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Friday, September 30, 2011

NorCal Renaissance Faire

Every year H4773r and I go, at least once, to the NorCal Rennaisance Faire. And this year is no exception. On September 17th H4773r and I attended the NorCal Ren Faire, taking advantage of the 2 for 1 admission deal. Of course we dressed up in our Ren Faire finest. I do consider Ren Faires in the similar vein of cons. Although I know they're different I still think it's a great place for getting dressed up, interacting with history and theatre geeks, and possibly even learning something new about this awesome time period.
H4773r and T1nk (photo courtesy of T1nk)
We had what's I'd call a fairly predictable Ren Faire experience. We watched some of our favorite entertainers, we browsed at all the shops and wished we had more money to buy things, ate delicious food, ran into a bunch of different people we knew, and interacted in fun and silly ways with atmosphere folk. Just because I know what to expect at this Faire doesn't take away from how much fun I had. Also, running/going with people I know just makes the experience that much better.

The NorCal Ren Faire is located at Casa deFruta off Highway 152. General admission prices are $25 and children under 12 are free. Parking is around $5 for general and around $10 for VIP, you can also pay an addition amount to be driven by a horse drawn cart to the front gate. Food and drinks run about $8-15 for food and $3-8 for drinks. If you're a vegetarian like myself, you will have an extremely limited amount of food choices. I recommend the Acropolis in which I enjoyed the Athenian. A sandwich of sorts filled with lettuce, tomato, garbanzo beans, feta cheese, and Greek yogurt sauce. Trattoria di Stromobli and The Quail Inn also have some great choices. I was able to bring in my own snacks and water in my basket. I was not stopped nor told I couldn't bring in any outside food and I don't see anything in the programming that says otherwise. I also tried maple pecan chipotle brittle from Chocolate Delights and Confections. It was delicious.

Some of my favorite entertainers to watch are the joust (although we missed it this time around). The Belles of Bedlam: I am slowly becoming  fan of this group. Unfortunately it's nothing against them I just happen to have been a fan of  The Merry Wives of Windsor first. And both groups have similar style of performance. Moonie and Broon: one of my favorite comedic acts. Right now it's just Broon and lord help him until Moonie arrives in October. I say that sincerely and with love. We were able to catch the final show of day and Broon had just decided to make it a whatever he felt like show. It's was still pretty entertaining.

Merry Wives of Windsor (photo courtesy of T1nk)

Broon (photo courtesy of T1nk)
Vendors of choice: we always stock up on Belle Star Incense and I always wish I had money for Native Earth goods. I have to say Native Earth gave me some great customer service despite the fact I wasn't actually buying anything.

Of course I think everyone should attend a Ren Faire at least once. You have to chance to learn about history in a very unique way. The actors that portray Queen Elizabeth, Shakespeare and Sir Francis Drake always do a wonderful job. Over the years I've learned about fencing and falconry and a few other things about the Renaissance era.

And if you need more incentive to go NorCal Ren Faire is doing themed weekends as well as "free" concerts. The day we went we were able to enjoy a bit of The Tempest. Go and have a great time.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Inspirations and New Content

Photo courtesy of T1nk

One of the main reasons I began going to cons is discovering I could meet some of my favorite comic artists, as well as other people I'm a fan of. I had not realized, until I started attending cons regularly, that I could meet people I admired in rather small, intimate settings (IE. Artist's Alley or Exhibitor's Hall). Every con I attend I try to find my favorite artists and purchase whatever I can directly from them or at least, "donate" some cash.

So I've told you this story to tell you about new content I'm adding to Tales. On weeks that I don't attend a con or review a con I'm going to start doing a comic artist spotlight. Today I'm going to start with one of my all-time favorite webcomic artists - Erika Moen.

I'll be honest I don't remember how I discovered Erika. Although I'm inclined to say it was through Danielle Corsetto. When I began reading Erika's work I started with DAR, and I fell in love. It's an autobiographical webcomic that's just freakin' adorable. I love her simplistic line style and a bunch of the stories were just touching. I think what appeals to me most about her comics is the insight and raw emotion behind a lot of her work. Aside from DAR some of my other favorite pieces include GirlFuck and When We Hold Hands. Erika is currently working on a collaborative piece with Jeff Parker called Bucko.

I had the pleasure of meeting Erika at APE a couple of years ago and tried very hard not act like a creepy fan while I gushed all over her. She was very nice and humble about all my praising. Yet, another reason why I love this woman. Seriously, check out her work. She makes the best fart jokes.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Dungeon Master

As mentioned last week one of the events H4773r and I particpated in was Dungeon Master. Dungeon Master is a cross between LARP and theatre. The Dungeonmaster group employs actors who have previously rehearsed a scripted RPG-like event. On the night that Dungeon Master performs audience members are invited to submit a "character" that will then participate in the theatrical event. It sounds more complicated when I try to explain, but it's actually very simple and involves some great improv.

H4773r and I had expressed interest in participating as characters and were given a "character sheet" to fill out. The character sheet asks for your names, race, class, stats, and any other information you might want to add. I decided to create "Bellafrose" a female, human sorcerer who likes to set things on fire. H4773r created "Nye Kwill" male, human cleric who had a habit of falling asleep at odd intervals in order to "meditate and commune with his god."

Bellafrose and Nye Kwill (photo courtesy of Rayne Stransky)

Once everyone was settled into the room the Dungeon Master himself began to explain how the show would go and as well as the "rules." The two main rules, all combat must be performed in slow motion and all spells cast must be rhyming couplets. We only had 10 spells to use for the whole evening and the same spell could not be repeated twice.

And then show began. Our story began in the area of Atoll, where all of the stories take place, with a meeting of fans for a special panel of Dr. Prozac Dr. Efraim Zoloft (Thanks, Rayne!). Just as Dr. Prozac Dr. Zoloft made his appearance he was kidnapped by evil people A.K.A. "goths". A party was then assembled to find the goths and retrieve Dr. Prozac Dr. Zoloft.

Dr. Prozac Dr. Zoloft being held captive (photo courtesy of Rayne Stransky)

Our party consisted of one actual actor from Dungeon Master who was our guide, myself and H4773r as our characters, and (I'm not kidding when I say this) several children. Ok, they were more like tweens and a teenager, but barely. I don't recall what the kids were playing except for the teenager who played a dumb, but very funny, half-giant and another tween who also played a sorcerer and was very good at rhyming couplets.

Party has been assembled (photo courtesy of Rayne Stransky)

The "game" basically goes as such: an actual rehearsed scene with the Dungeon Master actors is performed that moves the RGP story along. That scene is then followed by a scene with the audience members as the party and other Dungeon Master actors. For example, right after the party was formed we began another scene in which the party was asked if we wanted armor and weapons. We voted yes, even though we were reminded armor and weapons would slow us down, physically. The game went more or less smoothly. We managed to solve our clues as to where the goths were hiding, and even convinced some kind of Rat King, who makes all the traps in Atoll, to let us pass. We had finally reached the goths, when the main female goth began monologue-ing and H4773r used the opportunity to slay her (it was actually pretty funny). We then began an all out battle in which most of the party died (including myself and H4773r). However, not all the party died and were able to return Dr. Prozac to his panel.

At the end of the story Dr. Prozac Dr. Zoloft was able to give his speech which mostly talked about how a party should play in order to succeed and then everyone was invited back onstage for bows. Additionally, the audience votes for it's favorite audience participant. As I mentioned in the previous post, H4773r won. It's unfortuate we don't live anywhere near Los Angles otherwise we'd very much take advantage of his winning prize, free passes to the rest of the season. I'm hoping he can go back in December for the end of the year show. I really think H4773r won the audience over when we were discussing the vampire blood needed to barter with the goths and H4773r made an excellent "Twilight" reference.

H4773r accepting his reward (photo courtesy of Rayne Stransky)
Aside from their live stage production Dungeon Master has also progressed into the webseries world. If you're into webseries such as The Guild, Legend of Neil, or Standard Action then you'll definitely enjoy The Legend of Atoll series. 

H4773r and I had a great time with event. You can read his thoughts on the event, here. I think it helps that we're also both actors. And I would very much like to see and/or perform with them again next time I'm in Los Angeles. Meanwhile if you're in the L.A. area you should check them out. Tickets are only $10 and it's guaranteed no show is ever the same.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Strategicon: Gateway 2011

On Thursday, after what seemed like exceptionally long drive, we made it to Los Angeles and our hotel. Seeing how H4773r and I are pretty broke right now I opted to stay at a Motel 6 about 2 miles from the con location, the Sheraton.  The Sheraton did have rooms available for the con, and it definitely would’ve been preferable, however it just wasn’t within our budget to afford a room here. Seeing as how the con runs almost 24-7 for the weekend I will definitely be looking to stay at the Sheraton next year when we attend Orccon. I thought the Motel 6 was fairly decent. It has clean beds and working plumbing, and that’s all we really need for a place to sleep at.

There are several fast food places nearby: El Pollo Loco, Little Caesar’s, Panda Express right near the Motel 6 and on the way to con locale is McDonald’s, Subway, Starbucks, Taco Bell and Carl’s Jr. As far as restaurants go the Westin has The Grill and there is a Denny’s near the Hilton. As well as within the Sheraton are some very nice restaurants: Rendezvous Lounge, The Brasserie, Paparazzi and a Starbucks. And within very short walking distance of the Sheraton is a Subway.

Wi-Fi in general was a bit hard to come by. The Motel 6 charges $2.99 per day (not bad, but not great). The McDonald’s offers free Wi-Fi and we passed by a local coffee place called Internet CafĂ©.  The Sheraton offers free Wi-Fi in their lobby area, but when hundreds of gamers are using it all at once you imagine it’s pretty slow.

We woke up fairly early on Friday, the first day of the con, because I had decided for the first day we were going to walk there. There are several parking lots nearby. The one right next to the Sheraton $10.90 (not including tax), was probably one of the cheapest. All other parking goes up from there. There is also street parking available. Right next to the Sheraton it’s free street parking for 2 hours between 8am-12am. Further down the road is a very small strip of street parking that’s free on Saturday and Sundays, 2 hour parking Monday through Friday. We did end up driving to the con and parking after Friday as walking seemed more inconvenient when I have to pick up and transport people.

My Friday was spent meeting my fellow D20 Girls in person,Rayne Stransky and Ammo Larribas. And then running around the con exploring and taking photos. H4773r spent all of his weekend playing Pathfinder/PathfinderSociety. I learned how to play a new board game coming out this week, Orbit. Doug, one of the developers, is a great guy and wonderful game player. Check out his game if you have the chance. We also did play a round of Munchkin (one of my favorites) Friday night. I also met some casting directors for a new upcoming reality show called “King of the Nerds.”
Early Friday morning board game room (photo courtesy of JC)
Games Library, Friday (photo courtesy of JC)
H4773r plays Pathfinder (photo courtesy of JC)
H4773r attempts to explain Munchkin (photo courtesy of JC)
Saturday I worked with the D20 Girls to give free guided tours for Strategicon. We gave a great one to a Girl Scout troupe (I hope I inspired new girl gamers!). Once we were done with the tours we had some time to take more photos (another project we’d been hired for) and I also just relaxed around the con. Along with my fellow D20 Girls we also met a couple of guys promoting NeonCon. Hopefully we’ll get some D20 Girl representation out there. H4773r and I spent our Saturday night participating in a con event, Dungeonmaster. (I will hopefully get some photos/footage later.) It was actually a lot fun for us D&D/Theatre people. H4773r was voted audience favorite and we won passes to future events.

Sunday was also another day working with the D20 Girls on tours, photography, and judging a costume contest. The costume contest was a little light on participants, but we had fun anyway.

The D20 Girls Project with winner (photo courtesy of Rayne Stransky)
Steampunk LARP GM
Angry Birds the board game

Video game room

I spent my evening hanging out in the video game room playing Left for Dead 2. I’d love to finish playing the single-player campaign.

Monday as our last day we were able to wander around the con and take in some more games. I think I was just too exhausted by this point to function clearly and mostly just people watched. After another exceptionally long drive we made it safely home.

I definitely plan on participating more next year and will make it a point to learn at least 3 different board games and play in at least one D&D/D&D-like game. I’m also looking forward to the convenience of staying at the Sheraton hotel. Maybe if I can get enough funds together I’ll treat us to an awesome dinner at one of the hotel restaurants.

Thanks to everyone who supported the D20 Girls Project and thanks to Strategicon for hosting us.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The D20 Girls Project

(photo courtesy of The D20 Girls Project Facebook)

So I've become involved in a new project. Specifically, The D20 Girls Project. I stumbled upon the D20 Girls Project FB when searching for geek gamer girls. I liked what they had to say about promoting geek/gamer girl awareness in the world and signed up. My first gig with them was at Wizard World Anaheim Comic Con. It was quite exciting because we got to help judge the costume contest.

In the last month or so I've been promoted from D20 member to D20 Assistant Manager of California to D20 Manager of California. It was rather unexpected and right now I'm focusing on organizing myself and the girls under my charge.

Honestly, I joined because I wanted to meet other girls with similar interest and possibly get into cons for free. Now I get to be in charge of setting up which California cons we go to and promoting the con and ourselves.

Photos from my D20 Photo Set (photos courtesy of Lisa Duarte)


Our Mission Statement/Purpose:
"The D20 girls try to promote a very positive image of female gamers, We break down stereotypes, we aren't barbie dolls, we don't come in one size, and we don't come in one shape... We are Gamers, and yes Girls Game Too!

The D20 Girls is a semi-unique business that combines Social Networking, Talent Management, and Event Services. Yes, there is a business angle to what we do, but we also push the social aspect much needed in the industry.

We also arrange with manufacturers, publishers, and conventions to use our girls as trade show models and spokes models at gaming and fandom related industry conventions across the US.

Why? Our project is crucial, because the gaming industry and related fandoms should be promoted by girls who are actually a part of it – NOT over-paid models who know nothing about the industry, or the people who are a part of it."

So, if you're a female gamer/geek over 16 years of age and want to meet more girls like you and go to cons for free please apply here. If you're a vendor/exhibitor and want a booth model with brains and knowledge and/or a customer service/sales representative please contact me. Or if you're in charge of a con and want the D20 Girls to help promote as a street team please contact me. Also, the D20 Girls are looking for advertisers and writers for our upcoming magazine. Advertisers should know that our magazine is distributed to over 3,000 people.

So yeah, we're a pretty awesome group and I'm excited to see what I can do with California cons next.

Monday, July 18, 2011

AM^2: Was It Successful?

You'll honestly have to tell me. As I was unable to attend AM^2, I have no idea if I would have called it a successful venture. A friend of mine who attended said they succeeded in going 24 hours all 3 days but the con felt "small," especially in comparison to AX.

Chase Wang seems to feel that his venture was a huge success, touting 8,000 attendees showed up for the weekend. Ref. It certainly sounds as though AM^2 will push for another showing next year, although this has yet to be confirmed (as opposed to AX which is already offering badges for 2012).

Again, I can't express how much Wang will choose a different weekend. Even if AM^2 remains free it will still cost gas/mileage and extra parking fees to attempt to attend both cons. Anaheim is close to Los Angeles, but not that close. Also, I would want to fully enjoy both cons and not feel like I'm some child picking a side of who I like best. It feels...unfair.

Original thoughts on AX vs. AM^2 here (includes background info on AM^2).

Saturday, July 16, 2011

San Diego Comic Con and Gam3r Con

I'm sure the entire geek world knows that San Diego Comic-Con International is this week. In fact, people have already started lining up. Ref. Many of my favorite comic artists, webcomic artists, bloggers and movie industry people will be making appearances. Unfortunately I will not, as I will be performing in Godspell Jr. But there are a number of excellent resources available for those attending.

I recommend following these twitter accounts:
Official SD Comic Con (the Offical SDCC twitter)
SD Comic Con (a SDCC blogger with great info)
Comic Con Blog (a Comic Con blogger)
Pop Culture Geek (an amazing photographer-it's where my profile pic comes from)
Crazy 4 Comic Con (I really like his packing list on his website)

Also, the SDCC website offers some great information, including a food guide, a customizeable schedule and parking/shuttle info.

Personally, here is what I'm sad I'm going to miss.

Comic Book Law School 101: 'C" Is For Creator (and Copyright!)
The Evolution of Web Series: The Guild to Dragon Age

The Big Bang Theaory Screening and Q&A
How to Create an Effective Pose for Paneling and Illustration

Attack of the Show! Attacks Comic-Con
Digital Disruption: Comics, Webcomics, and the Business Model of the Future
Webcomics Weekly Live!
The Penny Arcade Q&A

Full-Time Creative Work on a Part-Time Schedule

Comic Artists/Really Cool People that I Would Love to Say Hi To (If you <3 my blog I don't mind gifts of autographs, merch, and doodles from artists.):
Emi Lenox Creator of EmiTown
Jennie Breeden Creator of The Devil's Panties
Raina Telgemeier Author of Smile and artist of The Baby Sitter's Club graphic novels
Danielle Corsetto Creator of Girls With Slingshots
Scott Kurtz Creator of PvP online
Bryan Lee O'Malley Creator of the Scott Pilgrim series
Kris Straub Creator of Starslip
Dave Kellett Creator of Sheldon Comics
Jeph Jacques Creator of Questionable Content
Vera Brosgol Creator of Anya's Ghost
MC Frontalot Godfather of Nerdcore
Felicia Day Awesome actress and creator of the webseries The Guild
Wil Wheaton Awesome actor and author
Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik Creators of Penny Arcade and PAX
Geek Girl Diva Awesome blogger
Anthony Lee Winn Comic Artist currently working on the Stripperella comic
Brad Guigar Creator of Evil Inc.

Edit 07/20/2011:
While I scoured the internet to see which of my favorite people were going I still managed to miss a few. So I would also like to include
Scuttlebutt, Inc Creator of adorable fan badges and Mahou Shounen Fight
Katie Shanahan aka KtShy Creator of Shrub Monkeys
Hope Larson Creator/Author of Chiggers
Claire Hummel Awesome artist
Ethan Nicolle Artist for Axe Cop

So, perhaps you didn't get badges to SDCC this year, but plan on going downtown and people watching. While you're there you could also check out Gam3rCon. Gam3rCon is a new con looking to revive the gamer presence that seems to be lost at SDCC. They have some other fun things set up besides games, such as GAMERS (a geek play), Dr. Horrible Sing-Along and Repo! with shadow cast, Elective Surgery. As well as a few panels and Rooftop Parties. Tickets are super cheap and this con will continue after SDCC shuts down. Please check them out if you're in town.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Bitchin' of Blogging

Hey guys,

Sorry the posts haven't been coming along as quickly as they should have. I have posts in queue about Fanime, AM^2 vs. AX, and my experience at AX. Part of the problem has been for both Fanime and AX I was too busy to really enjoy the con. It actually makes it difficult trying to discuss my experience. I'm trying to finish up the AX post as quickly as possible and it should be up in the next week. Followed by Fanime. I might just abandon my thoughts on AM^2 vs. AX, not sure yet. But here is the update/apology before the posts.

T1nk C0n FaIrY

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Anime Expo: Recap

There were a number of panels/programming I missed that I would've liked to have seen.
Such as:
Acting Like A Pro
The Copic Beginner Workshops
Storytelling in Comics: From Writing to Penciling to Coloring
Getting into the Animation Industry
AX Idol
Maid Cafe

As you can see I'm into comics and animation so really at any con this is what will appeal to me most at a panel. I have a soft spot in my heart for AX Idol because a dear friend of mine, Julie Rei Goldstein, is a former AX Idol winner. Gallagher would've been interesting, I think. I've been a Megatoyko fan for awhile now. The Masquerade is always an event, especially if you're into cosplay. And I have yet to go to a Maid Cafe and am super intrigued.

There was also stuff I didn't mind missing, mainly, the Miku concert. I'm not a huge Vocaloid fan and really don't understand it's popularity. I am fascinated by the technology but didn't want to pay an extra $15 to gaurantee a seat or stand in a line. Just not my thing. Actually, I don't usually see any of the concerts at anime cons. Again, not my thing.

Midnight Tea, actually I would've loved to go if it was an actual tea. But looking at fake tea settings just isn't for me.

So I had originally planned to take some time this weekend to check out AM^2. Obviously that didn't happen. I did get some feedback from CJ who went. I was told it's basically open almost 24 hours, similar to Fanime, and was very small. I do hope AM^2 will be around next year, hopefully not during AX. I'm sorry but I have to give priority to AX AND I don't want to commute back and forth between the cons.

So yeah, that was AX for me. I wish I had more to say about panels and programming and that will definitely be a goal of mine next year.

Anime Expo: Day 4 (aka Happy Fourth of July)

Mood: Are we done yet?

Another early morning. I had some major D20 Girl business to take care of and was pretty damn pissed when I realized the Starbucks was closed because it was a holiday. Luckily the L.A. convention center has a Starbucks and my coffee was slightly cheaper. Unfortunately I had to make do without internet for the day. (One of these days I’ll a nice smartphone.)

Today’s outfit is what I consider “lazy cosplay”. I don’t own an actual gothic Lolita outfit, yet, so I improvised with some cute black and white pieces from my own wardrobe. Also, I knew I would be helping to break down the booth so I didn’t want to wear anything super uncomfortable/constricting. I also brought my only pair of sneakers to wear as soon as the con was over.

(photo courtesy of T1nk) Me working at Anime Gift.

Today the con went pretty quick. We tried hard to sell as much as possible, not only to make money but everything that wasn’t sold would have to be shipped back to North Carolina, where Anime Gift is located out of. The breakdown took longer than I thought it would because everything that was torn down and repackaged had to be dragged across the hall to the main booth. Luckily, there was a small dolley. Joe was kind enough to let me take home some merch as part of payment and doing an awesome job. Sweet!

We finished breaking down by 4pm-ish and then I changed into jeans and a t-shirt for the long ride home. H4773r and I pretty muched just left the con at that point and headed home. I had told H4773r I would need to try and find internet access somewhere along the road. I figured it would be easy enough to find a McDonald’s or Starbucks and get some work done. We stopped first at a McDonald’s near CalArts, and surprise-surprise, the stupid internet there wasn’t working. So back in the car and further down the road we stopped near Tejon Pass. I really, really wanted Chipotle and knew there was Starbucks and McDonald’s in the lot. But Chipotle was closed. So we ate the McDonald’s and AGAIN the internet there didn’t work. I finally gave and walked across the lot to Starbucks and used their internet. Starbucks, I love you.

That was pretty much the last stop for the night. I managed to stay awake and keep H4773r company and we made it into San Jose at about 1am.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Anime Expo: Day 3

(photo courtesy of T1nk) Food court before the Exhibitor Hall opens.

Mood: In Pain

Today I wore my American McGee Alice costume. I actually saw quite a few ladies dressed up as the classic American McGee Alice. I had not seen anyone with any of Alice new costumes from Return to Madness. This one amazing girl had the horse rook as a prop.

I was in a bit of a panic this morning because I had not prepped from the night before. I still had breakfast to make, lunch to pack, and get to the Starbucks to get my caffeine and internet fix, as well as send out a fax. I was surprised/relieved when I managed to get it all complete and still get to the con early. As a note, the Westin does have a “24 hour” Fed Ex service center. It’s a 24 hour set up for internet/computer use ($0.40/minute for internet; I don’t remember the prices to use the Business software), fax machine and photocopier. I didn’t get the photocopier price but it was $2 a page for faxing, not including the cover page (ouch). I’m sure there was a FedEx/Kinko’s within walking distance from the hotel that probably had cheaper rates, but I ran out of time to search for that kind of information.

Since I arrived at the Exhibitor’s hall earlier than before I wandered around to check out all the Exhibitor’s and some of the Artits Alley. I saw many things I wanted to buy, but only purchased some new kneadable erasers from DickBlick, who were kind enough to sell them to me even though they weren’t officially open yet. In the A.A. I saw Nigel Slade, but didn’t stop to say hi (H4773r had already contributed to his rum fund from the both of us yesterday). I did manage to find Mary Cagle and say hi and give her a very small donation. She was set up right next to Kelhound, but Kel wasn't around yet. I also didn’t stop to see Fred Gallagher which was a bummer.

Today's highlight at Anime Gift booth was watching the G4 crew hanging around the booth across from me, Panda Hat. Panda Hat had also hired a couple of booth models that wandered the floor in their outfits and passed out stickers. Candace Bailey was there and soon a huge crowd surrounded the booth as Candace and the models began to make some mischief and have fun. I was a bit bummed I couldn't talk to the G4 crew or Candace, but there's always another con.

I decided today I was going to stick around and do SOMETHING at the con, other than work. H4773r and I ended up watching some more anime. This time: Utena and a few episodes of Corpse Princess. Both of which I enjoyed. After the anime we decided to head back to hotel since it was getting late and we wanted dinner.

LisaLisa and Rabbit had gone to Disneyland for the day so H4773r and I were left on our own for dinner. The plan was to check out the hotel food court to see if they had any good options. For some reason I got confused and ended up on the wrong floor, where we found a Subway but that was it. The actual food court was two floors down. The Subway guy saw us standing outside and told us to hurry up and come in if we wanted food since they were closing. Honestly, neither of us really wanted Subway but we figured it was the only thing open at this point so we went in. I had my delicious veggie patty and H4773r had a fiasco, not really. Essentially everything H4773r wanted they were out of. EVERYTHING. Eventually H4773r gave up and had the Subway guy just make him whatever sandwich he suggested. I felt bad, but it was all still delicious, so not too bad.

Since tonight was our last night in the hotel, I spent my evening packing up everything. The plan for tomorrow is H4773r will check us out and then park in the lot across from the con. When I'm done with my day tomorrow we'll head straight home.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Anime Expo: Day 2

Mood: Exhausted

I woke fairly early again and got dressed, again, in my Pikachu outfit. I felt super tired and stopped by the same Starbucks as yesterday for a coffee pick me up and to catch up on some business. This Starbucks is turning out to be my savior.

(photo courtesy of T1nk) The hall before it opened for the day.

I actually took the shuttle this morning to the con since I managed to get up early enough not to feel rushed. I ended up sitting next to a lady who was volunteering at AX. She said the parties at the hotel last night were pretty amazing. I wouldn’t have minded going to one, but having to get up early and work just wouldn’t have been conducive. The shuttle wasn’t too bad. It felt pretty organized today with a volunteer directing people standing in line. They had two different types of shuttles running: the tourist buses and school buses. The school buses were awful. There just isn't much room on them and they're built for smaller people so you end up with a seat belt buckle in your ass.

Since I managed to get to the hall a little bit early I used the time to wander a bit and check out some of the vendors. It's a bit nice to see everything without all the crowds, of course since I was early I couldn't buy anything.

I thought I would have another D20 girl with me today, but alas, she was working at the other Anime Gift booth across the hall. So it was me and "mom" again. I also brought my bento lunch like I planned. Things went smoothly enough, although since it was Saturday it was insanely busy. I hardly had a moment to sit down. My next goal is to come up with cosplays with comfortable shoes.

I finally got to meet my new D20 girl at the end of the day. Scarlet is bomb and absolutely adorable. After finishing up business in the Exhibtor’s hall I tried to be a trooper to catch either a panel or some video programming, but I didn't have the patience to wait in line. My feet just hurt too damn much. We decided to call it a day just to head back to the hotel, get dinner, and sleep. We still had to wait for the shuttle to pick us up, but at least I got to sit down.

Back at the hotel it was decided that we should order pizza. Yumm!!! We ordered online from Domino’s and they delivered right to our hotel room. It was awesome. We spent the rest of this evening giggling and watching more Hetalia.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Anime Expo: Day 1

Mood: Nervous

So up at an ungodly hour, for me anyhow. I wanted to impress Joe, the guy I would be working for today, so I decided to wear my Pikachu Gijinka cosplay. I also had to get some work done so I walked on over the Starbucks across the street for internet access. So far I have found four Starbucks within walking distance. Almost every building here has a Starbucks inside it (it most likely has to do with being in the heart of the financial/bank district). The Westin does offer wifi but at the cost of about $12.95 per day it’s just not in the budget. Unfortunately the Starbucks wifi wasn’t the best (also my netbook decided it was time to update EVERYTHING!) so it took forever for me to get shit done. But I managed.

I hate being late and started to worry that I would be late for my first day. When I finished at Starbucks it was only about 9:30am and I though I would take the free shuttles being offered by AX. But then after waiting for 15 minutes with no shuttle in sight and no idea when it would arrive I started to panic. Luckily H4773r was with me and offered to just drop me off at the con, which worked out perfectly. I got to the con earlier than I expected and tried calling Joe since he had my exhibitor, but he didn’t answer and I left a message. I attempted to wait up by the exhibitor hall entrance but con ops was trying to organize things and eventually I had to leave. Turns out I had the wrong number for Joe. I called the right number, but Joe still didn’t answer and I left more messages. Turns out he couldn’t hear me over all the noise but we still managed to meet up before the hall opened.

(photo courtesy of T1nk) AX Expo Hall before it opened.

Joe got me settled at one of his two booths, Anime Gift. I worked at the one nearest the front of the hall with his sweet mom. Seriously she was so nice. Since we were short once person we worked our butts off pretty hard and slammed until about 4pm-ish. The booth sells a wide collection of small plush, collector swords, character beanies and some other anime kitch. I was a bit bummed I didn’t get to wander the hall at all and examine the other exhibitors, but I came to work. I do hope I’ll get some time this weekend, but no gaurauntees. My work consists of customer service and sales. Essentially I’m being played to dress up and help sell items, you know collect the cash, make change, sales stuff. Which is fine by me since that’s where I’ve spent most my realm working in. I was thrilled when a couple of people asked for pictures of me.

(photo courtesy of T1nk) My view at the con.

Since I'm working all day and we didn't bring a lot of money I am bringing my own lunches with me to the con, for the rest of the weekend. I have some adorable bento boxes from LisaLisa and just bring them with me. The boxes are perfect for saving money at con. Today however, H4773r brought me a sandwich from the Quizno's that's located right inside the Los Angeles convention center. The L.A. con center has the standard range of con food for vegetarians: salads, pizzas, and maybe a sandwich. Aside from the Quizno's there is also a Starbucks and some food carts that sold Mexican food, Chinese food and smoothies.

As soon as my day was done we headed back to hotel to relax and get dinner. I was just so wiped out from my day I didn't have the energy to stick around and look at programming. Also, since I didn't get off work til the Exhibitor Hall had closed, most of the panel programming was already finished for the day.

H4773r and I caught a shuttle back to the hotel. The shuttles were organized fair enough, but since the Exhibitor Hall had just closed the lines for the shuttles were pretty backed up and we had a bit of wait before getting onto one.

Back at the hotel we got stuck in the elevator. Luckily we were still on the lobby level and H4773r totally handled everything like a boss. We didn’t wait too long in there so it was ok. LisaLisa was kind enough to make us some dinner; she brought this neat hot pot water boiler thingy and we had pasta and wine! We took a mini adventure to an underground food court, City National Plaza, in search of utensils, since we forgot them. We managed to find a convenience store that had bowls, but no utensils. LisaLisa ended up asking the Weiland Brewery for take out utensils which they kindly gave us. In return we’re going back tomorrow for a beer. We had a nice dinner and watched a few episodes of Hetalia and Black Butler.

I expect tomorrow to be another long day. But that’s ok because it’s what I’ve signed up for and I plan on getting to eat a bit more to keep up my energy. AND I’ll have another D20 representative with me.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Anime Expo 2011: Day 0

Mood: Unimpressed

So we woke up fairly but as I was still trying to pack and had some last minutes errands to run we didn’t get out on the road til 9am. It turns out we still left at an ok time. And I felt like we made decent time. I was quite happy I didn’t get too car sick so we didn’t really have to stop as much. We did make one stop…somewhere to use the bathroom and have a snack. And then a second stop right before the Tejon Pass for Chipotle. (I can’t help myself.) I made H4773r listen to the latest musical tracks I downloaded-Wonderland, Addams Family, and The Little Mermaid.

We arrived in Los Angeles about 3:30pm (not bad). We got lost for just a second looking for our hotel but managed to find it thanks to VG Navigator (I love that “app”). We literally drove by the hotel and went “Oh! There it is” and then kept going to the convention center. They had pre-reg open til 9pm, yay!

We had parked downtown at our favorite lot, Joe’s Auto Parks, on Figueroa and paid only $10. (Stilll cheaper than SJ.) We then got in the line to get in the line. I am still not sure how the line was organized, but I do know that we waited in a line, in the sun, that didn’t move for almost an hour. I heard something to the effect of: they were letting people inside in massive chunks at a time. And we were the last chunk. So we waited about 2 hours to get our passes. I don’t think I would’ve minded much if I had been prepared to wait in the sun. Luckily, getting the passes themselves was easy, although I did threaten to kill one girl who tried to jump the line in front of me. She smartly backed off.

We did have a bit of an experience trying to get our stuff to our room. LisaLisa had already checked into the hotel but we didn’t have our room number. So there was something of a trial trying to get the car checked in by valet. And then for some reason I didn’t think to pull into the main hotel front to unload our luggage so we ended up doing it in the valet lot, but the valets wouldn’t let us use the dolley. So it was either haul the luggage up ourselves (about 15 bags worth) or have it sent up and then tip (because you should always try to tip). We had it sent up.

We’re staying at the Westin Bonaventure. Originally we were going to stay in the Kawada, but got bumped to the Westin because the Kawada couldn’t accommodate 4 people to a room. The Westin is pretty nice. The room feels a bit cramped, but that’s because we have 4 people and a ton of cosplay stuff and food (the Westin has a fridge in the room). The layout of the Westin is a bit confusing, but I do enjoy the “food court.” It’s moderately priced, probably just slightly higher than a mall food court, but they seem to have a nice selection, especially for vegetarians.

After getting settled in I then spent some time on a conference call for my new work/project – The D20 Girls Project. I am currently the Manager for the state of California. I’ll mention more in depth about the D20 Girls Project in a separate post. Through the D20 Girls I managed to land a paying gig at AX by working for a vendor, Anime Gift. I feel quite lucky to have landed a paying gig even though I’m still a bit unsure of what exactly I’ll be doing and that I’ll be the only representative tomorrow. But I’m a trooper and this isn’t the first time I’ve had a situation/job like this.

So until the joys of tomorrow, I’m going to enjoy my nice, comfy hotel bed.

Night World,

T1nk C0n FaIrY

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Fanime 2011

So this is a terribly late post, but I've been struggling to write about what I wanted to say/recount about this year's Fanime.

In previous Fanime years I would attend a few panels, catch some video programming and watch the Cosplay Spectacular. However, this year I bogged down with performing in a show, which seriously cut into any time I had at Fanime. Luckily the performance space was in walking distance of the San Jose Convention Center, so I was still able to enjoy some of the con.

Day 0
H4773r and I arrived around 2pm to the convention center. We had a check-in time of 3pm for the Marriott and hoped to do early arrival. Luckily we could. Unluckily, the Marriott charges an additional $50 per day random fee which is required up front. I did not know about this. At first it was explained that the fee would for an anemities used. When I asked specifically which anemeites I needed to avoid the clerk then explained the fee was more like an insurance policy set by the banks, not the hotel. People want to get paid, so in order to ensure they get their money they charge you a fee...I don't get it and to be honest I was really upset because I hadn't planned on having an extra $200 available. But I ended up giving them all my money anyway. I had a friend later tell he's always been able to waive the fee, but whatever. I was also a bit irked because we had put in a room for 3 people and given a single. While I knew this was a possibility I was upset they wanted to charge me extra for the rollaway. I really figured if I registered 3 people to a room and given a single I should get the rollaway for free. I'm thinking of switching to the Hilton next year.

We finally made it into the line and waited...and waited some more. I ran into a friend of mine who kept us company while waiting. I was actually surprised to see a few people already dressed up. I guess I don't see much point on 0 day because there isn't much going on. Once I finally got my badge I booked it to my performance.

(photo courtesy of T1nk, Day 0 Line)

H4773r, of course, stayed behind and milled about and met up with friends and checked out the swap meet. After my show I decided to wander down the con and see if anything was happening. A few people will hanging out chatting around the concourse area. The gaming hall was open so I went in for a few and checked it out. And finally wandered back to the hotel for some sleep.

(photo courtesy of T1nk, The Game Room at 2am on Day 0)

Day 1
I decided to wear the only real costume I brought for Fanime-Pikachu Gijinka. Also, I had promised my castmates they would get to see me in it. I spent most of my day wandering around the Exhibit Hall and Artist Alley. I made sure to say hi to some of my favorite artists: KatGirl Studio, Hell Has Found Me, Timothy Green, Scuttlebutt Inc. and Teahouse. There really wasn't any programming/panels I wanted to watch/see that day so I didn't feel too bad that I missed anything. As per usual, our group of friends wound up at O'Flaherty's for weekly drinks and back to the con for some late night video programming.

Day 2
I was up fairly early and again dressed up in the Pikachu costume. This time I wanted to join the Pokemon photo-op. Since I was by myself I wasn't able to get any pictures of myself on my camera at the photo-op, but I have seen a few pics of me floating around the net.

(photo courtesy T1nk, T1nk in Pikachu Gijinka)

My matinee for my show had been cancelled so I was able to catch one panel: An Insider's View of Webcomics with my friends Erin Milligan (Timothy Green) and Aleric (Hell Has Found Me), and Barry Smith (Ink Tank). They did a great job showing how to put together and keep a webcomic going. I also spent my time wandering the main hall and taking some photos of the other cosplayers. We also scored some "Psycho Psushi" from Psycho Donuts thanks to a friend.

Today was also the day that MusicFest was taking place with FLOW and Yuya Matsushita. I wasn't able to attend because it conflicted with my show, but I heard everyone really enjoyed it.

Day 3
I was up early again, but this time it was because my show was having a matinee. I opted to wear my gothic lolita inspired outfit, complete with parasol. Immediately after the show I headed back to the con. I couldn't attend the Momoi concert and I had already missed lining up for the cosplay spectacular and didn't have much interest in the Black and White Ball. A friend of mine who went to the Black and White Ball did express inconvenience of being unable to leave the ball for any reason, including using the restroom. He told me that if you left the ball you then had to get back into the line, which was up to a 1 hour plus wait, to get back in. Hopefully con ops will solve this problem next year.

H4773r had plans to run his normal D&D game in the open concourse, so we set up and waited for everyone to arrive. I opted out of the game since it was running late and decided to just hang out with friends and wander the late night programming. I opted to pass on the Deviant Art panel hosted by Aleric, mainly because I currently use my DA to favorite things and don't post anything. However, in the future when I actually do start posting things I'll be sure to attend as it's a great opportunity to network.

Day 4
Last day. We were up early, again, this time to check out of the hotel room. Everything went pretty smoothly. We did one last glance around the exhibitor's hall and artist alley, my dear friend bought me two new badges from Scuttlebutt Inc. And then we headed out to Iguana's for some lunch before calling it a day. I opted out of going to closing ceremonies. I went 2 years ago and was unimpressed and bored. Perhaps if things change I might go again one year.

(photo courtesy of T1nk, T1nk and her Gijinka Ladies)

Discounts and Donuts/Parking
I really enjoy that Fanime partnered with local restaraunts to offer some discounts. Since H4773r and I were trying to save money this year we didn't take advantage of the offerings, but my favorite recommendations are: Peggy Sue's (offers a decent vegetarian burger and delicious shakes), Tengu Sushi (I haven't been in awhile since I no longer eat fish, but it was decent a few years ago and affordable bento boxes), Philz Coffee (ok, so I haven't actually tried Philz coffee but all my friends rave on how it's the best), Pita Pit (my favorite place out of all the restaraunts offered), and Psycho Donuts (the best donuts of unusual offerings).

As mentioned earlier, Psycho Donuts paired up with Fanime to create a special "bento box" of donuts. The four small donuts were: Awabinut ("toasted peanuts on vanilla icing with a strip of chocolate "nori"), Sakenut (orange icing with vanilla stripes), Tobikonut (green tea icing with dark chocolate-coated rice crisps), and Toronut (strawberry icing with vanilla accents). My favorite was the Toronut and least favorite was the Tobikonut (the green tea was just too much for me).

Parking...there are several lots downtown that offer. The Marriott also offers conceirge parking, as does the Hilton and the Fairmont, but it comes at typically a steep price, at least for us. We opted to park at the lot directly across from the Hilton on Almaden Blvd. They actually offer "24 hour parking" for only $14 for the day. Much cheaper then the hotels. The only drawback is you have to remember to renew your pass everyday before the previous one expires.

As per usual~Panels I'm Bummed I Missed
Armor: Plan It-Make It
Bodycasting 101
Sewing Basics for Cosplay
Steampunk Costuming: How-To
Steampunk Props, Demo and Q&A
Cosplay Cosmetology
How to Make a Webcomic in 1 Hr.
Graphic Design for Manga
Pattern Alteration: Fit and Form

I do look forward to Fanime next year when I will hopefully not have other obligations and can actually enjoy the con fully.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

AM^2 Vs. AX

So plans were in the process for Armor-Geddon to have a booth at AX this year. Last year H4773r and I were sent on a scouting mission to see if it would be profitable to have booth there. As we were settling out the details for this year we learned about AM^2. The people we had talked to were tellings us the AX is going down the hill and that more people would be attending AM^2 would be the big thing for the future. Plus, AM^2 registration is free. Upon hearing this news, NBL decided to abandon going to AX. H4773r and I had a wonderful time last year and we have friends also going this year so we decided to go anyway.

I have had to do a little internet digging to learn more about AM^2 and it's "controversy" with AX. Initially someone told me AM^2 was started by former AX volunteers that were tired of how AX was being run. I managed to find an article on Anime News Network that addresses the quitting of several AX employees over disputes with the Board of Directors of the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation, the organization that oversees AX. Another post on Project 760 has a list of specific "greivances" against the CEO, Michale Lattanzio.

One thing that is specifically mentioned, that seems to lead up to the supposed creation of AM^2, is the dismissal of Chase Wang, founder of BAM! Marketing, Publicity
and Promotions, who had served as AX's Publicity Director. Chase Wang is now the creator of AM^2. From several articles I've read that interview Wang he seems to want to cater this con towards fans, creating allowing them "to have control and choose, a la carte style, which activities they wanted to participate in." Ref

I completely respect what Wang is attempting to do and it will be amazing if he pulls it off, especially attempting to maintain badge-free registration and going up the same weekend as AX. Part of me is disappointed that Wang is choosing to do up on July 4th weekend. I am hoping to visit both cons, but plan on staying mostly at AX. I hope in the future Wang reconsiders putting up the con a different weekend.

I also wonder how Wang expects to keep things badge-free and run the con nearly 24 hours for 3 days straight. Perhaps through the Passport badges they're selling? AM^2 is offering "Passport badges" for the price of $25 for one day, $35 for two days, and $45 for all 3 days. These badges apparently serve as VIP passes. You can supposedly get into all events for free, but the Passport badges get you perks like priority seating and some discounts. Personally, as a first-time attendee I would probably pass on the Passport badge.

Also this isn't the first time Wang has attempted to set up such an event. Internet research reveals that AM^2 was actually created last year as a one day event known as Club 2 the MAX. It was held at Club Nokia and featured Tales from Earthsea US trailer. Based on the success of Club 2 the MAX, Wang decided to re-create it as an actual 3 day con.

Again, I very much hope I'll be able to check out AM^2 over the weekend and that in future it won't be held on the same weekend as AX.

Cons I Wish I Was Going To: TCAF

Sometimes I like to pretend I'm a webcomic artist. So, even though I rarely update my site, I still enjoy cons like TCAF. Not to mention a bunch of my favorite webcomic artists also attend this event. I'm pretty damn jealous.

Of course, I had never heard of TCAF until I started reading webcomics and learned many of artists exhibit there. TCAF seems like an interesting concept of a con. I've been to APE before, but this seems like a cross between APE and a generic comic festival. Mostly a place to celebrate comics and other types of press without the Hollywood movie factor you find at most comic cons. I appreciate "cons" of this type because I really have chance to chat with some of my favorite artists and support their work directly. Typically, it seems, that all transactions made between you and an artist directly supports the artist and cuts out the middleman. Another thing that's wonderful about this con is all the events they have for children. It's very much a family friendly con.

Artists I would've love to say hi to that will be at TCAF
Evan Dahm - Creator of Rice Boy
Jess Fink - Creator of Chester 5000 XYV
KC Green -Creator of Gun Show
Jeph Jacques - Creator of Questionable Content
Lucy Knisley - Creator of Stop Paying Attention
Dylan Meconis - Creator of Bite Me
Erika Moen - Creator of Dar
Kel McDonald - Creator of Sorcery 101
Angela Melik - Creator of Wasted Talent
James O'Barr - Creator of The Crow
Aaron Diaz - Creator of Dresden Codak
Meredith Gran - Creator of Octopus Pie
Sam Logan - Creator of Sam and Fuzzy
Dave Kellett - Creator of Sheldon
Faith Erin Hicks - Creator of Zombies Calling
Michael Jonathan - Creator of Eros Inc.
Vera Bee - An amazing illustrator
Kt Shy - Creator of Shrub Monkeys
Danielle Corsetto - Creator of Girls with Slingshots

Programming that I would've liked to see
Saturday, May 7th
A19 Ask a Freelancer Learning Centre 2:30-3:15 (hosted by two of my favorite ladies from Periscope Studios and the wonderful Lucy Knisley)
A20 Design Learning Centre 3:20-4:10
A21 This Comic Isn't About Me: Gender, Sexuality and Race in Comics Learning Centre 4:15-5 (one of my illustrator inspirations, Erika Moen, will be a host on this panel as well)

Sunday, May 8th
U2 Illustration The Pilot 12:30-1:30
U4 Studio Tour The Pilot 3-4 (I am always curious about artists studios and Jeph Jaques is a panelist)
U10 Comics Storytelling Beeton Room 4:05-5 (I have a huge crush on James O'Barr)

I do hope sometime in the near future to be able to attend this con and report back on it. Til then I hope everyone who went had a great time.

Monday, May 2, 2011

And I'm home

7 hours later and we made it. And I made it with very little motion sickness. I was able to get some reading and other work done on the long ride home.

So re-cap

Con: Anaheim Comic Con hosted by Wizard World
Previous comic con experience includes SDCC and Wondercon. WWACC is fairly well organized, especially considering they put on CC's throughout the year. I was a bit disappointed in the programming schedule. I didn't put any effort into catching any of the panels. Albeit, I was working most of the con, but if I needed to I could've have left to watch a panel. Of course, I worked on the costume contest "panel" and thought we did a decent job and had a lot of fun doing it. I heard the panel with Dan Fogler was pretty good. I did NOT like the layout of this con, but I don't know if that Wizard World's fault or the convention center. I missed not getting a badge. Instead wristbands were used.

Venue: Anaheim Convention Center
WWACC was only held in Hall A of the con center. So it felt kind of small. The initial dealings with the staff put them in high regard. We arrived late and they stayed open later to let us unload. However dealing with them during the set up of the booth and breaking down the booth left much to be desired. Basically it felt like they had forgotten about us.
Wifi: there is a "free" wifi channel however it's impossible to get on. Otherwise it's $99.95 per day if you're an exhibitor or $12.95 per day as an attendee.
Food: is what you'd expect. Drinks from $2.50 (coffee) - $3.75 (large fountain drink soda). Food available hot dogs, pizza, salad, and wraps $4.50-$9 ($11 for combos). Snacks available bagels, chips, candy average price $3.
Don't count on outlets being available. I couldn't find any to just use.
Parking-we paid $12 a day for parking, no in/out privileges unless you were an exhibitor and it was a load/unload day.
Disneyland! It's within walking distance. If you need a break from the con and have extra cash or year passes it's awesome.

Hotel: Crowne Plaza Hotel-Irvine
A decent hotel with comfy beds. It's about a 20-30 minute drive away from the con. Usually traffic was in our favor. Parking is $15 a day for guests. While I checked out the gym and pool I didn't have a chance to utilize them, but they seemed nice enough. Don't ask me about rates and I didn't pay for the hotel. While a coffee maker is provided I was disappointed with not having some sort of fridge unit. Also the room was kind of small, the California King size bed pretty much took up the entire room. Finding the hotel was tricky as Google maps was wrong and the highways are a little wonky.

Food in general
By the Crowne Plaza Hotel-lots of nice restaurants in and around the hotel we didn't visit. I did however take note that there is an IHOP right across from the airport. And for fast food there was a Carl's Jr. (which we did eat at), a McDonald's, and a Starbucks pretty close by.
By Anaheim Convention Center-there is a Coco's and Tiffy's with just outside the con. There is also a food court (Baja Fresh, Submarina, Starbucks, S'Barro, and Just Grillin) inside the Hilton. The Marriott has a Pizza Hut and Starbucks inside their hotel.
Dowtown Disney and nearby: there are a ton of places to eat along the S. Harbor strip. This year we ate at La Brea Bakery Cafe and Rainforest in Downtown Disney and McDonald's and Denny's along Harbor Ave. I did see that there was a 24-hour Subway on the strip as well.
As a vegetarian I'm actually pretty easy going and could've easily lived off of bread and cheese. However I try to get in protein/veggies when I can. On that note I definitely recommend burritos from Baja Fresh. I did notice the Just Grillin offered a vegetarian burger and the Submarina offered a veggie sandwich, although I didn't try them. At La Brea I had the Rosemary Vegetable grilled panini and at Rainforest I ate the Rainforest Natural Burger. At the convention center I was able to find a portabello mushroom wrap for a meal.
As per usual I recommend packing snacks and food. This particular con didn't seem to bag check.

We were able to get discount Disney passes at the Hilton since we were con attendees. The single day passes weren't much cheaper but I did like the "Twilight" discount.
There is a UPS store in the Hilton and a FEDEx store in the Marriott. I love the Target on S. Harbor. Downtown Disney is a nice way to experience some Disney-ness for "free." Parking is free for the first 3 hours and then if you go to a sit down restaurant or the AMC downtown you get a validation for another 2 hours. Otherwise it's $6 an hour.
The best place I was able to find "free" Wifi was the McDonald's on S. Harbor right across from Disneyland.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Anaheim Comic-Con: Day 3

Last day...we finally got to sleep in. Again, H4773r didn't have to be at the Armor-Geddon booth til 1pm. We grabbed "brunch" at the Carl's Jr. by the hotel. As a note, they don't serve "grilled cheese" when you ask for it. They will however, serve a Famous Star with cheese, sans burger. Same damn thing in my opinion, but whatevs.We made it to the con and I was...confused. All the fan tables were pretty much devoid of fans. For a moment I thought maybe everyone had packed up early and went home. Turns out since a bunch of the celebrities weren't going to be there on Sunday, the fan tables were allowed to move to the celebrity tables.

I couldn't find Kryssie anywhere. I was told by the Orange County Star Wars Society that she was out on the floor networking. So while I waiting I finally did some shopping. New microns from Blick, Creepy Susie & 13 Other Tragic Tales for Troubled Children by Angus Oblong, a copy of The Maxx vol. 4 by Sam Keith, a copy of Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman, and a copy of The Devil's Panties vol. 4 by Jennie Breeden. I really wanted Nigel Sade to sign by his strip, but I just ran out of time to find him.

When I finally found Kryssie she mentioned that she was going to spend the rest of the con networking and since we no longer had a booth I just took the day off. I hung out a
round the Armor-Geddon booth serving as back up when people kept coming by to take photos of H4773r's co-worker C.J. (she was dressed as Morrigan, sans wings). I think we've decided
that for future cons we're all going to try and co-ordinate cosplay outfits.

"Lunch" was procured from the Baja Fresh (I love burritos!).

As the con wound down I was able to help Armor-Geddon break down the booth. And here's where I get annoyed. Armor-Geddon paid to have people help us load. So we start breaking down the booth and are going through it pretty fast and we have no sign of the boxes that were supposed to have been saved. I go looking for someone to ask about what's going on. There was no one around for about 10 minutes. I finally find a guy who tells me that they're delivering the boxes right now. I go back and finish help breaking everything down. We're nearly done and still haven't seen any sign of our boxes. So N.B.L. goes to talk to someone. And, of course, our boxes were thrown away. So now what? They eventually let N.B.L. drive her van into the con hall and we loaded everything ourselves. So not complete bullshit, but definitely annoying. We really could've been done about 1-2 hours earlier.

When we finally got everything loaded out H4773r and I decided to spend one last night at Downtown Disney. We had dinner at the Rainforest Cafe and saw Rio at the Disney AMC theaters.

Tomorrow we get to sleep in a bit before hitting the long road home. I had quite a bit of fun at this con and wouldn't mind coming again in the future.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Anaheim Comic-Con: Day 2

Today has been a pretty damn awesome day. Since H4773r didn't need to be at the Armor-Geddon booth until 1pm we decided to take a trip to Disneyland. It meant another early morning, but I love Disney so it was worth it. We went on our favorite main rides and met up with a friend for lunch. Somehow I missed this gem in the all the years I went to Disney. We sing this song all the time around the theatre.

Since today was the main day and the D20 Girls would be helping with the costume contest (both the children's and adults) later I dressed in the only costume I brought-C0n FaIry! I met another D20 Girl-Crumpet and someone else that Kryssie would be interviewing, GNB Cosplay. I did use today to get a few pics of the cosplayers around. After being at the booth for a bit we finally made our way upstairs to judge the cosplay. Actually we weren't even sure if we were judging the cosplay. We had so little knowledge on what we were actually supposed to do: judge? M.C.? or both? When we got upstairs there was still a bit of confusion. Wizard World wanted us to do both, as there were only 3 of us D20 Girls we trying to figure out who would M.C., who would judge and who would kid rangle. Then the Winner twins showed up. Apparently they would help with the judging as well. Cool. So Kryssie M.C.'d, Crumpet kid rangled, and I helped with judging along with the twins.

I'm going put this out right now: I had no clue who the Winner twins were. I just knew they had booth in the celebrity section and had books they were selling. I actually like it this way. Then I don't fan girl over people and can actually concentrate on what I'm supposed to be doing.

Here's video that Wizard World did of the contest.

After the children's costume contest we took a small break to re-group and get ready for the adult's contest. We knew that Jason C. Miller (yet another celebrity I knew nothing about) would be helping us and we figured that Kryssie would M.C. again and Crumpet and I would help with judging. Then as we were dicussing with Wizard World staff how we'd run the adult contest we learned that the hosts of Down the Road Show would take care of the M.C. work. Kryssie was able to join us for the judging. We had a great time with everyone and I would love to do it again.

After the costume contest ended H4773r and I booked it back to Disney to get some use out of our passes. We had a great, but exhausting day.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Anaheim Comic-Con: Day 1

Another early day for us. Breakfast at the McDonald's by Disneyland followed by setting up the Amor-Geddon booth. We only had the one booth space, which is a 10x10. But it still took the three of us (myself, H4773r, and N.B.L.) about 4 hours to get everything into place.

My biggest complaint about the setup was the lack of lighting. We're using our knives to open boxes as well as displaying items with sharp points and working in very dim lighting. They didn't actually turn on the main lights until about 30 minutes before the con hall opened.

Also, it felt like we were in forgotten land. We left the boxes out on the floor because we were told they'd be picked up. And the ones we wanted saved would also be picked up. No one ever from the union actually came around to pick anything up. One of the custodial ladies came by and asked us if the boxes were trash and took them. The save for boxes we had to take to the union people.

After set-up H4773r and I went to get lunch. We decided on Baja Fresh, which is located in the Hilton's "food court." Their food court also includes Starbucks, Just Grillin, Submarina, S'Barro, and Mix Restaurant. This is slightly better than paying for con food, where prices range from $2-$5 for snacks and $4.25 (hot dogs) - $9.50 (pizza) for actual food.

After food H4773r and I had an extended break. I decided to catch up on my internet stuff. Internet options for the Anaheim Convention Center include free wifi, exhibitor wifi ($99.95/day), and pay-for wifi. Since it's impossible to sign onto the free internet I wound up walking all the way back to the McDonald's for wifi signal. (If anyone knows of anything closer, please do tell.)

I finally had the chance to walk around the hall right as it opened. The space is actually pretty small, to me. I'd compare it to slightly larger then the Fanime vendor room at the San Jose Convention Center.

I did spend some time assisting H4773r and N.B.L. at the Armor-Geddon booth until Kryssie arrived. Since I knew she would be alone and I wanted to get to know her and more about the D20 Girls Project, I wandered over to her table and pretty much spent the rest of my evening hanging out with her.

I'll admit I felt pretty undressed in comparison to Kryssie. She was dressed as Typhoid Mary and I...well I was wearing a cute skirt, a "Kick Ass" comic shirt, and boots. I just ran out of time to pull together a decent cosplay outfit.

The hall was only open from 5p-9p on Friday, but it felt like a ridiculously long day. I also didn't see any panels because I was at the D20 booth all evening.

Before calling it a night H4773r and I grabbed dinner at the Denny's right across from Disneyland. I really like this Denny's. The customer service is fast and great.