42 Things I Noticed at Guadalupe State Park

It has been a while since my last solo adventure at Guadalupe State Park. I had spent a night with friends in freezing temperatures back in December, but that’s neither here nor there.  As always, I noticed a few things…

handwriting
#1 Needs Improvement
  1. I wrote this list down on paper and thought about posting scans of the pages. I looked at my terrible handwriting and thought better of it.
  2. I think I like taking Blanco Road up to the park instead of 281, fewer lights and a more relaxed drive.
  3. Also more jackasses tailgating you on the slower parts, but what can you do?
  4. Had to take a site with electricity due to the water-only campsites being worked on, oh well.
  5. Nothing like that OH GOD, PLEASE DON’T BREAK feeling when putting up tent poles.
  6. Of course the sun comes out after I set up the tent and go hiking.
  7. Sound that I don’t miss: Vehicles.
  8. Yes, I have my phone on me, for pictures. With the ringer muted and my smartwatch on, I don’t have to worry about missing calls.
  9. There aren’t many people here, which is nice.
  10. Since I don’t go outdoors as often as I should, I find myself constantly wondering what all the noises are.
  11. Lots of butterflies about, even managed to photograph a few.
  12. More work in the park being done near the river, not sure what’s going on there.
  13. Beginning of hike: Feels good! One hour later: Whew!  Nearing camp on the hike back: OMG ARE WE THERE YET?
  14. Got spooked by a large bird taking off from the branches above me, nothing like that WOOSH of big wings flapping.
  15. As I neared camp, I wondered if maybe I should have packed sandwiches instead of canned food.

    butterfly
    #11 Butterfly!
  16. Surprised I haven’t burned off my eyebrows from lighting my camp stove yet.
  17. It’s nice to have camping cooking equipment instead of borrowing from the kitchen.
  18. Upon further review, hot food for lunch hit the spot!
  19. Slightly disappointed that I still have a cell signal, but at the same time it’s good to know it’s there.
  20. I’d been going nuts trying to find one of my flashlights only to find I had left it in my tent when I folded it up back in April.
  21. Note to self: Take the picture first before trying to move in closer. Armadillos spook easily.
  22. Also: Don’t only pack food things that contribute to heartburn. Off to H-E-B.
  23. Yes, I always have to say ‘LET THERE BE LIGHT’ whenever I light my lantern.
  24. Had a story idea pop in my head mid-afternnon. It had an unfortunate ending until a more optimistic one came to me during dinner. Don’t write when hangry if you want happy endings.
  25. If you like them, they’re ‘critters,’ if you don’t, they’re ‘varmints.’
  26. They had better not be any awoo-ing while I’m trying to sleep tonight.
  27. Heard a bunch of what I hope were fireworks at around 8:24pm.
  28. This being Texas, gunfire isn’t necessarily unusual, though.
  29. Shop towels aren’t bad for washing dishes.
  30. Always gotta find that one dark spot in camp for, how can I put it, ‘taking care of business’ without having to walk to the men’s room 😀
  31. Got spooked by a pair of raccoons fighting in a nearby tree.
  32. I had put up my food and know to not feed the wildlife, so to the victor, go no spoils.
  33. I’m not saying I’m paranoid about raccoons, but I’m making damn sure the Excelsior (my Honda CR-v) is locked whenever I’m not nearby.
  34. Almost fell into temptation during the trip to H-E-B, but avoided stopping at the Whataburger across the street for dinner.
  35. Thing I forgot: Radio.
  36. Idea: Replace the ‘nut-buster’ tripod chair I use in the tent with a small beanbag.
  37. Nice to know the animal I’ve been hearing for the last half hour was just an armadillo
  38. Armadillos are noisy!

    cooking
    #17 A perfect fit!
  39. My battery pack can charge my phone all the way…now that I have a smaller phone!
  40. The overnight weather was perfect, cool without being too cold.
  41. I chose poorly at breakfast; sometimes a McDonald’s McGriddle isn’t worth the lousy service.
  42. Going to pass by my old office on the drive home, going to be hard to not flip the bird at the building as I pass.
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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!

51 Things I Noticed at Oklacon 11

oklaconlogoThis 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!

  1. Fursuit parts are apparently very good for keeping yourself warm.
  2. This is a great con for attention whores: Just yell or talk very loudly and EVERYONE on the campsite can hear you.
  3. Anyone playing the guitar at 7AM should be shot or at least kicked in the nards.
  4. I’m thinking that its about time to retire my old Sears Hillary tent. 😦
  5. 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!
  6. Even instant cappuccino tastes great when you’ve been sleeping in 30-degree weather.
  7. I’m not sure which is bothering me more: not wearing my university ring or not having a comb in my pocket.
  8. Someday Dr. Nuka will tire of my ‘What’s up Doc?’ greeting and get all sciencey on my tail.
  9. Somehow ‘All My Exes Live In Texas’ got stuck in my head.
  10. They should probably make sure the participants are able to play volleyball out of suit first.
  11. Plastic hammer + heavy metal stakes = FAIL
  12. I was a bit overdue for a shave on Thursday but the cold is keeping me from doing so.
  13. 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.
  14. Maybe its just me, other folks seem to be doing just fine. Just what I need: another reason to dump Sprint.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.”
  17. Even though I’m not at work, my tail was still dragging at about 4PM…should have had that second cup of coffee!
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. Its funny how the lack of data turned my smartphone into a glorified watch…and a phone.
  21. 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.
  22. The rain snuck up on us Friday night but surprisingly nothing got into the tent…there but for the grace of God go I.
  23. 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.
  24. I should have been annoyed by Reville being played at 9am, but instead I found it amusing…because I was already awake.
  25. My writing panel went well, four people showed up!
  26. Hot dogs? At a furry con? Say it ain’t so!
  27. My laptop is a battery…a big, frakking, heavy battery.
  28. The zipper on my tent was misbehaving and the first thing that came to mind was ‘MY KINGDOM FOR SOME DUCT TAPE!’
  29. Things I forgot to bring: wet naps, duct tape, mayonnaise and once again, a roll of toilet paper.
  30. I could only not shave for so long, Saturday night the face fuzz was gone.
  31. I might need to switch to Mountain Dew from coffee, the Dew seemed to keep Nuka going.
  32. He graciously gave me one of his, and I gave him some of my cough drops, balance of the universe and all that.
  33. Yeah, it was great to hear my dealer-neighbors bicker back and forth like an old married couple…which they probably were.
  34. Furries apparently really hate sports, which is yet another way I stick out in that club in addition to being straight and over 30.
  35. From the ‘clever idea’ department: Previous year’s con shirts: $12 for 1 or $10 for 2
  36. Hearing the rules for ‘Predator and Prey’ made me think of ‘Calvinball.’
  37. 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.
  38. Part of me want to either stay in a tent alone or get an A-frame bunk next year…hmm.
  39. f I had known coffee cups/mugs were going to be sold at the auction I would have been there in a shot.
  40. I wonder what the organizer thought when I gave him my tax form that said “Sales: $4”
  41. A guy nearby needed help tearing down his ‘insta-tent.’ I knew there was a reason I didn’t like those things.
  42. Well, that and they cost twice as frakking much.
  43. Very thankful to have a second person in the car on the drive home, I probably would have had to stop for sleep otherwise.
  44. 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.
  45. Put over 1,100 miles on the Excelsior the whole trip and used up just over two and a half tankfuls of gas.
  46. Flying J has REALLY good coffee.  That, or drinking instant coffee at work for so long has ruined my taste buds.
  47. 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?
  48. Good Idea: Empty fridge beforehand so no food goes bad during the drip. Problem: No food in fridge to eat upon return.
  49. While I only sold 2 storybooks during the weekend, it was still 2 more than I sold during Furry Fiesta. *shrug*
  50. Thank you, Sharon.
  51. I can’t wait to do it again!

How Home Sweet Home It Is!

homeAfter years of dealing with annoying neighbors one wall (or floor) over, lousy parking, poor management, constantly increasing rents and not being able to own a cat without a big deposit and paying ‘pet rent.’ I am finally going to take the plunge and buy a house.  I’m almost there, too:  if all goes well I’ll be a homeowner within a few weeks.

Its a big step for me and more than a little bit scary.  For better or for worse, I am setting down roots here in San Antonio.  There’s also the whole ‘what happens if I lose my job’ bit, but these days, that cloud is constantly hovering over everyone’s head, so that’s nothing new.  Instead, I choose to focus on the Good Things associated with having my own home:

It’s my house, and if you don’t like it… – On a philosophical level, an apartment is never ‘really’ yours, and it will be nice to do whatever I want without having to ask myself whether I’ll be dinged for something when I move out.  Also, there is the whole ‘investment’ angle, but I don’t care too much about that.  In my opinion, the mentality of the home one lives in being an ‘asset’ instead of a ‘home’ is partially to blame for the nutzoid homeowner’s associations I always hear about in the news.

More room! – I have always lived in one-bedroom apartments and even lived in a efficiency once when things got tight.  Unless I get a Unabomber special (i.e. an isolated shack)  I’ll be getting a 2-bedroom house at the bare minimum and it will more than likely have a garage, too.  That’s going to be a LOT of extra space that I’m not sure I know what to do with.  I might rent out the extra room and I hear garages are great places to store things.  I’m also looking forward to hosting parties again, it has been way too long since I’ve hosted a Super Bowl or New Year’s Eve gathering.

Do What I Want – One of the crappier parts of living in apartments is you have to be careful with your noise level lest you arouse the ire of your neighbors.  While I am not a very noisy person, I do like to turn up the sound when I play video games and movies and have occasionally been ‘that guy’ that has had his stereo or surround sound system up too loud.  Conversely, I have also had to bang on a few doors and tell neighbors to tone it down.

WOW a Garage! – My parent’s house does not have a garage and so I have never had the pleasure of having one.  Based on what I have seen from friends, I understand it is a storage space.  I might go nuts and actually keep my vehicle in mine.

KITTEH! – I have wanted to have a cat for some time, but as I mentioned in the intro, certain things about apartments have kept me from getting one.  I can now acquire a cat and hug him and pet him and hold him and call him George. 🙂

Good Old Gas – My parents have a gas stove, and it is awesome.  I have not lived in a place that has had a gas stove since I moved out, and cooking food has royally sucked since.  One of my requirements for a home is that it have a gas connection so that I can once again experience the joy of heating up tortillas and hot dogs the way God intended.

House Party – When I had a bigger apartment a few years ago, I loved having friends over for games and even Super Bowl and New Year’s parties or two.  It won’t be too long before I’ll be hosting get-togethers and this time we can crank up the tunes! 😀

Buying a house is big and scary and fraught with pitfalls, but I’ll take the hits as they come and look forward to the good things that come with owning a home, like freshly-warmed tortillas!

24 Things I Noticed While Moving for the Umpteenth Time

Well that's just ducky!
What every new home needs!

I turned in the keys to my old apartment today, and so I once again bid farewell to one apartment while getting settled into a new one.

  1. Whily my method of shuttling stuff back and forth with my compact car is horribly inefficient, it gets me plenty of exercise.
  2. Okay, yeah, its ridonkulous and I should just do everything at once next time.
  3. I thought “why is it pink instead of blue?” upon seeing the toilet paper and rubber duckie above and then I saw the Susan G. Komen card and pink ribbon.  Ohhhh.  Derp.
  4. Speaking of which, I always leave a roll of toilet paper in the old place. I’m not sure why, its just something I do.
  5. Sometimes I wonder if I am really this elated at being here, or am I just high from paint fumes?
  6. It only took two trips to move the crap that wouldn’t fit in my car, so yeah, I should have packed everything else up.
  7. Cable guys are much more efficient when you have the apartment folks call them.
  8. That’s a good thing, too, because once again, I’m facing the wrong way to get a satellite.  Rats.
  9. Digital thermostats are awesome.
  10. The new place’s built-in shelves can hold all of my games and movies, and it is BEAUTIFUL!
  11. I have been in such a better mood now that my commute has been cut in half.  God, how I hate traffic, and once those really tall ramps (or skyways as I like to call ’em) on 281/1604 are done, the commute should be smooth sailing.
  12. My commute should be cut about in half, which is good because holy cats, gas is getting expensive!
  13. It really says something when even the dollar store in the new neighborhood is nicer.
  14. The nearest HEB is an older one.  Somehow, this isn’t a problem.
  15. The nearest Wal-Mart got upgraded from a “Raunchy-Mart” to a Supercenter since my last visit.  Nice.
  16. The nearest Best Buy might just be a little too close, I think I need to freeze my credit card…I mean literally, as in ICE.
  17. I should have gotten rid of that old living room furniture a LONG time ago.
  18. Shopping for new furniture has been a drag so far, maybe I should just get a bunch of beanbags, or move my bed into the living room.
  19. Moving stuff while working the 9-6 shift work during the wintertime SUCKS.
  20. Really, it wasn’t until that first Saturday that I went, “Gee, this is what this place looks like during the day.”
  21. The water heater at my old place didn’t hold enough hot water to take a bath, no wonder I was so cranky there.
  22. The oven here isn’t much bigger than the one at my old place, but at least it has A LIGHT! Seriously, the last one felt like an Easy-Bake.
  23. The margin of error on that thing is pretty darn thin, though, one long paragraph or trip to the bathroom and I end up with dark brown instead of golden brown cookies.
  24. My TV looks kind of small now, maybe its time to upgrade! 🙂

Cheesy New Year Fun!

I’m not a fan of big gatherings (anime cons nonwithstanding) and thus, I usually spend New Year’s Eve at my parents’ or at my apartment if I’m not up for making the drive to visit them.

A few years ago, I was living with my parents during some rough times, and it was New Year’s Eve.  Thanks in part to the crappy job I had at the time, I had decided to just stay in and really not do much of anything.  It was a pretty lackadaisical evening, and I soon had a craving…for CHEESE!

Not just any cheese, mind you, but melted cheese with Ro-Tel diced tomatoes made in a Crock-Pot with tortilla chips dipping into the melty cheesy goodness…mmmmm.  I told my folks I was going to the store to get the ingredients, and suddenly inspired by the power of the cheese (or perhaps the power of the suggestion of cheese, but that’s being anal) they went to the store as well to get shrimp, cocktail sauce, vegetables, ranch dip, and drinks.

Soon, I’m cubing cheese, Mom is cutting vegetables, and Dad is going next door to invite family over.  What began as a humdrum evening soon became a fun time with family and friends, and all because of THE POWER OF CHEESE!

Fast forward to December 31, 2009…I decided to stay at home for New Year’s Eve because there was an anime convention I wanted to go to that weekend.  As I’m at my desk working (and seething over having to work on New Year’s Eve), I soon had a craving…for CHEESE!  I was practically drooling as I punched in the ingredients list into my phone, intending to stop at the store on the way home.

I arrived home at my apartment, and went to rinse out the Crock-Pot before getting started.  I figured it would just be me and the cheese hanging out at home for New Year’s, oh well.  I then got a phone call from a friend, it seemed he and his wife had just gotten home from their holiday trip and were wondering what I was going to do for New Year’s.

I replied that I was going to make some cheese and probably play some Rock Band, so I figured what the hey and invited them over.  They said yes, and a few invites sent via text message later, I had a group of friends over hanging out, playing games, and just having a good time…all because of THE POWER OF CHEESE!

Some folks have black-eyed peas for New Year’s, my mom makes menudo (which I sadly often miss *sniff*) but I’ll be whipping out the old Crock-Pot next New Year’s Eve in order to UNLEASH THE CHEESE!

Side note:  I never use Velveeta, I have found that the generic/store brands (HEB in particular) have less sodium and more cheesy goodness!