It's not that we expected catastrophe at this AnthrOhio. But we were on edge. For one, the convention had moved its weekend, from the start to the end of May. This was actually a good thing for us. It meant the convention would not be part of the end-of-term rush for bunny_hugger. It also meant that the Columbus Zoo would have its amusement park sideline open. They have an antique carousel and a wooden roller coaster we'd never been able to ride because it was too early in the year to run every previous trip.
But it's still a change in the weekend, the sort of thing that can mess up a convention's tone. And it came a year after the convention changed its name for reasons we are not really clear about, and change of some uncertain number of the core organizational people. Even some of the traditions that had been kept were mutated too; things like the Atomic Battle of Doom were renamed something less spectacularly fun, something like the Foam-Flinging Frenzy. That's probably as good a name to describe what it is, a bunch of people shooting Nerf darts at each other, but I know the name we encountered first. It's given the convention the last couple years this ominous sense of possibly imminent doom.
The official notice of doom came at opening ceremonies, and the revelation that this would be the last AnthrOhio at the Holiday Inn Worthington. They promised the new location would be great, all the better, but this would be the con's farewell to a hotel that's gotten very familiar. I've spent at least three weeks of my life at it. bunny_hugger's spent over a month of hers. It feels very much like home. The convention didn't officially announce why they were leaving, but the answer's in the newspapers. The hotel's being demolished, to be torn down and replaced with ... two hotels. And some shopping space. The new hotels won't have convention space, though, so AnthrOhio has to move on to a place that turns out to be like a mile south and east. It'll still be almost the same drive. We'll be able to go to the same burrito place, really. Just we'll drive past the spot that used to be this little bit of home.
And then there was a potentially truly awful situation. One of the guests of honor was a person we knew from online. And did not like, because the Guest of Honor had been consistently, quietly nasty toward my wife. I've had to deal with different grades of nastiness toward my wife, so I should say this was a low-key sort of nasty, the sort of person who conspicuously shuts you down when you want to talk about, you know, yourself in a circle that includes mutual friends. The person was mutual friends with the Big Name Furry Artist whom I called out on some of her bull a few years ago, at the loss of our mutual friends. There's much that makes me sad about this. One thing that does not is the loss of Guest of Honor from my online life. It's honestly been nice not to have to overlook Guest of Honor's little jabs at how my wife should stop wasting the group's time with her needs. (My needs never rated discussion in the group, by the way.)
Well, Guest of Honor has talents, I'd be lying to deny or minimize, and used those along with induced fame from the link to Big Name Furry Artist to get invited as one of the Guests of Honor to AnthrOhio, and deserves that as much as any one could. (Why do furry cons even have guest of honor, by the way? Really can't think of one that's ever made the difference in whether I'd attend one, and they seem to affect the programming and tone of the con even less than the con theme does. Maybe that's just a coincidence from every con I've ever been to.) Well, Guest of Honor didn't recognize us and probably had no idea we were there. And we had no reason to go speak to Guest of Honor. But, at the Opening Ceremonies, they did give Guest of Honor some attention and this was used to stand up and wave and absolutely shock me and bunny_hugger. The impression we got from a few seconds in person was that the person was exactly what we imagined from online. Some people are warmer, more pleasant in person than online; some are harder and less likeable; some are just weirder. Guest of Honor was exactly the person we imagined. It's uncanny. We were talking over it while reading over Guest of Honor's self-written con book bio and snickering at how much of it was ``Guest of Honor has this totally special special relationship with Big Name Furry Artist that Guest of Honor knows you're sooooo jealous over and gets to be the most special person in Big Name Furry Artist's life!''. Petty? So it's petty. Guest of Honor (and Big Name Furry Artist) chose to hurt us; we can snark in our rooms.
But all that set the broad parameters for the con: it would be our final tour of this hotel. Our last weekend with a place that'd given us so many memories. Also, somewhere, there was a table in the dealer's den whom we'd not stop to talk to because we had ample reason not to like the person running it. This is the setting. Now ... we go!
Trivia: The Milton Bradley Company's 1872 catalogue lists zoetrope strips for sale, explaining the ``simple figures printed on strips of paper become animated so that the movements of life are imitated in the most natural manner''. Source: Wondrous Contrivances: Technology at the Threshold, Merritt Ierley.
Currently Reading: DC Showcase Presents: Superman, Volume 3 Editors Dan DiDio, Mort Weisinger. You know, Lois Lane not working out that Clark Kent was Superman makes sense when you see some of the stunts Supes pulled that would demonstrate to any reasonable person that he and Clark Kent were separate people. It makes her out to be kind of a conspiracy theorist, really. ``How do I know that Clark Kent wasn't Superman wearing his shirt backwards and with a rubber mask concealing his face so that when I took a clipping of hair from the right side of his body it was really his left side, which I knew had lost its invulnerability due to exposure to red kryptonite? Huh?''