Saturday, June 7, 2014

Birthdays and D&D

Today was a busy day for me... I was up early and headed out to my brother's for my nephews 5th birthday party. I can't believe he's five already... where does the time go.

The party didn't start until 1pm but I was there around 10am to help set up. My brother and sister-in-law go all out with these parties. So I help set up a canopy tent, the water slid, tables, chairs, streamers, balloons and other Spiderman themed items.

It was a fun time, Kenobi and his friends had a blast. I got to see my mom and aunt who also came to the party, so that was nice. I helped with the presents (as I often do) and also with the cake (I always seems to be the cake cutter). I had planned to leave at 3 as I also committed to play some D&D at 3:30 and didn't want to be to late, but I was having to much fun and didn't get out of the party until 3:30 and home by 5:15pm.

I made it D&D two hours late and jumped right in. It was a packed house, there were people everywhere. I was a bit lost at the beginning but soon got into the story.

This was the start of our 4th adventure... and Dallas (our DM) decided to switch things up and have us play in two different time periods. It was alot of fun. I'm really liking this adventure as it's more of a treasure hunt. Each session we hope to find a new piece of Melzarin's "treasure".
Our first big battle was against animated suits of armor and I'm happy to say that my little Halfling Wizard Dash played a big part in taking all four of them down.  Towards the end it looked like Dash was going to be sucked into another plain of existence but his companion did everything they could to help rescue him and thankfully he lives to fight another day.

Here's a synopsis of tonight's session: The Fellowship of the Foaming Mug found itself in chains and on trial, having been in royal custody the past three weeks for a variety of criminal activities. Surprise witness Elward Fletcher was called to reaffirm that he believe everything started with the will of the late Melzarin, as that spurred the companions to locate his worldly goods with newfound vigor some three months past.

Asking around town, got Ginneon a piece of information that Zander was able to expound upon: A greedy gaoler by the name of Gunter was dismissed when one of Melzarin’s rings came up missing from inventory. After laying low for a few months – soldiers and servants who served Edrin’s regime with enthusiasm were actively taken down – he emerged to sell the ring to Jhanto, the leader of a criminal guild called the “One-Eyed Wretches.” Jhanto got impatient with Gunter’s desire to actually be paid for the ring so he tossed him and some other ne’er-do-wells into Melzarin’s glitchy house which was slowly collapsing into the astral plane behind the blind alley of the Whale’s Tale.

Gunter’s wife Alija couldn’t be happier to be rid of her husband or to point the party towards Jhanto. After a few curiously poor verbal missteps from the usually glib Ginneon, it was the rogues who struck a bargain with the One-Eyed Wretches, agreeing to join the gang and keep their eyes by offering up Melzarin’s evil one. Phlig passed over 1,500 silver pieces to bind the deal, to be kept should the party default on its deal.

The party entered Melzarin’s old house and discovered it still mostly intact. They found Gunter, alive but shaken, hidden inside the most impractical privy in the history of Tyryn. They faced animated armor and astral rays, braved the homonymium, witnessed the destruction of Melzarin’s magical hat, and snagged a few choice items from Melzarin’s disintegrating library before making a hasty exit. They barely escaped with their lives.

Gunter proved good to his word and led them to the purple-stoned ring that was left to Tailyn. Among the papers they salvaged from Melzarin’s library, they discovered a letter to the Consortium of Gainful Arcanists from Melzarin, begging them to not repossess his magical cane (an item willed to Dash) in return for his late dues. That seemed as good a lead as any to discover the next item.

My friend Luis (and fellow player) made Lego figures of our D&D characters (Dash is front row, second from left)

Friday, June 6, 2014

Freaks and Geeks - My Review

Took a break from cleaning the house and editing podcasts to watch some TV. Today I figured I'd watch an episode of Freaks and Geeks, I noticed that it was on Netflix. I remember watching an episode or two back in 1999 and I can't remember why I didn't continue watching it but I didn't. It's funny to see so many "unknown" stars back then who are now household names like James Franco, Seth Rogan and Jason Segel. 

I knew I'd like the show and I was right, after the first episode I was hooked and watched half of season one (which is 18 episodes). I could have continued to watch more but I did have to get some work done around the house. Note... I did finished the last 9 episodes two days later.

If you don't know what Freaks and Geeks is here's a quick synopsis: Freaks and Geeks is a TV series that aired on NBC during the 1999/2000 TV season. It's the 1980s and at McKinley High, there's two different groups of teenagers, the Freaks with cool and charismatic Daniel Desario and tomboy Lindsay Weir and the Geeks with Lindsay's shy younger brother Sam, gentle Bill Haverchuck, and self-proclaimed ladies' man Neal Schweiber. The show chronicles the normal teen/adolescence problems any teenager goes through including acceptance, drugs, drinking, and bullying. Eighteen episodes were completed, but the series was canceled after only twelve had aired.

"One of my favorite scenes from the series"
This series reminded me of my childhood.. I was roughly the same age as the "geeky" younger brother and I had friends just like his. I love all the geek references. Though I did enjoy the first nine episodes I LOVED the final nine episodes. They really found the characters voices and just when it was hitting it's stride it was cancelled.

"Another amazing scene from the series"
I think I was a cross between Sam and Bill, but leaning more towards Bill's personality. Some episodes had me in tears from laughing so hard or from having my heart broken. You'd had episodes that lifted your spirits and made you feel amazing, to hating a character so much that you just wanted to stop watching. Some of the characters were annoying, stupid and cliche and others were sweet, kind and generous. They showed a wide variety of different types of teenagers from high school in the 80's and I knew them all.

Maybe that's why I loved this series so much.. it was my high school, my group of friends and my teachers. All I know is I plan on buying the one and only season on DVD. I've added it to my "must buy when I get a job" list. But for now it's available on Netflix.. so if you haven't seen it be sure to take some time and watch... it's well worth it.. especially if you're a teen of the 80's. I give Freaks and Geeks a solid B+

Looking for pictures online I found this Cast "Reunion" picture from a Vanity Fair article back in Dec. 2012. Some of the kids looks the same others I would never recognize.

Frozen, Goonies, Buffy & Firefly Action Figures

Yesterday I saw a post about Funko's new "Frozen" Pop figures. I collect a few of the series, like Star Wars, Goonies and The Hobbit.. but when I saw these new ones I knew they would be a must have as well. They aren't coming out until the summer but many assume as do I that they will premiere at San Diego Comic Con.

So I went and checked out their website and found out that along with Funko there is another company called ReAction and they do 3 3/4 action figures (very much like the classic Star Wars figures). And I was surprised to see what they have coming down the pipeline.

First I was excited to see that Goonie action figures were coming out. Now I purchased the Mezco 7" figures back in 2012 but I'm excited to get this new set of figures.

I also saw some Back to the Future actions figures that looked kind of cool. And some Buffy action figures which I saw a picture of a year or so ago but didn't know what or who made them.

But the ones that got me the most excited were the Firefly action figures. I can't believe I haven't heard or seen a word of these and they are due to be released at the end of June.

Now  you could purchase them from the "funko's" website but they are asking $19.99 (originally $10.99) and though I'm a huge fan there was no way I could pay that much for a 3 3/4 action figure so I searched ebay and found only a few and they weren't cheap. I then checked out Amazon and found four of the five figures there for $10.99 each, though they also said they were $19.99 each, it was very confusing.. but I managed to get the four figures (Zoe, Wash, Kaylee and Jayne) for $10.99 each but the Mal figure was $19.99 and I figured I'd check to see if I could find it somewhere else for cheaper. I mean they aren't out yet so these are all pre-orders.

I also saw on Entertainment Earth they have all the figures listed above available for pre-order for $9.99 each. You can check them out HERE.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Podcasts & Babylon 5

I spent the afternoon recording several Alien Nation podcasts with my brother. This podcast has been on hiatus since November as both my brother and I have been busy, he with his family life and me with the big move and big vacation. But we did manage to get together to do a "listener feedback" podcast last month but this is the first time we will be doing more episodes.

We're moving on to the TV movies, they did five of them. We're splitting each one into two podcasts so today we are recording Ep 24 and 25 which will be released on June 10th and July 10th. We're covering the first of the TV movies Dark Horizon.

The recording went okay.. of course the moment we decided to record the podcast the gardeners down stairs decided to use a weed whacker and air blower. At first it stopped us from recording but my brother had to get home so we moved forward with the horrible noise in the background. Hopefully it won't be to much of a distraction.

During the evening I went over to Robert's house to watch more B5. It's been a while since our last TV night and we had to push it from last night to tonight.

First up with watched S4 Ep18 "Intersections in Real Time" In a bleak room, an interrogator tries to force Sheridan to admit he was under alien influence and worked to undermine Earth.

When this episode started out, I said to Robert.. "Oh I hope this episode doesn't take place entirely in this room with the torture of Sheridan", but sure enough it does and I was pleasantly surprised that I actually enjoyed it. It was tense and hard to watch at times but it was some great dramatic TV. You really got to see what Sheridan was made of.

Then S4 Ep19 "Between the Darkness and the Light" Garibaldi now freed of Bester's influence tries to find allies to free Sheridan. But no one trusts him, not even those who used to call him friend. But Franklin and Lyta take a chance and with the help of Garibaldi try to free Sheridan. Meanwhile Ivanova and Marcus find out Clark has new more powerful ships. They take a contingent of White stars to destroy the new ships, someone will pay a high price for the victory.

I enjoyed this episode. I knew Garibaldi was going to help free Sheridan to restore his name. I really liked Lyta in this episode, when she looks at the Mars leader with those black eyes, it sends chills down my spine... good stuff.

And the final episode of the night S4 Ep20 "Endgame" The battle for Earth concludes as Sheridan leads his forces to Earth to confront Clark's forces in an all out battle. Meanwhile Marcus learns of the alien device Franklin used to heal Garibaldi when he was critically injured. But to save a person's life, someone else must die.

What a great ending to these civil war. Sheridan's reunion with Delenn was great. I also liked that he's still a bit skeptical for Garibaldi... it's gonna take a while before he can trust him. I liked that the progressed the relationship of Susan and Marcus though it was short lived. I really thought that Susan was going to die but once Marcus found out about that alien machine that can transfer lifeforce from one to another I knew he was going to sacrifice himself for her. I'm glad Clark is dead, he truly was a mad man.

We only got two more episodes of this season... can't wait to see where the story goes next.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Big Eden and Beards

After a week of working on cleaning up my place I'm happy to say I'm one step closer. I still have about 20 plastic bins sitting in my living room area and I don't have a clue what I'm going to do with them, but I am happy to say that both my guest/toy room and my own bedroom are clear of all boxes and bins.. woohoo. I still have a few Star Wars action figures that I need to put in my guest/toy room. But once that is done my toy room(s) will be complete. I'll post pictures once everything is up and complete.

While I was cleaning up my bedroom I put on one of my all favorite romantic dramedies of all time "Big Eden". Here's a quick synopsis: Henry Hart is a successful gay artist from New York City who returns to his rural hometown in Montana to care for his ailing grandfather. Henry is welcomed back by the townsfolk, all of whom are aware of his sexuality and are highly accepting and even supportive towards him (the film's plot and dialogue is notably devoid of homophobic content). However, during the months he stays in the town, Henry is forced to confront his unresolved feelings for his high school friend Dean Stewart, while simultaneously being oblivious to the feelings of Pike Dexter, the shy Native American owner of the town's general store.

I have talked about this movie in a previous blog post titled Top 5 favorite "Gay" themed movies. I actually watched it for a second time with commentary and then for a third time just for fun. I mean I was cleaning and unpacking things so for the second and third time I really was just listening to it. Anyways I think why I love this movie so much is because of the idealistic world it is set in. The majority of the film takes place in a small town in Montana where the small town folks are open minded and loving. There is no homophobia or bigotry. There is no hate towards the gay characters, no one bats an eye that it's two men who are falling in love.

Most "gay" themed movies have stereotypical gay characters, or they involve drugs or AIDS. This movie has none of that. These are just "regular" guys trying to find love and friendship. This movie is 14 years old so back in 2000 when it was made this was a big deal, very outside the norm. Nowadays there are more movies that don't have these typical gay cliches, but still not enough. If you haven't seen Big Eden I'd strongly suggest watching it.. be it straight or gay I think it a great story that will touch your heart.

So I've been growing out my beard since I started my trip to England/Ireland a few months ago. I don't know what I'm going to do with it. Everyday I think about shaving, especially since it's getting hotter outside. But this is the longest that I have ever had my beard. I'm actually impressed with the way it looks. It's good to know that I can grow a full beard with no patches. I'm thinking I'll be keeping it at least until San Diego Comic Con. If I cosplay as a Hobbit then I'll have to shave it but I'm not sure if I'll be cosplaying this year or not. So for now I'll let it grow out and see how far I can go.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Maleficent, SWTOR and RGQ

My Maleficent contest ended yesterday at midnight and I'm happy to say that it was a good turn out. I wrote down every person name who entered and gave them a number. I then used a random number generator and pressed the button five times to get five random winners. I have "direct" messaged them on Twitter requesting their address so I could pass this information on to the company who is sponsoring this contest. Thanks to all who entered.. I hope I can do more of these in the future.

Played 3 hours of SWTOR (Star Wars The Old Republic) with my buddies Chris and Brett. We hadn't played in a few weeks so I'm glad the three of us were able to find time and get a few hours of game play in. I hope it's not another two weeks before we get to play again. I'm really enjoying my character (Jedi) and I'm not able to wield two sabers... it's pretty awesome.

I posted a Random Geek Question on Twitter and Facebook: What is the one horror movie that you could never watch alone? For me it would be Blair Witch Project... I remember watching that with a few friends and it scared the hell out of me, I don't think I could ever watch that alone. Here are some of the responses I got from friends.

From Facebook:
  • Ryanne Harding - Never seen one I can't watch alone! I loooooooove me some horror movies.
  • Gabe Gebhart - The Ring really got me when it came out in the theater.
  • Eva Chan - Not sure since I'm not a huge fan of horror in general. Probably a lot of them.
  • Maggie O'Neill - I did watch The Exorcist alone- when I was 13- and babysitting on Halloween. It was stormy out and they only had one channel for reception. N-E-V-E-R A-G-A-I-N.
  • Chris Clemente - Blair Witch is up there, I agree. Been lost in the woods as a kid and it's terrifying. I think the first Paranormal Activity is pretty damn freaky, kept me up a little.
  • Bryan Dunn - ALIEN.
  • Kasey Ryan-Pierce - All of them. Just...all of them. o_o

From Twitter:

@yensid98 - To my mind horror movies are best viewed alone to maximize the scares.
@Aradinsc - Glad I am not the only one with that answer. I have never really enjoyed horror movies or anything scary really
@hxcofficemonkey - I haven't come across one that scary yet. :( 
@MarkusHunt - Paranormal Activity 1 or 2 as you're sat in a house just like they are *shudder* @MattJSour - The Exorcist or Rosemary's Baby 
@bonk_of_37 - Candyman and Event Horizon
@MikeHockjr - It's always been Halloween for me. I saw the first movie when I was 8 and it scared the crap out of me
@beckotronic - The Ring.
@Ruvio - any. I'm a huge wuss. You know that! :p 
@amy_geek - For me, it's pretty much all of them.

Voting and Fitness

So I voted today. I have voted in every election since I turned 18. Most of the elections I do my due diligence and review all the democratic candidates and various propositions. If I'm not able to do that I tend to stick with what the California Democratic party suggests on their websites.

It's sad to me that turn out for these elections are extremely low, roughly 25 - 35% here in California. I guess most people either don't care or don't feel their vote counts. But they are very happy to bitch and complain about taxes, politicians, etc. It just doesn't make sense to me.

I finally put up on Facebook some items that I'm trying to sell. Several tables and an elliptical. They are currently sitting in my carport and I need to get them out of there ASAP.

I'm continuing my NoHo park running. I did three laps (roughly 3 miles). Before my England/Ireland trip I was able to job (slowly) around the entire park three times. But now that it's been a few months since I did that I'm slowly building my strength back up. I job about half the park then walk half the park. I hope to be able to job the entire park soon.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Star Wars Pixs, Geekies, Knight Hoodie & Bronies

TMZ released some "leaked" behind the scene pictures from Star Wars Episode VII. I think it was a controlled leak. JJ is to smart to let anything really leak. The pictures don't really show much. If you want to check them out you can see them HERE.

I started judging the podcast and vlogs for The Geekie Awards. I already took care of the cosplay entries as there weren't to many but the podcast category has over 60 entries. I got through about 1/3 of them so far. I have until the end of June to listen and score them all.

I came across this AWESOME hoodie that I would so get if I had a job and money. It's defiantly going on my list of things to buy.. it's pretty FANTASTIC!!! It's a bit pricey at $99.95 but it's so unique and I've never seen anything like it, I think it's worth the price. You can check out the website HERE.

Today I watched Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony documentary. I have several male friends who are Bronies and I wanted to see what this was all about. This is
a 2012 documentary film centering on bronies, the adult fans of the 2010 animated television series, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. The film, funded through crowd-sourcing via Kickstarter, was originally envisioned to follow voice actor and executive producer John de Lancie to the 2012 Summer BronyCon in New Jersey. The project raised much more than anticipated, allowing it to grow in scope to include additional convention footage from European conventions.
I have seen alot of these "fan" documentaries and them portraying the fans in a "not so good" light. But I have to say that this one was the complete opposite. It was thoughtful, fun, and entertaining. I enjoyed all the guys those chose to feature. And by the end of the documentary I wanted to be a Bronie myself so I could join this amazing community.

Organizing & Weight Gain

Since I set up my toy/guest room I stored all the extra bins and boxes in my living room and my bed room. Today I started cleaning up those areas. Of course what you think will take a few days is going to take you a few weeks... I can't wait until this entire move is completely over and everything is in it's place.

So if you follow my blog on a regular bases you know I've struggled with my weight my entire life. Last year I weight in at a whopping 217lbs. It's the heaviest that I have ever been. I yoyo'd back and forth between 205lbs and 200 for the longest time but finally broke the 200 mark and was down to 195lbs before I left for England/Ireland. When I got back from my trip I was up to 200lbs and it's now been a month since then and I'm up to 205lbs. I don't now what's going on. I feel like my weight is just out of control.

So today I started to jog again. I jogged/walked 3 laps around NoHo park (that's about 3 miles). I'm hoping to do it everyday... Hopefully I can get back into that routine and start losing weight again. I know working out is only part of the problem. My diet has been horrible since I have been back. That's going to be key in losing weight.

I'm so disappointed in myself for going above 200 which I swore I would never do again. Combined with not having a job the past year has lead to this current bout of depression.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Busy Day and Adding to My Collection

Had a busy day today... started by cleaning and organizing the stuff down in my carport area. Since I have a two car tandem spot and only one car I have a large area that I've been using for overflow from my apartment. Mostly empty plastic bins and boxes but there are some small pieces of furniture and my elliptical down there. Management hasn't said anything about the stuff being there but I wanted to better organize it so it look less cluttered and presented better. So I spent about a half hour down there cleaning up.

Afterwards I came up stairs and turned on the TV while eating breakfast and The Day After Tomorrow was on. About halfway through the movie my apartment shook. At first I thought.. "oh it's an earthquake" but then there was this big jolt that got my heart racing. For a moment I thought "is this the big one, should I get to a doorway". It was a 4.2 out in Westwood which is about 10 miles south east of me. Earthquakes don't normally raddle me as I've experienced them my entire life being from SoCal but this one did. It might have been because I was watching a disaster movie I don't know but it scared the heck out of me.

I decided to get some fresh air and head out to run some errands. First was lunch then Target to pick up a birthday present for me nephew. While at Target I found some really cool pants that were on clearance. If you know me you know all I wear are blue jeans. I recently have been looking to get a pair of khakis to mix things up. Though these two new pair of pants aren't khakis they are not jeans and kind of a funky color, red and blue.

While at Target I also developed some pictures that I had taken while a guest speaker in a class of that a friend of my is the teacher. I took 15 pictures of kids wearing my Hobbit feet. Told the kids I would get the pictures to them before school is out (which is soon).

Headed to Toys R Us to see if I could find some Maleficent items. I was there a few weeks back when I took my Dad shopping for a birthday gift for my nephew and saw that they made these really nice looking Maleficent dolls. Well now that I have seen the movie and obsessed over it, I had to see if I could find those dolls. I actually found one of the three that I was looking for.

I headed to another Toys R Us to see if I could find the other two but had no luck. But next door to the Toys R Us is a Costco and my nephew loves fortune cookies so I thought I would stop by and grab him a huge bag of them. Well I have never been to a Costco on a Sunday afternoon and now I know why. It was packed with rude people. Everyone was out for themselves and didn't care who they hit or blocked and I only lasted ten minutes before I forced myself not to kill someone with my bare hands and left the building.

When I got home I checked Ebay to see if I could find the other two Maleficent dolls and I did. They were actually being sold by Toys R Us via Ebay and they too were on sale like the one I had gotten earlier so I picked both of them up.

Collecting is an addiction.. and for the most part I can control myself, but sometimes I just say screw it, and this was one of those times. These pieces will be a great addition to my collection.