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Month: August 2016

Sabakon!

 

Saturday (the 20th), we went to Sabakon, the anime, video gaming, and pop culture convention held this last weekend in Las Vegas.  The whole Vegas team was there, Lydon on camera, Ramsey doing PR, and I was doing a bit of photography and chatting with attendees and vendors.

I’ve been to a dozen-ish or so cons, and I definitely still feel like a stranger to the magically strangely wondrous land of conventions.  Despite this, I’m still surprised by how different each convention feels.  Sabakon was definitely even more different than other cons I’ve been to recently, but a good different.  While each convention seems to “feel” different, depending on the promoters, the organizers, the venue, etc, I’d gotten to the point that I sort of expected each convention to be a bit cookie cutter with 80% the same layout with 20% of “this is how we’re different!”.  Sabakon didn’t seem to be trying to copy the standard con format I’m used to, or if it’s copying a format, it isn’t one that I’ve been to.  I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the “anime” format, but if you’re reading this and you have only been to comic book/pop culture conventions, when you go here (you’re going to check it out, right?), you’ll get what I’m feeling.  At least for me, Sabakon will always be the convention other similarly formatted conventions will be copying, rather than the other way around. 😉

When I first walked into the con, there was a frenzy of activity.  People going everywhere; volunteers busily handing out badges, and plenty of people seemingly just hanging out.  The convention was spread throughout the hotel, so there wasn’t any single entryway that opened to the rest of the convention.  Instead, after getting your badge, you could go due West into a lounge, gaming area, back out and West to some sort of hangout area (we met with the cosplaying Kiba corgi for an interview there, later on, it’ll be up soon!), and finally you could head past the pool towards the main hall and meeting rooms.

Kiba the Cosplay Corgi, and yes, that is a master chief helmet that he wears sometimes too!

Kiba the Cosplay Corgi, and yes, that is a master chief helmet that he wears sometimes too!  He was pretty tuckered out.

For me, the chaos of rooms sprawling around the entrance along with signs and volunteers running around just made it more “homey” to me.  I talked to a few other visitors as well as some vendors, and they reiterated that feeling to me.  There is something magical about a smaller con that seems mostly run by volunteers but has still reached that critical mass so that there always seems like someone new around the corner.  Sabakon is at that point.  I really liked it immediately.

There was a lot of great content. There were great artists (we commissioned a squirrel girl, viewable below! check out his work here), all kinds of anime and pop culture themed toys, props, and cosplay items, and some really great cosplays on display here.

This booth stood out to us for 3 things. 1) The biggest sandwiches I've ever seen anyone ever eat! 2) The most patience for dealing with us filming right here 3) some super cute drawings, including a squirrel girl we bought for a very reasonable $10!!!!

This booth stood out to us for 3 things. 1) The biggest sandwiches I’ve ever seen anyone ever eat! 2) The most patience for dealing with us filming right here as they painted away! 3) some super cute drawings, including a squirrel girl we bought for a very reasonable $10!!!!  You can see a print in the stand of pics right there

There were AWESOME cosplayers.  Which is great, because that’s kinda what we do after all. 🙂  I love conventions, art, pop culture, etc, but cosplay is our focus at these conventions, and this convention delivered in spades.

Dustbunny here just before her interview with Squirrel Girl LV, coming to a YouTube channel near you! :)

Dustbunny here just before her interview with Squirrel Girl LV, coming to a YouTube channel near you! 🙂

Unfortunately, I didn’t go to any panels, but there were many panels covering all kinds of different things that I haven’t seen as much at other cons.  Ball dance lessons, a very skit-focused cosplay show (including people singing and doing dance routines!), and comedy shows!  The panels were diverse and interesting enough that I wished I had scheduled a bit of time to enjoy these panels (in the interest of reviewing them here of course! ;)) as opposed to just focused on our Squirrel Girl LV & Friends show.  Next time I’ll definitely bring enough crew that I can wander off and do, see, and report on everything!

The cosplay show I just talked about, the Masquerade, was very cool!  We originally were focused on interviewing cosplayers and taking pics of the con, but enough of the cosplayers talked about the Masquerade that we decided to try and record the show.  We recorded about an hour of the show before our equipment gave out.  We had started with about 5 hours of battery life starting out, which was expected to be enough for the interviews, but even with frequent charging from nearby wall sockets, we couldn’t quite stretch out to the full 8 hours required to film the rest of the show.

The masquerade really highlighted both how brave many of these young cosplayers are, and how welcoming and supportive the community can be.  From beginner skill to more advanced skills, everyone was welcomed, clapped for, and walked off the stage happy.

one of the many skits from the masquerade

one of the many skits from the masquerade

So in summary, I don’t know if all anime conventions are similar to this type of layout, but I think I’m hooked.   I really appreciate Momokun making us aware of Sabakon, and we appreciate the Sabakon organizers for being so welcoming! I’m looking forward to the next Sabakon and we’ll make sure to schedule some other anime conventions into our normal mix of pop culture, comic, and SciFi conventions.

Until next year, please share with us your experiences, maybe tell us about any panels you experienced or whatever else I should try and experience!

For more photos, go check out our FB! 

 

Brick Bytes – Scooby-Doo! Mummy Museum Mystery

 

After being beckoned to go looking for some professors, Scooby-Doo and Shaggy decide to adventure into the dark section of the Museum.
They stumble across an ancient looking sarcophagus; which of course they check out. An ancient mummy smashes out of its sarcophagus and chases after the duo!

Scooby-Doo Mummy Museum Mystery Lego Set:

Lego Scooby-Doo: Haunted Hollywood Movie:

Scooby-Doo Episode: Scooby-Doo and a Mummy ,Too

 

Why Bugs aren’t Features and Features aren’t bugs!

This week, I thought I’d talk about a frustration that often occurs from a failure to communicate between project “requestors” and the project “doers”.  In my industry, this most often comes in the form of a project manager submitting work to a programmer, but it could as easily apply to marketing departments, artists, or really any other job where the worker has to be a bit more creative.

Creative work isn’t as cut and dry as other types of work, the “idea” or “planning” person has thoughts in their brain, which they’re trying to get across to the creative team.  This communication is rarely perfect, especially as the person giving the work rarely 100% knows all of the cascading effects that the person “implementing” the idea is going to experience.

Ok, so we all know there is usually going to be some back and forth between the idea person and the person building the idea, then why does it matter whether the idea person calls the product “Wrong!”, “broken!”, “buggy!”, etc, instead of simply saying that there needs to be more work done?  The reason why, as I talk about in the video, is because you can’t get better if you don’t know where the source of the issues are coming from.

If the issues are coming from a failure to implement the project properly, then the developer might need more training.

If the issues are coming from a failure to plan properly, then the developer might need to ask more questions or the project planner might need to schedule more time for the planning of the project.

If you follow AGILE methodology (or at least “try” to follow it), then you probably understand the concept of “Fail Fast”, meaning that you want to get something out there, fail, learn from your mistakes, and get better.  AGILE is totally something that in my experience gets good results, I love it!  But as part of the retrospective phase, where we ask what went wrong and why, we can’t protect people’s feelings.  Everyone, at least for the duration of the retrospective, needs to put their ego aside, ask the tough questions, and figure out if they need to make changes to improve things, or if any issues have been reasonble or perhaps the cure would be worse than the disease.  These are all good things, and they all come from an understanding of what is actually going on, not just blaming the developer and not by shifting the blame to the project manager.  Isolate issues, improve them if they can be improved.

Isolate issues, improve them if they can be improved, and the core of this strategy is honesty.

Thanks everyone!  Share with me experiences, both good and bad, or give advice to people who might read this blog!

Chocolate Candy Coating

Ever wanted to dip something in chocolate? However, normally when you do the chocolate oozes everywhere and makes a rather large mess on your fingers and clothes? Well, this recipe is for a hardening chocolate candy coating. It hardens due to the cocoa butter in the recipe and will stay that way even left out in room temperature (75 degrees).

Please enjoy!

Recipe:

Ingredients

30 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate

5 ounces of cocoa butter (Food Grade)

Instructions:

In double boiler, place the cocoa butter into the top part of the boiler. The water should be simmering in the bottom part of the boiler.

melted cocoa butter - Copy

Melt the cocoa butter at least halfway.  It takes longer to melt than the chocolate.

Next, add the chocolate chips.

melted chocolate - Copy

Stir until combined and everything is melted.

Now, you can begin the dipping of foods!

images for recipe

Caution: Product is hot.

For Cocoa Butter:

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