I arrived at FurSquared in the late afternoon on Friday. I took a short walk through the dealer's den and artist alley. They were rather smaller than I'm used to, but this is the first start up con that I'd gone to, so I imagine it to be expected. Also it had the advantage of meaning I wouldn't be spending lots of money on furry art.
Wandering about the con, I made my way to the gaming rooms, whereupon I discovered Artemis. They had an entire room dedicated to this game, and I was quite impressed with the concept. Six different people all with their own computer station piloting a spaceship to defend space stations from enemies. Each 'crew member' was responsible for a different area of the ship: comms, weapons, etc. And one captain to pool all the data and give instructions. A lot of the fun in watching the banter back and forth when things didn't go as planned. "Okay, load the weapons officer into the torpedo tube and fire him at them."
After that I made my way up to the charity cards against humanity game because cards against humanity. It was billed as a charity game where people would vote on what cards to play via money. I do not have a lot of that stuff, but still figured I could watch and enjoy. However the early remarks made me feel that wasn't an option, and that not having a lot of money to spend would make me feel unwelcome. So I left the room and made my way to the shopping mall across the road for dinner.
I ate at Five Guys for the first time. The burger and fries were as good as advertised, but it was a bit pricey. Admittedly I got a double bacon cheeseburger. The toppings were good and they had a good selection. I've had better bacon, though. And restricting me to American cheese is a sure fire way to get disqualified from any contention as best burger I've ever had.
Returning to the con I decided to take in the Who's Lion is it Anyway panel. Which I usually find passable at conventions because 90% of the punchlines end up being 'Alkali' or 'Bad Dragon.' But as this was Alkali and Xander's con, I figured I'd give it another go. It didn't disappoint, and I even found the courage to get on stage for one round. Though my acting sucked so I probably should have just defaulted to making a joke about Bad Dragon.
After that I retreated to the bar for alcohol. Remembering this was Wisconsin, the only place to buy New Glarus brewing company beer I was exited to get some of that if the bar had it. And they had Spotted Cow, New Glarus' flagship brew, on tap.
While comfortably nursing my beer I came to the realization that the group of people to my right that I had sat right next to were mundanes. In fact, I soon came to the conclusion I was the only furry in the bar (I have no idea how that happened). I do not have much on me defining me as a furry. No ears, no tail. But I did have a lanyard of a few badges and the plush tiger that accompanies me in my pocket. But I was not the kind of person to discuss matters, so I hunched over my beer and listened to their hypotheses of what was going on. The most amusing was the woman who thought that the reason some people had full suits whereas others just had ears and tails was because of rank within our secret society.
Another group of mundanes came to sit at the bar and were asking the bartender what 'all this' was. She said she didn't know. Then outed me. "He should know, ask him." At which point I had the attention of both groups. Now on the spot, my memory jumped to the YouTube videos of Uncle Kage's various 'Dealing with the Media' panels. And so I began, 'Well, we're mainly just a bunch of people who are fans of cartoon animals. Like Bugs Bunny, Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry, that stuff.' They were intrigued that it was about cartoons. They asked about the actual dogs and cats they'd seen. I told them we usually sponsor a charity at these conventions, and that for this convention it was a local humane soceity. And the society had brought a couple of animals to show. And I answered the lady's question about the suits that it was not about rank but rather merely whether or not they had the money to buy them. And that really only a few of us own suits. The talk went on for a bit, and I had them interested and happy with the whole thing.
I was quite happy with myself after that, having successfully put Uncle Kage's advise to work. I didn't use buzz words 'furry' or 'funny animal.' I didn't volunteer information. The S-E-X topic never came up, and I certainly didn't bring it up. Positive imagery. I'm sure I helped make their first impression of the furry fandom a good one.
After finishing my beer I made my way to the 'MST3K' panel. Namely where furs sat around an mocked a lousy movie MST3K style. The movie was Waterworld. I watched a few minutes, but the game was not mine so I retired to my room for the night.
Saturday morning I began with breakfast, as is a good way to begin things. The scrambled eggs on the buffet were actual freshly cracked eggs rather than the rubbery pre-scrambled stuff you so often find. That alone was a notch of good for the hotel. Also, the breakfast was complimentary for the con goers. Which was awesome. (And looking at the tab, if it hadn't been free it still would have been cheaper than breakfast at one of my local favorite restaurants. This was the cheapest con hotel I'd ever been to.)
After that came wandering the artist alley and dealer's den a bit more. There was more watching Artemis. And I even got in on a game, playing as weapons officer. We were an all new team on easy mode, so it didn't get noticed as much when I kept accidentally unloading the torpedo tubes instead of firing them. I spent the afternoon at the open mic. And I even stood up and told my story here: http://www.furaffinity.net/journal/4990127/ I got a few laughs out of it. So with practice I might get better at this stand up story telling thing.
Then dinner was had, pizza at the mall food court this time. Not particularly good. Then I watched the standup of Pandez, Xander, and Alkali. It was insanely funny. And after their bits the three of them and Fir got up for a more traditional 'Who's Line is it Anyway' style game with Sema hosting. This really had me cracking up to the point of being unable to breathe. The four of them play off one another well. There was no mention of points, though.
After that I returned to the bar again. Again, no furries were present, and I decided to sit away from the mundanes this time. Sipping the beer (in a bottle this time because the keg was dry), I could tell they were discussing 'us.' I noticed a couple of fursuiters get called over. They attempted to stick to pantomime, but clearly got pulled into actually talking. I didn't hear what was talked about, just the lovely phrase 'that's not what CSI said.' After a short while the suiters were allowed to leave. I did not attempt to do any kind of discussion of my own. Pick your battles. I simply finished my beer quickly and made my way out of the bar at an oblique angle so as not to attract their attention.
Sunday was quite quiet for me. Breakfast was had. Then lots of sitting around waiting for things to start. I made my way to Artemis for some more watching, but technical difficulties delayed it's opening. I took in the variety show, a few fun acts. And then I headed out for the day.
All together I had a great time. Alkali and Xander did a good job with the convention, and I certainly hope to attend again next year.