Hey everyone, it's been, like, 7 years since I posted here last. I saw another LJ friend made a check-in post, and thought I'd do the same and talk about what's happened to me over the last 7 years or so!
In no random order:
- Still a software engineer, now working for a larger international company that you've heard of before. Been there for 6 years now, got promoted once, and generally enjoying it there!
- Still living in Philadelphia, in the same place, even! While part of me regrets not buying a home, this one bedroom apartment isn't so bad, either. I don't have any hobbies that require a lot of physical space, and I can still get by without owning a car. Uber and Lyft make this even easier!
- Got tired of random passwords, so I built a password generator that lets you create passwords you can actually remember.
- Furry Connection North folded. I still miss that con.
- Built a website called Is SEPTA Fucked? with real-time status of Philly public transit as a joke. It turned out to be BY FAR my most popular project. I even won an award for it. What what!
- Anthro New England started, and I eventually became staff there and met a lot of cool people.
- Built a more professional site called SEPTA Stats with more detailed stats on Regional Rail trains but nope--it's still not as popular as the other website. *sigh*
- takaza passed away rather unexpectedly.
- Built a website called All About Cheetahs. GUESS WHAT IT'S ABOUT!
- Converted my website from Drupal over to WordPress. Wish I had switched a long time ago. Drupal just ain't the same CMS anymore.
So I think those are the major things, and as you may have figured out, building software and systems and participating in the furry community continue to be major parts of my life.
Want to get in touch with me? Here's my contact page!
Feel free to let me know what you're up to the comments as well.
As fun as LiveJournal has been over the years, it is increasingly being overshadowed by the likes of Facebook and Twitter, and even Tumblr a bit. I've seen many friends posting less and less here on LJ, and it seems I'm doing the same myself.
I'm not totally abandoning my Journal, but defintely won't be posting here nearly as often. So, here is some contact info for me on other social networking sites:Twitter: http://twitter.com/dmuthFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/dmuth
And finally, my personal website:http://www.dmuth.org/
I'll see you out there.
Well, this year's MFF came and went. And man, did it ever go well. This was one of those conventions for me where everything seemed to go right and fall into place. It was a rare moment at the con when I didn't have something to do or someone to chat with.
As is my tradition with attending conventions, I tend to work them too. This year, I worked in Operations for Puma
and his staff. It was a different experience, and overall I enjoyed being in more of an attendee-facing role at this year's MFF.
As I mentioned in a previous comment, Raptor Red was there, in a new version of his fursuit. He was rather expressive, which is normal for him:
The fursuit parade had 574 fursuiters this year:
On Friday evening, Duncan da Husky and Takaza J. Wolf had a proper civil union done, as those are now legal in Chicago. This was most excellent!
Somewhere in there, kanehusky
thought he would be clever and borrow my White Mage hoodie and tail. So I promptly borrow his fursuit head and paws. Then we spent the evening confusing a whole lot of people! We need to do this again sometime.
Then it was back to work, followed by taking even more pictures of fursuiters.
The con ended wherein I had a few drinks on Sunday evening and was followed around by a couple of Germans
for a bit:
The rest of my pictures, as usual, can be found on Flickr
The verdict? A++, would totally back up the con chair in a knife fight.
Next con for me is Furry Connection North
in the spring. I hope I'll see all of you there!
FurFright went well for me this year.
I don't have much specifically to say, because other than working security, socializing with old friends (and making a few new ones), and catching up on my sleep, I didn't do much else. But that's the kind of convention experience that I'm okay with.
Wanna see the rest of my pictures? They're over here
Next con for me is Midwest FurFest, which is just around the corner. I'll be working in Operations there (huge surprise, I know). See ya soon!
Wow, it's been awhile since I've written to my LJ.
I want to update here more, but it seems like people are using LJ less and less. While I like Twitter, it's really difficult to post anything meaningful there, such as schedules. Oh well.
Anyway, here are the hours I'll be on duty at FurFright this weekend:
Friday: 4 PM to 8 PM
Saturday: 8 AM to Noon, 2:30 PM to 4 PM
Sunday: 12 AM to 4 AM, 4 PM to 8 PM
My position is "sergeant", which means I'll be based at the security desk, but walking around a fair bit, checking with people who are working at the various badge checkpoints in case they need to take a bathroom break, doing an occasional rove through the guest floors, etc.
Essentially, if I'm wearing my beret, it means I'm working.
Since someone asked me awhile back, the closest thing we have to "ranks" in the Dorsai Irregulars is for individual contracts that are worked. We have at least one "Duty Officer" (or DO for short) who is on duty at a all times. They're the person who is "in charge", who usually makes log entries (yes, we keep event logs at all contracts), and who usually interacts with the hotel's security people. For larger contracts (such as Anthrocon), it is a position that rotates between more than one individual every 6-8 hours.
Next in line, we have 1 or more "Sergeants" each shift. Sgts usually work at the security desk, but they are also tasked with doing the occasional rove, as well as periodically visiting each of the badge check points and checking in with the person working said point, seeing if they need a bathroom break, or if they're coming to the end of their shift and need a replacement, etc. This is a position I frequently work at conventions.
After that, we have "regular security people". In addition to manning the badge checkpoints, they also do "roves", which constitute walking though the guest floors and public areas of the hotel, making sure that there aren't any excessively noisy parties, nor is there anyone intoxicated to the point of needing assistance. Most hotels really like this function of security, because if we deal with a noisy party before any complaints come in to the hotel, the hotel has less work to do. :-)
Finally, at some contracts we also have "medics". These are people with formal medical training (EMTs, etc.) who respond to any medical situations that may arise. Whether we have medics on a given contract is based on a variety of factors, including: the size of the convention, who on the contract has medical training, and state liability laws.
An interesting note is that membership in the DI is not a requirement for any of the previously mentioned roles. I've worked Sgt positions before being a member of the DI, and I've worked badge checkpoints and done roves while as a member of the DI. It comes down to experience, and what roles need to be filled.
It's also worth pointing out that people who work Dorsai contracts either wear the Dorsai logo (seen on the right) somewhere on their person in the form of a beret or armband, or wear a highly-visible t-shirt that says "(event name) security" on it. I only mention this, because in recent years I've noticed people at furry conventions wearing black berets as part of their costume, and I don't want there to be any confusion... :-P
Last weekend was quite fun, as some other furries and myself went to the beach. It was a bit of a remedy for the events of last summer, which included some health issues I was dealing with, as well as someone I who trusted doing something stupid.
I actually didn't drink all that much this weekend, only a beer or two at the hotel and a few drinks at meals (where our servers did shots with us
). Instead of destroying myself with alcohol, I instead destroyed myself by bodyboarding for about 8 straight hours on Saturday. The sunburn isn't that bad, but am I ever
sore. I'm sore even today, 2 days later.
Anyway, here are some pictures:
The rest of my pictures? They're at http://www.flickr.com/photos/dmuth/sets/72157627496725724/
This year's Anthrocon went pretty well for me, at least from a staff/Operations standpoint! This being our 6th year in Pittsburgh, things went rather smoothly. Equipment arrived when it was supposed to, nothing went horribly wrong or got broken, and set up and teardown went fairly well. In that aspect, the con was somewhat "boring" for me, which is actually fantastic.
During my slow days (Friday and Saturday), I actually got to spend some time out enjoying the con, dropped in on a couple of panels, and got some facetime with some folks. My socializing was to such an extent that I didn't even drink all that much, which my wallet had no issues with.
Total stats for this year's Anthrocon were 4,400 furries from 39 countries
, 854 fursuits
in the fursuit parade, and $11,522
raised for The Toonseum
Here's a picture of the Toonseum folks (except for the chef, which was Chiaroscuro):
There's not much else for me to add, because the con was more of the same awesomeness that I'm used to experiencing.
Naturally, I have many more photos than are show on in this post The full collection can be found here
, with my "main" pictures found here
I rolled in from Anthrocon around Midnight on Monday, and slept in yesterday. I then spent the rest of the day hosting staghorne
and Joel Fox
(both visiting from Sweden), along with doing laundry, chores, catching up on email, etc.
In the evening, I showed them both Final Fantasy: Advent Children, and then we tried the Swedish comedy "Fyra år till" (Four More Years), but ran into problems with region encoding. So we instead settled on watching opinionated reviews of Star Trek: The Next Generation
I haven't yet uploaded my pictures, but here's a teaser pic, taken of me by Randorn:
Anthrocon 2011 is almost upon us! While I'm feeling a lot better than I was this time last year (due in part to my health improving
), I still have that pre-con anxiety that I have every year. I suppose I'll get used to it someday.
Anyway, here's what my con schedule is roughly like for this year:
: Arriving around 11 PM. Having a drink at the bar then going to bed.
: Somewhat busy on and off throughout the day until about 9 PM
: Busy most of the day, since that's when on-site registration opens. I hope to make it to The Pennsylvania Furries Meetup
at 10 PM.
: While very much on duty, I don't have any specific commitments other than being at opening ceremonies. I plan on attending the Artists and Dealers Reception at 9 PM. I may be walking around in this
later in the evening. Draw your own conclusions.
: Very much on duty, but no specific commitments. I hope to drop in on some panels.
: Teardown starts in the afternoon. I'll be busy with that through about 9 PM.
: Busy in the morning with post-con meetings. Depart in mid-afternoon.
If anyone would like to do food or drinks (especially drinks!) with me, I'm can totally be talked into that, schedule permitting.
Oh, I don't think I ever mentioned my Anthrocon 2010 pictures that I took last year, so here they are
I hope to see y'all at this year's Anthrocon!
I've been meaning to write an LJ post for awhile about my overall health, but I've had so many things change along that front that I figured I'd let them settle down first.
First, the issue with my knees
. About a year ago, I began feeling pain just below the kneecaps on both knees. I started wearing knee braces to rest the knees, and would try removing them after a few days of being pain free. But this only made the pain come back, and even worse: I would feel sharp stabbing pains in the sides of my knees. That scared me lots, because I had no idea what was wrong with my knees, and I was afraid to do anything that might aggravate them further. So I continued to wear the knee braces just in case I had something degenerative going on.
It took a few trips to the knee doctor, some MRIs, x-rays, and 2 months of physical therapy to finally get to the bottom of things. If you've ever heard a healthcare specialist say, "everything is connected", this is a classic case of that. The pain I felt under my kneecaps turned out to be patellar tendinits
. Apparently the space between the bottom of my kneecap and the top of my tibia was a few millimeters too short for someone my size, which meant the tendon was shorter. This in turn predisposed me to things like that. Combine that with hitting the bicycle hard at the gym (more on that shortly), and I set myself up for issues with that tendon. And the stabbing pains in the sides of my knees? Seems I had not been working the supporting muscles on the sides of the knees, and the knee braces caused them to atrophy a little from underuse. So when I tried going off of the knee braces, I gave myself overuse injuries and a little scar tissue. Oops.
On the subject of the supporting muscles in the knees, the physical therapy I had at Zarett Rehab
rocked really hard. The people there were very knowledgeable and taught me exercises such as Russian Single-leg Deadlifts
to work all of the muscles in the knee, not just the patellar tendons. They also discovered some weakness in the muscles in my hips and lower back, and gave me exercises to do for those muscles as well. This should keep the muscles in my knees and feet from getting overtaxed. After several weeks of physical therapy, they then helped me wean myself off of the braces by way of having me walk longer and longer periods every day without them. At this point, I've been off the knee braces for two weeks
, and have been taking walks in the evenings. It's really nice to be able to walk across town again. :-)
I said something earlier about the gym, and have come to the conclusion that gym machines are fairly evil. The problem with them, as I learned first hand, is that many machines only target a single muscle. Let's say you're using a leg extension machine. This will work the quads... and little else. This means that the supporting muscles don't get worked out, and can lead to problems down the road, especially if the quad were to get injured, causing you to limp, and causing more strain to be put on those other muscles. Muscles can start having issues one after another that quickly.
I've quit my membership at the gym, and am going to look into taking up yoga at some point. In the meantime, I'll keep doing my calisthenics 3 times a week, and walk seven days a week. I still have some discomfort in the knees and the tibialis anterior, but since it's a 100% soft tissue injury (e.g., the joints are fine), that will heal with time.
The second major issue is my feet
. I began feeling this awful burning pain in them at Anthrocon last year. It limited my enjoyment of the con and was quite scary. So after the con I saw my doctor, then my pawdiatrist. Originally, it was pointed out that my feet had high arches, which meant that more load was borne by the ball of the foot and the outside of the feet. The first step to try and treat this was prescription orthotic inserts
. But, the pain continued. So I was sent off to physical therapy. Unfortunately, I had an HMO at $OLDJOB, and could not choose which facility I was sent to. So while the people at the rehab facility I went to were really nice, I didn't get the best care I could. (My pawdiatrist used the word "McDonald's to describe them)
Fast forward a few months to December, when I changed jobs
, and got a much better health plan. I was then sent off to Zarett for my injuries (yes, physical therapists can treat multiple injuries during the same visit, as I learned) and while it helped with the knees, it did less for the feet. Oddly enough, I discovered just a couple of weeks ago that removing my shoes
while seated at my desk makes the pain and discomfort go away. Walking is fine, too. It's only standing and being seated with shoes on that cause me issues.
At this point, I've had X-rays, seen a pawdiatrist, physical therapist, neurologist, and had an ultrasound done. Yet, nobody can really tell me what's going on. The closest the physical therapist could say is that it was very likely a chronic injury spent by walking around with high arches for 30-plus years, but even he wasn't sure what the specific injury was. As he said, "Chronic injuries are frustrating for both the patients and us".
Overall, the pain in the feet is less than what it was last summer, and with things like fractures, arthritis and neuropathy all ruled out, that means I shouldn't have any serious issues going forward with my life.TL;DR I got old, so I punched old age in the dick.
Earlier tonight, I was catnapped by unclekage
, Corvin, and davinwarter
for a trip to the Shady Maple Smorgasbord
. Say what you want about those Amish, but they sure know how to cook!
After stuffing ourselves to "food coma" levels, we uh, worked off the dinner by wandering around the gift shop for a bit. I got this interesting picture from there:
So yes, the Amish like Angry Birds, too. How they learned of them without actually owning an iPhone or iPod is beyond me.
When I got back from Dorsai Thing
a few weeks back, I saw a kernel panic on my iMac, so I tried rebooting it. Upon rebooting it, the screen stayed black and no sounds came from the speakers, nor did the Caps Lock light turn on on the keyboard when I pressed the key. So I took the machine out of service and made a note to open it up at some point.
I finally got around to opening up the machine today, and I found what the problem was:
It's quite clear that at least 3 of the capacitors blew out. I'm not clear how this happened, I know that excessive heat can do it but the fans on the system work just fine and there was no excess buildup of dust when I removed the back cover. And I could understand one capacitor failing, but 3 at once? That just doesn't make any sense to me.
Oh well, the machine was old, and served me well for the nearly 6 years that I had it. I'll just stick with my newer machines for now.
Having missed last year's FCN due to injury, I had to use this con to make up for 2 years' worth of FCN and well, it worked! Here's how I felt:
I had an enormous
amount of fun at this year's FCN. Highlights include:
- Making lots of sushi (sushi-grade fish was ordered for this)
- Watching the "Will It Blend" panel, wherein the presenters proceeded to both blend and freeze various items
- Making sushi for the second day in a row
- Getting to see/socialize with people I don't normally get to talk to because we're both busy at other cons
- Working security again, and doing badge check in higher traffic areas, so I got to chat with people who came by
What else was there to like? Ah yes, the bartenders! They absolutely loved us this year, and one of them even remembered me from 2 years ago. (and gave me grief about not making it last year, haha)
I have many more pictures that I can't post here, so instead I'll give the link, as usual: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dmuth/sets/72157626479309537/
Next con for me is Anthrocon
! I'll see you all there. Stay safe.
I had a pretty interesting day with AT&T on Sunday:
- No Internet connectivity on my iPhone
- My phone did not ring with an incoming call from my parents
- I could not retrieve the voicemail that was left for me
- Attempts to call my parents back resulted in the call being dropped no less than 3 times.
And this was all in 5 minutes.
Since my contract with AT&T had expired a couple of weeks before that (and I had an iPhone 3G, which really showed its age with IOS 4.1), I figured it was time to get a newer/faster phone, and fire AT&T as my cellphone company at the same time. One short walk to the Apple Store later, and this is the result:
I find that Verizon's service is much nicer than AT&T's was. No random cases of the Internet not working here, the performance is quite consistent no matter where in the suburbs or city I am.
Having a phone that does video is nice, too. :-)
Thu: 3-6 PM, 9-Midnight
Fri: 1-3 PM, 9-Midnight
Sat: 12:30-2:30 PM, 3-6 PM
Mon: 3-6 AM (ugh)
I guess the good news is having all of Sunday off, but partying on Sunday night will be at a minimum, since I'll be working the late late shift that night.
The 9-Midnight "primetime" hours on Thursday and Friday should be interesting, too.
When not on duty, I'll be wearing something else that will be uh, distinctive. Especially if you're into video games.
I was down in Orlando for Dorsai Thing last weekend. It was a nice break from my rather busy day job, and gave me the chance to visit and socialize with friends. It was also my first time to Florida!
It was fun, but short, for I arrived with unclekage
late Friday evening, and left on Sunday morning. The highlight was dinner on Saturday evening. Aside from socializing with folks and shooting Nerf guns at Colin to see who would go first, I am pleased to announce that two new members of the Dorsai Irregulars were inducted, one of whom was our own toracub
The setup for the "beanieing" was fairly straightforward. At dinner, unclekage
called Tora up front to present him with a bottle of fine tequila that he had purchased earlier in the day, as a gift for all of Tora's hard work at Anthrocon and other conventions. I approached both of them, under the pretense of taking a picture
. When that was done, I moved to the side, out of Tora's field of vision, and behind him. After Kage distracted him for a few more seconds, I snuck up from behind him and dropped my own beret on his head, as the rest of the room erupted in cheers and applause. It's fun to be sneaky like that. :-)
As the youngest DI, we get to call him the "baby DI", at least until the next
person is inducted. :-)
After that, it was back to the consuite for more socializing and fine beverages!
On the way back home the following morning, I took a few pictures from the shuttle at Orlando Airport:
If anyone wants the full archive of my Dorsai Thing 36 photos, they can be found here
Thanks for reading, and my next convention will be Furry Connection North
, just next weekend! I hope to see everyone there!
As further proof that I am in fact NOT a cheetah, note that I am doing yet another thefridayfive
post on a Saturday.1) Most inspirational quote for you.
"Treat others as you would like to be treated." That helps give me context for acting, and keeps me from doing anti-social, impulsive, and downright stupid things.2) Favorite inspirational film?
I liked The Shawshank Redemption quite a bit. A banker, of all people, is able to beat the system that wrongfully imprisoned him, and make a good life for himself.3) Who has inspired you, and why?
I'd say a certain former CEO of mine from a past job inspired me. We worked at a startup, and she did a great job of taking charge and getting things done. She even stepped in with at least one situation with a customer and got things resolved to everyone's satisfaction. I'd work for her again in a heartbeat.4) If you were to die tomorrow and would have ONE saying that would live on forever, what would you leave behind?
"Leopards > cheetahs" It would be my way of continuing to annoy cheetahs, long after my demise.5) What inspires you to continue, when you feel the least motivated (in whatever goal you are trying to accomplish)?
I know there's always cool things down the road for me. Furry conventions and other conventions (Dorsai Thing, MagFest, etc.)
I think this sums up how I feel:
In other news, work's been very busy, and I've been in physical therapy for the last 4 weeks, and I have an update that I've been meaning to post here at some point, when my schedule permits.
This showed up in my email box, courtesy of Kevin "Slickpuppy" Mulder and chefmongoose
There's a whole lot of stuff I have to explain here:
- I am not a cheetah. But clearly certain people
thought it'd be funny to draw me as one.
- The black beret is supposed to be my Dorsai Irregulars beret, but it just comes off looking French. :-P
- I am not Danish, but I'm a fan of Denmark.
- The character art itself is a parody of a comic called Scandinavia and the World
. In that comic, all of the countries are represented by characters. Denmark is portrayed as a drunk
, Christiania is a pot smoking teenager
, Svalbard is a badass
, Sweden has nuclear mutants
, etc. Yes, my country (the USA) is in there. I leave it to you, the reader to discover how it's represented.
- Chiaroscuro is a chef, as his username here implies. He's not really trying to kill me, he just wants to make me dinner.
- I am not a cheetah
1. What is your earliest memory?
I have memories of living at my grandmother's place around age 2. My parents had moved in with her for a brief time when they transitioned from renting an apartment to owning a home.
2. What is your most vivid memory?
The FBI raid at my last job sure sticks out. Being questioned by feds is something that's memorable, alright. That also ranks rather highly on the "a funny thing happened at the office today" scale.
3. What do you remember best about the year you turned 10?
I guess I was in the 4th grade that point. I remember taking cello lessons at my school starting that year. I had an awesome teacher who did his best to encourage me. Even though I didn't go much further with music, I still remember playing the cello all these years later.
4. What memory do you wish you could erase forever?
I had a pretty bad breakup many years ago, and things got messy. I could go without remembering some of the things that happened.
5. What do your parents(or other close relatives) remember about you that you have forgotten?
Apparently after we moved into our home when I was 4, I went to play with a neighbor kid. He turned out to be a little psycho, and my parents ran into the back yard to see him holding me down on the ground, trying to shove a stick in my ear. I have no memory of this. Probably a good thing.