Saturday also had the one event at Morphicon/Anthrohio we never miss, except the year they printed the schedules wrong. That's Cake Decorating. As has been happening the last few years they had twelve entrants for the twelve cakes to decorate, so, I didn't get to participate directly. I think I was off doing something or other when people grabbed cakes. I'd serve as advisor to bunny_hugger, sometimes grabbing icing colors she needed. bunny_hugger was keen to respect the convention's theme, ``Barks and Recreation'', and drew a picture of a rabbit and squirrel around a campfire in the woods.
The competition went all-out with mixed media and three-dimensional stuff, including snagging wafer cookies from Hospitality to build complicated structures. The tallest and most fragile of these was an actual playground set. More people ground up cookies to make dirt trails or beaches to line rivers or such. Really was an impressive set of work and I know I'd not have been able to do so well. First and second prize went to some of the impressive landscapes and probably fairly enough. The host/judge seemed to be torn between bunny_hugger's and a couple other entrants for third place. He settled, under group pressure, into choosing by a random number draw. We thought he was inclined towards bunny_hugger's, as being so clearly on-theme, but there you go.
In consolation, bunny_hugger's was among the first cakes eaten. All the mixed-media cake toppings scared off people who didn't know that they wanted, say, a slice of vanilla cake with chocolate frosting and Cheerios on top.
Afterwards bunny_hugger and I went separate ways. She had a board game to play, called Photosynthesis. The game room was running a couple of instructional-contest things. One was about a deck-building game, and the game room people reiterated that until we finally understood it was a game about building an outdoor deck. Amusing, but bunny_hugger was more interested in this forest-building game. Truth to tell, I was interested too since it seems like the sort of strategy/resource-management game I like. But there were only eight slots for players and I didn't think it right for our family to take up a quarter of all the spaces available. As it happened there were empty slots so I could have played too with a clear conscience.
bunny_hugger got the hang of the game --- there's a stage of the forest where it's seeding, a stage where it's growing, and a stage where it's harvesting --- at least well enough to place second in her group. There was a prize for the best finish, too, a tree planted in the winner's name at some national forest. But as the winner was one of the game room staff he was judged ineligible, and bunny_hugger received the honor. In very good time, too. She had an e-mail about the planting the Monday after the convention, before we'd even left the hotel. And the real physical card with the tree's information was with us within a couple weeks.
Meanwhile I had wandered off into what might be dubbed the performance track. Max DeGroot had a couple sessions about recording audio stories, based on his Beach Bears serial drama that I guess has been going on a while. I didn't know anything about it before coming to the convention. It was supposed to be two separate panels, one about script-writing and one about production, but they ended up blending together. It kept brushing up against things that really fascinated me, such as the challenges of doing recording sessions when all your actors are volunteers in separate states and separate places recording under variable conditions. (He offered tips on how to make a decent recording, including basic stuff like don't do it in an empty room, please, that makes such awful echoes that then have to be dealt with when the audio tracks come together. Also that sometimes he just has to hire a professional to record a part.)
So some of it was enlightening. Some of it less so, such as a part where bunny_hugger came in, and the host offered this explanation of how to make great characters: he has one character who's quite cute, but hates being thought of as cute. bunny_hugger made a polite exit after that. Fair enough, although as general character-building advice ``person is stuck with a trait they don't like'' is a good story generator and pretty true to life too.
Trivia: Within six months of Jay Cooke's hiring to sell the (1865-issue) ``seven-thirty'' government bonds (the interest rate was 7.30 percent) he raised $830 million for the Union government. Source: The Money Man: Capitalism, Democracy, and the Hundred Years' War over the American Dollar, H W Brands.
Currently Reading: Models of Spatial Processes: An Approach to the Study of Point, Line, and Area Patterns, Arthur Getis, Barry Boots.
PS: Casino Pier! Love the place.
Another fine statue that we knew from our first day at Casino Pier: the vaguely steroidal chicken with a Coke can. Standing, now, in front of the new Musik Express.
Rabbit statue that's another piece from the old Casino Pier. Now it's located beside the Hot Tamales kiddie coaster that was there our first visit in 2008.
So the crocodile statue I remember from before Superstorm Sandy. I don't remember that he always had the warning about biting, but I know how much a certain kind of person likes being snapped up by crocodiles.