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Silly as the lecture was, it did have me a little bit concerned. After all, what passes for a quiet room party of music and AMVs may constitute a riot to some hotel staff. Thankfully, a return trip to the room for some of that Mountain Dew I had brought for the party revealed a great bit of irony: my next door neighbor? John from Fast Food Anime. No way he was going to be bothered by a couple hours of party.
So with that load off my mind, it was time for the AMV contest.
Easy To Make a Music Video
Villainous Imagination got one final play after finishing runner-up at No Brand and being stashed away in the recesses of Anime Iowa. And while the winners in those two contests were all good videos (except for that Narutarded one at AI), overall the bottom half of the contests left something to be desired. While I'm not a fan of hiding any official entry away from congoers, there were a couple ugly videos in both contests. At this first year con, that was surprisingly not the case. Every submission was pretty darn good, including some pretty funny entries. Yet, to my surprise, Haruhi prevailed and I earned myself 15 Daisho Dollars... which are apparently their equivalent of No Brand Bucks. I then secured another twenty as prizes for Name That Anime Opening. Better than buying gift certificates out of pocket.
Speaking of gift certificates, John was hosting a panel on screenwriting and OEL adaptation soon after the AMV contest. It was a tough choice between that and a rousing game of dodgeball.
Dodgeball? Is that the Daisho equivalent of the No Brand Bowl? Actually, no, Richard was planning on doing a football game Saturday afternoon. It's Risemball, a dodgeball-like conflict between Vic Mignogna fans (the Risembool Rangers) and Roy Mustang fans (the Miniskirt Army). I'm partial to both Vic Mignogna (okay, fine... Kurtz from FMP) and Roy Mustang (okay, fine... girls in miniskirts), so I was tempted to join in the fun.
Of course, they only had one rubber ball and the law of equivalent exchange wouldn't permit them to transmute the wads of paper. By the time they got clearance from the fire marshal to let a bunch of Roy Mustang fans near paper, I had settled into John's panel.
Despite the lack of signage resulting in a sparse attendance, it was a pretty entertaining panel on the ins and outs of writing an original manga, which John plugged in abundance. Since MST started out as a manga idea, with a formatted script and early storyboarding even, I threw in my contributions as well, plugging my story in abundance. I did end up giving away a couple booklets to some prospective readers (you guessed it- another Donovan fan). At some point, I'm pretty sure Nick Izumi strolled in to plug his own series. Despite all the rampant plugging going on, or perhaps because of it, it was a good time.
Anyway, the next item on the list was the Happy Wednesday concert, but it looked like setup was taking a while and would knock the schedule back a bit. So it was a golden opportunity to check out the official No Brand room party.
One of their two rooms was occupied by Len and Rin Kagamine... the, er, Vocaloid characters not named Hatsune Miku. Apparently I caught them in character as they were practicing memetic dance routines like Danjo Danjo and Leekspin (with a toy steamroller for some reason). This is how Vocaloid characters seem to make a living. Anyway, they're all No Branders, one of which I had chatted with previously. I insisted on them learning the Ultra Relax dance from Kodocha.
We all returned to main programming (which was actually the Voltron-esque combination of the two panel rooms) to have a Happy Wednesday on that Friday night. Professional to the end, they saved their biggest crowd-pleaser, the faith-based ballad His Tentacled Glory, until the end. There was more crowd-surfing. Whoo.
Hmm... for a room that was fairly dark, that's a lot of lens flare. The mirrors and crystals must be creating some strange light reflections in the room. Oh well... no big deal. Once the concert was done, I got to meet one of the DJs of the dance. With some cool gear, an ear to requests and a great game plan, the dances Friday and Saturday night was among the most anticipated events, especially me, who despite enjoying Greg Ayres at Iowa '08 was looking for someone to really blow a fuse. He thanked me for my constant support on the forums. In the literary business, this is what we call foreshadowing.
The dance Friday night was meant to be the techno-y rave set for everyone requesting that. And you know, now that somebody finally took the obvious step of doing this one night and the geek/anime/J-rock dance another, I was all for the techno-y rave set. I ran back to my room to get ready.
I was stopped by sirens. No, no, not the flashing lights kind. The "women in the water that lure sailors to their death" kind.
These two were in the pool, waving at people in the hallway to try to get them to join in. Me being the sucker I am, I stopped in to see what was going on. With the dance impending, I wasn't about to don trunks and jump in, but I wanted to check out the hubbub. Turns out that was it... they wanted to maintain a presence against the football team that was in town to play UW-Stevens Point Saturday.
We ended up chatting for a bit, killing time, pausing often as they continued to lure people in. By the time the pool closed, there were about six of us in there chatting about how to escape these two. No one actually entered the water.
Unfortunately, the lag on the concert set-up was not only extended, but added to. The dance received no set-up time at all. By now, it was midnight and while the posters said the party started after the dance... most of the people I told got the answer "midnightish." That and I may have been all for the techno-y rave set, but I wasn't craving it. A few of the crew were more interested in whatever music and AMVs I had to offer, so that settled it- it was party time!
Not quite as flashy as whatever they had going on in the dance (or were going to have... no idea when it started), but it was quite effective. I actually found the portable speakers while sifting through our catalog at work (followed five minutes later by the manager asking if I needed anything brought in from the Chicago warehouse). Running on Blaine the Wonder Laptop is a unique mix of 180 hand-chosen songs, mostly from anime and J-rock with a few eclectic choices thrown in there.
This crowd, though, wanted the AMVs and Blaine delivered those as well. With about a half-dozen crowded around the monitor, I pretty much ran through the list of about 30 or so videos I had loaded before we were tired. The initial crowd dispersed and I headed down to see if the dance was really finished. It was. I went back up to the No Brand party to see if that had finished. It hadn't.
Remember how I said I was going solo this weekend? Well, turns out that Nick K's initial room plan fell through, as his would-be roommates seem to have done for the nth straight con. Also remember that he offered to let me crash with him twice at ACen, once with half the Whitewater group in tow. Nice as it would be to have the place to myself, I owed him one... plus, it meant he'd pay for part of it. Which is nice.
He wasn't the only one to follow me down. Those two pool sirens were getting bored with the No Brand party and as I still wasn't tired, I put on some music while the four of us and Richard hung out. Off to a great start with some originals by The Pillows, but it got a little hard to keep a straight face (or dignity for that matter), when a kitschy, yet apparently cringe-worthy, image song from The Simpsons came on.
The conversation persisted anyway and throughout the night, we did not get a single knock on the door from the night manager. At about four o'clock however, John finally got fed up and told us to shut up so he could get some damn sleep. By a "freak" coincidence, we all suddenly got tired and decided to turn in ourselves.
Funny how that works sometimes...
Let's skip ahead five hours to Saturday!