bunny_hugger dreaded the worst with her Letterboxing panel, mostly because only going to the Motor City Fur Con web site and downloading the full description of panels, and searching for the word ``Letterboxing'', would explain what it was. And the room was just a little bit farther from the main flow of traffic, and bunny_hugger dreads the worst much more readily than I do. Still, it was looking bad. We'd agreed to take ten minutes past the scheduled start and if nobody showed up, then, go do something else.
Nine minutes past the scheduled start, somebody showed up. He was also eating lunch and seemed just a little curious about letterboxing because he didn't know what to make of the title, but, he was curious. And intrigued, the more he heard about it. Pretty soon he was asking questions about letterboxing that might as well have been the questions bunny_hugger would arrange a confederate in the audience to plant: where did it come from? How does it differ from geochaching? What do you need to carve your stamp? Can you make your own carving tools? Why is there kind of a rivalry between geocachers and letterboxers? (Good locations to hide letterboxes tend to be good locations to hide geocaches, and it's easy for a geocacher to mistake a letterbox and its stamp as the sort of prize token given to geocache finders, which can result in accidental vandalism of the letterbox.) bunny_hugger and I talked about the box we found the previous day, and ones we hoped to plant in the near future, and she advanced the carving on one she'd had kicking around for a while. So the letterboxing panel didn't manage to draw a crowd, even when he tried to rope in friends, but, it got one guy really excited about the concept, at least, and that's pretty gratifying.
After collecting the sketchbooks --- one a cartoonish drawing of me and bunny_hugger hugging, the other (which I think we actually picked up Saturday) a gorgeous blue-only watercolor sketch of bunny_hugger --- we actually left the con again, because we realized that Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum is extremely close to Novi, and we could get there in about ten minutes. It turns out to be ten minutes including an excessively confusing tangle of Interstates, but, still: we were able to get to the museum, and its pinball machines and coin-operated attractions and all that, quite quickly and so put in a little under two hours of other pinballs and coin-op attractions and a possible Cardiff Giant and all that.
I should say, last time we'd looked at a striking-cobra contraption but we didn't drop a quarter in to see what it did. This time, we did, and it's 50 cents it turns out. The cobra, by the way, needs repairs. The skin's cracked open so that there's a little too much of the mechanism inside and there's not enough face on the snake, so, it's a little gruesome. But I put my money in, put my hand onto the plate where it says to press your hand, and waited for, I expected, the cobra to strike, which would surely challenge my reflexes to flinch. And I waited. And waited. And waited. After a couple minutes it was clear the cobra wasn't going to strike, and I took my hand off and the machine claimed I lost. Apparently more than the cobra skin needs repairs.
But we played a healthy amount of pinball --- bunny_hugger managing to beat 100,000 on The Wizard of Oz, which is excellent for that game, and puts her on the order of magnitude of the high-score table for the machine --- and really explored the nooks and crannies of the museum. It's got lots of stuff, and stuff on top of stuff, and probably could easily fill a space twice as large without looking less packed. We wondered if there might be a geocache hidden somewhere within Marvin's grounds, unsuspected by nearly everyone. There's certainly places to hide them.
We returned to the con for Closing Ceremonies and got our usual parking spot back safe and sound. This was where we learned some of the convention's vital statistics, such as the attendee count (967 people, apparently, if you count up the attendees and subtract preregistrations not picked up) and the size of the fursuit parade and all that, and the amount raised for charity (I think it came to seven thousand dollars), and learned that the con is moving to a little earlier next year. This coincides with Great Lakes Fur Con moving much later, so, who knows what the con slate for next year will look like exactly?
After all this was time to just have huge masses of people milling around, hanging out around the con, good for a lot of walking around and taking photographs and seeing people awestruck with my very slight guinea pig puppetry skills, and waiting for the Sponsor's Lounge to reopen. They'd have both beer and cider, and the stuff for sandwiches, and we didn't have any repeats of the Buffalo wing powder fiasco. There was one guy who used the sandwich materials to build this Brobdingnagian pile of meat and cheese, the sort of sandwich which makes me assert that it's got appendices. That kind of sandwich. We actually spent a lot of time hanging out at this, including seeing one of the guys who'd been working the Sponsor's Lounge --- he actually built thrones out of cases of Faygo soda --- show off a spinoff of the Bunnies panel. See, somehow, the Bunnies panel got around to the topic of Foodfight! and he was captivated by my description of the Nazi pickle, and he got someone to draw a (very quick, very sketchy) Nazi pickle that's far less unsettling than the one in that awful, awful, horrible movie.
bunny_hugger got in fursuit again for some of this walking around and hanging around, because she really hadn't had enough time in suit yet, and part of what she did was to go to the hotel bar and get a dark and stormy. This was just for the fun of hanging out at the bar in costume, even if it had some slight practical problems in that the straw wasn't actually long enough for her to drink comfortably. They had longer straws yet, but it's tough getting a drink into a fursuit head, and I was worried possibly too much that the glass would spill over and produce a horrible problem of cleaning. It didn't. She just hung out looking really cool like this.
The Dead Dog Dance got started, and it wasn't as hugely populated as that of the night before, but it was still exciting and fun and we danced until we'd realized we were getting tired and kind of wanted to get back to the pleasant quiet of home again. So we made a last round of looking for people to see and stuff to notice (we didn't see any tour groups coming in, for example, this time), and got back to the car and drove home.
In all, Motor City Fur Con was what we could have realistically hoped for, and it was a successful first-year con in the ways that Great Lakes wasn't.
Trivia: When LaGuardia airport opened in 1939 its Runway #1, six thousand feet long, was the longest in the world, and positioned to match prevailing northwesterly winds. Runway #2 was five thousand feet, running north-south, in line with a radio beam. Source: Naked Airport: A Cultural History of the World's Most Revolutionary Structure, Alastair Gordon.
Currently Reading: Populuxe, Thomas Hine. Sadly, as I borrowed the book from the university library, it's got your bog-standard library book cover without any appealing features to it.
PS: What Is True Almost Everywhere? or what might a mathematician mean by that?