- BEFORE: “We’re flying you to Columbus, Ohio for training.” I’m not sure if that’s going to be better or worse than “PowerPoint hell.”
- I haven’t flown since 2010, so this is going to be interesting.
- It will also be interesting to compare this to my recent Amtrak trip to Dallas (see previous post).
- I recently moved, and I’m so glad I got my new driver’s license beforehand due to airport security. The picture on the new license is also of my currently less-fat self.
- Dear Uber driver: This is Texas. Turn on your gol-dang air conditioner.
- TRIP TO COLUMBUS: TSA was quick and pleasant; any delays were self-imposed.
- Then again, not having to do the TSA dance is a point in Amtrak’s favor
- Then again, an Amtrak to nearby Cincinnati would have taken nearly 2 days.
- The rollers on the X-Ray scanner quit rolling so we got held up just a little.
- I got to be zapped by the full-body scanner so I may be a little glowy while in Columbus.
- You’re darn skippy I’m going to savor every drop of this $3.25 airport Coca-Cola Zero
- Does wearing a Green Lantern ring qualify someone as a peace officer? Asking for a friend
- Coughing at the airport and thinking I should have had some Vitamin C with breakfast this morning
- Flying Southwest. Boarding group: C I guess I’m getting a window seat.
- Make that a center seat, which goes to show how long it’s been since I last flew.
- Amtrak seats are definitely better than airplane seats.
- Takeoffs make me a mite nervous, dunno that I’ll ever get used to it
- Seatmates aren’t very chatty but I have a slight headache so no biggie
- Actually, I talked a little with the gal who had the window seat…good luck with the marketing business!
- Other passengers: Read books and stories. Me: Write some 😉
- While I have a spare phone battery, I’m trying to keep from using it.
- I wonder how long it takes the plane to get out of Texas?
- Pretzels and cheese sandwich crackers. Mmm.
- Thing I forgot: Water bottle, which would have come in handy after the snack.
- I feel obligated to share my ‘peanut story’ with seatmates. Sorry.
- We’re all “random weirdos” here
- Complimentary drinks are a point in flying’s favor over Amtrak, but not so much due to the 4-ounce cups that are served.
- Tail’s dragging today; I stayed up way too late getting ready for the trip after driving up from Corpus Christi in the morning.
- I would like to sleep but I just can’t nod off on the plane. Being in the center seat doesn’t help.
- Thought about bringing my tablet along instead of my laptop but decided not to. After trying to type on the plane all squished up I definitely should have bought the tablet instead.
- Slight layover at Chicago Midway International. Part of me wishes I’d bought my fursuit along BECAUSE BEARS.
- Home Run Pizza hit the spot.
- I’m jonesing for some ice cream and I can’t find any at the airport. COME ON MAN
- At a Chicago airport yogurt shop:
“Finally, some ice cream!”
“It’s frozen yogurt, sir.”
“Don’t ruin this for me, please.”
“Yes, sir. It’s ice cream.”
- I just realized I should have worn something Texan but settled for furry instead. Oh well.
- I should have bought a bear souvenir while in Chicago. I HAVE FAILED MY PEOPLE.
- Head attendant on the second flight was kind of a wisenheimer, but he was a funny wisenheimer.
- Seatmates were glued to their phones on the second flight up.
- So was I. Yes, they had in flight WiFi, which we didn’t have on the flight to Chicago.
- Southwest Airlines Wi-Fi had 80s music, which made for a more pleasant flight!
- The presence of Wi-Fi is another point in air travel’s favor, though to get actual Internet you have to pay. I dug the site where you can see your flight progress, though.
- Saw a seatmate playing Solitaire on his phone. Nice.
- Grey and rainy in Columbus. Just as well, given that I’m here for work!
- TRIP HOME: Got an email saying my flight home to San Antonio is delayed a half-hour. Crap.
- Having a company credit card means overpriced airport food is no biggie
- Thanks to my Furry Invasion t-shirt, I got to explain furry to a TSA agent in Columbus, Ohio.
- His coworker helped out, which made me wonder if she had something to share with the class. Hmm.
- Nearly showed up late to my flight home because I thought the plane was delayed (see #44)
- Was relieved to be in Group B for boarding which meant that I may be able to avoid another flight in the middle seat/steerage.
- Plane was only half-filled so I got an aisle seat for the flight home…in the same aisle with a toddler.
- Seatmate had a small dog in a carrier on the floor. Awww!
- Nothing says I’M A FURRY like watching the Walt Disney version of Robin Hood on your laptop for in-flight entertainment
- I was the only one who ordered ginger ale on the trip home so I got the whole can. Score!
- Arrived back home on time, which has me slightly irked at the time goof-up.
- Overall, flying wasn’t bad, though I would definitely take an Amtrak over it if I had the time: No TSA, roomier seats, lounge and dining cars, people appear more relaxed, and the ability to walk around the train make the train a much more pleasant experience.
- BEFORE – I’m going to be taking the Amtrak this year, which has me extra excited!
- Why take the train?
- I don’t have to drive.
- Parking was lousy last year.
- I didn’t have to leave the hotel last year so I don’t really need my car.
- I’m leaving on Thursday so there’s no hurry.
- Except for having to take a Lyft to the station it’s fairly cost-effective.
- It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.
- Having to wake up at 5AM to catch a Lyft to the train station does reduce that excitement just a little, though.
- Taking my partial fursuit to a convention for the first time, which is making packing…interesting.
- Funny thing: Cosplays with a partial fursuit are easy: Wear a jersey: Sports Bear! Wear a lab coat: Scientist Bear! Wear a shirt and tie: Business Bear!
- It’s going to be hard to split time between fursuiting, taking pictures, hanging out with friends and panels!
- I’m mad at myself for losing the pre-game podcast audio that Chris and I recorded, have to be sure to not repeat that error after the con.
- Note to self: I need more T-shirts with bears on them.
- I said the wrong episode number on the make-up podcast recording. Fuzz it.
- THURSDAY/TRIP UP – I won’t need them at all but I have my keys. Hard habit to shake.
- Taking a Lyft for the first time as a passenger. I used to drive so it’s interesting to see it from the other side. Thanks Gregg!
- Posted a picture of the train and accidentally posted it vertically, which prompted jokes about going to hell, or outer space.
- When I owned a home, a set of tracks ran behind the house and I could see the trains pass by, including the Amtrak. Even though it’ll likely be dark I’ll be looking out for it.
- Made a strategic decision to use the men’s room at the station after hearing about the small stalls on the train.
- Regarding #13: Turns out the track we’re on is different than the one that goes behind my house. Well, poop.
- We’re going at about 40 miles an hour, neat.
- Yes, I downloaded a speedometer app to my phone just for the occasion.
- I keep bumping my head on the luggage rack >.<
- The self closing doors on the train threw me off at first.
- I thought the San Antonio station was tiny, but the San Marcos stop was just a shade and some benches!
- After the San Marcos stop we started booking it to Austin at 70mph
- Once in Austin, we picked up a bunch of furries and spent the rest of the trip in the lounge car.
- Pup hoods…. *sigh*
- The train ride was great!
- THURSDAY/ARRIVAL – Thing I forgot #1: Aftershave >.<
- Union Station in Dallas is both impressive and depressing at the same time.
- I’m on the 7th floor; I figured I’d live dangerously and not ask for a lower floor like I did last year.
- I know the people in the room next door, yay!
- Really short fursuiters will never not be cute!
- My fursuit head fan is working out really well; I just have to figure out how to hide the power cable better.
- I was going to wait for the reg line to die down but said heck with it and jumped in.
- They quickly ran out of ‘Chaotic’ tags. Not sure if it’s because of the rainbow thing or the chaotic thing.
- They still had plenty of Evil tags, so I guess that’s a good sign. I went with Lawful myself
- FRIDAY – Had to resist the urge to talk in a bad NY accent at the nearby Cindy’s NY Deli. Fuhgetabowdit!
- Thing I forgot #2: Cash
- Left my keys in my room and trying to get used to not having them in my pocket >.<
- If your videogame room has only fighting games, it gets a thumbs down from me.
- Funny to see cookies being given away in the lobby, that’s all a bunch of furries need: SUGAR!
- Good job with the Fursuiting at Fiesta panel
- Good panel idea: Have a raffle to keep people in the panel room ’till the end
- Character performance how to panel was also good, though I’m irked that they took the entire hour. Leave some time for the next person, mmmkay?
- Nothing like delaying a bathroom run because you see a line outside the door for the next panel!
- Someone suggested I should get bear ears for my fursuit since I’m the ‘bear ears guy’ 😁 Bearception!
- While fursuiting: Why is it getting so warm in here? Oh. The battery for my fan died. BACK TO THE ROOM STAT.
- Sorry, normie that I squished in the elevator!
- Another panelist went over their time. Not cool.
- Scary moment: Putting my cell into my back pocket while in suit and then sitting on it! Luckily, it survived.
- SATURDAY – Feeling pretty good about myself; I’m usually that guy that takes his backpack everywhere, but I’ve been able to leave it in the room the whole time.
- Regarding #36: Putting my hotel key in the pocket where my keys usually go has helped with the OMG I DON’T HAVE MY KEYS feeling
- Thing I forgot #3: Heavy coat
- Note to self: Check the weather before getting dressed. Froze my tail off walking to breakfast wearing shorts.
- Cindi’s deli was great except for the ‘rolls and biscuits’
- Thing I forgot #4: Dark socks for my ‘Business bear’ outfit.
- Thing I forgot #5: Ears to wear when I’m not in suit.
- I think Dr. Nuka got a smaller room this year and/or they didn’t have as many chairs. LAME.
- Between fursuiting and walking I was dead tired by Saturday afternoon and needed a nap.
- I bet the normies who came to Reunion Tower over the weekend didn’t expect us!
- Hats off to the guy who sang “The Touch” by Stan Bush at karaoke. That took guts.
- Darn it karaoke lady, make sure you pick a version of the song with the words! Lucky for me, I almost know “Once Upon a Time In New York City” by heart.
- I saw a friend walk into into the karaoke room while I was doing my thing. He apparently didn’t think I was the one singing, didn’t bother to look at the stage and walked out.
- It was wonderful to meet Hollyfox! She’s a sweetie.
- Yeaah, if y’all could knock off the late night awoos, that’d be greaaat.
- SUNDAY – I had breakfast at Cindi’s each day of TFF. Except for their loose interpretation of biscuits and gravy, this was not a problem.
- Hey, let’s take the tunnel back to the hotel and get out of the cold…and it isn’t open on the hotel side. Poop.
- Had to finish my furscience.com homework on Sunday morning, but it got done
- The friend I was catching a ride with home wanted to leave early, so we left early
- I didn’t get to wear my Sports Bear outfit at the con! *sad bear face*
- Being driven home was nice, got to (mostly) catch up on my sleep.
- Packing extra clothes for cosplay means twice the laundry to do afterwards. *pbbt*
- I ended up walking up and down additional 70+ floors of stairs that week according to my Fitbit. and I stayed on the 7th floor. Funny how that works!
Welcome to Super-Short Storytime, lovers of literature and fans of fiction! I am Eduardo Soliz, the composer and narrator of the supremely silly tale that you are about to hear.
If there is one thing that steampunks and furries have in common, it’s that members of both groups love to parade about in their finest fictional fashion. A pair of fur-bearing blue-bloods try to handle a real crisis in this steam-powered story that I call: “Emergency”
“Brace yourself, my dear!” The gentlewolf yelled to his mistress as the airship began to slowly list to one side. In response, Muffy reached to grab onto a large pipe that was near to her, but the arctic fox woman immediately released it due to its extreme heat.
“Ah! Monty, it’s too hot!” Muffy exclaimed, backing away from the pipe. She shook her singed white paws in the air and blew on them before making her way over to Monty.
Lord Montague adjusted his monocle before looking over the many needles, indicators, numbers and controls at his disposal. The more he looked at them, the less sense they made. The room began to shake as the airship’s engines struggled to keep it aloft.
Monty’s voice took on an air of desperation: “I have tried everything, my dear Muffy, but nothing appears to be working! Perhaps this one? Or maybe this one?” He said, randomly pressing buttons, pulling levers and turning knobs in vain. A whistle sounded as the intensity of the shaking increased. Having reached Monty, Muffy pulled him away from the engine controls.
“Oh, Monty, my love! It is a shame that our young lives must come to an end like this! Let us share one last kiss as we hurtle to our doom!” Muffy cried. She held onto Monty tightly, tears welling in her eyes.
“Yes, my love! We shall take our forbidden love to the world that lies beyond this one!” Monty replied. He and Muffy embraced deeply as warning bells and whistles sounded in protest around them.
A door then suddenly burst open and a short female dog ran into the control room. She had light brown fur, floppy ears and wore denim overalls that were soiled with oil and grease. She growled upon catching sight of the amorous aristocrats, who ignored her as they kissed.
“I swear, I can’t eat dinner or take a nap without you blasted bluebloods coming down here and tamperin’ with MY engines!!” the young engineer exclaimed as she walked over to the engine controls. After looking over a row of gauges, the engineer began to quickly adjust the controls, her paws expertly flipping switches, turning dials and pressing buttons with the grace of a concert pianist. The whistles and bells went silent and the ship’s shaking and listing gradually ceased. Satisfied that all was well, the engineer turned to the young couple, whom had broken their embrace, but were still in each other’s arms.
“What in the Sam Hill were y’all thinkin’?” She angrily yelled at them. “This here engine is a delly-cate machine that should only be operated on by experts like me! The next passenger that I catch sneaking around in here is a-goin’ to get hogtied and thrown into the cargo hold! NOW GIT!!” she told them as she pointed to an exit.
“You mean to tell me you are not an engineer, Monty?” Muffy asked with a disgusted look on her face as she removed herself from Monty’s arms and started to walk towards the exit.
“Well…uh…no?” Monty replied half-heartedly. “Muffy! Come back!” he cried as he chased his now-former mistress.
The exasperated engineer wiped her forehead and hands with a handkerchief and sighed with relief as the outer door closed behind Monty. She then said, to no one in particular:
“How about that Mister Fancypants thinking he’s a steam engineer! What kind of engineer dresses up in their Sunday best to go to work?”
While clothes might make the man, listeners, they don’t necessarily make him a smart one. This been Super-Short Storytime, For more tiny tales, visit eduardo soliz dot com, and remember listeners, the past just isn’t what it used to be!
You are listening to ‘300 Seconds with Eduardo Soliz,’ and this is episode number 95, “Home Less,” so let the 300 Seconds begin!
Because life (or something like it) happened, I sold my house a few months ago. Thus, after five years, I’m no longer a homeowner, and there are a few things I already miss about having a house.
To begin with, there is the notion that the place where I live is no longer ‘my’ place anymore. I’m staying with some friends for the short term, and God bless ’em, because they’ve been pretty awesome. At the same time, their house isn’t my house, you know? When I owned my house, I could do whatever I wanted to, like using an old CD to fix a hole in the drywall or putting the TV set in front of the fireplace. That feeling of ‘ownership’ is pretty nice and the lack thereof will continue to bother me until I own my home again.
I never had a garage growing up; my parent’s house didn’t have one, and so I didn’t see a need for one on the rare occasions when I was offered one as an option when leasing an apartment. Once I started making use of my house’s garage, though, I loved it. I remember being at the laundromat folding clothes one day, when it started raining. I grumped about the rain for a few moments before coming to the delightful realization that I HAD A GARAGE AND I DIDN’T HAVE TO GET WET. I got spoiled by having a garage; now I have to park my vehicle outside and have it, and me, get rained on. But at least I have a place to park at, at my friend’s house; I’m really not looking forward to fighting with fellow apartment dwellers for prime parking places in the future.
Another thing I’m going to miss is solitude. I like being by myself, especially after a day of dealing with silly people at work. This isn’t really a big deal right now, because my roommates are cool, but once I move into an apartment, having people on the other side of the wall is probably going to drive me nuts…again
But the biggest thing that I miss the most about my old house is having natural gas. It’s the best thing for cooking, it’s less expensive, and I’m sorry, but you just can’t heat tortillas properly on an electric stove or even one of those fancy pants convection ranges. And no, I am never ever, EVER going to put a tortilla into the microwave because that’s just WRONG.
This has been 300 Seconds, the next episode will be posted after I warm a tortilla in my toaster oven. I am Eduardo Soliz, if you’d like to listen to, or read, more of my words and short stories, visit my website at Eduardo Soliz dot com. Thank you for listening!
Welcome to Super-Short Storytime, lovers of literature and fans of fiction! I am Eduardo Soliz, the composer and narrator of the wonderfully weird words that you are about to hear:
Some people like to enjoy things that the majority of folks just don’t understand. This selection from my free e-book ‘ten tiny tales’ is an oration about one unfortunately ostracized oddball. I call it: “Freako.”
Alan walked into the office with a spring in his step and a big smile on his face. It was Friday, it was payday, and he would only be hanging around the office long enough to submit his time report for the week. He couldn’t wait to start his long weekend.
As he briskly walked through the office, a woman recognized him, “Hey, Al, I thought you weren’t coming in today, did something change?”
Alan stopped to chat, beaming as he answered: “Nope, I’m just here to put in my timesheet and then the fun begins!”
“Oh, that’s right.” The woman replied with a look of scorn on her face. “You’re going to that thing to hang out with all those freakos, huh?”
“Well, I wouldn’t call them weirdos, Janet, I mean, lots of people are going to be there, and…” Alan started to explain before Janet raised her hand to interrupt him.
“That’s okay Al, I don’t need to hear about what you all do there, dressed up in those weird outfits and all.” Janet quickly said.
“hhm…okay. Sorry, Janet.” Alan sheepishly said before continuing on his way. Arriving at his cubicle, he sat down and turned on his computer. While he waited for it to start, another coworker peeked his head in.
“What’s up, Al!” asked Jon as Alan turned to face him.
“Not much, Jon, I forgot to put in my time, and I want to get paid next week, so here I am.” Alan answered. “Hey, do you wanna join me at…”
“No way, man!” Jon exclaimed, his face grimacing at the thought. “I wouldn’t be caught dead at that sausage-fest! You have fun, though!” Jon said before ducking out of the cubicle.
Alan entered his time and then shut down the computer. Dejected, he sighed, and began to walk away from his desk to start his weekend. The smile on his face and the spring in his step were now gone.
“*sigh* Everybody makes fun of me just because I like something different.” Alan thought to himself as he left the building and slowly walked to his car. “I wish my coworkers would stop giving me crap for being a football fan!!”
It’s never easy being the odd man out, Listeners, so try to be nice. If you’d like to hear or read more super-short stories scribed and said by yours truly, visit eduardosoliz.com This has been Super-Short Story time. Remember, listeners, we’re all weirdos to somebody!
You are listening to ‘300 Seconds with Eduardo Soliz,’ and this is episode number 94, “Highways and By-ways,” so let the 300 Seconds begin!
Owning a car is a requirement when you live in Texas, and when you’re raised in a small town like I was, it was a necessity, because just about everything significant was either in the larger town ten miles away or in the big city that was twenty miles away. An interesting side effect of that experience is that driving around doesn’t bother me as much as it does my friends that grew up in the city.
When I was in my small town and I wanted to go to HEB, it was a ten-mile drive. Blockbuster Video? Fifteen miles. The mall? Twenty miles. Heck, if you wanted something to eat that wasn’t Dairy Queen or the local Mexican place it was at least a ten mile drive. My city friends are used to having everything close by and I’m used to having everything far away, so where the thought of driving to the other side of town horrifies them; for me, it’s a big deal.
I make a trip to see my parents about every month or so, and thus, I know Interstate 37 between San Antonio and Corpus Christi like the back of my hand. It’s interesting to see it slowly change over the years: Quirky mom and pop gas stations that had animatronic cowboys and sold ostrich eggs have been replaced by big shiny corporate twenty-pump monstrosities that can probably be seen from space at night.
I find it interesting how most of the newer gas stations are trying really hard to be Buc-ees. One even tried a little too hard and ended up being sued over it. (Buc-ees won, by the way) Try as they might, though, nobody has ever been able to completely pull it off, because they all forget the one thing that makes Buc-ees, Buc-ees: It isn’t the massive store, or the kitschy souvenirs that they sell, or the friendly workers, or even the mascot. It’s the guy cleaning the bathrooms. When you walk into the bathroom at Buc-ees, not only is it huge, but it’s always super-clean, day or night. The other guys try: They’ll put locks on the stall doors and solid walls in between them, but all it takes is one clogged toilet or not-working sink or funky smell to remind you that they ain’t Buc-ees.
A rival gas station, QuikTrip, recently took the title of favorite gas station in Texas from Buc-ees in a 2017 GasBuddy survey. That which had some folks, including myself, up in arms: “There is just no way some other lousy gas station could be better than Buc-ees!” Everybody said. Quik Trip recently began opening stations in the San Antonio area, and one opened up on my way to work, so I decided to check it out. In doing so, I figured out why they won the title. Much like Buc-ees, Quik Trip is a really nice gas station with a good selection of hot food, snacks, drinks, and friendly employees.
You see, Buc-ees is where you stop when you are on a road trip. In Texas, it’s to the point where a stop at Buc-ees is almost a part of the vacation itself, but it’s where you stop when you are on your way to somewhere far away. It’s where you make a pit stop to use the bathroom and get beef jerky, kolaches, tacos, BBQ sandwiches, sweets, sodas, beaver nuggets, and maybe even a T-shirt or maybe even an ice chest or even a grill. And that’s great. Quik Trip, on the other hand, is where you go to gas up from week in and week out for work. Their gas is fairly cheap, and the station is always clean and has a pretty good selection of food and snacks. Now, is Quik Trip as big as Buc-ees? No. Does it have fresh kolaches and beef jerky like Buc-ees? No. Souvenirs? No. But it is nicer than most other gas stations and probably closer to home for most than Buc-ees. So yeah, I can see why it is more popular, especially if the gas is just as cheap, and isn’t cheap gas what we’re all looking for?
This has been 300 Seconds, the next episode will be posted after I top-up my SUV. I am Eduardo Soliz, if you’d like to hear or read more of my words visit Eduardo Soliz dot com, and I thank you for listening!
Christmas Eve is finally here, and with it comes family, food and glad tidings from me!
Need some tunes? Listen to “My Favorite Christmas Songs” on YouTube!
Scroll down and ponder over the Santa-verse!