Monday, October 29, 2012

For the Record

Not in New York at the moment.

Have spent the past few days in Portland, Oregon, the other side of the country. Previously before that I spent a week in San Diego with friends.

Pretty amazing looking at New York on the news at the moment and recognising what they're talking about.

Monday, October 15, 2012

New York part II

Am now a little better.

Had a tourist day. Which mostly involved getting stuck in 'train jams' on the subway (no pictures because not even I'm that depressing), but also going out to Liberty island and checking out Times Square.

NYC from Liberty Island. Taken by a very kind french dude.
Times square is where the nightmare-ish visuals from cyber-punk come from. Except more annoying and less Spider Jerusalem running around on top of cars.

I tried to take an arty shot here. Didn't really work.

Liberty Island doesn't really have much on it. The infrastructure, especially for an area that seems to be entirely about tourism is kinda poor. Very patriotic, but really a huge tent for your airport security gear, old broken docks and poorly maintained boats...

I suppose that's most of NYC though. Lots of money floating around over the top of struggling barely coping infrastructure and loads of people all ignoring each other.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

New York

New York has been interesting. Have mostly only seen the inside of a toilet bowl. Whatever I picked up on that last day in San Francisco, it was nasty. I was very worried I was going to have to discover what non-evidence based healthcare was like at a doctor's or hospital.

Am now well enough to move around slowly and having small meals. Hoping tomorrow I will actually see some of New York Comic Con, and the day after see some more of New York when not completely dazed and dehydrated. I'm nearby central park at least, it'd be cool to see more of it.

Had to organise heading to San Diego next to visit friends today.

Hopefully you can all see this screenshot clearly. This is the airline booking website.

The first flight on the list is basically ideal. Just the pricing of the economy lines of tickets vs. the "first class special" ticket had me amused.

I went the first class. Because I can, and also because I'm pretty sure once my baggage gets taken into account, it'll be less than $100 difference. It's also partly... the reaction American's have to me in fancier places than I should be? It's pretty funny.

No idea where I'm heading after San Diego. I don't really have any plans. Head back up towards Oregon maybe? I really liked Oregon and didn't see enough of it the first time around.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Haven't updated in awhile.

Enjoyed San Francisco. Very strange city. Very segregated in a strange way. Took it easy and went to the international vegetarian festival and met cool peeps. Kinda was in the wrong mood to appreciate it though. Did learn about vegan/nut cheeses though and well. I now have a book and riccotto cheese can be made from macadamias :D

There's something wrong with the fact that the best cheese by several miles that I have tasted so far, in America, has been vegan.

Currently on a plane to New York. In the middle of the night.  Because in America, you can get 'reasonably' priced wifi on domestic flights. But poor organisation of your important infrastructure.

The future is a bizarre place. Cannot wait till my sunnies come with virtual enhancements to the real world. Can you imagine being able to IM (like emailing, but shorter and instant) while walking around and through your eyes? Or while gardening? Well if you can't you should Doktor Sleepless, but otherwise let me look forward to it.

And now I try and nap.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

San Francisco

So tonight is my third night in San Francisco.  I haven't really done much or written much about it for a few reasons.

The first evening I got here around 7.30pm after 7 hours of driving. My tomtom (the GPS navigator I have) decided to take me in enough circles and weird directions for me to get into the city area right into peak hour traffic. So you can imagine my mood. Then it kept pointing me to the wrong hotels! So I was a bit exhausted when I eventually found the correct motel.

Motel I'm in is central but weird. It has automatic lights on timers over the Study and in the Bathroom. So when I'm showering, I have to periodically stick my hand outside the curtain and wave to turn the lights back on.

I resolved to sleep in and do nothing on my first full day in the city. I mostly succeeded, but then I remembered that Amanda Palmer was doing both a (free) ninja gig and signing at a record store and then a full proper performance with her current band, The Grand Theft Orchestra.

I was quite far back.

So with the aid of googlemaps and SF's confusing bus system, I managed to make it to the record store. That was fun, in a dodgey-ish kind of area, loads of hipster cafes, 'tobacco' stores and tattoo and piercing parlors. This is the forth 'gig' of some kind that Amanda Palmer has done that I've been able to get to, the first outside Perth and the second 'ninja' gig. I love how she'll just rock up to an area, no real preparation and proceed to force everyone to have fun.  I got her new album signed too which was cool, even saw her husband Neil Gaiman (v. famous sci-fi and comics writer) wandering around the store at one point.

This shot doesn't really show how foggy it gets. But I like it anyway.

So that was nice. Afterwards I managed to find what must have been the only restaurant in this entire city that couldn't work out what vegetarian meant, but I got a decent meal out of it in the end.

I can't really make up my mind about this city. It's very hilly, the drivers are kinda nuts and it get's really cold in the evenings. There are rules absolutely everywhere too and every cafe that has free wifi (easiest way for me to plan for what to do next) is filled with computer geeks talking up their big projects to one another.

The graffitti around the place has been fun.
Start Wars, a graffiti image with what I think is George W Bush's face in a Darth Vader helmet.

Tomorrow I'm hopefully going to manage being an actual tourist. Today was all about getting decent clothes and working out the preparation for what I'm going to do in New York. I have been asked to interview a very famous artist for a website I guess I'm now volunteering for. Which is exciting, but means I need to start preparing.

I'll be here a couple of weeks. The International Vegetarian Conference is here, on the 5th of October which a few friends are going to, so I figured I might as well go. After that I'm going directly to New York, but straight into the NYCC events. Which will be fun. A friend I made in Seattle will also be reporting there, for the same website I am.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Arizona and Nevada

Decided I didn't like Los Angeles much, so headed out East towards Arizona. To see the Grand Canyon. Didn't book or plan or anything.

It mostly worked out. Spend one night in a small town called Needles (on the border of Arizona and California). The town was scarily friendly. Like I had to greet and talk to everyone at the pub to get a room in what was possibly the dodgiest motel I have stayed in so far. I might have freaked out slightly when I found hairs in the bed I was given.

When I went to a restaurant to get food the locals there treated me like I was some sort of cultural event arriving. The boy serving me was friendly, but couldn't stop imitating everything I said because apparently my accent is just that exciting! Then when leaving I was cornered by the a alcoholic dude that lives in the motel wanting to spread the word of god or whatever. Friendly, but in that slightly surreal, I don't know if I'm about to get murdered way. At least everyone liked my hair?

My hair back when I was in Redmond, Washington State. Just imagine it faded towards grey and more regrowth.

Strangely enough, the alcoholic dude gave me good advice. I ended up the next day in Williams, Arizona (it was on the way to where I was planning to head). It's a tiny tourist town, about the size of Manjimup but entirely tourist orientated, with the main attraction being an old train line (with renovated carriages from all over the States) that runs up to the Grand Canyon. It was pretty nice! Some decent restaurants with vegetarian options, lots of old Route 66, 'Native American' and cowboy memorabilia tourist shops.

Being 'robbed' They had horses and everything.

The day up to the Grand Canyon was pretty fun. Before the train left there was a fun wild west cowboys skit and on the way home the train was 'held up' by the same guys in a 'voluntery robbery' and chased by the sheriff. A lot of tourist trap and cheesiness, but it was a lot of fun. Also meant I could enjoy the Canyon properly instead of being too tired and sore to really appreciate it.
Squirrel! Also the Grand Canyon in the background there.

The Canyon itself was just amazing. It's one of those things you can't really take photos of, the scope is just too huge and has a presence the camera can't capture. I did try though.

Not even close to capturing how beautiful this place is.

I'm heading back inland and west. Mostly because I seem to be allergic to the Mountains and deserts. I'm sick of sneezing and blood noses. I'm at a stop over somewhere in Nevada, I'm hiding in a hotel a couple of days because I blistered my feet quite badly over the past week and I'm sick of my feet hurting. On the way here I did stop at Hoover Dam.

A big dam
I wasn't really that impressed with Hoover Dam. The tour and parking were expensive and didn't show you all that much. The speeches and movie they got you to watch didn't really put the Dam into context either. Just a bunch of dry facts with a thick layer of patriotism that I had to try really hard not to laugh at. No real humanity, which was frustrating.

The bridge and some of the structures on the otherside. It is hard to take a good photo of a thing you are standing on.
I sound harsh and it is an amazing structure, particularly when you remember that it is 100 years old... but I would have liked a little less America, the future of Modernity! being shoved in my face and more about the people and the conflict involved in such a massive engineering feat. I mean a lot of poor and desperate people died building the bloody thing, some analysis of how and why, rather than just a plaque and a vague statement of how deaths weren't properly recorded would have been good.

American flag between some appropriated Egyptian statues and iconography. Because who needs an objective view on history when you have AMERICA. (Again, at Hoover Dam.)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Los Angeles

I'm in Los Angeles at the moment.

Nothing really to say about this place. It's big, spread out, smelly, dirty. Driving was pretty scary. Californian roads are pretty terrible and the drivers absolutely terrifying.

I came here mostly for Comikaze, a pop culture convention, so I could meet Eliza Frye, the girl whose artwork I keep buying and covering the house in. Turns out she was very cool and lovely, so I've now got even more of her stuff. 

I also got to meet a whole heap of the girls involved in the Womanthology project, which was pretty cool. Barbara Kesel (a writer) is amazing, very quick and witty so talking to her and listening to her speak was worth it.

The Womanthology ladies

Walking around and exploring also meant I stumbled across the red carpet for the Emmy awards, while everyone was arriving and having their photos taken. That was neat I guess. Not really my thing.

I also bought (very cheap) concert tickets for on the 25th here in Los Angeles for Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra. I'm excited to be going, but I really don't know what to do in the week in between. I'm thinking I might drive to Arizona to see the Grand Canyon, I've already been in this city too long.

Sorry I don't really have any pictures. I figure you guys aren't interested in the stupid number of comics I bought.