We spent most of the con hauling around a bag full of stuff, mostly sketchbooks: my sketchbook, John's sketchbook, John's collecting sketchbook, someone else's collecting sketchbook that John would be adding to, etc. It also contained pens, pencils, colored pencils, one or two card games (Brawl and the Great Dalmuti, usually -- lightweight games), my camera, and the camera John had borrowed from Gen. At first we loaded everything into John's art bag, but after the first outing we switched to my rolling backpack, so that it'd be easier to set down and could be rolled occasionally. John still spent too much time lugging it around, though. ("Let me carry it." "No, it'll clash with your outfit.")
As heavy and mildly annoying as it was to bring the backpack everywhere, it was nice to have it handy. Whenever we got bored or tired, we'd find a seat in the lobby and sketch for a while.
We went back to the dealer's room, where we talked to Ursula Husted and her husband, Phil Morrisey for a while. Ursula Husted was striking nice, very warm and friendly and happy to chat. When we first came by their table, she talked to us cheerfully for a few minutes before noticing John's badge. "Omigosh! John! I am so sorry, I didn't recognize you at first! It's so good to see you again!" And after that she was even nicer.
On our second pass, I was tring to position myself so that we wouldn't be blocking their table and display -- John and I bought a couple of things from them, but I didn't want other customers to pass by because she looked busy. But it was hard not to stand in front of one thing or another on display, so at one point I picked up one of the matted pieces and held it in front of me, facing the room.
That made me Ms. Husted laugh. "Booth babes! Phil, we've finally made it! We've got booth babes!"
So then I had to show off the artwork I was holding, Vanna White-style. It was all very silly and amusing.
While we were in the dealer's room, I got a picture of Rhea. There were, of course, many fursuiters around, but I only took pictures of some of my favorites. Rhea was very well done -- I liked her large, expressive eyes and the lack of bulk to her suit. But what I particularly liked about her was that she changed clothes. When I saw her Friday, she was wearing denim shorts and a tank top, but Saturday she had on a red evening gown. She said she had a different outfit for Sunday, too, but I didn't see her on Sunday, alas.
One of the other congoers offered to take a picture of us together, so I have one of those, too.
Eventually, we returned to the lounge to rest and sketch. There, we ran into beetiger, who'd found someone in the dealer's room doing face paint and had gotten into her costume. So I took a picture of her and then she returned the favor by taking one of us. I asked Bee what her son, Rhys, had thought of the costume.
She smiled. "He said what may've been his very first sentence in response to it. Bard asked him about it, and he said, 'No like it....'"
At a quarter to seven or so, I went to the room where the World Tree game was to be run, while John went to get dinner at Subway. I was the second person to arrive, but by the time the game was to start, Bard had ten or eleven players out of a maximum of eight. I bowed out of playing, but John and I sat and watched for the first hour or so. Pyat was playing a Khtoysis, and was a hoot to watch. I also got to see lady_peregrine at the game: she'd gotten her face painted as well, with blue and black panther markings. Looked very neat -- I'm sorry I didn't get a picture of her.
Around eight, we snuck out to see what else was happening. We met up with shaterri and Jeff again in the lobby, and marveled at how generally quiet the con was for a Saturday night.
I've been to four different cons in the Midwest over the last several years, and all of them followed much the same pattern for partying on Friday and Saturday night. There's a con suite, where free drinks and food are available to all con attendees. And there's a party floor, where everyone who wants to throw a room party reserves their room. (Usually, the same floor with the con suite). Rooms with a room party ongoing leave their door open, and guests wander in and out at will. Room parties may or may not have a theme* -- often, they're advertising another convention, or a WorldCon bid, or whatnot. But sometimes it's just people who want to throw a party. Usually, munchies and drinks are provided at the room parties, too. Often, room parties are advertised with various fliers posted on boards, by the elevators, etc. -- although I've never seen much need for the advertising myself, as I simply wander along and look for open doors. Room parties typically last several hours; at one con a few years ago, I danced until dawn at a room party.
Anthrocon 2005 was nothing like this. Their con suite was available to supersponsors only, and as it was located on the rooftop I'm not sure how much use it got. (Not to mention that I expect supersponsors aren't all that keen on mingling with other supersponsors only.)
There was no party floor. I saw no advertisments for parties. We heard (after the fact) that there'd been a Puzzlebox party, but it was apparently over by 10PM on Friday. If there were room parties on Saturday night, we didn't hear about them. It's not entirely clear to me whether Anthrocon had a dearth of room parties, or if there were room parties but they were invitation-only and we just didn't get any invitations. The other cons I've been to have been comparatively small, with an attendance of 200-600, as opposed to Anthrocon's 2500-3000, and perhaps it's more intimidating to advertise a room party in that environment. ("Did you bring enough soda for all of them?") On the other hand, Lut tells me Norwescon had 3000+ people when he used to attend, and it had a consuite and open room parties.
shaterri said the lack of a party floor was due to the hotel, which had permanent residents. So maybe this situation was unique to this year. In any case, it seemed very strange to me.
So, after hanging out in the lobby for a bit, we decided to go up to the gaming room and play The Great Dalmuti. Unfortunately, the con only had one gaming room, which featured three tables, all of which were packed to capacity. Finally, we shrugged and went up to our room to play. I propped the door open out of curiosity, to see if anyone would wander in, but no one came by.
We listened to some music and watched a few videos on Shaterri's laptop, including an exceedingly campy one of bimbettes using powertools that John had brought with him on his flash drive.
Then we played a few games of Brawl. I'd just bought three decks at the dealer room that day, but Jeff and Shaterri had both played before. John and I hadn't, and John wanted to try it out. It's a fun game! But since we only had three decks, we couldn't all play at once. After a few runs we put the decks away and got out Dalmuti.
After several hands of Dalmuti, it was nearing 11:30. We decided to go out to the 7-11 for a munchie run before Capsule started at midnight, so we packed up the cards and headed out.
* RoomCon: Best room party theme EV4R!