I went to the Bay Area Conventions gathering at the Exploratorium in San Francisco with my boyfriend and two friends. The gathering started at 9:30am, but in our usual fashion, we slept in and didn't plan to leave until 9:30am. I had talked to the gathering organizer beforehand and let her know we were going to be late though. Also in our usual fashion, we didn't leave when we planned to. Luckily, it wasn't as late as the last time, and I believe we ended up leaving around 9:45am-10:00am. I went dressed as Christmas!Chi from Chobits/Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicles.
I woke up at 8am and got out of bed around 8:30am. I purposely set my alarm for half an hour earlier than I wanted to get up so that I could lay around in bed for a while. I did my makeup, got dressed, made sure all of my stuff was ready to go, and ended up being ready to leave five minutes early. My boyfriend stopped by the gas station before coming to my house. He called me around 9:35am in an absolute panic because he was at the gas station and his car wouldn't start. We were just kinda stuck. I know nothing about cars, I don't own a car, neither of the friends we were going with currently has a car, I just had no idea what to do. Luckily, after what felt like forever of panicking, my boyfriend figured it out. He had put his car into drive before turning it all the way on, so the engine wouldn't turn over. He picked me up, we picked up our friends, and we were on our way.
The drive to San Francisco went as it usually does, though we took a different route than usual. We got a little bit turned around as we got closer to the Exploratorium, but it wasn't so bad, and we got straightened out in a few minutes. We parked behind the building in the parking lot, and then had to walk around the building. We couldn't decide which way to walk around the building, so we went to the right. After walking for a few minutes, we came across a sign that read "Entrance 200 feet" with an arrow pointing the the opposite direction. Whoops. We turned around and walked the other way.
We bought our tickets and went inside to look for other cosplayers. The event organizer didn't pick up her phone, but I spotted some familiar faces upstairs and went to say hi. It turned out that everyone was just kind of wandering on their own, so we followed suit. My boyfriend and I looked around upstairs, our friends went to find a bathroom.
My boyfriend and I played with the electrical and magnetic exhibits first. I enjoyed the magnets, especially the magnetic liquids that you could move around with magnet wands. My boyfriend managed to shock himself pretty bad with one of the exhibits because he didn't finish reading the exhibit placard before interacting with it. It was hilarious. I heard back from the event organizer who let me know that the group would be getting lunch and then meeting outside at 12:30pm.
Around 12pm, we went downstairs to buy lunch, as we had both forgotten and ran out of time to bring our own sandwiches. Lunch was expensive! One sandwich was $8! Luckily, one of our friends gave my boyfriend some of her pizza, which was rather large, so we only bought lunch for me, a soda, and an ice cream. Eating lunch was interesting, we mostly people-watched. Then we were told that the group was heading outside. We headed out, and my friend overheard a mother with her husband and two children say, "It's Christmas Chi!" We were all amused and I was pretty happy that someone outside of our gathering knew who I was.
Once outside, a bunch of people started dancing to Vocaloid music. Having next to zero interest in Vocaloids, my boyfriend and I quickly got bored and wandered off to look at ducks in the lake. I had just recently studied different types of birds for marine biology class, so I had a lot of fun pointing out different types of birds, including grebes, which look a lot like little black ducks.
After some dancing, the group moved to the other side of the lake for a group photo and individual photoshoots. The group shot took a little while to organize with so many people there. We were supposed to be arranged by height, which always seems to take forever no matter who's doing it. The photographers took photos of us, which was a little difficult for me at least, with the way the sun was reflecting into my face, but it was manageable. The backdrop to the group photo was really beautiful, so the sun was definitely worth it.
The group broke apart after the photo to do individual and smaller group photoshoots. One of my friends went to join the "90's" photoshoot, so my other friend and I decided to take photos on our own, with my boyfriend as the photographer. My friend suggested we take photos in/near a tree, which is funny because that's what I did the last time I had a 'shoot as Chi. I thought that my friend and I were going to take photos together, even though we weren't cosplaying from the same series (she was cosplaying from 'The World Ends With You'), but it didn't happen. Ah well. She kept making me laugh while my boyfriend and Blizzard Terrak were taking photos of me, which is a little frustrating, but it's really more fun than anything.
I really enjoy doing photoshoots in trees, most likely because I like climbing trees in general. Granted, climbing trees is a little harder while I'm wearing high heels, but still fun. My boyfriend actually had to lift me up into the tree for the photoshoot, and the branch I was sitting on was about six feet off of the ground. He had to pick me up by my legs, haha, it's a good thing I'm used to being picked up a lot.
Our friend returned from the 90's shoot, and my boyfriend took pictures of my friends. After a couple of in-character photos, they just started being silly. We moved to a different location by the water to take more photos. The water was so pretty and photos with water always turn out really well for other people, so I was really drawn to it. I sat on the stone railing that went around the lake and dangled my feet over the edge. I didn't put my feet into the water, but I could see that it was surprisingly shallow. I could see the bottom of the lake through the murky water.
There was still a lot of time left before we were to meet back up and go inside the Exploratorium again, so we walked around the lake to a new photoshoot location. A lot of people followed our lead, I was surprised, I thought anyone that wanted to move had already moved. Across the lake, there was, I'm not even sure what to call it, but really beautiful structures. My boyfriend and I mostly wandered, looking for graffiti for one of my friends to pose by, sort of in-character. We saw the same mother from earlier. Her son looked at me and said, "I don't know who that is," to which the mother replied, "That's Chi!" I just smiled really big at them. I don't really know what response they expected, if anything, haha. They may have thought I was weird, but they made me really happy.
We wandered more, and some people, not sure who, found this adorable fuzzy black and yellow caterpillar. That little guy could move, he was so fast! Usually, I'm kind of afraid to hold bugs, I don't like the way their little feet feel on my skin, but I was wearing gloves, so I had to hold the little guy. I asked my boyfriend to take some pictures of me with it, since Chi looking at a tiny caterpillar sounds cute, but you can't really see the caterpillar well, since he's mostly black and my gloves are black.
I had a short photoshoot with my friend Foxberry (Weise Studios) before going back to the Exploratorium. On the way back in, my boyfriend and I stopped at a couple of fun exhibits, including a drinking fountain that looks like a toilet. My boyfriend got a kick out of it, but there was no way I was drinking out of that thing, it grossed me out. I find it interesting because the exhibit was actually about how it would gross some people out, but other people would be fine with it. We also stopped to take pictures on differently-sized chairs. I liked the giant chair, it was fun.
We then went to the part of the Exploratorium that had to do with lights and eyesight. It was really a trip, I absolutely adore optical illusions. There were things like switching face parts with a friend or blending faces together. I really enjoyed the sepia-toned room. There were special lights in the room that made everything in it turn brown. The picture to the left was taken with my camera on the normal point-and-shoot setting with no filters and no editing afterward. There were flashlights hanging from the ceiling with regular, LED lights in them that you could point at things to see their real color. It was mind-blowing. I would not mind having a sepia-toned room in my house. I wonder how long it would take for the novelty to wear off.
My boyfriend and I met up with Foxberry and her boyfriend and palled around a little bit before heading to the gift shop with everyone else. The books they had were bother interesting and funny, with titles like "When Is a Planet Not a Planet? The Pluto Story", "Poop", and "Sic Cumfrence and the First Round Table". They also had a really neat shower curtain of the Periodic Table of Elements, like the one seen in the show "The Big Bang Theory". I really wanted it, but I didn't want it to the tune of $35.
On the other side of the store, there were toys and fun things more for kids. I went looking for the "Astronaut Ice Cream", but didn't want that to the tune of $4, I'm a cheapskate, so I looked around more. Foxberry pointed out that they had giant microbe plushies of things like mono and such. I've seen them online, but never in person. I then found two stand alone shelves full of small microbe plushies. I dug through all of them to find all of the different types. There was mono, the common cold, the plague, swine flu, e coli, and a bunch of others. My friend Julia asked for someone to hold up the sperm and egg plushies because she got a kick out of them and so that she could take a picture. I decided to get the common cold plushie, since it was really cute.
The cashier was really funny, he seemed really amazed at all of the people in costume. Turns out he had an interest in cosplay, but didn't know it was a thing. I wish I had talked to him more about it. He said, "If I were to dress up in costume, I think I would take it in a little different direction than ya'll. I would dress up like a Mortal Combat character." I told him, "I have friends that are Mortal Combat characters!" He took me a little too seriously at first, but hopefully he understood what I meant in the end. I was really in a hurry to leave, and the store was crowded, so I didn't want to take up anyone's time.
By this time, it was around 4:30pm, maybe, we had originally wanted to leave at 4pm, because the weather is really unpredictable, and we didn't want to drive home in the dark and the rain. We stayed later because we were having so much fun, ad we had arrived late, but we still didn't want to stay too late and run into bad traffic/weather. Getting out of San Francisco was really difficult for some reason, our directions were maddening and didn't make any sense. We ended up driving up some really steep hills, and it was really scary. My boyfriend was the one driving, we were in his car, and his car is very tiny and doesn't have a lot of power to it, so there were a few times that we were scared we were going to roll back down a hill.
Luckily, things were easier once we got onto the freeway, a lot easier than they normally are. The drive from there was pretty uneventful, we discussed things that happened that day, as we had a split up and done different things. There was some talk about future cosplays and future conventions.