Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Convention Travel List for 2019!



Okay, yeah, this is a bit early on and I'm really not sure what events that I'll be able to get to personally, but I do have a short list of ones that I would love to at least get back to. A couple here are even first time events for me, or at least would be.

There are mostly furry conventions on here, which isn't a huge surprise given my interests around here but in the past I've focused more on Anime conventions in some years as well. So, its' time for the furry convention circuit to rise a bit more once again!

So, without mincing words too much more, here's the list!

July 4th-7th: Anthrocon!


This is a convention that I simply adore, and I haven't been to for a couple of years now. Getting back to Pittsburgh for this one really high on my list. However, if not someone from the site will be there to cover it in all it's glory.

Speaking of, check out this amazing video from last year's event done by our partners at LatticeRose Studios.



July 26th-August 11th: Pennsic War


This event is near and dear to my heart. I've been going for more years than I can remember and it's more of a pilgrimage than anything else. Sure, it's not exactly a convention as it's a 16 day long medieval reenactment camping event, but it is what I call home.

I'm not sure if this is one that I will hit, and something I don't necessarily cover that much, but I do talk about it enough around here and other places online that I think it should be included on the list...

October 4th-6th: Alamo City Furry Invasion


A new challenger has appeared! No, seriously, I've never been to this one before and only seen pictures posted on Twitter, but the event looks like a ton of fun and definitely would be a cool thing to go see. Not to mention the fact that this year's theme is Cyberpunk, and that's a really hard thing for me to steer clear of...I love love the genre so much it's almost scary.

The other benefit is that this one is a bit closer than Pennsylvania for me as well, seeing as how I live in Southeastern New Mexico now, a six hour drive to San Antonio is a bit easier than getting to Pennsylvania, right?

December 5th-8th: Midwest FurFest


On my bucket list for a long time now, and I almost ended up going back in 2016, but everything in my life kind of went to shit and back. That said, I have never been to Chicago, and always wanted to. So, what better way to go about that than hitting up a FurCon at the same time?!

That said, it's looking like we'll have staff on site either way for this one this year but not entirely sure on that one yet.

And there ya have it, the list of things that I hope to get to for the site here. Right now it's looking good for a couple of them, maybe. I don't really know for sure with things, and a lot just depends on what I can afford to get to. I hope all of them, but I'll take just a couple out of the lot here as well!

Monday, January 7, 2019

Photography Challenge: Week 1 - Story Telling: Self-Portrait

So, I've decided to try something this year. Something to make my own abilities in an area that I love grow and improve. In this case, photography and I think a 52wk challenge is just the sort of thing that's needed to see what happens throughout the year.

Not only will help with skills and all, but will likely get me out of the house more, which isn't bad either!

First week's challenge was a sort of "self portrait without the subject", a way of taking a picture that explains you, but without in it. A sort of encapsulation of things. Not easy to do, but I think I may have lucked out in having a pretty awesome backdrop for streaming. Kind of just came to me, the lighting was a lucky break...

No filters, just what the lens and sensor captured. I think it's pretty good. Definitely not my best work, but it'll do for this part of the challenge and got my brain kicking in the creative space again. Something that was sorely needed as of late. Anyway, there will be one of these a week as we go through. Next week? Rule of Thirds Motion. That's gonna be interesting!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Summer Raids - Driving, Family, and War

There's times when you need to just get away, to venture out into the world and see what you can in whatever way that you can. For me, that is far more frequent than most as I tend to go on summer raids annually.

In the past, they were short and easy trips to events throughout the summer. Things like Anthrocon, Pennsic War, and the renn faire.

These days, it's a bit more involved and this year is the largest of them in quiet some time. 5,500 miles of traveling, a month on the road, and a lot of time to figure out where my place in the world really is.

First off, you're probably think that I'm nuts and/or lucky to be able to take the time and afford such a large trip. It's mostly afforded by the advent of the Adventure Wagon and sleeping inside of it, or the backpacking tent during this. Also, the kindness of friends and campsites vs hotels and other very expensive means of accommodation.

That aside, the first leg of this year's Summer Raid had me going through many states I wasn't that familiar with. Nebraska and Iowa being the two largest for me, as I haven't been to either and they're quite beautiful too! The rest, I've been to a few times in the past and really just wanted to avoid Kansas at all costs, long story there but it involves another cross country trek to find myself.

Anyway, my journey to the first of the raiding targets, visiting family, led me through 10 different states and covered 2200 miles over the course of 4 days. A lot to do in 4 days, but also fairly relaxing.

I never once felt rushed, and sleeping in the back of the Adventure Wagon was pretty satisfying too, I'm hoping that on the way back it's a bit more comfortable as I now know what I'm doing a bit more on that front.

However, once arriving in New Jersey, it was a jolt of emotions and expectation that rarely meets with reality all that well. Not only has the trip so far given me a lot of time to think on my own life and recent events, but realizing that I've been away from family for the past 18 months has also made it far more clear that I have very little in common with them.

At a distance, things seem fine and normal if one were to overhear a phone call or see cards from birthdays and holidays. In person, you see two very different worlds colliding and causing a mess of things.

I have a brother who thinks my being gay is a massive problem and avoids me like the plague, but a mother that lives on another planet in orbit of a distant star which bares no resemblance to the planet we know and love even in the slightest. Don't get me wrong, they're family and I wouldn't wish any ill will on them, but they both live in a vacuum. And it's one they desperately need out of before they suffocate themselves with how little they have in life.

All of this comes from a place of knowing that both have been vibrant and full of life in the past. They didn't hide in their rooms, or feel the need to have a drink to gain an appetite...or more to the reality, deal with their emotions. They loved to travel, see things, and go places in the name of living life. Now? They are just hollow shells of themselves and while they do care and do still love with all they have, they have no joy from it, only sorrow and that hurts to see. It's difficult to parse and figure out when you're living a life of adventure, daring, and facing fears. To see those that helped raise you living so completely opposite of what you know...it's heartbreaking.

Top that off with the other issues we have, and roughly 72 hours is all we can spend before someone says something to spark another off and a fight will happen. It's never anything major, but it just shows how far apart we are that small things can spark firestorms. And, while we do recover rather quickly from them, it still dents what should be a time of celebration. Again, a mere 72hours into a visit that's a year and a half in the making and a fight that tears the mood down entirely. It shouldn't be that way, but it is.

Why am I talking about this so much? A large chunk, nearly 1/5 of my trip is here with them. It was a large reason for even doing this and going s far off the path I would've had to. I did it because I wanted to, and the amazing thing is that I'm faced with the idea while we do love each other and call ourselves family, we're really not and truly haven't been for a very long time. There's glimpses of that life, and flashes of it race along the surface once in a while, but it's likely never to return again and that saddens me.

Journey's like the one I'm on are often ones of self evaluation in the face of different cultures, experiences, hardships, and life. Going from the culture of the life that I live, and those close to me, to this one of those who raised me, and the entire country between has shed light things in a very intriguing manner. It's going to take a lot of time to full process this and I'm sure that over the next leg of my journey I'll have time to do just that.

That next portion being a trek back across Pennsylvania to Pennsic War.

The annual madness of 10,000-15,000 gathering in the woods of Western Pennsylvania for large scale medieval reenactment of battles, merriment, learning, seeing old friends, and other debauchery.

It's "home" to me, and the point of this whole madness. Definitely going to have quite a few stories from that to come!

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Adventure Wagon S1E1: The Retrieval

Well, it's been just over a week, and what a span it's been.

As many of you know, I've been on the hunt for a new car for myself. Why? Well, my old car was lacking in a few areas. Firstly, it was a bit too expensive for me these days, and secondly it was just too small given where my life is going moving forward.

It was a long, and kind of insane weekend of looking for a used car in a place about 5 hours away from where I live. Why so far? Simple. There's nothing where I live, and everything listed for used was trash in my price range. The Front Range of Colorado was the prime area to dig up some weird wagon fun.

After a list of about 50 cars, many of them disappearing, being sold, or never hearing back from, and driving all over Eastern Colorado (from Greeley to Colorado Springs), the search finally ended.

So, the only solution was to find something larger and more easily adapted to a life of moving about the country. The answer to what that would be? As it turns out, a nearly 20 year Volvo wagon.

No, it wasn't the only thing that I was looking at. Also in the running were a few Subaru Outbacks, a BMW, and even an Audi was in the mix for a little. That said, the Volvo was where my heart kind of was for a ton of reasons and one of them being that I just love the sleek boxy style of the turbo bricks of old.

Since that picture, there's been a lot of work done to the Adventure Wagon as well...

A ton of cleaning, a new driver font inner tie rod, the rear driveshaft was pulled (more on this in a minute), new tires, new headlight bulbs, new wipers (front, rear, headlights), a small patch to the driver's seat, and some seafoaming fun.

Now, about that driveshaft. Turns out, as luck would have it, the rear driveshaft on this car can be pulled out and everything be 100% fine and okay. Which, admittedly, is a little weird. Either way, since that thing needed removed as it was bad; I'm glad it was an easy fix. I do have every intention of getting it repaired but not until after the road trip. So, for a little while, going to be FWD only. No biggie on that.

Overall, I spent a bit more than I had intended thanks to the repairs but we managed to get everything ready to go! There was a lot of confusion, and some worry, but so far I've driven it about 1,000 miles and it's been amazing...even wounded as it was when we first picked it up!

I could write a lot more here, and I likely will continue this story. However, time of the essence and I'm about to go on a massive roadtrip with the adventure wagon here. So, stay tuned for updates from the road regarding that!