Cloud 9: Dos & Don’ts of Congoing

Anime STL is this weekend and, for the first time since high school, I have off work without asking for it. I try to go every year, but sometimes, I am just not able to. That being said, as one of the largest anime conventions in the Midwest, ASTL is one of the few events I look forward to every spring.

In honor of ASTL starting tomorrow, I have created a Cloud 9 post of basic Dos and Don’ts for con going!


Do – Pre-register

If you know you are 100% without a doubt attending, definitely pre-register. Most cons have discounts if you pre-register early enough which can save precious dollars. Most cons also allow for those who pre-reg to pick up their badges early, maybe by a whole day. This can save precious time. Nobody wants to be stuck in line forever simply waiting to pay or get their badge opening day! Even from the start, there are awesome events to go do and see and you don’t want to miss them!

 

photo-1515734392280-e60c25eb9f01Don’t – Be afraid to dress up!

Seriously don’t. Even if it’s not handmade or homemade, don’t be afraid to wear a costume or something you normally wouldn’t outside of a con. Like every fandom, some people can be d***s, but the majority of con goers are pretty laid back and happy to be there among like-minded people. Worst case scenario would be some jerks making fun of your outfit but more likely a couple people may recognize what it stems from and making a positive comment about it.

 

Do – Vendors!

This is a category all its own. I filtered through a couple options like “treat yourself to a gift” and “be sure to buy some tasty treats .” Eventually, I just settled on Vendors because you can’t just focus on one aspect. Be sure to splurge on at least one item for yourself. Whether it be a plushie, action figure, an item of clothing, or what have you, don’t be afraid to spoil yourself with at least one large ticket item.

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Also, don’t forget to partake of their tasty treats. Cons typically have at least a few vendors selling foreign noms for the testing, many of which are absolutely phenomenal. I have found some of my favorite snacks just from picking up random packets that looked good. Even if you can’t read the labels, the images on the packaging are pretty transparent and you can get an idea of what may be inside. 

Keep in mind that a lot of vendors are actually local. Cons are a great way for them to get publicity as well as earn some extra money. So when you purchase from these vendors, you are not only supporting the con, but your community as well.

 

Don’t – Forget your manners

This was another topic that was more specific, mainly “don’t touch anyone without their permission,” but I broadened it after a bit of consideration. While “Cosplay is not consent” is still a major glaring problem, so is a slew of other behaviors that include tearing up the venue, disturbing other patrons of the surrounding area, and just generally being disrespectful to property and people. I am not sure where all this stems from, but it needs to stop. Cons have a much different atmosphere than just hanging out with friends, but that doesn’t negate the general rules of society, mainly have some manners. The reason I am so adamant about this is not only because of the stigma that gets tagged on to con goers but shutting down cons as well. If con goers are going to tear up the venue and harass patrons of the surrounding area, venues can and will refuse to host them and even close them down. You want nice things? Then be respectful.

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Do – Visit Artist’s Alley

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One of my favorite parts of cons is Artist’s Alley. Like the vendors, the Alley houses local artists selling their wares, whether it be artwork, crafts, or handmade products of some kind. It also is a great publicity opportunity for them and helps them earn money. Unfortunately, it also costs them a good amount of money just to have a table. Even if you can’t afford anything, please check them out! They typically have business cards so you can follow them on social medias or visit their online shops. Cons are a great way to get exposure and it means a lot to these artists for you to even just stop by, look at their products, and say hi.

That being said, you can find some amazing artists that are definitely worth checking out.

 

photo-1463194537334-3940784aa69aDon’t – Limit yourself/do something you don’t want to do

This can be a wide-ranging topic. If you want to go to the serious dark side of it, don’t do anything you feel uncomfortable doing whether it’s something as serious as going to someone’s hotel room to something as simple as taking a picture with someone. If you don’t want to do it, DON’T.

The lighter side of this is something as basic as sitting through a panel you aren’t enjoying. Cons are usually stuffed to the last second with fun and interesting events, panels, etc. so if you find that the panel you really wanted to go to isn’t as fun as you thought it would be, move on, find something else. With events constantly happening, there should never be a dull or wasted moment.

 

 

Do – Take a lot of pictures!

5b9e8deaee7ebe4b382b55d8f13f79bdCons can be one the most enjoyable things you partake in all year. With the rise of cell phones and social media, it is much easier in our day and age to commemorate the funs times with photos. And if you ask any con goer, pictures are among the best souvenirs you can bring home from a con. There are even groups and events/meet ups dedicated to it. Not to mention there are always amazing cosplays to witness. Cosplayers work hard on their outfits and one of the best compliments you can give them is asking for their picture. And don’t be afraid to ask for one with them!

 

Don’t – Curb your enthusiasm

You have been waiting for this con for forever! It is clearly something you’re passionate about otherwise you wouldn’t be going. That being said, don’t curb your enthusiasm. You are surrounded by like minded people who are just as excited about it as you are! Open up, be free to fangirl/boy all you want over something you enjoy. Rather than make fun of you, you’ll probably find someone who is just as passionate. Cons can be some of the most liberating events and you may find some new friends in the process.

 

Do – Explore & relax

This is another topic that is a bit vague and broad-ranging, but there is no better way to word it. There is a lot to do at cons. From the shops to the panels and shows to the meetups, there are always funs things going on. You may miss them, though, if you are hiding out in a corner. Explore = experience! And don’t be afraid to do something you typically wouldn’t do. The truth is there is someone there just as scared or shy as you are. Cons are a great opportunity to explore things you normally wouldn’t on a regular basis.

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That being said, also try to relax. Don’t have a heart attack if you are a couple minutes late to a panel you wanted to see or didn’t get to buy that pocky you wanted. Having a game plan is a good idea but don’t be so inflexible that if you veer from the game plan, it causes you undue stress. Cons are meant to be enjoyed so don’t turn it into a chore/work. 



 

That is my Cloud 9 posts of nine things you should and shouldn’t do at cons. To me, they are fairly simple things that (save for #3)  don’t cost any more than effort.

Do you agree with my list? What are some things that you feel con goers simply must do or avoid?

 

❧ Arec

Storm in a Teacup: Rude

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Saw this in an ad for a game called King’s Knight and was immediately sadden and angered.

As someone who plays a lot of mobile games, mainly RPGs, it upsets me to see pretentious words such as this. People have such close-minded opinions about mobile games that are, honestly, unfounded.

Mobile games are held to a much lower standard than console/PC games and, apparently, you are not allowed to call yourself a gamer if you play mobile games. This completely ignores the fact that there are games on the android/ios markets that are just as complex and developed as some console games.

Unfortunately, I feel like mobile games are shoved into this repetitive mold. Most mobile games are free to play with pay to play aspect while also adding in a grind aspect to drag out the longevity of said games.  People expect phone games to be free, ignoring the hard work and time the developers put into this game. But people are always expecting free handouts right? Then they become mad at those who actually spend money to further their experience in the game, not taking into account that this is how the developer earn their money.

There really is no happy medium. People are unwilling to spend money to buy a mobile game but then expect the free games to be on par with those that require purchase.

The bottom line is that mobile games ARE games. Look at some original video games. Pong.  Pac-Man. Mario? There are phone games far more complex. I understand that we are in a completely different era of video games, but no one questioned games like Tetris when they were released. Games are meant to be enjoyed, regardless of their presentation. They shouldn’t have to fit into this preconceived unofficial mold held up by nobodies who think their opinion bear weight on the industry. Just let people enjoy things.

❧ Arec

 

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by Adam Ellis

 

Review: The Duke Who Ravished Me (Rebellious Bride #4) by Diana Quincy

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An impulsive kiss between a libertine duke and a mysterious governess sparks a blaze of desire—and intrigue—in this breathtaking Regency romance from the award-winning author of Spy Fall.

Adam Fairfax, the Duke of Sunderford, happily enjoys a different woman (or two) every night—or he did, until his wards landed on his doorstep. Ever since Sunny took in the seven-year-old twin girls and their prim and proper governess, Isabel Finch, his love life has been a shambles. But, as time goes by, Sunny catches himself getting lost in Isabel’s haughty blue eyes, or following the curves beneath her unbecoming dress. An unexpected kiss ignites a passion that shocks him into realizing how thin the line between love and hate can be.

If Isabel’s hidden past were revealed, she could lose everything. Oddly enough, only when “Sinful Sunny” is near does she feel safe—or safe enough to speak up in defense of the girls. The duke’s decadent lifestyle is a disgrace, and clearly he considers Isabel a nuisance. Still, she can’t help admiring his sculpted cheekbones, strong-cut jaw, and tousled chestnut hair. When their lips meet, it’s almost as if he could kiss the secrets right out of her. Worse, she’s tempted to let him. . . .


In a genre saturated with clichés and tired plotlines, “The Duke Who Ravished Me” stands out as a refreshing take on a rake reformed with a surprising twist.

From the beginning, the reader is introduced to an interesting cast of characters. Sinful Sunny, as he is known, is depicted perfectly as the rake he is meant to be. More often than not, rakes in historical novels are simply labeled as rakes, but do not indulge or act like true rakes. The author does not pull any punches, however, and shows him at his most indulgent…and depraved. It makes his transformation that much more notable.

Finch acts as his perfect foil. As uptight and stiff as the bun she always wears, Finch’s number one priority is the young charges in her care. Rounded out with a rambunctious pair of twins, a hopeful butler, and well-meaning but clueless friends, you have a story driven by authentic and flawed characters.

Quincy is not only a talented writer, she is a creative storyteller. Her style is smooth and flows easily, bringing her story to life while making it interesting. In a story filled with secrets, the reader thinks they have it all figured out in the end. They are completely unprepared for the twist Quincy throws in at the last minute.

Fans of steamy historical romance won’t want to miss this read. If you are wanting more sweet than sexy, look elsewhere because this novel is explicit as it heartwarming.

❧ Arec

Review: Withholding Nothing by Victoria Bright

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The girl code “Chicks before d*cks” should include that no friend can steal another friend’s boyfriend—or marry them.

When Ashton Carter’s “good idea at the time” revenge plan lands her in hot water, she never expected to see her ex again—especially in court. A few thousand dollars in damages later, she snags a job as a phone sex operator and seeks out a roommate to help fund her “stay out of jail” expenses. Having a roommate should’ve been helpful—except when they turn out to be the hot, yet douchebag mechanic working on her car.

When Ashton learns that her new roommate has been the sexy phone sex caller, lines begin to blur between real life and fantasy. It was supposed to be a no-strings-attached situation; neither of them were ready for love again. When a surprise visit from an ex shakes their forming foundation with an ultimatum, Ashton is forced to face the truth of her feelings and make a choice. With her budding relationship and livelihood at stake, Ashton has to untangle the lines of reality and fantasy in a last ditch effort to protect her heart.

A laugh out loud erotic romance filled with interesting characters, this novel truly withholds nothing. In the beginning we are introduced to Ashton who, to be quite honest, is a hot mess. Unable to cope with a recent break up with longtime boyfriend, despite him being human garbage, Ashton tries to down her sorrow in alcohol and ends up wrecking her car. Enter hot mechanic O’Shea who pushes her buttons from the minute they meet! O’Shea is also running from a bad breakup, from a girlfriend who did not consider him good enough to marry. Hoping to start anew, his plans didn’t involve someone new, but their chemistry won’t be denied.

While Ashton and O’Shea do have chemistry, the majority of it is in their banter. Once the dirty talk and actual sex scenes start, it felt…anticlimactic. The scenes should have felt hot enough to catch the kindle on fire. Instead, it felt more like the scene was just going through the motions. The scenes were numerous and explicit, and yet, generic. That being said, Ashton and O’Shea worked well together and helped each other heal, working towards a better place as they left their toxic exes behind. They are accompanied by a vast cast of characters who are as diverse as they a frustrating and multidimensional and unapologetic. Withholding Nothing is humorous, hot, and heartwarming. Whether you are looking for a good contemporary love story or just need a distraction, this novel is worth adding to your TBR shelf.

❧ Arec

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