goodness, life

UPS adventure!

I love having random adventures.  Discovering amazing little pockets of Los Angeles that I knew nothing about doesn’t happen every day; I know this city pretty well.  So I get pretty excited when I encounter something unexpected, which usually results in an…


Why is it always the case that I have adventures like this when I’m forced to go pick up a package?  This time it was a UPS facility northeast of downtown that couldn’t seem to properly deliver a box of soap from Bigelowe & Co. (for Boyfriend) that I had bought a month prior (and had already been stolen off my doorstep once).

When I got there, I discovered while waiting in the lobby these neat little rolly things they use to roll packages around with ease.

i played with them when noone was looking

On my drive there, I passed this weird little sign that said “Apothecary Fairy,” which is apparently a skin-care company that sells lotions, soaps, rubs, candles and other stinky crap to scare men out of your bathroom.

semi-legible = edgy!

I decided to pull over on my way back to investigate.  I’m so glad I did, because I discovered The Brewery, which is an ART COLONY, which I put in caps to try to keep myself from laughing when I say it or read it (to no avail).  An ART COLONY (teehee!) is (as far as I can tell) like an ant colony, but instead of ants working endlessly on unique, but in the end pointless creations, it’s people (zing!).  And they live in this area of Los Angeles I’ve never seen before.  And I’m kinda jealous, because it looks awesome.

pfft, obviously

There’s a really neat balance of metal and organic sitting around, enjoying a kind of harmony.

"oh, is there ivy taking over the building? I didn't notice; I was so busy CREATING."

Having said that, everything looks very intentionally abandoned, which I kinda hate because then it’s fake, and loses it’s mystery.  It’s like steampunk threw up all over everyone’s front lawn, then sat and rusted for a while.

seriously... what is that doing there.

But happening upon an area like this by chance was still super fun.  There was a little cafe, and this miniature grassy park area!

surely, the small stone bench at the other end was littered with cigarette butts

And a tiny rocket car!  I really wanted to ask someone about this, but I figured I was already potentially trespassing on private property just by being there, so drawing attention to the fact that I (an ordinary outsider) was taking dozens of photos of their shit was not on the menu.

i could have escaped in it! p-chow! zoom!

And a Caterpillar!  Like everything else on the property, I wondered how it had ended up there, but somehow this one totally fascinated me.  Who had driven in last?  What did they haul around?  Did it still work?  It had to weigh a ton, how would they move it?

curiouser and curiouser

And this old car! This one looks totally intentionally placed, and didn’t exactly charm the pants off me.  Old cars are just so fun to look at though, I couldn’t resist.

i like to think the palm tree and car struck up an unlikely friendship

Next to the car was a Mexican man who asked me for the time.  I said, “A las una,” then, “Puedo tomar un foto del coche?”  Hooray!  I speak the Spanish!  Watchless Mexican did not give two shits that I had mastered Spanish I, and went back to shining these pieces of copper, seemingly for an art project.

i resisted the urge to TOUCH ALL OF THEM

Near the copper-shining-Mexican was a giant piece of what can only be described as a huge piece of totally unnecessary metal machinery.  I chuckled aloud as I wondered how many people had accidentally backed up into it as they parked in one of the few official parking lots I could find.

railroad machinery?

I realized as soon as I set eyes on it that the Brewery smoke stack is a landmark I’ve seen before, though I can’t recall where.  I had suddenly found familiar ground in a wasteland of intentionally derelict buildings and pieces of Americana.

ironically, there were no brewerys nearby...

It topped off this really neat, giant building which may have honestly been a steel refinery at some point, and has actually been abandoned, as interior photos clearly showed.

free tetanus shot with every lease signing!

I found an official entrance to the compound (which distinctly said “PRIVATE PROPERTY”), and right outside, down the block was an Aikido dojo.

it too looked semi-abandoned

I threw on my hazard lights, jumped out to grab an inevitably poorly-written brochure, and drove toward a busy street, thinking my thoroughly satisfying adventure had drawn to a close.  But no!  If you had told me that the last photo I would take that day was of a giant, half-finished carousel horse surrounded by shipping crates, I would have said, “You’re crazy, Sam I Am.”

and it looked just pissed, btw

I drove a little, stopped to wander around and take some photos, then jumped back in the car to find the next out of place, rusty thing.  I was a little late to get pho with my dad in Silverlake at Pho Cafe, but it was worth it, and then I got to see my dad.

What a great adventure!

anime, goodness, humor, nerd

ComiCon: Come ‘n Gone

This year’s ComiCon was my third overall, and my first as a member of the press (which didn’t make much of a difference, actually). I crashed in a hotel closet the first night, and shared a bed with a very nice lady comedian the second night. Saturday morning, she and I went to a nearby restaurant (and I use the term loosely) for breakfast. It was like being in a third-world country: everything was brightly painted to cover rust, nothing matched, there were album covers and instruments covering nearly every surface, and there were several full-sized painted figures of various celebrities scattered around (Elvis made me jump as I turned a corner). The owner was a character; I’m definitely going back my next trip.

My goal for this year’s ComiCon was to take photos of as many cosplayers as I could stand. 200 photos later, mission a-fracking-ccomplished. I also got to interview a bunch of them on camera for Comics on Comics. Those interviews should be up on their website soon. So much fun! Some of them just loved to tell us about their costume, others were so shy I couldn’t get more than a word or two out of them (so cute!).

My celebrity encounter
I got to meet Richard Taylor, who is bar-none the kindest, most generous and engaging semi-celebrity I will probably ever have the pleasure of encountering. He’s the head of the Weta Workshop which did all the props for The Lord of the Rings movies. He was just standing on the floor near the Dark Horse booth chatting with whomever was waiting patiently for their turn. He turned the conversation to my friends and I as soon as we were introduced, asking us where we were from, how do we like the con, do we work in the industry, etc. I couldn’t get over what a nice guy he was. Color me impressed.
I also got to meet Scott Kurtz who creates PvP Online, an online comic I’ve been reading for years. He was very low key, and happy to chat a bit.

A few things I’ve learned about cosplaying this year:
-It pays to have a comfortable costume (especially shoes).
-Earn the Roadblock achievement- A true sign of an amazing costume (or a skimpy one) is when one person can cause a traffic jam in the main hall while everyone stops to get a photo.
-Be a good sport- A great costume will make you a celebrity for a day. The first time some random stranger asked for my photo, I got pretty excited (my costume was very accurate, but pretty simple). The only exception to this rule came when I spotted a girl with a fantastic Scout costume from Team Fortress. I asked for a photo and she immediately froze, then took off waving her bat over her head as she went. I was in shock. AWESOME.
-Plan ahead- Every decent costume requires a good amount of planning, so you have to start months before the con to make sure you have everything you need. Some assembly will always be required.
-Just smile- I was pleased to rediscover that true cosplayers are not attention whores. They dress up because they love a character, not because they want people begging for a photo-op. Speaking of which…
-DO YOUR RESEARCH- If you’re going to dress up as a character, you’d better believe there will be people at the con who want to see that trademark move, or hear that catchphrase your character is always saying. If you can’t deliver, get ready for some seriously disappointed nerds. I photographed a woman dressed as the White Queen. Her costume was fantastic, so I asked which comic she got her inspiration from (Uncanny, Astonishing, etc). She had no idea what I was talking about. So disappointing. Would it have killed her to read up on her character on Wikipedia before the con? Visually, she was perfect for the role of Emma Frost, but she knew nothing about the X-Men universe. Which brings us to our next topic…
-Dress to your body type- How many fat, out of shape jedi did I see in San Diego this weekend, LOL! I didn’t see any Man-Faye (thank god), but if you’re gonna wear something tight, your options are to either get a gym membership months and months before the con, or dress up as a fat character. Really!
-Go all the way!- I saw so many people there with pieces of a costume on (wearing a Master Chief helmet ONLY is not a costume!). Don’t be scared, guys. If there’s any place where people will accept you in your bizzarre outfit, it’s ComiCon. Which brings us to…
-Do it or don’t- For everyone who bought their costume at Hot Topic, you’re taking up space at the con that could be filled by legitimate nerds. Buying Emily the Strange comics does not make you a comic book nerd. Just set your DVR to record Fringe, re-read the Twilight saga with your cat, and give your passes to real fans.

The Comics!
Archaia Press had a crazy deal going on for their graphic novels this year. I got 5 hardbacks for $50. The deal was: 2 for 1, 5 for 2, or 7 for 3. Made the whole trip worth it.
I got two of the Mouseguard books which I’ve been meaning to check out. At the Darkhorse booth I got Beasts of Burden, which is great so far. I also picked up Batman Grendel for $6. I grabbed a Wolverine sketch for my roommate (he’s her favorite), and a couple prints for myself.

The final hilight
Saturday night before I left, some friends and I went to an Italian restaurant called Acqua al 2. A few of us had a fillet mignon with a blueberry reduction sauce (see the Fileno al Mirtilio on the menu). It was like eating a meat pancake. So unusual and very tasty. The perfect end to an exhausting weekend.

P.S. My costume was a huge success! I got every aspect just right, and enough people recognized me to make me satisfied that I did a good job on it. Yuri Sakazaki, you’re my hero.