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July 2017

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Jun. 28th, 2017

Friday dinner was to be provided by the con, and was to be pizza. They traditionally have one night that's pizza for everyone. This time they started setting it up about 5 pm, at the same time as the Cake Decorating Contest, and in the same anteroom to Hospitality that we were using for cake decorating. The appointed hour for dinner was 6 pm, but the food was brought in ridiculously early. After some deliberation the head of Hospitality decided that we in the cake-decorating contest could eat first, as otherwise we'd have to wait until after the masses had swarmed the pizza and there'd be nothing left. Also, they'd have to let the masses lining up eat because it was ridiculous to leave the pizza hanging around a half-hour.

So we got to eat early, and decorate cakes and try pull more people into the contest. People were curious but kept supposing there's a much greater level of skill needed for these things than they actually would have. And it turned out there was no shortage of pizza. The con organizers had way overestimated how much pizza they needed, even for as much as AnthrOhio had grown over last year. Maybe a third of the pizza was left over after supper, and there'd be a good number of pizzas available, including vegetarian ones, for hours to come. So in the evening we were able to have the delight of pizza that's cooled to room temperature, which is the next-best thing to cold pizza. There were even a couple slices left over the next day. I forecast a cutback in the pizza budget next year unless preregistrations are way up. It was great having a cornucopia machine producing the food, though.

So, a little behind-the-scenes stuff. The idea got floated on SpinDizzy muck a few weeks before the convention that we should advertise at conventions more. I agreed to try it, since, what the heck. It's not like it costs anything but the expense of printing out a couple flyers and maybe some interesting people will join up. It's kind of what I organized a panel on mucks, IRC, and other old-school text-based furry social media to cover. One person on SpinDizzy created a flyer for it, with really rather tiny tear-off strips with the place's address. Another person worked really hard at making a flyer for my mucking panel, trying to provide information about basic mucking commands. The mucking-panel flyer person was especially eager about having all this put together and ready for presentation and I think was getting starry-eyed dreams about how big it would be. But I set out the flyers advertising the muck and checked a couple times to see how they were received, and was relieved when people actually started tearing off strips. (I didn't do the seeding trick of tearing off a couple myself. If [profile] bunny_hugger tore any off so as to make me feel better, she gave me no hints.) Over the weekend I suppose maybe a third to a half of the tear-off strips were taken. I'm not sure if anyone actually joined the muck from them, but they at least gave it consideration. The how-to-muck flyer I had to find some way to print out, as I only got the final draft after getting to Columbus and of course my USB stick wasn't read by their computers. But I worked out a way, and that was that. Then [profile] bunny_hugger noticed some weird formatting glitches in it and I decided to just roll with it. I hate to sound cool to something another person was enthusiastic about. I just got a lot of fuss and excitement about the thing leading up to the con, and it seemed out of proportion to what I expected to see go on. There's something wrong with me, that I'll start looking skeptically at something people around me are getting enthusiastic about.

In the board game room we just missed the chance to play a five-person game of Betrayal at the House on the Hill. By minutes. We saw them setting up and getting ready but by the time we got out of the card game we were playing they had a full house and we couldn't have the experience of playing with more than three of us.

The game we were playing was Joking Hazard, based on the web comic characters of Cyanide and Happiness. It's a deck with a bunch of random web comic-style panels, which get shuffled out and dealt. The judge of the round lays down two and it's up to everyone to drop a final card, finishing the strip. The judge picks the best result. There's also a slightly complicated extra round where the judge lays down the last card of a three-panel strip and everyone lays down the first two. The big gimmick is that it's an ``offensive'' game, with a lot of the cards being about brutality, cruelty, or Tom Batiuk-ish misery porn. Yes, there's an ``I Have Cancer'' card. As a card game based on, often, pornographic jokes or profanity you would fairly expect that I couldn't play this thing. I could barely even sit at the table.

So, yeah, I won. Well, we only started scoring partway through the rounds, but if I have the scoring scheme understood right either [profile] bunny_hugger or I won the most rounds. And it was by your classic approach: we did our level best to find cards that gave the best punch line. Yeah, the panels were drawn at random but if you were clever enough you could weave some narrative there and thus could form jokes instead of laying down the most outrageous panel. My best win --- one in that bonus round where the judge puts down the last card and everyone else the first two --- even created a legitimate complicated joke. First panel: first guy says, ``I'm you from the future.'' Second panel: second guy says, ``I knew this day would come.'' The punch line panel, laid down by the judge: second guy kills first guy. That's something that would get a fair response as a web comic.

The folks at the table insisted that the judge read out the panels for each round. This would present problems for me because I just don't use many of the words presented there. So, I didn't read any of them, and just flipped over the cards with as much stage presence as I could muster. As a tall, bearded man with the ability to act self-confident, I could get away with this. If anyone noticed I was breaking the rule, they didn't say anything.

Once the Joking Hazard group broke up we dressed for and went to the dance. After the con dances had come dangerously near extinction they were back in force this weekend, with things set for each night. There was a slender group for Friday night, but it included a lot of people in costume, including some costumes, like the steer, I wouldn't have thought it possible to dance in. [profile] bunny_hugger and I went in kigurumis; she's got this summer-weight red dragon suit she'd wanted to show off, and did, so nicely. We didn't quite see the dance to its end, because we had to get up early, but we did our best.

Trivia: The Basque custom of couvade had the father go to bed during the birth of his child and simulate the symptoms of childbirth, pretending to undergo labor, while the mother does. Source: Know-It-All, A J Jacobs.

Currently Reading: The Emerald City of Oz, L Frank Baum.

PS: , Why Stuff Can Orbit, Part 10: Where Time Comes From And How It Changes Things, with a bit about finding stuff while it's in space.


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