Saturday, February 21, 2015

SDCC & Pathfinder (D&D)

Spent the morning trying to get a San Diego Comic Con Badge, today is open registration. As we have done in the past we have a small group of people band together to help each other get the days we want. I'm a professional so I'm guaranteed a 4 day pass with preview but I was hoping to get my brother a 4 day pass and anyone else.. unfortunately like the last time this "new" random sorting process never works out for me and I never made it out of the waiting room. My friend Aaron was able to get a badge for Thursday and Sunday for my brother but I know he really wants the full four days. I do have one more chance when Pro badges go up. As I mentioned I'm guaranteed a badge but I'm also eligible to get a second free badge (but those go quick) and I can also purchase a second badge (which is more likely). Just gotta wait for the time and date for when this will be happening.

Spent the rest of the day playing D&D / Pathfinder. It's been a month or so since the gang got together so alot of us have been really looking forward to it. I'm not going to go into great detail about the night but needless to say it was another fun adventure. We had two large battles, first with some cool Wight Kings and lackies and then we a ton of bloody skeletons. Both battles lasted a while but we were successful with each with little damage to our group. Well other then a few team members losing some levels due to contact with the Wight Kings.

Dallas, our DM, once again did a great job at navigating our large group thru the adventure. My only complaint about the session is the noise level. Because we are such a large group it can take 30 minutes for your turn to come back around and since we are all friends who only see each other during D&D we tend to get a bit chatty between plays. Sometimes with the music and the chatting it's difficult to hear what's going on with the game. This has been an issue since the first day we played and I'm sure it's not going to change anytime soon, this is what happens when you have such a large group of adventurers. But overall it was another fun adventure, can't wait for the next one.

Friday, February 20, 2015

LARPs New Episode & New Doctor

Episode 5 of LARP's The Series came out today. Another fun episode but man are they way to short. You barely have time to get into them and they are already ending. I do understand why they are short but as with The Guild I'm hoping with the second season (which is in production now) they double the length to a whopping 10 minutes. Check out episode 5 below.

So if you've been following my blog you know I have been having health insurance issues. My rate has doubled in the past two years and I'm currently paying $508 a month for health insurance. Well I should say that I was paying that amount. I no longer have Anthem Blue Cross, I've maxed out my credit cards trying to keep it but I finally had to let it go. Since I'm out of work and have made little money in 2014 I actually qualified for Medi-Cal.  And today is my first visit to meet my new doctor.

We all have these images in our head of "county" medical care and thought some of the stereotypes are true it wasn't a horrible process. I got to my appointment, found the window that I needed to check in at and waited about 20 minutes for my name to be called. Once inside the nurse got my weight, took my temperature and blood pressure. I then waited in a room for about another 20 minutes before a young lady came in, introduced herself and we started going over who I was, my lifestyle, family history and all the usual stuff you do when you visit a doctor for the first time. Come to find out that she was a medical student and would be taking all this info I gave her and would go and speak with my doctor. So this is a teaching clinic.

She was gone about 20 minutes but during that time my actual doctor came in and introduced herself to me. This will be the first time that I have had a female doctor. She left to find her student and a few minutes later the student showed back up and we went over some details. They are taking me off some meds that I had been taking, they feel that they are overkill and their goal is to get me off all my meds sooner then later (which I'm all for).

I had brought in my test results for the past few years to share with my new doctor. I noticed that my creatinine, serum was high in my 2014 test and again in my 2015 test. So I looked it up and found out that it measures the levels of toxins in your blood, toxins that the kidneys are suppose to get rid of. So if levels are high then something is up with the kidneys. The doctor looked it over and said we need to investigate further so they drew more blood and I made an appointment to see them in a month to go over the results.. of course if there are any red flags they will call me sooner. 

After the doctor I went down to the third floor to have my blood drawn and then to the first floor to turn in my new prescriptions for my meds.

So it took about 2 hours 15 minutes to for the whole process. The student doctor and doctor were really nice and I think will have a nice relationship. I'm a bit concerned about my kidneys but will cross that issue once we know more. Overall it was a good visit.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

NerdStrong Gym - Free Weight & Form

Today was one of the hardest to learn and most frustrating workouts for me so far. It's wasn't tiring or taxing I was just disappointed as I couldn't get the correct form down.

After our warm up we learned the correct way to do a Power Clean and then Deadlift. Both of these require a bar bell and weights.

We started with Power Clean for 20 minutes. I was working with assistant coach Andrew Seely and after showing me how to do it properly over and over I still couldn't do it. I just couldn't get the rhythm down. It was hard for me as with my past workouts I picked up how to do it properly very quick but for whatever reason it wasn't happening this time.

Luckily when we moved on to Deadlifts I managed to grasp that concept alot better and by the end I was up to 255 lbs. So we established my Deadlift weight. Now when I do these again I need to try and improve that number.

By the time I was done I wasn't exhausted or tired like with other workouts but I knew I'd be feeling it the next day. Though I was disappointed in myself when it came to power clean I know that doing those properly is important and it takes time and experience to get it right.

TNG Pop Figures & First Look at Aquaman

If you're a regular reader of my blog you know I collect Pop! Vinyl figures. I remember when these first came out a few years ago and now there are hundreds of them. My friend Jes actually got me started in collecting them when she got me the first six Star Wars ones. The next year they came out with another six and I couldn't help but picking them up. Then they expanded with The Hobbit and I had to get those as well. I picked up a few odds and ends as well like Charlie from Supernatural, a few different Groots and E.T. If I had unlimited funds I'm sure I'd be buying a lot more of these. These are also the only figures I buy and actually open up to display.

A few months back Pop! announced that they are going to release Firefly Pop! figures and I knew that when they came out I'd be buying those... well they did it again. Pop! announced that they will be releasing Pop! figures for Star Trek The Next Generation and if you know me, you know I LOVE me some TNG so of course these are must haves. I'll probably end up buying them at Comic Con.

Zach Snyder who directed the latest Superman movie "Man of Steel" is now working on the sequel movie Batman Vs. Superman. We know that Wonder Woman will be making an appearance in this movie and we've seen a picture of her. Now Snyder has released a picture of Aquaman who was recently announced that he too will be part of the next movie.  I like the look. You can tell that Snyder is going dark, both Wonder Woman and Aquaman are in toned down colors. Of course it could just be the pictures themselves. Either way I'm super excited to see the next installment of this series.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Kingsman: The Secret Service - My Review

Tonight I went to a screening on the Fox Lot with my buddy Robert to see Kingsman: The Secret Service. Here's a brief synopsis: Based upon the acclaimed comic book, Kingsman: The Secret Service tells the story of a super-secret spy organization that recruits an unrefined but promising street kid into the agency's ultra-competitive training program just as a global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius.

From the first trailer I wanted to see this movie. It looked like a lot of action and fun. Then I started to hear that it was extremely violent and bloody. That surprised me as you couldn't tell that from the previews but it didn't deter me from wanting to see it.

It was everything I expected, fun, action packed and yes it was a bit graphic at times but I'd call it more hyper stylized violence, it's so over the top. I loved the throw back feel to a classic spy/bond type movie.

I'm a huge fan of Colin Firth so of course I enjoyed his performance, and I also liked the new guy (Taron Egerton) I don't think I've seen him in anything else, but I have heard rumors that he might play Han Solo in one of the solo Star Wars movies. Samuel L. Jackson was fantastic as the "bad" guy who couldn't stand the sight of blood. And another newcomer (at least to me) Sofia Boutella played the kickass assistant/lover to Samuel's character. She had this two blades for the bottom portion of her legs and could kick butt. 

The fight scenes were extremely well choreographed. I enjoyed the story and how it all played out. The cinematography was well done and the editing was fast paced and entertaining. Even the explosive ending which was kind of cheesy but still worked well within the context of the movie. 

Overall it was as I expected (with a bit more graphic violence) and I loved it. I'll definitely be buying this when it comes out on blu-ray. I give Kingsman: The Secret Service a solid A -

New Firefly Action Figures

As I was surfing the net today I came across these Firefly Legacy Collection Action Figures! I had never heard of them so of course I had to investigate further. Come to find out that these were announced at last weeks New York Toyfare. They are being produced by Funko who made the "retro" Firefly figures that I had purchased last year. Unlike the 3 3/4 inch figures these are a full 6 inches and have way more detail and articulation, they look amazing. For the first series they are only doing five of the main cast members, Mal, Jayne, Kayle, Zoe and Wash. I'm hoping that they are planning to release the second set soon after with Simon, River, Inara and Book. But for now I'll take what I can get.. here's a bit more details about what to expect.

The beloved Browncoat Mal Reynolds brings his crew into the Legacy Collection. He wears his signature brown coat, red shirt, and knee-high boots. His face is solemn, considering the best course of action for his crew. He comes with two weapon accessories. After all, a smuggler’s got to protect himself somehow.

Muscle man Jayne Cobb won’t be seen without a weapon in hand – not even as a Legacy Collection action figure! He wears his usual clothes but comes with a veritable arsenal, two guns, an extra clip, and even a dagger.

The Kaylee Legacy figure has Jewel Staite’s sweet smile as she wears the iconic green coveralls, complete with teddy bear patch. She also wears her pink flowery shirt and comes with a wrench so she can repair the engine at any given time.

Husband and wife team Hoban “Wash” and Zoe Washburne also join the Legacy line. Wash wears his green flight suit and floral print shirt. And, since this is a fertile land (or is it your grave? Mwahaha!), he comes with two dinosaur figures.

Zoe wears her classic leather vest with her curly hair cascading down. She comes with two weapons, ready for action as the captain’s right hand woman.

I'm so excited that this beloved series (though it's been off the air for 12 years) is still finding love. And I will be picking up all of these to add to my every growing Firefly collection.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Agent Carter Is the Best!!!

If you guys are fans of Felicia Day (as I am) then you really should be following her on SnapChat. For the past week or so she's been doing these awesome 10 second videos where she takes a popular song and changes it to incorporate her love of coffee... they are pretty EPIC!!

In other geeky news I watched the second to last episode of Mavel's Agent Carter, S1 Ep 7 "Snafu" As Carter is resisting interrogation at the S.S.R., Jarvis appears with a fake signed confession from Stark, promising surrender if Carter is released. Carter sees Ivchenko communicating in Morse code with Underwood, and reveals the truth about her own investigation to her colleagues to gain their trust. Ivchenko hypnotizes Dooley and has him steal one of Stark's weapons from the S.S.R.'s labs: a gas cylinder that Underwood and Ivchenko activate in a crowded cinema before leaving and locking the door behind them. The agents find Dooley wearing a Stark experimental vest given to him by Ivchenko, which Jarvis explains will explode with no way to deactivate it. Dooley jumps out a window moments before the device detonates, killing him but saving the others. The gas in the cinema makes many in the audience become maniacal and attack each other violently, and when an usher arrives soon after, the entire audience is dead.

Another amazing episode, I can't praise this series enough. Every episode has been so good that I can't delete them from my Tivo as I enjoy going back and rewatching them over and over. Agent Carter finally was able to tell her male chauvinistic co-workers what she really thought them and it was beautiful. Beautifully written, preformed and edited.

“To you (Dooley), I’m a stray kitten left on your doorstep to be protected. (to Thompson) The secretary turned damsel in distress. (to Sousa) The girl on the pedestal, transformed into some daft whore.”

“And I suppose the confession portrays me as what? A patsy? A doe-eyed idiot succumbed to the charms of America’s mustachioed Casanova?”

“I conducted my own investigation because no one listens to me. I got away with it because no one looks at me. Because unless I have your reports, your coffee, or your lunch, I am invisible.”

This had to be my favorite scene of the series and that's saying alot since I pretty much love every scene in this series.

As I have said in past reviews I love me some Jarvis and Peggy.. those two just work so well together, there chemistry is just amazing (and I love that it's not romantic at all).

Dooley's sacrifice brought tears to my eyes. I was never a fan of this man but when the time came he did what he had to do to save his people. I love that he turned to Carter and made her promise that she would find the bad guys.. he didn't ask all the men standing around her.. he asked her to do it.

So much awesome in this one episode and I can't believe that we have one more episode before it's over. I just hope it's not done for good. I hope we get another eight episode story arch next year.. let's make this a tradition.

NerdStrong Gym - Strong Core, Strong Body

Today's workout at NerdStrong Gym was tough. We started the session with a 250m run (which is one time around the parking lot), then came back in and did 10x situps, 5x pushups and then door stretches.

After the warm up we did our skills moves. This is where we do specific exercise moves and learn how to do them properly and correct. Today Andrew showed us plyometirc pushups. If you don't know what those are, they are regular pushups with a twist. You go down regularly but then you push up you go fast and move your hands to a different plain. For example we had weight plates next to our hands so we would go from the ground and then as we push up relocate our hands to the top of the weight. It was super tough, especially since I have come to find out that pushups are the bane of my existence. We then learned how to hang from a bar and bring our toes up and touch the bar, essentially bending your body in half. There are many stages to get to the point where you could actually touch your toes to the bar. I unfortunately was only able to get my knees to my elbows, which is saying alot since this was my first time and I have a belly in the way. The bending part isn't he worst.. it's your hands holding the bars.. that's the tough part.

After the skill part of the session we moved onto the workout. This was timed at 16 minutes and we had to do 4 rounds of 12x dumbbell z-press, 16x hi-lo planks, 25x mountain climbers, 12x russian twists and then a 140m run.

My first two rounds were great, was feeling good and making good time, by the third round I was struggling with the hi-lo planks as they are similar to push ups and were starting to hurt my elbows, surprisingly the most active part of the workout, the mountain climbers I excelled at but the russian twists were a killer and what's crazy is the run was the time you got to relax for a few minutes. The fourth set was tough, I was sweating profusely and my glasses kept falling off my face, but I pushed through the pain and managed to finish just over 16 minutes... Woot!!!

Another amazing workout, tonight's session was all about our core.. thank you Andrew for being such an amazing coach.. you make workout fun. And I also want to thank my buddy Andrew Seely who got me into NerdStrong and was also the assistant coach tonight. Can't wait for Thursday!!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Damaged Collectibles & the Latest Gotham

So I have been spring cleaning the past few weeks, I'm trying to widdle down my collections by a 1/3d and get ride of things that I just don't need anymore. Of the many things I collect, trading cards are one of them. I have about 20 binders full of various TV and Movie trading cards. Besides the binders I have a medium size box filled with all my duplicates and extras. While pulling that box out of storage I noticed some water damage on the box and sure enough when I examined the contents of the box I found that a bunch of the cards also had water damage. Some of these cards are over 30+ years old and it's upsetting to have lost so many pieces of my childhood. But on the upside, as I'm always looking for an upside, I won't have to struggle with the idea of keeping them or not.. they will be discarded with the rest of the trash.

In TV news I watched the latest Gotham tonight with my buddy Erik. S1 Ep 16 "The Blind Fortune Teller" Barbara Kean returns to Gotham to discover Ivy Pepper and Selina Kyle in her apartment. Elsewhere, Fish Mooney plans to save herself and the other prisoners when they discover that they were kidnapped so that their organs can be harvested. When a snake dancer at Haly's Circus named Lila Valeska is murdered, James Gordon and Leslie Tompkins investigate as the Flying Graysons and the Lloyds are suspects. Upon deducing that her son, Jerome, is the killer and Cicero is his father, Jerome has a psychotic breakdown and confesses to the murder claiming to have hated her for her insistent "nagging." Bruce holds a board meeting at Wayne Enterprises and voices concern to the executives that the company is involved with illegal activities.

I really enjoyed this episode tonight and for once I liked the character of Barbara, or at least the scene where she discovers Ivy and Selina in her apartment. I really liking the interaction between Gordan and Tompkins, they are making a fun duo. We get to meet the Graysons in this episode as well as the "future" Robin's parents (it's was kind of like a Romeo and Juliet story). They get engaged at the end of the episode. The Bruce stuff was good, he's definitely throwing down the gauntlet.

I've been liking the Phish Mooney storyline and man is she one conniving woman, but I give her credit, she gets results. As for the Penguin storyinline, I wasn't a huge fan of it. I feel like they told a lot of his story at the beginning of the series and now he's more of just a side character. And by far my favorite storyline and scene was the interrogation of Jerome (future Joker). I thought he acting was brilliant. I love when he goes from grieving son to malicious psycho in a matter of seconds and then looks up with a perfect "Joker" face, it sent chills down my spine... good stuff. Can't wait to see next weeks episode.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Podcasts and Pop Figures

Today Rico released the next installment of our look at the Harry Potter phenomenon on his Treks in Sci fi podcast. We continue our look at the books and movies.. this time we tackled Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. You can check it out HERE.

Speaking of Potter my buddy Tim posted this on my timeline on Facebook, knowing that I'm a HUGE fan of Harry Potter but also that I collect those Funko Pop! Figures. Well they are releasing a bunch of Harry Potter ones this summer (presumably during San Diego Comic Con). There are hundred of these Pop! figures and so far I've showed alot of restraint and only purchased Star Wars, Lord of the Rings/ The Hobbit, Supernatural Charlie, Groot/Baby Groot and E.T. But I will be adding these Harry Potter to my collection for sure. Thanks Tim for the heads up.

Also today Geekyfanboy Productions released a new episode of the MASH 4077 Podcast. Today's podcast covers Ep. 97, covering S4 Ep 25 "The Interview" (final episode of season 4)  You can Download from itunes , listen on Stitcher Radio or listen, get direct download from our main website  Don't forget new episodes are released on the 1st and 15th of the month. Next up is the 2 episode opening for season five titled Bug Out. It will be out on March 1st.

NerdStrong Gym - Defeating Mount Doom

It's Sunday which means themed workout at NerdStrong Gym today. Today's theme was near and dear to my heart.. it was Lord of the Rings inspired and called Mount Doom!!!

We started with learning how to do a proper kettlebell swing, I was unaware but there are several different types of swings and we learned a few of them. We then did a kettlebell ladder and up'd our weight each time.

Afterwards we started our crossfit part of the work out. As I mentioned it was called Mount Doom. It consisted of wallballs (throwing a medicine ball up against a wall), ring pull ups and push ups. Everyone teamed up into pairs of two. I was the odd man out and teamed up with coach Andrew (feels like High School all over again :)

There are different levels for beginners, medium and advance. I talked it over with Andrew and we decided that we'd go for beginners but if I was feeling it we could push up to medium and if I was doing great then we'd go all the way to the top of the mountain. We started with 2 (meaning I'd do 1 and then my partner would do 1). After that we'd go to 4 (I'd do 2 and my partner would do 2) and so on. For beginners we had to reach 12 (6 each) for medium we had to reach 16 (8 each) and for Advance we had to reach 20 (10 each)

So we started, 1 wallball, 1 ring pull up, 1 push up.. piece of cake. Then 2 wallballs, 2 ring pull ups and 2 push ups... still going strong. Got to 6 (beginners stopping point) and Andrew asked if I wanted to continue to go up the mountain.. I of course said yes. I was feeling great on the wallballs and ring pull ups but the push ups were starting to get to me and I was struggling to finish them. So when Andrew asked if I wanted to continue up the mountain to the top I declined as I knew I wouldn't be able to make it back down. In the end I did 64 wallballs, 64 ring pulls & 64 push ups in the allotted time. It was another fantastic and fun workout. Sundays workouts though tough are becoming my favorites. Can't wait to see what's planned for next Sunday themed workout.