Monthly Archives: November 2005

Reminder: Last Day for Early Pre-Registration for MFF 2006!

This is just a reminder to everyone that this is the last day to pre-register for Midwest FurFest 2006 and still get the special early rate of $25 for a membership or $100 for a sponsorship. After midnight tonight, the rates will be $30 for a membership and $120 for a sponsorship.

There are two ways you can take advantage of these early rates:
1. You can register online at http://www.furfest.org/onlinereg/. You will need a credit card or a PayPal account. Note that a PayPal account is not required if you are paying with Visa, Mastercard, or Discover. Also, note that any registration that is not accompanied by payment will be deleted and will not be eligible for the special early rates afterward.
2. You can mail in your registration using the forms found at http://www.furfest.org/ along with a check or money order. This must be postmarked today to qualify for the special early rates.

Thanks to all who have registered so far! Your early support means a lot to us.

Resurfacing

So I’m finally about ready to actually be sociable again now that I’ve recovered from Midwest FurFest. As usual, a convention report and a Registration report (or two) will follow, but they may be a week or so coming.

Before I get back into the usual went there-did that sort of thing, I wanted to wander down Memory Lane. Back in 1997-1998, I was a part of a Mage gaming group in Raleigh. We had a great group of players (ladyinthetower, walkinthewilds, jeymin, Thomas, Kim, and John) and a fabulous storyteller (vileone, with the help of his lovely wife vilejynx) who created a wonderful setting and memorable characters. The setting was modern-day Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Triangle Ascension ran for over two years, and we put together a pretty damn good website, I think. Of course, Rob giving experience points for player diaries helped generate content for the site, too. Rob and I ran the site during the campaign and we had readers around the world give us some nice feedback.

I revisited the website because I was reminded that this was really the last time that I wrote any fiction. There’s a little bit of gameplay mechanics in the stories, but I tried to write them so they stood alone. I have two favorites from all of the diaries I wrote: The first was a whimsical tale of how my character, Reuben (a dreamspeaker, or shaman), came by his familiar: When Reuben Met Dog. The second was a darker, sadder story: Loved Ones Lost.

I don’t know that I’ve ever linked to these from my LiveJournal before, but it’s a real pleasure to go back and read over some of the fun that we had then.

Now We’re Cooking!

Hey all you locals and folks-within-driving-distance:

Imagine if you will…a fullly-equipped kitchen, multiple ovens and cooktops, and comfortable seating for several dozen people. That’s Spice Rack Kitchen Suites in Mount Prospect, IL, and we’re kicking around the possibility of putting together a nice day of dinner and fun for all of our friends. Sound like fun? Surf over to Takaza’s journal and let us know if you’re interested and what dates might be good for you!

The Last Hurrah

One last post before Midwest FurFest. I’ve got an hour or so here remaining at work and then I’m headed over to the Hyatt Regency Woodfield. We’re as ready as we’ll ever be for the con, but as always I just can’t shake the feeling that something is falling through the cracks. And it probably is, but y’know what? Probably none of the attendees will notice.

Last night was insane, of course. We packed all of the Registration supplies plus most of our personal gear into my Blue Box (aka Honda Element), though Takaza wound up having to take some of the stuff as well; the two handcarts took up a huge amount of space and really cut into the amount of stuff we were hoping to get in there. With the change of the weather, the pain in my knee seems to be getting worse and worse, and I regret to say that I wasn’t a lot of help carrying stuff down the stairs to the car. Dan more than covered for me, though, and then showed his mad packing skillz and fit a huge amount of stuff in my car.

I came in stupidly early this morning so I could leave at 2:30. One thing you can say about driving at 5:15 AM, though – traffic moves! I had time to hit the ATM and Starbucks (ick) before coming into work. Right now, it’s cold out there, but it’s going to get a heck of a lot colder. 27 F, with a low tonight of 17 F. Light snow flurries have been blown around by 30-40 mph winds around all day, but the snow is melting on contact with the ground. The good news is that after tonight, things warm up slightly, with highs near 40 and lows in the 20s. It’s Chicago in November, folks.

If anyone local would care to join us, we’re going to be stuffing Registration bags and doing other prep work for the con in the Schaumburg Room at the Hyatt tonight starting at 7 PM (we’ll be there before then, though). We seem to be down a few folks this year, so if anyone can spare the time it would be very much appreciated!

So that’s about it for me, at least before the con. After I leave here this afternoon, my e-mail access is going to be spotty at best, though we’ll be getting net access tonight for sure for those last-minute details. I hope everyone traveling to Chicago has a safe trip, and that those who can’t make it know that you are indeed missed and I hope you’ll be able to see the fun we have at Midwest FurFest sometime in the future. Take care, all!

Tick…tick…tick…

Man, what a crazy weekend.

Friday was not quite as fun as I had hoped it would be. Our department at work was rewarded with a day out to celebrate, um, doing well, or something. OK, fine by me! We met up at the Sears Tower and went up to the Skydeck, then caught the train up to Cafe Iberico. The food there was excellent, the service, not so much. We had a surprisingly good time, though. I suspect the sangria helped.

The next stop was supposed to the Shedd Aquarium, but since I had lost part of a filling the day before, I opted out and headed home instead. Takaza was a complete sweetheart and not only looked up what dentists were covered by our insurance, he also called around to see if they could see me on short notice. He found a dentist within a mile of where we live and at 2:30 or so I was in the chair. As you might have surmised from my previous entry, what should have been a small repair wound up being a root canal. I have four more visits with the dentist before the end of the year – wow, won’t that be fun.

On Saturday, I was up well before Takaza, too damn early, in fact – 6:30 AM, but I couldn’t sleep anymore. After showering and coffee, I was on the road! First stop, up to Wauconda to pick up the staff badges. Trust me, they’re purty. People will really like them, I think. From there it was southwards, first with a detour through Palatine to locate Emmett’s Tavern (this will be useful a week from today!), then to the MFF storage unit in Lombard. There, grabbed all of the Registration equipment we’re going to need.

After that I was pretty much done for the day so I wandered over to Windycon to see how things were going. See, the majority of the MFF security crew provides staffing for Operations and “Adult Supervision” at Windycon, and I got a first-hand look at why they view MFF as their “vacation con”. All I’m saying is that people who complain about how outré furry conventions are have never attended a single science fiction convention. Wow. Anyway, I wound up sticking around for quite a while, and just enjoying the fact that I wasn’t responsible for any of it 🙂 I do hope I didn’t annoy those who were working, and I have to say they were doing every bit of the excellent job one would expect of the fine MFF Security team.

On Sunday, I was again up early, this time for a drive up to Libertyville for an MRI test on my knee. That was dispatched reasonably quickly and then I was headed northwards to Antioch and roho and genet‘s place. We were joined by Neowolf2 and headed over for a tasty brunch (mmmm, Las Vegas Restaurant’s Vegas skillet). Afterwards, we walked over to the little games store and were pleasantly surprised to find that the place had a good stock of games and comics, including Furrlough. Roho also picked up a nice addition to the charity auction: a 24″ tall inflatable Brian (from “Family Guy”).

Then it was back to their place for the reason for the trip: pre-printing staff and dealer badges. Roho did a good job wrestling with the database for a while, but we finally got some very helpful advice from rustitobuck that made things flow much more smoothly. It then took a couple of hours to debug the printers and determine that not only were the color cartridges in them bad, so were the brand-new ones that had been purchased last year. One expensive trip to Wal-Mart later, we got that resolved. After all that, printing was a snap, though one of the printers might have some issues with the paper feed mechanism. These have served use well for five years, but I suspect we may be in the market for new printers next year. (And yes, Ramalion, I’ll be sure to look into top-loaders 🙂

So now it’s Monday, the first day of a three-day week for me. In between wrapping up some documents for work, I’ve been mopping up last-minute details and posting information stuff about the convention. There’s still a lot to do, and a lot to be packed up, but I’m pretty confident that we can get to con with a minimum of stress. After that, well, we’ll see…

Stressed/Not So Stressed

And so the week trudges on. Yay.

The last two days were rather stressful. On Monday I was inundated with MFF-related stuff, and tried to get it all cleared away, with mixed success. At the same time the pressure was on at work to get some documents out, and now it appears that they will be up for review next Wednesday – my last day before my MFF “vacation”. I had hoped to leave early that day – I hope it can get through with minimal corrections. In the evening, both Takaza and I were snappish, and we stayed up for too late talking over convention-related stuff with Linnaeus

Yesterday, work was hectic again. Afterwards I had a doctor’s appointment in Vernon Hills (see my next post for that). I didn’t get out from there until 4:45 PM, and in the meantime it appeared that someone has dropped a big ol’ stupid bomb on all of the northern suburbs of Chicago. The expressways were completely stopped, and I wound up having to go off to surface streets, and even then I pretty much had my very-detailed road atlas open because I had to do some exotic navigation*. I didn’t get home until just before 6:30.

Dan had beat me home (that’s pretty unusual), and he met me at the door. After helping me take my jacket off, he led me back to the bedroom and gave me the most wonderful back- and foot-rub ever. And to top it off, he made dinner, too! My husband is pretty damn wonderful, I think. I took a break from MFF stuff for the night and found that helped a lot, too.

So today, it’s back to work, nose to the grindstone, blah blah blah. I have some scheduling to work out (I had everything exactly right, then there was a slight change and someone yelled “JENGA!” and the whole thing fell apart). Still, the reason for the change is a good one and the net outcome is better so I don’t really have any complaints.

* {Take a deep breath} Tri-State (wait in backup) to Edens Spur (wait in backup) to Waukegan Road (wait in backup) to Dundee to Meadow to Shermer to Willow to Patriot to Chestnut to Lehigh to Harlem to Oakton to Central to Howard to Lincoln to Jersey to Kedzie to Carmen to Troy to HOME!

One Last Weekend of Sanity

A week and a half until my head explodes. What fun.

Friday night we bummed around the house and Takaza was kind enough to run down to the corner taqueria for dinner for us and Linnaeus. After dinner and some Tivo goodness, we called it an early night.

I woke up far too early on Saturday morning, at about 6:30. Ick. This gave me time to make coffee, read the paper, and stare at my laptop for a while, which was nice. We had originally intended to meet Roho and Genet for breakfast in Antioch, but Dan was feeling a bit oogie so we delayed our departure for a bit. Instead, we met them in McHenry, where we toured the (small) facility of the charity for Midwest FurFest this year, Wildlife in Need. WiN is a tiny organization dedicated to the rehabilitation and return of injured wildlife. It was formed after the small animal sanctuary that was run by McHenry County Conservation District shut down in 1995. We met Bill and Karen, a very nice couple who handle WiN’s raptors in one of the three or four enclosures in their back yard. Monica, the foundation president, handles waterfowl at her house in Woodstock, and another person handles small mammals at a third location. They only have two raptors right now, and these are the two that will be at MFF: a red-tailed hawk and a great horned owl (I’ll try to post some pictures when I get home). Both of these birds are imprinted and thus cannot be released to the wild, so instead they help with the foundation’s educational efforts.

After a quick tour (in the rain, which started right when we arrived), we had a nice chat about their work, what we were hoping they could do at Midwest FurFest, and what to expect. I suspect that they are going to have a really good time, once they get around the weirdness, and I’m sure they’ll be touring the convention and buying stuff in the Dealers Room before the weekend is over.

Roho and Genet opted to go to lunch with Bill and Karen, but since we had just eaten we instead too our leave to run some errands. We ran into a horrible thunderstorm in Fox Lake (torrential downpour, 1/2″ hail), but then were able to get over to our storage unit, where we picked up a few things we’ll be needing for MFF. Then we made a couple of stops in Antioch, including the always-yummy Antioch Packing House, where Dan got some beautiful strip steaks. From there it was back to the city.

Dan cooked up the steaks when we got home (yum!) and then Paul and I hopped the El over to perromutt‘s place, where we arrived earlier than expected to help celebrate his 27th birthday (oooh, so old. Not). I had a really fun time seeing a bunch of folks, some new, some not. I’d list them all but I have to head home momentarily :-)Both Paul and I started to get tired early, so we took our leave and slogged back home through the pouring rain. At least we had umbrellas!

On Sunday, we have the last in-person Midwest FurFest staff meeting. Good meeting, and we got lots of last-minute details ironed out. I have a ton of work to do over the next week and a half, but once things start it’s all downhill. I have an excellent Assistant Director in Neowolf2, and a fabulous staff that I know I can rely on. Those two things make the prospect of the convention a heck of a lot more palatable.

After the meeting, Dan and I came home and got into a small cleaning frenzy, bringing some order to the living room and kitchen. We ordered some pizza and relaxed for the rest of the night, watching Tivo. All in all, an excellent weekend.

Hey comics geeks!

A friend here in Chicago, woodychitwn, is planning to open a comic book store near Loyola University with his partner. He’s furry, or at least furry-friendly (or would you consider yourself perhaps fringe-furry, Woody?).

He’s doing a bit of market research right now, asking folks what titles they would be interested in. Read his entry and give him some input! They’ll also be doing Internet sales, so you don’t have to be local for this.