This morning I had the pleasure of visiting my middle school art teacher and tracing parts to the model ships we assembled out of cardstock and sailed as an assignment in class many years ago. He's just as I remember him, if perhaps a little grayer, tho' not so much as I may have expected. He's kind and patient, and his eyes are gentle, yet sad somehow. He showed me around his home and it was just as I imagined; filled with strange wonders and works of art in every nook and cranny. The house itself is very appropriate being over a hundred years old and unique in construction. It's the kind of place I would very much enjoy living in.
His workshop was behind the house and filled even moreso than the house with sculptures, models and projects to numerous to list. He was working on a painting of his darling little granddaughter but welcomed my visit as a needed break from the work. I visited with his lovely wife as well whom I'd never seen before we met at the Madrigal Dinner last December. They quite enjoyed my recitation of "Kublawocky" and later, by chance we were talking about showing it to my high school Literary Writing teacher who is a friend of theirs when the man himself walked in the door. He read the poem and I'm pretty sure he enjoyed it but he went into teaching mode and gave me some honest and useful feedback. He's quite an amazing poet and as he read he mumbled the names of all the different rhyme schemes I'd used throughout, most of which I didn't recognize... Ok, all of which since I just wrote what sounded right. Yes, it was obviously derivative, but very creative. He liked how there were no prose elements at all, and noted that I still remembered what I learned in his class about colorful descriptions. I enjoy meeting my old teachers again. It's then that you realize that they're real people, tho' I still couldn't shake the urg to still address them as "Mr." Old habits die hard.
The entire visit was only a couple hours but it was so fulfilling that seems like an entire day. I traced all the parts to the sailing ship and he made sure I knew how to assemble them. I swear those were the same stencils I used the first time back in school. They were well used but still in good shape. I wonder how many ships were built, sailed, sunk and traveled to worlds unknown all because of a handful of paper cutouts. These boats were intended to sail and all they need is a good coating of paraffin wax to make them sea worthy. I promised to come back again to visit, to show him more of my stories and what I've built from the stencils, and to trace the blueprints for the working airplanes we made in class!
What follows is the survey passed around before Anime Club last weekend. I asked for exra time to give it some thought.
Year in college: n/a
1. How long have you been an Anime fan? When and how did you first know about Anime?
I first learned about anime in the mid 90s when some of my friends got into it. They liked "Ranma 1/2" and "Dragonball Z" and I really didn't know what was going on at the time. My interest grew slooowly over the years until in 2002 I saw Trigun and borrowed Battle Angel Alita. That year I finally decided I liked it enough to attend my first convention and I've been hooked ever since.
2. What was the first Anime/Manga you read/watched?
It was probably "Ranma 1/2" because that's what my friends wanted to watch. First Manga was the Marvel full color release of Akira which I still don't have all the issue of (grumble.)
3. How many of your friends are into Anime too? Were you the person who introduced them to it?
I'd say well over a dozen. Those who attend Club religiously and a few more. It would be cool if I could claim I introduced them to it but alas, I was a late comer.
About Anime Club
1. How did you get to know about the club?
I got a temp job in a warehouse where I met and became friends with Dennis Nicholson, one of the founders.
2. Since when have you been a member?
I've attended off and on since I learned about the club in 2000 but started clearing my schedule in order to attend regularly in spring of 2003.
3. How often do you attend the meetings?
4. What was your most enjoyed activity in the Anime Club? What was the least enjoyed?
The most enjoyed was my very first convention in 2003 (more on that later.) The least enjoyed is when we have boring OAVs after the regular series that I'm not allowed to openly make fun of during the show.
5. Any fun fact about the Club that you would like to tell me?
There are more than just students in our group. We are friends, teachers, relatives, passerby and alien suck-face monsters, but the anime keeps the formers satiated.
Conventions and Cosplay
1. Have you ever been to an Anime convention? When and where was it?
Oh yes!! My first was Anime Central in April of 2003 at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Chicago.
2. How did you get to the convention? Where did you stay? How much was the entrance fee?
I drove two friends and their luggage in my new Evilmobevil. I timed the purchase of the car to coincide with the trip. We stayed at the hotel where the convention was held and the entrance fee for me when I registered was something like $35.
3. What did you do at the convention? How much did you spend there?
I spent several hundred dollars on anime, manga, art and the big auction. I got up early to watch anime in the video rooms every morning, tried to live solely off the free food in Con Suete, accidently bumped into Fred Gallagher and his fiancee enough to make it seem like I was stalking them. (I seriously wasn't, we just kept running into each other.) My group was on the same floor and in the same wing as most of the Con guests so we met them often. We kept in contact pretty well with little 2-way radios, yet still managed to lose certain people at critical moments. I took a ton of photos and that still wasn't enough. I enjoyed looking at all the costumes. It was such a whirlwind of fun and excitement that I've been in a "can't wait to go again" mood since the day I got home. Yes, more fun than a barrel full of chibis.
4. Do you cosplay? How many costumes do you have? How much on average do you spend on each of them? When and where did you wear them?
Anime Central 2004 will be my first time cosplaying. I have 1/2 costume that a friend is helping sew and assemble. I don't expect to spend more than a couple hundred dollars grand total on materials cost and that's a generous estimate. I will be Ilpallazo from Excel Saga since I already have the build, hair and glasses and destiny for conquest.
1. What draws you to liking anime? What aspects do you like best about it (eg. the stories, the drawing style, etc.)?
It's very different from all the cartoons & comics I grew up with and when I watch/read I can still experience these new worlds with childish awe. I love the artwork and how precise the artists tend to be. The attention to detail, and then putting in these cartoonish looking characters make them seem more real. I think most manga artists were architects somewhere along the line. Look closely at the buildings in anything by Katsuhiro Otomo. The look like they were traced from photos. I also like the stories and types of characters they produce. Yes, there's plenty of formulaic and typical genre stuff, but even those have their gems.
2. Which is/are your favorite artist/author? Series? Character (from where)? Why do you like him/her/it?
It's hard to decide. I typically have a fondness for several characters in a series for some reason or another, and favourites tend to depend on what I'm currently into. Lately it's Last Exile, Full Metal Panic and Onegai Teacher for anime and Excel Saga, Seraphic Feather and Oh My Goddess! for manga.
3. How do you think Anime has changed your life?
I've met a lot of new friends and become closer to the ones I 've known for a long time. I've discovered the pure joy of cons and big group otaku activities, I've learned more about Japanese culture and the language and have become an expert with chopsticks.
4. Do you have anything you hate about the Anime fandom in general?
I wouldn't say "hate," but I really don't like fans who judge or put down others based on what they've seen or enjoy. For example: one incident was at A-Cen '03 when the Japanese guests were speaking with the audience. One asked how many liked subtitles better than English dubs and there was a resounding cheer. He then asked how many preferred dubs and after those people cheered there was a series of boos. Very uncool.
1. Apart from anime, what are your hobbies?
Reading, writing, origami, world conquest, filling out questionnaires.
2. Any non-Japanese comic or cartoon you enjoy?
Liberty Meadows, any comic by Arron Williams, Futurama, Homestar Runner, Red vs. Blue.
3. Have you ever been to Japan?
I have never been to Japan but I would love to someday.
I've been informed by the SWE that she wants to play something on her Strat for my birthday within the next couple of days. I should go prepare.