I'll divide these into sections so you can click what you want to hear about or read the whole thing if you wish.
The Trip Up
kilojara and I had intended on leaving Wednesday but ended up driving up at the ass crack of dawn on Thursday. The trip was good, although it seemed to be never ending, especially as the Grapevine was closed due to inclement weather. Big thank you to vantid for alerting us of that. We had to go up the 101 which, while scenic, was very long and tiring and chock full of traffic. We had McDonalds breakfast and that put a big brick in our stomachs. Mine in particular, it ended up making me realy really sick upon arrival to the hotel. I later found out why thanks to smokepaw and his relaying of information from "Modern Marvels", the fast food edition. Ugh *shudders*.
Arrival and the First Night
Got to the con hotel, checked in, and met up with bleupanpan, who, btw, is a VERY good roommate. I hadn't met her before but she is very awesome and I highly reccommend her for being an awesome roommate should the opportunity arise.
Met up with vantid and gatcat who had a very delicious alcoholic substance with them (GAAAAAT I DIDNT GET TO TRY THE PORT! D: D: D: D:). I was also told that Gat's dog Scotch was apparently so scared by a fursuiter that he pissed all over himself. Poor puppy...I really wish fursuiters would leave animals alone. Later on in the con someone tried to follow doggenius behind our table. She didn't get as scared as Scotch but she was obviously harassed. Jerks.
Later as kilojara and I are checking in at the art show setup I hear someone behind me bark "THORNWOLF!". I turn around and see a very handsome young man who I assumed was hotel staff (I'm sorry but handsome and furry don't always go hand in hand..I've gotten used to this fact) approached me and introduced himself as smokepaw, one of my commissioners/folks I had some brief contact with via email. Why hotel staff would be using my furry name, I don't know, but he seemed nice and normal enough and admittedly I was /very/ surprised that he recognized me from behind even with my hair up and glasses on when he had never seen me IRL before when people I've met BILLIONS of times couldn't figure out who I was until I took my hair down ;P Pure talent, that guy has. I guess he was just looking for "really really short"..oh there she is..*facepalm*
I set up in the art show, have a brief conversation with sfinder and I ran into smokepaw and invite him to dinner with us in the in-hotel cafe..thing. That turned out to be an expensive venture but the service was good. I had a ceasar salad that they forgot to put together. The croutons were basically giant slices of a baguette, the lettuce was a giant chunk of romaine, and there was salsa on it. I asked for a Cesar sald, not a Cesar Chavez salad thank you very much.
Later after some conversation and me fading fast into a headachey mass we said our goodbyes and went up to the room. I ended up nabbing one of kilojara's migraine pills my headache ended up getting so bad I literally started hallucinating something about giant fruit chewing on my head like so many pieces of gum..why wont they stop! It was one of those "oh my god I can't stop drooling or open my eyes why is the fruit laughing at me" types of headaches...oy. Thank you McDonalds, 9 hours on the road, and little water. You suck.
The Furry Marketplace
I've never had a table before and granted with the amount of set up we had the idea of tearing down each night was rather daunting. xxbalaaxx was too sick to come to the con and she was the table next to myself and vantid with kilojara on my right. The lady to the left of where xxbalaaxx slowly but surely took over her spot like some sort of amoebic mass, but astolpho still found room to join us and draw himself a lovely conbadge as well as chit chat with us a bit. tarnac came by with some of his friends, Crypto and Fennec Bob. Fennec Bob was very kind to let me hang a piece that Katze/tarnac commissioned me for as a christmas present to him in the artshow along with my adult panels. If you saw 2 chakats peeing on the san diego train, yeeeeah thats the one. Please believe me when I say that I didn't draw that because I'm into watersports, or /will/ draw that for that matter. It's a joke between Katze and Bob that I found to be pretty dang funny, and well, I'm from San Diego so it made it even better. Their jokes were also the inspiration for my La Brea Taur Pits picture so honestly, its not that bad ;D
Business in the marketplace was good, a lot busier than I had anticipated that's for sure. Later on someone offered for us to have a spot in the Dealer's Den, since apparently some artists were unable to make it due to weather (The midwest apparently had a lot of emergencies due to snow storms and the like). kilojara got a table too, coincidentally next to ours!
ruggels and yelth came by our table while they were waiting for registration, bought a Thorn Doodles, chit chatted a bit, and I learned a surefire way to get maggots out of my coyote/rabbit fur bag yelth made for me as her part of a trade we have. Long story, but yeah..grrrrrrooss! And just to answer the question before it arises, the maggots got there as a case of very unfortunate and very strange events while I was traveling a few months ago and I ended up leaving it in Germany cuz I was too scared to take it back with me on the plane. Haha its silber's problem now :D I also got to briefly chat with calicougar and both she and mistahbojangles drew in my con book. I owe them both a special something that's for sure, I lol'ed =) I also got to meet the lovely wolfmoonie. I have to say its so surreal to meet people who I have only known through the internet for years but very cool especially when they come from so far away. Glad you had a good time Moonie!
As we were tearing down our Marketplace table, silber called me, much to my surprise! I have to say I was /very/ thrilled to hear from him and all asquee (as I'm sure everyone within a 20 foot radius could tell), especially as I had /just/ finished talking about him to foxfeather and mbala on the subject of moving to the US. I gave him the low down on the bids of our pieces, I was actually very pleasantly surprised at how well his prints were doing in the show. I've decided to take the money he got from his prints and the profits from "Doppelgaenger" and put that money aside for his use when he's in the US on vacation (whenever that might be) since sending him US currency is pointless due to the value or lack thereof of the dollar compared to the Euro. Oh America, please stop sucking right now, we're losing money! Anyways, I told silber about my new friend smokepaw...actually I pretty much went with "lol I'm meeting hot boyz aren't you teh jealous! :D", he laughed and suggested I invite smokepaw out a bit, have a good time, hang out with friends and the like. Don't have to tell me twice! The best boyfriend in the world is one who takes another man's interest to befriend his girlfriend as a personal compliment upon his own taste. At least that's how he explained it ;D *thppt* But regardless from then on out smokepaw became my surrogate boyfriend (well, for the most part)/butt buddy/table minion for the remainder of the con.
Artist's Reception, Sushi with Smoke Paw and winding down
After getting the royal snub from kilojara for being my date to the Artist's reception (she had better plans, I'd say Mongolian BBQ is most decidedly a better plan :D) I asked smokepaw if he'd be my date. I had heard there would be free food, but that ended up being cookies and coke. It appeared the cookies had nuts in them which was a major no go for me, so smokepaw and I walked over to the sushi place down the block. The sushi was tasty but it was a bit pricey. I also had a seriously difficult time eating it. I think the theme for this con is "Things that will not fit in Thornwolf's mouth" (nyuk XD) or "Thornwolf has an eating disorder" because everything I ate this weekend ended up all over the place no matter how hard I tried. For example in this case, all the little teeny fish eggs on the sushi ended up all over my hands, plate, table, spilling out of my mouth, I think one even landed in my beer. Gross. Very embarrassing, but oh well, not all of it was my fault! The sushi chef forgot to cut a couple pieces of my roll so I ended up with a big long inedible piece which I gave to smokepaw to deepthroat with his mad tempura eating skillz (glorg glorg glorg!).
Later we went back to my room where vantid was doing homework. We sat and chatted for awhile and vantid and I were at our usual craziness. Later vantid left and kilojara came up and we had some Jaegermeister. smokepaw then learned just how sensitive to alcohol I am. I was still slightly tipsy from the beer I had at sushi (/one/ beer) and a couple shots of Jaegermeister had me a bit stupid. Not "drunk", just tipsy, but when I get tipsy my usual laughing fits are amplified pretty bad XD vantid, silber and Solitary Weasel can vouch for that I'm sure. This is why I reserve my "omg I'm going to drink!" time for FC and maybe 2 other times during the year. From then on out I think I was perpetually in various states of drunkenness...but hey its a con and my art didn't suffer.
The Fursuit Dance
kilojara and I were bored so we called tarnac who was going to the fursuit dance. We went there ourselves and opted to meet him there, danced a bit (well okay..flailed and did our best impression of the Peanuts gang), and then tarnac showed up with rainbow_roo. Katze's suit is soooo cute! And totally made complete by the baseball bat. Something really stupid though is the baseball bat was peace bonded. Peace bonding is when they take a zip tie to your sword or other weapon and prevent it from being unsheathed. In the case of the baseball bat they just ziptied the bat so it had a decorative zip tie on it. How in the hell do you peace bond a blunt object?
The music royally sucked and Katze ended up getting really overheated in his suit so we spent a bit of time in the headless lounge hydrating ourselves. After a short time we decided the dance wasn't going to get much better.
The Dealer's Den and Vantid's Absence
vantid had gone to a beer tasting with gatcat and appeared to have a bad reaction to the beer. Not drunkenness, no, it seemed to be an allergic reaction. Allergic to beer, god what horror! Although luckily we now think it was just a 24 hour bug she caught, needless to say she was much too sick to come down to the dealer's den that day so I manned our table myself for a bit before astolpho showed up and hung out with me and drew me a gorgeous conbadge I will have to post later when I get all my con art (heh..con artist) scanned in.
Something I noticed that seems to be the norm at conventions is I hardly ate at all during business hours. The first day I did nothing but munch on some baby carrots, water, and a bite of a cinnemon roll. Saturday kilojara scored me a plate of nachos. Mmm delicious!
smokepaw showed up and as geeky luck would have it, we were both wearing the same navy blue CDF shirt. *facepalm* We didn't plan it but from then on out I'm sure people thought it was some sort of weird uniform :P I even had someone shout after me "HEY CDF GIRL!" and talk to me about where he was stationed. I just stared slack jawed and said "um...I shop at surplus stores...*points to Smoke* he's a /real/ fireman". Its funny. I wore that shirt the week before to the deli and got the question "are you a firefighter?". I wanted to reply with something snarky about me not being nearly dyke enough, but I figured the hilarity of butterball midget me being a firefighter was enough to just let it slide with a smirk.
vantid had a wing tutorial going on shortly after the Dealer's Den closed and a whole bunch of us attended. She brought some interesting specimens including some fresh and still bendable pigeon wings which were /very/ useful in the learning process as well as her own sketches and notes. She did have a heckler though, someone who thought that it was better if he taught the class instead. Fortunately once vantid admitted that no, she doesn't know /everything/ he got bored and left. Ass. However I don't think there was a person in that room who left without learning quite a bit about feather structure. I still have a lot to learn but what I learned that night greatly helped my sketching homework as I had a winged being to do and I hate doing those the most. Thanks vantid for teaching such an informative panel and thank you gatcat for being there to make sure it ran smoothly :D
Yo Yo Sushi
astolpho suggested a sushi run along with a small group, but our small group appeared to be getting smaller by the minute which is unfortunate. Usually at cons I absolutely abhor giant get togethers because theyre so hard to plan and I feel bad for the restaurant staff trying to deal with multiple split checks and the like, but I was disappointed when our group was abnormally small. I'm hard to please I guess ;P Still though the group was great, we had astolpho of course, mythos_amante (The creator of that wonderful Red Herring game with the rules I'm not quite sure on but I've gotten to wearing my fish regularly even outside the con. Congrats Tessa, you have made a contribution to my wardrobe!), vantid and gatcat, kilojara and smokepaw. The way Yo Yo sushi is set up is these little boats with sushi on them float by you at the bar, you take what you want, stack your plates, and they total up your bill by what color the plates you have are. gatcat kept stealing all my salmon, which leaves me convinced that I should have sat towards the inside corner. The stream of salmon seemed to stop right at their corner and I wept quite audibly. :( Gat you owe me salmon! D: D: D: D:!!! but all in all it was very good, although I regret that since we were all sitting in a line we didn't get to chat as much as I would have liked.
The Art Spots Get Together
I was looking forward to hanging out with the artspots crowd, although I was under the impression it was going to be more of an art jam than a business meeting. Both I would have enjoyed but granted I wished to have a little time to talk with higginsdragon but he was busy giving an enlightening speech on the prices of furry art and how artists are losing money on the deal. I've been saying that for years ;P good to hear it being talked about in a more vocal manner though. Sat next to some guy named "Poop", found that utterly hilarious. But the meeting was cut short due to a seminar on "pet play" taking place in the same room. Ah well.
After hours room parties
We (kilojara, smokepaw and I) went to sidsilverhawke's room and hung out with timberwolf4u, his two wolves he brought with him, Manny and Lily (Manny has got to be THE stupidest name for a wolf...it sounds like he's an accountant, fortunately Timber agrees and will be changing it), crimson_fox, vantid, gatcat, arbeywolf and her husband Wayne (who I hope I can come visit sometime in a non con setting, theyre so much fun to talk to!), and Sidian's friend Darius who I did a sketch for (which I will have to post in thornographic cuz its slightly risque :D). We had a bit to drink and discovered a new delicious of mixing baileys with the coffee liqueur I had brought with me. The wolves were getting ansty so we said our goodbyes, later on we learned that the wolves were in a "luvvin" mood o_O so it was probably best we left anyways.
We were invited to fierycatthing and dour's room for a mead party, so we went, and omg. Most delicious mead ever! My favorite was the blackberry of course. Cherry didn't do anything for me really. I believe I tried the elderberry but honestly after the first glass and a half I didn't care what was in my cup. We had some interesting conversation and I walked out of there with a free bottle of mead. Thanks guys! That was very kind of you =)
I was planning on going to a dance but that ended up being really lame. I dont know. I really didn't like the DJ this year. I think bigbluefox set the standard for awesome and its going to be hard to surpass him. I saw him out and about btw, several times, once in suit where of course I had to molest his cute little foxy nose. Yeah yeah yeah I like the suit ;P
Since smokepaw had been drinking and was at a different hotel a few miles away we let him stay with us in our room. Everyone seemed to get to sleep really fast except me. I kept tossing and turning, almost like I was too wired or too drunk to sleep. I hate that feeling =/
The Art Show
Just a brief interjection about the art show. I had 4 panels, 2 adult and 2 general. I didn't have all that much to show this year due to my moving situations and whatnot, and I didn't get to see too much of what was offered. I was sorely disappointed that vantid's stuff didn't sell very well, particularly 2 of her pieces that I was just floored by. Btw vantid do you still have that androsphinx sketch? I'm eh..interested 9_9 (Don't look at it honey, it's not right!) I don't know, that's the thing about furry cons, you could spend ages on something and have it not be interesting to anyone (and its not like they were priced astronomically high either...vantid does /excellent/ work for so little, its almost a crime). I did okay, I sold about half of what I put in the artshow for minimum bid, BUT the good thing is I am pleased with the new owners, as they approached me at my table and told me of their winnings. Thanks guys, seriously, you rock =) Especially Fennec Bob who apparently liked my Taur Pits pic quite a bit XD Thanks a bunch Bob! You made my day =) Regarding the taur pits picture I had quite a few people come up to me and tell me how disturbing my sense of humor is and how that piece sickened them. You have no idea how much this pleases me >:)
But I will have to agree with a couple folks on my friends list, one in particular, that furry cons for the most part aren't really worth it. You have tons of great artists competing for the one teeny little spot in the sun and even that is miniscule compared to professional rates outside of a convention setting. 800 bucks "aint no thang" to companies who commission images for that price and higher on a regular basis. Granted, I'm grateful for the extra income I can get from this fandom and the fact that I enjoy doing it, I think from here on out I'm going to focus my attentions elsewhere, towards building my portfolio for the real world. No offense to the furry fandom, but if I'm going to spend hours upon hours of something I'd like for it to be able to get me ahead in life in general, not be the best "furry" artist I can be =/ Still, its fun =) And I do have fun with it when I have the time and I'm happy for the folks who did well in the art show =) I'll probably post the remainder of everything on furbid and see how it goes.
The Last Sales Day
smokepaw surprised vantid, kilojara and I by bringing us Jamba Juice :D Thanks, Smoke! Business was unusually slow and I spent most of the day trying to catch up on "homework". I felt just awful, I had thought these real media badges would be a snap, I only took four and finished one and a half, disappointing some very good friends. Well, live and learn, I'll make it up to them later in my own special way. *sigh*
Now, poor planning on my part for not knowing where all my stuff was, and poor motor skills on the part of the man in question, but some dickhead careened between mine and kilo's table sending my jamba juice flying (it wasn't even on the edge!) coating a couple prints, an issue of Thorn Doodles, my nice new eskimo boots, my con sketchbook with sketches from folks at EuroFurence and FC, not to mention somehow the straw got jammed through the bottom of the cup and a pool of purple fruit goo oozed out all over the place as the man, despite my yelling and screaming just meandered over to his own table completely unaware of the chaos he just caused. It took a lot of calming down by gatcat, and smokepaw seemed ready to pounce but eh..I just decided to let it go. Prints can be remade, its only one issue of Thorn Doodles that can be replaced, my boots can /probably/ be dry cleaned, and my sketchbook is just a delicious new shade of purple, none of the actual sketches got ruined. Still though, if you have a big ass coupled with a big belly, you have no business just barrelling between the narrow passageways between tables. Please...PLEASE be careful. There's not much room in the dealer's den as it is. I'm just glad none of vantid's skulls got knocked over in the mess, that would have been a disaster.
rainbow_roo had brought me over a hot dog to munch on. She's so sweet, and damn, I don't know what her secret is but she looked fabulously bright eyed and bushytailed for so early in the morning, especially standing next to scraggly, starving, sleep worn me. I R Teh Jelose!
westly_roanoke and crocuta came to visit me several times in the dealer's den. crocuta having been pleasantly surprised with a fursuit head was even bouncier than usual (and should be!) and westly_roanoke was staff so I unfortunately didn't get to see him as much as I would have liked. Boo.
demonvaska had selflessly been going around collecting orders for dinner for us artists chained to our tables. Hawaiian BBQ type thing of sorts which seemed pretty interesting and it was going to be a massive get together with folks I had wanted to talk to during the con but didn't get to so hey, all the better.
When food arrived it was...um..icky. I ordered something called a "Loco Moco" which ended up being a hamburger patty with a fried egg on top of it with macaroni salad. Eh I'm gonna say right here that I'm officially not a fan of Hawaiian food unless its a luau or Peohe's in Coronado. But Vaska was so kind in doing this for us, but instead we all piled into Spencers for soup and pie. I thought about getting something called "naughty cake", but got French Onion Soup and Cheesecake instead. Please..someone tell me they have pictures of me eating the cheese snot. :D :D :D :D
We all sat around talking, there was autumn_sunrise, her friend tivadu, smokepaw, dingybatty, xianjaguar, dreamaria, justblieve, digitalis, wicked_sairah, blueroo (who it was great to finally talk to in person you so funny!), kilojara of course and demonvaska joined us shortly after. dingybatty ended up eating the world with two fists.
After dinner smokepaw left and kilojara and I ended up upstairs where a dance was apparently taking place but it was hella lame and sucky and so instead we joined a massive arting group of folks from dinner as well as some others, namely fierycatthing, kigeni, raptonx another guy I think his name is Tracken? Anyways we did a big sketchbook trade, and since I kept smokepaw's book I was lucky enough to get some nice folks to draw for him as well as a "thank you" for running little errands for me, Kilo and Vannie while we were at our table.
Eventually we came back to the room and gatcat regaled us with stories of his awesome adventures in the adventure business, I hijacked kilojara's computer for some chit chatting with silber and went to bed.
Checking out and last day events
At some point during the night bleupanpan had wrestled a bear (or something) and sprained her ankle so while she was hobbling her poor self around we helped her pack up, packed ourselves up, and headed downstairs to check out. kilojara and I ran into timberwolf4u in the parking lot and he showed us his makeshift fursuit which was basically a gutted Burmese Mountain Dog plush..oh god..it was so awful I couldn't stop laughing. I just wished I was there to watch vantid prancing along in it the night before.
smokepaw pulled up and followed us inside, helped us with the last of our things and we said goodbye to gatcat and vantid and set out into downtown San Jose for lunch.
We ended up going to "The Original Joe's" where I guess the "Eat At Joe's" tagline came from? Dunno. It's pretty old. Everything on the menu seemed rather expensive but we were already seated and I was hungry so oh well.
The waiter was really really rude. I asked "What comes on the roast beef sandwich?" and he says "nothing". I asked "well yes but..its a sandwich, what comes on it?" he says "nothing". I said "oh...k?" he goes "you tell me what goes on it and it will come on it". I said "ooh okay..then mustard, mayonaise.." "you know its a HOT sandwich *SIGH!!!*" "Oh..um..I didn't know".
Okay, the menu just said roast beef sandwich. Thats it, didn't say hot, didn't say cold, didn't say "we will make it how you like it". And throughout our meal he was just very testy with us. kilojara then remembered she had eaten there before and had the /same/ rude waiter who they ended up complaining to the management about. Heh! Small world!
When I wanted the rest of my stuff to go I asked if I could get a container for my au jous and he said "i dunno you tell me". urh? So then he proceeds to stuff, and I mean STUFF my sandwich into a chinese to go box, and pours my au jous into a similar chinese to go box. I had a box-o-broth and a side of "mashed sandwich" to go =( Of course this box of broth turned into a BAG of broth later on in the evening when my suspicions were right, that a chinese take out box would not hold liquid. Ugh! Fucking idiot! (LOL Aspergers!)
We drove back to the hotel, said our goodbyes to smokepaw and headed out on the road.
The attempt to go home and a roadside emergency
I figured it would be fair if kilojara drove for the first half of the trip since she was familiar with the roads in NorCal and I could tackle LA traffic since that's more my thing, so we set off and a few miles down the road just on the outskirts of San Jose and riiiight before we reach the end of civilization for the next 6 hours, Kilo goes to slow for traffic and says "Uh oh".
Kilo: "The brakes are out."
Kilo: "The brakes..they're not working" *stomp stomp stomp squish*
The brake pedal was going all the way to the floor and we were heading at a healthy speed towards the cars in front of us.
We end up coasting to a slow pace and managed to avoid traffic, get onto an exit ramp and stop (yeah they worked just enough to do that /after/ the point when we needed them most) in a little side street. So, we're 9 hours from home with unreliable brakes. I fish out my AAA card and end up calling smokepaw who reluctantly drove back to help us out (he was already on his way to Tahoe but honestly I was so freaked out I'm glad he came).
So we ended up going to a mechanic, and 300 bucks later my brakes are /half/ fixed and the check engine light is on now (it wasn't before!) and the mechanic had already shut down the shop and bolted for the evening by the time I got in my car to notice this. FUCK! At this point it's 7:30 at night, smokepaw has to head back to Tahoe and there's no way in hell kilojara and I are traveling 9 hours in the dark at this point when we're already exhausted, so we made the trek up to westly_roanoke's place to stay the night.
First Kilo and I stopped at a Red Lobster to unwind and get our bearings. Then we headed to Westly's.
His roommate seemed pretty surprised to see us but was very hospitable. Thank you Lone! westly_roanoke and crocuta were also very welcoming, thank you guys so much for all your help and hospitality!
The next day we headed out, avoided McDonalds at all costs (shudders), stopped at a rest stop for a nap, stopped in Buttonwillow at a Denny's (where some naughty stray cats were trying to crawl up under my car and warm themselves on the engine) and coasted into San Diego at about 9:30 at night.
Best and worst adventure ever but hey, we made it.
There's a lot of people I would have loved to see more, namely likeshine, mac_dragon, chlorophyta, xianjaguar and many others. But everyone, thank you for such a great con! Seriously, despite all the bad reviews I'm hearing on LJ this was one of my most exciting =)
And now, more sleep! Oh and if any of you have sketches and photos I might be interested in, please email me at email@example.com, thanks! I'll scan my con art later. I'm beat!