Saturday, August 30, 2014

Family Picnic & More Doctor Who

Today was my Dad's side of the family's annual Labor Day BBQ picnic. I've gone to this every year since we found out that my Dad had a half brother nine years ago. It's great seeing this side of the family as we don't see them often enough.

This year I did alot of playing with my niece and nephew and the youngest son (13) of my cousin Darren, which makes him my first cousin, once removed (I think). Anyways his name is Luc and he is the sweetest kid. It's kids like Luc that make me want a son of my own. We had a lot of fun. We played hide and seek and a few round of horse shoes before getting into wrestling matches.

We then ate, this family likes to eat and there is always plenty of tasty food. We then played a few games of volleyball. We started out with the old vs the young, 40 was the cut off for the old so I fell into that category. After a few games we switched it up and one of the "old" (me) went to the young side and one of the "young" went to the old side. It was lots of fun.

I knew I would pay for all this activity (being sore) the next day but we were having a blast.

During the evening my friend Jes and Dallas came over to watch the second episode of the new Doctor Who. This episode title was "Into the Dalek". Overall I really enjoyed this episode, it wasn't action packed but instead made you think. It questioned weather the Doctor was a good man or not, it was about the Dalek, are they born bad or just programed that way. We actually go inside the Dalek (ala Fantastic Voyage).

We meet a new character, Danny Pink who is a fellow teacher at Clara's school.. he looks to be a possible love interest for Clara, I wonder if he'll join the Doctor for some adventures in the future.. guess will just have to wait and see.

Once again the Doctor did something that was very un-doctory, at least for previous incarnations. One of the army guys is surrounded by Dalek defensive droids and the doctor makes the guy eat something and you think it's going to save him but instead the droids kill him and the doctor says he was already dead and he used him so he could locate something within the Dalek. It was very cold-hearted and something that I'm going to have to get use to with is new Doctor.

And again at the end the main solider lady goes up to the Doctor and asks to go with him and he says no because she's an army person. At first when she asked I was thinking.. wow we're getting a new companion and they managed to keep that a secret but then he said no and my hopes were crushed.

I like Peter Calpaldi as the new Doctor, he's taking some getting use to. I'm really liking Clara with him, I think they are fleshing out her character a bit better with this doctor unlike they did with Matt Smith's doctor. We also got another scene with the "unknown" Missy. I look forward to episode three.

Pix A Day Until My 44th B-Day

Forgot to post these in my last two blog posts, so here they are, Day 19 & Day 20 of my "pix a day" until my 44th Birthday. To the left, I'm Age 19 and to the right I'm Age 20. Between these ages was the first time that I had shaven off my mustache. I've had that mustache since I was 15 years old. When I first shaved it off I thought I looked so different (and better) that I kept it off for almost a year. Afterwards my facial hair changed from just a mustache to a mustache and goatee to just a goatee until finally a full beard in my 30's.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Griffith Observatory, Moving a Friend & Who

My buddy Chris arrived last night and crashed at my place, so this morning we headed out and met up with our friend Jes at a local cafe for some tasty breakfast.

In the afternoon Jes, Chris, Rupert and I headed to Griffith Observatory. We were joined by our friend Steve who arrived separately. I was the only one who had ever been to the Observatory and that was when I was in my early teens for a school field trip.

The Observatory is free (which is great). Parking is a difficult but not impossible. It's a great place to take kids who are into the sciences, especially Earth science. My favorite room is the planet room where you can read about all the different planets in our solar system but the really cool part is where you can weight yourself and see what you would weight on other planet.

They also have shows every half hour or so in the large sky dome auditorium (which cost money, $7 for adults). We watched "Centered in the Universe". It was very cool and informative. Our presenter had this very relaxing and kind of sultry voice.. her voice was very mesmerizing.

After the Observatory we grabbed a late lunch at The Counter.

We then dropped Jes off at her place while Steve, Rupert and Chris crashed at mine for a few hours where we played some Yahtzee.

In the evening Steve, Chris and I headed over to our friend Becca's place. She was moving the next day but wanted to get a head started and move the little things over tonight. So the three of us helped Becca with her move. We loaded up our two cars and was done within an hour.
Back at my place we were joined by Jes and Dallas and the five of us watched episode one of the new Doctor Who. (Jes first time seeing it).

Afterwards everyone left including Chris who decided to crash at his friend Haley's place for the rest of his visit. 

It was a good day of fun and friends.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

B-day Pix, A Friend's Arrival & New Coaster

Today is day 18 of my "pix a day" until my 44th Birthday, so here I am at age 18. This picture is from my senior prom. I went to prom with my friend Misha. My buddy Dan went with Misha's sister, and I can't remember her name.. but it was  fun night of dancing.

Picked up my buddy Robert and then we headed over to the Burbank airport to pick up our friend Chris. He is flying in from Montana for the long Labor Day weekend. Should be some fun times.

I'm a huge roller coaster fan, I have been for most of my life. One of my favorite places to go is Six Flags Magic Mountain. When I attended earlier this year I heard they were closing one of their oldest and most iconic roller coasters, Colossus. Well they just released a video of what they plan to replace it with and I have to say, I'm sad to see the classic coaster go but this new one look AWESOME... I give you Twisted Colossus!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Fighting Depression

I've dealt with depression for as long as I can remember, and I do a pretty good job at hiding it and going along with my life, but this past few weeks have been really rough for me. I try and avoid posting very "personal" stuff on this blog as this is more about me being a geek but sometimes things get through, especially if I'm on my soapbox about gay rights. Anyways this is going to be one of those personal posts so if you don't like these posts then please move on to the next one.

Just a few years ago I had a partner, a dog, a house, the best group of friends any guy could ask for, a great career, which lead to a nice savings and being debt free, life was pretty good. Then things took a turn for the worse. My partner and I broke up, he took our dog, I struggled with my career which lead to me selling the house. Not finding work depleted my savings and drove me into some very steep debt. The close knit group of friends began to crack and venture out in different directions and life's plans just kind of took a nose dive. I don't know what happen, or what triggered it but I can't seem to stop it. I'm continuing to free fall and I'm doing everything I can to slow down so when I hit rock bottom I won't be splattered all over the place.

I know I have a friends who care about me, I know my family loves me and I do have some fantastic days (Disneyland, D&D, Comic Con) or even a month (Ireland/UK trip). But overall it's day after day of the same thing... and I don't see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I don't like feeling this way... firstly I feel like I'm complaining (the woe is me type of thing) and second I know there are people out there in much worst situations but even knowing all this stuff and trying to put on a brave face and just deal with it... I can't... at least not this week and I'm letting the depression win.

On the bright side, if there is one, even at my lowest, the thought of suicide has never crossed my mind. I could never be that selfish. I couldn't do that to my family and friends.

I know this severe bout of depression will subside soon enough, but this is something that I will have to deal with for the rest of my life. I need to stop this falling and begin to climb back out of this very deep hole.

Outlander & Fun Foods

Another birthday pix until my 44th Birthday. It's Day 17 so here I am at Age 17. I still can't get over how much hair I had back then.. man do I miss it.

Today I watched a new series on Starz called Outlander. I've heard bits and pieces about this series, it had a fairly heavy presence at SDCC, but other then the concept I really didn't know much about it. So here's a brief synopsis; Outlander is a British-American television drama series based on the Outlander novels by Diana Gabaldon. In 1945, married World War II nurse Claire Beauchamp Randall finds herself transported back to Scotland in 1743, where she finds civil war and the dashing Scottish warrior Jamie Fraser.

This series was created by Ronald D. Moore who helped create some of my all time favorite Scifi TV including Star Trek TNG, VOY & ENT as well as the re-imagined Battlestar Galatica. 

So I watched the first three episodes (and only episodes that have aired so far). From the first episode I was hooked and after three of them I'm addicted. I mean the story is interesting but the setting/landscape is amazing and the music is the best. Those two things alone make this series well worth watching but as I mentioned the storyline is very interesting and compelling. I love the accents thou some of them can be tough to understand at times. I love how authentic this series is as a third of the conversations are in Scottish and they don't do subtitles.

We know that she won't be getting back home anytime soon (or I assume this) so it's going to be interesting to see where the story goes once she stops trying to get home. I enjoy the main actress, she's this strong willed women, which isn't good for 1743 but she doesn't care. There is also one main guy/ future love interest? that seems to be her protector. There are several characters that are very gray and I have no idea if they are good/bad or indifferent. As I said I've only seen up to Ep 3 so it's still very early on in the story and character development. But each hour long (45 minutes with commercials) episodes fly by. I can't wait to see where this series goes.

And Starz just announced that they are picking up the series for 2nd season... so yay!!! If you get a chance to watch this series and you like period pieces mixed with a bit of fantasy and time travel then this series is for you. I'm enjoying it so much so that I have going to get the eight books (so far) on audio and take a listen.

The last thing I want to share with you guys is this great video of people trying "interesting" Asian foods. Some of their reactions are hysterical. It also turned on a light bulb in my brain and gave me this great idea for my own videos (more on that as it develops). Anyways check it out the video below if you want a good laugh.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

More ALS Videos, Age 16 Pix & Haters

First I want to share two ALS videos that I really enjoyed. First is Henry Cavill (aka Superman) and Amy Adams (aka Lois Lane). The did it together while on the set of the next Superman movie.. how awesome is that. And Henry took it like Superman getting drenched multiple times.

And the second one comes from Homer Simpson. I think it's fantastic that the animated team behind the Simpsons did this.

It's Day 16 of my "pix a day" until my 44th Birthday. So here I am at Age 16.

I was attending my aunt Joyce's wedding in this picture. I use to brush my hair up and wear it like a crown around my head. I'd go though a can of aqunet hair spray every few days.

I live by this motto!!
And finally I want to share a "quote" that I found online.

One of my biggest pet peeves are people who complain about everything. Nothing seems to make them happy. And even worse are those who have never read/saw what they are complaining about.

I very rarely complain about a TV show or movie, instead I find what I did like about it and that's what I promote. So when I saw this quote it really spoke to me.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Midwife, Firefly & Who on the Big Screen

Spent the majority of the day going back and forth between editing my next Alien Nation Podcast and watching the rest of S3 of Call the Midwife. I only got about halfway done with my podcast but I did manage to watch all of S3 of Call the Midwife.

(SPOILERS) So many amazing and heart wrenching episodes from Jenny losing a man she was beginning to love to Chummy dealing with her mother and her eventual death. But the story that really hit me was about two young people with disablities Jacob, who has cerebral palsy, and Sally Harper, who has Down's Syndrome and is also pregnant. Both are put into an institution because they don't fit the "norm", and heaven forbid that they fall in love. It's a frustrating story but one that needed to be told. Both actors are disabled in real life and did an amazing job. Defiantly one of my favorite episodes from all three seasons.

Today is day 15 of my "pix a day" until my 44th birthday. So here I am at age 15.

Attention all Firefly Fans!!!! You might be interested in these two items... I know I am. They are going to release two games that will be Firefly themed. First is Yahtzee, I love Yahtzee and have played my entire life, I saw the sample game at comic con this year and it looks pretty awesome. I'd actually just display the ship/dice cup Serenity and use a regular cup to role the dice. I plan on picking this one up at some point.

The other game is one of my all time favorites and that's Clue. It's not a murder mystery like the original.. instead the story goes, River has been betrayed and handed over to the Alliance!  Help the Serenity crew discover who is working with the Alliance, what they used to betray River, and where on Serenity the kidnapping took place. Was it Inara with the Med Kit in the Engine Room? Or Mal with the Leather Necklace in the passenger dorm?  Solve the mystery and save River!

This was an insta-buy for me. I immediately went online and found the cheapest place selling it ( $27.99) and pre-ordered it. I can't wait to get this and play with my friends.

During the evening my buddy Doug had an extra ticket to the Doctor Who screening of the premiere episode of the new season. They were playing it one night at the movie theaters. Of course I couldn't say no..  I mean it's Who on the big screen and it's free. So we meet up with Angelique & her boyfriend Nic... along with Robert and Cait and made out way into the theater. 

They had a special "Theater" only pre-episode scene. It was Strax doing his "blog" about how the Doctor changes over the years and goes through each Doctor. It was pretty hilarious. We then watched the episode (my second time), which I enjoyed once again (you can read my blog post about my thoughts on the episode HERE.) And then we got a 15 minute behind the scenes clip from that episode. It was a good time and it was awesome to watch Doctor Who on the big screen but even better was watching it with a theater full of Whovians.. that was pretty epic!!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

ALS Ice Bucket Challenged Accepted!!!

Well today is day 14 of my "pix a day" until my 44th birthday. So here I am at age 14.

I spent a few hours of the day watching some more of Call the Midwife. I watched the 2013 Christmas Special which aired between seasons 2 and 3. I then watched the first two episodes of season 3.

This series continues to impress me. In the end it's about women having babies but the characters have such interesting and complex lives that it never feels stale. In season three they introduced a new midwife and nun but one of my favorites Jane was no where to be found. I'm going to try and finish watching the rest of the season tomorrow and then I get to wait like everyone else for the 2014 Christmas special as well as series four in 2015.

So as I mentioned in the my last blog, I was challenged by three friends, Markus, Al and Josh to do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. So with the help of my friend Doug I went across the street to the park to do my video. But first I donated (what I could) to ALSA.ORG, I then made sure to collect water from a shower that I took earlier as I wanted to use recycled water for this. And I picked the park to do it in as there is grass and trees all over that could put this water to good use. So here is my Ice Bucket Challenge video. I challenged three friends, Chris, Robert and Christopher.