Saturday, April 9, 2016

Robert's Bachelor Party Extravaganza

Today is my best buddy Robert's Bachelor party. I've been planning this for since the day he asked me to be his best man (btw this the first time I have been asked to be a best man, been a groomsmen several times but not a best man). Right off the bat I knew it was going to be an all day event. Weeks before I created an itinerary and worked out all the details. Then three days before the party I went to make a reservation at the restaurant that look me forever to find and found out that they are closed on the day due to some foreign holiday that they celebrate. So now I'm in a panic and need to find another restaurant quick. Luckily with in a few hours I found another one though it's a bit more pricey then the one I had previously found, but that didn't matter.. I mean he is my best friend and deserves the very best.

Joining Robert and I for this Bachelor Party Extravaganza was groomsman Will, groomsman Chris (who fly in from Montana), groomsman Dallas, groomsman Tamar and Ringman George.

Everyone joined me at my place with exception of George who was going to join us later in the day. Will, Dallas, Tamar, Chris and I walked to Robert's place to pick him up. He joined the party and we then headed out for breakfast. We were going to walk to EAT which is a kind of hipster breakfast place, but they have good food but we realized that we had six people and seating there is extremely limited, so instead we decided to go to NoNo Diner, food is good (typical diner) but the place is large and they can easily seat a party of six. Servers was bit slower then usual and that pushed us off my carefully laid out plan. Breakfast came and everyone enjoyed a good meal. Robert has no idea what I have planned so it was funny with Chris accidentally spilled the beans on what was coming up next. He felt horrible but it was all good as Robert would eventually found out that we were going Paintballing next.

So after breakfast and more then a half hour off of my schedule we walked back to my place and split into two groups as the six of us couldn't fit into one car. Robert and Will drove with me while Chris and Dallas rode with Tamar. It's a 45 minute drive north to Canyon Country where Paintball USA was located. We had gone to this place a few years ago for Chris' going away party but that experience was pretty horrible as there was a constant rain and our masks kept fogging up allowing us to see nothing. Today the weather was shaping up to be the same.. clear all week and then suddenly clouds and possible rain. As we were driving up it started to sprinkling and my heart sank. It was to late to change plans as I had pre-paid for the tickets. Since we were off schedule a bit George arrived a half hour earlier then us so we met up with him and went to check in. After alot of craziness we all had our guns, gear and paintballs and headed up to the more advanced fields which I didn't even know about.

There was a light sprinkle but the masks didn't fog up like before. We were part of the .55 caliber guns so when one of the refs walked to an entrance of a game and yell 55 that was our cue to get over to him and join the game. Our first game with in the Mole Hill area. You play two games in each area, starting on different sides each time. I don't know how long each rounds last but I'd say about 5 minutes or so. The first round I made it about half way before getting hit in the head. Second game I was taking out fairly early on. Chris had some issues with his guns but everyone else seemed to have a good time. After our first two games we knew we would need more ammo as the majority of us went through our allotment of paintballs fairly quickly so George picked up another 1000 and we all loaded up for our next battle. The next battle was in the Trench area, this is one that we had to walk by to get to the mole hill one and we all wanted to run that one. Though my gun jammed a few times I survived the entire run of both rounds in this area. It started to rain a bit harder while we waited for our third and final round. We knew this was going to be our final round as the place was about to close so we filled up our guns and planned to go out in a blaze of glory. For our third round we went to the hay bail area, we were hoping for the apocalypse trailer park but no such luck. When we grouped up in front of our next area there were a bunch of young kids so they split up our group for the first time and we got to fight against each other which was kind of fun. It was a fun way to end our paintball adventure.

Next we were to head back to my place, clean up, suit up and then head out for One Up for some drinks and video games but as they say the best laid plans.. Since George drove separately he decided to go home and freshen up instead of back at my place. He lives about a half hour from me and was going to Uber to my place when he was ready. We were already a bit behind because of paintball and it was clear that it would be a waste of time to head to One Up for a half hour before heading out to dinner so instead we opted to go over to Will's for some pre-dinner drinks. This also gave me the opportunity to take some pictures while we drank some 30+ year old scotch. Once George arrived we called two Ubers as once again seven of us couldn't fit into one car and made our way to the restaurant.

As I said this was my second choice that I had to find quickly but once we were there I was very happy with the choice. It's called Larsen's Streakhouse and as I said it's a bit pricey but well worth it. We had an amazing dinner, the food was unbelievable and the service was beyond fantastic. We had our own attendant who just stood there and waited for us to need something. In the end with food, drinks and tip we spent almost $1100 for dinner.

After dinner we Uber'd back to Will's place and hung out and a drank for a few hours. Everyone seemed to really enjoy the day. Robert loved every minute of it so for me it was a huge success. It was a lot of fun and planning and I'm glad it's over.. next up is the wedding!!

Princess Rap Battle : Galadriel vs Leia

I don't now how I missed this when it first came out over a year and a half ago but this is by far my favorite Rap Battle of all.. This is Galadriel Vs Leia and it's the best thing I've ever seen. This popped up on Facebook and after watching it I must have watched it 50 times (I'm not kidding) I loved it.  It's created by Whitney Avalon (who plays Leia in this video) she has a you tube channel for her Princess Rap Battles. You can check it out HERE. There are five or six more of these amazing videos with various other Princess Battling it out but I have to say this one is my favorite.

There is also a Behind the Scenes of this battle that is worth a watch..

Friday, April 8, 2016

NerdStrong Gym - This Past Week

I got my full five days of workouts in this week. Saturday CON, Sunday TEAM, Tuesday DEX, Wednesday CON and Thursday STG.

Saturday's CON class started with a Slo-Push Up Challenge. We started with a 6 second push up, so that's 3 seconds down and 3 seconds back up. Not to bad so they up'd the time to a 10 second push up, 5 up and 5 down. Now we're talking.. they increased the time to 20 seconds, that's 10 seconds down and 10 seconds up. Now you're feeling the strain to hold yourself up while you slowly lower yourself down. The final one was a 30 second Push up, 15 down and 15 up.. it was tough but I'm fairly proficient in my push ups so this challenge wasn't horrible.

We then did a scaled down version of this months boss monster, it was called Chip'Thulu "third form" it was a 15 minute AMRAP, we started with 10x Slamball Wallball, 10x Kettlebell Swing, 10x Dumbbell Push Press, 10x Armless Sit ups and then 10x Hi-Pull. But we increased 5 reps with every round. So after 10 of everything we did 15, then 20 and so on. It was a tough workout.

For Sunday's TEAM workout we once again took one Boomer's Burden. After alot of stretching we did the first portion of the workout which was an 8 minute Ladder, all of these movement were with a sandbag, we did Sprawls, Deadlifts, Cleans, Front Squats and Overhead Press. We then rested a few minutes before doing another 8 minute AMRAP, this time we did a 140 Meter Run, 10x Toes to Bar, 10x Wallballs and 10x Kettlebell Swings. We rested once again before doing our final 8 minute AMRAP, this one was 20x Scissor Kicks, 20x Kettlebell Glute Bridges, 20x Sit Ups and finally 50x Jumping Jacks. Overall this was a good workout.. lots of various movements.

Tuesday's DEX workout was all about Planking. Five rounds and a Finisher. We started with 3 rounds of :15 Plank, :15 Plank (R Knee), :15 Plank (L Knee), :15 Plank, :30 Pike Stretch and then :30 Rest.
The next round was :60 seconds Work, :30 seconds Rest of Wall Angels and Jumping Jacks. The third round was :15 Plank, :15 Wide Leg Plank, :15 Plank, :15 Wide Leg Plank, :15 Child Pose and then :30 Rest. Fourth round was :60 seconds Work, :30 seconds Rest of Butt Kickers and Flutter Kicks. The final round was :15 Plank, :15 Bird Dog (R Arm, L Leg), :15 Bird Dog (L Arm, R Leg), :15 Plank, :30 Knee Hug to Chest and :30 Rest. And after all that we did a TABATA of :20 work, :10 rest of High Knees and Squat Holds. This was a pretty rough workout.. definitely a good DEX day.

Wednesday's CON day was my least favorite activity.. Rowing. We had to do 3 rounds of a 500 Meter Row. When we weren't rowing we were doing Max Holds for Wall Sits, Plank and Hang. We then moved on to 5 rounds of 20x Box Dips, 10x Pull Ups or Chin Ups or Lat Rows and then 20 meter Walking Lunge with a Mace. Rowing is tough and I feel like since I'm short it take twice the effort to row the same amount of distance as the majority of the class.

Thursday's STG day started with a pretty crazy warm up of 2 rounds of 230 meter Run, 10x Kettlebell Swings, 10x Air Squats, 10x Push up and when you were done you did 50x Sit Ups. We then did 5 rounds of 8x (each side) Pinch Grip Plate Curls, this was extremely touch depending on the weight and the type of weight. Though it was tough I enjoyed this workout as it's a part of our body that we don't workout often. We then did a 12 minute AMRAP of Thrusters, Knee to Elbow and Suicide Run. We started with x2 Thrusters and x4 Knee to Elbow but each round we increased Thrusters by 2 and Knee to Elbows by 4.. luckily the run said at 1. It was an exhausting finisher.

Overall this was a good workout week. I got to learn some new moves while doing old favorites. I continue to love my time at NerdStrong Gym.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

SDCC Hotel Success & New Poe Dameron Comic Book

OMG!!! I got my third choice of Hotel for San Diego Comic Con. I can't believe it.. I've never gotten a hotel through the lottery. I got word that notices were going out a half hour earlier and then sure enough I got my email that informed me that I got the Manchester Grand Hyatt. It's the same hotel that we stayed in last year and it's only one hotel away from the convention center. I couldn't be more excited and I know my brother is going to be thrilled as well. So how I was lucky enough to have the hotel gods shine their light down upon me.. woohoo!!!!

After work today I headed to my local comic book show "Blast Off" to pick up the very first issue of the new Star Wars comic book titled "Poe Dameron" I heard they were going to do a run of new comics based on this new Force Awakens character. Come to find out that the Damerons are actually in a previous Star Wars comic book series called Shattered Empire. So of course I had to get the graphic novel of that was well. I'm super excited to read these and learn more about one of my favorite rebel pilots.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Rogue One Trailer!!!

Today they released Rogue One: A Star Wars Story teaser trailer though it's over 2 minutes long. Regardless of the length.. it's pretty EPIC. I don't really know much about this movie other then it's the story about how the Rebels got the plans for the first Death Star. I can't wait until December!!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Force Awakens on Blu Ray & The BFG Trailer

On my lunch hour I headed to Target to pick up Star Wars The Force Awakens which came out on Blu ray today. There were several exclusives from different stores but I choose Target for the extra 20 minutes of behind the scenes footage. Not sure when I'll get to watch this but I'm super excited to not only rewatch the movie but check out all the awesome extras.

Disney released a new trailer for the BFG. I really don't know much about this movie but I do know it's based on a Children's novel. I love fantasy movies so I'm really looking forward to this one.

SDCC Hotel Lottery

This morning was the SDCC (San Diego Comic Con) Hotel Lottery. This is when millions (okay maybe hundred of thousands) of people all bombard the hotel website hoping to be about to get a hotel near the convention center at a decent price.. and when I say decent price I mean $300 a night. Previous years it was a free for all.. at 9am the website opened and it depend on how fast you could type and how fast your internet is would determined if you got your application entered in time. Usually it was within the first three minutes you'd get your room. I never got a room during the lottery but I continue to try.

This year they decided to do the same as the badge purchases and use a waiting room and then randomly bring people into the hotel website where you had to fill out a form and submit it within minutes if you wanted to get a room. I've had no luck with this system when it came to badges so I wasn't hopeful here. You have to get in the waiting room between 6am and 9am. It didn't matter what time you got in as it was all to chance. So I signed in on my home computer around 8:45am as well as my iphone around 8:50am. Figured I'd double my chances to get in early and get a room.

9am came and they started bringing people in. On my computer all I had was the spinning wheel which meant I had not been selected yet. About a minute in to the process my iphone screen changed and it said I as 496th in line, then seconds later 275, then 49 and about a minute after getting in line I was on the website. I quickly selected my top six hotels and entered my information and by the time I hit send a total of about 4 minutes had passed. I didn't have a good feeling but I did the best I could. Now we have to wait while they process all the application. Fingers crossed that I got one of my six choices.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Fellowship Travels & New Passport

This is an impressive GIF.. it follows the track of the the Nine from Fellowship of the Ring. It's pretty fantastic!! If the image isn't moving below you can follow the link and watch it HERE.

I got my new passport today.. super excited as I can now leave the country at a moments notice.. or at least start planning my next dream vacation, which is going to be New Zealand. But I really wanna go back to Ireland and England.. so will see which trip is next.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Star Wars Rebels S2 Finale

Tonight I watched the season finale of Star Wars Rebels, S2 Eps 21 & 22 "Twilight of the Apprentice" Ahsoka, Ezra, Kanan and Chopper arrive on Malachor – a Sith world long forbidden to the Jedi – in search of knowledge, discovering a cavern containing a Sith Temple amid the site of an ancient battlefield between Sith and Jedi who used cross guard lightsabers. They soon are attacked by a new Inquisitor, the Eighth Brother, who is hunting a mysterious hermit calling himself "Old Master." When Ezra encounters the hermit, he reveals himself to be Darth Maul and offers to help Ezra get into the Temple, aiding him in recovering a Sith holocron. When the other Inquisitors arrive and alert Darth Vader of their presence, Ezra convinces the group to work together in spite of Kanan's fears that Maul is corrupting his student, allowing them to finally kill the three Inquisitors.

However, Maul soon betrays the group and blinds Kanan with his lightsaber, revealing his true intentions of making Ezra his apprentice. Although sightless, Kanan dons the helmet of a fallen Jedi Temple Guard and manages to throw Maul from the top of the temple. Ahsoka finally faces Darth Vader - who has cornered Ezra and destroyed his lightsaber - and comes to terms with his identity as Anakin Skywalker as she engages him in a duel, while Kanan and Ezra remove the Sith Holocron. Unable to abandon her old Master, Ahsoka stays within the crumbling temple and stalls Vader while Ezra, Kanan, and Chopper flee the planet and reunite with the Ghost crew. Maul escapes Malachor in one of the Inquisitor's TIE fighters while Vader, who survived the destruction of the temple, walks away as a convor watches from above. Ahsoka appears briefly post-battle entering a temple doorway, but her ultimate fate is left unknown. As the Ghost crew tries to cope with their losses, Ezra continues to meditate on the Sith Holocron and finally succeeds in opening it, potentially beginning his fall to the Dark Side.

So everyone was waiting for this battle.. the battle between master and apprentice. But before I talk about that I'd like to talk about a few other things. First up the reintroduction of "old Master" aka Darth Maul. It was great seeing him again. I loved when he was brought back from the dead on The Clone Wars and they left his story open so I knew there was a possibility of him showing up on this show. They make you believe his good "A enemy of my enemy is my friend" but then you're not sure and then you think maybe he is but ultimately he's a bad guy and trying to turn Ezra to the dark side.  These last few episodes are Ezra, Kanan and Ahsoka centric and we see very little of the rest of the Ghost crew.

We get a new inquisitor but that's short lived as Maul kills all three of them. I think the bulk of the episode happens as the end with Maul tricking Ezra to activate the Sith Temple. I wonder if Kanan will be blind from here on out. And of course we have the very end when Ezra opens a Sith Holocron and we are told that only a sith can open it.. does this mean he's sith or has he tapped far enough into his dark side. Lot's of questions for season three to answer.

Now to talk about the battle between Ahsoka and Anakin (Vader). As I mentioned everyone has been anticipating this fight and I have to say they didn't disappoint. The fight scene was amazing, the reaction of Ahsoka when she actually truly found out that Darth Vader is actually Anakin Skywalker was heart wrenching.

My only complaint if you can call it that is how they left the battle at a very pivotal point to follow the main characters off the planet. Of course this was done on purpose so we don't know if Ahsoka is dead or alive. The Ghost crew believes she's dead but we did see something staggering into the temple at the end. So I guess will have to wait until next season to find out (if they reveal it then).

I have to say Star Wars Rebels first season was good but I was such a hard core fan of The Clone Wars that I kept comparing the two and it didn't stack up. But I have to say Season two has really found it's footing.. and not only because they added Ahsoka and Captain Rex (from Clone Wars) to the cast but the overall story feel more connected with the original Star Wars "A New Hope". Both Star Wars The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels are some of the best Star Wars stories out there and I'm super excited for season three.. not sure when it will start.. I assume in the fall but I can't wait for more Wars.

The Geek Roundtable Podcast - First Recording

After six years of on again off again plans, my new podcast The Geek Roundtable, finally recorded it's first episode. I can't believe it's finally happen. This poor podcast has gone through several incarnations and several host possibilities over the years but I'm happy with the current format and hosting ideas. Of course I may record this first episode and realize that it's doesn't work but I think it's going to be a fun podcast.

Last month a recruited a about 40 friends to help co-host this podcast with me. For the first recording I got friends Anne, Ivan, Michael and Patty to join me. My plan is to record four episodes today, one topic per episode. Today's topics are Buffy/Angel, Marvel Cinematic Universe, Strong Female Characters and Disney Animation/Pixar.

Unfortunately my friend Anne has to cancel at the last minute but luckily a familiar voice (if you listen to my Knights of the Guild podcast) my friend Jenni was available and happy to fill the void. Jenni and I haven't recorded a podcast together in years.. this is a sort of KOTG reunion.

I'm not going into great detail about the topics or recordings as you'll have to wait to listen to them but the over all experience was really fun. It was as though five friends were sitting around the living room talking about their favorite things... we were just geeking out.

I don't know when this podcast will be released. I'd like to get at least twenty or so podcasts in the can before I start releasing them. Just so I can mix up the co-hosts from episode to episode. I hope to premiere it sometime this summer. I have already booked people for the next recording and I can't wait to get down with more friends and talk geek.