Oh AWA...I wish I knew what to think about you at this very moment. But right now I'm still on the fence. Well lets just do a day by day account and see if I can figure it out by the end.
Woke up and got the two cars loaded. My car had all the luggage and SHFS stuff and Pam's car had Ravage and K-9 in it. We started off after a stop at Walmart. The trip was fairly uneventful until I got about 2 miles away from the Georgia border and suddenly there was flashing blue lights behind me. Completely confused because my cruise was set so I knew I wasn't speeding, I pulled off the nearest exit and stopped the car. The cop came over to my passanger side window..which was bad because I only had half a window he could look in from because Ravage's diaper piece was on top of my duffle bag.
The cop gave a look around my car and this was the conversation:
Me: Was I speeding?
Cop: No. You were traveling over the white line which is consistant with someone who is fatiqued or drunk.
Me: Oh..Well all I have been drinking is Code Red. *shows mountain dew bottle*
Cop: What is all this?
Me: I'm going to a convention.
Cop: What kind?
Me: ...Animation. I'm seeling stuff and its for costumes and stuff. Its got Scifi and Fantasy stuff..which is why I have a transformer in my seat.
Cop: *picks up Ravage butt, studies..puts back down. Takes ID*
Me: Can I call my sister? She was right behind me.
Cop: Sure. *heads to car*
Me: *calls Pam and updates her, waits for cop*
Cop: *comes back* I'm just giving you a warning. Try to be careful.
Sheesh...So I figure it was the end of the month and he was looking for his quota. I have never been so confused as to why I was pulled over. Usually I know when I do wrong..I didn't have a clue this time. But at least it was only a warning. Rest of the drive was uneventful.
Got to the convention around 4 and got everything unpacked, ironed and then got dressed in Rin and headed to the convention for the Super Happy Fun Sale. Got there and got everything set up while Pam went to see about the badges. I sold out of several designs within the first hour. I had 4 bags of stuff, 2 bags of stuff went back home. That's pretty successful.
While at the sale I saw all kinds of people I knew and also got a lot of love as Rin. I even had a group of AnE people come up and get a picture with me. After the sale I went to Steak and Shake with Hersha, Utai, and a couple other people. We hung out for awhile before I took my stuff back to the hotel and got ready for a very early wake up.
Woke up and got into the Cosplay contest registration line. Got into Tiger which took a little longer then I expected because the beard didnt want to stick. But finally got it right and headed off.
OKay..here is where things really start to suck. I expected the contest reg to start late..it always does. It started 15 mins late which I figured wasn't too bad. Well Pam and I got up and explained the situation with her being my handler and needing to be able to guide me with the walkie talkie from the other side of the stage. For some reason this really blew their mind and they couldn't figure out how this would work and figured it was going to be one huge hassle and acted like we were being a nuissance..all the had to do was let her stay backstage until I was done. It wasn't any big deal. But they made it out to be some complicated process. Since I was a costume classified as "Hot and bulky" it would mean Pam would have to be a "Hot and Bulky" costume as well. With a huge metal dog you would think that wouldn't be a problem. But again..apparently it was a hard concept to grasp. Well we got out forms handed in and just before we are handed our badges..the people who were helping us stand up and 2 new people sit down.
We figure okay..just changing crew..kind of odd since it's only been 15 minutes and 7 entries but apparently that isn't all. They were also changing computers..which meant completely reentering the entries that had already gotten their badges and left. Well about 45 minutes later they finally get caught up and get the issues worked out..and then can finish our entries. 45 MINUTES we stood there waiting when all we needed was to be handed our badges and given a judging time. By this time it was 11:30 and we had been there for 2 hours..just to be entries 2 and 3 in the hot and bulky category.
Very annoyed I headed down the line to tell my friends who were standing further back what the hold up was. I knew a lot of people in the line and it was clear that everyone was getting really angry about the delay. It really was rediculous. THe only reason they gave us for the switch was that they were moving from a spreadsheet to a database. Rediculous.
While I was heading to the lobby another TIger was passing by and got all excited. This one was actually a man XD He said we needed to get a picture together so we held the Bunny plushie I made while getting a picture together. I love it when cosplayers of the same character are actually friendly and excited to see others. It's always fun.
I go and help Utai with Byakko. After we get her into it we head down to the lobby. Quite a few people understood that TIger..was with a Tiger. GET IT!? XD But yeah, several pictures of us both before she finally got hot and we went back up to get her out of it. I went around the dealer's room and went to see a friend in the artist alley. Well when I walked up she showed me the Tiger pic I had drawn and then dragged me over to one of her friends who was going to be cosplaying Bunny that weekend. She got really excited and wished I was wearing Tiger on Saturday but I couldn't ;_;. Just my luck..
While I was in the artist alley and someone stopped me to talk about T&B and artist literally ran from across the room to give me a tiger Tiger sticker. Its adorable and I kept it in my badge holder the whole weekend. Tiger always gets the best reactions LOL.
I got some lunch and hung with Aspen and Kiki for awhile. I did a photoshoot for them then headed off to get into Fai.
Got dressed and met up with Chiki who was in her Tsubasa Chi costume. We headed to the con and..well lots of pictures were taken of course LOL. Lionboogy found us and took us out for a impromtu photoshoot before the sun was set. I can't wait to get the pictures because the combination of the sun and hte lights inside it was making the crystal glow in a pretty neat way.
Stayed in Fai for the rest of the night and even went to the bar for a drink with Utai and Kiki. Pretty relaxing night before I headed back to the room. As I was going I ended up walking back with a Tiger and Bunny and talking to them on the way back to the Sheraton. They were really nice. Finally got back and went to bed.
More irritation on this day. But that was later. First I got into Shinra and got Ravage loaded into the car to take it to Utai's room for storage until I had to get into it. We put him in the backseat and left the top down while we traveled since he was too big when he was assembled to fit with the top up. He managed to arrive safely and I unloaded and deposited him in the room. I then helped Utai into Byakko and went back down to the lobby with her.
I was mistaken as her vet...yep. Vet. I actually found that to be rather amusing. There are also some pictures out there of my hand in her mouth because I was actually tying her badge to the bar inside the jaw so I could go off to my photoshoot. I was actually recognized as Shinra a few times so it was all good. and it definitely helped when I had my Celty XD
I met up with Zip who was my Celty and we got many pictures taken before heading off to our shoot. Met up with Sonja and took part in a shoot that involved a lot of groping and getting beat up LOL.
It was then time..for a very long time in Ravage. I tossed Shinra into Ravage's box and got the pieces out into the hallway so I could start assembling. At that time Evenstar had arrived and was changing into Kurama and she was my handler for the first couple hours. It literally took about and hour and half for me to get across the convention center to wear judging was going to be. Ravage got the usual insane reaction. I did most of my walking upright because of the sheer amount of people in the hall. Met up with Pam and David who were going to be my handlers for the judging and a bit of time after that.
When we got to the room our actual judging time was supposed to be at 1:45. Well..cue irritation when we found out that they were an hour and a 45 minutes behind schedule. I would have loved to have waited an extra hour to put Ravage on. As it was I was going to be in the costume for about 9 hours. So we waited..and waited..and waited and then finally they let us go inside the judging room. I immediately took the costume off so that I could give my body a break. As I was waiting for my judging, Kiki and Aduial were just getting to their turn (they had a 1PM judging slot) and it was well after 2 at this point.
When Aduial was done I went up to her since I hadn't seen her costume yet and found out that the male judge had been a real asshole and said something rather rude to her. that did not make me feel very good about how my judging would go. Nothing annoys me more then when Judges have a bad attitude. I'm not in these things to win but I would like to be shown a little respect for the work I put into a costume. Ravage was really only competed with so that I could have a chance to walk him across a stage. But I didn't want to even do that if it meant I was going to have to deal with rude comments.
Trying not to be too discouraged I got my laptop ready for the judging as we got closer to the front. I had pre-recorded a 2 minute video describing how I had made the costume because I knew it would be difficult to talk about it while I was in it. We got our picture taken and I stood and waited at the bottom of the stairs for Pam to finish. I heard her explain that she was my handler and made my very careful climb of the steps. As I got in position at the judges I was told that they didn't have time to watch my video. I considered standing up and explaining it myself but I really don't think it would have helped any. I could hear Pam trying to explain the materials and stuff but obviously she couldn't cover the sheer amount of stuff that went into Ravage.
Only one judge even went all the way around me to study me and that was apparently Limebarb. The other female judge was apparently distracted by something that someone had gotten her out of the dealer's room and the male judge made some snide comment that I could just barely hear. Needless to say I don't even feel like I was judged and my entire "judging" took about a minute. I was very annoyed. People were given more then 2 minutes but my little video couldn't be watched? WTF.
When I got off the stage and we went to leave the room, Pam told me that her was very discouraged with her own judging and that the judges were really rude and she didn't even want to go to the contest. I somehow managed to convince her to go. We went to find a spot where we could relax and get something to eat..but it was then that I learned of the hotel staff's power complex.
As I was making my way down the hall..the fastest way I possibly can while I am on all four..a crowd was aboviously gathering. Well at one point I was stopped (keeping in mind I have NO idea where I am because I can't see) and apparently a huge mob was surrounding me. I could hear the people and kind of see the flash bulbs going off all around me. But then I hear this shouting.
"EVERYONE NEEDS TO KEEP MOVING. YOU NEED TO MOVE OUT OF THE WAY."
And of course I figure it is because of the crowd but I knew that if I had the ability of move, David would tell me since he had the walkie talkie. I stayed where I was because I didn't want to cause any issues and wanted to wait for the crowd to disperse.
"You need to move. Do you want me to confiscate your badge?"
Confused I stood up because I didn't understand why David wasn't talking to me. When I stood up I came face to face with a security guard who was standing directly in front of me. I saw him through my little peep hole. I must have been a confused looking robot because he immediately calmed his tone. I looked around for David but he was still on the other side of a big crowd of people and couldn't get to me. I looked back at the guard and this conversation ensued:
Guard: I know you have limited visibility but you have to move out of the aisle.
Me: I need my handler..
Guard: I can help you to the side if you want.
Guard: *Takes a rather gentle hold of my front leg and guides me over to the side of the walkway*
Me: Its okay for me to be here?
Guard: Yes, just try to keep the aisle clear.
I think he realized that I really couldn't see and had no concept of what was going on and he hopefully felt bad for yelling at me. I think he also realized at that point I was female and that made him change his tone. I dismantled and Pam and David went off to get food. I realized I didn't have my wallet so I couldn't eat. I texted Kiki who was planning on meeting up with me and told her the situation. I sat down with the pieces of Ravage around me as well as K-9 and just waited for..well anyone.
Lionboogy found me after awhile and we figured out where to meet for our shoot. At five Pam and David showed back up and I got reassembled and went off to try and get to the meeting place. Kiki found me with a sub which was like..my only sustanence for the whole day..so she was my savior. When we finally got to the meeting place I unassembled again so I could eat really quickly. Once I was done I got back into Ravage and since Pam and David wanted to wander around I was left alone..in Ravage..to fend for myself. I hope that never happens again because all I did was keep my badge, walkie talkie and cellphone between my front feet..which is the only place I can see when I am on all fours and just kept my eye on them while I stood very very still. I didn't want to move and chance stepping on my phone or losing sight of it. At one point I stood up to stretch my back and spotted Lionboogy in the distance. He was my savior! He took my stuff and we went and did our shoot.
As we were finishing up David came up and said he had to run back to the room to get his stuff for the Smash Brothers tournament. He told me Pam was just down the hall resting her feet. LIonboogy became my temporary handler and took me to deposit me with my sister. We talked for a bit before Pam and I decided to head to the location where the line up was.
We made our way slowly..oh so slowly..towards the line up. Everyone kept wanting pictures but luckily we had left with plenty of time. When we got there we found out that the hot and bulky costumes had to stand and wait in a little alcove area. Needless to say..not enough space for the hot and bulky. It was very irritating. They FINALLY let us go backstage where they didn't offer us chairs or water. I got out of the suit and just kept my body stretched for awhile. It was fun standing with the Appleseed cosplayers but not so fun listening to the person in front of us. I'm not going to go into that. It wasn't until about 15 minutes before we were supposed to go on stage that they actually gave us water. I was just like FINALLY. And then we started to try and figure out what we were going to do about walking me across the stage. Pam asked every staff member she saw about what to do and kept getting conflicting responses. Finally just before we were supposed to walk across a guy told her it was okay for her wait on the other side after she was done.
I got on the ramp and very carefully tried to position myself so that I could get on the stage easily. I could hear Yaya announce me so I had a good idea when to start moving. I heard the cheer when they put up my picture but it was nothing compared to the ROAR that went up when I actually walked on stage. I had never recieved a response that incredible before. It was amazing. If I could hear it through my suit..thats a pretty loud noise. Pam sucessfully guided me across the stage and I could see the lights enough to know when to stop and move. Even after the cheering had died down there was still a crazy amount of talking and mumuring over the costume. I was pleased. I got off stage and we deposited our stuff along the wall and sat down to watch the rest of the entries.
Several people I know won which was great. Friends won Best Video Game, Judges awards, Best Manga, Best Construction, Best Journeyman..and a few others I think. So I was happy that they at least got some recognition. I honestly knew that after my judging I wasn't getting anything so I had no illusions about it. I didn't care. The response was good enough. Its the crowds reaction that matters the most in my opinion. As I was collecting the pieces a guy even said that My costume was his favorite. That kind of things makes me feel good.
David even said as he was heading to the contest when people were filing out, every single person was talking about Ravage and K-9. That was a good ego boost too XD. David ended up not doing the video game tournament because it started late and even then they only had 2 game consols for over 100 people. He decided it wasn't worth it and left, which I don't blame him for. It just means that every contest at AWA was poorly run this year.
Got seperated from Pam when we were leaving and went to Utai and Dark's room to try and get Ravage's trunk but the wait for the elevator was insane. So instead I went and waited in the lobby while Dark brought it down. I then loaded Ravage into the car and drove him back to the hotel and got changed into Shiki for bar times.
Went back to the hotel and got dressed then met Utai and Liz at the bar. Utai and I had Blue Motorcycles and barely got them before the bar closed. That was all I needed though..the lack of food for most of the day and all the meds I had been taken for my back really made that drink hit hard. When we finished we went up and I got my laptop bag from Kiki, molested her while in Shiki, then headed off to have a piece of pizza in Utai's room. Hung out there for awhile before going back to my room and collapsing.
Woke up and got into the butterfly kimono. Got as much loaded into my car and Pam's car as I could before driving over to the hotel for my photoshoot with Sonja. I was way late..I hate being late to shoots. I always feel terrible u_u. But did the shoot and then wandered around for awhile.
Went to the dealer's room and the niconico people wanted to interview me so I went up and talked. I wanted to read the stuff scrolling across the screen but I was too distracted by what they were asking me. I guess you can watch feeds on the website but I haven't quite figured it out yet.
Said my goodbyes and just chilled for awhile before making the drive back. It was luckily a very uneventful trip home and I left fairly early so I got home a lot earlier then I normally do from a con. Which was nice because it meant lots of time to relax and unwind.
There were so many irritating moments this convention that I really don't know how to rate it. And yet..there were probably as many high moments as there were irritations. So AWA..gets a mediocre rating. Hanging out with lots of people was perfect and fun and the best part of this con. The delays, the staff, and general running of the convention sucked.
Sorry for no pictures in the entry but maybe I can put up a few in another one. I actually don't have any on my camera of my costumes so I will have to share ones from other people as they come in.