Thursday, December 31, 2015

Goodbye 2015, Hello 2016

2015 was a great year for me. I took control of my health, I lost weight, gained muscle and found a whole new community to be part of with NerdStrong Gym.

I worked for 10 months out of the year taking a step down from my usual position but I was okay with that, feeling less stress was amazing.

Entertainment was fantastic.. from TV shows like Agents of Shield, Agent Carter, Scorpion, Call the Midwife, Galavant, Arrow and The Flash to an amazing webseries called LARPs the Series. We saw the ending to a beloved series Downton Abbey.

We also has so many great movies this year but they all pale in comparison to Star Wars The Force Awakens.. I mean come on we finally got a seventh Star Wars movie... how AWESOME was that!!!

I turned 45 this year and had a fantastic birthday party with friends coming in from Oregon and even Ireland (that was a shocker.. Thomas you're the best).

I wasn't lucky in love in 2015 but I have started looking again... and that's a big step forward for me.

And speaking of dating.. when I do find that special someone I will now be able to marry him as the Supreme Court made marriage a right for everyone in the United States.

I attended some great cons this year.. Wondercon, Comikaze Con, Long Beach Comic Con, San Diego Comic Con and the really big one.. Star Wars Celebration.

Though not everything had been great in 2015 the good definitely outweighed the bad.

My hopes for 2016 is that I continue my new healthy and active lifestyle. I hope to travel more, visit with friends more and find the love of my life... no pressure 2016 :)

Hiking & The Universe

Since NerdStrong was closed today because it being New Years Eve a group of us took it upon ourselves to still get a good workout in so we went for a hike. We went to a trail up in the hills behind Burbank call Stough Canyon. I had never hiked there so I was excited to explore.

Joining me on this adventure was Aaron, Toni, Jami, Brett, Michael, Adam and two of his friends.

Michael is the one who organized this hike and also has hike this trail before. When we got there we started up the hill. About a third of the way we lost Toni, another third we lost one of Adam's friends. And when I say lost I just mean they turned around and headed back down the hill. We were heading to a specific outlook and Michael kept saying it was around the corner... we went around alot of corners before we finally got there.

We rested for a few before making the trek down the mountain and as always going down was much easier then going up. In all we hike just over six and a half miles. I think it's one of the longest hikes I have done. I know just a year ago that I would be huffing and puffing hiking for that long and though it was difficult at times I felt pretty good afterwards. Thanks Michael for introducing me to another fun hiking trail. Afterward we went out for some Ramon :)

I came across this picture and it just resonated with me. It amazes me that people still think we are the only creatures in this universe or beyond. Look how big the known universe is..and that's just want we know about. Life is amazing!!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Call the Midwife Christmas Special 2015

My friend Lydia gave me her "older" Apple TV box and we hooked it up a few days ago and I noticed that there was a Call the Midwife 2015 Christmas Special that aired Christmas Day in the UK. I have no idea how I missed it but I corrected that today when I sat down to watch it.

As celebrations swing into action, Poplar readies itself for Christmas 1960; a festive bus trip to see the Regent Street lights and a visit from a BBC film crew promise to make it a Christmas to remember. But it’s a difficult time of year for grieving mother Iris; bringing back memories of her long departed baby daughter. An outbreak of measles hits Poplar and at Nonnatus, things are tense as Sister Monica Joan determines to bring the Christmas spirit early, despite Sister Evangelina’s disgust. As the community pull together to prepare for the televised carol concert, Nonnatus is rocked when Sister Monica Joan goes missing and a face from Patsy's past returns.

I love this series, it will now replace my Downton Abbey fix. I've watched and cried with every episode. It's crazy how involved you can get in these fictitious character's lives. I wasn't sure the show would be as good when the main character Jenny who also happens to be the narrator left after season three but I think it's gotten better and better. With Jenny gone they have focused more of the secondary characters and really fleshed some of them out.

This years Christmas special was, as always, fantastic. I actually thought they were going to kill of Sister Monica Joan. Her character really is at an end and there really isn't much more they can do with her so when she went missing I was sure she was dead. And then they found a body and my heart dropped.. thought I figured they would kill her off I didn't actually expect it to happen but moments later you find out that it wasn't her and she is found, sickly but safe.

I enjoyed the story of the mother who lost her daughter many, many years ago and of course you couldn't have a Christmas special without a miracle and the fact that she was pregnant and totally unaware of it was crazy, but I am happy that she get's a second chance at being a mother.

It was great seeing Pasty and her girlfriend Delia reconnect. I'm glad she fully recovered she just now has to grow a backbone and defy her mother's wishes.

I'm really looking forward to series/season five. As I said this is my fix for British drama, especially since Downton Abbey is now over. Of course I'll be watching the UK release of Call the Midwife which starts next month. It starts here in the US on April 3rd.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

New Job and The Circle

Last week I met up with a former boss of mine, we only chatted for a minute but the subject came up that I was on my last week at my current job. She said "are you serious? I'm looking for a Post super to start next Monday". Now I will admit that I loved being a post coordinator for the past year, it was decent money and hardly any stress. This job that Darla was talking about was a full Post Supervisor again, which means lots of stress. Honestly I was hoping to do another year as a post coordinator somewhere but I couldn't pass up this opportunity. So I said sure and she said we would talk next week. Well today I got a call to finalize my new job. As I said it is as a Post Production Supervisor (which I have done since 2004) I would start on Monday January 4th and I would be working on the second season of Jay Leno's Garage on CNBC. But that show doesn't go into post until the end of January so she wanted to put me on a yet announced TV show for the time being. It all sounded good, I'll be back at a Original Productions where I worked about five years ago on Biker Build Off, Monster Nation, America's Toughest Jobs and Deadliest Catch S5 & 6. So I know alot of people there so it was going to be like going home. Though I would have liked more time off I am looking forward to starting my next adventure.

I watched this movie called The Circle, I had never heard of it but found it on Netflix and it sounded interesting. This is a Swiss docudrama film, released in 2014. Her's a quick synopsis: Zurich, 1956. The young teacher Ernst Ostertag falls head over heels in love with the transvestite star Robi Rapp and finds himself torn between his bourgeois existence and his commitment to homosexuality. Ernst becomes a member of the gay organization DER KREIS and lives through the high point and the eventual decline of the organization, which in the whole of Europe is seen as the pioneer of gay emancipation.

I liked how this went back and forth between the movie and the original people who the movie were portraying. I couldn't even imagine what it was like to be a gay man in the 1950's. I love that we are there when Ernst find this organization and is just over the moon. I know that feeling as when I came out at age 27 and actually started going to gay clubs and hanging with other gay men you really felt this comradery and an instead feeling of belonging. We got a peek into this world and how gays were treated in the world of the 1950's. Most cities it was illegal to be gay but in Zurich there was no such law and things were okay for the gays.. well for a short amount of time.

Things take a turn for the worst and then the cops start a witchhunt for gay men and the organization starts to unravel. It was difficult to watch what these men had created come tumbling down. What I also liked about this movie is that we find out that the two main characters Ernst and Robi were the first gay couple to have their registered partnership legally recognized in Zurich in 2003.

Watching movies like these make me realized how lucky we are as gay people in 2016, yes the world isn't 100% accepting but we are in a far better place today then we were 60 years ago... heck even 30 years ago. If you get a chance check out The Circle. I give it a solid A.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Jupiter Ascending on Blu-Ray

I got Jupiter Ascending on Blu-Ray today. I know some of you are moaning but I love this movie. You can read my original blog post review HERE.  I still don't understand why the majority of people and friends I talk to hate this movie so much. I will agree that Eddie Redmayne's acting isn't the best and you can barely understand him but we know he's an amazing actor from (Theory of Everything and The Danish Girl) so it had to be bad directing. But everyone else was fine. I loved the story and special effect were amazing. I think one of the best things about the Wachowskis is that they know how to build a world and Jupiter Ascending had some amazing visuals. If you're looking for a great sci fi adventure then this is the movie for you. I can't wait to watch it again as I have only seen it the one time in the theater. I also can't wait to check out all the blu-ray extras.. that one reason why I still buy DVD's / Blu-rays.. I love extras. Maybe I'll blog about those when I watch them all.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Martian - My Thoughts

Just a quick note: This should come as no surprise but Star Wars The Force Awakens is the fastest movie it hit one billions dollars... It only took 12 Days. It continue to break records.

I watched my screener of "The Martian" today. This is a movie that I wanted to see when it was in the theaters. Everyone and I mean everyone told me how great it was. I was also told I should read the book first (well I knew that wasn't going to happen). If  you don't know about this movie here's a quick synopsis: When astronauts blast off from the planet Mars, they leave behind Mark Watney, presumed dead after a fierce storm. With only a meager amount of supplies, the stranded visitor must utilize his wits and spirit to find a way to survive on the hostile planet. Meanwhile, back on Earth, members of NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring him home, while his crew mates hatch their own plan for a daring rescue mission.

I can see why folks said I should see this on the big screen.. I'm sure the visuals were stunning. I really enjoyed this movie. I kept thinking "how much of this is based in real science". I liked how they went back and forth from Mars to Earth to the Mars crew aboard the space ship. The acting was amazing and there was just the right amount of tension. I never once thought, "that's wouldn't really happen" everything seemed legit. Matt Damon did an amazing job, it takes a great actor to hold the attention of an audience when you're the only person on screen. This kind of reminded me of Gravity but Sandra Bullock was alone on screen much longer then Matt Damon. Not only was Matt's character courageous and brave but so were the other astronauts, there were on that ship for over a year heading home and then they decide to sling shot around the Earth and head back to get him. Talk about sacrificing their lives but the ones with family had to be even a harder decision. This was definitely one of my favorite movies of 2015. I give The Martian a solid A

Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Magicians on Syfy

So Syfy aired a "sneak peek" at their upcoming series The Magicians. It's based on a novel by Lev Grossman. Here's a quick synopsis: After being recruited to a secretive academy, a group of students discover that the magic they read about as children is very real and more dangerous than they ever imagined. But will getting hooked on the thrill of magic distract them from honing their powers when they need them most?

I saw a preview a while ago and it peaked my interest. I was told that it's Harry Potter for adults so I figured it was right up my alley. Well after watching episode one, it might be to adult for me. Anyways I'm getting ahead of myself.. I watched S1 Ep1 "Unauthorized Magic" A smart, geeky and socially awkward young man is amazed to realize that Magic he's so passionate about is actually real, when he's unexpectedly invited to attend a college of magic in New York.

Pilots are always tough as they have to introduce us to the main characters as well as the world they are living in. That's a tall order especially for a series like this where the world is so large and complex. But I have to say they did a nice job and explaining things. I felt like I understood this world instantly. It might help that I really love wizards and witches and such and this world is very similar to all the others. What I didn't like where some of the characters, I know it's only the first episode but honesty I only cared about the main guy (thankfully). A few of the other characters were okay and some were just horrible. I'm hoping within in time I'll grow to love the ones I like and tolerate the ones I dislike, who knows maybe I'm not suppose to like them. Anyways the other thing that I disliked about this take on magic is that magic is like a drug, when they are using it as though they are high. I liked all the different clicks of magic users, it shows a wide range of different types of magic. The special effects were fantastic and the acting was good. If they pull back on the Magic is a Drug theme I think I can really get into this series.

Only downside to watching this a month before it premieres in January is that episode one ended on a cliffhanger.. now I must wait until January 25th to watch the conclusion (luckily the are showing episode 1 and 2 that night). So stay tuned for further reviews.

Series Finale of Downton Abbey

After six amazing seasons Downton Abbey airs its finale episode, lucky for us it's their double long Christmas special. Here's a quick synopsis: Take place between August 29, 1925 - January 1, 1926: Mary endeavors to build bridges with her sister, but Edith's secret continues to pose a threat, even after she thought there was nothing left to lose. As Henry settles into the role of husband and stepfather, scars left by Charlie's tragic death are slow to heal fully, while Carson struggles to come to terms with developments which prove that even he is not invulnerable to change. Spratt's successful moonlighting venture is threatened by the continued conniving of Miss Denker, and Daisy may have missed her chance with an admirer. Isobel receives devastating news and when the young Greys' scheming takes a sinister turn, she and Violet join forces. Robert must learn the value of independence while the day that Anna and Bates have been waiting for finally arrives.

I've been a fan of Downton Abbey since season one, I was lucky enough to hear about it early on and managed to get copies of the first season. From the first episode I was hooked and I devoured every new episode. Now six years later this amazing series is coming to an end. I think they are ending to soon but contacts were up and the series creators wanted to end during their height of popularity.

I wasn't sure if they were going to tie up lose ends for every single persons storyline (a nearly impossible task) but I have to say they did an amazing job with what they did. I think one thing that this series does well is you truly never know the fate of anyone. One moment everything is great and then suddenly everything fall apart and you are devastated. This finale season has had some ups and down and I knew that not everyone was going to get a happy ending in this final episode. So I spent the entire time waiting for the other shoe to drop... well it never did. Everyone got a happy ending or at least started a path to a happy ending. I was to relived when it ended I was forsure expecting some one to die or a marriage to fall apart but nothing happening. It was the perfect ending (though I'll admit a bit unrealistic) but I didn't care... I love it.

So much happens in those 93 minutes. I think I'll go character by character and talk about how I felt their overall story went for the past six seasons and how they left it. 

Let's start with Robert Crawley, this character is one that has changed the most over the seasons. He had to learn how to change with the times and though he was dragged into the modern age kicking and screaming in the end he got there and became a better husband, father and person in the end.

Cora Crawley, like her husband she has gone through changes over the six seasons. She went from a doting wife and mother to this strong more independent women who know she can offer so much more then she has been allowed. It's great seeing her come into her own in the last season.

Mary Crawley (now Talbot), wow I've had a love hate relationship with this character. From her on and off again relationship with Mathew Crawley to her constant battles with younger sister Edith. Mary has grown, reverted back and grown again. Season six we saw the absolute worse of Mary which for me made me not like her in the end. I am happy that she found happiness finally, I think it's funny that she was so high and mighty about money and status but in the end she would up with a race car driver (now cars salesman). She started off as a privileged, close minded debutante but over the six seasons has soften a bit. She still can be a bitch but we get to see her softer side from time to time. She also doesn't care about status as much or money. She finally realizes that love is all she needs to be happy.

Edith Crawley (now Pelham) one of my favorite characters on the show has changed dramatically over the six seasons. She started off at your typical middle child, not as pretty as she older and younger sister and unlucky in love. She jilted at the alter by an older man, finds a new love and has sex for her first time with a married man (wife is insane and he can't divorce her), she finds out she's pregnant and that her new love has gone missing and is presumed dead (which we come to find out he actually is). She's bullied into giving up her daughter but later decides to get her back and give her to a local farmer to raise but then that falls apart. But during this entire time Edith is getting stronger. She takes over her dead lovers magazine business and starts running it herself. She finds love in season six but by her own doing and Mary's jealously loses the man only to get him back at the end of this episode to become a very powerful women in the country. So Edith went from the most unluckiest person in the world to one of the luckiest and I think she deserves every bit of it.

Violet Crawley is another favorite of mine. She starts off as this very stern matriarch, quick witted and always has an opinion and though she remained all of those things we got to see a softer side of her. She loves her family and they mean everything to her. I loved her relationship with Isobel, it's start off a bit rocky but turned into such a wonderful and loving relationship.

Isobel Crawley has had her ups and downs. With the death of her son her storyline dramatically changed. With this final episode we see her take control with help of Violet to rescue Mr. Grey from his horrible son and daughter-in-law. She marries him so she can help him during his terminal illness, but come to find out that he's not terminally ill. So She and Mr Grey get to spend the remainder of their lives together.

I know I keep saying these characters had some major changes but Tom Branson has really changed. He changed status.. went from a servant to a member of the Crawley family. He was an Irish rebel and slowly changes his ways. We watched him deal with the death of his wife (the youngest Crawley sister) and raise their daughter. He's gone away but came back for the final season. We saw hints of flirting with Edith's magazine editor so who know what will happen with them. He also went into business with Mary's husband Henry which seemed like perfect match. Very happy with his overall story.

Atticus and Rose show up in this final episode but really don't contribute much. They are living happily in the US with their new baby daughter. Life is pretty good for this young family.

Rosamund Painswick is pretty much the same that she has been in all six seasons, she continue to live her spinster life.

Mr Carson pretty much stayed the same through out the series. By the book, set in his ways and behind the family 100%. I like that he and Mrs Hughes finally get together and marry. And with this last episode we see him come down with a medical condition that will prevent him from being butler, at least the main butler, but things are resolved for him with the help of Thomas (who's been his enemy most of the series).

I've always loved Mrs Hughes, the was Mr. Carson's partner when it came to the help but she was also the motherly type. Unlike Mr Carson who was the stern father type. So happy that she and Mr Carson got together and glad she's not letting is "old" ways control her. Very happy with how they ended her story.

The Bates, Anna and John.. I think their ups and downs have been the focus of many seasons. John "killing" his wife, Anna being raped by Mr. Green and then accused of his murder, then John being accused on his murder and then later admitting to his murder (to get Anna out of jail). This couple was not meant to be happy.. but with this finale episode Anne and John finally get their happy ending by having a healthy baby boy.

Mr. Molesley is probably one of the most unlucky guys on the planet. In the beginning he just couldn't catch a break. But slowly and surely his luck was changing.. first my meeting Mrs Baxter. There was always a connection with those two, they never got together but I can see that happening in the near future. Mr. Molesley also got out of servitude to become a teacher in the final season leave the Crawleys to become a full time teacher in the finale episode.. finally a happy ending for Mr. Molesley.

Mrs Baxter was an interesting character.. started off as this scared person hiding part of her life. We slowly find out what she had done and slowly she becomes a much stronger women until the final episode where she finally takes back her life and puts the past in the past. I do hope one day her and Mr. Molesley get married.. they would make a wonderful couple.

Mrs Patmore has had her ups and down, eye surgery and a short romance but she really has remained the same throughout the series. I will say that she has had some great lines and scenes this final season. I also like the budding relationship with Mr. Mason. I can imagine them getting married in the future and living happily ever after.

Daisy has changed quite a bit from season one to season six. She went from this meek, soft spoken girl to this educated, political very strong women. She had bad timing with romance or falling for the wrong person at the wrong time. But it looks like things might be on track for her and Andy.

Speaking of Andy he was a late comer to the series and really hasn't had much of a storyline.. that was until season six. We falls for Daisy and we find out he's illiterate. He joins Mr Mason on the farm and will probably one day take over that farm. And as I said above it looks like Daisy and Andy are finally one the same page for romance.

And then we have Thomas or as he's called Mr. Barrow. He was the bad guy of the group, always skimming and trying to get others in trouble. He was the character that you loved to hate. I took an extra interest in him because he was the only gay character. He had many storylines of his bad deeds and occasionally had one dealing with his sexuality. Over the past few seasons they have slowly been making his character less skimming but the things he had done in his past was hard to over come. But in the final episode we see Mr. Barrow leave Downton and work for an old couple where you can tell he is bored out of his mind. In the final scenes we see Thomas become the new Butler of Downton with Mr. Carson there to see oversee large events. I am disappointed that Thomas never found love. That is all he ever truly wanted. I think the way people treated him made him into this bitter, conniving person that he is.

Doctor Clarkson, he was more of a presents in the earlier seasons but really wasn't been in much of the later episodes. He was a love interest for Isobel at one point (he even asked her to marry him.. well kind of) but not much more really happen to the character.

Then we have Spratt and Denker, We learn a bit about Denker but no really storyline for her, Spratt has a bit of a storyline this last season.. we find out he's the amazing columnist on fashion in Edith's magazine. But really these characters were more background dressing.

This series will be missed. I loved/hated every character in it. I looked forward to new seasons, so much so that I couldn't wait for new episodes to air here in the US. I invested a lot of time and thought into this series and I would do it all over again. I have re-watched the first few seasons over and over again waiting for new seasons. I'll be doing a complete re-watch of the entire series soon. I'm sad that they only did six seasons as I could have watched this for many more. But that's how British TV works, it's very different then the US. There are rumors that they might do a Downton Abbey movie and I will gladly see it if it happens but for now I will cherish the six amazing seasons of one of my all time favorite TV series.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Doctor Who "The Husbands of River Song" - My Thoughts

I got home from visiting with the family around 8pm.. just in time to watch the latest Doctor Who Christmas special with my buddy Erik via Skype. This years Christmas special is titled "The Husbands of River Song". Here's a quick synopsis: The Doctor is on the planet Mendorax Dellora in 5343, where he is asked by a man named Nardole to follow him, thinking he is a surgeon, on the orders of River Song. A surgeon is required to remove a diamond from the head of King Hydroflax after his maligned attempt to steal it, and River seeks to recover it. Surprised that River cannot identify his newest face, the Doctor struggles to break the news to her while learning how she acts on her own- and how many other lovers she has had. However, both he and River soon find that the time is drawing close for the last page in the diary of their journeys together to be written...

First half of this special was good, it was great seeing River again and it was funny that she didn't have a clue that the man she was now working with was actually The Doctor. But about halfway through this episode it became amazing!! When she was talking about how the Doctor didn't care about her and wouldn't come to help her and then realizes that he's been by her side this entire time was unbelievable. I love when she looks over at him and he says "Hello Sweetie" The acting, the timing and writing were perfect. Then the true adventure began with River and the Doctor trying to escape.

This was Doctor Who at it's best, it was funny, sincere, action packed and sad all rolled into one. And by the end when you find out that this is River's last day before she meets up with Tennants Who in Silence of the Library (where she dies) it's just heart breaking and the tears start to roll. And it gets worse when The Doctors gives her the sonic screwdiver, which sets up later events that happen in her first/last episode she appeared in. By this time I'm a ball of emotions and then the Doctor reveals that one day on this planet lasts 24 earth years and then you're heart smiles knowing that they get to spend those years together.

River's story has come full circle. If this is the actual last time we see her I will be happy. It's a fitting end for this amazing character. The Husbands of River Song is definitely one of my favorite Christmas specials and I look forward to watching it again and again.

Christmas Day

Christmas Day started off great.. the kids got up around 7ish and started going through their stockings, we were waiting for my mom and Chuck to arrive before opening gifts. Well they didn't get there until around 9am. Though they were late they did bring us much needed breakfast.

We got into opening gifts and as usual it turned into a free for all. I try and organize and give everyone a gift and then one at a time you open the gift and everyone gets to see what it is. The kids were going crazy, I was handing out gifts left and right and not seeing what people were getting. It's was a kind of controlled (or not so controlled) chaos. But it was fun seeing Molly's reaction to each and everyone of her gifts, she unwrap it, then want to open it and play with it. Kenobi would be excited for a second but then just wanted to move on to the next one and then the next one.

After gift giving the kids started to open up and play with their various toys. Lora got the turkey going and everything kind of settled down for a bit. Kenobi asked that I put together this ski-ball type of game. The instructions were a pictograph and really didn't explain anything. I tried for a half hour to get it together and then Kenobi started to whine and he kept trying to play it while I as putting it together. I asked him over and over again to please stop and wait until I was finished but he kept doing it. I told him if he did it one more time I was just going to walk away. Not two second later he did it again. I stood up and said.. that's it.. and walked away.

About fifteen minutes later he came to his mom and asked if she would put it together. I explained to her that I was having difficulties with it and he kept insisting on playing with it while I was putting it together.

Kenobi continued to aggravate me with his disobedience and my temper rose (which is very unusual for me, I'm more a mild tempered guy). I went to talk to Lora (as she was trying to put the thing together) she said something that rubbed me the wrong way and I snapped back. This was a first, Lora has never snapped at me and I've never snapped back at her.. it didn't feel good. I went into the living room where my brother was and started to pack up my bag. I had had enough. I told Michael that Kenobi had pushed me over the edge and that I think it was time for me to leave.. I was livid. (It wasn't anything in particular, I think it was a build up of how Kenobi had been acting all day).

Molly then came over to me with her big smile and asked if I wanted to play with her.. the anger dissipated and I of course said yes. The rest of the day got exponentially better from that point on. Kenobi was still being a punk but I was much better at ignoring is attitude. Dinner was fantastic (Lora did an amazing job), we spent the late afternoon watching The Good Dinosaur. Which I enjoyed but it didn't feel like a Pixar movie to me.

Overall with the exception of a few rough patches this Christmas was pretty good.

NerdStrong Gym - Weekly Recap

This weeks workout consisted of Saturday CON, Sunday TEAM, Tuesday DEX and Wednesday CON. A shorten week because of the Christmas holidays.

Started with a medium boss fight for our Saturday CON class. I've been really enjoying the way they have structured these Saturday CON classes. First Saturday we fight the big bad boss, it usually kicked out butt and very few of us finish it in the allotted time. Then the next two Saturdays we do a scaled down version of the boss monster and practice form and endurance. Then the final Saturday of the month we fight the same big boss that we fought the very first Saturday and usually there is an improvement by either going further then you did the first time, to actually finishing it and/or feeling better afterwards then you did the first time. It's pretty amazing what you can accomplish in that month.

Team workouts are always fun and Sunday's was no difference. Today's themed workout was all about Star Wars The Force Awakens (Spoiler free). We started with a nice warm up and then moved into Lightsaber training with a heavy Mace. Once we got learned the movements we went into the Lightsaber battle, 20x Air Mace Lunges, 20x Bent Mace Bow, 20x Mace Shoulder Press, 20x Mace Ballistic Curl and then 20x Mace Paddle Swing.

We were broken up into teams of three (Poe, Rey and Finn). While Rey was working the lightsaber, Poe was holding up BB-8 (Medicine Ball) while Finn rested. Each on of us would be Rey, Poe and Finn for three rounds. It was a tough battle, especially towards the end when you're arms feel like jello. But it helps when getting into the mindset of your character... For example when I was Poe I was not going to drop BB-8 and your find that extra will power to hold him overhead.

For DEX day on Tuesday we did wall squats, air squats, goblet squats, scap pull downs, banded pull downs, banded face pulls, more air squats, push-ups, jump rope, dumbbell strict press, knee raises, ring rows, Burpees and jumping over your planked partner. But this has become a typical Tuesday.. so many different actives within the hour. I use to say I felt that CON days gave me the best overall workouts but DEX days are giving CON days a run for their money.

Wednesday's CON day would be the last workout day this week as Christmas Eve and Christmas Day classes have been cancelled. For this con day (which happen to be coach Marla's birthday as well) she presented up with one of her favorite workouts "The 12 Days of Christmas" and yes it's exactly like the song goes.

We started with two around of 10x Squats, 10x Push Ups and 10x Sit Ups and this was just the warm up. For the actual workout we did 1x Wall Walks, 2x Turkish Get Ups, 3x Push Ups, 4x Dumbbell Thrusters, 5x Dumbbell Straight Leg Deadlifts, 6x Kettlebell Swings, 7x Plate Sit Ups, 8x Slamballs, 9x Dumbbell Push Presses, 10x Double Unders, 11x Jump Squats and 12x Burpees.

So it worked liked the song, we started with 1 Wall Walk, then 2 Turkish Get Ups and 1 Wall Walk, then 3 Push Ups, 2 Turkish Get Ups and 1 Wall Walk.. and so on until we did 12 Burpees, 11 Jump Squats, 10 Double Unders, 9 Dumbbell Push Presses, 8 Slamballs, 7 Plate Sit Ups, 6 Kettlebell Swings, 5 Dumbbell Straight Leg Deadlifts, 4 Dumbbell Thrusters, 3 Push Ups, 2 Turkish Get Ups and finally 1 Wall Walk.

I am happy to say that I finished the entire 12 Days of Christmas Workout... which means I did 12 Wall Walks, 22 Turkish Get Ups, 30 Push Ups, 36 Dumbbell Thrusters, 40 Dumbbell Straight Leg Deadlifts, 42 Kettlebell Swings, 42 Plate Sit Ups, 40 Slamballs, 36 Dumbbell Push Presses, 30 Double Unders, 22 Jump Squats and 12 Burpees.

We ended the workout with Birthday Battleropes for coach Marla ... That was a great workout to end the week on. Happy Holidays everyone!!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Santa's Little Helper

Spent part of the day finishing up my Christmas shopping.. I hate shopping Christmas Eve but the past few months have been crazy busy and I had no choice. I got everything wrapped and headed over to my brothers in the evening. I was going to crash at their place so I could be there first thing in the morning to watch my niece and nephew open presents.

As I have done the past few years I play Santa's helper and wrap the majority of the kids presents and this year was no different. When I got to my brother's everyone was out so I went upstairs to my brother's toy room (where he keeps all the kids presents) and started to wrap. These kids are extremely spoiled but as my brother says.. he can afford to give them things so he's going to do it. Can't fault that.. I'd do the same thing.

So it took me about and hour to wrap everything, during this time Mike and Lora were putting the kids to sleep. Once I was done Lora and I started to bring down all the gifts and put them under the tree. As I also play Santas helper on Christmas morning I was grouping up the gifts to make it easier for me to hand out.. luckily the kids are still young enough to not realized how organized Santa is.

Once everything was out you really get an idea of how great this Christmas we going to be for the kids. Lora, Michael and I went to bed around midnight. One different thing about these kids is they sleep in and are not early risers.. even on Christmas morning.. so I was looking forward to a good seven to eight hours sleep.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Gay Blood, Bye 5x5 & Watching The Expanse

:: Getting on my soapbox:: So the FDA has lifted the ban of gay men donating blood.. at least that's what all the headlines are saying.. but that's not completely true and it disgusts me that everyone is giving them a pat on the back for it. It is true that the FDA has lifted the ban on gay men donating blood but that's only true for those men who have not had sex with a man for over a year so in other words abstinence. So if you are a sexually active gay man you can still not donate blood. They still assume your blood is tainted with the AIDS even though advances in blood testing is at it's best yet. This archaic policy further segregates the gay community and with blood shortages that risk the lives of those in need, shouldn't that be at the forefront of the minds of policymakers, not outdated, unscientific ideas. :: Getting off my soapbox::

Got a screening for the Rocky sequel "Creed". I'm not a huge Rocky fan but I hear this movie is pretty amazing.

Today is my last day here at 5x5 media. I've been here since the end of February and worked on two different shows, Santas in the Barn and Separation Anxiety. This has been a great working experience, the people were fantastic and the work environment was wonderful. I took a step down in position and went from Post Production Supervisor to Post Production Coordinator and that drop in title also cut my stress level in half making 2015 one of the better work years I've had in many years. I'm sad that my time has come to an end but I have lots of great memories and I've made some great friends along the way. I don't know what's next for me, right now I'm excited to take a break during the holidays.. but I might have something up my sleeve come the new year.. stay tuned.

Today I watched the new Syfy series The Expanse. I had recorded a few episodes on my Tivo and had some free time after work so Lydia and I watched the first two episodes. I've heard good things about this series so I was really looking forward to watching it. Here's a quick synopsis: Hundreds of years in the future, things are different than what we are used to after humans have colonized the solar system and Mars has become an independent military power. Rising tensions between Earth and Mars have put them on the brink of war. Against this backdrop, a hardened detective and a rogue ship's captain come together to investigate the case of a missing young woman. The investigation leads them on a race across the solar system that could expose the greatest conspiracy in human history.

It's very dense story telling with lots of characters to get to know real quick. There are politics involved and Rich vs Poor. It's a series you really have to pay attention to. I heard it had a Battlestar Galactica feel to it and yeah I think I agree with that. After the first episodes I was confused at what was going on but intrigued enough that I wanted to watch episode two. After the second episode I understood a bit more but still had questions about people and events that had happened. It's a really good sci fi show and I look forward to watching more.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Steve Grand Xmas Song, Action Figures & Watching Joy

I came across this Christmas video on You Tube. It's Steve Grand (who I had never heard of before) singing a beautiful version of "All I want for Christmas" which is one of my favorite Holiday songs. The other reason I enjoyed it is because it's gay themed and you so rarely see gay themed Christmas music videos. Definitely going to be purchasing this..

So I've cut back on my toy collecting.. not because there aren't any really amazing action figures out there it's just that I'm running out of room in my two bedroom apartment. But sometimes I just can't resist getting new action figures and I tell myself that I'll figure out where I'm going to put them later.

That's the cast with the Star Wars Black 6 inch Black Series. I love the larger action figures because they have more details. But now Disney released these new Elite 6 inch figures. Now if you think the Black series are detailed they are nothing compared to the Elite series. Not only are they super detailed and look amazing but they are made out of die-cast and are heavy.

So the hunt begins for both 6 inch Black series and 6 inch Elite series. Black series can be found anywhere toys are sold but the Elite figures can only be found at Disney Stores and ebay.  And since I jumped on the bandwagon a bit late I'm only going to be able to get some of these off of ebay.. wish me luck...

In the evening I got to hang out with my best bud Robert and we watched my screener of Joy. Here's a quick synopsis: A story of a family across four generations, centered on the girl who becomes the woman who founds a business dynasty and becomes a matriarch in her own right. Facing betrayal, treachery, the loss of innocence and the scars of love, Joy becomes a true boss of family and enterprise. Allies become adversaries and adversaries become allies, both inside and outside the family, as Joy's inner life and fierce imagination carry her through the storm she faces.

I don't know how I feel about this movie.. was it good, yes it was but I think all the hype had gotten to me so I was expecting something bigger. The acting is fantastic and the story is good. I felt horrible for Joy (the main character) and all the crap she was going through. It's like there was a constant black cloud over her head. I felt the end was a bit odd and the fact that her grandmother who died halfway through the movie is the narrating it. I'm glad I watched it but I don't think I'd watch it again. I've give Joy a solid B.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Box Office Records & Downton Abbey vs Cards Against Humanity

I guess you can say that Star Wars The Force Awakens has broken a few records.

Largest Thursday Previews: $57 million
Largest Friday, Opening Day, Single Day: $119.1 million
Largest Sunday: $60.5 million
Domestic Opening Weekend: $247.9 million
Worldwide Opening Weekend: $529 million
Highest Per Theater Average (Wide Opening): $59,982
Top Opening Weekend for PG-13 Rated Film: $247.9 million
Top Holiday Opening Weekend: $247.9 million
December Single Day: $119.1 million
Widest December Opening: 4,134 theaters
December Opening Weekend: $247.9 million
Fastest to $100 Million: 1 Day
Global IMAX Opening Record: $48 million
Domestic IMAX Opening Record: $30.1 million

I got three more screeners today.. Hateful 8, Joy and Mad Max Fury Road. I've seen Mad Max and loved it so I'm really happy to have a copy of that. I'm not a big fan of Tarantino so I'm not in any hurry to watch that one. And I really don't know much about Joy other then it stars Jennifer Lawrence and is based on a true story. It getting lots of Oscar buzz so I am looking forward to watching this one.

My friend Leo posted a video on my Facebook timeline, I usually don't like when people do that but this one was Downton Abbey related so I didn't mind. It's three of the cast members playing Cards Against Humanity. Now I've seen a previous video of three other cast members playing the game and it was hilarious so it doesn't suprise me that they did it again with different actors. The first one had Lesley Nicol,  Phyllis Logan and

Now there is part two with Michelle Dockery, Allen Leech and Kevin Doyle and it's hilarious.. the reactions to the cards is my favorite part.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

John's Baking Party & Dinner with Adam

Today I went over to my buddy John's place. He and his wife Lauren were having their annual "Baking" party. They invite a bunch of their friends over to partake in tasty desserts. Some were gluten free, others were vegan and some were just plain bad (as in good) all around. I had a little bit of everything (I mean I couldn't be rude).

I only knew a few people (our mutual friend Lauren and John's wife Lauren) and I'm usually very uncomfortable at parties where I don't know nobody. But John and Lauren's friends were very nice and welcoming and by the end of the night I made a few new friends. I hung out the entire party (1pm to 6pm) and a bit after.. they had to kick me out :). During the party they played holiday movies, I also got to hang out with baby Neil (who I adore).. it was some good times. Thanks John for the invite.

After the party I went out to dinner with my buddy Adam (who is visiting from Seattle). I went and saw Star Wars with him last night and tonight we wanted to grab some dinner and get some one on one time. We decided to go to Chevy's which is kind of funny since that was the last place we went to right before he moved up to Seattle (kind of like a going away dinner). Guess we both love our Mexican food. As always it was a nice dinner and some fun and always interesting conversations. Thanks Adam for making time for us to hang out on your trip south. Can't wait until you're next visit.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Space Shuttle Endeavour & 3rd Viewing of Star Wars The Force Awakens

Today I took a field trip to the California Science Center with some friends. Our main goal was to see the Space Shuttle Endeavour. So I met up with Lauren, Brent, Leo and her husband Andy at the North Hollywood Metro station. Not only has no one seen Endeavour but Lauren had never been on the Los Angeles Subway (Metro) so I figured we'd kill two birds with one stone as the Metro let's you off right behind the Science Center.

So we made our way to the Science Center and got there around a half hour before our viewing time for Endeavour so we headed to the gift shop and did a bit of shopping. We then went up to the Endeavour area where they have various cool items from Endeavour like a space toilet with an accompanying video of how it works. There were several other cool items with videos. They had a mock setup of mission control, a few simulators and one of my favorite things a timeline on the wall of each mission that Endeavour had completed. At the end of the tour is a screening room where you can watch how the Space Shuttle was delivered to the Science Center, I've seen it many times but it always amazes me.

Once you're done there you head down stairs to the hanger area where the actual space shuttle is. Now this is my fourth time seeing this beautiful vehicle and it make me tear up every time and today was no different. I think everyone had the same reaction.. you just can't prepare yourself for this seeing this majestic bird that has actually flown in space. The group spent a good hour walking about and checking out the shuttle. Like with the timeline upstairs with Endeavour missions they have a timeline around the entire hanger of all of the Space Shuttle missions. We stopped by the gift shop in the Endeavour section before heading back to the Science Center to check out the other exhibits, mostly the other space ones. We also did the Earthquake simulator room and had to see what we looked in in infrared before calling it a day and heading back to the metro. Overall it was a fun day hanging with some great friends.

When we got back to North Hollywood, Brent, Lauren and I grabbed some lunch at Chipotles before heading back to my place to hang for a few.

Later in the evening I headed out to the Sherman Oaks Arclight to see Star Wars The Force Awakens for my third time. This time I was seeing it with my buddy Adam who was visiting from Seattle as well as a few other friends. I had never sat so high up in the theater (row U) but once I was there the seats weren't to bad. And again like with my second viewing I loved it even more. I saw more things and heard the now infamous Yoda and ObiWan voices during Rey's vision. The more I see of this movie the more I love it.. don't know when I'll be seeing it for my fourth time but I know it will be soon.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Twin Peaks Teaser, Negative Comments & 2nd Viewing of Force Awakens

Showtime released a teaser trailer for the upcoming season three of Twin Peaks.. it really is just a teaser but still get's me excited for the new season.. I've waited 25 years for this.

So the new Star Wars came out and with most Star Wars movies everyone loves it at first sight. On social media I was seeing 95% praise and 5% complaints but as the day went on and though people kept saying "I loved it".. they would add.. "but..." and then go into what they hated about the movie.

It goes me thinking.. why is it easier to talk negative then positive, at least for what feels like the majority of the people out there. I joined a Facebook group of friends who wanted to talk about the new Star Wars but didn't want to spoil anything so in this group only people who had seen it could join. Sounded like a great idea and at first it was. Folks were talking about their excitement for the new movie and how much they loved it but then the negativity started and once someone started many jumped on the bandwagon. Now I'm not saying that you can't critic something but why must it be all negative. Most of the conversations started with I loved the movie but.. ::spew of negativity:: Instead of saying well I loved the movie because of this and that but I wasn't a fan of this or that. I'd be okay with that.. you tell us what you loved about it and then explain what you didn't like about and then a fun debate can happen. Instead.. one person says they hated this and then other jumps on and agrees and then added their two cents and the next thing I know twenty people are talking nothing but negativity towards a movie. And of course this goes for any form of entertainment, TV shows, Movies, Music, Theater and so on. It's as though being mean is easier then being nice and I just don't get it. Maybe my brain doesn't work that way. When I watch something or hear something I pick up the good and the things I liked and that's what I think about.. why think about the things I didn't like.

Today after work I headed to a PGA (Producer's Guild of America) screening of Star Wars The Force Awakens (2nd Viewing). This time is was in 2D at the Writers Guild Theater. I brought my buddy John along for the ride. We got there an hour and a half early and there was already a line waiting to get it.. which is crazy. Usually I get there an hour early and am up at the front of the line. But when we got into the theater we found some nice seats in the middle, middle. There was going to be a Q&A afterwards (with unknown guests) so we wanted to sit close enough to enough the chat but far away to enjoy the movie.

I'm not going to go into details about my thoughts on the movie as you can read my review in a previous blog but I will say that I enjoyed it even more the second time. I think knowing what was going to happen allowed me to sit back and just enjoy the ride.

Now for the Q&A before the movie started they announced who would be there. I of course was hoping J.J. would be in attendance and then John mentioned that maybe Kasden would show up. I didn't even think about him but it would be awesome to hear his stories. So when they announced who the guests would be both John and I were very excited. After the movie we did an Q&A with J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, Tommy Harper, Lawrence Kasden, Kathleen Kennedy, and Michelle Rejwan.

They talked for about a half hour and it was awesome. I could listen to J.J. talk about movies all day. Kasden had some amazing stories and Kathleen Kennedy really knows her stuff. Bryan, Tommy and Michelle really didn't say much but with three larger then life personalities on the panel it was to be excepted. One of my favorite moments was when someone in the audience asked if she had heard Yoda and ObiWan voice in Rey's vision. J.J. looked at Kathleen with a grin on his face, they put their heads together and whispered back and forth. He then was going to say something but Kathleen motioned him back and they continued to whisper before he said into the mic... "Yes!!!" and that was it. It was a very ominous yes, like there was more behind it. Both John and I had a great time at both of our second viewings and the amazing Q&A.