First off, mad props to the Lauren for being so awesome this weekend. Not only did she volunteer to drive, but she did so from P-cola...an extra hour or so each way. We're all chipping in for gas, but I gotta thank her for the invite and for taking the entire burden of the driving in foriegn lands.
In fact, I think the car ride may have been one of the high points of the trip. I was thumbing my way up there with Lauren, Cheebs, and "the Plus One" Joe, all of which deserve an estimated 250,000 coolness points. Never before have I been surrounded by such intelligent yet utterly bizzare people. There were times that I just couldn't breathe for laughing so hard. I can't even begin to think of any specific topics - most were utterly and entierly random. I remember someone cutting us off in traffic, and having my window almost rolled up on my arm because I was half hanging out of the window, preparing to throw a half-full (half-empty?) cup of orange juice at them. I remember discussions about gearshifts and the "oh shit" handles. I remember U-turns and leprosy and eating kneecaps for power. And pulp friction. No, maybe it's better if you don't ask. ^_^;
Things got off to a rough start on Friday. I woke up at the ass-crack of dawn to hitchhike over to meet Cheebs at her place. And even as desperately early as I was planning on getting there, I was dropped off a quarter hour earlier than that. And I was kind of stuck making small talk while only barely conscious to folks whom I didn't know the first thing about. We ended up getting on the road around ten-ish, and then to Atlanta at some time afterwards which I don't really remember right now. I was just glad to have my Dangerphone handy, cause it wasn't till Montgomery that no one really knew where we were going... ::chuckles::
I made it there in time to stand in the A-I line, along with 90% of the other people. The second and third lines were only a dozen people or so deep. Bah. Ran into Kellie there, who was cosplaying as Cammy from SFII (unbeknownst to her). She scurried off to the dealer's room to pass word to Em and Mo and the gang that more Misoites had arrived, while I was having the first of several girls begging to have their picture taken with me. I started off in my Kyosplay, which was little more than a bracelet and a hat to go with my black polo and cargo pants. Not much of a costume I admit, but it was nice to start off in something rather than hauling my bags upstairs and then dressing up after a long and tiring trip. Which was doubly good since Tiff and her crew didn't get there till quite a bit later, and since the room was in her name no one could check in and unload their bags till she arrived.
By the time I finally got out of the registration line, Suzaku no Miko pulled me into the main ballroom so that I would at least catch the last bit of the Yoko Ishida Q&A session. And I got her autograph! Not to mention getting a little bit flustered talking to someone so cute...wouldn't be the first time this weekend. More shy to talk to her because of her looks than the fact that she's a super-famous celebrity. And I don't know why I was so embarassed just to tell her that she was an incredible singer - it's not like she really could understand that much English anyway without her translator. ::shrugs::
After that? I really can't remember much. Me, Em, Mo, and Juan all grabbed some overpriced Subway from the food court. And that's when I ran into Tiffany and was trying to figure out who had the hotel keys and where Lauren was with the car keys and when we were unloading the car and all sorts of other unimportant logistical queries. I got all that straightened out and caught the first song of the Peelander-Z concert before I had another round of trying to coordinate where everyone was. Problem was that James didn't have a cell phone, so we couldn't ping each other and talk while walking in each other's direction. One of us would have to stand still by some vague landmark like "the public phones" or "the lobby" or "the sports bar" while the other raced to that direction. Then after two hours of running up and down stairs, we find out that there are not one but THREE hotels with the same fcuking name in Atlanta. That's just not smart at all. But he managed to survive riding through swarms uf fuckbugs by day and the ghettos by night and eventually made it there, so that was good.
I ended up missing the concert as well as the Yuri marathon. By that time, not much was going on at all. I think that's the biggest difference between AWA and Dragon*Con - D*C was so ginormously huge that there was no down time. AWA had much more Anime/Japanese/Video Game events at the expense of everything else, but it also had enough time with little to do to get sleep. So, with little to do, I made an offhanded comment that I wish that I hadn't talked myself out of bringing the Jack and the Quervo like I was initially planning. And then Juan-san drags us up to his room and loads three glasses filled with rum and just enough Coke to turn it brown. Damned if that wasn't cool as hell. And Juan and James both are even more awesome when they're tanked. Though I'm still wondering how Juan managed to talk me into hitting the dance floor at the Midnight AMV party. Even more so, I'm wondering how I managed to be surrounded by girls all wanting to dance with me. Three-on-one for most of the night, and I overheard a few people wondering about my "unique" dance style or trying to emulate it to no avail. Little did they know it was just a combination of rum, DDR, martial arts kata, and stuff I saw in the Tenjo Tenghe opening. ::laughs::
Saturday was all about the cosplay. Don't know why, but I really love costume parties. Always have. Guess it's all those years as a private school student or a football/track star or a martial artist or any of the other things I've done to cause me to have to spend the majority of my life in some variety of uniform. And while it's fun to dress up, it's a hundred times more awesome seeing some of these ladies in their outfits. Guess that's about the one area where I'm very un-Tasuki-like. I always say that women are more trouble than they're worth, but I'm not willing enough to give them up completely and just do whatever the fuck I wanna do without even worrying about relationships. ::shrugs:: Not that I could help it one bit; almost everyone there was wearing something tight or or short or low-cut. It's enough to make even the most vehement anime-haters consider hitting the next con they see. Seriously though, there were some amazing cosplays there. Spent a good portion of my time snapping pics of all the ones that I liked best. Just sucked that my camera batteries were already dead that first day.
I openly busted out laughing on several occasions. Snake "hiding" in the cardboard box clearly marked "This is NOT Solid Snake!" and "To Hangar". Trogdor the Burninator. The Chrono who, true to character, didn't say a damned word the entire day no matter how hard we tried. Captain N the Gamemaster. The obligitory crossplayers - particularly the seven foot tall Osaka from AzuDai. Lots of amusing stuff. And lots of damned good outfits, too. There was a winged Princess Serenety and a Dot//Hack girl who were literally amazing. Some of the Resident Evil characters were pretty damned good too, though they were mainly various guys in body armor that I couldn't really compare accurately as I've never played those games. I only went into rabid-fanboy-mode once though, to my credit. There was this amazingly hot Sailor Mars cosplayer that I bumped into a few times. Not only was she cute enough to trigger my inner Kyo that doesn't allow me to really say anything in front of girls I like, but she was also dressed up as my #1 anime dream babe of all time. That sure didn't help. I was such a blithering idiot that I couldn't even really ask for a picture, though Em was with me one time and asked her to pose (promising me a copy of the picture afterwards). I managed to untie my tongue enough to ask Emily (not Hino Rei-sama, naturally) if I could get into the picture myself, but I'm almost dreading that one as I know that I must look amazingly uncomfortable and awkward. =P
While I might have been a fanboy, at least I can safely say that I wasn't that one creepy mouth-breathing stalker that follows one cute cosplayer around the whole weekend. I definitely took notice every time that she randomly walked past - no way any straight male could help but do otherwise - but I was not gonna turn into that guy. And I'm not sure what the most embarassing part was. The awkward inablity to speak coherently? The mile-a-minute excited blathering that followed immediately afterward, too fast even for me to understand what I was saying? The harmless ribbing from my friends, who picked up the pace when I finally managed to stop the aforementioned behavior? Or the fact that after the trip I found out that she's the friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend from Pensacola. ::headdesk::
All the Miso peeps had awesome costumes as well. Tiff and Nichole were Payne and Rikku from FFX2. TM was Sakura from Cardcaptors. Cheebs and Spork went as a character from Bleach. Em, of course, was Suzaku no Miko. And the Crawleys were Tidus and Squall from their respective Final Fantasy games. Becca was FFX2 Yuna, ironically with Squall instead of Tidus. Not that I could blame her, cause I've always hated Tidus's weak-ass character. I would have been glad to see the runt drown, but it's even better knowing that he never really existed anyways. (Sorry Josh...) ::chuckles:: Cam's Sephiroth costume wasn't finished on time, but he made such a badass Jedi that it didn't matter. Instead of the shit-brown robes that they always seem to wear, he had this awesome black and hunter green getup that just rocked. Plus he was the only Jedi that I saw there, as opposed to at least four Sephiroths.
You know what the one thing that you guys need for your cosplay group, though? A Vincent. Just something to think about. ::smirk::
Also on Saturday was the Dealer's Room. I've been to them before, but never so early that it was locked up with lines forming outside. And never when I was so irritable that I was about to literally start throwing fists at several asshats that kept screaming or ramming into me or what have you. But I successfully bought each and every piece of Galaxy Fraulein Yuna merchandice in the entire building, along with the next volume of the Gunslinger Girl manga. And when talking about my purchases, I saw Emily's face twist inside out upon hearing me admit to loving a show even more than Fushigi Yuugi. Wish I got a picture of that reaction....hehe. (Don't worry, FY will always be a close second. And Sailor Moon not too very far behind that. Some things will never change.) ^_^
Missed the Yoko Ishida concert. I watched the Lameass Anime panel for longer than I meant to. Plan was to catch the first half of that, then slip out for the concert. Too bad my phone was still on Mobile time. More accurately, the system clock was on Atlanta time, but the clock that the alarm was tied to was not tied to the system clock, but rather to one of it's own that was still set to Mobile time. Bah. But I did get to see Count Dracula mug a guy and then go and eat a cheeseburger. That alone was worth the price of admission. XD
I also caught some kick-ass AMV's as well as the entire cosplay contest. Lots of the awesome ones I had seen earlier, as well as some awesome ones from series that I did not know. And we had someone cosplay at Naruto. No, not the character - the entire fucking anime. Stage was full of a hundred or so ninja, all in the single biggest cosplay group that was all able to fit inside the same ZIP code. Then I wandered about as I am so prone to do, hitting everything from glowstick raves to jazz bars. And mocking all of the random people who kept yelling "Marco Polo" by shouting "PING!" across the room to James, who would faithfully scream back "REPLY!" no matter if he was three feet or three hundred yards away. XD
I was damn near sexually molested in my Tasuki cosplay, though. Most of the night I was left alone because I was in various panels and viewing rooms. As soon as I turned the corner into the main area though? BOOM. I had so many girls trying to glomp me at once that I would have fallen over backwards if not for the two or three who had already snuck in behind me to grab a piece. Once they even picked me up off the ground and started to carry me to their room. So I suppose it was a success. ::smirks:: Even had one gay guy try to hump my leg, only to recieve a Lekka Shien for his efforts. Damn, I love smacking people with paper fans. (He seemed to enjoy it, too...) ::sweatdrops:: Even when I was standing off to the side talking to James, random people was coming up to hug me left and right. That was okay for most of the time - after a while I didn't even miss a beat with whatever sentance I was in the middle of - but at one point I was getting interviewed and photographed by someone either running a website or another convention or I'm not sure what. And at that one exact moment in time, the cutest of all the Tasuki fangirls gave me a stealth hug from behind. Felt good, too. Just like the one mandantory scene in every anime where a girl with a large, firm bust glomps an unsuspectine male from behind until his nose gushes blood for hours. She whispered "It's so good to meed you" in my ear in such a way that instantly caught my blood on fire, and then slipped away into the crowd. I only got a quick glance at her face, but she was a cutie from head to toe. And I couldn't drop everything and run that way because I was in the middle of something and because her shyness apparently gave her +10 speed. I blinked and she was already safely within the crowd. Gah. Never saw her the rest of the convention, either. -_-;
But it was damn fun. I would be walking down Artist's Alley and hear cries of "Hey, look! It's YOU!" while a vendor pointflails at a painting or picture she drew of Tasuki. Or the one girl that pulled out a custom-made Tasuki doll from what I hope was her front jeans pocket. That was kind of neat, but at the same time I was hoping that she wouldn't start stabbing needles into it or catching it on fire. ::chuckles::
Sunday was a little slow. Not enough booze left to really have any fun on Saturday night, and all the house parties I hit were kind of a bust. Woke up in time to shower and pack and little else. I did catch this one damned good panel about the art of swordfighting. And it wasn't by some calm, patiend martial arts instructor who revered the art and the style. It was by some insane guy with long black hair and crazy eyes. Looked like he shoulda been playing drums for Motley Crue instead of heading a panel at an anime convention. And he joked about formal martial arts and their katas and their "sensei" and belts and whatever else. He just liked fighting with swords, and he was damned good at it. Every time he'd make a lunge or a pass down the aisle to show us what to do in a certain situation, it damn near scared folks out of their seats. He was fucking awesome, and as much as I truly love formalized martial arts, I'd kill for that guy to be the one to teach me swordfighting on the side. ::grins::
One of the best times I've had in quite a while. Even though it was long and tiring and I'm pretty sore from sleeping in a corner on the floor, I woke up this morning refreshed and recharged like I haven't been in years. Hard to explain how that worked out, but I reckon I better not push it. Still gotta go to work in the morning to try to pay for all of this, so I guess that's all the rambling this rock 'n roll redneck can stand for the time being. It's late, I'm tired, and I still have to take over the world. (Okay, not really, but I do have to wake up early and have blood drawn before work, so I best get some shuteye). Ja!