Saturday, July 18, 2015

Ant-Man: My Thoughts

Today I went to the Sherman Oaks Arclight and watched Marvel's Ant-Man in 3D in my favorite ATMOS equipped theater. If you're been living under a rock and don't have a clue what or who Ant-Man is here's a quick synopsis: Forced out of his own company by former protégé Darren Cross, Dr. Hank Pym recruits the talents of Scott Lang, a master thief just released from prison. Lang becomes Ant-Man, trained by Pym and armed with a suit that allows him to shrink in size, possess superhuman strength and control an army of ants. The miniature hero must use his new skills to prevent Cross, also known as Yellowjacket, from perfecting the same technology and using it as a weapon for evil.

Like with Ironman when it first came out I knew nothing about this character. But this being the umpteenth Marvel movie I knew it was going to be fun and I was right. I mean right from the start with a surprise cameo of Hayley "Agent Carter" Atwell herself I was loving it. Lot's of humor in this film, almost rivaling Guardians of the Galaxy. The CG and special effects were amazing and I haven't cared about an ant since "Honey I Shrunk The Kids". I enjoyed the acting as I'm a huge fan of Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly. I like that the story was simple.. it's wasn't some world killing event (we know they would just call in the Avengers for that). This movie has lots of mentions and nods to the Marvel Universe. We even got a more substantial cameo from Falcon during the movie, which was a fantastic scene. Overall it was just a great movie. Lots of fun and very entertaining. I give Ant-Man a solid A for sheer entertainment.

"Safe In My Hands" & DanceStrong

After the gym I came home, showered and changed and then headed to the movies with my temporary roommate Lydia. We were seeing Marvel's Ant-Man. This is my short reviews.. I loved it. I'll be blogging a longer review after this blog post.

I came across this Allstate commercial that I had not seen before. It's a short animated film that was part of the 2014 LGBT campaign, it's called Out Holding Hands. The film features a new single, "Safe In My Hands" a song written exclusively for Allstate's LGBT campaign by out singer/songwriter Eli Lieb.

I love everything about this. It's only a minute and a half long but it's tells a great story in that time. There is a quote at the end that I love "Being visible should never leave you feeling vulnerable". Being a gay man in public you always have to be award of your surroundings. A light peek on the cheek or the holding of hands can mean a beating or even worse a death sentence. I would love to have the freedom to hold or kiss my partner in public and not have to worry about who might be watching. Thank you Allstate for creating such an amazing video.

There is another great article about my gym.. you can check it out HERE. It's for a website called The Frame and it's titled "Nerdstrong Gym: Where pop culture geeks get in shape"

During the evening I got together with a bunch of fellow NerdStrongers and we went out dancing at a local gay club called Oil Can Harry's. It's usually a country and western club but on Saturdays they have Retro Disco Night. We got there around 8:30pm and had a few drinks during their happy hour. Soon we were on the dance floor shaking our booties and we didn't stop until around 11:30pm. When we got hungry so Andrew suggested a Ramon place in Van Nuys. Most of us headed over there afterwards and enjoyed a tasty late night dinner. I got home and to bed around 1:30am. We had a blast and plan to do it again soon. 

NerdStrong - The Mountain!!!!

Today's workout is called the Mountain and boy was it. It was a full 35 minute non-stop workout. But before I talk about the workout I want to talk about the weather. I haven't seen this kind of thunder and lighting SoCal for many years. As we waited for our class to begin we'd get a down pour of ran that would last ten minutes and then stop. At first I thought we'd be running in it but come 10am the rain had stopped completely. It was still extremely humid and parts of the parking lot were flooded, but that didn't stop coach Andrew.

For our warm up we went on a jog around the parking lot. But this wasn't a "normal" jog, coach Andrew asked for us to do circle with our arms as we jogged. He asked us to do side steps as we moved forward and my favorite, when we got to the large pools of water he had us hop through it. Needless to say my shoes were soaked through and through by the time our warm up was over. It was fun while it was happening but it wasn't that great afterwards when I had to workout in a soggy shoes.

Speaking of workouts this one is a dozy. It starts with a 750 meter run (3 laps around the now flooded parking lot), 50x Wallballs, 40x Kettlebell Swings, 30x Box Jumps, 20x Overhead Lunges, 10x Sandbag Clean to Shoulder, 500 meter run, 10x Sandbag Clean to Shoulder, 20x Ring Rows, 30x Clapping Push Ups, 40x Slamballs, 50x Sit Ups and finally another 750 meter run.

The group was split in half so half of us started on top and worked down while the other half started on the bottom and worked up. I was part of the top down team so everyone did the 750 meter run, but when we got back I went to the 50x Wallballs, As I mentioned before we had a 35 minute time cap so you just had to tackle one exercise at a time.... slow and steady was the way to get it all done. 

I'm happy to say that I got all the way to Sit-Ups and got about half of the 50 done before time ran out. Once time was call and tried to stand up and felt extremely light headed. Coach Andrew came over to me and asked how far I got and as I started to answer, I held up my hand to my mouth and made my way to the bathroom as I knew I was going to throw up.

I spent the next twenty minutes inside the bathroom lying on the floor. I've had two other incidents when I have felt this way after a workout but after talking to the coaches and eating a good bowl of oatmeal before my workouts I haven't had them since.. well until today..  I had a good bowl of oatmeal before this workout but I think the combination of being under the weather (chest congestion), the extremely high humidity and being mildly hypoglycemic contributed to this episode. I may have lost consciousness for a few seconds in the bathroom but like before my body rebounded and I started feeling better.

I don't feel like I pushed myself to hard this time, I was feeling great through out the entire workout. It as only at the end that I felt it. I ate properly and did everything as I was suppose to do.. sometimes the body just has a mind of its own. I hope it doesn't happen again as it's not the best feeling in the world but all I can do is continue to eat a good solid meal in the morning before the workout and make sure I don't overdue it during the actual workout.

Overall I really enjoyed the workout and besides the small episode at the end it was a really was great workout. Downside to being in the bathroom on the floor for 20 minutes is that you don't get to take a "class" picture.

Friday, July 17, 2015

X-Files Teaser & Geekie Nominees Announced

Fox release a teaser trailer for the upcoming six-part return of The X-Files. They really don't show much but the fact that they are doing this series is pretty amazing. January can't get here soon enough.

And the Geekie Awards announced their nominees. This is the third year for The Geekies and this is my third year being a judge. As with past years I was one of the judges for podcasts. I got to listen to some amazing podcasts yet again this year. Every year I do this  and I'm always impressed by the amount of talent out there. You can watch the announcement video and check out all the nominees on their main website HERE.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Other "F" Word

So I came across this video where 30 gay men gave a one word response to the word "Faggot". Of course I'm talking about the North American interpretation of this word, the derogatory word used to label gay men. I have always disliked (even hated) this word. I obviously don't like it when I'm called it or any fellow gay man but I dislike it just as much when a fellow gay man will playfully say it to refer to another gay man.

I know there are some out there who say we should embrace the word and take it back for ourselves, to not give this word so much power but I think there is just to much negativity surrounding it. It's a word that is meant to hurt gay men and for me it will always be that way.

I remember an incident with a friend, when they used it in a conversation with me and my jaw dropped. They weren't being mean or vulgar, to them it was just a word.  They couldn't understand why I was offended by it. I tried to explain it but I don't think I really got through to them but I do hope that they won't say that "F" word in front of me again.

NerdStrong Gym - Bench Press & AMRAPS

Today is Strength day at NerdStrong gym. We started with a pretty good warm up that consisted of three rounds of 40x Jump Rope, 3x Tempo Push Ups, 10x PVC Pass Thrus and 10x Bridges.

For today's workout is was all about Bench Press'. I actually like doing bench press' as I feel with my larger upper body strength I really benefit from these. We had to do 6 sets of 5 today with set one starting at 60% of your max then moving up to 70% for the second set and then 80% for your third set. But then for your fourth set you'd go back down to 65%, then 75% and finally your final set at 85%. Between each set we had to do 8x to 10x Wall Supported Hammer Curls.

It was a good workout and towards the end it got pretty tough pushing up that bar at 85% of my max, which is currently 185lbs.

After the strength workout we got to do a 12 minute AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible). This workout consisted of 3x Ring Rows, 6x Push Ups, 9x Squats and 12x Sit Ups. All basic stuff but when you're already tired from the bench press workout doing all these things can be a bit tough. I managed to complete 4 1/2 sets before time ran out.

Overall it was another good day at the gym... but let's be honest.. when isn't it. :) Thanks coach Andrew.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Pluto, Marvel DubSmash Battle & Sherlock

So I've been fighting off 'con' crud (this is a term used by people who just returned from a comic book convention) the past few days but I think it's finally taken hold. I've had this nagging cough that I can't seem to control. I also have congestion and nasal blockage. I've heard from some friends who also have con crud and it sounds like I got off easy. Though it's a pain in the butt I feel relatively okay and can continue going on about my day.

The New Horizon Probe has been heading towards Pluto for 10 years now and it's finally reach it and has been sending back some amazing pictures. We've learned so much about Pluto in the last few days then we have... forever. The pictures are beautiful and the information we are getting is amazing. But being the geek that I am, every time I see the those pictures of Pluto I can't help but think of the ice planet of Hoth from Star Wars. Anyone else have that thought.. or is it just dorky me :)

Hayley Atwell who plays Agent Carter in the Marvel universe got into a DubSmash battle with Clark Gregg (Agent Coulson) and Chloe Bennet (Skye). If you don't know what DubSmash is, it's this app that allows you to video tape yourself while you lip sing a song or quote a famous quote... it can be pretty hilarious. Soon after the battle began, Hayley's co-star James D'Arcy (Jarvis) joined in the fun as well as more of the cast of Agent's of Shield. So it became a battle of Agent Carter verse Agent's of Shield. Over several days we (those who follow them on twitter or Instagram) were treated to these amazing "dubbed" songs, each one outdoing the next. Finally Hayley and James won but bringing in the big guns.. Captain America himself Chris Evens. Hayley and friends did one more as a kind of victory lap as the battle was won.. congrats to Agent Carter and her team for smashing Agent's of Shield. You can watch the majority of the battle videos HERE on this website.  But I found this you tube video with a nice compilation of the videos as well as some cool behind the scenes making of the videos. If you're a fan of either of these shows it's a must watch and if you're not a fan.. it's still a fun watch.. check it out.

And the final thing I want to share today this amazing teaser trailer for the upcoming Sherlock special. I miss Sherlock so much and this one is different because it's set in the past, though everyone is playing the same characters.. should be interesting.

NerdStrong Gym - Running, Running & More Running

Today's CON class was all about running, but before we get to that we had a nice warm up and did a bit of mobility work. We then moved on to this really cool cool agility exercise. Coach Andrew placed these cones on the ground and for the first part all we had to do was side straddle around each cone. The second part was a bit more complicated as we started in the middle and then we'd have to jump to one of the outside cones, bind down and touch it and then jump back to the center cone and touch it and then jump back to the next cone and touch and so on until we touched all the cones. This was timed so we tried to do it as fast as possible. Of course I went first and was the guinea pig so everyone after me went a bit faster... I hope we get to do this again in a future workout.

After the agility exercise we moved on to the actual workout which was running and running and oh some sprinting too. We started with 5 one minute runs around the parking lot. So it didn't matter where we were in our run, at the one minute mark we had to stop and rested for a minute before doing it again.

Once the running had exhausted us we moved on to sprinting. Like with running we did 5 one minute sprints. The different between running and sprinting is with sprinting you are moving as fast as your legs can take you. Sprinting is a lot more taxing on your body so we got to take 4 minute rests between sprints.

Luckily I enjoy running so I liked this workout but some folks weren't so happy :)

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

NerdStrong Gym - We're Back!!!

So this is my first day back to NerdStrong Gym and man am I feeling it. The warm up, which was like a mini workout was tough. I'm usually great at squats but man it took way to much effort to do them today.

After the warm up we did a Kettlebell Ladder, which meant we started light and increased our weight with ever set. We did 10x Kettlebell Swings per weight for 15 minutes. We started at 26lbs, then 25lbs, then 44lbs, then 55lbs and finally to 60lbs which I only did a few. I never made it to 70lbs but was still impressed that I could swing that 60 pounder.

We then moved on to the actual "workout" It was 4x :30 seconds of work then :30 seconds of rest with Mountain Climbers, Jump Rope and finally Burpees. So we did :30 seconds of Mountain Climbers, then :30 seconds of Jumping Rope and then :30 seconds of Burpees and then did is all over again for a total of four times. Thirty seconds doesn't sound like much but man when you're exhausted and in the middle of a set it feels like eternity.

It was a good workout and hard. I don't think the workout was particular harder then others but not working out for three days (I did workout 2 of the SDCC days) and eating poorly really does take a toll on your body. But I'm happy to be back at the gym.

Monday, July 13, 2015

So Many Awesome Trailers from SDCC

So many awesome sneak peeks/trailers were released during comic con.. first up is this amazing Star Wars The Force Awakens behind the scenes video.. Not a lot of stuff is shown but many any footage from this sequel looks amazing.. it's gonna be mayhem when this movie is released.

Next is a "first look" Suicide Squad trailer. I don't really know much about this series other then what I have seen on Arrow but it's tough for me to like the "bad" guys. But I have to admit this trailer looks good. I'm sure I'll see this when it comes out. Especially since it looks to be tied into the DCU.

Next is a new trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. I know I'm one of the few people who really enjoyed Man of Steel and really looking forward to this movie. Soon as this trailer hit the haters had a field day but I'm trying to not let these haters lessen my excitement for this movie.


They showed a Deadpool trailer during comic con but didn't officially release it but here's a bootleg copy. Like with Suicide Squad I don't know much about this topic but a bunch of my friends do so I know a little bit about it. It definitely looks a little goofy but that's Deadpool and I know from friends have loved it.

And finally here's the official trailer for the upcoming Heroes Reborn TV series. This I'm really looking forward to as I did enjoy the first series though I only watched 2 1/2 seasons of the 4 seasons. 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Day 4 - San Diego Comic Con

I woke up this morning and felt like cosplaying.. I have never cosplayed on a Sunday because you usually check out of your hotel room and that means you can't change before heading home. But that didn't stop me.. so I once again shaved and hobbited myself up.

We packed up all our stuff and checked out of the hotel. Luckily I was able to leave my luggage with the hotel. Once we were all checked out Michael and I headed over to con. This was our last chance to buy anything. Michael always buys something for his kids and wife so we shopped for them.

Because it's Sunday that means less cosplayers so those of us who were dressed up got alot more attention. I was being stopped quite a bit for pictures. Michael left and I met up with Chris, Hayley, Steve and some other friends. We continued to roam the floor, take pictures of cosplayers and having picture taken of us. I ran into several of my NerdStrong family and took pictures with them, it was a nice ending to con.

We stayed until about 4:30 before heading over to the Strip Club where we have our traditional goodbye comic con dinner. While we waited out front I got some photo requests, which is always fun. The group this year was a bit smaller then past years but still it was a good turn out. I had to speed up things since I was catching a ride back to LA with Meg and Kevin. So I ate before everyone had arrived and left about the time everyone else was about to order.

I told Kevin and Meg that I'd meet them at Megs hotel at 6:30pm and though the restaurant was pretty close I had to walk back to my hotel to pick up my luggage. So I started to head back at 6 in full Hobbit gear, stopping only a few times for people to take pictures. Once I had my luggage I quickly took off my Hobbit feet and wig and placed them in my luggage while removing a pair of shoes. I looked funky but I didn't care as I needed to get over to the Omni in the next ten minutes. I did mange to get there right at 6:30pm and both Kevin and Meg were ready to go. We packed up her car and made our way home only to stop once for some snacks.

Once we were home I had to drive Kevin back to his place so I didn't get home until around 10pm.

Final Thoughts on San Diego Comic Con 2015

I got to cosplay, hang with my brother and good friends, do a few amazing panels and walk the sales floor many times. I worked out a few days, did some really fun parties and got to meet a few of my favorite celebrities. I stayed at a great hotel that was close to the convention center and didn't have to drive the entire five days. Overall this was one of my more enjoyable comic cons. And usual at the end of con I tell myself that this is going to be it, I'll take a break and not come next year but not this time around.. I'm actually excited for next years comic con.. bring it on.

You can check out all my 2015 San Diego Comic Con pictures HERE.