Archive for the 'Anime Cons' Category

Making (Slow) Progress. With Updates!

Well, when I can, that is. It seems that ever since DreamHost e-mailed me about moving my server data to a new machine, the old image gallery has been on the fritz with 404/database errors and is having issues with my logon information. Oh well, that’s what I get for not updating absolute paths in time; it’ll be coming down very soon anyway. The Tesla Coil Graduation Project photos need to be re-posted at a slightly-higher resolution, since many modern laptops have a standard 1280×800 resolution. No changes to or yet due to finals week coming soon, as much as I’d want to.

Time for a non-engineering talk: there’s a lot of new artwork currently backlogged for posting, especially traditional studies, in light of a figure drawing class that myself and Catherine Lu have been taking this semester. The course has been a wonderful experience, save for a couple of assignments (collages and chalk pastel, grr), and definitely helped a lot with my mecha drawing. Looking back on how my engineering-influenced art has changed since switching from 2D schematic-style designs two years ago, it’s actually pretty reassuring: more curves, organic features, expressive lines, and a greater understanding of perspective, while depending less on tools in lieu of simpler things; I still find it far easier to generate ideas with a sketchbook, mechanical pencil, and eraser than having to pull out the drawing board or laptop and tablet. True, in reality it’s a matter of practicing, interest, trust (in the Lord, of course), and simply putting the tools to the media. This is the gist about any kind of original art, whether it’s creating from observation or delineating with no active references.

And back to reality: 4 credits of figure drawing only counts as a General Education arts course, and that’s all I can take ’till graduation! There’s a looming cloud of challenging core electrical engineering courses about to descend upon me come Fall 2009. I can feel it…the sufferings of previous EE students under Fourier Transforms, partial differential equations, and advanced electromagnetics. If this were a work of B-grade sci-fi, I’d probably write about it: “One Student In His Puny Mecha Versus Legions Of Gigantic EE Automatons Bent On Utterly Destroying Him. Year #4.” -_-‘

In other news, Tekkoshocon 2009 was fantastic (far better than last year…except for the Game Room, unfortunately), Pandora Radio is awesome (especially since Tim Westergren spoke to PSU’s Audio Engineering Society last week), and Folding for Penn State is superb (join team #1805!). What’s with me and abusing the English language using a passive voice, anyway?

On a final note: if you can, please pray for my parents, as they are currently in Taiwan for the next couple of weeks visiting friends and relatives. Returning to their home country might not be awkward even after spending several decades in the States, but in light of this my immediate family is now scattered all over the world (yes, even my sister living in NYC counts as “scattered”). Do pray that my mom and dad may enjoy their time off there and will have a safe trip home.

Otakon 2008 Post-Convention Writeup

So…I ended up keeping my word in the previous entry: no updates to this blog during the convention. It turned out there were no free Internet connections at the Baltimore Marriot Waterfront hotel, and even the Wi-Fi access points weren’t strong enough to carry across the bay.

But all that aside, Otakon 2008 overall was a great way to close the summer before I head back to the dirge of classes. And as I’ll mention later, it was actually a good thing that there was no Internet available. With well over 25,000 registered attendees, this was the largest anime convention on the East coast that had become even bigger than last year. Now some may disagree, but it felt significantly less crowded than 2007’s con, likely because the Programming department shaped up and nailed most of the events down on schedule. Of course, with a gathering of this size, there’s the inevitable “There’s so much to do, but so little time!” syndrome: there were a total of six video anime viewings rooms, four panel locations, three workshops, two autograph rooms, an additional high-definition screenings room (changed from the 35mm screen of years past), a multipurpose concert/films hall, and for the first time ever, the usage of Baltimore’s 1st Mariner Arena for the most popular and crowd-drawing events (masquerade, JAM Project concert, and Sunday concerts). Almost all of the viewings and panel tracks were blocked in Friday through Sunday.

In spite of the massive event flood, there weren’t many that I considered going to. Besides, there was always video gaming, the dealers room, Artist Alley, cosplay photography, exploring Baltimore, getting food, socializing and meeting with friends, and so many other continuously-distracting events to attend. Here’s a rundown of what happened all three (four) days. Hit the “Read more” link!

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Otakon 2008!

Two posts within 24 hours of each other? This is sporadic updating at its best…

And here I go again, about to head off to the largest anime convention on the East Coast: Otakon 2008! I’ll make it clear right now, and quit lying to anyone, that picture uploads from my camera are likely not going to occur. Even more so, weblog updates. I’m referring to my sole Otakon 2007 post and the Tekkoshocon 2008 bit, both of which failed in follow-ups. Otakon’s just too involving throughout the three days, so any write-ups will have to occur in the morning or the late evening – assuming I have any energy remaining.

About mecha cosplay at the convention: it won’t happen. Like my previous entry, I thank God that I’m even able to go (considering a hotel’s required this year, since the Jiangs are unavailable to make room at their house). Although money is an issue due to the increased costs, time is a far worse enemy due to the 6-week Summer Session classes eating up any available long-term project space. Ah well…hope there will be a few good mechs there to photograph! This is Otakon’s 10th anniversary at the Baltimore Convention Center and 15th anniversary overall, so I’m expecting some seriously good costumes there.

Just to close things down on Otakon 2007, though, here’s a video (thanks, Firestorm3818) of a hilarious stage light fire that occurred when myself and a number of con-goers went to Tomokazu Seki‘s Q&A panel (he’s the seiyuu of Sousuke Sagara from Full Metal Panic!, one of my favorite light novel and anime series of all time). I’m still laughing on the inside over this, because even Seki was caught off guard when the thing started to spark and flame…

The Anti-Drabble Update, Finally

So when I first wrote back in October 2007 that this site would be “mostly a slice of Kevin’s life again,” I forgot to mention how sparsely the weblog would be updated. What, it’s been since April 10, 2008 since the last bit? Ah, seems it’s time to give a rundown of what’s happened over these few months. Hit “Read more” if you’re interested, but pardon the disorganization ahead…there’s a lot to talk about.

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Tekkoshocon 2008 – A Con Without Excess

In about one hour, I will be departing State College for a three-hour trip to the Radisson Hotel (Pittsburgh Green Tree) for another gathering of nerdism, Tekkoshocon 2008. Despite being their sixth year in operation, this is another small con unlike the 23,000-person, overcrowded Otakon 2007 (guaranteed again for 2008) – but it’s still several times larger than our own held in downtown University Park. Myself and a couple others from the Penn State Anime Organization will be promoting Setsucon as part of a friendly table exchange that this convention did with us back in January, and more from the PSAO are heading down just to enjoy the atmosphere and programming.

From what I’ve heard and seen, Tekkoshocon is one of the best anime gatherings in the surrounding states, mainly because it’s not so large as to force sloth-like movement and hinder desires to participate in everything on the schedule, but still filled with enough unique things to do in order to provide that “big con” experience. Hopefully, I can spend time updating this blog with some photos (unlike previous posts for Otakon 2007 and Setsucon 2008), as PSU Media Tech has lent me another camera for those spastic picture taking opportunities.

Now if only I had a cosplay ready for this event, since Tekko 2008’s fanart theme is “Super Sentai” – and giant robots are on the list. Or, if only I were better at drawing mecha. Oh well, can’t have it all at once, right? At the very least, thank God for opening up the time for this weekend, as the convention sits neatly between my last set of midterms and the inevitable final exams…

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