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.

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.

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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.

New Game: Very Millionaire Wow

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No, seriously.  That’s the name. MelloPanther Productions is proud to present for the first time, “Who Wants To Be Very Millionaire Wow,” which takes the hit TV game show and brings it to Blurriecon!  Contestants will have to try and climb the famous money tree, use the famous lifelines, and vie for Ð1,000,000 in cash and prizes. So tension. Much excite. Very Millionaire Wow!

Tryouts are at 7PM on Saturday in the Library; the game starts at 8. Hope to see you there.

How I Spent My Summer Vacation, Part 2

The other major thing I did is prep for MP’s first featured guest stint at Blurriecon!  It’ll be an exciting weekend of panels and games, including one never before done by MP.  It’s sure to be fun, and it’s sure to be much doge. Watch this space (and Blurriecon’s Facebook) to find out more as time grows nearer, but it should be a fun weekend for everyone.

How I Spent My Summer Vacation, Part 1

Today’s the “last day” of “summer”, so I might as well post a recap of what’s been going on in my life related to MP.

  • Cleaned up the side bar to make it all button-tastic.  I dunno, I kinda like it.  Looks fancy.
  • Increase my role over at Otaku Drive Time, which has eaten up a lot of my time and creative input (and that doesn’t include the numerous FB updates I do).
    • Since OTDT is a good chunk of my free time, I figure I should add them to the side bar.
  • Continue on with Writebet and although I mentioned this earlier, What I didn’t mention was that on one of the days, I went on at length about my feelings on MP.  I’ll re-post it past a cut (or you could just read the Tumblr post)  but this is why I want to do what I do, and why I’ll continue to do it.

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