Close support ticket #18927?>
Voicemail is simply a fax machine beeping
Close support ticket #18928?>
Voicemail is a different fax machine's beep
Close support ticket #18929?>
I AM NOT A FAX MACHINE! I AM A FREE MAN!
On the other hand, my Further Confusion was fantastic. No con will ever be perfect, but this one was about as close as they come.
(The standard disclaimer to my non-furry friends: Furry conventions completely don't deserve their reputation. Don't take my word for it. Click on the link and read the experiences of a reporter who went to one undercover.)
It was a very chill con for me -- hanging out with friends all weekend, meeting a few old friends in person for the first time (most notably ceruleanst, hurrah!), and getting drawn into incredible conversation and gaming. I got enough sleep, kept my budget reasonable, and left before con crash or con crud could set in. The new hotel is ridiculously spacious, comfortable, and surrounded by great food.
Odd omission: I didn't get to dance* all weekend. Every time I started heading to a dance floor, I ran into someone I had been wanting to talk to, and let myself get pulled away again. On balance it was a really positive thing, although my inner unicorn (who looks the most forward to physical expression) is currently chewing the walls.
Also, there didn't seem to be a single panel on Otherkin/therian/furry-lifestyler topics, which surprised me. Furry has traditionally treated Otherkin like an annoying little brother -- talking smack to its friends about him at every opportunity, but basically tolerating his presence (and doing nice things for him every once in a while when it's positive nobody is looking). Considering that furry is about "animals with human characteristics" and Otherkin is (broadly!) about "humans with nonhuman characteristics," it's hard to argue that there isn't a place for 'kin under the furry umbrella! And that uneasy alliance has been the state of affairs for quite some time. My experience at previous FCs has been that those who came into the fandom from a 'kin perspective would have to go into the early-morning or shoulder-day panel ghetto to meet up at convention-sanctioned events, but there would at least be a formal place to meet up.
This year's FC had an entire spirituality track (filled with a lot of panels that seemed, from secondhand reports, like World Religion 101 lectures) -- but the closest anyone got to an Otherkin anything was a panel on traditional totemism that studiously stuck to its roots. I'm not going to get upset about this -- because I've staffed enough cons to know that the odds of this being a slap in the face are vanishingly small** -- but it's honestly bizarre, because Otherkin is the elephant in the "furry + spirituality" room, and is one of the points of having a furry-con "spirituality track" in the first place.
Sometimes when the spirituality track falls down, you can at least get leads to other 'kin in the species breakouts (the dragon panel*** in particular seems to attract a fair number of genuine dragonkin), but I attended the dragon panel for a few minutes before getting pulled away by a phone call, and it was pretty much just people comparing their characters' physical traits. (Other attendees confirmed that, beyond a token "Raise your hand if you take your character seriously" question in the middle somewhere, it steered well clear of spiritual significance.)
... Is it bad that I'm thinking about volunteering to lead an Otherkin spirituality panel now?**** By necessity of convention mechanics, it would be limited to the very basics -- but it would be much better than what's available now (nothing! Literally nothing! How did that happen?), and would give Otherkin/etc who are new to the convention scene at least somewhere to exchange ideas with those who take it seriously.
Would any FC regulars be interested in helping out, or could you recommend FC attendees from different segments of the Otherkin/therian/furry-lifestyler spectrum who take their spirituality seriously and might be willing to go in with me on this?
* I also did not trip on anything all weekend (despite my huge feet and the new hotel). Which was actually a nice change of pace from my clumsiness the last few cons.
** The way this works is that the Programming division wrangles volunteers -- both of the "Programming wants you to do a panel this year" sort and the "Hey Programming, will you put on my panel?" sort -- and slots in as many panels as they have rooms and moderators for. At most cons, this means making hard choices about who to exclude and who to counter-program against the popular events. But considering that there wasn't a single panel on Thursday and only two? (if memory serves) on Monday, FC Programming this year was starved, and I'd bet you good money that a volunteer for an Otherkin panel would have been
*** The regular dragon panel, oh-so-conveniently cross-scheduled against the Masquerade. Not the adult dragon panel later that night, which has played to a packed room for years and is basically the moderators slideshowing a collection of dragon porn pictures. Not that there's anything wrong with that (or with my attendance last year to see what all the fuss was about).
**** This is purely rhetorical. Those who wish the opportunity to actually answer my question might consider the following, largely equivalent formulation: "Is Baxil insane to be considering this?"