August 22, 2014

TFcon 2014

Last month I went to TFcon 2014, once again held at the Delta Meadowvale Hotel in Mississauga, Ontario. This year, the show was held a little bit earlier in the summer, on July 11-13 instead of towards the end of the month. As usual, TFcon promised a fantastic gathering of Transformers fans, with plenty of activities, a huge dealers’ area to buy toys, and lots of fun connecting with old friends and making new ones.

In previous years I drew a comic to go along with the voice actors script reading, but it always took up so much time that I felt I shouldn’t do one this year, having just graduated from college. It was the right decision, but since this was the first year in a long, long time that I have not contributed to TFcon in any way, it felt like something was missing for me. I kind of felt bad about that, so it was a different experience.

Also, my usual partner in crime, the infamous Guber, was not in attendance this year. He was stuck in Turkey as part of his strange globetrotting adventure. A TFcon without Guber is like a Tranformers toy missing its accessories. Its weird, rainbow-colored accessories. So, if only for that reason, it seemed like a much quieter, more subdued event.

That all said, I still had a good time. Here are some pictures.

The Transformers costumes seen at TFcon get more and more impressive with each new event.

Here is a close look at the winning costume. As I understand it. Prowl was made out of a Power Wheels car.

Knock out, Soundwave, and Shockwave.

Gary Chalk (Optimus Primal in Beast Wars and Optimus Prime in Armada/Energon/Cybertron) made his 3rd appearance at TFcon, and is always a fantastic guest. Making his first appearance was Neil Kaplan, who played Optimus Prime in Robots in Disguise. Neil and Gary had a panel together that was one of the nest voice actor’s panels I’d ever seen. They were both really informative and absolutely hilarious. When the discussion turned towards how they had become “Budget Peter Cullens”, they both started doing Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh as Optimus Prime. It was so incredibly funny that I had tears in my eyes.

That night at the bar, I got a chance to talk to Neil a bit and listen  is him go on about cartoons, movies, monsters, super heroes, and everything else that’s awesome. He really gets the whole convention scene and is a totally cool dude. He even tweeted me while I was on the way home on Monday. It was like TFcon was still happening in the car.

One of the highlights of the show was the concert by The Cybertronic Spree, a rock band that dresses up as Transformers characters and plays music from the 1986 Transformers movie. They put on a great show that is totally unlike anything you’d ever seen but just as awesome as you’d hope. Unicron on the left plays guitar in the band.

Plenty of toys to buy. It had been awhile since I bought some toys, as I no longer live in a city with a Toys R Us. So, I had to take the opportunity.  Here’s what I picked up.

Generations Sandstorm, Beast Hunters Optimus Prime, Generations Rhinox, Fall of Cybertron Sideswipe, Starscream, Air Raid, Jazz, and Ultra Magnus, Prime Rumble, Kup, and Hotshot, and finally, a Darth Vader with removable helmet. Nothing too special, really. No crazy exclusive Japanese recolors. Just some recent toys I didn’t have and was able to get at decent prices.

Well, actually, there was one other toy that I picked up. Something very special. So special, in fact, I’ll save it for its own post.

Of course, there is much more to TFcon than pictures can convey, and so much more than just buying toys. It’s a great fan community experience that no other convention can match. To wrap this up, I’ll say that, by this point, if you are are a Transformers fan in Canada, or are in close proximity to Ontario, and you have never been to TFcon, you are certainly missing out. The staff is always on the ball and the fans are a big part of why this convention is so memorable. It’s like a big family reunion, except it’s way better because there are also robots.

If you’re not in Canada, and maybe even if you are, TFcon is now running a second show in Chicago. I’m not sure if I can make it to that one, but I definitely want to.

I used to go to several sci-fi/anime/comic/toy conventions in the Toronto area every year. I wish I could still do that, but I live too far away now. So, there’s only enough room in my year for one. I’m glad I make that one TFcon.


August 1, 2014

Annual Check-Up?

Well, I hope that this will become a more frequent occurrence than one a year from now on, but I am once again embarrassed by the fact that it has been almost one year since my last weblog post. I wish I could say that I was too busy to update here, but really, I just haven’t felt up to it. Well, enough of that nonsense. Let’s get this awkward first update after a long absence over with so I can get this blog back in order.

Game Addict by ninjatron on deviantART

Through most of the year, I was busy with my second and final year of College. I graduated from the Video Game Art program with distinction, which means 4.0 GPA. Not to brag or anything.  I actually don’t really know why I got that mark. All I really did was show up and do the work. I made sure I did the projects as best as I could in the time I had, and I did everything the way I thought it should be done. That’s just the way I operate.

I have mixed feelings on the program overall. I don’t regret going through the experience, but there were several flaws in the course. Some were the result of things that were outside of anyone’s control, like when one of the teachers got really sick and had to leave the program entirely, throwing everything into chaos. Other things simply could have been handled better, like the ridiculous workload resulting in a deluge of projects due at around the same time, and having to spend way too long on certain assignments that should not have been as important as they were. It was stressful, tiresome, and exhausting, so I am definitely glad that this stage of my life is behind me. But I met some great people, got some experience with software that I had never used before, and it was good to have something to do everyday that contributed towards my artistic development.

There is some artwork I did for the class up on my deviantArt page, so you can check out what’s there now. More will be coming as I give them an extra bit of polish.

Since school has been over, I haven’t really felt like doing much. I’ve been sick a few times, so it’s hard to be productive. That’s really why I haven’t updated here yet. Other than being sick, I’ve mostly been spending my time trying to get organized. Cleaning out my hard drive, sorting out files from assignments, setting up reference images in appropriate folders, all that stuff. Not very exciting, but I might as well do it now while I have the chance. It’s all about building towards the future.

But what was exciting was that I went to TFcon! I will talk about that next time.