Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Not Quite Back, But Working Anyway

Ni Hao and Happy (almost) New Year!

I'm back at the ol' Cortex keyboard and working on getting Firefly Cargo Bay's line up of convention attendances going for 2010. As mentioned before, we are confirmed for Dragon*Con in Atlanta for Labor Day weekend. Other possibilities are:

Norwescon 33 in Seattle April 1-4 (waiting on acceptance or not)
FKO Toronto April 9-11 (will have the filk related items at the interfilk bazaar, but not a separate FFCB booth)
Balticon Baltimore May 28-31 (awaiting response from organizers)
Confluence Pittsburgh July 23-25 (undecided if I'm attending again this year)
Dragon*Con Atlanta Sept 3-6 (we're SO there mei mei!)
SFContario Toronto November 19-21 (not applied yet, but will most likely have a full booth here of all the shinys)

That's all on the line up for now. I was going to attend Conflikt in Seattle at the end of January but my Permenant Resident card won't be renewed in time to leave the country- and be allowed back in!. I also scratched Orycon from the list although it pained me to do so. This has con has come highly recommended by some filkers who love it, but there aren't that many flights from here to there, and I'm having trouble working out the logistics. Plus, I found out that to get to the dealers' room, guests have to go outside the hotel to the exhibit hall. Going anywhere away from the con (even if it's at the far end of the hotel inside) doesn't bode well for dealer sales. I learned that the hard way at DucKon.

So, that's what's in the works at this point. Six is a good number and they are spaced out in time and local a bit, too. I'm thinking if I don't get in some places I'll add other cons to keep the number at six. I'd like to do more, but I haven't found that man from Gallifray to help get me and my stuff all the places I want to be!! (yes, I know, wrong fandom! But the TARDIS could get me to so many more cons than Serenity could-- even ones I've already missed!)

Now... you're up to date!

Until Next Time:
"I may not be a fancy gentleman like yourself, with your very fine hat. But I'm here for business."

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Closed for the Holidays

Browncoats! Go forth and celebrate whatever it is you celebrate! And if you don't celebrate anything.... then party on someone else's behalf! It's cold and dark out there gorram it- gotta party just t get through!

I will be closing the Cargo Bay doors until next week. Any orders that come in during that time will be processed in the order they were received once I get back (Monday). Until then, Happy Holidays!

Until next time:
"Dear Buddha, please bring me a pony and a plastic rocket."

Monday, December 14, 2009

OOOOO Ficial!

Got the official "yes you paid for your space in Dragon*con 2010" letter in the mail today. It's on their letterhead and everything, so, woot! Firefly Cargo Bay is confirmed for 2 tables in the dealers' hall again! *squee!*

Naturally there is no location of said tables yet, as it's not even '10, but WE'RE THERE!!!!!!!!!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Damned Allied Postal System

Ni Hao!

You may or may not know that the hub of operations for Firefly Cargo Bay is located in Canada. Now, I love living here, but running a small business from Canada when 99% of your customers are located in the States is not always the easiest. My main problem of late deals with shipping.

Now, things usually take about 2 weeks to get from me over that invisible line to anyone in the States. That was bad enough, but tolerable. See, they would always clear customs at Detroit or Buffalo or where ever the package crossed. Once they made it through there, they would be delivered to the person the next day.

Since September they all seem to go to a bulk processing post office in New Jersey (I know this because we had a long heated discussion about these policies with Canada Post recently). There it can sit until they damn well please. Seriously. Both countries' post offices say to us, "It's Customs, they can do whatever they want." Are you friggin' kidding me??!?!?

Now, I've discussed the matter with Ma Cobb to see how she handles shipping. She sends her stuff regular air mail and she says for the most part things arrive okay and in a timely manner. I'm a little leery of doing that because it doesn't come with a tracking number. Therefore if it doesn't arrive I A) don't know where it is and B) can make no claim on it. Unlike the Postal System, I do not like having to tell customers "oh well, you're S.O.L!"

So, where soes that leave us? I'm not quite sure. I'm looking into starting to ship UPS because the cost is not that much higher. HOWEVER I have no way of knowing what the brokerage costs would be and if the customer would have to pay any duty or taxes and such. I've looked into the next highest up method for the post office because they say the guarantee delivery in 6 days. When pressed, the postal agent admitted that was guaranteed to the customs point. And then again, it could sit forever.

I do not know what I want to finally do about all this at this point, but I am telling you it all because I want to let you know I am aware of the crappy situation. I am not happy about it in the least and I am working to rectify it. *Sigh* How come it never goes smooth?

Anyway! Hang in there with me please. I'm sure we'll get it all sorted out in the end. I'll keep you posted. No. Wait. If I keep you "posted" you won't find out anything for over a month! I'll keep you informed! :)

Until next time:
"Things always seem to get a little more complicated, don't they, sir?"

Monday, October 19, 2009

Browncoats Beware!

I got this email from a customer who told what happened after he flew his Browncoat Independence Flag outside his home:
"We ran the flag up the pole and had a police officer visit to ask if it was a terrorist flag. As a terrorist expert that was a new one on me." ~P.C. Tuscon, ARIZONA. I, myself don't know what to make of that, but got a laugh out of it just the same.

In other news, I will be out in the Black at the end of the week attending OVFF and will be unable to process orders until I return on Tuesday (Oct 27). Please note that I will be filling orders up until and including Wednesday, and will even ship them from the States if I have to. All others will be processed as soon as I return, and in the the order they were received, as usual I'm-away-at-a-show procedure.

You may have noticed I said I was "attending" OVFF and not "working" it. Yep, I scheduled in a working vacation- just going to check out the show and see where I can spread my Browncoaty Goodness! Yea me.

So, stay shiny and keep flying all you wonderful Browncoats! See you in the world.

Until next time:
"I wasn't planning on any dirt-kissing, Sir."

Monday, September 28, 2009

Someone Took my September!

Wait? What? Last week of September? No no, it couldn't be- I just got back from Dragon*Con! Whoa! That went... well, WHOOSH!

Okay, I will spare you all the fangirl squeishness that was Dragon*Con for me this year and just give you the bottom line: It was a huge success! After last year's shipping fiasco that cost me more than I could have ever made, I was hoping to bring in about the same amount of sales as last year just to be on par with expectations. Well shiny Browncoats must have been saving their coin for D*C because sales were almost double what they were last year! (It also helped that we were in a slightly better location and that we had 2 tables instead of one).

What does this mean for all of you? More shinys! Yes, my con and merchandise budget is based mainly on what happens at D*C. Because sales were so phenomenal (and I'm not repeating it to brag- I'm repeating it to stress how stunned I am!) Firefly Cargo Bay will be able to go out to the black and hit 5 or maybe even 6 cons in 2010! And I'm aiming for some new ones this year (hit some of those border worlds I haven't seen yet).

It also means that I can afford to purchase or have made or buy the supplies to make brand new shiny goods for the the secret stash including some more of the official stuff from QMx, since I am one of their official retailers after all. Believe me when I say that I already have ideas aplenty for new shiny stuff!

On the down side, since Dragon*Con was so good sales wise it means my on hand stock is pretty well depleted. So far this has not had an impact on web site sales (after all, the Cafe Press site is usually always in stock of whatever you want) as everything that's been ordered since D*C I had extras of here. Rest assured I am working on filling up the crates again with all the Browncoaty Goodness I can.

There are some things that are going to be pulled out of the Cargo Hold however. Some sizes of the flags just didn't sell as well as hoped and have not had good enough sales to warrant a reorder. The remaining 16"X 24" Independent Flags have gone on clearance sale and when they're gone, they're gone (price reduction is now/ will be shortly evident on the FFCB products page for all clearance items). Same story for the Browncoat Car Flag. There has also been a price drop on the books Finding Serenity and Serenity Found. Check out all the new updates at the FFCB site.

Unfortunately, until further notice, the Companion Fan will have to be pulled from the site. My supplier only offers the fans in green and navy now instead of the Inara-ish burgundy. I have been looking for suitable replacements, but as yet have not found one of high enough quality.

So, okay, I think I've rambled long enough here. I need to get back to work updating the FFCB web site and restocking and getting my gorram butt in gear on working on those new items! Updates when things progress (or I remember to blog about it- whichever comes first!)

(Oh, and BTW I have reserved my spot for next year's Dragon*Con already- paid in full and on file- so FIREFLY CARGO BAY WILL BE AT DRAGON*CON 2010!!!!!!!)

Until next time:
"It's good to have cargo. 'Course that makes you a target for every other smuggler out there, but that can be fun too."

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Browncoats: Redemption

Okay, the full Dragon*Con recap will be coming in the days to come, plus exciting product updates. But in the meantime, do yourself a kindness and check out the teaser trailer for Browncoats: Redemption, the Whedon-blessed fan made film. It's going to be oh. so. shiny!

Until next time:
no quote- just go watch the gorram good trailer already! :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Are We There Yet?

In under 72 hours now I will be on my way to Geek Mecca! Yes, it's Dragon*Con time once again! *SQUEE!*

I'm very excited about all the secret shinys that will be previewed only at the Firefly Cargo Bay Booth in the BASEMENT of the Marriott Marquis in Atlanta this weekend. They're so new I don't even have them in Secret Stash yet! Naturally, there are the new buttons, but also at least 3 other items that have not been offered before.

OKAY! I can't wait! Here's a hint:

There- I feel better. And I didn't *say* anything! Oh, hey, I also have free Kaylee Strawberry Candies to give out, so, stop by for sure.

I'm packed, got my tickets and the shinys and pretties are already in the Marriott's storage locker. JUST GET ME THERE ALREADY!

Until next time:
"Don't usually see you two planetside"

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Cleared for Docking

Ni Hao!

Great news- I've gotten official word from the folks at Dragon*Con and I can announce that Firefly Cargo Bay has a home in the dealers' room on the BASEMENT LEVEL of the Marriott Marquis. We have a *little* better location than last year. That coupled with the fact that I have two tables this year instead of one should make it easier for all you shiny Browncoats (and other geeks that I love so much) to be able to find us.

What else do you want me to do? Draw you a map? Um..... Okay!

The "enter" highlighted in orange is the only way in and out of the dealers' room. (right at the base of the down escalator going to the VERY LOWEST LEVEL). You will find FFCB pointed out there in the first of the short rows.

As I said, I have 2 tables this year, and a banner with my logo and I'll have my parasol up that reads "Kaylee Parasols Sold Here" so you should be able to find me this year. When you do, be sure to say hi! I'll be there for most of the open hours.

You may have noticed that I have stressed that the dealers' room is on THE LOWEST LEVEL of the hotel on the BASEMENT floor several times now. That is for 2 reasons. First, the floor above us holds the two exhibitors' halls. They look very much like dealers' rooms and the same sorts of things go on there. Many folks told me last year they couldn't find my booth. Then we discovered that they were on the wrong floor and never made it down to the dealers' room at all. This brings up point number two- the elevator of the hotel doesn't go to the basement level. Really. Nice way to make it difficult for us, 'eh? So you have to get on the escalators and keep riding them down until you can go no further. Walk off that one, show your badge and enter the dealers' room.

I'll see you in 21 days! (*squee!*)

And speaking of squee worthiness, Ma Cobb's Hat Shoppe is featuring the buttons I supplied her with as her August/September Free Give-Away!! These were the first button designs I worked with when I got my button making machine. Since then I have added lots more in each theme and more themes as well. These will all be at Dragon*Con as well, so come check them out there. They will also be up in the Secret Stash right around the time of, or shortly after Dragon*Con. Thanks to Ma Cobb for showing them off so beautifully!

So, hey, exciting stuff! But now I must get back to getting ready for my trip to Geek Mecca. Only three weeks away! See you there!

Until Next Time:
"Don't I usually stay with the ship?"

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Back from the Black

Ni Hao!

Sorry it took so long for me to post, but I sold out of the last of my available Kaylee-Esque parasols and have been busy painting shiny swirls on 2 dozen of them to replenish. But I had a wonderful convention in Pittsburgh, and would like to share (no pictures yet, as my minions have not sent them to me)Here it is! The Confluence report! Contain your excitement.

I'm back from Confluence now and WOW what a weekend! So much fun! Faces and voices new (to me) and old and lots of good music and eats (and sales- the business woman in me goes *whew*) A full report after I get resettled a little but now some highlights:

Cedric !!! Yea! Awesome concert with great reaction from the people who hadn't seen him before -- ever (I rarely get to be in a crowd that doesn't know his and the Bedlam Bards stuff well!)

Friday night filk-- I ended up sitting by Toyboat; unintentional groupie *blush* Also singing along with "Ladies Don't Do those Things" (one of my favorites!) in an impromptu trio (granted there were only about 8 people left in the room at that point anyway)

breakfast at Eggs n' At- it's a Pittsburgh thing... and so am I! :)

hearing someone describe my booth as "a geek's wet dream!"

dinner at Permanti Brothers (again, a Pittsburgh thing)

"The Girl in the Firefly" musical play-- SO squee worthy! L-O-V-E-D it!

More Difficulties concert so enjoyable! I heard "Cranes Over Hiroshima" for the first time there (remember- I'm still *really* new to filk here!) I had a hard time with it because a 10 year old neighbor was just diagnosed with leukemia this month, and the song- and the fact that it was being signed as well- really got to me.

adding to my filk cd collection some more *bounce bounce*

being in Saturday night's filk circle with the Fictitious Husband- first time ever! Got confirmation that Eric Coleman is a dangerous man behind the guitar! I think I believe him when he said we were all lucky his songbook was upstairs. Also discovered that Mark Bernstein LOOKS like a nice guy, but is really an evil, evil man (ask him to perform his Punfinished Symphony if you dare!) Plus, Blind Lemming Chiffon performed his "I am the Carpenter" which delights me to no end.

Got to catch the Heather Dale concert- although due to a failure to communicate, the Fictitious Husband and Thing One and Thing Two did not. My children did have people singing to them, though later- in the dealers' room, in the elevator and at the afternoon filk circle- they totally are hooked now! (and have I mentioned how great I think it is that a sci fi convention is being held in Moon Township?)

On Friday I got up and ready and went to breakfast. When I came back I organized things for rapid set up of the booth the minute I was allowed in the dealers' room. This was at noon. We set up in the best booth location ever! (the guys next to us brought homemade brownies and were happy to share) We had an hour before opening, so we went across the street for munchies/dinner. We worked from 5-8 and the booth got a good reception and decent sales.

On Saturday I had breakfast with sister, brother-in-law and Cedric at Eggs n' At . I went to work at 10, but snuck out to catch the Power Salad concert at 1. I left that at 1:15. It was already too loud and he kept telling the sound guy to turn up the music track. Either I wasn't in the mood, or he wasn't my style, because i wasn't enjoying it. I went back to the booth. We worked until 6 and then got dinner at the Primanti's location there. Still good food, but it just taste better with the atmosphere of The Strip. Soon it was time for the play and we waited in the lobby with, I think, everyone else who attended the con, under disapproving glares from hotel staff. I was very much looking forward to seeing "The Girl in the Firefly" and the Parsec players did not disappoint! I had a wonderful time and enjoyed the mash up of Doctor Who and Firefly immensely.

Sunday I was back at Egg n' At for breakfast and then to work. By 1 I started the inventory and packing the booth up little by little. At three I began getting it all together in earnest and we were done by... 5? I hauled the stuff up to my room to seal it all up and label it for the next shipment which is (*squee*) Dragon*Con in a mere 25 days!

I had a wonderful weekend and will most likely be back again to Confluence in 2010

Okay, so enough rambling here! I'm happy to have a good con report to share and sorry I inflicted such a long one on yinz guys! In short, Firefly Cargo Bay is back on track so the financial future is looking a little less scary at this point.

And that? Well, that's just shiny!

Until next time:
"Yep. That went well."

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Into the Black

It's just hours now (albeit in the double digit hours) until we head out for Confluence *squee!* A con in my home town! *squee*

I'm finishing up the new batch of Kaylee-Esque parasols and have a whole box of new shinys due to my new toy. I'm excited to see how they go over.

Unfortunately though I am not a member of the 21st Century- I do not own a lap top. So I will be away from the Cortex until Tuesday. Be assured though, that there will b a full con report when I return.

(now i have t get back to the 100 things I have to do before we leave!)

Until next time:
"see you in the world."

Thursday, July 16, 2009

All Over the PLace

here are just some general updates to let you know that I'm not just out there floatin' in the Black with Jubal Early:

I've been watching the first complete month with Cafe Press' new pricing policy. And from what I can tell, their prices are higher than mine on practically every item. Seriously.

How this now works is something like this; If you go directly to my shop and find a design that you like- say the Evil Laugh one - and want to buy a mini poster print of it, you will pay $6.99. Of that, I would get $2.00 which helps pay to keep my shop on the site. Thank you very much!

Now, if you start at the main cafe press site and do a search on say "Browncoat" and the Evil Laugh design comes up and you buy a mini poster print, you will pay $8.00, of which I will get 80¢. This also helps pay to keep my shop on the site, but at three times slower a rate. Even if you are in the general market place and click on the link to "show all designs by Firefly Cargo Bay" etc, those sales still count as being from the marketplace and not my shop.

Having said all that, there are some items they have on sale from time to time, which make them cheaper there than directly in my shop. By all means- save yourself some cashy money wherever you can! I'd advise searching the main site and then if you see a design you like, and it happens to be one of mine, open up a new window in your browser. Pull up my shop directly on that one (go ahead, you can bookmark it) and compare the price.

That way- YOU get the best deal and I get to keep flyin'!

Now, I Hear You Ask- "So, are you leaving Cafe press then?"

In short- no.

Over the last few years they've changed a lot of things and I've watched my commission drop, pretty much on a regular basis. This is even though sales have remained fairly steady (and I thank you shiny people for that!) They changed the volume bonus program and I got less money. They pulled my most popular shops for various reasons and I got less money. Now they've introduced this new pricing plan and I'm getting less money. I will not be surprised when they phase out the shopkeeper price setting all together- I know it's coming.

But I will stay! When I started this experiment 4 years ago, I said I would keep the shop open as long as it paid for itself. It still continues to do that (again- thanks to you!) Cafe Press has the best marketing and circulation and internet reach out there that I've found. That certainly helps me. I have a Zazzle site but I never go there any more (it's harder to get the designs on the site and I haven't even put it on the new items) I've investigated other sites as well, but none have the shop potential that Cafe Press already has.

So the Firefly Cargo Bay at Cafe Press is staying put. I'm not abandoning ship, either. I've just placed my attention elsewhere for a while. I will get back to it again.

After all, there's always a ton of more ideas for designs floating in this head! Just gotta find time to get them out there in the 'Verse!

"So What HAVE You Been Doing?" I'm glad you asked!

The Firefly Cargo Bay has recently acquired a new-to-me button machine system! (see it right there behind Jayne's work out bench?) Squee! I have been trying out designs and papers and the like to see which of what works best. (This has left me with a big bag full of less than perfect test buttons which will be showing up on freebie tables at any conventions I attend!)

I've been having so much excitement from this little device it's unreal. My first line of designs will show up as a free give away in Ma Cobb's Hat Shoppe. She's thinking of making them her August promotion, so keep an eye out for that.

After that, sometime they- along with other button designs- will appear in the Secret Stash of the Firefly Cargo Bay. And Speaking of the Secret Stash...

I've been taking some product out of the web site, adding some in and assessing the others. The layout of the site has not changed yet- BUT IT WILL. (Someone at DucKon even said to me "your web site sucks." *insert big frowny face*)

I do want the new layout before year's end, but we'll see how that goes. It's going to have drop down menus to divide the product up better. Categories such as "flags", "jewelry", "toys and novelties" and "costume and decor" are some of what I'm thinking. That should make the product page load time a lot shorter!

And, since I have you here, just a note about ordering from the secret stash. I hate the fact that the Allied Postal System charges so much to get your shinys to you. This is why with EVERY ORDER I add some little thank you freebies in the package. These are constantly changing- due to whatever I have on hand or what will fit in the box, but will always be included. So check out the site and know you'll be getting some extra Browncoaty Goodness in every box!

After all, I am a business (wo)man with roots in the community!

Until next time:
"I may not be a fancy gentleman like yourself, with your very fine hat, but I do business. I'm here for business"

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I Can Haz a Button Maker!

I am now the owner of a new-to-me button machine. Am I happy? Can't you hear me squee-ing from there? Why am I so happy? Because I always have all these fun ideas for designs and if I put them on shirts to take to a show, I have to take 4 or 6 of each size and hope they sell. If I get them on buttons they are much more easily transported. We all make out, because the customer can get a fun design for 2 bucks that they don't have to worry about how to get home, and I don't have to haul around big boxes full of shirts!

I prefer being fun flighty artist designer person, but if I want to keep doing that, I've got to pay the bills. Thus, I am phasing out the t shirts (at shows) and moving into 2 1/2" buttons... along with the bookmarks and fans and coasters and flags and all the other fun- transportable- stuff I already do.

I'm not sure what designs to do first on the button maker... but I'm going to have fun playing with it. Ya gotta love new toys!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Back from DucKon

Ni Hao again,

back from DucKon in mostly one piece. Con crud made me miss all the best bits of the weekend *pouty face*

But I'm back at 90% at this point and filling orders that were made whist I was away. What I saw of the con I really liked, but it was the first time I was not sorry a con came to an end. With the illness knocking me out on Saturday, and our room being 2 down from the 24 hour con suite I had no sleep. In fact, when I got home monday night, I went to bed at 8pm and slept for 12 solid hours! Total unconsciousness!

On the down side, sales were very dismal at this con. On the up side, I don't have to restock too much for Confluence. People just weren't coming through the room. I guess the gamers kept to themselves and I know the filk track was so rockin' full that there was no time for them to get ALL THE WAY over to the other side of the hotel (seriously- we were in no man's land!)

Anyway, I a m more bummed that my con crud kept me from enjoying all the talent and great people who were there. *sigh* They can't all be gems.

Well, it's 35 days until Confluence and we'll see how that one goes (and please don't be put off by their sucky website- it's going to be a great weekend!)

Until next time:
"This must be what going mad feels like."

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

New Stuff and off to DucKon

Ni Hao!

As promised, the new products are in the secret stash of the Firefly Cargo Bay. I've put up the attention paddles and the drink bottles that are both filk related. Right now, there are almost 20 sets of the paddles in my suitcase. I hope the customs guys don't ask! BTW- the full shipment of stock is out to delivery to the hotel, so YEA!

I am starting my DucKon adventure at about 6:30 tomorrow morning. All orders that come in from that point on will be processed in the order they are received the day I get back (June 16). All orders waiting payment will be sent out when I return as well.

So watch this space next week for all the fangirl blathering about my geeky weekend!

Until next time:
"I'm fine! I'm... Giddy!"

Monday, June 8, 2009

Just Ducky!

Ni Hao!

Here I sit, just 3 days away from my departure to DucKon *squee*. My suitcase is packed and my stock is... sitting in customs. *sigh* Our broker (NOT ups!) thinks the paperwork is all straightened out now, so maybe it will get released tomorrow. It's in Detroit now, so it doesn't have far to go once it gets cleared (as long as it doesn't get stuck in a hockey riot or something).

ANYWAY, I'm totally psyched for the trip. (picture me bouncy!) My stock of Jayne Hats is healthy thanks to the ever knitting fingers of Ma Cobb. Plus she's supplied some of those shiny buttons of hers AND the new "cry babies". Everything else has been replenished in the stock, too since FilKONtario - including some filk specific items not found anywhere else but my booth! (Okay, until Wednesday anyway... I'm going to put them up on the products page of Firefly Cargo Bay's secret stash)

So, yea me! All fangirl over going to another con! But I'm not neglecting the business, by any means. All orders that come in to FFCB will be processed the day I get back (Tuesday June 16) in the order in which they were received. Gotta keep flyin' after all!

Until next time:
"Hang on travelers"

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Forward Thinking

So yesterday was the big yard sale- the last thing I had to do in the month of May. Ahhhhhh! Time to relax! After all, DucKon isn't for another 2 weeks! No worries.

Oh. Wait. Half of my stock for the dealers' room is sitting in the storage room here in Canada. That means it needs sorted, counted, packed and shipped through customs across the border. That whole process takes pretty much... two weeks.

*SIGH* No rest for the wicked!

Back to work!

Until Next Time:
"We got a job to do, we gotta make good."

Friday, May 22, 2009

Quick Update

Ni Hao!

Yes, I"m still flyin' out here! Been busy with little shiny things. I'm happy to say that orders to the Firefly Cargo Bay Secret Stash have been steady of late. Yea! And thanks to the shiny Browncoats who've been ordering. That's been keeping me occupied as is getting stuff ready for the 2009 Toronto Can't Stop the Serenity. Little shinys from FFCB will be in the goody bags that each movie goer receives and there are some one of a kind auction items also up for grabs there that came into their possession via me. Sadly, I myself will not be able to attend this year's screening. Big. Frowny. Face. So, hey, go in my place, will ya! And bring a friend, or two or three!

In other news, Dragon*Con has cashed my check for the dealers' room, so those tables are mine! Mine! All Mine! *ahem* sorry about that. No, wait, I'm not! *stupid grin*. I'm also starting to try and figure out the best way to get my stuff to DucKon. It's very mind consuming to try to get all your stuff to a show before you do. And allowing time for UPS to lose it (it doesn't hurt to have a contingency plan!) Fortunately, I do not have to worry about this when I head to Confluence in July, as I am driving to that one. (And please don't let the crappy web site, throw you- the con is going to be great!)

So, those and other little things have been keeping me bendy, I got the lights from the consul, lift me up, like little angels...

Until next time:
"Did (s)he just go crazy and fall asleep?"

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Still Flyin'

The phone rang early this morning and the call made me feel like a goof. It was the dealer liaison from Dragon*Con. You know, the one I pestered so relentlessly for a week when I was placed on the waiting list for spots there. Turns out all that drama was for naught.

Yes, ladies and menfolk, we have a job! There are two tables reserved for Firefly Cargo Bay in the dealers' room of the 2009 D*C. I don't have the location yet (I wasn't about to ask for it when he had just given me the spots- I'll wait for a while before I pester again).

So, YEA! Firefly Cargo Bay will be working the hall. You have NO idea how relieved this makes me. Or, maybe you do. Anyway... SQUEE!

Until next time:
"of course, it makes us a target for every other scavenger out there, but that can be fun too."

Friday, May 1, 2009

Another Month Zooms By

Ni Hao! Welcome to May!

Things are a might bit calmer here now in the ol' Cargo Bay. I've had time to calm down from the whole incident with the Dragon (Con) thing. I was in contact with a lot of people there and it is pretty much just a fluke that I was able to get in last year. They were all very nice, but didn't seem as upset about me not getting a spot this year as I was. They don't seem to realize there, that *it's all about me*! Go figure.

Anyway, I've decided to go to Dragon*Con anyway. Yea me. The fictious husband convinced me that it would be a good marketing opportunity even without the table, and I may actually get a foot in the door for spots in 2010. So, Atlanta here I come (well, in September anyway.)

In other con news, it occurs to me that I never even filed a post FilKONtario report! And that was almost a month ago! Well, I got the few pictures I took back so I will try to remember all that happened that weekend and make a post *this* weekend. I have notes all about it... somewhere!

Since this is now May 1st, that means there is a mere 22 days until my Filk Over! Very exciting! Music, laughs, food, and really really great people all here for a weekend. Yea!

So, as you can tell, my mood is looking up. Things are still flying here at FFCB and I can't complain (I usually do anyway though, don't I?) Thanks all for the moral support during my crazy time! Better reports to come, I promise!

Until next time:
"Woman, you are completely off your nut!"

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Something That Makes me Happy

As you can imagine, I could use a little happy happy joy joy this week, so I'll post something I found on Tony Fabris' Blog a few weeks ago. This is a photo of Marian Call performing during her recent show at the Wayward Coffee House.

I love that shot! (as noted, taken by Graham Smith, and used by permission) She's really belting it out (and doing her YoSaffBridge Song I believe). What is great- well, for me anyway- is that very cunning Browncoat Flag behind her that decorates the stage. Gee, I wonder where the Wayward got that? (okay, no I don't- I donated it to them remember?) I'm thrilled that they've displayed it in such a wonderful spot.

So, there is happy happy joy joy yet out there in the black

Until next time:
"I'm fine! I'm...Giddy!"

It Doesn't Hurt to Have a Contingency Plan, Kaylee


You know, you try to do things by the book and wait your turn and be a "nice" girl... and ya just get screwed for it! After having my application for space in the dealers' room of Dragon*Con a mere 6 days after it was online, and I was STILL too slow! The room is sold out and I got the notice on Monday (if I was on the waiting list in January, why I'm being told in APRIL is a mystery, but I won't dwell.)

Some of you may remember the saga of pre-Dragon*Con that Firefly Cargo Bay went through last year. Well, it turns out that me having that spot in the Dealers' Room to begin with must have just been dumb luck.

I will not go into much detail here, because I'm still far too emotional about it all (FFCB is now looking at 40% of its yearly "income" vanish and I'm in full panic mode) but in short, it looks 95% certain that Firefly Cargo Bay will *not* have a booth in the dealers room of D*C in 2009. I need 4 other vendors to drop out- with enough time for me to get my stuff there- before I can have a spot. *sigh*. At this point I am saying I can not even attend unless I have a spot. Now, I'm not giving up the room in the Marriott I fought so hard for just yet though either. What does that mean? I haven't a clue. I need a few days to sort out all the options and alternatives, but I definitely keep you posted.

On a happier note, also in the mail this week was my Illinois State Business Authorization, so I am legal to do business in Chicago. Yea! Bring on DucKon!! And they know I'm coming. I could use a good con right about now. Is it June yet? 51 days! (but who's counting? oh right- that would be me. Back to work!)

Until Next time:
"Just once I'd like things to go according to the gorram plan!

Monday, March 23, 2009

We're Official!

I'm thrilled to announce that Firefly Cargo Bay is now an official QMx retailer! That means that I will now be able to sell some of their shinys as well as the stuff I already have! This applies to the Firefly Cargo Bay website as well as FFCB booths at any cons we do out in the 'Verse. Squee!

The first product I have available is one I'm absolutely thrilled about- Marian Call's "Got to Fly" cd. This is music for Browncoats and BSG fans and will appeal to geeks everywhere! I was fortunate enough to hear her perform and meet her during Conflikt 2 and I can tell you, not only are you going to love her music, but she is definitely is one of us! My current favorite line from her songs? "I am better acquainted than a good girl ought to be with Aragorn and YoSaffBridge and Worf and Hal and Han;" Hee Hee!

Also now available are those shiny Browncoat buffed leather coaster sets that I told you were coming. I'm thrilled with the way they turned out. The sets contain 6 thick leather coasters that are 4" in diameter. They also come in a tin and gift boxes. You can find them at the bottom of the products page of the secret stash.

So, that's all pretty shiny news, 'eh? And the win just keeps on coming! We are now less than 2 weeks away from FilKONtario and I have more new filk-related products to peddle on the two (yes, two- I finally learned!) tables that I have in the dealers' room. Even if you came to pay a visit to my table at Conflikt 2, there are some new new new items that will be debuting at FKO. If you're in the Toronto area first weekend in April- certainly stop in and checkout all the fun and music.

Well, pretty happy happy joy joy for this report, no? Let's hope that trend continues!

Until next time:
"Yep. That went well!"

Sunday, March 8, 2009


We're in!

Just got he word today that Firefly Cargo Bay is assured space in the dealers' room at Duckon 18 near Chicago! Picture me doing the happy dance!

This is another con to which I've never been and it looks very exciting. It's Tom Smith's stomping ground and he'll be in attendance, plus, just announced, vixy and Tony!!! *bounce*bounce*bounce* Plus writer guests and science guests and more filk guests! *bounce*bounce*bounce* I've gotten word that some of my fellow UFOers are also going to be there. Okay, this is just made of win for me (I'm presently ignoring the airfare to Chicago as to not ruin my happy mood!)

Next up, though on the convention docket is FilKONtario the first weekend of April. And, believe me, I'm just BURSTING to show everyone there all the new shinys I have - browncoaty and filky. (They're words... now.) A mere 26 days to go! (again with the squee!- I love conventions!)

So, I is happy camper! *bounce*bounce*

Until next time:
"I'm fine. I'm-- giddy!"

Buy a Bard!

Yep! It's that time again! Time to bid your hard earned coin on Cedric of The Bedlam Bards to perform at your town's Can't Stop the Serenity screening.

The auction closes in just days, and as of this typing, he's already up over $1,000.00 US DOllars (and worth every penny and more!)

So- get out there on the cortex and get bidding!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Can't Stop the Indecision

The Can't Stop the Serenity crew has posted the entries for the 2009 poster/shirt design. All of them are very shiny indeed! I can't decide!

How 'bout you? Get on over there and vote. I will once I can make up my mind....

Voting closes March 12... I'd better decide soon!

Until next time:
"Wow, Simon, that was very... historical."

Monday, February 23, 2009

New Stuff! New Stuff! New Stuff!

Hey! Guess what? Oh...wait, I gave it away in the title, didn't I? *sigh*

ANYWAY! There are new shinys just put in the hold of the Firefly Cargo Bay! The first is one I've been talking about for a while now. I've finished the first of the Firefly Rag Dolls. As you may recall, I had been debating which Big Damn Hero to choose as my first cute and cuddle version. What made the final decision was the trip to the fabric store. I pillaged the remnant bin with the crew in my mind and pulled out any material that would work for any of their outfits. The best bit came when I paid for them- turns out it was buy one get one free so... SHINY!

So the very first of my Firefly Rag Dolls turned out to be "You're-Gonna-Come-with-Us Kaylee" complete with flip flops and paper parasol! I'm listing them at $15.00 without the doll stand.

Another new item was a surprise. These parts just hit me as I passed the clearance section in the craft store, and they became the Serenity Necklace. Each pendant has the Chinese Serenity hand inked on the red shell disc. The hand strung beaded cord is about 20" in length and held fast with a twist clasp. They retail for $12.00.

The final item isn't exactly stored away yet, but rather they're in production. I'm giving you a sneak peak of them here, because A) I'm really excited about them and 2) I can! they are a set of 6 buffed leather drink coaters with the image "branded" on them. They do come in this shiny (literally!) tin and a gift box. I should have the actual items in my hands before FilKONtario and they will be at the Firefly Cargo Bay booth!

There will also be new new new shinys at the FKO event too especially for filkers, but I'm not spoiling those surprises yet!

Until next time:
"Oh! Look at al the pretties!"

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

How Can Brown Screw You Over Today?

And I don't mean people with coats of a brownish color!

Have you heard the UPS saga of Seattle? O.M.G.

Okay, so those of you who have followed the trials of me getting items shipped to shows are no strangers to the things with which I have already put up with. Well, Conflikt presented me with new stresses that I could not have imagined (to be fair, Conflikt had nothing to do with the stresses- that's just where they happened t take place. They're really wonderful people running that show so YOU SHOULD GO! Hey, 2010 GoH Tom Smith! I need not say more!)

So, I am here in Canada and the show is in the States. Wanting to avoid any more joys of product border crossing I planned ahead and got the items ready for shipping when I was at my parents place in Pittsburgh over Christmas (brains!) So come the time for them to be sent to Seattle, Mr UPS showed up at their door, paperwork was filled out and the boxes went merrily on their way.

Now, come Sunday, I had asked at the front desk for some UPS way bills. They gave me forms for 2 day air. HA! Like I can afford THAT! I went back and asked for the forms for ground transport. They don't usually have those. What? Ka. They use DHL. I'm told that "most people go online and print the way bills out from the internet." Okay I'll do that... but I have to wait until I've packed up everything once the show closes- I won't know how many boxes or what the weight will be. Fine.

Sunday 12:30 ish... I was at the hotel's computer filling out all the online things. Well, trying to anyway. It wouldn't schedule a pick up the hotel according to the web site. This was just baffling to me. I went to the front desk and basically said WTF! He said, "Which zip code did you use?" I said, "The hotel's." He replied, "Well, which one?" Again- WTF! Seems 'they' changed the hotel's zip code recently. He gave me the old zip code and I went back to the computer. It worked. Well, there's a half an hour of my life I'll never get back.

Okay! So then I try to print out the labels. They don't let you do that without an account with UPS. Fine. I'll set up an account with yet another company. Or so I thought. I tried and tried to put in a user ID. No luck. After 1/2 hour or so I gave up. I went to the DHL site to try to get an idea of how much they would cost me, since the hotel *had* their way bills. THEY won't give you an estimate without opening an account with them. Are you friggin kidding me?!?!?

So I went back and forth between other computer options and the not-helpful-at-all front desk "staff". It was 3:30 in the morning at this time and I was using all my efforts not to cry. I was leaving for the airport in 2 hours and still had no way to get my stock back.

I decided to see if anyone was still in the con suite. As I went to the steps, out came Halley and Tim (????... I talked to him all weekend and never caught his name. :( Well, it's not like he was walking around with his name on a badge or anything. Oh wait....) I spilled out my sob story and Halley said, "I *live* here" and offered to take my stuff to the UPS store. This was going to work, until I realized that I wouldn't be able to leave my business credit card with her and they'd want to see it. PLus my big honkin boxes wouldn't have fit in her car. She said that Cindy was still in con suite and maybe she'd have some ideas.

Well, of course she did! She suggested that it was just the user name problem on the UPS site that would solve all of this. She logged on to her computer and opened an account with them right away. So I resigned myself to trying again and returned to the hotel computer. After ten different attempts at user names I was going to burst. I was tired and stressed and almost at wits end. The thought entered my head "too bad there's a character limit on the IDs. I bet if I put in Raxacorafalapetoria no one would have THAT one!" This led me to another favorite Dr Who scene. I typed in a word from that scene and THANK THE DOCTOR it was accepted!

And then I printed the labels and everything was fine. So I went back up to my room and at 4:30 am found myself labeling 4 boxes on 2 sides. Unbelievable! I sat in the room for a little while trying not to fall asleep. When that was failing, I took my cart full of stuff down to the lobby and told them that it was all set to go. The pick up would be Thursday. Or so I thought.

Jump forward to Friday. I was back home and checked the UPS tracking site to see if my stuff was on it's way. It wasn't in the system. I thought maybe the site just hadn't been updated yet ('cause I'm stupid that way) and I'd check again on Monday. Monday saw the same thing so my fictious husband called UPS. What they said almost made me reach through the phone lines and throttle them. They said they couldn't pick it up because (are you ready?) "it is an international shipment." HOW IS A SHIPMENT FROM SEATTLE TO PITTSBURGH INTERNATIONAL?!?!?!? (and how is Harvey Wall Banger one word? But that's another story!)

UPS saw that my US Visa for the business has the billing address in Canada, so they wouldn't touch the shipment, because, you know we're all terrorists up here and train our geese to fly into plane engines so pilots have to land in the Hudson River. Now, that's ridiculous enough, but what's worse is they didn't call or email or anything to let us know they weren't going to pick up the boxes. They were just going to let them sit. Nice.

After several phone calls to several different people, it was determined that we needed an account with a billing address in the US before they'd touch the boxes. This is where my parents come in AGAIN. So we now have another account with UPS. They issue us new pick up numbers and tell us they'll get the boxes the following day. Tuesday comes and goes and no one gets the boxes. Oh, there was a UPS driver at the hotel, but the floor manager said he won't take them because they weren't on his call sheet. Great. We did get a call at home that went like this, "Is the the Seattle Renton Holiday Inn." "No, this is the Paddison residence" "Oh. Sorry" Click. On Wednesday we go through the exact same story as Monday and finally convince the UPS phone person that we have a US account with a US billing address and all that. They issue us ANOTHER pick up number and say they'll get it today.

On Thursday the boxes still haven't gone anywhere. We're told now that someone TRIED to pick up the boxes but were unable to do so. WHAT?!?!? We call Amber again (yes, we're on first name basis with the hotel floor manager as well as the UPS phone manager at this point.) Okay, after more phone running around we find out my boxes are gone. What? Where? It seems that a UPS driver was in the hotel the day before and whomever was on staff during that shift forced them on him. Great. We were told the tracking numbers on the labels I printed over a week and a half ago were invalid. So where were my boxes? How could I track them? And what about Naomi? Wait- that's something completely different.

SO I typed in the ORIGINAL tracking number that it took me hours and hours to get in the week hours of the end of Conflikt and what do you think? There was my information. The shipment was picked up, en route and being paid for by my business US Visa card LIKE I WANTED IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!!

The stock is safely in my parents basement now, resting comfortably until I go and get it in March. And there it will stay until FilKONtario. And who takes it across the border then? ME! In my little red van I call Serenity. You know, if I would just sell out of my items at shows I wouldn't HAVE these problems! Geesh!

BTW- tons of eternal thanks to Halley and Cindy!! I really owe you guys! Remind me to take you out to dinner at the '10 Conflikt!

Until next time:
"This must be what going mad feels like."

Friday, February 6, 2009

Conflikt 2: Day 3

Even after going to bed at 4 AM, I was awake at 8 Am. Staying up most of the night seems to acclimate your system to a time zone change! Just in time to go home :( So I got up and I packed everything that I was no longer going to need. Since the dealers' room wasn't slated to open until 11, I went to the lobby to use the hotel's computer and free internet. I needed to check out the UPS site to get labels and schedule a pick up for the unsold stuff. Since they won't let you do that without the weight of each box, I had to wait until after the show was done. No fun. I didn't even know how many boxes I would have at this point. (I started with 5) So instead I hit the facebook site and killed an hour there easy.

By 10 I went for breakfast and was behind my table before 11. It was really slow for most of Sunday. I was able to finish more rag dolls and ended the weekend with 4 Firefly Rag Doll bodies completely finished. And I wasn't even doing any during open filks. That's great considering it took me more than 2 months to do the 6 I already have! I wonder how many I'll be able to get done at FKO! One high point was Mark Bernstein's reaction to my Can't Sleep button. He asked if Tom Smith had seen it. When I informed him they were brand new, he bought one on the spot. He said he lives in the same town as Tom and would give it to him the next time he saw him. That made me happy! I was even more overjoyed when Mark said that he was sure that Tom would think it was great. Things like this make for a happy fangirl!

By 3:30 the Con Chair announced to the attendees that the dealers' room would be closing for the weekend at 4:30. Naturally, 4 PM was the busiest the table was for the whole weekend combined. I can kind of understand it, as people wanted to wait until after the auction to see just how much money they'd have left in their budgets, but it does get pretty frustrating when you've been sitting staring at the walls for 3 days and now at 4:45 everyone wants your attention. It took me 3 hours to pack up the table (going to cons is NOT a one person job for FFCB!)

Fortunately Julesong was patient and waited for me (she offered to help, but that would require me actually knowing what I was doing at the time!). At 7:30 we were on our way to the Wayward Coffee House. If you are a Browncoat and go to Seattle and do not make it to the Wayward well then SHAME ON YOU! The first thing that greets you once you walk in the door is a huge banner with the Serenity logo on it. I had the "Kaylee Ploughman Sandwich" for dinner, so you now what the menu is like. There's Firefly and Serenity stuff all over the place. vixy and Tony play there quite often as do The Bedlam Bards whenever they're in the area. The place has the slogan of "it's better than a plan" so, come on...!

I did notice that they were missing a certain Browncoat Flag in their decor, so when we got back, I put together a little bag of goodies for them- a 3X5 flag and some handouts and freebies. I gave it to Tony Fabris to give to the owner the next time they play there. (and if anyone goes there and gets pictures of the flag up on the walls PLEASE send them to me!

On the way back to Renton we drove through the city and I got to see the Space Needle all lit up against the Seattle skyline. Very pretty. I had my video camera at the bottom of my bag, or I would have been able to get the drive by shots. Ah well, next year (I hope!)

I went back to the "Smoked Salmon" filk-until-you-drop session. I think they should call it "Sleepless in Seattle." Or at least "Restless in Renton." It was okay, but the night before was a much better circle. I did get treated to experencing Seanan McGuire tell the stories of Edgar Alan and Lenore, her uncle's ravens. I don't think I laughed that hard since... a long long long time! It was hysterical. I'm fully under the belief that she should get into a studio and make a cd of her telling the stories ala The Vinyl Cafe" It would sell like crazy I'm sure. She could call it "Tales of the Crazy Ravens." So much fun. This incident also brought about the quote of the day IMHO: "Have you ever tried to cary an angry raven?" Seanan McGuire.

People were dropping out of the filk pretty rapidly. It sort of deteriorated at 1:30 with a heated legal discussion. Ah well. I went out to get things ready for the UPS Labels. I will spare you the drama of the following 2 hours. Just be sure that I owe TONS to Halley who found me at 3:30 when my brain was on empty and my emotions were on overflow. My salvation angel! This led to the con suite where Cindy gave me an answer to all my problems. Thank you eternally! tears of despair were not shed due to these two women!

I will once again skip the travel report as they always tend to end up as rants from me. I got here and that's all that matters in the end. I had a fabulous weekend and really hope to get back to next year's Conflikt... with an assistant! Great pictures of the event can be foundhere.

Thank you to all involved with Conflikt for making me feel welcome and putting on a great weekend and exposing me to all the wonderful music, comedy and fellowship. There are many many more people whose company and music I was fortunate enough to enjoy. I could never list all their names here- some of them I never even did get their names! *sigh* I can only hope to see them again at other filk cons.

For, you see, I'm now a filk addict! I am getting help though- I'm enrolled in a 12 string program (yes, that's a design that will be coming into the filk shop soon!)

Thank you all!

Until next time:
"I cried like a baby; a hungry angry baby"

Conflikt 2: Day 2

The second day of Conflikt 2 was actually my third day there and the fullest by far. I was up early again, showered and then called home. Very chatty, my homelings were, but that's okay as the dealers' room didn't open until 10. That was 1 PM on my internal clock! I then went and got breakfast and strolled casually to the dealer's room door. There I found Julesong at the reg desk and we had a chance to talk in person for the first time, although we've know of each other for 3 years now. She joined me at my booth which was fun.

Then time for the brunch came and the dealers were left staring at each other for 90 minutes or more. I mentioned to the Con Chair that the dealers' room could be shut for the entire brunch and it would hurt no one. Look for that possibly next year. After the brunch Julessong returned to visit with me and the time went fast. She even invited to take me to the Wayward Coffee House before the weekend was through. *SQUEE!* But more on that later.

During the brunch I was able to complete the bodies for 2 1/2 of those Firefly Rag Dolls that are in the works. I'm going to write on them that they were constructed at Conflikt 2, so... well, just cause I want to.

At 2:30ish vixy came in to pick up her complimentary shirt. She also bought a few other items from the table and left me with the comment of "You're awesome." Coming from a talent like her? Well, I will store that in my memory bank for when I'm having a down-on-myself day. *grin*

The concerts in the afternoon sounded really good from what I could here- the music was wonderful, but airwalls muffle lyrics. There were slow times that I was able to pop in next door and hear the performances proper. Much like the Friday night concert by Puzzlebox, the shows by Randy Hoffman, Mark Berstein and interfilk guest Laurence Dean made me want to spend more time on the concert side of the airwall. I resisted attempting to open the door that was right behind my table and connected to the stage. At least I got to hear the gist of the shows, and I was so glad that all of them did bits in all of the open filks, too.

The dealers' room closed a little later than expected, but the night's concerts got pushed back an hour, so I was able to close up and do the books and try to get some food. I ended up not getting food, but getting McDonald's instead, but it was enough to keep me from going into shakes or passing out during the shows. I even ended up serving a "bouncer" for the banquet hall, helping to keep people out while they were doing the sound checks.

I guess because of this- and Julessong reserving herself a seat and me keifing the one next to it- I had a front row seat for Marian Call's concert. O!M!G! What a voice! And she's a geek too! Amazing. Browncoats: BUY HER CD!!!!! You will not be sorry in the least. I think my favorite song was Good Old Girl which is about, among other things, Serenity (the ship, not the movie or the state of being or the 2 hour pilot or the adult diaper). And saying that's my favorite one was tough because all the songs she did were great. She's wonderful.

She's also a really cool person, as is her husband. I got to talk to each of them for a *very* little bit after the performance, which was nice for me. I hope to cross paths with her again sometime soon. Because of talking with her, I did miss the concert of toastmaster Frank Hayes. This makes me sad, as he seems like a funny guy and I would have loved to hear his full show. I did get to hear him sing in the open filks a bit, but what I heard more was him getting lovingly abused for his habit of forgetting his own stuff. By the end of the weekend, I had found inspiration from this for a new design. I will post it when it's finished.

I was back in the music hall for Seanan McGuire's sound engineer's nightmare. I jest, as did everyone on stage, about the complexities of getting the sound levels right for more than 7 people on a concert stage. The show was fun and energetic and during this time two of my most favorite things of the night happened. The first was vixy's comment of "Apparently I'm dead. This is really going to ruin my sex life!" The second was the enormous reaction of the crowd to the announcement of "We are now an official con- the hotel elevator is broken!"

Since everything started late, it was midnight by the time the shows were over. This led to a late open filk. I think Saturday's filk was the most enjoyable I have attended to date. Some favorite moments? Brooke Lunderville's song about extraterrestrials stealing all the vegetables" and Tony's comment of "Songs keep the zombies away" (there's a filk in there somewhere- not too far!). Randy Hoffman had a great song I want to hear again about leaving 'em with a laugh- funny filk songs. I hope he'll do it again at either FKO or Confluence.

There were so many more good points to Saturday night.. or actually Sunday morning, that I can't list them here.. I finally left at 4 Am (I heard it went on until 6!) By the time I got to my room, the con suite door was closed. No worries about *them* keeping * me* up this night!

Next Report:
Conflikt Day 3

No Longer CONFLIKTed

Ni Hao!

Yes, I'm back from Seattle- I didn't stay. Just slow in getting out from under the paperwork, exploded suitcase, time zone adjustment and playing catch up from all the stuff I normally had to do here the days I was gone. But here it is at last! My con report!

I will spare you all the trials of air travel because even a good trip somewhere still has its frustrations and annoyances. I arrived at the right hotel on Thursday evening and found that my given room was right next to the con suite. It was a big king sized bed room, but I didn't know how well being on the other wall of the con suite would go.

I got my boxes that I shipped out to the hotel brought up to my room and after dinner, began constructing my display cubes. This turned out to be a good thing- the head start- because with all the stuff I take I have discovered that going to cons is NOT a one person job! I did get to meet two of the con coms that evening which was not surprising, since they were setting up the con suite!

On Friday morning I awoke promptly at 7:30...Eastern time. *sigh*. I was able to get back to sleep for another hour but woke up again at 5:30 on the hotel clock. It turns out that there was an earthquake at exactly that time. Missed it completely. Instead, I got up and showered and returned to working on my display until 9 am. This was lunch time according to my body, so I went down for a big breakfast at the hotel restaurant. Afterwards I walked to the WalMart across the road for some supplies I was missing. I love hotels that have places to which I can walk!

I was under the impression that the dealers' room would not be available to us until 5 pm, so I was thrilled when the con's hotel liaison knocked on my door with the news that the room was open and I could set up. Yea! We snagged a luggage cart and loaded up most of my stuff and down to the room went. there was only 3 of us in a big space, so I was able to expand way out beyond my 1 table. I tend to take over wherever I go! Note to self: FFCB *needs* two tables!

The dealers' room was separated by an air wall from the main concert room. I was quite literally back stage. I wasn't going to miss a single performance. Happy Filk Fan! I spent the rest of the day at the table, either setting up, "futzing" or making sales. I was surprised at the number of sales Friday because of the dealer room time confusion, but it was a pleasant surprise. As good as sales were, reactions to my stuff were 10 times better! It seems I was a hit.

That night I went to the first open filk. When I walked into the room I was spotted by Tony right away. He was just getting ready to start a song but interrupted himself to say to vixy "There's this awesome shirt-!" while pointing through the wall to the dealers' room. I smiled so much my cheeks hurt because I knew he was referring to my design that is inspired by her song, The Girl That's Never Been from the Shadowbeast album. She just matter-of-factly replied, "I was consulted on the shirt!" Great moment for me, though and I will always remember Tony's look when he first saw the shirt at my booth. Times like that, ladies and gentlemen, is really why I do all this insanity!

ANYWAY- the open filk was amazing! Turns out the song Tony was getting ready to perform when I walked in was "Dorothy" for Seanan McGuire and she and vixy belted it out. Also that night was a parody of "Life is a Cabaret" by Mark Berstein that won him the song writing contest at last year's FilKONtario called "Life is a Muppet Show" and was from the PoV of Statler and Waldorf. Loved it! Later there was a parody of vixy & Tony's "Mal's Song" that had everyone laughing so hard that someone said the singer "broke the filk room". I thought Tony was going to be in pain, he was double over and laughing so hard! In fact, I think there are very few songs off of Thirteen that weren't parodied that weekend!

The music was amazing, the people were fun, and me...? I was on East Coast time. So at one AM my body was telling me it was 4 Am and I reluctantly headed to my king sized bed and it's 6 pillows. The con suite wasn't a concern as I was too tired to be conscious for too long.

Next report:
Saturday at Conflikt!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

We're got a Green Light for Upthrust

The ipod is loaded and charged. The video camera is empty and charged. I'm packed and ready for my 3 AM bus to the air port for my 9 AM flight to go to Detroit and then continue to Seattle for Conflikt Squee! keep the snow and other weather to yourselves so I don't get stranded in any airports anywhere! Full report when I return.

Until next time:
"Take me out into the Black...!"

Monday, January 19, 2009

May Have Been the Losing Side

...Still not convinced it was the wrong one.

Did you ever feel like you're fighting a losing battle? Come on now, we're Browncoats, that's what we're known for! Well, I fight to find time in my real life to make new designs for the cafe press Firefly Cargo Bay and finally get a new image or two up there and BAM! One step forward, two steps back....

*Sigh* Once again I got the "pending images in media basket" email from the powers that be at CP. Not only did one of my new designs get flagged, but they tagged an old one as well! One of my most popular ones too! How am I ever going to stay in business if they keep pulling all the images that people are actually BUYING??? It was only text, but it mentioned Star Trek and with the new movie coming out... Well the lawyers are full on the hunt I suppose.

*Sigh* I hate to see things get pulled off of there, because it feels like I've wasted the time spent designing them. But corporate lawyers scare me, so I pull the products. I am going to try much harder to stay away from the copy right infringement line. It's tough though because, well, I'm trying to invoke the images that Browncoats will know and want and... oh look at that double edged sword over there!

OKAY! But not all doom and gloom for the New Year! Oh, no! Very shiny things abounding here. For instance Conflikt is just around the corner (10 days! Squee!) and I'm so excited (and already packed). Full reports will follow in early February

Also, Firefly Cargo Bay is confirmed for not one but TWO tables at FilKONtario in April. Naturally, I can never limit myself to bringing just a few things to a con, so I finally smartened up and got more space. She can be taught!

In terms of other cons I'll be attending, my application and full payment for (two!) tables at Dragon*Con is now in the somewhat trustworthy hands of Canada Post. Planning a much bigger booth there this year, so I won't get shoved into the hovel like last year. I (tentatively) state that you'll be able to find me this time!

Polaris here in Toronto doesn't even have their new web site up yet, so I'm wondering how much they've got their act together. They've been having personnel troubles of late- so the rumor mills tell me so.... We'll see. If it turns out that Polaris falls through, I may add another con in the fall. Texas has a lot of good ones. I love Texas.

I'm also "on the books" for Confluence in Pittsburgh (go Steelers) in late July. This will be my first appearance there and I'm really looking forward to getting to meet new filkers.

So, I think that covers all the scheduled cons at this point (I'm in total con with drawl, can you tell?). In other news, Captain Hammer was unavailable for comment for the first time ever. No, wait.

The other projects are progressing, if somewhat slower than I'd like. I've got a good body count going of the Firefly Rag Dolls and still haven't decided which Big Damn Hero I'm going to recreate first. I guess that all depends on what kinds of fabrics I come across. Oh! Excellent news on that front; the great (and I don't use the term loosely) folks over at Browncoat Fashions have generously allowed me access to their scrap basket! I've gotten word that they'll save those pieces of material that are too small for them to work with when they make their stunning brown coats Firefly Costumes and send them along to me! How shiny is that! So these bits of fabric will go to dress my little rag dolls instead of hitting the landfill. earthgirl approves!

Okay, well, I think I've emptied the contents of my brain for a while. Are you lucky readers? :)

So, on this eve of Inauguration Day and until next time:
"I'd like to be the King of all Londinuim and wear a shiny hat...."

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Shiny New Year

Ni Hao fellow Browncoats!

Welcome to 2009! It may have seemed as if I had gone into hibernation lately. I assure you that is not the case. I have been working on shiny new things behind the scenes here at Firefly Cargo Bay and '09 promises to be very exciting indeed!

Off line I have been working on a variety of things. First up is the preparation for FFCB's first show of the year; Conflikt in Seattle January 30 through February 1. I tried to scale down the amount of items I'd have at this show, since it is a small one. I failed at that miserably! I am taking at least 5 of each of every product I have! Plus, I'm having some of the Cafe Press designs shipped out there as well. That means I'll have nearly 200 different items to offer the filk fans attending the con. I know I'll be spilling off the table I got and taking up the majority of the dealers' room! I can't help myself.

Am I excited to be attending the filk con? Well... is it wrong that I'm already packed? It's *only* three weeks away you know!

Other activities include sporting my domestic side. I've been sewing. Really. By hand. I'm in the process of making rag dolls for each of the Firefly crew members. Right now i have 6 finished bodies and lots of material for more. I haven't decided which Big Damn Hero doll I will be making first. My daughters have voted for Kaylee in the layer cake dress, but I'm sort of leaning towards seeing what a little rag doll Jayne would look like! Whichever I decide, I will surely post the first finished one here before they go on the web site for sale. Each one is about 8 inches tall and, as I stated, made completely by hand, from scratch. I am able to complete about 1 body a day (just the body, not the clothes or finished doll) but so far they are worth the time imho.

Let's see... what else? Oh yes! More new products for the new year! Not all made by me mind you. That would take more time than I have to spare. But items designed by me and produced through various companies. I won't post any spoilers here (mostly because I like to have said items in production before I get anyone all excited about them or anything- just in case!)

There are already some new designs over at the Cafe Press Firefly Cargo Bay Shop waiting in the "Latest Cargo" section. I will have to admit several of them are actually Doctor Who related, but that's not my fault. I blame it squarely on Geek2Chic and thank them for it!

Well, that's the very brief run down of what's been doing here. We're still flyin' and that's good enough for me! (hey, if it's good enough for Mal!) My goals for 2009 are still to arrange for shipping within the US and for cleaning up the Firefly Cargo Bay website. Please be patient with both items, as others are involved, so logistics are not as simple as I would like. We'll get there though.

So, until new items, events, or occurrences... well, occur, have a great start to 09 and stay shiny!

Until next time:
"How come things never go according to the gorram plan?!"