92 Things I Noticed at Texas Furry Fiesta 2015

profu
Don’t spill the Chemical X!

Texas’ only furcon, Furry Fiesta, took place last weekend from Feb 20-22 and I had a ball.  So, without fur-ther ado:

    1. PRE-TRIP/THURSDAY: Never been on a 4-day trip that didn’t involve a tent before, time to upgrade my luggage.
    2. Nothing like that ‘did I forget to pack anything’ feeling, luckily there’s a Wally Martinez (Wal-Mart) near the hotel.
    3. Weight on Thursday morning: 267 Hope I don’t spend half the event pulling up my pants like at PAX South.
    4. Then again, that wouldn’t be so terrible 😉
    5. Thing I almost forgot #1-Nintendo 3DS, Thanks, Oscar!
    6. Thing I almost forgot #2-Cologne. Insert joke about ‘no female furries’ here
    7. Thing I almost forgot #3- Apparently my insurance card expired last October.  Oops!
    8. Thing I did forget #1: Ballcap for my Soos cosplay. Doh!
    9. Didn’t drink caffeine in purpose on the way up, finally had to succumb and stop at the Czech Stop for a soda.
    10. And some kolaches.  Mmm, good!
    11. New duffel bag has wheels…I feel so WHITE rolling it around.
    12. I was recognized by someone in the reg line and couldn’t figure out who it was until I heard his furry name.
    13. Felt honored to call Nuka “Doctor” for the first time.  Congrats!
    14. Room is on the 9th floor. Well, I did say I needed exercise XP
    15. Full-color conbook!  Is niiiice!
    16. A friend said the conbook was in color last year but I didn’t care because I didn’t have a story in it
    17. Yay, a fridge in the room…already stocked with overpriced items…BOO
    18. Karma FTL: Joked about the first guy in reg line being their guinea pig, then I ended up being the guinea pig when I upgraded to Super Sponsor.
    19. Prediction: Lots of angel dragons this year.
    20. Private joke: Wolfboy was denied chocolate chip waffles at Waffle House, dude just has bad luck with chocolate.
    21. Waffle House was great!  Now I have another place to stop at when I’m in Austin.
    22. Bad timing though, we bought a total of 15 people there and there were only 2 workers.
    23. They did an admirable job, though!
    24. FRIDAY: Had to get the genuine Waffle House experience the next morning after we swamped them on Thursday night.
    25. Bought a clip-on tie for a cosplay thinking it would be quicker, but it’s more trouble than a real one >.<
    26. Cap or ears with cosplay? Ears, of course.  Ignore #8
    27. It says something when Wally Martinez runs out of bags!
    28. Dafuzz is up with no trash cans on the first floor of the hotel?
    29. The magic is routinely being broken here. I has a sad.
    30. Feel funny hanging my ears on my rear view mirror like they’re fuzzy dice or something.
    31. Semi-retired my ears until I figure out a better way to wear them.
    32. “I’m sleepy” “Drink some coffee” “I don’t drink coffee” “There’s no better time to start!”
    33. Took a quick peek in the adult section of the art auction, funny how the quality of the art dropped a little.
    34. The Corral sends to be much improved this year.
    35. I gave away paper copies of one of my books to a few folks and it felt good, I hope the recipients enjoy them.
    36. Had to abandon my lanyard because my badge was blocking my shirt…oh no, I’ve become one of THOSE cosplayers
    37. Two researchers at the con means two surveys to do. I haven’t had this much homework to do since college!
    38. Obligatory work-related item: Saw a tech-sounding name on a building and the first thought that popped in my head was “Are they hiring?”
    39. Got bumped in the head by a fursuiter at the Bucktown Tiger performance but it was okay, he was padded.
    40. I kinda want to knee people that carry speakers playing music in the nards.
    41. Learned some photography stuff from a ‘fur-tographer’ 😀

      #41
      #41
    42. Heard someone use the phrase “home grown country boy.”  Is there any other kind?
    43. What is a fursuiter without a fursuit at a furry con? Very very sad.  Dude got better, though.
    44. Thing I could have gone the rest of my life without seeing: Tingle-styled zentai suit.  MY EYES
    45. Elevator-con didn’t happen for me, there were a few waits, but they were reasonable.  Kudos!
    46. SATURDAY: “I’m gonna dress as Professor Utonium” “Will you have three girls?” “No, but this is a con, they’ll be around” “Yeah but they won’t be girls” /facepaw
    47. When doing a panel, make it more about the topic, and less about you.
    48. Hell, at least have an outline.  The last time I went to a panel that was that bad it was held by teenagers.
    49. Heard a bird cawing outside, not sure if actual bird or attendee
    50. It says something when I sneeze in the hotel room and someone walking in the hall says “Bless you”
    51. New thing I’m not sure about: Someone had a friend do a badge of their ‘fruitsona.’
    52. Two people have referred to me as Uncle Kage. Not sure it’s complimentary
    53. After my camera battery conked out last year, I used my iPad mini to record the fursuit parade.
    54. …in landscape.  I didn’t want to be THAT guy again.
    55. Got to portray a not-very-nice executive during the voice over panel. That was easy.
    56. Nothing like that NOOOO moment when you realize your 3DS wifi has been off for the last few hours >.<
    57. Next time I think I’ll try a room at the hotel next door because reasons.
    58. Parking Idea: Paint one side of the parking barriers red so people know not to park next to them.
    59. Parking Idea #2: Take the back way through the overflow parking onto Quorum, much faster to get to Belt Line Road or the shopping center across the freeway
    60. Got fur-tobombed while getting my picture taken with a friend, lol
    61. Thing I forgot #2: Small ice chest to store/chill drinks
    62. Wore a lab coat for a costume on Saturday (see above) and kinda liked it, especially the pockets!
    63. SUNDAY:  Still no bags at Wal-Mart? Get it together, people!
    64. Awesome idea: Use cardboard priority mail envelopes from USPS for prints to keep them fresh and un-bent
    65. Boston Market’s 3-person meal could have easily fed 4 but SO GOOOD
    66. Whispered “I don’t read Gold Digger” to the Antarctic Press guy because Fred Perry was right there.
    67. I did buy (and enjoyed) two of his other comics and Furry Tales, though!
    68. Eyeball con: Some wag went around sticking googly eyes onto random things and apparently having pupils on fursuits is not cool anymore.
    69. I was right about the angel dragons, but the ‘no pupils for fursuits’ thing is a mite weird.
    70. Van Morrison’s “Moondance” got stuck in my head after hearing it during the jazz performance Saturday night
    71. That’s not a bad thing, BUT I DON’T KNOW THE WORDS >.<
    72. Whenever I see musicians play live, it makes me miss being in a band *sigh*
    73. Had an impromptu “Be Prepared” singing session in the car and realized I’d forgotten most of the words
    74. From Sunday afternoon afterwards the con was pretty cool, seemed like most of the hyperactive kids had left.
    75. MONDAY / POST-TRIP: Woke up Monday to see a layer of snow outside…CRAP
    76. Okay, ice. I’ve spent 99.999% of my life south of San Antonio and know not of such things 😛
    77. Got some neat “furries in the ice” pictures though!
    78. You don’t know which shoes are good for ice until you actualy have ICE
    79. Well at least I wasn’t wearing sandals.

      #78
      #79
    80. For being a small con, I didn’t see some folks on some days. Odd.
    81. Found a phone, how do we find the owner? Fursuit picture on the home screen of course!
    82. Drive home had a few harrowing moments at the start, but once we left Dallas things were fine.
    83. Still fuzzing cold, though; the Excelsior (my CR-V) still had ice on it when I got home.
    84. Took over 200 pictures during the con, holy cats!
    85. Bye bye, backpack, hello super-sponsor messenger bag.
    86. Not looking forward to seeing how many FA notifications I have pending.
    87. Or work emails for that matter.
    88. Aww #1: No calendar this year.
    89. Aww #2: Didn’t get to wear my “Do not feed the bears” shirt.
    90. Realization upon cleaning out backpack: I have way too many chargers and cables
    91. Weight on Tuesday morning: 268…so why are my pants so bleeping baggy?
    92. Saw a Krystal cosplayer and thought: “Hey, a place where Krystal CAN enjoy her sandwich!
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Earth-Mine

writing
When I started writing fiction, I didn’t give much thought into linking my short stories together or having them take place in a shared universe.  As time went on, I did find myself putting some of them into a few distinct worlds:

“Earth Prime” is our home-sweet-dimension, and given that the majority of my stories involve some combination of furries, super-science, and fantasy, I don’t know that many of them actually take place here.   I do have a few sci-fi stories that take place ‘twenty minutes into the future,’ that is, near enough for us to relate to them (I hope!).

“Earth-F” is a parallel version of our world inhabited by furries.  These stories tend to be humorous and I like to ‘Hanna-Barbera’ the names in those stories.  For example, in a story that took place in a television studio, an older character referred to old-time TV stars such as “Mewcille Ball” and “Droopy Sales.”  I know, I know!

On “Earth H-minus” mankind has destroyed itself in what becomes known as the “Final War” and after their intelligence has been increased due to increased mutations, the furries eventually inherit the Earth.  One as-yet unpublished story takes places in a period where humans and furries coexist, though not harmoniously.  Society is eventually rebuilt by the furries but I haven’t quite hammered out the predator/prey relationship rules yet or if the humans were completely eradicated.  Yeah, its not exactly a happy place.

The ‘Enchanted Forest’ stories obviously happen in a fantasy world, but I haven’t done much there (like come up with a clever name) though it has been established that magic does have limits.  For now, anyway.

I should probably sit down and figure out just where all my stories fit, because inevitably some reader out there is going to try to ‘connect the dots’ and completely screw it up.  Well, assuming I haven’t already!  😀

Click here if you’d like to read some of those stories!

RANDOM REVIEW: 2013 A.D.

2013As the final hours of the year tick away, I have to say that 2013 was a really good one for me.

After years of dealing with apartments and all that malarkey, I broke down and bought a house.  Home ownership has been pretty awesome so far: I went from one-bedroom apartments to a two-bedroom house with a garage and a huge backyard and rabbits and I can barbeque and have friends over and I love it.  Given the age of the house, home repairs and replacing things will eventually come but for now its been smooth sailing.

On the e-book front, I decided to try to sell printed copies of my work at a few conventions and events and failed spectacularly, at least from a business standpoint.  I can count my total sales on my hands.  People just don’t read much anymore, or at least not the types of folks that go to anime or furry conventions.  On the plus side, I did get to talk to lots of folks, present some panels and if nothing else, hopefully inspire some folks to ‘go it alone’ themselves.  I only published one new e-book (should have been two, but life and all that) and definitely need to up my output next year.

2013 was a fun year of conventions, camping, writing, video games, furries, cookies, home maintenance and most importantly, friends and family. I am optimistic that 2014 will be even better; my goal is to compete at least two story collections as well as the follow-up to “The Rules of Tech Support,” which is my best-seller so far.  I am also hoping to attend some new conventions, make new friends, and well, get some work done on the house.  So without any further ado:

MISSION START!

The Long and Winding Words

writingbear

My last e-book “Con Fluff 1: 2012 Furry Convention Short Story Collection” was released seven months ago, and as the 2013 edition won’t be ready for a few months at the minimum, I feel the need to get another e-book out into the wild.  My (virtual) stack of unpublished short stories has been growing and I’m pretty sure that I have enough of them to assemble another e-book.

Since my stories are very short, I have to round up a few in order to assemble a collection of decent length.  One early lesson I learned in my Adventures in Self-Publishing is that five stories was not enough content for 99 cents, as evidenced by the thud that ‘One Sheet Stories’ and ‘FlipSide Stories’ made in their respective marketplaces.  Luckily, people are buying the longer collections I’ve produced since so I think I’ve figured out how much stuff is enough.

The stories themselves are another matter, though.  The longest anything I’ve ever written was about 12 pages.  It also took me a little while to get over my habit of keeping stories about a page long due to printing constraints back in the First Storm Manga days.  Even when I have a hard limit to work with, I try not to think about length, but even then I’m pretty sure that the thought of ‘is it long enough’ rattles around somewhere in my subconscious.

I don’t know that I have a Great American Novel in me but I’d like to write one eventually.  Time will tell!

Everybody Dies…Or Not!

writingbearWhenever I write a short story with the intention of submitting it to a conbook, I have a tendency to want to write a happy or silly story.  I’m not sure why, though it may have something to do with the overall fun atmosphere that I see at conventions.  Nearly every large gathering of nerds that I have been to have been joyous experiences, regardless of the flavor of nerds that are present.

Unfortunately, “stories write themselves,” so that happy story might turn into one that is not-so-happy because I had some bad Mexican food or something.  When this happens, I will end up either rewriting the story to make it ‘happy’ or shelve it completely in favor of a happy one.  I have even had a few instances where I ended up with TWO stories that diverge at a certain point and at othertimes I’m satisfied with the happy story and abandon the other one.

I just feel odd sending a story that doesn’t end with a happy ending or a punchline into such a happy place.  I should probably get over it.  After all, I don’t think anybody actually reads conbook stories at the con because they’re too busy having fun!

Doing It Write

doingitwrongA spectacular failure can have the effect of dropping a big heaping scoop of self-doubt on one’s head.  After failing to sell even a single paper copy of my first furry book, “Con Fluff 1,” in the Artist Alley of Furry Fiesta a few weekends ago, I found myself questioning everything I did there: my sales pitch, my table layout, pricing, and so on.  The bigger question of “Am I Doing It Wrong?” has also been hanging over my head since then.

A friend recently made the observation that I was incorrectly trying to sell clean stories to an audience that was not interested in them.  Given how I joke with friends about how some furry art sites don’t update until you turn off their “not safe for work” filter, I’m hardly in a position to disagree.  A little part of me is wondering if I should cross that line and start writing erotica/smut/porn/what have you.

I’ve never written anything overtly sexual, and I don’t have much desire to…it’s just not my thing.  Despite that, I now have a little nagging voice in my head telling me that if I just cross that line, I will gain a bigger audience.  Oddly enough, the internal debate I am having is reminiscent of when I’ve see artist friends struggle with the question of whether to do fan art for conventions.

While doing your own thing as a creative person is very personally satisfying, it also carries some risk, especially where anime and comic book fans are concerned.  Those fans have popular characters that they like and don’t often take chances on things that are different or new, especially coming from a little-known or new artist.  However awesome an artist’s original creation may be, most folks are going to gravitate to the table with the cool looking Iron Man or Hetalia fanart.  In the same way, I find myself wondering if folks are bypassing my works just because it is clean.

Part of the reason I don’t write smut is that I don’t think I’d be good at it, but that isn’t stopping me from considering crossing that line.  The little cloud of self-doubt that’s been following me around since Furry Fiesta isn’t helping either.

I don’t know.  I guess it wouldn’t hurt if things got just a little more naughty.  We’ll see.

38 Things I Noticed During Furry Fiesta 2013

I'm all ears!
I’m all ears!

For the second year in a row, I headed up to Addison for Texas’ one and only furry convention:  Furry Fiesta 2013: The Time Traveller’s Ball.  I had a wonderful time, and so without further ado:

  1. JUST TAKE THE TOLL ROAD around Austin, especially if you’re going northbound.
  2. Driving up was much more pleasant in my still-pretty-new Honda CR-V
  3. The con was made even more fun by the friends that went with me and the ones I met there!
  4. Artist Alley needs to be a little bigger and supervised.
  5. What? No Rock Band in the game room? Aw, I so wanted to do Power of Love…again and again.
  6. BuckHopper just barely got last year’s Voice Over panel uploaded before this year’s show because he was very very busy with work.
  7. Of course when you realize that his work involves videogames, the amount of sympathy you have for him might drop just a teensy bit.
  8. I think his Voice Recording Basics panel needed to be just a little bit more, well, basic.  My head was spinning near the end.
  9. I was a very sad bear just ten minutes before my panel started because nobody was there. *sniff*
  10. People then started to show up, and I became happy, and nervous!
  11. I burned through my prepared material in a half hour…need to rehearse next time
  12. Things went downhill fast during discussion when the subject of DRM and piracy came up…argh
  13. At dinner, the restaurant owner asks how we’re doing and notices the badges. Her: “Are you here for a convention?” Us: “Yeah!” Her: “What kind of convention is it?” AWKWARD SILENCE.
  14. Seriously, I have never seen nine adults (including me) simultaneously freeze like deer in the headlights.
  15. OH YEAH, ITS AN ART CONVENTION! :3
  16. Luckily, I remembered my ‘training’ the next day. Get some furry common sense, y’all!
  17. One guy trying to explain Furry Fiesta to an older person got “What? Fairy Fiesta?” as a reply. That explains a lot, actually.
  18. I’m not sure which made my attempt to record the fursuit parade worse: the lighting, my iPad mini, or the two rubes that stood next to me…seriously, I kept expecting to hear one playing a banjo and the other a jug.
  19. The Furry Psychology panel filled up quick, they should just give Dr. Nuka a video room next time, it’ll be like college but much less boring.
  20. If the International Anthropomorphic Research Project were to change the last word in their  name to something starting with “F” it would be I-ARF which would be pawsome!
  21. Got my first dose of con funk in AA when some nasty dude decided to sit next to me.  Ended up having to shoo him off later, too…jerk.
  22. Not sure which was better: acquiring a pair of bear ears to wear, or my friend Chris’ reaction to them.  “What the hell are those things?!”
  23. There were lots of Marty McFlys but one guy (a fursuiter no less) NAILED IT.  How?  He had a WALKMAN.  Everybody else GO HOME.
  24. There were lots of 4th Doctors, too 🙂
  25. While my panel went well, my attempts to sell berks in Artist Alley did not. *shrug*
  26. I guess I didn’t really need that Sales Tax ID after all, then.
  27. Speaking of AA: If you are going to be in AA read the rules on the wall and don’t whine like a petulant child when they don’t match your expectations.
  28. $3.75 for gas?  Makes me glad the Excelsior gets about 30MPG on the freeway even with 3 dudes with 3 days worth of luggage.
  29. Thanks for putting us in the ‘annoying kid’ section of IHOP, waiter.  *twitch*
  30. Either the con is short on staff or they were not very noticeable, because I don’t remember seeing very many staff members.
  31. One person in AA had an old school early digital camera that I used to take his picture with a fursuiter: a big chunky HP one that was the size and weight of a brick.
  32. Never mind the burgers (which are good) I want In-N-Out to come to San Antonio because the ‘well done’ fries are the BEST. THING. EVAR.
  33. Boston Market.  We also need them in San Antonio, too.
  34. Some friends call TFF ‘CircleCon’ because everything on the second floor is well, in a circle.
  35. Thing I forgot: Electric razor. The ol’ greymuzzle was showing by Sunday
  36. Every time I thought I was going to need/use my laptop, I didn’t because my iPad mini did the job. I may have crossed a threshold.
  37. Of course, just when I start to get familiar with the area around the hotel, they decide to move it next year.
  38. I’ll definitely have to take Thursday off next year…maybe Monday, too 🙂