Let's ComicCon! (San Diego Style)

I wanted to share a couple photos from my trip down to San Diego for a little festival called ComicCon (SDCC). Since I consider myself an internet aunt who only shares vacation pictures, I decided I would do this post in a photo journal style. (My real aunts are actually way too cool to force vacation photos on People. Oh screw it, I love vacation photos. If you stuck me in a dark room with one of those old fashioned photo projector thingies, I'd have a blast.)

Unexpectedly, one of the great highlights of my SDCC experience was the Pokemon Adventures anniversary panel on Saturday morning. I went because I read the Pokemon Adventures manga as a kid. The writer and artist, as well as the Japanese and English editors, made up the panel. At one point, the audience voted on characters (Red, Sapphire, Giovanni, Black) and Pokemon (Pikachu, Greninja, Mew, Tyranitar) to appear in a picture together drawn by the artist live while other panel members answered questions. The audience choose Red and Mew. As the artist started to drew—and we watched his work on the big screen above—the writer commented that we made such a nice choice. Mew and Red were a perfect fit. Now, if we had chosen Giovanni and Picture, said the writer, he would have been concerned. As some of you might know, Giovanni is the evil boss of Team Rocket, and the worst members of Team Rocket, Jessie and James, are always trying to catch Pikachu. Anyway, as the writer made this observation, glowing with happiness, the artist pushed away his drawing and pulled over a legal pad, where he started to draw... Giovanni. Then Pikachu. Then Pikachu kissing Giovanni, and Giovanni blushing, and the audience roared with laughter, and then the writer  finally  caught on. They ended up giving both pictures away in an epic game of rock-paper-scissors with the audience. We all also got free posters. I don't even know what more to say. 

Unexpectedly, one of the great highlights of my SDCC experience was the Pokemon Adventures anniversary panel on Saturday morning. I went because I read the Pokemon Adventures manga as a kid. The writer and artist, as well as the Japanese and English editors, made up the panel. At one point, the audience voted on characters (Red, Sapphire, Giovanni, Black) and Pokemon (Pikachu, Greninja, Mew, Tyranitar) to appear in a picture together drawn by the artist live while other panel members answered questions. The audience choose Red and Mew. As the artist started to drew—and we watched his work on the big screen above—the writer commented that we made such a nice choice. Mew and Red were a perfect fit. Now, if we had chosen Giovanni and Picture, said the writer, he would have been concerned. As some of you might know, Giovanni is the evil boss of Team Rocket, and the worst members of Team Rocket, Jessie and James, are always trying to catch Pikachu. Anyway, as the writer made this observation, glowing with happiness, the artist pushed away his drawing and pulled over a legal pad, where he started to draw... Giovanni. Then Pikachu. Then Pikachu kissing Giovanni, and Giovanni blushing, and the audience roared with laughter, and then the writer finally caught on. They ended up giving both pictures away in an epic game of rock-paper-scissors with the audience. We all also got free posters. I don't even know what more to say. 

I met Victoria Schwab. Accidentally. I feel like I should say that I planned SDCC down to a t, but the truth is that I stumbled across a lot of cool stuff. I ran into my friend Jillian in line for a free copy of  Vicious  at the Tor booth, and I joined her, planning to buy hardbacks of her  A Darker Shade of Magic  series. I thanked her for a writing a great (and inspiring)  blog post  about not giving up as she signed both my new books. It's always nice find that a skilled author is friendly too, even when they're swamped with people expecting free stuff.  Speaking of free stuff, I also ran into Leigh Bardugo, author of the Grisha trilogy and  ix of Crows!  Also, accidentally. As Jillian and I walked away from the Tor booth and wandered down an aisle, I recognized her. I stopped. (It's official, I have a crush). Jillian stopped. We booth decided to get in line, even though we had nothing to sign, because it's Leigh Bardugo, and we're here, and she's here, so... We got free posters and Crooked Kingdom samplers, which Bardugo signed as I attempted to low-key, super casual, like we're friends. Whatever. 

I met Victoria Schwab. Accidentally. I feel like I should say that I planned SDCC down to a t, but the truth is that I stumbled across a lot of cool stuff. I ran into my friend Jillian in line for a free copy of Vicious at the Tor booth, and I joined her, planning to buy hardbacks of her A Darker Shade of Magic series. I thanked her for a writing a great (and inspiring) blog post about not giving up as she signed both my new books. It's always nice find that a skilled author is friendly too, even when they're swamped with people expecting free stuff. 
Speaking of free stuff, I also ran into Leigh Bardugo, author of the Grisha trilogy and ix of Crows! Also, accidentally. As Jillian and I walked away from the Tor booth and wandered down an aisle, I recognized her. I stopped. (It's official, I have a crush). Jillian stopped. We booth decided to get in line, even though we had nothing to sign, because it's Leigh Bardugo, and we're here, and she's here, so... We got free posters and Crooked Kingdom samplers, which Bardugo signed as I attempted to low-key, super casual, like we're friends. Whatever. 

This might be pointless to state, but I am hardcore on for PokemonGo. I was playing it at SDCC. I'm playing it right now. But it was especially special at SDCC because almost  everyone  was playing it. As Jillian and I waited in line for the premiere of Timeless, a new tv drama about time traveling soldier, historian, and scientist (three people), we checked our phones and nabbed Pokemon. Timeless was great. I hope the following episodes are just as fun. But there was something special about being packed in a dark room with lots of other people to watch something for the first time.  Like someone showing vacation photos, but not!  We wrapped up our Saturday in the big dealers' hall, then had amazing burgers for dinner. We crashed at a friend's house. 

This might be pointless to state, but I am hardcore on for PokemonGo. I was playing it at SDCC. I'm playing it right now. But it was especially special at SDCC because almost everyone was playing it. As Jillian and I waited in line for the premiere of Timeless, a new tv drama about time traveling soldier, historian, and scientist (three people), we checked our phones and nabbed Pokemon. Timeless was great. I hope the following episodes are just as fun. But there was something special about being packed in a dark room with lots of other people to watch something for the first time. 
Like someone showing vacation photos, but not! 
We wrapped up our Saturday in the big dealers' hall, then had amazing burgers for dinner. We crashed at a friend's house. 

On Sunday, I waited in the long (and infamous) Hall H line to attend the panel on PokemonGo. It was hosted by Chris Hardwick and he interview the president of Niantic, John Hanke. All the information from that panel, if you are interested, is repeated in countless media outlets. I had a great time, planted somewhere in the middle of Hall H. I learned that I am on the same PokemonGo team as the president. That's all that really matters. (Go Team Instinct!) 

On Sunday, I waited in the long (and infamous) Hall H line to attend the panel on PokemonGo. It was hosted by Chris Hardwick and he interview the president of Niantic, John Hanke. All the information from that panel, if you are interested, is repeated in countless media outlets. I had a great time, planted somewhere in the middle of Hall H. I learned that I am on the same PokemonGo team as the president. That's all that really matters. (Go Team Instinct!) 

Many steps were walked, and many snacks were had. I wandered the artists' alley and the dealers' hall one more time before heading home. It was a great time. If I can manage it, I would love to come next year. And maybe one day I'll get to sign books her myself! 

Many steps were walked, and many snacks were had. I wandered the artists' alley and the dealers' hall one more time before heading home. It was a great time. If I can manage it, I would love to come next year. And maybe one day I'll get to sign books her myself! 

Let's Happiness Tag

Earlier in the day, young writer Christina Im flagged me to participate in the Happiness Tag, which involves making a positive blog post about things you enjoy to start off 2016. Despite being bleary-eyed and wishing Friday at the office was already done by 12:30, here I go! 

SONGS
I don't really listen to pop music. Lately, I've enjoyed The Force Awakens soundtrack by John Williams, as well as a couple jazz albums, stuff by Hirohashi Makiko who does jazz lounge renditions of movie music.
The holidays were a little stressful this year, and I found myself putting on headphones and listening to Beethoven's Fifth like a teenager bopping their head against the angst.

BOOKS
I don't know? I enjoyed Leigh Bardugo's Six of Crows, like everyone else. Did An Ember in the Ashes come out in 2015? 
For the last couple  months I've been enjoying nonfiction. I read The Tragedy of Liberation by Frank Dikotter, a professor at the University of Hong Kong, which details the Communist Revolution in China from 1945 to 1957. I did not enjoy the sequel, Mao's Great Famine, as much, but that could simply be because The Tragedy of Liberation had already worn me out. I believe he's writing a third book in this series. My favorite nonfiction book of the year is the new translation of the Kojiki by Gustav Heldt. The Kojiki is a Japanese mythological history dating from about 711. Heldt made the fun decision to translate all the gods' names, which can result in some wackiness, but I enjoyed the interpretations.

FILMS
Good question. In 2015, I particularly liked Inside Out, The Martian, Spotlight, and Star Wars. I still have to see Carol and the Revenant. It was fun to see Mission Impossible, Mad Max, and Jurassic World in theaters... Not a bad year for movies! I love going to the movies. 

WORDS
I like small words. 

SCENTS
Fragonard Jasmine perfume. When bread comes out of the oven still hot. Theater popcorn and a Coke Icee. Cats running in from the rainstorm. 

MISC.
What does this mean? I played Neko Atsume and I feel like I'm still being judged for it. The stormtrooper who yelled "traitor," why didn't they just give that fight scene and line to Phasma? They should have done more with her. And if they don't take advantage of having Andy Serkis playing their villain in the next movie, I'm going to have words. Also, why am I still the only person in the office? Is today Saturday and no one told me? Is my phone lying? Can a phone lie, in a spiritual and existential sense? 

 

BLOGGERS
I have no more friends. They have already been claimed.

I will tag Kimberly Karalius because I can. 

Happy New Year! Let's all enjoy cats and books.

 

 

 


 

Let's do lightning reviews III

Since wrapping up H+MC, I've been doing a lot of reading! It's really bizarre to not be writing, but I've been making progress through my many book piles. Expect another lightning reviews post within the next week. 

Without further adoo, the lightning bento III:

Cats by Kuniyoshi
by Kaneko Nobuhisa
PIE books, 2013

Do you like cats? Do you like pictures with weirdly informative captions? Do you like cats doing odd things in the background, or wearing people clothes, or helping samurai? Are you on the Internet? If so, you will probably delight in this collection of Edo Period woodblock prints. Pictures can be removed from the book and framed, or you can just read them. Good gift book. 

 

Silk Road: A New History
by Valerie Hansen
Oxford University, 2015

Hansen analyzes the Silk Road based on recently discovered archaeological finds, but the book shines with her analysis of newly found texts. Full of maps and photographs to help the reader. 'Is there something new about the Silk Road?' a doubtful friend asked me. Well, we've found new legal documents and receipts wrapped around corpses. And that's just one example! Library. 

 

 

Lock In: A Novel of the Near Future
by John Scalzi
Tor Books, 2015

A disease locks fully aware people into paralytic bodies, and society develops androids for them to run around in. Scalzi builds a wholly believable, timely world full of scheming tech moguls, health care providers, and a newly minted FBI agent android dude who's trying to catch a killer. The writing snaps along. Not the sort of thing I usually read, but golly, I enjoyed it!  Library. 

 

 

The Man in the High Castle 
by Phillip K Dick
Mariner Books, 1962 (2012)

What if the Axis won World War II? What if Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan divided North America? What if the Japanese were obsessed with junky American pop art and Civil War relics and black markets emerged to fuel this weird gift-giving economy, and something big comes out of a bunch of random men straining against the system? For me, crazy stuff like this is what true dystopian is all about. Read it.

 

The World of the Shining Prince: Court Life in Ancient Japan
by Ivan Morris
Tuttle, 1964 (later editions)

Despite being in the Japanese history world for a while, I just recently discovered this book at a secondhand store and fell in love. This is the best introductory text to the Heian Court: its aesthetics, fights, loves, and poetry.... It's easy to read, and Ivan Morris was one of the best. If you've enjoyed my work, buy this book too. Used copies are cheap. Buy it. 


Let's do lightning reviews II

I wanted to do another quick book bento on the books I've read recently. A lot of stuff came out in May! Let's lightning bento:

Love Fortunes and Other Disasters
by Kimberly Karalius 
Swoon Reads, 2015

Set in a cookie tin-like tourist town, the lovably uptight Fallon decides to join a rebellion against the 100% accurate love fortunes issued by the local monopoly. Karalius writes like no one is watching—that is to say, her style is the literary mash-up of a sugary pop star and Tim Burton. This debut is more reigned in than her online work, but very charming. Looking forward to watching Macmillan cut her loose. Buy it. 

An Ember in the Ashes
by Sabaa Tahir
Razorbill, 2015

Tahir's debut plays out in a fantasy version of Ancient Rome, where warrior's masks merge with their faces and a girl volunteers to be a slave for a ruthless commander in the hopes of freeing her brother. I chugged this book. The mage-like Augurs are a little too deus ex machina for my tastes, but nothing is stopping this runaway train of a success. Library. 

Look Who's Back
by Timur Vernes
Hachette, 2015

Oh. My. Fuhrer. Hitler wakes up in modern Berlin and goes on to become an Internet/political sensation. It's satire. It's about media and how we can be controlled. It's hilarious and terrible and it's more about us than it is about Hitler. Although, Hitler is uncomfortably charming and hilarious too. Yes. Oh yes. 

The Late Poems of Wang An-Shih
translated by David Hinton
New Direction, 2015

Hinton isn't just translating an incredibly beautiful and difficult text. He's a poet. Buy the book, and when you need a moment to escape, read one of the many short poems to yourself. Breathe. You're welcome. 

...and the countryside startles into sandstorm
as confusions of willow treetops break apart.

How can river and lake be inside these eyes?
Last night I dreamed wild billows and swells.
 

The Invention of News
by Andrew Pettegree
Yale, 2015

Pettegree investigates the history of news: who reported information, who controlled it, and how. This long book tells of the journeys taken by printers, merchants, and newspapermen starting in the Middle Ages. It's one of those books you should read. You'll be much smarter for it, not because of the specific printers or newsmen, but because you'll understand how information has moved. Not easy, but worth the time. Library. 

 

Whew I did it! 

Clicking the heart  makes hearts blossom.