Profile

austin_dern: Inspired by Krazy Kat, of kourse. (Default)
austin_dern

July 2017

S M T W T F S
       1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 202122
23242526272829
3031     

Custom Text

Only one real official event left for the con, then: Closing Ceremonies. This saw the normal rituals, talking about how exhausted everyone was, counting how many people had been at the con (1,291) or in the fursuit parade (239) if you take the official numbers as that exact. And they announced next year's con theme: I forget. I like, I guess, that cons all have themes, but they never seem to affect the goings on much. This year's had ``90s Toons'' as the theme, a promising topic but one mostly reflected in the Main Events having an image of Johnny Bravo as a furry (if that's not redundant) on the overhead projector and the T-shirt having some nice animalized Powerpuff Girls on it. I'd hate to lose con themes but they don't seem well-integrated into the programming at the cons I attend. Maybe they didn't announce the theme yet. Oh, they also had the wonderful tear-dropping scene of the charity, Pets for Vets, not yet Internet famous.

After that, some wandering around, making circuits of the convention to see clusters of people while they were all there, and seeing who we might catch. It hung together pretty well, perhaps from the promise of karaoke and the dead dog dance, a mere couple hours in the future. We took the chance to go across the street and get another round of Indian food from that place in the gas station convenience store. (Should say, it's quite a large convenience store, the sort that could be a freestanding store in its own right, even if it has a bunch of odd-stock deals like shelves full of the sorts of novelty drink glasses you get to take home from the bar.) This we took back to con suite to eat, and spread the good word about, and saw that the Kings game going on had enough people and no room for [profile] bunny_hugger to join. We watched some, anyway.

When we got around to karaoke nothing was happening and we feared it'd been cancelled. After another circuit or so of the hotel we caught the thing starting. I think the designated host wasn't able to do it so they roped in someone at the last minute. Someone who was just brilliant, mind you. He did a great bit of warm-up and hype for every single performer. He also declared that besides the karaoke they had, in the abundant empty space, the world's largest collection of air instruments. It took a little time for people to come up and pick up air guitar, or air drums, or keyboards, or the like. But he didn't stop until they did, and many songs had not just the singer but at least a partial band playing along. The high point was of course [profile] bunny_hugger. As she sung Gerry Rafferty's ``Baker Street'' someone took a belt-attached otter tail and played that as the killer saxophone. It's as giddily delightful as you can imagine.

For the close the emcee told everyone to come up so they could play, of course, Bohemian Rhapsody. I obeyed, and had my guinea pig puppet, Latham Shoales, sing. [profile] bunny_hugger did the same with her squirrel puppet, Chitter. This delighted people who saw it. Someone ran around taking video of that and did close-ups of our puppets singing. In that moment, my guinea pig mouthing ``Bismillah! We will not let you go!'' to someone filming at close range I started to retroactively feel legitimate in running a puppeteering panel. This was one of those experiences so good it creates its own sadness, from the knowledge there won't be another karaoke night this good. Well, only not this good in this way.

The Dead Dog Dance came next, naturally. [profile] bunny_hugger considered suiting up, but didn't, as it's just too much hassle to put her fursuit on especially when the Headless Lounge had been taken down already. We similarly chose not to put on our kigurumis. We just went out as we were. And we enjoyed it, though not so much as Saturday's dance. The music wasn't as 80s. Still ... it kept bringing us back in, and we kept listening and dancing and if we went out for circuits of the floor some, we also came back to it.

But it did finally end, sometime after midnight, with the lights all coming on and the music crew playing Toto's ``Africa'', and our protesting that this wouldn't drive us out. Traditions, although this was a new one in that for once we had stayed to the end of Motor City Fur[ry] Con, and seen it to the end of its last event.

We drove home, not using the GPS to get back for the first time. We've been in the area often enough for Marvin's Marvellous Mechanical Museum pinball league enough times not to definitely need it. (I had thought I'd done the road trip to Morphicon/AnthrOhio enough times not to need that last week, too, but missed one of the three turns needed the whole expedition and sent us on a diversion through all rural Ohio.)

Trivia: A 1990s pigeon census in Milan, Italy, found the birds more likely to cluster in areas with pre-1936 buildings; prewar construction makes a better environment for them. Source: Superdove: How The Pigeon Took Manhattan ... And The World, Courtney Humphries.

Currently Reading: The Mighty Music Box: The Golden Age Of Musical Radio, Thomas A DeLong.

PS: How May 2017 Treated My Mathematics Blog, when I had a meager 12 posts in the month, and one of them was about how April 2017 treated it.

We opened Sunday with packing up and checking out of our hotel room. We would do so on the defensive. The Canada geese were still there, on the lawn, guarding their nest and hissing at people who got close enough and my car was almost in their Exclusive Economic Zone. We could've got out swift enough, but I did want to poke around a little more. [profile] bunny_hugger had lost an earring getting out of the car the night before, and while I'd found the earring --- a bronze rabbit-head eating a carrot --- the wire hook had disappeared. There was only a tiny chance I'd ever find it, but I wanted to try again in the morning. Didn't succeed. She would buy replacement hooks.

We had a lunch in the con suite, that I think might have just been more cinnamon-raisin bagels with cream cheese that wasn't quite out. I think we kept mis-timing the serving of meals, and in any case the vegetarian choices don't tend to be robust. Furry hospitality meals are normally made vegetarian the way fair-enough Italian restaurants do, by just leaving out the meat-containing item. Well, it's petty to complain about free food and I oughtn't do that.

Our only panel for the day was the Bunnies SIG, which is surely not actually set for 1 pm Sunday at every con we ever attend. It jus feels like it sometimes. This drew about the crowd I had expected at least, maybe a dozen people, a good number of them folks who are rabbits or have rabbit characters. Someone or other pulled the traditional predator-animal ``oh, is this the buffet?'' joke, which is the sort of thing you never hear the end of because everyone making it thinks they're the first. Or, to be charitable, they figure repeating well-worn jokes is a way of sharing an experience with people who might be new or might have been gone a while or don't know if they're taken to be normal. There's something to be said for that. The Insects SIG probably gets this stuff worse anyway.

The Bunnies SIG ended at about the right time, but it didn't exactly break up. It just shifted, to a couple of people hanging out yet, sticking to each other and talking ... well, furry politics. Especially about the former Michigan Furs online community, which we looked away from for a couple of weeks and came back to find it was gone. It had vanished in a sudden fit of ... well, dramatic explosion. Since that site closed we haven't even known when or where to find events like local bowling meetups, which draws us away from the fandom nearly as much as spending all our time at pinball events does.

It doesn't seem like we could have spent enough time at this, but somehow we were so long in talking that we were late getting to the next panel, an hour later. This would be the last panel of the convention, ``Zero To Arcade In Sixty Minutes''. And it was a practical thing, too. The topic was how to set up an actual working arcade machine, with host Vix Zekken showing how much of one he could build live and on-stage.

We came in late so missed some valuable introductory stuff. Particularly, I didn't know where the boards and equipment he had came from. And it seemed to be mostly plugging together stuff that had already been made. I understand that to a big extent that's what electronics is, a big puzzle of plugging together stuff. I'm not sure what I had expected; maybe something with more detail like how old-style arcade switches and joysticks worked. Probably if I'd seen the introduction I'd have better understood what the aim was.

After this we ended up, once again, hanging around in a little gossip circle. This was more focused on Furry Connection North, the more-or-less precursor to Motor City Fur[ry] Con, and about the circumstances by which the earlier con evaporated all of a sudden in a flurry of working out whose money it all is, anyway, and sometime later, who has the social media passwords. I love absorbing this sort of gossip, but shan't repeat it; even if it was correct as I received it I've got little chance of reporting it without important errors. It's so fun being the audience for that sort of talk, anyway.

Trivia: Gimbels was the first American department store to hold a public art auction. It was in 1941 at its New York City location. Source: The Grand Emporiums: The Illustrated History of America's Great Department Stores, Robert Hendrickson.

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

We were back on the first floor, wandering around outside con suite, when [profile] bunny_hugger clutched my arm and hid behind me. I didn't know what to suspect. I thought she might have tripped and needed my hold. Or, possibly, one of the few villains who've intruded on our life might have been there. We knew there was one slated to be at AnthrOhio (where we went last weekend), a person who'd been consistently abusively nasty to us for years. But I hadn't heard rumors anyone unpleasant would be at Motor City Fur[ry] Con, and given its small, local nature, didn't imagine anyone would.

Nothing quite so sinister. But mysterious anyway. My second thought was close.

It was a student.

[profile] bunny_hugger had thought for years about what might happen if someday one of her students happened to be at the con. It's not like there aren't furries at her school, and while the school is maybe two hours from the con venue, it's not like that's an enormous distance, especially if you're staying over the weekend. She thought it might just be inevitable. And here, for once, a current student was there.

They didn't see her. We think. We wondered if they'd even recognize her in such an alien context. The day went on without our seeing them again, or their, so far as we know, seeing her.

Sunday, they saw her. Just a nod in passing, and she nodded back. And wondered how this would affect their professor-student relationship. Back in the day the standard was to never ``out'' a furry who didn't open up to it first, but the Millennial generation has its own customs about what circles of privacy are or should be. What might they say in class on Tuesday, or afterwards?

Nothing, it turns out.

Perhaps being openly nonbinary encourages someone to instinctively respect other people's social boundaries. Or maybe they're just not the sort to assume having a curious interest in common alters the hierarchical relationship.

So, that was that. We went for dinner, going across the street again to the Indian place that's in the gas station's convenience store. This may sound odd, but it's really good Indian food, the dining treat of the con for us. We'd get dinner there Sunday night too, even though Saturday (I think) they mistook my order and put something with chicken in. I fault my pronunciation. (We try to eat vegetarian, but aren't going to waste food after an accident like that.)

While eating, and spreading the good word about the place, [profile] bunny_hugger spotted a drinking card game going on. I forget which one it is; I think something like Kings. The point of it is, dealing a card at random and on each face value you have to do something special. Set your hands on the table, clap your hands, take a shot, take a drink, so on. [profile] bunny_hugger slipped into it, saving the table a bit as there were some cards that implied doing stuff if a woman was at the table and now they could be done.

Part of the game is setting custom rules, too (when a King comes up, I suppose). And somewhere along the lines somebody had a brilliant innovation: no cussing. If you cuss you have to take a drink. Which, since it's a game about responding fast to random prompts, produces a lot of frustrating and swear-worthy moments. Some other brilliant rules included having to drink while holding the glass with only your index fingers and thumbs, and --- [profile] bunny_hugger's inspiration --- that after taking a drink you had to salute her. Something like that. The result was this raucous, giddy night. I don't know if I'll ever be part of a drinking card game like that, but if I ever am: ``no cussing'' is definitely the rule to put in.

And then we eventually got to the dance. And a happy surprise, too. Normally the dance is set to your modern sort of heavy-beat techno music whose production value I understand but that all sounds kind of the same to me. This time, the DJ was doing a mix of 80s songs. Just like the SiriusXM New Wave station was doing on Saturday nights, the Safety Dance. Yes, the ``Safety Dance'' was there. Also ``Video Killed The Radio Star'', giving [profile] bunny_hugger the chance to open up her hoodie and show off her Buggles t-shirt to the DJ, who certainly did not wake up expecting that to happen.

We've said for years that we would love a dance that got old-school songs like a heavy 80s track and here we got it. Was it as good as we'd have hoped? Yes, it absolutely was.

Trivia: The Latin zodiac sign Virgo, the Virgin, was in Sanskrit `Kanya', and in the Babylonian scheme `Furrow'. Source: Mapping Time: The Calendar and its History, EG Richards.

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

PS: Something Cute I Never Noticed Before About Infinite Sums but that my reading made me aware of.

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.

Motor City Fur[ry] Convention, back when it was Furry Connection North More Or Less, used to have puppeteers. So did AnthrOhio, back when it was Morphicon. But somehow over the years the puppeteers drifted away. I don't know why. Maybe it was just people moving out of the area. Maybe the programming heads of the conventions wanted other stuff. Don't know. While [profile] bunny_hugger and I were always interested in the puppet track events and attended more of them than any other kind of event, we were never in the know of what was going on. All that happened was we realized there weren't puppet things going on and we talked last year about maybe we should run something. We're not really qualified to do it, but we've been to some Intro To Puppeteering panels and that's better than nobody doing anything.

So, when Motor City Fur[ry] Con asked for panel events I signed us up sure that [profile] bunny_hugger remembered our discussing this idea and wanted to do it. She was a bit surprised to find she was on the con schedule as co-host to ``Puppeteering With The Complete Amateur''. But she was up for it, which was a lifesaver, since I talked in the event description about our bringing puppets. She owns almost all the puppets in the family; the only one I have is a Folkmanis guinea pig she gave me. I've named the guinea pig Latham Shoales, because so help me that's the kind of person I am. And it took me three years to settle on that name.

Anyway, as the event capsule I described myself as not really knowing what I'm doing but having heard some stuff from actual puppeteers and being up for sharing that. Since there haven't been this kind of performing tracks at the con in years I didn't know what to expect and what was actually there as the designated hour started was an audience of two people, one of whom was the other guy who brings puppets to the con. The one person I could not wow with just awareness that any quantum of motion makes a puppet alive.

A few more folks wandered in, though, and after I nearly died of nerves to start, it all turned out ... really quite well. I had not gotten to actually make notes of the things I wanted to get to. I'd had a few thoughts in mind and hoped that in rambling I'd get around to everything important. So I ended up saying something like, ``the one thing I have actually learned about puppeteering is'' about six times, enough that I could make that my thematic hook. Somewhere around forty minutes in I realized I was doing that as a thematic hook and played to that. Also, mercifully, [profile] bunny_hugger was on exactly my wavelength. She's a fantastic partner for me in so many ways. But one of them is that as I petered out of any particular thought, she had something she could say to pick up on it. I think we ended up looking a lot more professional-ish and organized than we were.

The other puppeteering guy was really impressed, by the way, with the one trick I've learned about Latham Shoales. If I keep flexing my fingers in just this right way, the guinea pig looks plausibly like it's breathing. He was bowled over by this technique. I'm so thrilled to think I could impress anybody with my technique. I would imagine it strikes anyone who's held a puppet as realistically shaped and sized as the Folkmanis guinea pig, though.

And so ... my debut as someone pretending to know something about puppetry was a success. Maybe even a hit. I signed up to do it again at AnthrOhio, going on this weekend. With [profile] bunny_hugger as cohost. It's happened between my writing this and its scheduled posting. Maybe it went well, maybe we crashed and burned. I'm hoping it was fun. It was nice doing the first time, anyway.

Trivia: Very little of London's warehoused tea was damaged during the Blitz, although more than half the tea brokers' offices were destroyed over the night of 10 May 1941. Source: Tea: Addiction, Exploitation, and Empire, Roy Moxham.

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

Saturday started with our con traditional event, going to Con Suite and finding there really isn't anything to eat there. I guess they had, like, cinnamon-raisin bagels made by Lender's and they even had some cream cheese left over. It was fine, but we did discuss the mystery of why they didn't just get plain bagels. Possibly the cinnamon-raisin ones were cheaper in bulk.

While [profile] bunny_hugger readied for her part in the fursuit parade I thought long and hard about where to take my video from and went with the same corner I always go. Different bunch of photographers there, this time, including a couple who kept moving in front of me because I'm too good about standing by the wall. Which is all right; I try to hold my camera above my head, a better angle that just leaves my arms tired from about a third of the way through things. It was also a quite nice, quite warm day; I shouldn't have been worried about going to a spot near one of the doors, but the weather for an early-April convention can be so unreliable in Michigan.

But this year we came out great, with a bright, sunny day that was warm enough to be nice for us normal photographers and not so warm as to be unpleasant for the fursuiters. The group photo outside was unhurried and pleasant and, better, I spotted [profile] bunny_hugger right away and got a good batch of pictures of her even in the crowd.

Afterwards we got to lunch, again at con suite, with a bit better foods this time. It was sandwiches, so, you know, some cheese, some lettuce snatched from the salad bowls, some ranch dressing and you have a meal that's bland but fine enough. I did some more circling around, telling people about the Raccoons And Procyonids SIG and demanding their votes on the Trash Panda issue. This might sound ridiculous; so it was. That works for me.

[profile] bunny_hugger dove into the Dealer's Den and the Artist's Alley. She was mostly interested in a new book sketch. Along the way she noticed a print of a sea horse done as a carousel mount, which is almost perfectly aimed at her. We also looked over some of the summer-weight kigurumis and partial hoodies and such. She's got a couple bunny hoodies that help her to look stylish and darling while staying warm at events. And she thought that I might do well with something in a raccoon or red panda look. I know nobody will ever make coati stuff, but raccoons and red pandas are close enough for jazz. They didn't have anything quite right for me, although I tried at least one thing on. Might yet get something.

But we couldn't linger. I had signed up to host a personal record three panels, and all of them were set for Saturday. The first was about to begin.

Trivia: Samuel Pepys's shipbuilding program approved in 1667 was the Royal Navy's first class of warships built to a uniform standard of tonnage, guns, and overall design. Source: To Rule The Waves: How the British Navy Shaped the Modern World, Arthur Herman.

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

Much of what we did Friday night at Motor City Fur[ry] Con amounted to reconnecting. There are a bunch of people we see basically only at furry cons, since we don't know where the Michigan Furries organize their gettogethers anymore. We hear rumors that there's fursuit bowling in Lansing every month but who knows what day or time or anything? (The old organization site vanished in a fit of drama while we were busy for a couple weeks and didn't notice.) So since we had missed the Insects SIG we spent time instead in con suite, talking with Shouda about what he's been up to and seeing Pakrat and how he's been and all that. Which is to say, everyone's doing well, at least as far as they want to report.

The only big event we did get to Friday night was the Foxes and Peppers show, the concert starring Pepper Coyote and Fox Amoore. We'd been to it the previous year and enjoyed. This year wasn't less fun. It had an addition in a bass guitarist who impressed [profile] bunny_hugger by being there and supporting the show without upstaging anybody. I mean, it was good playing, but the guitarist drew attention from us for not drawing attention, if that's a logically coherent thing. We don't know the story of the performer there. Sorry I can't offer it. Maybe they just needed a spot more music. This was the clean or all-ages or non-drunk show, depending on just how they remembered to describe their own concert.

Somewhere around here we established that the charity was not the same as last year's. Last year had fundraised for an exotic-animal care and performance organization that just kept feeling more dubious the more I thought about it when I finally started thinking about it. They had a different group this time, Pets For Vets. It's a group that tries matching animals to veterans who need the companionship. (My understanding is that these are not as trained therapy animals, just, you know, regular animals that fit well with the veterans' needs.) You might have seen something about it if you remember a briefly viral news story about a woman who brought dogs to the show not knowing it was a furry convention.

I believe we poked around the game rooms, both arcade and board, where we mostly established that they had games. We talked with the folks running the rooms about the challenges getting games in and set up and running them, and mourned once more that we don't really have a car that would let us bring our Tri-Zone pinball game to cons.

And we spent a lot of time in con suite, hanging out and sampling the beer and ale and, for me, going around drumming up votes for my Raccoons And Procyonids SIG. As with last year at AnthrOhio I surveyed people on the question ``Trash Panda: Yes Or No?'' and had a surprisingly good time going up to strangers and asking them to fill out a very silly little vote for no real purpose. I think it did some good in letting people know there was a Raccoons And Procyonids SIG and that they were invited to attend.

I believe there was a dance scheduled for after midnight, but we weren't up to staying out quite that late. We would go in, get some rest, and be ready for the fursuit parade in the morning instead.

Trivia: Beethoven was unable to handle a razor safely, nor to sharpen a pencil without help. He also never learned to dance in time. Source: Beethoven: The Universal Composer, Edmund Morris.

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

Now to the first of our furry conventions for the year! This was Motor City Fur[ry] Con, in Novi. It's only an hour or so away, near enough to almost but not quite make staying at home instead of a hotel make sense. It doesn't work if you don't want to be exhausted at the convention. We brought our pet rabbit to [profile] bunny_hugger's parents, where we set up his space for I think the first time. He would turn depressed and mopey for several days, just as Stephen had, and just as we now realize he was moping the first few weeks after we'd adopted him. He cheered up after a couple days, though, possibly as he relished the attention [profile] bunny_hugger's mother gave him, possibly as he realized the head games he could play on the dog, a basset hound, by not being the slightest bit intimidated by the rabbit-hunting dog.

That said, for as convenient as the place was, we got off to a slow start. We weren't to the hotel until about 3 pm or so. And not the convention hotel. After last year's experience in the main hotel --- convenient, but noisy, as we were right by the elevator --- we were back in the Holiday Inn Express across the way. Their rooms were a bit less expensive again. Also the hotel was guarded by a goose. We'd noticed a bunch of parking spaces free, right by the hotel entrance, and figured we were fortunate. There was a Canada goose standing sentry, though, and glaring at us so. He never attacked us all weekend, although he did give us a couple good hisses and start pursuit of [profile] bunny_hugger when she withdrew at the wrong pace.

So all that's why we didn't get to the first full day of con programming until after 4 pm, and after the start of a species SIG we'd have been interested in going to. Well, it was insects. We're not really insect people, but we like species SIGs; there's always fun to be had asking people to talk about why they like themselves. We'd expected to get stuck in a long wait for the con badge, too, but we hit at a very good time. There wasn't much of a line to start with, and they had preregistered badges all set to go; we were officially legitimate attendees within minutes.

We can always find something to complain about. The pocket programming guide was back, and big and clear enough to read. It was a pamphlet actually larger in size than the original programming schedule, and way too big to fit into pockets. Probably mandated by the glossy, color paper they used, but after all, the point is to be folded up and put away. I'd ended up just working out when the things we had to get to were and not referring to either schedule, which is the daftest possible way to do things. You knew I would.

Trivia: The Confederate Constitution required the calling of a Constitutional Convention on the demand of any three states. Source: The Confederate Nation, 1861 - 1865, Emory M Thomas.

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

And how's my humor blog been? If it's on your Friends page you know. If it's on your RSS feed you know. Otherwise, how about this stuff here?

And now to close out Motor City Fur[ry] Con 2016, and the end of Sunday.

P1400877.jpg

Remember that lizard what was on drums? He's got a couple instruments he can play. From the talent show that we joined pretty near the end of things on Sunday. This picture was supposed to be run Sunday but something went wrong.


P1400897.jpg

I don't know what the deal with the volleyball is. I mean, I get the reference, I just don't get why it was a thing some folks were passing around all weekend is why.


P1400926.jpg

From karaoke! A fair number of performers sang in costume, which means they either have way better lines of sight than [livejournal.com profile] bunny_hugger has in costume or they know the song too well to need the lyrics.


P1400930.jpg

Not, incredibly, the worst moment of karaoke lyrics on screen. That would be the song, I missed it, where a rap-style interlude was just captioned ``Rap''. The singers put up with that a few seconds and then started just singing out, ``Rap rap. Rap rap rap rap. Rap rap rap. Rap.''


P1400956.jpg

Bunny conferencing, after karaoke and while the Dead Dog Dance was going on.


P1400966.jpg

And far enough into the Dead Dog Dance, everyone stretches and gets ready to go home, alas.


Trivia: Coroner Charles Norris's October 1926 report on causes of death in New York City for the previous year listed six people killed playing baseball, one playing football, three in fistfights, eight in diving accidents, and six in sleighing accidents. Source: The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York, Deborah Blum.

Currently Reading: Year Zero: A History of 1945, Ian Buruma.

Mathematics: I blog it. The blog, it RSS feed generates it. And if you skipped it, the whole of last week, then you missed out on:

And now pictures from the Sunday of Motor City Fur[ry] Con 2016. It was a less photogenic day than Saturday was, I'm sad to admit.

P1400840.jpg

Snow! Snow, from outside our hotel room window. It was not a heavy storm, as you can see. Just enough to make us wonder what the heck, Michigan? Note: Apparently there was another what-the-heck storm this last weekend, although it evaporated before we got up. Still.


P1400848.jpg

The board game room, with games in full swing. Unfortunately everyone was in the middle of their complicated games, so we had to go and play something on our own. And we couldn't catch anyone into our net of board gaming.


P1400852.jpg

The classic image of the fursuiter passed out on the Throne of Faygo isn't rendered any more creepy by the eyes not closing.


P1400864.jpg

The message board! Even though it's been made obsolete maybe five times over since furry cons became a thing it's still popular and still well-tended. Also more playful now that it doesn't have to tell people they're here and what room they're in.


P1400865.jpg

Flyers for upcoming conventions, including Furry Migration, the Furry Cruise (which is in the middle of the semester or else we'd give it more serious consideration), AnthroOhio (watch this space), and the Great Lakes Furry Con which manages not only to have a QR Code (fun QR Code fact: nobody has ever scanned a QR code) but ripped part of it off in quartering their letter-sized pages for the con.


P1400887.jpg

After closing ceremonies. The remarkable thing is you don't often see grey squirrels in a grey pelage around here; they're much more often black. Also if I'm not mistaken this squirrel used a couple beach balls to produce a tail that's got volume and shape without being heavy, and that's a great scheme.


Trivia: The all-time record prize paid to sailors in the Royal Navy was £485, paid in 1762 to each sailor on the Active and the Favourite for their capture of the Spanish galleon Hermione. Source: To Rule The Waves: How the British Navy Shaped the Modern World, Arthur Herman.

Currently Reading: Year Zero: A History of 1945, Ian Buruma.

PS: I know you want to tell me you scan QR codes all the time.

My humor blog: a thing that posts daily. You may have seen it so. If not, here's what you didn't see:

And to close out pictures of Motor City Fur[ry] Con 2016's Saturday, here's the Saturday night dance:

P1400792.jpg

More from the Motor City Furry Con 2016 Saturday dance. Also another good choice for the fandom's album cover. Maybe for the best-of compilation.


P1400805.jpg

Naked guy wondering how he got in the middle of this fursuit pack.


P1400811.jpg

We never have glowsticks or lights or whatever at these dances anymore. In the background, Johnny Mnemonic visits Deep Space Nine!


P1400839.jpg

What people don't get about furry fandom is everybody's a fan of each other, which is why this kind of stuff keeps happening: me taking a picture of some guy taking a picture of some DJ.


P1400820.jpg

Emergency beam-out from the dance? I have absolutely no idea how I made my camera do this and if anyone can suggest ways to make it happen on purpose please let me know because this is just astounding to me.


Trivia: In February 1453 the Venetian Senate chose to send fifteen galleys and two transports with 400 men each to the relief of Byzantium. The ships would not sail until the second week of May, by which point the Ottoman seige of the city was already a month old. Source: A History of Venice, John Julius Norwich.

Currently Reading: The Vulgar Tongue: Green's History of Slang, Jonathon Green.

To promote my mathematics blog: that's what I do here most Sundays. In case you missed it, here's the past week's articles. I'm back to lower volume but I think no less interesting stuff:

What was happening at Motor City Fur[ry] Con on Saturday after the Animal Magic Show? Here's pictures:

P1400734.jpg

Dragon, on drums. The Rock Band corner of the video game room at Motor City Furry Con 2016. And I always like costumes that let people do normal stuff in them. Possibly a lizard instead of a dragon.


P1400745.jpg

Hanging around the hotel lobby at Motor City Furry Con and wondering, like, when did all the fursuiters decide they didn't mind going around headless? Didn't that used to be a big deal?


P1400760.jpg

Fox Amoore and Pepper Coyote's Saturday, drinking, show. The charity box and some of the bottles of whiskey and whatnot are in the lower left. Oddly, though I had better seats for this show, I got much more boring photographs. Sorry for that.


P1400762.jpg

[livejournal.com profile] bunny_hugger hides her head after some particularly corny joke at the Fox Amoore/Peper Coyote drinking show. Note that one fursuiter's been knocked out entirely by whatever it was, which I admit, I don't remember.


P1400782.jpg

And on to the Saturday night dance! I'm guessing that my hand twitched during the one-fifteenth of a second the shutter was open, so as a result we got the fandom's album cover.


Trivia: 18,000 United States income tax payers listed themselves as beauticians in 1927. Source: 1927: High Tide of the 1920s, Gerald Leinwand.

Currently Reading: Attention All Passengers: The Airlines' Dangerous Descent - And How To Reclaim Our Skies, William J McGee.

Is my humor blog a friend of yours? Livejournal friend, I mean. If not, and if it's not on your RSS feed, then here's the past wek's worth of things:

Now that's done, so how about some pictures from the Animal Magic show? The photos are not the best because I was taking pictures from the audience up on stage with my point-and-shoot so it's lucky anything came out at all. But that's something.

P1400650.jpg

Live Animal is what the plastic bin there reads. Inside is the sloth. In the bin on the left, the one covered with the blanket, was if I remember correctly the binturong. While waiting for the show to start we could see the bin shake around a little, just like in a Tazmanian Devil cartoon.


P1400658.jpg

Mark Rosenthal of Animal Magic makes his pitch for tarantulas as a great animal to keep: clean, harmless-to-humans, personable, and nobody's buying this, are they? No, not at all.


P1400673.jpg

Patagonian cavies, I believe, who are about twenty seconds away from deciding they are done with this scene, man.


P1400694.jpg

Popcorn, the binturong. Binturongs: for people who thought wolverines just needed to be that much larger.


P1400703.jpg

Mark Rostenthal, exotic-animal rescuer and caretaker, encouraging a binturong to do that trick where she pounces him just as if he were prey.


P1400706.jpg

Playing air guitar with an animal that's basically a giant ferret that could eat you whole: seems really cool and it looks great although I kept thinking this would end unhappily for someone.


Trivia: The trading card game Pit and Ping-Pong were the featured games of the Parker Brothers at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Centennial. Source: The Game Makers: The Story Of Parker Brothers From Tiddledy Winks To Trivial Pursuit, Philip E Orbanes.

Currently Reading: All Was Done With Measure, Number, Weight: An Introduction to the New Metaphysics of Numbers, Jacques Vauthier. In the introduction Vauthier thanks his translator for help with his jumbled English. It's still very jumbled. It reads like the lecture notes for a talk about the history of mathematics more than anything else.

With the comments panel, The Last Laugh, done there were only two big convention things left. So we ambled back and forth some, and looked over the message board and marvelled that the cork boards were still a thing. Also that the muck Sociopolitical Ramifications was (a) still around and (b) advertising at conventions. Also that Great Lakes Furry Con was (a) still around and (b) advertising at conventions. Cons advertising at other cons is normal, and there were attractive flyers for all sorts of cons, some of which we might even get to. Great Lakes Furry Con, which had disappointed us its first year with a nearly-empty schedule and terrible arrangement of rooms, and which we skipped its second year, is on its third year. The not-a-bad idea theme is Furry Olympics. The flyers were almost bare things, possibly printed on someone's Inkjet printer, with pages cut in half. We hadn't planned to go to the con anyway --- even if we hadn't made plans for that weekend it's just too soon after Morphicon/Anthrohio, which was this past weekend's event --- although there's something piquant in Great Lakes Furry Con still projecting this slipshod image. (Maybe the con has got its act together. But the flyer at least had the air of ``Oh! I can do that in Word! And I have nearly fifteen minutes!'')

We went to dinner, and remembered the promise of an Indian restaurant in the gas station across the way. It's so, too: a little take-out place with a healthy selection of stuff. I got, I think, some kind of garlic paneer and [livejournal.com profile] bunny_hugger a more mild paneer that we took back to con suite. And my but it was really, really good. Also my car smelled of paneer for a couple days, which is everything you could hope for. Whoever gave us the tip about the place was brilliantly right and we passed it on to anyone we could.

We lingered over dinner, not just because it was that good. So we missed the start of karaoke, one of the last two events of the night. We didn't think that anything too bad; surely we'd be able to jump in and sing when we got there. Probably we could have, in principle. In practice, karaoke night was really busy. It was packed, more than we'd ever seen at karaoke at Morphicon in past years. We had absolutely no idea where the catalogue of songs was and suspected it was only available online. We had even less idea where you went to sign up for songs, and watching people near the DJ's table didn't give us any hints. There was the usual sort of fun stuff, including a woman singing ``Pinball Wizard'' --- [livejournal.com profile] bunny_hugger had to go up to her and thank her, and show off the Lansing Pinball League t-shirt she was waring --- and four, count 'em, four Queen songs being picked within sixty minutes of singing. Also people trying to do ``Let It Go'' from Frozen even though you really have to be an expert singer to pull that off. In short, while we didn't get to sing, we did get to enjoy karaoke night, quite a lot.

And the final, final thing was the Dead Dog Dance. We'd again expected or feared this would be sluggish. And again it wasn't. The dance was less packed than Saturday's, fairly enough considering how many people had left the con, but it was still big, crowded, and lively. It was still going strong well after midnight, when we decided that as fun as it would be to see the Dead Dog Dance to its closing minute, it would also be really great to drive home and get to sleep in our own bed before 3 am.

So we made a last round to hug and say goodbye to everyone who needed it, and drove home, where the house was intact and in good order, and we didn't get to sleep until after 3 am.

Trivia: In an encounter with the Portuguese at Santiago, in the Cape Verde islands, shortly before completing the circumnavigation of the globe, the survivors of Magellan's voyage pretended to be returning from America. Source: A World Lit Only By Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance, William Manchester.

Currently Reading: All Was Done With Measure, Number, Weight: An Introduction to the New Metaphysics of Numbers, Jacques Vauthier.

After closing ceremonies was about an hour of poking around, looking at the common areas, and confirming that the game room and video game room were closed, ready to be packed up. So we drifted around. We noticed the hotel's front lobby doors had set up the automatic doors so that they were staggered. That is, there were two sets of doors in the inside and outside of the vestibule and with the cold weather and steady winds that weekend it had been producing blasts of freezing air in the lobby every time someone walked into or out of the lobby. The desk clerk had mentioned how there wasn't anything to do about it when we were checking in Friday. But by Saturday one of the two doors on each side was marked out of order, so you could enter only by using the left and the right door. And this ... tamped down, at least, the cold winds, even if it didn't resolve things altogether. But on a high-traffic weekend like this every bit must help.

The next con event after closing was the Last Laugh. From the title it sounded like maybe an open-mike improv event. No: it was a gripe session. Well, not so much griping really, but it was a session of talking about what worked and what didn't work about the con. One of the con's problems is that while it's got a great hotel and apparently great rapport with the hotel, it hasn't got space that's all that well-laid-out for it. The Dealers Den is cramped, the Artist's Alley can't ever quite find the right spot to be, and there's not ever quite enough meeting rooms in sensible places. The con folks had to defend arrangements a lot, pointing out that they know extremely well how much space there is in the hotel and what they need and there's just not a really clear way to relieve, particularly, the Dealers Den crowding.

Something I hadn't thought about but which might explain why I always get assigned to do panels on Sundays (at Morphicon/AnthroOhio, anyway), was that there's a chronic shortage of people willing to do panels on Sundays. They also explained they couldn't run a panel on safe sex, much as that might be a good idea, because they didn't have qualified medical personnel there to give advice. Similarly they couldn't run a panel on depression or other common psychological problems because they didn't have qualified psychologists to do it. They take their vetting of panel runners very seriously. We took this as a warning that our concerns about Animal Magic might receive a defensive reply if raised then and there without a much stronger dossier. Also [livejournal.com profile] bunny_hugger, whose specialization in philosophy is ethics, wondered about the screening of panels in which she's heard ethical implications being discussed, or often dismissed, by people who haven't got any obvious credentials in the field. (Having a physical sciences degree is not, in fact, qualification to speak about the ethics of a science-related outcome.)

Still, I did get something out of the talk about what kinds of panels they look for and what ones they can't use. And how to pitch ones that might be more accepted in the future.

Trivia: In four years of Basel, Switzerland,'s campaign against feeding pigeons the local population dropped from an estimated 24,000 to about 8,000. Feeding pigeons was never made illegal, merely shameful. Source: Superdove: How the Pigeon Took Manhattan ... And The World, Courtney Humphries.

Currently Reading: Tiger Balm Gardens: A Chinese Billionaire's Fantasy Environments, Judith Brandel, Tina Turbeville. I am sorry not to have read this book when I was in Singapore and could see those Tiger Balm Gardens easily. It explains some of what had previously baffled me. It also admits at least once that the moral of some of these dioramas is unclear.

PS: Reading the Comics, May 6, 2016: Mistakes Edition, since we all make them, don't we?

Mathematics blog awareness day: it could be on your Friends page or in your RSS reader. And then other stuff in the past, lower-volume activity week on my mathematics blog have been:

Now to a bit after the Fursuit Parade at Motor City Furry Con 2016.

P1400601.jpg

After the parade: Alkali tries valiantly to wrangle the over 200 costumed characters into some kind of order for the mass photograph.


P1400615.jpg

Sometime around this part of the mass photograph I gave up all hope of finding [livejournal.com profile] bunny_hugger in the crowd and just started taking snaps and hoping for the best.


P1400617.jpg

Look at that: someone spilled unnaturally-colored rabbits all over the yard. Wearing a full-body costume was the way to stay warm through this shoot.


P1400639.jpg

And I get my first glimpse of [livejournal.com profile] bunny_hugger since her walking through the fursuit parade! She's the bunny in the Michigan Squirrel University shirt.


P1400642.jpg

This: this is the face to fall in love with.


Trivia: By the mid-1880s the Singer sewing machine factory in Elizabeth, New Jersey, employed about three thousand workers and produced six to seven thousand machines a week, with a goal of eight thousand. (It was originally designed to produce five thousand per week.) Source: New Jersey: A History of the Garden State, Editors Maxine N Lurie, Richard Veit.

Currently Reading: Tiger Balm Gardens: A Chinese Billionaire's Fantasy Environments, Judith Brandel, Tina Turbeville.

We poked back around the Dealers' Den, after getting back from lunch. Once again there wasn't quite anything interesting enough to buy, although [livejournal.com profile] bunny_hugger did try on some hoodies and establish that the Lemonbrat hoodie sizes were right for her to order one. We were too late to get any sketchbook commissions, but then we didn't find anyone with an interesting enough style to request one either. Similarly up in the Artists Alley, on the second floor, things were nice to see, especially that someone had taken in the Animal Magic rabbit. But there wasn't anything we wanted to take home.

I should mention, we had to pass a badge check every time we went to the second floor. And that's of course because it's con space. But for most of the con I was walking around with my guinea pig puppet in hand and this drew so much attention. It's got to be because the Folkmanis puppet is about the right size and appearance to pass for a real guinea pig. But it inspired everyone to talk about guinea pigs they'd kept, or still keep. The hall guards were no less likely to chat about it. It was actually a little relief the time I left my puppet in the car, as it let me move around without interruption. I'm sorry folks who were looking for the guinea pig guy, during these stretches. But it shows how easy it is to be popular: have a friendly gimmick.

Sometime during this weekend I worked out, finally, what I think the guinea pig's name was, although I kept forgetting to go back and do some needed research. With that done, though, I think I've got it: Latham Shoales. That's got the right feel for me for a character name.

We checked in the video game room again; Rock Band was still on. Then we went to the game room, where a round of Betrayal at the House on the Hill was too far advanced for us to jump in on. Too bad; we don't get to play with big groups much. The two of us took out one of the game room's games, Nuns on the Run, which seemed like it might be whimsically amusing. The up-to-five novices are trying to sneak around after curfew to achieve some objective or other, while the head nuns patrol the grounds. We weren't perfectly sure we were playing rightly --- the rules about making noise seemed off to us --- but once we got into it the game seemed ... a little off, really. With just the one novice sneaking around there wasn't much drama to the game. It's probably a much better experience with a half-dozen people playing.

That took us through to Closing Ceremonies. That was your typical close of con event, with the various heads of Motor City Furry Con departments talking about how exhausted they were, and reporting the winners of the car show contests, and how many attendees there were (something like 1200) and how many were in the fursuit parade (over two hundred, I think) and how much was raised for the Animal Magic charity and all that. They announced that next year the convention would be at the same hotel and the same weekend and made some cryptic comment about how they knew there was a conflict here and they would be working with ... whoever's in charge of these things ... to avoid scheduling conflicts in the future. I don't know which convention it is there's a conflict with, or why they were being coy about it. Or who they figure is the Head of Furry Fandom who can sort out convention scheduling.

This officially ended the convention, so there were three important events scheduled after it.

Trivia: American and British troops entered Venice on the 8th of May, 1945. Source: 1945: The War That Never Ended, Gregor Dallas.

Currently Reading: Tiger Balm Gardens: A Chinese Billionaire's Fantasy Environments, Judith Brandel, Tina Turbeville.

I've mentioned how we really didn't have winter this winter. So why is it that at this convention, in early April, after the mildest winter anyone can think of, Sunday opened with an inch of snow? It was beautiful, mind you, and it would pretty much burn off during the day so it didn't need so much plowing or anything, but, still. The heck?

So we packed and fretted about losing stuff and were certain after all the sweeps that we hadn't, and we left behind the charger for [livejournal.com profile] bunny_hugger's Nintendo 3DS. Easily replaceable but still the kind of thing that makes you feel dumb. Given the weather we weren't comfortable stowing our coats in the car so we checked them with the hotel desk again. This made every venture outside a test of courage: dare we bother the desk clerk to get our coats out, and then check them again later? Yes, we would, but we'd feel the worse every time we did it. Bad enough we pondered whether it would make sense to stay an extra night, which would allow us to go to the whole Dead Dog Dance and to have some crash space when tired, too. It makes sense for Morphicon/AnthroOhio, four hours away. But it's hard to make that make sense for a convention barely an hour from home.

We stayed asleep as long as we could, trusting that we could join the Sunday-morning panel we were interested in midway through. This was the live-action Interactive Fiction panel. We'd loved the ones we were at last year. In this, the attendees take turns giving commands for your classic Zork-style interactive adventure game to a dungeon master who's got a flowchart for all this. We joined something like a half hour after the nominal starting hour and it's a good thing we did since all the group had managed before we got in was to get the protagonist killed over and over again and restarting from scratch.

It was a Western-themed game, you waking up as an amnesiac with an unsteady hand and a sheriff's badge and, as ever, no clear idea what you're supposed to do except for picking up any nouns that appear in the room description. I'd like to say our experience with mucks and other online text-based roleplaying games saw [livejournal.com profile] bunny_hugger and I the masters of the field. But it wasn't. I was beyond awful at these sorts of games when I was a kid. What saved us is that we tried the innovative approach of talking to the non-player characters instead of incompetently trying to shoot them all the time. You want to postpone your characters' murder spree as long as you can in this sort of thing. Once we got out of the rut of the second room of the game we got going pretty well and won with pretty near the maximum attainable score. Fun stuff. I'm a bit sorry to have missed the start of the panel, but then, getting to step in after everybody's been frustrated and make progress lurch forward is pretty grand too.

We went after this to the Kerby's coney island across the road. We eat there traditionally each year at the con and none too soon since we needed some kind of breakfast. (I remember at least one day we went to con suite for something, anything. [livejournal.com profile] bunny_hugger got a single Pop Tart. I got a bagel but since they were out of cream cheese and butter I went with peanut butter. This ... is all right, although [livejournal.com profile] bunny_hugger would have none of it.) We ate while looking at threatening skies and threatening them right back if they were going to snow for crying out loud. Seriously, April after the gentlest winter ever.

Trivia: The earliest plans for the Jay Ward character Tom Slick seem to have named him ``Stretch Marks'', first used in a Fractured Flicker auto-racing skit written by Lloyd Turner. ``Tom Swift'' was an intermediate stage. Source: The Moose That Roared: The Story Of Jay Ward, Bill Scott, a Flying Squirrel, and a Talking Moose, Keith Scott.

Currently Reading: Tiger Balm Gardens: A Chinese Billionaire's Fantasy Environments, Judith Brandel, Tina Turbeville.

PS: What I Learned Doing The Leap Day 2016 Mathematics A To Z, some reflections.

And for my reminder about my humor blog: it can be on your Friends page. If you don't like that, it can be on your RSS reader, if that's still a thing. Or you can read it like this:

And with that done, how about go to Saturday at Motor City Furry Con for a look around, almost all at the fursuit parade before and after?

P1400540.jpg

The rabbit we didn't adopt. I couldn't get a better picture as the Animal Magic people asked folks not to take photographs, citing how camera flashes and fuss could stress the animal.


P1400585.jpg

The (lone?) quad fursuiter that I saw at Motor City Furry Con 2016. My knees ache just pondering walking like that. I don't know how actual people do it.


P1400587.jpg

Not the fursuit parade! This is just people getting to the assembly room so they can get into the fursuit parade. The parade will go the other direction. Note to the left is nothing but glass to the open sunny daylight outside, which is why my camera needed exposure times so long that everybody came out blurry.


P1400646.jpg

This is the rather silly dinosaur that was two or three people behind [livejournal.com profile] bunny_hugger in the parade and who drew all the attention away from her.


P1400562.jpg

Fursuit characters try to escape to the more hospitable climate and supportive environment of the Taco Bell down the road.


Trivia: The first Viking 1 lander photograph, showing a blue sky, was released the 21st of July, 1976. The true, red-sky, version was released the 26th. Source: On Mars: Exploration of the Red Planet 1958 - 1978, Edward Clinton Ezell, Linda Neuman Ezell. NASA SP-4212.

Currently Reading: Ain't That A Knee-Slapper: Rural Comedy in the 20th Century, Tom Hollis.

(And happy Doctorversarry, [livejournal.com profile] bunny_hugger!)


I'd like to say right after the Animal Magic show we got to some fun stuff. We weren't able to, though. We needed some rest, [livejournal.com profile] bunny_hugger especially after the night before. Me after I started thinking about what I had seen. Also, worse, she had to grade. She'd had to give exams that week and she had a quota of exams to grade per day if they were to be returned when promised to her students. And then there was the struggle with the coffee maker and the inappropriately-sized coffee bags. Once more, it overflowed.

When we were feeling back up to going to the con, we left the hotel altogether, because it was dinnertime and we suspected we didn't want to brave the con suite line. We went to Taco Bell for the traditional have-me-actually-eat-at-Taco-Bell experience. (There's not any good reason for me not to go there more. It's easy, it's vegetarian, and I find the cheesey potato burrito strangely satisfying. Although since we can't think of where there even is one around our house except the one in Downtown East Lansing, across the street from the shuttered Taco Bell building, I guess that's sufficient reason.) They were even running a special, free small soft drinks with your con badge. [livejournal.com profile] bunny_hugger had forgotten hers but between having her ears and tail on and me having mine on they were willing to let it slide. On getting back to the hotel we got a tip from perfect strangers: there was an Indian restaurant in the gas station also in the cluster of things to buy stuff from, opposite the convention hotel. The Indian restaurant-owner was asking people to please spread the word.

We poked around the game room a little and found that someone else had brought both Betrayal at the House on the Hill and Mice and Mystics, so we didn't need to risk bringing ours along. But there wasn't much going on for us. We popped over to the video game room and found the people playing Rock Band, reassuring us that some things were normal and eternal after all.

And that took us to about time for the second Fox Amoore and Pepper Coyote show. This would be the one where they drank. Motor City Furry Con, and its quasi-earlier incarnation of Furry Connection North, have reputations being drinking cons and here's the sort of thing that earns that reputation. They were taking requests, on a donation to the con charity. With the donation you could take a swig from some of the whisky or vodka or whatever else they had on-stage. They had a couple bottles. And it's fun watching a couple performers with a good rapport --- with each other, and with the audience --- clowning around so.

We were able to meet up with Twitchers Bunny several times, one of them just before this show, and we sat with him during it. I have to conclude he liked it as he bought a CD after the show was over. So there's that relief of getting someone to try out something they did after all enjoy.

Afterwards we went up to change into our kigurumis, and got to the Saturday Night Dance. There wasn't a Friday night dance and we were disappointed by that. There was to be a Dead Dog Dance on Sunday, but to lose a whole night of con dance? Con space required it; there were too many things needing the main ballroom, and after all, the dances are generally poorly-attended things anyway. It's not rare that [livejournal.com profile] bunny_hugger and I are among the few souls tromping onto the floor trying to make a go of it, and when an event depends on my dancing you know there's trouble.

Only this time, there wasn't trouble. The dance was packed, with fursuiters, people in partial costumes (like us), or just regularly-dressed folks. And dancing. There wasn't the need for props and games like the balloons someone had brought the year before. It was just a good, healthy, crowded dance that was going strong through to like 1:00 or whenever we figured we had to turn in for the night. It's sad to cut nights out of the con's dance schedule, but, if reducing the number of dance hours made for a successful night then maybe that's not bad.

Trivia: Space Shuttle and X-15 astronaut Joe Engle is the only person to have flown into space in two different winged vehicles. Source: First Man: The Life Of Neil A Armstrong, James R Hansen.

Currently Reading: Ain't That A Knee-Slapper: Rural Comedy in the 20th Century, Tom Hollis.

PS: Reading the Comics, May 3, 2016: Lots Of Images Edition, since there were more comics than usual to include in my essay.