Sunday, May 15, 2011

Anime North 2011: Registered

Anime North is a big event for many frequent anime convention attendees around Toronto, but the admission price can sometimes be a turn off. You have to spend about 35 to 55 Canadian dollars on a badge: that's the price of 14-22 TTC tokens or 1-7 meals. The badge is a proof-of-purchase ticket that you must carry because there are certain areas of the convention that require you to show it before entry.

I think the admission price is totally worth it if you want to participate in the convention's programs. You get to participate in the many organized sub-events and there are interesting things you can buy from the exhibition area (the dealer's room, market and gallery).

To me, the highlights of Anime North--or any anime convention--are taking pictures of cosplayers, making them do something (that I think is) embarrassing yet amusing, and capture videos of them doing those embarrassing yet amusing things. I don't usually go to the sub-events, nor do I buy things from the exhibition area.

Last year at Anime North, I didn't register for a badge. I stayed outside of the Toronto Congress Center building for hours doing whatever activities I could think of with my friends. When we were hungry, we ate at nearby eateries. When we were sick of being out in the sun, we hung out in the hotels. At the end of the day, I spent only $25--mostly on food--instead of the $40 on a (Saturday) badge.

This year, I pre-registered for the convention because a friend of mine wanted to register for a table at the crafter's corner. He needed another person to help with the table, but to register for a table you need all parties to be pre-registered. He didn't get the table. Of course he wouldn't. If you browse through people's Deviant Art journals you would find hundreds of entries talking about getting a table for the event before the table registration date. After the date, there are journals about waiting lists. It's hard to get a table for a large event such as AN especially if you're not a very well known artist.

I am a bit upset because I spent $45 on a ticket I may not even use. At least when I'm in the badge-required areas of the convention, I'll be with friends. That's something to look forward to.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Toronto Zoo Moon Jellyfish Wallpapers

To download a wallpaper, choose your desktop size then click "download" when you enter Picasa.

Subject: Toronto Zoo Moon Jellyfish 1
Date: May 9, 2011
Format: JPEG
Size: 1024 x 768 || 1280 x 800
1280 x 960 || 1280 x 1024 || 1360 x 768

Subject: Toronto Zoo Moon Jellyfish 2
Date: May 9, 2011
Format: JPEG
Size: 1024 x 768 || 1280 x 800 || 1280 x 960
1280 x 1024 || 1360 x 768

Subject: Toronto Zoo Moon Jellyfish 3
Date: May 9, 2011
Format: JPEG
Size: 1024 x 768 || 1280 x 960 || 1280 x 1024

Toronto Zoo Polar Bear Wallpaper

Subject: Toronto Zoo Polar Bear
Date: May 9, 2011
Format: JPEG
Size: 1280 x 800 || 1280 x 960 || 1280 x 1024

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Toronto Zoo

I visited the Toronto Zoo with a few friends yesterday and it was just as exciting as it was back when I was a kid. The only difference is that there were no teachers or group leaders that had to be followed and I didn't need to bring my own lunch. The general admission ticket was $23 for an adult. It didn't seem like there were many people at the zoo. The only thing we had to line up for was for food.

The zoo didn't seem to change much from what I remember from a decade ago. It's still quite big, you have to walk a lot for the day and most of it is outdoor. It's the only zoo I've ever been to, so I can't compare it to other zoos around the world unless Ocean Park in Hong Kong counts as one. I'm glad the weather was nice and sunny, but being stuck outside walking for hours with little shade is tiring. What I didn't like about my trip to the zoo is that my spring allergies suddenly triggered in the middle of the day. I was fine in the last month, so I didn't bother to carry allergy medicine with me.

My friends and I first checked out the Malayan Woods Pavilion at the zoo in hopes of taking pictures of butterflies. We encountered many birds instead. Maybe it's not time for butterflies yet. Most of the birds looked like colorful pigeons to me, but in different sizes. There was this one big blue bird that reminded me of chickens.

There were a lot of fish under a bridge next to the Americas Wetlands. I didn't recognize their species--I don't recognize that many fish species to begin with. What was creepy about them was that they swam to the surface of the water as soon as we walked up to the side of the bridge... and they follow you if you're visible from their angle. They are either curious fish or used to having people feed them from the bridge often. It's probably the latter. I could imagine they would follow people the same way if they ever become zombie fish in a zombie apocalypse.

What's a Canadian zoo without its polar bears? I think this picture was taken during its feeding time at 12:00 PM. It was staring at the other two bears that I left out of the photo. There were a lot of people watching them being fed, including a class of elementary school kids, a few couples, and a number of mothers with baby carts.

Giraffes! The giraffes were still in their cages (?) instead of their open area. One was eating while the other two were sucking on the gates. I was hoping they would fight with their necks swinging around like from a video I saw on YouTube, but they were busy with their activities. I looked at the ground beyond the cage and saw poo. Giraffe poo look so much smaller than I'd imagine.

Ring-tailed Lemurs

Lemurs! They kept to the farther side of the cage until I opened my umbrella. It was fun to watch them.

There was a turtle displayed near the gorilla section in the African Rainforest Pavilion. It just kept still and looking towards our direction...

RAWR I'm a turtle!
"I'm keeping my eyes on you."

My friends looking at an animal that looks like a deer with powered up antlers and stripes but is not a deer.

We went to the Australasia Pavilion and there were jellyfish! Moon jellyfish! It was hard to take pictures of them because they kept moving.

Moon Jellyfish

It was easier to capture a video of the jellyfish than taking a photograph. I would have taken more videos and pictures, but my two SD cards ran out of memory space!

I will be posting desktop wallpapers of the polar bear picture and a few jellyfish pictures (maybe even one that hasn't appeared on this post yet).

The zoo was fun to visit, but I don't think I'll be going back anytime soon with my friends. We missed the sea otters, kangaroo walk, and tiger feeding. Hm... Maybe next year? We'll have to reconsider trying to look at all the animals to looking at only the animals we want to see.

Now I will end this post with a peacock in a tree. Bow down to the peacock in the tree!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Saturday at TCAF 2011

Toronto Reference LibraryI think I understand what a comic festival is. It's an overwhelmingly large art market with not only artwork, but also a lot of comics, meeting with comic artists, and panels. The biggest difference I noticed between TCAF and an anime convention is that less than 5% of the attendants were cosplaying.

When I entered the Toronto Reference Library to check out the Toronto Comics Art Festival, I was overwhelmed by the number of tables, people, and space. There were so many interesting tables set up, I didn't know where to start looking at stuff. There were two floors of tables too! (It didn't take up the whole library floor, but the atrium and a large open hall.) I've been to the Toronto Reference Library before, but construction and the mass amount of people in it make it look so much smaller and crowded. It was almost as crowded as the dealer's room at anime conventions later in the afternoon.

TCAF 2011 floor 1
Saturday noon @ Floor 1 of TCAF 2011

There were mostly North American and Internet-linked comics found at TCAF. Many of the artists I met traveled to Toronto just for TCAF. There were people from the U.S. and even the United Kingdom!

What surprised me was that I actually bought a lot more goods at the festival than I ever have at an anime convention. There was a great variety of comics and art styles in from different cultures. I encountered a few French comic books that I've always thought I'd never see in real life unless I traveled or ordered them off the Internet.

What I brought home. It's not much, but I am very happy with them.

Conclusion: must go to the next TCAF and ohmygosh I shook hands with Usamaru Furuya! I think his wife and child were there too because a gorgeous Asian lady with a baby hanging by her chest was recording him signing books for his fans with a video camcorder. :')
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