June 8th, 2019

krazy koati

The people were scared

Sunday. Always a hard day to rise. Harder since we had an 11 am panel, and all I could find in hospitality for bunny_hugger were a couple oranges. They were really short on food. But we had the Bunnies SIG, in the slot that's unquestionably the worst for any species gettogether. One person attended. But bunny_hugger got to show off her Watership Down book-cover t-shirt, and to spread the word of this great book to a person who hadn't read it but did know there was this Netflix series about it.

The Rodents SIG, immediately after, was a bit better. bunny_hugger switched to her Squirrels For Sanity t-shirt, gotten after the Rally To Restore Sanity And/Or Fear back in 2010, for it. I drew a little sign for the schedule board outside that said it was the Rodents SIG, and that included the warning to predators that this was not your buffet. And for once, nobody did poke their head in to call it the buffet. This though a fox fursuiter did come in and hang out a bit. I also got to get in some guinea pig talk, including my wholly untainted by actual knowledge doubts that guinea pigs belong in the Rodents family. I mean, they're really weird rodents, if they're rodents. Sorry but everybody knows it.

And after this, on Sunday early afternoon, we finally made our first visit to the Dealers' Den. It was far too late to get a new sketchbook commission, of course, but bunny_hugger did find someone who was doing little spot illustrations of people as plushies and she hired one for the stuffed-doll version of herself. That came through a couple days later and looks great, and I'll leave her to share it as she chooses.

By this point we were not actually starving to death, but it was getting on there. We had another round of Betrayal to play later in the day, and suspected that Hospitality would have nothing but the warmed-over memories of food. And there weren't any grease trucks out for some reason. So we went back to Skyline Chili for a five-way vegetarian chili that was more leisurely than Saturday's. Also more populated, as it was the tail end of the lunch rush.

And this is the least important thing I could mention, but ... after we had checked in on Thursday, I parked in a great spot close to the rear entrance, right by the three-floor elevator that would do us so well. When we went out Saturday I figured I'd lose that great spot, but, nope: it was there and waiting for me. This time, I figured, we're sure to lose it. Nope again. I went the whole weekend with just that great parking spot for us. It's the pettiest little thing, but hey, neat. It worked out right.

We had another round of Betrayal at the House on the Hill to play, and I did not pick Ox Bellows as character to play. Someone else did. Which turned out well, because this haunt also turned into a matter where someone would have to beat up the monster whose identity I now forget. My character --- one of the kids who're in the game --- was pretty well set up, in strength and equipment --- to assist and be the backup cannon here. But then Ox went and one-hit killed the monster, ending the game before my character could get down or, I realized, affect the outcome of the game in any way at all. It just turned out the Heroes had a bit too much of an advantage against the monster this time around. ``It's so weird that a Betrayal Haunt would be imbalanced,'' I said, earning laughs from everybody who's played Betrayal before. (Well, given how many different, and different-sized, hero parties there can be, and that the game started with fifty different Haunts, it would take a superhuman effort to make all the Haunts balanced for all possible configurations. ... Granting that there's some Haunts that are just crazy imbalanced, or that nobody understands because they're too incoherently explained.) Still, being on the winning side twice in two games: that felt good.

And what of the jigsaw puzzle? Would there be time to finish it? ... Yes, partly because of great progress made in the last hours by more frantic puzzle-solvers. Partly because the con had agreed with the guy running the board game room that there was no real need to close it before (10 pm? Midnight? Something late, anyway). Still, four people, plus me occasionally, were seriously working on the puzzle and it was just a few minutes after the original closing moment of 4 pm that the last piece ...

Turned out to be missing. But everything except that piece was put in, and the whole little-cabin-on-the-lake picture was clear and recognizable and looking pretty good in that Thomas Kincade way. The puzzle, bunny_hugger determined, was a rectangular-cut one, so the pieces came to rows and columns, and based on that the complete puzzle would have 37 rows and 27 columns, or 999 pieces. And we had 998 of them.

This finished us a few minutes into the last SIG we figured to attend, Rare Fursonas And Where To Find Them. I'd thought it would be a grab-bag of people talking about their odd choices for character. It was more of a person presenting --- with Powerpoint-style slides --- species that don't get much representation, like tree kangaroos (kangaroos are common, but tree kangaroos are a rarity), thylacines, or the last example, coatis. At which I cheered and held my costume tail up to full height, delighting the host who'd never seen anyone who was a coati before. She said coatis were great, to which I agreed, pointing out that with the high-pitched squeaky noise coatis make in their voluminous conversations with one another, you could get their interest and a good fight going simply by playing with a squeak toy some. Hm.

And now Anthrohio was in recessional. The Pipsqueakery was gathering up their animals to bring back to the shelter, so we had one last chance to look at and head-pet that lop-eared bunny, or to set my guinea pig puppet up where the actual guinea pigs might look at it and then remember they didn't have to do anything. The rapidity with which guinea pigs will go from ``I have to do something'' to ``no, I do not'' is one of the things I most love about them. And there was ice cream: the ice cream social, for Sponsors only, had broken up and there were leftovers, so we were welcome to take what we liked. By this point the ice cream was all but melted, a mode that bunny_hugger really doesn't like. But I was good with it, even if I got some caramel on my hands and had to wash that off after I'd just been to the bathroom a few minutes before.

(A silly word about the bathrooms on the hotel's main floor: nobody could get the soap-dispensers in the women's room to work. They were fine in the men's room, even if they were those motion-sensitive ones where you have to swing your fingers underneath the spout. bunny_hugger reported that nothing anybody could work out got any soap from the women's bathroom, though. The men's room ran out of soap in all but one dispenser, and that one kicking out tiny little spits of liquid soap, by this point Sunday though. It really would be better all around to have manual pumps.)

And on to Closing Ceremonies, at last and too soon. Part of the Corporate Takeover theme was, for people participating in the RFID checkins, the chance to vote once every four hours on a choose-your-own-adventure style game. We could gripe a little about some of the ways this was run, particularly that before you voted it showed what other people had chosen that round, which encouraged dogpiling since you got achievements for casting a vote in line with whatever won. (Or maybe not. The achievement sticker made it sound like you got an award for voting for the winner, rather than voting at all, but if you're looking to gather achievements, why would you take the risk of missing one?) Anyway, the group had collectively chosen the paths that revealed some evil conspiracy on the part of the BoxOwl Corporation and as a result of making public gross wrongdoing, the convention was free and back to its rightful owners, because in group fiction that kind of thing happens.

The Pipsqueakery got a total donation of something like $13,000, which is still a sum that staggers me, and made me feel for the rescue from which we adopted Stephen and Penelope and --- watch this space --- might be adopting something else. The convention had something like 1200 attendees, which when you consider that through 2014 they deliberately chose to keep the con to about three hundred people is staggering.

And they announced the theme for 2020: Sealab. Well, Furlab. ... Er, no, not Furlab 2020. Furlab 2021. I'm up for an ocean theme certainly. But for 2020? They're doing ``AnthrOhio 2120: Tech Noir'', part of a theme of cyberpunk-dystopian-future done in conjunction somehow with Further Confusion, Fursquared, and Biggest Little Furry Con. I'd never thought of a convention having some theme shared with other conventions, especially ones like BLFC, held in Reno, where only a handful of people could be expected to attend both. Still, that's neat and I'm intersted in how the theming will play out, especially given that we already have a cyberpunk dystopia thing going on in real life.

With that, and with an announcement of next year's guests of honor done in so casual a style you could honestly think the con chair was picking out whoever he happened to see right then and there, the convention was declared closed. While the con evaporated, we had a moment to catch up with mystee. We knew she was at the con, as they were running a room party Friday night which we couldn't get into. bunny_hugger was in fursuit and didn't have ID on her, so wasn't allowed in. But we kept missing her all weekend outside that, contributing to the feeling that the con was now too big for us, if we couldn't see anybody we knew. So this was a great, if late, chance to fix that and catch up with mystee and her partner and their life and new house and all their own excitement.

And AnthrOhio 2019 was done.

Trivia: When the Spanish Flu reached San Antonio, Texas, the disease had a high attack rate: 53.5 percent of the population got the disease. But it had a very low death rate, with about 0.8 percent of those getting sick dying, roughly double the rate of typical influenzas. Source: The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History, John M Barry.

Currently Reading: When The Mississippi Ran Backwards: Empire, Intrigue, Murder, and the New Madrid Earthquakes, Jay Feldman.

PS: Reading the Comics, June 1, 2019: More Than I Thought Edition, closing out last week's comics.

PPS: Six Flags Mexico. For all these pictures we still haven't really got to, like, afternoon. ... All right, a little bit into afternoon.


Christmas tree and sleigh set up in the Hollywood-themed area, next to the sorts of hot-climate trees that reminded me of being in Singapore in December. So much American Christmas iconography holds this idea of cold to it that it's a weird feeling when it's seen somewhere it's so not.


So, I have questions.

There is a Mexican Federal Highway 95, and it runs from Mexico City to Acapulco, and their Federal Highway shield looks a fair bit like the United States Interstate shield. But the Mexican shield is in black and white, and doesn't say Interstate; that's apparently a stylistic import to seem more American. But I-95 is ... as far from Hollywood as you can get and be in the United States (it runs north-south along the Eastern Seaboard). So the sign implies this weird attempt to be exotic and foreign by using the American design, but also to use a number that's localized, although since Acapulco is south of Mexico City it's the road that goes the wrong way to imply Hollywood. Every piece that makes sense here just makes less sense in the whole.


Front of a static train setup. I couldn't tell whether it was a permanent (or reasonably permanent) fixture decorated for the holiday or whether it was only brought out to be a Christmas Train.