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Posted: 4/24/2006 17:06
Last Updated: 4/25/2006 9:24

No Brand Con 2006


Nobrandcon 2006No Brand Con 2006
When: April 21st-23rd 2006
Where: Eau Claire, WI
What: Wisconsin's Premiere Anime Convention!

So, before I start with anything, I thought I would let you guys see the photos first:
CLICK HERE for the No Brand Con 2006 Picture Gallery!

Okay, now that we have that out of the way, onto the actual con report...

Derek came into town on Thursday afternoon. Myself, not possessing anything resembling a car, had to find someone to go pick him up at the Greyhound station. Fortunately for me (and for Derek) my friend Dani was willing to do so. All worked out okay.

That night, we headed over to the hotel for the final pre-Convention staff meeting, which while productive, is not actually that interesting a story.. *grin* We went to bed early though so again -- no interesting story there either. Hmmm... why did I mention Thursday at all? I actually have no idea.

Friday was a blast. Derek and I got over to the hotel relatively early, so we could help set up. I got a photo of the No Mercy Room before we... violated it. I spent a good amount of time in the Vendor Room while it was setting up. I chatted with Damien, and got a chance to hang with Vinnk too. I am going to say right here and now that I am not going to mention everyone I want to and or should in this report. Frankly, in my position I see quite a few people during the con and while I have always been good at remembering PEOPLE I am, honestly, HORRIFICALLY terrible with names. I also, for the sake of brevity, will likely skip some events in my tale. Many events. Maybe even most. Why? Because I don't have time to write a 600 page novel -- I leave those to Robert Jordan. Anywho, I will mention that Genesis Mindworks rocks, and that Sam and Kellin are great peoples. Yep yep.

Stuffs happened, and I saw the only lines that exist at NoBrandCon... the registration one. Yeah - but as I said, it's the only line - so I'm not too worried. Eventually, it came time for Opening Ceremonies. I co-hosted it with Topher, playing the Gardening Ninja and Greenboy respectively. As the theme was "No Brand Reunion" (a high school reunion), I should more properly say that I was playing Vice Principal Gardening Ninja. We brought out Leah (Kitty) as Science Teacher Lady, who introduced our mascot Duct Tape Boy. Duct Tape Boy, Topher, and Myself finished up the rest of Opening Ceremonies, and all went fairly well - with the exception of an A/V technical issue. The adapter to hook up the sound from our computer to the sound system burned out, and we had no sound. Because of that, the slideshow was played without sound (but was well received), but the Duct Tape Boy Mocumentary was unable to be played. The good news that I would eventually be able to play it during the Variety Show on Sunday -- but I of course wouldn't know that for a while now.

After Opening Ceremonies was the Man Auction. It went fairly well, I went somewhere in the forty-something dollar range. Unfortunately, because I'm a moron, I didn't make time to take my "purchaser" out. So, yeah. I owe the girl a dinner - and I'm sorry.

I then continued my tradition of dressing up like the Gardening Ninja for Hanzo - and promoting the heck out of it leading up to it. When midnight hit - so did Hanzo 1 finally. The room was packed, and we again hit a higher population than any year before - I think it was close to 70 people in there. Fortunately, thanks to the fact that we were in the Ramada, we actually had enough room -- and some empty chairs for future growth! It was a damned good time though, and inside jokes were set for the rest of the convention. *grin*

After Hanzo I the Secret Rice Plan occured, and we won't talk about that. Because it's a SECRET of course. I then went home and slept. Sleep is good.

I got to the convention at about 11:00am on Saturday, having let myself sleep in (and take a nice long shower) knowing I'd have a late night/early morning the next night. I mostly spent the day, as I wasn't needed until 6:00pm, screwing around and having fun. I attended a couple of panels, and overall just had a good time. I got to see the non-Befu members of Verssen Werks Presents, Vanessa and Kaylene, and watched their fandubbing panel. On that subject I did end up missing the Legend of Crystiana (sp?) that SPAMM did because I was running to get equipment for someone's panel - and I'm kind of disappointed. Ah well, such is life. I did get to see Kyle (Kaje) too, which I hadn't for a while. That was good.

At six o'clock it was time for my own panel on TRHFilms. I showed my various works, including "The Power of Peso" and another that I may or may not put up online yet - I haven't decided as it's effectively a "Best of" video for TRHFilms. I had a good time doing it, and I think people enjoyed it.

Afterwards, it was time for the Cosplay Contest - which was hosted by Greenboy and Duct Tape Boy. This year, for the first time, I was a judge on the Cosplay contest. I will tell you, I will never criticize a Cosplay Contest decision again. You have no idea how hard it is to make decisions when you have to judge over 80 contestants and you only have a little bit of time to see each one. It's even harder when you have friends in the contest, and you want them to win... and things don't go their way. I mean, it sure does make hanging out with them later awkward... but I digress.

After Cosplay was the Dance. The Dance was fun as heck. With the exception of a small technical glitch with a bad jack (sigh) it was very good. I had a lot of funn, and danced my ass off. Kaje and Erika brought me food too, which I am so thankful for, you have no idea.

After the two hour dance, I just wanted to collapse though. I was very, very, very tired. Sadly for me though, my night was far from over. That's right -- Hanzo 2 was at midnight. Geh. I hosted it, and actually had a little fun. I tend to block Hanzo 2 out of my memories though. I just always remember that one character has what can only be dubbed a Japafro. Yeah. Things happened, I went home, and I went to sleep. I would then wake up on...

...started pretty early. 6:30 AM to be exact. I had to get up (shower) and get ready (shower) and (shower) organize my stuff (shower) before getting to the hotel. I got to the hotel at about 7:30. I had to get the No Mercy Room set up for Hanzo 3 (for the Hanzo and Donuts event). So, myself and an attendee whose name I keep forgetting (I actually talked to her quite a bit, so I feel INCREDIBLY horrible for forgetting her name... I can tell you she's from Eau Claire and attends UW Baron County, and I can't remember her name... that's just funny) made our way in pitch black to the No Mercy Room (as the corridor light was out). Thankfully, once in the No Mercy Room I could see a little from the emergency exit light and was able to not crash into the projector (although I did smack into at least five chairs).

I finally found the light switch, located inconvienently as far away from the door as possible. I turned the light on and the two of us found about five people sleeping in the No Mercy Room. This would not be a big deal, except that:
  1. I needed to run an event there in twenty minutes or so.
  2. This was the No Mercy Room, which requires you to be at least 17 to be present, and none of these people looked like they were even 17.

So, sufficed to say I had an issue. I first just asked them to leave in my regular voice, and got no response. So I yelled -- and still got no response. This is when new tactics needed to be invoked.

I pulled out a Laserdisc that we actually own via a complete accident - a documentary on Teen Depression starring Joan London from like fifteen years ago. I then pumped up the speakers as loudly as I could and hit play. While that blasted, I used what was left of my voice to yell "This is the No Mercy Room. There is no mercy here. An event starts here in twenty minutes. This room also has a no under 17 policy, and you WILL be carded. If you are in here and you shouldn't, I need to ask you to leave. Anime Room 2 is nice and quiet right now, and is all ages..." The sleepers awoke, and slowly walked out of the room.

Hanzo 3 had the largest Hanzo and Donuts audience its ever had as well, with a full 20 people there. That is pretty impressive, considering all 20 had been there with me the night before.

I attended a few panels (like one of the Guest Panels), and then appeared on the Indie Gaming panel (as I'm working on an indie RPG right now) along side Genesis Mindworks, Flames Rising, and a few others. It was a good time.

I would later end up at the Variety Show, y'know, co-hosting it with Vinnk. Vinnk wore an interesting costume or two as well - while I donned a hat knitted for me by an attendee during the Hanzo movies (I am not kidding). I have several short videos from said show, and may splice something together eventually.

Finally, it came time for Closing Ceremonies, where Peso and I took the stage and answered questions for an hour. We got some good feedback, and that combined with the surveys will help us see what went right and what went wrong. I stayed around afterwards to answer more questions, and when that stopped we struck the con.

That night the staff all went out to Great Wall Buffet, and had our annual victory dinner (which I had never done before). When I got home, I promptly collapsed and fell asleep... and dreamed dreams of the convention all night.

Trae Dorn
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