Otakon 2017: Our Adult Christmas

Every year my husband and I look foward to Otakon like a kid does Christmas. This was the first year it was held in Washington, DC; rather than Baltimore, MD. For us it would be a whole new adventure because we usually stay with our brother who lives in Baltimore and knows it like the back of his hand. This year we booked a room in The Westin, a .6 mile walk from the convention center, and our brother caught the train from Baltimore. The trip was great.  There were some bumps in the road but the excitement of Otakon was more than enough to cover that. Here are some of the highlights of our trip!

otakon grin
My traditional 1st day of Otakon grin

Gaming Room

The two places we spend the most time during Otakon are the game room and dealer room. There are long tables on one side of the massive room with chargers for handhelds as well as phones. This is perfect for charging my phone, resting my feet, and even taking a little nap. My husband usually finds Naruto or Injustice; our brother, Halo, Gundam, or some cool retro gaming system. As for me I don’t game a lot. I may play around on a fighting game like mortal combat, Naruto, or Injustice, but I get serious when it comes to Just Dance. We had not bought the newest, Just Dance 2017, but I still dominated whenever I came over. I play different than most. I don’t just play to win, I play to groove. Otakon ain’t never seen a nerd with rhythm like me. I usually play for an hour per day, that along with all the walking gives me a decent calorie burn to offset the extra eating.

Dealer Room

This year we did not get a lot from in the dealer room in terms of quantity. I usually go to find some unique graphic t-shirts that will stand out from my normal JC Penney and Old Navy collection. I also look for my traditional Harry Potter gift for my sisters birthday in September (which I did find, but am not going to disclose just in case she reads), a gift for my son, and some kind of Sailor Moon collectible for my cousin. The dealer room seem to be a little lacking this year. They had some awesome stuff, but it didn’t feel like there was as much. Maybe some of the dealers that usually come to Baltimore couldn’t make it to DC. But what we did find became the highlight of the whole trip. We got stainless steel wedding bands engraved in…..ELVISH! They were an early anniversary gift for each other as our anniversary is TOMORROW! It was perfect; we condensed the Dr. Seuss

rings
Our “Rings of Power”
quote from our wedding program:  “We’re all a little weird and life’s a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness called love.” The perfect description of our relationship. Our brother also got a ring engraved in Draconic.

Panels

I am usually the one that finds the good panels.  Maybe its because I am the newest to anime so I am eager to learn. On Friday we attended “Anime vs Hollywood”—Whitewashing. It gave some interesting perspectives. The most profound being how World War II affected American comics vs Japanese manga and anime. America was the “winner” and therefor comics showed incredible heroes but was also heavily censored only showing positive images. Whereas, Japan was the “loser” and their animation was deeper and darker, a quality I enjoy.  Saturday we wen to “Skin Deep: Diversity in Japanese Pop Culture. It mentioned some of the same ideas, but also broke down how different groups are stereotyped in anime, manga, and video games. They included: East Asians, Europeans, Americans, Blacks, others (hispanics, muslims, etc.), LGBTQ, and persons with disabilities. Once again eye opening. These were sadly the only panels I was able to attend due to time overlapping with other events and meal times.

Cosplay

One day I’ll start cosplaying myself, I’ll start with sometime simple like punk Storm with a white “fro-hawk. My family jokes and says that if I cosplay they aren’t waiting for me while people take pictures. I hope to cosplay good enough that people will want pictures. Until then I’ll just marvel at the creativity and hard work of others. There’s not much a can say about the cosplay, so I’m just going to include some of my favorites below. Enjoy!

Eateries

When Otakon was in Baltimore we usually tried to eat as much as possible as our brothers house and maybe get some snacks here and there. Being that the Baltimore convention center was with next to the ball fields there were the hot dog vendors that usually sold at the baseball and football games there available for a cheap lunch of hot dogs, sausages, fries, or chicken sandwiches. In DC we were able to find some reliable places. Our regular breakfast and lunch spot was the West Wing Cafe. They had sandwiches, wraps, soups, and plenty of vegan options for me. For breakfast I’d get a smoothie and lunch I got a Korean Bibimbap salad with tofu. For dinner Friday night we went to a burger spot called Bolt Burgers. They had the best french fries EVER! I got a black bean burger with added curry spice and it was divine. I’m not sure if it was because of all the business they were getting but they seemed to be giving everyone (with regular burgers) double patties. My husband and brother got two, even though when asked they said they only wanted one. Oh well, I’ll accept a freebie anytime.

Saturday nights meal, though an adventure, was another highlight of the trip. In Baltimore our signature Saturday evening dinner had been “Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.” on the harbor. We wanted to find something in DC that could replace it and were leaning towards an Asian spot. After searching Google maps for reviews of nearby places when decided on a place called “Chaplin’s”. We did not realize it was the Saturday evening hot spot. We walked through the doors exactly as a thunderstorm dropped all the water from the heavens only to find that without a reservation it would over a 2 hour wait. We waited in the crowded entrance trying to figure out our next course of action. My husband was getting “hangry” and said lets just get an Uber and go to the burger place. I was disappointed and did not want to settle for that. We got an Uber to the burger place, but decided to walk to nearby Chinatown. The rain had died down an we had a back up restaurant there in Chaplin’s didn’t work out. We got there only to discover that it had been rented out for a private party. Across the street was a small restaurant Reren Lamen & Noodles. I was assuming that Lamen meant “ramen”, so we decided to check it out. It was PERFECT we found our official Saturday evening dinner spot. My husband got the Kung Po beef lamen, I got the Buddah style tofu lamen, and our brother got Shrimp fried rice (basic I know, but it was the best). We ordered some dumplings to share as an appetizer and my husband and I ordered alcoholic drinks. The price was VERY reasonable and the food impeccable. My only change will be to next time ask if I can get some of the spiciness of my husband’s beef based broth in my mushroom broth. I saw that they had an article in the Washington Post so I looked it up, the article explains the owners Chinese roots and why it calls their noodles “lamen” rather than “ramen”. Check it out if you have the chance.

All in all it was an epic trip. Somethings I will do next time are possibly flying or taking a train and using cabs/Uber rather than dealing the garage parking or getting tickets. We will also be leaving Monday rather than Sunday so we can take advantage of all 3 days. My husband and I will do Otakon boot camp so we can wake up earlier and stay up later in order to maximize our time to hit all the events we want. Until then I will fill the void soaking up all the anime I can and attending local statewide cons. Now I will begin marking my calendar until Otakon 2018, August 10th-12th.

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Return of the Healthy, Nappy, Nerdy, Mommy!

Its been a while since my last post, a month to be exact. It all snowballed from one busy, lousy, tiresome, week. But I am back now to give the people what they want, or maybe what they don’t want. This is an overall update about what’s been happening and what is to come for this healthy, nappy, nerdy, mommy.

Healthy

I pretty much been doing the same song and dance. I’m still trying to get back into the groove of healthy eating and consistent exercise. My biggest weight loss since having my son had been 51 pounds, and I’m still 15 pounds from that not to mention my goals of losing another 20 after that, so I’m at 40 pounds I want to lose. I already mentioned in my previous post 7 Reasons I Became a “Flexi” Vegan that I am exploring veganism as a healthier option. I’m not hard core with it. I typically eat meat with dinner and try to be vegan for the rest of the day. I am also incorporating some “paleoism”. There is just so much information out their about what is the healthiest diet to have. And when I say diet I am referring to an overall lifestyle not how you eat for a couple weeks to lose some weight then gain it right back. I researched some about eating for your blood type, which interestingly enough is pretty much paleo for me being that wheat, dairy, and beans would be no, no’s for my type O blood. But there were some other things like mushrooms for example that I’m just not giving up. But it was also a little scary because it went along with my food allergies. As far as exercise, I’ve tried a free week of Cross Fit and I’m hooked. During the summer I’ll go to the free community day on Saturday until the school year starts and I have the funds to become a member. Bottom line, the workout at home thing does not work for me. I need a gym or facility to attend in order to hold myself accountable. For the rest of the summer, though, I am not stepping on a scale or entering my calories into anybody’s calorie counting app. I am just going to eat clean and get some kind of physical activity everyday and see where that gets me.

Nappy

The summer time is always good for my hair. I have more time and therefore keep up with my regimen better. I’ve pretty much been able to keep up with my washes every week, to 2 weeks depending on if I have a protective style or not. I love the summer because I can do wash and go’s. I don’t have to wake up early for work (until summer school) and the weather is nice and warm so it fine if its still wet. This past week I went to the beach with my parents and have my mom put some corn rows (NOT BOXER BRAIDS, but that’s a whole post of its own) with added hair. I have taken them out to wear a couple days wavy until I wash this weekend.  It is my hope to get some crochets at some point. I’m not sure if a want twist, braids, or curls, but I know a want to lob (long bob). Until then I will continue with my own regimen.

Nerdy

We finished “Hunter x Hunter” which I really enjoyed. The anime was completely different in the end than it was in the beginning. Each season was like a different anime with the same characters. I do feel like it was ended very quickly and I hope that the last episode I saw wasn’t the last episode they will ever make, but I will give my complete review in another post.

Now in anime we have began the one that seemingly started it all “Dragon Ball”. I cannot watch an episode of an anime without my husband saying “they got that from Dragon Ball Z” or “that was so Goku”. I am starting from the beginning of “Dragon Ball” to get all the back story before watching (according to my husband) that greatest “Dragon Ball Z”. And I must say that I do see parallels between Goku and many anime heroes of today.

In a 6 Anticipated Events for a Nerdy Mom I included some things that I was looking forward to, a lot of them occurring this summer. One event was seeing “X-Men: Apocalypse”. I’m just going to ask that we all take a moment of silence for this movie…….(and begin rant) I had such high hopes, I could have been so great. I saw it a few weeks ago and since it was such a disappointment for me and its been a while I’m just going to say what I have to say now and leave it at that. This was supposed to be the best X-men movie to date. Apocalypse is their main big villain. First, the actors in the film were horrible and the characters were weak. Everybody in that last fight was just getting their ass beat until out of nowhere Jean Gray said “oh yeah I can use the phoenix force” and obliterated him. They did not build on any of the characters they added, except for Magneto, who’s character has been giving plenty of background. We get it, he gets angry, and want to destroy humans for how they mistreat mutants. Storm was the biggest disappointment for me, because she’s my favorite and she didn’t do anything. If they do another movie like this they may as well give the X-men the Disney so they can work with Marvel and the Avengers, but no way Alexandra Shipp’s Storm would be able to stand with Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther. Maybe I just set my hopes too high, but though it was just not the greatest. (rant ended)

The most anticipated event of our nerdy lives is fast approaching, Otakon! And we have to make big plans because after this year it will be moving from Baltimore to DC due to increased attendance. This year I have been battling whether or not I want to dabble in some cosplay. It wouldn’t be anything elaborate, but just a little to get into the spirit. Although some of my party has threatened to leave me if I hold them back with photos. Last year I truly experienced it because the first year I was 8 weeks pregnant and just slept in every panel and searched for food every chance I got. One day we will attend comic-con in San Diego, but for us this is as big as it gets right now. All year I’ve been loading up on my anime, outside of Naruto so I can be prepared. I need to practice an anime theme song to sing in the karaoke lounge. Look forward to pictures and an entire page dedicated to highlighting Otakon 2016.

Mommy

The terrible two’s are in full affect. And potty training is driving me crazy. But I am determined to make sure I set the foundation for a well behaved child and get him out of these damn diapers before the summer is over. We are taking the pull ups away. Right now he still wears them at daycare, but I’m only letting him do that for two weeks. After this next 3 day weekend (no summer school on Friday) I am letting his daycare teacher know he is wearing underwear and sending him with plenty of clothes and underwear to change into. I have created some charts. One is the reward positive behavior. There are categories of potty training, eating, and following directions. He earned stickers and different levels of prizes. I also have a behavior correction chart. This is more or less for my husband and I. He thinks I am to tough and I think he is too lenient. The chart takes the question out of it. When he misbehaves he moves to another color, the lower colors have punishments. I will provide a full detailed post outlining this plan.

That in a nutshell is what been happening in my life. The remainder of the summer holds many experiences; still juggling working summer school and trying to enjoy myself before the start of another school year and accomplish all the goals I set for myself and my family. Is anybody else having some similar experiences, or I am just alone in my crazy world?

6 Anticipated Events for a Nerdy Mom

ID-100412814Life is tough. There are bills, work, cooking, cleaning, working out, and many, many, more things that just make it seem like its too much. Sometimes you just have to take time for a few things that bring you joy.  These are the top 6 things I’m looking forward to right now:

 

1. Captain America: Civil War

Forget Batman vs Superman, the battle I’m waiting for is Captain America vs Iron Man. There have been a plethora of memes that joke about the cause of their rivalry and Iron Man not being in the movie. Those are funny and hyping up my excitement for the movie. Let’s not even mention the fact that Black Panther makes his first appearance in this movie. I don’t even know which “team” I’m on. I’m just ready to see this thing. It almost looks like an Avengers movie in itself with all the characters that will be involved. A movie review post will be forth coming.

2. X-men: Apocalypse

The X-men is probably my favorite of all super hero groups. My son is named after Charles Xavier and we plan to name our future kids (if any) after X-men characters. I especially like the “reboot” that the series has somewhat morphed into. I always wonder how they pull off a victory against these seemingly all powerful adversaries. How does anybody “defeat” Apocalypse? I know the writers always create a “way”, which is somehow undone in the future or some alternate universe.  I’ve seen previews that show wolverine in the movie. Is it Hugh Jackman? Or has Wolverine been recast with a younger actor? If so, hopefully this actor can still have Hugh Jackman’s skill but with a closer physical resemblance to Wolverine. My favorite character of all time is Storm. I really appreciate them going to the mo’hawk punk storm, although it pains me to see her under the villains control. We shall see how it all unfolds, which I’ll definitely be highlighting in a post of its own.

3. Otakon 2016

Otakon is an Anime convention in Baltimore, MD. This year it will be August 12-14th. Unfortunately, after this year, it will be moving from Baltimore to DC. Our brother lives in Baltimore so if we couldn’t get a hotel we could always bunk at his place. In DC this won’t be an option, but we will find a way. Its like Christmas for my husband and I. We skipped a year the summer after we had our son, but vowed NEVER AGAIN. Each year I attend I am motivated to learn more about anime so I can be well rounded and prepared to participate in panels and sessions. I may even dabble in some cosplay, although some of our cohort has threatened to leave me if I get caught up taking pictures. I doubt that I’ll attract that many photo ops since I don’t have the funding or skill to create anything amazing. I’ll just be doing it for my own fun. Last year I went to a panel about the African American influence in Anime and it blew my mind. They say they are going to be continuing and expanding it so it one of the first things I’ll be looking for this year. The other big things I enjoy about Otakon are the AMV awards, the raves, and of course walking and experiencing the Baltimore Harbor. Keep your eyes open for pictures and constant updates regarding this trip.

4. Bahamas Cruise

As I said earlier, I don’t get to look forward to many things. I don’t travel out of the state, non the less the country often. So when my best friend was getting a group together to go on a cruise I jumped on board. I’ll be taking some time off work and having a real vacation. We’ve had some financial changes with my son being in daycare and I almost said forget it, we can’t afford it. But I changed my mind, we have several months to save so we can make this happen. They have different types of theme cruises like Nickelodeon, Disney, and even Zumba Fitness have their own cruises. I would love to see a Marvel, DC, Star Wars, LOTR, or Harry Potter themed cruise. I’d pay for that in a heart beat.

5. The return of “One Punch Man”

This is a great Anime. It seems like of spoof of all other Anime. In a lot of action anime it starts off slow. The main character is learning the art of combat and things seem pretty normal. They have sometime of inner drive and a deep story. Then slowly but surely things get bigger. Regular combat is always joined with supernatural power that gives the characters special abilities. One Punch Man is exactly the opposite. The story starts with a “crab monster” attacking a young boy, so you already know some supernatural things are going on. Then he undergoes the “extensive” training of running a 5k, 100 push up, 100 sit ups, and 100 squats with no AC everyday. And after this you have the invincible “One Punch Man”. In each episode you see him defeat his opponents in literally one punch. There have been rumors of the writer not doing a 2nd season, I hope this isn’t true. My husband and I spammed episodes and finished the first season quickly, so I can wait to see the next.

6. Attack on Titan

Attack on Titan was supposed to pick back up in April, but they pushed the new season back. They postponed the next season because they have to wait for the manga to get further away from the anime. Attack on Titan does not do fillers, which I LOVE. Every episode is action packed. There was no slow getting to know the characters. In the very first episode you witness the titans barge into the wall, bite the head off, and eat the main character’s mother. I hope they continue this style of writing keep the action coming. I will be waiting patiently for the return.

One day I hope to be in a place where my husband and I can travel the world, have romantic getaways, and expose my son and any future children to experiences I never had. Until then I will find joy in the simple things; a new anime, superhero movie date, and small trip here or there. Whenever life gets me down I think about the fun times I’ve had with family and friends during these experiences.