[I'm experiencing a bit of a back-log on the posts here. Because I want the posts about Saturday to be dated Saturday, so the photos will show up on the entry page. But that means I can't post about anything that happened after Saturday until I'm done writing about Saturday. So let me just quickly say that our evening in New Orleans was wonderful, just what we needed. Now back to parade coverage!]
The parade went really well. Especially the webcasting! To be honest I wasn't expecting that to go as well as it did. Tim's Yarn Car and UMJ were right next to each other in the line-up, and amazingly enough, that was close enough to maintain a connection while we were stationery and even much of the time while we were driving. Lisa's instructions on how to create a network with my Powerbook worked perfectly. There was one scary moment when we thought it wasn't going to work & I almost called her from the parade for troubleshooting help, but then it occurred to me to turn off the firewall on my computer and that took care of it. Whew!
They line the cars up in groups of 50, in two columns. Since UMJ and Yarn Car were 51 and 52, we were the first cars in the second group. Which put us right at the front of the line! That was pretty cool, to look behind us and see the line stretched out, and forward just spectators.
We got there really early so we'd have time to set up the network. That meant we were there for a good long time before the parade started. I didn't get as many photos as I wanted of the other cars, because I made the mistake of walking up and down the line early, before a lot of the cars had arrived. But Georg walked down later and took a bunch of photos of cars I hadn't seen.
The judging was much more focused than I remembered from before. Last time I would call it a "cursory glance": we pulled up at a table where some people were sitting, they said the name of the car, asked me if it was a daily driver, and waved me one. This time there were a bunch of people who walked all around the car and asked me questions like "what is the connection between fish and mah jongg?" One judge asked me what was up with the roof, how did the green carpet and the Barbie fit in. I said "well the roof is the surface of the water, Barbie's sitting on the shore fishing." One of the other judges laughed and said to the first, "You didn't get that?"
We didn't win anything of course; I wasn't even hoping what with all the amazing cars there. Still it was nice that the judges actually took the time to look at the other side of the car, much less ask questions.
Thanks to the charger we were able to start up the bubble machine around noon. It was really fun to see kids come by and play with the bubbles. I had put the charger in the trunk and run the cable into the back seat, since we need room for Peggy and Chris to sit. Which worked well, except that the trunk was stuffed so full it was kind of hard to get into the back of it. I ended up pulling the back seat down and just sort of stuffing the charger in, shoving everything back until the back seat would close again.
Since Yarn Car and UMJ were right together, Tim and I spent a fair amount of time chatting. It was interesting to see people's reactions to the yarn car. People really do ask him the same questions over and over! Tim and I agreed that I need a snappier answer to the "how did you get this idea" question, because the real answer is pretty boring. Georg and I thought about it while we were driving yesterday & the only thing we could thing of was "Fish ... mah jongg .. fish playing mah jongg! It's a no brainer!" I think that's what I'm going to say from now on.
I also got to chat with Tim McNally of the Plaidmobile. He's from New Jersey and I'm amazed at all the places he takes Plaidmobile: Houston, Burning Man, Art Car Fest in San Francisco. I was also very surpised when he said he reads my website! I seriously thought only my immediate friends read my journal, but that kept happening over the weekend. Hey, if you read this site but you think I might not know you, do me a favor and post a comment, OK?
Just behind Yarn Car was a truck pulling a flatbed with a punk band. At first we were like, "oh great, this will be a noisy parade," but I have to say that I'd much rather be hearing passable covers of "Blitzkrieg Bop" and "Judy is a Punk" than an antique car horn going "aooga aooga" over and over, which was what we had behind us two years ago. Georg was digging the music and I didn't mind it. It might have been more of a problem for Tim since he was closer to them.
The parade itself was much slower than I remembered. Last time they were constantly telling us to hurry up, speed up, get through the line. I think I heard there was a lot of pressure from the International Festival to keep the parade under 90 minutes, which must be hard to do with over 250 cars! This time it was a good pace most of the time, but at one point we slowed down to a crawl and even sat still for about 10 minutes in the middle of the route. It must have been less fun for the spectators, to stare at the same cars for such a long time. We heard later that there were 2 problems: one of the lowriders had broken down and had to be pushed out of the route, and the TV people were making everyone slow down and go through their cameras one at a time. How annoying that real life has to be rearranged to suit TV.
OK, got to pack and have breakfast (mmm ... beignets!) and head out. More on the parade after we get to Atlanta!