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Anime Iowa 2006 - Weekend at the Parkade

I have very mixed feelings about this year's Anime Iowa. Going into it, as you know, I had reservations about all the drama and the seeming disorganization to the point where I was considering just blowing it off. Didn't do that, mainly because it wouldn't have been fair to tjstriker but also because I wanted to talk to John M. about cutting a deal with them to obtain their registration database. Also, it would be good to see banzchan and Emily, bam2, gohanvox, Carrie and divalea again. So I made all the arrangements with redmartel and stuckintraffik to pick up the room party kit and all the soda and water and munchies and stuff that needed to go down to Cedar Rapids, and prepared to drive off to AI.

As I probably should have expected, things began to go wrong almost immediately. The original plan was for me to haul the room party kit down while Kraig hauled the pop and the water, but he didn't show up Thursday night so everything got loaded into the Sportage. Fortunately, there was still plenty of room for Jello my stuff, including the Big Bag of Recyclables. I already talked about Friday's travel misadventures here, so you can go reread that if you want your memory refreshed. One thing I didn't mention was that Registration was set up in a nook on the third floor which was eminently defensible (good fields of fire to the front and down into the lobby) but pretty poor from a customer service perspective since there was no way to add additional people to service all the people who had pre-registered. This meant that starting at 4 PM there were god-awful lines for pre-registered folk, not helped by the lack of signage pointing folks to the "A-L" and "M-Z" clerks. That actually worked in my favor, since everyone was clumped up in the "A-L" line when I went there and so I skipped ahead to the head of the nonexistant "M-Z" line. This was the first sign that things weren't as well organized as they might could have been.

Saturday I got up (partially due to the convention staff member who came by at 0900 to inform me of the poster no-tape policy, arrrgh) and managed to get cleaned up & dressed in time to pillage the breakfast buffet. I cannot praise the Crowne Plaza's breakfast buffet nearly enough, especially after the butt-raping clusterfuck perpetrated by those extortionate fucktards at the Bloomington Sheraton. Food was plentiful and of good quality (even the biscuits for the biscuits & gravy were outstanding) and best of all it was only $9.99 - juice was additional, sure, but if you didn't want the juice there was a metric buttload of fruits available including FRESH SLICED STRAWBERRIES. Take that, you Sheraton corporate suit-whores! Whipped on quality, quantity AND price! After getting stoked for the day, went back to the room and hung out for a bit with tjstriker before going down to the AMV contest, replacing some of our room party posters along the way since the con had a no-tape policy in effect and we hadn't seen that before sticking our posters all over walls, doors, elevators and more walls. Staff did provide an adequate supply of snot-like sticky substance on request, though, so it was all good. We wound up at the AMV contest, which was running half an hour late when we got there and continued to run even later since the people running it were clearly pwnz3d by their equipment, which they seemed to have no idea how to set up or run. After this was figured out, they began showing videos...oops, no sound, more delay. FINALLY things got going, after the staff reminded us that not all entries were on the ballot (!) and for us to mark down which ones they were if we could ID the song and the anime. Great move, guys. Two thumbs down for that one. I finally left after seeing about an hour's worth of AMVs, entirely too many of which were FF:AC machinima that seemed to be using the same cliptage set to very similar music, and since the rest of the contest ballot ws more of the same with Naruto Park vids for variety, I left for the dealers' room.

Part of my goal, of course, was to find divalea and ask her what the deal was with my art commission from 2003, and that went well. No, I didn't get it right then and there or on Sunday either, but that was okay, we know how to get hold of each other now, had a very pleasant conversation despite the initial awkwardness, and hung out with each other on Sunday too. As it happened, her table was right next to banzchan & Emily's, which in turn was next to Steve Bennett's table, and unfortunately for all of them it was kind of a dead end in the Dealers' Room/artists' alley, which had one entrance for dealers only and another for the masses. Unfortunately the pro artists were by the dealers only door, which put them out of the main traffic flow. This hurt their commissions and other sales somewhat, although as Lea said, at least in her case she might have priced herself out of the market since a lot of the amateur artists were doing custom work for $5 or $10 and she was asking $20. At least her books, buttons cards and "I'm Hurting Comics" T-shirts sold well.

So after the trip to the dealer's room it was time to find something else to do until Room Party time, and that something was going out to the Wal-Mart and getting some solarcaine for my poor burned arm, some antibiotic soap for my legs, and some bandages, ditto. (Honest, they didn't look *that* bad when I left!) I ran into tjstriker and we fared forth in the Sportage after hunting down the Wal-Mart, which turned out to be out in the neighborhood of the old AI hotel, the Collin Park Plaza, which is now a Marriott. I got my stuff and then we headed over closer to the old hotel looking for the EconoFoods grocery megastore that used to be near there so we could do recycling, but apparently it had gone out of business. We then stopped at the Hy-Vee, but they didn't have the big automated recycling devices - for that we had to go, yup, you guessed it, back to the Wal-Mart. So we drove back there, disposed of cans and bottles (making enough to cover my dinner had I not ordered the pretzel) and had dinner at the Subway before going back to the Crowne Plaza. We got back at 7 PM and decided to screen some new stuff that Kraig had found; some of it was very good (the Rammstein "We're All Living In America" and several of the trailers especially) and some of it was squicky, but everyone's tastes are different. Along about 9 PM I got tired of VJ'ing and turned things over to TJ so I could check out the consuite, hit the parties, and be kinda social. Which I was; I talked to some folks in the con suite, tried and failed to change an empty can of Dew premix, hung out at the dance for a while listening to the music and watching a lot of people do dumb stuff instead of dancing. Somehow I made it back to the 7th floor and to the Naka-Con party where I found bam2 then headed down to the massively popular Gojira Party where we found banzchan & Emily and briefly saw revolutionaryjo. (I faked emo for your amusement, Jo. Just sayin'. ^_^) Hung out there until the humidity got to be Too Much and then retreated to our room party, which was cooler and dryer and not quite as crazy. basilpsyche dropped by for a while as well*; he left about 0200 which is when just about everyone else left too. I finally got the room cleared about half an hour later after TJ got done tearing down the RPK but then made the mistake of going surfing and checking mail, which meant I was up until almost 0400. Lieber Gott!

*I'd seen kurai_tsuki in the Dealers' Room earlier in the day; Caitlin and her husband stopped by on Friday night, so I did manage to see all our AD peeps. I think.

Sunday morning I got up, showered and dressed and hit the breakfast buffet. The elevators were manned by somewhat grouchy hotel staff, but I could sympathize with the grouchy: they'd been called in at 0700 in the expectation that most of the fans would check out EARLY, something the con staff had specifically told them was not going to happen. I was kind of at loose ends at that point, so wandered down to the Dealers' Room and hung out with Lea and Bob and Emily until the place closed. Arrived late at closing ceremonies, witnessed the announcement of the move to Coralville, and hung around afterward for the Trinity Blood premiere. This was a pretty disturbing show, with lots of gore and some weird overtones connected to the alien nature of the vampires. There was the usual portrayal of the Church in ways that made it clear that nobody connected with the project knew jack shit about Catholicism besides the regalia and ranks, but I'm pretty used to that by now. All that having been said, this could be bigger than Hellsing. There are clear homages to Hellsing, but also to Equilibrium and Terminator 2...the art is good, the dub likewise (Greg is the Pope, haha!) but the crowd reaction was very disturbing, even if there was a large contingent of Jenova's Witnesses. People were cheering their heads off during the goriest scenes, and it was creeping me out. Ah well.

So after the premiere, since the guests all wanted very badly to get the hell out and eat, we stood around for half an hour until we got it sorted out that we were going to the Sushi House. This turned out to be on the other side of Cedar Rapids someplace, by the Westdale Mall, and it's a good thing I was following Emily there and back because I was completely disoriented and had no clue where the fark I was going. Of course, now I could find the place with no trouble; too bad I probably won't be going back to Cedar Rapids any time soon. The dinner was good, the service ws understandably slow since I'd ordered $40 worth of sushi and no appetizers...fortunately the fellow I was sitting across from ordered edamame and I did severe damage to it at his invitation. The sushi was very much worth the wait, and I'm grateful to Steve Bennett for insisting that we all sample his mango ice cream. Then it was back to the hotel, up to the guest floor, down to the bridge, and into the adjoining room with Kraig where we talked to Bob until all hours (okay, about 0330). Kyle and Carrie (whose voice had abandoned her on Wednesday, poor girl) came in to say goodbye somewhere in there, and we wound up relocating to Greg's room until he was done packing and the sun came up. I hung around until the buffet opened, stuffed myself while browsing USA Today, arranged for a late checkout and a noon wake-up call, and went back to the room to die. The rest is history.

I think I'll save the rest for another post.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 9th, 2006 02:24 am (UTC)
Your emo was fake? I feel so lied to! D: D: D: (Notice this is me actually reading your LJ again now that I have the internet back.)

Just kidding. Although you'll need to fill me in on your mysterious 2008 plans at some point.
Aug. 9th, 2006 02:31 am (UTC)
Wow! I must really be t3h actor d00d! :D

Yes, it's good to see you around these parts - we don't get a chance to talk nearly enough, in whatever medium. I will indeed fill you in on the plan for 2008, which is actually my devious 2007 plan Part Deux.
Aug. 10th, 2006 01:56 am (UTC)
I didn't think it was too bad, overall. I'm not sure about next year though, but I'm looking forward to Detour.
Aug. 10th, 2006 12:13 pm (UTC)
Oh, don't get me wrong: it wasn't a complete four-alarm disaster by any stretch of the imagination. It's just that there were things they'd done well in previous years that weren't working so well this year. I think part of it was the hotel, but you can only blame so much on the hotel.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )



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