Sangawa 2015

I love these anime conventions!  They’re quite a bit of fun!  I first heard about Sangawa through Tekko, as it is organized and run by the same people.  It is an 18+ event, as there is alcohol involved and more adult themed anime and manga.  Fun, right?!  However, in 2015, I was still one year shy of being able to drink, so I only really went because Vic Mignogna, a popular anime voice actor, was going to be there.  My younger brother and a friend of ours agreed that we should go and meet him and get pictures and autographs.

They hold this particular convention in early December every year at a fancy hotel close to the city.  It is a smaller venue than Tekko, which makes it so much more intimate.  Especially after you’ve been drinking several different types of sake (Sangawa 2016/story for another day).  At this Sangawa, I wore an Edward Elric (Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood) T-shirt, and stood at the back of the room with my brother at the opening ‘ceremony’.  As we were standing there, a blond man in a black T-shirt walked by us.  I did a double take, poked my brother, and whispered, “That was the pipsqueak.”  He looked at him closer and grinned.  Vic Mignogna welcomed everyone with an unquenchable exuberance.  It was infectious and it made me happy to see it.  Throughout the night, we would sit on panels, go to the video or gaming room, and we even stuck our heads in the small market space.  That room was definitely several sizes smaller than it is at Tekko.

Around 11:00, Vic had a private screening of one of his Star Trek Continued episodes.  My brother and I sat in the front, and that was when I saw something on the menu screen that puzzled me.  I raised my hand like a kid in class and said, “Excuse me?”

Vic Mignogna came over to me and asked, “What is it, sweetie?”  I asked him my question about the menu and he got a slightly shocked look on his face.  “Spoilers!” he said, before he covered my eyes and asked somebody to place something in front of the projector.  Needless to say, I was surprised to have his hand over my eyes for several seconds.  He thanked me for pointing it out when he removed his hand.

“You’re welcome,” was all I could really say.  The screening was fun, but by the end, I had to call it a night.  My brother, our friend, and myself returned the next day and got pictures and autographs.  I got Vic’s autograph on both my FMA Brotherhood DVD’s and a poster.  It was a fun time, and I am going again this year.  The voice actress for Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye (FMA Brotherhood), and the voice actor for the Armored Titan (Attack On Titan) will be the guests this year.  It should be interesting… especially since alcohol will be involved (again).

And on that note, it’s been real!

Happy Place

This past weekend, there must have been an Idiot Special at our restaurant, because a lot of idiots showed up.  I was working overtime to not explode and kill somebody.  First off, somebody came up with the smart idea of placing our sign out in the atrium instead of behind me, where people ‘mysteriously’ manage to miss seeing it every time.  Now out in the atrium, I turn it around so that it says, ‘Please wait to be seated.’  It’s the first thing a person sees when they walk in.  And they still choose to ignore it.

The one question you don’t ask the person who is clearly the hostess is, “Can we just seat ourselves?”

“Oh, sure!  Go ahead!  It’s not like I have a job to do here or anything.”  That’s what I want to say at any rate.  The rate that this question was asked this weekend was phenomenal.  Everyone must have taken their stupid pills!  There were also a lot of large parties this weekend and that of course put us on a wait for tables.  Humans seem to have this nasty habit of challenging me when I tell them that we are on a wait.  “The wait for a table of four is half an hour.”

“Thirty minutes?!”

“Yes, thirty minutes.”

“Are you sure we can’t just squeeze in-?”

“Oh, yes!  I’m sure.”  People do that to me all the time, as if I’ll suddenly change my story.  I’d love to change the octave they’re currently talking at.  With a swift kick between the legs.  Then… there are the five tops.  I just don’t get it.  I can understand it if it’s a family with three kids; that makes sense.  But when it’s five friends out for the night, I’m kind of like, “Who wanted to be the fifth wheel?”  And then they try to finagle a table and add a chair, I’m like, “No.”

“But we can make it work,” they plead.

“And then you’ll complain to the server, and they’ll come up to me, saying you want to switch tables.  Not setting myself up for that, *sshole,” I say under the simple, “I don’t have an extra chair.”  I did actually have people I sat at a table when they were going to be three.  They were right by me at the front and when I came back to my post, the woman leaned over.

“Hey, I have a request,” she said.  I gave her the ‘really?’ look, but she continued, “Can you put us on your wait list for a table of… (has trouble doing basic math)… seven?  We invited some people over.”  Okay, first of all, that should have been the plan at the beginning of the evening, not a spur of the moment thing.  I know, sometimes a friend says they can’t come, then a few hours later, ask if they can come.  But, if you’re going to a restaurant and ask for a table for one number, then suddenly up that number on the hostess and your server, they are going to hate you.  Needless to say, I gave the woman an incredulous look and she just gave me a stupid smile.

“Okay… it’s going to be close to an hour,” I told her.  And I wasn’t just saying that to mess with her.  I was on a half hour wait for parties of four or smaller.  She was slapping me with a party of seven last minute.  But as for the picture overhead, the reason for that was because on that same night, I got a four top while I was in the middle of my long wait.  They wanted a low table for Grandma, and I gave them the wait.  They didn’t believe the wait time, and I had to tell them in a dumbed down version.  Finally, they said they would seat and in our lounge with a low coffee table and booth seats instead of regular chairs.  First, the one man came out and asked us to turn the fireplace on in there.  We still consider it sort-of summer in the restaurant business, and my manager was all against it.  Afterward, I just heard the server complaining about how needy and demanding they were.  When the ladies left, the two men stayed behind and grabbed my manager again.

“I don’t have a problem with you, but…” and everything before ‘but’ is bullsh*t.  My manager took them aside, defended our position and they left in a huff.  They did not acknowledge me when I told them to have a goodnight.

“And don’t let the door hit you in the *ss on the way out,” I mumbled to myself.

And on that note, it’s been real!

Worst Fear Realized (Unrealistic Fear)

One of my worst fears was realized on Wednesday morning this week.  I am currently sick, and sleep is even more important to me than it already is.  I have been having trouble sleeping at night because of this, but I still have to go to school, then go to work after that.  So, every night I begrudgingly set the alarm and spring out of bed whenever it goes off.

However… somehow… Tuesday night, I forgot to set my alarm clock.  Wednesday morning, I was still in bed and my body was feeling actually very rested, but my mind was thinking, ‘You should be getting up soon, right?’  I heard my bedroom door open and my sister came in.  I asked her, “What time is it?”

“It’s 6:50,” she told me.  My alarm (when set) is supposed to go off around 6:00 a.m.  Needless to say, I was thoroughly alarmed (terrible and tongue-in-cheek pun) and ripped my sleep mask off.

“What the f*ck!  It’s 6:50?!  What the hell?!” I cussed as I flung my covers over my pillow and dressed like a storm was dressing me.  My short, tousled strands of hair were tamed with spray, my teeth scrubbed and polished, and I was flying out the door like the Red Baron was on my tail.  I always pride myself on being punctual (if even a little early) for everything, and I had important tests to take that morning.  Luckily, I made it before class started (with a coffee, but minus a breakfast), took my tests, passed all three, and spent the rest of the period trying not to starve to death.  Here’s some advice peeps: always make sure that you get up when you’re supposed to.  Remember, the early bird gets the worm!

And on that note, it’s been real!

Ani-view: Black Butler, Part 2

And here’s Part 2!  Okay, like a lot of the fans of the original Black Butler, I was kind of excited for Black Butler II when I found out about it.  It was going to be just as good as the first one!  Or so I had been led to believe.  The first episode begins with introducing us to the clearly disturbed, childish, Alois Trancy.  Alois is a pale comparison to the unbending and very mature, Ciel Phantomhive.  And his butler, Claude Faustus, is once again, just another copycat of Sebastian Michaelis.  Now, being that Sebastian is only one enterprising demon, hungry for human souls; it would stand to reason that there are other enterprising demons, hungry for human souls out there in the world.  But, would they really be living just a county over?  To top it off, Alois’ entire household is comprised of demon servants: the maid, Hannah; and the Three Whispering Bellboys.  That puts the newcomers at an unfair advantage over our favorite 19th Century in-service servants: Bard, Mei-rin, and Finny.

After that, the character explanation for why Alois Trancy behaves the way he does, is rather weak.  Yes, he lost his baby brother; yes, he was kidnapped by a sick old man and abused.  However, you would think that the combination of all those events would have led to a more subdued villain.  Hell!  He wasn’t even the real villain of the story!  That turned out to be Hannah!  Alois should have been so emotionally scarred by everything he went through, that he would withdraw inside a shell.  Live within a bubble, never acknowledge the real world, and not be an active part of London society.  And, another faulty fact about him, if Claude made him believe that Sebastian had been the one to take the soul of his brother, Luka, his obsession would have been with Sebastian from the start.  He wouldn’t have gone after Ciel as a smoke screen period.  Why, you ask?  Because Alois is not a smart character.  Never was.  He would have targeted Sebastian from the very beginning without really hiding his motives.  Why again?  Because he’s NOT Ciel Phantomhive, who is infinitely smarter when it comes to tricking/trapping someone.  Instead, they really made you think Alois’ beef was with Ciel.  Which it wasn’t.

I could rant a little while longer about the ineptitude for this anime to capture the creativity and magic of the first season, but, it’ll just come off like I’m whining.  Which, we all kind of did when we compared the second season to the first in our minds.  Let me just put it to you this way: I wish I could unsee the second season, and forget it existed.

And on that note, it’s been real!

 

Ani-view: Black Butler, Part 1

So, the next anime I started watching was Black Butler.  My brother mentioned that he had watched one episode of this anime in a video critiquing class at his arts school, and said how the concept of a demon butler was interesting.  Needless to say, I went to Tekko one year, found the DVD, and bought it.  I was curious myself, but I wanted to watch it in English.  I know so many people say if you don’t watch it in Japanese, you can’t appreciate it fully.  Bullocks!  I appreciated it more because I didn’t have to quickly read what they were saying, then glance back up to see what they were doing.  Call me a wuss, I don’t care.  Besides, I’ve met several of the actors for the English dubbed that I really can’t watch it in Japanese.  But, I digress…

The first episode perfectly introduced each character without giving too much away of their past: the almost begrudging master, the mischievous butler, the clumsy maid, the hap-hazard gardener, the inexperienced cook, and Tanaka (that about says it all for that character).  Ciel Phantomhive is a serious young boy, who rules his mansion with an iron (but merciful) fist.  Sebastian Michaelis is his ever ready and capable butler.  He’s too perfect in every way; doing other people’s jobs for them, saving their lives, etc.  Mei-rin is the bumbling maid, who has her eyes on Sebastian; always gushing to herself how handsome he is and so on.  Finny is the gardener, who loves the outdoors, but… that’s about all he does.  He can’t actually garden because he doesn’t possess a gentle enough aptitude for it.  Bard (short for Bardroy) is the cook who wouldn’t even get hired to make microwave dinners.  He is incapable of making even a sandwich, and likes to eat things he’s told not to (by Sebastian).  And then there’s Tanaka, who just sits there, laughs lightly, and drinks tea.

The first episode shows the Phantomhive household preparing for and hosting a visitor all the way from Italy.  Every conceivable disaster occurs: the dinner falls through, the gardens are a mess, the dishware is broken, and then some.  Sebastian, using his ever quotable, “If I can’t do this much for my young master, what sort of butler would I be?” line, fixes everything without breaking a sweat.  Ciel Phantomhive is the perfect host, with his staff (almost) being the perfect servants.  At the end, it is revealed the man is a charlatan, a scammer attempting to get more money from Ciel for a failed factory.  For all his planning, he winds up with a broken leg, and in an oven.  He barely escapes, crying for his mother.  Ciel chuckles and then Sebastian puts him to bed.  Sounds normal (head shakes).  The entire series was enjoyable, but as the title says, this is only Part 1.  Obviously, they attempted to remake the magic of the first one in a second season, which… well, that’s an ani-view for another day.

And on that note, it’s been real!

“Come & Tell Their Story Again”

I’ve mentioned in the past that I am working on a new novel.  The last novel I wrote was completed my last year of high school, but obviously, editing needed to be done.  I’ve worked on only minor projects since then.  The first three novels I wrote took up a lot of my time; that’s not chump change, that’s precious seconds, minutes, hours of my time devoted to something.  I knew that the next novel I did had to mean something, not just to me this time, but to other people.

A few months ago, my brother played me a song (I may have mentioned it) called “The Last Stand” by the Swiss rock band, Sabaton.  It is a song about the 189 Papal Swiss Guards defending the retreat of Pope Clement VII in the 1527 Sack of Rome.  42 soldiers survived only because they went with the pope.  The other 147 were all killed, but not before butchering close to a thousand enemy troops.  Their brave leader was wounded, and begged to see his wife before he died.  His men got him to the house where she was staying, but mercenaries followed them.  His wife tried to protect him, but she was injured while his enemies hacked him to pieces before her eyes.  I was moved when I looked up the whole history behind the event; what little we know.  Documents were destroyed by the German and Spanish soldiers, and many relics taken.  It was an utterly devastating event, that took the lives of thousands of Roman Catholic citizens.

Since I decided to do this, I have tried to find what little books I can about those Swiss Guard specifically.  Not much.  I had a doozy of a time trying to discover all their names.  Luckily, I knew a cardinal, and sent him a letter, asking for help.  He gave me viable leads, and I will use them to get the names of all the guards, as I would like to list them at the end of the book.  I think it would be some justice to them to recognize what they did.  They were brave men, who stood their ground against an overwhelming force.  We remember Thermopylae because of what 300 men did.  We recall the 194 rescued men of the Lost Battalion and their desperate attempts to get home.  Why can’t we remember 189 men who fought and died on the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica?  I want to bring that back and tell a little known story about true honor and courage.   Bravery is not men fighting a fight they know they can win.  Bravery is fighting a fight you are certain to lose, but you do it anyway.  Why?  Because if you are fighting for a cause you believe in, then it’s the right thing to do.

And on that note, it’s been real!

The Talk… No! Not That Talk!

The talk happened!  With the coworker who messed with me… it happened last Thursday evening when I went in to the office.  I asked her to step into the chart room for a private chat.  In there, she asked about my personal leave, and I told her it had been cut short.  She asked if I had been the one to ask for shorter time off.  As if!

I told her, “No, I didn’t.  They denied me my leave because we didn’t have coverage.”

“Well, they had the other girl.”

“But, they didn’t have you.”  She seemed befuddled by that and I told her my leave was denied because she was out of the office, and they wanted me to stick around for three extra weeks and cover for her.  She was surprised.  Nobody had told her anything the entire two weeks I was gone from the office.  Not a peep!  She told me that she had informed our manager of her extended leave in March of this year.  I made a face and she insisted that she had.  Except, when I was scouting out my school and had basically found out when my program started (around that exact same time of year), and told my manager, she did not say a thing about her being gone.  Not once did it pop up in the many conversations we had about my departure from the office from full-time to part-time.

I had some pretty exact dates that I gave to my manager.  And not once did she say, “Oh!  The other girl is leaving from June 21st to August 21st.”  And, that is something you tell another person very early on.  I didn’t tell her that I didn’t believe her, and I plan to check up on that fact with my manager when she gets back from vacation.  I informed her that her very, Very, VERY long trip cut my time off short.  I said that I never took off longer than a little over a week EVER in the entire three years I worked at the office.  She already had me beat within the first year of her employment.

I said I was working in the back now as an assistant, and was only at the desk on Mondays.  I had school and my other job, and was not going to be involved with what she was doing that much.  She seemed fine and apologized to me for what her vacation had done to my leave.  I ‘accepted’ the apology, but mostly because I wanted the conversation to be over, so I could get back to the operatories.

I still don’t trust her as as far as I could throw her, and I want to find out from my manager if she really did inform her that far in advance; or if she was simply just prepared that far in advance.  I am not covering her ass, and I told her to not ask too much of the other girl because she has a one-year-old boy, who needs her attention.  Basically, I gave her a light warning.  Well, in two weeks, I’ll ask my manager and find out the truth.  Until then, I’m assuming she bullshitted her way through half our conversation.

And on that note, it’s been real!