dmuth's blog

My Anthrocon 2011 Report

This year's Anthrocon went pretty well for me, at least from a staff/Operations standpoint! This being our 6th year in Pittsburgh, things went pretty well. Equipment arrived when it was supposed to, nothing went horribly wrong or got broken, and set up and teardown went fairly well. In that aspect, the con was somewhat "boring" for me, which is actually fantastic.

During my slow days (Friday and Saturday), I actually got to spend some time out enjoying the con, dropped in on a couple of panels, and got some facetime with some folks. My socializing was to such an extent that I didn't even drink all that much, which my wallet had no issues with.

Fursuit group shot

Total stats for this year's Anthrocon were 4,400 furries from 39 countries, 854 fursuits in the fursuit parade, and $11,522 raised for The Toonseum.

Kane Husky All cheetahs look alike Fursuit Parade

Silent Ravyn Bierzun and Kalira Fursuiters chasing a helicopter

Here's a picture of the Toonseum folks (except for the chef, which was Chiaroscuro):

Toonseum

There's not much else for me to add, because the con was more of the same awesomeness that I'm used to experiencing.

Naturally, I have many more photos than are show on in this post The full collection can be found here, with my "main" pictures found here.

Enjoy!

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My poor iMac

When I got back from Dorsai Thing a few weeks back, I saw a kernel panic on my iMac, so I tried rebooting it. Upon rebooting it, the screen stayed black and no sounds came from the speakers, nor did the Caps Lock light turn on on the keyboard when I pressed the key. So I took the machine out of service and made a note to open it up at some point.

I finally got around to opening up the machine today, and I found what the problem was:

Blown capacitors

It's quite clear that at least 3 of the capacitors blew out. I'm not clear how this happened, I know that excessive heat can do it but the fans on the system work just fine and there was no excess buildup of dust when I removed the back cover. And I could understand one capacitor failing, but 3 at once? That just doesn't make any sense to me.

Oh well, the machine was old, and served me well for the nearly 6 years that I had it. I'll just stick with my newer machines for now.

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Furry Connection North 2011 Report

Having missed last year's FCN due to injury, I had to use this con to make up for 2 years' worth of FCN and well, it worked! Here's how I felt:

Happy Wasabi

I had an enormous amount of fun at this year's FCN. Highlights include:

- Making lots of sushi (sushi-grade fish was ordered for this)

- Watching the "Will It Blend" panel, wherein the presenters proceeded to both blend and freeze various items

- Making sushi for the second day in a row

- Getting to see/socialize with people I don't normally get to talk to because we're both busy at other cons

- Working security again, and doing badge check in higher traffic areas, so I got to chat with people who came by

Fursuiters Fizz shows us liquid nitrogen Gigantic glow stick!
Fizz shows us fish Making sushi DSC_4299

What else was there to like? Ah yes, the bartenders! They absolutely loved us this year, and one of them even remembered me from 2 years ago. (and gave me grief about not making it last year, haha)

Alien88 and ToraCub Legos Beer Kegs
The end of the fursuit parade Hanging off of a pole Yes, Costello?

I have many more pictures that I can't post here, so instead I'll give the link, as usual: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dmuth/sets/72157626479309537/

Next con for me is Anthrocon! I'll see you all there. Stay safe.

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Dear AT&T, YOU'RE FIRED!

I had a pretty interesting day with AT&T on Sunday:

- No Internet connectivity on my iPhone
- My phone did not ring with an incoming call from my parents
- I could not retrieve the voicemail that was left for me
- Attempts to call my parents back resulted in the call being dropped no less than 3 times.

And this was all in 5 minutes.

Since my contract with AT&T had expired a couple of weeks before that (and I had an iPhone 3G, which really showed its age with IOS 4.1), I figured it was time to get a newer/faster phone, and fire AT&T as my cellphone company at the same time. One short walk to the Apple Store later, and this is the result:

 YOU'RE FIRED!

I find that Verizon's service is much nicer than AT&T's was. No random cases of the Internet not working here, the performance is quite consistent no matter where in the suburbs or city I am.

Having a phone that does video is nice, too. Smiling

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Dorsai Thing 36: "Hurrithing" report

I was down in Orlando for Dorsai Thing last weekend. It was a nice break from my rather busy day job, and gave me the chance to visit and socialize with friends. It was also my first time to Florida!

Orlando DSC_4206 KP's Dogs

It was fun, but short, for I arrived with Uncle Kage late Friday evening, and left on Sunday morning. The highlight was dinner on Saturday evening. Aside from socializing with folks and shooting Nerf guns at Colin to see who would go first, I am pleased to announce that two new members of the Dorsai Irregulars were inducted, one of whom was our own ToraCub:

ToraCub, D.I.

The setup for the "beanieing" was fairly straightforward. At dinner, Uncle Kage called Tora up front to present him with a bottle of fine tequila that he had purchased earlier in the day, as a gift for all of Tora's hard work at Anthrocon and other conventions. I approached both of them, under the pretense of taking a picture. When that was done, I moved to the side, out of Tora's field of vision, and behind him. After Kage distracted him for a few more seconds, I snuck up from behind him and dropped my own beret on his head, as the rest of the room erupted in cheers and applause. It's fun to be sneaky like that. Smiling

As the youngest DI, we get to call him the "baby DI", at least until the next sucker person is inducted. Smiling

After that, it was back to the consuite for more socializing and fine beverages!

Steve and Shep DSC_4271 Margarita Man Delivers!

On the way back home the following morning, I took a few pictures from the shuttle at Orlando Airport:

Orlando Airport Orlando Airport Orlando Airport

If anyone wants the full archive of my Dorsai Thing 36 photos, they can be found here.

Thanks for reading, and my next convention will be Furry Connection North, just next weekend! I hope to see everyone there!

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New Year's Furry Ball 2011 report

Last night was the first time I attended the New Year's Furry Ball. And I had a blast!

Origami Gryphon and ??? Furry dance Kojac

Things that separated this from a typical New Year's Eve party:

- A dinner that was catered by the hotel, for all attendees
- A dance DJed by Protocollie
- A lovely atrium that served as a great hangout spot, with a game of Rockband going on in one corner.
- Getting to see some friends from the region that I had not seen in awhile
- Hearing the song Shots ft. Lil Jon for the first time. Great party song! Smiling

Clementine Finnish looks pissed Got salad?

Even though it was more of a party and less of a con, we did end up having to have small registration table, which is where I got to work. I was the guy with the shaved head checking IDs and taking money. The total turnout was somewhere around 150, and from the IDs I saw, we had people from places like Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and at least one person from Massachusetts!

Clementine and Vega Kale DJs Kale announces the winning ticket

While working at registration, several people asked me, "What does a sponsorship get?" My answer was: "Our undying gratitude".

5 people bought sponsorships on the spot for this reason alone. A 6th came back later and gave us another $15 to upgrade.

Loki and Nito Furry dance Kellogg Collie and ???

So, what was the takeaway from last night? and know how to throw one hell of a party!

For the eBay crowd, this translates to: "Excellent seller - I would totally back this person up in a knife fight"

(Want to see the rest of the pics? They're at http://www.flickr.com/photos/dmuth/sets/72157625599053775/with/5314593510/)

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How OpenID Works

Explained in two simple pictures:


(Images courtesy of the Coding Horror blog)

Any questions?

Really, OpenID is merely a way for a third party (Google, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) to tell the site you are visiting that you are in fact a specific user on that service.

Want to try logging into a site with OpenID credentials to see how it works? You can try that out on Anthrocon's site. I've got OpenID working over on PA-Furry.org, too!

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Getting nginx to work with Amazon EC2 dynamic IPs

I've been playing with Amazon EC2 over the weekend, and trying to set up popular software packages on it. I was able to get Munin set up, but every time I tried to load the Munin webpages (e.g. http://ec2-xxx-xxx-xxx-xxx.compute-1.amazonaws.com/munin/), I would get redirected to whatever the server_name directive was set to in Nginx. Usually it'd be something like "localhost", which was completely unhelpful.

I tried playing around with the server_name directive for awhile, and putting in the DNS name of the machine would work, but since I only used this instance sparingly, and starting it up caused it to be assigned a different IP each time, I would have to keep updating the config file. Not a viable solution.

I tried doing some fancy rewrites to the $server_name variable, but since Amazon's EC2 servers have their own internal IP in 10.0.0.0/8, my browser would just get redirected to an IP address that was not routable outside of Amazon's network.

I finally found the right directive:

server_name_in_redirect off;

This tells nginx to honor the Host: field in the initial HTTP request, instead of determining the name of the server on its own. This fixed the issue just fine.

Hopefully others will find this post and spend less time solving this problem than I did. Smiling

(And yes, Ubuntu has official AMIs for EC2...)

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FurFright 2010 Con Report!

FurFright was a fun convention this year! It started off with a bang in my first security shift on Friday afternoon. I got a call for "first aid in the parking lot", which Cliff Husky and I responded to. Turned out that "first aid" was an understatement. We arrived on the scene of an (MVA) motor vehicle accident at the entrance of the parking lot, with one person injured pretty badly. We attended to him, with Cliff taking his vitals and history and me holding his neck in the c-spine position for a good 10 minutes until an ambulance arrived and EMTs relieved us.

That was the first ever auto accident that I worked. Was a little nervous afterward, but not nearly as shaken up as I thought I'd be. And what did I learn from this? Get first aid training. You never know when you'll need it.

The rest of the shift was uneventful, other than trying to figure out the hotel's weird layout. Apparently it was added onto twice, and had been rebuilt after a fire at least once, so the layout was very... unplanned. Hallways that had multiple ramps on them, stairways that only went up 1 floor or even skipped a floor, and ramps that went in circles. It was like M.C. Escher himself designed the hotel!

Raff Foxcoon Got coffee? FUNNY ASS SHIRT

Saturday afternoon had me killing time with P-Kitty and other folks, and somewhere along the line it was suggested that I borrow a fur named Manik's fursuit. He was cool with this, so I put on the head, paws, and my overcoat, and walked around the con for about half an hour. I went up to several folks I knew in personal and said hi. Poor Protocollie... I think I broke his brain!

That's right: it was the first time I ever fursuited. And in a cheetah fursuit, at that. Draw your own conclusions.

On a related note, I went and registered the domain cheopard.com. Be afraid.

Minecraft mob Fursuit Parade Peacebonding Raptor Red Kojac

On Saturday night, I dropped by the Gun Furs panel, hosted by Cliff Husky. It was pretty informative, and I learned quite a bit about all the different details that surround guns, and the legal aspects of them.

On Friday and Saturday nights, I went to the dances, and played around with the ISO and shutter speed settings on my camera. I got some pretty interesting pictures:

Clementine twirls glowsticks Clementine twirls glowsticks Clementine twirls glowsticks Clementine twirls glowsticks

FurFright 2010 Dance FurFright 2010 Dance FurFright 2010 Dance

The whole set of dance photos can be found here.

My birthday was also on Halloween, and the first time I celebrated it. Shortwave, Ferian, and others bought me drinks at the bar, an acceptable birthday present! Chiaroscuro also got me a bottle of cider called "Lucky Lion", that I hope to enjoy with some friends soon.

As the con came to a close, I realized what an awesome time I had. Between the health issues I've had the last several months, and some other personal issues I had to deal with over the summer (which I now call "the lost summer"), I'd say that FurFright was a high point over the last 6 months or so. And I hope that this uphill trend in my mood and life in general continues.

Extra special thanks to Athy for the repeated doses of coffee. The stuff I had at 2:30 on Saturday morning was a huge help. It kept me up through 8 AM when my shift ended.

Tzup, ???, and Kai Origami art Shortwave pulls... everyone!

Fursuit Parade Fursuit Parade Doing' the Stanky Leg November and Nbowa

For the rest of my pictures, they can be found here.

Total attendance for the con was 1,284 attendees, as announced at closing ceremonies. The count for fursuiters in the parade was 287 coming out the ballroom, though the official count of fursuiters who actually made it to the end of the parade was about 40 lower. (don't have that number handy)

Finally, there were a few folks I was hoping to get contact info for:

- P-Kitty
- The guy I did first aid on (anyone know if he was okay?)
- Manik (the gentleman who let me borrow his fursuit)
- Clementine (the fox with the super bright glow sticks)

If anyone knows of online contact info for these people, please let me know in the comments!

Next con for me will be Midwest FurFest. See you all then.

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www.cheopard.com

Cheetah Lying on Back
A typical cheetah.

What is a cheopard?

It's a cross/hybrid of a leopard and a cheetah. It combines the good qualities of both species.

Generally speaking, a cheopard must be at least 28% cheetah.

So what are the good qualities of leopards?

Leopards are smart. They drag their prey up into trees and feast on it over several days. They are also strong--they can carry more than their body weight.

Leopards have also been known to steal kills from other predators (including cheetahs). That's pretty cool.

So what are the good qualities of cheetahs?

I don't know. I'll get back to you on that.

Why did you register cheopard.com?

Because it was a nice short domain name that was available.

How did I get to this page?

You probably met me at a furry convention and I gave you this link.

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