Setup itself went fairly smoothly and mostly uneventful (save for Kate (who just recently arrived) breaking the news of another roomie bailing last-minute for other arrangements) and I even managed to introduce Deanna, who was making some tea in the process, to some tokusatsu shows, namely Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger and even a little Kamen Rider W. Deanna, in turn, fired up some Blue Exorcist most of the way through setup. But once 9pm hit, holy crap was it ever on! We got so heavily visited, I couldn’t even come close to keeping up with the bacon and hot dogs. But once the first 40 minutes passed, things did eventually settle down and I was able to get enough food out there (kudos to Kate for slicing and dicing the lettuce and tomatoes) for all to be happy.
Bacon: Bringing congers together since forever.
Once the crowds subsided, we busted out my Cards Against Humanity set for one of the most epic games we’ve played. The custom cards made for some of the best rounds. Midnight soon rolled around and we needed something else to do to kill the time, so in a room party first for us, I finally got a screening in of Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. Mike soon walked in and silently nodded in approval. Good times were had by all (even if we failed to play any video games during the party). Cleanup was fairly simple as well and we all turned in sometime around 3am for one more day of awesometicity. Well, at least as much as Mother Nature would allow.
In spite of the late night, I still found myself up to my alarm at 7:30. After a calm and peaceful breakfast (and more recap notes), I did spend a fair amount of time in the video game room before having to worry about checking out of the rooms. Most everything was pretty squared away the night prior, so that part went alright. It was actually checking out where I hit a bit of a snag. I won’t go into it much here (other than that it left me in a fairly sour mood), but it did get resolved a few days later, so we’ll leave it at that. I was still able to make one final vendor room run, mostly because I still needed my token bottle of Ramune. I ran into Mandy once again and even Chazz (though I had seen her at one point during room party setup the night prior). But we’re not done yet with the random run-ins!
While I was taking down all the fliers, I finally ran into friend and (even more so) heavy promoter of We Shadows (needed a 2nd link to make up for not having one in my Kitsune recap), Autumn. By the way, she apparently did an awesome Cosplay of Merdia from Brave I totally forgot to take a pic of earlier that weekend, but she did mention about doing it again at other cons this year, so I got that to look forward to. ;P
There wasn’t a whole lot going on at this point, so the obligatory Cosplay photo dump before the grand finale:
He’s just a dapper kaiju trying to pick up strange dinosaurs.
Because Bowties are cool.
A very spot-on Sly Cooper Cosplay FTW.
About the only thing that could’ve made this pic more epic was a Jake cosplayer holding a Bacon-flavored sword.
It was soon time for me and Mike to end things at the ambassador table for its final 2 hours. But with everyone getting ready to leave early (it was snowing AGAIN), it was pretty uneventful and we called it a day 3/4ths the way though our 2 hours. After we got everything packed up, we chilled with Trae at his table for a bit while we were waiting to get the kon-owned tv’s (and my PS3) from the video game room. While some things still felt a bit off, it was a good year for them as they broke the 1,300 mark for attendance, which more than made up for their ACen-induced dip the year before. With nothing else to do before leaving, I made way to Adam’s Digimon panel (he was running it solo this time around) and we all cheered Marcus on for his manliness. I rejoined Mike shortly after this and we soon made our way inside. Once the equipment was acquired, it was high time for our traditional post-con dinner (this time at nearby Milwaukee Burger Co.).
Sadly, things did not go well there either for yours truly as my burger kept getting horribly undercooked, leaving me to eat my fries and some of the other guys’ appetizers for my “meal”. This was also a good time for us to unwind and talk con stuffs in general. After an equally uneventful drive back to Mike’s place and eventually my own home, I found myself thinking over things throughout the weekend. First of which was how I was going to compose this recap, as I had dealt with far more adversity than I had anticipated. Secondly, wondering when I finally was going to have a “Vacation con” (which means I prolly wont volunteer at Geek.Kon this year). Lastly………
What heinous plot will he concoct next?
This No Brand Con was going to be a bit different from years’ past. This was for 3 reasons: First, I was put in charge of Kitsune’s Ambassador Booth and Room Party. Secondly, I was staying over at Mike’s place the night prior, which meant I had to make sure things were in place BEFORE I left home Thursday night. Third (and most importantly), IT WAS FRIGGIN SNOWING!!!! IN APRIL!!!! I don’t care if this is Wisconsin, snow in April just plain aint right.
Excuse me while I go attempt my “wish the snow away” dance.
Work was fairly uneventful on Thursday for the most part, though I still had to go into hurry-up mode (or so I thought) after work because the initial plan was for Mike to pick me up at 5, one hour after my shift ended. I called him to see how things were and he told me he wasn’t going to be there till 6, so it gave me some much needed wind down time aka a few rounds of Bowling on Wii Sports, after I ate dinner, of course. Once Mike did show up, we loaded my stuff into his car and off we were. We got all the essential stuff into his apartment, so I quick checked with my room peeps to see when they’d be at the hotel. This year, I talked some of the Geek.Kon staffers into doing a joint room party, with Deanna and Scott (Mr. Epic Paper Cosplay himself) joining in.
About that. Seems just about everybody wasn’t going to be there till Friday night at the soonest and I even had one bail at the last minute. With having to pay for the rooms when I got there (at Noon) and unsure how I was going to cover the cost of the rooms, I was stressing out just a wee bit. And by a wee bit, I mean a fair deal. Just what does one do in these sorts of situations (at least once we watched Community and Parks & Rec)? To quote the immortal words of Walter: “F*** it. Let’s go bowling.” We ended up at Sabre Lanes and save for the accidental overcharge (we somehow got charged for both persons’ bowling), the bowling was quite fun. I managed a 605 for the 3 games in spite of a 164 start and even got Mike to consider bowling with me in league next year in the process.
Once we finished up, we b-lined it back to his place because there were still some things to be done before we could call it a night and a backup plan or two to concoct. We did eventually turn in around midnight and in spite of some unexpected delays, we eventually started our trek to Eau Claire around 9:30 the following morning.
This was about as good as our drive up would get.
As you might’ve guessed by the photo, it was a fairly blah drive up (it usually is though) with the lack of decent scenery, though we did pass by the Wausaubicon contingent on the way up. We soon arrived at the Plaza and after dropping off the Kon-owned tvs (and eventually my PS3, which was originally intended for the room party) we got the booth stuff to the table and the room party goods (and my luggage) to the hotel rooms. Given that it was still around 12:30-ish and we didn’t need to set up yet for another hour+, this gave me the time to get the rooms and myself situated (I did eventually use both cash and card to pay for the rooms). A quick Ramen and PB sammitch later and I proceeded to start posting the fliers for the room party as well as No Brand Bowl VII, the latter of which had a FF7 motif to its design.
The setup for our Ambassador Table and the first couple of hours running the table went pretty smooth and even got better once Dave from Wausaubicon (whose booth was next to ours) suggested hanging the banners overhead.
It just looks so purdy. :P
Geek.Fly hat? Fire.Bot cap? Whatever the name, leave it to Simone to come up with something like that.
I did soon have to bail, as the rest of the fliers had to get posted, Mandy getting a much-deserved surprise glomping as she walked by, plus me and Nick Izumi sorta had a Manly panel to run of sorts. We did finally bring back Manly Men of Anime and while it wasn’t the biggest crowd we had (it was a Friday afternoon panel), we still had a lot of fun. Marcus and Captain Harlock got their Man Cards re-issued and even Ranma got a ½ Man Card. Once that was over, I hopped over to Opening Ceremonies to see what all the hubbub was about. One of the things I did notice this year was the convention’s theme (which was a retro video game theme) was not as well promoted as in past years. Heck, I didn’t even know of the theme till we had shown up.
Opening Ceremonies this year apparently involved Gardening Ninja and Duct Tape Boy doing the proceedings through Interpretive Dance.
With not a whole heck of a lot to do until the Protomen concert, I took Adam up on his suggestion and did some advance scouting of the playing field for No Brand Bowl. In spite of the snow covering the field, I told him we needed to give it a shot anyways. I soon found myself doing a lot of random wandering (there wasn’t much panel-wise going on), though it did provide me ample opportunity to catch up on recap note-taking. I also ran into Langland and even Miles as we talked about the con in general and everybody’s favorite offensive party game, Cards Against Humanity. I soon got a text from Deanna that her and Scott had finally arrived, so I met with them at the room to let them in (and collect their money). Now that I had some spendable funds, I swung by Trae’s AA booth and picked up a copy of UnCONventional’s 3rd book (seemingly) much to his delight. Not long after that, Spike and Todd had arrived to give me their money. With only a little more time to kill until the concert, I went off in search of random funn.
As I previously mentioned, I still had a smidgebit of free time to kill before getting in line for the concert, so I went off in search of any room parties and eventually stumbled into Mike as we came across Anime Fusion’s party. It was in an obscure location this year, so it was a bit hard to find at first. We did eventually find it as they were screening some Trigun. After a few minutes (and grabbing a handful of snackage), I left and ended up running into longtime con friend Kari in the process. We shot the breeze for a while about various topics (including how we needed to chat online more often) and good times were had. I soon left for the concert, but not before she was cool enough to let me snap this picture:
What’s not to like? :P
There was already quite the line when I got there at about 10 minutes to 10 (they were doing setup for it still), but the Sound Check lasted much longer, because we weren’t let in until nearly 11. When we were finally let in, we were treated to Redgar and the Fighters as the opening act. Led by Vomit Hat Steve, this nerd rock band put on a most interesting set that kept the crowd (what part of it remained) fairly entertained.
Sorry, Trae, but Happy Wednesday could learn a thing or two about doing a bizarre cover of Free Bird from these guys. :P
Sadly, I never did get to hear The Protomen play. Between the prolonged Sound Check and what I later learned was “makeup issues”, they never got on stage until nearly midnight. As much as I wanted to stay, I couldn’t bear to break a certain No Brand Con tradition. You might be asking yourself what could be so vital, that I would willingly skip out on The Protomen? This:
Trae as he gave his pre-film schpiel to the crowd of both noobs and veterans alike.
Yep, it was time for the annual Midnight screening of Hanzo The Razor in the No Mercy Room in all is LaserDisc glory. This was my 7th straight year going to No Brand Con and I had gone to Hanzo every single year. No way in hell was I missing out on this. Imagine the movie Shaft if it took place in Edo-period Japan and you vaguely have an idea of what Hanzo’s about. It’s a movie that so bad, it’s funny. And also according to tradtion, about half the crowd chickened out by Intermission and the movie eventually ended around 2am. I was pretty well drained by this point, so I swiftly made way to my room and managed a few hours of reasonably sound sleep.
It was around 7:30 when I eventually got up and after a quick shower, I took off for some breakfast. One good thing about NBC’s current location: free breakfast if you stayed in their rooms and it was usually pretty substantial food too. I was eventually joined by Mandy, Lea and their posse to enhance the experience. It was during this time I had learned of the now infamous “makeup issue” that delayed the start of The Protomen’s set the night prior. Once I got my fill, I played some quick games in the video game room before returning to the hotel room to get the supplies for the ambassador booth. Deanna was in the room at the time, plotting her plan of attack for the day as I grabbed the goods. Setup was pretty easy, then Todd and Spike arrived at the table on time and I soon made my way to the Vendor Room for my first major round of purchases of the weekend.
To go back a bit, I had questioned about the viability of doing No Brand Bowl in its usual format this year earlier in the morning. Pher had caught wind of this and dared to question my manhood when we met on my way out of the room. It was on! Noon soon came about and Pher showed with Zach Neal and his posse for what was to be a No Brand Bowl so epically manly, it puts the “Sleet Game” to shame. Some visual highlights, courtesy of field photographer (and Adam’s girlfriend, Simone):
All-Time QB Pher and Team “I Don’t Care” going over strategy. I thought I had heard “I Don’t Care”, so we’re just going to go with that.
Zack of the Devil Bats reaching up for a pass from Pher as a defender moves in to attempt an INT.
Me attempting to block for Zach. Dude can run.
Even with some mobility issues present, we were still able to move around fairly well and it was a very close contest in the first half. It didn’t help any either I couldn’t catch a ball to save my life. I (as part of the Devil Bats) seriously managed to out-Finley Packers’ TE Jeremichel Finley, with 2 of the turnovers I caused leading to points for I Don’t Care. However, the Devil Bats stood their ground and pulled away in the 2nd half to eventually win 49-21. I was able to get some redemption at the end, with the last TD as a result of an (yet another) bobble Pher tried in pick off, but was able to rip out of his hands for the score. But what I am about to show you is perhaps the manliest team picture in history:
One of us! One of us! One of us!
We soon made our way back inside. First stop for me was the hotel room to change clothes (the socks did get a little wet from the snow), then to the concession area for a quick slice of pizza and recap notes catch-up session. Once that was taken care of, I went to check out their AMV Contest. It was listed as a “Main Event” in the program guide, but once again, it was bizarrely placed in the No Mercy Room of all places. There were only 5 entries this year (6 if you include the lone exhibition entry), which really bummed me out (this con’s AMV contest was bagging double-digit entries in its heyday). The best by far was an action-packed High School of the Dead AMV which did the impossible: portray a solid story without using ANY fanservice, but it sadly (and seemingly barely) placed 3rd and a very bland entry once again won it. If I am back next year (which is looking like the case, as Power Morphicon isn’t till August in 2014), I have my doubts I’ll be checking this particular event out.
I ran into Eric (our dj) on the way out and as I broke the news to him of my experience, he seemed equally as befuddled. The topic quickly changed as he mentioned about a possible food run to Milwaukee Burger Co. as he soon made way to find his friends. There wasn’t really a whole heck of a lot to do between then and setup for the room party, so I mostly did some random wandering and vendor room buying before the Main Event, the Kitsune Kon/Geek.Kon room party.
I was keeping a fairly consistent sleep schedule, but I was still fairly exhausted when I woke up Sunday morning. But I did have one thing going good for me in that regard. We actually had other kinds of food in the Con Suite besides pizza (which wasn’t in said room till early Saturday night), so my stomach and I were on fairly good terms. I was up, showered and out of the room by 8am. As I left the room, I made sure I had my ramen with me, as Kate would need it for the Ramen Eating Contest later on. I dropped off the ramen in Con Ops and made one last stop at the Subway across the street, having a nice chat with (who I presume was) the store’s manager as he made my food. I sat back down in the hotel lobby and did my usual recap notes catch-up as none other than the one and only Nick Izumi popped a squat nearby. It was a fun conversation that revolved a lot around bad movies and overly obsessed fangirls. I soon found myself telling him the story of my horrifying encounter with rabid Fruits Basket fangirls during the Ohayocon Game Show panel at the one trip I made to Ohayocon (a story of Con Horror Stories-level proportions). Word to the wise: It’s KYO’S 3D0, not Ryo’s 3D0. By this point, I was beginning to wonder when we had to check out of our rooms by. I eventually found out the time and made my way up to see a very frustrated David (he did a Robbie the Rabbit Cosplay).
Needed this in here because 1.) It’s an awesome Cosplay and 2.) I needed this in to ensure your daily recommended dose of Nightmare Fuel.
Apparently, some extenuating circumstances kept him from getting any sleep and he had to get all his stuff out before the check-out time (as did I). We somehow got it all down to Con Ops just in time for me to report to my last shift in the VGV. It was nothing to write home about as first (pretty sure a lot of others were busy checking out, but soon returned to near-Saturday levels, so the 2 hours dashed by rather Sonic-like. Once I got that out of the way, it was time for my one last big con commitment until tear down: the Ramen Eating Contest. Much fun was had, with even a couple of suprises that came our way. First, one of the contestants was none other than budding internet celebrity Jesh Nyx (who was doing a Let’s Play of Dragonball Z Budokai beforehand), who went on to win his round. Although our second surprise declined to participate, Kate pointed out the guy who last year attacked his ramen so fiercely, he even bit off a piece of his plastic fork. Very manly.
And if it weren’t for the lack of symmetry, I’m sure the Death the Kid cosplayer might’ve pulled it off. :P
We were able to get a few more rounds in this year because we actually got the hot water on time for once. Once that was out of the way, I decided to kill some time vegging out in Con Ops. While I was at it, I ate one last meal from the food they got out of the Con suite. It was a shade past 2pm at this point and since I knew we weren’t getting another chance to eat till the Dead Dog party, I ate as much as I reasonably could. Once I ate my fill, I waddled on over to Main Programming for the final two panels of the kone: Kitsune Q&A (the 2nd part of the panel) and Closing Ceremonies. Not much to say about the Q&A, but Closing Ceremonies was most memorable for a couple of reasons. First off, yet another huge attendance jump (up to 1,795 from 1,400+ last year). Secondly, musical guest Steve Nunez made a rather hilarious remark involving “organized cheese curds”. Once that was over and done with, the kon officially came to the close and with that, the immediate presence of post-con depression. And we still had teardown to do. Joy.
It’s ALWAYS colorful in Roger’s world.
I got up (with the help of my phone’s alarm clock) right at 7:30, but my right arm randomly fell asleep, which made quickly jumping out of bed to shut the alarm off pretty much impossible. After a quick shower and change of clothes, I made my way back over to Subway for my morning $3 sub and coffee. LittleKuriboh apparently had a similar idea, as he was ahead of me in line (if you consider 3 people a line). I didn’t really say a whole lot because I usually tend to require some caffeine in my system before I attempt a coherent conversation with anyone, let alone a Special Guest. I sat down in the hotel lobby to partake in the nommage and catch up on my recap notes when……
A RARE COSPLAY PHOTO OP APPEARS!!!
One thing about Kitsune. Since I am a staffer for it, I don’t seem to get quite the same kinds (and number) of chances to take Cosplay pictures, so I get them when I can. I quickly went back to work on the recap notes and breakfast before heading off to Con Ops so I could give Natasha the winning AMVs so they would have something to show (more on this later on, so stay tuned!). I did have to modify the file names somewhat so they could reflect who won what. I had time to kill yet before my short morning shift in the VGV, so I went in the arcade room to play some pinball. Once I got my jollies there, I went right to work to help the congers indulge in their video gaming goodness (we called it Video Game Valhalla for a reason). It was only a 1-hour shift, but we were busy from the get-go, so the 60 minutes felt more like 10. I did have a bit of a reprieve before I had to be back for the Mystery Tournament, which this year was the relatively obscure Hamster Ball (Sumo Mode). But before that was a first-time trip to the calm amongst the fun chaos aka the Manga Café. Let’s just say I really need to spend more free time down there next year. Only 3 people showed up for the Mystery Tournament, but crap damn, I was determined to make this work! Some of the particpants’ reactions were pretty hilarious, but fun was had by all, so we’ll call it a success.
The shortness of the tournament did have its upside, as it freed me up to attend a couple of panels, namely Adam’s Name That Anime Opening panel and LittleKuriboh Unabridged. I managed to score a couple quick points on behalf of the audience, naming the Comic Party and Yu-Gi-Oh: Season Zero openings before Team Cat Ears took the opening round. It was my team’s turn next (Team Game Over). We fought valiantly, but Team Cat Ears sealed our fate with nailing the Fate/Stay Night opening. The audience managed to knock them (and the new team) out the next round, but Team Cat Ears emerged the ultimate victor. I quickly hopped across the hall to Main Programming for the LK Unabridged panel. We were treated to a reading of the dialogue from Episode 1 of Yu-Gi-Oh Abridged by LK, as done through an “Ebonics Translator”.
Much hilarity ensued with that (he had to frequently pause, we were all laughing so much), with the best part being “Blue Eyes White Dragon” being referred to as the “Blue Peeps Whitey Dragon” (which strangely sounds like a good name for a fantasy football team) and even a panel crashing by Team4Star. We then got to see the Opening Ceremonies video LK did for us. There was also a re-airing of the newest episode of Dragonball Z Abridged, but I had to leave beforehand for what had to be the most bats**t insane 3-hour-long shift I ever worked at this (or any) convention. Even with up to 4 of us manning the table, we were struggling to keep up. But we managed (as we always do). Thankfully, my good friend Ashlee stopped by (who I hadn’t seen since the first Kitsune Kon) to hang out for a bit.
I was supposed to help with the dance setup, but my Super Mario Bros. High Score Speed Run tournament was set for them so I ended up attending the Cosplay Contest instead. Sadly, between the fact I had to stand in the back (packed house) and that they only had a spotlight on the stage with little other lighting, any attempts to take Cosplay pictures were in vain and I ended up with nothing for my efforts. A run of mega cuteness overload cosplays in the Exhibition portion nearly caused the universe to implode, but all was well as we made it to the AMVs in the Intermission. Lea’s Doctor Who video got a MAJOR pop out of the crowd and was easily the fan favorite (it won 1st in the General Geekery category for a reason). They all got shown (which I swear I will upload to YouTube once I get this recap posted), awards were handed out, so off the the Video Game Valhalla!
Once more, I had to round up a couple participants at literally the last minute (2 of them were partaking in my tournament in-between their fights in the Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 tournament), but it was another success nonetheless. I quickly jumped up to Main Programming to see if Eric needed help, but things seemed well in hand, so I put my con bag in the hotel room, running into Profrssor Pher along the way. After a hilarious and impromptu attempt at a Fusion Dance, I grabbed a quick bite in the Con Suite and rejoined the festivities as the line was forming for our dance, aptly titled The Amplifier.
And I wasn’t even in the back of the line (it was on both sides of the wall).
When the room opened up, I decided to randomly high five dang near everyone in line. Soon, everyone else was doing it and it quickly looked like something out of the end of a Brewers game. I only stayed for about the first hour of it (another short VGV shift partly the reason why), so I can’t give a complete review of it. But I will say in spite of the lack of geek-friendly songs (in the part I was there for), good times were still had.
Even Big Bird had fun.
Nothing too terribly interesting happened on shift, but it went by quick anyways and I tried to do a playthrough of the first inFamous game on the PS3 afterwards. Adam, on the other hand was already in the midst of another Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past late-night playthrough. The mind was willing, but my body was not. I soon stopped, quick checked on Adam’s progress before calling it a night. 3 days down, I to go!
Sunday made for an interesting day in more ways than one. Not only was it that the first person to greet me at the All-Staff meeting was Adam (who predictably rubbed in Fulham’s lucky win over Tottenham earlier that morning), but me and David’s post-meeting errands turned up to be quite fruitful. First, he found an obscure and hard to find figurine in a grab bag at the local Goodwill. Even better was the fact that the GameStop trip resulted in a handful of bonus promotional game posters PLUS an extra Mario-themed prize for one of my tournaments. This prompted David to utter the words, and I quote, “I Knew my Jew-senses were tingling!” Tuesday, I had to sling carts around the parking lot for 8 hours at work PLUS bowl six games (had to prebowl for my Sunday league). Wednesday, on the other hand, was a different beast entirely. A very stress-inducing day at work really left me wanting to flip a table or two. Thankfully, I had most all of my stuff packed up before Thursday, so I at least could afford to have some wind-down time.
Anyhoo, Thursday morning finally came about and it was time for one last quick check (remember, no check lists for me; seems to work better that way) to ensure I had everything before heading to the hotel for what was sure to be our busiest con yet. I had forgotten one item (nothing major, just my NES Power Pad), but I quick grabbed it and I was off! I arrived promptly at Afro Hammer’s place as part of “Team Console” at 11am, with one of the U-Haul’s already half-loaded (I didn’t see till afterwards that we were asked to be at Alex’s earlier if it could be helped). There was no random police car this time around, but there was one significant change from last year: HOLY CRAP WAS IT COLD OUTSIDE!!!! Chilly temps aside, we were moving like a well-oiled machine and we got the U-Hal fully loaded very quickly (about 1pm, if I recall correctly).
Which of course meant time for sexy poses on one’s car. ;P
With us not having access to our rooms (we finally got Empire this year) till around 5-6pm, we dealt with something most unusual for us on a Con Thursday: Free Time. Gobs and gobs of Free Time. We seriously had no idea what to do with ourselves. But since we were all hungry, we ventured out to eat. We eventually settled for the Muncheez Pizzeria a couple blocks down the road, which provided for one of the few chances I had this weekend to follow any of the major NCAA Tournament action.
Om nom nom.
Once we got our fill, we did manage to briefly occupy ourselves by unloading some stuff from Afro Hammer’s car into Con Ops and out of another car. But once 5pm came around, it was pedal to the metal! I did have to take a short break not long after the start of setup, as me and the rest of my AMV Judges (sans Sam, who couldn’t make it that evening and would do her share the next day) had quite a few AMVs to judge. We ended up judging 14 entries in all, which was our most ever. This was even more impressive considering TWO of last year’s entrants had since joined staff (one of whom was a fellow judge).
90 minutes later, the last of the AMVs were judged and it was back to Empire to see what was left to do. In an effort to constantly outdo ourselves, David had acquired an Atari Jaguar (yes, that Atari Jaguar). We also had a vintage Pong console we had hooked up to a TV on the check-out table. Not to leave the poor guy out, the Virtual Boy was on display once more (and yes, it still got played a lot).
Before we knew it, we were pushing Midnight and since Subway was closed by then (so much for tradition), there were talks about going to Perkins instead. Adam (who had been helping out with setup here and there) and I didn’t much feel like waiting, so we hopped in his car and hit the McDonald’s drive-thru instead. This also prompted us to give it a go with his Strat-O-Matic tabletop baseball simulator that he alluded to earlier in the week, since I had yet to gain access to my hotel room. It was close early, but Gallardo’s hiccup in the 6th Inning allowed the Cubs (combined with Braun batting 0-4 with 3 K’s) to beat the Brewers 5-2. I was eventually able to get into my room around 2:30-ish and soon got a fairly decent amount of shuteye and boy did I ever need it….
I woke up fairly refreshed for 4 hours of sleep and (seemingly) ready to take on the challenge. I was chatting with some peeps in the lobby, jotting down con recap notes, but was soon in need of some nommage. Right on queue, Mitch walked on by and so I inquired about the Con Suite (as it would be my primary food source for the weekend). It wasn’t available yet, so I hopped across the street for some Subway to take advantage of their $3 breakfast deal (which included coffee). Once I finished that off, I did the preliminary compiling of the AMV Scores so when I got Sam’s scores later, I didn’t have to add quite as much at once. A wise man did once say “Work smarter, not harder.”
Our Pong setup, with R.O.B. standing watch ever so vigilantly.
There wasn’t a lot to do before heading down to VGR for Setup and my first shift, so I went down early so we could get everything fired up and ready to go. I soon made my way to Main Programming, as they were having a special Hang-out time for the staff with the various guests. But much to my surprise, nobody was there yet. I shrugged and made my way back down to the VGR(which was soon dubbed “Video Game Valhalla”) to start my shift. It was pretty slow for about the first 2/3rds of it, which allowed me to sneak out for a few minutes to make it back to Main Programming. The guests and most of the staff were there this time, so I strolled in, hoping to get some autographs.
Unlike my Con Recap predecessor, I do occasionally seek out some autographs (Different strokes for different folks. That and I think he tends to roll higher Charisma scores), usually via giant-sized Magic: The Gathering or Yu-Gi-Oh! cards. I made LittleKuriboh’s a MTG card, which prompted David Vincent to make a most amusing “Dividing by Zero” remark as LK signed it. I was able to get Lisle Wilkerson’s and David Gillebeau’s as well, but Team4Star had left before I could get theirs. I couldn’t stay too much longer, so I nabbed a quick donut or two and made my way back to work. The last third of the shift did get pretty hectic. The crowds were coming in, massive signup sheets and signage printing commenced. Sadly, we miscalculated a smidgebit and ran out of color ink before all except the Aromored Core tourney flier (I design all the fliers for our tournaments) could get printed. Oh well, gives me a legit reason to reuse them if we do any of them in the future. Once my shift was over, I had some time to kill before I had to head back to Main Programming for the AMV Contest. I got upstairs and this is the sight that greeted me……
Holy Aunt Jemima, Batman!
Yeah, for some time that day, we had lines for Registration that were quite long. For a time, the lines were as far back as the elevators just above the VGR. Needless to say, the Registration staff, at their table, were kept quite busy. I randomly high fived some people in the crowd as I made my way over for the AMV Contest. In spite of Melissa’s laptop ill-timed crapout (thankfully Eric was there with his), we managed to get all the entries shown, both Contest and Exhibition. Helps too we had 2 hours for it this year. Tyler Neuman successfully defended his title, winning Best In Show for the 2nd year in a row. The contest also had a minor bonus, as seeing the Gokaiger video caused Eric to admit it makes him wanna watch the show now.
I stopped back by VGV to kill time before the Kitsune Kon 2013 episode of Otaku Tonight just in time to see Thor, who had decided to randomly stop gravity on the TMNT pinball machine.
He was quite proud of his achievement.
While I did have to duck out towards the end of it, Otaku Tonight continued its tradition of late-night hilarity. Curt Arnott got quite friendly with Nick Izumi, Pher made his mandatory Bleach joke, and “Where Are They Now?” made a glorious return. Until the video gets uploaded, please allow me to provide you with a visual sneak peek:
Hey, if I have to see this in my nightmares, it’s only fair for you to as well. :P
I did have one final obligation for the evening, which was a King of Fighters XIII tournament. But alas, only 1 person signed up, which forced me to cancel it. Between that and the flier thing earlier, I was feeling a bit down, but that would soon go away. I made an effort to check out the Con Horror Stories panel to cheer up and while (per standards) I can’t disclose in great detail what was mentioned, I will say that it started a chant that followed around the convention area throughout the weekend. You had to be there. Once that was over and done with, I was finally able to get Team4Star to autograph their Yu-Gi-Oh card (which they got a major kick out of). I then decided to play some random games in the VGV before finally turning in around 2-ish. Halftime!
So, you may have noticed a slight lack of activity on this blog for some months and for that, I apologize (all 8 of you that currently follow my blog). I was supposed to go to Daisho Con in November, but forces beyond my control put the kibosh on those plans for the 3rd straight year. And since my next convention will be Kitsune Kon (which I am still a proud Video Game Room Minion for) in March, I figured now would be a good time to let you know I haven’t quite died yet. :P
So on top of getting my blog out there a bit more, I decided to do a couple of things: 1.) Inform you of my other upcoming convention plans. 2.) Provide you at the end of this entry with a handy link to the first page of my recaps, which are conveniently linked together (by convention) so you don’t have to do too much back-clicking.
First off, my upcoming convention plans. As I earlier mentioned, I will be helping staff Kitsune Kon for its third year. We’re getting geared up now for our biggest year yet, so if you haven’t yet, feel free to pre-register and if need be, submit a panel or even an AMV Contest entry. Once Kitsune is done and over with, I will be heading to No Brand Con at The Plaza in Eau Claire, WI which I have been going to since 2006. After that, I likely will be going to Wausaubicon in Wausau, WI in July, definitely going to Geek.Kon the following month and hoping to finally make it back to Daisho in November.
Lastly, here are those links I promised you. ^_^
No Brand Con 2012: http://azzyk83.tumblr.com/post/23270830187/no-brand-con-2012
See you at Kitsune Kon!
We were able to get up relatively on time Sunday morning, if for nothing else than to resume a tradition between me and Dancing Matt (Rachel was coming with): the Sunday Morning Denny’s Run. Also, Matt just barely missed out on it this year (we missed him by 15 minutes as we later learned) as it ended up being just me and Rachel. It was fulfilling though to finally have a wholesome breakfast for one this weekend. Once we got our nommage (the first time we ate out together in the 5-6 months we’ve been dating) nommed, it was time to head back and make sure our luggage and such was in order. We did have a noon check-out, after all.
Scotty caught up with us as we checked out and got out stuff loaded in his car. There wasn’t a whole lot on the agenda today save for Rachel’s final Tabetop shift and Scotty possibly helping with tear-down. With Rach off to Tabletop, I figured on a final major run to the Vendor Room. I got to chat with a few of the vendors and artists on the Artist Alley side of the room. First stop was of course at the OTP booth to check out their Gokaiger cosplays.
Now THAT’S living it Gokai!
I did browse through their collection of sellable goods (which was mostly translated Yaoi and Yuri doujinshi) and I almost bought a Luka x Ahim book. Alas, I didn’t have much left (unless I wanted to skip the post-con dinner, but more on that later). That’s when they pointed out something I had neglected to spot all weekend long that were cheap: the collection of Red Ranger keys they had on the side wall of their booth. I scored myself a ShinkenRed Ranger Key.
Best $5 I have EVAR spent at a convention.
I eventually made my way back to the Day Glo Studio booth to chat with good friend (and frequent sheller of Sonny Strait’s webcomic We Shadows) Autumn. She told me to swing back by in a bit because she had something for me. After more wandering, I came back where I was presented with a sweet button for my brand new Con Bag (that I picked up at NBC’s table in Ambassador Alley) of Goat.
Once the last bit of Vendor Room fix was out of me, it was back to the video game room for some quick gaming. Got a few rounds of different games in and it was over to the Tabletop Room to visit Rachel for a bit before the only other item on the day’s programming schedule I had any interest in: the Eric Stuart concert. Rachel was so happy with how Volunteering at Geek.Kon’s Tabletop turned out, she decided to join Kitsune’s Tabletop room staff. Mission Accomplished.
I soon departed for the concert, which was a very nice and entertaining performance. If you have Spotify, go ahead and look him up for a bit. I was soon joined during the performance by Adam (whose website you really need to check out) and Simone (those two look so cute together). The concert was over before we knew it, so there was plenty of idle time while Adam was onstage making sure things were ready for Closing Ceremonies.
This is Simone’s derp face.
Scotty stopped by our group (Rachel had shown up halfway through the concert) and informed me and Rach that the rest of the Kitsune group had planned on having their post-con dinner at Olive Garden. We decided the three of us were doing our own thing, which freed Scotty up to help with tear-down.
After much thanking of the guests, Adam was more than happy to announce that Geek.Kon’s attendance jumped nearly 200 from last year to over 1,800 (their attendance when they were a free con in its first year). They were also going with a Science theme for next year, so its gonna be fun to see what comes of that. Since all was now done and over with, me and Rachel decided we’d help with tear-down as well. Why the hell not, right?
We did some work in the video game room, but they seemed to have things well in-hand so we eventually made our way to the LAN room (the only time I was even near that area the entire weekend) and helped out there for a while. That didn’t take as long as anticipated and me and Rachel were left with plenty of idle time while Scotty was still at it. This meant one thing: EPIC CHEEK-POKING WAR!
While I lost quite handily, it did pass the time rather quickly. Scotty soon informed us Adam had invited the three of us to the Geek.Kon Dead Dog Party over at the (very) close by TGI Friday’s.
Fairly certain this was the first solid meal Scotty had all weekend.
While Geek.Kon had it’s rough spots this year (mostly organizational and vgr-related issues), it was still a very enjoyable convention and me and Rachel plan on Volunteering again next year.