The alarm went off at 4:30 am. I had spent considerable time crafting a wakeup tone that was as unoffensive as possible, elicited a pleasant feeling upon hearing, but was still obscure enough that I might not be mocked for it; should a Tinder date, hopefully the Canadian one who, if it is dark enough and you're several cocktails into the evening, might bear a passing resemblance to Johnny Depp--decide to sleep over.
After careful consideration, I put on an Indie Rock T-shirt and some pre-torn jeans, because a flight to Portland, Oregon seems to warrant that sort of decision. Initially, I had decided that cosmetics were not essential at the hour, but as I stared into the sleep deprived eyes of my dog, I reconsidered. What if I'm bored and want to take a selfie? I'll regret the eye bags.
Freshly made up with a devil-may-care outfit, I left at exactly 5:44am to the train. I remember the time, because my phone told me to, "Leave at no later than 5:44 am." It gives me these instructions unbidden. At 5:44, feeling pleased with myself for being ready and not having taken the amphetamines that I purchased from India for the occasion, I checked my phone again and it said, "Leave now." I used to need a boyfriend, or a Mother, or a responsible friend: the kind who is already married and has a house AND a car, to give me these sorts of orders, but now I have a phone. Pefect.
The train ride was uneventful, excepting the 10 photos I took of things that absolutely did not warrant photography, including 4 pictures of myself drinking a kale smoothie, which would later be confiscated by the TSA.
Luckily, the train to JFK was largely above ground. Or should I say mostly, since size doesn't factor here. Because of this, I was able to snapchat several photos of myself in the sunrise to my still slumbering friends, and up and coming comic Will Noonan, who playfully draws vomit on his face in every snapback.
Finally, Howard Beach and a chance to ride the Airtrain. Here I had to jostle an iPhone user for space at the disabled window so we could take cellphone shots of the glorious orange sky and a mostly garbage free pond. Straight to Instagram it went.
A Facebook post lamenting the early hour rounded out my social media presence, and lo, an offer for a pre-written itinerary for my Portland trip arrived in my inbox.
Now arriving at the airport I shuffled into line at the Check-In, and my phone, who I might start calling Jeeves, provided me with a barcode to scan so that I might be spared any unnecessary interaction with either humans or computers.
At Security, my appearance seemed to warrant a pretty thorough security check. My purse, full of batteries and vaping liquid, passed through unnoticed. This is because the contents of women's purses are unfathomable, even or especially to an X-RAY technician. First, I stripped off my modesty in the form of nike sneakers and a black leather belt I got from a Saudi Arabian student I used to tutor, and my perfectly worn in black hooded sweatshirt with the torn pocket I filched from my best friend.
First I was put in the body scanner, legs not indecently spread eagled, but a bit ore than a ladylike shoulder width apart, and arms above my head as if I was trying to look like a silhouette Gentleman's Club advertisement. Next, a woman informed me that I was to be patted down, and a man informed me that my bag required searching. Knowing that all my best paraphernalia was in my purse, I confidently agreed to both procedures.
The woman indicated to me in a picture which body parts were offensive (Lady, you're telling me) and perplexingly, it was my bicep area, in which I had not concealed any real guns, nor any figurative ones. I passed the enhanced pat down, readjusted my now askance undergarments, and went over to the man who told me with large brown eyes filled with what could be regret, that I would not be able to continue my journey with the Kale smoothie in my possession. I responded that I didn't mind, because it "kinda sucks away." He laughed, and binned it. Belt and shoes now affixed back to my only slightly violated person, I continued to gate B35. It's worth noting the gate number, since my phone provided me with this information but I had to check it every 30 or so seconds because I have the memory of an empty plastic bag.
On the way to gate B35, which was now boarding, I checked Foursquare to find out which coffee kiosk was more desirable, and got into line. Vaguely I worried about missing my flight, but I looked at my phone and there were no incoming directives to follow. Once in line, I was treated to a lengthy conversation between two women about whether or not they wanted coffee, given their lifestyles and previous consumption of similar beverages. In the end, it was decided that one of them did, and one of them did not. Furthermore, the berries at the bottom of the yogurt parfaits were not to be trusted, nor was any food that was not "strictly carbohydrates" because one of their friends got really sick once from an airport salad. Feeling confident in my decision, and knowing the girls behind me would approve, I ordered a toasted croissant and a coffee. Then waited in a new line. Over the loud speaker I heard again that B35 was boarding. I would hear this message one more time before I received my wax bag of flaky carbohydrate goodness.
Finally laden down with vices, I checked my phone again and proceeded to my gate (Thankful to moving walkways that allow me to do both things at the same time.) I heard now that B35 was issuing its FINAL boarding call and I wrestled with my bag of croissant, which was difficult to operate with no free hands.
Now with gate B35 in sight and the flight crew attempting to will me to speed up with beckoning hand gestures, I broke into a run. It was one of those runs that people use when crossing the street in front of your car against the signal. The kind where you aren't actually going any faster than a walk, but that you hope looks like you are, but in fact you are fooling nobody. Unwilling to spill my coffee, which I had somehow existed without for 3 entire hours, the fake jog was all I could muster. In fact I was the final passenger to board, which made me briefly flashback to my flight in January where I was scolded by the flight crew for being last, but had a bagel sandwich that time. If I was a duck or a child from Singapore, perhaps I would be whipped for this offense, I thought to myself.
Once in my seat, it was discovered that my 2 seat mates did not deign to grace me with their presence, so I uploaded a photo of my 3 empty seats to Facebook, so that others my feel blessed to share in my good fortune. Maybe THEIR lives could be touched by this gift as well, I said to myself.
I prepared for take off by covering my T-Shirt with croissant flakes and flecks of coffee, as I still did not have a free hand, and was unwilling to set either down, and there were no available surfaces anyway. As we began our ascent, the Delta safety video featuring ALF and other lovable 80's characters played, and I threw my hoodie over my head, settling into my 3 seat paradise. I wondered about that plane hookup app Wingman and if any of the people on the plane were attempting to alleviate the pain of a 6 hour flight with it. I was thinking I'd prefer a more cuddle based app, or maybe not, as I valued my open seats.
As I began to surreptitiously operate my e-cigarette under the hoodie, the cheerful and surely former cheerleader flight attendant offered me generous portions of blanket, peanuts, and coffee. I enjoyed these items for several mouthfuls, all the while listening to my favorite Arcade Fire cover song on repeat. I had tried the Delta music channel for Alt Rock, but was dismayed to hear Uptown Girl on the playlist, which then turned me off from all of their stations. I fixed up my iPad to buy some wifi and then discovered that it was 30 dollars for the day, or a more affordable 23 dollars for 3 hours. That was the information that led me to put a pen in my hand and change my iPod playlist to Mumford & Sons, which isn't cool or new. It is considerably less upsetting than Delta's playlist, but not entirely satisfying.
As I continued to write and surreptitiously cape under my hoodie, the kindly flight attendant flicked on my overhead light so I didn't ruin my eyes, surely infuriating the 15 people I counted around my 3 seat paradise who were trying to sleep, but it did allow me to write in more comfort. And, since my eyes were still under the hoodie, I was not blinded by the light's extreme brilliance.
As Hopeless Wanderer comes up on my Mumford playlist, I must now bid you adieu, as my hand is cramping and I need another thimbleful of coffee, or roughly 7 peanuts to continue my day. And if you'll excuse me, I think I'll have a bit of a lie down.
The next time you have a few friends visiting and you need to entertain them for a day, consider taking them on a ten stop food tour of some of the best, highly rated food in Manhattan and impress them with your culinary knowledge (and cheap price tag). The following places were chosen primarily from Serious Eats and Foursquare recommendations. Read on and be amazed.
First, meet my guest costar this week, Tom Gambino, an artist living in Manhattan who was game to try some tasty food. Check out his work on Instagram under @tomgambinoart. Our first stop was:
1) Prince Street Pizza
We split ours into two, but you can have it cut into four pieces and it will work out to $1 per person. Here’s Tom’s artist rendering:
Next up 2) Taim home of the “Best Falafel in NY” according to New York Serious Eats. Get the Falafel sampler plate for $4 and split it with three of your friends, $1/person. Grand total so far is $2/person!
Yes, there is a drawing
3) Thirsty? Head to Mulberry St. Bar next.
The decor inside is elaborate and old fashioned. There is ornate woodwork, large paintings, and bizarre, mishmashed decorations. You can get a pitcher for $12 and split it with your friends, working out to $3/person. (Grand total for the day=$5). We took our beers outside because it was a nice day, and watched the enraged drivers attempting to navigate Little Italy scream at each other.
4) Golden Steamer
If you’ve never had a BBQ Pork bun, get to it. They’re delicious, squishy salty marvels. Admittedly, they do not photograph well. Also at $0.80 each, they’re barely going to register in your food budget. (Grand total for the day = $5.20)
5) New York Mart
You don’t have to eat anything here if you don’t want to, but it is a grocery store. This is an authentic asian market that is filled with interesting items that you cannot normally find in your average supermarket. They also have really cheap, fresh produce.
6) Shanghai Café has the Best Soup Dumplings in Chinatown according to NY Serious Eats. Here’s a tip, take your dumplings to go and be careful, they are actually filled with hot delicious soup, so don’t just bite into it with no regard or you’ll burn your face off. $4.95 for a whole pile of them. (Grand total is now $6.44).
7) Tai Pan Bakery get an egg tart for $1.20. They have lots of varieties available, but the traditional one (yellow) can’t be beat.
You don’t even have to split it, and your grand total per person is only up to $7.64.
8) Prosperity Dumpling as seen on Foodspotting
Popular opinion suggests that these might be the best fried dumplings in Chinatown, we recommend the pork and chive 4 for $1 only adds another quarter to your food costs for the day when you split them with your friends. (Grand total is $7.89).
9) We saved the best for last with Vanessa’s Dumpling House Peking Duck Pancakes at $2.25 each. This place is amazing. They make these huge, doughy spongy pancakes and then slice them up and fill them with marinated duck, sauce, and veggies. Tom and I agreed it was the best thing we had all day.
You could split one of these no problem, but if you want to enjoy your own it will bring your daily total up to $10.04. That would put us over budget, so get one of these for every 2 people in your group leaving your daily total at $9.02. That leaves enough cash for your last stop. If after all these places your friends aren’t full, tired, and happy, we don’t know what to tell you. But we recommend for the last stop a nice, relaxing coffee where–if you aren’t stuffed–you can have some amazing tiramisu or other dessert.
10) Coffee. We went to The Bean:
Share to stay under budget or splurge the extra buck and get your own. It’s a great place to hangout for a while and rest your feet after all that walking. These 10 great food locations are all within walking distance and easy to navigate between. You’ll start in Little Italy and then make your way over to Chinatown. If you decide to hit up The Bean at the end, you’ll end up in the East Village.
Let us know if you decide to take this food tour with your friends, and tell us what they thought of it!
This blog post was originally published on berkeleycollegeblog.com with more pictures and commentary!
What do you get when you combine beer and comic books? You get the new Brooklyn Defender beer, which was a big hit at the launch party Saturday, September 21st. To get into the party, you had to RSVP to ReedPop, who birthed this brainchild idea by combining the promotional powers of NYCC and Brooklyn Brewery beautifully. Once accepted into the party via email, all you had to do was show up. Guests were encouraged to dress up in their finest superhero garb. Social Media was ablaze hours before the event even started.
Once inside, guests received a ReedPop coupon for the official NYCC store, a sweet sticker with artist Cliff Chang's design, and a beautiful collector pint glass, fully branded and illustrate. After that all you had to do was join the serpentine beer line inside Brooklyn Brewery's Tasting Room and enjoy your first (and all successive) glass of Brooklyn Defender on the house. The open bar lasted the entire event, from 8:30PM to 12AM, and we all got plenty. There was also a free raffle for NYCC tickets and posters that I was too far away from to really absorb. Also I didn't win, SO WHO CARES?
The beer was truly delicious. The artist was on hand for questions which was great because our group had two pressing ones. What's that thing in his hand? What's with the grey garter? Cliff said he was holding a beer tap and his leg strap was obviously for holding said beer tap when not in use. Oh. We'll buy into that explanation. Cliff was pleased to see his design transformed into a giant cake by Rock Candy Cakes:
Problems: the event was well staffed and professionally executed but there are always shortfalls when pulling off a promotion of this magnitude. 1) Line Cutting. I was the victim of Frontsies, Backsies...the works really. People were strategically placing their friends in line so that there was never someone out of line, for maximum intoxication.
Although I tried to prevent it, especially from happening to me, there was no hope. Speaking of maximum intoxication 2) did drunk Spider-Man ever get back to Long Island? I was pretty worried about that guy. 3) the pouring rain caused everyone to stay longer than perhaps was wise during an Open Bar of this size, so there was a large number of premium beer wasted 20 and 30 something's. Otherwise it was a beautiful event. There were really no problems, unless you count too much of a good thing. I even partook in some good networking and promotion going on. Will it prove profitable to Brooklyn Brewery? I invite speculation! Thanks for reading.
I had an idea that if I could throw a mixer and invite all the almost famous people I know, it would be a terrifically fun party where a lot of people could make valuable contacts and learn a lot from each other. I'm as disappointed as you are that I do NOT have time for that, so I'm going to write a quick and dirty blog post instead. The point of this post is for you to follow these people so you can learn how to promote your own projects and appreciate these people before they get too famous to talk to you.
Horsey Surprise aka Ken M writes the most absurd and asinine posts that feed a part of my soul I didn't realize was hungry. Although content is taken from Facebook, news websites and his Twitter, he uses Tumblr as a successful vehicle for his comedy gold. To understand his work, think of Grandpa Simpson posting on Facebook and Twitter with the sort of baffling online confidence that old people have. Recently one of his tumblr posts was reblogged over 15,000 times. I'd be doing you a great disservice if I didn't post an example from his page:
I can't imagine it will be much longer before he has his own book. Ken, I want you to know that I spent way too long looking for the "Snakes are nature's land wieners" post and that I am frankly ashamed of myself.
Todd Hunt is the writer of The Secret Adventures of Houdini comic and a relentless self promoter, as well as an enthusiastic exerciser. He has also been on TV and in advertisements, but that is only mildly interesting compared to the rest of what he does. Todd leverages instagram for his most successful social media audience, but he also has a successful Facebook page and fan following. The thing about Todd, besides being a professional pretty boy, is that he is doing so many things all of the time and yet is always prepared for a chance encounter with someone who can benefit his career with a well placed word on the right platform. While that can be said to some extent of everyone in this post, Todd also takes pictures of it and tags it correctly. (See below). He's the kind of guy you don't want to like because he has his act so tightly together, but you can't help respecting him for it. Find him at Toddy2k on Instagram. Example of his excellence below:
Joey Esposito is the most famous of the almost famous writers, who currently has the largest following of these listed and also uses the most different forms of social media with an exacting thoroughness that would be hard to replicate without a wheelbarrow of illegally obtained ADHD medication. I met him after New York Comic Con 2012 and stood beside him with increasing disbelief as beta nerds came up to him for autographs over and over again until I took it upon myself to turn them away. It should be impossible for someone to write for a living (Senior Editor at IGN), and write for personal growth (Writer of Footprints, Grimm Fairy Tales: Bad Girls, and Pawn Shop) without going insane but then also consider that he writes for pleasure, slamming gems all day long into his Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and even blog with a fair regularity. His most successful social media presence is definitely twitter, with over 6,300 rabid followers (and it was 5,000 the last time I checked a couple months ago). Also, a special note to Joey: However famous you get your Mom will always embarrass you on Facebook, and we love her for it. See him below in a rare moment between brooding and whiskey drinking:
Mindy Steffen is an artist who has worked as an colorist for Deadpool and now creates her own independent comics, hence the name of her brand, Mindy Indy. She's quite a lovable lady, and uses social media to drum up an audience for the different conventions she attends where she sells her comics and makes custom art for interested clientele. Not only that, but she has a daily comic she puts out called the Daily Misfortune Cookie which goes out on many platforms: G+, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and her blog. More astounding than all of these facts is that the Daily Misfortune actually gets better and better as time goes on, instead of running out of laughs she's only gaining more. Hard work is paying off for this lady. Example of a Daily Misfortune below:
Mindy has another Indy comic coming out, Aer Head, which is very beautifully drawn and inked and full of her quirky sense of humor. Best social network appears to be Facebook (for now). Also Mindy: the Misfortune Cookie above, like so many of them, hits me where it hurts.
Peter Simeti I don't fully understand how I came into contact with this man, but I believe it was on Twitter, and now I follow him on instagram (@petersimeti) and Facebook as well. He is constantly churning out stunning artwork and is very good about sharing it across networks to his fans. Whatever you're into, he will touch your interest at some point. As far as people who I have never met, he is the one most consistently at the forefront of my consciousness. That translates to quality engagement via social media. His website indicates that he makes his own comics and can be often found travelling around for signings. It's only a matter of time before I meet him and buy some of his artwork. Example:
Sean Von Gorman This man consistently cracks me up on Twitter, and despite how irritating it is to admit, he's also purely brilliant at several things. One, he is not afraid to experiment. One (surely regrettable) night he changed his avatar on twitter to a woman with giant breasts to see if he could leverage that attention to gain followers. I don't know if I've ever been THAT amused over a period of long hours on social media before. He is also the king of publicity stunts. He recently locked himself inside a cage inside Forbidden Planet NYC to promote his comic book/ celebrate the release of his comic book with new artwork. His comics sell very well, at least if my own bookshelf is any indication, and it should be mentioned that he is in bed both with Todd Hunt and Joey Esposito mentioned earlier in this post for The Secret Adventures of Houdini and Pawn Shop, respectively. To relay his exploits would be exhausting, just follow him on Twitter, his most successful social media access point, and go ahead and give the Facebook page a like too. Sean, special shout out and thanks for not getting mad when I do social media experiments on you.
Final note for the other Almost Famous friends out there, keep building those networks and follow these guys to get ideas. Form your own power duos with other talented people to help promote your joint and independent work. And when in doubt, ask me for help. Till next time--
Working in marketing and data analysis, I explore the relationships between people and media regarding their culture, social life, political influence, historical significance, and technological contexts.