For my first convention of the year, I zipped off to sunny and warm San Jose, CA to attend Further Confusion! Like other cons I’ve gone to, this one is of the “furry” variety and features artists, costumers, performers, and other creative attendees united by the love of animal characters. I participated in the Art Show this time around but did not actively sell; thanks to recent personal events, the break was sorely needed and well appreciated. If I’m able to go again, I’d love to do so with a more active presence in the Dealer’s Den or Marketplace.
As is normal for these conventions, I and many other attendees are often known by fan names, so I’ll try to keep things clear!
Friday, January 17th
I took a train and the light rail to the San Jose convention center with my friend Rondie and her brother. We’d spent the night with some of Rondie’s family in the area after I flew in on Thursday. Our other roomie had already checked into the hotel, so it wasn’t long before our stuff was stowed and Rondie and I headed down to registration. The attending line moved so slowly that Rondie got us moved into the sponsor line just so we could make it to the Art Show in time to hang before opening. We thankfully had some help getting our art up!
My panel in the FC art show.
I ran into several friends after that, including one who had been visiting her parents in the state and drove down to hang out with us for Friday only. Most of us went to lunch at Café Frascati to eat and catch up with each other. Kage’s Story Hour was scheduled for early afternoon, so we zipped back to the convention center next and managed to get seats in the front row on the right – perfect for me to do live doodles of the show again, though unfortunately the room was pretty dark during the performance! As at MFF, I handed off the drawings on-site and won’t have a copy until Kage has time to scan them, but some of the previous live drawings are now viewable here (including both shows at MFF).
The visiting friend and I then went around the vendors and the Art Show. I picked up a Starwhal Charm from the lovely Inki-Jinx, who I was delighted to meet after talking together on Twitter many times! The setup at FC is different than cons I’ve been to previously in that there is no Artist’s Alley, but there is an extension of the Dealer’s Den called the “Furry Marketplace” with slightly different rules. I’m glad to have an idea of how it works in person in case I am able to make it back in the future as a dealer.
A quadruped wooly mammoth costumed performer.
That night, I split a rice-crust pizza with artist friend Shiro at Pizza My Heart. It was a chilly walk there and back, but light jackets were enough – nothing like the crazy cold and snow my folks were getting back home. I spent a little time wandering around, getting a further feel for the con space and taking pictures of costumers while Rondie and my other roomies got ready to go to “Fancy Friday.” Then Shiro, his roomies, and I played a card game called Red Dragon Inn, which can accurately be described as a drinking game without real drinking, though that makes it sound far less fun than it is. By the time we had a winner, we were all ready for bed.
Saturday, January 18th
I got up at a decent hour and grabbed some coffee at a nearby shop. On the way there and back, I saw three incredibly tall palm trees and realized I had never seen real palm trees like that in person before! In the convention area of the hotel, I ran into another friend I hadn’t seen in a long time, and we talked while browsing the Dealer’s Den. I found an artist with a neat style and commissioned her to do a sketch of Moth Monarch in the sketchbook Rondie had made at MFF. After a bit more shopping, I started to feel funny, so I went down to the convenience store in the hallway and bought a Luna bar to eat.
This proved to be a big mistake. I felt much sicker and had to return to the room, where I remained for the next several hours dealing with intense nausea and weakness. Thankfully, my wonderful roomies came to the rescue with water and drinks; one even went to get the convention EMTs to check on me, though I insisted she stress that I was not dying, only very miserable. The EMTs did a very thorough job asking me questions and trying to be supportive while they figured out what was the matter. My hands were so cold that they had to prick my fingers four times to get me to bleed so they could test my blood sugar. They gave me a Gatorade, said I should be okay with more rest, and approved Rondie’s suggestion of giving me some anti-nausea medication. I started to feel better after I’d had more to drink and let the pill work. Rondie fetched me a salad from Frascati, which I ate super slowly; then, feeling about 80% normal, I decided to make the best of the situation and go enjoy what was left of the day.
Artwork of Moth Monarch by Christine Knopp.
The artist I’d commissioned had finished the sketch, so I thanked her, then went to play Cards Against Humanity in the game room with a bunch of friends. I’m good (or awful, depending on how you see it) at that game and had a blast amusing the other players with completely terrible card combinations. At 7 pm, I followed Shiro to the TF jam and hung out doodling bugs. A bee costumer came by and about made my night.
A bee costumer!
I managed to snag yet another friend, Kiry, to go with Rondie, the roomies, and I for dinner and drinks somewhere, as I’d said several times before the con that I’d like to do something together in memory of my dad. All the local bars were over capacity, too loud, or both, so eventually we just got a bottle of white zin from the hotel bar and took it up to the room while I ordered some food. We split the bottle four ways, toasted Dad, and engaged in silly tipsy conversation for the rest of the night. Rondie and I even performed an episode of Deep Space 9 we’d accidentally written while trying to figure out prices for the art show, complete with character voices and a guest appearance by Tuvok.
The hour grew late, we bid Kiry goodnight, and then the rest of us managed to keep each other up until 3 am by talking about life in the dark.
Sunday, January 19th
Rondie and I picked up our remaining pieces from the Art Show. I’d made one sale – “Colony Construction” – though before the con was over, I was contacted with an offer for two other pieces, and a third piece was spoken for before I left California. I also had interest expressed in “Mother Moon I” that led to a commission of a similar piece I’m currently working on. All things considered, I’d say it was a good show!
“Colony Construction” sold!
I spent most of the rest of the con with Shiro. We talked to other artists he knew in the Dealer’s Den while I made a few final purchases (a sticker and some caffeinated soap). He and his roommate got their pictures taken in their costumes and cooled off in the lounges. It was 7 pm and time for me to go before we knew it.
That evening, I had dinner with my con roomies and two of Rondie’s aunts at an Ethiopian restaurant. It was a new experience for me, and I tried everything even though I was still a bit nervous about my stomach and unknown food. Food is always an adventure with Rondie.
Monday, January 20th – Thursday, January 23rd
I was supposed to go home on Tuesday but found out my flight was cancelled shortly after checking in for it. The soonest I could reschedule was Thursday, which gave me more time in California! Rondie and I went to bookstores, coffee shops, the Winchester Mystery House, and the second Hobbit movie in the extra time. I drew, she wrote. We saw Pacific Rim and listened to a mix “tape” she’d made for me titled “All Hail Moth Monarch.” It was a lovely – if entirely unplanned – vacation, and I’m beyond grateful to her aunt for tolerating my presence in her house that much longer.
Rondie’s friend, Dafydd, slightly concerned he won’t be able to finish our banana split.
San Jose was lovely, and I can only hope I’ll find myself in California again next year. My next destination is Dallas, TX in late February!