This is my journal of a trip, a long trip, all around North America. I worked my way from the West Coast of the US, to the east of Canada and down to Florida, then drive back to the West Coast again. These are my impressions, adventures, and annoyances. Pretty much anything I thought would be entertaining to others who took an interest in my travels.

Some journal entries are short others are quite long. How much time I had to write and how interesting the location influenced this, but also how much interest would be drummed up by the event. I have put quite a bit of detail into my Anime North journals because I knew there would be an audience for them.

I have tried to be as accurate as possible, but there is always error in memories, even the freshest of ones. They are highly susceptible to perception. These are my perceptions of the places and events I witnessed that I have invited the reader to share with me.

Journal 1 - Where no Bean has gone before

Date: June 14, 1999
Depart: Medford, Oregon at 6am
Arrive: Sacramento, California at 3pm
States visited: Oregon, California

My Journey to the Great White North began on the temperate morning of June the 14th. My dad drove me down to the Greyhound depot in Medford, Oregon and waited with me for my departure. The bus I was riding on was a half-hour late. That was a minor setback at the most.

Once I was aboard the bus, I learned out first destination: a McDonald's three blocks away. Perhaps it was naive of me to expect to make it further than three blocks on my first bus ride... My previous busing experiences have been few, and were limited to a charter bus to Oakland, CA, the local transit (once), and the occasional school bus. Anyhow, I was well acquainted with the McDonald's in question. It was notorious for being one of the slowest ones in the state. Fortunately, they were uncharacteristically quick that day, go figure.

The first leg of the trip was also familiar to me, having traveled a lot into Northern California. For those of you who have never been, let me list some of the more interesting town names. Yreka (pronounced 'why-re-ka') is often confused with Eureka (pronounced 'your-re-ka'), which is along the coast, while Yreka is inland. It's a fairly small town that is most famous for its theatre house. Hilt is a favorite name wise; perhaps it's just the sadistic side of me. Weed is, well, aptly named ^^; And, a personal favorite of mine, Anderson =]

California features a border crossing unlike any other I've encountered before. They stop all incoming traffic to the state and ask if you have any fruit on you. The reason for this is because they don't want any pests attacking the vulnerable crops that make up a good part of the Californian economy - pests that often cross the border via fruit products that have been previously infested. That's not to say that they don't allow any fruit across the border, just certain types. Cherries is the only one I can remember off the top of my head that they seize if you have them on you and you try to cross.

The driver of our bus must have been a tour guide in another life. He constantly pointed things out to us and told us stories about the region. The person I was seated next to was equally nice. She reminded me a lot of my Aunt Ginny. (She looked like my Aunt, spoke like my Aunt, etc.)

We made our way south to Sacramento at a good clip. Upon arriving I learned that Greyhound was no airline service wise, certainly. The depot was crowded, finding the right line to stand in was a puzzle, and the PA wasn't understandable. From my position seated here on the floor as I wait, I'm quite unimpressed.

Journal 2 - Beanie the Gent? Escorting old ladies!

Date: June 14 - 15, 1999
Depart: Sacramento, California at 4pm on the 14th
Arrive: Salt Lake City, Utah at 6am on the 15th
States visited: California, Nevada, Utah

It was about this time that I was truly questioning the logic behind going South before heading North. If I'd gone North, I could have cut this day out of the journey. Alas, the things that must be endured for cheap tickets...

The insanity of departing Sacramento wasn't limited to just the terminal, the buses provided their own source of confusion. Why anyone would send out three buses going in the same general direction at the same time I'll never know. I got on (what I hoped was) the right bus, seating myself next to this little old lady. An appropriate title since she was little, she was old (80), and she was a lady (I'll get to that in a bit).)

We departed with the warm Californian sun in our eyes, headed for Reno, Nevada. Reno was the first of many 'get off the bus so that we can clean it' stops. (Not that I don't appreciate it). We were invited to leave our things on the bus since it would be locked and no one let on but the cleaning staff. I didn't leave my carry-on bag, I'm paranoid, so what? :P~

I caught up with the little old lady again in the depot. Caught being the keyword since she was trying to board the wrong bus ^^; When it came time to reboard our bus, I took my bad in one hand, granny in the other, and got on.

Once the original passengers were one, the DEA boarded the bus and announced that they had reason to believe that contraband was onboard. They would be coming around to interview each of us while they pulled the luggage off and inspected it with dogs o_O; The agents removed one suspicious bag that no one claimed while they spoke with everyone. I got off lightly with a few basic questions. The two teenage boys in the next row over were grilled enough to make a cheese sandwich. None of the passengers were taken into custody.

After that adventure, we made our way north towards Salt Lake City, Utah. I can't tell you much about the state of Nevada, I slept through most of it. Maybe next time...

The little old lady and I got to talking. It didn't take long to realize that she thought I was a young man. (Something I've been dealing with all trip. I dressed for comfort, and comfort robs me of my female curves). Anytime I tried to correct her about something, she'd just go back to what she thought it was. I should point out that she had two hearing aids and that I'm fairly soft spoken to begin with.

The trip itself was pretty okay. The only real problem was the guy in the seat in front of me. When I left for the trip, my dad warned me not to push the seats back all the way, lest I disturb the person seated behind me. Well, this guy just shoved his seat back and cracked my already sore knees a good one x_X!! (My knees can't take a lot of sitting without hurting). The old lady called him on it, and he responded (quite rudely, IMO. I was always taught to be respectful to seniors) that I needed to learn to scrunch up. He had a right to have his seat all the way down if he wanted it. I'll give him that, but a little warning so that I could scrunch first would have been nice.

I played the role of the perfect Gentlebean while we traveled together. I helped the old lady off the bus, escorted her around, etc. (Not that I had much of a choice. After Reno she was pretty well glomped onto me ^^; ) We sat down to eat at the Salt Lake City depot before she asked my name. "My friends call me 'Beans'," I answered, not wanting to upset her. She introduced herself as Mrs. Ryan (certainly the lady, eh?)

Journal 3 - ~/o ...and I went through Montana with a backpack on my knee... o/~

Date: June 15, 1999
Depart: Salt Lake City, Utah at 8am
Arrive: Cheyenne, Wyoming at 4pm
States visited: Utah, Montana, Wyoming

After even more confusion at the depot, I boarded the bus to Cheyenne, Wyoming with the little old lady being shuffled off to a different bus. The driver for the Cheyenne bus took my Chicago ticket. (I thought I was supposed to change buses at Cheyenne). A lot of people were upset with the driver for taking their tickets since he wasn't explaining anything. In fact, he didn't give the opening 'rule' speech nor explain that it was the same bus for Chicago until we were several hours into the trip.

The trip itself was quiet and involved a lot of landscape watching. I slept through a good chunk of Montana, but caught all of Wyoming. Man, even with it being without trees and not mountainous (two keys for state beauty in my book) it's still beautiful. The landscape started with plateaus of layered rock; truly, an inspiring sight. That gave way to rolling hills of granite/dirt that hosted only a few stubborn shrubs. As we moved east, the hills became more hospitable with tufts of grass and shrubs. About 20 miles outside of Cheyenne it was all grassland, making the hills look like they had a green blanket laid on them.

As for the man who insisted on always having his seat back. Well, I found a way to use that to my advantage. He insisted on sitting along the aisle, so I sat in the row behind him by the window. He'd put this coat back and person after person would pass by, not wanting to sit next to me. Gave me more room :>

I must admit, while travelling through Montana and Wyoming, I saw more freight trains then I'd seen in a long, long time. It kept on making me think of 'I've been working on the railroad' while riding past them. One thing that I did see that I have no clue what they are were these barriers. Open fields would have tall wooden barriers put up in them in long lines for no reason that my little mind could figure out. Anyone care to enlighten me?

Journal 4 - Flat, flat, and more flat...

Date: June 15 - 16, 1999
Depart: Cheyenne, Wyoming at 6pm on the 15th
Arrive: Chicago, Illinois at 2pm on the 16th
States visited: Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois

I encountered another old lady at Cheyenne. This one didn't glomp quite as much ( ^^; ). We talked quite a bit about genealogy. A subject my grandmother takes interest in and has been trying to draw me into.

I think the old lady was taken aback at first when I held the door to the woman's rest room open for her. Actually, now that I think of it, I probably look like one of those unsavory types my dad told me to avoid. I'm wearing well broken in hiking boots, cargo pants that were soiled early on ( --; ), a tattered and dirty flannel over shirt, and a ball cap. Oh well, there's a lesson of not taking things at face value to be found in there ;)

The old lady and I talked about family trees and such while we traveled. The bus driver was from St. Thomas and spoke with a heavy accent. I had a hard time telling his mood. He always sounded angry, even when he was being friendly.

I slept through a lot of Nebraska. It was flat (what I could see of it. It was overcast and raining ^^; ) Darkness came and I curled up to sleep. I used the stubborn guy to get a seat to myself again. (I'm hoping to milk this until Chicago). With two seats to myself, I had plenty of room to ball myself up into and have slept quite well.

* * *

Currently we're at the depot for Davenport, Iowa. Davenport seems like a nice enough city, but does hold some irony for me. The first being that my cousins used to live there. The second is that my grandmother used to always correct me when I used the word 'couch'. "No, no, Mandy. It's a 'davenport'."

I must admit that being able to see for miles and miles unobstructed is somewhat unnerving. Too flat for my tastes, though it certainly does encourage the farming.

We stopped at this place (I know, descriptive :P ) it was called something like Route 60. It was the largest truck stop I have ever seen. It was like a mall aimed for truckers. It was quite impressive!

Journal 5 - Misadventures with Greyhound and crossing the border

Date: June 16 - 17, 1999
Depart: Chicago, Illinois at 6pm on the 16th
Arrive: Toronto, Ontario, Canada at 6am on the 17th
States/Provinces visited: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ontario

My adventure to the Great White North continued to Chicago, Illinois. Let me tell you, that's one huge bus depot! They had 24 gates. On the downside of things, it was at Chicago that I discovered that my luggage was no longer with me. I'd been on the same bus from Sacramento with the only opportunity for it getting off being the DEA inspection at Reno. Needless to say, I was put out by this unwelcome turn of events.

After a four-hour layover, I continued north to Detroit, Michigan. We arrived there fairly early in the morning (1 - 2am). From Detroit, the bus went to the border (where I met my next challenge). We were told to bring ID with us when we went to the immigration office and that was it. I need to point out a few points before I give you a run down of my conversation with the immigration official.

Here's the conversation I had with the official as well as I remember it:

Immigration Official: "Where are you going?"
Me: "Toronto."
IO: "How long are you staying?"
Me: "I'll be in Toronto from the 17th until the 23rd.  Then I'm going to 
    Halifax until July 3rd."
IO: "How are you getting back?"
Me: "Plane."
IO: "Let me see the ticket."
Me: "I don't have it on me since they were bought over the phone.  I'm 
    'sposed to pick them up at the airport."
IO: "Why should I believe you?  Everyone lies to me."
Me: "I'm sorry to hear that, but I'm not lying."
IO: "You're visiting friends?" [It was on my forms.] "How will you get back
    if you don't get along with them?"
Me: [o_O;] "I don't expect that to be a problem.  I have plane tickets and 
    I also have a return bus ticket." [I'd bought a round-trip bus ticket.]
IO: "You didn't tell me about the bus ticket.  Let me see it."
Me: [Handed over the tickets for inspection.  He looks over them for 
    several minutes but obviously can't make heads nor tails of them.]
IO: "These tell me nothing!" [He *actually* said that!]
Me: "They tell you everything." [Showed him how to read the tickets.]
IO: "How much money do you have?"
Me: [Tells him].
IO: "Let me see it."
Me: "I only have $40US of it on me."
IO: "Why don't you have all of it on you?!" [Getting upset.]
Me: "Because it's not safe to travel across the US with that much cash on 
IO: "What do you do for a living?"
Me: "I'm a student."
IO: "Let me see your ID."
Me: [Hands over my student ID.]
IO: [Considers my case for a few minutes.]
IO: "Very well, I'll let you cross, though normally I wouldn't."
Me: "Thank you." [Scurries away.]

Conclusion: Canada may be the land of friendly people, but immigration is the pits ^^;

* * *

I spent the rest of the trip to Toronto rejoicing about getting past the border. It was another three hours to the Toronto bus depot (where I was dumped off a couple of blocks from the depot itself). I walked to the main depot and began my search for the Customer Service desk and (hopefully) my luggage.

To my dismay, my luggage wasn't there. I was filling out paperwork when Brian Waldron (Pandora's husband) and Matt (His Lordship Riot) tracked me down. I was on the verge of tears, I admit. But what a frustrating way to begin a trip?

Journal 6 - First day in Toronto

Date: June 17, 1999
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Brian took me back to the Waldron residence. Pandora and baby Madoka greeted me warmly. Madoka is the sweetest baby I have ever met. She's quiet, well tempered, and doesn't cry that much at all. She was a joy to be around (and cute!)

Learning my tale of lacking luggage, they decided that buying some undergarments would be a good idea. The was after I had a chance to take a shower. Three days without was getting to me.

We went to an outlet mall, specifically the Hanes Store. It should be noted that I absolutely hate clothes shopping of any kind. So it was no surprise that this turned into an adventure in clothing >P~~

Sales Lady: "We have full, medium cut, and bikini cut underwear in a 
    variety of colors.  What would you like?"
Me: "White." [Turning red.]
SL: "Full cut, medium cut, or bikini cut."
Me: "White." [Even redder.]
Pandora: "We've got the white part down.  What cut?"
Me: "White." [Very red.]

This ended once I grabbed a pair off the rack and hoped that it would fit. I really am a horrible person to shop with.

We went out to a Farmer's Market (can't recall the town). It was pretty impressive. I loved the Lego display they had there. It was Egyptian themed.

Pandora then got the idea that I could use a new shirt, and it might as well be a cool shirt while we're at it. We selected a nice picture of Haruka in her school uniform and one of Michiru in her school uniform. Then we went down to a shop and had the Haruka one put on the front and the Michiru one on the back. A Nuriko shirt was made for Myrna. They were very cool. I was stopped several times by people asking where I'd gotten my shirt ^^ Thanks Pandora!

That evening Brian, Myrna (their eldest daughter at 12) and I went to watch the Blue Jays play the Angels. That was very cool! Baseball is my favorite sport and I enjoy going to games. Going to a major league game was a thrill! We had seats on the 3rd (500 level) tier right behind home plate. The Jays won 3 - 0. It was a good night =]

Journal 7 - First day at Anime North

Date: June 18, 1999
Location: Ramada Inn, Toronto

The day began early enough with a call from Helen Szeto. (Which I learned is pronounced like 'see-toe' ^^; ) She wanted to get together for lunch. Around noon, Brian, Pandora, Madoka, and I met Helen at this great Italian restaurant called Vinnie Zucchini. I couldn't name half the things I ate, but they were all good. Helen attempted a 'visit and run without eating' but Pandora was insistent. In fact, I think that was the only time all weekend I saw someone out-stubborn Helen. Quite a feat, believe me!

After lunch, we all (minus Helen, who had to return to work) went to the Waldron residence. Joan McDougall met us there. Joan, Pandora, Myrna and I were dropped off at the Ramada Inn where Anime North 99 was being held.

When we got there, registration was just starting. Joan and I were already pre-registered (thanks Joan!) while the Waldron ladies had panelist badges to pick up. They switched around where they wanted the lines a couple of times until Joan noticed that we were standing behind a man with a 'Doji Boy' sweatshirt on. (Those familiar with 'Curse of the Fanboys' can guess what's coming next). Havoc was the Doji clad one, which meant that it was either Chaos, Mayhem, or Carnage that he was talking to.

Havoc left for the other line, leaving Joan and me to puzzle on it. Myrna brought us a booklet of events. The guy turned around and struck up a conversation with Joan. He asked who she was? She introduced herself, then I took my chances. I pulled my beanie octopus and put it into his hand when I made to shake it. The look on Chaos' face was precious ^o^!

We verbally barbed each other a bit while waiting in line. Myrna and Pandora came out to us again to tell me that I was now a panelist. That worked out well. Chaos, at one point, was standing a few yards from me, so I threw the octopus at him low. Yes, I did miss hitting his jewels with it going between his legs. Again, the look on his face was priceless ^_-

Once we were all registered, we escorted Joan up to her room. It was kind of her to let us dump off unneeded jackets and such there. We sat around for a bit and talked. (It was 4pm and nothing got started until 6pm). Chaos and Havoc were sporting custom-made Fanboys shirts. They presented me with a Beans one, which is very cool. It has the Beans pic from the Fanboys profiles on the back along with the quote "Get the hell away from *my* lake god!!!".

Pandora noticed that Chaos and I bear a striking resemblance to each other. We're both near the same height (he's an inch or two taller), have the same cut of sandy blond hair, wear glasses, wear black hiking boots. It was freaky. Especially when both of us were wearing our Fanboys t-shirts.

We then went into line for the dealers room. They had it going on a rotating system, so it took a while. I met Brad Lascelle while waiting. Chaos took me up to meet Robert DeJesus. I have a friend who loves Ninja High School, and had brought a copy of it for him to sign with me. Too bad it was in my, at the time, still missing luggage ^^; I bought one of his art books (very sweet) and ask him to sign it. He was a friendly person from what I could tell :)

The dealer's room at AN was the first one I'd even been in. The range of merchandise was overwhelming for a Bean who has a hard time getting anything anime related. I picked up books 2-3 of SM Mixx and book 1 of the SS Mixx pocket manga. (I'd been meaning to buy them any ways and the dealer let me pay in US funds ^^ ) I also picked up some SM cards :>

The opening ceremonies began soon after that. A good way to get the excited otaku even more so. There wasn't anything going on until the Fan-Fiction Readins & Awards presentation at 10pm, so a group of us went to the nearby mall for dinner. The trip for dinner also included a trip to LCBO (the Fanboys wanted alcohol for later on). I discovered that there really was such a thing as Hard Lemonade o_O; I thought Chaos had been making it up for the Fanboys fics since I'd never heard of it before, but he wasn't. Helen bought a small bottle of Ice Wine and gave it to me, noting that I should try the best wine Ontario has to offer.

We all floated about the mall a bit. Most of us went for passable japanese food at Edo while Helen opted for a chocolate shake. See, I didn't know about Helen's little weakness for the combination of chocolate, milk, and cold. It's something that I'd keep in mind for later exploitation ;)

We wandered back to the Ramada Inn and killed more time up in Joan's room. The fanfic awards panel and the panel on hentai were scheduled against each other. This created a dilemma since many of us would have liked to have attend both events, but had to chose one. My choice was made for me since I was receiving an award at the fanfic presentation (though I would have gone to the hentai panel otherwise ;).

For the record, here's a complete list of the winners from AN99's fanfic contest:

'What was the prize?' you ask. We were all given certificates with our name on them and a copy of Northwest Horizons, a booklet that contains the winning entries. It was sold for $10CAN as part of a fundraiser. And glory. Can't deny the glory factor.

The winning entries were read during the 2-hour panel. The panel started late at 10:30pm and lasted until 12:30am. I have mixed feeling about its success. I think reading the entries was a good idea. But, frankly, after an hour I was getting terribly bored. Perhaps only reading a single page from each of the winners would have sped things along some and given more incentive to buy the book. (There is also the downside that all these stories can be picked up off the net if one wished to go that route).

By 12:30, I was beat. It was time for this Bean to crawl back into her pod and get some much-needed rest!

Journal 8 - Second day of Anime North

Date: June 19, 1999
Location: Ramada Inn, Toronto

I peeled my eyelids open a bit later then I wanted to. Around (9:30am or so). I groggily got ready to return to the con, then sat down with the phone to harass Greyhound about my luggage (again). I was told that it wasn't in yet. Disappointed, I continued to get ready. Twenty minutes later I got a phone call saying they'd made a mistake (withhold comment...) and that my luggage was there. When would I be by to pick it up? I consulted with Brian and it was decided to go picked it up before the con.

We needed to be back before noon so that Myrna and Pandora would be in time for the webpage panel they were on. Unfortunately, traffic didn't play along nicely and we arrived late back to the Waldron residence. I had my luggage back, but no chance to change into a clean pair of pants before we piled back into the van to go to the con. (Day 6 for my cargo pants at that point).

We came in mid-way through the webpage panel. Pandora and Myrna dug right in and got things moving along. I had my mind on other things, so I didn't concentrate on it too much.

After the panel, they were showing the last 2 tapes of Sailor Stars subbed by VKLL. Pandora and Myrna went off to watch that. I wasn't interested. I've seen the episodes raw countless times. And while I realize it's different, I had been (have been) feeling apathetic towards Sailor Moon lately and just wasn't interested.

Helen, Joan, Scott Delahunt, and myself sat in the hotel cafe sipping drinks as we waited for the fanfic panel. When the appointed time drew near, we moved to waiting in the hallway outside the room. I was nametag watching as people collected for this glorious event. I almost fell down in worship when I spotted a 'Ken Wolfe' tag. I chatted a bit with James Helferty. (He's not nearly the conversationalist that he is online. Quiet. Very quiet. Very in-the-back-of-the-room-hiding quiet ;) Helen, Joan, and I were all on the lookout for LeVar Bouyer (as we had been since the previous day). He indicated that he was coming to the con, but none of us had ran into him yet. (We didn't know that his parents had yanked the rug out from under him at that point).

At 4pm the panel Sailor Moon Fanfiction with Pandora Waldron began. I'd never been on a fanfic panel before. I'd never been to a con before. Go Beanie... being thrown into the deep end once again ^^; From left to right (from the perspective of a person sitting in the audience) was:

Helen was well prepared for her newfound position. She'd brought items for discussion during the Fanfic Panel That Never Ends that was slated to begin after the Official Fanfic Panel That Does End. She had an article written by Ursula Le Guin on the topic of how to write good stories. (I still regret not having the money to attend a reading of hers when she visited the area --; ) Anyhow, here are the points that I so conveniently wrote down. (Both on the board behind me during the panel and on my notepad ;)

Personally, I don't think anything was brought up that hasn't been brought up before. Perhaps that's my own bias since I'd written a paper on the subject. We discussed other things. We must have, we had two hours to fill, but what all we talked about eludes me to be quite honest. I didn't say much during the panel. I hope I didn't come off as boring or a lump on the log or something to that effect. I just don't think 'panel' is my best forum. I do better on IRC, or with a small group of people...

At 6pm, the real fanfic panel began. All those whom were interested walked up to Joan's room to get down to the nitty gritty. A few of us decided to swing by the Wendy's next door and get food before heading up. (I still owe you a Frosty, Helen!) I asked everyone that came by to sign in so that I could list them here. If I missed someone, it was because they either didn't sign in or I couldn't read their handwriting ^^;

Personally, I was (am) quite impressed by the turnout. Joan says I might have missed some people too. If I did, please, let me know.

The room we were in featured two Queen sized beds with a small table and two chairs off to the side and raised up a step. I sat myself down on the raised set, leaning against the wall opposite the beds. Chaos sat himself next to me on the floor (a step below me). Ken Wolfe was seated in the chair nearest to me. (So that I was pretty much sitting on the floor next to his chair). Helen Szeto snagged the other chair opposite the table from him. Chris Schack had a CD player and speaker set up going on the table, so we were not without anime tunes. He sat on the floor between Helen and Ken, leaned up against the bed.

Andrea and Scott claimed the bed nearest to me (and furthest from the door). Andrea sat near Chris and they talked music a lot. Scott seemed to be hiding in a corner on the bed. (Could have just been me, I couldn't really see him from my position on the floor). He also brought in a cooler with drinks for us to snag as our talking worked up a thirst ;)

Next bed over was claimed by Joan and Jelynne. I really couldn't see them well from where I was. Havoc claimed the small desk chair and was sitting near the far bed. Where others were positioned, I couldn't tell you. Either I don't remember, I couldn't see them, or they floated in and out of the room (like Pandora and Myrna).

What was discussed? Nearly everything from what I can remember o_O; A lot of Fanboys material was discussed all weekend. That was a lot of fun. Chaos had a thick binder with the last third or so of the series in it. That was making circuits around the room as people read scenes from it. I showed off the lake god that I brought with me from Oregon.

I wanted to tease Chaos. That was a major plus of coming to the con. So I got a jar, drove to the lake I'd based the lake god off of from 'College Life' and got some water. I then filtered the water and put in plastic fish and a frog. (The fish sank to the bottom, but the koi and the frog floated just fine). I'd packed it in my carry on bag, knowing that the glass would surely break if I packed it in my luggage, so it made the trip just fine.

When Chaos first saw the lake god, he drooled, then grinned evilly. "They really hate it when you do this," he explained with the jar in hand before shaking it violently, then handing it back to me. We took several pictures of him bowing to me, of us with the lake god, etc. I eventually gave the jar of water to him. (You think I'd really lug it all the way back home with me? ^^; )

Chris and Andrea spent a good deal of time happily singing along with whatever CD was playing at the time. Andrea really can sing well. Much better than my slaughtering of the Japanese songs would be. Helen Szeto and I were throwing the beanie octopus I had back and forth while we chatted. Ken was scooted back so that he wouldn't get pegged with it, but he was. My throw had been off and Helen missed it. Chris retrieved the octopus, then tried to throw it back to me but got Ken instead ^^; Sorry Ken.

A group of the Fanboys (Carnage, his sister - Herself the Elf, and Pandemonium) had costumes for the Masquerade. Herself the Elf was dressed up as Naga. She didn't have Naga's knockers, but she had the laugh down and the 'presence' to play the part well. Pandy-chan ( ^^; ) was dressed up as Lina Inverse. Carnage was another character from the Slayers series, but since I'm not really familiar with Slayers, I can't tell you who he was ^^; That led to various Fanboys shuffling in and out of Joan's room as the night progressed.

Around 10pm Pandora and Myrna decided that it was time to leave. I asked Joan if I could spend the night with her (she had two beds in her room) and she agreed. Helen got a ride with them back home.

Joan and I went to the Hentai for Girls panel. We were in the back of the room. A room they were expecting to be filled with girls, but mostly containing guys, I might add :P It wasn't terribly interesting. They discussed yaoi (guy + guy) hentai, not quite my thing. I wanted to go see Fake (Hentai for Girls video feature) but missed it.

We went back up to Joan's room. I think I have yet to mention that her room was only a few doors down from the Ottawa (Scott et. al.) people's room. And their room was next door to the Fanboy's room. It worked out well that way :> We wandered to the Fanboy's room where Havoc was preparing sake for the drinking that was to ensue. More and more Fanboys continued to come in and claim floor space until the room was pretty full. (If I remember correctly, they had something like six people staying in that one room...)

Havoc coaxed Joan into trying some sake, but it just didn't agree with her. I'd been drinking a bit of Sapporo earlier in the evening (beer, Japanese or otherwise, just isn't my thing). Some of them took up playing this card game that involved stripping. Carnage lost his shirt, literally.

At some point I wandered down to watch a late showing of the Fan MST-ed Battle Arena Toshinden. It was funny, very funny ^o^! They showed both parts. The crowd just ate it up :)

Joan and I crawled into bed around 1am. It had been a long day for us both. I slept like a log.

Journal 9 - Last day of Anime North

Date: June 20, 1999
Location: Ramada Inn, Toronto

I was awake. I was moving. I was in the same pants for yet another day. The pants part was, perhaps, for the best. I kept the AN 'pocket planner' folded in one of the leg pockets. It wasn't much of a pocket planner considering that it was 3 sheets of printed 11" x 14" paper. At least it folded well ^^;

I spent the morning trying to track down people and give items back that had been left in Joan's room the previous day. I more or less failed at finding anyone (until Andrea found me and pointed the right direction), but I did get to see some of the last two episodes of the first season Sailor Moon subbed.

Sunday had all the panels I wanted to attend on it. (Ironic, eh?) I pretty much shuffled from one panel to another for most of the day. The first panel I went to was at 11am and was Revolutionary Fille Utena - Anime Spice Girl? I will make it clear that I'm not at the point of being an Utena fan(atic). I first learned of the series while it was still playing on Japanese TV. Some Portuguese friends of mine spent several hours one night on IRC explaining it to me in the most intimate details with pictures. And I didn't get it. But that's alright, they sent all of it to me in raw Japanese in hopes of switching me over to being an Utena otaku. I haven't made my way through all the tapes yet ^^; My main driving force for even caring about the series can be summed up in one word: K-chan. Yes, my beloved K-chan is much taken with the series, and I will give it a fair shake for her sake, if not for it's own. At least she can't hold it against me for not trying something new... So, with hopes of being enlightened a bit, I went to the Utena panel. Andrea Doolan was seated a couple rows in front of me asking all sorts of questions.

My hat goes off to the panelists. They did an excellent job of answering questions without giving major spoilers. They couldn't do it without giving small things away, but they've straightened me out enough that I'm earnestly curious about the series instead of more or less indifferent (as I was before). I was wishing I could teleport the tapes I haven't watched to here I am and watch them :P I've only seen 1 - 13 (the first arc) and now want to know what the rest is about.

I've also found myself addicted to the Utena OP. My friends were kind enough to send the first 3 Utena OSTs along with the tapes. I've found myself loving the instrumentals. (I have a very weak spot for violin and piano music. A love I had long before Haruka and Michiru and worked to endear them to me even more). At the same time, I very much dislike all the vocal tracks I've heard minus the opening song. The opening song is very catchy. Before I left for this trip, I'd spent the night working at my computer with it on repeat for at least a half hour if not more ^^; Andrea has been working very hard on learning how to sing it. If she ever gets the hang of it, I'm hoping she gives lessons so that I can also sing it.

But this isn't a journal about my views of Utena, it's a journal about Anime North, and so I'll snap back on topic. I met up with the Fanboys outside and sat around with them while eating lunch. At 2pm the next panel I wanted to attend started. It was an Eva one. I can't remember too much about it, except that it got on my nerves for some reason and I left after 5 minutes. I forgot that Hitoshi Doi's panel was going on at the same time, else I would have gone to that instead.

I walked around a bit. There was a raffle being held later that afternoon for some prizes. (Part of their charity efforts). I bought a couple of tickets, then sat around until the raffle began. I did win a prize :) I got three autographed issues of A Shadowlander's Dream by Kathryn Williams. It's a fan-produced manga much like the one Elaine and I have been working on. If nothing else, it has given me some ideas about printing and distribution of our own Lost Dreams series.

The Secret World of Sailor Moon was at 3pm. That was a panel I wouldn't have missed, period. They showed a tape with Sailor Moon product commercials (anyone with raw tapes has seen plenty of those ;) The 4x opening from the 'lost' episode of Sailor Moon (ep 89, where they recap and introduce the S season). The tape also contained the last song and singing of La Moon from the SuperS musical. Andrea and I were seated next to each other during the panel. We were both shamelessly singing along with La Moon as it happily bopped along on the screen. (I really enjoyed that, BTW. Thanks Andrea :). They then showed the infamous Saban Sailor Moon trailer. I offered Andrea my beanie octopus to squeeze since she'd never seen it before. The reaction at the end of it was predictable, a bunch of hissing and jeering. There is a certain amount of enjoyment to be had when there is a recognized mutual enemy to be jeered by a roomful of people. Go Sailor Moon fans ;)

Next panel was The Enduring Appeal of Sailor Moon. The second (or third, depending upon how you count it) panel I was to be on. It was hosted by myself, Pandora, and one other guy (whose name I cannot recall and forgot to write down). Beans no baka. After yesterday's apparent failure at being a useful panelist (in my own eyes, at least) I decided a bit of prep work for this one would be a good idea. I brainstormed (stole ideas from) another party who wishes to remain nameless. (It's better for all those involved ;) I won't present them here, because then I would really go off on a tangent. But I will write a rant/essay about it all at some point. I still have my notes safely tucked away in my backpack.

Even with the prep work, I think my performance was lackluster at best. Pandora took the floor and ran away with it. At least it should have been interesting after I was done putting my foot into my mouth. Will I be a panelist next year? Hahaha! If they take me, sure, if not, I wouldn't be offended ^^;

The closing ceremonies weren't long in coming after that. We applauded a lot for the various guests. They announced that over $1,000 was raised for charity during the 3-day event. (I'm guessing that a lot of it was earned at the Pikachu piņata-bashing event, myself). And that was that. There were many long good-byes as we were leaving. The Ottawa people were leaving at the same time as us. We saw them once more in the parking lot as we left.

I crashed as soon as we reached the Waldron residence. It was all I could do to stay awake, and I didn't do that very well ^^;

Journal 10 - Overall thoughts regarding Anime North

I liked it. I had an absolute blast. I think the thing that was the best and will stand out the brightest in my memory will be the people I met there. It was worth the effort, time, and money it took to get there. I could have gone to Anime Expo, it's a lot closer, but it's not as much of a 'fans' con. If I had money to throw at buying products, I'd have a lot better computer by now, so that wasn't a moving factor for me.

I loved meeting Pandora and her wonderful family. I loved meeting one of my fanfic co-authors and hope to meet Ophelia some day. The Fanboys were great. I don't think words alone could describe such a.. diverse.. group of individuals :) I enjoyed meeting the people that I didn't know that well at all; Brad, Scott, Chris, Andrea, and many more not listed here. I hope to have the opportunity to meet them again.

As far as cons go, I can't rate it. I have nothing to compare it to. I went to few panels except the ones I were on ^^; Panels seemed to be kind of a break to the routine of talking. Give us a break and watch someone else talk for a while.

Toshinden and a bit of Sailor Moon was all I caught anime wise. This is probably a bigger part of the entire experience then I saw. I'd either already seen what they were showing or had no interest in it at all. That could be a drawback of being impatient and going for raw tapes. Forget the fansubbing, I'll add my own comments ;)

Here are a couple links for other Anime North 99 pages: