Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Finished the double page spread! Wow, that was a doozy. Working on those three extra pages today, hope to have them out tomorrow.

Tonight... Anza Bonanza Pub Quiz! In costume! Whoo hoo!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Those six pages went out Monday and halfway through the next five. Coming along.

Hoping to see The Darjeeling Limted again this week. Wes Anderson rocks my world.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

I promised more pictures from the trip and after a crazy couple of weeks I can finally get to that.

Back on the road after our stay stay in Cardiff, we were off to Hay-on-Wye, a legendary little town near the Heredfordshire boundary that boasts a population of 1900 people and 40 plus bookstores. Of course we had to see this.

The ride was tense due to construction diversions, incredibly narrow roads and the odd sheep grazing in the hedgerows. Abergevany was completely closed off and we had to work through a lot of roundabouts (ugh!) to get back on course.
And finally we arrived.The town was pretty amazing and a lot of fun to explore.

I loved the Honesty Bookshop outside Hay Castle where books are shelved out in the open. If you want to buy something you drop payment in the box, 50p for hardcovers, 30p for soft. The books there are pretty grubby and no real treasures to be found but still charming as hell. We checked out numerous stores and found some cool items including a book published in 1853 detailing Henry Layard's excavations of Nineveh. Pretty happy about that one.

On our walk we smelled some amazing food and let our noses lead us into a couple of different establishments before finding the source, a little deli that featured a fabulous stew.
And then we were off again. We reached London just after sunset and if the diversions through Wales were a challenge, trying to get from the M4 to Bloomsbury was just nuts. To make matters even more stressful when we got to the hotel we learned they had cancelled our reservations and not informed us. The hotel was booked full save for the honeymoon suite which the three of us would have to share. They were nice enough to give us the regular room rate though.
Yep, that's a jacuzzi in the corner. Sad that we were too damned tired from the road to use it.

The next day we were out for breakfast at Russell Square and then a signing at Gosh!
We had a few hours to kill before the Forbidden Planet signing so we stopped by the British Museum to see the Japanese Arts exhibit (recommended by the folks at Gosh!) and then hopped on a double decker through chaotic traffic to Harrods for a visit to the food floors. There we grabbed some cheese and bread to nosh in Hyde Park.

The Forbidden Planet signing went really well and I got to meet a lot of great people. From there were rushing out to find the club where Ian would be performing with an improv troop. Thanks to the ongoing jet lag issues I had to leave Vic and Ian there and get back to the hotel to pass out, this time in a smaller room which I was grateful for. The roman columns were a bit intimidating.

The next morning it was out to Heathrow and back home. The shuttle driver was a lovely man who gave us an extensive commentary of the changes happening in London since the formation of the European Union, all the while pointing out the more interesting spots on the elaborate route he took through the side streets of London to bypass traffic: celebrity homes in Notting Hill, the more dangerous areas in the Russian neighbourhoods. He also talked of extended family out in Ontario and how he wasn't sure if he would like the extremes of weather out there.
We were glad we didn't drag all our crap through the tube if only to hear this man's stories.
The flight home was long but comfortable with some spectacular views over Greenland.

Home again and only now re-adjusting to the time difference. I was stuck on a day schedule since about two days ago which has been brutal on the pages. It's weird how totally useless I am trying to draw when it's not dark out, not to mention crashing at ten every night. Made me all squirrely and grumpy and devoid of artistic confidence which hasn't helped with the double page splash.

Now things seem to be getting back to normal. I'll have this very late batch out on Monday with more to follow shortly thereafter. Tomorrow I'll have another look at that splash and decide whether to start over from scratch.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

We're back in the rainy cradle of Vancouver and after sorting through all these pictures from the trip I can continue with the narative.

After the Doctor Who museum we headed over to the Central Pier for a look around. We played some games at the aging amusements, walked to the end of the pier, found a little bowling alley, ten pin with five pin balls. Ian and I played a game. The ferris wheel, dubbed the "Blackpool Eye" made a creepy old whirring noise that sounded like something out of a horror movie soundtrack.
A glance under the pier and the rusting support pillars added to the creep factor but really, I like these sort of places.
It reminded me of growing up in Jersey and the old amusements of Asbury Park. Ian thought it looked a lot like his childhood trips to Hampton Beach. Standing here we realised that places like these were the original template for those old summer playgrounds of ours. It would be a day later, in an an e-mail from Ian's mom that we would learn Ian's dad lived on this very beach as a child. We knew he was from Lancashire but had no idea his parents ran a boarding house for the tourists back in 1949. Amazing. And it totally explained why Ian's family visited Hampton Beach years later, it reminded Ian's father of his own childhood. We'll have to go back someday and hopefully track down that old house.
It was getting near 3pm, time to get back on the road to Cardiff.
On the motorway we saw cows crossing an overpass!
We got in late, found a hotel and the second we pick up the keys to our rooms we turn and see the actor who plays Ianto on Torchwood, Gareth David-Lloyd walk into the lobby and head for the bar. We're in Cardiff all right. The next day we met up with Mike Collins, an artist on the Doctor Who Magazine strip. He was introduced to us via e-mail by fellow DW fanatic Richard Starkings and what a pleasure it was to hang with him and his assistant Bethan!
Mike and Bethan were very kind to give us the tour around Cardiff Bay and some DW/Torchwood shooting sites followed by a visit to his studio.
The fountain at the Wales Millennium Centre was very cool (I got a bit soaked when I stood too close).
The old saying on the Centre is in both English and Welsh. The English says "IN THESE STONES HORIZONS SING" and the neat part is that the welsh part can be said with the english and still make sense. The Centre was playing a musical of Tin Tin which was very tempting. Instead we settled for Ian making up lyrics to ballads about Snowy.
A few steps away and we're at the secret entrance to Torchwood. A gate was put up to keep out the crazier fans but you can still see newspapers from the show covering up the windows.
Psst! David Tennant lives right over there in the condo with the sail on the roof! Of course if you watched the video diaries on the DVD you's already knew that (mwaah!)
A beautiful sculpture paying tribute to the lives of those lost at sea.

We also checked out the local parliament building, the tourist bureau with its large scale map of the city, a Norwegian wooden church, a monument to the doomed expedition to the antarctic and then a fabulous lunch of chicken Tikka and conversation about some of this summer's more dismal offerings from Hollywood.
From there we hiked over to the Red Dragon Centre for yet another Doctor Who Exhibition. This one was a lot of fun with many cool props on display including the TARDIS from the older series. Yay! Mike knew the proprietor and we got the full experience with wristbands and a quiz form to fill out. Loved it! When filling out the guestbook we saw two visitors from Surrey BC had been there that very afternoon! Weird!
Near Mike's studio and we see more familar places.
The 'police station' from Blink. Beware the weeping angels! A block away is the car park where the TARDIS was impounded.
Just outside of Mike's studio is a building where a rather gruesome death was recently shot for the new season of Torchwood. Aparently someone gets tossed off and makes a very messy end of it on the sidewalk.
At the animation studio where Mike and Bethan are based we got to meet several animators and geek out over artwork, and many, many toys and action figures.
Mike also showed off a chocolately find from a trip to Norway he made that weekend.Sketching!
And then our wonderful tour was done. It was an unforgettable day, Mike was a terrific guide and we look forward to returning someday soon.
Next stop, Hay on Wye and then... London!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

We've been going pretty much non stop since Saturday and it's been incredible. The con went really well and we met lots of people including my favourite, a visit from a set of twins who were very intent on the Simpsons comics Ian brought.

Leah Moore and I did a panel about women in comics that was a lot of fun, made all the more interesting by attendees toting pints.

Afterwards I had a lovely conversation with Leah and Brian Talbot at the bar before the sleepiness crept over again and we crashed early. Weird how we turn into morning people everytime we come out to this part of the world, but it's not so bad considering how much we get done during the day while everything is open.

Sunday morning we were up early and in a cab to the ferry. The driver was woefully locationally challenged and after riding about the Temple Bar district in circles he stopped in the middle of Dame street to get directions from another cabbie... while the meter was running! More roundabout routes, more fuming arguments and we made it to the terminal. Whatever frustrations we ran up were quickly dissipated once were onboard. Vic wanted to get outside for a look so we braved the wind and rain for a few pics

We stumbled back inside very pink cheekd, tangled haired and giggling.

At Holyhead things got really interesting when we picked up a rental car for the rest of our trip. Vic had never driven on the left before so it was a bit of learning curve, one we decided to take slow and easy by rounding the Isle of Angsley before getting onto the motorway through the north of Wales. Saw some breathtaking countryside dotted with lots and lots of sheep. It was my job to navigate and help interpret the signage so no pictures taken on this leg of the journey but it's very deeply burned into our memories, no doubt thanks to the occasional bouts of terror. The roundabouts were (and still are) the toughest bits to understand and are surprising when they turn up in the middle of a freeway.

A couple of hours later and we were in Manchester and checking out the Doctor Who exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry. Wonderful geek fest where among the many props on display was the Face of Boe.

We were then back on the road. A look at the map and a side trip to Blackpool looked like fun so off we went. We arrived by sunset just as the streets were lit up. It was a much bigger spectacle than we expected.

As we drove along the strip we started to notice a lot of Doctor Who themed lights lining the streets, backlit images of the cast and different monsters. We had no idea why untile we saw at the Center Pier a huge Doctor Who Exhibition. Well, we just had to check that out. We found a hotel to crash for the night (it was right next to the roller coaster) and the next day we went for a visit.

This exhibit was much better than the Manchester show because the props weren't just from the new series but from the last forty years of Who including of course, Tom Baker's hat and scarf

That and dozens of monster suits, Daleks and even Pertwee's roadster, Bessie made this visit a blast.

More coming up, including the continuation of our Who pilgrimage at the very heart of it all, Cardiff!