AX 2015: My last AX for a while?

Next year will probably be my last AX in a row o<-< I like seeing long-distance friends but it’s so costly to attend and I want to save for other cons like Sakura-Con and MAGFest.

I just wish that Fanime, which I’ve had an unbroken attendence streak for since 2006, had incentives for my out-of-state friends to go. It doesn’t help that because it’s only a little over a month before AX, it ends up being a “choose one or the other” dilemma, and most of said friends will always choose AX due to the much better programming, industry presence, and dealer’s hall; Fanime is just a fan-run convention with lower-tier guests and almost nothing that attendees can’t also do or get at AX.

Advertisements

Cautiousness

I had a breakup in 2011 and my coping mechanism was chatting and spending a lot of time with a subset of friends.

Unfortunately, my passive clinginess got to the point where I was constantly worried those friends didn’t consider me a close friend the same way I considered them close friends.

Incidentally, that was around the time I met someone who would go on to be an actual best friend of mine.

It’s hard for me to call someone a best friend these days. I don’t want to be under the impression that I have a close friendship, only to find out it wasn’t, so I keep my distance a bit; I don’t want to come off as a particularly clingy person and I’m worried if I’m clingy once, I’m going to do it again and again.

But when I find out someone I genuinely enjoy spending time with considers me a best friend, and thus I can call them the same, it feels really nice. <3

Silent Minority, or: Why I Don’t Speak Up

If person x has a problem with person or group y, especially if it’s a friend or friends, then x should speak up to y about it so that y understands and the two can work things out.

At least, that’s how it is in theory.

But I just imagine so many problems coming up when I’m in that sort of situation.

If it’s with one friend, the person may just play the give-no-fucks card and scold me for being offended, being bothered, or being a wuss about it, and I’ll get pegged as being unreasonable (and, if the issue is related to social justice, an “SJW”). If it’s with a group of people, I may also decline to state the issues I’m having because I’m worried I’ll get ignored because I’m just one person and it would seem unreasonable for a group to accomodate the requests of one person. “Majority rules”, if you will.

As an example, about a year and a half ago I went to a party with some friends and someone brought two games we could play that night: We Love Katamari and Silent Hill: Homecoming. Everyone else decided on Silent Hill because everyone loves horror games I guess. I chose not to speak up because I was worried of coming off as a coward who can’t handle brickshit-inducing games. It felt alienating being the one person who wanted to play something lighthearted and, as I’ve said time and again about horror fiction, I like getting sleep at night. (It didn’t matter anyway because I left the party before everyone else began playing any vidya.)

Another example was when a friend was using the term “trap” as a term for a crossdressing male, a term I have issues with because it (to me) carries the implication that MtFs and crossdressing/crossplaying men are objects of shock value and deceit rather than people who identify a certain way or dress as the gender opposite to them as a hobby. (If you want a more at-length discussion about this term, and are willing to understand my position even if you won’t agree with it, talk to me privately.) I tried to explain this to my friend, but said friend basically shut me out by insisting that the term was not being used in an offensive context, and I, being the sort of person who hates confrontation, decided to terminate that line of discussion because I didn’t want to raise a huge scene about it and potentially lose a frined, and felt that I might as well have not spoken up at all.

Yet another issue I face is the occasional jokes about those with autism or some form of it (e.g. Asperger’s). I’ve narrowly escaped being diagnosed with it, so those sorts of jokes hit too close to home for me. Yet the kind of people on my Twitter timeline making these jokes are the sort that I don’t want to express disagreement with, because I’ll just get dismissed for being offended at jokes targeted at a widely-acceptable-to-target demographic.

These concepts and sort of situations, it seems, motivate the reason why a lot of folks who are in positions of oppression don’t like to complain when they are in situations of harassment or such: Because they’re concerned that they’ll come off as whiny and “butthurt” to the offending party and that said offending party will make no attempt to understand the person’s point of view.

I do my best to understand when what I do hurts others–even if they get pretty lashout-y about it and I have to spend several minutes calming myself down lest I rain down a barrage of loud expletives or deck the person unconscious, I at least try to negotiate something with the person and find some sort of balance. Yet I assume the worst of others; if I have issue with someone I tend to keep quiet about it because being bothered by something seems like the better alternative to the person callously lashing out at me with a “you’re bad for feeling this way for something I did, and you should feel bad” speech for daring to point out that what one is doing may be wrong or hurtful. If it’s in a group, I just think to myself, “I’m one person out of however many are here, I’m not gonna make everyone bend over backwards for one person out of that many.”

Who cares about understanding the feelings and opinions of one person?

Cosplay and Contact

So on one of my social feeds, I happened upon this image macro:

My thoughts on this:

Social network friends don’t necessarily mean actual friends, just as there’s the argument that not being SNS friends =/= not being IRL friends. I just add people as my way of keeping track of who I meet at cons; actual friendship development comes later and at my discretion.

Plus, as someone said, there’s a buttload of people in the cosplay community (last weekend’s NorCal Gathering had over 550 attendees, to put it in perspective), so it can be difficult to remember everyone’s faces, especially when some people are difficult to recognize in cosplay; I’ve been talking to one of my friends on here for 2 1/2 years, but I never talk to them in person because I can’t recognize them. (Though as someone else pointed out, I should probably change this.)

Cosplaying and Principles

Every time I start to lose interest in cosplaying, I try to remember the following:

  1. I prefer to cosplay for recreation rather than competition, but I should do my best and push myself to become better.
  2. I cosplay as a way of showing my appreciation for the series and character by replicating the character.
  3. I cosplay so I can put myself in social situations and make new friends. Remember, I have friends who have developed social skills and broken out of being shut-ins because of cosplay (events).
  4. (New!) The cosplay scene is never static. Just as cosplayers can retire, there are always new cosplayers coming onto the scene, whether it be friends of friends or fresh new faces.

NorCal Spring Cosplay Gathering 2014

So yesterday was the NorCal Spring Cosplay Gathering 2014, one in a line of seasonal cosplay gatherings hosted by photographer Oscar C and cosplayer Bekalou.

The gathering was held in Kelley Park in central San Jose, and as usual turnout was massive, at a record-breaking 550 or so. Cosplayers of various fandoms came out to test and demonstrate their costumes, some using the gathering as a testing ground for their cosplay before going on to fine-tune them for Fanime, which is about 2 1/2 months from now.

Not wanting to bog myself down with female cosplays, which have a long prep time due to me putting on makeup (something I tend to not bother when wearing male cosplays), require me to change at someone else’s house due to parental issues, and both of which need a dry-cleaning anyway, or my Apollo Justice cosplay, which was my initial choice until deciding that hair spikes are a pain in the ass (and I don’t feel like I look good in the cosplay anyway), I fell back on my general-purpose, boring-but-practical cosplay of Persona 3‘s male protagonist (known as Minato Arisato to Western fans).

I was quickly joined by Kelp (as Madoka from Madoka Magica), a good friend of mine that I hadn’t seen in 9 months, as well as a few of her friends, and I spent a good fraction of the gathering with them. I also got to see plenty of other friends, such as my blog colleagues Nate (as Ken Amada, also from Persona 3) and Robbie, and classmate and cosplay photographer Samir.

It seems like I made a good decision to cosplay Minato, as there was a surprisingly large influx of Persona 3 and 4 cosplayers, apparently because of the announcement of several Persona spinoff games being confirmed for Western releases. I got photos with some of them. I didn’t see a lot in the way of Touhou cosplay (Touhou is my top fandom that actually has a cosplay presence at cons)–just two of my friends cosplaying Parsee Mizuhashi and Remilia Scarlet.

In general the gathering was pretty fun–saw various costumes as usual, made a few new friends, and gave myself a chance to relax without constantly worrying about the various problems of my cosplay. I was in a surprisingly good mood for only four hours of sleep–didn’t even doze off at all during the gathering.

After the gathering, a few of us went to Hydration Cafe to get dinner and milk tea, and some of us passed the time discussing careers and how to maximize productivity before parting ways.

I was still feeling particularly good, so I went to bed shortly thereafter and avoided looking at distressing material on the Internet. I also went out of my way to make a new Twitter list, my “day brighteners” list, in case I need to remind myself that not everyone or everything in the world is shit.

My next cosplay event will probably be NorCal Cherry Blossom Festival 2014, but the elimination of cosplay events means my friends will be less motivated to go. If I see a lot of people still expressing interest, I’ll probably go, but if that doesn’t happen, I might just skip and wait until Fanime instead. Either way, see ya, folks.