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Saturday, 23 September 2017

BLOG [PERSONAL] -- My Trip to Vancouver (Sept. 8 - Sept. 10)

**NOTE: I guess I gotta say that not everything in this blog may be interesting to you. Since I spent my time there catching up with friends, this kinda focuses more on them than the sights.


So a couple weeks ago, during the last few days of my vacation, I took a short trip to Vancouver. I had been meaning to visit Vancouver for a long time now. One of my good friends (let's call her Claire) moved there about 5 years ago and I knew I would visit her one day. Me deciding that day would be last, last weekend... was very much on a whim. 

About four weeks ago when I was prepping for Fan Expo, I was wondering what I should do afterwards (it's been kinda a tradition for me that after Fan Expo I would have vacation the following week to recover from Fan Expo). I already had plans on Sept. 9... but then I thought about visiting Claire, and thought this would be the right time to go. I kinda felt that if I didn't go then, it would be a long while before the next time. After double-checking with her availability, I cancelled my Sept. 9 plans (I am sorry! I won't do it again x_x) and bought a plane ticket to Vancouver.

It was my 3rd trip via plane -- but my first trip flying within Canada! Exciting! Haha :)


A random nice view in Vancouver. 
Too bad it was so cloudy, lol. 

Usually I would have a section outlining exactly what I did and at what time for each day, and I did do that at the beginning, but... well... once I reached Vancouver and met up with Claire and her fiance (let's call him Charlie), I didn't have much time to do it. So I'll pretty much be summarizing each day as best I can. Food places will still be in their own section, though.



****************************************************************************


FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 8

**Time woke up: 6:30 AM

Well... even though I woke up really early (my usual waking time on a weekday), let's skip through most of it to when I land in Vancouver. One thing I will say, though, is that I really enjoyed not having to check any luggage for this trip. I didn't even have a carry-on with me. I somehow managed to stuff all my essentials into my purse. Not having to claim any luggage felt pretty nice. The only downside is that I left no room to buy souvenirs. Oh well. Next time I'll bring a larger purse, maybe. :3

It was a 5 hour flight from Toronto to Vancouver, so it was around 3:06 PM when I landed. Vancouver is 3 hours behind Toronto, so it was like going back in the past.

Once I got off the plane, I followed the signs pointing me to the SkyTrain. Before I left Vancouver, Claire recommended that I purchase and load up a Compass Card. It is a reloadable card that can be used on Vancouver transit. Claire recommended that I load up about $20 for the weekend, but I loaded up $40 just to be safe. I figured that any leftover amount could be used for my next visit.


Vending machine to buy or load up a Compass Card. 
As of this writing, there is a $6 extra fee when purchasing the card.

When the SkyTrain reached Broadway-City Hall station, I got off. I roamed around for the next hour or so, waiting for my friend to get off work. I was also looking for a convenience store to buy a bottled water, but had no luck. I would find out later from my friend that there aren't too many convenience stores in Vancouver and carrying your own beverage container is encouraged.

Around 6 PM, I met up with Claire and Charlie. We drove further downtown (using a car sharing service) and had dinner at this Vietnamese restaurant (will be covered briefly later on). We talked a lot about our jobs, our duties, and some hardships we had. We also talked a bit about our adventures outside Canada, our current family situations, and other things. It was really fun and really nice! :)

Then we went back to Claire and Charlie's place. I was floored by all the bird plushies -- they were so cute xD. I met their pet budgie and then Claire and Charlie entertained me and watched the Swiss Army Man DVD I brought from Toronto. :)

I went to bed around 12:30 AM.


One of the first things I saw when I walked out of the Broadway-City Hall station.
I really appreciate it since I tend to lose my bearings once I come out from underground.

My good friend (Claire). Hahaha, so adorable :) 

Claire's fiance (Charlie). Nice pose :) 



SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 9

**Time woke up: 6:30 AM

So my alarm woke me up... I didn't mean to wake up so early today. I had set that alarm weeks ago for Fan Expo and I forgot to turn it off afterwards =__=

Claire and Charlie were still asleep (thank goodness they didn't hear the alarm!) so after doing my morning stuffs I quietly played Persona Q, a 3DS game. I still have tons of hours to spend before I clear my "spend 500 hours on Persona, Final Fantasy, or Dragon Quest games" resolution!


Amusing screenshot of Persona Q. I don't think this is a spoiler, lol.

It was around 9-ish when Claire and Charlie woke up. After a bit of sleepy hellos, they started making breakfast. I helped slice an apple -- scary! Hahaha... I could explain myself... but I'm not going to. I also got my first burn mark -- my arm accidentally touched the edge of the toaster oven door. I guess I was pretty lucky to have avoided getting a burn mark for so long. 

When breakfast was ready, we ate and watched an episode of One Punch Man. I'm gonna have to watch the rest of the series some day. :)


Breakfast. It was yummy! :)
There was a plate of bacon strips behind the jam jar.

Then we putted around for a while, partly waiting for the weather to stop its light drizzle. Claire and Charlie let their budgie out of the cage. The budgie was really cute, perching on our fingers and whatnot. Whenever Claire led the budgie close to my shoulder, the budgie would hop on and then play with my hair. It was a nice and tickly experience! 


Me (with my face greyed out) and their budgie nesting by my hair.
Whenever he brushed my neck, trying to get more hair, 
I couldn't stop giggling -- it tickled so much!

When the rain lessened a bit, we headed out. At this point, I don't remember every place we went to and how we got there. We drove a bit, we walked a lot, and we took the bus two times. I just followed Claire and Charlie around. They were my tour guides. Though it really didn't matter what we checked out -- as long as we were hanging out. :)

We went to Lucky's Doughnuts for a bit (will cover briefly later). Then we went to Gastown to see the steam clock. I really like the old design for it. Then we walked around for a long while and ended up in an area with boats. The view was really nice. Then we saw the olympic torch. Then we walked around a lot. We ended up at the entrance to China Town (I think), and we took a look at Yokoyaya, a shop with tons of items from Japan. I wish there was one in Toronto! I am so jealous, hahaha.

After all that roaming around and sightseeing, we hopped on a bus to our next destination.


Steam clock in Gastown. It sticks out like a sore thumb. 
Very cool and amusing, lol.

The Olympic torch (not lit, of course).

A Salvador Dali clock statue.
That person looked like she was trying to restore it. 
Not 100% sure if that was what she was doing, though.

The entrance gate to Chinatown.

The label says "Aerodynamic Forms in Space".
It seems out of place, haha.

Our next point was the front of Stanley Park as we were meeting another friend (let's call him Geoff). He moved to Vancouver recently after years upon years of years of schooling (lots of schooling for lots of years! lol). I figured he'd be too busy to meet up, so I didn't think of contacting him. Good thing Claire did. It turned out he was free after all.

When Geoff showed up, we went towards Stanley Park's Seawall Path. From there we walked along the path, drinking in the lovely cloudy view, and talking a lot about random nerdy things. Video games (particularly FFXIV)... horror movies (particularly the new IT movie and the difference between North American horror and Japanese horror)... anime (I have to put Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works on my to-watch list)... We even talked about Dragon Ball Z Kai! So nostalgic. I felt like I was back in high school in the anime club xD 

Every now and then, Claire would have us pose while Charlie would take a picture with her polaroid instant camera. She wanted each of us to have a picture as a souvenir. She's so sweet ^-^

As we walked farther, we noticed some small rock constructs. I was so amused at them, pointing every so often. Eventually we passed a section that had tons of rock constructs. Charlie made a comment, saying something along the lines of it'd be funny if they were actually rows and rows of penile-shaped constructs. Too bad I didn't take a picture of them.

Some small rock constructs along the Seawall Path.
We saw a lot more as we walked further.

Siwash rock. Supposedly a very well-known landmark along the Seawall Path.
I wonder how many people have tried climbing it?


My photo souvenir. Charlie took the picture. 
I think it's blurry / small enough that nobody can make out our features, haha
Can you guess who I am? :)
Hint: I am not the pretty one nor the smart-looking one.

Getting close to 7 PM, we cut through Stanley Park to a bus stop. It's a good thing, too, because my feet were getting tired at that point, haha. 

The next thing was something I was looking forward to: dinner at Guu! Aside from visiting Claire (and then hanging with Geoff), eating at Guu was pretty much the only thing on my to-do in Vancouver. I really wanted to try it and compare it to Guu in Toronto (which is now called Kinka Izakaya). Unfortunately the reservations Geoff made didn't go through :( It just means I have to come back another time another time! ^_^

We ended up eating at Hokkaido Ramen Santouka (will cover briefly later), which was a nice alternative. A couple conversations I will remember (conversations may be paraphrased):

---Conversation #1---
Claire: If you could dye your hair any colour, what would it be?

Geoff: *thinks a little* Navy blue. It's my favourite colour.

Claire: *looks at me* What about you?

Me: Hmmmmm... *thinks a little* Really, really dark purple.

Geoff: Like Joker's purple?

Me: No... I want my hair to look black, but when the sun hits it, the shine will be purple.

Geoff: You should do it! :)

Me: *turns to Claire* How about you?

Claire: I'd dye it a deep green colour.

Geoff: What kind of green is that?

Claire: Ummm... *thinks a little*

Me: Would it be that green? *points to one of the green veggies in her ramen*

Claire: Yes.

Geoff: You should do it! :)

---Conversation #2---
Claire: If you could be any animal, what would you be?

Geoff: I can't answer that, because I don't like animals.

Me: How about a mythical animal?

Geoff: *thinks a little* You know a friend once asked if I would prefer a unicorn or a flaming horse. I said a flaming horse. Because the horse is always on fire, it'd burn off any smells. You see -- I thought about it!

Me: *laughing, super amused by the line of thinking*

After ramen, we went next door for dessert (will cover briefly later). And the random conversations ensued. 

Geoff shared a story about an art assignment in Grade 9. The assignment was to create / construct something where two vertical wires would be the base / support -- the wires had to stay standing up. So for his assignment, he stuffed a large bag, aiming to create a chocobo. The only problem was that the body got so large that it was hard to make the vertical wires stay standing. So amusing and awesome. I can totally relate -- getting excited whenever I was able to give an anime or video game spin to an assignment :)

At some point Claire gave me a crazy compliment, saying today was a special day because I was here in Vancouver. I was going to lightly dismiss it as I usually do with compliments, but... then I stopped, and said "Thanks...", smiling warmly and sheepishly. I guess I kinda needed to hear those words. Thank youuuuu! ^-^

Nearing 9 PM, we started walking towards home. Along the way we popped into a shop that had a bunch of Japanese candies and snacks. Ohhh, I'm so jealous! Geoff saw a Doraemon-shaped container and got excited. He told us earlier that when he was young he had a Doraemon alarm clock that would play the anime's theme song. Seeing all the snacks really made me wanna go back to Japan. I should have bought something to snack on the flight back to Toronto, but I didn't think about it. x(

When it came time to say our good-byes (nuuu... I didn't want the day to be over! haha T_T), Claire gave Geoff a hug. Then Geoff looked at me and I did a small wave, smiling. Then I was wondering why his arm was out in a curved shape, thinking, Does he want a fancy high five? After a bit of time, I realized that Geoff had his arm out for a one-armed hug. When I realized it, I hugged him -- with both my arms, mwa ha ha ha. Unless one of my arms is carrying a lot of stuff, I prefer hugging with both arms. *sigh* Another embarrassing moment for me... not recognizing right away a one-armed hug. x_x

Back at Claire and Charlie's place, Claire and I had a long heart-to-heart conversation, talking about things that have troubled / bothered us over the past few years. Though it sucked that we faced such hardships, it was nice that we got to get them out in the open. 

Then Claire and Charlie's budgie hopped on my shoulder and buried himself deep in my hair, nuzzling my neck. I couldn't stop giggling.

I went to bed around 1-ish AM.


Proof that we were standing in front of Guu.
Next time... hahaha :)


SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 10

**Time woke up: 6:30 AM

This day is gonna be a really brief summary. I pretty much just spent the next hour and a half getting ready to leave. My flight was at 11:15 AM and I didn't want to miss it. It was great traveling to Vancouver 'cuz I would be 3 hours behind once I land. Going from Vancouver to Toronto though... well... I'd be jumping 3 hours ahead.

Claire and I hugged a bunch of times. It was a really nice time -- these memories will stay with me always ^_^~~~ <3

The flight back home was smooth. My flight left at 11:15 AM, and I landed in Toronto at 7:45 PM. The flight was 4 hours long... how did the day go by so fast?! Hahaha.

*********************************************************************************************
FOOD PLACES
*********************************************************************************************
CAMBIE VIETNAMESE RESTAURANT

Location: 4136 Main Street, Vancouver Google Map
Contact: (604) 872-3455 **according to Google Maps**
Website: None that I know of
Type(s) of Cuisine: Vietnamese
Specialty (if any): None that I know of
Price Range (for a main dish): Low-Mid
Restaurant Size: Very small
Recommend? Standard

Brief Impression
It was okay. The service was really good in the beginning and then partway through it kinda became non-existent. We had to bug another server to order our desserts. I'd say this is okay to check out if you feel like having Vietnamese food and have nowhere better to go.

What I Ate / Drank ...
My main dish (picture below) -- I forgot the name of this dish. It was okay. Quite standard for Vietnamese food.
Chocolate Pear -- This is chocolate ice cream shaped like a pear dipped in chocolate coating. It was not bad.
Mango Delight -- This is vanilla ice cream with mango filling. I think I liked this the best.


This was my main meal. It was okay.

Chocolate pear!

 The mango delight. The mango center was yummy.


LUCKY'S DOUGHNUTS

Location: Unsure (my friends took me to the place, lol)
Contact: Unsure
Website: http://www.luckysdoughnuts.com/
Type(s) of Cuisine: Donuts
Specialty (if any): Donuts
Price Range (for a main dish): Mid (one donut is about $3)
Restaurant Size: Small
Recommend? Yes

Brief Impression
It's very clean and crowded. Supposedly the donuts are freshly made, and I must say -- the donuts I tried were really delicious. I really wanted to check this place out because Charlie mentioned the day before that one of Lucky's seasonal donuts was the mango passionfruit. At the word "mango", my ears perked up and I just had to try one. Unfortunately they didn't have any when we got there. :(

Next time for sure!

If you feel like treating yourself to something soft and sweet, this place comes highly recommended :) 

Yummy donuts! We got the maple pecan, strawberry, and traditional chocolate flavours.
The yummiest of the three was the maple pecan.
Very, very good!


HOKKAIDO RAMEN SANTOUKA

Location: 1690 Robson Street, Vancouver Google Map
Contact: (604) 681-8121
Website: https://www.santouka.co.jp/en/shop-foreigin/canada/foreign02-001
Type(s) of Cuisine: Japanese
Specialty (if any): Ramen
Price Range (for a main dish): Medium (approx. $15 for ramen)
Restaurant Size: Medium
Recommend? Yes! 

Brief Impression
So this was a nice alternative to Guu. The atmosphere was typical of a ramen joint -- warm, busy, and loud. The food was really good, and the service was decent from what I remember.

Miso ramen. Very yummy.

I don't have a picture of this, but Geoff ordered a plate and shared it with us.
I'm usually not a fan of gyoza, but this was very nicely done.
I like that the sign says "Probably the BEST" instead of just saying "The BEST".
I can respect its honesty. :) 


SNOWY VILLAGE

Location: 1696 Robson Street, Vancouver Google Map
Contact: (778) 379-3884
Website: http://snowyvillages.ca/
Type(s) of Cuisine: Dessert
Specialty (if any): Bingsoo (Korean shaved ice) and taiyaki
Price Range (for a main dish): Low-Mid?
Restaurant Size: Small
Recommend? Yes

Brief Impression
This place I'd recommend for a group. The bingsoo they serve practically encourages sharing -- they are just very large.

If you find just yourself there, they also serve croissant taiyaki, which can be eaten by one person.

Strawberry bingsoo. You see how large it is compared to the spoons?
It quite good! I'm so glad we were sharing it, lol.
Random thought: I see an evil smiley face in the bingsoo, lol.

Croissant taiyaki. They had several flavours available that 
I have never seen in a taiyaki before. It was 3 for $10, so we got 
the red bean, nutella, and pizza-flavoured ones. 
Then we split each one into four pieces.
It was Geoff's first time eating taiyaki.
The red bean was my favourite. Even though I chose the pizza-flavoured one, 
I found it a little bit too cheesy, though it was still okay. 
It reminded me of a fried pizza pop. 


And that's Vancouver! One thing that I really like about Vancouver is the slower pace. I feel I can relax a bit, even though I could be walking around for hours. I will also say that sharing my time with friends really made the trip so much more awesome and totally worth it. There is no doubt that I will go back again -- hopefully for longer next time. And the next time I go... Guu won't escape from my clutches! Hahaha.

Here is a breakdown of my spending in Vancouver. I was lucky that Claire covered for a lot of my foods... which I will repay the next time ;)
UP express tickets (roundtrip): $24.70
Plane ticket (roundtrip): $964.83
Compass card: $46
Total foods (airport snacks / water, Sat. dinner): $29.95

Total spending in Vancouver: $1,065.48.


Thanks for reading! If you read to the end you are amazing! :)

As always, feel free to comment on anything.

Anywho, thanks again and have a good weekend! :)

Monday, 4 September 2017

BLOG -- Fan Expo Canada 2017

So Fan Expo came and went. And as usual, I embarrassed myself. What else is new? Hahaha. My time at Fan Expo was a bit mixed this year. I was "fortunate" to have witnessed or experienced a number of things, be it a panel cancellation, technical goof-up or whatnot. The positives still outweighed the setbacks, though, and overall I did enjoy myself. 

I didn't get any autographs this year. Yay, no super long line-ups for me!

Just like in previous years, Fan Expo was split between the North and South building.

Just to warn you (as I always do): this blog will be quite long. I'll be covering each day of Fan Expo Canada -- what I did, what panels I attended, and any thoughts. That's four days' worth of blogging. I've lumped all my pics of cosplayers into one section. If you want to see just that, search for "Photos of Cosplayers". For the section of what I've bought, search for "My Convention Purchases". :)


The Little Details
Dates of Fan Expo Canada: August 31st - September 3rd, 2017
Location: Metro Convention Centre (Toronto, Ontario)
Ticket Price Total: $178.50 (Premium admission; Deluxe 4-day admission was $125)


Thursday
Time Attended: 4:15 PM - 6:45 PM
Being a Premium attendee, I could have gotten into Fan Expo at 2 PM (like last year), but this time I was running late. I had some errands that I had to do on Thursday, so it was around 4:15 PM when I reached Fan Expo. Just enough time for me to start lining up for my one panel for the day.


Sketch Duel: Ty Templeton vs. Jay Fosgitt vs. Sara Richard vs. Adam Gorham -- 5:45 PM
From left to right: Adam Gorham, Ty Templeton, Jay Fosgitt, 
Sara Richard, Brent Chittenden

This was super fun! As I've expressed in past Fan Expo blogs, Ty Templeton is always a delight -- so funny, insightful, and with oodles of stories to tell. It was my first time seeing Jay, Sara, and Adam (I'm not too into comics, so I don't know them), but they are great. Jay and Adam are just adorable, and Sara is really cute. My friend Brent Chittenden was moderating the panel, and just like last year, he did a swell job. Just to plug Brent a little, he is also a co-host for podcast True North Nerds

There were three rounds of drawings and their topics were interesting:
-Zelda (can draw Link or Zelda -- bonus points if My Little Pony is also drawn -- My Little Pony was suggested because with the exception of Adam, all the artists have dabbled in My Little Pony)
-Darkwing Duck
-Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as the Avengers

While the artists were drawing, audience members got to ask questions, which led to amusing, funny, and interesting banter. I recorded the whole thing in chunks, so below is a clip (just audio, no video):


video
The first 15 minutes. The audio is pretty soft so you might want to turn the volume up.

One interesting question that was asked was "Have you ever drawn upside down?" Ty's response was that drawing upside down really helps capture likeness of the character. It kinda makes me wonder why.

At the end of the panel, as with all Sketch Duels, the drawings were given to audience members via a random draw. I really wish I could have won at least one of them. Below are some of the drawings. If I get the artist wrong, I'm sorry!

Link drawn by... Sara Richard? If I'm wrong, please correct me! I found this hilarious. 

Sausage Link drawn by Jay Fosgitt. So funny and cute!

Darkwing Duck drawn by Adam Gorham. This looked amazing!

Darkwing Duck drawn by Sara Richard. It's a great duck! xD

TMNT as the Hulk drawn by... Ty Templeton? If I'm wrong, please correct me!
There was a speech bubble above which said "Turtle Smash!"

TMNT as Captain America drawn by... Jay Fosgitt? If I'm wrong, please correct me!
The tiny turtle is so cute!


Misc. Photos for Thursday
My premium admission swag, minus the lunchbox.



Friday
Time Attended: 11:30 AM - 7:00 PM
So today I dressed up a little. I've mentioned many, many, many blogs ago that I have a couple Lolita outfits, but I don't recall ever taking pics of them for this blog. With the weather being pretty cool today, I figured I could wear one and not overheat. 

Me (with a grey box over my face) in one of my Lolita outfits. 
I wish I could wear stuff like this more often without judging eyes and whatnot.

When I reached the convention centre, I went to the South Building and looked for the room to my next panel.


3D Design & Modelmaking -- 1:00 PM
There was a technical goof-up with this panel. The panelist had planned on doing a Powerpoint presentation, but the staff only dropped off a projector and screen around 12:50 PM, but did not set it up! So the panelist did his presentation without it. The presentation lasted about 30 minutes, and the rest of the panel time was used for audience questions, and there were a lot of them!

Having absolutely no knowledge about 3D printers, the main things I took away were a list of free software, and these two points to keep in mind when deciding on which software to use:

1. Will it export to a file type compatible for 3D printing?
2. Do I enjoy using the program?

Below are a list of some free software (at least, as of this writing). Some software will require using multiple software to get to a 3D printing file type. 

-NetFabb "Basic" (To get NetFabb "Basic", download the 30 day trial for NetFabb. When the trial expires, NetFabb "Basic" will remain)
-DAZ Studio (while the program is free, note that add-ons or plugins cost money)

Angry Video Game Nerd Film Festival -- 3:00 PM
The panel started about 10 minutes late, which was fine. Supposedly the panelist (who was not James Rolfe) was making his way from the North building, and that trek does take a while. The room was booked until 7 PM, so a bit of tardiness should be okay.

When the panelist arrived, we were shown "200", James' 200th film. It was a short documentary of himself and his film-making journey. It was interesting to see James coming up with various ideas to overcome his equipment's limitations. 

After that, the panelist showed us a huge banner that said "Thank you, James!". We could go up to the front and sign the banner anytime during the panel. The panelist also told us raffle tickets were being sold, with all proceeds going to Sick Kids Foundation. 

Then we were shown "Mr. Bucket" and "Dream Phone", episodes from the Board James series. 

Then they played episodes from the Angry Video Game Nerd series. They played the Glitch episode, Castlevania: Simon's Quest, and R.O.B. 

After R.O.B., it was around 4:45 PM. The panelist said we still had time to watch one more episode. We ended up watching The Silver Surfer. After that, they did the raffle draw.

Then, at around 5:30 PM, they played Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie. Some of the story ideas were interesting, but overall, from what I saw, I'd say the movie was kinda meh. I say "from what I saw", because, well...

Partway through the 3rd act, the movie got turned off. The panelist said that security was kicking us out because it was 7 PM. Omg... well, that was quite the disappointment. That room was booked just for the Angry Video Game Nerd showings from 3 PM to 7 PM, and the movie ended up not getting shown in its entirety. What a miscalculation... or was it intentional to get us to buy the movie to find out how it ends? If it was the latter, I think it was a poor move.

One nice news that came from this panel was that James Rolfe's child was born today. Congratulations to him and his wife!

Misc. Photos for Friday
Jabba the Hutt display.

An app thing that was happening during the convention. 
I didn't participate since I still need to watch Star Wars... >_>''


Saturday
Time Attended: 11:15 AM - 7:00 PM
Today, I decided to wear normal, warm clothes. I was freezing in my Lolita outfit yesterday. I also wore the fake glasses I wore to Fan Expo a couple years ago. I gotta make more use of it!

When I got to the convention centre, just like yesterday, I went straight to the South building and waited for my next panel.





At around 12:10 (20 minutes before the panel started), staff came by and told us the panel was cancelled due to scheduling conflicts. This was a first. 

All of a sudden, I thought 'What am I going to do now?' I had plans to meet with a friend to do some shopping at artist alley at the end of this now-cancelled panel, so I couldn't stray too far from the room. I also left my program at home, figuring I wasn't going to need it today. After a bit more thought, I trekked into the dealer's room, figuring I can do some shopping now at artist alley, and then head back closer to the meet-up time.

I started at one end and snaked my way through. One thing I kinda wanted to get was Jay Fosgitt's autograph. I really enjoyed his drawings at the Sketch Duel on Thursday and I loved his humour and personality (at least from what I saw). So I kept a lookout for his name at every booth along the walls. 

When I spotted Jay's name, I looked at the table and he was there. Nobody else was at his table. Then I got a little nervous. Should I go and say hi? But then if I say hi, what do I say after that? Ahh, I'm going to make a fool out of myself! Haha... I'm such a goof when it comes to these things. u__u

I continued snaking around artist alley for a few minutes. Then I gritted my teeth and walked towards Jay's table. Ahhh, just thinking about it makes me want to hide... hahaha.

To the best of my recollection, this is how the conversation went. Jay was really friendly throughout. I was really shy, speaking softly most times.

Jay: Hi.

Me: Hi.

Jay: How are you?

Me: I'm good. How are you?

Jay: I'm good.

Me: Umm... you are Jay, right? (my nervous-ness made me think that maybe he wasn't Jay and was somebody sitting there while Jay was off somewhere else -- kinda like how the artist isn't always present in artist alley booths)

Jay: Yes, I am.

Me: Ummm, I just wanna say that I really loved you at the Sketch Duel on Thursday!

Jay: Why thank you!

Me: The sausage Link drawing was so funny!

*some laughter*

*a bit of silence* I was thinking about what to say next. I really wanted to ask for his autograph, but I felt I should ask for a drawing, and hope the autograph will come automatically from that. My eyes glanced at his prices for commissions, but it was a little difficult processing it, I was still really nervous. To me it felt like I was standing there for a long time, but I'm sure it was probably something like 10 seconds. Jay stayed quiet, observing my nervousness, maybe. Then...

Me: Ummm, I'd like a commission...

Jay: Okay. :)

Me: Ummm, it's my first time asking for a commission...

Jay: Really?

Then Jay proceeded to explain the different sizes and prices, all while staying cheerful and friendly. I really appreciate his patience.

After a bit more thinking, I pointed to the size I wanted and asked him to draw me. Then we had some small chats while he drew. Close to the end, I became really quiet, thinking I was distracting him.

When he was done, I asked if I could take a photo. We exchanged a little bit more conversation and then I said "Keep drawing!". Darn it, I'm such a dork >____<!

If he comes back next year, I'll most likely ask for a commission of myself again. It would be interesting to see if the drawing style evolves :) 

Jay Fosgitt. 

To those who don't know how I look, 
this is how I look! (minus the fake glasses I was wearing)
But to those who don't know how I look, thank you so much for reading!!! :)
To those who do know how I look, thank you so much for reading, too!!! :)
This pic will show up again in my "Convention Purchases" section.

After that, I went to meet up with my friend. Before we headed off to the dealer's room, we saw this:

video
Somebody playing the X-Men theme on violin (?) while Rogue is dancing.
The playing was so cool!

Then we went to the dealer's room and I spent all my money in the artist alley. 

3D Printing Techniques -- 5:00 PM
This panel was supposed to be 3D Printers & Resources, but the panelist accidentally did that presentation during the 3 PM panel... so to not repeat himself, he decided to present 3D Printing Techniques at 5 PM. 

3D Printing Techniques was, of course, more advanced than my level... but I still was able to take away some things from this panel. Just like the other 3D panel I attended yesterday, the presentation was 30 minutes long and the rest were questions from the audience.

Here are some notes, though not everything will be clear:

-Make sure the setting is set to "relative translation"
-Try to get rid of supports by either including supports in your design or angling it so that supports won't be made
-If the angle is less than 42 degrees from the base, supports won't print
-Turn off supports or supports will automatically fill
-If you have to have supports, try having the support print on a part where the design is flat, if possible
-Can nest smaller parts in larger parts to save on time and material use
-An alternative to printing an object is to print a mold for the object
-If temperature and speed requirements are similar, it is possible to print different materials at the same time
-A good resource for 3D "blueprints": Thingiverse (it is recommended to download your desired "blueprint" and then edit / adjust it in a design software).

Misc. Photos for Saturday
None this time.


Sunday
Time Attended: 11:00 AM - 3:30 PM
So... before I even reached the convention today, I made a fool of myself. .__.''

I woke up at 7:45 AM and did my usual morning stuffs. Then I turned on my computer and checked Facebook. I saw a post from Brent saying that today he was moderating a panel and going to get an interview with Jay Fosgitt for his podcast. I thought, Oooo, yay! I get to learn more about Jay! 

I replied to Brent's Facebook post, saying "Awesome. I fangirled a bit to Jay yesterday, 'cuz I loved him at the Sketch Duel on Thursday. Sausage Link still gets me, hahaha." 

About 10 minutes later, I noticed the Facebook notification icon was lit (I was still getting ready to leave so wasn't paying too much attention). I clicked on the icon and it said "Jay Fosgitt likes your comment".

.........
.............
................. OMG! O__O!!!

My jaw dropped and I made a lot of agonizing, embarrassed sounds (imagine however you like). He read my comment about fangirling to him, wahhhh!!! Thank goodness I was at home. I responded to my reply, saying the effect of "omg" and "hides somewhere". Hahaha, what a way to start the last day of the convention... I was actually fine for the most part, but darn, this will be such an embarrassing memory whenever I think back to it. xD 

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When I reached the convention centre, I decided to skip one of my panels and check out the dealers portion of the dealer's room. I still hadn't explored that area yet, and I kinda wish I did explore it earlier. I missed out on several experiences because I only saw them this late in the convention.

Writing for Comics Roundtable -- 2:30 PM

From left to right: Brent Chittenden and Jim Zub

There were supposed to be more guests, but nobody else showed up except for Jim Zub. Brent was moderating the panel. Even though it was only Jim, this panel was really awesome. Jim is very good at capturing audience attention and invoking emotions. He shared his journey for comic book writing and spoke broadly about certain things to keep in mind. 

I believe the whole panel was recorded by a friend so if it goes up I'll link to it. For now, though, here's a short clip I recorded (no video, audio only).

video
One of Jim's stories. It is about 4 minutes long.


No Fan Expo panel has ever gotten me close to tears. It took a lot in me not to cry. I was sitting in the front row, too, so I didn't want to cry, hahaha. I was also still wearing my fake glasses, so was pretty self-conscious on how I would handle wiping away tears.

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Even though the convention ended at 5 PM, I decided to head home. Having spent almost all my money on Saturday, there wasn't much left for me to do.

Misc. Photos for Sunday
Signage for the Doctor Who escape rooms.
If I watched Doctor Who, I would have tried participating.

Arcade room!

A VR experience promoting the new IT movie. 
By the time I got there, all the timeslots were taken, so I couldn't try it.

Stacking goombas.

Phaser tag. It looked amusing!

Pokemon, Mega Construx style.

A piece of Bulbasaur fell off :(
(the piece is below Squirtle's base)

Costume pieces from Thor Ragnarok.

A funny note I saw at one of the artist alley tables.


Overall Thoughts
Aside from the missing guests, panel cancellation, presentation mix-up, technical goof-up, and AVGN miscalculation, Fan Expo Canada 2017 was quite enjoyable (wow, how did all that happen? lol). Aside from the AVGN panel, I enjoyed all the other panels I attended. 

Cosplay seemed a lot more varied this year. At least, it didn't seem like any one series was the top thing to cosplay from. I really do wanna try cosplaying again, lol. 

Next year I will have to prioritize exploring the dealer's room... and maybe look into staying at a hotel. Hahaha, I think my late attendances this year (except for Thursday -- I had a legitimate excuse for that one!) are a sign that I don't have the energy I used to... or that I'm getting tired of commuting to Fan Expo each day... or that I spend too much time deciding what to wear, hahaha.


Photos of Cosplayers
As mentioned earlier, here are some photos of cosplayers:

NieR: Automata.
From left to right, I believe it's A2, 2B, and 9S?
I was only able to recognize them from the FFBE NieR banner, haha.

Celestia from Danganronpa.

Red from Transistor.

Joker and Ann from Persona 5.

Mechanized Pokemon?

Pikachu, Pikachu, Charizard, and Squirtle.
Pikachu's arms going up are so cute!

Nurse Joy and Officer Jenny from Pokemon.

No idea who he is, but he's super tall!

Characters from Star Wars?

Deadpool and his unicorns.

Old Man Logan!

Slenderman is on the right. 

Muten Roshi from Dragon Ball.

Krillin from Dragon Ball.

Vegeta and Bulma from Dragon Ball Z.

Guts and Casca from Berserk.

Negan from The Walking Dead.

Not sure... was thinking Pokemon, but...

I don't know who this is, but I liked his cloak and book.



Cosplay I wanted to take a pic of, but missed my chance
-Hitman from Hitman (again)
-Bender from Futurama


My Convention Purchases
I had a smaller budget this time around -- because I sucked at saving up for it this year. I had about $400 and spent almost all of it.

So I'm saying this again, but when buying fan stuff, I often have this frame of mind:

1. Does the art style align with my tastes?
2. Does this work express the kind of fandom that expresses me? (like, if I saw a poster of Zuko and Katara holding hands and gently smiling, I might get it, because it expresses how I feel about their relationship -- a sense of deep understanding for each other)
3. Is this a piece of work that will evoke something in me every time I see it?

The downside to having a small budget this year is that it left very little room to buy from new artists since I definitely wanted to support my current artists.

I have to say: I am quite impressed with the product quality and variety from artist alley. Not only do many booths offer buttons and bookmarks along with their prints, many also offer charms or keychains or notepads or mini artbooks or other things. It's really nice and huge props to them for getting it all ready.

For what I've bought that I haven't yet watched / experienced the series for, I'll note it like this: (*)

Here is what I bought (if anybody could help me fill in the blanks, it'd be greatly appreciated!):


Drawing from Jay Fosgitt. 

three original postcards, two original mini books + postcard, 
two Joker mini standees + vocaloid-themed postcard set, avocado plushie. 

Don't know who these are posters of. The right one looks very familiar though... 

Don't know who this is.

Final Fantasy VII, Samurai Champloo posters.

Posters from Shilin Huang.

Poster from Justin Currie!

And another one.

And two more.

And a picture book. 

Two mini zines, original sticker set, buttons from Animal Crossing and Persona 5.


Persona 5 mice! I am tempted to give them as gifts, but...
I also want the full set for myself, haha.

Mystic Messenger memo pad.

Business cards.

Another business card. 

Another business card.

Another business card.

Another business card.


 Another business card.


So, to calculate the "damage" to my wallet:
  Jay Fosgitt commission: $20
  3 original postcards from Eecks: $10
  Spook Look Book + Cat book + Cat postcard from Koyamori: $35
  2 Joker mini-standees + vocaloid postcard set from Starbottle: $50
  Avocado plushie: $15
  Posters (???, something familiar, ???): $30
  Posters (Final Fantasy VII, Samurai Champloo): $20
  Posters from Shilin Huang: $30
  Posters from Chasing Artwork (Game controllers [3], TMNT) + Rust and Water: $70 
  Buttons from onedayfour (Futaba, Morgana, Isabelle) + 2 mini zines + sticker set: $30
  Charms from Roo (Persona 5 mice) + Mystic Messenger notepad: $68


Total "Damage" This Year: $378.00

Total "Damage" Last Year: $631.00




Thanks for reading (if you made it this far)! If you have any questions about anything I experienced at Fan Expo Canada, or just comments and questions on anything, feel free to comment!

Now I can sit back, relax, and enjoy my vacation (I usually take a vacation after Fan Expo to recover). My poor, achy shoulders, lol.


Thank you again and have a great rest of the week! :)