With the Sun at My Back

Dearest Rachel – It may not the most efficient way to travel, or the most glamorous, but it gets the job done. The old Irish blessing is that the wind should be at your back, rather than the sun. That way, you can be propelled along by the breeze, speeding you to your destination withContinue reading “With the Sun at My Back”

It’s Not Them…

Dearest Rachel – “It’s not you, it’s me.” It’s amazing to realize you never heard those words directed at you, but I know it to be true. You never dated anyone – indeed, you never considered dating (although you admitted to having a handful of childhood crushes back in the day) – until I cameContinue reading “It’s Not Them…”

The Last Masque

Dearest Rachel – When I used to do those convention reports to be posted to the Fanfiction Mailing List way back when – some twenty years ago, you might recall – I would take pages of notes as each entrant strode across the stage. Most of the names meant nothing to me or you, sinceContinue reading “The Last Masque”

So Many Things, So Little to Tell

Dearest Rachel – It’s already more than halfway into the day, and it feels like I should be sending you a note about how things have been going. After all, I’ve been keeping reasonably busy since waking up; responding to emails from an artist I am hoping to commission (despite being told that his queueContinue reading “So Many Things, So Little to Tell”

Snippets From the First Night

Dearest Rachel – I try to limit myself to no more than four letters in any given day to you; however, there are so many little things that happen at a convention that are worthy of comment, and there’s no one to comment to anymore. So I’m just gonna put together a collection of paragraphsContinue reading “Snippets From the First Night”

Brill-Ain’t

Dearest Rachel – I know that you can’t be expected to know about all the books in my library, any more than I could about yours (until Jan and I had to go through it all, and decide what I was likely to read or not and treat accordingly). However, you might recall that I’veContinue reading “Brill-Ain’t”

Still A Little Too Soon

Dearest Rachel – it’s funny how things work out sometimes. When I wrote to you earlier this morning, I was already concerned that I would not be there when I was told that the registration booth for sponsors would be opening up. In fact, I was late by well over an hour. And yet, whenContinue reading “Still A Little Too Soon”

Cartoon Brigadoon

Dearest Rachel – I know that true otaku tend to take offense at their precious anime being referred to as ‘cartoons’; it’s the mark of an uncultured philistine to not recognize the distinction between the two very different art forms (or, more to the point, their styles). Only someone who didn’t ‘get it’ would callContinue reading “Cartoon Brigadoon”

Strictly Unofficial

Just walk in like you own the place. It always works for me. Pick a Doctor, any Doctor; I’m sure each of them has said something like this to a companion or two Dearest Rachel – It’s a weird experience, arriving at the convention nearly a full day before everything starts. Just about everything isContinue reading “Strictly Unofficial”

How the Pendulum Swings

Dearest Rachel – So, I’m on my way to Iowa for this year’s anime convention. Call me pessimistic, but this may very well be for the last time. To think that, back in 2019, we were considering joining the Mindbridge community as part of the volunteer staff in the future for the convention. We nowContinue reading “How the Pendulum Swings”

The End of the Road

Dearest Rachel – I’m beginning to wonder if my running shoes should have come with an odometer, or some other means to indicate when I’ve gotten to the end of their useful life. They still cover and protect my feet from the elements, both above and beneath, but I can feel the difference in supportContinue reading “The End of the Road”

Up Too Soon

Dearest Rachel – After two days of mostly threatening – or outright raining – the sun is what comes pouring into our room… at 6:30 in the morning. Much as I’d like to sleep in that much longer, that’s just not going to be in the cards. You’d have probably gotten up this early yourselfContinue reading “Up Too Soon”

It Wasn’t That Important

Dearest Rachel – I can’t remember which year it was – after a certain point, they all tend to blur together, I’m afraid – but there was one other year that we couldn’t get a room in time at one of the four hotels surrounding the convention center (i.e., the Hyatt, the Hilton, the EmbassyContinue reading “It Wasn’t That Important”

No Choice But to Continue

Dearest Rachel – You would probably be pleased note I stayed awake during the entire two hour run of Anime Hell; no need for you to nudge me awake as I nodded off (a good thing, since you weren’t there to do so – I know now how those folks we would always see scatteredContinue reading “No Choice But to Continue”

Nerd Prom

Dearest Rachel – It never fails. You’d think that the convention would fill up the entirety of the Hyatt, where everything is based out of (or at least was, back in the old days. Nowadays, I suppose the convention center proper is the real hub for all the goings-on). Considering that the event books upContinue reading “Nerd Prom”

Milling About of a Midday… Maskless

Dearest Rachel – I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting that Daniel would have a lot of fun here in any event, given the restrictions that they seem to have in their rules and regulations. But so far, that doesn’t seem to have been nearly as bad as we feared. The only real problem he seemsContinue reading “Milling About of a Midday… Maskless”

Life in Escrow

“Do you have any brothers and sisters?”“Well, I have a big sister, a little brother, and we have a baby in escrow.”“In escrow?”“That’s how daddy describes it when it seems like it’s never going to come out.” Art Linkletter and a candid guest, as taken from Kids Say the Darnedest Things Dearest Rachel – Sometimes,Continue reading “Life in Escrow”

I Should Be Panicking

Dearest Rachel – By this time tomorrow, if all goes well today, I’ll be driving the boys and myself off to Rosemont for the first Anime Central in three years. There are so many things to take care of before hand – both the usual things, like packing and shopping and such, and some not-so-usualContinue reading “I Should Be Panicking”

No Substitute

Dearest Rachel – You know, if you were still here, I wouldn’t have anything to do with social media. It’s just no substitute for the real thing. But you aren’t, and I do. It’s not ideal, but you work with what you’re given. I was woken up this morning at twenty to six by theContinue reading “No Substitute”

Are These ‘My’ People? Am I ‘Theirs’?

Dearest Rachel – So, last night was spent online with the group of VIP chatters from PJMedia. It’s another of my many efforts to kickstart a social life, now that mine no longer revolves around you, what with you being gone and all that. The strange thing is, I didn’t get involved in it forContinue reading “Are These ‘My’ People? Am I ‘Theirs’?”

Stuck With It

Dearest Rachel – It’s one of those things that you used to keep on top of because I couldn’t be trusted to do so myself. And sure enough, I botched it this year, just like you might expect. In my defense, the window is so small, I could hardly be expected to squeeze through. Although,Continue reading “Stuck With It”

from Rachel: Created to Become Like Christ

“May 14 “Just when I had almost caught up, I come to two days too full to do more than read a page or two. Wednesday included a trip to the DMV and finishing my last BSF lesson. Thursday was my next-to-last BSF day, and then getting ready for the weekend because ACen begins today!Continue reading “from Rachel: Created to Become Like Christ”

Still A Pariah

Dearest Rachel – This last day or so have, emotionally speaking, been like riding on a pendulum – perhaps on one of those cuckoo clocks this country is so famous for. Even as news begins to trickle in to me, suggesting that there might be a way for me to get out sooner than IContinue reading “Still A Pariah”

The Return Trip

God, grant us strength todayAs we go our separate ways.Though we do not know quite when,Shield us ’til we meet again. me, this morning Dearest Rachel – And so it goes, as they say in Tralfamadore. It’s time (and past time, compared to almost everyone else) to return to life as usual… whatever that isContinue reading “The Return Trip”

One Last Task

Dearest Rachel – And so it ends. As I said, the convention always ends on an anti-climax. Not with a bang, but a whimper, just like the end of the world. But there’s always something that needs doing, and since we always contemplated the idea of doing… something… it falls to me one more timeContinue reading “One Last Task”

Il Faut Manger

Dearest Rachel – This letter is running concurrent with the previous one, because there are that many impossible things to do at the moment. All I’m doing at this point is waiting for the marketplace to open, and then I’ll be going to breakfast. ‘One must eat,’ after all… The contrast between last night andContinue reading “Il Faut Manger”

A Few Impossible Things Before Breakfast

Dearest Rachel – Normally, the two of us would be scrambling to get everything put together and out to the car before we headed out to the sponsor brunch. this was basically because we needed to check out by noon, and we would probably barely be finished with brunch by then. Not because we ateContinue reading “A Few Impossible Things Before Breakfast”

Commercial Break

Dearest Rachel – As crass as I consider it to be to acknowledge it most of the time, everything in life floats upon a sea of money. Very little in life gets done until someone gets paid – or at least is given a promise that they will. Everything costs something… no free lunch, andContinue reading “Commercial Break”

Missing Dawn

Dearest Rachel – After pausing wonderingly through a vision in which I meet Sylvester McCoy (who greets me warmly and asks if I’m ‘still at that charming place,’ which I take to mean our house. He talks about it in glowing terms, as if he’s seen it, but appears unaware that you’re no longer withContinue reading “Missing Dawn”

AI After Dark

Dearest Rachel – One of the places they suggested at the volunteer desk last night that I could serve at is outside certain panel rooms, checking people for IDs. After all, while AnimeIowa has traditionally billed itself as a family friendly convention, there are plenty of subjects (and anime) that aren’t meant for children. AsContinue reading “AI After Dark”

Behind the Table

Dearest Rachel – More stories from the convention: The recharge room was virtually empty – which apparently has been the idea the whole time, go figure! – so, with no one to speak of to hang out with, I find myself making my way back down to the volunteer booth. The gal down there givesContinue reading “Behind the Table”

Amblin’ About

Dearest Rachel – Sorry to disappoint you, but this entry isn’t going to be about old Steve Spielberg’s film studio – not even the bit about the Animaniacs, as much as we might have loved them. This is an anime convention, after all. None of this American garbage here, now. This was supposed to beContinue reading “Amblin’ About”

Morning in an Empty Hotel Room

Dearest Rachel – It’s Friday morning, just a little after seven (which means I’ve actually slept in after last night, to be honest). I’m awake, and it’s long before anything is supposed to start here at the convention. And there’s only so long I can convince myself that you’re downstairs, taking a dip in theContinue reading “Morning in an Empty Hotel Room”

Checking In and Checking Out

Dearest Rachel – It’s about 8 o’clock when I get here. The road leading up to the hotel is much more built-up; several new restaurants – and an arena, of all things! – line the area. It seems, too, that my idea of being here on Thursday isn’t unique to me. The parking lot –Continue reading “Checking In and Checking Out”

Always One More Thing

Dearest Rachel – Now that you’ve been gone for all this time, I guess it falls to me to pull the “just one more thing” routine before heading out on a trip. Bear in mind, I was in no hurry to leave today – and I’m still not. Kris was coming over to clean, andContinue reading “Always One More Thing”

The Wide and Lonesome Road

Dearest Rachel – Look, this is not the proof-of-concept, can-I-travel-on-my-own venture that you might think it would be. After all, I’ve driven more or less nonstop to Tennessee earlier this year, and that was twice the distance and length as this trip. I’ve said it before, but it needs to be reiterated; it’s not thatContinue reading “The Wide and Lonesome Road”

Dreams of Future Passed

Dearest Rachel – To say that the events of the past few years have upended my plans would be rather a gross understatement. Hey, look, kids, check it out – it’s the latest installment of the adventures of Marvel’s newest superhero, Captain Obvious! Or would he be a DC type of character? I don’t know…Continue reading “Dreams of Future Passed”