Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Week in Retrospect - Scary Faces

What a week! Work was so busy (in a good way) and I got to combat the crazy with some fun - played this awesome board game called Avalon on Thursday night (deception! betrayal! guacomole chips! and lots and lots of yelling!) and dinner with the coworkers on Friday night, which is always a good time. :)

Then cue AMAZING weekend!!

Saturday consisted of an adventure back into the city! We decided to combat the St. Patrick's Day Irish pride by dinner at an Italian restaurant and a trip to the Asian Art Museum! An amazing amount of cool stuff, and a couple of uh... questionable scary things?

Holy Jesus that is frightening.

This is awesome though! One of my favorite pieces I saw :)

There was this awesome graffiti outside of a great ice cream spot called Smitten over on Octavia. (I mean, it's real ice cream from scratch. I could taste the mint leaves in mine. SO GOOD.)

Sunday consisted of a trip to the zoo (with a great view from Skyline Boulevard, I FINALLY saw the Golden Gate Bridge, yikes). Weaving in and out of all the children that were there (shakes fist), I saw lots of avian friends! 
 Penguins! They had a little setup a la the Shire going on. :)

Ever wonder why there's always peacocks running around ever single zoo ever? Me too. 
Silly babies.

Alright, time to get (back) to work! Until next time!


Sunday, March 10, 2013

A Week In Retrospect - Japantown


Sorry about not posting last week - that week was pretty mellow as far as adventures go so I didn't really have much to talk about!

This week proved a little more interesting. It was a great week at work, I accomplished quite a bit on my end, but as always there is stress the accumulates.

This banana knows what I'm talking about. I'm so sorry, banana.

But enough about that! This weekend I conquered my fear of going into the city by myself. I was convinced I was going to get hopelessly lost on the BART, but it turns out the trains are usually pretty easy to figure out.

I came into the city to meet up with a new friend! We went to the ever-awesome Japantown for lunch and a look around. I am now spoiled on authentic ramen (as opposed to be pre-packaged stuff I'd been eating) from Tanpopo. Make sure you stop by sometime, great food and a great atmosphere!

Then we went on a quest for doggie key caps. We didn't find the ones I'd been looking for, but the journey was pretty awesome nonetheless. There are a ridiculous amount of great stores in Japantown, with a ridiculous amount of awesome/adorable things you won't find anywhere else.

Almost picked this up for you, Kathy!

On the walk back to the BART station we found this awesome church. I may be no great shakes at drawing architecture yet, but I have a weird appreciation for awesome buildings.

Look at that! So huge and majestic! I had to play tourist for a moment...

And on the walk back to my apartment from the CalTrain station, I saw what looked to be a human figure on a balcony. Upon closer inspection:

Luxor madness is sweeping the nation, it seems!

All in all, an amazing day. It feels great to get out of my apartment and explore the city that has so much to see and do!

Gonna stay in today, though. In addition to all my "housekeeping" tasks, I received my Elements "test deck" in the mail this week and I found a lot of adjustments I need to make. Here's a sneak preview!

Until the next adventure! Away!


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Week in Perspective - Space Jam

Had another fairly straightforward week, with a couple of highlights here and there.

Had Monday off due to Presidents' Day, and then Tuesday we had our epic basketball game against our rival studio. We were intimidated at first because they all looked freakishly tall, but it turns out they weren't as scary as they looked.


We played two twenty-minute halves and wound up beating them 25 to 22. It was a great game despite some, ah temperamental moments (there may have been a guy or two on their team that took the game waaaay too seriously) and lots and lots of yelling (we didn't have ref so we had to make due, haha). We're hoping to have a rematch sometime in the coming weeks.

(Sweaters, Blue Eyes, Rayx2, Catalan Fly, Fences, 
Rossco, KCDC, T-Wayne, Trigger, and Big Country.
Awesome photo by Evan.)
We went out for celebratory food/drinks afterwards at a place called Blue Line Pizza, which was quite possibly the best pizza I've had in a while. Great staff, too!

I'm fairly relieved it's the weekend. I'm hoping to finish formatting my first round of Elements playing cards and maybe get those sent off to be printed next week. I'm also excited to watch the Oscars tomorrow (although the capacity and location are yet to be determined).

Welp, that's all I got until next time!


Friday, February 22, 2013

Fran Sanfisco Comics #2 - The Neighbors

So I'm on the third floor of my apartment building in the middle unit. I have 3 distinct neighbors that I'm aware of but have never seen - the Baby People, the Pot People, and the Hacking Cough People (or person). The comic above is an accurate description of the Baby People and how the dad copes with his crying child. I can't tell if the Pot People are actually potheads or if they just leave the window open a lot and the smell drifts in from the neighboring building, and the Hacking Cough Person I have never seen but I imagine she looks like Mama Fratelli from the Goonies.

And then there's me.

No noise complaints yet, but I'm waiting for it.

Have a good day everyone!


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Week in Perspective - Field Trip

Hullo friends!

Another week in SF. The highlights of this week consisted of a work field trip to the Cartoon Art Museum in downtown, where we saw the ParaNorman exhibit! In addition to concept art, they had a couple of large sets from the movie and a lot of the character figurines. I'd never seen any sort of stop-motion sets or props up close prior to this, so I was awestruck at the level of detail and craft put into each and every thing.


In addition to the ParaNorman stuff, they also had a large collection of original Chuck Jones drawings and paintings. It's absolutely astounding to look at some of these animation frames and know EXACTLY the cartoon they were from. Plenty of Bugs Bunny, Daffy, Elmer, Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner there!

After the exhibit we went out for a light dinner and cocktails, and then a few of us disbanded to go watch this incredible giant pillow fight in the plaza by the Ferry Building. It looked pretty vicious from the sidelines, with plenty of feather and cotton stuffing flying everywhere.

After the fight we looked around the city for a little bit, including a tour of the Mission District. We stopped at Dolores Park and got a marvelous view of the city.

It was another great week, and I can't wait to see what next week has in store!


Friday, February 15, 2013

Fran Sanfisco Comics #1 - Acclimation Issues

Attempting to spice up the blog a little with some art! I've been drawing these "spice of life" comics lately and I thought I'd share them with you!

From what I've gathered about weather in SF, it's fairly comfortable throughout the day but can increase/decrease by about 20 degrees throughout a few hours, so everyone here preaches wearing layers. It never really gets "hot" or "cold" and stays pretty mild.

Everyone I've met who has moved here from a generally "colder" state has admitted to acclimating to California weather. For some, this isn't drastic - wearing a sweatshirt or light jacket during 45 degree weather. Not unheard of. But it's the space heaters, the winter jackets, hats/boots/scarves/gloves combos that makes me go, "CALM DOWN YOU ARE NOT GOING TO DIE".

For me, the acclimation experience has been interesting. I can definitely tell I'm getting used to the "winter" weather and there are times where I am legitimately chilly. But I still refuse to wear anything more than a sweatshirt, I haven't touched the radiator in my apartment (for several reasons), and I haven't yet felt any need for a space heater or fan. So far these things seem to be working out pretty well but sometimes my body still gets confused about whether I'm stifling or freezing.

As for the snow-drowned/freezing rest of the states - I feel you, bros. I feel you.


Saturday, February 9, 2013

Week in Perspective - Cloud 9

G'day guys!

It's been another marvelous week in the Bay. I'm getting a little more familiar with the area - every day goes by and I've explored a little bit more of the neighborhood. I've been getting to sample some of the restaurants around town and there is some DELICIOUS food about - there's a gyros place I'm especially fond of. I also got to explore the library this week, which was actually pretty huge and had a decent selection of art books. Apparently Daniel Radcliffe visited there too - there's a signed portrait of him hanging up near the children's books! Crazy! I also made my first trip on the CalTrain last night and got to run around Hillsdale for a bit, which was fun. Seems like there's quite a bit to do around here! 

Work has been going well; I'm falling into a good routine and finally getting all my technology figured out. We're working on some pretty exciting stuff right now, lots of good games coming up in the coming months!

Speaking of games, I joined my company's basketball team and we've been practicing a couple of days this week. Ordinarily I am not a very active person and the idea of competitive sports isn't my favorite, but I have been reveling in the workouts. It's been weird transitioning from a very active job (dog handling) to a sit-down desk job, and believe it or not I've been looking forward to getting off my butt and running around like a hooligan for an hour or so after work. I'm also getting to know my coworkers a little better and that's always cool.

In addition to all of that, my Elements project apparently went viral this week! I've been featured on The Mary Sue and io9 and they've even shown up on Cheezburger and imgur and have been getting emails and notes all week from people about getting merchandise, or just telling me they loved my work. It's been intense!

My only downside for the week was an ant problem in my apartment; I came home on Tuesday night and there were quite a few of them in my kitchen sink and in a straight marching line across the floor and into the living room. They seem to be coming from under the windowsill, which makes me worried there's a giant colony just behind the wall. I had the same problem when I came home from work on Wednesday. So I picked up some bait traps, and I came home on Thursday night and aside from one or two stragglers on my counter I haven't seen any others. So hopefully that's taken care of!

All in all, this week has been utterly fantastic. The amount of good things happening is mindblowing, and I am trying to soak up every minute of it because I don't want it to go away!

I do miss everyone back home, and my MIAD buddies too. Come out and visit me, it's way too awesome here!

Until next time!


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Week in Perspective - Californ-i-ay

Gorgeous sunset from last night! The photo doesn't do it justice but you get the idea. :)

Sorry about the infrequent updating - not having internet at home has been an interesting experience. Heck, not having FURNITURE has been an interesting experience!

In other news, I started work on Monday, which has been fantastic. I love waking up in the morning and being so excited to start my day! Although the first part of the week was mostly filling out HR forms and getting adjusted, I've been getting more and more tasks throughout the week to work on. The people I work with are very talented, nice, and helpful, and I look forward to getting to know them better. One of them even helped me move my desk into the apartment!

Speaking of which, my POD arrived on Wednesday evening. I'm sure my neighbors didn't appreciate all the banging around as I moved stuff in, but at least I didn't break anything! I'm currently in the process of unpacking everything - living area/office is almost done (just a few piles of things still left on the floor) and the bedroom closet is done. The kitchen is mostly done save for a large pile of dishes I still have to do, and I haven't even touched my room yet. Having "stuff" in the rooms is definitely making this place seem more like home, though. I'll try to put up a "walking tour" video (or at least some photos) so you guys can see it!

My next goal is to continue picking up things I need - went to the store today and got fabric softener and quarters to do laundry, got home and realized I had no detergent! (Oops.) I also need to get one of those old lady shopping carts - it's only a short walk to the grocery store but it also limits how much I'm able to buy/carry!

Well, I'm off to attempt to catch up on everything I've missed or haven't been able to do/see in the past week, so if you saw anything cool on the internet or something I should know about, feel free to post it in a comment or send it to me on Facebook or something!

Until next time!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Day 3 - Dogs, Dogs Everywhere

Sleeping on the floor was proving to be less of an issue - I had gotten a decent night's sleep and wasn't sore the next morning. Today I decided to explore the other end of Burlingame - which also, conveniently, had a Starbucks.

It was a bit further away than I had expected. There weren't many chain stores there, but a lot of independently-owned shops. It must be the "historic" end of Burlingame. There were also a ton of people sitting at the tables outside of the Starbucks and just as many inside. Since there was clearly no room for me, I decided to walk back to my familiar Starbucks.

The walk was nice except for the exact position of the sun, which shone above my transition lenses and directly into my eyes for most of the time, so I was stumbling blindly down the sidewalks. The streets are also not in a convenient grid pattern as I was normally used to, so I got lost a couple of times. Finally I found my way up Burlingame Avenue. There were lots of people out, and some of them I thought I recognized from wandering around yesterday. (Small town!) Lots of dogs out as well. Saw a couple of weimeraners sniffing intently at a golden retriever and their owner was giving the passerby their entire breed history. A block later a woman was doing a similar thing with her two Rhodesian Ridgebacks. Fancy dogs!

Unfortunately for me, this Starbucks was also crowded. There was one table free that I could see, but it was for the handicapable and I didn't want to be a jerk. So I parked it on a bench outside and attempted to use my laptop in the sunlight. Needless to say, I gave up after 5 minutes. I entered Starbucks again and almost everyone had disappeared, and there was room to spare. I parked it at a table near the back and was consumed by the internet for about 3 hours. I ordered Internet service for my apartment (which won't come until next Saturday), checked all my sites, and tried to study up for my first day of work tomorrow by playing the newest game, "Around the World in 80 Plays". Soon anxiety washed over me and I decided to head home. On the way, I stopped inside the small bookstore down the road. It was no Barnes & Noble but they had a modest graphic novel collection and they sold Moleskine notebooks, so I decided it would do in a pinch.

At home I wrote up some notes for my friend's novel, talked to my mom on the phone, and then talked to my old roommate Alex for almost 3 hours while I drew some Pokemon for the Pokemon Sketchbook Project. After that I watched some of War Horse (right up until Captain Nicholls gets killed, no surprise there) and turned in at about 10pm to rest up for my first day of work tomorrow!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Day 2 - Now What?


I woke up to a loud banging noise and realized the wind was blowing through my kitchen windows and banging the blinds against the frame. I shut the window and tried to go back to sleep. Instead I lay "in sleeping bag" for another 30 minutes. I got up, ate some cereal, went to shower... and realized I had no shower curtain. I also realized I had no drain plug, so a bath was out of the question. However, I come from a family of women who wash their hair in the kitchen sink, so I made it work somehow.

My plan for today was simple - go to Starbucks and use their wifi. After a ten minute walk or so, I hunkered down at a sticky table with a frappuccino and proceeded to check my emails. Shortly thereafter an older woman asked to join me with her semi-infant granddaughter. We made small talk and the kid was pretty cute and well-behaved. They hung out for a little while (joined shortly by the kid's mother) and then left, wishing me welcome to Burlingame and good luck at my job. I decided then that this town seemed OK.

I stayed for a while longer and then realized I was starving, so I headed home. I stopped at Walgreens and was impressed by their selection of home products. I picked up a shower liner, bath drain, kitchen sink strainer (as I have no garbage disposal) and some extra hand towels. I was tempted to pick up a queen-sized air mattress (with pump included) for $40, but considering I had not found an air mattress/pump combo for under $80 anywhere else, I decided to give it one more night in the sleeping bag. I came home, made myself a sandwich, and read my friend's novel for the rest of the day.

At 8pm I didn't know what to do with myself. I had another book I could read, a little bit of drawing I could do, and 1 movie - War Horse, which I had already watched on Thursday night - but other than that, not much else to do. Wound up watching a couple of videos I had on my laptop, reading a little bit more, and half a package of my dehydrated potatoes.

One of the mental obstacles I will have to overcome eventually is feeling guilty about eating too much. I still have plenty of money left over to last me until my first paycheck, yet I'm trying to conserve the amount (and type) of food I'm eating. If I feel like I want a bowl of cereal in the middle of the day, I try to resist the temptation in order to make it last as long as possible. I'm acting as though I'm destitute, which I figure isn't a bad thing for the first month or so as I figure out how much I am going to be spending a month, but I really hope I grow out of it.

Day 1 - The Arrival

Hi everyone!

Welcome to "Fran Sanfisco", a new blog that documents my adventures of my new life in SF!

After a morning of errands, packing, last-minute things, and a tearful goodbye to my dogs, my mom drove me to the airport. The plane took off at 3pm (Central) and arrived at San Francisco International Airport at 5pm (Pacific). The first thing I noticed when we flew in over the bay was the infamous San Francisco fog. Half the city was engulfed in it, and though I could see Oakland through a peek in the cloud cover, I once again missed an aerial view of the Golden Gate Bridge. (The first time I had flown in to SF, it was completely dark and I wasn't able to see much of the city except for light clusters.)

At the airport, I got lost trying to get to the Baggage Claim carousel (despite it being clearly marked), picked up my bags (with some difficulty) and headed for the Taxi area. I managed to get a cab within seconds of stepping onto the platform and marveled at the efficiency. After one terrifying ride later (got to experience the California traffic AT rush hour with a crazy driver), I was dropped off at my new apartment complex in Burlingame.

My new apartment was beautiful (walking tour video to come as soon as I get internet in my apartment)! I made camp in my room, put everything I brought in my suitcases where it needed to go, and immediately put my shoes back on and walked to the grocery store for some food. I bought the essentials - milk, cereal, bread, ramen, a box of instant mashed potatoes, and a couple cans of tuna. I did my best to buy things I could actually EAT with only one pot and some plastic silverware (which is all I brought), and only goofed up on the tuna. I signed up for the Safeway rewards card at the cashier and headed home to eat and settle in for the night.

After reading for a bit, I turned in at around 9:30pm (11:30 cst). Falling asleep in a new place is always hard - you have to get accustomed to all the new noises and smells. Whenever I would start to doze, I would hear another weird noise and bolt awake. The smell of barbecue and something else - marijuana? - floated through my open window. It didn't help that I was in a sleeping bag on a hardwood floor and would be for several nights. I finally grabbed some of my old dirty clothes and propped them up under my pillow for some extra elevation. That made a world of difference and I was able to fall asleep.