OK, blogger game now over so time to continue on with the trials and tribulations along the anime trail.
Easter morning comes along and we are up early, grabbing the freebie breakfast at the hotel and checking out. I had hoped to be heading home for Easter dinner but due to all the other circumstances we are heading back to the Hynes and the last day of the convention. Since we are heading home after that we’re driving in to town. Driving in to Boston was something I really had been trying to avoid. Boston drivers are the worst in the frikkin world, once saw one go up on the sidewalk to avoid a traffic jam and in my last trip to Maine I only went around Boston but twice barely missed being hit as the drivers seemed to think that anywhere they felt like moving was free for the taking no matter who might already be occupying the space. Not to mention general city traffic. (I’m way impatient, don’t handle traffic well. I’ll travel on back roads rather than expressways if I think I might run in to a jam up on the expressway. I’ll also travel miles out of the way as long as I can keep moving.) Didn’t believe in turn signals either. Also I figured parking in the city would cost a small fortune if Boston was anywhere like Philly. I figured however that it being Sunday the traffic wouldn’t be as bad and hopefully the garages might lower their fees on weekends since there aren’t the workday crowds. The drive in wasn’t bad and while it wasn’t like there was weekday traffic the streets weren’t exactly deserted either. Of course Yachiru, who had been behaving herself this trip, decides to have some fun with us and directs us somewhere that ain’t the convention center. Fortunately we were in the neighborhood and I made a lucky guess as to which way we were supposed to head but not before I made a turn down the wrong side of a street and headed up the down staircase. Soon got to where I belonged with a minimum of pissed off drivers, hey, when in Rome, and we soon found ourselves looking for a garage. There seemed to be a plethora of them and I drove around a bit before I found one close to the hotel. We had found out by then that a lot of stuff was centered in the hotel including the autograph sessions so we decided to start our day there. So I head down, it was an underground garage and find I am in for a surprise. The frikkin place was a labyrinth. All the entrances led to one giant parking garage and it was a maze of narrow lanes, small parking spots and minimal signage. Where the hell were we? Last thing I wanted to do was wind up walking another half mile sine I had a 5 hour drive ahead of me. Started driving around trying to find a place near the hotel or convention center and eventually got lost. Yup, lost in a parking garage. Not lost in the sense I couldn’t find my way out but lost in the sense of I had no idea how far away from where I wanted to be. Eventually saw two guys getting out of a parked car with con badges around their neck and figured good, should be close. Asked them where the entrance to the con was and informed that we were about as far away from it as can be and still be in the garage. We are? Then what the hell are you guys parking here for? Masochists. Since they said we were at the opposite end of the garage I whipped around and headed in the opposite directions and soon saw people walking and dragging suitcases behind them. Good, must be close. Thanks to the sharp eyes of my daughter she found a tiny ass sign that pointed to the Sheraton and I saw the doorway and made a quick turn around to grab an empty space I had just passed. Space wasn’t too far away but it wasn’t exactly handicapped parking either not to mention the hallway from the garage to the hotel then the walk from the elevators to the autograph area. Great, here go my legs again but at least it was better than the walk from the subway
We get to the autograph rooms and, here is that word again, unfortunately there is only one person there and he isn’t a voice actor. It is Takamasa Sakurai, who is a producer and writer of books on how anime is working to make others aware of Japanese culture. He is currently making the rounds of various cons as a cultural ambassador type. When we got there we were the only ones present so we didn’t have to wait and were able to spend some time with him. Was an interesting session. He spoke some English but there was a very good looking girl with him who did a lot of translating. They both saw my cane and were very solicitous of my welfare, grabbing me a chair and telling me to sit and not taking no for an answer. Asked us a lot of questions about what we knew about Japanese culture and how anime had affected our knowledge. Hated to disappoint him but told him that I had been fascinated by Japan and Japanese culture since my college days so anime didn’t add a lot to what I already knew but I did find the occasional surprise in the shows. I then let my daughter talk to him while I talked to one of the staff people who had come in with us. It was from him that I found out about the info book and the handicap ID that I should have gotten on my badge. Daughter had a good time talking to Sakarai-san and when we left there was a long line waiting. Her hopes took a hit though when we found out that there weren’t any other autograph sessions on Sun. We then decided to head over to the convention center and found that we could do it right on that floor, no need to hit the lobby and go the long way around. Along the way we find rooms where board and card gamers can gather to play, a library full of manga where one can sit peacefully for awhile away from the hustle and bustle of the con, a blood drive and finally, in a large room between the hotel and the convention center a mass of video games, free to play. My daughter goes ape saying if she had known about this sooner she could have spent a whole day in that room alone. Damn. Don’t know about the whole day but it would have been cool for a couple hours the day before when I needed a rest. A lot cheaper too than sending her to the dealer hall. Going out the other side we find ourselves in a strange part of the convention center with more auditoriums and presentations. Hell, what did we miss yesterday? We stopped in a few and missed a few my daughter wanted to see due to them being full. Definitely need to make sure we get info books at future events so we can plan stuff out, this haphazard, go along, get along stuff killed us. We make our way back to familiar territory and I was sorry I didn’t have my camera ready. As we got off the elevator at one floor there was a congregation of people all dressed like various shinigami from the anime Bleach. Most of the costumes were excellent but there was one a really would have liked a picture of. There were two people dressed as Kenpachi and Yachiru. In the show Kenpachi is a giant of a man with really spiked up hair scars and an eye patch. Yachiru is his lieutenant and is a very tiny girl with pink hair and a bad sense of direction. Both people had done a great job on their costumes but the best part is that, in the anime Yachiru rides upon Kenpachi’s shoulders and back giving him direction to whatever fight he is looking for. And these characters were duplicating that bit. The guy was big, the girl tiny and he was carrying her around on his back, her peering over the shoulder. That wasn’t something I ever thought could have been brought off in real life but somehow this guy had the strength to do it. Just wish I had gotten a picture of it.
Some pictures I did get.
And my family thinks I’m crazy.
It was getting a bit late and all the walking was getting to me and of course my daughter wants to hit the dealer hall again. She just loves to spend my money. Well I did promise her. We find out that it is closing in about an hour and a half, earlier than the rest of the con, so I tell my daughter OK but we start to head out afterwards because I don’t want to be lugging bags all around. Besides we still have a bit of a drive ahead. She agrees and I give her some money while I head for a soda and a chair. Tell her to stick to the tables near the door so I can find her easily when I head in and to not spend the money I gave her to hold for the parking garage. She having a zippered pocket I had told her to hold on to some bucks as back up. Being able to use only half the pockets in my pants I sometimes have a nasty habit of dropping bills from overcrowded pockets while reaching for something else so I take precautions. She tells me she wants to get a Mokona backpack and they are at a table in the middle of the room so I say go get it and get back up front since I’m going to set my ass for a bit anyway. My daughter is anxious to see if she can haggle as she found out she could do and off she goes.
I finally get my ass up and go join my daughter in the dealer hall. I’ve behaved myself and now it is my turn to indulge. I find my daughter in the process of purchasing a DVD her Mokona pack on her back.
I ask her if she haggled for it and she said no because the price was already cheaper than it had been earlier but she was going to do so for the DVD. Looking at the prices I understood why you could haggle, there was a pretty good mark up on them. She was about 5th in line at the table so I told her I would meet her overt at one of the book sellers at the end of the row and went off to browse. Picked up a couple of tee shirts for her and me. Prices were marked down as I expected they would be but the drawback to waiting is that a couple of shirts I wanted were no longer available in my size. Oh well. Then head over to the book sellers tables. Here was where the discounts were to be found and I took advantage of it. Anyone who really knows me knows I can go apeshit when I have money and am in a book store. In my younger days I would make about 4-5 visits a year to the mall with the express purpose of hitting the book stores and would blow a couple of bills on the trip. Lately I have stopped that as I do more shopping on line and collecting first edition hardcovers. Not any cheaper, just less quantity. This however was like the old days, I was bulking up. First place we hit was selling 10 books for the price of 6. Nice. Even better, when I went to check out the girl at the cash box saw all I had and made me an even better offer, $120 worth of books for $80. Back to the shelves I went to add a few more volumes to my pile. Then as she rang me up she threw in a couple more books of her choosing and a DVD or two. Not a bad deal at all. Basically the books came out to about 50% off plus the free DVDs. Have daughter stuff Mokona with as many as she can and I carry the rest. A couple tables down I find a couple books to a series I’m enjoying which are difficult to find. The discount wasn’t as good but these books are a bitch to get so I add a few of them to the bag. It’s the next table over though where we got the best deal, about 70% off cover price. Problem there was his selection wasn’t as good as the first two places but I’m able to find enough volumes to keep me occupied. Wound up making a mistake on one however. Thought I was picking up a manga but it turned out to be a novelization of the story. Actually I’m glad I grabbed it because it was a good story, the writer captured the plot of the anime very well in book form and now I need the other 3 volumes in the set since I enjoyed that one. About this time they announce the closing of the dealer hall which was probably good because Maya and I have blown over $200 on books alone, plus the shirts, DVDs, her other stuff and Mokona. And you thought Disney World could be expensive.
With the packages we’re carrying I decide to head back to the car and tell the daughter so but that instead of going out and around we’ll pass through the hall back to the hotel so that we can check and see if any presentations interest us enough to walk in. I get no argument. After that trip through the dealer hall Maya is as happy as a pig in shit and is ready to head home. We find one exhibit that interests both of us but it is already filled so we meander back to the hotel and the elevator to the garage. As we pass back through the video game room Maya remarks that she definitely has to remember it for the next trip. We get to the car and I don’t get lost getting to the exit. After all the money I just spent at the con you would think that the garage fee wouldn’t faze me but $36 bucks to park on a Sunday still irks me but what can you do about it? We are out on the streets and finally headed home, at least I hope so. Don’t even have to depend on Yachiru as we are right off I95 and it runs right down to Philly. Of course should have known getting out of Boston wouldn’t be that easy. I know where I’m going due to my earlier over shoot of the convention center and my circling the block looking for the best parking but somewhere along the line I pick up a typical Boston driver. He’s on my right hand side and slightly ahead of me and in the space of 4 blocks he has already cut over in front of me 3 times without benefit of looking or even a signal. Enterprise was going to have to do a brake job on my rental when they got it back. Eventually we have to stop at a light and I’m almost up even with him hoping I can get past on the green. I say almost because he slightly ahead due to the nose of his car being a bit in the crosswalk. Two pedestrians are still in the crosswalk on his side as the light turns green and Mr. “I got my license from a gumball machine” is in such a big hurry he starts to veer over in front of me again without looking so he can go around them. Luckily for me he catches sight of me and jams on his breaks, preventing my second accident of the weekend, because there was no way I could avoided him. Then to top it all off he goes and signals me that I can go as if he has the right of way and is doing me a favor by letting me go. Damn some people are totally clueless and have brass ones besides. Anywho we get by him and out on to the expressway and were cruising along and I notice Yachiru is taking us past the I95 exit. Wha? I figured 95 was the best way home but what the hell, let’s see where we wind up. Too late for Easter dinner anyway. As it is Yachiru did know what she was doing for once. She took us a bit west and then south and we eventually did connect back with 95 somewhere in Ct or NY but when I checked it out on Map Quest or something similar later it showed 95 bellying east to follow the coast through MA and CT which actually goes out of the way if you are heading towards my place. Trip home wasn’t too bad though we hit some traffic in CT though nothing like the traffic jam going the other way and we lost about a half hour in NYC thanks to a minor accident just before whatever bridge it was that took us in to Jersey. Luckily it was minor and we were only about a mile behind it so we didn’t get hung up too long. Last thing I needed was to sit in traffic on a highway in NYC on a Sunday afternoon. Soon we were cruising down the Jersey Turnpike and except for some reduced speed due to construction we made it home at a decent enough hour. Think my daughter is already anticipating a trip next year.
Time home wasn’t the greatest even though the daughter was visiting. Throat was still sore, still fighting an infection. On Monday I called the garage I had left my car at and he informed me the insurance company was probably going to total the car which meant that I was going to have to make a trip all the way back up there to unload my stuff still in it rather than to return the rental. It also meant another $75 fee tacked on to the rental for turning it in down here. Just what I needed. Also as if that wasn’t enough I run in to problems with the ex again. Was supposed to return my daughter on Wed of that week, a full trip rather than the meeting to the halfway point we usually make since I needed to go up to clean out my wreck any way. Tue night however a medical problem cropped up. As a result of my stroke my left leg goes haywire on me at times. It has shooting pains up it, the foot can cramp and it gets the electric twitchies. It can not only be very painful but it will not let me sleep at night as, even without the pain, my leg feels it has to be busy unlike everything else that is ready to sleep. So at 5 a.m. I send an email to the ex telling her if she really needs my daughter home that day to call her and tell her to wake me at about 10:30-11 and I’ll make the trip but I would rather not make it at all considering the lack of sleep. Of course this didn’t go over too well and the ex tries to get someone to at least drive to the halfway point but my folks are in their 80s and 5-6 hours driving aren’t on their agenda anymore and both my brother and his son had to work so that was a non starter and eventually she settled for a return the next day not without throwing a few digs my way though. What can one do? Since the leg problem is only an occasional one I got a good night’s sleep and was on the road again the next morning on a not so happy trip this time taking my daughter home and bidding farewell to my old Sante Fe, a faithful servant for 8 years. As it was my nephew’s day off he accompanied me. Think my mom put him up to it. She worries about the long trips these days because of the stroke. She definitely going to freak if/when I go to G-Vegas in Oct (No I ain’t entering any races). I will say he was handy to have along near the end of the trip as I found out later that I was fighting an infection and my ass started dragging a bit about an hour or two from home.
My week ended up with a trip to the doctor’s about that infection. Second trip there in 3 months about the damned thing as it kept disappearing and reappearing since the New Year. This time doc decided some stronger antibiotics were called for and I spending again. Infection seemed to clear up again but made reappearance again a couple months later calling for yet another, and stronger, series of antibiotics. Still don’t know if is whipped yet. Thought so but small signs of it keep reappearing though they seem to disappear after a day or so instead of getting stronger the way it happened earlier. Persistent bastard though. It’s also got me in to trouble with my doc. Had a blood test not so long ago and my sugar was way up and she’s bitching. Found out that an infection can cause a spike in sugar levels since the body thinks you need more energy to fight it and releases more sugar in to your system. Great, fits in with the way my year has been going.
Well I finally got to the end of the story. Hopefully the second half of this year is an improvement on the first but I doubt it. Right now it’s July and I still don’t know when my daughter is coming down for vacation. She’s in the play again this year which means a trip to upstate NY to see her in it and pick her up in Aug, hopefully to be accompanied by an overnighter at Pocono Downs finances willing. A replay of last year when that trip and stay payed for our vacation would really be welcome this time around. One can only hope.
Thanks for the listen.