Tag Archives: Seattle

My feet ended up being really, really wet

So, day three of Emerald City Comic Con and this time we deliberately slept in and missed the whole queuing up thing. I had pretty much gotten everything I wanted so there seemed little point in getting up early and rushing down to the convention centre.

We actually spent hardly any time at all at the con. It was decided to do the Seattle Underground Tour and get a little local history. For example, I didn’t know that Seattle burnt down in 1889 or that the term “Skid row” has its origins in the American English lexicon in the area (originally it was Skid Road as workers would chop down trees at the top of the cliffs surrounding Seattle and skid them down to the docks). I also didn’t know that the hills originally had a gradient of 49%. Try riding up those suckers!!

However, on the way to the tour it started to pour with rain and we got thoroughly soaked. I discovered that my new sneakers, whilst being quite water resistant, are definitely not waterproof and I had to squish my way through the tour with wet feet. It’s been awhile since I’ve been quite that cold.

This has been my first trip to Seattle where it’s rained so I suppose I should really count myself as fortunate. I do love Seattle though. It’s a wonderful city and I’ve enjoyed all my visits there. Plus this time I discovered the joy of the crepe shop right out of the front of the convention centre (last crepe from them was a lemon and sugar one – om nom nom nom nom nom).

Monday was lost to travel. We got up obscenely early (4am!) to get on a 7am flight to New York. It appears that the majority of direct flights to New York are either red eyes (no!!) or this early in the morning. This means that the Seattle airport is horrendously busy at a time when you would think it would be quiet. The queue to get through security was huge and we ended up getting to our gate at about 6:15am even though we’d been at the airport since 5am. Luckily we’d been warned to be there early.

New York is intimidating. It’s a city on a simply massive scale and it makes all Australian cities look like small country towns in comparison. And my, do New Yorkers love their car horns! That old joke of the smallest measurement of time being the time between the light turning green and someone leaning on their horn? It’s true!

Now my feet really hurt

Day two of Emerald City Comic Con and my day started with queuing up with everyone else. They opened the doors 15 minutes early and I made a beeline for Bruce Timm’s table, determined to get on his list for the day. I had promises to keep! And I met with success. Hooray!

Then it was time for a Nutella crepe but with bananas this time.

Today was spent waiting in line for Barry Kitson. It’s been four years since I last got a sketch from him so I figured it was time for another one. Thus I waited. And waited. And waited. And waited. Thank god Barry is such a pleasant person to be around and he usually attracts equally nice people who wait for his sketches. Barry started my piece at about 6:10 and the show was closing at 7pm. It was a race to see what would happen first – Barry finishing the piece or the bugle being sounded to indicate the end of the day and then the dimming of the lights. The bugle won. Barry decided he couldn’t finish the piece in the reduced light so I’ll be back in his line tomorrow to see him put the final touches on it. Maybe. I might just sleep in instead. After all, my feet are killing me!

Barry Kitson working on his first Supergirl piece for the day
Barry working his magic with a stunning Supergirl watercolour. Seattle, 31 March.

Storm trooper getting Matt Wagner to sign some comics
This is the comic book creator you’re looking for. Hey, Storm Troopers like comics too! This one has excellent taste as he’s getting stuff signed by Matt Wagner. Seattle, 31 March.

Two girls dressed up as daleks
I’d have serious trouble seeing the daleks as a threat if they all looked like this 😉 Seattle, 31 March.

Mum and baby both dressed up as Catwoman
Cutest. Catwoman. EVER! Seattle, 31 March.

Woman and baby both dressed as Catwoman
All together now: aaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!! Seattle, 31 March.

Man dressed up as Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story
To infinity and beyond!!! Seattle, 31 March.

My feet hurt

Day one of Emerald City Comic Con and my day started with a Nutella crepe 🙂

We couldn’t buy tickets for the show until 12 pm so we wandered around for a bit at Pike Place Market. I always forget how much a warren it is until I’m in there and get lost. But it’s such a cool place to visit. Didn’t see any fish being thrown this time though.

The original Starbucks
It all started here. The original Starbucks. Seattle, 30 March.

Then to the con for the afternoon… Ah, the joys of endlessly lining up. But I did get myself two really cool t-shirts, including a Batgirl one I’ve wanted since I saw it on my first trip in 2008. Very happy about that 🙂 But of course, the best thing was seeing people I haven’t seen for two years. So great to get a hug from Tim. And people actually remembered me!

Bat cave made from Lego
Lego!! Very cool BatCave build out of Lego. The car which was tucked into the back of the cave actually spun around. Seattle, 30 March.

Captain America and Green Lantern made from Lego
“In brightest day…” Lego Captain America and Green Lantern. Seattle 30 March.

Tm Sale working on a sketch
Tim Sale working on a sketch for a fan. Seattle, 30 March.

Tim with a handmade cushion featuring one of his covers
Tim with an absolutely brilliant knitted cushion made by a fan. Seattle 30 March.

Jesus and Captain America
And then there was Jesus with Captain America. Seattle, 30 March.

Back again tomorrow to see if I can get on Bruce Timm’s list and then once again get back in line for Mr Kitson. And I still haven’t found either Phil Noto or Phil Hester.

I think that gull is giving me the evil eye

Not much to report today. It was “travel to Seattle” day so a good chunk of it was spent at airports. Not sure how I feel about the whole body scanners at LAX…

Let me just say that it’s really, really cold in Seattle at the moment. But at least it’s stopped raining. It was bucketing down when we arrived.

gull at santa monica pier
See what I mean? It really does seem to be giving me the evil eye. Santa Monica pier, 28 March.

Wing of Virgin America A330
Finally got to use the airplane setting on my phone! The wing of the Virgin America A330 that we were on. Somewhere between LA and Seattle, 29 March.

Pike Place Market sign
Pike Place Market at night. Seattle, 29 March.

At it again!

Yup, this could be titled dumb things I have done – part two. Doing things that I shouldn’t be doing because I can’t hack it physically.

This time it was the Scody High Country Challenge. Signed up for it ages ago and was feeling pretty positive about it all. The challenge of Mt Buller seemed appropriate after conquering both Mt Buffalo and Mt Donna Buang. But then it happened.

Six weeks ago, I dislocated my right thumb.

This meant two weeks with no bike riding at all. I couldn’t even tie my own shoe laces, let alone get on a bike. It was over two weeks before I started riding again. But I could only do short distances before the pain in my hand got too bad – damn bumpy road surfaces! I knew there was no way I’d be anywhere near prepared enough for the weekend. But I did it anyway, with about 10 hours proper riding time. My longest ride was an 80km pootle around the Bellarine Peninsula the weekend before. (I do ride to work but that doesn’t really count when it’s only 10kms in the morning and 10kms in the evening.)

Not prepared at all!

Still, I lined up with everyone else on what was a very foggy Saturday morning, wondering if the new battery in my garmin’s speed/cadence sensor would stop the auto-pausing problem I’d been having (answer: yes and no – no because it still happened but yes because it didn’t get stuck paused like it had been). And then it began. We left Mansfield behind and made our way to the base of Mt Buller. At first it was okay. Actually, it was okay for about the first ten kms of the climb. I definitely wasn’t going to set any records for a blistering time but I was still turning the cranks over and I didn’t feeling like I was pedaling squares.

Then the nausea began. My stomach was churning and it got worse the further up the climb I got. In the last four or five kms of the climb, I stopped four times. At one point, I simply stopped. My heart was hammering in my chest and I just couldn’t turn the cranks over any more. I had to stop, I just had to. I forced down a bit of an Clif bar and contemplated the fact that I wasn’t even at the hard bit yet. That moment was a tiny bit soul destroying and I contemplated just turning my bike upside down and waiting for the sag wagon. Yet I didn’t. I clipped back in and suffered my way to the top. And my, did I suffer. My partner stayed with me for the final two kms and as we came around the very last corner, he heard a very little voice behind him squeak “Is that it?” in sheer desperation that it be the truth.

I got the blue “You are here!” sign and promptly got off my bike, fighting the desire to puke up my guts up all over the sign that two seconds ago had been a blessed thing to see. I walked for a bit but hopped back on my bike so I could ride across the finish line. Couldn’t be seen walking across the line!! Then we sat in the town square on top of Mt Buller in glorious sunshine as I chugged down a can of coke (rides are the only time I’ll drink it) and burped my head off. Slowly I started to feel better, my stomach unknotted and I relaxed. I acknowledged that fact that I was totally underdone for the climb. I had no clue just how hard it would be and my lack of knowledge of the climb made it even more difficult because I had no clue how far it was to go.

But I am proud of myself for not packing it in. I might’ve been in last group of people who completed the ascent but I bloody well did it!! I wanted to quit, I thought I should but I didn’t.

The descent was quite fun. I really didn’t like the first bit which is incredibly steep with a hair-pin turn. I was working the brakes the whole way down that bit, probably holding some people up but I didn’t care. I’d already seen what could happen if you crashed and I had no desire to put myself in hospital (one guy did – last I heard he has broken ribs and he cracked a vertebra). It was a much quicker trip back to Mansfield than it was going out. Simple fact is that there’s a lot more down than up on the way back!

Unlike when I climbed Mt Buffalo (with a cold no less!), I had a real feeling of achievement when I crossed the finish line in Mansfield. I had suffered but I had prevailed. I conquered Mt Buller on my first go.

Sunday was meant to be the 125km ride to Whitfield but my dislocated thumb put paid to that idea. It would be a 55km jaunt to Tolmie instead (the first water station and turnaround point). And my, what a tricksy little ride that turned out to be! What I didn’t know at the time was that you essentially start climbing as soon as you get out of Mansfield. Sure, it’s nowhere near as steep but it’s just as long as riding up Mt Buffalo! The “Welcome to Tolmie” sign appeared about 2.5kms before the damn water station!! It seemed to go on forever!

As we stood around the water station, I was eternally grateful that we would be turning around and heading back to Mansfield. And it was one of the funnest descents I’ve done it quite awhile. No real need to brake at all, just lots of big sweepers for corners and the feeling that you’re really in control because it’s not that steep. It was a lot of fun.

Will I do it again next year? Yes. I know it sounds like I had a terrible time but I really didn’t. I got to spend a long weekend in a gorgeous part of Victoria with my partner, doing what we love doing – which is riding our bikes.

But next year, I intend on being waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better prepared.

In other news, I’m heading off overseas next week for a grand jaunt. It goes something like this:

Depart Melbourne 12pm 27 March > arrive LAX 8:30am 27 March (love that whole arriving before you left thing) > Santa Monica 27 – 29 March > fly to Seattle 29 March > Seattle 29 March – 2 April > fly to New York (yay!!!) 2 April > New York 2 – 5 April > fly to Paris 5 April (very late at night too) > Paris from 6 – 12 April > fly to Hong Kong 12 April > Hong Kong 13 – 15 April > fly home to Melbourne 15 April. Arrive home 6am (!!) 16 April.

What’s missing for that is a day being bussed around for this year’s Paris-Roubaix. I think there are three stops along the way and then the tour company we’re going with will take us to the Roubaix Velodrome for the finish. It’s going to be very exciting.

Paris! I’m going to Paris! Mmmm… macaroons.

There’s a plan…

A plan forming in my head for next year’s overseas jaunt that will turn the trip from memorable (because all my trips so far have been pretty memorable) into something of epic proportions.

It goes something like this…

Melbourne > Los Angeles > Seattle > New York > whatever European city fits with travel dates > Paris > Roubaix Velodrome.

I attempted to stay awake during this year’s Paris-Roubaix but repeatedly dozed off. However, during one of my awake periods, I decided that I had to be in the velodrome on the day of the race at least once in my lifetime.

The dates for Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle next year are March 30 – April 1 and Paris-Roubaix is traditionally run in early April so why not put the two together for what would be an awesome holiday? It’s amazing that I hadn’t even thought to check dates until it was suggested to me. And when it was, it just seemed so… obvious. So now the research will begin on how to actually make it happen.

I like this plan, I like it plenty.

Monday – Sightseeing in Seattle

So, yes. Words to explain the pictures in the prior post. Monday was about doing touristy things with Barry and his entourage. I’m not usually into doing that sort of thing but it is fun when there are enough of you to make it interesting.

I’ve decided that this year, I liked Seattle more than San Francisco. It was great to be able to walk around and actually see things. Plus it was simply nice to be outside after spending the weekend inside. Our tour of Seattle took in Pike Place Market again but this time for lunch along with a visit to Golden Age Collectibles which I visited last year. The next step was a trip to the Space Needle. This meant a trip on the monorail (which had me breaking into the monorail chorus from that Simpsons episode which has been on tv so many times it’s not funny).

The monorail trip took all of about five minutes but it was either do that or walk ten blocks. Monorail laziness won out.

Right next to the Space Needle is the Science Fiction Museum which is architecturally much more interesting then the Space Needle. I have a feeling it may have been designed by the same architects who did the Walt Disney Centre in LA. It’s all curved, lusterless metal that in this case, bulges out rather than sweeps up but it’s still beautiful.

We didn’t go straight to the Space Needle. We took a detour to a photography supply place that sell Wacom Cintaqs as Barry wanted to get one. This meant a meandering walk around the streets near the Space Needle as we tried to negotiate our way across what looked like a freeway. This meant a trip down a pedestrian underpass that I refused to use on the way back because of the overwhelming smell of urine. I was given much stick about that. And after all that effort, the photography place didn’t even have the damn tablet.

Anyhoo… we meandered our way back to the Space Needle which we then went up. I wasn’t too keen on the lift. The jerk when we started and then went past the restaurant was decidedly unpleasant and made it really obvious we were going to be far, far above the ground. Heights don’t usually bother me at all but that lift really did. I was fine once we got to the top, which is 520 feet above the ground. That’s a long way to fall. The comment was made about wondering how many cameras had been dropped which I replied “that’s why you wrap the strap around your wrist” whilst looking at Barry who doesn’t have a strap on his nice, new Canon DSLR.

It was a beautiful day so we could see right to the mountain ranges that surround Seattle. The sun was starting to set so the bay had been turned gold by the sunlight. It would’ve been great to watch it set completely but we had to get back to the hotel so Chad and Mickey could get to the airport. It really was pretty so I’d thoroughly recommend going there at dusk to watch the sun set if you’ve got a clear day.

Dinner was a fun affair at P.F. Chang’s, a fusion Chinese restaurant chain that just happens to have really good food. Barry and I shared a very good bottle of American Pinot Noir and I got decidedly rosy-cheeked. The company was excellent and the conversation lively. The boys tried very hard to get me to order a dessert called “The Great Wall of Chocolate” but I flat-out refused when I discovered it was nearly the size of my head. I’m sure it’s delicious but there was no way I could eat it after polishing off appetisers and a main meal. But the boys were very mean to me and insisted on taking photos of me with the sample dessert in front of me. I will be curious to see the photos as I’m certain I don’t look impressed in any of them. We shall see.

More drinks were consumed. More conversation had. Gossip shared and hilarity did in fact, ensue. It was a very late night and I woke up this morning with a manky mouth from drinking too much red wine but it was totally worth it. It was a perfect ending to my trip. I’ve discovered that touristy stuff can be fun if it’s with the right people.

I had a really great time on this trip. It’s been really rewarding. I met some new people who I liked very much and caught up with ones I already adore. This is why we should work to live and not live to work like so many people do.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling a little antsy because I haven’t been on my bike for eleven days (but who’s counting?). I am looking forward to trying out my new bike shoes and seeing if they make the longer rides more comfortable. If nothing else, they’ll look really swish. I’m excited about getting my new bike so I’m going to try to organise that on either Thursday or Friday. But all this talk about bikes reminds me that I must sort out the TAC stuff for my accident. I’ve got two bills that need paying and I didn’t really do anything about it before I went away. I’m hoping there’s nothing demanding payment when I get home. Still, the antsiness is a good sign as it means I’m eager to ride. New shoes, new gloves, new bike – all stuff to look forward to.

(Mostly) Monday – sightseeing in Seattle

This is going to be a photo post. I have the photos prepped so I might as put them up. I’m supposed to be boarding my flight home at 10:30 and it’s 10:15 now so I don’t think I’ll have time to write that much anyway. Also, it’ll give me something to do on the plane.

So pic spam it is!!

061
Jedi Knights at ECCC. The guy on the far right actually threw me because he bore a striking resemblance to Alec Guinness.

062
My peeps! L – R: Jared, Gay, Brian, John and Tim.

063
I kinda look happy in this photo. Kinda. Still hate having my picture taken.

064
Arty-farty shot of the lights at the convention centre.

065
A variant of these in San Francisco gave George Lucas the idea for the AT-AT walkers first seen in The Empire Strikes Back.

066
Seattle skyline as seen from Pike Place Market.

067
Part of the roof of the Experience Music Project, Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame (EMP|SFM) that’s right next to the Space Needle. I’m wondering if it was designed by the same architects who did the Walt Disney Music Hall in LA. (And indeed it was – Frank Gehry designed both buildings)

068
Shiny, pointy gold sticks next to EMP|SFM.

069
This tickled me. It rotated and little lights lit up to mimic water falling from the elephant’s trunk.

070
The Space Needle.

Views from the observation deck at the Space Needle, 520 feet above ground.
071

072

073

074

075
This is the roof of the Experience Music Project, Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame building as seen from the observation deck. Pretty wild!

076
So I might’ve tweaked the colours a tiny amount but not that much! The wall of the Sci-Fi museum really was that gorgeous purple colour.

And that’s it. Now I have a really long flight. My, won’t that be fun?

Sunday – ECCC

Very slow start to the morning as the boys and I dragged our feet. Everyone was still tired, even after a few hours sleep. It switched to daylight savings overnight so we lost an hour.

We switched hotels and made our way to the convention centre for day two. We ambled on in and immediately noticed that it wasn’t as crazy busy as it had been the day before. Definitely more laid-back. And the particular nerd funk that occurs during cons wasn’t as strong as the day before. I know some people can’t help it but jeez, could they at least have some deodorant with them? On Saturday it was really bad. You’d walk past a group of guys in line for someone and nearly be bowled over by the smell. There are some nerds who really need to work on their personal hygiene.

Anyhoo…

I shall be going home with 13 pieces, significantly less than last year but that’s okay as I got some pretty sweet stuff. (And well, I did spend a lot more before I’d even gotten to the con.)

So I have:
1. Joelle Jones – Dr Horrible
2. Chris Moreno – Batman
3. Moritat – Nightwing
4. Dean Trippe – Batgirl
5. Dustin Nguyen – Nightwing
6. Derek Fridolfs – Batgirl
7. Alex Maleev – Daredevil
8. Phil Hester – Nightwing
9. Phil Hester – Green Arrow
10. Green Arrow Issue Eight Page Eleven
12. Green Arrow Issue Eight Page Twelve

and this:
059

060

I finally have my Tim Sale Batman and I’m overjoyed at how well it came out. It goes without saying that the photos don’t do it justice.

Dinner with Tim, Jared and Brian. That was when Tim put the finishing touches to the page. At one point he was slathering the ink on and I was thinking “Noooo! It’s going to be too dark!!!” but of course Tim knows far better than I.

Saturday – ECCC

This will be quick as I’m absolutely exhausted and should be curled up in bed. I took exactly one photo. There was a bunch of people dressed up as jedi knights and they looked incredible. So I managed to take a photo of them and that was it. The camera stayed in my bag for the rest of the day.

I had productive day art-wise. Got pieces from the artists that I really wanted and I picked up something extra from Chris Moreno. I even managed to get on Alex Maleev’s list for tomorrow so I’m getting a Daredevil from him, something I’ve always wanted. I think I’m getting my page from Tim tomorrow so that’s exciting. It’ll be something to anticipate as I haven’t seen it yet.

I was quite shocked when I got to Phil Hester to discover no one there except for a guy who was thinking about buying a page. I thought he would’ve had a bunch of people around him but nope. He was kinda hard to find as he was all the way down the back. So he started on a Green Arrow for me, only to be hustled away by someone from Hero Initiative. I went back to pick it up and he’d lost it! So he promised to start it again. Then when I went back later, turned out he’d given it to a guy who was only there today. He looked so guilty and has promised to do it tonight. I’m also getting a Nightwing from him as well. I have no idea when I’ll be at a con that he’s attending again so I figure I might as well.

Must get into bed now. So very, very tired.