Anthrocon 2016: My first Experience

I like to consider myself a pretty open person when it comes to conventions and new things (outside of food, i am a bit of a picky eater). for those that no me, i am a pretty frequent face at all the majority of the local conventions. I try to attend as many as possible. I also try to get out of state and attend some of the larger ones which are always a blast.

I am sure that in this modern day, most people know what furries are. (For the record i am not sure if calling someone a furry is offensive or not, so if it is please let me know.) These people who put on anthropomorphic costume have become a pretty well known thing, especially among the geek community. There are 3 or 4 kids (teenagers) who frequent the local conventions in their fur suits. I have to say that they seem to be pretty popular, especially among young kids. It is pretty obvious that they would be popular with young kids, they look like giant cartoon characters.

No matter the convention, these kids are always dancing it up to music and having a good time, which blows my mind cause it has to be 20 degrees hotter in that costume than the outside temperature, but they don’t let that bother them, although i am sure there are Fan’s and possible ice packs you can sew into those suits. Needless to say i was a bit curious about the large following that this seems to draw. Pittsburgh Pennsylvania has the biggest drawing of furrys every summer; AnthroCon they call it.

Like i said, i have never been to AnthroCon, but a handful of friends were going so i decided that i might as well check it out, so i jumped in the car and went to check it out. I must say it was a nice day for them to be out, not too hot and well if it was cold, i doubt it would slow them down much, if at all.

When i got there, it was surprising how empty the venue seemed, i had heard stories about how many of these people, showed up for this specific event, though my friend informed me that these individuals like to party and most of them were probably still sleeping off the previous nights bar crawl. The second thing that i noticed while getting there was the line. it took me over a half an hour to get through the line to pay for my pass. It was frustrating, but there were a lot of people there saturday morning, and there wasn’t enough staff to keep up with the demand. It happens, i have been to conventions where the lines were hours long (Cleveland Wizard world line was Insanely long).

After the anxious 30 min wait, i slapped down my $30 and got my freshly printed Badge with my name, and took a walk through the front doors and into the main venue. The venue (David L. Lawrence Convention Center) is a huge Venue, its big and it can hold a lot of people. being the casual observer, i started walking around the convention, looking at the wares for sale. I have to admit i was surprised with the amount of casual fans that were at this convention. I also was amused by the number of people walking around with ears and tails.

There were people who had partial suits (Heads and hands, and sometimes feet, while others were in the full suit. Head, hands, body, feet.) but there were still more in pants and a shirt, no tails or ears. While walking, there were a lot of people selling everyday geeky items, purses, backpacks, occasional toy weapons. I should have expected that they would have non furry stuff. I am sure the fur people like their zelda and Dr who just as much as they like their Anthro wears.

One other thing that i noticed at this con was the number of Adult themed art and games. I realize that this convention does have a more adultcentric feel, but i guess it was just a bit of a surprise the number of adult items they had. Now don’t think that there was just nudity spilling out, most of it was behind binders and folders that were labeled 18+. There was a vast range in ages of the people attending, and the Artists and sellers do a good job of at least keeping it discreet from the younger audience.

The second show room had even more artists than the main room, and every one of these artists were amazing. I was blown away with how skilled they all were. Most of them had some subtle differences in they way their art was, but no matter who you bought art from would have disappointed. This isn’t me saying oh i expected to see bad art, but me talking about how big of a draw of talent Anthrocon pulled in. You could have spent hundreds on special badges and art pieces and not been disappointed.

As they day wore on, more and more of the main attraction appeared, i even ran into two at a bar drinking, which was a sight. Watching someone in their costume drinking a beer through the costume is quite a sight, not good or bad, but just different. They didn’t drop character at all and that was impressive. Around 1 or 2 they had a parade of all the people in costume, and i honestly was blown away by how many there were. I think the final count was 3000 for the event, but the parade was like an hour long, the parade just never ended.

I ended up calling it a day after the parade. I must say i was incredibly impressed with the venue and all the people in their suits, those suits are insanely intricate and look amazing. The staff was incredibly friendly, and they seemed to be having just as much fun as the people in their fur suits. People out there like to judge based on what they have heard from others and what they saw on C.S.I that one time, but i must say they were the most professional and friendly people i have met, and i will more than likely attend next year. I will be cosplaying as Casual con patron #3

 

-Photo by Anthrocon.org

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Why i will never buy Hyundai again!

This blog has been a long time coming. I had been giving this a lot of thought about how i wanted to go about this with the most tact. I have owned my Hyundai Veloster for going over 5 years now and there have been things i have dealt with in the last five years that has sealed that i will never by hyundai again.

The Hyundai Veloster is the first car i ever bought. I had previously owned a Sunfire, but that was a present for college and not something i had actually purchased myself. When i first went out looking for a car, i was interested in getting a newer Camaro, but driving a few made me quickly change my mind. After going through and looking at used cars, my neighbor recommended that i go with a newer model car as it would cost less in the long run with the mfg warranty.

When i got to the Hyundai dealership there were three versions of the 2012 Hyundai veloster, only one of them was still available as the person who they had ordered it for wanted one with all the bells and whistles, and not the base model. As someone who was 25 at the time and just started a job that could afford the base model, it was all i needed. From the first test drive, i was in love with the Veloster. It wasn’t a subaru or volkswagen, but i loved how it handled and how i felt in the car. There was no need to discuss or haggle since it was new and the price was right. One of the things that really sucked was the fact that it took more than four hours for us to sit down with a sales person to go over the paperwork. Once the paperwork was done and my loan which was cosigned by my mom (I was young with no credit) i was on my way with the car.

The first thing that upset me about being a hyundai customer was the fact that the dealership i had gotten the car from had given me paperwork about lifetime state inspections or something along those lies, but the hyundai i bought the car from was 40+ min’s away from where i lived and the hyundai by my work was 10+ from my job and also 40+ mins from where i lived. Apparently the Hyundai i got my car serviced was under no desire to honor that lifetime. The second issue i had was the number of issues i had with the car. Since i bought the car, i have had issues with the head unit just crashing at random. Sometimes it will not turn on it and will just hover on the boot up screen. Other times it just won’t find my bluetooth or it won’t connect. I had the head unit replaced once and then software updates, but it still likes to occasionally stop working.

One of the problems i had with this car was that when i would start accelerating up a rather steep hill, at low speeds my car would have a faint squeal like a belt was having issues. Several times i told them about this and once i took them for a drive and yet no matter how many times i took it in they never could “Duplicate it, even though i could almost every time i went up a hill.”

As my cars years progressed and the warranties came to pass, many repairs were needed that were no longer covered. During my state inspection, i was informed that my evap canister was bad and when i went to Hyundai, it was no longer under warranty because i had 50k+ miles on my car. They were willing to sell me one which at the time of writing this i was to say it was like $400-$600. I got one online for around $200 and it was OEM.

One of the biggest things that annoyed me about the car was the paint chipping off. On the rear passenger door, paint has begun chipping off and it is only getting larger. For a car that is 5yrs old, i can’t understand why it is chipping like the paint never properly bonded. The door handle itself has begun to fade. I thought the plastic part was black, but apparently it is actually white and painted black. It is incredibly ugly to look at the plastic fading to white, but i have no idea what to do.

The last thing that really put me off about Hyundai was the bait and switch they did on my mom. As i said before my mom had to co-sign on my car and because of that when she went to get a new car, Hyundai offered her a discount for returning Hyundai owners, which is why she bought a Hyundai herself. In the span of about 2 years, we purchased two Hyundai cars. Recently my mom has had issues where if she is driving her car for an extended distance, it will hesitate to get up to speed and won’t accelerate. If she shuts off the car and then turns it back on, the car won’t turn over and she has to wait for the engine to cool down before she can start it. She took it to Hyundai while it was still under warranty and they told her that there was an issue with something in the engine and that they would replace the engine with a used one that had double the miles that hers did for $3000+. That had me incensed, how can a car under warranty all of a sudden not be covered. Hyundai claimed that because my mom didn’t get regular oil changes through them, that it somehow voided the warranty on the engine so the issue wasn’t covered. My mom takes care of her car, and is a very easy driver, and yet because Hyundai didn’t do everything it was now going to cost her money she didn’t have.

Needless to say my mom wasn’t able to work with the better business Bureau because she missed the deadline to file because of work and helping plan a wedding, and now she is stuck with a Hyundai that is “out of warranty” and she can’t take long trips without fear of it breaking down for good. Needless to say this backhanded dealing was the straw the broke the camel’s back. I understood the issues i had with my car. I was driving around 200 miles every weekend for a traveling team and put miles on my car, and the squeal was faint and hard to track, but the fact that there is clearly an issue with the engine that had nothing to do with my mom and probably everything to do with it being faulty suddenly not being covered is enough to make me done. Many of my friends have been pushing my to look in Subaru and if the day comes i can afford a new car i will be heading to a Subaru dealership and seeing how their cars and warranties are.

So i Bought the Google Pixel

I don’t really consider myself a fanboy when it comes to phone. I have never been one of those people who was deathly loyal to one phone over the other. I loved my Envy when i had it and when it stopped working, i had a good run with the droid phone. For the last five years, i was fairly dedicated to apple and the Iphone cult that seems to follow it.

I never thought that the Iphone was the end all be all of phones, but i owned it. Part of the allure of having the Iphone was because i owned a macbook pro and had a car that was iphone compatible. Having an Iphone was just an ease of convenience at the time, but as of late i have quickly found myself slowly drifting away from being everything Apple.

I have had an iphone for about 5 years now, and it has been good, but i have had some problems. One of the problems i always had with Iphones is that i would eventually have something go bad and have to get a refurbished phone, only to have the refurbished phone go bad in a year or so. This happened once with my Iphone 4 but most recently my Iphone6.

My Iphone six lasted me almost two years with no issues which is a surprise because phones like to just stop working on me. Home button here, Bluetooth there. My phones last between one and two years before they stop working. This time around, My first replacement worked for about three months before it stopped getting a signal. I would have to take the sim card out and put it back in to make it work, the Second replacement lasted a whole 24 hours before the touch screen stopped working. Needless to say i was irritated and decided it was time for a Change.

Before this moment, i had never really considered the google pixel. I knew someone who had one, but I hadn’t really considered it. Had the Samsung Note7 not had catastrophic failures, i would have more than likely bought it, but it’s gone and so i decided to give Google a try and purchase the Pixel.

I was a bit apprehensive about the Pixel as the Phone was made by an outside Company, it still has google’s name on it which is fine. When i first got the phone i was amused by the fact that pulled all my contacts from my gmail account, though they were old ones that i no longer used was a downfall. Once i got the correct contacts from my Iphone put in and the old numbers i no longer needed removed i was on my way.

The first thing i noticed about the Pixel was how useful that fingerprint reader on the back is. I have to say that it is the easiest and most convenient way to open my phone. The one downfall to this lock setup is that it gives you several options for alternative locks. This keypad and the pattern lock. The only thing i don’t like about this is i have yet to find a way to reset my password. I am not a big fan of the pattern lock and so far nothing i can do allows me to reset it. I have tried several times and can’t figure out the reset.

That brings me to my first con about the Pixel. The settings in the phone seem to be a bit limited in the Pixel. Granted i am comparing this to the iphone, but it just seems like Google tried to make the settings as basic as possible at the sake of people who are a bit more tech savvy like myself. Another thing about this phone is that notifications seem to be turned on for everything which gets a bit annoying in the drop down when you have a bunch for stuff you never use.

Another thing that kind of bothers me is their Alarms, its nice, but it seems a bit clunkier than the Iphone. It seems a big rougher and harder to set up the day’s you want it to go, but its not a huge complaint. One of the things i do like about the Phone is some of the apps, though i wish it had a fitness tracker like Iphones, though i did notice that there is quite a lot of bloatware on the phone that i will never use, though they do let you ┬áremove it if you don’t want.

Widgets is another nice thing to have on this phone, I can have weather, date, time, and my data usage all on the home screen. One thing that i also like is when i unlock my phone, it opens up to the last app that i used and everything seems to load rather fast which makes me bouncing through things rather quickly. Both camera’s seem to be very vivid, and i have to say the screen on the Pixel seems so much brighter and has better color than that of the Iphone. Sometimes i bump the volume button when i mean to hit power but it happens and i adjust. The screen capture is a bit weird, but all in all its still not too bad.

The one thing that i really wish the Pixel had was a better rating against water and dust. I carry my phone everywhere and sometimes i am working on various projects that can kick up a lot of dust. I realize that a good case prevents this, but its still nice having a phone that can withstand some extra water in your worst case scenario.

I wish that my iphone worked better with my car, but it still seems that my car refuses to accurately connect with any phone, regardless of how much i prefer hands free. All in all the Pixel is a good phone, i wish the 128gb was out sooner, or at least expandable memory, but this phone has my attention, and as long as it holds up for a year or more, then i will be satisfied staying a Pixel user.

 

 

Election Anxiety

The election is less than a week away and i feel like this is the worst election i have ever voted in, to the point it gives me anxiety when i think about it.

I have voted in every Presidential election since i was 18, and usually i was pretty excited on my chance to vote. Every time i voted Republican because that is the way i have always leaned. I like to consider myself a fairly progressive person for a Republican. This is the first time in my life that i am conflicted when it comes to who i am voting for. Usually I just voted for Republican but this year i have to say i feel mentally conflicted with where i should lean.

Don’t get me wrong, there was a point where i was going to vote for Trump(Again, I am Republican), not that I am Trump supporter, I was a John Kasich supporter, but now with a handful of stories about him it has really made me question my desire to even vote. Something about Trump’s “Locker Room” talk bothers me. I am a guy, i have been apart of locker room talk, but i have never talked about forcing myself on a woman or grabbing her. Coming from the Strong Catholic family, something like that would have gotten the tar beaten out of me.

If there was one thing that my father drilled into my head as a child, it was the fact that you never treat a woman like anything less than a person. Sure as a kid i fought with my sisters and we called each other names, but as far as women go, i would never force myself on one or physically/mentally abuse her.

Trumps instability does bother me enough that it weighs on my conscious when i wonder if i should vote for him.

If you are sitting there and saying that i should vote for Hillary because she wouldn’t let that sort of thing stand, i disagree.

In my eyes, Hillary is just as guilty as her husband. I have heard enough stories about Bill sexually assaulting women, and they have been silenced by the Clintons. How can you say that Trump is a womanizer without admitting that Hillary was complacent with her husband’s actions and her strong silence lack there of keeping these women from being heard. In my eyes, if you don’t speak up when one person commits an action, then you shouldn’t point across the aisle and shout “LOOK what they did!” when someone else does it.

I am sure you can argue day and night about those women who accuse both Trump and Clinton, but the fact is there are just as many accusers against Bill as there are of Donald.

The other thing that bothers me about Hillary is her email server, and i know its like beating a dead horse, but the fact of the matter is she lied and lied and lied. If she would have come out from the start and said listen i messed up, it was how many people in my position ran things and it was for convenience, i could have probably shrugged it off, but she didn’t. The fact that she pretends like she did nothing wrong while people who have done similar things as her are doing hard time bothers me.

Most of my friends who know my rather easy going nature would say, “If you hate them both then vote Stein or Johnson!”

The more research i do on Gary Johnson the more i can’t take him serious as a candidate. There was a time i was going to vote for him, but i have seen enough interviews to know that he has almost no political savvy. He did an interview where he was talking while his tongue was out and it sounded like gibberish, that is something 5 year olds do when they are being silly. From listening to the interviews where they asked him about the various wars and political figures, i am fairly certain that i know more about what is going on in Aleppo and Syria than he does.

I know several People who want Jill Stein to win, but i like her less than Gary Johnson. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing i want more than my College debt wiped clean but it’s not that simple. When i listen to her, she makes it seem like she can just pass an executive action and all the debt is gone. Debt doesn’t vanish, it has to go somewhere, and someone has to eat that. That is on top of seeing how she tends to waiver on certain questions about touchy topics like the 9/11 investigation. I need someone who has a stance on things, and it seems like anyone with a strong argument and a microphone could convince her of anything.

At this point my head just hurts and i am honestly not sure if i want to even vote. I feel like the only Decent choice would be Bernie Sanders, but even he worries me. I realize he is trying to help people and give the under 40 generation a chance to thrive and save this country from falling into another depression, but i wonder if he really understands the complexities of some of the things he wants to do. Even as i sit here and write this i wonder what i will do come voting night. I may just close my eyes and pray the voting machine picks for me because i honestly am not sure what to do, but doing nothing seems like the worst option.