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Anime LA - RonO's Ramblings

Jan. 4th, 2009 07:22 pm Anime LA

This weekend robot_grrl and I went to Anime LA. This was basically our first time at Anime LA, and really our first Anime convention. (We were briefly at Anime Central a couple of years ago, but that is a whole other story for another time).

On Thursday we got up fairly early, but didn't crawl out of bed. I turned on the Rose Parade and watched the whole thing from bed. Tara went downstairs and got the TiVO to record it so she could shower. After the parade, showers and breakfast we packed for the trip, and had some lunch and did some other things before getting a not unreasonable start for LA.

After an uneventful and fairly low traffic trip, we neared the the LAX area we discussed the idea of having dinner before we got to the hotel. Remembering what was along Century between I-405 and the Marriott I asked Tara if we should get dinner at "Lenny's or Carl's" only to realize that I inadvertently made a Simpson's reference. {I was referring to Denny's by the mistaken name used in a 15-20 year old ad campaign, and Carl's Jr.}

After eating a quick meal at Carl's Jr, we checked into the hotel. We were fortunate to get a parking place near the top of the garage, and then got a lobby level room. After unpacking we went down and got our badges, and spent some time wandering around the ballroom level. We stopped by the info window, and ended up getting "Illinois" ribbons since were are still fairly recently from there. We then went back to our room for a while and then went to the Ice Cream Social. After eating our ice cream and sitting around for a while, we went back to our room when the dance music got really started.

On Friday we got up not too early and had breakfast from the oatmeal that we brought. We tried to find places nearby where we might look at costuming or related supplies, but I could not get my G1 to correctly search. Instead we decided to head the Mitsuwa Marketplace in or near Torrence from her training back in 1998. However, a slight glitch in our GPS look-up resulted in us first heading to Little Tokyo near downtown LA, before heading to Torrence. We then looked around Mitsuwa for a while, got some stuff to try -- including more non-refrigerated quick cooking lunches for me -- and then had some lunch before heading back to the convention.

Because of eating lunch at Mitsuwa we ended up missing opening ceremonies, but did make an early panel introducing Anime LA. We then spent some time in the Artist's Alley and the Dealer's room before taking in another panel on Cosplay.

We also spent some time in the Con Suite and went back to our room. In the evening, I went down a played a game of Munchkin with a somewhat revolving group of fellow players. I had fun, but didn't win. After that, I went to bed. Tara had turned in about the time I left.

On Saturday, I didn't have any morning panels I was interested in, but Tara went to one on Japanese for Anime fans. She was disappointed with this panel. Afterwords, we decided to go to Denny's for an early lunch/late breakfast. After lunch, we went back to the Con and went to a few more panels. We also stopped by the steampunk cosplay gathering, and Tara got some pictures. Finally played a game of Munchkin Quest, which I won largely by being the only 10th level character when we were kicked out of the room.

We ended up getting dinner from room service, since Tara couldn't sit in the sports bar due to no low tables, and I didn't particularly want to listen to the Chargers game at full volume alone. This ended up being a lot more expensive that I'd wanted to spend on a light dinner, but it was pretty good.

After dinner we went down to the Masquerade. Due to some problems that I have no details on they didn't even open the doors until after 8:00 -- instead of the 7:00 start time announced. However, we were able to get OK seats. The costumes were all pretty good, but between not getting a lot of the jokes and some serious technical problems with the IMag setup made it hard to really it as much as I'd have liked. We finished up the day with a brief visit to the con suite and turned in early.

This morning we got up fairly early since we had to leave about 8:30 for Blythe to meet up with Tara's parents and retrieve Derrick. Needless to say, we missed all of the convention.

The trip wasn't bad. Across the LA area it was fairly early on Sunday and we didn't get a lot of traffic. We stopped for gas in Riverside and then continued on our way. However, we still ended up more than an hour later than her parents -- even though we were only about 10 minutes after our target arrival in Blythe of 11:30. Because the Denny's there was busy, we ended up at a Sizzler, and I don't think any of us were that impressed with our lunch. Afterwords we headed back.

Since I knew I didn't want to drive back through Riverside, we took the "Palms to Pines" highway from the Palm Springs area towards Oceanside. I ended up letting Tara drive after we got about 3/4 of the way up the very windy climb from Palm Springs, which she greatly appreciated. There were some parts once we got up a bit where if I didn't know that it was January in California, I'd be sure that it was parts of Colorado or New Mexico. Of course since, if I read the elevation markers correctly, we topped out above 4,000 feet above sea level, this isn't too surprising.

In spite of not having much knowledge of Anime or Manga, I had a pretty good time at Anime LA. I'm thinking that I'd like to go back next year -- but we'll need to decide if Derrick can come with us, and at least I'll probably have to work that day. If we could have gotten them on Saturday we probably would have. Now, I'm just going to see if they get sales on-line for next year fairly soon (and we can get past our reoccurring problems with PayPal) we may get them early.

One thing I'd like to see is if there is some way that we can get the young fans who are members and staff for this (kind of) convention involved at the more general interest convention.

I've also made some more progress in coming up with ideas that should lead to a steam punk costume to use as a hall costume (which in other circumstances -- or probably places -- will count as a cosplay costume).

I'm also thinking that I should try to find some more anime or manga that I'd enjoy. One stumbling block is that I'm not fond of jumping into the middle of stories. The other, of course, is that I don't want to spend money, or too much time, on something that I won't enjoy or will end up being very bothered by.

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