San Diego Comic-Con was an interesting one in 2021. This year it was in November rather in July, and it was titled “Comic-Con Special Edition” to set it apart. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about it. I was vaccinated, and the convention was required masks at all times as well as proof of vaccination or negative test. (I should note, this was before Omicron. In fact, I only learned of its existence the weekend of the convention.) I ended up feeling fairly safe, so the timing was good. One of the main purposes for this blog now is to talk about my travels, but I’m bad at being timely. Still, two months late isn’t too bad for me!
The convention was Thanksgiving weekend, Friday through Sunday with no preview night. (Usually SDCC is Thursday through Sunday with a preview night on Wednesday.) gem and I drove down after Thanksgiving celebrations on Thursday. Antonio met with us the next day.
After showing our vaccine cards and getting wristbands that indicated we did so, we realized that the hall didn’t open until much later than usual. I don’t remember the exact time, but I think it was noon. gem and I decided to head to the food truck we like for breakfast burritos, and we ran into Antonio there – with his breakfast burrito!
While in line to get in the main hall, we heard some Mario music. And look what it was – Mario Kart cosplay!
Once the hall opened, we started by getting in a line to get tickets to an autograph session with Brent Spiner (who played Data in Star Trek) and then wandered the exhibit hall for a bit.
Our first panel was Storytellers: Choosing, Centering, and Celebrating with Mallory O’Meara, Aminah Mae Safi, Sam Maggs, Eva Leigh, Elle Cruz, Henry Barajas, and Moderator Maryelizabeth Yturrale. However, we left early to get our autographs.
Brent Spiner had his new book, Fan Fiction. Antonio had to leave to get back home, but gem and I stayed in line to get autographs. We got three copies – one for me, one for my mom, and one for my brother. I mentioned to Spiner how my mom and I tried to get his autograph at a convention when I was a kid, but he wasn’t signing at that time. I had to make it right this time! He was friendly. The allotted time was one hour for the signing, but he signed for nearly two hours – right up to when he was doing a panel. His handler suggested less talking and only autographing one item per person, but he said no!
After the signing, we tried to see his panel. However, we were one of the last people to get autographs, which means there was already a long line for his panel. Instead, we went to Joe’s Crab Shack for dinner!
After dinner, we went to a screening of Lumpia with a Vengeance and discussion on it. It’s a Filipino-American indie movie filmed in San Francisco with a comic-vibe about a hero who fights crime with Lumpia! This is two of the main characters with me in the shot above. It was really funny!
After watching that movie, we moved to a screening of Die Hard! This was only my second time seeing it since Duncan, his brother, and his dad introduced me to the classic. And it was gem’s first time! What a great film.
We ended the night playing some WarioWare: Get It Together! on my Switch in the hotel room… after I battled the TV’s hospitality mode to let me use my Switch.
Saturday I put on my New World-inspired costume and met Antonio and gem at the food truck for breakfast burritos again.
Our first panel was Native American Comics & Culture: Emerging Tech with moderator Kilma Lattin, Cody Martinez, Johnny Bear Contreras, Brandie Taylor, Alec Calac, Ricardo Caté. It was a really interesting panel. I think it was intended to be mostly about Native Americans and technology, including an upcoming app called Our Worlds that uses augmented reality to teach you about the history of places around you. However, a lot of other topics about Native Americans was discussed as well.
We stopped by a Worldbuilding and Storytelling panel, but we arrived a little late. It appeared to be a Zoom call, and it wasn’t engaging enough to us, so we left.
Next up was Dinosaus vs Unicorns, a panel about gendered toys.
The last panel I attended was A Lawyer’s Holiday Special by The Legal Geeks. I always really enjoy their panels; they discuss pop culture fiction as if it was real and what the legal ramifications would be. It featured Circuit Judge John Owens (9th Circuit Court of Appeals), US Magistrate Judge Stacie Beckerman (US District Court for the District of Oregon), US Magistrate Judge Mitch Dembin (US District Court for the Southern District of California), Nari Ely (Durie Tangri), Kathy Steinman (Deputy City Attorney for the City of San Diego), and moderator Joshua Gilliland (Greenan, Peffer, Sallander, & Lilly LLP). In this year’s panel, they talked about the legality of Santa Claus and his actions!
Then it was time to wander around the exhibit hall for a bit, including checking out this Stargate!
After the exhibit hall, we headed to try a game called Kids on Bikes – an interactive storytelling game starring kids… on bikes… dealing with the sueprnatural. It seemed like there was a mix-up, because the person that was supposed to host it wasn’t in the room. Luckily, the staff called around, found someone to host it, and walked us to a different room. We were shown the hospitality suite, which I didn’t know existed. They’ve always offered free snacks! And then we played Kids on Bikes! It was really fun. I don’t know how long it was supposed to take, but we played for hours. In fact, Antonio had to leave, so it was just gem, me, and the host. It’d be fun to play it again!
After comforting some spirits and fixing the timeline in our game, we went to the Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog screening, which we do most years. It’s always a great show!
We ended the night with some Greek food in the Gaslamp District at Nick the Greek and then some Big Mouth in the hotel.
The last day ended up being fairly relaxed. We went for a long walk along the water and then checked out the pinball lounge… where we stayed the rest of the day.
We played Godzilla, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Jurassic Park, Led Zeppelin, Star Wars: The Mandalorian, and Deadpool – all set to free play. The games featured an interesting blend of classic and modern technology. Yes, it’s mechanical pinball, but you login to your account before you play on your phone, then hold a QR code up on your phone to the pinball machine to log into it. Then it tracks your high schools as well as achievements. How cool!
I’ll end the post with some more assorted photos from the event, mostly of cosplay. Any photos of me in this post were taken by gem!
Last year was another year of really loving Hamilton it seems – along with some pop and instrumentals.
This visualization is a little off because it’s based on data from the last 365 days and not 2021, but it’s close and I like it.
My top ten artists:
Leslie Odom Jr. – for Hamilton
Lin-Manuel Miranda – Hamilton again
Original Broadway Cast of Hamilton – obvious
Weezer – because I loved their Teal Album
Vitamin String Quartet – due to their instrumental versions of songs from Bridgerton
Call Me A Hole – actually a mash-up of Nine Inch Nails and Carly Rae Jepsen on YouTube
Poppy – all because of one cover of a t.A.T.u. song
Montaigne – thanks to making the new theme song for My Brother, My Brother and Me
Lil Nas X – because Matt was surprised I didn’t know any songs by him and claimed I actually did. Turns out, I had heard Old Town Road but didn’t know who performed it
Spice Girls – because my neighbors started blasting Spice Girls at 3 in the morning and it put me in the mood to listen to more
My top albums:
Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording) by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Bridgerton (Covers from the Netflix Original Series) by Vitamin String Quartet
Weezer (Teal Album) by Weezer
All The Things She Said by Poppy
Spice by Spice Girls
Heaven & Hell by Ava Max – but only one song I think
Nena by Nena – again because of one song
Release Me by The Like – thank you Barnes & Noble for making me listen to this all day until I loved it over a decade ago
7 EP by Lil Nas X
When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? by Billie Eilish
My top tracks mostly make sense given the top albums and artists, although there are few stragglers – numbers 9 and 10 don’t have artists or albums that show up on my top ten lists.
Call Me A Hole, Nine Inch Nails / Carly Rae Jepsen Mash-Up – I can’t believe this was my most played song, although I’ll note that it’s actually tied with a real song haha
All The Things She Said by Poppy – tied for first
Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down) by Original Broadway Cast of Hamilton
Kings & Queens by Ava Max
Guns and Ships by Leslie Odom Jr.
Nur geträumt by Nena
Old Town Road by Lil Nas X
Technicolour by Montaigne
You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) by Dead or Alive
Merry Happy by Kate Nash
Spotify Wrapped gave some interesting bits of information, but I don’t think it reports as clearly as Last.fm – plus, Spotify only considers data from 1/1 through 10/31.
Looks like I’m pretty average as Spotify users go.
I really have no idea what this means. I don’t think I’ve ever thought to myself “time to listen to some spooky and bold music.”
This, on the other hand, seems super accurate! I didn’t even realize how accurate it was, but now I love it.
As for live music, 2021 was obviously better than 2020. I went to one concert – The Aquabats, The English Beat, and Dead Man’s Party; it was awesome! I saw one virtual concert – The Aquabats! Legion of Righteous Comrades! You Pick the Set List! Livestream Concert! That title sure had a lot of exclamation marks. I saw a singer/guitarist at a small event.
I also saw The Nightmare Before Christmas Live-to-Film Experience at the Banc of California Stadium, which features Danny Elfman, Paul Reubens, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Billie Eilish, and Ken Page. Plus, at the end Steve Bartek of Oingo Boingo joined Danny Elfman on stage to play Dead Man’s Party.
And I can’t leave out more Hamilton! I saw Hamilton at the Pantages twice in 2021!
In July 2019, I flew to Hawaii to meet Anela and visit Jordan and Christin. I hiked a lot, putting my recently healed foot to the test, ate a lot of foods, snorkeled, and more! But for some reason, I didn’t blog about it for a long time. This has been in my drafts in various levels of completion, but it’s time to publish!
I flew in Saturday, Anela and I both arriving at nearly the same time. Our AirBNB driver had never heard of milk tea or boba and didn’t think there was any in Hawaii. But he did suggest bubble tea. *facepalm*
We checked out our AirBNB in a touristy area of Waikiki. Anela instantly liked the stairs, and we stopped for a picture. We did a little shopping across the street for things we’d need before meeting up with Christin and Jordan.
They knew a ramen place they liked, so we went to Volcano Ramen in Yokocho Village for some delicious ramen. Is the ramen served in bowls or in upside-down volcanoes?
After dinner, it was time for tea because of course we needed tea. And look at the mustaches on the cups! We bought some drinks on the way back to our AirBNB, where we ended the night talking and hanging out.
Sunday was a day for pineapple shorts!
We started the day with tea from Starbucks near the bus stop at Jordan and Christin’s.
Our first adventure was Waimea Arboretum and Botanical Garden, which was beautiful!
After exploring on land, we decided to explore in the sea at Waimea Bay Beach park! We started by jumping off a big rock. I don’t know where the footage of that went. But then we went snorkeling!
Here’s a video with some clips of the snorkeling! I put a few together; the clips of me were filmed by Anela.
For dinner, we got some pizza at Spaghettini. Tasty!
There were a lot of lizards hanging around the pizza too 🙂
Monday started with Teapresso and Mitsuwa for breakfast with Anela!
After meeting up with Christin, we headed to Koko Head Crater for a hike to the top! Jordan worked during the days Monday-Friday, so it was just the three of us during the day.
The views were beautiful! I was pretty much soaked in sweat by the time we got to the top. It was quite the hike! Runkeeper said it was a 2.07 mile hike with 1334 ft total climb that took 4:31:33 and burned 1075. I say it it was gorgeous. There were definitely breaks on the hike to rest and to take a ton of photos.
Once we were at the top, Christin and I hiked a bit out to the ridge and back while Anela stayed at the top. It was a bit narrower, which wasn’t great for Anela’s lack of love for heights, but it wasn’t too crazy. The hike was a relief for me because I now knew that my foot could handle hiking. I had recently broken my foot, and while recovery was going nicely, I was a little worried.
This was also at the top, so we took some photos with it and on top of it!
Time to head back down!
After hiking back down, Jordan joined us and we went to OMG for Mexican food. After dinner, we had another Teapresso run before heading back to our AirBNB.
Tuesday started with a bath tub shoot for Christin and Anela. Nope, I didn’t get in the tub! I mostly zoned out and killed time while they did their shoot.
Christin, Anela, and I had lunch at Fatboy’s, but I was pretty focused on the chicken hanging out in the bushes.
No day is complete without tea it seems, so we after lunch we got tea at Bee & Tea.
Then we headed to Cash Beach in Lanikai to enjoy the water!
I also did some photographing of Anela and Christin, although I still haven’t edited them! I think we spent much more time with photos than swimming. I was a bit reluctant leave.
Walking back, we stopped for a photo in front of this beautiful gate!
After Jordan joined us, we walked around their neighborhood to check out the cool murals and spent some time in their apartment before going to dinner. We enjoying some food at Waikiki Brewing Co. Oh, and I caught a shiny Koffing that evening too!
Wednesday was tide pool day, but first we stopped Makapu’u Point Lookout for some beautiful blue views.
The tide pools were next! They did require some hiking on a nice trail that felt like nothing compared to the previous day’s hike, and then we went off trail a bit and trekked down a hill.
Floating in the water chilling with fish!
After we eventually decided to leave and trek back up the hill, we moved on to Alan Davis Beach. We enjoyed the water as well as watched a group of guys try to get their huge, inflatable multi-person lounge thing into the water.
Time to jump into the Pacific! While the rock wasn’t huge, it was bigger than the video makes it seem.
Jordan joined us for dinner at what my notes say is “Ramen Village.” I’m fairly certain it was Shirokiya Japan Village Walk, a huge food court with many different shops, some small stages, and rows of gashapon machines. Anela certainly seemed happy with her ice cream. I’m really surprised I didn’t take photos of the building itself, but it seems I only have this one and a close up of my sushi.
Thursday started with doggos while we headed to our first real destination.
I found a mermaid! We visited the mermaid cave at Zablan Beach at Nānākuli Beach Park.
If I remember correctly, it was a little tricky to climb into and out of it. There wasn’t an easy way to do it without getting a little scraped up, but it was worth it! How cool was this place?! The walk was very rocky, and here’s where I learned what my foot didn’t enjoy – very uneven terrain. The hiking we did so far was relatively flat despite being an incline or decline. The very rocky terrain caused my ankle to move at weird angles and the pressure on my foot wasn’t great.
We tried to get to cat cafe after our mermaid adventure, but we didn’t make it back in time. Someone got hurt on our bus. I don’t remember the specifics, and maybe we didn’t fully know. I think he tripped getting on the bus and cut his leg. There was a decent amount of blood. I think there was a medical professional on the bus who helped him.
In the evening, we got some tea again, and Anela and I had some Korean food near our AirBNB. Before turning in, I bought and wrote some postcards!
Unicorn Cafe, which was a block or two from our AirBNB, had a cute sign that pulled us inside. Obviously we needed more tea this trip.
Fueled by tea, Anela and I visited Epic Aloha, a nearby selfie museum. I still haven’t gone through these and posted, but it’s on my list!
After enjoying Epic Aloha, Anela and I stopped at Coffee Shop 831 for a panini and tea! It was right across the street from our AirBNB, so it’s surprising it took us this long to have lunch there.
After lunch, we joined Christin and went on a quest to hike to the pink pillbox!
As usual, the view was great. The structures were pretty cool and, as you can see, had quite a bit of graffiti.
When the sun started to set, it was time to go. We hiked down and headed back toward home to join Jordan and grab some dinner at McDonald’s!
After a quick stop at Mitsuwa, likely for sushi but I don’t know for sure, Anela and I met up with Jordan and Christin and we headed to Aloha Stadium swapmeet.
I had to get this cologne, right? It’s not really possible for me to walk past it even though I don’t wear cologne. Plus, I got a couple magnets and such as small souvenirs.
Once we had our fill of shopping, we filled ourselves on BBQ at Dixie Grill, which was pretty tasty.
At the end of the day, Anela and I went back to our AirBNB and then spent the last evening in Waikiki.
Since we were wearing pineapple clothes, we stopped for photos with a giant pineapple statue! We explored some shops, and I specifically remember Anela doing some shopping in a Christmas ornament store. I might have spent a little time catching Ralts for community day too!
We also caught some hula dancers!
It was a nice way to spend our final evening in Hawaii 🙂
I had a nice morning on Sunday even if it was time to leave. After trying a few times to get a bagel breakfast sandwich from the place across the street, Coffee Shop 831, we managed to get some! This is a tasty avocado, egg, bacon, and cheese bagel sandwich! There wasn’t much time to do anything Sunday morning, so we talked a little and relaxed at the AirBNB before it was time to go.
By the time I got to the airport, it was time for lunch. The mushroom chicken hit the spot!
And then it was time for my bear that transforms into a neck pillow to join me for the flight home. Aloha, Hawaii!
Edit: And then Duncan picked me up from the airport! Alas, I didn’t take a photo. I’m sorry Duncan.
It looks like this year I really liked Hamilton again with Leslie Odom Jr. and Lin-Manuel Miranda tracks swapping places and both passing The Orion Experience, which was number one for the past two years yet fell to fourth this year. Jack Stauber’s Micropop and Shawn Wasabi are newcomers to the top!
Here’s my top 10 (as shown above but put into text in case the image breaks):
Leslie Odom Jr.
Jack Stauber’s Micropop
The Orion Experience
Royal & the Serpent
Original Broadway Cast of Hamilton
SilverLetomi performing a WoW parody of I’m Still Standing by Elton John (but scrobbling from YouTube yields an incorrect artist name)
My top albums aren’t a surprise given the artists
Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording) by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording) by Various Artists
(Above two combined)
Micropop by Jack Stauber’s Micropop
Cosmicandy by The Orion Experience
Overwhelmed by Royal & the Serpent
Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum by Tally Hall
Лучшие by Звери
Otter Pop (feat. Hollis) by Shawn Wasabi
In Character by Blood and Water
‘Cause I’m a Liar (Kokichi Oma Fan Song) by Mcki Robyns-P
My top tracks are mostly Hamilton!
Overwhelmed by Royal & the Serpent
Guns and Ships by Leslie Odom Jr.
I’m Still Standing by SilverLetomi
Right Hand Man by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Guys Don’t Like Me by It Boys!
Aaron Burr, Sir by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Otter Pop (feat. Hollis) by Shawn Wasabi
Sleep It Off by Blood and Water
What’d I Miss by Daveed Diggs
The Reynolds Pamphlet by Original Broadway Cast of Hamilton
I certainly saw less live bands in 2020, which obvious.
Koo Koo Kanga Roo with Kepi Ghoulie at Chain Reaction
Wait, where’s number 2? There is no number 2.
But there were some virtual shows:
The Aquabats!: Kooky Spooky! Halloween Party!
The Aquabats!: Kooky Kristmas Party
I really hope we can get back to seeing live music next year!
San Diego Comic-Con 2019 was a little over six months ago, which I guess means I should get around to writing about it. I like to keep a travel journal on this blog, but I’m bad at sitting down to blog and good at procrastinating. It’s a good thing I take a lot of photos and keep notes on my phone! If you want to see some photos I took on my camera, check my Flickr album. Most of the photos in this post were from my phone, but I embedded a few from Flickr as well.
As always, SDCC was Thursday through Sunday. I went down on Wednesday night with gem. Antonio couldn’t join us at the start of SDCC, and Kaleigh was only able to come down on Saturday unfortunately.
gem and I started with dinner at Soda & Swine, one of our favorite San Diego restaurants. We found that it was totally revamped. It used to be a meatball place primarily, and they pulled way back from that unfortunately. The menus were now on cloth napkins that were attached to a clothesline with clothespins at the front of the restaurant. Weird. I wasn’t happy. But we ate, and the food was decent even if it wasn’t as good as what we remembered.
We started the festivities by attending Ready Party One, an 80s party at the Fluxx nightclub in the Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego. The party alternated between DJs playing modern dance music and 80s music with live performances by 80s cover band The Flux Capacitors.
I’d say it was a good approximation of a club in the Oasis from Ready Player One! Costumes and dress were varied and perfect. It was fun to be dancing with regular people as well as people in costumes of all sorts and styles.
Plus, there were even live lyra performers!
And hula hoop performers!
gem and I stopped at the photo op as well!
Who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters!
And to get really nerdy, the Pokemon theme!
I started Thursday, the first day of SDCC, by picking up our bags!
This woman made an awesome dress from her bags! She looks happy to show it off too!
Next it was off to the Funko booth. I ended up making purchases for myself, gem, gem’s friend, and stranger. I even got reprimanded by staff for clearly buying something for someone else. But uh, so was everything else. I got Johnny Rico (Starship Troopers), Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and Derek Zoolander Funko figures!
Was this man dressed as something, or did he just love pizza? Who knows.
gem and I got to pretend to be Mario at the Nintendo Lounge.
I explored the exhibit hall a bit before heading to a show. D&D: All Bards featured Pierce Brown, one of my favorite authors. He played a D&D one-shot as a party with all bards with Sam Sykes, Chuck Wendig, Paul Krueger, E. K. Johnston, and Jim Zub. (I don’t know the other famous people, oops.) It was really funny. It turns out, yes, a party of all bards can kind of stumble their way to success. Pierce Brown’s cocky humor stole the show.
I spent some more time wandering the exhibit hall after the D&D show, including watching some Steven Universe karaoke. It was right in the middle of the hall. Who’s brave enough to do that? More on that later.
Check out this Wonder Woman cosplayer! Isn’t she a cutie?
Thursday wrapped with an Anamanaguchi concert! Anamanaguchi is a band that combines traditional rock instruments with chiptune music, and they did the soundtrack to Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game.
Here’s a little clip of them. The show was a lot of fun, and the visuals on screen went well with the music. It was outside, behind the convention center on the green as part of Adult Swim’s SDCC offerings.
The churros looked pretty but weren’t that great!
I’ll admit I didn’t know Anamanaguchi by name before getting tickets, but I’m really glad I went.
Friday began with a Veronica Mars panel. I’ve never seen Veronica Mars, but I wanted to see the next panel. And I do love Kristen Bell, so it was still entertaining. The panel showed some footage of the Veronica Mars revival, and it did make me want to try the show – although not enough to have actually done so yet.
The Steven Universe panel started after that. The actresses who voice Peridot (Shelby Rabara), Garnet (Estelle), Amethyst (Michaela Dietz), and Pearl (Deedee Magno) joined series creator Rebecca Sugar to discuss the show and premier the trailer for Steven Universe: The Movie. I’m behind on the series, so I haven’t seen the film yet. However, seeing them talk was a lot of fun, and I love the passion and fun they bring to the show.
Between that and the next panel was the Disney group shoot for photographers and cosplayers organized by Robert T Photography. I went as a cosplayer last year, but this year I just went as a photographer to get some photos.
I showed up a few minutes late so didn’t get a photo of the entire group. The event always does photos of various subgroups. I don’t remember what this was in particular, but I like it because it has a large number of people.
gem was dressed in a casual cosplay of Steven Universe, so I had to get a photo of her with Rose Quartz! Check out more of the photos from the shoot in my Flickr album.
“Wherefore Dystopia and Darkness? Enjoying Creators’ Wretched Unjust Societies” was next. It features authors Marie Lu, Jess Rothenberg, Rachel Caine, Richard Kadrey, Ally Condie, S. L. Huang, and Mallory O’Meara. It was fun because I enjoy dystopian novels. I don’t care that many are aimed at children; that just makes them faster reads! I had read Marie Lu’s Legend series and Ally Condie’s Matched trilogy. And since SDCC, I also read Marie Lu’s The Young Elites trilogy. The biggest take away I got from hearing them talk about their dystopian worlds was that I need to reread the Matched trilogy.
The Geek Geek Revolution panel involved geek trivia with Pierce Brown, Seanan McGuire, Paul Krueger, Tochi Onyebuchi, and Kiersten White. The only person I knew was Pierce Brown, but it was fun. The audience was allowed to submit questions, and they read one of gem’s! What was the name of the mail carrier moogle from Final Fantasy IX? No one knew the answer, but it was Stiltzkin! I can barely remember what was going on in the photo. Did the winner have to wear the horse mask? The loser, maybe?
Taking a break from panels, I went outside to Adult Swim on the Green to the Rickflector, which puts you in a augmented reality minigame in the Rick and Morty universe. I don’t watch Rick and Morty, but whatever. It was silly and probably not worth the line, but I had a good time.
A museum for The Orville was set up near the convention center called The Orville Experience. It was rather small but still neat as a fan of the show. It felt like the show might have been too new to really warrant it, but I suppose nothing’s stopping them from having a bigger one in the future if the show continues to go strong!
“Always go with one more zipper than you’re comfortable with.” Wonderful advice from Lamarr to Malloy.
We got to take this little video too!
Friday night, the IKV Stranglehold, a Klingon fan group, put on a live, original Star Trek episode featuring their own cast of Klingons. It’s the second year I’ve watched them do this, and I really enjoy seeing people being passionate and having fun with the fandom they love.
I last event of the day was Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog and Karaoke Party. I was late to it because of IKV Stranglehold, but I still caught the second half the movie and sing along. And I did sing along! After the movie was done, they had karaoke, but I didn’t stay for it.
The Interdimensional House of Pancakes seemed like a good place to stop for dinner! (I wrote that before I realized the double meaning and went back to add emphasis.) It took over maryjane’s at the Hard Rock Hotel.
I thought it was worth sharing a few more photos from the restaurant just to see the little details.
I saw an awesome Sabrina from the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina on Saturday!
Since I was moving quickly, I mostly took photos of awesome cosplayers on my phone.
Look how cute Ariel and Flounder are!
My first goal of the day was to get Pierce Brown’s autograph. I already had it from previous years, but I wanted it again!
I watched a panel on The Man in the High Castle because I actually wanted to watch the panel that was next in the room. The Man in the High Castle, which is about the US after it loses World War 2, has always seemed pretty interesting, but it’s hard for me to decide to watch something that’s dark. Maybe I’ll give it a go eventually. It seems more likely that I’ll eventually read the original Philip K. Dick novel.
I was actually there for the NOS4A2 panel. The panel was about the TV series starring Zachary Quinto, but I think gem read the novel. It’s a supernatural drama, and if you hadn’t figured it out, NOS4A2 is pronounced “Nosferatu.” The show is apparently available for streaming on AMC’s streaming platform, which means I guess no one will ever see it. I’d probably watch it if it was on something more mainstream.
Now on to one of the highlights of SDCC this year – The Adventure Zone: Dadlands! In this live TAZ one-shot, the McElroy’s each took the role of a leader of his tribe of Dads in a post-apocalyptic future in which only Dads exist after Moms and Children have all gone extinct.
There are the Grill Dads, Vacation Dads, Sports Dads, Car Dads, Drama Dads, and Craft Dads. Griffin played Briquette Hoggins, a Grill Dad. Justin played Chip Hugginsbee, a Vacation Dad who loved to throw out worthless trivia about where they were. Travis played Guy Ferrari, a Car Dad. And Clint played Coach Red Ruffinsore, a Sports Dad – and Clint had whistles on hand with which to annoy his actual kids. I love that this entire game seems to have been created to play up terrible dad jokes. It was great!
After the show, I watched a dog fight with a balloon. He was such a good boy!
We finished the evening with pizza from BIGA. This was giulia, one of the greatest pizzas I’ve ever had! It has “house-made fior de latte mozzarella / pecorino / parmesan / basil / burrata / prosciutto di parma / fennel pollen / local honey / figs / saba.” So good!
Sunday, the last day, started with Spotlight on Jonathan Hickman. He’s a comic book writer and artist… and I only attended his panel so I’d be in the room for the next panel about The Adventure Zone!
Clint and Travis were joined by Carey Pietsch and moderator Satine Phoenix to discuss the release of The Adventure Zone: Murder on the Rockport Limited, the second graphic novel in the series. Admittedly, I hadn’t yet read the first one – oops. But it was really fun to see two of the McElroys more up close, and it was the first time I’ve heard from Carey Pietsch. I decided during this panel that I had to get off my butt and pick up the graphic novel.
In Cartoon Voices II panel, moderator Mark Evanier joined voice actors Jim Meskimen, Robin Atkin Downes, Secunda Wood, Dee Bradley Baker, and Candi Milo to talk about performing cartoon voices and do some live examples. At least, that’s who the schedule listed. I honestly can’t remember much about this panel, but I know I’ve enjoyed it in the past too!
Next it was time for more Pierce Brown! gem and I picked up an autographed copy of Iron Gold, chatted with him briefly, and got photos with him.
And speaking of autographs and photographs, I had to make good on my decision to pick up The Adventure Zone graphic novel. I bought the first one, Here There Be Gerblins. Clint McElroy signed it and talked to me for a bit, and then I got a photo with him. It was really awesome meeting him! How cool that he and his sons get to do so many fun projects together for a living.
Remember earlier how I wondered who would be crazy enough to do Steven Universe karaoke at the Steven Universe booth in the middle of the exhibit hall? gem got in line for karaoke. And while she slowly moved through the line, I decided to join her. The staff allowed him to jump into line with her, and we sang in front of anyone! Scary!
And that’s another SDCC for the history books – my 9th one attended! Check out my Flickr album for more photos!
Every year, I like to examine my music tastes from the previous year. The image above was generated a couple weeks into 2020, so the actual data from 2019 is slightly different.
Here are my top 10 artists from 1/1/2019 through 12/31/2019. It has a lot of good stuff on it – but of course I’d think that, right? And in case images break in the future:
The Orion Experience – 111 scrobbles (1st place in 2018 too)
Lin-Manuel Miranda – 105 scrobbles
Leslie Odom Jr. – 98 scrobbles
Tally Hall – 54 scrobbles
Ariana Grande – 45 scrobbles
It Boys! – 35 scrobbles
Phillipa Soo – 35 scrobbles
Queen – 32 scrobbles
Keke Palmer – 29 scrobbles
Regina Spektor – 24 scrobbles
The Orion Experience was number 1 last year also, and It Boys! and Regina Spektor have been on my top 10 previously. The rest appear new!
In the image above, you can see my top albums of the past year; again, it’s a little inaccurate given that it was generated a couple weeks into 2020.
Here’s the actual top 10 album list for 1/1/2019 through 12/31/2019. Hamilton won, by a ton. I didn’t want to listen to it much before seeing it live. I waited until I had my ticket, listened to the album once, watched the show, and then listened to the album a ton. And to ensure I have it written in case the image breaks:
Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording) – 350 scrobbles
Cosmicandy by The Orion Experience – 110 scrobbles (down from 1st place in 2018)
Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum by Tally Hall – 53 scrobbles
So Uncool by Keke Palmer – 29 scrobbles
My Everything (Deluxe) by Ariana Grande – 28 scrobbles
Guys Don’t Like Me – Single by It Boys! – 25 scrobbles
Soviet Kitsch (U.S. Version) by Regina Spektor – 23 scrobbles
Absolute Music 64 by Ariana Grande – 17 scrobbles
Лучшие by Звери – 15 scrobbles (down from 2nd place in 2018)
Steven Universe, Vol. 1 (Original Soundtrack) – 13 scrobbles
And here are my top 10 tracks:
Right Hand Man by Lin-Manuel Miranda – 66 scrobbles
The Cult of Dionysus by The Orion Experience – 45 scrobbles
The Queen of White Lies by The Orion Experience – 43 scrobbles (down from 1st place in 2018)
A Winter’s Ball by Leslie Odom Jr. – 38 scrobbles
Guys Don’t Like Me by It Boys! – 35 scrobbles
Break Free (feat. Zedd) by Ariana Grande – 33 scrobbles (not present in 2018 but 10th in 2017)
Bottoms Up by keke Palmer – 29 scrobbles
Helpess by Phillipa Soo – 21 scrobbles
Eye to Eye from A Goofy Movie – 18 scrobbles
Your Obedient Servant by Leslie Odom Jr. – 15 scrobbles
Overall, a lot more Hamilton and a lot less ska. And a surprise showing by A Goofy Movie, which really amuses me.
And I saw some live shows as well:
Sweeney Todd at South Coast Repertory
Heathers: The Musical at Cal State Fullerton
The Little Mermaid: Live-to-Film Concert Experience at the Hollywood Bowl
Anamanaguchi concert at SDCC
Shrek: The Musical at the Cerritos Performing Arts Center
Half Past Two in Anaheim
Codename: Rocky, Skapeche Mode, Suburban Legends, Voodoo Glow Skulls, “Save Ferris”, and The Aquabats at OC Brew Ha Ha
We Will Rock You at the Microsoft Theater
R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps: Phantom of the Auditorium: The Musical at the Chance Theater
Hamilton at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway
Anastasia at Segerstrom Hall
Suburban Legends in Downtown Disney twice
Frozen: The Musical at the Pantages
The Aquabats with PPL MVR and Dirt Farm at the Fonda Theatre
This post has been half-complete for about two years now, so it’s about time I finish it and get it posted! Bach in May of 2017, gem and I were both attending a friend’s wedding in Portland. Neither of us had been there, so we decided to take some extra time and explore the surrounding areas.
After flying to Portland, we checked into our AirBNB that was, in my opinion, practically in a forest. Okay, not really, but Portland definitely has a different feel than Southern California. Where as at home, I get the impression we flattened nature and paved it over, it felt like in Oregon people decided to actually live with nature.
We had dinner at Cartopia, a collection of food trucks/carts with a nice place to sit and eat. The palak paneer fries from Potato Champion were delicious.
These are the PB&J fries, which were also quite tasty.
And this is the Girl Next Door from Pyro Pizza with a ricotta goat cheese blend, oregano, rhubarb, Parmesan, Romano, basil, oil, and pepper.
I started the next day with coffee from Never Coffee. I had a Holy Grail and Nutella Puff, about which I wrote “meh” in my travel log, so I guess something didn’t do it for me. gem had a drink called the Hug along with zucchini bread.
After getting our caffeine, we started driving toward our hiking destination, Ape Cave, but we made a detour at Yale Park Recreation Area. It was really beautiful!
Here I’m about to descend into Ape Cave, one of the longest lava tubes in North America.
gem had lights and headlamps for both of us, so we were well equipped!
Ape Cave had two trails, a lower cave and an upper cave.
Lower cave was basically a stroll to a dead end, and then you return to the start.
Upper cave was a great hike in pitch black for the majority of it. This is a hike unlike the ones I usually do at home. Some of it is walking, some of it is climbing over “breakdowns,” large piles of rocks from ceiling collapses, and some of it is crawling under or between rocks. I guess it’s a good thing I’ve practiced a bit of bouldering! This was definitely a cool experience. My Runkeeper tracked it as 4 hours and 25 minutes, but I can’t remember if I was tracking the whole thing. Plus, a lot of the tracking was inaccurate underground.
We survived and made it out alive. I think gem thought we were going to be stuck down there forever.
After leaving the cave, I met this cool little guy! He came up on my fingers. Sorry, I know I shouldn’t have let him. Not shown: the snake I almost stepped on that made me yelp.
After getting cleaned up, we headed to our friends’ Kristine and Justin’s place. Kristine and Justin were the couple getting married just a few days later. gem and I met them in World of Warcraft, which is how they met as well. Kristine is out guild leader, and the two of them are our main tanks for the majority of the guild’s raiding time. Our friends Marc, Matt, Katie, Adrian, and Nate were also there, who we know from the guild as well.
Did I take any photos with my friends? No, of course not. I focused on the cat. gem goes by Mooglegem in WoW, and when Kristine and Justin got this cat, gem suggested the name “Moogle.” So, this is Moogle!
Seriously, I get a good chuckle out of the fact that I don’t have any photos of anyone else at the house that night. I do remember eating pizza, lots of talking, and learning about how Justin destroyed a bidet… twice.
This is a photo of our AirBNB we took the next day before heading out for morning coffee!
We started the day at Heart Coffee Roasters. I had a 12 oz mocha with Scandinavian cinnamon roll with cardamom. gem had an “Ick” coffee according to my notes, whatever that was, haha.
After coffee, we drove down to Koriander in Corvallis to meet our friends Hal and Mary Margaret for lunch! This was great because I hadn’t seen them recently and on top of that… they’re my friend Alex’s parents, and we didn’t tell Alex we were planning this. I texted him this photo and told him I was just grabbing lunch with some friends!
Next it was time for goat yoga!
What’s not to like? Goats? Good. Yoga? Good.
I think the goat enjoyed eating gem’s hair.
Look how cute this little goat is!
Next we headed back to Portland for dessert at Salt & Straw! I suppose it was appropriate that my first time at Salt & Straw was in Portland, as it’s based there. There are a lot of locations in Southern California now though. We got wildflower honey with ricotta walnut lace cookies, pear with blue cheese, almond brittle with salted ganache, and strawberry honey balsamic with black pepper. Yum!
We ended the day at Ground Kontrol, an awesome arcade and bar in downtown Portland. I tried the Falcon Punch (orange Stoli vodka, cranberry juice, and a splash of pineapple juice) and the Green Turtle Shell (Seagram’s Extra Dry Gin, muddled cucumber, and Cock N Bull Ginger Beer). I also ate a chili dog (shout out to Sonic) and a Luigi (pesto pizza). We played a variety of games, including some Pac-Man and The Walking Dead pinball.
This was the highlight of the night. As I walked past the machine, someone asked me to join him and some others in playing Killer Queen. He told me he already paid and I could play for free. I felt like there was a catch, but I soon learned the truth. This amazing game is for two teams of five players. While it can be played with AI controller characters, it’s much better with people. Because you pay per game and not per person, they were just looking for more players. It was a such a fun strategy game! I really love games that encourage socialization, which Killer Queen definitely does. By the end of the night, I was the one asking strangers to join and offering to teach them to play.
Here’s the guy who played most of the evening with us!
Did I mention that our AirBNB came equipped with a kitty? Heck yeah.
The next day we checked out Multnomah Falls, which was beautiful!
After checking out the gorgeous waterfall, we went to a place called Crafty Wonderland before deciding to have lunch at Pok Pok, an amazing Thai restaurant. We had spicy peanuts, spicy fish sauce wings, half chicken with dipping sauces, papaya salad, and drinking vinegars (one mint, lime, and cucumber and one strawberry and Thai basil).
Now it’s time to talk about the whole reason for the trip! This is me and Kristine at her wedding!
Look at Kristine and Justin, the happy couple! The wedding was awesome and subtly comic book themed. There were stacks of comics with Funko vinyl figures as table centerpieces, and the wedding (including the ceremony) used some great Guardians of the Galaxy music.
Here’s one of me, gem, and Kristine.
We can’t forget to use Snapchat and involve the cats 🙂
The photobooth was a ton of fun, and here’s the one photobooth picture that didn’t look sloppy drunk haha. I love that seven people in this photo were part of our raid team in WoW, and we were at the wedding of two others. I had already met everyone except one significant other previously, and I think it’s great that such real friendships could have started thanks to playing World of Warcraft together. Even though most of us don’t play together anymore, the friendships continue.
The next day included quite the adventure to get brunch from Screen Door. Our Uber had to make a lot of u-turns and detours because many streets were blocked off. There was some police search going on involving a crime of some sort, but I don’t remember the details now. But what’s important is the food. This huge brunch includes biscuits and meat gravy, beef brisket hash and eggs, praline bacon, and bacon pancakes with strawberry preserves.
Unfortunately, it was time to say good bye to kitty as we left the AirBNB and took a train to Seattle.
Luckily our AirBNB in Seattle came with these two good boys!
Hey baby I hear the blues a-callin’, tossed salads and scrambled eggs… Sorry, I just had to drop the Frasier theme song in here. Anyways, we visited the Space Needle! It was apparently the 46th Annual Northwest Folklife Festival – a cool little bonus!
Here’s the view from the Space Needle. It’s a much clearer view than the solid gray that the Eiffel Tower gave me in Paris!
Seattle Center, the location of the Space Needle and surrounding area, also featured this playground called Artists at Play! While meant for kids, gem convinced me to climb it as well. She had to coax a kid who made it to the top but was scared to climb into the chamber that you can see in the center of this photo. While I helped encourage kid, I was actually thinking “kids are allowed to do this? What if they fall?!” I was right behind the kid, so as I held on, I admit that I was also thinking “come on, hurry up kid because I’m getting tired!”
After leaving Seattle Center, we explored Seattle a bit.
And then we had dinner at Serious Pie! This appetizer was local beets, rhubarb yogurt, and pistachio butter.
We ordered two pizzas. This is yukon gold potato, rosemary, and pecorino romano.
This is soft eggs, smoked prosciutto, local greens, pecorino sardo.
The food was so good, gem left this feedback with pictures!
The next day we rented a car to drive to Treehouse Point. I’m pretty sure it was this car rental visit at which the vendor told us to pick any car from the lot… and then the lot contained one car. While we were out there, they brought a second car, and we ended up taking that new car. “Any car from the lot” isn’t much of a choice when there’s only a single car in the lot!
Treehouse Point had six amazing treehouses. The one above was Temple of the Blue Moon. They were basically like hotel rooms – furnished and with electricity. So cool.
How cool would it be to stay in a place like this?
This one was called Trillium. I love the staricase. I didn’t get a great photo of the next one, called Upper Pond.
This was Nest!
The Gazebo had a little landing underneath it. That seems like such a relaxing place to stay.
Lastly, this one was called Burl. While we only took a tour, people can also book a treehouse for an overnight stay!
Next up was a trip to Snoqualmie Falls!
Here you can see the waterfall from above. It was really pretty.
Here it is at the base. There’s a little hike down this way along with some signs that teach you about the Snoqualmie People, which consider the falls important to their spirituality.
Snoqualmie Falls has two power plants. Does this have anything to do with them? No idea. Probably?
This tunnel of rings looked very cool! Snoqualmie Falls was a pretty awesome sight, and of course, I had to stop by the gift shop on the way out for some honey and snacks. I think I picked up some postcards too.
After visiting the falls, we decided to hike Rattlesnake Mountain Trail to Stan’s Overlook.
Here are two panoramic shots from my phone. It was a little over 4 miles there and back, and it had some amazing views!
There was so much green!
A little bit of human infrastructure seeped into nature here.
This little guy at Stan’s Overlook wanted to say “hi” to me. Hiking to Stan’s Overlook and back to the parking lot was a bit over 4 miles and definitely worth it.
Here’s a bit of the trail on the way back.
All that hiking must have worked up an appetite, because we had an amazing dinner at The Black Duck Cask and Bottle in Issaquah. The photos didn’t come out great, but here they come anyways!
This is duck gravy poutine with duck added on top (for an extra cost if I recall correctly).
Look at this amazing dish! It’s mac n’ cheese with duck, cheddar, Gouda, cheese puffs, bacon, and pistachios. I can’t really remember what “cheese puffs” meant now. I can’t imagine there were something like Cheetos in it. I do remember that it was delicious.
This is the black duck pie, which I also showed above. It had duck, arugula, Worcestershire sauce, goat cheese, aioli, and pistachios.
For dessert, this is the house made cinnamon roll with blood orange glaze and white chocolate. Not shown: drinks – Uinta Cucumber Saison, Odin Strawberry Smash, and a Black Duck Mule (house infused ginger and jalapeño vodka with ginger beer).
LOOK AT THIS GOOD DOGGO THAT GREETED US WHEN WE GOT BACK TO THE AIRBNB!
The next morning, we explored Capitol Hill in Seattle
We stopped at a coffee shop called General Porpoise.
The coffee was delicious, and the sign was cute too! I had a mocha and rhubarb lemon jam donut. gem had the coconut cream donut!
Here’s gem with the sign in the door.
We also saw this sweet sign for a pizza place called Sizzle Pie!
Oh, and check out this sidewalk. Lysol rox? Uh, I guess it does actually. And the cat is cute!
Next up was Canada! We drove north across the border, stopping at Tim Horton’s for a Canadian maple donut and a double chocolate donut of course.
Next we drove over Lion’s Gate Bridge and used the Trans-Canada Highway to drive to Cypress Provincial Park, where it was suggested we could get above the city for a good view. We stopped at Barrett’s View, but thanks to the dreary day, the view wasn’t so epic. It was still fun!
Realizing I was somehow bleeding, I made a makeshift bandaid and then we headed back into the city. After a quick stop at 7-11 for bandaids, we had dinner at Peaceful Restaurant for Chinese food!
I’m not sure if we just decided to eat a lot or what, because the next thing in my notes was that we stopped at another restaurant. ANYWAYS! Check out this awesome sign for Ramen Gojiro! How could we not eat there, right? Look at the cute, chalk Godzilla!
The menu is cool looking too!
Now it’s possible that the atmosphere and theme of the restaurant is part of this, but I think this was my all time favorite ramen. We got a big plate of karaage as you can see.
And here’s the whole meal.
Before I stop talking about Ramen Gojiro, look at the art on the wall. It was awkward taking this photo since there were people, but oh well.
You’d think this travel log would involve something other than food for a second, but no. Next up was mango milk tea with boba from Sushi Home. Boba doesn’t count as more food though, right?
Now, on to something besides food! This is the Telus Garden, an office building that drew our attention due to its cool style.
Even the inside was classy. Yes, there’s water behind her. I’m sure I’d fall in if I sat there all day.
After we explored some more, we found where pizzas are grown. No, we didn’t eat there.
Anela somehow has me eating at McDonald’s in every country I visit thanks to our European vacation, so we stopped at a McDonald’s. I ordered the poutine as well as a beanie baby, which was the toy at the time, for Anela. Was it a moose? I can’t remember.
Our last noteworthy sighting in Canada was this John Fluevog store.
How wonderfully Canadian! I bet this is kind of annoying to the locals actually, but it made me smile.
So long, Canada! It was back to States for us.
During a chat with our AirBNB hosts, they recommended we look at the Space Needle from Kerry Park.
It was a great place to look at and photograph the Space Needle!
The next day was the last day of the trip, and we started it off with Starbucks at the 1st & Pike location at Pike Place Market.
It’s considered the first Starbucks store, although it’s the first store’s second location because it moved.
Here’s gem waiting for her coffee!
With our coffee, we were ready to explore the Pike Place Market. We ate at Piroshky Piroshky, bought some Johnson Berry Farm jams, saw the flying fish, and listened to a pianist named Jeffrey Circus (which could be spelled differently).
Here’s gem at the gum wall.
We had a bite to eat at Market Grill. I had Copper River Sockeye salmon. There was a map on the wall with pins signifying the hometowns of customers. We found our hometown!
There was a lot of fun chalk art outside of unicorns, each with an arrow pointing in the direction of the next one. We enjoyed following the directions and looking at them all.
I really liked the exterior of Red Cedar & Sage.
Finally, we explored the nearby Olympic Sculpture Park.
It was a nice garden and park with a variety of sculptures, benches, trees, and good views.
Here’s the Space Needle from the park!
Of course, the adventure ended with food! On the way to the airport, we stopped at The Crumpet Shop. Thanks for the fun, Seattle! That’s it for that adventure. So many great memories! 🙂
I think 2018 was a pretty great year. I moved to a new apartment, which I really like, and started a new job that is challenging and rewarding. I enjoyed spending time with many wonderful friends, went on lots of great adventures, and saw a lot of fun shows.
I went to San Diego Comic-Con again for the 8th year in a row. This year I attended with gem, Antonio, and Kaleigh.
I cosplayed Fix-It Felix, Jr. again. And here’s gem as Lilo!
gem and I took Antonio to Zion National Park in Utah and to Vegas for his bachelor party. We did lots of great hiking in Zion…
…visited the Warner Valley Dinosaur Tracks…
…saw Cirque du Soleil in Vegas…
…went to Neon Museum of old signs…
…and went ax throwing in Vegas!
Antonio married Kaleigh! I was one of his two Best People. (He had one man and woman as his Best People).
Here’s Antonio Best Woman, Best Man, and groomsman.
My photo of Anela was shown in the OC Fair.
Here we are with the photo hanging in the gallery!
Christin’s photo of us was also shown!
I always knew that deep down I was a model.
My postcard collection was featured in the OC Fair as well. I entered it as a collection of foreign postcards. I’ve traded mail with 55 countries (up 3 in 2018) and 35 US states (up 8). Considering only postcards, I’ve traded with 50 countries (up 4) and 28 US states (up 8), having received from 41 countries (up 7) and 17 US states (up 5) and sent to 45 countries (up 2) and 25 US states (up 8).
I got rid of my mustache. Sometimes I miss it.
We got season passes to Universal and went a lot of times!
Sometimes I think about what could have been if I had purchased these sunglasses. The world would be blurry, but I’d look so fly.
Andy and Kaylin got married!
And more importantly, the bar served a variety of alcohol when it was supposed to be beer and wine only. Okay, the wedding itself was actually more important, but the drinks were still somewhat important.
The Imperial Sand Dunes made for a gorgeous (but hot) backdrop.
Christin, Anela, and gem were all beautiful models!
On the way home, we visited Salvation Mountain.
Tanaka Farms’ sunflower festival was fun and beautiful!
gem really loved the huge sunflowers!
Here’s Anela and me with Hello Kitty.
And here’s gem and me with Hello Kitty!
Anela and I visited the lavender festival, and she wore a Ukrainian outfit.
There were many photo shoots, although a lot of them aren’t ready to be posted yet. Here’s one of Angel Kawaii as Harley Quinn!
The Arts Alive and Street Painting Festival in Mission Viejo ended up being more fun than I expected, especially because there were over 50 fairy doors.
The Christmas treasure hunt was so fun. Look at the detail on the map Pete made!
2018 was the year of pop ups for me it seems. I visited Happy Place for the second time. Here I am with gem in the rubber ducky room! I still need to go through those photos…
gem and I went to San Francisco to visit the Museum of Ice Cream (and to visit our friends Matt and Katie).
The Sprinkle Pool was awesome!
gem took me to The Pizza Experience as a Christmas present. Photo ops and pizza?! Amazing!
This is how I work out now.
I had to see the Gudetama x Curry House collaboration with gem. Luckily the curry is delicious there!
And then there’s the Rilakkuma x Roasting Water collaboration too! I’ve been to two of their locations with gem for this collaboration, and I’ve visited the one near my house many times on my own.
And I can’t forget Aggretsuko’s DEN OF RAGE!!!
gem and I learned about ethics at The Good Place Experience.
gem took this photo of me as a luchador at Luzia. I really saw a ton of shows this year:
Cirque du Soleil’s Luzia under the Grand Chapiteau
The Book of Mormon at Segerstrom Center
Allegiance at the Aratani Theatre
The Unauthorized Musical Parody of Jurassic Park at the Rockwell: Table & Stage
David Sedaris speaking at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center
Cirque du Soleil’s Zumanity at New York-New York
Suburban Legends in Downtown Disney three times
Drag show at the Velvet Lounge
Goldfinger with The Suicide Machines, Buck-o-Nine, and Suburban Legends at the House of Blues, Anaheim
Dear Evan Hansen at the Ahmanson Theatre
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians at the Maverick Theater
Wicked at the Pantages
The Fury of the Aquabats 20th Anniversary show with The Aquabats featuring former Aquabats Catboy, Prince Adam, and Chainsaw and opener C.J. Ramone
Love Actually Live at The Wallis
…47 seasons of TV shows and 42 films (not counting repeated viewings)
What an action packed year! Can I cram as many cool things into 2019?
This Christmas my parents (I think mostly Pete) created a treasure hunt for the youngest generation – my brother, my two cousins, and me. It was super fun, and check out that awesome treasure map! I’m getting a little ahead of myself.
My Christmas card contained a note with the following message: A gift to divided not by millions or dozens, but rather between four Christmasey cousins… so, just work together and it will surely be a snap, all you need is a map and an app!
Below the message, as you can see, is a QR code. Scanning the QR code revealed the following: Consult the map and follow the lead, clues you will find to help with the deed. To discover the first step don’t scratch your head, just look for something big and…
When I texted it to gem, I got this reply:
Red! Go to the shed!
I told her that we were having Christmas Eve at my aunt’s and that the treasure was for Christmas day at my parents’. She said I should drive there right now, and then she said she was going to ride her bike there herself to find it, haha.
The next day, Christmas day, at my parents, we started our search and found this QR code on the side of the red barn in the backyard.
To find the next clue, don’t present a “Spaced Look”, to find what ye seek check the King’s _________________.
Now the last thing Pete posted to Facebook was a video of Rocky, their dog, walking in the front yard… right around the place on the treasure map labeled “Rocky the Fierce.” At first we looked around his computer thinking the clue had something to do with how he accesses Facebook, but then we went to the front yard to explore.
We found it – another QR code… and a compass!?
Now don’t get lazy, grumpy, strange and so forth, just proceed… 15 PACES DUE NORTH.
Using the compass, we aimed north and began walking.
Hidden in the flowerbed was this little container, and inside it was a note.
To decipher this clue fret no more, simply make your way through the castle door. The help you need couldn’t be any clearer. Just study this clue reflected in the…
Using the mirror in the entryway, we found our next clue.
This may be hard or it may be easy but don’t be vexed. Just use this number and ask in a… [phone number].
So I called the number, which was Pete’s. And then someone pointed out that I was clearly supposed to text.
In reply to my text, I received a QR code. James scanned it, and we got our next clue.
23 paces South, 19 paces West. Once you’ve arrived don’t be a silly goose. The clues reside under that which is…
Loose! It was under a loose part of the small wall at the edge of the property.
You’ve made it this far which is a formidable feat, for ancient kin of she what doesn’t eat meat. To uncover the next clue, go to that which is neither stoic nor slanted but rather in the spot that is truly _____________.
We made our way to back yard, where the map was labeled “enchanted forest,” and found this clue.
Ready your devices at this moment of crisis… to receive the next clue you must play the odds, sing out loud this song as a call to the gods… Practice it just once and please stay in tune. If it’s treasure you seek it may happy soon… “I’ll take my Christmas goat on a banana boat or Continental Trailways bus!”
This was a Christmas-altered version of a song we used to sing from… something? Or maybe it was an inside joke? I have no idea, but we belted out our song. And get this – with four people watching us, no one thought to film us singing loudly in the backyard on Christmas about a Christmas goat.
Haley received our next clue.
If continuing this quest is actually your desire, you may want to look beneath the Funeral Pyre… 16 paces 196 degrees SSW.
Using our trusty map, we found the funeral pyre. I tried to pick up the whole thing, somehow thinking it was all glued together. It was actually just stacked, and the clue was under one of the top pieces. Oops.
Go back to the Castle, where the King mainly does dwell. Your clues lies not with a Knight or with a fighter but in an old texting machine called a _____________________.
Off to Pete’s office to look in his typewriter!
You may think the map maker a goofy buffoon, but to find the next clue look deep into the _____________. Solving the riddle is but part of this diddle. Upon arrival, curiosity to quench, perhaps you’ll need help from a magical Food ___________.
The first blank was sending us to the pool. The second one was obviously a reference to a term James uses for Mom – food wench!
And the QR code gets us this:
Like the rest who have done a quest, or maybe more like a dog without a bone, you’ll probably wanna use: Speakerphone! [phone number]
We also got this note:
Take heed of nearby surroundings and don’t play the fool… to help with this one you may want a tool…
Now I can’t quite remember if we called Mom first or if James and Haley fished the next clue out of the pool first. We saw it earlier in the hunt but knew it wasn’t time for it yet! I know at some point we called Mom, and I know we got the clue from the pool. I think she guided us to look in the pool perhaps.
Mitch grabbed and it and looked inside.
Hint: Just pull out the clue & take it w/u!Strange clues, or items to weight down the clue?
Hoist your freak flag high on the mast! Treat this request just like the last… [phone number]
The number was Uncle Chuck’s, but I don’t think we called. I know we went over to him, so maybe we called and he told us to come to him.
His clue was like one from a wise sage, and it probably even rhymed. Unfortunately, it was lost to time. But I know where it sent us.
Inside the frog were some gloves and a QR code with the final clue! We actually found this clue earlier when we were searching the Enchanted Forest, but the good King let us know we weren’t supposed to find it yet 😀
There really is a treasure, this is no trap, so do the right thing and look on the map. Just remember this last clue is not to be forgotten, your treasure likes beneath that which is rotten…
The flies on the map led us the compost, in which Haley found something…
A Wi-Fi range extender box… with a QR code on the side?!
Open “tp-link.com” in Safari
Okay, okay. I’m kidding. That QR code wasn’t actually a clue.
The box contained our treasure! One hundred dollars for us to split between the four of us! What a fun adventure! 🙂