San Diego Comic-Con was an interesting one in 2021. This year it was in November rather in July, and it was titled “Comic-Con Special Edition” to set it apart. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about it. I was vaccinated, and the convention was required masks at all times as well as proof of vaccination or negative test. (I should note, this was before Omicron. In fact, I only learned of its existence the weekend of the convention.) I ended up feeling fairly safe, so the timing was good. One of the main purposes for this blog now is to talk about my travels, but I’m bad at being timely. Still, two months late isn’t too bad for me!
The convention was Thanksgiving weekend, Friday through Sunday with no preview night. (Usually SDCC is Thursday through Sunday with a preview night on Wednesday.) gem and I drove down after Thanksgiving celebrations on Thursday. Antonio met with us the next day.
After showing our vaccine cards and getting wristbands that indicated we did so, we realized that the hall didn’t open until much later than usual. I don’t remember the exact time, but I think it was noon. gem and I decided to head to the food truck we like for breakfast burritos, and we ran into Antonio there – with his breakfast burrito!
While in line to get in the main hall, we heard some Mario music. And look what it was – Mario Kart cosplay!
Once the hall opened, we started by getting in a line to get tickets to an autograph session with Brent Spiner (who played Data in Star Trek) and then wandered the exhibit hall for a bit.
Our first panel was Storytellers: Choosing, Centering, and Celebrating with Mallory O’Meara, Aminah Mae Safi, Sam Maggs, Eva Leigh, Elle Cruz, Henry Barajas, and Moderator Maryelizabeth Yturrale. However, we left early to get our autographs.
Brent Spiner had his new book, Fan Fiction. Antonio had to leave to get back home, but gem and I stayed in line to get autographs. We got three copies – one for me, one for my mom, and one for my brother. I mentioned to Spiner how my mom and I tried to get his autograph at a convention when I was a kid, but he wasn’t signing at that time. I had to make it right this time! He was friendly. The allotted time was one hour for the signing, but he signed for nearly two hours – right up to when he was doing a panel. His handler suggested less talking and only autographing one item per person, but he said no!
After the signing, we tried to see his panel. However, we were one of the last people to get autographs, which means there was already a long line for his panel. Instead, we went to Joe’s Crab Shack for dinner!
After dinner, we went to a screening of Lumpia with a Vengeance and discussion on it. It’s a Filipino-American indie movie filmed in San Francisco with a comic-vibe about a hero who fights crime with Lumpia! This is two of the main characters with me in the shot above. It was really funny!
After watching that movie, we moved to a screening of Die Hard! This was only my second time seeing it since Duncan, his brother, and his dad introduced me to the classic. And it was gem’s first time! What a great film.
We ended the night playing some WarioWare: Get It Together! on my Switch in the hotel room… after I battled the TV’s hospitality mode to let me use my Switch.
Saturday I put on my New World-inspired costume and met Antonio and gem at the food truck for breakfast burritos again.
Our first panel was Native American Comics & Culture: Emerging Tech with moderator Kilma Lattin, Cody Martinez, Johnny Bear Contreras, Brandie Taylor, Alec Calac, Ricardo Caté. It was a really interesting panel. I think it was intended to be mostly about Native Americans and technology, including an upcoming app called Our Worlds that uses augmented reality to teach you about the history of places around you. However, a lot of other topics about Native Americans was discussed as well.
We stopped by a Worldbuilding and Storytelling panel, but we arrived a little late. It appeared to be a Zoom call, and it wasn’t engaging enough to us, so we left.
Next up was Dinosaus vs Unicorns, a panel about gendered toys.
The last panel I attended was A Lawyer’s Holiday Special by The Legal Geeks. I always really enjoy their panels; they discuss pop culture fiction as if it was real and what the legal ramifications would be. It featured Circuit Judge John Owens (9th Circuit Court of Appeals), US Magistrate Judge Stacie Beckerman (US District Court for the District of Oregon), US Magistrate Judge Mitch Dembin (US District Court for the Southern District of California), Nari Ely (Durie Tangri), Kathy Steinman (Deputy City Attorney for the City of San Diego), and moderator Joshua Gilliland (Greenan, Peffer, Sallander, & Lilly LLP). In this year’s panel, they talked about the legality of Santa Claus and his actions!
Then it was time to wander around the exhibit hall for a bit, including checking out this Stargate!
After the exhibit hall, we headed to try a game called Kids on Bikes – an interactive storytelling game starring kids… on bikes… dealing with the sueprnatural. It seemed like there was a mix-up, because the person that was supposed to host it wasn’t in the room. Luckily, the staff called around, found someone to host it, and walked us to a different room. We were shown the hospitality suite, which I didn’t know existed. They’ve always offered free snacks! And then we played Kids on Bikes! It was really fun. I don’t know how long it was supposed to take, but we played for hours. In fact, Antonio had to leave, so it was just gem, me, and the host. It’d be fun to play it again!
After comforting some spirits and fixing the timeline in our game, we went to the Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog screening, which we do most years. It’s always a great show!
We ended the night with some Greek food in the Gaslamp District at Nick the Greek and then some Big Mouth in the hotel.
The last day ended up being fairly relaxed. We went for a long walk along the water and then checked out the pinball lounge… where we stayed the rest of the day.
We played Godzilla, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Jurassic Park, Led Zeppelin, Star Wars: The Mandalorian, and Deadpool – all set to free play. The games featured an interesting blend of classic and modern technology. Yes, it’s mechanical pinball, but you login to your account before you play on your phone, then hold a QR code up on your phone to the pinball machine to log into it. Then it tracks your high schools as well as achievements. How cool!
I’ll end the post with some more assorted photos from the event, mostly of cosplay. Any photos of me in this post were taken by gem!
San Diego Comic-Con 2019 was a little over six months ago, which I guess means I should get around to writing about it. I like to keep a travel journal on this blog, but I’m bad at sitting down to blog and good at procrastinating. It’s a good thing I take a lot of photos and keep notes on my phone! If you want to see some photos I took on my camera, check my Flickr album. Most of the photos in this post were from my phone, but I embedded a few from Flickr as well.
As always, SDCC was Thursday through Sunday. I went down on Wednesday night with gem. Antonio couldn’t join us at the start of SDCC, and Kaleigh was only able to come down on Saturday unfortunately.
gem and I started with dinner at Soda & Swine, one of our favorite San Diego restaurants. We found that it was totally revamped. It used to be a meatball place primarily, and they pulled way back from that unfortunately. The menus were now on cloth napkins that were attached to a clothesline with clothespins at the front of the restaurant. Weird. I wasn’t happy. But we ate, and the food was decent even if it wasn’t as good as what we remembered.
We started the festivities by attending Ready Party One, an 80s party at the Fluxx nightclub in the Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego. The party alternated between DJs playing modern dance music and 80s music with live performances by 80s cover band The Flux Capacitors.
I’d say it was a good approximation of a club in the Oasis from Ready Player One! Costumes and dress were varied and perfect. It was fun to be dancing with regular people as well as people in costumes of all sorts and styles.
Plus, there were even live lyra performers!
And hula hoop performers!
gem and I stopped at the photo op as well!
Who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters!
And to get really nerdy, the Pokemon theme!
I started Thursday, the first day of SDCC, by picking up our bags!
This woman made an awesome dress from her bags! She looks happy to show it off too!
Next it was off to the Funko booth. I ended up making purchases for myself, gem, gem’s friend, and stranger. I even got reprimanded by staff for clearly buying something for someone else. But uh, so was everything else. I got Johnny Rico (Starship Troopers), Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and Derek Zoolander Funko figures!
Was this man dressed as something, or did he just love pizza? Who knows.
gem and I got to pretend to be Mario at the Nintendo Lounge.
I explored the exhibit hall a bit before heading to a show. D&D: All Bards featured Pierce Brown, one of my favorite authors. He played a D&D one-shot as a party with all bards with Sam Sykes, Chuck Wendig, Paul Krueger, E. K. Johnston, and Jim Zub. (I don’t know the other famous people, oops.) It was really funny. It turns out, yes, a party of all bards can kind of stumble their way to success. Pierce Brown’s cocky humor stole the show.
I spent some more time wandering the exhibit hall after the D&D show, including watching some Steven Universe karaoke. It was right in the middle of the hall. Who’s brave enough to do that? More on that later.
Check out this Wonder Woman cosplayer! Isn’t she a cutie?
Thursday wrapped with an Anamanaguchi concert! Anamanaguchi is a band that combines traditional rock instruments with chiptune music, and they did the soundtrack to Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game.
Here’s a little clip of them. The show was a lot of fun, and the visuals on screen went well with the music. It was outside, behind the convention center on the green as part of Adult Swim’s SDCC offerings.
The churros looked pretty but weren’t that great!
I’ll admit I didn’t know Anamanaguchi by name before getting tickets, but I’m really glad I went.
Friday began with a Veronica Mars panel. I’ve never seen Veronica Mars, but I wanted to see the next panel. And I do love Kristen Bell, so it was still entertaining. The panel showed some footage of the Veronica Mars revival, and it did make me want to try the show – although not enough to have actually done so yet.
The Steven Universe panel started after that. The actresses who voice Peridot (Shelby Rabara), Garnet (Estelle), Amethyst (Michaela Dietz), and Pearl (Deedee Magno) joined series creator Rebecca Sugar to discuss the show and premier the trailer for Steven Universe: The Movie. I’m behind on the series, so I haven’t seen the film yet. However, seeing them talk was a lot of fun, and I love the passion and fun they bring to the show.
Between that and the next panel was the Disney group shoot for photographers and cosplayers organized by Robert T Photography. I went as a cosplayer last year, but this year I just went as a photographer to get some photos.
I showed up a few minutes late so didn’t get a photo of the entire group. The event always does photos of various subgroups. I don’t remember what this was in particular, but I like it because it has a large number of people.
gem was dressed in a casual cosplay of Steven Universe, so I had to get a photo of her with Rose Quartz! Check out more of the photos from the shoot in my Flickr album.
“Wherefore Dystopia and Darkness? Enjoying Creators’ Wretched Unjust Societies” was next. It features authors Marie Lu, Jess Rothenberg, Rachel Caine, Richard Kadrey, Ally Condie, S. L. Huang, and Mallory O’Meara. It was fun because I enjoy dystopian novels. I don’t care that many are aimed at children; that just makes them faster reads! I had read Marie Lu’s Legend series and Ally Condie’s Matched trilogy. And since SDCC, I also read Marie Lu’s The Young Elites trilogy. The biggest take away I got from hearing them talk about their dystopian worlds was that I need to reread the Matched trilogy.
The Geek Geek Revolution panel involved geek trivia with Pierce Brown, Seanan McGuire, Paul Krueger, Tochi Onyebuchi, and Kiersten White. The only person I knew was Pierce Brown, but it was fun. The audience was allowed to submit questions, and they read one of gem’s! What was the name of the mail carrier moogle from Final Fantasy IX? No one knew the answer, but it was Stiltzkin! I can barely remember what was going on in the photo. Did the winner have to wear the horse mask? The loser, maybe?
Taking a break from panels, I went outside to Adult Swim on the Green to the Rickflector, which puts you in a augmented reality minigame in the Rick and Morty universe. I don’t watch Rick and Morty, but whatever. It was silly and probably not worth the line, but I had a good time.
A museum for The Orville was set up near the convention center called The Orville Experience. It was rather small but still neat as a fan of the show. It felt like the show might have been too new to really warrant it, but I suppose nothing’s stopping them from having a bigger one in the future if the show continues to go strong!
“Always go with one more zipper than you’re comfortable with.” Wonderful advice from Lamarr to Malloy.
We got to take this little video too!
Friday night, the IKV Stranglehold, a Klingon fan group, put on a live, original Star Trek episode featuring their own cast of Klingons. It’s the second year I’ve watched them do this, and I really enjoy seeing people being passionate and having fun with the fandom they love.
I last event of the day was Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog and Karaoke Party. I was late to it because of IKV Stranglehold, but I still caught the second half the movie and sing along. And I did sing along! After the movie was done, they had karaoke, but I didn’t stay for it.
The Interdimensional House of Pancakes seemed like a good place to stop for dinner! (I wrote that before I realized the double meaning and went back to add emphasis.) It took over maryjane’s at the Hard Rock Hotel.
I thought it was worth sharing a few more photos from the restaurant just to see the little details.
I saw an awesome Sabrina from the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina on Saturday!
Since I was moving quickly, I mostly took photos of awesome cosplayers on my phone.
Look how cute Ariel and Flounder are!
My first goal of the day was to get Pierce Brown’s autograph. I already had it from previous years, but I wanted it again!
I watched a panel on The Man in the High Castle because I actually wanted to watch the panel that was next in the room. The Man in the High Castle, which is about the US after it loses World War 2, has always seemed pretty interesting, but it’s hard for me to decide to watch something that’s dark. Maybe I’ll give it a go eventually. It seems more likely that I’ll eventually read the original Philip K. Dick novel.
I was actually there for the NOS4A2 panel. The panel was about the TV series starring Zachary Quinto, but I think gem read the novel. It’s a supernatural drama, and if you hadn’t figured it out, NOS4A2 is pronounced “Nosferatu.” The show is apparently available for streaming on AMC’s streaming platform, which means I guess no one will ever see it. I’d probably watch it if it was on something more mainstream.
Now on to one of the highlights of SDCC this year – The Adventure Zone: Dadlands! In this live TAZ one-shot, the McElroy’s each took the role of a leader of his tribe of Dads in a post-apocalyptic future in which only Dads exist after Moms and Children have all gone extinct.
There are the Grill Dads, Vacation Dads, Sports Dads, Car Dads, Drama Dads, and Craft Dads. Griffin played Briquette Hoggins, a Grill Dad. Justin played Chip Hugginsbee, a Vacation Dad who loved to throw out worthless trivia about where they were. Travis played Guy Ferrari, a Car Dad. And Clint played Coach Red Ruffinsore, a Sports Dad – and Clint had whistles on hand with which to annoy his actual kids. I love that this entire game seems to have been created to play up terrible dad jokes. It was great!
After the show, I watched a dog fight with a balloon. He was such a good boy!
We finished the evening with pizza from BIGA. This was giulia, one of the greatest pizzas I’ve ever had! It has “house-made fior de latte mozzarella / pecorino / parmesan / basil / burrata / prosciutto di parma / fennel pollen / local honey / figs / saba.” So good!
Sunday, the last day, started with Spotlight on Jonathan Hickman. He’s a comic book writer and artist… and I only attended his panel so I’d be in the room for the next panel about The Adventure Zone!
Clint and Travis were joined by Carey Pietsch and moderator Satine Phoenix to discuss the release of The Adventure Zone: Murder on the Rockport Limited, the second graphic novel in the series. Admittedly, I hadn’t yet read the first one – oops. But it was really fun to see two of the McElroys more up close, and it was the first time I’ve heard from Carey Pietsch. I decided during this panel that I had to get off my butt and pick up the graphic novel.
In Cartoon Voices II panel, moderator Mark Evanier joined voice actors Jim Meskimen, Robin Atkin Downes, Secunda Wood, Dee Bradley Baker, and Candi Milo to talk about performing cartoon voices and do some live examples. At least, that’s who the schedule listed. I honestly can’t remember much about this panel, but I know I’ve enjoyed it in the past too!
Next it was time for more Pierce Brown! gem and I picked up an autographed copy of Iron Gold, chatted with him briefly, and got photos with him.
And speaking of autographs and photographs, I had to make good on my decision to pick up The Adventure Zone graphic novel. I bought the first one, Here There Be Gerblins. Clint McElroy signed it and talked to me for a bit, and then I got a photo with him. It was really awesome meeting him! How cool that he and his sons get to do so many fun projects together for a living.
Remember earlier how I wondered who would be crazy enough to do Steven Universe karaoke at the Steven Universe booth in the middle of the exhibit hall? gem got in line for karaoke. And while she slowly moved through the line, I decided to join her. The staff allowed him to jump into line with her, and we sang in front of anyone! Scary!
And that’s another SDCC for the history books – my 9th one attended! Check out my Flickr album for more photos!
This post has been half-complete for about two years now, so it’s about time I finish it and get it posted! Bach in May of 2017, gem and I were both attending a friend’s wedding in Portland. Neither of us had been there, so we decided to take some extra time and explore the surrounding areas.
After flying to Portland, we checked into our AirBNB that was, in my opinion, practically in a forest. Okay, not really, but Portland definitely has a different feel than Southern California. Where as at home, I get the impression we flattened nature and paved it over, it felt like in Oregon people decided to actually live with nature.
We had dinner at Cartopia, a collection of food trucks/carts with a nice place to sit and eat. The palak paneer fries from Potato Champion were delicious.
These are the PB&J fries, which were also quite tasty.
And this is the Girl Next Door from Pyro Pizza with a ricotta goat cheese blend, oregano, rhubarb, Parmesan, Romano, basil, oil, and pepper.
I started the next day with coffee from Never Coffee. I had a Holy Grail and Nutella Puff, about which I wrote “meh” in my travel log, so I guess something didn’t do it for me. gem had a drink called the Hug along with zucchini bread.
After getting our caffeine, we started driving toward our hiking destination, Ape Cave, but we made a detour at Yale Park Recreation Area. It was really beautiful!
Here I’m about to descend into Ape Cave, one of the longest lava tubes in North America.
gem had lights and headlamps for both of us, so we were well equipped!
Ape Cave had two trails, a lower cave and an upper cave.
Lower cave was basically a stroll to a dead end, and then you return to the start.
Upper cave was a great hike in pitch black for the majority of it. This is a hike unlike the ones I usually do at home. Some of it is walking, some of it is climbing over “breakdowns,” large piles of rocks from ceiling collapses, and some of it is crawling under or between rocks. I guess it’s a good thing I’ve practiced a bit of bouldering! This was definitely a cool experience. My Runkeeper tracked it as 4 hours and 25 minutes, but I can’t remember if I was tracking the whole thing. Plus, a lot of the tracking was inaccurate underground.
We survived and made it out alive. I think gem thought we were going to be stuck down there forever.
After leaving the cave, I met this cool little guy! He came up on my fingers. Sorry, I know I shouldn’t have let him. Not shown: the snake I almost stepped on that made me yelp.
After getting cleaned up, we headed to our friends’ Kristine and Justin’s place. Kristine and Justin were the couple getting married just a few days later. gem and I met them in World of Warcraft, which is how they met as well. Kristine is out guild leader, and the two of them are our main tanks for the majority of the guild’s raiding time. Our friends Marc, Matt, Katie, Adrian, and Nate were also there, who we know from the guild as well.
Did I take any photos with my friends? No, of course not. I focused on the cat. gem goes by Mooglegem in WoW, and when Kristine and Justin got this cat, gem suggested the name “Moogle.” So, this is Moogle!
Seriously, I get a good chuckle out of the fact that I don’t have any photos of anyone else at the house that night. I do remember eating pizza, lots of talking, and learning about how Justin destroyed a bidet… twice.
This is a photo of our AirBNB we took the next day before heading out for morning coffee!
We started the day at Heart Coffee Roasters. I had a 12 oz mocha with Scandinavian cinnamon roll with cardamom. gem had an “Ick” coffee according to my notes, whatever that was, haha.
After coffee, we drove down to Koriander in Corvallis to meet our friends Hal and Mary Margaret for lunch! This was great because I hadn’t seen them recently and on top of that… they’re my friend Alex’s parents, and we didn’t tell Alex we were planning this. I texted him this photo and told him I was just grabbing lunch with some friends!
Next it was time for goat yoga!
What’s not to like? Goats? Good. Yoga? Good.
I think the goat enjoyed eating gem’s hair.
Look how cute this little goat is!
Next we headed back to Portland for dessert at Salt & Straw! I suppose it was appropriate that my first time at Salt & Straw was in Portland, as it’s based there. There are a lot of locations in Southern California now though. We got wildflower honey with ricotta walnut lace cookies, pear with blue cheese, almond brittle with salted ganache, and strawberry honey balsamic with black pepper. Yum!
We ended the day at Ground Kontrol, an awesome arcade and bar in downtown Portland. I tried the Falcon Punch (orange Stoli vodka, cranberry juice, and a splash of pineapple juice) and the Green Turtle Shell (Seagram’s Extra Dry Gin, muddled cucumber, and Cock N Bull Ginger Beer). I also ate a chili dog (shout out to Sonic) and a Luigi (pesto pizza). We played a variety of games, including some Pac-Man and The Walking Dead pinball.
This was the highlight of the night. As I walked past the machine, someone asked me to join him and some others in playing Killer Queen. He told me he already paid and I could play for free. I felt like there was a catch, but I soon learned the truth. This amazing game is for two teams of five players. While it can be played with AI controller characters, it’s much better with people. Because you pay per game and not per person, they were just looking for more players. It was a such a fun strategy game! I really love games that encourage socialization, which Killer Queen definitely does. By the end of the night, I was the one asking strangers to join and offering to teach them to play.
Here’s the guy who played most of the evening with us!
Did I mention that our AirBNB came equipped with a kitty? Heck yeah.
The next day we checked out Multnomah Falls, which was beautiful!
After checking out the gorgeous waterfall, we went to a place called Crafty Wonderland before deciding to have lunch at Pok Pok, an amazing Thai restaurant. We had spicy peanuts, spicy fish sauce wings, half chicken with dipping sauces, papaya salad, and drinking vinegars (one mint, lime, and cucumber and one strawberry and Thai basil).
Now it’s time to talk about the whole reason for the trip! This is me and Kristine at her wedding!
Look at Kristine and Justin, the happy couple! The wedding was awesome and subtly comic book themed. There were stacks of comics with Funko vinyl figures as table centerpieces, and the wedding (including the ceremony) used some great Guardians of the Galaxy music.
Here’s one of me, gem, and Kristine.
We can’t forget to use Snapchat and involve the cats 🙂
The photobooth was a ton of fun, and here’s the one photobooth picture that didn’t look sloppy drunk haha. I love that seven people in this photo were part of our raid team in WoW, and we were at the wedding of two others. I had already met everyone except one significant other previously, and I think it’s great that such real friendships could have started thanks to playing World of Warcraft together. Even though most of us don’t play together anymore, the friendships continue.
The next day included quite the adventure to get brunch from Screen Door. Our Uber had to make a lot of u-turns and detours because many streets were blocked off. There was some police search going on involving a crime of some sort, but I don’t remember the details now. But what’s important is the food. This huge brunch includes biscuits and meat gravy, beef brisket hash and eggs, praline bacon, and bacon pancakes with strawberry preserves.
Unfortunately, it was time to say good bye to kitty as we left the AirBNB and took a train to Seattle.
Luckily our AirBNB in Seattle came with these two good boys!
Hey baby I hear the blues a-callin’, tossed salads and scrambled eggs… Sorry, I just had to drop the Frasier theme song in here. Anyways, we visited the Space Needle! It was apparently the 46th Annual Northwest Folklife Festival – a cool little bonus!
Here’s the view from the Space Needle. It’s a much clearer view than the solid gray that the Eiffel Tower gave me in Paris!
Seattle Center, the location of the Space Needle and surrounding area, also featured this playground called Artists at Play! While meant for kids, gem convinced me to climb it as well. She had to coax a kid who made it to the top but was scared to climb into the chamber that you can see in the center of this photo. While I helped encourage kid, I was actually thinking “kids are allowed to do this? What if they fall?!” I was right behind the kid, so as I held on, I admit that I was also thinking “come on, hurry up kid because I’m getting tired!”
After leaving Seattle Center, we explored Seattle a bit.
And then we had dinner at Serious Pie! This appetizer was local beets, rhubarb yogurt, and pistachio butter.
We ordered two pizzas. This is yukon gold potato, rosemary, and pecorino romano.
This is soft eggs, smoked prosciutto, local greens, pecorino sardo.
The food was so good, gem left this feedback with pictures!
The next day we rented a car to drive to Treehouse Point. I’m pretty sure it was this car rental visit at which the vendor told us to pick any car from the lot… and then the lot contained one car. While we were out there, they brought a second car, and we ended up taking that new car. “Any car from the lot” isn’t much of a choice when there’s only a single car in the lot!
Treehouse Point had six amazing treehouses. The one above was Temple of the Blue Moon. They were basically like hotel rooms – furnished and with electricity. So cool.
How cool would it be to stay in a place like this?
This one was called Trillium. I love the staricase. I didn’t get a great photo of the next one, called Upper Pond.
This was Nest!
The Gazebo had a little landing underneath it. That seems like such a relaxing place to stay.
Lastly, this one was called Burl. While we only took a tour, people can also book a treehouse for an overnight stay!
Next up was a trip to Snoqualmie Falls!
Here you can see the waterfall from above. It was really pretty.
Here it is at the base. There’s a little hike down this way along with some signs that teach you about the Snoqualmie People, which consider the falls important to their spirituality.
Snoqualmie Falls has two power plants. Does this have anything to do with them? No idea. Probably?
This tunnel of rings looked very cool! Snoqualmie Falls was a pretty awesome sight, and of course, I had to stop by the gift shop on the way out for some honey and snacks. I think I picked up some postcards too.
After visiting the falls, we decided to hike Rattlesnake Mountain Trail to Stan’s Overlook.
Here are two panoramic shots from my phone. It was a little over 4 miles there and back, and it had some amazing views!
There was so much green!
A little bit of human infrastructure seeped into nature here.
This little guy at Stan’s Overlook wanted to say “hi” to me. Hiking to Stan’s Overlook and back to the parking lot was a bit over 4 miles and definitely worth it.
Here’s a bit of the trail on the way back.
All that hiking must have worked up an appetite, because we had an amazing dinner at The Black Duck Cask and Bottle in Issaquah. The photos didn’t come out great, but here they come anyways!
This is duck gravy poutine with duck added on top (for an extra cost if I recall correctly).
Look at this amazing dish! It’s mac n’ cheese with duck, cheddar, Gouda, cheese puffs, bacon, and pistachios. I can’t really remember what “cheese puffs” meant now. I can’t imagine there were something like Cheetos in it. I do remember that it was delicious.
This is the black duck pie, which I also showed above. It had duck, arugula, Worcestershire sauce, goat cheese, aioli, and pistachios.
For dessert, this is the house made cinnamon roll with blood orange glaze and white chocolate. Not shown: drinks – Uinta Cucumber Saison, Odin Strawberry Smash, and a Black Duck Mule (house infused ginger and jalapeño vodka with ginger beer).
LOOK AT THIS GOOD DOGGO THAT GREETED US WHEN WE GOT BACK TO THE AIRBNB!
The next morning, we explored Capitol Hill in Seattle
We stopped at a coffee shop called General Porpoise.
The coffee was delicious, and the sign was cute too! I had a mocha and rhubarb lemon jam donut. gem had the coconut cream donut!
Here’s gem with the sign in the door.
We also saw this sweet sign for a pizza place called Sizzle Pie!
Oh, and check out this sidewalk. Lysol rox? Uh, I guess it does actually. And the cat is cute!
Next up was Canada! We drove north across the border, stopping at Tim Horton’s for a Canadian maple donut and a double chocolate donut of course.
Next we drove over Lion’s Gate Bridge and used the Trans-Canada Highway to drive to Cypress Provincial Park, where it was suggested we could get above the city for a good view. We stopped at Barrett’s View, but thanks to the dreary day, the view wasn’t so epic. It was still fun!
Realizing I was somehow bleeding, I made a makeshift bandaid and then we headed back into the city. After a quick stop at 7-11 for bandaids, we had dinner at Peaceful Restaurant for Chinese food!
I’m not sure if we just decided to eat a lot or what, because the next thing in my notes was that we stopped at another restaurant. ANYWAYS! Check out this awesome sign for Ramen Gojiro! How could we not eat there, right? Look at the cute, chalk Godzilla!
The menu is cool looking too!
Now it’s possible that the atmosphere and theme of the restaurant is part of this, but I think this was my all time favorite ramen. We got a big plate of karaage as you can see.
And here’s the whole meal.
Before I stop talking about Ramen Gojiro, look at the art on the wall. It was awkward taking this photo since there were people, but oh well.
You’d think this travel log would involve something other than food for a second, but no. Next up was mango milk tea with boba from Sushi Home. Boba doesn’t count as more food though, right?
Now, on to something besides food! This is the Telus Garden, an office building that drew our attention due to its cool style.
Even the inside was classy. Yes, there’s water behind her. I’m sure I’d fall in if I sat there all day.
After we explored some more, we found where pizzas are grown. No, we didn’t eat there.
Anela somehow has me eating at McDonald’s in every country I visit thanks to our European vacation, so we stopped at a McDonald’s. I ordered the poutine as well as a beanie baby, which was the toy at the time, for Anela. Was it a moose? I can’t remember.
Our last noteworthy sighting in Canada was this John Fluevog store.
How wonderfully Canadian! I bet this is kind of annoying to the locals actually, but it made me smile.
So long, Canada! It was back to States for us.
During a chat with our AirBNB hosts, they recommended we look at the Space Needle from Kerry Park.
It was a great place to look at and photograph the Space Needle!
The next day was the last day of the trip, and we started it off with Starbucks at the 1st & Pike location at Pike Place Market.
It’s considered the first Starbucks store, although it’s the first store’s second location because it moved.
Here’s gem waiting for her coffee!
With our coffee, we were ready to explore the Pike Place Market. We ate at Piroshky Piroshky, bought some Johnson Berry Farm jams, saw the flying fish, and listened to a pianist named Jeffrey Circus (which could be spelled differently).
Here’s gem at the gum wall.
We had a bite to eat at Market Grill. I had Copper River Sockeye salmon. There was a map on the wall with pins signifying the hometowns of customers. We found our hometown!
There was a lot of fun chalk art outside of unicorns, each with an arrow pointing in the direction of the next one. We enjoyed following the directions and looking at them all.
I really liked the exterior of Red Cedar & Sage.
Finally, we explored the nearby Olympic Sculpture Park.
It was a nice garden and park with a variety of sculptures, benches, trees, and good views.
Here’s the Space Needle from the park!
Of course, the adventure ended with food! On the way to the airport, we stopped at The Crumpet Shop. Thanks for the fun, Seattle! That’s it for that adventure. So many great memories! 🙂
I think 2018 was a pretty great year. I moved to a new apartment, which I really like, and started a new job that is challenging and rewarding. I enjoyed spending time with many wonderful friends, went on lots of great adventures, and saw a lot of fun shows.
I went to San Diego Comic-Con again for the 8th year in a row. This year I attended with gem, Antonio, and Kaleigh.
I cosplayed Fix-It Felix, Jr. again. And here’s gem as Lilo!
gem and I took Antonio to Zion National Park in Utah and to Vegas for his bachelor party. We did lots of great hiking in Zion…
…visited the Warner Valley Dinosaur Tracks…
…saw Cirque du Soleil in Vegas…
…went to Neon Museum of old signs…
…and went ax throwing in Vegas!
Antonio married Kaleigh! I was one of his two Best People. (He had one man and woman as his Best People).
Here’s Antonio Best Woman, Best Man, and groomsman.
My photo of Anela was shown in the OC Fair.
Here we are with the photo hanging in the gallery!
Christin’s photo of us was also shown!
I always knew that deep down I was a model.
My postcard collection was featured in the OC Fair as well. I entered it as a collection of foreign postcards. I’ve traded mail with 55 countries (up 3 in 2018) and 35 US states (up 8). Considering only postcards, I’ve traded with 50 countries (up 4) and 28 US states (up 8), having received from 41 countries (up 7) and 17 US states (up 5) and sent to 45 countries (up 2) and 25 US states (up 8).
I got rid of my mustache. Sometimes I miss it.
We got season passes to Universal and went a lot of times!
Sometimes I think about what could have been if I had purchased these sunglasses. The world would be blurry, but I’d look so fly.
Andy and Kaylin got married!
And more importantly, the bar served a variety of alcohol when it was supposed to be beer and wine only. Okay, the wedding itself was actually more important, but the drinks were still somewhat important.
The Imperial Sand Dunes made for a gorgeous (but hot) backdrop.
Christin, Anela, and gem were all beautiful models!
On the way home, we visited Salvation Mountain.
Tanaka Farms’ sunflower festival was fun and beautiful!
gem really loved the huge sunflowers!
Here’s Anela and me with Hello Kitty.
And here’s gem and me with Hello Kitty!
Anela and I visited the lavender festival, and she wore a Ukrainian outfit.
There were many photo shoots, although a lot of them aren’t ready to be posted yet. Here’s one of Angel Kawaii as Harley Quinn!
The Arts Alive and Street Painting Festival in Mission Viejo ended up being more fun than I expected, especially because there were over 50 fairy doors.
The Christmas treasure hunt was so fun. Look at the detail on the map Pete made!
2018 was the year of pop ups for me it seems. I visited Happy Place for the second time. Here I am with gem in the rubber ducky room! I still need to go through those photos…
gem and I went to San Francisco to visit the Museum of Ice Cream (and to visit our friends Matt and Katie).
The Sprinkle Pool was awesome!
gem took me to The Pizza Experience as a Christmas present. Photo ops and pizza?! Amazing!
This is how I work out now.
I had to see the Gudetama x Curry House collaboration with gem. Luckily the curry is delicious there!
And then there’s the Rilakkuma x Roasting Water collaboration too! I’ve been to two of their locations with gem for this collaboration, and I’ve visited the one near my house many times on my own.
And I can’t forget Aggretsuko’s DEN OF RAGE!!!
gem and I learned about ethics at The Good Place Experience.
gem took this photo of me as a luchador at Luzia. I really saw a ton of shows this year:
Cirque du Soleil’s Luzia under the Grand Chapiteau
The Book of Mormon at Segerstrom Center
Allegiance at the Aratani Theatre
The Unauthorized Musical Parody of Jurassic Park at the Rockwell: Table & Stage
David Sedaris speaking at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center
Cirque du Soleil’s Zumanity at New York-New York
Suburban Legends in Downtown Disney three times
Drag show at the Velvet Lounge
Goldfinger with The Suicide Machines, Buck-o-Nine, and Suburban Legends at the House of Blues, Anaheim
Dear Evan Hansen at the Ahmanson Theatre
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians at the Maverick Theater
Wicked at the Pantages
The Fury of the Aquabats 20th Anniversary show with The Aquabats featuring former Aquabats Catboy, Prince Adam, and Chainsaw and opener C.J. Ramone
Love Actually Live at The Wallis
…47 seasons of TV shows and 42 films (not counting repeated viewings)
What an action packed year! Can I cram as many cool things into 2019?
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!
My 31st birthday was a week and a half ago, and it was pretty great! My birthday landed on a Monday, so I planned a birthday dinner at Gen Korean BBQ with some friends for the Saturday before my birthday. Here’s Antonio, Kaleigh, Anela, gem, Edward, and me after enjoying delicious KBBQ.
I’m getting ahead of myself. Before dinner, I saw Little Shop of Horrors performed live at Musical Theatre Village in Irvine with gem and Anela. I’m so glad gem found out about the show. I love the movie and had never seen it live. It was awesome! I loved the puppeteering of the Audrey II, and the actors performing both Seymour and Audrey were wonderful.
gem gave me these taco / dinosaur socks, which are perfect for Taco Tuesdays.
The Hursts had me over for dinner on Sunday. Look how big Meredith is getting! She’s adorable.
Henley picked out this delicious carrot cake for me. He informed me that the carrot on top was made out of frosting and that I had to share the cake if I wanted it. He also told me that I could lick the frosting off the candles, but I let him do that too. That kid’s one wonderful little person.
The following weekend, gem took me on a surprise trip. I knew she had something planned, but I didn’t know what. We went to Lions, Tigers & Bear, a sanctuary near San Diego. It was amazing!
I fed a bear! Yes! Seriously! This is Albert, a wonderful and gentle boy who loved his peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Yep, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! What an awesome experience. We got a tour of the sanctuary and each of us had a ticket to feed one animal. gem and I both chose this beautiful grizzly bear!
The animals here are never bred and are never touched by humans unless under sedation. Guests feed them by using long tools so that they don’t get too close. The cats would all jump at the food, but Albert just lazily took the food. I love him!
Here are two of the sanctuary’s lions. The lion in the foreground was pretty aggressive. He really wanted all of his dinner at once and didn’t like how long it was taking. You should have seen him tear into his turkey leg.
This is Maverick, the tiger formally owned by Tyga the rapper. He was pretty awesome and definitely jumped for his pieces of meat! There was another tiger that was pretty crazy. He was super aggressive and would surely have torn us to pieces given the chance.
This gorgeous white tiger was cleaning himself just like a house cat.
This spotted leopard was willing to climb for his lunch. We also saw bobcats, a chicken, some peacocks, and Tom, a house cat who likes to wander around the premises. It was such an awesome experience.
Now, I know I already mentioned this, but I have to say it again…
I fed a bear! I fed Albert the grizzly bear! Look how cute he is! Thank you, gem, for the wonderful trip. And thanks too all my friends who helped celebrate or wished me a happy birthday! 🙂
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. Visit our lawyer site to find more info.
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.
When Erica asked me to be a subject in a sleep study at White Mountain Peak, it sounded like a fun adventure! I spent four days at 12,500 feet, met some awesome people, and saw breathtaking views of nature.
I stayed for three nights, and each night I was using a different routine. The first night I slept with AVS. From what I can tell with some Googling, it uses the ambient air, pressurizes it, and basically forces you to breathe it. I’m simplifying. I slept with a mask over my nose, and I actually liked it quite a bit. The second night I slept normally, and the third night I slept with oxygen.
The treatments are nice because the air is a lot thinner up there, and there’s a lot less oxygen. Simple tasks could really wear me out. Soaping my body with my bar of soap caused my heart to race. Talking while hiking would leave me needing to catch my breath. I also felt the effects of altitude sickness pretty badly at times.
Despite the difficulties from high altitude, I did some great hiking. We even saw deer! They’re in this photograph, but I know they’re too small to see clearly. We also a hawk of some sort with a red tail. I’d like to say it was a red-tailed hawk, but for all I know, there could be a lot of hawks that happen to have red tails.
Everybody on the trip was awesome as well. Steve, the caretaker at Barcroft station, was a puppeteer and is a delicious cook! I had the opportunity to get closer to Erica and Alex, and I’m thankful for that. Dillon rescued me from altitude sickness one day by joining Alex and me in a great conversation on morality and ethics. Matea, despite saying she doesn’t open up easily, left me breathless as we chatted during our hike. Corey gave me some photography tips – especially regarding shooting the stars. They must not have stuck with me, because you’ll notice I’m not sharing any starscapes.
Now I know 12,500 feet is pretty darn high, but I’d definitely go again. It was gorgeous! Check out more of my photos from the trip in this Flickr album!
Here’s a few photos of gem’s Ariel from SDCC 2016 that I didn’t post. We thought it’d be fun to take a few photos by the pool. When we got there, we found these two mermaids already swimming there. It was a nice coincidence; I’m glad I got to snap a photo of the three mermaids together!
Hipster Ariel judges all these convention fans! Ugh!