From Porn Star to Portland

This weekend I’ve gotta buckle down and prepare for the move but last weekend was pretty darn eventful! Asa Akira came to town so we bussed up to Lake City Way and saw her, then we hitched a ride with Gavin to Portland for Linework NW. Kristy went to both events with me because she is an incredible friend (but also a friend who doesn’t like having her photo taken so there are none of her in this post). We like to say we ‘normalize’ each other’s interests and never has there been a better example. You know it’s a solid friendship when you can watch women performing erotic acrobatics one night and maneuver through a jam-packed comic convention the next. Here are some photos I snapped, starting with Portland:

This was Linework’s first year and it was fantastic- free, well-curated, and PACKED with a remarkably diverse crowd. Books were flying off the table and Jen literally swept me off my feet at the Fanta booth. Also worth mentioning: we had a huge pack of friends traveling together this year (Kristy, Gavin, Nate, Steph O, Arabella, Dave, Dean, and me). I couldn’t keep track of everyone, especially in this swamped hall.

That’s Gavin with a gorgeous Tom Neely painting, Jason with Insect Bath #1- a weird and awesome collection of disturbing tales, and Sloane whose work I’ve been meaning to pick up for awhile- what a talented cartoonist!

This is what I picked up at Linework and Floating World. Tax freeee shopping spreeee.

portland1Visiting our Portland pals. Met up with Ben and his lady for pizza at Sizzle Pie. Ben and I grew up in the same tiny town- thank goodness we both escaped unscathed! Met up with Tony where he works at Everyday Music. He used to work at Fanta and played on our trivia team- his laugh is one of my favorites.

These are my Stony Brook peeps Bublz and Melissa. They met us for froyo with Meghan and Boris (respective partners). Oh, and Rose who’s a big dog that likes being held like a baby. Wrong Island bond 4ever.

Froyo, YOLO, FroYOLO! This is the dessert of my dreams: non-dairy pomegranate raspberry yogurt with crushed oreos, mochi, and strawberry slices. Thank you, Tartberry for offering non-dairy froyo.

portland4We went to Rimsky Korsakoffee for late night treats- a lovely experience for many reasons but a must-see because of their bathroom. There’s a dummy waving from a canoe and legs dangling in the ‘water’ from the ceiling! Dark photos cannot properly convey how rad and creepy this is.

portlandv5And no trip to Portland would be complete without swinging by Voodoo Doughnuts. Sweets for the ride home.


Going back to that Friday, here’s me ‘n’ James geeking out at the strip club (bleck- we look extra young and goofy!):
Asa Akira is an award-winning porn star but I didn’t know about her until last spring when I started listening to DVDASA, a podcast she co-hosts with David Choe. I’m a big fan of their show but James is the only friend I’ve been able to get into it. Kinda reminds me of Howard Stern but with Asians, David Choe yelling, and lot of outsider commentary. We also got to meet Bill Poon whose name and blog are simply wonderful. I got nervous and forgot how to operate my iPhone camera but they were super nice about it. James inked his knuckles and it got instagram’ed which totally made his night.


Our time in Seattle is running down faster than the last grains of sand in an hourglass. Three weeks left!

Vegan Pizza Party: Spaghetti Squash Crust

I like to keep spaghetti squash handy- it’s delicious, easy to roast, and keeps on the counter for a couple months. It’s been my beloved food staple for years but it never dawned on me to turn it into pizza until I saw this recipe on A Beautiful Mess. Two things I love, together at last! Squash crust sticks together OK but it’s not tough enough to pick up and fold so I had to use a fork. I guess it’s debatable whether these funny-lookin’ pies are still ‘pizza’ but they are tasty as heck. Serves three:

Crust
1 spaghetti squash
1 Ener-G Egg Replacer
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
dash of pepper
dash of salt
•Roast the squash, de-seed, scrape out the ‘spaghetti’ (I recommend roasting them whole)
•After the squash has cooled a bit, squeeze out as much moisture as possible. I used a nut bag (yeah, it’s called a nut bag)
•Mix the squash with the egg replacer and spices
•Make your crust(s) on a parchment lined cookie sheet
•Add your toppings, and bake at 400°f for 20-25 minutes

Pesto:
1 cup fresh basil
1/4 cup of pine nuts (or walnuts if you need a cheap sub)
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
squeeze of fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
•Blend everything but the olive oil in a food processor, until coarsely ground
•Add olive oil and pulse several times

The toppings:
Trader Joe’s vegan mozzarella (but just a bit) and asparagus with a little lemon. Perfect!

Emerald City Comicon 2014

This past Saturday, I spent a chunk of the afternoon at the Fanta booth with Larry. He and his daughter Bella crafted this Usagi Yojimbo Easter basket bunny which I thought was the best and cutest thing at the con. You can tell a lot about a person’s bravery based on whether they accept jelly beans from a stranger…

For no reason in particular, I wasn’t into seeing a lot of stuff this year but I made a point to check out a panel with my boss and co-workers (her name’s cut out of the frame, but that’s Kristy on the left). The panel was moderated by Paul Constant who wrote this nice article. Speaking of nice articles, The Seattle Times has a piece on the comics scene out here.

I didn’t take many photos but here are some from friends’ Instagrams: rad Popeye couple, Moss from The IT Crowd toting around the Internet, Jen and Colleen. It seemed like Adventure Time and Frozen were the most popular costumes this year which I’m all about. And, oh! On my way home, a gal dressed up as the Enchantress told me I was adorable (I was not in a costume). Totally made my day.

Since we won’t be around, this is probably my last Emerald City Comicon. I’ve had so much fun over the years… even though I feel like the most awkward person alive and can’t walk around without getting frazzled and red-faced. :)

Life Lately

This is the last good week to admire the cherry and plum blossoms around Seattle. Those pretty, pink trees are shedding all over the city and we’ve even had some sunshine amidst the rain. I love this time of year.

My birthday is the first day of spring and I turned 29 this year. Friends came over to watch Cool As Ice and play an Alfred Hitchcock board game I picked up at an estate sale (turns out it’s a convoluted version of Clue with racist illustrations). Dean discovered Feel Good’s macarons, Martin got me Mighty O donuts (dead Fred Phelps personally wished me happiness), THEN my co-workers got me a chocolate cake. Basically, I was spoiled all day with vegan sweets.

I haven’t had time to document all the rad movies watched, books read, or shows caught. There’s been too much goin’ on. We’ve only got about a month left in this great state before moving and it’s becoming quite a crunch to fit everything in. It goes without saying that we wanna see our friends as much as possible. BUT ALSO:
1. Take the Larry Reid tour of Seattle
2. Beat our rival team in pub trivia (we may not get another chance…) and play with the Fanta basement team
3. Pick up as many comics as possible without cutting into money saved for the move
4. Say ‘goodbye’ to Portland pals
5. Hike around Snoqualmie Falls and geek out at the Twin Peaks diner
6. Meet up for another movie night with Kristy, Josh, Ben, and Marc
7. Beat Dave Holmes at table tennis

Scarecrow Video

There could not be a more impressive and wonderful video store than Scarecrow. I read they’ve collected about 120,000 titles but even a fat figure like that seems low when you see their mammoth, wide-ranging selection. I hate to think of this store ever closing so when the owners announced they were struggling, I started going more regularly. First for their 2-for-1 Wednesday rentals, then for pub trivia (and drinks), and lately for some screenings (and drinks). Also, the employees are THE BEST. They’re super friendly and freakishly skilled at finding movies based off of vague descriptions. I will miss Scarecrow terribly when we leave Seattle.

I almost passed out from joy when I first checked out the horror section. Sub-categories include stalkers, zombies, and mad scientists.

VHS box art by lots of neat cartoonists. And a list of messed up horror movies in the Psychotronic room.

Movies are arranged by director and by country. Perfect.

P1100193Me ‘n’ Kristy with Lloyd Kaufman, Toxie, Asta Paredes, and Clay von Carlowitz from Return to Nuke Em High. Squee!

Savannah

Omigod, it’s no wonder Savannah is nicknamed the Hostess City of the South. We were completely charmed. I’ll never get over the spooky spanish moss or beautiful historic buildings- that stuff just takes my breath away. This was the last stop on our road trip and the sweetest spot we could’ve ended with.
004col-2Colonial Park Cemetery, right after some rain.

Right before we left, I spotted some Savannah photos on the Dainty Squid. Talk about great timing ‘cos we probably wouldn’t have found Graveface Records otherwise. Love their rad decor! Besides records, it sells pedals, skulls, totes, trading cards, and toys.

My handsome dude with another bottle of Cheerwine (he goes nuts for this stuff) before we checked out the super cool SCAD store.

We hid out from the thunderstorms at the Deep South Orchid Society’s annual orchid show. Gorgeous. I especially love the mean-lookin’ pitcher plants.

In my rich woman fantasies, I have a house with these fahncy gold windows and ivy covered columns.

10beeOf course, I had to drag Dean with me to Girl Scout First HQ. Once a Girl Scout, always a Girl Scout. Afterwards, we went to the Savannah Bee Company where we sampled several varieties of honey. Mmmmm.

Tiger tofu tacos at Kayak Kafe for lunch. The house hot sauce has some serious flavor.

We drove out to Tybee Island on our one hot, sunny day. The Fish Art Gallery is one of the coolest things we saw on the trip. The yard is filled with trash-to-treasure plate faces, shark teeth, mannequin legs, and a bathtub of sea shells. Dee-lightful.

The dunes were peppered with the bravest, loudest birds. We laughed and laughed at this pair for turning their heads in unison a couple times.

Hanging out in the sunshine until the heat hit my brain and made me feel a little stupid. The best.

Athens

Athens felt like a perfect town to us. Southern and friendly with a walkable core, a fabulous comics shop, and too many eateries for us to get through in two days. I’m lousy at tactful announcements but… we’ve decided to move there! In a nutshell: our savings’ll go a little further and we’ll be closer to my family (a shade closer to Dean’s family too!). It was a tough decision since Seattle has been so good to us. More on Seattle later though. Here are our pictures from the trip! Thank you so much to Jennifer who was kind enough to hook us up with a list of recommendations. Check out her blog for more on Athens life.

Mugging it up at Jackson Street Books. I loved the welcoming overflow of books and that just right book scent.

I didn’t plan on shopping but I couldn’t resist a glittery sweater dress at Community (the staff is lovely). We also bought some cute cards and pins at Mini Gallery- the littlest and most adorable gallery! Thanks for telling us about this, Janice!

Beautiful flowers and (not pictured) a delicious breakfast we scarfed down way too fast at Ike and Jane.

Next door is Double Dutch Press where we picked up postcards to send our folks. Double Dutch offers a variety of workshops that sound super fun.

Cali N Tito’s for dinner. Meals in Athens are extremely filling. It felt like I was moving in slow motion after this veggie burrito and sweet tea- haha. The BYOB factor is neat too.

These sweet dogs were waiting outside Daily Groceries Co-op. Omigod, what heartbreakers!

I ended up blowing the rest of my vacation budget at Bizarro-Wuxtry. No regrets. Thanks for the damaged book discount and the awesome pins, Devlin!

Refreshments at Trappeze. Dean tried the Terrapin Golden Ale. I got overwhelmed by all the beer options (there are so many!) and ordered whiskey. Our waiter was the most stylish man I’ve ever seen.

And we had to visit The Grit, a gold standard for vegetarian restaurants. I had to stop a few bites shy of finishing this jumbo breakfast burrito but it was off-the-chain!

A mural on the side of the Last Resort. We didn’t get to check this place out but I sure love a wall of colorful food!


Prior to actually hitting the road, I was terrified about all the driving. I just got my license over the summer and I’m one of those obnoxious, overly-cautious drivers. Turns out, driving was one of the best parts of visiting these cities! It’s less than three hours to Athens from Asheville and the roads are wide and open. We drove past the mountains and forests, peanut and fruit stalls, flea markets, gun shops, and churches. It was a truly novel landscape to me ‘n’ Dean.

Asheville

We kicked off vacation in Asheville, North Carolina- a very cool mountain town. James, Dean, and I checked this one out together as a potential city to live in. In the end, we didn’t think it was the right spot but it has so many things we love! Good beer, plenty of vegetarian restaurants, and a commitment to supporting local business. I’m only sorry we didn’t have time for Moog- too rad that you can tour their factory! We’ll be back, Asheville.
We found this mustachioed fellow Downtown. Who can resist a man with hearts for eyes and pills for teeth?

Ugh! This goofball always has to fuck with me when I ask someone to take our photo.

Sheep at the Western North Carolina Nature Center. They were snacking on snow and it was super cute.

Hey James, are you having fun yet? (No really, he was!)

These signs are proudly displayed on just about every store front. Also, I’m totally into this Alice in Wonderland window display with the Barbie-headed flowers.

We spent ages perusing the ScreenDoor Antique Mall, so much fab furniture! Our Seattle pal, Summer, told us to check out Malaprop’s which is an A+ bookstore. I was tickled to get the Edward Gorey card for our bag check.

The Black Mountain College Museum was at the top of our list to visit. These are two of my favorite sketches in their Cynthia Homire exhibition. She and Jorge Fick would draw live models every Saturday morning for years. Thanks to Martin for telling me about Black Mountain College in the first place- he knows everything cool.

A wall of sketches at Early Girl Eatery. What a great spot! They veganized a sandwich for me and I got to try a nice, local stout. James and Dean were big fans of their non-vegetarian, southern fare as well. Heaven on earth!

Right before hitting the road, we grabbed breakfast at the Green Sage. I got the vegan biscuits and mushroom gravy along with a glass of carrot orange juice. Delicious! Speaking of sage, our AirBnb host gave us some sage as a token of luck for our trip. :)

The mountains out east are so different from Seattle’s snow-capped Cascades and Olympics. I think they’re equally beautiful but they look… quieter, don’t you think? This photo doesn’t illustrate it, but it’s like there’s a gentle blue gradient everywhere you look.


To tell you the truth, a lot of things went wrong at the start (our flight was rescheduled due to a monster snow storm; our rescheduled flight was turned around mid-air because the Asheville airport closed and didn’t tell anyone; one of the occupants at our AirBnB panicked and smashed a glass door!) but now that stuff seems like hilarious bad luck. Isn’t it interesting how when you have a minute to look back on a situation that caused you anxiety, it seems less horrible and more funny? We ended up laughing a lot on this trip.

Mountain Town Cats

We’re back from our road trip through the Southeast. It was one of the best weeks of our lives. :) I still haven’t had a chance to look through all our pictures but I wanted to post these. Ran into this tough-looking trio after a long day exploring Asheville, about five minutes before nighttime really set in.

Life Lately

from my phone photos:
pretty fog in our Seattle ‘hood day and night| got Higuchi Yuko Artworks book as my January exercise reward


blobby scones, Blobby Boys | vegan brunch at Portage Bay | vegan brunch at Cafe Flora (our first date of the year, LOVE!)

hair is back to black (sort of) | our shy foster is warming up to us | made a couple custom pet portraits

some shows I’ve caught: The Thermals | La Luz | Secret Chiefs 3

a practice drive to Georgetown | flailing limbs of excitement! | my co-worker was replaced by a dummy (nightmares!)

It’s been a nice year so far. I’ve been a lot more social- the challenge is more or less forcing myself out the door. Dean and I are contemplating some major life changes so I’m trying to fully enjoy life as it is now. Good friends, good job, good city.

Now we’re off to the other side of the country for a road trip through Asheville, Athens, and Savannah. I’m anxious about driving but mostly thrilled for vacation. Hope the snow storm didn’t hurt southeasters too badly.

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