Tag Archives: birthday

Walker Stalker Con San Francisco @WalkrStalkrCon @jasonandkaren #TWD #WSCSF

If you have been following this blog since the beginning, you all know that I am a fan of “The Walking Dead.” That fandom includes being both an avid podcast listener and occasional free agent podcaster. I have friends who have taken their super fan status and parlayed it into phenomenon known as “Walker Stalker Con” and it happens in seven different cities per year. They throw these incredible fan experiences that include celebrity panel discussions, cosplay contests, unique and specialized vendor, photo ops and special surprises. In their own words, “Walker Stalker Con is not just a convention. It is a fan meet-up and an opportunity for each guest to come away feeling like they’ve had an amazing experience and became part of a greater community of zombie lovers! Walker Stalker Con is two or three days of events, panels, and experiences that zombie fans won’t find anywhere else!” These cons have expanded to include celebrities from television shows such as “Breaking Bad”, “Lost,” movies like “Gremlins”, Freddy Krueger flicks, and many “… of the Deads.” Aside from meeting my boyfriend at the inaugural Walker Stalker Con Atlanta 2013, I have also made new connections and friendships to a ton of incredibly creative, funny and talented people.

WSC SF was the first one held on the West Coast and although I am an Island Girl, I am also a Bay Area baby. The con schedule also coincided with my daughter’s birthday, so it we made plans to go. She could hardly contain her excitement at meeting celebrities, actors and podcasters alike. We’ve been to SDCC twice so far but WSC is so intimate compared to the beast that is SDCC, I knew this would be an incredible experience for her. My friends who host ““The Walking Dead’Cast” are based out of SF so they had planned a live podcast recording and meet-up for Friday evening. And, to top it all off, Jason offered me the opportunity to host a couple of panels. Time to get my Black Milk con gear picked out. Chee-pono!

(I bought the Zombie Nation Skater dress specifically for WSC ATL 2013 and I love it. That purchase led me to a Sharkie addition to their leggings, shooters and dresses.)


Fri night, the “Bob-B-Q”  and ive podcast with Jason and Karen of “The Walking Dead’Cast” (Follow @jasonandkaren on the tweets.)

When we arrived, we were excited about the con and pretended to be afraid of walkers!

Jason and Karen hosted a live podcast, along with Mr. Blahg, and part of the set decor was a callback to our groups’ arrival at Terminus.

(That photo was from May 2014, before they had come back to start shooting.)

The character Gareth had a “truth trough” that he used to sort out whether those who arrived would survive. If newcomers accepted the cannibal lifestyle, they would live. If not, smack went their heads and slit went their throats. Jason decided it would be fun (fun?) to have a trough on stage during his live podcast and ask contestants from the audience to answer trivia question. Failure was not an option. Here are the girls dressing the set piece.



The live podcast was a lot of fun, with special guest Melissa Hutchinson and Gavin Hammond, two VO actors from Tell Tale Games “The Walking Dead.” That game is extremely story driven and it was my crack for a few weeks. I found myself swept up emotionally to the point where I cried at the end of Season One. No. I sobbed. Melissa and Gavin have such a close working relationship that their panel felt more like having drinks during Happy Hour with friends. They provided insight into the game and shared a little bit about being a VO actor. My favorite part of the panel was when they tried to switch roles and Melissa played Kenny (who swears a lot) and Gavin played Clementine, the pre-tween girl in the game. Honestly, I’m not sure who had more fun with the live podcast panel, the folks on stage or those of us in the audience.



And it turned out that J&K had a surprise up their sleeves to celebrate the birthdays of Mr. Blahg and my daughter. Quite a special birthday for my daughter, right? And the con had not even begun.



Day One of the con, we arrived during the VIP opening hours to see the vendor hall before the general admission masses descended. We ran into James (of James and Eric, the godfathers of the Walker Stalkers Podcast and convention.) Yup, James is one of the OG Walker Stalkers who founded WSC. I got my hug, we said our hellos and before he zipped off, James looked at his watch and said, “The next two hours will make or break the success of today, how things flow and how the crowds move, this is it…” WSC SF was a success and they announced that they will be back in 2016!

In my own mind, I was excited to be moderating my first WSC panel. In my day job, I host meetings, lead education courses, moderate panels and speak at conferences but I hadn’t ever led a panel at a con. My assignment for Day One was the Cosplay Contest. Whoop whoop! Talk about a fun way to jump into panels and to end the first day of the con. The lead person for all things WSC Cosplay is Hacksaw Jack and we had been corresponding via email. We met for the first time and Hacksaw was setting up for the Social Media Cosplay contest. What a great way to include fans who couldn’t make it to the con in person! Contestants just snapped a pic in front of the backdrop, con staff uploaded the pics with a specific hashtag and fans would be able to participate through on-line voting. Super fun!

This is a candid pic of me meeting Hacksaw Jack, taken by Eugene Shim, one of our live panel Cosplay judges, and Vanessa Shim is in the photo making her cosplay debut as “Rosita”. She looked awesome!


My daughter and I had a great time in the vendor hall. She enjoys talking to artists, something I discovered about her during SDCC. This year, I’m going pack a lunch while she chats up the comic book artists. And of course, we took a few photos in the hall. One with Michonne’s pets, one with the Well Walker and one with Melissa Hutchinson.





You’ll have to check the Walker Stalker Con website to see the full Cosplay contest, the official photographers grabbed some incredible images. We had a team entry who were dressed up as a mash-up between the Muppets and The Walking Dead. There was a duo of damsels dressed as walker Disney Princesses. A Dr. Who entrant, video game Cosplay, and of course dozens of walkers and stalkers crossed the stage. My friend in Cincinnati found this photo on social media someplace, not sure who took it.


No con is complete without an official celebrity photo op and my daughter chose to take hers with none other than Chandler Riggs. She floated back to the hotel with me and her smile lit up the San Francisco night sky. She kept saying that she was having the very best birthday ever. I’m grateful to Jason & Karen, Mr. Blahg, James and all of the WSC core staff and volunteers for being so welcoming to my daughter. Just look at that smile:


That was most of Day One of Walker Stalker Con San Francisco. More to come…

Hau’oli la Hanau!

My birthday is fast approaching.  I have always viewed birthdays as a time to celebrate.  Perhaps in my 20s they were an excuse to celebrate.  This year, my birthday celebrations will be executed in a three-phased plan.

One week ago, nine days before my actual birthday, I flew to NYC one day early for a business trip.  Lucky for me, my boyfriend made quite a bit of effort to meet me in the city.  We booked a room in a fun and funky hotel, one of those modern rooms that has a magical keypad to control the climate and the lighting.  I liked the sparse furniture and clean white décor but the best part was the shower! It featured a rainforest shower head and a fancy bench inside the shower. Too bad I didn’t need to shave my legs, that would have been quite convenient. Our day was spent exploring Times Square, stopping in front of “The Late Show” studios, and strolling through Central Park like good tourists.  We enjoyed lovely Spring weather and a ton of laughs together.  The next morning, much to my delight, we went to Chelsea Market to grab a quick lunch and spent the afternoon walking the High Line.  I was surprised to such a variety of sculptures along the High Line.  Because of the nice weather, there were a lot of people up there.  We saw kids running around, parents pushing strollers, and young people drinking coffees.  The trees bloomed with colorful blossoms, the grass areas were such a bright green color, and the sky was clear with a few puffy clouds hanging high. This was a really nice way to enjoy the City.  We walked hand in hand, talking about everything and nothing, stopping to take obligatory selfies.  And when we stopped, I enjoyed hearing the variety of languages around us. I had been wanting to walk the High Line for years, since I had first heard of it’s existence, but my business trips to NYC rarely leave time for leisure activities, other than late night dinners or cocktails with friends.  Spending time with him felt like the best way to kick off my birthday celebrations.  We have a connection that doesn’t require external distractions to keep us entertained.  In fact, my favorite moments are the quiet ones together.  His brain fascinates me, his humor entertains me and his smile delights me, what more could I want?

When I returned to LA, my girlfriends had planned a fun three D evening to celebrate birthdays for two of us:  dinner, drinks and dancing.  Three of my girlfriends who I have known for over 30 years were involved in the planning.  I added six of my newer friends to the mix and away we went.  Dinner was delightful, we didn’t overindulge in food or drink but somehow, a man at a table nearby decided to purchase us a round or two of sake. After dinner, we deliberated about where to go first.  Apparently, there is a “club” nearby that I will call the One Hundred Club.  We heard they had dancing so we followed one of our friends there.  She took us to a dark doorway that looked like an elevator or a stainless steel refrigerator door.  There was a trail on the ground that led to a keypad with blue lights and she just started pushing buttons there.  Suddenly, the door was opened and we were ushered inside to a bar with TVs, a pool table, small booths, large booths, no dance floor and face to face with a group of sort of middle aged Caucasian men, staring at us.  Did I mention we were a group of nine ethnic women?  I might add, we are all extremely beautiful women.  My friends represented a multitude of Asian and Latin countries by ethnicity with a strong representation of Hawaiian born beauties.  We definitely turn heads when we go out but unknowingly walking into a “members only” club was quite an experience.  It is a cliché to mention the “record scratch” sound effect so let me say that we stopped everything in the club.  AA asked me what I wanted to drink a proceeded towards the bar when the adorable waitress with the Russian accent asked us, “Who is the member?”  My blue light button pushing friend responded by saying, “Yeah, so that is what I wanted to ask…”  The waitress walked away to speak to her manager to ask if we could order a drink and promptly returned to walk us back to the door.  Once we were all safely exited from the private speakeasy,  HO said, “Did we just get kicked OUT of a bar?  That has never happened to me.  This is a great night!”  Chatter ensued about the speak easy, the creepy clientele, the Russian waitress and just the strange vibe we all felt inside the private club.  Next stop, a restaurant/lounge that has dancing. 

The scene here was a typical beach city bar scene.  A few people were dressed in LA fashions, a few more were much more beach casual.  Faces were mostly young, 20somethings and 30somethings.  The music was loud and the drinks were strong.  What more could a birthday girl ask for as part of her celebration?  Someone handed me a shot of Patron, glasses clinked and I headed for the dance floor.  One of my favorite past times with MB has been to imitate people on the dance floor who just can’t seem to count to four.  That always produces minutes of entertainment.  MP enjoys working the sexy sexy dance moves up close and personal with random attractive people on the dance floor, gender be damned.  When there are no hot strangers near by, she will just choose one of us.

As the evening progressed, there were make-out sessions all around us, including a couple within our group.  We took over the dance floor, enjoyed participation with cute boys.  It was fun to sweat out the Patron shot with friends, for old times sake.  I hadn’t been dancing for about three years.  In fact, my closet had been rid of “clubbing” gear and replaced with corporate dinner attire.  I suppose I thought that my engagement and short-lived marriage meant no more fun, sweaty nights up in the club with the girls.  Actually, I decided I was over the meat market scene.  I really enjoy dancing with the girls but I am so over dealing with the pick-up lines and BS from men.  I need to start crashing wedding receptions, bar mitzvahs and quincineras so I continue to get my boogie on and celebrate.

My real birthday is on Tuesday.  Unfortunately, it is a work night so I have no expectations to go out with friends.  My daughter and I will either go get massages and have a quick dinner out or we will go to our favorite Italian restaurant for homemade and gelato.  Birthdays were always very important in my family. Big parties with lots of food like grilling rib eyes in the backyard, mom’s homemade lumpia and pancit in the kitchen, and a chocolate dobash or Paradise cake from King’s Hawaiian Bakery. This year, I am turning 44 and I feel like huge changes are on the horizon.  Perhaps I will change careers or move to a new company.  Whatever is to come, I know that my life is ripe for creating new happy memories and being filled with lots of love.