The Angst before the Con

“okay do I have everything … Do I have too much?”

It happens every con. Packing too much, forgetting something. Sleepless the night before… Tired before I even get there.  I was so wiped before Anime North that I had to lay down for couple of hours at the bed and breakfast before heading to the con.

This time it’s new gear, new challenges for this weekend at Con Bravo in Hamilton. Already problems with my upgrade to Windows 10.  Fix fix fix.

So hope to see some new and old faces. I’ll be taking lots of pictures.

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Gotta Catch Them All? – Not without a ticket off continent


Pokemon GO is out in Canada and still pending in Japan the birthplace of Pokemon franchise but if you’re looking to catch ’em all, think again.

There is pokemon in Pokemon GO that only be caught OFF continent.  Tauros is only available in North America while Mr. Mime is found in Europe.  Farfetch’d is ony found in Asia while Kangaskhan is only in Austrailia.  No doubt when Africa, Central and South America are added, there will be exclusives for those continents.


With this chart (as there is many) there is a few that could go to those places like Ditto. Still it might be good for Canadian players to start making ties with friends over seas for trading those regional exclusives.  With over 720 pokemon, very country, province, state and territory could have their own exclusive Pokemon.

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More testing with Sony Action Cam HDR-AS20

Test of using a cheap $5 USB charger proved more than worth it.  Previously I got a mere 2 hours and 22 minutes.  With the USB battery pack, the camera actually filled up the 32 gig microSD with over 4 hours of junk footage.  In total, I got 5 hours and 11 minutes of recording time before the camera battery finally gave out.  More than twice what buying a second battery at $70 or off market battery at $40. With a larger USB battery pack and larger memory card I  could go all day recording.  Well past the 3 hours I would need for recording a masquerade. Now if I could just get a camera mount that would allow access to USB port of the camera but I’m looking at both commercial and 3D printed cases that will allow acess.  The sound quality wasn’t there for in case test and I’ve yet to check the audio quality for the out of camera test.

Not to mention a second action cam or three for multi-camera shoots. Off to test tonight video recording the Canada Day fireworks. =)


I tested the ActionCam out with tripod with steady option turned off. It’s sitting on a tripod so no point. The re-encode on my tablet PC was another story. I stopped off for food on the way back so I didn’t get to caption and re-encode to uploadable size. 2.2 gig file got crunched down to 500M which isn’t bad considering it’s 18 mintes long. Uploaded to Facebook…

The sound is crappy because of the location and the camcorder was in the waterproof case it comes with. The test with the ActionCam out of case had good audio so I’m going to have to invest in some sort of new case, either bought or made that allows free access to the camcorder

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GoPro or ActionCam? Is either an alternative to a camcorder?


One of the lessons learned from returning to Anime North was I was carrying far too much weight over the three days. I was carrying pounds of equipment when I should have been carrying ounces. But when it comes down to grams to kilograms what is better?


GoPro Hero or Sony ActionCam as a replacement for camcorder and heavy Velbon tripod?  The answer was a lot easier to solve. Simply GoPro software for PC is x64 or 64-bit only while Sony software runs on my 32-bit PC tablet.  Well maybe…


I picked up an used Sony HDR-AS20 ActionCam for cheap for the purpose of testing. Tetherig to my iPhone or Asus Zen andoid tablet was fine but tethering to the tablet PC has be elusive. Also GoPro and ActionCam have fixed focal length … meaning no zoom. The one thing they have over camcorder is multi-camera control. Al:so a test of long term recording needed for masquerade or skit night came up short. I recorded 2:21:49 on a full charge. Given this year’s masquerade was nearly 3 hours, it means ActionCam might fall short. However, it saves in 4 gig files or 35:23 segements without hiccups.  Ideally, I would like to attach a small USB power pack to the ActionCam but the case which attaches to camera to tripod cuts off access to microUSB on HDR-AS20 as well the case muffles the stereo microphones. Plus swapping batteries is hell with the case enclosure.  I’m looking at 3D printing my own case for HDR-AS200 which would allow ease of access while shooting. MicroSD are cheap and 2 hours of video was about 16 gigs of data.

This setup has a LONG way to go before I’m satisfied with running a multi-camera shoot.  It’s fun to experiment in new technology which years or even months ago wasn’t available. Of course, these cameras were meant for live sports.  Using them for studio sit down interview or multi-camera recording of the masquerade isn’t what these were meant for.  I will have to do lots of testing before I can come up with any results or find out it pan out. Still I looking at gear that will last years as did my old digital camera which lasted 10 years.

I appreciate any feedback to this article.


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New Tablet New Tech


With Anime North over, I found myself looking for new tech solutions for covering a multi-day event.  Carrying around 20 lbs of gear like laptop, camcorder, camera, cell phone, Android tablet plus chargers and battery packs plus full size tripod took it’s toll with 30+ degree weather.  So what solutions can be had cheaply?

I did find a bluetooth keyboard that worked with my Asus Zen tablet but the fixed housing was made for iPad Air tablet.  I jury rigged an insert out of black foamcore but in practice the tablet battery life drained like crazy using bluetooth. Plus I had to take it out of the enclosure to use the back camera.

I’m trying out a Lenovo Yoga 2 10″ tablet with Windows.  Can’t afford a Surface but the Lenovo was on sale for $229. Once you add accessories, additional storage aka microSD it might push it to $300 but for under 2 pounds it is far lighter than a full laptop. It has twice the RAM and storage as the Asus Zen tablet. Plus the rear camera was 8 MP over the Zen 2 MP.  Still it’s too “PC” to be tablet and too “tablet” to be a PC. Huh?

Let me explain.. while windows programs run well on it. Apps I run on a touch OSes like Android or iOS don’t.  Even those in so-called apps like Twitter and such in the PC app store are simply browser window that opens just to that social media website. So why bother with an APP-less app and simply use use a browser. :/  As for too tablet to be a PC, a regular desktop is useless  in selecting some items on screen or desktop. No, not that file.

I did find an Android emulator, AndyDroid which at least allows you to access and download Android apps from Google.  Sad to say it’s sluggish and doesn’t necessary gets video right. Still this is the early days of trying it out and understanding it’s quirks and finding work around.

Video is another story. My Samsung camcorder was great… 10 years ago for covering events like masquerade. Since it died when LCD display ribbon cable broke, I have replace it with a used camcoder.  However with the advent of digital video recording of cell phones, tape camcorders are obsolete. Still looking at solutions but the ideal that I’m looking at multi-camera outfit could cost from $1000-2000 for two or three camera setup.  I don’t think the masquerade is worth that costs at this moment but it’s still on the radar.

Ricoh Theta S

Ricoh Theta S

I was looking briefly at Ricoh Theta S before Anime North.  The thing about this camera is that it shoots 360 degrees and has fish-eye lens on front and back.  It can also shoot 360 videos which means you can literally look around and even up and down.  The cons to this camera, the lens are easily damaged. With Anime North foot traffic being as it is, it would get damaged. Another con is the price, about $500, $600 once you figure in accessories. Little bang for a lot of bucks for some novelty shots. 8 Gigs storage isn’t much you need to tie your tablet or phone to the Theta S just to properly control.  Editing 360 video is destructive to originals as it overwrites the data with lower resolution version.  360 video isn’t there yet for what I like to use it for. Plus learning curve pushed it out of contention for this year’s Anime North.  I might still consider it later but like most users of Theta wants a model that uses microSD cards. Sample image below.

The Painted Hall at The Old Royal Naval College in United Kingdom – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Leave a comment on here or Facebook on your thoughts on this.

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Return to Anime North

AnimeNorth20It’s been 5 years since 2011 when I last attended Anime North.  They just announced a cap on attendance and for other reasons, I could not afford to attend.  So what has changed since then?  Too much.

Anime North has become an event which it is anime in name only. Too many other interest have moved in and taken hold which barely fit the ‘anime’ con we once loved. Like a circus with TOO many rings and no master of any of it.  It has spread itself TOO thin over the years and too many others have seen it as a means to grab a piece of the pie.  Everything seem mechanical in process.


With only weeks before Anime North, I finally found a Bed and Breakfast in Weston just miles from Toronto Congress Centre. Surprisingly nice for 50 dollars a night.  Yes you heard me right. 50 bucks with breakfast made your way. Heck, it cost me over 10 bucks for breakfast at Denny’s early that day. Super nice, super quiet neighborhood with wifi.

Photo shoots

Photo shoots were a chance for like fans of a show to meet. I attended 3  photo shoots in progress at two locations. Both locations at Toronto Congress Centre were in HIGH traffic areas with plenty of distractions and no real back drop to take any real form of photos.  They consisted of group shots of cast then characters with a person giving a countdown. “Okay now all the Ezras” Another Bleach photo shoot had far too many Ichigos versus another character.  The photo shoot lost is spontaneous character.  I got better shots from taking photos “after” a photo shoot than during.

Toronto Congress Centre

One thing that hasn’t change is the layout of traffic between sections inside Toronto Congress Centre. Namely it’s still hasn’t improved after all these years.  It still has it’s bottlenecks of having entrances and exits at odd places making for LONG trip with crowds blocking both.  I spent over an hour trying to get to where friends were.  Many of the attractions were moved outside like wrestling, outdoor rave.  Thankfully, there was the NEW north building which Anime North hardly used all except for the Skit Night and Masquerade.

Food and drinks at Anime North

The area restaurants were down by two. Both Kelseys and Sushi Dragon ( a personal favorite) were closed for renovations.  Sushi Dragon was sold and to be made into a new restaurant.

Tim Hortons was over capacity with number of people alone cancelled any air conditioning. My ice coffee was practically melted by the time I got 10 meteres from the store.

Food trucks were few. Given the hot weather the ice cream truck was my main stay. Even at night, I had to eat my cone fast before it melted everywhere.

The closest I got to the other venues were bus stop to head back to my B&B.  There was simply too much going on to cover it all. I took in both Skit Night and the Masquerade at the new North building. Rusty using the camcorder after the old one died years before I last attended AN. With the advent of cellphones having more power than my camcorder, I don’t know if  will get through my footage of both events considering everyone else has their footage already up. The camcorder was top of the line … 10 years ago. Now it’s old hat with digital units like GoPro able to live stream events.

What did make the grade was my Vines of Anime North all hittng new marks.  Gormac hit 1000 loops in less than 6 hours. Only ship girl Shimakaze would beat it with 5000 loops in about 12 hours. Vine is very powerful for just being 6 seconds and has recognized Anime as a valid section in it’s own rights.  Only problem is my current devices have far too little storage for long term recording or picture processing power.  I will have to rethink and reinvest in new smaller and lighter equipment. I took over 400 photos and videos Friday which I got up before heading in Saturday on the website. With over 800 photos and videos for Saturday and nearly 500 photos and videos on Sunday, I hit the wall on how much I could get through in a short time. As it was I was carrying around 20 lbs of gear in backpack and heavy duty tripod constantly for three days.  Living away from the main strip also had it’s drawbacks and this was really apparent Sunday when I had my luggage tote with me.

The Creeps of Anime North

When I first heard “Everybody wants to take their picture with me” line was some guy on Sunday.  I thought at the moment, “Dude, if that was true then she be asking you.”  and was tempted to go up and ask her if I could take my photo with her and ask him to take it for us as the ultimate insult. As practice I don’t take my picture with no one except friends I know well.

The second time, I over heard the same line, I was creeped out. I turned to see it was a different guy using it on another female cosplayer.  Frankly I can’t remember if either these guys had con badges since it was outside and most cosplayers either had their con badges tucked away or flipped behind them.  The ‘Cosplay is NOT consent‘ movement of late has it’s grounds for fighting back at the abuse.  However where do you draw the line at harassment and a lame pickup line? I could really out these guys but then that would leave me vulnerable for lawsuits of defamation and only would count as hearsay.

With the mountain of photography at an event like Anime North it’s a two edge sword. A photo can place a person in time and place. It’s the creeps that are destroying a hobby which I’ve enjoyed over the years. Many have stated that with all the photographs, they never knew how their image was going to be used. With our site, at least, they know how and where it’s going to be used. I had parents demanding I take their kids photos this year. I spent more time explaining to parents their rights and how their child photo was going to be used. This year, parents were glad to see me back. Something I can be proud of. In spite of people complaining how many cards of mine I have handed them. Finally that will change too.

Sunday,  finally picked up my T-shirt from Chop Shop Goods.  It was long over due to get a press shirt.  I think they did a great job of capturing the logo from a card I gave them.  I put it on over my other T-shirt only to get a stain on it shortly afterward.  I plan to get more for multiday events like Anime North and Fan Expo. Plus I’m looking to reduce my load of carrying gear. I just purchased a windows tablet PC which is going to take some getting use to.   It’s been 5 years since I was last at Anime North and I plan to be back next year.

The way home

I met up with friends at the end of Anime North.  We went the less traveled route since the subway for Spadina line was still out. Along the way, I noticed that the NEW North building was HUGE! Make that massive. Dwarfing the old Congress Centre.  It made me wonder why the heck Anime North was still dealing with the old Congress Centre let alone the other locations.  The North Building along with South building could wipe out the cap system which has choked Anime North growth and chances are shut out the regular anime fan attending … being crowded out by competing interests by other NOT anime groups.

We beat the crowds by catching the bus one stop before everybody else got on by this route. We ended up parting at Bloor Younge station. I once again headed to Dennys for supper before catching my bus home. This time some girl cosplaying a strip of bacon handed me a discount for Dennys.  Who says cosplay doesn’t come with benefits. =)

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How to say Thank You with Class

banner-mikuture-CCWe held our anime meeting at Coffee Culture across from Central Library… still closed evenings after power transformer failed.  Not willing to wait another two weeks, I packed a 26 inch LCD TV in extra large backpack and carried my laptop in another backpack.

Coffee Culture was accomediating and a little taken back with bringing a LCD TV.  Since we weren’t limited to two hour limit we watched 3 new shows, one which was hour long.

So how do you say thank you for putting up with us? Well not easy coming up with a winning picture.

First I searched for an image of exterior of Coffee Culture, I ended up screen capture from Google Street Maps. After cropping, I uploaded temporary to website to import to my iPhone….

I used Brushstroke by Code Organa because I like their rountines which give great results plus it was free when Starbucks had it as app of the week. So I ended transferring the finished picture to my PC so I could in turn transfer it to my Zenpad Android tablet to use the next step….

Mikuture is AR (Augment Reality) app by Sorasu Software.  It allows you to paste Hatsune Mike and other CG models into your photographs, either live camera or from gallery.  It has lots of quirks and parameters that makes taking a photo from camera difficult.  Not bad when you pull from your gallery. I ended choosing Snow Miku because we are from the Great White North.

In the end, I moved the finished picture back to my PC to crop the finished image.  Lucky the watermark didn’t get into the way.  I ended posting on Facebook and again on Twitter so the picture would display with tweet along with Dundas Street Coffee Culture’s twitter handle so it would get noticed.

Of course, the final edit will get around to other social sites. I loaded the image back to my tablet so I could Instagram it  which also post to Tumblr, twitter, facebook and flickr.  Later I will find it’s way to Pinterest, We Heart It.

Not to mention, I can always use it again if we have to use Coffee Culture again.  Oh by the way, thanks again Coffee Culture. =)

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Kitchener Comic Con – What a Year Difference Makes

outside Kitchener Comic Con 2015.

What a difference one year can make.. or one year and one month. Last year’s Kitchener Comic Con had a skating rink.  This year, it’s open pavement though there is slight dusting of snow on the ground today.

Last year, I had about slightly 6 bucks to my name after paying rent and bus fare.  Even with free coffee week at McDonalds, it was tough.

This year, I have new laptop, tablet, camera with more batteries and a quad-copter with built-in camera and money to spare. I’ll be out taking pictures again.  Be sure to watch our social media feeds as well as our Kitchener Comic Con cosplay gallery as I get the day’s photos posted here and on Facebook. Maybe I’ll make some more Miitomo friends.

Find last year’s photos here

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AnimeLondon Announces Live Anime Project

GDJB-room-blogAnime London is proud to announce our new Live Anime Project! Over the years, we have been watching anime but this is different… it’s live!  You may ask, “How can we do this with only just a handful of members?”  The answer is simple, it’s because…

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Spring 2016 – Girls, and cats and bears …WUT?!

She and Her Cat, KumaMiko and Flying Witch

Every season, there seems to be a group of shows that all have similar themes or stories.  This season is no exception with some variations. First off the list is remake of classic in animation, She and Her Cat.

She and Her Cat – Everything Flows

She and Her Cat - Everything FlowsIt’s hard to think how can you make a anime series out of a 5 minute demo animation.  In fact, the 4 episodes are only 7 minutes in length makes it a little easier to draw out such a brief story.  Let alone also to release a manga based on simply 5 minutes of material.






Kumamiko – Girl Meets Bear

Kuma Miko anime KumaMiko manga

Natsu reacts to Machi's desire to leave the shrine.

Kumamiko  Girl Meets Bear might take some getting use to. Namely the lead character or is it lead bear is named Natsu.  No doubt this will cause some confusion to fans of Fairy Tail trying to wrap their heads around a bear named  Natsu.  No problem … both characters are over bearing at times. At other times, fatherly in wisdom.

Natsu and Machi dance

At times, the relationship turns into a Calvin and Hobbes feel. Both playing off each other as a well comedic team.  The exception is that Natsu is a real character than imaginary.  The manga also plays up the locals who try to keep the secret of the shrine from outsiders.

It looks like the anime has lots to draw from this remote rural village in Northern Japan.  The mangaka also draws from Ainu culture and tradition which until recently the Ainu were persecuted for their customs and beliefs which also is played out well in the manga.

Kumamiko PV

Life in a Northern Town – Flying Witch

Fying Witch anime Flying Witch manga
At first glance, you think this would be a modern take on Kiki’s Delivery Service but it takes it’s cues more from Harry Potter. Like Kumamiko, it takes place in a northern town which is much more modern than village of Kumamiko.  Still there is a rural feel to the manga which the anime will hopefully convey as well.

Mikoto finds  broom... then never uses it again.If you are looking for magical hijinks like other shows of it’s genre, you will be disappointed.  It is laidback and witch let alone ‘flying’ part are left to one scene.  Mikoto uses it once through the first set of chapters of the manga. Later her sister kids her for only using once.  Magic in general as her being a witch is played down but magical creatures still find her in some comedic moments.


awkward moment in Flying Witch Instead the mangka relies on dry humour in those awkward moments where Mikoto well meaning attempts at friendship falls flat like in this scene.  The scene feels like a scene from potting class from Harry Potter.

Still it well worth watching once it comes out.  The manga also is worth tracking down if you can find it.  It’s hard to say if ay of these three shows/manga are your cup of tea but well worth sitting down and enjoying.

Flying Witch PV

All images and PV videos copyright by their respective owners and are used for review purposes only.

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