Sunday, May 31, 2015

"FEZ aims to create a non-threatening world rich with ambiance, a pleasant place to spend time in."

So are so close to me, but I cannot yet feel your presence.  Not yet...

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

I think every time I make a mistake, I have the habit of thinking that I suck and am terrible, and am scared to do anything else anymore.

Box of Letters

Spent some time today sorting through my big box of (received) letters, doing a little organization.  I don't sort them fully (though maybe I should, using some sort of filing cabinet system?), but right now I have them organized via big plastic ziploc bags to group them by author.  Of course only the people who have actually written me a notable amount have ziploc bags--everyone else is just thrown into the big singleton pile.  I've now split the letters up since I have another all the assorted random ones are in the old plain plastic box and the grouped/categorized ones are in a nicer-looking box that I recently came into possession of.  Someday I'll sort them and file them a little more nicely rather than having all these plastic bags, but on the plus side the ziploc bags are good for preservation anyways.

There are a LOT of letters in these two boxes -- something around 234, probably plus a handful more that aren't counted in my official log (short cards and such), and they are my most precious possession.  These letters are the only remaining link I have to some people too.

Flipping through them, I found some that weren't categorized into the respective ziploc that they should be, and also added some more ziplocs for people who I've gotten more letters from now since last time I did this.  It's so interesting how when I was flipping through them there were a lot of letters that I was able to associate with the author really quickly, either by envelope design, or by handwriting.  There were a lot of letters that I remembered offhand, and just by glancing at the design and handwriting I sort of recognized it and remembered what it was about.  But there were also letters I had almost no recollection of--one from Yun-sama, for example, and another from Katheryn.  It's always fun rediscovering those.  I also discovered two wonderful letters from Belinda that made me feel really close to her...I was touched.  I hope she is doing alright now; and hope I can write to her again, too.

I don't often go through reading from the box, but I do sometimes, every once in a while.  Especially during times when I'm in a certain mood...I can't really recall what it feels like, but there's a certain mood of maybe sadness or loneliness, or maybe times when I have a little trouble falling asleep, when I'll go and read those letters.  I want all those people to know that I still read their letters, and they still mean a lot to me when I do.  It's really important to me, and I hope that I can hold onto all of them, forever.

Going through them, it convinced me that all of the things I did over the years--all the writing, all of those Christmas letters and gifts every year, all of the birthday letters--it has all been worthwhile.  Even the friendships that didn't last, the memories still survive, and my box is proof of that.  Proof that we have lived, laughed, and loved together.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Fanime 2015 - Day 3 + Recap

Well, it's all over now...

I got to bed at around 3:30AM on Saturday night, but still managed to get up in time to refill on gas and then drive to the convention and make it on time for 10AM gatherings.  This time instead of being dumb and parking far away at Safeway I just parked inside the convention center garage itself--same price, and super convenient.

My last day at Fanime was a busy one...lots of different things going on and things to do.

Started off with another go at the Rumiko Takahashi gathering--we had a female Ranma show up, as well as Pantyhose Taro and even Shampoo (yay!).  I believe there were supposed to be one or two more Inuyasha characters but we didn't end up having them in the end *shrug*.  Once that was all over with I jumped over to the Ghibli gathering which was happening at the same time and got some photos there.

From there I went and changed into my good ol Journey cosplay again and then started navigating Dealer's Hall while I had some spare time.  Dealer's Hall was pretty quick for me this year--I think mostly because there are a lot of things that I would have been interested in in previous years that I just glanced over this time around--I didn't really care for any more wall scrolls, posters, or even pencil boards.  I had the realization as I was walking through that I've kind of hit a sort of saturation point for a lot of goods, which is a good thing because it means less spending of money xD.  I did end up picking up a Kiki and Lala head plush set for only $30, which is a very reasonable price for the size IMO, and also a fake $1,000,000 Hello Kitty bill just for fun.

I didn't get to finish though because I wanted to stop by the Haikyuu! gathering, which was...omg, a big sea of orange and black uniforms.  I took some quick photos but didn't stay, partly because I felt like it was another large gathering, didn't want to spend 100% of my con time at large gatherings, but mostly because Wendy and Kotz were at Pho 69 for lunch and I wanted to join them.

After that I went through and completed Dealer's Hall, where I ran into the Chalk Twins who were doing an ammmaaazzzing live chalk pastel painting of Princess Kaguya, ahhhhhhhh I wanted to cry when I saw it.  The pink they used for her clothes was so pretty, ahh!  They were offering it up for auction and the starting bid was at $'s a 6ftx8ft piece, I was seriously considering getting in on it, but after considering it seriously I decided that I probably shouldn't--later I checked in again and the bidding was up to $220 already so....NOPE T_T

I checked FB and twitter later and apparently there was a Kaguya-Hime cosplayer who posed for a photo with the piece, ahh!!  Too bad I didn't see her all weekend, that 's so cool!

I stopped by the (non-extended-family) Disney gathering, which again was OK but not too great, maybe just too many people, or maybe that's just a bad spot for gatherings in general?  Or maybe I just needed to have a better photo spot?  Or maybe it's because the great personalities like the Cinderella sisters and Gaston weren't there, but oh well!  I left that early and hopped over to Artist's Alley to meet that artist who apparently wanted to meet me and talk to me about my cosplay, but upon meeting her apparently she said she had already gotten a chance to meet me?  I couldn't really remember (bad with faces/names/etc) but maybe she was the one I ran into at Subway the previous night, or maybe I had run into her earlier yesterday but her message was passed along too late?  Well, I said hi to her anyways and then ran along...

Went to the Higurashi gathering too!  It was small and mostly had one group of people--my friend wasn't able to come as Rika b/c she overslept, hahaha *sweat*.  They took some nice shots, including my suggestion of them all bowing down to a Rika plushie, lol.

Then it was off to the Masquerade, where I met up with Isabelle, Christina, and Brandon to watch.  It was pretty OK this year!  There were still SNAFUs this year but despite that things still managed to roll along pretty smoothly in general, which was much different than the cluster^%#$ that happened two years ago when I went last (I missed last year, after waiting in line with Merida + Bear only to discover that the time that had been posted on the forums was wrong and it was like 1-2 hours later than I thought it was so we gave up...I also didn't feel like going to Masquerade alone).  The announcer was some voice actor who did a great job of filling up time and telling jokes--some of his material wasn't the best but at least he had jokes ready and was able to keep things moving, so that was great, much better than before, haha.  As for the performances themselves, we had a lot of walkons and not too many skits this time, which was a bit disappointing; the Rap Battle between Madoka and Sailor Moon was definitely a highlight (so good), and then there were two Studio Ghibli ones, including one that I was just loling at how ridiculous it was--a Miyazaki cosplayer and other Ghibli characters all wankin out to trap music and everything.  There were one or two other dance performances that were actually pretty nice!  I think I've been really enjoying dance performances lately (when they are good).

Oh!  Speaking of that, I also managed to catch some of the Fanimaid performance this time, between trips to the Dealer's Hall, and managed to see Amy perform, yay!~  So awesome, dancing is so cool!

After a trip back to the Dealer's Hall to check on the Kaguya painting ($220........orz) I went over to my car to put on some more clothing and then went to "K Zzang", this korean place, with Isabelle for dinner.  Bibimbap, so good and hearty after a full day at con...(though to be honest I feel like the bibimbap was somewhat lacking in either flavor or meat or veggies or something...the bibimbap at Bibimbowl near my apartment is definitely better.  Was still much appreciated though).  I was getting pretty worn out by this time and while Isabelle went to teach some social dance to a friend I mostly just sat down on the ground and zoned out to regain some energy.

After that we split off and I went to the gaming room (which by this time was one of the only things left open), where I proceeded to wait in line for the TGM3 machine to open up for like...the longest time EVER -- these two girls who presumably had played a bunch of Tetris Friends or whatever were playing a versus match and had selected clear rule instead of VS rule so instead of sending garbage to each other they just played for like 5 minutes until time ran out--they both knew how to abuse stupid world rotation to keep surviving so neither of them was topping out.  They then proceeded to split games 1 and 2 and play a 3rd, it felt like an eternity.  All I wanted to do was play my classic rule master mode @_@.  Anyways, after THAT happened, the winner stayed on the machine and complained about how they tried to figure out how to do "real vs mode" but couldn't figure it out.  I told her you just had to select the right rule, as I put in my tokens and logged into my account.  I started up a Master mode run on the 2P side and she kept on talking, then proceeded to intentionally top herself out on the 1P side, because she wanted to challenge me or something??  So it game over'd on her side, and she was like "do I have to add more coins?"  Meanwhile I'm trying to play my Master mode run..."Uh....yes, you just got a game over, so yes."  "Do you have change?"  "Um...yes, but I'm in the middle of playing right now."  By this point this girl was starting to become clearly annoying.  She ran off to get change, puts it into the machine (at which point I quickly hit the 2P start button so she can't challenge me and ruin my run)....and then she gets confused by the login screen and asks me what to do.  At this point I'm just distracted as all heck and proceed to f*ck up my run while she is on the selection between World rule and Classic rule trying to ask me "What mode do you use?"  I reply, "Uh...what rule do =I= use?  Or what rule =should you= use?"  She says "what mode do YOU use" so I tell her classic.  She starts a game, I top out after getting frustrated, and after I put in my credits she demands that I challenge her.  "Um...I kind of want to just play what, you want me to challenge you?"  Yes, she says.  You know, at this point I probably should have just said no and done another master run and ignored everything else she said, but I figured I could probably beat her in vs mode anyways and maybe that would shut her up, so I said OK and selected VS rule for both of us (was it that hard...?).  I then tried to explain Attack vs Defense vs Item preference....I actually accidentally selected Defense mode somehow even though I meant to select attack, sigh, which was a pain because that isn't what I need to top her out (she picked Attack).  Whatever.  So we're going along and playing and she's like "OOOOooohh, yes, finally.  We were trying to figure out how to get versus mode...." 9_9  So I play and you know, she's actually not too bad, she's clearing lines/tetrises and sending garbage, and for a minute I was actually worried I'd have some trouble, especially since I picked defense mode which I didn't like, but then I remembered (as it happened) that defense mode means when you clear tetrises and such you basically get a Del upper on your field, which makes it really hard to die.  I'm in the middle of wondering whether I should try staggering my garbage to throw her off when I realize she's topping out and I don't need to.  So she loses and we're into round 2 and I just stack, tetris, send an item, etc, win.  She says some crap about how she was confused/not ready and she might have said something about a rematch or something but I didn't really care, I WAS GOING TO PLAY A GAME OF MASTER MODE DAMMIT AND WOMAN YOU CAN JUST STAND AND WATCH so I started playing, make into 20G and all, make it into speeds that would impress others, etc. and all the while she is standing there sort of half watching but also looking around a lot like she is waiting or looking for something.  Part of my mind is wondering whether I should just ask her wtf she is doing, like is she just watching or what, but luckily my run goes better and I'm not so distracted this time.  She eventually leaves and That. Was. That.

On the plus side I managed to get an M2 on one of my master mode runs, which felt great--topped out at 8xx, I think probably after trying to do a triple-rotate and failing (a frequent problem for me at high speeds....need to learn to avoid those).  That might be my best Ti Master run on actual hardware to date, so that's cool.  Then I also did a Shirase run in which I tried to play a little more carefully and conservatively, and ended up hitting the Torikan and getting S5 at 500, yes!  So that felt great.  I guess I can stack better when I am really focused on it...still need more practice.  Of course, this is all using no hold, so that is also a handicap ;P

After some more texting of people to see if anyone was still around, I decided it was probably time to just head home...I was really tired and there wasn't really anything more to do at con, to be honest.  I glanced over at the dance but decided that even if there wasn't any line, I was not really in the right physical state to enjoy it at all, which is no big deal.  So I donned my mask and headed had been a good day.  I closed out with 151 plays on my TGM3 account, meaning I had spent a good $12.50 or so on TGM3 over the weekend (probably more like $13, I remember the machine ate one or two of my quarters).  I didn't get to meet up with Erica or the other Journey cosplayer again, but eh, that happens.  I was slightly disappointed I didn't have time to get more photos of my cosplay, but not that disappointed because I think I can just do a photo shoot of it some other time.


Fanime is different than events like Big Dance (minus Little Big Dance, that doesn't count) in that it's been such a different experience for me every single year.  (I guess VBall has been a little bit like that, but not to this extent)  The very first time I went I only went for one day, I didn't cosplay, and the highlight was getting to go to the Dealer's Hall and buy some nice wall scrolls and a bunch of pencil boards and such.  Then there was the year with the massive Touhou crossplay group which was completely different altogether.  Two years ago was when I debuted the Miko outfit ("Kikyo", "sort of"...), and also when I got super super excited about meeting Merida, and also seeing Wreck It Ralph cosplays, also I think that was the year when me and Kitaru established our awesome TAP Doubles record.  And last year I had a great time at the Disney gathering, etc., it was also the year of free TGM3 where I played over 100 games of TGM3 (wow), and also where we had the fun Tetris Medley competition.  Last year was also the year when I met those Merida and Bear cosplayers and hung out with them for a while, which was a fun experience!

Last year I remember having a lot of free dead time where I didn't really know quite what I should be doing, but this year was much different as my schedule was somehow just much more busy.  Probably just due to me attending more gatherings, and also getting a late late start on Friday.  The whole last-minute costume work until like 5AM definitely changed things as well, and also led to me being pretty exhausted late at night, haha.

I think one of the biggest differences this year was my costume--I worked on it a LOT and it came out really nicely in the end; I was really happy to wear it around and always pleased when people recognized it.  It's also the first costume where I was happy to just take a break here and there by just sitting around on the floor "meditating" in character.  I actually had some nice conversations with people started just because of my costume--they'd recognize it and compliment it and we'd chat a little about Journey or just about how each other's con experience was going, so that was really nice.  This year was also different in that I didn't really feel that into the cosplay gatherings (well, Steven Universe was still pretty awesome).  I can't tell whether that's because the gatherings themselves weren't as fun or because I just wasn't as into it this year, or maybe a bit of both.  I didn't go to any panels this year--I had some listed on my schedule, but felt that those would be more for if I didn't have anything else to do, rather than things I wanted to make an effort to go to.  I don't think most panels are that informative anyways--if I really want information on a subject, I can just go look for it myself (ok, maybe it's just because I don't do well with that format of learning).  But yeah, all in all, I'll probably remember this year as the year when I debuted the red cloak Journey costume.

Overall it was a great time, and I definitely felt sad as I was leaving, realizing that the next day I wouldn't be wearing my Journey cosplay, wouldn't have people recognizing it, wouldn't be able to just see random people and get excited about their costumes.  But at the same time, it was great to have some time to finally rest...I slept in until 2PM afterwards, hahaha.

So long Fanime, I'll see you again next year.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Fanime 2015 - Day 2

It's super late already and I've gotta wake up to hopefully get to con at 10AM again tomorrow (mannn I'm gonna need to catch up on sleep after this), so let's get through this.

What a great day at con!  And a FULL day at that; I was there starting at 10AM, all the way until a little past midnight...there were a couple times when things were definitely winding down and I thought I was gonna leave, but nope--still stuff happening and people to say hi to and such, so I ended up having a very full day...

Things started off with me getting up (ugh, sleepy) and pulling myself together, putting on the Kikyo outfit and trying to make it to the Rumiko Takahashi gathering by 10AM.  Didn't bother with any makeup or anything--too tired and plus I didn't want to deal with it for the rest of the day anyhow.  Comfort first!

The Rumiko Takahashi gathering was fun; unfortunately I'm actually only familiar with Ranma 1/2 and a teeeny bit of Inuyasha, but good times regardless.  We actually had 3 Ryogas there, and super ironically, they were the FIRST ones there, which just seemed.....totally wrong. (Ryoga always gets lost and takes like 3+ extra days to get anywhere)  When I was looking for the gathering at first I was like "Oh, there's Ryoga.  I'll just follow him.   .......wait.  Bad idea."  Anyways, we had fun with our photos--I recognized Inuyasha and Kagome from last year I think.  We fought over Inuyasha a bit ;P

There was also the Chrono Trigger "gathering" today!  Well, we only had a Chrono and Ayla, but it was still so cool to see them!  So very awesome to see underrepresented characters like that...

Disney Extended Family gathering was also today but I left after a bit (ran into Bleu there though, which was nice!)...there were just too many people and it didn't really seem to have the right "energy"...maybe tomorrow Disney gathering will be different?  The awesome Cinderella stepsisters weren't there either...Lots of Hiro Hamada though, haha, that distinctive hair!  It's also an outfit that works really well for crossplay too...some Baymaxes...a really nice Mulan...a really cool Maleficent and King Stefan...and even someone from Inside Out! (Excited to go watch that next month!)

I got through all of Artist's Alley, which was pretty awesome!  Picked up some sweet stuff, including Journey charms and pins, a Journey notebook, and even a postcard print of Monument Valley (!).  I also picked up a Journey lanyard, which I immediately used to replace the Fanime badge lanyard--now my badge lanyard matched my outfit! *chirp*  Got stopped for some photos here and there, and also had some chats with the artists, mostly the ones with Journey merch, hahaha (though a lot of the time they didn't realize that I was cosplaying Journey at first, probably because I wasn't wearing my mask (wanted to be able to actually see artwork), and because they probably couldn't see the bottom of my cloak or my scarf...).  Didn't manage to find a replacement Journey bookmark that I lost yesterday, oh well!  Maybe if I remember I'll try to ask lost & found if it turned up at all.

Met up with Wendy, Russell, Kotz and crew to go to dinner--we ended up going to the same "Bo Town" Chinese restaurant that we went to last year, lolll.  Good times.

This is also the first year I've used the "Cosplay Hangout" room, where people take a break and work on costume repairs...I needed some repairs twice actually--once when I realized one of my toggle buttons had broken and I needed to sew one of the cords back on, and then another time when I accidentally scooted my chair onto my scarf and made one of the white symbols fall off.  Luckily they had an iron so I was able to just re-fuse it on.  The heat n bond ultrahold is good but not infallible, so I gave the entire scarf another go-over with my iron after coming back from con just to be sure everything is secure.  Luckily even when things do fall off it usually works if you just re-iron it.  At some point I'll want to fray-check a lot more of the stuff (besides just the very edges of the scarf), but....bleh, maybe next time.

Also got to hang out with Christina and co for a while!  We mostly hung out in the gaming hall, where I got to play ParaPara for the first time (while wearing my full Journey outfit and mask!  Video to come soon I think), and also play some DDR.  I'm happy to report that while my DDR skills suck now (mental arrow reading skills are still "ok", physical movement skills suck, plus I was never great enough to begin with), the rate of decline in my skills is much less than the rate of difficulty rating inflation in the rating system they use now.  Before when 9 feet was the max rating I used to be able to do 7s comfortable, 8s OK, and 9s were a challenge (depending on which one).  Now I'm playing on things labeled as 8s and 10s or something and they're so easy, no sweat!  I tried like a 12 or something though and it was way too hard...dunno, if I ever started actually playing again and was playing a newer mix I'd just have to relearn what the ratings actually mean.  But it would be nice to just have good ol DDRExtreme or something.  Ah, that was a good machine...

Near the end of the day I got to play Bishi Bashi with Alex and his friend, ahhh!  That was so much fun!  Bishi Bashi is quite awesome.  I actually managed to last the furthest too!  But got screwed over when on stage 10 we got one of the games involving reading japanese...screwed up and then it was over.  But yeah, very fun game!  Wish I could play it with everybody, hahaha...

Got a lot more games in of TGM3, I think the total count is at like 20 or something now.  I got -somewhat- better at Master mode; still no clears and maybe nothing I'm really happy about but then again, maybe I'm just underestimating how hard TGM3 master mode is since I never play it.  Maybe I'm not even really supposed to be able to clear it?  The speed gets fast enough to where I died because a triple-rotate I was trying to do failed, so maybe the speed is just too high...(too many COOLs?  hahaha)  My Shirase runs have sucked, but eh.

Dunno, just need to stack better =/  I think when speeds are too fast the smart stacking just goes out the window and I revert to my "instinctual" play which is too pointy and doesn't put enough thought into just playing safe, keeping the stack clean, and SKIMMING.

What else happened...lots of people complimenting me on my cosplay--so happy that I was able to work out the design!  I'm definitely super glad I went with making an actual Journey-designed dress instead of just a normal circle cloak.  Apparently somebody from Artist's Alley really liked my cosplay and wants to meet me tomorrow if possible and their friend came up to me saying so and where to find them?  So that was cool!  Will definitely go and find them tomorrow.  While I was leaving con I bought something at Subway (subwayyyy), and while I was there I also ran into some other congoers who commented on my costume--one of them said they had seen it before and really liked it but didn't get a chance to say so. (I was probably in a rush, walking out of safeway or something).  Speaking of which, I still ended up parking at Safeway despite the fact that I probably could have parked at least one or two blocks closer...I was already running late, so like I tend to do, I just took the low risk/low reward option since I knew there would definitely be parking at Safeway.

Phew...I think that was basically everything.  Tomorrow is another busy day, hopefully I can stay awake?  There were definitely some times tonight that I felt myself totally one point I actually was getting a bit =depressed= b/c of general lack of energy and such, but it passed, fortunately.

Tomorrow's goals are...
- Go through Dealer's Hall
- Try to meet with Erica
- Hang out with Isabelle
- Go to Masquerade?
- Go to Rumiko Takahashi Gathering but also want to go to the Ghibli gathering, ahg, they are at the same time....although to be honest at this rate I probably won't even be able to get out of bed on time, pfffftt
- Haikyuu gathering
- Disney gathering
- Higurashi gathering?
- Try to find the Journey cosplayer from Friday to take some photos and such (didn't get a chance to today)
- Meet that person from Artist's Alley who wants to talk about my costume or just meet me or something
- Maybe stop by the dance??  They are spinning trance at 11PM...and some of my friends might go earlier when they are playing Jpop/anime music?
- Try to remember to watch Amy's performance at...1PM I think?

Ugh...will there be time for a nap?  Haha....

Maybe sometime I can just do a photoshoot separate from con for my costume.  That would be fun!

Ok...wish me a good rest and that I'll be able to wake up tomorrow....zzzzzzzzz

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Fanime 2015 - Day 0 + 1

Every year Fanime has gone bit differently, and this year is no exception...

Gonna try to post recaps day by day, as it's always much easier that way.  Besides, it's always nice to have a blogging session as a wrap-up and wind-down at the end of the night...

Day 0

Well, day 0 was actually mostly spent finishing my costume.  However, I needed to stop by the Jo-Ann in Cupertino for more Marigold-colored bias tape (already bought out the stock in San Antonio) and I figured while I'm down there I might as well stop by the convention center and check out the swap meet.  I also stopped by the gaming center while I was there, and witnessed the TGM3 machine setup, woo!  I had one run on Master mode, which ended with an S4 (bleh).  My games played on my account on that board was at 126 from last year I believe (yes, I played over 100 games at last year's Fanime...), so we'll see how many games I end up playing this year.  It's not free this time though, so probably will be significantly less.  I've already played like 3 games of master, 1 of shirase, and 1 of easy and 1 of sakura mode....

Checked out the swap meet, which is always the go-to place for sweet deals on random stuff.  I got a 3D hello kitty jigsaw puzzle (which is going into the "gift pile" since I already have one) for only $1!!!  Got some other random neat stuff too, including Nayuki card sleeves (from Kanon)...I saw some card sleeves with Fate and Vita (from Nanoha) on them too, but in the end I knew I should only get one of them and I decided on the Nayuki one.  The Fate one was a bit too "revealing" if you know what I mean.  Maybe I should have gotten the Vita one though.  Bleh.  It's too bad they didn't have Makoto from Kanon--they had all of the rest of the Kanon girls but not my favorite one.  What the heck?  Also picked up some Di Gi Charat manga--swap meet is always great to get manga because they're like $3 per book...

After that (I tried to go through the swap meet as efficiently as possible since I still had to finish work on my costume) I went back home and got to work finishing the designs on the bottom of my Journey cloak...took so long, omg!  Had to cut out those 32 shapes, iron them all on, and then add two lines of bias tape allllllll the way around.  The cloak is =super= full at the bottom, so even just one line of bias tape going around takes forever....I think it's like 6 yards around or something like that...sheesh.  Was totally worth it though, it looks amazing!

I ended up getting to bed at some ridiculous hour, like 5AM, deciding that it's ok; I would just sleep in tomorrow and get to Fanime late since I didn't have anything to do there in the morning anyhow.

Day 1
I stopped by work dressed in my full Journey outfit, both to pick up a micro usb cable and to get some free lunch food (and also to show off my costume).  The micro usb cable was for the android device that my friend lent me--the plan was to use it to make Journey chirp sounds while I was walking around the con, but it quickly became apparent that the noise level is just too high for it to be very audible.  Sadness!  Scratch that idea I guess, but it was good in theory...

After packing myself a sandwich, trying to pack everything I could possibly need, starting a load of laundry, etc etc I actually didn't end up making it to Fanime (including parking, etc) until just after 4PM!  So late!  I was slightly anxious about parking since parking over there is really annoying, plus I was really late so I knew all of the nearby lots would be full, but I remembered that last time there was underground parking at Safeway that had room, so I just punched in Safeway and went straight there.  There was parking!  $20 per day (actually ended up being only $14 since I got there so late), which of course is a pain but...whatre you gonna do about it...

I made it, headed straight to the map for cosplay gatherings, walked past the Madoka gathering, and managed to make it to the Steven Universe gathering in time!  They had already started but I hadn't missed all too much yet.  That gathering was really fun!!!  I wasn't sure how many cosplayers to expect for Steven Universe but there were quite a bunch, which was awesome!  They had some really great shots and moments there, hahaha...

After that I met up with Russell to pick up my badge, and then headed straight to the gaming hall where the Tetris Medley tournament (yes, again this year) was going to start.  After another stupid S4 run at the TGM3 machine, we were off.  First round was NES tetris again; I had a good start and it looked like I was going to have a perfect game (mode B) but then I had a drought of I pieces and had to clear lines; I didn't really know how to do it in a way that optimized for least single/double/triple line clears so my score was kind of sucky as a result.  I still have so much to learn about Tetris...feels like I'm just not good at all!  Anyways, first round didn't really matter that much anyways, as they just used it to seed the next round, which was 4p vs in tetris party.  Tetris party is really awkward since the piece previews are confusing as all heck (they go in the wrong order) so I felt really slow and was having a lot of trouble keeping things straight, but still was fine and got through that round.  Round 3 was Magical Tetris Challenge Vs, with the pentaminos and weird tetris shapes and instead of garbage you just get hella OP weird blocks and 5x5 squares and crap.  I managed to beat A-zu-ra and was off to the finals, which was Tetris+Puyopuyo against Alex.  Alex won, partly because he's better at both Tetris AND puyo (I suck at puyo) but also mostly because got the easy cheap kill on me again and again by stacking an all-clear at the beginning (I needed to send garbage earlier, dammit) and clearing it at the transition to puyo mode, causing hella puyo garbage to fall and basically GGing me.  Haha, good times...anyways, I got some random prizes for 2nd place, woo!

Nidhogg tourney was going on while that was happening; I didn't even bother trying to see what the signups were like this time; again I wished I could just show off my movement speed in that game but whatever, why should I care about showing off anyways?  They looked like they were having a blast though, Nidhogg is great because it generates so much hype...the Melee tournament was going on too I think, but no idea what really went on with that either.

After that I pinged Wendy, who I had traded numbers with earlier when picking up badges from Russell.  While waiting for her to deposit her stuff in her hotel room I walked outside in the hallway eating my packed sandwich for dinner and of course (murphy's law) that was the time when people started asking me for I was totally unprepared, had my sandwich in one hand and phone in the other, but did my best anyways, haha.  I also met another Journeyer!!!  There was a red cloak, also with "first run" designs like me (minus the "person" shapes on the bottom), and I ran up to her waving my hands.  We chatted briefly, commented on each others costumes, and traded contact info so we could meet up again later on Saturday or Sunday to take some more photos and such (yay!).  So awesome and exciting!~

I also ran into Isabelle!  She was sad because she ended up arriving too late to pick up her badge, but Wendy came and we all just hung out for a while.  Eventually we split off and Isabelle went home while me and Wendy went to the swap meet (second time for me).  We scouted out to see if there were any cute things...I actually had some nice finds!  Got a Kuromi plush for $5, and omg!  I ran into this girl who sold me a Little Twin Stars fanbook for $1!  Totally worth....worth everything!  Also got some random Di Gi Charat stuff, also apparently Russell has more of Zhang's stuff (probably more Koge-Donbo stuff...I feel like I already have so much of Zhang's Koge-Dongo stuff hahaha) that I'm supposed to grab later.

After that we headed back to the gaming hall, Wendy accompanied me as we tried out Keyboardmania (getting the modwheel for me)...doooood, Keyboardmania!!!  The game that is super confusing....good times; I haven't played that thing in aaaaaaggges, probably over 5 years!  I only remember them having it once or twice at golfland arcade before it left...Also ran into Christina and her bf, though we were in the middle of playing Keyboardmania so unfortunately I didn't get to chat with them before they took off) Wendy also watched me as I did my TGM3 runs of easy and sakura mode--my first time on both, just to have scores on my account.  I had no idea what the strategy really was for either of them so I'm sure my scores sucked though.  I also spied on the people playing on the 3rd strike machine; I was tempted to go and challenge them but in the end didn't.  Also partly because I ran out of quarters and change and I only had $20s left, didn't want to get $20 worth of quarters....

Wendy left to go back to her room and the con was winding down...I pinged some people but it seemed like everyone else was heading out too.  I did run into Ray doing a TGM3 Master run, but other than that didn't really see anyone.  Since I was out of quarters and because I have an early start tomorrow, I just spent some time out in the hallway with mask on sitting down with my cloak sprawled out pinging people/checking mail on my phone, with people asking to take my photo every so often.  I've been wearing the mask maybe 10% of the time, if that; it's still kind of annoying to deal with, but helps be more "in character" for sure!  I'll have to spend some more time just walking around in character, that would be fun!  I'm really happy with how the whole costume turned out; it feels great!  Other people seem to like it too, yay~  I'm always so happy when people recognize it...

After that it was back off to my car, and back home...tomorrow I'm supposed to try and be there at 10AM as Kikyo for the Rumiko Takahashi's pretty late so hopefully I can manage to wake up in time.  If I get up early enough I'll do makeup,  I'm not going to be Kikyo for the rest of the day anyways, it's probably not the end of the world if I can't.

Forgot to mention I had the ocarina panel listed on my schedule at 8PM but I was busy hanging out with Wendy and Isabelle and didn't really care to go...the main reason I was interested actually was because they were going to raffle off an ocarina, haha.  *shrug*  Also the only sad part of the whole day was that I lost my Journey bookmark!! =(  I was shuffling things around and it must have fallen out of my pocket at some point...I should have just left it at home or kept it in my bag...dammit.  Well, but it's okay; it's just a bookmark.  Maybe I can get another one at Artist's Alley this year! :)  Didn't have any time for artist's alley or dealer's hall today, maybe I'll check them both out tomorrow?

Looking forward to a full day of con!

Monday, May 11, 2015

(Little) Big Dance 2015

Was looking for the last big dance post that I wrote and apparently I skipped two years?  Didn't write anything for 2013 or 2014...

Here's the last one:

For memory's sake:
2011 was Firefly
2012 was Star Wars
2013 was Last Airbender
2014 was Game of Thrones
and this year was Little Big Dance so it didn't have a theme.  Remember people, according to Richard's email, 2015 (this year) does NOT count as an all-nighter!  This is probably going to confuse a lot of people, so make sure you keep it straight.

Anyhow, Big Dance was certainly....different...this year.  We had it at the FNW place since Roble is down for renovation and we couldn't seem to find anywhere else that would let us host enough people, have the setup we needed, and (most importantly) let us be there and play music overnight.  So we compressed it into about 3.5 hours instead (8:00-8:30 was a kerry set lesson, then from there the dancing and performance started).

I was actually pretty darn glad it wasn't an all-nighter this year; I'm recovering from a cold and I was kind of low energy.  Though to be perfectly honest, Big Dance is never all =that= much dancing when you think about it, just because of all the random distractions happening.

Anyhoo, I'm not actually even sure what to write about it this year.  Well, we had two dance rooms for the first segment--one upstairs and one downstairs, which helped with the fact that the upstairs room was probably the most crowded dance floor I've ever navigated through.  Luckily I'm S++ rank now in terms of being able to navigate through crowds while doing variations--and modifying them on the fly in order to accommodate for space, so it was all a-ok.  Had a couple of fun WCS dances downstairs (yess!!) and even tried to follow rumba (wut?) with someone who I recognized from Stanford WCS.

I don't think I actually remember dancing with anyone new this year, which is kind of a shame.  It's always nice to dance with new people from time to time, although I guess by that I mostly mean follows since sometimes newbie leads are a little exhausting to dance with (others are fine).  Got to dance with someone from Deca though, that was fun!  Deca did alright btw, haha @ Sam having to take Deb's spot at the back for Go go with the hair waving...

Swingtime did awesome!!!  Omg, I was fangirling so much over JJ, I didn't know until then that she went back to swingtime to finish out the year after opening!  Ahhhhh~  Why are you so cool? >///<  That was actually one of my favorite swingtime performances ever, not sure exactly why but they just did really good I think.  (ok, maybe it was partly b/c I was fangirling...)

I had a super hard time remembering what year I was on when we sat down to commemorate all-nighters...the only thing I can really remember is that my triple crown shirt is the last airbender one.  But I've got it all straightened out now--I'm at 4 all-nighters now (remember, not counting this year!).

I didn't participate in a lot of the traditional events this year--I didn't do dawn mazurka (couldn't find a partner actually), no chicken dance, and I don't think richard played the lullaby gauntlet.  I dunno, somehow chicken dance only really makes sense when you really are kind of loopy after having stayed up the entire night. xP


My body is in sort of scrappy shape at the moment...this cold or whatever it is is still here with me and is making me tired in addition to sometimes giving me a mild sore throat and/or sinus issues/stuffy nose or whatever.  The worse issue is that I got two finger infections (stupid hangnails)...they have pretty much been the bane of my existence this weekend; I want to say they are even worse than allergies and canker sores, which if you know me is saying a LOT.  Good lord...well, I was pretty worried about one of them and my doctor told me to just go to urgent care so I did...unexpectedly, they =didn't= end up cutting my finger open with a scalpel to drain everything out (as was the case many years ago, with the infamous incident that left me unable to conduct for that one show back when I was head DM).  Instead he told me he couldn't really see anything he could do with a scalpel so he just prescribed me antibiotics and soaking with epsom salt.  I'm just hoping that it will get better and not worse when I wake up in the morning tomorrow...any worse than this is really going to be bad bad news--I already got woken up from my nighttime nap tonight because of the throbbing pain and couldn't fall back to sleep because of it.  Yeah, kind of...just sucks a lot.  For now ibuprofen is one of my best friends (yay drugs!), though I am still pretty conservative on doses for it as I always am (only one tablet at a time).  At least I had a breakthrough (kind of literally?) which is slightly relieving but I dunno...argh.  So...anyways, I'm a pretty sad camper lately, being tired and feeling sick and also in pain.  Yah.

I guess I'm taking this opportunity to make an honest effort at kicking the nail-biting habit.  Trying to encourage P to do the same!  So far I've made it 1.5 days, let's see if I can do a week?  It shouldn't be that hard, honestly.  At the very least, this week should be easy just because the finger swelling is just annoying enough on its own...

Progress on the cosplay is much slower than I'd like, partly due to the above issues, but at least progress is progress.  I'm almost done sewing up all the dark red triangles to the bottom of the skirt portion, though I ran out of dark red thread (all 125 yds of it, crazy!), so I'm going to have to buy some more.  I did fancy blind hem stitching for 4 of those triangles but then quickly realized that it was just not gonna be worth it at all since there are 16 of them, so I've just been doing plain ol straight stitching for everything.  No sense in sweating the details like that.  I looked up satin stitching and I think for all the yellow shapes what I can do is just do applique technique where I can cut them out with fabric and then do a tight zigzag stitch around the edges to secure it and make sure it won't fray.  The other option is to just do the entire thing out of machine embroidery but I think that will be harder and won't look as nice since I'm already planning to use bias tape for the lines.

Fortunately for my first outing I'm going to just stick with the basic first-run red cloak embroidery pattern (I can add on with each con that I go to!  Or something...), so that part shouldn't actually be too hard.  So, TODO list is basically:

- Buy more dark red thread, finish sewing on the last of the dark red triangles.
- Hem the bottom by 2 inches, check length and re-hem more if necessary?
- Pick up interfacing, rip off the current temporary collar, remake another collar this time with interfacing.
- Cut the collar to the right shape, hand-sew frog closure and test it.
- Add one more frog closure (or possibly the last toggle button instead?) to the bottom, under the last toggle button.
- Bias tape the collar and the cloak opening all the way down (easy)
- Bias tape the raw sleeve edges (easy)
- Bias tape the bottom hem.  I might need double-width bias tape for this based on the design.
- Two more go-arounds of bias tape for the patterning, plus 64 little vertical stripes (omg, so many)
- Then start thinking about the scarf.....

I probably won't have time for a mask/hood at all, which is...okay since the mask would probably be uncomfortable and hot anyways.  One step at a step at a time...sheesh.  I've only got one weekend left to do this though, which is crazy!  I need to really get a move-on.  *stress*

On the plus side, Y let me borrow her petticoat and I tried it on as a way to get the right shape and poof out the bottom as well as make it swirly when I spin.  It works fantastically!!!  I was originally going to weight down the hem on the bottom to make it spin more but with the petticoat (plus the fact that I left a lot of material for the hem) I don't actually think I need to at all.  Yay!

The poor sewing machine's starting to lock up more and more; it's not a threading issue either, it's just the machine getting caught somewhere.  I've done my best to keep it in check with the silicone spray I have on hand--there's actually a particular spot where I think the metal is just grinding against each other and applying some lube there seems to (?) do the trick but only for a little while...sigh.  Life, you are being really tough right now >_<;  All is not lost though!  I still have hope that it will all work out xP

Monday, May 4, 2015

Got hit by a wave of exhaustion today...both in the morning as I was attempting to get up, and later in the evening when I decided to take a nap before dinner.  I don't think it's lack of sleep...I might have just come down with something.  We'll see how I'm feeling tomorrow, I guess.  If I'm not feeling up to snuff, I'll just skip the WCS dance.  So...that would -sort of- suck, but surprisingly, I'm actually being realistic/pragmatic this time and I realize that it wouldn't actually be that big of a deal and I should just be ready to skip it.  I think I usually have this sense that my weekly activities are just things that I shouldn't skip, and I really like committing to things, but I have to remember that if I'm not actually gaining from it in the end I just shouldn't do it.  My life bucket is running pretty full nowadays anyways, so I definitely could stand to let some things go.  It would actually probably be nice to find something to let go more permanently, but I don't really know what that would be yet.  I've already "sort of" ditched OHC (but not truly).  Unfortunately monday WCS is an addition...I'm still doing FNW, and MtG on wednesdays...bleh.

Watched deca perform today!  Was great seeing their new choreo, Sam did a good job on it!  And ahh, she was leading in some of the pieces today!  Mad props~  I think it was one of their weaker performances; I've seen them do better so here's hoping for an awesome performance this Friday at Little Big Dance!

I wrote last time around that I broke my streak of doing bad in MtG but then promptly proceeded to go 0-3 in Wednesday's draft, ugh.  That was pretty terrible.  I guess I still don't understand the format.  Come to think of it, back in the days of RtR and gatecrash I would do tons of practice simulated drafts online with bots and such...I mean that's not really a real simulation since the bots suck at drafting, but at least I was getting good practice of trying to evaluate cards, trying to get decks to come together, and on occasion I'd come across a pick and cross-reference some pick order articles to see what the general consensus was.  I haven't really been doing that lately, so maybe I should?

Today was a pretty good day, actually, all things considered.  Stopped by castro street for the festival (and to go watch Deca) and while I was there I went in and finished up painting my Journey tapestry-inspired ceramic plate, so I'll be able to pick that up next weekend--hope it comes out well!  I was initially planning on accomplishing more today but again, the whole fatigue thing hit me, so eh.

The cosplay progress has been going pretty well actually!  I now have connected the top and bottom pieces and it has sleeves (which I re-tweaked a bunch and am now happy with finally).  Today I was planning on starting to attach toggle buttons so that you can actually button it up and have it finally be "real" (albeit plain and undecorated) clothing, but unfortunately I didn't get to that.  But I don't actually feel that bad about it--there are only so many hours in a day, and I think I did ok.  I actually spent the last 3 hours or so on writing, which was really nice.  Sadly, I still haven't written anything in my diary for....quite a long time.  But writing is good nonetheless.

My new monitor speakers came in!  Had to go on a quest on Saturday to find the right cables for em, but they are now hooked up and working well!  One problem is that I'm getting some nasty ground noise so I've ordered a USB isolator in hopes that it will solve that issue.  The speakers are huuuuge!  They are about the same volume as my desktop computer....=each=!  It actually took some getting used to just having both of them on either side of my monitor...they are definitely massive.  I might end up rethinking how I organize my desk, but...that won't happen until after the cosplay project is all done, since I have the sewing machine and a bunch of sewing crap on there as well right now (not to mention fabric and materials all over the floor.'s going to be a while until my place is clean again)

I've been playing "neko atsume" recently, hehe, it's fun!  I also started playing Attack the Light, the Steven Universe RPG, and have found it actually pretty fun recently!  My only worry is that I don't really know what I want to do with their level-up bonuses, I feel like I should be min-maxing them but I don't know how, hahaha...