Sunday opened with a more disturbing nightstand event than Saturday had: bunny_hugger couldn't find her class ring.
I don't have a class ring, myself, part of a family legacy of not having much of anything to do with jewelry, even though given my sentimental attachment to everything it would seem a natural for me. But I took the potential loss seriously, and while she showered I did my best to search everywhere, including moving the furniture out so as to prove that it didn't disappear beneath that. Where it had vanished was into the folds of my carry-on bag, as bunny_hugger found at long last, on her own.
Our first panel was to be the Puppet Improv panel, one of those workshop sessions on the puppet track that bunny_hugger and I are hooked on. I'm not sure what skylerbunny did; possibly he slept in. This was a participation panel, since improv really isn't something to sit and impassively watch, and bunny_hugger and I did get up for a sketch drawn from the cards. I got lucky, being assigned the part of ``News anchor'', and she did fairly well getting assigned the part of ``child'', and the setting was a really easy one, ``elevator''. This may not sound like the most promising material but she saw right away the value in it being a stuck elevator, and I knew how to get started from those points.
My approach was to take the easy way to improv success: give the character an easily identifiable schtick (taking whatever the last thing mentioned, and then turning to the audience and shouting it as the teaser for an upcoming local news broadcast) and stick to it relentlessly. This creates minutes of merriment and saves the improv actor from the burdens of ``listening'' to the other performers. This may make me sound like a horrible, horrible person to have in an improv scene but for a short segment or for one in which I'm a small supporting player the gimmick works a la mode de Frank Nelson. Another side effect was since the performance was to be bombastic, it didn't much matter that I was sloppy in matching puppet mouth action to syllables: turning and facing the audience and jumping around provided plenty of action and covered for this. As I say, this makes me a horrible person to perform with, but, a superficially satisfying one for the audience, in small amounts.
I know with confidence we meant to do something for lunch, but I'm not positive what. We did discover the sports/television bar only opened at 4 pm or some similarly late moment. Probably we went to the buffet again; I remember eating there a good bit and taking in a lot of scrambled eggs. I also took a quick diversion to the art auction to see if I had won anything (I had) and then to try to figure how to pack a fragile item which I'd won. They didn't have a box appropriate for it and weren't sure how to find the maker in the circumstance. The hotel desk didn't have anything either, but recommended the Federal Express store and they indeed had ... a customer ahead of me with an exceedingly difficult badge-lamination task to accomplish. Ultimately I was able to buy some bubble wrap, far more than I needed, and trust that this would be adequate wrapping for the projected travel it would have.
Between the art stuff and the packing stuff I was a few minutes late getting into the holiday puppet show, a reliably entertaining 45 minutes of performances to various novelty and holiday novelty songs with an hour and 15 minutes of ``Are we ready? Is it ready back there? What's holding things up back there? Just a second.'' It really is a fun event, and the extreme looseness of the show's flow is a good part of its charm.
And this year it hit fewer dead zones than usual, actually, except for a bit of semi-improvisational give and take where the puppets on stage got into a dispute with some of the audience. A normal bit of cross-character chatter was the characters talking about the eating of cookies, and this lead to some in the audience trying to turn whatever the subject was around to cookies. In particular one guy sitting near us kept shouting out that the fox puppet ``was a cookie'' and the ferrets should eat her, a joke he was determined to repeat until it became amusing.
I admit to taking part in this cookie-based tug-of-war for control of the show, but only to the extent of after a bit of cookie talk shouting out, ``What's a cookie?'' With the response, ``What's a cookie? What planet are you from?'' I had the setup I wanted and tried shouting back, ``What's a planet?'' Unfortunately the line was stepped on by a reiteration of the ``she's a cookie, eat her'' notion. I tried tossing in a callback later on, ``Is this a cookie?'' at an odd pause; I wasn't any more successful in entertaining anyone then.
I honestly don't know why the puppet shows aren't better attended; for my money they're the most entertaining stuff going on. I grant I don't make it sound all that appealing; I'm just not that good at expressing what's fun in such a rambling event, but I love the gang coming together to put on a show.
Being at the puppet show meant we had front-row seats for the follow-up event, the Closing Ceremonies and a good bit of disgorging of statistics regarding the convention. It also brought up selected puppies --- which had been a great pastime --- from the rescue shelter chosen as this year's charity and the delightful moment where the charity learned the convention had put together a wildly huge amount of money in donations. The dogs had been on display the whole weekend in this corner not far from the con suite; the shelter people were brought to tears by the total donation.
Proud declarations were made that the con would not outgrow the hotel for several years to come, a declaration made every year and reflecting the need to find a bigger hotel next year.
bunny_hugger and skylerbunny and I were forming vague plans for finding dinner somewhere, and barberio joined into our group, when we got an offer from the inimitable and inexhaustible Babs Bunny to join her mass dinner at, it would be, an Italian restaurant. We'd been inclined to something a bit more exotic after pasta and deep-dish pizza days but the company was not to be missed, and we realized only belatedly that we might have been screwing things up by including barberio, though in our defense we thought she knew and her confusion just left us confused. Fortunately, she was going insane anyway, so this all went forward without anyone being too badly disrupted.
The Italian restaurant was by the way traditional, something I didn't realize, as we hadn't made the cut in previous years. The specific restaurant changed with con venue but the genre of restaurant did not. There were enough people for it to be raucous and an awful lot of fun, and to bring to mind the time back at the first Anthrocon when rcoony and I amused ourselves by traumatizing poinktferret, through the simple extent of looking at him. Steadily. For days. He remembered too. He's still having nightmares about it. I highly recommend the approach if you ned to unsettle him.
bunny_hugger, skylerbunny, barberio and I had come to the restaurant in our own taxi and figured to get back to the hotel the same way, which was a fine theory. While in the restaurant skylerbunny found an app to allow for the locating and calling of taxis, which he installed on his phone, and after dinner was over he proudly called to receive ... no response. We tried different locations. We waited outside the restaurant. We couldn't get a taxi to actually come. We would come to conclude that the taxi-calling app was somehow incorrectly configured and it left the impression that a taxi call was completed when it was not as its horribly-designed failure mode. And I think it was barberio who pointed out we could ask the restaurant to call a taxi, this being something a restaurant which serves alcohol may very well have done as much as three times in its past.
There was more to come for the night, of course: drawing and snacking recklessly in the con suite, for example, a place we'd barely eaten in despite their supplies of free snacks. And the Dead Dog Dance, another chance to bring out the bunny_hugger costume and skylerbunny pajamas, not to mention my chance to walk behind skylerbunny with my fist behind his head so as to give him bunny ears. He noticed this about as fast as I thought, and responded just about as I figured.
It was all sweet, really sweet, and too short. It always is. Likely it always will be.
Trivia: Sir Walter Raleigh is known to have spelled his last name as Rawleyghe, Rawley, and Ralegh; colleagues and friends are on record as spelling it Ralo, Ralle, Raulie, Rawlegh, Rawlighe, Rawlye and at least sixty other variants. None seem to have used Raleigh. Source: The Book Of Numbers, William Hartston.
Currently Reading: America's Wars, Alan Axelrod. It purports to be a reference to all the wars fought within the territory which is currently the United States, with the reservation that it's awfully hard to document many of the wars between Indian nations from pre-Columbian times or that European colonists didn't notice (or have grounds to know about). Even with that limitation, though, it's quite the sweep through United States history.