Saturday, February 27, 2016

Boldly Go!! A Star Trek Musical

After my amazing day at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hollywood, I headed to Pasadena to see a Star Trek Parody musical called Boldly Go! My buddy Adam mentioned that he was attending and asked if anyone wanted to join him. I love Star Trek and this sounded fun so I of course said yes. Here's more about the musical.

A musical of both substance and comedy, Boldly Go! follows the intrepid crew of the Starship Enterprise, along with some new characters, on an exciting and hilarious adventure. Assumptions will be confronted, paradigms challenged, alliances tested, and new contacts made – whether for good or ill as yet to be seen. And it’s all set to a side-splitting tour de force of musical mayhem!

While having fun with the sometimes farcical aspects of science fiction and parodying Star Trek, this new show—written by brothers Cole Remmen and Caltech theoretical physics graduate student Grant Remmen—also satirizes the musical theater genre. At its core, Boldly Go! is a story about being true to oneself and one’s convictions, about friendship and love, about discovery and wonder, about the triumph of the individual over adversity, and about the joy of sharing with each other this vast and mysterious Universe.

I found this interesting as this is an extra curricular activity for the students of Cal Tech, these are nerds and techy geeks. So I expected the sets to be amazing, and they were but I didn't expect some of the great acting and singing. They got this amazing looking and extremely talented Kirk and Spook was spot on as well. The rest of the cast was great and varied from pretty good to completely terrified when it came to acting and singing. I enjoyed the story and about 80% of the songs. The Doctor really stole the show with his amazing song, it was one of my favorites.

I loved everything about this, it wasn't perfect and the acting and singing was hit and miss but I didn't care. It was fun and entertaining and I was so happy that Adam brought this to my attention. The only downside was up until 5 minutes before the play started the seat in front of me was empty because the gentleman in front of that seat was fairly tall. Well just before the lights went down this extremely tall man sat in front of me and completely blocked my view. I was beyond annoyed but it was one of the few seats left as the show sold out so he might not of had any other choice but I spent the entire musical bobbing my head back and forth but I did miss a few key moments that happened right in the middle of the stage. But as I said I loved this musical and had a great time... Thank again Adam.

Attending Hogsmeade (Wizarding World Hollywood)

Last night I purchased my Universal Studios Hollywood annual pass. I went with their best pass which is the Gold Pass. This gives me access to the park 313 days out of the year which is cool but I'd love to have a 365 days a year pass.. but I'll take what I can get. Weekends in the summertime are all blacked out as are a few weekends here and there.

The reason I got my annual pass is that the past week or so Universal has been doing soft openings or as they like to call them technical rehearsals for their Wizarding World of Harry Potter section. I heard rumors that it might be opened this weekend, there is a hashtag on twitter "Potterwatch" that is notifying when the Wizarding World is open. So after this mornings workout I checked my phone and sure enough the park having a soft opening. These soft openings can last a few hours or the entire day.. it's all very random. So I flew home, showered and got the the park entrance in about a half hour.. I don't know how I did it but I did. I got into the park around 11:30am and immediately made my who in looking for the entrance to the park, about halfway into the park on the right you can see the backside of Hogsmeade so I kept following it until I saw the entrance and yes they were still letting people in. As I passed over the threshold a chill when down my spine and a biggest smile came across my face.. I am in Hogsmeade!!

I went to the Hogsmeade in Universal "Islands of Adventure" in Florida a few years ago but this was different because this is in my own backyard. I can come here whenever I feel like it. The first thing I did was walk through the entire section. I wanted to see how similar it was to Hogsmeade Florida and with a few exceptions it's identical. I think the biggest different is Olivanders is on the opposite of the street and Florida has an extra roller coaster (Dueling Dragons) and Hollywood does not.

After my walk through which really only takes a few minutes (that section of the park isn't that big) I decided to grab some lunch as I had just come off of a workout and needed some food quickly. Of course the only place to eat in Hogsmeade is The Threebroom Sticks so I headed over and ordered some yummy fish and chips. I asked for a Frozen Butterbeer but they informed me that they were currently not offering that in the Three Broomsticks so I grabbed my lunch and found a seat. As I as sitting down I saw to figured in the doorway and they were waving at me. At first I could only see their silhouettes as the sun was behind them but they kept waving and then I noticed one of them. It was my friend Chrissy and as they entered I recognized the girl next to her, Amy.  I was talking to Chrissy earlier today at NerdStrong as she was debating on if she was going to come to Hogsmeade today or not. Well they grabbed some lunch and I moved to a larger table. We all gushed over how awesome it was to be eating lunch in the Three Broomsticks.

After lunch we decided to stick together and experience Hogsmeade together. Both Amy and I had been to the Florida park but this was Chrissy's first time so it was great to see it through her tearful eyes. We did everything, we rode The Forbidden Journey, we walked through every shop, we went to Olivanders for a wand and Chrissy was selected to get her wand. We did The Forbidden Journey for a second time and walked around the shops again. I finally got me my frozen Butterbeer (it was as amazing as I remember), I also picked up some Butterbeer fudge and just a small bite of the corner could put you into a sugar coma.. it was amazing. We also watched both of the stage shows (Hogwarts Choir and The Beauxbatons Dancers & Durmstrang Performers) and just hung out in the Owlery taking it all in.

Amy left around 4pm while Chrissy hooked up with some other friends and went off with them. I jumped in line for The Flight of the Hippogriff ride and when I got off that one I headed out around 5:30pm as I had to head out to Pasadena to see a play with my buddy Adam at Cal Tech called Boldly Go!

It was an AMAZING day at Hogsmeade, so much so that I am going to cancel my plans for tomorrow and come back again.. I can't wait!!

Friday, February 26, 2016

NerdStrong Gym - My Past Week

This week started off a bit wonky and I only worked out for four days this week.

Saturday I was stuck in my parking garage and couldn't make it to the gym. If you wish you can read more about my ordeal HERE.

So my workout week started with Sunday's TEAM workout. And the theme of this weeks workout was.. Hogwarts: Year One. We were sorted into our houses, this time I was sorted into my correct house of Hufflepuff. There were four classes (stations) and we worked out as a group. We started with our Platform 9 3/4 warm up which consisted of 460 Meter Pacman Run, 10x Air Squats, Triceps Stretch, Shoulder Stretch and Hamstring Stretch. We then move on to your main workout. As I said there were four classes, Transfiguration (Step-Ups), Defense Against the Dark Arts (1 Arm Steel Club Swing), Herbology (Air Squats) and Potions (Steel Club Front Press).  We were 3 rounds of 2:00 minutes of work and :30 seconds to transition to your next class. If you were caught by Mr. Filch and Mrs Norris you had to do 20 Jumping Jacks.

As for who started were of course Hufflepuffs started in Hebology, Ravenclaws started with Defense Against the Dark Arts, Gryffindors with Transfiguration and Slytherin had Potion Class. We then would rotate according to the white board.

Afterwards we took our O.W.L's (of practice O.W.L's) as we all know we don't take our real O.W.L's until our fifth year. That was 3 rounds of 20x Oblique Toe Touch, 20x Weighted Sit Ups and 20x Alternate Leg Levers. It was a great workout and a awesome theme.. can't wait for Year Two.

For Tuesday's DEX class we did 5 five minute AMRAPS (As Many Rounds As Possible) First one was 5x Pull Ups (Negatives) & then 10x Burpees. We rested for one minute and then did a plank for one minute before moving onto the next AMRAP which was 20x Twisting Wallslams (10 on each side) and then 40x Mountain Climbers. We then rested for a minute and planked for a minute. Our third AMRAP was 10x Push Ups and 10x Kettlebell Swings. And again we rested a minute and planked a minute before moving on to our fourth AMRAP. For that one we did 50x Seal Jacks and 10x V Ups. We rested and planked before moving on to our final AMRAP of 20 1 Arm Club Swings to Banner (10 on each arm) and then 10x Squats with Club and of course we finished with one minute of rest and one minute of planking.

For a finisher we did :30 seconds of work, :30 seconds of rest Alternate Heel Touch. Yeah there were horrible as they are nothing but core and after all the work you did your core isn't to happy with you.

Wednesday CON class was one of my favorite.. Taste the Painbow. That's where coach Blair has a bag of Skittles in his pocket and each color skittle is assigned a workout and then he rolls a die and we did that many of them. Here's the break down. Yellow skittles meant Sit Ups, Orange skittles meant Burpees, Blue was Goblet Squats, Green was a Run and Pink were Mountain Climbers. When all was said and done we did 157 Sit Ups, 48 Burpees, 148 Goblet Squats, 20 meters of running and 50 Mountain Climbers.

One reason I love this workout is that it can be extremely tough or fairly easy.. it all depends on the roll which the coach makes us do so we can't complete about the numbers. We fared a bit better then the 6am class as they did more of everything with exception to Sit Ups, we did 36 more of those then they did. Overall it wasn't a bad workout. Can't wait to do this one again.

Thursday STG day started off with a nice warm up of a 230 meter run, 1 minute of shoulder circles, then 3 rounds of 10x PVC PassThrus, 10x PVC Good Mornings and 10x Hanging Knee Raises. We finished with another 230 meter run. We then worked on some mobility and did 3 rounds of 10x Seat to Z-Press. We then moved into the main workout which was push presses. We did 8 sets of 3 starting at 60% of our Max Rep Count, then 70%, 80%, 85% and then back down to 65%, 75%, 85% and finally 90%. I didn't have a one rep max so my partner Lauren and I started with 95lbs and went up from there. After the fourth or fifth rounds your arms start to feel like jello but you push through. And to make things worse in between sets we did what the coaches like to call and "active" rest. We did :30 seconds of rowing, which doesn't sound like alot but when your arms are like jello, rowing for :30 seconds is extremely difficult. For a finisher we did :30 seconds of work and :15 seconds of rest doing Medball Slams and Medball Sprawls.. we did 8 rounds before calling it a day.

Bummed I only got four days in for this workout session but Saturday was unexpected and there really wasn't anything I could do. But the four workouts I did do this week were fantastic.. as all workouts I do at NerdStrong Gym are... Thank Coaches.

Tonight I went back to Nerdstrong but not to workout .. tonight was our monthly NerdStrong Gym Game Night. As always we had a blast. Got to play games I loved and also tried out a new one. Good times are always had at Game Night.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Shannara Chronicles S1 Ep9 - My Thoughts

Before work today I watched The Shannara Chronicles S1 Ep9 "Safehold" Wil, Amberle, and Eretria arrive at Safehold, which turns out to be the ruins of San Francisco and Oakland (the name Safehold coming off the highway sign missing some letters). Eretria discovers that the tattoo on her back is a magical map to the location of the Bloodfire, and leads the group there. They are confronted by the Guardians of the Bloodfire, who attempt to turn the group against each other. Ander sends Commander Tilton to make an alliance with the Gnomes against the Demons. Allanon tries to teach Bandon how to use his gifts, but the Dagda Mor continues to control the seer's mind, forcing him to attack Ander, Catania, and finally Allanon, who subdues him. Elven Councilor Kael Pindanon, thinking Ander too weak to lead the Elves, attempts to seize the throne for herself and has Ander imprisoned. Commander Tilton and Slanter return to Arborlon with a Gnome army and free Ander from prison, and the Council accepts Ander as king after he announces the alliance with the Gnomes. Overcoming the mental assaults of the Guardians, Eretria finds that her blood is the key to unlocking the Bloodfire and impales her hand on a magical spike, causing the Bloodfire to ignite. Wil destroys the Guardians with the Elfstones, and Amberle immerses herself in the Bloodfire. When the Bloodfire vanishes, Wil finds that Amberle is nowhere to be seen, and Eretria is unconscious. The last leaf falls from the Ellcrys, and the Elves and Gnomes prepare for war as the Dagda Mor's Demon army begins its march on Arborlon.

This episode was amazing.. each episode up to this point has moved the story along slowly.. but today we finally get to Safehold and all hell breaks loose. I've really grown to like Eretria, if you asked me back with episode one if she would be a favorite I would have laughed but now she has actually become one of my favorites. I love that she is the key to everything, we've barely scratched the surface of who or what she is. I hope we see more of her past, that is if she survives.. she is currently unconscious/possible dead.  Really enjoyed all the Anders stuff, him claiming the throne then being thrown in the dungeon only to pull off a union between the Elfs and Gnomes.. great stuff. He truly has become the Elven King.  I was hoping Bandon defeated Dagda Mor's mind control but it doesn't look like that happened.

We only have one episode left and I don't know how they are going to resolve all the stuff that's about to happen. We have a war about to start, I do hope they resolve this storyline before it concludes next week. I haven't heard if the series got picked up for a second season or if it was meant to be a mini series and just a 10 episode story arc. Regardless I can't wait to see how this all ends (or doesn't end). Can't wait until next week.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Owing Taxes & New Tivo Feature

So I got a call from my tax guys and the informed me that my taxes were ready. I told her I could stop by tomorrow to pick them up. She then said those dreaded words... "Do you want to know how much you will owe". This is the first time in all the years that I have been paying taxes that I will owe money and it's not just a few hundred, it's a few thousand... I couldn't believe it. I don't know what I did wrong this year but whatever it was I can't do it again for this 2016 taxes. Luckily I have a job and though it will take several weeks to pay the taxes as least I have the money to do it.

On a happier note Tivo introduced a new feature to their units today. You can now literally skip commercials instantly. Before you could fast forward through the commercials but you could never stop in time or you would stop to soon and have to watch a few seconds of commercials. Now you just hit one button and Tivo will jump from the end of one segment to the beginning of the next one instantly.. it's pretty fantastic... thanks Tivo.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Getting Contacts For The First Time

Today I took and extended lunch and headed to Costco to see the eye doctor and see if I could possible get contact. I tried to wear contact back in my 20's and was never able to get them in my eyes. But after years of cosplaying I'm tired of not having my glasses on while at the Con and having to pull them out to read my phone everytime. So I figured I'd try again.

I knew I had to get a new prescription as my prescription for my glasses wouldn't work for contact lenses. I went through your typical eye exam and was told that I could indeed get contacts. I didn't realize that I was going to get contacts right then and there and that they were going to put a set in right away. It was an interesting experience having someone try and poke your eye and you allowing it. After several tries my doctor finally managed to get my right one in. The left one took a bit longer. I kept apologizing for blinking but he said this was perfectly normal. Once they were in they only irritated my eyes for a few minutes before I started to get use to them. These were only my temp contacts as I need a certain prescription and they should be arriving in two weeks but these should work for the time being. It's a very bizarre experience to not have my glasses on yet see extremely well.

But the adventure isn't over.. the doctor now sent me out to his assistant and they were going to teach me how to remove my contact and how to put them in myself. She explained the technique and after ten minutes I managed to get my right contact out.. she was impressed. It took another ten or so minutes for me to get my left one out. I was extremely happy at how fast I got them out. Now the real test.. getting them back in. I tried over and over again but couldn't get it done. Again I kept apologizing to the assistant but like with the Doctor she said this is normal. After about a half hour I managed to get my right contact back in and about twenty minutes later I got my left one in. In all it took me just over an hour to get both of my contacts it.

When I went in to get these contact I didn't intend to wear them all the time. It was more for times when glasses would get in the way, like with cosplay. But after having these in for an hour I played with the idea of wearing on a more regular bases.

I could only wear them for about two hours before I had to take them out, the next day I would do 4 hours then 6 and so on until I could wear them all day. My only issue with these particular contact is that I had to strain a bit when I read text on my phone. The computer wasn't that bad but the phone was nearly impossible and I was just kind of guessing what I was reading and typing. I'm hoping my actual prescription will be better at reading extremely small print. But for now I'll just try and get better at putting them in and taking them out. When I remove them at work it only took me about four attempts to get both out. But the real test will be tomorrow morning and getting them back in.. wish me luck. 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Pete's Dragon Trailer, Geeky Girl Toys & The Magicians Ep 6 Thoughts

Disney released a trailer for the remake of Pete's Dragon. The story looks a bit different then the original which is s classic and I must have seen hundreds of times when I was a kid.

Target stores are one of what I hope will be many retails store that are bringing geeky/nerdy things to the young girl population. As many have know girls can be geeky too and would like to see some of their favorite superheroins made into kick ass action figures. 

Well Target is finally making this happen. From an article about it "Hitting Target shelves this March, “DC Super Hero Girls” action figures – and the accompanying line of clothes featuring girl superhero awesomeness – are pretty freakin’ awesome. The toys will featuring some of the most famous lady superheroes out there like Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl and Bumble Bee. But they don’t stop there. They’re also including female villain action figures like Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn." You check out the full article HERE.

In the evening I watched The Magicians. You know I like the series when I watch it live. Tonight's episode is S1 Ep 6 "Impractical Applications" The first-years must pass a set of challenges called "the trials" set by the third years. During these, Quentin and Penny reconcile, Alice and Quentin share secrets, and Kady confesses the truth about her using Penny. Quentin turns into a goose at the end of the trials. Meanwhile, in an attempt to steal spells from Marina, Julia teams up with an older hedge witch who also has connections to Marina. The older Hedge witch turns out to be Kady's Mother and dies in the process of stealing the cabinet of spells from Marina's safe house. Kady had been working for Marina in payment of a debt related to her mother. Kady does not yet know that her mother has died and that Marina is responsible.

This episode has some crazy moments in it. I think the most shocking was the death of Kady's mother. It was very bloody but also looked extremely painful. We just meet this character in this episode but you feel bad for her. What a horrible way to die. I enjoyed the "tests" that the first years were put there. All these tests are so serious as if you don't pass you get your mind swiped and put back into the "normal" world, in essence you flunk out of collage. Some secrets are revealed with some not go good consequence and then of course you have the end when the remaining first years turn into geese and fly off.

Can't wait to see what happens next!!!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

NerdStrong - Yoga Tune Up and Mobility for Performance Class

After workout today I headed to Hungry Fox to grab some brunch with some fellow NerdStrongers. As always brunch was fantastic and we had a fun time hanging out after a crazy workout. I walked back to the gym with Lauren and Brent. When we got back Lauren had an hour before she attended a special NerdStrong Yoga Tune Up and Mobility for Performance Class. Brent and I were not attending but we hung around to keep her company. After a half hour the coaches arrived and opened the gym. The three of us went inside and kind of just hung out. Coach Christy came by and asked if I wanted to join the Yoga Tune Up and Mobility for Performance Class as there was one more spot available. I had initially planned to visit my family so I didn't sign up this to class but I found out earlier in the day that everyone is sick so those plans were cancelled.  So I was free so when she asked me I considered it. I asked how much it cost and she said $40, I hesitated for a minute and coach Blair came over and said that he'd pay for it. He said that I do alot of the gym and it's the least he could do. I was very appreciative of the offer so of course I took the last spot.

Suddenly it was time for this 2 hour yoga/mobility class that I never intended on attending. Luckily I had my yoga mat in my car and I was still wearing my gym clothes from my earlier workout. We had a special guest host Alex Ellis leading the class. This yoga/mobility workout is all about working with small, medium and large balls. We started with the balls of our feet and worked all the way up to our neck. Alex was extremely knowledgeable about anatomy, muscles and tendons. She went into great detail about how and why we move the way we do.

The two hours just flew by and the next thing I knew the class was over. It was like giving yourself a massage and it felt amazing. Afterwards we had the option to purchase a set of these magic balls to continue our work on our mobility. I got two of the smaller balls and the large ball. I've used the large ball before in class on my back and it's amazing. The smaller balls are perfect for the feet and calves area. I look forward to continuing with these techniques.

Thank you to coach Christy for offering me the final spot and to coach Blair for making it happen. I'd also like to thank special guest coach Alex for a very informative and relaxing yoga/mobility class. If you want to learn more about Alex and her Yoga Tune Up and Mobility for Performance Class, check out her page HERE.