Got a Where's George hit in Cairo, Egypt today.
The Penguin Plunge mascot gig in Middletown, CT, is this Saturday. However, I won't be going and I thought I'd write a little more on my decision and other things that relate to that. The lodge isn't very big. Since we, the mascots, share a changing area with the bathers, we've run into space issues in previous years. Accordingly, the event organizers have asked that after changing into costume, we move our fursuit tubs out of the changing area to our cars or to one of their trucks. Not an unreasonable request on the face of things. The problem is I don't plan on spending the whole gig in costume. At break time, I plan on changing out of costume to go and get some food and drink and maybe take some event photos. So I do need to store at least my clothes, glasses, and camera in the changing area. Since this need cannot be reconciled with their space problem, I think it's best if I sit this one out.
In the broader picture, I have resolved to participate in fewer events this year. There were times last year when things got a little hectic. Let's face it: I attend these events in my leisure time and leisure time is supposed to be... well, leisurely. Doing too many just defeats the purpose of leisure time. Also, although I may not have come out and said so last year, there were some bad mascot gigs. There were gigs where the organizers put us in a broom closet and didn't provide any water. (Coming to think of it, both of those problems were at the same gig so I likely won't be going back to that one this year.) The way I intend to cut back on events is by coming up with certain objective requirements that will both help me decide which events to do and avoid events that I probably would not enjoy. I hope that isn't taken as a sign of disrespect to our liaisons and event organizers. Certainly, I mean no disrespect and to the contrary, they should be thanked for their hard work putting the events together. But I do have to face up to my limitations and needs and I can't be everything to everyone. (Most of the time, I can't even be anything to anyone. :) )
Speaking of cutting back...
Back when the economic stimulus package was announced, I found out that I won't qualify for the $600 stimulus checks. So at that time, I decided that I would find a way to cut $600 in expenses this year. "What?" you might ask. I'm not losing any money so why cut expenses? Ah, but that's where nominal analysis falls short. Consider the effect of the economic stimulus. The $170 billion increase in money supply is going to cause inflation. In addition, since Treasury bonds will be issued in order to fund the stimulus checks, the Federal government may have to raise taxes in the future to pay off those bonds. So I'll suffer inflation and taxes and not have a $600 check to show for it. Since the aftereffects of the stimulus will serve as an economic disincentive to me, my recourse is to cut spending. Of course, I'm engaging in a bit of hand-waving here when I say that I need to cut spending by $600 to offset not receiving a $600 check like everyone else. In reality, it is hard to predict what the effects will be and some of the negative effects will only show up months or even years after the fact. Nevertheless, $600 is a good starting point.
So here's what I'll be cutting this year:
Landline telephone: $400 Central Jersey monthly geo-meets1: $160 FA:United2: $150 Mensa membership renewal3: $52 Quiznos in Ramsey4: $80 Total: $842Footnotes:
1$20 in costs per meet. I'm only counting 8 months here because even if I were still going, I'd likely not make it to all the meets.
2Just an estimate. The actual cost would depend on whether I stay at the hotel or commute to the con and where I go for meals while there.
3Haven't been using it recently.
4Also just an estimate. Sometimes though, if I didn't go there, I probably would have gone to a different restaurant, e.g. Subway, that sent me coupons. So this dollar amount is sketchy.
Hmm... looks like I went quite a bit over. Oh, well. I'll probably use up the excess anyway buying stamps for Postcrossing after the postal rate hike this May. :)