June 29th, 2010


Back to the Garden!

Back from the con!

I am, as always, so proud of my plants. Five waterless days with the temperature cracking a hundred, and the garden looks pretty much like it always looks–a little unruly, a little wilted, but largely unbothered.  (I think I lost the goatsbeard, but it was in much too sunny a spot and had been failing badly for weeks.) I spent part of the morning watering, as much because I wanted to spend time out with the plants as because they really needed it. A couple of the most recent transplants do require some regular watering, but once established, I mostly only have to touch the hose if I’m in the mood, or if it’s killingly hot and dry. Three, four weeks without watering in the spring and nobody flinches, and while I’ll soak down the swamp-dwellers once or twice a week in high summer, it’s not really essential.

The mourning doves, on the other hand, are VERY glad that my hose and I are back. Once the birdbaths were re-filled, they plopped their fat bird butts into it and are now just sitting there, trying to stay cool. Even the local bunny is only grazing in the shade.

Saw a tiger swallowtail that must have just come out of the chrysalis–its wings were wet and crumpled, and it was staggering drunkenly along the driveway, trying to fan them out. The hummingbirds are out in force, making their rounds of the plants–they love the hyssop, which doesn’t surprise me, and the zinnias, which kind of does. (You just think trumpet shapes with hummingbirds, not zinnias!) There are small praying mantises lurking among the plants, along with vivid green katydids and those enormous grey-brown grasshoppers that look almost like mourning cloaks when they jump.

The black-eyed susans finally opened after a month-long strip tease, and what appears to be a volunteer sunflower from the birdseed has established under the feeder and is close to flowering. (Meanwhile, the ones I planted deliberately all died weeks ago…isn’t that always the way?)

Meanwhile, I get the rest of the day off for con recuperation, and then tomorrow, it’s back to the grindstone!

Originally published at Squash's Garden. You can comment here or there.


Anthrocon 2010 — The Report!

To sum up — people great, sales dismal.

Bad news first–sales were down something like 50% for me. Table sales were really weak, art show was so-so, although a lot of my long-time collectors and buddies came through there, and I am terribly grateful for it.  (Did win a ribbon in the art show, though, as one of the GoH choices from Jim Martin. I was very flattered.)

Book sales went well, sold out FAST, pin sales seemed okay, stuff like the Steampunk Butterfly wouldn’t stay on the table, but Kevin and I were noticing was that there weren’t any of the BIG sales. I think the most anybody dropped on straight merchandise was $30. Generally you get a couple people who come in and drop $60-100, but not this time, which is an interesting shift in the sales dynamic.  (And we had those at A-kon, so this is really the first I’ve seen of that shift.)

Probable culprit is the economy, of course–people were spending okay at the last AC, but maybe it’s finally sunk in long term. And I have less new art this year than usual, given that I’ve been working like a dog on Dragonbreath instead of general art, and Digger 5 came out at this con, which means my fans may have been buying that instead. Which might all be factors…but a fair number of other artists who are pretty reliable at the cons were also getting depressed sales, so it wasn’t just me.

Ah, well. Some days you get the bear…

That aside, as always, it was a fun convention. Love the people, great to see everybody, lot of fans I’ve known forever and who are always wonderful to see again, great to hang out with the other artists and compare notes. Drank heavily, was sent booze by the Furry Illuminati, met new people, signed lots of books. Some very sweet gifts from people, including a spectacular knitted Cthulhu with accessories, a stuffed wombat in a fez, and a tiny squash-god phalloi.  There’s a reason I love this con. Kevin was his usual indispensible self, and while Jennie did not make enough to make a return financially feasible, she claims to have had a very good time.

A few lovely moments: “Oh god! I love your art! I am so embarassed that the first time I’m meeting you, I’m wearing a giant pig suit!” (That was Luve, whose art is awesome, and who I was delighted to see, pig suit and all. The moment, however, was one of those wonderful little gems of experience that one treasures forever.)

“You can’t die now! There’ll still be people who show up at your funeral going “Wait–Blotch is dead? But why are there two caskets?” (Blotch is a two-woman team who does a lot of work with Sofawolf. Apparently much the fandom is still really confused as to their numbers and gender.)

“That oryx has a nice ass….God, I wish that was the first time I’d ever uttered that line.”

“Kevin, I need you to bring Bandaids. Or the duct tape and a napkin. I don’t want to lose my place in the art checkout line. Yes. Yes. Mistakes were made. A cinderblock attacked me. What? No, I said something rude about its mother. Have I mentioned that you’re awesome…?”

So a good time was had by all.

Originally published at Tea with the Squash God. You can comment here or there.