Tuesday, October 11, 2016

My Coming Out Story

Today is National Coming Out day, I have shared my coming out story on this blog before but it seemed appropriate to share it again on this special day.

Growing up I knew I liked boys more then girls but being a kid, boys often like boys and hate girls, so this felt "normal".

My first memory of actually liking a boy was when I was in the fourth grade. I can remember falling for this Spanish boy who use to call me his "little Bambino". I really didn't think anything of it as I was still of the age on not liking girls. I was raised in a world where a man married a woman. I had known only one gay man from my childhood who worked at a local liquor store. But I really didn't know or understand what "being gay" really meant. I remember one day a friend of mine told me that this man liked other men and looking back I think I always knew that and it might be the reason why I spent so much time there with him.

In the sixth grade I found myself playing on the gymnastic bars with the girls more then playing football with the boys. Also in sixth grade I had my first crush on a teacher... Mr. Anderson (he was my first male teacher). By the time I entered Junior High School I knew I was different, but I didn't allow myself to feel those feelings or at least express them. I remember looking a bit to long at the other guys in the changing room during P.E.

I was raised in the 70's and 80's and what I saw of "being gay" was very negative stereotypes, promiscuous, feminine, flamboyant and dying from AIDS. So I pushed my feelings deep down and got on with my life, hoping to forget about them... but of course I would never truly forget. I pretended to like girls and went on a few dates in high school but those girls always put me in the "friendzone" and I was fine with that. I remember people often asking me about a "girlfriend" and when I was going to get one, but my standard reply to that was "I'm focusing on schooling right now, but if someone came along..." I used that excuse all through high school and collage.

I fought with depression as most kids do during their teenage years, but mine had this extra layer of loneliness and confusion. I never considered suicide, or hurting myself. From the outside you would think I was just an extremely shy and socially awkward kid (and I was). I had very few friends and even among them I always felt like I was an outsider.

From age 16 on, all I've ever wanted was to be married and with kids. My goal then was to be married by 20 and have my first child by 25 and second by 27 and possibly a third by 30. I remember every year I would tell myself.. this is the year that I will find a girlfriend, I will fall in love and she will be the one. And every year I was disappointed with myself for not finding "the one". But the next year I would make the same goal.. to find the perfect woman for me and again I would fail. This was hard on me, I didn't know what was wrong with me, why I wasn't able to find that "perfect one". I would fall into some really deep depressions of loneliness. Of course I would put on a brave face for the public and my family but inside I was devastated and lost. I remember crying at night, praying to whatever god there was that I would find some one to love, to care for and to be with for the rest of my life.

My early 20's were tough, I was embarrassed by the fact that I had never had a girlfriend or been with a woman. I would lie or not bring up the topic when I was asked. I convinced myself that I was bi-sexual, I watched "straight" porn in my later teens and early 20's and enjoyed both sexes. But deep down I didn't know if I was pretending to like girls, because liking women is what I was suppose to be doing, that was "normal". It was a very confusing time.

By my mid 20's I was tired of hiding who I really was, honestly I was tired a long time ago but I finally was brave enough to admit it to myself. At 25 I graduated collage and was working in Hollywood in the Entertainment Industry. The entertainment industry tends to draw a large gay community so I was working with and being friends with several gay people, this was the first time I was interacting with other gay people since the gentleman at the liquor store when I was very young. I was starting to get very comfortable with the idea of being gay. But everyday was a struggle, do I finally come out and accept who I am but in turn live a life that will expose me to hatred and prejudices or stay in the closet and be what society sees as "normal"?

My life changed forever at age 27. I spent two years working in Hollywood I was on the verge of finally coming out but what really pushed me over the edge... well there are two things. First I saw the movie In and Out with Kevin Kline and it really hit home for me. If you've never seen it, it's about a man in his 40's so deep in the closet and he's about to get married until another man comes into his life and helps him understand who he really is. That was going to be, I knew that if I didn't come out that I would probably marry a woman and have kids, then later in life realize how unhappy I was and either divorce or cheat on my wife with a man. I didn't want that to happen.

The second factor was that I met someone online. Back in the day the internet was just starting up and I use to frequent yahoo chat rooms. They had a Star Trek one that I would visit often. I started up a conversation with this guy named Mat. We hit off, we would chat for hours and soon our online chats moved to phone chats. A few months into our friendship he came out to me and told me he was gay. By this time I already knew this and felt a very strong connection with him. I in turn told him that I was bi and really liked him. He asked if he could come down and visit me, he lived in Canada. I was overjoyed, this was the one, the person I have been waiting for all my entire life. There was just one problem.. I was still deep in the closet. Mat was coming down in a few weeks and was going to be staying with me for a few weeks. This was the time I had to come out, this finally pushed me to the point of no return.

I remember the fear that was building up. All I kept asking myself is what would my friends and family say. Would they accept me or reject me. What would my life be like if I lived the life of a gay man. So many questions but one thing was for certain, the door to my closet was starting to open.

One night talking to Mat I blurted out that I was gay. It was the first time I had ever said it out loud and to someone. Of course he was thrilled which actually gave me a boost of confidence. That was it, one person down.. the ball was rolling. The next day I was talking to my best girl friend at the time Renee, we were making plans to see a movie later that night. I remember telling her that I had some big news but I wanted to tell her in person. I remember getting off the phone and the panic setting in.. this was it.. there was no turning back now. I picked her up and the car ride to the theater was quiet, we chit chatted but I was slowly building up the nerve to tell her. We parked and were walking to the theater when she asked, "So what's this big news" we stopped and for an agonizing few seconds I looked up at her and took a deep breath and said "I'm gay".

It's only two little words but man what an impact they have. She stared at me for a moment and then a huge smile came across her face and she embraced me. I can't describe what I was feeling.. it was a combination of relief, panic, nausea, joy, love and acceptance all rolled into one. She said she was so happy for me. I told her about Mat and how I was in love and showed her a picture of him.

It hard to describe how I felt after coming out, it was a huge weight lifted off my chest. For the first time in my life I felt like I was me. So at the age of 27 on the verge of 28 I was finally out and ready to start living my life... btw the Mat thing didn't work out but I will always be very thankful for his part in my coming out story.

The next big hurdle was telling my family. That didn't happen until I was 31. I was out now for three years and been in several relationships. But of course now that I was out and living the gay lifestyle my family never asked me how my love life was going or if I meet any nice girls like they did for so many years. I couldn't take that next step and just tell them. I didn't want to come out close to a holiday because if things went bad I didn't want that holiday to be associated with it. Finally one day I was going to have lunch with my mom and like with Renee, I told her over the phone that I had some big news to tell her.

Again like with Renee, we didn't talk much in the car when I picked her up. We got to the restaurant, ordered food and sat down when my mom asked "So what is this big news?" By this time I had been out for years and have had several boyfriends so it wasn't as hard saying the words but in a way it was harder as this was my family. I chose my mom to come out to first as I figured she'd be the one that would be okay with it the most. So I said those "oh so hard to say two words" .. "I'm Gay". She asked if I was sure and that it's not a phase, she then went on saying it must be her fault as she babied me to much. I assured her that it wasn't a phase and that nurturing had nothing to do with it... I was born this way.

She asked if she could tell other family members like her sisters (my aunts) and mom (grand mother) and I told her she could but not to tell dad, that I wanted to tell dad personally. My brother already kind of knew so I didn't see the need to tell him personally. I remember getting a call from my brother not to long after I told my mom and he said.. "so you're gay... cool". And that was about it from him.. he treats me no differently. I told my mom I was going to tell dad the next weekend and my mom said something like.. "oh I don't know how he is going to take it". This actually scared me from telling him for another nine months.

Finally while visiting him one Sunday we were in the kitchen washing and drying dishes and I was agonizing over telling him for months now and it just came out. "Dad I'm Gay". I held my breath and waited for a sharp reply but nothing happened. He looked at me and said "Okay". I said "Okay?" He said "You're still my son and I love you no matter what." I was shocked and surprised. I had built up this fear of what would happen when I told him and he actually took it better then anyone else that I had told.

So at age 32 I was out of the closet to everyone and having fun. I have had some bad experience and prejudices but living in Southern California and in the Los Angeles area is probably one of the best places to live and be a gay man. It hasn't always been easy but I can honestly say, at age 46 I have never been as happy as I am now. The past 18 years have had there ups and down but I'm living the life that I was meant to live and loving every minute of it. 
 
So if your struggling with coming out... take it from me. It's the best decision you'll ever make.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - My Thoughts

I was super excited to see this movie as I love fantasy and have enjoyed Tim Burton films in the past. I went with friends Lauren and Caryn to the Sherman Oaks Arclight. One of the many things I love about the Arclight besides assigned seating are the props they usually have for big movies. They had several for this film and they were pretty fantastic, especially the lead shoes.

Anyways if you've never heard of this movie here's some background info. When his beloved grandfather leaves Jake clues to a mystery that spans different worlds and times, he finds a magical place known as Miss Peregrine's School for Peculiar Children. But the mystery and danger deepen as he gets to know the residents and learns about their special powers - and their terrifying enemies. Ultimately, Jake discovers that only his own special peculiarity can save his new friends. Based on the novel "Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children," written by Ransom Riggs.

I have not read the book so I only knew of the movie from what I saw in the trailers. My overall thoughts on this movie is that it was extremely fun and entertaining. It's moves at a fairly slow pace but that wasn't a bad thing. The interesting story unfolds in front of you and though this movie is 2 plus hours long it never dragged for me. The last third of this movie is where the action happens and it's pretty great. The special effects are pretty good, some of the CGI was a bit wonky but I'm very forgiving with that kind of stuff. The acting was good and though they didn't delve to deeply into the backstories of these characters we got enough to enjoy the story. Speaking of story I really enjoyed it, time travel type stuff can always get a little crazy but I think they did a pretty good job explaining everything. The overall look of the film was definitely Burton, I thought some of the music felt out of place but overall I loved the soundtrack. And I just want to note that Samuel L. Jackson (who's the bad guy) looked like he was having a blast in this role.

I'd give Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children a solid B+

Monday, September 5, 2016

NerdStrong Sportsball

Today was another NerdStrong Gym "Sportsball" outing. This is our third Sportsball in the past few years. It's always fun getting together with these folks outside the gym. We played some Vollyball and Ultimate Frisbee... we had a good turn out.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

The NeverEnding Story On The Big Screen

Tonight I went to the theater to watch The NeverEnding Story on the big screen (for the first time, as far as I can remember). I do remember watching it when I was younger on TV and thinking that it was just okay. I'm a huge fantasy person but I don't think I appreciated the story or even understood it back then when I saw it and I remember watching bits and pieces here and there over the years. It wasn't until my twenties when I watched it from beginning to end and really enjoyed it, like really enjoy it so much so that it's become one of my all time favorite fantasy movies. So when I heard they were doing a two night showing on the big screen I knew I had to go. It was playing at a local AMC in Burbank and I immediately purchased tickets. My friend Shannon joined me and when we got there I ran into more friends Dina and Miles.

If you have never seen this movie find it online / buy it and watch it.. but here's a brief synopsis: The NeverEnding Story tells the story of Bastian who, on his way to school one day, ducks into a bookstore to avoid bullies. Sneaking away with a book called “The NeverEnding Story,” Bastian begins reading it in the school attic. The novel is about Fantasia, a fantasy land threatened by “The Nothing,” a darkness that destroys everything it touches. The kingdom needs the help of a human child to survive. When Bastian reads a description of himself in the book, he begins to wonder if Fantasia is real and needs him in order to survive.

This movie has not been seen on the big screen in over 30 years.. and as an extra bonus there was a featurette before the movie called “Reimagine The NeverEnding Story”, it was a pretty cool behind the scenes making of piece.

There is nothing like watching a much loved movie on the big screen surrounded by uber fans who feel the same way about the movie... it was magical.

And to make the night even better the actress who played the Childlike Empress, Tami Stronach, liked the tweet I posted about watching The NeverEnding Story on the big screen.. that was pretty fantastic.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

20 Years In The Industry

It hit me today that I've been in the Entertainment Industry for 20 years this year. Started as most do as a Production Assistant (PA) and moved quickly to Production Coordinator and then on to various other positions Clearance Coordinator, Backstage Manager, Talent Personal Assistant before landing a job with Glen Avenue Films as a Production Assistant (again) but like with most places I moved up quickly and my friend Darla who ran post gave me the opportunity to move into post, I was taught the avid and became a Junior Assistant Editor, then Assistant Editor and then Junior Editor. I didn't really like being an Editor so Darla had another opportunity for me and brought me into a new company and made me a Post Production Supervisor and as they say the rest is history.. I've been post supering for the last 13 years now and this is probably where I will stay.

I've had my good jobs and pretty horrible jobs, I've been stressed out of my mind so much so that I had to take a mental break for a few years to recoup, during this time I worked about four months out of two years. It was just want I needed as I came back refreshed and ready to go. I started back as a Post Production Coordinator (thanks Andrew G) for a year and it was just the right about of responsibility so when Darla once again asked if I'd come work on a show as Post Super I was ready to take it on and in fact I'm currently working on two shows here.

There are times that I'd love to quit the industry but honestly this is all I know. The money is great and if I were to leave and start something else I'd have to take a huge hit financially and at this moment I'm in major debt so I'll have to continue to work like this until my debt is paid off.. once that happens will see where I go next.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

BeachStrong

Today some NerdStrongers went on an adventure to one of my favorite SoCal beach, El Matador State Beach. We got there at a good time and found a perfect spot for our large party. We had a lot of fun walking on the beach, eating snacks, playing in the water and just enjoying each other's company. Most just sunbathed but some of us actually got in the water. We went and explored a few of the beach coves which requires you to walk through cave like structures.. it's always a blast.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The "New" Tick Pilot

The Tick is a fictional superhero created by cartoonist Ben Edlund in 1986 as a newsletter mascot for the New England Comics chain of Boston area comic book stores. The character is a spoof of American comic book superheroes. After its creation, the character spun off into an independent comic book series in 1988, and gained mainstream popularity.

There was a live action FOX TV series in the early 2000's but it only lasted for 9 episodes. I watched it back then and it was fun but it never found it's audience.

Amazon Prime released a brand new Pilot for The Tick today. It's a test pilot, Amazon Prime released like ten new pilots and which ever ones get the most downloads/views Amazon will produce a full season.

So today I got together with a few friends of mine and we watch the pilot. Thanks for joining me Liz, Caryn, Shannon and Jeremy. I have to say I really enjoyed it, even more then the original FOX series. This new Tick is funny, a bit darker and less campy. I thought I would miss Patrick Warburton as The Tick but Peter Serafinowicz is doing a pretty good job so far. 

I'm really looking forward to seeing how well this pilot does and hope it gets picked up for a full season.

** Edit Note** because I'm blogging months late I can tell you that The Tick was indeed picked up for a full season and I can't wait to see more in August.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Animated Adventures of Firefly

I came across this artist named Stephen Byrne. He did this awesome animated show opening for Buffy the Vampire Slayers called The Animated Adventures of Buffy and The Animated Adventures of Doctor Who a few years back and they were amazing. I've been following his youtube channel and he's been teasing us with pictures and animatic of his new adventure.. The Adventures of Firefly.. well today is the day.. he's finally released the final product and it's so Shiny!!! I wish all three of these adventures were real animated TV series.. I know I'd watch them all.


Sunday, August 14, 2016

Adventures in WOW

So after years and years of temptation starting with Felicia Day from The Guild I finally broke down and started playing World of Warcraft aka WOW. I knew I wanted to play a Mage or magic user as that's usually my go to, secondly I'd had gone with a Tank. But I choose Mage and as I scrolled through the various creatures I could play I came across the Pandaren and really liked the look of them so I become Xianda a Pandaren Ice Mage. I choose male as I usually play male characters but man the female Pandarens are so cute and I almost switched sides.

Luckily I played LOTRO (Lord of the Rings Online) for a few years so I kind of understood how an MMO worked so there wasn't so much of a learning curve. After playing my character I played for another 6 hours and I could have gone more but I managed to use some self control. I have to say I had alot of fun, but to be honest I knew it was going to fun and as I mentioned before after playing LOTRO I've learned to manage my time playing MMO's. Six hours is my limit of play time, after six hours I at least have to stop for an hour before starting again... LOL

It's fun now but I'm really looking forward to when I get out of the "starter" world and get to play with friends.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Dating Woes

I haven't really dated since I broke up with Harry back in January of 2011.. wow that's over five years ago. It's not from a lack of trying, I don't go out to bars so I rely heavily on online dating sites. I've joined several sites over the years but I'm just not getting that many responses and the few that I do they just aren't a good fit for me. I don't think I'm being too picky but after my long term relationship with Harry I do know what I want in a life partner and I'm not willing to compromise (on the big things at least). I've only gone out on one date in five years and it was okay but didn't lead to another one. I'm definitely not aggressive with it comes to dating. I did Tinder for a while and at the beginning I got about 20 matches right off the bat but come to find out that gay men don't like to start conversations and those that did we'd talk for a few days and then nothing.

I haven't had any friends try and set me up with their friends, which I find odd since my friends tell me what a great catch I would be, but maybe they are just being nice. But I do think I'm a pretty good guy, definitely sweet, loyal, hopeless romantic, loving, caring and likable. I'm short (only 5'3"), that might be an issue with some guys. I have a stocky built (and a bit overweight) but I'm working hard on fixing that. I think the lack of dating has more to do with my average looks as attraction is what first gets a person interested in you, especially on Tinder since it's all about looks and not personality.

I'm really at a lost of what to do next, I'm not good at flirting or picking up guys in bars or such, online isn't working for me and friends aren't setting me up. The only other places I can meet someone is at work (not many gays here) or at my gym and there are only a handful of gay men there and I don't think any of them are interested in me (in that way).

So I'm putting this out there for anyone who reads this.. if you yourself are interested in a date, drop me a line. Or if you want to set me up with a friend of yours I'm open to the idea. Here is what I am usually attracted to... I like masculine men, height, weight aren't a factor. I'm not really attracted to black, indian or asian men (but I am attracted to black and asian women.. go figure). They need to be geeky, maybe not a much as me but some geekiness is nice. Non smoker, no drugs (including pot).. and just be a nice guy...

Bottomline is that I'm just looking for someone to spend the rest of my life with (40+ years) is that to much to ask for.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Hook's Lost Boys 25 Years Later

EW did this fun photo shoot reuniting the Lost Boy's from the movie Hook for it's 25th Anniversary. I'm a huge Robin Williams fan so I remember going to see this in the theater several times and buying it on VHS when it was released. This was my favorite of the pictures.. a side by side 25 years ago to today. Some of the kids changed so much and so still look exactly the same.


Saturday, August 6, 2016

Suicide Squad - My Thoughts

Today I saw Suicide Squad, I didn't know alot about this DC property other then these were bad guys doing good (in a way), I had heard that The Joker was part of it and then I saw a bit more for it when some of the characters showed up on the CW's Arrow. So I pretty much went into this blind. I saw several of the trailers and they were amazing, the music choices were prefect. I knew there was production issues and some reshoots but that doesn't usually bother me. Reviews started to come out and they weren't so kind, but again that really doesn't bother me as I usually don't agree with critics. So I went in with an open mind and I have to say I had a lot of fun. It was fun, had some cool special effects and overall very entertaining. Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) was probably my favorite character, but Will Smith's Deadshot was a close second. I enjoyed the story and the acting was pretty good. For me if a movie entertains me for two hours then it's done it's job and this movie did that. I will purchase it when it comes out on blu-ray and enjoy it on repeat viewings. I'd give Suicide Squad a solid B.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Mom's Married.. Wait... What!?!?

Today while perusing Facebook I came across a post from my aunt Linda congratulating her sister, my mother on getting married. I had to do a double take as I had no idea my mom was getting or had gotten married. She never mentioned it to me or talked about getting married in the past so this came as a complete shock. I mean she's been with Chuck for over 20 years so it's not a complete surprise.. but last I heard they never planned to get married as both have been through divorces and didn't see a reason to be married again.

I have to say I was a bit upset that I had to find out from my aunt via social media about something this big happening in my mom's life. It's not like we are estranged, we talk often so I couldn't understand why I wasn't told this news beforehand.

After the shock and disappointment wore off I was able to get a hold of my mom a few days later and asked if she was indeed married. She confirmed and said that it was a last minute decision, they were RVing somewhere in Montana I think and for reasons I won't get into here they decided to get officially married. So now Chuck is my step dad, though they have been together for so long he's always felt like a step dad... but I guess now it's official.

Congrats to my mom and her new husband Chuck.

Monday, August 1, 2016

My First Firefly Loot Crate

So I've resisted Loot Crate and all the similar crates out there now for years. But when I heard Firefly was doing a loot crate I knew I had to subscribe, unfortunately it took me much longer to do so then usual and I missed out on the first two loot crates Kaylee and Mal.  So this is the third Firefly box to be released focusing on Zoe. And since it's my first loot crate ever why not video tape myself unboxing it. 


As you can see I got some interesting items. I'm not to keen on the shirt but they can't all be winners. I really like the leather journal, the challenge coin and of course both the Wash mini figure and the Zoe figure. I plan to do more box openings for future Firefly Loot Crates.. stay tuned.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Binge Watching Stranger Things

So I've heard good things about this new series on Netflix called Stranger Things. I was told it was a cross between E.T. and Goonies, felt very eighties. This peaked my interest so I decided to binge watch it over the weekend. Between reading the new Harry Potter book I watched the first five episodes on Saturday until 2am and then concluded the series on Sunday, by watching the final three episodes.

I LOVE THIS SERIES.

It defiantly had that eighties feel that everyone was talking about but man it was more horror and suspense then I was expecting. The acting was superb, the kids they got were amazing. Soon as I saw Dustin it was though I was looking in a mirror, curly hair, missing teeth.. that was me at that age.

Winona was exceptional in this role and probably my favorite of the cast. The special effect were excellent for a TV series. And the story was amazing, though sometime confusing. It sucked me in with episodes one and I couldn't stop watching. I love the way it concluded and everything was wrapped up.. well that was until the final few minutes.. and now I can't wait for season two. If you haven't seen Stranger Things, you're doing yourself a disfavor, watch it now.. just make sure you have the lights on.

More Harry Potter Adventures

I was super excited when I heard they were publishing the screenplay for the new Harry Potter stage play called Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I have avoided all spoilers so I don't know anything about this story other then it revolves around Harry's youngest done Albus. I planned to go to the midnight book release party with some friends but that soon fizzled out and I didn't want to go by myself so I opted to just go the next morning. So I got up early and headed to Barnes and Nobles, It was probably the easiest purchase I have ever had when it came to a Harry Potter novel.  I walked in, there were a ton of them all over the place and grabbed it, stood in line for five minutes and was back in my car in no time.

I can't wait to escape back into that magical world....

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Star Trek Beyond - My Quick Review

Headed to Arclight Sherman Oaks with my friend Patty to see Star Trek Beyond. Now if you know me you know I'm a huge Star Trek fan and I have really enjoyed the re-boot movies, so I was looking forward to this movie. The music choice for the first trailer soured some folks but I loved the visuals and was really for a fun ride and I have to say it did not disappoint.

The action sequences were amazing, the story was good and I loved how they teamed up all the characters with those you wouldn't expect. I think every character got a shining moment and their fair amount of screen time. I loved the music and the special effects were amazing. 

Being a gay man I liked how they showed us Sulu being gay without bashing us over the head. It was a quick scene on him greeting his husband and daughter. Now words, no strange looks.. it simple was. I loved the main guest character Jaylah. It was refereshing that she wasn't a love interested to anyone, she was hold her own and kick some ass. I can't say anything bad about this movie. It was everything I was hoping for and more. I give Star Trek Beyond a solid A

Sunday, July 24, 2016

San Diego Comic Con - Day 4

I woke up this morning with green make up still around my eyes, and green in the cracks of my nails but after a good scrubbing in the shower I was green free. I had planned to cosplay as my Jedi Twi'lek for Friday, Saturday and Sunday but it's so much work getting all the make up on and I didn't want to inconvenience Shannon another morning so I opted to no cosplay today.

I actually like to take a day and not cosplay and instead enjoy roaming the halls and taking pictures of all of the other amazing cosplayers, because when you are cosplaying it's difficult to take pictures. So today I hung out with friends, did a bit of shopping and took alot of pictures. It was a nice way to end this year's comic con experience.

Before heading home we had our traditional final dinner at The Strip Club, this year there were less people but it was still alot of fun.

Usually after San Diego Comic Con I tell myself that I won't be going back next years.. I need a year off but after going 12 years this is the first time that I am actually looking forward to SDCC 2017. This was a great con, my Jedi cosplay was a success, I got to hang out with my amazing friends. And my favorite moment from the past five days.. was my best friend asking his girl friend to marry him and she said yes.

San Diego Comic Con 2016 was FANTASTIC... bring on 2017.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

San Diego Comic Con - Day 3

Today I am cosplaying as my Jedi Twi'lek, Jedi Master Tal Komad (which means Champion of Chivalry) again. I put a lot of work into this cosplay and wanted to wear it was much as possible. Luckily for me my awesome friend Shannon was willing to do my make up again. Since we did all of this yesterday I figured it would take half the time to get ready.. well I was wrong. Even though we knew exactly what to do it still took us about three hours to get ready. And it looked just as amazing as it did yesterday.

This time around I went with one green lightsaber as walking around and holding two lightsabers was difficult. This time around my friends were cosplaying as Game of Thrones (which I don't watch or cosplay as) I'd hang out with various friends here and there but I spent alot of time on my own taking pictures and just roaming the halls. It's not how I like to do cons but sometimes you just wind up alone. I did hook up with friends for lunch before heading over to the big Game of Thrones meet up and group picture.

Though I wasn't taking part in this shoot (being a Jedi) I had to be there as something big was going to happen. My best bud Chris was going to ask his girlfriend Hayley to marry him. They had met last year during con, both in GOT cosplay so it seemed appropriate for him to propose here. A handful of friends knew he was doing this so we all showed up and toward the end of the photo shoot he got down on my knee and asked for Hayley's hand in marriage. It was pretty fantastic. Of course she said yes and everyone went crazy. This was definitely a highlight of this con.

It was a long day so once the con floor was closed I headed back to the hotel to clean up and crash. This time around it took about an hour to get all the green off of me as I wanted to make sure I got it all. For my first attempt at making my own costume and wearing make up and a head piece I think my little Jedi Twi'lek was a big success. A HUGE thank you to Shannon for not only helping with my make up both days, by getting up at 7am and occupying a large chunk of your morning but also for helping me with the sewing of my jedi robes.


Friday, July 22, 2016

San Diego Comic Con - Day 2.5

Shannon and I finally made it down to the sales floor, she had to go help her husband at his booth (he works in comic books) So I met up with some friends who were also cosplaying Star Wars today. My best bud Chris was cosplaying as Grand Admiral Thrawn, Haley was Mara Jade, Hayden was a Jedi and my buddy Steven was Kylo Ren. It's always fun when you are able to group cosplay. You tend to have more pictures taken of you.

This was my first cosplay where I was in full make up and head piece. I spent most of the day worried that my make up was coming off but at the end of the day I have to say everything still looked pretty good, other then my neck area but overall I was very happy with the durability of this make up.

In the evening we headed over to an open area near the convention center so we could take some awesome lightsaber photos... it was alot of fun. And again with this many awesome cosplayers we drew a crowd. We hung out and took pictures for about an hour.

I debated on sleeping in my make up, because I was going to cosplay this same character again tomorrow but once back in my hotel room I couldn't wait to take it off. And though it took three hours to put it on, it only took about a half hour and lots of rubbing alcohol to take it off. By the end of the night I still had a green tinge to my skin but I didn't care as I knew I'd be doing this all over again tomorrow.

San Diego Comic Con - Day 2.0

Day 2 of San Diego Comic Con started early.. like 6:30am early. While my brother slept I had to get up and start the process of becoming a Jedi Twi-lek. First thing I did was shave hands and lower arm as we found out that the make up doesn't stick to well to hair as it does to skin. After shaving my arms I spent the next half hour trying to get my contacts in. I've only worn them a handful of times and it's still a struggle to get them in. I can usually get one in fairly quickly but the second one can take a half hour or so.

It's now a little after 7am and Shannon arrived at my hotel room to help put on my make up. She unloaded everything and prepped her air brush machine. We started by painting my finger nails green. We then laid down layer after layer of make up on my hands and forearms, it was looking good. We then moved on to the face, she did three main layers and a few touch ups before applying the black tattoo markings over my face. Once that was all done she touched up my Lekku as the paint didn't like sticking to you and required some touching up. We tried a few different things around my eyes but wound up doing eye liner.

As I was putting spirit gum on the inside of my Lekku and my forehead a drop of it fell onto my tunic, I went to grab some mineral oil as that's what takes the stickiness off of your hands but Shannon quickly stopped me as it would have caused an even bigger issue. I managed to clean up the spot and honestly if you didn't know it was there you wouldn't really see it.

I was almost ready to leave when Shannon did some last minute touch up on my face when she accidentally dropped a spot of green paint right on the front of my tunic... my heart dropped. There was no way of cleaning this off quickly. She quickly went to wipe it up, as she did so she grabbed my right arm and quickly realized she had paint on her hand which was now on my right sleeve. There really wasn't much we could do but laugh. Luckily I was wearing a robe so the paint on the sleeve would be an issue.. but what to do about the paint on the front of my tunic. Somehow Shannon worked her magic and managed to layer and rearrange my tunic so the paint was hidden.

That's it.. I wasn't going to play around with anything else. I was ready to hit the floor.. what I thought was going to be a few hours process actually turned into a three hour process but I have to say the end product was pretty fantastic. Shannon did an amazing job on my make up and I'm ready to show it off.

Introducing Jedi Master Tal Komad!! 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

San Diego Comic Con - Day 1

Start Day One of San Diego Comic Con with a nice workout. Just because we were at con didn't mean we couldn't get our NerdStrong on. Fellow Nerdstronger Shannon and I went to the gym in our hotel and came up with a challenging workout. While one person did 12 Squats, 12 Push Ups, 12 Sit Ups, the other rowed (roughly 300 to 350 meters) We did 10 rounds of this. By the end we did 120 Squats, 120 Sit Ups, 120 Push Ups each and rowed a combined 5400 meters. We did this in about 40 minutes.

Today's cosplay is my tried and true Hobbit cosplay. I was going as Frodo today. I've done this now for five or so years so I have the process down pretty good. Start with pants and shirt, then ears (this can take two minutes or a half hour depending on how frustrated I get). Luckily I have the actual "Hobbit" ears from Weta and they are a little easier to put on. I then add make up to them to try and make them look as close to my skin color as possible. I place the wig on and try and hid any ear seams or make up issues. The next thing I do is put on my wig, sometimes I get it on perfectly right away.. other times it can take me a good half hour. The final element are my feet, these feet were made for a single use but I've used them for the past five years and for two to three cons a year. They've held up great. I can usually get one on fairly quickly and then it takes some effect to get the second one on. And that was no difference this time around. I don't know what it is but one slipped right on and the other was a hassle.

I was ready to head to the con at 9am, the doors open at 9:30am. Meet up with several friends throughout the day; Chris, Hayley, Liz, Aaron, Steve but spent the majority for the day with Lauren.

About midday my friend Shannon asked if I would be able to watch Tony (her husbands) table as he had a signing and she was stuck somewhere and was suppose to watch it. So Lauren, Liz and I headed over to his table and got the low down on what everything cost. Luckily we were there for about a half hour before Shannon showed up and took over.

Most of my time was spend wandering the halls, stopping here and there to take pictures, and to also take pictures of fellow cosplayers. I didn't get to take as many as I would like but I got a few good one. 

Over the years I have gotten fewer and fewer picture requests for my Hobbit cosplay. But it's still awesome when you get that one person who's so over the moon that you are dressed as one of their favorite Hobbits from Middle-earth and honest I love being a Hobbit so I still get so much joy dressing up and will continue to do so even if no one wants a picture of me. 

As the hall closed I headed back to my hotel room to de-hobbit myself and prep my cosplay for tomorrow. Went out to dinner with Lauren, my brother and a few other friends. I'm not much of a party person, there were a few parties in the evening but just went back to my hotel room, watched a bit of TV and crashed. It was a good first day at San Diego Comic Con.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

San Diego Comic Con - Day 0 (Preview Night)

Today is the first day of San Diego Comic Con, well it's actually preview night and only runs from 6pm to 9pm but for me it's the first day.

I got up early and did my final NerdStrong workout for the week. When I got home and cleaned up and started to organize all my stuff and packing up. I wanted to leave around 11 and get to San Diego around 2pm. I decided that I would snapchat my adventure to SDCC. I loaded up my car and got on the road. Wazes said I'd be there by 1:45pm but I knew that wasn't going to happen. Traffic was a hit and miss and end the end I wound up getting to my hotel around 3pm.

My brother and I were staying at the same hotel that we stayed at last year, The Manchester Grand Hyatt. We didn't get as nice a room as we did last year and we also only go one King bed (though I requested 2 Queens). But it was only a few blocks from the convention center and it was being paid for by my brother's company so I really complain. It took about four trips back and fourth to bring in all my cosplay and luggage.

Once I was all settled I headed into the Gas Lamp District to find some friends and eat a much needed lunch. We wound up meeting up at Burger Lounge and grabbed some tasty burgers and fries. Afterwards I headed back to my hotel with my buddy Chris and we just hung out for a bit. He then left and headed back to his hotel while I went to the convention center to get in line to get on the convention floor when it opened at 6pm. I got there about a half hour early so they allowed you go to in the convention center and roam around the upper levels but he convention dealer room was closed. I did find out that since I was a professional they allowed me to stand in front of the dealer room doors and wait until everybody else who had to go upstairs and round the top floors to get in.

When the doors opened at 6pm I made my way in, I wasn't looking for any exclusives (well I was but knew I wouldn't be able to get in) so I was in no rush. I roamed around the floor taking pictures of the booths and some of the cool items that were brought. I was surprised to find a few people in cosplay. I don't think I'd cosplay today because you really only have 3 hours of floor time but there were several who did, so of course I took pictures. I met up with a few friends and continued to roam the halls until 9pm when they closed down. I headed back to the hotel, grabbed some dinner downstairs before calling it a night. Tomorrow I'm going to be Hobbiting it up!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

My Twi-Lek Name

Since I'm cosplaying as an original Star War character I wanted to come up with a name for him so I put it out there on my social media. I found a website for Twi-lek lore and names (gotta love the internet). I went through and selected a few for my first name and few my clan name (last name).

First name I selected what I felt were traits of a Jedi,
Last (Clan) name I went with traits I felt that I posses.

First name:
Bril = Wind
Karawn = Strength
Tal = Champion
Zelada = Traveler


Clan name (Last name):
Komad = Chivalrous
Nilim = Heroic
Rackus = Happy
Valla = Legal/of Law

I got lots of replies.. Matt Brown suggested Tal Rackus. "The Champion of Happy.", Adam West agreed with Matt Brown on Tal Rackus. Jennifer Luchsinger liked Karawd and Komad, For you are strong and chivalrous! Christopher Setts seconded Karwan Komad. Liz Lund liked Tal Valla she said it had a nice flow. has a nice flow to it. Erik Nelson voted for either Tal Rackus or Karawn Rackus! Lindsey Ballard said that she liked Karawn Rackus and Nicola Farris agreed with her.  Joe Neuburger added his vote for Karawn Rackus as well did Angela Vescera Kane. Jami Losurdo liked Tal Valla or Tal Rackus! While Gabe Gebhart got a little fancy and combined three names for Tal'bril Valla : Champion Wind of Law. Tom Antonellis didn't care what my first name was but said it's gotta be clan Komad. Hayley Jacqueline chimed in with Tal Komad! Richard Peete liked Tal Valla or Karawn Valla Jennaration Wrecks Carroll liked Tal Rackus while Angela Asaoka liked Karawn Rackus. And my buddy Alexander Rubinow was last to chime in with Tal Valla or Zelada Valla, which he said had a nice ring to it. 

After many days of deliberation I won't going with Jedi Master Tal Komad, which I just noticed as Hayley's choice. Tal Komad translates into the Champion of Chivalry, which kind of sounds like what a Jedi Knight would be. Thanks to everyone you gave me suggestions, there were alot of good choices. 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Car Woes

Between working on my cosplay with Shannon I went and visited my family on Sunday. While driving back from lunch with my dad I heard a strange sound coming from my engine so I pulled over and check it out. I saw this piece of rubber sticking out of the engine so I pulled it out and figured I much have picked it up while driving. I started up the car again and heard the same sound. I turned off the car and went to investigate even more into the engine. I noticed another piece of rubber but this time I saw where it was coming from. My serpentine belt was started to come apart. I knew this wasn't good as this is the main belt for your car. Since it was Sunday I knew no mechanics were going to be open. I wanted to take it to a dealer as I have an extended warranty though I wasn't sure if this would be covered under it. So I took a chance and drove back to my dad's place (only a few miles away).

I had two options. I could try and drive home (90+ miles) hoping the belt wouldn't break or I crash at my brothers, call into work and tell them I'm not going to be in and take my car in the morning. I knew I didn't want to chance it and drive home but I wouldn't stay at my brother as my friend Shannon was coming over and we were to finish my Jedi Twi-lek cosplay. So instead I borrowed my sister-in-laws car and drove home. Finished the cosplay, got a few hours sleep and then drove back the next morning. Once there I slowly drove my car the four miles to the dealer.

Once at the dealer they said it would be four to five hours before they could even look at it so I called into work and explained my situation (which of course they were fine with) and I sat and waited. I tweeted that I was hanging out in Riverside waiting for my car and if anyone was around and wanted to hang out. A friend of my brother, well we've hung out enough now that I call him a friend as well, Jason was in the area and asked if I wanted to go to lunch. He came by the dealership and picked me up and we headed to the mall to grab a bit to eat and hang out. It was nice as this was the first time that we actually got some one on one time and I got to learn more about him. We hung out for a few hours before he dropped me back off at the dealership. I sat at the dealership for another hour or so before the guy informed me that my car was ready. As I thought it wasn't covered under my extended warranty. The guy thinks that I must have driven over something and it nicked the belt and started to unravel it. I paid the $300 and headed to work. I got in around 3pm and worked until my usual 7.

It was a hassle to have to drive home and then drive back only hours later but I am happy that this happened today and not while I was on my way to SDCC later this week... always look on the bright side.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Star Wars Rebels S3 Trailer & Finishing Up My Cosplay

Today Disney released the season three trailer for Star Wars Rebels. I've been really enjoying Rebels especially the last season. But I have to say from the looks of this new trailer they have ramp'd up the action and also introducing some new (old) characters. I can't wait for season three to start.


Shannon and I spent the weekend working on my Jedi Twi-lek cosplay. We finished up my tunic and got to work on my shoulder armor and belts. Shannon also painted on the tattoos running down my Lekku.. they look pretty fantastic. We spent the majority of the weekend working on it but Sunday evening we finished it. It was a lot of hard work but I'm very happy with the final results... Thanks Shannon for all your help, couldn't have done it without you. I'm not going to post picture of the final product until it's revealed at SDCC but I can say it looks pretty fantastic.


Friday, July 15, 2016

NerdStrong 2nd Anniversary

Tonight NerdStrong celebrated it's 2nd anniversary. If you've been living under a rock and have never read my blog or know me at all, Nerdstrong is a gym that I have been attending since February of 2015. It's been a huge part of my life the past year and a half. Not only have I found a love for working out at 7am every morning but I have found some amazing friends and have built a pretty great community around the gym.

For the first anniversary I got a group of NerdStrongers to write down their thoughts and feelings about the gym and then I made this nice scrapbook with those thoughts and other geeky things and presented it to coach Andrew and coach Marla, which in turn made Andrew very emotional and I even got a rare hug. This time around with work being crazy I really didn't have time to pull anything together. Though Andrew did request a few days earlier that I don't make him emotional this time around.

It was a fun night, it's always cool to see people that  you usually see in gym clothes all dressed up. It's also nice to see people that you don't see that often or you pass by them as they as their class ends and yours begins. I considered Ubering over but instead drove myself so that meant no drinking. I had a few snacks but didn't really eat that much. I did hog the "photobooth" area. I was dragging people left and right to come take photos with me. I don't know why but I love capturing moments in time.

Coach David presented coach Andrew with a gym present (some sort of new apparatus) and then Andrew gave his speech, full of emotion and love as his speech usually are. He talked his coaching staff and all the NerdStrongers for making this gym amazing.

Overall it was a fun night and I'm so proud and happy to be part of this amazing experience and community. Can't wait until NerdStrong's 3rd Anniversary!!

Rogue One Poster & Footage, Rebels S3 Clip

Star Wars Celebration is happening in London this weekend so we've been getting a steady stream of new Star Wars news... mostly about Rouge One but some Star Wars Rebels S3 news as well. First here is the new Rouge One Poster. It's so different then any other Star Wars poster and I love it.


They also released a BTS featurette for Rogue One, it's similar to the one they released for Force Awakens last year. So many amazing things happen in such a short amount of time. I mean I was already excited for new Star Wars movie but the more I see of this the more excited I get. I can't wait until December.


This came out a few days ago and somehow I missed it, it's a clip from the upcoming season of Star Wars Rebels Season Three. I enjoyed season one but LOVED season two with the addition of one of my all time favorite characters Ahsoka Tano, we don't know her fate at the end of season two but I'm really looking forward to seeing where the story goes next.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Jedi Twi-Lek Make Up Test #3

Today Shannon come over to do our final Make Up Test.. this would be test #3. We got a new air brush system as mine wasn't working properly and Shannon enjoyed airbrushing so she got her own. We had plenty of make up and picked up some black and different green to use as a high and low lights. I actually shaved for this as I wanted to do a full make up test and that wouldn't work with my beard.

This time around everything was great, no machine issues and Shannon really got into it. We did three layers of the regular green before she started the highlights and low lights. We also painted my finger nails and half way up my arms. We released that I'll have to shave them as the make up lays down better with no hair in the way.

I had purchased several different patterns as I knew I wanted a darker pattern to run down my lekku, so we started to playing around with different ones on my hands. After trying six different patterns I picked the zebra pattern as it looked the coolest and I think would look pretty awesome on my lekku.

When Shannon was done with all the highlights and low lights I put on my headpiece (lekku) and headband and checked out the semi-finished results. As I was looking at myself in the mirror an idea came to me that I would continue the pattern from my lekku onto my face. So we did tests having the pattern come down the side of my face and having one come down over my eye. I liked the look of the pattern coming over the eye. Shannon like just the one but I like things balanced so we decided to do it on both sides.

As I said this make up test went really well, Shannon had a better understanding of how to use an airbrush and I got a better idea of what my final product will look like. Can't wait for next week and SDCC!!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Great Music Video & Make Up Test #2

I came across this great music video and fell in love with it and the song. The singer is Todrick Hall and featuring Jay Armstrong Johnson. It's a duet with two guys and it's so rare to find these kinds of video so well done where it's a great song and nice production value. Give it a watch and listen here.


Today Shannon and I worked on my second make up test, unfortunately the air brush compressor was causing us issues so we went with plan B and sponged on, it's not the cleanest look but it gave us a pretty good idea of what it would look like. We also tried different patterns as I knew I wanted something across my face not just a solid green. We tried using a toothbrush for a splashed look, we used various brushes and such to get the desired effect. Nothing really turned out exactly as we planned. Will try again in a few days when we get a new compressor and I'll have to find a stencil that will work for the pattern on my face and lekku. Overall not a total lose.. best thing was Shannon and I had a great time.. lot's of laughing.