Cut for length, swearing, a whole truckload of anger, lots of CAPSLOCK, and a couple photos.
We had the car packed and were on the road before eight. Traffic that morning wasn't bad, just a little bit in Sunol. We arrived in San Luis Obispo a bit after eleven and got lunch at Chili Pepper. Mmmm, delicious delicious lunch. We mourned the loss of Cabo (I'll forever miss your tri-tip nachos!), then filled the gas tank while discussing the name of a nearby party store; "Lets Party." The name of the store is actually surrounded by quotations, and there is no apostrophe in Lets. When I was still in college there, they used to have signs that had apostrophes but didn't need them. Strange. Perhaps "Lets" is not being used for "let us" but for something else. Alas, we could not figure it out.
After many more hours in the car, we arrived in Costa Mesa and visited the wonderful Book Off there. My brother used to live about five minutes away from it. It's really quite a shame he moved. I picked up about 30-40 new volumes, but most were just catch up volumes. I wasn't able to find many new and exciting titles this time. It broke my heart that they had absolutely no volumes of Master Keaton, too! I was dead-set on buying some. I only own half the series. I NEED TO CATCH THEM ALL. The English manga section had a couple pleasant surprises though! I was able to pick up Kingyo Used Books (though I feel a little guilty buying it used and not supporting Viz's amazing Signature Line) and the last volume of Muhyo and Roji. Finding Kingyo wasn't a big surprise, but finding Muhyo? The street date isn't until early August, OVER A MONTH after I bought the book USED (but in absolutely perfect condition). How did it get there? Well, I'm not complaining! Other (Japanese language) titles I picked up included Kamen Teacher, Kamen Rider Spirits, Tokyuu!!, and a volume of Tsurikichi Sanpei (EEEEEE~). I think the craziest thing I picked up was a book of one-shots by Akihisa Yanari called 21-G. It has a one-shot called "Phallic Angel" in it. And there is really nothing phallic about it. That word, I do not think it means what the mangaka thinks it means. At least, I hope not.
After our lovely book purchases, we drove to my brother's new apartment. It's about the same size at our apartment, so it's pretty small, but it's nice. Unfortunately, I had a headache which evolved into severe nausea, so I couldn't eat much of the DELICIOUS meal he made for us. Sorry big brother! The evening was quite pleasant.
We woke up, packed, got dressed, and ate breakfast (which my brother made for us. What a nice guy!). We drove to the LA Convention Center and riiiight before getting there, I got a call from pacificpikachu. We were going to be rooming with her friends, but the hotel only allows three people in each room. Yes, even if the room is a double, you can only have three people in there. They make you wear wristbands which they check before you can take the stairs or use the elevators. There were many WTFs exchanged and we decided to get our own room, just pacificpikachu, Nur, and I. It was VERY expensive, but it was nice to have only three people in a room.
pacificpikachu's mother was there and was going to take back the mattress pacificpikachu had brought to sleep on, since there was no use for it. She asked the front desk if she could get it from her friend's room, but the staff said NO. They had already confiscated it. CONFISCATED IT. WHAT? Well, whatever. We made our way to our room... turning down many main hallways before almost hitting a large pile of random crap, then going into a skinny hallway to get to our room. It wasn't a BAD room, but it was sorta strange. The floor was what seemed to be lacquered cement, and the ceiling had those ceiling tiles they use in 99% of classsrooms. There was no central air/heating, our window had chicken wire in the glass, and the TV was a tiny CRT. The TV thing isn't a big deal, but it was just part of the icing on the cake. We were paying something like $170 a night. I was kind of hoping for a slightly nicer room. Oh well, it was fairly close to the convention center and it wasn't a HORRIBLE room or anything. We put our stuff away and headed to the con.
We attended the Kawamoto panel, then I headed to the Pokémon gathering. The gathering was fun! It was listed as both a "HeartGold/SoulSilver" and "Gijinka Pokémon" gathering, but I saw a ton of other non HG/SS and gijinka people "signed up" online, so I figured wearing Ruby would be just fine.
It sort of bothered me that they had seven million pictures of the HG/SS trainers and gym leaders, but didn't do anything with any one from Hoenn, Sinnoh, or Isshu(sp?). Gym leaders and specialized trainers had pictures with the Pokémon types when there were element type pictures, but us normal varied-type trainers just sat on the sidelines. Oh well! I asked at the end if we could do a non-Kanto/Johto trainer picture and the person running it said I could do whatever I wanted, but he was leaving. And it turned out everyone else seemed to be leaving to. Alas! I guess it really was just for HG/SS and gijinka Pokémon!
My favorite part of the gathering was when a couple other people dressed in costumes similar to mine told me that my hair was wrong. You see, I was cosplaying Ruby from Pokémon Adventures/Special. I took great lengths to make sure most of my costume was right (my backpack wasn't round at the top and my shoes weren't quite right [though they were painted to look fairly correct]). Ruby, like all Pokémon Adventures main characters (except Blue/Green and Yellow), is based off of the main trainer from the corresponding game. But he's only BASED on him. Heavily based, yes, but there are some differences. The male trainer character seems to be named Brenden. So I wasn't even cosplaying the same person! But anyway, they told me my hair was wrong. Well, I wasn't wearing a wig, but I didn't really think it was necessary. For 99% of the series, Ruby has all his hair under his hat. But NO! These lovely gentlemen informed me that my hair is wrong because Brenden does not wear a hat!! GUYS. I'm not Brenden, but I'm pretty sure Brenden WEARS A HAT. His hair is WHITE and pretty regularly-shaped if he doesn't. But Ruby? TOTALLY WEARS A HAT. I know this because HE TAKES OFF HIS HAT. He has black hair and a giant scar on his forehead. I didn't want to argue with them, so I just said that it was my opinion that Brenden wore a hat. I didn't want to deal with explaining Ruby to them because the volumes with him aren't out in English yet. I mean, I can't BLAME them for not knowing about a character not out "officially" here. The best part about them telling me my hair is wrong? If Brenden DOES NOT wear a hat, then his hair is white and in a (somewhat long) regular shape. Both these gentlemen had short dark brown hair. Their hair would be wrong too!
The entire time I wore my Ruby costume I had people running up to me shouting "OMG BRENDEN!!!! BRENDEN!!!!" I didn't have the heart to tell them I wasn't Brenden, I was the fabulous lover of all things beautiful, Ruby. Only one person recognized me as Ruby. It was this AWESOME Diamond. Next time I wear Ruby, I'll try to make myself look a bit more ~*FABULOUS*~ with some makeup and some accessories. I didn't even have any of his Pokémon with me. T^T
This Diamond was SO COOL. SOOOOO AWESOME.
After the gathering, I met up with Nur at the Bandai panel. It was a fun panel and I got a cool Eureka Seven shirt. Then we both attended a panel with three Eden of the East guys, which was interesting, then went to the DMP panel. That one was fun too.
We met up with Matt and Jenny and their new child Cassandra and went to dinner. We talked for a long, long time. It was a blast!
I woke up and tried to take a shower. The knobs were opposite what they should have been (cold was hot, etc), so it took a long time for me to figure out how to get a nice temperature in the shower. Plus, the water didn't come out like normal showerheads, it was like trying to bathe under a waterfall. And the shower didn't drain very well. Fun!
We all got ready and I put on my Raynos gijinka. Everything that had gone wrong with the Raynos boots? Didn't go wrong! YES! Almost everything that went right with the boots? WENT WRONG. I shuffled to the convention center, where I saw maguma_sama in his Panzer Liger gijinka. SUCH A COOL COSTUME. *_* Geneon had a panel we saw the end of, then we headed to the Gungrave panel. That panel was alright, their announcements were sorta... half announcements. "We're going to make a Gungrave manga! ...but we don't know who is drawing it yet." "We want to make a movie! ...probably maybe."
After those panels, I took off my boots and just carried them around (I had my slip-ons in a bag). I went to the Eden of the East signing, but some retard kept hitting my wings. It didn't seem like it was on purpose, but he still KEPT RUNNING INTO THEM OR SOMETHING. ARGH! I found Nur afterwards and we headed to the hotel so I could take off my helmet and wings and drop off my boots. Then it was off to the Right Stuf panel (yay awesome licenses!) then the Anime News Network panel (which was alright), then another Eden of the East panel. We got to see some of the dub, which wasn't half bad. I cannot wait until that show comes out. ON BLURAY, HOPEFULLY.
We had dinner with Matt and Jenny again, although it took a long time to find a place that was open. We finally found a pizza place, and that was mmm mmm good.
maguma_sama wanted a Zoids gijinka night photoshoot, so I put my armor back on and we headed back to the convention center around 10pm. We did silly things and waited around for a long time for different photographers. Nur took a lot of awesome pictures for us! =D I think we finally made it back to the hotel sometime after midnight.
I felt a little strange being the only non-Liger there. And now I want to do a Liger gijinka.
Raynos surveys the scene. "Wow Annaliese, your outfit is sorta ghetto, especially compared to the others." Why yes it is! I made it (And Ruby) in a month while I had a full work load AND I CHOSE THE EASIEST ZOIDS GIJINKA DESIGN BECAUSE I'M LAAAAAZZYYYYY! REALLY REALLY LAZY (I mean, have you SEEN how simply Ruby's design is too? HAH!)! I do want to fix up Raynos's helmet though... Raynos heads go to a bit of a point, but the gijinka design had it flat so I made it flat, but I want to change that. We'll see if I ever actually get around to that!
Cosplayed as Ruby again. First panel of the day was Viz Media. OMG OMG OMG THEIR LICENSE ARE SO AWESOME OMG OMG OMG. I had forgotten that someone found a listing for Kurozakuro sometime ago. AHHH KUROZAKURO!!! SIMULCAST NURARIHYON ANIME! AHHHH!!!!! *_* Nur wanted to go to the Black Lagoon panel and I didn't really care all that much, so I hung out with pacificpikachu and we fangirled and chatted about fun things like Yoko Kanno and Dennou Coil. Fun times~!! I wandered around the dealer's room for a while, then decided to track down some lunch. With Nur's texted help, I was able to locate a Subway and secured sandwiches. I didn't have any other plans, so I got in line for the Konishi panel. pacificpikachu and I got to sit next to each other. =D I was expecting the panel to be stupid and filled with dumb questions, but it was a REALLY fun panel with some good questions. And Konishi seems like a really fun guy!! After obtaining our "autograph tickets" we RUSHED to the dealer's room (got separated someplace in the middle) and got in line. I was unlucky and got in line in a place where people LOVED to cut in. We asked some of them to please go to the back of the line, but they ignored us and cut anyway. We were able to get some people moved to the back of the line later, because security was around. Sorry people, but line cutting is just not cool. Alas, I did not get my autograph (the last people that did get autographs were the girls that cut and ignored us, GRRRRR), but it wasn't such a big deal.
I was thinking of going to the ANNCast panel, but I got there a little bit after it started, so I went into the manga lounge instead. I love manga lounges, I just wish people weren't so noisy in them! I met up with Nur and coppeliad, and we sat around and chatted for a while, eventually meeting some of coppeliad's friends and having a good time. We witnessed a rather noisy and generally annoying Hetalia mob. Come on guys, THAT sort of behavior is what gives Hetalia fans a bad name. Obnoxious noise (ALWAYS YELLING IS SO AWESOME!), making every other action sexual in some way, come on, do you really feel the need to do that? Meh. It was getting late and we were getting hungry, so we set out in search of food. coppeliad said that there were food trucks in the area, so we located them and got some good food. Nur and I bid her farewell and headed back to the room. I was able to get a good deal of work done, so that was awesome.
However... when we were back in the room we noticed some things that were out of place. The towels seemed too neat. Our collection of coke bottles... was gone. It turned out maids were coming into our rooms and cleaning everything except our beds even though our door specifically said, "DO NOT DISTURB." Where I come from "DO NOT DISTURB" means DO NOT DISTURB. DON'T COME IN. We would NOT like you to clean up, thank-you very much. Not, "PLEASE COME IN AND HALF CLEAN OUR ROOM." And when you have a sign in the bathroom stating "We're trying to conserve water! Please reuse towels! A towel on the floor will be replaced, a towel on the rack will not!" FOLLOW IT. We had ONE towel on the ground and they replaced EVERY TOWEL (they had done this every day it seems, too!). Ugh. I don't trust that hotel.
AND! The hotel is supposed to be "Moroccan themed." I've never been to Morocco, and I don't know all that much about it, so I don't know what makes a place "Moroccan themed." But I'm pretty sure it doesn't mean a mixture of Buddhist statues, cacti, and statues of guys in sombreros.
Jacuzzi day! We packed up and loaded everything into Nur's car. I think we were all happy to be out of that hotel. MAN did that place suck balls. The only good things about it were it's generally close proximity to the convention center and that it was pretty clean. But even with all the SUCK there, it was really nice to room with both Nur and pacificpikachu. They made the suck so so so SO much less and I had a FANTASTIC time with them. Great great great roommates. pacificpikachu, WE SO HAVE TO ROOM TOGETHER MORE! =D
I rushed over to the convention center to get in line for Kawamoto's last autograph session. I was a little upset, because he was doing sketches for people, but TWO PEOPLE before me the guy in charge of the line said that from then on he'd only draw Cowboy Bebop characters, since he could draw them fastest. Luckily, that only effected like... two people in line; someone with a Wolf's Rain set and... well, me. I had the super sexy Japanese limited edition Ayakashi Ayashi box. Loooove that box. It has no characters, just a pattern on it, but it's SO pretty. I was hoping to get a little Yukiatsu or Haku on it (I love me that man-faced dragon). Oh well! It's awesome that I was able to get his autograph! It turned out Rei Hiroe's autograph line was VERY short, so I hopped in that and he signed a poster for me. He told me my name was cool. *_* I saw Matt and Jenny in line for Konishi's autograph session (which wasn't for another two and a half hours), soI hung out with them for a bit. It turned out that they were giving "premium" tickets with numbers on them, so I got one of those. Then I hung out with pacificpikachu and Nur and we talked about fannish stuff. I wish pacificpikachu and I lived closer together so we could chat more often. T^T
A bit before noon, I headed out to the Baccano! gathering, which was surprisingly large and unsurprisingly tons of fun. I LOVE YOU, OTHER BACCANO FANS. ♥ I ducked out after about a half hour so I could get in line for Konishi. There were a lot of angry fans, but with my magical numbered ticket, I was able to get a great spot in line. The other fans were angry they didn't get special numbered tickets. Sorry guys, I was here waaaaay before you and got this (although it was totally just dumb luck), and now I shall go ahead of you. The line coordinator says that's how it's going to be. Konishi signed a Oh! Edo Rocket DVD for me (he plays three characters in it) and asked me if I enjoyed the series. I told him I LOVED the series, and he thanked me. *_* KONISHI~~~~!!!! ♥ Nur and I wandered the dealer's room after that, then headed to the car where we met pacificpikachu We got some Starbucks, then dropped her off at Union Station and headed back up 101 to home.
We lucked out and were passing through San Jose just as a dozen or so fireworks shows were going on. It was very pretty. We got into the San Ramon Valley JUST in time to see the grand finale of San Ramon's firework show off in the distance. And if that wasn't cool enough, I guess Dublin, the neighboring city, put on a fireworks show (I don't think they usually have one) a bit later. And our apartment is really close to the Dublin border AND (it seems like) they shot it off from either the nearby park or high school, so we just went outside and had a SPECTACULAR view of the (short) show! What a night!
....the next day we discovered Dyson was constantly throwing up and not eating or drinking, so that was sort of a damper on everything. He's alright now, we took him to the vet and he got some stuff to calm his stomach, and he's eating and drinking like normal now.
OKAY YEAH SO THAT WAS REALLY LONG. Sorry. Thanks for reading those massive walls of text!