Monday, June 4, 2012

Akon 23 Adventure log

A-Kon 2012 adventure log

Oh-My-Gawd! This convention was literally the most eventful and fun convention I’ve been to yet. I have attended A-Kon in the past the last 2 times. But when people say “a third time is the charm” they are not kidding! I networked with wonderful artists, attended some awesome panels, showing the artwork I've done to other artists, and just engaging in random and productive conversations like never before. The Cosplays were also amazing! I was really glade, as near broke as I was, to attend this convention!


The drive up starting at 4:30am was, as usual, pretty quiet and boring. However, later on one of my friends would NOT stop playing overrated anime pop music on the way up. But when we hit Dallas everything hit silence as we anticipated our future activities and things to do for the Kon. ;D we finally arrived at 9am.

We actually found reasonable parking! We got to park at the usual space we had parked at the last 2 years. And might I say, we got lucky this time. Only one spot left!!! After we did that, we checked into our room and proceeded to our registration lines. All my friends were pre-reg except for me, so I had to wait in the on-site registration line. Oh what a joy that was.

As soon as I got in line however, my Friend Lauren L. called soon after, needing help with her parking, as this was the first time she had ever attended this convention. So I did what a good friend does, and jumped out of the loooooong registration line and helped her out with finding a spot. We eventually found one at the Chase Tower parking center and jumped for joy that we found a spot, and the daily ticket renewal was at a reasonable price. Soon after, I walked with Lauren and her little sister through the 3 buildings this con was held at, and tour guided them a bit on where things were and stuff. We eventually hit the convention center again, and we then split ways into our registration lines.

After waiting about 2 hours for the ticket, I dashed on by the LevelUp Studios booth my friend Fred (trunks) was working at. Upon arrival I ran into another friend, Bryon (psyguy) and Gabby, whom I remembered meeting and talking with along with Bryon, Riley F. and Lavetta last year. It was so nice to meet/ catch up again.  We 3 then turned around, and BAM!!! Curtis Arnott (Takahata)-(Team Four Star) glomps Bryon along with his very well made, personally constructed metal WWW (farse on WWE) championship belt.

The rest of the Team Four Star crew was there and we chatted and goofed off about a few things for a solid 30 minutes or so. However near the middle of the chatting, Bryon alerted me if I knew who they were, and then it got awkward in a funny kind of way. For I did not know the guys were actually team Four Star at first. Never seen their faces, except for their super star guest host, martin Bilany, before. XD Martin however, was not there amongst them.

So I then shook hands with them, announced whom we were to each other, and talked a bit more. Took some pictures of a ghost Nappa that came by, and Curtis’s WWW belt. I then found out, as Curtis told me, he was from Canada. So I pushed the question about if he knew what Yuvon of the Yukon (a Canadian show) was in a sarcastic/joking matter. A slight "screw you"/hilarity ensued for a short moment from him. Twas all cool though, however everyone else, though they followed along with the joke, did not get it quite as much. I also brought up the topic about the Vancouver shooting of the Animation director of Ed Edd and Eddy. That sparked some interesting flow of conversation.

We all then split our ways a while after, and I finally pestered/ said “hi” to Fred and the rest of the crew working behind the booth. I then asked Fred, amongst the casual greeting conversation, of how one can participate in the Iron Artist panels. We talked about that for a bit, and then eventually I was in! After that whole mess of fun, I homed in on my other artist friends that had booths this year. I hit Yidi Yu (Kiriska)’s “Fake Lemonade Stand" booth next to see how she was doing since the last convention and the move too Seattle. She’s always so bombarded with buyers that it ALWAYS makes our conversations soooo awkward! Lol but it was fun catching up with her for the 3rd time in a row since Staple and A-Kon of last year.

The next friend/artist I was going to hit was Arc Zero, or Jimmy/Jimbo, as he was coming in from Washington D.C to run a booth here. Along they way, I stopped by the booth of Mary Cagle or…. CubedWatermelon, as I found the art style to be very familiar. I had no idea she was actually here at the convention, so we actually ended up greeting and then having, by far, the most random/fun conversation about just stuff that lasted about 15 or so minutes. I then told her who I was on DeviantArt, and then showed her a sample picture of one of my works on my phone to get a remembrance of whom I was when I post on her DA page. For “Chronoskun”, is not, and has not exactly been on the tip-top of everyone’s memory banks.

It was about 3:40 and I went to see if David Hutchison, from Antarctic Press, was around. Unfortunately, he was not, and for a good reason. He was catching up on his Dragon Arms Comic.  It was totally cool, for he is really working hard on that, and is doing it digitally, which does take a while.

I then hopped around the various areas of the convention for a while and took some shots of cosplayers and such. I did not nearly get as many pictures as I wanted last convention, so it was in my book to take A LOT of pictures as one of my main missions. I bumped into Bryon again with Gabby and Jake, chatted a bit. After that I stopped back into the hotel room for lunch and stuff, then swung back down to meet Jimmy (Arc Zero). I queued him off on who I was by mentioning the Link air brushing/coloring I did for one of his pieces a couple years back. He remembered, and we instantly connected/started to get to know each other more, and just talked for about the same amount of time as I did with Mary Cagle. Twas defiantly a great conversation, and he enjoyed the company of another online artist-friend attending the convention that knew him.

Later on it was nearing the hour of Fred’s BanCast Panel. When the time came for that, the audience was literally like 8 people. Not to impressive, but not too bad for what it was. It was a failure in some sense, but it was hilarious. And of course, to keep the panel moving, I was just shooting out random questions. The first one was an identifier/joke, “Will it blend?”  as I typed this question into the questions feed for the Bancast online months back. Fred reacted with “ so it was you who sends in those troll questions from time to time!” after the panel was done, and hilarity ensuing came to a close, I talked a bit with Michael DeVillar, one of Fred’s friend’s and Bancast members. We got into Phantasy Star Online talk all the way down and back to the LevelUp Studios booth down stairs from the 3rd floor.

I grabbed dinner at my room, and then I bumped into the Anime club at my university on the way down an elevator. upon exiting the elevator I bumped into Rachel/Andy, a high school-college friend of mine. when the doors opened to our destination the guys along with me in the elevator did the Fonz’s “Heyyyyyy” to the waiting crowd. This is when I saw Rachel and in the same tone as the fonz’s “heyyyyy”, we said hi, and I asked if I could get your picture of your cosplay, she said "maybe tomorrow, for I gotta go to my room", and then I responded with an ok, she then followed with an ok, all in that same tone. The immediacy of the situation and continuation of the voice from just the two of us got the entire waiting line laughing. I then did some random stuff and found out one of the elevators got busted as I was heading to bed. I arrived back an hour later to find that the people in the elevator were still stuck and hotel management and security were trying to pry the door open. Quite a sight. So I took the opposite elevator and settled in for the night.


This next day was so event filled, I slept past my alarm on Sunday without even hearing it. Which is very rare/only if I’m extremely tired.

The very first thing I did was dash down to the parking lot to re-new my ticket. Afterwards I went to get some breakfast at McDonalds, a place I had seriously have not even touched since like November or some close by month of last year. That felt SOOOoooooo fattening. But was the only thing open. Plus I had forgotten about the breakfast my group packed for the trip.  However this worked out well, I ran into Lauren and her sister on the way back to the convention center, and ended up turning around to help and/or walk with them back to their parking spot to renew their ticket. I then travelled with them back up to their room to check out the Saturday schedule for the convention, and talked with them a bit more about events, and the Vic Mignogna Signing they were ecstatic about! 
I then took my leave and walked the first floor of the hotel and outside to cross what I called “the Rio Grande” or street that severs the hotel from the convention center. I ran into another Matt I knew from college this semester along with another guy from our/my school. We talked for a good bit and then split after some idiot came up to us and started talking randomly, pulled out a joint, and then started smoking it in our faces. This was the smoking zone, yes. But NOT the weed zone. Ever. I did not want to get my self smelling like weed. So I left the conversation politely, Matt told me later on that he soon followed. As that was seriously a stupid move on that guys part, and wanted no part of being caught with him. I mean the guy was smoking it right in front of the convention center where security was all over the place. really stupid.

So I continued to venture for a good while taking tons of photos. I was going to attend some panels I had scheduled for the day, but before I knew it they were already over, as I was taking tons of photographs of cosplayers non-stop. The line up was really impressive this year! A good mix of everything! Nothing was to theme heavy, and there were many non-anime cosplays. I proceeded to the LevelUp studios again to talk some more, showed Fred some of my illustrations amongst the conversation, and he was quite impressed,  He and I found it interesting that he had never seen my work before. And I’ve known the guy since San Japan in 08. He then showed me later on what he purchased (one of them being final fantasy 3 in the original box). what a score! Lol 

From there I headed to the food court for lunch and bumped into Lauren and her sister AGAIN lol, and in their very well crafted FMA Edward Elric and Alphonse Lolita cosplays. We sat down and talked/ate and then walked around the convention together a bit. I then proceeded to the hotel room to take on some delicioco’ stir fry made by one of my friend’s sister.

I then traveled far and wide, and around the convention shooting more photos and such, stopped by my artist friend's again, and then talked with other new artists at the convention. And I swear to gawd, there are some artists that you just KNOW IT, you know that they are trying to sell themselves way to hard for their own good and up-sell the crap out you. I ran into a few and it generated some awkward conversation. I was trying to be myself and personal, and they were seriously as dry and un-personal as hell. It bothered me so much! It was like a robot being programmed to only say certain things, and if you cannot start talking in a way that its not programmed to understand/respond it just fricken stares at you in silence like you're an idiot. I eventually found a break away from the conversation. But I remember people/booths like those, and do not return to them! They are usually the ones that look almost like the Udon, Antartic press, etc. booths in the con, except they are indie owned, or a promotional comic stand that looks indie owned with as bunch of highly professional looking comics, big banners behind them, etc. This is a future red light for me. As I can not seem to get a decent conversation at the very least with "those people" every single time. It’s like game stop! :/ 

Heading back down to the bottom floor of the convention center I happened upon the voice of Gir (Riki Simmons). I was surprised to see him in an artist alley for one, and wanted to know why he had a table at the artist alley. Aside from voice, he apparently also did cel-coloring for the characters in the show. Pretty sweet hybrid of duties as a member of the invader Zim production crew.

After my adventures at the artist tables, I ran into Lauren AGAAINnnnn! XD in the autograph line with her sister for the Vic signing. I did something so nice, and had fun doing it to, … stood in line with them, and literally waited with them for an hour and a half to help them take a photo with Vic. We had so much fun in the line and was glade to have done that. My standards as a friend are too chivalrous. I can go great lengths for other friends if need be. The time was not a sacrifice by any means. However we ended up not getting to have them see Vic/me take a photo of them with him. The time was running out to see him however, and we eventually became those 10 people and beyond that had to get cut from seeing him. But we did see some one propose with Vic recording the proposal right in front of the signature table!  Welp, I sure hope they got his signatures and photo on Sunday. We then split ways again, and I headed up to the panel floor to get ready for my first panel debut at Iron Artist.

Along the way to Iron Artist, I ran into Nick Landis and Scott Frerichs of  team 4-star again, minus Curtis. We talked for a brief 5 minutes about some panel stuff and a few other things. However, they were quite tired from all the bouncing around they have been doing, especially since their 18+ panel they had last night. So we concluded, as I had to get moving to the panel I was going to be a co-host/artist in.

Bryon, Gabby, and I were the select chosen for the under 18 Iron Artist. As we awaited entering the room, one of the things we were talking about was nick names for a bit. I told them my whole story about how I get called every name in the book this semester, so I had dubbed myself Anonymatt (twist on the word anonymous) because of the random names people kept giving me. Bryon thought I hit the nail on the head with that one, as the substance and story content behind it was golden. And after other people have said the same, I officially have started converting my IRL alias to that. Of course Chronoskun will still live on. But this new one has substance. It is not a new nick-name in the worlds of nick-names, others have it as well  (probably not with a cool back story like mine XD). But Chronoskun will not be gone. This new name is more a vocal than a net alias. Chronoskun is still the top dog, as no one else on the net, from my searching over the years, has this name, and imbedded it in as much online crap (that I’ve done) on the search engines.

Afterwards we got called in! and my very first panel had begun!!! It was so much fun! We were up against some legit publishers, but we mixed and matched the groupings as we drew/competed. I was rather quiet though. Being my first panel, I was nervous as hell. Which is not like me in some sense. After the panel was over,  we apparently got tips, which was quite surprising to me. Plus Lauren and her sister came near the end to support me! That was very nice of them. As for the friends that did not, well, they were at the team four-star panel in regards to their own con ambitions.  So I then get told by Fred that I could possibly get put on the Iron Artist 18+ panel later on tonight.  I was a bit shocked, but happy to hear that. I then exited the room only to find Team Four Star, God bless them, were getting chased, no, trained, like literally a train of people, trying to touch and jump all over them, sign stuff, etc. I raised a brow and said hi to Curtis, and he impatiently said hi (as he was getting bombarded by fans) as they sped past me to get to the autograph tables. And con Security looked like they were on their shoulders for safety reasons. Simply amazing to see that. I felt kinda bad for them, on the count that it could have been handled better for their sake. Like them getting to the tables first, and then having the crowd release to go too them.

That was the last I saw of them before my con adventures ended. I hated that I didn’t have a formal good bye to go with the formal hello at the beginning. But it was fun just chill’n with them earlier on in the con non-the-less for a few brief moments. and that is a reward on its own. Not a fans reward to me, but a reward between just meeting new people or artists from all professional practices and just having a good time without any fan servicing involved.

I then ran into Rachel and Matt again near the outside perimeter of the hotel. We sat down, and I caught up with Rachel, which was really nice.

Later on the 18+ Iron artist panel was about to begin. I then met back up with some familiar faces, and some new artists to join in on the mature rated fun. I was engaging in great conversation with Michelle Jordan of Absurd-comics, who I found out was the girl in a cosplay earlier in on the regular Iron Artist panel. We talked art, and art business for a bit. We then got a thunderous applause from the audience as the artists and I were called in... wow, just wow. during intro, I mentioned my self in the intro as being a first time panelist and Iron Artist, and got a great big cheer. I then told them I did concept art and illustrations, but not published yet. Fred and the other artists got some mileage on my intro, as they used it in a humorous way throughout the panel. The panel was extremely crude, but I got through it. The stuff the audience comes up with I swear… XD

Speaking of what the audience comes up with, I had to go up against the crown winner of last years iron artist. She was so sweet, but I forgot her name as I type this. I did not hear from Fred how much time we had. But we had to work with “Not Jackie Chan” and “Basement” in a minute. I was taking my time, fast, but still not fast enough! For I wasn’t nearly done until he started counting down from ten. So I did this super incredibly, almost in-decipherable caricature/situation/ including Jackie chan (woops!) hold it RIGHT THERE!!! Jackie chan. Uh oh. And I admitted to the crowd during my presentation that it was Jackie chan. But it was supposed to be “NOT" Jackie chan. I got slammed hard for that one quite humorously, but made a nice recovery on my wording for presentation, shouting out my faults, and identifying the picture as “look at this hot undecipherable mess… etc.” this however did not win me the round. But it was fun. And I swear I’m going to be labeled as “that guy who does not know what  “not Jackie chan” meant” lol but I’m so cool with that. XD

We ended the panel with some pretty outrageous stuff, and we even got to autograph the pieces we put our sketches on and give them out to those who wanted them. Then this guy who works for this company (I’m also thinking he's the head) had us, on a fresh sheet of paper, draw something and sign it, so he can put it in his company office. Of course I did my signature/robot persona “Determined”. ^^ all around the same time, some people came and talked to me about some things. It was an interesting feeling to see people actually engaging with you because you were on a panel. 

The few attendees left in the room and I made fun of my failed etching of “not Jackie chan in basement”, but then some one actually wanted it! So that was cool in its own special right. And of course I did not talk much on this panel either. But I had some great ideas of how to word some pieces AFTER the panel was done. Ya, typical me to think of awesome things to say AFTER the pieces had been presented. Lol We ended at 1am, and the tips were great and awfully generous. :3

I thanked Fred for this wonderful experience and that I’m willing to do it again. For the more I do something like this, the better/more comfortable I get with it. It was such a rush, and if this is what all panels are like, then it’s something I look forward to doing more of in the future.


Welp, I woke up 3 hours after the time I was supposed to wake up to re-new my parking meter ticket! Yep, I was so tired from everything I did yesterday, I slept in so hard that I didn’t even hear my alarm go off, which was at full blast and right next to my head. It is literally almost unheard of/rare for me to not wake up with my alarm going off. The check out and packing the car was tedious and long as usual. I then said goodbye to friends, except for a few I just couldn’t find, and headed out. Sunday’s were never always fulfilling days for me at cons. Because I never usually want to get home late, and I’ve done mostly everything, or can do mostly everything I want within 2 days for a convention like this or smaller.

We then drove home with me being the DJ. Half way home my friends and I talked about how cool the 90’s were and then brought up some bands we used to get exposed to back then, and we escalated to randomness from there.

Our improvised song list on the way home.

Backstreet boys- larger than life
Ricky Martin- Loca
NSync- space cowboy
Mambo number 5
I’m a scatman.
Jelly fish Jam
Goofy Goober ROCK
A series of prank calls and short songs from radio comedian “Ned”
Tanuk Tanuk
Safety Song
Blue song
And ending on the home stretch, with windows down in the car, and radio blaring… Nyan Cat.

Over view: it was seriously a blast. There was so much more going on and networking I did in between that could not be put into words here, as I think this event entry is long and summarized enough! I had an awesome time and hope to have an even better time next convention I attend. Many artist I talked to, and whom I showed my work to, seriously encouraged me to get a table, as I would possibly make great commission. I have many things to think about on that. I also like to get up and free roam conventions as well. So I might need a partner to help with that.
My friends I went with never attended my panels or tagged along with me at all, even when they had time to enter the 18+ panel. I was disappointed to some degree, as I would support them in an activity if they were engaged in it. I kinda wish I had a picture of myself in these panels. Being they are my first. :/ their way of seeking a good time at a convention is no where near the same as mine.

This convention is a blast, and I encourage anyone who read this to go. It is a great place to get the “big convention” experience. There is so much you can do here!

Till next time, WOOOOooooOOOoooOoooooOOOooOoooOOoooo!!!!!!!

~Matt R.

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