Slept from 1am to 4am, had to get up early to finish packing my things and get cleaned-up and ready to fly to Philly. Oskar showed-up at 4:50am and we loaded my stuff into his Jeep and headed for the airport. Checked-in, went through security, and it was almost time to board by then. Everything went smoothly and easily, the line was along but moved quickly. Our flight to Denver (on Frontier) was uneventful and smooth, and at Denver I met a whole bunch of furs who were heading to Philly. They seated nearly all of the 20 or so of us in the front 8 rows of the craft, so it was like a little furry pre-con party. =) Dark Natasha and her beau sat right behind me, and a lot of us chatted and hung out. The flight was not very full at all, so we could move around to talk and such as well. Smooth flight, got a little sleep, easy landing in Philly. Pretty much as a group we went down to the baggage claim and got our things, then called for a shuttle and only waited a couple minutes before one showed up. We ran out to it, filled it completely with bodies and luggage, and we were off to the hotel...
Once there, I tried to help the driver collect all the fares, but two people snuck off without paying, so I left a generous tip and my apologies with him. A bellboy helped me up to my room with my things, but I found with much dismay that the hotel only gave out two keys per room, and I didn't know where Drew or Larry were or how to get ahold of them. Finally I got through to Drew because a friend of his with a cell phone was hanging out with him, and he was in the reg line. After he reg'd he came up and let me into the room, in total I only waited 25 minutes so it wasn't too horrible. Tossed all my things into the room and got comfy, hung out with my roommies briefly, then got into my suit and wandered about for a bit. After that I got changed and ran down to the pre-reg desk, which had zero line, got my badge, and hung out some more with folks. I helped Hercule and Potteroo move some stuff from the con hotel over to the Holiday Inn where Potteroo was staying, and he gave me a free CD of his music for helping. Went to dinner at TGI Friday's with my roommies and a couple of their friends, had a great meal and got to chat with them while we tried not to freeze to death in the A/C they had blasting there.
After dinner I jumped back into my suit and wandered around for a while, spent some time in the Headless Lounge (fursuit R&R area) resting and chatting with folks. Overall the new suit by Tvalobear was complimented well and enjoyed by many. And as the one wearing it, I must say I enjoyed it immensely, the suit stays very cool if you keep moving or have active airflow. I also found out that Drew smokes, and that the room I was staying in was a smoking room. Crap. I didn't want smoke in my suit, and I'm allergic to cigarette smoke anyway, so I talked to Tvalo about staying in his room. But I didn't wanna just abandon Drew, so I stayed in his room that night. Also, by the time I got done wearing the suit and cooling off from it for the third time that night, it was too late (I thought) to bug Tvalo and Coast about moving my stuff to their room. Anyway, by the time I was ready for bed, Larry had already passed out in the bed that was supposedly for me and Drew, and Drew wasn't back yet, so I had to sleep on the floor. It was kinda uncomfortable, and while I was getting ready for bed one roommie came in and decided he had time to finish a fursuit he was building if he worked on it all night... So I had a bad night's sleep and ultimately only slept for 3 hours.
Woke up at 7am so I could get a jumpstart on the day, but wound-up hanging around the room a bit since everyone else was also getting up at that time, and taking showers before I had a chance to. Got out around 9am and hung around with some folks, then headed to the dealer's room close 10am with my sketchbooks to get a-whoring. After a while walking around the dealer's room to check things out, and hanging out with friends along the way, I went to the hotel restaurant (Appleby's) to get some breakfast, but they stopped serving it by the time I got there. I was kinda pissed, but I just went down to TGIF's for some lunch instead. Went back to the con and checked out the art show, placed bids on about $700 worth of art, expecting to lose about half of that - I only had money for half of that.
All throughout the day I kept going back to the dealer's room to check on my sketchbooks and whore them off the the next artist. Also walked around constantly, looking for friends. If I found some, I hung out for a bit until one or the other of us had to wander off. I finally ran into Tvalo and Coast again, and we got a key for their room for me, and moved my things from the 2nd floor to the 22nd floor. I was hungry after that, but they had already eaten so I looked for others. Everyone else had either just eaten or already had plans, so I wound-up going to TGIF's to eat by myself. After going back to the hotel and hanging around some, I got back into my suit after it was dark and cooling off outside. I wandered around quite a bit in suit and hung out more in the Headless Lounge, then back to the room to change. It was getting late, but one thing about being in suit for any amount of time: you get hot and sweaty and need time to cool-down for one or two hours after getting out of it. So I wandered some more in cool clothes and chatted with friends, hung out, etc... I didn't get back to the room until 3:00am, and we were going to get up at 8:30am. Well, by the time I got my CPAP hooked up and got to sleep it was 4:00am.
I answered the 8:30am wake-up call, but everyone (including me) was tired, so we slept in until 10:00am. I tossed some clothes on and hurried down to the dealer's room to pick up my sketchbooks again and deliver them to new artists. However, Grimal didn't get a table in the Artist's Alley this time, and I had no way to contact him. So I didn't get my hyena book back from him until I ran into him in the afternoon, though it is a beautiful piece so it was well worth the wait. This time I got to the in-house restaraunt in time for breakfast, and had a waffle and bacon with two glasses of chocolate milk - which cost an amazing $15 -before- the tip. =P Then I went back to the art show again to check on my bids, but nothing had really changed much since the previous day. Hung around with some friends, kept checking on my sketchbooks, chatted with some folks in the dealer's room...
I had been wondering what the deal was with a full-page advertisement for Fur-E-Auction being in the back of Werepuppy's latest comic called Rocketship Rodents. Since Sean Rabbit was there at the con with a table for Rabbit Valley, I decided to ask him. He told me Fur-E-Auction had paid for the ad over 2 years prior to the publication, and that just happened to be the one the ad came out in. And Werepuppy is the artist for FurBuy, so I was a little confused about it, hence why I asked. But I sense something not right since Rabbit Valley is also partnered with Fur-E-Auction. Anyway, Sean Rabbit offered to let me also advertise in his publications for $125 per full-page add, so I might go ahead and do that. I called Werepuppy later in the day and talked to him about it too, he was completely unaware that an ad for another auction system was going to be placed in his comic. I also ran into the new admin of the Furbid auction system, who is the SO of Kacey Maltzman. Which is too bad, because Kacey used to post her work on FurBuy and now she won't. But this guy's a total loser, so I won't be surprised if he not only gets dumped by Kacey, but also fucks up everything with Furbid. He claims he's going to completely rewrite the Furbid system so it's better, but I really don't think he's qualified. Aside from that, Kurst and I have 4 years of development on our systems ahead of him. So I offered him $5,000 for the rights and ownership to Furbid so I could close it down and move the existing auction communities to FurBuy and Fur-E-Auction, and he refused. $10,000 - he refused. $20,000 - refused again. $50,000 - still no. Fifty Grand. That's enough to buy a nice new Jaguar - cash. Enough for a down payment on a NICE new house. And he turned it down. I honestly dunno how people think, but as much as I love FurBuy I'd rather have the quality of life of owning my own house, so I'd jump to sell FurBuy for that much. So I just explained to him that he's got a long, tough road ahead, that I'll use the money for a massive ad campaign instead, and wished him luck.
I was kinda jittery after speaking to the guy who's now in charge of Furbid, but all it did in the end is redouble my resolve to keep working on FurBuy and promoting it. I spent a lot of time talking to sellers and some buyers at the con after that, though, including a good deal who never heard of or never used the system before. Also spoke to some of the artists who have used it in the past but were under the impression it went down or the like, and assured them that not only is it up and running, but better than ever. I had 400 flyers printed up for the con, and placed about 150 of them during the time it was going on, so I'm quite happy.
After the dealer's room closed at 5:00pm it was almost time to defend my adult art show pieces, so I went up and did an initial check, and there was more activity for sure. I let some pieces go that I wasn't very interested in, and defended the pieces I wanted, then went off to hang out with friends and chat and whatnot some more. At about 6:50 I got back to the art show to defend the pieces I really wanted badly, and was immediately confronted by Copper Cheetah (aka Drew, the head-wiz of FurryMUCK) who was in a bidding war with me on a couple pieces by Heather Bruton. So he asked me to stop the war, and we'd just defend against outside bidders, then send a high-quality scan to each other based on whoever didn't win. He checked with Heather Bruton and she said that was fine (oddly), so he won one piece and I won the other. Fortunately I got the one I -really- wanted, which was of two female hyenas dominating a male cheetah. ;) Anyway, everything went pretty smoothly, I got all the adult pieces I wanted, let go of the ones I didn't, and only had one piece I wanted badly go to auction.
After all that I looked for some folks to go to dinner with, and didn't find anyone. Same as before, everyone had already eaten or had other plans. =P So once again, I went to TGIF alone for some dinner. I barely had time to finish it since I had to be back at the hotel at 10:30pm for the adult art show auction. I walked in just as they started bidding on the first piece, and it wasn't long before the one I was defending came up. Someone overbid my final bid of $80 on the bid sheet by $1, the cheapskate, so I quickly bid him up to $85, and he bid back to $90, and I immediately and loudly took it to $95. Amazingly, no one else bid, and I won the piece for a steal (IMHO). Several Wookie pieces went for WAY more than they ever should, as usual, and one Dark Natasha original went for $1500.
So after the art show I hooked up with Tvalo and Coast and we headed on down to Philly's South Side for some genuine Philly Cheesesteaks. After finding a place to park in a crowded little urban residential area, we walked a few blocks over to "Phil's King of Steaks" and tried their hoagies first. Not bad, but the flavor was pretty bland, so we all put hot sauce on our hoagies. I got the "Cheesesteak WIT Provolone" or in English a Cheesesteak hoagie with onions and Provolone cheese. They also call that the "Philly Cheesesteak", it's the classic. After stuffing that down, we headed across the street and down a little ways to Geno's, the all-famous and fancy neon-light king of cheesesteaks. This time I tried the "Cheesesteak WIT cheese whiz". It was pretty good, Geno's definitely had the better meat and bread, and despite how gross Cheese Whiz is, this was actually pretty good. Again I had to have some hot sauce, though, flavor was better but still bland. In an ironic side-note, some guy in the line at Phil's as we were walking past tried to pick a fight with me over my Vancouver Canucks jersey. He was drunk, and trying to say that the Phillies beat the Canucks in the last Stanley Cup playoffs, and I had to mention to him that Vancouver lost in the finals to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Tvalo and Coast dragged me off as the guy's friends pulled him back as well, at least he didn't get physical.
So once we got back to the hotel, I trapsed back up to the room and jumped into my hyena suit and went downstairs to have a blast running around being an idiot. When I finally checked the time, I realized I had been in the suit for over 2 hours, and decided it was time to cool down then get to bed. So I went up, got changed out of the soaking wet suit, and got into some dry, cool clothes. Hung out downstairs some more, etc. etc. and went back up for bed at around 4:00am.
Got up at an early 7:30am Sunday morning because a lot of stuff was going on early in the day. Took a shower and got out to begin whoring out my sketchbooks and such. Checked my general art show pieces and found that I was losing the two pieces I was going to buy for Oskar. Decided they weren't really that great anyway. I had to get my arse out of the art show by 11:00am anyway to get suited-up for the fursuit parade, so I let things fall as they may after that. Ironically, I got the pieces I wanted most so it all worked out well. When I went back up to the room to suit-up, my bodysuit was still quite wet from the night before, so I decided to wing-it with a hockey jersey and jeans, with my paws and head being the only furry parts. Hurried down to the parade rally point and got in line, and we marched. It was amazing seeing all the people lined-up like on the side of a real parade, taking pictures, making movies, admiring the suits, pointing and smiling. After a long path of winding around all over the place, we finally got back to the rally spot for a group picture and photo-op, then broke-up and went our seperate ways. While I was still in suit, I went back to the dealer's room and schlepped by sketchbooks from two artists to the next two.
I went back up to my room to get changed and ran back down to the dealer's room, which was my default area to stalk around, checking out new artists and old a like to see what's new in the world of furry art. I bumped into Tvalo and asked him if it would be okay if I had a friend up to the room for some 'fun' and he said 'No' flat-out. He seemed kinda upset about it at first, but later he said he wasn't upset about it. Anyway, I didn't get to spend any 'alone time' with any of my friends at the con, which really kinda irked me. And set my mood to a negative state for the rest of the day and night. =P I was really hoping to spend some private time with some close friends there. Anyway, I spent the rest of the day talking to folks about FurBuy in the dealer's room and handing out flyers, then went up and bought my art show items. I went a little over budget on my spending, and took away $560 of artwork from the show. After dropping my winnings off in the room and stroking myself briefly, I went back down and hung out with friends and started looking for people to do dinner with. After an hour of looking, I didn't find anyone, so headed off to TGIF alone again for dinner. Had a delicious meal and went back to the con to do more hanging out and chatting.
Sat in the main lobby chatting about cock with Frank Gembeck, Fennec, Mathias Black and Aslan for a good hour or so before they all wandered off to parties. So I wandered about looking for friends, never found any, and didn't get invited to any parties, so I was pretty mopey. I was also stuck out of my suit waiting for a cell phone call from an artist who had my sketchbook, and glad I waited because she did a terrific job. Once I got it back from her, I went up and got into my fursuit then went on down to the Fursuit Dead Dog Party which was in the Headless Lounge. Danced and had fun hanging out with other suiters for a short while until the DJ said it's over, so I hung out some more in my suit around the main areas, which were mostly dead by then. Went up and got out of my suit, got in cool clothes to cool off, and went back down to hang out in the Zoo.
I ran into Jessup Columbia, an artist I like who hangs out with some of the other 'dark fur' crowd, and chatted with her some. She wanted to draw in one of my sketchbooks, so I ran up to get them real quick. Well, I had decided more or less to stay up all night since my flight left so early, and she kept having things come up. Long story short, she didn't get to my sketchbook and that's cool, she had friends to deal with. I also got to chat with Jamey for a long while and to Eddie Coon too. Before I knew it, it was time to start packing up to head home... I was so looking forward to being home at that point, but I so wanted to be close to my friends, too. And meet new people. 5 days just is not enough to enjoy being around people you wanna know and possibly be close to. Esp not when there's 3,000 or so of them around there. =/
So the dreadful time of packing came, and on my way to the room from the Zoo, I popped out to ask when the shuttle comes, or whether or not I hafta call and schedule one. So I called as instructed and was told the next shuttle would be arriving at 7:15am, which was about 15 minutes later than I wanted at the latest, but I had no time to pack by the time the 6:15am shuttle left. So I went up and packed, only took 15 minutes, and I had planned for 30+. Went back down to the Zoo and chatted a bit longer, then went out to meet the shuttle. It was packed. Full. Very full. I was the only one on the shuttle flying out via Frontier airlines, but after I checked in and got to the gate, there were tons of other furs waiting, but no one I knew sadly.
I got seated way in the back of the jet, not near any of the other furs at all. We got held on the ground for 30 minutes due to severe rain and weather, it was raining so hard the runways were flooded with water. After it started clearing up a little, enough to take-off, we finally got into the queue and up we went. We were stuck in a holding pattern circling Philly at 7,000 feet for two rounds until they pushed us up to 10,000 feet for another whole round. The whole time we were in the midst of the offensive clouds, experiencing HEAVY turbulence. When we finally got cleared to carry on, we were 50 minutes behind schedule and the pilot turned up the speed to help make up for it. Well, we arrived only 35 minutes late in Denver, and my connection was already boarding. It had been a choppy-as-Hell ride and I barely got any sleep and I was just glad it was over. I boarded my next flight which was furry-free, and had a nice, smooth ride home which I slept through, mostly.
Finally back home in Seattle, exhausted, sleep-depped, wanting to be in my safe, comfy home once more... But I had to get there first. I called Oskar, who was at work and couldn't pick me up for three hours. So I waited for my luggage to come down the carousel, seemed like an eternity. I lugged it all up and over the stupid pedestrian walkways, and down again to the taxi line. Quickly hailed a taxi and loaded up my things, and was off to Kirkland - home. Traffic was light and he got me home pretty quickly, but it cost me $53 for the ride. Ouch. So I started unpacking and fed my ratty babies treats and played with them, then got online and started clearing out my mailbox. And that was pretty much my trip this time around.
There's also a lotta other stuff that I can't necessarily remember chronologically. So here that is...
I talked to Nexxus, he was actually pretty nice and we sorta made-up for the last few times we talked. He put a step forward not to talk about server and development stuff anymore, which is a good idea since we can never agree on it. We talked about what happened with Werepuppy's new comic, and the situation with Fur-E-Auction and Rabbit Valley teaming-up. I'm interested in advertising and teaming-up with Furnation myself now since that would be the biggest single boon to FurBuy's success at this point. Supposed to talk to him soon about that stuff.
My thanks to Tvalo and Coast for letting me room with them, and to Larry and Drew for letting me room with them too on the first night. I still owe you guys for the rooms, so please contact me if you read this! My thanks again to Tvalobear for the awesome fursuit, it's great and received lotsa compliments. My thanks to Jamey for talking with me late Sunday night, and to Jessup for doing the same.