May 30th, 2015

krazy koati

And oh what heights we'll hit

bunny_hugger would disappear for hours for the rehearsals. I wasn't performing any in the show, so I wasn't allowed in even to peek. This left me time to kick around. I spent most of my time in the game room, some of it playing Dance Dance Revolution badly. They also had an Xbox game called Kinectimals, which promised to let one interact with video-game bears using nothing but the motion of your body. This was a hollow lie.

The first irritation is that it took forever get the Kinect thing working. I think I'm decent at following directions like ``stand still'', but the blasted thing would not register my existence or any of my motions. I was ready to give up on that after a half-hour of pointless fidgeting, but the guys running the game room swore I was almost there. Fine. We got to the game. It offered about seven weeks' worth of prologue and explanation that was inaudible because it was a video game room and the sound was not turned up too high. It seemed to be offering the chance to select a bear to play. Fine. Presumably there is some way of selecting your choices here. I couldn't figure it out. After another ten minutes of fidgeting I was able to swap around a ring of bears, and sometimes to touch a magic box that apparently implied something was changing somewhere about something. I don't know what. Nobody could give me a clear idea what I was supposed to do. Despite the people promising me that I was almost there and ready to start playing I gave up in disgust. I realize some of the problem is I was unfamiliar with this interface, but I believe user interfaces should be designed so that even if you just start doing stuff at random you will get some hints that something has happened. Also, good grief, if you are expecting to play a game about bears, and you're shown a bear, it is not my unreasonable expectation to think that moving the cursor to touch the bear ought to select that stupid bear already.

So, disgusted, I went off to a Playstation or something and played Pinball Arcade. In one game of Tales of the Arabian Nights I beat all five standard-level challenges and took the grand championship. I grant the game may have been reset for the convention.

So that fiasco was enough to bring me to the start of the Spectacle of Doom, where I got a nice up-front seat. Since I'd been at much of the casting call I'd heard the prototype of many of the sketches, and could see how a couple complete rehearsals and experiments with the cast had revised what was done into what could be done. bunny_hugger had the noble role of serving as a major puppeteer. She had this ostrich puppet, just purchased from the book store, who was clearly born to be a star. Besides a nice big expressive head, the wings allow hands to fit in so he can gesture the way the higher-order Muppets can. bunny_hugger drew more attention with that than I did with my guinea pig puppet. My guinea pig was still fooling people into asking ``wait, is that real?'', but her ostrich has star-level charisma.

bunny_hugger told me she had tried getting the other puppets into the show, but the ostrich just read so well and looked so good there wasn't any competition. Also that she kept kind of finding new places that a puppet could pop up and do things. Her suspicion was that Alkali hadn't done much work with puppets before and so didn't think about them; when he did see her mouthing a song or so, though, he realized he had something and ordered as many to go in as many places as possible.

Trivia: In 1896 New Jersey allowed corporate directors to hold office and conduct business outside the state, provided they maintained an office within New Jersey and paid state chartering fees. By 1901 there were 2,347 corporate charters granted under the new law, and by 1905 corporation fees had allowed the state to eliminate its bonded debt and abolish the state property tax. Source: New Jersey: A History of the Garden State, Editors Maxine N Lurie, Richard Veit.

Currently Reading: Asimov's Science Fiction, June 2015. Editor Sheila Williams.

PS: A Summer 2015 Mathematics A To Z: characteristic, third in the A-to-Z series.