NOTE: This is a transcript of a podcast for those with hearing difficulties, those that prefer to read, and those who would prefer to not hear the sound of my voice. 😉
You are listening to ‘300 Seconds with Eduardo Soliz,’ and this is episode number one hundred and 112, “A Furry Thing Happened on the Way to the Convention,” so let the 300 Seconds begin!
For the last eight years and change, I have been a member of the furry community. I have gone to furry conventions, written furry stories, published furry story collections, given furry presentations, taken lots of pictures of fursuiters, and made many new furry friends. While my furry experience has been wonderful so far, like so many things in my life, it sometimes gets a little weird. Okay, make that weirdER…
While not my first furry convention; Furry Fiesta 2013 was significant for me, because unlike the previous year, which was my first furcon, I now had a number of friends that were also going also to be there. Just like everything else in life, having friends around makes conventions a lot more fun.
One evening during the convention, I went with some friends to eat at a restaurant. The food was good, the company was pleasant, and we all enjoyed a nice meal. While waiting to receive our checks, the manager approached our table and asked us how everything was. We let her know that we were happy with the food and service. She noticed that some of us were wearing our convention badges, so she asked if we were in town for a convention. We answered that yes, we were, but nobody had an answer for the obvious follow-up question:
“What kind of convention is it?”
Everybody at the table, including myself, instantly froze up. I have never before, in my entire life, seen seven grown adults go totally deer-in-headlights. Everybody looked back and forth at each other, expecting somebody else to say something. Finally, after about ten seconds of awkward silence, somebody said: “It’s an ART convention!” That answer immediately snapped everybody out of their daze and the rest of the evening went on as expected.
For what it’s worth, I came up with a five-word explanation of furry that tends to satisfy most folk’s curiosity, and those five words are: “Nerds who like cartoon animals.”
For the last few years, I have presented educational panels at various conventions in Texas including RealmsCon, Comicpalooza, Fiesta Equestria, and San Japan. I’ve talked about publishing e-books, recording audio, and of course, furries, in a panel called Furry 101. The point of Furry 101 is to give outsiders the low-down on what furries are all about. In the interest of full disclosure, I do also include some of the weird stuff, but since the panel is for an all-ages audience, I can’t go too far.
A few years ago at San Japan, I was presenting Furry 101 to an audience of about two hundred people, my largest audience ever. As I’m doing so, I’m looking over my audience, making sure that I have their attention and looking to see that I don’t have too many people walking out. One person that stuck out was a gentleman that looked to be a bit older. Not super-old, mind you, but in an anime convention, if you’re over 40, you’re going to stick out a little bit. I figured he was there with his child. Much to my delight, he looked to be engaged in the presentation, but the expression on his face became, shall we say, less happy once I got to the weird stuff. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t that weird, but the presentation slide that mentions adult art certainly got his attention. I felt terrible after the fact, thinking: “Oh my God. I have totally ruined furry for his kid. They’re going to be locked away in their home forever and never be allowed to associate with those ‘animal people weirdos’ ever again.”
Fast forward a few months. Come to my surprise, I bumped into the gentleman and his child at Furry Fiesta. If I remember correctly, his name was Kevin. He thanked me for the presentation, much to my relief. I’ve spoken with a few more parents after Furry 101 since then and have even come across a few folks that have joined the fandom after attending my panel. Granted, the panel is not supposed to be a recruiting tool, but if folks want to join the club after the fact, who am I to argue?
This has been 300 Seconds, the next episode will be posted after I insert more subliminal messages into my Furry 101 panel slides. I am Eduardo Soliz, if you’d like to hear more 300 seconds subscribe via your favorite podcast app and check out my website at Eduardo Soliz dot com. Thank you for listening! Be good, take care, and God bless.
Welcome to Super-Short Storytime, Dear Listeners! I am Eduardo Soliz, the author and narrator of the splendidly short story that you are about to hear.
My unhappiness towards my nine-to-five (and my willingness to share it) has gotten to the point where it has become a character trait over the years. But I’m not here to tell how you about much I hate my job. Instead, let me tell you a story about a guy that does enjoy his work. This work-related writing is called: “The Best Job In The World“
A middle-aged man wearing black slacks and a white button-down shirt stood in front of a row of vending machines. He wore an identification card that bore the logo of the Prehistoric World theme park and “Bernard Olson, Accounting” in bold letters underneath that. Bernard idly jingled some change in his right hand while he looked from one machine to the next, carefully considering his options.
“Hey buddy, could you give me a hand, here?” A man’s voice said to his right. Bernard turned to answer and quickly jumped back upon seeing a six and a half foot tall mountain lion standing next to him. His shock quickly turned to relief when he realized that it was a person wearing a costume.
“Oh! You frightened me. ” Bernard said. Bernard hummed to himself as he looked for an identification card on his costumed coworker, who wore a T-shirt with the name “Pappy Puma” on it. Bernard was fairly certain that wasn’t his real name.
After a moment, the mountain lion noticed his confusion and said: “Oh! Sorry about that. I’m Jay.”
“My name is Bernard,” Bernard said quietly. He gingerly shook the large paw that Jay offered.
Jay continued: “If you could help me out, that would be awesome, Bernard. My usual helper is in the infirmary. She’s new to the area and hasn’t gotten used to our wonderful Texas summers yet.”
Bernard nervously looked around to see if there was anyone else nearby that could help in his place.
“Come on, man. I ain’t gonna bite you.” Jay pleaded.
Bernard sighed. “Okay. What do you need me to do?” He asked.
“Help me get this head off. Go around me and unzip the zipper that’s at the back of my neck.” Jay said. He dropped to one knee so that Bernard could more easily reach it.
“Okay.” Bernard said. He walked over behind Jay, and looked at the back of his head. He saw a seam running down the back and followed it to its end, where he saw a zipper’s metal tab sticking out. He grabbed the zipper and slowly pulled it up. Before Bernard had the zipper opened completely, Jay reached up and pulled the mask forward to remove it.
“Whew. That’s better.” Jay said, relieved. Bernard walked around to face him and stared for a moment. Jay was wearing a tight-fitting hood on his head made out of some synthetic material. Only his face, which was red from the heat, was exposed. Jay took the head off and carefully placed it on the floor next to his gym bag.
“What’s that thing on your head?” Bernard asked, motioning at his head with his hands.
Jay looked at him for a moment before realizing what he was referring to. “Oh, the hood? It’s to keep sweat from getting into my eyes and stuff. I’m wearing underclothes made out of the same material, but it can only do so much, you know?”
Bernard nodded in acknowledgement.
“Could you help me get one of these paws off?” Jay asked. “They’re held on by some snaps that are underneath the seam. I could use my teeth, but the folks in the costume department wouldn’t appreciate that.” He extended his right arm towards Bernard, who removed the paw and examined it. Meanwhile, Jay used his now-free hand to remove the other paw and set it on top of his costume’s head.
Bernard peered inside of the paw and quickly drew his face back when he noticed the moisture and the smell coming from it. “Goodness, that’s a lot of sweat.” He observed.
“Yup. Such is the price of fame.” Jay quipped. He was hunched over his gym bag searching inside for something.
“It looks like you have a difficult job, having to wear this all day.” Bernard pondered. “I don’t think that I could do it.” He bent over and carefully placed the costume hand atop of the other one.
“The positives ultimately outweigh the negatives, my friend.” Jay said. He pulled a wallet out of the gym bag, opened it, took out a few bills, then dropped it back into the bag. He stood up, walked over to one of the vending machines and bought a sports drink.
“What positives?” Bernard asked. “You walk around outside in that heavy suit all day, get pushed, kicked and well, abused by children, and I can’t imagine that you get paid very well. No offense intended.”
“None taken.” Jay replied before taking a swig of his drink. “And yeah, all of what you said is true. Those are the negatives. So let me give you some positives: It’s fun to interact with the kids. As far as they’re concerned, I really am a big cat. I get to snarl and meow and purr and be silly and goofy. Sure, some of them will push and kick and shove and cry, but they always walk away happy, and that makes me happy, too.
You know what most people make at their jobs, Bernard? Money. That’s it. Nothing else. Do we need it? Of course we do, that’s the world we live in. But there’s nothing really unique about money. A smart man once sang that ‘money talks, but it don’t sing and dance and it don’t walk.’ Money isn’t special. It’s as common as the dirt on the ground. Just because other folks have more doesn’t make it any less true.
But the smile on a child’s face, the laughter of parents and grandparents as they take a picture, even the dumb giggling coming out of a bunch of nutty college kids. Those things are special. Those are the things that people remember. Sure, lots of other people might make more money than I do, but I make memories. I have the best job in the world because my job is to make people happy.”
“Wow. I never thought of it like that.” Bernard said, surprised. His tone became sad as he continued: “It certainly sounds more enjoyable than my job. I just sit at a desk all day and crunch numbers.”
“Yeah, but your job is important, too, Bernard. If you don’t crunch all those numbers, we don’t get paid, right?” Jay said with a smile. “Sorry for rambling like that, Bernard. I guess I’ll head over to the locker room and get out of this suit.”
“Oh, so your day is over?” Bernard asked.
“Without a handler, it is.” Jay explained. “The costume head severely limits my vision, so I have to have a handler nearby to help me get around, keep an eye out for kids and to make sure that we don’t stay outside for too long, but unless Angela gets out of the infirmary soon, I’m done for the day.”
“Now that’s unfortunate.” Bernard said. He checked his watch. “There are still several hours until the park closes.”
“Well, them’s the breaks.” Jay mused. He started to gather his things together. “It’s been good talking to you, man. Thanks for the assist.”
“Wait a second. What if I was your handler?” Bernard asked.
“Huh. I’d appreciate the assist, but won’t you get in trouble?” asked Jay.
“It’ll be okay. Besides, I can always make more money tomorrow.” Bernard said.
“That’s the spirit! Come on, Bernie, let’s go make some memories!” Jay exclaimed. With smiles on their faces and springs in their steps, the pair headed off to ‘work.’
It may be cliche to say that “money isn’t everything,‘ Dear Listeners, but that doesn’t make it any less true for some folks. Personally, I would love to have a job where I make something besides money, but for now, money will have to do. This has been Super-Short Storytime! If you’d like me to tell your story, send an email to email@example.com
Thank you for listening! Be Good, Take Care, and God Bless.
Welcome to Super-Short Storytime, fellow fans of flash fiction! I am Eduardo Soliz, the writer and narrator of the splendidly short story that you are about to hear.
Something that one quickly discovers upon purchasing a home is that keeping it up can be a lot of work. Like many of you, I found any work involving its exterior particularly tiring and time-consuming, with mowing the lawn being the most unpleasant. Fortunately, in addition to exercise, a nice looking lawn, and a few wasp stings, all of those hours spent behind the lawn mower resulted in this tiny tale of toil that I call: “Lawn Care.”
It was another fine Saturday morning, and once again, I was spending it mowing the grass in my backyard. As was usually the case, I had waited too long, so after a half hour, both my lawn mower and I were huffing and puffing under the strain of foot-tall weeds. I stopped to catch my breath for a moment, when I thought heard a voice. I turned around. Nobody was there. Huh. I stood still and listened for the voice, and again it came.
“Hello?” A soft voice said, but it was coming from…below me? I looked down and saw a rabbit sitting on the grass staring back at me. I looked over it for some sign that it was a toy; a seam, glass eyes, or weird colors. Nothing. As far as I could tell, this was a real live rabbit, just one that could talk.
“Hello?” I replied. I slowly raised a hand and waved my fingers at the bunny, not wanting to frighten it. To be honest, I was feeling a little frightened myself!
The bunny gasped. “You can talk.” She said, her mouth and eyes opening wide in astonishment.
“You can talk?” I replied. Okay, this is weird.
The bunny blinked, shook her head slightly, and regained her composure. “Oh! We wanted to ask: Why do you kill the grass?” She asked.
“Kill the grass?” I asked back.
“Yes. You kill the grass. What you are doing right now.” The bunny nodded her head towards the freshly-mowed area I had just finished.
I thought about my words for a moment, doing my best to simplify the concept: “I cut the grass to make it short.” I put a hand on my chest to emphasize my next point. “We also don’t like some kinds of grass, like the skinny ones with the yellow flowers on top.”
The bunny recoiled in shock, her ears folding back. “But those are yummy!” She insisted. “We like the tall grass because we can hide there and be safe. Short grass is…” She closed her eyes tightly and shuddered. “scary.”
I waved a hand out over the portion of the yard that had been cut and said: “Well, people like me think it looks prettier when the grass is short.”
The rabbit gazed back at me with wide eyes and asked: “But aren’t we pretty, too?”
I don’t mow the lawn anymore. You know, I haven’t seen any dandelions around, either.
I live alone, Dear Listener, so I don’t know if ‘because of the bunnies’ would work as a good excuse for not cutting your grass. That said, you are more than welcome to try. This has been Super-Short Storytime! Visit eduardo soliz dot com for more stories and podcasts and remember: Talking bunnies are people, too!
- BEFORE – I’m going to be taking the Amtrak this year, which has me extra excited!
- Why take the train?
- I don’t have to drive.
- Parking was lousy last year.
- I didn’t have to leave the hotel last year so I don’t really need my car.
- I’m leaving on Thursday so there’s no hurry.
- Except for having to take a Lyft to the station it’s fairly cost-effective.
- It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.
- Having to wake up at 5AM to catch a Lyft to the train station does reduce that excitement just a little, though.
- Taking my partial fursuit to a convention for the first time, which is making packing…interesting.
- Funny thing: Cosplays with a partial fursuit are easy: Wear a jersey: Sports Bear! Wear a lab coat: Scientist Bear! Wear a shirt and tie: Business Bear!
- It’s going to be hard to split time between fursuiting, taking pictures, hanging out with friends and panels!
- I’m mad at myself for losing the pre-game podcast audio that Chris and I recorded, have to be sure to not repeat that error after the con.
- Note to self: I need more T-shirts with bears on them.
- I said the wrong episode number on the make-up podcast recording. Fuzz it.
- THURSDAY/TRIP UP – I won’t need them at all but I have my keys. Hard habit to shake.
- Taking a Lyft for the first time as a passenger. I used to drive so it’s interesting to see it from the other side. Thanks Gregg!
- Posted a picture of the train and accidentally posted it vertically, which prompted jokes about going to hell, or outer space.
- When I owned a home, a set of tracks ran behind the house and I could see the trains pass by, including the Amtrak. Even though it’ll likely be dark I’ll be looking out for it.
- Made a strategic decision to use the men’s room at the station after hearing about the small stalls on the train.
- Regarding #13: Turns out the track we’re on is different than the one that goes behind my house. Well, poop.
- We’re going at about 40 miles an hour, neat.
- Yes, I downloaded a speedometer app to my phone just for the occasion.
- I keep bumping my head on the luggage rack >.<
- The self closing doors on the train threw me off at first.
- I thought the San Antonio station was tiny, but the San Marcos stop was just a shade and some benches!
- After the San Marcos stop we started booking it to Austin at 70mph
- Once in Austin, we picked up a bunch of furries and spent the rest of the trip in the lounge car.
- Pup hoods…. *sigh*
- The train ride was great!
- THURSDAY/ARRIVAL – Thing I forgot #1: Aftershave >.<
- Union Station in Dallas is both impressive and depressing at the same time.
- I’m on the 7th floor; I figured I’d live dangerously and not ask for a lower floor like I did last year.
- I know the people in the room next door, yay!
- Really short fursuiters will never not be cute!
- My fursuit head fan is working out really well; I just have to figure out how to hide the power cable better.
- I was going to wait for the reg line to die down but said heck with it and jumped in.
- They quickly ran out of ‘Chaotic’ tags. Not sure if it’s because of the rainbow thing or the chaotic thing.
- They still had plenty of Evil tags, so I guess that’s a good sign. I went with Lawful myself
- FRIDAY – Had to resist the urge to talk in a bad NY accent at the nearby Cindy’s NY Deli. Fuhgetabowdit!
- Thing I forgot #2: Cash
- Left my keys in my room and trying to get used to not having them in my pocket >.<
- If your videogame room has only fighting games, it gets a thumbs down from me.
- Funny to see cookies being given away in the lobby, that’s all a bunch of furries need: SUGAR!
- Good job with the Fursuiting at Fiesta panel
- Good panel idea: Have a raffle to keep people in the panel room ’till the end
- Character performance how to panel was also good, though I’m irked that they took the entire hour. Leave some time for the next person, mmmkay?
- Nothing like delaying a bathroom run because you see a line outside the door for the next panel!
- Someone suggested I should get bear ears for my fursuit since I’m the ‘bear ears guy’ 😁 Bearception!
- While fursuiting: Why is it getting so warm in here? Oh. The battery for my fan died. BACK TO THE ROOM STAT.
- Sorry, normie that I squished in the elevator!
- Another panelist went over their time. Not cool.
- Scary moment: Putting my cell into my back pocket while in suit and then sitting on it! Luckily, it survived.
- SATURDAY – Feeling pretty good about myself; I’m usually that guy that takes his backpack everywhere, but I’ve been able to leave it in the room the whole time.
- Regarding #36: Putting my hotel key in the pocket where my keys usually go has helped with the OMG I DON’T HAVE MY KEYS feeling
- Thing I forgot #3: Heavy coat
- Note to self: Check the weather before getting dressed. Froze my tail off walking to breakfast wearing shorts.
- Cindi’s deli was great except for the ‘rolls and biscuits’
- Thing I forgot #4: Dark socks for my ‘Business bear’ outfit.
- Thing I forgot #5: Ears to wear when I’m not in suit.
- I think Dr. Nuka got a smaller room this year and/or they didn’t have as many chairs. LAME.
- Between fursuiting and walking I was dead tired by Saturday afternoon and needed a nap.
- I bet the normies who came to Reunion Tower over the weekend didn’t expect us!
- Hats off to the guy who sang “The Touch” by Stan Bush at karaoke. That took guts.
- Darn it karaoke lady, make sure you pick a version of the song with the words! Lucky for me, I almost know “Once Upon a Time In New York City” by heart.
- I saw a friend walk into into the karaoke room while I was doing my thing. He apparently didn’t think I was the one singing, didn’t bother to look at the stage and walked out.
- It was wonderful to meet Hollyfox! She’s a sweetie.
- Yeaah, if y’all could knock off the late night awoos, that’d be greaaat.
- SUNDAY – I had breakfast at Cindi’s each day of TFF. Except for their loose interpretation of biscuits and gravy, this was not a problem.
- Hey, let’s take the tunnel back to the hotel and get out of the cold…and it isn’t open on the hotel side. Poop.
- Had to finish my furscience.com homework on Sunday morning, but it got done
- The friend I was catching a ride with home wanted to leave early, so we left early
- I didn’t get to wear my Sports Bear outfit at the con! *sad bear face*
- Being driven home was nice, got to (mostly) catch up on my sleep.
- Packing extra clothes for cosplay means twice the laundry to do afterwards. *pbbt*
- I ended up walking up and down additional 70+ floors of stairs that week according to my Fitbit. and I stayed on the 7th floor. Funny how that works!
Welcome to Super-Short Storytime, lovers of literature and fans of fiction! I am Eduardo Soliz, the composer and narrator of the supremely silly tale that you are about to hear.
If there is one thing that steampunks and furries have in common, it’s that members of both groups love to parade about in their finest fictional fashion. A pair of fur-bearing blue-bloods try to handle a real crisis in this steam-powered story that I call: “Emergency”
“Brace yourself, my dear!” The gentlewolf yelled to his mistress as the airship began to slowly list to one side. In response, Muffy reached to grab onto a large pipe that was near to her, but the arctic fox woman immediately released it due to its extreme heat.
“Ah! Monty, it’s too hot!” Muffy exclaimed, backing away from the pipe. She shook her singed white paws in the air and blew on them before making her way over to Monty.
Lord Montague adjusted his monocle before looking over the many needles, indicators, numbers and controls at his disposal. The more he looked at them, the less sense they made. The room began to shake as the airship’s engines struggled to keep it aloft.
Monty’s voice took on an air of desperation: “I have tried everything, my dear Muffy, but nothing appears to be working! Perhaps this one? Or maybe this one?” He said, randomly pressing buttons, pulling levers and turning knobs in vain. A whistle sounded as the intensity of the shaking increased. Having reached Monty, Muffy pulled him away from the engine controls.
“Oh, Monty, my love! It is a shame that our young lives must come to an end like this! Let us share one last kiss as we hurtle to our doom!” Muffy cried. She held onto Monty tightly, tears welling in her eyes.
“Yes, my love! We shall take our forbidden love to the world that lies beyond this one!” Monty replied. He and Muffy embraced deeply as warning bells and whistles sounded in protest around them.
A door then suddenly burst open and a short female dog ran into the control room. She had light brown fur, floppy ears and wore denim overalls that were soiled with oil and grease. She growled upon catching sight of the amorous aristocrats, who ignored her as they kissed.
“I swear, I can’t eat dinner or take a nap without you blasted bluebloods coming down here and tamperin’ with MY engines!!” the young engineer exclaimed as she walked over to the engine controls. After looking over a row of gauges, the engineer began to quickly adjust the controls, her paws expertly flipping switches, turning dials and pressing buttons with the grace of a concert pianist. The whistles and bells went silent and the ship’s shaking and listing gradually ceased. Satisfied that all was well, the engineer turned to the young couple, whom had broken their embrace, but were still in each other’s arms.
“What in the Sam Hill were y’all thinkin’?” She angrily yelled at them. “This here engine is a delly-cate machine that should only be operated on by experts like me! The next passenger that I catch sneaking around in here is a-goin’ to get hogtied and thrown into the cargo hold! NOW GIT!!” she told them as she pointed to an exit.
“You mean to tell me you are not an engineer, Monty?” Muffy asked with a disgusted look on her face as she removed herself from Monty’s arms and started to walk towards the exit.
“Well…uh…no?” Monty replied half-heartedly. “Muffy! Come back!” he cried as he chased his now-former mistress.
The exasperated engineer wiped her forehead and hands with a handkerchief and sighed with relief as the outer door closed behind Monty. She then said, to no one in particular:
“How about that Mister Fancypants thinking he’s a steam engineer! What kind of engineer dresses up in their Sunday best to go to work?”
While clothes might make the man, listeners, they don’t necessarily make him a smart one. This been Super-Short Storytime, For more tiny tales, visit eduardo soliz dot com, and remember listeners, the past just isn’t what it used to be!
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.
As the writer in this story is about to learn, just because someone else has a different job than you do doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s easier. Featured in Fuzzy Words, this furry fracas is titled “Where Credit Is Due.”
The weasel’s tail swished back and forth rapidly as he paced back and forth in his living room with a cell phone held up to one ear. “The script is done, Mark, but I can’t seem to get the songs down, and well, you can’t have a musical without music, right?” He joked in a feeble attempt to appease the angry producer he was speaking with.
Mark was not pleased at William’s attempt at humor, and he let the nervous weasel know: “This is not the time for jokes, Will! I am going to be out several thousand dollars for your advance, not to mention a lot more if you don’t give me a script to put on! It’s been nine months! What’s going on in that head of yours? Are you homesick? Girl trouble? Guy trouble?”
William hesitated before answering. “Do you really want to know, Mark?”
Mark regained some of his composure and eagerly replied, “Well. Yeah, Will. This delay isn’t doing either one of us any good, so…so let’s talk it through and figure this thing out for both our sakes. What’s eating you, man?”
William let out a heavy sigh before answering: “Well, it’s that, uh, I haven’t seen my Muse lately, and, well, I’m pretty useless without her.”
This time, a flabbergasted Mark hesitated briefly before speaking. “Whoa. I did not just hear that. Did you say your Muse?” he asked with a nervous laugh.
“Yeah. My Muse…”
“WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN SMOKING, WILL? That has to be THE nuttiest thing I’ve heard in all my years working on Barkway! Have you lost your mind? You know what? Don’t answer that, ‘cause I think I already know. I need a finished script by the end of next week, or you are finished working in this town, do you understand me? FINISHED. Nobody will touch you with a twenty-foot leash after I’m done. Get some help and get it done, Will!”
Even the beep that William heard as Mark ended the call sounded angry. William collapsed onto his living room sofa, closed his eyes and let out a heavy sigh. My career is over, William thought as he dropped his cell phone onto the carpeted floor and contemplated the dreary future ahead of him.
After a few moments, he opened his eyes to find her there. His Muse. She was a short, sprightly thing: a mink almost completely covered in brown fur except for her muzzle, which was white. She stood over him and looked down at William with a big goofy grin on her face. William stared back for a few moments before the Muse finally broke the silence.
“Hi-eee!” she cheerfully said as she waved a hand in front of William’s face. In response, he groaned and rubbed his eyes before sitting up on the sofa. This was not the reaction that the Muse was expecting, and she began to pout: “Hey, I thought that you’d be happy to see me, Willie!”
“It’s William, and just where have you been?” an agitated William answered. “I need to finish this play because I’ve got a producer breathing down my neck, and if I don’t get it done, he’s going to want his advance back. You know, the one I already used to pay my rent.”
The shocked Muse took a step back. She opened her mouth to speak, but William cut her off:
“What is it with you, anyway? You’re never there when I need you. You pop up at the worst possible times, or at the last minute, like now. You can’t show up whenever I’m sitting at my laptop, you know, WHEN I’M TRYING TO WRITE. No, that makes too much sense. Instead, you pop up whenever you feel like it, like when I’m in the shower, or when I can’t sleep at two in the morning, or when I’m out on a date. I then have to drop whatever it is I’m doing so I can jot something down because I have NO DOGGONE IDEA when you’re going to decide to grace me with your presence again!”
For a moment the Muse looked as if she were about to burst into tears. Instead, she regained her composure, took a deep breath, stepped towards William, and unleashed a tirade of her own:
“Oh, so you think it’s so easy to do MY job? You think you’re the ONLY so-called ‘creative’ person that needs a little extra help every now and then? Well, let me tell you, Buddy, you AREN’T. Every day, I have to help loads of people just like you finish their books or their poems or their scripts or their songs or their paintings or their sculptures. Every. Single. Day. It never ends: ‘I’m on a deadline!’ ‘My assignment is due next week!’ “My mom’s birthday is tomorrow!’ ‘Help me!’
So I show up, inspire somebody, and what I get for my trouble? Nothing! Nada, zero, zip, zilch. When people say: ‘Oh, what a wonderful work of art,’ does the artist ever mention me? No. Do you ever hear somebody say, ‘Thank you, Muse,’ in an acceptance speech? NO! I-I don’t even get residuals!”
A bewildered William interrupted her. “But you’re a Muse…what would you even do with money?” He asked.
“SHUT UP!” she snapped back. “It’s the principle!” she said, turning away from William.
William started to approach the Muse, but since her long fluffy tail was in the way, he walked around to face her.
“So you’re just looking for some recognition, huh?” William asked.
“Just a little would be nice.” The Muse said coyly.
William thought for a moment, and then his face lit up. He enthusiastically asked the Muse, “What if, I were to write a play with you in it?”
The Muse pointed a finger at herself before speaking. “With little old me?” she said with feigned modesty.
“Sure. It will be…” William took a step back, assumed a dramatic pose and spoke as if he were narrating a movie trailer: “The inspirational tale of a guy who’s down on his luck. He can’t get a break, and just when he’s hit rock bottom and things can’t get any worse…” he stopped to point at the Muse with both hands, “His Muse appears out of the blue and saves his tail!”
“Yay!” chirped the Muse in a delighted tone, clapping her hands as she excitedly hopped up and down on both feet. “I’d like that, Willie. I really would. Have you thought of a name for it yet?”
William stifled a laugh before answering: “What else could I call it? Un-a-mused!”
With a smile and a wink, the Muse replied, “Yeah, I think I’ll let you take the credit for that one, Willie!”
Inspiration is where you find it, Dear Listeners, that is, assuming it doesn’t find you first. For more super-short, super-silly stories, visit Eduardo Soliz dot com. This has been Super-Short Storytime, and remember, listeners; always cite your sources!
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!
I was recently a guest on Tommy Kovacs Splat from the Past podcast. Join us as we discuss our convention experiences in California and Texas. That’s Splat from the Past, episode number 215, on YouTube. And now, on with the show…
You are listening to ‘300 Seconds with Eduardo Soliz,’ and this is episode number 90: A few words before Furry Invasion: The Road to Furdition, so let the 300 Seconds begin!
Furry Invasion will be happening at the El Tropicano Riverwalk hotel in San Antonio this weekend, October 5-7 with badge pickup happening tomorrow night. Because life has been getting in the way of my fun lately, I will only be at Furry Invasion Saturday and Sunday afternoon. I’ll be presenting my Furry 101 panel on Saturday afternoon at 5PM in the Bolivar C room. If you or someone you know would like to know more about the fandom, then come on down.
This is the second year for Furry Invasion; last year’s show was a solid first effort that had a few hiccups here and there, including a few that affected me personally, so just a heads up, this is going to get just a little bitey.
The biggest issues that I had last year were the slow registration line and the panel schedule being disorganized. The problem with registration last year was that attendees were required to print their registration sheets at the convention which slowed down the process considerably. At other conventions, attendees are allowed to print out their preregistrations beforehand, allowing them to be processed much more quickly. I’m happy to report that I was allowed to print out my registration paperwork after paying, so that should make things more efficient. While that problem appears to have been solved, a new one has been introduced by the convention’s choice to put registration in the hotel’s ballroom, which is in the back of the hotel and on the third floor. This is going to make signage VERY important and staff should also be aware of how to get to registration so they can direct people there.
My second beef last year was with the panel scheduling; the schedule that was printed in the conbook ended up being different than the actual schedule, due to some changes being made after the original schedule was made. This led to some confusion among attendees and presenters, including myself. Fortunately, the Powers That Be decided to make the schedule digital this year, which means that last minute-changes can be made without fear of ending up with an outdated print schedule, so good on them. What I’m hoping happens is that they print out each panel room’s schedule and post it outside so folks can see what is happening.
While Furry Invasion has made efforts to fix their registration and panel scheduling issues from last year, one thing that was sadly not addressed, was the weather. Now, you may be asking yourself: What can the convention do about the weather? Well, they can try to push the con ahead a week or two in the hopes that the weather cools down. Cooler weather makes it easier for fursuiters to go outside and have fun, puts less strain on the venue’s air conditioning and is just nicer. Should there be a third go-round, Furry Invasion really needs to look at pushing their date forward a week or two.
I openly admit that yes, I am harping on the convention a bit, but that’s mainly because the first two issues I mentioned were really touchy issues for me personally. As I mentioned at the top, the first Furry Invasion went well; if the registration and panel problems weren’t there it likely would have been a great show instead of a good one. Year two should be better since steps have been taken to address most of the issues from last year and the staff will have a year of experience under their belt to build on.
This has been 300 Seconds, the next episode will be posted after the convention. I am Eduardo Soliz, if you’d like to hear more 300 seconds subscribe to this podcast or check out my website at Eduardo Soliz dot com for more podcasts and short stories. Thank you for listening!