98 - Day 1
Okay, so it SAYS day 1. Sadly, day 1 was actually day 0 and day 1.
I didn't sleep Thursday night :) Unlike A-kon where I forgot
to eat, AX I forgot to sleep! Hahaha!
So Wednesday we dye my hair. Slept some. Thursday is when our
journey begins. Same car, same deal. We begin our drive around
5-6pm, and arrive at the hotel at 11pm. We park right next to a car named
Kyosuke. This was definantly the indication that we made it to Anime
Almost instantly I run into an old friend named DJ. We talk for a
little bit, then he takes us all up to Jeremy and Carmen's room.
There we watch Bad American Dubbing 1-3. Now, I guess the group was
a little loud, I really didn't notice. When Matt, Marla and Bryan
stepped into the hallway, a very angry man from across the hall was there.
He began to yell at Marla ( Of all people, I think because he assumed she
was a guy, and therefore the smallest of the three.. ) about how people
should be sleeping at that hour. Said calmly back, "So sleep
then." and he became angry and started threatening to beat her up and all
that stuff. His wife just stood in the hall shaking her head.
He yelled things like "If you were a boy I'd punch in your teeth." and
such, where she responded a calm "Fuck you." The people in
Jeremy's room weren't really aware of this whole incident, and for some
reason the guy called the Hotel Security on their room. The security,
from what I understand, threatened Jeremy and such with throwing them out
of the hotel because THEY apparently were under the impression that they
had started something with this guy, which wasn't the truth at all.
This was only the beginning of problems with the hotel security.
It was a beautiful hotel, but the further into the con we got, the more
security problems folks attending the con had. I've heard of two
harrassments on friends of mine, plus two being bugged by them myself a
good two times. Either way, this was definantly not the best hotel
for the con. I'd been told later that they had just hired 20 new
security guards within the last 30 days. It showed.
Anywhos... since we left the room, we decided that food was a good
idea. We told some folks we're heading for the local Denny's.
They were going to meet us there. Unfortunately we took a wrong turn
and went down the wrong way... so we ended up at a Denny's, but it was
closed for maintenance, or something, and it was NOT the Denny's I remembered
from AnimeExpo 96. So.. what gives? On our way back to the
hotel from this Denny's, Matt pointed over to a cat sitting in the grass
and jokingly called her "Magik" (I have a cat named Magik, who looked very
similar). So, like the generic cat lover I am, I kneeled down and
called the cat over. It was starved for attention, happy about getting
pet and everything. So we stood up and headed back for the hotel
again... the cat began to follow us. It followed us for a good 2
blocks until it decided that crossing intersections was a bad idea o_o;
Eventually the other group found us, and we went to the PROPER Denny's,
with about 9-10 people. Breakfast was good *_* On the way to
the hotel, we noticed that a bus stop poster thingy had been shattered,
and it says "Hit Happens." as a advertisement for the movie Mafia!.
The poster was still there. Marla jokingly said we should take it.
We didn't though.
Getting back to the hotel, nothing really was happening then. I
BSed with a few people that I saw wandering around the corridors that I
knew. It was basically just wasting time until the convention should
start. At about 3-4ish AM, Marla hopped in line with a few friends,
reserving a space for getting con registration. Since Alice was generous
enough to have offered up a pre-reg badge to me, I didn't need to get in
line for registration. Somewhere around 6 am, DJ ran into Matt and
me, happy that he had money or something, and offered to take us to breakfast,
on him. Now, since we'd already eaten, we didn't eat much, but we
went along for the company anyway ^_^; We also discovered the Mafia! poster
had been taken. By the time we got back to the convention hotel,
things were already in full swing. We were able to check into our
official hotel room by 8 am ( Originally they told us 9am, but we had gotten
a nice employee at the time we went over there ). So, after getting
keys and all... I started to wander about by myself. What is there
to do? I had no idea x.x Without a badge, I can't really do
anything con related, but con related stuff doesn't start till 10AM - Noonish.
Alice said she'd get to the hotel around 10 or so perhaps. I ran
into Connie and Joe, and they thought about the same thing, so we gave
her a call. She then told us she may be at the con by Noon.
I'm thinking... okay, what do I do till then? This is
when I ran into Randy. He didn't have a badge either, but was
walking with Brad who did. He says, "Here, come walk with us."
So I did. We get to the dealers room entrance, Brad leading the pack
with his "Viz Communications" badge, and said "We're with Viz." and walked
right in. This was the first time in a 'still being constructed'
dealers room, save Anime America 96 where I got to walk in after the convention
was over. I remembered how I emailed a guy named Steve Lin
for Anime Pavilion. He got my name a few cons ago, and generally
likes people to help work the booth while on the west coast. It's
cheaper then bringing help all the way from Virginia. So I wander
around the dealers room for about 20 minutes before finding the official
booth. He was really cool about things, and handed me a badge.
Well, that solved the badge problem till Alice arrived. I helped
them set up, keeping an eye on the clock until Alice's arrival. By
then, I could get my badge and suited up to be Himura Kenshin once more
:) The big thing about Steve's table is he encourages people working
his table to be cosplayers and to be dressed up while working. Setting
up was something very new to me, and the people at the table didn't seem
to realize it was my first time doing it. I know I looked very lost
and probably not working enough, or something. Noon came around,
so I headed
out of the
dealers room to find Alice. Getting the transferring of membership
was a bit difficult, but the nice Anime Expo staff member let us do it.
My name was in the computer from the year before, where I was dressed as
Nuriko. So my name on the badge was 'Valerie 'Nuriko' Shrum'.
I forgot to mention to change the nickname over to Kenshin... so I was
stuck with a nickname that wasn't even mine this con @_@x Oops, huh?
Especially with Yuu Watase ( The creator of Fushigi Yuugi ) being
at this Anime Expo, I felt weird not having a FY costume to prance around
in. Kenshin was my token costume for the last two cons, so with my
hair being red, I couldn't think of an FY character to dress as anyway.
Later on in the day, Lucinda and I traded badges to see how many people
would notice that I'm Lucinda "Nuriko" Yang, and she is Valerie "Nuriko"
Shrum. Poor Matt was so sleep deprived during Karaoke, he actually
said to her, "Wow, I didn't know you were from Las Vegas too." to
her. Hahaha. I get in my scar and outfit, and worked
the dealers room. On the way there, I met a guy named Alan
Yao. He I knew as Shinomori X from the Chat Ni Kenshin. He
was wearing a very nice suit, and basically wasn't expecting to meet someone
so early in the day. Being in a hurry, I didn't get to talk
to him very much. As I worked for Steve, I learned that he
also gets food each day ( Lunch and dinner ) for the people who work for
him. This whole working at a booth thing totally was something I
didn't understand, but for the first day I got pizza from Pizza Hut.
After a few hours, I became REALLY tired! It didn't occur to me until
THEN that I'd been up for over some 36 hours or so. I wandered
over to Steve and told him I hadn't slept, and he gave the okay for me
to head off. Being in that dazed state, I wandered around the
dealers room for a few minutes, looking for a CD single ( Rurouni Kenshin
ending song 'Namida wa Shitteiru' ). I didn't find it at ALL, but
I picked up a YUA single and a Kenshin single that was a song I'd never
heard of. Maybe I should have picked up the stuff at A-kon like I
had *planned*... oh well.
I wandered out of the dealers room, my intention was to go to my room and
sleep. This is when I ran into Lucinda. She was dressed as
Nuriko from the Fushigi Yuugi OVAs, bracers and all. I think I saw her
a whole hour at A-kon. She's one of the people I wanted to at least
hang out with a little during this con. Little did I know that we'd
sort of, for lack of a better word, be latched to each other ^_^x;
I can't exactly remember the chain of events here, but I remember dropping
a few things by my room. I remember being not very happy with how
things were going in my hotel room. Bryan decided that was going
to drink the entire convention. I don't appreciate that. That
is the room I will sleep in, the room I will have to go to, and I do NOT
want to see a bunch of open alcohol bottles in MY room. Yes, he did
pay his half, but the point is there were two underaged people in the room,
and he can go to a bar or something if he felt that he NEEDED to
do this. I even asked earlier that day to try and stay SOBER at this
convention. I certainly showed my dislike for the situation by leaving
the room instantly. A little vague here at the events. I remember
that we dropped off Lucinda's artwork for the show, and also went
down the wrong elevator! This is what happened when followed Miaka
(Delan) around. What were *WE* thinking?
Oh yes, let
the Miko lead. We ended up in the Service Elevator with an employee
who stated blankly, "You aren't supposed to be here." I followed
Lucinda to her room to check out the staff for her Kamatari outfit, and
then running into David, Delan, and another from their room that came along
( I didn't catch his name.) to go get lunch at Subway. Part of my
mood got worse while wandering around the parking garage looking for the
car. I guess they reparked it somewhere else. I called down
to the room, asking which floor it was. I checked with the group
for about 20 minutes, looking for this car. We searched the entire
level, and I called back to the room. I was more than just annoyed
now. I told Lucinda and her group to head to subway and I'll meet
them there. I felt bad for delaying them for so long when they're
hungry. Matt met me at the level I was at, taking me to the car which
was on a different level then he original told me. We got my CDs
out of the car, and went to Subway. Lunch was a bit smoother and
calm. I actually can't remember much from this middle part of the
I remember Karaoke being the next event in mind. It was a huge list
of people, and I think I was too nervous. I also did a song that
not one, but TWO other people did. I did the song first, probably
because I signed up really early, but I was a little annoyed that maybe
my chances to go to the 2nd round may have been lessened by so many people
doing the same song. Sigh. Oh well. During the karaoke,
I met two girls who spotted me earlier. They were wearing airbrushed
shirts of their favorite characters, one of them being Kenshin. I
walked over and decided to talk to them. They mentioned that they
were on the SASS mailing list, and heard of the RK Cosplay group that I
had become part of. It's just kind of funny... not really knowing
what you're part of until people start asking about it. This was
something huge, at least on the 'internet' scale, and being apart of it
just seemed very cool. I don't know much about Kenshin, and being
around people who are this involved ( And playing the title character,
at that ) made me feel a bit small in the grander scheme of things.
I'm glad they found me good enough to play the part. I also spoke
with Alan Yao that night, who was our Sagara Taichou, and normally goes
by Shinomori X (Which is how I met him ^_^x). What's to do
after karaoke, right? It's pretty late now, like around midnight.
I think the Karaoke took way too long, and since it was a competition,
it was by far not as fun as last years, even if it was run by the same
people. The room was too small, and the sound system was messed up,
to a point where you could barely hear the person over the music.
There was something wrong with the microphones.
So it's a bit late, we're tired, but not quite tired enough! ( Even being
sleep deprived and up for 48 hours...right..) SO! Food
and stuff seemed like a wonderful idea :) We hatched a plan
to stalk Yuu Watase! Actually, not really stalk, that's just what
we called it o_O The idea was to camp at her panel till it
opened the next day, bright and early, that way we would get to see the
panel and hopefully win a signature. However, being stuck would suck
incredibly if we didn't have anything to keep us busy or food. It
was then we decided to go to a store to buy food/caffiene, and stuff to
entertain us ^_^; Me, Matt, Lucinda, and Tim ( Who was dressed
like someone from Starblazers/ Starship Yamato ) decide to drive around
to find a grocery store. We stop at Von's, Matt fills out a membership
form ( Just to do it ), and we wander the store looking for stuff to buy.
We end up getting two kinds of Frappaccinos, coffee cakes, sandwiches,
and various other munchies. Vons unfortunately closes at Midnight,
so we had to work quick o_o We go to buy the stuff, and the joke
now is that since everything is so close to Disneyland, and Lucinda is
dressed as Nuriko, she apparently is from Mulan o_o; I think hearing
her say "Why yes, I've got a stick, it's a very manly stick." just clinched
it. I don't know why, but this Vons was missing one vital Grocery
store need... BOUNCIE BALLS! Every grocery store *I've* been
to has these small bouncie balls that you give to a kid to keep them entertained,
and to generally drive the grocery store employees nuts. This one
didn't have it. What can we do to entertain ourselves, waiting for
Yuu Watase?! Our journey was extended to a place called 'Ralphs'.
Ralphs had what we needed! It was wonderful! We bought two
bouncie balls ( One for me, one for Lucinda ) and got a Ralphs card, with
two keychains :) Matt kept the card, and me and Lucinda got
the keychains ^_^; I sure don't have a Ralphs in MY area
of the country, but I liked the idea of having a Ralphs card.
We hit In and Out Burger on our way back to the hotel, and we were set
for our night. Why on earth I thought it was a good idea to stay
up YET ANOTHER DAY was beyond my comprehension. I figured with Lucinda
there, staying up wouldn't be a problem, she's just so cool! We get
back to the hotel, and sit down on the floor on the 2nd floor lobby.
We didn't even bother to sit in chairs, but... we got a group of
like 7-8 people around us, so when you have that many people, no one bothers
you, they figure you KNOW what you're doing. A guy walks over and
asks what we're doing, what we're up to, etc. And we say, "Oh, we're
going to stalk Yuu Watase." and this guy goes OFF... he states how that's
a serious offense and that we'll get our badges revoked and banned from
AX, and the hotel. We're like whoa whoa... we're joking, dude, we're
going to WAIT outside her panel. He blinked and said "Oh, that's
okay then." The ongoing joke now is that we're stalking Yuu Watase.
Matt runs down to the area where her panel would be, and checks to see
if the doors are open for the convention center. They were.
We packed up our stuff and headed down that direction... and when we got
there they were locked! Ugh... I dunno, but sleep was definantly
sounding better and better. With the locked doors, fate decided that
we sleep in our hotel rooms.
Lucinda luckily was on the same floor we were. We headed down that
way to drop her off at her room and show off A-kon photos.
We sat in the hall looking over photo books, being very quiet. A
security guard from the hotel happened to come across us. He said,
"You know, you really aren't allowed to sit in the hall like this.
You might wake up other people on the floor." yadda yadda, we said we were
going to sleep soon, and so he said it was okay. However, he told
us that if we do feel the need to stay up and talk, that there was a foyer
on the 5th floor with pools, lawn chairs, and talking area outside that
is open all night for people like us. This information would be beneficial
later on in time, just like a clue in a Murder She Wrote episode.
We say our goodnights and head back to our room. 3am was about the
time we got back there and crashed. WOO... cool first day.
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