Monthly Archives: March 2010

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Mmmm… shiny


Yeah, a white seat. It’s actually pretty comfortable but I don’t know how long I’ll be hanging onto it.

The leaf motif is all over the bike.

Yup, I really do have pink handle bar tape.

Just adding this photo cos I liked it.

Yet more of the leaf motif, this time on the forks.

The obligatory arty-farty shot.

Arty-farty shot no.2 but this time showing the ding I already managed to get on the pedal.

Home to reality

Sigh. It’s always so disappointing that holidays must come to an end. I’ve been back just over a week now and I’m still kicking my butt kicked by jet lag. I thought I’d recovered from it but I’ve been exhausted all day today. Which is bad considering I picked up my super purdy new bike today. I found it very hard to get excited about it when all I wanted to do was have a nap (which I did while I waited for my new Garmin to charge up).

Anyhoo…. a few final photos from my trip that weren’t taken by me.

See, I wasn’t kidding when I said the “Great Wall of Chocolate” was nearly as big as my head. The look on my face is one of there’s no way I’m eating that (especially considering it’s a fake on that the wait staff take around to show people the dessert menu).

See, I really do know Barry Kitson! He’s currently working on Amazing Spider-man and is a super nice, wonderful, generous man.

Hanging out at Von’s. L – R: DJ (who took the prior two photos), Me, Barry, Veronica and Sven.

So, yes. New bike. New bike computer. New shoes. The shoes are giving me an endless amount of grief. I simply can’t find the right place for the cletes and they’re hurting my feet. Well, my right foot is okay, it’s my left foot that’s causing all the trouble. I really want to make them work because I spent so much money on them. It’ll really suck if it turns out I can’t actually wear them.

Getting back on the bike after such a long time away is actually a good deal harder than I thought it would be. I managed to ride half of Kew Boulevard on Thursday night and it was so hard. It feels like I’ve lost so much strength. I’m starting again but that’s okay. I can set myself goals and work towards achieving them. The first one is doing the 120km version of the Fruit Loop ride that’s held during September in Shepparton. I want to work towards breaking 100km and I think that’s a reasonable target by September.

I can’t make an assessment on my new bike just yet, having only ridden her for just over half an hour. Jet lag sucks! I should’ve gone out for a ride today but I was so tired I couldn’t get motivated to actually do it until after I had a nap. Even then I didn’t really push myself. My first observation (apart from needing a name) she sounds different on the road. My next observation is that seat is more comfortable and that I’m sitting much better. Then we move to I think that handlebars are a smidge too high. I won’t be able to form any definite opinions until I’ve gone out for a long ride, which might be tomorrow.

Anyhoo… I’m being terrible rude as we have company and I’m sitting in the front room on my computer in the dark as it’s Earth Hour and we’ve got the lights off.

That’s all she wrote

Well, I’m home.

I think it took me a whole day to get home. Barry and I continued the tradition of traveling to the airport together and wandered around trying to find the first class lounge but didn’t succeed. Hanging out with Barry at the airport kinda extended the con experience right up until I leave, which is really nice. He’s a great guy and we always seem to find interesting things to talk about. We parted ways when I headed to my gate to start my journey home. The flight from Seattle to LA was uneventful. Arrived at LAX at about 4pm and wandered around trying to find the V Australia check-in desk. But of course, I couldn’t check in because I was there way too early.

Sitting in an airport for about seven hours isn’t that much fun but I did get some photos prepped and uploaded onto my blog. I also had time to watch The Boat That Rocked for the umpteenth time. When I could finally check in, I discovered my dinner choices were either Starbucks (gag) and Burger King (double gag). So I settled on clif bar and a kit-kat, washed down with a bottle of water. At least LAX has power outlets and wireless available.

The flight home was also uneventful. It seemed to be a bit bumpier than on the way over but I once again got a row to myself. The flight was only about a third full so just about everyone got a row. The plane was full of slumbering people and it was incredibly quiet (for a plane anyway). I managed to get about seven hours sleep in chunks.

So, Lauren’s traveling trips…
1. Take tracksuit bottoms or PJs to change into. My brother gave me some Qantas bus class PJs and I took the bottoms this time to change into. Such a good idea. So much more comfortable.

2. Skip breakfast. Breakfasts on long haul flights are usually totally disgusting unless you manage to get cereal.

3. V Australia don’t give you the fluffy socks that Qantas do so a pair of warm socks in your carry-on is a good idea. (I didn’t have them on the flight out and I ended up with very cold tootsies.)

4. Dress in layers. Get too hot, you can remove some. Get too cold, you can put it back on.

5. Drink loads of water.

6. Take moisturiser and heavy-duty lip balm. The air on the plane will suck all the moisture out of your hair and skin. Hair you can’t do anything about but skin you can help. You’ll probably need a heavier moisturiser than you normally use too.

7. Really make sure you have everything before leaving the plane. I didn’t and as a result, I’ve lost my iPod. I opened my backpack to put it in but changed my mind in the process. I went to slip it into my laptop bag but I wasn’t paying proper attention and slid it down the side of my bag. Sigh. I have very low expectations of seeing it ever again but I have reported it to V Australia so they know I’ve lost it. Hopefully one of the cleaning staff picked it up and did the right thing. Still, I’m not holding my breath.

And surprise, surprise… I’m already thinking about next year’s trip.

Current favourite song

Waiting for my real life to begin by Colin Hay
Any minute now, my ship is coming in
I’ll keep checking the horizon
I’ll stand on the bow, feel the waves come crashing
Come crashing down down down, on me

And you say, be still my love
Open up your heart
Let the light shine in
But don’t you understand
I already have a plan
I’m waiting for my real life to begin

When I awoke today, suddenly nothing happened
But in my dreams, I slew the dragon
And down this beaten path, and up this cobbled lane
I’m walking in my old footsteps, once again
And you say, just be here now
Forget about the past, your mask is wearing thin
Let me throw one more dice
I know that I can win
I’m waiting for my real life to begin

Any minute now, my ship is coming in
I’ll keep checking the horizon
And I’ll check my machine, there’s sure to be that call
It’s gonna happen soon, soon, soon
It’s just that times are lean

And you say, be still my love
Open up your heart, let the light shine in
Don’t you understand
I already have a plan
I’m waiting for my real life to begin

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!!

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

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

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

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

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

Seattle skyline as seen from Pike Place Market.

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)

Shiny, pointy gold sticks next to EMP|SFM.

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

The Space Needle.

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




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!

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.


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:


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.

Random picture post

Three random photos that I forgot to add to other postings.

Squirrel!! There are some very fat squirrels at the Disney Studio in Burbank. There are also loads of signs around saying “Don’t feed the squirrels”.

On the way to the studio, the way we went took us near Big Bear. It’s a quite impressive mountain range. At the moment it’s possible to go surfing and skiing in the same day if you’re willing to do some serious driving.


I should be about half way to Seattle right now but I’m stuck at SFO because my flight was delayed due to bad weather here. There’s a guy behind me talking on a mobile phone. I saw him in the line for customs and he was on his phone. He’s kinda obnoxious and apparently doesn’t care that everyone can hear him talking. For example, I’ve just learnt he’s going snowboarding somewhere around Vancouver. Did I need to know that? No, I really didn’t.

Thursday – Pixar Animation Studio

Yup, you read right. I got to visit Pixar. Squeee!!

I was invited by Anthony Christov, who teaches some classes at CCA and just happened to be the Art Director (sets) for Wall-e. Intially, it was for a visit on Friday but of course that wasn’t possible so Steve and Erica wrangled it for Thursday. I didn’t get to see too much as much of the place is a closed set as they’re still working on Toy Story 3 but I did get to peek into the dailies room and their theatre. We had to be super quiet when we peeked into the theatre as a video link to a recording studio was in process, meaning scoring for something was going on.

Down one hallway, a bunch of art had been hung from Up! which was amazing to look at. All the character development, texture work and marquettes. Just magic! It would’ve been great to see animators at work but it was a privilege simply to be there.

The building itself is quite remarkable. The main foyer is enormous which adds to a sensation of openness and space. The cafe is located there and we were there right on lunchtime so the place was humming with conversation. Mostly it just made me wish I was a much more talented artist so I could work in a place like that. The atmosphere of the place was one of a great place to work.

I think I look awful in these photos but I’m putting them up anyway!

The Incredibles family.

I was doing the pose but I felt stupid so I stopped before Steve could take the photo.

Steve is apparently quite happy about the upcoming release of Toy Story 3. Terrible framing by me on this photo.

Steve, Erica and I.

Squee! Mike and Sulley.

I really wanted to pat Sulley but I’m fairly certain that would’ve gotten me booted out of the studio.


More Luxo. I bought myself a Luxo keyring which is the ball. Very cute.

Anyhoo… it’s time for me to check in for my flight so I can finally ditch my suitcase that I’ve been lugging around for hours now.