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Day Zero, July 4, 2001 - Prelude to the Mayhem

I started off pre-AX activities with my old friend Jesse Mai, helping him pack up for his trip to pick up another friend in Van Nuys and move into his hotel room at AX. Jesse also took me to Kinokuniya Bookstore at Yaohan Plaza in Costa Mesa to purchase a couple Love Hina artbooks, which I hoped to get signed by the director and character designer who were going to be Guests of Honor at AX. I must say, the regular staff at Kinokuniya must have been prepping for AX because some lost folks were manning the register. As I brought the books up to the cashier she asked, "Oh, you want to buy those?" I wanted to respond, "No I just like bringing stuff up to cashiers so they can restack it."

At about 9:00 pm my friend Brian Garvey and his buddy Chris came over to pick me up and we went to the Westin Hotel in Long Beach to pick up our badges as we had already pre-registered. I did not know the Westin was so close to the waterfront and, as a result, we ran smack into the masses that had assembled at the Long Beach waterfront to view the fireworks over the Queen Mary. Traffic had turned into a quagmire of bodies as people streamed across the streets without regard to traffic or signals. It took 45 mins to travel less than 4 miles. We finally got to the hotel and raced up the steps to the Centennial Ballroom. We made it just in time and we got our badges fairly quickly as there was nobody there. We also met up with a friend Brian had made online, Seamus, who was attending AX as a member of the press. He is a fairly unique fellow, that's the best way I can describe him. Funny guy to talk to. He was trying to capture the unique world of the otaku on film as practice for future film projects. He was also planning on interviewing my friend Brian. Traffic was not bad departing and we headed home to get a good night's sleep before enduring the sleepless pace of Anime Expo.