War Muffins

…they BOOM when you eat them.

(Note: Part Two will go up tomorrow along with the Day 3 entry)

CritterCon 10

Day One, Part One

Hi folks! It is now 2:30 in the afternoon, we have just finished lunch and some spirited rounds of various card games (Sentinels of the Multiverse, Sushi Go, Dominion).

(Daisy: I OWNED Max, Uncle Spike, Auntie Avy and Daddy at Dominion!)


We are leaving Half Moon Bay now, heading south toward our next stop along the coast.

Our day began officially at 7:30 with breakfast at The Santa Rosa Diner, where we all chowed down good & proper.

(Luke: And by “good & proper”, Dad means “at too much”.)
(Silky: It’s a great eatery though. They cook up eggs and ground beef for dogs.)
(Roxy: And kippered herring & eggs for cats!)

Around 8:30, we got back on the bus and drove 4 miles south to the World Famous Giant Maze Garden. As we have said many times in past reports, anything that proclaims itself World Famous is a must stop and this place is actually world famous. They had pix of folks from all over the world who have visited.

(Sasha: They had pictures of Lassie and Roy Rogers’ dog, Bullet.)

Entering the actual maze will set you back $10.00 each if you are human. Dogs & cats on leashes can enter for free.

(Leon: As well we should!)

(Luke: Damned straight!)

The maze is big and the very tight, very dense hedges are all about 12 feet tall. Sound from the other side of the hedge is almost inaudible. Covering 24 acres, the average unassisted time to get out of the maze is 90 minutes. If you need help, there are call boxes at every turn and intersection. The paths are about 8 feet wide. Every so often, the maze opens into a small and beautiful garden.

(Max: They had catnip in the little herb garden and Leon and Roxy got high as kites.)
(Leon: That was wicked strong ‘nip!)

(Daisy: Auntie Ginie had to carry Roxy for a while because she was too stoned to walk properly.)


Naturally, we spent much of our 1 hour, 5 minutes in the maze discussing how great it would be for a dungeon crawl LARP. When we exited it, we all agreed it was worth the ten bucks. Amazingly, they had a gift shop selling t-shirts, fridge magnets and other stuff. Longtime readers know what happened there.

(Sasha: We own so many fridge magnets, Daddy has put sheet steel on the kitchen walls to hold them all. The fridge was fully covered by 2013.)


Our next stop was about 25 minutes down the highway at Mousetown, USA. If you guessed that this was the work of a guy and his wife with WAY too much time & money, you guessed right.

Housed in a big steel barn, Mouseville is indeed a mouse sized town hand built by Lou and Kathy Corrigan. They started it in 1982 and it now measures 12 feet wide by 90 feet long. Originally built to house actual live mice, they proved to be too destructive, stinky and predator attracting, so now it is home to 562 plastic toy mice, including several variants of Mickey & Minnie.

(Leon: Even years later, one can still detect the delicious scent of mouse on the hoof.)


Like most of these sort of places, it was cheap to visit and a quick tour. See one tiny town, you’ve seen them all.

(Sasha: One might say the same about Giant Jesus statues, to no avail.)

(Silky: Yeah, you’ll never end Dad’s obsession with that.)


About a half hour later, we reached San Francisco and our third stop, Robotica. Now this was a cool place to visit, being a big former grocery store (Daisy: It used to be a Ralph’s.) re-purposed to show off a few hundred robots, from the very tiny to one the size of a car.

Amazingly, entry is free, although if the parking lot is full (it will be), parking across the street is $10.00.

(Sasha: Fortunately, once we all disembarked sweetie, we sent her to an early Sunday morning in 1975 when the Ralph’s parking lot was near empty.)

This place is hella cool! The robots doo everything from mimic ant behavior to actually play rock riffs on a Fender Stratocaster. There are plenty of helpful young geeks to explain things to you and a couple actually recognized spike and I by our names, asking “Are you Doc Cross and Spike Y Jones?” From there we moved into about 20 minutes of gaming talk, which ended with Spousal Staring.

(Sasha: Those robots were pretty cute and some were cutting edge for current human science. Still, I would have loved to have shown them a SmartBot.)

We spent an hour at Robotica, leaving just after noon. We jammed down the coast at speeds not usually capable for a bus. (Max: 150 miles an hour! Of course, the Bus was shapeshifted into a Ferrari.) We arrived in Half Moon Bay for a fine lunch at a local burger joint.

And that catches you all up on our day so far. More bloggage later

(Roxy: What happened to all those police cars and helicopters that were chasing us.)
(Sasha: Mass neuralization. I sent them off after a drunk driver.)

Destination Sign When We Started: Green Mars
Destination Sign When We Stopped: Kadath

QM Radio Station: RoboRomance. Songs for young robots in love.

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Doc Tempest VS The Deadly Dogs

…from the July, 1956 issue

 

The Doclopedia #1,155

Dolls: Miracle Baby

On an Earth where several factors came together to drastically lower the birth rate anywhere from 60% to 90%, The desire to have babies drove people to do extreme and often tragic things. Eventually, the World Council made all crimes related to baby acquisition (aside from legal adoption) punishable by death and that calmed things down.

To deal with the lack of infants, the world’s largest toy manufacturer teamed up with the world’s largest robot maker to create Miracle Baby, the most realistic baby doll ever. They behaved exactly as a baby would, even increasing in size and appearance from a 7 pound newborn to a 12 pound crawler. They even ate, peed and pooped. They cost $7,500 in US dollars and 50 million were sold in 3 years.

By year 4, Miracle Toddler came out and most folks traded in their Miracle Babies, which were quickly refurbished and recycled.

It should be noted that as new Miracle Children got older, sales dropped off fast. The company didn’t even bother with Miracle Tweens and the thought of Miracle Teens was never even considered.

The Miracle Baby line was produced for 43 years, finally stopping when humans on Earth started dying off at ever increasing rates. About 30 years later, scientists on the moon were able to send a programming upgrade that made all of the robot dolls sentient, so that they could take care of the few remaining humans on Earth. 

Not In This Issue: Cheeseburgers, Skateboards Or Vikings

…maybe next month

 

The Doclopedia #1,120

A Child’s Book Of…: Survival

From the introduction…

Listen up, kid! This book will help you survive out in the world. It’s going to be tough, but if you learn the things in this book, you’ll be able to live and grow up.

You’ve probably been given this book by a nursebot or maybe an older kid. It means that you are 9 or 10 years old and have to leave the dome you’ve been living in and go out into the world. You might be afraid, but you have to do it. The domes were designed to hold only about 300 humans and you need to make room for new babies. Besides, if you can find a safe place to live, you can grow up to kill the crazies and the monsters. Kill enough of them and you’ll make the world a whole lot safer.

You need to remember a few things besides the stuff this book will teach you. Here they are.

1: You’ll leave the dome with a bunch of other kids through one of the 7 tunnels. Once you leave the tunnel, NEVER come back to the dome and STAY IN A GROUP. You will die if you try to go it alone out there.

2: For the first two days, run as fast as you can for as long as you can, stop to rest and eat your food bars, then run some more. By the time you are two days out, there will be fewer crazies or monsters. They like to stay near the domes.

3: DO NOT build a fire until your third night out and ONLY if you are in a pretty safe and sheltered place. Monsters and crazies see fire and know humans are around.

4: DO NOT TRUST ANY ADULTS! Most adults outside are crazies and many that aren’t are bad people. You can only trust adults that live in walled villages, but villages are hard to find.

5: DO NOT eat any plant not listed on your edible plants list.

6: DO NOT trust and robots you might meet. There are very few of them left, but they are all insane killers.

7: STAY OFF THE ROADS!

8: NEVER lose your weapons and take every chance you get to make/find new ones.

9: STAY AWAY FROM THE RUINED CITIES AND TOWN!

10: If you meet up with any dogs, trust them. They will probably help you find a safe place to start a village.

My Other Dog Is A Mad Scientist

…and my other other dog is a geek and my other other other dog is a robot and my cat is too cool for school.

 

The Doclopedia #1,108

The Alphabet: R is for…

 

Royal Robotic Guardians…

 

…are the official guards of New Buckingham Palace and Her Majesty Queen Victoria. Built by Professor Dahlia Lindell-Phipps, these nine foot tall robots are the crowning achievement of Steam Age technology (so far). Each one of them is twice as fast as any human, as strong as a team of oxen and impervious to all but a direct hit from an artillery round. They are programmed to guard against any unauthorized intrusion, using extreme force if necessary. They are armed with a variety of weapons including mini rockets, swords, automatic rifles and flame jets. There are 32 robots on guard at all times.

The Doclopedia #1,109

The Alphabet: S is for…

 

Sasha Jane Cross…

 

…is a 5 year old Basset Hound who was born in Modesto, California in 2009. In 2012, she was adopted by Doc & Grace Cross of Sacramento and her adventure really began.

Her keen interest in science and technology was turned up to 10 when Sasha first stepped onto the “Magic Bus”, a vehicle capable of moving through time and space that Doc had bought from a doctor. Or maybe he won it in a poker game. The story changes.

At any rate, aided by the ultra tech knowledge of her late sister, Winker, and Joe, the quantum mechanic who came with the bus, Sasha was soon helping out with maintaining and improving the vehicle. By the time she had been part of the family for a year, Sasha could tune a temporal displacer or swap out a transmission with the best of them. No mean feat for someone who lacks opposable thumbs!

In the summer of 2013, faced with the imminent death of her sister Lucy from lymphoma, Sasha uploaded Lucy’s “katra” into an artificial brain and replaced the cancer ridden parts of Lucy with mechanical parts. The operation was a success, although eventually it was necessary to replace all of Lulu’s (her name was changed to reflect certain personality and memory alterations) organic parts with fully robotic parts. Sasha is very proud of her work and protective of Lulu, despite the fact that the robodog is nigh indestructible now.


In recent months, Sasha has completed a home study course in Mad Genetics from the Narbonic Institute for Mad Science. Despite a few somewhat deadly mishaps involving mutated gerbils, she finished the course with top honors. Shortly thereafter, she used her newfound knowledge to create a four tentacled symbiotic “land octopus” that can replace the mechanical hands she used to need to do any manipulation. When she is wearing this new set of manipulators, it is not a good idea to call her “Doctor Octopus”, since she has proven that she can throw an 8 pound cat 60 feet with ease.

Sasha lives a very comfortable life with her Dad, Mom, Basset Hound sister Daisy, robodog sister Lulu and the aforementioned 8 pound cat, her brother Flash. When not reading ultra tech journals or parts catalogs, Sasha enjoys fantasy fiction, roleplaying games, board games, bellyrubs, human food and monster movies. She and her siblings sporadically post on Twitter as @CritterAvengers.

Eat More Prunes!

…it’s the American thing to do!

 

The Doclopedia #1,103

The Alphabet: M is for…

 

Melvin 4…

…was the final android created by the Mad Scientist known as Doctor Zero (real name: Harold Alan Olmstead). His aim had been to create a killer android that could pass as an ordinary nerd. Melvin 1 had looked the part, but was too aggressive when confronted by bullies. Melvin 2 was much more a wimp, but had a tendency to short out. Melvin 3 was a vast improvement all around, except for the time he blew up while walking across a college campus.

Not to be deterred, Doctor Zero, spent two more years refining and constructing Melvin 4. When he was done, he had an incredibly realistic looking nerd who could pass for human and was also a perfect killing machine. Doctor Zero could now activate his plan to get Melvin 4 into the Science Police headquarters, where the android would then slay everyone who got between it and the Forbidden Science Vault. Soon, using that Forbidden Science, Doctor Zero would rule the world!

Melvin 4 functioned perfectly while at university. In fact, he did so well that Doctor Zero only monitored him once in awhile. Melvin 4 got straight A’s, made some nerdy friends, played Dungeons & Dragons and even got himself a girlfriend. Doctor Zero was unaware of that last bit. He was also unaware of the fact that, the night before graduation, the fully functional Melvin 4 had sex with his girlfriend.

 

As we all know, having sex for the first time pretty much reprograms you and such was the case for Melvin 4. He really enjoyed sex and women and humans in general. He was feeling very good indeed as he accepted his diploma and went to work at the Science Police. He moved in with his girlfriend, started a new D&D group and got a cat and a dog. Life was good.

 

On the day that Doctor Zero was supposed to give Melvin 4 the signal to begin his killing spree, the Science Police raided his lair and hauled him off to Science Prison. Melvin Fore, as he was known to the world, got a promotion. The next spring, he and his fiancée got married. Two years later, they adopted a baby.


The Doclopedia #1,104

The Alphabet: N is for…

 

Nixiwix…

…is a pixie village located in the Faewood near the confluence of Wikkatti Creek and Singing Stream. About 500 pixies live there and another 500 live within a mile, mostly on small farms or in pixiewood trees. The village is nearly 400 years old and well known for being home to some of the finest singers and dancers in the Faewood. They also brew potent potions for pixies to use on humans when they venture into the Faewood on less than honorable missions. Such potions often create intense fear, hallucinations and incontinence.

On Mid-Summers Day, the residents of Nixiwix hold a large and quite rowdy celebration that culminates in the singing of many Old Songs and the election of a new mayor. The next day, everybody sleeps in late.

Flambazoodalee

…couldn’t think of a subject line. Made up a word instead.

 

The Doclopedia #1,055

Islands of Adventure: Robot Island

On several Earths, from 1900 to 1930, everybody with a workshop seemed to be building robots. The sizes and shapes were dizzying in their wild variations and they were built to do all sorts of jobs. Robots were everywhere, especially in North America, Europe and Asia.

Unfortunately, World War 2 (1927-1930) saw robots built for battle doing terrible things to humans. This brought about the Treaty of Lisbon, which banned the further construction of robots by any country or individual. All of the warbots were destroyed, but all of the benign robots were taken to a large island in the Pacific Ocean. Originally called Stoddard Island, it was known after September 20th, 1931 as Robot Island.

The island, which measured 234 miles long by 178 miles wide, got an instant population of 251,783 robots. Most of them had nothing to do at first, having been built for specific tasks in industry or agriculture, but they soon found new purpose when Sammy Steel came to the island.

Sammy had been built by scientists to be a true thinking machine and he had exceeded their dreams. Now, armed with five arms, a huge amount of knowledge and a can do attitude, Sammy set to work improving the citizens of Robot Island.

In just a few months, Sammy had constructed versions of himself, but with new identities. These robots fixed and improved tens of thousands more. Soon, Robot Island was a beehive of activity.

Now, in the local year of 1950, Robot Island has two big cities and many small towns, all inhabited by robots. Using junk brought to the island by other countries, the robots build appliances and other devices that humans want. The humans are happy and the robots are happy. It’s a win/win situation.

Not In This Issue: Fashion, Red Beans, Juicers Or Fantail Pigeons

…actually, we might sneak in a small pigeon

 

The Doclopedia #1,035

Moms: Mrs. Lutenbacher

On Earth 16, Science! rules and robotics got an early start. By the mid-1970’s, robots were everywhere in daily life and by 1986, they were very nearly sentient. People were ok with that.

In 1995, the first sentient robots, the S-1 series, came online and it was quickly discovered that most people were not ok with that. It seems that humans were not quite ready to associate with machines that could have feelings. Not willing to lose money, the big robotics manufacturers stopped making the S-1 models and went back to making the non-sentients.

Not wanting to raise the ire of Robotics Rights groups, the 3,050 S-1 robots were pretty much cut loose to fend for themselves. Most went off in small groups to form settlements out in the wilderness. Some went out into space to work on the Moon and Mars, where people were a whole lot more liberal thinking towards non-humans.

A fair number of the S-1 models were just plain undecided about where to go and what to do, which is where Mrs. Emily Lutenbacher comes in.

Mom” Lutenbacher was a former grade school teacher who figured that these new sentients needed a place to live and some time to think and a bit of guidance. Since she and her husband Roy were not really doing much with their 500 acre ranch in western Arizona, she put out the word that robots with nowhere else to go could come and stay for awhile.

In less than a month, she had 60 robots living on the ranch. By the end of the first year, the population was up to 250 and they had built a beautiful little town and farm. They began receiving national news coverage. People came to see the town and hear Mrs. Lutenbacher lecture on how the robots and humans could get along. More robots came, including those who had been hidden in the wild.

By 2015, Roboville had a population of 1,900 and supported several businesses, including a science based amusement park. That was also the year that “Mom” won the Nobel Peace Prize at the age of 83. Ten years later and just months before her death, Mrs. Lutenbacher got to hold the first baby robot, a brand new S-2 girl named Emily.