Monday, February 24, 2014

Keroro Gunsou Cake

Since Valentine's Day fell on my regular day off this year, I went all out and made Sak a cake! Well, the cake itself was just boxed chocolate mix, but the icing took a lot of effort, so that counts for something!

I used this Hatsune Miku cake tutorial, which is really well done and tells you just about everything you need to know.  I suggest you check it out, there's a video too!

But here's how my experience went in any case!

I started by tracing an image onto the non waxy side of some freezer paper.  I used the bottom of the cake pan as a guide for how big to make the circle.
Flipped over, trimmed and taped to the inside of a pan.  Make sure this pan will fit in your freezer. I had to do some serious rearranging to jam it in =_=...
For the outline, I melted some fancy Guittard's chocolate chips that Sak had won from a white elephant exchange earlier.
Roll more freezer paper into a tube for piping.  This was kinda difficult because the melted choco was like a million degrees hot and intricate piping with oven mitts is near impossible.  I'd try and wait for the choco to cool a bit first if I did this again.
Freeze.  I used the leftover choco in a cute ichibankan mold :)
Next, whip cream!  The instructions said to use half dairy and half non-dairy whipping cream.  This is because dairy whipped cream doesn't hold its shape very long. I could not, however, find non-dairy whipping cream at Safeway or Trader Joe's.  So I used cool whip.  That's kinda non-dairy.  The other half I whipped from regular heavy whipping cream.  Since the cool whip is already sweetened, I didn't add a whole lot of sugar to the mixture.
Separate and use food coloring to dye batches of the cream as needed.  Keep everything in the fridge to keep it from melting.
Greeeen.  Between each color freeze for five minutes or so to keep the colors from mixing.
Whip cream the cake.  I put it on a foil covered pizza tray because I don't have a cake platter :P
And the moment of truth! Flip the frozen whip cream image over onto the cake, and peel off the freezer paper.

Add cream to cover the edges. Done.
Soooo cuuuuteeeee.

If I have one major flaw though - it's that I didn't apply the whip cream very evenly.  Thus, when I flipped it onto the cake, parts with thin whip cream "sunk".
The other major flaw (that my sister pointed out), is that I screwed up Kero's face.  The bottom part is supposed to be white, not green.  I'm so ashamed. >.>" lol.

But I'm still very happy with it overall! I stuck it in the freezer for a good 30 minutes or so just to make sure it'd stay in one piece, and then in the fridge whenever we weren't eating it.  It was pretty tasty, and I got to share leftovers with my sis and parents too!

If I ever had the time, I'd make another cake.  It's such an interesting method, and whip cream is the *best* tasting frosting there is. I definitely recommend checking out the link above! They have a roll cake recipe I want to try next.

And yes, Sak did like the cake.  Though I think he liked the spareribs we ate for dinner just as much, if not more. :P Cake just can't compete with a good slice of meat I suppose.

Friday, February 14, 2014

V-Day Card 2k14

Ah, Valentine's day. Ever cheesy, but I kind of love all the pink and red and cutesy hearts! I'm being ambitious and thinking of cooking something for Sak today, but if that doesn't work out we'll get some fancy take-out or something.

I knew I wanted to use more of my plastic shrinky dink film for this year's card, so I made a little panda graphic, printed, cut, baked and glazed.
I ended up not making very many though. Charms are a lot more work than they look! Fixing all the jump rings on to attach it to the strap proved the most tedious part.
I love how they came out though, so fun!  I glazed it with clear nail polish, so hopefully it won't yellow like resin.

The base of the card is cuttlebug embossed, and a short message is glued to the back.
With that metal bump from the strap, they didn't all make it unscathed through the mail sorter.  My sister's envelope was all torn up at least.

Anyway, I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine's Day with your loved one - or a flirty eye encounter with a cute stranger if you're not in a relationship! Ha! I guess you could have a flirty eye encounter with your spouse too, but whenever I try that Sak just thinks I'm being weird.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Channel A Anime Card Game

...Or known in passing as the "anime apples to apples".
Friend E got Sak and I this game for Christmas, hoping we'd play it with strangers at cons and make friends. :P

Though I can't say we've done that yet, we've played with *existing* friends, cousins and siblings and it's been a riot! My new favorite party game ever.

The idea is very simple, one person picks two premise cards, and each player has to lay a few cards down to come up with an anime title to fit the premise.  The kicker is - you then have to explain your anime!! We have house rules so that the person who picked the premise picks the round winner, but I think the actual rules is a vote or something.
So for example, if the premise was Chinese fantasy cooking, I could put down "burning sister Z", a show about two sisters, separated at birth, that have rival noodle shops.  They both love the same man, who is a frequent patron at both shops, so they compete with each other to win his heart through food.  The Z just looks cool. Lol.
I love how no matter what title you pick, it will always sound like a legit anime. :P  The art is lovely and there is a lot of diversity in the cards!  Though if you are playing with young kids, I would go through the deck first and take out the questionable ones. "Creamy" and "milky" tend to go the raunchy route.

The best one we had so far - the premise was fanservice car racing or something like that.  My sister threw down "blue tsubasa twins", which has nothing to do with anything, but her story was so complex! Something about the revenge of a dead father in which the beautiful twins have to drive into space. I've requested fan art already.

And for you non-otaku, there are definitions on some of the more niche cards, which is nice.

Anyway, I love this game, and can't wait to bring it to fanime with me to try out with Cousin T. Or maybe I'll find some courage and make a new friend. Ha! :P

Friday, February 7, 2014

Sacanime Winter 2014

One of my sister's many Christmas gifts this year was a ticket to Sacanime (Sacramento's anime convention)..So I guess that kind of makes it a present to Sak and I as well since we were going with her :)

We drove up on Friday, and went straight to the reg line.  A sweet, short 20 minutes for wristbands and badges.
Penga-Sis on the end, surprised there's no 6 hour wait!
Apparently since we booked our hotel (hyatt) through the con, we got a VIP badge upgrade! The upgrade let us into main events early, and also came with a tote bag, VIP autograph sessions, borderlands poster and a few art prints. Nice!

After badges we walked around to get a lay of the land.  Sacanime uses the Sacramento Convention Center (though it was shared with a local home show!) and a hotel across the street.

Oh - and it's right across the street from the state capitol!

 No one wanted to go on the building tour with me though :(  Next time!

Anyway, this convention was interesting.  At about 10,000 attendees, it's just a bit bigger than Kawaiikon in Hawaii, and about the third the size of Fanime.  Dealer's Hall and Artist Alley were bustling - as I'd expect from a California con - though I think they could definitely add more artists in the future :)
Playing with panorama~
 Video programming was sorely lacking in my opinion.  I get that it's a smaller con, but really, only one small video room?

Fan-made video is my favorite thing, so I was a bit dissapointed that there was so little of it at this con.  They did have an AMV contest, but it was very small with only a few entries per category.  I can't really hold that against the con though, since you can only work with what's submitted.

So since there was no video programming, that left us to panels.  We went to History of Magikarp, which is an OCD dive into everything Magikarp.
Sis in her Armin wig.  We didn't finish the costume in time for con =_=!!
We also went to some of the voice actor panels.  What Sacanime lacks in video programming, they make up for in guests! The voice of Mario was there, as well as several Halo people and the cast of Avatar/Korra.
Cortana (halo) and Mario.
Mario seemed like such a nice guy.  Such a unique voice!
Korra - Amon, Zuko, Korra
We decided to bypass the cosplay masquerade in favor of a cold reading with voice actors. They ended up reading War of the Worlds, which was an odd choice, but they hammed it up anyway.
Anime dub voice, 2 Halo guys, and 2 novice voice actors.
I thought it was interesting, but I think Penga-Sis got a little bored. Sci fi isnt quite her thing.

Anyway, I enjoyed the con - but most of the events (aside from the dance/rave thing) ended at 8 or earlier. Lame. Even lamer is the fact that downtown Sac is pretty dead (food-wise), even on Friday/Saturday! So Saturday night we were sitting around with nothing to snack on and nothing to do.  I yelped and found a cookie delivery company. What.
Cookies & Milk, baked to order and sent straight to our hotel. SO NICE.  And the cookies were good too.  Pricey, yes. But so worth it.

So in summary - I really enjoyed the con, but in a much different way than most anime cons.  With the emphasis on guests and little else, I felt it was trying to be more of a comicon than a fan con. Having a con in winter to fill the summer con void is nice too.  I wouldn't mind going again, but Sak says it won't be a yearly trip for him. Lol.  For whatever reason it seems like northern california con attendees just don't understand hygiene/deodorant.  I thought it was just Fanime, but Sacanime smelled just as bad. :P

That aside, since Penga-Sis was with me this time, I have her cosplay pics to share, yay!
Balloon Tardis

Christmas AOT!
I think this is Dangan ronpa?  I'm really amazed at her costume, perfectly half white/half pink!
KLEFKI!  I actually had a spray painted silver hula hoop for this, but she beat me to it! hahah. Love it!
Mako. Those eyebrows. :D
Rue from Princess Tutu.  Still one of the greatest anime ever.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

New Year at the Zoo

For the last day of 2013, Penga-Sis was up to visit.  We dressed up for no reason, and prepared a delicious shabu shabu meal for the three of us.

New Year's day, we took a trip to the SF Zoo for more new camera practice.
This guy's teeth are as bad as mine :P

Babeh gorilluh!
A little more and you can reach that booger.
Derp lemur sleeping with his eyes open.
Babeh pumba!

Indian runner ducks. Love these guys because they remind me of the Shepherd's Crossing game where the duck carries a wine bottle on his back.

What's he eating? Cow?
Such Squish!
Velociraptors! GAHH!
A great start to the new year.