Land Of 1,000 Dunces

…wait, that wasn’t the song title

CritterCon 11

Trip Day Three (By Janet)

Hello there! I’m Janet and I’m a skunk. I’ll be writing today’s trip report, but first, I’d just like to thank everyone for being so nice and accepting of me. We skunks tend to keep everyone away via our not undeserved reputation, but Doc & Grace and their canine kids have always been nothing but kind and welcoming to me. It was nice to know that their friends were the same sort of people.

(Silky: You are very easy to like, honey.)

(Roxie: She certainly is!)

Now, I tend to be less skilled at writing on my own and more skilled at organization of other folks writing, probably because my day job is working for the Greater Sacramento NHT Council as a Planning Specialist. That means that my report here will look a bit different. I hope you like it.

7:30 am: We all had another marvelous breakfast together. I really love what the kitchen staff can do with a bowl of worms, grubs and wet cat food. I’m going to have to watch my waistline on this trip.

(Roxie: Oh yes, they do know how to do cat food right.)

(Penny: Smoked salmon in my food? Yes please!)


8:30 am: We left San Clemente and drove down the coast about half an hour, then turned east on a paved road that took us up into the hills. After about 8 miles, we turned onto a gravel road that lead us to Tunnel Town.

(Sasha: As roadside attraction town names go, this one was a 5 on the WhatTheFuck-O-Meter.)

It seems that Tunnel Town is an actual small…very small…town entirely inside old tunnel made by the US military back in the 1950’s and early 60s. Then, a man made plague killed most of the population of Russia and rendered 90% of the land there dangerous to human life, so the Cold War ended just after these tunnels were completed.

(Goldie: Pity poor Donald Trump. On this Earth, he had to marry native U.S. Citizens.)

(Silky: Actually, on this Earth, Cheetoface, is doing a 40 to life stretch in the pen for a variety of crimes, but mostly for losing his temper while arguing with his dad and tossing old Fred off a 15 story building.)

(Max: I hear his name in prison is Onyer Knees Bitch.)

 

As seems to be the case in many of these roadside places, the land was bought up by a person with plenty of money and some strange ideas. Her name was Lucille Statsworth and her strangeness was of a religious nature.

(Sasha: And by that you know that she was human.)

Before you know it, she had convinced 267 other people that God was going to come soon and kill everyone living above ground, so they all moved into the tunnels and started up a town. At it’s most populous, the town had almost 900 people living in the 4 miles of 50 foot diameter tunnels. Then in 1988, Lucille died and things fell apart pretty quickly.

Today, there are still 100 people living in Tunnel Town. Most of them are older folks and all of them are very pale. We toured the town, escorted by a 70ish gentleman named Frank. It was an interesting tour and we all bought t-shirts and things before we left.

(Luke: If Dad ever goes crazy, he’ll probably open up “Roadside Souvenir Town”.)

(Daisy: “If”?)

10:00 am: We left Tunnel Town and continued down the freeway to another stop, Starbase 9. This is a 50 acre television and movie set built on land that in our world would be part of the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base. On this world, no Russians apparently meant much less money for defense, so the Marine Base is much smaller.

(Sadie: Like, only 100 billion dollars.)


Starbase 9 was built for the original Star Trek series. It has areas that include an alien jungle, a war ravaged city, strange alien ruins and the interiors to both alien and human homes & offices. Of course, it also includes the starbase. The sets have been used in all 4 Star Trek TV series, as well as the 9 Star Trek movies. They have also been used in many other movies and television shows.

(Daisy: It was like a beautiful dream come true!)

(Sasha: She actually drooled on some things.)

(Misty: And she was in her human body when she did it.)

Now, my best friend, Daisy, is a huge Star Trek fan. So are most of the humans and several of the critters in our group. That will explain why we paid $20 each and spent three and a half hours at this stop, including lunch. We all enjoyed it and Daisy & Max spent a whole lot of money on souvenirs and such.

(Max: By the time we left, my wallet was as empty as a treat bag in a dog park.)


2:15: This is when we got to The World Famous Monster Museum. As with many museums such as this, it is in a very large warehouse sort of structure. The entrance fee was $7.50 and most of our group were very excited to see what was inside.

What was inside were statues, and in a few cases preserved bodies, of monsters from nature, myth, legend and entertainment. We went through the Nature’s Monsters area pretty quickly, with three exceptions: the taxidermied body of one of those huge pythons we saw live yesterday (this one 38 feet long), the preserved body of a “very young” Giant Pacific Octopus (it was 24 feet long and would be 5 times that size as an adult), and the skeleton of “the last Dire Wolf” (killed in Siberia in 1670).

(Sasha: That octopus guaranteed that Mom will never go anywhere neat the ocean on this Earth.)

(Luke: Yeah, she’s twitchy tonight and we are 5 miles from the beach.)

(Penny: She’s not the only one. Screw that 125 foot long octopus stuff!)


The Myths & Legends area was actually the largest area in the building, containing statues that represented creatures from dozens of cultures. Some of them were very strange looking.

(Roxie: All told, I give Asia the nod for most bizarre monsters.)


Naturally, the Monsters from Entertainment area was a big favorite. There must been 300 monsters from literature, radio, television and the movies. Between Doc and the rest of the humans, most of them were pretty well known. That section ended at a door that read “This Way To The Big Guys”. Sure enough, on the other side of the door was an outside area with full sized models of everything from King Kong to the ants from “Them” to Godzilla. There was actual squeeing going on.

(Sadie: I’m pretty sure Uncle Doc said “Holy shit!” at least 30 times.)

(Misty: The statue of Mothra was made even more impressive by the statues of two very little women beneath it.)


We spent two and a half hours there and still had to nearly drag away Doc, Daisy, Max and some of the others. Personally, I found it a bit more worrisome that Sasha spent the whole time there taking notes.

(Sasha: It was all grist for the idea mill.)


5:30: At this point, we parked the van at the San Diego KOA campground for the night. We have since had a wonderful Mexican dinner, after which we played board and card games for three hours. We all had fun.

(Luke: Leon ran a short Warhammer minis scenario.)

(Silky: I won our Unfair game.)


Now, it’s time for me to get my beauty rest. Tomorrow, Leon will be doing the trip reporting.

Good night, everyone!

Janet

Destination Sign When We Started: Under The Sea
Destination Sign When We Stopped: Over The Rainbow

QM Radio Station: Old Time Radio Comedy

 

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Zany Bullfinches Pestered My Hoopoes

…google it

CatCon 8

Day 2: In which we check out some monsters, the cheekiness of jackrabbits is discussed and Auntie Avis bakes pies.

Day 2 of our trip found us in Kingman, Arizona, where we visited the newly renamed and upgraded “Monsters Of The Desert!” Years ago, desert sculptors with time on their hands built something goofy and big, a kind of octopoid looking alien creature with three eyes. But in the last couple of years, they’ve added 5 new Monsters, so naturally we had to check it out.

(Silky: This was my pick of where to visit, folks.)


One of these monsters looks sort of like a giant praying mantis made out of stainless steel, crushed glass, plaster and about 15 colors of paint. It stands across from two 30 foot tall creatures made of old plastic milk jugs, flattened tin cans and some sort of plastic foam. They look like crazed yetis.

(Daisy: Real yetis are much scarier. Flash & Leon once poked one with a stick It was not amused.)

(Leon: No shit! That damned thing chased us 3 miles! It was wicked pissed off.)

Then there is the winged triceratops creature that uses an old school bus as the basis for it’s body, then added on tons of plumbing fixtures. Finally, there is “Ograntor!”, a 75 foot tall giant ape/ant/platypus thing built out of concrete, steel and what looks like about 6 months worth of the empty booze bottles from Las Vegas.

(Sasha: Hmmm…giant apes…hmmm.)

(Leon: You are crazy, Sasha!)

(Sasha: What part of “mad scientist” confuses you, cathead?)

We wandered around for about 90 minutes, because what the signs along the highway don’t tell you is that while there are only 6 giant monsters, there are over 150 smaller ones scattered about, some no bigger than my fist. Some can move a bit and have motion detectors built in, so they only move when you get close. This startled some of our group.

(Daisy: HAHAHA! One of them scared Sasha so much, she pooped!)

The whole place is surrounded by high chainlink fence, too keep out vandals. Our critters discovered that the local jackrabbits like to hang out just on the other side of the fence. They do not seem to fear human, yowling cats or barking dogs.

(Leon: Open up that fence and we’ll see who’s laughing.)

(Silky: One of those cheeky little bastards peed in front of Sasha and I when we barked at him.)

(Daisy: They called us rude names!)

(Sasha: We’ll see how fuckin’ smug they are when my flying monkeys come for them.)

Before leaving, we stopped off at the concession stand for Desert Monster Dogs, which were delicious foot long hot dogs. I had two with chili. We also drank Monster Shakes, which were both tasty and large.

(Daisy: Oh, baby, those were tasty hot dogs!)

We got back on the bus and dimension hopped over to a Hawaii that never had humans settle there. Most likely, this was because it is a popular place with the Megalodons, Giant Octopi and the Rocs that live up in the mountains and prey upon the Megalodons & Giant Octopi. It’s a peaceful place, if you’re not one of those three species.

(Leon: Humans pick insane places to go! Those Rocs were enormous!)

(Daisy: I know, right? They had like a 400 foot wingspan!)

(Silky: One of them grabbed a 65 foot shark like it was a goldfish!)

(Sasha: Eh, could have been worse. Could have been dragons.)

Anyway, being way too small to eat, we mostly hung out on the beach or wandered around in the bus. It was while wandering through the greenhouse that Avis and Silky found several blueberry bushes loaded with ripe fruit. After picking a bunch of them, Avis told us all that we’d be having blueberry pie for dessert tonight.

(Silky: we may have eaten a pound or so as we were picking.)

Sure enough, when the rest of us came in, the bus was filled with the delicious smell of fresh baked pies. After a dinner of steak, potatoes, spinach and rolls, I got a gallon of French Vanilla ice cream out of the Ice Cream Closet and we had blueberry pie ala mode. Totally yummy! You did well, Auntie Avy.

(Daisy: Auntie Avy, Queen of Pie!)

Once we were all stuffed with pie & ice cream, we got out the dice and I ran Grace, Avis, Spike, Mary, Daisy & Silky through “The Megadungeon of Horrible Doom!” Much fun was had, even when Spike rolled two critical fumbles and fell into a pit full of Snot Goblins.

While we played D&D, Sasha & Leon were playing a new video game called “Assault Of The Robodemons”, which is part RPG, part shooter. Judging from all the yelling, they enjoyed it.

Now it’s time for bed, Gentle Readers. More fun & frivolity tomorrow.

Destination Sign when we started: Mirkwood

Destination Sign when we ended: Camelot

Radio Station of the Day: Duck Rock Live From DuckEarth 5

The Royal Report On Dealing With Dragons

…it’s only one word: DON’T!

 

The Doclopedia #1,180

The Truth About Monsters: Ents

The physical description of Ents that Professor Tolkien gave us in The Lord of the Rings is spot on. These “tree shepherds” are roughly humanoid looking trees themselves. Any sort of tree can be represented, with the deciduous species being the most common.

What the good professor got wrong was how talkative Ents are. They are not the slow and excruciatingly deliberate speakers they were portrayed as. Indeed, most Ents will talk your leg off given half a chance. Depending upon how great a hurry you are in, this can be either good or bad.

Among themselves, Ents speak by rustling their leaves and creaking their branches. With other species, they speak the Common tongue. Ents are also great gossips and a treasure trove of useful information, which is why most other sentients seek them out. The secret to getting the good info is patience. Ents are easily set off on tangents and can take a good long while to get back to the main topic.

Ents are also big on songs and poems, many of which relate events centuries past. You can learn a lot from these, if you have a few hours to spare. It was in fact the Entish story of Old Roughbark and the Great Flood that helped the Adventurers Five find the lost tomb of the Golden Emperor. Of course, the telling of the tale did take nearly 9 hours.

Ents are almost always found in groups of 10-30 in the deepest parts of old growth forests. They are found in every climatic zone that such forests exist. Young Ents, those under a century old, often wander into less dense forests or even lightly wooded areas.

London’s Crawling

…it just sort of “woke up” one day

 

The Doclopedia #1,135

Monsters Of The Circle Sea: Kul Kuru

Listen, matey, ‘cos I’m gonna tell ye about Kul Kuru, the great beast of the Torangiri Swamps. Them swamps must cover thousands of square miles, with plenty of rivers an’ streams fer large ships an’ small boats to sail up, if’n they be looking for privacy. Plenty of game an’ fruit, too. Good place to take on stores, so long as Kul Kuru don’t get ye.

Now, ol’ Kul Kuru is some sort of huge lizard-man thing. Stands maybe 10 feet tall, has a big mouth full o’ teeth and a tail maybe 7 feet long. That tail can hit like a whip an’ it’ll break a man’s leg for sure. He’s got 4 inch long claws on his hands an’ them’s razor sharp. Slice you up like a roast, they will.

Fer bein’ as big as he is, ol’ Kul Kuru can move real quite like. Most poor bastards don’t even know he’s near ’til he comes tearin’ outta the jungle, an’ by then it’s too late fer ’em. He killed 30 of the 45 men crewin’ the Green Dove in less that 5 minutes. Prob’ly ate most of ’em.

So you listen to me an’ steer clear of them swamps, matey! Now, if you’ll buy me another mug of ale, I’ll tell you about Miri Matol, the sportin’ lady who could breath through her ears.”

 

A Male Snail With A Pail Of Ale Was In Jail

…and thereby hangs our tale

 

The Doclopedia #1,134

Monsters Of The Circle Sea: The Great Turtle

Far out to sea, where the waters are deeper than deep, lives the Great Turtle, the largest “monster” on the planet. He (or is it she?) is a full mile long and almost that wide, with a sawtooth looking ridge running the length of the shell. The Great Turtle is a medium green all over and has huge yellow eyes.

While some worship the Great Turtle as a god, most people fear it due to it’s sheer size. The tsunamis it generates just coming to the surface too quickly can reach 10 feet in height. The ones created by it’s wake while swimming along can reach five feet or more.

The Great Turtle does not seem to be sentient, but nobody knows for sure. There are reports of it coming to the aid of ships that have been damaged badly or becalmed. In such cases, any rational sailors will later make a very generous offering by dumping valuables into the sea.

No Say Drugs Just To

…I am SOOOO stoned

Yes, Gentle Readers, I’m starting another “500 Doclopedia Entries in 365 Days” death march. Tune in daily for new high strangeness.

 

 

The Doclopedia #1,132

Monsters Of The Circle Sea: The Eye Beast

 

Nobody knows where the Eye Beast came from, but it has been haunting the Circle Sea

in the area of Albrison Island and the Wargan Fjords for at least the last thousand years. Only the bravest or most insane mariners will sail those waters, which they do to trade with the Wargan barbarians. Those barbarians value steel and will pay handsomely for it. There is money to be made, IF the Eye Beast doesn’t come after you.

The Eye Beast is huge, perhaps 200 feet across and 50 feet tall. It looks like a cloud of foam floating on the ocean surface, but tough foam covered in thousands of eyes. Some of these eyes are three yards across, while others are no bigger than a human eye. Many of them can project rays of heat or madness or other bad things. When the Eye Beast gazes upon your ship, nothing good can come of it.

The eye beast can also extrude tentacles that can grab you and pull you into it’s foamy interior. These tentacles can stretch 100 feet or more with amazing speed. Weapons have no affect on them or any other part of the Eye Beast.

The Eye Beast can move at speeds up to 10 knots, even while going against the wind. Few ships have ever successfully outrun it.

Doc Tempest: The Wall Of Voodoo

…from the May, 1999 issue

The Doclopedia #1,131

Monsters Of The Circle Sea: Giant Sea Snakes

If you were to sail 200 miles due south of Black Pig Island, you would find the low and swampy island cluster known as the Snake Islands. It is here that the Giant Sea Snakes come to mate, rear their young and then leave those young to mature. Aside from Fishing Bats, no mammals live on these islands, nor do any ground nesting birds or reptiles. Between the inhospitable nature of the islands and the sea snakes, things will probably stay that way.

A newly hatched Giant Sea Snake is three feet long and about as thick as a broomstick. They grow quickly, fed on small fish and large insects while guarded by both their parents. When, at the age of two months, they reach a length of about seven feet, the parents leave them to fend for themselves.

It takes around a year for the young snakes to reach a length of twenty feet. Only then do they leave the island and go out into open water. They will take another two years to reach their full adult size of fifty feet long and four feet thick.

Giant Sea Snakes are not poisonous, but do have a large mouth full of razor sharp teeth. They are fast and aggressive hunters who will eat nearly anything they can swallow whole, including humanoids. It is not unknown for a Giant Sea Snake to attack a small boat in hopes of knocking a couple of crewmen overboard. Needless to say, most sailors give a wide berth to any snakes they might see.

Giant Sea Snakes live for at least 30 years and are reckoned to be as intelligent as dogs.