• Conventions

    Quinte Mini Con Recap

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    A little later than I originally planned to get this up, but I’d like to state for the record that I want to go to more small conventions next year.


    Because Quinte Mini Con was a lot of low-stress fun.

    There was ample opportunity for geeky shopping for me, my wife, and the kids I brought with me (4, including 2 of my 3). Panels were all volunteer run and consisted of a selection of things the girls were actually into: Anime, webcomic, plus cosplay stuff for the cosplayers, an evil laugh contest, some retro gaming, and a couple of celebrity guests.

    Now before you get too limiting with your definition of celebrity, let me tell you who the celebrities were at QMC from my point of view. You can have your own definition and get upset at who I haven’t included who was on the guest list, but the beauty of any convention is that it isn’t all things to all people. Yes, there were some high end cosplayers there, too, but that’s not who I was there to see.


    John Stocker is a Canadian voice icon. He’s got well over 100 show level voice acting credits and has done voices for such disparate shows as Franklin and Friends, Totally Spies, Mario Brothers, the Care Bears, Tripping the Rift, and Tintin. He’s the also a voice director (Sailor Moon, anyone? How about Mike the Knight, or maybe Fugget About It?), and even spent a little time in front of the camera early in his career. I was able to spend a few minutes talking to him on the convention floor and he gave a great Q&A to an audience of a dozen or so.

    Dan DayDan Day is an artist who’s done work for both Marvel and DC in the comics world, as well as smaller publishers, and has a breadth of work in trading cards and gaming too, including Dragon Magazine, Magic the Gathering, and Steve Jackson Games. Dan was very friendly, very approachable, and also gave a fun Q&A to a small group. Actually, with the amount of time I spent talking to him during several visits to his table, I felt like I got a double Q&A. He also really needs a website, but he’s too busy drawing really spectacular stuff.

    The pressures at a bigger con would not have let me spend more than a few seconds talking to either of these two gentlemen, if I’d even been able to spend enough time in the right spots to see them. I like big cons, but there’s a lot to be said for a more personal touch.

    And being able to look around and see the whole floor at once offers a little extra freedom for the kids you have with you, depending on ages. Both of mine took advantage of that, and one of them surprising me a bit to do so. Plus, I was able to spend a lot of time with some good friends I don’t get to see very often.

    I’ll be honest, though, the highlight of the weekend for me was quite probably that my youngest daughter wanted to get Chibi-ized with her parents.


    This was done by the tremendously talented Kim Nguyen for a ridiculously low price.

    QMC is on my list every year that they want to run it.

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  • Conventions

    Cosplay for the Con

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    So by now, you’re sick of hearing about Fan Expo and why I broke my promise to not go this year. Instead, this post is about cosplay.

    I made a suggestion to my family not too long ago, joking, mostly, about a potential group cosplay to do for a convention this year.

    To preface that, Erik and I have been pretty seriously discussing doing the two half-black half-white aliens from an episode of classic Star Trek, “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield”, but I’m not sure how well it’s going to work. It’s barely 2 months before the convention, and we haven’t even looked at material or makeup. That needs to change, and very, very soon.

    But the group cosplay suggestion, which both daughters and my wife agreed to, the girls pretty much instantly, was that we would all dress up as My Little Ponies.

    Yes, really.

    Now, I don’t consider myself a Brony, though I do certainly ascribe to some of the more obvious general cultural tenets of the Brony movement. Friendship is magic, helping each other is cool, and it’s important to give a crap. Have I seen every single episode of Friendship Is Magic? Yeah, no. Have I seen some episodes? Absolutely. And while I personally find the writing predictable a lot of time, the stories are cute, and they play the emotions very well. The intended audience of young children, and not just girls, although it’s obvious they are the primary target, is well served by the show.

    The fact that it’s found a broader audience by being cute and clever, even if predictable, and warm and welcoming, is a good thing. So if I’m not a Brony, I respect the idea. And why would it bother me to dress up as one to entertain my daughters? The answer to that question is that it wouldn’t.

    There will be pictures. I’m sure there’ll be many pictures. Most of which will not be taken by me or any member of the family. That’s okay. I don’t care if they’re all over the internet, and if there’s a My Little Pony photo shoot on the day we pick that cosplay, awesome, because that will be an experience that none of us will ever forget.

    Experience is one of the most important things about life. If you spend all of your time grinding away at the same things day after day, with never a thought to the people and the world around you or your own personal growth and development, and life really is a waste.

    What I really want is for my kids to reach adulthood having had an awesome childhood, even better teen years, and to be fully prepared, well-rounded individuals ready to build their own place in society and their own families of awesomeness.

    I may have made mistakes along the way, and I wouldn’t be human if I hadn’t, but I like to think that things are working out pretty well when you look the big picture. I have three incredible kids, who, as I write this, are 15, 13, and 11. Every age has been my favorite for each of them, and I think that will continue for a while yet, but every chance I get, I want to give them something else awesome to remember.

    And if my dressing up as a My Little Pony works for that, I’m there.

    Of course, if we’re doing any cosplay for Fan Expo, we need to get started. No one really dressed up for Ottawa Comic Con, an only Erik bothered for Anime North and only for one day. He made his own costume to, a character from Deadman Wonderland, an anime I had never heard of until he started working the costume.

    But why did no one dress up? I blame myself for failing to get sufficiently excited by the idea. When I asked what people’s plans were, what they might be working on, I got lots of vague, noncommittal answers. I’ll call it a lesson learned. My Little pony idea has at least my daughters’ excited. Amanda is quite fond of the show, and Melanie loved the idea. Erik looked at me, arched an eyebrow, and walked away shaking his head. Not interested, but I’m not surprised. It’s certainly well below a 15-year-old boy’s dignity. I still hope he might change his mind.

    More generally, Fan Expo will be different.

    I’ve been trying to decide if I just how many of the four days I want to dress for and how many costumes. The ponies will be relatively easy to do. In fact, Amanda has a couple from last year we can probably add to for the girls, just needing completely fresh ones for my wife and me.

    If I can get my son’s excitement level up, we’ve got Lokai and Bele for another day. This could be a fun cosplay, probably a first day of the convention cosplay because Erik and I have even toyed with the idea of chasing each other through the con while wearing them.

    But can I do more? Should I?

    I have some ideas, most of them, unsurprisingly, accounting from classic trek. A couple those of are easy, just costing a few dollars, but a few dollars are harder to come by than a few minutes or hours of time. Financially speaking, it might be better to try to make costumes.

    I had been considering the idea of Business Gorn, which seems less attractive now that I’ve seen TuxedoVader. But the basic idea was a Gorn mask, the hand and foot accoutrements for a giant lizard, and wearing one of my lighter suits. Tuck the mask in and wear a tie and I probably wouldn’t even need the body paint the backup.

    I also thought of stealing a couple of costume ideas from the episode a mock time. Vulcan ears aren’t too difficult, though robes might be a little harder, though I have some thoughts on where I could get them. A Vulcan priest might be a lot of fun, but I don’t know if I have that much free time between now and then. Of course, there the ears with a classic blue starship uniform, a prop or two to make an easy Starfleet officer. Not Spock, per se, because I don’t have the hair for it, but surely he wasn’t the only Vulcan who ever enlisted Starfleet.

    I thought an Andorian might be fun to. The challenge would be the antenna. Blue face paint is probably not too difficult, as long as you buy decent grade stuff. Again, it comes into the idea time to make the costume. And my sewing skills are not the greatest. Who am I kidding? My sewing skills are negligible.

    But I do already have a costume in the can that has nothing to do with Star Trek, pulling out my Professor Stein costume from Anime North last year, our group cosplay. Doing that, Mel might dig out her Maka jacket and repair the scythe that is currently in two pieces in her room.

    I do need to give it a little more thought, and don’t know if I need to dress up every single day. Especially not if I’m the only one of my family who does. I do have a preference for group costumes if I I can get some of the other members of the family to participate and failing that, anything Star Trek is fair game. And if I’m willing to expand which series I’m looking at for aliens, there is a lot of selection over 700 plus episodes of Trek.Plenty of aliens available, but again it all comes down to time and skill. And participation for my family. But we should have one group cosplay in the bag at least . Beyond that, well, we’ll see.

    Be well, everyone.

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  • Conventions

    Fan Expo Again

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    Okay, so as we all figured out yesterday, I’ve given in and allowed myself to be seduced by Fan Expo one more time.

    While they don’t appear to be making a big deal about it being Fan Expo 20, at least not yet, they are, as I suspected pulling out all the stops to get my money. Witness for the defense, a partial guest list.

    • Captain Kirk,
    • Captain Picard,
    • Captain Hammer,
    • Frodo,
    • The original Batman and Robin,
    • The current Doctor,
    • Freddy Krueger,
    • Joxer the Mighty,
    • Darth Maul,
    • Richard Dreyfuss,
    • Stan “The Man” Lee.

    Okay, the last two are real names, but even if you know Richard Dreyfuss from Close Encounters and Jaws, he’s done a tremendous collection of non-genre stuff that he’s far more well known for, I think.

    And Stan Lee is Stan Lee.

    This list also doesn’t touch on Anime or Gaming at all, but if I get to see all of these people speak, I’ll have won the con. Eleven sesssion, as long as they’re spread across four day and not crammed into one or two.

    I also notice the disappearance of the sports section on the web site, which means they will put other stuff where that used to be, and that makes me happy. [As a side note, it probably makes the sports vendors from last year happy, too, because I don’t think they did a great deal of business. They were just a space for the geeks to walk through to get to the stuff we actually care about.

    The competition had been Montréal Comic Con, which was going to cost a lot less, by virtue of

    • the tickets being half the price of Fan Expo
    • Two nights of hotel instead of three
    • Not being on Labour Day Weekend

    But that would not have been fair to my family. Montréal looks like a Star Trek: The Next Generation Fest. Awesome for me with Riker, Data, Dr. Crusher, Counselor Troy, Worf, Laforge, plus Tasha and Q all in one place.

    And yet Fan Expo wins the battle for a peaceful, family trip. There’s just too much a variety, too many different types of guests that appeal to more members of my family. Well, and me, but not just me. Montréal is a Star Trek best, then expose a family trip.

    But Fan Expo will involve a great deal more planning this year than it has in years past. Last year’s experience (and this year will be at least as crowded) taught us:

    • You should not leave the convention center on Saturday, because they will get more than the number of people they are allowed to have inside the building who want to be inside the building. Last year, my wife got stuck outside for two hours having gone back to the hotel room with our youngest to avoid con lunch again.
    • Saturday is stupid crowded. Plan Saturday meticulously, leaving giant safety margins. My son almost missed our photo op with George Takei last year because he couldn’t get from the South building to the north in less than 40 minutes.
    • Friday is busy, and also needs careful planning. You don’t need quite the safety margins as you do for Saturday, but they’re still important.
    • Do your primary window shopping on the convention floor on Thursday. Thursday is the quietest day that provides the most freedom of movement and the fewest delays. Of course, it also provides the best opportunity to sit up front for a celebrity session.
    • Do your primary actual shopping on Sunday. This is when the deals come out, and unless you found something truly one-of-a-kind on Thursday when you first looked, there is a chance, if not a large one, that it might be cheaper on Sunday. Plus, the fewer things you buy before Sunday, the fewer things you have to store in the hotel room for the weekend. Just don’t forget to make notes about where the things that you want are when you’re window shopping on Thursday. The convention floor is huge.

    And yet, I still hear the call of Montréal. The gathering of so much TNG geekness in one place is almost more than I can take. I resisted a similar convergence, though it missed Q & Tasha and included Picard (who is the only one who hasn’t been announced for Montréal this year, though I remain hopeful) only because I had to work that weekend, and was out of vacation time because of a tropical trip we were about to take.

    Of course, if I’m honest, as soon as fan Expo announced William Shatner, the battle was lost. I have made a non-binding commitment to myself that I will not miss an opportunity to hear one of the original series cast members speak as long as they continue to do the convention circuit. And, having enjoyed Leonard Nimoy via Skype in Ottawa, and having heard in say that he had signed a contract to do seven such appearances, only four of which I’ve been able to track down so far, I wonder if Fan Expo will try to pull a rabbit out of the hat and have Leonard Nimoy on Skype while William Shatner is on stage. I doubt it, but I’d never forgive myself or missing it if it did happen.

    I miss them actually on stage together in 2006, well before Erik and I started being interested in conventions, and I know I missed Mr. Nimoy’s last appearance at Fan Expo in 2009. I try not to look too closely at previous guest lists for conventions that happened when we were living in Toronto, telling myself I was young (well younger) and had other concerns at the time.

    But I still hear the call of Montréal.

    If I can find a way to make the budget work for a day trip, and a day trip to Montréal is rough physically from where we live, I will find a way. It may depend on how many members of my family want to go with me, but we’ll deal with that when it comes to figuring it out. The budget for conventions this year (and otherwise) is already stressed, however, because we didn’t originally plan to do the full weekend of Ottawa Comic con. The original thought was to do it for one day and take my mom, but the guest list didn’t appeal to her all that much, and we had friends going, and so we eventually decided to go anyway even though we’d bought the tickets months in advance for Anime North. And, we weren’t missing that one. In many ways, it’s the kids favorite con.

    But, I’m climbing back in the bed with Fan Expo this year, after I promised myself I wouldn’t. It’s like a bad relationship, it really is. Even taking into account the crazy lack of organization and traffic control, the huge crowds stressing me out, and the staggering hotel bills, all of which seem to get worse every single year, there’s one thing I have to admit: Fan Expo gives good geek.

    And that’s what keeps me coming back.

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  • Conventions

    Fan Expo

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    I wrote a big long post last year about how fan Expo and I were breaking up. I extended the relationship metaphor into the whole “it’s not you, it’s me cliché”, coming down the side of no, wait, it’s you. (And it is, Fan Expo, make no mistake.)

    However, in the same post, I admitted that the likelihood of us getting back together for a weekend fling this year was high. This is Fan Expo number 20, and I know you’ll be pulling out all of the stops to get my money. And this is in spite of the fact that you’ve chosen to take place on Labor Day weekend this year, which increases my hotel bill, or, forces me to stay farther away keep the hotel bill the same.

    Your competition is Montréal Comic Con, who is announcing guests faster than you are, in spite of being several weeks later, and I think this is a marketing tactic designed to try to get me to book before you’ve announced enough to pique my interest. Up until a couple of days ago, it was working.

    Montréal has confirmed six of the seven primary actors from Star Trek the next generation. Only CaptainPicard himself, Patrick Stewart, has yet to sign on. This, and the addition of Robert England, whom we missed at Ottawa by leaving a little early, definitely had Montréal in first place, in spite of the fact that fan Expo has booked William Shatner and Elijah Wood, Capt. Deckard and no not Capt. Kirk and Frodo. I’ve seen Shatner speak three times in, and very much enjoy. I’d love to see him again, but I was bouncing that out against six members of the next generation cast.

    Oh, wait, Montréal has also announced Q, John DeLancie, and Tasha Yar, Denise Crosby. So now I’m looking at six principles and two key secondaries from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Montréal was definitely in first place.

    Until you announced Adam West and Burt Ward, the original Batman and Robin. You’re making it hard, Fan Expo, as you intended.

    When I consider the entire family, the variety of guests already announced for fan Expo, and they’re not even close to being finished announcing, fan Expo just pulled instantly ahead. Because we’re now looking at Captain Kirk, Frodo, Batman and Robin, the many characters of Bruce Campbell (who we saw at Ottawa but was very entertaining), and Stan the Man Lee, whom I have met, but never actually heard speak because last year I took the girls to a photo op while Lesli and Erik went to see Stanley.

    I think I might be ready for that fling with fan Expo. And because I know there will be more announcements, and because the girls are hoping for another Vocaloid concert, and because there will be other things that I want to see and do whilewe’re there, I think I’m ready to book the hotel now.

    Oh, I know you’re going to disappoint me again, Fan Expo. The crowds on Saturday will jack up my stress level, and the organization for autographs and photo ops will drive me up the wall, but I have the sneaking suspicion that one of the seven Skype calls that Leonard Nimoy has signed on to do this year could be there, and if they set it up so that it happens with William Shatner on stage to converse with him, I don’t think I could forgive myself for missing it.

    So I think I’m ready Fan Expo. Break my heart again.

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  • Conventions,  Life,  Parenting

    Fall Conventions

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    We’ve been planning to go to Quinte Mini Con in Belleville since we first heard about it very early in the year. It’s the first Con in the area, and will become the closest without going to Toronto.

    A small con, and a first time foray, it looks like the con organizers are going to every effort to put together something people will want to go. I don’t expect Fan Expo, and one of those is enough, really, but I expect to be impressed. Guests, events, panels, and a vendor’s room. Should be fun.

    My daughters, particularly Oldest Daughter, made some friends in Vocaloid cosplay at Fan Expo (and created a FB group with them almost within minutes of arriving home). Several of them are going, so there’s an extra reason for us to go, even if we weren’t already planning to attend.

    Quinte Mini Con is taking place the 9th and 10th of November. If you live within a reasonable drive and have any interest in cons whatsoever, I hope you’ll think about it.

    But you’ll note the title of the post is “Fall Conventions”. The girls are trying to talk me into Frost Con, which is a 1-day event on the 14th of December. They want to go, mostly for the extra reason for Quinte: they know people going, and more than at Quinte because it’s in Toronto.

    I don’t think there’s been a day in the past two weeks when someone hasn’t asked me if we can go. Officially, I haven’t made a decision, but my current schedule says I should have the day off. If I’m honest with myself, I already know we’re going, though it’s probably just the girls and me. Which is okay, except that means it’s likely to be my girls absorbed into a pack of other girls, all in similar costume, and me stalking them from a distance. Which is less okay, but a very Dad kind of thing.

    Be well, everyone.

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  • Conventions

    The Future of Cosplay (For Me)

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    We did a family Steampunk cosplay for Ad Astra in April, and a group Soul Eater cosplay for the day we spent at Anime North in May. The girls wanted to do their own things for Fan Expo, and I had a hard time finding time to put anything together, worried (or even stressed) about too many other things, and making sure the kids’ summer worked well.

    And I kinda hated the wig I needed to play Professor Stein. Not to mention that I’ve really only watched about half a season of the show. The kids have all enjoyed Soul Eater, and I’ll admit it’s fun, but there are other anime series I enjoy more.

    But I’ve started to think about what kind of cosplay I might do in the future. And, actually, it wasn’t hard to come up with a pretty big list in short order.

    If we start from the premise of characters from shows, movies, or games that mean something to me, I have to begin with Star Trek (non-Trekkies ought to skip ahead a couple of paragraphs). Yes, the uniforms are easy to get, and the props aren’t hard to come by either, so that’s one (or even three) no brainers. But, switching up the species a bit can add some variety. Put some ears on and be a Vulcan in those uniforms, or shave my head completely to pass for a Deltan. A white wig and blue face paint get me most of the way to Andorian. And those are the easy ones. Branching out from the ship a little bit:

    • Gorn, but the lizard suit would be awfully hot, not to mention expensive)
    • Orion, on the order of the Andorian, but green, dark hair, and no antenna. And I’ll wear more clothes.
    • Remember “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield”? A half black, half white paint job doesn’t seem too awful.
    • Remember “The Gamesters of Triskelion”? One of the thralls outfitted for battle, but carrying a coloured brain in a jar (one of the Providers).

    There’s plenty of possibility there, but expending my search into some of the formative and influential bits of media from my youth…

    • The Man in Black/Dread Pirate Roberts from the Princess Bride, because that would be awesome.
    • The Tick, although really I’m built about half way between the Tick and Arthur, but maybe I could pull it off.
    • Jack Burton, the hero in his own mind from Big Trouble in Little China. But this needs a wig. I couldn’t grow that mullet.
    • Condorman, but I think I’d get mistaken for the Vulture a lot.
    • Prince Colwyn from Krull. Cool outfit, but the movie was better left in my memory. It doesn’t hold up very well.
    • Last Starfighter uniform, because really, who doesn’t want to hit the Death Blossom button?
    • (Original) Battlestar Galactica uniform. In all its cheesy glory, I still like it much better than the modern incarnation.
    • Ming the Merciless from Flash Gordon, circa 1980. Not because the movie was necessarily good, but because I’d look awesome in a full goatee and over the top red and gold cape.

    And that’s just getting started. There just aren’t enough cons. Well, there are but I’d run out of money trying to manage cosplay for more than a couple. Might do that anyway.

    Be well, everyone.

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  • Conventions

    It’s Not You, It’s Me

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    No, really. I’m sorry, Fan Expo, but I’ve given this a lot of thought.

    I can’t handle the incompetent line management anymore. Or the inconsistent room management, or the constantly changing procedures, or the total lack of traffic flow planning or understanding. I feel like you’ve studied at the Ikea school of customer flow—one way in and one way out—but dropped out after the first day before you learned why and how it actually is made to work.

    And the escalators… ai-ya.

    Oh, and some consistent communication to your staff and security crew would be good, so they can deliver a consistent message when people have questions. Or even just deliver a message.

    And this year, you were trying to be too much to too many people, crowding more of us into a larger space but without much understanding of how that would work. Sports was a great idea… for a separate con. You wouldn’t get me, but then you didn’t anyway. You just gave most of us an extra obstacle to get through to get to the real convention.

    And even with the expansion, the aisles on the con floor were still ridiculously narrow for the number of people you had in the building.

    Wait, I guess it is you. Really, considering everything, it has to be you. Sorry.

    So I think we shouldn’t see each other anymore. I’m hate that it’s come to this, but the stress is starting to outweigh the fun, and that’s not good for either of us. We need some time apart, some time to grow. I’ve got a date in Ottawa in the spring, and I think it’s going to be a good one. It’s okay, there are plenty of other people for you.


    Yes, I guess I’m fooling myself. We both know I’ll take you back next year.

    You’ll promise some hefty star power, the people I want to see in person for Q&A sessions, autographs, and maybe even photos. There will be panels and artists and cosplay and awesome stuff to buy and all the cool things I want in a con.

    But I’ll resist. I’ll be strong. There’s no doubt in my mind. You and I are over.

    Until my kids remind me how much they love you.

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  • Conventions

    After Action Report: Fan Expo, Day 4

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    Sunday, crowd-wise, is a lot like Friday at Fan Expo. Crowded, but you can still move around. It’s also the last day of four at the con, so the overall speed of the crowd is often a little faster since time is now very limited.

    But some things aren’t faster. My son and I got in line at the top of the escalator to go to the bottom of the North Building and The Walking Dead panel. The line did not move. At first, this seemed to be because the escalator was malfunctioning. Again. After a few minutes, staff made it clear that the panel had no seating left. We arrived at the con at about 1015, only 15 minutes after they opened the doors, showed our passes and walked in, taking a couple of minutes to establish where we’d all be for the next little bit. To make the panel, apparently we would have had to have been near the front of the line before 10 (clear when we got there) and run for the theatre. Disappointing, but the light of all of Fan Expo’s other organization issues, not all that surprising that they didn’t pick a larger room based on the popularity of the show.

    So we rearranged our plans a bit and went to see Mr. Takei again to get our photo from the day before signed. Not a bad line up, but he’d been signing all weekend, so we just picked a good time.

    Taken by my oldest daughter, Mr. Takei signing our photo.
    Taken by my oldest daughter, Mr. Takei signing our photo.

    Meanwhile, my wife and youngest daughter had gotten into a big line to get Tara Strong’s autograph (she’s another principal VA on MLP). While the rest of us went to the con floor for a little last day shopping.

    Tara Strong with my youngest.
    Tara Strong with my youngest.

    Aside from MLP and Sailor Moon, my youngest was there for Princess Leia’s autograph, which was next up. (Sorry, no photo. They weren’t allowing pictures and I haven’t scanned the autographed photo yet.)

    My son actually walked the floor with me for a while, slowly looking more and more dejected. Didn’t take a lot of brain power to figure out he wanted to go find his friends if they’d arrived. I turned him loose with instructions to answer texts and my oldest daughter and I went upstairs to check out the LARPers again.

    Ready for battle.
    Ready for battle.

    If you’ve never heard of it, LARP is an acronym for Live Action Role Playing. If you’re a pencil and paper RPG fan, subtract the pencil and paper, dress up, and work on your acting ability. It was actually pretty fun, though the group of players we had the sessions with mostly wanted to kill things and damn the story, and she wants to try finding a group in our area who allows minors to play.

    Which just about brought us to the big event for oldest daughter, the screening of a Vocaloid concert. Youngest daughter came as well. Both loved it, but since oldest daughter was in Vocaloid cosplay, she gravitated towards the other cosplayers and wound up making a bunch of friends (who have now created a Facebook group and are planning to get together at other upcoming cons). The concert was a lot of fun, but nothing like being there. Even I enjoyed the music. Of course, I’m the one who actually found out about the Vocaloid concept and pointed my children in that direction.

    The gang's all here.
    The gang’s all here.

    In the meantime, my wife went to (and recorded) the Carrie Fisher Q&A, and my son got roped into the Tara Strong Q&A with two girls just a little older than he is. A nice end to the con all the way around.

    From there, we retrieved the van and went for Chinese BBQ on Spadina Avenue, something that used to be a lot more frequent on my experience list, but now is a rare treat.

    A few other bits about the con to follow, and I’ve posted some photos, mostly of other cosplays, to Facebook, as well.

    Be well, everyone.

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  • Conventions

    After Action Report: Fan Expo, Day 3

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    A little delayed, but lots of time for the first paragraph to contain useful advice.

    If you’re only going to Fan Expo one day next year, don’t make it Saturday. Really. It’s the most crowded day and suffers from the most line and traffic mismanagement by staff, not to mention the escalator breakdowns that happen every year. Saturday is the reason Fan Expo and I are on the rocks. Well, the ticket price is getting a little steep, too.

    My wife and daughters getting trapped outside the building because apparently they were over capacity, and then suddenly they weren’t.

    My son got trapped in a line up to get up the escalator from the main con floor to come meet me in the photo op area.

    I had a great time on Saturday—we all did, as long as we were already at the place we wanted to be. Getting there was always a problem. And the con floor got crowded fast, so crowded we had to get out.

    Now on a positive note, I met up with an old friend I only get to see a couple of times per year. That was nice.

    He and I, both being Trekkies since shortly after birth, went to a screening of the first episode of Star Trek Continues. It’s a fan-produced series with Vic Mignogna at its head that picks up where the original Star Trek show left off. Fun, but it’s trying a little too hard to begin with and the writing is a teensy bit awkward. Vic as Kirk is trying to Shatnerize things too much and there were a couple of scenes where it seemed like they were just trying to squeeze everyone in. It is worth checking out for fans of the show and I’m sure they’ll iron things out eventually. I’m interested enough to see what they’ll do for their second episode.

    For several members of the family, the big event on Saturday was our photo op with George Takei. This is the one place I was glad for the con’s complete lack of crowd and line management because it allowed my wife and son, victims of problems I mentioned above, to make it before I got to the front of the line. Mr. Takei was a gracious and pleasant man who had a quick word for each of the three of us in the photo and more or less made my day.

    My son, George Takei, my wife, and I.
    My son, George Takei, my wife, and I.

    Next up for me, the Crypton Vocaloid presentation which ran more like a business presentation for the English version of the Vocaloid software about to launch. Interesting, but a little dry, though my oldest daughter claimed to enjoy it.

    She enjoyed the Yuu Asakawa Q&A more, though. One of the Vocaloid actresses live and in person. Her English is limited, but her pronunciation is excellent, so she had a translator present. A long line up for her autograph came next, long enough that I couldn’t get to the screening of “Almost Human” my son and I were planning, but he hadn’t been that keen, really, and had more or less already decided not to bother.

    My oldest daughter with Yuu Asakawa
    My oldest daughter with Yuu Asakawa

    As a side note, Saturday is “Meet the cast of whatever show CTV/Showcase thinks has genre elements” day, running through Lost Girl, Murdoch Mysteries, Defiance, Storage Wars, and Helix. A couple of those really don’t make sense to me at what most of us think of as a SF con, but I’m sure they made some people happy. But, in some strange twist of organization, the panels were pretty much all in the same room and each was followed by an autograph session in a different building on the other side of the convention.

    Even though it meant the con was ¾ over, I was glad to get out of the building on Saturday and head for the exciting sushi restaurant we’d picked out.

    Be well, everyone.

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  • Conventions

    After Action Report: Fan Expo, Day 2

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    Friday is the first big day of Fan Expo. The crowds have come and it gets worse the later in the day it is.

    The con floor is pretty huge at Fan Expo. If you spent two minutes at every booth, you might be able to see them all in one day, but not after you add travel time in and only if you ignore Artists’ Alley, which is absolutely impossible to do.

    And there’s a little more in the hallway just outside the giant area enclosing the con floor.

    Which is where we found half the cast of Sailor Moon signing autographs. Sailors Moon, Mars, and Jupiter, plus Tuxedo Mask and the show’s Voice Director. For youngest daughter, who’s recently discovered the show, it was pretty neat.

    I went to the Richard Dean Anderson panel by myself, where I realized that I’d put a broken memory card into the Zoom so had to record on my phone.

    Thinking I could get back to the hotel, get a working card (no, I wasn’t carrying 2 <sigh>), get oldest daughter to an anime panel, and still get back in time for David Hasselhoff’s panel, I didn’t take the poor traffic flow conditions of the con into account. My wife took pictures and a little video.

    FE2013 - RDA FE 2013 - DH


    But we got pretty good seats for George & Nichelle.

    George Takei, one of the primary reasons my son wanted to come this year (me too, but for different reasons) is an engaging speaker, very involved, and fun to listen to. He talked for about twenty minutes, took questions for as many more then introduced Nichelle Nichols and left the stage.

    George Takei
    George Takei

    Nichelle didn’t take questions, instead spoke to an audience on the importance of following dreams and making sure your children have the freedom to follow theirs. In between, she wove in a few anecdotes about Star Trek, family, and the space shuttle. I feel like her health isn’t as good as she’d like to have presented and have learned since the con that she’s in a wheelchair most of the time, able to walk only short distances. I was glad to hear her speak and disappointed to have missed her signing autographs.

    Nichelle Nichols
    Nichelle Nichols

    This is a good place to note that George is the youngest of the Star Trek Seven (Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty, Sulu, Uhura, Chekov) at 76. Presented without comment.

    My son and I (and a friend of his) stayed in the room for Ian McDiarmid, the Dark Lord of the Sith, Emperor Palpatine. Also an engaging fellow. I’m struggling to recall any question he answered that wasn’t Star Trek related, even though his done a fair bit of work on film and stage. A formal guard, provided by the 501st Legion, stood at attention during the entire panel, and accompanied him the next day on the con floor.

    Ian McDiarmid
    Ian McDiarmid

    The con proper was over at that point, with the floor closed and most things wrapped up, but a little later, after dinner, oldest daughter and I returned for the J-Pop dance (a little less pop than I might have liked and a little heavier) and late night gaming (the gaming room was open until ten, with people playing right up to the end).

    All in all, a pretty good day.

    Be well, everyone.

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