Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Amazing Hawaii Comicon 2016

Me NOT wading with Man-O-Wars
If you want to have a lot of fun and sell books and meet wonderful creatives and fans, go to the Amazing Hawaii Comicon. I went with Roberta Gregory, who made it that much better, being able to share the adventure with a long-time friend and colleague.

The Ka-Blam photo
William Doc Grant and the Hawaii Comics Alliance got trip tips for us, Roger and Elizabeth Pankey let us time-share a condo, and Hawaiian Cartoonist Jon J Murakami toured us around 3/4 of O'ahu in two trips. We got to see and do and eat everything we'd planned. 

First of all, here's the obligatory shot of me in my Ka-Blam T-shirt. If you need floppy-size comics, they have the best inks, clear paper, color and prices. I'm going to get one of their black shirts, too. 

I just like this photo of me.
Just for good measure, here's the convention badge and what's left of one of the leis Jon gave us.

Beautiful places to stay:

Makai (Toward the mountains)
The next two shots are the view from our condo window in Honolulu, Waikiki. 

The first one is makai - toward the mountains - over the golf course. 

Mauka (Toward the water)
The second is makau - toward the water - over the canal. 

In the morning, talapia in the schools rise in bunching black schools to feed. 

Fairy terns flip between the buildings, looking like the paper "birds" in Spirited Away. The terns are endemic in the northern islands, but in the south, they only live in Honolulu. Perhaps, like peregrine falcons on the mainland, they like the artificial cliffs?

And now more convention photos:

William Doc Grant gave Roberta and me paper hats full of pennies. We saved the pennies to buy spam musubi, and played Angry Birds with the hats. 

Roberta is threatening the properly terrified Erin Hamada. 

Angry extinct Hawaiian bird
Be afraid!!

Erin makes the most amazing food pillows, including bitten eggs. 

They're expensive to ship outside Hawaii -But perhaps the little key-chains of the eggs? They have emoticon faces on them, which make them even cuter. 

Here's Roberta and Erin with Erin's giant bread and onagiri pillows. We ere calling her Pillow Woman. A con nickname, of course.

Here's a Soldätchen (little soldier) I was doodling on for kids' day, Sunday. I'd somehow left all my good pens at home, so was making do with ball points. 

A couple little girls were watching with their dad, and I asked 'em if they wanted it. They did. I'd post the photo, but one needs to protect kids.

However, I can post an adult with her picture of a Söldchen (little girl soldier). This is Hannah - and she's happy with the next doodle I did. 

Now for the cosplay! A blurry (sorry! - wonky little IPod camera) Deadpool pirate with a costume based on a fancy thift-store jacket, an Aquaman with REAL scale mail he made himself, and the dapperest of dragons. 

I've never been much for superheroes, but I just love all the mash-ups. Harley-Quinn shows up as anything, and at Emerald City in Seattle, there was a flapper joker. Gender-crossing and everything. Cosplayers are social years ahead of us all.

Lazy Photographer:

I didn't get any more photos of the trip, but Roberta did! 

Baobob tree in park
The following are a selection of her photos It was us at the beach, and us eating everything Hawaiian we could find. We saw the valley of temples, the north shore, you name it. These photos are sorta kinda in order.  

Jon was the most diligent tour-guide. If we could get to it in time, he showed it off, and told us all the details. 

Our timing was kind of bad; a huge rock that had sat in a window formation since anybody could have remembered was swept away by the waves a short time before we showed up. 

Over the blowhole; Elizabeth Pankey, Jon Murakami and me
And birds! Admittedly, most of them are imports, but when else could I see Brazilian cardinals flying about, and shoo Australian zebra doves out of breakfast?

Yes, Hawaii has racism and homelessness and all the general problems, but all anybody really cares about is food and the beach. Which is as it should be. We missed a luau I'm beginning to think we should have skinned out of the con to go see.

After the con, we moved from the condo to a little hostel near the beach. In a quiet, cool alley, where you could sit on the lanai and look at Diamond head.

Under the Bo tree, Botanical Gardens
Chickens and cats were all about in the country, clean, well-fed, and utterly unafraid of humans. Which shows you just how nice the humans are.

See the blue toenails? Everybody has blue toenails. Or people who paint their toenails. The color of Hawaii IS blue.

On the beach at Waikiki
Cree Nicole, who co-splayed at the con, was sharing our hostel room. She and I ended up walking all over Waikiki at night, making like regular tourists. I kind of talked her into buying glow-in-the-dark batshorts. 

We ended up at a neat little bar around the corner from the hostel, accessible only by a strange, twisty little staircase. Yes, the margarita was poured by a barkeep with a high elbow. 

I no longer feel guilty for never learning to surf. Early throat and sinus operations make it impossible for me to keep water out of my lungs. I TRIED body surfing but ended up hacking out water. So I went back to floating in the lagoons. 

Dole Pineapple plantation, me and Jon
Although watching the kids using McDonald's trays to body-board was still pretty tempting. And the best fun is watching body-boarders off the jetty in the evening waves.

Menehune are the Hawaiian Little People. They're supposed to be mischievous. I found out, if you ask for ANYTHING, they get it for you, free and cheap, so long as you thank them.  

Pali overlook, with boss cat
This is just a small portion of the stuff we did, so we'll end with the food report, and wishes that you have been or can go to Hawaii some day.

I would like to know if our conventions can serve
Spam Musubi, the basic Hawaiian spam-and-rice snack. It was the go-to food all over the island.

BEST Hawaiian food: the dark purple Okinawan potato. 

And - I never thought I'd recommend McDonald's - but haupia (coconut custard) in a fried sugar crust. No, you can't get it unless you're in Hawaii. 

Shrimp-truck happy cat
The same with the Dole plantation fresh-picked-pineapple ice cream. It's like you have to come up where I live for REALLY fresh salmon.

Seattle, you can get poi at Uwajimaya for the same price they sell it for in Hawaii. 

Note on Hawaiians and garlic: the Hawaiian idea of a little garlic is mouthfuls. So if you go for shrimp scampi - say hi to the cats and chickens - be prepared to frighten vampires at a distance.

Roberta and I almost didn't get back on the plane....

Me in alleyway, Diamond Head

Buddhist temple

My menehune haul

Diamond head down the alley.

MAHALO nui loa!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Shortrun 2016

Applying for Shortrun and this is the art they require.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Hogan's Alley Magazine

Blah. Trying to sign in to the Eisner's to recommend a great magazine, but they're securitied up like they think they're somebody's off-shore account. 

So I will do the next best thing and recommend the magazine.

Hogan's Alley. Named after a classic newspaper cartoon, and continuing to share wonderful cartooning from around the world.  

Go and enjoy. Because our fans are the real voters. It's why we don't have awards at my comicon, because what's the use of industry professionals log-rolling each other, or if people don't buy our books or love our website? Our fans give us our awards and rewards.

And I'm a fan of Hogan's Alley.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Transfolk Treated Right

A recent interchange of emails between myself and a Fred Meyer store in Bremerton. I also sent this message to the Bremerton police chief, who immediately said, since the store was in Kitsap county jurisdiction, he would send it to the Sheriff. Bremerton has a bad rep, but there is a steady undercurrent of decency, acceptance and multi-culturism in that town (as well as an vibrant and interesting arts community).

My first email to Fred Meyer: 

Hi - Have always loved your store & the folks in it. But on the 30th of April, 2016, I think I might have witnessed bad behavior connected to the trans bathroom controversy. While I was in one of your women's restroom stall, I heard someone come mumbling in to use the stalls; it was a man's voice. I wasn't upset; sometimes we wander into the wrong restrooms, if no one else can be seen. Perhaps it was a transwoman. I don't know; I didn't stay to verify. But when I left, I found a group of men and a boy standing against the wall opposite the restroom, as though waiting for something. They were probably waiting for a friend to use the men's restroom. BUT - lately, restrooms have been targeted in an attempt by certain groups to humiliate and harm transfolk. I'm hoping I was just being paranoid, but just in case, I thought I'd give you a head's up. Bremerton has always been an admirably politically-involved town, so anything can happen. And thanks again for being such a good store and giving me the opportunity to contact you (I know - arguing over who gets to use the bathroom; childish, but transfolk get beaten, raped and killed all the time. And need a place to pee in safety).

Their email to me:

From: CustomerService@kroger.com
To: donnabarr@hotmail.comDate: Thu, 5 May 2016 07:08:35 -0400Subject: RE: Your Comments (#23812679)Dear Donna,

Thank you for contacting Kroger Customer Connect. 

I am sincerely sorry for your negative experience at the rest room of our Fred Meyer store located at 5050 State Highway 303 Ne. Your concerns regarding the issues faced by transgender people are commendable and I really appreciate them. I have shared your experience in detail with the Store Management Team so they are aware and can review the situation and make your future visits to the store pleasurable..

Please know our Store Manager is always open to direct feedback. It is important to the Manager to speak personally to our customers about areas that need improvement as well as our successes.

Please feel free to reply to this email or call us at 1-800-576-4377 and reference case number 23812679 should you have further questions or concerns. We appreciate hearing from our valued customers and will assist in any way possible. 

Thank you for shopping with us and have a great day. Sincerely,HarpreetKroger Customer Connect The Kroger Family of Stores 

Dear Harprett:

Thank you so much for your quick answer, and your caring view of all your customers.

I've always been very happy with your store, and this is one more reason to appreciate you all.

I'm very involved in making our world a better place, and a steady user of social media. My internet friends will be happy to discover that the Bremerton Fred Meyer is even better than we could hope.

Donna Barr