Archive for February, 2012
Did you know that I have a blog? True story. I started blogging in 2003 with no particular purpose in mind. I just liked the idea of writing for the sake of writing. Ars gratia artis and all the jazz. I figured the only folks who were reading were a dozen (or so) of my friends who are web savvy enough to know what a Livejournal was.
It seemed, though, that more and more people were paying attention over time. Someone recently reminded me of this golden nugget on teh webz: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Tom%20Croom
Yup. That’s referring to me.
So yes: I have a blog and it seems I have been neglecting it lately. The reasons for this, though, are fairly well justified in my opinion. In any case, here’s the most recent thing I need to report/blog about: I’m going to be in Tokyo, Japan this time next month.
Let’s back up and fill in some blanks over the past few weeks first.
1. My hobby is acting more and more like a business.
I have a day job. I don’t talk about my day job for a myriad of reasons (most of which have to do with me wanting to keep that job,) but it’s there. It takes most of my time during the work week and pays the bills. Anything outside of that part of my life is considered my “fun” life. My hobbies. Etc.
When I started Wasabi Anime in 2001, it was as an excuse to help spread the word about the blossoming fandom of Japanese animation in Florida and to have a good time with my friends. Flash forward to a decade later and Wasabi Anime® is now a register trademark (note the snazzy “R” with the circle around it when I mentioned it this time) that is owned by Green Mustard Entertainment, Inc. This leads me to the large number of projects I’m now working on as a result of the hobby/business/evil-online-empire.
2. Florida Anime Experience
The first event designed out of the gate by my team and I to be an annual thing. We’re building an anime convention in Florida that is about pure distilled anime fandom. We constantly tout our “no Halo in the game room” policy as a guiding light for our theming. There’s also the fact that we’re the first convention in U.S. history to score the English voice of Sailor Moon as a guest. Since I started going to anime conventions because I was dating a girl (now my wife) who loved Sailor Moon, this reeks of “destiny.” You can (of course!) read more at www.FloridaAnime.com.
3. InvaderCON II: DOOMCON
InvaderCON (the Invader ZIM convention) was a great learning experience for the Wasabi Anime team on a number of levels. The first lesson was that we can build a family friendly convention experience around a single show. Those sort of conventions (akin to the classic Star Trek conventions of the late Eighties/early Nineties) just don’t seem to exist anymore in my eyes. Hence “we’re takin’ it back” to paraphrase Randall.
The second just as valuable lesson is that the team can run a convention outside our home base area of Orlando, Florida. This year, though, we’re pushing that ability to the limit by putting InvaderCON on the west coast.
No. Not Tampa. Los Angeles.
The convention is still five months out and we’ve already sold over one fifth if the total tickets for the event. The show is destined to be the stuff of geek legend… www.InvaderCON.com
I still have a ton of work to get done on this before the first weekend of July. This is literally me deciding to test a one day show based on everything the lovely ladies from the Mint Chocolate Chippies celebrate and represent.
And classic pinup style, rockabilly culture, and an art style from one of the most colorful times in our history. Cleavage jokes aside, I think Florida needs an event like PinUpalooza and I’m thrilled to see where it goes. www.PinUpalooza.com
5. Other Plans in the Wasabiverse
At any given time there is an imaginary dry erase board that holds concepts for other events and things that my team and I are talking about for later this year and 2013 and beyond. We’re looking at Jacksonville, Florida. We’re talking about anime and comic books and video games and ponies and times of adventure and British doctors and… Well. I’m getting ahead of myself. The point is we’re ALWAYS planning something. Just last week I bought www.WasabiCon.com – just in case.
6. Project Anime
This event is a shared credit with the folks at the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation… aka “the folks who run Anime Expo.” I was approached late last year about the idea of helping put together an event that gathers convention runners from across North America.
An “anime summit.”
A “convention convention.”
You get the idea. I liked the concept and signed on to bring the resources from the Wasabi Empire to help out. It’s been a rocky road convincing everyone of the noble intentions, but the more solidified the event becomes the more folks seem to “get it.” Of course there’s www.ProjectAnime.org.
Which leads me to the title of this post.
It seems our parallels in Japan are looking to walk towards the same path Project Anime is. The organizers at the Tokyo Anime International Fair have invited a number of convention promoters to a private event taking place during their convention next month.
In the interest of planning forward for Project Anime, I’ve decided to tag along with members of the Anime Expo team that are going.
That’s right, kids: I’m going to an anime convention on Tokyo, Japan next month.
Between that and trip back to California in a couple of weeks, I will spend approximately 44 hours on an airplane next month.
THUS, I have been hard at work getting the 1,000,000 other things in place before I disappear from the states for eight days.
Pending WiFi access when in Japan, expect to see lots of blogging/photos/goodness as I represent Wasabi Anime at “the source.”
Karma, though, will be here. Sleeping (like she is doing while I write this.)
This is also, by the way, my first blog post I have written on a tablet. I still prefer a keyboard, but typing on the screen of my seven inch Samsung Galaxy tablet isn’t the worst thing in the world.
The more I type with it, the easier it is getting.
To reiterate the title of this post: I am thirty four thousand feet in the air killing fives hours of time on my way to Los Angeles. See…
I now. Technology is pretty cool, right?
This is my first time flying on Virgin airlines. (insert Virgin virgin joke here.) I can’t say I am a fan of any particular airline, or, for that matter, flying in general. I am more of a road trip sort of guy. Keeping these things in mind, I am quickly getting seduced by the hipster motif and nightclub “cool” vibe of this airline. Check out the cabin…
Purple and red lighting and an airplane cabin that doesn’t feel like a refit flight machine from the nineteen eighties. This plane has style. Even the safety video oozed ambience with its tongue in cheek instructions.
“For the point zero zero one percent of you that have never used a seat belt before, here is how to fasten it…”
I guess the key difference is that this doesn’t feel like a family oriented plane. It is for adults. I count one child on board. That child is quiet and (shocker!) well behaved. For me, that fact alone makes the price of this ticket worth every penny.
Methinks I will be flying Virgin more often in the future.
Life is busy and, as a result, my blogging has become random again. Last weekend I was in Orlando. Two weekends before I was in Tampa. The week before that I was in Gainesville.
Next weekend: I’ll be in Los Angeles. The weekend after that I am back in Orlando.
(You get the picture.)
The point is: sometimes you just have to randomly do things in the midst of an insane work schedule to keep the fun going in life. Last Saturday I made sure to make one these unplanned random events happen. For years, I would pass “Lone Cabbage” as a stop on the 520 heading back to the east coast of Florida from Orlando. It always gave off one of those backwoods/swamp sort of vibe, and this time the vibe was just too good to pass us.
Shannon and I pulled in and caught the last air boat ride of the day. Now, we’ve done an air boat ride before – but this one was different. It felt less theme park and more “crazy redneck.” There’s a certain level of fun that comes with that in Florida – “crazy redneck” – and if you live here long enough you learn to appreciate it.
I’ll let the photos tell the rest of the story: