Anime Expo update. I’ve been busy the past few months with business trips and a short jaunt to Hong Kong to visit family as well as pick up items for this year’s SCGMC event. This past weekend was the annual Anime Expo and my time at this event has been getting shorter as the crowds have been getting larger. I believe they hit somewhere around 80k people, almost a 20k boost, which is pretty significant.
We arrived around 10AM on Friday, day 2 of the event. Angel and I have our respective kits for the Gunpla Builders World Cup event. There is a sea of people just waiting for the Exhibit hall to open, so we wait off in the wings before the access from our area is opened to the hall. We go in and Mike is already in there setting up his Kampfer, Geara Doga, and an Freedom. I put my Sazabi into the case, turn the lights on and fix the pose a little bit. I notice one of the folks from the Bandai Hobby department outside watching and looking at my kit. The guy has been coming to AX for the past several years so he knows me to an extent. He helps me pose the kit a bit with hand signals from the other side of the glass. Mike and I then help Angel put his kit into the case. It’s funny that every time we’re here doing this, Angel’s hands get so shaky, parts are falling off as he’s trying to place the kit. So the steady hands of Mike and I get the kit in place. I’ve never known Angel to be nervous about anything, but noticeably, at various contests, he gets shaky while trying to display his kits.
We leave the booth and go to the outside and chat with a few folks gathered there. The Dentist is there, and he’s built a very nice kitbashed Shining Gundam; there are still seams on the kit, but the sanding has greatly improved; which helps enhance his amazing paint job. I really hope he is able to come to SCGMC in November. There are several folks entering from Northern California; apparently Fanime doesn’t get Bluefin the space they need to put up this contest at that event – which is a damn shame as the few examples of modelers from Northern California tell me that there are probably a great deal of high level modelers that just could not make it down to LA for AX. Tatsu Hobby is trying to fix that, and hopefully we’ll get a good crew of entries from the folks they bring down with them come November.
Mike and I hang out for a bit while the women folks wander off to check out the exhibit hall. After a while, we too wander off and find the Robot4Less booth and say hi to the folks there. We meet up for lunch around 1 with the group and head outside for some food trucks. Mike knows the owner of one of the food trucks, so he opens the door, pokes his head in to say hi. Because of our association with Mike, we order what ever we want, and pay 5 buck a person for food. And looking at the prices the other folks are paying, they’re definitely making money hand over fist. We finish eating and head back inside. I want to stop by the workshop rooms and say hello to the workshop staff. This staff have been good to me over the years and because of them, I’m always invited back year after year. I have an 18+ panel for Gunpla Model Building at 9:30PM. The halls are crowded. The lines are maddening. But we make it over and do our meet and greet, then head back to the Exhibit Hall.
It is about 3:00PM and I had already planned on leaving AX for a few hours to return later for my panel. Since I would return after the Exhibit Hall closed, I decided to turn off the lights on the Sazabi, so I told the bluefin staffer responsible for the contest that I would be doing so; and walked into the booth and switched the lights off. I noticed that the shelf above my kit was empty, and all the kits that were on the shelf had been moved to the lower shelf. When I returned to the outside my wife had noted to me that some of the other kits were a little too close to one another. The bluefin contest director staffer was also trying to place an O-ring onto one of the metal supports.
The idiot was doing this alone. He was lifting one side of the shelf (that should weigh at least 40 lbs alone) with one hand while his other was trying to slip on an O-ring. My wife is starting to get nervous. Logic dictates that he should have grabbed another staffer to help hold up this shelf while he fiddled with the stupid O-ring, because below this shelf, is A LOT of gunpla kits. The contest director is having trouble with putting the O-ring over the metal support, again, with only one hand free to do the job, his other hand is lifting the shelf higher and higher. And to my utter shock and horror, he lifts it high enough that the other end slips lose and comes crashing down onto my Sazabi and two other kits next to my Sazabi. I am in shock. There is a crowd of people standing around looking, and they are in utter shock. The fool of a contest director is still trying to hold up the shelf, lift it by himself – when finally, the bluefin staffer responsible for managing the booth at conventions comes over and tries to help. Idiot contest director tries to no avail to lift the shelf and reposition it. FINALLY, the fucking light goes off in his tiny little pea brain and he lets go allowing the other staffer to hold the glass shelf, while moron takes the doors off the shelf and they TOGETHER, are able to remove the shelf.
The fucking moron starts touching my kit. I scream from the outside to just LEAVE IT ALONE. I’m positive that the entire booth heard me. I am normally heard in my regular voice… but if I need the amplification, it is there. I walk into the booth and immediately make the decision to remove my kit. I am almost in a blind rage. Folk that know me know that I’m quite mercurial, and this could be very bad. A billion thoughts are running through my head, but I remain about as calm as I could. I pack up my kit. Turning around, there’s a line of people still trying to make purchases; so I scream loudly, “MOVE!” utterly scaring the people directly in front of me they flinch and jump out of my way. I start walking out; as I’ve already decided against making a bigger scene that I already have, and as I just about get to the door way, some random Bluefin staff/volunteer has the fucking balls to tell me to “chill out”. Rage over logic, and turn around and loudly exclaim, “WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?!?” I mean, I was on my way out, I was shutting the fuck up and just leaving. Smart move asshole, lets pour gasoline on this brightly lit flame. I stared at the douche and he meekly repeated what he had said, then quickly shut the fuck up. The company owner is standing opposite him near the cash registers and NOT SAYING A GODDAMN THING; because he’s the smartest on there. He knows me. I was leaving, let me go. Why do anything that could give an absolute unknown, raging entity that is me; ANY reason to stick around, and potentially cause more havoc?
I am in a blind rage, I grab my wife and we just leave. Granted, the original plan was to take Su and Angel with us to my mom’s place and I was going to head there because I had promised to cook dinner for her and her friends that she had coming over. But I ended up just saying good by to Angel and abandoning him. The car ride from downtown LA to Hacienda Heights was utter silence. I had so many thoughts running through my head. I contemplated just not returning to AX at all; to burn all the bridges I had spent years building. I just witnessed 4 months of hard work, smashed by complete stupidity. Funnier still is that three years earlier, my feelings for this contest had already died. I had won, I had gone to Asia to compete. I have seen how they judge. This is not the type of contest I want to be a part of; this contest is purely a marketing scheme. But at the request of Bluefin’s owner and to help promote gunpla in general; I come to this event and I enter a project. Yet this is how I am repaid. Stupidity. I hate stupidity.
I get to my mom’s house and she notices that I’m not in the right frame of mind, so my wife and I explain what happen. She heads off to our house to pick up my cell phone as well as to feed and spend some time with the corgis. I have some time before I need to start cooking, so I head upstairs to the computer room and login and quickly make a short post about the incident on a private forum. I seriously need to vent. I posted a small blurb on Facebook, and only a select few knew what I was talking about. I messaged Angel and Su apologizing for abandoning them. Messaged Nicky who actually works for Bluefin too about the whole incident. We have a good argument on the subject. Back to the forum posting, I specifically chose that forum because the Bluefin contest director staff has access to that forum, and I wanted to be as honest about the incident from my point of view as possible; and vent to a few folks that are in the gunpla community and also know this staffer. It was fair and neutral ground, and not completely open to the public as this posting.
I calm down considerably and a few friends sent private messages to me. Logic takes over and I know that I should take the high road for the sake of the fucking hobby. I promise Angel and folks that I will be returning to AX that evening, I mean, why punish the convention and it’s attendees for the stupidity of one person? I go and cook for the 15 or so people; and a good thing my mood improved; and I would have made horrible food if I was in a foul mood or stewing in my own rage. I attempted to look at the different perspectives. Tried mind you.
Dinner went well, and around 8:15, the wife and I decided to return to AX. Originally, she was going to return home as she had spent the first part of the day at AX; but in light of the day’s events, she wanted to come with me when I returned to do my panel. We arrive and walk to the workshop rooms. There’s a decent line of folks waiting for the panel. Angel, Su, and Nicky arrive and we set up a camera to film the panel. One of the workshop staffers tells me they’ve heard about my presentation and requested that she be allowed to work it. Apparently, my reputation is growing. The crowd is let in and I run start warming them up as folks are coming in and sitting down. Here’s the video for the presentation in all 1 hour and 41 or so minutes:
I had a pretty good crowd and reached 240 or so unique attendees. The growth of the convention has definitely helped in my numbers that evening. I answered a few questions and we headed back home. Logging into the earlier forum, I see that the Bluefin contest director has posted a response. And I’m floored, it was such a backhanded apology, the rage that had gone away just flared up. The little douchebag didn’t even take direct responsibility for his stupidity.
His apology starts off by saying he is saddened such an incident happened “on his watch”. WTF? Seriously? Let me tell you what “on your watch” means; this means that you were the boss responsible for an event, and a worker bee under you did something stupid. I mean, had I done something stupid and I wanted to make amends, I would just come out and say, “I fucked up, and I’m sorry”. AT THE BARE MINIMUM. And I would have been fine with just those 6 words. Nothing more needed to be said. I would have absolutely forgiven the stupidity and moved on; but no, contest director is too high and mighty to take blame for anything. At no point in his post did he take any sort of personal responsibility. Pathetic. I showed my wife the post. She now hates this douche.
Let us rewind a few years back. Back before this tool of a human being started working on Bluefin. I get a call from the owner of Bluefin; it is something that regularly happens as I help out the guy with ideas and what not for the sake of promoting gunpla. He calls inquiring about a reference. Apparently, Mr one day GWBC contest director had put my name down as a reference in a job application to Bluefin… AND DID NOT HAVE THE FUCKING COURTESY OF ASKING ME FOR PERMISSION FIRST! Or even bother giving me a heads up that he did so. In hindsight, I guess this was the first of may clues as to the stupidity level on this fellow. I mean, in my career, I have applied to jobs and have asked friends and co-workers permission to use them as a reference. At the very least, it prepares them for the possibility that they get a call from a potential employer inquiring about me; and not completely blindsiding them. But I chuckle at this, and give the guy a very positive review. When Bluefin asks if he should hire the guy, I highly recommended that he does. Now, how much this played into his decision to actually hire the dumbshit, I do not know; but this is the truth of what transpired several years ago. I was questioned about his character, and I gave my support – even with the surprise call from out of the blue.
Does this bag of shit owe me for his current career path? That’s completely up to debate; but it is an interesting little historic fact.
Returning to fucktard’s response to me on this fairly private forum; the cunt of a human decides to put the blame on the display case and also demonize me; for when reading the text, that is the only way my little brain is able to process the message. Apparently, one of hte O-rings had broke when a customer bumped into the case. Apparently, the 4 metal supports isn’t enough to keep the shelf from falling – for which it hasn’t in how many conventions over how many years? Shit for brains defends his actions, saying he did it to prevent potential damage to the model kit entries. Oh really? My wife was there watching everything transpire, Angel was there watching, a whole slew of people were standing around watching. But if this walking, talking, pile of stupidity says he did it for the sake of the models, well, who’s gonna argue… oh wait…. EVERYONE. He continues and defends the actions of his co-worker that told me to “chill out”. Demonizing me and saying that I “ALMOST” stepped on a child, and “ALMOST” tackled someone in the booth. I didn’t run or step into anyone or anything. Last time I checked, the definition of almost doing something does not equate to actually doing something. But alas, the guy guy’s a fucking retard; so I can see how easily confused he can get. I respond, telling him he should have just apologized, taken responsibility, and shut the fuck up about everything else.
All his actions to date do nothing but tell me that he’s not taken responsibility for his own stupidity. He blames the case, blames the people bumping into the case. He’s the savior, and his attempt to save it, BY HIM SELF, caused the misfortunate accident, “on his watch”. Wow. Again, had the stupid fuck of an excuse for a bag of talking shit actually took responsibility, admitted he fucked up, and apologized sincerely, I wouldn’t still be so upset and posting this scathing blog about it all.
I woke up lazily the next morning and Angel came over and along with the wife, we headed out and picked up Su and went to AX. I had another panel but the G rated one. It’s completely different from the abusive comedy show that was the adult only presentation. The wife prefers the G-rated presentation; go figure. During the presentation, I noticed that the Bandai Hobby guy dropped in and snapped some pictures; in hindsight, I should have picked him out and introduced him to the crowd; but this wasn’t the 18+ so I couldn’t in good conscience ridicule him in any fashion. After the presentation, the group of us head over to the Exhibit Hall to watch the GBWC awards presentation.
Upon seeing me there, cunt for brains decides to tell me that I could still enter the online competition. Seriously? After last night’s response? And with a whole group of Bandai representatives standing right next to me? I loudly exclaim my honest feelings and how I view this contest. There are fans and everyone that has entered this contest around and within ear shot. I am not in the least flattering about what I say. Angel even warned the moron not to say ANYTHING to be before he couldn’t help himself and his little 1/144 scale brain decided to open his mouth. Sure if the first words out of the idiot’s mouth was “hey Clem, I’m sorry for what happened yesterday, it was all my fault, and I take responsibility” or something along that line. I would have accepted it. A stupid action is forgivable. Refusal to take responsibility, continued stupidity, and laying the blame else where, is not. But I guess my response somehow reached the impossibly small brain matter, as he didn’t attempt communications with me.
After the awards presentation, Bluefin’s owner walked towards me, not sure if he should say anything until I said hi to him, and he walked closer and gave his apologies for what happened. And that’s all he said. He took responsibility as an owner. He didn’t go and blame the asshat, the shelf, the day of the month; he just said he was sorry. I also apologized for causing the scene I did by screaming loudly at his customers when they were in my way. Before going on his way, he sincerely implored that I reconsider my stance on entering the online competition. I honestly told him I would think about it – and I have yet to make a decision, but I have a feeling I know what would happen, and I don’t care much for how things work behind the scenes. But I’m still considering the words from Bluefin Boss. I chatted with another Bluefin employee that wasn’t present the prior day. He’s much smarter than just about every other bluefin employee, he just silently listened. Didn’t try to defend his co-workers, nothing; just listened to the mad rantings of a lunatic. I appreciated that.
The wife and I noticed that the group of Bandai representatives were slowly inching their way towards me. Now, back to before my kit was destroyed by massive amounts of stupidity; the Bandai Hobby representative was looking at my kit. He knew what I entered. He also probably found out what happened, and most likely from Mr Super North American GWBC Contest Directory guy’s perspective. So he most likely blames the case too. He’s also apologetic about the incident. They show us some pictures of an upcoming product that is only to be released in the US. Granted it was kinda cool, and they’re trying to be friendly; but I build gunpla, so I wasn’t really interested in the other lines. I pointed to Angel and told them that he would be more interested. We chatted a little bit about what happened with my kit, and they also mentioned the online contest. I was done, and we politely excused ourselves and left. I wonder how long they stood there and chatted with the other folks that were still hanging around. As much as I love being the center of attention; I spent my time that day at the hall, standing away from everything. People just approached me. It was interesting.
But there you have it. The story from my perspective, and I only embellished here and there for comedic purposes. If you have about the time it takes to play a full game of soccer’s time; watch the above video. Sorry, I didn’t post any pictures, I haven’t offloaded them from my camera yet, and I just wanted to get this out.
Edited on November 19, 2014. One of the guys that attended SCGMC this year was also at AX and was able to snap a picture of the Sazabi as it lay broken in the Bluefin display case.