Sunday
May052013

Girls Trip: San Francisco!!

Hey y'all! I'm back from SF, which I feel is an awful lot like NYC if everybody CALMED THE FUCK DOWN was more easygoing and didn't graffiti every possible surface. Like, no joke, I got on the subway from the airport to go home and there were teenagers graffiti-ing the subway right in front of me as I sat there cursing teenagers because I'm actually a million years old.  San and Sarah are two of my greatest pals who I don't get to see too often because we live apart from each other, and we have been planning a girls trip for some time now; I'm so happy we got to spend time together!

I have about a million pictures of my trip up on my flickr, but for the most part, I can summarize my trip in about 3 kinds of experiences:

SAN FRANCISCO IS GREEN AND PRETTY

We never got to go on one of these, but they were pretty awesome to see in person! I'M A TOURIST.

Union Square Park!

Walking to eat lunch by the Bay Bridge--my favorite photo from our trip!! <3 Besides the 309238409283048923 sticker pictures, we'll get to those, hold up.

Golden Gate Park!

 

We stepped outside the amazing City Lights Bookstore to find the Transamerica Pyramid. I'M A TOURIST.


I ATE A LOT OF REALLY GOOD THINGS IN SAN FRANCISCO.

 

Salami & Spinach Sandwich Special (I LOVE ALLITERATION) from Boccalone, at the Ferry Market.

Meatball Bahn Mi and Sweet Potato Fries from Bun Mee, in Pacific Heights!

Clam Chowder Bread Bowl from Boudin in Fisherman's Wharf.

Pork Ribs at To Hyang, I can't even explain how perfect this meal was--top three meals I've ever had in my LIFE. IT IS THAT GOOD.


I LOVE MY FRIENDS VERY MUCH AND WANT TO BE WITH THEM ALL THE TIME

AW YISSSS.

San and Sarah on our INTENSE SPIRAL ESCALATOR ROLLER COASTER RIDE

We each saved up an embarrassing amount of money to take as many possible sticker pictures as we were able to. We don't have hardly any pictures of us all together, so I am hoarding and treasuring and crying every night over these little guys.

One of the days I was in SF, I met up with my friend Iris and Dani, the former who lives near SF and the latter who was visiting the same time as us! ALL MY FRIENDS, SURROUNDING ME <3 <3

Girls Trip = SUCCESS!!

I don't go on many trips for fun; usually it's to visit family or to go to a convention to work, so it was great to not only take some time off, but to spend that time with two gals who I love very much and never get to see in person, let alone all of us together. When I was growing up, I didn't have a lot of gal pals (or friends in general, let's be honest, teenager!Katie) and so it was nice to have REAL TALK and fun with San and Sarah. All three of us have some big changes in our lives coming up, and I'm glad we can talk about it and afford the time and days to go on an annual trip! And I did say annual...I hear Disneyworld calling to us in 2014! Whoop whoop!!!

Wednesday
Apr032013

Wait, it's April?

Oh man, two "here's an update" blogs in a row--blogfail. -___-;; Sorry guys, I'm more in touch with my time management lately, and I'm happy to be regularly blogging again! Also, as the con season looms in the distance-that-is-much-closer-than-I-want-it-to-be, there's a lot more art happening in Katieland. 

A preview, if you will:

So, yeah...progress?? (I promise all my artwork isn't Dia de los Muertos related) Expect some more in-progress screencaps and photos in the future. I'm hoping to make between 2-5 new skatedecks and 10 new prints for this con season, and opening my etsy store again. THE FUTURE: SO AMBITIOUS.

Ah, man, so much has happened since last time!! I'll try to condense into some half-assed categories. The first one being

 

PLACES THAT I HAVE BEEN TO THAT WERE PRETTY AWESOME

Because THIS PAST WEEK I WENT TO THE GAME OF THRONES EXHIBITIONNNN:

I KNOW RIGHT AUGH FEELINGS EVERYWHERE. There was a world-wide tour of props, costumes, etc from Game of Thrones, and even though it was an hour long wait in line (some people I heard waited in line for up to 3 hours on the weekends!), it was totally worth it! And free! Who said you can't do anything cool for free in New York City?? (probaby me before this exhibition) I have TONS more photos up in my flickr!

 

I also had the opportunity to go on a little weekend getaway (WITH JOON TOO) to the Poconos Mountains--a co-worker pal's family owns a cabin up there and Joon and I had a great time in the snow.

 

 

 

In that last photo, there might have been some whiskey and Just Dance 4 involved. I have a new appreciation for adult-sized onesies with drop crotch. No, for serious.

 

The next category kind of combines with the first which is now
I AM A BOOK NERD ESPECIALLY IN THE WINTER WHEN IT IS COLD

I went to TWO book-related events within the past couple of months, and got to see / meet two of my big time favorites.

First up was John Green and Hank Green at the Evening of Awesome in Carnegie Hall!

(Source: Enteriainment Weekly)

 

OF WHICH ALL MY PHOTOS WERE USELESS AND I NEED TO GET A NEW CAMERA I KNOW GUYS WHAT EVEN. But I'll just go on record here and say that it was one of the greatest nights of my life. The Fault in Our Stars is easily my favorite book of 2012, and what an amazing night to celebrate it, and Nerdfighteria. Luckily, the ENTIRE THING is up on youtube, so maybe you can check it out for yourself! Special appearances by Hannah Hart, The Mountain Goats, and NEIL FUCKING GAIMAN ARE YOU KIDDING ME.

 

SPEAKING OF NEIL GAIMAN the other very fantastic book event I attended was an author / illustrator signing of the children's book Chu's Day, written by Neil and illustrated by Adam Rex! The event took place at Books of Wonder, an independent childrens and young adult book store near Union Square. GUYS. GUYS GUYS GUYS.

NEIL GAIMAN SIGNED MY COPY OF AMERICAN GODS OH NO SOMEONE CATCH ME I'M FALLING. I read American Gods as an impressionable youngster and again as a jaded granny-like person and both readings have had a profound affect on me and how fiction has shaped my world view and readership. Seeing Neil a SECOND TIME--and then getting to speak with him and share some laughs--was one of the highlights OF MY LIFE. I was so nervous--I have a thing where I get very anxious to meet people that I very much admire, because of how soul-crushing it is if you find out they're not what you thought they were in real life. But, Neil was so polite and funny and generous, everything beyond my expectations! He and Adam Rex apparently stayed to sign books all day, for thirteen hours with almost no breaks! Go go fight fight Neil and Adam!!

Speaking of books, I have read almost 16 this year to far, and some of the highlights were The Stand by Stephen King, Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn, and Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness, the third and final book of his Chaos Walking Trilogy that SHIFTED THE PLANES OF THE UNIVERSE OF MY LIFE. Holy moly, I had to reevaluate my emotional intake after that one--so, so powerful and meaningful and thoughtful. If you've noticed, I have CLEVERLY linked to the goodreads synopsis / page of each of these books to show that, yes, I am super active on goodreads, and please friend me if you'd like!! I love comparing books that I have read with others and every book that I have read this year has been on the recommendation of someone else on goodreads!! BOOKS <3

And I suppose this sort of combines with the previous topic as well but lastly

I AM LIKE MAYBE ONE STEP ABOVE A CULINARY AMATEUR

So, as I've shown here before, I've been cooking a lot more for myself these days, but the past couple months in particular I've been having a lot of get-togethers at my house where I've been making and preparing foods for my friends. It's one of my favorite things to do, and it gets people to come over to my house without having to change out of my pajamas! One of my first get-togethers was for a book club meeting for the book Ready, Player One by Ernest Cline--It featured Mario-themed cookies, a rubix cube made out of cheese, and Pac-Man pizzas! Also deviled eggs, to represent the hunt for the Easter egg in the book.

GOD DAMN I LOVE A THEME PARTY, DON'T YOU!?

The following are some of my "firsts" in the food cooking and prep arena:

My first original creation! (A bacon-wrapped egg and cheese sandwich OH GOD CARDIAC ARREST)

My first pork tenderloin (DELICIOUS)

MY FIRST SALAD (I'm really, really not into salads, but this one had bacon and chicken in it so, you know)

My first vegetable tray! (Silly, but this made me so happy. I felt like my idol MARTHA STEWART. DO YOU NEED AN INTERN OR SOMETHING, MARTHA?!)

I'm running low on my index of recipes, so if there's something you like to make to eat that you think I would love too, please share with me!! What do you make on a busy weeknight?? Or, what do you make when you have pals coming over and need to feed a bunch of people? I am very open to suggestions!

Oh man, this is the longest post in the history of the world, I congratulate you if you got through it all! I've had a very fun and lovely few months, and I'm ready to bring you all along in the future. HOLD ME TO IT, FRIENDS. Leave me a comment on my blog or facebook page if I'm not blogging enough--it'll keep me on my toes! Til next time!

Tuesday
Jan222013

Holy crap, it's 2013!

Well, it appears we've all survived the apocalypse, so, congratulations, humankind!

I spent the last part of 2012 making homemade holiday cards for my friends and family. For some reason, I thought that this would be more time/cost effective than making one and then making a bunch of copies of it. What crack was I smoking.

Still, they were a ton of fun to do, and I haven't worked with markers in a long time. And, it was something that I was doing for myself, which I also haven't really been doing lately.  You can view the rest of them on my flickr.

In 2012, I think I fell into a trap that a lot of other corporate artists I know where we get a little wiped out creatively by our corporate art jobs and don't spend enough time outside of the job being creative. I mean, don't get me wrong--my local librarian has never known me better and my unfinished videogame library is not as massive as it once was. But, yeah. I don't really have "resolutions" per se, but I DO want to be able to make more art for myself, because, like these little silly cards, they DO bring me a lot of happiness in a small, but significant way.

More to come; here's to 2013!

Sunday
Nov042012

Sandy Sucks: The First Trip to the Rockaways

 

I am sitting on my couch as I type this somewhat reeling from my experiences today in the Rockaways. Just a warning: this is going to be a somewhat heavy post; I have a lot on my mind, and some of the things I'm feeling and experiencing are difficult to put into eloquent words. So, with that, I want to tell you what happened when I went down to the Rockaways to volunteer my time to the Hurricane Sandy victims.

 

First, a little background: my friend Stephanie (old co-worker at the Gap) contacted many of her friends asking if they'd like to come volunteer at InterOccupy's mutual aid set-up in the Rockaways. If you don't know where the Rockaways are (to be honest, I didn't quite know the exact area myself) here is a map:

 

 

So, as you can see, it is an island that is not made to handle much flooding or storms or anything of the sort, because it is an ISLAND. They were hit by Hurricane Sandy, and they were hit hard.

 

We gathered all our warm winter clothes we wanted to donate and bought food, clothes, and supplies, loaded everything up in Steph's car, and headed out to the Rockaways.

 

 

Driving down, we saw a lot of eye-opening things that made us take a step back to put things in perspective. The lines for gasoline were sometimes nine city blocks long, some people out of their vehicles and pushing them in the lines. People were also in lines with gasoline tanks in hand, waiting for gas, even when more wasn't to arrive for hours. The water levels in the Rockaways had reached so high that cars were displaced everywhere; we saw cars on trees, on poles, on the sidewalks, on highway medians, just about everywhere cars really shouldn't be. People's homes were so devastated by floods and winds, most of their furniture and belongings were on the sidewalks in front of their house, so much that the sidewalks were no longer visible. We passed a McDonald's that was boarded up and someone had spray painted on it: “Someone already took everything yesterday. Nothing left to loot.” I haven't seen much in my life that was as overwhelmingly heartbreaking and devastating as everything I saw while driving around the Rockaways.

 

 

 

 

When we arrived at the firehouse, things were fairly chaotic; a big part of it was that they seemed to have a LOT of volunteers without specific tasks, so it was pretty messy on that end. There were a lot of people, volunteers and victims alike, that just didn't seem to know what to do or where to be. But, what was happening there was that volunteers were gathering in boxes a collection of food, toiletries, basic paper products, and making “care packages” that the volunteers brought out to a line of people affected by the storm.

 

 

 

We felt like we could help out in another area that had less volunteers and manpower, and so another group invited us to follow them to a different mutual aid station, this time outside a grocery store / shopping plaza. The Red Cross was here, and they had a hot lunch cafeteria-style buffet line as well as clothing donations. Because they cannot lock up the area or anything like that, there were buses that were taking leftover clothing donations to other locations where they could be safely stored.

 

 

 

Coincidentally, one of the people in our caravan to the second location was a friend of the driver of our car, and he told us about a smaller location that he had been at earlier in the day that might be able to put us to work. So, under his direction, we followed him to what was to be our final stop. It looked like a hollowed out store or office of some kind, very small, but it seemed to be much better organized and not as chaotic. The building was next to an entire block of stores and houses that had been burnt to the ground, the crazy winds of the hurricane causing them to set fire.

 

 

 

We went into the back room where the clothing donations were stored, and we got to work under some amazing volunteers, who were residents of the island and who were very familiar with the area and who was affected and their incredible stories. We sorted the clothes as best as we could (we could barely stand in the room itself there were so many clothes) into bags of complete sets (a hat, scarf, gloves, pants, long johns, sweater, coat, underwear, and socks) for every age/size/gender. Sometimes, it would take us 20 minutes or more to find a garment for someone (I think we were looking for a size 36 men's pants throughout the day). While working, we got to hear many personal experiences of the locals which made me realize how deep their community roots ran and just how alone they must feel. We hardly saw any kind of authority out there trying to take control or understand the situation that befell this community—no police, no FEMA, no national guard. The people who lived there had NOBODY and had NOTHING.

 

 

 

Yet, when we tried to give another bag of clothes to a young man, he graciously said “no, let someone else who needs it have them, I have enough.” My mind was blown—this man, who was maybe 19 or 20 years old, just had his whole house gutted by this storm, he's living with his aunt down the block whose house is ALSO destroyed by the storm, and he's still putting the needs of others around him before himself. (We made him take three bags of clothes). We were in a room up to our necks with clothing donations and he may not have thought so, but he needed them the most. There were plenty of donations, which I'm sure were given freely and dropped off to help people, but what this community needs most is manpower and people donating their time to do what they can to help. These people are STILL PART OF OUR COMMUNITY. They are hard-working people who were just handed a shitstorm (literally) and it's like they're a mere speck on the radar of your average New Yorker.

 

I volunteered at Park Slope the following day, and was infuriated at these stupid hipster kids complaining that their phone wasn't charged for “two whole days.” Boo-fucking-hoo, kid—these people WHO ARE PART OF YOUR COMMUNITY that live a mere TEN MILES OR LESS AWAY have absolutely NOTHING but the shattered shell of their homes and the clothes on their back.

 

As infuriated as I was about this whole situation, at the end of the day, when we were driving back (in TOTAL DARKNESS, might I add—there were no street lights, no lights in houses or buildings, just the lights from the cars on the road) I mostly felt distressed and upset that more couldn't be done, even though we had done quite a bit the afternoon we were there. I knew that I needed to show people what I have seen, because every single person I have shown these pictures to has expressed that they had NO IDEA it was this dire, this drastic of a disaster. I can't even fathom what similar damage was done to Breezy Point, Fire Island, NJ, Staten Island—and the majority of us just don't know.

 

So, I'm sharing all this with you all who read this because I am imploring you to take action. I pledge to go down to the Rockaways or somewhere else that desperately needs our help and donate my time and resources. If you are a New Yorker, the subways are just starting to come back up and the bus down to the Rockaways is only a 40 minute ride for me—that is barely what the majority of someone's commute is.

 

How you NYers can help (stay tuned, non-NYers, I have a special bulleted list for you, too):

  • InterOccupy.net gave us the information we needed for what we could donate that was most needed as well as locations that were in the most need. Also, if you can get to their Sunset Park location (which is a little easier now that the subways are running to it), they are DRIVING PEOPLE TO DIFFERENT LOCATIONS IN NEED SO YOU DON'T HAVE TO.

  • Get active on Twitter and Facebook, which is how I found out about most of these volunteer opportunities to begin with—if my friends have been posting constantly, your friends have got to be posting constantly. We are all part of the same community, and we need to reach out to each other.

  • RedHook and Rockaways Rescue Goods Drop-Off is taking donations and also running carpools to the Rockaways.

  • The Red Cross has shelters for displaced families set up all over the city, and they are looking for shelter volunteers.

  • WNYC's website is an AMAZING SOURCE for several different ways you can volunteer your time to help victims of the hurricane. They also have a link to New York Cares, a non-profit that I've volunteered with before who are awesome and well-organized, and can put you to work, boy, yes they can!!

 

I'm sure I've missed a lot of other opportunities, but if you are looking into volunteering—which I hope I've convinced you to believe is a good and human thing to do—these are all good places to begin.

 

If you are NOT in the area, I still ask for your help:

  • The Red Cross is taking donations, and they were the only organization besides InterOccupy that I saw out in the Rockaways AT ALL while I was there.

  • Doctors Without Borders is a charity I've trusted to always use my donations the way I intend them to be used.

  • InterOccupy, who I volunteered with and who were the only people I saw doing much of anything out in the Rockaways, is also accepting donations.

 

PLEASE be mindful of who you are donating to, if you choose to donate monetarily, and make sure you are aware of how it will be used to help the relief effort.

 

I spoke to my old teacher / friend Gary about all this, and he said to me that “if you just help one person, then you did good,” and I believe him to always be right about most things. I don't want this post to be a negative one, but I do want to shed light on something that I think is going unnoticed, something that could easily be made better by people who are brought aware of the situation and who have the capability to help.

 

I have also seen a lot of amazingly good things come out of this experience—volunteers helping and passing information to one another, NYC marathon runners donating their hotel rooms to hurricane victims without power, people with power snaking extension cords out of their windows to provide power to others, pizzerias giving out free pizza, and doctors offering free medical care. I want us NYers to keep in mind that we will get through this, but we need to help each other—ALL of us—because every member of our community is important to getting our amazing city back on its feet.

Thursday
Nov012012

SANDY, YOU CUT THIS CRAP OUT NOW, YOUNG LADY

So, this happened.

First of all, I want to thank anyone and everyone who reached out to me to see if Joon and I were all right during the hours that was FRANKENSTORM Hurricane Sandy. To be honest, we were very lucky and hardly even had rain--just a CRAPLOAD OF WIND (that knocked Joon over once mid-poop, which was sad but hilarious). We had power and videogames and tea to get us through Monday night the storm rolled through. It was actually scarier being inside than out, because indoors the windows rattled like in (an actually scary) haunted house, but when it came time to take Joon out for potty breaks, it was just very quiet and windy outside. There were no cows flying through the air (thanks, Twister) and we woke up Tuesday morning mostly to branches and leaves on the streets, but none of the trees-on-cars-and-houses-and-everything and cars-floating-on-train-tracks-and-tunnels-and-parking-garages that some of you outside the city have probably seen in the news this week.

The above picture from NYmag shows the flooded Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, which is fairly close to where I work. I haven't been to work since last week, because as most of you are aware, the power was cut to most of Lower Manhattan during the storm and it's unlikely to be restored for a long time. My boss, who is without power, is refugeeing at a friend's house because he was told he wouldn't have power for probably another week. Wires are down everywhere making all this water even more dangerous, places are still flooded, millions of people are without power.  I was speaking to a friend from New Jersey who said that resources are low over there and without electricity, gas stations can't pump gas to people's cars. People in NYC who rely on trains and subways have been waiting hours for a bus with less than a million people on it to take them anywhere. They have put up a revised schedule of some operating subway stops (my subway, of course, isn't one of them) and they say that it could be almost a week before subways are operational again. I found out that my late cousin Peter's house out on Long Island was totally destroyed--luckily his wife and child were able to evacuate, but now they have to face a greater, far more terrible obstacle.  The animal shelter where I volunteer is also without power and the staff and volunteers had to feed the dogs by flashlight.

In short: it's a freaking mess here, y'all.

But, we'll make it through a day at a time. The following morning, I still got a coffee from Dunkin Donuts next to the Payless Shoe Store (both open for business). Tomorrow will be the same as it ever was. There are so many people right now who are working through the night and working long days to help get this city back in its feet, and I'm so, so grateful for them and their dedication. This was a big hit but we will hopefully bounce back soon.  Thanks everybody again for your concerns, and SANDY, DON'T COME BACK, PLEASE, LIKE, EVER AGAIN.