Simple Salamanders

…great starter amphibians

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CritterCon 10

Day Eight, Con Day One

Quick recap of last night: Dungeon Diner for dinner. Great food, spanky leather ambiance, about 40 people in our group.

The ice cream social was great. Delicious ice cream, plenty of folks there. Then those damned Texans brought out about 50 kinds of bourbon and next thing you know I’m being tucked into bed at 1:30 in the morning by Grace & Silky.

Okay, on to today’s action packed schedule.

Breakfast: I skipped it to sleep in an extra 45 minutes before heading off to the Dealer’s Room. Later, just before my Toon game, I ate a large carne asada breakfast burrito.

Games: Hoo boy! Ran a Toon game (A Foogleproof Plan) for 8 people, played in a game of GURPS Reign of Steel, ran a very short (20 minutes) portion of the D&D 5E game that is running 24/7 during the con and played a game of Pirate Fluxx.

Lunch: Same taco truck. Fish tacos.

Seminars: Participated in the Building A Village seminar. Ended up with a pretty good village.

Dinner: Meatloaf at Chez Mom’s with a bunch of folks.

The Drag’n Age Party: While there were indeed several men who looked good in drag, the vast majority of us did not. Maybe it was all the facial/body hair. On the other hand, almost all of the women present looked good in drag, be they wearing tuxedos or workingman clothes.

In all other ways, the party was great. The band played covers of music from the 50’s through the 2000’s. And yes, they were in drag too. The party ended at 2 am. I was back in the room asleep by 2:15.

CritterCon 10

Day Nine, Con Day Two


It was a LARPy day for most of us. All the critters, plus Grace, Mary, Avis, Ginie & I were in the Star Trek LARP. Max & I played Klingons, Sasha and our friend Brian Misiaszek played Romulans and in the end the Klingon Empire gained control of the planet we were all fighting over. Qap maH!

After that LARP ended, Daisy, Max & Roxy headed off to a Critters Only D&D LARP, Avis & Ginie went to play in a steampunk LARP, everbody else ran off to play other games and I went to join Spike in the “Forgotten Games” panel.

After that panel, we grabbed lunch at Waffles From Outer Space! (BACON AND BUTTER FLAVORED SYRUP, Y’ALL!), then went to our next seminar, “Yes, Tell Us About Your Character…In Three Minutes”. Some folks had great characters to talk about, but many others made us glad for the three minute limit.

At that point, Spike and I parted ways and I was off to a “Dads & Daughters” game of Mutants & Masterminds with Silky. The plot of the game had father & daughter super heroes trying to stop Captain Calamity and his daughter Miss Chaotic from taking over Bigge City. It was a hell of a knock down/drag out fight with some hilarious moments.

My character was a speedster named Warpspeed and Silky was my daughter, Tsunami. She got her name because beside having my speed, she had inherited the ability to control water from her mother. She would basically run fast at her target while pushing a couple thousand gallons of water in front of her.

There were ten players in the game and the only other Human/NHT pair was a fellow from Tulsa and his four year old pit/coonhound mix, Belle.

Around then, it was dinner time and we all gathered with many of our friends to eat at Thai One On. Much Thai curry was consumed.

There was no one big party tonight, but there were about two dozen smaller ones, so several of us made the rounds. By about one in the morning, we were all back in our rooms.

Tomorrow’s high points wil be our annual Mud Spa Day and, later on, our annual Old Time Radio broadcast.

More blogging later.

No Man’s Lamb

…those sheep belong to Little Bo Peep!

DogCon 9

Day Six: In which I do a very cursory bit of reportage on my day, with critter commentary.

The Summer of Love party last night was great, especially for those of us who actually grew up in the 60’s. However, as often happens when one dances the night away and consumes alcohol, today was a rather slow starting day.
(Daisy: Max and I danced all night at our party and we were fine today.)
(Silky: That’s because you’re 5. I think I wore out 3 of my legs.)

(Sasha: I’m beginning to think that 7.5 years old is too old for the mosh pit. Even my ears hurt this morning.)

Breakfast: We ate at Waffles From Outer Space, where they made some special veggie waffles for Max and fish topped waffles for the cats.

(Max: Oh man, those waffles were the shit! Yum!)

(Leon: Waffles topped with tuna are my new love.)


Seminars: I gave one entitled “Time, The Multiverse & You” and it had a full house. I went to one Spike was on called “Editors: Threat Or Menace?”. That one was full, too.
(Max: Mr. C. was in rare form at his seminar. It was funny as hell. )


Games: I ran a Toon game. It was “The House That Jerks Built” scenario. As usual, it went very well. I played in a short session of Feng Shui, in which I was a Scrappy Kid. After lunch and a long stroll through the dealer’s room, I joined Spike and Grace in a life sized game of “Kill Dr. Lucky”.

Other Fun: I bought an hour hookup to a robot at GenCon and went around saying hi to my friends up there.

(Sasha: I did the same thing an hour before my longass X-Files game.)


Lunch: Partaken of at Taco The Town. I won a tamale eating contest.

Purchases: Too much to list.

(Sadie: My dad did the same thing, and this after he went hog wild at that pulp show.)

Dinner: Ate with a big group at Big Slabs O’ Meat .

(Daisy: MEAT COMA!)

Leaving now for tonight’s party. No theme, just lots more partying.

More blog-o-rama 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!

White Drunks On Pope

…Irish Catholics, no doubt

CatCon 8

Day 7, Con Day 0: It’s all about the goodie bag!

We arrived in Critter City about 10 am this morning, after stopping for a hearty breakfast at Chuckwagon Jim’s, a pretty darned good place to eat.

(Silky: Biscuits & gravy for dogs!)

(Leon: Fried catfish for me!)


Our rooms were ready for us at the Hilton, so we were able to unpack and get set up in record time. After that, we started off for the convention center to get our badges and goodie bags.

When we saw the con center, we all stopped dead in our tracks. There, above the entrance, was a big mural depicting Lulu (back when she was still Lucy) & Flash winning the big Dog Race. Under it were the words “Goodbye, Lucy/Lulu & Flash. We will miss you.” Several of us cried.

(Daisy: It was beautiful!)

(Sasha: I bawled like a puppy.)

Once we composed ourselves, we went in and got our stuff, then went over to Mink’s Cold Drinks (run by Ed & Georgia Mink) for refreshments and to check out the swag. The inventory was…

A great looking con t-shirt

(Silky: I got a red one.)

(Daisy: Mine was orange.)

The con book, which looked like a 1930’s Popular Mechanics magazine

A deck of “Muskrats: The Gathering” cards

Coupons for many businesses in town and in the dealer’s room.

(Sasha: Including one for dinner at Chez Mom’s! Yum!)

A comic book about the adventures of Captain CatCon

A miniature. Mine was a pig wizard.

(Daisy: I got a rabbit barbarian.)

A snack box containing a chocolate chip cookie, a bag of M&Ms, a bag of Critter City Chili & Lime potato chips.

(Daisy: The snacks were different for critters. Venison chews! YUM!)

A “Make The GM Re-Roll Once” ticket, usable in any game at the con.

(Daisy: I predict these will see much use.)

Assorted fliers for Various old & new games

A token for one free beer (human or animal approved) at Moses & Jeff’s Texas Brewpub.

(Leon: Non-alcoholic beer for cats? A Sadine IPA? I’m in!)

A small booklet of photos from the previous seven cons.

(Silky: Lots of pics of us and those no longer with us. Very nice.

While we sat and checked that stuff out, many friends found us. We made dinner arrangements to all meet up at Thai One On! For dinner.

Now we’re all heading back to our rooms for a short nap and then some goofing off before dinner.

More blogging tomorrow

Luis Gato And His All Cat Mariachi Band

…they were pretty good for, you know, being cats

CatCon 8

Day 6: In which we travel through a jungle in North Dakota, then pretty much kill a joke in Fargo

A quick introduction for today’s stop on our trip: The World Famous Amazon Jungle Of The North.

The short story on this one is that Eric Gunderson, son of a very wealthy railroad baron, inherited lots of money in 1924 and went on a world tour of the great wilderness areas. Apparently, old Eric fell in love with the Amazon rain forests and decided to replicate them back home in North Dakota.

(Sasha: North Dakota used to smell like farms. Now it smells like natural gas wells.)

By 1928, he had built four connected buildings totaling 300,000 square feet and containing a real rain forest full of Brazilian plants & animals. It now covers 4.75 million square feet and is the home to 115 species of mammals, 160 species of reptiles & amphibians, 139 species of fish, 3,238 species of insects & invertebrates and 4,401 species of plants.

(Silky: Wow! This place totally smells of LIFE!)

(Leon: Yeah, and some of it is life that will eat you!)

My friends, this place is TOTALLY COOL! A river runs through the jungle, which now includes some hilly areas. You float along on rafts with guides as birds fly overhead, monkeys watch you from the trees and all sorts of fish (and large caimans) swim next to you.

(Leon: See my above statement.)

We all really enjoyed ourselves and took lots of pictures. It was thrilling and at one point, I had to stop Sasha from leaping off the raft to go swinging through the trees.

(Sasha: “I’m an ape dog, I’m an ape ape dog, yes I’m an ape dog! I’m a King Kong dog, I’m a voodoo dog, yes I’m an ape dog!”)

(Sasha: With apologies to the Kinks.)

We learned that species are breeding so well in this indoor jungle that the excess is being sold to zoos & sanctuaries or actually being returned to the ever shrinking Amazon. Pretty cool.

After the tour, we ate at the attached restaurant and then bought about a million bucks worth of touristy stuff.

(Daisy: Including cool jungle print dog & cat collars!)

Before we left the Great Northern Prairie, Sasha and I played a little joke on the city of Fargo. We’d been planning it for months. Using a bit of time manipulation, we went in at 3:00 in the morning and placed 500 large wood chippers, all painted in neon colors, around the town. We thought it was hilarious. The rest of our traveling companions were less amused.

Oh, relax, Fargo. They’ll all disappear in about 24 hours.

Right now, the bus is parked at the Pearl Cross West Texas Nature Preserve, named for Great Aunt Pearl who left this life back in March at the age of 110. The RV park here is a nice little 30 acre place. Aunt Pearl would have liked it.

(Sasha: I’ll miss Aunt Pearl and her biscuits & gravy.)

(Daisy: And chicken fried steak!)

Tonight, we dine on Texas barbecue and then get our shit together for the con. More blogstuff tomorrow!

Destination Sign when we started: Opar

Destination Sign when we ended: Riverdale

Radio Station of the Day: YRKO, Dolvarion Blues Station, circa 2468

The Rare & Beautiful Hopping Red Barrel Cactus Of Potawango Island

…try to stay out of their way

CatCon 8

Day 5: In which we recreate a hair raising ride, experience nature & Stupid Tourist Tricks and then just eat the hell out of ice cream

Glacier National Park, so far: To start with, I need to point out that on our first trip here (DogCon 3, in 2010), our Magic Bus was 32 feet long. This meant that it could’t traverse the Going To The Sun Road, the only road that bisects the park. This is because, due to the narrowness of the road and the steep dropoffs and the lack of guardrails along much of it (due to winter avalanches), no vehicle over 21 feet may go all the way through the park. To solve that problem, we simply made the bus into a shorter, 19 foot bus.

Now, the Going To The Sun road is cut right into the sides of the mountains, with steep hills on one side and steep drops on the other. Many of our party back then were a bit put off by this.

(Sasha: Having heard Mom, Auntie Sharon, Lucy & Flash recount the ride, I’d say “terrified” is the proper word.)

So as to prep everyone for this year’s drive, I ran us all through a cool virtual reality version. The results were less than great.

Grace hid in our bedroom. Silky joined her.

(Silky: NOT a fan of long drops!)

Leon disappeared for the whole trip.

(Leon: I was hiding in a cupboard. Flash was right, Uncle Doc is insane.)

Avis read a book and only looked out the window twice.

(Daisy: Auntie Avy is not insane.)

Spike seemed unfazed.

(Sasha: He even brought us drinks.)


Daisy buried her head under a pillow next to Avis

(Daisy: When my death comes, I don’t want to see it.)

Mary & Sasha sat right up front next to me and made ghoulish jokes about crashing off the mountainside.

(Sasha: And we sang a couple of songs, like “She’ll Be Crashing Off The Mountain When She Comes” and “Sixteen Pieces” (to the tune of Sixteen Candles).)

(Sasha: I’ll also not that in a rare showing of common sense, Daddy barely broke the speed limit throughout the entire trip.)

Things are indeed scenic and wonderful and natural and fucking near glacier free here. Thanks a bunch, global warming. We saw a fair amount of wildlife on the way up (we are now at about 8,200 feet altitude). When we got to the scenic viewing area at the top of the road, everyone left the bus (some faster than others) and we took in Nature’s Splendor. We also took in, as with last time…

Stupid Tourist Tricks!

Trick #1 was some dipstick trying to take a selfie with a couple of bighorn sheep in the background. The sheep did not find that amusing. Seconds later, they were chasing the doofus down the mountain. He escaped them by rolling and bouncing about a mile.

(Silky: Several of us who have either given birth or are just old laughed so hard we peed ourselves a bit.)


Trick #2 involved yet another dummy, this time a hipster guy, feeding marmots. Allow me to recount how this went in 2010.

There was the woman who was feeding peanuts to the marmots. After a few minutes, there were about 50 peanut jonesing marmots around her. Then she ran out of peanuts. You’d be surprised how fast a chubby middle aged woman can run when pursued by a seething horde of high altitude rodents.

When the hipster ran out of nuts, the marmots were on him like zombies on a slow runner. Luckily for him, he panicked and ran right off the side of the mountain. He rolled almost as far as the bighorn sheep annoyer, shedding marmots the entire way.

(Leon: I will still laugh about that when I’m old and dying. What a maroon!)

(Sasha: Talk about saying “Fuck you, hipster!”)

Trick #3 was the big finale as a teenaged girl, pissed off because there was no cellular coverage way up there, threw her iPhone way out into the open air off the mountainside. I’m guessing it went 2-3 miles before hitting a big rock. She realized what she’d done almost immediately and started to cry. Her parents & two younger brothers were no help, doubled over with laughter as they were. Then, to really ice the cake, a ranger told her she’s be fined $1,000.00 for littering unless she walked down and picked up all the pieces. As we were leaving, she was just passing Marmot Boy and Sheep Guy as they were staggering uphill.

(Daisy: I think her parents might have laughed themselves sick.)

(Leon: Bet your tail that her brothers will never let her live that down.)

After all that fun, everyone went back into hiding/whatever on the bus for the ride down to St. Mary’s, which was pretty much all on fire, necessitating us to make a jump to western North Dakota, where we decided to have a Pig Out On Ice Cream And Play Boardgames night. I think we must have eaten 40 kinds of ice cream.

(Leon: Tuna flavored ice cream? Hell yes!)

(Daisy: I like how Auntie Avy kept saying “well, maybe I’ll just have a bit more of this non-dairy ice cream”. That Fresh Peach had her hooked.)

(Sasha: Some day, I shall do a monograph on how much ice cream Daddy can eat. I think it defies laws of physics and biology.)

Now, it is time for bed. More thrilling trip reportage tomorrow!

Destination Sign when we started: The Sea Of Green

Destination Sign when we ended: The Motara Nebula

Radio Station of the Day: MERB, Martian Rock & Roll Radio, circa 2109

FOOOOD FOOOORRRR DOGGGGSSSSS! With Extra Stinky Sauce.

…dogs love the stinky sauce

CatCon 8

Day 4: In which we revisit a legendary roadside attraction and a tear or two of joy is shed.

It was in Dufur, Oregon, in 2010 that we went to see the World’s Largest Toilet paper roll, which was actually TWO huge competing rolls that were destroyed minutes later when their creators went batshit crazy. We all shed tears of sadness

(Sasha: I heard from Lucy that only Daddy shed any tears.)

For three years, the world was bereft of a giant toilet paper roll, but folks, I’m very happy to report that there is now an All New World’s Largest Toilet Paper Roll! HUZZAH!

Created by grandsons of the two original loonies, with help from several of their Cal Tech buddies, this roll was made in only 3 years and is twice the size of the other two COMBINED! No kidding, folks, it’s like 110 feet tall and set up in a weatherproof, climate controlled building. It’s beautiful!

(Daisy: Can you guess which of us chose this place to stop at?)

(Silky: Our Daddy is “special”.)

We paid our $25.00 group rate and went in to see things up close. There is a really nice presentation on the original rolls, with pictures and home movies. Then you see the story of how they were unraveled (much like the two old farts who did the unraveling) and how the grandsons vowed to rebuild this World Famous Roadside Attraction. There is an in depth explanation of the robotic toilet paper roll switcher that they built, as well as the rolling mechanism. It is inspiring.

(Sasha: Mom said it nearly inspired her into falling asleep.)

(Daisy: Auntie Mary wondered how many butts you could wipe with that huge roll.)

(Leon: I’ll never understand the human butt wiping thing.)

The place also has a well stocked gift shop, where we bought bumper stickers, fridge magnets, t-shirts, etc. I will wear my “I saw the World’s Largest Toilet Paper Roll in Dufur, Oregon” t-shirt with pride.

After seeing that attraction, we pretty much just hung out in the bus the rest of the day. Really, what could top what we had seen?

(Sasha: Ok, folks, here’s the real lowdown on Daddy. See, he REALLY likes goofy shit and that goddamn bigass toilet paper roll seems to hold a special place in his heart. So when we all got back on the bus and we all saw how satisfied Daddy was, we just didn’t have the heart to suggest going on to another place. Instead, we all went sliding in the Slide Room, explored the Warehouse, played games and had dinner at the Cobalt Club in an alternate New York, circa 1933.)

Destination Sign when we started: Mystara

Destination Sign when we ended: Frostbite Falls

Radio Station of the Day: WNYC, New York City, circa 1933