giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
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/dmuth

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dmuth


And finally, my personal website:

http://www.dmuth.org/


I'll see you out there.
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
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:

Raptor Red Raptor Red Raptor Red

The fursuit parade had 574 fursuiters this year:

Fursuit Parade Fursuit Parade Fursuit Parade

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!

The Cake Kane borrows my White Mage hoodie So I borrowed Kane's fursuit...

DSC_5422 So I borrowed Kane's fursuit...

Somewhere in there, [livejournal.com profile] 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.

Midwest FurFest Operations Staff Fursuiters at 4 AM on Monday Fursuit Parade

Fursuiter Kojac and Finnish A purple cheetah Kane Husky

The con ended wherein I had a few drinks on Sunday evening and was followed around by a couple of Germans for a bit:

Big Blue Fox and Tillikum

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!
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)


Yep, that's a new version of the Raptor Red fursuit making its debut.

More pictures to come, sometime next week.
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
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.

Fursuit Parade Fursuit Parade Fursuiter

Fursuit Parade Fursuiters Fursuiter

Nyan Cat

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!
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
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
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
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 Beach Bar and Grill Waves breaking Ferian flying his kite

Ferris Wheel at Funtown Pier Ferris Wheel at Funtown Pier Ferris Wheel at Funtown Pier T-Rex at Funtown Pier

The rest of my pictures? They're at http://www.flickr.com/photos/dmuth/sets/72157627496725724/. Enjoy!
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
I'm still not sure how this happened, but while visiting [livejournal.com profile] chefmongoose the other weekend, he somehow talked [livejournal.com profile] film2edit into making some artwork of me as a Brony:



...and another version with a shaved mane (since I shave my head IRL):



What what!

Did I mention that I'm not really a fan of the show? (Though some of the fan-made videos are pretty funny!)

While visiting, we also spent a Saturday afternoon at the USS Nautilis Subarmine Museum. I got some nice pictures:

Entrance to the USS Nautilus Submarin Museum USS Seafox USS Nautilis

The full set is here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dmuth/sets/72157627300718103/

Enjoy!
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
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.

Fursuit group shot

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.

Kane Husky All cheetahs look alike Fursuit Parade

Silent Ravyn Bierzun and Kalira Fursuiters chasing a helicopter

Here's a picture of the Toonseum folks (except for the chef, which was Chiaroscuro):

Toonseum

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.

Enjoy!
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
I rolled in from Anthrocon around Midnight on Monday, and slept in yesterday. I then spent the rest of the day hosting [livejournal.com profile] 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:

_DSC6113
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
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:

- Tuesday: Arriving around 11 PM. Having a drink at the bar then going to bed.

- Wednesday: Somewhat busy on and off throughout the day until about 9 PM

- Thursday: 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.

- Friday: 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.

- Saturday: Very much on duty, but no specific commitments. I hope to drop in on some panels.

- Sunday: Teardown starts in the afternoon. I'll be busy with that through about 9 PM.

- Monday: 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!
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
Cheetah pawsI'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.

Leopard's pawThe 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.
 
 
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
After last night's trip to Shady Maple, we walked across the parking lot and went to the "farmers' market". I use that term loosely, because we then saw these lovely items in the spices section:

MSG FLAVOR ENHANCER ALL NATURAL IMITATION BACON BITS


So yeah.. the Amish know how to sell MSG. That's just awesome.
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
Earlier tonight, I was catnapped by [livejournal.com profile] unclekage, [livejournal.com profile] talon2303, Corvin, and [livejournal.com profile] 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:

Angry Birds plushies

So yes, the Amish like Angry Birds, too. How they learned of them without actually owning an iPhone or iPod is beyond me.
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
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:

Blown capacitors

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.
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
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:

Happy Wasabi

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

Fursuiters Fizz shows us liquid nitrogen Gigantic glow stick!
Fizz shows us fish Making sushi DSC_4299

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)

Alien88 and ToraCub Legos Beer Kegs
The end of the fursuit parade Hanging off of a pole Yes, Costello?

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.
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
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:

Dear AT&T: YOU'RE FIRED!

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. :-)
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
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.
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
Who is going to FCN? Post here if you are!

When are you arriving?

What is your favorite color?
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
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!

Orlando DSC_4206 KP's Dogs

It was fun, but short, for I arrived with [livejournal.com profile] 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 [livejournal.com profile] toracub:

ToraCub, D.I.

The setup for the "beanieing" was fairly straightforward. At dinner, [livejournal.com profile] 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 sucker person is inducted. :-)

After that, it was back to the consuite for more socializing and fine beverages!

Steve and Shep DSC_4271 Margarita Man Delivers!

On the way back home the following morning, I took a few pictures from the shuttle at Orlando Airport:

Orlando Airport Orlando Airport 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!

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giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
Douglas Muth

April 2012

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