66 Things I Noticed During Furry Fiesta 2016

fuzzies
#19 Taking a ‘fuzz-ie’
    1. BEFORE-Starting on this list two weeks before the con. Good Lord, do I need this vacation.
    2. The mobile scheduling website thingie works much better on my iPhone, but come on guys, no app?
    3. Even though I now have an iPhone 6, I’m debating using my iPad mini to record the fursuit parade.
    4. Note to self: Free up iPhone storage before event for ALL THE PICTURES
    5. I’ll be staying at the overflow hotel a block away this year and praying for no rain.
    6. BY MYSELF. BECAUSE REASONS.
    7. Debating getting a haircut, my bear earses look better when I have some fuzz up top, but carrying the Edfro around does get a bit warm.
    8. /looks at forecast Guess I’ll have to invest in an umbrella
    9. Got over 10,000 steps in the two days before the con 😀
    10. THURSDAY/DRIVING THERE – It says something when the tech support nerd is the ‘normal guy’ in the car.
    11. That is to say: I’m the only one that doesn’t have a fursuit
    12. Okay, so I might be just a little jealous
    13. YES MARY I HAVE THE AIR MATTRESS
    14. Missed one turn in Dallas and getting un-lost was an adventure, as well as costing me a few bucks in extra tolls >.<
    15. People are worried about the rain but the humidity is going to kick my pants
    16. Overflow hotel is nice!
    17. Forgot to bring registration email. Thank you business center!
    18. Must take pictures of all the fuzzies!
    19. PROTIP: Hold your camera horizontally to get selfies with fuzzy peoples!
    20. Hotel WiFi is dog slow, whatever happened to having an Ethernet connection in the room?
    21. I like the motivational hotel key card: REST UP AND GET BACK OUT THERE
    22. FRIDAY-Waking up at the same time you normally get up for work when you’re on vacation = BLARGH
    23. Two Waffle House trips in a row? Yes, please!
    24. Weather has been slightly uncooperative, but I’m dealing with it.
    25. WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU HAVEN’T SEEN ZOOTOPIA YET?! *head asplodes*
    26. Did we HAVE to put the furry smut peddlers just inside the Dealers Den entrance?
    27. Seeing my cover art on paper (twice no less) made me squee!
    28. No more throwback ashtrays in the men’s room stalls. I’m just a little sad.

      lot
      #29 Uh-oh
    29. Looking at the getting-muddy annex parking on Friday afternoon made me VERY happy that I am staying in the overflow.
    30. Friends with cameras, PLEASE STAHP TAKING PICTURES OF ME!
    31. Two panels so far, one meh and one bad, no wonder they’re asking for feedback
    32. Can I give a panel on how to give panels?
    33. I probably should, especially considering how many people have been asking me ARE YOU DOING A PANEL HERE?
    34. About to go get some gel inserts because my feet are KILLING ME
    35. SATURDAY-There’s something appropriate about starting the day with a bowl of Lucky Charms
    36. Had homework to do too, the annual Furry Survey
    37. Some interesting questions this year, looking forward to seeing the results
    38. Went to voice acting panel even though my voice is shot, just couldn’t resist
    39. Voice acting presenter handed out shinies to participants! YAY SHINIES!
    40. Okay, so they were ribbons, but still! YAY RIBBONS!
    41. They don’t seem to have people monitoring the panel room entrances and checking times, are they short on volunteers?
    42. Finally got to see Furry Psychology all the way through. I will openly admit to internally squeeing when I saw the little shout-out.

      20160315_132346248_iOS
      #40 YAY RIBBONS!
    43. It seems that Twitter is becoming a preferred way for furs to communicate.  I’m @randomizer9, by the way!
    44. Two times you don’t see many fursuiters during a furcon: early in the morning and just before the fursuit parade
    45. Lucky for me the parade wasn’t longer, my iPad almost ran out of memory!
    46. Not sure if having a coffee at 10PM was a good idea, guess I’ll find out
    47. I don’t dance and I don’t drink, so there ain’t much for me to do Saturday night.
    48. Hmm, use crappy hotel WiFi to slowly upload my video, pay for ‘faster’ and hopefully not crappy WiFi, or ‘borrow’ the business center’s printer’s network cable? 😉
    49. SUNDAY-Three trips to Waffle House? Why the hell not?
    50. FYI: We don’t have Waffle House in San Antonio, hence the slight obsession.
    51. It’s kind of nice to be sitting in Artist’s Alley, I can take pictures of fursuiters as they come by 😀
    52. A wiseenheimer told me I was going to leave with one book left, and he was right. /shrug
    53. If you want to be a ‘planner’ you have to plan EVERYTHING
    54. Checking my pictures for duplicates and realizing half of them are photobombs.
    55. 620PM and the sun is still out? What order of madness is th…oh, that’s right. Daylight savings time >.<
    56. At the Scritch n B*ch, slightly disappointed at a lack of taking ownership of the issue and not presenting the obvious solution to #41
    57. That is to say: WHY DON’T YOU VOLUNTEER SMART GUY
    58. I think I will next year, there are a few gaps of time when I’m not doing much, like on Saturday night.
    59. If you feel a need to prefix your feedback by saying ‘I am not whining,’ YOU ARE WHINING

      burd
      #64 Early bird!
    60. We’ve put a non cute fursuiter into a cute fursuit…let’s see when happens
    61. What happens is he sobs: “I DON’T KNOW HOW TO BE CUTE”
    62. Didn’t have the heart to tell the gal handing out shot glasses that I don’t drink, oh well.
    63. Realized I forgot to take my Vitamin C on Sunday OH NOES CON FUNK
    64. MONDAY/AFTERWARDS – Saw one last fursuiter in the lobby Monday morning, he said he was in “power saving mode.”  I think we all were by then!
    65. Final picture count: 339 WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO ME IPHONE
    66. Already have my lab coat ready for “Mad Science” next year!

It’s the Apps, Stupid!

windowsAfter months of learning to live with Windows 8 on the desktop, I picked up an ASUS VivoTab 8 tablet back in early 2015.  Finally, I would get to experience Windows 8 with a touchscreen, just like God Microsoft had intended!

As much as I like to think that I ‘got’ Windows 8 before, using it with a touch screen was wonderful.  No more fumbling with sides and screen corners!  The stupid charms on the right side of the screen finally made sense and I could bring them up by swiping in from the right side instead of madly fumbling around for for the magic spot with my mouse!  Life was great!

That euphoria lasted for about five minutes until I tried to pull up the News app and it crashed.  I checked for app updates in the Store, and there were none to be had.  So much for that.

I am totally on board with the idea that there should be desktop apps Just like the ones we have on our phones and tablets.  I shouldn’t have to go back to my web browser to do things.  Indeed, I would love nothing better than pick up my Windows 8 tablet and left-swipe from app to app to get things done instead of having to go back to Ye Olde Desktop unless I want to.

Unfortunately, Microsoft’s apps suck.  Everywhere.  They sucked on Windows Phone, sucked on Windows 8 and continue to suck on Windows 10.  Until they stop sucking, I’ll find myself going back to my desktop and my browser or using my iPhone or iPad.  Don’t like it, Microsoft?  THEN MAKE YOUR APPS STOP SUCKING!

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!

23 Things I Noticed During Alamo City Comic Con

ComicCon Loot!
ComicCon Loot!

Its been some time since I’ve done one of these (or anything for that matter) so without any further ado:

  1. Arrived in downtown SA at 930 on Saturday as I was worried about finding parking, luckily it wasn’t a problem at that hour.
  2. The con did have some good guests, but I’m not into ‘celebrity worship’ much; I attend cons to hang out with friends and be supportive by flinging money at some of them.
  3. That said, it was awesome to meet Rob Paulsen and get the Pinky half of my ‘Pinky and the Brain’ print signed. 🙂
  4. Guests that I don’t “get” : reality TV show participants and cosplayers.
  5. A friend had a decent explanation for cosplayers being a ‘thing’ now: They are our models/supermodels.  Fair enough. Still don’t get it.
  6. It was kinda neat that one could get autographs from all four of the original voice actors from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon. Cowabunga!
  7. This is probably the biggest fan con I’ve been to; took me a while to see the whole thing.
  8. Granted, it wouldn’t have taken quite so long if I hadn’t stopped to say hi to all my friends scattered about.
  9. Funny moment: I was standing on the loading dock chatting with a friend when Ernie Hudson walked out talking on his cell phone.  He stood nearby for a while talking on the phone then just ran off.  Dafuq?
  10. I saw Nichelle Nichols and some other folks walking by shortly after, didn’t want to be “that guy” so I simply waved hi.
  11. Saw Stan Lee on a news report afterwards, he makes me slightly less ashamed to own a “Members Only” jacket.
  12. Dear Guardian Knights Comics: Say what you want, but the ‘animal characters’ in “Gears and Bones” are furries.  This is not a bad thing.
  13. Speaking of furries: I saw a few fellow fuzzers walking around, which is always good.
  14. Even more furries: the cosplay I noticed most often was Rocket Racoon, mostly by women. I have no problem with this.
  15. I really need to get a good pair of sneakers, my casual shoes became slip-tastic once wet.
  16. I made a mental note to buy a paleta from the guy that’s usually in front of the convention center before leaving but it seems I missed him. Hijole!
  17. Craziest T-shirt : “I GOT RIPPED OFF BY [name of other con]”  That’s some kind of messed up right there.
  18. I ran into two candidates for “Patient Zero.” You know who you are.
  19. Cannot mention this enough: Having a Whataburger within walking distance of the convention center is THE BEST THING EVER
  20. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU construction people for restoring the connection from Market Street to 281 northbound.
  21. I probably wouldn’t be as tired after the fact if I had a job where I walked around at least some of the time.
  22. Yes, I managed to gripe about work even here. I’M SORRY!

RANDOM REVIEW: Nokia Lumia 520 / Windows Phone 8

My God, its full of squares!
My God, its full of squares!

THERE AND BACK AGAIN

It was only a matter of time before I cracked and ended my ‘dumbphone’ experiment.  But what to get next?  I had already owned two Android phones in the past, both of which became progressively crappier as they got older, so Android was a no-go.  I have no desire to own an iPhone, despite owning an iPad mini that I am happy with.  Thus, I thought I would give the ‘other’ mobile OS a try: Windows Phone.  I went to Ye Olde Electronics Store, picked up a Nokia Lumia 520 AT&T GoPhone, signed up for a $60 a month unlimited talk/text plan with 2GB of data, and hoped for the best.

This is actually my second exposure to a Microsoft mobile operating system.  My first smartphone was a T-Mobile Dash (aka HTC Excalibur) back in the dark days of Windows Mobile 6.  While it was not a bad device, Windows Mobile 6 was an odd duck and I switched from it to Android once I had the chance.  So, I’m back to where I started, as far as smartphones go.

This review is based on my having owned the phone for three weeks, with my last phone being an Acatel 871A.

HARDWARE

In terms of hardware, the Lumia 520 is basic: a 4-inch touchscreen with a resolution of 800×480, a 5MP camera on the back with no flash, and WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS.  On the top left is a standard 3.5″ headphone jack, on the bottom center is a micro-USB charge/transfer port, and volume/power/camera buttons adorn the right side of the unit.  Back, Start and Search buttons sit below the screen.  (Side note: I really wish Search buttons on phones would go away, bring back the Menu button!)  The phone uses a micro-SIM, and comes with 8GB of built-in memory that can be expanded using a microSD card.  I like having the power button on the right center, though it took just a little bit of getting used to.  The back has a rubbery finish, which I actually prefer, and I believe the screen is glass.  The phone is solid without feeling too cheap.  The only thing missing in terms of hardware is a front-facing camera and a status LED of some sort: my last phone (Motorola Photon) had a status LED which enabled me to quickly look at it and identify what the last notification was or charge status by its color.

Call quality has been good and I was able to successfully sync the phone with my vehicle via Bluetooth for hands-free operation.  The phone’s speaker is quite loud; I don’t believe I have missed any calls yet for not being able to hear the ringtone, a problem I have had with other phones in the past.

I do have a few gripes with the hardware, the screen seems to love finger oils and gets dirty very quickly, so much so that I’m considering investing in a screen protector.  While Nokia and Microsoft like to tout the Lumias’ super-sensitive screen, it is a bit too sensitive for me, but it can be adjusted.  This is my first exposure to AT&T’s LTE service, and while its speeds have not been as awesome as I have become accustomed to on my Verizon iPad mini it is fast enough to do what I need and even video has worked well.

WINDOWS PHONE

I’m sure many of you reflexively said ‘WINDOWS, EWW,” upon reading the title of this post, but I like Windows, and thank you for continuing to read.  I have used Windows for years, it lets me do whatever I want to with it, and I know how to burrow into it and get my hands dirty if need be.  Sure, Windows 8 does leave a bit to be desired, but I’ll take even that over OS X or Linux any day.  While Windows is a great big negative for many people, (especially in the mobile world) it is a plus for me.

So, Windows Phone, then.  The biggest difference between Windows Phone and its competition is the Start Screen and its use of ‘live tiles,’ instead of icons.  Live Tiles display information in real-time, such as the number of emails you have waiting or random pictures of folks in the People tile.  The system is pretty flexible in terms of letting you arrange them.  One of the first things I did was remove of most of them, particularly the AT&T apps, most of which require monthly fees.  I guess $60 a month isn’t enough.

Unlike Android and iOS, which arrange their home screens horizontally, Windows Phone does things vertically: instead of swiping right and left, you swipe up and down to navigate the Start Screen.  Swiping from right to left pulls over a full list of apps ordered alphabetically, and tapping a letter in a list brings up a screen with the alphabet so you can quickly find things.  I like the Modern/Metro user interface; one thing that I greatly appreciate is that text is actually readable.  One beef I’ve had with previous smartphones is how darn tiny text is often displayed, so having big letters I can easily read is great.

ppl
Raccoons are people too!

While there is a minor learning curve with Windows Phone, the biggest adjustment I had to make is that Windows Phone does not have a ‘phonebook’ or ‘contacts’ app.  Instead, your contacts are stored in an app named ‘People’ that can be synced to include your contacts from Facebook, Google, Hotmail or even Twitter.  The integration with other services and social media websites is very impressive:  When you pull up a person’s information in the People app you can see their latest status update and in addition to the usual ‘call’ and ‘send text’ options you can send emails, post to their Facebook walls, or even mention them on Twitter.  Windows Phone does its best to sync your contacts with social media profiles, if it doesn’t catch one, you can actually specify which profile to match up to a contact. Very nice!

Another thing that has impressed me about Windows Phone is how quickly push notifications come: I will be chatting with a friend on Facebook on another device and my phone will beep within seconds of receiving a chat reply.  It becomes mildly annoying but is a small price to pay for expediency.

One of the problems I had with Android phones is the lack of system updates: unless you buy a Google-branded phone or a super-pricey one you could expect one or maybe two updates at best, then either the manufacturer calls it a day or the carrier decides to be a jerk and not push any new updates through in the hope you’ll get a new phone.  One thing I quickly noticed about Windows Phone is that I could not specify a custom ringtone for app notifications or e-mails.  I did a little research and learned that Microsoft had pushed out an update that fixed the problem.  I checked for updates, but none were to be found.  Crap.  Time will tell if that will change, but for now custom notification sounds are a no-go (you can assign specific ringtones to people, though).  This is an annoyance, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to survive without my phone telling me “You’ve Got F-ing Mail.” 😉

APPS

And now we get to the elephant in the room: Apps.  You may have heard that the Windows Store does not have as many apps as the other guys and yes, that is very true.  I myself use very few apps (which made it easier to stop using a smartphone in the first place) but even then, there are some notable ones missing, such as Dropbox.  Dropbox is a pretty significant omission, but Microsoft is more than happy to provide built-in SkyDrive support as well as a Microsoft Office app.

I like that there is an official genuine Office app included, even if it is a bit stripped down.  Microsoft Office alternatives, in my experience, have ranged from ‘pretty good’ to ‘ick.’  So while it is a bit inconvenient to have to migrate my stuff over to SkyDrive from Dropbox, I think it will be worth it in the long run.  If you are considering making the jump to Windows Phone and you are an app junkie, it would definitely behoove you to double-check and make sure your favorites are available on Windows Phone.  The included apps do their jobs well, but the included HERE Drive + navigation app did get a little squirrelly during a recent trip.

The 520 is responsive, though I will occasionally see a “Resuming…” screen for a few seconds when switching from app to app (Quick tip: holding the ‘Back’ key brings up your currently open apps) but otherwise the phone performs well.  I should note that I do not play games on my phone so I can’t vouch for its performance there.

CONCLUSION

I have been happy with my Nokia Lumia 520 and Windows Phone thus far.  There was a bit of a learning curve involved with Windows Phone but now that I know my way around, it is a pleasure to use.  While there are a few minor annoyances, my overall experience with the 520 has been positive.  The Nokia Lumia 520 is a basic, but quality device that is priced right at $100.  That it is a no-contract phone is icing on the cake; unless you are constantly streaming music and/or video, 2GB is enough data for most people.

That said, Windows Phone is not for everybody.  If you like customizing your phone, get an Android.  If you are highly invested in Apple’s ecosystem or have an iOS device that you already love, get an iPhone.  If you are new to smartphones, actually like Microsoft and their services (Hotmail, SkyDrive, etc) I say that Windows Phone is definitely worth a try.

Nokia Lumia 520 gets 4 out of 5 Live Tiles.

The author received no compensation for this review.

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!

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’