wheel doge

Mr. Doge Goes To Washington

So far I have only done doge Wheel of Fortune in Pennsylvania, and even then, only as far west as State College. Come October, that will hopefully change. Anime USA is going to be the biggest crowd yet for my version of America’s Game. It’s surely going to be exciting, and maybe we’ll have the biggest win yet.

In other news, let’s flash back to a few weeks ago.

Untitled-1.fw

Good news for my inner 60’s Spider-Man, AUSA will also be the debut of “I Cast A Forward Pass,” a panel all about how the wide world of sports crashed into board game night. This is literally part of my childhood that we will be talking about, and I am excited to share some of the ridiculousness I have found.

October is shaping up to be a really good month. Won’t you join me for it?

Let Me Be Honest

This has not been a good few weeks for me. My Otakon experience was marred by issues out of the convention’s control. While it was awesome that I was able to talk about Satoshi Kon to a group of 200-300 people in the middle of the night, the external stuff brought everything else down. Between car troubles, illness, lack of sleep, and a whole host of other issues, there will have to be a major reassessment of how I do things if I ever plan to go back. It’s a shame, but there’s not much you can do when you have a near-Perfect Storm of issues.

To compound on this, I had to pull out of Saikoukon due to a work conflict. This is the first time I can recall having to do this and it bugs me to no end. To be fair, I am fortunate to have a day-to-day job that gives me enough time out to do so many conventions—I’m still on pace for attending nine shows this year (more than I did in my first three years of going to cons) doing panels in as many as eight of them (as many as I did in my first five years of doing panels) and theoretically, I could’ve gone to 13-14 shows in total had I not gone to Japan—but there are other parts of my job that are dicey (tl;dr my job is secure, my position is not) and make it less desirable. Ideally, MP would be a side source of income while I find a position that pays well enough and is flexible enough to allow me to continue with MP, but that is still a long way from happening.

Luckily, I still have three shows left on the docket, and 2017 is shaping up to be very interesting, so I just need to find a way to get back on the proverbial horse (or is it panther in my case?) and continue to plug away.

Simply The Best

Another convention announcement for you: I’ll be in the land of Wawas and Tastykakes once again as I do programming for Saikoucon. Last year it was one of my “If You Like” panels; this time it’ll be “I Can Japan (& So Can You)” which is all about how you can Japan, or at least how to travel there in a reasonable manor. As is custom, I’ll also be helping out Megaroad Toys so I’ll be free to chat if you’re not hitting the water park.😉

Even though there will still be 4 months left to go, it’s been an odd year, albeit a successful one. This will be the sixth show I am doing programming at (and 7th overall), and while I will have only done 12 hours so far (I have done less than 12 hours once since 2010), I’ve done a lot of different programs. Just take a look.

  • Name That Tune
  • Wheel of Fortune
  • Are Cons Doomed? (DUN DUN DUNNNNNNN)
  • Anime For Adults (Not Adult Anime)
  • Tekko Improv
  • The “How To Make A Panel” Workshop
  • Anime Fight Club
  • Satoshi Kon & The Mystery of Me (coming to Otakon)
  • I Can Japan (& So Can You)

That’s nine different panels out of eleven that I’ve done (Improv and AFC each ran 90 min.) I guess this is a good year to show the range of topics I can cover, and the final four months of the year may have even more, so stay tuned!

otakon-2014

A Really Big Day

As I’m writing this, the doors for Sunday programming at Anime Expo are just starting to open. I am not with them (for multiple reasons, most of them logistics-related) but it would be certainly fun to get there once. That being said, I have news that is just as important: As spoiled by the countdown clock in the right-hand corner of this site: I am presenting at Otakon. When I first joined fandom around 1998—even when I started going to conventions in 2005—I couldn’t imagine running a panel at something of this magnitude, let alone even attending. For Otakon’s final bow in Baltimore I have been selected to present a panel that I don’t do very often, but it’s about a topic that I love: “Satoshi Kon & The Mystery of Me,” in which I break down the works of my all-time favorite director of media and examine how what he had to say about the culture of Japan and its relation with individuality. It’s a little academic, but it’s a ton of fun to present, so if you’re of age, I hope you will join me.

As is custom, I will be helping out Megaroad Toys when I’m not presenting or being awestruck at 30,000 people in one convention space, so there will be ample time to say hi and comment. Presenting at Otakon has been a culmination of over 10 years of work and dedication. I want to thank everyone who has helped me get to this point, and if you want me to go even further, feel free to spread a good word or two to your local show.

Glimpse of the custom game control of Doge Wheel circa 2016

The One That (Almost) Got Away

This is a story about a typo. It’s about how a typo cost me a lot and nearly cost me everything.

My friends in the convention industry have a term for dealing with the problems and incidents when trying to handle thousands of less-than-ruly otaku. They refer this type of management as “putting out fires.” Over the 10+ years I’ve done programming (only formally for about 6), I’ve had to deal with a lot of fires myself. Panelist no-shows, tech no-shows, audience no-shows, life crises, tech crises, and a whole bunch more. Despite all that, I’ve adapted and adjusted and as long as there was an audience, I ran my event. There’s a sort of subconscious pride in knowing that I’ve kept this “streak” up. I had never really dwelled on it, but I’ve seen what happens when someone is unable to run and it’s not fun for anyone. The panelist is defeated, attendees get discouraged, and a level of trust between the two parties is removed. It’s a blow for both the speaker’s reputation and the con’s reputation. Everything gets lost to the fire.

I just had an encounter with that myself. Knowing that I was doing my Doge Wheel of Fortune at Anime Mini six days after I would return from Japan, I tried to make as much of the game in advance as I could because I knew that I would be in no shape to do anything after 10 days of vacation half a world away.

I had no idea how right I was going to be.

One of the faults of my Wheel program is that I haven’t yet fully accounted for punctuation in puzzles. My game runner had brought this up at a previous con and I had an idea for a fix, but I didn’t really get anywhere, and as things often do, it got back-burnered for other things.

Fast forward to June 2016 and Anime Mini. In the middle of a game, there was an error with a puzzle loading. This was news to me, as I had left the game code untouched, except for a couple of updates for prize values and presentation errors. I also didn’t QC the code as I normally did because I was still too jet-lagged to bother. I stared at piles of code for 15 minutes trying to figure out where the snag was, but I wasn’t finding it. Panic started to set in. If I wasn’t able to fix the issue, I would have no game, no panel. My mind raced figuring out contingency plans, I actually said out loud that I wasn’t sure how I could fix it.

Finally, I realized I should check other parts of the game. They all worked, so it was isolated to the one puzzle. I checked that puzzle’s file and I saw the issue. That punctuation fix I started was still there, not yet undone. I changed it back, and the game ran smoothly after that. My panicked statement had sent 3/4 of the crowd out, but there was still enough to have a good time my three players all won fun gifts, and the game still fit within its hour timeslot.

To date, that is the closest brush with disaster I have ever experienced, yet I was still able to put out the fire.

Anybody need a business card?

A Learning Experience

So here is what happened in the first 3 1/2 months of 2016 in no particular order.

  • I moved across town into a larger space
  • I was sick
  • I changed shifts at my job
  • My job changed entirely
  • I went to four conventions
  • I did programming for three of them
  • I survived the Mildly Annoying Katsucon Fire of 2016

So yeah, I’ve been busy. Unfortunately, that has led to little time to maintain this space, but here is your catch-up report.

Continue reading

Been Such A Long Time

It has been a while, more than I would like to have had. Between a combination of work life, social life, and personal issues, I had completely abandoned this blog to focus on other things. That shouldn’t be okay. Hopefully, I’ll get better at that in the future. Failing that, I promise that if I make enough money, I’m hiring a PR person.

While this blog fell silent, my conventions schedule did not. In the past, I had only gone to four shows, whether as panelist or just an attendee. This year, I’ve done five—Setsucon, Tekko, Saikoucon, and Blurriecon, plus attending Intervention which was fun and informative and worth going to at least once—and I’m not done yet. Next weekend, I’ll be helping staff the Megaroad Toys booth at AUSA like I did last year, but this time holding a special business card exchange on Saturday. Those in the know will know why, but you can come up and say hello all weekend. Two weeks after that, I’ll be at the inaugural Anime Mini debuting my very doge version of Wheel of Fortune. I hope it’ll go smooth because I have big plans for Wheel, which I’ll probably elaborate on in future blog posts.

Speaking of blog, there have been a few maintenance items. I have now listed my list of shows where I’ve done programming. It’s been 10 years since I started, so it kinda makes sense. There’s also been some basic sidebar maintenance and some editing here and there. I hope you all can enjoy my exploits in full once again, and I plan on seeing you back here much sooner than the last time.