Some San Antonio furries (including me) were filmed for a segment on the KENS-5 news!
Another year, another Texas Furry Fiesta. As much as I like San Japan, TFF is my favorite convention bar none. Sadly, this is the last year in the Dallas InterContinental, but it went out with a bang!
- BEFORE-I wanted to start this list two weeks before the show, but that would have been a bit much. Two days it is, then.
- I put more effort into picking T-shirts for conventions than I do into dressing for my job
- The same goes for shaving: I’ll regularly have a 5 o’clock shadow at work but usually shave whenever I’m going to be with friends.
- Had to resist the urge to put “Skills: Striking fear into the hearts of men” on my volunteer application.
- Should have mentioned my ‘command voice,’ though.
- Seeing Facebook keep going ‘REMEMBER ALL THE FUN YOU WERE HAVING 2/3/4 YEARS AGO’ these last few weeks has been maddening
- Went over last year’s list that I apparently DID start two weeks prior, guess I’m getting more patient as I get older.
- Planning on using my point-and-shoot for pictures instead of my iPhone, too many dark pictures last year.
- Still using my iPad mini to record the parade, though, just need free up lots of memory beforehand!
- Sing just came out on video, I wonder if there will be anyone cosplaying? (there wasn’t that I could tell anyway)
- Bluetooth speakers at cons SUCK. I have bad taste in music too, but I keep it to myself.
- Lucky for me Riverdale is not showing this week. I don’t mind waiting for the next Powerless, BUT I MUST KNOW WHO KILLED JASON BLOSSOM
- THURSDAY-Passenger: You better be ready to go at 9. Me at 930 on Thursday: Still waiting for him
- I pity people that have been to Whataburger without having a Breakfast on a Bun. THAT’S NO WAY TO LIVE
- Siri turned my friend’s last name into ‘Command’ so that is his last name now
- Took a shortcut down some caliche roads to bypass a big accident on I-35 North.
- Yeah maybe I shouldn’t have washed he car yesterday
- Made it past the accident okay, though!
- Not liking Braums is a crime, apparently
- Thursday and the hotel parking lot is already full, oh boy
- Friend as we’re going to the room: “This hallway smells like B.O.”
- Funny that I’m going to spend part of my vacation working (as a volunteer) yet I don’t mind
- Volunteering: Started off helping unload some stuff, kinda wish I’d showed up earlier to help more.
- Furst World Problem: Being swatted by someone’s tail.
- Volunteering: It was fun helping at Kempi’s, I am going to totally miss the Disco Dungeon!
- Weird moment (for me, anyway) “Didn’t that guy have the prettiest eyes?” “Sorry, but I’m straight.”
- I ended up splitting a room in a single instead of a double, we used a pillow as the ‘border.’
- FRIDAY-Surprised at how unorganized the volunteering seems to be early on, (it got better)
- Idea (that may not work): E-mail verified volunteers blanks of the tracking sheets.
- Volunteering: Spent a couple hours in the con suite playing barkeep at the snack bar some more in the morning
- Mary Mouse is just too busy, I need my Certified badge!
- The panelist didn’t show up to the first panel I went to…I have yet to miss one of mine…just sayin’
- These guys really need to purchase a legit scheduling app. The ‘purchase’ part means it likely won’t happen, though
- Kept getting asked: “Are you doing a panel?” I think it’s safe to say me doing panels is a thing now.
- My apologies to my friends when I don’t recognize them in or out of fursuit: I have enough trouble remembering people that only have ONE name and face!
- Decided to belt out Be Prepared at Kempi’s during karaoke and loved it. I kicked into my vocal ‘fifth gear’ that I very seldom use.
- Ten buck special at Boston Market = good eatin’ Going to miss all the close places to eat next year
- Finally figured out to hold my camera by its sides when showing pictures to fursuiters so it doesn’t flip back to camera mode when I’m showing them pictures
- Probably just need to invest in a new camera already.
- SATURDAY – I want to go to panels but keep bailing on them to have fun with friends!
- Or getting double-booked and leaving a panel early to go to another one
- If you’re asking for questions fifteen minutes into your panel, you might need more material, but it worked out.
- Having an intro written to start your panel isn’t a Bad Thing per se, but it depends on the type of panel
- Lobby ATM machine barfed on me multiple times throughout he weekend, argh
- Fursuit parade seemed to go quicker this year
- Someone swatted me with their tail! How wude!
- Love to upload the video while I’m here, but the 3.1 GB file ain’t uploading over hotel wifi anytime soon, maybe overnight.
- I’m learning that sitting is weird when you have a tail, even if it is just a nub!
- The pictures from my point and shoot are coming out so much better than the ones from my iPhone last year
- Note to self: Get fursuiter pictures when you have the chance, because that StarFox suiter was way cool, but I missed him!
- I was working, though /shrug
- Volunteering: Checking for badges gets a little weird when people have them on their waist/belt
- Okay, so I’m a prude.
- Bought a voodoo-themed print and now I have the Dr. Facliler song from ‘The Princess and the Frog’ in my head
- SUNDAY-Left my laptop on all night to upload the Fursuit parade video and it worked!
- Likely have to retire my iPad mini after this year, 16GB just ain’t enough!
- It’s always funny being functional at 8AM while the party animals slowly lurch to life
- Walked away from my backpack by accident Guess I need coffee!
- Woofle House to the rescue!
- Not trying very hard to sell anything in Artist’s Alley, which is good because I didn’t *le sigh*
- I swear I am the only seller in Artist Alley that is standing up.
- To be fair, they’re all drawing
- And sold more than me 😛
- I gave away three books, so there’s that.
- New rule: No more using my iPad as an attention grabber, people just watch the videos and block the table
- You’re welcome for the name, Kawaii-pool!
- Why are there two kinds of Steak N’ Shakes? The ones where you get seated SUCK sometimes.
- Elevator conversation:
Me: “You draw the fluffiest furries I’ve ever seen!”
Tirrell: “That’s how they’re supposed to look.”
Me: “Right, but nobody draws them like that.”
- None of the pictures I took during Closing Ceremonies came out. Insert joke about Path here.
- When someone brings bubble wrap for pick-up to the art show you know they buy a lot of art 0_0
- Got plenty of exercise helping tear down the Art show, and earned enough time for a free registration next year!
- I had originally planned to stay till Monday, but I have too much adulting to do, so I hit I-35 at 10PM
- It was hard for me to leave ‘early’ though MUST PHOTOGRAPH ALL THE FURSUITERS
- If you are a fursuiter and I didn’t take your picture, I AM SO SORRY
- My friends and I got ‘furtobombed’ by Zig-Zag at the end!
- Didn’t run into any of the storms on the drive home but saw lots of scary lightning!
- Had a scary moment on a patch of flooded construction, too
- Finally got home at 3AM,. I’m tired, but the good kind of tired
- Another great show, and I even helped (a little)!
And one late one:
80. At least we only have 11 months to wait until TFF 2018!
This super-short story was inspired by the good-natured ribbing I received from a friend when he heard I was going to a furry convention (Furry Fiesta 2012). I took his sass, made it a little more meaner and had a little fun with it.
From “Ten Tiny Tales,” a collection of early stories.
I love soda. For me, there’s nothing like the simple pleasure of an ice cold soda: The little cloud of gas you see when you first open up a bottle, the sizzling sound the fizz makes, the taste, and the feel of the fizz as it goes down your throat are all wonderful. Even the aftermath, in the form of a good belch, carries a certain appeal. Okay, so I’m a guy. Sue me.
I received a gift card from a friend for Christmas a few weeks ago and pondered over what to purchase with it. My friend had gifted me a card from an electronics store, which was cool, but I wasn’t really wanting for a video game or computer equipment or a new tablet, or really, anything related to technology. What to do, what to do. Then it hit me. I excitedly checked their website and was delighted to find the store sold SodaStream machines.
I was less than delighted to discover that they were not in stock at any nearby stores. No biggie, I could wait a week or two.
I have thought about getting a SodaStream for a while. The idea of concocting my own soda flavors at home is very enticing. Producing less waste is also nice, though I do recycle my cans. The up-front cost of a machine kept me away, though, but thanks to my friend’s gift, I would pay less than half the cost of a SodaStream Fizzi.
I received my Fizzi, excitedly opened the package and removed the contents. It came with the unit, a CO2 bottle rated for 60 liters of soda, a one-liter carbonation bottle, what I presumed was an instruction booklet, and a coupon of some sort.
The SodaStream Fizzi stands at just over 16 inches tall, so it just fits under my kitchen cabinets. I have to pull it out so I can press the carbonation button, but that’s a minor inconvenience. The Fizzi doesn’t need electricity so there is no power cord to get in the way.
The carbonation bottle has a little bit of heft to it. The fill line and expiration dates are clearly marked and the opening is fairly wide, allowing for fairly easy filling and cleaning. Interesting note: While the bottles are marketed as being 1L bottles, filling it up to the appropriate level takes less than a liter of water.
I was perturbed to find the booklet included with the device was full of legalese and warnings. No instructions. I get that SodaStream machines are supposed to be easy to use, but some guidance would have been nice. All I got was a paper foldout with pictures that was stuck to the back of the unit. No words, just pictures. Okay, I guess it is that easy. I quickly glanced at the pictures and concluded that there wasn’t much to it.
Also disappointing was the lack of any syrup. I wondered if it was a trade-off in exchange for receiving a full bottle of CO2. My understanding is that SodaStream machines originally came with a very small CO2 bottle that didn’t last very long and made people unhappy. That said, I was aware of that shortcoming coming in, so I took the liberty of purchasing a bottle of SodaStream’s Diet Cola flavor as well as a bottle of water enhancer.
The first step was to install the CO2 canister, which was simple enough. First, I removed the seal and the plastic cap from the canister. Then, I removed the back panel of the Fizzi, screwed the canister into the the machine, and replaced the panel. So far, so good!
I rinsed out the carbonation bottle, filled it with the appropriate amount of water, and snapped it into the machine. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to screw it in or what, but it appeared to stay in place so I figured it was okay. I then held my breath, firmly pressed the big carbonation button at the top of the unit, and water sprayed everywhere.
Remember that quick glance from a few paragraphs ago? I neglected to notice the correct method of inserting the bottle, which is to pull out a plastic backrest at an angle and then insert the bottle. At this point, I was a little gunshy after getting water all over my countertop and gingerly added a second shot of fizz without spilling any more water. Unfortunately, I wasn’t sure how much to fizz the water at that point, so my first bottle ended up not quire as fizzy as I would have liked. I’ve read online that screwing up your first bottle is a common occurrence, so it seems I’m just as silly as everyone else.
Future bottles went off without a hitch. The Diet Cola flavor I purchased tasted okay but adding water enhancer was much tastier. I have yet to try my hand at making my own flavors but will likely look online for some recipes before I get too adventurous.
Even after making a few bottles, I’m still not quite completely sure when I’ve fizzed the water enough. A sticker on the top of the unit says to fizz until you hear three puffs, but I don’t always hear them. I have yet to under-fizz another bottle, though, so I’m apparently doing it enough…or maybe too much? Time will tell how many bottles I get out of that 60L container.
After getting over the initial (messy) learning curve, I’m enjoying my SodaStream Fizzi. I’ve already purchased another pair of 1-liter bottles and look forward to eventually mixing up my own fizzy waters. With a start-up cost of $100 for the Fizzi and a pair of extra carbonation bottles; SodaStream isn’t exactly the most cost-effective solution compared to buying off-the-shelf, and as anyone who has tasted a Dr. Pepper knock-off will attest, their flavors won’t quite match up to the originals. The value of a SodaStream to you will depend on how much you enjoy soda. Would I have bought one without that gift card? Probably not, but as a fan of fizz, I’m glad I did.
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) November 9, 2016
So Donald Trump won. I’m disappointed, but at the end of the day, the majority of people are good, and many that voted for Trump had reasons for doing so that didn’t involve hate or fear.
God Bless America.
Instead of my usual ‘things I noticed’ list, I’m going to take a different approach with this post-convention blog post. At every convention, I see lots of neat artwork from independent artists. Sometimes there are independent game studios showing their wares, and they will often have some pretty cool demos to check out.
This past weekend I attended HavenCon in Austin, Texas. HavenCon bills itself as “the first geek and gaming convention in Texas to focus on the LGBTQIA and Ally communities,” and indeed there was a variety of things to see and do.
So without any further ado:
“Redemption,” a comic written and drawn by Veronica Kathryn, is the story of a girl who’s trying to make up for the fact that she ENDED THE WORLD. Oops. It can be read at redemption.smackjeeves.com and her artwork can be found at bobo-kitty.deviantart.com
There were a few indie game developers there with some neat games, such as Black Ice, a funky Tron-inspired first person shooter with RPG elements by Garrett Cooper. Finji knocked my socks off with a turn-based survival game called Overland, which is currently in development.
I had an enjoyable weekend at HavenCon, made even more so by these folks and their wonderful work! I hope you check them out, and thanks for reading!
I tried to eliminate some clutter in 2015, but there’s still work to be done. That said, it was a good year overall for me and my endeavors.
On the writing front, I combined my three “Con Fluff” books into one volume called “Fuzzy Words” which I had printed. Unfortunately, the printer I chose overpromised and underdelivered, so I now have a pile of books that I’m not sure I want to sell. My only consolation is that I didn’t have to pay for them, but at the same time it spoiled the inaugural San Antonio Indie Bookfest for me.
I published two story collections: “Super-Short Sci-Fi Stories 2.8” and “Furst World Problems.” Unfortunately, I am still struggling with a follow-up to “The Rules of Tech Support,” partially due to increased stress at work. More on that in a bit.
On the plus side, I managed to release a new short story every month onto my website and “Furst World Problems” has sold a few copies. I have a furry fantasy collection in the works, so I’m hoping that keeps the momentum going. I also need to work on finally getting that second tech support book done, but once again, work is making it difficult.
PODCASTING / BLOGGING
I did not keep up a regular blogging or podcasting schedule as I have been wanting to do. Part of my problem is what I’m not always sure just where to put things I’ve written: should they go in blog or into an episode of “300 Seconds?” I am also considering ending my “Con Talk” podcast, which is fun to record, but takes too much time to produce. Time will tell on that one, but I need to get my own ‘casts and blog going on a regular schedule more than anything else.
CONS / FURRY 101
Furry Fiesta and San Japan continue to be my favorite cons. In addition to the usual ones I attend every year, I went to a brony convention (Fiesta Equestria) for the very first time and enjoyed it, despite my not being completely familiar with the source material. I’d like to do an out-of-state con that doesn’t involve a seven-hour drive, and while I’m not sure that will happen next year, it’s something to shoot for.
I presented my Furry 101 panel at four conventions in 2015: San Japan mini-mini con, Fiesta Equestria, San Japan 8, and RealmsCon, Two of the panels (San Japan, Realms) were well attended and well-received, but were hampered by the small panel rooms that I was provided with. One (mini-mini con) was scheduled opposite a big event, so nobody showed up. My only issue at Fiesta Equestria was not having a place to plug in my less than reliable laptop. Nearly all of the conventions were about anime; I’d like to present at a comic convention in 2016 and see how that goes. I am also considering putting together a ‘Furry 101A’ panel to go over the adult/really weird things that I can only gloss over in an all-ages panel. Time will tell on that one.
I got a semi-promotion at work; managerial duties are now part of what I do. I call it a ‘semi-promotion’ because my paycheck hasn’t gotten any larger. Naturally, with increased responsibilities come increased headaches. I found myself so drained after work during our busy season that I was unable to do any significant writing or really much of anything after work. Bottom line: I need to get a new job. Yeah, stop me if you’ve heard THAT one before. 😉
My goal for the New Year is to get more organized so that I can get blogs, podcasts, panels, and books out on a regular basis and build an audience. Maintaining a regular writing schedule is also a priority and of course, I need to put more effort into finding a new job or at least a position that doesn’t suck at my current company.
The plan for 2016 is just that: to plan things ahead so I can get things done!
So long, 2015! You were a good one!