Monthly Archives: April 2009

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So, guess who’s going to New Zealand?

That’d be me!

The trip is all booked and paid for. I cancelled my birthday leave today and submitted a new leave request. Sigh. I haven’t worked on my birthday for about the last four years I think. But it’ll be worth it when I’m in New Zealand two weeks later.

It’s going to be strange to travel with people. I hope to god they’re not nervous flyers because then I’ll just have to laugh at them.

Kill your television


She said, she said
‘You don’t know shit,
because you’ve never been there’
She turned upon him,
took him by the hair
spun him round about,
laughing as he fell about,
sat down for a drink
in her father’s favourite chair.
Kill your television

Ned’s Atomic Dustbin

I’m flying to Perth tomorrow after work. I going to a conference on Tuesday in Fremantle. It’ll be my first time in Western Australia. I kept forgetting it’s this week. I’ve only been back a week and a bit and I’m already getting on a plane again. The idea of more airline food is not thrilling me. Still, Perth! And I’m not paying.

Also, it appears I’m going to New Zealand in September with three friends on a skiing trip. I have to to check dates at work but I’ve been told I’m going. Uh… okay. Always wanted to go to New Zealand. The fact I don’t know how to ski and have never been skiing in my life appears to be a moot point. I don’t have all the details yet. Maybe a lesson or two is included in the price. Hope so! But the really scary thing? It’s cheaper to go skiing in NZ then in my own state, let alone my own country.

That’s all folks

So, this is it. The last few photos from my trip. There are no more after this. I’ve been through all of them and have found the ones I thought were good enough to be made public. There are many that will never see the light of day and that’s a good thing – trust me.

I swear this is going to be my avatar on the forum at some point. Tim channelling his inner “blue steel”.

I had some time on my last morning in Seattle to sit on the window sill in my hotel room and take few photos. It seemed like a great way to spend fifteen minutes before I gathered up the last of my belongings and left the hotel to head to the airport.

One of the waterfalls in Freeway Park.

One of the views from out my hotel window.

The American flag on top of a building directly across from me. It was rolling in the breeze and it looked like it was moving in slow motion. Quite lovely and almost hypnotic in its motion.

I’m sure there are things I meant to write about but didn’t. It feels very strange to think I’ve been back for a week already. Sometimes it feels like it didn’t really happen and that I made it all up. But I was really there. I did see all these things and hang out with some of my favourite people in the world.

I have to keep telling myself it was real, it did happen, I was in America and I had a brilliant time. I’ll be back next year 😀

All my pretties (except two)

(Just a warning: all the links go out to blank browser)

Derek Fridolfs/Dustin Nguyen – Superman/Batman, issue 40, page 1.
Riley Rossmo – Proof, issue 12, page 1.
Kelly Tindall – page from the soon-to-be release Squeak.
Derek Fridolfs/Dustin Nguyen – Detective Comics, issue 842, page 20.

Mike Kunkel – Herobear and the kid pencil sketch.
Tim Sale – Commissioner Gordon ink wash.
Kelly Tindall – Archie Snow watercolour.
Dustin Nguyen – Batman pencil head sketch.
Richard Starkings – Hip Flask head sketch.
Kelly Tindall – Doctor Who ink sketch.
David Mack – Echo ink sketch.
Scott Morse – Tiger painting.
Moritat – Batman pen sketch.
Dustin Nguyen – Catwoman pencil head sketch.
Stan Sakai – Usagi Yojimbo pen sketch.
Frank Cho – Liberty Meadows pen sketch.
Stephen Silver – Silent Bob pen sketch.
Bruce Timm – Batgirl pen sketch.
Riley Rossmo – Doctor Who ink/pen sketch.
Tim Sale – Green Arrow ink wash.
Moritat – Rorschach pen sketch.
Scott Morse – Elephant painting.

Jet-lag is still playing merry havoc with me. I get to about 9pm and hit a wall. The last three nights I think I’ve slept for over 10 hours, which is a lot for me. I also get very tired around 3.30 – 4pm. I get the mid afternoon slump like everyone else but this is beyond that. I find it really hard to not go to sleep and I never sleep during the day (mostly because if I do, I can’t sleep at night). I suppose it’s all part of long-haul trips and it’ll go away.

I suppose I should start thinking about going back to work. I have to buy lights for my bike. It’s getting dark earlier and earlier and soon I’ll be riding home at dusk. Seeing where you’re going is just a little important. And the other thing I need to really start thinking about is finding a new place to live. Mmm… reality is so much fun.

And I’m home

It was an eventful trip home in some respects. It started off in an interesting fashion. We were bussed to our plane. The driver was a little scary, braking really suddenly and taking corners too quickly. Everyone boarded and we proceeded to sit and wait. And wait. And wait. And wait. We waited on the runway for at least half an hour before being allowed to depart. Very annoying.

The flight itself was very uneventful but that’s what you want when you’re in a jumbo jet crossing the pacific ocean. Took to me about six hours to watch The Dark Knight because I kept falling asleep. I also watched Twilight and was left thinking Stephanie Myers has some serious issues. There’s something about that movie that makes me feel deeply uncomfortable but I’m not sure what it is. I think it’s got to do with Bella’s attitude towards, well, everything. Anyhoo… there were some dips and bumps but on the whole it was a turbulence-free flight.

I managed to get off the plane pretty quickly and cruised through the first customs point. After this it all went a bit pear-shaped. My bag took ages to be unloaded so I ended up waiting for it for a good twenty minutes. Then the queue to get our bags scanned was enormous. My bag finally got scanned and something in it pinged the machine. I had to open my suitcase and a strange man proceeded to rummage through my belongings. Oh joy!

I got into a cab pretty quickly and started searching through my backpack for my house keys but only to not find them. I emptied my laptop bag as well, thinking maybe I’d put them in there. But I came up empty-handed. They definitely weren’t in my suitcase. At this point I’m thinking I’d left them somewhere in America. The taxi arrived at my house and the taxi driver popped the boot but didn’t get out of the cab to get my suitcase out. I struggled to get it out and, of course, dropped a 25 kilo bag on my left foot.

At the front door I rang the doorbell, hoping beyond hope that someone was home. Nope. So, what’s a girl to do? I burst into tears. Jetlagged out of my mind, my foot throbbing with pain and locked out of my house – I think that’s a reasonable reaction. I called my brother, who unfortunately is in Sydney but did his best to calm me down. He made the reasonable suggestion of going to see if our neighbours (and owners of our house) were in their garage, even though they didn’t answer when I knocked on their front door. I pulled myself together and trundled around to the back to find them in their garage. I have never been so glad to see my garage door rise and discover that the back door was unlocked.

It turned out I hadn’t picked up my house keys when I ran out the door to go to the airport, I’d left them behind on the bench. D’oh!

So yeah, it wasn’t exactly a smooth homecoming for me. The rest of the trip had been just brilliant so something had to go wrong at the end because that’s just the way it is.

I had so many great experiences and there are so many people who made sure I had great time. I wish my life could be more like it was when I was away but it’s just not realistic. It’s not “real” life, it’s a wonderful step away from all the responsibilities. Still, it’s great to know it’s something I can experience again and that it’ll be different each time. It’s a huge reminder to why I stay at my job, why I save money and why I dream of doing more with my life. This is the more I want.

Anyhoo… I should push off. I’m trying to find a storage folio that’ll fit my pages as well as a place where I can get them scanned. It’s proving to be more difficult then I thought it would.

Well, here I am…

I’m sitting at the Daily Grill at LAX. Sandy, my waiter was nice enough to mix me up a cherry cola as they don’t have any here. I really shouldn’t be drinking a second one but I figure what the hell? It’s not like I can buy it when I get home. (I could just buy some cherry flavoured syrup and some coke but I bet it doesn’t taste the same.)

Just to prove I wasn’t making things up…

There. A fish being thrown.

It feels strange to be here already. The trip has gone by so quickly. It feels like it should just be starting when it’s over already. So much planning goes into something like this and it’s over in the blink of eye. But I’m so glad I did it. It’s been worth the debt, the hassle, the constant explaining that yes, I’m going back again even though I was just there. It’s worth the aches, pains and bruises (I’ve got a fantastic one on the inside of my left arm). I’ve loved it, every second of it even including the ridiculous amount of time I spent in Barry’s line and I hate queuing. I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.

I think is what traveling overseas should be all about. I’ve had a brilliant time, got to hang out with fabulous people and experienced some more of the world. I’ve expanded my art collection and my horizons.

The best thing is that I got to spend time with some of my favourite people in the world. It makes me wish I wasn’t so far away but I suppose that’s what makes it special. We don’t have the opportunity to get sick of each other. We get together and it’s great. It’s funny, I’m such an anti-social person these days but these guys make me want to get out of my safe little shell. I just know I can trust them and I think that’s a rare thing to find. It doesn’t matter how far apart we all are, they’re my peeps. They’ve expanded my world and I’ll always be grateful to them for that.

Anyhoo…. two final photos before I disappear for a day.

It’s a real, proper snow covered mountain range.

The wing-tip of a Virgin America A320.

Seattle, Washington

Monday was the last day of hanging out with Rich and Jared. It started abruptly with Rich’s cell phone ringing. Just as well as it was nearly 9am and they had to be out of the hotel by 11am. We had breakfast in the hotel and I had a heart-attack causing plate of french toast – you smothered it in butter and maple syrup while it was already dusted with sugar. (Definitely have to get back to the gym when I get home. I’m sure I’ve gained a few kilos this trip.)

After Jared and Rich left, I was at a bit of a loss. It’s strange to be own my own. Unusual for me as I usually always prefer my own company. I suppose the difference here is that the time I spend with my peeps is a finite thing. But I had more practical things to think about as I had to be out of our hotel room by 12pm. I simply went down to reception and asked if they had a room. Didn’t haggle, didn’t ask for best price or a deal. I just wanted a room. Ten minutes later, I was ensconced in a room on the 22nd floor.

As I was about to go find a post office, Barry called to see what I was doing and invited me to have lunch with them at the Cheesecake Factory. The trip to the post office took longer than I expected as the guy at the pick-up desk wanted to chat to me about the movie Australia when he discovered where I was from. Of course, I couldn’t really offer an opinion as I haven’t seen the movie and don’t intend to. I then managed to confuse the guy behind the counter who asked if I wanted a confirmation of delivery receipt and I did a whole yes-no-yes-no thing. He also asked if I wanted to add a return address to which I replied it’d be totally useless as I was Australian and flying home the next day.

Lunch with Barry, a very fragile Chad (who really shouldn’t have mixed red wine with copious amounts of beer) and Mickey was pleasant. The Cheesecake Factory has a truly baffling selection of cheesecakes and I heard the guy at the table next to us say “I just want a piece of plain cheesecake. I don’t want all this other stuff” which made me chuckle.

We made a quick stop to Barry’s room in the Hyatt so he could pick up some pages that need to be sent. My hotel room might’ve been bigger but his bathroom left mine for dead. It actually made me wish I’d checked out hotel room prices even though it was much more convenient to simply get a room in the one we’d already been staying in.

The Seattle skyline from the twentieth floor the of the Hyatt.

After dealing with the slowest FedEX worker ever, we walked down to Pike Place Market to see some fish being thrown around. The thing is you have to wait until someone buys some fish or the guys working behind the counter finally decide to throw some to get the crowd to move on.

There is a fish being thrown in this photo!

The market is a warren of little shops spread over what seems to be three levels built into the side of a hill. This means you’re walking downstairs all the time but some shops on the lower levels have doors and windows when you think they wouldn’t. We made our way to Golden Age Comics (no trip to America would be complete without a visit to a comic book shop) where I decided to buy the first three volumes of Usagi Yojimbo and found a copy of Billi 99. Not sure why I decided to buy books when I’m not exactly sure where I’m going to put them in my suitcase.

Seattle skyline from Pike Place Market.

The view from Pike Place Market when you’re looking out over the bay.

Mount Rainer as seen from Pike Place Market. It’s an active volcano.

The obligatory black and white shot of the Pike Place Market sign.

After walking around the market, we decided it was time for a coffee and went to “Seattle’s Best Coffee” (really, it’s called that) where we sat and talked about the state of the world. Eventually we had to get up as Chad and Mickey had to make their way to the airport. I ended up having dinner with Barry and his friend, Dave, in a Thai place that had terrible service but decent food. I was all for not leaving a tip as I felt they hadn’t earned one (the service really was that bad) but one was left anyway as we didn’t want to be chased down the escalators to explain why we hadn’t left one.

And that’s about it for my adventures in Seattle. I fly back to L.A today to spend several hours waiting to get on a plane at 11.30pm to fly home. So… ummm, yeah, that’s that done.

As surprising as this will sound, I think I’m ready to go home. I really want to put on some fresh clothes. I feel like I’ve had a better time this time. Last year I was so overwhelmed by it all and being sick really didn’t help. The way I felt when I had to leave was very different from how I feel right now. I’m not looking forward to how long today is going to be but it will be nice to be in my own bed. I don’t think anyone is going to meet me at the airport but that’s okay. Sure it would’ve been nice to see a friendly face upon my arrival but I’m sure that’ll happen soon enough. It’s probably not a bad thing to just go home after such a long flight and to not have to worry about answering questions or making much sense.

It’s been an amazing experience. I think I’ve gotten more out of this trip. I’ve had a better sense of what’s going on. Plus, I really love Northern California and Seattle. It’s a little chillier here than I’m used to but it’s so beautiful. It also feels oddly familiar because San Francisco and Seattle both had a similar feel to Melbourne. I’ve felt much more comfortable here than when I was in Washington D.C and Baltimore. If I was suddenly plonked down in America, I’d want to be plonked down in the Bay Area.

Anyhoo… it’s 9.30. I should perhaps think about getting out of bed. I have to pack and be at the Hyatt by 11.30 to catch a lift to the airport. There’s going to be loads of sitting around today.

I suppose the next time I post, it’ll be to say I’m home 😐

Emerald City ComicCon – Sunday

I got a Tim Sale fast pass! Woot! I made it to Tim’s table just in time and I think I may have actually cut in front of a guy but we kinda arrived at the line together. Sorry stripy shirt dude! He did get one too though. However getting one meant everyone gave me a hard time as I’d been whinging the night before, saying I was sure I’d never get one.

I have to say I’m not a huge fan of the everyone being packed together and waiting for the doors to open. I get a little edgy in big crowds, especially when they’re all pushing towards a door. But really, I was okay because I had Jared and Rich behind me to protect me during the initial push. I should also remember I’m much fitter than the majority of nerds and can easily out-run them. (I discovered this at an Imax screening of The Dark Knight when I raced past two boy nerds to secure the best possible seats.) Hoorah! My first ever fast pass.

After getting my card with my fast pass time on it, the morning was spent standing in Barry’s line to get Steve’s Gwen watercolour. It’s a strange thing, queuing is probably one of my least favourite activities but it’s all you do at comic cons. The really weird thing is that I wasn’t even waiting around to get something for myself, I was doing it for someone else. I’m strange like that. After much standing around, it was finally my turn. Barry asked me what I thought Gwen should be wearing and what colours I thought her outfit would be. That stumped me as I don’t actually read any Spider-man comics except Ultimate Spider-man and that version of Gwen dresses quite differently from the mainstream Gwen. But we got there in the end and Gwen is fashionably attired.

Jared, Rich and I went off for lunch after this and had some very unsatisfactory pizza. Expensive, not very warm and the bases were crunchy. I like a crisp base but this was just ick. Very disappointing as I’d had a slice from the same place the day before and it had been really nice. (Hhmm… now I’m blogging about pizza.)

I picked up a few things after lunch including an adorable Scott Morse painting and went back to Tim’s table to wait for my fast pass. I even managed to sell a book while I was there. But finally my time came and I watched Tim as he worked on my Green Arrow ink wash. I’m always fascinated when watching artists work. It amazes me how they can see what the finished thing is going to look like. I never can and perhaps that I why I was never a very good artist (I used to be able to draw reasonably well). Tim has a sense of self-assurance about himself and his abilities that I’m sorely lacking in. He innately knows he can do it while I always fret about my photos, wondering if my composition is right, if I’ve got it what I want in focus. I’m in awe of his talent but also a little jealous at the same time.

(And speaking of photography, let the photos appear!)

After the show had finished (and I’d picked up another Scott Morse piece five minutes before the show ended), a group of us ambled down to the Hyatt to meet Tim for drinks and dinner. Drinks were consumed at the bar in the Hyatt and photos were taken.

Tim giving me the death stare.

Jen and I cozy up to Tim

After much discussion, we made our way around to the Taphouse for dinner where they have 160 beers available. That’s a lot of beer. Jen and I ordered a cocktail with the rather fun name of “yellow submarine” which turned out to be extremely tasty and contained absolutely no banana. There was much talk and food was consumed. Yet again, photos were taken.

Jared, Bill and Tim

A photo I ruined by covering up the flash and being incapable of operating my camera when it was held out in front of me.

Colin and Jared.

Bill looking pleased with himself.

After dinner, we split up and all said goodbye to Tim who was heading to his parents’ place. Kinda sad to say goodbye as I knew he was flying home the next day. Sigh. Sunday night was filled with loads of goodbyes as people were flying home at different times.

Anyhoo.. during dinner I’d gotten a call from Barry to tell me which bar he was at and an invitation to come join him, Chad and Mickey for a drink. After getting directions from Tim, we made our way to the bar to find the lads enjoying a bevy or two. We were joined by Kelly and Trina just before the band started. Jen and I both thought the band was going to be too loud so we opted to go with Kelly and Trina who were heading to Von’s to meet up with the Proof crew.

Jen, Kelly and Bill at Von’s.

It was at Von’s that I discovered Jewel Strait. She was at the bar with friends and I did the thing I thought I’d never do and asked if I could have a photo taken with her. I don’t like bailing people up like that. I know it’s all part of being a celebrity but I remember what it was like when I’d have lunch with a friend who is pretty well known. It’s the biggest pain in the arse to be in the middle of a conversation and some random person walks up to start a conversation with them. All Jewel probably wanted was a quiet night out with friends and she got some random, weird, nervous Australian chick asking if it was okay to have a photo taken with her. But she was very nice to me. I kept apologising, saying I usually never do that sort of thing and she kept saying it was okay. And she’s gorgeous, really gorgeous. Huge brown eyes with amazing lashes. (I know, I’m weird for noticing that.) She’s also a lot taller than I thought she was or she was wearing really high heels because she was taller than me. Total fan-girl moment and I was so nervous about saying hello to her. I mean really nervous.

Actually, I nearly didn’t get to have my fan-girl moment because the waiter at Von’s wasn’t going to accept my driver’s license as a form of ID. He was going to kick me out. Apparently my incredibly difficult to alter, state issued driver’s license which contains all the same information as my passport including a photo and was happily accepted at another bar wasn’t good enough for him. I didn’t know this but if you don’t have an acceptable ID, you can’t stay in a licensed venue in the state of Washington. At first I thought it meant I couldn’t have a drink and I was fine with that but then he said I’d have to leave. I was so surprised and, to be honest, pissed off because the majority of the other people at the table were Canadian and obviously didn’t have American driver’s licenses. He finally relented after I refused to walk all the way back to the hotel to get my passport.

We hung around for a bit but in the end decided we had to head back to the hotel. Jen and Bill had to be at the airport by 6am to get on an 8am flight. It was strange to say goodbye to them in the lift, knowing it’ll be at least a year before I get to see them again. I suppose this is what I have to deal with when I have friends in another country.

Some photos from Saturday

The splash page from Superman/Batman that I bought. The print you can see on the left is the one I got.

Dustin Nguyen working on my Batman head sketch

Tim working on the first Claire ink wash of the day.

Riley Rossmo doing his thing.

A very intensely focused Adam Hughes. The piece was a character I didn’t recognise.

A shot of Barry Kitson taken when I was sitting on the floor.

Adam Hughes with Jared’s “The Dude” commission.

And finally…

The Bat Family. I’m assuming it’s Batwoman and not Batgirl because Barb Gordon had a cowl head piece like Batman’s (which always made me wonder exactly how you could see her hair) and Cassandra Cain wears a mask that covers her whole face. But I could be wrong. Maybe it’s a TV version of Batgirl (because we don’t speak of that movie).

A list of what I got at ECCC

Derek Fridolfs/Dustin Nguyen – splash page from Superman/Batman, issue 40.
Riley Rossmo – beautifully designed nine panel page from Proof issue 12.
Kelly Tindall – page from the soon-to-be release Squeak.
Derek Fridolfs/Dustin Nguyen – page 20 of Detective Comics, issue 842.

Tim Sale – Iron Man, print #19.
Derek Fridolfs/Dustin Nguyen – Batman, Hellboy and Daredevil

Mike Kunkel – Herobear and the kid pencil sketch
Tim Sale – Commissioner Gordon ink wash
Kelly Tindall – Archie Snow watercolour
Dustin Nguyen – Batman pencil head sketch
Richard Starkings – Hip Flask head sketch
Kelly Tindall – Doctor Who ink sketch
David Mack – Echo ink sketch
Scott Morse – Tiger painting
Moritat – Batman pen sketch
Dustin Nguyen – Catwoman pencil head sketch
Stan Sakai – Usagi Yojimbo pen sketch
Frank Cho – Liberty Meadows pen sketch
Stephen Silver – Silent Bob pen sketch
Bruce Timm – Batgirl pen sketch
Riley Rossmo – Doctor Who ink/pen sketch
Tim Sale – Green Arrow ink wash
Moritat – Rorschach pen sketch
Scott Morse – Elephant painting

It’s a long list – 24 pieces . But I only paid for ten things. I just worked out it’s actually two more than what I got in Baltimore (22 pieces) and I had more money for that trip! So there you go, I did better with less money. I’m going to have to buy a bigger Itoya folio when I get home for the pages.