Katsucon is tough. Yes, I’ve been attending on and off throughout the years since the late 90’s… but it’s always at the beginning of February which is cold as hell! It’s almost always overlapping with Valentine’s day/weekend which is annoying. It also happens adjacent to MagFest which I’ve wanted to go to but couldn’t justify going to conventions two weekends in a row.


This year I went to Katsucon with Taz, Tony and Tony’s fiance Ashley. For the most part, I did things with Taz which was probably for the best since every time we met up with Tony he only had negative things to say. If we saw a cosplayer Tony took the opportunity to point out things he didn’t like about their costume and then still asked for a photo – what a dick. Anything we saw, liked, or purchased Tony took the time to say “Why don’t you just print out copies at home?” or “How much did that cost?” instead of simply keeping his mouth shut or pointing out something he liked about it. Even though Taz and I came away with differing opinions of some of the things we saw, we still had a great time.


Vertical Comics

Taz and I got to the Vertical Comics panel a little late, but still caught a bunch of good stuff. The highlight of the panel was the strangely awkward and hilarious interview with Ninja Slayer creator Philip Morzez. I wasn’t sure whether to pull the trigger on Ninja Slayer after that but Taz did. I’ll have to catch up with him on whether he likes it. The ones I saw that looked interesting were The Gods Lie, Wolfsmund, Abandoned Sacred Beasts, The Book of Human Insects, and Junji Ito’s Dissolving Classroom. I really hope they do a hardcover for the Ito book!


This webcomics panel was actually insanely good! As a casual webcomic reader, it was interesting to hear about how these writers and artists do their work. They covered everything from what budding webcomics writers should study in school, to what tools to use to publish webcomics online, how to promote their content, etc. The author of The Devil’s Panties shared quite a bit and was very informative and funny! The guys from The Guilded Age were pretty funny and had some great insight as well. As a kid that grew up on Katsucon wasting time doing stuff like playing games and watching anime in the video rooms I suddenly realized how much I’ve missed over the years. My goal with future conventions is to try more panels!

Merchants Room

I ended up spending a lot of time in the merchants’ room. There were the usual things like DVDs, BluRays, figures and such, but the standouts were the merchants selling things they made themselves. From leather workers, artists, costumers, prop and weapon makers, to custom pen and timepiece makers, there were tons of things to look at. I ended up picking up a Gundam figure which I’ll be working on as I get time in the coming weeks, Fist of the North Star for the NES, and a handmade pen.

Pens & More

I met up with this interesting guy, Robert Wierbinski, out of Indiana who is an RN and hand makes pens as a hobby. He has engineered a number of mechanisms for exposing the ball point and demonstrates masterful craftsmanship. I ended up picking one up made out of a bullet casing that uses a bolt action mechanism for exposing the ball point. It also has a circuit board inlaid around the barrel. If you’re looking for something one of a kind you should look him up. #pen #katsucon2016

Artists’ Alley

I normally spend time in the artists’ alley, but this year I had the budget to get commissions and the time to see more than ever before.


Agent Wednesday

I hit upon Agent Wednesday by accident while I was hitting up Edwin Huang for a commission. She was taking “commissions” for naked baby sketches on a “whatever you think it’s worth” price basis. We had a sort of speed-dating dialog while she learned about me to make my sketch personalized. It actually turned out to be quite funny and quite fun! Everyone else I came with ended up getting one once they saw mine. I hope to see her again at some future convention.


Edwin Huang

With Street Fighter V just a few days away I stumble across Edwin with a huge Chun-Li banner behind him. He had some nice prints along with original sketches for sale. I ended up picking up the ladies’ lunch at the ramen shop pictured here, and I commissioned him to do a torso shot of Laura. His sketch of Laura really blew me away and I will cherish that for a long time to come. Now, to find someone to color it!


Newsha Ghasemi

Walking around the artists’ alley is tough because there’s just so much to look at. However, when we turned the corner facing Newsha’s booth we both said “Holy shit!” Her flower series of scrolls were hanging behind the booth and were just stunning! There were a lot of good ones, but the one pictured here spoke to me so I picked it up. She also had some cool double sided bags and prints available. If her booth wasn’t so busy I would have liked to stop off and talk to her a bit. Maybe next time!



ZipperTan was doing cosplay, but also taking commissions for chibi drawings. I like that she got the flowers and stuff from my jacket. The price was a little high, but as part of the overall experience was totally worth it. I’m hoping to catch her next time and see more of her cosplay.


Lucid Sky

Lucid Sky’s booth was hard for me to get to on Friday due to the crowd around it. Luckily on Saturday Taz and I were able to get to her. She had a bunch of really good artwork including a Legend of Zelda tribute, Sailor Moon, and Capcom Fighting Tribute along with a ton of other fan art that I was not familiar with. Unrelated but this girl was very cute! Haha, hope to see you again Lucid Sky!

I recently sent a letter to Fatima with a few photos and greetings regarding her birthday and asking some simple questions like what she likes to eat and what she wants to do with her life. She said she wants to be a teacher one day, and to do it without pay. She seems like a grateful and sweet kid. I hope her dream comes true!


Dear Sir Patrick,

Hi… How are you today? Me, I’m fine. So very happy when I received your letter. Thank you for being my sponsor parents. My birthday celebration was fine – it is a simple celebration. My favorite color is red. My favorite foods are fried chicken, spaghetti, and chocolate. There was so many things. I want know to be a teacher someday because I want to help other children who are not going to school. I want to teach them without pay. So that I asked some help to finish my studies. Thank you very much sir Patrick.

Your sponsor child,

September, 2015

Year in review. ;P



She starts out in cursive, but towards the end switches to print, hehe. Nutrition Math sounds fun, and who doesn’t like Christmas? Anyway, I sent her photos of my sister’s daughter – my first niece!

As I transition now into a new job I’ve been reflecting about the people I’ve met and the things I’ve learned. I’ve met a lot of smart people, and also met a lot of terrible people.

I promised myself to learn not just software engineering principles and programming, but the process by which we create these great things on what has come to be known as the Internet of Things. To reflect on the things I’ve learned I will do a blog series on my time there called “A Culture of Incompetence.” This is Part 1.

Hiring and Mentoring New Developers

This issue is particularly interesting to me – the idea of building a team is exciting! You know that scene in the movies where a guy gets a difficult mission and he says, “I’ll do it on one condition: I get to use my own team. These are people I trust.” Building a team isn’t about slapping people together with the right resumes. People will likely need to grow to fill the position you’re hiring them for. This means a lot of checking in, mentoring, and training them to do things the way a well-oiled machine does.

“I’m looking for people who are willing to work long hours – basically for free.”– A Previous Manager

There I was thinking about new team members when one of my managers says to me, “I’m looking for people who are willing to work long hours basically for free.” … yeah, he just said that to my face. It’s true, anyone building a team has constraints, a budget, and I get that, but telling members of your team that you’re looking for indentured servants is not a good look. The funny thing was, he wasn’t kidding. That particular company hired many foreign nationals and sponsored their H1B visas. By being the sponsor company, there’s a certain power dynamic at play when these employees ask for time off, a salary or performance review, or even when asking not to work overtime.

I do believe there’s an untapped pool of very talented individuals who need sponsorship. Turning over every rock to build a team is commendable, but it’s all in how you go about it. In my opinion this approach was unethical. It was the deliberate choice of a lazy management team that wanted to lower costs by hiring cheaper labor instead of developing an efficient process.

Ok, we’ve assembled a team of wage slaves, who have little choice but to come to work every day. Now what do we do? Well, naturally we let them do whatever they want and do nothing about it. One issue in particular that I came into contact with: some teams were not even committing their code to our version control system.

We have whole teams of people, working on client projects that aren’t in version control. Before we get into the cost of a “mishap” related to losing code, let’s discuss what could have caused this situation. Have we made it clear that committing working code regularly is an operational priority? Yes. Do we have hundreds of projects already under version control? Yes. Do we have people available to help if someone doesn’t know what they’re doing? Well, kind of.

I have my own team, we discuss software engineering as a practice. I strive to identify weaknesses in my team and to eradicate them through mentoring and training. This type of mentoring is different for every team member – some need hands-on, some need to see code samples, some you need to light a fire under their ass. Why do I do all this… because I decided I was tired of working with a bunch of apathetic new hires, who really don’t care about anything but lunch and going home. It’s also rewarding to see these people turn into up-and-comers.

When I found out that other teams and their members didn’t bother committing code and were positively cavalier about it, I approached my manager. “Well, it’s ok, that’s just how that person works.” Really? REALLY?! Is that how you build a strong team? This is exactly the type of attitude that has pervaded my places of work in the past. It’s disgusting.

Here we have a management team that is assembling resources as cheaply as it can, and then not taking the time or energy to train them up. I believe this culture of incompetence comes from the top and has trickled its way down. It’s exhausting to deal with, it’s exhausting to work against.

Anyway, those are some observations of my current employer’s hiring and training practices. These are things I need to think about and learn from. That’s it for Part 1… until next time.

I had the idea for a character in the Walking Dead. The idea struck me while playing Dead Rising 2 again, and fighting the psychopaths. The psychopaths represent a normal person who snapped under the immense pressure of abnormal situations, they become detached from the full reality of the situation. My particular character is not quite a psychopath in that sense, but a strong character within the Walking Dead universe.

Rick’s group crosses this character spinning his home-made polearm, a machete on one end, and a sledge hammer on the other. He was slicing and smashing walkers to bits, like a giant blender the way he spun his weapon. Heads and chests exploding, limbs and torsos flying this way and that. Finally, he’s pinning down the last live zombie, removing its thyroid gland from it’s still twitching body. He stabs the zombie in the side of the head and takes a few steps to a creek, rinsing the meat. He then hangs the small piece of meat alongside a few others to dry in the sun. You see, he has to remove them while the zombie is still “alive” for it to retain it’s effects on the human body.

Satisfied, the man produces a small pouch, dipping his knife inside to stir the powder around. Carefully balancing the knife while pulling it out, he snorts the powder along its blade. Rick, Darryl, and gang creep up on the man, weapons raised. “What the hell are you doing?” Darryl asks, genuinely confused by a man doing drugs all by himself outdoors.

“Eh?” the man says, standing up now. You could see the muscles on his arms pulsing, the veins along his arms throbbing like he’s been lifting weights. He stands tall and half smiles. “What do you want?”

Rick, content to let Darryl take this one, doesn’t move an inch. “What’s with the meat? What are you curing it for? Don’t you know they’re walkers?”

“Of course I know,” the man replies, “where do you think I get my strength?”

Darryl, Rick, Michonne, none of them knowing what to say, stand there unblinking. The man continues, “We’re all just like them anyway, at least, as soon as we die. I’m just borrowing their strength now before I turn.” His listeners, don’t even twitch, even Judith is quiet. “You see how much strength they have even though they’re dead, how long they can last without eating? That’s what I mean. So long as I take this stuff, I’m stronger than I ever was before all this happened. I won’t lie, I’ve never been this hungry, but I don’t need to eat.”

“I used to be with this group that had a doctor. He was experimenting on the biters, and I offered to be a guinea pig. At first I was eating their thyroid, that’s what he called it. But to make the thyroid last, so I could take it with me, I started drying it, grinding it up into a fine powder so I could snort it quick, or rub it against my gums.” The man now was scratching himself and playing with his fingers the way an addict would. He clasped his hands, a reflex he’d developed to keep his busy hands in order….

Overall, the character is stronger than any regular man, his wounds can heal, he can survive without water or food, but he has a few characteristics of an addict. Anyway, that was my idea for a character in the Walking Dead universe.