2014 In Review!


What a year. Let me start off by saying that this was, by far, the most eventful year I’ve ever had. I’ve been everywhere, seen everything, met everyone… there was no end to the madness. So many things happened all at once, and so many things happened for a reason. Let’s see what you all may or may not have missed this year with me…

Q1 (January – March): Matsuri Extravaganza!
With my oldest cousin getting married (and having not one, but several important parts in the ceremony) at the beginning of January, it was the first time in 4 years I’ve ever touched a violin. It was an interesting experience, coming from a rusty violin player trying to remember how to correctly hold a bow, to almost re-composing “Marry You” by Bruno Mars just to play down the aisle. It was a beautiful, fun ceremony that would remain in our memories. College started back up by the time the end of January rolled around and I got started on my Senior Project, with no undue amounts of stress. In the world of music, my solo album was just about half way done with 6 songs written and recorded, and some new Persona Covers get released. Anime started with a nice touch with Nisekoi and Chuunibyou 2, Haruhi, also following up with Golden Time (which I never finished) and a couple of other anime. February saw my first trip to DC of the year (paid) to company I currently work for to tour their offices. It also was the month where I spent Valentine’s day with one of my best friends at a tea bar, trading information on various anime. March saw my senior project fall into crisis, as components and schedule started to fall and break, as well as the most awesome spring break ever. It consisted of my last trip to the Rodeo, driving around like maniacs with my cousin, and Anime Matsuri 2014.

Anime Matsuri 2014 in Review-
This marks my 4th Anime Convention, and the first one without my Cosplayer-in-crime (who suddenly moved to Dallas). I did find a couple group of friends: a video gaming group, and a cosplaying group. Now, onto the specifics…

Venue: This year’s Matsuri doubled in venue size, taking up three floors and almost the entire convention center. It was spacious, enormous, and airy. The dealer’s room was marvolously spaced out and easy to walk around. Now… not everything was obviously marked, making the convention extremely difficult to navigate. Hell, I spent half the time trying to figure out where everything was and at what time, only to find out I missed it. They could have done better with navigation and timing. 6/10
Panels: To the few I’ve made it to, I found them to be pretty informative. Then again, due to the venue issue, some events were straight up cancelled, irking a large amount of my friends. 7/10
Events: I think the event that capped my weekend at the George R. Brown Convention Center was the Nightmare concert, and the opening band featuring the one and only Johnny Young Bosch. The energy throughout was almost equal to mayhem and I was certain I may have started a few moshpits. It was a fun concert, and one that I’ll remember next to the Dir En Grey double-header back in November 2013. 9/10
People/Staff: Oh, the staff… they either didn’t know what was going on, or what to do regarding the issues with the venue. Whoever was the event manager should reevaluate their performance as the entire staff was riddled with problems. Now, I’ll give the event staff the benefit of the doubt as they literally could do nothing on their end, but the big picture was the con was not managed very well. On the other hand, the con goers were interesting (as always). Some people were nice, some people were assholes; I’ve met a lot of people, and made some friends as well. 6/10
Overall Experience: Despite the problems marred by event management, I actually had a fun time. Hanging out with friends and meeting new people that share the same interests as you, as well as blowing money on all the art and merch you want and learning even a couple of new things about the Anime Universe. So if things improve, I hope they’ll have an even more successful year. 8/10
Overall Score: 7.2/10

Q1 was eventful, but not as eventful as the next one…

Q2 (April – June): End of an Era, Beginning of a New Chapter
When April rolled around, it brought a number of things: the end to my disasterous senior project, tying loose ends with the university, a mad dash to get a missing credit. On top of that, I got to go on a second trip to DC to pick out my apartment, finishing up my solo album in what could be described as the most mad dash of 6 songs in the history of songwriting. I added a 4-string bass and a 7-string guitar to my arsenal. I finally dove into some big-name anime around this time, mainly Attack on Titan, and my favorite: Mahouka no Koukou Rettousei.

One achievement that I was proud of at this time was the release of my solo album. It was a year and of a half of writing, recording, mixing, the works. It all came together rather spontaneously and influenced by to what I was listening to at the time which was Metal, Video Game OSTs, J-Rock/J-Pop. I can’t say it’s a technical album, but it was full of raging emotions and sorrows. The music was some of the most layered sounds I’ve ever achieved, with sounds so intense, it stirrs up some of the deepest emotions. I went into this album thinking “I want to move heartstrings, not guitar strings.” This opened the mind to creativity by sound and not how fast I could move my fingers up and down the neck of the guitar. Guitar to me is an instrument to get my point across, same with the bass, the mic, the drums, and the synth. A guitarist may want to impress the masses by riff and shred; a songwriter wants to impress the masses by how many people they can empathize with them. There is no need to be technical, but creative.

Of course, nothing beats graduating from college, with Cum Laude honors no less. Waiting with my college friends, walking across the stage, being welcomed by my closest friends and family… it was a day to remember. I am truly thankful to those who stood by me those four years I went through college hell, put me down when I was too high, and bringing me up when I was at my lowest.

I also got the chance to visit the other side of Mexico, in Cabo. Turned out, there was another wedding in which one of my older cousins from California was getting married.

Q3 (July – September): A New Life
I moved to Virginia, packing my whole life in two cars, and moving to somewhere where I didn’t know a single soul. It was an interesting experience meeting a load of new people, getting in on the happy hours, the events, and everything else. Even then, I chose to branch out and visit another con (2 in the span of 4 months!). Music-wise, there was no way I could record vocals anymore without spending $500 to go into the studio. I started branching out from the usual Persona material and started doing OPs and EDs from anime I’ve watched. This was when I started watching more anime by the truckload, even subscribing to Crunchyroll and other sites. FanFiction saw the birth of my 2nd Persona story: a novelization of Persona 4: Golden with a twist. I debuted a new cosplay for Persona. I’ve convinced myself I had no social life, taken up by a bunch of hobbies to keep me busy. I even joined several Persona groups, one dedicated to cosplay!

Speaking of the Con I went to in August, it was Otakon in Baltimore.

Otakon 2014 in Review-
This marks my 5th Anime Convention, and the first one where I didn’t know a single person who went. So, I met a bunch of people πŸ˜›

Venue: Of course, the venue was the same as last year, and it was just as crowded (not that it was a problem). The ticketing situation Thursday night was a bit stressful by my tardiness due to traffic on Interstate 495/95, but it couldn’t be helped. 8/10
Panels: I found the panels to be very enjoyable, especially the Light Novel Translations, Visual Novels, and the Persona panel. 9/10
Events: I spent the entire time with a group who did photoshoots, so I didn’t go to very many events, but the crowds for those events were the same as always. 8/10
People/Staff: Compared to Matsuri earlier this year, I found the people and the staff to be enjoyable a like. The Persona cosplaying group I hung out with were some of the most open people I’ve ever been with. Kudos to you, guys! 10/10
Overall Experience: This was even more fun than the Otakon I went to last year, created new social links, and got pictures taken. I’d say this is my favorite convention of all. 10/10
Overall Score: 9/10

So as September rolled around, I voluntarily stuffed myself into my company’s product training. It was just as stressful, if not more stressful than anything I’ve experienced in college, but it was a fun experience. I made new friends, connections, and it just overall opened many doors.

Q4 (October – December): Missing Home
Halloween season rolled around and I went to my first EDM concert. Sad to say, it still didn’t change my opinion on the genre to be just a mish-mash of incomprehensible noise. I still wonder to this day why people flock to this genre, especially with the new thing called “Trap Music” breaking waves on the radio. Unsurprisingly, I have the same opinion on Djent in the metal world.

It was quiet during November, as I quietly slaved away at the mix of my cover of Minori Chihara’s song “Mukai Kaze ni Utarenagara” for over 2 months. Needless to say, it was the only cover I was not proud of and wished I could redo. Then, I packed my bags to fly back home for the first time in 6 months. With the impending snowstorm, I decided to GTFO the night before, with my flight landing close to 1 in the morning much to my brother’s and aunt’s chagrin. I did come home to fanfare and red carpets, and an escatic group of family and friends. December was another quiet one the first couple of weeks with the launch of this blog and solidifying the schedule for 2015, with another flight back home for the holidays.

All and all, it was an amazing year full of surprises and achievements. I got to experience something new, something difficult, and something worthwhile. I’ve made countless friends, connections, and the likes. Overall, 10/10 for 2014. Let’s see if 2015 holds strong. πŸ˜€

– damus1cmahn out!~


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