Katsucon Invites All to Geek Culture

Katsucon Invites All to Geek Culture

Word Count: 387

By Taariq N. Adams

The Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in the National Harbor near D.C. hosted Katsucon, a Japanese animation and video game convention February 12-14.

“I think it is a wonderful experience for those into geek culture,” said Evan Yost, 25, an attendee at Katsucon. “It’s like one big costume party.”

In this convention people gather in one area to meet with friends, spend time together, and attend events. Some dress up as characters from Japanese media and video games, which is called cosplaying.

Many events and activities take place at Katsucon, including various panels, cosplay photo-shoots, and workshops for voice acting, prop designing, and story writing. There are also vendors that sell various games, artwork, toys and more.

Katsucon is set up as a safe environment for attendees thanks to security and medical staff.

“Protocol is pretty straight forward,” said Nick Alan, 28, a member of medical staff. “If there is a fire alarm going off and we can confirm it’s not a drill then you pretty much have to bring that to attention immediately and get everyone out of the building. The best we can do on the medical side assisting alongside security is to clear the area in a smart, clever, safe way.”

According to Christian Savage, 32, the coordinator of Katsucon, it was founded back in 1994 in Blacksburg, Virginia. It eventually moved over to Virginia Beach, then Baltimore Maryland and then in the National Harbor area.

“Since then we’ve settled in the Gaylord Hotel for the last six years,” he said. “Its location is premiere, it gives you a beautiful view of the Potomac, from a cosplay standpoint it is an awesome facility to take photos of any type cosplay you have and just the relationship that we have developed with the Gaylord and their staff has been paramount.”

Katsucon has grown over the years and it continues to be a fun environment for all to enjoy.

“It’s always nice to see different cosplays and who’s doing what and just the amount of skill that goes into it,” said Oluchi Ofoha, 30, who works as part of the operations staff. “Usually you want to do everything at once and usually get upset because you missed out on particular things, but, as long as you keep your mind there’s always next year.”

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Winter Wonderland Nightmare, Blizzard of 2016

Winter Wonderland Nightmare, Blizzard of 2016

Word Count: 396

By Taariq N. Adams

“If you’re going to go outside, wear layers and if you also don’t like going outside that’s good too,” said, Joseph Thomas, 24, Towson University student. He was snowed in at his friend’s apartment through the blizzard of 2016 from January 22 to 24.

The Maryland area received at least 20 to 30 inches of snow after the blizzard. Three days later, a smaller snowstorm hit the Towson area in the afternoon. Residents were concerned for an increase of snow on top of the snow that had fell.

When that snowstorm hit, it was cold, windy, and the snowflakes were large enough to see the shapes on them. Although the snowstorm was short lived, various apartment complexes including Fairways at Towson were left without power for a few hours while other areas experienced longer delays.

To add insult to injury, residents had to put up with a shortage of parking spaces, snowed in apartments and blocked driveways prior to and after the storm. What would be considered a winter wonderland became a nightmare in the following weeks.

“Definitely go shopping for anything way before because whenever I go shopping a couple days before, everything was out already,” said Gabby Yarussi, 23, another student at Towson University. She faced similar problems during the blizzard and was a surprise for her but knew it was going to snow and prepared for it.

However, the amount of snowfall was unexpected.

“My roommate, her car was parked in front of our apartment and I had to help her shovel her car out so we could drive to practice, and that took about an hour,” said Gabby.

Preparations were made before the storm hit and several people were ready to wait out the blizzard. Maryland was also ready to deal with the snow after the blizzard died down. They responded with snowplows to clear the roads.

As for Towson University, the campus closed for the weekend despite the hard work of the snowplows and citizens with snow shovels. Classes faced delays until Thursday, January 28. The snow passed and Towson University resumed its normal schedule.

The blizzard of 2016 as it is known caused problems but was handled shortly after.  Still, this blizzard ranked as the fourth worst snowstorm in 100 years. Even though the snow was been dealt with, many hope that they don’t encounter a storm like this again.

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