Archive for May 2013

Anime Boston 2013 is officially over. Here’s to AB2014!   Leave a comment

Hands down the attendees made this year’s con one for the ages. As a panelist, I saw this firsthand over the last 24 hours. Sunday was no exception. I got to the Hynes at around 10:30AM, giving me plenty of time to make a beeline for Comicopia’s booth. I almost bought $160 worth of Manga and probably would have to if I wasn’t mindful I needed to make sure to have some funds to get through this week and next week. I settled on only getting $60 worth of Manga. The GOOD news is I FINALLY finished my Death Note Manga set. I now have one of all twelve volumes! I also bought some more Code Geass to go with the volumes I got at the Swap Meet last night. Let’s see…I bought a T-Shirt from a different vendor and then hustled up to Workshop 313 for my Fan Fiction panel.

I’ll get into the specifics over on my Fan Fiction blog but I will say going into it I was exhausted, feeling drained and my voice was hoarse. By sheer force of will I made it through the 90 minute panel, albiet barely. I’m probably going to just make it two hours next year as well as find some folks to do it with me. Anyway, after the panel was done I hung around for a bit before I moseyed over to Room 202 (Where my Clannad panel was last year). The room was nearly full by time I arrived and it was still 15 minutes before the panel was scheduled to start. By the time I started it was standing room only.

When it was all said and done, the panel was an instant hit.

The mock trial in the second half was made extra special by the cosplayers in the house. AWESOME! The crazy thing about THAT detail is I literally came up with it on the spot. Oh, I planned the mock trial in advance. The fake case itself I made up on the spot. I have to extend my thanks to the actors involved who made it work. If any of you a reading this you guys rock and I hope you’ll be back next year!

After my second panel wrapped up, I chatted with an old friend of mine from City Year who I found out was at Anime Boston the day before. I then went back to the Dealers’ Room for some last-minute shopping and settled on three handheld games at Gaming Underground. I got Lost Magic for the Nintendo DS (repurchase), Sonic Advance 2 (repurchase) and Super Mario Advance 4. I wasn’t expecting to find SMA4 at the price I got it ($15), let alone at all so…yeah.

By this time I was feeling really peckish so I had lunch in the PRU Food Court. I lost track of time and ended up getting to Closing Ceremonies really late. I did get to see most of the AMV winners though. After Closing Ceremonies I went to the Feedback Session in Room 208. Unlike the last 3 years I’d gone, this time I spoke. Even before I said anything they knew who I was from my recemt forum postings. I made it known the need for a bigger room for the Swap Meet. The short answer to that is it’s a work in progress. I nodded off more than a few times at both Closing Ceremonies and The Feedback Session.

…I’m glad I had the foresight to type most of this blog in advance xD

Anyways, this year’s con was amazing. Everyone had a good time and already I’m making preparations for AB2014. The sooner, the better ^_^

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Day Two Over, The Swap Meet made my Manga shopping list a little shorter   Leave a comment

I was only there for 4 hours but there was alot going on. First, my Clannad panel. See my Anime Blog for the specifics on that. After my panel ended I got dinner from The Cheeseboy before heading up to the Swap Meet. As usual, they used Workshop 313. It quickly hit capacity several times during that 2 and a half hour block. At least unlike last year I actually made it to the swap meet. Once again I ended up swapping outside, though. I’m going to make the case for a BIGGER room for the Swap Meet next year. Otherwise I’m just going to swap my stuff in the hallway. It’s ridiculous knowing I’m going back to that room for the third day in a row at 11:30AM today. Friday I was at someone’s panel. Last night it was the Swap Meet. Today, I’m doing my Fan Fiction panel in the room so…yeah.

Moving on, I swapped for a whole bunch of Manga. I got Bleach Volumes 2-6, Code Geass Volumes 1-3 and R2 Volume 1, School Rumble Volume #1 and Two Mobile Suit Gundam Novels (first two volumes). I also swapped for a Manga Clip Art Book (comes with Program CD).

I’m definitely going to come back to next year’s Swap Meet. It puts the stock exchange to shame. Speaking of time, I’m going to head over to the con now. I wanna get there a bit early so I can take my time in the Dealers’ Room before my first panel starts. I’ll recap today from there during Closing Ceremonies. I’m gonna try to record it with my 3DS but make no guarantees about the quality. Same with video footage of the Dealers’ Room and the Artist Alley.

Day 1 of AB2013 over, looking forward to tonight and tomorrow!   Leave a comment

Before I begin, check out the video game and Anime recaps I did for specifics in those areas.

Opening Ceremonies set the tone for the year’s convention and in a big way. It opened with remarks on what happened at the Boston Marathon last month. It then went right into Guest of Honor introductions. Strangely, A-Chan and B-Kun (Anime Boston’s mascots) were not there. I did see them 30 minutes before Opening Ceremonies on the second floor, though. Based on the videos I’ve seen so far they’re definitely around, which is good ^_^

After opening ceremonies the Dealers’ Room opened up. Comicopia and New England Comics–both having a location in Cambridge–were back this year. They have the best deals on Manga and the largest inventory compared to the others. As I said on my Game Blog I bought a Game Boy Advance SP and 2 games from Level Up Gaming in the Dealers’ Room. I also bought 2 Anime sets from another vendor in the Dealers’ Room. I will also be buying Manga tomorrow before my 11:30AM Panel (Fanfiction: Because AU Can Be Fun) so that I won’t be running up and down the Hynes during the 30 minutes between my two panels or the 30 minutes after my 1:30PM panel (ends at 2:30PM) trying to get buy Manga before the Dealers’ Room closes at 3:00PM.

Anyway, after buying those I bought an Anime Boston Hoodie and T Shirt. I will be wearing the Hoodie tonight and the T-Shirt tomorrow. I had lunch at Wagamama in the PRU. I then ran back to the Hynes and upstairs to David Matranga’s panel in Panel C. Yes, the same room I will be having my Clannad panel in TONIGHT at 8:00PM–I get excited just thinking about it!–was the room where Dave had his panel Friday. After the panel I personally invited him to come to my Clannad panel. He said he has a prior engagement around that time but he’ll come for as long as he can.

He also talked about his cameo on CSI. Here is the clip on You Tube:

If you didn’t know who he was at the time that’s normal. Despite his impressive resume as an Actor and  Voice Actor he’s not as well known as, say Luci Christain or Greg Ayers (both of whom he’s worked with several times). One interesting thing of note he mentioned that many people outside the industry may not be aware of is how difficult voice acting actually is. It’s rare all of the voice actors are in the same room together and even rarer they even know about the character they’re dubbing ahead of time. Unlike live actors there’s no guarantee you’ll be called back for another project, more so if you’re an unknown.

David did offer some tips to someone looking to get into voice acting. The first is figure out how you sound, record yourself, build rep and THEN look for work. Most people usually jump to the last step not really understanding there is a process involved if you wanna be taken seriously. If you want to dub Anime it would also help to live in Texas or at the very least, near Houston. That’s where Funimation and Sentai Filmworks are based. Concidentally, David and Luci Christain are both Texas natives and they both live in or near Houston. I’m not looking to become a voice actor professionally but I will do the first two steps today just to see how I sound as different character types.

Moving on, after the panel I walked around the Dealers’ Floor for about an hour. I ended up buying a hat after spending 45 minutes chatting with some of the vendors. At 4:00PM I went to a panel called Fanfiction 201. As soon as I made it known to the panelist I was doing a Fan Fiction panel on Sunday in that same room (Workshop 313) at 11:30AM, things got interesting. The panel was for intermediate-level writers but I did see a bit of overlap with what I’m going to do tomorrow. Nothing major though now everyone else who was there knows to come to my panel tomorrow!

After that panel I walked around for the next 3 hours before calling it a day. I found out yesterday the hard limitations of my iPod touch’s camera in terms of video length and photo quality. I’m buying a digital camera next month for taking high-quality pictures and video. I also had my 3DS and all 16 of my games with me. I was constantly refreshing the Streetpass ques for the Mii Plaza, Fire Emblem Awakening, Kid Icarus: Uprising and Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy throughout the day. I finished one puzzle, got another through Spotpass and will soon finish two more at the rate I’m going.

Finally, I’m offsite for a few more hours. I live in Boston so I’ll probably have to give myself extra time due to how the MBTA runs on Saturdays. Getting back will also be tricky since it’ll be well after 11:00PM when I leave for the night. I’m not in a hurry since I am going to be bringing my Swap Meet items and a stack of surveys for today’s panel as well ^_^

 

Now Back on Facebook + Anime Boston Schedule now Online   Leave a comment

Two years ago I announced on Serene  Adventure.net I was done with Facebook.

At the time I wasn’t really getting much about of the world’s most popular Social Media site. I came to despite the games offered through Facebook because they were “Freemium Friend Spam” games. Freemium is the word Free and premium combined and basically means free to play but you have to pay with your wallet if you want better things faster. The Friend Spam part comes from the facy MOST of these same games–the growth Sims in particular–literally tell you to spam your friends’ profiles with game requests, etc. This, coupled with the fact although I personally knew 95% of the people on my friend list, NONE of those same friends (not including family) save one person (she knows who she is) made any effort to interact with me on Facebook.

I take the time to add you to my friends list and you pretend I don’t exist? I put up with that outside social media because it’s expected. I shouldn’t have to deal with that around people who obviously know me. I thought about just wiping my Friends List clean and starting fresh but I have 129 friends and honestly it would take me long than I care to commit in terms of time deciding who to keep and who to cut from the list. Most likely that’s a small list to most of you out there but I am super-picky in terms of who I friend with on FB. Unlike the others you’re just better and safer only friending people you know and/or trust.

Anyway, I will check my FB at the same rate I check my work related email: In the morning before going to work, when I get home from work and just before going to bed. I have the Facebook App on my iPod Touch (I have an android phone but I don’t want any social media Apps on it) as well as my Windows 8 Laptop. I always have both with me when I’m away from home. As many FB contacts saw last weekend I’ve taken a liking to uploading pics and videos. I will continue to do so when appropriate of things I come across.

As luck would have it, Anime Boston is JUST around the corner.

 

Speaking of aAnime Boston: The other news I wanna share is Anime Boston just posted THE COMPELETE SCHEDULE online.

I want to direct your attention to the schedules for Saturday and Sunday. Now that I see exactly WHERE the room Panel C is located I’m THRILLED: It’s next to the game room on the third floor!

Now that I know exaactly WHERE it is I will update the listings I have up both here and on Anime Boston’s forums accordingly. My other two panels at the Con will be on Sunday afternoon. Fanfiction: Because AU Can Be Fun starts at 11:30AM and goes for 90 minutes  in Workshop 313 (third floor) while Court Records will be in room 202 (second floor) at 1:30AM going 60 minutes.

Man, this is going to be one unforgetable upcoming weekend…

 

Breaking News: ALL 3 of my Panels Accepted for Anime Boston 2013!   Leave a comment

Two months ago my Clannad panel was accepted and slotted. I just checked my email to get these two messages:

Hello,

This email is to let you know that your panel titled:

Fan Fiction: Because AU Can Be Fun

has been ACCEPTED for Anime Boston 2013.

For the time being, your panel has been scheduled for Workshop 313 on
SUNDAY starting at 11:30:00 AM and running for 90 minutes.

Hello,

This email is to let you know that your panel titled:

Court Records: Ace Attorney

has been ACCEPTED for Anime Boston 2013.

For the time being, your panel has been scheduled for Panel C on
SATURDAY starting at 08:00:00 PM and running for 60 minutes.

I am THRILLED.

We are two weeks removed from Anime Boston 2013. Things just got real. More details will be provided on my Video Game, Anime and Fanfiction Blogs respectively.

 

//

Gangs not quite a thing of the past yet   Leave a comment

I’m one of those people old enough to remember when gangs were a big deal during the late 1980s and most of the 1990s. While the Crips and the Bloods feud is the most well-known in recent American history, many other local gangs have either been around during the same time or have popped up since that time.

One interesting thing I have noticed about today’s gangs in Boston vs. their predecessors of 20 years ago is the engagement in illegal activity. 20 years ago, that was their primary and preferred source of income and most were high school dropouts. Today most do normal, honest work or are really good students at school. Another difference is the age makeup. 20 years ago the majority of them were between the ages of 12 and 32. Today, the age range is 16 to 24.

One comparison of note in Boston especially is the violence both between gangs and their unsuspecting victims: 20 years ago acts of violence and homicides were carried out discreetly or at night. Today there is no preference as to the timing. Once they have targeted something and they feel like it, they will strike. While discretion is thrownout the window today there is a silver lining: They have a fall guy ready when there are “accidents”. By accidents I mean innocents are hurt/killed. They have a sense of honor in that way, usually either one of the people involved in the hit or someone with a clean record if the victim can’t/won’t identify their attacker. Back in the day, Gangsters gladly took up the role of vigilantes, meteing out their own “justice” in place of the law. Today, it’s much more simple: An eye for an eye.

H-Block is the name of the gang in the neighborhood where I live. Their primary territory is Humbolt Ave. from Seaver St. to Martin Luther King Boulevard and the connecting side streets as well as The Mall of Roxbury. They also claim Seaver St. from the intersection of Seaver and Humbolt Ave. to Egleston Sq. including the square itself. They are known to Boston Police and prefer to keep a low profile. They don’t really get into it with neighboring gangs due to their small numbers. According to one source they number less than 50 and it’s for that reason their focus is patrolling just their own territory.

Rival gang members who enter their territory are verbally and physically threatened. If the rival does not leave things get violent. According to my source their arsenal is “small but formidable” so they avoid using guns without a good reason. Again, these gangsters are organized and very intelligent. My source is a member of H-Block and only agreed to share this informnation with me under the condition I do not disclose their identity. Even so I wouldn’t expect them to tell me their real name off the record. The gang does not bother the general public who live in their territory. In fact, most wouldn’t know they were talking to a member of H-Block at a glance. If you’re a new face, they will not bother you if you do not present yourself as a threat to them. The ethnic makeup is primarily African-American though according to my source there are some Hispanic, Asian and Caucasian members as well.

Not gonna lie, much of what my source has told me about H-Block were likely picked up from the movies, Music and the TV Show The Wire. The Wire was a TV show about a fictional urban gang in Baltimore. After watching the first episode on Netflix last night it easy for me to see why so many of these new gangs have been using it as a blueprint. Everything you want to know about starting and running a gang in the ‘Hood can to learned from watching the TV series.

It is interesting to note there is no initiation to join H-Block. Your membership is prettymuch a given if you live within their territory.  H-Block does have a presence on Social Media (which I will not link to for obvious reasons) but they do not advertise themselves. My source did not disclose any gang signs or symbols. I drew two conclusions from that. Either they didn’t use one or they didn’t trust me enough at the time to show me. I’m assuming the latter though the former is also possible. The person I talked to did not have any identifying marks or symbols that would even make it known to other gang members they were with H-Block.

When it comes to acts of violence in the City of Boston, Boston Police can tell fairly quickly if it was a lone wolf or a group/gang that did the crime. Lone wolves are usually caught within days or weeks. Gang members…they take a bit longer unless they have a fall guy ready. Almost forgot one thing I missed until now: You know how usually if you join a gang you’re in it for life? If you move away, H-Block won’t hold it against you. That’s just life. As long as you don’t betray your former “family” later you’ll still have their protection if you ask for it.

Tnis is just part 1 of my three-part blog on gangs in Boston. The next article highlights another gang in the ‘Hood.

Yes, I have been actively seeking out gang members for the insider information. yes, I tell them up-front why. No, I don’t feel scared being around people 10+ years younger than me who are not cops freely showing off weapons. Oh and no, I never go alone. I’m not that careless BUT as long as you don’t act nervous or weird around them you have nothing to worry about.

As an aside: If someone in the neighborhood was a victim of a heinous crime, well…for the suspect’s on safety he’d better hope the cops find him first!

“I’m proficient using the internet but I have dyslexia.”   Leave a comment

Honestly I mostly see this on Fictionpress.com and Fanfiction.net though in recent weeks I’ve started seeing people say this on You Tube, Live Journal and Twitter. The basic idea some people want me to believe is though they obviously know their way around the internet, they are dyslexic or have dyslexia.

I actually know people who are dyslexic or have dyslexia. It’s like autism in which it varies from person to person.  Another both autism and dyslexia have in common is regardless of how severe it is, they tend to be far smarter than their peers. The most severe cases are completely illiterate without the aid of technology while the mildest cases frequently use the wrong letter in spelling (for example q instead of p or b instead of d). Both are lifelong though the latter is simply annoying to put up with.

Before I make my point I want to say that if you really are dyslexic you can stop reading here because this isn’t for you. This is for the lazy or simply misinformed who like to pretend to know things they really don’t know.

For starters, chosing tyo use poor grammar online or in text messages does not nean you have dyslexia. This “Text Speak” that was born along with the internet, while time efficient is NOT true shorthand writing. Nor should it be treated as such. Children and Teens who are “proficient” in Text Speak tend to struggle when learning ELA (English Language Arts) and PROPER Grammar in school. Not because it’s wrong (which it actually isn’t). It’s because they’ve trained themselves to perceive Text Speak as the most efficient to write or type.

The problem with this way of thinking is it assumes the audience will know what they mean. What I’ve been seeing alot of lately on Fanfiction.net and Fictionpress are case examples as such. I’ve worked with students who are English Language Learners. There is a profound difference between someone who doesn’t know English and someone who is just using bad grammar. And it shows. I took an English 101 course a few years back just as a refresher (which I scored high marks in). We did peer revieew work and I discovered those who were learning English as a second language (or third, etc.) had a far better grasp of word use than those who just plain were using bad English. It’s not that they didn’t know proper grammar, they just weren’t regularly using it.

Having dyslexia is no laughing matter. Ask someone who has it and most will tell you nothing would please them more than to be rid of it. In time it becomes manageable but you’re never really rid of it. If you were never disagnosed with dyslexia it’s not funny or smart to claim it just because you chose to use bad grammar online.

I don’t have dyslexia myself though I do know people who do. I find it disrepectful when some people–mostly uneducated on the matter–carelessly label themselves with it.

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