Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Anime North 2011 Report!

It's that time of year again! Another year has gone by and another year at Anime North under my belt. I just realized I've been going to this convention for a long time. I've never missed out on it either, I still make it for a day or two of the weekend, or for the whole thing.

This year, my friends Whitefrosty and Pheleon and I managed to nab tables in the Crafter's Corner. We had about 18ft of table space all lined up, and it was pretty intense. However, since I has promised my friends who run the maid cafe, Cafe Delish that I would be a maid this year, I somehow managed to do both with the help of my amazing friend, Amanda. LOVE & THANKS ♥.
It was a pretty hectic weekend and I think I lost weight from the 1)starvation, 2) lack of sleep, 3) drunken craziness which also induced lack of sleep and starvation 4) and lots of running back and forth from the con center to the hotel.

Friday was pretty funny since I was trying to fit all the stuff into my car, along with all the overnight suitcases from my sister, Amanda's, Alice's and mine into the car! I had to upgrade and use the SUV instead of my usual hatchback that I have claimed as mine... lol. 
Somehow it all miraculously fit with a lot of smushing and I think Alice and her friend Kim were a bit uncomfortable in the back...but I guess it beats busing to the con?

Since my sister and I were staff this year, we didn't have to go through the line up to get our badges. It was a pretty long line! We also checked in for the hotel room and set up the stuff. I had agreed to help promote the cafe at the open ceremonies with a few fellow maids and our head maid, Yumi. But since registration opened for the CC at 3pm, and I had to meet them at 3pm...I was running around like crazy to bring in all my shelves and the merchandise. My sister and her boyfriend, along with my other friend Kevin helped set up the table display very well!! I was very impressed. Amanda showed up at some point was away from the table and at the ceremonies. 
A shot of Delilah with some of the merchandise while my friends and sister helped me set up my table while I was running around like a crazy person. 
The opening ceremonies was interesting to say the least. We danced to the old dance that we decided not to use this year at the cafe and the other girls were nervous about being on stage. Being a cosplay veteran and just used to it by now, I just told them it would be fine, You don't even see the people once the lights come on! After some initial delay we got on stage and did our thing. We were asked to stay around to help welcome the guests by bowing and stuff and to make sure the guests didn't fall off the stage LOL. 

 Open Ceremonies, Final Pose. Photo Credit: Derwin Mak.

The other girls came after to start the flyer run to promote the cafe, I walked back with them and went to my table to see it nicely set up :D

Pic: Courtesy of Alice, Whitefrosty

I called it the jail cell...cause it essentially made it look like some of my plushies were in jail. LOL Worked out well thought since I could monitor the plushies better and have a nice shop keeper opening in the center. It was very cosy...however I think my hearing was just getting steadily worse over the weekend. People would ask about the plushies or my BJDs and I swear I would just not hear the right thing. My apologies if I was a bit dazed and confused. As the weekend progressed, it just got more and more tired. There's only so much adrenaline I have to keep me going.

Friday was good though in terms of sales :) Well, the whole weekend was a pretty good success. Moving on to the rest of the report! After the CC closed, Kevin, Amanda and I went to go eat some dinner since we were starving. Hanh met up with us at Sushi Dragon where we sat and ate for a bit. We were there until midnight. . . I felt bad for being one of the last customers there but I am glad they let us come in and eat though. We were turned away at the other sushi restaurant across the street. 

When Saturday morning rolled around, I had to get up early and go to the CC area with Amanda to set up the table. After some milling about and her forgetting her pass, but with my godly Staff powers, I got her to come in with me to at least drop off the items we carried over, she ran back from the buildings to the hotel room to get her pass. Everything was set up before I left her and I ran back to the hotel to get dressed for the cafe. It was so bad cause once I walked into our room, Yumi came by and told me the other girls and her were going downstairs to practice a bit. I was like OMG, I'M NOT READY. LOL After some super sonic changing I managed to find them without being too late. I have the dances ingrained into my memory..but it's still nice to perfect it if we have time to and to get the timing right. Before I met up with them, I walked by the Terrace Room where the cafe would take place to ask my Overlord Boss some questions, and this rude lady thought she could talk her way into getting tickets earlier than the rest of the people in line! It says in the program book that the tickets go on sale at 11:30am. It was 10:30, and apparently she had somewhere else to be and she couldn't stay longer to get tickets for her daughters. 

Now, we can't change the rules and start selling a ticket to one person, because that means we would have to sell the rest to all the people out there and the room wasn't even set up yet! I don't understand people who think they have priority over everyone else when the rules are clearly stated. Unless it was a serious do-or-die circumstance, exceptions won't be made because it would be unfair to everyone else out there who have been waiting for a couple hours!
We don't make people line up for the cafe, it just happens because it's popular and is a ticketed event. That lady got so angry and started criticizing the cafe. I left before that since I had to meet up with the other girls, but she was pretty much told to get out if she has somewhere else to be.

Picture credit: Stephanie

The cafe went very well! I was more relaxed this year since I was a returning maid...no pre-event butterflies. Overall it's quite simple and you just have to remember to say the right drinks and food. And make sure you don't spill or drop said drinks and food. 

Here's me at the first seating serving some roll cakes. You can see my pin flair that we create for the guests. For the last two years we have been designing and selling pins to help raise some more funds for Sick Kids. This year however, all the pin donations were donated to Japanese Relief.

Picture credit: Stephanie

By the last seating, Hanh and I were getting very tired since our breaks were very late. I wanted to go back to check up on the table in the CC but we ended up just getting some cold drinks from the staff lounge and crashing in our hotel room. It was so nice and cold...I think we did a small power nap before we had to go back to the cafe. Behind the scenes at Cafe Delish! Power naps to Power Up!

By the end of the cafe, I was very tired and hungry, so after taking some pics with the girls at the end, I went over to con center and told Amanda to pack up and we were going to eat and stuff. I think she was quite relieved since she was there the whole day by herself. I felt bad...so I don't think I'll ask her to do this again unless I'm actually with her. She didn't come with us to our core-staff wrap up dinner at Moxie's so I just left her my hotel key card and let her do her own thing. I think she really wanted to shop LOL.

My friends. Adam, Hanh and I ended up doing the booze/beer run since the others didn't want to move their cars from their spots and I didn't care so long as the car was in the hotel parking lot and not getting trashed at the con center. So, we made a trip and got some stuff for the night party. It was amusing to walk back to our rooms with two bags filled with boozy things after dinner... lol

Then, it started getting Out of Control. LOL

Basically to make it short..and sort of sweet, the 3 of us who did the booze run were just being crazy the whole night during dinner and at our 'after party'. We were just making up scenarios of like gag cafe personas and it spiraled out of control cause once we got back and started drinking, everyone got really into it. It was really funny and after a lot of drinks and my friends trying on my lolita dress and accessories and some wig fun, I had to stop and sleep since we all had to wake up in the morning to check out.

And let's say, 4 of us woke up with bad hangovers.  I don't regret it cause it was fun, but I wish I could have gotten more sleep cause I don't think I would have felt as bad as I did in the morning if I could continue sleeping it off. 

Hanh and I had it the worst though...for some reason we just felt miserable. I had to ask my sister to go get me some greasy food to tame my head and my stomach..since grease seems to help with hangovers.

However, sitting at the CC table was alright on Sunday since it was more relaxed and there were a bunch of us to help me man the table. I finally went into the Dealer's room on Sunday, the first time in the whole weekend! The only things I purchased were two mangas...to continue my growing collection of Ouran High School Host Club. I'm missing the most recent two books...but that doesn't concern me too much..since it seems to be a trend that I'm just always two books behind in the series. I said hi to some old cosplay friends and chatted with them :)
I met quite a few BJD owners on Sunday and chatted with them about their dolls and companies. It's nice to see other dolls in person and meet other owners. My kids were having a good time chilling with Alice's thought for the weekend. Ventus and Mishka are BFFs. 

Photo shamelessly stolen from Alice. My camera has blackmail pics and I had used my sister's camera to take pictures. . .

Then the weekend came to an end. We packed up, did some car pooling and after a nice dinner the weekend came to an end. I was very happy to be home and to sleep for almost 12 hours. 

Overall, I had a great time this year at AN. The people that were around and just the fun that we create for ourselves, it really helps with the atmosphere. I noticed the cosplays were very good this year too! Sometimes I miss not cosplaying anymore..as I haven't done so at AN for a few years, but I just didn't have the time this year to make anything. 
Nice seeing old friend and making some new friends! I've sold some of my merchandise, ate some good food and didn't mess up my dancing at the cafe. We beat last year's mark for the donations for Sick Kids which is a great accomplishment for Cafe Delish. 

Now it's just time for me to clean up the house and to eat, sleep and relax a bit.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

AN'11...CC...Maid Cafe...Money...BJDs

Have mercy. This is going to be a long journal I think. LOL

So, the production sweat shop has been moving along. Not at the pace I want it to be..considering I had planned to have all the plushies finished by now. I didn't make all the ones I initially planned for since 1) Either I was missing fabric 2) too complicated to make in short time 3) not enough time.

I've been having movie marathons with Studio Ghibli stuff and Adventures of Sherlock Holmes while I sew and finish up the 'army divisions'. Can I say, I love the Granada series with Jeremy Brett as Sherlock! LOVE. 

I've finish all the porings and almost done the plushies. I'll have about 35 completed for the convention. I have to say I've never made so many at once and it's quite taxing. I just finished all the hairstyles today and the glue fumes are pretty intense. It's not toxic or anything but man oh man....My room is going to stink for a couple days. I better try to air it out tomorrow before I leave for work. Ugh!

I'm worrying about the progress for the BJD items. However, I think it will just be that I'll have a small amount done and not the amount I would initially like to sell at the convention. I'll live though, I'll just look at it as a trial test to see if things sell. I finally re-ordered some business cards last week, hopefully they come in time...cause that would be a mega fail if they don't! I still have the old ones from 3 years ago, and although my old website has died, my devArt is still alive and well, so it's not a huge problem to use the old ones if the new ones don't come in in time.

Am I excited for Anime North? I'd like to say I am. A few years ago I would have been freaking out around this time trying to complete costumes and what not. However I think I learned over time to finish my costumes almost a month ahead so I wouldn't have to think about it. I just remember waking up the day for the 'big' cosplay and being so nervous and not being able to eat anything. Now that I think about it, I'm not really sure what I was nervous about...perhaps that the costume wouldn't fall apart? LOL

The practices for the maid cafe have been coming along well :) 
It should be a fun year, I just need to remember the last part of the old dance, cause for some odd reason I can't remember the moves I need to do right now when I visualize it in my head. 

Here's a picture from last year with all the maids ♥
I'm in the front making the heart with my hands.
Photo: Jordan Smith from the Cafe Delish fan page on Facebook.

Hopefully some friends will pop by and see us in action! As much as I think it's a bit embarrassing, I think when we're at the convention it all doesn't matter...cause everyone's all dressed up and what not. But at the same time, I've learned to deal with the whole pride issue a long time ago. Once I got into cosplaying, it was just weird explaining to people who didn't understand the concept. I just said I liked making....historical costumes...and they said 'cool'. LOL

So maybe you'll catch me in my maid outfit on Friday or Saturday. I'll be dancing at the opening ceremonies on Friday and be at the cafe on Saturday.

Work~ Since I deal with large amounts of money, and I see a lot of old rare bills all the time, my sister had a request for me. She wanted me to find this bill.

I personally think it's very beautiful. I've never seen one nor do I have one in my own collection actually! I have old bills with the Queen on it, but I've never seen this one with the RCMP on the back.
Anyways, this past weekend, I managed to find it while I was sorting. However, when I wanted to exchange it for my own 50 dollars, I noticed...I had like 7 bucks to my name. LOL I had spent it all the day before. But the good thing is that the lunch room has an ATM machine... was just charged a bit extra since it's not the bank I normally use for banking. 
I'm quite happy with finding it! It's in pretty decent condition even though it's obviously been through a bit of circulation. It's not perfect, but it's better than the fake one we found later on that had 8 crease marks on it! LOL

On other random news, the postman has certainly been ruining my beauty sleep! Besides my sister shipping stuff to my house and me receiving my own items, I've gotten some pretty cute things lately for my dolls. One outfit was an impulse purchase in a sense...I thought about it for a day and it was still on eBay when I got home so I decided to go for it. Love Rosenlied outfits ♥
This one in particular I thought would look great on Delilah since it was red...and red really suits her. I would post up pictures, but I don't have a camera right now.
Which also explains why I don't have progress pictures of the plushies in making, etc.!

The Luts order that Alice, my sister and I did still hasn't been shipped, and it worries me...so I've sent them an e-mail asking them about it. Such is taking a long time for them to ship it out. I've noticed a lot of the items have also been sold out, I hope it's not the case of they don't have a certain item anymore and they're going to hold the order until it gets back into stock. I will be so Very annoyed...

I just happened to be on Rosenlied's website today...and they are going to release basic Louie on May 20! Rosenlied, how I LOVE & HATE YOU. I really love his sculpt, although when you look at his head without the face up or wig he looks like he has an alien head...HOWEVER, I think he is so adorable. How tempting it is, but I must stand my ground and let him be on a wishlist. Sage is the one I really want...and very soon she shall be mine!

This is the LE release of Louie for Rosenlied's 4th Anniversary. He was limited to 10 worldwide! I just gave up then when I saw that.
I knew he would be released as a basic since he is the first Wednesday Child to be released..so I'm not worried about that. But he's so adorable, and that Sherlock Holmes inspired outfit really gets to me!! It's so cute..I'll have to make something like that for Ventus.

Recently Alice has pointed out to me some of the discussion threads on DoA that are quite amusing and random to read. I must say some of the topics are so...how do I put it, serious? Hard core? I know some owners really covet their dolls and treat them like their own children, but some of the topics discussed are just really comical in my mind. Of course, we all have our own opinions..and I'm just going to stick to the fact that I like collecting them because I think they're very beautiful..and it's just another outlet for me to sew cute things...even if it doesn't fit me!

Well, I'm off to bed since it's almost 3am in the morning!
Until next time~

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Noblesse, SSDD, and Visa woes

I've been reading this new manwha series recommended by one of my friends...and it's strangely captivating. The characters that are introduced are plenty, and they all look beautiful. The bishounen effect is amazing LOL. The storyline moves pretty fast and there is some comic relief usually on the last couple pages of each chapter. 

Shamelessly copied from Wikipedia...^__^'
Noblesse is about a powerful, noble vampire - Cadis Etrama Di Raizel (also called Rai) - who has been asleep for 820 years with no knowledge of mankind's advancement and scientific successes. He has recently woken up in an abandoned building in South Korea. He is starting to get used to the modern world, often with the much-needed help of his loyal servant, Frankenstein. Rai enrolls in Ye Ran high school and inadvertently befriended Shinwoo - an athletic teenager, Ik-Han - a computer geek, Yuuna and a few others. Noblesse follows the group's often dangerous adventures against a secret organization while uncovering Rai's past.

The illustrations are lovely...but the only thing really lacking about this series is character development. They introduce many characters...but you don't see too much of them for some parts of the series because the story has moved on to another 'arc' in the plot...
But it still doesn't stop me from reading it :) You can read the manhwa here.

On other news, I can't believe it's May already! I really need to go into hyper drive and complete the stuff for Anime North!!! Work has been good, sure it's a bit monotonous but it's an easy way to earn money and the people are nice. From what I gather though is that there is some tension others have with the company and how they like to cut corners and what not. That doesn't surprise me, considering I think all companies try to do that. I view this as a temporary thing for me right now...cause I don't want to be stuck there for years...I would get quite depressed actually. Some of the workers there have been there for 6 years! I don't know how they do it...but I guess it's convenient for them and they know what to expect. 

SSDD. Same Shit, Different Day. LOL

Last night I tried to put through a group order that Alice, my sister and I were going to get from Luts. Oh man...their system crashed or something and although it showed up as the transaction failed, they charged my credit anyways! I didn't check my e-mail at first because on the site it says it's just 'failed'. So I canceled it and tried again. 4 more times. 
Now, at that point my card was denied on the spot. I thought it was odd since I just paid something on it with paypal a few hours earlier and that went through fine. After a bunch of 'canceled' orders on Luts, I gave up and just posted a question on their Q&A board, because by then I noticed the first transaction went through. (After many e-mail confirmations for order payments and cancellations..oops.) That's fine and dandy, good to know it went through, however, there's nothing that shows up in my order status on Luts. I'm still waiting for them to respond back to me, because if I Paid for nothing, I'm going to be so annoyed. 

However, earlier today I tried to pay for gas, and my card was denied. After 30 minutes of talking to a representative at Visa, I finally got everything working again because they had blocked my credit card! Apprently, Luts is weird to them...plus, making a pretty large payment when I have done so on my credit card probably would put up some caution flags...
It was pretty embarrassing though when my card got denied at the gas station...good thing dad was there to help me pay because I didn't have cash on me to pay.. >__<;

Oh Visa, such a love/hate relationship...LOL

Time for some BJD spam! Here is Ventus with his violin... :) Those Kips really do work...he wouldn't have been able to hold this pose without them, that's for sure. I've been asking myself lately if I have a favorite doll out of the ones I own...and it's hard to say who I like best. Lately I've been giving my attention to Ven though...he's so adorable. I'm currently babysitting a lot of dolls in my room right now from other people, and Ven is the only boy in the group. He's got a harem?! LOL