I spent the morning doing some last minute packing. Mid-morning I went to town with the car half-packed to check on my P.O. Box and to fill the tank for the journey ahead. The pump attendant saw my leopard plushie in the back seat and commented that it looked like real.
Returned home and continued packing. The mail arrived so I got it from the box and stuffed it in the filing cabinet, and then I grabbed a few last-minute items, hopped in the car and off I went!
It was raining as I began my journey and the weather got really bad when I reached the turnpike. Rain was coming down in sheets. Visibility was down to twenty feet so everyone was basically betting that there would be no sudden stops on the turnpike. Of course, I couldn't see the oil refineries, which defeated the purpose of using the turnpike. If I can't see the tanks and the miles and miles of piping, I might as well use the parkway. But soon enough the rain cleared and it was smooth sailing the rest of the way except for the backup just south of Woodbridge where someone had an accident. Enroute I stopped at the Edison rest area for a late lunch.
I reached the Valley Forge Hilton at 5 pm after a three hour journey. Check-in was okay and I started moving my stuff into the room. I had a room on the third floor so it was pretty convenient even though it was at the end of a long twisting and turning passageway, as I commented to a fur who happened to be walking with me. The room was pretty good. It had a nice desk, which I promptly covered with my stuff so that it was just like home. The wiring was a little weird. The phone line went through the lamp? There was a data port on the desk phone but it was just an ordinary phone jack so I suspected room call rates applied for modem calling.
Then I went down to the lobby to wait for my roommates, Richard de Wylfin and Digeri. There I met Gene Catlow, Trixi, Tet and Kevin J Dog. Trixi gave me one of her powerhugs. (The jump up and hug variety.) Soon enough Richard and Digeri arrived and after we had moved all the luggage into the room, we went out to the King of Prussia mall for dinner. After surveying our options, we settled for the food court. We sat in what I jokingly referred to as the planetarium. It was the circular area in the middle of the food court with mirrors on the domed ceiling. After that, we went to the Acme supermarket, conveniently located just across from the hotel, to get some snacks.
Back at the hotel, we found that registration had started and so we joined the line. I received a cordial welcome from Jonah Safar (Points?) at the registration table. I believe he's the one who's also in charge of the Anthrocon website. After registration, Digeri and I sat around browsing through the con book. I got a kick out of seeing my art and comic strips in the con book. Petercat had clued me in on this earlier but I didn't expect them to use all four pieces. I was flattered. I also took a look at the panel guide to see which ones I was on and made mental notes of the times and locations so I won't miss them.
Then Richard, Digeri and I went back to the hotel room. Digeri and I watched some TV and worked on our con badges while Richard finished some badges that some furs had commissioned.
We started a bit too late for breakfast. I had some cookies, coffee and milk in the hotel room before heading down to the con. Richard had to set up his dealer's table. Then a little later, I had to hang my art in the art show. It was a learning experience. I had to hang the first few pieces several times before I got the hang of it. I learned that small clips are better than large clips, at least for the kind of art I was hanging. Also, I learned to attach the bid sheets to the mat board so that the bid sheets hung down rather than to the side. They just work better dangling downwards. I think it was getting a little hot in the art show room. But then again, I like it at least ten degrees cooler than most. I must have been dripping with perspiration because an art show staffer stopped by to ask if I was okay. (bless his heart)
Once I had hung all my art, I checked in at the front table and got my copy of the control sheets. Then I went to the back of the art show room to hand the charity auction stuff I was donating to Rigel. I donated a plush Figment dragon and two matted comic strips. Then I went back to the front table to drop off the art I was donating to the Anthrocon Debt Fund.
After taking care of the art show stuff, I stopped by at the Then after shopping at the dealers' den for a while, Digeri and I went to Arby's in the mall for lunch. Richard was busy at the dealer's table so he could not come along. I had the roast beef sandwich meal that came with chicken fingers. I thought it was a good value.
Then after lunch, I had to host two panels. The first was Net Production. I hosted it with Watts Martin although that was moot because we had only two attendees: Digeri and Loxley. So, we just sat together in the center of the room and chatted about web sites that we had created and liked to visit, and also working in the tech industry and a little about net stocks. Midway through the panel, Yappyfox entered in costume and we had a mini photo-op.
The next panel, Comic Book Paneling and Layout, was a bit better attended. Karno, Shawntae Howard, Susan Parkin, Kevin Richardson and I were hosts. I offered a few tidbits of my own and mostly just listened to what the experts sitting at the table had to say.
After that, Digeri and I visited the art show and dealer's room for a while and then attended the Meet the Pros panel. It was pretty interesting listening to Vicki Wyman and S. Andrew Swann talk about their experiences in art and writing. Digeri left for the Feral party. I left a little later too because I was a bit hungry. I had planned to eat at the hotel pub but I changed my mind and headed out. This time I decided to drive the other way up 202 and found a strip mall with a Chinese restaurant. So I had a quiet dinner at the House of Hunan. The food was average but the service was fast so I liked the place. Then I went back to the hotel for the artist's wine and cheese reception. I opted for some soda instead and focused on the grapes. One of the cheeses was spicy though and that was interesting. At the reception, I met Dalia and Trickster. After sharing some jokes about vintage soda and snacking on a selection of cheese, crackers and grapes, I left for the Pawprints party.
At the Pawprints party, I met Conrad "Lynx" Wong and got the info on the next Pawprints deadline. He gave me a new card because of an address change. Then I went to the next room and had a chat with George "Angel Bear" Eddy. I got to see some art that he was working on. I also sampled the many fine root beers around the room. I didn't know there were so many kinds. My palette wasn't too refined so to me they just tasted more or less the same, varying only in syrupiness.
After hanging around the party a bit, I went down to get a peek at the adult art and dealer's room with Richard.
Had breakfast with Richard and Digeri at the Burger King. After that, it was back to the hotel and I had to be on the Breaking Into The Genre panel with Scotty Arsenault and Watts Martin. This was pretty well attended. The room was smaller though so maybe that was an illusion but I enjoyed this panel because I got to share more of my (in)experience. A few minutes later, someone mentioned to me that he enjoyed the panel and I absentmindedly wondered aloud "Which panel was that?" And we had a bit of a laugh. Second day of the con and I'm already a bit gone.
A little later, I attended the Yerf panel. There was some discussion on bandwagons and the picture story threads, and also some suggestions about reviving the new Yerf order and formulating a Yerf charter. These are pretty difficult issues to tackle.
After that, Digeri and I went back to the mall for lunch. This time we ate at the Japanese place in the bigger food court. I got some sushi and tried the wasabi. The burning sensation only went up to the top sinus twice so that wasn't the hottest sample I've tasted. But the food was pretty good.
Went we arrived back at the hotel, the charity auction had already begun. Because of that I didn't get to see how much the plush Figment dragon that I donated went for. (Found out later that the closing bid was $25.) But I saw some fur happily carrying Figment under his arm and I'm glad it went to a good home.
After the charity auction, Digeri and I went shopping at the art show and dealer's den. I decided to bid for two of Annette Miller's rugs.
Then it was time for the masquerade. It was a better run show this year. There was a raised stage so everyone had a better view of the performers. Flash photography was not allowed during the show so I just took some pictures with my digital camera, which works a little better in less than ideal lighting.
Midway through the show though I became very thirsty and a little hungry so I ducked out and headed upstairs to the Bronzebear party. It was a pretty decent spread and there was some root beer left from the PawPrints party the day before.
A little while later I went back down to the masquerade but the show had already ended. So I went back up, this time to the Yerf party. It was great meeting so many people I knew online. Many of the regulars from past Anthrocons were there and this time I got to meet Sir Kain, Hysteria, Catnel and a few others whom I had never met before except online. I took pictures of quite a few of the attendees. Squee Rat was there with a video camera collecting brief statements from everyone. Pizza and ice cream sandwiches were served. During the party, Scotty called Amara but got her answering machine so we all went Gnar Gnar Gnar to the answering machine to surprise her.
Unfortunately, the room got a bit too hot because of the number of people there so it was a relief when Scotty opened up the concierge room. I drew in some sketchbooks at the concierge room and everyone was watching some MST3K on tape. I stayed there until around 2am when someone was playing Teletubbies videos. (That's as good a sign as any that it's time to leave. Heh.)
Breakfast at the Burger King again. Then Digeri and I went to the art show to see if there was anything else to bid on in the last two hours. I checked my area and there were already over $50 of bids there. Of course, I won't know the exact total until I get the payment some time after the con but it was gratifying to get some money for my work. I also noticed that an Honorable Mention ribbon had been placed on the Reese's picture. That was a pleasant surprise indeed. Someone had outbid me on one of the Annette Miller rugs so I put another bid on the remaining rug that no one had bid on. I also bid on one of Petercat's fantasy highway signs and an animation cel. I stayed at the art show until the final countdown. That, in itself, was pretty exciting.
After a bit of last-minute shopping at the dealer's den, Digeri and I went to the art auction. Neither of us bid on anything but it was a pretty lively event nevertheless and some bidding wars got into the hundreds.
After the auction, Richard's family had arrived so Digeri and I helped Richard's mom bring his luggage down from the hotel room. Then we went to the dealer's den for the final goodbyes.
Then we joined the line waiting for the art purchases. By that time, the heat was almost unbearable. But the line speeded up soon enough and I got one of the gooey ice cream sandwiches that Dale Farmer brought down from the Yerf party. It was squeezably good. I got the two rugs, the fantasy highway sign and the animation cel and brought them back up to my room. Then I came back down to the artist checkout to pick up the stuff that did not sell. I got to keep the ribbon.
In the evening, Digeri and I went to TGI Friday's for dinner. Since we skipped lunch that day, we were pretty hungry by then. I had the mushrooms, chicken and mushrooms meal, which was delicious and heavy on the mushrooms. After dinner, we wanted to go to the FAO Schwarz store but the mall had closed by then because of the shorter Sunday hourse. So I got some chocolate milk at the Wawa convenience store and we went back to the hotel.
A little later, Al Jones came strolling down our corridor and so we had a long chat about Yerf, the internet, high-speed internet access, and computer programming. We also saw a little demo of the Tesla coil that Trigem's roommate had built and that solved the mystery of the crackling sound that we heard earlier that day.
For a change, Digeri and I had breakfast from the bagel place at the mall food court. The omelettes were pretty good. After that, we went to the FAO Schwarz store to look at the plushies. Then it was back to the hotel for the final packing and checkout.
After correcting a minor detail on the room bill at the front desk, it was time to head for home. On the way out however, I stopped at the mall to buy the ferret plushie at FAO Schwarz. I just couldn't resist. I also stopped by Gene's Books (I didn't know he owned a book store) to get a few books from the bargain table.
The journey home went pretty smoothly with no traffic pileups.