hazelchaz: (ears)

Deborah Lo rubbing her eyes background left; Lindsay Tallman; Carolyn Ayton licking her fingers. Photos online: Filling up Saltine (07-Oct-2008)
Anime Los Angeles 5 meetings part 30: Postcards and Pizza (08-Oct-2008)
Jerry's Picture Gallery: Cosplay Picnic in Fountain Valley at Mile Square Park part 1 (11-Oct-2008) et seq.
Cosplay Picnic at Mile Square Park, Fountain Valley (11-Oct-2008) Part 50 et seq.
Maria visits us for a bit (13-Oct-2008)
Deathnote Dinner (16-Oct-2008)
Autumn Dream (fka Ani-Magic) part 1: Saturday (18-Oct-2008) et seq.
File under "C" for Chocolate (22-Oct-2008)
LASFS/Aftermeetings part 321: Coral Cafe (23-Oct-2008)
Lunch with Little Lindsey (26-Oct-2008)
WTLC meeting (29-Oct-2008)
Hilton LAX part 1: Third Floor Rooms (01-Nov-2008)
Marriott LAX part 1: Pool Deck, Bridges area (01-Nov-2008)
Something*Positive Meet-up at Griffith Park, Los Angeles (01-Nov-2008) Part 1
Evening at The Abbey, West Hollywood (02-Nov-2008)
My picture of [livejournal.com profile] fairegoddess is from the picnic.

In October, we organized a cosplay panic sponsored by [livejournal.com profile] animelosangeles. Why? Well, why not? We're trying to get people involved in the convention. If you want to volunteer, if you want to be on the staff, we want to make it easy to get involved. Pizza party, pool party, picnics in the park: it all goes to that end. I had organized a cosplay picnic in August; while a few departments were represented (and some Minions got in some minion-practice), it didn't officially have the convention name. This was going to be another public everybody-come-and-have-fun picnic.

The problem with having a convention-sponsored picnic, though, is getting the word out in time! )

October weather in SoCal is fickle. In general, we're so laid-back that our seasons lag a month behind everyone else's, so October is really late summer, right? Well... maybe. I was hoping for a warm sunny day at the park. Maybe a bit of a breeze, but generally a mild day.

It was chilly in the morning. As with the August picnic, we met at a county regional park (Mile Square Park in Fountain Valley) and rather than reserving a shelter we got there first thing in the morning to stake our claim.

Allie Boone (GyrfalconAH64) stirring up the lemonade. I say "we" because Allie Boone actually got there before me (left). I had to make a detour to pick up something at the office. He had some of the equipment. We had more picnic equipment than I could comfortably fit in my own car. )

Chaz Boston Baden. So, was it cool? Oh yes. Cold, actually. I kept my jacket on all day. Of course, I was sitting at a table under the tree. One of the picnic tables was covered with the coolers and the prep area for the burgers, another two or three tables were set up for food, and the rest of the tables were claimed by various convention departments.

Christian B. McGuire with map of hotel. For example, vice chair/hotel liaison Christian brought a big map of the hotel's ballroom level and taped it down to a card table (left)... )

Group photo.

We had a group photo at 4 o'clock (left). We should have scheduled it for 2 o'clock!

89 people signed our sign-up sheet, but a lot of them left as the day got colder.

Willow 17 (Crystal Nunez) background, and Melissa De Mello. Having a few Minions around was handy. Willow and Melissa were a great help (right). We also saw a new Proto-minion, who helped a bit during tear-down. (We'll have some more minion-training at [livejournal.com profile] pmx and [livejournal.com profile] loscon, and proto-minions that don't get checked out on the Nextels then will be put to some other useful work at the convention.)

We stayed until 5 pm, as it got colder and colder, and eventually cleaned up and headed out. We had dinner at Claim Jumper, and headed home.

hazelchaz: (ears)

Everyone's quoting a line from Blackadder, so here's mine:

Look, Percy, the return of Sir Walter "Ooh what a big ship I've got" Raleigh is a matter of supreme indifference to me.

So I have to tell you about this little picnic I went to in Escondido in August, the same weekend as Tiki Oasis. It wasn't very large -- I think there were seven of us, total. I've mentioned before (e.g. this year, in March and April) that I like to support potluck picnic events and other self-organizing social structures. I brought five gallons of pink lemonade, some bread, peanut butter and jelly, and a few other snacks to share. (I wouldn't have brought five gallons if I'd known there were only six other people. It's not the smallest cosplay gathering I've been to, though, that would have to be the three of us down on Carlsbad Beach that one time.)

I saw online where Nina ("Ashenine") said "I could go by public transit but it would take at least 3 hours of traveling and jumping from trolleys to buses. Not mentioning the returning trip too. D:" She said she and her friend were coming from Chula Vista. I told her I was coming from my hotel in Mission Valley and could pick them up from the San Diego Trolley around 10:15 am. Nina and her friend at Islands.

It turns out that she wasn't really coming from Chula Vista -- they actually had to get up at 5:00 am because they were coming from Tijuana, and they needed to allow plenty of time to cross the border. My hat's off to their dedication. I've told this story a couple of times, but I keep coming back to it.

Nina wanted, so badly, to come to a cosplay picnic. She's a fan, she goes to the occasional Tijuana anime convention (they sound pretty odd -- outdoors in an arena on a sunny summer day? are there no hotels with ballroom space?), hasn't been to [livejournal.com profile] animelosangeles or hardly any other events up here. She made this tremendous effort, with a longer commute than even [livejournal.com profile] summoner_lenne9 has to make to get anywhere from her Grapevine mountain home, for an afternoon hanging out with a handful of fans.

I felt so bad when I realized that. If I'd understood out how hard it was going to be for them, I would have met them at the Old Town station so they wouldn't have had to make that last transfer. On the way back, I felt it was the least I could do to drive them as far south as I was able. We had dinner first (at Islands -- they had burgers, I had tacos). Then we went south until the traffic started backing up. They switched to the Trolley, which I expected would get them down to San Ysidro faster than the traffic jam that was building up.

Anyhow. Dedicated fans. Willing to go the extra mile, and take the extra hours, to be a part of a face-to-face event (however small it might be) with their friends from online. Nina's one of my heros.

hazelchaz: (Default)

Christian McGuire, waiting in the lobby. Christian is Vice Chair. Photos now online:
Alex's Picture Gallery: Anime Los Angeles 4 part 712: Friday (04-Jan-2008) et seq.
Maria sorting the cupboards (12-Mar-2008)
Anime Los Angeles 5 meetings part 1: Storage Unit (15-Mar-2008)
Anime Los Angeles 5 meetings part 2: Exec Meeting (15-Mar-2008) et seq.
Anime Los Angeles 5 meetings part 6: General Meeting (16-Mar-2008) et seq.
The photo of [livejournal.com profile] ala_mokita is from Saturday.

Alex Bellanger gave a disc full of 1200 photos that he'd taken at [livejournal.com profile] animelosangeles. It's taken a while for the disc to make it from him to me, but I've finally put those photos online too.

I'm finally caught up on my winter writing!

Last weekend, I went to the hotel. We had two Animé Los Angeles meeting scheduled -- an Exec meeting (Division level and up) on Saturday and a general meeting on Sunday. Exec meetings are hard to schedule, because our Events Division head lives up in NorCal and runs a FanimeCon department. (There are one or two more weekends free between now and the week after that convention.)

Inside. You can see we haven't filled it up yet. Benches, folding carts, beanbag chairs, and other materials for the convention. On the way there, I stopped at the storage unit (left) to drop off the Costume Repair Station kit, and to pull the 2008 Lost and Found bin out of there. )

LAX Marriott, exterior. So I finished up at the storage place, and headed over to the hotel (right). Our contract with the hotel calls for them to provide space for four meetings a year, with refreshments. (Somebody dropped the ball on the refreshments, but they did have water for us.) That meeting was Sunday. Saturday, we'd arranged for all of the Exec to have rooms for the night, and an Exec meeting that night in Latitude 33 (the restaurant). )

Map assignments. Subject to change, but this is where we left off. So things we learned about the way we'll be using the hotel (left): The Dealers Room will have 34 spaces... )

Andrew Vo (obscured), someone at wall, Sarah Goldberg taking notes, Jose Zamora, somebody, someone else in green, Kris Bauer, Elayne Pelz with big white and red cup, Heide Nichols, Geoff, Jeanne Goldfein and Lindsay Tallman. We had our general meeting Sunday morning (right). We had about two good hours of meeting, mostly a matter of letting the Divisions explain what Departments report to them, interesting news about their Divisions, and where they're looking to staff up. Followed by an hour or so of the all-important small breakout meetings, and inter-departmental communication. Next time I'd like a chance to have the Division heads practice their bits, so the rest of the Exec can give tips like "be sure to mention this, too." [livejournal.com profile] ala_mokita ran the meeting once I'd said my bit at the beginning, and he gave the meeting a grade of B+. [livejournal.com profile] midnight_rocket said that she really thought having it in a proper meeting room with tables and chairs helped keep things on track and more professionally-behaved, and I agree. I'm glad we've outgrown The Tower's living room!

Next time I'd like to have a meal incorporated into the schedule... )

Melissa De Mello, Evan James, Sarah Goldberg. Sarah expressed interest in my red/white "Minnie Mouse" polka-dot headband. She wore it home in her hair as a bow. We agreed that the fabric wasn't really good enough for a shirt, but it was fine for a hair bow.

And then it was time to go. It was sunset, so the pair heading northwest could watch the sun go down but hopefully it wouldn't be too bright to drive. I took one more photo (left) and got in my car to limp on home. I made it to the 91/110 junction, pulled over for half an hour, then continued the rest of the way home.

hazelchaz: (Default)

Trying to wrap up my winter notes! Starting right after [livejournal.com profile] animelosangeles, [livejournal.com profile] library_lynn and I had been trying to schedule a meeting with [livejournal.com profile] divine_sage and her parents. It's been tough, I'd get over being sick and then Carolyn's dad would go out of town. He'd come back, I'd be sick again, then there would be some random minor family crisis, rinse lather repeat.

So finally, a few weeks ago, everything lined up. It happened to be the same day as a cosplay picnic day down in San Diego at Old Town, organized by Kitsune on cosplay.com. I'd already committed to that too, though. Kristina Slay, with Sonic Screwdriver. Early Sunday I headed down to San Diego. Another grueling drive, but it's always fun to hang out with the San Diego fans. Not that they're one homogenous group, mind you. But "Questionable Kristina" was there, dressed as The Doctor complete with glasses and sonic screwdriver. (Did I mention about Doctor Who fans in anime fandom? Okay, good.)

Picnic table. Homemade cupcakes, snickerdoodles, brownies, and more. It was cool when the sun went behind the clouds, and warm when the sun came out. Many us brought food, including lots of home-made goodies -- cookies and cupcakes and yaki soba and salad and so forth. I brought my picnic supplies kit. I was too pressed for time to cook, so I brought chili and my little cooker, and Spicy Cider which is good warm or cold. I had some on hand, because two weeks before I'd brought the same stuff to the cosplay.com Valentine's picnic out at Whittier Narrows.

Martin Young, reading a book. How did I miss telling you guys about those pictures? Photos uploaded last month: Cosplay Picnic in El Monte, at Whittier Narrows (09-Feb-2008) Part 1-22. Here you can see Martin Young, who brought his daughter Eris (not pictured here) and his ex-wife's dog.

Rachel Turtledove. And we ran into Rachel Turtledove, too. (Who also turned up at an Inland Empire cosplay day that I missed.) Another Loscon regular, she and her sisters and her folks usually show up at our local sci-fi convention. She went to Animé Los Angeles this year, although I didn't see her myself.

The picnic took over a public portion of the Whittier Narrows Regional Park. Unfortunately, some of the other groups in the park that day made enough complaints about some of our people carrying on that we've been invited not to return to the park. The organizers of this picnic are working on getting a reserved space at another park, so they're not giving up at all.

Cosplay Cyborg (Suzanne Sperber). Lynn and I had a nice conversation with Suzanne Sperber. Suzanne had made a nifty suggestion at Animé Los Angeles, which she told us FanimeCon had passed on, but I think could work well: a live audience voice-over panel for a game of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney.

Most of the Phoenix Wright games have a wide cast of characters. And the game itself is basically a text adventure with illustrations. Suzanne said we'd probably want to figure out how to let fifteen people (or at least, fifteen voices) all be heard. I'm thinking we'd need a line of five small cocktail rounds with three chairs each and five mics, one in the center of each table, and some sort of projector arrangement so that the game illustrations and characters' lines can be seen by all.

So it would take some work. But it would be an interesting project. I don't know whether this would count as a "live program" item or an "event," something we might discuss tonight at our exec meeting.

Where was I? Yes. Two Valentine picnics in February. (The usual month for them, I hear.) They had 70 or so people at Whittier Narrows, and ten or twenty in San Diego. We went through two big #10 cans of Stagg Chili at Whittier, and about half a can in San Diego, if that -- should have brought a smaller can. One of my favorite topics, I talked to Suzanne and Kristina about this, is self-organizing events & structures. Picnics like these, small and large, and fan-run conventions, and the Grilled Cheese Invitational (which I'll have to miss this year) are all examples of this. I like to participate in these kinds of things. So do a lot of other people, of course!

Shawna Slate with bells and chain helping me load the car back up. By the time I finished in San Diego -- I had to pack up at 3 o'clock in order to have any hope of getting home in time -- it was getting tired, and I didn't want to get late. Shawna Slate here helped me carry everything back out to the Napmobile.

I pushed up as best as I could, and came up on the top of the toll road two hours later just as Lynn came home and realizing she was locked out. So she didn't have long to wait for me to let her in. (We'd swapped vehicles, and I'd left my keychain with the truck key for it. She didn't realize it wasn't my full keychain until far too late, after leaving her own keys home.) We headed out to Cozymel's -- yes, Cozymel's again -- to meet with Carolyn, her folks, and Evan.

Carolyn Ayton. Carolyn's a copy editor for her school's prize-winning newspaper, High Tide. I've seen an issue or two, and I'm impressed. I'd asked her to meet us to talk about a department that I want her to take on for next year. It would have her reporting to Publications Division, which is why Evan James was involved. (And he presents really well, which I hoped would help reassure the folks.)

Mr. Ayton. Carolyn's dad. And I wanted her folks to be there, because they needed to know more about the convention and Carolyn's involvement. Plus, Lynn came along, to show that Chaz isn't just some creepy old guy, he's half of a nice married couple and we're really quite harmless. It took a while, but eventually I think we managed to convince [livejournal.com profile] divine_sage's dad (left) that if she stays up past her bedtime at the convention, it won't be because of the other departments that she'll be interacting with.

I hope. In any event, I expect I'll find out more tomorrow. Carolyn, see you at the meeting?

hazelchaz: (Default)

Selina Phanara with a spoon on her nose. Photos online: The Old Homestead part 23: Rugs and Chair (27-Feb-2008)
The Old Homestead part 24: Living Room and Hall (04-Mar-2008)
Dinner with Maria, and her shoes (29-Feb-2008)
LASFS/Aftermeetings part 307: Coral Cafe (21/28-Feb-2008) et seq.
LASFS/Aftermeetings part 311: Coral Cafe (06-Mar-2008) et seq.
The picture of [livejournal.com profile] selinawoman is from the last batch of Coral Cafe photos.

More recap of my wonderful winter. I mentioned attending AOD in San Francisco, the same weekend as Gallifrey One down in L.A., and flying back and forth. [livejournal.com profile] fairegoddess was kind enough to pick me up at the airport. She picked up some bottled water for us to give away at our table. I brought some other goodies: two boxes of "Candy Cane Jo-Jos" (think an Oreo crossed with a Thin Mint cookie) donated by my mom, and a whole bunch of granola bars. I need to make a spiffy sign that says FREE SNACKS and keep it in my luggage... I keep finding myself caught without one.

On Sunday, Lindsay and I flew down to L.A. so she could join an "unofficial hotel tour" of the LAX Marriott on the last day of Gallifrey One. (I'm sorry we didn't get a good look at your ballroom, Lindsay!) As you may know, I handle the postcards for Gallifrey One as well as for [livejournal.com profile] animelosangeles. There's a certain number of "old hands" who go to Gallifrey One and Animé Los Angeles (and Loscon), many of them to run departments (or parties) at two or all three conventions. I was surprised, though, that so many of the Animé Los Angeles staff that joined us on Sunday were interested in Doctor Who and Torchwood. There's an untapped market there: we should be sure to have Gallifrey flyers at Animé Los Angeles next year, maybe even a fan table if there's anyone from Gallifrey to man it.

I supposed I shouldn't have been too surprised, given that I'd already run into people (such as Lina aka "Chick Jack") in Torchwood costumes at Anime Expo. Yes, someone I usually expect to see in a Pirates of the Caribbean costume at anime conventions was dressed as... never mind. People have lots of interests, and as our median-sized convention gets larger there will be more instances of cross-over. And certainly with Doctor Who on Sci-Fi, and Torchwood on BBC America, the cable tv audience is taking it to their hearts. (This was the largest Gallifrey yet, larger than last year which also set a record.)

Which makes me wonder what other non-anime interests a significant number of anime fans share, and should we have an "Extracurricular interests" track? Suppose the LAX Marriott went through a space warp and came out the other side with three extra program rooms. We could take one room and do fannish inquisitions on Saturday: offer up panel time to other conventions, to spend 45 minutes talking about their own convention and taking questions. Saturday we'd focus on other anime conventions, but the other two days would be offered to other conventions and other interests. A quilting panel, maybe? ("Something to do with all those remnants from the half-dozen costumes you make each year.")

I didn't spend that much time at Gallifrey -- a few hours on Friday, a few hours on Sunday. Badge ribbons have infiltrated the convention, though. Robbie ordered about a dozen titles for official purposes, some to encourage traffic flow: you could get one ribbon just by visiting the dealers room, for example. And Jim Flynn had "VOTE FOR SAXON - SAXON IS YOUR MAN" (a combination of two campaign posters from a Doctor Who episiode). [livejournal.com profile] britgeekgrrl had a few new ribbons, including one in Welsh: "Mae fy ffrind wedi dysgu Cymraeg, a ces i ruban dwl yn unig!" Lee Whiteside had a Arizona ribbons, including one for SFTV.org and another for the Discworld convention they're having out there. Campaign posters And campaign messages were everywhere -- the "Vote for Saxon" messages were ubiquitous, but the "McCoy/Aldred '08" messages were funnier.

The clonepod people had home-made ribbons at Loscon, we talked briefly during the Gallifrey/AOD time period about the custom orders they wanted to do, and by the time I saw them at ConDor they'd ordered some on their own. But more about ConDor later. Speaking of ribbons, though, if you wanted ribbons for [livejournal.com profile] costume_con you'd better get busy. See my Ribbon Resources for basic info and how to sign up to hear when I'm sending in my orders. (In the case of Costume-Con, next week; for Baycon/FanimeCon/etc., probably right before I leave for Costume-Con.)

Getting back to Gallifrey One, though, their program book cover was reversible -- on one side K-9 was listening to a Victrola (per their "Sympony") theme, composed (sorry) by their usual cover artist, and on the other side was a completely different cover by [livejournal.com profile] vandonovan. Everyone got both covers, but half were folded the other way so each piece of art got equal time as being "the" cover. FER and Matt Wells. The Chia Matt.

When [livejournal.com profile] fairegoddess and I got to the LAX Marriott, FER and Matt2 were just arriving as well. Matt had turned his hair green, on purpose. He looked like a Chia Pet.

Carolyn Ayton and Caroline Smeby. More people were waiting inside, including [livejournal.com profile] divine_sage and [livejournal.com profile] midnight_rocket. Not pictured: [livejournal.com profile] library_lynn, Joyce Hooper, Evan James, [livejournal.com profile] videl_bishoujo, [livejournal.com profile] neo_serenity, Matt Tsang. Other people at the con who were working and didn't join us for the tour: [livejournal.com profile] nitroace, Patrick Beckstead, Scott Beckstead, [livejournal.com profile] glittercat13, Robbie Bourget, John Harold (he'll be joining us next year on Ops), Ed Hooper, Joyce Sperling... lots of people. (I wasn't there to take all their photos, so I don't have a complete record.)

We saw a little of the hotel's function space. We couldn't see the whole Imperial Ballroom, but we saw the half that Gallifrey One uses for the Dealers Room. (The other half is their main program book, and it was dark because of a video/live commentary thing going on.) Marquis was completely unavailable, as another group had it sewn up. (We probably won't see any of it at our meeting this weekend, as there's a big group taking over the whole place. It was difficult finding a room for the Exec to meet Saturday night, although we do have a place for our general meeting Sunday morning.)

Matt Tsang, left, and FER on the second bridge. But we did go to Gallifrey's Con Suite, which is the same room that we'll be using. It opens out onto the pool deck. And the Marriott has completely remodeled their pool deck area. There are some cute bridges, and an interesting pavement, and even a firepit under a canopy near the pool. (So if it rains, you can at least gather around it.)

Looking up at the Marriott tower. The pool deck got many oohs and aahs. It's much prettier than what we had to work with in Burbank. Weather permitting, I expect most or all of the Cosplay Gatherings will be out here. And half of the rooms look out over the pool area. I expect the first-floor and second-floor rooms will be very popular.

Angelica Mora, Tiffany (Neo_Serenity). After the abbreviated tour, we went for dinner at Cozymel's. Tiff had been telling the others about "this great place Chaz took us to after PMX" and was delighted that we were going back. Here you can see her with Videl-chan, making moustaches from each others' tresses.

hazelchaz: (Default)

Kris and Selina Phanara. Photos from ConDor 15 are now online, which is where I saw both [livejournal.com profile] glittercat13 and [livejournal.com profile] selinawoman.

Notice to anyone interested in large men's shirts: I've got about half a dozen of my father's old shirts that are on their way to be donated to a local thrift store, Bargain Box in Fullerton. (Their "Operation New Start provides clothing and household items for women and children leaving an abusive environment as they embark on a new life.") If you'd like a chance to pick through them, come to Coral Cafe in Burbank tomorrow night. I hope to be there from about 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm.

Winter recap, we're up to January now. Our [livejournal.com profile] animelosangeles closing ceremonies ran far too long. We need to split off the Feedback (Gripe Session, Hiss 'n Purr, whatever) panel to the hour before closing ceremonies. Get all that out of the way, then close it all up. I need to script out my remarks better, and I'm thinking I might have [livejournal.com profile] ala_mokita preside over it if he thinks he can keep it on track better.

I've mentioned that Animé Los Angeles was a success. Our cap was 2400, and we bumped into that Saturday night, and turned a handful of people away. (Arguably we should have had a lower cap, given that the masquerade simulcast didn't work as well we'd like.) Anyhow some people came back on Sunday, so our final membership was 2509. For those who're interested, this was our 4th year; our previous numbers were 616, 1346, and 1875. We're still growing. We had lots of members from out of state, both pre-registered and at-the-door, including: Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Virgina, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming; from Canada: Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario; and one from England.

How does [livejournal.com profile] animelosangeles compare to the other California anime conventions? Well, it turns out there are seven of them that reported their attendance to anime-cons.com in the last two years.

Most recent numbers available:

  1. Animation On Display (Aug. 2007, 782)
  2. Mikomicon (Oct. 2006, 950)
  3. Sac-Anime (July 2006, 2000)
  4. Animé Los Angeles (Jan. 2008, 2509)
  5. FanimeCon (May 2007, 12000)
  6. Anime Expo (July 2007, 44000)
  7. Comic-Con San Diego (July 2007, 125000)

We are the median-sized convention! We're right smack in the middle: Animé Los Angeles is the 4th smallest, and also the 4th largest. (I've got a hunch that if I say median-sized people will hear what they're expecting, medium-sized.) We can also say that we're the second-smallest anime convention in Southern California, according to anime-cons.com.

Continued next time, when I talk about what happened after closing ceremonies.

(And anyone who's a friend of [livejournal.com profile] rivka but hasn't read her LJ recently, go take a look. Her R21 grant got funded!)

hazelchaz: (Default)
Joyce and Hoop brought me a Darth Vader teddy bear cell phone charm from Tokyo. They gave it to me so I could wear it at the convention (Animé Los Angeles), and I got two conventions' use out of it. It broke off while I was on the plane home from SFO. Boo-hoo.

The convention I just got back from was Animation On Display, fka AOD/AODSF, fka Anime Overdose. Last year they were one day (my birthday) and they had 782 people. Branden, one of the directors, told me that they were surprised that they didn't have a huge drop going to a one-day convention, and that they had about the same number of people this year. The Dealers Room foot traffic was pretty slow. I expected more word-of-mouth to build about our free water and granola bars, and cookies and ribbons ("the first one's free").

They were two days this year -- we were there Saturday, and until 1 o'clock Sunday. Their badges didn't have our names on them. Vic Mignogna and Marv Wolfman had identical badges: they both just said GUEST OF HONOR. I knew Vic was going to be there. I gave him the TEXAS ribbon for his badge that he never got at [livejournal.com profile] animelosangeles, and also handed him a pound of Chile-Lime Cashews and a tub of Chocolate Raspberry sticks, just in case they weren't feeding him properly. Michele (Vic's GF) was there, she flew up from L.A. -- she's changed her hair color, she's blonde now.

[livejournal.com profile] fairegoddess joined me for the weekend, and we bumped into Marv at breakfast. We also saw Mark Poliner at the hotel! He was in town for Beerpalooza, not Animation on Display, though.

Our badges had EXHIBITOR where you'd expect to find a name. Most people at the convention were named ATTENDEE or SATURDAY ONLY. Note to self: if I ever go back, I'd rather be in Artists' Alley than in the Dealers Room.

Here is their program grid for their convention. (Let me know if the link stops working.) There was an Opening Ceremonies, but no Closing Ceremonies -- the last item Sunday night was due to end at 10 o'clock.

The link above goes to a PDF that duplicates two pages from their little program book. The program book didn't have a committee roster in it. Vic had three things on Saturday, and one panel Sunday at 6pm. No autograph sessions listed for any of the Guests of Honor. (Of which there were many.) The Black Crystals, a band that appeared at our convention, all had badges that said their name was GUEST OF HONOR too. We gave them MUSICIAN ribbons to add to that.

I flew back to LAX Sunday, and Lindsay came with me for our quick unofficial hotel walk-through of Gallifrey One's hotel, which we'll be using more of ourselves. We'll have an official walk-through sometime later in the year, and we'll also have some committee meetings there. The first one has not yet been scheduled.

(In other California anime convention news, Ani-Magic has announced this year's date: 2008-10-18, at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds.)

(EDIT: Ani-Magic will now be two days Saturday and Sunday 2008-10-18/19.)

Picking up the Animé Los Angeles narrative for a moment... After the convention we loaded the trucks in the rain, Monday took stuff to the new storage place, that night I drove to San Luis Obispo, while in SLO I picked up a Guy Mitchell triple-CD, hence the song I've been running. Got home, was sick, got better, got sick again, now I'm fine. How are you?
hazelchaz: (Default)
I mentioned the Staff Lounge at [livejournal.com profile] animelosangeles. I spoke to Genny recently (Thursday night), she said that hardly anyone was interested in breakfast; the cereal that was most popular was the Raisin Bran; one case of yogurt from Costco was enough for the whole weekend; bagels were popular, with the cream cheese & toppings she had; the 500 filipino egg rolls (lumpia) were a big hit as was the big batch of jambalaya (there was 10 pounds of meat in that) and the batch of vegetarian jambalaya; we should make sure to bring our own dorm-size refrigerator. There was a small group of vegetarians at the convention on staff, and a few people who couldn't have wheat, she didn't run into any other staff dietary restrictions. Sandwich deliveries were a bit hit, and quite a number of fans who came upstairs to get their own lunch agreed to take deliveries to where they needed to go.

Genny and Dana have both agreed to come back next year and run the Staff Lounge again. We'll need to get them an assistant that's available on New Year's Day to make sure that load-in happens -- any volunteers?

The Costume Repair Station: Jess Miller headed up the room's contingent, mostly master class costumers from Costumers Guild West, sitting at six stations in a large room, and they were busy most of the weekend. On Saturday, a number of costumes were fixed/finished up there, in time to be shown on stage that night in the Masquerade. My mom reports that she spent part of the afternoon putting in an enormous zipper for someone. Most of the people in the room who'd brought sewing machines didn't want to loan them out, and instead sewed stuff up for people. Malcolm had his tool kit, and our usual kit was there with all the fixings. Apparently we need to add black tape to the kit -- I'm thinking I'll get the good kind that our Tech department uses.

[livejournal.com profile] missmea had suggested back in November that we should give ribbons to people who were helped by Costume Repair, to help spread the word that the room exists. Thank you for the suggestion. We ordered 100 "Saved by the Costume Repair Station" ribbons and we gave away all of them. We'll need to order more for next year.

Speaking of ribbons, write me soon if you want ribbons for March or April conventions; if you want any for June or July, it's not too early to start thinking about them. The ribbons that people needed for next weekend for Capricon etc. arrived in time and were mailed out, ribbons needed for Gallifrey One (same weekend but here in So.Cal.) will be here in time to be hand-delivered to the con. I'll be at Gallifrey One on Friday afternoon and Sunday evening, between which I'll be up at Animation On Display (fka AOD/AODSF, fka Anime Overdose) in SFO. Whee!

This weekend -- in about 9 hours, actually -- I'll be at the Cosplay.com Valentine's Day Picnic at Whittier Narrows Park in El Monte. See me there!

By the way my server's down for maintenance -- they're physically moving the computers across town. It'll be back up in the morning.

EDIT: (8 am) The server's back.
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Craig Miller and Genny Dazzo. Can I say enough about Genny and Dana? Genny, pictured here with her husband Craig Miller, offered to run any department I needed her for. After several months of considering her offer, I asked her to take charge of the Staff Lounge. Genny has lots of experience with feeding people, Staff Lounges and otherwise, and I knew we had to have one this year. The room was for "staff and volunteers" but basically if you could find the room, she'd feed you regardless of what it said on your badge.

Dana Ginsberg. She was short on staff for the Staff Lounge, so I asked Dana Ginsberg to help. Dana's amazing. She did most of the work in 2006 when I "ran" the Loscon Con Suite. Basically what I did is I gave her the budget and stood back, and she made wonderful things happen. She also has a posse of about half a dozen loyal friends who'll pitch in and help. So when I recruited Dana for Genny, she in turn called up two of her friends to come and help out as well.

So there was always real food in the Staff Lounge. There was always food in my suite refrigerator, as well -- I was supposed to bring a dorm fridge or two, but forgot, so I just gave Genny and Dana keys to our room so they could use both fridges.

Someone with pink hippos, and Vic Mignogna in Staff Lounge. Vic, our VA Guest of Honor, had the suite immediately above the Staff Lounge. When I showed him around, I pointed out the room. He said "I should leave that room alone so the staff get enough to eat, right?" I pointed out that for some of the staffers taking a quick break to get a bite, if they happened to bump into him there it might be their only chance to meet our Voice Actor GoH. He brightened up at that, and he & Michele took a number of meals there including breakfast. I learned later that Michele used some of the zip bags I'd given Vic to get some meals "to go" that she put in his fridge, so he wouldn't starve after she left the con!

A lot of the staff and volunteers got real meals that weekend, thanks to Genny and Dana's efforts. She served breakfast every day -- she hadn't planned to open Friday morning, but our signals got crossed and I thought she'd said she was opening at 8:00 am every morning so on Friday there were hungry fans knocking on her door hoping for something to eat.

The jambalaya on Saturday night was very tasty. The Filipino eggrolls ("lumpia") were delicious, but there was a mix-up in communications there, she hadn't planned to pay for quite that many. They did deliveries of sandwiches to staffers who couldn't/wouldn't leave their post to come feed themselves. I'm very happy with how the Staff Lounge worked out, and Genny has lots of notes on what people ate and what they didn't. I'm hoping I can convince both of them to come back next year!
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Noodles and Company is around the corner and up a bit, off of McKee and Triverton.Pictures online: Madison Trip part 57: Dinner at the Great Dane (03-Feb-2008)
Madison Trip part 58: Wisconsin Historical Society at UW (04-Feb-2008) et seq.
Madison Trip part 60: Lunch at the Memorial Union at UW (04-Feb-2008) et seq.
Madison Trip part 62: Leaving the campus, shopping on State Street (04-Feb-2008) et seq.
Madison Trip part 65: Back to the hotel, dinner at Noodles & Company (04-Feb-2008) et seq.

More about [livejournal.com profile] animelosangeles Friday night. I skipped the AMV Contest, because I'd already seen almost all of them. (I'd loaded them on my computer and uploaded them to our server, to make it easier for our AMV Contest coordinator to fetch them without having to get the discs from me.) I was trying to fix a mess I'd made of some ribbon assignments, and was looking for Joyce Hooper.

She was around, but busy busy busy in her capacity as Speaker to Hotel. See, the storm was really going at this point. If you look at the "Hourly Observations" for that night you can see that by about 6:00 pm the rain was coming down in earnest, and by midnight we'd had two and a half inches of rain. There were big deep puddles in the quad, especially at the doors into the convention center -- the concrete is slanted down to the convention center building.

So people who didn't want to get their feet wet again were going around to the front (parking lot) side of the building, after they'd already learned that every door on the hotel side of the building had a deep puddle in front of it. And, in fact, the water was coming in under the door and making a lake inside the convention center foyer! Happy Bench Land was getting flooded!

''Mr. Bear'' bench by Bryan Wong, character design by PMBQ. Did I talk about Happy Bench Land? I posted a note on the Animé Los Angeles LJ about the benches. We also had two folding chairs, many beanbags (half of them belong to Loscon, the two conventions loan them out to each other), and a "bear chair." The Bear Chair was a fuzzy thing shaped like a teddy bear gingerbread cookie.

The water was coming in, and the Bear Chair got wet! We put it up on one of the benches, and dragged all the benches away from the door. The hotel people came over, swept up as much of the water as they could, vacuumed up the rest of it with a shop vac, and set up an enormous dehumidifier or two. Fortunately the rain didn't come back that night. If you look at the Hourly Observations for Saturday morning you can see that at midnight the rain had dropped off to almost nothing.

Golly. Well, Joyce had dealt with that particular crisis, and she sat down on a bench next to me to catch her breath. Just then we looked up towards the parking lot and saw two firetrucks go by with red lights flashing... Joyce got up, said she'd better find out what's going on, and went down towards the Gaming Room and Rum Party end of the convention. When she came back I asked her whether the building was on fire as well as flooded?

It turns out, no, but the paramedics did end up taking someone who'd been injured in the Rum Party to the hospital. (He's going to be all right, he went back to Canada with his arm in a sling and was seeking medical attention up there.) An exciting night!

The next day I asked [livejournal.com profile] im_with_no_name to draw us a sign, in case the flood came back. She made a lovely "Lake District" sign with Ala floating past Registration in a boat. It turns out the rain didn't really come back until Sunday night, during load-out. As long as we were loading trucks it was coming down. But that's Sunday, I'll get to that later!

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Subway hallPictures online: Madison Wisconsin: Touring Thomas's Offices (03-Feb-2008). I took about 450 photos of the art and architecture at my brother's employer's campus. For example, this corridor has seats and a mural on one side to make it look like a subway train. The place was designed by one architectural firm that did a lot of work at Microsoft and another that's done a lot for Walt Disney World, so it's quite a place. I'll have to write it up when I get through with my [livejournal.com profile] animelosangeles monologue.

The night before the convention: after everything was unloaded Thursday, the setup that ran late was the Tech setup in LP1 and the Gaming setup. Our "staff/volunteer dinner" turned into "let's have pizza delivered." I'd like to figure out how we can get everything put together earlier -- or should we schedule a dinner break? I'd hate for us to lose our momentum, though, with volunteers eating dinner and then not continuing the work. It's hard enough setting up with a crew of six, if that drops down to three we're not better off. Or should we plan on a pizza feed as our Thursday dinner?

Vic Mignogna and someone as ''Envy'' from Fullmetal Alchemist, with Wendy Powell on the phone.Friday morning, I mentioned Registration. We had our Ala Mascot Costume Look-Alike judging immediately before Opening Ceremonies, then we eventually got the convention officially open. I spent some time sitting at Registration to try to get more people their badges before the Opening Ceremonies, but as I mentioned before we were running way behind. We started late, but got things off to a good start. A highlight was when Vic sang the opening theme song for One Piece (he'd brought the accompaniment). Then he called up Wendy Powell (another VA who works on some of the same shows) and said hello from the ballroom. His iPhone doesn't have speakerphone capability, so if we ever have a GoH that wants to do that sort of thing we'll need to check out what kind of phone he's got and possibly get him use of a different one. But it was a cute moment when he put Wendy, the voice of "Envy," together with a cosplayer dressed as "Envy."

Friday was a lot of back-and-forth. There were things that had been "staged" up in my suite, so my minion (Melissa) and I made a lot of roundtrips. For example the staff t-shirts were up there. Need a better way to distribute them -- something I'll dump in the Administration Division's lap next year, I think. Ribbons that were assigned to specific department heads and other people, we had them upstairs. Eventually we moved them down to the Office. At one point I had all of the "prize packages" in my suite, as well as the rosettes for the hall costume and masquerade awards. Perhaps I should have a little desk in a corner of the Office next year?

At one point I was so exhausted, I spent about half an hour just sitting in my chair in my suite dozing off as messages were brought to me. Could I have made my Friday go smoother if we'd spent some time Thursday sorting out what would need to go where? Perhaps things that are in my suite that are intended for another part of the convention should be distributed Thursday night. So I should figure out who those people are, and ask them to put in an appearance on Thursday even if they're not staying at the hotel that night. And, of course, more of this should be staged in the office, not my own room!
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Photos online:
Cleaning the Couch Cushions (26-Jan-2008)
Checking out the Orange Fresh & Easy (30-Dec-2007)
An Errand at Tony's House (30-Dec-2007)
Christmas 2007 part 5: At the Nopper-Plutas (30-Dec-2007) et seq.
Anime Los Angeles Gaming/Con Suite Logistics Meeting (30-Dec-2007)
Benches part 4: Michelle & Ashley's Bench (31-Dec-2007)
RivetSPOOn and Arianna Unciano. Anime Los Angeles Bag-Stuffing Meeting (01-Jan-2008)
Jerry's Picture Gallery: Anime Los Angeles 4 part 233: Saturday Morning (05-Jan-2008) et seq.
San Luis Obispo part 1: Tuesday (08-Jan-2008) et seq.
LASFS/Aftermeetings part 303: Coral Cafe (10-Jan-2008)
Shopping for Beanbag Chairs (12-Jan-2008) Part 1 et seq.
Remodeling Monster part 34: The Old Homestead (12-Jan-2008) et seq.
LASFS/Aftermeetings part 304: Coral Cafe (17-Jan-2008)
Madison Wisconsin part 1: Friday, En Route (01-Feb-2008)
Madison Wisconsin part 2: Saturday, Nicolas's 2nd Birthday (02-Feb-2008) et seq.

The photo of [livejournal.com profile] rivetspoon and [livejournal.com profile] otaku_jrock is from our Bag-Stuffing Meeting. The Anime Los Angeles Bag-Stuffing Meeting was postponed from its original weekend to New Year's Day... )

So that was the 1st. On the 2nd, Jarod rented the Orange County truck, to take to south county to pick up half a dozen televisions for Gaming. On Thursday the 3rd, [livejournal.com profile] ala_mokita and Moogle and crew loaded up the L.A. truck with the boxes of reg bags we'd stuffed Tuesday, and the stuff we borrowed from the LASFS clubhouse, while the Orange County truck picked up the Con Suite groceries with Andrew. Everything made it up to Burbank, we did our traditional inspect-the-hotel tour with cameras, and started loading in the convention.

We had two Guests of Honor this year, plus our Toastmaster... )

The Reg line outdoorsIn some previous years, we'd had Registration open Thursday night, but we didn't do it this year. We should have. On Friday when we opened Reg at about 8:30 am the line was already well-established... )

People reported waiting in line up to two hours: this is unacceptable. We will do better next year. This year we had a small kiosk for Registration and didn't have enough stations open to process people as quickly as we'd like to. We also let people choose lanyards or badge clips, which slowed down each member by five to fifteen seconds. But mostly Registration was strained by our growth, and constrained by our space.

We hope more people pre-register next year, and pick up their badges the day before the convention. We're going to open Reg on Thursday (New Year's Day) next year, and on Friday we'll have at least eight stations open. (We're thinking they'll go on tables in the foyer where Loscon puts their fan tables, but [livejournal.com profile] library_lynn is going to survey the lay of the land before making a final decision.) And Lynn's staffing up... she's looking for reliable people to work two- to four-hour shifts next year, including people to wrangle the line as well as operate the Reg computers.

Next year we won't offer members a choice of badge clip or lanyard at the Reg desk. We'll give them one, and if they want something else they can exchange it at Information or at the Freebie Table or something. We're also looking into buying our own belt-type stanchions as seen in many popular banks. When we look at the hotel in two weeks we'll be estimating how many to pick up.

And I want us to be able to take credit cards at the door next year! We haven't offered that in the past, but we really need it. It'll be less of an issue if a greater percentage of the members pre-register, but unless we actually sell out pre-convention there will always be people joining at the door.

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A number of photos are now online:
Maria Rodriguez. Benches part 2: Delivering Jessica and Kelly's Benches (15-Sep-2007)
LASFS part 302: Estrogen Zone (01-Dec-2007)
Maria's Birthday at Cafe 50's (19-Dec-2007)
Remodeling Monster part 28: At the old homestead again (23-Dec-2007) et seq.
Remodeling Monster part 32: The Old Homestead (27-Dec-2007) et seq.
Christmas 2007 part 1: Lunch with Mother-in-Law (23-Dec-2007)
Christmas 2007 part 2: Dinner at Dorothy and Bob's (25-Dec-2007) et seq.
Christmas 2007 part 4: At Home with Maria (26-Dec-2007)
Shopping at Ikea (23-Dec-2007)
Mattress Shopping (24-Dec-2007)
Table Shopping at Ikea (24-Dec-2007)
Fan Shopping at Lowe's (24-Dec-2007)
Dinner at Islands (24-Dec-2007)
Boxing Day Errands (26-Dec-2007)
Shopping for Chairs (27-Dec-2007)
Split-Rail Fence Survey (27-Dec-2007)
Anime Los Angeles 4 part 1: Thursday (03-Jan-2008) et seq.
Jerry Shaw's photos: Anime Los Angeles 4 part 17: Friday (04-Jan-2008) et seq.

What a winter. So far. I don't usually get sick four times in 40 days!  )

But I thank the ghods for the timing. A week earlier, or a week later, and it would have a calamity. Not a disaster, but certainly a calamity as far as myself at [livejournal.com profile] animelosangeles would be concerned.

Chaz and his Minions. Jose Zamora, Melissa De Mello, Chaz Boston Baden, Patty Engel, and Arianna Gonzales. So the convention. Lots of to go over. Can I do everything justice? Let me start with my Minions, pictured here )

Anyhow, my thanks go out to the Minions for their work in keeping me from utter collapse.

Graike and Lady Amaryllis as ''Viktor Krum'' and ''Hermione Granger'' at the Yule Ball. I took about 150 photos. I accidentally left my good camera at work (it turned out it was hidden behind my open laptop) so I used my ol' Olympus, with its annoyingly long flash cycle times (both the warm-up for firing the flash, and the time it takes to write a picture to the "flash" memory card)...

But Jerry Shaw has (as he often does) donated thousands of his photos to the cause. I've uploaded the first 1500 of his Friday photos, the rest to follow shortly. "Lady Amaryllis" pictured as Hermione Granger in Jerry Shaw's photo here, said: Oh my gosh! I found some pictures in there of my Hermione and Viktor costumes that I absolutely adore! Thank you for taking these, you guys! *runs happily in circles*

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Picture-taking, procrastination, and the relationship between internet access and photo processing. I have enough memory cards that I was able to shoot over 500 photos at Loscon without having to get the pictures out of my camera onto my computer. And I was busy, so there wasn't a huge incentive for me to set up my computer at all.

If there's free wi-fi access in the hotel, being able to check my e-mail is an incentive to unpack the laptop. )

I have two memory cards. (Kevin Lillard says he's deliberately decided to have "too many" cards -- he has about thirteen of them -- so he can keep shooting without worrying about having to empty the memory cards.) If I'd filled up my first memory card on Saturday, instead of Sunday, I would have set up the computer and pulled them off.

I used a lot of my free time Sunday night and Monday to push the photos up, despite being tired. How can I plan better in the future? I want to start taking a vacation day after my long trips to recover. I'm thinking maybe I should try to allocate a day even after the local trips, for recovery and also to get started on my pictures.

I'd also like to get back in the habit of typing in my captions on my laptop before I upload the snaps...

Another thought about "too many cards." I like to have "too many business cards" -- at least, in my luggage. The trick is to have some in my jacket, too! I use the same little zip bags for my cards and stickers... )

Even though I handed out many teddy bear stickers, I really feel I was moving more slowly at Loscon. I took 30% more photos at Loscon, but I didn't come away feeling like I'd taken a comprehensive photo survey of the convention. (Sometimes Alex Bellanger or Jerry Shaw share their photos with me -- there's a Loscon or two where the bulk of the photos on my site are Jerry's, for example.) 30% more sounds like an increase, but that's over three days; at SugoiCon I was really only taking pictures for about 24 hours.

Colleen Crosby, Chaz Boston Baden and Christian McGuire. I'm starting to count my ribbons back in, and the ribbons tell a bit of that story too. I gave away one "Cheesecake" ribbon, for example, and didn't delegate the "Beefcake" ribbons to anyone. That means I wasn't out-and-about meeting a lot of ladies in their fancy clothes. But sometimes they come to me. The photo here shows [livejournal.com profile] collency, myself and [livejournal.com profile] ala_mokita. Colleen's schoolgirl outfit is actually from a character in the movie Dogma. (I think it's the one played by Salma Hayek.)

Colleen Crosby. who has garters.In the first photo, Christian is turning a lovely shade of red. This is because, moments before, Colleen had pointed out one of the finer details of the outfit: the black garter holding up her white stockings.

Christian's response to this was "I'm going to Hell." And [livejournal.com profile] vadenalim told him, "You're going to the Special Hell." Shortly after that, Colleen re-enacted the scene, and then posed for pictures showing the garter in front and then the garter in back, too. We determined that repeated exposure to Colleen's undergarments did not lessen the effect on Christian's complexion. Christian McGuire has spilled his water glass. Somewhere in all this is when Christian spilled his water glass all over the table, and it was decided that there needs to be a badge ribbon that says "I'm going to the Special Hell."

This convention was also the debut for Christian's new ribbon, "Creepy Old Guy." Printed on the same pink ribbon as the "Jailbait" ribbon (with the same Stencil typeface), they were handed out very sparingly. He expects to have them at [livejournal.com profile] animelosangeles, and hopes that some young person will be daring enough to hand them out to the people who truly deserve it. I'm not convinced that will work.

(Christian isn't a creep, he just feels like he must be one even though he keeps his hands to himself and treats other people with respect. He doesn't always keep his thoughts to himself -- hence his "TMI" nickname... Speaking of creeps, someone at [livejournal.com profile] pmx groped [livejournal.com profile] magi_sammy's 16-year-old butt without permission. I'm turning over that dude's photo to our Ops people so that we can keep an eye out for him and boot his ass if he takes any liberties with any members of the convention.)

Anyhow. A few closing thoughts on Loscon and SugoiCon, actually, relating to all these pictures and the stickers and the website. I felt awfully lonely at the convention out of state, because I didn't know anyone there. But having been there, and having snapped my photos, and with the occasional person commenting on the Cosplay.com SugoiCon thread "Thanks so much. Yours is so far the best picture I have" I know that if I ever get back that way, some people will remember me kindly and recognize the bear ears and stickers. Which is one of the things that keeps me going in all this madness.

And about Loscon. The "When in Rome..." badge ribbons that you could get only if you signed up for the 2008 Loscon were apparently a big, big hit, and co-chairs Joyce Hooper and [livejournal.com profile] nitroace want to order more of them. And they want to start doing the postcard thing for Loscon too. So early next year expect an announcement about a Loscon postcard design contest...

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Lindsay Tallman. She is laughing because of A Shoggoth on the Roof, in soundtrack and libretto form. Photos now online: Bill & Peggy's Wedding Reception Setup (03-Nov-2007) and Anime Los Angeles Events Division Meeting (04-Nov-2007) . The picture of [livejournal.com profile] fairegoddess is from the party -- she drove down Saturday night and stopped over at the party before following me home and staying over in our guest room in order to be at the meeting on Sunday. (All we have in the guest room is the bed -- when we furnish it further, I'll be sure to post more updates. [livejournal.com profile] library_lynn has bought a clock radio, but we haven't put it in the guest room yet... She wants to get an Ikea bookcase, in beech veneer.)

Saturday at the wedding reception I did the instant photo printing trick. Here's my first photo of the bride and groom. ) For my gift, I brought my computer equipment and snapped pictures of almost everyone at the party, and printed them up on-site. I missed getting a good shot of Rebecca Lilenfeld, who managed to go straight from the front door to a Mahh-Jongg game, as near as I can tell. There was one person who didn't want any pictures at all, and another that let me take her photo for the CD-Rom for Bill and Peggy but didn't want to be on the website. But other than those, everyone is on the website. There were almost exactly 100 people.

Some aren't the best snaps. [livejournal.com profile] juliarandolph, you volunteered to be my assistant next time I'm around -- I could have used you Saturday, to help catch the photos I printed out showing people mid-blink and other do-overs. Oh, well.

Something that worked out really well: Peggy gave me a copy of the invitation list, and I printed up the list (of those who'd RSVP'd Yes or Maybe or hadn't replied) with spaces for "Can put photo on CD" and "on website" along with a place to write the time and another space to put a picture number. The first time I met someone, I asked my questions, checked the spaces for yes and yes and the time. Then when I got the pictures up, I printed them all up with the time of the photo and matched up the two lists.

Usually I write down names as I take the pictures. (So the captions in my notebook are in the same order as the photos.) But when I do that, I don't usually write down the time. I now have a big digital clock on a clipboard, and if I put my notebook on that I might just start writing down timestamps too. We'll see how it goes at the conventions -- I'll be at cons three weekends in a row.

Tomorrow I'll be at [livejournal.com profile] pmx. Look for our table in the Artists Market. I'll be up in my room most of the weekend -- ask at the table which room it is, I'll have snacks to share. The Masquerade isn't until Sunday night, so my room is probably where we'll be hanging out a lot of Friday and Saturday evening as well as by day. I'm hoping someone will loan me a toaster so we can have toast... got something that goes good on toast? (I should hit Trader Joes and get us some cashew butter if they've got it. And maybe some Nutella.)

(I'd like to state, for the record, that I will not be hosting a room party in PMX's convention room block. Apparently the convention doesn't allow that.)

Sunday night I leave town. I'm taking the red-eye to Indianapolis. I'll be there on business for five days, then on the weekend (assuming we get done with our work stuff) I'll zip down to spend Saturday at SugoiCon. Then back home on the 19th -- unpack the truck, then pack it back up again for our [livejournal.com profile] animelosangeles party at Loscon. What fun.

Anyone in Indiana that wants to get together for a bheer or some dinner on my expense account?
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Here are some more of my notes on both conventions I attended, last week and the week before. This will probably be the last of my Ani-Magic report; I have a few more things to say about Conjecture that don't correspond to things at A-M, so they'll go in another post. Click on the thumbnails to see the larger photos.

Conjecture 6 vs. Ani-Magic 8, part 3: Dealers, Next year? )

Hmmm... so some of us are disrespectful (or unreasonable) condescending pomeranians? I wonder which of us he's referring to. Makes me wonder if someone will draw a Condescending Pomeranian and put it on a button and sell it at their artist table.

In any event, my respectful suggestions for Ani-Magic:

  1. Information Desk.
  2. Staff list in the Program Book.
  3. Nametags on all the Staff.

If the rest of you agree with any of them, feel free to respectfully suggest them in your own words.

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In an earlier post I drew attention to Revell's use of the word "customer." [livejournal.com profile] kevin_standlee has a follow-up to that in his own LJ.

Here are some more of my notes on both conventions I attended, last week and the week before. Click on the thumbnails to see the larger photos.

Conjecture 6 vs. Ani-Magic 8, part 2: Weather; Convention reception functions; Parties; Alcohol; Costumes and masquerade; Program and program book; Game room; Art  )
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Here are some of my notes on both conventions I attended, last week and the week before. Click on the photos to see the larger images.

Conjecture 6 vs. Ani-Magic 8, part 1: General; hotel; landscaped grounds; dances; badges and registration )
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[livejournal.com profile] library_lynn and [livejournal.com profile] colleency will be intererested to learn that [livejournal.com profile] missmea has been posting to her LJ, mostly about her history reading for her masters degree at UC Riverside.

A few highlights from the cosplay.com thread (see my previous posts for links).

AM Chair (page 5):
From a management view, we see AM2007 as the best run edition to date. Others here agree. Registration went well, problems we could fix were addressed. We found a new way to control our badges. Staff bent over backwards to help you. We could always better communicate with our customers in the many areas we have.

Guess which word leaps off the screen at me?

EDIT: if you don't know me well enough to have figured it out, it's "customers" where another convention chair might have said "members."

EDIT: Revell has a long post on page 13 (bottom of the page) as well.

Christophe (page 9):
I'm reminded with how much I look forward to Anime LA in January because of their newfound commitment to change- sometimes it takes identifying a problem in order to step forward with sincerity and improve in a big, awesome way. Ani-Magic must grasp this chance and gain the strength from surviving this crisis as the motivation to rise above!

Christophe (page 13):
Anime LA has been VERY good about making their commitments to change, and made distinct statements about what would be changed - on POSTCARDS SENT TO ME THROUGH PAID MAIL. It wasn't completely necessary but it showed that they cared enough to admit their problems and commit to fixing them, and they did it quickly. We will see how it turns out in January but I for one am hopeful.

Many thanks to Christophe for his support. (Although I might quibble about "newfound.") It's interesting to see how many people have been comparing and contrasting [livejournal.com profile] animelosangeles vs. Ani-Magic. In the ongoing discussion, the "Anime Con Carne" picnic has come up many times (because they deliberately scheduled their cosplay picnic last Saturday, in opposition to A-M's main day), Anime Expo has come up once or twice, PMX hardly at all, a mention or two of FanimeCon, nobody's said word one about Yaoi-Con or AODSF... and Animé Los Angeles has come up time and again. Of course, the Anime Con Carne picnic and Animé Los Angeles are the two closest events, in terms of driving distance. (Our hotel this year is 15 minutes from the 14/5 junction, or in other words about an hour's drive from the Antelope Valley Inn.)

But what else did I want to report on my Ani-Magic experience? Oh, the Rum Party was a blast. They took over the restaurant.(!) Having all those booths for people to gather at, or play games at, was very nice. I can't envision any hotel letting the convention take over their coffee shop like that, with or without a corkage-and-forkage waiver. Although, perhaps that's a failure of imagination, seeing as what happened in 2005 at InterAction in Glasgow. Maybe I should say, I can't imagine it happening anywhere in California...

I've mentioned before that one of my weak areas is decorating. [livejournal.com profile] ala_mokita pointed out that we should have had something that said Animé Los Angeles inside the room, such as those big mylar alphabet balloons spelling out A, L, A. I should go up and spend some time on the Bertha. Possibly print out our postcard images (especially the first one, [livejournal.com profile] le_moose's "we're moving, but not far" group shot) and post them up on the wall next time.

The trick is to set aside time before the week of the convention to make up these posters and have them sitting waiting to be deployed...

Incidentally I'm looking for help at Pacific Media Expo. If you're going to PMX, and could help sit at the table for a few hours, we might be able to have both a table and a "peanut butter and jelly room." You'll need a badge, though, unless I can sweet-talk them into comping you in.

You know, there's more I want to say about last weekend at Ani-Magic -- and the weekend before, at Conjecture, where we learned about "Tiki Oasis." I did that buttons-badges-and-ribbons panel there, for example. I'll start scribbling some notes in my pocket notebook and get back to y'all.

MY TULSA FRIENDS: I'm jonesing for some of those bricks of Pecan Divinity they sell at the checkout lines at Warehouse Market. Can anyone help me out, please?
hazelchaz: (Default)

Photos online:

There was an update on cosplay.com:

Statement Regarding Ani-Magic
Hello All:
This statement will hopefully clear the air about the status of Ani-Magic. Ani-Magic will return in 2008. How we were spared exactly is known only to those we trust and love in the community. In order to avoid the resultant flames that may accompany this, neither I or any member of the staff and executive board will comment further on this board. If you want to talk to us, you know where to find us. If you have suggestions to make Ani-Magic better, and there are some good ideas here, feel free to e-mail me or Jack. Our sincere thanks to all of you who have wished us well and given us your support, now,in the past' and in the future. And for those of you who for any reason feel that I or the staff have slighted you over the years, accept our sincere apology. We're just trying to make dreams happen.
Revell Walker
CEO Ani-Magic

Uh-huh. So it's not vanishing, but they're not going to talk about the details publicly. Well, I have a few simple suggestions that can probably be boiled down to one word: transparency. To continue my comments from my last post: If all you care about is access control, then sure, color-coded polo shirts for the staff and badges for the unwashed paying attendees works. But a convention should be about community, a word Revell used above. To foster that, I believe everyone should wear their nametags, including the senior staff.

They should print their committee list in their program book -- not just the top three people, the people actually running departments -- and they should have an Information Desk. The people running Information should have most of the answers and be able to get the rest of them, and should be active on the various online forums before the convention.

As an example, here's a copy of the Ani-Magic Forum: Window Display Contest topic as of today (PDF). There are queries from Yana Neko, Inuashley, and Kagato AMV over a one-week period ending with the first day of the con. No answers, though. Yana Neko mentioned on a followup on my previous post that even though they knew they were being given the award, they didn't know when to show up to receive the prize.

Can they reorganize themselves so that there are lines of communication that work, and staff members know what's going on and can respond to this sort of inquiry?


hazelchaz: (Default)
Chaz Boston Baden

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