slycat: (Fursuit)
Blimey! It's a LiveJournal post!

Felt like getting something down for a while now but as always, I never got round to it. It's now been around 1 and a half years since I uprooted and moved to the north. I suppose I've settled in rather well up here now, even if getting to work is an absolute pain in the arse. I changed from walking 10 minutes to work to now walking 25-30 minutes to the train station, getting a 10 minute train and then a 40 minute ride with a colleague to work. This is all more evidence that I need to learn to drive as it's becoming increasingly difficult getting around on public transport now. Main problem is I realise how much of a money pit learning to drive and then ultimately buying and running a car will be, let alone the fact that I'm petrified of the idea of me behind a wheel of a car. Frankly, the sooner self-driving electric cars become a thing, the better in my opinion!

Transportation issues aside, I am getting on well up north. When I was down south, I'd rarely got any visitors and most of my good friends had moved out of the area (or even the country in one instance) but I suppose it wasn't too hard to go to a LondonFur meet at least. Up North however, I'm frequently seeing friends, both old and new and I'm also getting out to more events and things. Off the top of my head, in the past year, I attended Play Blackpool, Secret Cinema: Back To The Future, Superbyte, Play Expo & Video Games Live, all of which I wish I had taken the time to write an LJ entry about them. I hope to do more similar events this year.

In addition to those events, I attended Confuzzled where I was on crew for the first time. The past years I had always felt like there was something I should be doing to help out as I knew many of the staff and crew. My housemate, Telos (formerly Ember Komodog) happened to be head of the fursuit department and so he recruited me to help out with the fursuit department as crew. I enjoyed being part of the team who helped make the con happen. As I got into furry through an interest in fursuits, it was a good fit for me to work in the fursuit department, ensuring everyone was looked after and the like. I was also very proud of the fursuit lounge as many would stop to mention how impressive the equipment there is and how it was better than any other con they had attended.

Next year, as Telos stepped down from running the department, I've stepped up to staff status at Confuzzled to run the fursuit department. There's some stressful elements surrounding it but I'm largely enjoying it so far and am looking forward to hopefully being responsible for one of the best fursuit lounges at any furry con this year having taken last year's feedback on board :)

The only furry con I attended other than Confuzzled last year was Eurofurence which maintained my record of going to every evenly numbered EF since EF12 in 2006. I liked the new hotel as I wasn't a big fan of the Maritim in Magdeburg, however it was kinda stuck in a bit of a rough area. Fortunately, it wasn't hard to jump on a metro train and explore Berlin which we did a few of the days. I didn't find myself getting that involved with the con events themselves at all. I'm starting to find myself less and less interested in the con and in the future I may save my money to try to get to some other conventions. The last time I went to America, and an American con was Further Confusion 2009 so I'm really hoping I can make it to Midwest Furfest at the end of this year. I do miss America and my furry friends over there!

Anyway, that'll do for an update for now. I doubt anyone reads these any more but I'm hoping to get around to writing on here more often. That said, I'm sure I say that every post so we'll see!
slycat: (Default)

Actually digging the new Livejournal app for Android (imagine it's the same on iOS too). I may actually be convinced to update this journal more often now! Not now though, time to sleep... (so nice to be careless with characters and not worry about condensing stuff into 140 characters!)

slycat: (Fursuit)
I was reading my old LJ entries (sadly not many as I do like to write these) and I saw one from May last year. Back then I was in a really dark place. I was facing the prospect of having to live on my own again in some place I wouldn't be able to afford while all my good friends had moved elsewhere.

My life kinda turned around a month or so after that post when I was presented with the idea that I move to the North and work from my company's head office in Nelson to progress my career considering there weren't many options down south. I hadn't really considered living in the North before as I thought like most Southerners do and thought it was a backwards place where poverty was common place and everything was stuck in the past. However, the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. I knew a number of people who had moved up north and seemed to be getting on OK and house prices were remarkably low compared to the South. So I agreed to do a week's trial where I worked from the head office for a week while staying in a hotel and cap off the week with a Manchester fur meet.

By the time the trial week came up, I had pretty much decided I would move anyway as Lazerus and Telos who lived in Preston were looking to move out and Preston would be one train away from Nelson so I could do the commute. The week went relatively well though I didn't really know anyone in the head office. Regardless, I had decided it would be the way to go as I couldn't see myself affording anything down south living on my own. It didn't take long to find a place we all liked which was relatively near to the train station (25-30min walk) which was also a new build and had 3 double bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, the latter which is very handy when house sharing!

After stressing out with the run up to the move, with a bit of help with some friends and family, I got all my stuff packed up and a friend from work helped drive a van with all my stuff in it to the north, unload at the new house and then drive back the same day. Was a bit of a mental thing to do looking back but it did allow me to get the place cleaned up as best I could after moving all my stuff out before handing over the keys. Despite my best efforts, still got quite a large chunk of the deposit taken in cleaning fees. Anyway, I was just glad to be done with it all and start my life in the north.

So as of the 30th July 2013 I was officially living in the North, something I never foresaw happening. I've now been here for 8 months and I must say the move has improved my life quite a lot. I am regularly socialising with nearby furs and have enough money to pay rent, utilities and pay off debts a bit. I would like to get to a stage financially where I can realistically look into finally learning to drive and getting a car. In the meantime, my commute is OK thanks to a car pool with people from work. Work itself has changed a lot since I moved but still not feeling like it's much of a challenge. There should be opportunities to develop my role however so I don't get stuck in a rut.

So yeah, in summary, the move to the North has been a good one for me. It's not as bad as I had feared! :P
slycat: (Bamber Raccoon)
So to follow up my previous post, I did indeed receive my new raccoon fursuit by Deezlberries on Friday and I'm totally bowled over by how fantastic it is! This weekend, my housemates and I decided to have a mini fursuit photoshoot with him and I've been posting them to Bamber's new Twitter account, @BamberCoon. For those allergic to twitter, here's a sample photo from the weekend of Bamber, Selkies and SlyCat :)

slycat: (Bamber Raccoon)
So today i'll be receiving my first new fursuit in 7 years and this time round it's not another cat, it's a raccoon! This came about rather quickly as Deezlberries had mentioned on twitter he had a toony dog fursuit for sale and as I had some money from selling shares, I thought why not considering it was great value. However in talking with Deez, we decided that I'd be more interested in the project he was working on which was a raccoon (the dog ended up being bought by @TruckTheBear).

I had no say in the character design as by the time I said I was interested, the head shape had already been made and the body would be based on an existing pattern. I was fine with this as I'm not really a creative type and it also meant that the suit was more affordable than normal. When it came to the eyes, Deez did ask me for feedback, and it took quite a while before we were both happy with the look.

Bamber Raccoon Test Eyes

See above the possible eye options we went through (incidentally, it'd be really neat to have a suit where you can swap out the irises and move them elsewhere on a blank eye for different expressions - sadly I didn't take a photo of the awesome face). After finally deciding, Deez drilled the eyes and moulded some teeth (as the mouth looked a bit empty without any) before adding some final touches as seen in this rather colourful final picture:

Bamber Raccoon

I came up with the name Bamber after Deez suggested using locations nearby. There's a place called Bamber Bridge nearby and that had a certain ring to it and had the added benefit of not being used by anyone on FA already. Another name I had considered were Digby (sounds like Rigby from Regular Show & is part of the name Sir Digby Chicken Caesar) but it was taken on FA by another suiter and wanted something that would result in less confusion.

I'm really happy with the toony expression and was very impressed with the quality of the teeth as I was expecting something more simple. If all goes to plan, I'll receive the suit this evening so expect more photos later :)
slycat: (Fursuit)
As Twitter isn't really the place to get all my thoughts across on the matter, I thought I'd write an entry about the subject.

Basically there's a lot of drama about regarding people taking their fursuit heads off in public space at the recent Confuzzled to socialise and there's been a lot of arguments on both sides so I thought I'd throw in my 2 pence.

There are situations where fursuiters may need to take their head off in an emergency, for example due to overheating, breathing issues, etc and that's absolutely fine. Obviously it'd be mad to expect people to put themselves into serious discomfort just to maintain the character, but of course the flip side to this is that any budding fursuiter should learn their limits and know when it is time to find a fan to stand in front of or go to the headless lounge or their hotel room to cool off.

I did witness one instance where it seemed plain that at least one person actively disliked wearing the fursuit head and so would take their head off at any opportune moment during the Fursuit Fiasco games at Confuzzled. If you don't like wearing the head, especially at a public event like that, perhaps fursuiting isn't for you, or at least the event wasn't for you. I know that I can get out of breath from being overly active in suit as I'm not of the best fitness so I don't tend to participate in events like fursuit games. Doing so makes for worse photos and video for those trying to record the event.

Obviously everyone in furry these days figures they need a fursuit of their character to feel part of the fandom, but many of these people aren't familiar with the basics of fursuiting (despite there normally being events held at conventions to teach such things) and just treat fursuits like they would kigurumis or whatever. In my opinion, fursuiting is a form of performance. You're representing the character you're wearing, be it a toony cat or a realistic looking wolf. However it seems the new generation of furs don't care claiming that we all know we're people in costumes, but I feel that's missing the point somewhat. Sadly I don't think it's possible to change the opinion of people who think like that.

With regards to talking in suit which also came up at one point, at conventions, I don't really care if you want to talk in suit. It obviously works better if you work it into the character but normally fursuit performance is better when you remain mute.

Anyway, I could go on but I think much of what I think has been said quite a few times. Ultimately however, the heads off thing doesn't really annoy me as people are free to do what they like but it would be nice for more people who want to get into fursuiting to do it well rather than just treat it as a piece of clothing.
slycat: (Fursuit)
OK, I just had to write about this as it's been such a fun experience so far. To set the scene, on Saturday, I ended up meeting up with TKTiger and HedgeHog who were playing this game on their phone. They told me it was called Ingress and it was some kind of Augmented Reality game but I didn't really take a lot of notice. However once I got back to their place, I had a look into it and requested access to the game from the Ingress site. Within a few hours I had been granted access and could start playing and learn more about it.

So Ingress is a Google run Augmented Reality game which seems to intend to get it's players to explore places and see interesting stuff via the means of places or landmarks being turned into "portals" in the game. Obviously I'm a newbie so probably not getting all the details exactly right but basically in the game world, the portals are where energy flows into our world and two teams, The Enlightened and The Resistance have to control these portals to control the energy. You take control of the portals by "hacking" them using the mobile app (or "scanner") and can fire XMP at them to do damage. There's a lot more to it but you learn it all in the game.

I joined The Resistance as TK and Hedgie were on that side and it could be fun playing along. Southampton is pretty much entirely controlled by The Resistance but where I live was all controlled by The Enlightened and so I wanted to do something about it. There's quite a strong community behind the game and you can chat with people nearby within the game and so this evening I randomly asked if anyone wanted to help take my town over. To my surprise, one person said he'd come over and have a go but was pretty certain it would just get taken back again.

I watched on my screen as he started taking control of the portals which apparently is pretty easy to do when you're a high level but then someone from the opposing team noticed and started fighting back. It was rather impressive to watch as the drama unfolded but by the end of it, there were some portals owned by each team and some unclaimed at all.

Now, I had been looking for ways to get me out the house and walking a bit more. I had already got myself a FitBit which has been helping count my steps but this game had given me more incentive to get out the house and be a bit more active. Because there were unclaimed portals, I wanted to get out and go and claim them so after I had something to eat, I set out to have a go. However, it seemed I left it too late as I found that a guy on the opposing team had got there just before me. I figured I might as well continue "hacking" the portals as you get experience and can level up quicker. So I was doing that, trying to hit all the portals when I realised a bald chap with glasses was slowly walking with his phone looking at the screen and pausing occasionally just like I was. I looked over and he looked back knowingly and I said "are you playing this game?" turned out he was and it was the guy from the opposing team who had claimed all those portals I had hoped to get. Ended up chatting with him about the game, about how he was down from Coventry for work and enjoyed playing the game rather than being stuck in a hotel room all evening and ultimately had a nice chat with a stranger who I wouldn't normally have done. I'm scared of strangers so was pleasantly surprising for me to have a chat with someone at random like that! He did of course insist I had chosen the wrong team but said it in jest :D

After saying goodbye, I continued to hack the various portals and ended up going a much longer way home than usual to get one of the portals which is a bit out the way but by the end of it all, I had walked around 4000 steps more than I normally would have today which will certainly have helped with my daily exercise.

If you've an Android phone, I thoroughly recommend you check it out as it's a lot of fun and surprisingly social for something which is rather geeky!
slycat: (Default)
Yes, this is me writing a new update on Livejournal! Try not to act so surprised, I keep on meaning to write stuff here but forget and then feel the moment's passed. However, that's not the case this evening as I decided to pop down to London today (well yesterday now as it's past midnight) to attend the Londonfur meet.

Before the meet itself, I headed in to London with AndySquirrel and picked up some stuff in CyberCandy before meeting (or should that be meating up) with Arakin at Bodean's for lunch with Russet, Insofox, Enteirah, Andy, myself and Arakin's close friend Soph. I do love American style BBQ smoke house restaurants, really wish there was some place similar closer to home, but considering how healthy they are, it's probably best I don't have such easy access to it :P Was good to finally meet Soph who Arakin's mentioned for some years but I hadn't met until today :) Amusingly, when it came to the bill, we all paid our respective shares to Arakin but the total of money seemed around £30 short. After much recounting and confusion, it had turned out that Arakin had somehow managed to stash the missing cash in his wallet without realising!

Onwards to the meet itself, as normal I didn't recognise around 80%+ of the people there but of those I did know, it was great to reconnect with those I don't talk to that much normally but really should. I really want to be able to build up more of a social life, especially now that my housemate's moved out and today at the meet was really what I needed! Other than general socialising, the NFC sticker I had attached to my conbadge which reads a URL to my twitter account went down rather well. FoxB seemed especially impressed with the potential of NFC technology :D

During the meet, I had been chatting with Stef and Noah so ended up tagging along with them as well as Gorfy and Ordos to go to a favourite restaurant of theirs in Soho called Soho Pizzeria. However after much walking about Soho to get there, we found the place to be closed (obviously if we looked at the website, we would have known this but apparently it had been open 6 weeks prior and had no reason to believe it to have closed). So we ended up walking across to Chinatown and had a meal at the Golden Dragon. The service was somewhat sloppy as they seemed confused about how many people ordered the set meal but the food was really tasty.

So in summary then, had a really good day out, seeing folk and eating out, etc. Was a rather expensive day so can't do it again in a hurry, but was totally worth it. Thanks again to all those I met today, was great to catch up :)
slycat: (Default)
So a fortnight ago, I had the pleasure of attending the first year of The Great Furscape which is not a convention despite having some con like scheduling and being partly held in a conference centre. The Great Furscape is an event held at the Alton Towers theme park in Alton, Staffordshire which includes convention like events such as fursuit games, photo-shoot and dances but also the rather unique non-furry specific events of 2 hours exclusive use of the indoor water park and also a day at the theme park!

Click for the full report )


For a first year event, despite being a little rough around the edges, I was surprised how well Great Furscape was run. The water park made it a unique event as we had exclusive use of it which was almost worth the entry price on it's own. It was fantastic being able to use the park without screaming kids and families getting in the way! The fursuit games could have used an MC to describe what was going on and I should totally have participated in hindsight! For myself, I would definitely need to make sure that I sort out food before the dances next time so food doesn't get in the way of it like it did this year.

For the park day, it would have been nice to have a meet up with all Great Furscape attendees for a photo or meal or something at one point as we generally just went around in our own groups. That said, it was good we were in smaller individual groups as larger groups move slower due to more faffing about. I'd also need to see about making sure I can stay until the evening somehow so I can do the rides in the dark and take full advantage of the park's "Scarefest" activities. However with it being so far from home, I'd need to be able to sleep over with someone who can drive to the park... or stay a second night at the park which would be pricey.

Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend. I got to meet lots of new people and will definitely be going again next year. I've uploaded all my photos to my gallery and I've given my video footage to Mikepaws who's making an event video for the weekend with everyone's footage. I might still do an alternate outtake edit with stuff that Mike doesn't use however :)
slycat: (Default)
So it's been a week now since I got back from Eurofurence and I thought I'd do a little write up about my experience of it. I've been doing Eurofurence every other year since EF12 (2006) and apart from the language barrier, i have largely enjoyed them. However when Eurofurence moved to the Maritim in 2010 for EF16, I felt that the convention lost some of it's charm. Partly because the con had got to around 1000 attendees and it didn't feel like the friendly little con of previous years, but also the hotel just didn't feel very good for a furry con. It felt like there wasn't as much opportunity to socialise and wandering around the atrium became boring after a while.

Fortunately, this year's Eurofurence was much better, at least for me, than it was in 2010. They had made a number of improvements which comes with experience of them now being there their third year. The most notable improvement I only realised when the convention had ended and the hotel staff were returning the hotel to normal which was the large round tables at the back end of the atrium were lower and had seats rather than being standing height and no seating like it was in 2010. This created a lot more space where you could sit about and socialise and I also noticed artists were taking advantage by using the space for drawing stuff.

I suppose another reason I didn't enjoy EF16 so much was because I didn't have my fursuit with me. I was getting a bit fed up with the suit and couldn't be bothered with the luggage hassle bringing it would be. I ended up getting a bit bored having points where I didn't have anything to do at EF16 whereas at EF18, I just fursuited when there wasn't anything better to do. I think of all the conventions I've attended, I fursuited most at EF18 and I really enjoyed myself as a result. Which is amusing when you think I first got my fursuit (at least the head and paws) just in time for EF12. The fursuit is really starting to show its age however. I'm no good with repairs so it's getting in a worse state. It also doesn't help that the suit never fit me well in the first place as there's a gap at the back of the neck despite the flap on the head and the arms aren't really long enough to cover the paws so you keep on seeing my wrists. I'd love a new fursuit but sadly other things are far more important to pay for.

Anyway, I'll try to stop focusing on the negatives of my time at EF16 and focus on the positives of EF18. I met lots of great people, ranging from people I knew well, to some I kinda knew from the internet, to those I had never met before at all. One great conversation starter was the Necomimi Brainwave Controlled Cat Ears I was wearing from time to time as people were often just asking how they worked and where could they get themselves a pair. I really should be working on commission for Universal Publications considering how many people I've sent to their website where I bought mine :P

I had my new Panasonic Lumix TZ30 with me which I intended to take plenty of photos and 1080p 50fps video with. I also had a rather useful pistol grip style handle for the camera so I could take video easier and people would know it was video rather than me taking photos. I ended up capturing over 950 photos and 32gb of video. I managed to cull the photos down to around 320 and have uploaded them all to my gallery: Next step is to work through the video footage. I'm kinda torn between doing a convention feature like I've done before, or upload smaller vignettes of individual events. That said, I've still got my Confuzzled 2012 video to work through though I wasn't so pleased with that footage due to the camcorder I was using not having a very wide lens.

In summary, I really enjoyed this year's Eurofurence. Certainly enjoyed it a lot more than EF16 but I think Confuzzled is still my favourite convention of those I've attended recently. Specifically I like the size and hotel layout over EF. I've yet to register for Confuzzled due to funds not permitting and I want to be more sensible with my cash. I've another event I need to pay for at the end of this month too so it's all stacking up. I'd really love to get back to California for Further Confusion or maybe go to MFF as I'm missing America and my friends over there. Last time I did go to America was in 2009. Hopefully I'll be able to go next year but it seems doubtful at the current time. Would love to get to Australia at some point too but that's even more of an expense!
slycat: (Default)
Not posted here in a while but thought I'd make a quick post to say I'm flying off for my 4th Eurofurence tomorrow with Leinir, Makenshi and AndySquirrel :)

My luggage is all packed up and I will be bringing my fursuit this time round. I'll have a new camera too with a neat pistol grip so hoping to get lots of video footage too.

See you there if you're going (and happen to still use Livejournal which I really want to try to use more!)
slycat: (Default)
This was my 4th time attending Confuzzled (having missed out on the first year) and I can honestly say it just keeps on getting better. I said it from the first one I attended, Confuzzled has always felt like a real convention to me. This meaning it's not just a large meet for UK furs, it has visitors from all round the world and great events one would expect.

With Confuzzled 2012, it was their first year at their new location, the Hinckley Island Hotel. Last year's hotel served it's purpose but was ultimately a bit crappy; Only the "luxury" rooms were decent and there were various problems with food, heating and hotel staff. The new hotel was a vast improvement on last year's and what was even better was we had genuine exclusivity of the hotel for the duration of the convention (with the exception of the guests to Leinir and Makenshi's civil partnership ceremony which was held at the hotel). I was staying in one of the luxury rooms with [ profile] arakinuk which meant that I got aircon (not a standard feature apparently), a sofa, writing table, king size bed, coffee table, non-functional fridge and a telephone in the bathroom. The hotel itself was very well laid out for socialising. There was a rotunda area at the centre of the hotel rooms (which looked like a mini Maratim from Eurofurence) as well as a cafe/bar area where people would congregate so it was easy to bump into people and have a chat.

I personally had a fantastic time at the convention. I even managed to get into fursuit on no less than 3 occasions :P Again with my aging suit, I came to realise that I really need a new bodysuit. Deezlberries suggested I shouldn't keep on revising SlyCat (as I have technically been doing so since 2000) and get a new character but after the responses I got to the suit, I'd like to give him a bit more life yet. I should have suited more but the weather was pretty intense. It did seem like the weather suddenly became amazing on the day the con started and didn't let up throughout the duration of the con.

I got to chat with lots of great people both old and new throughout the duration of the con. I also filmed a lot of the con using my new camcorder but I fear much of the footage will be unusable as I filmed a lot of rubbish :P That said, I was worried I didn't have anything to work with for EF16 but ended up making a pretty nice video out of it. That said, I didn't have the fursuit at EF so had more time to film fursuity events. Regrettably I didn't get that much of the dances but I did get the parade as I was too sore to participate this time. Also this was my first time using the new camcorder at a convention and was sad to see the angle of the lens wasn't as wide as my compact camera so I had to stand further away from the action.

I attended a few of the official events such as the opening ceremony which included the guests of honour arriving via helicopter! I also attended the sponsor buffet which had a surprise performance by Fox Amoore and Mangusu dancing in fursuit, as well as the overlong charity auction. I never attend that many panels to be honest but I still seemed to keep busy throughout the con :). Food at the convention was OK. There was a BBQ for £15 on the Friday which was pretty good in comparison with last year's though there was a lot of waiting in the hot sun to get served. Breakfast was free and buffet style and generally much better than the last Confuzzled hotel's attempt at breakfast. The rest of the day, there were various light bites on offer which I didn't have but the burgers looked rather tasty and the panini's (which were actually half baguettes) were popular. Dinner times there was a buffet on. I only went to one which was a mexican buffet. Was pretty tasty but still pricey at £14. I didn't go for any of the other buffets but I did go off site to the nearby Harvester a few times for food however.

Anyway, rather than ramble on, I'll conclude by saying that I really enjoyed the convention and the staff who put it on are legendary. So much professionalism despite the fact that I know most of them :P Also, the hotel staff were great (the manager's comments at the closing ceremonies left me with a tear in my eye!), had no complaints there. Finally, want to say thanks to everyone I met at the con for helping me have such a fantastic time. I will certainly be back next year, Eurofurence will have to do a lot of work to make it worthwhile me going again after this year!
slycat: (Default)
For a long time I've wanted to redo the website as it was made in a very hodge podge fashion and with the experience I've gained since with web design and coding, I knew I could do better. So finally, I've got round to remaking the site. So far, I've only done the front page as I wanted to get it done before Confuzzled and time was against me. So now the site looks like this:

New features are:

New front page re-written from scratch including full CSS layout
New version of Google Maps API including custom paw flags!
Multi-day event support (event will not disappear until the end date has elapsed)
Event titles as an addition to the location for describing what the event is

I've still got to re-do the other pages including the submission page so right now, you can't specify what the site title is nor when an event ends but once I'm back from Confuzzled, I will get to doing that as well as updating all the other pages. Other things I still need to do are to improve mobile device support so the full site can be viewed if preferred (Google Maps API v3 works quite nicely on most smartphones) and also I'm not happy with the look of the meet list yet so probably some more tweaks to be had. I do want to get user logins and site management done but that's a long way off as it's no simple task.

Anyway, I appreciate feedback so if you've any comments or constructive criticism on what could be done better or added, I'd be happy to hear about it!
slycat: (Default)
On Saturday, [ profile] andysquirrel and I headed up to the Birmingham NEC to check out Gadget Show Live. I hadn't been to one before but it looked neat from what I saw from the previous year's event featured in the show so I thought I'd get tickets to go along to this year's one. I even got the "premium" tickets which allegedly gives you the best seats in the theatre for the stage show which takes place at the event.

Anyway, the bulk of Gadget Show Live was made up of exhibition stands from all sorts of tech companies. I've been to other such exhibitions before like Eurogamer Expo and Empire Big Screen but I found the stuff on display was much more varied and interesting than both of those. The exhibition area was split into lots of smaller groups of stuff like consumer electronics, computer games, outdoor activity tech, in car tech, music hardware, in home tech (including some of the most amusing infomercial style exhibitors trying to sell their crap) and future technology.

Cut for length. More text and videos contained within! )
slycat: (Default)
Considering the apparent lack of interest in Livejournal these days, I was rather surprised with the response to my previous post. I'm sure I was in a bit of a mopey mood when I wrote it but sometimes it's nice to get things out in the open like that. As they responses have shown, there's still not only plenty of people who read LJ, but there's plenty who still want to keep in contact which has boosted my mood considerably :)

Many things have been on my mind recently and it's been a bit too easy to focus on the negatives. For example, I really need to take control of my weight situation. Somehow I've managed to let myself to get to almost 23st (146kg/322lbs) and with my family having a history of type 2 diabetes, I really need to shed the weight. When I registered with the local doctor's recently they asked if I wanted to do something about my obvious weight problem. I decided that I should start taking steps to rectify the problem and so agreed to see a nurse who discussed the situation with me. On the whole, the advice was mostly things I already knew like eat regular meals and not to snack, avoid sugary drinks, eat more vegetables and less fatty foods and also to stop eating chocolate as frequently as I do and make it more of a treat. So far, I've lost a few pounds using this and other advice she gave, though the chocolate thing isn't easy with it being the most chocolatey time of the year, Easter! Also need to do more exercise so I've gone to the swimming pool a few times. I found I've absolutely no stamina and can barely do half a length but it does prove to be quite a workout.

Looking to the positives, I've got a number of things on my calendar to look forward to. For example, I'll be going to Gadget Show Live on Saturday; an event I've not gone to before but it should be fun. I even got the premium tickets as I booked on day one so hopefully that's worthwhile.

Next on the calendar is Confuzzled in May which I'm really quite excited about. Hopefully will get some fursuiting done as well as some videoing using my new 1080p camcorder which I had previously used at Marwell and was very pleased with the quality :)

Then later on in the year, I'll be going to Eurofurence, making it my 4th time at the convention and 2nd time at the current hotel. To be honest, I wasn't that impressed with Eurofurence when I last attended in 2010 as it seems that I enjoy every EF less than the one I attended before but I'm sure it'll be good as ultimately it depends on me to make it a good convention or not :)

Finally looking to next year, I really want to get back to America and attend another convention as well as see some more of the country. I've been given a brilliant opportunity to go to Vegas for the first time following Further Confusion so I really want to make that happen. My favourite holiday of all time was FC2009, and not really so much for the convention itself, more for the things I did before the con. It's great to go someplace with a few friends and just chill out by checking out the sights, scenery and restaurants and so that's what I hope to accomplish in January 2013. Early days yet but plenty of time to plan it all out :)

So yeah, in summary I think I'm on the mend as I have many things to look forward to. I just need to get through the other stuff in between like work, which I'm really not enjoying!
slycat: (Default)
Seems like a lot has changed over the 15 odd years I've considered myself part of the furry fandom. In the old days if the Londonfur meets, I used to know pretty much everyone who attended and likewise, most people knew who I was. These days, I don't know the majority of furs who attend the Londonfur meets and even if I put on a conbadge, the only people who know me at meets are those from times of old. I suppose what I have to realise is that I'm just not as popular as I used to be. That said, I don't know what I did to gain popularity back in the day but it did seem that even people I hadn't met before had heard of me. I should be content with how things are but I do miss the times when I had lots of people to talk to.

I suppose it's ironic that I know or have known so many people but I could only count a very small number of them to be actual friends who I can chat with freely. I'd really like to have better friendships with the people I know as I suppose it can feel rather lonely at times. I would initiate conversations with folk I used to know but I don't know what to say or why we stopped talking in the first place. Maybe it's something I've done or someone I've associated with that's changed people's opinions of me or maybe people have just moved on.

Anyway, I'm not really sure what the point of this post is, so I'll wrap it up now. But what would be nice would be for people to let me know that they'd still like to keep in contact with me, it'd be nice to get in touch with more people again :)
slycat: (Default)
As Confuzzled 2012 has a "Silver Screen" theme, which loosely relates to film themed, Blue Dwaggin's been doing some movie themed badges. I decided to get one of the badges and decided on Tron Legacy as the theme for my badge. You can see the pic he came up with on FA here:

However I decided to have a bit of fun and superimpose the character on a Tron Legacy poster to see what it looked like. Turns out, it looks pretty nice indeed!

slycat: (Default)

I don't commission a huge amount of artwork of my character but since Confuzzled last year, I've had 3 new bits done and I thought I'd share them here :)

SlyCat Gaming by Roary Raccoon
Comissioned this pic with [ profile] arakinuk at Confuzzled 2011 from Roary as out of all the people in the dealer's den, he was the only one doing toony style artwork. Arakin and I had just got our 3DSes and so we decided to have our characters drawn playing on the console. I didn't expect the pic to come out so babyfurish but I guess that's just Roary's style. However, I can assure you that I'm not a baby fur, no matter what having a Marci badge may mean to some :P

SlyCat Badge by Muzz
[ profile] muzz did one of my favourite drawings of my character and so I took up the opportunity to get another from her when she was open for badge commissions. Really pleased with the pic, but the outline makes it look a bit weird when you make it small so I've not used it for any icons or anything.

SlyCat Icon by Karpour
I had always been a fan of [ profile] karpour's artwork even before I met him at [ profile] timduru's Halloween event as he is simply a fantastic toony artist. Naturally, I leapt at the opportunity too get an icon by him when he opened for commissions and this was the result. Very pleased indeed :)
Click the thumbnail for a bigger picture (where applicable) and also to browse the other art I have. Anyway, that'll do for now but I hope to be LJing again sometime soon :D
slycat: (Default)
With another year over, I figured I might as well update my LJ to commemorate this fact. With the number of active users of LJ dropping fast (probably those who have to put up with adverts due to not paying for it and moving their posts to twitter or FA) I doubt many will read this but I'm sure I'll find it an interesting account some day in the future.

Anyway, the most interesting thing that happened to me in 2011 was that I moved house in August to a new place nearer work with Leinir. My old place was a single bedroom flat in a very studenty area of Southampton which was convenient for shops, pubs and transport, it was a bit of a dive. The place wasn't worth what I was paying, the plumbing permanently buggered so that there wasn't enough water pressure to get cold and hot water through the shower so you only got one or the other. It was never considered a problem so for the 3 years I lived there, I pretty much had to have a bath every day. Something you can't do in a hurry, especially if you wake up late for work for example. Also due to the location, there was always drunken people making noises outside the flat into the small hours. I could mention all the other things but that would take some time. Regardless, I am surprised I did not move out of that place sooner.

The new place is a new mid-terrace building (6 years old) which is 3 story with a bathroom (with shower!) on every floor and is in a quiet neighbourhood (apart from the occasional noisy kids next door). Also, I can walk to work so I no longer have to pay for the train nor worry about trains being cancelled which is such a relief. Over the 3 years in my old place, I had been living alone which while expensive, could get lonely at times too. As it was a small place, people barely ever came to visit either which didn't help. I made the conscious decision to live alone as prior to that, I had a very stressful time living with my previous flatmate due to various reasons and I figured that if I lived alone, I'm the only one who can be responsible for the living space and visitors. Now I'm living with Leinir, I'm really enjoying his company. He's broken me out of the cycle of things that I can cook by cooking various interesting new meals and so when he's cooking, food is always interesting. He even got me interested in Chinese food, something which I hated before due to bad experiences. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not however!

Other than the house thing, my year had been pretty dull. Because of the move, I had cancelled my plans to attend Midwest Furfest, something I had been looking forward to so the only convention I attended was Confuzzled. I did manage to get out the country at the end of October to go to France for the first time and visited [ profile] timduru for his houseparty and also Disneyland Paris Halloween which was a lot of fun. Also saw Paris and Disney for a normal day so had a great trip.

In 2012, I am making plans to do a whopping 3 furry conventions; Confuzzled, Eurofurence and Midwest Furfest. I realise it will be expensive but I will manage. I'll want to turn the MFF trip into a full holiday rather than just go to the con so I need to figure that out at some point. Got plenty of time to plan however! In addition to the conventions, I'll also be going on a city break to Dublin which was a prize I won from work due to being one of the employees of the year. I've never been to Dublin so could be interesting but I will be going at the end of Feb so I hope the weather's not too crappy.

Work's been getting rather tedious over the course of 2011. I've been with workplace I'm in now for almost 8 years and while I have ended up becoming the guru for the support team through my experience, I don't think I've really advanced in the company (though not sure really what I'd want to do) so am getting a bit bored. Also with the company being bought, it's become very corporate, an atmosphere I really don't like. I much prefer smaller companies, but I also like job security. I think 2012 will be the time to get my CV written up and start seeing what else is out there.

Anyway, that's my summary of things 2011 and 2012. I'll be back at work tomorrow after having a great new year's with some people over. Hopefully it won't be too shit :P
slycat: (Default)
Went to the Londonfurs Winter Party yesterday after having found out that most of the people I knew were going. I normally avoid London during December as the Tube becomes rather unbearable however it was fine considering it was only a simple route I had to take.

Anyway, the meet was held at a pub called The Sterling which is in a building known as the Swiss Re, better known as the London Gherkin. It sounded like it'd be a fantastic venue but it was only on the ground floor so you didn't get a fantastic view, and the place had a lot less space than the Summer Party venue did. It certainly felt very cramped with everyone there as you can kind of see here.

I could moan about the drinks prices but despite the cheapest lager costing £5 but I expected pricey drinks and it did seem that the spirits cost a bit less than the Summer place. Still, I managed to run out of cash before the end of the night but I had enough alcohol to feel merry which is fine for me, especially considering I had been drinking the previous evening at my work's do.

The theme of the party was "Dress to Impress" which basically meant wear suit & tie, etc. Personally I hate having to wear a shirt and tie for work and so I really wasn't going to be dressing that way in my spare time. Some of us jokingly mentioned that the theme was "Work" or "Wedding Reception" :P So yeah, I didn't dress to the theme as I went in t-shirt and jeans. Initially I was worried I would be the only one dressed as such but soon enough many others turned up, many of whom I knew so I didn't worry about it in the end.

It was great to see so many people, may of whom I wish I could see more often and in a less crowded impersonal environment. There was a few great songs played which reminded me of the 90's like Born Slippy and Ebeneezer Goode. I imagine a number of the participants weren't even born when those came out... which makes me realise how old I am and the fact that I'm still going to meets 12 years later.

There was also a prize draw featuring prizes generously provided by Elliot's Live Events which included iPod Nanos, an iPod Touch and the grand prize, a paid holiday for 2 to Florida for Elliot's Spring Gathering! Naturally, I wanted to stay around for the draw to know if I had won and so I held on until after 9 when the prizes were finally drawn. Regrettably, I came away empty handed but some great people I knew won some of the prizes like Anthropuppy, Rallicat and Ultrafox who won the grand prize :)

While there, I decided to take a bunch of photos this time round which made me recall the times when I used to go to every meet and photograph every one. I didn't even bother putting them on my furmeets site, instead putting them on my personal site with my convention and other gathering photos.

Anyway, to summarise, the venue wasn't really that great but it was brilliant seeing everyone and ultimately, I had a good time :)

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