ACEN 2016: Welcome to the Big Time

Basic CMYK

Well, it certainly has been a long time, hasn’t it?  Last convention I attended/staffed was all the way back at Geek.Kon in August of last year. A long, agonizing nine months has passed since, but wait no more!  I bring you the first of this year’s Convention Recaps (and the first out-of-state con I attended in over 9 years), featuring none other than the beast that is Anime Central!  Feel free to Like and Share this Recap and hopefully, this Recap is what will finally get me off to write that book I wanted to start on many a moon ago.

 

A slight Worst, but Mostly Best: Change of Plans

The wait wasn’t supposed to be as long as it was between cons, as I had plans for C2E2 (which was a couple months prior), but a falling out with a long-since former friend trainwrecked those plans.  And as much as the thought of backing off on my No Brand hiatus immediately crossed my mind, it wasn’t long before Adam came to the rescue.  He had a couple spare badges for Geek.Kon’s table in the Exhibitor Hall at ACEN and was more than willing to let me have one, provided I spent some time at the table and slept on the floor of their group’s hotel room.  Seeing as I still had the air mattress handy from Geek.Kon, that wasn’t any issue.
It’s awesome things like this is why I’m making him my Best Man if I ever end up walking down the aisle with someone.  IF being the key word there.

Fast Forward to the day before the trip.  In spite of all my early prep, I was readying myself for a very short sleep, as I had to hold off on the last batch of pre-con shopping until the aforementioned night before.  But as I was over half an hour over my hours for the week, work asked me to leave early so I wouldn’t end up going into Overtime.

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Safe to say, I was perfectly okay with it in this instance.

 

Technically not a Best, but too hilarious to be a Worst: Directions.

 

Being driven to Adam’s by my sister Vicki (who you’ll see more from in the upcoming Kitsune Kon Recap) and a friend of hers, we finally made it out of Green Bay around 10:30 to try to make it to his place around 12-12:30.  I had directions printed out so that we could make it there just in time.  But my sister and thought taking an alternate route would be even quicker.  I ended up arriving at Adam’s about 45 minutes behind schedule.  We all got a good laugh out of it though, but the misdirection wouldn’t have been as prolonged if not for…….

 

Worst: Pigs on parade

 

Seriously.  Were there Dunkin Donuts gift cards on the line or something?  It wasn’t Memorial Day weekend nor was it the end of the month, so what other plausible explanation could there be for the dozen or so squad cars  we saw along the way?  I kid you not, literally every 10 minutes a new one popped up out of nowhere, a few of which already had other cars pulled over.  It hardly got any better once I met up with Adam’s bunch.  I counted about another 6 or 7 between Columbus and Chicago.  Well, at least when I wasn’t busy catching up on my Toku shows on my laptop/tablet.

 

Best: The Mitsuwa Experience

For anybody who goes to Anime Central, I was always told (especially from reading Adam’s Recaps back when he still did them) you just had to make a stop at the Mitsuwa Marketplace on the way in.  In truth, Adam had actually considered skipping it entirely this year.  But since this was my first year at ACEN, he decided at least one more trip to Mitsuwa was in order.  Mitsuwa is basically a Japanese mall of sorts complete with grocery store, food court, video and book stores (complete with English-translated manga section) and even a Liquor store.  But before we hit up the food court (which enabled me to get my first genuine bowl of curry since my Japan days in the Air Force), there was another subsection with various pastries.  You can kinda sorta see what I got at the end of this Instagram video clip.

 

Best: Operation: Check-in.

 

Seeing as were already on a fairly tight deadline, we needed to both get checked into our room and get our Exhibitor badges before Adam, Simone and Deanna had to leave to attend a certain invite-only event they were to partake in.  So with those three on Room Duty, it was up to me and AJ to secure the badges.

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And these were the Early Birds.

 

Okay, so that part wasn’t too terribly hard.  We snatched them up almost as soon as we got to the hall.  I was soon summoned back to the van so I could meet up with Adam to get Geek.Kon’s table set up.  Trae himself popped by at one point for some crap shooting, as he was going to be quite busy himself between his Artist Alley table and Nerd & Tie Expo’s table throughout the weekend.  At a convention well out of one’s comfort zone, it’s always reassuring to see at least a couple of familiar faces.  Wether it was The Herald outside the VGR that Thursday night, Maggie after the Ultraman panel on Friday or the likes of Keith, Saija or Brock at the Tokusatsu photoshoot that Saturday, it’s always good to see them.

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Yes, Geek.Bot.  That includes you.  😛

Worst: Anxiety’s a b**ch.

As anybody else who suffers from depression and anxiety can relate to, being in unfamiliar surroundings can often lead to trigger an episode or two.  And it did.  At least twice (that I could recall).  First was after Anime Hell (more on that later) on Friday and the other was after the Masquerade on Saturday.  Lucky for me though, I could count on the hotel room being calm and relaxing.  Well, that and coincidentally, I would need to quick charge my 3ds and/or phone a bit by that point.  Two birds with one stone, I suppose.

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What lies in here?  Find out on Page 2.

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