Friday, January 9, 2009

Return to Taipei

Hello, I'm jetlagged.


What else can explain a sudden spurt in hot blogging action at 6:00 in the morning?!?!

I just came home from a two week vacation in Taipei, where I totally spent some SOOPER DOOPER HIGH LEVEL quality time with the family. Got to spend almost every moment with mom:
A cab rider mistook my mom for my older sister. Now I'm using anti aging cream.

And reunited with Dad and my 90 year old Grandma:

That's right. My grandma is 90 YEARS OLD. Ain't she the cutest?

While staying home with mom, I discovered that as much as things change, some things do indeed (sigh) stay the same. Case in point, the boxes are STILL piled up in our house:

Posting this photo is guaranteed to get me murdered by my mother.

But oh! there is a bright glimmer of hope light shining through this clutter. Took Mom to Muji and Daiso and she was very receptive to their idea of home organization and simplified design. YES!!! So much so she took a catalog...also, she offloaded a closet full of clothes from the 80s into my trunk. I imagine if I can bring back stuff from Taipei each time I visit, I myself can get this apartment cleared in like...ten years.

Monday, November 17, 2008

No On 8

Attended the national No on 8 rally this Saturday.

Let's hope we can look back at these photos one day and be amazed that gay marriage was ever illegal.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Republicans Don't Know Community Organizers Organize Communities

I got sick to my stomach watching the RNC when Palin, Pataki and Giuliani resorted to calling Obama a -gasp!- community organizer.

Obama's right- he's definitely been called worse. And I'm not too worried for him because his work as a community organizer is laudable and this attack has already backfired on the Republicans.

But what I am upset about is the fact that this shows us WOWWOWOWWOW- the Republicans are superbly out of touch with reality. To denigrate and devalue the work of a community organizer infuriates the hell out of me.

Mr. Giuliani-to answer your sneering questions, "What IS a community organizer?" I'll have to turn to the summer of 2000- when I spent a summer working with NJPIRG community organizers to keep chemical plants from polluting several NJ rivers.

The organizers were in their 20s and 30s , just graduated from top schools (Columbia, Upenn, UCLA) who forfeited a stable lifestyle and comfortable income by traveling to colleges around the country. Their jobs were to recruit and organize young people to travel around the state and have them educate residents on major issues impacting lives of its residents and collecting donations to support major causes.

These people were being paid practically minimum wage to walk 5 hours a day in the summer to knock on stranger's doors. All other hours of their day was devoted to recruiting people to join their specific cause, educating trainees on issues, writing and collecting petitions...etc... Sometimes we'd get the door slammed in our faces- but thankfully more often that not we would convince a person to donate money to the lawyers representing families suing large corporations for polluting and causing cancer spikes in their hometown.

And at the end of the day I'd go home to my family's house while the organizers would either sleep on couches or roll sleeping bags on the floors of friend's houses or in the office headquarters. To save money- they would prefer to choose this option rather than spend money on a rent they couldn't afford based on their meager salaries. Especially if the longest time they spent at each campus was three months before packing up and moving onto the next state.

Question answered, Mr. Giuliani? Remember these people now? Especially from after 9/11?

It's easy to understand why I am angry that a potential Vice President and the other puppet politicians who should know better-would mock such people. Seriously- imagine how the Special Needs community organizations are feeling now after hearing that speech juxtaposed with folksy cutaways to young baby Trig being passed around by the rest of her brood?

But Palin's zeal in delivering those scripted words without any ability to comprehend their meaning makes me fearful as well.

This fear comes from the fact that the most important lesson I took from working for a community organization was empathy.

Like everyone- I KNOW people are poor, losing jobs, sick and need help- but it was an entirely different thing to meet and speak with those people in person. I met a woman who was taking care of her partner who was dying from AIDS and didn't know how to balance that with keeping her job. Someone moved from their old town after their only son died of cancer around the time a new chemical plant was built next to the park he played at every day. A man screamed at me to get off his lawn until he saw I was campaigning to preserve the health of his local river- and then he revealed he was in danger of losing his home because he was a commercial fisherman severely affected by dwindling hauls due to saltwater pollution.

It wouldn't be a stretch to conclude that these types of encounters- experienced by a community organizer every day - would have some lasting effect on my psyche.

The people Palin chose to make fun of devote their everyday lives to helping people who are entirely unlike them with no clear monetary rewards or recognition-a concept that she apparently has difficulty grasping.

Now add this to the fact that she didn't even have the intellectual curiosity to leave our country (not even Canada for chrissakes?!?!) until she had to 18 months ago as Governor makes me seriously question her ability to relate to other Americans- who, um, aren't her.

Sigh...if she met me- she'd probably assume I was Inuit or some other Alaska Native...heck-she'd probably just call me an Eskimo to my face.

e_e .....

Friday, July 25, 2008

Dork Fantasy Fulfilled!

Yesterday I had the experience of being in my first Comic Con panel evaaaarrr.

My awesome bosses included me in our panel for the new PBS cartoon "As the Wrench Turns" based on the NPR Car Talk radio show.- (Production Department...REPRESENT!)

I got to wax philosophic about the nuances of Producing and show the Car Talk audience that people in their 20s and weren't dudes were also a part of making the show.

Much like this character:

Note: by wax philosophic I actually mean mumble incoherently, ramble, leave my body whilst babbling like a brook...etc..

The panel was a great success I felt. Unfortunately you can't tell from the photos but we filled our room, and people laughed at the clips of our show, we got some great questions from the crowd and no tomatoes were thrown by diehard SUV drivers in the audience. RAD!

Enough talk-here are some pictures!

Putting on my gameface..." 'Sup?!"

Pre-panel banter with Larry Locke and our esteemed director, Tom Sito.

Waiting to start blah blahing on the panel.
That's Disney Legend Floyd Norman and Tom Minton, the BRAIN to my right.
Time to get serious. Howard Grossman our Exec Producer introduces the team. Bill Kroyer, our Exec. Producer of Animation, Tom Sito our director, and Stephen Silver our lead Character Designer extraordinaire to my left.

The best souvenir from Comic Con-my panel card!

With a friendly reminder not to swear and pollute young minds.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

While trolling the blogosphere for distraction from work I came across this crazed out site:

The Face of the Future: Transform yourself! Change the age, sex or ethinicity of a photo, or have fun with art and animal transforms.


I decided to try out the site and see what sort of Bizarro Helens I could conjure forth. Here were the results:

This is the photo of myself I submitted for transformation.

Geezh, I thought I'd look more different as a dude. Instead I look the same. (note to self: not good for ego) Anyway, I think I sorta look like George Takei more...and actually, yes, my Dad. If the masculinizer went at least 10% more I'd look exactly like him as a teenager here. Right now, this looks more like me over 40, losing my eggs and contemplating Replacement Female Hormone Therapy. Yeeesh!

Sorta looked like me when I was ten. I need to photoshop a bowl cut on me first to really tell. But yea, it's pretty much me as a kid but with a better tan and make up job. Maybe I should've named this JonBenet Me?

Hellooooooo Mortality!

ASIAN-ER ME the Asian-ifier apparently makes you look more cross eyed, trout lippy and flattens your nose?  WTF?!?!?!?! (note: if you are Asian and you try to transform using the Asian Filter, they will take you to your original photo. Therefore to transform your photo through your own race filter, you have to reupload the picture and specify that you are a different race in the beginning. To get this result I went all Banana and told the computer I was white so I could see what would happen if I got even more Asian. Reeeeeal interesting.)

Ok..I'm creeped out. I don't even look human anymore in this version.
This could be rather Serial Killer Me...or Eyelid Surgery Gone Wrong Me...the big changes here are they whitened my skin, gave me a fuller face and wacked out my eyes. But I don't think the eyes made me look more just made me look more creepy. Which goes to show...don't eff with the eyes lest you start looking all freakshow. This kinda reminds me of the Uncanny Valley. BORG ME?!

Black Me has a wider nose and fuller lips...but they kept my eyes pretty much the same. These results look less creepy than White Me because my lids and eyeshape remain all natural. You can still sorta find me in this composite.  Truly eyes are the window to your soul and all that.
Unlike White Me, I don't look like a Madame Tussaude figure here- but I don't look exclusively Black...I think I look Blasian!

The site lists this as the West Asian transformation, but I think this should actually be called the Ambiguous Race/ Mixed Everything Me.

Here's a little slideshow/animation as my bizarro selves morph into each other. It's interesting to see in the animation what features grow and stretch as the same face changes age, sex and ethnicity.  (recommendation: set play speed to 1 or 2 seconds)

Saturday, June 7, 2008

My Comic Shizz in Hyphen Magazine!

Awesome news! I have the privilege of being the featured comic artist in the most current issue of Hyphen Magazine! #14, the "Spaces Issue" can be picked up at these book stores.
Besides my comic (check the last page yo!) the mag also has some great articles worthy of readership. From the Hyphen Magazine site, here is a list of what else is featured:
  • John Cho talks about starring in "Harold and Kumar: Escape from Guantanamo Bay" and what it's like to take on the iconic role of Sulu in the "Star Trek" prequel movie.
  • Speaking of "Star Trek," we'll go where no magazine has gone before and scrutinize the white-dominated utopian future envisioned by the show and movies.
  • Byler, the filmmaker behind "Charlotte Sometimes" and "Tre," discusses art, activism and his support for Barack Obama.
  • Hyphen lays down the odds on who will be the first Asian American to run for president.
  • We'll look at the burgeoning Asian Pacific Islander prison population, what binds API inmates together and the writings of ex-prisoner Eddy Zheng.
  • An actor, a museum curator, a balloonist, an Elvis collector and an ocean swimmer tell us how they use their space.
  • We'll look at the legacy and rebirth of Seattle's Wing Luke Museum and the International Hotel in San Francisco.
  • We profile "Jonah Hex" creator Tony DeZuniga, leader of the “Filipino Invasion” of American comics

As a sneak preview, here's some panels I worked on for the comic. To read up and see photos of the actual events that inspired me, please check out my blog entry from Hiding in Asia.