Friday at the con started close enough to noon that we weren't going to breakfast. We're not really breakfast people anyway.
Maybe I was a little tired yet, but the opening ceremonies seemed like a whirlwind of names of people and/or events some of which I would have a chance of seeing. It left me more aware of some of the activities (I went in pretty much trusting there'd be things to do and not worrying about what), and more of how relatively small the convention was. It was on the scale of like what AnthroCon was back in Albany, rather than the big cons like Midwest FurFest.
For lunch, or breakfast if you prefer, we followed the con restaurants booklet and were comically sulky about it not listing the distance to restaurants. We picked a sushi place which turned out to be just barely out of sight of the hotel, although it was in the midst of roughly a hundred square miles of parking lots allowed to go feral. And we discovered that the idea of a ``Popeye roll'' is not uniform around sushi places, but they all seem to involve spinach, which probably you would have guessed.
The first panel we visited was on voice acting in puppetry, which I think was about as far as we went in the puppetry or performance tracks, actually, and gave us our first encounter with SonicBlu, whom we'd keep seeing over the weekend. It was a fine spirit for a panel, although it ended up being more showing performing different voices and talking about the need to match a voice to a personality rather than how to work on one's voice acting, which was what I expected and know very little about. But I haven't got a puppet anyway.
A later panel we attended, at my prompting, was on geocaching. bunny_hugger is a fan of the similar-to-outsiders hobby of letterboxing, but I felt the panel would probably be warm to it. The panel organizer was probably glad for our presence; we made up about half the initial audience, and I think our beefing up the audience and being obviously there for people walking past in the hallway made it easier for folks to drop in. She was running a geocaching event for Saturday, placing boxes and clues around the hotel, with the challenge to follow the clues to find all eight boxes. And I was able to show my little letterboxing journal as an example of the kind of discovery-of-interesting-places that the hobbies allow. (I also realized I have more stamps than I thought, even if it's not so many. I had enough for people to look through and not get bored.)
After the free pizza delivered for dinner --- and we were ready for that --- bunny_hugger returned to our room to dress up in her bunny head and paws. With her Rye Playland ``I Tamed The Dragon'' (roller coaster) shirt on we ventured out to have fun and see how fast her eyes fogged over. Here serendipity struck: we found another roller coaster enthusiast who was delighted to meet her and talk about Playland, and great coasters they'd been on, and how the guys he drove in with refused to make a perfectly reasonable detour for a good wooden roller coaster. As in-costume bunny_hugger is mute I managed to correctly identify her pantomimed half of the conversation nearly one out of every eight times, too.
We also had a fascinating game that started by accident. There's no serious challenge in guessing bunny_hugger's a bunny, even if the devilbunny specification is a bit harder to guess. But a coati? Several people at the con would try to guess my species, largely on the strength of the valentine-heart couples badge I have with her. Most folks make a few guesses and surrender. These guys didn't. They tried very hard, asking for minimal clues, and kept guessing animals from quolls to coyotes that I might be. Some of the lifelines tossed them were easy --- asking the species's range was fair game. Some were harder to answer honestly: ``am I close in guessing 'coyote'?'' Well, close in sound, but not in taxonomy, at least. I'm sure we didn't really go on past ten minutes of this, but it seemed like we might go on forever; sadly, they did have to accept defeat. But this wouldn't be the only time over the weekend that people tried to guess my species; it was the most determined effort, though.
The Ursa Major awards ceremony gave my first glimpse, so far as I'm aware, of xolo in person. Likely he didn't see me at the moment, but we would soon enough. xolo and guest-of-honor Kattywumpus were presenting nominees and winners in a bunch of categories as well as doing some spontaneous moving from the seats they were in to the next seats over, which I needed time to realize was in-theme to the con's ``Alice in Wonderland'' motif. Also, xolo was suffering some kind of horrible disease, which got prominently mentioned when Kattywumpus accidentally drank from the water cup he'd just given up. The things which to me stood out about the awards were that David Sedaris's Squirrel Seeks Chimpunk didn't win, and I wondered who was going to tell him and how he'd receive the news; and that they showed the trailer for Alpha And Omega something like forty times over the course of the con.
One of Morphicon's traditional activities, and one bunny_hugger has several times won, is the cake-decorating contest. This year I was there so I jumped in on cake decorating too. There were eight participants and, if you can imagine, it was possible sometimes to go as much as forty seconds in a stretch without someone asserting a cake to be deliberately deceptive. I decided to decorate as simply as possible, drawing a squirrel and adding the caption ``You're all mad here ... I'm a squirrel''. bunny_hugger drew a rabbit leaping over a watch in a pattern which reminded me of her ``Philosophical Rabbit'' Geocaching stamp. The winner --- and there'd be no question about this, or about the justice of her first-place assignment --- was a person who created a whole tea party made of icing on the top of her cake. I didn't place; I did hear something confused (and confusing, to me) that I was being marked down in points for not being on-theme to the con, which seems like I must have heard it wrong. First place won a membership to next year's Morphicon; second place won a supporting membership (the one where you don't actually attend, but get con booklets and stuff). bunny_hugger won third place, announced as a ``My Little Pony cake mould''. You could see the little cloud of frustrated smoke coming off her forehead. Actually it looks more like a generic horse cake mould. She also got a pack of decorative sugars.
After the cake-decorating came the cake-eating, as part of the Unbirthday Party. Tea was provided in real actual cups, decorated the previous night by con-goers and fired in the wee small hours so they were ready for use. Here, my cake did better than in the official judge's placement: it was the first one finished. I still think people liked the simplicity and, of course, the prominent squirrel placement.
Something I didn't appreciate until the con got really going was not just how many events they had but how many events ran late at night. For example getting past 9:00 or so (I don't have the schedule on-hand to check) came a set of awards for the fursuiters. Here I think they over-divided the possible kinds of fursuiting; it's good in principle to divide up skill levels, and ``first-timer'', ``journeymen'', and ``expert'' fursuiters are fair enough classifications. But there was only one entrant in the ``expert'' category, so he ended up on stage and taking a lot of certificates of victory. It wouldn't be fair to change the rules on the fly, but it felt awkward to me to carry on with a level division that didn't match the field.
Anyway. One thing that had in previous years been a ``private'' room party, the Frozen Oasis, was this year open as a real con event for people who could prove they were of legal drinking age. This was a dance room complete with slightly deafening music and stunning, somewhat hypnotic light displays, as well as free drinks for those choosing to partake. I didn't, apart from a taste of bunny_hugger's blue frozen thing, and we put on a fair game of trying to fill the dance floor almost by ourselves, retreating to the back room to sit down as we felt like. bunny_hugger worries that she gets rambling and over-talkative when a bit drunk; I find her fascinating. We haven't yet found the subject she can talk about and bore me with.
We closed the night off with a return to the karaoke room. I believe that my artistic triumph of the night was attempting Herman Hermits's ``Mrs Brown You've Got A Lovely Daughter'', and managing to hit a range which was, I estimate, two-thirds of an octave away from every key known to man. There were stretches of as much as a whole bar in which I was at least synchronized in some way to the actual tune. Still, I had avoided the hardest parts of singing, like tricky key changes or 44-second-long instrumental stretches. Other singers were not so blessed.
Trivia: The Allied radio code-word indicating their entry into Rome was ``Elefante!'', which was broadcast from London on 2 June 1944, two days before the Allies did finally enter the city. Source: The Battle For Rome: The Germans, The Allies, The Partisans, And The Pope, September 1943 - June 1944, Robert Katz.
Currently Reading: The Teapot Dome Scandal: How Big Oil Bought The Harding White House And Tried To Steal The Country, Laton McCartney.