We Don’t Speak Of The Purple Underwear

…we keep it locked away



CritterCon 12

Trip Day One 1: In Which The Starship “Bus” Goes Where No Blue Raccoon Has Gone Before

Saturday, August 10th, 8:30 PM

Well, our first day of travel went well. True to his word, Brownie woke me up at 6:30 so we could get going by 7:00. The two of us ate a couple of donuts, drank some milk and then climbed on board the Bus and left our home behind. We were ready for adventure!

And by golly, when Grandpa says adventure, he means it! I had Sweetie (the Bus’ nickname) reconfigure the cab to be bigger and look like a starship bridge, in honor of those major Trekkies, Daisy & Max.

I was in the Captain’s chair and Brownie was my First Officer and Helmsman. Since the bus drives herself most of the time, we were free to scan for life forms and blast asteroids and tell Romulans that they were dummies, and other heroic spaceman stuff. About an hour into our 5 year mission, Cupcake came in and decided we needed a Science Officer. She took her seat and was soon telling us all sorts of science stuff about spatial anomalies and planetary scans. Throughout all of this, the Bus also acted as our computer, telling us all sorts of things about nebulas and gravity waves and stuff.

Around 8:30 am, Sasha stuck her head in and said “It’s time for breakfas…HOLY CRAP, THIS IS TOTES COOL!” and then we had a Navigator. Well, at least until Admiral Grandma told us we’d all better come eat some damned breakfast.

We stopped for breakfast outside South Lake Tahoe and, as usual, the kitchen staff did a first class job. Then, after our NHT all got into human bodies, we went and for a short hike along the lake shore. We saw and spoke with some ducks, who were stopping there for a few days before heading to Bear Lake in SoCal. I have always enjoyed talking to migratory waterfowl, because they are so well traveled and interesting.

After our hike, we drove a few miles to the World Famous Slot Machine Museum. Now, this is not the only slot machine museum in the world, or even in northern Nevada, but it was close to our route and has around 5,000 slot machines to look at. The oldest was from 1897 and it still worked just fine. There were poker machines, too. We wandered around for about half an hour and the noise and lights kept the kids from getting too bored. Cupcake made sure that Grace bought t-shirts, bumper stickers, etc, not that there was much chance of her forgetting.

When we were all on board the Enterprise…err, the Bus…I was given the next leg of our route, which told me to go to Gardenerville, Nevada, then take 395 south to the small village of Lee Vining. Being a proper starship Captain, I gave the coordinates to our Helmsman and Navigator, then had my Yeoman (Jeeves) bring me a bittersweet chocolate milkshake. By now, I had a full bridge crew, having been joined by Chief Engineer Luke and Communications Officer Misty. Admiral Grandma would pop in from time to time, just to keep us on our toes.

We had just finished an epic space battle with a bunch of Romulans when Admiral Grandma said our orders would be changed and we were turning off the highway to go to Bodie, one of the great ghost towns of the West. We made our adjustments and started out into the boondocks.

Amazingly, I was the only person on the bus who had ever been to Bodie State Historical Park (which is in California, not too far from the Nevada border), which is an interesting place. It is not kept preserved except by the climate, so if you went to Bodie in the 70’s, as I did, it looks a bit different in 2019. Not hugely different, but not the same. I highly advise going there if you can.

We got there along with about 20 other tourists and then wandered around, looking at buildings, many of which still had furnishings and such inside. The general store still has products on the shelves. We read various informative signs and talked to other tourists. Brownie was a bit sad that the ghost town didn’t have any ghosts, something Cupcake found very funny. Sibling squabbling ensued.

It was starting to get pretty warm out, so we climbed back into the Bus and headed east along a series of dirt or gravel roads, our destination being Hawthorne, Nevada. To while away the time, we blasted our way through an asteroid field and evaded a Giant Space Dragon. It was all quite thrilling.

Once we hit Hawthorne, we got on Route 95 heading east, then south. After about an hour, most of the bridge crew elected to go eat some lunch, leaving me and Lt. Brownie alone to blast space junk and tell aliens to bugger off. Jeeves brought us some yummy sandwiches and milk, which all space dudes need.

About 4:00 we got to Warm Springs, where we would be turning off to Route 375, the Extraterrestrial Highway, heading south toward Rachel. Just so you know, Warm Springs is not a town. It’s just an intersection with a name. And Route 375? Well, that heads down toward the ever popular Area 51, which is not full of aliens or alien tech, trust me.

With lunch in our tummies, Brownie and I decided that a nap was in order after a day of patrolling space. Thus, the next hour is a blank to both of us, although we were informed that most of the rest of the crew also napped. That part of the desert is pretty damned boring anyway.

So now we are spending the night in Rachel, Nevada, such as it is. We ate burgers at the Little A’Le’Inn and, of course, loaded up on chotzkes. In just a few minutes, games will be played and ice cream eaten before we all hit the sack. Tomorrow, we continue our trip, hopefully into some more interesting places.

Destination Sign When We Started: Whoville
Destination Sign When We Stopped: Neo Tokyo

QM Radio Station: F-23, the sounds of the 23rd Century


The Rare And Beautiful 15 Toed Melon Eating Ape Of Potawango Island

…they do love their melons.



CritterCon 12

Intro: Friday, August 9th, 5:30 PM

Note: Sadly, we are making this year’s trip without Silky, Daisy & Max, who passed away in November (Silky) and at the end of June (Daisy & Max). We miss them terribly and this trip report is dedicated to them.

Greetings once again, Dear Readers. It’s that time of year again and the Cross family will soon be off on another trip to CritterCon. Like, in about 10 hours. I will be hitting the sack as soon as I finish writing this.

This year, it’s just the immediate family making the trip by bus. All of our usual accomplices are flying into Critter City on Wednesday morning. We decided that we just wanted to take a nice meandering roadtrip with no guests or, prepare for a shock, NO PLANNED STOPS!

That’s right, folks, I am not allowed to create an itinerary of roadside attractions or natural wonders or anything else. To facilitate this, each adult member of our family, except me, has chosen a leg of our route. I will get each leg when I finish the previous one. There will be 6 legs. The only thing I know is that we’ll start in Sacramento, California and end up in Critter City, Texas. This should be interesting.

Well, my friends, it’s time to head to bed, because we are leaving at 4:00 in the morning. More trip reporting soon.

Under The Onion Tree

…and other stories



CritterCon 10

Day Three

Having planned this trip out carefully, I decided that between Castroville and Santa Barbara, there were no roadside attractions worth stopping at, or, if there were, they were ones we had already been to. With that in mind, the Bus started heading down the highway about 3 in the morning so that when we all woke up at 7, we were not only in the Santa Barbara area, but in the parking lot of Lugo Makes Breakfast!, a very tasty place to eat.

I had eaten here before, so I knew the drill, but did not fill anyone in when we all filed inside at 8:00. See, Lugo only makes one kind of breakfast: bacon, eggs, hash browns, a biscuit and whatever you choose to drink, as long as you drink coffee, tea, milk or water. There is no menu and all you get to choose is how your two eggs are cooked. That’s it, baby. $7.00 a pop and if you dawdle over brekky, the waitresses start saying rude things about you. So we ate and got the hell out.

(Silky: Dad neglected to say that you get four slices of bacon, the hash browns are seasoned wonderfully and that big ass biscuit is fluffy and delicious.)

Our only other stop in Santa Barbara was the Bird House, which is a pretty standard 1960’s ranch style home set smack in the middle of an aviary the size of a football field. Said aviary is home to 97 species of birds, from tiny wrens to ostriches. The tour takes about 45 minutes and costs $5.00. Many of the birds are not afraid of humans and will land right on you.

(Roxy: That’s cool when the bird is a little finch, but alarming when the bird is a hyacinth macaw.)

(Leon: AUGH! My cat instincts were at odds with being in a humanoid body.)

Upon leaving the Bird House, we all relaxed on the bus as we made our way to San Diego. Gabriel and I got to doing a comedy bit where he played Rocco, a Chicago mobster, and I played Maxie, his dim bulb of a right hand man. It was mostly Rocco asking about how the latest plan went and Maxie telling how he and the boys screwed it up. An example…

Rocco: So, Maxie, I told ya to go corner the market on D&D. How’d it go?

Maxie: Oh, boss, the first night was so tiring. My feet hurt from all that dancing.

Rocco: Dancing? What the hell?

Maxie: Yeah, D&D, Dames & Dancing. Them gals was cute, though. This one blonde…

Rocco: MAXIE! D&D is not about dames and dancing! It’s…

Maxie: Oh, we figured it out, boss. It was Ducks & Drinking. Lemme tell ya, them ducks cannot hold their liquor.

And so on. We had everybody laughing.

Around 11:30, down in Los Angeles, we stopped at our next attraction, the World Famous Murder Mansion. I mean, who wouldn’t want to tour a seaside mansion that has been the site of 14 murders, starting in 1924 with the last one in 1998?

This place is huge and sits on 10 acres of land. After you pay your twenty bucks per person, you enter the mansion and see the scene of the first murder, where silent movie actress Dondra Durban shot her cheating husband and his mistress six times each (she reloaded her revolver, drank a bottle of wine and shot them again).

(Silky: She was plenty pissed off.)
Daisy: Ya think?)

From there, you go to…

The 1930 mob hit on Frankie “Box Office” Tanetelli in the front driveway. No convictions on this one.

The 1941 unsolved decapitations of the twin Onslow brothers in their separate bedrooms.

The 1947 murder by strangulation of actress Jenny Robbins, committed by her ex manager in the pool house.

(Silky: I remember hearing about this one on the radio.)

The 1959 triple homicide (shooting, stabbing & beating) in the dining room of Mr & Mrs Waldefski by their business partner, Ed Niddle, who was the one shot by the dying Mrs Waldefski.

(Leon: That was one hell of a business disagreement.)

The 1970 poisoning of record producer Buddy Leaper and his girlfriend. They ate poisoned cookies in the master bathroom while bathing. Girlfriend’s mother was convicted.

The 1979 death by bomb in the car of B movie director Sam Sterling. Bomb planted by his ex-lover, B movie star Trent Nash.

(Daisy: Hey, he made “Teenage Lizard Girls From Outer Space”!)
Max: And “Surf Of Death”. That one with the deadly kelp!)

The 1988 dismemberment and partial cannibalization of Richard Milligan, a gardener, by his employer, millionaire Alex Rader. The bodies of 11 other people were found at Rader’s ranch near Santa Maria.

(Roxy: EWWWWWW!)

And finally, the 1998 murder of Mr. Harry Culbertson by his wife. In the Kitchen. With a Frying Pan. On a Saturday. Because he was an Insufferable Asshole.

(Silky: She died on Death Row in 2009.)

The whole tour takes over 90 minutes and yes, folks, they do have a gift shop. Oddly, when we got back on the Bus, several folks didn’t want to eat.

We rolled into San Diego at 5:00 and rested up before dinner. After dinner, we played two sessions of D&D 5th edition. I ran one game and Daisy ran the other at the same time. Everyone had fun.

(Daisy: Daddy ran them through a dungeon and I ran my group through the Forest of the Doomed. It was pretty fun to scare the crap out of them with Ghost Trolls, Night Slimes and Fungus Orcs.)

It’s time for bed now. Tomorrow, we’re off across the desert, with one of our stops being

Destination Sign When We Started: Lair of the White Worm
Destination Sign When We Stopped: Townsville

QM Radio Station: Dog Punk 101

The Suspenseful And Thrilling, Yet Oddly Mindblowing, Story Of Mostly Purple Patty And The Milk Cow Boogie

…co-starring her her Uncle Swingy Tompkins

Great googly moogly, Dear Readers, It’s that time of year again!

CritterCon 10

Day Zero

Hi, folks! It is just shy of 11:30 pm, Wednesday, August 2, and I’m the only person awake on the Magic Bus. I’ll be hitting the sack soon and then around five in the morning, Sweetie, as we call the Bus, will drive over to Santa Rosa where, at around seven, we’ll officially begin our tenth trip to the greatest imaginary convention on earth.

Our merry crew for this year includes…







Avis Crane (the original version, this year)

Leon Crane (a cat)

Ginie Murphy

Roxy Murphy (a cat)

Spike Y Jones

Mary Jones

Gabriel Gentile (first timer)

Our route this year is pretty simple: Drive down Highway 101 to San Diego, take a left turn onto interstate 8, follow it to Interstate 10 and then straight on until we hit the middle of Texas, where we turn off to go to Critter City. We are looking at a 5 day trip.

As always, we will stop off at some strange and wonderful roadside attractions, including the tallest Giant Jesus statue on earth! One restriction I placed on us this year was that we could not go more than three miles off the highway to reach an attraction. This only counted out two, the Spider House (which nobody wanted to go to anyway) and Chickenville (which is about 12 mile off the highway), so we are good to go for several places. I might even stop us at a couple we’ve been to in previous years.

Well, I’m done with the nightcap that Jeeves brought to me, so it’s off to bed now. Tune in tomorrow for Day One of our journey.

Destination Sign: Zzzzzzz
QM Radio: Turned off for now

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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