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+

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.

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 Rebeles 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.


Sunday, July 10, 2016

Geek Roundtable Recording & Creating My Jedi Tunic

After working out Shannon and I we to Namies Beauty Supplies to pick up some more make up for my cosplay, we also stopped by Joann's Fabric to grab a few things before grabbing lunch at El Pollo. We planned to sew my Jedi tunic later tonight but first I had to record a few Geek Roundtable podcasts, so I said my goodbyes to Shannon and met up at my place with my guest hosts, Pooja, Robert, John and Jenni. We discussed Star Wars A New Hope, Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars Return of the Jedi and Doctor Horrible. As always we had a great time discuss these things we love.

This is my third or fourth session so I have about 16 episodes recorded. I had hoped to get this out in July but that's not going to happen so here's hoping for August (as since I'm behind on my blog it's looking like September now). I'm having my buddy John create my show open so I'm looking forward to hearing that. But I've been trying to get this podcast off the ground since 2010 and this is the closest I've gotten so far.. it's gonna happen... stay tuned.

After the session ended Shannon came back over and we got started on laying out the pattern and cutting the fabric. After we had everything cut we got right into sewing. While I sewed Shannon continued to cut out the pieces for the shoulder armor.

I was very impressed as we got the entire tunic made, still have to hem but all of the pieces are sewn together and it turned out pretty good. My panic level has come down a bit, yes SDCC is just a few weeks away and I still have alot of work left but this gives me hope. I will have my Jedi Twi-lek cosplay done in time for comic con. 

Saturday, July 9, 2016

BeachStrong & Working On My Twi-lek Headband

Today started with trip to Santa Monica Beach, but this was a special trip because it was the first BeachStrong (meaning a NerdStrong event). We were taking the newly extended Expo line down to the beach for the first time. It's recently opened so we thought we'd give it a go. A group of us meet up at the NoHo Red Line station around noon and took that to downtown Los Angeles where we then transferred to the Expo Line. The Metro was extremely busy and from downtown to Santa Monica took a while (about two hours) but we made it and by the time we got down there we were all starving so we grabbed some lunch on the Santa Monica Pier before heading to the beach. By the time we got to the beach it was around 4pm, most people were only planning on staying until 5pm so we didn't get much beach time in but we did have some fun. Several of us actually swam out into the ocean including myself which I never do. Overall it was a fun time, I think it was more about the adventure of getting down there via public transit rather then actual beach time. I don't know if I'd take the metro again but its nice to have that option.

Once I was back from the beach I worked on my Jedi Twi-lek headband. I want to thank my friend Kimi for letting me use some of her leftover fabric. I couldn't find any cheap leather type material and when I told Kimi that I was considering faux suede she just happen to have some left over pieces that were the perfect color and style that I was looking for. So I cut out the various piece of fabric, hemmed the edges (this was tough), added eyelet holes (again not fun, used a hand machine to do it) and then took thin strips of leather and laced the pieces together. There was alot of trial and error but the end result is pretty cool. The headband itself is finished but I still have stripes of faux suede that I have to cut and sew that will be wrapped around and running down the lekku... so there is still more to do but it's coming along nicely. This is probably my favorite part of my cosplay so far because I created all of this from scratch, no pattern, no plans. I just had an image of what I wanted in my head and then had to figured out how to create it.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Amazing Video - Dear Brother

I came across this video and it just blew me away, it's so well done, beautifully shot, the music is perfect and the subject is sad and sweet at the same time.  I dug a little deeper to find out who made this and come to find out it's an ad for Johnnie Walker... yeah an ad, can you believe it. I thought it was this amazing short film but no it's just advertising alcohol. Still it's beautifully done and well made and touches my heart everytime I watch it. It's called Dear Brother.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Sulu Gay & Dinner in Hogsmeade

Today it was announced that the character of Hikaru Sulu from the Star Trek series is gay and will have a brief scene with his husband and daughter in the upcoming Star Trek Beyond movie. It is said that this a tribute to the original actor George Takei who played Sulu in the original Star Trek TV series and movies. I love this idea of having a character that we've all known and loved for over 50 years just happen to be gay. His sexuality was never addressed in the original TV series or movies. We knew he had a daughter as she's in Star Trek Generations but that doesn't contradict him being gay and they actually include his daughter in the next movie. I think it's pretty fantastic.

Well George wasn't amused and what shocked alot of people said "Unfortunately, it’s a twisting of Gene’s creation, to which he put in so much thought. I think it’s really unfortunate." You can more of his thoughts on the topic HERE. I respect his opinion, and I see where he is coming from but I find it a bit disrespectful in how he responded to the news. Instead of saying thank you for the tribute and having this be a good thing for the gay community and Star Trek it's caused some negative press for the new movie and that's sad.

I for one am happy to hear that Sulu is gay and that there is a scene in the movie with his husband and daughter and that it's not really the focus of scene.. it normalized homosexuality.  Anyways I can't wait to see the new movie.

After work today my friend Lauren and I headed to Hogsmeade and to the Three Broomsticks to grab dinner and some butterbeer. It still amazes and excites me that I live so close to Universal Hollywood and can visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter almost any time I want to... so happy!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Make Up Test #1 - Jedi Twi-Lek Cosplay

Today my friend Shannon came over in the evening after work to help me do a make up test, she offered to do my make up during San Diego Comic Con. She's used an air brush machine before decorating cakes but never on a person and with actual make up. So this was her chance to get her hands dirty.. we started off simple and she started to spray my hands, getting the feel for the machine but soon we were having issues with the air brush machine. We fixed it and then decided to give it a go on my face. I still had my beard which would be shaved off when I actually cosplay but Shannon sprayed away. The air brush machine kept giving us issues through out the night and finally we just gave up. I got a decent amount on my face and it gave me an idea of what the process was like. Also it let me know how much paint is used during the process. Will attempt another make up test in the near future, might have to get a better air brush machine.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

A new video came out from Pottermore with the introduction to the United States of America School for Witchcraft and Wizardry called Ilvermorny. I'm sure will find out more about this school in the upcoming movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Finishing my Jedi Robes

I didn't have any plans for celebrating 4th of July, and the usual bbq/party that I got to every year didn't happen this year. It was kind of depressing not doing anything or watching fireworks but I kept busy by continuing my work on my Jedi Robes. Everything was done and all I had left was doing the hem on everything.. that was alot of hem. I probably spent a good three or four hours going from one side of that robe to the other. But when the night was over I had created from scratch my very own Jedi Robes. From the outside they looked great and for the most part 75% of the stitching looked good. I'm still extremely happy with the final results and the fact that this was my first ever sewing job is pretty cool. I am freaking out a bit as I only have a few weeks left and still have to create the tunic, shoulder armor and belts to complete my Twi-lek Jedi cosplay

Independence Day Workout at NerdStrong

Today is the Fourth of July so of course my gym had to have a special workout planned and what's better then an Independence Day themed workout. I usually don't workout on Mondays (it's one of my two days off) but because it was a special workout made just for today I opted to join in the fun.

It started off with an inspirational speech from the owner and creator of NerdStrong, Coach Andrew.. well it was actually the speech from President Whitmore (Bill Pullman) given in the movie but it was still pretty fantastic.

video

About 40 people showed up for this workout, I think it's one if not the largest classes NerdStrong has ever had. They grouped us into eight teams of 5 and there were eight different workout stations, we had to work at each station for five minutes with a 1 minute transition to the next station. Each team had to choose a name so we chose "Okun Five" as our team name. Dr. Okun was Brent Spiner's character in the movie. The team I was part of killed the workout and helped get each other get through the tough parts. This is one of the main reasons I love doing team workouts. It helps having someone there for you, pushing you and encouraging you along the way.


Coach Andrew went all out and drew pictures on the ground of each workout. Some where alien faces (so we could smash them in while doing the mace slams),  others were images of Will Smith pulling a dead alien behind him. Each station had a title, station 1: Welcome to Earth!, station 2: Release Me, station 3: Must Go Faster, station 4: Lock and Load, station 5: Desert Drag, station 6: Eagle One, station 7: Upload the Virus and finally station 8: Fireworks

This is how much everyone enjoyed each others company, after the workout about half of us hung around and chatted for a bit. Then a few of the guys gathered all the sandbags on ropes that we used for one of the workouts "Desert Drag" and instead of dragging one of the bags per the workout, the dragged all the bags. I don't know how much weight it was but it was alot. One person did it and then another and so on until almost ever buy had done it, including me. A few ladies did it as well and killed it. We probably could have hung out longer but coach Andrew and coach Marla has to be down in SD for a 4th of July event. 

It was a pretty great workout and a great way to celebrate out independence.  

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Warcraft Movie with Friends

Tonight I went and saw the movie Warcraft (based on the MMO game World of Warcraft). I don't play WOW but I have alot of friends who do so I'm familiar enough with this world and from the trailers this movie looked pretty good.

I was seeing it with friend Shannon, Lauren and Aaron and we were seeing at a local "cheap" theater. Sunday showings are $1.50 per movie. This is a great price but it also means will get a lesser polite crowd. This was the first time that Shannon, Lauren and Aaron had gone to this theater. I've been a few times so I knew what to expect.. they didn't. I think they will remember the experience more then the movie. We had people chatting, little kids talking at full volume, some gang banger sitting next to Shannon making her uncomfortable. We had homeless people with their dogs sitting in back and overall just alot of chatter.

I think because I had been there before the noise around me didn't distract me to much from the movie but I don't think the other three enjoyed the movie as much as they could because of all the distractions... I can say with certainty that they won't be seeing a movie at this theater again.

For me I enjoyed the movie, the story was simple and I never knew where it was going. Lots of twists and turns in this movie. Characters died that I didn't expect to and so of their stories when in a completely opposite direction then I thought. There is no happy ending and this was definitely set up to be a on going series. I enjoyed the special effects, especially the Mages powers. There were several completely CG characters and they worked will with the live actors. My only complaint about this movie is the pacing, it was very uneven. But overall I enjoyed this movie and I know I'll enjoy it more when I can watch it in the privacy of my own apartment without all the distractions.

I give Warcraft a solid B and will definitely be buying it when it comes out on Blu-ray.