A few days late, but here's my belated FurFright report!
Actually, I'm going to just say that overall everything was great and there were furries everywhere and so on, and reduce the highlights to bullet-point form. I wouldn't know where to start, otherwise.
It turns out that the hotel across the street from the main con hotel has crap internet, too. Next year, if the internet is just as bad either way, I may as well try to get into the main con hotel. Less travel, and a lot cheaper. Good luck getting a slot, though, of course, so I'll reserve the across-the-street as a backup.
Commission-wise, I got a few pictures as presents for Zoey Hoshi and Bird by Dendrite and HereThereBeStripes ( http://kjorteo.tumblr.com/post/65411950990/ ) and one ~FABULOUS~ new badge for me by Kanthara ( http://www.furaffinity.net/view/11943680/ ).
Saturday had the busiest schedule on paper, but two of the panels earlier in the day ended up being complete no-shows by the alleged host, which led to a room full of people looking around, confused, waiting for something to happen. I filed a complaint with the con staff, then it was off to the Masquerade!
In the Masquerade, I caught DavidN's stand-up comedy routine, which was outstanding. Unfortunately, I had to cut out early, before Darkness Falls went on with his live sung performance of his song "Open the Way" ( http://www.furaffinity.net/view/9606954/ ), but DavidN was kind enough to record it so I could watch it later. This is especially unfortunate because that writing panel ended up being a THIRD consecutive no-show by the same host. If I had read my convention guide a little more carefully and seen beforehand that it was *that* guy, I would have known that was coming, and I'd have watched DF in person instead. I wouldn't have wanted to skip out on his performance just to waste my time at yet another non-panel.
However, in retrospect, I am glad that things happened the way they did. When enough time had passed without a host that I started to wonder, "Again? Let me check my guide, because this is too much coincidence, I wonder if the host is ... OH FOR GOD'S SAKE," I explained the situation to everyone else, and we turned it into a sort of The People's Panel wherein we took the name of what the panel was supposed to be ("Exercises for the Writer's Mind") and just sort of talked about that, since a few of us had our own ideas. One person (whose name I forget) stepped up and became the substitute host for most of it, but I tagged in for about 5-10 minutes when I had an exercise idea I wanted to propose and explain. So, in the end, I sort of hosted a panel, a little, for a few minutes! It went very well, and I'm glad for the experience.
Actually, I was sort of considering hosting a writing panel one of these days, anyway. If a completely improvised "oh crap, we don't have a host, now what" ten-minute bit went that well, that makes up my mind! I think I will try to put in for a slot next year. Budgie had a cooking panel this year (which was awesome,) so I will get some advice from her as far as how to, like, actually clear it with the con staff and make that official and everything. So, consider this your advance warning that (unless there are any scheduling conflicts like if they slot it right on top of the Masquerade or something) you should all plan on attending Teo's Writing Tips (or whatever) during FurFright 2014. :D
I saw Telephone on Sunday! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_gF17Jkjqo She was at a table in the Artist's Alley, doing sketch commissions. She didn't have the squeaker (presumably because she needed to communicate with paying customers,) but she did have the suit. Yes, she apparently can draw in full fursuit, too. Yes, I agree, it *is* completely unfair.
Last year, the video they played during the Closing Ceremonies was just a montage of photos of special moments from FurFright's history. I cried, because it was so sentimental even though it was my first convention and I had never been a part of any of that history. I didn't know who any of those people in those pictures were, but there was just such a sense of togetherness that I *wanted* to know. I cried because it was like looking at photos of a loving family and knowing that I wasn't part of it *yet*, but if I kept attending, kept being there, then I'd eventually catch up. This year, well....
This year, I cried at the Closing Ceremonies because the video ended up being something the video person (whom I don't know because I'm still a bit new to the family) put together for his longtime girlfriend: a montage of photos and commissions and such of the two of them, set to a song he wrote for her, which ended in an on-stage marriage proposal. I had no idea who these people were, and the proposal itself was a bit easy to predict (you don't call your girlfriend up on stage and serenade her like that unless something like that is coming) but it was just such a sweet moment, the effect definitely still worked.
I'm finding it a bit harder to reenter real life this year than it was last year. I think the main reason for that is that this year gave me a much stronger sense of identity and belonging. This environment, these people ... this is who I am. I remember the very last day, a few hours before I checked out, someone from housekeeping entered the room while DavidN and I were working on some musical stuff, and DavidN called me "Kjorteo" in front of the housekeeper before correcting himself and using my real-life name. I kind of wanted to say that he had it right the first time! I didn't say it, but I wanted to.
At the con, the furries pretty much took over the entire surrounding area. Every random person I saw in my hotel (which wasn't even the main hotel) or waiting at the crosswalk whenever I went between the two, or even at the gas station convenience store nearby ... everyone had badges, everyone had tails or cat ears or something that made it immediately obvious that these were my people. When I got home, back to my apartment complex in Albuquerque, I went to go check the mail, and there was a small group of people walking along the sidewalk whooping and joking and bantering about something that *wasn't* furry, and it was probably my first exposure to a *non* furry crowd since I had left.
Before I had left, DavidN told me how strange it was to see the convention hotel revert back to being just a regular hotel. I didn't see it (since I was at the other hotel,) but that night, my subconscious speculated for me with a dream about walking through the area, seeing things like the Dealer's Den room completely empty except for one person sweeping the floor and two others folding up the very last table, while http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mc_VBFu9VLY was playing. (If you haven't played Mother 3, just appreciate that this is a song of mourning for a dead and abandoned city.)
Is this the legendary post-con depression everyone always talks about in their journal updates? All I know is that when I look at that Kanthara badge, with the smiling sexuality-bendingly effeminate woodrat over the lilac background, that's *me*. That's who I am. I also know that it's the sort of thing that would get me fired from my day job in about five seconds if anyone there saw it, and that's the part that stings a bit right now. I'm at least well-adjusted enough that I *can* put on the ordinary Clark Kent guise when I go out, but that doesn't necessarily mean that I like it.
I still have neither the money nor the PTO to do this more than once a year, but I already can't wait until next time. It's something to which I absolutely need to get back, at least as much as I can.