April 23rd, 2013

krazy koati

We slept on couches

After the Letterboxing panel and some general milling about, including a return trip to the Dealers Den to pick up some more of the plexiglass species tags we snacked a bit in the con suite and went to the video game room to play more Rock Band. Here we wandered into a quartet, with me on the keytar, none of whom really perfectly understood how the interface works. Also it was fun noticing which songs had been played at the con, and how well; as you might expect, ``Hungry Like A Wolf'', which might as well be the official song of furry conventions (if not all furry), had reached perfection from somebody. I started out on the Extremely Easy level and worked up to Slightly Easy, in time to make a mess of things on songs like ``We Built This City'', and draw some inspiration from that.

We broke up in order to get to the ``Will It Freeze?'' panel, a showcase of what stuff does when it's subjected to liquid nitrogen. This was held in the Forum, a classic lecture hall-style room, into which roughly every person in the Western hemisphere was crammed. We were too late to find seats together, but bunny_hugger found a seat and, while there was one near her (not adjacent), I failed to realize this and I stood the whole while. Since I'm tall I was able mostly to see things, though. For the first fifteen minutes or so, I was stuck near some guy who insisted on explaining why everything the people on stage were explaining was wrong. Mercifully he decided the room was too packed and too hot to see anything, and he ducked out.

As for showing what happens to things when they're frozen: a lot of it is, as you remember from Mister Wizard demonstrations, their getting fragile. But there were plenty of surprises, including a squeak toy which kept producing ever-sadder, ever-better-timed little groaning squeaks as the air within it dwindled. This was such a comic high point that it might've been the comic high point of the convention: every time it seemed exhausted it spat out one more and beautifully-timed desperate chilled squeak.

The panel concluded --- after a long while --- with the making of flash-frozen ice cream, or as it actually came out, some frozen sugar with dashes of milk mixed in. (Also a bit of alcohol, so that yet more jokes about Uncle Kage's drinking could be made, because furry humor is much like geek humor and depends on touching jokes that other people have made.) By this time the audience had dwindled to one small enough that it actually fit in the room, and we were able to get tastes of the ice cream, and realize we didn't really have anything interesting to try dropping into liquid nitrogen. I've been expecting ever since to suddenly realize there was something I just had to see flash-frozen, the way you think of the right thing to say a couple days too late, but it hasn't happened yet.

We didn't bother with the con suite for dinner, and instead went back across the street to go to the Benihana's. A friend mentioned Benihana's as the sort of restaurant you go to when you're training your kids how to go to a grown-up restaurant, which really precisely locates a certain class of eateries. We were curious whether there'd be any packs of furries, possibly in costume there.

As best we could tell, though, there weren't. It was just normal grown-ups (no kids, either, but it was after 9 pm by the time we got there). The couple to the right of us didn't eat their salads or soups, which seemed a waste, but we had a fine time and the chef's performance was good as you might expect. The lingering bit of cooking whimsy was slicing and stacking an onion into a 'volcano', and then moving it along like a locomotive engine. If we had kids they'd be talking about that for weeks, kind of the way I am.

We went back to the dance following dinner, where bunny_hugger was again far better than I was at moving on purpose. Some people came in costume, including one purple rabbit fursuit that's a good candidate for cutest costume at the convention (the character name was Lavender, I think, which sounds pretty inevitable). And her plexiglass tags sparkled often enough in the dance light to be really fun.

Trivia: Around the time of the Challenger accident a shuttle orbiter required about 1,250,000 steps --- and an equal number of man-hours --- between landing and launch. Source: A History Of The Kennedy Space Center, Kenneth Lipartito, Orville R Butler.

Currently Reading: The Pun Also Rises: How The Humble Pun Revolutionized Language, Changed History, And Made Wordplay More Than Some Antics, John Pollack.

PS: Real Experiments with Grading Mathematics, about an odd grading scheme one of my professors in grad school tried, and which worked really well for me at that time.