AnimeExpo 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 ExpoKyosuke!  Watch out for cars!
safely.   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 headedIn line for the dealers room, I took this artsy picture of Matt, DJ, and Mike
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? Follow Miaka?  Isn't that like following Ryouga or something?
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 day.
Yes, we took this on our way back to the hotel.   I'm squinting from the ammount of light.
        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. Nuriko and Van posing during Karaoke Gendou Ikari, serious as ever watching otaku sing their lungs out.
        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. Tim dressed as a guy from Starblazers/Starship Yamato.  I don't know the characters name.
           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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