- BEFORE THE CON : As much as I don’t like to ding a show before it starts, they seem to be a bit unorganized based on their website/schedule issues
- No, brony friends, just because I have apples at the dinner table doesn’t mean I’m razzing you
- Minor drama even before the show started, oy
- FRIDAY : The closer I get to Houston the worse the drivers seem to get
- My GPS was set to ignore toll roads. I forgot I have a TXTag now /facehoof
- DQ down the road from the hotel? AW YEAH
- The hotel seems to have good WiFi, w00t
- A press pass! I feel special
- I liked the little Canterlot Times newspaper thingie
- Except for my badge, I have no pony stuff. I’m always the weirdo at these things
- If your job is to check badges, it might help to take off your sunglasses, dude
- Note to self: You don’t like heights, stay out of the clear elevators
- Furry 101 went well, had a good crowd out!
- Maybe a little too well, I blasted through my material in 30 min
- I kinda don’t want to go anywhere and lose my AWESOMELY CLOSE PARKING SPOT
- It’s a little strange how formal dances have become a thing at cons now.
- Thing I said in the elevator: “Yes, I’m here for the cartoon thing”
- SATURDAY : The day to day schedule thing isn’t that great if you’re a panelist.
- HOUSTON HAS WAFFLE HOUSE YES
- There’s a charity? Need to work on that advertising, guys!
- Sombrero covered with foil; what Mexican conspiracy theorists wear.
- Except for the whole ‘dudes carrying plush ponies’ thing this isn’t THAT weird.
- Thing I forgot: Writing panel handouts. Thank you business center!
- It wasn’t into today that I realized I should probably turn off my YOU’VE GOT *ING MAIL message sound. Oops
- A friend was all GET ME SOMETHING WITH THIS PONY ON IT, and I had to look up what she looked like.
- I have to say, the hotel is in a really good spot, plenty of places to eat around and even some within walking distance.
- Wore my red Wreck-It Ralph short on Saturday and realized if I let my hair grow out I’ll kinda look like the Steven Universe kid. YAY LAZY COSPLAY IDEA
- Not sure how I feel about the whole ‘paid lesson panel’ thing
- Saw another panelist who stood still in front of the audience and droned on and on. Yeah, I think I’m Doing It Right
- Selling is always a crapshoot, Thom Zahler didn’t have any copies of Love and Capes on him, guess I’ll check it out online! Long Distance was very charming, be interesting to see where it goes.
- I am a mite disappointed in the hotel, the early check in thingie in their app didn’t work and I put my ‘do not clean’ sign up at night and they did it anyway.
- Someone I may or may not have known in college recognized me. Whoa.
- E-book panel went well, too, I think I’m getting the hang of this!
- Question during panel: “Was DashCon or Sonic Con worse?” Me: “SonicCon…At least people went to DashCon.”
- Apparently my OC “Big Words” made everyone think of George W Bush…D’OH
- One elevator broke down, wasn’t too big of a deal, though
- Got a letter from a Derpy cosplayer addressed to ‘Someone Special’. ITS SO CUTE I DON’T WANT TO OPEN IT
- A musician got their tail in a knot because there were DJs in a musician panel. Oy.
- No conbooks, a bit odd considering all the art/fiction this fandom produces.
- If the point of the speakers in the flowers were to annoy the bleep put of me, Fission Mucking Accomplished, hotel.
- SUNDAY : Found a button on Friday and turned it in to lost and found on Sunday, I didn’t want it to become my “tell tale tie”
- I didn’t think AJ was going to remember the ‘No Fun Zone” thing he mentioned in our podcast, but there it was!
- Note to self: Always take pictures of cosplayers because likely YOU WILL NEVER SEE THEM AGAIN even if it is a small con.
- I didn’t want to leave early Sunday, but life had other plans. Stupid life.
- Almost made it all the way home on the same tank of gas, thank you Honda CR-V!
Ushicon 8 took place this past weekend. It is different in that it is the only 18+ anime con in Texas, as well as the first one I’ve ever attended. On with the list!
- I didn’t know this year’s Ushicon was number 8 until I saw it on the t-shirt.
- Yeah, that’s not terribly important, but if you’ve been around for awhile, you should crow a little, you know?
- Worst thing that I noticed: Why does the men’s room on the first floor smell like mushrooms?
- Round Rock has the screwiest parking lots I’ve ever driven through.
- The maid cafe had the same large parfait on the menu listed as the “Lover’s Parfait” or “Forever Alone.” Clever.
- Given that Valentine’s day is this week I was tempted to get a “Forever Alone” one but I think it contained enough sugar to put a horse into diabetic shock.
- The Dairy Queen near the hotel has to be the fastest one I have ever been to. After placing my order, I filled my soda, sat down, started to chat with Chris, and BAM. Done.
- The hotel did everything in their power to piss me off before and during check-in.
- Wow, I can actually talk with fellow attendees about anime from the 80’s like Dirty Pair and even Robot Carnival!
- No Rock Band in the video game room? WEAK.
- It could have totally fit in the middle where nobody was playing table-top games.
- Being an 18+ con meant swearing was okay. ***k yeah.
- That said, I don’t think I’ve ever been to a con that was this well behaved.
- Which, I guess, is kind of 0the point of the whole thing.
- The panels were pretty interesting, or at least the ones I could enter because Panel Room 2 was too damn small for anything.
- Meanwhile there were plenty of empty chairs in the video rooms…just sayin’
- The cosplay show was cool; no judges or drama, just lots of folks showing off their cool costumes.
- Holding up my iPad mini for 20 minutes to record it was not, guess I’ll stick with my camera.
- Actually Panel Room 2 did work well for an improvised “Artist Meetup” on Saturday night 🙂
- There were a few fellow furries present, w00t.
- The number of bronies present (or at least the ones that were wearing t-shirts) could be counted on one hand. AWESOME.
- The only time things got loud was when it got late and folks started drinking, you know, like at every other fan convention.
- Went to a “Project Meeting” panel on Sunday to offer feedback. I sat around for about 10 minutes being ignored and left. They could have at least asked me to introduce myself.
- Okay, not completely ignored, one guy was decent enough to offer me a doughnut.
- There was a gap of ‘nothing interesting happening’ on Sunday long enough for me to make a quick sojourn to Fry’s Electronics.
- Fry’s still has a anime section!
- I made the mistake of going to the maid cafe to chill out during Yaoi Tea Time. It was like I was listening to a Spanish novela, and occasionally seeing…well, I’d rather not go there.
Another year means another bunch of conventions to attend and enjoy! Unlike previous years, where I was either just an attendee or assisting with other folks’ tables, I will be peddling my wares at some of these events. Buy or die!
While this isn’t a convention per se, I plan on showing up and selling my books at the St. Phillip’s Anime Club Anime Show held every weekend at Bubblehead Tea just south of downtown San Antonio on the first Friday of nearly every month. I don’t know that I’ll have a table every month, but its a fun free event to go to and hang out at.
Ushicon, Feb 8-10, Round Rock, TX – Ushicon is an 18+ only anime convention, this will be the first time that I am attending, so I’ll be curious to see how different it will be without the usual Pocky and Ramune-fueled teenagers running around everywhere.
Furry Fiesta 2013, Feb 22-24, Addison, TX – After gushing over Furry Fiesta last year, coming back is a no-brainer, but this time I’m hoping to do a panel on e-book publishing, maybe sit around in Artist Alley for a day or so and have fun.
Mizuumi-Con 6, March 23, San Antonio, TX – San Antonio’s second biggest anime con should be loads of fun again, hopefully the gym won’t become a sauna like it did last year. I plan on having a table at this one also.
Wild Nights, April 25-29, Robber’s Cave State Park – Despite Oklacon being an ‘okay’ event and not a ‘knock my socks off’ one, I am eager to try another outdoor convention. Wild Nights takes place in a different part of Oklahoma and as there aren’t very many other furcons near Texas, let’s give it a shot!
Texas ComicCon 2013 June 21-23, San Antonio, TX – I like Texas Comic-Con, and I want to like it more, but its venue is a dump and the show has become the ‘same thing every year’ for me, so I’ll probably go just for a day to hang out with friends.
Anthrocon 2013, July 4-7, Pittsburgh PA – Anthrocon is the world’s largest furcon, and something I’d really like to go to, but I’m on the fence on making the trip because of the money involved. Stupid car payment and rent going up.
San Japan 6, Aug 16-18, San Antonio, TX – The 500-lb gorilla in San Antonio, San Japan is a blast. I’m not 100% sure of my plans for it right now, but I’m fairly certain I won’t have a table so I’ll get to actually have fun.
As most of these conventions take place in the first half of 2013, I may add another event late in the year, money permitting of course. Hope to see you somewhere!
I have resolved to start taking more ‘real’ vacations; a ‘real vacation’ being a trip during which I go somewhere or do something that I have never seen or done before. Thus, I will be attending Oklacon later this week: it will be the first road trip I’ve had in awhile, barely my second furry convention, and my first ‘outdoor’ convention. As such, I’ll be camping for three days and some new friends will be coming along.
While that is all fine and dandy, it also occurred to me that I could also take a vacation from myself. I attend fan conventions regularly, but I’ve never really gone through the trouble of putting a costume together for a convention. Granted, I’ve tried once or twice but its was still me, just wearing an 8-bit tie or a half-assed steampunk-type outfit; no glue, no gears, no goggles, so no steampunk.
As geeks/nerds/otkau/what-have-yous, I think we’re fortunate in that regard. Like the Rekall sales weasel told Quaid in Total Recall: “What is the same about every vacation you’ve ever taken?”
As far as I know, RealmsCon is the only anime event that goes on in Corpus Christi. I remember going to the first one way back when, and have had tables there these last two years. With First Storm Manga done with, I was now free to just enjoy the show. Having been underwhelmed with RealmsCon in the past, I decided to drive down and check it out for one day as opposed to the whole weekend.
I got to the American Bank Center at about one in the afternoon, and the setup was very similar to what they had last year; artists and panels were on the first floor and big events and guests were on the second. It was different in that the number of artists and dealers had been reduced from 2010. The same amount of space was being used, but things were a little more spread out. They did things like use only one side of a hallway instead of both. While it made the space looked a little more empty (particularly the dealer’s room) I think it was the right thing to do. Here’s why:
I don’t know what the attendance numbers are for RealmsCon, but it would appear that they overdid it last year when they held their first show at the American Bank Center last year. Back then, they packed as many artists and dealers as they could into the space, but it appears that they didn’t have the numbers to support all those attendees. I overheard that both attendees and artists were pretty unhappy with that situation.
It looks like they found the sweet spot this year, because nearly all of the folks that I spoke with said that things were going well for them, sales-wise, at least. Ideally, fewer artists and dealers meant more money for the ones that were there.
I really didn’t do much there beyond hang out with friends so I attend any of the events. While they do have just a little bit of repetition in terms of their guests, it is nice to see familiar faces. Of course, I have to mention that their big guest Tom Felton cancelled, which was unfortunate.
I didn’t attend any of the panels, so I don’t have anything to say about them except that Airship Isabella appeared to be running a significant chunk of them, according to the schedule. That makes me wonder about the anime community in Corpus Christi, are there not enough folks down there that want to do panels? Realms always seems to have issues getting enough panels to fill the event’s three days. Last year, each presenter was given two hours, and this year there were 15-30 minute gaps in between events.
That minor quibble aside, I had a fun time at RealmsCon and there was a good crowd there. While they had to take a step back in some ways, it was a step forward for the most part, and I look forward to coming back next year, maybe for the whole weekend instead.
San Japan 4TW was this past weekend and it was a BLAST. Except for some technical issues at the concert and the general lunacy that went on in Con Alley before the rave, I had a great time.
The Loliholix are no more, we are now NeRiMa ねりま
I almost felt obligated to attend the new Steampunk con “AetherFest” after giving them crap on this very blog a few weeks ago. Honestly, though, I would have attended regardless just to satisfy my curiosity. When my friend Chris Holm asked me to help him out at his table and with his panel (as the “guest editor” of his new comic “Steam Pets”), it was an easy “yes.”
Unfortunately, “help out” also means “don’t get to see much of anything,” so I know there was lots of cool stuff I didn’t get to experience. I spent most of the event at Chris’ table over in the game room along with a few other vendors. Mutual friend Jackie Naehrig joined us on Saturday and we had a fun time hanging around and marveling at the attendees, many wearing appropriate attire and accoutrements.
Chris and Jackie dressed up, so I felt just a little bit embarrassed sitting next to them sporting a T-shirt and blue jean shorts on Saturday. I improvised a little something on Sunday, though. I put on some slacks, a button down shirt, dusted off a flat cap and stopped to get a set of suspenders on the way back to the St. Anthony Hotel. I have to admit, it felt neat, like I should have also been carrying a giant wrench or an oil can or something. I thought looked like the guy in the boiler room as opposed to all the captains, pilots and proper ladies walking about. Upon seeing my outfit, though, Chris said I looked like “Professor Layton’s hat boy.” Jerk.
The only panel I attended was one that I was a part of. I sat with Chris on his “Intro to Drawing and Comic-Making” panel where we talked about making “Steam Pets” and our experiences with First Storm Manga with a small spirited group. I wandered around for a bit and checked out the other dealer area and the “museum,” where they had quite a few neat items on display and for sale. It was all very nice and being at the historic St. Anthony Hotel (built in 1909) added greatly to the ambiance. Judging from the pictures I’ve seen on Facebook, the events they held on the evenings of Friday and Saturday appear to have been very entertaining. The misgivings I had previously about “steam-snobs” were unfounded, and I must say that looking the part does add to the fun of being there.
While I had fun at Aetherfest and have been hearing good things from people that were there, there are some things that they need to work on. Let me start by acknowledging that some of these things cannot be helped (particularly where the hotel is concerned) but you have to take the bad with the good, so here we go.
Split Vendor Area Is a Bother – Having two separate areas for vendors is never a good thing (see also: MizuumiCon 2011) and it would benefit all involved if the organizers could try to have all them in one area next time. I’m not familiar enough with the layout of the St. Anthony to know if that is possible, but if it is, it should be considered.
“Third Floor: Hosiery, Lingerie, and Panels!” – The majority of the panels were held on the third floor, which was kind of lousy, but I have to let it slide because it is a consequence of the way the St. Anthony was built. The fact that the program sometimes said “Third Floor” and “Third Room,” however, was not.
Needs Improvement, See Me After Class – Now that I have had an opportunity to look it over a bit closer, I’d say whomever edited the program was asleep at the airship wheel.
Promotion – I think the organizers missed out on prime opportunities to promote their event at either Mizuumi-con (which may or may not have been full) or at ChimaeraCon. I did see flyers at ChimaeraCon, but they did not have a lot of information about the event. I would strongly recommend the Aetherfest folks consider requesting a Con Alley table at San Japan 4TW in August.
Website – For the love of Tesla, lads, get a webhost or something. It’s not that expensive, and you can even get a free one from Google. Not everyone is on Facebook (yet) and while Tumblr does look nice, I shouldn’t have to go to some skeevy download site with pop-up ads just to see your schedule and program. In addition, if you have your own host, you can put up picture galleries, forums and other things to attract interest.
Despite the quibbles I just mentioned, I thought AetherFest was a good con. As was expected for a first-time event, the crowd was small, but those who made it out had a good time. Those of us who are “steam-newbies” got to check out some cool stuff and learn a little something about this fascinating world called “Steampunk.” I am confident that I will be returning next year. Who knows, I may even sport a waist coat or a bowler hat or maybe just a really big wrench.
Good show, fellows!