A mysterious alien box appears in the desert. What will be revealed once the scientists of Earth decipher its “Message?”
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:
- BEFORE/DRIVE UP-I’m a little bummed over missing the conbook deadline but that’s what my website is for.
- I’m guessing I’m going to see a lot of Alices and Mad Hatters. Hopefully, the cartoon versions.
- Seriously, I thought the 2010 version was ‘The Mad Hatter Movie”
- I will openly admit to being jealous of all my friends that will be there on Thursday
- I swear work gets tougher the last few days before a vacation…it’s like THEY KNOW
- Okay, I wussed out and told my cowokers I was going to a ‘comiccon’
- Does loading Disney soundtracks onto a USB stick for the drive qualify someone as ‘furry trash?’ Asking for a friend.
- Thing I forgot: Cologne. Given the female-to-male ratio it’s just as well!
- 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!
- Honestly, I-35 keeps getting better and better each year…Temple notwithstanding
- The Czech stop was definitely worth the 200-mile wait!
- Parking seems to be one of the big issues early on; I was furtunate to get a spot fairly close by.
- I feel like a tourist lugging my bags around the hotel before check-in.
- It wasn’t too long before I started running into friends, YAY FRIENDS!
- 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?”
- “Can I get the lowest room available? I have a thing with heights.”
- New hotel is very nice, though the open elevators are a little scary for me. (see above)
- 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.
- The Presidential Suite is open to Super-Sponsors, though.
- Forgot to print out my reg sheet for the first time ever. *hangs head in shame*
- Their reg was so fast it didn’t matter.
- The Hyatt Regency feels so wide open compared to the other hotels.
- Taking five fights of stairs to the room (if I don’t want to wait for the elevator) is definitely a workout
- The hotel room has an Ethernet port, and me without a cable *argh*
- 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*
- It’s awesome that the con T-shirts aren’t black this year.
- I’m usually pretty careful about catching autocorrects before I hit Send, but finally had one slip through the net 😀
- 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.
- I am seriously considering buying a Lemonbrat partial fursuit.
- 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.
- 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
- It’s 6pm, send in the normies!
- There are places to eat downtown if you don’t mind a little walk. Cool.
- Elevator situation is pretty awful, I wonder if the top-floor con suite is a contributing factor.
- 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!”
UPDATE: Found her on Twitter!
- Maybe I’m not done with “Con Talk” after all…
- I really really need to get cracking on making some panels for next year’s Furry Fiesta. People want them!
- SATURDAY-630AM and I don’t want to be up, but I guess I’m up, bleh.
- Might be early enough to hit Waffle House without losing my parking, hmm
- Upon further review I decided not to risk losing my spot.
- A little disappointed in the scheduling app; it shows the full schedule without hiding events that have already passed.
- Oh, I have to manually refresh it. Derp.
- Nope, still didn’t do it. Boo.
- For some reason I have Matthew Ebel’s “Merry Christmas from Cell Block 2” in my head
- Are the microphones in the panel rooms even on?
- New addition to the fursuit parade: Concerned parents
- 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.
- Nothing like 40-degree weather to make you want a fursuit.
- Freezing my face off was totally worth it for the Cuban sandwich, though
- If you’re running audio you should be professional enough to know to not talk while a presentation is going on. Fuzzing amateurs
- 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!
- 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 😀
- The partial suit I was thinking about buying was sold. Oh well.
- A friend bought Lemonbrat’s ‘Tide Pod Fox’ and got very popular very quickly.
- 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.
- Halfway down the stairs to go to dinner, I realized I still had my bear tail on. Screw it.
- Nothing like walking 2/3 of a mile to go to Spaghetti Warehouse in 30-degree weather.
- Totally worth it, though. Chicken parm you taste so good.
- 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!
- Nice lobby-wide howl on Saturday night, by the way.
- 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)
- Drunk normies + fursuiters = hilarity
- I swear the ‘Two women: One embarrassingly drunk and the other trying to get them to stop being embarrassing’ bit is a trope.
- 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
- Mom never made ‘fingerling potatoes’ for breakfast, just sayin. That said, they were tasty.
- No salsa on the breakfast buffet? What is this, NEW YORK CITY?
- The longer the con goes, the harder it gets to not take multiple pictures of the same fursuiters. Oh well!
- 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!
- So yeah, I may be getting a fursuit made.
- 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.
- To the jackass who parked their Honda CRX in the middle of the end of the parking lot: YOU SUCK.
- I am very glad I only make two trips that involve I-35 a year
- 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.
- Big thank you to the solider who fished a soda out of the machine for me at the Bell rest stop. Enjoy the freebie!
- 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 >.<
- AFTERWARDS-I will openly admit to being jealous of my friends that are still at the con on Monday.
- 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.
- There is apparently an underground tunnel leading from near Union Station to the hotel. I may consider taking a train ride for next year.
- Remember how I said “Con Talk” was over a few months ago? I was never very good at lying. 😉
- “Roll Fur Initiative” for next year’s theme? I guess Creativity failed her saving throw! Hey, I tried!
Welcome to the first episode of “Super-Short Storytime!” Today’s tale is about bumping into old classmates. Enjoy “Betty’s Baby,” a selection from “Ten Tiny Tales.”
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!
A little flashback from 2010:
The tenth San Japan came and went like a lion. I had three panels to do and my compatriot WolfBoy had furry things to do. As always, I noticed a few things…
- BEFORE-Okay San Japan people, I’ll do a third panel I’ve never done before and have to prepare in three days because you asked so nicely. Just spell my name right in the schedule this time, mmmkay?
- Time to retire my 2009 iMac from recording duties, it derped out on me when recording the pre-game podcast and ate some audio >.<
- I asked a friend if he was going to San Japan and he said he was more of an ‘indie rock’ guy versus ‘arena rock’ so I had to try to convince him that San Japan wasn’t just another ‘autograph-con’
- Holy cats, did we get salty during the pre-game podcast.
- I’ll be wearing my smartwatch for the first time since I got laid off because I HAVE IMPORTANT ANIME CON THINGS TO DO.
- I also won’t be wearing my rings. I’ve lost enough weight to where they’re starting to slip off my fingers now; a good problem to have.
- PROTIP: You can read the Chili’s lunch special menu through the window if you want to be weird
- Walking through the mall, WolfBoy and I decided to stop and take a seat…in front of the Victoria’s Secret. YEAH, NOT CREEPY AT ALL
- It says something that I can get 12 Streetpasses in my hotel room on Thursday night
- I finally remembered my Nintendo 3DS this time!
- As I get the presentation together for the third panel, I’m really looking forward to putting it on!
- Seems folks are taking a bit longer than usual to get set up, either that or were just really early
- I asked for a bigger panel room and I got it…boy, did I get it 0_0
- THURSDAY NIGHT-530pm No Japanese arcade machines set up. WolfBoy: “WORST CON EVAR!”
1000pm Initial D cabinet set up. WolfBoy: “BEST CON EVAR!”
- Idiots asking “Is San Japan not happening because of Hurricane Harvey or gas shortages?” should be charged double for their badges.
- Concerning: Nobody was watching the entrances Thursday night
- Also concerning: The way too wide open aisles behind the artists with nothing to keep people from walking down them. Hope there aren’t any thefts.
- At the risk of sounding like a shill, Verizon service has been pretty awesomesauce. A little slow at times, but ‘slow’ is better than ‘none.’
- FRIDAY-First the signs weren’t big enough, and now they aren’t spelled right. This is why Dave is already grey, people!
- Charger box things at the Henry B are almost a good idea, the flaw is that most folks can’t bear to be away from their phones
- Dear Guidebook: If I only have one event downloaded PLEASE OPEN THE FREAKING EVENT WHEN I LAUNCH THE APP, K?
- Also: TOO MANY SCHEDULE FILTER OPTIONS
- Artist friends: Don’t just say “I’m in artist alley, find me.” There are over 100 artists. I NEED DETAILS!
- Sure, WolfBoy, it’s only 90 degrees outside and you’re wearing a partial fursuit with a dark business suit LETS GO
- Always adorable to see little girls taking pictures with Wonder Woman cosplayers
- Not sure why, but they kicked up the difficulty on the Time Pilot game in the game room. I spent longer than usual getting the high score.
- Got inadvertently put to work in Registration directing traffic for ten minutes. JUST WHEN I THOUGHT I WAS OUT THEY PULL ME BACK IN
- Almost lost my badge before Furry 101, yipes!
- As I saw people walk away from the convention center for dinner, I had a feeling attendance was going to be down for Furry 101.
- Dear former coworker: If I didn’t want to talk to you at work, what makes you think I’m going to want to talk to you outside of work?
- I apparently can’t give a panel if I can’t read my presentation, the rear projection screens at Furry 101 completely threw me off >.<
- Just as well, I don’t like presenting while standing over people on a stage.
- We had 150-200 people at the panel, I guess that justifies the biggest room at the con. 😛
- Annoying thing: People that use Q&A time to make dumb jokes. Get a life.
- REALLY annoying thing: People that try to answer questions during the Q&A part of my panel. GET YOUR OWN PANEL
- The A/V guy was very complimentary after Furry 101, though. Thanks man!
- The only time I get a ton of steps is at cons and after 20,000 today, my dogs were barking.
- By ‘dogs’ I mean feet, not like actual dogs or furry costumed dogs.
- SATURDAY-When you’re up at 6am on Saturday morning, you’re up, what can I say
- If you aren’t willing to make your own waffle at the hotel breakfast, YOU DON’T WANT IT BAD ENOUGH.
- There is another event happening at the Henry B, which answers the question of why there was a higher-than usual number of older Mexican women around downtown San Antonio in the morning.
- Weirdest thing I’ve heard so far: “Dad, doesn’t she have nice boobs?”
- There seem to be quite a few empty tables even in the Dealer’s room; an effect of Harvey, perhaps?
- The number of people donating blood is pretty awesome
- Peeked in on the panel that took my spot from the beta schedule and they had just as many people as I had the night before…maybe less.
- To be fair, they’re a major sponsor and I’m just a guy with a microphone, an attitude, and weird friends.
- I kinda want a Steven Universe T-shirt (think I got a little resemblance to Steven there) but I kinda don’t want to pay thirt bucks for one
- To the harpy working A/V before my audio panel: If you don’t want attitude thrown back at you, don’t fire first. I’ve done tech support too, but I treated my people and customers with respect until they gave me a reason not to.
- “Really Basic Auido Recording” was easily the worst panel I’ve done in a while; next time I’ll just say no…or hold another ‘hide Dave for an hour podcast’ panel.
- That said, the few people that did hang around had really good questions!
- Bad idea: Dragging a boom mic (and it’s heavy base) to the panel. I think I’ll use a Rock Band mic next time to make a point.
- Heard an ambulance and thought ‘Oh boy, it’s a party now,’ but it didn’t stop at the con
- SUNDAY-Other artist booths : Out to lunch Friend’s booth: Out Fursuiting
- To the people playing Bee Gees and Michael Jackson on their Bluetooth speakers: THANK YOU FOR PLAYING GOOD MUSIC
- That said, can we just ban those damn things from cons already?
- Had to defend my honor by retaking the top spot on the Time Pilot game (see #26). I doubled the score that had topped mine. BEAT THAT, AAA!
- Parking lot guy: “Twenty bucks”
I parked at the city lot across from the Hyatt for $11 so NEENER NEENER PARKING LOT GUY
- Old hotness: Mind-reading robot cat ears
New hotness: Ballcaps with words
- Thing to remember for next year: Fursuit straws!
- I think I’m finally over being weirded out by crossplay…mostly.
- Funniest question of the weekend: “Are you a Mawg?”
- E-book panel went awesomely; lots of people with good questions and I had JUST enough handouts!
- Two out of three good panels ain’t bad!
- Highly disappointed in the other ‘How to publish books’ panel; I spent 25 minutes hearing the guest blab on about herself and walked out. I think I had a bigger audience, too.
- I’m going to be that old guy (because I am) and mention that too many products and displays in Artist Alley/Dealer Room had swear words on them. There seemed to be less nudity than in years past, though
- AFTER- Might be time to retire my digital camera, too many ‘ghost spots’ >.<
- Step count: Thursday 19627, Friday 20797, Saturday 23268, Sunday 14284 I swear cons are the only place I get a lot of exercise, I should go to more!