- I was involved in mini-cons before they were cool…just sayin’
- Attendance at the last mini-con was just over 100, so how is this mini-mini?
- Compared to San Japan’s 14K+ attendance last year, I guess just over 1,000 is mini (I’ll stop talking about that now)
- My panel, “Furry 101,” was scheduled against the cosplay show, hopefully it won’t impact attendance too much.
- I often joke about how Wonderland of the Americas Mall is deader than disco except for when nerd events happen, but this one was particularly packed.
- I kept seeing people with ice cream cones and I WANTED ONE SO BAD
- Didn’t help that the mall was quite warm, I was sweating about as much asmy fursuiting friends were.
- Between my panel and my fursuiting friends, I had plenty of logistical things to work out.
- Remembered to bring my 3DS to the to harvest those sweet, sweet puzzle pieces, and left it in the car >.<
- Despite that, it picked up 10 passes anyway.
- I’m not a fursuiter, but it even irks me when people ‘break the magic.’ Come on, guys!
- I told Alvin Von Derpious he would end up scaring some kid and it finally happened…WAY TO GO, DUDE
- Nine-Tails looked like Club 54 with the line outside.
- Hearing the “Teen Titans Go” theme being played live by BitForce was pretty cool!
- Left in the car #2: my bear ears. So much for my ‘furry cred.’
- Twelve people were there for the beginning of my “Furry 101” panel, so I guess being scheduled opposite the cosplay show had an effect. :I
- The panel was recorded this time! Thanks, Furball!
- It went well, my constant swinging back and forth notwithstanding.
- I was also talking with my hands and doing a sing-song voice…blame it on my genes 😉
- A few more people walked in during the panel, had an okay crowd of about half-filled with furries. 😀
- Dunno If they announced the panels over the PA beforehand, but it would have been nice.
- Overall, it was a fun event, plenty to see, do, buy, and friends to catch up with!
- How is it nobody registered miniminicon.com beforehand??
Of course, now that its all said and done, one last list.
- I heard more conversations about DnD this weekend then I have in my entire life up to this point.
- Not sure which is worse: watching the Dallas Cowboys nearly blow the game on TV or hearing them nearly blow it on the radio.
- I put 1,000+ miles on the Excelsior during the trip…whew.
- Three days of sleeping on the ground made me really appreciate my bed.
- I was fortunate enough to have only encountered one raccoon.
- No matter how tired I am, no matter how many hours I’ve spent on the road, no matter how badly I want to get home, there’s always time for a stop at Buc-ees.
- Gas at Buc-ees was $2.99 a gallon for regular unleaded, WOW.
- The logjam I hit on I-35 South going home had me wishing I’d taken 281 instead, ugh.
- RED DIRT EVERYWHERE GET IT OFF GET IT OFF GET IT OFF
- Lesson learned: if I come back I’m getting a tent spot away from the bathrooms and the campfire.
- I am so glad I took Monday off from work to recover. After what happened the last time, I almost stayed home!
I’ve never been to an outdoor convention before, nor to Oklahoma, so Oklacon promised to be a different experience. Indeed it was!
- Parking on top of the hill made me appreciate having a Honda CR-V instead of a Dodge Neon all the more.
- Standing in the slow registration line wasn’t all that bad after 7+ hours on the road.
- I was a little worried about finding a decent radio station, then realized I should have been more worried about reception.
- Apparently only loud people stay up late at night…argh
- Chopping wood in the middle of the night? SERIOUSLY?
- I know darn well there’s no signal, but I keep checking my phone. I may have a problem.
- About the only thing I could do with this phone was update this list.
- As is the custom, Artist’s Alley was located in Mos Isley.
- The hard ground kept me from sleeping at night, but at least I was warm. /shrug
- There were no smut writers at the artist’s meetup, or at least none willing to own up to it.
- The weather was pretty nice once the chill got out if the air…unfortunately it got a little too warm on Saturday.
- Doesn’t seem to be much concern about ‘breaking the magic’ here…then again there isn’t a ‘headless lounge’ either.
- I enjoyed the ‘Furry common sense’ panel, learned a lot of ‘good to know’ information.
- Love the little ‘codes’ they put on the badges.
- They had ‘predator’ and ‘prey’ designs for the baseball caps, clever.
- Bears are omnnivores, so I could go either way…fark it, I bought one with a predator design.
- Someone reportedly got cactus needles stuck in their hand, not sure if there was a mouse available to assist.
- What would a ‘redneck’ fur like Mr. Drunky up there be called?
- Bad Science was DEPRESSING, though Dr. Nuka kinda turned it around at the end
- Favorite new phrase, heard during Bad Science: “Animal Malfunction”
- Got my first badge commission done. I liked it, and I paid for another one.
- I really need to establish a fursona, the second artist I purchased a commission from had all these questions and I was all “I DON’T KNOW!”
- Some guy called me ‘Ed’ and totally confused me until I realized it was on the badge I had commissioned and was now wearing.
- Nothing like thinking you lost your wallet to make for an exciting evening.
- One benefit of being an early riser is there’s always hot water in the shower.
- Big thanks to whomever left the giant bottle of body wash in the showers. Not that I was out, but ‘fresh mango’ wasn’t quite the vibe I was going for…need to check the label next time.
- I woke up on Saturday morning to find someone asleep on top of a hill…WTF?
- Finally realized what I had forgotten to bring: A roll of toilet paper. Granted, they had plenty, but still, I always feel better having a spare roll.
- The bathrooms got progressively worse and worse as the weekend progressed, but I’ve used outhouses, so no biggie.
- Second thing I forgot: an air mattress. I sleep on my side and my hip bone was constantly touching the ground as I slept…ow!
- The Mini Moon Pies were okay until the sun came out on Saturday, oh well.
- Trebuchets are cool.
- Everything felt inverted: I eventually purchased a badge to identify myself as being straight.
- The fursuit parade got moved FORWARD an hour? They know we’re OUTSIDE, right?
- Never been to a con that had two fursuit parades, so that was cool.
- Sat in on a International Anthropomorphic Research Project group chat and learned a little bit more about myself.
- Someone made an interesting point: we use funny animals to entertain our children and expect them to forget about them once they grow up.
- When I heard they were making stone soup, I got a mental image of people throwing Cheetos, Pocky and M&Ms into the pot.
- Judging how much heat is coming out of a propane stove in the middle of the day is tricky.
- When the wooden handle on your saucepan catches fire, there’s too much heat.
My trip to Oklacon 2012 is now over and I had a fun time. Due to a lack of access to the tubes while I was there, everything is going up late, so ‘bear’ with me as I get caught up. 🙂
- I have to start off with the oddball store names I saw on US 281: “Aristacats,” “City Drug,” “Mr. Cut Rate,” “Stop-n-fetchum,” and “Feedlot Restaurant.” Best one? “Scooter’s Adult Bookstore.”
- If you are in a small town, isn’t it presumptuous to call yourself a National Bank?
- Taking the scenic route was a good idea, lots of beautiful country to see.
- “Mountaintop Land Bargains” – not sure if company name or actually selling land on mountain tops.
- If the speed limit sign outside of a town has a red border around it, it means they ain’t fooling around!
- Best thing ever: “Pie happy hour”
- I was so happy to finally see a “Speed Limit 75MPH” sign.
- I think my heart skipped a beat when I first realized my cell phone signal was gone and it wasn’t coming back for 3 days.
- Passed by a store called “The Store.” And I thought the HEB marketing department was lazy.
- I’ve seen town names on water towers, but a silo? I guess you have to work with what you have.
- Stuck behind a slow pickup after about two hours, surprised it took that long.
- A restaurant named “Hamburger Hill?” REALLY?
- I saw a bunch of classic cars pass by at a stop light in a small town. It must have been Homecoming Night.
- Cutting horses? Its a cry for help, methinks.
- Dear Dairy Queen, please make all of your restaurants like the nice one south of Mineral Wells. Thanks.
- “Keep Mineral Wells crazy?” Maybe they should have a furcon. NOTE: The next few are after I entered OK.
- “Bridge ices before road?” Thanks for the science lesson, roadsign.
- A lot of casinos here, hmm.
- Dafuq are ‘jake brakes’ and ‘engine brake?’
- When I first saw a 25MPH speed limit in a little town, I expected to see a horse-drawn buggy somewhere. I never did so I concluded that they were just being jerks.
Finally, after all those months, weeks, and days of waiting, the day is here! As you read this, I am on the road and expect to be there for the lion’s share of the day
One of the bigger challenges of my trip to Oklacon is going to be the drive: according to Yahoo Maps, the shortest route from San Antonio is more-or-less a 500 mile straight shot up US Highway 281 to Roman Nose State Park. While I will be bypassing the messes to be found in Austin and the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, there will instead be lots of stopping at lots of small towns along the way.
Being from a small town myself, I’m okay with that. It is going to be nice to be out on the road seeing things besides gas stations and fast-food joints. Also, given my intolerance for spending long times in the car, there will also be plenty of opportunities to stop for rest, drink, food, and attending to certain biological needs. 🙂
This will be the first true test of my new vehicle. Just going to Houston was a pain in my 2005 Dodge Neon (aka The Reliant) and I was not looking forward to taking longer trips in it. I’m hoping that the increased interior space and more comfortable seating found in my 2012 Honda CR-V (aka The Excelsior) will make the trip more pleasant.
The thought of the fun to be had at my destination should be enough to keep me going, but if all else fails, there’s always coffee.
Oklacon is just a few days away, and I am in the process of getting things ready: making a list of equipment to bring, topping off stuff with fuel, getting warmer clothing out of storage, making sure I have plenty of batteries, and so on and so forth. In viewing various posts here and there I had heard of something called ‘cell phone hill’ so on a hunch, I decided to check Sprint’s coverage.
Yikes. It looks as if I’m going to be outside of Sprint’s coverage area, so I’m going to be roaming, which probably means no data. Now, I presume that no data means no internets, and I find myself just a little bit apprehensive at the thought of really being ‘off the grid.’ As you may guess, I’m one of those people that is always checking my smartphone or laptop for e-mails or Facebook posts or tweets or comments on my blogs (like this one!) and so on and so forth.
While the thought of not having access to the tubes is a little bit scary (I think I may have a problem), on the other hand, its something else I can take a vacation from, and it’ll probably do me some good…I hope!
The Furry Fandom and Steampunks. On the surface, these two groups/sub-cultures/what-have-you would seem to be very far apart, but I think they have more in common than there appears to be on the surface.
First, there is the Furry Fandom (AKA ‘Furries’ for short): these are people that enjoy works of art and fiction that feature animals with human-like qualities, such as the ability to talk and walk upright. There really isn’t a hard-and-fast rule as to what makes a character ‘furry,’ as far as I can tell. For example, both Mickey Mouse and Mrs. Frisby (that is, the one from the book) would be considered ‘furry.’
Next, we have the Steampunks, who combine Victorian era aesthetics and dress with fantastic accessories and weapons, asking what if the scientists and engineers of the day had found a way to power everything either with steam or some new form of energy. Think Victorian-era dress accentuated with leather, brass, gadgets of all types and for better or for worse, gears.
I have had exposure to both groups, having attended the first two Aetherfests in San Antonio as well as Furry Fiesta in Dallas this past February. In doing so, I noticed a few similarities between the two groups:
The first, and probably the best thing that separates these groups from ‘traditional’ comic book, sci-fi and anime fans, in my opinion, is that they are both very creative. Members of both groups choose to create their own characters and personas.
In the case of steampunk, it is almost a necessity as there is not very much in the way of established material. While there are a few folks that take existing characters and reinterpret them in the ‘steampunk’ aesthetic, such as Steampunk Boba Fett, they are in the minority. Instead, most steampunks will create a character, usually with an honorific or military title added to the name. Groups will sometimes refer to themselves as being part of an “airship crew.”
Insofar as the furries are concerned, you are not going to find very many folks dressed up as Bugs Bunny or Baloo at a furry convention. Instead, just like the steampunks, people will make up their own characters, often referred to as ‘fursonas.’ While many furs wear ears and tails at conventions, the apex of adopting a fursona is represented by the ‘fursuiters.’ Fursuiters dress up in costumes to fully take on the appearance of a character. The effort required to create a fursuit, to say nothing of putting one on, is impressive. Indeed, at Furry Fiesta I witnessed a wide variety of species represented. They also come in many different styles, from the cartoony to the more realistic.
Secondly, both groups appear to be more receptive to writers. Writers are virtually nonexistent in most fan groups save for science fiction. Heck, I can count the number of writers that I’ve seen at conventions on one hand. Thus, I was encouraged to see a few writers with tables at Furry Fiesta and Aetherfest. Both conventions even held panels that were involved writers: meetups, discussions of the craft and even story readings. As a writer myself, I find it very encouraging and hope to have a table at a future event.
Both groups also attract older crowds, at least from what I have observed. The Anthropomorphic Research Project believes that there is “…evidence to suggest that there is a significant proportion of furries over the age of 25 (upwards of 30%)” I don’t know that anyone has done a survey of Steampunks, but most of the attendees I saw at Aetherfest appeared to be at least college-age or older. Being just south of 40 myself, I was relieved to not find any teenagers running amok at Aetherfest and just a few at Furry Fiesta.
Finally, both groups like to prefix everything with their descriptor: if you are a furry, then everything starts with ‘furry’ and if you are a Steampunk, everything starts with ‘steam.’ 😉 Okay, I’m just being silly now.
Despite being somewhat ‘on the fringe’ (or perhaps because they are on the fringe) both the Steampunks and the Furry Fandom have quite a few things in common. I’ve enjoyed taking part in activities held by both groups, and I look forward to continuing to do so in the future…just gimmie some glue, some gears, and some ears! 🙂
Artwork “SteamPowerGirl” by Chris Holm, used with permission.
Photo taken by me, so nyeah