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California, here I am!


Behind the cut there's a round-up of the first week of my vacation...

Edit 2006-02-07: added the missing days of the convention.

Sunday, January 15: Excuse, me sir?!

After spending the night in Frankfurt (and already having checked in our baggage on Saturday), we took the train to the airport and boarded on time. The flight with an Airbus 340 would have been very nice, if it wasn't for that big African asshole (sorry) behind me who left his place every 30 minutes and rammed the head-rest of my seat onto my shoulders every time. But I've really had enough when he started you use my head as a rest for getting up. After strongly protesting against his obnoxious behaviour he avoided touching me. Instead he was now coughing his lungs up. I'm just glad that his pneumonia was apparently caused by a cold (which I caught) and noth2>Friday, something worse...

I have no idea why the Lufthansa booking system routed us via Portland, but that's where we got through immigration (and the officer was interviewing me for five minutes again, what is it that makes me suspecious?) and customs. We had enough time to catch our connection, and landed without any further problems in San Francisco after a short while. We waited for bigbluefox who traveled from Düsseldorf via London to San Francisco and arrived an hour later and were picked up by f_u_r_v_a_n and tioh. After checking in at the hotel we went to Lorie's Diner at Ghiradelli Place and had our first burger on this trip.

Monday, January 16: Fisherman's Wharf

We started with the usual tourist program: visiting Fisherman's Wharf. I bought some Folkmanis puppets at Pier 39 and we had, of course, lunch at In-n-Out-Burger. In the afternoon, we drove the cable car lines up and down, walked up Lombard St, bought some stuff at Border Books, got wet to the bones in the rain.

Tuesday, January 17: Golden Gate Bridge

As the weather on Tuesday morning was perfect, f_u_r_v_a_n and tioh drove with us to the Golden Gate Bridge and put on their fursuits. bigbluefox, lynard_, Kayjay and I were shooting literally thousands of photos of them (digital cameras rule.) I'll put up mine at my online photo gallery as soon as I've sorted them. Afterwards, we visited Chinatown in the rain.

Wednesday, January 18: Alcatraz

f_u_r_v_a_n, Kayjay, lynard_, tioh and I visited Alcatraz on Wednesday. It was my second time on that island and the prison building still scares me. However, the surround nature, or to be exact: nature reclaiming large parts of the island, is extremely interesting as well. Plus, you've got a perfect view on the San Francisco skyline as well as on the Golden Gate brige and the Bay brigde.

Afterwards, we visited the cable car museum, took the California line cable car to market street and walked up the street. Finally, we drove to Castro Street with the tram line F and had the traditional dinner at the Cafe Luna Plena.

Thursday, January 19: Driving to San Jose

Not much happened at this day, at least for me. We fetched our rental car, checked out of the hotel, drove down to San Jose, checked in to the furcon hotel, drove to Fry's and Safeway (almost got lost on the way to the latter), registered at the convention and met a lot of furries I usually only read about.

bigbluefox got his fursuit and went down to the lobby with it right away. The result: about 150 photos on my camera alone...

January 20: Convention, Day Two

I went to a couple of SIGs and took a look at the fur dance. bigbluefox was be the DJ of the second half of the dance and it was, as usual, very entertaining. I got a chance to chat with Steve Plunket, one of the Pawpet West puppeteers -- and not only that: he is the one who brought puppeteering to the Furry Fandom. We met him after his SIG about animatronic puppeteering. It is simply amazing what can be done with a couple of off-the-shelf components and a skilled puppeteer.

Saturday, January 21: Convention, Day Three

With the help of bigbluefox (or rather: he dragged me to her table) I talked xianjaguar into doing a badge for me even though she was already overworked and not feeling well. I feel still a bit guilty for this, as I usually try avoid anything that could put pressure on an artist, especially if the artist is such a sweet person as XianJaguar.

Critterlympics was fun -- for an observer, but again too dangerous for the participating fursuiters. The quality of the masquerade however has improved significantly over last year's. I tried to attend the dance that evening, but it was too loud even with ear plugs and the music was horrible.

Sunday, January 22: Convention, Day Four

Chatted with krag_carbine, who's looking for WW II photographs. (doco, if you are reading this: do you have any idea where to find these?) Afterwards I picked up the badge. xianjaguar is a really an amazing artist. The style is different from what she usually draws, but still recognizable as hers and most important: I recognize myself in that picture, even though I've never envisioned myself (as a wolf) that way. Amazing!

I also bought some art from the art show. Two pieces by Eric Elliott (one coloured pencil drawing, one print), a painting by
Heather Bruton and a limited print by Dark Natasha. I met shockwave77598 in the queue waiting for the art show sales pickup later and chatted about puppeteering.

While waiting for the Furry Night Live show to begin, we met TeddyRuxpin, a truely great puppeteer. BTW, he is the person who infected Fairlight with the puppeteering virus - without him there wouldn't be a Eurofurence pawpet show. FNL was very entertaining. Sure, some acts didn't really work, but contrary to last year's variety show it was quality entertaining. The raffle afterwards, however, was quite boring. I didn't even attempt to go to the dance, and according to those who did it wasn't a great loss.

Monday, January 23: Convention, End

We checked out around noon and went to Dublin to pick up the RV. bigbluefox had to leave that day anyway, thus he took the rental car to get to the airport. The rest of us, lynard_, Kayjay and I, loaded the RV, went shopping, had a burger for dinner at In-n-out's and drove to Santa Cruz for the first night in the RV.

What happens next? Will the three get along? What will go wrong? Tune in again for the second part of the report, after a short break!


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