slycat: (Default)
The con's over. My roomie [livejournal.com profile] jouva has already left as he had an early flight. It feels like there's no longer anything to look forward to now. So yeah, this is Post Con Depression. I so wish I had a flight out today now, I really do, but instead we got another day in Pittsburgh, flying out at 6.40pm tomorrow. WhiteWolf is staying for a bit so I think she plans to take Tim, Kei and I to the mall. I need to get to the Robinson mall again anyway as the shoes I got there gave me blisters and I'd like to exchange them if possible.

I so need to do another con. I had a fantastic time here despite knowing a very small number of people who attended. I want to get back to FC next year. I just need to be careful with my money again. Unfortunately, that may mean putting off the HDTV I had planned to get but I think holidays are better than posessions :).

Anthrocon!

Jul. 8th, 2007 08:38 am
slycat: (Default)
I've not been posting as frequently about my holiday as I had been but I'm making notes so I can write them up later when I'm not having so much fun :).

Realised one major mistake I made this year which I did last year; I booked return flights one day after the most people will have disappeared. I will be flying back on the 10th, arriving in London on the 11th when the last day of the con is today (8th) so many people will be leaving tomorrow. So on Monday, everyone will be going home while I'll be here fore another day. The same happened when I went to FC. Really should just leave the next day after the con finish rather than giving ourselves an extra day. Hopefully will check out a theme park or go to the mall again to get away from the depression of the end of the con.

Oh, also, AC is too frigging short! I know I've still a whole day to go but it's all gone far too quickly. FC's 5 days seem much better suited to the con. Looks like I missed out on all the dances and stuff this year unless there's one I dont know about on tonight. Ah well, will make the most of my remaining time and suit up where I can. I need photos to be taken of me in suit at the fursuit photography thing too.
slycat: (Default)
Those damn pesky media-types took a snap of me as I was giving Timmypup (Wearing Brek) a piggyback yesterday - http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/cityregion/s_515974.html
slycat: (Default)
Decided to have breakfast in the hotel cafe to try it out, and kinda regret doing so. Not because of the food, but because of our server, Randy. He was borderline scary in the way wanted to do anything and everything for us, making us feel rather trapped at times feeling we couldn't leave... He was going on about how he was an artist and had been doing the job for 20 years and how everyone's life is an adventure and stuff. He did leave us with the phrase "let's go on an adventure" which has kinda stuck tho :P

We had planned to go to Sandcastle water park earlier but we were delayed due to a delivery to the hotel. Much to Kei and my suprise, our fursuits were delivered to the hotel. We literally ran to the elevator and to the concierge where the packages were and then raced back to the room to have a look at them. I took mine out and realised I couldnt wear it with jeans underneath (I know you shouldn't anyway but I just wanted to see how it looked rather than wear it properly) so I let Kei get hers on. Then she got Tim to wear it so she could take some photos :). I decided I couldn't wait any longer and so got undressed and into the fursuit so we could see how it fitted and looked. Needles to say, I was very happy with how it looked. The fit was a little close but once on, felt fine. Despite the fact I had given the measurements around 21 months ago it still fitted fine. Just needed a hand getting the zipper up and down. Anyway, we got plenty photos taken and once we got tired pratting about in our room, we got back into our normal clothes and febreezed the suits :).

Returning to our original plan, we got a taxi to Sandcastle, Pittsburgh's water park. We got there just before 3pm when they do a discounted rate which was handy as we saved like $5 on entrance. The water park is a gigantic water ride park with varying types. We started off with the "Lazy River" where you just sit in an inflatable tube and float around the water park. Was a good oppertunity to cool off and see the whole park, very relaxing :). After that we had a go on some of the slides and the tidal wave pool which was great fun, even if I did inhale a bit of the chlorinated water :P After having our fill of the rides, we dried ourselves off with the towels we borrowed from the hotel and called for a taxi which must have taken around an hour to arrive. After we got back to the hotel, didn't really do much. I ordered a large pizza from Pizza Parma but only managed a quarter of it. Shame really, pizza in Pittsburgh is so nice!
slycat: (Default)
A little behind on this one, I must do better! Anyway, as to what we did yesterday, we went to the Steel City Diner for breakfast. I had a 5 egg omelette while Kei has 3 gigantic pancakes and Tim had the special. Was quite tasty, might have to go there again, although I hear they ran out of some food last year :P. After that, we took a stroll around Pittsburgh going down Penn Avenue then up 6th Avenue, across the bridge and then followed the river up to the Heinz building before crossing back to the other side of the river. Was quite a peaceful walk up to this point. The other side of the river was apparantly what is called the Strip District where they have lots of random shops and restaurants. We picked up some sweets from what appeared to be a wholesale sweet shop as they only sold stuff in bulk before taking a wonder round on to Smallman Street, following it back to the hotel passing a costume shop on the way (which had hideous Simpsons suits amongst others).

Once we got back to the hotel, we found the bathroom floor was covered in water because the toilet was continuously flushing. I touched the handle where the water seemed to be coming from which stopped the flushing but we had already called for an engineer to look at it so when he came he just mopped up the water and cleaned up the bathroom. Following that excitement, we decided to go to the Showcase Cinemas in Robinson to see Ratatouille as the lady in the Disney store had recommended the day before. Had to get a taxi out there again which was another $25 each way but was much more convenient than getting the bus. It's a real shame the whole Robinson shopping area isnt more pedestrian friendly. They almost expect you to drive from one building to the neighbouring one. Anyway, the movie was great, another hit for Pixar. On a geeky side, the graphics get better and better, the food really did look real in some places :P

After the film, we walked down to TGI Friday's. Ordered some "Buffalo" chicken wings for starter which were too spicy and the sauce was too thick so we didn't eat much of those. My main was a serving of chicken and steak fajitas which were pretty nice if not spicy like Old El Paso fajitas, and salsa was sadly missing. Also only got 3 smallish tortillas which made it difficult to fit everything in. Had a fantastic drink to make up for the disappointments in the food department. It was a red bull shlushie. It really made me go "zing!" sugar sugar sugar from the syrup of the slushie mixed with the caffiene of the Red Bull. Lovely :)

After getting the taxi back, didn't do much for the rest of the evening. Possibly spotted a few furry arrivals in the lobby but that was about it.
slycat: (Default)
Didn't do a heck of a lot yesterday. Despite going to sleep around 10pm local time, still woke up around 5.30am as my body clock hasn't adjusted yet. As it was a sunday, the only place we could find which was doing breakfast was McDonald's. I had a bacon, egg and cheese "biscuit" (American for scone) but found it was tiny so gorged on 2 helpings of Hot Cakes. Found the pancakes to be very nice but that was probably to do with the high fat and sugar content. Washed it all down with some Barq's root beer, my first taste of root beer so far on this trip :).

After getting back to the hotel, we got a taxi and went to The Mall at Robinson. Which is a largish mall near the town of Robinson, which is around 3/4 of the way back to the airport from downtown Pittsburgh. As we got there, it seemed that most of the shops were closed but they all opened shortly after we arrived as it appears they open at 11am on Sunday. Got me a new Gir t-shirt from Hot Topic, some trainers from Vans and Animaniacs Volume 3 from FYE (which I hope to get Robert Paulson to sign). Also took the oppertunity to get some swimming trunks in Sears as I had forgot to pack the ones I bought during FC last year :P One thing we noticed is that everyone is so friendly and polite. Not just in the shops where they're trying to sell you stuff, but people opening doors for others and saying "Thank you" and "you're welcome". I guess I'm not used to that coming from the UK, kinda suprising that we're so much worse than the Americans for politeness.

After shopping, I called the taxi company to pick us up but they were permanently busy. Which was quite worrying for what appears to be the only taxi company in Pittsburgh. Fortunately we got a card off the guy who dropped us off and called him. He picked right up and said he'd be there in 15 mins which we were really greatful for. True to his word, he picked us up and dropped us off at the hotel. We had planned to go to a sit down restaurant at this time and finally decided on pizza. I did a bit of searching on the net and Pizza Parma looked like it should be a good place and it was close to the hotel. Though once we got there, it looked a bit run down so we decided to go somewhere else. Ended up at a place called something like Giovanni's or similar. It didn't look like anything special either and the soda was flat but the pizza was amazing. Possibly the best I've ever had come to think of it. Couldn't put my finger on what made me like it so much but it was good. They also gave us canned drinks with lots ice to replace the flat fountain drinks so was all good.

Got back to the hotel and while we did intend to go out again, we ended up just crashing from tiredness. I woke up this morning pretty early feeling really wrong. Like I was gonna throw up or something, but I didnt. I think it was just bad indigestion again. The problem is now I'm in the land of overindulgence, I've been taking advantage of that. It was a literal wake up call to me to be a bit more careful with what I eat. Need to get me some vitamin suppliments too as I don't want to end up with con crud before the con!

Anyway, we're off to the diner in a bit. Laters!
slycat: (Default)
Got to Heathrow at about 7:15am, having woken up at 5:30am. Went straight for the ticket desk queue which appeared pretty short but it still took me 45mins to get through it. I needed to go to this queue first to get my ticket for the second leg of the outgoing journey amended as they changed my flight number. After the long wait, they took about 20 seconds to look up the details and put a sticky label on the ticket... after that was the checkin queue which took another hour or so. By now, the time was 9:20am and the flight was boarding at 10:00am (despite leaving at 11:15am) so we made our way to the next queue, security. It was really really long but moved quite quickly so wasn't too long before we were through it. I didn't get pulled to one side for anything so was all good. In the other side of security, we wanted to get something to eat but didn't really have much time so we just got some sandwiches from Boots. I thought there might have been more shops at the departure lounge area but I was wrong. The vending machine wasn't even working. It wasn't long before we were bording the plane so it wasn't too bad. Once on the plane, it did seem like forever before we departed, which was more like 12 rather than the scheduled departure time of 11:15. However the flight managed to get ahead of schedule and we arrived pretty much before we were supposed to get there. The flight itself was OK, the inflight entertainment system was just the old videotape system so I just used it for the skymap and the occaisonal game of battleships which you could play against other seats.

At Chicago, we went through the Immigration booths and I always prepare for the worst. However the guy I got took my passport, asked why I was in Chicago (I said because I was transferring to Pittsburgh) and then went away for about 3 minutes with the passport, apparantly to ask someone a question or something. When he came back to his booth I asked what was wrong. He said nothing was wrong, he just had a joke he had to tell his colleague apparantly... I dunno, maybe he was making fun of the photo on my passport but when he returned, he was laughing which I've never seen an Immigration officer do before. He again asked why I was here and I again said I was just going on to Pittsburgh. He took my fingerprints and photo and sent me on my way without asking any further questions. I guess I got lucky with that :).

Our bags didn't appear on the carousel which made us think that maybe they had just transerred them to the next flight already. It didn't help when we asked someone there and he said "They'll probably appear tomorrow". Fortunately, we found someone useful who was a Virgin representative and he said our bags were next to another carousel for no apparant reason. Sure enough, there they were which was quite a relief. We went through customs and then to the United desk where they took our bags for the transfer and also issued a boarding pass thingy. Needed to get on the tram to terminal 1, everyting was so clean and shiny compared to the UK we noticed. Picked up a Cinnabon and ate that while waiting for the flight to begin boarding. We only had about an hour to wait so it wasn't so bad. I'm kinda glad we had the extra hour wait from our flight number being changed as it would have been quite close.

The flight to Pittsburgh itself was pretty quick and pain free. No frills but the seats were more comfortable than the Virgin Economy ones. On the other end, after another tram ride, we got to baggage claim and to my amazement, our bags appeared. I was amazed but at this point I thought they would have problems moving our bags about but it all went through without a hitch. As we were all pretty knackered and lazy, we just got the closest taxi. The taxi driver was a bit scary as she apparantly had road rage commenting on how other people can't drive and driving with one hand while using her mobile phone. We got to the Westin hotel in one piece though. I told Tim to tip her even if she was a bit scary. Anyway, we got checked in on the 7th floor, put our bags down and collapsed on the "heavenly beds". I signed up for the "high speed" wi-fi as the free wifi is 128k. Turned out the high speed is only 1mbit but I used it to grab the last episode of Doctor Who which we watched before going to bed.
slycat: (Default)
Righto, I've got most of my stuff packed. Just copying a few movies to my PMP for the flight and need to pack away all the chargers and the like. Wake up at 5.30am, get picket up at 6am, get to airport around 7.30am. Sort out new tickets at ticket desk before going to the check in desk. Collect cash at Travelex prior to security. Then relax until the flight departure time of 11.15am and hope everything goes smoothly. I don't think I'll be able to relax until I get on the plane, but I've got everything I could need so there shouldn't be any problems. Just a little weary of my laptop bag being a bit on the large side. However, the BAA site states the bag can be 22x17.7x10 inches whereas my bag is 16x20x10 according to the Alienware site. I'm confident that should be fine as long as the bag isn't bulging, which it isn't :)

Anyway this will be my last post before I land stateside, unless I bother making a post from the airport. Either way, I've posted my US phone number in a friends only LJ entry. My UK number will not be in use for the duration of my journey so if you need to contact me, use the US number. However, I mostly expect to use the US number with US furs, organising and the like.

Gotta sleep now but I've a belly full of butterflies. I think I'll be happy once on the plane :)
slycat: (Default)
Just 2 more days of work to go and then I'm off to America. Can't wait! But unfortunately as I'm unable to bend space and time right now, I'll have to wait. Great thing is the dollar rate seems to be getting better and better right now and should be in a great state when I come to buying my dollars tomorrow after I get paid. Elsewhere, I'm a little concerned I seem to be getting a cold at the moment. I do hope it doesn't end up being pre-con con-crud :P

Oh, there seems to have been a few random people add me to their friends list recently, if you can let me know who you are, I'll most likely add you back :)
slycat: (Default)
I've been doing a bit of digging online for things to do during our time before the con and I've got a few things together. This is mostly a list for my own reference, but if anyone has any good suggestions, I'd be interested in hearing them. Need to get info on good places to eat, especially decent steak restaurants in the area.

Food
  • Steel City Diner, traditional American diner really close to the hotel (0.1mile!)
Shopping
  • Galleria at Pittsburgh Mills, the largest mall in the area with plenty of good shops and even an IMAX cinema (nothing worth seeing while visiting sadly). (17 miles away)
  • The Mall at Robinson, another very large mall with lots of great shops including a number of large stores surrounding the mall too (13 miles away)
  • Prime Outlets - Grove City, an outlet mall meaning lots of even cheaper stuff, but probably a bit too far to visit as there's other malls closer (60 miles away)
Entertainment
The distances I've mentioned are from the hotel.
slycat: (Default)
Well, it's now only 3 and a half weeks until I set off for America and Anthrocon 2007 and amazingly, I still do not have my full fursuit. I've been emailing fairly regularly asking for updates but I've not a peep since the start of April. This is all following the woefully untrue empty promise which I've since become used to as posted in this LJ entry. Needless to say, despite repeated attempts to get an explanation, I've just been faced with a brick wall of silence so I really don't think this will happen.

This is even worse than the way I was treated coming up to EF when I was in a will I / won't I situation with the promised partial, but here, I'm not hearing a thing. I was supposed to get this full fursuit in time for FC2006 and I was completely paid in full as of December 2005. FC came and went and last minute, I got the head and paws for EF. However it has now been 10 months since EF. 10 months to finish the rest of the suit. The suit which should have been completed 17 months ago.

Ah, I'll continue my chasing and see if I get anywhere. Who knows, I might be suprised. I'll finish this post with a picture behind a link.

Read more... )
slycat: (Default)
It's not really sunk in until ysterday, but I'm really starting to look forward to going to Anthrocon now. Only have a few minor worries about spending cash and hotel costs but I'm sure I'll manage. It was thanks to re-watching the video BigBlueFox did for AC06 that reminded me of why I love furcons. They're just so surreal and enjoyable. I really could do with a holiday anyway.

So yeah, can't wait! Just hope Jax can get her arse in gear and get my suit done in time, but I feel I've been down this path before...

Furry cons

Jan. 17th, 2007 07:12 am
slycat: (Default)
Needless to say I am quite jealous of all the prople going off to FC this year. I really enjoyed myself last year, apart from the food poisoning or whatever it was. There seemed to be a lot of reasons why I should go, people I'd want to see there, etc., but I said to myself I'd skip it this year so I can get to AC for a bit of variety. Part of me is regretting this decision, I just hope it's not the wrong one and my trip to Anthrocon will be a good one. Because I'm going to AC, I decided that I wouldn't be able to make EF too due to it's close proximity and subsequent lack of fundage. However the more I think about it, as EF is in September this year and AC is in early July, I think there's enough time between them now. Still umming and aahing if I should go. Literally everyone else seems to be going. If I do decide to go, I've got to work out the hassle of getting myself from Frankfurt to Suhl too. Hmm, decisions decisions.
slycat: (Default)
OK, been having a lot of fun trying to work out the best deals and the like, and no doubt a better deal will reveal itself now I've booked it all, however I've now booked the flights, [livejournal.com profile] timmypup has booked the hotel and I've just registered as a sponsor for Anthrocon (yeah, I know you only get a t-shirt and a faster registration for the extra $40, but I thought why not as the dollar's so weak and all).

It's looking to be quite an expensive month with the flights and the laptop I'm paying back through work, but at least I won't have to worry about such things closer to the con. Come con time, I'll have debts paid off, have enough to pay back Tim for the hotel and also have spending money. For those interested, the flight itinerary for us is as follows:

Outgoing:
Depart Heathrow on Virgin Atlantic at 11:15 on the 30th June 2007 arriving in Chicago at 14:10 on the 30th June 2007.
Depart on connecting flight with United at 15:55 on the 30th June 2007 arriving in Pittsburgh at 18:25 on the 30th June 2007.

Returning:
Depart Pittsburgh on Delta at 18:15 on the 10th July 2007 arriving in New York (JFK) at 19:54 on the 10th July 2007.
Depart on connecting flight with Virgin Atlantic at 21:25 on the 10th July 2007 arriving in London Heathrow at 09:05 on the 11th July 2007.

As you can see, getting to Pittsburgh is not fun. Mostly because it's not got an international airport. Basically our criteria was to use a decent airline such as AA, BA or Virgin for the transatlantic flight and then use a connecting flight to get to Pittsburgh. Ended up finding the above on Travelocity for £491.50 + £5 DHL postage and £6.21 CC surcharge. Couldn't really get anything else under £500 which didn't involve 2 stops or crappy airlines for the transatlantic flight.

Oddly, there was a peculiar occurrence of a flight which went AA to Boston and then Boston to Pittsburgh using United and then the same in reverse for the return journey for only £472.50. However every time I tried to book the flight, I ended up either finding the flight disappeared off the site or when trying to book it, the page would just fail to load. I gave a travel agent a call and he said he couldn't find the flight either. He also said that AA and UA were rival airlines and so it's not advised to try and transfer between the two. Also it was only a 1hr 30min stop over meaning that it's increasing the chances of lost luggage. As it seemed to be fraught with danger, I decided we should just use the safer option of the Travelocity flight plan.

Now, during my time in the states before the con, I'll be staying with [livejournal.com profile] keihound and [livejournal.com profile] timmypup at the con hotel. I really wanted to make a holiday out of the trip but this is the best I could manage. I think the main problem was that the American furs I've been talking to don't want to commit this early when I really wanted to get the flights out of the way this month as prices start to rise sharply after 5 months remaining. Incidentally, we are going on the 30th because if we went on the 1st, it'd be £150 more expensive to fly. Seems that 30th June is the last cheaper day before peak summer rates in July.

Anyhoo, when we're there, it'd be nice to meet up with furs who are in the area or will also be going up early. I'm planning to stay with some American furs during the con itself to help me mingle with new people. My main annoyance from FC last year was that I generally hung about with the UK furs. This time round, I want to be able to say go out for a meal with a bunch of folks and get to know people better during my time there. Should have a fun time I think, even if it's not more of a holiday. I mean Pittsburgh isn't exactly oin the top of everyone's holiday destinations!

Things left to organise in preparation for the con are travel insurance, take time off work, and keep on at Jax the Bat until he finally decides to finish my fursuit (which annoyingly should have been done in time for FC 2006, which is pretty much this time last year!).
slycat: (Default)
OK, I need to start thinking about this more seriously now as I need to work out what I'm doing before/after the con so I can sort out flights. The only certain thing at the moment is that I'll be going to the con and am sorting a room (this part is pretty much sorted, I'll be staying with some American furs I know which will help my ability to mingle with new people).

So, my question to anyone reading this is, anyone have any ideas at all? I can't drive (at least not at the moment but who knows by the time the con rolls by) so will be reliant on other people and public transport to take me places. I'm very keen on just meeting up with furs outside the con, and have considered the idea of flying to Florida before/after the con to meet furs there and do the parks but this may prove an expensive option as it'd be peak season. I'm quite open to ideas as I really want to make it a proper holiday rather than just going all that way to see the inside of a hotel.
slycat: (Drawn by Kei)
Well after looking at a map, I realised how far Pittsburgh is from NYC... it's a good 8hour drive.  I noticed that Pittsburgh is closer to Ohio than New York and this got me thinking.  Cedar Point, one of the best roller coaster park in the world is in Ohio, only 180miles from Pittsburgh.  I know that I somehow need to fit that into my holiday now, maybe seek out some Ohio furries, I dunno.  However what I do know is, it's growing less likely I'll be going to NYC now, despite how cheap it first appeared. Maybe I can fit it all in somehow but it'll take a bit of planning.
slycat: (Drawn by Jax The Bat)
Looks like Anthrocon isn't going to be quite as expensive as I had though.  I did checks on flights to New York, giving a week in the city before the con and then basically time to get from the con hotel back to the airport on the Monday. So leaving 28th June, getting back 9th July.  The flights cost £338 at present going with my preferred airline, Virgin.  Much better than the £500-£600 I was expecting.  I think I'll be looking to book soon (maybe next month or so) as I know that they often only have x number of cheaper tickets before the prices hike up.  I think the cost of hotels in NYC will make up the saving on the plane tickets however... that is unless I can find some local fur to accomodate us.
slycat: (Default)
Right, I thought it'd make sense to make a post to show my intent to get to Anthrocon 2007.  Now I know how many people have said that AC2006 wasn't such a great con cos the convention centre was too huge and sparse for the con itself, but as 2007 was when they had indented to be in this hotel and it's also their second year there, they should hopefully have a better idea of what works and what doesn't work for the complex.

Anyway, the convention itself is held in Pittsburgh, PA, which is from what I can tell a fairly uninteresting place.  So, I want to make this con a holiday, much like I did with AC2002 in visiting [livejournal.com profile] white_wolf and the furs in the area she lived in before going down to the convention.  And, also like I did with FC2006, but doing the touristy thing in San Francisco.  To be honest, I'd much prefer to be able to visit furs like I did with AC2002 before/after the meet rather than just do the touristy thing if possible, however I don't really know who in the general area I can visit this time round.  Thinks just kinda worked out really nicely back in 2002, but I think I'm gonna need to plan this one.

The alternative of course is to go to New York and do the touristy thing there before or after the con, but I think I'd much prefer visiting some local furs.  I'd also love to get the oppertunity to get a decent big theme park into the mix somewhere as I love rollercoasters and am keent to try new ones where I can!

Anyway, if anyone reading this has any ideas, or would like to join me (I know [livejournal.com profile] bhavfox has shown some interest already), please leave me a comment.  I've much to plan!

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