Days 836 - 840

In light of the recent furniture-moving extravaganza, I'm making an attempt to clear out a bunch of stuff in my room so that I can put my sewing things in there. Wish me luck!

I don't feel much like writing right now, so here's some photos of current and possible future projects.
Photo by AnimeCraft Entertainment

RIP Ammy Cosplay, 6/23/09 - 6/23/12 (Day 865)

Today was extremely emotional. Mom made me move more than half of my stuff out of my sewing room so that she could put a China cabinet in half of it. It was a bunch of fabric, cardboard, craft foam, my table, and two half-finished Pac-Man ghost heads. She also took one of my tables as a computer desk, and so my overlock machine is in the closet. On the surface, I'm upset that I have to move all of this stuff with no benefit to me. Deeper than that, I'm really upset that I was all settled into my little corner of the room with everything where I wanted it (aside from the mess that comes with sewing), and I got uprooted and had my stuff spread all over the house. Now a bunch of my stuff is in plastic containers in the garage, some is in the hall closet, and some is in my room. My costumes have always been in the hall closet, but now there's crafting things in there too.

While moving things around in the hall closet to make room for more things, I found a piece of mouse poop on top of a shelf in there. I quickly pulled everything that was on the floor out of the closet and vacuumed. I figured while I was in there, I'd do some tidying up, as a lot of stuff was just piled on top of other things in a plastic box. Before I began, Mom took me to Target and bought me three plastic containers that had lids because two of the containers that I had didn't have lids, and I needed a third because I had so much stuff.

When I began sorting out things,  I noticed that there was mouse poop on one of my costumes, the feet of Amaterasu (Okami). My mom had me get a pair of gloves and take the plastic bin with everything in it into the garage. Knowing that I would have to throw a majority of it out, I fought back tears as I walked down the hall to the garage. I found a face mask (normally used during spray painting or heavy sanding) to protect myself from the toxins in mouse urine, and prepared to start digging through the box, but I couldn't hold back anymore. I cried like a baby.

My Amaterasu cosplay was the first big project that I threw myself at. I spent months working nearly every day on it because I wanted it to be the absolute best that it could be. Even though it ended up flawed, I loved it dearly. It was the first costume that I seriously competed in, it opened up the world of competing in cosplay for me. (Something that I still take fairly lightly, but seriously enough to put a lot more effort into my costumes.)

Amaterasu was officially retired because I wasn't satisfied with my craftsmanship or the overall look. I didn't even want to sell it because I've grown far enough in cosplay that I didn't like the overall look of my Amaterasu cosplay enough to take someone's money for it. However, it was still mine and I loved it dearly. Occasionally I'd see it in its box when I opened my cosplay closet for something, and I'd recall fond memories of wearing it. Amaterasu always got a great response.

I sat and cried by myself for a while, but I couldn't pull myself together enough to do anything. I sent my boyfriend a text message (he was in the living room at the time) to come into the garage. He did a wonderful job of comforting me. He got me calm enough to talk, and I tried to explain why I got so upset. He said he understood. I'm not entirely sure that he did, because I know it's silly to cry over a costume that I hadn't worn for two years, but I think he understood enough, otherwise there's no way he would have been so patient with me. I seriously felt like my dog had just died or something (not a joke because Amaterasu is a wolf, I seriously felt like that).

I finally accepted the fact that I wasn't going to be able to completely pull myself together, and I also knew that I wasn't going to be able to throw any of it away myself. So I began sorting through the box while my boyfriend went to get a pair of gloves for himself so that he could throw it out for me. I saved a few things that didn't have any mouse poop or urine on them, including the shield, the fan, and Issun. I separated everything into two piles, "keep" and "garbage", and threw all of the garbage things back into the plastic bin. I sobbed some more, threw out my gloves, gave my sanding mask to my boyfriend, and left the garage so that I didn't have to watch him carry the box out to the garbage bins.

The Great Painter Issun
Now in necklace form
I went back into the house and put Issun on a necklace chain so that I could wear it while "grieving" over my costume. I know it's silly to cry over it, but even now writing this, I'm tearing up. I put so much love into that costume, and I can't bear the thought of it sitting in a garbage bin and eventually rotting at a dump somewhere. I guess in the process of making the costume, it became almost alive to me, and I formed a bond with it. Like I said, silly, but I don't think I could have helped it. Even though it was ignored for a long time, and the parts that were ruined were parts that I was going to remake anyway, I feel like it deserved a much better ending than what it came to. When I was looking through some of my old photos of Amaterasu, I found that I began construction exactly three years ago, three years to the day.

Rest in peace Amaterasu (Okami) cosplay
You will be dearly missed
06/23/09 - 06/23/12

Post-Fanime (Days 834 - 864)

Post-Fanime has been more or less boring. I made some cosplay plans, changed some cosplay plans, but still nothing's set in stone. My boyfriend and I are working on something for AoD, and I'm planning something pretty big for Fanime 2013, but I don't want to say what they are, lest we fall through and disappoint people. As a consolation, here's a picture off 250 water balloons in a bucket.

They took two hours to fill
and one ten minutes to completely destroy.

Fanime 2012 (Thursday - Monday)

I attended Fanime 2012 from Thursday, May 24th to Monday, May 28th with my boyfriend, Ed. We cosplayed a handful of different things and hosted two panels, "Magikarp: A History" and "Rattata: Top Percentage". On Thursday, we only went in the afternoon to pick up our panelist discount vouchers. The vouchers were available for pickup between 6pm and 8pm Thursday night or 8am to 10am Friday morning, and, not being morning people, we decided to pick them up on Thursday. I dressed as a typical cat girl with black cat ears, bright pink pants, a black shirt with lace sleeves, and a bow tie with a bell on it. I almost never dress like that, but it's Fanime and it was Day 0, I just wanted to wear something anime-themed and comfortable, and anyone who had a problem with it could just deal with it. Last year, the panelist vouchers weren't printed in time for Day 0, but we decided to go on Thursday and give it a shot anyway, luckily they were ready this time, and as soon as we got them, we went back home for dinner.

Photo by
Winter Wish Cosplay Photography
On Friday, I cosplayed a maid Yoko from Gurren Lagann. In all honesty, I chose this outfit because I love Yoko, and I love maid outfits. I got a few.. Interesting comments, haha. A few memorable ones included, "So, you couldn't decide whether to be Yoko or a maid?" and one photographer directly asking for more cleavage. (For the record, maid Yoko is a figurine.) A surprising number of people questioned whether my outfit was cannon or not, I figured no one would care.

The day began with waiting in line for badges. I intended to go to the Gurren Lagann gathering at noon, so we arrived two hours early, at ten. Unfortunately, the line took three hours, so I missed the gathering entirely. I felt really bad because just before getting in line, I ran into a Kittan cosplayer who asked if I was going, and I told them that I was. I ran into the same cosplayer later, and they told me that they gathering ended up consisting of themselves and a Kamina cosplayer that they ran into just before the gathering started, so I wasn't the only one who couldn't make it. That sort of made me feel even worse though, because of gathering of Kamina, Kittan, and Yoko sounds like loads of fun! We could have had our own mini photoshoot and just palled around. It would have been so cool.

Photo by KL Media Photography
One of maybe two photos in existence where I'm doing a peace sign

I'm in the back, behind the other maid.
Didn't want my rifle to block anyone.
After getting our badges, we did a quick run through the Dealer's Hall and then headed outside to the BAC gathering. Similar to the Gurren Lagann gathering, a lot of people didn't show up. Normally at BAC gatherings, we play improv games, but there wasn't enough people. We waited I think about fifteen minutes, took a group photo, and then dispersed. I had nothing better to do, so I hung back and chilled with a few other people from the gathering. The gathering was also right next to the Nintendo gathering, which was massive. I watched the gathering happen, but I didn't get any pictures of them. I usually don't take a lot of pictures, I don't know why. I enjoy seeing people and I admire a lot of costumes, but I rarely feel the need to take a photograph. After that, it was back to the convention center with us. The Artists' Alley was open by this point, so we decided to make a run through there.

Simon taller than Yoko?
What is this blasphemy!?
After the Artists' Alley, we decided to visit the game room, and on the way, I ran into a digger Simon cosplayer. One of my friends occasionally talks about cosplaying digger Simon, and she couldn't make it to Fanime this year, so I took a picture with this digger Simon for her. My boyfriend bought us some slightly over-priced convention food, we ate, and then it was about time for a photoshoot!

The photoshoot was at a hotel a couple of blocks away, and once we got there, we had to wait for the photographer. It was more than alright with me though, it gave me a chance to freshen up my makeup and put in eyedrops, those contacts make my eyes so dry. In the hotel where we were waiting, there was a wedding reception going on for a very traditional-looking Asian couple. I felt really out of place, being dressed as a half-naked maid, but it didn't bother me enough to leave. My confidence was boosted though when some of the women from the reception came over to me and asked to take pictures with me. There were very sweet and complimented me a lot. One even asked what my character was, haha. (I described her as "a fighter.") I had a short photoshoot, Ed went to Safeway with a friend, and then I had to wait for Ed to come back so that we could go back to the convention.

Photos by BlizzardTerrak

I took out my contact lenses after my photoshoot, since they dry out my eyes way too much. After I take them out, my first reaction is always, "Oh God, I can see forever!" It's a nice feeling. We made another run through the Artists' Alley and then went home.

I always feel bad asking Ed to hold my stuff.
He didn't make it out of the photo in time for this one.
Photo by Charles Eduardo Wilson

Saturday was much more eventful. It began with not being able to find a parking space. We ended up finding a parking lot about three blocks away that was $5 for the whole day, and things just got better from there. When Ed went to buy the parking permit, someone leaving gave their permit to him for free. We walked to the convention center in partial cosplay. Well, I was in full cosplay as a White Mage, Ed was in partial as Black Mage, wearing everything but the headpiece, since it limits vision and it would be dangerous to walk across streets and stuff with it on. Once near the convention center (where there were no more streets to cross), I helped Ed into the rest of his cosplay, and the requests for photos began.

We made it inside of the convention center, ready to rush to the Final Fantasy gathering, just in time to see the gathering walking past us. I was pretty confused, I couldn't tell if the gathering was over, if it was just moving, or if this giant group was just a giant group and not the gathering. Luckily, one of the cosplayers wth the group stopped to tell us that they were in fact the Final Fantasy gathering, so we followed them. We waited for a while for the gathering to start, admiring all of the other cosplayers. Several photographers took this as an opportunity to get individual photos of some cosplayers before the group shots began. The sun was ridiculously bright and bouncing off of the cement and my white robes straight up into my eyes, so I was a hassle to work with for photographers. One photographer asked if my eyes were bothering me because of my contacts, and when I told him that I wasn't wearing any contacts, he was amazed and insisted on getting a close-up picture of my face. It's been a long time since someone thought I was wearing colored contacts, so that was nice.

Then there was a mock wedding, during which someone actually proposed. The mock wedding was, well, quite frankly, it was lackluster. Maybe if I was younger and the rabid yaoi fangirl in me was still alive, I would have enjoyed it more, but I'm just not into mock weddings (and I'm certainly not into being forced to participate in them). They separated the girl characters and the guy characters for the wedding and had us stand on opposite sides of the area as the "bride's side" and "groom's side". We stood around for a while, separated like that. I chatted with a Black Mage that I stood next to, but mostly everyone just complained that they were bored. A lot of the girls complained that they were cold and, "Why do all of the Final Fantasy girls have to be half-naked?" The (female) Black Mage and I meanwhile complained that we were sweating. I didn't actually get to see the proposal, but I imagine it was cute. (Personally I wouldn't want to be proposed to at a convention, I'd actually answer that with a "no", but my personal proposal preference doesn't detract from this couple's moment.)

Finally, the photos began, only they began with Final Fantasy 7. Fair enough, they were one of the largest groups there. Then they just went up with the numbers, Final Fantasy 8, Final Fantasy 9, etc. Ed, two other cosplayers, and I complained in the back that 1-6 were skipped entirely. We were being more than butthurt, there were some pretty snide comments made, to be honest, not directed at anyone in particular, just at the FF7 and above fandoms. I'm not sure if we were heard or not, but eventually someone with some form of authority got a hint and called for Final Fantasy 1-3, asking if there was anyone there cosplaying from earlier games. For some reason, a large group of people on the opposite side of the gathering area kept shouting "NO!" that there were no earlier Final Fantasy cosplayers there. I found this incredibly rude, and I no longer felt the least bit of embarrassment over the comments our little group made toward the other fandoms. The four of us, along with a few other people who were near us continued to shout back "YES!" that we were in fact there, until someone toward the front with a louder, more commanding voice shouted that we were making our way to the front. Suddenly we were greeted with loud cheers and applause, which made no sense to me after the earlier, very rude argument that none of us were even there.

Our small group got photos taken of us for a few seconds, then we made our way to the back of the group again where some of us got individual photos taken of us.

My boyfriend and I were about to leave, and as we made our way past everyone to the only way out of the area, we saw that they were taking the final group photo of everyone, so we hopped in before leaving.
Group shot from the end of the gathering
There were so many of us!
After the gathering, there was time to kill before our next event. We made the rounds through the Dealer's Hall, Artists' Alley, and Game Room, we also peeked in on the viewing rooms. It took us a long time to get anywhere with the crowds and people stopping us for pictures. At one point, I realized my phone was missing. I freaked out, and in the middle of my freak out, someone asked for a photo. I almost declined because, well, I was freaking out! But I took a second and decided that freaking out was not going to help me find my phone any faster. I posed for the photo and took it as a chance to collect my thoughts, the photo really only took a couple of seconds. While I was getting my photo taken, Ed took out his phone to call mine and saw he had a voicemail from my phone. Someone had found it and left it somewhat hidden nearby. We rushed there as fast as possible, and my heart nearly broke when I couldn't find my phone. I searched everywhere, and then in the last possible place, there it was, laying on the floor behind a potted plant. I then had another little freak-out when I realized that my capelet was gone. It had fallen off in my rush to get to my phone, and I was carrying it in my hand, but suddenly it was gone. I turned around and saw it next to another potted plant nearby. I felt like I was going to cry, my exhaustion and stress was getting to me. I sat down on the floor for a minute to re-collect myself.

Looking back on it now, the whole situation was a little funny. We made the experience into a Final Fantasy reference. We began referring to the faceless man who left the voicemail as an NPC. The search for the phone was a sidequest for a lost item. Thinking back now, retrieving the capelet was like finding armor, and my rest time on the floor was a night in a hotel. Before leaving, I got a photo of some clone troopers that passed by, they were amazing. They had mics and sounded authentic and everything. It was the second out of the only two photos that I took all weekend, and I really only got it because Ed loves clone troopers so much.

Once I had calmed down and recovered from losing my phone, I went to see if there were any hotel rooms available for early check-in, since we were running a panel that started at the same time as check-in. Luckily, there was one room available. I thought it was my lucky day until the person checking me in said, "Umm, yeah... Just for future reference..." Uh-oh. He claimed that I needed to be 21 to check into a hotel. This beyond confused me, this was my third year staying at that Hilton, checking in on my own (I'm 20). I told him, "Really? I thought it was eighteen." and he replied, "Ehhhh, I'm pretty sure it's twenty-one, but I'll take care of it for you today, just you know, for future reference." I thanked him as not-sarcastically as possible, but I was pretty flabbergasted. (Just to be sure, while writing this, I looked up the San Jose Hilton and checked how old you need to be to check in. It's eighteen.) Anyway, I got checked-in, and then Ed and I went up to the room to drop off our costumes (we were wearing normal clothes underneath).

From there, we walked to Ed's car to pick up his laptop for our panel. We rushed across the convention center (thank goodness we weren't in our costumes) to make it to check-in on time, on the opposite side of the convention center. It was rough. We made it to the elevators (check-in was on the third floor), but the line for the elevators was ridiculously long, so we made our way to the stairs and rushed up them. We got into the check-in room one minute after the half hour and were greeted with "Speak of the devil!" Panels staff was about to call us because we were late. We caught our breath after rushing there, were briefed on a couple of minor policy updates, and then went down to the panel room to wait.

I was mildly surprised at the length of the line when we got to it. It was long, and it was still a half hour until the panel began. (I was only mildly surprised because the line was just as long in 2011.) Ed and I sat down on the floor next to the sign that listed the panels after a brief chat with some staff about who we were. One staff member, who was also there last year, was totally awesome and handled the line with a great attitude. He seemed very excited to have something to do and thanked us for hosting our panel there for the second year. He also told us that panels staff had been preparing all day for this line because they remembered it last year. The line ended up wrapping up and down the hallway four times. I made this video of the line and the room. The video isn't perfect, I messed some stuff up, but it covers the gist of it.

Before we knew it, it was time for "Magikarp: A History" to begin. Getting everyone into the room took a while, it was a long line, and everyone's badge needed to be checked, but as soon as the room was filled, the lights went down and the panel began. I always enjoy hosting panels at Fanime, the audience is so energetic and receptive, and slightly less snarky than other audiences. It probably has everything to do with the number of people, people tend to be quieter when there's more people in the room, especially when the lights are off. The panel went fairly smoothly, and we used all of our time right up until the end. We were also kindly informed of a minor flaw in one of our slides which was nearly impossible to catch. I commend that fan's dedication and knowledge of Magikarp, it was a good catch.

We quickly collected our things and left to drop off the laptop in the hotel room and go home to pick up the rest of our luggage, but partway across the convention center, I realized I had lost my wallet. It just wasn't my day, I don't know where my head was. Hoping that it had fallen out of my pocket in the panel room, we rushed back. I told the staff member at the door what happened, went inside, and walked behind the projection screen to the side of the stage. I saw my wallet on the stage under the table, and the man holding the mic stopped to acknowledge me. I told him that my wallet was on stage, and he tried to get it for me but couldn't see where it was, so I just ran up, grabbed my wallet, thanked the man, and rushed away. It was really embarrassing to have to interrupt the Gaia Industry Panel like that.

We dropped off the laptop and then drove home for our luggage. Ed dropped me off at my house and went home to get his stuff, since I hadn't actually packed yet. I threw my costumes and a change of clothes in my suitcase and waited for Ed (and his mom) to come pick me up. We always have someone drive us there for the weekend so that we don't have to pay for parking. That morning, I had had the bright idea that it would be comfortable to wear boot-like slippers with my White Mage cosplay. They looked okay and were hidden under my robe in photos anyway, you could really only see them when I lifted my robe to walk. It was comfortable for a while, but by this time in the day, the padding was completely worn down, and the bottoms of my feet hurt. I changed into sneakers. Ed and his mom picked up some lunch too, then they picked me up and we headed back to the convention. Once there, Ed and I lugged our bags up the the room, put our robes back on, and hit the convention again.

Upon entering the Gaming Room to kill time, a Fanime volunteer sang "Be Our Guest" (from Disney's Beauty and the Beast) to us, for unknown reasons, but it made me laugh and smile a lot. The rest of the night was fairly uneventful, save for a photoshoot, which was extremely fun. It was my first nighttime photoshoot, and even though I was brain dead, the pictures look gorgeous. I'm really happy that we got a picture of me throwing my Phoenix Down into the air.

Photos by BlizzardTerrak

We wandered the convention center for a while after, killing time until a panel that we wanted to go late at eleven. Apparently late-night at Fanime is when the crazy (drunk) people come out. We ran into two brothers who wanted our picture, they seemed very excited and talked a lot. They each wanted a picture with us, so one of the brothers came up behind us (with our permission) and put an arm around each of our shoulders. The smell of alcohol was incredibly strong. He really did talk a lot too, it was non-stop. He kept saying how "awesome" we were. Then the other brother wanted a picture. He also put an arm around each of us. The lingering smell of alcohol from the first brother burned my nostrils, but I didn't smell any alcohol on the second guy, though he was clearly buzzed too. He held his liquor a lot better than his brother, but also talked a lot. The heavily intoxicated brother struggled just to stand up on his own, and using a camera was like rocket science. So we stood there, under this drunk guy's arms while his even more drunk brother took three pictures of us and struggled to stand. After they were done with photos, they continued to talk. I don't know if their drunk minds thought that we were going to be best buddies or what, though I doubt they were thinking anything at all. The more intoxicated brother even attempted (twice) to kiss my hand. I even didn't have to discourage him though, he missed both times. We smiled and nodded for a few minutes until The Drunk Brothers scampered off to be drunk elsewhere.

We made our way across the convention center to the viewing rooms, but we decided that nothing was interesting enough. When we tried to leave, a very excited convention attendee ran up to us. He exclaimed, "Okay, okay, okay. Pop quiz." I said, "Uh-oh", as I'm not fond of being quizzed on my fandom. I don't know many random facts about any fandom, so I'm always stumped and look like an idiot when I get asked questions about them, even though I am truly a fan. We stood there in silence for what felt like forever until the Excited Attendee finally asked, "Can I take a picture with you guys?" I laughed, sighed in relief, and said yes. The Excited Attendee got between us and I smelled alcohol on him. I'm not a fan of drinking, but at least this guy was a fun drunk, and while the smell bothered me, at least he had a good attitude and wasn't too weird.

From there, we went outside to get a breath of fresh air, Ed's costume is really hot and it can get hard for him to breathe in it, and we figured a breath of night air would be nice for both of us. We were just minding our own business out of the way when a guy in a tiger kigurumi approached us, telling us how "awesome" we were. Uh-oh. He seemed sane enough though, and began telling us about a panel that his friend was hosting that night. We were already planning to go to that panel, and thinking that he was just drunkenly plugging his friend's panel to some people he thought were "awesome", I told him that we were planning to attend. He said that that was great and told us that his friend was turning 21 during the panel. Again, not being fond of drinking, red flags went up in my mind. Apparently, this guy and his friends (including a kigurumi-clad friend that he called over into the conversation) were throwing a party for his friends birthday, and we were invited because we seemed cool and he "liked our taste" (in video games, I presume). The following conversation took place between the Kigurumi Friends:
"Did you tell them our room number?"
"Oh! We're in room.. Uhh.. What room are we in?"
"Yeah, we're in room 712. So come by!"
Mind you, they didn't tell us what hotel, or even give us any indication of the direction their hotel was in. So even if we wanted to go, we couldn't. Not to worry though! Kigurumi Friend #1 told us that we could follow them there after the panel! Oh goody. Again, we smiled and nodded, we said we'd see if we could check it out, and made our escape.

We went back to the hotel room to change out of our costumes after that, they just attracted way too much unwanted attention. From our hotel room window, we could see something bright and shiny down in the courtyard. We made our way back down to find a large web of blue LED lights on the ground that people were taking pictures in the middle of. I immediately wished that I was still in costume so that I could get in on some of that glorious, glowy, light-up photographic action. Ah well. It was around 10:30, so we went to the panel room to check out what we wanted to see.

On the elevator ride down, a guy (clearly drunk) started jumping up and down, intentionally making the elevator shake while it was moving. Everyone else just stared at him. I'm absolutely terrified of elevators as it is, and I got so scared, I almost started crying. Luckily, we survived the ride down, the elevator didn't get stuck, and we never had to ride the elevator with that guy (or anyone else that jumped) again.

There was an admirably-size line for the panel, which we quickly settled into. The panel was interesting. One panelist had legitimately prepared and wanted to entertain people. The other panelist was drunk out of his mind and completely intent on being as obnoxious as possible. The sober panelist was a good sport with the drunk panelist and made excellent jokes, and he tried to keep the panel rolling. It was a two-hour panel, but we only stayed for an hour. We left as the audience was loudly (and obnoxiously) singing "Happy Birthday".

Sunday began a little differently than planned. I had originally thought that the South Park cosplay gathering was Sunday morning, but it turned out it was scheduled for Monday, so I slept in some on Sunday. The only thing we had planned for Sunday was our panel, "Rattata: Top Percentage" at 5pm. Ed and I put on our Pacman and Clyde costumes and set out to the convention. These costumes never fail to entertain both us and other attendees, as everyone gets excited when they see us. These costumes definitely result in the best commentary (aside from the obligatory "Waka waka waka" noise  that everyone wants to do). While walking through the Artists' Alley, we overhead the following conversation:
"What? It's Pac-Man!"
"I know, but they're holding hands!"
(I have to hold onto Ed when we wear these because I have extremely limited vision.)

We made sandwiches in our room before heading out for the day and brought a can of Pringles so that we could eat them for lunch, we also a few water bottles. We found a spot off to the side of the main walkway ideal for people watching to sit and eat our lunch. When we finished, we stayed for a while, as people watching is my favorite convention past-time. We were upstairs by a rail where we could look down at the registration line while either sitting or standing. Nothing memorable happened for a while, but then I heard kids running around behind me. Kids are always fun to see at conventions, so I turned and saw two little kids, maybe around 4 years old with what looked to be their mom and possibly an aunt. The kids began exclaiming, "Teddy bear! Teddy bear!" Their mom told them, "Go get a picture with the teddy bear," while getting out her camera and collecting her other things from where she appeared to be sitting. The kids ran off in another direction, and I turned to see which teddy bear they were talking about. Gloomy Bear? The cute orange bear I kept seeing? Another bear that I hadn't seen yet? Oh no, of course not. The two little kids and their consenting mother ran to get a picture with the one and only Pedobear. Knowing that a vast majority of the time, people dress up as Pedobear for laughs, not because they're actually pedophiles, I laughed really, really hard. That was probably the hardest I laughed all weekend, and that's saying something for sure.

After I stopped laughing, we decided to check out the viewing rooms. Usually, Ed and I don't go to viewing rooms at conventions, personally I feel like they can be a waste of time and I should be out socializing, but I wasn't doing much socializing much anyway. The second "Gurren Lagann" movie was playing, and it was right at the good part (won't post spoilers, but I hope everyone knows what I mean), so we tip-toed our way to a couple of seats to watch. The only way to watch the "Gurren Lagann" movies is in a group, otherwise they're just bad, and watching in a large group is absolutely fantastic. The audience was so enthusiastic and their energy was contagious. By the end of it, we were all cheering and laughing.

From there, it was back to the hotel room to pick up the laptop and off to panel check-in. The line for "Rattata: Top Percentage" was definitely shorter than "Magikarp: A History", but that's to be expected. There were people who had waited in line for an hour for "Rattata" as well, and the line was pretty long by the time they started letting people in. Again, Fanime staff was spectacular at managing the line. Hosting "Rattata" is a lot harder than hosting "Magikarp", partly because this was only the second time we hosted it, but mostly because Rattata just isn't as interesting of a Pokemon as Magikarp is! There's not much to talk about. I feel like our panel goes, "This is Rattata. It's a rat. It eats lots of things. This is Youngster Joey. Everyone loves to hate him. Any questions?" And everyone loves to argue our information. Sometimes it is because of a mistake on our part, but a lot of the time (this is an issue with "Magikarp" too), the anime and games contradict themselves. We try our best to only use official sources and information, but even that contradicts itself.  Ah well, there's no pleasing everybody. Just like last time we hosted "Rattata", we had to resort to our backup plan, talking about other Pokemon. That went wrong on my end for sure, it's been a while since I've used that information, and I forgot to mention a few vital things. Oops. We were later told by a friend that during the panel, there were people waiting in line outside to get in, even though there were empty seats inside. I think there was a miscommunication, since the line for the next panel had started already. I think that some people looking for our panel assumed that that was the line for it and just hopped in. (Our friend said that he asked the people in line what they were waiting for, and they said "Rattata".)

The masquerade was scheduled to start at 6pm, right when our panel ended, but our panel ended early, the masquerade line was still outside, and no one had been let into the theater yet. After skipping the masquerade the last couple of years, Ed and I decided that this year, we'd give it another shot, provided that we could get in and not have to wait in line forever. We dropped the laptop off in our hotel room and leisurely made our way through the convention center and across the street to the building where the masquerade was held. Neither of us were in a hurry, since we weren't overly-excited to see the masquerade, but we were cautiously optimistic about it, hoping that since we hadn't seen it the last couple of year, we could look at it through fresh eyes and not feel like we'd seen everything a million times before.

By the time we got across the street, the line was headed inside. To get to the end faster, we walked in the direction that the line was coming from. The end was close, so we hopped in line. I sort of didn't think we'd make it in, but it was still worth a shot. We still had our Pac-Man and Clyde costumes on at the time, and as we neared the entrance, a staff member on a balcony shouted, "Hey, Pac-Man's at the end of the line! I'm glad you could make it in!" We hoped for a seat on the balcony, since viewing is kind of better from there, so we climbed the two or three flights of stairs inside the theater to the top. There was a bunch of seats on one of the sides of the balcony, so we headed there, only to find out that they were taped off. There was no-one guarding them, but I was worried that maybe they were unsafe (and I'm a sucker for rules), so we looked elsewhere.

We missed out on getting other seats, other people were just faster than us, so we went back downstairs. There were so many seats left downstairs! We opted for ones in the center back, they're slightly elevated so the stage is easier to see. We ended up sitting near one of the staff members who managed our panel lines! He's a cool guy, we don't know his name, but we chatted casually while he was managing the panel lines, and when we saw him in the theater, we exchanged polite nods and waves. He's probably my favorite Fanime staff member that I've interacted with.

The masquerade went... Well, it went just as the less optimistic side of me expected it would. It was a lot of the same things that have always been in masquerades since as long as I can remember. It's hard to come up with new content, I definitely don't blame the performers, I think I've just seen too many masquerades. Speaking of unoriginality, there were actually two groups in the masquerade that wore the same costumes and performed to the same song. That sucked for them both, I'm sure. In hindsight, I should have been more interested, since I love comparing things that seem almost exactly the same, but really I was just bored. I was excited when one cosplay group was announced, as was the rest of the audience, but their performance turned out to be a bunch of bad dancing, acting random, and making jokes that were intended to be funny because they were dumb, but just fell short. A lot of acts were good and entertaining, but all fell shy of being amazing. We watched the masquerade until we were just too tired to be hopeful for spectacular acts.

We went back to the hotel room to contemplate our next move. It was about ten thirty at night, and we couldn't decide whether to sleep or find something else to do. It was the last night of Fanime, and I really wanted to go out, so we decided to check out Hentai Nights from the first time ever. We changed out of our costumes to be less conspicuous (haha). and made our way across the convention center.

We really had no idea what to expect from Hentai Nights. In theory, watching hentai in a large group would be hilarious, especially if it was bad hentai. Also in theory, it could be freakishly awkward and embarrassing. We couldn't figure out if there was a line yet, and if there was one, we couldn't find where. So we sat down near a wall out of the way and people watched. We saw some ID-checking going on, so we went there. There was a sign that read both "Hentai Nights" and "Yaoi Nights". While I am a casual fan of yaoi, Ed is not at all, and we didn't want to end up in the wrong room. Of course while we were trying to figure out where we were supposed to be, the only staff member there had left. We waited for her to come back and then found out that we were in the right place.

We had our IDs and badges checked and then got in line. The line wrapped around a couple of corners and into an area that was away from the main convention area, sort of a convention center "back alley", if you will. This was fine with us, as we were still a little embarrassed to be getting in line to watch hentai. Unfortunately, we were in line directly behind a couple who didn't seem to realize that they were still in public. I'm too socially awkward to call people out on groping each-other in public, so I did my best to ignore them. The line was shuffled around a bit as everyone got situated, and we saw a friend of ours passing out Kin-Yoobi Con fliers to people in line. That made me chuckle a bit.

The line started moving at a slow pace. It had wrapped around back out to the main convention area, so people were getting in line without having their ID checked, so we all had to have our IDs checked again. I didn't mind having it checked again though, I would much rather have my ID checked again than have underage kids in the hentai room. We got into the viewing room fairly quickly, as we were near the front of the line, and ended up sitting in front of the touchy-feely couple we were previously in line behind. It took a while to get the entire line into the room, but once the lights dimmed, the audience began cheering.

The staff hit "play" on a title that I didn't recognize, and as soon as the animation began, so did the cheers and "Whoooo!" noises. Juvenile, yes, but ridiculously entertaining with a large group at midnight. I started getting uncomfortable though when the only character on screen was a little girl. Hentai is one thing, hentai about a little girl is disgusting. After probably about two minutes or less, though it felt like forever, staff stopped the anime. Turns out it wasn't hentai at all,  the staff had started the wrong file.

They switched to what they were supposed to show, a title that I can't type in full here in good conscious (though it had the words "Warrior Pudding" in it). It was hilarious! The audience cheering and making noises just made everything better. It would not have been nearly as fun, and I would not have watched as long if I wasn't watching it with a large group like that. We watched for probably about an hour until we got bored (I normally find hentai boring, and even though it was ridiculously entertaining in a group, it's still hentai, and ultimately boring after a while).

I made an attempt to pack up as much as I could that night, since I'm not a morning person. I packed most things, save for what was hanging in the closet, and called it a night.

Monday morning, I planned to get up early and go to the South Park gathering. HA! "Get up early." I crack myself up. That didn't happen, but it's probably a good thing that it didn't, since it took about two hours to finish getting everything packed and lugging everything downstairs. My mom picked us up and drove us home.

Bonus Elevator Stories
It feels like we spent a lot of time in the elevator, so I can't remember exactly when all of these things happened.

Saturday night, there was a security guard standing outside of the elevators in the Hilton on the ground floor. He was stopping people from over-stuffing the elevators, stating "People crowd into them and the cables stretch and people get stuck." This did nothing to help my fear of elevators, but at least they were doesn't something about it.

On Sunday, we were still in our Pac-Man costumes, and while in the elevator, we were asked for a photo. It was difficult to get a photo taken in a cramped elevator, but it got done, and then they noticed our pants. (The pants are black with the Pac-Man grid on them.) They asked to take a picture specifically of our pants, haha. It would have been really, really weird in any other situation, but those pants are pretty awesome. There was a photographer with a really pro-looking camera in the elevator with us who also wanted a picture, but he had a really long camera lens and said that he wouldn't be able to take a picture that close. He attempted anyway, but it didn't work.

One night (can't remember which), riding the elevator up to our room, the elevator stopped on the 7th floor and one guy got out, no one new got on. When the doors closed again, a girl at the front of the elevator turned around to the rest of us and said, "I bet you're wondering why I've gathered you all here." I'm not sure if she had planned to say anything after that, but she didn't need to because we all started laughing, and the elevator stopped again at another floor.

Overall, I had a great time at Fanime 2012. The staff handled things much better this year than they did last year, and everything appeared to run smoothly. Hilton staff was less than enjoyable, but I only had to deal with that one guy. My only regrets are not taking more pictures and not socializing more.