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austin_dern

July 2017

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May. 31st, 2017

The first day and a half of Motor City Fur[ry] Con I wandered around holding a trash bin. A fake one, a little metal bin painted blue and labelled for some reason ``Tin Pan Alley''. I do not know where it comes from. I inherited it with the Raccoons SIG at Morphicon several years ago. It was the centerpiece of a tradition in which the gathered raccoons would tip over the bin, which would be full of candy and cheap toys and costume jewelry and stuff. I kept the bin, and the SIG, and spread the tradition to MCFC. I was also starting my own tradition.

At Morphicon/AnthrOhio last year I ran a side little vote, asking people the silly question, ``Trash Panda: Yes or No''? And walked around collecting votes from a question that people wanted to make much more involved and complex than it was. Many, last year, hadn't heard of the raccoons-as-trash-panda meme and [profile] bunny_hugger worried that I was just spreading a joke I didn't care for myself. This year fewer people were baffled by the words ``trash panda''. By AnthrOhio, Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 had apparently made a joke about it (haven't seen the movie yet, I know, I know) and made many people think it invented the slang. But Motor City Furry Con was a month before that. I ran my survey, asking people what they thought about this, and incidentally making people aware of the existence of, and the timing of, my Raccoons And Procyonids SIG. Which would be the second panel of the Saturday that I ran.

Thanks, surely, to all the publicity-under-guise-of-polling, I had a decent turnout. At least a dozen people gathered to talk raccoon stuff. Almost no raccoons or raccoon-aligned people, though. Raccoons have always seemed popular in furry circles, but aren't so numerous as they seem. As a family we throw above our weight. Still, there were some, including a guy who'd been a raccoon in the fandom back before I discovered the fandom, so he got the honor of tipping over one of the bins.

The most mysterious attendee at this was someone who wanted to talk about the raccoons on her property and who, having harassed her animals, needed to control them. That part's natural enough; even I have to admit, much as I like raccoons, I'd like more distance between them and our goldfish. But then she got into talking about how she hunted them, and told an absurd tale about how you could trap ones by putting something shiny in a jar too heavy to move and with too narrow a lip to pull a closed fist out from. Allegedly, the raccoon would stay there until morning if need be, not letting go and not moving, and would so be an easy target. Even if I believed this --- and the most I'll go is I'd believe a raccoon might spend a couple minutes in place trying to work this out --- why would you tell this to a group of people there because they like raccoons? It's a stunning act of tone-deafness and I did my best to shift the conversation to anything else, anything at all. Fortunately there's always something, as this year gave us the blessing of Rocket Raccoon's appearance in the newspaper Spider-Man comic strip. Still. Furrfu.

My other panel, the last of the con that I'd be doing, was on mucking and IRC and Usenet and other text-based ways to hang out as a furry online. This drew a smaller group, probably because I didn't have a silly ballot to promote it and because the subject is so diffuse. I didn't even have a coherent name for the topic. But I got to talk some to people who don't go on the 90s-era social media about what's great about that. There were some old-time muckers there, and the event got to be some sharing of happy old memories, some talking up what's great and what's kind of always been screwed up about them, and some grousing about the cruel middle-school politics of private mucks and the like. Satisfying stuff. I'm not sure anyone was moved to actually join a muck, in part because I screwed up and didn't think to print out flyers with any kind of information about how to find and get on one. I'd made flyers like this last year, and that maybe didn't do anything either, but trusting someone to remember and look up instructions for a weird, technically-challenging thing to try out later works a lot worse than giving them a sheet of paper with clear instructions they can go on to lose.

Still that wrapped up my primary performances. We could go on to casually hanging out and enjoying being where we were right up until the shock hit.

Oh yeah, on the Trash Panda vote: 'Yes' won by a landslide, again.

Trivia: After the 1705 reorganization the General Assembly of the Province of New-Jersey had two representatives from each of the seven counties, from each of the two capitals of Perth Amboy and Burlington, and from the town of Salem. There was no fixed time for elections nor length of an assembly session. Source: New Jersey from Colony to State 1609 - 1789, Richard P McCormick.

Currently Reading: The History of the Calculus and its Conceptual Development, Carl B Boyer.

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