FurFright, it turns out, holds two fursuit parades. One was on Saturday during the day, about the normal time for this, and bunny_hugger got in suit for it. (The other's the Sunday evening one, with fewer marching, but still, more scheduled activity than usual for the Sunday evening of a con.) I scouted out for decent spots to watch, and photograph, and figure out how to best manage the various settings on my camera.
Fursuit parades always start a little late, but this wasn't too bad. It seemed to have slightly more pacing problems than the Midwest FurFest one I'm more familiar with, but that may just be because of the complicated layout of the hotel encouraging people to clump together. At least two people in costume skipped gathering in the ballroom for the proper organization of things and simply slipped into the parade once they saw an open spot. They cheated themselves, though, as they missed out on the prizes given the marchers.
Afterwards all the fursuiters gathered in the parking lot, or at least parking alley, around back. I went around the crowd and found I could get good viewing angles from the top of a parking deck. This took enough time that bunny_hugger, who never can see herself in pictures of the mob, gave up and went back inside and wondered why I wasn't waiting for her where I was supposed to be waiting for her. Well, the crowd hadn't dispersed that much, is all. Also I spotted a discarded Roy Rogers box on the upper level, indicating that Roy Rogers still exists enough for people to litter it in Connecticut.
One of the fun bits about FurFright, this year at least and I imagine probably others, was the number of people with small bowls of candy free for the taking. A couple folks brought in Canadian or more exotic candies, so I was able to get a fun-size box of Smarties to have at the ready. A quite pleasant discovery was the Wunderbar, soothing some of our longing for Star Bars.
We joined in the trivia contest, although at a table with a bunch of strangers. When I corrected the group answer about when, if this was FurFright number 10, when FurFright number 1 would have been (if it's annual and hasn't skipped a year, that would be 2003), the task of writing up the answers was given to me. Someone else grabbed it before the night was over, though. We did respectably well, and would have done better yet if everyone had listened to bunny_hugger (who was correct in a question about what other Disney film some of the animal animations for Bambi had been originally done for; the table settled on Fantasia which I did not like as an answer either), and if we hadn't fallen for a trick question. (The host warned to listen to what he said, and asked when the first Anthrocon was held, but the desired answer was ruling out the Albany Anthrocons, which gets into all sorts of arguments in the identity of corporate beings.) Anyway, we didn't win.
We returned to the deli to get a lunch or dinner or whatever you want to call it; something to eat, anyway. This time around I had the egg salad, and bunny_hugger went for cheese, and they had rolls enough for both. This also gave us the chance to rest up, and to get into costume. She would be Trevor Horn, circa 1981, again. I would be ...
Well. A few weeks before she and I had gone to Ypsilanti to a rather good costume shop to fish around for ideas what I could dress as. In poking around something did come to me. I have a space shuttle-style astronaut jumpsuit. The store had various hats, including train conductor and engineer hats. This came together in my mind: why not a moon-shuttle conductor? Astronaut outfit, conductor's hat, get some tickets (easy to do from Staples), a hole punch (we forgot it back home; I could tear tickets in half instead), add in a pair of atomic-age-style mad scientist goggles and I had it! ... An outfit that nobody understood.
Oh, people smiled, yes, and it was pretty comfortable wearing, but they kept looking and not getting the elements until bunny_hugger or I explained it. They understood after, and generally smiled, but I would have to say the costume as a whole didn't quite pan out. I maybe needed the hat that actually said ``conductor'' across it, or needed to pick one era or the other and not go for a mashup. Well, lessons learned for next time around.
bunny_hugger had feared that nobody would understand her costume, but people certainly did. Probably some figured her as a New Wave singer --- she had a sparkly prop microphone, shedding glitter on everything, to underscore the case --- but quite a few recognized her as at least one of the Buggles. One person looked at the two of us and identified us as the Buggles and the Clash, which ... I don't get either. Maybe they were reaching for another New Wave band and missed the title.
bunny_hugger went off for the costume contest, and I thought it would be the ballroom from which the fursuit parade started. I got a pretty good seat there, too, and watched as the variety show got started. This left me confused, actually. I couldn't think where else a costume contest would be sensibly held, but then also that the number of people coming on stage and performing music or comedy sketches or doing stand-up directly could be part of the costume contest. I got nervous watching the show since I had the nagging feeling that I should've been somewhere else, but, where?
After nearly an hour of this I figured that I ought to duck out, go looking around, and maybe apologize to my wife for missing her appearance as Trevor Horn on some stage somewhere. But at this point there was a break in the variety show, as they brought out the costuming contestants, with my wife the first one on stage. I just hadn't understood the schedule, obviously.
The Buggles and Trevor Horn may not be generally the most famous names in furry fandom, but it's not hard to get people our age to recognize the title ``Video Killed The Radio Star'' at least. And the emcee was not just good about recognizing bunny_hugger's name but even tossed off a reference --- ``I loved your work with Seal'' --- that recognized Horn's role as a producer. Either he actually knew something about Trevor Horn (quite possible, given the surprising number of times she was recognized) or he looked him up quickly and got something apt to say.
Alas, bunny_hugger didn't win the costume contest. What chances she did have were spoiled by first by another pair of contestants using the stage as the moment to get engaged, and if that weren't enough to overwhelm whatever the judges might think, there was a kid in costume too. She didn't stand a chance.
But I missed the judging as I needed to get to the last of the pinball contests. This was the playing of a single ball, for the highest score. This could be extremely variable, particularly as Congo is a game with some merciless ball traps. The game, in non-tournament mode, even guarantees a minimum ball time --- a feature common in games since the mid-90s --- that's needed since so many of the early shots are prone to draining. But that would be turned off for the contest; no minimum time, no minimum score available.
And while I've had some good single balls on the game, I did not have one this time. I was in the running for the worst score, in fact, and felt vaguely cheated that someone managed to do even worse than me. I couldn't quite explain this rationally to bunny_hugger but I think there is some perverse pride to be had in being the bottom of the field, and I didn't even manage that. Too bad; maybe next time.
We went to dinner at the hotel restaurant, which we thought might have closed when we were peeking in. We were certainly among the last customers of the day, and they asked if we'd wanted anything from the salad bar and pasta buffet instead. We didn't, and got ordinary meals instead, and I worried horribly about spilling onto my astronaut suit. We managed without embarrassment.
Afterwards, we did some dancing, and I managed in a few spots to show something resembling rhythm. bunny_hugger did her best to advance my dancing prowess to ``can move about something like on purpose on the dance floor'' and as long as we didn't try anything too tricky I was able to keep up with it. I can keep trying.
Back at the hotel room, we determined there still weren't any announced delays or cancellations for our flight. I allowed myself this possibly delusional hope: our flight was early Monday, and Hurricane Sandy was projected for late Monday or Tuesday, so, the plane we would be on and the crew we'd have would likely arrive Sunday night, and they'd want to get both plane and crew out of there, and may as well do it with a paying load. If we were lucky.
Trivia: A March 1891 soil test ahead of the Columbian Exposition involved laying a platform four feet square and loading it with 22 tons of iron, providing a pressure of 2,750 pounds per square foot. Over the course of fifteen days it was found to sink only a quarter of an inch. Once a trench, simulating the canals which would be nearby the larger buildings, was dug four feet from the test platform, only another one-eighth of an inch of sinking was observed. Source: The Devil In The White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness At The Fair That Changed America, Erik Larson.
Currently Reading: King of Argent, John T Phillifent.