Anime North 2001

Trixie’s (and Carnage's) Con Report

(It’ll get done faster this way…)

* (Carnage's comments in italics...)

Friday: The sun rose on Friday to two very nervous, very caffeinated, very unprepared little otaku. As usual, Carnage’s unerring sense of procrastination was getting us into trouble. I had spent most of Thursday putting together the Powerpoint slides for “You Don’t Know Anime”, and we still weren’t done (by the way, the monstrous thing totalled more than 300 slides!). Getting to the hotel for 1pm quickly became out of the question, as we finished up, showered, and packed for the weekend at about the speed of a leisurely turtle. We made it there for 5pm, which was a perfect time for con attendees but very bad for concom members (us).
WE worked on the Powerpoint slides…and I would have done more were it not for the fact that I had no experience whatsoever with Powerpoint, and Trixie is much faster on the keyboard than I…

            We quickly met up with our compatriot, personal volunteer, and future otaku David, picked up our nifty little badges from the office, and set out in search of Fanboys. It didn’t take long to find Chaos, Jelynne, Havoc, Pan-chan with professional driver/boyfriend Richard, and Hysteria with professional boyfriend Chris wandering around the halls. After greetings were exchanged, we scouted out the dealers’ room and found Mayhem (con treasurer!) at the charity table. As we were supposed to be crashing with him and Chaos, I decided to double-check the arrangements (which my beloved Carnage had assured me were okay), to find out that he remembered nothing of the sort. Newly roomless and not a little spazzy from all kinds of new stress, I did a little SD spaz dance and joined Pan-chan in a little Carnage-bashing session. There are times when being friends with your boyfriend’s ex-girlfriends can be so liberating…
…I am not getting those two into the same room EVER again.

            That being complete, Carnage and I headed over to the office to find out what exactly we were to be doing for the first event we were working, the Iron Author contest. After a long consultation with the very interesting Steven Savage, the Chairman Kaga of the operation complete with frilly shirt and strange jacket, we assumed the roles of Fukui and Otah (and squabbled over who got to play with the camcorder for most of the night…we’re such kids sometimes!) and headed for opening ceremonies. Carnage took off to find the computer equipment we’d need for Iron Author, and I hung around in opening ceremonies. While waiting for the beginning of Iron Author to be announced, I got into a discussion with Neeloy, the AV guy and Carnage’s fellow DJ for the J-pop dance on Saturday. Having heard my little SD fit in the hall earlier, he offered us an unused room he’d booked for his crew. Kami-sama was with us, as we now had (not only) a place to sleep, but a king-sized bed to do our sleeping in and a lot of floor space for David and Riot to spread out on.
And after all our fighting about who gets the camera, she hands it over to me whenever we’re doing interviews with the authors because she says she’s not good at coming up with banter on the fly…

            Iron Author was great fun. The names of the contestants and judges, as well as the theme ingredient – dominance in a PG13, not hentai kind of way – were drawn, and we were off. After setting up the computer equipment for the contestants, who incidentally included fanfic authors Sean Gaffney and Tim Nolan, and taping the first ten minutes of their allotted two hours, we started moving our bags to our new room. Even though having to run back to the ninth floor every fifteen or twenty minutes for two hours limited the amount one could do, we managed to find Sarcasm (in a very skimpy MAPS costume) and Zel….all we had to do was follow the trail of male drool.
We ARE doing Iron Author again next year, and Sean is gonna be a tough one for the other authors to beat, so it should be interesting. And mark my words, she’ll be dressed as Kekko Kamen one of these years…she doesn’t have much left to lose.

            At the end of the two hours I headed back upstairs, briefed the judges on the scoring system, and ate pizza with the four authors during the judging. We got to talking with one of the judges, a girl who was dressed up as American McGee’s Alice, and ran into her repeatedly all weekend. On her recommendation, I read one of the fics right there, the hilarious Teenage Mutant Ninja Bishounen, by a guy who had never written a fic before. I thought it was great. ^_^
It was. ^_^

            After the judging and the eventual triumph of Sean Gaffney’s six pages over everyone else’s two, we headed downstairs to our friend Nina’s 24th Anniversary of Star Wars party. Seeing as we’d missed most of it due to Iron Author, a very sleepy Carnage headed to bed, and I wandered over to Havoc and Jelynne’s room with David. A small gathering of Fanboys and the extended group were there, and we talked and imbibed a small amount of sake before moving downstairs to the karaoke room. Upon arrival, I remembered how little I like karaoke, and we drifted around some more, talking to various people. We finally ended up in the late-night yaoi room (run by Sarcasm of course!) watching Ai no Kusabi, before finally crashing.
I hadn’t slept at all since Wednesday night, and frankly I still wonder how the hell I managed to stay awake the entire time. Needless to say, I slept like a rock.

Saturday: David, Carnage, Riot and I woke up around 9:00 to some silly cartoons and kung fu movies on the convention feed. When we finally decided to make ourselves mobile, we discovered something fascinating; if you put loose tea in the filter of a drip coffee maker, you can have drip tea! I know I’m easily amused sometimes, but I found this pretty damned amazing. It was going to be a great day. J
[squeak] Time to wake up. [squeak] Carnage needs to get food. [squeak]

            David headed over to the registration table (where he was to be volunteering), and the rest of us hit the cheaper hotel restaurant (which wasn’t saying much) for breakfast. David rejoined us a few minutes later, pretty disgruntled….it turned out that the table people had said they didn’t need him. We figured it was their loss, and this way he could eat.
            After breakfast we made our way back upstairs to the Fanboys panel. On the way I picked up and inflated my Hello Kitty hammer, which (being a few feet tall) earned me a lot of stares throughout the day.
[squeak] No you may not have the hammer. [squeak]

It was a less-than-interesting hour for me, as most of what was being discussed I already knew, but…hey. I took some nice pictures of Havoc, Chaos, and Carnage on the panel (Sarcasm and Zel were late as usual). After the panel broke up, Jelynne and I wandered around the dealer’s room for the free hour I had between the panel and our hour at the charity table. We didn’t find much interesting (I ended up buying Carnage yet another Chibi-Gundam model kit) and I sat out my time at the table…bringing us to 2:00: time for You Don’t Know Anime.
Believe it or not, that Chibi-Gundam was the one and only purchase the two of us made throughout the whole con…10$, that’s a new record folks! Guess they just ain’t showing me the stuff I have to own anymore. There was, however much amusement to be had from Jon’s attempt to startle me by sneaking up on me. Next time buddy ^_^

            Even though Carnage had left early to make sure everything was in place, of course, it wasn’t. We spent our first twenty minutes or so actually setting up the things that were supposed to be set up. David earned the title of official MacGuyver, as he had thought to bring along all kinds of things we ended up needing, such as a portable CD-ROM.
Next time, I’ve got everything for the room dealt with the week before.
            And I bring an assault rifle.

            Once we actually got started, with Carnage as the host and myself manning the computer, things went well. Everyone seemed to be having fun, and not a few groans were heard due to the extreme difficulty of the questions we had picked (and some of the sarcastic answers!). Once that was out of the way, most of my con stress was too, so it was with light hearts that we went to catch the end of the Kawaii Little Tea Party. Most everyone had left by the time we made it there, so we didn’t stay long, but moved over to Havoc and Jelynne’s room (and Vampy and Burn’s, as they had arrived) for the first Fanboys reading, Jo’o-sama’s Apartment. The room was packed with people, and it was a lot of fun. Havoc, Chaos, and Pan-chan read their own parts, Vampy and Hysteria read Setsuna and Hotaru, Richard read the Pesti-chans (all six) and various other people read small parts. Afterwards, Chaos and Sarcasm took off to our room to ready themselves for their cosplay.
Considering how well received the whole contest was, I’m looking forward to working on it for next year…I just wish it had been at a time that DIDN’T conflict with our kawaii little teaparty chan…

            A quick dinner followed, at which we ran into “Alice” and her friends again, and then got in line for the masquerade. I went back to the room and slept through said masquerade, all the stress and sleeplessness of the past few days finally catching up to me. When I woke up it was about 11:00, and thinking I was late for the dance, I hurried downstairs. In fact, the masquerade had run late, and they were just finishing setup. As the dance began (with Carnage and Neeloy at the helm), Chaos and I were sent out into the hall to acquire the prizes, and think up a list of contests. After the ten minutes we spent on that, I have to say I’m looking forward to working with “The Author” in future. J
The masquerade was a bit of an oddity this year, with 72 entries and almost as many exceptionally good costumes and skits as exceptionally poor ones. Surprisingly few were the simply mediocre ones that seemed to dominate the cosplay lineups of years past. There were some really snappy skits for costumes that otherwise might not have gotten as much notice. Thumbs up to all the cosplayers this year…good work guys! As to the masquerade directors…you’ve got a five second head start [reaching for his katana]

            The dance for me was spent working behind the DJ booth, handing out prizes, and running around like a crazy woman. I was pretty annoyed when they interrupted us (and the crowd of people having an amazing time!) to hand out the masquerade awards….for 45 minutes. Highlights of the evening included Chaos’ winning rendition of the Asaba Sexy Dance (hee!) and knowing that I had Sunday all to myself…no panels, no contests…nothing.
…no headstart for the judges. Two years in a row the dance has been cut short for the awards when all everyone is there for is the dancing. Next year, anyone trying to interrupt the dance gets a beam-cannon enema. Mark my words, the dance will NOT be screwed with again…
            After the dance we were all so wiped out we could barely move. I asked Riot and David to be somewhere else so Carnage and I could have some downtime after all the stress that day, and they mostly complied. We sat up talking for a little while, and then everyone hit the sack.

Sunday: Sunday didn’t really exist in con terms for us. Drip tea was made. We slept in nice and late, had a nice late lunch, hung around the dealers’ room, and only had one commitment: Carnage’s East Meets West panel. I actually sat on that one (someone didn’t show up) with Carnage and Havoc, and all three of us were surprised when one of the Japanese guests, a wonderfully helpful lady by the name of Asaka, took an interest and asked to sit on the panel. It was one of those discussions I would have loved to continue for a few more hours, but closing ceremonies got in the way. Not many of us attended…mostly we hung out in Havoc and Jelynne’s room, talking.
I so wish we’d had several hours to kill with that panel, as we really did run out of time far too quickly. It started off a little slow, but once the discussion started to pick a direction, it really got going into something the whole room seemed riveted by. Asaka was incredibly helpful, and in many ways, made the whole thing work, as she offered a native-born Japanese view of the topics; something I was hoping to manage with the panel to start with…both sides looking at things within the opposite society we think are strange and explaining them (or trying to). I was also thrilled by the fact that, unlike many panels I’ve been to, it wasn’t just us talking at the audience, or to each other while the audience just watches, but everyone was involved. Most of the audience joined in the debate offing side notes, bits of information none of us had, opinions, specific questions, so much that even AFTER the panel finished I was still answering questions. All in all, it was a huge success, and everyone I talked to about it said they either learned a lot, or just enjoyed listening to the whole discussion. The real problem will be refining it for next year!

            After the con officially ended, Carnage came up and collected us to help take down all the tech equipment and pack up everything. After a little while, some misogynistic macho concom guy asked “the ladies” to pretty much get out of the way. We weren’t really offended…we just said fine, do more work yourselves, and trooped up to our room. Jelynne, Hysteria and I had a great talk before the guys got back (Havoc first, after dropping something heavy on his foot) and then we all argued about what to do for dinner.
While the rest of us (Phil, Neeloy, Chris, David, Katrina and I) tore everything apart and had oodles of fun trying to fit everything into boxes, until the hotel staff said, “oh, we need this room clear. Can you move everything into that room over there?” at which point we decided we’d take a bit of a break and finish the rest when we damned well felt like it.

            We decided to go to the Dead Dog Party, where, it was rumoured, there was some food for everyone who had helped out (being us). When we arrived we were greeted by a reception I don’t even think convicted murderers deserve. Several con execs were disgustingly rude to us, for no real good reason, and the consensus was to take our business elsewhere. Chaos, Hysteria, and Chris hit the pool, and I went to the really cheap restaurant downstairs with Havoc and Mayhem. Most everyone caught up later, and the evening was spent in food and sake. The party broke up at about 4:00 am, when it was down to myself, Carnage, Neeloy, his girlfriend Katrina, David, and Chris, having collectively consumed a bottle and a half of sake and half a bottle of plum wine and told some really funny stories (phone explode!!).
What my dearest love here leaves out is Chris, Neeloy, Katrina and I going back downstairs and putting up with the amusingly arrogant and elitist Vertex sound guys who came to pick up the equipment Neeloy rented from them. As Chris put it “They had both toes on the line of ‘you can load your own fucking gear onto the truck pal’…not over yet, but both toes firmly planted.” As a result, we helped them as little as was humanly possible, and repaid Neeloy for his generosity with the room by pouring as much sake as we had down his eager throat.
Next time I’m bringing a keg.

            David finally headed home (he had school/work the next day, and was actually sober because he had to drive), and the rest of us took ourselves to bed.

Monday: Monday was another sleep-in day, but not too late as we had to check out by noon. We had brunch in the hotel (still too expensive), which was much tastier than the breakfast as it included a “choose your own ingredients” pasta dish and more cakes than you could shake a caber at. Once brunch was done and paid for, and the last bits of banter were had, we all said our goodbyes to those who were flying out, collectively got a cab to pile into, and took our sorry butts home.

Thus ends our experiences of Anime North 2001…Dammit, I want a week long con next time. All that work, and I got to see part of an Angel Links Episode, part of a Big O episode, bit and pieces of some Digi Charat, and the trailers for Final Fantasy and Vampire Hunter D…that’s it. Were it not for that fact that certain things wouldn’t get done without us, I’d say screw it, lets just sit and watch some anime…*sigh* Well, enough kvetching on to the shout-outs: Neeloy, I mean it, next time I’m bringing a keg of Sake, a firkin of plum wine, four bottles of scotch, and nobody leaves till there’s nay a drop left in any of ‘em. Always fun working with ya, but they ain’t payin you enough for all the grief…
            Pan-chan, I WILL find a way to get up there this summer, as we saw practically nothing of each other this con, and I miss you and Rich like hell…even if getting you and Leah into the same room again is a bad idea ^_^
            Sabrina, Ryan, Kristy, Katrina & co…Congrats on a winning skit and for managing to steal “best in show” away from the juggernaut three time winner, master-classwoman Dawn McKechnie…Hats off! ^_^
            Gary, we’re buying you some free time for next year…you need it after all that you got put through. Go take a trip to Hisakawa Aya’s place for a few days ^_^
            Chris and Ysabet, I’m glad we actually talked this year, and I look forward to seeing you two some time soon (provided the whole road trip idea doesn’t fall through). Look forward to more of your wacky and twisted stories, Chris (…….JIM!). And DAMMIT, my hair is nicer than hers, if nearly a foot shorter.
            Sean, I’m pleased to inform you that you’re going to be moving to Toronto in the immediate future. Get packing. NOW.
            Phil, you too. Home, now. Don’t make me duct tape your well toned ass to the top of a greyhound bus.
            Vampy, I still maintain we need to sit and chat next year as you’re so much more fun to babble with in person.
   are messy! Great costume, and thanks for the help with the fanboys panel. Zel, PUT THE BOOK DOWN, DAMMIT!
            Leah…Pillar of my sanity, love of my life, I don’t know what I would have done without you. I promise next year will be less insane…somehow.
            A huge thank you to everyone else who made the con so much fun for me even when I was stressed out of my mind (Louise, Katzy/Caitlin, David, Everyone who showed up to both panels, Kevin, Steven, Nina, Lime the judges and contestants for Iron Author, everyone who took part in YDKA!, and Havoc for being such a huge help on both panels) and big hugs to all the Fanboys and extended Fanboys…see you all next year, and I miss you all already.

Those of you who CONTRIBUTED to my stress…Pease stand by, you will be dealt with shortly…