I'm back from Chicago, which means that it's blog posting time. First, some blog cleaning though. I see my intrepid cowriter, among all of the other Rifftrax reviews, has completely ignored my cast gauntlet regarding the "New Moon" Rifftrax. I watched it once again on the way to Chicago, and it was just as good as I remembered. Of course, both times I watched the "New Moon" Rifftrax, it was with other people. As Megane probably knows from seeing the Cinematic Titanic live shows, there's just something about having someone around to build the laughter a bit greater. I would maintain that watching the "New Moon" Rifftrax would be still good watching solo as well though, it was pretty good and while there was a bit of middle-movie lull, the beginning and the end was pretty good.
Chicago was terrific. ACen is far larger than I remembered from 2000/2001, the other two times that I attended. Both of those times, the convention was within one facility. The dealer room was essentially a hotel meeting room and the main programming was the larger hotel meeting room. Now, it has spread to four buildings, including a convention center.
I took my brother-in-law as well as one of his friends. Both are graduating high school in the next couple weeks. Having them along made the whole thing a blast. While there were a few things that I wouldn't have minded checking out solo (some of the panels looked interesting, but I only attended the fanfic panel on Friday) we still had fun. For all the other con-goers who showed up, we were the ones that sat near the convention center entrance and just watched all the con-goers pass by. We enjoyed the costumes, the jokey t-shirts, even the weird snippets of conversation that probably meant something in context but were weird to hear individually. If we weren't there, we poked through the dealer's room a few times too as the convention went along. The two of them dropped at least $80 between them, I'm poor though (and paid for the hotel) so I just bought one con shirt.
The other place we were though was the anime music video room. I'm really partial to AMVs for a couple reasons. One, I love music and enjoy listening to new music. Two, it's in a small way an introduction to series that you may not have seen before. Three, I absolutely enjoy the comedy AMVs because I love laughing. Four, I'm able to turn the "critique" part of my brain off easier than when I'm watching movies and as a result, I'm able to enjoy AMVs easier. And five, if an AMV pops up that you're not crazy about, just wait about four minutes and there'll be another one going. We spent most of Saturday in the AMV room, between watching the AMV contest submissions, Iron Editor, the awards ceremony, and an interesting panel about how artists are trying to truly animate rather than just edit. Quite like Anime Central itself, anime music videos have come a long way in ten years, and it's startling to compare each of the pairs through time.
Of course, there is always a wild-card involved in a weekend like this, and I ended up with three. My car's tailpipe rotted through somewhere between Michigan and Chicago, so I had to figure out a way to put it up and back out of the way since the bracket was still connecting it to the body. Not a big deal, though I really need a new vehicle. I also managed to roll my ankle on Friday night. It absolutely sucked, because it was not a "mild sprain" in any sense of the word. I could put weight on it, but I really stretched that ligament good because if I even attempted to move it side-to-side it would scream at me. I set up the hotel so that it was an L-stop away from the action; getting to and from the convention from the hotel, not to mention all the walking involved in a convention, and I was absolutely in pain through the end of Saturday. (It's still not fully healed on Monday morning.)
The last wild-card needs its own paragraph. The convention was primarily centered around Rosemont's convention center. Late Saturday afternoon, around 5 to 6PM or so, chartered buses started arriving with... high-schoolers attending their proms. It seems that in the middle of the ACen madness, the convention center booked TWO highschool senior proms. Some of the high-schoolers were absolutely non-plussed with the weirdo freaks walking about. I personally was laughing so hard from the situation that I was losing it, and snapping a few pictures of kids just looking distastefully at the conventioneers. One of the costumers was the Joker in full face-paint, who would go back and forth through the crowds of kids. According to a few others I saw online, this isn't the first time that ACen has been held along with a prom (or a wedding, or a reunion, etc.) but it seems that the kids really didn't expect this either. I hope that their night was fully memorable.
This is already an epic blogpost, and probably somewhat boring for most people, so I'm going all-in for more complaining. Sunday was pretty crappy, because not only do I have to drive home but I'm reminded of how I have to end up at work the next day. After being around a blizzard of creativity and laughing for at least 75% of Saturday and Friday, I come back to my ordinary, boring, crappy, work. The same place that is glad to take any of my extra effort but is highly reluctant to give anything back. The same place that doesn't even pay me enough to repair my crappy car, much less find a decent one. The same place that I can get just enough money to find a hotel three miles away from the convention rather than staying at one of the five hotels in a three-block radius because I can't afford the extra cost.
I used to be able to take vacations that I would be happy to return home and get back to ordinary life, because you've gotten your fill of not having anything to do. Every single time I've had more than three days off from work in the last three years now, I'm utterly depressed the day before returning to work because I know I have to return to work. I hate the fact that my life has become 1/7 Saturday and 6/7 dread, with the very rare oasis of a four-day vacation to a convention.
So... back to the job ads to see if there's anything new or different that I can do which will allow me to grasp at least some of my life back. Especially since I want to find a way to go back again next year.
In other con news, I will very likely be attending Youmacon in Detroit. I had never attended before, but I asked my significant other to come with me and have the children's babysitter (Grandma) all set up. It's late October, which is about five and a half months... two a year for the time being seems fine, depending on where I will end up when I do finally find that new job.