Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Admittance of Setbacks, Withdrawal, and Priorities

This is something I have been thinking about for a while, and have been planning since early January, after recent issues popped up.

To keep things short, and while this was not of any intent, I'm gonna take a leave from fandom.

Well, furry community, socially speaking.

I mean, it's fun, a friendly group of people pretending to be animals enjoying each other in a supportive community of arts and expressions.

 I want to keep it that way.

Years ago, I discovered this fandom of animals and fluff, wanting to take part in it. Consequently, it jumpstarted my skills in art and strive to improve on such. I later yearned to meet and socialize with other furs in person, do the meets, and get involved. Heck, that was one (granted, of many with higher importance - better weather, transit, ideal schools, family) factors for moving to my present location. After a year of experiencing and being immersed in such a community, with the good and the bad, plus going into the most ideal school... I have been slowly feeling myself disillusioned. It was great at first, being surrounded by all these animal people, developing friendships and connections. And it's great! Problem is, I ended up devoting more time to that than what I was supposed to be focusing on.

I got addicted to meetups, and ended up seeing furries, doing mini-golf, bowling, and attending dinner parties when I should've been writing essays and improving portfolios. Bad choices, preferring leisure over responsibility lead me to suffering in my first semester and struggling to get back up...eventually leading me to be disqualified from the very school I yearned to go to. Essentially, what brought me here caused me to lose what's keeping me here.

and roughly around the same time, I felt the 'dark side' of the fandom seep in; increased promiscuity urges, increased notice of drama and backstabbing in the community, local and otherwise amid a pool of stepford smilers, so to speak. Being in the fandom started to feel less like a hobby and more like a PR job to the point where I figured it would be best to step back.

And so I am, and back to square one, so to speak.

I am back at a city college, working to get my classes back on par to return to that ideal school, and continue working on a standard that will bring things stable. Until life gets back on track, I will be reducing my activity in the fandom to, for lack of better word, 'professional manner':

 - Furmeet attendance minimal if nonexistent. Had my fill, need to make these events feel more special occasion. Less drama witness, the better.
 - Reduce tweeting ten-fold. I'm too noisy, so to speak, and less drama witness = clearer mind
 - Continue Valleydog as-is
 - Continue Commissions and arts as-is
 - Reduce social involvement beyond close/existing friends.
 - Prioritize studying and rebuild work ethic.
 - Attend conventions (as, frankly, they are, like mini-vacations and a cheaper version of Disney in a sense; always fun) if not interfering with studies. Plan only when not in study (In this case, given that it has been paid for and set, BLFC will be my next and last until 2015...until further notice).
 - Study first, arts second, social last.
 - Be known for art, and not for having 2k followers on twitter, tweeting nonsense.

Anywhom, this may seem to be a bit wishy/washy, mixed signals, though coming from a stream of thoughts that I've had in my mind for quite a bit, figured it be best to get this out.

Hasta Marfle!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

FC 2014 - Con in Review

This is probably the first time I've managed to review this con since my very first (and very brief) visit back in 2010. I've come to realize the mean reason for my lack in truly reviewing is largely due to not quite remembering a bulk of the con after it happened (large con is large). Much of this review is aided by social network/personal phone history whenever possible in what would otherwise be best-guessing recollection.

Day 0 
I decided to make a quick stop after class to help with setting things up. Beyond bulk of things being done prior (I had arrived around 5 pm), I help bring in some electronic/AV equipment inside before hanging with the early crowds...or lack thereof - only a trickle so far in the Marriott and Hilton combined. Nevertheless, fun, quick convos with some friendly furs were had before I returned home, prepping for the next day and actual con.

Day 1 Took bus from class, arrived in afternoon, walked to Marriott, waited briefly in prereg line, 2 hour wait at the time, only to ditch and wait until later when lines dropped (roughly 10 pm), kept running into local furries (and feeling a heavy dose of deja vu from last couple of years) before having dinner at the Thai placewith Lawrence, a local wolf. . Boarded a Light Rail to Great Mall with Furries for games at Dave and Busters, left halfway when the cars detached (forcing us all to go to the front of the train) upon finding out that Alphapak had arrived and checked in. After a quick settling down, I met up with a couple of furs for a night of Cards Against humanity.

Day 2
Wook up early worriedly, and went straight to school for a morning class....that never happened - nobody, not even faculty was present. Annoyed, promptly went back to the con and had lunch with Koda and Cosmo. Ran into Meerk and friends, walked a bit, hung out with Calzone, roamed the Dealer's. Went back to room to rest for a bit, joined roomie friends (A-Pak, Scrypto, Dbeat) for Thai again, furry nomming curry, kept running into a bunch of furries whom I've known on web, and vice versa. If anything, it just felt awesomely weird to immediately recognize a whole bunch of folks. Almost as if I were popufur or something....but I digress (honestly, I feel anything but - I'm far from popufur)

Exercised plenty in Marriott, walking up the stairs. Saw dance comp, enjoyed choreography. Went back to Marriott to Meet with Daniel Barker, walking up 22 floors in the process.

Went to Fancy Friday despite leaving formal wear at home (yay semi-casual!), hung out with Doctor Fox, having a nice conversation. Full house, long line. No foods, but still fun. Overall, excellent start to the con.

Day 3
Woke up casually for once (busy week been busy), tried to see the exotic animals exhibit only to find it crowded up to hallway audience (did see a gator though), met up with a Granite Coyote for breakfast with at Psycho Donuts.

I walked around downtown SJ with Granite for a bit, getting stalked by a Base Jaguar and feline friends. Later gung out with said coyote and did coyote things.

On way down for quick lunch at staff lounge, I saw a tweet asking for folks to fursuit in parade, jumped at the chance and went across to the Saint Claire to meet up with (and dress up as) Sarge, a military doberman.
Doing the parade was, to say the least, an interesting experience. Dressing up as a giant animal costume that I could barely see in (let alone know what I actually look like outside), in what could double as a mini-sauna, walking by tons of cheering spectators, and waiting in a long line for a photoshoot with Sarge's army, could be best described as 'tedious, but fun'. Good experience, and at least I know what to expect when finishing project marflesuit sometime in the future.

After a bit of unmasking recovery return in the Saint Claire, and a brisk walk back to the Marfiott, I began a quick window shopping at the Dealer's Den, to prep for final shopping the following day.

Time flew briefly and had to begin my first (and surprisingly only) shift for the con in the late afternoon. Admittedly (and granted, bulk of my work had been done prior to con), the job at had wasn't really much - just watch over all the panels, making sure they're running properly and are set-up accordingly. Save for one minor misunderstanding with the podcast Fur What It's Worth's setup (and getting an applause from them later), the overall shift was quite casual - almost quite like general attending. Awful lot of walking was done, however, so yay exercise.

Shortly afterwards, got an invite for Pizza (My Heart) with Calzone, Fennic, Doctor, and the gang, heavy on furry standard time - after much fursuit shenanigans, we finally headed off roughly an hour later. Enjoying a bit of chat with old friends, then rushed back to hang with and do wolf things with a Jet wolf before heading down to check out some ill-fated Kareoke with Fennic, suddenly having odd cravings leading to nommage of chili-bacon-cheese fries before calling it a night.

Day 4
Final day in the hotel room, I woke up lateish (relatively, around 9 compared to 7/8 of the past few days), and the first in room to do so. Signed up for brunch later in the day, and having read that there was some extra time, decided to join Scrypto and Deadbeat in some Dealer's shopping..only to discover I misread the brunch time - said event happening within the next 15 minutes - and promptly made a dash across 4 blocks to the diner...only to also discover that said time was for meeting up at the Marriott lobby.

Derpily, I walked back, and ended up meeting Calzone midway, forgoing the brunch in favor of Pitas and running into Kodachrome, enjoying a nice photographic discussion, walking back with Calzone to the Hilton, parting ways for the morning followed by a brief breather and pack-up, before rushing to Diridon station for a brief(ish) familial visit.

After a brief(erish) stop at home to unwind and unpack, I returned to the Convention center in the midsts of an early afternoon to fairly uneventful afternoon of random walking, random running into the same 10 furries (apologies to Boveda, whom of which we seemed to keep crossing each other's path), eating all the peanut M&Ms in the staff lounge, and briefly meeting up with some furries, and finally waiting in line for FC: Unleashed

Compared to last year, FC:U exceeded expectations. Full show indeed, plenty good acts, very much impressed, and thoroughly entertained with yoyos, Piano dragons, and some acts of which a few have placed their life's blood into. I have heard good reviews of the Scott Meerkat Preview, and am definitely looking forward to FlashlightCon 2015. I may be for guys but there's something to be said about a group of ladies dancing to Psy's Gentleman. Currently brainstorming plans for next year's theme.
I was supposed/planned to head home shortly after the show, however, as the Doctor would say "I don't wanna go", and ended up staying until the very last bus trip meeting up with fellow furs, and saying farewells. Overall, while done in the blink of an eye, and puns aside to neighboring cons (no substances ingested, I promise), my FC ended on a high note.


Further Confusion 2014 a blast! I had tons of fun, and I thank to staff for helping out and glad to be a part. Pleasure meeting all 30 folks repeatedly, enjoyed helping out when I could.

I had pretty much checked off everything I planned/wanted to do at a con (suit-up, meet fur/friends local and otherwise, enjoyable events, working staff and helping set-up, doing literally all there is to do...well, save for selling at the dealer's/market and/or having a piece in the Art Show). Thanks to Sarge for lending me his suit for parade. Thanks to @Alphapak for hosting the room, and to Scrypto and deadbeat rooming along. Great and amusing moments were had.

Final words on FC2014: On par with 2012, and definitely looking forward to 2015!