Tequila Sunrise Pancakes

…not as strange as you think

 

The Doclopedia #1,377

When Harry Met…: Silky

The old basset hound looked at the three teenagers and asked “Are you guys ready?”

Harry, Ron & Hermione all answered yes. Silky had been training them hard for a month and they were not the same 15 year olds they had once been. They were soldiers now, trained for one mission and one mission only. Once it was over, they could go back to Hogwarts and be kids again. Or try to be.

Silky, a 12 year old basset hound who had seemed rather sweet when they first met her, had gotten much tougher once training had started. She had worked them long hard hours, then worked them some more. Each of them knew exactly what to do and had the weapons to do it. Where once they had felt fear, now they only felt grim determination.

If everything went well tonight, they would change history.

The four of them were standing on a rooftop about three blocks from what looked like a boarded up fish & chips shop. Inside, thanks to magic, it was a huge hall in which Lord Voldemort would address over 200 Death Eaters. After his speech, they would all leave and start his reign of terror.

Or not. Silky was betting on that.

She raised herself up with her four tentacles and looked at the rooftops around the fish & chips shop. She saw very faint red lights 10 of them, indicating that Dumbledore and his Order of the Phoenix were ready to do their part.

She lowered herself back onto her feet and picked up her weapons. It had been a lot of decades since she had done anything like this, but old skills never die, even when you do. Nine times so far.

“Sweetie, open us a window”, she said to a black Chevrolet Corvette parked a few feet away. A moment later a 10 foot wide 7 foot tall scene appeared in front of them.

“Bloody hell”, said Ron, “I still can’t believe you have a TARDIS.”

Silky chuckled. “She prefers to be called a bus, kid.”

The scene they were watching showed a long hall filled with mask wearing Death Eaters. At one end of the hall, Voldemort sat on a high throne, a smile on his face. He got up and walked a few paces toward the crowd, which went completely silent as he began to speak.

“Okay, it’s showtime. Weapons ready. Step through on my word. You know the rest. Remember, these motherfuckers are nothing but magical Nazis. Okay, Sweetie, make it a door”

Voldemort had just enough time to notice a slight cold draft had occurred when four teenagers dressed in army fatigues and a dog stepped out of nowhere and shot him in the legs. As he felt the searing pain and began his fall, he tried to cast a curse at them, but his power had left him.

From the floor, he watched as the humans and dog, all of whom held machine guns in their arms and tentacles, began mowing down his followers. How could they have gotten in here? This place was the most heavily protected place in the wizarding world. Not even Albus Dumbledore could hope to get in.

Crawling forward, he tried to grab the girl by the ankle. He got a bullet through his hand for his troubles. Screaming in pain he saw several Death Eaters apparate out, only to suddenly reappear and get shot dead. These people were taking no prisoners.

In just under 4 minutes, all of his followers were dead. He was bleeding badly and would not last much longer. The dog approached him.

Who are you?” The fear in his voice made it quaver as it had never done before.

The dog looked at him. “I’m somebody who fought the real Hitler, you snakefaced Nazi son of a bitch. These are kids who would have suffered greatly in a world with you in it. Now that won’t happen.”

She turned to the kids. “You three did good. Now is when I tell you that you aren’t going back to your own time. See, when this piece of shit dies, you three will disappear. Time will be reset and you’ll grow up in a world that was Voldemort free. Harry will have his parents and maybe some siblings. You’ll all meet at Hogwarts and by the time you’re 15, your biggest worries will be acne and dealing with the opposite sex. The wizards outside will come in here and clean up this mess. Tomorrow the biggest news in the Daily Prophet will be the quidditch scores.”

They all started to speak, but she held up a tentacle.

“No more questions, no goodbyes. No memories of this, either. It was an honor and a privilege, guys.”

With that said, she shot the Dark Lord Voldemort twice in the head with the magic draining rounds that she had bought on another Earth. The three teens vanished.

Silky looked around at all the dead bodies. This was now a room full of good magical Nazis. She could feel the Rejuvenox she had been injected with wearing off. She was going to be a sore old bitch for a day or two.

The Corvette appeared next to her and she got inside. The living room was full of sofas and she climbed onto a very soft one.

“Sweetie, let’s go home”, she said, just before she fell asleep.

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Chapter 13: In Which Our Hero Grabs The Treasure From The Hands Of The Evil Duke, Then Flees On Horseback Into The Night

…the Duke was NOT amused.

 

 

Silky Explains It All
All Of Me

Yes, folks, it’s me, Silky Dawn Cross, older sister to Sasha. I’m here instead of her because she is busy with several of her projects and because I wanted to write something anyway.

Many, if not most of you, know that I am a very old dog. I just turned 79 a couple of days ago. But that is chronological age based upon having lived several lives, including 12 years so far in the current one. Additionally, I was not born in your reality.

Yes, that all requires some explanation, so here we go. Here are my lives, one by one, starting with the first. Please forgive the quick and dirty entries, but I’m saving the details for my memoirs.

Zou Zou Born June 20th, 1939 Died April 19th, 1951

Zou Zou was my original name. I was born in Orleans, France to a male hunting dog Basset Hound from England named Bodger and a pampered French house Basset Hound female named Giselle. They were owned by a British man and his French wife. I had 3 sisters and 2 brothers. I was the only one kept as a pure pet, the rest were trained for hunting. We all moved to England when I was 6 weeks old.

All of us, parents included, were Smart. To explain, Smart in this case means human intelligent and sapient. The first thing we were taught was to not let humans find out about it. That version of Earth had a bunch of Smart animals and they knew it needed to be kept secret.

I broke the secret at 9 weeks old when Monette came home from her last year at boarding school. She and I hit it right off and on the fourth day home I made it plain to her that I was a very smart puppy. My mom and dad had to come and tell her about The Secret, which took a while since they could not speak and lacked opposable thumbs.

Anyway, I’m going on too long here, so here is the condensed version of how the next almost 12 years went.

Monette ran off to join the French Resistance when I was just 1 year old. She took me with her.

Ten months in we met three humans from America: Ben, Ted and Harvey. They had three dogs with them: King (a German Shepherd), Scout (a small terrier mix) and Roscoe (the most handsome and dashing Basset Hound I had ever seen).

Spent the next three years fighting Nazi scum and French traitors. Fell hard for Roscoe, who fell hard for me.

Got caught by Nazis and taken to the secret lab of a mad scientist. Caused his experiment with freezing and reviving living creatures to go awry. Ended up frozen in green ice for 6 months.

Thawed out. Felt like hammered shit for a couple of days, then okay. Found out the war had ended two months earlier with the nuking of Berlin and Tokyo.

Monette married Ben and Roscoe & I joined them living in Paris.

Went to visit Ben’s parents in California in 1951. A month later, Roscoe and I (ages almost 13 and 12, respectively) got hit by a drunk driver and knocked into the Feather River Canyon not far from Paradise, California. We both died.

But we got better.

 

Amy “Born” April 20th, 1951 Died: October 3rd, 1962

I woke up 8 miles downriver from where I must have hit the water. Roscoe was nowhere around and, I was very confused. First, because I knew I should have been dead and second because my sense of smell was not nearly what it should have been. A quick look into some still water showed me that I was a Border Collie pup no more than 6 months old. Now I was very afraid and even more confused. Several hours later, when I got into Chico, California, my confusion red lined when I read a newspaper and quickly realized that I was not even in my world. I’m not ashamed to say that I found a dark little space under an old car and sort of shut down until I fell asleep.

I dreamed that I was talking to Roscoe across a long distance. We figured out that he, now a Bull Terrier, was up in the mountains somewhere. We also figured out that our regeneration must be the result of six months frozen in green Nazi ice. How we got to another world where Russia was still communist and the USA only had 48 states instead of 52 was a mystery we did not crack.

We expressed our love for each other and vowed to meet in Oroville, which was not too far away. Then the dream faded and I woke up and things went sideways fast. Again, I hit only the highlights.

Figured I’d hitch a ride with some nice human. Walked to highway. Got picked up by two ladies in a small car. Car was hot, they fed me a sandwich, I fell asleep and when I woke up we were leaving Sacramento, headed for the Bay Area. Managed to keep from panicking.

Ran off from them as soon as they stopped in San Francisco, Roscoe’s home town. Figured he’d head there once I didn’t show in Oroville, so went looking for a place to settle in for a while. Chose Golden Gate Park.

After many adventures and finding out that Smartness seemed to rub off on many of the animals I met, I had to escape the dog catcher by jumping on a truck. To Texas.

Many adventures across Texas until I got adopted by a wealthy couple who were setting out to sail down to Panama, then to Hawaii. Spent 4 years sailing the Pacific and living a good life. Found that while I never really forgot Roscoe, I thought of him less. Also conferred Smartness to a shitload of other animals before jumping ship when the now fighting all the time couple pulled into Singapore.

Spent 5 years making my way back to France, escaping death more times than you can imagine. Got to Paris on Christmas Day, 1961. Was pretty sick from something I’d picked up in North Africa. Got adopted off the street a week later by a nice older couple.

Vet kept me going okay for nearly a year, but I died in October of 1962. No pain, died in my sleep.

 

Lucky “Born” October 4th, 1962 Died February 19th, 1963

First time regenerating as a male. Took some getting used to. Was a Mastiff pup, maybe 5 months old. Made my way to the north coast, hoping I could find a way to sneak my big self onto a boat crossing the Channel. Had meny adventures before getting hit and killed by a goddamn lousy French driver.

 

Honey “Born” February 20th, 1963 Died May 10th, 1976

Back to being female and in a Irish Setter body, about 4 months old. Woke up near an airport. Went to mooch food and immediately got adopted by a stunningly beautiful redheaded lady pilot named Gail. Spent the next 13 years with her and loved every minute of it. Travel, parties, Woodstock, celebrities, good deeds, not so good deeds, adventures and met/sparked a huge number of Smart animals. Died of old age in Gail’s arms, at our home in San Diego, but not before telling her The Secret and that I’d visit her at some point.

Daisy “Born” May 11th, 1976 Died August 18th, 1986.

Yes, I was a Daisy in one life. It’s a very popular name for bitches. More importantly still, I was a Basset Hound again!

I was 6 months old when I woke up about 20 miles north of San Diego. Decided to go up to the redwoods to think about things. Caught a ride on a train all the way to Eureka. Spent a couple of months there being very contemplative, mostly thinking about all the Smart Animals out there. Finally decided to do something about it.

Spent a year crisscrossing North America talking to groups, sometimes in the hundreds, about what we as Non-Humans should do. Should we organize? Tell certain humans about us? Got many good ideas and comments. Decided to go see Gail. Arrived in San Diego on October 15th, 1977.

Gail was gobsmacked to see me in my new body, but we quickly sorted things out. Then she introduced me to a friend of hers: Me.

And by “me”, I mean me, Silky Dawn Cross, final iteration of Zou Zou. If your head is spinning, imagine how mine was. Silky gave me a Universal Translator and then filled Gail and I in on a wide variety of things, including the future, who to trust, bleeding edge ultra tech we could have and, in the most bittersweet moment of all my lives, that Roscoe was alive and we would never meet in person.

She also told me that it was time to do some world traveling and form the Non-Human Terran Alliance. Gail volunteered to help me out. I would not find out for many years that she sold almost everything to finance our trip.

Insert here many adventures on all continents except Antarctica. International NHTA formed on September 1, 1978. The future me brought us huge amounts of stuff that allowed the building of Gorilla City, Dog Mountain, Wolf Island and other NHT strongholds. Number of NHT in the world, mostly domesticated dogs & cats, tripled in a few years. Gail and a select few humans were a great help.

On July 4th, 1986, I was diagnosed with cancer. Future me told me to get my affairs in order, took my universal translator, then departed. Gail took great care of me and on August 18th, 1986, in Seattle, Washington, I got the injection that ended my life as Daisy.

Jake “Born” August 19th, 1986 Died August 23rd, 1998

I LOVED being Jake! He was a Jack Russell Terrier and he had energy and stamina for days. He was good looking and popular with bitches, males and humans.

Woke up nearly 50 miles outside Seattle, on the coast. Decided to just spend a few years traveling. Insert more adventures here than any dog has a right to. Met so many great NHT and humans. Learned how to surf and skateboard. Killed three ex-Nazis in Argentina and two in the USA. Fathered a bunch of puppies. It was a great life.

I died just after my 12th birthday. Probably a heart attack. Happened up in the Canadian Rockies. Got to see the sunrise.

 

Trixie “Born” August 23rd, 1998 Died September 28th, 1998

My very short life as Trixie, the standard poodle, had two distinctions: I woke up farther away from my death place than ever before (Green River, Wyoming) and it was the shortest life of all, just over a month.

Had traveled down into Utah, fell into a hole full of rattlesnakes and that was all she wrote.

Rufus “Born” September 28th, 1998 Died June 19th, 2006

Another male, this time a big lab mix who met a nice family that found me, a 5 month old pup, walking across the Salt Flats in Utah. They had 5 little kids (including triplets!) and lived in Fresno, California. It was love at first sight all the way around.

My life with them was just great. I loved those kids (ages 1 to 6 when we met) and they loved me. Of course, I still kept up with NHTA business, as well as maintaining contact with friends, but mostly I was just a family dog.

Died on June 19th, 2006 at age 9 while protecting the oldest child, Renee, from a drugged up mugger. Tore his throat out, but he shot me and I died a few minutes later in her arms.

Silky “Born” June 20th, 2006 Not Dead Yet

I regenerated for what I am convinced is the final time on June 20th, my original birth date, in 2006. Convincing factors were being a Basset Hound again, looking exactly as I did when Zou Zou was 6 months old and the emptiness in my heart that told me Roscoe was finally gone. In fact, he had died a year earlier at age 15, nearly 16.

I woke up in Lodi, California and was literally grabbed up off the street 10 minutes later by a young Hispanic woman who named me “Mamas” and said I would be a good breeder.

Insert here 6.5 years of being used by backyard breeders to produce a litter a year. While these folks were not evil, they were still assholes, although they treated the other bitch, the male and myself well. Still, after almost 7 years as a puppy factory and watching telenovelas all day with the grandmother, I was ready to scream. Fortunately, after a brief illness, my ability to get pregnant was impaired and they unceremoniously dumped me at the SPCA. Later, Sasha would unceremoniously dump them in Patagonia.

After that, most of you know the rest of the story. My life these last 4 years has been the stuff of fantasy and legend. To say it has been my greatest adventure ever is a vast understatement.

I just turned 12 and, in the manner of we canines, know that my life is well past the halfway point. After dying 8 other times, one more death does not bother me. I have very few regrets.

Still, I do know that life can throw some crazy curveballs, so if I have to update this again after Silky dies, I won’t be too surprised.

The Real Housewives Of Hobbiton

…they mostly cook and eat

Our Dogcon report proceeds.

Day One: In which we travel through 1954 California and see many Giant Oranges.

At a few minutes before dawn this morning, we drove the bus over to Auburn Boulevard (about a mile from our house), popped back to 1954 (when it was also Highway 49) and headed west until we got to Highway 99 South. Our trip had started.

(Daisy: And all before any dogs…)

(Leon: ...or cats…)

(Max: …or rabbits…)
(Daisy: …were fed.)

We have traveled to some strange places, folks, but driving along roads I use every day, but 62 years in the past and a good 57 years before I remember first ever traveling on them was hella strange. Some buildings are still there in 2016, a few even still occupied, but most are gone. We saw motels, burger joints, diners, gas stations (remember, this was and still is part of the Lincoln Highway), houses, farms (!) and all manner of businesses. “Hamburgers! Buy ‘Em By The Bag!” read one sign. “Ice Cold Beer!” read another. “Rooms: $5.00 per night” was on a motel sign. Gas, by the way, was about 18 cents a gallon.

(Silky: Wow, the past smalls funny, yet oddly familiar.)

(Sasha: People smell a little stinkier, at least to us dogs. We approve of this.)


Everyone was looking out the windows, checking this all out. Spike was riding up front with me and we chatted about how this might be a fun thing to do in Baltimore, Toronto and other cities.

Speaking of Spike and I, it behooves me to point out that everybody on this trip has been fitted with a personal holo-projector that will make sure we look period proper in the 50s and beyond. With our long hair and beards, Spike and I would stand out like whores in church in 1954. The womenfolk would also attract unwarranted attention. And just to avoid any REAL catastrophes, the critters will be in android bodies whenever off of the bus. Also, our destination sign is off and the bus is no longer tie dyed, it is now white and says “XXXX First Church Of God” (with the XXXX being constantly updated to a town 100 miles further along the road) in big blue letters. We also have a sound unit to make the normally quiet bus sound like a 1940 school bus with high mileage.

After about 2 hours of driving the 60 mile an hour speed limit and stopping to take pictures every so often, we ate breakfast at the Red Barn Restaurant, in Lodi. I’m pretty sure at one time or another, every town in North America had a Red Barn Restaurant, most of them little independent joints like this one. The food was great, the service was great and the prices were crazy great. 12 people ate for just over 25 bucks, including a buck fifty tip. The only slight eyebrow raiser for out waitress was when Max (a vegetarian because rabbit) asked for fruit for breakfast. Thinking quickly, Daisy said “My fiance is having some digestive problems” and all was cool. Well, except for Max who was stunned to hear Daisy use the word “fiance”.

(Max: It just caught me off guard!)
(Leon: Dude, you looked like a deer in the headlights!)
(Sasha: I checked as we left to see if he pooped.)

Around 8:45, full of very tasty food, we got back on the bus, but only after “Pastor Cross” was asked by a carload of folks traveling north to do a little pre-breakfast prayer for them. Despite me being a lifelong atheist, many generations of Southern Baptists, Irish Catholics and Portuguese Catholics is in my DNA, so I was able to pull it off very convincingly.

(Sasha: I got the feeling that Daddy would make a hell of a fire and brimstone Pentacostal evangelist.)
(Silky: He’d sure be making more money.)
(Roxie: He has a nice preaching voice.)

We drove for another 3 hours, stopping once to take pictures of the House Made Of Glass, which was closed to the public and scheduled for demolition, and once for the Giant Jesus Of Merced. As Giant Jesuses go, it was merely ok. It was barely 18 feet tall and the sculpting and paint job were very average. Still, another one for our photo album.

(Daisy: Definitely not even in our top 20 Giant Jesus List.)
(Leon: What kind of family has a Giant Jesus List?)
(Sasha: The kind with our Dad in it.)
(Daisy: Don’t even ask about the competing Museums Of Body Parts Lists that Dad and Auntie Mary have.)

As we drove along 99, we saw a vivid memory from my early childhood: Giant Orange drink stands. Indeed, you’d see one about every 20 miles.

For those of you not from California or born after about 1970, these stands were, well, let’s read this bit from the Weird California website.

In 1926 Frank E. Pohl started his chain of “Giant Orange” stands opening up his first orange shaped stand on what was 11th Street near E Street in Tracy. Before trying out orange juice stands, Pohl had a giant lemon from which he served lemonade in Menlo Park called Jumbo Lemon Stand. But his first “Giant Orange” was in Tracy, California and spawned a franchise and imitations throughout California. The franchise peaked in the 1950’s with approximately 16 different stands built throughout Northern California from Bakersfield to Sacramento to Merced and Redding. It’s rumored that a stand could easily go through six thousand oranges during a week as it quenched the thirst of weary travelers who pulled over for a quick drink.

So yeah, there were more Giant Oranges along 99 and other routes from Redding to Los Angeles than you could shake a stick at. Naturally, we stopped at a couple for cold drinks and pictures. I think the last time I drank at a Giant Orange was about 1971.

The rest of our trip saw us stopping at a burger joint for lunch (cheeseburgers were 20 cents each, real milkshakes were a 30 cents), viewing a bunch of plaster statues telling the history of Fresno and closing down a roadside zoo.

For those of you who are under about 45 years of age, roadside “zoos” used to be very common. They generally featured wildlife native to a given area, plus a few monkeys and maybe a chimp and a lion or bear. They were almost universally small, dirty and terrible for the animals. When we saw the first sign advertising one at a truck stop north of Bakersfield, I could see the critters tense up. Being pretty pissed off by the thought of suffering animals, I was also pissed off and so we stopped.

It was pretty large as such things go. Lots of local wildlife, including 4 deer, plus two lions, two bears, a wolf, two chimps, a half dozen monkeys and an elephant. The cages, while clean, were way too small and little was done to mitigate the 100 degree heat

Normally, if one of us is going to go off on a tear and try to change history, it is usually Sasha or I, but this time, it was Silky (in an 18 year old looking human body). Below, the transcript.

(Silky walks up to the owner of the place, a big beefy ex-Texan, with her fists clenched and a neuralizer in her hand. There are about 30 other patrons standing around.)

Silky: “Hey, you son of a bitch!”

(Texan turns quickly to look at her and she drops him with a roundhouse right.)

Silky: “I did NOT fight Nazis in the war just to come home and see this shit! Game over, motherfucker!”

(There are many gasps in the crowd. Silky holds up the neuralizer and zaps everyone but us.)

Silky: “You will all get back in your cars and leave here. You will NOT ever again tolerate animals being treated like this! You will be KIND to animals for the rest of your lives! Now get the fuck out of here!”

(The crowd disperses rapidly. Silky turns back to the Texan. Spike, Sasha and I look at each other. It is looking like this is an instance of MAKING history, because you cannot change it. Silky zaps the Texan.)

Silky: “Listen up, you cowboy asshole. You are going to close this zoo permanently TODAY. You will release the animals that can survive in the wild and then take the exotics back to their homelands OR a really top notch zoo. You will spare no expense in doing this. You will then devote the rest of your life to helping animals and shutting down these fucking roadside zoos. Now DO IT!”

(After a few seconds, the Texan springs into action, yelling at his helpers to cool these animals down. We all get back on the bus and Silky, now back to more or less normal, asks Jeeves to please pour her a double synthehol bourbon on the rocks.)

After we were back on the road, Sasha checked the timeline and found out that, sure enough, that guy and many other animal rights activists started their careers that day. Another case of one of us causing history to happen as it should.


(Daisy: Holy fucking shit!)
(
Roxie: That was incredible!)
(
Leon: That was a wicked bad punch she gave him!)

The rest of the trip was much less eventful, being mostly through the desert to Blythe, where we stopped for the night. We had dinner in Palm Springs and saw several big name stars like Bob Hope, Ray Milland, Benny Goodman, Shirley Temple and Barbara Stanwyck. Even better? A ritzy meal for 12 cost me only $157.87! SCORE!

So right now, we are parked off a side street in Blythe. Tomorrow we shift to 1968 and drive across Arizona. Right now, however, I am off to play some games and partake of pints of Guinness.

More trip reportage tomorrow.

Kingfisher On The Power Line

…memories from my youth.

The Doclopedia #1,201

Critter Avengers Choice: Silky: The Hairy Pupper Series

Let me start this out by saying that the Hairy Pupper series was written by a dog on DogEarth 1, so it will not be easy reading for other species. For one thing, detailed descriptions of sounds, smells and body language are everywhere and most will leave humans scratching their heads. Another problem is the mix of Doggish (with a British Terrier accent) and British Human English. It gives even many of us Non-Brit dogs pause.

Anyway, the series is otherwise very much like our HP series, except Hairy Pupper has no problem using spells more powerful than “Expelliarmus” in a duel. In fact, in the final battle with Voldebark, he slices off the evil bastard’s tail with a Sectumsempra curse, then blasted the Elder Wand out of his hand. Of course, Voldebark got it back and tried to Avada Kedavra Harry, but killed himself instead. Then Hairy poops on the spot where the Dark Lord died.

There is also some sex in the Hairy Pupper series, because dogs are not all squishy about it like humans are. The scenes between Hairy & Ginny are pretty hot.

I am a big fan of this series and the Harry Potter series and give both of them a waggy tail up.

The Doclopedia #1,202

Critter Avengers Choice: Flash: Perky Pussy Cat Food (Canned)

I’m not normally a fan of canned cat food. I prefer mine fresh made, such as my Mom’s excellent Tuna Gravy Over Couscous or Dad’s Shredded Chicken And Beans. Sometimes, though, a cat just has to eat what’s on hand. In those cases, it’s pretty hard to go wrong with Perky Pussy canned cat food. They use a couple of types of fish in it, it’s reasonably chunky and it’s extra stinky. Go for the Catfish & Mackerel or the Salmon & Perch.

Handsome Joe Goes To The Petting Zoo

…and meets some goats

 

Sasha Explains It All

My Family: An Adventure In High Strangeness

I know what you’re thinking, folks. Everybody has a strange family, right? You’ve got that crazy aunt or that strange brother or the funny uncle or whomever. Every family has at least one strange member and many families have several.

Well, I’ve got you beat. Right off the bat, what you’re reading right now was written by a not quite 6 year old dog using the tentacles of the symbiotic air breathing octopus that she created in her ultra advanced genetics laboratory. You’re grandmother who drives in off road races can’t touch that.

At first, I was going to do this piece rating my family from least strange to most, but I’ll be damned if I can choose who is strangest. I do know that my human mom is the least strange, but after that, it pretty much comes down to fractions. Instead, I decided to go from youngest to oldest, so here you go.

Daisy, Age 3, Basset Hound: Daisy has been my sister for just over a year and is sweet, goofy (a term that applies to all of the Cross family) and as big a nerd as you’ll ever meet. No, really. I’ve seen her argue for hours about the best Star Trek series, the best Doctor or why a certain set of roleplaying rules sucks. She is into cosplay, filksinging and pretty much anything to do with fantasy or science fiction. On top of all that, she is also a brown collar in Drunken Fox style Dog Fu. I have seen her kick the ass of a brutish 120 pound mixed breed male, folks. She’s not cocky about her martial abilities and mostly comes off as a loveable & mildly hyperactive geek.

Her best pals and gaming/geek partners include humans, cats, dogs, pigs, rabbits and a skunk. (Janet, the same skunk that Flash had a drunken interlude with) They get together to play AD&D, watch Doctor Who or Star Trek or anime and do the Mystery Science Theater thing with bad old movies.

Daisy also enjoys painting (surrealist style), helping Dad cook and chasing squirrels.


Jazz, Age 4, Dwarf Longhair Portuguese Jungle Cat: There is mounting evidence that Jazz might be either a reincarnation of Janis Joplin or quantum psi linked to an existing Janis in some other reality. We’ll know more when my friend Stephen (whom I met via my friends Tony & Bruce) examines her.

Anyway, Jazz is the wife of my brother, Flash, and she is a top notch blues/R&B singer. She can really belt ’em out, but is also great at the slower tempo songs. Jazz also writes songs and, using an Ottopus (our name for the symbiont octopi) is learning to play guitar. She also likes boardgames (she’ll kill you at Settlers of Catan) and LARPs.

Jazz has only been married to Flash about a month, but we’ve all known her most of a year and she has known Flash for two years. Her early days are almost as much a mystery as Silky’s are. We do know she was born into a small family in Texas, but spent a couple of years “on the road”. At one point, she lived on Willie Nelson’s bus, but left because she got tired of being high all the time.

Jazz is a big fan of fish, both raw and cooked. She is also pretty fond of bacon, but then, who isn’t? She does not like Mexican food much.

Jazz also enjoys reading mystery novels, trying to convince Flash to start a family and chasing squirrels.

Flash, Age 5, Dwarf Shorthair Portuguese Jungle Cat: My brother, Flash Alexander Cross, was adopted into the family at 5 months old. He was born into a very large family (litter of 10!) but left home at 10 weeks old. Mostly, he just hung around with lounge singers, comedians & showgirls in Las Vegas until joining Mom, Dad, Lucy & Winker just before the trip to DogCon 3. He and Lucy became especially close, mostly because they were both prone to violence, property damage and other bad behaviors. However, contrary to some rumors, neither Flash, nor Lulu is a psychopath. They are just rowdy amoral goofballs with a profound lack of trust or respect for authority figures. See also: Daddy.

Flash is a HUGE fan of Frank Sinatra, but really enjoys many styles of music (he’s also a big fan of Warren Zevon, Pink and Bob Marley). He’s a pretty good singer, too. He also loves action and superhero movies. Despite only weighing 8 pounds, Flash is a 100% alpha male. He is known to have fathered at least 4 litters, back in his younger days.

Flash pretends to not like geeky things, but he really does. He’s a big Star Wars fan and his Wars vs Trek arguments with Daisy are legendary. He also loves LARPing at DogCon and playing video games.

Earlier this year, Joe and I built Flash a suit of Tony Stark style power armor so that he and Lulu could go to an alternate reality and kick ass on Nazis. When he wears it, he calls himself “Iron Cat”. Mom has still not completely forgiven me for making that suit. Fortunately, Mom & Dad make us keep the armor under Level 5 security most of the time.

When Lucy died in 2013, Flash just fell apart and started using catnip pretty heavily. When we revealed Lulu to him, he cried and cried and didn’t leave her side for days. Despite the way he talks all macho, like Daddy, he is a big old marshmallow inside.

Flash enjoys record collecting, fishing, trying not to become a father (which he will ultimately fail at because he likes sex) and chasing squirrels.

Me, Age 5.75, Basset Hound: I was born into a family of 5 puppies, a mom and a dad back on Jan. 2, 2009. I was adopted by a nice older man when I was 11 weeks old, but by the time I was 1.5 years old, he could no longer care for me properly and gave me to his daughter and son in law. They mostly kept me in their back yard or garage with two bigger dogs who were, to say the least, thick headed idiots. When Mom & Dad came to adopt me after the young couple had a baby and could no longer really care for any dogs, I was nervous, but glad to be gone. Little did I know that exposure to our bus (AKA The Magic Bus), would change me forever. But that’s for another rant.

My first love is working on machines and I am a pretty skilled mechanic, both on the ordinary and ultra tech levels. I have a pretty good knowledge of transtemporal/spatial theory and quantum foam vibration effect (the thing that keeps the realities apart). I’m also about at the PhD level for ordinary physics, chemistry and engineering. Gotta love being mentally connected to an Ottopus and a T-Control Computer.

About a year ago I undertook and passed a course on Mad Genetics from the Narbon Institute. It was loads of fun, gerbilsnake/gerbilspider/gerbilwolverine escapes notwithstanding. I later took the advanced course, which allowed me to create both my Ottopus symbiont, Otto, and my pet giant garden spider, Joyce. Genetics will always be fun, but will always take a backseat to mechanics for me. Nothing like getting grease on your tentacles.


I’m a pretty big geek, with a decided leaning towards RPGs, anything steampunk and superhero/kaiju/science fiction movies. I can play the piano well and my idols are Elton John and Fats Waller. My favorite food is an In N Out cheeseburger with bacon added. I’m also a really big fan of sex, which is why my FWB Buster and I hang out together. (Note to humans: No, ordinary spayed female dogs do not have a sex drive, but I’m not ordinary, am I?)

Although it is a subject of a future rant, I do feel obliged to say that, like Daddy, I am Mad. Not insane, really, but Mad. You might even say I’m barking Mad. Heeheehee.

Other things I enjoy include reading parts catalogs and quantum mechanical journals, rebuilding my 1959 Cadillac and chasing squirrels.

 

Silky, Age 8, Basset Hound: Silky has only been with us since Father’s Day of this year (2014), but she has fit into the family very well. Much like Mom, she lends an air (a thin air) of normality to things. It’s actually kind of amazing how quickly she got used to all our strangeness.

On the other paw, normal is relative and Silky has more than her share of strangeness. First off, she seems to channel the memories of somebody, canine or human, who lived through the 1960’s. Not all the time, but in flashes that last about a minute. This could explain why she is such a big fan of the Grateful Dead and other Bay Area groups. She and Jazz have some pretty interesting conversations.

Secondly, Silky does not speak about her first three years of life. If you ask, she just says “I was out and about and had some adventures.” Daisy thinks she was hanging with bikers and Flash thinks she was a spy. Whatever the case, those years might explain why she can speak fluent French, Owl, Hedgehog, German, Bear & Spanish AND how she knows so much about computers, security systems and baking.

Shortly after her third birthday, Silky was “sold into bondage” to an older Hispanic lady and her family and was used as a breeding bitch by the old ladies son & daughter in law. They bred her once a year for the next four years, then moved away. About a year later, the old lady gave her up for adoption and she came to live with us. She was VERY happy about that.

Silky likes boardgames and is getting into card games and RPGs. She really likes old school computer games and plays the hell out of Tetris. When it comes to food, she likes most types, but doesn’t eat broccoli or carrots. Her favorite television shows are CSI, Grimm and Downton Abbey. Musicwise, she likes soft rock and old country music.

Other things Silky enjoys include reading spy novels, writing her memoirs and chasing squirrels.

Lulu, Age 11.5, Robot Dog: Lulu was born Lucy and we know next to nothing about her early years except that some foul human woman kept her in a crate most of the day because the woman’s little dogs did not get along with her. That set the tone for the next 5.5 years of Lucy’s life until a couple rescued her. A few months later, Mom & Dad adopted her.

Lucy had many mental problems due to her terrible upbringing. She took years to get even partially better. Then, in early spring of 2013, she was diagnosed with terminal lymphoma. She died peacefully at the vet’s office on August 14th of that year.

Well, her body died. Her katra (a Vulcan word for intellect/life force/soul) had been transferred into a silicon brain by me a few days earlier. To make room for the best parts of her, I wiped most of her memories before she came to live here. I put in a vague memory of being a puppy, but everything after that and before Mom & Dad is a blank. We also gave her the new name of Lulu

Lulu’s original body was a cyborg deal that I kind of cobbled together quickly to get her new brain into. Later, she got a snazzy new body with an adamantium skeleton and a vibranium outer shell. She is damned near indestructible by anything here on Earth. She is powered by a mini sized Mr. Fusion, which is why she sometimes eats organic matter. She also sometimes eats inorganic matter that her nanotech innards use to repair her. If she needs to, Lulu can mount up to three weapon pods on her sides & back.

Lulu loves kaiju movies, robot movies, westerns and Marx Brothers comedies. In stark contrast to her appetite for destruction, Lulu likes to paint landscapes to relax. Her favorite food is carne asada tacos with a sprinkling of copper and titanium.

One little note here: That evil woman who mistreated Lucy? I used the bus to go back to the day after Lucy left her and gave her several crippling mental disabilities, chief among them agoraphobia, to keep her a prisoner in her own house. She also has a severe phobia of dogs. She will have these for the next 20 years or so. Fuck with my sister, fuck with me, bitch!

Other things Lulu enjoys are playing computer games, having cybersex with military grade autonomous robots and chasing squirrels and/or velociraptors.

Mom, Age 56, Human: Despite being mother to all of us and having been married to Dad for almost 18 years, my mom is a beacon of sanity & reason in our family. Well, most of the time. Sometimes even Mom has her moments.

There is less to say about Mom’s strangeness than there is to say about her acceptance of strangeness in others. Which, if you think about it, is pretty strange in itself. And kind of recursive.

Mom is the eldest of 4 children born into a Catholic family. Fortunately, she got better. She is also a veteran of the United States Army.


Anyway, Mom takes most of our shit in stride, but when she slams down the law, we all are quick to step & fetch & straighten up. She has “The Mom Look” down to a fine degree. She has been known to stop Dad, Flash & Lulu dead in their tracks.

Mom very much enjoys going to school and learning things. She usually has a 4.0 average, which boggles Daddy, whose philosophy in school was “if it ain’t an F, it’s ok by me”. When she retires, Mom plans on taking classes for the rest of her life.

Activities Mom enjoys are reading, doing stuff on computers and taking naps. So far as I know, she has never chased a squirrel.

Dad, Age 60, Human: My three favorite things about Daddy are that he loves animals, is very funny and, like me, he’s mad as a March Hare. Really, if you don’t think Daddy has paid in full the toll that madness takes, go read the Doclopedia. Actually, I’ve found that a great many creative types are Mad.

My least favorite thing about Daddy is that explaining anything more technological to him than a hammer is pointless. What really makes it frustrating is that he uses ultra-tech with no problem. I’ve seen him pick up a Thovian Cellular Knitter and use it to heal a cut as though he were taught to do it from birth. But if I try to tell him how it works, his eyes glaze over and he starts thinking about beer or something. He does that when Mom tries to explain computer stuff, too. Sometimes you want to just hit him on the head.

Daddy is the eldest of three children and was raised way out in the country on a farm. Actually, Grandma used to say he and his sibs were less “raised” than they were “prevented from getting killed”. She also said that Daddy resisted becoming fully civilized until he was in his 30’s. Most of us think the jury is still out on his civilized status.

Mom says she and Daddy met on a computer BBS back around 1994. Daddy says they met when she pulled a thorn out of his paw. Whatever the case, they got married in 1996 and are coming up on 18 years of wedded bliss, even though there are days when I expect Mom to use the bus to go back and marry a nice sane guy.

Daddy is a dedicated roleplaying gamer and an avid boardgamer. He’s also a first class cook, has a good singing voice and is, so I’m told, that rare human male that will willingly clean a toilet at home.

Daddy has many hobbies and interests, including Sherlock Holmes, collecting books, writing, traveling, collecting little plastic figures of all kinds, gardening, basset hounds, wildlife, being deliberately goofy and eating insanely hot & spicy foods. Rumor has it that he has chased more than his share of squirrels.

So there is my family. Strange as all hell, but I love them.

Until my next rant,

Sasha Jane Cross

Harry Potter And The Horny Hungarian Horntail

…NOT a book for kids

 

Dog Con 7

 

Day 17, Con Day 4: In which critters strut their stuff, games are purchased, games get played, seminars are attended, Daisy has a birthday, critters strut their stuff and pie gets eaten.

8:00 pm

We are all on the bus and getting ready to leave Critter City. As usual, a quick recap of the day.

Breakfast at Pancake-A-Go-Go, a new place in town. Great food, but kind of slow service due to a big Sunday crowd.

We bought the hell out of games! Grace bought several cubic feet of boardgames, Daisy bought, well, she bought all sorts of things.

(Daisy: Phasers! Sonic screwdrivers! D&D stuff! A sword!)

I bought mostly games and t-shirts. Sasha and Silky bought dice and other stuff.

(Silky: I bought some Buffy DVDs.)
(Sasha: I bought a bunch of comics and some steampunk clothes.)

I’m not sure what Flash & Jazz bought, but I know Lulu bought a bunch of swords & knives.

(Lulu: A girl can never be too well armed!)

(Leon: But you’re indestructible, right?)
(Lulu: What’s your point?)


While our group was buying stuff and playing games,. Spike and I once again took part in the panel for “Ask A GM ANYTHING!”. As with every year, it got crazy. Spike balanced a jar of maple syrup on his head, I explained how to kill a werewolf with a butterknife and our moderator (a mother of young twins) sang an impromptu song about dancing through the dungeon. It was a fun time for all.

At noon, many people and critters besides our gang assembled in one of the smaller halls for a celebration of Daisy’s third birthday. There was cake and dog biscuits and ice cream for all.

(All The Other Critters: Happy Birthday, Daisy!)

Immediately following that was the big charity “Pets On Parade” event. It raises money for many rescues and shelters and costs $5.00 per critter to enter it. There were about 6,000 animals in it this year.

(Roxy: That was a whole lot of critters!)

(Jazz: I was surprised to see so many pigs.)


Finally, the big voice in the sky said the con was over, which meant that it was only 30 minutes until the Post Con Cool Down Party & Pie Fest. My goodness, they come up with more new kinds of pies each year. We all ate too much while saying goodbye to folks we won’t see until next year.

Now it’s time to fire this bus up and head to Canada, where we’ll drop off Brian, Caroline, Lauren & Sadie in the morning. More bloggage later.

Destination Sign: The Hundred Acre Wood


Music: 24th Century Classical

Blue Ink Node

…nope, no clue

 

Dog Con 7

Day 9: In which we finally see that animated Giant Jesus, Silky wins a prize, many of our party spend too much time in a book store and we visit a gold museum.

Very tired after a very long day in Fairbanks, Alaska. Quick capsule reviews of the days events follow.

OK, so that animated Giant Jesus? It was ok, even though it was only 40 feet tall and the animation consisted of him raising his arms and face to the heavens above. When you go into the gift shop, you get bombarded by radio preachers coming out of about a dozen speakers. High point of the visit? When Sasha and Silky started to tell the people about the Word of Dog. They got so freaked they told us to get out and forgot to charge us for the stuff we were gonna buy. SCORE!

(Lulu: Bless her heart, Auntie Avy didn’t realize that until 11:45 tonight. She wants to go back and pay, but when she called the place, they told her to keep the stuff because we were the spawn of Satan.)

(Sasha: I never even got to tell those twits how Dog told us to watch over humans.)

Next up was a pet parade and carnival. Naturally, we took the critters in and everybody had fun. Best of all, Silky won “Best Howl” in a howling contest. She got a ribbon and a big back of all natural Elk jerky treats.

(Flash: As pet events go, it was pretty nice.)

(Daisy: Those jerky treats were pretty nice, too!)

Sadie: Yeah! Two of them and my tummy was full.)

Our walk around Fairbanks kind of came to a stop when we saw a used book store. The science fiction area was very well stocked with books and there were also several boxes of games. We spent about 90 minutes in there before leaving for a nice lunch of mooseburgers, which were darned tasty.

(Flash: Honest, folks, you ever want to lure bibliophiles to a bloody doom, put a sign saying “All books on sale half price!” in the window of a deathtrap that looks like a used book store.)

(Sasha: By the way, mooseburgers are the FUCKIN’ BOMB!)

The Fairbanks Gold Museum has plenty of gold in it, you bet, including a couple of nuggets the size of my fist. We bought t-shirts, but were a bit too poor for the gold jewelry.

(Leon: That place was infested with mice.)

(Jazz: Oh lordy yes! I could smell them everywhere!)

Speaking of money, we racked up a cool grand selling chocolate and Ice cream to a local ice cream shop.

(Daisy: Dad never passes up a chance to make a buck.)

We also visited an animal shelter, a couple of thrift stores and a seller of fine smoked meat products. After a pretty full day that included miles of walking, we all got back on the bus and went to the Slide Room for an hour or so before eating pizza for dinner. After that, it was mostly just goofing off until bedtime.

(Silky: That was a pretty nice animal shelter, for Alaska.)

Tomorrow, we leave for Hawaii. More bloggage soon.

Destination Sign when we started: Io


Destination Sign when we stopped: Westeros

Music: Old Time Radio shows