Well, we survived the emotional rigors of the Variety Show and got back to our room to pack things away without any of the real performers jeering us and chasing us off. Good progress, that. We unwound some and maybe made coffee (it seems sensible, I just don't remember in detail) and realized how close the convention was to its official ending. So that brought us back out of the nice cool dark private place in time to check in on the badge-collection thing. The Sunbathers team to which bunny_hugger was assigned was getting creamed by the Stargazers, which she attributed to of course how much people who would not take pineapple on pizza outnumbered those who were fine on it. This was the confound question used to assign people to morning or night teams, and we didn't yet know that there was a basically even split between people. More important, though, is that some of the badges which bunny_hugger had fairly earned by her activity had run out on the table. Either not enough were made, or people had taken the souvenir pieces without really deserving them, or whatnot. But she had missed some, including at least one that she had seen on the table the day before. She hadn't taken it then, as she hadn't earned it, though she expected to unlock that achievement.
We entered the ballroom, for Closing Ceremonies, in time for the last few mad-scramble minutes of the Charity Auction. That's the point where some random-meme token that the extroverts among staff and the lead of the performance track produces a bidding war that's utterly alien and daft to anyone who didn't follow its development. (``We have a bid of FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS for Uncle Kage's BOX OF RIPPED-UP MEIJER COUPONS --- will anyone give 425?'' ``FIVE HUNDRED!'') AnthrOhio broke the ten-thousand-dollar mark in its charity fundraiser, for the horse rehabilitation and adoption group Last Chance Corral. They didn't quite reach it during the end of the charity auction, but there's always a bit extra money tossed in during Closing Ceremonies, and there you go.
The usual routines of Closing Ceremonies --- thanking everyone, bowling over the speaker for the charity with the presentation of funds, the promise that there'd be a con theme announced soon --- got broken up with an actual organized and thought-out sketch. With celebrity guest BoozyBadger, rising from the audience where I'd had an obstructed view of him to put things in motion. The premise has to do with the box-head owls or whatever their name is exactly.
Those come, if I'm not mistaken, from the convention's Frankenfursuit event where, each year, participants get like three hours and a room of materials to build any kind of fursuit. It's a fun idea I should try sometime, if only because of its great underlying message: that any creative thing made is better than a creative thing planned but un-made because of fear of how it'll turn out. The parameters of the event make ``oh lord this is hideous'' completely forgiveable. And a lot of the results are not bad, honestly. The box-head owls are ... uh ... well, they're attempts at bird heads and they are a little hideous in that gloriously, embraced-ugliness way. I guess they're coming to be an icon of that part of the convention; at least one of the heads was on display at Hospitality repeatedly over the weekend.
Back to the premise: the owls were declaring they had, with BoozyBadger's help, managed a corporate takeover of AnthrOhio and would be running the show now. They had figurehead con chair Ed Hyena 'tased' and dragged off stage, with the revelation that next year's theme would be Corporate Takeover.
Which, I'll admit, struck me as a narrow topic. Kind of a closed improv prompt. On the other hand, the convention did a great job making the 'Barks and Recreation' theme run through the convention's decoration and events and activities. And they introduced it in an interesting way that started out the telling of a story. It's easy to imagine next year the gang getting together to save the neighborhood rec center, like in all those 80s movies that were less numerous than references to them would lead you to think. Hm.
The convention adjourned. We left our feedback and people started dispersing. We looking for dinner, passing up the grease truck in favor of the nearby Skyline Chili's. There we again passed that Continent Movie Theater and its weird roster of five-years-ago movies. Also it was late enough in the day the lights were turned on, at least the lights that worked, so we saw the 'Content Movie Theater' sign. This would be so corny a bit of symbolism in a short story that it solidified our fascination with the place.
Back at the hotel there was time for the usual end-of-convention stuff. More people seemed to be hanging around the common areas than before, possibly because New Hotel had better lounging space for it. Possibly because there were just that many more people. We finally saw the cork message boards, although nothing was posted to them. Beside them was a flyer for the Foam Flinging Frenzy, calling it by the old name of the Atomic Battle of Doom. The last bits of food being eaten, or carried off, from Hospitality. A mildly attended Dead Dog Dance. We got into fursuit (bunny_hugger) and Kigurumi (me) and danced a while. And then one time we took a break, resting a bit in the former headless lounge that had already been cleaned out, and then walking around the main floor to come back and find the dance had evaporated in our absence.
Karaoke was going on, though, at least officially. Syberfox had a modified set this year, one that not just provided the words but had a visual cue as to when words should be said. This is a great benefit for people like me who more or less know that there is a beat to songs, but can't really do much about that fact. Unfortunately there was nobody there; we sang to each other, appreciating how much the new system improved the songs even without any hint about how to modulate one's voice's pitch.
That got interrupted when a couple young furs poked in, looking for staff. They'd noticed a woman in the lounge, asleep and not responding to anyone, with an opened, partially emptied water bottle beside her. Apparently nothing sinister, it turns out; she had just dozed off in public after a busy and hot weekend. But that did leave an unhappy while where bunny_hugger and I baby-sat karaoke equipment while the con staff had to figure out whether something we never imagined would happen at our convention had happened.
Karaoke never got going again after the interruption. Partly from the small size of the event by then, and partly the hour. Partly because someone else brought in a bunch of virtual reality gear, and this was one of the few remaining available convention spaces where it could be set up. Setting it up seemed to take forever, but again before I knew it there were people playing what I think they dubbed Drunken Bar Fight. Not sure if that's the actual name or a mere description. But the premise is just that, your character moving around spaces unsteadily, much as you do when you're wearing a helmet and holding video game gear and you can't see the real world and there's cables leading everywhere and people are yelling you're about to crash into something. In-game you go punching people or throwing them into things. These things may include other people.
Watching it, and laughing at people who were stumbling around an imaginary bar punching people while flicking them off (simultaneously, in ways that would shatter finger bones), I thought of the early days of video games. Where there wasn't really a game, just a demonstration that a game could be made here, perhaps. Also that the rig, as it was, made an Atari 2600-quality brilliant use of its own limitations. It might be impossible for a person to move in any sensible way in virtual reality rigs as they are; fine. If they're playing drunken characters --- well, then, they should move so badly. Great thinking. Didn't have any desire to play the game.
We went upstairs so bunny_hugger could change out of fursuit, and get her marionette back. By the time we came back the game had changed. They were playing a surgery simulator instead. In principle cool; in practice, well, maybe someone who paid attention to the instructions would do something besides race to kill the patient. It all left me more convinced that virtual reality was ready to do something interesting. But that nobody had come up with any game ideas for it yet.
With the hour getting past midnight even these last bits of the convention were contracting, and getting quieter, and we yielded to the hour. We did a last check of the common spaces, looking for people we could promise to see next year, and went back to our room, to pack and to sleep.
Trivia: Samuel Langley's experimental engine for his Great Aerodrome aircraft had, by the end of 1902, weighed 187 pounds and could produce 45 horsepower. Source: First Flight: The Wright Brothers and the Invention of the Airplane, T A Heppenheimer.
Currently Reading: The Philosophy of Mathematics: An Introductory Essay, Stephan Körner.
PS: Golfing behind Casino Pier.
Kind of cavernous interior to the pirate-themed miniature golf. There's several holes within the structure.
And looking back outside we can see: the guy's still practicing. We can hear it, too.
Looking from the miniature golf course out to Casino Pier, of which only Hydrus is really visible. Also one of the shoreside hotels that would be happy to stay in 1962, thanks, if it may.