The Disney Not-A-Convention Quick Update

tabbie - disney
Doing a quick "What if not everyone wants to share the same hotel room, even if it's the size of a small house" calculation -- a wise addition to any trip involving a bunch of folks who may not be exactly overly intimate with one another -- and I have figured out that, even if everyone gets a studio (closer to a hotel room than a house; no full kitchen, no washer/dryer), the numbers ALMOST don't change.

The only exception to this is if you are not sharing the room with someone. If you are in a studio on your own, the costs go up $300 - $500, depending on the hotel. And that's for the whole trip, not just one night.

More will get figured out as the planning continues, but I figured I oughta put that out there :)

The Disney Not-A-Convention

tabbie - disney
I sent an email to interested folks with this, but I'm also posting it here for the sake of me remembering the information for later. Thank you, LJ tags!

More details (which hotels I'm talking about, specifics on the dining plan, etc.) will be provided as time progresses. It's still a good 20 months away, and I need some more definites (specifically "Yes, we can come" and "Yes, we can afford to pay for it") before I can seriously start poking travel agents about it.

More info behind the cut!Collapse )
tabbie - elwood
The trip was completely amazing, and I will have photos and stories coming soon. I am still in vacation recovery mode, especially after our clusterfuck of a day on Friday (delay after delay and then cancelled flight; getting up at 4am and not getting home till 2am, even with the time change, is a bitch).

Our days in Disneyland DID remind me: Who is still interested in a big group trip to Disney World? I have a big list of folks from when I suggested this a few years ago, but the time is coming up on having to actually get serious about it (reservations for the Disney Vacation club resorts are generally 9 - 12 months ahead of the vacation time). I'd like to get an email group together, or a forum, or something, to truly start planning in a manner that isn't just me looking up numbers & costs (though that's a huge part of planning a trip like this).

We'll see!

In the meantime, though, back to vegging out because tired.

California

tabbie - elwood
Driven through the canyons I was
Dazzled by the mountains and we didn't go very far
Close enough to heaven if you
Climb up on a mansion you too can swing like a star


In ONE WEEK, spotweld and I will be on a plane somewhere over the middle of the country on our way to San Jose. I'm just a little excited, in that I have brought back lyrics to describe myself, which I have not done in quite some time.

The unneeded excuse for going, of course, is Further Confusion. I haven't done a BIG furry convention in years, so this con is going to be a big deciding factor in a lot of things…mostly: Are big furry conventions still worth going to? Is the time/money/travel stress worth it? Or is staying close to home and focusing on my online commission work the way to go?

As you all know, I've been overly critical of big furry cons because the money I made didn't make up for the time/money/travel stress that went into one a few years ago. I was completely underwhelmed by the traffic, though I can fully admit: it may have been the economy and it wasn't just me (though I've heard similar things from other, much bigger name, artists). Further Confusion seems to have taken the dealer:attendee ratio into account for their dealers room, which as a dealer I agree with wholeheartedly. I've heard nothing but good things about it from artists who've gone previously (as in: you barely have time to eat, you get so many commissions), so I'm hoping it'll change my views on bigger cons.

Then again, the last big convention had the whole "terrorist attack" issue so who knows. I'm hoping for the best but expecting the worst, which is my normal state of being (yeah, I'm that kind of person).

At least I fully don't expect to pay for our transportation with convention earnings. Sadly, cross-country plane tickets are a WEE BIT too expensive to expect something like that. Though…that would be a HELL of a convention.

I was just a passenger a
Rider on the tremors that were shaking all our beds at night
A visitor a stranger thought I
Might pass for a regular if I just kept out of the lights


Besides Further Confusion, which again is the unneeded excuse to get out to California (I can write those plane tickets off as at least a partial business expense), I've got a dorky, happy excitement going on for staying with tugrik. It's a feeling very similar to meeting a crush for the first time, which it pretty much is (we've probably crossed paths before, but I spend most conventions braindead and in "work mode" — if you've ever worked retail you hopefully know what I mean…I've re-introduced myself to people I've met before at the same convention a few years in a row because of this. On the other hand, I get to meet folks for the first time several times!). And yes, Spot knows fully about my crush and is okay with it, as far as he's let me know.

Can I mention how glad I am that I married Spot? Let me mention that again here: damn, I'm a lucky girl.

After Further Confusion, all three of us will be driving down the beautiful California coast — assuming no major storms show up, anyway, as I know that makes the Pacific Coast Highway kind of a bitch to drive — to Anaheim. Despite being a huge Disney fan, Spot's never been to Disneyland, the place that started it all. Sadly since it's off-season a lot of it is closed or under construction, but hey, it won't be crowded!

I really wish we had more time on the trip. Part of me thinks "Damn, I wish the convention wasn't that weekend" even though that's part of the reason we're going. But I think no matter how much time we had, we wouldn't be able to see it all. Tiki bars, jade hunting on the coast, the Missions, weird tourist attractions, San Francisco & Los Angeles/Hollywood/etc. in general…and we won't even be going further down the coast, which is sad because the San Diego Zoo is amazing but we just don't have the time.

Of note: the International Tiki Marketplace at Don the Beachcomber's will be taking place THE DAY AFTER WE LEAVE. Aaaaaaaaaaaugh. Though two cons one right after the other might be nuts. We should plan to do that some year, though.

I wonder if people who actually live in California feel like there's no way they can possibly do everything. It's been forever since I lived there (or near there, considering my years in the desert of Arizona) but I can't help but think it's more normal than anything (similar to what I imagine living in NYC is like…"Oh, yeah, Empire State Building? Walk by that every day."), despite that it takes 6 or more hours of driving to get anywhere.

Well, I can't be pissy about it: we're gonna have a lot of fun and I'm gonna eat a ridiculous amount of In & Out Burger.

(That is not the only thing I'm excited about but damn I'm looking forward to it.)

Tore my heart out from my chest
Mixed it up in my mind with the best freshest pieces of my soul
Chose the ones I loved the most
Drove 'em all down to the coast
Threw 'em in a big black hole


Now, back to convention preparations. I've gotten most things done, but I still need to work on my Sketch of the Day book (if it doesn't get done I won't be TOO depressed about it), pick up some more new markers, and make some more badge examples.

And if you're also gonna be at Further Confusion: Lemme know and/or come say hi! Space 25 in the dealers' room, I'll be there most of the convention selling my wares and drawing all the things. I also take badge & commission orders in advance, if anyone wants to throw money at me now ;)

Feast

The Doctor - Christmas
So this past weekend we had a Decemberween party, filled with festivity and gaming and a dinner featuring turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, dressing, veggies, etc. It was a LOT of food, enough that me and Spot are still working through it…though I'm pretty sure all the turkey got eaten.

Edit: I was wrong, we're finishing the last bits of the turkey for dinner tonight.

The rotisserie attachment for our grill was an extremely wise investment. Every time we've used it for turkey, it's turned out amazing. Of course, we also brine the turkey the night before. Between smoking it, rotisserie-ing (is that a word?) it, and brining it, I'm not sure WHICH method makes for a tastier turkey, but in all honesty they're all easy steps so why skip one?

We also have ANOTHER turkey which we will be cooking for Christmas. And we won't have to cook anything till next year because 15 pounds of turkey will feed two people for quite a while. AND we still have leftovers from Saturday, meaning I will not need to make dressing or mashed potatoes again, though we did get some more veggies for roasting, AND I'm gonna make gravy tomorrow (I didn't on Saturday) and a cranberry sauce since my mom sent me a recipe that is full of booze and sounds amazing, so it's currently chilling in the fridge and we'll see how it tastes tomorrow.

We've also got turkey stock going in the crock pot, I've got gingerbread cinnamon buns rising in the fridge, and the bread machine has a brioche recipe that is 100% an experiment because who the hell knows how a bread machine will handle such a rich eggy bread. But we figured something for sandwiches would be a good idea, and at worst we can make a different loaf.

There are still cookies left from the cookie exchange, as well as cheesecake & fruitcake. There is so much food in this house right now. Thank goodness we have a second fridge AND a chest freezer, otherwise I'd have no idea what we'd do with it all. Also this means we don't have to spend much more time cooking (outside of tomorrow, and even then it'll be really just the turkey…and the grill does all the work there), meaning I can focus on working on art stuff and convention preparation in the coming week that Spot has off and can help me :)

I wish you all a very merry Christmas Eve, and will have lovely art and a recipe for you tomorrow! If I remember. I might put it up later tonight after church.
arrrrrrt
I just mailed out the last of the contributors' copies of the Bawdy Bartender book! Huzzah! Now to come up with something else to do.

Lessons I Learned With This Project:

1.) Charge more for the art. I charged WAY too little for the pin-ups; it ended up amounting to about a third of what I normally charge. But, it let me experiment with the whole "book making" thing, which was the whole point, so I can't complain TOO much.

2.) Flat rate shipping is your friend. Mailing stuff first class with insurance and mailing stuff flat-rate priority mail (which includes insurance free) has about a twenty cent difference, and those twenty more cents are on the first class. I don't quite understand why not using your own envelope costs less (you'd think it'd be more), but I'm not gonna question it.

3.) Self-imposed deadlines work quite well. My deadline was to release the book on Halloween, and I did; it successfully premiered at Furpocalypse. I didn't get everything shipped until today, of course, but still.

4.) Printing, laminating, punching & binding your own book is a bitch. But, I priced doing it in the quantity I did (very small run) and doing it myself may have used a lot of my time, but it saved me a fair amount of cash. Doing it at Staples — the only place I can find that will do small runs of laminated, bound books — would have eaten the entirety of the money I made drawing the art, and then some. I would have actually lost money, making buying the book even more expensive for possible customers.

Thoughts In General:

Next time you do this, less laminating. The biggest bitch was laminating the pages, cutting them out, and then running them through the laminator again. It took, by far, the most time of all the steps in the book making, and I bought both a second laminator and 2 new rotary cutters (so spotweld could help).

Lamination is also the most expensive aspect of getting books done through printing companies, and I can totally understand why. It wasn't expensive to do it myself, it was just extremely time consuming.

My binding machine is little, but powerful. It's designed for binding scrapbooks and such, but the little sucker did 30+ 19-laminated-page books without giving me an issue. Best Christmas gift I've gotten recently.

Future Book Ideas:

• Cheesecake Cookbook - This describes itself. Cheesecake pinups with cheesecake recipes
• Beefcake Cookbook - Muscle dudes with meatloaf recipes?
• Sketch of the Day book - Compilation book of Sketch of the Day that's been running over on Patreon since May or June (and technically has been in existence since…good lord, 2006?). Home binding is extremely convenient for printing this since I could do VERY small runs of the book.
• Compilation of any of the comics and/or portfolios I've done over the past decade
• New, very small run comics
• Porn

On the road again

tabbie - fall
The weather has decided that "wintry mix" was a good plan for one of the busiest travel days of the year. Looking at Google Maps, most of our route is covered in accidents.

Awesome.

You know, I've lived all over the country, and I think Connecticut is the only place I've lived where we get a true wintry mix. It's not "snow in the morning, rain in the afternoon" or "sleet turning to snow sometime when it gets colder as the day goes on"...it is very literally snow and rain and sleet/ice/freezing rain (sometimes all three) all at the same time.

So everything's a slushy mess, and it sounds like it's raining right now, but it looks like the plows and salt trucks are out. We've got a bunch of sci-fi audiobooks, a batch of chocolate chip cookies, and a full tank of gas, so I'm not TOO worried about being stuck in traffic.

I also filled my iPod with Christmas music (next to the John Scalzi and Neal Stephenson), so I'm ready for the drive back. I refuse to play Christmas music or watch Christmas specials until Santa appears in the Thanksgiving Day parade.

The trip hasn't even started and I'm already tired. I blame the weather.

I made a thing.

tabbie - fall

I said I'd finish it by Halloween, and I finished it by Halloween. Admittedly, I need to print and finish like 10 more of them before Friday, but I didn't need to sleep tonight anyway, right?

28 pinups & recipes, several pages of extras (syrups to add to drinks, a guide to bar tools), and random amusing commentary from yours truly (I tried to keep that to a minimum, actually). All printed, laminated, and hand-bound by yours truly.

10 copies of this will be available at Furpocalypse this weekend. I'll have them for sale online after, but I need to finish assembling copies for the folks who are actually pictured in the book first, so they're currently convention-exclusive :)

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