Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Annnnd heres an update

Wow way behind.  So this week has been nuts, as I said before.  LOTS and lots of work.  Heres a quick recap (if that’s even possible).

-got up early and went on a run with Ngaire.  Its been great running with her.  She is a perfect pace, and we went probably around 4 or 5 miles in total.  LOVE running in the morning. 

-Headed off to work, and continued trying to get my Secondary pass going.  Man, it was getting tough.  Not only that, but the nerf wars continued, which was a blast, but still… its definitely been distracting, and I was WAY behind.  Tried focusing, but you know, you want to participate. 

It also didn’t help my work load having two hour lunch breaks just to check out apartments.  I had a bunch I wanted to see, and just getting out there, looking at the place, and getting back, takes a shockingly long amount of time.

At the end of the day, I was excited because Ngaire was coming to pick me up so that we could cook and have dinner.  I helped her cook for her family’s Thanksgiving dinner, and man we cook FAST.  Got everything done in just about an hour or so.  Then we made dinner, and it was really nice.  Really chill.  I enjoy talking and hanging out with them a lot.  Kinda sad they are moving back to the US soon.  After they get married in February as far as I know.  SAD!  And they are moving out to Meadowbank shortly, probably this weekend, to stay with their family since their apartment is rented.  No good.  Happy for them though for sure J

Then I came home, and its been shockingly quiet around here all week.  Can’t complain.  Thank goodness cause my week was stressful.  Yeesh!


I was deciding whether or not to move into a house that is literally a 10 minute walk from work.  On Franklin road.  Gorgeous tree covered street I walk down every day.  I decided last minute (after talking to Kyle on the phone) not to take the room in the house.  Though the location is perfect, and the room mates were awesome.  Well, at first meet anyway.  The price was high though…. $320 a week all in all… and really its pretty far over my budget.  I was thinking, if theres two of us, we could afford it, but I had to take into account the fact that Kyle doesn’t have a job still at the moment, and we have no idea when he would have a job.  Not to mention, we are looking into buying a car for us to share.  So, in the end even though I wanted it, it was smarter not to.  Kyle gave me a lot of reassurance too, that he could handle where Im living just fine, and that we would look for place together when he gets here.  That will be really nice as well so that he can have an opinion on where he lives.  So I’m going to wait then.

Had another stressful day at work, I knew I was not going to finish even close to everything by the time the weekend came.  PANIC!

It was Thanksgiving too, and no, I didn’t do anything special.  It was just me, plus I worked late, and had no time to make any kind of spiffy dinner (not to mention I wouldn’t want to here, theres just not enough space), so I had pasta and went to bed.  Was kind of a sad day for me, but I tried to keep my mind off of it.  Nothing I can do about it.


Friday was good.  STRESSFUL because of course I was way beind on work, and freaking out about that.  But it was also Thanksgiving at home.  J  My whole family was together, and luckily dinner time at home doubles with lunch time here, so I brought in my computer, and took my lunch break to Skype with the whole family in the kitchen of the office!!!!  It was great.  Haha, a little crazy cause there were so many people all at once, but it was so nice to see everyone.  It realy does make the distance seem so much shorter when you can see people almost whenever you want.  Really enjoyed seeing everyone.  I wish I had been able to be there.  Holiday time is hard away from family.  Just SO incredibly Thankful that Kyle will be here for Christmas.  Otherwise, I think it might have been a difficult Christmas. 

I also realized quite a bit this week, just how thankful I am for where I am in my life.  Really.  I think about it quite often actually, when I am walking to work in the mornings especially.  I just put on my ipod and kind of zone out on the way.  Really makes me think about how greatful I am to have what I have.  My amazing friends and family, a boyfriend that’s more than I ever could have asked for, and honestly, I thin I just have some luck sometimes.  And when I think about it… I did this trip on my own really.  I saved the money, I bought the plane ticket, paid for our stay in the hotel, paid for my apartment, paid for all my groceries and whatnot.  Ive never been able to do that before.  It was kind of a cool feeling.  Not to mention, once Mom left… its been up to me.  And I’ve been able to do it!  Been here over a month now, and its pretty cool to think about the fact that I am making it happen.  It makes me think that anything is possible.  The world is so much smaller now…in a good way.  Ive just been so greatful for the fact that everyone has been so supportive.  Its an amazing feeling to have your friends and family proud of you for what you have taken on.  J  Gives me a great feeling.  And I miss everyone so much, but Im definitely happy about my decision. 

Anyway, after Skype, I headed back down to continue working until we all headed out for Matt’s Birthday bar evening.  That was fun.  We have a great office.  Everyone gets along well and enjoys eachother’s company.  Had a great time.  Lots of drinks and lots of food.  REALLY expensive though ($24 for a burger… yeesh!), but it was worth it for a night out.  We stayed til around 11 or so, and then Mercedes and Sam dropped me off back at home.  Again…. A shockingly quiet night, especially for a Friday…


Unfortunately, Saturday I had to go into work.  I just had so much to do, I couldn’t avoid it.  I had told Fraser that I was behind, and wanted to come in, and he said that was fine.  Said that I didn’t even need to come in really, that Myke was happy with what he was seeing from me thus far, and that if I wanted to take the weekend, and thought I could keep up with a new quota the following week, so just enjoy the weekend.  I didn’t think I could keep up with another full quota though, so to the office it was!  Got in around 8 or so, and got to work.  Worked for a couple of hours, and then I got to meet Tamir and his girlfriend Francesca downtown.  That was a really nice break.  I enjoyed hanging out with them, and finally meeting Tamir.  What a great guy.  Lots to talk about.  We went and had a drink at a coffee shop, then headed across the street to an art gallery.  Haha… most random thing ever too.. while we were at the gallery, two girls were outside literally beating eachother… like, pulling hair, throwing punches, etc.  CRAZY!  People on the street stopped and were calling the cops and all that.  Yelling and screaming at them.  They were totally fighting over drugs too.  One of them in the tussle dropped what looked likc a crack pipe… insane.  Definitely interesting.  Young girls too.  Sad.  So we got our excitement in for the afternoon for sure. 

Then I headed back to the office,  showed Tamir where I worked, and he is super happy for me.  Really impressed to at what Im doing, and how the company is.  He said it sounds like a fantastic environment, and it really is.  One month in, and still loving it.  He offered to take me on a tour of Weta as well whenever I make it down to Wellington.  How awesome would that be?!  Kyle and I will have to take a trip out for sure. 

After that, I headed back to work and worked for most of the rest of the day.  Got a decent amount done, never as much as I want.  Then Kate got in touch with me, and she, Matt and Tiffany were headed out to Mission Bay for some ice cream.  I was starving cause I hadn’t had dinner, so I went and joined them.  I got a burger while they had their ice cream, and we went and sat outside.  A nice ending to a busy day.  I was going to go out with Mercedes, and was looking forward to it, but I was just so tired by the time I got home that I wasn’t up for it.  Instead, I ended up just chilling out and chatting with Alvaro and Ernesto.  Nia, Terry, Kira and Scott were all out of town for the weekend.  So the three of us were goofing off and talking about all kinds of different things, over a bottle of Pisco.  Haha, Pisco and cola.  YUM.  We killed the whole bottle between the three of us.  Yeesh!  I didn’t mean to do that!  It was fun though, and I sure slept well. 


Went back into the office to get as much done as possible.  Finally got some shots submitted and was making some progress.  The Christmas parade was in the afternoon around 2 as well.. and I debated not going.  But I could hear all the sirens and whatnot from the office, so I decided at the last minute (around 1:50) that I was going to go.  It would be good to get out and enjoy some of the day at least, right? 

MAN what a crazy parade!!!!  I mean, dude, EVERYONE in the whole city must have been downtown.  Queen street was insane.  It was cool though for sure, not like any Christmas parade I had ever seen!!  It was like… a hybrid between Christmas, Halloween, and I don’t even know what!  Haha.  Lots of clowns, people on stilts in crazy costumes, marching bands, huge inflated balloons (hehe, there was one of a clown holding a ball in his hand… and this thing was MASSIVE… it was so big, that the balloon got caught on one of the light poles and ripped the balloon, and it started deflating right in front of me!!!  Haha, HILARIOUS!  Take a look at the photos)

Hahaha, and Kiwi to top it off.  :-D

So as I was watching the parade I decided to wander around some of the shops.  I wanted to find a little Christmas tree to put on my desk in the office.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t really get to the shops I wanted to go into to find one because of the parade.  Ah well.  It happens J  So anyway, I was browsing around throughout Queen street, and stumbled upon this clothing store called Jay Jays.  I decided to go in and just have a look around.  DUDE… they have affordable clothing there!!!  Not to mention they were having a sale, so I went in and got a bunch of shirts and tank tops to wear to work.  Some cute stuff!  I spent around $80 on like, 6 shirts and a couple of accessories.  Awesome!  Very very happy about that find!

After that, the parade was ending, so I decided to high-tail it back to the apartment.  I had to do laundry still, and I had pretty much worked as much as I was going to work for the weekend.  Came back, threw in the laundry and hung out watching some tv and surfing the internet.  Once the laundry was done, I actually sat down with a needle and thread and started fixing some clothes that I have that ended up with either tears or holes in them.  Seams broken, etc.  Man, I fixed like, 6 articles of clothing!  I bought this $2 pack of random thread colors, and I swear, I literally had every exact color I could have needed!  A bright pink, a lavender, a tan color, bright green, black... it was nuts.  And made me SO happy that now my clothes have no holes!!!!  And I was watching Happy feet with Nia and Terry as I fixed it all.  Awesome.  Made a sandwich for dinner, and just relaxed for the rest of the evening.  :-)  Twas a good Sunday.

 Monday was busy, I decided I needed to sit and focus on my work since I had gotten so far behind.  Luckily, they assigned me a smaller quota this week, so I should be able to catch up by Friday with my work.  Unfortunately we couldnt log in when I got to work because the internet was down... meaning we also couldnt even open our files through Maya, so I headed down to the Post Office real quick to get some stamps.  Figured those might be important.

Got back, and got to work.  I also got up and mentioned to everyone in the room, if we could kind of tone down the Nerf fights for the week.  Kate and I had both been in the office over the weekend (it was nice not to suffer alone ;-)), so clearly there was some issue with productivity.  Everyone seemed totally fine and in agreement with it, so fortunately, the whole day was really chill and quiet.  Everyone getting down to work.  It was really great actually.  I felt pretty productive because I was able to just straight up focus.

After work, Kate and I were going to head down to Kung Fu for some working out.  We left work a tad early (about 5:30) and headed out to get there.  Unfortunately, we didnt realize just how far it was, so we ended up missing the class.  Sucks, but at least we had a nice walk!  I think we're going to look into some other kind of martial arts or Kick Boxing to get into.  Excited about that for sure. 

Since we knew we were going to miss it once we realized just how far off we were, we kind of meandered around down Richmond road.  Kind of a nice road!  I could live down there, and we actualy saw some apartments for rent.  Something to consider.  We also stopped into a local grocery store, and I was able to pick up some stuff I needed... including some desk accessories!!!!!  Found some Buzz and Woody action figures for the top of my monitor.  Made me very happy :-D.  Got some strawberries too which are YUMMY!  Im glad I had them at the time as well, because once we started walking again, I started to crash.  I think Im having some issues with regulating my blood sugar a bit.  I notice I end up with these funky pseudo light headed / dizzy spells every once in a while.  I am going to cut the caffeine out quite a bit from what I have been doing (I think I crash after a caffeine / sugar high in the afternoons, and I know I had just had some coffee shortly before we left work... Im sure i was crashing from that), cause its not a good feeling.   Epsecially since I walk around the city essentially by myself most of the time, the last thing I need is to pass out randomly in the street or something.  Ugh, scary thought.  So Im trying to be better about that.  Got myself on track to lose weight as well, been eating healthier.  Lots more protein, veggies and fruits, less carbs.  I think I'll be ok now :-).

Anyway, we had a really nice walk, and then I headed back home, and Kate headed up to the bus.  :-)  I think we're going to be great friends, Kate is awesome.  I think we're a lot alike in some ways.  Cool for sure.  So, got home, and had a chill night.

Today, I skipped my run cause Ngaire couldnt meet me, and decided to sleep in a tad, since I hadnt all weekend since I was working.  Had a good day at work though.  Another chill day for sure.  Had half a coffee, and a tea instead today, so already on teh track of less caffeine.  Was pretty productive too.  I think Im going to get all of my shots done this week, and not have to come in on the weekend!  YESS!  Hopefully theres some beach time in store for me this weekend... that would be amazing.  So yes, good day for sure.  Half way through I went into Mykes office to ask him about a shot I was getting ready to start on.  We ended up having a nice little chat.  he's really happy with the work Ive been doing still, which is such a relief.  He thinks its funny because I have been so worried about staying on task, and making sure my stuff is good enough, especially since this is my first pass at Secondary, and its a big deal to me.  This is the hard stuff!  Its so nice though because he keeps reinforcing that I am doing just fine, and not to worry.  Even though I feel behind, he mentioned something to Fraser about maybe cutting me a little bit of a break in the coming week because of some of the rigs Ive had to work with.  Its been a challenge for sure!!!!!  More just time consuming.  The Elephant trunk in two shots, multiple characters, and running in another shot, the snake in like 4 or 5 shots, and whatever else.  The Snake in itself was a hell of a challenge.  So they smiled and it sounds like I might get to relax a bit coming up.  Its so nice to hear that sometimes they take that into account.  Im not SURE about it, but we'll see.  At least this week wasn't at full quota so I can catch up.

Either way, the day was good.  Got some feedback from Myke, which was small really (thank goodness I keep getting only minor changes to shots... whew!), so I have some things to continue working on, and then tomorrow Im hoping to dive into some of the quota for THIS week finally, and be done with last weeks shots.  Gotta keep the ball rolling!  I stayed about 12 hours today, got home around 9.  Hung out for a bit with the roomies... and now I am WIPED, so Im heading to bed.  Going to get up way early to run with Ngaire tomorrow.  Should be good.  Im gona be tired though... haha, apparently I do pretty well without sleep lately... or well, without much of it.  Hopefully I can catch up this weekend and make it a point to sleep in.  I dont ever do that really.  Another good reason to have Kyle here... he makes me sleep in :-).

Anyway, bed time for me.  Sorry its been so long since an update!!!!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

wow what a week

Update more later, I promise.  What an insane week its been.  I worked both Saturday and today, and all of last week (of course) just trying to stay on top of things.  Secondary Animation is a killer, and I am moving WAY too slow.....  But I caught up a little this weekend (still have way too much booked for this coming week with work), so hopefully I can get things finished up by Friday.

I think the big killer was that I was apartment hunting during all of my lunch breaks, so I lost almost 2 hours some days between getting to the place, looking at it, and then getting back.  UGH.  So thats not happening anymore... at least not in such a rush.  Talked to Kyle, and he said its alright, that we will look when he gets here.  I think thats better anyway because then he has a say on where we live.  Plus, it makes it easier on me, cause if he doesnt start working a job right away, he can search while I work.  We've started looking into options for a car too, which is kind of exciting.  Hopefully we can find something that has enough space that maybe we could camp out of it?  That would be cool.  We'll see.

So yea, lots going on.  Not much exciting during the week, I mostly worked a lot and hunted for apartments, but there will be an update coming soon none the less. 

Tired now, attempting to get some sleep.  Kira has two friends over who are staying the night... and maybe tomorrow night... and they're all up chatting loudly, like Kira does.  *yeesh*.  Anyways, ear plugs time!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Nov 22 and 23

Well, Im a bit tired, but I will try to catch up here before I get too behind!

So yesterday (Monday) was a decent day.  Ive been re-assigned ALL of my Primary shots in Secondary, which is nice.  Thank goodness because I really helped myself out in adding a lot of breakdowns in my Primary!  haha.  It was a good day at work, but sadly not all that productive.  Ugh, sucks sometimes. 

I went to view an apartment too.  And let me tell you.... It was a NICE apartment.  Sadly, nothing is included in the rent (in terms of utilities), so instead of it being $330 a week like advertised, its actually around $550 a week.... WAY TOO MUCH.  Sucks cause it was in great condition and it was well furnished.  Definitely a small apartment, but it had a separate bedroom at least.  And big balcony.  It was also very close to the Vector Arena, which could mean very noisy.  I thought it would be farther into Parnell, but not at all.  It was definitely still downtown, so street noise could have been an issue.  Also no parking... at all.  SO it had its downsides, but looked really nice.  ARgh.  Oh well.  Keep looking! 

So unfortunately that took a little while longer than I had hoped on my lunch break.  Got back, did some more work, turned in and got another few shots approved, and then headed out with Mercedes.  We went back to her house (she lives with her mom at the moment), and proceeded to make dinner for the 4 of us (us two, her mom and Sam, her boyfriend), and do some baking for Matt's birthday!  He turned 23 today, so we figured we'd make some cookies and cupcakes for everyone to partake in.  That was really nice. 

I hung out there til we were done baking, and then they drove me home.  I was SO tired, so I headed straight to bed (thankfully the house was really quiet). 

Got up this morning early to go running with Ngaire.  GOT to lose these new pounds Ive gained... this is not allowed.  haha.  So anyway, we ended up running around 6 miles, which is AWESOME.  Up some hills and through a park over in Kingsland.  It was really nice!  She keeps a really good pace too, so we definitely had a good run.  Really enjoyed that.  I came home and was in a rush a bit, but whatever, the run was SO worth it.  I made myself some eggs and ham, which was FANTASTIC, made my lunch and rushed to get ready to work.  Made it in around 9am, got my coffee and was good to go.  I wasnt really motivated today though... even though in the end i got a good amount done.  We celebrated Matt's birthday too, which was nice.  Seems to me like he had a great birthday!  We got Carla to come early, and she went to pick out a cake with Kate and Tiffany.  Then we got a lot of the Animators in our office to sing and have cake :-)  It was nice!!!!  I think he really liked it.

I went to view another place to live today too during lunch.  This time, a house on Franklin road, which is about 10 minutes from my job walking.  Its a reall nice road, tree covered, and though its highly trafficked... its not downtown for sure.  I can deal with car noise, its people noise I can't.  It seems nice.  Good size house for sure.  Nice garden / back yard in the back.  Well kept.  HUGE tv, nice living room, good size kitchen.. two bathrooms.  There is a couple living there now, one is a chef, the other is a film student who just finished school (a married couple around 27 / 28 yrs old).  I didn't get to meet them, but I met Amy, the owner of the house.  She comes by often and helps to take care of the gargen and clean the house and whatnot.  She also uses the third downstairs room as a place to crash if she comes into town for one reason or another, since she lives around 40 minutes outside of town.  She was very nice, and I think this could be a good place to live.  Its relatively affordable, though its at about my MAX for spending on a place to live.  The bedroom is unfurnished too, but comes with a HUGE built in closet, storage, and a vanity area.  So I would need a bed and bedside table essentially.  Maybe a little tv considering it has a tv hook up in the bedroom.  A desk if I realy wanted it (which would likely be a good idea).  Furnishings wouldnt cost me a ton if I did things through Trademe as well, which is nice.  Its spacious enough.  Not a huge room, but also not tiny.  Just a bit of a downgrade from what I have now I think, but really not by much.  At least the rest of the house is furnished.  I need to make arrangements to meet the room mates sometime this week ideally.  Amy said she thinks I would get along with them really well (Kelly is the female tenant), which is good to hear.  She's become friends with them since renting it to them.  It sounds like a good scenario!  We will see.  I am going to hear from Mercedes tomorrow about what it might cost me to live with them in their house as well, so I can pick between the two.  The huge benefit here though is that this is 10 minutes from work.  Mercedes' place would be about 6 miles away or so, which is still not bad, but I would need alternative transport other than my two feet.  We will see for sure :-)

Anyway, once I got back to work, the day was alright.  I turned in two more shots in Primary, and started modifying a shot in Secondary.  Secondary makes me nervous... because this is the refining stage.  So this is what we would usually spend all the time on at AM, but now I have a week to do Secondary on 7 shots or so.  Its kind of quick, but I think I can pull it off..... I hope anyway.  This week is a hard one because I am juggling viewing apartments and working.  Luckily though, I already had in 100 hours in this pay period after today.  Only needed 90!  haha, 45 hrs a week.  Yea, last week was a busy one, so that helps to be able to take this week a bit more chill.  I still have just as much work though!  ACK! 

Anyways, the day was good.  I left around 8, even though I didnt work nearly that long.  I like hanging around there in the evenings.  Ive made a bunch of friends, so we end up hanging around and talking.  I usually stay at least an hour longer than I realy need to.  I'm ok with that :-).  Tomorrow will hopefully be more productive.   I'm running again in the morning with Ngaire, and then after work, she is going to pick me up and we are going to cook some Thanksgiving-esque dinner.  I believe she is cooking sides to take with her to a family gathering she and Chris are going to on Thursday for Thanksgiving.  She said we'd make dinner for the two of us as well.  Should be fun!

Unfortunately I probably wont be getting to celebrate Thanksgiving myself on Thursday, so I will just make Wednesday night with Ngaire my equivalent.  :-)  At least its something.

Missing everyone back home.  Hope you all are doing well!  Still trying to catch up on the communication with everyone.  My ipod died today too... its deciding that its not capable of picking up wifi connection anymore... Im not sure if this is a glitch or what.  Ive never had it happen til I got here, but its not a good thing at all, considering thats my only free messaging service to family and Kyle (aside from email which is harder for me to access). 

Oh well.  Hopefully I can fix it..... I was able to last time.  No idea.  ARgh.

Anyway, bed time.  Running early!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A little catching up to do.... again.

Well, I guess its a good thing that I havent been able to update the past couple days just from being busy!  Haha.  You all know me... I love being busy.  It makes that down time so much more valuable.  Well, lets get started.

The rest of Friday was great.  I was able to get not only all of my shots finished AND submitted, BUT I got through ALL of my revisions and notes too!  How AWESOME is that?!  So I left at the end of Friday (btw, I was done by like, 5:30 that night with all the work) with all of my shots in my task manager colored Green.  Green is goooood.  Green means go.  haha.  Throughout the day I bounced a couple back and forth to Myke, small changes each time.  I was nervous I wouldn't finish, but I got better reviews on my stuff than I had anticipated, so that was nice.

We even had a break for a nerf fight!  And let me tell you, it was an epic one.  During lunch, a bunch of the guys in the Assets team had gotten Nerfs because there was a massive sale going on at the Warehouse (the smaller ones we mostly all have are usually $25 I think, and they were on sale for $15).  Of course we see this happening as they walk in with their guns (they got the bigger ones too), so we immediately made an alliance with the group of Animators that sit on the opposite side of the office (Assets is in the middle..... a dangerous place to be!), and began scheming.  We got everyone rounded up, and fired a warning shot over to them.  And then it was ON!  We must have had a 20 minute nurf fight, Animators vs Assets.  SO much fun!  We outnumbered them hugely, because only like, 4 people had gotten nerfs, and we have probably 15 of us on the Animator side that have them!  WIN!  It was awesome.  SO much fun.  Apparently Im not a bad shot with a nerf either!  It actually went on so intensely and for so long that Fraser had to come out and call a cease fire, because apparently we were making too much noise for the people upstairs.  Lame.  AWESOME though. 

Once the end of the day came around, I was feeling really good about all those shots turning green as the "Trolley of Dreams" made its way around the office.  Beer and wine for all!  (Yes, this is ever Friday).  After the food and drink were consumed, I was just waiting on one more shot to be approved before heading home, so I hung around a while.  Finally, that last one was all set to go.. but I still stayed and hung out.  LOVE my office.  So we had yet ANOTHER nerf fight.  Awesome. 

Finally I packed up and was chatting with Warren who was also getting ready to go.  Then Myke came over, and gave me another "congrats on the great work" compliment (yay!), and then I told him that I was so excited because all my shots were done and approved... and he was like "really?!  All of them?!"  Apparently that is not common for someone on the newer end of things... and even people that have been there a while, to get ALL of their shots, and all of their revisions done by the deadline.  Especially since we only require 80% of the Primary Animated shots to be done before we submit it to Nick.  haha, AWESOME!  Apparently I am doing better than anticipated.... all around!  How epic is that!?  What a good feeling.  Man, the good things just keep coming at work.  Myke is just telling me to be confident, cause I have to say, when I got in in the morning, I was worried about getting everything done.  Apparently there was no need!  Next week will be interesting because I have been assigned to do now all of the Secondary on all of my previous Primary shots.  SO COOL!  Apparently that does not always happen either.  WOOHoO!  ROCKIN!

So, I ended up finally leaving the studio probably around 7:30 or so, and I walked back with Warren and Myke.  They are so great.  Had a nice little chat on our way home.  They took me a different way, which is great cause it might actually be quicker than the way I take now.  :-)  They're so nice.  I love the people I work with!  Then I got home, and it was a shockingly quiet evening for a Friday!  THANK goodness because I was wiped after such a long week. 


Saturday was a busy busy day.  I finally got up the motivation to go on a run around 8:30am, especially since now I can TELL I am gaining weight for sure (this stops now).  Ran around 3.5 miles or so, just went out around the neighborhoods.  I wanted to go out to Mt Eden, but I must have taken a wrong turn somewhere cause I ended up going away from it rather than toward it.  Either way, discovered some more shopping centers and stuff.  Then I came home, and rushed to get showered and dressed to go and view another apartment in Kingsland.  It was a bit more of a walk away than I thought, and I wasnt really sure where I was going.  So Im on my way, now granted, I didnt eat anything between run and walking to this apartment... so I get like, two streets away, TOTALLY running late, and I end up starting to feel REALLY faint.  My eyes went all nuts like I was going to pass out, I got dizzy, light headed, and my heart was RACING.  And I mean racing, like... I thought I was going to have a heart attack.  So I quickly sat down on the corner of the street in front of a convenience store to try to calm down.  Finally I felt ok, but debated turning home... and then decided to continue on.  I NEED another apartment, and they all get taken up really fast around here.

Anyway, so I kept going, and it was a hell of a walk!  A solid half hour.  TOO far from work... that'd be over an hour walk away!  It was an alright apartment anyway.  Nice size bathroom, good open living room, decent size bedroom, but the area just was not ideal.  Plus it had no internet connection installed, so I would have to do that separate... and the price was already a tad high for what I got.  So afterward, I headed home.  I still have the place as a back up, but I want to view another place in Parnell that is closer, and thats scheduled for Monday during my lunch break. 

So I headed home, got a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and an umbrella cause there were some massive dark clouds coming over, and set out again to head downtown.  Was going to try to catch one of our coworkers jumping off the sky tower, but the apartment viewing made me too late.  Ah well.  Headed downtown anyway... but as I left the house, I didnt even make it to the corner of the street before again, I got REALLY dizzy, and thought I was going to pass out.  This time, the racing heart was much worse.  I seriously thought I was experiencing a heart attack or something.  It was so weird, and so scary.  Especially cause I was alone, and no one knew where I was or where I was heading.  No good.  Finally it subsided, so I kept walking, but much slower, and relaxed.  Just kind of went on a stroll.  Text Ngaire to see what doctors were available and whatnot in case I had to go. 

I finally got downtown and got some food asap.  Called Mom as well, which was so nice to talk to her.  I told her what was happening, and she said it was probably a combination of the wrong diet (which is so true.  I have been eating WAY more carbs and less protein than I am used to), dehydration (also true, I drank probably 3 massive bottles of water that day), and low blood sugar.  Haha, makes sense since I hadn't eaten more than a PB&J sandwich when the episodes happened.  After I ate lunch I felt much better, and we chatted a bit.  Mom gave me a good grocery list, and was helping me kind of figure out what to do.  Im not so good about grocery shopping alone.  Never have been.  It was nice going with my roommates in college, I could kind of see the impression of what they were buying and making, and follow suit.  Haha, I dont have that here.  Anyway, I think I have it down now, I know what my problems are.  That was just SO scary. 

After that, I ran into Matt and Carla on Queen street, and they were headed to a shop... I can't remember the name of it now... but think like a Macys.  Nicer clothes, a little more expensive than what we're used to at home, but more affordable than usual I guess.  They were looking for a small Christmas tree since their families had sent them some ornaments in the mail.  So sweet!  I want a little Christmas tree!!!!  Haha, so I was there with them checking out ornaments, and I found this ADORABLE one that I got.  Not going to reveal what it is cause its for Kyle ;-)  But its awesome.  Now, I just need a tree.  But I am going to wait until I have an apartment.  So the goal is: new apartment before Christmas so I can decorate it, have a tree, AND make some kind of Christmas dinner.  Yes, you heard me: CHRISTMAS DINNER.  haha.  I have no idea how to do it, especially the whole turkey part, but how cool would that be?!  So yes, I must have these things.  If I can't be with my whole family on Christmas, I have to do it myself.  :-D

Anyway, then I headed back to the house to drop what was left of my food and my ornament, and try to make some of the Grey Lynn Festival.  Luckily I got about an hour of it... but SHEISH let me tell you... a festival like that is just an excuse for young people to get together in a big green field and smoke and drink until they drop.  Literally.  Cigarettes, weed, there were rock bands playing, booze EVERYWHERE.. obnixious teenagers.... omg.  New Zealand is WAY different from home (to me) in that respect.  I think its cause of the whole 18 yr drinking age and whatnot.  Ew.  Haha.  So it was....interesting to say the least.  I enjoyed walking through it a little bit, cept trying to avoid the drunkards stumbling everywhere.  There were big craft tents and stuff... wish I had gotten to go through those more.  I was with Alvaro and Ernesto though, and they wanted to go sit, so since we wnt as a group, I just ran thru them and went to sit.  Ah well.

Around an hour later, Mercedes came and picked me up to go to the Taste of Auckland festival.  That was interestng, and fun.  Much more low key.  Also much more expensive, but I got lucky because she had a friend working there who got us in for free.  We had to purchase "crowns" though to buy food and taste drinks, etc.  It was fun!  Lots of cheeses, wines, olive oils, everything.  We had a good time.  I got a re-usable coffee cup (in black and Lime Green!) with the crowns I had left over... and I LOVE it.  So me.  hahaha.  The girl who sold it too was like "ah Ive never seen that color combo before, I love it!'  :-)

After THAT, she dropped me off to meet Kate, Tiff and Matt for some food before seeing Harry Potter.  That was fun.  There were 10 of us from the office who met up to see the movie.  Love it!  I love the group, we honestly all have so much fun.  Thats exactly what I wanted to do that night.  Though I had been invited out by Ngaire, and I do wish I had been able to go to that.  I love her, that would have been fun.  But, I had already bought my tickets, so another time :-D. 

The movie was realy good.  I realized that apparently I have missed one or two of the movies before this one (woops!), but I still enjoyed it quite a bit.  After the movie, which ended around 11:30, I walked home since the buses had stopped.  Lame.  Haha, but it wasn't bad at all.  There are almost always people out and about on the way, so that was reassuring.  Made it home, and of course, people were out and being rowdy again.  I was so tired and ready for bed... but I just sucked it up and went outside to hang out anyway.  It was alright.  Caved and finally went to bed around 1:45 am.  Ugh.  Had an alright time, they're just kind of obnoxious and drunk.  Haha.  Thats all.  I did enjoy talking with a few people though.  :-)


Anyway, headed to bed, then slept in some this morning before searching for apartments... in bed :-).  Hehe.  The kitchen was an absolute wreck this morning, so I kind of waited in my room and did research until the hooligans came and cleaned it.  haha!  It worked!  Chatted with Andy for a bit, looked for some apartments, and then made myself some decent breakfast, and got ready to walk to the store.  Found this Asian Market that Nia had mentioned, and OMG ITS SO CHEAP!  I love it!  $40 for an epic amount of produce.  Fantastic!!!!!  So now the fridge is full of produce.  I still need more things (gotta get protein!), so Nia and Terry and I are going to head out to the store in a minute to finish the shopping.  Sounds good to me!  Been a chill Sunday.  We're going to make Carbonara tonight.  Looking forward to it. :-)  THESE are the things I like about living here.  The rest is just a neusance.

Anyway,  Im out.  LATER

Time to hit the store.  Later!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Nov 19th

OMG, so yesterday Kyle had sent me a text at work, but we kept missing eachother with the whole text for free thing that I have on my ipod touch, since I dont have internet in my part of the office.  So to check if I have a text, I have to go out into the hallway.  Anyway, he said "GUESS WHAT," and I kept trying to hear back from him.... but I wake up this morning FINALLY with a response:

KYLE GOT HIS VISA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  AND IT ONLY TOOK HIM TWO DAYS!!!!!!!!!

AHHHH I AM SO HAPPY!!!!!!!!!!! 

Omg, this is fantastic!!!!

I am SO freaking excited!  YESS!!!!  And I am going apartment hunting this weekend possibly.  I hope so.  I will be checking out one for sure.  I hope to God I find something good, and affordable.  A few of them look really nice, but are out of my price range if I am paying for them myself.  If Kyle is here though... we can afford it, but still.  Its about $110 more a month than I want to be spending if its just me for a while.  BUT, the bright side is: if he comes for Christmas, there are only like 35 days left!!!!!  YESS!  Amazing.

I kind of feel right now like someone is watching over me while I am over here.  Everything, with the exception of minor annoyances, is really turning out to be exactly what I had hoped for...... and more really.   Especially in terms of being in the office.  And now, my living sitution is beginning to shape up, especially when Kyle gets here.  OMG I am so excited for the next couple of months!

Haha, well, anyway, I am up for work, and should start getting ready to go since I am going to walk again.  I like walking in the morning, its really nice, though its a tad cloudy today.

More later on!

Nov 18th

Ummm wow...talk about an AMAZING day.  Really fantastic honestly.  It was so productive!  More than I expected, so that is always a good thing.

I rode the bus in, got there around 8:30 again, and just got my nose into working!  I was able to crank out ALL of the shots I was still missing and get them submitted for the first round of feedback...and they were all with Savio and Julien.  AWESOME.  I have feedback on almost all of them... but its really small stuff.  Thank goodness!  Savio is getting a tad easier and more predictable every time I work with him, which is fantastic.  I still have one shot where I have to counter-animate him on ever frame... but its just the nature of the shot really.  Not too much I can do about that one unfortunately.  Everything else though has been alright so far with him.  Myke really liked what I had with Savio so far, just some adjustments because I have 4 shots back to back with him where I need to make sure he hooks up in between each shot.  Not too bad though. 

I also did my very first shot with Julien today.  I have one left, but it hasn't been assigned yet until next week.  OMG did that go well!  Wow.  I was so nervous about it.  Julien is so animated and crazy... I wasnt sure how good I would be at making him work.  Haha... so my feedback was:  "this is FANTASTIC!"  LOL....  How cool is that?!  I have a change at the end with how he leaves the scene, but I just mis interpreted how he hooks up to the next scene, so I will make that change today, no biggid.  But still OMG.  How awesome is it to get feedback like that on a shot I was so unsure of!!!!!!!!!!!

I had a little talk with Myke that night too before I left which was really nice.  Every time I sit and talk with him, I feel like I gain more confidence, which is exactly what I was hoping for.  He always tells me how well I am doing, and that I should continue to do what I'm doing.  He said that he had given me the shot with Julien, as well as the snake ones, to really see what I could do.  I have had 8 or 9 different characters on the show now to work with, and apparently its because he trusts me more and more with each shot he hands me, to do what it is that he wants to see.  It feels so cool to have your superior say something like that about you.  He also said how nice it was to see such a good impression of me right off of the bat.  Haha, so hard work does pay off!

So maybe Im actually pretty good at this whole Animation thing!  I was joking and saying how I was so excited that I would have a really awesome reel after working on this show, and he was like "Oh it'll be more than really nice!"  HA!  SO COOL!  Ahh man, that was a great way to end the day.  Really REALLY was.  I had another 12 hours in the office, but man, I don't regret staying so long each day this week for a second.  Hard work pays off, thats for damn sure.  And at this point.. this makes me so excited because it could mean that I really can make it to where I want to be in my Animation Career.  What an epic thought that is.  Just... really really cool.  Apparently I really did come here for a reason!  And its paying off more than I ever expected it to (and thats JUST in the career sense!).  Wicked. 

Well, after the day had ended again at 8:45, I headed home.  It was nice actually, I get home, and everyone is hanging out.  No loud parties.  Not insane drinking.  Just chilling watching tv and talking.  I like that.  So I made some fried rice (Thanks Amy, I followed your advice on how to make it!!!!), which was pretty good, and then chilled with them for a while before heading to bed.  :-)

Great day.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Nov 16th and 17th

So last night / this morning I was too tired to write, sooo I am lumping the two days together.  haha.

Yesterday I walked to work again.  Which I really kind of enjoy.  Nice fresh air, and its great to get out and walk.  Considering I am failing at any other type of exercise lately (no, I never succeeded at running.. ugh.. hard to get a routine around here), its really nice to be walking everywhere.  I've been taking my camera around with me FINALLY now that I remembered.  Trying to keep up with that whole photo-a-day thing, though it is hard at the moment.  I want to edit the photos, some of them end up really washed out, but oh well.  At least I have them :-).  Take a look, heres some from my walk to work yesterday:

 I walk down this hill (and back up it) every day.  This is Franklin road.  BEAUTIFUL. 
 Saw these today hanging over a brick wall.  Pretty!
-This is right across the street from work.  Just noticed it today.

So yes, glad to be taking Photos :-)  Will try to make it a routine for sure.

And work was good, another 12 hour day.  Long week this week, but thats ok.  Thank goodness I love my job.  I honestly just like being in the studio.  I would rather be in the studio than at home!  But thats just how it is.  Haha.  Anyways, the work has been hard but good.  Submitted another shot, and then got to trying my hand at the dreaded Savio the Snake.  And let me tell you... he is a MESS of a rig!  SO hard to work with.  I have seen some great results with him, but I have no idea how whoever did it is achieving them!  They're not from our studio, thats for sure.

Struggled with him quite a bit, re-animated him a few times, and left at the end of the evening (around 8:45) having SOMETHING at least.  I think I have to re-do the shot though... after trying another one today, I think there may be a different / potentially better way to do it?  Not sure.  We shall see tomorrow (Thursday).  Hopefully I can get something going.

Ugh, now the crappy part.  So I got home from work to what was supposed to just be a chill BBQ that was going on at the neighbor's for someones birthday.  However, it ended up being this obnoxious party with loud music, people yelling, singing, and getting wasted.  On a TUESDAY.  Ridiculous.  So anyway, that was obnoxious, not to mention the place was kind of a mess when I got home.  Kira and Scott are just messy.  Seriously.. messy.  Everyone else seems to be ok.  Nia was annoyed at it too when I got home.  And of course, there were NO clean dishes, so I had to wash some to make my dinner, which I had carried home with me after stopping by the store around 9:00pm after work.

Anyway, the party went on until 2:00AM almost..... ugh.  I swear.  Its like no one works.. or cares about those who do.  And after a long day at work both Mon and Tues, I was not happy AT ALL.  Luckily, Nia is awesome, and she and I sat down with Alvaro and Ernesto and were goofing off in the living room, trying to avoid the loud noise outside.  Which was not easy.  But we had fun!  We were teaching them english words / phrases, and vice versa.  That was a good time.  Then Terry got home way early, and Nia and I were talking.  Apparently Terry is trying to learn Welsh (even though hes from Wales, the area he's from does not speak it), and Nia had gotten some CDs of audio for him to learn it.  She asked if I could put them on my computer, so he could possibly load them to his ipod (they dont have computers).  I said sure if it would work, and sure enough it did!  The coolest part:  I could totally learn Welsh if I wanted to!  haha.  So neat.  I have no idea what it sounds like, but Im kind of excited to try!  We shall see.  Anyway, it was nice hanging with them.  Nia and I seem to feel the same about some of the crazyness that goes on here.  So it was good to have someone to talk to.  She will be here for a while, and I just don't think that I want to be.  Its nice to have some people around, but still..... I would really like some personal alone time after work.  

Well, so once the party died down, I went to bed.  and PASSED out until waking up around 7am to get to work again.  Nia and I rode the bus, and I got into work later than normal, I figured after Monday and Tuesday that it was fine, which it was.  Today was Savio day.  ALL day.  Thats all I worked on.  Trying to figure out that rig.... ugh.  Anyways, its interesting trying to work through it, a challenge for sure.  But.. sometimes you just want something to work the first time :-).

I went from the one (possibly the hardest shot with Savio) to another one after a while.  THAT one I think I may have finally gotten down alright.  Took a while, but not terrible.  So that one I submitted for review tonight before leaving work.

Ok, I love work.  We have random nurf fights EVERY day it seems.  And its SO much fun.  I know I rave and rave about it, but I really do love it.  I love the work, even when its hard, love the people, environment, etc.  Fantastic.  :-)  So yes, work was frustrating, but good.  Kate and I had a really nice chat today too.  SO glad she finally moved into our office.  We were weary that they may not move her, but very glad they did.  She's a blast, and I am definitely looking forward to hanging out with her and everyone else a lot more.  We all actually started making a list of outings that we would like to set up to take.  Paintball, a beach trip, a skiing trip, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding..... etc.  SO excited about these possibilities.  I hope they happen! 

OH, and back to the rig for a second.......we have been trying to ask Nickelodeon what to do about Savio the past few days.  They came back today with something along the lines of: "he needs a completely new set up / re-rig, but that just isn't feasable at this point in production of the current show, so have the animators try to do the best they can until we can hopefully find a solution later down the line."  haha.  I knew that would happen.  And its true, he does need a total re-rig.  I mean, Im no rigger at all, but I just could not seem to make easy sense of that rig.  So we were animating, re-animating, asking questions back and forth... its just a time sucker really.  I could have powered through a few of those shots (more than just the two) if the rig had been more logical. 

Anyway, that aside, I feel I did alright with it for today.  Headed out around 6, which was nice, and headed up to the Pub (Albion) up the road for $10 steak night.  Nick got all the ladies a round of drinks which was nice, and we hung out and had our steaks :-).

Then, stuffed with steak, I walked home, and luckily, found the place quiet.  Everyone home, but quiet.  THANK GOODNESS.  So Nia and I hung out for a while.  She's such a sweetheart.  She doesn't want me to move out.  Thats really sweet of her.  And if it was just her and Terry I was living with, I would be perfectly happy and fine.  Its the crowd of everyone, and the parties and the nutso-ness of everyone else that I am not a fan of.  Too bad it has to happen like that.

Anyway, had a nice relaxed evening.  Took some nice photos of the sunset on the way home too, take a look:

 -Above was walking down the hill from the pub toward my office.
 -SOOO pretty.

-And this, on the left, is where I live...just I live in the lower room.   This was right outside the unit when I got back tonight.

So yes, quite the nice walk home.

And now, it is 10:30pm, and I am headed to bed.  SO excited.  I am wiped.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Nov 15th

Ahhh, a bit of a rainy morning this morning.  Haha, the Sky tower looks pretty cool in the fog! 

Had a good day today.  Even though it wasn't as productive as I wish it had been.  I LOVE our studio, its awesome, but sometimes I think we all chat a bit too much ;-)  At least I have headphones now though, so I can work a little bit better.  Got a new computer yesterday. 

Managed to get two shots in yesterday.  I also stayed for like, 12 hours... haha.  Almost anyway.  These shots with Savio are what I am really worried about, so I wanted to get another of the two that don't deal with him out of the way.  Although.. we noticed some substantial issues with the Savio rig.  His IK system is exactly that of the elephants... nothing follows what it should.  So this is definitely daunting, since I have some of the more dramatic flipping / swirling scenes with him.  Im hoping that they are even possible, because from what Peter was seeing, and what we were attempting, Im not so sure...  I guess we will see.  Peter send out a note it sounds like to Nickelodeon to see if there is either something in terms of rig usage that we are missing, or if there is any way to get the rig to be modified a bit.  Its just going to take HOURS... well, in this case probably days to get that rig to cooperate... so I may be eating, sleeping, and breathing work this week.  Hopefully its solvable... otherwise I have no idea if it will get done.

On the bright side, the shots with Julien will be interesting.  Gotta keep in mind that with him, the more animated the better.  We shall see!  Looking forward to it.

Also, we have started decorating our office!  Amnon brought in some plants for his desk, and I think thats a fantastic idea, especially since we get a lot of decent sunlight in the room.  He brought in a Peace Plant, sounds like they are easy to take care of, so I think I might get one myself :-D.  We started hanging posters too.  Its starting to look great.  Its getting crowded (we have a few new animators), but still great.  I was able to nab an Avatar poster too!  Chris walked in, and noticed we were putting them up and mentioned that Bruce (managing director of Oktobor) had just gotten a poster FROM WETA of the Avatar movie, and that I should go up and introduce myself (or well, re-introduce myself since I met him at hte party) and ask him if we could hang it in our office!  Sure enough, he's awesome and handed it right over!  Its up next to my desk :-D  I will have to take some photos of our epic office.  EVERYONE has a nurf gun now too.  I got one the other day, Sushil has one now, Amnon... its AWESOME.  What a great group to put into one room together. 

Anyway, after work, I headed home, but had to stop at the store first.  I have just about no food here at the house, so I went and got at least breakfast stuff... whatever I could carry pretty much.  I'll just be going to the store in shifts I think.  Warren also mentioned that for people that stay late, there are frozen meals somewhere for the staff at the office.  Hopefully I wont be there TOO late this week, but in case I am, at least I will be able to eat.  One more awesome thing about Oktobor.  I wasn't there alone either, even when I left at 8:30, Warren and Myke were just leaving, and Rob and a few others were still there.

Fortunately when I got home too it was quiet in the house.  Wahoo!  So I got to bed a tad early.  I was SUPPOSED to get up and run again.. but I just find myself SO drained in the mornings now.  Not sure why.  I have to make it happen sometime soon, though maybe this isn't the week for it with the shots I have.  Im SORE from Big Ups too!  Didn't expect it, but i guess we were playing soccer for quite a while, and running all over the place.  Haha.  Good times.

Alright, enough for now, later!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Nov 14th continued...

So today wasn't all that bad.  Unfortunately I didnt get all done that I wanted to.  Ah, and I still have no food... darn.  But it was alright.

Got to talk to Kyle, which is ALWAYS good.  Wish we could have talked longer.  Its so hard not being around him.... its only been a month too!  Ugh.  Anyway, it was great to talk to him.  We will hear, hopefully next week about potential jobs and which kind of Visa we should pursue for him to come here.  Im going to start looking at flights for him since he said he's been too busy, and asked if I would help.  Hopefully we can find something from CA to NZ for not too expensive.  :-D  I'll start searching.

Anyway, it was amazing to talk to him AND see his face :-D.  After that, I ran into the office for a while (yes, on a Sunday) to get some work in.  I only had about an hour by the time I walked there, but thats alright.  I got one shot revised and re-submitted, and tweaked another a bit more.  I have A LOT to do this week, so hopefully I can stay on top of it. 

Then we all met up to head to this place called Big Ups. 

OMG how much fun that was!  What a great way to meet more people too.  Its seriously like a big play place for adults.  I mean, inflatable slide, inflatable jousting ring, inflatable fly wall.... EVERYTHING.  Sumo suits, a moon-bounce boxing ring, and ZORBING!  Haha.  So cool.  Kate kicked Mercedes ass at the sumo suits (sorry Mercedes), haha.  And we got a ton of stuff on tape and photos.  We all left with some bruises by the end too.  Battle wounds!  I played soccer for quite a while.  Apparently Im a bit of a "beast" at soccer.  I had a blast doing that.  There were some guys that were really REALLY good, but I was able to keep up enough.  Seriously a blast.  Then toward the end we played a Girls vs Guys game, and that was so much fun!  A tad dangerous, Mercedes and I ended up contacting foot - to - shin, and we both have some lovely injuries from that, but at least we were in socks! 

Goooooooood times.  There were 20 something of us or so, and we ran around for 3 HOURS!  There was extra money left over too from the admission people paid to get in, so Mercedes ordered pizza and "chips" (french fries) for all of us.  Ahhh pizza.  SO good.  Oh, and btw Dominoes Pizza here is SO much better than Dominoes at home.  Seriously, really good. 

So, now Im ready for bed.... bruises, rugburn, whiplash and all.  haha.  Tomorrow will be entertaining seeing everyone all beat up.  Some of the guys were really rough... with themselves!  Haha.  Javier especially... He was just all over the place!  Good times.

Bed time for now.  LONG and busy day tomorrow!

Nov 14th.

Ahhh Sunday morning.  The courtyard is full of cigarette butts and broken glass beer bottles.  Stellar.  Yea, this is not for me.  Went out to put laundry in and was very glad to be wearing sturdy sandals. 

Ugh.  Text a woman today about looking at an apartment.  She said she would let me know what day / time would work with the tenants who live there now so I can take a look at it. 

Its been quiet around this morning.. the kitchen is a MESS, but I just cleaned up some of it.  Everyone else can clean the rest, I wasn't part of it.  I've decided Im not participating in sharing toilet paper in the downstairs bathroom anymore either.  Im the only one who uses the bathroom, and since its on the main floor, when the neighbors have parties, everyone uses our downstairs bathroom... so then I wake up with no toilet paper.  Not cool.  Im keeping my own.  haha.  Sheish, I sound bitter!  I am a bit though.  This is ridiculous. 

Anyway, Im not sure what to do with myself today.  I need to go into work, but Im not sure if I can, or if anyone is there.  I also need groceries.  Im starting to gain weight I think.... which is not cool.  Ive been walking all over the city, but then again Ive had a very carb-heavy diet since its cheaper to eat pasta and sandwiches all the time.  I need to change this.  Hopefully I will be able to.  I have an extensive grocery list.  And I hate going grocery shopping.  It's just a hassle. 

Well, I guess I should do soemthing.. I did laundry, but its already 12 now, and I kind of want to go just lay in the park for a while.  But I really should go into work.  Maybe I'll check and see if anyone will be around...  though Im supposed to chat with Kyle via web cam around 1pm (my time).  At least I can do that now!  Thank goodness!!!  Oh man it feels so good to have internet again.  it will make my apartment search easier, thats for sure.

Ok, time to go be more productive.. after catching up on all my late Blog posts!! 

Nov 13th

Mk… just a touch hung over today.  Ok, a little more than a touch.  Haha.  Woke up around 6, ate some food, drank water, and headed back to bed.  Guess I had a bit TOO much fun last night (though Im not sure that is possible).  I had to get up though because Ngaire was swinging by to pick me up around 8:30 to take me to Piha beach.  I was SO excited for this, though I do wish I had been able to sleep just a tad longer.  Haha. 

Now, let me just say that since I have been here, I have not really left the city at all.  And man, do I need to leave the city more often!!!!!  Piha Beach is about 40 minutes outside of the city… and is absolutely stunning.  Its like a little beach town sitting in these huge mountains, and an enormous stretch of black-sand beach. 

Theres a massive rock called Lion Rock sitting just off the shore in the sand.  And I mean, its like a mini-mountain in itself.  Ngaire took me out there, and the two of us went wandering the beach, picking up shells (as I always do), and exploring some of the wildlife.  There are rocks down at one end of the beach where HOARDS of mussels attach to it.  So neat.  We were there at low tide, so we were able to walk through some of the rocks for a bit.  I almost got stranded though as the tide starts to roll in on some of the lower rocks.  Woops!  Haha.  The water seemed to be following me around. 

I was just flabbergasted at the scenery out there.  THIS is what I had pictured New Zealand to look like.  Ngaire took me on a little mini hike in our bare feet up this dirt trail in the trees.  Talk about a VIEW from up there.  I could spend all day in this place.  And she said there are miles of other trails to check out in the same area up in those mountains.  It’s the Waitakere Mountains.  Gorgeous.  Seriously breathtaking.  I will be returning to this place, one way or another.  I gotta find out if a bus goes out there…

The drive itself was spectacular too, it looks like a jungle, as Ngaire put it.  Narrow roads, and windy as well.  Through the mountains, and just TONS of vegetation.  Its my new favorite place.  Haha.  I was telling Ngaire I seem to find a new favorite place the more I explore.  I liked Mission Bay a lot, and then Albert Park was a favorite, and now Ive seen Piha, and that is BY FAR the favorite.  Ngaire used to live out there for a little bit… I could definitely do that.  Haha.  Beach town.  No real merchants or anything though, its about a 20 min drive to groceries and stuff, and of course 40 min to downtown, but just so beautiful.  I loved it.

So after that, we headed back, and I went out to run errands with Terry and Nia.  Needed some more stuff for the house (finally got some more pillows, a duvet, and more hangers, yeesh!), and it was just a beautiful day to be outside.  So that was productive.

Headed to the Warehouse on my own to get some last minute things, and found another discount store (my favorite!) in the city.  Then, I was contacting people about plans for the night, and I had totally forgotten about the Rugby League game that night!  Mercedes picked me up around 8:30 and we headed to the Cock and Bull pub in New Market to watch the game.  It was me, Mercedes, Cristina, and Nick.  Good times.  Kiwis won!  What a great game.  I love Rugby. 

I was supposed to go out afterward with the housemates to check out Casset, where Terry works downtown, but I was just SO tired after the game, that all I wanted to do was go to sleep.  SO badly.  Unfortunately, the house had other plans.  Mercedes dropped me off, and all I hear is loud pounding music.  Great.  Another party next door, just what I needed.  Yea, I am moving out of this place for sure, as soon as possible.  I put earplugs in, and turned on the fan and tried to go to sleep.  Its just obnoxious cause no one cares if you’re sleeping, they’re all drunk and slamming doors, helling and screaming and whatnot.  I found out later apparently I could call noise control on them after 10pm, but who wants to be the one doing that?  I don’t know.  Hopefully a good place will come up soon.

Mercedes was talking about getting a house with her boyfriend… a 4 bedroom one.  And mentioned that I could possibly rent one of the rooms from her as well.  It would be out a little ways from the office, but we could all carpool.  That might be really nice actually.  So they are going to look at houses this coming weekend, and she will let me know.  Theres another apartment I saw up that’s in Kingsland, right in my price range and furnished too, that I am hoping to look at today.  We’ll see I guess.  That place isn’t available til the 28th anyway, so really, either one of those options will just take a little bit of time.  I guess I can deal with it a few more weeks.  Its just annoying not having control over when you want to sleep or do something.  I don’t know, I love people, and I get lonely when Im alone for long periods of time, but I just don’t like living with people who like to party it up and drink heavily all the time (and they all do).

Time to get crackin on finding that place….

Nov 12th

Ok, so wow, let me just start out with: WHAT AN AWESOME DAY.  First off, I got into the office this morning, and was assigned 8 NEW SHOTS.  OMG.  That’s fantastic, but I’m still behind on just a couple.  Unfortunately too, today was not as productive as I had hoped.  But it was AWESOME all the same.

Mark Taylor walked in pretty early in the morning and sat down and had a nice chat with us.  All the animators in my office (about 6 of us).  It was awesome.  Its so funny, he treats us all like we’re friends, and just has such a way about him of instilling comfort in other people when he talks to you.  He genuinely wants to know about you, and what you’re doing.  So nice to feel that way when talking to someone of such importance (to us).  That was a really nice way to start off the day.  Then, it was time to get down to work.

So I’m working on my Idling shot with Maurice and the other characters, and trucking through that.  Then I submit it for some review from Myke before turning it in.  He has me come into the office to show me some things I need to change.  Granted, small things, which is great.  I kind of assumed if I was “called to the principal’s office” that there would be some major changes.  But no!  Awesome.  Ok, so anyway, that went over really well.  Myke and I were talking and joking back and forth cause Friday was SUCH a busy day with the Mayor coming in, and us wrapping up two shows, plus the party that night, and Nickelodeon being in the house… everything.  Anyway, then Myke mentioned to me the 8 new shots that he had handed me to get started on this coming week.  I said “yea, wow, I was NOT expecting to get any shots with Julien!!!” 

THAT’S right…you are lookin at someone who is freakin animating JULIEN, one of the harder / more fun characters, that only a few people get to animate (or so it sounded to me, not sure) AFTER MY SECOND WEEK OF WORK!  How crazy.  I was SO stunned, and flattered too, that I get to try my hand at working on him.  I also have an INSANE amount of shots with Savio the snake.  He is flopping around all over the place in the shots… wow.  SO crazy.  I seriously surprised / excited.  The coolest part was: when Myke brought it up, he said that this is to show a continuing build of trust and confidence in me, which made me feel extremely good.  I was expressing that I feel that I struggle just a little, in getting to know how far to push the characters and whatnot when animating, cause watching it is one thing: making it happen is another.  He told me that I am doing great, and to “continue with confidence.” 

Talk about a confidence boosting afternoon.  Now:  I just need to hold up to the standard I have been set at!  Haha.  We will see.  Im one shot behind though after Friday with all the crazy going on, so I will probably try to get in on the weekend to work some.  Either way, this coming week will be awesome. 

Now on to the other best part of the day:  THE LAUNCH PARTY! 
First, check out this link about the studio to get an idea of whats been going on, and what my awesome office looks like!  (they don’t show the room Im sitting in unfortunately, but its IN FRONT of the news caster woman when she’s talking): http://tvnz.co.nz//technology-news/nz-s-newest-animation-studio-open-business-3893754/video?vid=3893715

Anyway, so 5:30 comes around and Rob Difiglia and Chris Waters come around and are like “hey guys, gona come join the party?!”  We were all working, cause some people had to meet the show deadline before the party started.  But man, when everyone was ready, we headed over to the sound stage area (its literally the room we used for green screening.  It was all painted white, but it has NO corners in it… just a gradual slope upward into the wall from the floor.  Such a neat room!) to get some drinks and get the party started.  Wine, champagne, beer, whatever you wanted pretty much.  And they had decorated the room with a little stage, funky orange carpet squares in nifty patterns across the floor, as well as standing tables and a little couch sitting area.  Awesome. 

Re-cap in Photos:

-Such a cool setting!  See the carpet going up the wall?  Yea, no corners in the room!

-Check out that bar!

-Ahh some big wigs at Nickelodeon!!

 -Managing Director of Oktobor.  Really nice guy.  I got to talk to him for a little bit.

 -Rob Difiglia, one of the partners.  Cool guy!

 -The writers of Penguins!

(photos courtesy of Animator Tiffany Wang, I unfortunately did not have my camera on this night. GRR)

Had a great time, talking with people and hanging out.  Then the REAL party got started.  We had to choose a song to sing for the Karaoke contest.  OH NO.. KARAOKE!!  Yes, it was the Animators vs the Assets Team, and how could I not participate?!  So we had some debate over what songs, since we had to sing two.  Fraser picked “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” to start with, which unfortunately I don’t know the words to, but they hade a huge screen with the words, thank goodness.  Fraser and Peter took over the mics, and we all danced in the background….WITH OUR NURF GUNS.  It was classi.  Fraser got really into it too!  The man has no fear!  Haha, what a show.  So we finished the song and shot off the nurf guns at the ceiling.  What better way to end a song?  We got very high ratings for our performance as well, though we did get rated a 4 out of 10 from one judge (we were judged by all the Nickelodeon people, including the founders of it, and the writers of Penguins), who we all gracefully pummeled with our nurf guns.  Thankfully he was ok with that.  Haha.  That’s the last time he will give US a 4!

So then the other teams went, and I have to say, there were some really entertaining performances.  This studio is full of awesome and fun people.  I love every minute of it!  The night was great.  I hung out with Warren, my past office-buddy, the head of Assets at Oktobor, hung out with Rob, one of the partners.  Had a really nice one-on-one conversation with him actually.  Great guy.  And just had a blast!  They had pizza for us too, which was awesome.  And then, we got ready for our next song: Living on a Prayer.  YES.  Talk about a good song to have.  We got REALLY into it!  I had to hold the mic, so Im sure I ended up belting out something badly, but whatever, at that point, I think we had all had enough to drink where it didn’t matter!  I mean… we were all so exited about the party… that we were… just so happy. :-P 

That song went over well, and we ended up WINNING THE COMPETITION!  Fantastic!  Of course, Nurf was involved here again too.  Good stuff.  Could not have asked for a better night.  Of course, after winning we had to do an encore, so we chose “We Are the Champions,” appropriately enough. 

Then Mercedes and I just hung around, participating with other people on their songs, dancing on the dance floor, and enjoying more champagne.  It was an amazing night.  I felt like I was with a huge group of friends.  Talk about a blast! 

OH, the craziest part:  I was told by the writers of the show…. That they read this blog.  HOW CRAZY IS THAT?!  I was stunned… and seriously flattered that this blog has gotten that much attention!  I had no idea people were interested in my pseudo-online-diary.  Haha.  Well, I will continue to write to the best of my abilities, and continue working as hard as I can at what I do.  I feel like I have finally made it to a place that I want to be.  I am still a very young animator, and have much to learn, but man, this is where I wanted to be.  In a job that I love being in, at an office that I want to spend time in.  SO: thanks everyone J  Talk about an amazing studio.  And its only going to get better.

The end of the night came around 11:00, and fortunately Warren lives near me in Grey Lynn, as well as Rob, so we were all going to walk home together.  We lost Rob somewhere in the mix, so Warren and I made the trek home.  Hilarious.  Haha, a walk like that doesn’t seem so far away after a fun night. 

Anyway, could not have asked for a better Friday, all around!

Nov 11th

SO, ok, a little behind, been busy lately.

Lets start off with Nov 11th, Thursday.  So I got moved into a new office on Thursday, which was pretty cool.  I get a new computer this coming Monday, which will be awesome, since the headphone jack in mine currently doesn’t work.  Haha.  Hard to hear dialogue in a busy animation studio from just your computer speakers! 

Anyway, the day went well, though it was a bit frustrating.  I was working with Burt, the Elephant rig, and editing a scene where his trunk to push a box across the floor.  SUCH a simple shot, just literally sliding the box along the floor.  You’d think it would be like, 15 minutes to get it blocked out.  Nope.  Haha, apparently the IK rig system of the trunk is like nothing I’ve ever seen.  Normally you think: ok, so I will parent the box control to the end control on the trunk (the nose), and when its in IK, if I just animate the BOX, the trunk will follow it.  Piece of cake.  Not with this rig!  So you switch it to IK… but only the joint that is parented to the box is what moves with the box.  There are like… 6 joints in the elephant trunk.. and because of this, it means I have to animate EACH individual joint on every frame as the trunk moves across the floor.  OH MY GOSH.  Talk about frustrating.  So Im sitting there, thinking, “ah, it’ll look fine, I’ll make these adjustments I got from Myke and re-submit.”  No, I ended up re-animating the trunk completely like 7 or 8 times.  No exaggeration.  I had Pete, the other Animation Director, come take a look at it (really good a technical aspects of Maya animation), and there was nothing he could do to get it to cooperate either.  Frustrating!  So, anyway, I ended up just Animating the whole trunk over again in FK, and just fudging the positioning of the box, and keying it on almost every frame to make sure it wasn’t jumpy.  I think I got it alright.  But still, for a little bit, I wanted to pull my hair out!  It took most of the day, which I didn’t expect, so I got a bit behind on some of my work, but that’s alright. 

Also, Nickelodeon was in town today!  SO cool.  So the office was all decked out, and we got to sit and talk with a bunch of important people at Nickelodeon, including Mark Taylor, head of Nickelodeon Animation Studios (SUCH an incredibly nice man), as well as with the three writers of Penguins!!!!  Omg it was so cool.  I loved that they came in and sat and talked with us in our office.  They literally just wandered in and had a chat with us about the characters, the show, if we had any questions, etc.  It was fantastic to throw things out at them, and of course to learn more about the show.  There was also a group Animator QnA with them as well toward the end of the day.  How cool!  I love it.  Its fantastic to hear about how a show came along, and where they get some of their ideas from for the show. 

So, by the end of such a good yet frustrating day, I was able to get that shot in and submitted, and then started on my next shot.  Not too bad.  A dialogue shot, and with a bunch of the other characters just kind of idling in the background.  Idling characters are HARD.  Haha.  So funny how that is.  At least I got it started though.  Then, it was onward to the Pub for some drinks.  I ended up having dinner as well, which was nice.  The apartment mates were having a Barbecue at the house, but honestly, I really really enjoy the company of my coworkers.  Nick, Kate, Cristine, Mercedes, Matt and Carla… awesome people.  And there are more too!  Anyway, I love hanging out with them, I always leave having had a good time, so I didn’t mind being late to the BBQ.

I got home and started looking at a few new apartments.  Im realizing (I know, I said it was all great and good before) that this is definitely not a place that I want to live full time.  After being here just over a week now, you start to see how people really live, and some of them are just downright messy.  I end up cleaning the counters and re-washing dishes (we have no dishwasher) pretty much daily because some of them just are not very… clean.  Heh.  So yea… Anyway, Im searching.  We will see, hopefully something good comes out of it.  I hung out with the housemates for a while, and now I am off to bed.  Going to start reading my book a little bit.  Maybe start getting into it.  More Nickelodeon things tomorrow!!!!

a little behind....

Sorry everyone, just a tad behind.  Its been a busy couple of days, and I am sitting here, FINALLY with internet connection, but trying to get to sleep.... and theres a massive party going on next door. 

I need to find a new apartment.  This is not working for me.  Apparently it is just way too much to ask for some quiet in Auckland.  I shall find it, if it kills me....

Yup.  First order of business tomorrow: start calling places to search for apartments. 

More update tomorrow, after I have hopefully had some sleep....

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Nov 9th and 10th

Nov 9th & 10th.

Well, past two days haven’t been anything incredibly exciting, so I will just lump them together (since I went to bed too late last night to write). 

So, yesterday was a good day, productive.  Picked up my Debit card at lunch, so its nice to have that now.  Then I got two more shots done.  They weren’t bad, felt like I kind of breezed through them.  The BEST part:  two of my shots didn’t even need revisions, they were good to go and passed the first round for Primary animation!!!!  SO happy.  That was a very very good feeling.  So now, I will get some kind of feedback after round one, and then go on to smooth things out and move into Secondary.  THAT will be interesting for sure.  Hoping that goes well, and that blocking was the hard part.. but you never know.  Myke is very particular, which is good, but difficult.  Still good. 

Anyway, then came home to the house, everyone home, and TELEVISION!  We finally have tv.  Just a couple of channels, but at least there is tv now.  STILL though (Wednesday the 10th) NO internet.  SUCKS.  That’s what I’m pissed about, and I know I rave about it a lot, but its my only solid communication home.

Aside from that, had a good evenings, had my leftovers for dinner, and then headed to bed a bit late.  Was up talking with the room mates and watching some tv. 

Today, got up and headed into work again.  Today I worked straight through the day (over 10 hours), with small breaks, but nothing substantial.  Today was not a very good day in terms of productivity.  I just wasn’t feeling it.  Was getting easily frustrated at things, and of course, then got my first feedback on a Primary shot that needed to be changed.  That took a while, cause I had a few things to change, and it went through a couple of rounds.  Got that down pretty much though, and re-submitted it.  It was just a rough day.  Everything was fine, but you know, just hard to get into the new shots.  Very dialogue heavy, and the Animatics have nothing in them except staging, so its up to me what they do really.  Good, but also difficult. 

I moved offices today too, which was actually nice.  That also hurt the productivity a tad, cause I was in a room with the other animators.  Which is GREAT, but the headphone jack in my computer doesn’t work, so when everyone is talking, I can’t hear the audio in my work.  A bit hard for dialogue heavy work, but that’s ok J.  It was fun, I love being in a room with them.  Im sitting right next to Matt, and across from Mercedes and Nick.  Cristina is behind them, and Sushil is on the corner.  Great group of people.  A few more it sounds like will be coming into that room, there are 3 vacant desks I believe.  I hope Kate comes, she is a lot of fun.  Great group really.  We had a nurf gun fight early on in the day, and THAT was fun.  I got to participate this time, even though I didn’t have a gun.  Kate has two, so she let me use one of her others.  Gooooood times.  Haha. 

The rest of the day was just sitting down working on the shots.  Nothin too snazzy.  Just hard to stay focused today.  Blah Wednesday. 

After work, I went out to “steak wednesday” with Nick, Cristina, and Kate.  That was a great time.  Decent food (can’t complain for a $10 steak!  It was cooked perfectly too!), great beer, and awesome conversation.  Great way to wrap up a long, frustrating day.  Unfortunately, I have two shots that I just got critique on to fix up tomorrow, but that’s alright because I kind of knew that at least one of them would have some changes (sometimes the staging and timing of Animatics doesn’t work so well when actually put in Animation in Maya, so there are changes that have to happen later on).  So, tomorrow will hopefully be a better day for productivity… though I’m not sure.

We have a bunch of media and people from Nickelodeon (high up people) coming in tomorrow and Friday to film / take photos, and see what we do.  So that will possibly be distracting, but at least Im in a separate room with just a few animators, so hopefully not too bad.  Looking forward to Friday, we are having a big party after work at the office.  Should be a blast :-D.  Can’t wait.  This weekend should be busy actually, which is nice!  Of course when I finally have a novel to read :-P.  I have some errands to run, got to go get some more pillows, since the two I have are cheap-o and tiny (I smacked my head against the cinderblock wall night before last when I got into bed, since my bed is in a corner, and I mis-judged my distance..), and I need a duvet.  I have the cover, so I essentially have two sheets, but no comforter.  NEED that.  I need more hangers for sure too.  I think that will help.  I hung up all my sweatshirts, but since theres no dresser, I think it will help to have more.  It’s a big closet, but the stacking bins I got just aren’t enough for everything I brought.  So I’ll do that Saturday.

Sunday, I think the day is mostly free, but then at night, theres this place called “Big-Ups” that I am going with the people from work.  Its like, $20.00, and its some crazy big like, play house thing.  They have sumo suits, fighting arenas, a blow-up obstacle course… haha, looks hilarious.  So that should be fun.  Really looking forward to that.  I love the people from work, and that they hang out together.  THANK GOODNESS for that.  Should be a good weekend.  Sounds like tomorrow night too, there are people coming here to our place for a BBQ.  Nia’s friends are going away to travel for a while, so she thought about having a good-bye BBQ for them.  A few friends of the other room mates are coming, so hopefully it’s a good time. 

OH!  I forgot too, since I didn’t write yesterday… but everyone here at the house wants to do Thanksgiving… even though none of them are American!!!  HA!  So excited about that.  They all were like “what do you eat on Thanksgiving?”  They knew the staple things, but all were really excited to do it.  Hopefully we’ll get that together, that will be fun.  I am thinking about starting to find out who will be around for Christmas too (whose not going back to their home), and hopefully Kyle will be here, but maybe I could get a group of people together to make a big Christmas dinner.  That would be fun J.  Looking forward to the holidays, though they will DEFINITELY not be the same without the family.  That part will be hard.  But hopefully I can make something of it and still have a good time, and a good meal.  I’ll be bringing around all the recipes from home that we always have!  Gotta get them from the family. 

Anyway, already after 10.  I want to get to bed so that I can finally get up and run or something in the morning…we’ll see how motivated I am.  I hope that might help with the slump I had today at work.  Hoping it stays a bit more quiet tonight.  Nia and Terry aren’t home (I think they’re both working), and Scott and Kira have gone up stairs I think, so its just me, Alvaro and Ernesto watching tv.  Haha. 

Alright, bed time I think.  Later.