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Flying Scotsman

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Posts posted by Flying Scotsman

  1. In the middle of the bridge across the street on the 300 level mid-Saturday, a middle-aged woman with glasses and no con badge stops this staffer with hi-viz vest and three radios:

    Excuse me, can you tell me where Otakon is?"



    "I said, can you tell me where in the convention center this Otakon.... thing is taking place?"


  2. Back when Otakon still actually publicized itself and was growing, I took a poster for Otakon into one of the local Asian supermarkets (H-Mart, or Han ah Reum). I ask for the manager to ask permission to post it on their community bulletin board--a board where half the notices are in Korean.

    I found myself trying to explain to this befuddled, bewildered manager just what Otakon was. I might as well have had a poster advocating the replacement of zirconium on Planet X94-Zyklos with cottage cheese by means of Ilidium Q-36 space modulators, for all the sense I seemed to be making to him...... I was explaining what a convention was, what anime was..... I wonder if he had a television at home.

    A ttenaged bagger of obviously Asian heritage walked past us, and the poster caught his eye:

    "OOOOOH!!!!!! OTAKON!!!!!!!!!! WHEN IS IT?!?!?!?" he interrupts. Before I can answer, he's calling to another young bagger: "HEY, [name], IT'S OTAKON!!!" Second bagger dashes from her post, calls to a third one, who dashes over..........

    Manager stares at frenzied employees blankly for about ten seconds, and then turns to me and says, "Okay, put it up."

  3. Let's see.........

    Staffing a late-night Hentai room......... back when they were still in a massive "gray area" about checking IDs or not......... I decided to basically be a "show of force" and selectively ask to check IDs of anyone that appeared to be too young. My presence alone scared a few seemingly-underaged people out of the line. :)

    Then, as movie time came............. no DVD. Nowhere to be seen.


    After a few minutes of frantic radio calls to Con Ops and Video Ops, I had to confront an eager, antsy crowd:

    "Folks, we seem to be missing the DVD of the program we were planning to show. While we're waiting for something to arrive from Video Ops--"

    Fifty or so DVDs of hentai were instantly, spontaneously, eagerly waved in the air by audience members. A couple even flew through the air and landed at my feet. For all I know, one of them might have been what we were planning to show.


    "............. I'm sorry, but we haven't screened those for content quality. Please be patient."


    The rule was (and probably still is) that we couldn't start a show before its scheduled time--and if you think about it, that's a sensible rule. Imagine showing up at 1 AM to find what you'd hoped to see then half over. So we were stuck. The projector continued to show a blank white light upon the screen, and the crowd, hyper and punchy as it was, started doing hand-shadow routines on the screen light.............. which quickly degenerated into attempts (some even moderately successful) at shadow-portraying explicit activities. I think someone cut out a tentacle prop on the spur of the moment......... :blink:

    Somewhere in this insanity, the crowd, spurred on by one effective rabble-rouser, hijacked the room microphone and started up a hentai sound-effects contest, with folks lining up for their turn at a round of applause, boos, or whatever........ by this point, any sense of decorum left had been thoroughly annihilated and left smoldering for dead in a back dumpster.

    In the middle of this, in wanders Otakon's official (at the time) game show host and line entertainer, still in his official funny furry hat.

    "[Name]!! Thank goodness you're here! We need some entertainment, and we need it now--the DVD isn't here!"

    "Actually, I'm just looking for my [one pre-teen, one teen] daughters, have you seen them?"

    " :blink: . . . You DO realize that this is now the Hentai Theater, right?"

    "Oops, nope, not here, then.... [turns to leave]"

    "WAIT WAITWAIT!!!! We need some entertainment here; the DVD went MIA!!!!"

    He turns around, and stands silently, watching a mix of the shadow puppetry and the sound-effects contest for about a minute, with a blank expression. Then he shrugs......... "They're doing a heck of a lot better than anything I can do." He exits.


  4. Flying Scotsman, there's a wine store about two blocks from Fleming's and Roy's, on that side of the harbor, that had a few decent beers and ciders. Not nearly the depth of some of your other suggestions, but it was a life saver and would be useful if he happens to be staying on the Aquarium side of Harborplace.

    I've also been impressed with two places on the west side of town: Jason's (Ellicott City) and Perfect Pour (175w at Rt 95 in Columbia). Perfect Pour's selection may actually rival Wells'.

    Does Beltway Liquors still have a good selection of beer?

  5. I know this may not be the best place, but does anyone know a place to get good Belgium beer in Baltimore?

    Talking like imports such as Duvel or Tremens Delirium? ^_^ Would be awesome if they were at a convenience store, but I doubt it. -.-

    I don't think most of the places around the BCC would carry those kinds. Max's in Fells Point (it's a tavern with over 300 kinds of beer) may have it around though!

  6. Wow... I can't remember the last time it was $3.00 for an all day pass... It was bumped up to $3.50 some time ago -- Either way I wouldn't imaging you needing an all day pass since you are only going one way ($1.60). Make sure you take the SOUTHBOUND train so you don't end up in Timonium or Cromwell... All in all its the best mode of Baltimore's public transportation system (be grateful you don't have to catch the Metro or an actual bus) and you shouldn't run into any problems. Midday and during events you will see more "Fare Inspectors" than usual so make sure you get a ticket.
  7. I remember at Otakon 2008, there was a guy in his military uniform who was first in line for pre reg. I arrived in line on thursday around 3pm and had asked him how long he had been there. He told he that he was there since Midnight on Wednesday. I couldn't possibly imagine that someone would be there since wednesday unless he really meant that he had gotten there early that morning at midnight (technically thursday, but thought it was wednesday)
  8. A fair warning that by Saturday morning or noon of Otakon weekend, any "convenience store" reasonably close to the BCC looks like it's been looted in the aftermath of a war or disaster, with any clerks left cowering in the corners in a fetal position, whimpering softly, and naught left to sell you but some decaffeinated off-brand coffee and a jar of something weird like cocktail onions or lemon curry......

    It isn't pretty.

  9. Let's be honest with ourselves.

    Otakon's members/attendees are either so devoted or crazed about what goes on at Otakon that I've openly joked that it would take a massive fire or explosion in the Convention Center to get the members to go elsewhere in Baltimore. And even then, I suspect some folks would refuse to leave their video games or places in line. :blink:

    The target markets for ANY "what else to do in Baltimore" marketing are:

    1) the parents/siblings/chaperones of younger members that may not themselves share the anime/manga obsession;

    2) business folks such as dealers, industry folks, family of Japanese guests, etc. who have legitimate cause/reason to go out to a restaurant, bar, music club, or "The Block" to cut loose, relax, see a different city's cuisine/culture, spend the moolah they made in the dealers' room, etc.

    Personally speaking, if I were in a position to be invited or sent to a city I've never visited before, I am NOT going to go without spending at least SOME time--on my own dime if necessary--indulging one of my other interests: railroading, railroad preservation/history, brewpubs, lighthouses, historic bridges, etc.

    In the past, we had attendees whose sole purpose for attending Otakon was to see TM Revolution or L'Arc en Ciel. Otakon offers so much more, but if all the person wants is the concert, that's not our problem, and why not let them pub crawl in Fells Point or Canton or eat crabs at Obrycki's? B)

  10. I hate to be a cynic...............

    But I'm well tied in to the transit community. And well-placed RUMORS (and that's what they are) indicate that this operation (remember, it's NOT MTA) may not manage to get started on time as planned. Stay tuned. I wouldn't make major plans based on this operation, but if it starts up on time, consider it a lovely bonus.

  11. The Proclaimers, from Scotland but readily available in the States, had a terrific and appropriate number:

    I'm on my way from misery to happiness today

    I'm on my way from misery to happiness today

    I'm on my way to what I want from this world

    And years from now you'll make it to the next world

    And everything that you receive up yonder

    Is what you gave to me the day I wandered

    A scant few of you might recognize this from a brief appearance in "Shrek." They also did the song that was the theme music to "Benny & Joon," "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)".

  12. I'm wondering how this even came together. He's got manga that somehow was seen by someone who was offended by it? ... and they saw fit to alert authorities? Who knows this guy well enough to check out his collection, but finds the material offensive enough to do that? Is that how this reads to anyone else, or is it something initiated by all this federal-government-monitoring-your-every-move kind of surveillance? I'm just baffled.

    Easy, He orderd books from a seller in Japan.

    Customs actually did their job and opened the package.

    They see what they THINK is kiddy porn

    Guy gets sent to the feds.

    Your tax dollars at work,


  13. He was previously convicted back in 1999 on child pornography charges and is on the sexual offenders list in Virginia. That pretty much means that it is a given that any form of pornography that depicted any type of child (drawn or real) that was involved in this most recent case would get him alot of years. The laws are much stricter for those on the offenders list.
  14. Related item in today's Washington Post:

    1st Child-Porn Cartoon Conviction Upheld

    A federal appeals court in Virginia has upheld the nation's first conviction under a 2003 law against distributing or receiving cartoons depicting child pornography.

    Dwight Whorley of Richmond was convicted of using a computer at a state unemployment office to receive 20 highly stylized Japanese cartoons, called anime, illustrating children engaged in sex with adults. He also sent or received child porn photos and text-only e-mails.

    Whorley was convicted of 74 counts and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

    In an opinion released Thursday, a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Whorley's claim that cartoons are protected under the First Amendment because they do not depict real children.

  15. I'll contribute one other consideration for thought:

    Oil closed today @ $33.87 a barrel today on the NY Mercantile Exchange. This is approximately 25% of what it cost before Otakon.

    Seen gasoline prices lately? There is hard-core speculation going on that gas could be below $1 a gallon by the end of January, barring major supply problems or a record freeze over the winter.

    Nobody knows for certain what will happen to oil prices by next Otakon. But one thing is certain right now: If you have to buy gas on a regular basis (commute to a job, etc.), you are currently getting a sizeable "economic stimulus package" in the form of money you do not have to pay the gas station. It was costing me $40+ to fill up my car tank this summer; now it's $15--$18 if I'm running on fumes when I pull in.

    Airline prices will NOT fall that fast--yet, if at all. Southwest Airlines, one of THE major carriers to BWI (and probably the choice for more than half of Otakon attendees flying), will be particularly hard hit when it comes to dropping prices, because they have long bought jet fuel *futures,* meaning they're now over-paying--which makes up for their ability to hold prices down when every other airline was slapping fuel surcharges left and right. What will probably happen is that the advertised prices will become far closer to what you actually pay, as airlines gradually stop charging you for every bag you check, every peanut, and the air you breathe.

    You want to go to Otakon? Every time you fuel the car/motorcycle, pay what you would have paid six months ago, and set aside the extra $10-40 you don't pump through the hose for Otakon. That is, if you can afford to. If you have to have that operation, fix the car, or keep buying food for the cat, then do so. Maybe you can cancel a road trip you otherwise might have taken, and put that money towards Otakon.

    Me? I'll ride the subway to Otakon again, no gas or hotel for me, nyaa nyaa nyaa. :)

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