…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!

Blue Food Blues

…I gots ’em

CatCon4: Day 2, Part 2 We venture into the wilds of Alabama…Cornbread is eaten and sat upon…battling attractions for the WIN!

Now that I’m sitting in my comfy recliner, enjoying a cold beer and watching my dog (Lucy) chase imaginary squirrels in her sleep, I’ll reveal the facts about Project Applesauce.

It’s pretty simple, really: we decided that instead of cutting across the tiny portion of Alabama and the slightly larger portion of Mississippi that Interstate 10 runs through, we’d drive on up a ways into Alabama, then cut across both states until we hit Louisiana, then haul ass to New Orleans and I-10 again.

Naturally, we wanted to hit as many tourist attractions as possible, but the ever creative and slightly nutty Mary Jones and I had an ulterior motive beyond that of our traveling companions: empowered by our rousing rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody” for a a herd of cattle last year, we are determined to get all on board the bus to join us in performing “The Time Warp” for an unsuspecting herd of Southerners. Oddly, some in our group did not see the wonder, splendor and genius of our plan (which, I’ll point out, includes make up and costumes) when we announced it shortly after crossing into Alabama today. Still, we remain sure that they’ll come around.

So once we entered the “Heart of Dixie”, we began heading northeast along state routes and county roads, heading for the Montgomery area where we’ll turn west. Imagine our delight when we entered the town of Lottie and found it was right in the middle of the annual Cornbread Festival!

Folks, there are food festivals all across this great nation of ours and I try to stop at every one I see, so when Gerry & Bill’s baby boy sees a whole town doing a tribute to one of the great foods of the South, he stops.

We ate cornbread of all sorts and flavors. We had it dripping with butter & honey, topped with jam, dipped in chocolate, filled with chunks of hot peppers and deep fried with gravy as a dipping sauce (if it weren’t for deep frying and gravy, many southern folk would starve to death). I did my southern ancestors proud. Several of our party did their ancestors proud, too, including those whose ancestors were Canadian,

(Abby: I love cornbread and apparently many southern children think feeding a goat on a leash chunks of it is great fun.)

And just because you’ve got to do something screwy with your chosen festival food (I’m looking at you, Gilroy, CA and your garlic ice cream), the good people of Lottie baked up a humongous slab of cornbread that measures 18 feet across and is done to a hardness that allows you to sit on it, which we all did and we’ve got the pictures to prove it.

And lest you think otherwise, we hit the t-shirt/commemorative beer glass/bumper sticker booth hard.

Once we left the cornbread filled streets of Lottie behind, it was mostly pleasant driving through small country towns until we reached the tiny town of Old Texas, where we found that much sought after thing that roadside attraction aficionados lust after: dueling attractions.

If you recall from last year, we encountered the two “World’s Largest” toilet paper rolls, which was totally cool and ended in the destruction of both of them by the same nuttyass old guys who made them. (Follow up note on that: I got an email from the wife of one of the old guys and it seems that in their mad rush to see whose toilet paper roll really was the longest, they incurred littering citations in 146 counties in 7 states. Both were also held for psychiatric evaluation in their final stop, Tuscon, Arizona.)

This year, the dueling attractions were…I shit you not…the World’s Largest Dinosaur Built Entirely Out Of Toothpicks. On one side of the road, you’ve got a twice life size Tyrannosaur. Across the way, you’ve got a humongous Brachiosaur. T-Rex is taller, the sauropod is longer and heavier. Both of them are pretty impressive and a glowing testament to what human beings can do when they have lots of free time, a assload of toothpicks and most likely plenty of corn liquor. We took pictures and bought all of the usual tchotchke subjects. Grace and Spike spoke with a local fellow who told them that the two fellows that built the dinosaurs were twin brothers. It took them 32 years to finish their monuments to prehistory, during which time they had many fistfights, yelling matches and the odd bit of small arms fire. By the time they were done, they were 77 years old and both of them died within 6 months.

And I thought my family was cracked. Well, ok, they are, but nobody has built a toothpick dinosaur. Yet.

After that little stop, we drove an uneventful drive to the South Montgomery KOA. Once there, we did the eating and relaxing thing. It is 11 PM now, everybody but me is asleep and as soon as this beer is done, I’m hitting the sack.

Music: Assorted Artists “Best of Doo Wop”

Destination Sign: Somewhere Over The Rainbow

The Rare And Beautiful And Deadly Flying Weaselcobra Of Potawango Island

…they are just crazy dangerous

The Trip to DogCon 3: Day 5, Part 2, In which we have a somewhat quieter drive, curry is eaten and my cat falls in love.

(Note: All comments by Flash are in italics)

The second, mostly downhill, half of our trip through Glacier National Park on the Going To The Sun Road was way quieter than the first half. This is because both Grace and Lucy fell into a deep sleep due to burning so much nervous energy on the first half of the trip, Sharon did a bit of self medication and Flash hid in the cupboard behind the bags of pasta & rice.

Winker and I had a fine trip, just cruising along on a narrow mountain road listening to reggae music and barking from time to time.

When we reached the St. Mary entrance on the far side of the park, we all got out to stretch our legs and, in the case of the more nervous, kiss the ground repeatedly while thanking Dog for delivering them from their near death. Well, Flash thanked Ceiling Cat, but the effect was the same.

By comparison to the earlier ride, the drive from St. Mary to Cut Bank was pretty tame, though we did see a mother moose and her calf, a few dear and a porcupine. As we drove along, Grace started heating up our dinner which we had cooked back home and froze for later trip consumption. Tonight, it was smoked pork curry. We ate dinner just after pulling in at the Lucky Beaver RV Park, located just north of Cut Bank. Mmmm, tasty tasty curry.

After dinner, we strolled around the place and met another bunch of travelers in a hippie bus (sans TARDIS unit, of course). Turned out that they were from Santa Cruz and there were 8 of them heading to Nova Scotia for some New Age/hippie get together.

At another campsite, we encountered a nice young family that had a sweet little West Highland White Terrier and a beautiful Maine Coon cat. A female. Who Flash instantly fell in love with.

Ol’ Flash was trying hard to get her to give him some sweet love, but I think the fact that she was 3 times his size and 4 times his weight kind of made her decide against it.

Oh man, was she HOT! That long hair…those eyes…that tail…daddy like! But she was all hung up on the size thing. I tried to tell her that once she tried Portuguese Jungle Cat, she’d never go back, but she had her mind made up. Too bad, baby. I could’a rocked your world.

After a nice walk, we went back to the bus and watched another alternate universe movie, “Live and Let Die”, but this one starred Sean Connery. After that, everyone but myself and Lucy went to bed, so she and I watched some Three Stooges shorts. Now Lucy is asleep and I will be hitting the California King sized sack soon.

Tomorrow: We drive across northern Montana to North Dakota, stopping at interesting places along the way.

Destination Sign: Camelot, Silly Version

Stalking The Wild Canadian Roleplayer

…in Texas

CatCon2: Day 0, Part One

(NOTE: The following is all fictional.)

Greetings from CatCon2! Well, the con officially starts tomorrow at 9:00 am, but we are here in Wilted Springs now…along with several thousand other gamers.

We actually arrived at 10:30, having been too excited to sleep in late. Initially, our plan was to arrive about noon and meet our friends the Joneses for lunch. Since we arrived early, we checked into the hotel and just kinda relaxed. Did I mention that the entire top floor of this hotel has all of the rooms reserved for Guests of Honor and Featured GMs? Well, it does! Pretty sweet, if you ask me.

About 11:00, Spike called me to say they were in town and on the way to the hotel. We took The Girls to the 10th floor, which is completely given over to an indoor dog park and about 30 minutes later (and several laps of chasing a robotic rabbit for Lucy) we were joined by Spike, Mary and Miranda.

Our lunch of choice was dim sum and it was pretty damned good. Normally, at a con, the next thing we would have done was cruise over and get out badges and goodie bags, but this year, the con had them ready to be handed out by the hotel staff when we checked in. That set the cool meter up to 11, I tell ya.

Anyway, we are all in our room now, comparing swag (which differs for each person, depending on how you filled out your con application back in January) and chatting.

More blogging later.

Pink Lizard Things

…with big red eyes

CatCon2: The Trip There, Day 4, Part Two

(NOTE: The following is all fictional.)

Oy! That was one long honkin’ drive! Fortunately, My Sweet Angel was able to drive a bit every couple of hours, so I got some rest. I also got a chance to watch a couple of episodes of Good Eats that I hadn’t seen before.

Lunch at The Big Texan was as yummy as ever. I had a country fried steak that was just smaller that Delaware. Grace and Sharon split a cowboy steak that looked to weigh about 5 pounds. The Girls, who stayed on the bus playing games on their Wii, each got a bunch of steak bones that the manager rounded up for us.

So, we are here in Big Spring, staying at Jimbo Bob’s RV Park & Truckstop. It’s actually pretty nice here, with lots of green grass, trees and a dog park.

Tomorrow, we expect to roll into Wilted Springs (and the Hyatt Regency) at about noon. After lunch and some dog/human fun at one of the amusement parks, it will be nap time until the “Featured GM Dinner and Party”, which all Gamemasters are invited to.

And now, to bed.

Destination Sign reading when we hit Amarillo: Cimmeria

Destination Sign reading now: Gallifrey

Wildlife Sighted: ten thousand jackrabbits, several vultures, a rattlesnake, crows, a coyote and a skunk.

My Life Among The Pinecone Throwing Women

…it’s an interesting story

CatCon2: The Trip There, Day 3, Part One

(NOTE: The following is all fictional.)

Despite the sign on the bus showing our destination as “Bree”, we are indeed way the fuck up in the Rockies. Just got back from a hike along an easy trail. Well, it was easy until the bear stepped outta the bushes about 60 feet in front of us. At that point, everyone pretty much froze, bear included…except for Winker. See, she’s a very friendly little gal. Loves people, cats, other dogs, livestock…you name it, she’ll give it a chance to be her friend.

Including a young female black bear, who I’d say weighed about 300-400 pounds.

So, there I am, at the head of the group of maybe 25 people, cos I’m Nature Boy and I just sorta slid into the guide position on this unguided hike. And I’m holding Winker’s leash and she’s straining on it to say “Hi” to the bear and I can hear people behind me backing up the trail and Grace whispering “Doc! Come on!” and the bear is just standing there looking at us like “What’s up?”.

And then Winker barked, the bear yelled, I yelled, everyone behind me yelled and started running…and then the bear hauled ass down the hill.

I looked at Winker, who was still barking her “Let’s play wrassle!” bark, then looked at the rapidly receding ass of the bear, then back to Winker. Then I turned around and lead her back up the trail, which she was ok with because she’s not really into the great outdoors anyway.

When I caught up with the rest of the hikers, the only thing I could think to say was “She’ll be upset with me all day that I didn’t let her kill that bear”.

That’s when Grace and Sharon started pelting me with pinecones.

More bloggage later.

Wildlife Sighted: 3 mountain goats, some pikas, a hawk, several chipmunks and A FUCKIN’ BEAR!

Ginger Pork Burritos

…are actually pretty yummy

CatCon2: The Trip There, Day 2, Part Two

(NOTE: The following is all fictional.)

So, after looking around at fossils and such for a couple of hours, our merry band continued on into the depths of wildest Colorado. Mostly, we drove alot, with frequent stops for picture taking and dog walking.

I must digress here for a moment to say that the Magic Bus has a digital display up where buses keep their destination signs. Ours is set to change destinations every hour. When we left the KOA in Utah this morning, our destination was Diagon Alley. When we left town of Dinosaur, the display read “The Holodeck”. Tonight, when we pulled into a campground just inside the Arapahoe National Forest, it read “Metropolis”. We entered about 200 imaginary place names before we left, and I know that I’ve entered about 15 more so far on the trip.

Anyway the scenery has gotten better by the mile and tomorrow, we’ll enter Rocky Mountain National Park, where we plan to spend a few hours sightseeing.

The biggest news from today was that we decided to have pizza for lunch, so we phoned ahead to a pizza place in Craig. I told them we’d meet their delivery driver at an intersection just outside town. When they asked what our RV looked like, I told them to look for a tie dyed school bus with pictures of famous wizards on it. The guy asked me if I was jerking his chain. I said no and if I was, I’d tip him $20.00.

So, when we rolled up, there he is…with about 30 of his friends. They all checked out the bus, asked us many questions and, of course, told us what cute dogs we had. And the dude gave us extra parmesan cheese and pepper flakes. I wonder if they would have done that for the Merry Pranksters?

And now, to bed. More high altitude hijinks tomorrow.

Modern Slimes

…in designer colors

CatCon2: The Trip There, Day 2, Part One

(NOTE: The following is all fictional.)

Thanks to our canine alarm clocks, I was up at 7:00 am to give them their second breakfast Grace having given them their first breakfast and walkies at 4:00 am. Since I was up anyway, I went and showered, then started cooking the human brekky. Sausage, eggs, toast, jelly, hot caffienated beverages…all were consumed with gusto, once Grace and Sharon rolled outta bed.

After a bit of driving we took a slow cruise through several towns that have big dinosaur sculptures (cos we were very near Dinosaur National Monument), some of which are rather far from realistic. After that, we drove to our present location, the above mentioned National Monument. Sadly, there are no real dinosaurs here, but the fossil viewing is great.

Anyway, we are about to wander off to look at old bones, so the next post will come later today, when we are further into Colorado and, indeed, high up in the Rockies.

Wildlife Sighted: A deer, 7 ducks, 3 squirrels and a pheasant.

The Old Hospital Was Full Of Cannibals

…some of them were even alive

CatCon2: The Trip There, Day 1, Part Two

(NOTE: The following is all fictional.)

Well here we are, 23 hours after I woke up to start this journey, in a KOA Kampground just outside Medusa, Utah. Everyone but me is asleep…and I soon will be.

Our drive through Nevada and Utah was punctuated by a few stops to see allegedly interesting tourist sites, such as…

The First Cat Ranch West Of The Mississippi: Which, as it turned out, was the only cat ranch…anywhere. It seems that in the spring of 1867, a couple named Elom and Gussie Hork decided to settle down outside West Carlin, Nevada and “raise fancy cats to sell back East”. To feed the cats, they raised chickens. Unfortunately, the winter of 1867-1868 was pretty harsh and over the course of a month, bears and coyotes got all of the chickens. Deprived of food, the cats got…unruly. In May of 1868, the local sheriff came out to the ranch “cos them two wasn’t right in the head”. He found no trace of the Horks or the cats. The whole guided tour took less than 15 minutes and cost us each $2.00. The little cat sized corrals and cat sized branding irons were kinda cute looking.

Free Brothel Tour: It’s true! You can tour the Love Shack Brothel (remember, prostitution is legal in most of Nevada) in Wells, Nevada for free! I almost got outvoted on this one, especially after I made a wisecrack about free samples to Grace & Sharon. Still, it was a hell of a lot more interesting to tour a cathouse than it was to tour a car ranch.

The Salt Museum: Smack in the middle of the Bonneville Salt Flats of Utah, some goofball built a museum to sodium chloride. Since it was only a buck to get in, we checked it out. To our surprise, it was pretty interesting. Took most of an hour to tour, which means that by the time we were done, we were wicked thirsty. I think I drank 4 glasses of water and a mug of iced tea before we hit Salt Lake City.

After we arrived at Mormon Central, we spent some time at a local dog park, where Lucy struck up a friendship with a rather disreputable looking German Shepherd and Winker basked in the attention she got from a throng of small children.

From there, we drove into the mountains of eastern Utah, stopping for lunch at a barbecue joint that served a pretty fine rack of ribs. About two hours later, we reached the KOA, at which point the “stop driving and lay around being lazy” portion of the day began.

Wildlife Sighted: A golden eagle, 6 deer, several hawks and crows, maybe 15 squirrels and a grey fox.

More fictional trip bloggage tomorrow.