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Hi guys! I’ve been kinda quiet, but not because I forgot about the blog… on the contrary, I have quite a few posts planned and half-written, but I’ve been holding off on them for one big reason: I need a new camera. My current one, a Sony DSC-T2, has been my little faithful companion for everything I’ve needed in photographic memory since 2007, but the times — they are a-changin’. Plus, it’s taken more than its fair share of drops and bumps over the years, and it’s shown — something inside has never been quite right for a few years, and every so often, the shutter flaps so quickly and uncontrollably that everything comes out an absolute Jacob’s Ladder-esque blur. So, I bit the bullet and decided to finally upgrade to a Canon EOS Rebel T3i, the ubiquitous beginner DSLR. It should arrive next week, so I’m going to be playing with it ASAP, and until then, no reviews!
BUT, I do have another type of post that’s not beauty-related. Last weekend, I drove down to Houston for Anime Matsuri, an anime and Japanese culture convention. My friends and I had been planning this trip for over half a year now, so it was a huge deal for me. In addition, it marked my triumphant return to cosplay! I have been slowly but steadily working on this costume since January, and I think it turned out great for such an extended absence (if I do say so myself…).
I did Mikasa Ackerman, from Shingeki no Kyojin aka Attack on Titan. Surely not an original cosplay lately, and certainly not an overly complex one, but I think the devil’s in the details and I was pretty proud of how mine came out. I saw a lot of other SnK cosplayers over the weekend, but the vast majority of them were bought or *ahem* to be nice… somewhat lacking in construction quality… (I’m trying this new thing where I’m not a total cosplay elitist…)
I actually have a lot to say in regards to this cosplay construction, so I will write that up in another post. This one is just about Anime Matsuri 2014! This may not be a very interesting post, but isn’t the original point of a blog to document your life? This brings me back to the LiveJournal days… This really won’t be interesting to you unless you were there, but I know my friends who went might be interested in this for posterity’s sake. The rest of you should probably just skip over this! :-_-: Honestly, I won’t be offended.
Anyway! I drove into Houston on Thursday afternoon — it’s normally a 4 1/2 hour drive from Baton Rouge, give or take, and I luckily hit no traffic so I got in just around 7pm. To save money on a hotel room, I was staying with my cousin Tim, so I met up with him and we went to dinner. We went to a Thai place, which was very good, but there was some weird live music thing going on that was like a mix of country and Thai. Apparently the owner was playing on drums. :clap: But it was super loud, and there was a table of drunk ladies next to us who kept cat-calling the performers, so it was a little hard to have a conversation. u.u; Afterwards, Tim had a soccer game, so he dropped me off at my other cousin’s (his older brother) place, Howard. If you remember me talking about going to a wedding last September, it was for Howard and his wife Evelyn. Evelyn was watching About Time, so we watched that and made fun of it. When Tim got back, we went back to his place and I crashed hard. Driving exhausted more than I thought!
I woke up pretty early the next day so that I could pick up my badge and try to meet up with my friends. Tim works downtown where the convention was, so he dropped me off so I could save on parking fees for the day. I got my badge just around 9 am, and had a snack while waiting for my friends. They were all still sleeping, or getting ready in this rooms, so I met up with Josh and went back to their room. One truth of conventions: there will always be way more people in a room than there are sleeping spaces. They had 6 people in a double, so two people carved out spots on the floor amidst craft supplies and cosplay components (seriously, the room looked like a drag queen bomb went off in it). I was sitting on a bed and hanging out for half an hour before I realized I was sitting on a sleeping person!! It was Kammie. I felt bad. :blush:
I wasn’t wearing my cosplay that day, so I helped everyone else get ready. Big Vaughn was cosplaying as Sakura Oogami from Dangan Ronpa, and I helped him stuff his bra. :nod:
It turned out pretty well, I think. xD I met Brett and Dustin that day, who were also staying in the room, and they were TOTAL SWEETHEARTS ❤ Brett was also, funnily enough, cosplaying a female character from Dangan Ronpa — he was wearing Junko Enoshima, but unlike Big Vaughn, he had commissioned a pair of silicone breasts that hung on his neck. (If you follow me on Instagram, you would have seen the boobs :clap: ). The end look was eerily convincing. When I saw him later that day, I did a double take because I didn’t recognize him at all.
Dustin was also cosplaying, but I honestly don’t know what his costume was from… I want to say Bleach, but that might be wrong. :shiver: I’m so out of the anime loop lately…
Big Vaughn and I also sang a bunch of Frozen songs together. :blush:
After that, everyone went their own separate ways, and Josh and I went to go find food and see if the dealer’s room was open. There were food trucks parked outside the Hilton, but not all of them were open. We both got burgers from Bernie’s Burger Bus. I got the Substitute, which had blue cheese, bacon, burgundy mushrooms and “tipsy” onions. Josh got The Homeroom, which came with a fried egg. Overall, it was reallllly good if a little bit pricey for the size. I recall paying around $12 after tax and tip, just for the burger, no fries.
The dealer’s room line was out of control — it wrapped around the convention center. That brings me to a big point: unfortunately, this weekend was marred by the convention’s total lack of preparedness. Almost every single event started late, and were plagued with audio and video issues. Not to mention, I saw a few instances where the staff/volunteers were very rude and unhelpful to congoers. (More on that later.) The dealer’s room was my first glimpse of this trend. It was supposed to open at noon, for Superpass holders (the Superpass was a limited, and much more expensive badge option which supposedly endowed the holder with VIP access such as early entry to the dealer’s room, priority seating in panels, and a goodie bag). However, Josh and I wandered over a little after 12:30, and the Superpass holders had not even been allowed in yet.
I had wanted to see the semi-finals for Anime Matsuri Idol, the singing competition, and that started at 1, so Josh and I went off to find that.
That brings me to point two: everything was extraordinarily difficult to locate in the convention center. When I picked up my badge, I was not given a program or map. I looked around, and did not see any available. Speaking to everyone else, they said they hadn’t received one either, so I thought it was strange but shrugged it off. Later on in the weekend, I saw people walking around with programs, and apparently they had run out of them quite early, but reprinted them for Saturday. Unfortunately, by the time I noticed this, they had run out yet again. This was really disappointing to me, especially considering I think people who pre-registered (like I had) should be given priority over people who had just come in. Also, just by the number of pre-regs, shouldn’t you have a good idea of how many programs to print? Then add on for walk-ins during the weekend…
I am a little bit of a sentimental hoarder, so it actually upsets me quite a bit I don’t have a program for this con. I still have the programs and badges from my very first convention over ten years ago.
Anyway, we had to use the website’s map to try to find the location of AM Idol. So, here’s another complaint: the convention center had a multitude of rooms, many of which were, as rooms tend to be, numbered. For example, 350A. For whatever unholy reason, the map didn’t indicate the room numbers, just whatever arbitrary name they had decided to use for that room (e.g., “Autograph Room”). This was alright for the big spaces, such as the General Assembly room, but seriously, look at this map and tell me you could find your way through those hallways and multitude of rooms without getting confused. Compounding this was the fact that there were no prominent signs or directions displayed. It wasn’t until you got straight up to the doorway of, for example, the Autograph Room, was there a small piece of paper taped to the side that said, “Autograph Room.” And this wasn’t the case for many of them, as I found out later.
Anyway, Panel 1, which is where AM Idol was being held, was relatively easy to find, although we got there about 5 minutes before the start time, and had to wait in line for about 10-15 minutes. Then once we were in, we had to wait around 15-20 minutes while they dealt with audio issues. And although the competition was just a fun, light-hearted thing, I would have been very upset if I were one of the competitors and I couldn’t hear the music while I was trying to sing (which was the case for about 80% of them…). The music even cut out during a couple of their performances.
However, I was really excited to find that Kyle Landry, of YouTube fame, and Stella Chuu, one of my cosplay idols, were judging the competition. So it was nice to see them.
I honestly can’t remember too much about the competition, except that one girl came in late because she couldn’t find the room — so late, in fact, that the judges were already deliberating, but they allowed her to sing and she blew everyone else away. So of course, she gained a spot and although I thought other people sang better, the judges ultimately picked two other finalists who they felt would be better onstage.
After this, Josh and I decided to see if the dealer’s room was open yet. Surprise, it had only just opened! (If you’re keeping score, we’re now at around 2:30 pm, a full two and a half hours after it was meant to open.) Going through the room took up most of our time, although we decided to hold off on buying anything until later. (It’s a little bit of a gamble, but if you know you’re going to be there for all three days of a convention, you sometimes can haggle with dealers on Sunday as they’re hoping to move stock before they pack up and leave. Of course, what you want might already have been sold.) By the time we finished there, we were both a little bit tired, so we went back to the hotel room to hang out for a bit.
Everyone else had also started to trickle back in, so I hung out in there for the rest of my time. Because of our schedules, the only time I could meet up with the rest of my family was that night, so Tim picked me up around 6 pm and we headed off to dinner. After dinner, we went back to Dave (Tim’s oldest brother) and Angela’s place so I could meet their new baby, Mason! I got this really cute picture of Hannah holding her little brother.
Mason is still really young (born at the end of January!) so of course he was sleeping most of the time. Tim and I played with Hannah for a little bit, and then headed back to his place. I needed to get my beauty rest for the next day! :stop:
Since I would be at the convention center all day, I drove myself over. The “Roomies” (i.e., Josh, Kammie, Big Vaughn, Little Vaughn, Dustin and Brett) were nice enough to let me get ready in their room, so THANK YOU AGAIN GUYS :whoo: Without them, this whole experience would have been a big ole pain in the butt! We were wearing our SnK cosplays that day, and it took a lot longer than I thought for me to get ready. There was a big photoshoot with all SnK cosplayers that we were rushing to get to. After getting herded around a little bit, we finally found a location for the TONS of SnK cosplayers to get pictures together! I was a little surprised that not very many people had 3DMG, but like I mentioned above, the vast majority of people seemed to have bought their costumes and so I guess 3DMG was too expensive for most of them.
I’m still waiting on the professional pictures from that shoot, but here are some ones from my camera and that I found that other people took! In the big group shots, I’m in the middle, in the back row.
Honestly, just wearing this cosplay took up most of my day. After the photoshoot, we were approached by so many people for pictures that it was almost impossible to do anything else. Even trying to go find something to eat took over an hour because we got stopped so much. I had wanted to try to find Reika, a famous Japanese cosplayer and special guest for the convention, so I could get a photo with her in our SnK cosplays, but once we found the photo op line (and realized it cost an unknown amount of money…), I nixed that idea. Actually, seeing Reika was one of my big goals for the convention but I just cannot be bothered to wait in a line for hours anymore. I’m getting too old for this shit.
By the time we’d been watered and fed, it was time for the cosplay competition! That’s always the biggest thing I look forward to, so Josh and I wandered until we found an appropriate looking line. OK, so I lied a little bit — we stood in that line for about an hour. We did stand behind a super cute SnK cosplayer, though. She was Sasha, with appropriate potato. Here’s a (dark) picture we got with her.
Once in, I realized an unforeseen issue with my 3DMG… I couldn’t sit down in it!!! Especially not in theater seating, since I was so wide. :-_-: I found some weird half-sitting, half-crouching position with one of my 3DMG hanging over the side of the armrest that worked, but it left my butt and thighs uncomfortably numb after a few minutes. I also had to get up a few times in order to let people in and out and one man asked to take my picture, so overall, I need to find a better way to handle my gear! Or else plan never to sit down while in it…
The cosplay competition, like everything else, started late… well over an hour late. But, the costumes were great and Stella Chuu was back judging, as was Vampy Bit Me. Because we were so far from the stage, and my camera was awful, I wasn’t able to get any pictures of the cosplayers. My favorite, though, was definitely Titanesque Cosplay‘s League of Legends group. They had a life-size Tibbers!
As soon as the contestants left the stage, Josh and I split. Not only was I super uncomfortable from my makeshift sitting position, but we were tired after standing in line, then sitting around waiting for so long. Unfortunately, we should have stayed. :shiver: Because, although she wasn’t judging, Reika made a surprise appearance at the end of the competition, and they asked everyone who was in SnK cosplay to come up on stage and pose with her. :-_-:
Anyway, we wandered around a little bit more, got our pictures taken, grabbed a bite and then headed back to the hotel room to rest up and change. At that point, it was around 7 pm, and one other thing I had wanted to do was see Stella Chuu’s burlesque/nerdlesque performance which was at midnight, so we just hung out and recharged our batteries (both literal and metaphorical). We changed into normal clothes, and at around 10, Josh and I set out again to find the burlesque line.
It was a little bit hectic as, first there were multiple lines — a big concert (Nightmare was playing, which is so strange to me as I thought they faded from relevancy years ago…) was also going on that night, so we were weaving in and out of lines, trying to find the right one. Then we realized the rooms had been changed, so off we went again in search. THEN we were IDed in line, then checked at the door for our stamp, and around 11:30 were finally let into the room. We sat ourselves at first, but I slowly began to notice a convention staffer/volunteer losing her mind on the far end of the seating after about fifteen minutes. She was yelling something, and stamping her foot, but I couldn’t hear her at all! Finally, the message slowly came down that she was trying to get us to move from our seats to her end so that we could fill up the seating. So we moved, but most of the other congoers didn’t. I can’t blame them; if it weren’t for the fact that Josh could hear what she was saying, I wouldn’t have moved either. But this girl was throwing a downright tantrum because people weren’t moving. I sat in a seat that was just few feet away from her, and I could hear her muttering and grumbling to herself the whole time, really nastily, “I know these idiots can hear me, but they’re not moving! Seriously, is that hard? I’ve been yelling for half an hour and I know they can hear me!” I really wanted to pipe up, “I was in an aisle seat, as close to you as I could be, and I still couldn’t hear you.” but she was on such a rampage that I thought it’d be better to stay quiet. Apparently, talking to other people, this wasn’t unusual. Con staff were reportedly very rude and unhelpful the entire weekend to many people. This girl was taking it so super personally that people weren’t moving, and it was so strange — if they aren’t moving, then go over there and make them move! It’s not that big a deal!
I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that Stella Chuu (who co-produces a burlesque show in her day-to-day life) had something to do with the running of this, because for once, the show started EXACTLY. ON. TIME! The clock turned to midnight, and the announcer came out on stage. It was really refreshing, and Josh even joked that it was the best event we went to for the sole reason that it started on time. The nerdlesque show was great, definitely one of the highlights of the entire convention and trip. I really hope they invite them back next year!
It was almost 2 in the morning once the nerdlesque finished, so I immediately drove back to Tim’s place and crashed hard.
I took my time getting up the next morning, partly because I was so exhausted from the day before and partly because Sundays are always “wrapping-up” days for conventions. The dealer’s room opens late, and there generally aren’t very many events going on. I did, however, want to go to God Save the Queen Fashion‘s leatherworking panel, as I’m hoping to re-do my Nightingale cosplay in leather (or maybe pleather…). I’ve been a huge fan of GSTQ since I’ve been cosplaying, so this was really exciting for me. I rolled up to the con around noon, and after grabbing a coffee, went off in search of the panel.
It was really great — I learned a lot, and I’m really excited to try my hand with leather now. She had another panel afterwards about cosplay as a business, which I was also interested in, but I decided to go and meet my friends in the dealer’s room and spend the rest of the con just relaxing with them.
I also made a final loop around the dealer’s room to actually buy some stuff. I didn’t get much, to be honest. I got a cupcake necklace, waffle brooch and cupcake ring from Kammie (MintyMix) because she’s so cute and super awesome ;o;
Then I got a pair of velociraptor earrings and a cute cake ring from Hobbit Town Jewelry. I have a pic of the earrings on my Instagram.
I also got Mike a Star Trek Insignia decal for his hardhat, and a Planet Express patch for his coveralls from Aardvark. That was basically it! When I was younger, the big appeal of conventions was being able to find and buy merchandise that you couldn’t get anywhere else, but now that internet shopping is the norm, a lot of the appeal is gone for me. I still really like finding new indie companies, though, like Hobbit Town. I also tried to find Stella Chuu’s booth so I could get a print of her, but I was seriously high or something because I made rounds about three times and never found it. (And of course, the maps were useless!)
The dealer’s room closed at 4 pm, so I stuck around to help Kammie, Renee and Stephen break down their booths, then when that was all said and done, hopped in my car and made the journey back home.
Overall, despite all of the con hiccups and frustrations, just seeing Stella Chuu’s nerdlesque and Catherine’s (of God Save the Queen Fashion) leatherworking panel were worth the price of admission for me. I reallllly wish I had gotten to see/take a picture with Reika, but :dance: oh well~ I had a lot of fun hanging out with my friends and cosplaying, so it was worth it in the end!
And thus ends probably the longest post I’ll ever make here! Like I said, I’m going to do another write-up for my construction of my Mikasa cosplay so be on the lookout for that.
Oh, also, here are the few pictures I took… as you can see, most of them came out super blurry! I was fighting my camera the whole weekend. It really hit home the point that I need a new one. If you recognize yourself or a friend, let me know so I can give proper credit!
OMG, those pictures are all so awful. So blurrrry… I can’t wait until my new camera comes~ Anyway, that’s it for now! I’ll be back sooooon! ❤