Friday, August 31, 2007

Men's Pocky... no more?

I - was - shocked - !!
Picked up a green box at Candyland, thinking it was Men's Pocky, but, but, but... it's not!!!!! Aaaaaargh!!!! It's just "dark chocolate"!

And I didn't realize until I ate it. It actually tasted different! It's got that "Hershey's" sour after taste! (Somehow I get the impression that Japanese version uses stevia, but I can't verify it.)

Well, I can understand the name "Men's Pocky" isn't good for the North American market, and I don't care as long as I can get the real thing. For the longest time, I've been buying from Candyland, and they have always carried the imported Japanese version! Now... now... I guess they've switched to the non-Japanese one. Sob sob sob... That leaves Fujiya as the only other hope. But they're more expensive.

But, hey! Their price are the same! Shouldn't the North American version be cheaper? I get the feeling that I'm cheated out of the shipping difference! Grrrr.... Plus! The Japanese box is metallic. Apart from shipping cost, the manufacture cost should be less! I think I'll stick to the original version. But of course, in a much lower frequency. Sigh...

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Close rip-off encounter

Thanks Steven for the $2 coupon. I went to replenish the pair of earrings, but ended up getting another key chain instead (because of the $4 difference). While I was there, might as well phone up Andrew to see if he needs anything. So, 2 manga books later, the total would give me another coupon, which I can give back to Steven. Andrew and I could each get a dollar off our stuff. Nice and fair.

So, I handed over Steven's coupon, and the cashier guy void it with a red pen. It was true that I distracted him by asking Death Note book 13 questions, but he forgot to give me a new coupon. I almost forgot myself too. Nevertheless, asked for it, got it, and left.

10 feet outside the store, my gut feeling told me to check the receipt. Which I did. Deep down in my heart, I suspect Steven's coupon wasn't deducted. There were 2 different tax rates. My blood sugar was so low, I couldn't think. So I went back inside and asked another lady to figure out the amount I need to collect from Andrew. She kindly did, but heck, I was right about Steven's coupon! The guy did not deduct the $2! And when I protested, he looked blank, like he didn't know what I was talking about.

At the end, I did get $2 cash back. But hey, was that guy day-dreaming on the job? Or was the whole thing sneakily on purpose? If I didn't pay attention, I could have been ripped off $4! So, protect yourself! Always check the receipt! It's not the matter of a few bucks, but doing business honestly.

Thought the story would end here, but, no. I looked at the coupon just now, and realized it's dated Oct 1 to Oct 31. Their coupon is usually valid "next month". Today was Aug 29. Technically speaking, I should have received a September coupon instead of October. This smells kinda fishy. Are they up to something? I confirmed recently that their Crystal Mall branch had closed down. These coupons are only good at the location they're issued. So, if the Metrotown branch closes down in September, the coupon would be no good.

Hmm... if there's a contest for conspiracy queen, I think I might win...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Homework (fans)

It's been dragging for the longest time. Finally my part is done. There are still at least 3 more steps, though. Tassels, sparkles, and jewel. If there's no tassel in stock, we'll have to make some more.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Chocolate blob

So, this is the "Mushroom Mountain" limited grape flavor I mention at Kieran's party. It's all melted and stuck to the foil!! Aaaaaargh! Nevertheless, it's still eatable. But the flavor isn't too good. Very artificial. When it's melted like this, wonder if I can get a refund. Too late, oh well.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Accident on highway #1

It finally happened. An accident on highway #1. Not mine, no worries. I entered from Boundary Road (exit 28A) and it was crawling all the way to exit 23A in North Van at the accident site. The grid lock was so bad, I had to come to a full stop quite a few times on the Second Narrows Bridge. Aaaw man! The bridge was shaking! Never realize that when you're going at 80km/h! Actually quite scary!

No need to say, I was 20 minutes late. (Would have been on time.) Luckily the nature of my job is very flexible, and my employer is very understanding. Guess I've been lucky so far not to encounter an accident on that rote.

Strangely, on my way home, there was yet another accident on highway #1! It wasn't as bad as the one in the morning, though. Apparently it was way out in Surrey or something. (Sorry I wasn't paying attention to the news.) It's amazing how one accident can hold up traffic that far away.

And I just couldn't resist taking pictures of what would have been blurred going at 80km/h. Just a souvenir. (^_^)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Anime Evolution 2007 (5)

Some after thoughts...

I'm soooo glad I came home alive. Looking back, perhaps I shouldn't have gone.
  1. I was sick with a cold.
  2. Sleep and food deprived. (Only got 1 hour sleep the night before, preparing for the flea market. Never recovered.)
  3. I had to manage the flea market table alone. (And I got about $20 worth of stuff stolen.)
  4. There weren't any programming that I reeeeally wanna see.
On the other hand,
  1. I really need to sell stuff at the flea market.
  2. This might be the last chance to see FMA cosplay.
  3. Should support the local event.
  4. Might open some new doors.
Well, I guess at the end I'm happy that I went. Next year, if possible, I wouldn't mind trying the artist alley. I'd like to share a table. Anybody interested? (^_^)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Anime Evolution 2007 (4)

Day 3 started late again. Arrived at 1:15, hoping to catch the last 15 minutes of the Lady Asheligh's tea party by the fish pond, but nothing was there! Spent 10 minutes searching for it. There was no trace of it anywhere. Nothing could be done so I gave up.

After that, I just wandered around the artist alley. Hmm... made me want to try it next year. But I don't want to do it alone. Anybody interested in sharing a table?

Managed to see the Dollfies: Ball Jointed Dolls panel for 15 minutes before it ended. My friend in Hong Kong is so into it, she has started a business dealing with doll accessories. They're very nice, but super expensive. I can't afford them.

Next, the Yaoi in Mainstream Anime and Manga panel. They were saying the official shows started the yaoi trend themselves. Well, I'd say, it won't work without the fan's imaginations. And oh boy, can they imagine!

Ran into my friends in the cosplayer's hangout area. This was the last chance this year so I was shooting as many photos as I could. Naruto was the most cosplayed theme, but at that time, I only saw one person dressed up as Naruto himself. And I failed to catch him. (Oops it was actually a "her".) The second place had to be Bleach. I was hoping to see more Gothic Lolita, though.

All the panels were over. There was nothing else good going on. (Well, some anime shows, game, and the charity auction.) It was time to sit down at the main stage. We saw the final of Anime Idol. then it was the closing ceremony. That professional band played after that, but only very few people stayed for it. My friends and I didn't. It was getting cold too.

One last picture at the bus stop. Some cosplayers left in their costumes. I still can't forget the Shinji Ikari cosplayer I saw on the skytrain last year, who was bragging about not going home for 3 days, and a certain body spray let him skip shower during that 3 days. Gross!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Anime Evolution 2007 (3)

Official day 2 (not counting Thursday) started late. Set my alarm clock at 10:30, but my friend called me at 9. I tried to sleep some more after that, but just when I was struggling to get out of bed, the plummer came. So... couldn't use the bathroom. It was almost noon that I was finally up and running.

I never timed my trip until now. It took 1.5 hours. And that was without having to wait for the bus or the train. Oops! Forgot to take the parking time into account. (Time spent looking for parking near the Commercial Drive skytrain station.)

Comparing to yesterday, there were much fewer people on the ground when I arrived at 3:30. They were probably in the rooms. I managed to catch two-thirds of the Full Metal Alchemist movie. Watched it on download, but still wanted to see it on big screen. The sound was definitely better. Air quality was really bad, though. Plus there were no seats left, so I had to stand near the door for an hour. That was only the first thing I went to, but I was tired already. (Also the leftover exhaustion from yesterday, and the cold.)

Then I met up with a friend who had never been to SFU (or AE). Saw the vendor areas that I didn't get to see the previous day. Then we went to the History of Anime in Vancouver panel. I'm sorry, but the presentation had way too much room for improvement. I felt asleep. (Sorry again, but I was very tired.)

Caught a few Air Gear episodes afterwards. It was a lot better than I thought. Then I went to the From Yoi to Slash & Back Again Mature Content panel. It was in 3 segments going from 9:30 PM to 2:30 AM. I was going to attend the first one only, which was until 10:30. Unfortunately I was way too tired and left at 10:20. It was quite full and I sat way back and could hardly hear the professor anyway. Oh, what's "slash" by the way?

As a record of the day's activities, I've been trying to shoot pictures of whatever's happening in the stage area. Tonight, unaware that there was a professional band playing, I casually pointed my camera at them, from high up the main stairs. A security volunteer stopped me immediately with a tone of voice like a parent scolding a child. "This is copy righted material! No pictures allowed!" I said, "Oh? No Pictures? OK I didn't know that. Thank you!" But he kept on going! "Point your camera away! Put it away!"

You don't have to tell me 3 times!

Hey wait a minute! Why did I get the feeling that he was treating me like a criminal? No smile, no please, no thank you. He actually looked mad. Why was he mad at me? I'm just an ordinary attendee, hoping to shoot a souvenir picture with my pitiful 6-year-old 2 mega pix camera. Flashing spot lights and the back of the band was facing me, and the picture doesn't have audio. From that far away, it's probably gonna be faint tiny silhouettes of unidentifiable figures. What kind of photo did he think I'd get? Did he seriously think I was going to, or able to "infringe their copy right"? If I was holding a video camera, or a 2-foot long telephoto lens, than, that would be a different story. W H A T A J E R K!!

OK, he might be just "doing his job" (which may include exercising excessive unnecessary aggression), but he's still a jerk by putting me in such a bad mood. Before I left, I had to sneak one in. No apologies, though. Ha!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Anime Evolution 2007 (2)

Aaaaargh! After getting the flea market stuff ready, I only had one hour to sleep. (Going to bed at almost 8 AM but too tense to sleep.) It avalanched disastrously onto the schedule and I was totally not looking forward to dragging the heavy suite case onto transit. Luckily a family friend who lives near SFU was visiting and she offered me a round-trip ride. (Thanks so much!!)

Adrenaline was the only thing that kept me going. Can't remember too much. Had to yell because the table was behind the audience seating. The lack of sleep overpowered the cold. Sales was OK I guess. The big items which I want to get rid of didn't sell at all. The small stuff were almost all gone. At least 4 items weren't accounted for. A big dust ball, a small one, a tiny FMA tin can, and an Ed capsule toy. That's $20, stolen. The price of a whole set. (T_T) It was very hard to manage a table alone. That was exactly what I didn't want, but ended up with thanks to a twist of faith. Grrr...

It kind of sucks to be stuck behind a table. But a good thing is, the cosplayers come to you! So I got to take plenty of photos. It's so much easier to talk to them when they're looking at stuff. (As to chasing after them in the hallway etc.)

The day wouldn't be completed without a Pinky picture. Hehehe... That's left over pizza from the group on my left, 2 tables away. Geeze... they shouldn't have left garbage lying around like that.

Saddly, I'll have to say, the flea market was badly managed. No one knew anything. There was no sign-in either. So technically speaking, anyone can just walk in and start selling stuff. (It's actually $25 for a table and $15 for half.) It was supposed to end at 8, but when the venders started packing up at their closing time at 6, some flea market people starting leaving. Only 3 tables held out till 8. By that time, I was frozen after sitting outdoor for 6 hours. The evening was cooling down fast.

There was a dance party again....

Well, seems like my brain just turn it's switch off. So that's it for now. I might come back and modify things later.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Anime Evolution 2007 (1)

Went up to SFU to meet the flea market table owner, plus register. Ended up not registering because... well, it's a little complicated. We... can't communicate too well. Plus, I want to make sure I'm well enough to go before paying the $40.

Nevertheless, got the program booklet. Their official site still doesn't show the schedule. Unbelievable. And I'm extremely shocked at how fast time flies! Didn't even get half the stuff I want to get done today! And now I'll have to prepare the stuff to sell at the flea market. Meanwhile my cold maybe better today after the 10-hour sleep. Feeling less tired, but there's a constant headache around the eye sockets and the top of the neck. Shoulders are really tight too. Nose is as stuffy as yesterday. Well, tonight won't be a sleep-well night. I wonder if I can get through tomorrow. Even so, will I be well enough for the rest of the convention? Sigh...

So, here's the program.



Argh!! Didn't know they have a dance party tonight! Guess I miss it on the web site. So the activities started before the opening ceremony? Then what's the meaning of an opening ceremony? Hmm...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Flu? Cold?

Hmm... not good. Not good.
This has to be a cold. Sore throat → stuffy nose → cough → tiredness → neck ache → headache → feverish. What else can it be? Both of my parents are coughing. All of us took the flu shot last Christmas. Is it wearing off? Or is this something new? I truly hope I can still go to AE2007 this weekend. Because I don't know if I can go next year. (T_T)

(Again, this Pinky picture was taken quite a while ago, and has nothing to do with today's subject.)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Figs

First fig from the backyard this year.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Neo Guy & Neo Teen

Sending to a friend in Hong Kong.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Little purple flowers

An old picture, taken about 3 months ago.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

World Cosplay Summit 2007

1st: France, 2nd: Japan, 3rd: Mexico.
Details at their site.

Just wondering... why were there only contestants form south east Asia and Europe? If it's a "world" summit, shouldn't there be people from North America too? (OK, Mexico is south America, but you got my point, right?)

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Parking skill

Excellent parking skill.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Friday, August 03, 2007

Lonsdale Quay

Had dinner around Lonsdale and... 20th? The Indian restaurant was pretty good. Price was very reasonable (and affordable). And then, the biggest surprised was, my ex-boss sat down at the table right next to mine! My memory failed me again. Well, first, you don't get to see your CEO everyday, and he was dressed differently (plus aging), so I didn't recognize him. It was embarrassing. But the next thing was even more embarrassing. Apparently, his memory of me was the only shot that got censored in the whole history of the studio! Aaaaargh!!!!!! Hey, that was an accident. It was all in the VIP's dirty mind! (T_T)

Thursday, August 02, 2007

To Steve (happy birthday)

No, Steve, I didn't forget. (^_^)

My sister-in-law's younger sister and her family are in town. So, naturally, we ate out. The sushi boats are 1.5 times larger than the ones I'm used to. Actually that size was just right. We did order some other stuff, though, since my dad doesn't like sushi.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Still one more?

OK, this is too much of a coincidence. I got yet another mosquito bite! Near the first ones on my wrist! And this new-comer is nasty. Swollen like an egg, itching like hell. Luckily after a Reactin pill, it calmed down.