Well, we’re back.

Whew. Good stuff first.

Cats are doin’ great–my parents took excellent care of them, even though Loki had decided to express his displeasure at the upheaval with random carpet bombing, as t’were.

Con was great. On-demand printing was a rousing success–we made at least $400 that we couldn’t have made otherwise. Cleared a respectable profit, did so many sketchbooks that I lost count after twenty-odd, sold the majority of my stuff in the art show, although none went to voice auction. I am now Officially Boned for Trinoc as far as art–I have a 12 x 4 and 8 x 4 space to fill with…uh…four pieces. Three of which are small. Crud on a stick. Which means that Ursula will be spending the next ten days cranking out originals and LE prints that she can run off at home. Gronk.

Being stuck behind the dealer’s table, I didn’t get to talk to as many people as much as I’d like, and I know I met a lot more people briefly than I remember–people kept coming up and introducing themselves. If I forgot your name or where I knew you from, I’m sorry. It’s not that you’re not a fabulously cool person, it’s that I’m a scatterbrain. I forget the names of people I know WELL. But I recall meeting Chis Goodwin (and getting outbid for a piece of his, although I would like to assure Cara that I bear absolutely no ill will whatsoever, and the Rabid Hyena Assassin Squad currently waiting for you at home is purely coincidental. (No, seriously, I’m touched by the Dragon Horse, and will hang it in my studio with much glee.) Speaking of which, also met Cara Mitten, who is wonderful, and I will take it on faith that she is not usually drifting in a haze of art-exhaustion. Alas, despite the best of efforts, I did not make her snarf her beverage during dinner, but there’s always next time.

Who else did I meet? Listing all the fabulous artists would sound like name dropping, so I’ll refrain, but I’m pretty sure I had dinner, in the middle of the ghetto, with most of the top brass of furry art. Witnessed some Philly culture (i.e. a crack deal) waited to die. Met the wonderful Chris Sawyer, who’s a terribly nice guy, met Thaily and Silverblue, who are the first people to invite me to go clubbing. It’s perhaps a measure of my non-cool status that I thought “Clubbing what? Baby seals?” Silverblue brought me a stuffed wombat, instantly nominating herself as Among My Favorite People, and Thaily is just generally cool and has mailman-muscles suitable for the lugging of print boxes to hotel rooms. Plus there was Ch’marr and all the crew from VCL, who stopped to say Hi, and a lot of really cool people who came and bought art, and wanted sketches, (including frogs!) and even bought originals, and wanted to talk about art, so all in all, it was a fabulously good experience.

And then, there was the flights. Sweet mother of chickens. Two flights each way, with layovers in the middle, four flights in all. Three of them were delayed, none for less than two hours. For those keeping score at home, that’s a 75% suck rate. The first flight was delayed because “the plane’s brain isn’t working” causing generalized power failures, forcing a two hour delay while they got a part from another airline, who’s computers were down and thus couldn’t send them the part until way after we should have been on the ground. Then we actually had a good flight to Philly. But the way back…urgh. First our plane was gonna be five hours late, so ATA put us on a United flight to Chicago to try and make our connection. That would’ve been okay, except that United flies out of O’Hare, and ATA flies out of Midway. “We’ll send a shuttle,” they said. “There’ll be someone with a sign.”

Needless to say, there was no one with a sign. After an hour of tromping through O’Hare, which is approximately the size of infinity, I managed to get ahold of the ATA counter at Midway, who listened to my story and then said “But ATA doesn’t fly out of O’Hare.” Yeah, no shit, Sherlock. After much discussion of what to do with the supervisor, which due to their inability to use the “Hold” button, I was party to–“Did someone call you from Philadelphia to arrange a ride?” “No, did someone call you?”– they agreed to reimburse me for whatever form of transit it took to get me to Midway. So we got to Midway, got to our flight one minute before it was supposed to leave, running breakneck through the terminal…and discovered that the plane wasn’t there yet, had in fact not left New York yet, and that we were sentenced to a six hour delay of fidgeting in the airport seats and listening to “Caution! The moving walkway is ending!” repeated in a firm female voice once every four seconds. My handy calculator informs me that once every four seconds (I counted) for six hours is 5400 times that I heard it, which I believe is a violation of the Geneva Convention.

Now, here is where I run into the limitations of the language. No matter what words I string together, there’s no way that I can make you experience, even vicariously, the tedium-tedium-discomfort-my-spine-hurts-the-moving-walkway-is-ending-it’s-cold-the-arm-of-the-chair-is-digging-into-my-back-bored-bored-tired-bored sort of lameness that is an airport at 2 AM. But that’s okay. I wouldn’t really want to wish that on anybody, and odds are good that you’ve probably been there yourself a time or two. Long story short, we dragged into Pheonix at 4 AM, crawled into bed, and slept like the dead.

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