Hello World!

I’m going to be losing my job soon, and I’m maybe just a little bitter about it.  Here’s some pre-layoff tips for my bosses in Episode 80 of 300 Seconds:  “Dear Leadership”

And now for something a little different: Con Talk #65 “Furry Siesta Pre-Game”

CURRENT PODCAST EPISODES:

44 Things I Noticed at Furry Siesta 2017

#10-BECAUSE FURRIES

Furry Siesta is a summer event held by the happy shiny fuzzy people that host Furry Fiesta; it offers an opportunity for furry fun in the middle of the insanely hot Texas summer.  I have always wanted to go but kept missing the opportunity until this year.

  1. This isn’t a con, but I’m going to blab about it anyway.
  2. This will be my last nerd thing before my forced vacation layoff on the 18th.
  3. Pre-game podcast turned into Furry Crossfire, one for, one against, and me in the middle.
  4. Since this is the summer and it’s hot as balls, it’s a lot easier to pack for than Furry Fiesta.
  5. Going to hit up The National Videogame Museum in Frisco, they’re supposed to have an 80’s arcade, looking forward to seeing how authentic it is.
  6. Nearly forgot to post my Fursuit Friday picture on Twitter, luckily my passengers were running late.
  7. Of course they showed up just after I typed that.
  8. Drive up wasn’t bad, typical downtown Dallas traffic notwithstanding.
  9. The National Videogame Museum is awesome! They have loads of cool stuff to look at, the arcade is legit, and they even have their own tokens!  I kept one and got a T-shirt.
  10. Left a high score on their Mappy machine BECAUSE FURRIES.
  11. Some guy at Hooters left their H3 window open in the rain and didn’t realize it until WAY too late despite the waitresses asking if it was his vehicle.  D’oh!
  12. Holy cats, getting around the DFW Airport was bonkers.
  13. We’re sharing the hotel with a Freemasons gathering, this should be fun.
  14. I love it when my hotel room has a refrigerator, time for a trip to the store for soda!
  15. Printed out my preregistration only to discover that it wasn’t necessary. PLANET KILLERS!
  16. Furry Siesta is exactly what it says on the tin: A furmeet in a big hotel room.
  17. The Hyatt Regency DFW seems to be embracing the fun.
  18. Maybe not too much, though, there is no signage to be found in the lobby.
  19. No mention of Siesta on the schedule boards, either, so disregard #17 after all.
  20. There were dog bowls put under the water coolers spigots as spill guards.  What I want to know is: Did they already have dog bowls and why?
  21. Megaplex was also taking place the same weekend, leading some folks to refer to Siesta as: “I can’t afford to go to Megaplex”-con.
  22. Put all relevant info on the website, guys. I know updating it is a pain, but not everyone uses social media or has access to it during your event.
  23. Portable Bluetooth speakers, how I hate you. I have bad taste in music too, but I keep it to myself.
  24. Overall, it was a pleasant place to hang out, though a few more tables might have been nice.
  25. It also got a little warm in there but not terribly so as I’ve been told happened in years past.
  26. Note to self: When on the road and you have to choose between “North” and “South” ALWAYS PICK NORTH.
  27. Dear friends that use the word ‘ghetto’ to describe locations you think are unpleasant: I have now been to a truly ‘ghetto’ place and y’all need to calm the fluff down.
  28. Wow this hotel is nice, think I’ll plug my lappy into the TV so I can watch a mov…Oh. It doesn’t have a HDMI port. >.<
  29. I forgot my HDMI cable so it’s just as well.

    #30-Ribbit!
  30. I need to stop trying to guess what species people are.  Luckily, the lizard frog was very understanding.
  31. Wrote down two story outlines on Saturday morning, so the trip is now TOTALLY WORTH IT.
  32. Found Maskimals at a local Wal-Mart and was disappointed to find they had no brown bear heads…at least not one I’d want to wear.
  33. Nothing says furries like seeing “Disney mixes” on the music schedule.
  34. Except for a few fuzzies on the dance floor, the party was over at 830…in the main room, anyway 😉
  35. It cost nearly $30 to fill up my CR-V for the trip home. 0_0
  36. The party came back to life later in the evening, though.
  37. Can you get PCD if isn’t really a con? Guess we’ll see.
  38. Sunday morning and the party’s over, not a single fuzzer to be found.
  39. Waiter at Waffle House sees my San Antonio Spurs hat, proceeds to say “I used to live there and I hate San Antonio.” Way to endear yourself to your customers.
  40. Given that he screwed up our (and other folks’) orders, didn’t ask if I wanted cream, didn’t refill my coffee, screwed up our checks, and pretty much sucked at his job, DFW can have him.
  41. If you are wearing a fursuit maker’s shirt be sure to have a prepared answer for the inevitable “what is that?” question.
  42. Stopped at the Buc-ee’s near Temple on the way down, and it was NUTS.
  43. Fursuit tails apparently make good travelling pillows.
  44. WE WENT TO YOUR THINGS DALLAS FURS, NOW YOU HAVE TO COME TO OURS!  That’s Alamo City Furry Invasion on October 6-8 at the El Tropicano Hotel in San Antonio!  See you there!

27 Things I Won’t Miss from my Job (and 5 Things I Will)

workI’m being laid off from my job next month, so I thought about what I will and won’t miss from it.

I won’t miss:

  1. Idiot coworkers
  2. Idiot customers
  3. Incompetent manager
  4. Jerkface department head
  5. Idiot temporary employees trashing the place
  6. Carl (there’s always a ‘Carl’)
  7. That guy that tries to justify the crappy things the company does
  8. Our crappy software
  9. Our crappy websites
  10. Our crappy apps
  11. Our crappy phone system
  12. Having to tell customer our crappy software doesn’t work because it was made in 1999.
  13. Having to tell customers our crappy websites, apps and phone system are down…again
  14. Having to tell idiot workers to do their jobs
  15. Telling idiot workers how to do the job they have been doing for years
  16. Workforce (mis)Management
  17. Waking up early
  18. Traffic
  19. Lousy parking
  20. Half-hour lunch
  21. Lousy places to eat in the area
  22. Timesheets
  23. 2% raises…when there ARE raises
  24. Shagnasty coffee
  25. Overpriced vending
  26. Having to bring my own coffee
  27. Insulting ‘contests’ from management

Things I will miss:

  1. The nice gal from Legal
  2. The ‘office mom’ (there’s always one!)
  3. The metalhead guy (there’s always one!)
  4. Money, but most importantly…
  5. Health Insurance!

300 Seconds #79: Job Separation Anxiety

Click here to listen to this episode!

You are listening to ‘300 Seconds with Eduardo Soliz,’ and this is episode number 79, “Job Separation Anxiety,” so let the 300 Seconds begin!

I’ve had a feeling of impending doom at work for a few weeks now.  During this time of year, we usually start getting ready for our ‘busy season’ by preparing training materials and hiring new people so that they’ll (hopefully) be ready for the onslaught of customers in the fall. While there has been plenty of training prep going on, our boss hadn’t scheduled a single interview.  Suspicious, to say the least.

Finally, for the first time since I have worked at the company, every person in our department was called into a meeting.  The meeting began with a sad-faced girl from Human Resources going into a spiel about restructuring, company challenges, new directions, blah blah blah.  Yup, here it comes.

She then threw the hammer down: The thirty people in the room (including myself) were all going to be laid off after a few weeks.  The department was being scaled back, so if we wanted to hang around, we would have to apply for one of the new positions.  After some questions and one wire-acre comment from yours truly, we were each given a packet of documents and allowed to go home to digest the news, if we wanted to.  Needless to say, everybody called it a day.  I didn’t envy the Human Resources gals their jobs, but at least they would still have jobs in a few weeks.

In my so-you’re-about-to-be-canned document packet was a fun corporate-double-speak letter that referred to my last day on the job as the ‘job separation date.’  Yeah, I’ll be certain to file that letter next to the ‘thirteen dollar bonus’ one from a few years ago.  Yeah, that’s right.  Thirteen dollars.  And people wonder why I hate my job.

I chuckled at their choice of words: “Job Separation.”  I guess it beats ‘Don’t let the door hit ya where the Good Lord split ya,” though.  This being Texas, I’m genuinely surprised they didn’t just toss us out right then and there.

In a sense, I’m a little disappointed in myself; I’ve seen the writing on the wall at other employers in the past, and I’ve been lucky enough to get out of Dodge while the getting was good.

I guess I’ll have to start paying attention to those updates from Monster and LinkedIn now!

This has been 300 Seconds, the next episode will be posted after my update my resume.  I am Eduardo Soliz, and if you’re looking for a software developer, help desk analyst, tech support lead, creative writer, copy editor, or maybe even a voice guy, shoot me an email at edsoliz@yahoo.com.  Whether you’re hiring or not, check out Eduardo Soliz dot com for more podcasts and short stories, and as always, I thank you for listening!

67 Things I Noticed Duing Wild Nights 2017

Wild Nights 2017 took place a few weekends ago, and I had a great time there with friends.  We also took a stop at the Choctaw Casino Resort – Durant on the way home.  Let it ride!

  1. DSC00512PREP/THURSDAY Taking a 14″ grill along, which is adding a layer of ‘fun’ to prepping for the trip
  2. Not having many Con Talk listeners means I’m not too worried about a resident of Wilburton, Oklahoma hearing me and WolfBoy talk noise about their town.
  3. Always have to make one last trip to the store!
  4. Good idea: Use Telegram to communicate. Bad idea: Virtually no cell service at convention.
  5. Leaving my rings at home.  Not wearing them only bothers me when I walk out of the restroom.
  6. Thing I left at home: condiments and tortillas >.<
  7. When they say chicken strip dinner at Braum’s, they ain’t joking!
  8. What’s with the pudding cup, though?
  9. Picked up tortillas and BBQ sauce at the Waxahachie HEB, crisis averted!
  10. We drove 400+ miles across Texas to eat at Pizza Hut in Oklahoma on Thursday night. 😀
  11. Gas lantern providing light.  AM/FM radio providing weather and entertainment. Hooray for old technology!
  12. Super-bright LED lanterns should come with deflectors.
  13. If you’re setting up a tent at 1AM with a super-bright LED lantern, you suck.
  14. FRIDAY I’m genuinely a little disappointed that I can get a cell signal out here, but that’s what airplane mode is for.
  15. It’s driving me nuts that I get notifications on my phone, but I can’t actually SEE the thing I’m being notified about.
  16. Glad to get snapshots of a few fursuiters…a shame my friend whose fursuit fan I fixed wasn’t one of them.
  17. The criteria for being a guest at a furcon now seems to be: Be somewhat popular!
  18. People playing Nintendo Switch in the mess hall…REALLY?
  19. Hearing hacking and coughing throughout the camp, glad we’re outside
  20. Electrical cords running into tents make me sad.
  21. McDonald’s for breakfast on Friday, we’re really roughing it!
  22. They seem to be a little behind in getting situated, no crafting/panel tents were set up until Friday afternoon.
  23. We went hiking and everybody stopped when cell service resumed.
  24. Nothing like BBQ hamburgers for lunch and dinner!
  25. Fancy people have to melt the chocolate and the marshmallow for fancy s’mores.
  26. Maybe too fancy: I don’t think graham crackers should have grill marks.
  27. WolfBoy does not care how much your beef jerky costs.
  28. Nothing like being overprepared for the storm Friday night.
  29. The campfire area was closed off on Friday night.  Aw.
  30. On the plus side: NO MIDNIGHT AWOO.

    IMG_2164
    #31: Storm’s a-brewin’
  31. SATURDAY Storm didn’t come until early today, but we were ready for it!
  32. There is a special place in hell for people that have a crowing rooster as their alarm…and abandon their phones
  33. We don’t care for quiche so it was off to Mickey D’s again.
  34. Are there really that many people wanting quiche and crepes for breakfast at a camping trip??
  35. PROTIP: If you haven’t figured this out already about Wild Nights: Bring food.
  36. I’d forgotten how polite small town grocery store people can be.  NO, I DON’T NEED HELP WITH…oh
  37. My hometown doesn’t even have a grocery store anymore, so yeah.
  38. I ran a stop light in town.  Sorry.
  39. “Your poncho is pink.” “It was red when it was folded up.”
  40. Not to be mean to the artists, but once the rain starts, maybe rearrange the tables so people can sit in the mess hall and eat
  41. Random conversation I could have done without: “What is your name?” “Eduardo Soliz.” *long pause* “WHY?” “You look like some Asian guy.”  HUH?
  42. Nothing says ‘oblivious to my surroundings’ quite like people blocking the whole sidewalk that is SURROUNDED BY MUD.  MOVE IT.
  43. LOL at the weather radio saying ‘Arkansaa.’
  44. Waiting in the bathroom for the storm to pass.
  45. About to storm like crazy but DAMMIT WE BOUGHT FAJITAS AND WE ARE GOING TO HAVE FAJITAS.
  46. And s’mores, of course
  47. “Okay, guys, here’s the plan to get in the car, we’re going to…” *BOOM* RUN LIKE CRAZY!
  48. What do you do when the camping con gets rained out? Sleep in a bunkhouse!
  49. SUNDAY Crap it’s cold. Crap it’s cold. Crap it’s cold.
  50. I know it annoyed some people, but the 90s car alarm repeatedly going off in the morning was hilarious to me.
  51. Note to self: Buy a cheap shower head for the small bathroom shower.
  52. And maybe some soap holders.
  53. I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that hardly any of this has to do with the con itself.
  54. PROTIP: Get your heads out of your phones or you might miss something cool like a truck doing a Dukes of Hazzard over a hill in the opposite lane.
  55. I think they meant to do that.
  56. The business that gave us the Fudge Cheese Butter sign appears to be no more, aww
  57. AFTERWARDS/CASINO Funny that ‘Try Everything’ comes on over the PA as we’re entering the casino.  THEY KNOW.
  58. I had to at least try the slots that had bears on them…no better luck, though.
  59. We had to eat ‘Krispy Krunchy Chicken’ after seeing the name. Tasty!

    IMG_2175
    #61 Not-so-sore loser
  60. Parrot Beach Bar and Grill at the Choctaw Casino Resort was good, shame it’s going to become Just Another Mexican Restaurant in a month or so.
  61. No luck at the casino, guess it’s back to work on Tuesday.
  62. If you’re dropping money into the slots at 9AM you might need help.
  63. Yes, that includes me.
  64. I wonder which table at breakfast is ours…OH, it’s the one with the T-Rex hand puppet.
  65. When  you have a hand puppet on your table, some rando will inevitably ask why it is there.
  66. After the fact, I have a box of hot cocoa and two things of Jiffy Pop left. Stupid weather.
  67. While the con itself wasn’t much to speak of, we had a great time!

80 Things I Noticed During Texas Furry Fiesta 2017

Another year, another Texas Furry Fiesta. As much as I like San Japan, TFF is my favorite convention bar none.  Sadly, this is the last year in the Dallas InterContinental, but it went out with a bang!

If a guy with bear ears took your picutre, check it out on my Facebook or Flickr!

  1. BEFORE-I wanted to start this list two weeks before the show, but that would have been a bit much. Two days it is, then.

    B
    #75 Fur-tobombed!
  2. I put more effort into picking T-shirts for conventions than I do into dressing for my job
  3. The same goes for shaving: I’ll regularly have a 5 o’clock shadow at work but usually shave whenever I’m going to be with friends.
  4. Had to resist the urge to put “Skills: Striking fear into the hearts of men” on my volunteer application.
  5. Should have mentioned my ‘command voice,’ though.
  6. Seeing Facebook keep going ‘REMEMBER ALL THE FUN YOU WERE HAVING 2/3/4 YEARS AGO’ these last few weeks has been maddening
  7. Went over last year’s list that I apparently DID start two weeks prior, guess I’m getting more patient as I get older.
  8. Planning on using my point-and-shoot for pictures instead of my iPhone, too many dark pictures last year.
  9. Still using my iPad mini to record the parade, though, just need free up lots of memory beforehand!
  10. Sing just came out on video, I wonder if there will be anyone cosplaying? (there wasn’t that I could tell anyway)
  11. Bluetooth speakers at cons SUCK. I have bad taste in music too, but I keep it to myself.
  12. Lucky for me Riverdale is not showing this week. I don’t mind waiting for the next Powerless, BUT I MUST KNOW WHO KILLED JASON BLOSSOM
  13. THURSDAY-Passenger: You better be ready to go at 9. Me at 930 on Thursday: Still waiting for him
  14. I pity people that have been to Whataburger without having a Breakfast on a Bun. THAT’S NO WAY TO LIVE
  15. Siri turned my friend’s last name into ‘Command’ so that is his last name now
  16. Took a shortcut down some caliche roads to bypass a big accident on I-35 North.
  17. Yeah maybe I shouldn’t have washed he car yesterday
  18. Made it past the accident okay, though!
  19. Not liking Braums is a crime, apparently
  20. Thursday and the hotel parking lot is already full, oh boy
  21. Friend as we’re going to the room: “This hallway smells like B.O.”

    A
    #25: Come here often?
  22. Funny that I’m going to spend part of my vacation working (as a volunteer) yet I don’t mind
  23. Volunteering: Started off helping unload some stuff, kinda wish I’d showed up earlier to help more.
  24. Furst World Problem: Being swatted by someone’s tail.
  25. Volunteering: It was fun helping at Kempi’s, I am going to totally miss the Disco Dungeon!
  26. Weird moment (for me, anyway) “Didn’t that guy have the prettiest eyes?” “Sorry, but I’m straight.”
  27. I ended up splitting a room in a single instead of a double, we used a pillow as the ‘border.’
  28. FRIDAY-Surprised at how unorganized the volunteering seems to be early on, (it got better)
  29. Idea (that may not work): E-mail verified volunteers blanks of the tracking sheets.
  30. Volunteering: Spent a couple hours in the con suite playing barkeep at the snack bar some more in the morning
  31. Mary Mouse is just too busy, I need my Certified badge!
  32. The panelist didn’t show up to the first panel I went to…I have yet to miss one of mine…just sayin’
  33. These guys really need to purchase a legit scheduling app. The ‘purchase’ part means it likely won’t happen, though
  34. Kept getting asked: “Are you doing a panel?”  I think it’s safe to say me doing panels is a thing now.
  35. My apologies to my friends when I don’t recognize them in or out of fursuit: I have enough trouble remembering people that only have ONE name and face!
  36. Decided to belt out Be Prepared at Kempi’s during karaoke and loved it. I kicked into my vocal ‘fifth gear’ that I very seldom use.
  37. Ten buck special at Boston Market = good eatin’ Going to miss all the close places to eat next year
  38. Finally figured out to hold my camera by its sides when showing pictures to fursuiters so it doesn’t flip back to camera mode when I’m showing them pictures
  39. Probably just need to invest in a new camera already.

    d
    #31: I’m also certifiable!
  40. SATURDAY – I want to go to panels but keep bailing on them to have fun with friends!
  41. Or getting double-booked and leaving a panel early to go to another one
  42. If you’re asking for questions fifteen minutes into your panel, you might need more material, but it worked out.
  43. Having an intro written to start your panel isn’t a Bad Thing per se, but it depends on the type of panel
  44. Lobby ATM machine barfed on me multiple times throughout he weekend, argh
  45. Fursuit parade seemed to go quicker this year
  46. Someone swatted me with their tail!  How wude!
  47. Love to upload the video while I’m here, but the 3.1 GB file ain’t uploading over hotel wifi anytime soon, maybe overnight.
  48. I’m learning that sitting is weird when you have a tail, even if it is just a nub!
  49. The pictures from my point and shoot are coming out so much better than the ones from my iPhone last year
  50. Note to self: Get fursuiter pictures when you have the chance, because that StarFox suiter was way cool, but I missed him!
  51. I was working, though /shrug
  52. Volunteering: Checking for badges gets a little weird when people have them on their waist/belt
  53. Okay, so I’m a prude.
  54. Bought a voodoo-themed print and now I have the Dr. Facliler song from ‘The Princess and the Frog’ in my head
  55. SUNDAY-Left my laptop on all night to upload the Fursuit parade video and it worked!
  56. Likely have to retire my iPad mini after this year, 16GB just ain’t enough!
  57. It’s always funny being functional at 8AM while the party animals slowly lurch to life
  58. Walked away from my backpack by accident Guess I need coffee!
  59. Woofle House to the rescue!
  60. Not trying very hard to sell anything in Artist’s Alley, which is good because I didn’t *le sigh*

    C
    #60: Take my books, please!
  61. I swear I am the only seller in Artist Alley that is standing up.
  62. To be fair, they’re all drawing
  63. And sold more than me 😛
  64. I gave away three books, so there’s that.
  65. New rule: No more using my iPad as an attention grabber, people just watch the videos and block the table
  66. You’re welcome for the name, Kawaii-pool!
  67. Why are there two kinds of Steak N’ Shakes? The ones where you get seated SUCK sometimes.
  68. Elevator conversation:
    Me: “You draw the fluffiest furries I’ve ever seen!”
    Tirrell: “That’s how they’re supposed to look.”
    Me: “Right, but nobody draws them like that.”
  69. None of the pictures I took during Closing Ceremonies came out. Insert joke about Path here.
  70. When someone brings bubble wrap for pick-up to the art show you know they buy a lot of art 0_0
  71. Got plenty of exercise helping tear down the Art show, and earned enough time for a free registration next year!
  72. I had originally planned to stay till Monday, but I have too much adulting to do, so I hit I-35 at 10PM
  73. It was hard for me to leave ‘early’ though MUST PHOTOGRAPH ALL THE FURSUITERS
  74. If you are a fursuiter and I didn’t take your picture, I AM SO SORRY
  75. My friends and I got ‘furtobombed’ by Zig-Zag at the end!
  76. Didn’t run into any of the storms on the drive home but saw lots of scary lightning!
  77. Had a scary moment on a patch of flooded construction, too
  78. Finally got home at 3AM,. I’m tired, but the good kind of tired
  79. Another great show, and I even helped (a little)!

And one late one:

80. At least we only have 11 months to wait until TFF 2018!

Super-Short Stories of Science Gone Mad!

In celebration of Furry Fiesta: Mad Science taking place this weekend, here are a few of my favorite science fiction stories!

A computer created to handle customers goes down, or was it “As Designed?”

What enters his world when a scientist opens a “Doorway” into another dimension?

Intent on taking the world, a madman has to get some minor details ironed out, because it’s”All In The Name.”

One classmate became a business man, the other, a mad scientist; you can imagine how well their “Reunion” went.