Category Archives: Music

SDCC 2019

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.

Wednesday

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!

Thursday

gem with SDCC Bags

I started Thursday, the first day of SDCC, by picking up our bags!

SDCC Bag Dress

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

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.

Buzz Lightyear

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.

SDCC 2019 Disney Group Shoot

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.

Steven Universe and Rose Quartz

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.

Saturday

Sabrina Spellman

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!

There was some fun TAZ cosplay at the show – here’s Shadow John (@i_dont_mo) and Lup (@costume_cookyy), Hollis (@cawtchlin), and Garfield the Deals Warlock!

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

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!

My music trends in 2019 with Last.fm

Every year, I like to examine my music tastes from the previous year. The image above was generated a couple weeks into 2020, so the actual data from 2019 is slightly different.

Here are my top 10 artists from 1/1/2019 through 12/31/2019. It has a lot of good stuff on it – but of course I’d think that, right? And in case images break in the future:

  1. The Orion Experience – 111 scrobbles (1st place in 2018 too)
  2. Lin-Manuel Miranda – 105 scrobbles
  3. Leslie Odom Jr. – 98 scrobbles
  4. Tally Hall – 54 scrobbles
  5. Ariana Grande – 45 scrobbles
  6. It Boys! – 35 scrobbles
  7. Phillipa Soo – 35 scrobbles
  8. Queen – 32 scrobbles
  9. Keke Palmer – 29 scrobbles
  10. Regina Spektor – 24 scrobbles

The Orion Experience was number 1 last year also, and It Boys! and Regina Spektor have been on my top 10 previously. The rest appear new!

In the image above, you can see my top albums of the past year; again, it’s a little inaccurate given that it was generated a couple weeks into 2020.

Here’s the actual top 10 album list for 1/1/2019 through 12/31/2019. Hamilton won, by a ton. I didn’t want to listen to it much before seeing it live. I waited until I had my ticket, listened to the album once, watched the show, and then listened to the album a ton. And to ensure I have it written in case the image breaks:

  1. Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording) – 350 scrobbles
  2. Cosmicandy by The Orion Experience – 110 scrobbles (down from 1st place in 2018)
  3. Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum by Tally Hall – 53 scrobbles
  4. So Uncool by Keke Palmer – 29 scrobbles
  5. My Everything (Deluxe) by Ariana Grande – 28 scrobbles
  6. Guys Don’t Like Me – Single by It Boys! – 25 scrobbles
  7. Soviet Kitsch (U.S. Version) by Regina Spektor – 23 scrobbles
  8. Absolute Music 64 by Ariana Grande – 17 scrobbles
  9. Лучшие by Звери – 15 scrobbles (down from 2nd place in 2018)
  10. Steven Universe, Vol. 1 (Original Soundtrack) – 13 scrobbles

And here are my top 10 tracks:

  1. Right Hand Man by Lin-Manuel Miranda – 66 scrobbles
  2. The Cult of Dionysus by The Orion Experience – 45 scrobbles
  3. The Queen of White Lies by The Orion Experience – 43 scrobbles (down from 1st place in 2018)
  4. A Winter’s Ball by Leslie Odom Jr. – 38 scrobbles
  5. Guys Don’t Like Me by It Boys! – 35 scrobbles
  6. Break Free (feat. Zedd) by Ariana Grande – 33 scrobbles (not present in 2018 but 10th in 2017)
  7. Bottoms Up by keke Palmer – 29 scrobbles
  8. Helpess by Phillipa Soo – 21 scrobbles
  9. Eye to Eye from A Goofy Movie – 18 scrobbles
  10. Your Obedient Servant by Leslie Odom Jr. – 15 scrobbles

Overall, a lot more Hamilton and a lot less ska. And a surprise showing by A Goofy Movie, which really amuses me.

And I saw some live shows as well:

  • Sweeney Todd at South Coast Repertory
  • Heathers: The Musical at Cal State Fullerton
  • The Little Mermaid: Live-to-Film Concert Experience at the Hollywood Bowl
  • Anamanaguchi concert at SDCC
  • Shrek: The Musical at the Cerritos Performing Arts Center
  • Half Past Two in Anaheim
  • Codename: Rocky, Skapeche Mode, Suburban Legends, Voodoo Glow Skulls, “Save Ferris”, and The Aquabats at OC Brew Ha Ha
  • We Will Rock You at the Microsoft Theater
  • R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps: Phantom of the Auditorium: The Musical at the Chance Theater
  • Hamilton at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway
  • Anastasia at Segerstrom Hall
  • Suburban Legends in Downtown Disney twice
  • Frozen: The Musical at the Pantages
  • The Aquabats with PPL MVR and Dirt Farm at the Fonda Theatre

It was a pretty great year for music for me!

My music trends in 2018 with Last.fm and Spotify

Let’s take a look at my Last.fm account for last year, which I enjoy doing at the start of each year. The Orion Experience took the top spot. They weren’t even in my top 10 artists of 2017. Suburban Legends and The Aquabats also broke into the top 10 after not being in it in 2017. Звери dropped from number 1 to number 3, but Hayley Kiyoko went from number 10 to number 4.

Here’s my full top 11 (since 10 and 11 were tied).

Cosmicandy by The Orion Experience takes the top album spot, which isn’t a surprise to me because I’ve been listening to The Queen of White Lies, Obsessed With You, and The Cult of Dionysus off that album a ton.

Here’s the top 10 albums.

These were the top 10 tracks of 2018 for me. Only one song isn’t in English, just like 2017.

Spotifywrapped.com gives some interesting highlights from Spotify:

  • I started 2018 by listening to Для тебя by Звери.
  • The first artist I discovered was Big Black Delta… and I have no idea who they are right now.
  • I listened to 10,675 minutes listening to Spotify.
  • I spent 7 hours listening to The Orion Experience, my top artist.
  • My top artists were The Orion Experience, Camila Cabello, Suburban Legends, Звери, and Let’s Get It. I wonder how Last.fm doesn’t have Camila Cabello higher? I listened to her a lot. Sometimes Last.fm tracks artists with different names. For example, if a song features another artists, it might be considers “Artist A featuring Artist B,” separate from both A and B.
  • Top songs were We Don’t Care, Carnivore, Hit Me Up, Into It, and The Queen of White Lies.
  • Top genres were pop, indie, rock, punk, and hip hop.
  • My top 100 playlist was generated and can be found here or below.
  • I listened to non-mainstream artists 80% more than the average Spotify listener.
  • My oldest song played was “Did You Ever Have to Make up Your Mind?” by The Lovin’ Spoonful.
  • I listened to more Pisces artists, which Spotifywrapped notes includes Camila Cabello and Kesha, than any other sign. Hm, and I’m a Pisces too.
  • It suggested I broaden my horizons with this playlist.

I saw some concerts:

  • Suburban Legends in Downtown Disney – 3 times
  • Goldfinger with The Suicide Machines, Buck-o-Nine, and Suburban Legends at the House of Blues, Anaheim
  • The Fury of the Aquabats 20th Anniversary show with C.J. Ramone

And I watched some musicals:

  • The Book of Mormon at Segerstrom
  • Allegiance at the Aratani Theatre
  • The Unauthorized Musical Parody of Jurassic Park at the Rockwell: Table & Stage
  • Dear Evan Hansen at the Ahmanson Theatre
  • Wicked at the Pantages

My music trends in 2017

Using Last.fm makes it easy for me to check what I listen to most, and every year I like to look back at the previous year. Звери took the number one slot, beating out Distemper by a single play. Sia was my number one in 2016, and she dropped to number three in 2017.

The only artist from 2016’s top ten that made it to this year’s is Taylor Swift, who jumped from number ten to number five.

I always find it interesting that some I listen to some songs a lot but not many other songs by that artist. A lot of songs in my top ten most played tracks are by artists that didn’t make the top ten.

I actually only went to one concert in 2017, which is kind of crazy. I finally got to see Regina Spektor, who absolutely amazing and so cute live. She might have forgot the words to a song once or twice, and I don’t mind a bit!

My music trends in 2016

Every year, I like checking my Last.fm account to see what music I played the most the previous year. This year, my most played artist was Sia. Given that I definitely know I play her music a lot, this doesn’t come as a surprise to me. She’s not my sixth most played artist overall in addition to number one in 2016.

This graph shows just how much more I listened to Sia than anyone else. It also amuses me that Instalok is number six considering I listen to his parody songs that use Overwatch footage.

Four of my most played tracks were by Sia. I only listened to her during the second half of the year as well. I have a Spotify playlist made on July 6 that consisted of the music Anela played while I was driving, and it was during that drive that she introduced me to Sia I think (although I did go on to find new tracks by her that I loved). “Kill Em with Kindness” and “You Don’t Own Me” (which Suicide Squad made me love) was also from that same playlist actually.

Despite enjoying ska concerts, no ska song broke the top ten (although two ska bands were in my top ten most played artists. I guess I must listen to a lot of different Suburban Legends and Half Past Two songs.

I wonder what I’ll listen to in 2017.

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. 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.

Suburban Legends, Skapeche Mode, and more on 1/14

Reel Big Fish, Suburban Legends, The Maxies, Skapeche Mode, and Stupid Flanders on 1/14/16

I went Reel Big Fish concert a couple weeks ago featuring Starpool, The Maxies, Skapeche Mode, and Stupid Flanders at the Observatory. I didn’t get chance to share any photos. Better late than never.

Reel Big Fish, Suburban Legends, The Maxies, Skapeche Mode, and Stupid Flanders on 1/14/16

After watching The Maxies on the main stage with gem, I switched rooms to watch Stupid Flanders. That’s also where I ran into my friend, Amit.

gem left Stupid Flanders to be sure to catch all of Suburban Legends. I missed the first half of the first song or so by the time I got over there. It was packed, and we were separated.

Reel Big Fish, Suburban Legends, The Maxies, Skapeche Mode, and Stupid Flanders on 1/14/16

After Suburban Legends’ set, I switched back to the Constellation Room for Skapeche Mode. Can you guess that they do Depeche Mode covers?

Reel Big Fish, Suburban Legends, The Maxies, Skapeche Mode, and Stupid Flanders on 1/14/16

I got nice and close! Skapeche Mode has great energy, and I love fun 80s tunes. Plus, they’re pretty friendly! I actually ran into Bryan, the trumpet player, at SDCC.

gem managed to find me at this point even though we couldn’t text. Signal was so bad that our text messages were actually lagging by 20 minutes or so.

skapeche mode

After their set, gem and I chatted with Bryan briefly, and I got this photo with Skapeche Mode’s singer. Note the David Bowie homage.

Reel Big Fish, Suburban Legends, The Maxies, Skapeche Mode, and Stupid Flanders on 1/14/16

Last was Reel Big Fish. By that time, I just wasn’t feeling it too much anymore. Plus, there was a lot of weed around us, so we left after a couple songs. We did, however, run into Brian Klemm, guitarist for Suburban Legends. I think this is the happiest I’ve ever seen gem. Plus, when I asked Klemm about the band since this is their last tour, he confirmed that they’re not breaking up and should still be playing locally. Awesome!

My top music in 2015

I thought it might be fun to look at what I listened to in 2015. I use Last.fm, which tracks music you listened to by linking to Spotify, using a Chrome extension for YouTube, and getting play counts from iTunes. You can find me on Last.fm here if you’re interested. This is Make a New Dance Up by Hey Ocean! at the top. It makes me happy; It’s very upbeat, and it really does make me want to dance. Sometimes I listen to it when I’m about to go dancing.

last.fm top artists in 2015

Here are my top artists played in this last year. What a good-sounding bunch.

My top artists aren’t a surprise. However, I guess I should admit that I think all 214 plays of The Orion Experience came from a single song. Wow.

last.fm top artists of 365 list

Here are some more interesting notes. Scott Bradlee and the Postmodern Jukebox is tracked under two different names.

Combined, they’d beat Suburban Legends for the most played artist.

I don’t own any music by Taylor Swift, and her music is on Spotify. All of her plays are from YouTube. While I already liked a few of her older songs without really knowing who sang them, her recent rise in my listening habits can be attributed to Anela playing the music videos in Daniel’s apartment. Kat DeLuna and Priyanka Chopra are also from her.

The Orion Experience, Cascada, Lena, My Crazy Girlfriend, Hey Ocean!, It Boys!, Hailee Steinfeld, and Kerli all came from Spotify’s Discovery Weekly playlist that changes weekly and is customized to each user. It’s fantastic.

Colt Ford is all Crank It Up. I line danced to it at Atomic and had to go listen to it a thousand times (well, 156 times).

Suburban Legends and Half Past Two are two of my favorite ska bands and local to the area. They’re not new to my listening this year. Half Past Two is taking a break, and Suburban Legends just announced that their current tour is their last, so I’m mad at them! (I’m sorry; I’m not mad. I love you. Thanks for making my ears happy.) Scott Bradlee and the Postmodern Jukebox and Regina Spektor are both favorites of mine for longer than 2015, and I actually saw the Postmodern Jukebox in early 2015.

I was introduced to Daniela Andrade by gem. At first, I mostly listened to her cover of Crazy, which is crazy good. She’s very talented.

Justin, Travis and Griffin McElroy is actually the podcast My Brother, My Brother and Me. I don’t know what they have against the Oxford comma.

What can I say about Carly Rae Jepsen? I really, really, really, really, really like her. (Do you get it?!)

last.fm top all time artists

Here’s my all time top artists in 2015. Again, no surprise, but there is one caveat. My play counts in iTunes were also increased by gem, and she went completely crazy on Owl City for a while. That was the only album she listened to for far too long. I couldn’t stand them for a while. I like them again, but they wouldn’t be this high without her.

last.fm top all time artists list

When I look at my list of all time top played artists, it makes me want to listen to some of them more. I need more Liz Phair and Vampire Weekend.

last.fm top songs of 2015

These are the songs I listened to the most in 2015. I can’t say much about them. Obviously I love all of them or I wouldn’t have listened to them so many times.

last.fm top all time songs

These are my top all time songs. Some of these are artists that made it on my top artists of 2015 list. Some, like Suburban Legends, already had a lot of plays from previous years and continued strong with me in 2015. Others, like The Orion Experience, Cascada, Lena, Colt Ford, It Boys!, and Hey Ocean! I only learned about this year and they already shot into my all time list. I knew of Taylor Swift, but Shake It Off was new to me. Again, Owl City has infiltrated the list thanks to all those dang plays from gem.

last.fm top albums of 2015

Less interesting, but for completion’s sake, here’s the top albums in 2015.

last.fm top albums in 2015 list

This is the top 20 list.

last.fm top all time albums

Here’s the all time top albums. Ugh, Owl City! You’re a fine band, but you make me angry that you’re so high.

last.fm top albums of all time list

And here’s the final list for all time top played albums.

This song didn’t make it on the list, but its album did at least. I want to share it anyways.

I wonder how these lists will change next year! I think it’s fun to look back at what I’ve been listening to!

Ending 2015 with the Ska Luau VI and a NYE party

Following tradition, I ended 2015 by attending the Ska Luau on the 30th and going to a New Year’s Eve party at the Carters’ on the 31st. It was a lot of fun!

Ska  Luau VI

gem and I were looking good at the Ska Luau. I need to work on evening my tan.

Ska  Luau VI

The two of us were rocking our Suburban Legends shirts! The Luau featured the Magnolia Polynesian Dance Troupe, Karate in the Garage, Hooray for Our Side, Suburban Legends, and Starpool. What a sweet line up!

Ska  Luau VI

We ran into our friend Bryan who’s the trumpet player for Skapeche Mode and Failed to Victory. All the bands performed amazing sets. I’d never heard Karate in the Garage, so that was a treat. I’d only seen Hooray for Our Side once, and they gave a great performance. Suburban Legends and Starpool are two of my favorite bands, and they somehow always exceed expectations. I didn’t take many photos of Suburban Legends. There choreography is so awesome that still photos wouldn’t do them justice. However, I have some videos of them playing and dancing in the playlist at the top of this post.

Ska  Luau VI

Starpool came out in a bang of confetti!

Ska  Luau VI

Throw my hands up and shout! I love when they perform this. You can see T-bone Willy Wonka and an Oompa Loompa on stage too. My ears were ringing all day the next day.

New Year's Eve Party

I brought a lot of food to the New Year’s Eve party – brownies, lemon bars, and biscuit pizzas.

New Year's Eve PartyI told Henley that I had a gift for him in the car, and he was pretty excited. He was so adorable asking if it was time to open it yet. He needed some help getting it unwrapped! New Year's Eve Party

He seemed pretty happy with his new Buzz Lightyear! As it turns out, he had really wanted one too. While I was undoing the ties to get Buzz out of the package, Henley repeatedly gave me hugs. He’s so cute.

We suggested he open gem’s gift while I got Buzz out of the box. gem gave him a jacket that looks like a polar bear, complete with bear ears of course. He’s wearing it in that photo, although he didn’t want the hood.

New Year's Eve Party

Dev’s dog, Happy, is totally a lap dog.

New Year's Eve Party

Here’s me and Dev! He’s one of my oldet friends. We met in 8th grade.

New Year's Eve Party

I guess Mike likes my brownies! Actually, he was wondering why Dev scooped them out of the pan with a spoon.

New Year's Eve Party

gem made cheesecake ice cream as gifts and left them in a freezer. I realized that Gracie and Jon forgot to take one, so we began discussing the ice cream. Somehow we realized we could heat up my homemade brownies and serve them with gem’s homemade cheesecake ice cream.

New Year's Eve Party

Super success! A picture doesn’t really do it justice, but trust me that it was delicious.

And that was my New Year’s Eve! Thanks to Alex, Darnell, Henley, gem, Devin, Lorena, Gracie, Jon, Mike, Dev, and a couple people who I didn’t really know (sorry, I forgot names after a day already) for a fantastic end to 2015!

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.