Sunday, August 31, 2014

Adventures in Toronto 2014: Day Five

I gave up around 2:30 p.m. today. I don't think it's a record for me bailing out of a con, but I was neck-deep in ennui, and I needed to get out.

When it comes to Toronto, I've felt worse. Like I've said before, I lost my sketchbook and camcorder back in 2007, and I had a series of misadventures in 2011. I know things can be worse, but I can't seem to shake out of my funk. Not even legendary artist Neal Adams crashing a sketch duel could get me out of my doldrums. By the way, I seem to be coming up with a lot of synonyms for "bored." Sorry about that.

In total, I got fourteen sketches, including three today. I'd like to think it was worth the trip. I also got a bunch of blind box Doctor Who vinyl figures. It's a sickness . . . I wasn't going to get another one today, but the Titan booth slashed the price from C$15 to C$10, so I had to get one more. It was a K-9 figure, which I used as a reference to get a neat watercolor piece from Katie Cook. On the flip side, I asked for a Catwoman sketch from one artist, only he wound up using another reference I had printed up and failed to cross out. At least it was a nice sketch.

My mother wound up aiming a little lower, going shopping at the Eaton Town Mall. Mom says she's had a good time in Toronto, though she didn't check out many of the tourist places. At her speed, she can't traverse the steps of Casa Loma, and getting to the Toronto Zoo was a logistical nightmare. In the end, she's happy. That's all that matters.

After getting back to the room, we wound up vegging out on TV for a bit, including watching The Amazing Race Canada, which was a little more French-speaking than I'm used to. Also, the host isn't Phil Keoghan, but that's hardly his fault. We wound up going to Dumas Square, including visiting the Hard Rock Café for dinner. Hey, it was within walking distance. Afterward, we saw a guy on a big unicycle juggle flaming torches. It beats nearly getting molested by cut-rate plush figures in Times Square. I wound up totaling 13,305 steps today, which was a low number for me on this trip.

I'll be glad to come home tomorrow. I have stuff I'll be needing to do when I come back. As for my comic con itch  . . . I got a little more than a month to go before New York Comic Con. Hopefully, I can adjust myself accordingly to escape ennui for good.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Adventures in Toronto 2014: Day Four

Another day, another time where I question whether I'm doing what's best for me. Or maybe I'm getting burned out on conventions.

It's all supposed to be a big adventure, where I go off exploring and having fun. But a lot of the time, I feel like I could be doing something else with my time, something better. Sure, getting to, from and around the convention can be fun, but it feels like a drag. I run out of things to do, and I end up wandering the convention, occasionally taking pictures of cosplayers. I'd take off the wristband (no lanyards? WTF?!?), but I feel like I invested too much money to blow off a day of convention-going.

I did have fun getting sketches, though waiting on people to return to their booths was a pain in the ass. I geeked out over a sketch from acclaimed writer/artist Jeff Lemire . . .  it's a long story involving deer/human boys. And I got to see Greg Hyland again; like Ty Templeton, I only see him when I'm in Toronto. I wound up getting Lego versions of Rocket Raccoon and Groot. For the most part, though, I wandered. A lot. I visited a few panels, but I found myself napping through them. I just felt like today was killing time until the latest episode of Doctor Who ("Inside The Dalek") came on at 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, my mother visited the St. Lawrence Market . . . and that was about it. She was on a touring bus which was stuck in traffic most of the time, thanks to the Expo and the Yankees/Blue Jays game. While I was listlessly walking around, there was a thunderstorm that my mother experienced. She was thinking of going to the Batta Shoe Museum, but she's putting that off until tomorrow. Sadly, she's going to have to put off going to the Toronto Zoo, mostly because it's a pain to visit . . . even though it's home to the only pandas in Canada. The allure of the black-and-white fuzzballs isn't enough to overcome the logistics.

I have one more day of conning. I apologize if this post came off as a cry for help. I just hate it when it feels like everybody is having more fun than me, even if I know that to be fiction.

PS: Why do I keep forgetting the pedometer? Today's total: 15,492 steps, a personal best for this trip. I hope I'm burning off calories with the wandering.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Adventures In Toronto 2014: Day Three

Had a bit of a mixed day, truth be told. The bad news was that my phone died on me, so I wound up going back to the hotel room earlier than expected. Actually, I kinda/sorta ran out of stuff to do anyway.

As a Doctor Who fan, I was sad to miss out on Q&A sessions with Matt Smith (the Eleventh Doctor) and Arthur Darvill (Rory Williams). Both would have taken way more commitment to lining up than I had. Getting autographs was also out of the question . . . lining up and paying gobs of money? No, thanks . . . the most I pay for that is $20. As for photo ops . . . it costs a small fortune to get your picture professionally taken. You know how much you have to pay for a threesome with Smith, Darvill and Karen Gillan (Amy Pond; late of Guardians of the Galaxy)? C$185. Way beyond my budget.

(BTW, I might as well talk about how funky the money is Up North. I can deal with how the paper money starts at $5 instead of $1 like in the States. But the stuff is made of a weird plastic polymer that you can see through in a few places. Also, if you scratch a dollar bill, it smells vaguely of maple syrup. It's like Canada wants to be the stereotype Americans portray them as, you know?)

Anyway, I did go to a funky panel. . . . from the Doctor Who Society of Canada, I learned about the intricacies of building a Dalek. Apparently, you can go online and get plans on how to create the Doctor's worst enemy. These people don't mess around . . . they got the eyestalks, the outer bubbles, even the voice modulators. It costs $1,500 (I'm assuming Canadian) to build one, give or take a few hundred bucks. That's dedication . . . and the architects even give their Daleks proper names. Very nice.

I wound up spending a lot on sketches, to the point where I had to get money at an ATM, which I didn't think wound work since I don't go to a Canadian bank. I got to surprise Jamal Igle, whom I had met on several occasions. He wound up sketching the Twelfth Doctor for me, once I ascertained that he was a Doctor Who fan. I finally got to meet two artists I never knew about going in. When I found out Kurt Lehner was a designer on Gargoyles (the critically-acclaimed series from Disney from the Nineties), I had to get a sketch of Goliath from him. Finally, I met Danica Brine, who did a top-notch Rocket Raccoon for me on a blank cover of the Guardians of the Galaxy star's solo comic.

I didn't do much else, to be honest. I wound up attending another "sketch duel," where two artists draw the same character. It used to be that a winner would be decided by how many raffle tickets an artist would get. These days, they just raffle off the sketches without much fanfare, and the possibility of free sketches is worth the trip for me. But after a while, my phone started dying on me. I tried calling my mother, but I couldn't get through. I tried calling collect from pay phones (which still exist in Toronto), but that went sideways on me. Soon, I was worried that my mother would be worried about me, so I figured out a way to get back to the hotel via a map I found in the lobby. You know how I got to the Convention Centre to begin with? I followed three people from the hotel, one of whom was cosplaying as Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. They could have gotten lost, and I would've followed them anyway.

My mother wound up having a good time on a tour bus, which saved her legs some wear and tear. She went to Dundas Square, which is like Times Square back home, and she visited the Royal Ontario Museum, which I checked out back in 2011. She's having a good time at her own pace, which I'm happy about.

We wound up reuniting at the room, and we rested up before going out to eat dinner. Turns out our waiter originally hailed from Long Island, and he's going to Fan Expo tomorrow. He even has a bunch of X-Men tattooed on his left arm. That takes dedication . . . as much as going DIY for a Dalek.

I have two more days left before I depart for home. As long as I pace myself, spend wisely and stay away from belligerent visiting Yankees fans, I should be golden this weekend.

PS: I logged in 15,063 steps . . . not bad, since I didn't take the train either way. Oh, and Mookie Betts wound up hitting his first grand slam tonight. Good for him. Looks like he just needed to get away from the boobird Blue Jays fans.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Adventures In Toronto 2014: Day Two

Right now, Fan Expo Canada is coming to an end for the night, but I threw in the towel long before. Sometimes, I wonder if I'm getting too old for this sort of life. Or maybe I'm just upset I didn't get to have 5 Hour Energy. Sometimes, I doubt whether the stuff is effective, but I still want more.

Because of my mother's lack of mobility, we wound up taking a cab to Ripley's Aquarium of Canada. I vaguely remember it being a pit the last time I was in the area. Well, now it's an aquarium, and it honestly wasn't that great. No dolphins, penguins or seals to be found. If you want fish and not have it buttered and served to you, then it's a fun place. Like in Atlanta, they had areas where you can check out aquatic wildlife overhead. And they had areas for the kiddies where you can fool around with mini sharks and horseshoe crabs. On the other hand, there were no shows, except for people diving into the exhibits.

I wound up separating from my mother, which was an odd experience. It's just a little weird for us to have different experiences when we're out, even though it doesn't happen that often. She wound up going up to the CN Tower, where I've been twice (including in 2011). She had a good time, though she didn't get the whole experience. She saw that the Aquarium was shaped like a whale . . . which was odd, since there aren't any whales to be found. And she agreed with me about how Rogers Centre looks like a jewelry box from far above. She didn't step on the glass floors, though . . . apparently, she came up to the edge, and that was enough for her. That didn't stop others from stomping around, which must have been a little unnerving.

Meanwhile, I went to the Metro Convention Centre for Fan Expo. Short story: I got three sketches, including an awesome Groot from Ty Templeton, whom I've met each time I've been in Toronto. I also met Adam Warren, who I had only seen once before. He works on Empowered, a cheeky graphic novel series. I managed to sound coherent around him, even as I was disappointed that the next new volume won't come out until well into 2015. I'm going to go back to see him tomorrow because I brought the latest Empowered for him to autograph. Finally, I got a Doctor Who sketch from Kevin Bolk, whom I've met several times already. It's fun when an artist recognizes me from past commissions/sketches. I don't think any of them are sick of me. Yet.

If I had more stamina, I would've stayed for the "Inside The Dalek" panel from the Doctor Who Society, but I had enough. I wound up spending lots of multi-colored/see-through money, and I didn't want to waste any more. The biggest bummer of the day -- if you can call it that -- was when I claimed my free t-shirt, and they didn't have any XLs. How do you run out that early? I'm sure Canadians are about as weight-conscious as Americans. I wound up getting a 2XL, and I aim not to grow into it. On the other hand, my mother hurt herself when the shower rack detached from the wall, so maybe I shouldn't complain too much.

Tomorrow is a new day. Hopefully, I can get my mojo back and have a fun weekend.

PS: I registered 13,403 steps on my pedometer. Because I'm no longer travelling with my mother, she doesn't mind hearing about how much I've walked, as long as she's not walking those steps with me.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Adventures In Toronto 2014: Day One

Today was a good day. Tiring, exhausting, but it was worth the trip. Not even the news that John Rocker (New York Public Enemy No. 1, circa 1999) was cast for Survivor could dampen it.

The trip to Toronto was uneventful. We were barely in the air, and we made good time. The only hiccup was when we went to the wrong gate to pick up the shuttle bus, the same one I took back in 2011. My mother kept apologizing for the mistake. It's easy to forgive her, especially when it's a boneheaded move that I would have pulled off on my own.

How is my mother as a travel companion? Well, she's a bit slow, so I'm not nearly as mobile as I am when I'm solo. Still, after draining our brains on TLC (the network, not "Tender Loving Care"), we wound up trooping over to the Rogers Centre to see the Blue Jays play the Red Sox, and she didn't complain once. As far as going to stadiums in Canada go, I think this was an upgrade for her over the time we went to Olympic Stadium in Montreal to see the Expos. Remember them? The place was so ridiculous, we kept expecting the clowns to come out. Once again: my mother didn't complain once about the walking. However, I am forbidden from telling her how many steps I registered on the pedometer. Otherwise, I might wind up eating it. BTW, I logged in 15,108. So far, so good.

[Hang on . . . I gotta pretend that I know about baseball these days]

The Blue Jays haven't changed much since I last saw them. They were in the hunt for the wild card, but they've faded out of the picture. If the Royals advance to the playoffs, the Blue Jays will be the only team in the majors not to make the postseason since 1993, when they last won the World Series. On the other hand, they could be the woeful Red Sox, the defending champions that have fallen into the American League East cellar.

We wound up getting cramped seats in the outfield. I would've gotten a better seat, but I'm not used to dragging somebody with me. We didn't get to explore the stadium, and we wound up near some "fans" who were vocal about two things: how much first baseman Adam Lind sucked, and catcalling Red Sox centerfielder Mookie Betts. As a lapsed Mets fan, it hurts to see a Mookie get booed that hard for no real reason. I don't think you have to drink the be a Blue Jays fan, but it probably helps.

The game itself was eventful. We got to see Jose Bautista homer off the left-center stands to give the Jays a 1-0 lead. Marcus Stroman pitched wonderfully until the sixth, when he wound up giving up two runs. He wound up stranding two Red Sox on base to finish the inning.

The seventh inning was when the Jays broke loose. Juan Encarnacion doubled, chasing starter Joe Kelly from the game. Tommy Layne came in, gave up a single to catcher Dioner Navarro, then left the game for Junichi Tazawa. And then pinch hitter Danny Valencia stroked a three-run homer to left field -- once again, got a good view -- putting the Jays up, 4-2. They tacked on another run in the inning. A well-rested Stroman came in to get two outs in the eighth before giving up a hit to Dustin Pedroia. Stroman left after 112 pitches, and he wound up getting the win after Brett Cecil got the final out in the eighth, then struck out the side in the ninth for the save. Oh, and David "Big Papi" Ortiz went 2-for-4 with a RBI. I was hoping he'd go deep, but it wasn't meant to be.

What else? Well, I wound up losing a subway token. They cost C$3 apiece, and are way too friggin' small to keep track. On the bright side, you can use loose change to get on the subway. The doors connecting the train cars were open, making things pretty spacious. We wound up going to Union Station, where I introduced my mother to the Dairy Queen Blizzard. She liked hers, though I don't think she was into it as I was. Back home, there's a DQ in the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, and that's it.

Tomorrow is going to be interesting. Since my mother doesn't want to deal with hills and stairs, she might pass on going to Casa Loma tomorrow. I figure we can go back to Union Station and go to the aquarium that opened up recently. Then Mom will go check out the CN Tower, while I go off to Fan Expo. No matter what, the real vacation begins tomorrow.

And seriously . . . as long as John Rocker is on Survivor, I don't want to hear one word about how bad "Twinees" Natalie and Nadiya are. Not a single damn word.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Adventures In Toronto 2014: Prologue

For the fourth time, I'm going to Toronto. And yes, it's for their local plus-sized comic book convention: Fan Expo Canada. It's my annual trip to a large comic con, and I'm going to write about it as I go along. Hopefully, it won't be as . . .  eventful as my last trip up there in 2011, where my laptop went kablooey, and I wound up staying an extra day over a misunderstanding regarding Hurricane Irene. And there was the time in 2007 when I lost my sketchbook and camcorder on the final day of the con. Sure, I got my sketchbook back eventually, but I was a wreck after the con.

There is one wrinkle for me this time: my mother is coming with me. If you'll recall, I accompanied her to Atlanta in April to see the pandas and the other sights of the city. Well, she's heard enough about my three trips to Toronto to see what the fuss is about. I'll be with her tomorrow and Thursday morning, then we'll split up. I'll be doing the convention, while she will do the tourist bit. Hopefully, we'll both have a good time.

The fun starts tomorrow. I have my sketchbook, five blank-covered comics, and plenty of references. I just hope that the bad luck bug doesn't bite me in the butt like in the past.

Monday, August 11, 2014

FLASHBACK: The Dorothy Hui Interview

Once upon a time, there was a reality show on ABC known as The Mole. Don't worry if you never heard about it . . . the network made sure that advertising was sparse -- at least compared to the likes of The Bachelor -- and the show wound up dying twice (long story). The legacy of the show lies in its intelligence, how badly ABC wanted to bury it, and being the showcase for Anderson Cooper before he jumped to superstardom on CNN.

The following story is 100 percent true, based upon my first reality show audition, and the experiences of Dorothy Hui, who became the second winner of The Mole in 2002. The article was posted on Reality News Online on August 14, 2002, before I became the official recapper of Dog Days and Real World/Road Rules Challenge. The site went under a while back, but I managed to save it with the help of Let me know how it holds up almost twelve years later.

An Interview with Mole 2's Winner, Dorothy Hui

by Jason Borelli -- 08/14/2002
When Jason Borelli went to try out for Mole 2, he had no idea he was in line with Dorothy Hui, who would eventually become the show's big winner. Jason tracked Dorothy down again and talked to her about the game, her band, and much more!

The date was April 21, 2001. It was a warm day in New York as I waited on a line, leading up to auditions for the second season of The Mole After watching a season of ABC's entry into the reality show genre, I knew this was the show I had to go on. Forget getting stuck on a desolate wasteland or in a house of nutcases. I'd go to Europe, solve puzzles, stay in posh hotels, and have a good time.

I waited on line for my shot. I got hassled by some bum who felt superior to me because he wore a Yankees jacket. I engaged in inane chatter with some of the people on line. One of these people was a young woman. She was a musician, singing a little while we waited. She also had griped about the lack of Asians on reality television shows. After an hours-long wait (interrupted by a quick bite to eat and a jaunt to a nearby arcade), I got interviewed. After ninety seconds, I went home, thus ending my experience.

October. The fourteen contestants for The Mole 2: The Next Betrayal were announced. In the mix was an Asian-American musician from New York named Dorothy. Could it be the same person? Sadly, ABC shelves the series after three episodes, due to poor ratings.

June. ABC decided to start running the new episodes. I find that Dorothy was in a band, Dimestore Scenario, where she played bass guitar and was a backup vocalist. They were playing Le Bar Bat in New York, and I had to find out if she was the one who I saw on line. Not that the question consumed me all this time - I just found it funny that somebody on the same line as me made it to the show. And yes, it was her. I tried to stay out of fanboy mode, not pumping her for inside information on the show. But I did ask if I could interview her, and she was okay with that. That was two days after the fifth episode, the one where Rob Nelson was executed.

August. A Starbucks in Greenwich Village, fifteen months after the audition, roughly 50 blocks from the Hard Rock. It had been two days after the final episode aired, where Dorothy Hui was revealed as the winner of a $636,000 pot. I talked to her about the show, her group, and her future.

RealityNewsOnline: What was the process in getting on the show?

Dorothy: Actually, my roommate was pretty hot on trying out for The Mole, and I decided to tag along with her. When I first went out to audition, I just thought, "Oh, I'll have a good time and it'll be fun." I never thought I'd get on the show. [Laughs]

I was speaking to people on line in front of me about the band, and I mentioned I had a rehearsal later that day. Since things kept running really late and they kept pushing our line farther and farther back, I kept wanting to get out of the line because I felt responsible for my band members to make the rehearsal, and everybody was saying, "Oh, you should stay, you should stay. Just wait five more minutes and you're going to thank us when you get on the show," and I'm like, "Yeah, yeah, whatever, I'm not going to get on the show." When we got into the holding room the get our first round of interviews, I was [saying], "Okay, I'm leaving this room. I need to get to rehearsal. My bandmates are going to be so pissed at me." One of the women in front of me [said], "Oh, ask all these people if you can cut them." So I ended up asking the people in front of me if I could cut and I did, and they were right… now I have a really funny story.

RNO: All I really remember from my experience was getting a ninety-second interview. Not that I'm bitter.

Dorothy: My first round was thirty seconds. (Laughs) It was mostly why would you want to be on The Mole, would you make a good Mole, and why would you make a good Mole. They called me back the next day and recorded the second interview. They basically made an audition tape for us. They asked a bunch of questions about what I do, my band, what it was like growing up in Middletown.

RNO: What came after that?

Dorothy: During the audition, they asked us to lie. Before we went in for our interviews, they said, "Work in a lie, but don't tell us when or where until afterwards." I told them about the band I was really in, a pop-rock band, and then I said, "Oh, yeah, I also sing for a heavy-metal band." I don't look like a heavy-metal chick.

RNO: When did you find out that you were going to be on the show?

Dorothy: They called us back for a final round in Los Angeles. It was two weeks after Hard Rock that we had the semis. Literally, it was a week before we actually left for the game.

RNO: Was it tough leaving friends and family behind?

Dorothy: I was in a unique situation. I was freelancing at the time. I had been laid off from my dot-com job, so I didn't feel strongly tied to an office job. As far as being separated from friends and family, I knew this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and that definitely made it a lot easier.

RNO: How did you like Europe?

Dorothy: Europe was amazing. My favorite part was Italy. I had never been to Italy before. I always wanted to go. They took us to some incredible cities that were so beautiful. It was something I'll remember for the rest of my life.

RNO: What were your favorite games?

Dorothy: My favorite game was Evader. It was quintessential Mole, with the stealth and sneaking around. I definitely would have loved to be the tracker or the evader, skulking around the city. The Gladiator game also sticks out in my mind, just because it was such a spectacle. You should have seen the looks on the faces of the locals as we were walking through the street, gawking, pointing and laughing, taking photos. They didn't know what was going on. It was definitely a production in the truest sense of the word, with the arena those constructed for us and the costumes. It was pretty cool.

RNO: What were your favorite games where you took an active part? Like the Dumb vs. Smart game, where you pulled two answers out of thin air.

Dorothy: Those were really fun. I had been hoping for more of those mind puzzles that we saw in the first season. Lucky for me, I was on the right side when the teams got spilt up. I got an exemption, and I used that to my advantage as far as looking suspicious.

RNO: And what were your least favorite games?

Dorothy: It would probably be the Relative games, just because I managed to mess them up completely and not get to spend time with my mom. I knew she would be so happy and she'd appreciate the experience so much if we had actually hung out together as part of the game. Plus, I knew she would feel bad for not predicting the right bungee response. Emotionally, that was my least favorite and most different moment.

RNO: There were also games where you were physically overwhelmed…

Dorothy: (Laughs) The running [in Think or Sink] was really horrible. What they didn't show was that it was extremely hot that day, probably 95 degrees. They didn't have any water and I was ill-prepared for such a long run. I ran so far that later on, when we drove to dinner, I said, "Hey, guys, this is where I ran to in relation to the starting point." They said, "No way." I said, "Look, ask that camera guy." It was as difficult a run as we all saw.

RNO: And there was Anderson's Fun House, where you were trapped in a small box. Were you expecting something to happen while you were in there?

Dorothy: I thought something was going to happen because I was looking out from behind the screen and it looked like the wire mesh you'd see on a window screen. But I didn't know what was going to come down on me. I look up and, "Okay, a rain of cockroaches. Great." (Laughs) There's a reason why I'm not on Fear Factor.

RNO: The alternatives were being trapped in a room with a giant python, or being trapped in a room for six hours while "Tiny Bubbles" played. Would you have traded for one of those games?

Dorothy: Actually, no. I think the "Tiny Bubbles" game would have been a test of my sanity and patience. I don't know if I could have hacked it hearing Don Ho forwards, backwards, slowed down, sped up, and all that other stuff. The python room, I wouldn't have lasted. I would've made the same decision Heather did, especially with no clear end in sight. They didn't give her a time limit on how long she had in the room. I definitely think that while the half-hour was unpleasant, it was probably the easiest to handle. I just tried to keep my head clear and not think about how small the box actually was. I was able to move about and avoid the falling cockroaches so that helped. (Laughs)

RNO: Who were your favorite people on the show?

Dorothy: I had a lot of fun hanging out with Elavia. We got along really well and she was somebody I thought I would hang out with after the game. I had a good time with everyone. The cast got along so well, I think the producers thought, "Whoa, we didn't anticipate everyone getting along this well."
Heather was great. When [me, Heather, and Elavia] roomed together, we had a great time doing silly stuff in our room, dancing around and joking. It was a lot of fun

RNO: What was Anderson Cooper like?

Dorothy: He seemed a lot more professional on the show than he actually was. There were so many moments that didn't make it in. For example, right before the rappelling game, he was motioning the players who were going to rappel to come and he said (funny voice), "Come with me!" with his arms swinging from side to side [comically mimicking the motion]. I'm glad they put in the "Happy Mole Dance" at the end of [the seventh episode]. It definitely captured some of who he was.

RNO: In your opinion, did the show treat you fairly?

Dorothy: I think so. I was definitely pretty quiet and I like to think I'm not as physically inept as they actually showed me. (Laughs) What can you do?

RNO: When was the reunion filmed?

Dorothy: It was filmed in October, after the show got pulled.

RNO: When did you get the money?

Dorothy: I haven't received it yet.

RNO: (Voice trailing off in disbelief) You haven't received it?

Dorothy: The schedule is based on the airing of the last episode.

RNO: How frustrating is that for you?

Dorothy: It hasn't been that hard from a personal point of view. I never wanted to reveal the outcome, and a lot of people kept asking me about that just because it just made it so much more fun for my friends and people who were watching not to know. I kept a secret, but I had fun doing it.

RNO: Other than the money, was it frustrating that ABC didn't air the episodes until June?

Dorothy: It wasn't even a performance aspect. There were definitely hilarious stories and funny moments. You want to share the experience. My friends had a lot of questions and it was frustrating no to be able to relate those experiences. The people I met were really awesome, and I wanted to share what they were like to my friends, but would be so paranoid about revealing something that I just never answered any kind of question regarding the show, and every answer I gave was, "Sorry, not at liberty to say."

RNO: So there was a penalty for early disclosure?

Dorothy: Yes, they managed to work that into our contracts. Our prize money was dire incentive to keep our mouths shut. (laughs)

RNO: During the reunion, there were a lot of revelations about the show. Which one shocked you the most?

Dorothy: I felt so relieved about Elavia's bribe, and my [aborted] execution. Talk about the ultimate coalition partner to save my ass. (Laughs) It was coincidence and luck.

RNO: And I remember the end of that episode, where you said that you and Elavia could have taken everybody else out had she stayed.

Dorothy: If I hadn't been around, she would have taken everybody else out.

RNO: What about Heather handing you Bill on a platter?

Dorothy: I felt really bad, actually, because she played the game extremely well.

RNO: Getting off the show… how long have you been interested in music?

Dorothy: I've been into pop music since I bought the Bangles on cassette. I've been playing piano since first grade. The bass guitar is pretty recent for me. I learned that as I formed the band.

RNO: How did Dimestore Scenario form?

Dorothy: Rachel [Federman, lead singer and guitarist] and I was in a band in college called You With The Face. We were a really horrible screaming girl band. Basically, we really wanted to be serious while we were with that band and it wasn't until we moved to New York that we were able to have the opportunity and the resources. New York is such a hotbed for music.

RNO: What genre does the group fit into?

Dorothy: I would say indie pop rock, which is not really that accurate a classification. I usually tell people we mix influences, like Belly meets Heavenly meets the Pixies meets Mazzy Star.

RNO: When you were on line during the auditions, you were talking about the lack of Asians on reality television shows. Do you feel this is still the case?

Dorothy: That was a comment I made of what I was thinking at the time. I still do feel that way. A lot of Asian fans have been writing to me, and they're happy that an Asian girl made it to the finals and actually won, so it seems pretty cool.

RNO: Do you see yourself as a standard bearer for Asians?

Dorothy: I've been thinking about this. A lot of what happens is just because you're part of a minority group, you end up representing your race, even though that definitely was not what got most people's attention. As far as being a standard bearer, I don't know. We'll have to see.

RNO: What are you planning to do with the money?

Dorothy: I would love to take Dimestore Scenario into a studio and record a demo. It's something I've always wanted to do, and Rachel and I were talking about it for so long. To actually have the resources to do it, I'm thinking "go for it." It's a dream come true.

RNO: How much does a studio demo cost?

Dorothy: It can be very expensive, but I hope to use the resources wisely and hopefully find a good place to do it for not too much. (laughs)

RNO: How do you compare yourself to other people from reality shows that try and get into the music business?

Dorothy: I look at The Mole and Dimestore Scenario as two different experiences. I know it probably ends up looking like maybe something I'd try to use as a springboard, but it's not how I view the experience.

RNO: Finally, do you think people know the real you after watching the show?

Dorothy: I spent so much time making myself look shadier that I normally am in real life (laughs). I don't think the audience is ever going to know the real me.