Laguna Art Museum and How Google Maps Finally Failed Me

So, I took a Sunday off last week to hit the WoW exhibit down at the Laguna Art Museum. My boss, one Robert Nideffer, was giving a talk on the piece that he had done that weekend, so it was as good an occasion as any to drag myself over and have a look. I’m actually a contributor to the exhibit, after all, even if they’re showcasing one of my older project.

And here’s the part where I explain how Google Maps totally failed me on this one particular trip.

If you go to Google Map and try to find the location of one 307 Cliff Dr, Laguna Beach, CA 92651, it’ll point you to some random location in Laguna Beach that’s tucked in the middle of nowhere (it’s not even sitting on Cliff Dr for that matter). I smelled something fishy about that location, so I went to the museum web site and followed the get directions link from their visitor information page… yup, points to the same place. Never mind that if I don’t get ahead of myself and just google Laguna Art Museum, the first result comes up with a map that gives you the correct location of the museum. I R SMRT, okay?

Since I thought the museum was located at some no name street to the left of me as I drove south, I was looking nervously to the left on my whole way down the Pacific Coast Highway. I looked for the street to turn left in as well as the street before it (McKnight Dr), the street after it (Crescent Bay Dr), and apparently I missed all three streets and I kept driving… until I saw a lovely statue that said “Welcome to Dana Point”. By that time I was 45 minutes late to the talk that I was suppose to attend, and I was royally screwed.

On my drive back north my map was on my lap, and I was checking my position every three or four blocks. All things looked grim as the streets (all three of them) that I was looking for was still nowhere to be found… Until I saw a huge sign at the corner of my eye that said “WoW” to the LEFT of me (I was driving north so I expected to find the museum to my right). The intersection ahead of me said “Cliff Drive”. Yeah, facepalm moment right there.

Next came the parking problem. The summer heat drove a lot of people to the beach – so much so that there’s next to no parking space anywhere near the museum. I started driving down Cliff Dr. (it’s a side street) to see how far I had to go to find a spot… and I had to drive all four blocks down Cliff Dr. plus another two blocks before I found a metered parking spot on the street. Note to self: if I’m coming back, I’m definitely carpooling.

The front desk of the museum gave me trouble, but I was able to get in by claiming to be invited by my boss (which was partially true) to the talk (which was amazingly still going on). I caught the tail end of Q&A, and missed most of what I wanted to hear – C’est la vie, and it’s much better than hearing nothing or getting lost somewhere in Laguna Beach all day long.

The exhibit itself was great . It’s roughly divided into two types of work: official art drawn by Blizzard artists for World of Warcraft, and works of art inspired by the game and/or the player community around the game. The official stuff was actually pretty standard fare: I’ve seen almost all of the work there, including the fan art and the machinima collection. It was really more of a trip down memory lane for me, like looking through a family album. The second half of the exhibit was very “artsy” and very interesting… and being “artsy” stuff, your mileage may very. Younger visitors that I saw scoffed at it, the older ones would look around and pretend to understand… I was confused by most of it too, but I’ve come to understand that art interpretation could be very personal and it’s not really necessary to “get it” in order to appreciate an artwork.

I took my time with it and spent a whole 2 hours walking around, plus about 15 minutes sitting through the last part of the talk. The walk to my parking spot was 15 minutes each way and the meter maxed at 4 hours… I ended up missing a chance to look at half of the displays there. There’s still another month before they rotate in the next seasonal exhibit, so I’ll definitely find time to go back – possibly on September 13th since my boss’s colleague would be the one giving the talk that day (and her exhibit was very interesting as well).

Another first, but certainly won’t be the last firsts.

It’s 3:30 in the morning. It’s my power hour. Might as well start writing updates!

When I first made the move from LiveJournal to Facebook, my original intention is just to do posts like this: long, all encompassing, and touting the virtue of long, well thought out posts over all the bite sized ADD updates from Twitter/MySpace/Facebook…
But there’s a certain kind of pleasure to doing constant updates. Some people used their LJ that way (and still do, from the updates that I’m still tracking), and sometimes there’s blips that needs to be spontaneously sprout… but no Twitter sized posts, please. Poor guy from one feed that I follow had to use three posts just to finish a joke. It’s like they try to constantly punish you for trying to finish your thoughts.
And that’s enough about that.
In the interest of making new friends and getting others interested in what I’m following currently (because I don’t think they ever will, or I’ll never know, either way), I’ll dedicate this post to all the things that I’ve been doing in my work time, my spare time, and everything in between…
Except that I have to keep a lot to myself this time around.
You see, posting on Facebook is both a blessing and a curse – I’m happy that most people do keep a profile of their real life on Facebook, as opposed to all sorts of alias and hidden agendas on other social network sites, but with that I’m no longer under the protection of my anonymity… my family reads this now, and so do my co-workers – no hiding space here. So if you will excuse me, I’d rather not have my family offended or have me removed from my job over something I write here.
Oh yeah, I like tangents. In case you haven’t figured that out already. Let’s see now, where to begin?
Manga:
My latest obsession. Well, not so much a new obsession, but now that I’ve found easy sources for scanlations (is that the correct term to use?), I’ve been devouring old series that I missed and new series that are coming out with a fanatical zeal. I wrapped up Absolute Boyfriend in one sitting and almost did the same for Ichigo 100%, but about 200 chapters in I finally gave up and read the ending first so I can get to sleep.
As for shounen stables Bleach and Naruto, I haven’t been able to find sources to read either one from chapter 100 something onwards, and I’m too lazy to read all the fluff in-between, so I’ve only been catching up on the last few weeks of stuff – I don’t feel like I’ve missed a thing. Naruto is still pretty single-minded, Sakura is still mostly useless, Sasuke is still a jerk, Ichigo is still trying to find ways to become more powerful so he can protect his friends… what did I miss again?
I’m also following to-LOVE-ru purely for academic purposes, since the art style is something I’d like to emulate, and rounding up the miscellaneous slots are Ane Doki, Onidere, and K-ON (yes, there’s a pattern here, and no, it’s not that hard to figure out). I more or less would be able to kill brain cells for 5-10 minutes at my leisure whenever I want to, which is much more convenient than some of my other interests…
StartCraft:
Oh yeah, I’m trying to follow pro-StarCraft now. If there’s ever a time bender for my already screwed up schedule it’d be this one. Daytime program in South Korea usually means 2-5 AM here on the west coast, and it’s just not as fun to be able to watch games live and follow the live thread on teamliquid.net and get other people’s reactions as the games unfold. Supposedly it’s already past the golden and silver age of pro-StarCraft in Korea (since SC2 is coming out), but even at its twilight years I’ve never seen games taken so seriously, stats tracked so rigorously, with all the drama and personalities that you’d expect from oh… a “real” sport? Here’s to hoping that one of these days I don’t have to feel like a wierdo for following e-sports, and preferably watching coverage in a language that I can understand.
Anime:
I’ve been lukewarm about following the latest anime series for the past 2-3 years now, mainly because it’s a more time consuming hobby and I never seem to hit the “right” series. My usual habit of pick up new series is to randomly download the first episode of whatever I see on the front page of fansub sites, and then dump any series where I feel the first episode lost my interest. This selection method is terrible at picking out the “fan favorite series of the year”. Remember the year when Naruto got big? Totally missed it myself. Haruhi? I had to catch up on the entire series the year after it’s the talk of the town. Gurren Lagann? Never heard of it, until everyone is talking about it *last* year. I’m not a fan of playing this game of catch-up, and now that I’ve had access to a healthy library of manga, I can see why every other person prefers the manga to its anime adaptation – plot changes, missing details, mostly for the worse.
Lately I’ve rounded up Tora Dora (highly enjoyable), Regios (completely passable) and been lazily following Valkyria Chronicles. I’ve backlogged the entire Clannad After Story, but the first episode was soooooooo slow going that I wonder if I’ll ever pick up the rest of the episodes to finish the series. Oh yeah, and then there’s the “second season” of Haruhi. At this point, I’m not going to bother watching the episodes until I see other people discussing the ending of the Endless Eight arc. I’ve never been a devoted Haruhi fan, and as much as I understand that no animation is reused for this entire story arc, I’m still drawing my line after episode 4. Oh, and here’s hoping that I didn’t spoil anything by saying this much – and if I did, my apologies.
Games:
Plants vs Zombies! One of the best game from my recent memories. I also picked up Mirror’s Edge for less than 10 dollars for the PC (shipping included), and I feel sad that it isn’t as popular as it should be – it’s very innovative, expertly executed, and highly replayable. I’m going to play through it again and again like Max Payne did it for me years ago – it just hits a nerve to make you feel good, even if you’ve been through it a million times… and for the first time I feel like I want to try and get better on doing speed runs in Mirror’s Edge, since that’s sort of the whole point of the game.
I bought Braid when it was on sale on Steam, but didn’t really have the heart to start playing it, and same goes for Zeno Clash. I tried finishing BioShock a couple of times, but since I already know the ending (late night Wikipedia browsing…) I keep losing steam about 3-4 hours into the game. Assassin’s Creed is on infinite haitus… I just don’t have the heart to pick up the game, then go through 4-5 loading screens just to start playing, not to mention all the travel times and mini-tasks involved before I can advance the plot. I love the game, I don’t mind the minor tasks either, but it’s just all so time consuming and I don’t have the time to sit through and play for that long right now. Freedom Force and its expansion pack was a lot of fun while it lasted, but I feel like I don’t get to use my custom hero enough in the expansion – look, I like their pre-made characters just fine, but I thought the whole point was to bring in my totally ass kicking imba custom characters and blow everything in sight up, y’know?
And I still play Team Fortress 2 once every blue moon. I stopped playing Left 4 Dead since my work schedule hyped up again and playing that game with strangers is about as fun as pounding nails through my… hands and feet. Considering that I paid full price for one of the two copies of the game, I feel a little ripped off in hindsight. I’m so not buying Left 4 Dead 2, no siree Bob.
WoW:
And last but not least, my job besides my other job besides my other job that I have to pay money to work at. Patch 3.2 hit live way too soon, and knocked me off guard – I’m nowhere near ready in terms of gear I should get or time I can spend. The whole “here’s loot for everyone that just completely invalidates your last four months of raiding” puts a bit of bile in my mouth, now that I’m on the other side of the coin (previously, sitting outside of raids and badge gearing in Sunwell made me a happy man). But really, I should be happier than this. It’s free gear for everyone, but it’s free gear for me as well…
Immediate plan is to get more champion seals for the mount upgrade (bank access from anywhere, squee) and replace my last few i219 item slots.
Personal Projects:
I’ve been meaning to start/restart one of my many webcomic ideas ever since AnimeExpo got me all pumped up about working up my rusty art skills. And then I got hit hard by my job… and I got hit harder by my *other* job… and then I got hit even harder by my other *other* job (the one with the patch 3.2, yeah….). I keep telling myself that this time, it won’t be a “dead in the water” effort, that’s I’d at least get a few pages done and post it up to encourage myself. Here’s to hoping that it’d still happen. Fingers crossed.
On a completely unrelated tangent, I’ve been reading up on Street Fighter 4 a lot lately and since it’s coming out on the PC, I wanted to get myself a proper arcade stick that works on the PC (my previous Nuby univeral stick apparently doesn’t work with a PS2 to USB converter). My best hope was originally placed on the premium MadCatz stuff, since a bunch of avid SF fans swear by it (and justifiably so, since most people seem to be packing one for Evo this year), but when I got my hands on it at Fry’s I was less than impressed. Sanwa parts… I can never get used to that loosey Japanese stick feel. Give me that solid, durable American stick feel and I’m right at home. So I went back to the search, and apparently no decent company seems to be in the business of providing quality arcade sticks for the PC with American (and by that I mean Chinese manufactured) parts.
And that I read something like this… and got myself completely stoked to do a custom stick on my own. After all, my father is an expert craftsman and an able electrician, and I always feel like I’m missing out a connection with him doing all these “online” and “digital” nonsense… so yeah, the components all arrived, and I’m currently extremely frightened about doing my wirings wrong and frying all the components up (they’re not *that* expensive, but still…). Not to mention the woodwork involved in building a proper box also seem to be very intimidating… I’m almost tempted to stick with the mail order box that I’m using to prototype the layout, and that’s a pretty crappy solution for someone who’s set out to build a “genuine arcade stick”…
Oh well, I do have plenty of excuses to push this side side project to another time, maybe far far away…