Tekko 2015 Wrap-Up

All right folks, unfortunately Tekkoshocon 2015 is over.  But fortunately it was pretty good this year.  We did two panels this year (How To Avoid Bad Writing and History of Sengoku Japan) and, to be honest, I was worried about the turnout since we were on Friday and the largest number of attendees comes in on Saturday.

But both rooms were super-packed!

Con Panel Joke

 

Okay, so…maybe it wasn’t that packed.  But still, the rooms were way more full than I was expecting.  Thanks, again for showing up.  I should have my full review and my merchandise review (i.e. a list of the stuff we bought) in a few days.  I’ve got some time off this week, so I should be able to get them done in a timely fashion (for once).

As always, thanks for coming folks.  And not just to my panels, but thanks everyone for showing up to the con as a whole.  It was a fantastic year.  It seems like each year Tekko has fewer and fewer hiccups, this year was no exception.  Well, except for the surprise fire drill, but that’s another story.  I should also have some video up on the Youtube channel before too super long.

~RCS

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Tekko 2014 Review: Day 3 and Final!

Update: Monday, Tuesday…same thing, right?  I know I said this would go up on Monday, but apparently I read my calendar wrong and the 6th was Tuesday, not Monday.  Sorry, my bad.

 

Sunday started early, but not early enough to catch the Anime That Might Actually Teach You Something or the Final Fantasy Through the Years panels.  We got into the convention late morning/early afternoon and hit the dealer’s room.

We tried to keep away from the art, since that’s almost entirely what we bought last year at Otakon and we still haven’t even gotten the stuff in frames.

We got a sewn linen bookmark, a couple nice stickers of Loki, Sailor Jupiter, and, of course, Dick Gumshoe.  Really, you think I could walk away from a discounted sticker of the cop from Phoenix Wright named Dick?  Do you even know the name of this site?

Anyway, we also picked up a cute bunny pillow, some jewelry, but I’ll give you a merch rundown tomorrow.

After we got our fill of merchantry for the year, we headed up to see our only panel for Sunday, the How to Get The Guy — About Otome Games panel.  Otome games are games designed for girls, generally romantic visual novels, but they may also be dating sims, princess-makers, etc.  It’s a little gay, but I actually enjoy these games and wish there was a bigger market for male-centric versions of these games that aren’t simply story-less pornography (not that I’m no willing to play those, too, of course).  I’m also interested in the Otome genre because I’ve designed a few of them and I wanted to see the panel to gather some ideas for new designs.

The panel was interesting and informative, even though the woman running it had a laptop screw the pooch and she had to make do without her power point presentation.  It actually showed that she really knew what she was talking about, since she didn’t really miss a beat without the power point.

—-Final Review!—

What do I think of Tekkoshocon 2014?

On the whole?  Good, better than it’s ever been, maybe; at least the best its been for a few years.

Improvements?  A few, mostly regarding lines for entrance into a panel.  I think that each panel room should have a serpentine-style line assembly taped out in masking tape in front of each entrance door.  They do it for the main event area, but I think if this was done in front of each panel room it would make forming and maintaining lines much more efficient.

That’s really it, the rest of the issues we had were administrative problems.  Something as big as Tekko you just have to expect a few things like that.  Con Ops had a stage, 6 panel rooms, 3 video rooms, a lounge, registration, tons of open space, and over 5,000 people.  The fact that we only had two major hiccups in our journey is pretty much par, if not better than par.

So, like I said, making lines before they are needed would be my main improvement for next year.

 

So all in all, I’d say it was definitely worth going.  As far as I know we’ll be heading to it again next year, with a few more panels up our sleeves.  And this time I might actually be ready with DickJutsu swag for sale and such.

~RCS

Tekkoshocon 2014 Begins!

Just as a reminder to everyone Tekkoshocon in Pittsburgh, if anyone plans to attend our panels, we’ll be at Panel Room 3 from 2pm to 3pm for The History Behind Sengoku Basara!  We will also be at Panel Room 2 from 6pm to 7pm for The History of Dynasty Warriors!

Come one down and listen to me blabber on about Warring States Japan and Han Dynasty China for a couple hours, and maybe even win some free prizes, too!

~RCS

Stripped Bare

Let me get the set up out-of-the-way first, so you don’t think I’m a total creeper.  My fiance’s friend just got out of a bad relationship and wanted to test her bisexuality.  So she said she wanted to head to a strip club and check out some titties.  But she’s only 19, so we had to find a club that permitted 18 and over instead of 21 and over.

So I found one pretty close, and we headed to it Wednesday night about midnight.  They’re open ‘till 4 am (Wed-Sat), so a night owl like me is right at home.  It was myself, my fiancé, and her friend.  Neither of the three of us had ever been to a strip club, before.

That’s right, I’d never been to a strip club until last night.

NeverCat

It was certainly not exactly what I was expecting.  I was kind of expecting the way the movies portrayed it, a bunch of disinterested women dancing around half-naked while drunk guys tossed dollar bills at them.  Way wrong, well, about the ladies at least.

The ladies were personable, friendly, one even shook our hands before she danced for us.  My fiancé and her friend got to motorboat a couple of the dancers, so they weren’t afraid to indulge the visiting ladyfolk.  A couple of them had short conversations with us (how big of a dork am I that I consider the conversations the best part?) and of course they were all talented and good-looking, and naked, too.  I certainly could have done with a few more girls with some meat on their bones, since most of them had cheerleader bodies and probably weighed a hundred pounds soaking wet.  But they were still cute and sexy, even if I would have broken them in half in bed.

Considering my expectations, I'd have been impressed just by not getting robbed and raped as soon I entered the door.

Considering my expectations, I’d have been impressed just by not getting robbed and raped as soon I entered the door.

The bouncers were firm and fair; I’ve never had such a friendly frisking.  I’m also glad they only frisk on the way in, or else they might’ve had to ask where I got the tree limb from.  And the valet was friendly, too, although my fiancé nearly bit her fingertips off as soon we handed the car over to him.  I’d hate to see the heart attack she’d have if we had driven there in something besides her $500 Camry.  He was good with the car, though.

All in all it was a very friendly atmosphere, the dancers were cute and accommodating.  Unfortunately I can’t critique the booze, because my fiancé and her friend are both too young to drink and I don’t drink (plus I was the driver) so I can’t really rate the booze.

We spent about $125 on tips, so we definitely can’t afford to do it constantly.  But it is a nice, fun little evening and my fiancé decided she wants to go again in a few weeks/months.  Can’t say I’d argue with that plan, hehe.

~RCS

Tekkoshocon X Review: Final Day!

-Sunday-

The final day of Tekkoshocon X was finally upon us.  After early days and late nights we had finally come upon the last day of the con.  There were fun times, as with any year at Tekko, but this year we were surprised by a number of a rather detrimental issues.

As discussed, the night before we’d talked about not going.  We decided that we’d give the benefit of the doubt and talk about it again on Sunday.  Sunday arrived and we had a full agenda.

10:00 – Working in the Industry with Todd Haberkorn and Travis Willingham

12:30 – either the Equestria Girls (okay, so maybe I’m a Brony) or Voice Acting 101 with Todd Haberkorn

4:00 – Tekkoshocon Feedback Panel *The most important thing of the day!*

Well, okay so that really wasn’t much of a schedule after all.  Two panels and the feedback panel.  9:00 came around and Operation: Get Out Of Bed was a complete failure.  We decided that we were still angry at Tekko, in general, and figured by the time we got there we’d just end up standing in line anyway.  Why stand in line with sore feet and be sleepy, when you can stay in bed an extra hour?

Needless to say, the alarms were re-set and before we knew it, 11:00 was upon us…and 11:15…and 11:30.  Finally we decided the most important thing of the day was no longer the Feedback Panel, but seeing our friend Kim Samson one last time since Tekko is the only time we get to see her in person (she lives in Florida).  In case you aren’t aware, Kim is the wonderful artist who handled my…err…drew the anthropomorphic penis to the right.

Anywho we got just motivated enough to make it there by 12:45 and meandered our way to the Dealer’s Room to see Kim.  We talked for a while, bought some more stuff from Kim and her accomplice at Moon Bunny Imports, scared the poor guy who ran the booth with the naked hentai girl body pillow covers.  We were looking through them and chattering about them and he comes flying around the corner with a worried look, “Are you guys over 18?”

We confirmed we were and he breathed a sigh of relief, “Sorry about that, Staff keeps sending incognito staffers to test me and make sure I’m carding my adult sales and checking the ages of anyone who looks at these.  It’s constant.”

I’m not sure if that’s good business practice or harassment, I suppose it’s a good thing to enforce, but he seemed pretty stressed out as if it was every 10 minutes they were going after him.  Either that or he was crazy and paranoid.  He was nice and funny regardless of his paranoia, though.

My fiancé offered to let me buy one of the nudie body pillows.  I told her I wanted the prettiest one.

“Which one’s that?” she asked.

“The one I’m holding.”  Her gaze went to my shoulder, down the length of my arm, and to my hand…which was on her hip.  She giggled and hugged me, then we continued through the dealer’s room and back out into the convention proper.

Gentlemen…feel free to take notes, if this gets too complicated for you.

We decided we didn’t want to roam about for the next three hours rehashing the Wyndham, so we went to The Sharp Edge, again, for a bit of BBQ wing breakfastage and some Pudding.  Our hearts were shattered when they told us we’d eaten all the pudding, there was no more.

So…after a small round of weeping into the menus…we had some Strawberry Cheesecake.  It was also delicious…highly recommend the downtown Sharp Edge, if you hadn’t noticed.  I have to say…the food from Sharp Edge was the best part of Tekko.  But even if Tekko had been as awesome as it was the past few years, that probably still would have been true.  So…good…want…pudding!!

Ahem, anyway.

We roamed about Pittsburgh and took in the sights, sounds, and smells (Penn Avenue still smells like hobo semen).  Now is where I give you the barrage of pictures we took…

Yes, that is an awesome Minivan replica of the Ecto 1!

The one Cosplay that I actually took a picture of. I'm horrible with cosplay picture-taking!!

 

This is one of the creepy, but surprisingly comfortable, Eyeball benches at the park at Penn and 7th in Pittsburgh. I remember when they built that park!

This is the cutest cosplayer ever!

Travis Willingham looks so much taller than us. I was also trying too hard not to fanboy-out that my smile was an epic failure. That's a new one..."I was so excited, I forgot to smile."

We roamed our way to the Fort Pitt museum, but decided we were too lazy to go in, so we watched a Boy Scout Troop take down the giant American Flag and fold it up.  It was interesting to see how a flag that is folded in a moderate wind (with twenty people assisting, that’s how!).

We meandered back to the convention around 3:30 and decided…who cares about the Feedback panel?  We’d probably just have to wait in line for it, too.  We decided we won’t be back next year, unless some drastic changes are announced.

Had we made it to the Feedback panel, this would have been our barrage of proposals:

1. Staff should know, before-hand, what equipment they are tech savvy enough to run.  This should be the only equipment permitted for use.  If no one knows how to connect a DVD player to a projector, than Panelists should not be allowed to base their entire panel off the usage of a DVD player.  Staff can’t trust the panelist to know what they’re doing.

2. The schedule should be cemented on Day 1.  Aside from last-minute cancellations or such, there shouldn’t be any need to change the Sunday schedule on Friday afternoon.  Likewise, regardless of changes…Panelists should immediately be told of the correct time of their panels.  All staff should always have updated schedules.  Telling a panelist that their panel is 30 minutes after it was supposed to start is not acceptable.

3. Panelists should be required to show up for their panels a minimum of 15 minutes before it starts to weed out tech and logistics problems.  The 30-minute window between panels is a good idea, but it was executed poorly.  This gives them 15 minutes to plan out their stuff, test it, and get a Tech Staffer to help them out if something goes terribly awry.

4. Lines…lines…LINES!  So many problems and complaints I heard about, and suffered through myself, had to do with lines.  Both from con-goers and from staffers.  Staffers complained that it was hard to keep lines formed properly, con-goers complained that lines were unruly and blocked doors and hallways and got convoluted.  This ties into #3’s solution: The 30 minute window between panels.  There is no need, with a 30-minute buffer, to wait until the top of the hour to let people into the room.  Ten minutes ’till for the major things (like the ones in the Sterling rooms this year), five minutes ’till for the minor panels (like the ones in Brigade, Rivers, etc.).  This gives plenty of time to get into the room, get situated, and see what kind of room is left or how many people aren’t getting in.  That way nobody waits until other panels have already started rolling to find out they aren’t getting in the room, and they can leave and go to a minor panel before it starts up if they didn’t make it into the major one.  This also lessens the amount of time you have people standing around in line; which means people will sit on the floor less, which makes the lines easier to manage and access control easier to coordinate.  It also means people will be loud in the hallways for shorter periods of time.

5. Premium Badges.  For the Main Events and Dealer’s Room it worked to have two separate lines for the regular badges and the premium badges, because they had so much room.  But for the other panels last year’s basic call for Premium badgers right before entrance worked out well in my experience.  Have the Premiumers (I almost called us Premies, but thought better of it) stand in line the everyone else, then have them create a second line just before entering.  Two lines make it too hard to manage, but one line that bursts suddenly is easy to handle.  Also…all panels should have this feature, not just autographs and main events.  People don’t pay an extra $30 to not make it into a guest panel (like a voice actor panel) or a popular event panel (like anything yaoi or porn related, as we con-goers are dirty-minded people in general).

Ultimately, while I know others had more problems with Staffers than my fiancé and I did, I found most of the staffers to be generally positive.  They had no idea what the hell they were doing!  But for the most part they were friendly in the process of their jobs.  There were a handful of staffers that needed a good foot in the ass, but most of them were just poorly equipped and prepared for their jobs.

From a military view-point it made me think of when Deppers and ROTC cadets were tasked with handling things.  A regular Lance Corporal in active duty service could walk in and slap a hammock between two trees and be asleep in it before the cadets got it out of the box.

The cadets would always have those wide-eyed, “What am I going to do?” kind of looks when they realize just how difficult the actual job is.  Yes handling a mass of a hundred people waiting in line to get into a room big enough for 80 is difficult, but there are better ways to do it than just slap the rookie on the back and say, “Good luck, pal.”  And that seemed to be what was happening, a lot, as far as staff problems went.

Something needs to be improved with the sign-in and badge retrieval process, too, but I only experience it once every year so I have no real wisdom to help improve it.  I know that badge retrieval has always been a weak point for Tekko and it hasn’t gotten any better, but sadly I didn’t spend any time standing around by the entrance trying to figure out a better way to do it better.

 

All in all, as I said before, we won’t be back next year as plans go now.  We got cheated out of our money for the Premium Badges, which we only used twice the whole weekend.  And that was a pretty big kick in the nuts to us; to spend the extra money and go the extra mile, only to feel sullied and betrayed by the Tekko crew.  It was like going to your favorite uncle’s house for some ice-cream and instead of Vanilla Moose Tracks, he sodomizes you and takes your dog then makes you go to the store to pick him up some treats for his new dog.

In the end we just felt sore and used.  And puppyless.

~RCS

Tekkoshocon X Review: Day 1

Well, Tekkoshocon 2012 is over and I’ve had a day to recover (and of course the site takes off while I’m away and can’t do anything).  It was a pretty…decisive, we’ll call it.

There were a handful of good panels, a couple of great ones, and a few bad ones.  We’ll hit everything in sequence, but first let’s discuss what Tekkoshocon is, for those who don’t know.

Tekkoshocon is a Japanese and English portmanteau of Tekkosho (Steel Mill) and Con (abbreviation of Convention), since it is held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

It’s a fairly small anime convention as far as conventions go, with a high water mark of 4,300 people in 2011.  Compare that to Baltimore’s Otaku Convention which had 31,348 people in 2011!

But here’s the summarized highlights, I’ll cover a new day each day this week.

-Thursday-

We weren’t really interested in much happening Thursday morning, but we had a pretty full schedule for Thursday evening.  We got to the Wyndham, where the convention was being held around 2 in the afternoon.

We hit a panel about making video games, being run by a flash game developer.  It was good stuff, informational, sadly most of the stuff he went over I’d already researched on my own.  But it was nice to see an actual developer divvy up the details on what to do, how to do it, and he even used an awesome new term, Nerd Wrangling, which should totally be on Urban Dictionary soon.

We roamed about for a bit and went to a Legend of Zelda-related panel that my fiancé missed out on for the most part, since she’s never really played one of the games.  I missed out on the grander scheme of it, because I’ve only played part of the series…I missed out on Ocarina of Time and the likes, since I never had an N64, and I never played any of the handheld versions or such.  Needless to say it was interesting panel, nonetheless.

Next we went to a panel held by David Fielding, it was called Acting 101.  David Fielding is the face and voice of Zordon, the guy in the tube who commanded the Power Rangers during the first season or so.

We roamed through the artist alley and decided to get dinner, since we had a couple of hours to kill before the panels we were really waiting for came to fruition.  But right before we did, we paused for a bathroom break.  I walked into the men’s room and walked passed a bald gentleman.  I undid my pants and glanced to the side to realize…I was peeing beside David Fielding.

Imaging pissing next to that!

I peed next to Zordon!

I watched the Power Rangers pretty heartily when I was a kid when it first came out, but after a year or so I fell out of it.  Needless to say it is a huge part of Nerd Culture and took up a big part of my thoughts when I was a kid, so peeing next to Zordon was a token fanboy moment for me.  I managed to keep my composure, though, and didn’t spazz out and start talking to him at the urinal, or anything creepy like that.

Then came the evening panels and we went to a panel called “OMG!  WTF did I just watch?”

Here is where shit started hitting fans.  The two people running the panel showed up about 5 minutes before it was supposed to start.  And they had tech problems when they finally showed up.

We were all finally let in about ten minutes late, to find they were still not operational.  There were two panelists, completely aloof to how cords and cables worked, two Tekko staffers, and a Tekko Tech staffer.  None of the five of them could get anything to work.  apparently they were trying to run a DVD off of a DVD player, but it wouldn’t sync up with the projector the con was utilizing.

Finally a guy about a row behind me walked up to them and said, “Why don’t you just get a laptop and run it from there.”

He was met by blank stares from the panelists and the associated staffers.  Suddenly the tech staffer jumped on his radio and called for a laptop.  Lo and behold, they bring down a laptop…we are now twenty minutes late for the panel to start.

They put the DVD in and everything works…almost!  Again we have 5 people trying to figure out how to work this laptop, including a tech staffer, and once again the hero a row behind me groans and walks to the front of the room.

He makes a subtle motion with his hand and everyone backs away.  Two keystrokes and a click and everything is working.

Now, thirty minutes late, the panel finally starts.  It was a good panel once it started, though; very funny stuff and run by a man dressed like Rainbow Dash with a Jay Leno-quality chin.

Finally it was over to Anime Mythbusters to test events that happen in Anime and see if they are physically possible, or at least mildly plausible.  That was interesting, education, and entertaining, so it was a success.

And then we went home and got a short turn around of sleep, because Friday started at 10:30 in the morning…

~RCS

Pittsburgh Earthquake 2011: Rebuilding Fund

As some of you may have heard, or felt, there was an earthquake in Washington D.C. a few weeks ago.  At the time my fiancée and I were at Kennywood in the Pittsburgh area and didn’t feel a thing.

That being said, apparently at my job site they could feel it.  There was about ten seconds of what basically felt like a fat person jogging nearby and shaking the floor as they went.

Somebody finally deduced that it wasn’t Dennis Nedry skipping to the vending machines and it was, in fact, an earthquake.  They emptied the building for twenty minutes, fearful it would collapse on them.  The facility manager had to meander around the parking lot chasing people back into the building like a sheep dog.

A few days later I was roaming the building and found someone had posted a copy of this picture, with VA replaced by the word Pittsburgh, on their filing cabinet:

I nearly tripped I started laughing so hard.  I immediately kifed it, rushed to a copy machine to make a copy to take home, and then returned it, like a ninja–so no one would even know it was ever gone.

That being the case I couldn’t get the picture for you folks to see, so I found that VA Earthquake one from the blog of one Mr. Cliff Tuttle.  Kind of a niche blog, but if you’re in Western PA and in legal trouble, he seems to be a good one to read.

Should my ninja techniques ever fail me, I may just ask him to represent me.

Or even if you aren’t in legal trouble, some of his posts are pretty entertaining.  Credit card knives, trivial pursuit, and a corrupt senator, oh my!

~RCS

BTW, the Dennis Nedry comment is because the little lady and I just watched the first two Jurassic Park movies yesterday, since she’s fluish and I had the day off.  Now it’s on to the whole Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movie franchise.  Well, except for the new CG one.

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