bunny_hugger and I try to get to three furry conventions a year, and when plans to go to Rainfurrest and then FurFright didn't pan out we were left short. But she found something novel: New Year's Furry Ball, a little one-night thing in Newark, Delaware, that would see out the old year and see in the new with people in costume. Would this be a third convention, properly? Well, it has registration, badges, a dance, a hotel to take over; there'd be no dealer's room and it'd be only a night, but ... well, what the heck. Plus, it'd be something special to see the old year out. And I could brief bunny_hugger on how they mispronounce ``Newark'' down there. So we set out with grilled veggie wraps from Jersey Mike's for lunch (bunny_hugger thinks that's the first time we didn't get the cheese hoagies from them and I think she's right), and shared another new state together.
The hotel was a nice spot with suite-style rooms which were too much space for us, really, but would be fine for people holding room parties. (We worried about this as the neighbors were noisy in the afternoon, while we rested before events began, but it was quiet the night.) There were the video game systems set up in the hotel lounge, and people wandering around with tails and ears on, and people hauling in plastic bins full of, presumably, fursuits, and all that wonderful anticipatory spirit of the start of a convention.
Events got going with a reception that's actually the hotel's, and open in principle to all guests, I think, not just con-goers, but since furries so dominated things it might as well have been a con event. They offered snacks, and drinks (I tried to get a Bacardi-and-Coke; the woman explained they don't have Bacardi, just, rum, which was as funny as you might figure especially given I wouldn't be able to tell the difference), and we got to mingle a little bit in a social circle we understood without knowing a single person there.
bunny_hugger would go out in suit a couple times over the night, to the usual sort of approval and acclaim she gets, and one marvellously awkward conversation with a guy who was just so very impressed with her outfit and who wanted to be a furry but he didn't think he could afford it (we supposed he was talking about being able to fursuit; it's hard to say a guy who's attending a furry con and has a furry character and is a little drunkenly talking with furries is ineligible for the title of ``furry''); and I'm getting almost to the point of being mediocre of following what bunny_hugger means while she pantomimes.
The big centerpiece of the ball was dinner, an actual candlelit thing with a buffet of grown-up style food unlike any furry con we'd been to. (Mind, we don't get to supersponsor events or the like.) And they were candles on the table, some of which had remarkable problems staying lit, and which gave me visions of fursuits catching fire. None did (to my knowledge), though by the end of the night the disarrayed tables of melted wax gave the place a wonderful, somewhat haunted feeling. Among the people we chatted with at dinner were a pair of guys in suits too good for the room, really, one of whom looked uncannily like my youngest brother; I characterized him as my brother's stunt double.
After dinner the ballroom was cleaned out and rearranged into a dance floor, with the common group of a couple fursuiters dancing and a couple people fluttering onto and off the stage. I did my part, getting up and dancing horribly, and, you know, I kind of wonder what it would be like for there to be more people on the dance floor after I'm done than when I start.
Everyone gathered in the ballroom for, for an announcement of how much was raised for charity, and to reveal who won the drawing for a new PlayStation, and for the countdown into 2014, and I kissed bunny_hugger.
This brought us the sadness of the night: the dancing ended before even 1 am, and the con started to be struck. The big group of people playing video games, including a long run of Rock Band (which lacked for Buggles or Kinks songs, and attracted people who just took forever to pick songs), started to wrap up. The con had gone from the anticipatory moments of action not yet begun to the parting sadness of the dead-dog moments in under seven hours. There were still people hanging around, and some fun moments like seeing drunken mundanes coming in to an elevator surrounded by huskies, and there was this lovely moment of a guy in werewolf mask watching the staff roll dinner tables out behind him, but, by 2 am, it was time to go to bed.
Trivia: The anonymous 1837 novel Female Robinson Crusoe, a narrative of a woman, Lucy Ford, lost in the wilderness, includes a detailed description of Indians playing a game strongly resembling baseball. Source: Baseball Before We Knew It: A Search For The Roots Of The game, David Block.
Currently Reading: Sky Walking: An Astronaut's Memoir, Tom Jones.
PS: Reading the Comics, January 20, 2014, some mathematics creeps back into the comics page.