Monday, November 3, 2014

Another day…another plane - Part Two

And Happy Halloween!

We blinked and another 2.5 months flew by.

Which means if we blink again it will be 2015. But we are not there quite yet.
It is absolutely crazy how fast time goes by when you are busy.
WARNING - long blog follows...

So since last we checked in on this blog lots more adventuring has taken place.

At the end of August Eric returned to Korea to break down, relocate and set- up the show in Busan. From there he flew to Los Angeles to meet up with me and the rest of our crew heading to Salt Lake City Comic Con. 

Salt Lake was an interesting show. It was only its second year and while it has grown in size, they are still trying to learn the logistics and so there were still quite a few issues. The biggest being that they were unable to get all of the fans processed, badged and into the convention center on the first day. The lines outside were city blocks long and apparently the staffed stayed through til midnight getting everyone waiting in line badges. Needless to say the first day was slow due to the low numbers of fans that actually got in. Overall the fans were great, the booth was well received, but sales were not what we had hoped for.

After wrapping up the show in Salt Lake, Eric flew back to NZ and I went down to LA for a week - a mix of a few days off, and some business meetings before heading off to Hong Kong/China. (yes -again)

LA was great. Enjoyed the nice late summer/early fall weather, and had some good visits with friends and family. 

The following week in HK and China went as expected.

The last two days in HK went by slowly and I was really ready to get back to NZ.
Feeling like it had been forever since spending any quality time with Eric - and Myztyc.

"I can't believe they left me again"

And knowing it was only a few weeks back before we would be heading back out again for New York.

Queenstown Escape
That said the very next weekend I was off to Queenstown! I took a 3-day weekend and went down to Queenstown with some friends to get in one day of skiing. I have been here in NZ for over 4 years and had yet to go skiing. Partly due to my crazy busy schedule and partly due to the lack of a ski buddy. Since Eric's knee injury he is not interested in skiing (I don't blame him). Anyway, I really wanted to ski - I had not skied since Seattle. And the 2014 winter season was coming to an end. This was the only weekend I had left if I was going to do it. And what a glorious weekend it was! The weather was beautiful. Great spring skiing conditions. No lift lines. The snow, while it was not great (snow snob) was good enough, especially for someone who was 4 years rusty and not trying to push herself too hard. Just wanting to have some fun and confirm I can still ski.

CONFIRMED! In addition to a successful and fun day on the mountain - Cardrona. We enjoyed walking around Queenstown in the sunshine. FYI it was a rainy weekend back in Wellington. Double bonus! We ate good food. I thought "Fergburger" was overrated- 
Found an amazing Chocolate Shop - Koko Black. The dark chocolate covered salted Carmel is heavenly.   It was a great escape and much needed break.

New York ComicCon
Another week back and then we were off to New York. This was the show that I was most looking forward to and most fearing. Looking forward to because it was a new show that I had not attended and was known for being a great one- second only to San Diego ComicCon. And feared due to the setup requirements and strict union/labor rules. 

It was also going to be a very long travel day -  28 hours door to door.
Arriving at about 1:00am New York time. Glad to have had the whole next day off to sleep in and acclimate. Eric and I took a nice walk up to Lincoln Center and wandered around a small arts & crafts show. Checked out the Apple store. If you have not seen it, it is a really cool glass box entrance and a jumbo size store below -and it's open 24 hours.

On our walk back to the hotel we stopped for some slices of NY pizza -sooo good.
And finished our lazy day in our hotel room on the bed watching Chargers football.

The next few days were all show focused. And as it turned out, it was a great show. There were a few glitches with set up, but nothing major and nothing I was wasn't prepared for. We had a great crew and we were able to complete set up on time. On time being a little early as a private tour of the Frank Frazetta estate museum had been organized and we really wanted to be able to attend.

So at 3:30pm on Wednesday a large Mercedes van limo pick up 9 of us from our hotel in Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan and drove us 2.5-3 hours - there was an accident so we took a long route -and the driver got lost...into Pennsylvania to the Frazetta estate. It was a wonderful treat. 

I loved seeing the pencil work.

The next 4 days flew by with the convention. We were busy each day open to close. We were staffed well so we could enjoy some of the show as well. Lots of great booths to see. Both from a business stand point as well as from a personal one. Bought a few things. 

Too Cute!  - had to have.

And managed to see 2 panels. The Howard Shore music panel and the Sesame Street - 45 years of parody panel (the one I had wanted to see in SD but was not able to). We were a bit disappointed with the Howard Shore panel. An entire panel focused on music and we heard not a sign note or tone. It was interesting to hear what he had to say about the various themes and instruments, but it would have been helpful to have shared some short clip examples to accompany the discussion.
... And of course, I loved! the Sesame Street panel. 

Once the show was over and all the pack down completed Eric and I had a few more days to enjoy NYC together. 

We saw Aladdin on Broadway. The sets and costumes were amazing and the actor playing the Genie - James Monroe Iglehart was fabulous. We also went to see The Blue Man Group. It was my second time seeing them but this was a much more intimate performance as the theater only held about 150 people. Again it was very entertaining and we enjoyed it.

I took Eric to Serendipity, the ice cream parlor I remember being taken to as a child. It is still there and just as I remember it. Mmmmmmm sooo good.

As for things as I remember it…We went to see the Martha Washington Hotel - where I lived one summer … Not at all the same. ( I was there in 1987/88) Totally renovated and no longer the dump I endured.

Fao Schwartz toy store - it was sad to see what it has been reduced to. 
And Steuben glass gallery was also gone. 

We went up the Empire State Building, visited Ground Zero, walked Times Square, and the Highline. 


Really thought they were very impactful.

HIGHLINE in the Fall

The Library Guardian

Too fun!

I also went to see the Sesame Street exhibit - 45 years at the Library of Performing Arts and the Spectrum show at the Society of Illustrators. I was sad to learn that we had missed Brian and Wendy Froud. They were there for the week, but our schedule did not cooperate.


Guess who I found!

We had a lovely lunch with cousin Ann and I caught up with Alex Drosin - it had been 30 years since we had seen each other! It was great fun to catch up. And I also had lunch with a childhood friend.

The time passed by quickly but we packed it full before heading back to New Zealand.

Our Seattle house sold and we closed escrow on the 25th of October. The 26th here in NZ -kind of like an extra Anniversary gift. (18 years and still counting) Although bittersweet. We are thrilled not to be paying both mortgage and rent. But we will miss the house. We have learned a lot and both determined that we would want a very different type of house next time. It was exactly what we wanted in 2002. Now almost 15 years later, we would look for something smaller, with less stairs, and with less yard. We have great memories of our time there and we look forward to the day when we can do it all again. 

We had a lovely celebratory Anniversary dinner at a place called The Portlander. Not as good as our original place - Crazy Horse which has closed,  but still a good meal and dessert.

Eric left tonight for Mexico City. He will be there for 3 weeks setting up and breaking down in multiple locations. Then he is back to NZ for a quick suitcase refresh and off to Korea for the last break down there. (He will now also have earned the Gold Elite Frequent Flyer status!I will be off to Brisbane at the end of the month and then…(still pending). But we are both off for the Holidays starting the 19th of December. We will enjoy Xmas together at home...And we used our miles for Fiji! So we are looking forward to a nice tropical getaway for the New Year., and some much needed down time together. 

We look forward to sharing that adventure too.

Warm wishes to all,
Stacy & Eric

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Another day another plane

When it rains it pours…and we go in search of sunshine.

It has been winter here in Wellington. Cold, dark, wet and windy. And did I mention cold?

So what have we been up to? ...Work.
We have both been very busy, and traveling a lot. As of right now, I am still a Gold Elite member of Air New Zealand/Star Alliance and Eric is now a Gold member as well.

I did head off to China at the end of March and then we both went to Calgary, Canada for Calgary Expo in April. On our way back we had a few days in Los Angeles to catch up with some family, a few friends and managed to catch "The Book of Mormon" at the Pantages Theater. We enjoyed it very much. It was very inappropriately funny -as we had expected.

Then I went back to China again in May and Eric went on to Korea to set up a Weta Show in Seoul.

From there he went to San Diego and Los Angeles where I met up with him along with a few others to head off to Denver for Denver Comic Con.

From Denver I went to Hong Kong and China for a week of production and quality assurance. While Eric went back to Los Angeles/Seattle to sort out some of our House stuff. It is currently on the market, but not much interest. We may need to rent it out again.

I came back to New Zealand for about 10 days before heading back to LA to join back up with Eric for some much needed "down time".

July was a big blur. It was great to visit with family and friends, and to celebrate my birthday at my favorite restaurant.

The weather was fabulous! - warm, sunny summer weather. I was really ready for that. Back in NZ we were having the shortest days of the year with sunrise at about 8:00 am. and it stated getting dark at 3:30 pm. It felt good to be wearing short sleeves and flip flops (sandals). We enjoyed many In N Out burgers (I lost count) as well as lots of good Mexican food. And quite a lot of frozen yogurt.

The days went by too quickly and we were off to San Diego to set up Comic Con.

Lots of work and a huge success. It took 3.5 days and a crew of about 12 to set it all up.
and we miraculously broke it all back down in a day and half.

The highlights of the show for me were that I did actually get a few breaks (as opposed to the 2 previous years). I was able to meet an author I admire -Cornelia Funke and got my copy of Inkheart signed. And I was able to enjoy the John Barrowman panel. He is very entertaining! I am looking forward to seeing him again in Salt Lake City. We also had a great photo taken of a group of us at the The One Laketown Luau.

We had a few days to recover before taking a quick trip to Indiana for Eric's grandmother's memorial service. Ruth was am amazing 97 years old when she died. A life well lived, and we will miss her.

It was a very quick trip. We left early Friday morning and were back Sunday night.
Flying in to Indianapolis and then driving about an hour to Hagerstown (picture farms and lots of open spaces) It was nice to see some of the family we had not seen in several years.

From there it was back to San Diego, LAX and then Auckland. Good to be back.
Unfortunately, we knew it was not for very long.

Eric had about 10 days and then he was off to Korea again to take down the show he helped put up in Seoul and move it to Busan to set up again. He will then go direct from Korea to Salt Lake City to meet back up with me and others to set up Salt Lake City Comic Con.

After Salt Lake City Eric will return to New Zealand for bit. Our kitty Myztyc will be pleased. She has not been too happy with us of late. I will get a few days to see family and friends again in LA a well as have a few work related meetings, before heading off to Hong Kong/China for a week. Then I will be going back to New Zealand.

…But only for a few weeks before Eric I go back to New York for Comic Con in October.
This will be our first time attending this show and our first time together in the Big Apple. We are looking forward to it and are going to take a few days after the show to stick around and enjoy the city. Hoping to see a show as well.

So, aside form traveling the globe, living out of our suitcases and working shows, there is not much more to report.

We had a hail and lightning storm the other day and a bolt of lightning hit our wind needle, and it was caught on camera. Very cool. Unfortunately they had just finished refurbishing the installation about 2-3 month before. They are repairing it again now.

The Wellington sign (see earlier posts) has been revised changing the "W" to a "V" to honor the indie -mocu-mentary "What we do in the Shadows" about vampires living in Wellington.

It was great seeing those of you we did and our apologies to those we missed this trip and hope to see you again soon.

…Now where shall we go next with all of those frequent flyer miles?

Warm wishes to all,
Stacy & Eric

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Time moves on

Time moves on...
And apparently at speed.

So now it is the beginning of March. I swear it was just January.
Eric and I are both doing well. As is Myztyc.
It is currently bucketing down rain here. Most of our friends and family back in the states would not find this unusual as they have been getting rain too. However, I will remind you that it is currently "supposed" to be summer here. I have to say, apparently this year we were skipped. In the almost 4 years here this is the worst summer yet. Almost non-existent. I am very thankful for our week in Australia at Xmas. Hoping we still may get a few more warm sunny days. 

AnimFX took place mid Feb. And was fun. Met some new people from around the industry and caught up with some friends and colleagues.

Eric and I did manage a little 4 day get-a-way to the a Coromandel.  A small peninsula north of us and south of Auckland that we had yet to explore. It was quite beautiful, and very relaxing. We slept in, took long drives and short hikes. Spent some time on the beach and enjoyed some good away from work time.

This was my last little respite before I start travel again. Back to China mid March and possibly Calgary, Canada mid April.

Hoping everyone is settling into 2014. The adventure here continues….

Love & Hugs
Stacy & Eric

Monday, January 6, 2014

Happy New Year!

2014 has begun and we managed to ring out the old year with a much needed get-a-way to Cairns, Australia and the Great Barrier Reef. It is never easy being away from family for the holidays, but this year Eric and I needed some alone and away time.

So without further ado here is our vacation….

The largest bats I've ever seen in the wild(and this was actually in the city). Not in a zoo. 
And not just a couple. A whole lot of em.
There are trees where they gather and hang upside down and sleep during the day. 
Then at dusk, they all wake and take to the skies. It's incredibly cool!
Swarms of fruit bats flying over head for about 20 minutes. 

We knew there were Koalas, Kangaroos, Deadly Spiders and Crocodiles, but no one mentioned Bats!

Butterflies. We loved the butterfly sanctuary. There is something peaceful and calming about being amongst them. And special when they land on you. The Ulysses butterfly was the most spectacular. It was a butterfly I did not know about nor ever seen. It is beautiful. But very difficult to photograph. The iridescent blue is only on one side of the wings so you only see it when it's flying. Once it lands its wings are black. We were told that almost all the beautiful images/photos of these butterflies are dead posed shots. How sad... Yet Eric managed to get a good shot of one!

Koalas and kangaroos and wallabies - oh my
We saw them all at the Wildlife Habitat in Port Douglas. We got to hold a koala. They are truly a very drowsy animal. It could have cared less what was going on as it was passed from one tourist to the next. They are a very dense and solid creature. Their fur is very soft, and claws are very strong and sharp. They also have a pungent spell, I didn't care for. 
The kangaroos and wallabies were more fun and more friendly. They were quite happy to come up and eat from our hands. They are quite interesting and unique. They resemble a bit of rabbit, and deer with a funny back end and long tail. 

The oddest thing was to see their "parts" hanging in shops as souvenirs. Why on earth would THAT be a souvenir ? Very disturbing. 

There were lots of other fun creatures too. 
The Cassowary a very old and odd looking Australian bird.

An Owl even winked at me….

These are Tawny Frogmouths - Swoop and Audrey

And of course the Croc.

Here in the Australian rain forest even the plant life is aggressive.

And there are fun tropical plants to see as well. 
My favorite were the trees that reminded me of Dr. Seuss tree.

Under the Sea ...
And of course the main purpose of the trip. To see the Great Barrier Reef!
Oh and what a reef it is. 
We did a total of 9 dives over 3 days.

Our first day of diving was Xmas day. We woke up to a cloudy sky with light rain. And a rainbow outside out hotel window. We walked down to the dock toting our gear and boarded the boat. By the time we reached our dive site the clouds had cleared and we had a beautiful day.

thank you Tanner!

Note to future tourists...please take sea sickness meds before boarding a boat. Any boat.
Do not try to impress anyone by saying you don't need to. 
It is not appreciated to be among sick people when climbing into ones dive gear.
If you really get sick at sea don't book a trip out on a boat.

Saw lots and lots and lots of tropical fish and many beautiful corals. 
We saw incredible giant clams, sting rays, a leopard shark, a white tip reef shark, but no turtles. And no jellyfish!  What we noticed was that in general the fish were both larger and smaller in size compared to the fish we've seen in Hawaii and the Caribbean.

This is a Trigger fish that chased Eric away from his nesting area.

This is Nigel - he is a Maori Wrasse

There are different schools of thought regarding diving the reef
1 - go slowly spend your time in a small area and see all the varieties and details
2 - cover as much distance as you can to see as much as you can

Eric and I both prefer the first method. 
We got to do some of both with our 9 dives and honestly, we did not see more by covering more distance. We had 3 different guides on the 3 days and 2 were great. The third one we did not care for. He was the one that had us swim the distances. The second dive was supposed to be a drift dive. Jump in and go with the current and then the boat will be at the end of the dive to pick us up. Except there was no current. So we had to swim the whole way. Ok so bad current day -oh well. But then the third dive he tried it again. Still no current. Not cool.

The water temperature was wonderfully warm. The visibility was not as good as we had anticipated. 
No sure if that was the norm for the reef or if we were there after some weather had stirred it up. It was about 10-15 meters. 

It was an amazing trip. It went by very quickly, and we were glad to have had another week to just relax at home before returning to work. 

We are not sure what 2014 will hold in store for us, but we look forward to the continued adventure. May the new year bring with it good health, good times with friends and family, new adventures and good cheer.

Warm Wishes to all,

               Stacy & Eric