Friday night: I got worried because I had... another freakin' kidneystone. And this one must be unusually big or something, 'cause it was resisting all my standard efforts to pass it. I'll spare you the gory details...
Saturday morning: I noticed that although I hadn't yet passed the stone, it wasn't hurting anymore. Whew! I could go to the party without having to be doped up on painkillers the whole time! So I showered and got ready.
Saturday afternoon: I had lunch at Jack in the Box and got some cash and bottled water for myself, then I returned home and got the sodas I'd bought for the party out of the fridge and put them into the cooler. Then I drove to the hotel, on the Gulf Freeway near Hobby Airport. Near the hotel, I stopped at an Exxon to buy a roll of film and a bag of ice, and I poured the latter into the cooler over the drinks. (This worked out great! They stayed cold all evening!)
I went to the hotel (which is a mess because it's under construction. The ConSortium folks are not happy about that! You have to go thru the alley behind the hotel to get to the entrance! And the atrium inside is under construction, and there's black curtains and plywood walls and clear plastic sheets all over. Argh.) Anyway, when I checked in, the lady asked if I'd like a suite for $10 more. I said sure! I got a nice room with chairs and a sofa grouped around the TV. Perfect for a party! Then I hauled up all the snacks I'd brought; chips, cookies, and the cooler full of sodas.
Then I went downstairs to look for other furries. They started trickling in one by one: first Riverwolf, then Hawk and Bushrat, then Shockwave, Drabek and William Haskell, then Sep a.k.a Shrag. Hawk and Sep dropped off their fursuits in the room, and Shockwave dropped off his VCR and tapes, and Drabek dropped off his Mac laptop.
We wandered around the con, browsing the dealer den, hanging out and snacking in the con suite, and we attended a panel about fantasy art & illustration featuring GOHs Larry Elmore and Tommy Castillo. Then we went up to the room to start watching tapes. Shockwave started with a tape of the Johnny Bravo cartoon where Johnny dates a werewolf (she's cute, even in wolf form!), then we saw a bit of the beginning of Balto II. Meanwhile, Hawk and Sep suited up, and we all went downstairs and wandered around and took lots of pictures. Most people were surprised, amused and delighted by the fursuits, although a few people didn't even blink. Hawk wandered up to a kid who was gaming with his friends, and the kid was startled so bad he fell over! He was a good sport about it, though, and it was funny!
We went back up to the room to watch the worst tape Shockwave had brought: the Star Wars Holiday Special. If you've never heard of this, it was a TV special aired on Nov. 17, 1978, the plot involves Chewbacca's family waiting for him to come home for Life Day (a very important Wookiee holiday), and it is unbelievably cheesy. Don't ask George Lucas about this one. (He wasn't even involved in making it.) The damn thing is two hours long, but we could only stomach about half an hour of it! We also watched some interesting videos on Drabek's nice powerful laptop.
There was a masquerade contest at 9 p.m., and we decided to enter it. Actually, it turned out to be at 9:30, which gave us a little more time to plan for it. We quickly whipped up a little comedy sketch, and went down and performed. Riverwolf was the announcer, narrating "Mutual of Cut and Shoot's Not-So-Wild Kingdom". First he described the behavior of the "red-hailed tawk -- er, red-tailed hawk", as Hawk entered and scratched around looking for food. Then up comes the red-tailed hawk's natural enemy, the "spotted leopard", sneaking up behind him. Just as he's about to pounce the hawk, tho, the narrator points out that the hawk has several natural defenses... for example, bribery. At this point, the hawk pulls out a bottle of scotch and offers to share it with the big cat, who instantly becomes his friend, although the narrator points out that "the spotted leopard can't hold his liquor worth a flip." The audience loved it, and we even won honorable mention for it!
We returned to the room, and watched instant replay! William had taped the skit using Sep's camcorder, and we were able to play it back on the TV. Then we spent some time using the TV and Drabek's laptop to look at digital camera pictures. Then we noticed someone else had joined our party: a woman on the con staff had seen our party flyer downstairs and was curious. We explained furries to her and showed her some pictures and some of my cartoons. Then a man and two women came into the room looking for her, to complain to her about some bad things the hotel staff had been doing, or allowing to happen. The man said he came back to his room to find the furniture moved around, and his computer moved as well. "I'm a writer," he said, "and my career is on that computer, and if it got damaged or stolen, I'd be in big trouble!" Despite this unpleasantness, the man and the women hung around and chatted with us. We explained furries to them as well. Then Shockwave noticed the man's con badge and thought the guy's name sounded familiar. "Timothy Zahn... where have I heard that name before?" Oh, maybe you noticed it on some of the books in the dealer's room downstairs? Or perhaps you remember it from the Guests of Honor list for the con? Shockwave was so embarrassed at not knowing a famous SF author when he met one! (Damn, we didn't get any photos of Mr. Zahn. I know what he looks like now, though! Picture actor Miguel Ferrer with a salt-and-pepper beard.)
So anyway, the party wound down and furs started trickling out of the room one by one. Hawk wanted to know if he could change into fursuit again in the room, but I was sleepy and was going to spend the night there, so I asked if he'd mind doing it in the parking lot. I felt a bit bad about basically throwing him out, but I was sleepy and my kidneystone was starting to bother me again. (Still no pain, but discomfort. I took Tylenol.) While tidying up a bit for bed, I noticed a white T-shirt left on my bed. I took it downstairs to the dance, where Hawk was dancing in fursuit, but it wasn't his. Must be Sep's. I'll have to get it back to him somehow. Anyway I went to sleep.
Sunday morning: I was rudely awakened at 7:20 am by the fire alarm! There was no noticeable evidence of fire in the building, but there was a thunderstorm outside. Apparently lightning triggered the alarm, or something. I was out of toilet paper, so I asked for some more at the desk, but it took forever to get it. I waited and waited, then called housekeeping. The maid said nobody answered the door, and she'd bring it right up. So I waited and waited and called housekeeping again, and it turned out she had the room number wrong! I was in 833, not 533! Bah! Anyway I finally got it, used it, and went back to sleep.
Sunday afternoon:I woke up again at 1:07, about an hour after check-out time. Ooooops. So I finished packing up everything I hadn't already packed up earlier in the morning while waiting for toilet paper, and checked out. Fortunately I didn't get charged extra. Whew! Then I drove the long way home; I went east on 610 instead of west so I could drive over the cool huge bridge over the Ship Channel. Then I stopped at the big Schlotzsky's on Kirby for lunch and had a turkey sandwich. Then I came back home and wrote this!
Maaaaaan, it was fun! Us Houston furries should do stuff together more often!