Handsome Joe Goes To The Petting Zoo

…and meets some goats

 

Sasha Explains It All

My Family: An Adventure In High Strangeness

I know what you’re thinking, folks. Everybody has a strange family, right? You’ve got that crazy aunt or that strange brother or the funny uncle or whomever. Every family has at least one strange member and many families have several.

Well, I’ve got you beat. Right off the bat, what you’re reading right now was written by a not quite 6 year old dog using the tentacles of the symbiotic air breathing octopus that she created in her ultra advanced genetics laboratory. You’re grandmother who drives in off road races can’t touch that.

At first, I was going to do this piece rating my family from least strange to most, but I’ll be damned if I can choose who is strangest. I do know that my human mom is the least strange, but after that, it pretty much comes down to fractions. Instead, I decided to go from youngest to oldest, so here you go.

Daisy, Age 3, Basset Hound: Daisy has been my sister for just over a year and is sweet, goofy (a term that applies to all of the Cross family) and as big a nerd as you’ll ever meet. No, really. I’ve seen her argue for hours about the best Star Trek series, the best Doctor or why a certain set of roleplaying rules sucks. She is into cosplay, filksinging and pretty much anything to do with fantasy or science fiction. On top of all that, she is also a brown collar in Drunken Fox style Dog Fu. I have seen her kick the ass of a brutish 120 pound mixed breed male, folks. She’s not cocky about her martial abilities and mostly comes off as a loveable & mildly hyperactive geek.

Her best pals and gaming/geek partners include humans, cats, dogs, pigs, rabbits and a skunk. (Janet, the same skunk that Flash had a drunken interlude with) They get together to play AD&D, watch Doctor Who or Star Trek or anime and do the Mystery Science Theater thing with bad old movies.

Daisy also enjoys painting (surrealist style), helping Dad cook and chasing squirrels.


Jazz, Age 4, Dwarf Longhair Portuguese Jungle Cat: There is mounting evidence that Jazz might be either a reincarnation of Janis Joplin or quantum psi linked to an existing Janis in some other reality. We’ll know more when my friend Stephen (whom I met via my friends Tony & Bruce) examines her.

Anyway, Jazz is the wife of my brother, Flash, and she is a top notch blues/R&B singer. She can really belt ’em out, but is also great at the slower tempo songs. Jazz also writes songs and, using an Ottopus (our name for the symbiont octopi) is learning to play guitar. She also likes boardgames (she’ll kill you at Settlers of Catan) and LARPs.

Jazz has only been married to Flash about a month, but we’ve all known her most of a year and she has known Flash for two years. Her early days are almost as much a mystery as Silky’s are. We do know she was born into a small family in Texas, but spent a couple of years “on the road”. At one point, she lived on Willie Nelson’s bus, but left because she got tired of being high all the time.

Jazz is a big fan of fish, both raw and cooked. She is also pretty fond of bacon, but then, who isn’t? She does not like Mexican food much.

Jazz also enjoys reading mystery novels, trying to convince Flash to start a family and chasing squirrels.

Flash, Age 5, Dwarf Shorthair Portuguese Jungle Cat: My brother, Flash Alexander Cross, was adopted into the family at 5 months old. He was born into a very large family (litter of 10!) but left home at 10 weeks old. Mostly, he just hung around with lounge singers, comedians & showgirls in Las Vegas until joining Mom, Dad, Lucy & Winker just before the trip to DogCon 3. He and Lucy became especially close, mostly because they were both prone to violence, property damage and other bad behaviors. However, contrary to some rumors, neither Flash, nor Lulu is a psychopath. They are just rowdy amoral goofballs with a profound lack of trust or respect for authority figures. See also: Daddy.

Flash is a HUGE fan of Frank Sinatra, but really enjoys many styles of music (he’s also a big fan of Warren Zevon, Pink and Bob Marley). He’s a pretty good singer, too. He also loves action and superhero movies. Despite only weighing 8 pounds, Flash is a 100% alpha male. He is known to have fathered at least 4 litters, back in his younger days.

Flash pretends to not like geeky things, but he really does. He’s a big Star Wars fan and his Wars vs Trek arguments with Daisy are legendary. He also loves LARPing at DogCon and playing video games.

Earlier this year, Joe and I built Flash a suit of Tony Stark style power armor so that he and Lulu could go to an alternate reality and kick ass on Nazis. When he wears it, he calls himself “Iron Cat”. Mom has still not completely forgiven me for making that suit. Fortunately, Mom & Dad make us keep the armor under Level 5 security most of the time.

When Lucy died in 2013, Flash just fell apart and started using catnip pretty heavily. When we revealed Lulu to him, he cried and cried and didn’t leave her side for days. Despite the way he talks all macho, like Daddy, he is a big old marshmallow inside.

Flash enjoys record collecting, fishing, trying not to become a father (which he will ultimately fail at because he likes sex) and chasing squirrels.

Me, Age 5.75, Basset Hound: I was born into a family of 5 puppies, a mom and a dad back on Jan. 2, 2009. I was adopted by a nice older man when I was 11 weeks old, but by the time I was 1.5 years old, he could no longer care for me properly and gave me to his daughter and son in law. They mostly kept me in their back yard or garage with two bigger dogs who were, to say the least, thick headed idiots. When Mom & Dad came to adopt me after the young couple had a baby and could no longer really care for any dogs, I was nervous, but glad to be gone. Little did I know that exposure to our bus (AKA The Magic Bus), would change me forever. But that’s for another rant.

My first love is working on machines and I am a pretty skilled mechanic, both on the ordinary and ultra tech levels. I have a pretty good knowledge of transtemporal/spatial theory and quantum foam vibration effect (the thing that keeps the realities apart). I’m also about at the PhD level for ordinary physics, chemistry and engineering. Gotta love being mentally connected to an Ottopus and a T-Control Computer.

About a year ago I undertook and passed a course on Mad Genetics from the Narbon Institute. It was loads of fun, gerbilsnake/gerbilspider/gerbilwolverine escapes notwithstanding. I later took the advanced course, which allowed me to create both my Ottopus symbiont, Otto, and my pet giant garden spider, Joyce. Genetics will always be fun, but will always take a backseat to mechanics for me. Nothing like getting grease on your tentacles.


I’m a pretty big geek, with a decided leaning towards RPGs, anything steampunk and superhero/kaiju/science fiction movies. I can play the piano well and my idols are Elton John and Fats Waller. My favorite food is an In N Out cheeseburger with bacon added. I’m also a really big fan of sex, which is why my FWB Buster and I hang out together. (Note to humans: No, ordinary spayed female dogs do not have a sex drive, but I’m not ordinary, am I?)

Although it is a subject of a future rant, I do feel obliged to say that, like Daddy, I am Mad. Not insane, really, but Mad. You might even say I’m barking Mad. Heeheehee.

Other things I enjoy include reading parts catalogs and quantum mechanical journals, rebuilding my 1959 Cadillac and chasing squirrels.

Silky, Age 8, Basset Hound: Silky has only been with us since Father’s Day of this year (2014), but she has fit into the family very well. Much like Mom, she lends an air (a thin air) of normality to things. It’s actually kind of amazing how quickly she got used to all our strangeness.

On the other paw, normal is relative and Silky has more than her share of strangeness. First off, she seems to channel the memories of somebody, canine or human, who lived through the 1960’s. Not all the time, but in flashes that last about a minute. This could explain why she is such a big fan of the Grateful Dead and other Bay Area groups. She and Jazz have some pretty interesting conversations.

Secondly, Silky does not speak about her first three years of life. If you ask, she just says “I was out and about and had some adventures.” Daisy thinks she was hanging with bikers and Flash thinks she was a spy. Whatever the case, those years might explain why she can speak fluent French, Owl, Hedgehog, German, Bear & Spanish AND how she knows so much about computers, security systems and baking.

Shortly after her third birthday, Silky was “sold into bondage” to an older Hispanic lady and her family and was used as a breeding bitch by the old ladies son & daughter in law. They bred her once a year for the next four years, then moved away. About a year later, the old lady gave her up for adoption and she came to live with us. She was VERY happy about that.

Silky likes boardgames and is getting into card games and RPGs. She really likes old school computer games and plays the hell out of Tetris. When it comes to food, she likes most types, but doesn’t eat broccoli or carrots. Her favorite television shows are CSI, Grimm and Downton Abbey. Musicwise, she likes soft rock and old country music.

Other things Silky enjoys include reading spy novels, writing her memoirs and chasing squirrels.

Lulu, Age 11.5, Robot Dog: Lulu was born Lucy and we know next to nothing about her early years except that some foul human woman kept her in a crate most of the day because the woman’s little dogs did not get along with her. That set the tone for the next 5.5 years of Lucy’s life until a couple rescued her. A few months later, Mom & Dad adopted her.

Lucy had many mental problems due to her terrible upbringing. She took years to get even partially better. Then, in early spring of 2013, she was diagnosed with terminal lymphoma. She died peacefully at the vet’s office on August 14th of that year.

Well, her body died. Her katra (a Vulcan word for intellect/life force/soul) had been transferred into a silicon brain by me a few days earlier. To make room for the best parts of her, I wiped most of her memories before she came to live here. I put in a vague memory of being a puppy, but everything after that and before Mom & Dad is a blank. We also gave her the new name of Lulu

Lulu’s original body was a cyborg deal that I kind of cobbled together quickly to get her new brain into. Later, she got a snazzy new body with an adamantium skeleton and a vibranium outer shell. She is damned near indestructible by anything here on Earth. She is powered by a mini sized Mr. Fusion, which is why she sometimes eats organic matter. She also sometimes eats inorganic matter that her nanotech innards use to repair her. If she needs to, Lulu can mount up to three weapon pods on her sides & back.

Lulu loves kaiju movies, robot movies, westerns and Marx Brothers comedies. In stark contrast to her appetite for destruction, Lulu likes to paint landscapes to relax. Her favorite food is carne asada tacos with a sprinkling of copper and titanium.

One little note here: That evil woman who mistreated Lucy? I used the bus to go back to the day after Lucy left her and gave her several crippling mental disabilities, chief among them agoraphobia, to keep her a prisoner in her own house. She also has a severe phobia of dogs. She will have these for the next 20 years or so. Fuck with my sister, fuck with me, bitch!

Other things Lulu enjoys are playing computer games, having cybersex with military grade autonomous robots and chasing squirrels and/or velociraptors.

Mom, Age 56, Human: Despite being mother to all of us and having been married to Dad for almost 18 years, my mom is a beacon of sanity & reason in our family. Well, most of the time. Sometimes even Mom has her moments.

There is less to say about Mom’s strangeness than there is to say about her acceptance of strangeness in others. Which, if you think about it, is pretty strange in itself. And kind of recursive.

Mom is the eldest of 4 children born into a Catholic family. Fortunately, she got better. She is also a veteran of the United States Army.


Anyway, Mom takes most of our shit in stride, but when she slams down the law, we all are quick to step & fetch & straighten up. She has “The Mom Look” down to a fine degree. She has been known to stop Dad, Flash & Lulu dead in their tracks.

Mom very much enjoys going to school and learning things. She usually has a 4.0 average, which boggles Daddy, whose philosophy in school was “if it ain’t an F, it’s ok by me”. When she retires, Mom plans on taking classes for the rest of her life.

Activities Mom enjoys are reading, doing stuff on computers and taking naps. So far as I know, she has never chased a squirrel.

Dad, Age 60, Human: My three favorite things about Daddy are that he loves animals, is very funny and, like me, he’s mad as a March Hare. Really, if you don’t think Daddy has paid in full the toll that madness takes, go read the Doclopedia. Actually, I’ve found that a great many creative types are Mad.

My least favorite thing about Daddy is that explaining anything more technological to him than a hammer is pointless. What really makes it frustrating is that he uses ultra-tech with no problem. I’ve seen him pick up a Thovian Cellular Knitter and use it to heal a cut as though he were taught to do it from birth. But if I try to tell him how it works, his eyes glaze over and he starts thinking about beer or something. He does that when Mom tries to explain computer stuff, too. Sometimes you want to just hit him on the head.

Daddy is the eldest of three children and was raised way out in the country on a farm. Actually, Grandma used to say he and his sibs were less “raised” than they were “prevented from getting killed”. She also said that Daddy resisted becoming fully civilized until he was in his 30’s. Most of us think the jury is still out on his civilized status.

Mom says she and Daddy met on a computer BBS back around 1994. Daddy says they met when she pulled a thorn out of his paw. Whatever the case, they got married in 1996 and are coming up on 18 years of wedded bliss, even though there are days when I expect Mom to use the bus to go back and marry a nice sane guy.

Daddy is a dedicated roleplaying gamer and an avid boardgamer. He’s also a first class cook, has a good singing voice and is, so I’m told, that rare human male that will willingly clean a toilet at home.

Daddy has many hobbies and interests, including Sherlock Holmes, collecting books, writing, traveling, collecting little plastic figures of all kinds, gardening, basset hounds, wildlife, being deliberately goofy and eating insanely hot & spicy foods. Rumor has it that he has chased more than his share of squirrels.

So there is my family. Strange as all hell, but I love them.

By the way, you all may have noticed that I left out my two goat sisters. This was by their own request, since they are up for parts in a movie and didn’t want me to blow the deal. Love you, Abby & Bea!

Until my next rant,

Sasha Jane Cross

The Mysterious and Tense, Yet Somewhat Psychedelic, Story Of Mostly Purple Patty And The Meatloaf Of The Damned

…co-starring her best buddy, Orville Sweetcracker

Doc Update

Time for an update about life here at the D&G Cross Home For Wayward Basset Bitches. I haven’t been doing these as regularly as I used to, so maybe this will be the start of renewed personal updatage. Or not.

Healthwise, I’m now taking blood pressure meds due to my previously excellent BP going a bit high recently. I’m only taking half a pill a day, so I guess I’m not in danger of keeling over any time soon. I’ve also been told that my blood sugar is “nearly into the pre-diabetic range”, which pretty much means “lose some weight, fat boy!”.

Grace’s low level diabetes has cranked up a notch, so she is taking pills now and keeping a much closer eye on her numbers with twice daily tests. She has lost something like 75 pounds over the last year or so, but will keep on losing until things improve.

Winker is still taking her blood thinner and her diuretic, so she is doing pretty darned well for a dog who was so close to death just about a year ago.

Lucy and Sasha are as healthy as can be. In fact, our efforts to fatten Sasha up just a bit (she was very skinny when we adopted her) have not been as successful as we hoped. Being a “sporty” basset, she just burns off calories at a hell of a rate. Still, we have gotten her to a point where you can’t see her ribs.

Jobwise, things are still the same, which means we will be on our Adventure In Poverty until we either get fat raises or win the lottery.

One speed bump in our financial road will come when I am off work after my shoulder operation in March. That will be about 6 weeks, depending upon how well my physical therapy goes. Things will be very tight on the money front for awhile.

Gardenwise, I don’t know if we’ll have a veggie garden this year. Between the goofy ass weather (as in NO WINTER!) and my surgery/recovery, we’ll probably just have a couple of tomato plants and maybe some green beans.

In gaming news, I’m looking forward to my annual trek to Dundracon. It will be good to be immersed in geekdom and hang out with my tribe for a few days. Beyond that, I’m planning on getting my gaming group together in late April for some regular roleplaying again. I’m not sure what genre we’ll play in, but some sort of Pulp Era game sounds good.

Hark! I hear certain hounds telling me that it is time for walkies. More bloggage soon!

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After The Change Came: Series 2

Sin On Horseback

Once again, I haven’t written in a week. This time, the reason is that Doc and I have been drafted by several Wizards to go off on some cockamamie road trip looking for, as they put it “signs of something troubling”. Did they know what the signs would be? No. Did they know what the troubling thing might be? No. Did they know who the hell was behind these signs of troubling crap that Wizards didn’t know anything about? Hell no! They just told us to head northeast from Sacramento starting at noon on Tuesday, which we did. On horseback. Well, actually, muleback, since Doc prefers mules to horses.

Not that these are just any mules, don’t you know. Sirroco (Rocky) and Bellflower (Belle) are, Smart Mules, born of the first Smart Horse and Smart Donkey. Unlike many brothers and sisters, they get along very well. Unlike most mules, they are both fertile, so one day if they find mates, they could produce more Smart Mules.

So far, our trip has taken us way up into the Sierras, where besides freezing our asses off, we happened upon the remains of an abandoned lakeside village that had burned to the ground some months ago. After a bit of sleuthing, we determined that it had been torched on purpose, almost certainly by magical fire.. Doc, ever the Nature Boy, also noted that there was a very faint trail leading west. We followed it down into the foothills, passing areas that might have been camps last summer. At one of these camps, I found some large footprints in what had been mud, but was now nearly hard as rock due to our dry winter.

The footprints were nearly as large as Doc’s feet (which means long and very wide) and whoever made them probably weighed in excess of 200 pounds and wore soft leather footwear. Doc looked at those footprints a long while, then went to a pond about half a mile away. When he came back, all he would say is that his spider sense was tingling and we needed to pick up the pace.

That was yesterday and this morning we lost the trail after coming to an intersection of two paved roads. After thinking a bit, Doc decided to turn north for a bit, which is why tonight we are staying at a small hotel in Chico. I am so glad to have a hot shower and a real bed to sleep in. Unlike Old Yellow Eyes, I’m a city boy. Camping out is fun about once or twice a year…in the summer. This winter camping and riding all day is nuts. My poor ass feels like it has been hit by a truck after six days in the saddle. I’m also not too happy to have to dress all butch for a week or more.

Unfortunately, my complaints would fall on deaf ears even if I could find a Wizard to bitch at. Doc understands that this isn’t my preferred lifestyle, but we appear to be onto something big and he’s all in thinking mode, so it would be wrong to bother him. I guess I’ll just slip into the nice warm bed and sleep until the inevitable too fucking early o’clock wake up call.

More bloggage soon.

The Way Funny, Yet Also Deeply Insightful, Story Of Mostly Purple Patty And The Giant Popcorn Ball

…co-starring her pet jerboa, Dennis

Holy Crap, Batman, An Actual Blog Post!

Hopefully, this will get me back to regular posting. First up…

New fiction up over on the fiction blog! It’s the Second Series of After The Change Came and it’s not written by the alternate Doc Cross who did the first one. Of course, anybody who hasn’t read the first series might get all confused, so that one will be available in it’s entirety on the Dociverse web site (http://www.thedociverse.com/#axzz1fDhhS3mH) in just a few days.

Healthwise, the injection of steroids that the Orthopedist gave me a week ago seems to finally have taken effect, since my arm/shoulder is much better now. Still not 100% and I had to postpone an MRI today due to a panic attack, but I will be back at work as soon as this work restriction is over on Tuesday. A good thing, too, because cabin fever was making me crazy.

In other health news, Grace has fully recovered from her broken arm and Winker is feeling better after a rather debilitating session of being in heat. Lucy is, as always, physically healthy while mentally she is our little Neurotic Nelly.

I am on Twitter as DocCross now, so you can follow me and stuff

I may well be on track to run two official games at Dundracon this year. I’ll know more in late January. If you come to the con, try to get in one of them.

Gotta go hit the sack now. More bloggage soon, my little hamsters.

A Cute Newt In A Zoot Suit Had Plenty Of Loot And Fruit To Boot

…but he had scoot

Grace Update: My Sweet Little Broken Armed Gingerbread Cookie Of Passion tool a 2 mile walk this morning up to the McDonalds to get an Egg McMuffin. she did well, although it tuckered her out and she’s now sleeping like a comatose log.

Dog Update: Winker & Lucy are healthy and spoiled. They have both been VERY good girls sincr Grace broke her arm. Oddly enough, they are also sleeping just now.

Doc Update: I’m doing fine healthwise, but mentally I’m going “AAAAIIIIEEEE!!!!” because of tending to everybody here at the old homestead AND dealing with idiots at work AND psyching myself up for the dive into doing even more writing AND getting ready to do self publishing of PDFs. However, I’m NOT asleep right now.

Would You Like A Big Bowl Of Suck With Your Birthday Cake?

…well, you’re getting it anyway!

Yesterday, My Sweet Angel, Grace, fell and broke her upper right arm. Today is her birthday.

Great googly moogly, what a day. Only got to sleep for about 4.5 hours. Have been assisting Grace, shopping, etc, etc. will sleep well tonight thanks to my old pal Guinness and my recent buddy, Exhaustion.

Grace is doing better. She saw an orthopedist at the clinic a short walk from here and he gave her a better arm restraint. Her Vicodin pain pills seem to be working well.

George, The Little Gnome Who Could Get The Job Done

…but instead said “screw it” and went back to bed

And speaking of going back to bed, I wish I was. Instead, I’ve been up since 7:00 and will soon be on my way to my regular Monday morning Anti-Psoriasis UVB Shake & Bake. After that, of course, comes work.

Those of you who have been following the Doclopedia posts know that a while back I did the entire alphabet. Last night, My Sweet Little Honey Dipped Cinnamon Donut Of Love expressed her amazement over this. She also noted that it was extra work for her as Webmistress Extraodinaire over on The Dociverse website.

I figured that it was time to drop the next bomb on her.

Starting as soon as I finish The Undead week, I’ll be doing The United States Of America week. Yep, all 50 states. Hell, I might even throw in Guam & Puerto Rico, too.

Because, ya know, my wife doesn’t have enough web wrangling to do already:)

 

 

 

 

The Rare And Beautiful And Huggable Giant Yellow Bunnies Of Potawango Island

…I’m gonna hug ’em and squeeze ’em, George.

HAPPY 14th ANNIVERSARY TO MY SWEET ANGEL, GRACE! I love you, baby!

And now…

The Doclopedia #83

Yippie Ky Ay, Joe’s in the Wild West!

Average Joes: Joe Chang, Bathhouse Proprietor

Yes, yes…you’ve come to the right place for a bath, sir. For only 50 cents, we’ll fix you up a nice hot bath and give you a bar of fancy French milled soap. Very nice! For slightly more, we can give you the extra soft towels, too. A beautiful young lady to share the bath? I’m sorry, sir, but that is beyond our meager offerings. Still, I would suggest that after your bath you visit Miss Becky’s Sporting House, just 3 door down from us.

Yes, sir, I’ve been here quite a number of years. My lack of accent? Well, that comes from being raised right here in Virginia City, by a missionary couple. My parents came here with them as servants after their mission in China was cut short. Unfortunately, my parents died of a fever when I was but a year old. Reverend Harris and his wife raised me as their son.

A drink? Oh, by all means, sir! Here we go, a fine bourbon that a former customer had shipped in from Kentucky. Join you? Why, thank you, sir. Aah, very nice.

That tub on the wall? That’s the tub that the Sunset Kid was in when he was gunned down by Frisco Jim Delaney. Oh, yes sir, it was an exciting night here in Virginia City. It all started when the Kid was over at the Silver Dollar Saloon…