[ I'm still trying to gather more information about the circumstances of argon_centaur's reported death. It's gotten a bit strange and when time permits I will describe that. ]
Immediately after the genetics panel was time for the Fursuit Parade, offering us the chance to run to the bathroom and then try to find a spot squeezed against the walls where, we assumed, there would sooner or later be a set of people in costume walking past, if we were on the route. The more time went on the less sure we were of that, but there were a lot of people lining the hallway, so it seemed improbable that we would be very far off. Yes, there was a posted scheduled route, but bunny_hugger and I find it easy to believe that things might have changed without our hearing about it, and a handful of people under the same outdated impression could inspire a crowd.
I even saw a person who looked rather like rcoony. I didn't think he was going to be at the con, but I hadn't specifically asked about his plans, and they might have changed anyway. He didn't look quite right, but I hadn't seen him in a couple of years anyway, and while he didn't have his camera with the gamma-ray burster of a flash that makes it so much fun to watch him taking pictures of the unsuspecting, there wasn't any reason he would have to have that every moment of every convention, even if he was there for one of the most photographable moments. I tried calling out his name a couple times, but he didn't hear or didn't recognize it. Easily he could not have recognized me; even my siblings are shocked to see how different I look now that I'm not a doughy guy. By the time I worked up the resistance to shyness adequate to walk across the hallway and say hello, the parade was getting started, or seemed to be, and I figured to stay where I was lest I be separated from bunny_hugger for the duration.
After a little confusion about what was going on finally people in costume started marching down the long hallway, so that we got views of people ... walking, actually, though there was the hint of music off in the distance. I like taking pictures in challenging lighting conditions, but this was a really complicated set. At the far end of the hallway was daylight, so that if I photographed too nearly a full-face of any of the mascots they'd be lost in shadow. If I photographed closer to a silhouette there wasn't as much to see, but they'd also be closer, and moving faster, and in the dimmer light would tend to be blurred, particularly for people like baar_bear who have darker costumes. The last alternative, and it really does pain me to use this, is the flash, but I finally resorted to that after finding how there just weren't any viable alternatives. So I got some flash-fed photographs, and swiftly drained my rechargeable batteries to nothing. I had to actually watch the back two-thirds of the parade rather than recording it.
In the morning I had thought it might be worth taking spare batteries --- I had three sets of the four AAs that I need --- but didn't quite manage to do it. Fortunately, bunny_hugger needed to go back to the hotel room too, and we were both getting a little hungry, and we had a couple of hours before the next thing we were really interested in. This would be a good chance to go back to the hotel, for me swap batteries, and maybe get another box of the chocolate mints if they hadn't run out at the coffee and breakfast table.
I don't actually remember if they still had chocolate mints. I think they did, because I remember being disappointed later on when they had run out, and if I'd had the experience of their running out sooner I'd have been innoculated against it. While I put in new batteries and re-set my various camera options (the internal battery, meant to store settings like date and time, needs replacing and I haven't got around to a shop that's willing to do it for a reasonable price) bunny_hugger swapped out rabbit costume parts to be better fitted for the evening we expected to have. I'm sorry to be vague about the details but I realize in trying to write them down that I am vague about the details and I know she can better explain just what was going on.
It was now safely past 3 pm, but we were hungry enough to justify getting something to eat. There wasn't anything left over from the breakfast buffet in the lobby, other than mints (I think), and the Con Suite food would probably not be an ideal selection ... ah, but there was a Red Robin nearby. I'd never been to Red Robin before last year when I met chefmongoose for a burger and fries, but it was a nice place, and within walking distance of our hotel room. One nice feature of Red Robin is not just that they have a lot of burger options but that you can ask for any of the burgers to be made with a vegetarian patty instead, which really opens up the eating options. I believe I got one with a blue cheese topping, since I like blue cheese and don't seem to have enough of it.
Riding back to the con hotel we learned the driver really liked this bit of shuttle work, for the people in costume and the general energy and cheer involved. She hoped that when her shift was over she'd be able to in and hang out for a couple hours, so I hope they weren't done with one-day memberships by that time. (There was also an abandoned gryphon thing left hanging from the rear mirror, which was probably the most logical lost-and-found location. If it went missing it belonged to someone who needed the shuttle and would likely take it again, after all. Later in the day it was gone, so I assume it was found.)
The driver, who it seemed to me was leaving the Overflow Hotel exactly on the half-hour so the schedule didn't seem unpredictable to me, also rather nicely pulled the shuttle into one of the many strip malls lining the single highway between the Overflow and the Con Hotels, so that one of the passengers could duck into Quizno's and get some sandwiches. There were many places to eat in the strip mall, naturally --- pizza places, sub shops, and Chinese restaurants make up about two-fifths of strip malls by volume --- and many strip malls along the way, and I was glad there was a driver nice enough to make such a diversion. I might have felt differently if I were minutes away from making some deadline, but the driver did ask everyone if it was all right to stop at Quizno's.
Trivia: Isaac Asimov's first published work, an essay printed in the Boys High Recorder, his high school's literary semi-annual when he was fourteen years old, was a humorous piece, ``Little Brothers'', written in attempted imitation of the style of Robert Benchley, an idol of his. Source: In Memory Yet Green: The Autobiography of Isaac Asimov, 1920 - 1954, Isaac Asimov. [ I'm always delighted to learn someone whose skills I admire was a fan of the same things I'm a fan of, or had influences from the things that I try to let influence me. It feels like a good omen. ]
Currently Reading: In The Heart Of The Sea: The Tragedy Of The Whaleship Essex, Nathaniel Philbrick.