Note: This is a freewrite. This is an article without order or structure.
Disclaimer: To my fellow St. Louis weeaboos: This is not a jab towards the anime conventions Anime St. Louis (ASTL) and Anime Senpai. Although people wouldn’t have to jab at these cons and go outside of the STL area for bigger and better cons if these two cons weren’t doing the same bullshit every year.
There’s something magical about older, fan-run local conventions. I guess it’s because these conventions are run by fans who came from an era were conventions weren’t a place for popularity contest (through cosplay or otherwise). An era was being a nerd wasn’t mainstream or cool. Fans came out to these events and cosplay because of their passion, love, and respect for nerd culture.
To me, this is why Archon St. Louis stands out as the dominant force in the St. Louis convention scene. Plus, there’s the appeal of Archon allowing room parties and people to drink alcohol (in the hotel area) without stuck-up straight edge weeaboos being mad; Unlike other local conventions (such as Anine St. Louis) that claim to be “Family-Friendly”, but you have cosplayers high on hard drugs at the rave, weebs getting wasted on the con floor because they can’t handle their liquor, and otakus having orgies at the main con hotel.
(We still remember that Homestuck orgy from an ASTL long since passed you sick fucks.)
But what is Archon? Archon is an internationally known sci-fi and fantasy convention (they carter to other media pop culture group, but Archon’s bread-and-butter is the sci-fi and fantasy side of the game). Every year, Archon brings in world-renown figures hailing from the world of entertainment. Iconic figures such as George R.R. Martin (the first guest of Archon), Ray Bradbury, Billy West, and Phil LaMarr have graced Archon with their presence: bringing in thousands of their fans to their standing room only panels.
Sure, you can see them at panels at the bigger conventions such as San Diego Comic Con or Dragon Con; but what makes Archon worth going is that personal experience of being with these guests at their panels of say 500-1000 people; as opposed to those larger conventions and being in a room with these icons with 3,000-5,000 nerds. Would you rather waste thousands and thousands of dollars at these gigantic, cramped conventions where the odds of you meeting these guests and have a short chat with them are lower than you fucking a fine cosplayer at your hotel room?
Or would you spend the time and money traveling to a smaller, more warm and welcoming conventions where you can spend an intimate time with the guests?
Now that I think about it, it’s funny how I use the words “warm” and “intimate” to describe the Archon experience. Again, it does go back to how Archon is run by OG (original gangsta) nerds who came up in a time where nerds were bullied hardcore and weren’t welcome by normal society, but there’s that welcoming, warm vibe that surrounds Archon (because of what these guys went through).
Regardless of your nerdom (may it be anime, comics, sci-fi, movies, etc.), Archon welcomes everyone. Nobody will come up to you and get in their feelings on how you’re cosplaying as an anime character at a Sci-Fi/Western media convention (can’t say the same for you weeaboos who love to get in ya feelings and go up to non-Eastern media cosplayers saying they don’t belong at anime cons).
Believe me; check out these pictures of a few non-Western (influenced) media cosplayers I took (while drunk and stoned so that’s why their pics are blurry):
You may be wondering (due to the title of this post) at this point why I am doing just one local convention from here on out? It’s simple: Archon is much mellower and lax compared to the anime conventions in the St. Louis area. Wizard World St. Louis is an industry ran convention; meaning no freedom to go wild.
Anime St. Louis is “cool”, but larger conventions such as Anime Expo, Anime Central, and Anime Weekend Atlanta have better guests and have the funds to obtain guests directly from Japan. Anime Senpai just started their first year in 2018 and came from the remains of a few dead conventions that crashed, burned, and failed.
I have no hope for Anime Senpai lasting longer than five years at the most.
Archon has the longevity factor. It’s been around for nearly 45 years and each year they do something to make it better, bigger, and net new and old fans. Unlike other conventions in our area, they don’t play around. It’s a convention for everyone regardless of age and fandom. Have a cosplay even if it’s not sci-fi or fantasy? They don’t care – bring it to Archon! You will find people who enjoy it (if it’s not too obscure).
Archon is amazing and I love it.
‘What more can I say?
I wouldn’t be here today
If the old-school didn’t pave the way!’ -Brand Nubian
Congratulations! After pimping you out of your hard earn money for a year, the government has given you back $2000 on your tax return! As a hardworking former NEET (Not Employed, in Education, or in Training), you deserve to treat yourself with that pathetic amount of money. So, what are you going to do with that $2000? You gonna blow it on a big tiddy Hotaru Shidare mouse pad? You really gonna drop $500 on a catgirl Yumeko Jabami figurine that will only collect dust over time? You thinking that wasting $50 on a fake Supreme shirt with a half-naked Sailor Venus sippin’ on lean and a lit blunt in her hand while Sailor Mars snorts cocaine off Venus’s ass gonna make you look like your rich? Boy, are you stupid? Don’t use your income tax money to stunt like you’re Jo’on off Touhou 15.5 for a week. Especially if your bank account says you’re living like Shion for the rest of the 51 weeks of the year.
Use that income tax money to invest in yourself. Income tax money should be viewed as an opportunity to expand your otaku empire. You want to be a content creator on social media? Good. Then use the money to buy a high quality camera. Spend it on audio tools such as pre-amps, condenser microphones, pre-amps, and studio headphones (especially if you’re going the podcast route). Your income tax money should fund and fuel your passion (may it be becoming an anime vlogger, having your own show, etc.) Putting income tax money towards on a Megumin wall scroll isn’t an investment. It’s stupid (unless you’re doing it for you YouTube channel then go ahead).
Are you tired of going to same, small to mid-size conventions in your hometown each year? You never been to Los Angeles before and want to go to Anime Expo? Perhaps you’re interested Otakon in Washigton, D.C. and wanna hit it up. Perfect. Use the money to travel to those cites and hit up those conventions. Leave your hometown for once. If you’re a vlogger, then you can vlog about your first experiences at those conventions. Plus, this is a great way to meet new people and expand your network. In addition, if you go to these larger conventions, there’s a great chance you might meet Japanese voice actors and creators that your small, local conventions will never have.
Trust me: You want that experience.
Income tax season come and goes. You will only get that money once a year. Once it’s gone, it is gone. Knowing that, you should be wise with it and spend it on things that will help you grow as an otaku. Putting that money towards traveling or your anime YouTube channel is smart. Blowing it on anime figurines that won’t bring you overall value is stupid.
The 2018 convention season draws near. You’re always broke from spending $500 on half-naked anime girl figurines. You love to spend $300 on anime Blu-rays, but somehow, you don’t have enough money for a convention. Do you think your mommy and daddy are going help you pay for your weeaboo dress-up festival? Of course, they’re not! You’re a grown man (or woman) now. Just like your friend whom you borrow money from for cons, they’re tired of funding your hobbies. Maybe you’re not broke, but you suck at money management. You’re the type of person to not have their priority together and splurge your cash on useless crap.
Because I’m a nice person, I’ll teach you how to get your money right. I’ll promise you that with my guide, you’ll have more than enough money saved up for you next convention adventures. It’s my duty and ethical obligation to help my fellow nerds stack money for their passion.
My guide is not for you begging ass, broke ass nerds (who always mooch off their friends). This is not for people who refuse to make money on their own. This guide is not for skeptics who believe saving money is impossible. Go away. You’re wasting my time and yours – but mostly my time. Do you tend to blow a check, or dip into savings for wants, rather than needs and raining days? Good. Get the hell off this guide – people like you will never learn. My advice is only for those who are serious about saving and getting their money right. I only help people who are willing to better themselves.
If you’re still here then that means you’re serious about wanting to save for conventions. Let us begin.
Obtaining a hotel room should be your utmost priority (next to buying a badge/pass). There are two categories for convention hotels: The main hotel(s); where most of the action takes place, and the secondary Hotel(s); for those who want a cheaper option and/or avoid crowds. The main hotel’s full price can range from $230-$1500 depending on the convention, location, hotel brand, days etc. Secondary hotels range from $180-$1000.
Most conventions hotels will accept room bookings about eight (8) months in advance (before con starts). Normally, the convention’s social media team will provide an update on when this will happen. Once they give the dates for room bookings, you want to start stacking up immediately.
Let’s say that you want to book with the Waverly Hotel (the host hotel of Anime Weekend Atlanta [AWA]). The hotel will allow room registration on October 3, 2017,* (the time of this writing) and the convention starts on September 20, 2018. The total cost of staying at the Waverly for four days is $700. This gives you about 50 weeks (or about almost 12 months) to stack. Ignoring assets and other forms of income, let’s say you get paid bi-weekly. You’re given 24 paychecks prior to saving if you’re working a regular 9-to-5.
Let’s do some math.
$700/24= $29.16. $29.16/2 bi-weekly paychecks = $14.58 $14.58 is how much you need to take out of your check a pay period. Put the $14.58 in a savings account (or any other accounts you do not have normal access to). If need be, consider opening a new bank account separate from your main one. If you bank at Bank of America, open an account with Commerce Bank, and then deposit the hotel money in that bank. Destroy any and all credit/debit cards linked to the bank – you do not want to spend any money on that account. Repeat until you reach your target goal.
(Please note that many banks are different with their savings account. Some may require you to have a minimum amount of savings to keep the account open.)
What if you’re splitting a room with four people (you included in this four)? Well, that’s simple! $700/4 people = $175 per person. Take your $175 and divide it by 24 checks. That’ll equal to $7.29 a check that you need to put aside.
Regardless if you’re alone or with a group, keep taking the money out of your check and stack it up until it adds up to the total amount of what you need. Remember not to touch it until it’s time to transfer your funds into your checking account, or when you need to give the money to whomever the name is on the hotel’s bill.
With the hotel taken care of, it’s time to tackle your badge situation. Now, should you save up for a badge, or go all in and buy one ASAP? That is dependent on you and your situation.
(*NOTE: AWA has yet to accept room bookings at the time of this writing)
Is it better to just go all in on a badge and pay for it now? Should you stack up for badge overtime and buy one in the future? Let’s go over each option and decide which is best for you.
Let’s say the badge is $45 at its cheapest (usually the first tier of pricing). If you can spend $45 and not be hurt by it, then go for it. Yes, you’ll lose money, but you won’t lose time waiting for your badge in line at at-door registration. Trust me: Losing time is worse than losing money. Money, we can gain back – time, we will never recover. You’re investing $45 in extra time – extra time you can spend on panels, autograph lines, chilling with friends, etc. To be quite honest, that’s a win-win.
Losing both time and more money is lose-lose.
So you can’t afford to invest in a badge quite so soon. That’s okay; you can stack up to the desire tier pricing. Maybe you want to save up for the second tier that’s coming up in two months. Or perhaps you want to wait and save for the final tier before online registration ends in six months. That’s cool. I can work with you on either or.
The second tier badge price starts at $55, the price increase will start on December 3rd, 2017. This gives you four paychecks until December 3rd. 4 paychecks divided by $55 equals $13.75 ($55/4=$13.75)
For the six months option (October 3rd to March 3rd): 12 paychecks/$75 = $6.25 a check. Again, just like your hotel money, place this money in your savings and do not touch it until you hit your target goal.
How you will get to the convention is up to you, and it will be different from person-to-person. Sadly, humans cannot teleport, so you must figure out a mode of transportation. This section will be broken down into four sections: Air, Road, Rail, and Public Transportation/Ride Share
Admittedly, I have never traveled to a convention by air. From what others told me, it’s best to book your flights as soon as your hotel and/or badge. I would personally put aside around $100-$200 a check for about 8-10 months if you have 100% confidence that you’re traveling by air. You might go a little over your target goal for the tickets, but it’s better to have more cash than what you think you need. Do not delay as airline tickets will increase their price as your departure date draw nears.
It’s not wise to wait.
In general, you want to book your rail tickets (such as Amtrak) months in advance. I say that you want to buy your train tickets around the same time you booked your hotel rooms and/or badge. The sooner, the better. Why? Because you don’t want to waste more money as time passes. Use the same method for booking and saving money for an airline flight as you would use for plane tickets as mentioned above.
CAR: This will depend on how far you’re traveling, your car’s MPG, and how many people you have riding with you. A trip to STL to CHI will cost you around $60-90 in gas. From STL to ATL will cost you $90-120. Again, this is dependant on your car and the people riding/driving with you. I would start saving up for gas money about three months before the convention.
Let’s take St. Louis to Atlanta as an example. When traveling with my friend to ATL, he charges me around $40 for the trip. I put aside about $20 a paycheck a month prior to us heading to Atlanta.
I really hope I don’t have to break down this simple math for you guys.
PUBLIC TRANSIT/SHARE RIDE: If you need to use public transit, taxi services, or a shared ride to get to a con, please research what bus, train, etc. you need to take for the convention. Bus and train fare will be dependent on the city you’re in, as well as share riding to a convention. In general, I say put aside at the $10-$30 for your choice of public transit and share ride a month before the convention (if need be).
If I know I’m doing a $20 Uber to get to my convention hotel, I put aside $5 from each paycheck about two months prior. So $20/4 bi-weekly checks = $5 I need to put aside.
Don’t forget to tip your driver. Don’t be a cheap ass.
You gotta eat and stay fueled up. Ever danced at a rave on an empty stomach? It’s not fun. Fast, cheap food or dine-in at a high-quality restaurant? Cook your own food if you have a kitchen suite? Again, this section depends on your budget and needs. If you’re planning on eating out in fast food places, your budget should be around $40-100. Are you planning on eating out at non-fast food places? You want to save around $130-200. If you’re cooking your own food, I say around $60-200 depending on how many people you’re feeding. Before I forget, you should have about $20-40 aside for a snacks budget just in case you’re walking around the convention center all day and you need lite fuel (such as cereal bars, fruits, etc.)
If I’m planning on eating out at fast food places, I place my budget at about $60 for the convention weekend. Knowing this, I give myself a month before the convention to put aside $30 a paycheck until I hit $60.
When I’m in Chicago for Anime Central, my friend, his crew, and I go to Hofbräuhaus for one night and dine in. Knowing that he preps for this dinner, I put aside around $40 two months prior. Two months gives me four bi-weekly paychecks. With this, I put aside $10 a check until I hit $40 and keep that $40 in my savings until it’s time to transfer my funds into my checking account.
This section is optional and you don’t need to party to have fun at cons (but it’s better that way). If you’re like me, then you’re about convention partying life. Therefore, this section is for you. In all honesty, this varies from person-to-person and their needs. If you’re just going to one party, you may need just one or two bottles, a few mixers, and a case of beer, which will run you about $35-$75. If you’re hosting a room party, then you may need to spend about $150-$1200. Feel free to check out my “So You Wanna Host a Room Party” article for more information.
I usually wait until after I check into my hotel and have everything ready before I buy my liquor. You do have those people who love to drop out of the hotel room at the last minute. That extra money could help in a situation. It does suck though.
Boy does it suck.
But you can make it not suck by stacking up six months prior to the convention if you’re 100% sure you’re hosting a room party. I’m projecting that my room party for Anime St. Louis* 2018 will run me $600 in alcohol, mixers, and other goods. Given my room party will be on that Saturday (May 5th, 2018), I must plan on saving my money aside for the party on December 5th. For two weeks up to May 5th, I will put aside $50 until I hit my target goal.
$600/6 months = $100 must be saved each month.
$100/2 bi-weekly paychecks = $50 taken from each check.
Of course, your room party budget will be different from mines. This is just an example of breaking down the math and planning.
*Disclaimer: I am not hosting a room party for Anime St. Louis 2018. Do not come up to me asking if I’m running a room party. This was just an example.
Adding it all Up
We have the numbers; now let’s add them all up. The total will be your target goal for savings. Below is an example based off my personal funds for major conventions, so your numbers will vary. Some will save more money than I. Others will save less. This is all dependent on the conventions you’re going to as well as funds and time.
TRAVEL (Road): $40 for my share of gas money
PUBLIC TRANSIT: $6
PARTY GOODS: ~$120
I’m going to take that $971 and divided by 11 months (until Anime Weekend Atlanta).
$971/11 months = $88.27 I need to put aside each month until the week before AWA for 11 months. By going bi-weekly paychecks I can put aside $44.13 per paycheck. This does exclude any forms of secondary sources of income. Applying my other sources of income to build up will make me reach my goal faster and earlier. This is giving or taking some items away (such as badge and alcohol)
Tips on Making (More) Money
Conventions aren’t cheap; that’s not a secret. I know people are struggling to make ends meet as well as putting towards their hobbies. It’s a cash drain, believe me. I understand. However, you can always make extra money to add to your funds. I’ll break down a few simple and easy ways to make extra money for you to use for the con.
WORK EXTRA HOURS/USE PTO
This is the simplest way to gain extra money. If you see that there are extra hours or shifts to be picked up at your job, jump on that chance. Does it suck that you have to give up free time to make more money at the job? Yes. Is it awesome to have a little bit of extra cash in your pockets for the convention? Yes. Go through some hardships now so you can have a better time later. If those hardship means working more hours at a job you don’t like, so you can go to a convention and escape from the workforce for a few days (or even work on your business AT the con), then do it.
If your job allows it, you can use your Paid Time Off (PTO) hours that you’ve stacked and use those hours on your off day. Then, when you get paid, put the PTO money into savings.
SELL/FLIP PRODUCTS ONLINE
Do you have old video games, comics, mangas, etc. laying around at your house that isn’t of use to you? Sell them on eBay to make extra dough! After you research and study the value of the items you want to sell, just create a listing for them on eBay, Amazon, Craig’s List, etc. You can either sell your own product if you have your own business or flip other people products. I personally flipped items from Loot Crates to gain extra cash for funds.
SELL DRUGS/INVEST IN A DRUG DEALER
Don’t do it. You’re not a dope boy/dope boy investor in college anymore. If you are a dope boy then all I have to say is be careful and watch out for the haters and fake friends.
…Althrough you could sell drugs to the partiers at conventions to make extra cash. Just a thought.
INVEST IN A LEGIT BUSINESS Your homeboy is a real estate investor or owner and has a great track record of returns on investments? Invest with him.
If you need more ideas to increase your income or have a new source of income to fund your weeaboo hobbies, I recommend the following, as they have helped me with increasing my income and manage my money:
Saving money for conventions shouldn’t be so hard. Yet, so many weeaboos struggle to do so. Sometimes, people attend conventions without a budget or money at all! Having a budget and money saved aside will help you out in the long run, as it’s nice to have extra money. Not having money at a con isn’t fun. Nobody will help you out – it’s up to you to have cash. With this how-to guide, I hope you learn how to save and manage your money for future convention events. I believe everyone should have money save up to maximize their fun at cons. Start saving now! Do not wait until it’s less than a month before the convention to save. Apply what you’ve learned from this guide for the future!
Besides, nobody will feel sorry for your broke ass. Get this money and save it.
NOTE:This is the text version of the audio discussion between my friend DJ Killzown and myself on the same topic. The link to the YouTube will be provide below.
Conventions are a wonderful place to have fun and let loose with fellow nerds. However, conventions can also be overwhelming for newcomers, lacking knowledge on what to do. So, out of the kindness of my heart (and because I need to clean my public image), here are a few things to do at conventions!
Wanna learn interesting tidbits and facts about your favorite series, gain knowledge that’ll set you apart from your peers, or learn more about your favorite voice actor or creator? Go to a panel! Usually, conventions will have four types of panels: Fan, Interactive Industry, and Guest.
Fan panels are run by passionate and all-knowing fans of a series, sharing their expert knowledge to others fans and newcomers alike.
Interactive panels are panels in which you can partake in the action and/or have an hands on experience in relation to the subject. Examples include sake tasting, sewing tutorials, murder-mystery solving, cooking anime inspired foods, and hypnotism panels.
Industry panels are run by industry guests such as Funimation or Viz Media. Industry panels will host series reveals, news on upcoming projects, and the industry hosts will answer your questions about what’s currently going on in the industry. Sometimes, industry guests will reveal get exclusive news andcontent about a project first at their panels before the rest of the world get the information.
Finally, guest panels. Guest panels are of course hosted by the guests of honor. It’s worth your time going to one as you can learn about your favorite voice actor on a more personal, learn how they got their start, and even learn how they feel about their co-workers that they normally wouldn’t say in front of their face (did you know that a lot of America voice actors hate Vic Mignogna?).
One of the best experiences of a convention is meeting your idol and having them autograph their materials for you! To start, learn when and where the guest(s) that you want to see are hosting panels and autograph sessions and attend them. Did they make your favorite manga? Get that shit sign. Are they a voice actor you really love? Get your DVD signed by them! Do you want to know how your favorite voice actor got their start? Go to their panel! Be aware that popular gusests tend to have a long waiting period for autographs sessions. Be sure to have fully charged cell phone or a book to read on standby while you wait!
Higurashi and Umineko cosplay meet
Met new friends within you fandom and show off your cool (or trash) cosplay!! You can find information on meet ups in the program booklet or on the convention social media and website. Showcase your cosplay or just chill and kick with fellow fans and make new connections.
The dealers room is a hall or room full of offical merchandise, fanmade items, wigs, cosplay materials, etc. They’re open all weekend but it’s best to wait until Sunday for the best deals and discounts on products, as merchants want to reduce the amount of items they have to take back home Sunday or Monday.
Play video games here with other cons goers (or be that one asshole who hog ups the console all day because you couldn’t even make friends at an convention) Setups can range from the old school, current games, arcades, or a mixture of all three. Tournaments (such as Street Fighter, Project Diva, Mario Kart. etc.) are often held here, so you should try to join in a tournament if you’re confident in your skills.
Relax! You’re with like-minded people! Cons are a great place to make new friends and networks that can last for life (or a few years until some petty drama comes up and ruin your friendship)! You are all here for a common passion and love. By networking and befriending fellow comic book nerds, weeaboos and otaku alike, you will build a network that can help you find and learn about more conventions in the area and other cool nerd shit outside of cons. Who know what new connections can lead you in the world of convetions.
For you bloggers, vloggers, etc – make sure that you have a business card if you’re networking with others in your field (thanks for that DJ Kill Zone)
Dress up as your favorite character and join the cosplay gatherings and meet. Take pics taken of you in your cosplay, never to find them online! Cosplay is a wonderful hobby that will bring joy and new people into your life! At least do one cosplay in your life if your curious about it!
That wraps up my “What do do at cons” post! I’ll hope our tips will help you enjoy the con!
Okay, so I lied about taking a break from drinking. I took another shot of Viniq because I’m an alcoholic and it’s delicious. But mostly because of the fact that I’m an alcoholic. Okay, now I gotta prep and get somewhat sober for the Umineko/Higurashi meet. I checked my phone for the time. 5:20PM. Good. Just forty minutes until I have to meet up with the cosplayers. That’s more than enough time to get ready which is great, given an old friend just messaged me on Facebook.
“Hey Ben! We drinking at the Red Bar! Wanna join us?”
Tyler is an old online and ACEN friend of mine. I’ve known him since maybe around 2010 on the old Anime Central’s forums and /cgl/ (the cosplay and gothic lolita board of 4chan), way before the ACEN’s Facebook groups grew and became the shitholes that they are today. He invited me to the Red Bar, one of the Hyatt’s overpriced bar and grill restaurant (great food though).
“They’ve food down there? My dumbass started drinking on an empty stomach. I need some food badly.” I replied.
“Yea, they got a great menu. We’ll still be here by the time you get here.”
“Alright bet!” Food sounds great along with old friends and I already know I need the food for extra drinking. Well, time to make my way to the Red Bar.
I hit the Red Bar up. I spot Tyler and his crew sitting around a tall, smooth white glass table. They had already finished eating and drinking, but stuck around for my food to arrive and eat. The server gives me a menu and I look over it, trying to search for any foods with meat.
“Ben, you like pineapples and hamburgers?” Tyler asked.
“Yep, separate. Never had the two combined. What’s up?” I questioned him. What weird food entrée you’re trying to convince me to eat? Ya white people be eating some weird shit.
“Try the Tsunami Burger. It sounds weird, but trust me, it’s great. It’s a little sloppy though.”
“Hmm, it does sounds good. I’ll take it!”
I placed my order. As we waited, we reminisced on our wild days of /cgl/ and the ACEN message boards. One topic that was brought up was whiny old ass, entitled ass nerdy crybabies who blamed the rave for the parties and bad things happening. They would spend hours from the precious day to bitch about how ACEN focused more on the raves and parties, than the actual anime related content. Each rant ended with the following:
“I’M NEVER COMING BACK TO ANOTHER ACEN AGAIN!”
“IF ACEN KEEP THEIR FOCUS ON THE PARTIES THEN I WILL GO TO ANIME MIDWEST INSTEAD!”
“Can I get a 420 hook up for next ACEN?”
“Who was that cute guy I blew at the rave you had such a huge dick I need it inside me again”
I tend to reply with a smartass remark such as “So we’re seeing ya next ACEN?” or “Nobody cares. You’re coming back next time.” I tend to get blocked bythe butthurt nerds as an result.
As we finished the story, my Tsunami Burger arrived. As a proud, card carrying member of the FatAss Hamburger Eaters Society of America (FAMESOA for short), this burger gets my personal rank of “Top Tier Burger”. Visually, the burger has a vivid aesthetic as supported by the chopped bright yellow Pineapples, flashy green from the green peppers, teriyaki paints the buns coast-to-coast, which overlaps the veggies and fruits toppings.
The sweetness from the pineapples and the light spice from the peppers work in synergy to provide a salty and sweet flavor from each bit- fuck this burger the buns are falling apart too much sauce and water based veggies and fruits. 0/10 this burger is banned from FAMESOA. I do not recommend it to any other members.
Seriously, it was a great burger but again, tomatoes, pineapples, and teriyaki sauce weakens beard, thus creating a finger food mess.
Fuck, its 6:00. Gotta head out! I paid for my food and bid farewell to Tyler and his crew, and head to the smoker’s area, which the Higurashi/Umineko photoshot was taking place.
Wow. Fuck, there’s only six When They Cry (WTC) cosplayers this year (Beatrice, Battler, Willard, Tohya, [Umineko], Rena, and Mion [Higurashi] cosplayers) compared to years past (I think there was about 15-20 WTC cosplayers in 2015 when Ryukishi07 was a guest). The fandom is dying in the ACEN community. It’s disheartening to see a cosplay group I’ve supported for about 5 years fading away. Maybe I should had brought my Goat-Kun cosplay with me this year despite years of damage on it. Oh Well.
Sniff, sniff, sniff. No. That’s not me crying at the eventually death of the Higurashi/Umineko cosplay community. I’m sniffing some good kush. Normally, I’ll be okay with people smoking tress, but around an area where there are photoshoots going on? You know ,there are young kids and non weed smokers around my dude? Come on now! At least wait until after sunset when all the straight edge baby nerds are gone. If you gotta smoke, at least get a vape so you won’t have that loud smell carrying over or go to the woods by the Hyatt.
Goddammit you fucking stupid idiots are ruining this shit for everyone else.
After the photoshoot (which was literally 10 minutes), we spent the reminding 50 minutes talking about the When They Cry series, Touhou, and general otaku shit that I forgotten over the course of a week due to alcoholism. Tohya, the leader of the WTC cosplay group, brought up the Umineko fighting game “Golden Fantasia”, and my face lit up. I have the game on my laptop, and I haven’t play against a human opponent in years. Chance time!
(If you do not know about Golden Fantasia, imagine Marvel Vs. Capcom 1 meets Guilty Gear, but with Umineko no Naku Koro ni characters throw into the mix. It’s a fun but obscured anime fighting game, but with a very small community. It is getting an official English release soon, and I hope it’ll revive the community.)
Seriously, I want more people cosplaying from Umineko at ACEN next year. If you’re an Umineko or Higurashi cosplayer reading, please cosplay as a character from the series next year. I won’t though ha ha ha!
Tohya and I headed back to my room. Upon arrival, he was impressed by the alcohol I had laying around the room.
“Are you planning to make a bunch of screwdrivers tonight?” I had some vodkas and a giant bottle of orange juice on the table of my room.
“Nah, just have them around for a friend’s party tomorrow. Although having some Screwdrivers don’t sound too bad right now!” I laugh while setting up my laptop and the game. God I got a problem with alcohol.
Alright! Game is booted and we’re ready to roll! I gave him a fair warning that I wasn’t going to go easy on me, in which he replied he won’t do the same for me. I like that! The respect between two fighting game players that understand you must play at your full best. We chose our characters, me with the sibling team Battler and Ange, and him with the “Oh you piece of fucking shit you’re making me hate you” team of Dlanor and Ronove.
So, Dlnaor and Ronove. Fuck them. In Golden Fantasia’s meta, the combination of these two gives the player a pure defense heavy team, as they’re consider to have the best defense in the game, and it doesn’t help that their already large health stack up with one another. Yay.
And then we have their godddamn synergy of their fucking skills. Jesus. Dlanor’s skill is “Armor Boost”, which does what it says on the tin. It increases her and her ally’s defense by 50%. Ronove’s skill is Counter Boost, which increase damage from counter hits. Dlanor has great poking counter tools, and Ronove, who’s already a fucking walking brick wall can do stupid bullshit by having Dlanor’s Armor Boost on him. It’s annoying.
So if you ever play this game I hope you enjoy fucking fighting a loli tank with a sword and a butler tank with a sexy mustache. Because I did not for the first match.
We’re playing, getting into the fight. Tohya’s jamming to Jay Z’s “Dead Presidents 2”, which I “modded” into the game’s music soundtrack (I just simply replaced the audio track of Ange’s stage). During our first match of the game, I combo into Battler’s grope special from his bread-and-button combo. Tohya’s friend Battler (the Battler cosplayer who I also invited) made a funny in-fandom joke.
“Why is Battler trying to grope Dlanor? There’s nothing there! Also, I wonder what happens if he tried to grope Ange, his sister, with that move?”
I replied “Well, I’m pretty Ange would enjoy being groped by her own brother. She has a pretty heavy brother complex.” We all laughed because it’s the truth.
(One of her in-game endings has her stepping and grinding her shoe on Battler’s head, demanding that he calls her “Mistress Ange” each time she spanks him. See, that would be incredibly hot if it wasn’t her brother. Maybe if the sub was either her friend Lucifer or best friend Mammon, then it’d be totally hot).
We went on for a few more matches, and talked about how deep and fun the game is. He also shared my hopes that MangaGamer’s English release will bring back interest to the series to the West, as we are passionate about the Umineko series and want the community to strive once more.
Okay, enough of that heart felt sappy side of me and my weeaboo longing for my favorite fanbase to be revived. You guys are here to read about my tales of debauchery and I promise to deliver! As Tohya and I were finishing up some final matches, my boy “Bucket Wave” (fake named inspired by his love for vaporwave and bucket hats) came through with his giant Bluetooth speaker, lights, trees, and Whiskey!
Yea, it’s turn up party time! It’s Friday night of ACEN and we’re getting fucked up.
Fair warning: The following is straight up pure debauchery. Some debauchery I may have forgotten over the course of the aftermath of ACEN. To remember some things from the ACEN weekend, the following paragraphs were written with me under the influence of alcohol pre-editing. Took some shots of the reminder Martell I had and some UV Blue mixed with sprite while watching Otaku no Video (it’s a great OVA). Hopefully it’ll give me drunken recall.
You’ve been warned.
Alright, so drunken memory recall did not work. It only made me drunk. Fuck it, here’s what I can recall from Friday night up until I had passed out around 5 in the morning the following Saturday (which was more of an exciting day).
Bucket Wave and I took some shots of whiskey, waiting for my boys “Bowser”, “KW”, and “Yakuza” (he’s not an actual Yakuza, he’s a fan of the Sega video game series) to come up and pre-game with us. I owed Bowser some money for a blunt, Yakuza is an old internet friend of mines from the Persona group “Shin Megami Tensei Network” (who apparently members of said group were helping co-hosting the Persona orgy at ACEN) and I promised JW I’ll drink with him and do shots to help get us right for the night.
Following the whiskey and Hennessy shots (provided by Yakuza), Bucket Wave suggested we do some dabs off his wax pen. Usually, dabs get me incredibly fucked up. Like you ever seen the Truth Commercial with the girl “Sara” straight up melting into the couch, stoned the fuck outta her mind? Yeah, that’s me off dabs.
Oh well, it’s Friday night of ACEN, and we’re getting fucked up at 9:00PM. I plan to be fucked up throughout the night. You think I’m just gonna end with 3 shots of Hennessy, 3 shots of Whiskey, an alpha version of my Sailor Saturn cocktail, and hits of dabs? Nah fuck that! We’re about to head to the smoker’s circle and smoke some blunts too!
The Smoker Circle is already bumping. Nigga, there are half naked ravers and cosplayers walking about and shaking their asses and doing cool tricks with the raver sticks (I don’t know nor care about what they’re actually call), some young college-aged nerds doing keg stands (how the fuck did these white boys manager to sneak in a keg I dunno), s a d b o y s sippin’ lean and listening to vaporwave, crazy cosplayers snorting Special K, and us smart niggas smoking trees and drinking alcohol because we are good noodles.
Fuck that lame ass rave. The Smoker’s Circle is where it at.
My crew settled at the little cut inside the stone pillar (the cut that has the door that leads into the maintenance center of the Hyatt) and sparked up a blunt. Maybe two blunts? I can’t remember, I should have made notes as I went along. Just know the kush was making me feel good along with whatever else I had in my system. I get a message from my boy “Flash” asking if I was still pregaming and if I wanna kick it with “Bgod” (actual nickname) their crew. Of course I’m down.
So, here’s a funny story about Flash and I. Around pre ACEN 2015 (or 2014, can’t remember), me and Flash had an online beef. I was doing my usual shitposting and trolling on the groups when I had went after Flash. Flash got mad and wanted to meet up to fight in Chicago, so I could back up my “internet tough guy” talk in real life. I was like “Alright. I ain’t from Chicago, but meet up in ACEN wit that shit nigga”.
ACEN 2014 or 2015 came about. I’m at my boy’s party smoking a Black and Mild on the balconey. I spot a group of young cats breaking down trees, upset they forgot to grab a rillo (White Owls, Game, Zig-Zag, etc.) beforehand. Me being the utter asshole I am, I gave them my last Black and Mild so they didn’t have to walk 20 minutes to the Moblie station for a rillo.
As I gave a random guy form the group a rillo he asks “Are you Ben Snow?”
“Yes.” I replied back.
“I’m Flash. The guy who wants to fight you. I didn’t know you were actually nice and chill in real life! Sorry about that whole shit, it just that people love to run their mouths online around Chicago and not back it up in real life.”
This dude wasn’t an internet tough guy as I originally thought. The dude was well built as well as looking like he can legit fight physically. We talked about nerdy shit for about an hour and clicked well, and ended our online beef right there. Back to the present, I’m up in their place smoking one of my blunts with his crew, just chilling and talking about our own ACEN plans and trying to find more parties to kick it. As we are trying to figure out our next move, something told me to check my phone.
‘Room 10xx. Throwing a crazy party like last year.’
“Ayy, ‘Sid’ is throwing a party at his suite again this year. Let’s hit that up!” I suggested to everyone. So Sid and his legendary parties he hosts at ACEN. Oh man, holy hell! For the past five years I’ve known Sid and attending his parties, they always are so lit and wild. There’s a 90% chance that it’ll get shut down by the police, hotel staff, and convention security because of noise complaints. And I don’t mean his next door neighbors bitching. I mean, the entire floor in which he host his parties tend to rant and bitch about the noise levels. When you go to this man’s parties, it’s standing room only. Good luck trying to find space to sit down and chill, because you won’t.
Well, time to go to one of the ACEN’s masters of lit parties.
As always, Sid’s party is packed and wild. Even with him having a two story vast suite, the room is jammed with people. Music and voices are sounding thunderous, dominating all other noises. Do not try to speak over the music, you’ll lose. That’s how lit Sid’s party can be.
While chatting with people I know who’re already at the party, Sid comes up to me and we reunite for another night of alcoholic and drug fuled madness. He jokingly tells me that he was hosting one of the many ACEN origies on the top floor, and that I should join in. I laughed, and headed up there with Bucket.
There were people on the top floor, but no fucking. One very small (perverted) part of me was low-key hoping there was an orgy going down. However, I’m socially awkward and shy around people I do not know, so I wouldn’t get any action regardless.
Poor me I blame society and Christianity for making me like this. Especially Christianity
I’m on the top floor, talking to Bucket, drinking beers and what now when our friend came up to us. They’re clearly distressed, upset, and scared. Something happened. Something that pretty much made me want to fight. Somebody who I thought was a friend did something to another friend of ours ( I won’t go into details because I don’t wanna stir up drama).
I was furious. How could somebody who I called a “friend” for years could do this to another friend? Nah, nah, nah, fuck this nigga, I’m killing him in front of all these people for what he did. How could you do that to a friend man? Before I lost wheatver sense I had left, I decided to leave the party. Alcohol+my temper+that bullshit = me being arrested for murder. Somebody in our crew suggested to go to one last party. Good. Because I can’t be here any longer.
My boy heard word about a VIP suite party going on in the Hyatt. A VIP suite party must be banging as hell. I mean, it has the word “VIP” in it, so it must be a great party. Let’s head there! We get to the room, and it’s mostly dead. I can’t really be too upset, it’s almost 3:30 in the morning, and most, if not all parties were wrapping up. There were a few stragglers partying about but nothing major really. Eh, nothing is really going on here, the alcohol and weed is getting to me, and I’m tired as all hell. I’m gonna head back to my room and past out.
I get near my room, and outside of it I see my friend “Goro” either getting in or out of his cosplay (Goro from Persona 5), I dun care, I just wanna past out (and finish this part of the story). I get in our room and crash on the bed.
“4:00am? Fuck, I’ve been out that long huh? Fuck it, I’ll get up the morning and go to a few panels or something.”
Oh, Ben. You’re cute.
Stay tune for Night 2! Wait, night 2? You mean Day 2 right Ben?
With the spring/summer con season rolling, there’s something goofy I’ve noticed within the community recently: online con season drama. I know online con drama is a long running thing. It’s nothing new but I feel like this season, it gotten out of hand. People are getting way too bold with their beefs and shit talking.
This morning, a Facebook friend did a live video on how there’s so much silly ass drama prior to the con. One topic she touched upon was that on how niggas love to talk that good shit on convention groups; talking about meeting up to fight con and cause conflict.
Yet, they’re super quiet and scared to do to their target. At most, they’ll just give the person they don’t like a dirty look, or come up to them with that fake friendly (as if they weren’t on any childish shit prior). I just simply told her that I agreed, given I’ve noticed this trend for a while.
Like, folks plan all year to go to an event for 3-4 days to chill, network/do business, showcase their cosplay, party, etc. Nobody (sane) wants to meet up at a con just to fight and cause conflict over something pitiful. People invested way too much money, energy, and time into goin to a con, just to fight. Just to start drama. I don’t know how or why this trend got started but I just find it goofy.
I mean, I have a theory: ever since nerd culture and social media got popular and blew up, folks egos grew with it. I’ve also noticed for about the last five of the seven years I’ve been in the cosplay and convention community, people love to talk that good shit online about meeting up.
It’s kinda sad because back when I was younger, if you were caught talking shit online or in person to start drama, you got your ass beat and/or blacklisted. Simple as that. Or folks will make fun of you, and tell you that they’re not your personal army if you were trying to rally against somebody for no reason. Nowadays people support this sorta thing in the nerd community. Supporting physical fights and clowning on somebody over something minor or silly they said online.
That’s my little rant for today. Just something I wanna get off my chest. Ya need to chill out this con season.
With the 2017 convention season starting (and me still angry with people whom won’t shower at these things), I figure that I’ll be nice and give some helpful advice to survive the convention year. These tips and advice come from my own personal experience such as budgeting, taking care of me, and saving money. I hope you’ll apply these tips for your convention plans.
Generally, the convention’s social media page(s) and website will post booking information such as the start date of booking for hotel(s) blocks (reversed sections of the hotel for the event staff, guests, and attendees) . Once the reservation dates are revealed, mark your calendar. The night before hotel reservation begins, set an alarm up to an hour early than the time the hotel will accept reservation. Have your credit/debit card information ready. If you’re a rewards member of the hotel company (I.E. Hilton HHonors), have that information ready as well. You may gain points or a discount for being a rewards member.
If booking by phone, please note that everyone and their moms are going to do the same. You may get put on hold, and there is a chance you may not get the room. Please, please, PLEASE, do not go off on the operator if this happens. It’s not their fault. Be kind to them.
Some hotels may require an one night deposit upon reservation. This is to prevent last minute cancellation and people hustling and flipping the room(s) to others at a higher price than the average (although the latter is still possible. Make every dollar.). You best be fully committed.
Now that you’ve booked with the hotel, it’s time to pre-register for the badge! If possible, buy the badge as early as possible when pricing is at its cheapest. It’s a smart investment.
Think about it: Would you rather invest that $45 on the badge right now, when it is at its cheapest and not worry about saving up, or would you want to stand in line for hours, and pay $75 for the at-the-door prices? That was $75 for extra food, a cool ass Mystic Gohan figurine at the dealers room, or at least two top shelf liquor for a room party.
If you cannot afford the badge right then and now, stack up and budget for the next tier price. If the next tier price is $50 in about two months and a week, put aside $10 aside each paycheck for five pay periods, or $25 aside for two pay periods. Then, once you got your money straight, buy the badge.
Seriously, you do not want to buy at the door. You’ll lose more money and time that way.
The 3-6-1 Rule
Three meals a day. Six hours of sleep. One bath a day. You think something as simple as taking care of your hygiene, eating, and sleep are easy tasks. Indeed they are! However, you have those few who don’t follow this rule (especially the bathing part). To those who will follow these rules, I’ll break it down for ya. 3 Meals a Day: It’s that simple. Have a healthy breakfast to provide energy until lunch time. Toast, yogurt, eggs, nuts, grains, etc. If your hotel offer free breakfast, take advantage of that, even if its food you do not enjoy. Your favorite food is free food.
For lunch, I tend to go with something between a light and heavy meal. A sandwich with chips and another side is a nice go-to lunch meal. It’s not a bank breaker and it doesn’t leave me feeling tired or sluggish because I ate more than I could handle. Dinner is where you want to eat something heavy, especially if you’re going to be going to a room party with alcohol, the rave, or doing many night time convention things. I recommend pizza, pasta, fried chicken, etc. Do not eat too heavily though.
Another helpful tip: Snack between meals such as fruits, nuts, and those fancy multi-grain bars. Drink plenty of water as well. The key is to have energy and not feel like shit because you haven’t eaten at all. Ramen and pockey does not qualify as meals.
Yes another helpful tip: If your hotel has a full kitchen (stove, oven, fridge, etc.) and you know how to cook, cook your own meals. It’s a money saving tactic and you’ll have leftovers throughout the day.
Six hours of sleep: Please, get some rest. You should sleep for about 8 hours a day, but 6 hours isn’t too bad. If you’re running a panel or event, get as much rest as you can. There is no shame in resting up and missing out on a few things at the convention to keep alert and active.
Sleep Tip: Powernaps are wonderful. If need be, take at least 30-45 minutes every couple of hours to powernap. If you’re doing something major such as hosting or partying, try to get at least 1-2 hours of sleep. Your body and energy levels will thank you.
1 Bath/Shower a Day: There is absolutely no goddamn reason for you not to shower or bathe before going out in public. A convention is not exempted. Nobody is trying to smell your nasty ass because you did not want to shower and use hygiene products. If you’re a cosplayer, plan on changing clothes, or sweat a lot, please take a shower before and after an outfit change.
It’s 2017 and we are still debating if people should shower and take care of their hygiene. Yay for human evolution.
Showering Tip: Beer showers are fun. And an early sign you might be an alcoholic. Go me!
But seriously, fuckin’ take a shower and use deodorant.
Ah the fun part for us adults: budgeting for the convention. In general, the plan is to stack up save up, and split funds for the event. No one’s budget will be alike from the other guy. This is normal. Here’s an example of my budget for Wizard World St. Louis:
Hotel: $217 ($73 for my share between three people)
Misc: $200 (Not required. For things such as dealer room, liquor/mixers for room party, “vices”, etc.)
Total: $383 ($183 if I removed the miscellaneous items)
Paydays until Wizard: 2
Friend owes me $66. Use that for the badge
Save $51.14 per check. Since I’m using the money I’m owed for the badge, this isn’t a huge blow to the budget. Take another $51.14 from income taxes.
Simple budget, yes. Admittedly, my math may not be right and I’m too lazy to whip out my calculator to get the correct total amount. You get the picture here. Just manage your money correctly and save up.
If you’re splitting hotel costs, pay up. Nobody likes a mooch.
Let me say this: If you cannot afford to go to a convention, don’t go. If you have needs such as bills to be paid, medical expenses, etc., take care of that first. Skip out on the convention if your money isn’t right. It’s not worth going broke or screwing up your money just to go to a convention.
The convention ain’t going anywhere soon. Wait until your money is right and go to the next convention.
‘Let me tell you something: You gotta find the balance between having fun and having funds.’ –Nino Brown (American rapper)
I hope my tips will help you in this convention season. If you have anything else to add please feel free to state them in the comments section!
Have a fun and safe time at the convention(s) you’re going to this year!