So, after all the problems and concerns, the Day finally came, but not without more problems and concerns. The first was transportation.
Now, with acres of free parking (and I mean acres. “Mythbusters” does their show here at the Alameda Naval Base for a reason: lots of empty), I had planned on taking the car, but the wife has this Saturday class, where she learns about proper and sustainable gardening techniques. Yeah, so how do you keep the rats from eating my tomatoes, short of me standing out there with a shovel? Anyway, she needs the car. Fortunately, between public transit and a shuttle from the hotel to the site (a mere ’10 minute shuttle drive’), I get to hoof it. Me, being paranoid, I like to give myself a lot of time. True, the event did not open until 10am, but I remember what went off the track for Famine!, so I gave myself a cushion. The subway ride takes about 30 minutes, but I don’t have to transfer. Yeah, I tried to work the NYC Subway system once and I practically ended up in Syosset trying to get to Wall Street.
I spent a lovely Saturday morning power-striding to the station (“It’s SATURDAY! I get to SLEEP IN!!”) and getting the train, then a one-block trod to the shuttle point (as I can remain underground until needed, like Punxsutawney Phil), in front of the hotel that I didn’t stay at to get the 9 am shuttle. You see, it only runs on the half-hour; I guess 10 minutes there, 10 minutes to unload/load, 10 minutes to get back. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. I did not want to cool my jets by making a misstep and hang ANOTHER 30 minutes. The shuttle should have tipped me off to the logistical problem ahead.
Although it was waiting out there, it left at 8:55 am and did not come back until 9:15 am, so I got an excellent view of disaffected urban youth, standing on the corner, pants hanging at their butt and cat-calling women who passed by. I assume they thought we looked strange, as a lot of ladies were cosplaying from “KanColle”. Now, the drive did take that promised 10 minutes, only because they dropped us off at the gate and we had to hoof it to the line, which was starting to get longer and longer. But they were having troubles getting started, so when 9:30 showed up, they were not fully prepared to begin. When the line did get going, and we got our goodie bag, it was discovered that the booklet of events was not in them, so we had to grab those. I like something physical in my hand, OK? Me no app.
Then we got in line to get on the ship. But 10 am came and we were still not on board; some kind of Hornet issue with the time. They opened the gates for that at 10:15 and we had immediate clogging, as some folks got queasy going up the gangplank. Look, you are only 30 or 40 feet above the water and the ship is so heavy, it is very stable. But there was more clogging at the entry, as the volunteers had to see our badges. Then another set of volunteers had to see our badges, and then the ones that actually let you into Hangar Bay 3 to the meat part of things had to see them. I can’t believe they have never held anything like this before. I realize that long lines are part and parcel of conventions, but some locales handle it better than others. This one was too easily distracted to remain organized. Something I call “All zeal and no deal.”
I know I made fun of all that room on an aircraft carrier, but with the display items from the museum (a helicopter is not the smallest thing in the world), it was rather cramped. So, we had 18 vendors and 28 artist tables and that was that. The movie theater turned out to be a bust. There were two; one was in a darkened place, so you could see the movies themselves. The other was out in the open to see the TV shows and here is where there were problems, as it appeared someone forgot or misplaced two of the show disks, so “Arpeggio of Blue Steel” showed repeatedly for the first two hours.
As for me, I jumped into the shipboard things, like a ghost tour (we did not get those devices to detect ghostly presences) and the photo op for the jet. I would have liked to have done the flight simulator, but that ballooned way out of control and was a major time hole, so I passed that by. I did the scavenger hunt and the Global Justice search, as they never showed my Gargantia show and I took in the ‘Meet the Voice” sessions, which was on the flight deck. That picture up there is the line for Tiffany Grant (Asuna from ‘Evangelion’). Those are not snack tables, but places to play a card game of some ilk. I took in the Island Tour. No, we don’t get on a boat and go to an island; that is the term for the bridge, as it sits like an island on the flight deck. Great view, eh?
Oh, the anime! I was more interested in the panels, but they did not take a liking to me. The Crunchyroll.com one was a bit dull. Yes, it was ‘here’s what’s coming out’ kind of approach with the anime, the manga and the on-line store (Psst! Deals of the day!), where the guy was really happy that Symphogear has concluded its run and all three seasons are now available to stream (a review for Season Three is coming), but he was a bit too enamored with it, showing several transformation sequences and extolling the virtues of the show as to how ‘real’ it was.
The second was a panel about sakuga (which never was clearly defined) and how anime art styles had progressed from the 60s until today, but the moderator had a bad lisp, was not really prepared or organized, potentially did not do well with public speaking and got pushed around by the microphone. Not a good panel on a rather interesting subject. I mean, how did we get from the primitive nature of ‘Astro Boy’ or ‘Gigantor’ to, say, ‘Basilisk’ or ‘Bikini Warriors’? The last panel had the intriguing title “Killing Your Darlings While Funding Your Dreams”, about how the moderator used Kickstarter to fund his new project and the problems it created. Again, it was another person who just did not organize their thoughts well on a potentially interesting tale, rife with land mines and hidden shoals. Or maybe it was the actual room itself, but I was nodding off. At this point, it was nearing 5 pm and time to go, so rather than getting flung off the stern of the ship with the rest of the refuse, I took myself out of the picture.
One day conventions are brutal. More to follow.