All I Know, I Learned From Old Jim, Who Lived In A Dumpster Behind A Beer Joint

…with his dog, Amos

 

Day 10: In which we say goodbye to friends and our trip ends on an unavoidably sad note.

After breakfast and a few hours checking out Vegas, we took our friends home via the old spacey wacey trick. Brian, Caroline, Lauren and Sadie were dropped off at home in Canada, with Sadie giving all of our critters kisses, especially Lucy. Upon taking Leon home, he stopped to slap paws with Flash, then rubbed himself on Lucy’s leg, confirming something I suspected. We then took Sharon home.

Last off the bus were Spike and Mary, then we popped back to Casa Cross.

(Lucy: Hey, Flash, let’s take a little walk.)

(Flash: Okay, sis.)

Now the Magic Bus is stowed away in the Doc Cave, Grace is going through the mail, Abby & Bea are in their imaginary goat barn, Flash is nowhere to be found and Sasha is off somewhere. Lucy is sleeping.

Lucy.

You folks in the real world know that she was the elephant in the room, being sick with cancer and all. I had hoped she’d live until after this was finished, but it didn’t work out. Since she died while the story was already started, I decided to keep her in it, but now reality and fantasy catch up to each other, as they did with Daisy & Winker. Next year we’ll have a new real girldog on the trip, but we’ll remember Lucy. She was a very good girl in both worlds. Unless you were a squirrel.

There will be another report next year, for DogCon 7, even if a miracle happens and I get to go to GenCon.

This ends my report for 2013. Doc out.

(Lucy: Hey, folks, the last 5 years have been wonderful, but I’ve gotta move on to whatever is next. Be good to each other and adopt a shelter animal. Goodbye.)

CatCon 6 is over

but the Cross Family & Friends will be back next year for…

DogCon 7

(Sasha: Kobayashi Maru, Kirk style, folks. I don’t like losing.)

It’s All Fun And Games Until The Garden Gnomes Crave Human Flesh

…and that’s why I don’t have any of the little bastards.

 

Day 9: In which we travel westward, see strange stuff and cause a small riot in Needles, CA.

After a nice big breakfast at the Big Texan Steak Ranch, we drove over to see the Tin Can Giant, which looks much the same as I reported in the DogCon 1 report. After a few pics and a couple of hours drive, we were in New Mexico, at which point we stopped at The Invisible House. Of course, it’s not really invisible, but it is painted to perfectly blend in with the rocky landscape behind it. You have to get right up to it before you see the house. It’s one of the coolest things any of us has ever seen.

(Sasha: Meanwhile, we critters stayed on the bus and frolicked in the shoe room.)

(Bea: Where Flash got stuck in a cowboy boot for like, the 15th time.)

(Flash: Hrumph!)

The next stop was in Albuquerque, or actually about 20 miles east of it, to see the Giant Map Of America, which you have to view from about 300 feet up on a hill, because it covers 12 acres and is made entirely out of rocks, gravel & sand. It’s pretty darned accurate, too, even moreso than it was in 2008. We took some pictures, then bought all that gift shop stuff we love.

At Albuquerque, we took a left turn (I know, I know) and spent a half hour marveling at Dome City, yet another place created by hippies back in the early 1970s. It had twelve bigass geodesic domes, some of them made of glass, back in 2008, but now it’s up to 14. The now aging hippies live and farm in them, as well as running some sort of spiritual center. All very interesting and green energy educational and stuff. We all bought tie dyed t-shirts there, except Spike & Mary, who bought LOTS of tie dyed t-shirts.

We drove on to Gallup, where we ate lunch and I entered a tamale eating contest. I came in third with only 9 tamales eaten, but still won ten bucks.

(Lucy: Dad was a tamale eating machine!)

Our final roadside stop, aside from Meteor Crater in Arizona, was to see not another Giant Jesus, but a Giant Ganesha. It’s just about 100 feet off the highway, sitting on public land and…nobody knows who the hell built it! Whoever did it managed to put up a 50 foot tall statue of Ganesha on the night of June 5th, 2013 between the hours of midnight and 4:00 am. He looks great and there is a donation box, the key to which was mailed to the state of Arizona Wildlife Department. Since the statue apparently rakes in over a hundred bucks a day, the state has left it where it is and even put up a protective fence. No stuff to buy, sadly.

We arrived in Needles, California just about dark. There was a street fair going on, so we all decided to check it out. Everything was going swimmingly until Avis popped out of our world in front of about 200 people who were looking at us and the critters.

(Leon: How the hell am I gonna get home now?)

(Sasha: Don’t worry, Leon, Dad will get you home tomorrow.)

This caused a few faintings, some screams and a bunch of running around. As such things do, the panic spread fast. We all hightailed it back to the bus and popped into a world where everyone looked like Stepford People. A few minutes later, we popped back into this world just outside Las Vegas.

(Lucy: You know, I’ve always loved a good riot.)

Now, dinner has been eaten and we’re all just hanging out. Avis has been called and told that Leon will be home when she gets there. The critters all seem to be heading to the Meadow room, except Flash, who ate too much and is asleep on Grace’s lap.

(Lucy: Come on you guys, I have something to tell you.)

(Sasha: This is a good time, Lucy, but you can tell Flash when we get home.)

Final blog entry tomorrow.

Destination Sign when we started: Deep Space 9

Destination Sign when we ended: Atlantis

Radio Station of the Day: Spock & Roll Radio

Bronze Prawns Sitting On Lawns

…that belong to Dons and Dawns

 

Day 3: In which we visit several goofy places in Texas, but not until after chasing critters through the desert.

(NOTE: Despite the real world passing of our beloved Lucy, she will continue on awhile in this con report.)

We were just about to get on the bus at 7:00 this morning when, as it so often does on these trips of ours, all hell broke loose.

(Flash: I must agree with Dad’s assessment of events.)

It seems that a big old jackrabbit chose to sleep under the bus and as we approached across Aunt Pearl’s lawn, he took off running. We humans, of course, were holding leashes loosely and talking and didn’t see the rabbit.

But Lucy, Sasha, Sadie, Flash, Leon, Abby & Bea did.

(Lucy: Humans can never know what madness comes over a dog when a rabbit takes off running.)

(Sadie: I dunno. You’ve never seen my dad at a used game sale.)

(Sasha: But we’ve seen our dad at a used book sale.)

(Lucy: Yeah, I guess you guys have a point.)

(Leon: I’d never seen a jackrabbit before! Holy crap, they’re big!)

(Flash: And I’ll bet they’re tasty, too!)

Lucy had Flash riding in his usual place on her back, while Leon was riding on Abby’s back. The whole mess of them took off like a shot after the rabbit and we all took off after them. I have no idea why the goats were involved in the chase.

(Abby: Because it’s fun to go running. Also, Leon was yelling “Giddy up!”)

(Bea: Plus, it’s a known fact that a couple of running people can gather up a bigass crowd of runners.)

Sasha was in the lead when the lawn gave way to open desert. She was determined to get that jackrabbit. Sadie was not far behind her.

(Sasha: Chasing rabbits is what a basset hound was born to do. Being a sporty model basset means I can chase ’em faster!)

(Sadie: It was thrilling!)

The rabbit was pulling ahead when suddenly, three more rabbits jumped up and ran in different directions. Naturally, the critters split up to chase them.

(Flash: As we have noticed on previous trips, Texas is full of jackrabbits.)

We had been chasing them for about 15 minutes, with Sasha & Sadie being completely out of sight when Grace yelled to me “Use the stun thing, dummy!”, at which point I cursed myself roundly and pressed the clicker on my keychain that both stunned all of our critters AND teleported them to lockdown in the Meadow Room.

Then we all got on the bus and headed out, sweaty, swearing, dirty and considering the advantages of goldfish as pets. The amount of critter love was at a low point. Later, there will be baths, oh yes. And for the critters, too.

(Flash: Son of a bitch! It happened again! Back in the friggin’ Meadow Room!)

(Sasha: Dogdamnit! I nearly had that long eared bastard!)

(Leon: What the fuck just happened? Abby and I were about to cut off a rabbit. I was ready to pounce!)

(Bea: I had just leaped over a rock, then POOF!, I’m back here.)

(Sadie: Ok, that right there was some strange stuff! How did we get here?)

(Abby: I don’t know, but enjoy it, because Mom says we are in for a long stretch.)

(Flash: Well, if we’ve gotta do time, this beats the hell out of a cage.)

(Lucy: Well, I’m damned tired, so I’m gonna nap.)

(Sasha: Yeah, Sis, you get some rest.)

While Data drove, we humans took showers and I had the SmartBots wash up the critters.

(Flash: Torture me all you want, you mechanical screws! You’ll never break me!)

(Leon: Give me a bath, eh, you damned Dalek? I will SO pee on you first chance I get.)

(Sadie: Well, you’ve got to admit, the SmartBots are fast and efficient.)

(Flash: So is a laxative, but I don’t want one of them either.)

Cleaned and refreshed and with the critters drying off in Pet Prison (I swear I heard a harmonica)…

(Sasha: That was Leon playing “I’m In The Jailhouse Now”)

…we humans got out of the bus to visit the World Famous Cattle Museum. I believe that we all learned a great deal about beef cattle and the ranching thereof. No fridge magnets, but the t-shirts were pretty cool. Oddly, right across the street was a Barbecue joint, but we were all still full from breakfast.

(Sasha: Dude, let us at that barbecue! I could eat the hell outta some ribs and brisket!)

(Sadie: Yep, bones right here, please!)

Our next stop was the West Texas Museum. For about an hour, we learned all about the history of western Texas, much of which involved settlers braving the harsh environment, which included marauding Native Americans, Mexicans, people from other states, outlaws, coyotes, drought, starvation….

(Sadie: Who the heck starves surrounded by cows?)

(Abby: Apparently, Texans did.)

…disease and rattlesnakes. All told, West Texas was a pretty fucked place to live back in the day. And parts of it aren’t much better today.

(Sasha: If you are a dog, pretty much all of Texas smells like either a cow or a jackrabbit, but West Texas smells like dry & dusty cows and jackrabbits. And rattlesnakes.)

(Bea: NOT a fan of rattlesnakes!)

We bought a bunch of gift store stuff and were about to depart town when we spied that most dangerous of road trip encounters, a used book store.

(Flash: Oh shit, we can kiss at least an hour goodbye here.)

(Abby: Yep, time for a siesta.)

(Sasha: Hey, Sadie and Bea, come take a walk with me across the meadow. I want to talk to you.)

The book store was small (the 10 of us pretty much filled it up), but had some good finds, including pulp reprints, ACE Doubles sci-fi paperbacks and a rather surprisingly large mystery section. All told, we dropped a bundle there. The owner said it was more than he usually made in a week.

By now, we were getting hungry, but good eating was still a couple hours away, so we raided the Chocolate Closet. Just a nibble, mind you, but yum yum!

After that, we settled in to play some card games (“Set”, “Falling”, “Zombie Fluxx” and “Aquarius”) until we reached our lunch stop “The Best Damned Chicken Fried Steak In Texas”. Yes, that is the actual name, which was gotten when they won a statewide competition. Now, there were other places nearby to eat, but I would risk the unholy wrath of my ancestors if I didn’t try the best CFS in Texas, so in we went, accompanied by the now on parole critters.

(Flash: I’m so hungry I could eat a whole steer!)

(Leon: Me too, brother cat!)

(Abby: WTF? You guys just ate like, a dozen meadow mice each.)

(Flash: Mice are but a snack, eater of plants.)

(Abby: How about I butt your tiny tiger looking ass across Texas?)

(Lucy: Hahahahahahaha!)

Inside the place, the staff was great and had our grub to us in no time. The critters got plates of food and we all chowed down.

Folks, if I die right now never having eaten another thing, I’ll go happy. Mom, Grandma Bertha, I love you and your chicken fried steaks, but this place would school you. Mmmmm by God mmmmm!

(Sasha: Holy Moley! Dad ate a CFS that would have taken me 5 minutes to walk across!)

(Lucy: And he still finished all of the mashed potatoes and fried okra!)

(Leon: The rest of the humans ate like starving wolves, too.)

(Abby: Not one of them ate a salad.)

(Flash: Of course not, because…)

(Abby: Shut it, furball!)

(Flash: Purrrrrrrrr!)

(Bea: Heehee. Abby: 2, Flash: 0)

Despite us now being waddle inclined and feeling drowsy, we locked the critters on the bus and went over to a small roadside attraction with a sign that said “See the Underground House!”

(Sasha: WOAH! Pentallian high security force fields!)

(Sadie: With Argizian Industries sleep gas backups!)

(Flash: Yep, Sadie is infected now. Next thing you know it’ll be a Star Trek vs Star Wars debate.)

(Sadie: No it won’t! Sasha and I both agree that Trek beats Wars any day.)

(Lucy: Now just wait a damned minute there…)

Underground houses are always pretty neat and this one, though small, was very nice. It was also at least 30 degrees cooler that the 110 degrees above ground. We almost had to pry Avis out of it.

I don’t know what the hell happened back on the bus, but Sasha, Sadie & Bea were barking and baaing at Lucy, Leon and Abby, who were barking, yowling and baaing back. Flash looked as though he was amazed or maybe disgusted by it all. Even three of the SmartBots were making noise. There was no damage done to anything, so I suppose it was some critter argument.

(Flash: I love these guys, but I will NEVER understand geeks.)

After shutting up the critters, Data started driving and we all settled in for a couple of hours of watching alternate universe episodes of Doctor Who, which dogs, cats & goats all seemed to agree on.

(Flash: Please, Ceiling Cat, do NOT let anyone ask who the best Doctor was. We all know it was Pertwee.)

These episodes were titled “Revenge of the Beastmen” and starred a thirtysomething Diana Rigg as a rather steampunkish Doctor. All four episodes were excellent. Some of us may have napped a bit.

(Sasha: Mom hit the sack halfway through the first episode.)

Around 6:15, we pulled into the Pecos Bill Campground and parked the bus for the night. As I write this, prep cook Zach is getting things ready for a dinner of pasta, veggies, sausages and refreshing beverages. For desert, I shall be making fresh peach ice cream.

(Lucy: Did he say “sausages”?)

(Abby: Did he say “veggies”?)

More blogging tomorrow, on the short final leg of our trip.

Destination Sign when we started: Valhalla

Destination Sign when we ended: The Wrong Side Of The Tracks

Radio Station of the Day: Oldies Radio, Philly Sound Edition

R.I.P. Lucy Louise Cross (2003-2013)

…our sweet girl

 

Today, at 11:50, our sweet Lucy Lou was relieved of her pain by our vet. The lymphoma and associated problems had finally made her quality of life dip below the threshold where it would be good.

 

Lucy had a rough life before we adopted her in 2009, but she did very well once she came into our home. She was always a fearful and nervous girl, but never failed to show her love for Grace & I.

 

We are sad, but take heart in knowing she is not in pain and not afraid anymore.

 

Goodbye, Lucy.

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!

.

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 Beer Mug Full Of Dimes

…I haz it

And now…STUFF!

1: On the canine front, Lucy continues to adapt to our household. Although she is still a very timid dog and does not play with Winker, she is a very loving girl towards her mom & dad.

2: I am formulating an idea for a fantasy setting where nobody actually can cast spells because magic can only be done through potions and enchanted items like wands and rings and such.

3: In August, since I will NOT be going to GenCon (curse you, fucked economy!), I WILL again be going to the entirely fictional, but no less fun, DogCon2 convention in beautiful Wilted Springs, Texas. As with last year, those of you not going to GenCon are invited to attend.

Gotta go…mystery shops awaits.