Tuesday, July 20


On friday I finished up some more art for my mini-folio I'll be taking to comic-con. Mainly to prove that I am capable of artistry. The folio review looks to be a)bureaucratic and b)comic-based. I want to be a concept artist for a games company. Oh well I guess I'll only have to sign up for the few games companies that are there. I was keen to get my work in front of Wizards of the Coast in the hope of doing some magic cards, but now that I have met a good contact at Blizzard (who has done MtG artwork in the past) I'm more inclined to go back and work on some really good magic-styled art pieces before making a submission. I feel that, of my three goals, the one where I contact games companies looking for work is the one that is going poorest. My travel plans are good and I'm having heaps of fun, my documentary is taking shape with plenty of interested parties but despite making some good friends at Blizzard I have struggled to contact games companies. People have been telling me about how many there are in LA and Seattle, even telling me where they are, but I haven't yet made plans to visit. I have tried to contact them but it's difficult without someone on the inside. Perhaps I just feel like I'm not ready, that my small folio and two years experience isn't quite enough to march into people's offices inquiring about work. I'll try to at least make contacts while I'm here, and I'll definitely make a concerned effort in Vancouver, but I can't shake the feeling I'll wish I did more while I wasn't 7,500 miles (12,000km) away.

Inception was awesome, movie of the year. Chris Nolan is a legend of our time. Absent where the characters and lines that made The Matrix a cult-hit (cult, not mainstream) but this deliberate stripping of Hollywood machination left the lean and deliberate framework of good sci-fi. I certainly have my own ideas about the film, ideas I feel have strong merit, but I'll let you ask the person next to you during the closing credits.

On Saturday we went driving for the first time since I arrived a week ago. We visited a huge warehouse that was like a craft market for nerds. Endless isles featured trading card and comic book vendors but we were on the lookout for figurines. Whilst there were none of the promised Ashley Wood 3A robots for sale I did snap up a Bioshock (Luke's apartments use the Bioshock font!) Big Sister for just $13 and a Jessica Rabbit pin for my guitar strap. Luke almost bought a Jessica Rabbit statuette of his own but ended up spending the least (a surprise given his figurine fetish, which is mandatory for all concept artists) with Chris grabbing a set of Corpse Bride skeletons which are very cool indeed. Then, feeling a powerful hunger combined with a powerful need to get somewhere with air con (it was 32C) we pulled into an In'n'Out which as far as I'm concerned was like a McDonalds. I was assured it was the best fast food for cost but it failed to impress me and raises further questions about the quality of America's McDonalds. I do know for a fact that KFC is infinitely worse over here. I think I'll be avoiding the fast food, particularly when a $12 Burger'n'Fries from The Yardhouse tastes like meaty heaven. I am however enjoying the abundance of root beer. Particularly with unlimited refills.

Feeling rather stuffed and desperately dreaming of the pool back home, we called it a day. But fate had other plans. At the last minute I suggested we try to make it to Jim's Music shop before closing time. They had got an ESP Viper in just for me to play on a request the sunday prior and, according to the guy, he had 'pulled a few strings' to get it. It's very difficult to find a decent guitar in Australian stores and impossible for a good price, so it's been in the back of my mind to get one whilst I'm here. Well... I did. After holding it I knew it was destined to be mine! I got a very good price, about 35% of what it would cost me in Melbourne. Chris is perhaps as excited as I am as the guitar will be with him while I travel. I can see a Megadeath dvd by the tv.

We finished off with a wild magic draft with each of us picking 3 different packs from when we began playing magic: Sunny- Visions, Weatherlight, Coldsnap, Luke- Shadowmoor, Eventide, Morningtide, Chris- Shards of Alara, Conflux, Alara Reborn. I ultimately won off the sheer power of my blue/white featuring first picks such as Waterspout Djinn, Empyrial Armor and Darien, King of Kjeldor. It was pretty crazy picking power from our different backgrounds.

Yesterday was Sunday and it was time to go outside. We went down to Laguna beach and tried our best to hide our inherent nerdiness, for fear of muscle-bound jocks kicking sand in our faces. This was short-lived as Chris insisted on visiting a bead shop to alter his bracelet. I also carry a bracelet my fiancee made for me before I left, a good way to hold onto someone far away. The beach was very similar to those you'd find in the bay around Melbourne, although not as big and with twenty times as many people. Strangely few went in the actual water despite the heat. Mostly children; the teens preferring to swan about playing at awkward poser-courtship while the middle-aged did slowly bake themselves in the pulsing Californian sun. Unless I am surfing, the beach does little for me. Sand prevents the encroachment of any electronic equipment while heat and lack of shade work well to melt my mental faculties. I always treat such outings as anthropological excursions and it was indeed a good opportunity to observe the locals at play. Chris reminded me of that horrible old Baz Luhrmann 'sunscreen song' which suggests you live in California but leave before it makes you soft. Without being too quick to judge a people who are overly friendly, particularly to me, I think 'soft' is an appropriate word. A few incidents (a loud bang, a dead rat) quickly reveal people's hard-maintained glamour to be a shell veiling insecurities and dependencies. Another interesting thing about the beach is it's unusually intimate nature. I felt perfectly comfortable when two young girls in bathing suits made camp next to us, but when they began to put clothes on (no less skimpy than the bathers) it suddenly seemed almost voyeuristic. Then there was abs girl and yellow bikini, but that is more of a mental note to myself. We also managed to catch a glimpse of American excess, in the form of a woman with gigantic artificial breasts. Only in LA.

We ate at a diner named The BIG FISH and Ice Cold Beer and were served by my favourite waitress thus-far. The prices can sneak up on you because they don't include tax or tips in the costs, this makes me feel like I have to get the most out of my waitress (nothing sus). I ate swordfish for the first time and tried a Tangerine Beer that was, as Chris remarked, like some kind of fruity 'children's beer'.

Finally we settled in for our final magic draft of the week. We managed five in seven days! This time it was all Rise of the Eldrazi and Chris managed a spawn token deck with some huge colourless cards such as Eldrazi Conscription while I have some midrange with heavy removal and Luke has a B/R deck with a big Hellcarver Demon that actually went off and flipped some Eldrazi. So far we have all won one round, leaving us in a bit of a dilemma as to how to progress. Tonight I'm going back to Blizzard for the monday sketch group and then some sushi at Kitayamas Wafu. I'm looking forward to it.

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