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Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

Time Event
12:10a
I looked at the skies running my hands over my eyes

A while back bunny_hugger gave me a puppet, a Folkmanis guinea pig. I haven't done much with it, I admit, but do bring it to cons and do some walk-around stuff with it. Motor City Fur Con was one of those, and on Saturday and Sunday I really remembered to bring it out and show it off and I got a lot of comment on it. This included mentions from very many people about how they love guinea pigs, and have or had them, and particularly in Artist's Alley I kept getting separated from bunny_hugger by people who wanted to see more of the puppet and show me pictures of their animals. From this I conclude that the Michigan-area conventions are rather starved for puppetry.

(Also quite a few people mentioned that they weren't sure when they first saw whether this was a real-live guinea pig or a puppet I was holding. I'd like to think that my puppeteering is just that good. But I know that it really reflects that it's a live-sized puppet, and I didn't have it doing anything obviously impossible for the real thing --- just breathing and looking around a little and nibbling --- and the little hand-pulses I do to imitate breathing amplified by the long strands of fur it has, so that it's easy to create a momentary illusion of life. Also at least one person was looking through his fursuit head and that cuts vision down dramatically. But it was very flattering to hear, every time, and I still think the con's just starved for puppets is all.)

After dinner we went back to poke around and while there weren't panels we were looking for, there were plenty of places to hang out, such as the video game room. They had a Dance Dance Revolution machine, one which bunny_hugger couldn't quite get the hang of as it actually failed her performance in one dance set, something that just never happens. We both gave it a try, eventually, with me doing sadly and her doing better, and somehow there's a J-Pop cover of the Popeye the Sailor Man theme that's in these things for some reason?

We also tried Rock Band. There was a guy there playing bass with a series of people who came in and picked up rhythm guitar (like me) or other instruments, and he just played along with all of them, on an advanced level, and never wanting a different song than whatever you picked to play. I got around to a fair number of songs, finally just picking the ``random choice'' option rather than try to pick out stuff on purpose because I just do not get into the Rock Band user interface experience, and he was there simply skilled for all of them. Me, I discovered that I'm marginally less bad at playing guitar if I bounce along to the beat. Actually, I got tolerably good, at least on the Easy level, until we hit a Devo song that just smashed me.

They had the Sponsor's Lounge as usual, with a lot of food, most of which was non-vegetarian, but with free beer and ale --- the con's ancestor's trademark --- but at least they had enough chips and popcorn to eat unhealthily. (They were out of ale, too.) Besides the air-popped popcorn they also had the flavoring powders to sprinkle on, and they had Buffalo wing flavor powder, and surely that'd be a great thing to have, right? Well, I drastically over-estimated how much Buffalo wing powder was needed on our popcorn and it turned out to be exquisitely horrible to eat. I mean, there was enough powder, none of it clinging to the popcorn because it was air-popped and there was no butter or grease to hold the powder on, that it would explode into little clouds of pain floating into your tongue, nose, and possibly eyes.

This produced a scene which horrified and amused bunny_hugger: we agreed that the wing-powdered popcorn was just inedible. Some other people tried it. They agreed, this was agonizing, just, too much capsicum to eat, and certainly too much to accidentally inhale. Everyone who tried it agreed this was atrocious. And yet we tried more of it. (bunny_hugger excepted, as she has sense.) Not just going back to the popcorn and trying with less powder, but, trying the same bowl which everyone agreed was inedible, and which we warned about. We just kept on eating despite the pain.

I did try again, with less powder, but there's a tiny boundary zone between ``not enough Buffalo wing powder to taste at all'' and ``too much Buffalo wing powder to allow breathing nearby''. bunny_hugger more sensibly switched to Ranch dressing powder, for which just about any amount tastes good.

After we had enough of this we went over to the hotel bar, where we'd hoped to see what furry-themed drinks they'd concocted, or at least labelled, this year. We missed the menu, but the guinea pig puppet, and my tail, drew attention and one woman came over insisting she just had to pet it. Some other guys, who apparently just happened to be in the area, were taken with bunny_hugger's rabbit ears and asked if they could take photos of themselves wearing them. She assented, although it sounded to me like it was done in the way in high school you accept the cool kids' invitation but suspect something's up. They offered to buy her a drink for the ear use.

And after this we went to the dance, which was packed, for a wonder. We're usually more often one of the rare couples on the floor, but this was a real and serious crowd. It was also later in the night than we usually get to the dance, so maybe we just run too early in this sort of thing. We probably spent a further hour just at the dance, with me moving as poorly as ever, but with a guinea pig hand puppet to shake around especially when the strobe lights were going, so that was a great conclusion to the day.

Trivia: The artificial sweetener Dulcin was banned in the United States in 1950. Source: The New York Public Library Desk Reference, Editors Paul Fargis, Sheree Bykofsky.

Currently Reading: The U.S. Economy In World War II, Harold G Vatter.

PS: Reading the Comics, April 21, 2014: Bill Amend In Name Only Edition, as he talked about the problems of doing mathematics comics, and has a bunch for you to download.

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