- PREP/THURSDAY Taking a 14″ grill along, which is adding a layer of ‘fun’ to prepping for the trip
- 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.
- Always have to make one last trip to the store!
- Good idea: Use Telegram to communicate. Bad idea: Virtually no cell service at convention.
- Leaving my rings at home. Not wearing them only bothers me when I walk out of the restroom.
- Thing I left at home: condiments and tortillas >.<
- When they say chicken strip dinner at Braum’s, they ain’t joking!
- What’s with the pudding cup, though?
- Picked up tortillas and BBQ sauce at the Waxahachie HEB, crisis averted!
- We drove 400+ miles across Texas to eat at Pizza Hut in Oklahoma on Thursday night. 😀
- Gas lantern providing light. AM/FM radio providing weather and entertainment. Hooray for old technology!
- Super-bright LED lanterns should come with deflectors.
- If you’re setting up a tent at 1AM with a super-bright LED lantern, you suck.
- FRIDAY I’m genuinely a little disappointed that I can get a cell signal out here, but that’s what airplane mode is for.
- 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.
- Glad to get snapshots of a few fursuiters…a shame my friend whose fursuit fan I fixed wasn’t one of them.
- The criteria for being a guest at a furcon now seems to be: Be somewhat popular!
- People playing Nintendo Switch in the mess hall…REALLY?
- Hearing hacking and coughing throughout the camp, glad we’re outside
- Electrical cords running into tents make me sad.
- McDonald’s for breakfast on Friday, we’re really roughing it!
- They seem to be a little behind in getting situated, no crafting/panel tents were set up until Friday afternoon.
- We went hiking and everybody stopped when cell service resumed.
- Nothing like BBQ hamburgers for lunch and dinner!
- Fancy people have to melt the chocolate and the marshmallow for fancy s’mores.
- Maybe too fancy: I don’t think graham crackers should have grill marks.
- WolfBoy does not care how much your beef jerky costs.
- Nothing like being overprepared for the storm Friday night.
- The campfire area was closed off on Friday night. Aw.
- On the plus side: NO MIDNIGHT AWOO.
- SATURDAY Storm didn’t come until early today, but we were ready for it!
- There is a special place in hell for people that have a crowing rooster as their alarm…and abandon their phones
- We don’t care for quiche so it was off to Mickey D’s again.
- Are there really that many people wanting quiche and crepes for breakfast at a camping trip??
- PROTIP: If you haven’t figured this out already about Wild Nights: Bring food.
- I’d forgotten how polite small town grocery store people can be. NO, I DON’T NEED HELP WITH…oh
- My hometown doesn’t even have a grocery store anymore, so yeah.
- I ran a stop light in town. Sorry.
- “Your poncho is pink.” “It was red when it was folded up.”
- 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
- Random conversation I could have done without: “What is your name?” “Eduardo Soliz.” *long pause* “WHY?” “You look like some Asian guy.” HUH?
- Nothing says ‘oblivious to my surroundings’ quite like people blocking the whole sidewalk that is SURROUNDED BY MUD. MOVE IT.
- LOL at the weather radio saying ‘Arkansaa.’
- Waiting in the bathroom for the storm to pass.
- About to storm like crazy but DAMMIT WE BOUGHT FAJITAS AND WE ARE GOING TO HAVE FAJITAS.
- And s’mores, of course
- “Okay, guys, here’s the plan to get in the car, we’re going to…” *BOOM* RUN LIKE CRAZY!
- What do you do when the camping con gets rained out? Sleep in a bunkhouse!
- SUNDAY Crap it’s cold. Crap it’s cold. Crap it’s cold.
- I know it annoyed some people, but the 90s car alarm repeatedly going off in the morning was hilarious to me.
- Note to self: Buy a cheap shower head for the small bathroom shower.
- And maybe some soap holders.
- I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that hardly any of this has to do with the con itself.
- 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.
- I think they meant to do that.
- The business that gave us the Fudge Cheese Butter sign appears to be no more, aww
- AFTERWARDS/CASINO Funny that ‘Try Everything’ comes on over the PA as we’re entering the casino. THEY KNOW.
- I had to at least try the slots that had bears on them…no better luck, though.
- We had to eat ‘Krispy Krunchy Chicken’ after seeing the name. Tasty!
- 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.
- No luck at the casino, guess it’s back to work on Tuesday.
- If you’re dropping money into the slots at 9AM you might need help.
- Yes, that includes me.
- I wonder which table at breakfast is ours…OH, it’s the one with the T-Rex hand puppet.
- When you have a hand puppet on your table, some rando will inevitably ask why it is there.
- After the fact, I have a box of hot cocoa and two things of Jiffy Pop left. Stupid weather.
- While the con itself wasn’t much to speak of, we had a great time!
After (too many) years since my last trip to the iconic Texas summer getaway, I decided to take stay for a night to see if anything had changed since then. I’m glad to say that the park is mostly the same, but I did notice a few things…
- It is only a two hour drive from San Antonio to Garner, as opposed to three and a half from my parent’s house. WHAT TOOK ME SO LONG?
- I took Highway 90 on the way over, and will likely take the ‘scenic route’ on the way home.
- Shocked to find hardly any vehicles at the park office, think I picked a perfect time to come!
- Temperature notwithstanding, anyway.
- Slept without the benefit of air conditioning at home the night before to prepare myself. Not too hard.
- Resisting the urge to turn on my CR-V’s air conditioner on the drive over, however, was quite difficult!
- Lost my cell signal somewhere between Sabinal and the park. Didn’t miss it…
- Okay, maybe I missed it a little, but that’s because I’m waiting to hear back about an interview.
- Despite the low number of cars at the park office, I still had to wait a bit.
- I pulled number 70 and the last one helped was 65. People have no patience!
- My original plan was to stay two nights, but I shortened it to one…maybe once it isn’t a billion degrees out.
- It has been so long, I only have vague memories, but a few were jostled loose when I drove by the campsite I (think) I stayed in last time.
Upon reaching my site, I had to take a picture of my CR-V like it’s in one of those SUV commercials.
- Set up my tent only to find the zipper on the door isn’t working quite right. Crap.
- Only packed sandwiches and snacks to eat; I have no desire to prepare or eat any hot food while I’m here.
- Not bringing my stove and any food to heat up made packing harder somehow.
- Chili lime chips are the closest I’ll get to heat today.
- I’m keeping my Pebble Time smartwatch on even though my cell phone is kaputski. It still works as a pedometer, and well, a watch.
- Hiked down to the riverbank, had the obligatory ‘slip on the muddy ground/slick rocks’ moment.
- It is hard to resist taking panoramic pictures. Some beautiful country, here.
- Finding trash around cheeses me off, and I pick up what I can.
- I can appreciate the irony in the gift shop selling bottle openers.
- Yes, I bought one, because why not?
- Picked up a cane sugar Dr. Pepper from the ‘Stinkin’ Sweet’ candy store to make sure it wasn’t defective.
- Also bought a bumper sticker. Thanks to some unintended help from Verizon (see #7) it’s pretty easy to stay unplugged.
- Didn’t do any tubing, but went for a refreshing swim by the dam.
- Is there a rule that says the only people that buy portable speakers have to have the crappiest taste in music?
- The tube/paddleboat rental shack is no more, replaced by a trailer.
- They also have a food truck ‘Garner Grill.’ Dunno if they have tacos.
- Spent most of the afternoon sitting at my campsite, listening to the radio and working on this list.
- I also spent about twenty minutes just looking at birds.
- Didn’t do much, really, but that’s kind of the point.
- My $15 Emerson analog radio picks up The Eagle from San Antonio, yet my CR-V doesn’t. Huh.
- Jackrabbits are freaking HUGE.
- Saw a guy walk into the men’s room shower followed by his dog. Damn furries.
- Garner Grill has the best food truck slogan ever: “Where fat free can take a hike.” No tacos, though.
- They did have burgers, of which I partook. Hooray for convenience!
- Got a story idea while waiting for my food. Hooray for inspiration!
- I was a little surprised at how active the wildlife got once the sun went down.
- Annoying music coming from a car at a nearby camp. If his battery dies, and they ask: No, I don’t have jumper cables.
- Annoying music stops, and I can now hear music coming from somewhere else. *sigh*
- You don’t know how sunburned you are until try to go to sleep.
- It was a fitful night’s sleep. I’m not sure if it was the heat or my bedding that kept me up.
- One night of tent camping is definitely enough in Texas’s August heat.
- The scenic route home was a fun little drive.
- I look forward to coming back when the temperature isn’t so brutal!
I have a trip planned for this weekend (to Furry Fiesta) and as I begin to pack, I ask myself the same question that I do every trip:
Do I bring my laptop along for the ride?
I have a smartphone and a tablet and while they both do a decent enough job at keeping me connected to my precious data out in the cloud, I always find myself going back to Ye Olde Laptop. I always need to have it with me whether I’m going to visit my folks or I’m at a convention or yes, even camping.
The most obvious advantage to the laptop over mobile devices is the screen size. My smartphone has a 4-inch screen and I have no desire to get a huge phone (or ‘phablet’ as self-important tech writers call them). The iPad mini is okay at 7.9 inches, but even then, a good chuck of that gets eaten away by the on-screen keyboard, and I have no desire to upgrade to a full-sized iPad or fork out a c-note for a decent keyboard accessory. Speaking of keyboards…
The second obvious advantage of a laptop is the presence of a full-sized keyboard. More importantly, especially to me, as a writer, the laptop keyboard actually has all of the keys. I’ll never forget how flabbergasted I was when I was merrily typing away on my iPad mini’s Microsoft Office program and discovered that there was NO TAB KEY. WHAT. THE. FRAK.
Speaking of ‘having everything,’ the most important benefit of having a laptop is that it has Windows. While iOS and Windows Phone can do lots of stuff, neither one can do everything. Even the Microsoft Office app on Windows Phone feels kind of half-assed (no tab key there, either *sob*) so if I need to do Serious Things I need to have Windows.
Finally, for all my tech knowledge and willingness to try new technologies, I tend to stick to old habits to a certain degree. I still use a desktop, rarely watch video on mobile devices, prefer to get media on physical discs and still have a checkbook. Based on that, it looks as if I’m stuck lugging around my old faithful 14″ Toshiba for the near future.
Or maybe not, I see there are Windows 8.1 tablets out now. Hmm… 😉
This year marked my second Oklacon, and I did a much better job of keeping up my usual list despite, or maybe because I kept it on old-fashioned paper!
- Fursuit parts are apparently very good for keeping yourself warm.
- This is a great con for attention whores: Just yell or talk very loudly and EVERYONE on the campsite can hear you.
- Anyone playing the guitar at 7AM should be shot or at least kicked in the nards.
- I’m thinking that its about time to retire my old Sears Hillary tent. 😦
- I was happy I could get a signal on my Verizon iPad in nearby Watonga, OK, but then I got to the campsite annnd its gone!
- Even instant cappuccino tastes great when you’ve been sleeping in 30-degree weather.
- I’m not sure which is bothering me more: not wearing my university ring or not having a comb in my pocket.
- Someday Dr. Nuka will tire of my ‘What’s up Doc?’ greeting and get all sciencey on my tail.
- Somehow ‘All My Exes Live In Texas’ got stuck in my head.
- They should probably make sure the participants are able to play volleyball out of suit first.
- Plastic hammer + heavy metal stakes = FAIL
- I was a bit overdue for a shave on Thursday but the cold is keeping me from doing so.
- Good idea: Putting QR codes on my dealer’s table sign. Almost Good Idea: Putting QR codes on my dealer’s table sign at a con where cell reception sucks.
- Maybe its just me, other folks seem to be doing just fine. Just what I need: another reason to dump Sprint.
- I learned today that Canada apparently has its own version of Texas called Alberta. The thought that each country in the world may have its own ‘Texas’ might explain a lot…and fills me with fear.
- One of the researchers was having problems with her camera and was getting frustrated, I had to quip: “This is the part where they usually call me at work.”
- Even though I’m not at work, my tail was still dragging at about 4PM…should have had that second cup of coffee!
- The collective rolling of eyes could almost be heard whenever someone insisted they were the only one in the furry fandom whose fursona was an X.
- Best money I’ve spent recently: $15 for a small stool for sitting in the tent; its a little snug in the forbidden zone, but otherwise worked well.
- Its funny how the lack of data turned my smartphone into a glorified watch…and a phone.
- I only posted once to social media all weekend and haven’t missed it. It feels good to be talking to people that are actually sane.
- The rain snuck up on us Friday night but surprisingly nothing got into the tent…there but for the grace of God go I.
- Unlike last year, the bathrooms were kept up and I even contributed by plunging a few times and even fixing a toilet, nice to put that homeowner skill to use.
- I should have been annoyed by Reville being played at 9am, but instead I found it amusing…because I was already awake.
- My writing panel went well, four people showed up!
- Hot dogs? At a furry con? Say it ain’t so!
- My laptop is a battery…a big, frakking, heavy battery.
- The zipper on my tent was misbehaving and the first thing that came to mind was ‘MY KINGDOM FOR SOME DUCT TAPE!’
- Things I forgot to bring: wet naps, duct tape, mayonnaise and once again, a roll of toilet paper.
- I could only not shave for so long, Saturday night the face fuzz was gone.
- I might need to switch to Mountain Dew from coffee, the Dew seemed to keep Nuka going.
- He graciously gave me one of his, and I gave him some of my cough drops, balance of the universe and all that.
- Yeah, it was great to hear my dealer-neighbors bicker back and forth like an old married couple…which they probably were.
- Furries apparently really hate sports, which is yet another way I stick out in that club in addition to being straight and over 30.
- From the ‘clever idea’ department: Previous year’s con shirts: $12 for 1 or $10 for 2
- Hearing the rules for ‘Predator and Prey’ made me think of ‘Calvinball.’
- When in Rome: I got mustard on my camera’s strap during lunch and my first instinct was to try to suck/gnaw it off.
- Part of me want to either stay in a tent alone or get an A-frame bunk next year…hmm.
- f I had known coffee cups/mugs were going to be sold at the auction I would have been there in a shot.
- I wonder what the organizer thought when I gave him my tax form that said “Sales: $4”
- A guy nearby needed help tearing down his ‘insta-tent.’ I knew there was a reason I didn’t like those things.
- Well, that and they cost twice as frakking much.
- Very thankful to have a second person in the car on the drive home, I probably would have had to stop for sleep otherwise.
- Saw so many Braum’s burger/ice cream/grocery joints on the drive up/back that we had to stop at one on the way home. Quite good! Still haven’t been to Waffle House.
- Put over 1,100 miles on the Excelsior the whole trip and used up just over two and a half tankfuls of gas.
- Flying J has REALLY good coffee. That, or drinking instant coffee at work for so long has ruined my taste buds.
- We encountered absolutely zero traffic problems on I-35 from Oklahoma City all the way down UNTIL we hit San Antonio and spent 25 frakking minutes going the last 5 miles home…REALLY, SAN ANTONIO?
- Good Idea: Empty fridge beforehand so no food goes bad during the drip. Problem: No food in fridge to eat upon return.
- While I only sold 2 storybooks during the weekend, it was still 2 more than I sold during Furry Fiesta. *shrug*
- Thank you, Sharon.
- I can’t wait to do it again!
Another year means another bunch of conventions to attend and enjoy! Unlike previous years, where I was either just an attendee or assisting with other folks’ tables, I will be peddling my wares at some of these events. Buy or die!
While this isn’t a convention per se, I plan on showing up and selling my books at the St. Phillip’s Anime Club Anime Show held every weekend at Bubblehead Tea just south of downtown San Antonio on the first Friday of nearly every month. I don’t know that I’ll have a table every month, but its a fun free event to go to and hang out at.
Ushicon, Feb 8-10, Round Rock, TX – Ushicon is an 18+ only anime convention, this will be the first time that I am attending, so I’ll be curious to see how different it will be without the usual Pocky and Ramune-fueled teenagers running around everywhere.
Furry Fiesta 2013, Feb 22-24, Addison, TX – After gushing over Furry Fiesta last year, coming back is a no-brainer, but this time I’m hoping to do a panel on e-book publishing, maybe sit around in Artist Alley for a day or so and have fun.
Mizuumi-Con 6, March 23, San Antonio, TX – San Antonio’s second biggest anime con should be loads of fun again, hopefully the gym won’t become a sauna like it did last year. I plan on having a table at this one also.
Wild Nights, April 25-29, Robber’s Cave State Park – Despite Oklacon being an ‘okay’ event and not a ‘knock my socks off’ one, I am eager to try another outdoor convention. Wild Nights takes place in a different part of Oklahoma and as there aren’t very many other furcons near Texas, let’s give it a shot!
Texas ComicCon 2013 June 21-23, San Antonio, TX – I like Texas Comic-Con, and I want to like it more, but its venue is a dump and the show has become the ‘same thing every year’ for me, so I’ll probably go just for a day to hang out with friends.
Anthrocon 2013, July 4-7, Pittsburgh PA – Anthrocon is the world’s largest furcon, and something I’d really like to go to, but I’m on the fence on making the trip because of the money involved. Stupid car payment and rent going up.
San Japan 6, Aug 16-18, San Antonio, TX – The 500-lb gorilla in San Antonio, San Japan is a blast. I’m not 100% sure of my plans for it right now, but I’m fairly certain I won’t have a table so I’ll get to actually have fun.
As most of these conventions take place in the first half of 2013, I may add another event late in the year, money permitting of course. Hope to see you somewhere!
After a year of experimenting with e-publishing my first e-book: “One Sheet Stories.” I finally completed “The Rules of Tech Support.” It has been doing fairly well. I have also published “Seven Super-Short Sci-Fi Stories” and “Con Fluff 1” since then, so things are coming along nicely on the writing front. Curiously enough, I am now moving from the digital realm to the physical one: 2013 will see me showing up at conventions to sell paper copies of my books and hand out business cards and flyers to get the word out about my writing. In all honesty, I’m looking forward to going out and talking to people, pressing some flesh, and then reaching for the hand sanitizer. 🙂
In February, I went to Furry Fiesta to see what the whole ‘furry’ thing was about. There, I discovered a bunch of cool creative people and decided to venture further down the rabbit hole (ba-doom, tissh) when I got back. I went to some local meets, made some friends, and even went to a second furcon, Oklacon, in October. While Oklacon wasn’t quite as knock-my-socks-off as Furry Fiesta was, I still had a good time. In addition, furry conventions have provided me with a plethora of themes to write for, culminating in my first furry e-book: “Con Fluff.”
Somewhere around August, I got the feeling that my ‘side projects’ were getting in the way of my own. Being the drummer in a band, the editor for a video game website and helping out with a new convention that was starting up in town was just taking up too much of my time, so I quit everything. Indeed, as the last few hours of 2012 tick away and 2013 approaches, I am now just a writer of stories, podcasts and blogs.
I’m looking forward to 2013, it should be a fun year full of conventions, stories, new people to meet and of course, furries!
Happy New Year, y’all!
Some of my favorite posts from 2012:
This one is from Dec. 2011, but its too good to not revist: ‘and then came the fishnets’
Of course, now that its all said and done, one last list.
- I heard more conversations about DnD this weekend then I have in my entire life up to this point.
- Not sure which is worse: watching the Dallas Cowboys nearly blow the game on TV or hearing them nearly blow it on the radio.
- I put 1,000+ miles on the Excelsior during the trip…whew.
- Three days of sleeping on the ground made me really appreciate my bed.
- I was fortunate enough to have only encountered one raccoon.
- No matter how tired I am, no matter how many hours I’ve spent on the road, no matter how badly I want to get home, there’s always time for a stop at Buc-ees.
- Gas at Buc-ees was $2.99 a gallon for regular unleaded, WOW.
- The logjam I hit on I-35 South going home had me wishing I’d taken 281 instead, ugh.
- RED DIRT EVERYWHERE GET IT OFF GET IT OFF GET IT OFF
- Lesson learned: if I come back I’m getting a tent spot away from the bathrooms and the campfire.
- I am so glad I took Monday off from work to recover. After what happened the last time, I almost stayed home!