April 30, 2009

The TFCon Report.

I have just been so tired after the past few weeks, but it was worth it. Yet another TFCon is in the books, and it was not only the biggest yet, spanning two days with many new events, but it was also the best. I had a lot of fun taking in the show and seeing my old pals. Despite the expansion from one day to two, just about everything went smoothly, and the only major trouble was the lack of Air Conditioning during the Hasbro presentation on Saturday. It was HOT in there.

Well, there was one other thing. I missed out on the Friday events that precede the convention itself. I had to teach that day and I immediately set off via public transit as soon as I was done. I knew exactly what I was doing and where I was going, but it took so bloody long that by the time I arrived it was almost time to leave. That was the only major hiccup and I’ll never let that happen again.

We got a screening of the Transformers Animated episodes “Human Error” parts 1 and 2, and it was a total blast watching it with the other fans, especially since these episodes were full of in-jokes and references that only fans would get.

On Saturday evening there was a new event called Faction Feud, basically a cross between a Transformers trivia contest and Family Feud. I joined a team, promptly took over as leader, naming us the “Ninjamasters“, and pledged to dominate the other teams. Although my squad seemed to be comprised of jokers, causing me to know exactly what Megatron and just about every other 80’s cartoon villain felt like, we ended up winning it all, and moving on to the lightning round. The four of us had to collectively list off 20 toys with the name “Prowl“, one at a time, with only 5 seconds to answer. One wrong answer and that member of the team was eliminated. Eventually it came down to just me and I managed to pull it off in the end, claiming final victory for the Ninjamasters! I probably could have kept going and spent all night dreaming about all the different Prowls that could have also been named.

The prize for winning: Tickets to an early screening of the new Transformers movie, Revenge of the Fallen, in Toronto. Oh yeah.

It was an awesome, tough competition, and our team pretty much rocked. We covered each other’s knowledge bases really well. Even though we really knew our stuff, it was a grueling ordeal to win it, and it felt like winning was just as much a product of hard work and guts as it was about remembering largely unimportant factoids about Transformers.

On Sunday there was the How to Draw panel, hosted by myself and Ninjamaster-underling Guber. The room was full and everyone was super-quiet. I was slightly taken aback by the response. We went a little overtime and I had to be somewhere else, so I let Guber finish the lesson off after I left, but afterwards a lot of people told me how much they enjoyed it. I’m thinking it will happen again next year and if it does, I have a lot of new ideas on how to make it even better.

Here are a few pics.

TFCon Costumes

TFCon Costumes. Sideways, Vector Prime, Sari and Unicron. Excellent! There were others besides this as well. So cool to see this many cool costumes.

Ninja and Vector Prime

Ninjatron hearts Vector Prime.

My TFCon Haul

My haul. All my collection is packed up and I haven’t thought much about buying new Transformers in ages. But this was a special occasion and it was high time for some new stuff, so I went for it. Universe Sunstreaker, Sideswipe, Hound, and Prowl, Japanese Henkei Hot Shot and Cheetor, and Classics Mirage. I really wanted Henkei Dinobot but it sold out pretty much immediately, so I bought one online as soon as the show finished.

All in all, a great weekend. TFCon is rightfully gaining and earning a reputation with the Transformers fan community all over the world, and I’m happy to be a part of it and proud to have contributed in some small way.

In other news, I started a new job. More on that later.


April 2, 2009

Prank Master

I love April Fools day. I worked at my after school art program, a group of mostly second grade students, and I couldn’t just ignore this special occasion. So, I pranked my students today!

First, I handed out a piece of paper to everyone and told them that I was talking to the school principal and people at the office, and that they had expressed concern over the quality of art, so they wanted me to give the students a test. I was pretty serious about this and made sure they all wrote their names down on the paper in the top left corner. I told them that they had to stay quiet and if they had any questions they had to raise their hand, but that I could not help them answer because it was against the law. The students were confused and didn’t really know what to do, but went along with it. Some of them answered by writing “yes” or “no“, others actually did drawings. There were five questions in all, they were as follows:

1: Can you draw a face?
2: Can you draw a cowboy face?
3: Can you draw a boy-cow face?
4: What month is it right now?
5: What is another word for “trick“?

The last question they found confusing, so I said “As in, I tricked you into writing this test. April Fools.

A stunned silence filled the class room for a brief moment, until the students finally erupted. I laughed, it was great. Some complained but I know they thought it was fun.

I remember when I was in 6th grade and the teacher handed out a math test on April 1st at the very beginning of the day. It was packed with long, nearly impossible questions. At the very bottom of the page there was some small print that said the test was fake and that we didn’t have to finish it. I remember really liking that prank and today was the opportunity to share it with my students. I got ’em good too!