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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.