This year Ariesna and I returned to AnimeIowa after a years absence. We’d gotten a bit burned out on the con due to the overly crowded hotel and the lack of programming for the over-15 crowd. But this year AWelkin and some mutual friends put on Natsukashii seminar, a programming track designed specifically to cover older anime shows. Natsukashii seminar turned out to be a blast and surprisingly was attended by some of the younger crowd rather than just bitter, old fans like myself. Now I could write up a detail summation of my experiences at this year’s con, but I’m far too lazy for that. So here’s a quick list:

  • Good grief! The lines for registration were insane and stretched around practically the entire hotel.
  • That many people in one place, even a place with excellent A/C, stink! Seriously the funk around those lines was as bad as most cons on Sunday and this was only the first day.
  • With registration so backed up most early panels were empty, which was really good as from what I was hearing most didn’t start on time anyway.
  • The hotel was gorgeous and much better laid out for the con, excluding that con-com put the consuite on the 8th floor. Also, paid parking sucks but Ariesna & I got lucky and found a free spot.
  • The con ran a blood drive in cooperation with a local blood bank. I donated and it was kind of fun seeing how the medical staff were reacting to the con-goers. Some were interested, some ignored them and some looked confused.
  • Driving back in the next morning, our free parking spot was still empty. Wahoo!
  • This year’s dealer’s room was huge. Unfortunately, the number of dealers was not as large as it initially appeared as the artist’s alley was in the middle of the room.
  • Though that was cool for the artists and not bad for the con-goers.
  • The dealer’s room had a decent selection of merchandise. I filled in some missing discs of R.O.D. TV and Ariesna got a doll she’s been looking for. Still there was considerable overlap in the merchandise between boths, not surprising but not pleasing either.
  • A larger number of con-goers were costumes this year1. Good! A good portion of them had giant sized weapons (ala Final Fantasy) and the costumers didn’t really know how to handle their props safely. Bad!
  • Once the con-goers were more spread out; the funk in the air lessened somewhat. Though you could still tell where the A/C was weakest by the strength of the funk.
  • Watched some excellent anime in the Natsukashii video room, heard it was the best video room at the con.
  • I saw a dealer selling large, wooden paddles. Weird! Later noticed the goobers who bought them spanking one another with them in the halls. Bad! I also noticed they didn’t pay much attention to their surroundings, and so were constantly in danger of hitting people who did not want to be hit. Very bad!
  • AI’s idea of a fansubbing panel was to have an industry shill sit up in front of an audience and tell us all the ways people can pay to watch anime rather than downloading the fansubs. Seriously, odds are this guy would have never heard of anime if people hadn’t started fansubbing it and all he can do is sit up there babbling on how people who download fansubs are all thieves. Note: It is possible that the panel discussion actually had something useful in it later on; however I grew sufficiently discontent with it that I left after listing to ~20 minutes of this nonsense.

1 I also found this somewhat depressing as nothing like this exsisted when I was the same age as these kids and there were a fair number of attractive, young ladies in rather interesting costumes. Which had I been single and of the same age (or at least close to) I would have enjoyed making their acquaintance.

Apologies to all my faithful readers, I’ve been busy working on some new features for the ICON 30 website (with some massive help from Aizuchi. For extra pain, we’re into our next beta cycle at work; so I’m considerably busier there. And if that wasn’t enough, I’ve had a bit of a cold that just isn’t going away. Ye olde Advil Cold & Sinus beats it down for a while, but it seems to keep coming back. If it doesn’t go away by this time next week, I’ll probably be making an appointment with the doctor to get checked out. *sigh*

I did get one break since my last real post and that was last weekend’s AnimeIowa. I was rather disappointed with this year’s con. The programming track was only sparsely filled and I didn’t see anything in it that interested me1. So I mostly hung out with people I knew at the con and tried to help out the con photographer2. Mostly, I just helped tear-down/setup his gear in different rooms. *shrug* It was no big deal and I got to see pretty much all of the costumes. As usual, some were fabulous and some were…. not. Of course some of the best were in the Masquerade, and the Masquerade was the main reason we went this year. A friend of ours was in charge of it and overall it appeared to go fairly well. However there were a few problems; most of which I did not hear about until after the con was over. The main thing that I noticed was the costumers wouldn’t shut up. It may seem a bit harsh, but they all know they’re supposed to keep quiet while in the green room and we had to constantly go around asking them to be quiet throughout the whole Masquerade. *sigh* If you know the rules in advance, have them re-explained to you when you show up shortly before the Masquerade then why do you have to continually break them? *grrr*

As for the rest of the con, the dealer’s room was smaller this year and unless you wanted Naruto or Full Metal Alchemist merchandise; you were pretty much out of luck. Since they didn’t have as many dealers; the con-com put the Artists’ Alley inside the dealer’s room. This was a bright idea and I ended up buying some magnets from the guy who does the FAUB webcomic. I was not familiar with the webcomic prior to this year’s AnimeIowa but I really liked the artwork in the magnets and have since read through their entire archive of webcomics and added it to my Portal page.

I didn’t have much desire to go into any of the video rooms, but I did find one playing Bubblegum Crisis which was kind of nice. Though I didn’t get to stay around long as that was just before I had to help Wookie move his gear from the hall cosplay judging room to the green room for the Masquerade.

All in all, it was a disappointing weekend. *shrug* Oh well, can’t win ’em all.

In more current news, I’ve finally gotten caught up in listing to all the podcasts I’ve downloaded. It’s nice to listen to them and actually hear other people’s thoughts on current events while the events are still current. Along those lines, the jazz mashup from the episode# 240 of the Daily Source Code was extremely cool. Anyway, that’s all I’ve got time to write for now.

1 I should say nothing on Saturday or Sunday as I wasn’t there Friday.
2 Wookie comes to the con and takes pictures of all the Hall Cosplay entries & after the con puts them on a site where people can order prints if they want them. Also, Wookie’s a fun guy to hang around the con with.

Linksys WRT54G Wireless-G Router

One of the many lovely gifts that Ariesna and I received for our wedding was a Linksys WRT54G Wireless-G router.1 Since a wireless router is useless without something to connect to it; I went out and picked up a Linksys WPC54GS Wireless-G Notebook Adapter. Since I was still kind of dazed from the whole wedding/honey-night experience; I didn’t stop to check whether the router had SpeedBooster and if I could get the card online for much cheaper than I could in the store.2 I had cash in my pocket and techno-lust burning in my heart. I bought the card, took it home and immediately started mucking about with my laptop to try to get it to work. In a previous fit of whimsey, I had wiped M$ Windows from my laptop and replaced it with SuSE 9.0 Pro. Since APT is such a wonderful thing, I used it to keep SuSE updated; rather I used it to update SuSE on the laptop whenever I booted it up to use it. So the first thing I tried doing in my quest to get wireless networking running on my laptop was to run APT and grab all the latest stuff for SuSE 9.0.

For the first time ever, APT let me down and in doing so it let me down badly. Something in my xserver configuration (or maybe the startup scripts) got hosed. I fiddled with it for a couple of days, but had no luck in correcting the problem. I could work around it, but not fix it. Once I got to that point, I tried to load some missing software I needed to get the wireless card to work, but the software was not listed in the APT repositories I was using. This is especially problematic as the CD-ROM in this laptop tends to be very flakey, so I couldn’t hope to go back to my original CDs and load it from there. In the meantime, I downloaded the latest version of Ubuntu (Hoary 5.04). I did this planning on borrowing the modular CD-ROM drive of a co-worker with the same ancient Dell laptop to replace SuSE on my laptop (if all else failed). Tonight, I was home alone and annoyed that I still didn’t have my wireless network up & running. So I ran over to Best Buy, picked up a spindle of CD-Rs, burned Ubuntu to disc and tried installing it.

Much to my utter amazement and total surprise, my laptop decided that it liked this burned CD and allowed me to install Ubuntu without error. It took several hours to do it, but eventually I was looking at an incredibly ugly Ubuntu desktop. This struck me as odd, but then I realized it was displaying at 800×600 when my laptop’s native resolution is 1024×768. So a bit of googling later and a quick run of: sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg and I was looking at the very pretty version of Ubuntu’s desktop. About an hour later, after following these directions in the NdisWrapper wiki, and I have wireless networking running on my laptop. Now I just need to look into a 2nd battery for the laptop so I can have be a bit further away from the wall socket than my power cord lets me go. Still, it’s so very nice not having to sit in my lousy desk chair to do some work on the computer. It’ll be even nicer when I can put the funds together to build a MythTV box for the living room to watch all my anime with. 🙂

Updated 2005-05-27, 19:55 GMT-06:00: I noticed a typo in the dpkg-reconfigure command above, so I’ve edited this post to correct it.

1 Yes, I do realize that considering this a lovely gift puts me completely and forever in the “geek” category,
2 The answers to those questions were: No and Yes.

This morning while I was booted into windows and checking on the weather; I noticed that there was a high chance of thunderstorms. Having had enough trouble of late with my computer, I decided to shut it down while I was at work1. When I got home from work this evening, I let it try booting into Linux again as I wanted to grab the exact errors I’ve been getting so I could do some googling for a solution. Much to my surprise, it booted straight into Linux without a problem. Then I ran YOU and had it reload the latest kernel from SuSE and this time when I rebooted to complete the install; it came up perfectly. *schweet*

Of course, staying home to fix my computer means I missed another Mindbridge meeting but I doubt they’ll really miss me there as usually I just sit there silently. Hopefully next month, I’ll be able to make it to a meeting again And come to think of it, I probably won’t make it to next month’s meeting as that’s awful close to my wedding day. *shrug* You win some, you lose some.

1 Usually, it’s up & running either grabbing new, fansubbed anime via BitTorrent or transcoding video files for burning to disc.