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Leopard White Mage
At 9 AM this morning, we opened up the hotel registrations for Anthrocon 2011. Here are the performance graphs, with annotations:

Network traffic graph (Annotated) Memory usage graph (Annotated)

Netstat (Annotated) CPU usage graph (Annotated)

The arrows point to the spikes at 9 AM when I made the changes to the site live. Here's a breakdown of those stats in more detail:
  • Bandwidth went from a weekly average of 326 kilobits/sec to just over 5 megabits/sec.

  • # of concurrent network connections went from ~41 to 350

  • CPU usage went from 45% of 1 core to roughly 200% of one core (we have 4 cores)

  • Memory usage was largely unaffected. Yay for an async I/O webserver!
So the site held up just fine to the onslaught of users.

One thing I could have done better was the deployment. At about 8:30 AM, I replaced www.anthrocon.org with a static HTML page with the status, and pointed another DNS name at our Drupal installation. Unfortunately, Drupal is a bit finicky with its $base_url variable, and I had to tweak that by hand, as well as tweak the webserver config by hand. I then went to our temporary URL, published the hotel pages, made sure everything was okay, and undid all of those changes to re-deploy the website. Unfortunately, I forgot to clear out the cache in Drupal, which meant some people did not see the new hotel page until as late as 9:02 AM. Okay, so it's only 2 minutes, but I felt that it was a silly mistake that shouldn't have happened.

Next year, I think I'll look into an "auto-publishing" system of some sort to automagically make the pages in question live at 9 AM. That should simplify things for me quite a bit, and maybe not even require me to actively do anything.

Other than these minor issues, the whole hotel thing went over pretty well this morning. I monitored Twitter for the next hour or so, and was able to Tweet status updates to everyone as things happened.

As of this writing, the Courtyard is completely sold out, and Doubles in the Westin are sold out. (but Kings are available) Rooms at the Doubletree are still available (along with suites!), as well at The Omni William Penn.

(X-posted to anthrocon)
Leopard White Mage
Last night, I went down to Delaware for the Delaware Furbowl, run by kitt3ns. It was my first one ever, and I rather enjoyed it!

Group Shot Kitt3ns speaks Jaga

What some folks might not know is that I spent a good deal of time in league bowling when I was younger. 17 years, in fact! So naturally, I was happy at the chance to be able to bowl again, as well as hang out with other furries! One thing that was very cool about this event was that there were a few lanes set aside for "serious bowlers". I camped out on those lanes, along with whitefeet, Greywolf, Delray(?), and a couple of other folks.

<-- Casual Bowlers | Serious Bowlers --> Kojac Racer in his white Crux fursuit Strike!

I bowled 3 games in total, and shot: 118, 158, 187.

The lanes were really dry, which caused our balls to hook rather sharply in the last 5 feet of the lane. Once I got used to this, I was able to start making more strikes and spares, and did better in each subsequent game. I could have broken 200 in the last game had I not choked in the 10th frame. :-P

Protocollie Taquoe Fursuiter bowling

I remember after the event, some of us went to Wawa for sandwiches. I was still wearing my tail, and a couple of non-furries pointed to me and yelled, "Hey! Chester Cheetah!" Man, everyone thinks I'm a cheetah.

Vega bowls An otter bowling Fursuiter bowling

I very much would like to attend future Furbowls, the big challenge for me is just securing transportation down there and back, since I do not currently own a car. Trains are less viable for me for this event, since having to lug a 16 pound bowling ball around on the train is not fun.

The rest of my photos can be found here, but I'll leave you all with this final group shot:

Group Shot
17th-Jan-2011 01:31 pm - A letter that needs to be written
Leopard White Mage

Dear Mr. King,

Thanks for leaving the place in better shape than you found it.

Your friend,

The United States of America


It's also worth sharing the full video of Martin Luther King's speech:



The text of his speech can be found over here.
Leopard White Mage
I don't think I wrote about MidWest FurFest in too much detail yet, so I'll do that here.

I got to work in the Art Show for aureth this year. My responsibilities this time were mostly technical. I got to setup MySQL on their new server, and ended up dragging my laptop down to the art show so I could write code to generate reports on the Art Show sales. That was rather fun.

Fursuit Parade Wag Cheetah&apos;s Party

Otherwise, I spent a fair bit of time socializing and having fun with a number of folks at the con. The new hotel with its indoor atrium and nice big lobby lent itself well to that. I stopped by a some room parties that were generously hosted by seven001, justincheetah, Kasi Frost, and others.

Seven&apos;s Party At Duncan&apos;s Party Roadkill Hyena

Something unexpected happened at the con: I fursuited again! While foxlord was on the phone, I thought I would be silly and put on his fursuit paws. When he returned from his phonecall, he suggested I put on the head as well. And then this happened:

Grand Theft Fursuit

I ended up wearing the partial (named "Patch") a few nights at the con, and am very grateful to Foxlord for the loaner. I'm not sure if I'm up to wearing a full fursuit yet, but I think it's definitely worth putting on my list of "things to do".

Midwest FurFest Board Meeting Ford Shephard Fizz&apos;s mowhawk, now with LEDs

Other things of note that happened at the con was my involvement with the Fursuit Parade. I was milling around in con space waiting for it to start when takaza ran up to me and asked, "Are you working right now?" I replied in the negative, and he stated, "You are now! Come with me!" I ended up being stationed next to a set of double doors, and counted fursuits with a counting device as they came through. It was a great idea, because only 1-2 fursuiters could make it through the doorway at a time, and only in one direction. The total number of fursuiters was 413, by the way. Quite a turnout!

Fursuit Parade Fursuit Parade Single Speed Cheetah

Somewhere in there I ended up giving an interview for a video called Furries - An Inside Look. Since it's over half an hour long, I have yet to sit down and watch it. I'm hoping I didn't come off looking too dorky, since I don't have much experience speaking on camera. (Any tips would be appreciated!)

The Interviewers Seven bartends Uncle Kage gets interviewed

If there's one thing I'd do differently at next year's MWFF, I would try to attend more convention programming. I didn't get to do that much this year, between working and socializing with people.

Overall, MidWest FurFest was another successful convention. I have many good memories from that con, and can't wait to go back next year.

(The full set of my pictures are over here)
1st-Jan-2011 10:31 pm - New Year's Furry Ball 2010 report
Leopard White Mage
Last night was the first time I attended the New Year's Furry Ball. And I had a blast!

Origami Gryphon and ??? Furry dance Kojac

Things that separated this from a typical New Year's Eve party:

- A dinner that was catered by the hotel, for all attendees
- A dance DJed by protocollie
- A lovely atrium that served as a great hangout spot, with a game of Rockband going on in one corner.
- Getting to see some friends from the region that I had not seen in awhile
- Hearing the song Shots ft. Lil Jon for the first time. Great party song! :-)

Clementine Finnish looks pissed Got salad?

Even though it was more of a party and less of a con, we did end up having to have small registration table, which is where I got to work. I was the guy with the shaved head checking IDs and taking money. The total turnout was somewhere around 150, and from the IDs I saw, we had people from places like Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and at least one person from Massachusetts!

Clementine and Vega Kale DJs Kale announces the winning ticket

While working at registration, several people asked me, "What does a sponsorship get?" My answer was: "Our undying gratitude".

5 people bought sponsorships on the spot for this reason alone. A 6th came back later and gave us another $15 to upgrade.

Loki and Nito Furry dance Kellogg Collie and ???

So, what was the takeaway from last night? protocollie and kitt3ns know how to throw one hell of a party!

For the eBay crowd, this translates to: "Excellent seller - I would totally back this person up in a knife fight"

(Want to see the rest of the pics? They're at http://www.flickr.com/photos/dmuth/sets/72157625599053775/with/5314593510/)

X-Posted to nyfb and Pennsylvania Furries.
29th-Dec-2010 08:32 pm - New Year's Furry Ball - Who's Going?
Leopard White Mage

So who else is going to the New Year's Furry Ball on Friday evening?

It will be held down in Delaware, a short distance from those of us in the Phildelphia area. Tickets can be purchased at the door.

More info is available here.

 

 

26th-Dec-2010 09:55 pm - Big Life Update: Work and Health
Leopard White Mage
I've been kinda quiet here for the last month or so, and that's because, after my workplace got a visit from the FBI(!!) a few months back, I decided that was a sign it was time to move on. I had been there for 5 years (an eternity for a software engineer) and really felt like I was outgrowing the position. I wanted to move up in my career and into a position with more responsibility. So I spent a few weeks in November quietly doing job interviews, eventually found an employer that was a good fit, received an offer, and started work for them 2 weeks ago.

The new position has me working as the senior most engineer with a startup in Center City Philadelphia. In addition to actual programming, I also play the part of the sysadmin and get to be a one-man NOC. It's a big step up in responsibility, and with the corresponding pay raise I got at the new job, it's like a promotion of sorts. The company is still small, and only a month old, so I also have the chance to build something really cool as the company grows. It's the kind of challenge that attracted me to computer programming in the first place.

Yes, they're a Drupal shop, why do you ask? :-) Seriously, Drupal is a big piece of software, and I've learned even more about it in the last 2 weeks. This in turn means I do more neat things with the Drupal sites that I run. Everybody wins!

In health-related news, I finally got over to the Rothman Institute (which is like the Anthrocon of sports medicine) and got a diagnosis on my knee issues. And the diagnosis is: patellar tendinopathy, also known as chronic tendinitis. Here's my MRI:



It turns out that this wasn't brought on by exercise, but rather because the length of my patellar tendons are a few millimeters shorter than is normal. This predisposes me to issues with that tendon, and normally affects people when they get to be around my age. The rest of the knees are "perfectly healthy" according to my knee doctor, and this particular injury is treated with physical therapy. This would be different from the physical therapy I had in the spring, in terms of what muscles are exercised.

I asked the doctor if chondromalacia had anything to do with this. He explained to me that my problems were never chondromalacia. The previous issues I had were just warning signs of this. So I see more physical therapy in my future, and hopefully I can get the knees back to normal.
Leopard White Mage
This is how I feel:



...any questions?

And jeeze, who gave Dolph a lightsaber? My landlord's gonna be pissed!
24th-Nov-2010 09:38 pm - Midwest FurFest 2010 Teaser Pic #1
Leopard White Mage


- Yes. That's me.

- No. That's not my fursuit. I borrowed it from foxlord. (Tail's mine, though)

- Yes. That's a bottle of absynthe.

- No. I did not drink that particular bottle of absynthe.

- Yes. I had fun suiting around the con.

- No. That's not a cheetah.

I hope to have the rest of my pictures uploaded and a con report written in a few days.
24th-Nov-2010 10:43 am - How OpenID works
Leopard White Mage
Explained in two simple pictures:


(Images courtesy of the Coding Horror blog)

Any questions?

Really, OpenID is merely a way for a third party (Google, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) to tell the site you are visiting that you are in fact a specific user on that service.

Want to try logging into a site with OpenID credentials to see how it works? You can try that out on Anthrocon's site. I've got OpenID working over on PA-Furry.org, too!
17th-Nov-2010 02:28 pm - So who's going to Midwest FurFest?
Leopard White Mage
I'm attending, and I'll be working in the Art Show again, and my hours are as follows:

Friday: 11 AM to 1 PM
Saturday: 7 PM to 11 PM
Sunday: 11 AM to 6 PM

Feel free to stop by and say hello while I'm working, but I may be a little busy, especially on Sunday afternoon.

Otherwise, I'm arriving Thursday afternoon and departing late Monday morning. I'd be up for any food/drinks/etc. when I'm not working.

The con's new hotel is the same one that I worked Anime Central at last year, and I'm looking forward to returning there.
16th-Nov-2010 12:29 pm - Update on my knees: It's not lupus
Leopard White Mage
Today I was finally able to see a knee specialist. I headed over to The Rothman Institute to see a Sports Medicine physician about my knee. Before seeing him, they actually took X-rays of my knees on site that he was able to instantly pull up on his computer when he examined me.

The good news is that he could manipulate my knees in all sorts of ways and there was no pain. That rules out lots of joint issues right there. While examining my X-rays, he actually used the software to draw measurements on the screen, superimposed over my knees. He was able to point out that the ratio of certain measurements in my knee shows the patellar tendon coming up a little short, which could be cause of this condition.

The next step is to get an MRI on my right knee (already have one on the left) and see him with both MRIs so we can get a better idea of what is going on in the soft tissue, and decide how to treat it.

He said that tendinitis in the patellar tendon is a possibility, but tendinitis usually goes away after some rest, ice, and NSAIDs. This may be the more severe tendinopathy, which would require more intensive treatment. At this point, it's unclear if surgery would be required.

I get my MRI tomorrow afternoon.

The best part about working in Center City? The knee specialist and the hospital where I'll be getting the MRI are 2 blocks from my office.
12th-Nov-2010 09:19 pm - Friday Five: Birthdays
Leopard White Mage
1. Do you really make wishes when you blow out the candles on your cake?

In years past I did. I don't do that so much anymore. (I don't have birthday cakes so much anymore, either)

2. Have any of the wishes ever come true, if yes?

Not that I can remember.

3. How do you feel about birthdays? (e.g. love the attention, just another day, don't want anyone to know my real age, etc.)

I'm okay with them. I usually settle for people buying me drinks, as what was done at the most recent FurFright.

4. Tell us a favorite gift you've received, or something you'd really like for your next birthday.

Hmm, well... I'm not really into physical possessions much. But something I'd really like? I don't think it's something that can easily be bought or sold.

5. What flavor cake?

Chocolate is okay. I'm cool with ice cream cakes, too!
9th-Nov-2010 02:06 pm - Midwest FurFest Room Share
Leopard White Mage
MWFF is just over a week away, and I realized that I still have a room with two double beds in the primary hotel to myself!

I have the room from Thu, November 18 through Mon, November 22. I'm looking for 1 or 2 roommates to help split the cost.

I'll keep my normal convention hours, which means I'm in bed by about 2 AM most nights, and up by 10 AM. I don't plan on heavy drinking in the room nor on holding any loud parties.

If anyone is interested in sharing the room, please let me know in the comments (which are screened).

Thanks!


[Edit: It's all good, I found a roommate!]
Leopard White Mage
So as folks may have read, I did in fact fursuit for the first time at FurFright.

Saturday night while pkitty1, myself, and some other folks were having a few drinks, the topic of myself and fursuiting came up. I somehow was persuaded by Captain Morgan other folks in the room to put on the head and paws of Manik's cheetah fursuit and then walked around con space for about half an hour. The partial actually went pretty well with the black overcoat I wore with it, and it gave me the opportunity to "flash" my conbadges to folks that I knew. (and in many cases surprise them, as was the case with protocollie!)

Here's the proof:



Sweating inside the partial wasn't too bad, but I definitely couldn't wear the suit for an excessive amount of time. I unfortunately had issues with the paws, since they were basically giant slippers, I couldn't easily put my orthotic shoe inserts in them, and that did a number on my feet. (maybe I should shuffle more next time?)

Visibility was also very poor inside the fursuit head. Specifically, I was told that visibility in that head was particularly bad compared to other suits. Unfortunately, I don't have any experience with other fursuits to compare that against. :-P

I'll have to see if it's feasible for a fursuit maker to "build" a set of paws around a spare pair of shoes when I commission should I decide to commission a leopard cheetah cheopard fursuit at some point.

If anyone can recommend any good fursuit builders, BTW, feel free to do so in the comments.
Leopard White Mage
I've been playing with Amazon EC2 over the weekend, and trying to set up popular software packages on it. I was able to get Munin set up, but every time I tried to load the Munin webpages (e.g. http://ec2-xxx-xxx-xxx-xxx.compute-1.amazonaws.com/munin/), I would get redirected to whatever the server_name directive was set to in Nginx. Usually it'd be something like "localhost", which was completely unhelpful.

I tried playing around with the server_name directive for awhile, and putting in the DNS name of the machine would work, but since I only used this instance sparingly, and starting it up caused it to be assigned a different IP each time, I would have to keep updating the config file. Not a viable solution.

I tried doing some fancy rewrites to the $server_name variable, but since Amazon's EC2 servers have their own internal IP in 10.0.0.0/8, my browser would just get redirected to an IP address that was not routable outside of Amazon's network.

I finally found the right directive:


server_name_in_redirect off;


This tells nginx to honor the Host: field in the initial HTTP request, instead of determining the name of the server on its own. This fixed the issue just fine.

Hopefully others will find this post and spend less time solving this problem than I did. :-)

(And yes, Ubuntu has official AMIs for EC2...)
4th-Nov-2010 10:47 pm - FurFright 2010 Con Report!
Leopard White Mage
FurFright was a fun convention this year! It started off with a bang in my first security shift on Friday afternoon. I got a call for "first aid in the parking lot", which cliff_husky and I responded to. Turned out that "first aid" was an understatement. We arrived on the scene of an MVA (Motor Vehicle Accident) at the entrance of the parking lot, with one person injured pretty badly. We attended to him, with Cliff taking his vitals and history and me holding his neck in the c-spine position for a good 10 minutes until an ambulance arrived and EMTs relieved us.

That was the first ever auto accident that I worked. Was a little nervous afterward, but not nearly as shaken up as I thought I'd be. And what did I learn from this? Get first aid training. You never know when you'll need it.

The rest of the shift was uneventful, other than trying to figure out the hotel's weird layout. Apparently it was added onto twice, and had been rebuilt after a fire at least once, so the layout was very... unplanned. Hallways that had multiple ramps on them, stairways that only went up 1 floor or even skipped a floor, and ramps that went in circles. It was like M.C. Escher himself designed the hotel!

Raff Foxcoon Got coffee? FUNNY ASS SHIRT

Saturday afternoon had me killing time with P-Kitty and other folks, and somewhere along the line it was suggested that I borrow a fur named Manik's fursuit. He was cool with this, so I put on the head, paws, and my overcoat, and walked around the con for about half an hour. I went up to several folks I knew in personal and said hi. Poor protocollie... I think I broke his brain!

That's right: it was the first time I ever fursuited. And in a cheetah fursuit, at that. Draw your own conclusions.

On a related note, I went and registered the domain cheopard.com. Be afraid.

Minecraft mob Fursuit Parade Peacebonding Raptor Red Kojac

On Saturday night, I dropped by the Gun Furs panel, hosted by cliff_husky. It was pretty informative, and I learned quite a bit about all the different details that surround guns, and the legal aspects of them.

On Friday and Saturday nights, I went to the dances, and played around with the ISO and shutter speed settings on my camera. I got some pretty interesting pictures:

Clementine twirls glowsticks Clementine twirls glowsticks Clementine twirls glowsticks Clementine twirls glowsticks

FurFright 2010 Dance FurFright 2010 Dance FurFright 2010 Dance

The whole set of dance photos can be found here.

My birthday was also on Halloween, and the first time I celebrated it. shortwave81, ferian, and others bought me drinks at the bar, an acceptable birthday present! chefmongoose also got me a bottle of cider called "Lucky Lion", that I hope to enjoy with some friends soon.

As the con came to a close, I realized what an awesome time I had. Between the health issues I've had the last several months, and some other personal issues I had to deal with over the summer (which I now call "the lost summer"), I'd say that FurFright was a high point over the last 6 months or so. And I hope that this uphill trend in my mood and life in general continues.

Extra special thanks to athauglas for the repeated doses of coffee. The stuff I had at 2:30 on Saturday morning was a huge help. It kept me up through 8 AM when my shift ended.

Tzup, ???, and Kai Origami art Shortwave pulls... everyone!

Fursuit Parade Fursuit Parade Doing&apos; the Stanky Leg November and Nbowa

For the rest of my pictures, they can be found here.

Total attendance for the con was 1,284 attendees, as announced at closing ceremonies. The count for fursuiters in the parade was 287 coming out the ballroom, though the official count of fursuiters who actually made it to the end of the parade was about 40 lower. (don't have that number handy)

Finally, there were a few folks I was hoping to get contact info for:

- P-Kitty (Nevermind, he's pkitty1)
- The guy I did first aid on (anyone know if he was okay?)
- Manik (the gentleman who let me borrow his fursuit)
- Clementine (Nevermind, she's mixed_kitten)

If anyone knows of online contact info for these people, please let me know in the comments!

Next con for me will be Midwest FurFest. See you all then.
4th-Nov-2010 04:41 pm - Health update
Leopard White Mage
So I saw my pawdiatrist again today for a followup.

First, the good news: I'm feeling much better than I was 4 weeks ago, thanks to the diagnosis and physical therapy. I'd classify the pain as about a 3/10, whereas it was about a 6/10 4 weeks ago. And if I do have a flareup in the cuboid muscles, applying the heating pad for about 20 minutes is sufficient. (Protip: secure the heating pad with a belt for maximum effectiveness.)

Now, the not so good news: I'm still having some pain, along the side of the feet and in the balls of both feet. It's a very light tingling, that turns into more of a burning sensation if I'm on my feet for some time (like say, at a convention). I can also feel my pulse in those areas of my feet. My pawdiatrist found this very interesting, since those are no blood vessels in those parts of the feet. He flat out said that he has no idea what is going on there.

At this point, since the pain is minor, and I'm "functional", we're going to play "wait and see" for 3 months and see what happens. If I'm still having pain, then we might look into things like acupuncture.

When I asked him about what happens if I ever switch jobs/insurance, he remarked that I can still be a patient of his, even if I don't have health coverage, he'll just charge me the co-pay. When I looked at him like he was crazy, he uttered this quote:

"I'm not here to get rich, I'm here to help you get better".

-- Dr. T, my pawdiatrist


Holy. Crap.

Anyway! At this point, I'm well enough to attend Midwest FurFest (ordered plane tickets today) and to go see a knee specialist about my knee issues, which I'll try to make an appointment for tomorrow.

A con report for FurFright is in the works, with plenty of pictures. Watch for it soon!
27th-Oct-2010 09:17 am - My FurFright schedule
Leopard White Mage
I'll be working security at FurFright again this year with the other Dorsai Irregulars (and cadre). Here's my duty schedule:

Friday: Noon to 4 PM
Saturday: 4 AM to 8 AM, 8 PM to Midnight
Sunday: Noon to 4 PM

Other than the fact that I'll be out of commission on Saturday morning as I catch up on my sleep, I'll be up for meeting with folks for food/drinks/whatever outside of those hours.

Sunday the 31st is my birthday (the first time I've ever celebrated a birthday at a convention), so I intend to reserve the serious partying for then. :-)
Leopard White Mage
So, you're going to FurFright? Well, you'll have to make it to the end of this post to read about the room share. Because just like the stores, I put the cheap merchandise in the back and force you to wade through all the stuff you don't want. :-)

So, my health has... actually gotten a bit better. I've had 5 sessions of physical therapy over the last 2 and a half weeks, and the most interesting thing about this sort of injury is that it's treated mostly by doing stretches and applying heat to relax the muscles. And the affected area does respond very well to heat! I also learned during the initial evaluation that the muscles which move my feet along the z-axis are a bit week, so I was given exercises to strengthen them. Otherwise, I'm at a higher risk of twisting my ankle (exactly what happened to my father when he was my age), and I could totally do without that.

Onto my knees, 2 weeks ago I decided to try a little experiment: I'd try going without my knee braces and see what happens. Well, it's been 2 weeks and I've had some minor aches and pains, but nothing severe. This is a step forward, because it reduces the chances of me becoming dependent on the knee braces. I still intend to see a knee specialist when my feet get straightened out, of course.

Dreams! I actually haven't had any nightmares in the last few weeks. I've had a few dreams which I would describe as "intense", but not unpleasant. I've still been having trouble falling asleep, so I created a spreadsheet of just how much sleep I'm getting each night and how I feel the following morning. Hopefully I can get some useful data from this and see just how much sleep I need to get at night to not feel awful the next morning.

And now, the part you probably wanted to read: the FurFright room share! I currently have a 2-bed room in the primary hotel (Crown Plaza Cromwell) from the evening of Thursday the 28th to Monday the 1st. Right now, I have just myself in the room. If you're interested in sharing the room and splitting costs (half of the room for one roommate, a quarter each for 2 roommates), please contact me or leave a comment on this post.

I've screened comments to this post so that people may inquire about the room in private.

I'll be working security at FurFright once again with The Dorsai Irregulars. I don't yet know what my hours are, but I'll post 'em when I find out.
Leopard White Mage
I took last Friday off for high school classmate Derek's bachelor party last Thursday night. While I emerged from it relatively unscathed and not at all hungover, I cannot say the same for other participants. In other words, a successful bachelor party!

Case in point, here are some photos:

Cammie watches Beavis and Butthead Derek plays Cornholio Cammie

Yes, the dog was watching Beavis and Butthead with us.

Onward to Saturday and the wedding itself. It was the first wedding I was in in some years, and everything went off perfectly. No mistakes, and no drama.

Some pics from the wedding:

Katie&apos;s cheetah necklace (not a leopard)

The necklace above was worn by Katie, the wife of one of my fellow groomsmen, apparently for my benefit. And the best part? It was apparently labelled as a "leopard" by the shop selling it. I had to argue with her that no, it was really a cheetah. This whole leopard/cheetah confusion just never ends!

Also, I became Mayor of a church in FourSquare:

I became Mayor of a CHURCH in FourSquare!

Raise your paw if you didn't see THAT coming!

So, between high school classmate Derek, high school classmate Chris, and myself, I'm the only single person left. Chris got married in 2003 with Derek and I in the wedding party, and this time it was Derek's turn to get married with Chris and myself in the wedding party. Naturally, the question is when will it be my turn to get married (legally or otherwise)? I have no idea. It did prompt me to get around to updating my Pounced.org profile to something a little more current. We'll see what comes of it.
Leopard White Mage
I drove out to Pittsburgh this past weekend for the Western PA Furry Weekend, a small gathering of furs from the Pittsburgh and surrounding areas. Despite being in existence for 10 years, I never attended before, and since I missed a few cons last spring, I decided to change things up a little and visit this one. I'm glad I did!

Group photo 6 fursuit heads Fursuiter in a giant hamster ball

I spent most of Friday evening helping out firefoxbc at registration. It was quite a change to work reg at a con where 116 attendees in total is less than the number of folks waiting in the on-site registration line at Anthrocon. In other words, it was rather relaxing and a pleasant change of pace.

Dinner! Kasi goes for the last piece of cake Finnish and Kojac

Saturday afternoon was the picnic at Fireman's park. I got to spend several hours hanging out and socializing with friends, taking lots of pictures. I ended up bumping into dobie and chatting about photography. He showed me how to use a flash in outdoor photography to "fill in" shadows cast by the sun, as well as how to tweak my camera settings to properly meter pictures. Here's a picture taken without flash fill and the same picture taken with flash fill. The second picture looks much closer to how the scene looked in person.

Finnish Fox plays with static electricity Fursuiters on the swings Cooking dinner

After dinner, the charity auction was held, and I ended up winning the pile of feline-related things:

I won something in the charity raffle

One innovative thing that I saw WPAFW do was to put their all of their programming, plus their sponsor art onto a 2 GB USB stick and include it with their sponsorships. That was a pretty neat idea, and with 1.99 GB left on the USB stick, I now have something that I can use in the future.

Fursuiters Fursuiter with Dorsai ear tags Chalk drawings

Healthwise, my feet held up fine most of the weekend. They started to hurt after being on my feet for about 6 hours straight on Saturday, at which point I sat down for about 10 minutes, then was able to walk around some more. In other words: better than they've been in months!

Naturally, I took lots of pictures. The full archive can be found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dmuth/sets/72157625097235542/

Overall, I had a rather good time this weekend. I'm going to try and make WPAFW next year. You should, too!
30th-Sep-2010 04:40 pm - This could have been a love story
Leopard White Mage
I saw this over on Twitter courtesy of nikvulper:



It was highly relevant to me because it is directly related to some recent events in my life.

And the advice in the video is too true. If you have feelings for someone, tell them. They might just have similar feelings for you.


In other news, the medication for my feet has helped a little. And I've been hiting my feet with a heating pad several times a day to try and relax the muscles a bit.

Tomorrow I'm driving out to Pittsburgh for Western PA Furry Weekend. I hope to see many folks there.
Leopard White Mage
For the first time in about 6 months of knee/foot problems, I finally got a diagnosis, at least on my feet.

I saw my pawdiatrist (Dr. T) today, 6 weeks after getting my orthotics. I told him that I was still in pain, with several flareups having happened since I started wearing the orthotics, which otherwise have felt just fine.

He did another examination and told that I have something called "Cuboid Band Syndrome" [2], or muscle spasms in the outer part of my feet. It can be caused by overuse, and in my case: by walking around without arch support for 33 years. This is the pain that started at Anthrocon and continues through today. The orthotics didn't make it any worse (and in fact are still medically necessary for me), but I had enough issues going on with those muscles that they did not heal even with the orthotics.

The treatment for this consists to two things. First, a muscle relaxer (Cyclobenzaprine) to relieve the symptoms. Second, physical therapy to strengthen the muscle. I was fortunate to get the same physical therapy place as before, and even get assigned to the same specialist. Since she gave me knee exercises to do earlier in the year (exercises that I still do every night), adding in some foot exercises shouldn't be much of a problem either.

The Cyclobenzaprine could be interesting, though. My pawdiatrist said that it will "knock you out", and not to even think of driving a car or drinking booze after taking my dose. So this means I will probably not be consuming any alcohol while at WPAFW this coming weekend, but hopefully in less pain too.
Leopard White Mage
Here's a nifty TED video from Dr. Phillip Zimbardo, the psychologist who brought us the Standford Prison Experiment, and the video I referenced before called Why ordinary people do evil... or do good. It discusses how we interpret time, and what our frame of mind is:



Is this a silver bullet? Well, I think I'll let the mental health experts argue about that one. :-) But it's a new concept for me, and worth learning more about.
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