April 24th, 2013

krazy koati

We lifted this house

After we got up and showered and packed, we tucked pretty near everything in the car, checked out of the hotel, and went to the koney island just past the gas station for breakfast. Or lunch. Call it what you will. The koney island's part of a chain, but still, it looked pretty nice and was decorated with various icons and images of Detroit back in the days when the name wasn't accompanied by a little wince or an apologetic shrug. One of the walls, for example, was entirely a reproduction of the ferry to Bob-Lo Island, back when the amusement park was in such good condition it could still afford its hyphen.

Back at the con, the event going on, and which I went to with more enthusiasm than bunny_hugger did, was the variety show. I can't help it; I like the performances, even if they're a bit shaky. It was a mix of stand-up comedy bits and music performances. The comedy ran about evenly between nerdly humor --- we came in on a joke about Riemann integrals, to give you the taste --- and anecdotes that were apparently drawn from recounting the absurdities of real life.

This was all fine at least in principle, although it didn't really take off. The anecdotes drawn from life, particularly, showed inexperience, since they'd often get a story started and then let it peter out, probably because this is what happened in real life. And it's funny in real life, but in a comic story, you need a resolution to the setup. They needed to make up conclusions, and feel confident in having a fictional coda to a more or less factual tale. The straightforward geek humor is easier to diagnose: the writing seemed too constrained to touch points that the comic was sure people would laugh at, since too much geek humor is based on touching points of previous geek humor. Not everyone needs to talk about Uncle Kage's drinking.

In support of my interpretation that the writing was done too much to deliberately hit points is that the stand-up concluded with all the comics coming on stage for some improv bits, dangerous as that might be. But here, with no expectation to particularly hit any references or to be too faithful to memory, they came to life and put a great performance together. bunny_hugger, who isn't an easy audience, was taken to the point of shivering and tearing up with laughter, so that's proof of that.

The musicians seemed to be rather good at their instruments, although I think they hadn't quite got their singing voices quite so well controlled. I'm such an ignoramus about that, however, I'll defer to someone with a better ear than mine. I've barely reached the point on playing The Beatles Rock Band that Ringo Starr doesn't pop off the screen and slug me for my singing. Yesterday we tried ``I Me Mine'' and George Harrison gave me the finger.

Just after the variety show --- regardless of how the con booklet seemed to have the schedule confused --- was a magic show, roughly an hour of performance by Comjuke. He'd deeply impressed bunny_hugger previously with a straightforward bit of stage magic --- making several foam balls appear where one was set --- when he called her on-stage as a volunteer. She didn't get to volunteeer this time (though he did ask her to explain what the foam balls were, and she explained what he did), and there was (perhaps sadly) not a repetition of last year's attempted rope-escape trick which failed when the person tying him up did an unanticipatedly good job.

This time around went without any major hitches (to my eye, anyway), although Comjuke did say he was trying to introduce more comedy into his performance. That's probably almost the default for a magician so I can't blame him for that, although he's not got the patter for the comic bits down as smoothly as for the magic tricks. One anecdote left me so confused as to whether it was patter for the magic act, a joke in itself, or a joke in service of setting up an illusion. I forget the details, but the awkward moments of silence afterward suggest it was supposed to be a joke in itself and other folks didn't catch the punch line. Well, all things need practice, and I'm sure that'll come to something.

The con booklet told us that closing ceremonies would be at the traditional hour of 6 pm for these, with a Dead Dog Dance about 8 pm. However, the schedule sign outside the ballroom claimed the closing ceremonies would be at 4 pm, with a Dead Dog Dance starting at 5 or 6 or something similarly improbable. We were near that first hour, but could we believe it? We did have something we meant to do and would need an hour or so at minimum to do it, so, could we?

Trivia: When Guyana gained formal independence in 1966 it had one university, a night school established three years earlier. Source: 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created, Charles C Mann.

Currently Reading: The Pun Also Rises: How The Humble Pun Revolutionized Language, Changed History, And Made Wordplay More Than Some Antics, John Pollack. It's a better book than the title implies, although the title is why I borrowed the book from the library instead of buying it myself. Also that I need to stop buying every book that looks sort of interesting.