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Intervention Con Day 1

Intervention Con Day 2

Usually the third day of a convention tends to be relatively truncated because it falls on a Sunday and many people are rushing to travel back home so they can return to their real lives the next day. There were still a few events that encouraged me to go back out to the Hilton Hotel in Rockville for the third day in a row. I attended this panel discussion featuring Intervention Con founder Oni Harstein (on the right in the photo below) on how to market your work online. I took a lot of notes at that panel.

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

Afterwards I attended this talk where Craig W. Cobalt (on the right in the photo below) talking with actor René Auberjonois (left). It was a really highly spirited discussion because not only had Auberjonois appeared on shows like Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Benson, and Boston Legal but his acting career goes back decades. He gave a really fascinating account on his experiences working with the legendary Katharine Hepburn. He should write his memoirs about his long acting career because his talk was so fascinating. He even finished his talk by singing this brief song (“Les Poissons”) he sang when he was the voice of Chef Louis in the Disney movie The Little Mermaid.

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

After that presentation ended I stayed in the same room where I ate my lunch (which I brought with me from home) while listening to actress Alex Kingston (in pink ears below) speaking about her days as River Song on Doctor Who with Cat Smith (right side in below photo). She also gave a fascinating talk on what it was like to play River Song with three of the actors who portrayed the various regenerations of Doctor Who.

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

After that presentation ended I spent the rest of my time taking a few miscellaneous photographs.

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

The last photo I took at Intervention Con was this one of my program book and badge.

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

After I left Intervention Con I briefly stopped at the Micro Center store mainly because it was only located just a couple of blocks from the Hilton Hotel. I didn’t buy anything because I didn’t have much money left after that weekend. (I spent the bulk of my money on the weekend pass. I didn’t buy anything in the Artists Alley this time around because of a lack of cash.) I ended up having far less money at the end of the month than usual but it was worth it. I got a lot of good advice regarding how to market my arts and crafts on social media and I intend to try to use it. I loved all of the panels and workshops I attended. The only letdown was that, unlike the previous Intervention Cons I attended in 2013 and 2014, there were no vintage arcade games this time around. I was mildly disappointed because I had fond memories of playing such games as Tetris and Wizards of Wor and they were all on free play, which was fantastic. (You can see the photos of those vintage arcade games that I took at a previous Intervention Con right here.) I missed those vintage arcade games. Otherwise I loved Intervention Con and I would love to go again next year.

The next day I did this quick sketchbook drawing showing how I usually feel about going to an event like Intervention Con. (LOL!)

Sketchbook Drawing the Day After Intervention Con Ended

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I pretty much stayed close to home during Memorial Day Weekend. On the holiday itself I spent most of my time gardening and trying to clean up my yard in general. (Which is a challenge considering all the rain we were getting.) In the evening I decided to head off to this bar that I literally haven’t visited since my college days mainly because I heard that it is currently having a series of pinball contests.

I last visited Town Hall when I was still a student at the University of Maryland a long time ago. I went with my then-boyfriend and his friend. At the time that place was literally a dive with some rough redneck looking people. I’ll never forget this one man sitting at the bar who had such a huge gut on him that, if he was a woman, I would’ve thought that he was nine months pregnant and close to delivering a baby. I subsequently broke up with that boyfriend and I ended up with another college boyfriend who became my ex-husband but he and I never went to Town Hall together because I still had less than fond memories of the place. Even after the old Town Hall was completely razed and a new one was built in its place, I hadn’t gotten around to going back. Until this past Memorial Day.

There weren’t a lot of people the night I was there. (I think there was one bartender on duty with two other patrons just hanging around.) I checked out the pinball machines and they looked impressive.

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My personal favorite was the one that was based on the British TV show Doctor Who.

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Here’s the art featuring just a portion of the different personas of The Doctor (as played by different actors in over the show’s 50 years in existence).

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The top of the pinball machine had a Dalek.

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The pinball game itself had a miniature Tardis where the pinball could go through.

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I didn’t stay too long at Town Hall because I was still kind of tired from spending most of the day gardening. I saw the information about a summer Pinball League that was planning on holding its tournaments in Town Hall. This league is affiliated with something called the Free State Pinball Association. The ultimate end-of-the-season grand prize is a pinball machine. For me winning a pinball machine would be a nightmare because I wouldn’t know where to put it in my modest size townhouse.

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http://www.nablopomo.com

Throughout this summer I’ve been dedicating Throwback Thursday to my reviews of a series of books put out by American Girl (yes, that’s the doll company) about a girl growing up in the 1970’s named Julie Albright. Since I was a young girl back in the 1970’s, I thought it would be fun to compare the books to my own memories of growing up in the 1970’s. I also figured that it could provide an idea for some light summer reading.

Last week I reviewed the last of the Julie Mystery books so I initially thought that I exhausted all of the Julie books that are currently in print. Except American Girl has done a total revamp of both the dolls and the books in its Historical Characters line and has named the recent revamp BeForever. (Yes, I think the term “BeForever” sounds kind of stupid and the fact that American Girl has opted to combine the two separate words in one doesn’t help at all.) Here’s is a YouTube playlist of the official American Girl promo videos for BeForever that were all shot a few months ago.

American Girl formally unveiled its revamped BeForever line last week. Most of the Historical Characters that are still being sold by American Girl (meaning that they haven’t been retired and archived like Molly the World War II Girl and Kirsten the Swedish Immigrant Pioneer Girl) are being given the BeForever treatment with their own BeForever books while their doll counterparts are getting new default “Meet” outfits (which are the clothes that the doll wears when you first purchase it). As part of BeForever, three new books have been released about Julie Albright. However, of those three books, there is only one book that can really be considered brand new. Here’s a closer look at the Julie BeForever books.

1-thebigbreak

The Big Break: A Julie Classic Volume 1 is basically the first three books in the Julie Albright Central Series (Meet Julie, Julie Tells Her Story, and Happy New Year, Julie) compiled together in one book. You can pick up The Big Break at the following online places: Amazon, American Girl , Barnes & Noble, Powell’s Books.

2-soaringhigh

Soaring High: A Julie Classic Volume 2 is the last three books in the Julie Albright Central Series (Julie and the Eagles, Julie’s Journey, and Changes for Julie) compiled together in one book. You can buy Soaring High at the following online places: AmazonAmerican Girl, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s Books.

If you don’t already have the Central Series, The Big Break and Soaring High are a good way of getting the story of Julie’s time for an economical price that will also take up less room on the bookshelf than six separate books. The downside of these two volumes is that all of the original illustrations have been removed, which I felt was too bad. I really loved the illustrations because they were so expressive.

You know this book takes place in San Francisco when you see Julie swinging from the pole of a cable car.

Julie's New Reality Part 1: Julie sits down to eat Chinese takeout with her sister and mother in her mom's new apartment while using the packed boxes as a makeshift table.

Julie's New Reality Part 2: Julie's dad tucks Julie and Nutmeg the bunny in bed during a weekend visit.

Julie uses a portable cassette tape recorder to interview her mother for a school project.

I love this illustration of the two sisters playing basketball together. It does a great job showing a lot of action.

Julie and Ivy go shopping in funky 1970's era clothes.

Julie and Ivy, wearing their fine dresses, observe the Chinese New Year's festivities below.

First Christmas with Mom since the divorce.

First Christmas with Dad since the divorce. Someone is not happy attending the Nutcracker Tea on Christmas Day.

Julie does some fundraising for an eagle family at an Earth Day festival while Ivy is assembling a kite from a kit that Julie's school is selling as part of the fundraiser.

Ivy, Julie, and a Mission Blue butterfly on Julie's shoulder.

Julie feeds an eagle chick with an eagle hand puppet.

Julie masters horseback riding just in time for the Bicentennial celebrations on the Fourth of July, 1976.

Three's company as April, Tracy and Julie cram together in a covered wagon.

101-year-old John Witherspoon, a descendant of a Declaration of Independence signer of the same name, signs a Pledge of Rededication scroll as Julie and her cousin April look on.

Julie gets political.

Julie and Joy meet Stinger the troublemaker in detention.

Julie, Ivy, and Joy create posters for their campaign.

They even removed the tiny drawings that were in the margins, which was even worse for this reason: The tiny illustrations were tied in to a term in the story that anyone born after 1990 wouldn’t be as familiar with. For example, when Julie plays the game KerPlunk with her mother towards the end of the second Central Series story, Julie Tells Her Story, there was a tiny drawing in the margins that showed what that game looked like. It was especially convenient for young readers to instantly learn what certain items were that they may not have encountered before without having to do any online searches.

Worse, the Looking Back chapters that were placed at the end of each Central Series book have been removed and replaced with just a two-page information about the 1970’s that were placed at the end of each BeForever volume that doesn’t have the photos of people and other artifacts from that period and the text is way more condensed than the original text in the Looking Back chapters. That’s a shame because the Historical Characters were supposed to teach its target audience of girls from 8-12 about the times in which each character grew up in and the girl could learn the similarities and differences between her childhood and how a Historical Character grew up in her specific era. The Looking Back chapter provided a context for the times in which the Historical Character grew up in and explained to a young girl such things as why Julie had to start a petition drive and complain to the principal in order for her to play on the basketball team in the first place when a girl in today’s society would face little or no obstacles in pursuing any sport that she wants to play in.

For those who already own the Central Series, you don’t really need to bother with the newer two-volume set unless you’re the kind of person who likes to collect different editions of American Girl books. (Yes, there are such people out there, like this blogger.) Since I’ve already reviewed the original six-book Central Series earlier this summer, I’m not going to bother with the stories in either The Big Break or Soaring High. I will only review the third BeForever book since that is the only one can be considered new since it includes previously unreleased material.

3-abrightertomorrow

A Brighter Tomorrow: My Journey With Julie was written by Meagan McDonald, who wrote the original Central Series books. This book marks a departure from the other Julie books in a few ways. While the other books were written from a third-person perspective, this book is written in the first person. The other books took place entirely in the 1970’s while this one begins in 2014 and frequently shifts to 1975. The other books were written in a pretty linear fashion where one chapter followed the other and one book followed the other. This book is written more like those Choose Your Own Adventure books that were popular back in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Basically the reader will come to a part in the story where she is given two choices then turn to the page that has her chosen decision and she continues reading until she reaches another part where she has to decide from two more choices and so on.

Synopsis: The book is written from the first-person perspective of an unnamed fourth grade girl in 2014 who have gone through sudden upheavals in her life. Until recently the girl has spent her entire life in Ohio. All that changed when her father lost his job six months ago and her mother found a new job in California, which prompted the family to sell the family home. The mother moves to San Francisco with the girl and her younger seven-year-old brother, Zack, while the father stays behind in Ohio in order to take computer training classes so he can find a new job in San Francisco and join his family. The children are wondering if the fact that they left their father behind is really a marital separation and it could lead to a divorce. On top of it, the girl also misses her best friend, Chloe, and she has to adjust to only communicating with Chloe via the Internet, which is a far cry from when she used to be able to see Chloe every day.

The children and their mother move into a small apartment that’s located above a coffee shop. After finishing with her first online chat with Chloe since the move, the girl sits on a window seat in her room and she shifts around on the cushion until she accidentally discovers hinges and realizes that the seat is also serves as the lid to a storage space. The girl opens the lid and finds, among the cobwebs, a few tiny items like a peace sign earring and a 1975 Kennedy half-dollar. The girl also finds a mood ring, which she slips on her finger and she finds herself suddenly transported in time. While she’s in the same room as before, it’s also very different. She discovers that she’s in her family’s apartment in September, 1975 and she notices a lot of major differences, such as seeing older circa 1970’s furniture and the fact that the coffee shop under her apartment has become the Gladrags store, which is owned by Julie Albright’s mother. When she removes the mood ring from her finger, she gets transported back to 2014.

In the midst of her time travels via mood ring, she meets a 1975 nine-year-old Julie Albright. The reader soon realizes that in 2014 the girl is living in the same apartment that Julie lived in with her mother and sister following her parents’ divorce and the time that the girl gets transported to is the same time as the first story in the original Central Series, Meet Julie. The girl meets Julie shortly after Julie and her sister moves to the apartment with their mother and Julie has to switch schools so Julie is still trying to adjust to all of these recent changes in her life. At this time Julie is dealing with her sister’s refusal to visit their father and she is still fighting for the right to play on the school’s basketball team. (This book mentions that Julie had just turned her petition in to the principal and she’s waiting for word on whether she will get to play on the school basketball team or not.) From there, the reader is given choices on where she wants the story to go next and the reader flips to the relevant pages.

There are two main story arcs that the reader can choose from. One is to have both the girl and Julie go to the nearby littered beach to assist with cleaning up the litter. The other is for the girl and Julie take Julie’s basketball to a nearby park so they can shoot a few hoops where they meet up with Julie’s classmate, T.J., and Stinger, the older troublemaker from Julie’s school who was previously introduced in Changes For Julie. Stinger strongly believes that girls shouldn’t play on the school basketball team and he challenges Julie and the girl to a match so he could prove his point.

The beach clean-up story arc has the story plots that the reader can choose:

  • Julie and the girl interrupt their clean-up work so they can confront Julie’s sister Tracy over her telling lies and her refusal to accompany Julie on the visits with their father.
  • Continue with the beach clean-up where they help rescue a baby sea otter from being entangled in discarded plastic six-pack rings.

The basketball story arc has the following story plots that the reader can choose:

  • A Battle of the Sexes basketball game where Julie, Tracy, and the girl play against T.J., Stinger, and Mike, a friend of Tracy’s who is also Stinger’s older brother.
  • Julie and the girl play a basketball variant called Horse against T.J. and Stinger while Tracy and Mike cheer from the sidelines. This plot leads to two other plots to choose from: a basketball game of the elementary school kids (Julie, the girl, T.J., and Stinger) against the teens (Tracy and Mike) or the elementary school kids go to a nearby set of steep steps where the girls and the boys engage in a speed dribble relay race down and up the steps, which leads to an unexpected consequence.
  • The girl tells Stinger that Julie doesn’t need to prove to him that she can play basketball. The two of them leave the park and decide to go to Golden Gate Park instead. They head to the Conservatory of Flowers where they find the dreaded Water Fountain Girls from Julie’s school. This plot leads to two other plots: One is in the book and it shows Julie and the girl standing up to those girls. The other plot is one that can only be accessed by going online here and it introduces the girl to Ivy Ling for the first time.

Each story ends at the end of the day with the girl saying good-bye to Julie and whoever else is with them (depending on the story) then going to a relatively secluded place where she removes the mood ring and she gets transported back to 2014. The girl uses the lessons she learns from her one-day time travel adventure to do things to improve her life (which vary from story to story) like trying out for the basketball team in her new school or vowing to listen to her younger brother’s fear for the future instead of always trying to brush him off by changing the subject.

The book ends with a two-page section titled “About Julie’s Time” that goes into what was happening in the 1970’s when Julie was growing up. It briefly delves into the famous Battle of the Sexes tennis match between Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King, Rep. Edith Green’s efforts to make Title IX a part of the Educational Amendments of 1972, and the rise of the environmental movement which includes Congress passing the Endangered Species Act in 1972.

My Own Impressions Of This Book: At first I found the idea of throwing time traveling science fiction elements into this storyline to be a bit jarring at first—especially with the idea of a mood ring serving as a more limited version of the Tardis in Doctor Who. (Ironically this book was released a few days after the debut of the first episode in the latest season of Doctor Who.) That’s because all of the other Julie books were strictly historical novels that took place in the 1970’s and they have all avoided such novel gimmicks as that wibbly wobbly timey wimey mood ring. (Yeah, I couldn’t resist invoking Doctor Who again. LOL!) Surprisingly I found this plot development worked much better than I expected.

I must confess that I was never really a fan of those Choose Your Own Adventure books. I’ve tried reading one once but I just couldn’t get into the idea of jumping around on the printed page like that (although I have no problem with jumping around story lines in a video game). But I found that this device works really well with this book. The young reader is challenged to pick a storyline then follow it to the end where that ending will encourage the reader to go back to the page where the storyline started and pick the other option in order to compare the two different story outcomes.

I found the book’s suggestion to use a pencil to mark off the choices the reader makes to be a very useful one because it helps the reader to know which story line she has already read and which ones she hasn’t read yet.

This book basically teaches the reader about how our choices can not only affect our own lives but also the lives of others as well. For example, had the reader chosen for Julie and the girl to confront Tracy over her lies and her behavior towards her father instead of just continuing with the beach litter clean-up (or if the reader had opted to go with the basketball story arc instead), there’s a chance that the baby sea otter would’ve perished (especially if no one else was around to rescue it). But, on the other hand, had the reader chosen to continue with the beach clean-up and rescue that sea otter, there’s a chance that Tracy would’ve continued with her lying and refusal to visit her father and, with no one else to confront Tracy, this behavior could’ve impacted Tracy’s own life in the long run.

I liked the nice parallel touches between 1975 and 2014. The girl’s friendship with her best friend Chloe definitely echoes Julie’s friendship with Ivy Ling. They even talked in a way that’s similar to the way that Julie and Ivy interacted with each other. The girl has to deal with separated parents while Julie’s are divorced. Both the girl and Julie are avid basketball players.

I liked that Julie’s sister has been more humanized in this book. Tracy has long been portrayed as an annoying one-dimensional character who’s focused mostly on tennis and she frequently tends to mope and complain a lot. This book explains the pressures that Tracy feels that she must be the more stoic big sister even though she doesn’t really have to. In this book Tracy is the most sympathetic she has ever been portrayed and that’s a positive step.

I really found it annoying that one of the plot options could only be accessed online, especially since I was reading a paperback edition of this book, which meant that I had to get up and walk over to where I had last put my laptop then log on online so I could read the rest of this particular plot. (I’m sure that the e-book version is a little bit easier since many iPads, Kindles, and other reading devices have built-in wi-fi so one can instantly get the online text.) This online-only option was straightforward reading text with no animations or videos or any other kind of technical wizardry so there was really no reason why it was placed as an online-only addition. In addition, this online option is the only one where Ivy Ling makes an appearance since she’s not in any of the other plot lines.

I think the online-only text would be a major inconvenience if a person is reading this book in a home or a public park with no wi-fi access. It would also be pretty bad in the long-run if, for some reason, American Girl decides to let this novel go out of print several years later and it takes down the webpage that contains the text.

I just think that having a portion of the book be only available online is too much of a gimmick that’s way less interesting than the time traveling mood ring. Personally I would’ve rather have a slightly longer book with a few more pages than having to deal with going online just so I can say that I’ve read all of the potential plot points that this book offers.

I thought it was really interesting to see what happened to the building complex in the years since Julie lived there, especially with finding out that a coffeehouse is now located in the space where Gladrags was once located. The book doesn’t mention whatever happened to Gladrags, which has made me very curious. Did Julie’s mother move the store to a larger space? Or, for some reason, did Julie’s mother decide to close the store? You won’t know from reading this book.

While we’re on the subject of San Francisco in 1975 and 2014, I think it would be really cool if, in a future book, the girl (or a similar character) would encounter Julie Albright in 2014. Calculating the date of birth that’s in the American Girl Wiki, Julie would be 48 years old in 2014. It would be interesting to see what kind of woman Julie has become and if she was able to maintain her friendship with Ivy Ling over many years.

Basically I liked the book better than I expected from a Choose Your Own Adventure style book and the story options were well written and very engrossing. I’m just turned off by that stupid gimmick of having one of the sections be online-only. I really hope that this does NOT become a hot new trend in the book publishing industry where only one or more chapters can be accessed online in order for the reader to get the whole story. Crap like that would encourage me to give up reading books altogether.

I’ve pretty much finished with reading all the Julie books that are currently in print as of this date. If any new Julie books are released in the future, I’ll probably review them as well. I don’t intend to review any other historical characters books because the original purpose of my review of the Julie books was to compare how American Girl portrayed a young girl growing up in the 1970’s with my actual memories of being a young girl growing up in the 1970’s. I have no direct memories of slavery or the War of 1812 so I really can’t do a similar review of the books featuring Addy or Caroline. It would be cool if someone who lived through the Great Depression do a similar review of the Kit books or if someone who lived through World War II would review the Molly books. But someone else would have to do those reviews since those events happened before I was even born.

At this point, I would only start reviewing books associated with a different historical character would be if American Girl released a new doll whose story takes place after 1980 since I definitely have memories of the 1980’s and beyond.

Where to Buy A Brighter Tomorrow: My Journey With Julie

Amazon
American Girl
Barnes & Noble
Powell’s Books

The American Girl Julie Albright Books List

The Original Central Series

Meet Julie
Julie Tells Her Story
Happy New Year, Julie
Julie and the Eagles
Julie’s Journey
Changes for Julie

The Best Friend Book

Good Luck, Ivy

The Julie Mysteries

The Tangled Web
The Puzzle of the Paper Daughter
The Silver Guitar
Lost in the City
Message in a Bottle

The BeForever Books

The Big Break: A Julie Classic Volume 1—A compilation of the first three Julie Albright Central Series books (Meet JulieJulie Tells Her Story, and Happy New Year, Julie).

Soaring High: A Julie Classic Volume 2—A compilation of the last three Julie Albright Central Series books (Julie and the EaglesJulie’s Journey, and Changes for Julie).

A Brighter Tomorrow: My Journey with Julie

Other Media Featuring Julie

And the Tiara Goes to…—A film short based on the Julie books.

This post is about the third and final day of Intervention Con 2014 that took place in Rockville. For my posts on the previous two days, see:

Intervention Con, Day 1

Intervention Con, Day 2

I’ve been to enough of these types of conventions in the past (such as Otakon, Katsucon, and Anime USA) to know that the third day tends to be pretty truncated because everyone is focused on packing up and checking out of their hotel rooms so they can catch the next flight out of town. The entire convention tends to shut down between 2-4 p.m. I usually don’t go to the last day of a con unless there’s a topic that I’m really interested in.

I decided to go on the last day because there were two topics that I was interested in. One was an 11 a.m. discussion on “Should I Care About Social Media?” and the other was a 1 p.m. panel with the intriguing title of “Blogging For Fun and Profit.” I also decided to leave behind the crochet project that I was currently working on because the con was going to be over by 4 and I wasn’t going to stay very long.

However I was out late last night at the con so I had a hard time getting going the following morning. I ended up missing the social media panel but I made every effort to arrive early enough that I could make it to the blogging panel. I arrived at the Hilton Hotel and I leisurely walked along the hallway. Near the area of the hotel where Intervention Con was held, I saw that one of the conference rooms was rented by a church known as the House of Divine Glory. I saw that the doors were opened and I noticed that this church service was held in a room that had a funky psychedelic Volkswagen Bus. Seriously!

Intervention Con, Day 3, August 24, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 3, August 24, 2014

I arrived at the front tables where I found this flyer announcing some last-minute changes regarding the blogging panel. The organizers flipped the times of the charity auction and the blogging panel without any prior notices whatsoever. I didn’t know about the time changes until after I arrived. What was worse was that the blogging panel now started earlier so I had suddenly gone from arriving early so I can make it to the panel with enough time to spare to being a half-an-hour late to the panel. To say that I found it annoying was a total understatement!

Intervention Con, Day 3, August 24, 2014

So I sprinted to the panel only to find that I had missed half of it. I still found it informative even though I would’ve loved to have been there for the whole thing. The one thing I found fascinating is the issue of whether a blog should allow comments or not. Apparently, according to those panelists, there have been a trend of getting away of allowing comments because of the problems with the trolls and spammers. The panelists made the point that the newspapers tend to limit which letters to the editor ultimately makes it to publication. So the rationale was why allow anyone to comment in your personal blog if it’s going to allow trolls to hurl insults at you.

That panel brought back memories of when I had a previous blog that attracted the attention of a few trolls (which I could easily devote a separate post about) who left nasty comments and I also had the occasional comment spammer hawking things like diet pills that had absolutely nothing to do with the topic of the post I wrote. I ended up pulling the plug on that blog by deleting it in late 2008 because I grew tired of the trolls and I was scheduled to undergo a hip replacement and I knew that I was going to have a long recuperation and I really didn’t want to deal with abusive trolls. When I started this blog, I decided to moderate all comments so I could approve which ones could be posted. (I’m also grateful that WordPress.com uses Akismet which also weeds out comment spam. I’ve read a few of these comment spams a few times but I generally agree with those being completely blocked.) I also tend to close comments after a post has been online for about a month or so in order to make my moderating duties easier.

Anyway, getting back to Intervention Con, after the panel ended, there was an announcement that a special charity auction was going to be held in the same room where the proceeds would benefit the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). I originally had no intention of sticking around because I really couldn’t afford to bid on anything but then I learned that the same guy who had been cosplaying as Jesus throughout the entire weekend was going to be the emcee for the auction. I thought it would be worth it to stick around just for that. Here were some of the items that were available for the auction.

Intervention Con, Day 3, August 24, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 3, August 24, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 3, August 24, 2014

I had a feeling that having Jesus Christ emcee the auction would be ludicrously hilarious and I definitely was not disappointed.

Intervention Con, Day 3, August 24, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 3, August 24, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 3, August 24, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 3, August 24, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 3, August 24, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 3, August 24, 2014

The only sad part was that the auction was sparsely attended and there were quite a few items that went unsold. Even Jesus said that he’s going to tell the management that they should schedule the auction for a Saturday next year since there tends to be more people there. There’s a part of me who wondered whether the tanked economy had an affect as well. I know I’ve had a harder time selling my arts and crafts because of the economy and I came to that conclusion after encountering so many people at street craft shows who have told me “I’d love to buy something from you but money is tight because I’ve been laid off (or my spouse/parent/partner has been laid off) or my job is in jeopardy.”

During the auction my eyes glanced over to a wall in the room and I saw something I recognized from the previous night. I remembered that the same room was the one where the Drink and Draw Artist Jam took place. I made a quick drawing of an anthro female dog, took a photo of it, then left the con because I was very tired. I was surprised that the drawing still remained on the wall ledge where I had left it.

Intervention Con, Day 3, August 24, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 3, August 24, 2014

I took the fact that my drawing was still there as a sign of some kind (as to what kind of sign, I haven’t figured it out yet) and I decided to take the drawing. I ultimately brought it back home with me.

I took one last look at the Dealer’s Room but I found that half of the tables were empty and there were very few shoppers.

Intervention Con, Day 3, August 24, 2014

The Tau Radio Independent Broadcasting continued with their live broadcast from Intervention Con.

Intervention Con, Day 3, August 24, 2014

I took one last shot of Intervention Con before I decided to head home.

Intervention Con, Day 3, August 24, 2014

Lately I’ve been saving on gas by making a point of combining trips as much as possible. I decided to check out Micro Center because the store is located just a block or so from the Hilton Hotel. I ended up not buying anything but I took a few shots of some of the cool statues that came from the 3D printers that the store sells.

Intervention Con, Day 3, August 24, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 3, August 24, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 3, August 24, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 3, August 24, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 3, August 24, 2014

The last photo in this post is of this really cool Mr. Potato Head that was based on Doctor Who.

Intervention Con, Day 3, August 24, 2014

By the way, check out this Washington Post story about Intervention Con.

Late last night I posted online my experiences with the first day of Intervention Con. This post is about my second day, which not only had more people attend (compared to the previous day) but there were more things for me to do.

The weather outside that day was nothing but non-stop rain, which made me glad that I was at an indoor convention.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Yesterday I started this crochet project during some downtime because I had thought about going to the Early Bird Stitch-n-Bitch that was scheduled for 9 a.m. on the second day. Except I didn’t make it because I overslept a little bit. I still brought my crochet project with me and I worked on it some more during downtimes. Of course I took some more photos, such as the next one of one of the official Intervention Con camera operators with his high-end equipment.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

The major bummer about oversleeping is that I not only missed the Early-Bird Stitch-n-Bitch but I also missed half of the documentary Plastic Galaxy, which is a fascinating look at the Star Wars toys, the original Kenner employees responsible for creating them, and the collectors. I’m sorry that I missed the first half and I was too broke to buy the DVD that was on sale in the Dealers Room. I’ll try to catch it online at some point.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

There were a few more cosplayers walking around but it seemed like the vast majority just wore casual clothes.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

And here’s a rare online picture of me with a Doctor Who cosplayer that someone else volunteered to take with my smartphone camera.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

At one point I ate the lunch that I brought with me then I attended a session on “Manga Studio 5: An Intro”. The leader of that panel was one of the leaders of the previous night’s panel on “Comics Rehab: Overcoming Creative Depression” that I attended and she promoted this one towards the end of the previous one. I decided to check it out because my potential future is in a constant state of flux and I wanted to know what software is out there. (I have a friend who’s practically an open source evangelist who frequently promotes the idea that open source applications are the solution to almost everything. I just wanted other opinions so I can think about things, which was why I attended the workshop.) Manga Studio 5 looks like a very interesting program even if it’s not open source. (The retail price is $50 but one can find that application online for far less.)

I stayed in the same room after that panel ended because I was interested in the panel following it which was titled “The ToonSeum and Creating a Museum Celebrating Your Passion!” It was given by an artist named Joe Wos who was the original founder of the ToonSeum, which is a museum dedicated to cartoons and comic books in Pittsburgh. I found his talk totally fascinating as he gave details about the challenges of trying to find space for such a museum and getting the funding in order to keep it in operation. I found his talk so interesting that I would definitely put the ToonSeum on my personal itinerary if I ever find myself in the Pittsburgh area again. (Come to think of it, I’ve been through Pittsburgh—usually when I was traveling to Ohio—but I’ve never actually stopped in that city. I need to rectify that one day.)

Joe Wos mentioned that his young daughter had her own table in the Artist’s Alley. I came across her table later, which had this amusing sign.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

The sign convinced me enough to shell out $2 for one of her small drawings. I have to say that she has a lot of potential. 🙂

I spent time in the Dealers Room perusing the various items on sale.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Here’s another shot of one of the two rooms that had video games available to play. I focused more on the vintage arcade games from the 1970’s and 1980’s (such as Super Mario Bros., Tron, and Wizard of Wor) than on the later console games.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Walt’s Cards & Board Gaming Room, named after one of the sponsors who provided the games for this room, was full of games and players.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

I had wanted to attend a panel on “Living the Dream: Planning a Sustainable Career.” I walked into an empty room that I thought that the panel was being held in. To pass time, I took out my crocheting and started to work on my latest project. Some guys came in and they started to talk about the joys and struggles of making a web series called Shotgun Mythos. It sounded really interesting even though it didn’t sound like the panel I had planned on attending. It wasn’t until about a half an hour into the presentation that I looked at my schedule and realized that I had walked in the wrong room! It was a workshop on “The ABCs of Creating a Web Series/Shotgun Mythos.” It was still an interesting workshop even though I had never heard of this web series before. (I should at least check out an episode online sometime in the future.)

I decided to head into another panel that I was interested in and, this time, I made sure that I found the right location before entering the room. Kelsey Wailes gave a demonstration on how she creates her Doctor Whooo owls. I took a few photos during the presentation.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Here’s an interesting story about the below photo. During my weekend at Intervention Con I had uploaded a few select photos on both my Twitter and Instagram accounts. A few minutes later I got a notification from Instagram that the Official Instagram of Doctor Who on BBC America had hit the “Like” button. Seriously, my modest photo was noticed by someone at BBC America. That was so awesome that I approached Kelsey after the panel was over and I told her about this. She was so thrilled when she heard this that she had me forward that photo to her Instagram account with the indication that BBC America had liked that photo. I don’t know if anything will come of that attention from BBC America but it’s pretty cool.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

By the way, if you like her art, you can not only check her out on Instagram but also on Deviantart, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Etsy.

After the workshop was over I ate the dinner that I brought with me. I also saw the sign leading to this special party that was only for designated Enablers, who are the special attendees who paid a higher admission fee than the basic admission fee that I paid. (The Enabler passes started at $15 above the basic admission and there were different levels of Enabler where the more money you paid, the more goodies you get.) One day, when my fortunes improve, Ill seriously consider being at least a low-level Enabler and I’ll be able to attend parties like the one indicated by the sign in the photo below.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

The Internet radio station Tau Radio Independent Broadcasting did live broadcasts from Intervention Con the entire weekend.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

I hung around the con while killing time alternating between playing video games and working on my latest crochet project. I patiently waited until the 8 p.m. magic hour arrived. There were subtle hints of what was happening on the second day of the con such as what I found at the water fountain below.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con was hosting the premiere of the first episode of the new season of Doctor Who.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

I could’ve watched this same episode on my own TV at home but there’s something special about seeing the show in a large room with a bunch of other like-minded individuals.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

There were also people who even arrived totally dressed up for the occasion, which I would not have experienced had I sat home watching television alone. (Besides, given my current situation, I have plenty of other opportunities to watch TV at home alone so I didn’t mind seeing Doctor Who at Intervention Con.)

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

After the episode ended, there was supposed to be a general party but most of the people left immediately. I hung around because there was one last event I was curious about. It was called “Club 242 Presents Drink and Draw Artist Jam” and I was curious about it even though I left my drawing pad and pencils at home. (I didn’t realize it until after I arrived at the hotel.) But it was okay because the organizers provided paper and pens for those who didn’t bring their own. There was a lot of serious drawing going on while dance music played.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

There were a few people who opted to dance instead of drawing.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

I even shot a short video of the dancing mainly because someone was playing this techno dance music cover of Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” that I only recognized because of the lyrics. The music part sounded pretty different from Madonna’s original version.

There was a bar that, for a fee, served booze so people could drink and draw. I didn’t drink any alcohol mainly because I had a half-an-hour commute in front of me but I drew some anthro female dog. (I was kind of influenced by these really cute Pinkie Cooper anthro dog fashion dolls that I saw on sale at Target. I ended up buying a couple for myself because they were so cute. I should write a separate blog post about these dolls at some point since I’ve had them for a while.) The biggest challenge was that it was getting late at night and I was pretty tired after a full day of being at Intervention Con. I drew a really quick sketch until I felt too tired to attempt another drawing.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

I decided to prop the drawing on one of the decorative ledges on the walls of the room where the party took place. I took a quick photo from that horizontal perspective but I was in a really tired mood and I didn’t think that it was among my better efforts so I decided to leave it on the ledge and left for home.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Last year I went to my first ever Intervention Con in Rockville. I was only able to afford one day because, having attended both Brony Con and Otakon, I was too low on funds to afford the entire weekend. I really enjoyed myself at that con because it was relatively small and intimate and I managed to meet all kinds of interesting people and attend some really cool panels and workshops.

This year I skipped Otakon (I basically contented myself with taking pictures of Otakon cosplayers outside the convention) so I could afford to attend a full weekend of Intervention Con. (Although I still had to commute to and from the Hilton—where Intervention Con was held—because money is still too tight for me to stay in the hotel. I also had to pack my own meals and drinks for the same reason. I was able to get this deal at the Hilton front desk where I could get a weekend parking pass—yes this particular Hilton Hotel charges for parking in its garage—for $18. I took it because the breakdown would be $6 per day, which is a relative bargain compared to the usual $15 per day on the weekday.) Because of the convention’s relatively intimate size, I felt comfortable enough with getting a full weekend pass since I knew I would be doing less waking than if it was held in a large facility like either of the convention centers in Baltimore and DC.

The first of the events started at 2 p.m. Friday afternoon but I didn’t arrive until later because the panels I was interested in were held later. I managed to arrive a little bit early so I could pick up my pass, which is pictured below.

Intervention Con, Day 1, August 22, 2014

I was also given my choice of these plastic balls and I picked the blue one. I never figured out the significance of these balls.

Intervention Con, Day 1, August 22, 2014

The setup at Intervention Con was pretty much the same as last year so I quickly remembered where everything was located.

Intervention Con, Day 1, August 22, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 1, August 22, 2014

I spent some of my free time playing video games, many of which were classic late 1970’s-early 1980’s video games that were put on Free Play the entire weekend.

Intervention Con, Day 1, August 22, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 1, August 22, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 1, August 22, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 1, August 22, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 1, August 22, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 1, August 22, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 1, August 22, 2014

I also spent some browsing the Dealer’s Room but I couldn’t afford to do much shopping. I managed to take this panoramic shot of the room.

Intervention Con, Day 1, August 22, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 1, August 22, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 1, August 22, 2014

The next two photos are of the Intervention Con table which had a variety of extra things for people who paid a little extra money in order to gain “Enabler” status. Among the goodies given to such generous people were hand-crocheted amigurumis that resembled the Intervention Con’s owl mascot.

Intervention Con, Day 1, August 22, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 1, August 22, 2014

I came across some workers putting the finishing touches on erecting a life-sized model of the Tardis from Doctor Who.

Intervention Con, Day 1, August 22, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 1, August 22, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 1, August 22, 2014

There were a few cosplayers at Intervention Con such as this woman in the photo below.

Intervention Con, Day 1, August 22, 2014

I also brought along my latest creative project with me to work on during some downtime. I was currently working on a crocheted piece. I had every ambition to attend the “Early Stitch and Bitch” that was scheduled for 9 a.m. the following morning and I wanted to start my crocheted project before attending this event.

Intervention Con, Day 1, August 22, 2014

The first workshop I attended was on “Designing Your First Book,” which I found pretty enlightening. (Every now and then I have fantasies of one day publishing my own e-book even though I haven’t thought of what I wanted to write about yet. LOL!) It started at 5 p.m. and ended at 6 so I ate the dinner that I brought with me.

At 7 p.m. I went to another panel that I was the most interested in attending, which was titled “Comics Rehab: Overcoming Creative Depression.” It focused on the challenges of retaining your creativity in the challenges of real life (such as depression). That workshop really resonated with me because there are times when I’ve had a hard time getting going on anything because I was dealing with the emotional fallout from both my hip surgery in September, 2011 followed by my husband’s walkout just three months later (and three days after Christmas) followed by revelations that he left me for a friend who also has severe mental health issues. I got some helpful tips (the most important one was to go out and be with friends if depression is too overwhelming—don’t stay home alone). Near the end of that panel, a man who cosplayed as Jesus sat down next to me.

Intervention Con, Day 1, August 22, 2014

The reason why Jesus arrived was because he was involved in the next panel that was taking place in the same room. I stuck around in that room where I was treated to a spectacle that was titled “Cosplay Candidate: The Political Game.” Basically four cosplayers were asked questions about politics and they gave pretty hilarious answers while they were sticking in character to the character that they were portraying. One of the participants, standing next to Jesus in the next photo, was known as King Drunk for obvious reasons.

Intervention Con, Day 1, August 22, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 1, August 22, 2014

So I sat in on this panel for a little while until I grew pretty tired around 8:30 p.m. and I decided to call it a day and drive home.

Intervention Con, Day 1, August 22, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 1, August 22, 2014

As I was walking towards the parking garage, I saw this guy playing the guitar near the Tardis.

Intervention Con, Day 1, August 22, 2014

So it was one day of Intervention Con down and two more days to go.

Last Saturday I went to Baltimore where I took part in two distinctively different events. I drove my car to the North Linthicum Light Rail stop where I took the Baltimore Light Rail to the North Avenue stop. I found myself in the Station North Arts District once again (I was there for Artscape 2014 a few weeks ago plus I’ve attended numerous drawing events at the Baltimore chapter of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School that’s held in The Wind-Up Space.) This next photo shows the reason why I made the return trip to that area.

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This year I decided to take part in this year’s Station North Salon Show and Saturday was the only day that I could drop off my art. (I had a major event at my church the following day that ran at the same time as the drop-off hours on Sunday.) I packed two of my smaller art pieces in a large bag and carried them around on the streets of Baltimore. While I was on my way to my ultimate destination, I took some photos of the area.

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I finally arrived at the place where I was supposed to drop off my artwork at The Chicken Box, which is pictured below.

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Inside of The Chicken Box is pretty eclectic, to say the least. I found an old-fashioned clawfoot bathtub in the middle of the room that didn’t look like it was hooked up to any water pipes.

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I also saw this French flag being hung on a wall for some reason that I couldn’t fathom. (Bastille Day was a few weeks ago and I don’t know of any other French national holidays in August.)

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Once I registered my artworks, one of the organizers present decided that they should be hanging in the nearby Station North Arts Cafe and they asked me to bring my pieces to that place. The next photo shows the entrance to the cafe.

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The official start of the show will begin this Friday, August 8, so I’ll write more about this show in a couple of days. After I dropped off my artwork, I continued to walk around the area while I took some more photos of the area.

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I finally arrived at the majestic Penn Station building, where I took the below photo. After I took the photo I arrived at the nearby Charm City Circulator bus stop, where I boarded the southbound Purple Line bus.

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I rode this bus until it arrived at the stop that’s closest to both the Inner Harbor and the Baltimore Convention Center. I walked over to the convention center where I saw banners and signs pointing out the second event I decided to attend in Baltimore on the same day.

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

That’s right, I decided to attend BronyCon for the second year in a row. I enjoyed myself so much last year that I decided to go back, even though Saturday was the only day that I could attend because of tight finances and the fact that I was attending a major event at my church the following day. As I walked over towards the entrance, I noticed one of the nearby vendors selling these inflatable My Little Pony knock-offs.

BronyCon 2014

Once I got inside I saw a whole bunch of people all ready to celebrate all things My Little Pony. A few days after I took these photos, someone wrote this disparaging article for the Baltimore City Paper about how Bronies have ruined My Little Pony by doing porn drawings of the various characters. She seemed to insinuate that there were plenty of Pony porn on sale at BronyCon with this quote.

“But there will also be artists who add sexualized equine pictures and other graphic images to the internet. Braeburned, Welcome Princess Celest (a link on their vendor profile on the BronyCon website leads to this personal Tumblr, which then leads to this NSFW site), Lil Miss Rarity, and Siden are just some examples of artists drawing not-kid-appropriate work who will also be vendors.”

As my photos show, I did not come across anything that even remotely resembled pony porn. Besides, every fandom has it sick porn fanatics but they are definitely the minority. I’ve seen porn images featuring various Disney characters and I once came across a photostory done by someone in the Asian Ball Jointed Doll fandom that featured one male doll homosexually raping another male doll. And the creator even posted a warning that her photostory included what she called “non-consenual sex.” Porn involving cartoons and/or toys is nothing new but it doesn’t necessarily mean that all fans of My Little Pony are pony sex-crazed obsessive freaks. Not by a long-shot. By the way, in case you’re wondering, I’m personally not a fan of such stuff.

Now that I got that heavy stuff out of the way, here are the photos of what I actually saw at BronyCon.

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

I finally arrived at the Registration area where I paid my $50 admission for a Saturday-Only pass. I arrived in the afternoon and there weren’t a lot of people in line so I was basically in and out in less than 15 minutes.

BronyCon 2014

After I got my pass I went up to the third floor where I sat down at a table and ate this lunch that I brought with me. (I packed both lunch and dinner along with some small bottles of Diet Pepsi and a few freezer packs in my insulated Wegman’s bag because Baltimore Convention Center food is mediocre and way overpriced. Harborplace is located nearby and slightly cheaper but I find that bringing my own food and drink from home to be the cheapest option.)

BronyCon 2014

There was this plushie in an empty chair next to the one I sat in. It was obvious that it belonged to someone so I took this photo and uploaded it on both Twitter and Instagram with a message of where I found this plushie. After I finished eating I left the plushie in the chair in the hopes that its rightful owner sees my online message and goes to that chair to retrieve it.

BronyCon 2014

The one thing I noticed is that there were more people at this year’s BronyCon than last year. I attempted to attend a workshop on making ponies from polymer clay but I was unsuccessful because there were so many people lining up that security had to limit attendance in order to keep in line with the fire code. The Traveling Pony Museum was held in the same room as that polymer clay workshop and there were so many other workshops scheduled in that same room that drew such large crowds that I ended up not getting a chance to see that room at all this year.

Despite my gripe over the increased attendance at BronyCon this year, it was still nowhere near as bad as last year’s Otakon in the same location. According to this tweet, BronyCon attracted 9,607 attendees, which is still manageable compared to Otakon 2013’s draw of 34,100 people.

I spent a lot of time taking photos of cosplayers and the various items that were on sale at the convention.

BronyCon 2014

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At one point I checked out the video games in the Baltimare Arcade but it was so crowded that I ended up just taking pictures of some of the screens before I moved on.

BronyCon 2014

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I managed to get into the second workshop I wanted to attend. (It really helped that it was held in a very large room.) The workshop was on “Pony Sculpting” and it was interesting hearing these panelists talk about their experiences with using various types of sculpting materials (such as polymer clay and epoxy).

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

After the workshop ended the audience was invited to see the panelists’ handiwork up close. I was very impressed with their work.

BronyCon 2014

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I wasn’t able to get into another workshop that I was interested in (it was called “Shadowbox Building Workshop” and you had to buy this kit from one of the tables in the Dealers’ Room ahead of time—I went to that table only to find that the kits were sold out) so I spent some more time taking pictures of the various cosplayers that caught my interest.

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I was able to get into the last workshop that I was interested in. It was called “How to Draw Ponies With the MLP Drawing School.” I had looked up this workshop on the BronyCon website and the description invited people to bring their own paper and pencils. I packed my sketchbook along with my colored pencil before I headed off to Baltimore. When I entered the room, the participants sent volunteers to provide paper and pencils to anyone who forgot to bring them. I was pumped to try my hand at drawing ponies.

I expected the workshop to be similar to the last time I was in Florida in 2011 when I spent a few hours at DisneyQuest where I took a half-an-hour drawing lesson that focused exclusively on drawing Minnie Mouse’s head. I thought this workshop would just focus on one or two My Little Pony characters. Except they brought up an image of Twilight Sparkle and they started off with saying that you need a reference drawing while starting to draw that pony in Adobe Photoshop (which was shown to the audience on the overhead). Then a minute or two later, they deleted what they were doing and they brought up a reference file of a different pony. Then a minute or two later they deleted what they were doing and brought up yet another pony and began to draw that pony for a minute or two before deleting that drawing and moving on to someone else, and so on. They were jumping around from character to character and I literally couldn’t keep up. At the same time people in the audience were asking questions like “How do you draw Spike the Dragon?” or “How do you draw Rarity?” and the panelists would begin drawing either Spike or Rarity for a minute or two then switch to another character.

It was literally “Drawing Lessons for Those With A.D.D.” and it was driving me crazy. Eventually they switched back to Twilight Sparkle yet again (the same pony that they started the workshop with) and started drawing her. I decided to just follow along and draw Twilight Sparkle because I grew tired of starting a new character and then erasing in order to keep up with the panelists. When they jumped to yet another character and removed Twilight Sparkle from the overhead presentation, I grabbed my smartphone, did a Google search for Twilight Sparkle, and continued drawing that pony and ignored the presenters and their frequent switching from one character to another every two or three minutes.

By the time I finished my quick drawing, it was 9 p.m. and the end of the hour-long workshop. The panelists apologized for being too quick with this workshop and they said that at 9:30 p.m. they were going to give another workshop on “Extra Drawing with the MLP Drawing School” where they promised that they would take things more slowly. By that point I was getting pretty tired and I was in no mood to wait around and see if these people were going to keep their promise and provide a slower drawing lesson with this later workshop. Besides, I felt that starting a new art project at 9:30 at night was too late for me. So I basically took a quick photo of my pencil drawing of Twilight Sparkle with my smartphone, packed up my stuff and moved on.

BronyCon 2014

I decided to check out BronyPalooza, which is this big dance party that gets hyped as being the biggest event of BronyCon. I skipped BronyPalooza last year because of exhaustion but this year I arrived at BronyCon late enough that I was able to check it out.

BronyCon 2014

I found that BronyPalooza was a live performance featuring DJ’s and rappers. Most of the people just stood around. There were very few seats and they were all occupied. There were very few dancers and many people crowded the stage and just stood there. The next photos showed how far away from the stage I was because of the crowds.

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I didn’t last long at BronyPalooza. My feet had grown sore and I had to be at church the next morning so I basically left and took the next Baltimore Light Rail train back to the North Linthicum station where my car was parked then I drove home.

The next photos show the front and back of my Saturday-Only pass.

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And here’s the front and back cover of this year’s BronyCon program book.

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I only bought one thing at BronyCon this year. I found this vinyl pony named Dr. Whooves (a My Little Pony character that is a parody of Doctor Who). I only paid $15 for him and he is totally cute. He is also small enough that he doesn’t take up much space in my home.

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Ramadan
I know it’s been a while since I last posted any kind of links to free tutorials but I’m thinking that I should do it more often since, according WordPress’ own statistics, my post about a link to a free tutorial on dyeing Barbie’s hair still remains among the most read posts in this blog three years after I originally posted it online. Here are two more links to free doll tutorials that I hope you’ll enjoy!

First up is a tutorial on how to convert a Barbie doll into one of the Weeping Angels from the TV series Doctor Who. I have to say that the results are amazing. If you gather enough Barbie dolls, you can easily use them as decorations for a Doctor Who-themed party or you can use them in elaborate Doctor Who dioramas.

If that one page whets your appetite for more doll-themed crafts, then check out the Doll It Up website. There are a few tutorials on how you can convert children’s clothes into doll clothes (and if you buy them in a thrift store, you’ll save even more money), making doll furniture from wicker chairs, and much much more! The tutorials were all written with American Girl dolls in mind but, with a few tweaks, I don’t see why they can’t be used with other types of dolls (such as Super Dollfie or Tonner dolls).

I’ve been attending a lot of local conventions lately and I found another one that seemed interesting to me. I originally considered going to it on Saturday because there would be special sceening of the animated movie Jay and Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie which would include not only the movie but also a live appearance by Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes that will include a Q&A that would be part of a live podcast. The only reason why I didn’t go was because of the price. A one-day Saturday pass cost $25. That’s not so bad except the Jay and Silent Bob event cost extra. The Saturday pass did not automatically give you an admission to that event yet if you wanted to buy the pass for the separate event, you were required to buy the Saturday Comic-Con pass as well. The regular Jay and Silent Bob pass cost $40, which meant you had to pay a total $65.

But that’s not all. There was a "Super Groovy" ticket for the Jay and Silent Bob event that cost $75, which not only netted you an autographed print but it enabled you to enter the event first before those who purchased only the regular $40 pass. Since the "Super Groovy" ticket also required that you purchase a Saturday pass for the rest of the Baltimore Comic-Con, anyone who wanted it had to pay a whopping $100.

I not only wasn’t crazy about paying extra fees but I had an issue with the idea of people who paid more for the "Super Groovy" ticket had the right to cut in front of people who could only afford the $40 pass. I was personally more in favor of the usual first-come, first-served policy that usually accompany a movie screening where people who line up early had the right to get good seats over those who arrived later. With this two-tier pricing, one who arrived very early to get in line but paid only the lower $40 price would see later arrivals get into the theater before that patient person simpy because the later arrivals had deeper pockets and could afford the higher ticket price.

On top of it, I was still smarting from having to pay a very high $1,600 health insurance bill. (Here’s some background. As a spouse of a federal government employee, I had long enjoyed being covered under my husband’s generous health insurance benefits. When my husband succeeded in his quest to divorce me, I filled out a form with the federal government in order to continue being covered under my ex-husband’s health insurance since I’m currently seeing a therapist and I also want some kind of insurance in case something unexpected happened to me. The federal government takes up to 90 days to review my request. In the meantime I would remain covered, I assumed that they would continue to deduct some of my ex-husband’s pay to keep me covered while the govenment reviewed my case. Imagine my surprise when I got a notice saying that I would continue to be covered but I needed to cough up $1,600 for the 90 days I was covered while the government reviewed my case.) I really didn’t feel that I could afford to be extravagant so I decided to skip the whole Jay and Silent Bob event and attend Baltimore Comic-Con on Sunday, when ticket prices cost only $20. Besides, the one panel that I was interested in (besides the Jay and Silent Bob event) was held only on Sunday.

Normally when I attend an event at the Baltimore Convention Center, I usually drive my car to the North Linthicum light rail stop then take the train to the Convention Center stop because it’s the cheaper option. However the one panel I was interested in was being held in the morning and the light rail system tends to start later on Sundays and I was afraid of missing that panel. So I ended up driving the car into the city and parked at one of the many parking garages. I arrived early enough to park in this one garage that had a special rate: If you leave before 4 p.m., you only have to pay a $15 parking fee. (The full price is $20 per day.) On top of it, that garage was just a short walk from the convention center, which was great since it ended up being so hot and humid.

I knew I was at Baltimore Comic-Con when I arrived at the Baltimore Convention Center and I saw all kinds of cosplayers waiting outside in line on a bright sunny September day that ended up in the high 80’s along with very high humidity. (It felt more like summer than fall that day.)

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013

In the lobby of the convention center was this really awesome life-sized balloon sculpture of Dr. Who and a Dalek that was done by Starkey’s Balloons.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013

Everywhere at the Baltimore Comic-Con there were cosplayers and staffers wearing these interesting looking t-shirts.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013

I managed to make it to the one panel I wanted to attend. Toy designer Paul Harding and comic artist Mark Buckingham gave a very interesting presentation on the topic "Toy Design: From Paper to Plastic." It was a demonstration on how an original 2-D illustration gets translated into a 3-D statue and action figure. It was a very interesting topic that I enjoyed while I ate the lunch and drank the sodas that I brought with me from home. (I brought my own lunch rather than buy any of the overpriced food and drinks sold in the Baltimore Convention Center.)

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013

They had some real-life models based on the characters Snow White and Bigby Wolf from the comic book Fables.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013

I spent the rest of my time in the Baltimore Comic-Con in the Artists Alley. The high point was seeing this framed The Amazing Spider-Man comic book that once belonged to actor Nicolas Cage on sale for $250 on one of the vendor tables.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013

The rest of the area was a whirlwind of vintage comic books, dolls, costumes, t-shirts, vinyl figurines, DVD’s, and stuffed animals while various cosplayers were walking around the area and the various comic book artists and writers signed autographs for fans. There were some strange stuff on sale like a Jerry Garcia action figure (I’m old enough to remember when Jerry Garcia was alive and The Grateful Dead used to frequently go on tour) and Stan Lee Cologne (that’s right, you now have the opportunity to smell like the famous Marvel Comics comic book writer and editor <LOL!>). There was even a table that gave away free samples of PlowOn Energy Gum. (To be honest, I didn’t like the taste that much although it did a great job of keeping me awake since I chewed it at a time when I began to feel physically tired. I managed to keep on visiting every table in that room at least once. But I would rather drink Five-Hour Energy to stay awake than to chew PlowOn Energy Gum.) The next several photos should convey an idea of what the giant Artists Alley room was like.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013

I finished my day at Baltimore Comic-Con by sitting in on a cosplay costume contest for a few minutes. I didn’t stay long because, as you can see in the photo, the room was very crowded.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013

Thanks to my decision not to skip the Jay and Silent Bob event the day before, I treated myself to a couple of items from the Artists Alley. Believe me, it took a lot of discipline to limit myself to just two items because there were a lot of stuff sold in that room that I felt tempted to buy but I didn’t because I didn’t want to go further into debt than I already am.

I found this really cute Funko vinyl figure that’s based on the character Rainbow Dash from My Little Pony.

Swag From Baltimore Comic-Con 2013

I also found this DVD collection of vintage early 1960’s black and white episodes of Astro Boy. It’s definitely a blast from my childhood. (Astro Boy was definitely one of the first Japanese anime series I ever watched on TV but I was too young to realize that was anime.) Now I can relive my early childhood whenever I want.

Swag From Baltimore Comic-Con 2013

September 8, 2013 turned out to be a momentous day for me and it’s not just because I attended the second and final day of Baltimore Comic-Con. When I came home I did the usually weekly Sunday cage cleaning of my pet hedgehog Spike. Little did I know at the time that this particular day would be the last day I ever saw Spike alive. When I finished with cleaning his cage, I saw that he went into the pink plastic igloo that he used as his bedroom. I never saw him alive again after that.

I first learned about the existence of this convention when I was at Otakon because the people behind Intervention Con had a table in the Dealers Room promoting it. I went to the official site online and I found that there were a couple of panels that I was interested in. However, since I was still trying to recuperate from the massive convention monster that is Otakon, I really didn’t think I could handle all three days of Intervention Con. The good news was that, unlike Otakon, an individual had the option of buying a one-day pass. After going through the schedule online, I picked Saturday to go because that day had the most panels I was interested in.

So I packed a lunch, dinner, and a few sodas and drove to Rockville. I found that, compared to Otakon and BronyCon, Intervention Con was smaller and more intimate. I didn’t have to do as much walking and there weren’t huge crowds like the other recent conventions I attended. While there were cosplayers at Intervention Con, there were far fewer of them and they were definitely in the minority. (The vast majority of Intervention Con attendees wore jeans and t-shirt and eschewed costumes.) The few cosplayers I saw had interesting costume, like the person in the photo below.

Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013

When I got my pass, the first thing I did was sit down in a hall chair and eat the lunch I brought with me. Once I finished, I proceeded to tour the entire Intervention Con, starting with the LARP Room, which provided pretend weapons for anyone who wanted to engage in live action role playing.

Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013

The Internet radio station Tau Radio Independent Broadcasting did a live broadcast from Intervention Con.

Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013

The Video Gaming room had a variety of the latest video games for computers and consoles that convention attendees can try, such as Rock Band. There were also a few of the older consoles (like one of the first Nintendo consoles) that one could use to play older games like Super Mario Bros. I had fun trying out some of the games, such as Fruit Ninja for the X-Box Kinect.

Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013

Walt’s Cards & Board Gaming Room was named after one of the sponsors who provided the games for this room. There were a lot of board games and card games that one could purchase. However, if you weren’t sure about purchasing a certain game, there was a Game Library on one side of the room where people could borrow a game and play it on one of the tables in the room.

Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013

The Art and Music Studio room was a place where people could create art and/or music. When I was there, people were drawing on the boards using the dry erase markers.

Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013

I have to admit that my favorite room at Intervention Con was the Arcade Gaming room, which had a variety of classic arcade games from the 1970’s and 1980’s. What was really cool was that all of the machines were on Free Play so I was able to take a trip down to my high school and college years as I played games like Tron, Ms. Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Tetris, Arkanoid, and Wizard of Wor.

Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013

The biggest room at Intervention Con was one that housed three different things—a guest area where some of those who gave panels and workshops signed autographs, the Artists’ Alley where aspiring artists tried to sell their handcrafted stuff, and the Vendors who sold t-shirts, buttons, and similar geek-oriented items.

Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013

The same room also ran a Charity Auction, which was a silent auction where people could bid on various items ranging from t-shirts to plushies. The proceeds from that auction went to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013, Maryland, August
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013

The first panel I went to was on "Making Makers" and it was given by Mark Frauenfelder, the person behind both Make magazine and BoingBoing.net. It was a very informative panel on how there is a trend towards people making their own things, which has been spurred on by the rise of 3D printers.

Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013

After that panel, I walked around where I found this flyer touting the official Twitter hashtag for Intervention Con (#interventioncon).

Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013

The last two pictures I took were of cosplayers (one was wearing a neat red dragon tail and the other was fully dressed as one of those Transformers robots) before my smartphone battery totally died. (Yes, I stupidly forgot to fully charge my phone before I headed to Rockville.)

Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013

Despite my dead cell phone battery, I did plenty of other things (like frequently returning to the Arcade Gaming room so I could play those old arcade games I used to love so much). I managed to check out Mark Frauenfelder again as he was among those who sat on a panel I attended titled "Revenue Streams: How to Make Ten-Tenths of a Living". It was basically advice from professionals on how one could potentially make at least a part-time income through their own original creative product/idea (like a self-produced comic book). That panel recommended an online essay, which I later read, titled 1,000 True Fans, which showed that a creative person would only need to cultivate that amount of true fans in order to make a living. There’s also a book, called The Art of Doing, that the panel also recommended reading. The panel was basically positive and upbeat and it also had this message, it takes time to cultivate being able to make a full-time living off of what you create and you shouldn’t feel like a failure if you have to get a day job to pay the bills. I enjoyed myself watching the panel while eating the dinner I had brought with me from home.

I also attended a panel titled "So You Wanna Be an Artist?" and it was given by a former Disney animator named Raul Aguirre, Jr. He gave a really upbeat talk on how he managed to make a living as an artist despite being the son of Mexican immigrants. He has a webstie called Man vs. Art where he has a podcast series that’s designed to provide insipration to would-be artists and urge them to not abandon their dreams. After that panel, I attended another panel titled "Sh!t Gets Real: A Conversation With Frustrated Artists" that provided a sobering counterpoint to Aguirre’s previous panel. (It was too bad that the powers-that-be at Intervention Con couldn’t combine the two panels into a point/counterpoint on the issue of trying to make a living as an artist. That would’ve been cool to see.) This panel was pretty funny while the participants provide their horror stories (complete with gallows humor) on trying to make a living as an artist. Basically the message is that many artists may have to get side jobs to pay the bills.

After that panel I grew tired so I drove home. I learned a lot at Intervention Con that day. I also liked the fact that it was a smaller convention because I didn’t wake up with my body hurting the next day (unlike Otakon).

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