I'll be arriving at Midwest FurFest on Thursday and leaving on Monday.
I'm working in the Art Show again. Here are the hours I'll be on duty:
Friday: 11 AM to 3 PM
Saturday: 1 PM to 3 PM, 7 PM to 1 AM
Sunday: 11 AM to 6 PM
Hope I'll see the usual gang of folks there!
In what is definitely a blast from the past, I found this old news story laying around on my hard drive of TurnTide from 2004:
Strangely enough, I make two appearances in this--the first one at 2:40 is of file footage from when they interviewed me for a story about spam in 2003. That was amusing.
A few months after this story was shown, the Symantec Corporation bought us for $28 Million. Those of you who saw me at Anthrocon 2004 might recall that I was tightlipped about work, as well as carrying around this skateboard. Now you know why.
Had a pleasant experience at FurFright the other weekend. While there were 979 attendees in total, the con didn't feel like there was nearly a thousand people present. This was probably due to the overflow hotel being some distance away and people heading off site for food, as well as furs going to the attached water park.
Once again, I worked security with the Dorsai Irregulars. Things were pretty quiet there, too. The attendees were well behaved, and the room parties were quiet. As for that crazy GM at the hotel, we did the best that we could under the circumstance. The rest of the hotel staff (especially the bartenders) seemed pretty cool and seemed to enjoy us.
I got to direct fursuiters during the first fursuit parade, and was in a location where I could take a bunch of pictures:
Yeah, that's a furry Pinhead. That is a very nice box he's holding. I need to find one like it.
Of course, we also had our share of weird and silly this year:
The whole archive of pictures is in the usual spot on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dmuth/sets/72157622567912403/
Other than that, I spent most of the con relaxing, chatting with friends, and generally having a good time. I think I'll return next year.
Hurricane Bill was off the shore that weekend, so we weren't allowed to go out too far into the waves or bodyboard, but we did get to still have some fun in the ocean.
If you're looking for pictures of the beach itself, you won't find those here. I know better than to take my camera onto the beach during the day. Instead, I have pictures from the evenings:
The Boardwalk at about 1:30 in the morning.
The rest of the pictures are up on Flickr, at http://www.flickr.com/photos/dmuth/sets/72157622255288394/.
I think the strangest thing about this trip was on Sunday morning, when people were out on the boardwalk handing out fliers for some guy who was running for New Jersey State Governor. Why were they handing these out to a crowd that consists mostly of tourists? Doesn't seem too smart to me.
Finally, on the way back home, Omni and I saw this:
Yes, the gentleman was hanging off the front of the truck while it was in motion. Doesn't sound like the safest/smartest thing to me.
And by that, I mean I got Comcast Internet over the weekend. (FIOS isn't available here) I'm seeing about 14 Megabits down and somewhere around 5 Megabits up.
Don't get nervous, folks. After I cancel DCANet ($55/mo for 1.5 Mbps down just isn't worth it anymore) I'm going to get Basic DSL from Verizon for about $17.95/mo to use as hot backup. It'll be nice to have two different wireless networks running here so I can just switch if Comcast starts acting up.
Along with the Comcast Internet service, I also broke down and got basic cable TV, for the first time in about 8 years. It's nice to be able to channel surf through 2 digits worth of channels and not worry about static or a complete lack of signal.
I then spent the rest of the weekend doing cable management of all the computer cables at my place. I actually ran out of wire ties on Sunday afternoon and ran over to radio shack to get more. I'm afraid I didn't get any before/after photos, but take my word for it, the area behind and under my desk is much less cluttered than it was before.
And that was one of my most stress-free weekends in awhile.
I haven't written much here besides Anthrocon stuff lately, and that is due to most of the non-$DAYJOB stuff I've been doing was in fact Anthrocon stuff. I got code complete with my registration system code late on Friday evening. And seeing things like this always brings a smile to my face:
The more observant folks will notice a change in naming conventions for my classes. That came at a point when I realized, both on a hobbyist and professional level, that more and more code was being written in CamelCase/StudlyCaps, and I had a much easier time writing and reading code like that. Maybe one day I'll redo the classes that are not capitalized, but it's more important to have a product that's finished and operational than it is to constantly be tinkering with it.
Back at FCN, I got a conbadge drawn by Rukis:
I'd say that's the most "realistic" character art I've had drawn to date. I certainly like it!
I got a not-so-pleasant surprise the other day from PhillyCarShare. Seems they decided to shut down all of their pods in the Main Line. No warning, no notice, and oh--they're still taking my money every month. Fraud concerns aside, that suddenly left me with no reliable method of transportation to Dr. K, my Primary Care Provider. Oops. That left me scrambling to find another Physician. I finally got to see Dr. W today who is A) Openly Gay, and B) Poked fun at the medical student in the room. I can live with that!
As for PhillyCarShare, I went ahead and registered PhillyCarShareSucks.com. I haven't done anything with the domain yet, but I think I may put some content on there sooner or later.
Also, Dr. W told me to start taking "Glucosamine/Chondroitin/MSM". Did I just turn 90 all of a sudden?
The real reason I went to see Dr. W, though, was because of a minor but persistent pain in my right foot, behind the big toe. It feels like a muscle cramp, but ice isn't helping it much. I was sent for an x-ray today, to rule out a stress fracture in my foot. We'll see if that ends up being the case or not. At least the pain isn't debilitating. It'd be nice to get lots of mileage at Anthrocon, however.
And in case folks haven't seen it yet, here is Anthrocon's latest promotional video:
I spent the last weekend in Chicago, working at the 15,000 person convention known as Anime Central, or ACen for shirt. I worked on their Incident Response Team (IRT) during the night shift, which involved many duties similar to security at other conventions, but much more structured because of the size of the convention and the number of people working IRT.
For example, we divided up the hotel into areas known as "beats". When you went on roving duty, you were assigned to a specific beat, which you had to walk on a regular basis. Oh yes, there was lots and lots of walking at this con. We all worked with partners as well, which was a great way for folks on IRT to get to know each other, and pairing up more experienced ops with less experienced ops provided a great learning opportunity for the less experienced person.
ACen did something else I've never before seen at a convention: they had a dispatch room. If you were on duty with a radio and you needed to call something in, you usually didn't call your superior, but instead called Dispatch. Dispatch then logged the call and made the decision on what to do
There were also a surprising number of furries and proto-furries who attended the convention. I didn't think there would be as much overlap between furry and Anime as there was.
Somewhere in there, Duncan da Husky, Takaza, and Linnaeus came by and we did lunch. All I remember was getting off of night shift and going to sleep around 7 AM, and being woken up by a 2:30 PM phonecall from Duncan telling me they were there.
Everyone on IRT was loaned a black vest to wear. This had the benefit of being highly visible, plus it gave us pockets to carry around water and food in so we could stay hydrated and fed while on our beat.
Did I mention how cool the people working IRT were? There were many dedicated ops who worked long hours in what was essentially a volunteer position. That really made the convention an enjoyable experience for me, and I think I'll be going back next year.
Oh, you wanted to see the rest of my pictures? Sure! They're on Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/dmuth/sets/72157618360496216/
This year's Furry Connection North was another heck of a convention! With 727 attendees, the convention's attendance nearly doubled over last year! Clearly, the current state of the economy did not hurt this year's event.
I did something a little different this convention. A few months back, I made it a point to start saving all of my $5 bills when getting change. By the time FCN rolled around, I have a few hundred dollars in $5s. Aside from the strange looks I got from my bank teller when turning all of those $5s into larger bills, this provided me with a convenient way to set aside some spending money for the convention. Even though my total amount of money did not change, being able to set aside cash meant that I actually spent more on artwork and books at this convention. That's a win-win for everybody!
The one downside about this convention for me was that I didn't get to see as much of the convention as I would have liked to, due to some of the shifts I worked on security (provided by the Dorsai Irregulars this time around). I worked 2 shifts that were from midnight to 6 AM, and 1 shift from 6 AM to Noon. This left me sleeping during the mornings and early afternoons so I didn't get to see as much of the con or my friends as I would have liked (sorry Cliff Husky!). I did get to make up for this on Sunday though, by attending closing ceremonies, the live Method 1 show, and Gir's dance, which totally rocked.
This new hotel was also full of win. The staff loved us. One of the bartenders decided on Saturday afternoon that she just had to have a tail to wear, so I ended up loaning her one of mine. I am told that this boosted the amount she received in tips.
Other things that made FCN cool:
- All the food places within walking distance.
- The "I'm on a boat" song.
- Everytime someone said the word "asshole" and Chillymouse was in hearing distance, she would pipe up with "100% asshole?"
- The few noise complaints I handled, the occupants of the rooms were very nice and very apologetic. That made the con that much more enjoyable to work.
- The bar having $8 Long Island Iced Teas.
- A reasonably priced lunch/dinner menu at the hotel's restaurant.
- Cardboard cutouts of Obama and George Bush. They made for nice party items.
- Getting to chat with Duncan The Dog, who swung by Con Ops in the middle of an otherwise boring late night security shift.
Oh, you wanted to see some pictures? Sure!
The full set, as always, can be found on Flickr:
My next non-furry con will be Anime Central, which I will be working security at. And I leave for that, uh... tomorrow morning! My next actual furry con after that will be Anthrocon.
[Edit: Some folks have set up a successor to the list at http://spammers.dontlike.us/ (SDLU). I have no current involvement with that list, but I encourage folks to check it out!]
Paul Russel posted this to the SPAM-L mailing list earlier today:
Recurring incidents involving animosity between list members have taken their
toll. The SPAM-L list will be shut down on Monday, 11 May 2009. The list
archives will remain online and searchable by subscribers for approximately 30
days after the list is shut down, however, requests for list-owner assistance
will be ignored.
I joined this list in 1996 and have been a co-owner, with Doug Muth and Pete
Weiss, since 1998. Pete has already posted his farewell. Doug and I want to
thank those whose positive contributions made this list a useful resource for
so many people for so many years, however, we believe that the list has outlived
its usefulness. Anyone with a web browser can find a plethora of anti-spam
resources that did not exist when the list was created in August 1995.
It's a shame that we can't keep the list going, but speaking for myself, I just don't have the spare time to handle running the list anymore. I'm sure that if the community is motivated, a successor to the list will be created to fill the gaps.
Years with links are where I have photos online. Italicized years are where I worked staff.
In total, that's 65 conventions (42 furry, 23 non-furry), and I had the pleasure of working at 48 of those as staff.
For the whole list of staffing I've done at those conventions, there's now a separate blog post for that.