Events: A mostly complete Otakon report

August 25th, 2005

[Once again, I am simply cutting and pasting from my Yuricon Mailing List entry for lack of time]

I’m afraid that this will never really capture all the fun we had this weekend, but I am, at last, energetic enough to try.

Thursday:

My day began very early with the sickening thought that I had forgotten to replace a front tire on my car which had been developing cracks. With the car overloaded as it was with books and whatnot, I awoke in a panic, sure that my day would be spent by the side of the road on the NJ Turpike. Thankfully, a local tire place I like opens earlier than anyone should and by the time I was done with breakfast, my problem was solved.

The trip to Baltimore took me, in toto, 3 hour 15 minutes. This is what it is *supposed* to take, but as time goes on, it’s been getting longer and longer. The year before last it was closer to 5. I had checked in and picked up my Dealer’s Badge before 12:30 and was checked in as Staff by 1:00PM. All very efficient and freaky. I was pretty sure by then that it was all a good sign, and with great enthusiasm set off for the last of my check-ins.

Panels.

An hour and a half later, I FINALLY had checked in (and refused a third badge, because that’s just silly.) My only complaint of the weekend of the panels person was disorganized in the extreme and there were major communications problems regarding the associates badges. (Which didn’t really affect me and wasn’t entirely the Panels person’s fault….)

But by 5 or so, I was in the hotel pool, (by myself !) doing laps, something which makes me just about the happiest person in the world. I am never unhappy or dissatisfied when doing laps – it is even better than ice cream for my general emotional well-being. I spent some time helping at Staff check-in and assisting the Anime Next guys to find their Dealer’s badges.

By 8ish or so, my team of fighters for love and justice had arrived. Kun, Serge, Donna and I went to have some food, but ended up at Spec. Ops. We checked in, got our Spec. Ops paraphernalia and hung around to listen to a really rambling presentation on our duties in return for food.

Assumably, we went to bed eventually.

Friday:

I knew Friday was going to be a loooong day, because the Yuri Panel was scheduled at 11:30 PM. I am almost always up at 11:30 PM, but normally I am not on my feet selling like a maniac all day previously. At cons by 11:30, I’m usually settled in a room gabbing about…(shock!) anime…with friends. So I was pretty sure it was going to be a day.

The DR opened at noon. We were instantly inundated with people who wanted to buy things. This continued to closing. So the entire day passed in a blur of selling and talking. We actually did more in sales that one day that I had even done in an entire weekend before. Yuri has arrived, my friends.

Kun was a wasted mess all day, and bizarrely, was better at sales in her near comatose state than she is when she’s on. She kicked butt all weekend, absolutely. She also signed copies of SnB like a champ, with only a teeny bit of whining here and there.

If you got a copy of the book and like the illustrations, do tell her. One NEVER gets tired of hearing how much someone likes one’s work. Seriously.  I think her pictures are quite excellent and really make the book come alive.

We had visits from many old and new friends, which made the day speed along.

If I try and list everyone we saw, I am sure to forget some, so I apologize if I miss you. There were hundreds of people who stopped by, maybe thousands, I don’t know. But I do want to especially thank An, for hanging out and helping at the panel and table; Katie, BJ and Sean for making the panel rock; Serge for listening to the opening theme of “Kyou Kara Mao” 7459060 times with me; bakablonde for being a hoot; and Jen and Lianne because I just love you two. :-)

And, of course, Kun, who, when she kicks ass, kicks ass royally. Being my whipping girl and assistant ain’t easy and she does it damn well (when she’s not completely pissing me off.)

We were also joined for the weekend by Becca Norman, the former con chair of Nan Desu Kan in Colorado, who was da bomb. No kidding – she was so amazingly cool, I will NEVER be able to describe how much fun she was to have around. And she had two of the funniest lines all weekend. I swear I’m stealing her from NDK forever. Mineminemine.

Also, kudos to the guys of Section 9, who were a total blast to work with. Donna and Serge rocked S9 all weekend long.

Dinner was a small, but tasty affair in a local pub which should have sucked. It was a tourist spot and by all accounts should have been the WORST meal ever. But the food was good, and not too expensive, the atmosphere was nice and our waitress was the best I have ever had, ever.

At last it was time to think about the Yuri panel. Serge and I got to the room early and, as I’ve mentioned had to sit through karaoke of the OP to “Kyou Kara Mao” about 5000 times too many. I cannot begin to describe the horror. Serge and I get credit in the afterlife, I swear.

The panel had, as I’ve already gone on about, 200 people with all the folks who wandered in and out. The room holds 200, and was mostly full when we started. Folks left and folks came, so I think it’s a fair number. At midnight, that’s not bad. I admit, I found it amusing that folks were taking pictures of my desktop… An and Serge handed out fliers, which saved me from having to remember to ask people to take them.

We started off with a few problems – they had to clear the room to ID check and then there were a few guys who were loud and visibly inebriated who wouldn’t shut up, so I had to toss them. But after that, I think the panel was lovely. I was gratified at the applause I received when I announced that I was cosplaying myself from the Yuricon report manga in Yuri Hime. LOL Nothing like a little self-indulgence!

Got back to the room late, collapsed, but did not sleep, of course.

Saturday: Began early

As part of Spec Ops, Kelli, Serge, Donna and I were able to nab breakfast every AM in the staff suite. Thank you to Peter and the rest of the food chain!!!!! It was so wonderful to grab brekkie, then a nice bag lunch and not have to worry that we were chained to the DR all day.

My Saturday morning was completely filled with interviews. Friends, fans, folks who had been at the panel, websites, distributors and magazines all came by to chat. No kidding. By the end of that day, Becca was supplying key nouns to finish my sentences, because I was *fried*. But it was cooler than cool. Kelli and I signed a lot of books, which was fun. (And one guy emailed me Sunday to say that he had stayed up Saturday because he couldn’t put it down, which I thought was sweet. Patrick – I tried to email you back, but the email kept bouncing, so if you’re reading this…thank you for the kind words!) And thanks to the other folks who emailed me and said they enjoyed it.

Saturday evening Becca, Kelli and I attended the Anime Cons Mailing List con-chair dinner. The restaurant sucked so bad, it was unspeakable and our waiter was EVIL. But we had a great time. And it looks a lot like I’ll be at Sakuracon in 2006. (They offered women…how could I refuse?) I’m the person who attended the most of these con chair dinners and all I can say is that I’m honored and pleased to consider these people my peers and friends. Con chair gossip is *awesome.* LOL

We then hung out in our room, for a while, with Jen, Derek, Lianne, until about midnight-ish.

Sunday:

Everyone on staff was ready for Sunday, let me tell you. In the DR, it’s the shortest day. We were doing a $5 book sale at the YC table, getting rid of some of the printer snafus. I FINALLY took a moment to shop and came back with nearly nothing. A few manga. I did have fun with the Sasuga Books guy, having him check the Comiket 68 catalog for our Yuricon entry, which he thought was cool (so did I, but I was too tired to jump up and down. lol)

I spend a lot of the day schmoozing dealer’s for Onna!. All in all successful.

I want to mention one thing I’m still a bit puzzled by. Sunday, a young lady came by to tell me that she had read SnB; she thought it was okay. She then proceeded to ask me why Yuriko was blonde and blue-eyed. I told her that I prefer blondes – which is my usual answer and has always seemed pretty satisfactory. But she insisted then, that she couldn’t be Japanese, which I insisted she is. For the next several minutes, I tried to explain that SnB is a fiction – that it doesn’t have to make sense, that it is, in any case, meant to be read as a manga, so just like manga and anime, some of the characters can have non-realistic features or coloring.

If you were that person, I apologize, but really – there isn’t any other answer. Yuriko IS Japanese, not half or anything. And she does not dye her hair or wear contacts. It’s just a story, and that’s the way it is. There aren’t any out lesbian pop idols, either. You just have to accept the hand wave and move on. ^_^

We packed up, and handed in our equipment, checked out and dumped everything in my car. We then met Sean and his friends for dinner, which added a few more really funny lines to my weekend memories. And it was another good meal, although the wine was kinda tannin-y.

After we left dinner, Serge, Donna, Kelli and I were heading over to the Dead Dog party. We snuck Becca in on account of we didn’t want to let go of her and because as another con chair, she was cool enough to get in as a guest. ^_^ We then spent the night drinking with Section 9 and I completely and totally lost my voice. But oh my god, we had fun.

I seriously recommend that everyone be part of staff at a con at least once. It’s really so much more fun than anything else – certainly more fun than merely attending.

Sunday ended eventually.

Monday

I made it home in one piece.

I have still to unpack the car. ^_^;

That’s about it – again, my thanks to everyone who came by to chat, to buy books to the panel and to hang!

One last actually Yuri-related note: I spoke to the folks at the Geneon booth about licensing Maria-sama ga Miteru. They were very receptive. I strongly believe that I will begin a letter campaign to them to encourage them licensing the anime. I’d like all of your support. Keep your eyes peeled here and on the Yuricon Mailing List for details…

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One Response

  1. liashke says:

    I love you too! :D (And thank you again for Robin, who now has her arms arranged around her because I found a nice flat surface that doesn’t move.) And I was so glad you had food provided to you this year rather than having to wait for people to struggle over and back from Harborplace while you starved.

    Totally agree on the pool and swimming laps.

    I read SnB when I was coherent again on Monday and love it as much as I did when it first hooked me into ALC. :-)

    See you in October! —Lianne.

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