...or what I did during my summer vacation... again!
Left home at 11am. Arrived at the Valley Forge Hilton after 2pm. It normally wouldn't take that long but I stopped at the Jersey Gardens mall along the way for lunch. The Hilton was out of those rooms with Ethernet connections. Oh well. I wasn't sure it would've worked with my laptop anyway.
After moving all my stuff into the room (3rd floor again this year. Didn't need to use the elevator most of the time), I sat around in the lobby waiting for registration to get ready. I met Danruk and he had some good suggestions on the piece I was drawing to illustrate his story in the next NAF. There I met Kamau, Jedd, Lobowolf, Wolven Terror, T'chall, Arrow T Wolf.
Registration started late afternoon, a bit earlier in the day than the Anthrocons of the past few years. I joined the sponsor line. At first, it didn't move but they opened another line for sponsors on the other side of the registration table and things moved quite a bit faster. I was pleasantly surprised to get a con T-shirt at registration. (I asked for a size 3XL. Just to be safe, you know.) True, this offer was made in past years too but this is the year they made good. All is forgiven. :) Another nice surprise is they used the 2 comic strips and 2 pieces of art that I submitted for the conbook. (I probably should read it now that I'm home.)
Dinner time! I went to the Japanese place in the King of Prussia mall food court and had a fried rice and glazed chunks of chicken platter.
After dinner, I hung around for a bit at "The Zoo". That's what they called the Alexander's Cafe area that was turned into a lounge just for Anthrocon. I thought that was a neat idea since, unlike the lobby, there were plenty of tables on which you could draw and write.
At The Zoo, I met Cecil and we discussed NAF and some of the other pieces of art he was doing. Also met Chilly Mouse (already hard at work on some sketchbooks. Lazy me, on the other hand, got through the whole con without doing a single book. Yeah!), Gen Talon, Wally Wabbit, Thumper, Lutris, Lindgold, Chakat Goldfur, Leonid, Trixi, Tet and many others. Some fursuiters visited the lounge too. Among them were Tiger Tim, Seaweed Otter, Herbie Bearclaw.
Later in the evening, I watched Joe Ekaitis draw in Paint Shop Pro on his laptop with a tablet. To me, It looked like pretty tedious work compared to pencil on paper but I guess one can get used to it.
And finally I went back to my room, took a shower and started drawing my con badge. Took my time as I was partly distracted by VH1's Behind the Music profiles of Motley Crue and Queen. Boy, those rock stars sure were messed up.
Woke up a bit early to pick up Digeri from the Philly airport. He flew in from California this year as he's working there now. Things weren't quite working out as I missed a turn on Route 202 and then got stuck in Friday morning traffic on 476 south but we made it back in time to get breakfast at the Burger King and join in the con activities.
Back at the hotel, we met up with Richard de Wylfin, who was also rooming with us this year. Digeri took care of his con registration and I brought my box of matted comic strips and art to the art show room for the artist check-in. Rigel was there too, tending to the charity auction, so I handed him the two Gund plush toys (beaver and kangaroo) and two comic strips that I was donating. By that time, he already had a nice well-stocked display taking up the whole corner of the room by the entrance.
Going back to art show matters, I submitted the paperwork and was shown to my spot in the room by a helpful art show staffer. The four panels I ordered were on the back wall. Nice! No corners at all.
After that was taken care of, Digeri and I went to the fursuit open sketch session. Only Thaddeus Fox (Joe Ekaitis) was there. I did two drawings: one in my sketchbook and another using PenDraw on my Handspring Visor. I had to work pretty fast because after some time Thaddeus got hot and had to take his head off but I think the two drawings turned out okay.
Lunch time: Digeri boarded a bus for a supersponsor luncheon. In past years, a supersponsor membership was for two people but apparently that wasn't true this year. So he could not bring a guest to the luncheon. Oh well. Richard and I went to the King of Prussia mall and had the Chinese lunch buffet at the Jade Garden restaurant.
After lunch, I attended Sara Palmer's Advanced Colored Pencils panel. It was pretty instructive even if she didn't quite finish the picture she was coloring. Among the things I learnt were the kinds of colors you can use to make the whites look whiter and using short non-parallel strokes to make a fur texture. I met Concolor at the panel.
Then Richard and I went to Mike Russell's Principles of Marketing panel. Again there was a lot to learn. I took notes on my Visor.
Dinner: Chili's restaurant for the three of us. We played around with the crayons and placemats while waiting for the food. I got my favorite, the BBQ pork sandwich. That's good eating. Also ordered the onion blossom for the appetizer. That's a lot of onion!
After dinner, I went to the art show wine and cheese reception while Digeri and Richard headed upstairs to the Feral and ADSA party. I didn't have too much cheese or wine. It was soda and grapes for me. I took some pictures of fursuiters who were walking by that way, apparently for a dance which was starting up in the adjacent room.
Breakfast was at the King of Prussia food court, except that by then they had stopped serving breakfast. I had a BLT from Manhattan Bagel while Digeri ordered something from Taco Bell.
Then I stopped by Al Mackey's Photoshop panel. He demonstrated some interesting techniques using random noise combined with a selection of filters to color a green alien egg and make some backgrounds. I got his Photoshop tutorial CD later in the dealer's room.
Then of course we made the obligatory trips to the dealer's room and the art show. I made some bids on a few items I thought were underpriced. Only one bid, on Petercat's Falling Meteor Zone aluminum sign, would remain unchallenged by the end of the con.
Lunch for Richard, Digeri and I was at Arby's in the King of Prussia mall. I ordered the onion petals, a repeat of Chili's onion blossom, but not as showy. It was pretty good though.
Back at the con, I popped into the Whose Line Is It Anyway improv session for a quick look. Lots of fun. Then I went to the Yerf panel. There really weren't as many controversies to talk about this year. There was a bit about John Gilmartin's parodies. Then we all intro-ed ourselves. And I brought up the annoying questions about the origin of the name Yerf and why Dingo, one of the Yerf administrators, is a fox and not a dingo. (I wonder if I'm still on Yerf. :) ) Also, don't be surprised if they start a home and garden section one day. Uh, you had to be there.
Dinner was going to be a bit late so I had some cookies in the hotel room and a hotdog at The Zoo.
In the evening, Digeri, Richard and I went to the masquerade. Acts I found interesting include Herbie and Yappy's Dr Seuss performance, the dating game skit, Jazz Jackrabbit and Spazz "shooting down" the fanboys rushing on stage, and Mitch Beiro proposing to Minerva Mink.
Then Digeri and I went up to the Bronzebear party. The big surprise there was when Greyfur was told to lie flat on the floor with his eyes closed and someone placed a huge bunny plushie on him. At the party, we also met with a rather talkative fur who told many a great joke. Unfortunately, I didn't get his name.
After that, we stopped by the adult art auction for a bit. It was a little more subdued than the main art auction the next day. The music coming from the dance next door was somewhat distracting.
Quick breakfast for Digeri and I at McDonald's because we wanted to get back to the art show for the final written bids. In the meantime, Richard was packing up and getting ready to leave back at the hotel.
After breakfast, we stopped by the live birds of prey demo for a few minutes. I managed to get some pictures of the owl and the falcon.
Then it was off to the art show to defend our bids. We stayed right up to the end of the art show, keeping watch over what we had bid on. Digeri had a pretty long list. I think I only bid on 3 items and the only item I wasn't outbid on was highway sign. Then the art show closed at noon and everyone had to get out.
Then a fursuit parade came down the hallway. A bunch of costumers came marching down the hallway, then back and out the door. Digeri followed them outside but I stayed back and made some 5-second videos of the scene.
As I was walking back to the lobby after the little parade, I noticed someone had written in a line for a panel on creating online comics on the program board. Curious about that, I went to the room where the panel was to be held. The panelist turned out to be Style Wager of Dela the Hooda fame and he gave a pretty detailed presentation of the trials and tribulations he went through in producing his online comic and comic book. I'm rather glad I didn't encounter many of the web problems he faced but I did find out some things that I need to watch out for if and when I get a comic book going.
Of course since I was at the online comics panel, I missed a lot of the voice art auction. That's where all the pieces of art that had received six written bids were auctioned off the traditional way with the bidders calling out their bids. I found out later that one of my comic strips had indeed gone into the voice auction. The final bid was $150 and the winning bidder was... surprise... Digeri!
I didn't stick around the auction though as I had to go back to the art show room to do the artist check out. That's the procedure where I take down anything that didn't sell and complete the final paperwork. Only one piece out of 18 was still there and I thought that was pretty good compared to last year when only a little over half the stuff I put up was sold. I also paid for the highway sign while I was there.
Since we had skipped lunch, Digeri and I were pretty hungry. So after he settled his art show purchases, we went over to Bennigan's for dinner. I had the fish and chips, which was pretty good IMHO.
After dinner, we stopped by the Dead Dog party up in one of the hotel rooms. It wasn't too bad at first but eventually it became a beer and dance party and we got a bit tired of that so we left the party...
... and went back to The Zoo. There were lots of furries there on Sunday night. It looked like a lot were staying until Monday even though the con had officially ended in the afternoon. We were just sitting around talking. Then, as there were many stacks of fliers on the center table, I took some and started folding them into things like hats and boats. (ticking off Sean Rabbitt in the process because I was using his Mailbox Books fliers :) ) Then I folded some paper airplanes and threw them in the bar area. Smrgol showed me a better paper airplane folding technique. For some reason, paper airplane folding caught on at that moment. Everyone started folding and throwing them all over The Zoo. The madness continued until the pizza arrived.
Digeri and I were both staying an extra day. We went to the Philly Zoo. It was a big city zoo with open areas for the larger animals and buildings housing the smaller animals. Among some of the less common zoo animals were the meerkat, the tayra and the aardwolf. Digeri was pretty interested in the African wild dogs. I tried to get photos of as many of the animals as possible with my digital camera. All in all, it wasn't a bad outing although the traffic around Philadelphia was horrible.
Then it was back to the King of Prussia mall for dinner at TGI Friday's. I had the steak kebabs. We stopped by Staples on the way back to the hotel to get some packing material for the artwork that Digeri had purchased.
By that time, my car was running low on gas so we stopped at the cheapest gas station on route 202. It was self-service and I had forgotten how much I hated pumping my own gas. Yes, New Jersey, where I live, is one of the few states where it is illegal to pump your own gas. What a sheltered life I lead, eh? I bought exactly $10 of regular unleaded, figuring that would be enough to get me back to New Jersey where the gas was cheaper. Of course since the car is a Saturn, that was more than enough to get me all the way home. So much for that plan. :)
Ah, the day of departure. We packed everything into the car and checked out of the hotel. There was time to kill since Digeri didn't have to be at the airport until 3pm so we drove to Norristown, past the Elmwood Park Zoo (made a note of the location for next year), and then came back to the King of Prussia mall. We had the lunch buffet at the Jade Garden and then shopped at a few of the stores.
The World of Science store had a sale on plush reindeer antlers. (the kind with an elastic band that you can wear on your head) We cleared out their stock. Digeri got one and I got the other three. You never know when you might need one of those. :)
Then we went to the Philly airport where I dropped Digeri off to catch his flight. I returned to New Jersey via the Walt Whitman bridge in the Camden area.
Movies: (all days)