• 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

    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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