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April 25th, 2007

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08:42 pm - Orvan's Weekend at Penguicon

Last week
Last week there was some time spent getting things mostly together. Some items had to be assembled. Some were last minute finds. And one was perishable and would have to be acquired closer (in both time and space) to Penguicon. By Wednesday night the stack o' stuff (Pic 1, Pic 2) was as ready as it was going to get while still in Minnesota.


The first delivery was for Frank Hayes. He was careful to open the parcel away from himself, after all it was from ACME. Then, amazingly, he started nibbling on the packing foam - some of which was evidently corn derived and really edible. The real item was an "S-100 bus" complete with 2102 SRAM. Sure, it's an old pun, but the S-100 is an old bus.

Schlock Mercenary cartoonist howardtayler was the next target, er, recipient. He seemed a bit worried about a delivery from ACME as well. As some artists use small poseable models, called maquettes, to use as drawing references ACME supplied Howard with ACME Amorph Maquette in a few colors (eyes not included). Not that Schlock really needs to be modeled, but there it is.

Rob Landley was the third person to get something from ACME at Penguicon. It seems everyone is suspicious of items from ACME. Rob was probably right to be. He got something that is something of a bomb: A Windows disk that seems to be from another era. At least he won't be able to accidentally install that one.

After those deliveries Orvan went back and traded the clipboard for a tub of cow tails candy and wandered the hallways giving it away. A few people declined for dietary reasons, and one person claimed that he didn't think eating anything from ACME was a good idea. Somewhere in this Orvan was given an invitation to a room party, and not just someone saying "Hey, come to our party." This was a nice formal invitation card in an envelope. It was to the Literary Salon with Sarah Shefferly Saturday night. After an invitation like that, he'd just have to at least make an appearance.

There was one more delivery, fairly late, to Michael Z. "Mad Mike" Williamson, mzmadmike. I don't know if it was the late hour or what, but Mad Mike didn't seem too leery of the delivery. Once he opened it and found a bottle of Scope of Justice (explanation here) he was quite pleased. Evidently not only did he appreciate the joke, he felt he'd be making good use of the stuff.

There were more deliveries to do, and most of them happened on Saturday. Orvan managed to catch up with Tom Smith (filkertom) just before one of his performances. There was the usual concern about a delivery from ACME, followed by a moment of bewilderment, and then recognition of The Magical Grapefruit of Love which was a reference to an MST3k style spam treatment. This worked out fairly well, considering I didn't do enough research and did this bit truly last minute (the grapefruit was the item that had to be purchased near Penguicon) and I'd only seen the reference to the Magic Grapefruit Road Crew on Tom's web site.

Howard Tayler got a second delivery and expressed some concern that Pronto (one of his Schlock Mercenary characters) had an explosive item coming. Howard's second parcel? The eyes that weren't included in the first parcel.

The last formal deliveries of Saturday were for Eric and Cathy Raymond. They got his and hers abacuses, or abaci. There was bewilderment about the size difference and eventually (a day or two after Penguicon) jmaynard explained that Cathy's was a traditional design intended primarily for decimal computation, with the two columns of different color for easily tracking cents versus dollars. Eric's abacus design was more directly suitable for hexadecimal or octal, with the colors evenly split as if for high and low order. I was concerned that the abaci would seem a bit too slapdash, but evidently not as Eric asked where I'd obtained them and was somewhat impressed when told that I'd made them.

There was another round of cow tails candy giveaway and wandering the halls. To my surprise, Orvan wasn't stopped anywhere, even though he had no convention badge. Granted, he couldn't do much, but he did go through the dealer's area, the computer (and Chaos Machine) area, and the con suite. It was one thing when he was accompanied by jmaynard for deliveries, but that he wasn't told to keep out or asked for convention ID when solo is still a bit of a surprise to me.

Later Saturday night Orvan did go to the Literary Salon room party and made an appearance. Actually, two appearances. Someone had a camera but lacked AA cells for it. I still had a pack of cells in a bag and no longer had any use for them so they were moved to where they'd be useful. There is now photographic evidence that Orvan was at Sarah's Literary Salon.

There were a few other parties, including UHACC's with the Trojan Horse (Penguicon was in Troy, MI see...) though I have yet to see any photos of Orvan with the horse. Orvan was asked by the Con Clave folks if he might be there (rather doubtful) though he'd heard of one the folks who either will be or that the Con Clave folks would like to get: Uncle Kage.

Orvan got mistaken for a gnu several times. He was mistaken for a moose (how?) a few times. And even for Space Moose once. He was asked if he was a furry, and one person said he'd recognized Orvan from MFF. Overall the reaction was positive. The ACME bit helped - everybody knows ACME - and giving away candy to geeks goes over well. There was likely some bewilderment, but nothing nasty or bad. One invitation to a room party could have been taken as rude, but it was more a misunderstanding than actually demeaning so it rolled off. The only truly negative reaction was one very small child who didn't know what to make of the big furry creature and so clung tight to mommy. Orvan knelt down to be as small and harmless as he could look and also kept his distance. I think mommy wanted to get the kid closer, but the kid was having none of that.


There was only one appearance Sunday but it was long one. Orvan hadn't managed to catch up with security guru Bruce Schneier and so attended closing ceremonies. The hope was to deal with the delivery before closing ceremonies started. It didn't work out that way. Instead Orvan sat through 30 minutes of closing ceremonies. Now, half an hour in suit is no big deal. That is, it isn't unless one is sitting mostly still in a room full of people. Then it gets hot and tiring. After the main ceremonies and before the gripe feedback session, it was asked if there was any other business. Orvan took advantage of that opening to get up and try to deliver the parcel. Bruce wasn't there, so the con chair (I think) Matt Arnold, programming chair, (thanks to howardtayler for the correction) said he'd sign for it and see that it got to Bruce. He did sign for it, and he opened it (he asked Orvan about that). There were the usual jokes about a delivery from ACME exploding or ticking. He commented on the irony of someone else opening something addressed to Bruce. In that way, the setup might have been even better than actually having delivered it to Bruce. As the parcel was being opening a bunch of folks in the audience started making whistling bomb noises. After a moment of fiddling the contents were revealed. He had Bruce Schneier's keys! I don't know if it was him or another who asked which was the private and which was the public key, but the quip was inevitably made.

And that was Orvan's weekend at Penguicon. Nine official deliveries for eight people, and the one missed delivery probably was all the more amusing for being missed. Now to get ready for RCFM.

Just so I have these BlogunderSchlock links someplace:

Day 1 Addenda - Orvan the Ox

Day 2 and Convention Nadir

Current Mood: pleasedpleased

(15 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:April 26th, 2007 02:04 am (UTC)
Ooop, you've got a munged bit of HTML in there somewhere.
[User Picture]
Date:April 26th, 2007 02:09 am (UTC)


[User Picture]
Date:April 26th, 2007 02:56 pm (UTC)
...and another one in the correction.
[User Picture]
Date:April 26th, 2007 03:26 pm (UTC)

Guess I needed to use a full-wave rectifier...

[User Picture]
Date:April 26th, 2007 04:16 am (UTC)
FedOx? =};-3
[User Picture]
Date:April 26th, 2007 06:30 am (UTC)
Sounds like Penguicon was a good con for Orvan, and in general! Now I'm sad that I didn't go.
[User Picture]
Date:April 26th, 2007 11:47 am (UTC)
Penguicon is fantastic if you're in its target audience: a computer geek, or an SF fan, or both.
[User Picture]
Date:April 26th, 2007 01:49 pm (UTC)
The guy opening Bruce's package (ahem!) is Matt Arnold, programming chair for Penguicon 5.0. John Guest (Con Chair) is standing behind him.

Nice work!
[User Picture]
Date:April 26th, 2007 01:59 pm (UTC)

There's a reason I'm careful to use the word parcel. Thanks for the correction.

[User Picture]
Date:April 26th, 2007 01:53 pm (UTC)
One of the funnest cons I've been to, and I love the SCOPE of Justice! It's on my souvenir shelf.

Actually, I need to build a better one.
[User Picture]
Date:April 26th, 2007 09:44 pm (UTC)
I was surprised too that Orvan was accepted without a badge too. Not necessarily because someone was allowed access without a badge (like I think you were alluding to), but that it was someone who has a reputation for carrying explosives!
[User Picture]
Date:April 28th, 2007 11:23 am (UTC)
Not too surprising. THey may have either recognized the Ox from previous cons, or had seen him in company of 'known attendees', and extrapolated that there was very likely a badge in there someplace.

At furry cons, where large friendly animals roam the halls with alarming frequency, discreet badges are made for the individual critters. Amusingly, a couple of 'suiters wore 'Security' shirts to a recent con, and were even checking badges themselves, much to the amusement of the actual security folks. No really, they thought it was hilarious.
[User Picture]
Date:April 28th, 2007 11:38 am (UTC)

That's why it surprised me: Penguicon is not a furry con, to the point I was concerned about well Orvan would go over as it was his first time there and only his second time anywhere. And when Orvan was passing out the cow tails candy is when he was going into various con areas without any known attendees. I suppose it might have been that he had been by some in the halls, but it still surprised me that nobody asked him for any con ID when all there to ID him was the ACME badge.

[User Picture]
Date:April 27th, 2007 04:50 pm (UTC)
I'm still curious about Orvan's background.

Rachel Sherman is the one drawn by Howard Tayler in this image:
[User Picture]
Date:April 27th, 2007 05:58 pm (UTC)

Thanks the for information. I've changed the text appropriately, I hope.

As for Orvan, well, it all started on IRC... and has grown beyond anything I might have expected when I first typed /nick OrvanOx. A couple weeks ago someone else asked, "Why an Ox? And why a Delivery Ox at that?" and as the reply got more lengthy, I made a separate post of it. He's not really specific to anything, by design - no trademark issues that way, so I wasn't sure how things would go. While ACME is best known from the Warner Bros. cartoons they are not unique in using ACME as, for example, I've seen ACME in Disney cartoons as well.

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