Handsome Joe Rides In A Canoe

…he’s a brave doggie

The Doclopedia #1,187

Even More Technobabble!: Portable Quantum Vibration Stabilizer

The main problem with traveling to other dimensions (and to a lesser extent, different time periods in your home dimension) is that your quanta vibrate at one frequency and that other dimension vibrates at another.

Now, this isn’t a huge problem when you go to the nearest realities, but to go to the really cool ones, you need vibration stabilization. Fortunately, this is a fairly easy problem to overcome.

Portable quantum vibration stabilizers are very small, often built into rings, belt buckles and other common items. Wearing one for as little as an hour can stabilize you for up to 16 hours, depending upon how far out in the multiverse you go.

In some cases, a PQVS will be built into a vehicle, thus stabilizing everything inside or even near it.

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The Ham What Am Plus A Side Order Of Spam

…damn!

 

The Doclopedia #1,186

Even More Technobabble!: Regenerating Nanoskin

Let’s face it, normal skin works just fine for ordinary folks, but if you are a costumed hero without superpowers, regular skin takes a hell of a beating and scars pretty easily. What you need is a synthetic skin that’s WAY tougher.

That is why the folks at Wayne Industries Labs developed Regenerating Nanoskin. Made from molecular sized nanobots, this skin heals in seconds from most injuries, resists burning at temperatures up to 750 degrees and is completely caustic chemical proof. The skin can completely cover an adult human body in 15 seconds and can be made in any natural skin tone or over 100 other colors.

Don’t Open The Door To The Crazy Shed!

…Damn! Too late.

 

The Doclopedia #713

We Haz MORE Technobabble!: Spacial/Temporal Anomaly Deflection Beam

 

If you have ever watched any television science fiction series, you know that space is littered with these annoying anomalies. If your starship even gets too close to one, you’re screwed. But fear not, brave spacefarer, because with this handy beam unit, you can deflect those nasty anomalies out of the way and just proceed on at Warp 16.

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The Doclopedia #714

We Haz MORE Technobabble!: Psychotronic Nanotech Disintegrator

 

You say your nanotechnology has gotten loose and is threatening to turn the planet into gray goo? Well, my friend, you need this handy dandy disintegrator unit to clean up that problem! Just put on the helmet, grab the gun and start wiping out those rogue nanites with the POWER OF YOUR MIND! After that, maybe you can rejigger the device so that you can disintegrate other stuff.

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DogCon 5, Trip Day 10

 

Oy, has it ever been a busy day! Here are the highlights, Gentle Readers.

 

Breakfast: We ate at a busy little place called the Lakeside Diner. Great food and plenty of it. The Sausage & Egg Platter has 4 kinds of sausages on it. Yum!

 

Flash: Still being on Double Secret Mom Parole, we sweet and innocent pets stayed on the bus, double locked into the Meadow Room.

 

The World Famous Eastern Oregon Giant Jesus: Yet another giant Jesus can be crossed off of our list. This one is 90 feet tall and carved from a single humongous Ponderosa pine. He looks a bit skinny for his height, but the carving is superb. We all bought t-shirts. By the way, as far as we can determine, there is no Western Oregon Giant Jesus.

 

The World’s Largest Potato: Oregon and Idaho both grow a shitload of spuds, as does Washington. This watermelon sized Russet is in Oregon, about 15 miles from the Idaho border. Just reading how they managed to preserve the damned thing was worth the $2.00 each we paid to see it.

 

Potato World: This place is a whole lot like Onion World, because it was built and is operated by the same company. The main difference is that they serve potatoes about ten times more ways than the other place serves onions and you get the message that potatoes from Oregon and Washington are pretty damned questionable and potatoes from Maine are just plain old Communism.

 

We ate lunch at Potato World, thereby fulfilling our potato needs for about a month.

 

Lucy: Who knew that a Potato Burger could taste so good?

 

 

The Haunted House: This place might have been really scary when they opened it up back in 1953, but now it’s mostly interesting as a sort of roadside attraction time capsule.

 

We rolled into Wyoming about 6:00 this evening and while everybody else fixed dinner, I let Miranda, who has her learners permit, drive the bus.

 

Now, the cool thing about the Chameleon Circuit is that when the bus changes shape, so does the driver area and the handling of the whole rig. Thus, the young Miss Jones got to drive a school bus, a Toyota Corolla, a ’65 Chevy Impala, a 1999 White Freightliner big rig, an Aston Martin DB5, a 1961VW Beetle, a ’53 Ford pickup and a 1970 Corvette Stingray. She did very well with all of them

 

We stopped at about 7:30 in a KOA. Dinner was delicious and then we played boardgames. Now, it is bedtime. More blogstuff tomorrow.

 

Radio Station: “Reggae Opera Channel” which is as strange as it sounds.

Destination Sign: Red House

Pinball Lizard

…creepy looking, but he can sure play

 

The Doclopedia #711

We Haz MORE Technobabble!: Electronic Phase Warping Missile

It’s a missile that can phase right through armor…or buildings…or anything…then explode! Is that cool or what? I mean, you can shoot this bad boy right through a freakin’ mountain and it’s all “Hello, terrorist douchebags! BOOM!” and they’ll be like “WTF?” and shit! Oh sure, they cost about a billion dollars each, but think of the money you’ll save when you don’t have to shoot around things!

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The Doclopedia #712

We Haz MORE Technobabble!: Microtronic Cellular Expansion Unit

Old way to make somebody into a giant: stimulate cellular reproduction so that they started growing uncontrollably. Side effects: acromegaly, heart not growing as fast as the rest of the body (which leads to not enough oxygen to the brain), strange mutations and on rare occasions, near invulnerability to harm.

New way to make somebody a giant: pop one of our microtronic units into them and just make the cells that have larger! No fuss, no muss! Warning: do not enlarge cells more than 10X so as to avoid having the subject collapse into a puddle of goo.

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DogCon 5, Trip Day 9, Part 1

One of the good things about having a non-drinking bunch of traveling companions is that when you sleep in until 10 in the morning after a night of carousing with members of your tribe, they have breakfast and precious tea ready for you.

Flash: And they take care of your beloved pets.

Sasha: Including Mom and Sharon making us nice warm FOOOODDD FOOORRRR PETTTTTTSSSSS!

Bea: Oatmeal with sweet potato chunks! That’s what I’m talkin’ about!

Abby: And alfalfa pellet muffins!

Lucy: Let’s not forget the Milk Bones for afters!

Once I was done with eating and stuff, we left the bus to visit our first two roadside attractions of the day: The Mushroom House and the Glass Maze.

The Mushroom House looks like a huge mushroom, all red with yellow spots. It has 5 floors and, we were told, has 18,000 feet of floor space. In fact, the place is mostly set up as a hotel now, so you don’t get to see the whole joint. It’s still pretty cool though, because the mushroom theme is everywhere.

The really cool attraction is right next to the Mushroom House and it’s the Glass Maze. Yep, a 5 acre maze with 10 foot tall walls made of glass a foot thick. And not your nice clear glass, nope. These walls are made of old busted bottles & jars & other glass stuff that has been fused together at an old glass factory a few miles away. The factory cranks out 10′ X 30′ and 10′ X 10” slabs that are transported to the maze and then put into place. Glue holds one slab to the next and the maze is huge and complex. We wandered around for nearly an hour before Zach spotted the way out. It was lots of fun.

When we left the Glass Maze behind, we traveled on to Walla Walla and the Onion World Amusement Park, which we (Grace, Sharon & I) had visited two years ago. The park has had a big upgrade since then and we had a blast.

Flash: Meanwhile, back at Folsom Prison…I mean, on the bus…we were restricted to the Meadow Room.

Lucy: And we hadn’t even done anything wrong!

Abby: Yet.

Flash: Hush, goat!

We rode the Onion Coaster, the Walla Walla Whirlygigs and a bunch of other rides. Doc Mystery and Grace both won large plush onion characters (Walla Walla Wally) at an onion toss booth and we all ate burgers & onion rings for lunch. Later, we rode the “History of Washington Onions” ride, where you learn that Vidalia and Maui onions are not fit for proper folks to eat, but the Walla Walla onions will make you a happy and productive citizen and they may just improve your sex life, too.

Once we were pretty much onioned out, we got on the road to head towards Idaho. Imagine our surprise when, just 5 minutes from Onion World, we saw a huge billboard advertising “Uncle Ferdies All New Trained Squirrel Review” just 3 miles ahead. Even if I had not wanted to stop and check it out, I had a busload of folks who had heard the legendary story of our last visit and they demanded that we stop and see the show.

The new place looks good, with a big domed arena for the review and what looked like a mini prison for people to leave their pets in. That last part can be directly blamed on Flash & Lucy.

Flash: It’s a fair cop.

Lucy: Yeah, we did it and we’re glad we did it!

Sasha & Bea: Holy shit, you mean the story is true?

Abby: They hardly stopped talking about it during that whole trip.

Flash & Lucy: We are legend!

Despite Grace & Sharon arguing that we not only lock the critters on the bus, but perhaps clap Flash & Lucy in irons, I decided that Uncle Ferdie had thrown down a friggin’ gauntlet, so the critters went into the Supermax Pet Holding Area before we all went to see the show. Gone were the pimply faced teenage pet attendants. Now, there were steely faced ex-Marines armed with cattle prods and teargas guarding the place. There were 50 or 60 dogs, maybe 30 cats, a few pigs and even a couple of other goats inside. I left the critters there and joined the rest of the gang in the dome.

I should also point out that, if there had been betting on it, I gave the critters even odds versus the Marines. As you’ll see, I was way too conservative.

It cost us $10.00 each, but we all agreed that the 90 minute extravaganza was well worth it. There was dancing, acrobatics, reenactments of famous movie scenes, comedy bits and a rousing squirrel race. Uncle Ferdie and his wife have done a stellar job of training the 20 different species of squirrels & chipmunks they use in the review.

You’ll note that this year the show did not devolve into a cat & dog caused riot. Nope, everything went off just great. At the squirrel show, that is. Outside, things had a more…apocalyptic…look to them.

It seems that the squirrel review dumps out the dirty food dishes from the trained squirrel cages onto the asphalt behind the dome. This attracts rats, mice, squirrels and other rodents by the dozens.

Flash: We could smell ’em! Sweet Ceiling Cat, it was like being next door to a smorgasbord!

Lucy: We could all smell those furry little bastards!

Sasha: There were HUNDREDS of them!

Abby: You folks see where this is going, right?

Bea: Who are you talking to, Abby?

This naturally makes the pets a bit agitated, which the guards can normally control, but on this day, they had the added agitation of Flash, Lucy & Sasha. They also had the 6 trained dogs and 4 trained cats of “Professor Barkwell’s Magnificent Mutts & Clever Cats”, who, as it turned out, were trained just a bit too well.

Now, I’ve only pieced together a bit of what happened, and that was from a 6’4”, 300 pound ex-Marine who was crying like a baby, but I think…

Abby: No, Dad, I think we had better tell the story. We were there, after all.

Flash: Right, Abby. So, as soon as we could, Lucy and I started telling the other dogs & cats that there had to be a way out of this place. Turns out that most of them had heard of the Great Squirrel riot of 2010 and were pretty impressed that we were behind it.

Lucy: Yeah, they wanted all of the details. Those circus dogs & cats were amazed that just the two of us could get such a thing going.

Flash: Anyway, we all started thinking of an escape plan that would let us all go to Rodent-Fil-A. The big problem was those 4 guards. They were big tough looking guys & gals armed with weapons that could stun a moose.

Abby: Meanwhile, over in the livestock paddock, I warned everyone that the carnivores were going to do something stupid.

Bea: The goats agreed that this was a bad thing. The pigs, being omnivores, not so much.

Sasha: I came up with the diversion plan!

Lucy: Yes you did, sis, and it was a good one! She said that some of them could start a mock fight and the rest of us could take out the guards who came to stop it. Then one of the trained dogs, Moxie, said that he and his crew could take out the guard in the security cubicle that controls the door. The security cubicle that has no ceiling. Heh heh heh.

…from what he said and from the layout of the destruction, that there was a mass jailbreak that involved everyone except the goats, who pretty much walked out after the big breakout and then proceeded to eat tens of thousands of dollars worth of landscaping. I know the guard in the booth was terribly scratched up and had been badly tear gassed from her own canister. It also seems that the electronic controls shorted out when somebody peed on them.

Flash: The “fight” started with a huge wolfhound “attacking” a poor defenseless kitty. In fact, these two grew up together and had wrassled hundreds of times. It was the vicious growling and the Oscar worthy screeching that made it sound real. Almost immediately, several other dogs and cats joined in. I know is sounded terrible to the humans, but mostly they were laughing.

Lucy: As the guards came running, the rest of us tripped them up, joined by five pigs. They all fell down into well placed poop and all three of the guards got shocked by their own shock thingies. Flash was riding on my back as we jumped on one guard and ripped his shirt.

Sasha: Those six trained dogs ran over to the control booth and formed a pyramid. Then, the four trained cats ran up it and jumped over the glass walls into the booth. That poor guard never had a chance. After about a minute, the prison doors opened up.

Flash: By the way, folks, if you’ve never seen pigs curbstomp a human, that’s some rough shit!

Abby & Bea: Meanwhile, we goats waited for everyone else to clear out, then we went out looking for a bite to eat.

Flash: A “bite to eat”? HA! More like you chowed down on every expensive plant they had!

Abby: Hush, cat!


So, once the assorted animals were out of the pet penitentiary…

Lucy: Good one, Dad!

…they proceeded to go completely apeshit on the wild rodents, the landscaping and, well, everything. Holy crap, did they ever wreak havoc!

Sasha: Hey now, that dumpster only caught on fire because that goofyassed Airedale jumped into it with that shock stick doodad he got from that guard! He was lucky he didn’t get burned!

Flash: Yeah, and that truck full of septic tank pumpings that crashed through that fence and into that big pine tree would not have crashed if the dumbass driver had been looking at the road instead of us!

Lucy: And that fancy fountain only got filled with garbage and mud because…well, ok, that was us. But…well shit, a dog/cat/pig has a right to cool off after a rousing rodent chase and/or lawn rooting episode. Am I right?

Sasha: Damn right! Also, the goats climbed up on that guys Maserati convertible and crunched in his roof and fucked up his paint job..

Abby: Yeah, we did, but who knew such an expensive car would have such a weenie roof? We could have hurt ourselves!

Bea: I kinda felt sorry for that guy. He was crying like a baby as his trophy wife picked goat poop out of the seats.

Shit was on fire and covered in raw sewage and there was garbage all over and several cars were messed up or full of panicky rodents…it was kind of cool and horrific and surreal.

Thinking quickly, I stunned our critters via the keychain doodad and we gathered them up and beat a hasty retreat to the bus, which I quickly made look like a 2005 Honda Element. We locked everybody down tight and then some of us humans went out to help as best we could and find out about what happened.

All animals got rounded up pretty easily, none of the guards were hurt too bad, although a couple had pig footprints all over them and no innocent bystanders got hurt. Fortunately, Uncle Ferdie did not come out to survey the damage while we were there. I feel so sorry for him. From now on, I think we’ll just order his videos from Amazon.

Flash: It happened again! One moment, I’m about to pounce on a pigeon, the next, I’m waking up in the joint!

Lucy: What the hell, dude? I mean, the robots were nowhere near us!

Sasha: Unless they have cloaking devices. Do the SmartBots have that kind of shit?

Abby: They must! How else can you explain it?

Bea: Man, have you seen the look on Mom’s face? I’m glad we are locked up,

Flash: Yeah, she does look pretty pissed off.

We left just as the local law enforcement arrived. For good measure, I had Joe teleport us 50 miles ahead and across the state line into Oregon. The critters are on lockdown until Grace calms down or hell freezes over, whichever comes first. Also, I have been given the “you should probably not say any words for awhile” look, so I’m just up here in the Ralph Kramden seat driving this bus.

More bloggage later.

Sasha: Anybody got a harmonica? If so, play along. “Nobody knows the troubles I’ve seen! Nobody knows but the Lord!”

Radio Station: “The World War V Channel” featuring songs and news clips from that era.

Destination Sign: Solla Sollew

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DogCon 5, Trip Day 9, Part 2

It is now going on midnight and we are in a campground in Oregon. Tomorrow, we are off across northern Oregon, Southern Idaho and into Wyoming before we turn south for the drive through Colorado, New Mexico & Texas.

The critter were finally paroled (and bathed) after dinner tonight. They all seemed remorseful, if not rehabilitated. Even as I write this, Flash is sleeping next to Grace in our bed. Sasha is sleeping with Miranda & Lauren, Lucy is sleeping in Zach’s room and Abby & Bea are sleeping in their little goat beds in the living room.

We have a few interesting stops tomorrow, most notably Potato World in Idaho, which is the tuberous version of Onion World. I am reliably informed that Grace has requested high tech leashes & harnesses from Joe, just in case she decides that “my” pets can leave the bus.

I’m off to bed now. I’ll blog more tomorrow.

Radio Station: “The Relaxation Channel” featuring relaxing background sounds.

 Destination Sign: The House On Haunted Hill

Wombat Ranching Quarterly

…all the latest news for you wombat ranchers

 

The Doclopedia #709

We Haz MORE Technobabble!: Hypersonic Mental Neutralizer

So, let’s say most of the humans in your town/city/state/continent/planet go completely bugfuck insane one day. Could be any reason for it, but what can you do to stop these now crazed folks from fucking everything up? Why, you zap them with this handy device and before you know it, they’ll be as gentle as lambs. Yessir, this bit of high tech is like having an instant lobotomy team! Even better, if you set the beam for “wide angle”, you can zap hundreds of nutjobs at a time!

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The Doclopedia #710

We Haz MORE Technobabble!: Dynamic Throbulation Unit With Artificial Reality Software

It’s an ultra-tech sex toy, ok? Jeez, you’d think the word “throbulation” would give it away! You climb inside it and the A.R. Software kicks in and pretty soon you’re on the road to Happyland. Can you believe we’ve had Trekkies or whatever the hell they were get pissed off because it wasn’t a real raygun or warp drive or some shit? Jeez!

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DogCon 5, Trip Day 8

I woke up early…like, 5:00 am early…and decided to get the bus on the road after dealing with the critters, who basically peed, ate First Breakfast and went back to sleep.

Flash: Because, you know, 5:00 am!

After a fortifying bowl of Cap’n Crunch and an even more fortifying mug of tea, we were on the road by 6:15. It was a reasonably pleasant drive into Seattle and by the time we got there, everybody was waking up and cooking breakfast and stuff. Afterward, we went to GeekFest, a huge gathering of the tribe sponsored by Seattle, one of the geekiest cities in North America. There is gaming, tech stuff, comics stuff…pretty much everything geek. Including a big stage for music, which is where we were scheduled to do our Annual Musical Number at about 7:00 pm.

But before that, we all wandered around and checked the place out. We met many of our gamer friends who had taken time off from pre-GenCon activities to come see what musical madness we had planned for this year. We also had a great lunch and dinner with our friends from Green Ronin Publishing, who all got a look inside the Magic Bus. In fact, we thought a couple of them might not leave.

Sasha: Yeah, Miss Kate kinda wanted to explore some more. Also, she likes rubbing my tummy.

Lucy: Dad loaned Chris a bunch of alternate world WWII movies.

Abby: They had to pry Nicole out of the kitchen.

Bea: And they all liked the Slide Room.

Flash: They were nice folks, but they smelled of bunnies.

Sasha: Why do you think I was so friendly with them?

Abby: Umm, because you are a tummy rub slut?

Sasha: D’OH!

When the hour of our performance grew nigh, we all got into the bus and got costumed up. With Joe handling out chameleon circuit and our teleporting, we hit the stage. It went like this…

Announcer: “And now, an exclusive appearance by The All Doctor Kazoo Orchestra”

About 11,000 sets of eyes are on the stage when a blue police call box slowly materializes, complete with the TARDIS sound effects. You could actually hear jaws dropping, but they hadn’t seen anything yet.

Door on the police box opens…the Doctor Who theme starts up, played on kazoos that are being digitally messed with to sound somewhat less kazoo like.

From out of the police box, one at a time, come all 11 Doctors playing kazoos! Jaws drop, heads explode and I’d bet an eyeball that at least a few geeks orgasmed.

Note: To prevent arguments, our two youngest members were dressed as the Fourth (Lauren) and Tenth (Miranda) Doctors. I, by virtue of being old and having long greyish hair, was the First Doctor. The remainder were…

Second Doctor: Avis

Third Doctor: Brian (Doc Mystery)

Fifth Doctor: Caroline (Mrs. Doc M)

Sixth Doctor: Mary

Seventh Doctor: Sharon

Eighth Doctor (the “Movie Doctor”): Spike

Ninth Doctor: Zach

Eleventh Doctor: Grace

Oh, and the critters? K-9 (Sasha), 2 Daleks (Abby & Bea) and a Weeping Angel (Lucy & Flash), all wandering in a preset course around the stage eating pieces of kibble or goat chow.

As we finished the Doctor Who theme, there was a pause of about 3 seconds while the kazoos were readjusted, then we launched into “Crazy Train” by Ozzie Osbourne. As usual, Mary and I sang the lead with everyone joining in on the chorus. Those of us handling the kazoo-as-guitar parts (Spike & Zach) did a stellar job.

As we finished that number, we started up the Doctor Who theme again and went, one by one, back into the police box/bus. Once we shut the door, we teleported to the other side of a large building and looked like a bus again.

Later, watching the video of it all, we saw an avalanche of geeks hit the stage to try and figure out how we “pulled off the disappearing trick. When they saw there was no possible way we could have faked it, many more heads exploded. Spike thinks we may have started a new religion, too.

Once we were shed of costumery, I pulled the bus around to a pre-designated area and our Seattle based friends, numbering several dozen, came on board for a party that lasted until around 2:30 in the morning. It was a rockin’ good time and the booze, food and chocolate flowed freely. I finally staggered to bed at 3:30, about 10 minutes ago. I’ve programmed Data to drive us to our first roadside attraction of the day and I’ve set my alarm for 10 am.

More blogging later.

Radio Station: N/A

Destination Sign: A Club Down In Old SoHo

R.I P., Mom

…June 1, 1928 – August 10, 2012

My mother, Geraldine Blades, passed away today after a long illness. I left this day’s page blank because I knew I would come back and do it when I was ready. Now, 2.5 days later, I’m ready.

Someday I’ll write a long piece about Mom, but for now I’ll just say that she was always proud of my ability to tell a tale or write a story. She had all of my books on the shelf in her living room and would point them out to people.

Mom, this post is for you. I love you and miss you.

 

The Doclopedia #706

We Haz MORE Technobabble!: Anomalous Dark Matter Collection Grid

So there you are, cleaning up your little hunk of space and you notice bits of dark matter floating around. Even worse, it’s that crappy anomalous dark matter that you can’t even recycle.

Well, get yourself one of these grids and hook it up to your space tractor, then go to town on cleaning up that stuff! When you’re done, just toss the disposable grid into the nearest black hole and you’re done. It’s as easy as 1…2…3!

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The Doclopedia #707

We Haz MORE Technobabble!: Z-Ray Powered Robotic Assassins

Do you want your Robotic Assassins to be powered by old fashioned fusion energy? No way! No, the young hip bleeding edge maker of robot death machines wants plenty of power, the kind of power you only get from Z-Rays! With that kind of power, your ‘bots will leave a wide trail of death behind them and still have plenty of power to spare. These robots are the droids you’re looking for!

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The Doclopedia #708

We Haz MORE Technobabble!: Trans-Species Fertility Serum

Remember a few years back when all of those half human/half sheep creatures started showing up in New Zealand? Remember all of those sheep ranchers getting their DNA tested? Heh heh heh…so do we, which is why we found the very rare flowers those sheep had been eating and synthesized a serum that allows cross fertility between Mammals, Birds, Reptiles, Amphibians and Fish!

So buy this and create an army of deadly chimeras to destroy the world. Or maybe just use it to come up with new creatures to make cheap Science Fiction Channel movies about.

 

 

DogCon 5, Trip Day 7, Part 1

It is a fact of life that men of a certain age, say, MY age, sometimes find themselves getting up in the middle of the night to pee despite the fact that they take pills to alleviate that problem. Actually, in my case, this is caused by pills that treat something else entirely. So it was that I stumbled into the bathroom just off of our rather huge bedroom at 3:12 this morning. Imagine my bleary eyed and glasses free surprise to find that our bathroom had been replaced by a temperate forest. After a moment of surprised goggling and a softly spoken “What the fuck?” I peed on a mighty oak, then went back into the bedroom for my specs, slippers and gym shorts, the better to have a look around.

I walked about 100 yards and saw many birds, several squirrels, a couple of rabbits and a deer. The weather was very mild and it looked to be around mid morning. When I came to a good sized creek, I turned back. A call to Joe was in order before Grace woke up.

Unfortunately, as I approached the door, she stepped through it. She was not pleased to find the bathroom gone, since she also had to pee. My suggestion that the she just go over by a bush was greeted by the kind of stony glare that only women seem to be capable of. I quickly told her I’d call Joe and she could just use the bathroom down the hall.

Joe arrived a few minutes later and rattled off a bunch of technobabble that flew right over my head. He said he could replace the bathroom easy enough, but the forest was going to be part of out rolling abode for “quite awhile”. Grace told him to relocate the forest near the Meadow Room and then clear out so she could go back to sleep.

Joe was done in record time, again proving that his survival sense is excellent.

Now we fast forward to a few hours later when the forest is the topic of much breakfast conversation. It was agreed by all that since our first roadside attraction of the day was about 90 minutes up the road, we’d all take a little hike in the woods to see what it was like.

Flash: Oh yeah, I’ve been smelling squirrels and stuff all morning! It is so on like King Kong!

Lucy: Is that rabbits I smell on the other side of that door? Why, yes it is! Rabbits that I shall chase!

Sasha: Ok, I’m ready for the hunt! Rabbits, squirrels, foxes, what the hell ever! Girls is gonna get her hound on!

Bea: Oooh! I smell grapevines and ferns and…sniff, sniff…is that watergrass? Freakin’ Goat Buffet, here I come!

Abby: Oh yes, this is all going to end well.

Once all the critters were suitably harnessed and leashed…

Flash: Motherfucker! I can’t catch a break!

Lucy: Damn!

Sasha: This really blows!

Bea: WTF? Goat’s gotta eat!

Abby: I could be wrong about this, but we shall see.

…we started off down a trail after I put a SmartBot on guard duty at the door.

Flash: I’m looking at you, robot!

Lucy: Yeah, robot, we’ll see you again!

We followed the trail to the creek, then down a sloping hill into a little valley. The forest is not very dense, but it is just packed full of life. We saw all sorts of birds and animals. Spike thinks he saw an elk on a hill off to the north and we found signs of otters near the creek. As you might imagine, the critters were a handful, what with the goats (especially Bea) wanting to eat half the plants we saw and Flash & The Girls wanting to chase after every animal we saw.

Lucy: Holy Crap! There were rodents and rabbits and stuff everywhere! Curse this damned harness and Dad holding my leash!

Flash: Mom had me on a short leash and kept telling me to calm down. Calm down? The rodents were taunting me! TAUNTING ME!

We were about halfway across the valley when two things happened: We smelled meat cooking and Sasha pulled the leash out of Avis’ hand. She was off like a shot after a rabbit and heading towards the smoke we could now see. I handed Lucy over to Sharon and took off after Sasha.

I was right behind her…she had lost the rabbit at a small creek…

Sasha: Well, actually, that cookin’ meat smelled better than that damned fast bunny.

…when she stopped. I nearly ran over her before I stopped and then we both saw the camp, the fire, the meat…and the elves.

That would be your Tolkien style elves. Tall, good looking and pointy eared.

We looked at them. They looked at us. They blinked. I blinked.

Then Sasha, tail just a waggin’, walked up to the lady elf cooking the meat and started whining for a piece.

Well, from there it was introductions all around (the rest of the gang had caught up with me) and an explanation of how we came to be here and stuff. The elves looked rather dubious, which is understandable, but they were nice and asked us to join them for lunch, which we did even though we had just had breakfast an hour earlier.

Turns out our forest is just part of a much larger world straight out of a fantasy roleplayer’s dream. Elves, Dwarves, Humans, “Small Folk”, Dragons…the whole deal. I could see various reactions in our group, from some who had that “Oh yeah, I could so spend some time here” look to others who were checking the skies for dragons and looking into the woods for trolls or orcs or whatever.

The food was good…

Lucy & Sasha: Venison for the win!

Flash: Mmmm…fried squirrel. You hear me, you bushy tailed bastards? FRIED SQUIRREL!

Bea & Abby: Greenery….mmmm!

…but after about 45 minutes, Data sent me a text that we had arrived at the World Famous Living House, so we had to bid our Elven hosts goodbye.

Which, as it turns out was probably a good idea, since discussion on the way back revealed that, to those of us at or beyond puberty, those elves smelled really sexy. I mean nipple hardening, undie dampening, petrified woody inducing sexy. There was some mild discussion of going to see the roadside attraction in an hour or so, but how could we tell our single unaffected little girl that Mommy & Daddy & everybody else would be in their bunks? So, somewhat frustratedly, we went to see the Living House.

Flash: After locking us all in the Meadow Room and posting a really big SmartBot to guard the even more securely locked Forest Room.

The World Famous Living House, which you will pay $5.00 per person to see, unless some of you are under 10, is very large house built so as to incorporate as many natural and living materials as possibly. As our guide, Amber, explained, about 50% of the house is alive and growing. This includes big pine trees that act as pillars, mosses that act as both inner and outer insulation, big rocks for furniture, thick walls of logs & clay, a small creek running through the middle of it and a moss carpet for the entire first floor. The place is four stories tall and has lots of south and west facing windows. No sense putting windows on the north or east sides because there is dense forest there.

18 people live in the Living House, along with a great deal of animal life, mostly insects, reptiles and amphibians. 10 of those people are permanent residents and the other 8 are university students who stay for 6 months at a time.

It’s a pretty cool place and is all green energy and stuff, but we all agreed, as we bought the usual suspects, that it’s just a tad too green for us.

Our next stop was Astoria, Oregon and we spent about 4 hours there seeing the sights, eating lunch and generally being all touristy. The critters met many other critters, as it seemed that everybody was out walking their pets.

Flash: Oh yes, the lady cats all want some of my lovin’!

Lucy: There was this hot looking Rhodesian Ridgeback who was…oh my. Mama like!

Sasha: Did you see the ears on those two hunky young Basset Hound brothers? Talk about hung!

Bea: When we walked past that urban farm with those other pygmy goats, the smell of those three young bucks was just crazy hot!

Abby: Amen, Bea, amen! Whew!

Our next stop, and the last one for the day, is at Aberdeen, Washington. Not only will we be camping here, but we will soon be walking just down the road to see the World Famous Giant Roadside Attraction Museum, the home of giant sized Paul Bunyans, cowboys, Muffler Men and lots of other bigass statuary designed to attract customers to various businesses or towns. Just the thought is making me squee a bit.

More bloggage soon!

Radio Station: “Punk Rockers Go To War!

Destination Sign: Gasoline Alley

DogCon 5, Trip Day 7, Part 2

We arrived at the Cozy Camp campgrounds at about 4:30 and were assured by the managers that we had plenty of time to walk down to the World Famous Giant Roadside Attraction Museum and still get back in time for the free hamburger & hotdog cookout.

The walk between the two spots is about ¾ of a mile and we got there pretty quickly. The critters came with us, with me walking Lucy and her frequent rider, Flash.

Lucy: He ain’t heavy, he’s me brother.

Flash: D’oh!

Avis had Sasha’s leash and Grace and Mary each had a goat. I can only imagine how we looked to the cars that drove past us on the highway.

Sasha: Auntie Avis has been taking lessons from Dad & Mom, because she kept me on a short leash when a rabbit ran by.

Once we got to the collection of roadside coolness, we ponied up a couple of bucks each (critters got in for free) and gazed upon the wonder of it all. Words sort of fail me…

Flash: Ahhahahahahaha! That’ll be the day!

Lucy: My money is on Dad still talking 3 days after he’s dead.

Sasha: Yeah, Verbosity is Dad. And Uncle Spike, for that matter.

Bea: Auntie Mary says they suck up most of the oxygen in a room once they start talking.

Abby: Mom says there is only one thing Dad likes more than talking. She never said what it was.

…so I’ll just list what we saw.

7 Giant Paul Bunyans. 5 were painted, 2 were unpainted, but carved from huge logs. Three of them were accompanied by Giant Babe the Blue Ox.

6 Giant Muffler Men. These 12-18 foot guys used to stand outside muffler shops holding giant mufflers. 4 of these still do.

9 Giant Chickens. 7 roosters, 2 hens. The hens advertised places selling farm fresh eggs. The roosters advertised fried chicken joints.

3 Giant Cowboys. One of these was on a giant horse.

4 Giant Native Americans. All of these came from places selling native made stuff in New Mexico, Arizona & Oklahoma.

2 Giant Jackrabbits. Both from places in Texas.

2 Giant Crabs. One from Maryland, one from Oregon. Both came from restaurants.

1 Giant Rattlesnake. From a Texas roadside reptile exhibit.

7 Giant Gorillas. These ranged from 7 feet to 24 feet tall and advertised all sorts of places.

1 Giant Skunk. The museum owners have no idea what this originally advertised, but the bought it from a farmer in Ohio.

2 Giant Pirates. Both came from amusement parks.

6 Giant Dogs. Including a 12 foot tall Basset Hound!

5 Giant Women. 2 waitresses, 2 hula girls and two cowgirls.

16 Giant Dinosaurs. These varied from very realistic to something you might see if you were going through the DTs.

1 Giant Porcupine. Which had advertised a town in Michigan.

1 Giant Sea Serpent. Origins unknown, but it was 70 feet long.

3 Giant Astronauts. Used to advertise motels in Texas and Florida.

3 Giant Goldminers. 2 with burros, all from California.

2 Giant President Lincolns. Both from Illinois, neither killing vampires.

4 Giant Dragons. A couple of these need to be on top of my house.

Flash: Yeah, Dad, I’m sure Mom is on board with that idea.

It was a really cool place to visit and they even boxed up and mailed home the 30 kazillion things Grace & I bought at the gift shop.

After that, we walked back to the campgrounds and chowed down on burgers & hotdogs & all the fixin’s. Later, we watched some alternate world Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes, then went off to our respective beds.

Tomorrow, we descend upon the unsuspecting geek populace of Seattle with our annual Outlaw Musical Number. I predict that many jaws will drop and drop hard.

Radio Station: “Geek Talk Radio

Destination Sign: Talislanta