My Life In Coffeeshops

_DSC1954With the proliferation of popularity amongst social media, the respite of coffee shops and their appeal to customers far and wide is something I can always support.
The relationship I have with coffee shops has been transformative over the years; from stealing wi-fi at Starbucks on a regular basis to engaging with the elderly at my neighborhood Pannikin to now embracing the craft coffee culture and it’s widespread viral presence in today’s public domain, these spaces have always remained a place of this idea of “home-base” for me.
I was introduced to this idea of a home-base in my 6th grade English class. My English teacher at the time had giant letters scripted upon the white board of the classroom that just read “HOME BASE.” She then explained that her classroom, this space we share, is a safe place of ideas and conversation. In this space we do not degrade one another because our opinions are different, we seek to find similarities between ideas and talk about their common space. From that moment on, this arbitrary but philosophical idea of a “home-base” was something I was always seeking.
I found that feeling of a “home-base” in one of two places: a studio environment and a coffee shop.
My life in coffee shops thus far has always been one of connection, collaboration, and creation. I’ve spent my formative educational years spending my weekends in coffee shops, studiously plugged in and tuned out or gathering together amongst my cohort delving deep into the politics and study of design.
Nowadays, post-grad life, I spend my life in coffee shops unplugged and tuned in to the people that inhabit this space. I’ve read a lot of design articles from various parts of the interwebs about the rapid spread of coffee houses and their picturesque atmosphere and how much design thought goes both into the physical space and the business model when it comes to the creation of these environments. I’ve siphoned through the literature but at the end of the day the cathartics  I get when I step into a coffee shop (third wave, obviously) is second place to how I feel when I’m dancing.
I was first really initially introduced to this craft coffee culture around four years ago when I would spend my days in East County San Diego at this coffeehouse called Kaffee Meister. I grew fond of the space because it was quiet and the open window interface that was adjacent to the neighboring park always eased my mind in the greatest of fashion.
Fast forward two more years in 2014 and my caffeine journey became elevated when I decided to spend a couple weeks in Auckland to become reacquainted with who I really am (but that’s another story). I spent a majority of my alone time as one would predict, in coffee shops. The space I frequented was Atomic Coffee Roasters and I would just spend hours, watching people interact and having incredibly personal and intimate conversations with the baristas that worked there. I’ve met some great people in the walls of this establishment and although it will be ages until I meet with them over a cup of coffee, their impressions are clear and distinct in my mind. I’ve also fallen deeply in love with flat whites and pour overs in the land of the Kiwis.
Accelerate that timeline of 2014 two more years again and in 2016 I’ve re-fallen back in love with coffee shops. Although my hometown scene surrounding coffee is still in its progressing stages, the dynamic landscape of all these coffee shops with a unifying but diverse mission to offer a great cup of caffeine and perhaps conversation is something I only hope aims towards longevity. In trying times where all we ever do is live vicariously through our phones, it’s nice to have some real face time, in person, with a hot steaming cup of black fuel to reawaken your senses.
I actually had a more concise outline for this blog post, but I decided to throw that wayward and just go with my gut in the composition of it. I hope you all don’t mind the random stream of consciousness, I guess you can pen me down as a regular Holden Caulfield.
Indelible Gratitude,

Wonderous Wondercon 2015

IMG_6964Pictured above is a culmination of the merch items that I picked up at Wondercon this past weekend (I’m a sucker for music/movie/superhero crossovers, I think their wittiness tugs at my nerd-for-nuance heartstrings).

For those of you that are new to the world of conventions (especially those of the Comic Con/Wondercon kind) these type of social gatherings are particularly tailored to lovers near and far of everything under the sun in relation to Pop culture. Various companies ranging from Walt Disney Animation Studios to the creators of Bioshock are found there and their followers are also occurring in abundance. Wondercon this year happened the Easter weekend of April 3rd-5th at the Anaheim Convention Center, basically down the street from Downtown Disney!

If that doesn’t convince you to attend Wondercon, the panels definitely will. As a veteran to Comic Con (I’ve been attending since I was 15, I am now 24) panels definitely became a big component as to why these conventions are really popular. Fans will spend an insurmountable amount of time to fall in line for panels of various big box office movies/television shows such as Marvel’s: The Avengers or HBO’s Game of Thrones just to see the actors that portray these characters for an hour of honest conversation. Now, the panels at Wondercon are not as highly anticipated as the ones at Comic Con, but that really didn’t stop me from seeing all my favorite panels this year. The panels that I attended were all at the top of my list in terms of current watchings. They included: CW’s The Flash, CW’S iZombie, and BBC America’s Orphan Black. Here are a few sad looking snapshots at the panels (taken from my Instagram) :
OrphanBlack iZombie

And after going to panels doesn’t seem to suit your liking, buying cute stuff should definitely be at the top of your convention attending game. At these conventions there is a place dedicated to celebrating the art of popular entertainment in purchasing form and it is named The Exhibit Hall. In each of the exhibit halls (both at Wondercon and Comic Con) there is a place called Artists’ Alley where freelance artists showcase what they love about popular art and even put their own fantastic art on display. Exhibitors that stood out the most to me were: Sharodactyl, Whositswhatsits, Bellzi Plushie, and Graphitti shirt designs, and MinionMe (I am biased because I belong to the fandoms of cute squishy things/Disney things/The Flash things).

Sharodactyl Totoro pin!
Sharodactyl Totoro pin!
Orphan Black freebies!
Orphan Black freebies!

Overall, what I’m trying to convey here is my love for these type of conventions. I fell in love with these conventions not only because I get to see exclusive content from all my favorite comics, movies, and television shows but the feeling it gives me is so much more. The fact that these type of events have such an ephemeral quality to them and that for a temporary moment, the landscape is transformed in the best way possible. What used to be an empty plaza is now a promenade filled with food trucks where the extraordinary can happen, where you can witness Ursula and Korra sharing a corndog and sweet potato fries. It’s little happenings that are out of the ordinary that make me giddy, like when you used to wake up really early on Saturday mornings in lieu of seeing your favorite TV show (shoutout to One Saturday Morning for airing Pepper Ann, do they still do that? Let me know!)


**In addition, landed a new job at S.T.A.R Labs, it was smashing!

Catch Ya Later,

Fashionable Fractals in the Imaginary City

“Boston, MA- Emily Garfield”

When I first heard about fractals, it was in my senior design Walt Disney Imagineering design studio and it was presented by none other than Joe Rohde, the creative captain of Walt Disney Imagineering. The word itself captivated my attention because of its meaning. A fractal, in essence is a never ending pattern of complex patterns that exist in the make up of more patterns (basically pattern inception) but the beauty of a fractal is the in congruencies that lie within the structure of such pattern. Most fractal patterns occur in nature, and I think that’s beyond wondrous.
Recently, I found another article on CityLab that captured my attention. It was about fractals, again, but in the context of an imaginary city. Reading this article prompted me to fall back in love with maps and the intuitive nature of map making that I did when I was a child. Treasure maps were my thing, drawing out directions were definitely my thing; and when I came across this article my imagination began to fly fleetingly, once again.
Thank you CityLab and Emily Garfield for giving my mind something to expound about amongst those that are willing to listen.

Here is the original article:
How Fractals Bring Imaginary Cities to Life


The Calm of Canoes


Location: Canoes beach break, O’ahu Hawai’i
For those of you that have had the pleasure of living/visiting/vacationing in Hawai’i the surf culture is very much a spiritual as well as physical pass time on the island. The picture (noted above) is a quick afternoon session at Canoes in the Waikiki Bay that I experienced and it was one of the best seshs I’ve had in awhile. Being from San Diego, I’m no stranger to the surf culture, but the locals in Hawai’i are so incredibly spoiled with these cerulean blue beauties!!
Canoes is located on the Southeastern shore of O’ahu and is east of Fort De Russy. It resides in front of the Moana Surfrider Resort Hotel and has public access.
It is a good break for surfers of all experiences (since I’m still beginning, I was able to catch two good waves) but be cautious if you look like an out of townie. Locals love specific parts of this spot and those visiting should have respect for these waves and don’t drop in on someone else’s wave. The swells come between 3ft-10ft and come from the Southwest & Southeast direction (obviously) and can get pretty big barrels at low tide.
Overall, this place served as one of the most therapeutic places for me and I felt this intense calm and happiness radiating from within me and I can’t wait to surf this again in a couple of months!

Until Then, Mahalo Canoes!
I love you,