This past weekend I attended Antheria. (In hindsight I should have probably posted that I was going on my actual webpage instead of just all my social media like twitter, facebook and Google Plus.)
I didn’t really know what to expect because last year they had problems—someone impersonated a person in-charge and canceled the con’s hotel reservation a week before it started. This year the only trolling occurring was in the form of someone calling the city and the hotel claiming the con was a cult. So a slight improvement there, I suppose. I think it’s admirable that they continued on with the con despite being bullied. I told myself that at worse the weekend would be a vacation in a nice place and at best I might have fun, make new friends and attract a few clients. (Actually the “best case” would be to attract a mate. Huzzah.)
The weather threatened thunderstorms, and a rain storm passed by for a bit on Friday, but the rest of the weekend brought clear blue skies and pleasantly warm weather. The con was a delightful small-con experience—quiet at times but less hectic and more intimate than large cons.
The drive down to Redondo Beach was uneventful. I was hoping to see signs of the “Carpocalypse” that occurred a month or two ago, but the 405 looked the same to me. One thing I liked about Antheria was that it’s only an hour and a half drive from my house. I had originally booked just Saturday night, but I decided to go for Friday night too since it was my “vacation.”
I arrived, checked in and got in line for my con registration. Actually, since it was a small con there was no line. I had to wait though because there was small snafu with my badge because I upgraded my membership at the last-minute. Kage led the guest of honor, Mike Kazaleh through registration at the same time. Mike was a short, quiet guy with glasses a beard. I’m one of those people who are horrible with names, but remember nicknames I give to people (which never tell them about.) So for the rest of the con he was Mr. Beardy in my head. I kinda feel bad because I didn’t attend any of his panels. Mr. Beardy seemed like a nice guy.
Opening Ceremonies was interesting. Usually I’m still in a registration line during opening ceremonies so this was the first I went to. I had skipped breakfast so I grabbed some trail mix from the hotel gift shop and was chowing down on it. I may have played on my tablet. Through the hotel rewards program the internet cost nothing until check-out.
I walked around a bit and got my bearings. I met up with a few friends and we walked around the pier and then hung out in my room for a bit. I purchased a 2-liter of soda and spilled it all over my pants. We went out to dinner, and hung out for a bit before saying goodbye to my friends and returning to my hotel room to recoup and take a shower. I caught the last part of the Podcast taping (I wish I had as fancy a set-up as the bunnies) and watched the fashion show where I met a friend from college. He was into dancing so we danced for a bit. I went to bed early because I find that if I don’t get enough sleep at cons and other overloading extroverted activities I end up doing crazy random things…. like sobbing uncontrollably about celebrity crushes to random furs. >.> So I sleep eight hours or more now at every con and get plenty of protein in the form of trail mix and square meals.
I woke up and decided I wanted a Jamba Juice and/or an oatmeal. That ended up being a really nice walk to Hermosa Beach where I got to see a bunch of tourists. I dunno why, but I like being around tourists. There’s something about being around tourists that I like—maybe just the reminder that my culture, language and world view is relative. I eventually got my smoothie and had lunch at the Pita Pit.
I headed back to the hotel room and chilled for a bit before checking out the fursuit photo opportunity, parade and pier walk. I took some pictures of the suits, but I also took pictures of people taking pictures of suits. I guess it’s probably for the same reason I like tourists. I like to watch people’s reactions—that moment when they don’t know how to react and “normal” really just goes out the window.
Also, at some random point during the con I made a Skype call to a fur in Ireland because he said he hadn’t been to many cons. It was pretty nice to have random fursuiters emote “hi” to him.
Afterwards I took a swim in the pool. It wasn’t heated, but it was saltwater, which was nice. I had a warm shower and dinner at the Red Robin across the street. For some reason I never really stumbled into the hotel restaurant or bar.
I came back in the middle of Uncle Kage’s Story Hour, which was kinda interesting. I’ve never been to Anthrocon on the east coast, which he runs, but had seen his clip on furry news network. I stayed and watched 2′s Comedy Hour, which was interesting because I’ve only seen clips of his stuff. I stayed for half of the alcohol appreciation and danced a little with my college friend and went to bed early again.
I woke up and looked things up for my guided meditation session. I was going to try to work in the Egyptian underworld theme, but it turns out the Egyptian underworld is filled with trials to test your soul as well as demons called “blood drinker” and “poop eater.” So decided to just to a light version of “become your avatar” instead.
I checked out and headed down to the ballroom an hour early and set out 100 gift certificates out on the first 100 chairs. I played with the microphone. Actually having a real mic was really nice. For FC and Califur I bought a chuchlady bingo mic and amplifier and I always ended up just turning it off and using my voice. Some people came in to check on me and left. For some reason there was a bike parked outside the door, which kinda irked me, but it wan’t technically blocking the door so I didn’t make a big deal about it. I had 14 people show up for the panel, so I was a little disappointed. (Stupid bike.) But a friend pointed out that getting 5-10% of the con to attend a niche panel was a huge success. I was also surprised to find out that most of the people who showed up at this panel were also present at my Califur panel. That was nice.
The panel went pretty well except people kept entering the room during the hypnosis session, which was kind of distracting. Maybe I should’ve brought a “Do Not Disturb” sign, or something. I talked for about 20 minutes about hypnosis, guided imagery and how fursonas are a window into the soul… that sort of thing. A show of hands revealed that everyone was comfortable with hypnosis so we did that. And then Mr. Beardy appeared at the door peaking in for his panel afterwards so I wrapped it up.
Afterwards I changed into my street clothes and made sure everything was in my car. I walked to the pier and had lunch—fish and chips. Then I walked back to the hotel and caught the tail end of “Drawing Equines,” which I didn’t know also included MLP—doh! I was able to see a sketch of Derpy Hooves, though. And then I figured I’d attend the closing ceremonies, since I actually went to the opening. It was kinda nice. They actually did pull the con together pretty well this year—hopefully it continues to grow. I like having a local con.
Of course after that came the yacht trip for the “Pharaohs,” people who purchased the sponsor membership. I wanted to go but figured I couldn’t afford it. However, I eventually rationalized it as a “networking opportunity” and signed up for it at the last moment. But… pretty much I was just making trips to the in-boat bar and asking for “fruity drinks.” I did give out one business card, but that was just so a local fur could contact me. It was pretty cool getting to know a local fur and chatting with him on the boat ride. It turns out we went to the same high school and everything. We might even try for a “furry night” at a local alternative bar.
The other cool thing was that last year’s guest of honor, Stan Saki, was there chatting with this year’s guest of honor for the boat ride. So Mr. Beardy looked happy. Hurray.
I think I liked the boat trip the best. I wish I hadn’t changed out of my nice clothes though. Half the people dressed in nice clothes and half were in plain clothes. The concept of a furry formal amused me greatly. Someone said next year I should come dressed in regal kingly lion robes, which would be cool. We’d have to see what the theme is though.
There was a mini-artist’s corner at the bow of the ship for a little while. It made me wish I brought a sketchbook, and that I practiced drawing more.
The hor d’oeuvres tasted wonderful and were really filling. There were a lot of good food like meat sticks dipped in Thai peanut sauce and stuffed mushrooms. For a while we were all classy furs.
Someone tried to ustream the yacht trip, which I thought was cool. It would be interesting if they could ustream the con. Someone let me borrow their cell phone so I could post the link to the stream to my FA and twiter, which was very kind.
I really enjoyed the boat trip. It was a good space for meeting people, and it was really fun and relaxing.
After the boat trip I hung around the hotel for few more hours until I felt I was good to drive home. I caught part of the Improv and the Sunday night dance which was open to everyone. All in all good times.