Anime North 2009

You know, I think twitter has alleviated my desire to do convention liveblogging. Sorry. The Internet connection in the hotel here kind of sucks, which isn’t helping.

I’ve also finally discovered the conditions under which Twitter is really useful:

  • SMS updates (just re-enabled in Soviet Canuckistan this week)
  • An event where lots of other Twitter users you know are at
  • Said users being willing to update with things like “I’m at _____!” so I can find them if I want to.

I’m starting to see the value here…

Some AN bullets:

  • Stayed up too late last night trying to find a 24 hour grocery store to stalk up on half-decent breakfast food. There’s gotta be one closer than the Metro at Sheppard and Bathurst.
  • I’m having shoe issues, since my shoes died and I haven’t broken new ones in. Gonna see if Vibram Five-fingers will let me stand on concrete all day.

More content gold like this will be posted on Twitter!

Anime North Wrap-up

So Sunday, as usual, was pretty laid back and low key. We got up, checked out and packed up the car. Jeremy and I had breakfast went to the dealer’s room. I bought a bunch of stuff, including the next five volumes of Nodame Cantabile and the Princess Tutu box. I usually get something reasonably macho to balance out the girliness when I get stuff like that, but I didn’t find anything that struck my fancy.

There were some decent deals to be had, but honestly, I have a whole tonne of crap at home that I haven’t read or watched yet. I have to start digging into that before I should do any serious buying.

I also got a couple random soundtrack CDs for Ellen. I just hope they don’t suck.

For lunch, Jeremy and I went up the street to Zet’s–a greek place slash greasy spoon diner. The pork souvlaki on a bun was really good, if incredibly huge.

We struggled to find something to fill the time Sunday afternoon. After another trip around the dealer’s room, we watched AMVs for a bit. Sadly, I can’t find any of the ones I liked on YouTube. C’mon people! I agree with Karl: combining Sailor Moon with Evil Dead: The Musical’s “All the Men In My Life Were Killed By Candarian Demons” was a masterstroke. I also liked using the Littlest Hobo theme with Junkers Come Here, but only because I really like The Littlest Hobo theme.

A bunch of us went out for the traditional post-con meal. After the usual people-wrangling, we ended up at Kelsey’s and mostly watched Elliot play with her new Artist Alley Avatar toys. Which was cute.

We made it back home after I got a bit lost in Mississauga, marking the end of another Anime North. The End.

Anime North Continued

I’m back spending the end of the day hanging out in the hotel room, writing up a brief con report post.

Saturday is now traditionally Photo Scunt day, and that’s pretty much all we did. We weren’t quite on the ball this year, so we ended up without any listings in the convention program and without any real place to set up. The latter was sorted out pretty quickly, though. John and Morag showed up with a whole bunch of computer equipment and we spend the latter part of the morning and early afternoon just getting set up.

Despite not having advertised we still managed to get as many groups as we could handle. It was fun, even though John erased the two best categories (Creative and “Wrong”). The groups struggled a bit with our (mostly John’s) sense of humour. The fact that two entries were worth zero points–“Goggles” because they do nothing and “The cake”, on the basis that it is a lie–didn’t go over so well.

After the scunt wrapped up, we went out to one of the Hakka Chinese places up on Derry Road. Asian Wok ‘n’ Roll. I kinda like that place.

We didn’t have a whole lot to do after we got back. We mostly hung around the Moonlight Ball setup stuff and helped a little bit. After that I just wandered around for a little while and ended up running into Jeremy and coming back here to do this.

So now you’re caught up.

Live from Anime North: Day 1

I took the day off work today. That let me sleep in, try out some Wii Fit yoga and slalom games and take my time getting into Anime North.

I picked up Jeremy and stopped in Kitchener to get gas when I realized I had left my wallet at home. So I went home, got my wallet, got gas, got some cash at a bank machine and end up helping a nice if confused lady in a wheelchair navigate the parking lot to Conestoga Mall. So I was about an hour late getting out of Kitchener. Traffic sucked and we went into Mississauga to get some card readers for the photo scunt (more on that tomorrow). We took city streets the rest of the way to the hotel to avoid traffic jams. All in all, I made it to the con about 4 hours later than I was expecting.

We didn’t do much today besides poke around the dealer’s room and try to find people. Since we’re staying at the Doubletree (note to self: never again), we had a bunch of annoying key issues. All sorted out now, though. Jeremy and I had dinner at Kelsey’s, and I think I’m regretting it a little.

I saw a bunch of inspiring photo scunt additions, but as I was going to write them up in an email to amend the official list, I seem to have forgotten all the good ones. Or at least what I thought were the good ones. It doesn’t seem worth the effort now.

John shows up tomorrow, whereupon the show really begins.

Photo Scunt

I’m not having a whole lot of luck getting my head back into work stuff. It probably doesn’t help that the people I’m meant to be working with are still stuck in their own projects. I need people to talk to.

But instead of complaining about work, I think I’ll write up some sort of Anime North thing.

Last year, John, Bill and I decided that we needed something to do on Saturday afternoon because we usually just ended up wandering around the dealer’s room spending money and getting annoyed with the kids doing security. So John came up with the idea of a scavenger hunt, except with cameras so as to discourage the usual vandalism and destruction inherent in scavenger hunts.

Thus the photo scunt was born.

We wanted to start it out small this year with a few teams and lower expectations. And with those, things went swimmingly and we’re now thinking about ways to grow it next year. I’ve got a few ideas, anyway.

  • Next year, I think it would be nice to just print out lists for non-participants. I mean, it’s all for fun anyway. Full contest participation is probably more commitment than a lot of people want, and we don’t have the man-power for everybody to join in anyway.
  • The contest doesn’t really scale very well, because there’s a whole lot of downloading and sifting through photos that needs to be done. In Physical scunts, the participants are restricted by how much stuff they can carry, so they’ve got to go back to the judges frequently and get things checked off the list. In a photo scunt, you just leave all the photos on your 2GB card and come back at the end for judging. Which means lots of tedious work for us. We’ve got to find a way to speed up that process if we’re going to have any hope of increasing the number of participants.
  • From my little window on the proceedings, people seem to think in terms of collecting series and then collecting characters. I think we can work with that. Our list was kind of all over the map, in terms of what it wanted from people. We can probably be a bit more flexible while still getting people to find the things we want them to find. I hope, anyway.
  • When we were tallying up photos, we had people saying “Oh, but I have a much better photo for [insert anime series]”. But we only count the one, so it doesn’t matter. Personally, I think a quantitatively cooler photo should count for more points. We can possibly do that with things like modifiers and combos. Maybe provide hidden combos for more points for things that make sense specific to the series or fan culture. That way, we could simultaneously simplify the list and make it more interesting.
  • For example, we had on our list something like “Sailor Moon Cosplay.” So we accepted only the one Sailor Moon picture. But if someone found an incredibly adorable little girl in a Moon Princess costume with a plush Luna it would be worth a bit more than your typical sailor scout. Because we’d have modifiers like “cute” and “little kid” and series-specific modifiers like “Moon Princess” and “Luna mascot”. Likewise, we’d have modifiers for group sizes and other things. We need to be doing more to reward awesomeness.
  • We were assuming people would get on the Internet and look things up, but I don’t think that happened. The hotel has free wifi. I’d like to find ways to encourage people to do this. :D
  • We seem to have a bit of overlap with the masquerade ball with regards to required IT resources. Maybe we could work something out there… Just an idea…

I’ll see if John’s willing to put up the list for people to look at. I think it was a good first stab. Maybe we can get some feedback…