ANIME, CONS, CREATIVE, Eduardo Soliz, HavenCon, Uncategorized

Some Neat Stuff I Saw at HavenCon 2016

havenconstuff

Con loot!

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:

I purchased some nice X Files-themed prints from Megan Kluck featuring artwork similar to this.  Her art can be found at tasteslikekeys.tumblr.com

This print from Robby Cook will be hanging in my home soon.  His wonderful artwork and mash-ups can be found at robbycook.com

I bought a zine from Bis Thornton (bisthebox.com) and E. S. Mahoney named “Singularity: Contraption” that contained some neat stories about robotics.

“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!

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Uncategorized

2015 A.D.

2015I 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.

WRITING

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.

WORK

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. 😉

2016

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!

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My Favorite Christmas Songs 2015 #25

“Christmas Dragnet/Yulenet,” Stan Freberg and Daws Butler, 1953

You may not have heard of Stan and Daws, but if you have seen any classic Warner Brothers cartoons, you have almost certainly heard them in the voices of the many characters they voiced.  Stan also recorded comedy records such as this one.

TRIVIA: Stan was considered for the role of C-3PO in Star Wars.  After auditioning for the part, he recommended Anthony Daniels for the role.

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Apple, BUSINESS, Computers, JUST SAYING, Microsoft, Tablets, TECH, Uncategorized, WORDS, WORK, Writing

A Touch of Office

windowsI purchased a Windows 8 tablet (ASUS VivoTab 8) back in January with the intention of using it as a laptop replacement.  On paper, it sounded perfect:

  • Touchscreen that Windows 8 can work well in
  • Full Windows 8 (none of this RT malarkey)
  • Improved Intel Atom CPU and better battery life compared to a laptop
  • Increased portability
  • Only $150!
  • Free Office 365 for a year

Let’s run down the list:

  • Windows 8 on a touchscreen is pretty good.  Heck, its actually great once you learn all of its little tricks.
  • A full version of Windows 8 means I can install some of my favorite (read: ancient) apps I use like WinAmp 2.9 and Microsoft Money 2000.
  • Remember Netbooks?  Those used the first Intel Atom CPUs and they were dog slow.  The newer one in the VivoTab is good for basic tasks and battery life has been in the 7-8 hour range which is what I wanted.
  • Even with a case, the VivoTab is remarkably portable.  Like my iPad mini, a 7-8″ tablet is the perfect size to carry around.
  • The price was definitely right!

And now we get to the device’s biggest problem:  Microsoft Office.  Because the VivoTab is capable of running the desktop version of Microsoft Office, that’s what you get.  That would be pretty neat, but Office is not optimized for touch on an 8″ screen.  Thus, I end up wasting time mashing its teeny icons with my sausage-fingers and fighting the interface instead of doing work.  Styluses are no help either, they make me feel like I’m trying to draw on the screen with a fuzzing crayon.  I bought a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard so I can get around Office more efficiently, but carrying them around and setting them up sucks some of that wonderful ‘portability’ out of the tablet.

Finally, Office 365 sucks horribly on this device.  It had a terrible habit of slowing down to the point where I could see letters being placed on the screen one…at…a…time every few seconds.  I would type out a full sentence and then wait for the poor thing to catch up before doing the next one because I didn’t want it to crash and potentially lose my work.  I got into the habit of saving very frequently for a few frustrating weeks before removing the craptacular Office 365 and installing my copy of Office 2010.  Needless to say, I have no intention of paying for Office 365 when the trial year runs out.

I really like my VivoTab 8, and if Microsoft could get around to making a version of Office that was suitable for smaller tablets, I would like it a whole lot more.

Oh wait, they already made one…it’s on my iPad mini!  /facepalm

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2014 A.D.

2014Overall, 2014 was an okay year for me.  Nothing really big and significant happened, so its fair to say I spent the year ‘coasting’ and ended it pretty much where I started it.

In terms of my job, its gotten better in some respects, worse in others, and I still find myself wanting to get another one before we are replaced by people on the other side of the planet or I finally flip out and really let a customer have it.  Not much to report there.

As far as writing is concerned, I certainly didn’t get as much done as I wanted to.  I only released Con Fluff 3 but also wrote some short stories for my website.  The lack of books has me concerned to the point that I have decided to take a year off from doing conbook stories to focus on getting things finished.  I have two follow-ups to The Rules of Tech Support in the works that need to get done as well as some short story collections.  If nothing else, I need to make writing a habit, whether its blog posts, podcast scripts, stories or whatnot.  The upcoming year will see my first self-published paper book (stay tuned!) as well as some attempts to sell my work, and hopefully I can keep something resembling a regular podcast and blog schedule.  Stay tuned on that one 😛

I also helped a friend get The Dead Tree Society going, so there’s that, and I look forward to trying to helping her get the word out about the wonderful world of papers and pens.

Otherwise, it was a fun year of conventions, doing fun things with friends and attempting to maintain my sanity at my job.  Here’s to moving forward in 2015!

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MUSIC, Uncategorized, Video

New Years Mix

Let’s hear some old songs about time!  Happy New Year, everyone!

“Back in Time” Huey Lewis and the News

“Time after Time” Cyndi Lauper

“The Midnight Hour” Wilson Pickett

 “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” Chicago

“For the Longest Time” Billy Joel

“Time of the Season” The Zombies

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My Favorite Christmas Songs #22

“We Need A Little Christmas,” Percy Faith & His Orchestra and Chorus, 1966

Originally written for the Broadway musical “Mame,” this version adjusts the lyrics a tad.  The ‘grown a little leaner/colder/sadder/older’ section is removed.  The ‘Its one week since Thanksgiving now’ interjection is also not present, which makes sense as this version is sung by a chorus.  Either way, its a happy little song.

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