant Jesus Bibles.

Right now, we’re getting ready to start dinner (TACOS!) and then have a night of alternate world television. Around 2:00 am, the bus will leave Gruntly and head north toward the Yukon and then Alaska.

Destination Sign when we started: Castle Dracula

Destination Sign when we stopped: The Vulgar Unicorn

Music: 1968: Music from the first Summer of Love

Today Is The Day The Deadly Bears Have Their Picnic

…which, it would seem, will be mostly cats.


Dog Con 7


Day 4: In which we cross the middle of Canada the same way we cross the Midwest of the USA (fast), see a big Tiny City, are chased by sheep and see a hobbit house.

9:00 am

We are about to tuck into yet another big breakfast before taking a walk in the Forest Room. By the time we are done with that, we will have crossed the all the way over to Banff National Park, right near the border to British Columbia. We have a couple of interesting things to see once we get into B.C., but first we will spend some time seeing the scenic wonders of Banff. And now, bacon and other foods.

12:30 pm

Wow! Banff National Park is some kind of beautiful! We’ve been here a couple of hours and we’ll probably spend a few more. The scenery here will knock you for a loop, folks. Lots of wildlife, too, some of ir big enough to keep even Flash from wanting to go into the dense woods.

(Flash: Bears! BEARS!)

(Leon: Wolves, too!)

(Sasha: Pretty sure I smelled a mountain lion or two.)

(Silky: Yep, I’ll just stick really close to the humans.)

Once we leave here, we’ll be stopping at our next roadside attraction, Tiny City. Now, time for a hike in the woods.

(Flash: WTF???)

3:45 pm

Having had out fill of scenic wonders and nature…

(Leon: We saw a HUGE prehistoric mouse!)

(Roxy: That was a beaver, you dummy!)

…we got back aboard our home on wheels for some snacks and a quick trip to the town of Darby Creek for a look at the biggest Tiny City you are likely to find anywhere.

For a cost of only $3.00, Jim & Joe Yakspill (and their lovely wives) will show you Tiny City, a vast metropolis built on an area 90 feet wide and 270 feet long. The buildings are so small, you get a bigass magnifying glass to look at the ones around the edge of town. The detail would make my miniatures wargaming friends weep with joy.

(Lulu: It would make most folks weep from eyestrain.)

The tallest buildings in town are the downtown skyscrapers, the tallest of which is still only about 4 feet tall. To see the detail on most of the city, Jim & Joe have rigged up cameras on wires sort of like the way the do for football and other arena events. You sit in some comfy chairs and watch the tour on a big screen.

The whole city has landscaping and tiny people and all sorts of cool stuff. A great deal for only three bucks a head. Of course, there were about 100 other folks there with us and the eventual t-shirts were $20.00 a pop, but still worth every cent.

On the outskirts of Darby Creek, we stopped for a group video next to an unfenced field full of beautiful sheep.

(Sasha: Or as I call them, mutton curry on the hoof.)

(Sadie: Mmmm…curry!)

(Silky: Can’t eat curry. Gives me terrible gas.)

(Daisy: It gives Dad gas too, but that doesn’t slow him down.)

The resulting video will no doubt become a beloved classic, since it shows all of us but Lulu running for our lives when 300 fucking insane sheep decided to chase us. Much running was done and many bad words were said in a variety of languages. Eventually, after some of us turned and fought, the sheep backed off and we got back on the bus. We all agreed that our next big dinner would include lamb.

(Daisy: Holy shit! Those sheep were vicious!)

(Sadie: I was so scared, I peed!)

(Flash: I did NOT need that shit after the bears!)

(Sasha: I’m glad I can run on these tentacles.)

(Roxy: What the hell was that all about?)

(Leon: What the hell do they feed those wooly bastards?)

(Silky: I’m glad I was able to hide under the bus.)

(Jazz: I was right there with ya, Silky!)

(Lulu: HAHAHAHAHA! You all were so funny!)

More blogging once my heart rate drops below Near Coronary.

7:30 pm

We are just back from a lovely dinner in Kamloops, B.C., and yes, we all had lamb. Fuck you, killer sheep! We will be spending the night here and we are about to go do some exploring in the Warehouse before watching some movies.

First, however, I need to tell you about the hobbit house we saw. It was way out in the middle of nowhere in a small mountain valley that the Trans Canada Highway passes through. There was a small wooden sign that said “Hobbit House, 2 kilometers”, so we stopped to take a look when we reached it. Sure enough, it looked just like something out of the Lord Of The Rings movies. A family of six lives there and they showed us around the inside. It’s a really big house with 5 bedroom, three bathrooms and a heated indoor pool. We were all really impressed. Then we showed the family the inside of the bus and they were REALLY impressed.

It was a pretty cool looking house.

(Daisy: Sadly, there were no actual hobbits or dwarves or wizards.)

More blogging tomorrow.

Destination Sign when we started: Barsoom

Destination Sign when we stopped: Vulcan

Music: Psychedelic Swing & Big Band Favorites

Mexican Jenny And The California Kid Conquer Halloween

…in drag, as a matter of fact

CatCon4: Day 3 Your Humble Narrator plays catch up…an Iron Chef competition happens

Having fallen behind by a day, I shall now make an earnest attempt to catch up by compressing Saturday into a “highlights reel”.

8:00 AM: Our company begins waking up. I and the critters have been up for an hour. Breakfast is eaten, including tasty Paannncaaakessss Foooorrrr Peeeettttssss! By 9:30, we are on the road.

(All Critters: Those were great pancakes! Our Dad Rules!)

11:00 AM: We stop at the Toy Soldier Museum in the tiny village of Tyler. The museum is in the largest building in town, a converted warehouse that at one time held cotton. Now, it holds 190,000 toy soldiers and military miniatures, some of them nearly 200 years old. While civil war figures are most prominent, you can find soldiers from every war since Alexander the Great went out & about. Before then, actually, since there is one battlefield set up to show Neanderthals fighting Homo Erectus. All of the scenes are impressive and Spike informed me that the War of 1812 scenes were very accurate. Best of all, the whole place can be toured for $3.00 a head. T-shirts were $15.00.

1:00 PM: We stopped to eat at Mother Smith’s Kitchen in Greensboro and Mother Smith was so impressed with our bus and our critters, she made them plates of food. The critters, not the bus. We ate all manner of fine chow and were soon back on the road to adventure.

(Flash: She gave us fried catfish and hush puppies! What a wonderful human being!)
(Winker: I got some pudding, too!)
(Lucy: I had a sausage and some gravy!)
(Abby: My salad had apples in it. It was delicious!)
(Flash: Afterwards, back on the bus, we played Dance Dance Revolution. Abby won. Girl can dance, you bet.)

2:15 PM: The road to adventure was short, because just on the other side of Greensboro, we encountered another Giant Jesus! This Colossal Christ was 90 feet tall and you can go up inside him via stairs, then look out through his eyes. Many of our party wisely opted out of the climb, but Spike, Mary, Miranda, Doc Mystery and his daughter Lauren decided to give it a try with me. As you might expect, the teenager and the kid reached the top way before the rest of us, but we all did make it. After sucking most of the oxygen out of JC’s head we finally looked out the windows. It was a hell of a view. As we were leaving, a group of church type folks entered the room and asked if we felt the presence of The Lord. My reply was “Not unless it feels like a heart attack and the need to fall down”. They did not see the humor.

Once back on the ground, we climbed back on the bus and loaded up on pain meds for our backs and legs, then started out for the next stop.

4:30 PM: Did you know that just outside Meridian, Mississippi is the “World’s Longest Outhouse”? It’s right next to the “Truck ‘Em In” truck stop and it can seat 100 people. No charge to look at it, but the doors are nailed shut and there is no odor, so the whole thing is a fake. That was kind of a letdown, as most of us could imagine 100 Ku Klux Klan members in there after a big cross burning.

5:30 PM: We pulled into the KOA outside the tiny hamlet of Wiggins. It was decided that we would have an Iron Chef Battle for our dinner entertainment. I was to be the Iron Chef. My nephew Zach was to be the challenger. Three dishes each using the three mystery ingredients selected from our extensive pantry/fridge by our youngest (Lauren) and oldest (Sharon, since I was Iron Chef) audience members. The secret ingredients were: Ground turkey, fresh carrots and duck eggs. Judges were all of the womenfolk and commentary was by Spike & Doc Mystery. The results were…

Appetizer: I won with tiny omelets filled with assorted cheeses and panchetta.
Main Course: I won by a single point with my Savory Turkey Burger and Carrot Loaf. Zach’s Turkey Sausage Pizza with Carrot & Tomato Sauce was very tasty.
Dessert: Zach won with a very delicious Duck Egg Custard with Caramel Carrot Sauce, handily defeating my Chocolate Chip Carrot Ice Cream.

(All Critters: Also, they dropped lotsa stuff on the kitchen floor for us to eat!)

After dinner, there was rehearsal for our version of “The Time Warp”. It went pretty well. More than that I shall not say.

And then it was time to go to bed, so we did.

Music: QM Station “Janis”, playing music from her 60 year long career.

Destination Sign: Over There