Welcome To The House Of Strange

…where we live with strange pets

CATCON/DOGCON UPDATE

NOTE:I don’t usually post stuff about DogCon/CatCon in between actual con trips (though, of course, these con trips are imaginary), but several things have happened, so I figured I’d give everybody a heads up.

First off, as most of you know, we lost Lucy to cancer back in August. It was a sad time, but we are doing better now. More on Lucy later. A few days after Lucy’s death, we adopted our sweet little Basset Hound girl, Daisy. She has become a beloved family member.

(Daisy: Hi there, folks!)

Next, our imaginary Nigerian Dwarf Goats, Abigail & Beatrice, have been offered a chance to come live in Critter City, Texas, as part of the Trained Goat Review, doing shows at the Rock Hard Cafe. It’s a pretty big show that plays twice daily during the heavy tourist season and three times a week during the off season. Abby & Bea have decided to take the offer, so they will be leaving us soon. We’ll miss them, but we’ll get to see them at the con every year.

(Abby: It was a hard decision, folks, but Mom has always told us to follow our dreams.)

(Bea: We’ll miss everybody here and the yearly trip on the Magic Bus, but we’ll put on a really great show in Critter City. Come see us!)

Our imaginary cat, Flash, did not take Lucy’s death well. He stopped eating, cried all the time and seldom left his apartment. The female cats stopped coming around and he got pretty surly. After awhile, he started to hit the catnip pretty hard. He really missed his big sister and partner in crime.

But then, well, the way Joe explained it to me is like this. See…

(Sasha: I’ll be taking over the explaining here, folks, since listening to Dad try to explain anything high tech is pretty painful and embarrassing.

To give you the short version, with the help of Joe, Bea and Sadie Misiaszek, I braintaped Lucy just days before she died (thus preserving a copy of her katra, or spirit if you follow human religion) and then uploaded it later into a cyborg body. I just could not stand to think of losing my sister.

Well, it all worked out reasonably well, even though it took longer than we expected to get some of the parts from Eosonia Cybernetics and Massive Dynamics. The biological parts took a couple of days longer to grow than we expected, too. Still and all, I think Bea, Sadie & I did a hell of a job considering we don’t have hands or thumbs and Callurian Arm Units are a pain in the ass to use.

And for those of you who ask “Why didn’t you just clone her?” see below.

The only tiny problem was that the polyphasic silibrain that we copied Lucy into doesn’t hold information indefinitely unless it’s in a functioning body, which means that when we hooked up her brain, she had some holes in her memory, plus a few very minor changes to her personality. Unfortunately, none of those changes seem to make her less likely to get into trouble with Flash.

Anyway, after about 3 weeks of fine tuning, we figured it was time to tell Mom, Dad, Flash & Abby about her. It was a very interesting family meeting, but Joe did a good job translating for Bea & I. Of course, I use the term “very interesting family meeting” in place of “the shit hit the fan”. Mom & Dad & Abby were speechless for about 10 seconds, then they all started talking at once, often in foreign tongues or straight out cussing.

Poor Flash, who was stoned out of his mind, just said “What?”

Then I trotted out Lulu (we all had agreed that she was no longer exactly Lucy Louise anymore) and everybody stared and then cried and stuff.

First thing Lulu did, tail wagging all the time, was walk right up to Flash and say, “You are now and have always been my friend. I am now and always will be yours.”

Yeah, I sorta reprogrammed her to be a Trekkie.

So Flash just stared at her and then he jumped up on her back and started wailing like a lost kitten and it was two days before he fell off of her, exhausted. He then slept for three days and has now been off the ‘nip for a month.

Mom told Bea and I what good girls we were and fed us a great meal.

Dad stood and looked at us, then smiled and said “That’ll do, pigs” and gave us the Vulcan salute.

You gotta love Dad! Well, except when he talks about high tech.

So Lulu is a part of the family now. She still needs a few upgrades before she can go out in public. The one red cyber eye makes her look kind of Borgy and I’m damned if I can get organics to grow on her tail. She also needs a few memories reinforced. Still, she’s in pretty good shape and we’ve got our sister back. Mostly.

And now I’ll return you to Dad.)

(Abby: You did good, girls. I’m proud of you.)

(Flash: I love you guys and Sadie and Joe!)

(Lulu: There is no way I can thank you, Winker.)

(Sasha: It’s Sasha, sis. Keep saying my name like I told you to, while thinking that you need to activate module 888-C.)

(Lulu: Ok. Sorry, sister.)

(Sasha: It’s ok, Lulu.)

…and while she doesn’t act or look exactly the way she used to, she’s pretty much our girl. Well, except for the 47% that’s machinery, but you can’t see most of that anyway. Amazingly, she does still eat food, but she doesn’t poop or pee very often. And she’s not afraid of a goddamned thing!

So there you have it, Gentle Readers. If anything of a similarly big nature happens, I’ll let you know.

And now…DOCLOPEDIA GOODNESS!

The Doclopedia #1,081

Golden States: The Magical Golden Kingdom

On a bunch of Earths, the United States of America exists in a magic filled world. In most of those worlds, California is a major player. However, on Magic Earth 12, thingsa are different.

California is a land of great wealth, happy people and powerful magic. Unfortunately, all of the kingdoms around it are populated by evil scumbags who covet the riches of the Golden Kingdom.

To the east is Nevada, home to both the Gambling Elves and the Dark Trolls. Both have attacked California several times, but failed to gain any ground. Fortunately, these two groups hate each other and will never work together.

To the southeast you’ll find Arizona, a wretched desert kingdom that is ruled with an iron claw by the Snake People. They have attacked California twice, the last time in 1980. They were beaten back and badly hurt by a Rain of Fireballs.

Immediately to the south is Mexico, home of all sorts of terrible creatures. The worst of the lot are the Aztec Mummies and the Dire Chupacabras. While not overly intelligent, these creatures are many and persistent.

Finally, to the north is Oregon, home of the Rain Dwarves and the Beaver People. They are formidable opponents who work together well. Fortunately, they cannot devote enough manpower to a full attack on California because then the Dragons of Washington would attack from the north and the Idaho Goblins would ravage the east.

We won’t even get into the odd threats from the Salt Demons of Utah, the Volcano Giants of Wyoming or the Skinwalkers of New Mexico.

All of the above are why 60% of California’s GNP goes to defense.

What Fresh Hail Is This?

…well, that’s how it sounds in the South.

 

The Doclopedia #1,080

Golden States: Deadifornia

The year was 1850 and a group of miners had found a rich vein of gold in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Then they busted through into an ancient cavern and released a strange dust that killed them all. About an hour later, the 7 miners rose up as undead and left the mine. The dust slowly drifted out of the mine and uphill, infecting more that 120 other miners. All of them rose up as the undead.

Now, some of these undead were brain eating zombies, some were flesh eating zombies and others were blood drinking vampires. Except for the brain eaters, each one created more of it’s kind. In just under 6 months, there were almost no humans left in California.

The united states government, with help from Mexico and several other countries, tried to destroy the undead. It only ended up increasing their ranks. Then, somebody noticed that the vampires, ghouls, zombies and other undead never left a certain area, which turned out to be the borders of California as we know it. There is no explanation for this.

In the current year of 1920, and starting in 1853, California is a closed off place. The borders are heavily patrolled 24/7. Thankfully, the undead do not enter oceans, lakes or large rivers, although they do seem to find ways to float across the latter on natural or man made rafts. Despite the sealing off of the area, gold greedy folks do slip in every year. None of them ever return.

The California undead are not very smart, but are quite cunning in a predatory way. They do not seem to decompose. All of them are active day and night. Much of the time they subsist on the blood, brains & flesh of feral cattle, horses, pigs & sheep. All dogs & cats left the state decades ago. The undead never seem to attack native creatures, even the huge Grizzly Bears that will kill undead on sight.

Thrilling Spicy Horror Tales Of Suspenseful Scientific Mystery

…that should cover everything.

 

The Doclopedia #1,079

Golden States: Long California

This version of California is only different in that it includes the Baja peninsula and an equally long 200 miles wide strip of eastern shore of the Sea of Cortez. This pretty much doubles California’s size and gave it a huge amount of arable land once desalinization plants were built to supply water. It also allowed California to become a worldwide mecca for tourists. In fact, after agriculture and high technology, tourism is California’s biggest source of income.

In most other ways, California is pretty much the same as it has always been, except Texans hate it even more than they do here.

The Legend Of The Golden Platypus

…an action packed silly adventure

 

The Doclopedia #1,078

Golden States: The Bear Flag Empire

If you thought the Bear Flag Republic was a different sort of California, the Bear Flag Empire of California will knock your socks off.

In the current year of 2013, the Bear Flag Empire of California Is made up of what we know as California, the western 2/3 of Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, half of New Mexico, the western third of Utah, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Phillipines, Cuba, All of Central America, Chile, many dozens of Pacific Islands including New Zealand, all of Ireland, a big chunk of equatorial Africa and the whole damned Moon. Mars is less than 3 years away from having the Bear Flag planted on it. Several financially unstable European countries have petitioned to join the Empire, including Portugal, Spain, Greece and Italy. Close allies to the BFE are Canada, Australia, India and Japan.

The BFE is the largest economy in the world and could buy and sell Great Britain, The United States and China a few times over. There are 5 billion humans on Earth and about a third of them are citizens of the Empire. They are fiercely loyal to the Empress, Jasmine I and to the Empire itself.

In the BFE, citizens have enormous freedom and, by and large, an excellent standard of living. Voting is mandatory, taxes are low and, of course, the Empire owns 75% of everything. That doesn’t mean they take 75% of your hard earned money (unless you are a multi-billionaire), just that nobody really owns control of their business, home, farm, etc. Most of the time, you’d never know this, but if somebody breaks the law or otherwise fucks up, the government will step in and take control of things.

Racism, sexism, homophobia or any other form of discrimination are not only illegal, they carry a mandatory 10 years in prison, no parole allowed, plus hefty fines. You can TALK about such things (though very few do) but you can’t do them. Violent crimes of any sort carry the death penalty, which gets carried out after two fast moving appeals. If you win your appeal, you get life in prison. Empire prisons were formerly in Antarctica, but are now underground on the moon.

Major exports from the BFE are fusion power plants, foods of all sorts, motion pictures, music, electric cars, high tech of all sorts and solar cells.

The Rare And Beautiful Singing Mouse Hippo Of Potawango Island

…they get together for 4 part harmonies

 

 

The Doclopedia #1,077

Golden States: The Bear Flag Republic

The great state of California exists on many versions of Earth, but it’s not always the California we know. In some universes, California is a country, as we’ll see in the next few entries.

On Earth 42-E, California became the Bear Flag Republic in 1830. This happened when, in 1828, gold was discovered in several different places by both poor Mexicans and poor white guys from the United States. All of them wanted to keep things secret until they could establish claims, but they managed to find out about each other pretty early on. They didn’t much like each other, but fortunately they had two men among them who were more willing to negotiate and much smarter than the average poor Joe.

On the Mexican side, there was Alberto Loveless, a half Mexican, half English genius who had fallen upon hard times. He was university educated and wanted his fellow miners to get a fair shake. He also wanted to get some revenge on the Mexican Government. And yes, he wouldn’t mind a bit of wealth and power.

On the other side, the Anglos decided that they’d be represented by Samson York, a young fellow from Boston who was smart, shrewd and looking to make a name for himself. Of course, wealth and power would be nice, too.

Putting their heads together, Loveless and York had the miners “mine like hell”, stashing the gold away in a well guarded location high in the sierra Nevada mountains. At the same time, they took turns going to other countries (including the US & Mexico) and arranging loans of everything from money to guns to manpower. This was surprisingly easy to do when you had 5-6 pounds of gold nuggets to show off.

Eventually, allied with at least 9 countries, 11 banks and an untold number of plain old greedy bastards, they set about the last phase of their plan: recruiting people to come live in a new country. Considering how badly poor folks are treated in most places, they had an easy time of it. They also got many native peoples on their side.

When the war broke out, Mexico lost quickly, mostly due to it still being in recovery after the War of Independence it had fought not too many years earlier. Not being stupid, York & Loveless quickly signed a mutually beneficial pact with Mexico, just to show no hard feelings.

As soon as the war ended, people started to flood into the Bear Flag Republic. LOTS of people, including runaway slaves from the US and Chinese that the new country had brought over by the boatload. In just a couple of years, the population reached a million people. The Constitution gave the ruling Council of Five great power, but also gave the people all kinds of freedom. Things were looking good.

Then, in 1832, York, Loveless and their cronies announced that the BFR was just full of gold. In a year, the population doubled. Many people got very wealthy and many others got to settle down in a nice new country that pretty much didn’t care what you looked like as long as you paid your taxes.

By the time the USA started getting up in the BFR’s face, the genius of Doctor Alberto Loveless had produced several amazing weapons that could easily hold off any aggression. The USA had to swallow the bitter pill that what in our world would be California, half each of Nevada & Arizona and a good chunk of Oregon was indeed a new independent country.

Now (current year 1980) the Bear Flag Republic is the third richest nation on Earth and a leader in most things. Except gold production. That pretty much dried up by 1890.