Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Capilano Bridge : Taste of Nature

The only fine day out here in BC was our second day in, and we decided to hit the North Shore and Capilano, one of the closest locations to Vancouver, to get a taste of the mountains and the wildlife in BC. Capilano bridge was built in the 1800s and rebuilt over the last few years, and now acting as a tourist hub.

Built over a deep valley floor and river, crossing over to a forest, the parks board has built a series of tree top walks and boardwalks to allow the public to walk amongst the forest with minimal impact and erosion. Capilano bridge is basically half way up Grouse Mountain and is the perfect taste test to the country side, without having to hike for days into the wilderness. if you continue upwards you reach the peak of the mountain and a cablecar lift. we decided not to go onwards as the weather was beginning to turn sour again in the arvo. whilst up there, we saw eagles, trout and squirrels.

Vancouver : Big and Wild

So we packed up our things early and got out of San Diego round 12PM. the funny thing was we decided we couldnt make it down to the convention on the last day to see the Supernatural presentation due to time constraints, but upon arrival at the airport and boarding of our plane to Vancouver, who was in business class? the two guys from the show, somehow they were shipped in and out of Comic Con so quick they could make it back to Canada for filming the rest of the season.

Yeh thats the funny thing you learn, most of the hit TV shows you all love (and movies including the new Watchmen) are all filmed in Vancouver BC. even the great X-Files. i think its all about the cheaper costs north of the border etc etc but it kinda made it feel like we were flying back to "movie town" lol

Canada Airlines, hands down the best we have flown so far, apart from the in flight movies which seem to skip and become unsynced in audio. kinda sucked, but we landed safely and got a shuttle to the hotel which was fantastic.

Ok here comes the bitch about Vancouver so far. the bloody weather, its been so good to us all holiday, never messing up anything to badly, but upon arrival we hit a winter weather patch in the middle of summer. yup you guessed it, rain, overcast and cold conditions. the month before and days after we leave its gonna be 30C and hot ... the week we are here we are hit by crap weather. this would also pose a hindrance in Whistler as will later be mentioned.

Never the less this place is just so beautiful and connected. 20 mins from downtown you've got the airport and the other way are mountains bordering North and West Vancouver, a energetic harbour and a nature reserve in Stanley Park that rivals our city center for size. amazing place, so bare with the pics, i tried to capture a few between the sunshine on our second day here, which gave us some time to sight see. oh did i also mention this place has the 2010 Winter Olympics. might be back for that.

Sea World : Too Plastic Fantastic

Consulting the schedules, Mark really wanted to check out Seaworld as a breakup during the madness that was Comic Con. so we figured the easiest and smoothest time to do this was intro day morning, when people were just getting started, and not much was happening ..... or so we thought. I think this was the day that Hugh Jackman turned up and gave a sneak preview of the new Wolverine film and the announcement of Tron 2 with footage was made.

Anyway trekking out there was a breeze, caught a cabbie, the best of my life, and proceeded to discuss various californian themes with him. he was a blast. arriving at the gates the first thing that hits you is the price, $60 US just to get in, per person. i felt that was steep. the second thing you notice is this is a family outing, a location where every whipper snapper comes to run amuk, and pretend they saw .... the last great bloody whale on earth.

Walking around the park itself which is quite large, i noticed theres no main large aquarium, no central focus, its more of a group of broken up theme areas, with 3 or 4 main tanks for the dolphins, seals, whales and mammals to live and..... perform for your fatty dollars. kinda sad. the rest of the park is landscaped gardens, theme park rides and attractions and plenty of areas to stock up on those sugar shakes and fun time foods.

We began in the Arctic enclosure, viewing a whale and walrus enclosure, with a sleeping polar bear and swimming salmon. the layout is superb and gives the youngens a real sense of adventure and mystique. but this was the first time i began to notice things not feeling quite right. for me, yeh it was cool to see these animals, but as you view them swimming in and around their tiny pools, in the same repetitive motions, left to right, left to right, you have to ask the question, is this all worth it?. its a question many don't see as they get caught in the park "swirl of coolness, and kiddy themes".

We then moved onto the dolphin and killer whale enclosures which seemed large, but were actually multiple tanks broken down into sections and a performing area. sure these guys had more space, but they seemed kinda more inteligent on the whole i guess, i mean when you have to perform for you daily meals ... you get kinda good at jumping and entertaining, yeh iv'e still got a bit of a bad taste in my mouth about it all, and it might be that god awful smoothie i had aswell. dont get me wrong, the sight and sounds were great, the animals performed great feats, but ... Dad, seeing these dolphins, i couldnt help but reflect back to our times in Monkey Mia and more so out in Rockingham when we could experience these animals in the wild, nothing will ever beat that, and im glad we have that opportunity.

Lastly Mark convinced me to hit this roller coaster called Atlantis which combined water and fast speed fun. this was gold and really lightened the day up as we shot through back to the Comic Con. the fun had just begun.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Comic Con : Nerd Central ...

Time flew ridiculously fast whilst in San Diego, so much so that we never really got time to check out everything on offer in the convention center. we were lucky if we just got into the main presentations we had bookmarked. but all in all it was most enjoyable and for all its craziness, i kinda miss it.

The 5 day stop began the minute we landed, checking into the hotel early from a flight landing at 12PM we headed straight to the Convention Center located on the harbour foreshore, much like Perth's only 50 times as large and well laid out. its funny, the more and more we got into San Diego, the more and more we felt at home, kind of a mix of Perth in the mild summer and also a spin of Sydney modernness in there as well. picking up our tickets for the so called "Preview Night" we soon realised that this convention would be bigger than anything we had encountered .... ever. imagine 120,000 people hitting one place, everyday for the next 4 days.

The Preview night is set up as a sneak peek opening to those people that had bought a special "Weekend Pass" for all 4 days of the convention. the theory being that not alot of people would pay extra and see all this for 4 days. well your wrong. the place was packed and seemed like a day one, rather than a preview. it proved to be great though, as we met up with some local comic fans who themselves had traveled all the way from Boston on the east coast. shout out to Trevor and Abby, meeting these guys was one of the best things of the weekend, not only giving us a heads up on what to expect from the presentations, but also just to share a laugh with some semi normal folks like ourselves, away from the nerd storm :)

At this point i was still under the weather from the flu in San Francisco, but we managed to see a preview screening on the new J.J Abrams show, Fringe, which was quite good and gave us a taste of things to come. for those wondering, this aint a bad show, its kinda X-files meets Re-Genesis, i'd like it to be a bit darker and less to the point, but it moves rather quickly. once the screening was over we headed over to the show room floor, to take in the exhibition hall and the real nerve center of the Con. the floor where all the artists and publishers set up their booths and flog their latest books, films and toys to the passerby. but nothing could have prepared us for the sea of people that flooded in, it was crazy and left us dazed.

The next day we took off to Seaworld as mentioned, but on our return to the Con we managed to head into the Dexter panel showcasing the new season and discussions with the panel. throughout the weekend the majority of your time is split between shooting into preview screenings and panel discussions, or spending time on the showroom floor buying up comics, artworks, signings and general eye gazing. if this is your entertainment world, you will have a blast. simply seeing the freedom people have to dress up and be creative in their own world for 24 hrs is fantastic. hilights for this year included seeing new footage of the new Watchmen movie, Terminator movie and various TV shows in Lost, Dexter, 24, Prison Break, Heroes and much much more. on a personal note i stumbled over and saw Mike Mignola at his signing booth, Brain Wood, Brain Azzarello, Ben Templesmith and many more. but i must say, i was very shellshocked. these guys are some of my heroes and it felt sureal to see them in the flesh. to the point that most of the time i felt like just hanging back, almost hesitant to really say something. i mean what do you ask them that they haven't already answered 20 times a day. sometimes the mystery can still be kept alive. on exiting Comic Con rumors are flying round that LA or Las Vegas will bid to host the event in the future, but thats going to be a hard pill for San Diego to swallow as this has been an integral part of this economy for 39 years, yeh ... next year its the 40th anniversary. it all started with 300 people for a day convention, now you all want to be involved. great times.

Heya guys .... i know i know, your dieing for updates, well i know ive been slack an all, but seriously that flu just could not be shaken easily. losing it now, feelin much better. anyhoo, currently in line for a Comic Con presentation on the latest Prison Break season ... Mark's inside watching the latest stuff on 24. much much more to be said ....

ok ok i swear im here for the .. a, ... comics :)