ECCC 2014: Another year of slacking off right before finals

Hey all,

It’s the end of March and you know what that means (just kidding, pretty sure if you do know, you’re definitely in the minority)… EMERALD CITY COMICON!

Hurray for 5AMbussing.

Hurray for 5AMbussing.

A group of my friends and I managed to take some time off and bus to Seattle again for the con. We were very tactical with the whole thing. We stayed over at one person’s house so we could taxi off to the Greyhound station early Saturday morning. We had to wake up at 4:30AM in order to get dressed, and get to Pacific Central at 5:30. I think that was possibly the earliest I’ve woken up for something before. Anyway, the plan was for M, Mal, and I to bus down to Seattle first and be at the convention for both Saturday and Sunday, while our other friends with the car would drive down on Sunday and take us home with them.

My friend M was actually sick during the trip, so it was a little worrying for me and Mal. But overall, it was so much fun! It was quite different from last year because although there wasn’t a main celebrity that was on my bucket list of people I wanted to meet (unlike Misha Collins last year), I did meet a few celebrities that I respected  a lot!

Day 1

The first day was a hectic rush to get to the actual convention centre. We got off the bus, ran to the hotel, then took a taxi to the centre. A wave of nostalgia rushed through me when I walked through the front doors and saw the three sets of escalators that took all the guests to the main event floor. A banner read “Welcome to Emerald City Comicon” and I almost wanted to cry. I had such a great experience last year (albeit some issues with the line ups and such) that I didn’t realize how much I missed it.

DSCN3742

I dressed up as Castiel from Supernatural again on the first day, except a different version of the trench coat. I am actually so happy that my mom likes making these things.

The day was spent buying arts, tshirts, and geeked out assorted goodies. We watched Mark Sheppard’s panel (from Supernatural), and Osric Chau (also from the show) showed up to ask Mark a question. We later caught up with him to have a chat and take photos with him. Osric is honestly such a nice guy, and despite being tired, he was very accommodating to the fans! The convention had told him he would have to keep moving or else he’d cause a traffic jam, and he kept his word, but allowed fans to take selfies with him while walking. We spent some time helping him located a vendor who would sell a machete so that he could complete his cosplay (Glenn from The Walking Dead), but upon not being able to find one, he ripped one out of cardboard.

Osric Chau cosplaying as Glenn!

Osric Chau cosplaying as Glenn!

I ran into some old friends that I met from Emerald City last year. I cannot believe the lasting friendships I’ve managed to make just from conventions. (Shoutout to Delaney because we managed to run into each other on both days!!! And her cosplays are awesome.)

Unlike last year, it felt like I had a lot less time to shop around in the artist alleys and vendors. I suppose having more friends with you will slow everyone down a bit, but at the same time, having more people was so much fun! It was a different experience.

At night, we wanted to eat at the Cheesecake Factory across the street from the convention centre. Upon entering the crowded restaurant, we asked how long we’d have to wait for a table for three. The wait was 1 1/2 hours. We left. Instead, we opted for subs at Jimmy John’s. We tried sleeping earlier that night, and Mal did a great job of that. But M and I were not used to sleeping till around 4AM, so it was hard. I ended up sleeping at one, which was pretty good in my books. And that was day one.

Day 2

Our friends, T, F and B, came down on day 2 and we walked with them from our hotel to the convention centre. First order of business was getting photo op tickets for Karen Gillan. Although only F and I were getting tickets, we all lined up together. These guys 🙂

I wore my Tardis cosplay today, mostly because I wanted to wear it for a picture with Karen Gillan! Amy Pond was probably my favourite companion since I had started with her.

A picture of me with a weeping angel I found wandering around

A picture of me with a weeping angel I found wandering around

 

As a group, we did wander the convention floor, but since the day was only till 5PM and we got to the convention at around 11:30AM, the day was short. We had two panels we had to see (Mark Sheppard and Jim Beaver + Karen Gillan) and we had to go to the hall early to get seats. I still had a lot of things I wanted to buy, but didn’t manage to make it because of how tight schedule was. That was one of the biggest things that struck me this year. With six people travelling together for day 2, time evaporated.

However, I still got to take a picture with Karen. Actually, basically right before our turn, she had to take a quick break  so her smile could relax and she could take a sip of water. F and I stared at her for a good five minutes since we had entered an area that we could actually see her, unlike most of the people still in line. Fangirl.

Karen squared!

Karen squared!

The drive home was…interesting. We stopped by a Jack in the Box for dinner (we felt so american with our burgers that had a ridiculous amount of cheese and meat) and proceeded across the border. That’s when things started to get a little messy due to us getting a little lost. But in the end, we made it out okay! In the car, we were already making plans for next year! I can’t wait!

I’ll follow up this personal post with a shorter, snappier review of the convention (maybe to convince everyone to go?)!

– Karen

What was I doing in Langley!?

Hey all!

Last week, I did something crazy. I went to Langley.

Okay, it isn’t that crazy and I’m sorry I disappointed you, but it was a 4 hour bus ride back and forth. So most of my friends and family thought I was crazy.

I managed to drag a friend with me down to Langley (I was actually really surprised anyone would agree to a 2 hour bus ride, so I love you M). Why did I want to go to Langley? There was a toy store I wanted to visit. Yup, I am twenty years old and I will spend 4 hours on transit for a toy store.

During the Vancouver Fan Expo, I was at one of the many retail booths and the guy behind the counter told me that they actually had a physical store in Langley. I was surprised since I knew many of convention booths that sold items either travelled from convention to convention, or was a local artist selling their crafts. In Vancouver, we have Golden Age Collectables, and I have been there way too many times. So I wanted to go to Toy Traders to check them out!

Toy Traders was a fairly big toy store. Their front section had much of what you would expect in a regular toy store, as they sold some boardgames and toys for little girls and boys. So you would find your typical Lego, Barbies, and plushies over here.

If you stepped in a bit further, you would get to their more adult section. No, not their XXX section. This was where you would find action figures and collectables. They also carried official merchandise from certain TV shows, such as Game of Thrones and Doctor Who. Of course, Star Wars took up a sizeable portion of the store. They also had Marvel merchandise, licensed T-shirts and other good stuff. My Little Pony comics too if that’s your thing.

What was really cool about the store was the decor. Lining this section of the store, they had displays set up all around their walls, depicting scenes of sci-fi struggles. You could see spaceships attacking a base, soldiers fighting off a giant robot, and more. I feel like it would have been fun to play a game of I Spy with the dioramas.

A horrible pic of a bit of their diorama

A horrible pic of a bit of their diorama

I spoke to one of the employees (actually, he was the same guy who told me about this place back at the Vancouver Fan Expo’s booth), and he told me that they were opened every single day of the year except for one day on Christmas. On this day, they would get a carpenter to come in to add to their dioramas. So this amazingness was only going to grow!

They also had a Star War display in a glass box that had C-3PO and R2-D2. Towards the back of the store, there was a Terminator display. My friend and I kept joking about how it will come to life and kill everyone, and then I started to get wary of the robot behind the cage.

They have a signed picture from David Prowse in there!

They have a signed picture from David Prowse in there!

I decided to make the most obnoxious girly poses with the displays, just to annoy anyone who was watching.

If you were judging me before, how about now?? :P

Obnoxious asian pose

Photo 2013-05-18 1 34 35 PM

The emperor’s face says it all.

So what else can you do in Langley?

My friend and I decided to eat at Olive Garden, since it was the only one in British Columbia. They have a million Olive Gardens in the US, but we have to go to the one in Langley in order to have some of their addictive free breadsticks.

One of the dishes we ordered to share was mussels. Looks good right?

Photo 2013-05-18 2 17 35 PM

But then we opened up the last one, and found this inside.

A tiny starfish!

A tiny starfish!

At first we were pretty grossed out. But then I removed the starfish from the shell and started playing with it. Our waitress caught eye of what I was doing and asked me what that was. I then explained how we found a stray starfish in our mussels. She got queasy (she explained that she was pregnant), and asked if she should get the manager. I told her it was fine and understandable, since we were having seafood and this was probably bound to happen at some point in time. In the end, she talked to the manager herself and after we paid, she chased us down in the washroom and handed us a gift card as an apology. I thought that was excellent customer service, so props to them! (Then my friend and I realized that we will have to go back to Langley one day to spend the card… more transit fun for us.)

You can also go to Planet Lazer or The Great Escape in Langley. Planet Lazer boasts that they have the largest floor for laser tag in North America, and we were planning on playing a few games. But we walked into their establishment and walked straight back out. It was stuffy and very hot. My friend and I were both wearing jeans and boots, and we probably would have fainted if we were in there much longer. Planet Lazer’s Langley branch had Yelp reviews saying that their service was horrible. We can add to this, since when we called to make our inquiries, they were quite rude. But I guess you are not going to Planet Lazer for excellent customer service anyway…thought it would make the visit more enjoyable.

The Great Escape is more targeted towards younger kids from what we observed. They had a small arcade area (with around 6 machines), and a huge jungle gym for kids. They also had a 2-level laser tag area, and I think I would want to try their place out next time– mostly because I have been to Planet Lazer’s Richmond branch, and also the staff at The Great Escape were really nice. However, I have a feeling the whole place may be flooded with little kids, and I’m not sure I want to shoot at kids.

So that’s a summary of my day at Langley. We walked a lot, since Langley blocks were very different from Vancouver blocks. Walking three Langley blocks to cross the street was actually quite a workout. You can also forget about jaywalking, because if you think you can wait for a gap to cross on the Langley bypass, you’ll be roadkill before you know it. So if you can drive, I would definitely recommending going around Langley by car. But, if not, I guess I am living proof that walking and public transit is possible. Just wear shoes you can walk in and clothes that won’t make you sweat buckets.

If you know any other hidden gems in or near Vancouver, let me know! I’m glad I discovered the toy store, and it did make me go to Langley for the first time, so it was a rewarding trip!

Until next time!

– Karen

Fan Expo Vancouver 2013

This year, I decided to go to the Fan Expo in Vancouver. I am not sure if it was the wisest choice, as it was sandwiched between two final exams (I actually could not go on the first day because it was ON the day and time of one of my exams), but it was definitely fun and I am excited to see how the expo will grow in the future! Vancouver’s Fan Expo is quite new, and has a while to go before it can catch up with many of the other conventions out there, but it was very promising.

I cosplayed as Amelia Pond from Doctor Who, and my friend cosplayed as the 11th Doctor. At one point, we met several other Doctor Who cosplayers who told us that they were going to do a Doctor Who photoshoot at two o’clock, and invited us. The photos were fun, and around thirty of us showed up–all doing a bunch of silly poses.

The expo’s floor was not too big, taking up Halls B and C at the Vancouver Convention Center–if I am not mistaken, but it was packed with vendors and there was an artist alley. Celebrity guests included Stan Lee, Michael Rooker (from The Walking Dead”), Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek), Sean Astin (from Lord of the Rings), and the whole cast of Continuum

I really like conventions because I love looking at cosplays. I admire how you can see how much effort people put into their costumes, and when they stay in character during the whole con, it makes things that much better. At the Fan Expo, I would say around 50% of the people there were in costumes? Not a bad turnout!

Here are some  random pictures from my adventures that day!

My friend and I who cosplayed characters from Doctor Who

My friend and I who cosplayed characters from Doctor Who

Sauron! Amazing costume!

Sauron! Amazing costume!

Pics from the Doctor Who photo shoot from my camera– which explains why no one’s looking at the camera.

IMG_1704

A picture of the companions

IMG_1698

Tardis!

IMG_1697

And of course, all the doctors!

A cosplayer cosplaying a nurse from Silent Hill. She limped around the whole con the whole day. Props to her for her dedication!!

A cosplayer cosplaying a nurse from Silent Hill. She limped around the whole con the whole day. Props to her for her dedication!!

If you live in Vancouver, keep an eye out for the Fan Expo next year! You may want to check this out!

– Karen

My First Time Bar-hopping!

Hey guys!

So I went bar-hopping for the first time today! What is bar-hopping? It is synonymous with pub crawling, and basically means exactly what its name entails: visiting different bars for drinks. You will have to put up with my grainy photos with terrible lighting. To be fair, I did the best I could given I was using an iPhone camera and pubs are not usually known for having the brightest lighting.

20121231-005150.jpg

The Storm Crow Tavern

20121231-005216.jpg

The Doctor Who table!!

We decided to hit up the Commercial Drive area first, since one of my friends worked near there. The first place we went to was the Storm Crow Tavern. This was not our first time there– actually, it was our third visit this month I think. The Storm Crow is this great little pub with cheap food (all their food items are $6 from what I remember), and a great atmosphere. There are board games that anyone can just grab and play when you are enjoying your drink, and the whole pub has a nerdy/geeky-esque decor. They play Star Trek on their TV, as well as other awesome geeky favourites. Their wall decorations are also awesome! There are signed photos from several of the Doctors, Game of Throne actors/actresses, and other fancy memorabilia! The washrooms also have World of Warcraft figurines to indicate which one is for males, and which one is for females. If it is not obvious, I love this place.

20121231-005224.jpg

I had a Screwdriver here, which I enjoy. Screwdrivers are great because the orange masks the taste of the vodka so well. I like alcohol, but I hate the taste of alcohol if that makes any sense.

20121231-005235.jpg

Food at St. Augustine’s

Our drinks at St. Augustine's. I had the one with the cherry garnish-- the Tequila Sunrise.

Our drinks at St. Augustine’s. I had the one with the cherry garnish– the Tequila Sunrise.

After Storm Crow, we went to St. Augustine’s, which was just down several blocks. We also ordered food here. I knew we were probably going to go to another pub, so I went for a salad and stole a slice of my friend’s pizza. 😛 I tried the Tequila Sunrise. It was pretty, but I thought that it did not mask the taste of the tequila very well, but I still ended up downing it. St. Augustine’s had good food, but of course, was pricier than Storm Crow. However, they have a huge selection of beers here. In all, the food was good, but soon enough we were off again.

Food at the Cove

Food at the Cove

Drinks at the Cove!

Drinks at the Cove!

We picked up the car, since our driver only had one drink so far, and he had time to let it wear off. We then headed to the Cove, which also had board games. I opted for some greasy food here and had their pulled pork poutine. For drinks, I first had their Dark and Stormy– only to realize I hate ginger beer. I have never had ginger beer before, but I thought I would like it since it was basically pop. I was wrong. I gave half of it to my friend to finish, and then ordered a Bloody Caesar. That was good. I have never had a Boody Mary before, but to me, a Caesars tasted like cold soup with hot sauce. Not in a bad way.

Overall, bar-hopping was fun, but exhausting. You get pretty buzzed from the drinks, and you know how a bit of alcohol makes you feel warm, nice, and sleepy? I really felt tired of it after switching over from our first pub, but we decided to keep going. We finished off with three pubs, which is not a lot, but for a first time, I thought it was decent. It was fun to settle down in various pubs, and sip on different drinks in a new atmosphere again and again. But like I said, it does get physically tiring.

It is now New Year’s Eve! I better hurry and make some resolutions (that I will ultimately fail, but they are fun to make regardless)! Feel free to recommend some bars/pubs around the Vancouver area that you particularly liked! I LOVE places with board games, because alcohol and board games mean only one thing: hilarity! So drop down some pub names below!

Cheers!

-Karen

Done Exams — Now For Some Me Time

Hey all!

So it had been a while since my last post, but that is all due to school, commitments and basically me not having anything really interesting to say.

But I must say, having been asked out by a 34 year old was either a high…or a low of my life? He knew how old I was too, I am pretty sure. This made me question what age is my upper limit when it comes to guys. But you know what, 34 would probably be fine, if that guy didn’t ask me in a semi-creepy way.

I am finally done exams and ready to type away! I apologize to everyone who is subscribed to me, as well as the people I am subscribed to! Believe me, I wish I had time to scroll away on my Reader on WordPress and read your lovely posts, but finals just did not allow me to do so!

To celebrate my freedom, I booked an appointment at Hive Hair Spa to do my hair. I used to go to Chura, but they are always booked, so I have to book weeks in advance. Also, Chura would require me to bus all the way downtown, whereas with Hive, I lived blocks away!

First time visitors get 20% off! I really liked the atmosphere of the salon. It was small yet modern, but very cosy. They had leather armchairs that you could melt into while they dealt with your hair. They also offer you complimentary drinks (various teas) and Pocky! I thought that was very cute and definitely a good way to differentiate their business! Pocky and Japanese stuff? You basically instantly make the connection to what they sell.

20121214-190315.jpg

 

After they were almost done with my hair, they also offer you a massage. Overall, it was a great experience and I managed to finish off my novel, Slaughterhouse Five, during my sitting. So great to have time to read something other than a textbook!

Although their hair stylists/barbers do not all speak English, they have one or two staff on hand who does! So at one point, my hair stylist could not understand my question so she went to get me someone who could explain stuff to me. So obviously, I did not really talk to my stylist, but it was totally fine because I am not particularly talkative anyway, and really wanted to read. 😛 But in all, she was still very nice and professional!

Anyway, I am going to put this holiday to good use– catch up on TV shows that I have been meaning to watch! So basically, that would include finishing off the rest of Supernatural, starting Merlin (so sad they cancelled it though!), and I cannot wait for the new Doctor Who episode!!

This was just a short update, just so I get a feel of what blogging is again. I am serious, it is that foreign to me now.

Here’s to hoping that everyone else out there is enjoying the holiday!

 

-Karen