austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Firecrackers in the east

On scouting the main ballroom where the closing ceremonies might be held we figured that the con booklet was probably more trustworthy, and the schedule posted outside the room just mistaken, about how soon the close of the con would be. We figured we had an hour and a half or so, if we wanted, and we took the chance to go do something outside the con.

This was letterboxing, as might not surprise you. bunny_hugger found a series of boxes planted in parks not far from the hotel, and the day was clear and bright and not too cold or rainy, so, we went to see what we could find. Part of what we found was a weird tangle of roads where, if the satellite navigator is to be believed, the same two roads intersect three times over in different ways. We took our best guess and found the one that took us to a county park, which is a plausible spot to find a letterbox.

The clues we had for the first box just told us to follow paths through the park, without the riddle-solving or deductive reasoning explicitly required of some more advanced ones. That's part of why we figured we could get the box in the time available. The park hadn't quite stirred to full springtime life, though there were plenty of little shoots of plants that I didn't have a hope of identifying and that even left bunny_hugger unsure what she was seeing. A couple folks passing us told that we should come back in two weekends and then we'd really see something. Flowers, we assume.

Unfortunately what we didn't see was the letterbox itself. It's possible that we got on the wrong path --- I think there was an ambiguity about the phrase ``getting on the bridle path'' but I'm the sort of person who can find ambiguities in a phrase like that --- but our best guess about the letterbox's intended location was a pretty good-looking spot which still lacked a box. The only reason I seriously entertained the speculation that we'd got on the wrong path was that the clues implied the box was at the base of the tree, when the tree we found had a hole in it, off the ground, which would seem like a better hiding location provided the squirrels don't protest too much. But, base or hole, no box was there. All we got for the experience was time spent walking around a lovely place in the start of spring.

On the drive back --- there wasn't time to get to the other boxes in the collection even if we hadn't spent so much time looking for the first --- we stopped at a Hiller's grocery. The Hiller's in Ann Arbor occasionally has Star Bars, and while this store was smaller I pointed out, Star Bars are small things, so why not? They didn't have that candy, sad to say, but they had a good mix of other foods --- including a can of vegetarian haggis that was great --- and Japanese or British candies, so we stocked up on them. The cashier's conveyor belt swallowed one of my Curly Wurlys --- this is a long, very flat candy --- and I didn't discover that until we got home, so I'm out 99 cents, but people have endured worse things.

We got back to the con hotel, a bit late for the start of closing ceremonies, so we missed --- I missed, anyway, as I had to go to the bathroom --- the official attendance figures. bunny_hugger heard the number of fursuiters was appreciably lower this year than last, something like 275 compared to a hundred more in 2012. We also missed hearing what the con's theme for 2014 is to be. But the important thing is we got to see the chair of the con's charity --- a cat rescue organiztaion --- break down in tears at the awesome amount of money raised. That's always the best part of the con.

Trivia: Pigeons can hover for a couple seconds, like hummingbirds. Source: Superdove: How The Pigeon Took Manhattan ... And The World, Courtney Humphries. (I was skeptical about this too, but found at least one YouTube video which shows a pigeon hovering by any reasonable definition of the term.)

Currently Reading: The King Of Infinite Space: Euclid And His Elements, David Berlinski.


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