Morning began early -- 6:30 CA time, or 9:30 my native time; so I almost felt like I got to sleep in. Going to bed at 2 a.m. is a fairly common occurrence in my life, so going to bed at 11:00 CA time felt like life as usual.
The hotel restaurant was a pleasant surprise. I had heard grumblings about food being a problem last year, so I was shy of going in, but the prices were not that outrageous as hotel prices go, so I gave it a shot. I got their cheap two-eggs-and-meat breakfast, which was more breakfast than I could eat, and came to about $9.
I went to the "Creator's Lounge," basically a quiet room where people can sit and draw or write or whatever, and did a new badge for Snap E Tiger. Vince came down and met me there, and started drawing a little "I do this, I don't do this" sign, so I got to watch him at work.
Man, he's fast. Whoof. I am beginning to think I must have a serious slowness problem, which would explain why the strip feels like so much work all the time. He whipped out an incredibly detailed wolf-warrior-in-scale-armor in a matter of minutes -- a sketch that would take me an hour, maybe more. How do you even hold that much detail in your head? I couldn't do that without a reference.
Oh well; jealousy aside, I sat there and studied his technique. Some day, Vince, I will be as good as you are! Some day!
After heading to the dealer room and saying hi to the very cool Thomas K. Dye for a while, I went to the "Drawing Live Animals" session with a young white bengal tiger and fired off some sketches. He was something like four months old and already the size of a great dane. I got a nice look at his back paws and some insight into the construction of his eyes, forehead, and muzzle.
Sometime between then and my big comics panel, I encountered the aptly-named Level Head, and his wife the even-more-aptly-named Mrs. Level Head, both of whom are fascinating, erudite people. Level Head reminded me a bit of Alvin Toffler ... he had that same analytical mind combined with a fascination with things to come.
3:00 came, and with it, the big panel I organized. It consisted of Vince, Eric Schwartz, John Nunnemacher, Thomas K. Dye, Albert Temple, and myself, talking about the history of comics, why we got into comics, and where it might go, and so forth. Really, I just organized it as an excuse to rub shoulders with some of the giants of furry comics. These guys are awesome, every one! I wasn't familiar with John's work before, but Vince got him involved in the panel, and once I found out just how big he was (not to mention how talented), I felt like a total schmuck. I also found out that he does "Jimmy Noneck" on the Funday Pawpet Show, of which I am also a big fan.
Somewhere along the line, I lost Vince, and couldn't find him again for the rest of the evening, alas. I had been hoping to hang out with him and chat about the crossover, merchandising ideas, life, the universe, and everything.
Level Head and Mrs. Level Head were kind enough to buy me dinner; I felt a little awkward about it, but since I was running on fumes moneywise just to get to the con in the first place, I couldn't very well turn it down. I don't know why I feel so strange about such things, and I have no desire to come off like I'm snubbing people or being too proud to accept generosity. I guess it's some lingering self-esteem issue or something. I feel like a mooch.
On to the Furry Variety Show, which was much fun. Snap E Tiger and PandaGuy performed a particularly good sketch that Spiked Punch wrote, based on the Abbott and Costello classic "Who's On First." It was very funny, and I was pleased that when Spiked Punch's name was announced, he got a big round of applause, even if he wasn't there to hear it.
Another act was "It's Raining Plush," based on the song, "It's Raining Men," which messed with my head; finally, to wrap up the show, they butchered The Raccoon Song -- D'Oh! >:(
I ended the evening by attending the "Anatomy and Sexual Dimorphism" panel, mostly because Vince had expressed interest in it and I was hoping to catch him again. He wasn't there, but most of what they covered, I'm reasonably certain he knows already.
Lots of people were off listening to "Rants by Two," at the same time ... which is fine if you like it, but not really my cup of tea. I much prefer Uncle Kage's Story Hour.