Sunday began early again, this time for the Bunnies sig, run as traditional by bunny_hugger.
I was there as a non-bunny based representative, of course, but the sig ran much as the other ones had: introductions of everyone and what they were doing there and some talk about rabbits, reality versus perception, and some talk about Watership Down. They had a vegetable tray for snacking, too, part of the ongoing theme of nicely considered snacks for the species sigs. The only real downside was that the following event in the room was the Carnivores sig; cons always put some kind of predatory sig after the Bunnies one and it always produces people popping in and joking about the Bunnies being the snacks. Well, it's original and funny for everyone making the joke for, as far as they know, the first time. bunny_hugger also took the chance to give away some of the plush rabbits she had the least need for, including one which was mechanized so that it could be made to snore in an alarming and creepy manner.
I really and truly think we had lunch but I'm not positive where; possibly it was just at the con suite. I know at some point I took time to thank Tigerwolf for including SpinDizzy as one of the default mucks in the Internet Room (a wall alongside the con suite) and that turned into a longer than I expected chat about how mucks grow and what they're used for. We also went around the dealer's room; I picked up a small token for bunny_hugger, and a couple of issues of The Confectioners, a story of candy-based life forms. As a bonus for that the artist sketched Austin eating (Canadian-style) Smarties, while bunny_hugger picked up a lovely commission. (And the pendant's creator grabbed me, asking to take a photograph of the sold item --- a way of tracking inventory --- which spoiled my chance of buying it so quietly that the whole gift could be a surprise.)
We also went to the Atheists and Humanist Tea, which maybe took the place of lunch after all since it included snacks and drinks. As this was in the week leading up to the big Apocalypse Everybody Knew Wasn't Going To Happen you can guess the major topic of amused conversation, although it also spread into other discussions of past predictions of the End of the World and various Second Comings which went. The tea broke up with the first sign of the unfortunate end of the con: we had to vacate the suite so it could be prepared for the next user. The end had started.
All during the con weekend there was a video room, but there was just a narrow window when either of us had the chance to stop in and see anything. We'd passed it a few times and seen that they were showing some incomprehensible British puppet show or something but only once did I actually drop in long enough to sit down. That was while Animalympics was playing, and I popped in mostly to see if it had got past the small appearance of a coati in the film. It was long past his total disappearance even from crowd shots, of course. Earlier in the day they'd shown Adventures of the American Rabbit, a childhood favorite of skylerbunny, who was taking that day to move into a new apartment.
There was one more big performance we wanted to see, an hour more or less live of Oh! Pawpets delayed only by a showing again of the trailer for Alpha and Omega. This bit was a live show apparently recapitulating events that had gone on the Internet-broadcast version of the show (I don't watch it, so I don't really know, and I might have got the details wrong) amounting to explaining a character's change in puppet model from an old to a new one as some sort of extended surgery bit. This may sound weird but, just accept it, it's all right.
One of the things that often frustrates this kind of show is they never have enough rehearsal time and often trust they can improvise things like transitions between scenes. If this show was improvised it was only in the minor details; the plot was hung around a half-dozen or so pre-recorded songs and there was a clear progression to them. There was a slip in the sequence yet, in the middle of the show where the plot had (bluntly) gotten becalmed, but they did recover without anyone coming too badly off. And only once did a prop fall off stage.
We had some time before the closing ceremonies too, and bunny_hugger and I used it productively, that is, in karaoke. Karaoke had been relocated from the Artists Alley where it had spent the previous nights into one of the side ballrooms, another sign of the con's gradual contraction to its core, and this made for an even smaller attendance with fewer people walking past. We tried waving passers-by in, but evidence of stage fright was strong and abundant.
It's hard guessing what might be in the karaoke catalogue and I suppose it's necessarily a weird patchwork between all the songs which might be sung, all those which are easily licensed, and those which have some popularity. It was someone else singing Petula Clark's ``Downtown'' gave me a thought and sure enough, in there, was Allen Sherman's version, ``Crazy Downtown''. I think I did better than average on this song, possibly because parody songs are generally more forgiving on the voice of the singer. Which in turn raises the question: why didn't they have Allan Sherman's ``Getting To Be A Rabbit With Me''? Probably nobody had asked.
bunny_hugger and I did finally take the stage together, to sing ``When I'm Sixty-Four'', which is perhaps not traditionally thought of as a duet kind of song. But it's a lot of fun. And my answer to her is ``let's try''.
And then somehow before we knew it the closing ceremonies were there and the convention took the time to celebrate that everyone had gotten through it intact despite the fire alarm Friday(?) night, people were applauded, the charity had its reception of a fine donation ... and ... there it was. Done.
We were scheduled to have dinner with xolo and Kattywumpus, after a bit of time when some necessary running-around was done. We even had a restaurant picked out: the Blue Nile, an Ethiopian restaurant where bunny_hugger had eaten long ago. xolo drove us through what had somehow become a surprisingly chilly, slightly rainy evening down past some beautiful parts of town. Apparently they have zoning codes demanding that things look Vaguely Federalist in style, which does well in giving CVS stores and laundromats a touch of Model Railroad City style.
Also along the way I noticed bunny_hugger being teased yet again by a multi-state franchise. We passed a Jersey Mike's sandwich shop, possibly the closest approach it's made yet to Lansing. Maybe the least inconvenient, anyway. Maybe for next year's con we'll take a detour there, if they haven't got to a more accessible place yet.
Dinner as mentioned was Ethiopian food, several blends of topping on a plate of spongey bread, where we were all impressed with how good it tasted and I impressed xolo by being quieter than anticipated. Apparently I'm a bit of a motormouth online, while in person I'm content to be the active listener. The conversation roamed over the current convention and comparisons to past ones, and the question of just how Morphicon got started (they just kind of did it), and the past intersections people had with the Columbus area. I didn't have any, although I was at ConFurence East II back in Cleveland in 1997 or so, where xolo also was; we don't know that we saw one another there.
The weird moment during dinner was when another party, sitting up by the window, called over towards us on the grounds that we ``look like Americans''. They wanted to settle a dispute with the restaurant staff: the diners thought the trapezoidal backs of the chairs looked like Darth Vader's helmets and explained to the waiter that it was a reference to the Star Wars movies. We allowed that there was some resemblance, kind of, although my main thought was that I hoped we wouldn't be pulled further into the conversation. We did escape that with our dignity intact at least.
xolo returned us to the hotel, dropping us at the door and going off to park, where we passed some procession of things being moved out the doors. I didn't quite get what was going on except there were con runners asking for people with driver's licenses, and I generously volunteered xolo for the work. I'd thought we might meet up after that but somehow we didn't quite connect again.
We couldn't go back to karaoke either; the room was closed, either from never reopening after the closing ceremonies or from naturally exhausting the crowd which would gather. There wasn't a Dead Dog Dance either. There was further milling around, people gathering and talking and not quite accepting that all the traces of the con were washing away.
The last trace to wash away, or at least the last we watched before going in to sleep ourselves, was in the main ballroom which was set up for an Atomic Battle of Doom or something like that. I don't mean to be slovenly about the name, it's just that half the events are the Atomic Noun of Doom. But this was teams of folks with Nerf machine guns and foam arrows and cardboard shields and the like running after each other in semi-organized charges for brief stretches of battle interrupted by gathering of ammunition and rearranging the props. As non-combatants the most we did was stand beside the open doors and, during recesses from battle, poking our heads in to see all the foam which had been flung. Despite this, one Nerf dart did escape the middle of battle to lightly tap me in the middle of the chest, surprising me and the shooter.
This is the sort of thing which drives people to wear safety goggles all the time.
Trivia: The biology instrument package for the Viking Mars landers was delivered too late to allow for proper, end-to-end functional and operational testing before launch. (Component tests and partial full-system tests were done.) Source: On Mars: Exploration of the Red Planet 1958 - 1978, Edward Clinton Ezell, Linda Neuman Ezell. NASA SP-4212.
Currently Reading: Empires Of Food: Feast, Famine, And The Rise And Fall Of Civilizations, Evan D G Fraser, Andrew Rimas. I was expecting a kind of broad-picture view on how eating habits evolve in time, and there's a good bit of that, but there's a lot more ``we're growing more food and transporting it farther than we ever have before, therefore, we're doooooooomed to famine'', and I could just imagine james_nicoll throwing this at the wall after the ninth iteration of this thesis.