Saturday, August 16, 2014

Birthday Countdown Pixs & More D&D (Pathfinder)

Forgot to post my picture from yesterday so I'm posting both Day 5 (Age 5) and Day 6 (Age 6) of my 44th Birthday countdown picture challenge.

I spent alot of time at the pool with my mom that's why I have such a nice golden tan in the Age 6 picture :)

Today was all about D&D Pathfinder. We started our day with the continuation of our battle with the 2 Flesh Golems and a mob of skeletons. The skeletons weren't a match for my buddy Robert's half Orc/ half Human, Zander. But the Golems proved to be a much tougher opponent. And their master Nilius got off some bad mojo before Dash (yeah that's me) was able to charm him. We were finally able to kill both Golems and our Halfing friend Percy through a stone at Nilius' head and killed him instantatly while the rest of us argued on what to do with him. Some wanted to kill him and some wanted to take him back to the castle.

We spent a few weeks recouping in the city before heading out on our next adventure. This time it's all about the dwarves, seems there is some unrest among them so we head underground in search for one particular dwarve. We came upon a large man eating plant and some Derro's from below who attacked the party. We defeated them fairly easily. We then traveled on foot for a few more days underground before finding an old dwarve who helped us out with rations but more importantly he had large spiders for us to ride. While traveling on the spiders we were attacked by Cave Fishers. It was a tough battle but we defeated them and continued on our way when time ran out and our session was over for the day.

It was another fun session, we've been playing for over a year and it's still just as fun as it was on the first day. Thanks Dallas (our DM) for all your hard work in making this the best D&D/Pathfinder group I've ever played with.

Friday, August 15, 2014

More Midwives and The Giver

I spent the day watching more of Call the Midwife. I continued with S2 and watched episodes 3 - 8. There were alot of good episodes but one really stood out to me, Episode 4. It had two main stories that tugged at my heart. First a baby boy was born with spina bifida and we see these young parent go through some hard times. Jenny finds an "asylum" that is will take unwanted disabled children. You just feel so bad for this kids/ young adults as they were unwanted and just tossed aside before they have health issues or a disability.

The other part of this story, which kind of ties into the asylum as well is the story of Jane, she's the new assistant helping at the Nonnatus House. She's extremely quiet and shy but a visiting Anglican priest takes a shining to her and they have what I hope will be a very sweet relationship. But we find out that she was abandon at this asylum because she was so introverted her parent figured she was mentally disabled. There are scenes were she is so scared and frighten to do something, that she just lies on her bed crying and ashamed of herself for not having the strength. My heart broke as I could identify with her (maybe not to that extreme). I bawled through most of this episode.. between the baby and Jane my poor empathic heart couldn't take it. I am happy to say that both stories end in happy endings.

And in the final episode of season two we finally get a conclusion to a storyline that kind of started in S1 with a nun, not losing faith but second guessing the path God had given her. She leaves the order and joins the man that she's secretly (or not so secretly) has been pining for... Doctor Turner. I was so happy about this turn of events. These two people deserve so much happiness.

We also see the return of Chummy in this episode, who was gone for a big chunk of the middle episodes. She gives birth and almost dies and at one point I thought they were going to kill her which would have angered me so much I think I would have thrown my TV out the window.. luckily it was all a red herring and she survived as did her baby. What a way to end season two.

I stopped after season two as season three is not on Netflix yet. There is also a Christmas special between S2 and S3. So I'm going to have to find them elsewhere. Season 4 doesn't started until 2015 but again they are doing a Christmas special at the end of this year as well. So I'm sure I'll post more about his amazing series when I continue to watch S3.

During the evening I went to a screening of The Giver with my buddy Robert. Here's a quick synopsis. This film, based on Lois Lowry's 1993 book, tells the story of a perfect world. Everyone here is happy. When Jonas is 16 years old, he's chosen to be the community's Receiver of Memories. He enters into training with an old man called The Giver. From the Giver, Jonas learns about love, happiness, compassion but also pain, sadness, war, and all the unhappy truths of the "real" world. He quickly realizes that his community is fake. Confronted with this reality, Jonas faces difficult choices about his own life and his future.

I enjoyed this movie, it's was an interesting look at a society when you remove free will from it. I enjoyed the way it was filmed in B&W and Color. The fact that this society didn't know color so they saw everything as black and white, until Jonas is told about color and shown it then he can see the world in color. I enjoyed the story, it was simple but entertaining. I did feel that the big conflict wasn't big enough. It almost felt like it was a half of movie. I wanted to know more, I wanted to see what happens when everybody gets their memories back about what life use to be. There was something missing in this movie for me but it didn't take away my enjoyment of it... just left me wanting more, which I guess is a good thing.

I enjoyed the acting, it was nice seeing Katie Holmes again, I've been a fan since her Dawson's Creek days. Bridges and Streep were good and the guy playing the main role of Jonas was fine. The big surprise was seeing the credits and seeing that the country singer Taylor Swift was in this movie. Once I saw who she played I realized it was her but when you see her with the dark hair she looked nothing like herself.

I don't think I'll be buying it when it comes out on blu-ray but that doesn't mean I wouldn't want to see it again. I give The Giver a B-

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Call the Midwife & More Babylon 5

Last night my friend Jes mention a series that our friend America recommended to her. It's called Call the Midwife. It's a British show that started back in 2012. I had never heard of it but both Jes and America was singing it's praise so I checked out the first episode this morning.

Here's some info about the series.... The plot follows newly qualified midwife Jenny Lee and the work of midwives and the nuns of Nonnatus House, a nursing convent, part of an Anglican religious order, coping with the medical problems in the deprived Poplar district of London's desperately poor East End in the 1950s. The Sisters and midwives carry out many nursing duties across the community. However, with between 80 and 100 babies being born each month in Poplar alone, the primary work is to help bring safe childbirth to women in the area and to look after their countless newborns.

Episode one ended and I was hooked. It's charming, sweet, fun, sad, tense and emotional... yes I cried. Then episode two started and introduced a new character named Chummy and she instantly became my favorite character on the show. I couldn't tell you why, she just was. Every episode of season one continue to expand the characters, we got little tidbits of information about each of the main characters. Every episode of season one was compelling and it sucked me in within the first minute. Every birth was a nail biter as you didn't know if something would go wrong or if the baby was going to die.

There is just something about these British period shows that are so compelling/addictive. It's the same with Downton Abbey. After the first episode I was hooked and I have loved every minute since.

I watched all of Season one and then went on to watch the Christmas special before moving onto a few episodes of Season two before having to stop and head over to my buddy Robert's place to continue our Babylon 5 first time viewing. We haven't watched any B5 for over a month so I was looking forward to continuing our viewing.

For tonights TV night we watched 3 episodes from Season Five.

First up was S5 Ep4 "A View From The Gallery" A day in the life of 2 maintenance workers on Babylon 5. As crisis arises, they encounter the command staff, and the ambassadors each dealing with the crisis.

Interesting episode, seeing the main characters through the eyes of 2 lower level characters. Didn't think I'd like it but it actually was a nice episode. The two "maintenance" workers were very relatable and likeable. Wouldn't mind seeing them again from time to time.

Next was S5 Ep5 "Learning Curve" Two Minbari Rangers-in-training come to the station and learn a difficult lesson. A new underworld boss tries to take control of Down-below.

This was an okay episode, nothing to special. I think the underworld boss was an idiot trying to take down some chief members of the B5 crew.  We learned a bit more about the Rangers. They eluded to something in this episode about Sheridan and the new commander Lochley.

And the final episode of the night S5 Ep6 "Strange Relations" Bester comes to Babylon 5 with several bloodhound units in an attempt to arrest and detain the colony of rogue telepaths. Someone attempts to assassinate Londo Mollari prompting Delenn's suggstions that G'Kar becomes Londo Mollari's bodyguard.

Well we find out that Sheridan and Lochley were married once, which I didn't see coming. We knew there was something going on but I didn't expect that. Love the "love/hate buddy" team up of Londo and G'Kar again. They started this way in season one and I'm glad they are back to this type of friendship. We find out that someone is trying to kill Londo and I'm sure will get more into this story as the series progresses. Bester was back and horrible as ever. I'm glad Lochley came up with her plan that would give the telepaths 2 months to figure out a game plan. We see Leta completely join this band of telepaths and we also see that she has some major powers that I'm sure will play a part in the rest of the season.

Over all it was a good day of TV... Found a new TV series that I adore and continue to watch a TV series that I'm well invested into.

Oh and I almost forgot to mention that it's Day 4 of my photo countdown to my 44th Birthday. Here I am at age 4. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Cookies, Jack Ryan, Sherlock & Hobbities

It's Day 3 of my picture a day until my 44th Birthday.. so here's a picture of me at Age 3

I headed over to my friend Jes' place to hang out, bake cookies and watch some TV. When I got there the baking was well underway. She was making my favorite cookies, peanut butter and then trying to make a new one for her, double chocolate and cherry cookies. Both were amazing but my favorites were of course the peanut butter... very tasty.

While she was baking we watched a movie that I had not seen yet called Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. The film features the fictional Jack Ryan character created by author Tom Clancy. It is the fifth film in the Jack Ryan series but is presented as a reboot that departs from the previous installments. Unlike its predecessors, it is not an adaptation of a particular Clancy novel, but rather an original story. Pine stars in the title role, becoming the fourth actor to play Ryan, following Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, and Ben Affleck.

I don't think I have seen any of the other Jack Ryan movies (maybe bits and pieces) but this was the first one I've seen from beginning to end. I enjoy it, it did what it set out to do. Had lots of action, suspense and a decent story. It was good fun. Solid B from me.

After we walked to the Habit to pick up some food for dinner we came back to her place and started  watching some Sherlock. Both Jes and I love Sherlock so we watched the first two episodes of Season one. That's one thing I love about Sherlock is that you can watch it over and over and still love every minute of it... at least I can. 

One last thing.. I came across a video of a super fan of Lord of the Rings and all things Tolkien. I've seen better "Hobbit" type houses but what makes this extra special is all the amazing things he has inside his house. Check it out below.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

DMV, Shaved Head & Skyping

Was up early as I needed to get to the Van Nuys DMV to renew my driver's license as it expires on my birthday in September. I wanted to get there when they opened but didn't realize that they opened at 8am, I arrived around 9am. I spent a total of 2 hours waiting in lines and for my turn at the counter. All in all it wasn't a horrible experience. I normally make an appointment but the appointments were already a month out and I needed this renewed in the next few weeks.

Now that I had taken my new photo for the DMV it was clear to do what I have been wanting to do for the past few weeks... shave my head bald. If you know me you know that my hair has been thinning on top for the past ten years and within the past year a bald spot has appeared on the crown of my head.

I have almost shaved my head in the past with a #1 guard on the clippers and was shocked how short it was but I thought I looked pretty good. I have a decent shaped head for being bald, so I decided that I'd take it all off and see how it looks.

It's a very bizarre experience shaving your head, I mean once you do the first pass there is no turning back. Even with clippers I couldn't get all the hair so I threw on shaving cream and used my razor to get a cleaner cut. It's a lot of work but I'm happy with the end results. I don't know if I'll maintain the bald look as I said it takes alot of work and some very sharp razors but for now I'm liking it.

I'm continuing my posting of a picture of me everyday for the next 44 days until my 44th birthday. Today is day 2 so here is a picture of me at Age 2.

I got a happy surprise today when my buddy Matt (from England) and I were able to video chat via Skype. We try and chat at least once a week. He's like a little brother to me so I try and keep up on his daily life. It's always good fun.

And last but not least.. I came across this story of two gentlemen who took some very cool engagement photos. I'm a huge Doctor Who fan but these guys went all out and it's AWESOME!!!  You can read the story and see more photos HERE.

Monday, August 11, 2014

In Memoriam... Robin Williams

I was working on a podcast when I got a tweet notification on my phone from breaking news that Robin Williams was found dead of an apparent suicide. I looked at the tweet and it didn't register right away. I re-read it several times before it sunk in. Robin Williams was dead.

I immediately jumped on twitter and Facebook to get more details in hopes this was one of the those stupid celerity fake death hoax, but more and more news feeds were announcing it and my heart sank. Tears started falling as I read tweet after tweet about the death of Robin Williams, suicide, depression, mental illness and addictions.

Unfortunately Celebrities die, they are only human but I don't recall having this gut wrenching, overwhelming sorrow and uncontrollable tears for a celebrity in recent years. Yes I'm sad when a celebrity dies but not to this degree. The last time I felt this way was when John Ritter died in 2003.

I grew up watching Robin Williams as Mork from Ork, I was 8 when it started and 12 when it ended. I watched it religiously and adored this crazy alien guy. I had the action figures and dolls when I was a kid and use to play with them all the time.

Over the years I have enjoyed his TV appearance as well as his many, many movies with some of my favorites being Mrs. Doubtfire, Hook, Dead Poet Society, Patch Adams and Aladdin. I was thrilled when I heard he was coming back to TV last year with The Crazy Ones and was heart broken when I heard that the freshman series was not being picked up by CBS for another season.

I never got to meet Mr. Williams or see him do his stand up live but he seemed like he would have been the nicest guy in the world. And from the thousands of tweets that I have read within the last few hours it would seem that statement would be correct.

I think one of the main reasons this has shocked so many people is that he took his own life. If he had died of natural causes, though it would be sad, it wouldn't have been so tragic. It was well known that he suffered from depression and addiction, but was on the mend. He had been clean and sober for a while now and his career was on a upswing (not that it ever really dwindled). He had a beautiful wife and three amazing kids. He should have been on top of the world... and from the outside looking in... he was. But that's the problem with depression, though there can be outward signs, most of it is internal and can't be seen, only felt.

I have dealt with and continue to deal with depression everyday. I deal with feelings of sadness, loneliness, fatigue, guilt, worthlessness, hopelessness and overeating that depression can cause, the feeling that it will never get better, that this is how I will spend the rest of my life. But I am fortunate that suicide has never crossed my mind, I work hard at not letting these feeling overwhelm me. Some days it works.. some days it doesn't, but I will continue to fight this battle for the rest of my life.

Robin Williams lost his battle... and the world weeps.

Thank you Mr. Williams for the millions of laughs you have given me and will continue to give me for the rest of my life. You are a Legend among us mere mortals, one that will truly be missed.

Rest in Peace...

Birthday Countdown, Groot, MASH & Tragedy

So today is exactly 44 days until my 44th Birthday. I did this a few years ago and folks seemed to like it so I plan on doing it again. I will be posting one picture a day starting at Age 1 and continuing until Age 44 on September 23rd. Everyday you see me age a year.

I came across this Groot and Rocket drawing today. I've seen a lot of pictures and drawings in the past week but this one really got me in the feels. It's the scene in the movie that I tear up at every time. This drawing/painting was done by maXKennedy you can see more of their art HERE

I spent a good chunk of today continuing my work on the upcoming episodes for the MASH 4077 Podcast. I found out all the uploads I had done yesterday were a waste of time as I had already uploaded all those files a week ago. I did finish my first pass at episode 85, which is due to be released on August 15th. But I got a tweet that shook me to my core... Robin Williams has died.

There was no working after that... I watched the news, read social media and cried for the next few hours. This couldn't be real.. but it was.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Podcasts and Videos

First I want to wish my Dad a very Happy 67th Birthday today. I got to spend last weekend with him to celebrate. My brother and I help purchase a new iPad for him. He's addicted to App games and Facebook :) He likes to play the games with his grand kids.

Spent the entire day uploading episodes of MASH for the next six MASH 4077 Podcasts. Gonna try and edit them all this week so I can get ahead of the game. I only release two a month so if I can get them edited and done then I'll be good for three months.

While I'm uploading stuff for podcasts, I continue to try and catch up on my blogs, watch more of Melissa and Joey and job search.

There are a few videos that I want to share with you.

First one is this really cool "Crazy Circle Illusion" video. I love video like these...

The second video made me tear up, it's this 95 year old Veteran who is out supporting runners of some sort of marathon when suddenly they start to come up to him and shake hands and thank him for his service... only issue I have with the video is that I wish it was longer.

The final video that I want to share with you is a PSA about texting and driving. I try not to text but I have done it in the past but after watching this video I have sworn off doing ever again. This video got to me.