Category Archives: Comedy

SDCC 2017

SDCC was last month, and despite not getting tickets in the first round, I did manage to get a ticket again this year! I debuted a new full cosplay and a new pseudo-cosplay, which was very fun.

Antonio, gem, and I drove down Wednesday after work and had Berkeley Pizza for dinner. It was a short night, because we didn’t get down there early.

Thursday was the first time I wore my Tamatoa (the crab from Moana) cosplay. It was way too hot for it, but I enjoyed wearing it.

We met up with Tram and her friend Christian, and we spent most of the day with them. Maybe they’re good luck, because we got into Hall H for the first time. For reference, usually people line up overnight to get into Hall H. We heard an announcement that Will Smith would be in Hall H, which I just found silly. So what? It’s too late now. Antonio pointed out that maybe they announced it because it wasn’t full. He was exactly right. We walked right into the Netflix panel about Bright and Death Note. Will Smith was on the first half of the panel for Bright, and the whole thing was moderated by Terry Crews. It was pretty cool to be in there with them!

After Hall H, it was time for the Lick King’s Ice Cream Citadel! We got some tasty ice cream and posed with the Lich King! By then I was tired of my Tamatoa costume, so I changed into normal clothes because it was so hot. We had Greek fusion for dinner at Meze, at which we ate the last two years as well.

On Friday I wore my Magikarp Jump cosplay. It wasn’t 100% authentic at all, but it was fun. gem had the idea to use Boomerang for the video. Nice suggestion! We met up with our friends Krista, Kaitlyn, and David. I always run into Krista and Kaitlyn at the coolest places!

This was a day mostly for panels. I saw Robin Hobb: Beyond the Page first followed by Dare to Be Dynamite: Creative Vision with Pierce Brown, an author that gem loves. In the evening we watched a Mega64 panel and the Super Geeked Up Improv show, which was fun, although I wish there was more improv.

My favorite panel was Superstars in Children’s Fiction with Greg Grunberg, Lucas Turnbloom, R. L. Stine, Jarrett J. Krosocka, Jenni Holm, Matt Holm, and Molly Ostertag. We went because we thought it would be fun to see R. L. Stine, but we had no idea that Greg Grunberg, Parkman from Heroes and Wexley from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, would be there and is now a children’s fiction author. He was super nice! We chatted with him after the panel, and when I asked to take a photo of him and gem, his son (I think) offered to take one of the three of us.

My favorite part of the panel was when Greg asked R. L. Stine about the future of Goosebumps TV shows or films. R. L. Stine said he couldn’t comment. Greg told him that he’d trade him information about the next Star Wars movies. Too awesome.

gem wore her Woody costume, which was modified since last year. Previously she tried to keep it authenticate. This year it was more interpretive with a dress. I think she rocked it!

On Saturday, Antonio and I snuck in as professionals to skip the line. Yay. gem took some cool photos of me by the water in my Tamatoa costume.

I had to fight Maui of course. Why wasn’t he transforming? “Well, well, well. Little Maui’s having trouble with his look…”

There were a lot of great Moana cosplayers! Thanks to gem for taking so many wonderful photographs 🙂 There are more on my cosplay page.

We went to another tokidoki signing as always where Simone signed my tokidoki x Overwatch notebook. We also chatted with Jaycee, who worked for tokidoki. She remembered us from previous years, and we followed each other on Instagram.

Let’s not talk about waiting in line over an hour for a Star Trek panel but not getting inside. At least I got to chat with some cool people in line!

Kaleigh joined us that night, although we split up for a bit. gem and I hung out while Antonio met with her at the train station. We all met up briefly, but then that evening gem, Antonio, and I went to see the best brothers around, the McElroys! We watched My Brother, My Brother, and Me live in San Diego! It was really fun to see them in person. Too bad we didn’t get to talk to them. I had a question ready to ask, but there weren’t microphones on the balcony where we were sitting unfortunately.

On Sunday I wore a tried-and-true cosplay, Fix-it Felix Jr.! During a panel, I ran into Erin, a Vanelope von Schweetz cosplayer! We took some photos together after the panel. Her car was super amazing!

After chatting with her, we went to a Disneybound panel with Leslie Kay, Kit Leitmeyer, Loni Clark, Neil A. Williams II, and Sara Katz-Scher. It was pretty interesting to hear about how they come up with their outfits.

I ended the convention at the Disney group shoot! It was organized by Robert T Photography, who also took the photo above. You can see more of his photos from the event here on Facebook.

One videographer took video of us for the end of his cosplay music video. I’m in it briefly at the end as I dance around 4:51, but I’m right in front so you can see me clearly, haha!

 

Look how amazing this little Dopey cosplayer was! He seemed to have a great time with the other Disney cosplayers.

Antonio took this photo of me and gem in her Steven Universe cosplay! I think she did a great job with this. A lot of Steven Universe cosplayers carry a ukulele just as a prop, but this cosplayer can actually play it! Yeah!

There are plenty more photos of my Fix-it Felix Jr. cosplay here.

On our way out of San Diego, we stopped at Kafe Sobaka Restoran Pomegranate for Russian dinner. This is the khachapuri, which was filled with delicious cheese. Oh my god, I definitely need to eat this again. I also had chanakhi (lamb stew) as my entree.

And for dessert, I had sweet vatrushka with sour cherry and farmer’s cheese. Yum!

Until next year, SDCC!

Looking back on 2016, and looking forward to 2017

I keep hearing about how awful 2016 was and how 2017 should hopefully be better. There were a lot of celebrity deaths in 2016, and I was devastated by the presidential election. More personally, I was laid off from Toshiba in a huge reduction-in-force, and my roommate had to put our two dogs to sleep. Yeah, there were negatives. And yet I’ll be lucky if 2017 lives up to 2016.

I traveled to Europe and saw eight countries with three of my closest friends, gem, Antonio, and Anela, and visited two great friends, Jessica and Andrew, who had recently moved to Paris. I saw Denmark, the UK (including England and Northern Ireland), the Republic of Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy, and Sweden. It was amazing, and I swear I’ll get to sorting photos and blogging eventually.

I saw Disneyland Paris and our hometown Disneyland’s Season of the Force. I attended Devin and Lorena’s 30th wedding anniversary party that included a face-painted bar crawl and a 1920s speakeasy party. I saw Kristine’s first exhibit that she curated in LA – Firsts, Seconds and Thirds: African American Leaders in Los Angeles During the 1960s & 70s.

I watched Anela dance a few times, including Shimmy Shakedown featuring her and Melissa. I saw the Wet Silk art exhibit, met Jon Klassen at the LA Times Festival of Books, and watched an LA KISS Arena football game.

The Holi Festival was a colorful blast of fun. Here I am with gem, Tory, Sean, and Nicole. I also went to the Huntington Beach Cherry Blossom Festival!

I went to a number of photoshoots with Anela, including this Fourth of July shoot that I really enjoyed, a fairy photoshoot, cherry blossoms, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall and train tracks in LA where I also got to shoot gem!

I took a bunch of friends to the Alpaca Hacienda for Anela’s birthday, and we got to see feed and pet alpacas and a llama!

I watched Sherlock Holmes and the Time Portal as well as Sweeney Todd, and gem surprised me with tickets to see Patton Oswalt. I’d been wanting to see his stand-up for a long time, and he didn’t disappoint. I had the three most amazing meals of my life – two at Frame in Paris and one for Edward’s birthday at Alexander’s Steakhouse in Pasadena.

I participated in a high-altitude sleep and cognitive ability sleep study at Barcroft Station, White Mountain Research Center where I witnessed some of the most beautiful views of nature I’ve ever seen. I saw the B-52s and Flight of the Conchords live as well as a number of local ska bands that I see regularly. I went to Allison’s awesome gaybut party and finally made it to one of Bryan’s parties where I participated in some of the most stimulating conversation I’ve had in a while.

I cosplayed Luke while gem cosplayed Professor Layton at San Diego Comic-Con. I also cosplayed Fix-It Felix Jr., and a Pokemon Go trainer. I got to dress as a zombie later in the year as well! I attended the Sonic the Hedgehog 25th anniversary party and saw some improv such as Spectacles, ImprovCity, and more.

Two great friends, Gracie and Jon, got married, and I got to watch.

I worked for three months doing server and other hardware installation for California DMVs. While I was traveling across the state, I got to visit my friends Matt, Katie, and Marc. I also had the chance to have lunch with Chuck Sommerville, a game designer whom I’ve admired for a very long time. He’s incredibly fascinating and has done many interesting things, and he was every bit as nice as I could have hoped.

And I even got to meet Alex and Darnell’s beautiful new daughter, Meredith.

Now I’m sure I’m missing many awesome things about 2016, but that just proves my point. If 2017 is half as good to me as 2016 was, I’ll be very grateful. Happy New Year.

Thanks to 2015 and everyone who made it great

Crow on the lake

This was quite the year filled with many fun activities. It seems like a nice time for some reflection. I went to Michigan, which was beautiful, with Duncan. I’d never been that far north or east.

Niagara Falls

On that same trip, I left the country for the first time to visit Niagara Falls.

Lee's Palace

I also visited Toronto! It was an awesome city.

Holland Tayloe Gedney as Elsa

I went to San Diego Comic-Con again. Here I’m dressed as an Aquabat with Holland Tayloe Gedney’s Elsa.

The Aquabats!

It was also my first year cosplaying – not counting the Aquabats costume I’ve worn to SDCC previously for concerts. This is Professor Monty Corndog from the Aquabats (with the Aquabats)!

Snapchat magic by gem

And let’s not forget Fix-It Felix, Jr.

Bay Area friends

I visited friends in the Bay Area when I went to San Francisco for a conference.

SoCal Paddle Yoga

I did a lot of yoga, including paddle yoga. I started practicing yoga in the summer of 2014 and continued in 2014. Starting in June, I did yoga daily, never missing a day. I took over 130 yoga classes in 2015. My wrist is still healing but is feeling much better. I think the glucosamine sulfate (thanks to the pianist from Intergalactic Nemesis for the suggestion) and vertical mouse is helping quite a bit. I also hurt my knee, so for the past few months I’ve only been doing restorative or yin yoga. Honestly, I can see the good in this. I’ve learned to appreciate yin and restorative so much more, which helps give me a deeper understanding to my practice and myself.

dancing

Speaking of hurting my knee, I’ve also been dancing a lot more. I took 40-something dance classes this year. While I tried a lot of different areas, I like Balboa, Argentine tango, and Lindy Hop the most. I’m glad I have fun friends who like to go dancing.

Ooey Gooey Berry PieI baked an ooey gooey berry pie for Anela to celebrate the fact that she passed the bar. I also got to attend her bar admission ceremony and law school graduation. Folly at Dapper Day

gem and I went to the Dapper Day expo at Downtown Disney and to Folly, the afterparty.

gem on stage with Suburban Legends!gem and I were extras during the filming of The Big Day, and gem got this great photo of her with Suburban Legends. Free Comic Book Day and ImprovCity's Comic Book Day show!

I saw so much talent in my friends. This is Free Comic Book Day show at ImprovCity with my friend Alex Bower front and center. Besides some regular shows, I saw him in Scary Pants (which he wrote), Millennial Falcon at Second City, and HIStory/HERstory.

UntitledSpeaking of talented friends named Alex, I saw Alex Foster clowning around and got pulled on stage for more participation (just like the last clown show I saw before this one). Little Jimmy the Robot of the Aquabats

I painted a little Jimmy the Robot.

Adventure Time mug painted at Color Me Mine! Idea by reddit user /u/Just-Another-Teenage in a post by /u/Corrupt_CoreI also painted this Adventure Time mug. Adventure Time mug painted at Color Me Mine! Idea by reddit user /u/Just-Another-Teenage in a post by /u/Corrupt_Core

You have to see both sides.

That’s not to mention the cool Christmas gifts and cards I made this year. I haven’t given them all to their recipients yet, so I don’t want to show anything.

IMG_3833gem took me to a sushi class where we prepared sushi rolls! She’s the best 🙂Coup de Comedy 2015

We also saw Kindred Throats, an amazing musical comedy duo. She liked them so much, she baked them cookies. Twice.

Anela's graduation

I attended Anela’s law school graduation from Chapman.

bar admission ceremony

…and her CA Bar admission ceremony.

Kurios

gem and I saw Cirque du Soleil’s KURIOS! Amazing!

Me and Anela at the Bellydance IDOL presents Om Kalthoum Tribute Show

I saw Anela dance a number of times, including the really fun Bellydance IDOL presents Om Kalthoum Tribute Show.

watson adventures

I helped solve a mystery at the Watson Adventures.

Blacklight Run

I ran (jogged/walked) a Blacklight Run with these two fun people.

Snow photo shoot with gem and Anela

I even got to see snow for the first time.

Heck, the year even started with my friends getting engaged.

I did so many other cool things too such as…

  • Reading all surviving plays by Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides that I hadn’t read previously.
  • Having agents draft social media responses for me at work
  • Participating in a behavioral study
  • Becoming friends with Bryan Lackey, awesome ska trumpet player
  • Wakeboarding
  • Watching my brother perform in the Spectacles Improv Engine’s Student Showcase
  • Seeing a meteor shower
  • Attending a sand sculpture festival
  • Jogging/walking a Blacklight Run
  • Running the Walking Dead Experience
  • Seeing bands such as the Aquabats, the Interrupters, Starpool, Suburban Legends, LA Swing Barons, Imagine Dragons, Metric, Halsey, the LA Philharmonic, and Scott Bradlee and the Postmodern Jukebox
  • Vacationing with my roommates and friends in Vegas
  • Swing dancing in Downtown Disney
  • Visiting the OC Fair and OC Night Market
  • Watching Rocky Horror Picture Show
  • Lots of blogging (see my earlier post)

And I’m sure I’m forgetting to mention a thousand things. Thanks to everybody who helped make 2015 such an amazing year.

Happy Back to the Future Day!

It’s Back to the Future Day! Today’s the day in the “future” that the heroes of Back to the Future visit in the second movie. At 4:29 PM today the time machine should appear in California!

Check out the cool video posted by the Back to the Future Trilogy Facebook page!

I would have included photos from the Spectacles performance, Improv to the Future, but apparently I didn’t take any. What?! I wrote about it though.

Michigan Vacation

Cottage trip in MichiganEarlier this month, I spent a little over a week in Michigan with a day in Canada. Duncan visits family there and asked if I wanted to come this year. Of course! We stayed with his dad, Dan, who was incredibly accomdating. I’d met him previously, but it was nice getting to know him as well as Duncan’s brother, Griffin. There’s a sense of humor that runs in his family I think. After a layover in Denver, we arrived in Detroit early Saturday morning, went back to Dan’s house, and slept for a bit. That evening, we spent some time seeing Ann Arbor. Fairy doors of Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor has these little fairy doors scattered around the city. We only saw one, but they seemed pretty interesting to me.

Fairy doors of Ann Arbor

You can read about them at Wikipedia’s Fairy Doors of Ann Arbor. If I went back, I’d spend more time looking for the others. University of Michigan We spent some time walking around the University of Michigan, which was pretty cool. I saw Tau Beta Pi’s Bent and had to get a picture with it! Ann Arbor had a really cool downtown area and was a great city overall. The weather was nice too; it was the first time I had ever been that far north or east, so it was quite a bit different. The day we landed, the high was about 15 degrees lower than Irvine’s low. Cottage trip in Michigan

On Sunday we left for the cottage. We spent a lot of time visiting cities near it, eating, taking in the sights, and playing board games. I like how quickly Dan and Griffin learned our inside jokes. Oh, Loaded Questions’ “Duncan questions.” There’s another picture of the cottage at the top of this post.

Cottage trip in Michigan

I know this isn’t a fantastic shot or anything, but it was cool seeing so much of the night sky there. Crow on the lake The cottage was right on the lake, so it seemed like a beautiful spot for some yoga. Thanks for the photo, Griffin! It was really amazing seeing the changing colors of the trees too even if they weren’t fully changing yet. I felt like every day I’d be amazed all over again. skipping stones One of the highlights (yeah, it was a highlight!) was learning to skip stones on the lake. Simple, yet fun. Mackinac Island

We visited Mackinac Island after driving to the Upper Peninsula, which was pretty cool. It was a fort used in the Revolutionary War (among other wars). It seemed surreal to be thinking about the Revolutionary War.

Mackinac Island

Cars weren’t allowed on the island, but there were plenty of horses. Oh, and there was fudge. I bought two pounds of fudge to take home. Unfortunately, most of it’s gone by now. Mackinac Island

Every fort needs some cannons.

Mackinac Island

Did you know that this region has black squirrels? Black squirrels! Mackinac Island

The island had plenty of trees.

Mackinac Island

Here’s a shot of me while I was there. Thanks, Duncan.

Mackinac Island

Birds totally bore me at zoos, but I learned that I like taking photographs of them. This guy really wanted our fudge. Lighthouse visit

During our mini-vacation to the cottage, we also visited this lighthouse.

Lighthouse visit

It was just a tad foggy but very beautiful.

Jackie and Kenneth

After returning to Ann Arbor, we met with Jackie and Kenneth. I know I should have visited sooner, but at least I did eventually!

Jackie and Kenneth

We all went out to eat at the Jolly Pumpkin, which was amazing, except I ate way too much pizza. It was really wonderful talking with Jackie and Kenneth again. I’m glad it just felt like old times. It’s funny how many nights I spent talking with Jackie back in college. It makes me all nostalgic!

Robot Supply and Repair

Duncan and I had to represent Robot House by doing the robot in front of Robot Supply and Repair.

Graffiti Alley

We also saw a ton of cool street art!

DetroitOn Thursday, Griffin got us lost in the GM Renaissance Center in Detroit. I thought we might have to live there when the elevators wouldn’t let us back out. Detroit

What’s with Detroit and secret places? We walked all around Slows BBQ before realizing this was the door.

DetroitAt the John K. King Used and Rare Books store, I bought a book called The World of Odysseus. I’m excited to read it! White Castle

That night we had White Castle for dinner. Um, you know how frozen White Castle food sucks? The fast food joint is actually pretty tasty! Granted I felt sick the next day (as I was told I might), but I’ve already found myself craving it again.

Niagara FallsIt was time to head to Canada on Friday! I hadn’t left the country before this and was super excited. Even if Canada isn’t that culturally different, it was still thrilling. I rented a car, and we started by going to Niagara Falls. Niagara Falls

See, I guess I like birds now.

Niagara FallsI was surprised that it wasn’t louder. It was breathtaking though. Give California some of that water, jerks. Niagara Falls Here’s me and Duncan courtesy of a friendly stranger. Duncan had been to the US side before and said the view was much better from the Canadian side. Niagara Falls

Before driving to Toronto, I had some coffee and a Canadian Maple donut from Tim Horton’s. I had to be cliche. It was good, and there really are a ton of Tim Horton’s in Canada.

Dr. MarioToronto doesn’t make a big deal about this, but apparently Dr. Mario lives there. Amazing. Lockhart We had dinner and drinks at The Lockhart, a bar inspired by Harry Potter. The food was good, and the cocktails were amazing. I had The Captain Picard, “(2oz)Earl Grey Infused (Bombay) Gin, Agave, Lime, Tonic,” and a Cafe Moscow, “(3oz)Espresso infused Vodka, Baileys, Kahlua, Agave, Choc. Sprinkles (opt.), Coffee Bitters.” Untitled

The next day we spent most of the day looking for sights from Scott Pilgrim, although we also went to the University of Toronto and a few other places.

Sonic Boom

Sonic Boom is a record store at which Scott Pilgrim shops. It was pretty cool, and I bought a shirt.

Toronto Public LibraryHere’s the library at which Scott sees Ramona rollerblade up the counter. Park

This park was used in the movie, although there was a lot of post-production done on the scene.

UntitledWhile not super recognizable, the house with the bit of blue was used at Scott Pilgrim’s place in the film. Casa Loma

Casa Loma was where Lucas Lee was filming in Scott Pilgrim.

Casa LomaThink I could do a grindy thingy on that rail? Pizza Pizza Scott Pilgrim and friends eat at Pizza Pizza, and now I do too. Not bad. Pizza Pizza

Pizza Pizza also served poutine, which killed two birds with one stone.

Lee's Palace

Lee’s Palace is where Sex Bob-omb opens for The Clash at Demonhead. We didn’t go inside, but it sure had an awesome exterior!

Lee's Palace

Here’s one final shot for the vacation, me standing outside Lee’s Palace.

It was such a great trip! I wish I could have done more, but honestly, we really packed a lot into the vacation.

I have plenty more of my photographs posted on Flickr, and I’ll have more up on social media too. Thanks to everybody who made the trip great – Duncan, Dan, Griffin, Jackie, Kenneth, and a lot of others!

Pan-frying Pizza Rolls with Totino’s x MBMBaM

My favorite podcast, My Brother, My Brother, and Me, recently had a entire episode sponsored by Totino’s. That’s hilarious all by itself, but the episode was pretty great. One fan wrote to the show discussing how he prefers to pan-fry his Pizza Rolls.

“A few years ago I brought home Pizza Rolls to discover my roommate had broken the toaster oven. At the time, we didn’t have a microwave, and I didn’t want to wait for the oven to preheat. My solution was to grab a frying pan and some extra virgin olive oil and fry my Totino’s Pizza Rolls! They came out great, and now that’s the only way I prepare my Pizza Rolls. I cannot think of another podcast more suited for this anecdote.”

I’d be crazy not to try it, right? Last Friday was Pizza Day as The Aquabats would say, so it was the perfect day to try it out. Thanks to gem and Anela for helping make the video and eat delicious Pizza Rolls with me!

And the results? gem and I both preferred pan-fried Pizza Rolls. I thought they were awesome! We were in agreement that baked were next and microwaved were the worst (but still totally worth eating). Anela preferred baked over pan-fried but agreed that they were both better than microwaved. Well, two out of three isn’t bad. Thank you, Totino’s, McElroy brothers, and mystery writer to the show!

San Diego Comic-Con 2015

San Diego Comic-Con 2015 was super awesome! It was my first time cosplaying besides wearing my Aquabats costume one day last year, and it was really fun. My favorite part of these conventions has always been looking at the cosplayers and getting photos with them; it’s interesting to participate now. I attended with gem and Antonio as usual. I cosplayed an Aquabat, Professor Monty Corndog from the Aquabats, and Fix-It Felix, Jr. from Wreck-It Ralph while gem cosplayed Sadness from Inside Out, Woody from Toy Story, and Vanellope Von Schweetz from Wreck-It Ralph. Here are some of the cosplay highlights! Thursday I wore my Aquabats costume. It made the most sense because I was going to their concert later that night. 19679329421_208dc2019a_o The first photo I was asked to join was this one, shot by Kenneth Yeast. They were posing near me actually! The photographer took a photo of my business card and was nice enough to e-mail me the photos. From left to right, that’s me, @freeddc, @kaitlynfreed, and @lilbelle74 from Instagram. I’ve seen them on Instagram through Aquabats tags and concerts for a while, so it was especially cool to get photos with them. Aquabat and Elsa at SDCC 2015

This is @hollandtayloegedney (Instagram) who won an award this year for her Elsa cosplay. She was really nice, and it was fun talking to her.Aquabat, Finn, and Fionna at SDCC 2015

After I posed with Finn and Fionna from Adventure Time, gem worked her Snapchat magic to turn them into Aquabats!Aquabat versus WalkerWalkers can’t stand the might of an Aquabat.Aquabat, Joker, and Harley at SDCC 2015


I wouldn’t want to be hit with that hammer! Aquabat and Dangerous Pixie Harley Quinn at SDCC 2015
*boink* Ow, my head! Edit: When I first posted this, I didn’t even realize that was Dangerous Pixie!Daredevil and Aquabat at SDCC 2015


I also met my favorite hero, Daredevil! Edit: This is Tony Rios, @EL_LOBO209Aquabat headstand at SDCC 2015
I got in some yoga too.Aquabat crow at SDCC 2015


And a little more. On Friday I cosplayed Professor Monty Corndog from the Aquabats.Professor Monty Corndog of the Aquabats
While in line for a panel, some Aquabats lined up behind me.Professor Monty Corndog, Woody, and Minions at SDCC 2015


Woody (gem) and I posed with some minions too!

Clay Carmine of Gears of War chainsawed me in the neck! gem performed some Snapchat witchery again. Professor Monty Corndog of the Aquabats
Professor Monty Corndog of the Aquabats meets Professor Utonium of the Powerpuff Girls!Professor Monty Corndog and Breaking Bad at SDCC 2015


Breaking Despicable? I guess this minion found someone despicable to follow. When I asked for a picture, Jesse said “yeah, bitch.”Professor Monty Corndog of the Aquabats
And here I am with the Aquabats! Professor Monty Corndog is much more obscure than just the Aquabats costume, so I knew no one would really recognize it. Luckily the Bat Commander said, “Professor Monty Corndog… is that you?” It was so worth it to get this photo with them!

My final cosplay was Fix-It Felix, Jr. from Wreck-It Ralph, which I did on Saturday and Sunday.

Fix-It Felix, Jr. at SDCC 2015


More Snapchat voodoo from gem. I really love this.Fix-It Felix, Jr. at SDCC 2015 with Mario Kart
Here I’m fixing up this kart. Awesome Mario Kart cosplays!Fix-It Felix, Jr. at SDCC 2015 with Companion Cube and Chell


I also fixed this adorable Companion Cube while posing with her and Chell.Fix-It Felix, Jr. at SDCC 2015 with Maleficent
Speaking of adorable, isn’t this Maleficent just the cutest? I think this was my favorite cosplay of the con. My heart kind of wants to explode.Fix-It Felix, Jr. at SDCC 2015 with Fix-It Felicia


I high-fived Fix-It Felicia!Fix-It Felix, Jr. at SDCC 2015 with luchadores
Later I got in a wrestling match.Fix-It Felix, Jr. at SDCC 2015 and the Flash


I even tried to fix the Flash right in the head!

I wasn’t in costume for these, but I saw some cool cosplays while I eating dinner too.Seymour Krelborn at SDCC 2015
Feed me, Seymour! Feed me all night long! Check out that Audrey II!Globo-Gym Purple Cobras at SDCC 2015


I couldn’t resist a photo with the Globo-Gym Purple Cobras!

Woody and Dhalsim
gem even did yoga with Dhalsim!

The Aquabats concert was amazing. Here they performed a cover of The Pixies’ Where Is My Mind. They also showed a video they’re going to pitch to TV execs to try to get The Aquabats! Super Show! picked up. It showed the MCBC begging a cloaked wizard to help. He reveals himself to be Jack Black, absorbs the Commander’s powers, and transforms into an Aquabat. He agrees to help and talks about how we’re all Aquabats before using his magic to transform a bunch of celebrities into Aquabats, including Weird Al Yankovic, Tony Hawk, and more. It was very cool.

Aquabats Set List


They even signed my set list!

The MCBC
I also met this guy who isn’t wearing a costume because he’s a regular guy. It couldn’t be the Bat Commander. The Bat Commander doesn’t wear normal shirts like that. He was really nice, and he talked with me about getting more involved with the Aquabats. It probably helped that gem gave him a bunch of snacks! And speaking of gem giving snacks, she gave care packages to other people, such as Todd from Toddland. He was super cool. Technically gem got his number!

gem and Allie Brosh


We saw Allie Brosh of Hyperbole and a Half. Her panel was moderated by Felicia Day, and it was super great. gem gave Allie some cookies and snacks, and Allie was very appreciative and nice. They hugged and took a photo together. We also saw a panel about Jhonen Vasquez, creator of Invader Zim. He was very down to Earth and discussed how scary it is that some people identify with parts of his crazy comics.Aquabat and walkers
We ran the Walking Dead Experience, and I did it in my Aquabats costume. It was really fun.

We arrived in Petco Park as survivors, and someone escorted us inside, claiming it’s safe. Of course, walkers showed up, and we had to run. They’re all played by volunteers who couldn’t really hurt us, but I got into it and definitely ran hard and dodged walkers. Eventually we met a second group of survivors who weren’t as friendly. They killed our leader when they found out we didn’t have supplies. Our talks were cut short when walkers approached, and we all had to run again. At the end, they decided to cull the weak. They chose someone from our group to kill, and it ended up being Antonio. They had him kneel as they raised a club to kill him. Luckily for him, walkers arrived once more, and we ran for it. Antonio said that as the walkers arrived, someone (presumably staff) lifted him to ensure he didn’t get trampled. It was so much fun!19648644496_d9eee621fa_o


Let’s see… what else. We ran into Bryan Lackey, a fantastic trumpet player. I know him from Skapeche Mode and Failed to Victory. He was really friendly and stopped to chat with us for a while before taking a photo and friending us on Facebook!

Spaceship Warlock
We also went to an art exhibit called Super Video Game Land by Anthony Bulcao at the Mission Brewery. He paints scenes from video games and is really talented! He had two painting from Spaceship Warlock, an old adventure game I loved as a kid. I was most excited for those two. He said he wasn’t confident about including them, and that I was the only person who talked to him about them. I’m glad I did!

I also participated (badly) in a kazoo and ukulele play-along, met Rikki Simons, voice of Gir (and more) from Invader Zim, played games at the Nintendo Lounge, and sang along with gem while she played Martian Girl in a line. Such an awesome weekend!

I know they’re not going to read this, but thanks to all the people who asked for photos and appreciated my cosplay – the Aquabats group photo, the jedi, the dude with the swords, and the three or four other people who liked my Aquabats costume, and the Nintendo employee, Quailman, the little Captain America, Ariel (who was excited and wanted a photo after I asked her first), and the other 14 or so people, especially the little kids, who liked my Fix-It Felix, Jr. It made me very happy!

iHOOKAH featuring Anela and Second City featuring Alex

Hi there! I did some things this weekend.

Friday I went to the Dub for drinks and met some friends back at the house. I got to try Stax Cookie Bar, which was delicious!

On Saturday, gem, Duncan, and I went to Anela’s.

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gem balanced with Anela’s sword while Duncan relaxed.

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Anela was dancing at iHOOKAH, and gem joined her! I like how this happened to turn out thanks to the crazy lights.

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iHOOKAH took some photos too. Unfortunately, I think I look like a psycho.

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I just noticed that they blur out the bottles.

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Woo! Let’s all dance while Duncan gets a drink.

Actually, I think he was putting it down.

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Remember to tip.

Obviously, I didn’t take those. iHOOKAH took those photos; you can find them on Facebook here!

second city

On Sunday, gem and I headed to The Second City in Hollywood to see Alex’s show, Millennial Falcon. It was really funny, and I’m glad I got to see it as it was the last show! It was also cool to finally visit Second City.

Because it was getting late, we didn’t get to stay for the post-graduation festivities, but we still got to chat with Alex and Erica a bit.

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Afterward, gem and I got a hot dog and then wandered around.

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Yay, elephants! I’m sure I’ve taken pretty much these exact photos before, but I can’t help but take more photos.

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Robin Williams.

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Tom Hanks!

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Some sort of cute French restaurant that was closed.

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And of course, no visit is complete without Beard Papa.

Kindred Throats are the best!

Kindred Throats show

Yesterday gem and I went to Hollywood for a Kindred Throats show! We saw them at the Coup de Comedy Festival, and they were amazing. They’re the sketch comedy / musical duo that sang to gem, and they were the recipients of gem’s cookies!

Kindred Throats show

Before the show, we also so much food at Hollywood Thai Restaurant. Oh my god, it was delicious.

Kindred Throats show

Eventually I dragged my bloated why-oh-why-did-I-eat-so-much body to the Comedy Central Stage at The Hudson Theatres. gem made a really awesome card for them and, of course, more cookies.

Kindred Throats show

The show was hilarious! I don’t really know how to convey how funny it is, because describing it as funny songs doesn’t really do it justice. There’s audience interaction as well, which is comedic gold. Their opening song was about how the people in the back thought they were safe. During the song, they proceeded to move everyone from the back row closer. Luckily we were already sitting in the front.

On the way out, we saw Todd, one of the members, who recognized her and thanked her for coming all the way out! Woo! She was wondering if they’d recognize her, but I’d sure recognize someone who seemed to always bring me cookies. I might be in love with food.

Coup de Comedy Festival 2015 featuring Kindred Hearts singing to gem

The Coup de Comedy Festival 2015 was this weekend, hosted by UCI’s Improv Revolution – a four day festival celebrating all sorts of comedy. Wednesday opened with Improv Revolution and Live Nude People playing together, referring to themselves as Nude* Revolution. Great name, and great comedy.

It was followed by The Resistance. They were amazing last year, so I was really looking forward to them this year. The video at the top depicts a flashback scene they performed of a pirate’s curse. The Resistance improvises action movies. This one was about kids finding a skeleton with a map to a treasure, full of karate, the nerd winning the girl, and useless adults. I didn’t realize until that day that Derek Mears, who I had just seen with Dr. God, was performing with them. Awesome!

Here’s another scene near the end – a karate montage.

The night ended with Delicious Moments, a duo who switches characters rapidly, usually going back and forth between roles during a single conversation. It’s, uh, long-form, I suppose. They don’t really do scenes exactly. They just talk on stage about their show, and then things happen. It’s pretty funny.

Thursday started with Improv X, but I didn’t catch it. My comedy Thursday started with KINDRED THROATS! They don’t style their name like that or anything. I just really loved them.

Kindred Throats consists of Kevin Stafford and Tom Risenmay who play guitar, sing, and generally act hilarious. Unlike most of what I’d seen so far at the festival, Kindred Throats performed sketch rather than improv (although bits are of course improvised).

This was the only show gem could attend, and I’m glad she did. During one part of the show, Kindred Throats began talking about various historic seats in the theater, including the two seats in the front for lovers. One pointed out gem and me and while the other pointed out gem and the guy sitting on her other side. They kept amusingly confirming that they were looking at the same two people while obviously being in disagreement until settling on gem and the other guy.

Once they were singing directly to gem, I had to record it, and you can see the video above. Basically, they’d get to parts in the song where they’d talk about something the lovers would do, and then they’d abruptly stop and stare until they did it. God it was funny, and I think gem really enjoyed it too.

After the show, I watched Sparks to Fire, which was a bit stand-up, a bit improv, and… a man eating a cactus?

L.A. Beast was there. I hadn’t heard of him, but he’s a competitive eater who also eats strange things on YouTube for entertainment. I saw him eat a dozen raw eggs, including the shells, a whole, raw cactus, and three ghost peppers. He apologized to the women in the audience, noting that his male fan base is much larger than his female fan base.

After the show was Stand-Up on the Spot with Jeremiah Watkins, but I skipped it. I did, however, see Kevin and Tom from Kindred Throats outside getting ready to leave. gem was on her way back to UCI, hoping to bring them homemade cookies. After telling them about the cookies, they agreed to stay and wait, so I had a chance to talk to them for a bit.

They really were in disagreement over who to pick. One wanted to pick gem and me and realized we were there together, while the other wanted to choose gem and the other guy because the other guy was using his phone to record the entire time. They said sometimes they choose people who are obviously together, sometimes they choose obvious strangers, and once they just chose two guys who were clearly just friends.

Coup de Comedy 2015

I think they enjoyed their cookies!

I didn’t attend Friday at all. I missed some Open Mic, Red Door & Triumph, The Mechanicals, OBGY-Not Sketch Show, and Stand-Up with Zoe Rose Moacanin.

Saturday was the last day (and a bit annoying due to breaks). It began with Second City’s Really Awesome Improv Show followed by a two hour break.

Coup de Comedy 2015

I spent that break taking a picture with Peter the Anteater.

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Two pictures, actually.

And I also read Scott Pilgrim and messed around on my phone.

Coup de Comedy 2015

I also found this graffiti. THIS ART: FULL OF POOP?

After the break was Doctor Who Live! – an improvised episode of Doctor Who. I don’t really care for Doctor Who, but it was still entertaining. After another two hour break during which I read more, I watched the Count Gumdrop improv performance, which was pretty funny. The night ended with Impro Theatre’s Chekhov UnScripted and Revolutionary Comedy Award honoring Keegan-Michael Key, but I bailed on those to head to my friend’s place for a game night.

It was a laugh-filled weekend!

ImprovCity’s Comic Book Day show and Free Comic Book Day

Free Comic Book Day and ImprovCity's Comic Book Day show!

Friday night was ImprovCity’s Comic Book Day Show, and it was a lot of fun. The cast all dressed as comic book characters. There’s Alex in the center in his Rocket Raccoon costume. It’s definitely not Bark.

Free Comic Book Day and ImprovCity's Comic Book Day show!

They gave out free comics too! I got Legendary Star-Lord #5 and Star Wars: Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir #1.

Free Comic Book Day and ImprovCity's Comic Book Day show!

The show was hosted by Lumpy the Space Princess Lumpy Space Princess, and she did a good job as her too!

Free Comic Book Day and ImprovCity's Comic Book Day show!

Here’s another shot of the performers. I wanted to ensure one with Speed Racer’s helmet got posted too. After the show, a lot of us went to BJ’s. I got a nice low calories salad, a martini, and then a delicious and unhealthy pizookie.

Free Comic Book Day and ImprovCity's Comic Book Day show!

Today’s actually Free Comic Book Day, so I headed to Alakazam. I got the Jurassic Strike Force 5 one-shot, Terrible Lizard, Bodie Troll, Fight Club, and BOOM! Studios Ten Year Celebration 2015 Free Comic Book Day Special. I’m excited to sit down with these later, but I have plans tonight. I just finished preparing food for the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight potluck. Hopefully Pacquiao wins!

HIStory/HERStory and the OC Improv Fest 2015

ImprovCity's HIStory/HERStory

Last weekend was full of improv (as any good weekend should be). First, I saw HIStory/HERstory at ImprovCity again as well as their Thursday Night BS (Basic Scenes). The Thursday Night BS was one of the best improv sets I’ve ever seen. I felt like I was lagging behind, like I was still cracking up at the last funny thing when the new one came along. So. Good.

I saw the premiere of HIStory/HERstory on April 2, but gem didn’t get a chance to see it. I decided to see it again with her. This time it was shorter as they’d cut some skits. It was still great, and I understood why they cut what they did. You can see the Sasquatch family above. It still has a performance left at Second City Hollywood on May 6, so you can still check it out!

Orange County Improv Festival 2015 hosted by Spectacles Improv Engine

On Friday I went to the second night of the OC Improv Fest, hosted by Spectacles Improv Engine. I missed the first night because I wanted to see ImprovCity. I went with gem to this too, and we ran into James while we were there.

The night opened with Well-Behaved Villains, a team from La Habra High School. Following that was CIA – the Center for Improv Advancement. These were two teams I’d never seen. Next was IFL, which is always good.

After that was Big Yellow Taxi. I’d seen them before but was glad to see them again. They had Josh as the guest driver.

My favorite Spectacles team, The Mechanicals, played next. Who knew Alex would make such a good princess?

Jetzo.

Jetzo was amazing. They’re a two-man team performing kabuki-inspired improv. There was a lot of music and interpretative dance, and it was freaking hilarious.

Orange County Improv Festival 2015 hosted by Spectacles Improv Engine

There was also strange grinding on Michael.

Orange County Improv Festival 2015 hosted by Spectacles Improv Engine

He seemed just a tad red. I assume that he meant he was having a good time.

Orange County Improv Festival 2015 hosted by Spectacles Improv Engine

I don’t really remember why they got undressed at the end, but, yup, they did. I would love to see Jetzo more in the future.

Following Jetzo was Kind Strangers from iO West performing Tennessee Williams, and after them was KanYay! West. I called them “the cutest team” when I saw them at the OC Improv Fest 2013. Then there was White Women, comprised of seven very funny black men.

And then Rococo. Rococo was an improv troupe that included former Live Nude Lilan Bowden. I kind of stared in disbelief before looking over at gem. She just looked back and then said “Is that Lilan?” I was hoping to say “hello,” but I couldn’t find her later. I messaged her on Facebook the next day to tell her how excited I was to see her perform and that was a fan of LNP. I later messaged Alex and gem. “Lilan responded to me and I feel like a teenager girl who can’t. Even. Which is also how I felt when I first met you, Alex, so there’s that.”

The evening ended with Ranger Danger and the Danger Ranger, one of my favorite teams. How can two people be so funny?

Orange County Improv Festival 2015 hosted by Spectacles Improv Engine

I didn’t get a lot of pictures on the third night, but here’s one of Dr. God. I’ll get to them. I came with gem again, and we also ran into James.

The first block consisted of The Lobby, Galapagos, Holiday Road, Pick and Roll, and Now Improv. I particularly enjoyed Holiday Road.

The next block opened with Paul Vaillancourt’s Man Vs. Movie. It was a one-man, long form improvised action movie, and it was pretty great. Red Door followed, who I saw at last year’s Coup de Comedy and liked a lot. Pawn Takes Queen was third before Dr. God performed.

Dr. God has an interesting formula. After getting a suggestions, they monologue on the suggestion based on something from one of their lives, and they do improv based on that. I saw them last year and enjoyed them even more this year. If my memory is correct, it seemed like they did less monologues and more improv this year, but regardless, awesome stuff. Derek Mears was with them, an actor and stuntman who also performed at ComedySportz.

In the photo above, there’s a visit to the gynecologist.

Orange County Improv Festival 2015 hosted by Spectacles Improv Engine

Derek Mears must have been talking about something large.

Orange County Improv Festival 2015 hosted by Spectacles Improv Engine

And then he joined the scene to play the part of a tennis net.

That plank seems to have bad form… haha it was great.

Orange County Improv Festival 2015 hosted by Spectacles Improv Engine

Here’s an interesting twist. For most of us, the festival had a fee, but not for gem, who won $50!

The last block of the night opened with FlySpace. He spent an entire scene getting pet there.

Orange County Improv Festival 2015 hosted by Spectacles Improv Engine

After FlySpace, The Lusty Horde perform a long-form scene as an improvised sci-fi/fantasy scene. They were awesome, but it was getting too late for me. We left after The Lusty Horde, unfortunately missing Outside Dog and The Illegitimate Stage.

It was a great weekend for improv, and I have more tonight and this coming week. Woo!

Awesome weekend of tacos, moving, ice skating, and clowns

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My weekend was pretty packed with awesomess, which is the right way to pack a weekend.

Friday night I had dinner with my mom and Pete. Pete made tacos, tostadas, and taquitos. It was super delicious.

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Mom offered to bake me a cake because this was the first time I was seeing her since my birthday. I chose chocolate, and I chose right.

After dinner we watched The Devil Wears Prada. I’d never seen it, and I enjoyed it.

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Saturday I helped Darnell and Alex move to a different apartment in the same building. Alex’s parents were there as well. It’s always nice to see everybody, especially when Henley is as cute as he is. I think he’ll enjoy having the new patio! He really seemed to enjoy playing with the water – scooping it out of one container and pouring it another or simply drinking from the dog’s water bowl, haha.

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I was so busy that I expected to miss celebrating Pi Day, but Hal and Mary Margaret brought a peach pie. After moving that evil dresser, it was good to eat pie!

ice skating

Saturday night was ice skating time! My friend’s wife lives in Canada, but she was visiting, and he decided to celebrate with some ice skating.

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We were a little late getting there because we stopped at Pinoy Pinay. I would have taken pictures, but I jumped right into the food. Yum yum.

There was a small collection of ouchies in our group, but we had a great time. Or at least I had a great time! I assume we all did!

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Afer working up an appetite ice skating for a couple hours with Sterling, Chrissy, gem, Kelly, and JT, we headed to Umaya Ramen.

I shared some mini-burgers and had a few beers.

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Eventually we found the lounge in the other room and finished off the night with sake. It was a wonderful evening.

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Sunday was mostly a relaxing day at home (full of chores too actually). However, it started with a clown show! I saw The π’s of March, starring Clown Collage. It was absolutely hysterical. I could try to explain how great it was to see Alex, I mean Fransuave, drink some Tobasco, freak out, desperately drink something to cool off his mouth, realize it was Fireball Whiskey, and freak out some more. Or I could try to explain how he did cat’s cradle with a woman in the audience, how funny it was when he basically bowed out, yielding the applause to her. Or how much awesome it was when he came back later, doing it with a big rope, and how funny it was when the girl screwed up when she tried to help with the rope. I could talk about how much I loved watching Babs try to bake a cake to LazyTown’s Cooking By The Book before she heard Lil Jon join the mashup. But, well, it’s probably not very funny to read my descriptions of it.

I did get pulled out of the audience again this time though! The clowns performed Julius Caesar, but as they’re mute, they needed people to be their voices. I got to read the lines of Julius Caesar, which degraded into “blah blah blah.” It was a lot of fun!

Later that day I ate some bibingka, wathced Netflix, worked on my ticket stub organizer, and relaxed.

And that was my weekend!

Hello, 2015

Last year was a pretty fun year. I was pulled on stage during a clown show, went stand-up paddleboarding, and went wakeboarding. I attended Katie and Matt’s wedding. I started doing yoga this summer and have stuck with it consistently. I switched to a bodyweight workout routine and have been doing that regularly. San Diego Comic-Con was a lot of fun, and for the first time, the roles were reversed; people asked me for pictures. (I was in my Aquabats costume.)

I attended a ton of concerts, including but not limited to Reel Big Fish, The Maxies, The Originalites, The Aquabats, Koo Koo Kangaroo, GOGO13, Half Past Two, Sugar Stems, The Interrupters, The Holophonics, The Skatalites, Suburban Legends, Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, Los SuperSpies, and so many more. I watched a bunch of improv, mostly at ImprovCity and Spectacles. I attended some Risk! Live. I went to a Teenage Mutant Pizza Party and the Scott Pilgrim Picture Show with CinemAttack! There was Dapper Day, Walking with Dinosaurs, a Civil War reenactment, The Great Gatsby party, the OC Fair, and LA Kiss. There was some Yadi Presents burlesque, a performance of Wizard of Oz, Chicago, Big River – The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Man of La Mancha, and other performances. Lots of fun stuff.

Edit: Oh, man, how can I forget the Tall Ships Festival or being a guest on the Twisted Nether Blogcast?!

Work continues to go well. I cleaned out my closet. And yes, that’s worth mentioning. I attended Henley’s first birthday party and gave him a big smile with his present. I finished off Mists of Pandaria and started Warlords of Draenor. Sorry, but a little video games had to leak into this too. I got my backlog (my list of games, books, movies, etc.) that were purchased but never finished down to 340, which is pretty good. When I started counting in April, I had 471 items that needed to be beat/watched/read. I got rear-ended while driving for the first time. That’s not really much of an accomplishment, but I handled it at least. It was my 10-year high school reunion a few months back, and that was a lot of fun. I also cooked a bunch – stuffed bell peppers, pizzas, calzones, salads, salami wraps, pork chops, steaks, a cake, lemon bars, brownies, and more delicious things. I, a straight man, went out for a drink with a man I met on a dating site. I got stung by way too many bees.

It was a cool year.

2015 started with a party with close friends. Just a minute or two into the year I got to witness a friend propose to his girlfriend.

We’re off to a good start.

ImprovCity’s Thursday Nightmare performs four hits

Thursday night I saw ImprovCity’s second Thursday Nightmare. They take a name and short synopsis of a B-movie horror films and improv a performance of it. It’s pretty hilarious! My friend Alex Bower came up with it, and I was super excited to see it, especially because I missed the first one due to being sick (stupid bees).

At the request of another friend who couldn’t be there because… well, the poor woman is being forced to live far away from home in some strange land known as “Paris, France,” away from ImprovCity and… well, it’s just so sad that I can’t continue. But she asked me to record it so she could watch! Here they are! And don’t forget to change the quality setting so it doesn’t look too blurry.

First there was Night of the Leapest. Watch out!

Next was Ice Scream with a very strange premise.

C.H.U.D.? This is pretty great and should be the official version.

The night ended with The Host. And no, it’s not the the Stephanie Meyer title.

The Scott Pilgrim Picture Show

The 2nd Scott Pilgrim Picture Show!

Friday night was the 2nd Scott Pilgrim Picture Show, an amazing interactive film screening by CinemAttack at the Frida Cinema in Santa Ana. The idea is similar to screenings of the Rocky Horror – a movie with lots of audience participation. I bought this poster along with a poster representing the original Scott Pilgrim Picture Show from last year too. I didn’t even notice until later that the one for last year was signed by Tyler Jacobs, the creator, and numbered.

Audience participation, a costume contest, garlic bread, a light show, and more. What’s not to love?

Scott Pilgrim Picture Show Marquee

gem and I got there about 45 minutes before the doors opened so we could hang out. I had to get a picture of the marquee!

Bread makes you fat?!

Even though bread makes you fat, they handed out garlic bread to the people waiting in line. Sweet!

Flyers!

The walls were plastered with flyers for the Toronto International Battle of the Bands, the Katayanagi Twins, Sex Bob-omb, the Clash at Demonhead, and more. It was a pretty nice touch.

Scott Pilgrim photo op

There was a photo op with Scott Pilgrim and a photographer. They said they would post all the photos on Facebook and then you could go find and tag yourself and save the photo. However, I’ve yet to see them posted. In addition, only a handful of people got to take pictures with this before everyone filed into the theater. After the screening, it was already gone. They said people could take the flyers, so I suspect someone might have grabbed this early. Oh well.The Scott Pilgrim Picture Show

Edit: They posted them! Here I am chilling with Scott! The photo was taken at the CinemAttack photo booth, so credit goes to their photographer whose name wasn’t mentioned. They encouraged sharing the photos, so I think it’s cool that I’m posting it here.

The Chaos Theater

Overhead, a CinemAttack! banner was hanging. CinemAttack is the events company hosting the Scott Pilgrim Picture Show. It was created by a man named Tyler Jacobs. While I’d been looking forward to the event for some time, I hadn’t realized until the night before the show that Tyler Jacobs is Christian Jacobs’ (the MC Bat Commander, lead singer of the Aquabats) and Parker Jacobs’ (lead singer of GOGO13) brother. The a pretty rad family. I’m also glad I found Tyler Jacobs’ independently of his brothers. I had a moment to stop and say hello to Tyler as well, and he was quite friendly. I’m glad I did.

You’ll also notice the movie was being shown in the Chaos Theater!

Coins for throwing!

With the posters I purchased, I received two bags of “coins for throwing!” When an evil ex is defeated, you’re supposed to toss coins in the air. It was fun and definitely added to the experience.

Scott Pilgrim Cosplay Contest

Yes, yes, this photo is horrible. Anyways, there was a costume contest as well. There were a number of Scotts and Ramonas as expected but also a Gideon and even a Vegan Police! The guy who came as the Vegan Police even had a green laser.

The movie was a lot more fun to watch in this setting. Words on the screen would direct you to yell lines aloud, and during songs, they would progress karaoke-style. There were also instructions sometimes, including high-fiving a neighbor or jumping up to pretend to play DDR along with Scott and Knives. When an evil ex was defeated, they’d remind you to throw your coins in the air. There were also light shows during the scenes with the bands playing, which really added to the awesomeness. When the Vegan Police came to depower Todd, green lasers shot out everywhere. It wasn’t enough for the fans as they began to cry out for our Vegan Police. Luckily our cosplayer saved the day; when we saw his green laser hit the screen and track Todd, everyone cheered!

Scott Pilgrim or gem?

After the movie, gem stopped to pose with her ukulele like Scott does with his guitar. I wasn’t sure it was going to come out, because the lighting wasn’t great, but I’m pretty happy with the photo. gem actually hasn’t seen it yet. Hopefully she likes it too.

There are some more photos in this album.

And now I get to look forward to their next presentation: The Teenage Mutant Pizza Party!

October Ska Parade Lounge with Bear Brass Band, The Paranoias, Failed to Victory, and Profesor Galactico

Bear Brass Band at the Ska Parade Lounge on October 8, 2014

Last night was the October Ska Parade Lounge! But let’s back up for a second. Michael, a member of the Spectacles Improv Engine, recently made a post with an interesting proposition – he’d share his passion for improv with you by taking you to an improv class and even paying if you share your passion with him by taking him to do something. I contacted him, and while I haven’t done the class yet, he came to the Ska Parade Lounge. Funny story – he used to be really into ska, played bass, and even played with some cool bands. Pretty cool!

Anyways, I met Michael and gem at the Slidebar and also ran into a couple people I know from ska shows – Amit, Max (of Half Past Two fame), and of course, Tazy. His friend Amy, also from Spectacles, joined us as well. It was pretty great night!

The first band that performed was the Bear Brass Band, an amazing brass band with which I wasn’t familiar. Who needs strings? Who needs vocals? Not these guys. I’d love to see them again.

The Paranoias at the Ska Parade Lounge on October 8, 2014

The Paranoias were up next. I’d never heard of them either, but they definitely got me moving.

Failed to Victory at the Ska Parade Lounge on October 8, 2014

Failed to Victory played third. Sorry for the crappy photo. F2V was the only band that I knew; I saw them Ska & Punk Night 5 at Centerfield Sports Bar & Grill a week or two ago. They were awesome as I knew they would be.

Profesor Galactico at the Ska Parade Lounge on October 8, 2014

Lastly, Profesor Galactico performed. I think it was basically The Paranoias with a different vocalist. I’m a little confused, but I had fun. There was a lot more Spanish ska that night than I usually hear. I might not know what the lyrics mean, but that doesn’t stop the music from being good.

All in all, it was a great night! Michael said he’d like to come back to future shows, and Max discussed another show tonight – Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra. On that note, I should get going to that concert.

San Diego Comic-Con Day 0 and Day 1: John DiMaggio, Martian Girl, the Aquabats, Geek & Sundry, and more!

Day 0 – Wednesday

We headed to San Diego on Wednesday after work. After checking in at the Westin Gaslamp Quarter, we took the shuttle to the Town & Country to pick up our badges. By the time we got back downtown, we were feeling hungry and at the Meze Greek Fusion. It was amazing! So many tasty things to eat. We ordered a ton, and everything was great.

Day 1 – Thursday

We started the day with the Science Fiction & Fantasy Literature panel that included Jim Butcher (The Dresden Files) and Marie Lu (Legend). It was pretty interesting.

We also headed to the I Know That Voice: Insights from the Cutting Room Floor panel. I hadn’t heard of I Know That Voice, but it’s a documentary produced by John DiMaggio (voice of Bender, Finn, and a bunch of other cool characters). It was really awesome to hear them talk about voice acting. gem even got a high five from John DiMaggio!

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We tried lining up for a panel about NASA, but we didn’t get into it. Buzz Aldrin was there! Too bad I didn’t get to see him. However, there were people dressed as knights battling outside, and gem met one.

Martian Girl

Martian Girl

When we were done with SDCC for the day, we headed to the House of Blues for the Aquabats concert! The Aquabats have a song called Martian Girl about a green-skinned, blue-haired Martian. This woman was cosplaying as the Martian Girl, and she was nice enough to take a photo with me. She looked amazing!

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I also posed with the Battle Tram of course! The Aquabats played with Koo Koo Kangaroo as part of their twentieth anniversary tour. It was a great show! I bought a 20th anniversary tour t-shirt too. Antonio escaped to the back when the Aquabats took to the stage and the shoving started. I stayed with gem for a while but then let the crowd push me around. I also joined the circle in the back to do some moshing.

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There was a battle on stage too as usual.

I had to record it.

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After the concert, we showered and then headed to the Geek & Sundry Lounge for drinks and dancing. Now I’m best friends with Wil Wheaton. (Or it might have been a cardboard cut-out. Who knows?)

Check out my other adventures!

Stand-up paddleboarding, the beach, yoga, and more

stand-up paddleboarding

On Sunday I went stand-up paddleboarding with Kaylin, gem, and Anela. I’d been wanting to do so for a while, and I’m glad I had the chance. It was a lot of fun and not very difficult at all really. However, my toes really wanted to grip the board! I managed to avoid falling in the water not that there’s anything wrong with that… I didn’t even hit the water when attempting L-sit practice on the board.

Beach day and stand-up paddle boarding

One house near the beach kept a bowl and dog treats outside near their gate! It was a pretty cool idea. They must be dog lovers!

Beach day and stand-up paddle boarding

After we finished stand-up paddleboarding, Kaylin had to leave, but gem, Anela, and I had lunch at Bear Flag Fish Co. Delicious as usual! Afterwards we headed down to the beach. It was a great day.

Beach day and stand-up paddle boarding

These two got scared by a ghost (or possibly thought it was bright). Who can know for sure?

Afterwards we did hot yoga at Purple Yoga because gem’s been raving about that instructor. She was right; he’s pretty great.

When I got home, I wanted to collapse, but I also wanted to eat, so I ate/collapsed.

Beach day and stand-up paddle boarding

And then gem showed up to drop off some blueberry bread she baked. It was thick, so she told me that it was basically two slices. I had already brushed, flossed, etc., but it was warm so I had to try some. And then I ate the whole thing. It’s a good thing bread doesn’t make you fat (otherwise Scott Pilgrim would be fat).

BONUS!

I did a couple other things over the weekend too. On Friday I went to ImprovCity with Jessica, and we saw Alex host. Woo! He’s a great host. On Saturday I went to the Dub with Collin and Niki and met Mimi there to watch the World Cup. Jamie tried to get by with just shaking my hand, but I wouldn’t allow it. He’s a good hugger, too!

Now I need another weekend.

Gotham Vixens

Gotham Vixens

Last night I saw Yadi Presents Gotham Vixens at the Yost Theater. It was hilarious and quite entertaining.

Batman (Mr. Snapper) and Alfred (Mr. Buddy) hosted. Poor Batman realized that the birthday card he got in the mail from the Joker poisoned him. The audience joined Batman in asking Alfred to help him find an antidote.

Gotham Vixens

There were many great performers as a variety of Batman characters. One of my favorite Batman characters, Harley Quinn, (played by Dolly Danger, I think) was included in the fun. The effectively had three costumes; she started as a nurse, had a formal red dress underneath, and wore something a bit more fun under that.

I took the photo from a Snapchat. Thanks, friend!

The Joker (Martini Bombshell) threw this!

The Joker, played by Martini Bombshell, threw signed playing cards into the audience. I got this Jack of Hearts. A Jack is almost a Joker, right?

Frankie Sin as the Penguin and Lyra La Belle as Catwoman were both great. Mercury Troy’s played an acurately cold and distant (while still entertaining) Mr. Freeze. The Scarecrow’s (Iza La Vamp) act was interesting because I mostly found myself anxiously awaiting the removal of the sack-like mask!

There was one person Batman knew couldn’t have been the one who did it. He remarked that this person had been in love with him for years.

He was talking about Robin (Tito Bonito), of course! This was easily the most hilarious act of the show, which included Robin seductively running his hands over Batman’s chest.

Gotham Vixens

Once Batman realized he wasn’t poisoned and that it was just from his seven Doritos Locos Tacos he had for lunch from Taco Bell, heroes and villains put aside their differences to say good bye. It was a great evening!

The cast, as best I can determine:

Mr. Snapper Batman
Mr. Buddy Alfred
Frankie Sin Penguin
Drea Dillinger The Riddler
Fever Blister Batgirl
Red Snapper Poison Ivy
Iza La Vamp Scarecrow
Mercury Troy Mr. Freeze
Dolly Danger Harley Quinn
Scarlett DeVille Batwoman?
Lyra La Belle Catwoman
Core D’luxe Scarface
Valentina Azul Twoface?
Martini Bombshell The Joker
Tito Bonito Robin
Vivienne Von Deadly Mad Hatter

I’m not positive about who played Batwoman, and Twoface ended up not being in the show.

Coup de Comedy 2014

Last week was Improv Revolution‘s Coup de Comedy Festival 2014. There were a ton of hilarious events. While not everything was my cup of tea, the majority was great fun, and some groups were simply amazing.

Wednesday, May 7

The festival began on Wednesday, May 7 with the Improv Revolution / Live Nude People joint show. As a long time LNP fan, this was actually the show about which I was most excited. I particularly like their dance party game in which everyone on stage dances until the music stops. At that point, everyone freezes, someone touches the persons they want to see stay, and then everyone clears. After a short scene, it repeats.

After the opening show was the Revolutionary Comedy Awards honors Tony Hale. While waiting in line, we were allowed to put questions on post-it notes for Tony Hale to answer. gem wrote a particularly funny one, but you’ll have to ask her what it said. The event itself opened with a stand-up act, Sky & Nancy Collins.

Sky & Nancy Collins

This was one of my favorite sets from the entire festival. Sky & Nancy Collins present themselves as a wealthy married couple from the gated community Rancho Pico de Gallo in Orange County. I suppose you have to understand some of the Orange County stereotypes, but luckily I do. “We’re married to each other. I guess that’s okay,” said Sky Collins. Mentioning right off the bat that they’re friends said they were funny, prompting them to try stand-up, they nonchalantly talk about their normal life in Orange County, with their disconnect from the non-wealthy making for many hilarious moments. Sky & Nancy Collins are actually Marc Evan Jackson and Carrie Clifford.

Tony Hale

Tony Hale was funny even though he wasn’t performing. He discussed his life, both leading to his role as Buster Bluth on Arrested Development and after. He seemed very down-to-Earth and gave a lot of life advice. He specifically mentioned that a lot of people seem to be constantly looking ahead to their next gig or stage of life, and while it’s good to have goals, he reminded us to be happy in the present. “You have value exactly where you are now.”

Thursday, May 8

The second day started with Awesome Sketch Presentation with Adult Babies & Humble Bees, a sketch show with performers (mostly?) from iRev. After that came Red Door. I remember thinking Red Door was very funny, but now I can’t seem to remember specifics, which is too bad. Next up was Octavarius, an improv team traveling from the future to keep history on the correct path by performing improv.

Following that was The Resistance from ComedySportz. Wow. They were amazing. The Resistance improvises action / sci-fi / horror movies on stage. Rolling around on mats? Gunshots? Monsters? Torture? Fight scenes? Fight scenes with strobe lights? Heck yes, the Resistance had all of these things. It was, of course, funny as well, but I actually got into the story too.

The night ended with Sparks to Fire. They performed short stand-up sets followed by improv based on those sets.

Friday, May 9

Friday began with the ClownMa dell’Arte show. This was the second clown show I’d seen, and I guess I must really enjoy them. It was a hilarious show that included one clown eating the flowers from stems before trying to get her heart’s desire to eat the petals she spit from her mouth. I also essentially had a clown grind on me. No, it wasn’t one of the cute ones.

Later I saw another awesome ComedySportz show – U-Sical: The Improvised Musical About You! They listened to some audience members talk about interesting events in their lives, including the man who knocked himself out by riding a bike into a tree, the woman who got to feed a bear cub (oh man, I love bears), and Josh Nicols’ story of how he delivered a copier to a hospital and got attacked by patients. It’s probably no surprise that we got to see Josh’s story, because that did sound like the funniest one. U-Sical did a great job, and I’d love to see them again.

After U-Sical, we got to see Carrie Clifford (of Sky & Nancy Collins) again in a two-person improv show, Razowsky & Clifford. After that was Stand-Up on the Spot: The Improvised Stand Up Show with Jeremiah Watkins. It involved a variety of stand-up comedians performing sets on-the-fly based on audience suggestions. I didn’t find all of them funny, but some certainly were. The night ended with an Improv Jam. I watched, but I didn’t participate.

Saturday, May 10

I started the day watching some Spectacles Improv Engine – specifically Ghostlight and FlySpace. Both are some of my favorite teams, with FlySpace performing more traditional scenes and Ghostlight always performing hilariously spooky scenes. I really like Ghostlight, and it’s surprising how often I get into the stories they conceive.

Following Spectacles was the Epic Open Mic, in which people tried their hands at stand-up. I think they were all students or recent graduates.

Next was another highlight of the festival – Twilight Zone UnScripted by Impro Theatre. It really felt like I was watching a couple hours of Twilight Zone episodes! I was pretty blown away. For each “episode,” the group would take a simple suggestion from the audience on which to base their performance. I saw a man haunted by vivid war flashbacks, a long line of mayors put in place by aliens, a woman preyed upon by memories of a fire in her childhood and scared of s’mores, and more. Impro Theatre also performing in other styles as well. I’d particularly love to see one of their westerns!

There were two more shows. First, there was The 313, who were very funny. The festival ended with Delicious Moments, a two-man improv team. I don’t know if it was just for this show or if they always do it, but their gimmick was that they each performed multiple roles at the same time and would run back and forth between them. They’d even interrupt the show at times to recap who was on stage under the guise of reminding themselves (but also, most likely, for comedic effect). It was very interesting and amusing. I like it when improv comedians/teams have a gimmick that make them stand out a bit.

And that was the 2014 Coup de Comedy Festival! There were so many talented people performing. It was fun to see Tony Hale, and of course I already know iRev, LNP, and Spectacles. I would totally love to see Sky & Nancy Collins, The Resistance, ClownMa dell’Arte, U-Sical, or Impro Theatre again. Hopefully I’ll have that opportunity in the future!

Puppet Mayhem goes to hell

Puppet Mayhem goes to hell

Last night was the last Puppet Mayhem for a while. The gang went to hell to travel through the circles of hell to rescue their friends. We took our friend Jackie to the show with us, and I think she enjoyed it. I know I had a lot of fun.

Puppet Mayhem goes to hell

My favorite one-liner from the show was, and I’m paraphrasing from memory, “your mama’s like a waffle iron, in the mornings I fill her with my batter.” Now what disgusting human being puppet would say that? One that wouldn’t normally talk like that, actually.

After the show I saw that Puppet Mayhem was selling shirts! Of course, I had to buy one. Good times!

Spectacle’s Star Wars show

Star Wars Improv Show

Saturday, May the Fourth, was Star Wars day. (It’s a pun on “May the Force be with you,” but you all knew that already, right?) Spectacles Improv performed a Star Wars show, and as a fan of both improv and Star Wars, I couldn’t miss it.

The show was awesome. There were a lot of people I liked, and it’d be hard to talk about specifics. But I’m going to do so anyways. Alex was Yoda and the Emperor. He was great, and his make-up was especially fantastic. I also liked Jac as the Imperial cadet quite a bit. Lloyd was a funny C-3PO; I enjoyed it when he translated Chewbacca’s song. In another scene, he was being carried by Chewbacca. I forget the exact game, but it was one in which people step forward when they have something to say. The person playing Chewbacca walked to the front of the stage backwards, effectively volunteering Lloyd as C-3PO. They probably talked about it ahead of time, but it was still really funny. Also, check out Lando in the picture on the left. I forget the name of the performer, but I liked his costume!

After the Star Wars show, I saw Lloyd in the lobby, and I had the opportunity to introduce myself to him. I was critical of him on the blog previously, and I just felt like he had a right to know who I was. I plan on coming to a lot of shows in the future, and I don’t want to awkwardly feel like I’m hiding. He was very nice, I enjoyed talking with him. Plus to be completely honest, he’s becoming one of my favorite performers! He’s particularly witty and quick-thinking.

After a brief break, there was a Comedy Kaze show. They performed 45 scenes in 45 minutes, with the scene names coming from suggestions written before the show. My scene was “super itchy,” which they turned into a scene about a superhero named Super Itchy. His nemesis was Wool Sweater. gem’s scene was “a Cinco de Mayo Miracle.” In that scene, someone brought tequila to a party. They thought it would only last a short time, but miraculously it lasted for days!

It was a very entertaining night, even if I was jittery because of coffee!

Spectacles and ImprovCity

I saw some more improv this weekend! Friday after going dancing, we went to STAGEStheatre to watch Laugh Chance and The Friday Society. They were both really funny. Laugh Chance is the team that chooses games randomly. It’s a pretty great way of making the show different than other improv teams without really having to change much. I also wonder how much knowing what games you’re about to play helps a player. Maybe it’s a bigger change than I think. The Friday Society was very entertaining as well. I was pretty sleepy the first time I saw them, so it was nice to stay awake for it. gem didn’t drink coffee, and she struggled a little. Hopefully I’ll be back for more Spectacles in two weeks.

Last night I saw ImprovCity’s Cubed Comedy Matches. The night consisted of three teams of three with each team consisting two ImprovCity members and one of their high school students. The students were definitely talented! It seemed like a really great opportunity for them. I’m starting to get a feel for more of the players, which just makes it funnier as I learn their personalities. They had a particularly great town meeting, but I also liked when one performer decided to be the Bible’s Joseph for an advice game.

There was also a raffle for various prizes such as bread, games of bowling, passes to Boomer’s, and ImprovCity tickets. The biggest prizes were signed artwork by local artist Ryan Eduad. Guess who won? Well, quite a few people because there were a number of gifts, but what I care about is that I won as well! I won a print called The Soul Collector. Feel free to click the link to check it out.

OC Improv Fest feedback

Earlier this week I was surprised to find that Graham Beightol of the OC Improv Cup, Cherry Spitz, and the Friday Society, commented on my previous post. He thanked me for attending, asked if I could provide feedback on ways to improve for next year, and asked permission to use my photos in future promotions. I was pretty surprised (and not just because my photos were so bad).

I’m guessing they were Googling for feedback on the festival and came across WebPageless. I provided some feedback and gave my permission to use the photos. The festival was great not only as an event in itself but also as a way to get to know so many different teams. Hopefully I’ll check out more Spectacles improv in the future – possibly this weekend.

Austin Floyd, of whom I was critical in my previous posts, also commented. He said, “I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not everyone’s cup of tea.” He went on to offer to cover my next ticket to a Spectacles show, which was very nice of him. We exchanged e-mails, and he even mentioned singling out his friends as part of his hosting. Honestly, it didn’t cross my mind that he might know those people.

I wanted to make clear here what a funny performer he’s been when I’ve seen him and how nice he was when he contacted me. After talking to him, I’m looking forward to seeing him host again. Maybe I’ll throw him a bad suggestion or two!

OC Improv Fest night three

With the third night being on a Saturday, there was no rush to get to STAGEStheatre for the third and final night of the first annual OC Improv Festival. We ate at Don Carlos Mexican Restaurant a block down from the theatre, picked up some Starbucks, and then headed to the theatre. Once again we managed to snag front row seats.

The Orange County Improv Festival

The night began with two family-friendly sets starting with May Contain Nuts. I saw their Halloween improv show back in 2011, so it was nice to see a team I knew again. Honestly, I have no idea if any of the performers this time were the same I saw previously or not, so maybe that didn’t really matter anyways.

The Orange County Improv Festival

ImprovCity was second, and I actually was familiar with the performers. They were generally very funny, but certain parts were a little hit or miss. They normally perform Friday and Saturday evenings close to my house; I really need to see them more often as I enjoy their performances.

The Orange County Improv Festival

After the family-friendly hour, Dr. God Revival with Dave Holmes performed a double-length, hour-long set. They actually featured Dave Holmes! Okay, I honestly had no idea who he was, but he totally has a Wikipedia page, which makes him Officially Famous. My friend Stephanie pointed out that he was VJ on MTV. I assumed she didn’t mean my high school friend VJ so I quickly guessed a VJ is like a DJ but for music videos. MTV was definitely not in my TV rotation.

Anyways, I don’t intend to belittle Dave Holmes. I only knew him as the guy performing improv, and he did a great job. In fact, they did things a little differently, and I always appreciate an improv troupe that has something unique. Dr. God used a lot of monologues by Holmes supposedly based on his own life. He would perform a monologue for five minutes or so, and then the team would perform scenes loosely based on the monologue. I really enjoyed the monologues. I’d love too see an hour of just monologues. I realize lengthening a five minute idea to an hour might be a lot of work, but it’s seem conceivable that it could be done if a group of four or five took turns telling monologues, each person beginning when he or she had something to say related to the previous monologue.

After Dr. God was the The Reckoning. I don’t remember disliking them, but I don’t remember much of anything, and I didn’t any photos either. I jotted down that they performed longform. They were decent enough, but I don’t think they were great.

The Orange County Improv Festival

At 10:00, Ghostlight performed. The Spectacles webpage described them as “a blend of hilarious and spooky,” so I was really looking forward to seeing them. Honestly, they didn’t live up to my expectations. However, I feel like it might have been due to time constraints and the luck of the draw. I’d really like to see them again in a full show.

During their set, they asked the audience if anyone had ever had a supernatural encounter. One person said he had, and they asked him to come tell them about it. He eventually came down to talk, but it took him a while to do so. As he told the story, he seemed to stall a lot. I get the feeling he was joking when he raised his hand and didn’t mean to volunteer for it. I guess that’s fine, but it also ate into their short half hour allotted time.

The Orange County Improv Festival

“Strange religious harmony what”

I wrote that in my iPhone to describe USS Rock N Roll as soon as their set was finished. I don’t mean religious in the sense they were spoke about religion. It’s more than they seemed like a strange cult. They were either far more artsy than me or pretended to be for the laughs.

USS Rock N Roll performed longform scenes, but their transitions were very odd. Let’s say that in a scene, a person said “no, no, no.” Someone not involved in the scene would stick their arms and circle around the people in the scene as if a child pretending to be a plane. They’d repeat the word “no” as they did so, and everyone else would follow until there was a circle of people chanting. Some would say a different word related to the scene or the feelings of the last scene’s characters. Eventually they would all be chanting loudly together until breaking apart into a new scene. They had a couple other ways of transitioning as well, but this is the basic idea. It was the oddest improv I’d ever seen. That said, I really enjoyed it. They were also able to perform what was effectively multiple scenes at the same time. It was funny and very entertaining. (But again, what? Odd.)

The Orange County Improv Festival

Mission IMPROVable, from Santa Monica, was one of my favorite teams. I’m fairly certain they were a team of secret agents sent, in secret, to perform a comedy. They performed a lot of the staple improv games with high energy. I wish they didn’t normally perform so far from home, because I’d love to see them more.

The Orange County Improv Festival

The festival ended with Laugh Chance, another Spectacles-produced team. Laugh Chance decides what games to play randomly. They had three categories of games – A, B, and C. When it was time for a new game, Lloyd, the host, would pick a category and then get the audience to roll inflatable dice. The letter combined with the number of rolls determines the game based on a board. You can see it (through the terrible blur) in the picture. The games themselves weren’t different than games I’ve seen before, but I appreciate putting a different spin on the normal. It’s nice for an improv troupe to have something that makes them unique. They were funny, but strangely I’m fairly sure not everyone who came on stage with Laugh Chance actually performed. What the heck?

It was a terrific third night, but it felt weird for it to end. After three nights of non-stop improv (except for when they stopped at the end of the nights, of course), I felt like I was improv-crashing. On the other hand, I learned that using the magic of Starbucks I can actually stay up late, so I suppose the festival also taught me that I can always come back on Friday or Saturday nights for more improv!

OC Improv Fest night two

The second night of the OC Improv Festival featured local teams as well as teams from out of town, which was really cool. The show consisted of Secret City Comics Society (Fullerton), Upperclassmen (Long Beach), Kanyay! West (LA), The Lobby, Ranger Danger and the Danger Ranger (LA), Detroit Rock City (Detroit), StrongBose (LA), Acme Improv (LA), Puppet Mayhem (Fullerton), FlySpace (Fullerton), and Bat Manatees (Fullerton)!

Night two opened with the Secret City Comics Society. They were funny and friendly to the audience as well as family friendly. I liked them a lot, but I felt a little bad because the audience only had five people or so at the start of their set.

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The Upperclassmen, from Long Beach, swung around on the family friendly scale to a much more adult show. They were very funny, but I couldn’t help but wonder how they can act silly and do improv without getting killed in Long Beach. I’m glad I live in Irvine now.

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Kanyay! West from LA was by far the cutest team. Just look at them! And look at that sloth climbing on that man’s back.

The Lobby is another Spectacles team. With the Spectacles teams, there seems to be a lot of “in” jokes. The improv is still hilarious of course, but it seems like I miss out on the whole experience by not being a regular. It’s also odd that they’re listed as if they’re separate teams, but it’s really just different configurations of the same people.

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Ranger Danger and the Danger Ranger from LA were unbelievably funny and just two people. They performed a longform about two brothers, their taco truck, and their quest to find one brother’s biological parents and restore Mexico’s gold. That’s quite the endeavor.

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Detroit Rock City (someone tell me why I keep typing “Detroid”) came all the way from Detroit. I wonder if they really came just for this or if they have friends here or something. It seems odd. Regardless, they were amazing. Detroit Rock City, Ranger Danger and the Danger Ranger, and Puppet Mayhem were my three favorite teams of the night. Detroit Rock City performed a longform about three people on a road trip. As they drive, they slowly discover that one of them is a mass murderer who keeps killing people who “have it coming.” It’s the eyes.

StrongBose and Acme Improv were up next. Sadly, I have nothing to say about them. I just have to be honest. Sure, they were definitely funny, but you can’t expect me to have comments on every team.

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I was looking forward to Puppet Mayhem the most, and they didn’t disappoint. Improv? Hilarious  Puppets? Well, those are just awesome of course. Obviously combining the two who would make for a lot of laughs. It was great to see my friend Alex Foster, plus the team featured two of my new favorites, Michael Rosenbaum and, uh, maybe his name was James. I don’t know! I was amazed to find out that Puppet Mayhem has an on-going continuity as well. That’s such a fun idea and really makes me want to never miss a show. I’m definitely going to continue watching them.

The last two teams were FlySpace and Bat Manatees, both Spectacles groups and hosted by Austin Floyd. I mentioned last time that I didn’t care for Austin’s hosting style. He’s a funny player, but I disliked his aggressive hosting. In general, his banter with the actors and the audience seems forced, but I particularly didn’t like him cussing as his actors or berating the audience. During FlySpace’s set, he announced that their were smores under everyone’s seats. I don’t remember the context, but it was a joke that made sense at the time. After a few people checked their seats, he singled-out one person in the front, saying “You’re dumb. You’re a dumbass. You’re dumb for looking.” When the Bat Manatees were playing, he asked for a film genre. A member of the audience suggested noir to which he replied, “sounds like a great suggestion, but it’s shit. It’s just smoking and darkness.” Now at one point he specifically asked for a bad suggestion. Remembering last night, I couldn’t help but yell out “strangers!” As I was in the front row, he turned to me, laughed, and commented on how I must have been there the previous night. I suppose that’s encouraging the hosting that I don’t like, but I couldn’t help it. Regardless, I don’t think his style would stop me from seeing improv, but I really dislike it.

The night was fun one, and I’m looking forward to the final sets tonight. I can also say that getting Starbucks before the show definitely helped. On the first night, I was struggling to stay awake at 11:00, but last night I was fine even though I didn’t get home until 1:30. I’ll get some more coffee tonight!

OC Improv Fest night one

Last night was the first night of the OC Improv Fest at the STAGEStheatre. It was a lot of fun even if I had to stay up later than I intended. We saw Improv Shmimprov, Cherry Spitz, Improv Revolution, Fart Jar, Comedy Kaze, Improvfessionals, and The Friday Society. The OC Improv Fest is three nights of comedy featuring most comedy troupes in Orange County and some from out of town! Each team plays for a half hour. Thursday night was 8:00 to 11:30.

OC Improv Festival 2013

The first team, Improv Shmimprov, was my favorite. I’ve seen twice previously back in 2005. I can’t believe it’s been eight years! Some Live Nude People graduates moved on to Improv Shmimprov, which is why I saw their show in the first place.

They were hysterical, and their host said my sweater was quite dapper! Thank you! You can see them in the photo above. I particularly liked the person second from the left in the photo who was very funny (but as I wrote what he said I realized it was a bit too graphic to post). I also enjoyed the person to his right who pretended to be Saddam.

OC Improv Festival 2013

My second favorite team, shown here, was Cherry Spitz. First, check out the one guy’s hair. Glorious! The girl in that photo was so great. In one skit, she played a mountain. She was the best mountain I’ve ever seen!

Next was Improv Revolution. I have to admit that I think I was a bit biased. I found out that they’re from UCI. Why does UCI have two teams? Why wasn’t Live Nude People here if iRev was? Argh!

Also, two of their members just weren’t funny at all. In fact, they were bothersome. I did, however, enjoy their longform improv about the bounty hunter type person from the Gap.

The rest of the teams were all pretty funny. My only complaint is about the Improvfessionals. While funny, their host, Austin Floyd, berated the audience when he got suggestions he didn’t like. There’s no reason to do that. If you don’t like a suggestion, wait for another one. For some people, it takes guts to even speak up. I saw him in the Improv to the Future show and really liked him, but now my opinion of him has plummeted. He asked for a relationship between two people, and the suggestion was “strangers.” even if he hated that suggestion, which was fine in my opinion, he could have easily just used another.

The last team, The Friday Society, featured some people I had seen in earlier groups. They were definitely great, but their scenes were hard to follow because I had trouble staying awake. What can I say? I don’t usually stay up to 11:30!

My friend Alex Foster is a member of The Friday Society but didn’t perform that night. Luckily I’ll see him tonight with a different group, Puppet Mayhem.

And now I should stop blogging because it’s time for night two!

Improv to the Future!

If you didn’t watch Improv to the Future tonight, go back in time and watch it! Improv to the Future was an improv show celebrating the Back to the Future movies and hosted by Alex Foster. It was at the STAGEStheater, which I didn’t realize was somewhere I’d been until I got there tonight.

As one of the first to enter, I passed the clocks lining the edge of the stage and took a seat in the front row. They were synchronized to each other but not accurate. Eight o’clock came and went, and the show didn’t start as scheduled. Suddenly, Alex Foster ran to the stage, frantically checking the clocks. They were slow! He was late for the show! It was time to start!

The show itself was hysterical. I particularly liked the portrayal of a Back to the Future scene set in feudal Japan. My favorite scene of the night was Doc and Marty starring in a 50’s style educational video on the dangers of time travel. If you’ve ever been worried about becoming your own grandfather, this educational video would be perfect for you. If you’re like me you’ll get pretty worked up as you see Doc seductively play the role of your grandmother, but you’re going to have to try to resist as Doc lies back and spreads his legs in the air. Spoilers incoming – the solution is apparently to kill your grandmother and collect your inheritance early.

After the show I decided to read about Back to the Future online. Now I feel hyped to rewatch the movies. It’s been years. And then there are those adventure games. The only problem with Thursday night improv is that after an evening full of laughs, I need to get to sleep for work tomorrow.

John Dies at the End

Last week I finished John Dies at the End by David Wong (a pseudonym of Jason Pargin), a comedy horror novel about Dave and John, two losers who end up being forced to be heroes. While going through three major arcs, the idea behind the book is best explained by the setup of the first arc. There’s a drug called Soy Sauce that gives people incredibly heightened senses. Users can practically read minds based on observable clues (similar to the crumb of cake in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy). The side-effect to Soy Sauce is that it gives you the ability to see things related to the paranormal. These things, presumably, are around us but not normally visible.Because John and Dave are the only ones able to interact with this other layer of reality, it’s up to them to stop the big bad guys.

I’ve never really read any horror novels, so I’m not sure how to compare it. There are movies that would freak me out to read alone, but I don’t think the book would really do that to me. However, I guess I was always reading it with people around or in broad daylight on the street. (I like to read while walking.) The humor probably helps, especially because it isn’t very intellectual humor. The story is told by Dave while John can act very immature, reciting puns in the face of mortal danger and always being quick to make a penis joke. Still, I will admit to getting a little freaked thinking about the book when alone and in the dark. Then again, that happens to me anyways.

For the first half of the book (or maybe more), the novel seems incredibly disjointed. The novel not only has Dave jumping around as he tells it, but there’s are scenes at the beginning and end that exist outside of his retelling as well. By the end of the novel, it really does come together. That doesn’t mean that all questions are answered, however. Many answers are supplied, some are suggested, and others remain. I guess you could consider that appropriate in a tale of so many paranormal subjects.

Remember what I was saying about the humor? Here’s a link.

Fuck that idea like the fucking captain of the Thai Fuck Team fucking at the fucking Tour de Fuck.

A movie based on the novel was recently released on some digital distribution networks with a limited theater release later this month. In addition, a sequel is also available called This Book Is Full Of Spiders: Seriously Dude, Don’t Touch It that was released in October. I found the book very engaging and funny with a ton of crazy one-liners. Surprisingly, some of the paranormal ideas seemed incredibly interesting to me as well. I gave the novel a five out of five on Goodreads.