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Intervention Con for non-creatives

This is a preview for Intervention con (September 21-23 at the Hilton Rockville) for those who aren't into creating anything. There are many people who simply consumers. I do admit that I could be considered a creator as a conrunner, but not in a creative sense. I do know that I sound terrible on radio, have a hard time writing creatively past a couple pages and my art is stick figures. Though I really enjoy Interventioncon and not just because I get to work as someone who sleeps in the Dealers room.

This leads to the question that non-creatives ask to me about Intervention. My goal in this piece is to show how a non-creative can get something out of this show or at least be entertained and maybe find something new to enjoy. Here are some reasons why you should see Intervention con:

1. You will find so many people who are creating things you won’t see. This convention has such diversity in the Indy creators out there. You will find Manga editors, podcasters and viral video folks. The guest list for this is here: https://interventioncon.com/guests/. This a place where you won’t find any Superheroes here, but what you will find are people who tell unique stories in the ideas marketplace. Whether they are telling about being a frustrated gamer (Dueling analogs) or making fun of Vic Micnogna and Todd Haberkorn (The Mignogna Chronicles), they are telling stories you won’t find even in places like NPR.

2. One of the Strongest evening programs out there. This con really has one of the most diverse evening programs in fandom. In one room, you will find someone doing Nerd Filk like Hello the Blue. In another room, you will find Live action fanservice for both sexes in Cosplay Burlesque. Another night, you may find people talking Trek in one room and Super mario Bellydancing in another. I don’t get a chance to see things like Cosplay Burlesque or any other programming most of the time at other cons due to working them.

3. A family friendly environment especially earlier in the day. This convention brings lots of practical events for Children including things such as animation and how to draw a comic book character. If you want to get your kids engaged in creative things, then come to Intervention Con.

4. It can engage your creative side. One of the things I’ve always wanted to do is engage my more creative side even if it’s just writing on a blog more. There are opportunities to find your creative side and engage your creative side. There is a ton of creative people and programming who are there to help your creative side. They want creativity to grow and want to engage their audience while doing that.

5. It is a great place to buy art or get commissions. With the small size of the show, People are willing to take their time to give you some excellent art. I have gotten some of the very best art at this convention.

These are the highlights of the convention’s program for those who aren’t engaged in creative things for this year in my opinion:

-Cosplay Burlesque (Friday 8 PM-10PM in Large panels)-This is Live Action Fanservice. It is a combination of Cosplay, all the naughty things you shouldn’t see to a point and all the things you can’t say about. It is really fun and works well in small rooms like Intervention Con uses. It's also at an early enough hour where people who crash early (like me) can still see it.

-Dances (Friday and Saturday at 10 PM)-These aren’t raves. They are very well themed casual dances. This year besides the Lovecraftian themed Dance on Friday. They are doing a Zombie themed dance on Saturday night with prizes for the best costumes.

-The Troubadoors (Friday at 8 PM)-This is a webseries on it’s four episode about a group of Musicians who sing about a different holiday every week from door to door. The fourth episode will debut at interventioncon. This really seems like an entertaining webseries and I’m not a good comedy person. http://www.thetroubadoors.com/season-trailer-video/ is the link to the trailer on this.

-Dork of the Rings (Friday at 4 PM)-This is a webparody of Lord of the Rings in a much shorted timeframe. Parody usually fails me, but this really seems pretty funny even though it’s a little bit older. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsVXAQgechc for the full trailer.

-Insane Ian Concert (Friday at 7 PM)-A very good member from the Funny Music Project who is rapper. I really hate Hip Hop, but this is really fun and hope I can sneak into this one. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oaGMxFEDutI&feature=fvst for a taste of his music.

-Lloyd the Conqueror (Saturday at 7 PM)-Your seeing something that is four months before it’s coming out to the theaters. It is about some LARPers who try to finally defeat the greatest LARPer ever. It looks really entertaining, funny and geeky. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXb0Qx4ApFs for the trailer.

-Lots of Gaming programming (throughout the weekend)-Some of the highlights in the extensive gaming programming for fans include Steve Jackson’s Men in black doing their Zombie RPG through GURPS, A Fluxx Fest on Friday and LARP throughout the weekend are just the live action games. There is also a X-men Video game cabinet, a Commodore 64 and many other Video games in the Arcade and regular video game rooms.

-Working Class Nightmare (Saturday at 1 PM)-This is a webseries on young people who are trying to escape Southern New Jersey and Zombies. Really, looks like an interesting series. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiw-S4S2AlA&feature=relmfu for a trailer from the series.

-Great creators (Vendors room)-The heart of the convention is interactivity of the guests and vendors in the Vendors and guest room. Some of the guests who are coming to the con include the:
-Skin Horse-http://skin-horse.com/- The story of a secret Government Agency dealing with what Mad Scientists are creating. This has run daily for several years now and one of the folks in it is also noted Manga reviewer Shaenon Garrity.

-Devil’s Panties-http://thedevilspanties.com/- It’s a very funny autobiographical webcomic of Jennie Breeden. She has five volumes in Graphic Novel format containing 3,000 individual strips.

-Browncoats Redemption-http://bigdamnfilms.com/films/browncoats-redemption/- This is the group who made the very popular fan film set in the Serenity universe. This group’s film has raised over a $100,000 for charity. They are hoping to leverage this popularity on a film called Z-Con about kids who are attending a comic book convention when a Zombie outbreak happens.

-My Life with Sega-http://segabits.com/-  This webseries is about retro Sega games and system reviews. Very interesting for the retro gaming fan out there.

-Sluggy Freelance-http://www.sluggy.com/- This is one of the longest webcomic creators beginning in 1997. This is a pioneer in the field for this year. Basically, take humor of  “The Office” Set in a Buffyverse. You can see why 10 volumes of this are in print and it’s gone for 15 years.

-Guilded Age-http://guildedage.net/- Very good webcomic about the adventures of a  working class Peacemakers. This was recently released in print format into the Direct market.

-Cinematic for the People-http://www.ctfp.us/- Excellent MST3K style riffing on bad movies through Youtube and Google plus. They will be doing a Live Riffing of Invasion of the Bee Girls on Saturday night of the convention.

I think I’ve given you at least two or three reasons to attend Inteventioncon even if Creativity isn’t a strength. If you want some more, go take a look at the full guest list at https://interventioncon.com/guests/. If interested, register at http://interventioncon.com/register/Register-For-Intervention/.

Otakon thoughts

This was the strangest Otakon I've ever been to. This was the first Otakon I wasn't gofering or staffing at Otakon ever. I had never done it just as a fan. I think I made a good amount first time mistakes because of it. I had forgotten about the tips and tricks of Otakon throughout the years I had learned due to staffing and not needing those things. I am going to do what I did right and what I did wrong.

The things I did right:

-Sometimes simply being at a show helps break log jams on the convention stuff. Getting to talk face to face with people breaks through log jams and will help me in the weeks ahead as I prepare for a show.
-Seeing so many people. For all the people I didn't see at the show, I saw so many people I maybe see once a year. It was a very gratifying weekend on this front. Really glad to meet Mike Toole for the first time and seeing people return like David Williams to the scene.
-Seeing Aya Hirano perform. She gave an amazing show for her fans. Room was packed and it was really a ton of fun as a concert. I wonder how Anime USA's fans would react to it.
-We are in a viral age. I am amazed at how my twitter picture of Playboy Bunny Avengers got picked up by Deb Aoki of About.com Manga's Twitter. It caused some interesting reaction though that will

The things I did wrong:
-Over schedule myself. I will next year force myself to eat more than one lunch and dinner outside the convention center. I will also remember that I should put in an hour block before events I really want to see.
-Not sleeping in my own room. Next year, I will force myself to get my own bed even If I staff. I didn't sleep as well as I could've in my own bed.
-I will bring more money with me to enjoy the con. I only bought two things this weekend (a DVD and T-MODE membership) and didn't even buy anything in Artist alley.
-Drama crept into things and that made things worst. The 3 am wakeup call by hotel security wasn't fun on Saturday night and some other things.

I still had a good time at Otakon, but I think the best use of my time is as an convention runner instead of fan. It is time to admit that Otakon is so big for me that it isn't fun to just be a fan anymore at Otakon. I have to work the show for it to be worth it. I also have a bigger question that I will put up on here a little later in the week after I do some thinking on it. One last thing, please respond through twitter and Facebook because this post will be a no comment post.

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Fannish Philosophy

Sorry, I've not been writing more lately, but it's pretty quiet on the Tom Front at the moment. The next thing big thing for me will be Boston and I've also decided not to push fan drama and stress out to everyone else. I guess that it is a good thing, but It does leave me writing less about life. I enjoy writing though and I think I need to do some more of it.

I got asked recently why I pay for con badges when I'm not staffing them and that got me thinking about Fandom Philosophy. I could probably use my status or connections to never pay for a con badge (except maybe at a con or two). The only place I would accept a Free badge for is SDCC or Baltimore Comic Con. I also know that my employer expects me to be the best representative of the company possible (not doing things like fainting at the sight of Scarlett Johansson).

As I tried to explain to the person who asked this, It is that I don't feel (different than thinking) that I should owe people favors. I would rather build trust and loyalty with people through my actions than by asking for favors. It's because of that trust that has earned the level of responsibility inside of Anime USA I have. I feel that Heinlein is correct in this sense that There is no such thing as a Free Lunch.

My friend when posed with that point said just look at every woman on earth. They get free lunches all the time through things like Dating. Men are trying to build trust with a woman that they hopes turn to Romance and hopefully marriage. Man is trying to find someone who can be the person who will spend the rest of their lives with and be a family. That trust is a much more difficult level of trust than fandom's sense of trust.

Paying for conventions as a fan also keeps me engaged in trying to bring the best to the convention I run. I'm much more observant of things when I attend a convention than I am working a convention. I think I can take the time to slow down and notice things. I can't just pop into a concert for 20 minutes when I'm working it. Trying to keep watching the stuff also keeps giving me ideas for guest and events to do. It keeps me engaged in the fandom. If you aren't engaged in the fandom, How do you make it better?

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Some Magfest thoughts

This is the first time in a while I've done an con/festival report. There is something different about this festival. It was the first time I didn't feel stressed in an event runners role for a while. I really got to observe and just have fun.

Note: What I'm seeing is coming from a fan's view and not as the Director of Guests of Anime USA. 

This is one of those weekends where I have reignited my passion for fandom and being a fan in it. I have been told for quite a while that you need to be more professional to be an event runner (Specifically an anime con runner). This has led me to be more judgmental and just trying to find opportunities to be better con runner. I hadn't had fun at an event since Otakon 2007 (the year I didn't gofer due to San Diego Comic Con).

MAGFest is an environment where you can still run into people and have long conversations or play games. Through some texts I was able to get in a lot of Munchkin in with friends. I finally got to play X-MEN Video game (Something I didn't do back in MAGFest 8). I had lots of decently long conversations and some meals with people I haven't talked with in a while.

The staff do care even though some people don't show it (Paul the chair for example). If I could be as chill as Paul and make things happen like he did, I would be a better person for it. There was no major problems and the hotel staff really seemed to embrace the festival. They have a very simple mantra and that is don't piss off the hotel.

The space was really well laid out I think. They used only two of the Exhibit Halls, one ballroom (place has four ballrooms) and about 6 meeting rooms. Even though they used the third floor of the venue, it was a lively event on all levels. Many panel rooms were filled. The exhibit halls had people doing things nearly all of the time including the liveliest Tabletop Gaming area I had ever seen.

I really enjoyed the concerts. The sound wasn't super insanely loud in their concert venue. I almost didn't need earplugs and I was in the front half of the room. They gave 2,400 people an amazing experience with only six front facing speakers. Earthbound Papas was an amazing concert and it makes me want to bring them back to DC. They really rocked the house in a unique style of Video Game Rock.

Nobeo Uematsu (Composer for the music of the Final Fantasy Games) really enjoyed and embraced the spirit of MAGFest. He was out around the area accepting everything from getting his picture taken to having a six pack of Samuel Adams given to him. His presence meshed in with the festival because he wasn't hidden from the festival goers. He was hanging around at various places throughout out the event. A lot of the other guests embrace this event and it's spirit. I got Wes Johnson (VG Voice Actor and In house voice of the Caps) autograph by seeing him on Sunday and asking.

This is probably the first time ever I have left an event where I don't want to help it become a better event. My viewpoint on things and there's wouldn't work very well. This is the event I want to come back to as an attendee no matter what. This is where the fans still matter. That is I think the highest compliment I can give to any event in fandom.

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Some quick thoughts on Anime USA 2011

This is the first time I feel I've made awesome happen in several years. I've been the Assistant Director of Guests for the last two Anime USA. I helped to bring great guests who really had a great time including a special attendee who got a dream made. It is why I said so many times this weekend about awesome. 

This year was quite a challenge for me in Anime USA guests especially in the pre-con part. It has made me grow as a convention runner.  I made mistakes along the way and I desperately need help to make this happen (especially pre-con), but I think I did better job in the pre-con than last year. I think the biggest mistake I made was not delegating and engaging people to help me more. It made at con much more difficult than it could’ve been.
I also have amongst the best staffs in fandom. I want to keep almost all of these folks on my staff especially on the domestic front. There are many stories that I can’t say for many reasons, but the best story I can tell was seeing the monuments of DC at night along with a couple of voice actors. I’ve never realized how beautiful they are at night. I must also say the MLK memorial is great. 

I have an amazing opportunity because of this year (Director of Guests). It will mean that I won’t be able to staff Otakon most likely and it is also a two year commitment at this point for a variety of reasons. I’ve become a better and tougher convention runner because of this experience. I’m glad I earned the opportunity to be the opportunity to lead than two years ago when I was offered the Directorship the first time. Now to take the department I have and keep building it to be the best in fandom.     

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Reasons why I'm not on much

Life has gotten way too busy for me with Anime USA and work. I will be honest on this front. I don't think I will be doing much more on Livejournal because I do alot of my thinking on Facebook. I will try to do some longer form posts on LJ, but I think it won't be possible for at least the next month. I haven't dropped off the face of the earth, but life is just making me make some choices with my time.  Hope I can talk more about the cool I'm helping to make happen soon.

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Otakon Preview

This year I am going to be a responsible fan and conrunner and finally shift to staff. That doesn't mean I don't want to do other things at Otakon. I still want to give you 10 or so things to do that you may enjoy and can tweet and facebook on for me. These are some of the cool underrated things that Otakon is bringing fans this year. The stuff that could easily bring empty rooms without fan promotion. These are 10 or so cool things that will make you a better fan and will be the things that ANN will probably be talking about after con. THey are in no particular order.

Angel Scandys Q and A- This is a new show that has virtually no promotion behind it yet because it hasn't been released. This is from Noboru Ishiguro and Artland studios (Macross). The Main cast are all unknowns. This may be a moe show, but it does have a few neat things. This could get a big buzz boost from Otakon before it's Fall or Winter release. Anime has no buzz or talk until right before something comes out. I hope this is the wave of the future for anime where this stuff is previewed and marketed more to build an audience on both sides of the pacific. Friday 3 PM Panel 5

Kylee Concert-An American artist who sings in Japanese and has just broken on this side of the country with her appearance in May on Good Morning America. She has performed songs for Heroman and Gundam Unicorn. From what I have heard, she seems to be an upbeat Katy Perry type without the highly sexualized image. Q and A Saturday 4 PM Panel 2. Concert Sunday 12:30 PM Main Events (BCC).

Full Metal Alchemist: Sacred Star of Milos: This is the new FMA movie less than a month after it's Japanese release. Set in the lost land of Milos, Ed and Al must find the truth behind Alchemy in this land. The director is going to be there to talk about the film after it. Saturday 5:30 PM Video 1.

Anything Makoto Shinkai-One of this generations auteurs in anime. He is bringing his newest movie for it's first time subtitled. He started out as a one person animation machine on a Mac and still runs a fairly small studio. He has been compared to Miyazaki, but I think that is an unfair comparison of this guy. This is probably the biggest non-musical guest for this year. His new film debuts at 10 AM Saturday in Video 2 and Q and A panel is Saturday 3 PM in Panel 6. 

Live From Tokyo Documentary-A very good documentary on the music scene in Japan right now. It is facing the same issues that the American market is the short answer for those who want to ask now. From seeing the trailer, it looks like a very interesting way to start your Otakon weekend. Friday 9 AM Video 4

Magical Madoka Q and A and Screening-This popular in fandom magical girls show will be making it's US premiere there. A 14 year old girl encouters Kyube who can grant one wish. The caveat of that wish is that she must become a fighting Magical girl and have to fight witches. Friday 5 PM Video 5.

Stephanie Sheh-The only American Voice actor that I will be putting on this list. She has done alot of things in anime including Yui in K-on, Eureka in Eureka 7 and Audrey in Gundam Unicorn. She doesn't make a lot of convention appearances in the area. The last one to my knowledge was T-Mode 2008. Friday 3 PM Panel 6

Maseo Mauryama-I think I have gushed enough on Madhouse for people to realize how much I enjoy their work. His Q and A should have some significance according to Jim Vowles of Otakon. I think we get the release date for Satoshi Kon's last picture there. We shall see what news comes out of it. Saturday 10 AM-11 AM Panel 2.

Quick- A korean film that is debuting days after it's original country release. Basically a Delivery guy is delivering bombs and he tries to stop from blowing up the city. High drama and action sequences are expected. This sounds like what Michael Bay should be, but never is. He is usually sound and fury signifying nothing. Friday 7 PM Video Room 5

Anime's Craziest Deaths and Anime 101-Daryl Surat does great panels (Charles Dunbar is taking a panel year off), so anything of his is worth the hour of time to give. Go see them and become a better educated fan at the end of the weekend. Check schedule guide for these panels.

Other things I would go to due to their awesomeness:

-Kekko Kamen (Everybody should see something of Go Nagai once)
-Anime Amazons-Panel about strong females in anime.
-Tiger and Bunny Panel
-Steins Gate Screening
-Otakon Game Show Quiz

I hope to actually see some of you at Otakon this year, but I make no promises on this front for a variety of reasons (mostly because I don't know my schedule). I am not even sure I will be able to see anyone at the con even at con tables. 

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Vacation was amazing

I had a blast on vacation from Saturday to Thursday. It was what I really needed at this point in time. I am energized for the rest of the convention season ahead. I do know I want to do a vacation again and sometime early in 2012. A first thought is to do Anime Central in Chicagoland at the end of April, 2012. Then, put a few days after it for Giordano's along with the Cubs or White Sox. 

I do have all of my photos up on my Facebook. www.facebook.com/media/set/ is the link for my Photo Set of the trip. I think you will find a good number of proof I can relax photos in there. I think I have gotten to a point where I can be in photos again for the first time in eons. The highlights of the trip for me was riding Haunted Mansion in the Magic Kingdom, riding a roller coaster for the first time and loving every second of it (Revenge of the Mummy at Universal) and finally seeing MuppetVision 3D. Muppet Vision 3D was some of the best 3D I have ever seen. Most of today's 3D films don't immerse you, they just make it shaprer. Muppet Vision actually drew me in and I felt like the wall was being broken.  

Another highlight for me was going to Medieval Times for the first time ever. I won't debate historic accuracy of Medieval Times. I still enjoyed it. It was a great show along with a pretty good dinner. I had enough leftovers to feed me for another dinner. The show was colorful and probably as much fun as any renaissance festival. Show was done in a brisk two hours.  

I also got to see the renovated Star Tours and wasn't impressed with it as a 3D attraction. It didn't draw me off the screen like MuppetVision 3D did. I enjoyed Test Track at Epcot much more than Star Tours. Actually, the 3D in the Spider Man ride thrilled me more than Star Tours did.  
 
I also was able to get some sleep at a normal time along with a full night's sleep. I am not as tired as I usually am after a convention. I want to take this energy to the rest of my 2011. I know Otakon will take something out of me. Anime USA took a ton out of me nearly to the point of burnout and that carried into the early point of this year. I think I may cut back on some con attending (such as no NYCC, Baltimore Comic Con or DragonCon for me) to help me keep this energy.

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Of Preakness, a break and trains

I didn't get a chance to get to this until Memorial Day because of a busy work week (happening more and more lately) along with cleaning my room out in preparation for painting while I am away next week. I am going on Vacation starting Saturday, so don't expect much posting until June 11th or 12th. This will probably be the first time where I will purposefully not have the netbook. If Mom wasn't expecting a daily call, I would be leaving the cell phone at home. Orlando should be a blast and hopefully a lot less stressful for me than the emergencies and cons of the first half of the year have been. 

I do have some fun to show you all. I had a very busy last saturday in my life.  I have pictures of the Preakness up on Photobucket at s68.photobucket.com/albums/i11/tstidm/Preakness%20pictures/. Preakness was a great time. I didn't win any thing at the race (should have bet Shackleford for a nice Exacta), but I had a blast of time. I didn't have a Black Eyed Susan because the glasses with drinks sold out for the first time in several years. There isn't my proof I can relax picture because it was too dark for people to see my face. 

I also saw the 40th Anniversary Amtrak train that day also. s68.photobucket.com/albums/i11/tstidm/Amtrak%2040th%20Anniversary%20train/ for proof of that. There is alot of Pictures of cars, old Amtrak schedules and lots of things train nerds love. Things I wanted to share with some people who aren't big Facebook fans. I hope kevin_standlee gets a chance to see the train when it comes to his neck of the woods. 

I do have some fannish thoughts and maybe some controversy about what I am thinking fannishly right now. I may just save that for a point later this week or while I am away. 

 I have a lot to say (some nerd wise, some not) after three weeks off. Work hit me hard with the arrival to customers of Free Comic Book Day books. This leads somehow to more issues on that front (for a variety of reasons) along with covering someone else's work last week made it very busy.  

I did see Thor and was entertained by it. I won't say this was the best superhero film I have seen, but it is the best since Dark Knight . The one thing that it did feel too much like was a tease. They could have covered Thor's origin in about 20 minutes of an Avengers movie. I hope the Captain America film isn't as much of a tease as the Thor movie. I do think it will at least be better than the Green Lantern film. There is something that doesn't seem real and believable as the comics do.  I can't quite figure out what though.

Anime USA work is coming along well even though I can't say much more about it yet. I am making progress on that front and that I am glad on. Along with a very hush, hush project that I hope to speak more about very soon.

I have finally decided to take a real vacation instead of a convention vacation. It is why I am canceling going to Animazement in two weeks. I hope to finally get to that next year. I am going to Orlando from June 4th to 8th. I need the break badly and my goal is to leave all tech at home except the Cell Phone at home.  That is right the plan is no Netbook and the IPOD touch is for music and video only, not communicating.  I am planning to take a sleeper for the way there and to force myself to do nothing on the first day of the trip after I get there. Whether this helps me recharge batteries, I will let you know.  

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