Day 8

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Day 8

Saturday, July 15, 2000

So, bright and early on Saturday morning (the first full day of the convention), we head off to something called "Anthropomorphics." Frankly, we thought it would be something having to do with designing moving puppets (but then we realized we were thinking about "animatronics"). It turned out to be a talk by two guys about "Furries." It seems that a "Furry" is somebody who likes to dress up as an animal with human characteristics (which is where the "anthropomorphic" part comes in--although technically, it means ascribing human characteristics to an animal; so these guys are more reverse anthropomorphics).

One of the speakers likes to dress up like a big wolf (his costume head is shown below) with earrings and stuff. They have conventions, and some of them do clown-type gigs such as going to hospitals and birthday parties and what-not. There are apparently quite a few of these folks across the country.

(And, in case you think we're making this stuff up, check these web sites for even more information about Furries:

Sci-Fi Furries Link Page
PeterCat's Furry IntroPage
FurNation Magazine )

The part we liked best was learning a new word, "mundanes." As in, "it's hard to explain to mundanes why you do this." We understood the word right away (probably because mundanes wouldn't have crossed half a continent to see some guys who play with puppets).

The Furry display (the head in the middle is worn by one of the speakers)

Side view of the head, plus some other plushies that Furries also like to have hanging about

After that we went to hear a talk by Terry Pratchett. Frankly, we weren't expecting a very good talk, because authors are usually terrible speakers (there's a reason why they're writers and not stand-up comedians or actors). Terry Pratchett however, turned out to be quite a delightful speaker and well worth it. He talked about his writing process, the "Discworld" series of books (there are 25 books in the series right now). He has a decidedly English sense of humor and also a sense of history about what he does and English comedy in general.

(At the beginning of his talk, he asked his "handler" for a drink of Stoli vodka. The handler had no idea what Stoli was, but said he would see what he could do. About twenty minutes later he came back with two different types of Stoli. He also brought ice. And he brought orange juice and grapefruit juice just in case Mr. Pratchett wanted a mixer! Talk about service!)

Terry Pratchett, noted author, sits on our table while talking

We now reached a point where there were no interesting speakers, so we went to the "Video Room." There, we watched the MST3K version of Colossus and the Headhunters (which we hadn't seen before). It was pretty funny (well, the MST3K comments were funny, the movie wasn't--it was pretty terrible). Then we went down to see the MST3K folks in person!

Mary Jo Pehl of MST3K

At the beginning of their presentation, they asked for all the "robots" in the room to come up front. There were three Tom Servo's and one Crow. Apparently, there are a number of fans who like to assemble their own MST3K puppets (and from miscellaneous comments, we think there's actually a recipe for the correct way to do it--such as at this guy's site: or this one: or this one: 

Two of the Tom Servo's surround Mary Jo Pehl

Kevin Murphy (voice of Tom Servo) checks out one of the Tom Servo puppets

Tom Servo meets Tom Servo (notice that the arm on the Tom Servo on the right has fallen off, which Kevin Murphy said was "completely typical of Tom Servo")

Bill Corbett (voice of Crow) examines a Crow puppet (which should be gold)

Mike Nelson examines a model of himself from the MST3K set (he said the head was too small, and the face was too sharp)

Kevin Murphy and Mike Nelson examine Mini-Mike

After playing with the puppet look-alikes they took questions from the audience (which ranged from silly to obscure to obsessive). They were pretty good about trying to answer them, although they didn't get very serious for very long.

Bill Corbett, Kevin Murphy, and Mike Nelson

This woman asked if she could hug Mike; Mary Jo arbitrates

Then someone asked if Mike could do his "Torgo" impersonation (a character in the movie Manos, Hands of Fate). Mike complied and then--shazaam! Manos himself appeared! (Someone had come to the convention in that particular costume.)

 Manos, Hands of Fate, from the movie of the same name

This woman (actually the wife of the guy who was Manos) dressed up as Pearl Forrester, the character played by Mary Jo Pehl

The Pearl look-alike gloats

After the talk, we went for a quick snack and then Robert got in the autograph line for the MST3K guys (Laura found a comfy chair and read several books). Robert stood in line for about an hour and a half!

This guy had the model of the MST3K set (commercially available)

The guy in line in front of Robert had the original "Ned the Nanite" model

Grampa Klingon keeps guard over the dealer room

On the left, the imitation Pearl Forrester; on the right the original

Mary Jo Pehl autographs Ned the Nanite

Robert and Mary Jo

Robert and Bill Corbett

Mike Nelson

The autograph table (note the beer line-up)

Kevin Murphy and Robert

Robert and Kevin Murphy

But the long wait was worth it. Robert had them sign his copy of the "Save MST3K" ad from the Satellite News website (we contributed money, so our name is in the ad). They stayed until everyone had an autograph (at least another hour). This puts them in the Penn & Teller Very Classy group of celebrities (Penn & Teller will stay in the lobby signing autographs after a show until everybody has left). They took as much time as each person wanted and were very good about posing for pictures and smiling.

The Satellite News hospitality suite, loaded with MSTie folks

We went to the bar to restore some of our precious lost fluids (we didn't want to get dehydrated!). We avail ourselves of the buffet, which is very good American Food (fried chicken and pork chops). We catch the first hour of the MST3K version of Laserblast and then head down to the "Masquerade," which is basically a costume contest.

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Someone dressed as an "Observer" (from MST3K)

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The Wookie Cookie Monster from Sesame Wars

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Wookie Cookie get scared!

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Manos, Hands of Fate, and two of the Brides of Manos (in the movie, there was a very long, mostly pointless wrestling scene between many of his wives)

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The wives wrestle while Manos looks on

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A Klingon and wife

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When Star Wars collides with Star Trek: A Klingon Jedi Knight

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This guy dressed as Mike Nelson, with Tom Servo

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Lt. Uhuru struts her stuff (she was actually a very stunning Lt. Uhuru, only we couldn't get a decent damn picture!)

The Court of Naboo honor guard (from Star Wars #1)


The line-up of MST3K inspired contestants

The ersatz Mike Nelson and Tom Servo

The cast of Sesame Wars (the princess has cookies on her hair)

Sesame Wars (notice the spaceship wings on the garbage can)

Klingon and bride

Klingon Jedi Knight; his light saber is a glass enclosed neon tube that glows purple; very cool!

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Klingon Jedi Knight

Harry Potter resorts to his alternate identity as Indiana Jones to vanquish this enemy person

This guy came out, picked up three oranges and then walked off

We never did figure this one out--she's some kind of Matador eating a human heart

Sesame Wars won a prize

The oranges guy won Best Costume in the Show, which puzzled a lot of people, actually

After all this excitement, we were too pooped to party, so we dragged ourselves back to our room and crashed.

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