August 10, 2014
I am now finally packed, and just in time too, with only 3 days left until my flight half way across the world to the lovely country of Mongolia. I have to say, Ulaanbaatar looked pretty good when I saw it on an episode of House Hunter’s International the other night. It also helped my mom come to terms with the move, since if it’s on house hunters, then it means the city can’t be all that bad. Unfortunately, the part of town I will be living and working in was not shown during the show, but the parts I did see looked pretty good. I’ve also started to look through my guide books and discovered some interesting sights and activities to partake in.
There is a camp located several kilometers outside of Ulaanbaatar that is run by the Mongolia army, and that for a small price will allow you handle military hardware. For only 25 dollars they will let you fire an AK-47, for 60 dollars you can shoot an RPG, and for $25 plus $35 per kilometer you can drive a tank.
Now, for the members of the Meharg and O’Donnell clans, you can imagine my mother’s response.
That is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard, and why would you do that.
My father, however had a different take.
I don’t know; it could be fun to try once, but I would only drive the tank.
My own opinion is I’ll try anything once and where else could I get the chance, hehehehhe.
The guide book also pointed out the dangers of the elusive Mongolian death worm, which lives in the Gobi Desert. It is a large red sausage shaped worm that can shoot fire from its mouth or an electric shock from the tail. The locals recommend running at first site, but that might not save me. Personally, I’ll stay facing it to dodge the fire ball and take my chances with the electric shock, as I’ve built up a bit of immunity over the years.
In other news this past weekend was Otokan 2014, my last hurrah and anime convention before leaving to parts unknown. For the uninitiated, Otokan is a large (35,000 people) convention, for all things Japanese animation with a smattering of cartoons and science fiction. Otokan is located in the Baltimore Inner Harbor at the convention center and the attached Hilton. This is my fourth year attending Otokan and it was fantastic as always. I spent three days geeking out over all things anime. I also met up with TPS and his buddy from the Gunslinger Girl Forum. To start with, I hit up a number of panels about all things anime from the funny to the more intellectual.
Ghibli in Love- an examination of love stories in Studio Ghibli films. I highly recommend this panel for any Studio Ghibili fan 5 out of 5.
New anime for old fans- no explanation needed for this one I give it a 4 out of 5.
Kaiju or how I learned to stop worrying and cancel the apocalypse- I can’t really rate this one as I only caught the last few minutes but it looked like a lot of fun.
A Certain Magical Index Season 2 English dub premier- Awesome, there I said it.
Anime Rest Stop- Mechapocylpse- 4 out of 5 for slight pacing issues in my opinion.
Friday and Saturday night fan parodies- I didn’t see all of them but the ones I did were extremely funny.
Castlevania a bloodstained perspective- a look back on the good the bad and the ugly of almost 30 years of Castlevania history, 3 out of 5
Anime according to AMVs- 5 out of 5
Intro to fanfiction- 2.5 out of 5
World War II in anime- probably one of the best if not the best panel I attended out of the whole convention 5 out of 5.
Bad anime bad- pretty much MST3000 for anime and hilarious 4 out of 5.
Anime rest stop- a historical look at diversity in anime- Extremely informative and humorous. The panelists covered everything and anything regarding the topic with plenty of humor and interesting facts. 5 out of 5.
When Moe goes bad- an explanation and roasting of all things Moe. An excellent romp on one of the more disturbing aspects of current anime 4 out of 5.
Dubs that time forgot- 2.5 out of 5
The path of Gundam- The panelist really knew his stuff but was not skilled at presenting the information, but I did get a few ideas for future Anime science posts 2 out of 5.
Numerous photoshoots- I saw a large number of extremely well done cosplay. My special thanks goes to the Madoka cosplay group for chatting with an anime fan and con-goer who wants to cosplay but is to nervous to try.
Gundam, but sadly no Gundam Seed
Final Fantasy, even if I didn't recognize the Rachel from FFVI
And surprisingly Heart Catch Pretty Cure
I can't forget my own panel on Anime Biology. I was completely stunned at the start, I really didn’t expect to have a full room (200 people). The panel went well, and the audience was great. I think everyone learned something, and had a good time.
Oh, and a thanks to my new buddies from Zenkaikon that came to see my panel. FYI, I have now started an Anime Science blog to examine and explore all things science, whether it’s Biology, Chemistry, or Physics as seen in anime. If you’re feeling a little intellectual then take a look.
Well that’s about everything from Otokan that needs and can be said in a single blog post. Oh and just in case you’re wondering, I am ready for Mongolia. I am currently jumping at the bit to meet my new students. You think I might have an anime fan or two?