Road2Gold

Hit the road with me as I aim for gold

10 Things You Should Know Before Going to Your First Con

So, friend, you have decided to head to your first con. That means you listened to my advice. Good job.

What? You’re nervous? You’re not sure how to prepare? Fret not, amigo! You will be just fine.

Here are some things you should know before attending your first convention:

1. Know what kind of convention you’re going to.

Before anything else, you must understand what kind of convention you are about to head to. It’s important because every con is different. Check out a few pictures or forums from last year’s con to get an idea of the expectations. Don’t forget to ask friends. Friends are always there to tell you what to bring, what to wear, etc.

2. You don’t have to cosplay.

Seriously, no one is going to judge you if you don’t cosplay. Especially campanimeyear1at bigger cons, people dress comfortably because wearing a gown or holding a giant sword in large crowds is not only annoying, but you or someone else could get injured or stabbed or stepped on.

I didn’t cosplay to my first con and I loved it. Did I feel out of place-ish? Kind of. Did I have fun? YES. Were there others not in costume?Absolutely! It’s all good, fam! Dress however you’d like!

3. Know the weapons policy.

This is a really important one. If you are cosplaying, and your costume has a potentially

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Swords!

dangerous or fake prop, know the weapons policy of the convention before you show up with your lightsaber. The weapons policy is usually found in the FAQ or Cosplay section of the con’s website. If you can’t find it, ask a friend. You don’t want to get stuck in a 2-hour weapon’s check line because you brought your foam sword instead of leaving it in the car.

4. Bring food.

I cannot stress this enough. Bring snacks. You are going to miss them. Sometimes they prohibit outside food, but sometimes they don’t. When you want to get your first and only bite to eat at the con and it’s $4 for a water, $7.50 for gross empty mozzarella sticks, and $8 for a lousy tuna sandwich, you’re going to wish you packed a granola bar in your bag.

5. Bring cash.

This is also important, because if you do not have cash, you will be bored. At bigger cons, tshirt.jpgsome panels and tournaments require an entry fee. Also, when meeting guests or celebrities, getting an autograph or a picture with the star can usually cost anywhere from $30-$200 (depending on who it is)!

Plus, if you see a T-Shirt or any other piece of merch that you find cool, and you think, “I NEED THIS NOW!” and you blew all your cash on empty mozzarella sticks and parking, you are going to kick yourself.

Merch ain’t cheap. Bring yer dough.

6. Take pictures, but try to ask first.

I know you are an upstanding individual who won’t take creepy photos of random people in cosplay without their permission, but some people do and it’s awkward. So, whoever is reading this: My gosh, man, don’t take pictures of people without asking!

Also, you’re going to want to treasure these memories forever. So go on! If you see a really cool cosplay, ask your friend to take a pic with the two of you and put it in a photo album.

7. Bring a friend.

kelmeWhen you’re at a con, never go by yourself. If you do, try to make new friends while you are there. Why? Because meandering around a convention without anyone to talk to, play games with, go to panels with, take pictures with, or cosplay with just isn’t fun! Trust me. I went to PAX alone and I didn’t last ten minutes by myself.

If you are cosplaying, when someone asks for a photo, you do not want to leave your bag unattended on the ground. That’s what friends are for: Holding stuff. (Totally kidding, but it’s definitely a plus.)

8. Bring a backpack.

Not a purse, not a little wallet, not even your deep-dish man pockets that can carry everything under the sun. Bring a good-sized bag to carry all the wonderful stuff you need and want. You don’t want to be stuck holding all the wonderful merch you just bought, or a jacket, or a poster FOR THE WHOLE DAY!

9. Meet people. 

hugging_animals_08Con-friends are those people you will see again and again and again. Think of it this way: You have something in common with every single person at this convention. Whether it’s NYCC, or CampAnime. Everybody came here because they love being a geek, nerd, otaku, etc. We all love the same things, we’re all passionate about who we are. So why not introduce yourself and trade usernames?

And, of course —

10. Have fun!

I know this one’s a “duh”, but I’m totally serious. Some people mope around cons because they are tired or bored, when there’s so much to do. If you need rest, take a seat, head back to your hotel to take a cat nap, but don’t get all angry or upset. Go to a cool panel, buy something awesome, take pictures, go for a walk, meet people, and my gosh– GO HAVE FUN! YOU’RE AT A CON!

Seriously, go.

Now.

Peace out, fam. I’ll see you at the next convention.

~#1kid

 

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A Little Help for My Friend – The New England Con Experience

So, friend, you want to go to conventions? Not sure where to start? New York Comic Con is gigantic, PAX is breathtakingly huge, and San Diego Comic Con is a distant dream out west… Not to mention you aren’t about to break your piggy bank to go to a convention.

What if I told you that there are also tiny cons, happy little trees that dot the East Coast and the entire world with their judgement-free, Pocky-filled nerdiness?

What if I told you that there are cons held on college campuses, created by nerdy/geeky college students just like you?

What if I told you that conventions are everywhere, and you just didn’t know about them yet?

I’m going to share a few of my favorites (big and small), what I love about them, and how you can get involved too! Let me know your favorites, or any good ones that I should check out.

 

Anime Conventions!

I especially love anime cons because no matter what, hardly anyone judges you. Conventions like Comic Con or PAX are fairly popular and mainstream, where people may (or may not) point at your homemade cosplay and laugh. You hardly see this at anime cons because everyone is trying their hardest and is fairly comfortable. You meet new friends, take pictures, attend some pretty great panels, and have an all around fun time. Here are a few famous favorites:

Anime Boston, held at the Hynes convention center in Boston, MA, is one of New England’s most popular anime cons. I personally have not been yet, but I hear it’s awesome (and busy!). Also, 2017 will be my first year going and I am PUMPED!

“Seriously, it’s a thing.” This gem of a convention is a family-friendly, all-ages, most-epic, never before seen, summer camp convention. You don’t have to like anime to come to CampAnime, you just have to be okay with having fun. CampAnime is my all-time favorite anime convention, and was actually my very first con I went to. You can read all about it on Road2Gold’s past posts.

  • And many, many more!

Comic Cons!

Comic cons are known for their incredible size and popularity. Of course, the bigger, most famous conventions featuring well-loved guests are mentioned in the news or are seen in our news feeds all the time. But a few smaller cons have sprung up all over the place. Comic cons usually aim toward the older crowd, along with sci-fi cons, but every con is different.

It’s huge. I’m not allowed to go because I will get so lost and squished I won’t be able to find my mom ever again.

RICC isn’t that big when compared to NYCC, creating a fun atmosphere with enough
bustle to keRICCGroupep you on your feet. Also, there are no chairs, but that’s beside the point. The cosplayers are friendly, no matter how advanced. While pricey, it’s a great con to grab a friend and spend the day looking at merch and meeting some cool guests.

 

  • And many more that I don’t know enough about!

Campus cons!

College and university campuses have their own conventions too! If you don’t have one near you, and you’re a college student, create a club/event at your school. They’re super fun, and really bring the college’s community together for a great time.

Held at UConn in Storrs, U-Con @ UConn is wicked awesome. All ages are welco
med to
join the group in late Feb/Early March, students and non-students, etc. I’ve been twice, and I’ve always had a blast. If you’d like more info, head to their Facebook group.

  • ConBust – Northampton, MA – March

Conbust is a small campus convention at Smith College in Northampton, conbust20MA. I went in 2016, and met up with some New England convention friends for a day of cosplaying and fun. With many guests and panelists to keep you busy, Saturdat wraps up with “One Dance to Rule Them All” and it’s pretty awesome.

 

 

Gaming conventions!

Everyone in the gaming community has an idea of how incred20170312_184157ible PAX is, but no one
knows its true beauty until they have actually gone. It’s different than any con I have ever been to. (*tears up* So much money and technological advances in one place.)

Last but not least, that one con that I don’t know how to categorize:

So evagentcarterery convention is built for all types of people, it’s hard to categorize. Connecticon is one of those conventions. Anime, gaming, sci-fi, comics, books — whatever you’re into. Connecticon’s got it. It’s a good size, with a variety of dealer’s, artists, photoshoots, panels, and activities. Hartford is pretty cool, too.

 

Honorable mentions

  • Another Anime Convention – I’ve heard fantastic things. It’s in New Hampshire. Manchester, NH – October
  • Bakaretsu Con – One of the very few Vermont conventions. I hear is pretty epic. Colchester, VT – October
  • Katsucon – Not really anywhere near me, but it’s huge and very popular and everyone all around the East Coast goes to it. National Harbor, MD – February

There’s a con for everyone, and frankly, the only way to truly know what kind of cons you’re into is to GO TO ALL OF THEM! Seriously, go to maybe three a year, visit the small ones, meet some people, maybe try a big con once in a while. You’re going to have a blast. Trust me.

Have fun!

~#1kid

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Atmospheric Pressure – A Bad Season

Hey, people. Welcome back to the club.

 

This 2015-2016 Winter Season was quite strange, awkward, and, well, bad.

Every day, every practice, every meet – Something was missing. It all felt wrong. Even my mom noticed the atmosphere of the swim meets felt off, like we were just going through the motions.

We all have those seasons, the ones where you get home from a meet and ask “What the heck is wrong with me?” because you feel that you didn’t perform as well as you wanted to. It happens.

However, we can’t continue like this during the next season. We have to get down to the source of our problem. We do indeed have to ask what went wrong, what is affecting our performance, and how we can fix it.

Now starting the Summer season, I know I have to get back on my feet as soon as I can if I’m going to make any progress.

Until next time –

 

~#1kid

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Seven Must-Do’s for Couple Cosplayers

Hello, Goldies, I’m back with more tales of adventure!

So many of you already know that I like to go to cons and cosplay. Well, I had the incredible and adorable opportunity to do a couple cosplay with someone besides my brother.

I cosplayed Asuna from Sword Art Online, and the bae cosplayed Kirito. Yes, the biggest ship in the anime industry (well maybe not, but I think so.)

Without further ado, here are 7 MUST-DO’s for couple cosplayers. Spoken from experience.

1)Take pictures.

Okay this one is obvious. What’s a cosplay without pictures. You’re going to have people constantly asking you, “Can I take your picture? You guys are sooo cute!!!” And so you have to be all cute for ten seconds and smile… or be epic.

  • Take cute pictures – Because you’re a couple. You have to be adorable.

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  • Take epic pictures – Those in-character pictures that are all dramatic and super cool-looking.
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  • Take selfies… lots of selfies. – What’s a cosplay without selfies?

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2) Hug.

People think it’s cute, apparently. More photo ops.

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3) Help each other out.

I speak from experience – You both are cosplaying, and you both need some help with the cosplay sometimes. If you’re cool with it, help each other out once in awhile. My Kirito had some serious wig problems every time he started headbanging to a song. It made for some very interesting wig-styling pictures.

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4) Look at your merch.

I mean, you’re at a con! You’re bound to find some merchandise related to your cosplay. Maybe grab a souvenir, or just look at it.

5) Find your people.

Look for your fandom. Hetalians and Homestucks are hard to miss. If you find your tribe of weirdness, you might be able to do a group cosplay photoshoot, and those are pretty cool!

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6) Play the Pocky game.

If you’ve heard of the Pocky game, good. If you haven’t, just think Lady and the Tramp pasta scene… with chocolate covered biscuit sticks.

And of course…

7) Just kiss.

If you’re not cosplaying with your brother, just kiss. You’ll be in-character anyways.

Soooo that’s a wrap. Have you ever done a couple cosplay before? Share in the comments below.

See you guys next time! 😀

(Con photo creds go to my friend Emma (@EmmaBird2015), and the bae <3. Special thanks to Conbust and the students at Smith College for the opportunity to experience this con and campus!)
~#1kid  

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Seven Things that Young Swimmers Should Know

Over seven years ago, I tried out for my local swim team. Having been afraid to put my face in the water for so long, I was nervous and intimidated by not being allowed to hold my nose.

Somehow, I held my breath, and made the team.

The lowest, group, the back of the pack, the kids that somehow made it.

I learned that if you simply follow directions, you get promoted into the higher groups. Following directions that coaches give is a simple task, and they actually help you get faster.

So I got promoted into the next group, and the group after that, and the group after that. Until five years went by and I was in the second to highest group.

However, with higher groups comes older swimmers. And with older swimmers comes cliques, and drama. You might remember at the beginning of my blogging career my frustration about cliques. I struggled a lot.

Looking back, I wish I knew some simple tips to help me get through these roller coasters of swimming drama, emotional and physical difficulties, and the want to give up.

1: No matter how much you want to pass the person in front of you, focus on your technique.

I know you reeeeally want to be the leader of the group, and be the person that the coaches and other swimmers see as the Big Cheese, but think about this: The more you focus on your technique, the faster you will be. So don’t speed through those drills, work at them until you’ve mastered the stroke. Speed is for races, and practice is not a race. It’s practice, and practice makes perfect.

2. Stretch before practices and races.

Stretching can save you from an injury. I wish I stretched as much as I do now back when I was younger. I could have prevented a shoulder injury.

3. Just because the big kids are fast, doesn’t mean they are the coolest people on the planet.

Truth is, we’re just like you. Just because we’re above the age of 13 doesn’t mean we have immediate awesomeness. A big mistake that I made was I looked up to the older kids, and followed every single thing that they did. Unfortunately, they weren’t very nice, and mistook “niceness” for athletic talent. It’s okay to take notes of the experienced technique during practice, but please don’t play into the drama. You’ll be a kinder, wiser, and happier swimmer. 🙂 I once heard Olympic Medalist Emily Silver say, “A happy swimmer is a fast swimmer.” 

4. We are all swimmers… No matter where we are from.

Something that baffled me as a kid was the rivalry between my team and another. I grew up competing in dual meets, and most of the time, there was a sudden and random distaste for the swimmers on the other team. Here’s a bit of advice: Go talk to the other team. If you’re at a home meet, make them feel welcome.

You’re all here to swim. You all love this sport. You all have something in common, so finding a topic shouldn’t be that hard. It could be as simple as, “Hey, are you swimming the 100 free too?” or “What’s your favorite Swimfishstroke?” You’d be surprised at how many friends you make during one swim meet. We’re all fish in the sea, so go make some friends.

5. Get up and cheer. 

In my team, we always cheered during the final relays. We didn’t want to, but we had to. It wasn’t until I was a little older that I learned the importance of cheering.

Picture this: You’re stand up to the blocks, and you look to your teammates and they’re all buried in whatever musings they brought to pass the time. (Phone, 3DS, book, patty cake with a friend) Or maybe you’re on your last lap and you feel like crying because you’re trying as hard as you can, and no one is cheering. How does that make you feel? Not very good. Swim meet

So support your teammates by cheering for them. You can even cheer for the new friend you made from the other team (see #4). Coaches and swimmers take note of that, and realize that you have sportsmanship, and as an athlete, sportsmanship is a priority.

6. Love this sport. There is nothing else like it on the planet.

Swimming is a beautiful, dangerous, graceful, and grueling sport. Some people don’t even consider it a sport! Pay no mind to them, and understand this: You must swim. Not because your parents force you to, or because it’s good for your health (which it is), but swim because you love it. Feel the water, smell the chlorine, and love what you do. There is nothing else like it. 😉

7. Whatever you do, don’t give up.

I have known plenty of swimmers that quit swimming because of something like school, friends, or lack of interest. If you don’t want to swim or you don’t like swimming, then I understand. But if you think this sport is too hard, and you’re feeling really discouraged, don’t give up. You’ll be thankful that you didn’t. I’m being totally serious here! If you have an injury, modify your workouts so you can get better. Continue to love to swim. Like I said in #5, you must swim.

So, kiddo, now that I’ve told you these little tips, go have fun and swim.

Your friend,

#1kid

 

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The 200 Individual Medley and Nachos

Hello, friends!

Now that the swim season is in full swing, I wanted to share a little bit of insight for my friends here.

If you have just recently aged out of the “11-12” age group, you are expected to perform better and swim faster and, of course, swim longer races. This means you have a few short weeks to polish up your stroke and improve your endurance before your first meet.

You won’t be able to swim the 50 Fly anymore, kiddo. Welcome to the big kid pool.

But don’t be afraid of it. The 200 IM isn’t that bad. Think about it this way, you swim plenty of 200 IM’s in practice, so why can’t you do it once in a swim meet in which you are well-rested and full of energy?

I had a terrible mentality about the bigger races when I aged up. I used the excuse of injury to switch to a breaststroker in hopes that I would altogether avoid doing the 200 IM! I was by no means great at the Breaststroke, but I figured if I got better at it, I wouldn’t have to swim the Butterfly.

ButterflyBut in my heart, I was a true Butterflyer. Ever since I was 9, it’s been my stroke. (See pic of me many years ago) So what ended up happening? Well, I was already good at the fly and the free, and my breaststroke was forced to improve because of injury, so that left Backstroke. Still, I didn’t want to do the 200 IM.

Then, for the sake of the long, boring meets and watching everyone else do it, I decided to enter into the 200 Meter IM.

Truthfully, I loved it. It’s now one of my favorite events to swim.

Everyone’s going to have their strengths and weaknesses. We’re all going to have to train harder to fix those weaknesses. But how can you find what your weaknesses are if you’re too afraid to try the task? A chef won’t be able to realize that his nachos aren’t spicy enough if he’s too afraid to make nachos in the first place. Similarly, a chef won’t realize how amazing his nachos are if he’s nervous about how they’ll turn out!

Don’t be like the nacho chef. Do the 200 IM. If you find yourself falling behind on a certain stroke, you now know what you have to work on! Then, guess what! You’ll drop time. You’ll win. You’ll feel stronger. Your age won’t matter anymore.

Take it from me. 😉

Just keep swimming, peeps!

#1kid

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It’s possible to Diet and be a Swimmer

Hey, welcome back!!

Since I’m older now, my mom and I have been looking at colleges. Now, I’m not very tall. 5’3” AND A HALF to be exact. (can’t forget that half) Most swimmers are about six feet, so that puts me at a disadvantage.

So this summer, I had to buckle down and lose some weight so I could drop the seconds off my time. There were times I had to say “NO EVEN THOUGH I REALLY WANT THAT COOKIE, I ALSO REALLY WANT TO BREAK 1:03 IN THE 100 FREE”. I had to think, “What do I want more? This cookie, or this victory?”

The victory made more sense.

Although, cookies ARE pretty good, they’re not a priority… 🙂

As a swimmer, I have to eat a lot of calories to burn during my workouts. 900 Calories a practice is a lot! That does not mean 900 calories of mac and cheese, but I’ve learned the magic food is this:

Chicken.

It makes the world go round.

If you’re on a diet, and you find yourself watching BuzzFeed Food pizza chip dip videos (like me), think about why you started the restriction in the first place. Are you trying to fit into a dress? Or are you like me, trying to perform well in something?

Whatever it is, don’t give up. 😉 I know, it’s hard. Pizza chip dip is pretty yummy. But wait. Feeling lighter in the water is way better than temporary yumminess.

Something that really helped me was drinking water. If I got full on drinking water, I didn’t want to eat. So it’s a win win. I’ve also heard it’s good for your skin.

Stay thirsty, my friends. I do not own this cat or this meme franchise

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The Summer Season

Okay, so I know the season ended a while ago, but since it was such an exciting experience, I wanted to tell you all about it!

The first meet went pretty well. We swam at a Division 1 college in the 50 meter pool. I had never done something like that, and it was my first time swimming 50 meters instead of yards. It was different, but really exciting.

My events were the 50m free, 100m free, 200m IM, and the 100m Breast. This was also my first time swimming the 200 IM EVER in a meet! As it turns out, I didn’t do that bad. After all, I had only been practicing for a week, as it was very early in the season.

After that, I swam at another college in my state, and surprised myself AGAIN in the 50m pool. I dropped TEN SECONDS in my 200m IM, and I couldn’t wait to tell my coaches when I saw them next. They were surprised. So much so that they put me in the 200 IM on my own team.

At Rec Championships, I swam the 200 yd IM. I placed fifth, and I got a best time 🙂

In my 100 free, my coaches and I have been trying really hard to drop my time to break 1:04. I am pleased to say that I broke that time with a shocking 1:03.58!! That’s a total of 2:06 seconds!

This past week, I’ve been preparing for the next season. Through watching videos of Olympic races, I’ve learned that the race could be in one person’s favor, but another person can come up from behind and win by .01! We can’t give up. We can’t slow down. No matter where we are in that race, we have to keep going.

I do not own this photo

But the best part of the summer season was the people that I got to chill with. I felt so welcomed into both USS and Rec this year, it was incredible. Now, I’ve had some problems with my peers, and I’ve blogged a little bit about it over the years, but this season was different. Walking into a meet and people saying “Audg! You’re here! Hi!” and giving you a big hug is like:

I felt encouraged and welcomed into the clan of people that I call my friends. They support me, and I shall try my hardest to support them in their races and goals. I learn so much from them, and have been many times I’ve said “DUDE HOW DO YOU GO THAT FAST??”

So, my friends, keep going. You got this. 🙂

Have you ever had a time when you had to force yourself to keep going? Is that time now?

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.” -1 Cor 9:24

~#1kid

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On That Happy Note

Hello, friends,

Many moons ago, I spoke of a goal that blossomed into an opportunity last summer. This opportunity was swimming in the State Games of America 2015.

So what happened?

My wallet happened. The plane ticket was quite a bit of money that I couldn’t afford.

But here’s the cool thing:

My first USS Swim Meet went really well. So well that I really want to continue.

The first USS meet went like this:100Free1

Me: Whoa look at all these people!

Me: They’re really tall.

Me: Oh, man, there are 87 people in my event.

Me: Well, I’m not gonna win.

Me: Hey, how are you?

Person: I’m good!

FRIENDSHIP HAPPENS! 😀

So the lesson was this: There is nothing more exciting than meeting someone that shares your passion. I’m used to the people on my team complaining about how they don’t want to be there. Well, let me tell you this, THESE PEOPLE WANTED TO BE THERE. They signed up for it, they wanted it, and they love what they do! The atmosphere was so different than that of what I was used to, I went home so elated that I ate apple pie!

I shall be back to talk about the first meet of the summer season!

~#1kid

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Happy Blogiversary!!!

Today marks the anniversary of this blog! It’s been three years! (wow)

Thank you all for sticking with me for all this time!

Hugs

~#1kid

pikachu-birthday

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