bITS 'N CHUNKS
Ah, we're two weeks on just about at this point but yet another MTAC is in the books this year.
At the end of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, there's a poignant scene at the end where the crew of the USS Enterprise is gazing at the planet Genesis and Kirk remarks that if it's true what they say, that if Genesis is life and rebirth, he must return there again as we all do. And Bones asks him how he feels and he makes the quote that has stayed with me all my days thus far,
"Young. I feel…young."
Like a young man, all brand new and full of hope. March wasn't the worth month on record but it could have stood to be better. It got a lot better towards the end and as we sped towards the Middle Tennessee Anime Convention, the place where my mother and I spent our lives in a 12 hour cycle.
We opted to go only Saturday this year, so we got up early to pick up our badges and prepared to spend our entire day packed with Nerdland fun with minimal breaks to the outside world. As MTAC takes place at two hotels, this would largely imply that we would pop off elsewhere to go get a snack then fight traffic to get our parking spot back. Well, in a double-edged sword for us, we found a really good parking spot that was hard to pass up… at the bottom of a hill. But that was alright. With mom's cane in tow and some strong branches in the dirt, we made it up. And once we were up both hills, we were effectively locked in. Do what you gotta do.
Say what you will about nerds, but being in that convention space is still rejuvenating. We got into more panels than I was expecting and we picked up some drag tips and participated in Pokemon trivia. We wandered around, me decked up in a sparkly pink menhera and mom in her Avengers: Infinity War shirt. As soon as I entered the artist alley I bought gifts for myself and souvenirs for others because I wished they were there. Sometimes. Sometimes I was glad I was alone in my chair and gazing up at a presenter in awe. I made trips back and forth with bounty too lugubrious to haul around, up and down that confounded hill and every time I gulped air and stared up at the sky outside I felt young and refreshed and free of the aches and pains that come with exercise over 20. I was on my feet and you couldn't tell me anything, damnit.
I was most excited about LittleKuriboh's wrestling panel and mom and I sat in the main hall with a bunch of other marks quivering with excitement and detailing their experiences in the wrestling fandom. We left a little early to hit up the bazaar known as the dealer's room where we purchased Japanese pastries and ate like royalty come to the southlands. Like calories and carbs don't matter. Because they don't in that space; neither does money. You know what does matter? Happiness! They say you can't buy it but don't believe them…
Well, maybe that's true to some extent. I know you can't buy time. I don't think we can buy true happiness but we can certainly get things to augment it. You know what you definitely can't buy, though? A GOOD TIME. You can get tickets to get in, buy seats, get drinks, eat good food that costs a bit, but you can't actually buy a good time. You gotta quest it. You gotta hunt it down all night long like an errant dragon and when you find it, trap it and hang on to it, then let it go.
Our letting go was at 9:45 PM, the last panel for the Fandumb Committee. A small panel, I promised to have enough opinions for everyone and I probably did. Never put a live mic in my face. We had some great discussions on fandom culture, otakudom, our childhoods, and building community. The conversations continued afterwards. I made some new friends and bought a shirt. Then the con magic and youth wore off and my legs gave out on me. Suddenly that hill seemed mighty daunting, especially in the dark. But we got down it alright. And when I sat down and tossed the rest of my bounty in the back and finally dismounted my backpack and let the con glitter wipe me down, I turned on the radio. I took one look back at the Sheraton before we hit the highway and I know that next year I must return to that place again.
"How do you feel?"
Well after yet another dark menhera post, let's talk some con stories!
As I'm pretty sure I mentioned, I'm still a bit of a baby at cons and I haven't truly cosplayed in a minute. My first true convention flying solo was Anime Weekend Atlanta right before it got to DragonCon proportions. I'd like to go back if I ever make that serious of an investment but for now I'm enjoying local cons. The only thing I'm looking forward to at this point is branching out beyond anime/game geekery and more into film and literature, specifically horror.
Anyway, let's get into some of my favorite stories from my young convention life.
Content warning: As with all of my menhera posts, this post will be discussing self-harm, rituals, and depression at length. Therefore, most of it will be under Mr. Read More.
Well friends, it's about that time of year again. Time to put away my wrestling gear and slip into something a little weird, a little more comfortable, time to go home: it's convention season!
As of right now, I'm only planning on doing the two local cons this year: MTAC and AkaiCon. I'm going to do my damnedest to get into our local horror convention, and I am faintly realizing that last year I didn't talk about about our adventures in Alabama. Too bad; some things you just have to be there for! But you all seemed to enjoy my convention stories last year so I figured I'd do some blogs again. This week I'll do a couple of con stories, talk about prep, and hopefully display my updated menhera outfit and the associated theme. Going real casual this year since that part of my wardrobe isn't as functional and up-to-date as I'd like. I'm hoping by the time the next con swings around, I'll be working on a new actual anime-related cosplay rather than J-Fashion. Until then.
So I've been going to AkaiCon for a couple years now and I generally enjoy it each time. Last year was probably my least favorite due to their chronic No Parking Syndrome so if it's financially feasible I would highly recommend just using rideshare the whole time. Fortunately, this year the convention moved a lot closer to me so I think I spent less on Lyft rides for three days than I did in the dealer's room.
This was the place for my menhera outfits and people responded to my pastel shirts but menhera isn't everywhere enough that people were like "omg look!!" and I was pretty dressed down. I lost a few of my more obvious accessories so I was stuck with the syringe necklace I made, some bandages, my bondage gear, house shoes, and robe. Saturday could have been more successful if I'd remembered to switch into my full sleepy time gear instead of just wearing the robe but, well. Well.
Anyway, the point wasn't really me dressing up this year but just the general experience of the con. I appreciated all the walking space and the hallways never felt too crowded or sparse. The new venue worked for me because most of everything I wanted to see was on a single floor and the hotel is equipped for conferences and events so there was plenty of room for pretty much everything. There was a good bit to do as well and a nice diversity of panels and events. I also really appreciated all the main events having their own floor this year for all the people they could fit in and all the people who didn't want to deal with constant noise in their other panels. That was a great move for everyone. And merging the dealer's room and artist alley is always a win in my book, personally.
Now, that being said there was quite a bit of what I think is best summed up as "shenanigans". Con silliness if you will. A lot of the "this was out of our cosmic control". I didn't have to worry about the infamous parking situation because push came to shove I was close enough to bike/walk/bus whatever. That was…unfortunate, from what I was told. But inside the wacky world of the con there were some odious scheduling misfires, on the fly changes, and probably the most egregious was shutting down the anime viewing/video room with only a note on Facebook and not a con-wide announcement which miffed off many a patron. It got a little weird to say the least and depending on your temperament, pretty wack. And the elevator situation? Still haunted.
But, I gotta say I still had a good time. Every con is what you make it and this was one of my more social ones. I even got to gab about wrestling for a few hours and see a few adult panels. It was a rather unique bonding experience and shows AkaiCon is definitely getting better and better and deserves attention. I'll never get back all the money I sank on merchandise, but at least memories are free.
Ia! If you've come this far, you're either looking for weird or you know you've found it...