I usually do this on my book blog, SHELF PICKINGS over at Wordpress. But I'm not much into audiobooks (yet) and anything outside the realm of reading, I'd rather put here. Plus, this little nook needs a little traffic. Won't hurt, right?

This week is an audio freebie. I have a couple of audio books in my possession. I was gifted a free copy of A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab on Audible and The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner, narrated by no other than Tom Hiddleston. I also have the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon on audio. My favorites would have to be One Bullet Away, written and narrated by Nathaniel Fick and Generation Kill by Evan Wright. Do I include radio dramas? There was a time when I was obsessed with them.

But that's about it for my audio book experience. Frankly, I don't have the attention span for them. I used to have Classics droning in the background as I worked but ultimately, my attention went elsewhere. What could hold me for more than 15 minutes though, are podcasts.

Here are my favorites:

  • SWORD & SCALE - This is my favorite podcast. Of all time. I found this incredible True Crime podcast by accident after finishing Serial and ended up binge-listening to this and loving it more. It's on episode 70-something now but I re-started listening from episode 1. I'm on 22 now and I still love it as I did when I listened to it the first time. I have clear favorites that have stuck with me and terrified the heck out of me. I even want to start a Sword & Scale book club. Get on it!
  • LORE - Oh man, if you're into creepy stuff, this podcast is for you. I also binge-listened to this from the first episode. From the narration, the topics, and the music... I can get lost into this. And I almost did miss a couple of train stops because I was so engrossed. And it's possibly being developed into a TV show. Wow!
  • CRIMINAL - Another one that I found post-Serial. I'm a bit behind on this because there are some topics that I just don't care about or not really related to anything "criminal" but I still like this overall. 
  • SERIAL - Of course, where it call began. I admit, I wasn't into the second season. I guess I was more into the whole Adnan case in general rather than the podcast itself. I mean, it's still intriguing but with Sword & Scale taking the top spot, I have more than enough material to sort through on my morning commute.
And to toot my own horn here a bit. I was on a podcast. One episode but I'm pretty happy with it. I imagine that if we were to re-do this topic now, I'll have more useful things to say. But I'm still pretty proud of this. Here it is:

So yeah, K-pop concerts... conventions... events, bring it!

I can only do five. My brother listens to more of these things, being the gamer and all. If you have suggestions, lemme have it. I love True Crime. The creepier, the better. 


(I have not abandoned this blog. No way. I just slumped when I got to the 2nd night of KCON. Needless to say, I don't enjoy writing about stuff that I don't actually like. But life goes on.)

First of all, let me extend my belated birthday greetings to: singer/actor Constantine Maroulis, designer Nate Berkus, tennis player Tomas Berdych, singer and voice actor Minako Kotobuki, singer/songwriter Aiza Seguerra, and the Opening Ceremonies of the Seoul Summer Olympics. We all share one special date.


I am one of those people who make a big deal ON my birthday. That is my one day that is for me. Not catering to what other people want of and from me. It's my day. I will spend as much as I want, eat what I desire, do what ever that comes into mind. This past weekend was pretty awesome on my scale.

Having said that, I'm not big into actually celebrating my birthday. I rather have it low key... actually alone sometimes. I'm not a party person. I have "celebrated" my birthday with friends in the past but it's not a yearly thing. But hey, if they're okay going with me to conventions, why not.

Which brings me to this year's ~celebration. I spent my birthday at my first Long Beach Comic Con. This event wasn't even on my radar until I saw the guest list. One of my favorite voice actors, TROY BAKER, was going to be there. I thought, hey... it's gonna fall on my birthday and what a way to treat myself. 

I went there to meet Troy Baker and walked away with a few lovely things to commemorate my LBCC2016 experience. It's definitely smaller than what I'm used to but it was still fun. But yeah, I'm still reeling that I met Kanji Tatsu- I mean, Troy Baker lol. 

Hehe, yeah. Short girl problems. Funny, I'm actually writing an article about how I love being short and how it is "uncool" to do ... erm... that above. But in my heart of hearts... I make an exception. XD He's 6'3". I am... not. Oh well. 

I originally wanted him to sign Kanji Tatsumi's arcana but we couldn't find it at home. Instead, my brother found his Catherine game. He voices the main character, Vincent Brooks. As usual, I wanted him to sign with his favorite line from the game. He said it was the long "Aaaaahhhhh...." Vincent says. LOL. And then he asked me which one I was, Katherine or Catherine. Well, I gotta keep it real and stick with the C, right? XD I told him it was my birthday so he added that on my autograph too.

He's so cool. I'm still over the moon about meeting him! I only get this way with fighting game players and voice actors. The Hollywood types, I can handle. 

And oh, I bought a wand! My cheapo wand broke. Guys, when they say "The wand chooses the wizard," believe it. Central Curios has a lot of wands on display but I kept coming back to one. This dainty, almost unassuming thing of beauty. It's one-of-a-kind.

He also said something about the Cherry wood being strong or something about guidance... well, my mother's name is Cherry so I guess that's right on the money. I love the design on the handle; it's simple and oh boy, the smell of wood! I actually want another one so I might check out NerdBot Con next week. After all, I live five minutes away from the venue. Listen to the wandmaker talk about it here: Nerd with an Opinion

I also found the most adorable plushie of Fullmetal Alchemist characters. I just couldn't pass it up. 

The store is called Wee Bit O' Freak. I first saw this Alex Louis Armstrong and to my surprise, she has the whole gang there. Yes, even Heymans Breda. I wanted them all. And I can tell them apart from each other which is so important to me. I can't even do that for some Funkos! She said she doesn't have Maria Ross and Denny Brosh yet. I wonder if she does other cons. I want to get my girl Hawkeye!

It was a small-ish con, not really my fandom but dang, it was still so much fun. Artist Alley is still the place to be. Pass by multiple times because you'll never know. You may miss that one piece of art on your first pass. We certainly did. It wasn't a huge haul but we still loved it.

Let's see who they have for next year~ 

Here's to a wonderful 28th year of existence!

KCON LA 2016, Days 1 & 2

KCON is a tricky thing for me to talk about because I like it and hate it at the same time. This is my 3rd non-consecutive time attending. I like that it's a convention about K-pop, a fandom that is not as big as the comic book types and the otaku. I like that one concert can have five or more acts. I like that it gives fans an opportunity to meet their faves, may it be a K-pop idol, actor, or online personality. I like that this year, they have food trucks.

But that's about it. Everything else, I either don't care for or dislike completely. I'm the simplest of K-pop fans. I stan 2-3 groups, passively listen to everything else, and only go to YG Entertainment (and Block B) concerts. So half the things at these kinds of events seem irrelevant to me. But I view it as discovering new things. And in that respect, KCON has not disappointed me. I've started listening to new or new-to-me groups as well as incredible indie artists that they've invited. Although there are some things that I dislike about this convention, I always end up enjoying myself. That, 우리 친구들, is reason enough for me to go every year.

My First EVO - The View From Behind the Players' Seats

I... Where do I even begin?

This is the most low-key yet most exciting conventions ever. I've never experienced something like this in my so far short con-going life. I've gone to many events but I was never this excited, overwhelmed, lucky, ~blessed~, and grateful. I'm going to sound like a total weab but holy shiz, guys. EVO is definitely something else.

My only other experience with something like this is the Capcom Pro Tour Finals 2015 in San Francisco. We decided to go to that on a whim and oh boy, nothing prepared me for that. I thought that was enough "preparation" for a future EVO experience. Well... yes and no. I expected epic gameplay, witnessing great moments, and having a ton of fun. It was all that times a million.

I was so impressed by the fighting game community, not only with the "regular" people playing but also with the pros. They were so nice, unassuming, humble. Hey, they're people too. We, including myself at times, seem to forget that. Especially when you're sort of new in the "fandom". I fell off that when I was in high school because PS3 came out and we couldn't afford one at that time. Now we have one and then there's Twitch, Youtube, social media, online shopping, and two Madcatz fight sticks... bring it on! My brother is such an influence and an enabler. And I'm thankful for it. He had me watching a random tournament about two years ago on stream and since then, I'm hooked. The FGC has been one of the best - if not THE BEST - communities that I joined and it's been so amazing.


We waited a year for this weekend. AX2016 passes were bought on the last day of AX2015. And you guessed it, AX2017 passes are already bought and ready.

In my previous post, you will see that I had cosplay plans. Well... er... I only did one of them. Yui Hirasawa from K-On! on day 2. I wanted to do Mayuri from Steins;Gate but we had a late day on Sunday and I wasn't feeling it. Monday, Day 4, I went by myself and stayed at the venue for just 2-3 hours for my final walkthrough. Messing with a long silver wig while wearing a nightie-ish kind of costume... maybe next time. (I know it's possible; we saw a Menma from Anohana on Day 1.)

I did have fun as Yui. Some people noticed and took pics. I wish I had a giita with me. At least with that school girl costume, all I had to do is switch the wigs (and ribbon) for the other K-On! characters. Mayuri is still my favorite because I have an upa. I still have to try Taiga from Toradora. I've seen a lot of them over the weekend so I know it's doable.

Let's Talk About Conventions

I've been to two so far this year. Asian-American Expo/Anime Impulse in Pomona, CA and WonderCon 2016 that was held in Los Angeles this year. It goes back to Anaheim in 2017. Sigh. This weekend will be my favorite con, Anime Expo 2016. I waited a year for this. Yes, my brother and I bought tickets for 2016 on the 4th and final day of Anime Expo 2015.

And guess what... I'M COSPLAYING! Here's my lineup for this year:

I already went as Shiina Mayuri of Steins;Gate at last year's Comikaze Expo 2015. I originally planned to go as Mio Akiyama of K-On dressed in yukata but I decided to go as Yui Hirasawa instead. I'm going in their summer uniform sans the giita. I do have a Japanese school bag though. And for the final costume, I went back and forth between Menma of Anohana and Taiga of Toradora. In the end, I factored in how hot it's going to be and went for the simple white... nightie. That's pretty much what that dress is like. Taiga will have her turn. Probably at a convention later in the year.

Aside from anime and nerd cons, I also regularly attend KCON. It's a convention centered around K-pop and all that Korean hallyu goodness. It'll be at the end of July. I've been to IMATS, a makeup convention, three years in a row. And if possible, I might be attending Playstation Experience this year also... if it were to coincide with the Capcom Cup Finals again. I'm also going to EVO 2016 two weeks after Anime Expo. So you see, July is pretty packed. That's why it doesn't kill me to skip SDCC every single year. I just don't have enough energy for that battle LOL.

A Much-Needed Break

We all need one. With all the stresses of work, adult life, school, and other stuff, a nice change of scenery is a good way of getting away from all of that.

I was due for mine and it couldn't have been timed better.

Ah yes, the obligatory wing shot. This was taken on my flight from ICN to NAIA. I couldn't take any from my LAX to ICN flight because we were seated in the middle rows. Never again. It was more cramped and uncomfortable vs window seats. Sigh. That was a long, miserable flight that I spent either asleep or watching through the whole Star Wars franchise. (I only got through A New Hope before passing out.)

We took Korean Airlines. As much as I love flying, I officially hate airplane food. Of all the airlines I've been on, KoreanAir takes the cake (lawl) of having the worst food. I thought Asiana had awful food. Ugh, this was worse. I was tempted to request yogurt at every meal.

However, KoreanAir has one of the best services. The flight attendants were so friendly and accommodating. They spoke good English - but hey, I did my best with my classroom Korean. Both parties appreciated it. On my ICN to NAIA flight, our row got a "flight attendant oppa" that made it hard for me to take a nap or concentrate on anything. Yes, I threw all shame to the South Korean airspace and took a stolen shot of him. And thanks to my Korean language lessons, I was able to read his name in Hangul. By the end of that 3-hour flight, he remembered my preference for pineapple juice. LMAO.

(The K-pop fan in me love riding Korean airplanes. Their audio selection is close sisters with my iTunes at home. And you can make playlists! So I filled mine with WINNER, Akdong Musician, Toy, Block B, Taeyang, and 2ne1.)

I get asked by many, "What do you do whenever you go back to the Philippines? Do you visit beaches or hike the mountains?" My short answer to that is, "I eat." And that's pretty much it. See, I'm a city girl and growing up, I'm all mountain'd and beach'd out. I appreciate it but frankly, I don't care for it. (Give me an opportunity to SCUBA dive though.)

Really, I just love going to malls and eating the things that I could not get here. Even the things that I could get here are waaaaaaaay better in the Philippines. Malls there are like Westfield malls on steriods. On every corner. And er... with USD, everything there is affordable. I think I bought 8-9 pairs of footwear? Heh. Here, you have to force me to buy shoes!