Friday, July 15, 2011

How I Spent My Winter Vacation

“Dear I was pompous and my sister was crazy. Dear, we were kidnapped by hill folk never to be seen again. It was the best day ever.”

As many of you, my loyal fans, are aware that I live in Wisconsin, I'll skip the winter descriptions and simply state: It's cold, the snow is deep, and my girls are not driving icy roads to go anywhere we don't have to. (Which, if it wasn't for a blizzard, I probably could've talked Jac into taking me to KitsuneKon. Maybe next year.)

The question: What does a fandragon do in the off season, when the nights are long, the snow is ankle deep to a Titan, and vampires are roaming the Alaskan countryside? The answer: 42. Oh, wait, wrong answer. Or is that the wrong question? Or is that part of the answer? Perhaps some excerpts from my journal will explain...

November 25, 2010
My first Thanksgiving. Jac and CJ stayed here for the holiday, instead of joining family. (Technically, Jac is always here for holidays, though, as farm chores still need to be done and she's not big on large gatherings anyway.) We had Pork Chops, Baked Sweet Potato, Green Bean and Bacon Casserole, and Cheesecake for dessert. Watched episodes of Buffy, The Vampire Slayer. (For some reason, though, the girls wouldn't let me have any wine.)

December 21, 2010
Yule! We exchanged presents. I got CJ a pretty little broach and a lucky charm bracelet for Jac. The girls got me chocolate and Pocky and these really tasty Japanese gummy candy. While I enjoyed my gifts, I really wanted a little brother. Or a pony. I would have liked a pony.

December 24, 2010
CJ left for Southeastern Wisconsin, about 3 hours from home, to spend her birthday with her family. Jac prepared the movie marathon for tomorrow. We're gonna watch all four Die Hard movies back to back. She said she'll let me make the popcorn.

December 25, 2010
Happy Birthday, CJ! Wish you were here. The marathon went well. No interruptions except for chores, and even that went well. Jac let me feed the grain while she did hay and water for the horses. CJ will be home tomorrow, barring incident, barring blizzard.

January 14, 2011
Snow day! It came from above all white and fluffy, yet sticky at the same time. Jac and I tried to build a snow fort, but the evil snowman army didn't like that idea. They kept smashing it. The our neighbor came and plowed our driveway, creating a slab of snow that provided a great defense against the evil snowman army's IDBS's. (That's Inter-Driveway Ballistic Snowballs, for those keeping a glossary.) Jac and I were winning until I tried to attack their fort and got caught in an avalanche. That's when Jac rescued me and we went in for lunch. Ah, chicken soup. After lunch, CJ told us about a message from Sam. We've been invited to her Job's Daughters installation later this month. All in all, it was a good day.

January 22, 2011
Today was Sam's installation in Oconomowoc. On our way down, Jac hit an ice patch in Babcock and spun the car 180 degrees. No one was hurt, luckily, as we were the only car on the road at that space and time. Aside from that, the trip itself was uneventful. The installation however was neat. Sam was being installed as a Guide for Job's Daughters. The Masonic Temple we were in was fascinating. And we got to see a Living Cross. Congratulations Sam!

January 26, 2011
CJ is gone, again, and while Jac was tending to evening chores, she fell out of the hay loft. She bruised her hip and knee and cracked a few ribs. Even though I had to help her back to the house, I don't think it was a bad enough fall to stop her. Though chores twice a day until Sunday might.

February 19, 2011
Sleigh Rally. Too bad we had a heat wave and most of the snow melted. Jac won a neat little park bench in the raffle.

February 24, 2011
CJ left for MOSES yesterday and won't be back until the 27th. It's a good thing she left when she did. We got another snowstorm today, which sucks, because Jac and I were going to go to KitsuneKon this weekend. Of course, we could only go for one day because it's in Appleton and with CJ at MOSES, Jac and I have be home to do chores. I think we were going to go on Saturday, but now with six inches on the ground, Jac's not gonna be talked into a two hour drive. I can't wait until I'm old enough for a driver's license.

February 26, 2011
I should have gone to MOSES with CJ. Jac's been grumpy all day. She says it's because we couldn't go to KitsuneKon, but I think it's more likely that she's sore from all the cold. Plus, I don't think she healed right from her fall last month.

March 15, 2011
BEWARE THE IDES OF MARCH. This statement is to be taken literally. Our barn burned down today. CJ was napping, (good thing too, she was thinking about mucking stalls), Jac and I were watching Full Metal Panic on Hulu. We heard a voice downstairs shouting “Hey, hey, is anyone home...” Jac went tearing out of the office and flew down the stairs only to find the living room empty. When she looked out the window, she said the sky was an odd color. When she reached the door she found out why. The barn was on fire. She went racing back upstairs for the phone and met CJ, sans pants, in the hallway. I was sitting in the office doorway. “What's up?” she asked Jac. “The barn's burning.” “What?!?” “Barn...Fire!” Even though I was watching her, I'm not sure how CJ got her pants on while going downstairs. When I asked her about it later she told me that she's pretty sure she teleported. It took the Fire Department (seven miles away) 45 minutes to come out. During that time, we lost the barn (+ 900 bales of hay, $10K in tack, an antique desk and washing machine, our camp chairs, tent, portable paddock, the chicken coop and nests, both of the girls' cars and our pick-up truck. We did not, however, lose any horses, chickens, or cats. Or humans. Or dragons. That was several hours ago, and even now the ruins are still smoldering. Jac's out making sure the flare-ups stay contained. I'm keeping CJ company and we're watching TV.

March 17, 2011
Happy St. Patrick's Day. So much for our annual trip to the Pub for lunch, what with all the vehicles burned up. The word from the Fire Marshall is: Electrical. As in electrical malfunction. The girls are pretty devastated. Jac did manage to find the horseshoe for CJ though. Clean-up is going to be difficult at best. At least we know who our friends are now. I guess this is what Jac means when she says “Life has a habit of getting in the way of life.”

April 23,2011
Celebrated Earth Day by planting tiny little pine trees and some catnip.

April 30, 2011
We did a charity pet portrait session for CWC's open house. Didn't have as many customers as the last few sessions, but the girls were busy enough for the day. The huskies returned, though not for a group shot this time. Got to play with Riley again.

May 13-14, 2011
A Region 10 youth horse show in Winona, MN. Nice hotel. Really nice competition grounds. CJ's dreaming about how to do that at home. Indoor arena, at least 90 stalls, a tack shop and a few wash stalls. Most of the people are nice, a few of them aren't, but isn't that the case when a large group of humans are occupying the same space? I'm impressed with Jac. She's only had 7 cigarettes, total, this weekend and hasn't tried to kill anyone. That e-cig thingy must really be working.

May 19-22, 2011
CJ went to ACEN again this year. Jac is most unamused. Downright cranky in fact. And I'm stuck here with her. Help me! Help me help me help me. It was also the opening weekend of the Chippewa Renaissance Faire and Jac can't take me to that either because we have a horse that keeps escaping the pasture. I think that's part of why Jac's cranky. And part of why we couldn't go to ACEN with CJ. Well, that plus the politics. And someday I'll understand what that means. Bright side though, we've been invited to Sam's installation for Senior Princess for Job's Daughters. CJ's been asked to be her installing officer.

June 4, 2011
Went to Dairyfest in Marshfield. The Ice Cream Social was neat because we got to tour one of the historic houses in town. Went to the fairgrounds after that. It was a craft fair and most uneventful.

June 5, 2011
Went to Oconomowoc for Sam's installation. Did a little shopping at Johnson Creek Outlet mall on the way down. Explored the neat haunted Masonic Temple. Watched Sam and CJ rehearse for the installation. Kept Sam's mom company for the installation. Congratulations Sam. Sam and her mom took me and the girls on a brief tour of Oconomowoc. We had supper at Rocky Rococco's, got some lily of the valley plants from Sam's house, and toured a cemetery. On the drive home, the girls decided that we would go to Chippewa next weekend. Yay! Ren Faire!

So what does a fandragon do during the tea-cup ice age? Well, he watches anime, eats Pocky (and other sweets), reads comic books, plays video games, and has various mini adventures. Until my next event....


Faraday, the Fandragon

Saturday, January 8, 2011

My portrait

“Painting is poetry that is seen, rather than felt...” Leonardo DaVinci. 

I think this applies to line drawing too. Of the many great experiences at DaishoCon, my portrait by Rebecca Burg is one of the best. 

See, I'm small for my species. Very small, and young. Because of this, the girls get me into the cons at no extra charge. But this means that I don't get a badge or anything else that says who I am. So, I got the idea for calling cards, but I don't want just a picture of me, I want something...else. 

As we explored DaishoCon, one of the areas we examined was Artist Alley. It's essentially a hallway filled with booths of people who craft or draw or otherwise create their own merchandise. Thus, many artists, most of whom were advertising their novels and/or comic books. I talked with all of them. I looked at their art styles. I even bought a few souvenirs (with Jac's help, of course). But nothing really suited me. 

And then we met Her. I wanted. CJ questioned. Jac negotiated...and paid. I got. Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls... My first ever portrait sitting!

R.B.'s supplies and samples

I struck a pose and R.B. picked a pencil.

Halfway done. I've never had such a hard time sitting
still before. I kept wanting to see...

Now the ink

Finishing touches and...


Thank you, Rebecca, for the wonderful experience. I love my portrait. And to the rest of you... Doesn't she do good work? Until my next event...


The FanDragon

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Daisho Con

“It's dangerous to go alone. Here. Take this.” (You receive Fandragon.) 

Okay, so that wasn't really what Link was handed, but it should have been. At least, it should have been if he was going to DaishoCon. This event is truly a Fandragon's paradise.

In Jac's infinite wisdom, the girls pre-reged at Geek.Kon, so all we had to do was show some ID and we got our badges. As with any con, the order of day one is to explore and sample. First we find the viewing rooms and check the schedule. Then we find the merchants and check hours. Next, we find an empty seat in the game room to check the con program to see if there are any panels we want to see. Then we play.

Classic Sega. Columns. 'Nuff said.

I didn't realize how much gaming took out of me when I hadn't eaten anything previously. Lucky me, Jac had room for me in her satchel. (Which very quickly became mine. Even though I have to share it with her checkbook.)

I got to see the whole con this way... Yay!

Smoke break for Jac and naptime for me and CJ.

Saturday, and no con would be complete without pics of me and my favorite cosplayers.

Me and Seras Victoria from Hellsing.

Pikachu and Lucario, I choose you!

Me and Jac and Stevie, DaishoCon's original mascot.

“What about the shopping?” you ask. Well, (and this is the only time I will mention size) for being a small midwestern con (Stevens Point, WI) the merchant area was huge. It took up a whole room and an entire hallway. Jac and CJ got their Pocky, (which only lasted them a month), CJ got little Neko stuff for Jac (which is why I couldn't post this blog 'til after the holidays), and Jac got CJ an onigiri fob for CJ. The complete series of Fruits Basket was acquired as well as the standard Ramune. 

Then we explored Artist Alley. The girls got belt pouches from Prairie Knoll Stitchery. Jac got a drawn portrait by Apeliotus, and I got a portrait by Rebecca Burg. (The details of which will be my next post.). And this was good. Until Jac got hungry. Did she go out to eat? No. Did she have lunch at the Tilted Kilt? No. Did she enjoy ramen from the Consuite? Not this time.

Good for ramen, spicy rice, and all your snacky needs.

What did she do to stave off the growling tummy? She went to Anime Klub's merchant table and got some sort of weird, but tasty, gummy fruits. (In my opinion, she is a fruit.) 


Oops. Did I say that out loud? 


Heh. Hrm. Um, where was I? Yes, Anime Klub. The most awesome and nicest people we've met in a long time. The guy who runs it, Ian Coutts, remembered Jac from Geek.Kon, which impressed her to no end. I have to admit, I was pretty impressed too. Any way, he was fairly busy with other customers, but that's fine by me, I got to meet Julie. They told us about Anime Klub's Birthday Celebration and asked us to come by and get cake and goodies. 


The cake was very yummy.

Her lips tasted like chocolate. Mmmm. Chocolate.
Uh-hm, Yes. New topic: The Rave! Good beats. Lots of glow. And I got my pic taken with the pretty ladies of the DaishoCon staff

Yay Me!

We wrapped up Saturday with a Mature Audience Only panel with Spike Spencer. He's funny. I like him. “I want to live in A-meer-i-ca.” Spike's a voice actor, cuisine specialist, and author. (Note to self, must pick up his books.)

Sunday was the wrap-up. Being a slow day, the girls and I hopped between the viewing rooms to sample anime. The chairs were a little big for me, but I found a good perch on Jac's knee.

D-Gray Man is, um, interesting. Loved Black Butler and Black Blood Brothers though.
We enjoyed the DaishoCon Variety show. Dr. Cancer and the Skambies were hosting and playing throughout. The Anime Klub commercial was excellently executed and I love it when they throw out freebies. (Jac caught strawberry Pocky!)

The sad part of all of this is that it was indeed Sunday, the last day and the wrap up. But all good things must end so better things can begin. Thus, I expect great things from DaishoCon 2011. May the best mascot win.

Oh wait, he did. Yay Stevie! Good luck to you next year Daisho Ninja and Corporate Fan-boy. (Do Corporate Fan-boys get to come back from heaven for future cons? I shall have to ponder that one.)

Until my next event, my loyal fans...


The FanDragon

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Very Faraday Holiday

“Oh, what is this, Frank? Oh, oh look, Frank! It's a toaster!” --Ghost of Christmas Present, Scrooged.

And if it's not a toaster, it's four very enthusiastic Siberian Huskies, three Border Collies, two Black Labs and a Dachshund on a toy sled. And thats just a few of the breeds that had their Holiday portraits taken at the Duchess Hill Photography/CWC Pet Pantry Charity Holiday Portrait Weekends. 

Yes, that's weekends, plural. Two of them. It was fun watching Jac wrangle the dogs and even more amusing to see her wrangle the humans. (She's not fond of people, and that's putting it mildly.) 

CJ was very generous, 25% of net profits were donated to Clark County Animal Shelter in the form of food, bedding, and a puppy play pen. I even managed to get my portrait taken.

So to all my happy reader and your families a very Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings, and Merry ChristmaChaunaKwanzaSolsticYulica!


the Fandragon

Thursday, November 18, 2010


“I like this ship. It's exciting.” --Mr. Scott (Simon Pegg)

Yes, I know. It's the new Star Trek. And, while I have very strong feelings about the new release, (Kirk was not born in space!), that will have to be a rant for another time. The quote, nonetheless is extremely appropriate for Teslacon's HMS Explorer II. I have only one other thing to add: Awesome.

Teslacon is a steampunk immersion event. For a weekend, we were transported to the neo-Victorian era where we enjoyed a three day cruise above Europe in a steam powered dirigible (without ever having to leave the Radisson Hotel in Madison, WI). There was mystery. There was mayhem. There was a delightful tea room.

Our travels start with Thursday, the 4th of November. CJ and Jac had been scrambling for the last two weeks to get their clothing made. By the time our journey starts, all they had left to make were the corsets. (Which, I understand, turned out to be quite troublesome.) What was supposed to take a few hours, ended up being an all-niter. For both of them. Now, while Jac is used to a lack of sleep, CJ is not. And we had to be on the road to Teslacon by 7 am. (Fortunately, Jac was driving, thus allowing CJ to catnap.) Why so early you ask? Madison is only two hours away and the Con opens at 1 pm. Jac got herself invited to do fortune telling, as well as a panel on Victorian Era divination techniques. (It was quite amusing to watch her borderline panic trying to get her panel teachings together.) In an effort to keep her calm, I promised to be her assistant for the weekend. Had I known this would have prevented me from getting to some of the panels I wanted to see... No, I probably still would have agreed to it. Especially as I'm getting a coat out of the deal.

Here I am with my passport

and my boarding stamps.

Jac was selling pendulums. I modeled the merchandise.

This lovely Labradorite pendulum became mine very quickly. Until Jac stole it from me. 

<blink> ( Oh, don't start that again. You stole it from me.) 

To be fair, she gave me a different one to keep. A shiny Iolite that goes well with my coloring.

One of the advantages of being Jac's assistant for the weekend was that I got a prime spot on her table. That means I got noticed! And I made lots of new friends, and ran into a few old ones. Including Julie Bowman, the lady who made me in the first place. Julie introduced me and the girls to a friend of hers, Barbara Everson of Bewitching Stiches, who's going to make me a Steampunk Coat!

My first fitting at the delightful hands of Barbara.

I was weighed. I was measured. I was found wanting a coat.

The Tea Room had a lovely selection of sweets.

And then it was time for Tea. We visited this room quite often during our three day flight. The tea, provided by Twinings was available in several different flavors and the Hostess of the tea room was gracious enough to provide Jac with loose-leaf tea for readings. (Too bad no one wanted one.) And the cookies were the best. 

Friday was very quiet. Mostly due to the fact the girls had been up all night. But Saturday, was a different story...

Thankfully, I'm a dragon, not a Time Lord. (Though I may decide to pick up a sonic screwdriver, should my new coat have a pocket for it.)

Of my new friends, this pair was quite intriguing. He's a miracle oil salesman and she's his delightfully raucous assistant. (She's also a fortune teller. She's Robyn Tisch Hollister of Professional Dreamer Tarot, and her husband William Hollister.)

Lord Bobbins and Lady Bobbins

We spent Saturday evening at the ball with our hosts, Lord Hastings R. Bobbins and Lady Bobbins. After the ball, we were treated to a wonderful concert by a Steampunk band, Scarring Party. There was lots of mixing and mingling. Dapper gentlemen and their beautifully attired Ladies made for a truly fabulous evening. And with the thought that Sunday would be our last day of this glorious event, the girls and I retired for the night with mixed feelings. Had I only known what Sunday had in store for us.

The day of Jac's panel dawned bright and warm, unseasonably so for November. Jac's nerves were a little frazzled. She, like me, hadn't been able to explore the ship. CJ was busy photographing the Con, so, aside from short tea breaks, Jac and I were quite stationary. Combine that with her agitation about public speaking, and it became clear that it was a good day for shopping. Or so I thought.

I learned why the caged cat mews

And saw a necklace made from a cousin. (I think.)

Jac and I wandered though the Duty Free Boutiques and saw so many lovely items. There were corsets and pocket watches, pendants and pins made from found items, books, and more books, and clothing accessories for the discerning shopper. And then there was Lola. Mmmm, Lola. 
Lola, the Singing Lemur.

It was her beauty that drew me and her voice that sold me.

The winners: a pin for CJ and the World of Luck Bracelet for Jac

And it's a good thing I did. I found the perfect gifts for the girls. And then I discovered the down side of the neo-Victorian ways.

Highway Robbery!

Alak and alas, I was forced to bear my claws and fangs. Beat my wings and did a fair imitation of Smaug. I amused her enough that she let me go with my gifts for the girls. Still, I felt a little hostile until I got back to Jac's table and saw Sam. We met Sam on Saturday when Jac was teaching her how to use a pendulum and other basics of fortune telling. After that, she became quite a fixture at our table, and her company was most appreciated.

Me and Sam

Then it was time for Jac's panel. Divination in the Victorian era. Talk about nerves. My girl has it down though. She forgot to introduce herself, but the panel seemed to be a success, anyway.

First there was the lecture.

Then there were the demonstrations. Lola's handler got a tarot demo from my handler.

It was a full house and Jac ran out of handouts, but aside from that, it went well. We spent the rest of the afternoon telling fortunes while CJ packed us up to return to the real world. Jac had a lovely chat with our host, Lord Bobbins, who invited us to return for Teslacon 2, Beneath the Ether. We'll be taking a three day voyage aboard a steam powered submarine. I'm looking forward to it as the decor of the sub will compliment my coloring very nicely. (Or so I've been told.)

Overall, I give Teslacon two wings up. It was the best con I've been to in a dragon's age. I highly recommend that you attend next year and see for yourself. Plus, you'll be able to come to the Tea Room to meet ME. (And have your fortune told.) And one day, when I learn to type myself, I won't have to subject my poor readers to Jac's blatant advertising.
Fear not, my faithful readers, I will be showing my otaku side at Daisho Con in Steven's Point the weekend of Nov 19-21. Look for my next post soon after.


the Fandragon

Monday, November 8, 2010

Tales from the Farm: Highland cattle show

Dave Barry says, “Scientists tell us that the fastest animal on earth, with a top speed of 120 feet per second, is a cow that has been dropped out of a helicopter.” Scientists never saw me about to be licked by a Highland Cow.

The girls have always been interested in acquiring heritage breeds of animals and crops for our small farm. Jac has a rapt fascination for some little animal called a “clootie coo.” Seems to be a small variety of dual purpose cattle breed from the Shetland Isles of Scotland. (CJ throws in a bit of trivia here. The Shetland Coo is the original “house cow,” being so devoted to their owner that when sold, the owner had to hand over a bit of cloth (clootie) with their sent on it, so the coo would follow the new owner home.) Unfortunately this breed is a conservation breed and very difficult to acquire outside of Scotland. However, “Heeland Coos,” a slightly larger dual purpose breed, seem to be raised right here in Wisconsin. A small herd or fold (as is proper) is raised by a friend of CJ's at Four T acres in Burlington, WI. She invited us to attend a breed show in LaCrosse.

We're heeeere.

He's sooo cute.

Lunch on the hoof.

Two points for him.

Stalking, phase one.

Larger than anticipated.

Now I get why cats knead a sleeping surface.  He's soffffttt...

Soft, soft bed.

My beds name is Artie. I think he just noticed me.

Surveying my domain? Or is it menu choices?

My new friend Booger. (He's a little snot.) Now I just have to convince him I'm not as tasty as he looks.

Booger in drag for the costume contest. He won first place.

All in all it was a fun day. I'd like to do it again sometime. I'd like to thank CJ's friend Janet Larson for inviting us. And to her family for making us feel welcome and allowing me to play with the coos.