…caused by a very large moose
Trip Day Five: In Which We Arrive In Critter City, Have A Good Cry, And Gather Together Our Extended Family
NOTE: You have probably wondered where the critter commentary is this year. Truth is, they all decided to just comment once we got to the con, so you’ll start seeing their witty bon mots soon.
The drive from the RV park to Critter City takes about 30 minutes, so we decided to eat when we got there. As it turns out, breakfast was delayed a bit.
We knew it was coming, but when we drove into the Critter City dome and saw the three large statues honoring Silky, Daisy and Max, it hit us hard. I stopped the bus and we all just stared and cried for several minutes. Our hearts are probably set back a bit on the healing path now.
(Sasha: I knew it was coming because I donated money for it, but it still ripped my heart out.)
(Luke: Total gut punch.)
(Misty: I was gutted.)
After a few minutes, Cupcake said “Okay, you guys, we need to go now. They would not want us crying when there is a really fun con to go to.”
Out of the mouths of babes.
(Sasha: That’s my girl.)
So we continued driving in toward the hotel, where we had Sweetie open a portal to the Austin airport and our friends stepped through. This year we had Avis Crane and her two cats (Leon & Lettie), a young mixed breed dog we met last year whose name just happens to be Chance, Ginie Murphy and her cat (Roxie), Peter & Holly Hildreth and their dog & cat (Goldie & Penny), Brian Misiaszek and his family and dog (Sadie M.), Spike, Mary & Miranda Jones, and CritterCon first timers Mark & Cathy Ford and their 2 dogs (Sadie F. & Shasta).
(Luke: It was great to see everyone again, especially young Chance, now that I know about his special nature.)
(Leon: Great to be back!)
(Cupcake: Wow! This is a lot of people!)
Since it was 10:00 am and we were starving, we all decided to go across the street and have breakfast at Pancakeville. As always, the breakfast was great and we left stuffed. Thankfully, the walk back to the hotel was short.
(Brownie: Dude, I ate 4 pancakes and 4 sausages. My tummy is fat!)
(Penny: They had whole grilled catfish on the breakfast menu!)
When we got up to the front desk, the folks there greeted us warmly and handed me a short note. It read,
This year is on us. Have fun!
Daisy & Max
(Luke: Max & Daisy, you are a class act.)
That stopped us all cold for a moment, you betcha. A few tissues were needed. D&M, I know you are reading this, or will soon, so thank you from all of us.
To paraphrase John Hammond in Jurassic Park, Mr & Mrs Bunnington spared no expense and rented us the entire top floor, plus the penthouse cabin & garden. Fully stocked fridges and bars, too. Now, I should point out that only four floors of the hotel are above ground. The other 20 are underground. Therefore, the penthouse cabin is not that far above ground level. Still, the view is nice and the garden is lovely and attracts lots of birds and insects.
(Leon: I miss my bunny homeboy, but damn, this is swanky.)
Grace and I took the penthouse and everyone else got their suites, including all the critters, who shared the largest NHT specific suite. After a short break to get settled in and freshen up, we all went off to collect out badges and swag bags.
The badges were all “magical amulets” that had a 3D image of an elf inside them. Pretty cool.
The swag bag was a large canvas bag containing the following…
The con book, which this year took the form of a wizard’s spell book.
The usual assorted fliers and coupons.
Three card games: “Bag The Bees”, “Mystery House: Vampire Manor” and “Pirate Race.
Two small board games: “Big Steam City” and “Art Heist”
Several quickstart rules for RPGs
A CritterCon 12 pin
A random miniature for the “Explorers of the Monster Realm” game.
(Chance: THIS IS SO COOL!)
(Cupcake: I know, right? Free games!)
(Brownie: This is the BEST PLACE EVER!)
Not a bad haul, really, especially after last year’s rather light load.
Swag bags in hand, we wandered around meeting all sorts of old and new friends. Cupcake and Brownie were pretty boggled by it all and Avis’ new cat, Lettie, wasn’t too far behind them. After about an hour of wandering, we went back to the hotel to peruse the con book.
(Lettie: WOW! I have never been anywhere like this! Is that a capybara?)
(Sasha: Yeah. His name is Earl and he’s the favorite of his human, who owns 14 more besides him.)
Some of us are running official games or doing seminars, but here is the breakdown.
Me: 2 Toon games, 1 Call of Cthulhu game, 3 seminars, 2 Old Time Radio episodes
Spike: 1 AD&D game, 2 seminars, 1 Old Time Radio episode
Brian: 2 seminars, 2 Old Time Radio episodes
Leon Crane: 2 minis wargames (cats are big on minis wargames)
Misty, Grace & Mary: 2 hours in the Children’s Game Room
(Roxie: I doubt I could do that.)
Luke & Misty: Improv for NHT Gamers seminar
(Misty: It should be fun. 40 seats already sold out.)
Sasha: A 2 hour stint at KCCC radio doing “Grrlz of Punk & Metal” show.
(Sasha: I’m gonna make ears bleed with female musical asskicking!)
The kids, including young Chance, who, I hasten to say, is just an ordinary dog, didn’t know what to choose, so all the various uncles & aunties helped them out. They will have pretty full schedules.
After some con planning, it was mostly nap time, although Spike, Brian, Mark & I just hung out shooting the shit.
We ate dinner at two new places, Big Mama’s Badass Burgers and Game of Cones where we had ice cream for dessert. Both places were excellent.
(Luke: Lordy, those were some excellent burgers.)
We are all about to go to the big pre-con party, a Cheesecake & Bourbon bash. Children and those with early bedtimes will only be there for an hour or so. Many of the rest of us will be there until they close it down.
(Sasha: I’ll be drinking for me and Silky tonight!)
The con reporting fun will resume tomorrow.
Destination Sign When We Started: The Baxter Building
Destination Sign When We Stopped: Gallifrey
QM Radio Station: Gnomish Storysongs