34 Things I Noticed During Wild Nights 2014

robinhood
Robin Hood!

I spent the weekend at Oklahoma’s other outdoor furry convention, Wild Nights, and as is always the case, I noticed a few things…

  1. After two false starts trying to go to this convention, itlooks like the third time’s a charm!
  2. Introduced my co-pilot to slot machines at a gas station casino; many apologies in advance if he becomes a gambling addict!
  3. Cell service is zip at the park, luckily I saved the camp maps to my tablet.
  4. At first, I listened in horror as the only FM stations my radio picked up played country music and then luckily stumbled upon a classic rock station…whew
  5. Looks like they got off to a late start with dinner, I hope everyone had a big lunch.
  6. The park is awesome, and even has real trees!
  7. Feels odd to not be wearing my rings, I keep reaching to take them off before I walk to the restroom…TMI, maybe?
  8. Old tech is better #1: LED lights have come a long way, but I’ll take my trusty 2-mantle Coleman lantern for lighting up camp any day.
  9. I thought I was going to be attached to my backpack for the weekend but I surprisingly did okay without it.
  10. Thing I forgot: a handkerchief, its driving me nuts because I keep reaching for it when I cough, but it isn’t there!
  11. Last year, I wrote a story at Oklacon about my own withdrawal from the Internet.  This year, I may scribe a similar story about a friend descending into madness.
  12. The blooping noise the tap makes when getting water is the COOLEST THING EVAR.
  13. I didn’t go to the hat-making panel and spent the rest of the con wishing that I had one!
  14. Idea: Glow in the dark zippers for tents.
  15. Temps were in the fifties outside on Thursday night, WHY were the a/c units on at the cabins?
  16. Robber’s Cave State Park took a little looking for, didn’t help that I took the scenic route.  Stupid Apple Maps
  17. The cave itself took some hunting to find, too, but then again, we went off the beaten path.
  18. Apparently the NOAA weather computer saying ‘shitstorm’ on the radio is the funniest thing ever.
  19. Crepes for breakfast, potato soup for lunch; seems like someone in the kitchen knows what they’re doing!
  20. Didn’t bring the car key for passenger, came to regret it after being asked ‘is it locked?’ every hour or so.
  21. We got caught by the grocery stores in the nearby town being closed early twice, once at 9 and then at 8. I wanted to ask if dancing was also forbidden and that’s because I’m from a small town in Texas.
  22. Nothing like hearing a gust of wind come from the trees then seeing a cloud of pollen descend. Crap.
  23. Scheduling seems to be an issue for Wild Nights, and registration also took a little while. Don’t forget to bring some patience along!
  24. Comparing the two OK outdoor cons: Wild Nights has the better venue, but Oklacon seems to be better organized. Balance of the universe and all that.
  25. Also: At Oklacon, I took home red dirt in the Excelsior as a souvenir. This time, it’s POLLEN. POLLEN EVERYWHERE. *cough cough*
  26. Saturday afternoon turned into siesta time at the con, there was very little going on. Works for me.
  27. Wore my bear ears into town for no good reason. Oh yeah, because I felt like it. That’s a good reason.
  28. Had my first s’more ever, yum!
  29. Once the weather forecast started mentioning thunderstorms, hail, and tornadoes, it quickly lost its comedy value.
  30. Old tech is better #2: While most smartphones were useless, my radio worked just fine.
  31. There appeared to be an exodus of people Saturday as word got around about the impending weather. We hung around, but put everything away just in case we had to make a quick exit.
  32. I don’t think I have ever slept in a top bunk, and after spending a restless night in one, I still haven’t.
  33. This felt more like a camping trip at a furry convention than a convention that involved camping.
  34. Drove into some hail after leaving the event, apparently we just missed the bad weather.  There but for the grace of God we go.

Faith In Humanity -1

It would appear that I may have been ripped off again by an artist at Oklacon this year.  😦  Last year I paid for a commission that I never received, and this year I ordered a print that has not yet arrived in the mail even though the seller said they would be sent out ‘as soon as we get home.’  I am holding out hope that it will appear in my mailbox any day now, but my optimism is fading  now that its 2-1/2 weeks after the fact.

Part of it is my fault, I suppose: I’m often told that I have too much faith in people, and I don’t deny that’s probably true.  I like to think that most people are honest, particularly if they are conducting business,  so I didn’t bother getting the names of the folks involved.  After all, they have my contact information and they can let me know if something comes up.  Unfortunately, that also leaves me no recourse should the seller fail to deliver. (ba-doom tish)  I hold out hope that the sellers weren’t being dishonest: maybe life got in the way, or they lost my address or USPS lost the package or their computer crashed or house burned down or something else happened to explain why I didn’t receive that which I paid for.

Like I said, too much faith in humanity.

It sucks that some less-than-honest (or perhaps incompetent) characters that were in the Dealer’s Den have to cast a cloud on what was otherwise an fun time.  I plan to going back to Oklacon next year, but I’ll be holding onto my cash a little more tightly.

Naturally, the optimist in me still expects to find that print in the mailbox tomorrow, but he’ll eventually give up after another week…maybe.

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!

2013 Convention Schedule

Photobomb by Amanda Rogers of mural-magic.com
Photobomb by Amanda Rogers of mural-magic.com

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!

RANDOM REVIEW: 2012

2012 was an interesting year for me.  I got into my first car accident, purchased a new vehicle, and started going camping again.  Needless to say, ‘interesting’ doesn’t always mean ‘good.’

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:

“I am a furry”

“You don’t bring a knife to a gunfight, and you don’t bring human art to a furry con.”

“This reminds me of an episode of My Little Pony!”

“There’s just something about seeing your name on paper.”

“I think Dust has restored some of my faith in gaming.”

“I know darn well there’s no signal, but I keep checking my phone. I may have a problem.”

This one is from Dec. 2011, but its too good to not revist: ‘and then came the fishnets’

 

 

11 Things I Noticed After Oklacon

I would drive one thousand miles…

Of course, now that its all said and done, one last list.

  1. I heard more conversations about DnD this weekend then I have in my entire life up to this point.
  2. Not sure which is worse: watching the Dallas Cowboys nearly blow the game on TV or hearing them nearly blow it on the radio.
  3. I put 1,000+ miles on the Excelsior during the trip…whew.
  4. Three days of sleeping on the ground made me really appreciate my bed.
  5. I was fortunate enough to have only encountered one raccoon.
  6. 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.
  7. Gas at Buc-ees was $2.99 a gallon for regular unleaded, WOW.
  8. The logjam I hit on I-35 South going home had me wishing I’d taken 281 instead, ugh.
  9. RED DIRT EVERYWHERE GET IT OFF GET IT OFF GET IT OFF
  10. Lesson learned: if I come back I’m getting a tent spot away from the bathrooms and the campfire.
  11. I am so glad I took Monday off from work to recover.  After what happened the last time, I almost stayed home!

40 Things I Noticed During Oklacon

Have some corn squeezens!

I’ve never been to an outdoor convention before, nor to Oklahoma, so Oklacon promised to be a different experience.  Indeed it was!

  1. Parking on top of the hill made me appreciate having a Honda CR-V instead of a Dodge Neon all the more.
  2. Standing in the slow registration line wasn’t all that bad after 7+ hours on the road.
  3. I was a little worried about finding a decent radio station, then realized I should have been more worried about reception.
  4. Apparently only loud people stay up late at night…argh
  5. Chopping wood in the middle of the night?  SERIOUSLY?
  6. I know darn well there’s no signal, but I keep checking my phone. I may have a problem.
  7. About the only thing I could do with this phone was update this list.
  8. As is the custom, Artist’s Alley was located in Mos Isley.
  9. The hard ground kept me from sleeping at night, but at least I was warm. /shrug
  10. There were no smut writers at the artist’s meetup, or at least none willing to own up to it.
  11. The weather was pretty nice once the chill got out if the air…unfortunately it got a little too warm on Saturday.
  12. Doesn’t seem to be much concern about ‘breaking the magic’ here…then again there isn’t a ‘headless lounge’ either.
  13. I enjoyed the ‘Furry common sense’ panel, learned a lot of ‘good to know’ information.
  14. Love the little ‘codes’ they put on the badges.
  15. They had ‘predator’ and ‘prey’ designs for the baseball caps, clever.
  16. Bears are omnnivores, so I could go either way…fark it, I bought one with a predator design.
  17. Someone reportedly got cactus needles stuck in their hand, not sure if there was a mouse available to assist.
  18. What would a ‘redneck’ fur like Mr. Drunky up there be called?
  19. Bad Science was DEPRESSING, though Dr. Nuka kinda turned it around at the end
  20. Favorite new phrase, heard during Bad Science: “Animal Malfunction”
  21. Got my first badge commission done. I liked it, and I paid for another one.
  22. I really need to establish a fursona, the second artist I purchased a commission from had all these questions and I was all “I DON’T KNOW!”
  23. Some guy called me ‘Ed’ and totally confused me until I realized it was on the badge I had commissioned and was now wearing.
  24. Nothing like thinking you lost your wallet to make for an exciting evening.
  25. One benefit of being an early riser is there’s always hot water in the shower.
  26. Big thanks to whomever left the giant bottle of body wash in the showers.  Not that I was out, but ‘fresh mango’ wasn’t quite the vibe I was going for…need to check the label next time.
  27. I woke up on Saturday morning to find someone asleep on top of a hill…WTF?
  28. Finally realized what I had forgotten to bring: A roll of toilet paper.  Granted, they had plenty, but still, I always feel better having a spare roll.
  29. The bathrooms got progressively worse and worse as the weekend progressed, but I’ve used outhouses, so no biggie.
  30. Second thing I forgot: an air mattress.  I sleep on my side and my hip bone was constantly touching the ground as I slept…ow!
  31. The Mini Moon Pies were okay until the sun came out on Saturday,  oh well.
  32. Trebuchets are cool.
  33. Everything felt inverted: I eventually purchased a badge to identify myself as being straight.
  34. The fursuit parade got moved FORWARD an hour? They know we’re OUTSIDE, right?
  35. Never been to a con that had two fursuit parades, so that was cool.
  36. Sat in on a International Anthropomorphic Research Project group chat and learned a little bit more about myself.
  37. Someone made an interesting point: we use funny animals to entertain our children and expect them to forget about them once they grow up.
  38. When I heard they were making stone soup, I got a mental image of people throwing Cheetos, Pocky and M&Ms into the pot.
  39. Judging how much heat is coming out of a propane stove in the middle of the day is tricky.
  40. When the wooden handle on your saucepan catches fire, there’s too much heat.