Otakon!

Aug. 19th, 2017 12:33 am
allekha: (Young Victor waving)
Haven't been around the Internet much lately, between work, traveling, Otakon, and now more work and more traveling - my parents and I are headed to see the eclipse on Monday, so this post is brought to you from the beautiful mountainous state of Virgina. So far it's been nice - we saw a pretty little farm museum - with the one exception of the lady at the diner we stopped at for lunch trying to tell my dad that he could have the non-vegetarian soup because 'the chunks of ham are so little you hardly even notice them' (she was otherwise nice, but what??).

Anyway. Otakon! Z and I had a great time there this year.
Cut for lots of words in this con report )
allekha: (Default)
It's been a while since I wrote anything here. I kept wanting to get back into the habit, but... it didn't feel right to do so without mentioning Starlight, and I didn't want to.

Starlight was my childhood cat. I can still remember the day we brought her home from the shelter, such a small kitten who grew large and pudgy. She liked being held but only occasionally being in a lap, and she liked strangers, and even if she was lazy, she was better at mousing than Aki has been.

A few months ago, my parents had to put her down. She was kind of sick for a while. She was nearly fourteen. But it was still unexpected for me to get a call when I was at a friend's place and hear that she was gone. I didn't want to ruin the fun for everyone else, so I didn't say anything and waited until I got back to my apartment to be upset.

It hit me harder when I got home, because she wasn't around to pick up and cuddle. There's just flowers from the vet sitting in a favorite sunroom sleeping spot. And Aki is terrified of strangers, and even when I've been here for a few days she won't let me get very close. It's strange to be here and not have a cat I can pet and who will let me pick her up and who will come beg me for food. And who is a little grumpy and arthritic and lazy but will play if you give her a catnip mouse.

...anyway, I went to Con.txt last weekend (hi, new people!) and wrote a con log up, so I felt like I finally had to post something.

Con.txt 2016 convention report here )

Otakon!

Jul. 29th, 2015 04:56 pm
allekha: (Default)
I've been waiting to update until I finished transcribing my journal from the Baltics trip, but that didn't happen before Otakon, so let's go with that first.

Otakon Otakon Otakon Otakon Otakon~~~! )
allekha: (Rambler rose)
The somewhat overdue and really long con.txt report is done! Lots of panel notes: Slash Through the Ages, Celebrating Femslash, Not Your Fandom's OTP, Holmses, Plural, Checking in on the Fannish Diaspora, Fun With Inverted Tropes, Making Story Happen, Dubcon Fucking: How Does it Work?, Support Group for the Small-fandom and Between-fandom Fans, Tag, You're It! Tagging For Fun and Profit, Rule 34 in a Magical Universe, Bi-invisible? Non-monosexual Representation in Fandom, and finally How To Put Fandom on Your Resume Without Putting Fandom on Your Resume.

Thursday )
Friday )
Saturday )
Sunday )

My impression: A++ will hopefully be able to go again.

Last thoughts (short because holy shit this thing is long):
I was glad to see that although I'm mostly in video game/anime fandoms at the moment (plus Star Trek TOS) I was still able to have fun and connect with people.
Everyone was nice and also friendly.
This was my kind of crowd: discussions and meta intertwined with the squee.
A little surprised at how assumed it was that you like OTW/AO3. I mean, I like AO3, but there was only one mention of "Whatever your feelings on the OTW...". But my feelings on them are way too long to fit here.
The ratio of panels I wanted to go to/panels available was far too high. Stop being so interesting, everyone! There were multiple timeslots I had to pick and choose and that's no fun :(
Zines. Ziiiines. I love physical fandom matter (you should see my doujinshi collection).

Over 8500 words. Longest con report I've ever written. But definitely worth remembering.
allekha: (Rambler rose)
Twice in a year is better than nothing, right? (Still don't understand how I keep meaning to update and then not doing so.)

I'm writing this on the bus to con.txt - more on that in a moment - where we get free Internet! Not very good Internet, admittedly, but can't complain too much. I really should be sleeping, I had trouble falling asleep and only got ~3 hours, but guess now that my brain's woken up it wants to stay up for a while.

Let's see. This Spring semester was pretty interesting, and overall not as bad as some semesters have been. I took four classes and an independent research: Japanese Calligraphy, Evolution, Cognitive Neuroscience, and Human-Computer Interaction.

Calligraphy was fun! Not that I was terribly good at it, too much of a perfectionist. But it was fun! Especially the final - we got to choose our final piece, and I did a large one about five feet tall that is now taped up across from my Dad's office - and the catching-up session where I got to do some of the more flowing pieces. I found that flowing kana especially is quite fun to write. I wore a kimono to the final and I think everyone else was more worried than I was about getting it dirty (it was fine).

Cognitive neuroscience was probably my favorite class. Brains are really interesting. I don't think I've studied how reading and math work in the brain before, so that was fun. For my term paper I wrote about the effect of video game play on visual attention processing. My final paper - ten pages - got written in the 24 hours before it was due, in which I also had to do Evolution's final presentation and move out of my dorm. I thought it was due a couple days later... well, I finished it and got somewhere around a 95, so it worked out in the end.

Human-Computer Interaction was the easiest class. I actually skipped this quite a few times (it was a Thursday evening, and often I'd be tired and want to sleep instead) but especially in the second half of the semester it wasn't a problem. We had to do a project, but given that it's a course for non-programmers... I whipped mine together in ~7 hours, one of which was spent trying to figure out how not to get an integer when dividing, and the professor really liked it - it was a demonstration of the composite and inversion effects for facial processing.

Evolution was... um. Well. It was really interesting. But. In an average week this 100-level course took more work than my 400-level cogneuro course where I had to read, analyze, and summarize scientific papers for every class. It had a ton of reading in the beginning. We had no idea what our grades were until final grades came in. Yeah.

For my independent research, I worked on trying to induce different kinds of migratory behavior in Creatures. I ended up getting a lot of ideas for my senior thesis, which I've already started to work on - a new artificial life simulation.

I also worked ~15 hours a week and helped prepare for my writing group's big event, the Reading Gala, where we had a local author come talk for a bit and then had students read their own works aloud. Not a huge crowd, but we worked hard and it was a success. Next year I'm going to be Ppesident! since our current president Jesse just graduated :( We've applied to get an office too.

Thesis, president, work... next year is either going to be fun or Fun. Overall this semester wasn't bad at all, especially since my roommate hardly ever was in our room, so I essentially had it to myself. My dysphoria bothered me a lot - but when doesn't it?

What else... outside of school, been trying to post a fic a month. I posted two in January, one in March (I think?) and wrote one for Tentacle Big Bang, but that kind of got screwed up so I didn't post it. Maybe I'll try editing it and see how bad it actually is. And May was so busy I fell behind on Get Your Words Out (a year-long writing self-challenge) and only really worked on finishing the first edit of my (original) novel.


So! Now on to con.txt, which looks like it should be interesting. I've never really been to a small con before, or a non-anime one, but I have hopes. Still freaking out a little over how to introduce myself, and, you know, talking with people, but I'm hoping everything will go fine. Here's to the weekend!
allekha: (Default)
Otakon log I realized I never posted )

I just found this in my mail drafts (where I save writing I do during work hours) and realized I never actually posted it ^^'

I've been taking a bit of a break from lj the past couple months... not that I've moved onto tumblr (though I am now on it! ... haven't posted anything yet though). I still don't really get tumblr and though I like the photoblogs, there's a lot of aspects of it I don't like.

Work is going well - yay monies. Last week was busier than usual as the department was putting on a tech fair, and I actually liked working at it. I was very tempted to just skip my compsci class that day and work through it >->

Classes:
Compsci, I actually don't like all that much, although I was kind of looking forward to it. One of the problems is that we are using a language I really don't like. It makes programming not fun (in an introductory compsci course!!) and instead frustrating. The professor also tends to get repetitive with the examples. Oh, and last week my partner emailed me the day an update on our monthly project was due, saying he had no idea what to do. I'd done most of the lab for that week already, and then I had to completely rewrite the project :/ When I already had plans. After having work earlier. Yeah, he's doing the lab this week while I finish the project :|

Calc is going okay. The professor has an interesting accent.

Research in psych is interesting. I like reading about how studies get put together and how to tell if it's good or not, and it's reaffirmed my promise to never ever trust a general article on any scientific study ever. Only a few sources get my trust there, like Bad Astronomy. I looked at a Wired article for a paper and compared it to the original study, and they actually did pretty well, so they might get whitelisted too.

Neuroscience is really interesting. The professor did tell me I should drop the course because I'd already taken the equivalent, but I do need both for my major and if it sounds weird, well, he's not my adviser, is he? And we are covering more stuff in a different way... Anyway, brains are really really interesting and I could write poems about neurons, so I like this class, not to mention I'm one of the few people actually getting an A in it.

I still wish I was taking a Japanese class, but between three homework-heavy classes I really shouldn't add another - I'm busy enough between these, work, and all the clubs and activities I do.

I went to Hetalia Day in Philadelphia again this year, but that really deserves its own writeup. And I need to go find that Japan log I have on my netbook...
allekha: (Default)
Oh wow, May hit me hard. In the beginning I had a lot more schoolwork than I expected - there was one week when literally every single class had something due, and some had more than one thing due... then, finals. Which went okay. My psychology class from hell actually had a not that bad final. (For how bad it was: the averages for the quarter exams were around 65, and we didn't get curved that much.)

Then I got a job! Internship, rather, but I'm being paid, and a little above minimum wage, even. It's at Academic Technology Services at the University. I like it so far. It's nice being able to tech-y stuff and get paid for it. The week after finals were over they had a week-long seminar about technology in the classroom and I helped out with that. Then that weekend I went to Philadelphia, and this week I've been packing for my study abroad, but more flailing about that in a minute...

In-between all that, I got one of those emails that literally had me screaming with excitement; you see, my friend Nico and I had applied to be panelists at Otakon this year. We called it 'Angels in Anime', because the topic we chose was the use of christian symbolism in anime and manga. Angels are the most popular, but there's also crosses and if you're very lucky and go to the right series, even Jesus... anyway, we emphasized several times that this wasn't a religious rant or put-down - hello, made by an atheist and a catholic - and mentioned that there would be discussion of the history of Christianity of Japan (yay Japanese history course!) so it would even be educational. So, we waited and waited while saying 'I hope it gets accepted' and 'Well, there's a lot of panels submitted, they only accept something like one in four...' and 'It's not the deadline for a reply yet'.... and guess what~?

We got it!! So, coming to an Otakon near you this summer~ Angels in Anime! Guess this means I'm making a Haibane Renmei costume, not a Claymore costume... since we're going to talk a bit about it as a series that borrows the imagery of Christianity (the characters all have halos and small wings and there's lots of talk of sin and such) but without the real specifics of the religion. Then there's Sailor Moon and Fullmetal Alchemist and Nico took Bleach and Angel Sanctuary and I need to finish rereading X oh and there's Wish...

Yeah, so excited for this panel.

And as for my study abroad, I'm actually going to be at the airport in twelve hours. (I'm so excited I don't want to go to bed yet; I'll try at eleven.) I'll be staying in Kobe, which is a port city near Osaka, Kyoto, and Nara, except for one weekend I'll be doing a homestay in Nara, and I have to make at least two day trips to Kyoto on my own. I'm thinking of going to Osaka for a day, if only for the aquarium - I'm pretty sure there were some museums there I was interested in too.

Everybody on the trip has a project to do. The topic of mine is... kimono ^^; Well, it's something I'm excited about, I'm going to be wearing kimono in Japan anyway, I already know the words, I'm going to be learning bits of it that you can't get from books... so, it was a pretty obvious choice in the end. I found about a street in Kobe that has a ton of kimono stores, over a dozen, including some that have good bargains, so I'll definitely spend some time down there. I want to find a fukuro obi for the furisode I got in LA - I really want to wear it to Otakon! It comes to my wrists, it's long enough for me, the hip wrap is enough, and it has 110 cm long sleeves!! And it's green with real gold thread embroidery and and and I'm in love with it.

I'll probably get some lolita clothes too while I'm there... oh! And plenty of tea. And postcards for postcrossing and to send to everyone I know (if you want one, let me know! It's not expensive to send one at all.)

So excited. The only things I'm worried about are 1) heat and humidity. Hopefully the breezes from the ocean will moderate it somewhat... 2) not having room for everything on the way back, but that's what post offices are for :p 3) ...I can't remember what I was going to put here... um, walking too much?? idk.

Going to go and try to wind down for bed now so I'm not forced to sleep through the entire 14 hour flight. Good night~
allekha: (Default)
Under here~ )

Other than that I've been getting ready to move to campus. I've had four doctor's appointments in the past week, nothing really new except that my eyes got a little worse and I have a ganglion cyst on my foot. I have my dorm bedding and today I got my textbooks (all but one of which aren't actually textbooks). Tomorrow we're going to get a rug and a lamp and probably a printer. I have tea supplies ready. I could probably use some new notebooks. Oh, and I need to bring some cups for the tea and get a rice cooker... So many things to do!
allekha: (Default)
The first two weeks of the month we were in California~ We visited my cousin and went to Anime Expo, saw my grandpa and his wife, went to the house where my mom grew up... I might write about it later.

Right now I'm in Baltimore getting hyped for Otakon. My friend Nico is here too~ Though he's not going to be cosplaying. I spent the last week or so sewing like mad to get my Souryuu costume done in time. I didn't get the crown thing done, oh well, but I'm pretty pleased with most of the rest of it~ I used an actual hanfu pattern that I altered somewhat, it was a bit of a pain with so many pieces (two for the body, four for the sleeves, one for the collar, twelve for the skirt).

Today I wore a yukata and I'm glad we're going out early tomorrow - so hot! And the humidity doesn't help. After dinner and picking up our badges, Nico and I went to explore the waterfront a bit while my parents returned to the hotel. It was a lot nicer with the breeze, and the water is pretty. We talked about various things for a while, then got some ice cream that was so creamy I called it 'a heart attack on a cone'. Then we planned out what we want to do at the convention. There's always so much to do~ I'll be interested in seeing how it compares to Anime Expo...
allekha: (Default)
...I really need to get back into the habit of updating this.

Let's see. I managed to get an A- in Japanese 401, which took a lot of work. It was really fun, though. My Computer Science class was a lot easier, especially since I already knew some HTML and Python. Now I know how to make a decent web page. I'm almost done with statistics, and I'm going to take my math placement exam for the university either this week or early next week, which means reviewing math I haven't used in two years.

I went to the doctor a few days ago. I told her about my always-cold hands and feet and (as I was half-expecting) got a diagnosis of Raynaud's... either Disease or Syndrome. I had to get some blood drawn to see if it's caused by lupus or something or if it's idiopathic.

My new friend Nico, who I met at a 'Distinguished Scholars' thing at the university, is coming to Otakon with me! It took a bit to figure out how he's getting to Baltimore and back and getting the hotel set up, but he's coming! So excited to have a friend along~~

I have a few embroidery and sewing projects I should work on, and a couple of fics more to write for [livejournal.com profile] queer_fest as well as a couple more knocking around my head. Somehow I haven't really felt creative recently, although I think I'm getting out of it. I'll try to sit down tomorrow and work on that headbow for my cousin that's half-finished. And if my brain decides to keep me up till five for the third night in a row, I can always write.
allekha: (Default)
Today's excitement... )
allekha: (Default)
Day 2 rambling )
allekha: (Default)
Far too much to update on right now (tired and it's late and I'm getting up early) but the short part is, I took another chemistry lab course. And got another A.

Today I had the first day of school (started on Monday, but my class are both on a MWF schedule, and Monday and Wednesday were both days we got hit with the snow). One class is biology with lab (looks really exciting!) and the other was Japanese. Japanese class in Japanese. I was really really nervous about that, but I relaxed even just showing the teacher my homework (she writes by name differently... a 'kya' instead of 'ka'). I relaxed even more within the first ten minutes. I understood almost everything she said, so I don't think I'll have much trouble.

That was just today, but it feels like forever ago... today we went to Katsucon! It took us a long while to drive (thanks, slow traffic on the freeway due to various idiotic factors ~_~). Once we got into the convention, first we went to the tail end of the opening ceremonies, where I recognized exactly one of the guests, and only because he's said some very stupid things... beautiful voice, though.

My mom went with me and my dad went off on his own. We walked around a bit, glanced at the video game section, and walked through the Artist Alley (pretty~). Then all of us together went to go to this skit for Axis Powers Hetalia (*adds to 'read' list*) that was a parody of a UN peace conference. It was hilarious.

After that my mom and I found something to eat, and then waited for a panel about kimono. I loved that one - the woman had so many different types, and she explained what the differences were and what sort of situation each was for. And some accessories, too. All of them except the yukata were made of silk, but each had a very different texture. One - a sort of raincoat - had been treated to make it waterproof, and it almost felt like polyester. The fabrics were all beatiful

Then she offered to dress a few of us up to show us how it's done. She ended up doing three people, and the third one was me. I got to try on the furisode! The sleeves were fun, and the silk was so soft~ And beautiful. One of the other girls even came up as the panel was winding down and she said that I looked really pretty in it!

And then we returned to the hotel. Now, I'm going to bed. Good night~

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