Entries in around the world in a lifetime (30)

Sunday
Oct172010

Post-NYCC report + Life Changes

SO, I AM BACK FROM NEW YORK.

It was a rather rushed and hectic trip!  I landed last Thursday and met Annie at the airport, and then we hauled ass to the Jacob Javits Center, which if you don't know is pretty much the furthest west on the island and you have to walk like 3/4 of a mile from the nearest subway station.  And, we had about 100 lbs of paper on us, each.  SWEATY.

Anyway, we got checked in and as far as sales go, the weekend was as expected--decent, but nothing spectacular.  It was good to see some familiar faces and great artists, Iris and Kaysha, as well as some old college friends.  And I also got to hang out with the wonderful Sarah of Bennyville!  REUNION TIME.  We balanced out having to walk 400 miles a day with eating 400 lbs of food a night. 

BEHOLD:

All photos (c) Iris Chen

Oh, man.  My friend David took us to Chinatown and basically orders us from the special Chinese-speakers menu.  IT WAS DELICIOUS AND I WAS FULL FOR WEEKS.  (Weeks = the rest of the night).

The next day we decided to go to our annual visit to Kenka for cheap and delicious Japanese eats, and I got to see the lovely May, who I believe I last saw in 2007.  Crazy!  You can kind of get her personality and awesomeness from this here picture:

She matches those golden arches!!!  We had a really good time at kenka, but the artist alley closed at 10pm, which was much later than usual, and so by the time we got out of dinner it was nearly 1am and we were ridiculously tired.  OLD PEOPLE AT COMIC CON, LAWLZ.

Annie and I like to be food-adventurous, and between us, we had a whole frog, cow tongue, and some kind of kimchee and it was all really good, but I'll spare my readers with sensitive stomachs, I suppose.  I am a vegetarian's worst nightmare, sorry, guys. D:

Sunday arrived so quickly, and Annie had to go back home, but Emily (host of the weekend) and I are big Echostream fans and went to their show at Irving Plaza that night.  Unfortunately, we didn't know that they were the opening band so they played only 3 songs and that was it.  We had paid money for the tickets, so we decided that we might as well stay for the other bands.  And drink a lot.

(It has come to my attention that my at-the-show-drunken-tweet was featured on the Brooklyn Vegan.  Unfortunate times, indeed.)

Here are some photos from tBV site of Echostream and the also awesome Boom Boom Satellites:

I honestly thought the Zazen Boys sounded like a Japanese Dave Matthews Band jam band gone wrong, and Puffy AmiYumi is a little too sacchrine for me, so while they were on, I was either at the echostream booth talking to their promo girl or some of the band members (CJ in particular was super awesome to see and talk to this time around, how he found me in the crowd in the dark I have yet to understand), or OVER HERE:

Also at this bar we met a kick-ass lady named Molly who was doing promo and merch for Puffy AmiYumi but is also friends with Tony and Ryoko from Echostream, and she was totally hilarious and awesome to talk to during the show.  And was wearing zebra-print pants. <3

After the show, we went out to eat and I think I ate something really large and fattening, but who the hell cares.  NOT ME.  The trip was satisfying, but flew by, and before I knew it, I was on a plane back to Atlanta.  Thanks to everybody who stopped by my table or said hello at Comic-con, and I hope to see you again next year!

Back in Atlanta, I've had a lot going on the past couple of weeks and haven't been able to share a lot of it because it wasn't totally solid, and some of it still isn't, but what I can say is that I have a full-time freelancing gig at Kids II right now, as a graphic artist for baby gear.  It'll be for awhile, so I hope to meet some awesome people, do some great work, and have a fantastic time doing what I love.  The kind of feedback and work I'm doing over there has been really amazing!  My first project is designs for a Winnie the Pooh line of baby gear.  My first day I met with a designer from Disney and got a little perspective about how I should approach this project. I can't really share anything here, but I'm hoping to learn all that I can and maybe I'll be able to show you all the fruits of my labor later on, on actual products! It's been a really enlightening and interesting experience so far!

Some other things are in the works right now that I can't really talk about just yet, but y'all will be the first to know, I promise!  Freelancing life leaves me open to a lot of opportunity.  I'm working on some amazing projects right now outside of Kids II, and I can't wait to tell you all about them when the time comes.  Freelancing also gives me the option of moving somewhere different.  Although, I must say, Atlanta is the first place that I've been in a long time that really feels like home to me.  I've loved living here, through the good and the bad and the floods.  Will there be a change of location in the future for me?  It'll be a hard choice to make, for sure!!

Also, I mentioned it in the previous post, but wanted to mention again that the Kai Lin Art gallery is having another opening on December 10th for the JOY! show, of which I am participating and showing work.  The pieces this time will be very different in subject matter, but of a similar style, and much more personal.  I don't actually do a ton of personal work, because I believe I actually get more fulfillment out of doing work for clients and others.  I'm learning how to find satisfaction out of my own work and developing a style that works for me.

Around the week of the opening, I'll be having another giveaway!  So, please stay tuned for that!  I'm so excited (and a little exhausted) just thinking about the months to come. I had a rough few months, and I lost some friends but gained some important and wonderful ones.  I'm learning day by day, baby steps, one at a time, and I love love life right now.  Thanks for everybody who has always stuck by me--I can't tell you how much I appreciate it.

 

Tuesday
Oct052010

Amping up for New York Comic Con

 

Quick fly-by post, which I hate to do, but it's been a whirlwind of crazy around here.  A lot of it I can't talk about just yet, but this upcoming weekend is New York Comic Con, and I will be attending and tabling on the NYAF side with my usual table neighbor Paintpixel.

There will be many guests roaming around, and I probably won't have time to check anybody out, but I do know that BRUCE CAMPBELL is going to be in attendance, which is reason enough for anybody in the area to go check it out.  I can't wait to return to my home state, THE ORIGINS.  I will be surrounded by friends and hopefully make some decent money to cover all the ridiculous amounts of things we're going to eat while we're there.  HELLO AGAIN, NEW YORK, PLEASE DEPOSIT YOURSELF IN MY STOMACH, THANKS.

I've taken a part time job as well as several new freelance projects this month, so I'm about to be a busy bee again.  Also, my work will also be featured again at the Kai Lin Art gallery in midtown Atlanta this December as part of the Joy! show.  Everything will be much smaller in scale and more managable, and the pieces are a little closer to my heart.  Expect process pics in the future.

Talk to you again after I get back from New York!  After I roll off the plane.

 

 

Friday
Sep242010

Gaga talked to us, then I picked my brain up off the floor

So, on Sunday, I had the pleasure of seeing this fierce mama:

I had seen her before she started her tour of US arenas, at the Fox Theatre here in Atlanta.  Basically, my brain melted and I think a part of it is still on the floor of the Fox.  My expectations were extraordinarily high, and this lady still managed to rise above the piles of hype and blow me away!

So, in order to plan for her arena show (bigger sets, more sets, more props, more costumes, more gagaloo), WE HAVE BEEN PLANNING OUT OUTFITS FOR WEEKS.  BEHOLD:

 

Internet-land, D (my hairstylist) and I got our picture taken more times than I've seen some cosplayers at conventions get their picture taken.  I was looking around at the other people who dressed up and it appears that it was either a BALLS-TO-THE-WALLS-EFFORT-OF-EPIC-PROPORTIONS or a TOTAL HALF-ASSED FAILURE.  No in-between.  One girl had on a dress that I think she wore to work with some heels and a sad piece of caution tape around her ankle.  Sad.  So, anyway, as you can see her, D is wearing a glass beaded codpiece of which he made himself as well as some kind of throw that appears to be made from the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland and a mask of rhinestones.  Please burn the image of that beautiful mask in your head to prepare yourself for the next part of this epic tale.

My other well-dressed co-horts:

Alejandra looks very excited, as you can see.  Actually, I think this was taken after a kind staff member informed the entire population of the line that this was probably the last chance we would have all night to pee.  Anyway, Alejandra here is ready to get the hell in there, and I bet you can guess what her favorite Lady G song is.

And this is my friend Gabby, who you should be jealous of because not only is her hair and makeup flawless, it has been proven time and time again that girl does not ever take a bad picture ever.

SO ANYWAY, you don't care about my friends, so let me just say before I assault you with a slew of photos that when we DID get into the arena, we were ON THE RAILING and basically 2-3 feet away from the catwalk.  WE WERE SO CLOSE HOLY MEAT DRESS.  I didn't expect to be so close at all, and I'm SOOOO glad that we were, because of what happened during that night.  But here are some pictures first.  I have a slew more on my facebook, but here are the best ones / ones that show her outfits / ones that show awesome set pieces:

 

It was sometime after she broke out her origami-lookin' keytar device here (zomg so cool) that she took her discostick (a giant flashlight) and took some time to talk to the audience.  She we commenting on all the costumes and signs ("Yes sir, I will marry you.  And you too, ma'am.  Oh, look, it's a Phillip Tracy hat!! Did you make that?  It's so cute!" et al) and she came around the bend over to us and says, "Hi, Barbie!!"  AND I REALIZE THAT SHE IS TALKING TO ME.  Of course, my intelligent response was, "....HI!!!!!"  FACEPALMING FOREVER.

Luckily to spare my embarrassment, she turns to D and gasps. "Oh, my god.  I love that mask.  It's so beautiful!  Where did you get it?"  D yells, "EBAY GURL."  It is during this exchange that, we didnt realize it then, but we were on the JUMBOTRON.  Someone took this rather unfortunate photo of the Jumbotron of me probably in mid-freak out that Gaga just talked to us:

But WHATEVER I WAS EXCITED, OK.  Gaga also is sponsored by Virgin Mobile, who runs the charity she associates herself with to help assist Gay and Lesbian homeless youth, and part of her show is to call a member of the audience and either invite them backstage or closer to the stage if they have a far-away seat.  While the phone was ringing, Gaga had her eyeballs glued to D's mask and said, "Oh my god, can we talk about this mask for a minute?  I love it.  I have to get one just like it."  OMG D.  The woman she called was a mother, who brought her 14 year old son for his birthday (immediately, Gaga lead us all in a happy birthday song!) and her other son was off fighting in Iraq and wishes he was there (Gaga cheered for the other son, thanked him for his service) and then invited them to a special seat close to the stage.  SHE IS SO NICE, JEEZUS.

I like her for a number of reasons (if you haven't guessed by now) but what I appreciate most is her incredible dedication to her fans.  She probably thanked us and told us how important we were to her no less than 500 times that night.

Also during this night, someone had passed around little headbands with antenne in the shape of hearts that lit up, and Gaga commented when she came out on the catwalk, "we were backstage, and all we saw were these little beady hearts everywhere, bouncing around!  Did you all organize this??  I love it!" And during her piano set (MY FAVORITEST PART OF HER SHOWS) lo and behold:

SO KYOOT. 

Ok, here's the last of the pictures:

(This is the Living Dress; it moves on its own, and I had been DYING to see it up close, omg, beautiful)

UNFFFF GIANT ANGLER FISH MONSTER, SOOOOO AMAZINGGGGGG

SO THAT IS IT. Like I said, i have more pictures on my facebook, but these are the best, I think. 
Also, sometime during this night, the svelte gentleman on the lower right of this last picture here TOTALLY HIT ON D. 

Me: Dude, that guy TOTALLY JUST HIT ON YOU.  You're getting a lot of attention tonight!
D: I like it.

 

Monday
Sep062010

Adventures in Californialand (pt.2)

Continuing onward!

Travel Host (T.H.) and I ventured to the Jelly Belly factory where THEY BASICALLY LET YOU TRY ANYTHING YOU WANT.  JELLY BEANS ARE DELICIOUS, so this was a-ok with me!  On one of the entrances was one of those super-unfortunate parachute figures that you see in a lot in the south at Christmastime in the shapes of snowmen or reindeer, but just look like misshapen balloon fetuses. This one was in the shape of a Jelly Belly caricature, and it was terrifying, so I spared your eyes.  THANK ME LATER.

 

So, take this picture and multiply it by like 10 and you can understand that we were in A SEA OF TASTINESS.  The tour didn't allow any pictures unfortunately, but it was filled with a cheesy walking tour guide, video from the early 90's, and lots of children who kept running into my butt.  Fantastic!  We also got an opportunity to taste the jelly beans at each stage of production, which was super interesting and delicious!

Also, I realized that T.H. and I only took one picture together the entire trip, and it was us looking disgruntled about wearing the required Jelly Belly hats, which are incredibly uncomfortable, definitely do not fit my basketball-shaped head, and did not fit properly over T.H.'s hair clip. WHY, JELLY BELLY.  There was one old lady wearing a hairnet, which I deeply considered. But, at least now I have a souvenier for my mother, who will probably put it in her scrapbook and cherish it forever.

Moving on, we returned to San Francisco and to ONE OF THE HIGHLIGHTS OF MY VACATION:

Are you ready to see THE MOST ADORABLE TEA SHOPPE EVER?!

 

ADORABLE EVERYTHING.  And, even if the food or tea was not good, it was kind of worth the amazing atmosphere!  The owners of the Crown and Crumpet were so friendly and funny, and the adjoining merchandise area was also full of cute things I cannot afford, and it was extremely difficult to walk away and not want to be covered in pink and white, oh man.

But!  The food and tea were DELICIOUS.  And of course, it was also THE CUTEST EVER.

We also got 2 pots of tea; mine was a pai mu tan white tea and T.H.'s was a black darjeeling tea (I think?  I don't remember, but it was also very good!).  We had the best afternoon tea ever, and it was the best way to end my trip in Californialand.

Some more TOURIST FOTOZ of San Francisco:

 

I didn't get a good shot of her, but during this time, there was a little girl in a Snow White costume running around the beach and basically throwing herself into the sand.  Why, I don't know, and why ask, because it was hilarious.  LIFE IS SO HARD, SNOW WHITE.

I didn't get to see this, but Maira Kalman's paintings were up and around.  I have somewhat mixed feelings about her artwork, but it's nice to see any illustrator getting recognition.

And, last but not least, I did not attend this particular one, but I did get to eat food from:

AND IT WAS ALSO GOOD.

I hope you have noticed, internet-friends, that my travels revolved around the food that I ate.  I FEEL LIKE THIS MAKES THE TRIP A SUCCESS.  I had a delicious time, and hope to return again one day!  Thanks, California-land, for being super-awesome!

Wednesday
Sep012010

Adventures in Californialand (pt. 1)

 

OH HO HO, I have returned from the unfamiliar coast, dear internet-friends!  It was surely a great adventure for me, as I have only traveled out west on the Oregon Trail a couple of times, and most of those times I was but a wee Katie.  SO IT IS TIME TO MAKE NEW MEMORIES, Y/Y!?

As you have perhaps observed by the title of this post, this is part one of TWO GLORIOUS POSTS about Californialand.  I was gone for 9 days, friends--that is a long time!  Joon almost mauled me in happiness when I walked in the door, with approximately three kicks to the crotch and a face-full of kisses! 

There is so much to tell, so, as my crab friends said as I consumed their innards liberally, LET'S GET CRACKIN.'

 

The next day, we drove from Davis to LA, about a 6 hour drive.  Along this drive, I discovered that there are mountains in Californialand, which may seem obvious to you, but was not to me!  As someone who has either lived either a) in a huge-ass metropolitan area or b) the "piedmont" region, I can honestly say I have not been near many mountains.  So, while my travel host (henceforth called "T.H.") was not impressed, I TOOK MANY PICTURES OF THESE MAJESTIC NATURAL WONDERS.  Of which I'll spare you most of them, but here's one more:

This is apparently "Pyramid Lake."  IT IS VERY PRETTY, NO!?

 

Upon arriving in LA, I was introduced to all of T.H.'s family (brothers and sister and neices and nephews, HER INTERMEDIATE FAMILY IS LARGER THAN MY ENTIRE FAMILY, OH MAN), and we ate two huge meals, one at King's Hawaiian (which was, sadly, undocumented) and one at Joe's Crab Shack, of which we devoured these two pots of delicious.  Om nom nom.

 

AND THEN THE NEXT DAY WAS DISNEYLAND.  OH MAN.  I'm one of those avid Disney-freaks, like, the kind that enjoy the animatronic (and historically racist) Brer characters of Splash Mountain moreso than the actual going down the hill in a log flume part, but DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH TIME AND EFFORT PROBABLY GOES INTO MAKING THOSE THORNBUSHES LOOK LIKE THAT EVERY DAY!!? 

Anyway, here's some more pictures of Disneyland winning my heart all over again:

 

CONFESSION TIME: About halfway through the fireworks over the castle, I started to cry an awful lot.  I am unsure if T.H. noticed, but I am a sensitive git when it comes to things like this that harken back to childhood where I was more concerned about portraying my (really really not convincing) Stone Cold Gangsta Killah image and being a total dick to my parents when I should have been grateful and nice and not a dick.  I wished more than anything that my mom could have been there with me and I told her so over two to three blubbering text messages

OUT OF CONTROL EMOTIONAL TIMES, let's continue.  TO SIX FLAGS MAGIC MOUNTAIN.

Of course, the next day when we went to Six Flags was the hottest day of the week.  I believe T.H.'s car read something like 113 degrees, which I kind of don't believe but really, really do at the same time because HOLY MOTHER it was like we were riding rollercoasters in a volcano, which was in an oven, which was on Mars.  I did get a little faint at one point which was alleviated with a Coke (I hadn't eaten anything all day, lolllzzz) and SOME EFFING BADASS ROLLERCOASTERS, HELLO!!!

THIS WAS THE X-2 ROLLERCOASTER OF MY DREAMS.  Not only was it an amazing coaster, your seat revolves 360 degrees while on the coaster!  And there's fire and stuff!  And, and I had no idea what was up or what was down or if I was spinning or not or where the hell I was, MOST DISORIENTING RIDE EVER OH GOD I WANT TO RIDE IT 400 MORE TIMES. 

Six Flags was only open from 10:30 to 6:30 or something like that, but we cut out early, mostly because we had done everything we had wanted to do and it was still five billion degrees outside, and we had six hours of driving to do that night, back to Davis.

 

On the drive back, we saw what looked like a fire on top of the mountains.  There was smoke and dust everywhere!  Nuts!

The following day was an obligatory rest day, as T.H. needed to take care of business at her place of work and I needed to catch up on some emails and SLEEP A LOT.  We walked around the Davis Farmer's Market and around downtown Davis, things I enjoyed very much but did not document in picture form. D:  I also got more acquainted with T.H.'s kitty-friends, who were named Miji and Dray.  As you know, I am not much of a kitty person, but, internet-friends, you would be proud of me as I made two kitteh-friends.

ANYWAY.  Thursday was our first day in San Francisco!  And what a welcome:

THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKIN' ABOUT.

We had a delicious ramen lunch in J-town and here are some of the things my eyes did see!

 

I did have a gay day!

A mini side-note: so, many of you know that once upon a time, I had a relationship with Cure magazine.  So seeing this was full of mixed emotions!

Next, we went and did some touristy things at the pier.  IT IS BECAUSE I HAVE NEVER BEEN, SO I AM A TOURIST, SEE.  I am allowed to indulge in tourist-y behaviors and look like a total stereotypical Asian on a trip with the camera and funny umbrella.  Here we go!

 

FULL HOUSE, Y/Y!?!

OH HELLO THERE SEA LIONS.  I would have taken more pictures, but the wind was fierce (AND A WELCOME CHANGE FROM THE DEAD, HEAVY HEAT OF ATLANTA-LAND) and I almost dropped my camera into the water trying to get a picture.

Here is Alcatraz, which unfortunately reminds me of that movie "The Rock" that came out in the nineties starring Nicholas Cage and Sean Connery in the decline of their careers (or the high point, depending who you ask, I suppose) and the place where I inevitably thought my brother would end up in later years, OH WELL THERE'S STILL TIME.

Ah, a giant stone version of what I had eaten on the trip!  And some lady with a big gulp!  WHAT CAN BE BETTER!?

Well, that's it for part one!  Stay tuned for part two later this week.  I have a busy week ahead of me, finishing up some freelance jobs, and preparing for DRAGON*CON, which seriously snuck up on me so fast, I don't even. 

 

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