80 Things I Noticed at Texas Furry Fiesta 2018

Texas’ biggest furry convention moved to a new hotel this year, which introduced a few new issues.  Overall, though, it was a lot of fun.  As always, I noticed a few things:

  1. BEFORE/DRIVE UP-I’m a little bummed over missing the conbook deadline but that’s what my website is for.

    #31 PUT SOME CLOTHES ON YOUNG LADY

  2. I’m guessing I’m going to see a lot of Alices and Mad Hatters. Hopefully, the cartoon versions.
  3. Seriously, I thought the 2010 version was ‘The Mad Hatter Movie”
  4. I will openly admit to being jealous of all my friends that will be there on Thursday
  5. I swear work gets tougher the last few days before a vacation…it’s like THEY KNOW
  6. Okay, I wussed out and told my cowokers I was going to a ‘comiccon’
  7. Does loading Disney soundtracks onto a USB stick for the drive qualify someone as ‘furry trash?’ Asking for a friend.
  8. Thing I forgot: Cologne. Given the female-to-male ratio it’s just as well!
  9. I’ve lost about 30 pounds since last TFF. I bought a pair of slim fit jeans so I gotta keep the weight off now!
  10. Honestly, I-35 keeps getting better and better each year…Temple notwithstanding
  11. The Czech stop was definitely worth the 200-mile wait!
  12. Parking seems to be one of the big issues early on; I was furtunate to get a spot fairly close by.
  13. I feel like a tourist lugging my bags around the hotel before check-in.
  14. It wasn’t too long before I started running into friends, YAY FRIENDS!
  15. I had forgotten about the placeholder name I had placed on the reservation beforehand, which made for a funny moment: “So that will be two keys:  One for you, and another for Roger Rabbit?”
  16. “Can I get the lowest room available? I have a thing with heights.”
  17. New hotel is very nice, though the open elevators are a little scary for me. (see above)
  18. FRIDAY-Noticed a few folks kvetching about the lack of con suite this year.  Hopefully they bring the snacks back because playing ‘bartender’ there was great fun.
  19. The Presidential Suite is open to Super-Sponsors, though. :/
  20. Forgot to print out my reg sheet for the first time ever. *hangs head in shame*
  21. Their reg was so fast it didn’t matter.
  22. The Hyatt Regency feels so wide open compared to the other hotels.
  23. Taking five fights of stairs to the room (if I don’t want to wait for the elevator) is definitely a workout
  24. The hotel room has an Ethernet port, and me without a cable *argh*

    #28: It’s Furry Pat!

  25. New camera has been great, but the battery went dry after only 75 pictures! So glad I got a spare…that I had to retrieve from my room. *pant* *gasp* *wheeze*
  26. It’s awesome that the con T-shirts aren’t black this year.
  27. I’m usually pretty careful about catching autocorrects before I hit Send, but finally had one slip through the net 😀
  28. There’s a fursuiter named Sherbert who has you try to guess their gender.  I went with ‘male’ because if I can’t figure someone’s gender in 3 seconds at a con, I just assume it’s a guy.
  29. I am seriously considering buying a Lemonbrat partial fursuit.
  30. Overall, the bigger hotel is pretty nice with plenty of space to work with BUT the elevator situation is pretty bad and it is a (understandably) a mite warm inside.
  31. That moment when you realize the fursuiter you’ve seen in a partial for months now has a fullsuit which means SHE’S NAKED NOW OMG
  32. It’s 6pm, send in the normies!
  33. There are places to eat downtown if you don’t mind a little walk.  Cool.
  34. Elevator situation is pretty awful, I wonder if the top-floor con suite is a contributing factor.
  35. Random young lady: “Are you Eduardo Soliz?”
    Me: “The one and only!” *peers at person* “Do I know you?”
    Her: “No but I love your YouTube channel!”
    Aww! *blush*
    UPDATE: Found her on Twitter!
  36. Maybe I’m not done with “Con Talk” after all…
  37. I really really need to get cracking on making some panels for next year’s Furry Fiesta.  People want them!
  38. SATURDAY-630AM and I don’t want to be up, but I guess I’m up, bleh.
  39. Might be early enough to hit Waffle House without losing my parking, hmm
  40. Upon further review I decided not to risk losing my spot.
  41. A little disappointed in the scheduling app; it shows the full schedule without hiding events that have already passed.
  42. Oh, I have to manually refresh it. Derp.
  43. Nope, still didn’t do it. Boo.
  44. For some reason I have Matthew Ebel’s “Merry Christmas from Cell Block 2” in my head
  45. Are the microphones in the panel rooms even on?
  46. New addition to the fursuit parade: Concerned parents
  47. Dunno what the deal was with the peanut gallery continually yelling “Spring Break” during the parade but it was annoying to the point where I might put music over the parade audio.  UPDATE: I didn’t.
  48. Nothing like 40-degree weather to make you want a fursuit.
  49. Freezing my face off was totally worth it for the Cuban sandwich, though
  50. If you’re running audio you should be professional enough to know to not talk while a presentation is going on.  Fuzzing amateurs
  51. Another great Furry Psychology talk from Nuka. I was getting a little sleepy near the end, and not because of the content, just to be clear!
  52. I learned that some of the FurScience folks went to San Japan last year. I invited them to attend “Furry 101” this year.  COME ON GUYS, I WENT TO YOUR PANEL AND I DID MY HOMEWORK 😀
  53. The partial suit I was thinking about buying was sold. Oh well.
  54. A friend bought Lemonbrat’s ‘Tide Pod Fox’ and got very popular very quickly.

    #54 He looks good enough to eat!

  55. Knees starting to feel it by afternoon, likely due to all the stair-climbing bought on by not wanting to wait for the elevators…or I’m just getting old.
  56. Halfway down the stairs to go to dinner, I realized I still had my bear tail on. Screw it.
  57. Nothing like walking 2/3 of a mile to go to Spaghetti Warehouse in 30-degree weather.
  58. Totally worth it, though.  Chicken parm you taste so good.
  59. I was disappointed to find karaoke was full up; I wanted to sing ‘Why Should I Worry’ by Billy Joel from ‘Oliver and Company.’ The canines would have loved it!
  60. Nice lobby-wide howl on Saturday night, by the way.
  61. I wanted to be all supportive and stuff for Padunk’s first panel, but it was completely packed!  I guess that was a sign it went well! (link warning: some naughty bits)
  62. Drunk normies + fursuiters = hilarity
  63. I swear the ‘Two women: One embarrassingly drunk and the other trying to get them to stop being embarrassing’ bit is a trope.
  64. SUNDAY/TRIP HOME-Breakfast was weird: After we got seated, the hostess kept fussing over our table being dirty (it wasn’t) The table is fine lady, I WANT FOOD
  65. Mom never made ‘fingerling potatoes’ for breakfast, just sayin. That said, they were tasty.
  66. No salsa on the breakfast buffet? What is this, NEW YORK CITY?
  67. The longer the con goes, the harder it gets to not take multiple pictures of the same fursuiters. Oh well!
  68. Me to friend: “I was thinking about buying a partial”
    Her: “I have a bear head base I haven’t started yet.”
    SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!
  69. So yeah, I may be getting a fursuit made.
  70. Left the con at probably the earliest time I’ve ever left.  Continually going up and down four flights of stairs took more out of me than I thought.
  71. To the jackass who parked their Honda CRX in the middle of the end of the parking lot: YOU SUCK.
  72. I am very glad I only make two trips that involve I-35 a year
  73. Didn’t stop at Buc-ees on the way home, the Wendy’s across the freeway was too tempting.  I may have sinned against Texas.
  74. Big thank you to the solider who fished a soda out of the machine for me at the Bell rest stop. Enjoy the freebie!
  75. Note to self: Lay off the caffeine on the day when you are making a long drive unless you want to make restroom stops every 50 miles or so >.<

    #71 YOU SUCK

  76. AFTERWARDS-I will openly admit to being jealous of my friends that are still at the con on Monday.
  77. I think the reason I don’t get post-con depression is that afterwards I go over pictures, post the fursuit parade video, work on this list, prepare for and record a podcast, so the show isn’t really over for me for several days.
  78. There is apparently an underground tunnel leading from near Union Station to the hotel. I may consider taking a train ride for next year.
  79. Remember how I said “Con Talk” was over a few months ago?  I was never very good at lying. 😉
  80. “Roll Fur Initiative” for next year’s theme?  I guess Creativity failed her saving throw!  Hey, I tried!

300 Seconds Episode #85: “Self-Checked Out”

Listen to this podcast episode here!

You are listening to ‘300 Seconds with Eduardo Soliz,’ and this is episode number 85: “Self-Checked Out” so let the 300 Seconds begin!

After hearing good things from friends about the movie Coco for the last few weeks, I decided to finally watch it the other day.  I don’t go to the movies very often, and when I do, I like to go early in the morning to avoid the crowds.  Also, the fact that the tickets are cheaper is also a nice bonus.  I woke up and got dressed a little too late to catch the earliest show that was nearby, so I thought I’d catch the next one which was a few miles away.  The theater was one that I hadn’t been to since I moved out of that area a number of years ago, and it was a little bit of a drive.

It was eleven o’clock in the morning and I hadn’t had breakfast yet, and I’m a breakfast guy.   Whataburger is my usual go-to in the mornings, but I didn’t want to be ‘that guy’ that comes in just after breakfast hours asking for breakfast.   As a quick side note: Honey-butter chicken biscuits and BoBs would be great any time of the day, Whataburger.  I’m just sayin’

I remembered there was also McDonald’s on the way and thought a sausage biscuit would at least  get me through the movie.  Unless I’m in a huge hurry, I don’t like using the drive-thru window.  Since I spend nearly all of my workday sitting behind a computer and then go home and…sit behind a computer, I like to get on my feet whenever I can, so I parked my car and went inside.

I had never been to this McDonald’s before, but I figured it that it would be like most of the others I had been to.   I mean, it’s a McDonald’s, you know?  I walked in and the first thing I noticed was four giant screens to my left, beckoning me to use them place an order.  The second thing that I noticed was that nobody was using them, and since there w ere a few people in line, I thought I’d walk up to the touch screen and get a taste of The Future!

I have to admit, it was pretty neat ordering, it was like using an app on a really big phone.  Since there was nobody waiting behind me in line, I could take my time looking over the menu.  There was also an option to customize my order, which I didn’t really need but something to check out for later.  A card reader just below the screen allowed me to pay, and my receipt popped out of a slot to the left of the screen.  I placed my order, then walked away from the screen to wait.  Was it faster than going to the register?  Probably not, because not only did I take my time looking over the menu, but I had to learn how to use the system.

As I stood and waited for my order, a woman walked into the restaurant and also walked up to one of the screens.  She stared at it for a few seconds, tentatively poked at the screen a few times, then turned to ask somebody:  “Do I have to use the screen?”

The other customer told her ‘no’ and pointed to the register.  With a sigh of relief, the woman said “Oh, good” and she walked over to wait in line at the register.  I smiled.  Clearly, The Future had not arrived for her just yet.  I was genuinely surprised, because the woman was not very old.  Now don’t get me wrong, she wasn’t very young, either, but to me, at least, she appeared to be young enough to go: “Okay, maybe I’ll give this a shot.”

For all the wailing and gnashing of teeth about how automated kiosks and self-check-outs are going to put people out of work, I don’t think it’s going to happen anytime soon.  Lots of folks, like the woman I saw in that McDonald’s, just aren’t going to be willing to try the new thing, and for people that are willing to try it, there is going to be a learning curve which will take some time to work through.  Let’s also not forget the people that do try it and get stuck, which I know all of you have witnessed if you’ve spent any time in a grocery store self-checkout.

As for me, I look forward to taking the opportunity to avoid any unnecessary human contact, because, well, I’m a computer guy, and that’s what we do.

This has been 300 Seconds, the next episode will be posted after my I pre-order my tickets for Wreck-It-Ralph 2.  I am Eduardo Soliz, if you’d like to hear more 300 Seconds subscribe via iTunes and check out my website at Eduardo Soliz dot com, and thanks you for listening!

33 Things I Noticed During Jury Duty

1

#11 Too cool fur school!

  1. Despite what you are going to read, I am happy to do my civic duty.
  2. Indeed, I’ve been tagged multiple times in my life already
  3. Weirdly enough, working on a short story about a trial right now, go figure.
  4. Took a wrong turn, got stuck waiting for a train. Thank you, San Antonio.
  5. Not late, but there was a line for parking.
  6. Just realized I forgot to take my Vitamin C this morning, it would suck to have survived Comicpalooza only to catch ‘jury duty crud.’
  7. Dude behind me in line at the courthouse is standing just bit too close. Can I get a little personal space here?
  8. Forgot to take the change out of my pocket, officer got snippy at me in Spanish. THAT’S PROFILING MAN
  9. At least I don’t have to hear coworkers brag or whine about how Golden State blew it
  10. This beats work any day, fewer stupid people
  11. Felt cool to pin a white ‘juror’ button to my shirt.
  12. Can we  get a nice ‘register to vote’ sign to put in front of the bench? The one there is made from poster board and looks like some kid made it.
  13. That said, if the judge’s kid DID make it, I rescind my previous statement.
  14. Cell phone ringers going off should incur a fine or at least a kick to the shin
  15. Court cafeteria tacos ain’t bad.
  16. Lack of coffee started to kick in at about 10AM, took the first opportunity to grab a cup soon after
  17. Court cafeteria coffee ain’t bad either
  18. One panel called for an Eduardo (not me) and an Edward. THAT’S GOING TO BE CONFUSING, PEOPLE
  19. It wasn’t until 1045 that I got bored enough to start playing Fallout Shelter on my Android tablet.
  20. Or not, back to the jury room!
  21. Got called to a panel!
  22. I’m sorry, but wearing a baseball cap with a suit is THE DORKIEST  thing I will ever see.
  23. Gal that cut my hair a few weeks ago was on the same panel, small world!
  24. A two hour lunch break…thaaaanks.
  25. TVs are tuned to judge shows BECAUSE IT’S A COURTHOUSE GET IT HA HA HA
  26. Grilled ham n’ cheese hit the spot for lunch
  27. Okay, now I can play Fallout Shelter
  28. $1.35 for a 20 oz. soda? I may have to take one for the road!
  29. Back to the jury room, here we go.
  30. Waiting for a while after lunch, hopefully it’s a good sign
  31. Sent home at 2 o’clock, woo-hoo!
  32. WHAT DO YOU MEAN I HAVE TO GIVE BACK MY JUROR BUTTON?
  33. Now to go wait some more while the oil in my car is changed! 😂

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!

21 Things I Noticed after getting an iPhone

technology2After hemming and hawing about getting an iPhone, I finally broke down and got an iPhone 6 to replace my poor old Nokia Lumia 530.  During the buying process, and over the first few months of ownership, I noticed a few things:

  1. I usually don’t buy cases for my phones but I am DEFINITELY getting one this time.
  2. I think the sales guy forgot to take off the plastic they put over the screen, gonna have to figure out how to take apart the case now >.<
  3. Speaking of the sales guy, he was starting to push just a little too hard to get me to buy another on-contract device.  Grr.
  4. First order of business: upgrade to iOS 9!
  5. Make that the second order or business, had to charge it fully first.
  6. Weird thing: My Apple purchases have been three years apart:  iMac in 2009, iPad mini in 2012 and now an iPhone. I guess I’ll be getting a new iThingie in 2018
  7. Picked up an OtterBox Defender case, which turned the slim, sleek, sexy iPhone into a big chunky thing. I may have gone overboard on the whole ‘protection’ thing.
  8. Then again, I like having a little heft to my devices, so it’s just as well
  9. There is something weirdly satisfying about snapping my phone into its OtterBox belt clip.
  10. It’s just as well that I traded in my Windows Phone, I don’t even think I could get few magic beans for it at this point.
  11. Speaking of which, I keep going OMG I CAN ACTUALLY GET THAT APP NOW instead of “Aww, no Windows Phone version.”
  12. iPhone is Coke. Android is Pepsi. Windows Phone is that godawful ‘Cola’ they have at the dollar store.
  13. I nearly talked myself out of an iPhone while waiting in the store.  I started thinking: “Well, maybe an Android…” but then remembered my past experiences with them.
  14. When did Android phones get more expensive than iPhones?
  15. Sign of the times: I didn’t realize I hadn’t set up my voicemail until I got a phone call the next day.
  16. I thought I’d have to charge my iPhone once it hit 10% but it took a while for it to get really low.
  17. Not sure what I’m going to do with the earbuds that came with it: 99% of earbuds don’t fit my ears so I’m not even going to try them on.
  18. I’m having to get used to having a good camera on my phone.  The iPhone has all but replaced my point-and-shoot Sony camera.
  19. That said, it was almost a full week before I took a picture, and it wasn’t even a selfie.
  20. Time since last charge: 51.5 hours standby, 7.5 hours usage 😀
  21. I already miss Cortana!

45 Things I Noticed During Fiesta Equestria 2015

#42 Hope you got  your badge back!

#8/41-Hope you got your button back!

This past weekend was my first-ever My Little Pony con (bronycon?) Fiesta Equestria!  By now you have probably heard about ‘Bronies,’ or adults that like the show. If not, would you like to know more?

  1. BEFORE THE CON : As much as I don’t like to ding a show before it starts, they seem to be a bit unorganized based on their website/schedule issues
  2. No, brony friends, just because I have apples at the dinner table doesn’t mean I’m razzing you
  3. Minor drama even before the show started, oy
  4. FRIDAY : The closer I get to Houston the worse the drivers seem to get
  5. My GPS was set to ignore toll roads. I forgot I have a TXTag now /facehoof
  6. DQ down the road from the hotel? AW YEAH
  7. The hotel seems to have good WiFi, w00t
  8. A press pass! I feel special
  9. I liked the little Canterlot Times newspaper thingie
  10. Except for my badge, I have no pony stuff.  I’m always the weirdo at these things
  11. If your job is to check badges, it might help to take off your sunglasses, dude
  12. Note to self: You don’t like heights, stay out of the clear elevators
  13. Furry 101 went well, had a good crowd out!
  14. Maybe a little too well, I blasted through my material in 30 min
  15. I kinda don’t want to go anywhere and lose my AWESOMELY CLOSE PARKING SPOT
  16. It’s a little strange how formal dances have become a thing at cons now.
  17. Thing I said in the elevator: “Yes, I’m here for the cartoon thing”
  18. SATURDAY : The day to day schedule thing isn’t that great if you’re a panelist.
  19. HOUSTON HAS WAFFLE HOUSE YES
  20. There’s a charity? Need to work on that advertising, guys!
  21. Sombrero covered with foil; what Mexican conspiracy theorists wear.
  22. Except for the whole ‘dudes carrying plush ponies’ thing this isn’t THAT weird.
  23. Thing I forgot: Writing panel handouts. Thank you business center!
  24. It wasn’t into today that I realized I should probably turn off my YOU’VE GOT *ING MAIL message sound. Oops
  25. A friend was all GET ME SOMETHING WITH THIS PONY ON IT, and I had to look up what she looked like.
  26. I have to say, the hotel is in a really good spot, plenty of places to eat around and even some within walking distance.
  27. Wore my red Wreck-It Ralph short on Saturday and realized if I let my hair grow out I’ll kinda look like the Steven Universe kid. YAY LAZY COSPLAY IDEA
  28. Not sure how I feel about the whole ‘paid lesson panel’ thing :/
  29. Saw another panelist who stood still in front of the audience and droned on and on.  Yeah, I think I’m Doing It Right
  30. Selling is always a crapshoot, Thom Zahler didn’t have any copies of Love and Capes on him, guess I’ll check it out online! Long Distance was very charming, be interesting to see where it goes.
  31. I am a mite disappointed in the hotel, the early check in thingie in their app didn’t work and I put my ‘do not clean’ sign up at night and they did it anyway.
  32. Someone I may or may not have known in college recognized me. Whoa.
  33. E-book panel went well, too, I think I’m getting the hang of this!
  34. Question during panel: “Was DashCon or Sonic Con worse?” Me: “SonicCon…At least people went to DashCon.”
  35. Apparently my OC “Big Words” made everyone think of George W Bush…D’OH
  36. One elevator broke down, wasn’t too big of a deal, though

    #41-Not Pictured: Fun

    #42-Not Pictured: FUN

  37. Got a letter from a Derpy cosplayer addressed to ‘Someone Special’. ITS SO CUTE I DON’T WANT TO OPEN IT
  38. A musician got their tail in a knot because there were DJs in a musician panel.  Oy.
  39. No conbooks, a bit odd considering all the art/fiction this fandom produces.
  40. If the point of the speakers in the flowers were to annoy the bleep put of me, Fission Mucking Accomplished, hotel.
  41. SUNDAY : Found a button on Friday and turned it in to lost and found on Sunday, I didn’t want it to become my “tell tale tie”
  42. I didn’t think AJ was going to remember the ‘No Fun Zone” thing he mentioned in our podcast, but there it was!
  43. Note to self: Always take pictures of cosplayers because likely YOU WILL NEVER SEE THEM AGAIN even if it is a small con.
  44. I didn’t want to leave early Sunday, but life had other plans. Stupid life.
  45. Almost made it all the way home on the same tank of gas, thank you Honda CR-V!