The More Universes, the Merrier!

WRITING

A while back I mulled over the worlds that my short stories take place in and came up with three distinct ‘universes’ or ‘worlds’ that most of them would probably fit into:

  • Earth-F, which is inhabited by talking animals and is where most of my funny stories take place
  • Earth-H-Minus, where humans ‘blew it all up’ and the furries inherited the Earth…not quite so funny.
  • Earth-M, where magic and furries exist, though outside of the Enchanted Forest stories, I haven’t done much there

Of course, there’s also boring old “Earth Prime,” which is our reality, such as it is.  Most of my science-fiction would likely go here, since I try to make those stories at least somewhat plausible.

And then there are my Christmas stories. I thought it would be cool to tie them together, so in “The X-Mas File,” I had a character make a passing reference to what happened in “Christmas Wishes,” my first Christmas story.  In 2017, I decided ‘why the heck not, let’s tie EVERYTHING together,’ so “Evidence,” my 2017 Christmas story, takes place at the fictional mega-corporation ‘Gooplezonsoft.’  Indeed, the events from “As Designed,” the first story to feature Gooplezonsoft, are alluded to there.

Thus, in the world of Gooplezonsoft: Santa Claus is real. He also doesn’t live at the North Pole, either, though you’ll have to read The X-Mas File to find out where he’s hiding. 😉

I’m not completely sure what to call that world, though. “Earth-S,” for Santa, perhaps? Either way, it’s a fun place to be and I already have an idea in mind for next year’s Christmas story, after I post a more upbeat one to make up for “Confession,” tomorrow.

Click here to read my short stories!

Click here to read my Christmas stories!


300 Seconds Episode 91: “A few words after Furry Invasion 2018”

Listen to this episode here, or read the transcription below!

You are listening to ‘300 Seconds with Eduardo Soliz,’ and this is episode number 91:  A few words after Furry Invasion 2018, so let the 300 Seconds begin!

Furry Invasion took place at the El Tropicano Riverwalk hotel in San Antonio last weekend, October 5-7.  I did my best to pack in as much fun as I could in between shifts at work: I hung out for a little while on early Friday to pick up my badge and I made it out on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.  Overall, Furry Invasion was a marked improvement over last year, but once again, there are a number of little nitpicks that affected me personally that I’m going to bring up.  Spoiler alert: They still have panel issues.

I arrived at registration at about ten o’clock on Friday morning and it went pretty quickly; there was really nobody in line.  They scanned my e-mail, checked my ID and I got my stuff…awesome!  I didn’t hear any squawking about registration this year, though there were a few complaints about finding registration, it was kind of in a weird spot, but that was expected.  Two quick nitpicks about registration, however.  Number one: Stickers are supposed to go on the BADGE ITSELF, not on the badge holder.  Second, and this is more for the people running the show; if you have a guy that’s hacking and coughing his guts out, maybe he shouldn’t be in a position to be handing out credit cards, IDs and badges TO MOST OF THE PEOPLE IN THE CONVENTION.  Yeah, the guy that checked me out let out a nice fit of coughing after he gave me my stuff, which made me very glad that I carry hand sanitizer with me.

One big complaint I heard about throughout the weekend was parking: Last year there was a parking lot across the street, however this year new hotel is being built in that space, so that significantly reduced the number of available parking spots.  As for me, I was able to easily find meter parking on Baltimore street near the hotel on each day of the convention.  My biggest trouble was having enough quarters 😉  Now this is an issue with the venue itself, another venue issue that came up was the elevators breaking down.

And now I’m going to talk about panels for a little bit because there are a number of issues going on here.  It was a pretty good plan on paper:  The panel schedule itself was done ahead of time, which is good, and the leadership decided to put the panel [schedule] online, and that’s also good.  There was also a screen set up with the panel schedules rotating and a QR code that you could scan to pull up the schedule on your phone.  This is also good.  Unfortunately the plan kinda fell apart in the execution.

To begin with, putting the schedule on the website isn’t a bad idea, but the Furry Invasion website is not optimized for phones.   That’s being polite, because it’s pretty awful on phones.  Here’s the thing, guys, it’s cool that y’all have an online digital schedule that you can update on the fly, but there is nothing wrong with paper.  Once your schedule is as final as it’s going to be, print out a bunch of copies.  Hang a copy of each room’s schedule outside the door.  Also, make a PDF copy and have that be downloadable from your website.

So I had a weird exchange with my friend Mordecai on Saturday; he thought my Furry 101 panel was at 6PM.  I told him it was at 5 and he said the conbook said 6.  This really confused me because Furry 101 wasn’t even mentioned in the conbook.  Turns out that  Mordecai was given a copy of LAST year’s conbook.  Don’t that that guys.  Just don’t.  Recycle them.  I was also given a less than ideal time and the crappiest room in the convention, but you know, what are you going to do?  Based on all that, I’m probably going to skip presenting next year.  On the plus side, they did have a projector set up.

Speaking of scheduling, for whatever reason the fursuit parade started before its scheduled time.  I was on my way to get a soda from the machine in the lobby when all of a sudden I saw furries marching towards me.  It was all I could do to scramble to find a spot and remember how to work my camera, which is what happens when you have a job that wakes you up at five in the morning.

Yeah, yeah, I know, I’m nitpicking a lot.  When I have to nitpick like this, it’s because most of the convention was good.  I had a good time, and I’ve been hearing lots of good things both online and off about Furry Invasion 2018.   Overall, I think things will continue to get better as the staff builds from their experience, and I’ll definitely be back next year.

Furry Invasion 2018 was a good con overall. Except for issues related to the venue and my own personal panel issues, which admittedly, are my own, there were no major issues present on the part of the con itself.  I had an enjoyable time, when I was able to get out there, I will certainly be back next year, hopefully for the whole thing.  The theme for next year’s Furry Invasion is going to be ‘Cyberpunk’ and it appears to be taking place on the weekend of October 4, 2019, and I look forward to seeing you there…or perhaps I should   say ‘furward!’

This has been 300 Seconds with Eduardo Soliz, the next episode will be posted after I recover from the long weekend of work and fun.  I am Eduardo Soliz, please subscribe to this podcast and check out my website at Eduardo Soliz dot com for more podcasts and  short stories.  Thank you for listening!

35 Things I Noticed After Upgrading to iOS 11 and an iPhone SE

iOS 11 just happened to drop on the same day I bought a new 32 GB iPhone SE in order to replace my 16 GB iPhone 6 and switch over to a prepaid plan. The 6 was running low on storage space and the SE was on sale, so why the heck not upgrade my OS and my phone on the same day!

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#19-YUUUGE!

  1. First things first: Upgrade my iPhone 6 to iOS 11. Maybe I can use that as a selling point after I move to the SE.
  2. I can’t help but cackle at glee at how many problems iOS 11 is likely causing for customers at my old job. Jerks.
  3. Yes, I am saying my former customers and my former employer are jerks.
  4. Free space on 16GB iPhone 6 before upgrade: 900 MB. Free space after: 4.9 GB. WTF?
  5. When I hit the Wireless or Bluetooth buttons in the Control Center I expect them TO TURN OFF, not just disconnect. No bueno. iOS!
  6. Is a Location on/off button in the Control Center too much to ask for?  Android has had one in their Notification Area for years. Don’t you want to be cool like Android, iOS?
  7. On a related note, the fact that Apple constantly wants to know where you are is mildly creepy.
  8. Why would I want to turn off the cellular part by itself? Isn’t that what Airplane Mode is for?
  9. The “Do Not Disturb While Driving” thing is pretty cool.
  10. The Pebble smartwatch app is still standing; it’ll be a sad day when it or my watch stops working. Stupid FitBit.
  11. From the ‘what took Apple so long’ department: Files. Yeah.
  12. Only four app updates to install…so far!
  13. All in all, iOS 11 is pretty nice, with a few annoyances I can live with. On to the new phone!
  14. Why not Android? Let’s see: For $200 I can get a questionable phone with a lousy camera and maybe one OS update or a really good phone with an awesome camera that will get updates for a few years.
  15. Despite the smaller screen, I consider the SE an upgrade. Better CPU, twice the storage, and a better camera.
  16. Yeah, yeah. I shouldn’t have bought the 16GB model two years ago, but here we are.
  17. The SE is small enough to fit in my pocket and not be constantly clipped to my belt looking like it’s there for something important.
  18. I’m sort-of trying to not be tied to my phone so much.  I don’t know how successful I’ll be, but I’m trying!
  19. Funny how my old phone is nearly as big as the box my new one came in.
  20. Shopping for a case was a little annoying because the iPhone SE section at Ye Olde Electronics Store was cleaned out. It must have been one heck of a sale, or maybe the SE has become the ‘poor man’s iPhone.’
  21. Found an OtterBox case on the cheap at Wally Martinez (Wal-Mart) so maybe there’s something to that.
  22. Yay, another set of EarPods and Apple stickers I’ll never use.
  23. I can never put screen protectors on right.

    21559118_10212527897727487_9185315891786187206_n
    Out with the old, in with the small!
  24. The gal at the activation line has an interesting accent. I wonder if she’s in the Philippines…FOR NO PARTICULAR REASON.
  25. Accidentally hung up on her once during the activation process. Oops.
  26. Apparently the dweebie at the Best Buy warehouse didn’t scan my new phone so it wasn’t technically ‘purchased.’ That led to WHY IS IT NOT WORKING ANYMORE ten minutes after activating it, which led to another phone call to Whereveritis-istan.
  27. Realization: I’m going to have to be super-careful to not drop this thing in the toilet.
  28. It took me a half day before I realized I hadn’t set up my ringtone.
  29. Apple productivity apps are useless to me without OneDrive support.  Buh-bye.
  30. Garage Band, iMovie and TV apps on a 4-inch screen? Um, no.  Gone.
  31. Free space: 22 GB  That’s more like it!
  32. What the hell is up with not letting me use my phone as a hotspot, cellular prepaid people? Crazy idea: If people use up all their data tethering, THEY HAVE TO BUY MORE DATA WHICH MEANS YOU MAKE MORE MONEY.  Idiots.
  33. Tethering seems to work just fine via USB, so neener-neener, prepaid cell phone weenies!
  34. Going to take a little adjusting to having a smaller phone, but I think the SE is going to work. Hopefully my new provider works out, too!
  35. I’m just waiting for that one friend (you know who you are) to see my new SE and say “OH MY GOD, IT’S A BABY PHONE!”

80 Things I Noticed During Texas Furry Fiesta 2017

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!

If a guy with bear ears took your picutre, check it out on my Facebook or Flickr!

  1. 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.

    B
    #75 Fur-tobombed!
  2. I put more effort into picking T-shirts for conventions than I do into dressing for my job
  3. 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.
  4. Had to resist the urge to put “Skills: Striking fear into the hearts of men” on my volunteer application.
  5. Should have mentioned my ‘command voice,’ though.
  6. Seeing Facebook keep going ‘REMEMBER ALL THE FUN YOU WERE HAVING 2/3/4 YEARS AGO’ these last few weeks has been maddening
  7. Went over last year’s list that I apparently DID start two weeks prior, guess I’m getting more patient as I get older.
  8. Planning on using my point-and-shoot for pictures instead of my iPhone, too many dark pictures last year.
  9. Still using my iPad mini to record the parade, though, just need free up lots of memory beforehand!
  10. Sing just came out on video, I wonder if there will be anyone cosplaying? (there wasn’t that I could tell anyway)
  11. Bluetooth speakers at cons SUCK. I have bad taste in music too, but I keep it to myself.
  12. 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
  13. THURSDAY-Passenger: You better be ready to go at 9. Me at 930 on Thursday: Still waiting for him
  14. I pity people that have been to Whataburger without having a Breakfast on a Bun. THAT’S NO WAY TO LIVE
  15. Siri turned my friend’s last name into ‘Command’ so that is his last name now
  16. Took a shortcut down some caliche roads to bypass a big accident on I-35 North.
  17. Yeah maybe I shouldn’t have washed he car yesterday
  18. Made it past the accident okay, though!
  19. Not liking Braums is a crime, apparently
  20. Thursday and the hotel parking lot is already full, oh boy
  21. Friend as we’re going to the room: “This hallway smells like B.O.”

    A
    #25: Come here often?
  22. Funny that I’m going to spend part of my vacation working (as a volunteer) yet I don’t mind
  23. Volunteering: Started off helping unload some stuff, kinda wish I’d showed up earlier to help more.
  24. Furst World Problem: Being swatted by someone’s tail.
  25. Volunteering: It was fun helping at Kempi’s, I am going to totally miss the Disco Dungeon!
  26. Weird moment (for me, anyway) “Didn’t that guy have the prettiest eyes?” “Sorry, but I’m straight.”
  27. I ended up splitting a room in a single instead of a double, we used a pillow as the ‘border.’
  28. FRIDAY-Surprised at how unorganized the volunteering seems to be early on, (it got better)
  29. Idea (that may not work): E-mail verified volunteers blanks of the tracking sheets.
  30. Volunteering: Spent a couple hours in the con suite playing barkeep at the snack bar some more in the morning
  31. Mary Mouse is just too busy, I need my Certified badge!
  32. The panelist didn’t show up to the first panel I went to…I have yet to miss one of mine…just sayin’
  33. These guys really need to purchase a legit scheduling app. The ‘purchase’ part means it likely won’t happen, though
  34. Kept getting asked: “Are you doing a panel?”  I think it’s safe to say me doing panels is a thing now.
  35. 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!
  36. 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.
  37. Ten buck special at Boston Market = good eatin’ Going to miss all the close places to eat next year
  38. 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
  39. Probably just need to invest in a new camera already.

    d
    #31: I’m also certifiable!
  40. SATURDAY – I want to go to panels but keep bailing on them to have fun with friends!
  41. Or getting double-booked and leaving a panel early to go to another one
  42. If you’re asking for questions fifteen minutes into your panel, you might need more material, but it worked out.
  43. Having an intro written to start your panel isn’t a Bad Thing per se, but it depends on the type of panel
  44. Lobby ATM machine barfed on me multiple times throughout he weekend, argh
  45. Fursuit parade seemed to go quicker this year
  46. Someone swatted me with their tail!  How wude!
  47. 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.
  48. I’m learning that sitting is weird when you have a tail, even if it is just a nub!
  49. The pictures from my point and shoot are coming out so much better than the ones from my iPhone last year
  50. Note to self: Get fursuiter pictures when you have the chance, because that StarFox suiter was way cool, but I missed him!
  51. I was working, though /shrug
  52. Volunteering: Checking for badges gets a little weird when people have them on their waist/belt
  53. Okay, so I’m a prude.
  54. Bought a voodoo-themed print and now I have the Dr. Facliler song from ‘The Princess and the Frog’ in my head
  55. SUNDAY-Left my laptop on all night to upload the Fursuit parade video and it worked!
  56. Likely have to retire my iPad mini after this year, 16GB just ain’t enough!
  57. It’s always funny being functional at 8AM while the party animals slowly lurch to life
  58. Walked away from my backpack by accident Guess I need coffee!
  59. Woofle House to the rescue!
  60. Not trying very hard to sell anything in Artist’s Alley, which is good because I didn’t *le sigh*

    C
    #60: Take my books, please!
  61. I swear I am the only seller in Artist Alley that is standing up.
  62. To be fair, they’re all drawing
  63. And sold more than me 😛
  64. I gave away three books, so there’s that.
  65. New rule: No more using my iPad as an attention grabber, people just watch the videos and block the table
  66. You’re welcome for the name, Kawaii-pool!
  67. Why are there two kinds of Steak N’ Shakes? The ones where you get seated SUCK sometimes.
  68. 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.”
  69. None of the pictures I took during Closing Ceremonies came out. Insert joke about Path here.
  70. When someone brings bubble wrap for pick-up to the art show you know they buy a lot of art 0_0
  71. Got plenty of exercise helping tear down the Art show, and earned enough time for a free registration next year!
  72. I had originally planned to stay till Monday, but I have too much adulting to do, so I hit I-35 at 10PM
  73. It was hard for me to leave ‘early’ though MUST PHOTOGRAPH ALL THE FURSUITERS
  74. If you are a fursuiter and I didn’t take your picture, I AM SO SORRY
  75. My friends and I got ‘furtobombed’ by Zig-Zag at the end!
  76. Didn’t run into any of the storms on the drive home but saw lots of scary lightning!
  77. Had a scary moment on a patch of flooded construction, too
  78. Finally got home at 3AM,. I’m tired, but the good kind of tired
  79. 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!