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I never really gave an online bio much thought before, but I guess I could start with one now. So...Heya, everybody! I go by the monicker of Tujoma Musaki. I'm just another no-name artist with high hopes and wishful optimism. This is more often than not dashed by a rapidly diminishing time table. I've got this affinity towards artistic pursuits with a focus on using a digital medium for my art. I used to be a staunch traditionalist, with pencil, india ink, quills and nibs, and prismacolor markers my avenues in medium, but that all changed ever since I purchased a Wacom Bamboo Pen Tablet.

What do I like? I like sketching, illustrating, and coloring my own pictures and comics, as well as all manner of other art projects on the side. Currently, I'm heading five separate and distinct comic series, mostly on Deviant Art and SmackJeeves. It's been pretty slow going, but I feel as though I'm slowly getting the hang of it. They're not the greatest, but it's something that I'm working on as I try to learn the ropes of making a decent comic. They're meant to embody my interests into a physical* (more like digital) form, and to set my large cast of characters into separately branching stories. I'm also slowly getting back to a traditional medium for some artworks, using prisma-color markers (poor man's copics,) colored pencils, pencil, and india ink like before.

There's also my crafting pursuits, where I try to make things out of any materials I manage to get my hands on. Mostly props and costume aesthetic type stuff, but there's also some practical utility type stuff along the way. My crowning achievement thus far was a working Pipboy 3000, but it bears only a vague resemblance from what's seen in the Fallout series. If I have a need for it, but cannot go out and buy it at a decent price, I'll try and make it myself, so long as it's within my skill-set. I've also sort've gotten into the whole cosplay scene, mostly as the Lone Wanderer from Fallout 3, with various references to the older and newer games.

As far as writing pursuits go, I've often entertained the idea of writing stories, or perhaps even a book. For the most part, it only comes to focus when I write an “elaborate” description and backstory for the pictures that I submit. I have also been an avid role player in the past, with a focus on action, adventure, romance, drama, the occult, and fantasy themes worked into the stories. That's kind of languished over the past few years due to the transition between school to recent employment, but it's something I'm starting to get back into.

In the realm of gaming, I've become more of a casual gamer these days, which is just another time-sink that I could be using for better pursuits. IE, working on artwork, improving myself, or looking for a better job. For the longest time, I was a Nintendo Fanboy, up until the release of the Wii and their recent poor performance. That pretty much turned me away to Sony and Steam. It's mostly been computer online multiplayer games as of late, such as with Day Z and War Thunder. Day Z, the online hiking simulator that happens to have zombies and jerk-bag competitors that want nothing more than to see you dead. Then there's War Thunder where you take to the skies in various air-craft that become available to you as you level up. Still got a 3DS, though, if anybody wants to swap friend codes...for what that's worth.

Being a fresh college grad, I've only just started work, and my rapidly diminishing time-table is owed to a shifting schedule. I'm generally still open to smooth, casual conversation and meeting new people. Can't promise I'd be the most entertaining of conversationalists, but I guess that's just a reflection of my mundane life. These days, it feels like friendships and acquaintances have a high rate of turnover in all aspects. Funny how that works, but ah well.

Just a little insight on me, from what little I put down about me..

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Latest Journal

To Anime Boston and Back

on 12 April 2014 at 00:47:03 MDT

Did I forget to mention that Anime Boston was just a few weeks ago? What more can be said for such a highly anticipated eventual gathering of anime enthusiasts, who just so happen to enjoy a taste of the finer things in life? Matched with an admittedly gaudy and flamboyant taste in apparel, as well as a sense of place amidst the burgeoning crowds of their peers, they are the collective face of the community in America who takes their appreciation of animated media to the next level, usually by donning costumes of their favorite anime / video game characters. And I was but a part of that, then and now, though the face I adorned was the face of something other than an anime enthusiast. For I wore a shiny navy-blue jumpsuit with the numbers “101” stamped on my backside, veiled partly by the faded scraps of armor that were bolted to my vault suit. I'd have switched it up a bit with the inclusion of a second costume, namely my S.T.A.L.K.E.R. gear, but my scant choice in luggage simply could not handle such excess. And so, I was reduced to the Vault Dweller gear, a few changes of clothing, and some other dry-goods that would satisfy a six day time frame, all being encased in a small ALICE pack and military issue tool bag.

I feel as though Anime Boston had, in a few ways, lost some of the appeal that had made it seem so great last year, having gone for the first time. I honestly don't know why that would be; the location was beautiful, the people by and large amicably friendly, and the convention itself a picturesque thing of greatness. It's quite possible it could just be attributable to the fact I was more or less tired at the time of going, and given that this being my second time going, some of the first-time appeal had been lost along the way. But the atmospheric ambiance of the city itself, matched with the convention grounds as well as the present company I happened to be around, seemed to bypass this on the best of occasions. Throughout any con-going experience, I seem to gain this strange sense of energy that surpasses what I would otherwise get from a daily dose of caffeinergy sauce provided by a cup of coffee. In turn, I can seemingly remain awake for hours on end at peak focus and awareness of my surroundings. It's a phenomenon that goes beyond my present understanding, but something I can truly appreciate as far as con-going goes.

I've more often than not regarded Anime Boston as the “Las Vegas” of anime conventions that I've experienced thus far. It ranks at the top, with Katsucon a close second, and Otakon lagging behind in third place. Although, whether it was more because I piddled my time wandering the convention grounds rather than hitting up more of the choice panels, there's a nagging sense at the back of my mind that it wasn't quite as great as it could have been. Just an honest criticism that is more or less faultless; I met a lot of great people along the way, and saw a great deal of awesome stuff. And so for that, I should be thankful. Part of the attraction was the fact that the Convention Center itself is integrated into a mall, comprising largely of the Hynes Convention center commingling with the Sheraton Hotel, which altogether encompasses the vast majority of the convention grounds. From there, you're more or less greeted by a massive atrium that leads through the many levels of the center (going up to about three sizable floors via escalators.) Any possible need you could have, be it food or drink, could be satisfied for a fair price at the mall (which did not arbitrarily raise prices in anticipation of the convention event.)

Given that my hotel was booked nearly a mile away, day in and day out made for an interesting walk between the hotel and the convention center, coming from the Boston Park Plaza Hotel. What I had done in prior years in transporting my costume to and from convention centers started with Otakon, where I would wrap my costume into a bundle and sling it over a shoulder as though it were a pack. I'd then unpack it at the convention grounds piece by piece and dress over my casual clothes (since it's more or less a one-piece jumpsuit, plus accessories.) I have, since Anime Boston last year, gone in full costume from then on, and..received the “appropriate” attention one might expect to receive for doing such things. Stares, glares, and the occasional honking from a passing car. Suppose it could have been worse, though, especially if one found themselves in my “home” territory back in Baltimore. I half expected someone to chuck a bottle my way.

As far as the convention experience went, it had begun a day early for me; I'd spent the night before with my good pal :iconrickcressen: up in Maine before our Sojourn back to Massachusetts proper in Boston, which transitioned from a series of subway-rides after one lengthy bus ride. As I had made prior obligations at a friends request, I spent the better half of Thursday in costume helping :iconrickcressen:'s friend, :iconmachinegunangel:, largely in the heavy lifting and the setting up of her booth / table at the artists alley, with help in turn from his friend, :iconseasidehedgehog:, her friend Travis, and my friend Cameron (who decidedly does not have a DA account.) I had the esteemed privilege of stepping in early, and getting to stay the full length of a few hours (about three to four) assembling a stand from piece-worked PVC spray painted black. The experience was interesting, to say the least, as well as understandably frustrating; we had to assemble a “framework” that would serve as a sort of bill-board, without risking it falling over when we left for the night. No schematics were provided, not even a past picture; we had about six people between us to set up. Not my proudest moment, as much of the time was wasted going back and forth between us pitching ideas to one another about how best to make/design the frame-work billboard, which had to be surmounted a good six feet total (on top of a desk, no less) into the air, spanning the exact width of the table. We would be infringing on our table-neighbors space if we went any further than that as far as width goes..

I'd never gotten to see just how much work / preparation had gone into the artists booths, let alone the merchants in the dealers room before. There's something to be said on what goes into a booth, with those (sometimes) extravagantly decorated display boards displaying an artists portfolio openly to various passerby. Our experience did not go as swimmingly as it could have. While we got the PVC to form a framework against two metal foldable shelves, what followed was a nightmarish exercise in futility. We were given a pack of about several hundred – thousand zip ties, presumably purchased at a good price. The zip ties were to allow us to affix not only the pvc framework to the metal shelving units, but also to form the actual bill-board by attaching metal grid-panels, which would in turn allow us to hang up some nice artwork for display. The zip ties in question were a dime a dozen, and were so cheap / poor in quality that they would more often than not either snap into pieces or become impossible to tighten. This happened at least half the time, if not more. I can't help but feel as though the acting quality control manager at the factory had been kicked in the head the previous night to satisfying this order, and decided to let things go from there. What's better was cracking wise with the security guards who were posted nearby, and how I kept stating “six college grads to put up this one stand in this many hours..!”

With the posting of art tackily taped to the many grid-panels that we had (eventually) zip-tied to the display board as a whole, the booth was more or less set up to its full completion. And from there, the quest for the convention could finally continue (the following day.) :iconmachinegunangel: was nice enough to offer and treat us all to dinner for our services, either way, which was a rather fine gesture by and large. But that would come on another night, as it was already fairly late at the time (we had to vacate the area by 10:15 or so that night.) With the long walk back to the hotel room, contemplation on the days events would come later after a good nights sleep.

One thing that has developed since the Boston Bombing incident the year before was the over-development of security, which made getting through what I'd like to call “The Cordon” at all entrances of the convention center a little more of an inconvenience than it should be. Granted, being about a mile away from the marathon track, I tried to be understanding about it. I remember how on the first day, everyone was being subjected to a metal detector, which was little more than a plastic wand that lit up a cherry red and made incessant beeping noises if someone had anything metallic in their pockets. Last year, I was asked to empty my pockets by a stiff-lipped security guard. To make the point clear on how pointless the exercise was, I drew out the items one at a time, and listed them aloud piece by piece. “Sure thing. Let's see here.. We've got my wallet, some bottle caps, my coin purse, some mentos tablets, some more bottle caps, my house keys, my iphone charging wire-” 'Sir, that's quite enough. Please proceed-' “Hey, but I'm not done yet..!” I don't think he was all too amused, but his buddies were, and that was about enough for me. This year, though, was slightly different. I basically just exclaimed something to the effect of “Hey, this isn't the air port..!” every time I'd go through. Sometimes I got a favorable response, sometimes I didn't, but ah, such is life. The good news is, security lightened up for the most part after Friday, though the aggravation of the checkpoints still persisted.

My first actual con experiences began when I had ventured forth Friday morning just before noon into the Hynes convention center. Having just stepped past the aforementioned “security cordon” and into the main corridor leading to the other atrium and eventually the mall, I stepped through the dealers room for a a little detour. Interesting side note; while not quite as big as Otakons, the dealers room is still fairly big as far as dealers rooms go, and well worth several walk-throughs. Though this year, I didn't really find what I was looking for. A few of some choice components, namely some of the leather pouches and satchel packs, was sold by a particular vendor who was not present this year. Disappointed, my purchases were kept to a minimum. Even so, the dealers room was still a good place to wander through for a little diversion, and you could always count on someone interesting strolling through. Having met several interesting characters along the way, it started out with this anthropomorphic panda and ..helper, somewhere on the right alcove? He looked interesting enough to try and persuade to become a suitable meat shield- I mean, stalwart companion. So I openly approached him, asking whether or not he'd like to venture out into the capital wasteland with me as a dear companion, and, just as I was explaining what risks that would entail, he gradually grabbed hold of my right hand and slowly pulled it to his mouth (but didn't -really- chew; the costume did that for him. Otherwise, that would have just been a little creepy..) While others say I should have taken him out, I just didn't have the heart to. And that was just the start of it..

While I'd go into greater lengths of detail detailing my shenanigans and running into different characters, I'll leave most of that to my photo descriptions when I post them..which I have not done as of yet, having committed the cardinal sin of not posting convention photos right after con. I'll get around to it at some point, though, promise. As a side note, I'll be completely honest with everyone when I say this.. My memory's kind of selective these days, so some things are lost along the way, what with having a steady job and the demands of daily every day life, not to mention my own personal -creative- pursuits. I will say that I pulled an act similar to what I had started last year at Anime Boston, describing a wonderful wasteland adventure that would not in -any- way bring about ones untimely demise were they to travel alongside me, and trying to attract the most diverse cast of characters to pledge their unwavering alleigance to me. When asked when we would leave on such a valiant quest, the response was nearly always the same this time around; three [imaginary] days. There were some admittedly funny responses along the way. At mention of possibly risking ones life in my service, none other than Captain Jack Sparrow accompanying Solid Snake (imagine the odds) scoffed rather critically, rolling a shoulder and looking off. 'Sods off to that, mate; I don't get paid enough to put myself into the throes of death for the likes of you.' In spite of this quip, at least they joined me..which is more than I can say for some of the fursuiters who showed up come Saturday. I did see other Vault dwellers along the way, though they numbered four, bringing the number to five.

An interesting tradition introduced in Otacon 2013 was passing along a specialized bottle cap of vintage make and Coca Cola brand name, the quality surprisingly good for such an honored time-piece. What was special was the fact that the underside of the metallic shell housed cork, and overall contributed to a classy feel to the cap, making it look like a collectors piece. A random passerby handed it to me, with the explicit instructions that I hand the bottle cap over to the next Vault Dweller I saw, who was presumably to do the same. And to that end, given that I had two and met four, I passed along one each to the first two Vault Dwellers I encountered. I informed them that these were sacred relics since before the war, and that they were to pass them along to the next Vault Dweller they should meet, and to “guard them with their lives.” Whether or not they'll do so is yet to be seen, but I have my doubts..

One of the more well armed and travel-weathered Vault Dwellers relayed a story of sorts, the likes of which centered on a strange phenomena that's been on the rise at cons. From what I could tell, he had quite a story to tell me, and a word of warning to match. “All throughout the wasteland, there've been these weird and outlandish creatures out there in the wasteland.. and I gotta say.. they look sort've like pre-war horses.. Ponies. But not the regular kind of pony, no..they sparkled all psychedelic like in color. I saw one drinking up water from the Potomac.. and I was -so- hungry, man..! So I lowered my assault rifle, caught it in my sights..and took the shot. I ate well that night..or so I thought. Eating it up like it were brahmin steak gave me the most wicked head rush.. One bite was more intense than any shot of jet I've -ever- had, and after finishing it.. I decided I had to have more! Every raider camp I saw, every town, every settlement, I'd roll through and raze to the ground looking for more in my perpetual high.. I was hooked, man, addicted. So do yourself a favor and do -not-, under any circumstances, try the same thing, friend. You see a psychedelic colored pony, -do not- consume of its flesh.. or you'll go completely insane like I did.” Life in the wasteland is oft violent, brutishly short, and rife with morbid goofiness. I will say I'd make a strange face every time I saw a My Little Pony cosplayer after that, though..

Of other cosplayers I met in passing fancy, there was a Mario that had gone around for a day, carrying little more than a “?” block that contained, to my surprise, a super mushroom. But this same Mario showed up on Saturday decked out with his very own Mario Kart, which consisted of little more than a card board construction painted up to look like an actual automobile that encased his entire torso. It was a pretty neat get up overall; I asked him if he'd give me a ride to the dealers room. He said “Sure thing,” but that we'd have to pass right through rainbow road to get there. While I enthusiastically replied “Sure thing!”, many passerby stated they'd rather jump off the world or face off against a deathclaw than chance a trek through rainbow road. I ran into him a couple times, on and off, here and there. He came off as pretty hilarious all in all, just like the real Mario would probably be.

It was, perhaps to my pleasant surprise, that I had managed to win over a few unexpected guests on my trek through the wasteland. Most notably Sailor Moon, who agreed to accompany me and my esteemed group in the next adventure. I couldn't help but comment, “It's not like we've got flashy, attractive anime-chicks back where I come from.. Only decent girls I can remember along the way were Amata and Nova, back in Megaton.” None of the fursuitors come Saturday were open to accompanying me as a replacement for dog meat, but I did meet one come Sunday who said she'd come.. While the others had been dogs, she was most definitely -not- of the canine variety, appearing to be something like a kangaroo. It didn't matter to me so long as she wasn't trying to claw my face off, though she was kind of on the quiet side of things. I've a soft spot for fellow furs, and I will profess I found her beauteous. With a hug and a few pictures, it was probably the best reward I could expect after a hard trek in the more desolate parts of the wasteland. I remember her only as “Boomer,” which seemed more a monicker than an actual name (from what I could gather from her fur-con badge.)

Of note; there were a few novelty trips I made along the way. I had gone to a professional photo shoot at room 120, I think it was? Though, I've got no idea whether or not those photographs would have been uploaded by now on any of the sites. I'd never done anything like that before, and figured I'd drop in for a visit after receiving an “invitation” of sorts (a card, dispensed from passerby.) Striking a few goofy poses in front of the expensive camera was interesting, to say the least. I went back to the Dealers room after that, but stepping out to leave through the side exit, I saw a booth advertising the services of a different sort. For a nominal fee, your image could be captured through means of a specialized camera, and you yourself could be made into a 3D image on the computer. They held in hand what looked like a Playstation 2 EyePet camera, just as I stood still and motionless on a platform, which would gradually rotate as one of the two would raise or lower the camera appropriately. It worked amazingly well, though, if not for my eyes. Wearing aviators at the time didn't help, as the program didn't know how to react, and so there are silvery splotches where my eyes would have been, only flat against my face instead of just beyond my eyes like in real life. The service was free, with options on purchasing the files for personal use at about $10. If I remember correctly, the focus of the little business the two fellows had set up was the novelty of having an action figure of yourself, based on the 3D model. If you're interested, look up forgestudio3d.com/ and check it out.

By and large, a lot of my daily activities centered on me wandering the length of the con floor top to bottom of the Hynes Convention Center, stopping occasionally to take pictures or to strike a dashing pose for one. Though, one recurring focus of mine that prompted a few trips to the gaming room was the improving of my fighting skill at Super Smash Brothers. As the Brawl and Melee tables were usually jam packed with hopefuls wanting to display their skill and mettle in the ring, I was basically regulated to the sparsely forgotten Nintendo 64 version. Comparatively, my “skills” rank best in the original, having the most over-the-top wins to my name, followed modestly by Melee. Brawl is..well, what it is, though a fellow carrying a “B-Mo” from Adventure Time introduced me to Project M, a balancing mod designed specifically for Project M. And, having tried it in the weeks between then and now, it works wonderfully at making Brawl much more playable, not to mention -fun-. Was even better to enjoy it at the convention.

While few, it was honestly just a good change of pace to see some familiar faces from years past. This was mostly in the form of some of the remnants from the Umbrella Special Forces (with others not in costume,) Solid Snake, a Spec-Ops operative, a cheery member of staff (Siefl,) and a few others along the way. I don't profess to be good with names, but I hardly ever forget a face, no matter how much time had elapsed..unless, of course, I had otherwise been preoccupied or tired at the time of our meeting the time before. Who's to say? We regaled over events of con's long past, including but not limited to the years events in kind. This went on throughout the four days time that I had been in Boston, Thursday through to Sunday, which in some ways felt far too short and at the same time, somewhat long and extended. It all came to an end much as it had begun for me; :iconmachinegunangel: 's booth had to be taken down come 3:30 in the later hours of Sunday afternoon, an obligation I was ready to meet with the help from present company permitting, carrying off all the materials to the car for easy transport out. By that point, ending ceremonies were over, and the con as an event had ended. I remember relishing the ending of the event in my lonesome as I sat at an absolutely massive (but empty) round table at Panera Bread, idly watching people as they'd walk by as though I were watching television. Was interesting to see their reactions as I was having at a bowl of “mirelurk bisque” (broccoli cheddar soup.) So ended the days experiences for Anime Boston, 2014.

Seeya next year, next con!

And a big shout out to :iconrickcressen:, :iconseasidehedgehog:, and :iconmachinegunangel:. Was fun running with you all at con, albeit brief and sporadic! Here's to next year!

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