Under Construction

Why, hello there! Thanks for checking me out.

If you’ve visited before, you’ll notice that things look different.
Things are different.

The site was last overhauled five years ago. It’s time for a change.

AnnyChih.com is officially under construction. Put on a hard hat.

If you’re not scared, you’re not doing it right

Mike and me on Cypress

Mike and me on Cypress

I’ve got a new motto. It slipped out of mouth while hitting the slopes last month for the first time in nearly three years.

As Mike and I were in the middle of our third run, I told him that I was finally getting into the groove. The first two runs had been terrifying. He said something about how I should’ve told him (which is ridiculous – what good would that do??) so I yelled over my shoulder “If you’re not scared, you’re not doing it right!”

I had a great time snowboarding that day and I still stand by what I said. If you’re not scared, you’re not doing it right.

If I had spent the entire day on the green slope slowly perfecting my S-curves I would’ve felt like a tool. When it comes to snowboarding and most other things, it’s more fun when you lean forward and enjoy the ride.

Future of mobile gaming

Ingress Game

Walk by the lunchroom at my office and you’ll hear… nothing. When Candy Crush first entered the scene I had dismissed it as a passing fad. Many months later, my coworkers are still grossly entrenched in the saga moving their eyes from their monitors to their mobile phones during scheduled breaks. I don’t get it.

What I could understand though is the new variety of location-based games like Ingress, by Google’s Niantic Labs. Using GPS technology and regular updates via social media is a natural next step for the mobile gaming industry, but what I really love is how the game is melding the game world with the real world.

In Ingress, players choose one of two factions to defend (Enlightenment / Resistance) and seek out portals to “capture”. The portals are typically sculptures or historical landmarks and “capturing” them is like checking in on Foursquare. Like other online games, this one encourages the growth of online communities but takes it one step further by making it a game that’s more fun in person.

I just downloaded the game. It really is time to move.

Zoo with Two

My favourite shot: Father and son watching a rhino

My favourite shot: Father and son watching a rhino

At least once a week, I do something new that can only be done in New York City. Sometimes it’s watching a movie at a new venue with Rooftop Films, checking out a beer festival I haven’t been to at Smorgasburg, or even just listening to an unknown band at my favourite music hall. Exploring new events and opportunities makes me feel as though the city is refreshed each weekend.

There are some times though that I end up going to the same places to see / hear / taste the same things. This is equally awesome because I get to experience things using a new lens. Figuratively, and now also literally. I bought a new camera last month! I haven’t been posting photo galleries because the NextGen Gallery plugin that I use had a bug, but it’s since been fixed so I’ll probably be posting a lot more going forward.

I loved my big kid day at the Bronx Zoo last summer so this past weekend I went again and packed two PB&Js instead of just one. Here are a few photos from our field trip.

 

Where AM I?!

Fete Paradiso

I’ve been exploring all parts of NYC! This was taken a few weekends ago when we went to Fête Paradiso on Governors Island.

So… apparently I don’t know where I live. I was showing Mike the location of my little abode on a map the other day when he looked at me funny and asked “Are you sure?”

“Of course I’m sure!” I replied with my eyebrows furled and my arms up in exasperation “I know where I live!” Yeah, no. I don’t. I had thought I lived a few blocks north of the subway station, but really I’m a few blocks in the other direction. And that time I was walked past a cemetery and thought I was near LGA in Queens? Nope. That was a different cemetery and I probably ended up just north of Williamsburg in Brooklyn.

I should probably be more embarrassed about this considering I’ve lived in the same apartment for over a year now, but mostly I’m just in awe of the fact that I’ve been able to survive thus far with zero sense of direction.

On the upside, I now have a whole new neighbourhood to explore! I’ve already found a few hidden gems including a large empty field in a huge cemetery (there are a lot of cemeteries around here) that’s perfect for summer picnics, a B-rating Korean restaurant that feels just like Asia and serves live octopus, and a Tiki bar with a decent sized sand lot right beside the highway. You know, in case truckers feel like tossing around a beach ball while knocking back a few coronas before hitting the road… I should stop taking walks around this area at night.

Note: The photo was taken at Fête Paradiso on Governors Island. The festival features vintage French carnival rides and is a lovely way to spend a free afternoon outside of the city. Free ferries run every half hour from the South end of Manhattan.

 

Dinner was served with a condom

Plan B Condom

Plan B condom

I was invited this week to sample alternative Spanish fare at the newest tapas restaurant and bar in Nolita, Plan B. The concept behind the name and menu comes from an “alternative culture of Facebook-ers and skateboarders” in Spain, explains restaurant manager Michael Ciccoricco. Though the derivation is questionable, you get a sense of what they’re going for from the red condom included in the restaurant’s press kit.

The Tasting

A cool glass of Skuntx (pronounced “Skunts”) is placed on the table along with a sample of the potent and quirky Basque cider from where it takes its strength. The cocktail has a summery fragrance and each ingredient from orange to bourbon and hibiscus to honey has a notable presence. It tastes as lovely as it smells.

Chicharron Tuiles: Fried pork skin, savory cookie, garlic aioli

Chicharron Tuiles: Fried pork skin, savory cookie, garlic aioli

The starters are less impressive. While the dishes are all impeccably dressed, the fried pork skin on a savory cookie is soft to the bite, lacking the crunch that you expect when you read the word “fried” or view the pork skin sitting on wafer-like crisps. It’s like a miniature sandwich. The asparagus is drowned in chili oil and works as a side dish but not necessarily on its own plate. My water glass is refilled twice.

Paella shooters and grilled octopus arrive next, and taste buds are compensated for the chili ordeal. The seafood is all perfectly cooked in their own flavours and I’ve never eaten such tender octopus. The former food critic across from me agrees and says this is his favourite dish so far. A+

Bulls testicles marinated, seared, sauteed watercress and pickled onion

Bulls testicles marinated, seared, sauteed watercress and pickled onion

But it’s the plate of bulls’ testicles that Plan B has invited us here to try and they’re served next with pickled onion and sautéed watercress alongside rabbit meatballs in a sweet demi-glaze. The consistency of the “Rocky Mountain oysters” is reminiscent of densely packed fish balls and the grittiness is only slightly unsettling. The pickled onion is a perfect complement to the meat and makes the prolonged chewing enjoyable. Though the dish is small, it’s better shared.

Having sampled the main dish, I relax and treat my mouth with small sips of Txakolina which is absolutely divine! It’s smooth, sweet, light, and a perfect ending to the evening.

 

Plan B is a great plan A for drinks on a first date where the ingredients on the menu are better served as conversation starters. Shoot for the paella and octopus if you’re peckish.

For more food reviews, visit Gastrofork.ca

Look ma, I’m on a poster!

Poster at the Ziegfeld theatre

Poster at the Ziegfeld theatre. The caption on the poster reads “IMMERSED”

 

 

 

 

I had my face plastered on a few posters at the Ziegfeld theatre last month and I was going to send one to mum for kicks but they chucked them all before I had a chance to grab one. Shucks. I guess this photo of me with the photo of me will have to do.

And no, I don’t actually know the guy in the photo. He’s an extra that I met on the shoot and I’m pretty sure the only reason they paired us up is because we’re both Asian.

 

 

 

 

Zach Braff does Kickstarter right

Excerpt from an email update

Excerpt from an email update

Last month, Zach Braff launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund his new film Wish I Was Here. Regardless of whether you fall under the “Kickstarter is supposed to be for people without money, not highly successful actor / directors!” group or the “That’s frickin’ awesome – I’m dying to support a new film by someone cool like Zach Braff!” crowd, you’ve got to admit that the guy is doing it right.

I happen to be part of the latter crew who backed the project and tweeted and re-posted the Kickstarter link for all the other people I know who love Braff’s first film, Garden State. And as promised, he’s been emailing daily updates. I feel now as though I didn’t just fork a bill to support the arts, but that I’m actually learning something new each day about how films are produced. His updates are written for people who know nothing about film production so he takes the time to explain what each person’s role is and why everything is important. For someone who’s worked on a film before this might feel a bit simple, but for people like me it’s really interesting. Thanks Zach!

 

Upfronts and Waffles

WGN Upfront Ad

WGN Upfront Ad: “AN UPFRONT THAT’S BETTER THAN WAFFLES. BTW – Waffles are still yummy even if you don’t know what an upfront is.”

If you work in advertising / media in NYC, you’ve probably noticed the WGN ads for their Upfront. If you don’t work in the industry, you might be wondering what the hell an Upfront is and why anyone would think WGN’s is better than waffles.

Simply put, an Upfront is an event that a company which sells advertising space organizes to entice agencies and direct clients to buy ads “upfront” for the rest of the year. It’s their big dog and pony show to introduce all the big changes and offerings they have in a swanky venue which usually ends with a performance by a well-known band or musician like Alicia Keys (who does a lot of these) and an after party. They cost anywhere from half a million to over $2 million to put together, and every major network (ex. Nickelodeon, BBC, MTV) as well as many other media companies (ex. Google, Yahoo, AOL) host them annually; digital media events are called “Newfronts”.

The guest list typically includes executives and buyers from major advertising and media buying agencies like Zenith Optimedia, Deutsch, and Wieden + Kennedy. Because there’s an Upfront event every night during this time of year, the parties are big and the bars are flowing with free booze to attract as many industry heads as possible. Jack Myer’s Media Business Report even has an entire Upfront section devoted to reviewing these events in case you can’t make them.

The company I work for hosted our first Upfront last month and I had the opportunity to work on event logistics which is why I haven’t been as active in the blogosphere lately. You know how much I love organizing events like WordCamp: Developers and the 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon, so it’s no surprise that I had a blast working on the biggest company event of the year!

Now that the event is over, I’m back to eating waffles. Waffles are still yummy though. True story.

#Randomthought

Hashtag

 

 

A little while ago I received an email with a link to a neat website and a one word description: #hot. It was a sexy site, but I called the sender out on using a hashtag in an email. Who uses a hashtag in an email? He replied saying that it was the “new grammar”. Maybe he’s onto something. After all, Facebook has been toying with hashtags since its acquisition of Instagram last year. It wouldn’t be so far fetched for Google to include hashtag sorting functions in Gmail in the near future.

 

#Cool