Monday, March 25, 2013

Kawaii Kon 2013

In what is probably the most impulsive thing I've ever done, we bought tickets to go to Hawaii last weekend for a convention.   Specifically, Honolulu's Kawaii Kon anime convention.

To our credit, tickets were at a pretty much all-time low of $330 dollars (after taxes and such).  You can't beat that. And for further justification, it's always good for Sak to see his parents and family, right? :)

So we flew out Friday morning, and arrived in the afternoon in time to grab some lunch, check into the Ala Moana hotel, and stand in line for con registration.  Now, based on Fanime's 6 hour line, and Otakon's 2 hour line, I figured we'd be standing in line for at least an hour. (For reference, Kawaii Kon is about 1/4 of the size of fanime, this year there were about 7,000 attendees.)

But, not so! Here was our reg line:
Yeah, that would be, what, 2 or 3 people ahead of us?! 
 I fell in love at once.  And basically this trend continued all weekend. No lines for anything! And if there was a line, it wasn't that bad at all, and even if we were in the back, we still got in. Loooove.

The convention center was beautiful, and quite large.  The convention barely used a quarter of the premises, so there's plenty of room to grow (which I hear they will be doing next year, yay!).

Fun fact: the convention center was also used as the "airport" in LOST.

 My favorite room was the video theater. Because it was an actual theater layout, with tiered seating.  So nice not to have to worry about a tall or costumed head sitting in front of you!  We got there an hour early for their AMV contest (always our convention favorite), but of course that wasn't needed. So we watched a documentary on Taiko drumming in Hawaii while we waited, haha. The AMVs were really well done (better than last year's Fanime, shocking!), but I think it's because you don't have to be present to win. Most of the winners submitted online and never actually attended the con.  Which I liked for the wider range of entries, but I feel like there should have been a "local" or "attendee" award to be fair to those that did spend money to come.

They had the usual rooms - panels, videogaming, table top, artist alley and dealer hall.

Taken in AA on the last day - it was full though!
Something new, they had impromptu art contests! I'm too chicken for contests but it looked fun!
Concert in the main hall
Random water cooler - loved that it had a cozy, hahaha.
I didn't take too many pictures of cosplayers, and there weren't actually all that many.  We did a casual cosplay of Plusle and Minun from Pokemon since I didn't want to bring anything too weird in our carry-on luggage! Imagine the TSA having to go through a full costume? Haha!

This Dalek was the best :)

The 501st was there too! I've never seen them officially represented at a con before, so that was cool.  They were allowing little kids to try and shoot the stormtrooper guy with a nerf gun :)
Cardboard was actually a very popular cosplay construction material!

Anyway, I don't think it'd be possible to have a better located convention.  First of all, it's Hawaii. Insta-points. Secondly, it's so centrally located.  There's the convention center, hotel (with microwave and fridge), gigantic Ala Moana Mall (and amazing food court and restuarants and grocery stores of awesomeness), and the BEACH. All within one block or so from each other.
Loco moco, complete with orchid!
Breadfruit at the con
Sign to not eat that breadfruit
I didn't buy too much stuff there though, since I planned to use up all my remaning carry-on space for more important things..*cough* food *cough*.  But I did get a little bit of cute swag (mostly for my sis):
Had to buy the sticky tabs. My name and all, lol.

The hard rock pin was made as the official pin of the convention.
Anyway, I thought this convention was amazing, especially given how small it was.  I definitely want to make this an annual thing, if the finances and vacation time are there. And it was pretty clean! There were lots of kids there, and most conventions aren't very family-friendly (bad language, lots of skin, etc).  This one was though, kinda refreshing!

Anyone want to go with us next year? Haha!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Rabbit Pen

I'm happy to report that Mochi and Katsu, resident rabbits, are all healed and happy and relatively well behaved at this point!
Since they are grown-up rabbits now at 7 months, it's time they had a grown-up rabbit pen.
For once the rabbits are cleaner than I am. Ignore the snowman grate. It's still winter, right? >.>"
It's simple really.  I got the idea from this plan. A plastic barrier on the floor, covered by a cheap IKEA rug, and a large dog exercise pen on top. I got mine on sale at the Petco website, but I think the 48" one we have is too tall.  Maybe the 36" would have been adequate, but at least I know for sure they can't jump out?
They use a cat litter box, and Sak rigged a hay feeder out of the old cage.  It's been a week now, and they are pretty good about using the litter pan.  I'll find the errant poop here or there, but it's a lot better than I expected actually.

The best part is the gate.  It has a spring lock, so it's easy to open and close, and now they can go in and out at their leisure when its open (versus the old cage where I had to pick them up).
They seem to really like it! I'll leave the door open when we're home, and they'll go back in the cage on their own when they get tired or hungry.
I have to keep putting new cardboard in though. They get bored easily!
boxed rabbit.
But by far the best part is that they can now play together! The first day there was a lot of naughty behavior as they struggled for dominance, but now they are so cute and cuddly together!
Hopefully this pen works out for a long time, because so far we all seem to like it! :)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Omelette Rice (Omurice)

Japanese cafe staple: the omelette rice. There's nothing fancy about it really, but it tastes good and it's pretty fun, since you can draw on it with ketchup!

(source) This one says annoyed!
Let's make some! I used this video from Cooking with Dog.  Doubled the recipe though (so I'd have extras later) and switched button mushrooms to random Asian mushrooms the lady at Ranch 99 convinced Sak to buy. @_@  I also forgot to add the boullion cube, but it had enough flavor without it, so..yay for low-sodium? Haha.

I used:

4 eggs
milk for scrambling eggs
salt/pepper to taste

2 cups rice
1 can diced tomato
2 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp white wine
couple handfuls of frozen peas
one bunch of mushrooms
2 chicken thighs, chopped
1/2 onion, diced
1 tbsp chopped garlic

First, stir fry onions and garlic.  Add chicken, then mushrooms and wine.
Then add canned tomato, peas, and ketchup.
Cook til it's not super-liquidy, then add to rice.

To make the omelette, mix eggs and milk, then make a crepe in your pan.  Put some rice in the middle.
Then fold the sides of the omelette over (it won't go all the way like a burrito), and roll it out of the pan onto a plate.

Garnish with ketchup!

My ketchup-art needs some work. But it's cute! And filling.

Now if I could only make them as cute as this one:
Ahhhh so cute! How could you even eat little rilakkuma!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Cataract Falls

A few weekends ago we were looking to do something outdoorsy, so I pulled up one of Kim's weekend adventures and said, "Uh, let's just do this! It looks good."

And that's how we ended up at Cataract Falls trail in Marin.  (Thanks Kim!)

But of course, before we left, Sak packed a backpack full of matches, dryer lint, flashlights, water and a can of spam. I did tell him it was an actual trail we'd be walking on, to which he said we might fall off the trail.

We started at the trail head/watershed, and nearly drove the car off the mountain attempting to parallel park on the crazy road.
The trail is pretty awesome. But I'll say that anytime I'm surrounded by ferns and cool California forest air. Magical.

It wasn't too crowded, but there was a lot of people given the good weather that day.  We followed the stream up and up, not quite sure where the end was.

Maybe it was at this pool?
I don't really know.  We kept walking and walking until Sak said we had to turn around or else it'd be dark by time we got back to the car.

It was a decent hike, plenty of stairs for the vertical portions, so I don't think you'd need to bring your mountain-expedition gear. :P Lots of dogs on the trail. And lots of photographers lugging their giant tripods up.  Just stay out of the water, cause it's drinking water.

On the way home, Sak took the coastal route, and I'm pretty sure we were driving somewhere we shouldn't have been because on the way down the mountain the road wasn't all paved. Adventure!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

DIY Black Bird Pendant

Black Bird is a very Twilight-esque manga - just replace vampires and werewolves with tengu and kitsune and other Japanese folklore creatures. Girl is special. Magical boy must have her. But it might hurt her. Internal strife! Throw in some family problems and a magical creature war and you get the idea. 
It's got pretty good art, in particular I think the artist has a very decent handle on the bishonen-smoldering-look.
(source) k, maybe not here. Hehe.
Anyway, though it's not my favorite manga of all time, I like the supernatural folklore (versus your typical school-life shoujo), and I like that it goes beyond the "yay, we like each other, let's hold hands"-and-then-the story-ends.

Basically, if you like Twilight, you'll like this manga. (Though, I gotta put in a warning for any younger readers - it can get a little racy/hot and heavy/whatever-kids-are-calling-it-these-days so be aware.)
(source) Sparkly!
Anyway, there's a part where Kyo (tengu boy) gives Misao (girl) his longest feather for protection. He makes it into a necklace for her to wear.

Long story short, I made my own necklace and pretended Sak was a tengu and I stole his feather. Muahaha. 

Want to make one? It's really easy, just need a couple feet of black chainblack feather charm and a couple jumpers! Should come out to around $5 depending where you get your supplies. :)

The best part is you can wear this type of necklace anytime, and be covert-otaku, unlike wearing, say,a giant Magic Knight Rayearth mirror pendant around your neck. @_@