Still trying to recover from the past couple of days of being out in Maryland. Damn fun trip! The model contest wasn’t as exciting as it has in previous years, and I guess I can be proud that AX’s model contest now surpasses Otakon’s, so I guess some good is coming from the active push to get the contest into the forefront and get more exposure for it. At Otakon, I was able to make come connections that will hopefully benefit the model contest in the coming years. I got to see some faces that I haven’t seen in two years, and saw a good number of faces that I had met at Tekkoshocon 2007. I also got better acquainted with yet another female model builder that has also attended my workshops at AX. Damn good time.
The trip begins with Virgin America. Amazing prices and good business model. The planes are very new which is a nice tough. Each seat has their own touch screen for watching tv, movies, listening to music (create your own play lists), video games, and food. For those who have flown domestic flights, you are used to the stewards pulling a cart of drinks down the aisle and having them hand you a drink and possibly a bag of peanuts of a snack. They do one trip down the aisle to hand out drinks and that is it. Now from the touch screen, you can click to have more drinks of your choice brought to you free of charge. Food items such as snacks and meals can be ordered off the touch screen as well – however, the prices are on the order of movie theater/convention center level pricing. I just continue to read Confessor by Terry Goodkind (yes, I know the book came out last November, and I’m just now getting around to finishing it – which finishes the series). Regardless, the flight was pleasant and I will definitely fly Virgin America again.
Landing at Dulles Airport, my first time here, as I normally fly into BWI; moving through the terminal, I am shocked to see the inter-airport transportation system. We file into a mobile lounge. Imagine a subway train section that sits on a wheeled frame that lifts the section up to the terminal doors. Just an odd sight to see, and it is something that looks very archaic to me. It’s something out of Logan’s Run; just weird 60’s vision of the future. Well, walking in the main airport building, I see signs that they are currently building a railway system that should update the airport’s infrastructure to something out of the mid 90’s. Pictures here:
My friend Brian picks me up and we head over to his house. I haven’t eaten all day, so I’m fairly hungry. We hit up the local Korean super market that’s around the corner from his house and pick up a few things. We get to his house and I end up cooking dinner. Since becoming single, I haven’t really cooked all that much on a routine basis, so it felt good to be back in the kitchen. We ate while watching the original Gundam series. For the past month after AX, Brian’s gotten himself into gunpla model building. I think the years of watching my model panels and looking at my kits has finally got to him and he feels the need to show me a thing or two about a thing or two with models. So he’s been working on 1/144 Gouf Ignited. And for his first model, he’s light years ahead of my first model in terms of build quality and attention to detail. He’s learning damn fast. We start watching the second season of Code Geass, and before we know it, it’s about 3 in the morning, and we need to get up and hit Otakon; so we call it a night and crash.
The following morning, we wake up around 9 or so, leave the house around 9:30 and head to the local hobby shop where Brian picks up a scriber and some tamiya extra thin cement. We get to Otakon around 11:30 or so, There are two lines on each side of the building, one for pre-reg, and another for registration. Brian heads over to the much longer registration line. In hindsight, we should have just came the night before and grabbed our badges. After standing in line for a few hours, I get my badge, then I realize that I could have just walked in and just gone to the special needs desk to get my badge since I was hosting a panel. Lesson learned for next year.
Grabbing my badge, I head down to the Art Show room to put Haruhi and Saber into the auction, as well as put some models into the competition. Walking down the stairs, Baretta calls out to me to say hi as he’s on his way up. I finish setting up and realize that I left the base for Midori at home so she’s unable to stand on her own, so no contest for her. Finally having some time to catch my breath, nerd talk and a good nature rubbing for why folks cannot finish a gigantic Monster chunk of resin starts. A short while later, Brian shows up having endured a 3 hour wait to get his badge. We continue to hang out and chat about nerd topics and I continue to blur the line between what is funny and what is utterly disturbing.
A couple walk towards me and ask if this is the model contest for which I direct the questioner’s attention to that of JJ (Khyron). I ask what’s in the box, and he shows me his HGUC Gelgoog, which is amazingly well done, especially after noticing that the kit was hand painted. He then heads over to complete the necessary paper work for entering the contest. The girl stays behind and starts talking to us, telling me that she attended my workshop at Anime Expo and that she also builds gunpla. I am floored, because this girl was actually quite cute. But having no proof that she does build, I am still skeptical.
We talk a bit more and I learn that she’s been to my website, so eventually, she’ll read this; and possibly comment or complain that I have this story all wrong… Yes, as the story is much more elaborate and interesting, I need to tone it down so that the heads of the folks reading this won’t explode from the shear level of entertainment. Regardless, I tell her about the build gatherings and some other things for which she acknowledges that she’s already well aware of since she visits the site… great we now have.. an internet stalker, lovely. The Gelgoog builder and creepy internet stalker girl:
Having annoyed the Pittsburgh crew enough, we head over to the dealers room to check out things. I head over to HLJ and say hi to Jim who sorta recognized me from previous years. I talk with him about AX and about the model contest and he expresses interests into judging the contest at Otakon. I hope that he is able to come out to AX because I would love to have him participate in the judging at AX’s model contest as well. HLJ starts to get busy so we run off and say hi to some of the other vendors that we know. We stop by and say hi to Coil, one of Brian’s friends. We hit up the two booths that Toy’s Logic has to say hi to Ivy and her subordinate. And we find Ifan and hang out with him for a short period of time. Brian sees a few Code Geass model kits but isn’t overly impressed with the level of detail, annoyed with the lack of detail really. He has an idea he wants to do with some of the kits. He’s well on his way towards model geekdom. I persuade him to check out prices online and at other places first before putting money down then. The rest of the day was fairly tame, we wandered around some more, took pictures, ate at the con, and then hit up the AMVs. There were a few that were entertaining.
Coil meets up with us after his obligations with the dealers room are over and we go wander around. We find ourselves at the artist alley and wander around there. Brian and Coil see a booth and start chatting with the artist. Coil and the artist (female) discover the inner Transformer nerd within each other and they are off into a different plane of existence. Brian and I are absolutely baffled by this; for surely the apocalypse is upon us if there exists a fairly decent looking young lady who is that much into Transformers as Coil. I don’t remember how we pulled ourselves from that black hole of a conversation, but we did. Brian and I were tired and hungry so we headed home for food and rest.
Back at the house, I cook again, boil the rest of the dumplings that Brian has in his fridge, make a sauce for the dumplings, and heat up the left over roast pork and Popeye’s Fried Chicken in the oven. I think we were able to watch one or two episodes of Code Geass before we decide to call it a night.
We leave the house around 10 because Brian needs to hit up the local Verizon store to get his phone replaced. The screen cracked the previous day in his pocket. My guess is that the potential energy stored within that area of his body is finding ways to eek out and managed to destroy the phone; but I keep this to myself. I hit the local deli and grab a few sandwiches for breakfast. With the phone exchanged and data transferred, we head out to Otakon. Meeting up with some of the folks at the model contest, I see that there is one bid on my Haruhi. After chatting for a few, we head over to the dealers hall and wander around, then over to the open areas where folks are posing for pictures and such.
Judging time for the model contest begins at 2, so we head over there and hang out. Tiny net stalker is there with androgynous gelgoog builder. We watch as Chris, JJ, and Jim closely inspect each model kit very carefully and mark their points for each kit. Well, we don’t really watch, just glance over every now and then to see if they were finished. I was really curious about what Jim had to say about my kits; criticism is the only way to get better. But it is getting close to 3 PM and I need to hit up my gunpla/resin figure panel, so we take off before they can finish deliberating about their results. We steal the 4’10 bundle of longanisa flavored joy with us to the the panel.
The panel started out a little rough, as the video guy wasn’t in the room and I was messing with the projector that didn’t help. The audience is ever helpful with the questions about plugging in the computer’s video port…Smart asses, the lot of them. They were able to switch over, and I hit the ground running. I had 1 hour to roll through slides and videos I pulled from 3 separate presentations that each themselves run about an hour and a half. It is definitely nice to have a brand new audience. Only about 3 people in the room have seen all or part of my presentations. Which means I get to rehash old jokes. The crowd reacts at the correct moments and I am able to roll through the entire slide show. The sound guy Dwight, came up and thanked me and told me that he too enjoyed my panel. Hopefully, they’ll let me back next year and then possibly getting a longer time slot. I’d have more freedom to joke and banter with the crowd. Good times had by all.
After the panel, we return to the art show since I need to pack up my models and store them under that art show tables. I am informed that I won best of show with my Dark Elf figure and I’m given a PG Wing Zero kit. An excellent prize, but in past couple of years, I purchased 4 of these and gave every single one away. I gave this 5th one to Brian. The other prize I got was for Mecha Large Scale with Char’s Zaku II ver 2.0, and for that they gave me a Gundam ver 2.0, how very appropriate. There is now a bid on Saber as well.
Sadly, we had to part ways with our little brown modeling building cosplayer as she was off to meet up with her friends for a photo shoot. I give her my number so that she can call if she wants to hang out and drink with us later. Ciprian meets up with us at the art show and we head across the street to a bar and grill and have lunch/dinner. That Blue Moon tasted damn good. We head back and split up for a short period of time as I wanted to run around in creepy photographer mode, while Ciprian and Brian attended a fansubbing panel. We meet up later and end up hanging out at the artist alley, and then in the art show area.
Ghostbuster Gus is starting up little impromptu line dancing sessions with everything from Tunuk tunuk, Caramelldansen, Thriller, etc. Coil shows up and immediately we berate him for not trying to hook up with busty Transformer AA girl. This goes on for a good hour. Sexual innuendo using Transformers of all things were thrown out as potential pickup lines he could throw at her. Poor bastard. At least Brian and I had fun. Coil wanted to kill me, but he cannot really hold his death stare too long before cracking a smile and laughing at the random junk coming out of my mouth. I’m positive that had he caught up with her in time, he would have been pink socking her that night.
Brian and I sat and watched the final moments of the Art Show auction. This was just like watching Ebay in living color, people standing around and attempting to snipe each other. In the last 10 minutes, the Harui and Saber started getting a good number of bids. One guy even tried to sneak a bid in after the art show was closed – it would have pushed Saber to the live auction – which would have been interesting to see.
Once that was over, Brian and I headed home. With no leftovers in the fridge, we hit up the local McDonald’s for dinner. Brian started working on his kits after dinner. It is inspiring to see him so interested in building. We catch a few more episodes of Code Geass and then just crash.
I get a call at 11:30 or so in the morning from lumpia girl. Brian had gone out to buy some groceries, and I had no idea what we were going to do that day. Brian wanted to continue work on his kit, and I’m always fine with anything. Brian ended up cooking deer curry which was very good. We sat around and watched the rest of the episodes of Code Geass which caught me up. Another one of Brian’s friends whom I know, Benny, stayed in town to have dinner with us. Se we headed to a local sushi restaurant and met up with Benny for dinner, at 4:30. I needed to be at the airport around 6 or so to mouse my way through the maze that is the security gauntlet; so dinner was early and fairly rushed. No big deal since I’ll see them all next month at Brian’s wedding.
I enjoyed Otakon; and I’m sure I’d enjoy AX just as much, but I’m too busy working to just freely wander and enjoy the event and all they have to offer. But I did gleam a few things that I’d like to implement for the art show and how the artist alley function. Hopefully, these things wont fall on deaf ears. I’ll add a photo page link when I get all that information compiled.