Time with Family:
My grandparents are getting a bit older now, but they still live in their own home and stick to a strict schedule. I was awakened each morning at 5:30am to the sounds of my grandfather in the kitchen which I would tune out and fall back asleep to. At 6:30am my grandmother would get up and go to eat breakfast. She would then proceed to holler “Earl it’s time for breakfast!” and keep talking to me until I got off the couch where I was sleeping and came to eat breakfast. The first morning was really hard as I had gotten into Greenville at 1:30am and so had only gotten 4 hours of sleep. I enjoyed eating breakfast with them, same thing each morning, an egg, toast, and cereal. It was nice to talk with them, to help them out some. After breakfast I’d typically then go and sleep for about 2 more hours.
I took my grandmother around to visit some of her friends and that was a very cool thing. It was almost as if God was behind each meeting as each person I met said something to me to encourage or support me in some things I have been struggling in and to also remove any doubts I had about the upcoming Anthrocon convention. Both meetings were so spiritually uplifting that it was awesome. Also, I took my grandparents to church that Sunday and the sermon was on Judges 6-8. This was interesting as I had been encouraged to read this passage the previous week by a friend when I was wondering about my ability to lead in the FFC. It is all about Gideon and how God used him to lead Israel to freedom, how God was the reason behind Gideon’s ability to lead, and that God used him even though later he fell to sin. It was almost as if God said “Well, you didn’t read what you needed to so I am going to put it in front of you because I want you to hear this.” I left church amazed at what God said in that service, reminded that God would be with me in the coming days.
Dinner with my other grandmother
Hanging with Keith:
So Keith (another FFCer) came up a few days early to hang out with me. It was cool to finally get to meet him as we have often talked on IM and the phone. I picked him up at the airport in the afternoon. It’s interesting going to pick someone up at the airport when you don’t know what they look like. I stood at the stairs waiting, but I think he had walked right past me and I didn’t notice. Eventually we met up and waited for his luggage. Apparently it decided it needed its own vacation as it only made it to Denver so we were told by the airline that it would be delivered within the next day or so to my grandparent’s house. His first comments about Pennsylvania were that it was flat, which I guess is true if you compare it to California. We drove back to Greenville, grabbed pizza for dinner, then went over to my grandparent’s house to stay there for the night. We talked with my grandparents some, then they went to sleep and we stayed up watching Scrubs, Futurama, and something else till we both fell asleep. The next day I slept through my morning wake up call.
Keith and wandered around downtown for a bit, which in Greenville isn’t all that much as it is a small town. We then went back to my grandparent’s house and hung around with them for a bit and then went to see the movie Ratatioulle, which was absolutely hilarious. As my friend Keith put it “It made my furry side happy”. It was a particulary furry movie and I loved it from beginning to end. I had a chance to see it earlier when I went to the movies with my grandmother (father’s mother) but decided to wait till I could go and see it with another that would find it equally amusing (e.g. another furr). Afterwards, we went to my other grandmother’s house for dinner. Dinner was great and then afterwards she proceeded to play 20 questions with Keith, asking him about the trip we were going on, where he’s from, etc. After dinner we all (my mother, Keith, myself, my sister) went to watch the fireworks.
The next day was spent at my cousin’s house where it rained on and off most of the day. We spent the day lounging around, just chilling and hanging out with my two younger cousins. We tried to take my cousin’s pontoon boat out, but it died half way across the lake and we had to be towed back. Also, Keith ended up in the water as he tried to step off the nose of the boat. Fortunately he caught himself and so he didn’t fall entirely in. That night we watched Ghostrider, which was a good movie.
Now… on to Anthrocon:
The next morning we both got up early (10am) and left for Pittsburgh after stopping at my grandparent’s house to say goodbye. We met another furr at the airport, dropped off the rental car, and then took a taxi to the Westin. We got there at noon and it was so awesome as I ran into my first large gathering of furrs and was greeted by running into Spunkywolf and Underwater Tiger, the scuba diving fursuiter. That night I met up with some furrs from an online group I work with called FurrsforChrist. We chatted for a bit and then wandered to Subway for dinner. It was great to finally get to meet people that I had been talking to for almost two years now but had not met before.
The next day we had a morning bible study in the room and we all told our story of how we came into the furry fandom. It was so awesome to get to sit down, talk with, and pray with everyone. That is what I was looking forward to most of all. Afterwards, we grabbed breakfast at the Brugell’s Bagel and then went to the opening ceremonies and then to the Dealer’s Den. I was the first person to get a sketch from HollyAnn. She is so awesome and such a wonderful artist. I had to laugh as within an hour of going to the dealer’s den both of my roommates had ears and a tail. I had tail envy the entire con as none of the dealers had a tail that was the right color scheme for me. We wandered around a bit and then went to a party with the Unicorn and Gryphon (another Christian furr group at AC). We had food there, fellowship, laughs, etc. Literary Equine aka Heavy Horse did a few magic tricks including cutting Stoker in half with rope. I was also given a few minutes to talk about the FFC and it was weird to have everyone look at me when they asked who was leading the group. I had never really felt that my involvement in the FFC was real until then. Afterwards, went back to the room and slept after wandering around the Zoo for a bit.
Saturday I saw Saturday Morning Memories with Rob Paulsen. It was so awesome to get to hear all the voices from my favorite cartoons as a child all in one sitting. Paulsen is hilarious and very congenial. I laughed my tail off as I sat and listened to him sing the Nations Song from Animaniacs and as he answered the question “Pinky, are you pondering what I’m pondering?” with the voice of Pinky. I got to meet him later in the day, which was so awesome. I got him to sign my sketchbook and had my picture taken with him. The fursuit parade was great to watch. I had never seen so many at once and I think the best overall was the Halo Kitty fursuit as I love that game. I have many pictures from it that I will be posting soon. I also sat in on the woodworking panel, which was cool, and then went to the Masquerade and then Story Hour with Uncle Kage. The Masquerade was awesome. I think my favorite fursuit in it was the one of the fox with the skydiving goggles on. That was such an awesome suit and I’d love to know who was in it so I can thank them for letting me get a picture with them. It was a hoot watching Matthias get up and do the Time Warp at the end and made sure to document that with many photos.
Sunday was a little sad as two of the people I came with had to leave early that morning. I spent Sunday saying goodbye to everyone and making one last sweep of the dealer’s den. I also went to the drawing panel by Susan Deer on drawing facial expressions before catching a ride to the airport to return to my mundane life (pun completely intended).
Overall, this con was the best time I have had in a long while. It was awesome to be able to be completely at ease about being a furr, not feeling like I had to turn off that part of me for fear of being looked at weird for it. I had been afraid of being a furr for a while, but have now come to accept that as being a part of me, and now actually want to get my own fursuit as soon as finances permit. I have made a few new friends and strengthened existing friendships. For 3 days I was free to be myself and I will treasure those three days until AC 08 when I can again return.