Wednesday, August 29, 2012

We Actually Put in Hard Work at V3Con.

We wrote in the last post that we went to the opening awards night for V3con on Friday.  We were hoping to do a follow-up post about the conference on Saturday, but we got...busy.  With school, that is.  First day was Monday.

Anyways, V3con was a lot of fun.  We had to get up at around 6 a.m. in order to get to the Japanese American National Museum by 7a.m. which was the time we had to get there to help set up and get ready to volunteer.  Because we hardly ever get to go to events with a bunch of adults without our parents, we felt a little out of place.  So many of the other volunteers there were much more experienced than we are, so it was pretty intimidating to be around them at first, but they turned out to be really friendly and helpful. We created a business card just so we can passed them out to people.

Now, about the actual volunteering: Chloe and I were assigned to a blogging team to post about various panels and tweet about the conference.  We weren't scheduled to write blog posts until the afternoon, so we spent the morning mingling with other volunteers, eating Panda Express, and listening to speakers.  I had a lot of fun tweeting from my new phone (I've never had a smartphone before, and now I realize how convenient they are for social networking) and Chloe used her iPad to take pictures.  

Then we got around to blogging about the panel discussions.  I learned that beyond the mega Youtube Asian comedy stars like KevJumba or NigaHiga, Asian Americans use social media to promote a wide range of causes and viewpoints. I got assigned to some interesting ones: Using Digital Media to Promote Non-Profits, Getting Some Social Media Skills, and Comic Relief: Anime and Manga in the Digital Era.  Chloe wrote a post about how Asian-American bloggers use social media to cover health issues (click here to read it!) and another about social media's impact on blogging.  All of the panel discussions were interesting. I even got to listen to some awesome people I've been wanting to meet for a while, like Lela Lee (creator of Angry Little Asian Girl), Kun Gao (co-founder of Crunchyroll, how cool is that?!), and David Choi (that crazy-good youtube singer!).

We also got some cool stuff from the conference, including an awesome volunteer t-shirt.

V3con T-shirt, McDonald's bag, dragon piggy bank and AARP pen!

That's not to say the whole experience was painless.  Each panel discussion lasted about an hour, and we were expected to be able to complete most of a post within that time frame.  I had 3 panel discussions to blog about in a row -- no breaks in between.  I had an emotional meltdown about halfway through the last one, because I still hadn't finished writing the first post by that time.  I was so stressed out.  I ended up having to stay later to finish the posts while the rest of the attendees headed off to the Bloggers Showcase, including Chloe.  She got to meet all kinds of cool people while I got to finish blogging...  Joy....

Despite the minor trauma, We're really looking forward to going back again next year.  Everyone was so supportive and fun to be around!  We hope to keep in touch with them and to have the opportunity to attend V3con again!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

V3Con Reception: Vision, Visibility and Voice (and Food!)

Chloe and I have been invited to volunteer at the V3 Digital Media Conference!  We went to the opening awards reception today at the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena to meet fellow bloggers and learn about the conference.  Our job tonight was to tweet about the event. It was a little awkward at first, I'll admit - Chloe and I were the youngest ones there.  It was great for us to talk to the more experienced bloggers around, but that did not eliminate the awkwardness.  Being surrounded by adults I've never met before really got me to realize how much of a kid I really am.
Reception under Paper Lanterns at the Asia Pacific Museum
Not going to lie to you guys here: I had my eye on the food from the moment we got there.  It looked awesome - steamed buns, dumplings, meatballs....  But when we dropped off our stuff in the volunteer lounge, the person who was showing us around told us to feel free to "eat the sandwiches for the volunteers".  Subway sandwiches.  Whoop-dee-doo.

So Chloe and I wandered around, not eating food in hopes of eventually figuring out a way to sneak one of those steamed buns.  Then about an hour into the event, Ms. Shraddha Swaroop  kindly informed us to feel free to eat some of the food at the event, to which I responded, "We can eat the food here?!" I promptly helped myself to the dumplings, the steamed baos and the meatballs. The soft drinks were great too.

Steamed baos at the V3Con Reception

Despite the impressive food at the convention, we got to meet some of the even more impressive and prominent Asian-Americans in the media today, such as Gil Asakawa and Jane Lui (again :D). We even got to see Phil Yu (a.k.a. Angry Asian Man)!  We didn't have the opportunity to talk to him because he was constantly surrounded by people who wanted to chat with him.  Frankly, Chloe and I were not sure what Mr. Yu looked like, and we were afraid that we'd accidentally approach a random Asian man, thinking he was Phil Yu...which is probably the exact thing Angry Asian Man would get Angry about.  We decided not to risk it. Maybe tomorrow. 

We know that we'll meet even more Asian American people in the media tomorrow, and look forward to attending some of the panel discussions. Our job will be to blog and tweet about the event! What a treat to end our summer. Back to school on Monday!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Fashion (or the lack of it), and the Fashion District.

When we were kids, mom, dad and grandma would shop for clothes and shoes for us, and we'd just stay home and be fine with their choices. When they dress us up like dorks, or in really frilly dresses, we were fine with it because we simply didn't know any better.  Besides, we really didn't like to shop for hours in the department store. If we when shopping at all with our parents, we'd just play hide and seek among the racks of clothes.  My sister would look for lost pennies and buttons on the floor to collect while my mom shopped.

The result: Outfits that we wouldn't be caught dead in now. Here are a few examples:

We and our cousins all wearing snowman wear!
Courtesy of grandma!

Visiting DC in oversized jacket and poncho.

This year, we transferred to a private school. All of a sudden, fashion is becoming increasingly difficult for us to ignore because we like to fit in and don't want to be made fun of. We don't want to make the faux pas of wearing the wrong thing for school, or for wearing the same clothes two days in a row.  We realized that it's best not to look like we just rolled out of bed when we go to school.
Luckily during the school day, my classmates dress pretty much like students everywhere: shorts, jeans, hoodies, sneakers, flats, so I don't have to adjust my style too much.

But, this was also a year where I was invited to a few sweet sixteen parties, and sis was invited to fancy bat mitzvahs.  Boy, this is where things have changed from years past. It used to be that the only occasion I'd have to wear a nice dress to was my 8th grade graduation or some other school event, in a pair of flat shoes or sandals.

Going to sweet sixteen parties was definitely the first time I've had to dress formally for a party with my friends, and I didn't really know what to wear.  Semi-formal dresses and heels was the recommended attire--and I didn't even own heels!  In fact, I was (and still am) a little bit afraid of tripping in heels or stabbing other people with them, so I went with wedges instead.  While I didn't look like a bum, it seems I misunderstood the meaning of 'semi-formal', because most girls were dressed like they were going to clubs!  I mean, with dresses that barely covered their butts and 6 inch heels, it's mind-boggling that they could possibly complain about how much their feet hurt and how guys were constantly staring at them. 

Internet cartoon

The boys, on the other hand, were only expected to wear button-down shirts and jeans.  Talk about unfair!

None of this is to say that fashion always comes with a high price tag; it doesn't!  Today, for example, I went with my sister, cousins, aunt, and mom to check out the Fashion District in LA.  My aunt and cousins are from Boston, so they've never been to the Fashion District and were determined to get some back to school shopping done. We checked out the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) Scholarship Store, where they sell brand name bikinis for about $2 a set. That is, if you can find a matching set, of course.  We had to do some digging, but in the end we came out victorious . . . Not that you you'd consider bikinis back to school attire.

Visiting Santee Alley Fashion District, Los Angeles

Later on, we headed to Santee Alley, a pretty dingy alley with hundreds of shops featuring the latest fashions for inexpensive prices, knock-offs of name brands, haggling, and bacon-wrapped hotdogs! It's mildly disgusting, but if you have the stamina to dig through there, you will find some good things for a bargain. We saw some beautiful hand blown glass objects, only to be told that they were for smoking weed!

Whether you like to shop second hand stores, fashion district, outlet stores, department stores or boutiques, don't be a slave to fashion though. You might end up looking like these ladies below and still be made fun of:

China Fashion Week 2007
Marc by Marc Jacobs Spring 2012 Campaign

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Video Games Girls Play

This summer, I've been playing a LOT of video games. I dug up my old Nintendo DS and played Yoshi's Island . Yoshi's Island is really old (the version we have is for the gameboy), but it's a really fun game... My sister used to just make me watch her play the game until she beat all the levels. I never actually got to play so I really suck at it. I'm just now beginning to play Yoshi's Island along with all of my other games that my sister would steal from me. Anyway, I love the old design of Yoshi, and the soundtrack is amazing. I even made a flash animation with Yoshi in it for my dad's birthday.

Some other games I like to play (well I guess like to watch my sister play... because she didn't let me play most of my games) are Fishing Master, Super Paper Mario, Animal Crossing, Rune Factory, and Donkey Kong. Come to think of it, most of these games are not really violent. They just involve running around, honing a skill (such as fishing, planting, harvesting, animal training, or cooking) and collecting points or money to buy a bigger house, or to extend your life.

My friend recently found an old Nintendo 64 console and we played really old games on it. We especially liked Banjo & Kazooie, Kirby, and Brawl, which involves all my favorite game characters from different games fighting against each other.  Most of the games we play go on forever. (Meaning you never die and you pretty much just do the same routine over and over again, just like real life).

My sister likes all of my games plus Nintendogs and weird games like Saddle Up.  She is really into the animal training video games.  My sister claims that skills she learned from Nintendogs helped her take care of our neighbor's dog Gracie this summer, which is sort of sad if you ask me.

What is even more pathetic is the game we're currently addicted to playing on the iPad: it's called  My Forged Wedding, which involves a girl picking a guy to date or marry for various reasons to help him out.  You can date a teacher, a lawyer, a screenwriter, a comedian, and even  a prince!  It seems like a really pathetic dating game, but we don't like to think of it that way.  To us, it's like an interactive manga with happily ever after outcomes.

Most of the boys I know like to play Mortal Combat, Call of Duty, Starcraft, and Halo on the Xbox. These games are pretty violent and you win by killing or hitting as many people or monsters as possible, in the most gruesome manner too. I just never got into those games, not that I have any of them. Not to stereotype or anything, I think there is a BIG difference between what boys and girls like to play.