Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Fanime 2011

Sak and I celebrated our 7th date-aversary this weekend at our favorite annual event - Fanime Con. Though probably not the "best year ever" (if such a year existed?), this year did not dissapoint.

And since I was having such a good time - I uh, didn't take many pictures, despite having told myself that a good blogger should always over-document her experiences. *hangs head in shame*

Along with best-buddy E, we drove down to the convention Friday morning to pick up badges. We watched "Welcome to the Space Show" - a fantastic sci-fi movie with absolutely beautiful animation.
A movie room.
This year we stayed at the Saint Claire hotel - thus furthering our quest to try out every hotel in the area.
Fanime had custom room keys this year! Sugoi!
Though I have few pictures of the convention, I got one of the bathroom ceiling? What's wrong with me...
I have to admit that this one is probably my favorite out of the five we've stayed at in the past. With only six floors, the elevator wait-time was short, and it's a definite plus to be right across the street from all the action.  Though they do make you sign a "no party clause" when you check in.
Unlike these guys raving up in the Marriot!
The swap meet Friday night is always one of my favorite events.  Rows and rows of people lined up, hawking their anime wares - it's just fantastic.  This year I scored 9 volumes of manga (for $2-$3 dollars rather than the retail $10-$12!), a $5 kappa plushie for Penga-Sis, and a Plusie headband for $3.

Another favorite event is the Anime Music Video Contest.  I have a bit of an obsession with AMVs, so it's always exciting to get to see (and vote for!) new ones (you can download a ton of them from here).  Sak and I were a bit put out that they were not shown in the big civic auditorium as they are most years - takes some of the "grand stage fun" out of it.

The only other convention dissapointment was the lack of printed schedules.  While it was okay for people who had phones or tablets for online accessibility - us smartphone-less souls were out of luck. Kind of hard to plan your day without the guide!
Where to go next?
We watched a bunch of anime, went to a few panels (armor making, Steampunk in anime) - but the best part about fanime is the reunion of friends.
Kamina men!
Some weirdo in the brown :P

Cousin T was there selling her mini-hats (so cute!)

and Friend R was selling her crocheted Pokemon and Pokeballs.

They were quite the hit with all the Pokemon and trainer cosplays around the con!

We also met Cousin T's friend A, who sold cute cut-out greeting cards. Talented ladies - all around!

Saturday night I broke my ears at the musicfest concert. It was probably the best concert Fanime has had in a long while though - the opening act was Yuya Matsushita, a dreamboat pop singer! It was a bit depressing to realize he is only 21, but what can I say, a fan girl will always be a fan girl - even if she is getting older! ;)
*Drool* (source)

Love this song. He danced better at the con.

The main act was FLOW, who does opening songs for a variety of anime shows like Naruto, Eureka 7 and Code Geass.  They were good, but the acoustics in the auditorium really, really suck - and my left ear was practically bleeding by the end! Next year: earplugs.
Civic Auditorium of loud noise. (Stolen from Cousin T's fb)

I made an attempt to get into the GAIA panel (for the free swag!), but lack-of-interest-from-Sak-and-friends plus a fairly packed room prevented me. Boo.
Great Ewok cosplay to cheer one up!
On Sunday we made it through half of the Cosplay Spectucular, which wasn't as bad as it usually is.  There were a few really good acts, like this Portal one, and this Old Spice Dante.  We left mainly due to some REALLY annoying people sitting around us, being overly loud and rather dumb. We joked that they should have a section reserved for the 21 and over crowd, because the young whipper-snappers are just too noisy for our sensitive old-people ears.
An impressive metaknight.
Sunday night we watched the movie "Confessions", and while it was cinematically good - it was the entirely wrong movie for me to watch at night. It is so very very disturbing. Psych thrillers of the ghost/alien/etc. kind I can handle. Psych thrillers of the omg-this-stuff-can-actually-happen kind I cannot. Needless to say I had nightmares.

Anyway, is anyone still here? I know this is rather niche stuff I'm talking about - and I've written it mostly for my own memory.  But if you did read this far, thank you! Here's some delicious downtown San Jose food pictures to restore the normalcy:

Pita Pit gryo.  I lived off of these during college, and eating one always makes me nostalgic. Get them with grilled onions and all the veggies - so delicious!

Or a giant horchata (pictured next to the "large" soda) and nacho plate from La Victoria Taqueria. Not pictured are their $2.75 breakfast burritos, which are amazing with their specialty "orange sauce". Yum.

Slice of Pizza My Heart veggie pizza. Bought because we needed the shirt that came with it. >.>" Only $5!

And bentos and milk tea from Hydration - the standard convention staple! My favorite is the saba bento (grilled mackeral) and honeydew milk tea.  Though this year I branched out and also tried the almond milk tea. Exciting, I know. So exciting I have zero pictures!

We also tried to get the donut bento box from Psycho Donuts, but it was regrettable sold out.  They put nori (seaweed) and pocky on them though! How uh, psycho!

And that, friends - was my 2011 Fanime experience. We already bought next year's tickets - so here's hoping it's even better! 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Hawaiian Bread Pudding

Last Sunday there was a bake sale at our church, to raise funds for the youth group.  Bummed that all the SPAM musubi's were gone by the time we got to the table, I sighed and asked Sak to pick out something else instead.
He came back with a small tray of "Hawaiian Bread Pudding". 

We took it home, and I cut it up, expecting pineapples or something.

But no. It was HAWAIIAN BREAD pudding.  As in - King's Sweet Hawaiian Bread. It was fabulous and I would have inhaled the tray had my dad not beat me to it. (He was visiting (again) to fix our house problems. We are lame.)

And then it was gone. And I was sad that I'd have to wait until the next bake sale for more.

In desperation I wondered - might it be in the church cookbook? Just possibly?

And yes! Yes it was!

I pushed Sak out the door and we were on our way to pick up ingredients. Hawaiian Bread Pudding would be mine!

And then I read the first direction.  "Scald milk".


Scald?  How does one scald?

I started to think maybe this recipe was above my skill-level.  But luckily there is the internet.

From what I understand now - scalding milk means bringing it just to a boil - but not quite.  Take the milk off as soon as the little bubbles start building around the rim of the pan.
So I finished compiling my bread pudding, ignoring the subsequent instruction to let the scalded milk cool down.

The result was the milk kind of cooked my eggs rather than mixing with them. Ehh.

But it still tasted divine!
All cooked!
I plan to share this one with my convention buddies. If it lasts that long.
I love you, bready pudding.

(Also, I don't know if I'm allowed to just copy paste recipes from books - so I won't. But I'm pretty sure it's standard bread pudding - just using Hawaiian bread instead of normal bread.)

What's your go-to favorite at bake sales? I'm usually a Rice Krispy treat girl, myself.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

DIY Kamina Glasses

Determined not to go completely costumeless for our upcoming anime convention, we dug in the closets for a sheet of plastic I had bought prior to our engagement, what - two years ago? So long ago!

The idea was simple - make Kamina glasses to wear around the 'con, because Kamina glasses are the new Vash glasses - the height of coolness.

Kamina is a character from the manga/anime, Gurren Lagan. Though I admit I'm only about half way through the series (I'm still a couple years behind on the anime scene, due to um, life?), I've seen enough to know that Kamina is pretty awesome.
First, I made a template from paper.  Completely arbitrary dimensions that I freehanded, folded in half, and cut out.

I traced the template onto the plastic (which comes covered in contact paper to prevent scratching).

Then Sak went to town with a coping saw.
But it was difficult, so we bought an acrylic cutter.  First you score the plastic...

..Then you snap!

But sometimes the snap doesn't break cleanly, so you end up with weird tips on your glasses. Ah well.

He cut out four glasses, three of which are near perfect. We'll give the good ones to the guys, and I'll use the bunky ones. I not nearly cool (or gar) enough to pull off a Kamina.

Next, Sak took apart four pairs of dollar store sunglasses.

And super-glued them to the acrylic glasses.

I don't think super-glue was quite the right type of adhesive to use though - I'm pretty sure it melts plastic.  But it worked *enough* in this case.

Technically, Kamina doesn't have arms on his glasses, and they just magically float on his face. We could have made the illusion using sticky tape or clear elastic or something, but for the comfort and ease of around-the-con-wear, standard glasses' arms will work better.
Ready to go!
My this is a bad picture, hopefully we'll get some better ones at the con!
Have you worked with plastic before? Any tips?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Maker Faire 2011

Marking our third year in attendance, Sak and I hobbled down the hill to attend Maker Faire, our town's annual claim-to-fame.  This time my sister came with us, so you know it was a good time. And uh, since the Faire is always so diverse and visually overstimulating, this is just going to be a big hodge-podge picture post of very-interesting-things.

Robotic Droid. He was so cute! And pretty well made considering he had to balance on two wheels only.

The Artoo-Detoo club was back again, whirring and beeping their cute little astromechs to entice me into joining.  But at $2k-$10k an Artoo (not mentioning the requirement of power tools), I'll have to save my pennies for a while.

We watched a show on constellations in the Chabot Space and Science Center's portable planetarium.  They have a Bill Nye exhibit going on right now.

This machine was carving wood into Han Solo-Carbonite-esque reliefs.  Could you imagine hanging one of yourself on your wall? So cool!

This...sculpture(?) is called the Colossus. It was so funny watching all the little kids trying to move the big rocks around in a circle.

Motorized arm chairs.

Motorized cupcakes.

Motorized high heel.

Garlic fry break!

A giant Lite-Brite from one of my favorite websites - instructables!

DIY Halo armor. I was surprised to see borderline cosplay at Maker's Faire, but I suppose even cosplay has to be made at some point!

This is genius. Until your kid accidentally cuts their leg on the mower blade. Then not so genius.

Now this is something truly genius, and definitely something I'd like to get into. LED "thread", for lighting your fabric! So awesome.

LEGO Caltrain. That's me there in the second car, top level. Sak just about died and went to heaven with this one.

..Or maybe he died here, at the LEGO truck of awesomeness.

Mission Impossible laser trap obstacle course! Penga-Sis made it through without tripping the alarm!

Faire-famous paella! YUM.

Steampunk! (The really-really-good kind!)

I saw these pearl stickers at one booth and thought they were awesome. An easy way to add bling to things, I would think!

And touching moment of the day - Sak taught Penga-Sis to solder! Brother and Sister in-law bonding!

They made a Simon-Says game with a kit they bought.

Works! (Until she sat on it later that night and broke the sound button. Oh wait. That's a good thing!)

As usual, Maker Faire blew my mind and made me feel like I should be um..making more things! You too! Go make something awesome!