May 25th, 2015

krazy koati

Winding your way down on Baker Street

We slept in Friday, figuring that we could go to the opening ceremonies, then lunch, then back for the first scheduled panel bunny_hugger was hosting. This wasn't a bad plan. Opening ceremonies were efficiently done, and introduced a really cool concept we hope gets carried over in future years. Added to the services was the opening of a story about some threat to reality breaking in and only eight-bit video game characters being able to save the day. To that end, they were giving out colored plastic beads that could be put into patterns and melted into sprite-like renderings of people. Congoers were given the task of making as many of these figures as possible over the weekend.

To get beads, tough, you'd have to hand over coupons, given out at panels and Artist's Alley and the dealers' room and the dances and so on. This we also liked as a nice way to encourage people going to events they might otherwise have skipped. It's a good idea, although by Sunday bead-color discipline had almost completely broken down and people could just scoop up as many of whatever color they needed. As panel hosts we also got tickets for colors to pass out, but I don't think we drew anyone extra to the panels for the sake of bead coupons. Overall, it's a good idea; it maybe just needs tweaking. Or experience, since this was new to the con's attendees.

Going out to eat was a good enough idea --- the con suite had plenty of food, but little of it vegetarian --- except that we went towards the Frisch's Big Boy, to the north. This forced us to cross the highway, and the highway bridge under construction, and lumped us into an awful, awful traffic jam. There was nothing the night before. It's just a jam that appears around the lunch hours, apparently, and would vex us since we had only the hour to go, eat, and get back. We made it, though, and noticed once again it was Dress Like Big Boy For A Free Sandwich weekend.

On the way back we discovered what gathering had rented out the part of the hotel Morphicon didn't have. I thought it was the charity, a feline rescue group, moving their cats into the hotel. It wasn't a rack full of kittens, though: they were rabbits. The other group was the American Netherland Dwarf Rabbit Club, and they revealed that this was the weekend of some major rabbit-fanciers gathering. There would be hotels full of people and their rabbits all over Columbus. It seems like a missed opportunity for Morphicon this year, somehow, moreso than the usual Dress As Big Boy day.

The panel to attend was bunny_hugger's. She gave Letterboxing a rest this year, and instead used the Retro Gaming theme to organize a talk about pinball. I served as assistant, or as the con booklet put it, the panel organizer. It was fun, though. She talked some about the history of pinball and showed off pictures she'd taken of particularly furry-themed or relevant pinball artwork (there are a lot of robot women in pinball backglasses), and we lead off talking about our experiences with the games. People joined in talking about their experiences with pinball, or asking questions about the games, and in all it felt really good.

I'd worried people would be expecting an actual pinball machine at the panel. It would've been great, but we just don't have one, and didn't know anyone we could get to bring one. Maybe next year. Or we might bring the Wii and set that up with virtual tables; the squirrel-themed Goin' Nuts, for example, would be perfectly good silly play.

Trivia: The Franklin Base Ball Club, organized in Detroit in 1857, is the first club west of New York known to use the Knickerbocker --- the main ancestor of modern baseball --- rules. Source: But Didn't We Have Fun? An Informal History of Baseball's Pioneer Era, 1843 - 1870, Peter Morris.

Currently Reading: The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York, Deborah Blum.

PS: Reading The Comics, May 22, 2015: Might Be Giving Up Mickey Mouse Edition, third of these mathematics posts since the last roundup. Spoiler: I might be giving up reviewing Mickey Mouse comic strips because they turn out to be reruns.