And The Beef Goes On

…wait, wrong lyrics

 

OOPS! Forgot to post this last night. I blame the partying.

CritterCon 10

Day Ten, Con Day Three


My day so far…

1: Woke up…no hangover…ate breakfast at Pancakeville.

2: 9 am panel on Pulp Games with 5 other folks, one of whom was Brian Misiaszek…went very well, lots of good questions.

3: Went for our annual spa session at Spa La La…soaked in hot mud, then washed off and got a great massage…might have fallen asleep and drooled during massage.

4: Lunch at Pizza My Heart, which has a killer lunch buffet now.

5: Ran my second 3 hour Toon game (The Perilous Predicament of Petey Penguin) for 10 players…Everybody had big fun, including the wife who played Psycho Petey and her husband who played Sweetie Petey and their 12 year old daughter who played Neaty Petey.

6: Just finished a 90 minute session of running the 24/7 D&D game. Spike took over from me…all the players during my time were human females, female dogs and a female goat…they kicked ass on a Goblin horde.

7: Next up is a seminar on What’s New In Gaming, then a quick dinner, then putting on two Old Time Radio shows back to back: The Adventures of Doc Mystery and Life With Bucky & Squint.

8: Starting at 9:00 is the Bigass Party, which features 5 bands, an open bar and geekery as far as the eye can see.

More bloggage tomorrow.

Make Big Money Printing Big Money!

…you’ll wonder why you never thought of it before

 

CritterCon 10

Day Seven, Con Day Zero

I have to make today’s entry fast & dirty, so here are some of today’s highlights.

1: We stopped the Bus at a beef jerky factory. Very fun and they gave out free samples. The Fearless Four did not want to leave.

2: Avis took Ginie into the Library and the two of them got to walking and looking at books and ended up a two miles from the entrance. Fortunately, the Librarian summoned the trolley car for them to ride back.

3: We arrived at Critter City about 10:30 in the morning and checked into the hotel. The critters are all back in their regular bodies and the hotel staff was delighted to see them.

4: We picked up our con books, swag and badges, then went to Ed’s Big Weenie for lunch. The con book looks like a early 1960’s Montgomery Ward’s Christmas Catalog. Pretty cool.

5: Con swag this year includes: a really snazzy black t-shirt with a parody of the movie poster for Big Trouble In Little China, but with humans and critters instead.

A real silver 10th anniversary commemorative coin.

A d6 with cats, dogs, parrots, bunnies, pigs and goats in place of the pips.

A card game called “CritterCon: The Card Game. Several of us (Me, Spike, Sasha, Daisy, Max) are on cards.

A mini board game called “Save Critter City”.

Coupons for discounts on all sorts of stuff.

A small box of edible goodies.

6: We saw many folks who came here this year due to it being a week ahead of GenCon. Quite a few of them will be joining us for dinner at Mistress Diana’s Dungeon Diner, which has been redecorated and expanded in size.

7: Saw a new Cajun restaurant had opened. The name? Stand Bayou.

8: Got advanced notice that this year’s Friday night party is “Drag’n Age”, and that means everybody attending has to be dressed in drag to get in. I’m glad the Wardrobe Room on the bus has plus sized dresses. I will not, however, be wearing high heels.

Well, folks, we humans are about to head out to the aforementioned dinner and then to the Ice Cream Social/Bourbonfest. The Critters are all going to dinner at an NHT only place, then will head to the social. I hope I see some of you at the con tomorrow.

More bloggage soon.

Destination Sign When We Started: Jungleland
Destination Sign When We Stopped: Discworld

QM Radio Station: KRTR FM, Critter City, Texas

Chapter 200: In Which Our Hero, Washed Up On The Shores Of An Island, Begins A Friendship With An Ape

…rum might have been involved

 

CritterCon 10

Day Five

We spent last night in Yuma, Arizona and the Bus left town at 7 this morning. We all were up by 8 and had a terrific breakfast of waffles and assorted meats.

(Silky: Folks, if you ever get a chance to eat a breakfast prepared by an android version of Julia Child, I suggest you take it.)

(Luke: Oh man, those sausages were delicious.)

(Leon: I needed a nap after that breakfast.)

(Sasha: You’re a cat. You need a nap after a long fart.)

Our only stops today were not terrible long or impressive. Giants of the Desert, located just south of Tombstone, turned out to be big clay and sandstone sculptures made to look like they had been made thousands of years ago by some “lost tribe” of Native Americans. In fact, they were made in the early 1920s by some guy that would bring folks out to see them, then con them out of money for either “research” or to find some lost treasure. The tour took 20 minutes, the cost was $3.00 each and the gift shop was okay.

(Sasha: I considered telling one of the folks running the place that the biggest statue was covering up a crashed Yonarian space probe, but then I thought better of it. That probe has been there 900 years. Another couple of centuries won’t hurt it.)


The Junk House, near Douglas, was considerably more interesting. This is a large old house, about half of which is home to all sorts of stuff that Herman and Delores Arthur have found in the desert over the last 60 years. Everything here has a story, from the rubber baby doll that the found way the hell up a mountain, to the gold tooth that they found imbedded in an old fence post way up near Flagstaff. To be honest, most of the stories get kind of repetitive, but there are enough interesting or funny ones to make it well worth your $2.50 admission price.

(Daisy: The story about finding those old booze bottles after getting chased by an angry raccoon was pretty hilarious.)

(Max: “Ever time we’d think we outrun him, here’d come that goddamn raccoon!” Hahaha!)


We stopped near the Arizona/New Mexico border for a short walk in the desert. And by “we” I mean me, Spike, Gabriel and the critters. It was 114 degrees out. And by “short walk”, I mean about 500 feet and maybe 15 minutes. We didn’t see any wildlife.

(Roxy: That’s because all the wildlife was too smart to go walking around in the 114 degree heat!)

(Silky: Thank goodness for our android bodies.)

We ate lunch on the bus as we headed for I-10, then we played a few boardgames (Terraforming Mars, Kill Doctor Lucky) and the critters, now back in their own bodies, frolicked in the Shoe Room and Meadow Room.

When we got to Las Cruces, we stopped for the night and had some great Southwest chow for dinner, then had another movie night. Tonight’s double feature was “The Shadow in San Francisco” (Earth 1-C, 1940) and “The Shadow Knows” (Earth 1-C, 1942). Both were very good.

I’m about to go have a beer with Gabriel and show him the Warehouse Room. After that, it’s bedtime. Tomorrow we cross New Mexico and half of Texas to end up near Critter City and the con.

Destination Sign When We Started: Oz
Destination Sign When We Stopped: Sin City

QM Radio Station: All Surf Music!

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

Mr. Porkwaffle Tries To Climb A Tree

…with very humorous results

 

CritterCon 10

Day Two

So last night, after watching two movies from Earth 1-D (Fall of a Jedi Knight: A Star Wars Story and Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar), most of us sat around talking until just after one in the morning. This explains why we all slept in until about 8 this morning and didn’t finish breakfast until 10.

(Silky: I crashed about 11:30. I’m getting too old for staying up late.)

(Sasha: I had to go check on some experiments and damned if I didn’t fall asleep in the lab.)

We had been north of Santa Cruz and only had to drive about three miles to the Hippie Museum, which, while not advertised as World Famous, damn well should be. Also, there is no force on Earth that could have kept Spike and Mary out of there.

(Daisy: I can’t think of a better roadside attraction for Auntie Mary & Uncle Spike. Or Silky and Daddy, for that matter.)


The entry fee to this hippie owned and operated establishment is either whatever cash you want to donate or canned food for the local food bank. Since our pantry is roughly the size of a WalMart, we donated a literal ton of food. Not only did this get us into the museum, it got us free t-shirts, free bumper stickers and hugs from the staff.

(Roxy: I thought those people were gonna poop!)

(Leon: They offered Uncle Doc & Uncle Spike some weed, too.)

The museum is chock full of photos, film, videos, writings, posters, clothing and other memorabilia of the late 60s to mid 70s. It was a real blast from the past, even for our younger members.

(Max: Man, I thought humans dressed strangely nowadays, but that’s nothing compared to the hippie attire.)

We spent over two hours there, and liked it so much we gave them another ton of food and bought a bunch more t-shirts and 9 bandanas.

(Leon: One of the ladies tried to give Uncle Doc a plate full of brownies, but he begged off citing a mass diet.)

Santa Cruz being what it is, our next stop was a mere mile away and the Human Roadside Zoo. Part theater, part fundraiser, this is another place that asks only for donations. When we got out of the bus, we saw several right wing groups protesting the place, so we knew we were going to like it, being a big old bus load of liberals. Confrontation was inevitable, I suppose.

(Daisy: Oh, Daddy, you live for shit like this.)

It seems the righties didn’t like how some of their ilk were being portrayed inside. They also didn’t like the big security guards inside, so that’s why the 15 or so of them were out on the sidewalk.

(Silky: So much for the courage of their convictions.)
(Leon: I’d say most of them had convictions for DUI.)

One dickhead in a MAGA hat and NRA t-shirt tried to stand in Grace’s way. This did not sit well with Daisy and when they guy started yelling at Grace about “UnAmerican Liberals”, Daisy told him to shut the fuck up and get out of the way. He turned toward her and poked her in the chest with his finger. He managed to get the words “Listen, little girl” out before 5’2” Daisy jumped up and kicked him square in the face, stretching him out on the pavement. Some woman, probably his wife, came at Daisy from behind and got an elbow in her plentiful stomach before getting slapped about 6 times.

(Roxy: Daisy is my hero!)

(Daisy: Do NOT mess with me or my family.)

Some young guy in neo-nazi attire looked like he might be going for a gun, so I sorta punched him in the throat. Twice. Turns out he was just going for a cell phone, probably to record the nasty old antifa hippies. My bad. I tossed his phone under the tire of a truck driving by.

(Sasha: You just know Daddy wanted to curbstomp that asshole, but the cops were coming.)

To avoid explaining things to the cops, Sasha neuralized the righties to start fighting each other. I reckon all of them got arrested.

(Sasha: Yeah, and I had every one of them assault a cop, too, for extra charges.)


The Human Zoo itself was interesting, with all of the stereotypes represented. You could see how the Trumpistas would have not liked many of them. We donated $50.00 as we were leaving. Outside, all the cops & protesters were gone.

By now it was after 1:30, so we all chowed down at a hotdog place, then wandered around downtown Santa Cruz for about an hour. Around 3:30, we got on the bus and drove about 10 miles to the Giant Jesus of The Coast.

(Luke: Dad was so excited!)

(Silky: Auntie Mary was pretty excited, too. I think Dad has got her hooked on Giant Jesuses.)

On the D. Cross Giant Jesus Rating Scale, this one rated as follows.

Size: 3 It was about 80 feet tall.

Climbability: 3, since you could only go up an outside stairway to a small deck encircling his waist.

Appearance: 8 Very lifelike looking, but with a bit of paint chipping due to the salt air.

Pose: 5 Pretty much your standard arms outspread to embrace the faithful pose

(Luke: I think Dad would faint if he found a Giant Jesus playing air guitar.)

Religiosity: 10 There was a small bible store at the base and about a dozen religious folks milling about there and up on the deck, ready to save souls.

All told, not a bad Giant Jesus, but not the best by along shot.

(Max: But he still took 35 pictures of it.)

It now being near 5 pm, we decided to take the bus to a campground down by Castroville, where we had a fine dinner prepared by Julia, then rested a bit before going to the Slide Room and trying out the new Slide Racing option. It was big fun, but after about an hour, everyone was pretty much tuckered out.

(Daisy: You’d be surprised how tied you get sliding around on your ass in the water at speeds up to 75 mph.)

So now it’s 11:00 and I’m heading to bed. More trip reportage tomorrow.

 

Destination Sign When We Started: Westeros
Destination Sign When We Stopped: Toad Hall

QM Radio Station: Alt. Country Meets Alt. Rock

It Was The Kazoos That Pissed Off The Bull

…he was not a music lover

 

Day Two will go up tonight.

 

 

CritterCon 10

Day One, Part Two

After leaving Half Moon Bay, we only had to drive 4 miles down the highway to reach our next roadside attraction, the Wooden Presidents.

(Silky: As opposed to just the wooden headed presidents.)


Penny Gudermann started doing chainsaw sculptures as a young teenager with her dad. Eventually, they opened a shop selling their carvings and that shop is still open.

About 12 years ago, Penny started carving a statue of Thomas Jefferson. It turned out really well, so she moved on to Washington, then Kennedy, then all of the others. Once she had them all, up to Obama, she opened up the lot of them for public viewing.

(Luke: At $2.00 a head, but children under 10 are free.)


All of the statues are carved from native California oak and the detail is incredible. During the tour, Penny told plenty of stories about working on each president, as well as her ongoing work on the First Ladies and a few of the Founding Fathers. All told, we spent nearly an hour and a half there.

And yes, there is a small selection of bumper stickers, t-shirts, etc.

(Daisy: We have a very large wall covered in bumper stickers from these trips. Uncle Gabriel was very impressed. He has not seen all the fridge magnets yet.)

By now it was nearing 4:00, but we figured we had enough time to visit our next attraction, the First Church of the True World History, located just outside of Santa Cruz. It only opened a couple of months ago and I had heard a bit about it. As you are about to find out, it elicits quite a bit of interest from us here at Casa Cross.

(Silky: That is Daddy making with the understatement of nearly British proportions.)


The church charges nothing to visit it, so the bunch of us (the critters in their android bodies) went in. We were met by Pastors Oscar and Tanya Mendina, the founders of the church. They explained that they started the church after finding evidence that world history was being manipulated by a strange group of humans and dogs of the hound variety, at least one of which was some sort of tentacled mutant. It is a testimony to our self control that none of us laughed or looked shocked, although both Grace and Avis did give Sasha & I the “SEE? We told you you’d get caught!” look.

(Leon: BUSTED, Uncle Doc!)
(Sasha: I need to make us some sort of cloaking device.)
(Roxy: Or you could just stop messing with history.)

(Sasha: Honey, we are MAKING history.)


Pastor Oscar then showed us around the church museum and damned if they didn’t have a pretty impressive collection of written accounts and even a few photographs. Fortunately, we always subtly change how we look, so the photos of Sasha show a black & white basset and photos of me show a younger clean shaven guy with short hair.

(Silky: Dad actually looks kind of dashing in the photo of him with Lawrence of Arabia.)
(Max: On the other hand, that 14th century Chinese painting of Sasha looked like something from Creature Features.)


Both pastors related stories of how these strange dogs & humans (Spike has gone with me a few times and one of the stories is how Grace accidentally caused a pre-teen Martin Luther to start thinking the way he did) have been around for at least 7,000 years, and maybe longer. Obviously, he told us, they are immortal and could be sent by God or Satan, the jury still being out. He also related how Men In Black and government agents have stopped by the church to question them several times.

When the tour and stuff was done, we bought a couple of t-shirts, then left, chuckling all the way to the bus. As soon as we were on board, Grace went into lecture mode and Sasha and I had to swear to be more careful when we went through time to ensure that history comes out correctly.

By then it was almost 6 and time for dinner, which we have just finished eating. Tonight is movie night, with some conversation after. Tomorrow we are off down the coast for more adventures.

Destination Sign When We Started: Invidia
Destination Sign When We Stopped: Alpha Complex

QM Radio Station: One Hit Wonders, 1925-2015

 

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

War Muffins

…they BOOM when you eat them.

(Note: Part Two will go up tomorrow along with the Day 3 entry)

CritterCon 10

Day One, Part One

Hi folks! It is now 2:30 in the afternoon, we have just finished lunch and some spirited rounds of various card games (Sentinels of the Multiverse, Sushi Go, Dominion).

(Daisy: I OWNED Max, Uncle Spike, Auntie Avy and Daddy at Dominion!)


We are leaving Half Moon Bay now, heading south toward our next stop along the coast.

Our day began officially at 7:30 with breakfast at The Santa Rosa Diner, where we all chowed down good & proper.

(Luke: And by “good & proper”, Dad means “at too much”.)
(Silky: It’s a great eatery though. They cook up eggs and ground beef for dogs.)
(Roxy: And kippered herring & eggs for cats!)

Around 8:30, we got back on the bus and drove 4 miles south to the World Famous Giant Maze Garden. As we have said many times in past reports, anything that proclaims itself World Famous is a must stop and this place is actually world famous. They had pix of folks from all over the world who have visited.

(Sasha: They had pictures of Lassie and Roy Rogers’ dog, Bullet.)

Entering the actual maze will set you back $10.00 each if you are human. Dogs & cats on leashes can enter for free.

(Leon: As well we should!)

(Luke: Damned straight!)

The maze is big and the very tight, very dense hedges are all about 12 feet tall. Sound from the other side of the hedge is almost inaudible. Covering 24 acres, the average unassisted time to get out of the maze is 90 minutes. If you need help, there are call boxes at every turn and intersection. The paths are about 8 feet wide. Every so often, the maze opens into a small and beautiful garden.

(Max: They had catnip in the little herb garden and Leon and Roxy got high as kites.)
(Leon: That was wicked strong ‘nip!)

(Daisy: Auntie Ginie had to carry Roxy for a while because she was too stoned to walk properly.)


Naturally, we spent much of our 1 hour, 5 minutes in the maze discussing how great it would be for a dungeon crawl LARP. When we exited it, we all agreed it was worth the ten bucks. Amazingly, they had a gift shop selling t-shirts, fridge magnets and other stuff. Longtime readers know what happened there.

(Sasha: We own so many fridge magnets, Daddy has put sheet steel on the kitchen walls to hold them all. The fridge was fully covered by 2013.)


Our next stop was about 25 minutes down the highway at Mousetown, USA. If you guessed that this was the work of a guy and his wife with WAY too much time & money, you guessed right.

Housed in a big steel barn, Mouseville is indeed a mouse sized town hand built by Lou and Kathy Corrigan. They started it in 1982 and it now measures 12 feet wide by 90 feet long. Originally built to house actual live mice, they proved to be too destructive, stinky and predator attracting, so now it is home to 562 plastic toy mice, including several variants of Mickey & Minnie.

(Leon: Even years later, one can still detect the delicious scent of mouse on the hoof.)


Like most of these sort of places, it was cheap to visit and a quick tour. See one tiny town, you’ve seen them all.

(Sasha: One might say the same about Giant Jesus statues, to no avail.)

(Silky: Yeah, you’ll never end Dad’s obsession with that.)


About a half hour later, we reached San Francisco and our third stop, Robotica. Now this was a cool place to visit, being a big former grocery store (Daisy: It used to be a Ralph’s.) re-purposed to show off a few hundred robots, from the very tiny to one the size of a car.

Amazingly, entry is free, although if the parking lot is full (it will be), parking across the street is $10.00.

(Sasha: Fortunately, once we all disembarked sweetie, we sent her to an early Sunday morning in 1975 when the Ralph’s parking lot was near empty.)

This place is hella cool! The robots doo everything from mimic ant behavior to actually play rock riffs on a Fender Stratocaster. There are plenty of helpful young geeks to explain things to you and a couple actually recognized spike and I by our names, asking “Are you Doc Cross and Spike Y Jones?” From there we moved into about 20 minutes of gaming talk, which ended with Spousal Staring.

(Sasha: Those robots were pretty cute and some were cutting edge for current human science. Still, I would have loved to have shown them a SmartBot.)

We spent an hour at Robotica, leaving just after noon. We jammed down the coast at speeds not usually capable for a bus. (Max: 150 miles an hour! Of course, the Bus was shapeshifted into a Ferrari.) We arrived in Half Moon Bay for a fine lunch at a local burger joint.

And that catches you all up on our day so far. More bloggage later

(Roxy: What happened to all those police cars and helicopters that were chasing us.)
(Sasha: Mass neuralization. I sent them off after a drunk driver.)

Destination Sign When We Started: Green Mars
Destination Sign When We Stopped: Kadath

QM Radio Station: RoboRomance. Songs for young robots in love.

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

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!

Doc Tempest And The Green Fire Death

…from the July 1962 issue

DogCon 1, Last Day

The Dealer’s Room, she is closed…the seminars, they are done…the Art Show? History…Gaming gots 2 more hours, then it’s all she wrote…DogCon 1 is over.

The seminar I was part of, “I Hate …..!”, was packed. As the title indicates, it was a bitchfest for the 8 of us on the panel, then halfway thru, we let the audience bitch. Yeah, us gamers love to gripe.

Grace hit the Dealer’s Room hard while I was seminaring. She bought enough board and card games to increase our collection by an order of magnitude. We’ll ship them home, lest I have to ride atop the car all the way back to California.

When the con was over, I called my bestest pal, Avis, at GenCon so we could share a “The con is over” moment:)

Right now, the con honchos are getting things ready for a “Post Con Cool Down”, in which everyone is invited into a huge portion of the convention center for soft drinks and…wait for it…pie! No gaming, just pie eating and chatting for a couple of hours. How cool is that?

So, this ends my con report. Grace, The Girls and I will depart from this hotel at midnight for the long drive home. Sharon, the World’s Greatest Dogsitter, will fly out tomorrow morning.

In summary, the con was incredible. If I don’t go to GenCon, I’ll be back here for CatCon 2 next year.

Oh, and the Super Secret Origin of DogCon? I can’t tell you about it. Wouldn’t be a Super Secret if I did that, right?

(Winker: Hahaha, Dad. Very funny. NOT!)

(Daisy: We love you, Daddy, but jeez, that stunk.)

 

Catgirl Yami Rides Again

…more fake anime

DogCon 1, Day 2

1: The TOON/OTE game finished up a half an hour early, at 6:30. It was a rousing success, with only one PC actually dying, but then he came back as a toon, so it was cool. Tiffany Trilobite was rescued, the evil Tiffany Trilobite got dipped and everyone went to a dinner party at Elmer Fudd’s house.

2: Dinner was another large group affair and this time we had pizza. Lots of pizza. And sodas, beer, milk, softdrinks. The conversation was great and ranged from raising children to the upcoming new Star Trek flick to gardening to why almost nobody at the table was playing D&D 4E.

3: Stuffed full o’ pizza, we all then went to Open Gaming and commandeered 3-4 tables. We then played the following games (in groups ranging from 3 to 8): Arkham Horror…Blink…Apples To Apples…Settlers of Catan…Puerto Rico…Bohnanza…Aquarius and at least 2 more that I can’t remember. Much fun, with the last of us leaving Open Gaming about 1:30 am.

4: Like a fool, when I got back to the hotel room, I decided to check my email instead of going to bed. I had 22 emails that broke down into the following categories: Spam = 6, Mail from GenCon goers = 4, Mail from relatives back home = 2, Mail from other DogCon attendees = 4, LJ comments = 5, Mail from financial advisor = 1. I finally hit the sack around 2:15 am.

More bloggage later

They Took The “A” Train, But Never Gave It Back

…apologies to Duke Ellington

Dog Con 1, Day 2

Another one by the numbers, kids. And to think that the day is only half over:)

1. At 9:00 this morning, after a hearty breakfast, Grace, The Girls and I went to a day spa for people and their pets. It was my first time at a spa and Hot Damn!, was it a relaxing and invigorating experience. Who’da thunk that a half hour submerged up to yer neck in hot mud would feel so good? (note: The Girls did not get the mudbath. Instead, they got regular baths and and doggie pedicures.) Next came massages for all 4 of us (Daisy and I stayed awake, but Grace and Winker both fell asleep halfway through) and then delicious smoothies. Grace had peach, I had pineapple and The Girls had liver. Finally, there was hair washing, cutting (trimming in my case, as Grace forbids my hair to be short), styling and pedicures for us and new collars and leashes for The Girls. I emerged a new man, minus the former man’s killer hangover.

2. I met Spike at noon for lunch and had one of the 10 greatest hamburgers of my life. Afterwards, we strolled around the con, peeking into everything from the Movie Room (showing “Spider-Man”) to the Boardgame Hall (which had, I’m told, 200 individual games going on) to the Art Show to the Computer Gaming Showcase (I wants me a hugeass plasma monitor). Open Gaming was packed, the minis room was maybe halfway full, the card game room was full and there were at least 4 LARPS going on. Busy con, yes indeed. I’m told they had 5,000 prereg attendees and expect maybe 3,000 walk ins. Not too shabby for year 1.

3. At 3:00, I parted company with Spike and went off to GM yet another game, my famous TOON/Over The Edge crossover Who Took Tiffany Trilobite?. We are on a short break from the game just now and so far, the game is going well, despite the PC’s making at least one error that may come back to kill them. Insert fiendish GM cackle here.

And now, I must get back to this game, then haul ass to dinner and then go play assorted games with other geeks.

Giant Sized Pancakes

…for giant sized appetites

DogCon 1, Day 1

It’s midnight and I’m a wee bit tipsy. Or maybe drunk. Whatever. Anyway, I’m typing this from the bigass bar on top of the Hyatt, which has free inter-fuckin’-net access. And Guinness on tap at a very reasonable price.

So, here is my day by the numbers.

1:Ran my Over The Edge game “Young Cut Ups In Love” for 8 players, only 3 of whom had ever played OTE. Still, everyone got into it and love flourished (after some wanton destruction of private property, an illicit drug buy, a couple of fist fights and no less than four kidnappings) in Al Amarja by the time we were done.

2: The seminar I attended was titled “So you think you can be a GM?” and was actually pretty damned funny. See, the guys on the panel chose some newbie/wannabe gamemaster from the audience, then hit them with all of the sort of goofball stuff that players are forever doing to GM’s. My fave was the one about “well, it says on page 231 of the second edition guide to troll archers that an arrow CAN go through an inch of iron if you roll a critical hit and you have a Ring of Hitting Shit”.

3: Arriving back at the hotel (about 20 minutes late, due to getting drawn into a conversation about D&D back in the day), I found Grace and both dogs asleep on the bed and Sharon konked out in a chair. I woke up Grace and gave The Girls bellyrubs while she got ready to go to dinner. We then went to dinner at an excellent little Vietnamese place. We were joined by about 14 other people and the good times did roll. Also, we ate a whole bunch.

4: After our ride on the Food Coma Express, Grace went off to play lifesize Kill Doctor Lucky and I went to open gaming where doc_mystery was going to run a Pulp Era game. And boy howdy, was it fun! The plot was part murder mystery, part occult investigation and part globe trotting adventure. As in Montreal to Arizona to the Yukon to Shanghai and back to Montreal on a gigantic airship. Which kinda crashed once due to a certain crusading reporter trying to get the goods on a certain undercover G-man. There were thrills, spills, deathtraps and more than a few laughs. A great game.

5: Several of us went to the big bar after the game, where we are as I write this. Tomorrow promises new gaming fun, a trip to a dog/owner spa and, unless I’m very lucky, a hangover. Yes, definitely a hangover, since delazan just bought me another pint of Guinness. Lovely lass, she.

Arthur Has Quite A Collection Of Severed Heads

…mostly from Mormons and Seventh Day Adventists who ring his doorbell in the morning

DogCon 1, Day 1

There is more than a bit of insanity in running a TOON game at eight fucking AM in the morning, but despite my burning desire to be back in bed, great players (including Ms. Miranda Jones) and large infusions of donuts and strong tea helped me make it through the game.

The “plot” of the game was simple: Catch the Foogle Bird. Anyone who has ever played TOON knows two things: The Foogle Bird will never get caught and characters will soon become obsessed with beating each other silly. And thus it went, with riotous laughter and, at one point, impromptu bellydancing by three men with big bellies.

The game was over just short of 10 o’clock, so I started heading off to the Dealers Room with the Jones family and my lovely wife. Halfway there, my cell phone rings (my ringtone is “Flight of the Valkyries”, which got us all singing “Kill da wabbit! Kill da wabbit!”) and to my delight, it’s my old friend avylou, calling from GenCon. She is there with my other old pal, smalley_smoot, his lovely wife and the vast bulk of my gaming friends. We chatted for a bit, since she was heading for the GenCon Dealer’s Room at just that moment, and then said our goodbyes as we both arrived at our respective shrines to adventure gaming retail sales.

I’ve only been in this Dealer’s room about an hour, but I can tell you it’s full of dealers. I’d reckon it’s about a third the size of the GenCon room, but most of the major game companies are here. Not bad considering it’s the first year of a con that purposely scheduled itself exactly opposite GenCon. I’ll get more into that philosophy in another post.

So far, I have bought two Booster Decks for Killer Bunnies, a t-shirt that says “My other dog is a werewolf” and, of course, some dice. Me, I loves me some dice.

In just about an hour, I’m off to run a 4 hour Over The Edge game, then go to a seminar, then go wake Grace up from a short nap so we can head out to dinner with some of my LJ homies. After that, I believe, is Pulp Gamer Goodness with the two fisted Doc_Mystery. After that, there might be drinking.

More DogCon goodness later.

Mr. Porkwaffle Goes To A Luncheon

…and hilarity ensues

Con Report: DogCon 1, Day Zero

A Bit Of Clarification: DogCon is not for dogs, altho there are many here in town. No, Dog Con takes it’s name from the fact that Wilted Springs, Texas, bills itself as “The dog and cat resort center of the universe”. And they ain’t lyin’! This town has 32 hotels and motels, every one pet friendly. There are five dog and/or cat amusement parks! All restaurants have dog & cat menus as well as people menus and there are more pet spas than you can shake a catnip mouse at.

And the next time a Texan tells me that we Californians are goofy, I’m gonna kick their ass.

Anyway, when this con was but a mere gleam in the eye of three rich gamers, they wanted to call it Dog & Cat Con, but decided that was too long and sounded too much like a pet event, so they flipped a coin and dogs won the right to have a con named after them…this year. Next year, the con will be called CatCon 2, which should nicely fuck with lots of folks minds.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled pre-con report.

So, right about 3:30, My Sweet Angel and I bade The Girls and Sharon goodbye and went to pick up our badges and stuff. My line (for GM’s) was very short and they gave me a hell of a goodie bag. Grace, who entered her line just ahead of my old pal Spike Y Jones and his lovely wife, Mary (their daughter, Miranda was in the Kids line), took less than 10 minutes to get her badge and bag.

And what a goodie bag they are handing out! Cool “DogCon 1” d6’s, a special edition “Dork Tower” comic, a new, non collectible card game called “Weenies From Outer Space”, coupons for several places in the dealers room, three plastic minis, and a bunch of flyers. Oh, and the con book, which doubles as a parody of “Playboy”, complete with a centerfold of a very fine looking Irish Setter.

The GM’s bag had all of the above, plus a spiffy looking t-shirt and a voucher for two free drinks at a local watering hole. Sweet!

As we and the Joneses stood there looking through our goodie bags and catching up with one another, we were passed/joined by…doc_mystery and his lovely wife, mrs_dm and cute as a button daughter…muskrat_john and his lovely and talented wife, Judith…the sweet and funnydelazan (but not her husband notoriousbkc who was off somewhere discussing Brett Favre with another con attendee)…The Big Kahuna Guest of Honor himself, Steve Jackson…and most of my secondary gaming group from back home in Sacramento (patricks, weaktwos, rpmiller and cmjenn).

By the time all the yakking was over, it was nigh onto 5:00 PM and tummies were rumbling, so we headed back to our hotel room at the Hyatt, changed our clothes and collected Sharon & The Girls to go to dinner with the Joneses and the Mysteries at a local barbecue joint. It was great chow and Doc M’s Girl-O pretty much fell in love with Daisy and Winker, who, besides eating their own plates of food polished off at least 3 rib bones each. Once dinner was over, the womenfolk, children and dogs waddled off to various hotel rooms while Spike, Doc M and I waddled off to visit the Open Gaming room and get our geek on.

Considering it was the night before the con, I’d reckon there were upwards of 500 people in Open Gaming, playing everything from RPGs to card games to minis. The room could have easily held another 500 (did I mention that this convention center is hugmongous?). We wound our way thru the tables, stopping to chat at about every third table. As you can imagine, in no time, it was midnight. Bidding my compadres good night, I headed back to the hotel, because I have to GM a 8:00 AM TOON game. And yet, I went online to write this. Obviously, I’ve lost my mind. I wonder if anyone will notice?

More constuff later.