We got up early Saturday, because part of the room block we were in was the complimentary breakfast, and figured if we got there about 10 am we'd be able to eat decently before the service stopped at 10:30. It turns out everybody else attending the con had the same idea, so they were desperately overwhelmed and out of pretty much everything, including seats. We toughed it out, making do with bagels and that weird pre-made French toast patty that hotels have for breakfast services, and eventually fresh eggs came out.
In the alcove used for the breakfast service --- and in the evenings, the bar --- was also a bookshelf that offered reading to any guests, or to take-a-book, leave-a-book. One book we noticed was Mom, The Wolf Man, and Me, Norma Klein's 1972 book that is tragically not about a werewolf, but which was adapted into a TV movie in 1980 back when you could do that sort of thing. I set the book in distinctive spots so I could see whether someone else examined it, and yes, it was in good rotation all weekend. They also had the novelization of Independence Day, which is certainly the text version of the movie. I read bits of it aloud, as it really is a pile of words on a page, particularly from the ending. You may remember the ending of the movie as triumphant but with some shots of destroyed cities. The novelization goes into a little bit of detail about how this little war of the worlds had wrecked humanity, mentioning the destruction of a third of the world's housing, of ports, of harbors, of food-processing facilities and the like. It also mentions one of the characters feeling glad that the Fourth of July was no longer exclusively an American holiday. I had to note that if I wasn't mistaken the Fourth of July was already also a holiday for Liberia and the Philippines. (I was mistaken completely about Liberia, apparently, but it is Liberation Day for Rwanda and the Northern Mariana Islands. July 4th had been Republic Day in the Philippines until 1987.)
I'd thought we had gone to the game room and caught some of the Fursuit Games --- people in costume attempting stunts like the limbo --- but the con schedule says that was a Friday afternoon thing. I'd take the schedule at its word if it hadn't mislead us so many times over the weekend. At least one of the fursuiters was done as a most dapper wolf, holding prop glasses of martinis or wine or the like and he limboed with those, for an impressive stunt. (The alcohol was solid plastic --- as I say, a prop --- but the effect was still great.) Watching that was a bit fun, at least for me since I could see over the crowd, but was tempered by the outside door being open for the sake of the fursuiters not passing out in the heat; as it was about twelve degrees Kelvin outside it was less comfortable for us.
The cold of the outside blasting in would spoil a lot of hanging out for me. While I was wearing a T-shirt under my shirt (I've been wearing one since about late October, including in the shower), I didn't bring any long underwear since I imagined I'd spend most of the weekend in the hotel and wouldn't have to deal with gusts of Arctic air too often. Unfortunately the hotel's arrangement put the natural hangout spots right by the dual sliding glass doors of the main entrance, with no buffering of the cold, and that made just hanging out looking for people a lot less pleasant.
While it was only early afternoon, I was tired, partly from accumulated stress, partly from getting up early on a Saturday, and since nothing was scheduled until the Fursuit Parade at 4 pm I went upstairs for a nap and bunny_hugger tolerated this. She did get her sketchbook back from the previous day's artist, though, and it was another gorgeous picture of her beside me, happy to say.
Fursuit Parades are always interesting, partly because it's neat seeing dozens of people in costume with a couple of them working out some kind of gimmick, partly because it draws great audiences from the ordinary non-attendees, people who just thought they were having a normal weekend at a hotel seeing suddenly a parade of all sorts of characters they don't remember as college mascots or Disney characters tromping around the place. I got to a decent spot, near the bar/restaurant/lounge, and what turned out to be the point where the parade's path looped back on itself.
Protip for anyone running a fursuit parade: organization is critically important for this, because nobody in the parade has read the con book enough to see what the parade path is, and most of the people in it can barely see where they're going. You need people at every single point where the path goes from one enclosed spot to another, and every single point where the path of the parade turns, and especially at the point where the path crosses itself. I took a movie of the parade and there's a clear ``uh-oh'' and maybe an ``oh dear Lord'' when I saw the head of the parade crossing back to its tail, a junction that maybe confused only seven of the people walking about where to go, but, since there were 76 participants, that's a pretty big fraction.
Still, the parade came through pretty successfully, and at a pretty good time, too, and in the group photograph bunny_hugger was able to find a spot where she was actually easily visible, for a change. She's normally lost behind much taller fursuiters. Also, one of the fursuiters carried a 1/96 scale Saturn V rocket for reasons I assume she or he has.
Saturday, too, finally had the Masquerade, the variety show. This was the sort of amateur (some of them well-practiced amateur) acts to be expected and which I generally like: some people telling jokes, some people singing, some people dancing, that sort of thing. Well, the joke-telling seemed the weakest, because too many people aren't really aware that stand-up isn't just a matter of saying stuff that made you laugh, especially if it's just telling something that happened to you that was hilarious. It's story-telling, and you have to craft the story for its maximal comic effect, and you have to practice that, and too many of the jokes were diffused. I admit I don't know that I would do better as a stand-up, but, at least I can see where performances are going wrong.
We hung out in the game room, some. There was supposed to be a game of Lupus In Tabula (also called Werewolf and various other names), but it had ended before we got there. Somebody had brought in one of those 80s-game-consoles-in-one-controller package, with a couple dozen Intellivision games in one console. We had vague memories of the Intellivision, and gave a couple games a try. The first really notable one was Frog Bog, in which you're one of two frogs who occasionally hop back and forth between lily pads and ... we think you're supposed to stick your tongue out at the right time to catch a fly, but, bunny_hugger couldn't figure out the timing and pretty much caught flies by accident. There was just the one controller plugged in, so I should have come out with absolutely nothing, but the other frog in the game, mine I suppose, jumped a couple times of its own accord and caught three flies. As a result, bunny_hugger beat my score by something like 310 to 30, but considering I didn't even have a controller, that's a more baffling walkover than you might think.
I also tried some of the sports games, with particular fascination for the Intellivision baseball, because I didn't have any idea what any of the buttons or joysticks were supposed to do and I couldn't figure out what they were doing. In all honesty and without exaggeration I needed four and a half innings to be reasonably sure whether I was fielding or batting, and I produced a series of hilarious facial expressions as my every hypothesis about the link between what I did with the controller and what any character on-creen did was proven riotously wrong. bunny_hugger laughed, again without exaggeration, to the point of acute physical pain at my bafflement and failure. I went down to defeat, 33-0, but note I kept trying even though I never was confident what I had to do to hit the ball, or to start running after it was hit, or, when fielding, how to pitch or field the ball.
I also tried the Football and Hockey games, but had even less idea what any of them were supposed to be doing or why and I kept hitting the reset button by accident. It does suggest that a future con event might just be me trying to play Intellivision games for an audience because a lot of people were amused by my ineptitude.
There was to be a DJ competition and according to the schedule it was set for Friday night. I had thought it was Saturday night, and I'm just not sure now. We didn't see the competition, much as we wanted to, because while we got there at the scheduled starting hour they weren't really set up. We hung around to see if it would start, late if anything, and there was the fascination of watching all this dance equipment being set up. (Come to think of it, I guess it must have been on Friday as they surely had this set up for the dance that night.) After an hour of setup, so, an hour after the scheduled start of the DJ competition, they finally announced that they were sorry, but, they wouldn't have the DJ competition after all because of a lack of interest, which came as a surprise to all the folks who'd gathered in the room to watch and maybe see it.
Well, whatever the sequence of events was, we had time before the evening dance so figured to go to dinner. It had snowed a bit overnight and during the day and we didn't relish brushing the car off (I failed to bring a proper broom) and drive out looking somewhere. But the hotel had an Old Chicago pizza built into it. We got lost looking for the maitre d's station --- the connection between the hotel and the restaurant isn't very good --- but we got seated and had a pretty good dinner and saw surprisingly few people from the furry con at the hotel. We might've been the only people with tails and ears on in the place, which is weird given the hour and that it was the only place to eat a hot meal without having to go into the winter.
We had a diversion away from the dance, too, since it was the second Saturday of the month and that's the designated time for the Devilbunnies IRC party. I'm no devilbunny, of course, but bunny_hugger is and she connected through the hotel Internet to be a part of the gang. From what I gathered it was a pretty respectable crowd, possibly juiced by how Rifftrax had just released their riffing on Night of the Lepus and jokes like ``an entire army of Fudds'' can't help appealing to that crowd.
The dance was originally supposed to be with the winner of the DJ competition, but since there wasn't one, they just used the DJs who were there. We went in two sessions, one with bunny_hugger in fursuit which delighted everyone, and one with her out, which is easier for me. I naturally got fascinated by a trivial side point, that there was a nail or something stuck up from part of the dance floor (made of panels snapped together and set on the carpeted floor) and con and hotel staff were trying to somehow nail it down or snip it off so as to not rip up people's feet without interrupting the dance or drawing too much attention to themselves.
Evening showed that people had picked up Mom, The Wolf Man, and Me, but put it back.
Trivia: Artistic figure skating and a world ice hockey championship appeared in the 1920 Antwerp Olympics. (Ice hockey was there for the first time, figure skating for the second.) Source: Encyclopedia of the Modern Olympic Movement, Editors John E Findling, Kimberly D Pelle.
Currently Reading: Year Zero, Rob Reid. I'm really amused by a lot of this. It's ridiculous but like a lot of comic science fiction it makes sure its loopiness all hangs together as part of the logic. Also, prankish aliens use the space afforded by junk DNA to add Rick Astley into the protagonist's genes because, well, they're like that. The book includes a playlist for the major characters, which is a fun extra little bit.
PS: Reading the Comics, February 11, 2014: Running Out Pi Edition, as I'm not finished with mathematics blogging.