Saturday, March 8, 2014

3rd D&D Campaign Comes To An End

Today was all about Pathfinder D&D. This is our last day for our third campaign. We really wanted to get this done since Robert and I are going on vacation. So we started at 2:30pm and played until 1am.

It was a tough ending as we actually failed in what we were to accomplish. Several members of my fellowship were near death but luckily we didn't lose anyone. Dash picked up several cool items and even leveled up.. he is no level 5. I spells have increased in power and I'm starting to do double digit damage which is great. Dash did an okay job and defending himself and his fellowship. I only lost a few hit points for the entire session (which is very rare for me).

The ending was bitter sweet. Big stuff went down. Dallas did an amazing job telling this fun & interesting story. We saw the end of one age and the birth of a new one. We saw the death and resurrection of a new god and the creation of a single sun. This was the most epic campaign so far.

We now gotta wait until May to start our fourth campaign.. I can't wait to see what Dallas has in store for our little band of misfits.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Car Rentals and Cookies

After watching all 13 episode of season six of The Clone Wars I headed out to Target to pick up some travel things.. I initially went out to get a secured waste band/hidden wallet but I also picked up some suitcase locks and Id tags as well as a very cool bath accessories bag.

I also booked my rental car for my trip. I pick it up in Edinburgh and will keep it until I get to London. Not a bad deal.. 15 days for roughly $375 dollars. Of course this won't include gas but I'm thinking I can do this for under $500 for the entire trip. And I'm paying a bit more for an automatic. I mean I can drive a stick but I haven't done that in over 20 years and I figured I'm going to be struggling with driving on the right side of the road to have to worry about shifting as well.

Wondercon tickets went on sale for professionals today.. It took all of two minutes to get a free badge for me and two friends. I wish SDCC was this easy.

Later in the day I was really craving for some Girl Scout cookies.. I tweeted that I was thinking about driving around super markets and looking for Girl Scout. Besides it sounding creepy.. which many agreed that it did my friend Amy said that there is a Girl Scout Cookie app that will tell me where I can find cookies at any time. Sure enough I found the app.. downloaded it and found one location not to far from me that was going to be there until 8pm, currently it was 7pm. So I jumped in my car and headed over to Ralphs. I found their table but they were out of Thin Mints (which is what I really wanted). But the mother who was there with the girls said that another mother was on her way with more cookies. So I hung out with the girl scouts for about 15 minutes. Told them about the app (which they didn't know about). I finally got my thin mints (3 boxes) and I also got some do-si-dos (peanut butter) and samoas (coconut). This should hold me over until next year.

Star Wars The Clone Wars Season Six - My Review

Woke up at 7am and realized that Star Wars The Clone Wars season 6 "The Lost Missions" was released on Netflex today. So I immediately jumped out of bed and over to my TV to watch. If you know me at all you know that I'm a HUGE Star Wars fan and that can be said for Clone Wars as well. I have watched every episode since it premiered with a 2 hour movie that actually was released in theaters. I was bummed when I had heard that Disney was pulling the plug on Clone Wars after season five and I also knew that they had several episodes from season six already in production and that they had planned to finish them and somehow release them to the public.. well today is the day. Season six consist of 13 episodes, 4 stories and a whole lot of awesome.

First up is the Order 66 storyline.

"The Unknown" Clone trooper Tup succumbs to a mysterious mental illness that results in the shocking death of a Jedi Master. Unable to account for his murderous actions, Tup is sedated and sent back to Kamino for examination. Anakin and ARC trooper Fives accompany Tup, but their return trip is ambushed by Separatists.

"Conspiracy" In the sterile laboratories of Kamino, the ailing clone trooper Tup and his friend Fives are quarantined for examination following Tup's shocking murder of a Jedi Master. With the help of medical droid AZI-3, Fives is determined to get to the bottom of Tup's condition and uncovers a secret deep within the Republic cloning program

"Fugitive" Clone trooper Tup is scheduled for transport to Coruscant, where the Supreme Chancellor's own doctors will closely examine him. Fives breaks protocol and defies orders to dig up answers, and discovers that there is an organic construct of unknown purpose hidden in the brains of all clone troopers.

"Orders" Fives continues to push for answers regarding the mystery of the clone contamination and secures an audience with Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. But the situation quickly collapses when Fives is accused of attacking the chancellor, and he must flee deep into the Coruscant cityscape while pursued by his fellow clone troopers.

My Review of this storyline: I really enjoyed this story. It's my second favorite of the season six. I really enjoyed getting to know Fives better and his friendship with AZI-3 was fantastic. This is one of those stories that runs into the problem of it being a prequel. We all know that Fives will have to die as the truth about Order 66 is never known to the Jedi. But this didn't take away any of the suspense or drama that was presented. You really did root for Fives all the way to the very end. I actually had tears at the end of this story arc.  Great way to start season six. I give this storyline a solid A

The second storyline was all about the Banking Clan and Corruption.

"An Old Friend" While on Scipio to fund a mercy mission, Padmé Amidala is called upon by an old friend, Rush Clovis, to help uncover corruption in the Banking Clan. They must evade the bounty hunter Embo to escape the planet with the incriminating information.

"The Rise of Clovis" Back on Coruscant, Clovis—known traitor of the Republic—makes a dubious deal which puts him at the head of the Banking Clan. Anakin's increasing distrust and hatred of Clovis strains his relationship with Padmé to breaking point.

"Crisis at the Heart" After making a deal with Count Dooku to resuscitate the ailing Banking Clan, Clovis finds himself a pawn in Dooku's designs. Clovis has brought the war to Scipio, forcing the Republic to intervene.

My Review of this storyline: This was probably my least favorite storyline of season six but I still very much enjoyed it. We got to see a little bit deeper into the Padme and Anakin love story. I honestly don't remember Clovis from a previous season but you feel for his character as he was put in a bad spot.. he choose wrong and paid for it in the end but I truly think he was looking to help his people (at least the ones who raised him). I give this storyline a B-

The third storyline was a Jar Jar and Mace Windu story.

"The Disappeared part I" The peaceful world of Bardotta and its mystic ways are threatened by an ancient prophecy, and its top spiritual leaders have vanished. Queen Julia of Bardotta calls for help from her most trusted friend in the Senate, Jar Jar Binks. Recognizing the importance of Bardotta's spiritual balance, the Jedi Council sends Mace Windu to accompany Binks and investigate.

"The Disappeared part II" Jar Jar Binks' beloved Queen Julia of the planet Bardotta has been abducted by the bloodthirsty Frangawl Cult to fulfill a dark and ancient prophecy. Representative Binks and Jedi Master Windu must find the missing Queen before the cult can rise in power.

My Review of this storyline: I really enjoyed this storyline, I'm not a Jar Jar hater and I think he's really come into his own on The Clone Wars. I like that we see that Jar Jar has loved before. The interaction between Mace and Jar Jar is priceless. I liked that this was only a two part episode unlike previous ones this season. All in all a fun entertaining storyline. I give it a solid B.

And the final fourth storyline is all about Yoda.

"The Lost One" A Jedi mission finds a lightsaber belonging to the long-dead Master Sifo-Dyas, prompting Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker to being an investigation into his decade-old disappearance. This sparks Darth Sidious to order Darth Tyranus to clean up any loose ends that may lead the Jedi to discover the truth of the Sith conspiracy.

"Voices" Yoda is deeply unsettled when he hears a voice from beyond the grave: the voice of Qui-Gon Jinn. Knowing that it is impossible for a Jedi to retain his identity after death, the Jedi Council begins to worry that Yoda may be corrupted by the influence of the dark side. Determined to find answers, Yoda escapes the Jedi Temple to follow the disembodied voice.

"Destiny" Letting the Force guide him, Yoda voyages into the heart of the galaxy to an ancient world that is one of the wellsprings of the Force and the source of midi-chlorians. Yoda undergoes difficult trials administered by the Five Priestesses, mysterious Force-wielders who hold the secret to immortality.

"Sacrifice" After many grueling trials, Yoda next travels to the ancient Sith homeworld of Moraband, where he must face an ancient evil determined to rule the galaxy.

My Review of this storyline: This was by far my favorite of the storylines from season six and what a great way to end this amazing series. So much awesome in this story arc. We find out more about Force ghosts and how they work. We get to kind of see Darth Bane. Anakin and Kenobi discover that Dooku is also Darth Tyranus. Lots of Yoda action. We get to hear and see Qui Gon and of course we get to see Dagobah for the first time and when they play the original Star Wars music in the background it sent chills down my spine

But by far my favorite scene is the final scene of the series with Yoda talking to Mace and Kenobi. The original Star Wars music swells in the background Yoda delivery's his final words... "No longer certain that one does ever win a war.. I am. For in fighting the battles, the bloodshed, already lost we have. Yet open to us a path remains, That unknown to the Sith is, Through this path, victory we may yet find. Not victory in the Clone Wars, but victory for all time!!" I've watched that last scene over and over and every time it gives me chills and brings tears to my eyes.

Season six of the Clone Wars was short but amazing. I'm glad that Disney went ahead and completed these episodes. I feel like we got a true ending to The Clone Wars cartoon.. thanks to all who participated in making this fantastic series, it truly has become a huge part of the my Star Wars universe... My The Force Be With You All!!!!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Disneyland With Friends

Today was all about Disneyland. My buddy Brett messaged me a few days ago asking if I wanted to go with him to Disneyland. The last time we tried to go he had car issues and I went solo. Since is was down in Santa Monica at Robert's last night for TV night I crashed at his place and picked up Brett who lives in Long Beach on my way to Disneyland.

We got to Disneyland around 10 and the line to get into the parking structure was crazy long. In all the years that I have been going I had never seen it that long.. but 20 minutes later we had parked and made our way into the parks. We did Disneyland first.. and had a great time jumping of various rides as it was fairly quiet at the park today. About mid day I got a text from my friend Doug who was also at the park so we hooked up on our way over to Disney California Adventures.

The three of us had a lot of fun, Doug had never done any of the Cars Land rides so that was fun introducing him to those. We also dragged Doug onto Tower of Terror for his first time.. he enjoyed it. We ate at the V8 Cafe.. I had heard they had good food but never had them before. They indeed have very tasty food. We also grabbed a soft served (chocolate dipped) ice cream towards the end of our day at the parks. We ended our day around 6:30pm.. that's one great thing about being a pass holder is that you don't feel obligated to be there from open to close.

Overall is was a fun day at the Mouse House with friends.. thanks Brett and Doug for sharing in the adventure.

When I got home I was happy to see that I got my replacement Visa Travel Card. I spent the evening going through websites and changing my visa number for bills with automatic payments.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Gimpy Podcast, Booking Hostels and B5

Released the next episode of My Gimpy Life #15 CompanionCast for Season 2 Ep 3 (Episode 8). You can download it from iTunes and search for My Gimpy Life Podcast or go to MyGimpyLifePodcast.com and listen or download from there.

I spent the morning researching and booking hostels for my stay in Ireland and Scotland. As of today I have all my flights booked and all my hotels/hostels/friends couches booked for this trip. There are only three days when I'm in Northern England that I don't know where I'll be staying as I'm not sure what cities I'll be visiting as I'm just going to meander down for three days to the middle of England where friends live.

The evening was all about Babylon 5. My buddy Robert and I continue our first time viewing of this series. We are in the middle of Season 4 and tonight we watched Episodes 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12.

First up was S4 Ep8 "The Illusion of Truth" An ISN reporter does a report on Babylon 5 which turns out to be only propaganda. Among other things, the interviews displayed on the report are heavily quote-mined.

This was an okay episode... I mean you knew that this reporter wasn't going to be truthful and show Babylon 5 in a good light. Even with is speech about giving a sliver a truth in all the BS wasn't true. I can't recall anything good coming from that piece.. other then reporting informing to Sheridan about his Dad since Sheridan was worried about him. And I didn't like how the piece was presented.. it was about half the episode and we never see the reaction of Ivanova, Delenn or Sheridan until the very end and it's from the preservative of the TV monitor they were watching... very bizarre. 

And I'm continuing to dislike Garibaldi more and more.. which is sad since he was one of my favorites. I know it's building up to something but it's very frustrating to watch.

Next we watched S4 Ep9 "Atonement" As Babylon 5 recovers from the propaganda war started on ISN, Sheridan sends Marcus and Dr. Franklin to Mars. Along the journey, they annoy each other, including Marcus singing "The Major-General's Song" to Dr. Franklin's discontent. Members of Delenn's clan decide that Delenn should return home to Minbar and justify her deepening relationship with John Sheridan. Delenn makes a discovery about her ancestry once she arrives on Minbar.


I liked this episode, it was fun seeing Delenn back when she was fully Minbar. We also find out that it was Delenn's vote (though in rage) that started the Minbar/Human war. We find out that Delenn is a decent from Valen which means she's part human even before she was transformed. It's kind of strange to think that Delenn is related to Sinclair.  I liked the interplay of Marcus and Franklin those two make a good duo. And it was very funny scene when G'Kar got his new eye implant.

Our third episode of the night is from S4 Ep10 "Racing Mars" Franklin and Marcus arrive on Mars only for the Resistance to suspect them of being spies. Garibaldi interview for ISN angers Sheridan.

This was a good episode as I liked the interaction of Marcus and Franklin so we got a whole lot more of that. I liked that the two guys were portraying a married couple. B5 rarely address same sex couples or issues like this and it's nice to know in the 23rd century of B5 that same sex marriage is not only legal on Earth but it seems in all Earth run communities as well. I liked the conflict between Sheridan and Garibaldi, I continue to dislike him.. like Londo dislike. If I was Sheridan I would have kicked him off the station permanently after he punch him.

The fourth episode is from S4 Ep11 "Lines of Communication" Delenn makes contact with an alien race called the Drakh, only to learn they once served the Shadows. Sheridan comes up with a way to counter President Clark's propaganda machine. Franklin and Marcus attempt to persuade the Mars resistance to assist Sheridan in opposing President Clark.

Another good episode.. lots happening.. lots of building up of things. Minbar is about to explode with civil war, Delenn has to do something about it. We meet the race that was fleeing Z'ha'dum that was saw a few episodes back. Delenn is leaving B5 to help out her homeworld.. hopefully it won't be for long. Franklin and Marcus complete there job and get the resistant leader to join in with Sheridan. And Sheridan comes up with an idea of doing their own news broadcast.. which is something that I thought they should have done awhile ago.

And our final episode of the evening was S4 Ep12 "Conflict of Interest" Ivanova sets up to transmit the Voice of the Resistance. Meanwhile, Garibaldi is tasked with getting someone safely through the station: his former love interest.

This was pretty much a Garibaldi episode and it was good to see him somewhat back to his old self.. he's a good guy I just don't know why he's turned against everyone he loves. We find out more about his ex lover and I'm sure the storyline will be continuing now that her "mob boss" husband has offered him a job. The Ivanova scenes down on the planet were fun.

Some good episodes, a few "wow" moments but overall some nice storytelling. You can tell they are building up for something big.... can't wait for more.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

CompanionCasts & Virtual Companions

Spent a few hours today editing the next My Gimpy Life Companioncasts. Episode 15 is due to be released tomorrow so that was a high priority today to finish. But I was on a roll so I started to edit episode 16 for next week and I remembered that I have an episode 17 planned as well. Gotta get all this done before I leave for my trip in just over a week.

During the evening I watched Agents of SHIELD (loved it) and Faceoff with my buddy Erik via Skype. Faceoff is our "regular" show that we have been watching since the first episode of this season but we also will watch SHIELD & Big Bang Theory together from time to time.

This actually started with my best bud Chris, we started watching Once Upon A Time together via texting when he was stationed up in Montana. So when Erik and I started talking we were both fans of Faceoff and figured we'd watch the premiere together via skype and it just kind of evolved from there. Having someone to watch TV with is awesome. I'm normally a solo tv watcher but when Erik is online with me it's as if he's sitting next to me commenting and discussing the episode as it goes. Sometimes will even share a beer or dinner online as well. We're virtual TV buddies and it's fantastic.

Speaking of Erik, two months ago today we started talking/texting/skyping and we have talked, texted and/or skyped every day since, we haven't missed a single day. I know of course that streak will be broken when I am over in Ireland and the UK as it's not going to be as easy talking via skype with the time difference and wifi availability.. but I'm going to do my darnedest to keep the streak alive...

My Ireland Plans...

Today Robert, Thomas and I chatted over Facebook and solidified out Ireland plans.

We arrive in Dublin on the 16th at 5:15am. Thomas will pick us up and drive us to his place in Belfast. Will explore Belfast on the 16th and crash at Thomas's place that night. We then will start our journey south going counter clockwise around the country. Will be sightseeing along they way but our first official stop will be in Dublin (Eastern part), we plan to spent an entire day, March 17th sightseeing and celebrating St. Patrick's Day. Will be staying in a hostel just south of Dublin in a little town called Wicklow. Our next stop will be in the city of Cork (Southern part) on March 18th. After that we travel to Galway (Western part) on March 19th. And then we make our way to Donegal (Northwest part) where we will be staying with Thomas' parents March 20th and then our final leg back to Belfast (Northeast part) on March 21st.

Robert will take a bus down to Dublin for his flight on Saturday the 22nd. Thomas and I will continue to explore Belfast and the surrounding cities 22nd and 23rd before I catch a flight from Belfast to Glasgow on Monday 24th, so ending my Ireland Adventure.

We will be seeing east, south, west and north parts of the country. Will be in both Northern Ireland and Ireland Eire. And I know I won't be able to see everything but I do hope to see a few castles, some rolling green hills and of course I must kiss the Blarney stone. I can't wait for this first leg of my dream vacation.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Great Videos: Mr. Hublot & Idina Menzel

I found two videos online that I wanted to share with you guys.

First one is a animated short that happen to just win best animated short last night at the Oscars. While watching with Erik I mentioned that this looked amazing and I was wondering how I would be able to see it and sure enough they released it on you tube the next morning.

It's called Mr. Hublot: Mr Hublot is a Luxembourgish-French animated short film by Laurent Witz with/after the characters of Stephane Halleux. Mr. Hublot is a man who lives in a tiny apartment located in a crowded futuristic city. He wears several layers of eye wear and has an odometer-like counter in his forehead which runs forward and backward. Mr. Hublot also displays several OCD symptoms, such as turning the lights on and off several times before leaving the living room and meticulously straightening the pictures on his wall. 

It truly is worth of it's Oscar.. an amazing piece that I can watch over and over and cry every time.

video


The second video I wanted to share is from The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. He had Idina Menzel in the opening of his show and she preformed her now award winning song "Let it Go" and she was incredible.. not that she's isn't always incredible.. I just really liked this version of the song.

My Trip Schedule & Credit Card Issues



Today was all about my trip. I spent a good part of the morning planning out whom I would be staying with and when. It took some juggling but I think I have a good plan. I should be able to see a large part of both Ireland and the UK. If you live out in either place let me know and let's try to meet up.

  • Fly from Los Angeles to New York, then New York to Dublin 3/15 - 3/16
  • Ireland (travel all of Ireland with Thomas & Robert) 3/16 - 3/24
  • Fly from Belfast to Glasgow on 3/24  
  • Glasgow (stay in hostel) 3/24 - 3/25
  • Edinburgh (stay in hostel) 3/25 - 3/28  
  • Northern England (Wander around Northern England for 3 days) 3/29 - 3/31
  • Doncaster (stay with my friend Daniel) 4/1 - 4/3
  • Cambridge (stay with my friend Erlend) 4/4 - 4/6
  • Worchester (stay with my friend Markus) 4/7 - 4/10 
  • Bromsgrove (stay with my friend Simon) 4/11 - 4/12
  • London (stay at a hostel just outside city center) 4/13 - 4/16
  • Fly from London to Dublin in the evening (stay at airport hotel) 4/16 
  • Fly home 4/17 11am
After settling on my schedule I started book hostels and the mini flights between Ireland and England. As I was booking my car rental I got an error saying that they couldn't process my credit card info. I figured that my visa company put a hold on my card because there were so many charges from overseas. So I gave them a call and found out that it wasn't the visa company and more then likely something wrong with the car rental website. But they did inform me that my Visa card had been compromised in one of those store scandals and they were going to send me a new card and cancel my current card on March 21st.  

This is the worst time for this to happen. I informed them that I was leaving for a trip in a week and planned to use my travel card for the majority of my purchases. They insured me that my new card would get to me before I left... all I can do is hope that's true.

The other issue is I use my visa card to pay for about 2/3's of my bill's automatically. So when I get the new card I have to make sure I change my credit card number on all these sites so things are paid for while I am away. It's the last thing I wanted to worry about before this trip.. but what can I do.

I'm feeling really good as things are coming together for this trip. I still have a week and a half and a few more things to book and schedule but the majority of my planning is done.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Oscars - My Review

Started my day by editing my final MASH 4077 Podcast that will be released while I am in the UK. All I have left to do is build the show pages and pre-schedule them to release on the correct dates. I also have to preset tweets to announce each one's release.

The majority of the day was all about The Oscars. I started watching around 4pm and my buddy Erik joined in via Skype around 5pm.

We watched the show together trying to pick the winners.. we didn't do to bad. Ellen DeGeneres was hilarious. She made the show for me. Her pizza skit was the best and the fact that she actually purchased pizza's for the stars who actually ate it.. it was awesome.

She did a selfie with Meryl Streep and soon Julie Roberts, Bradly Cooper, Jared Leto, Channing Tatum, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pit, Angelina Jolie, Lupita Nyong'o and her brother joined in.. it was the most EPIC selfie ever.. and what makes it even better is Ellen challenged the viewers to retweet it to break the record and they did (myself included). It was retweeted over 3 million times.. twice as much as the record holder... it even crashed twitter for a bit.

Other memorable moments was John Travolta mangling Idina Menzel name by calling her Adele Dazeem. Don't know where he got that from but it sparked an uproar from twitter and minutes later there were two twitter accounts for Adele Dazeem and a Travolta Name Generator.. gotta love the internet.

Of course my favorite moments were the two wins for Disney's Frozen. It won for best animated movie as well as Let it Go for best song and the Lopez's acceptance speech was awesome.

 

Pink signing Somewhere Over the Rainbow was AMAZING!! Oh and did I mention Ellen was FANTASTIC!!!

Most of the expected winners won so there weren't that many surprises but it was an a long 3 and a half hours but between Ellen and my buddy Erik watching it with me.. the time flew by.

Oh and I almost forgot.. my favorite picture of the night (besides the selfie) this one happened on the red carpet and has to be the best Photobomb EVER. That awards goes Benedict Cumberbatch who jumps up on the middle of a photo opportunity with the group U2... love him!!!