Sunday, December 23, 2007

Parting is such sweet sorrow...

I can't believe its over, I leave tomorrow, I really do feel like I just arrived! Thanks to those that read every day and stuck to it (I may be speaking to only one person but...meh!)

Today happened fairly slowly I woke up from a touch and go sleep and freaking out before remembering I had my haircut (It felt like it was all gone) I stumbled downstairs for breakfast. Enjoying my Zinnabon and fresh OJ over Scooby Doo I then headed back up feeling full to attempt to stuff my suitcase...mild success...I think I may have broken something though, I guess I'll find out when I get back

Feeling satisfied I decided it was time to head into UC for some lunch and drinks. After yoghurt and a long drawing session at Cha I headed back paying my video fees along the way. Once home I crashed on the couch and didn't wake up for the next 2 and a half hours, maybe my bodies preparing for the time change ; p

I decided I'd hit the gym for a little while were I bumped into MIke from art and after having a chat and spotting him as he did some weights I left to get make some dinner. More leftovers (boring) I ate quickly, then sipping a Chai tea I flicked through channels watching bits and pieces of Shrek, Miss Congeniality, The grinch who stole christmas and a few other embarrasingly lame christmas specials.

After a while I decided I'd try and sell the hairdressing voucher I bought at the beginning of the quarter. After peddling for half and hour or so, being refused access into houses, and given lots of weirs looks, I finally came accross some one who was willing to buy it for $40...better than nothing : )

Now I'm chilling in the room doin nothin!

Kinda bored actually, I think this may be my last entry in America, the next will be from my room in Sydney!
Thanks again for sticking with it

I will keep going blog wise but it will be on a different page, If you want to keep up to date with my drawings and whats happening with my final year at Uni I welcome you to join me, stay tuned for the link

Until next time

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A new (short) do : )

It began late as I blissfully lay in bed knowing I had nothing to do and nowhere to be. I finally relented at 9 and slipped out of bed into my uggs and downstairs for brecci. Browsing the fridge and trying to get rid of the last of my groceries I had a variety of different foods smooshed together in a bowl then feeling a little sick and vowing never to put that combination together again I trudged upstairs to sort out my room.

As most things didn’t open till later that day I figured I’d take everything I owned and put it on Sanda’s bed as she was already packed and gone. After an hour of heaving, placing, sorting and folding I packed what I could in the box sent to me earlier this quarter and gathering together some things for the day I made my way down to the office to complete my second errand for the day – moving out.

Unfortunately they told me I had to move out then and there, so after signing a few documents and handing over my key I quickly popped back up to the dorm to make sure people would be there this afternoon to let me in. (Thank god Reiko is leaving on the 28th!) Saying goodbye and thank you to Rani, even if I was a little miffed about being forced out on the day (you think they’d let me keep the keys and put it in a drop box – anyway) I left then for the University Centre to mail the 20pound box I had lug all the way there!!!

After grabbing a yoghurt and discussing with the ladies in the post office how much I could take on the plane we agreed it would be a better idea to take the box with me (saved me $95) So grabbing a seat in Cha and ordering some lunch and a drink I sat and drew for the next few hours.

Mid afternoon I decided to head back, crossing my fingers someone would be there to let me in. It was a long walk, almost keeling over half way due to the giant box I had to lug all the way back! I’ve never come that close to just giving up, seriously I got three quarters of the way there and really considered just leaving it on the sidewalk. Luckily it has all my drawings in it (the only reason I didn’t)

Shaking and close to crying I finally made it home to a locked door and empty house, letting out a small silent scream I was determined to get in so putting down my things I walked up the side stairs and began banging like a mad women on the door, finally hearing the sound of rustling and mumbling I called out for Johnny, “Lesley is that you” Thankfully he let me in and I could relax.

Later that afternoon I met Johnny, Reiko and a friend downstairs to make rice balls and chat, then after a dinner of salad and using the left over rice in a stir fry (I cut the veggies) I left them to continue drawing. Finishing waving to Sanda disappearing in the distance after a teary final goodbye, I went to the gym to distract myself. It was pretty quite and deadly cold when I left to go back. That night I couldn’t sleep, finally falling into a light doze at 4am.

I awoke at 7 and unable to fall asleep again I had some breakfast and took my computer and sketchbook to the markets. The Day was spent browsing the markets, drawing in Cha, Shopping at Fashion Island were I had my hair done and bumped into Brisa who took me to South Coast Plaza. It was here I bought a few things from Gap, transferring funds into my account using the internet from a really nice lady trying to get people to buy the Disney channel. Then catching a cab home and managing to get the guy to give me a flat rate of $30 I grabbed some yoghurt from Golden Spoon and headed home. One more day to go : (

Friday, December 21, 2007

Comming soon
please read the last couple of days bellow! (updated today)

Brace yourselves!

Ok I’m back, sorry about the delay in the last few posts, I also apologise for the exceptionally long entry you must now endure because of it, I would skip over details but unfortunately its details that make the last few days so incredibly cool!!

Ok. I shall try my best to remember, hang in there and here we go

A date with DESTINY!

I woke up to the sound of my muffled alarm clock crying for attention under my pillow, I got up easily having slept ok the night before, despite the creakiness of the bed and questionable cleanliness of the doona. The sheets were handed to me washed though and those had been the ones wrapped around my face all night - phew – very slowly I made my way of the bed and around the dark room, feeling for clothes and toiletries, then careful not to the wake the gaggle of Italian girls sharing the room I slipped outside and changed in the bathroom, fully awake as my bare feet touched the freezing tiles of the toilet.

Once dressed I made my way down the purple stairs following the signs to “free pancakes” and the sounds of clinking plates. It was here I found portable stoves, jugs of pancake mix and other cooking utensils, it was fend for yourself. Chowing down on a second attempt, disguising the partially uncooked batter with two packets of berry jam I grabbed my bag and sketchbook, and walked into the cold, my fingers crossed that it wouldn’t rain!

I walked the familiar route to Market street and after finding out were the bus stopped, I enjoyed a tub of yoghurt whilst listening to the Sweeny Tod Soundtrack in Virgin (only store open). The bus arrived right in time, and eager to get out of the cold I quickly jumped on finding a seat in the front with a great view. The bus was more a coach and we travelled around the wharf picking up a few extra passengers, finding out the history behind some monuments then it was of to Emeryville.

Once there I bought a ticket for that afternoon and with my heart beating faster I began the walk to PIXAR. It was a little longer than I thought and wasn’t were I thought it would be, as I continued nervously up the street I finally asked a guy on his way home from shopping who told me I was looking at it – “the entrance is on the other side” it was then that I say the bold brass letters of pixar peeking out over the hedges and I half skipped half ran around the block (stopping for chocolates for Paul on the way).

As I came round the corner I saw it, the entrance, it seemed to glow despite the sombre clouds stretching in over the horizon making it seem like 4:30 in the afternoon. My heart feeling like it would explode out of my chest and get there before I would I cautiously approached the security gates.

“H..Hello, um, my names Lesley, I’m here to see Paul Topolos”
Guard: (his pixar name bag shining) Allrighty Lesley, let me just see if your on the list
I waited nervously holding onto the window as if I would keel over at any moment
Guard: (talking on the phone) yep, a Lesley, to see – sorry who was it again?
Um, Paul Topolos, he’s a mat painter (as if that matters)
Guard: Paul Topolos, oh ok, yep will do
I started shaking, assuming Paul had forgotten, and they’d escort me of the premises, I began looking around for security guards
Guard: Allrighty Lesley, heres your visitors badge, just put that on your top, go through the doors on the left and sign in at reception

I couldn’t believe it, I was in! I don’t think I even said thankyou I was so shocked, dazed I walked over to the gate and heard the buzz as he let me through. My senses suddenly skyrocketed as though I had been hit with toxic waste and I was strangely aware of the new shining visitors badge crinkle slightly as my jumper creased with my shifting weight. My legs felt like jelly and with eyes literally bugging out of my head trying to take it all in I took as many photos as I could.

I arrived at the giant glass doors and caught my reflection, I was so delirious I think I sawt it smile at me nodding encouragingly for me to go through, taking a deep breath I pushed the doors open immediately getting a view of the entire atrium, like the opening to Monsters Incorporated, I saw people bustling about with sketches, ideas and purpose. The entire hall was buzzing, to the left was Mike and Sully pushing me forward and to the right a nice sitting area surrounded with Ratatouille merchandise.

I walked over to the reception desk and was greeted by a smiling employee, hello there, who are you here to see today? “Paul Topolos” I gushed, unable to keep my enthusiasm from spilling out. Just as she was about to page him she saw him walk down the stairs and beckoned him over. I turned to see him saying goodbye to a friend and shyly made my way towards him.

All of a sudden I was being embraced in a warm hug “Hi Lesley, wow you’re so courageous for making it here by yourself, can I get you anything? Tea, coffee, snacks?” I almost choked on my saliva, and mouth open simply handed him the chocolates “these are for you” I managed to pipe up “Wow thanks, ooh these are nice ones, are you sure you don’t want anything, I’m getting a coffee” I managed to agree that a water would be great and followed him to the canteen (more like a really nice cafĂ©) After grabbing water and slowly finding my voice again I searched desperately for my personality. Fortunately with Paul it wasn’t hard to do.

Soon later we were merrily chatting away as he showed me around the atrium and upstairs galleries, (all Ratatouille themed), warning me he had to slip away for half an hour or so at 11:30 for a meeting. After finishing with the Bud Lucky gallery and few more rat machetes he apologised for having to go and said I was welcome to keep looking (as long as I stayed on the wood) or chill in the atrium till he came back. I did both, peeking in all the offices along the hallways and smiling like an idiot as I watched everyone zip by on scooters.

Having some more time to kill after my second sweep of the galleries I found a nice spot near the games area to draw, complimented by a few people as they walked past. “Wow Lesley are these yours” Paul had come back early and brought some friends, after shouting me lunch I sat down with all the guys as they flipped through my art book, eating and discussing the business, thankfully I had a bit to contribute!

I couldn’t believe it I was sitting with some of the most important people in the company discussing my opinion on the industry! Making them laugh at a few of my crazy stories while I’ve been here.

All too soon it was time for them to get going (although they waited for me to finish eating!) and telling Paul I had met Andrew Gordon (an animator I was instructed under in Sydney) who had told me to stick around and wait I thanked him again for everything and continued drawing while I waited. After a little while (and an introduction with a few more important people as well as a sneak into a small room with famous signatures all over the wall) I was escorted into the animation department to see Andrew. It was CRAZY the place was beyond what I ever imagined, I went from rainforest to Indian temples, Outhouses, boards of drawings and caricatures, then it was in to Andrews office.

He still had a fair bit of work to do, so assuring him I could wait I escorted myself out (taking the long way) and continued drawing outside. What seemed like 2 minutes later (actually 2 hours or so) I heard “Wow, what are you up to” he had come out to meet me and was taking a look at some of my drawings, “what year are you in?” he asked surprised, after telling him his interest seemed to increase and he took me back into his office.

His mind was obviously somewhere else as he vaguely went over what he’d been up to (mind, he could have described the toilet and I would have been happy). Then regrettably having to get back to work (He’s head of animation on the new short so he’s crazy busy) he showed me his secret casino (lift the head of a statue and press the button in its neck – the bookcase opens up to show a casino, complete with bar, crabs table and photos lining the wall of famous visitors) then showed me out.

With one last look around the Atrium a good luck and goodbye from Andrew (“see you again I hope” “you sure will”) and a huge contented sigh I hitched up my bag and sketchbook and walked away…knowing I would be back!

After a long walk back to the station ( I think I flew) I bought a yoghurt/sorbet ice block and waited for the bus to arrive. The bus driver was really nice and after engaging me in conversation the whole way he dropped me of at the destination of my choice were after a spot of shopping and a giant hot pretzel and Chai tea I made my way back to the hostel.

Waiting for it to hit midnight so I could call Al for her birthday I joined in a pool competition, were I won a t-shirt for best shot of the night (I heart SF) and saying goodnight to a host of new friends and high fives from the girls I made the call then headed to bed (jumping in the shower for another hairy (literally) experience).

The Day after

The next day I woke up late enjoying the sleep in, until I finally forced my self to go downstairs for what was left of pancake batter. After signing out and eating my lowly pancake on toilet paper (clean) – smearing jam on with my finger as I was too lazy to wash up – I checked my bag into reception and finding out that I didn’t have to meet Joselyn (one of the guys let me use their phone) I walked down post st with a map to Mission were I had been told a plethora of graffiti and murals awaited me. Taking on the walk after a huge serving of frozen yoghurt (the expensive one from the first day) I battled the wind down Mission street. It was a little hairy as I stepped deeper and deeper into downtown SF, looking around, I began swinging my umbrella with force, looking angry and occasionally muttering to myself to appear crazy, (cursing myself for wearing my stripped socks, “Luv your socks pretty girl” (just keep your head down and keep walking)). Finally I made it to mission, were I cautiously made my way up littered alleyways to look at the graffiti. I wasn’t the only one, and after finally getting used to the company I enjoyed the drawings littering the walls and streets.

My favourite was the women’s centre, a huge two storey building covered with a kaleidoscope of all sorts of women from different professions and backgrounds smiling and embracing each other. After getting through everything I headed back to Market st, stopping in on of the biggest art Supply stores I had ever seen! (There was a whole room dedicated to paper!)

Getting hungry I noticed a buffet sign as I rounded the corner to 12th street and hearing my tummy grumble in agreeance I walked in. It was a bargain, 11.50 for an all you could eat Chinese, Japanese, seafood buffet. After four plates of sushi, stir fries, noodles, miso soup, seafood, pork buns and loads more I rolled out and looked through Town Hall. A beautiful Mosta dome type building complete with a giant Christmas tree decorated with paper cranes and stars.

Walking down the rest of market st and arriving at familiar shops I headed into Westfield to watch Juno at 2:30 (really funny!) then continued shopping for a few hours (grabbing another pretzel – sooo good!).

As the afternoon drew on and I had tried on enough cloths – I was pretending I was on a fashion shoot (don’t judge I had three hours to kill) I decided it was time to get my bag and make my way to the airport. Luckily I decided to go early as I caught the wrong train (went the wrong way) then found out I had read to wrong time on the ticket, instead of 10:10 I was actually flying out at 8:47.

Freaking out I willed the train on distracted partially by the disturbance at the front of the carriage. The minutes ticked mockingly away as my window grew less and less, every stop and light took forever as I closed my eyes willing the bus to go faster!! Finally we were at the airport and I ran to the front desk to grab my ticket (so frazzled I almost left without it – “wait you might need this”) luckily I was just in time and after finding out I would have to find my own way home, I boarded the plane for an hour trip back home chatting away to a 9 year old travelling by himself.

We arrived in the OC early and after taxying into the terminal I grabbed my things and headed to the cab rank for a ride to the dorm. That night I went straight to sleep exhausted but content. Until later today – thanks for reading!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

San Francisco

What a day! It began at 5:30, waaay too early but a necesity with my flight leaving at quarter past 7. I quickly got dressed an left Sanda to continue trying to get up. Having washed my face and feeling a little better I re-woke Sanda and was fairwelled by Anna and Reiko, who wanted to make sure they saw me before I left.

Walking sleepily downstairs with Sanda after waking her for the third time we ate breakfast in weary silence and began the trek to her car, half way there she realised she had forgotten her key, so running back (she's extrememly fast when she wants to be) I waited in the deserted stretch of sand for her return, watching the tumble weed roll lazily accross the feild.

Not too long and she was back then hoping in the car and giving it a few starts we were of to the airport. She dropped me at the Atlanta terminal and hugging goodbye (not sure whether I'll see her again) I left for to collect my ticket and make my way onto the crowded plane.

It was a short flight to Oakland, which had a lot to do with the fact I fell into a groggy sleep straight away. Trying to snap myself out of it as the captains voice crackled over the loudspeaker "we have now arrived in Oakland" I gave myself a few light slaps and quickly grabbed my bag from under the seat in front.

It was busy inside the terminal and the wind and rain outside had put a melancholy mood on the passangers, but I perked up with clear information from the ladies at the transport desk and after a tub of yoghurt and a friendly chat with the lady who selled it too me I was of into the rain to wait at 3E for air bart - the shuttle that would take me to the station.

We rode express through Oakland which didn't give me a chance to see a great deal, however considering what people have warned me about Oakland, I'm not sure whether thats a bad thing. The rain hadn't let up as I made my way into the station, starring perplexed at the ticket machine that you just put money in - luckily the ladies had told me exactly how much I would need (3.35) so pulling my ticket, receipt and change from the chute I proudly rode the escalators up to the platform.

Catching the bus was relatively easy, and when we arrived at Central I got of (and trying not to look lost) made my way into the now torrential rain drenching the city. It took me a while to find the hotel, stopping to ask a few clueless people, getting harrassed by a couple of bums and seeking refuge in more than one brightly lit fastfood resteraunt. Watching a blind women get drenched on the bus platform I desctretely covered her with my umbrella and once on the bus was finally pointed in the right direction.

The Hostel is brilliant, bright and bustling with all sorts of people form all over the world. I was met by a nice guy that after going over the usuall check in procedure told me a few tips and tricks for getting around as well as a list of all the social activities happening in the dorms (tonight is beer pong!).

The room is nice and clean, I even get the top bunk. After putting on my linen and taking a rest I made my way outside again with a map and a vague idea about how I would spend the rest of the day...first up food! I walked into China town for sushi, which was given to me on delcate wooden boats floating sereenly along a fake pond around the sushi counter, then browsing the overflowing streets and marvelling at architecture, crazy lamps and stores I eventually arrived at Fishermans wharf.

I didn't stay long, just for a bad Chai tea at a huge bakery and a superficial look at the wax museum and Ripley's believe it or not. I decided I'd catch the street car around all the peirs and getting of at Market street walked to Fourth and Mission to find the giant movie theatres.

It was here I found an awesome frozen yogurt place that combined it with fruit in the crazy drill machine, I took my giant tub into the theatres and enjoyed "The Golden Compass" that would have been awesome except for the ending! It was getting dark, but determined to be adventureous I continued to paroose the streets, doing a spot of shopping (soo many good shops) and enjoying the streets that were suddenly comming alive with twinkling lights and laughing people.

Ending me exphedition in borders, full after dinner, a smoothie and a pretzel I made my way back to the hotel, were after renting a towl and writing to you I will crash early for a big day tomorrow!
Until then : )

Monday, December 17, 2007

A day to draw

Hey I have to keep this short as the power is about to go out but today I pretty much drew all day!
I'll flesh this entry out tomorrow, but here are some of the drawings I did

I'm not too happy with the last one, but the faces I like
- feel free to tell me what you think!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Ok Birdie, work with me!

Today began at 8:30, early considering I didn't have to be any where till noon. I got up anyway when I remembered what was for breakfast and pulling on my uggs, headed downstairs for my hot spongy cinomon roll, fresh OJ and fruit...mmmm...wishing I hadn't finished so soon and flicking channels insesantly I came across "Pay it Forward" so decided to hang on the couch to watch it.

After a while Reiko joined me and we enjoyed the movie whilst making snowflakes from left over paper and string. Tearing up at the end and not wanting to ball my eyes out downstairs I mumbled that I needed to get dressed and headed upstairs with tears rolling down my cheeks, I hate sad movies!

once dressed and ready I headed to the ARC to meet Brisa for a game of Badminton. I thoroughly sucked, so luckily Brisa was pretty patient and able to save the birdie everytime I sent it careening over into the other courts. We eventually gave up and after handing in our equipment spent some time on the elliptical machines (they are so hard to use without looking stupid) and doing weights (her step dads a personal trainer so she knew her stuff). Of course we spent most of the time chatting and laughing, catching up on the weeks events as well as finding out more about each others backgrounds.

At 2:30 she had to shower and get to work so I left for a shower back in the dorm, and once I too was dressed and sweet smelling walked over to the uni centre for yogurt and a Tea. Sitting in Cha was also my Visual Media tutor Daynah and after saying hi, finding out my exam mark and getting my essay back I sat down for a major drawing session, including Brisa's new name tag (I drew baby polar bears all over it : )

It quickly got cold and dark outside, so leaving at 20 to 6 I hurried home for dinner. It was chicken and crab salad, drenched in Cha's thick tangy dressing whilst watching Brain Training - a series about the development of the brain...interesting stuff!

After a dessert of Jelly and yogurt I headed to my room to send some emails, do some drawing and of course write in me blog!
until tomorrow