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June 08, 2008

Seattle, Washington
The Last Dance

I'm home.

Shot the last clip in Seattle yesterday.

I'm done dancing. Now it's time to edit.

Searched Flickr for "matt harding seattle" and found loads of great pictures from the event, so I'm just going to pilfer those. Thanks to Kelly and Paula. Some of the images are quite small. Sorry about that.

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We danced at Gasworks Park. Loads of people showed up -- about 181, we think.

We had around 182 in Madrid, so I can't really say it was the biggest for certain, but it was really really close.

Our numbers were boosted significantly by a cosplay gathering that happened to be taking place on the next hill over. Cosplay is...you know what? I really can't explain it. It's this crazy thing the young people of today are doing. It freaks out the squares, and it has taken me a bit of time to recognize that it is fantastic. I'll leave it to more qualified sources to explain the rest.

There was a tense period in which the cosplayers couldn't figure out what we were doing and we couldn't figure out what they were all about. The idea of getting them to dance with us was bandied about, but none of us had the gumption to extend an invitation.

Then these folks showed up.

Aha! Ambassadors.

I sent them over with my blessing, and they returned with a separate diplomatic envoy from the cosplayer community.

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A peace was brokered. We struck an accord.

The sign-up process was a vigorous effort. Melissa handled forms. I took pictures. And Chrissy from Stride handed out wristbands so we could identify those who had already signed up.

We had folks of all stripes. Both our families turned out in full.

So did our friends.

Our coworkers.

Longtime fans of the site.

And people who'd never heard of it before but were still very excited and felt compelled to share their feelings with me at length despite my obvious preoccupation.

We had babies.

We had dogs.

We had kids who just came from karate class.

We had photographers.

We had people of ambiguous ethnicity.

We had people who dress much better than me.

And people who dress much worse.

We had fictional characters.

We had elves with iPods.

We had people with ironic t-shirts.

We had scary nurses.

We had sexy pirates.

We even had a Waldo, but he refused to dance.

In any case, there were enough people that I couldn't yell loud enough for everyone to hear. One of the cosplayers, a big guy named Chris, offered to yell on my behalf. I smiled politely and kind of gave him a weird look, then went back to screaming inadequately.

He offered again and I pretty much dismissed him.

The third time, instead of offering, he decided to show me what he was capable of.

PEOPLE! LISTEN UP!

Stunned silence...crickets...

"Chris, you're hired."

This is Chris.

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Chris learned how to yell in the army.

I would like to be his sidekick. I think we should fight crime together.

As a spontaneous demonstration of his cartoon-like strength, he decided to hoist me up on his shoulders. He did so effortlessly.

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I played it off like the kind of thing that happens to me all the time, when in fact, I have never before been hoisted in my adult life.

I'm straying off topic.

We set up on a slope at the base of the gasworks structure. I put the camera on a hill looking down upon it. This provided great depth into the crowd, filling the frame and allowing me to see everyone.

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Apparently there were several news crews milling about. Melissa fended them off.

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It was suggested that I might hold my newest niece, Jillian.

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On consideration, that seemed like a bad idea -- what with all the jiggling.

My other nieces, Ellie and Sarah, are much more durable. Ellie has been in all the videos. Sarah only existed for the last one, so this is her second.

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They found the crowd a little bewildering.

We danced.

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When we finished, I showed the footage to interested parties.

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The tiny screen doesn't do much justice to the HD footage. Actually, it's kind of unfortunate. Once I blew it up on a bigger screen I discovered the shots are all a bit out of focus. I think the lens might've fogged over from the rain in Brazil. It's not a disaster, but it's not quite as sharp as I would have liked.

But it's colorful and it's full of life and it is what it is.

I hung out with people for a while, then drove over to Ivar's where friends and family were waiting.

What a day. What a city. What a job!

And now it's over. And also, it's just starting.

Twelve days and counting.