Fathers Day and a Long Absence

DaDaycontrast

So its only been… What? 16 months since my last post? *Cringe*

To be frank i’ve been a little busy.

To be honest I’ve been rather lazy when it comes to drawing.

But at least my RSI is kinda behaving, so at least theres that. (Kinda? As long as I don’t stress it out and take lots of breaks and keep a nice steady pace? Can you call that behaving? Maybe managing is a better word, but either way it is nowhere as bad as it was, and that is in some way because of how little drawing i’ve been doing, and that is a reality I’m sadly coming to terms with)

Anyway! Tangent! More interesting things to blog about! Remember that degree in Sydney I said I was about to start in my last post? (a freaking year ago?!) Well, I’m just about to finish it. I only have one more term of my Film degree to go before I can finally take a few months off and learn how to breath again (before moving to Melbourne and getting an actual job in TV Drama). But while breathing, and taking that gap ‘month’ I never really allowed myself, I’m hoping that I’ll find the inspiration and inclination to draw and write again.

When it comes to writing, i’ve been trying to wedge my foot in a new door, as much as I will always settle back into my happy place (fiction, long winded novel style fiction) I’m now broadening my sights and determined to conquer Screenwriting!  Two terms ago I had an inspirational lecturer who nudged me towards this new scary door, and she helped me get back to my roots and reaffirm a few things. I’ve always said that Character and Narrative are the two core elements of everything I adore. But she helped me realise just how well what I love fits into what Im studying. How well it COULD fit if I can get to where I want to get. It was a pretty special term to be honest. Kinda life affirming if I want to sound like a wanker.

I mean, I knew I adored writing, but it was just a thing I did for myself. Lets be serious, the chances of becoming a published author are ridiculous (let alone one who can support themselves on writing. Im a pragmatist, I don’t want to sugar coat anything, and I know the chances of getting into the film industry in Australia of all places is just as bad) but… well. I do love it. And you know what? Im kinda ready to fight for this one.

My lecturer helped me realise that its okay to focus on the not so logical thing, that maybe its time I gave myself the chance to focus on these big scary ‘what ifs’.

FYI? She’s my mentor now.

I’ve been working on this TV show concept that I first started developing in her class, and Its fun. It feels like the idea could have legs, Im enjoying playing in this sandpit and have continued working on it whenever I’ve had the chance…  But maybe thats a topic for another post (thats hopefully not in a YEARS TIME)

(Apparently I’m abusing brackets today. I’d apologise but Im enjoying it too much)

ANYWAY! Look! Up there! A picture! An elusive illustrated product that I’m apparently still capable to creating once every blue moon and Fathers day. These days it literally takes someones birthday or indeed ‘Fathers Day’ in order for me to dig out my wacom and dust off Photoshop. Im kinda ashamed of that, but such is life, and at this point in mine I have a degree to finish and a career to start, and I’m rather enjoying the prospect of both.

I’ve been head down bum up to be crass, but it’s paying off. I’m getting grades I’m damn proud off, Im starting to make industry connections, i’m getting lectures who have written and directed films sending me treatments and scripts and asking for my thoughts and I am damn proud of that too. That TV show concept I mentioned? People are digging it, lecturers and Industry are telling me to keep working on it, and yes its unfortunate that art has taken a back seat these last few years, and I really hope I can find a bit more of a balance that doesn’t put my arm at risk, but for now Im content with the pace I’m setting myself, because I have places to be and things to learn and achieve and write.

In the meantime, heres a beach scene that I drew for my Father for Fathers day, because I adore him and drawings are all this poor student cant offer. I could have happily put a whole bunch more hours into it, but my arm dictated that this was the level I’d be leaving it at. I’m pretty happy with it for now, and my father likes it and thats the main thing.

So I hope this finds you well, oh elusive reader, (who I’d be super amazed by if you’re still around after a year, let alone after all this waffling) and hopefully Ill be around a little more in the coming month, with only one class, a gym membership (how the hell did I talk myself into that one?) and (hopefully, If I can organise it ASAP) an internship to distracted me in the next three months.

So send me creative vibes if you’re out there and have any to spare!

~Jess

(Good to be back)

(For now at least.)

(You thought I was done with the brackets didn’t you?!)

(Someone take them away from me I’m abusing them now)

(Yeah okay time for bed)

(Adios guys!)

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The Avengers are taking over my life

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Hey look! Art! Look at the shiny! It’s not like I’ve been absent for 8 months….

Eugh.

*hangs head in shame*

So let’s start off by stating the obvious- I’ve been so very slack. Busy- but slack. I am a truly lazy blogger. I am ashamed, and I swear I’m gonna try and do better!!! I never even got around to finishing my travel blogging!? So I’m gonna save that catch up for its own blog entry. All I’ll say is good god I’ve been busy.

I got back from the states, and moved straight back to Brisbane for three months and was a municipal liaison for NaNoWriMo for a month organising events for 30+ people while writing 50 000 words towards the first draft of my novel (154k and still going FYI!!!). I then moved back to the Byron Shire and started doing a handful of freelance gigs before I organised my scholarship for my second degree, drove to Sydney, and have now been in Sydney for a week and am about to start said second degree. Now I’m contemplating looking into doing extra work to get some experience on
A film set.

But again, that’s really just a list of excuses, and I’m gonna try and do better and draw more. Because that’s what I started this blog for, and bloody hell, it’s past due now. I love drawing, and I think I kinda forgot that for the last year of so.

I needed a kick up the ass, I needed a deadline so I would actually sit down and put stylus to tablet- so I signed up for the Stony RBB (reverse Big Bang) challenge online, and this is the result! For those not in the know, an RBB is a collaboration challenge, where an artist draws a scene or concept as a prompt, and an author then picks which picture they’d like to create a story around.

There’s also the original Big Bang challenge, which is the opposite. The authors start writing and post a summary of their stories, and then it’s the artists who pick which story they’d like to illustrate. It’s a really fascinating process!

And I had a blast with this one! I worked with the truly lovely Navaan who wrote a fantastic story that I so enjoyed reading! (heads up! It’s a bit risqué!) It was exciting to see where Navaan took the original prompt (the first and second picture) and how that developed into the third picture which I illustrated based on my favourite scene!

Overall, the RBB totally worked, I got three finished pictures out of it after having artists block and absolutely no inclination to sit down and draw for practically a year. So I’ve signed up for the Avengers RBB that will be running in June. Let’s see if I can keep the ball rolling with uni starting up on the 2nd shall we?

Oh god what have I done haha.

But that’s a problem for June.

But back to the pictures! Had a blast focusing on light, composition and mood, and I’ve been enjoying playing around with this painterly style. Also made a point of keeping focus in mind, and trying to guide people’s gaze, I really what to learn more about composition, because I always find myself falling back on the same techniques and tricks, so I think I’ll make that the goal of the next RBB.

So that’s my post for the day- hopefully I’ll be around a touch more often eh? But now I’ve gotta get back to clearing out and backing up my poor struggling laptop- wish me luck!
~Jess

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TOTC: Travel tips, Graduation and one amusing story

The following is a collection of travel shenanigans, snippets of stories and lessons learnt through trial and error. This is also me playing catch up because I’m really bad at keeping this little travel bloglette endeavour up to date. So let’s begins with-

Lessons and Tips:

1. Packing! You know how they say pack your bag and then half it? You know how you kinda shuffle through that pile of clothing which is over flowing from your case- weighing this long sleeve top for that one- removing that fourth pair of pants and that one spare jacket- and you sit back and marvel at how daring you’re being for packing so lightly?

Just half it.

Goddammit- for the love of all things light and easy to zip- just half it– you’ll just end up wearing the same four outfits in different combinations, abusing that one skirt, and then buying a new favourite shirt.

My next trip will be different.

Lesson learnt.

2. You know those stupid half circle pillows? The silly ones that look ridiculous and that I always roll my eyes at. I mean I have a jacket and scarf- I can Macgyver myself a pillow just fine thankyouverymuch.

They’re suddenly not so silly when you’re surrounded by peacefully sleeping dudes and dudettes rocking the travel pillow on a 12 hour flight.

Just bite the bullet and buy one of the stupid things. Swallow your pride and put away the scrunched up jacket.

3. Airport bathroom stalls and luggage. Your giant suitcase WILL fit into those tiny fucking stalls. It’s getting them out that’s the problem- but keep kicking and shoving and opening and closing the door and eventually someone will take pity on you and offer to pull from the other side.

4. Keep some spare clothes in your carry on! You never know when your bags are going to go walkabout or when you’re going to spill something all down your favourite top- and if you go on a flight that gives you one of those little toothpastes and brush kits? Keep it! Hoard those little useful tidbits like they’re gold because you will relish and praise your hoarding tendencies when you can look after yourself and feel human and freshen up when left with nothing but the bag on your back in a foreign city. Experience talking here- also pack a washer!

5. Swiss Army knife.

‘Nuff said.

6. Walmart sells everything.

Everything.

Except for guns, they don’t sell those anymore but for everything else you are golden!

I was sitting there thinking that to get a SIM card I was going to have to find a Horizon or AT&T outlet- maybe an apple store at a stretch but NOPE! Walmart! Seriously- 40 bucks for 30 days- unlimited texts, calls and data.

No but seriously- they sell everything. If you wanted too you’d never have to leave.

Make a note for future Zombie Apocalypse escape plans- might make a great home base.

7. Check your pockets before doing a load of laundry. Check. your .pockets. And while you’re at it check everyone else’s too if you’re sharing a load.
On the day my luggage went on its own trip, I found a stain on my new favourite captain America shirt and my heart broke a little bit as I sat there wracking my brain for what it could have been. It was something oily, dark and evil; that I was sure of. And then it struck me- I saw my friend going through the dry washing basket in my head- fishing out that little tube of chap stick- opening the lid and finding it empty and we both shrugged and kept sorting through the clothes and… And yeah, my poor clothes 😦 my poor favourite dress that I’ve had for six or seven years, my poor favourite skirt, my poor new horribly gloriously ugly supernatural shirt I bought in Vancouver. My poor poor core wardrobe items…)

Yeah so I’m heading to a dry cleaners as soon as I get to Vagas and hoping for a miracle.

… Can chap stick be removed?

Ah fuckit, lesson learnt.

Check your fucking pockets

8. And on a brighter note; backpacks are your friends.

You’d think I’d be saying this about wheely bags, but I promise you- when it comes to carry on luggage- go with a backpack and a purse/handbag combo.

Not only will you look traveler sheik, you’ll also get onto your packed plane sooner. Every time I’m boarding a flight, I’ve been one of the first on the plane after the VIPs/first class wankers (I only say that because I’m jealous) because I have a carry on that fits beneath the seat in front of me. Attendants make the call and I jump the line no matter if I’m seating at the front or the back of the plane.

It’s happened again and again here ( and BOY have I seen a bunch of planes this month!), my flights been completely booked, and those suitcases take up room and- lemme remind you- their really ain’t much room on a plane.

I’ve been watching people flight and race to find space for their cases in the overhead lockers every flight- and every flight the flight attendants have been asking people if they can check those bags instead- because surprise surprise- the can never fit them all- so!

Go with a soft bag that you can shove under the seat in front of you! You’ll be above to get all all your crap easily- and you generally get to sit down and set up before the madding crowd. It’s rad.

Backpacks are cool.

Shenanigans:

1. Let me take you back. All the way back to the last week of August. I was in Vancouver, the convention had finished, I’d left the Sheraton (where I’d been staying during the con) and had just spent one night at the 2400 motel with the crew of friends that I had roomed with in the Sheraton. They were leaving earlier then I was, so I had organised to stay with a second crew of friends that had also booked a room at the 2400, so on the second day I transferred rooms ( all the way across the parking lot- isn’t life hard?) and for a few hours I had a key to each room.

You can tell this is an import factoid can’t you?

I move my stuff- I head back to my first group of friends- say goodbye and thankyou, return their key and head back to my new room.

I put the key in the lock- twist- and it snaps completely in half.

I stand there for a few seconds looking at the stub of metal in my palm and have a moment of realisation- this was was the wrong key- this was also potentially a very expensive fuck up- and it was completely my fault. The length of the key is completely flush with the lock mechanism, I’d be impressed with how neatly this thing had broken if I wasn’t thinking about how much a new lock was going to cost me.

So with a deep breath, a calming uttered oath, I knock on the door and my roommates (thankfully inside and not locked outside with me) open to the door and I get too it. This is the part where I utilise and demonstrate the necessity of ‘Lesson 5’.

I love my swiss army knife to a likely unhealthy degree.

Also I can Macgyver myself out any situation.

These things might not be mutually exclusive.

So I crouch down- fire up the torch app on my phone, bite the corner of my phones rubber case so my phone is dangling in front of me, a makeshift miners light- and using a pair of tweezers and my trusty, fathifthul, amazing, stylish and beautiful Swiss farmy knife, I pry the broken remnants of what was once a key from the lock.

I fall back on my haunches, possibly shaking a slightly- mentally deleting the potential three digit fuck up fee from my head, and take a round of victory photos.

Now all I had to do was tell the motel clerk that I broke their key, and with a perfect rendition of ‘ I just dropped it- I don’t even know how it happened sir! I’m so sorry!’ I get off scot fee.

Yep. Refer and live by ‘Lesson 5’.

‘Nuff said.

Catchup, stories, and snippets.

1. I’ve been drinking my tea black for the past month. This was partly because of necessity ( seriously what is wrong with NORMAL milk? This half and half shit is- in fact- shit, and I want none of it), and partially because on the few occasions I had access to normal, real, tasty milk, it just wasn’t the same or what I wanted and I ended up craving it black and strong and hot.

Not sure how I feel about this development.

2. Also there was a puppy on my flight ( I think between Boston and Dallas?)- I didn’t know that was allowed but ther ya go! I could hear this squeaking and I was so confused, it was just constant and I was looking around for the squeaky wheeled suitcase but Nope! It’s a puppy in a bag. Go figure.

3. My Graduation was on the 30th of August. The ceremony was in Brisbane and… Well, I was in Chicago.

Oops?

In my defence we finished uni in JUNE. And i’d booked this trip A YEAR AGO- but anywho.

It was kind of bitter sweet, I witnessed the event gratuitously through text messages and snippets of video and photos. Seeing my mates in their robes and ridiculously pink slashes and silly hats, I felt a strange mixture of sadness, humour and relief because I do NOT wear hot pink.

But I sat in my room on the other sided of the world, and watched videos of my classmates running around in their robes, of them throwing their hats in the air, of them saying hello to me and being goofballs. I saw photos of how bored they were during the dress rehearsal, I smiled at how they had added my name to their copies of the graduating student list, and it was lovely and strange and I’m sorry I missed it.

And then my class went out and got drunk, because HELLO- graduation.

And amid bouts of radio silence and drunk texts:

.

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And the next day my lectuerer confirmed it and- wow- awkward… When I asked what as said when I wasn’t there to get the award (and again- wow what.)– I was told that I was announced as currently texting a uni mate and ‘somewhere between Vancouver and Chicago’.

I still don’t know what to do with this fact.

4. Another uni/degree/career related thing happened while I was in Chicago! First some context- one of our last assignments was a live brief for a radio station. We had to come up with and pitch a poster campaign for a subscribe-a-thon.

Mine ended up being chosen. My illustration is currently on posters, postcards, radio time guides and newsletters for the station around Brisbane and it’s pretty cool. But what is even cooler is that another radio station saw my stuff, liked it, contacted the original station, got my details, and asked me to illustrate a cover for their station magazine.

So serendipitously, I had access to a cinque Wacom tablet, programs and internet thanks to the lovely mrs Ammo, and so I was able to draw this cover while abroad. Over the next week I tweaked it using my iPad and then my second tumblr pal- Jukeboxheads computer and the fact they came to ME with paid word was kinda fantastically awesomely rad.

Still a little bit chuffed.

5. I bought leather cowboy boots in Texas. This fact needs to be shared with everyone because BOOTS.

6. It came to my attention that I have a leather problem, because I also bought a proper leather jacket while in Vagas. This fact also Ned’s to be shared with everyone because LEATHER JACKET.

And number 7! I have two more posts in the works, one of which is for my trip in Baltimore- which chronologically I should have posted two posts ago after this list is published. I’m currently waiting for my second last flight while in the states- once I get to LA I’m jumping on a jumbo back to AUS- so my travel blogging endeavour’s timeline just turned red, and is currently flashing that me angrily because I’m- as always– a little be slack and a lot behind. So I’m posting this first because it’s completed and I enjoyed writing it- and hopefully over the 5 hour layover in LA, the one hour flight too LA, and my 14 hour flight back to Brisbane, I should be able to finish up this little mission, this TYOTC challenge, and tell you about my time in Baltimore and Las vagas and finally my thoughts on this whole trip- so I post this hoping I’ll be posting again soon- wish me luck! Send good vibes to my luggage!

They’re calling my flight!

So it begins!

~Jess

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TYOTC: Texas- May you live in interesting times

Lemme tell you about Texas
So far Texas has been the definition of that saying ‘ May you Live in Interesting Times’.

I’ll start with the fact that I’ve been in Austin for seven days.

My suitcase however, has only been here for five

Yeah so THAT was fun. When I flew from Boston to Dallas to catch my connecting flight to Austin, my bags decided to take a few days breather. I was pulled aside at the carousel in Dallas and told the good news. There were a few moments when I looked at my carry on luggage and I was struck with that fact that those two bags were potentially all I owned while by myself on the other side of the world…
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So I did the logical thing. Called my insurance (who could do jackshit). Drank. And proceeded to buy a shirt to commemorate the fact that everything is bigger in Texas; including the fuckups.

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But I got to Austin, borrowed pjs from my most amazing tumblr mate, and then the next day my suitcase was delivered and everything was beautiful in the world.

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So this was day two!

Day three started with a classic American ‘Mall’ experience and the acquisition of another captain America shirt, it’s a 37 degree day and my mate and I are driving back to hers during peak hour, we’re idling at a red light when BANG! Steams billowing from under the hood- water gushing from under the car; the light turns green, we’re at the front of the que and we just look at each other and jump out of the car and start pushing. I’m laughing at how ridiculous this all is- pushing this car in a flowy floral dress and slip on heeled sandals- but if there’s one thing that I’ve learnt again and again on this trip- it’s that people are awesome.

No less then five people start helping us straight away- a dude in a huge white truck pulls up beside us, winds down his window and tells us he’ll drive beside us and stop traffic from coming from his side- two guys in a green car say they’ll meet us at the parking lot we’re making a bunt for and have a look under the hood- the car behind us winds down his window and tells us to get back into the car and proceeds to push us with his car towards the parking lot.

We park, we check the hood, the two guys have a look and offer suggestions but my mate knows her car; and we top up the water and check for cracks or bursts pipes but we seem all good. So we sit in the car, laugh at the situation, take selfies, and wait for the car to cool down, while a steady trickle of people come over and offer help and make sure we’re okay.

An hour later the temperature gage finally drops so we make a runner.

Two more red lights and that little gage is going red again. We race for the next exit, we stop, we pop the hood and wait it out, an hour and a half later we make another dash for home.

Can you guess where this is going?

We are this close to home- maybe a k away- and Jimmy, brave little battle axe of a car that he is, stops without even a splutter of a wince.

We are dead in the water, the engine will whine but refuses to turn over- and once again we are right at the front of the cue for the intersection onto the highway. We through the hazards on, discover one back blinker isn’t working, and start waving cars around us as we check for damage- we can’t see anything- but the fuel gage is busted so maybe we’re out of ‘gas’? It’s as good a plan as any- and when a lovely women pulls over and offers us a lift to the petrol station my mate hops in and I stay to guide traffic.

15 minuets, six more offers of help, and a jerry can of petrol later and no dice.

We admit defeat, put up a literal white flag (towel), call a tow and play the waiting game.

And then we look up.

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To add insult to injury this motherfucking storm cel, about a car (our car) wide, is heading straight for us. I mean there was even a rainbow at one point! It was ridiculous- It was glorious- it was hilarious and I couldn’t stop laughing. The view was stunning- a sunset and a stormy overcast sky, and then the sky opened up above us- the last joke of the day- and these fat raindrops start drumming against Jimmy’s roof.

We get drenched.

Our tow arrives (after getting lost and missing us twice)- the car’s hitched and insurance covers the ride and we finally get home with our well deserved spoils. The movie we’d booked tickets for that morning was out of the question- so we watch a B-horror movie (Slither) and finish off the evening with pie and ice cream instead.

It was truly glorious.

That panorama of the storm is my favourite photo from this trip so far.

Texas has been a blast, I wish life could always be the interesting.

P.s I have spent the last three days trying to publish this post. My techno juju has reached new levels of painful. The WordPress app hates a me.

P.p.s Missed check in for my flight back from Austin to Dallas-was so damn lucky to be bumped to a later flight- you got the last laugh THIS time Texas, I’ll give you that… But Goddam the juju here is STRONG. Bring on Phoenix and Vagas!

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TYOTC: Chicago, Detroit and how Tumblr made it possible.

I’d like to tell you a story about a fangirl. A fangirl who finally has a few empty hours to catch up with blogging while on a flight from Chicago to Boston. Or rather did– got most of this penned out on the flight- and now I’m finally sitting down in Baltimore adding the finishing touches (two days after- oops).

Anywho! Our story begins a few days before New Year’s Eve- when I somehow found myself with a tumblr account.

I didn’t know what it was, and I still can’t figure out exactly how I got there, but all I knew was that there was a ton of nifty fanart there and hey look! Funny cats!

It was a website full of eye candy, of art and stories and music, of articles and quotes and tutorials, and it sucked me in and chewed up my time and it was as glorious as it as addictive. And through it I discovered the power of fandom. This great creative mixing pot of writers and novelists and enthusiasts, coming together, clashing and bouncing off each other like atoms- fuelling the fire and every other metaphor and cliche. Fandom means loving something unabashedly-wanting to learn more- look deeper- enjoy these stories, these shows, these movies, these comics and bands- and we fuck being quiet about it.

And thus a tumblr addict was born, and as I was scrolling through my dash one day, I stumbled upon a link to a livestream. One of my favourite fan artists was drawing and chatting to people and I couldn’t resist- I’d loved her stuff for ages, back from when I was on deviant art, and so I clicked the link.

We started talking, there was a whole crew of artists already there from all over the world and we all loved supernatural and we all loved art. We talked and talked and talked, we enjoyed ourselves and ended up planing to meet up in a new live stream the next day.

As the weeks went by we switched it up- we kept drawing together, but we took turns on who hosted the stream, we helped each other and started talking about things outside fandom and art. We swapped Skype names and just kept talking and somewhere along the way we became the ‘Huggers’.

So that’s the backstory.

The awesome part is that it’s two years later, and I’m now on a ‘Huggers World Tour’.

I met ‘Ammosart’ first up, and it was perfect because she was the one who started that first stream, she was the founder of the Huggers, and I still cant quite get over the fact that I just had the pleasure of hanging out with Mrs Ammo in Chicago for the past 11 days. It has been surreal and fantastic.

We had a Marvel movie marathon, we played co-op Uncharted and I went from dizzy and lost- fighting with the in game camera controls- to preferring the t-bolt dragon rifle and unlocking the sniper boosts over a few days. We drew together and read comics together, her cats shed on me, Boss Ammo cooked amazing food, Mr Ammo made sure I tried all of his favourite local treats. Leaving Chicago was horrible.

Staying in Chicago was wonderful.

I’ve been bombarded by classic American foods, ( HORCHATA! Oh Horchata, I already miss your deliciousness- this drink was something else. A Mexican creation of rice milk, cinnamon, sugar and some secret ingredient I’m sure- I suspect rose water but am likely entirely wrong- either way- this drink was divine and it was cruel being introduced to it when it doesn’t exists in Auz)

Hmmm.

Where was I? ah yes! listing the wonders of Chicago! I’ve seen brands that only exist to me on tv screens, I was taken to comic book stores, I tried amazing strawberry ice cream, true Chicagan deep-dish pizza, these amazing deep fried little button mushroom things, Chicagan cheese and caramel popcorn, I saw a mariachi band, the mirrored bean, sears tower, experienced a Chicagan taxi ride ( quickest I’ve ever had if you get my drift- sheesh!), ate breakfast hash in a proper diner, I saw popup Halloween costume shops and indulged in my adoration of Captain America ( I got a truly horrifying awesome/tacky mask)- I finally got my hands on my the captain America shirt that I have been wishing for and wanting for the past four months- gah what can I say?

That week was full of awesome new things and awesome people.

On top of all that ( and all the things I know I’ve missed and am saving for anther post) I was given the royal local guided tour-topped off by a trip to Detroit curtsey of Mr Ammo for a baseball game.

Now that was an experience in and of itself.

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I don’t think any of my descriptions of Detroit could do it justice- it is so different and worn and proudly beautiful- I took gigs worth of photos as we drove around, from second hand bookshops to abandoned railway kingdoms, the city is stubborn and static and full of momentum and contradictions and stunning architecture.

I could blather on for pages more so let me cut to the chase- this would be a very different trip if it wasn’t for the Huggers.

~Jess

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TOTC: People are awesome/ I’m a bad blogger/ I miss you Canada!/ Hello Chicago!

I’ve been a bad blogger but Vancouver hand me firm in her vixen grasp! It was too perfect, too lovley, and I couldn’t drag myself away from it to sit down and write aboute it ( exhaustion played a part in this too) but two days ago I left that fantastic city- and so I have finally found the time to share my travel splendours with you from Chicago!

So first- THE CON!

THE CON HAS COME- THE CON HAS GONE! it was a wirlwind of excitment and shrill fandom shrieks that could not be interupted by blogging or sleeping despite how much sleep was indeed needed. Goddam How do I start explaining salute to supernatural in Vancouver?

This had to be the most fangirlarific three (technically four) days of my life! And BOY was I glad that I bought gold tickets!

Having a gold pass made this con not only fantastic but EASY and QUICK! I was in the seconddoddamrow- my view could make paparazzi weep, and the icing (salt?) on this delightful supernatural themed cake?

Autographs and photos were done row by row-

Can I have a booyah? Or maybe 10- one for each free autograph included in the gold ticket.

The guests were just so fascinating and hilarious and plentiful- it seems cheap now to try and explain how much fun I had. I didn’t stop smiling, I didn’t stop laughing, i asked question upon question to writers, producers, location scouts and people working in special affects, I babbled with people from Japan and Germany and the fact we spoke different languages never even came up. How can I explain the vibe of this room to you? The vibe of this whole event? The 800 plus fans gathered together, the instant friends and allies made while waiting in lines to the vendors room or by leaning over an isle between panels. We were People from all over the world sharing the exact same glee, excitement and enthusiasm for a single thing and the room was electric with it.

I’m not doing the con justice. So I’m going to stop and move on, maybe ill find the words later but for now- CANADA!

so only nine days in to my trip, and the first thing that I leant (apart from the fact Canadians tip),was that people are awesome. People can be kind, they can be helpful, and they can be terribly terribly sweet. This was reinforced to me again and again.

My faith in humanity grew with every passing day.

From something as simple as being pointed in the right direction in the street, to the extravagant generosity of two perfect strangers, every moment of Canada was beautiful.

I had a sweet motel manager share her tea with me, my roommates ( whom I’d met online, last month, and never met in person) offer to look after and re-check my luggage as we changed hotels while I was off galavanting across the country on a locations tour, I’ve had taxi drivers turn off their meters as I ran into my motel room to stow away my iPad and collect my portfolios before turning it back on and taking us to the SFX gathering at a local pub, I’ve had another taxi driver write me a list of things I had to do and places I had to see while in Canada, I’ve had shop attendants be ridiculously patient with me as I figured out money and found the right coins.

And then I went to Stanley Park.

Let me set the scene.

The 28th was my last chance to do anything touristy while in Canada after the convention. I got up at 8, packed my bag, made a cup of tea with the motel manager and wandered off, a vague destination in mind with an even vaguer plot of how to get there. I had a 1 dollar off coupon for the aquarium.

It was as good a plan as any, and I love jellyfish. Win win.

I find the train, I enjoy the scenery, locals nod at me and remind me of the right stop, I get to Burrard and emerge from the underground tunnel system into the bustling city and the stunning weather.

Im in no rush, I peruse the maps, spot a family who look as befuddled as me by the different bus bays ( bus 19! – but where the hell do I catch bus 19 from? ) and offer them what lean knowledge I’ve figured out.

There’s an 8 year old girl who is adorable, we babble and the family and I join forces for our quest for the bus- we talk and talk and talk and make fun of each others accents- they’re from Nova Scotia, she’s traveling with her aunt and uncle because her parents are working in the police force and can’t join them today, we arrive at Stanley Park and her aunt takes me aside.

‘We’d love to buy your aquarium ticket’ she says and I’m floored- why? She nods to the girl who is bouncing around with her cousins and brother- ‘she was all frowns before you showed up’.

So we exchange cards and hugs and thankyous, and I end up exploring the aquarium for free.

The jellyfish are wonderful.

I watch the sealion show, I get front row seats at the penguin walk, and suddenly I’m in the splash zone of the beluga whale show. I lean over to my neighbour and her granddaughter and tell her how ‘I think we’re about to get wet’.

We start talking. She shares her raincoat with me and we avoid the sodden fate of the people surrounding us. She’s a kiwi, her granddaughter is the most angelic thing I’ve ever seen ( picture a blond Boo from monsters inc with more giggles and a broader smile) and she’s a local.

I ask her what else I should see in Stanley Park, and she asks if I have a car- I tell her how I’m playing the public transport game and she offers to drive me around- are you sure?!- all I’m doing today is looking after my granddaughter.

We go exploring- we talk and talk and talk and I snap photos- she asks if I’ve been to Mt Glouse and before I can admit I don’t know where it is she’s turning onto the freeway and taking me there.
She buys my ticket for the caboose up this STUNNING mountain- through cloud- past white wolves- we see the ‘teddy bears’ with her gradughter, we watch a lumberjack show, we watch a raptor show, I’m struck speechless from the view.

Speechless. Utterly speechless. I think I just kept gasping wow as we zipped up the side of this mountain- swaying back and forth as I run around the compartment- trying to see from every aspect- lakes emerging in the creases between mountains that were hidden just a moment before by clouds that cruise about below us. Gigabytes of photos are taken, I’ve never seen that type of greenery before- old forests. Such giant ancient trees- and then we’re at the top. ‘It’s a ski slope in winter’, she tells me as we walk by log cabbins, wild fucking lavender about our ankles. It dosnt look real- Vancouver’s CBD is tiny and blue and dull and toylike in the distance- the ocean spotted with tankers and cargo ships beyond it and it was magic.

We stayed there for hours, always taking, never a dull or awkward moment, we talked about careers and families and divorces and Australia and New Zealand and travel and pottery and I spluttered a thousand thankyous. She smiled and shook her head- admitting she welcomed the excuse from the divorce and meeting with her lawyers that she had the next day, and how she wanted to do this with her granddaughter anyway.

She finally lets me buy her a coffee and little well-behaved ‘Boo’ a blueberry muffin, and after snagging some postcards we zip back down the mountain and I’m down another gig of memory on my phone.

She drives me home, her daughters place not far from my motel, and I wish her all the luck in the world for her appointment with her lawyers today.

I’ve never meet someone so kind.

She made my Canada trip.

It’s all left me a little stunned, how surreal this trip has been, and now I’m currently in Chicago and the next leg of this marathon is underway.

But while getting to Chicago- it happened again.

Scene:

The flight attendant walks up and down the isle with tea and snacks; I grab my black tea, and she offered me chips or cookies. I ask if either is gluten free, neither are, and that’s that and I sit back and enjoy my tea with a ‘ all good, thank you anyway!’. An hour and a half later she does her second round- I happily collect my fresh cuppa tea and then she asks- ‘ gluten free right?’, and proceeds to dig through her cart and offer me a packet of popcorn chips that are usually only for purchase- ‘ sorry I couldn’t offer you a snack before’ she says before moving on.

I think its the little things (as much as the grand things) that have left me smiling like a loon ( or should i say a looney?) I can’t quite believe how kind people can be-

Im realising how very lucky I am to be on this trip

And now here I am a day into Chicago- staying with truly wonderful people- about to go to a baseball game in Detroit! This has been a fucking magical 12 days!

~Jess

P.s Last night my class graduated! I lay in bed- a mate texting me photo after photo of my class in their robes and hats- and experienced the event from Hester backwards and upside down. I watched clips of my friends throwing their caps into the air, and laughed over the fact one mate had to stand on a stool to be seen in the official photo. I was informed I had graduated with honours, and that I was ‘Student of the year’. Both of these were a touch of a suprise, and the second part I still don’t quiet believe and I had a photo of the certificate from my head lecturer!

So that happened?

Lets see what the rest of the month has up its sleeve!

P.P.S I couldn’t decide on one title so I used all four.

P.P.P. S It’s Father’s Day tomorrow and I just need to restate how much I adore my father and how I am the luckiest person alive to call him mine- this is a salute to the view from the gondola as I made my way up Mt Glouse and it was created using my gorgeous friends astounding Cintiq tablet for my Daddy Dearest who I cannot hug in person. Love ya Da!!!!!

So thank you and goodnight!

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TYOTC: Tips on Tips please?

So today I was told that Canadians tip. This is three days after arriving in Vancouver- cringe! I’m sorry! I’m Aussie and the whole concept of tipping is so damn foreign- in every sense of the word. So tonight I tipped handsomely to make up for my guilt- but I really think I need someone to hold my hand because it was so damn awkward saying “oh that twenty’s for the meal- this handful of change is your tip’.

I don’t think I did it right- but can I just keep the training wheels on for now? Because later on I was told that they don’t tip!? Conflicting information! Problem!

Eugh- ah well- the sushi is just so damn good!

BUT THE CON! Day one of the con is down! I have an UTTERLY FANTASTIC seat in the second row- and everyone is fantastic and karaoke was a BLAST- but I have a 9:55am panel I want to see and a cocktail party to go to tomorrow night and its 2.57am and I’m still not quite over my jetlag and there’s so much to tell ( can’t you tell from this on-running sentence?) so I’m going to save ‘Day One’ for its own post which I will hopefully put together in the morning! So g’night! Wish me luck with my get lag and sleep!

~Jess

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TYOTC: food zones

Ya know- apart from the time travel- I have to say the thing that’s messing me around the most are the food zones- seriously forget timezones- I can catch up to those eventually with sleep- but eating!?

I have no idea if I’m meant to be eating breakfast, dinner, or if I’m meant to be sleeping- my body cant decide- so far I’ve just been eating nuts and muesli bars- never quite hungry but never quite satisfied either.

And then I discovered how cheap the sushi is in Canada.

So. Much. Sushi. I’vs pretty much decided to live on it for the next 6 days.

It’s been a very agreeable plan thus far.

But blah blah food and sleep- the boring norms of a wandering jet-lagged tourist- let’s talk about Vancouver!

It’s beautiful. Just full stop- beautiful is the word to use for this city- the architecture and the people- it’s just lovely! They have electric buses, rainbow zebra crossings, and silly two dollar coins that have two coins inside it- I keep overpaying people because Australians are a logical sort- our two dollar coins are the same size as our five cent pieces but thicker. Our one dollar coins are larger- because logic?

Eh- either way I keep getting the twos and ones mixed up because I’m a special sort.

Also I went location hunting today! My roommates and I drove to Fort Langley and it was just so darling. Picture a stereotypical small Canadian two- are you picturing it? Little painted houses- tree lined streets- rivers and little diners and classic wooden churches. Are you picturing it? Now times it by two and thats Fort Langley. Quaint, green, friendly and cliche in a adorably cute way- this little town was just so pretty. We found five different locations from supernatural there and I took… Well a lets just say a few photos.

Tomorrow is the convention- so I’m gonna keep this short for now- maybe edit in the morning- being awake and conscious and maybe even possibly lucid sounds like a good plan!

So bring on the con! (And more agadashi tofu!)

~Jess

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TYOTC: BNE to LAX

So I’m apparently a massive sook.

Little hitched breaths, red face, the whole shebang- I’m a sentimental sap and I almost missed my plane but ya know what?

That was stressful as all fuck- but I’m currently over the Pacific Ocean.

5am start- tea and clothes and locks clicked into place. Hugs and goodbyes and another hug for safe measure and my mother and I are off and driving to Brisbane.

Cue ridiculous traffic.

That had to be the most stressful 12.9k of my life as we crawled up the highway and i watched the google maps ETA tick later and later and my flight click closer and closer.

Lets just say there was a lot of deep breathing going on in that car.

But we got to the airport! With a smidgeon of spare time sprinkled into the mix of panic and stress. luggage was checked, a pot of tea shared, and then I was off- approaching the departure lounge- released like a dove at a magic show ( that is to say confused and frantic and experimenting with the reality of spreading its wings).

I blink a few times, eyes itching, and DING DING DING- can we have a delayed reaction! Why yes, yes we can- just take away my moisturiser for being 50ml over the limit and we have tears!

Nice healthy tears, real emotions- aren’t they swell?

… I like being a Vulcan better.

Ah well, I recon I got through security twice as quick as anyone else because the guy didn’t know how to handle a leaking face.

Probably worked in my favour, the flight crew even looked contrite as I ran past them- the final boarding call echoing about gate 86- fumbling for passports and boarding passes (because I had to buy new moisturiser- got 12 hours of aircon to sit through and I plan on looking like a grape instead of a rasin for as long as I can thankyouverymuch).

And then I’m walking through this beast of a plane- arms filled with important documents, phones and chargers- and then I sit down.

The stress fades and the excitement grows and lunch and two rounds of tea are delivered. Tea solves all sins, and scraped knees, and broken hearts and frazzled nerves. Tea is a gift to the world and should be recognised as much.

From here I’d like to share a scattering of moments and factoids about the flight-

*A note about my mystery vego meal- a garden salad with its single cherry tomato- cookies to be saved for later- and one unlabelled warm meal. Annnnnnddd behind foil wrapper number one *drumroll please*- we have pasta! Let the gluten begin!)

*Three hours later- an update-
Gluten is bad and my stomach hates me.

*Five hours later-
A jog around the plane and a gab with the lovely ladies doing squats and exercises at the back of the plane later- and my stomachs decided to behave.
As have my emotions might I add, stress is not my friend and we tend to avoid each other- but on the bright side I can tell you that my mascara has passed the test! (Thanks again Georgia!)

*7 hours to Los Angeles, and we’ve crossed the equator and its night time.4:32 local time and its pitch black- but the SUNSET- the sunset was stunning- clouds edged with red and bright orange- gold- the whole horizon glowing with it- and I’m looking down- this is how a sunset is meat to be witnessed.

*Mango Weis bars for desert!

*I have a window seat, and the centre seat beside me is empty. I have the most delightful leg space.

*Its finally clicked how jet lag can be a problem, because its all kinds of dark and night time but its only actually 4 o’clock?. Also HOW DO YOU FOOD? They just keep giving me food! It’s both glorious and confusing because my poor stomach can’t figure out what’s lunch and what’s dinner. Ended up eating lunch (the dreaded pasta) and then just having my gluten free biscuit for dinner instead of the sandwich thing they offed that I couldn’t quite identify (I think it was pumpkin?)- then breakfast for dinner with an omelette! Then lunch gluten free biscuits for desert 🙂

*It’s a full moon! Do you know how rad it is to fly over the pacific under the soft glow of a FULL MOON? I just can’t get over the view- it’s beautiful.

*THEY’VE BEEN SERVING DHILMA TEA THE WHOLE FLIGHT I AM SO HAPPY

*All the food is free!

Now I’m in LAX- I have 40 mins of free net and 5 hours to burn. problem. But such is life- I’m going to post this as is and check my emails! Connecting flight to Vancouver is at 2- apparently all flights are completely full! This should be fun…

Check ya in Canada!
~Jess

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TYOTC: 5, 4, 3, 2-

I woke up today panicking.

I discovered it’s really not a nice way to wake up.

I lay there, stomach in knots, staring at the wall as my brain ticked into overdrive. I hadn’t packed, I still had to unlock my phone and hope that It worked, I still had odds and ends to sort out and collect, and the reality of what I was about to do all by myself had slowly started to trickle into my head. See, i’m an expert at deflecting, denying, and all manner of ‘Winging it’.

but It seems my casual attitude had started to crack.

‘Meh, it’ll be fine’ could be my anthem. The song of my people- but the family saying is ‘Where theres a will there’s a Wheatley’… and you know what? I like it. I’m a touch stubborn on occasion, a touch forceful, a touch dertermined, and maybe just a bit touched in the head, but this plan, This Year Of the Con is a-go in T-minus -oh fuck, not that many minutes AT ALL- It’ll be starting.

Hmmm.

…I have to come clean, the other family saying is ‘If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance baffle them with bullshit’.

I tend to live by both credos, and at this moment both seem highly appropriate.

So I’ve loaded my ipad with movies, Everything’s plugged in and charging, copies of documents are safe in pockets, passports are within site, my bag is plump but easily zipped at 18/19 KG, and all I have to do is sleep.

And then came the calm after the storm as I sat in bed, good ‘ol reality squeezing itself into the silence and spare room in my head and my bags, ‘Did you forget that?’ ‘Will you have enough money?’ ‘What if your bags don’t get to the right airport?’- on and on and on my evil brain went. No actual packing to distract myself this time.

My phone buzzed.

A fantastic friend, ready with a dose of ACTUAL reality, not the disaster movie i’m perfecting in my head, pops up on the little screen. Perfectly timed, tricks and tips and pep talks start clogging up the chat. We’re talking time travel, planes traveling faster then the speed of sound while racing over oceans towards new continents- gadgets and gizmos and fist bumps.

We’re talking about the OTHER.

SIDE.

OF.

THE.

WORLD.

you know what -Fuck worrying.

I may not be able to find the shirt I wanted to wear, but tomorrow Im going to America.

~Jess

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