Archive for the ‘Updates’ Category

Make no mistake: There is a Cultural Civil War in the U.S.   Leave a comment

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Not since the events leading up to first Civil Rights Era 60 years ago have we seen such unrest as we have in the last few years. The only thing we haven’t seen yet is full-scale rioting. The rule of law is holding but barely and clearly not for much longer. It’s a matter of what and when we will see a complete and utter collapse of Law and Order. The current president is only partially to blame. The clear lack of empathy from him in the wake of this weekend’s events in Charlottesville, Virginia and again in his “do-over” earlier today should have made it clear to everyone in America the only person he cares about is himself.

On that note, I want to now say this to my international viewers who I know read my blogs: I assume you’ve seen this said via Social Media but President Donald J. Trump does not represent the collective will of the people. He has made it clear himself the only person who can speak for him is himself. The only person he cares about is himself. This is the man 55% of voters wanted as the 45th President of the United States, many of which have since turned on him when they realized the truth.

Nor do most of our elected “Officials” speak for the people. The only people they care about other than themselves are the companies that line their pockets. The fact that Domestic Terrorists have been allowed free reign in our country since the end of the Civil War and the wording of the 13th Amendment–allowing slavery to continue as a multi-million-dollar industry using prisoners for free labor–are two of the four biggest factors. The second-biggest is the fact America has been at war all but 22 of the years of its existence.

 

 

Moving on:

 

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This is easily the biggest: Many Americans, unfortunately are Sheeple. Nevermind the Conspiracy Theory crap out there being spread online by poltical extremists. The simple fact of the matter is like Rome, America’s collapse will come from within. Not from an outside force like the media and the government wants people to think.

The ruling class, special interest groups and the privilaged run America. This has been the case for almost 200 years now. They have had that long to invent, fine-tune and perfect various means of keeping the “ignorant masses” in line since the Civil War.

How, you might ask?

Did you know just a literal handful of people own 87% of the world’s News Outlets and Newspapers? Did you know Nestle and Pepsi both own a town’s drinking water and will for the next 50 years? Did you know America’s presidents are not elected but are selected? Did you know Fox News won a federal lawsuit files against them for outright saying are not in the business of telling the truth? Did you know there are not that many differences between the Democratic and Republican Parties?

…I could go on and certainly want to but I don’t want to get any more off track than I already have.

Now, I have made the case on more than one occaision on this blog that the media has been complicit in helping to divide the people of America and keep them divided. Again, nevermind the Conspiracy Theory crap from political extremists. The TRUTH is the National Media is responsible for helping to spread sensationalism, hysteria and baseless speculation. They have also been complicit in densensitizing the general public to death and violence in general for decades. Even worse, they are not being held accountable for their biased style of reporting solely for ratings and sensationalism.

I never used to think about it that way until I talked to a former coworker of mine about it two years ago. He commented about the lack of emotion and the fact news achnors almost always read from a teleprompter. This is to prevent them from unconsciously having an emotional reaction to the news they are sharing with the public. If you’ve ever wondered how they can talk about say, a fatal car accident like it’s nothing this is why. In the business, they call it being a professional journalist and they are WELL AWARE it gives the impression they don’t care. Not that they don’t. Some of them anyway.

So, America is unraveling and the whole world is watching. All that’s left is to watch and see how things play out.

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Avert not your eyes from the events in Charlottesville, VA   Leave a comment

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This is not from the 1960s. Or the 1970s. This is not even from the early 1990s. This is from one of the many White Supremacist rallies that have been going on since Donald Trump was elected president. Until very recently the White Supremacists kept their activities mostly behind closed doors, online or invite-only private rallies.

 

Not anymore.

For the last 150 years, White Nationalism and White Supremacy have been allowed to not only survive but THRIVE in America. How? By hiding behind the guise of “Free Speech”, which the ACLU cites as why they litigate for them (as well as the Westboro Baptist Church). The “Alt-Right” movement Trump winked and nodded to during the campaign were White Nationalists and White Supremacists. Weather or not Trump really knew that doesn’t matter. The fact of the matter is he empowered them with his “Make America Great Again” slogan, which they have interpreted to mean “Make America White Again.”

On that note, I want to say again: Donald J. Trump himself is NOT a racist or a bigot. I will happily debate this point with anyone but the fact of the matter is Donald J. Trump is NOT a racist or a bigot.

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It is also true that Donald Trump did not openly endorse White Nationalism during and after the campaign (despite calls online for him to do so) but he has done nothing to distance himself from those whose rheteoric calls for the annihilation of Jews and Blacks as well as “One pure race”. These same White Supremacists invoke his name during their speeches, saying they will “ensure he keeps his promise to make America great again”.

Why?

Because he used them for their votes thats why. These same White Supremacists make up 15% of those who voted for Trump, a fact they have tweeted to him and Steve Bannon daily since the election. Until Trump publicly denounces them and openly oppose them, their activities will continue. Many Republicans have come out to not only call on Trump to use stronger language but to condemn the White Surpremacist Rally in Charlottesville, VA as well. They called them what they are: Domestic Terrorists.

This is one of the most powerful pictures from Charlottesville, VA:

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People like to compare this to photos that came out of Dallas last year during a Black Lives Matter protest that abruptly ended in violence when a sniper targeted law enforcement. To say this is a powerful photo goes without saying.

Anyway, their ideology is one this country fought a Civil War over and it lost. The world fought a similar war with higher stakes 80 years later and it lost. Yet the ideology has been allowed to not just endure but thrive through the ages. They advocate the extermination of Jews, Blacks and other minorities. They believe there is only “One Pure Race” and for this reason, they abhor the idea of interracial relationships nevermind biracial children. They’ve actually be agressively pushing that last point online urging Whites to “Keep our race pure”. I actually planned to talk about Biracial Relationships in general in an upcoming blog post so I’ll speak more to this “Breed with your own” foolishness then.

 

Look, I’ll close with this. This foolishness is a problem of the heart. You can pass all the legislation you want but the change starts on the inside. Take a look at the demonstrators above. They are all mostly young men. Even I was shocked to see that they weren’t the rank and file Older Generation most have come to expect. Clearly, they succeeded in passing on their messages of hate and intolerence to the next generation. They were lied to and told things that weren’t true in a bid to channel their hate and rage in unproductive ways.

This is why it is even more important than ever for Whites who do not share these views to speak up and speak out. Thankfully, our elected officials have wasted no time doing that. Most of them set the example everyone who is White and disagrees with the ideologies of White Nationalism and White Supremacy should follow. What they want is for you to stay silent. They know your silence means you’re either too scared to oppose them, you don’t know what to say or you agree with them. One or the other.

Do you have to speak out? If you feel as strongly as many people do, yes abolutely. It is no longer acceptible to remain silent. Even if you don’t know what the right words are, that’s fine too. Saying something is better than saying nothing. Even something as simple as “That’s not me.” or “I don’t want that.”

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Boxing Legend Floyd Mayweather looking to play in the NBA?!   Leave a comment

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…Nah, not really!

I did get you to think about the possability though right? RIGHT?

As you may know, Floyd “Money” Mayweather is a very good friend of Boston Celtics All Star Isaiah Thomas. They do have something interesting in common: They are both 5’9″. Another thing they’re both known for is their speed and agility. Floyd Mayweather is undefeated in the ring no contest and like his basketball counterpart, welcomes the challenge of facing bigger opponents. On that note, Mayweather booked a celebrity boxing match with UFC’s Connor McGregor for later this year.

Getting back to the original topic though. Mayweather could probably have a decent albiet short–pun intended–NBA career. It certainly helps he has an NBA All Star as a workout partner! Could have a real shot at getting signed in the NBA? Probably not but any team willing to give him a shot knows if anything, he’d bring in alot of money.

 

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Breaking News: The Boston Celtics win the Gordon Hayward Sweepstakes   Leave a comment

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News revealed to be unconfirmed this afternoon is now official: Gordon Hayward is taking his talents to Boston. Hayward will sign a 4-year $128M contract with the Celtics, who were looking for a secondary scorer going into the offseason. The Celtics got just that when they drafted Jayson Tatum two weeks ago. With Hayward, it’s fair to say the Celtics are guaranteed to return to the Eastern Conference Finals this coming season.

…Mind you, the Celtics getting Hayward means they will have make room before he can be officially signed to the team. Minutes after the Hayward deal was announced, the Celtics announced they have released the rights to Kelly Olynik, making him an Unrestricted Free Agent. More players can be expected to be released, most of them draft picks from this year and last year currently stashed either overseas or in the D-League. Excluding Olynik and the draft picks stashed elsewhere, the Celtics have the rights to 19 players (!).

 

Most or all of the following players I expect to be either released or part of a trade to make room to sign Hayward:

 

  • Jae Crowder
  • Marcus Smart*
  • James Young
  • Terry Rozier
  • Gerald Green
  • Tyler Zeller*
  • Kelly Olynik*
  • Jonas Jerebko
  • Demitrius Jackson
  • Amir Johnson*
  • Avery Bradley*

 

Reports are coming in the Celtics are now fielding trade offers for Jae Crowder and Marcus Smart. Crowder’s name has come up as being part of a package deal. The 76ers announced over the weekend they signed Amir Johnson to a 2-year contract. Tyler Zeller was also waived over the weekend. The Celtics probably won’t have to give up everyone listed but at least half if I had to guess. The Celtics will likely part with either Smart or Crowder but I will not be surprised if they’re forced to give up both to make cap room.

It’s worth noting who I did not name in the above list. Isaiah Thomas will be an unrestricted free agent after the upcoming season but in light of the Hayward deal, you can be sure the Celtics will negotiate a new contract with the King of the 4th. They’d be fools not to.  Al Horford and Gerald Green joined the Celtics during last year’s offseason. Jaylen Brown was drafted last year and will be joined by Ante Zizic, who was also drafted last year but played in Europe last season.

…Next year promises to be real interesting now that the Celtics, who are now a legit threat to the Cleveland Caveliers in the East. The Wizards and Raptors will no longer be a threat to the Celtics or rather, they shouldn’t. Paul George and Jimmy Butler going to the Western Conference means the only real threat to Boston is still Cleveland.

You now have the starting lineup of IT, Horford, Brown, Tatum and Hayward. The next thing the Celtics will need to work on during the offseason is making sure they have enough players who can come off the bench to relieve the starters. LeBron James commented after Game 1 of the ECF the thing that makes the Celtics a challenge is how many options they have to go at you. No doubt the Celtics will want to keep enough supporting players to keep the rest of the east on their toes.

Update 7-7-2017:

As of this morning, Kelly Olynik has signed on with the Heat and Avery Bradley has been traded to the Pistons. The Celtics have reportedly been “aggressively” shopping Bradley, Crowder and Smart in the last few days to make room to sign Gordon Hayward. They have also released Olynik, Amir Johnson and Tyler Zeller. The Bradley Trade creates enough cap space for Hayward to be signed though they still might have to deal Crowder or Smart, likely in a trade.

Bradley’s gonna be a core player in Detroit and could make the All Star team this season. Everyone knows what he can do so…yeah. It’s sad to lose him like this but he’ll flourish with the Pistons.

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…That brings me to the latest trade rumor: Now that Hayward’s a done deal, the Celtics are apparently very interested in getting NBA Veteran Marc Gasol from the Grizzlies. It would be a trade obviously and the Celtics can certainly trade for him. If the Celtics can pull the trigger and get him, it will be 2008 all over again. LOL. The Celtics could deal Crowder, Rozier and a draft pick for him. It would be win-win for both teams ^_^

 

 

Boston Celtics return the ECF for the first time since 2012; Celtics get the #1 Draft Pick in the NBA Lottery   Leave a comment

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…The rich get richer as the Boston Celtics got the #1 Draft Pick in the 2017-18 NBA Draft. The NBA Lottery took place last night in New York. The Celtics went in with a 25% chance of getting the #1 pick. Not only are the Celtics back in the Eastern Conference Finals (ECF) for the first time since 2012, they will have the means to challenge LBJ and the Cavs next year in the ECF. The Celtics secured the #1 seed this year by luck. Next year will surely be different.

Last year’s draft was a 2-man draft (Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram). The Celtics lucked out when they drafted Jaylen Brown third: Simmons missed the season due to injury while Ingram and the Lakers tanked hard enough to get the 2nd overall pick in this year’s draft due to the very public Family Feud at the top.

Now the Celtics have the #1 Draft Pick which means they will likely go with the best prospect available: Markus Fultz. Speaking of the NBA Draft, everyone knows about LaVar Ball and his son Lonzo Ball. I’ll be blunt: Best-case scenario, Lonzo goes undrafted. That’s what he deserves no thanks to his outspoken father.

The 2017-18 NBA Draft will happen on June 22.

Let us all take a moment to thank the Brooklyn Nets, who we got us this pick from the trade that sent Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett from Boston to Brooklyn back in 2012. As of last night, history will probably record the trade as the worst trade in NBA history. The Celtics have had the rights to the Nets pick ever since.

Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Evan Turner (now with the Blazers), Jared Sullinger (now with Toronto), Terry Rozier, Jae Crowder and many others drafted since then. Would people be talking about them if they were drafted by Brooklyn instead of Boston? Nope!

 

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The other big Celtics-related news is of course, the ECF. Game 1 is tonight in Boston. As usual, the pundits say the Celtics have no chance. They said the same during the first round vs. Chicago. The Celtics won in 6 games. They said the Celtics had no answer for John Wall and Bradley Beal in the Second Round. the Celtics sealed the deal in Game 7.

This brings us to the Isaiah Thomas and the Celtics vs. Lebron James and the Cavs in the ECF. LBJ and the Celtics have quite a history going back to the 2008 playoffs that ended with the Celtics winning their last NBA Championship. The Celtics denied LBJ again the following year, leading to him taking his talents to the Miami Heat. Backed by Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, LBJ won two titles with the Heat before returning to Cleveland. He fulfilled the promise he made when he returned by leading the Cavs to the franchise’s first title last year.

The odds heavily favor the Cavs. Some even say the Cavs will sweep the Celtics. Many of the same chatter said the Bulls would win in 7 (Boston won in 6) and the Wizards would win in 6 (Boston won in 7).  Do the Celtics have a real shot at beating the Cavs? Yes they do but it will take a team effort. We saw Kelly Olynik step up and help get the Celtics past Washington when they shut down IT4 in games 3, 4 and 6. Gerald Green’s sure to see alot of minutes in this series. Possibly Jaylen Brown.

Boston getting swept? Not gonna happen. My prediction is this: Each game will be decided in the 4th Quarter. IT4’s going to remind everyone why he’s called the King of the 4th. I also see 4-7 other players having big moments, too. Among them Jaylen Brown, Al Horford and Avery Bradley. I think the Washington series–and especially Game 7–was the confidence builder the bench needed to know they need to step up big time if they want a real shot at getting past the defending NBA Champions.

I know they can.It’s just about making it happen ^_^

The Boston Celtics end the 2016-17 Season on top of the East; Playoffs begin April 15   Leave a comment

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Here are the 16 teams that made the cut. The Heat became the odd team out in the East with the Pacers and Bulls both winning their final games of the season. The Celtics clinched the top spot in the East tonight after the Cavs lost their final game of the season (LBJ, JR Smith and Kevin Love all sat out the game). The Celtics, on the other hand won their last game and yes Isaiah Thomas played (LOL!).

Like the last two years, it’s question of who can upset the Warriors and the Cavs–the odds-on favorites to return to the NBA Finals for the third year in a row–which as of right now appears to be nobody. Remember: The Cavs went full-power and curb-stomped the Celtics in Boston last week just to assert their dominence in the East and remind everyone they are the defending NBA Champions. It quickly made you forget the fact the Celtics beat both the Cavs and Warriors on the road last season (Ending the Warriors’ then 34-game win streak in the process).

Speaking of the home team, at the very least they should make it out of the first round this year. It pleases me greatly to know the third overall pick of the 2016-17 NBA Draft–Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown–will be going to the NBA Playoffs while Brandon Ingram (LA Lakers) and Ben Simmons (76ers), who were drafted ahead of him will watch the playoffs from home. I delight in the irony given the 2016-17 draft was viewed as a 2-man draft in referral to Simmons and Ingram. Simmons got hurt during the preseason and missed most of the season while mismanagement within the Lakers front office ensured they would have a losing record once again. LOL.

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….Back to talking about Celtics Basketball though.

Despite the criticism the Celtics received for “only” getting Al Horford, keeping two of their six Draft picks (Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier) and stashing the three they kept in Europe or the D-League (Ben Bentil, Gerchon Jabusele and Ante Zizic) the Celtics are in the same position they were last year: Having the assets to literally get anyone they want.

Looking at the playoff picture (and assuming Avery Bradley doesn’t get hurt like he did the last two years LOL), they should get past the Bulls in 5 or 6 games. It helps they have Homecourt advantage. This will make it the first time the Celtcs get out of the first round since Brad Stevens became head coach of the team (falling to the Hawks the last two straight years).

The Wizards are predicted to advance to the second round so they would play the Celtics after their series with the Hawks. The Raptors and Cavs will have their rematch of last year’s ECF in the second round. The Celtics would be looking to get some revenge on John Wall and Bradley Beal in the Second round series. If the Celtics can get past the Wizards in the second round they’ll likely face the Cavs in the ECF.

…Celtics vs. Cavs in the ECF would be a huge draw =O

Once the NBA Playoffs ends, the big question to be asked is “Will the Celtics pull the trigger on getting a superstar this time?!” Only Danny Ainge knows. Many signs point to yes ^_^

Anime Boston 2016 Full Recap   Leave a comment

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Up to now, I did each day in a separate post. AB2016 was more of a blur for me mostly because of how I decided to use my time at the convention and the fact that I was a panelist for the 5th year in a row. This was my first time doing the convention with no budget. The only reason I was able to get through the weekend is because I commuted from home. I can’t imagine I would have been able to get through the weekend if I was in a hotel room because of the added expenses that comes with that. I digress. My financial problems aside, overall I had a pleasant experience.

Anyone who was there and/or followed the goings-on via the Anime Boston Social Facebook Group–which by the way is run and maintained by congoers, NOT the convention itself–was quickly made aware of the lines to get into the Hynes, which were an unfortunate side effect from the increased security presence in the Hynes Convention Center. For those who didn’t know, there was an incident at the Hynes last summer involving a mass shooting plot. Due to this and the Boston Marathon Bombing in 2013, security was stepped up for Anime Boston 2016.

Before I continue, the rest of this recap will be broken up into several categories. Those who are familiar with my Video Game Blog know when I review things, I rate them on a scale of 1 to 10. The same will be done for each category I score below.

Line Flow – 4/10

Easily issue #1 at AB2016. It was atrocious. I heard two particular horror stories that struck a nerve from two folks who gave their experience at the Convention Feedback on Sunday after Closing Ceremonies. For those who don’t know, Convention Feedback is held after Closing Ceremonies in room 208 from 4:00PM to 5:00PM. The heads of all of Anime Boston’s departments, the chair and vice chair are there to listen to your feedback and answer any questions you may have. I’m giving this its own section so I’ll leave it at that for now.

Back to this though: Unlike years’ past, the line problems were exclusively around getting into the con. AB’s had a crapton of bad luck in recent years with the security subcontractors the Hynes hires. This year was possibly the worst yet. I followed the goings-on via Facebook on my cellphone. It was painfully clear most of the security detail didn’t want to be there. After the Prudential Center as usual made noise about the mall entrance to the Hynes being so backed up it became a fire hazard, AB Staff closed the entrance at intervals and moved everyone to the Boylston st. Entrance.

The root cause of the problem, of course was the security checkpoints. For many, it took them 30 minutes minimum to get into the Hynes. It goes without saying those who got in avoided leaving the Hynes unless they had to in order to avoid the line that oftentimes wrapped around the side of the building. I want to again stress the root cause of the lines is the security checkpoints which Anime Boston has no control over.

Unfortunately, they will remain until enough people decide they don’t want to live like that anymore. You will need to contact State Lawmakers and the Hynes and let them know how much the security checkpoints effected your ability to enjoy the convention. Increased security has become the norm since 9/11 but the problem is it’s never lowered once raised. If you don’t speak out, the powers that be see no reason to lower them. That’s the trick, actually.

Here’s some food for thought for those who don’t see this as a “problem”: I have attended the Boston Marathon in the 3 years since the bombing in 2013. Boston Police has security checkpoints all over Copley Square, which is the finish line. As you can probably guess, hundreds of thousands of spectators converge at the finish line–easily much more than Anime Boston’s 25,000 to 30,000 attendees each year–to watch the runners finish the race.

How long does it take to pass through security? 5 minutes max. No metal detectors. No one yelling at you. They check your bag, wand you and you’re on your way in 30 seconds tops. Same city. Same area. Different mindset. I posed the question on Anime Boston’s forums a short time ago to see if changing who does security would help.

Dining Options – 4/10

…For those who didn’t know, the Prudential Center’s food court was closed in the summer of 2015 and was replaced with an Eataly, which is a hybrid Supermarket and Restaurant. Still under construction at the time, this slashed the dinining options for congoers, the majority of whom were either on a budget or like me had no food budget (LOL). This is actually outside Anime Boston’s juristiction but I felt the need to mention it anyway as a Boston native myself.

 

Video Selections – 8/10

As in years past, AB2016 offered a mix of mainstream dubbed anime, mainstream subbed anime and new anime of both types being introduced at the con. All courtesy of the industry of course. One Punch Man was a huge draw of course. Most of the anime, I’d say most Congoers had at least heard of overall. It was nice to see Summer Wars, Angel Beats, Ouran High School Host Club, Spice & Wolf and The Last: Naruto the Movie among the featured anime. I say that because I own ALL of them ^_^

My Panels – 7/10

I decided to mark my 5th staight year as a panelist by doing two panels I’ve done before. One was of course my Clannad panel. The other was my Persona 4 Panel, which I also did at AB2014. Attendance at both was pretty good. Unike AB2015 there were no delays with the start times (WOOT!) and even better, no major technical problems (LOL!). Steam randomly decided to do an update when I did a demonstration of the Clannad VN on my laptop. One lucky Congoer got to play the first 15 minutes of the Clannad VN =O

…Fortunately, I had planned to do my Q&A at the same time so it was a minor delay. It was my 5th and likely final time doing my Clannad panel at Anime Boston. Now that the Clannad VN has (FINALLY!) been released in North America, I felt it was a good time to retire the panel. Even though most of the friends I made because of Clannad have since moved on to other fandoms, it will always be my favorite Anime of all time.

My Persona 4 panel is why I rated this secfion a 7/10: I ended up having to change a few things on the fly. I DID allow two Congoers to sample Persona 4 Golden and Persona 4: Dancing All Night during my Q&A session (As a reminder, I have two Vitas). I also gave away my Persona Arcana deck at the end of the panel. I consider myself lucky even though I had an hour I only used 45 minutes. I feel like with my Persona panel I did a bit too much improvising. In comparison, when I did my Clannad panel the next morning I was feeling extremely comfortable.

Dealer’s Room – N/A

As I mentioned at the top I was broke going into AB2016 so I basically avoided the dealer’s room like The Plague. The one time I remember setting foot in there was for a pre-arranged item swap with a friend of mine working one of the booths. I did chat with the owner of Comicopia for a few minutes on Sunday now that I’m thinking about it.

Convention Feedback – 10/10

Convention organizers did not shy away from the widely reported horror stories involving Line Flow and the Security Firm hired to handle security for the weekend. It goes without saying it took up almost all of the alotted time. AB was in full-on damage control, which when you think about it was pretty unfair since they have no control over the security checkpoints. I was impressed but unsurprised the feedback session had a large turnout. Most of those who provided feedback either shared their experience in what’s been dubbed LineCon 2.0.

Huge props to event organizers on a job well done. They knew going in what the main topic was going to be and they handled the criticism like professionals. On that note, it’s worth pointing out NONE of AB staff are paid including the department heads. It’s all a labor of love ^_^

 

Overall – 8/10

Despite the bottleneck at the security checkpoints things went pretty well. Despite being broke, I had a good time. Of course, being broke meant I had no reason to leave the Hynes until I was ready to go home. I didn’t mind not being able to go in the Dealer’s Room but I DID mind not having the money to buy food. Never again. LOL.
…And there you have it.

Ironically, I posted this 5 days before AB2017. I seriously forgot about it due to problems in my personal life before, during and since AB2016. As it happens, for a while I faced the reality I would not make it to AB2017. Then I got my tax return ^_^

This year I have a little bit of money so I’ll be able to eat, travel and do a little shopping in the Dealer’s Room. I actually entertained getting a hotel room for Saturday night but in the end I have decided not to. Instead, I’ll take a cab from Forest Hills Saturday night like I’ve done in the past. It also helps my birthday is the Thursday of pre-registration so…yeah. LOL.

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