Category Archives: Music

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.

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.

The Big Day and Suburban Legends

Suburban Legends and Tazy

A few weeks ago, gem and I went to see Suburban Legends at Lake Forest Palooza. While they were playing, I ran into Tazy!

All the Way Jaygem and I also danced with All the Way Jay of the Maxies! It was his birthday!

Suburban Legends

Suburban Legends

Suburban LegendsI had to get my photo with the legends themselves too!

Suburban Legends at The Big DayOn a different day, I was an extra at a filming of a movie called The Big Day. Suburban Legends did some music for the movie, so they were there hanging out. It was pretty awesome. We even got to be in a promotional music video!

gem wins the awesomeness contest though for getting a picture with the band… with her ukulele… on stage! Yeah! I don’t want to post it because she should get the pleasure of sharing it herself. Fun!

My Merry Christmas

Christmas 2015

My Christmas was certainly merry, and I hope everyone else’s was too. This is my little Christmas tree. I hadn’t put the homemade ornaments on it yet, but I forgot to get a photo with them and the gifts. Whoops.

Christmas 2015

This is at my aunt’s house on Christmas Eve. We do our main celebrating and gift exchange on Christmas Eve, while Christmas day is more relaxed. This photo was just my generation of the family. That’s my cousin Haley on the left, my cousin Mitch under his gifts, and my brother on the right.

Christmas 2015Here’s another of Mitchell. He’s pretty awesome. Christmas 2015

Now I’m standing with my grandma, my aunt, and my mom. My grandpa is on the right.

Christmas 2015Here’s one of me and Pete. He’s trying to hold up a photo on his phone he took of my grandma’s butt.

What happened to grandma’s shoe? Weird. Christmas 2015

Here’s a couple gifts from gem! She gave me a Bluetooth speaker, a set of bear sheets (I can’t wait to get into bed tonight), and a ukulele! Amazing! I brought my ukulele with me today when I went to my parents’ for Christmas day to practice. I’m trying to play Martian Girl by the Aquabats. Yes, gifts from me are missing from this post. I’ll talk about them some other time!

Lindy Christmas was a lot of fun

Last Friday was Lindy Christmas at Atomnic Ballroom, and it was a lot of fun. I met Carrie, Edward, and gem before dancing for dinner. After we finished, we all headed to Atomic where we met Jessica for a 6-count Lindy Hop class. Once the class ended, the Lindy Christmas dance started featuring the LA Swing Barons. Edward and Carrie didn’t stay too long, but Jessica stayed with us.

At 9:30 we headed to the other room for a free tango lesson and practica. I’m glad Jessica tried both! She seemed to have a good time; hopefully she did.

Santa even showed up for some dancing apparently! I didn’t see him at the dance, but I saw him in photos later. It was a good time!

Thanksgiving weekend

TommyThis might not have been a Thanksgiving spent in Hawaii, but it was still nice and fairly packed full of action. I spent most of Wednesday evening attempting to create pumpkin pie blondies. While I’ll still eat them, I’d say they didn’t work out. Oh well! Thanksgiving morning I woke up at 4 to get an early start and to drive Anela to LAX. On the way home, I stopped by my dad’s to say hello and then headed home for a nap. In the afternoon, I went to my aunt’s in Redondo Beach for Thanksgiving. That’s her dog, Tommy, at the top. Tommy

He was pretty freakin’ adorable. I spent the evening with my aunt, uncle, and two cousins. It’s been great getting to know my cousins as young adults. Usually my mom, stepdad, and sometimes brother come too, but this year they didn’t come. I found out that Mom and Pete were painting the house this weekend instead. Oh well. We had a delicious meal, watching Jurassic World and Shark Tank, and played Bananagrams, Rummikub, and Triominos. My cousin Haley left fairly late in the evening to do Black Friday shopping. I didn’t even realize that stores were open at midnight. It seemed crazy to me. More on this very soon…

Ferris WheelI left a little after 11 for Irvine. After getting home, I met with gem. For Black Friday from midnight to 8 AM, Spectrum was going to have free carousel and Ferris wheel rides. Now that I knew stores were open at midnight, it made much more sense. Carousel

We started with the carousel ride, which was right next to a live DJ. Fun!

Ferris WheelNext up was the Ferris wheel. It was freezing, but it was fun! There was free ice skating as well, but we decided it was too cold for that. We went to Macy’s to look for a bathroom, and next thing I knew, we were shopping. I had to send a Snapchat to Haley. Just a few hours earlier, I thought Black Friday shopping at night was silly, yet here I was, 3 in the morning, sucked into stores. I didn’t buy anything though. Selah Laughing

After a short night of sleep, I went with gem to her parents’ for a large Thanksgiving meal. Here’s gem’s niece, Selah, laughing. She’s beautiful! I’d seen photos of her, but this was my first time meeting her. How lucky I was!

Selah Eats Ice CreamSelah liked gem’s homemade ice cream. Was that the Earl Grey or the apple pie? No idea. Selah Eats Ice Cream

She got a little on her face! 🙂

Selah SelfieShe likes playing with phones and seemed to like the camera. We took this selfie! I was careful to ensure she didn’t call 911. She did that recently at their house. Selah

Here’s Selah playing with gem’s ukulele. She hit it like a drum, but when she held it up to smash it down, gem took it away. She’s so adorable!

Musical FamilyI played two games of chess with gem’s nephew, Caleb. He kicked my butt. gem and her brothers had a family jam session too! I thought that was really cool. South Coast Plaza

After that? Black Friday shopping again somehow. There’s nothing I really want in particular, and nothing jumped out at me, but it was still fun.

Vegan ChiliOn Saturday, I visited my mom, Pete, and James. I had offered to help paint the house, but they actually had finished. We played Scrabble and ate chili. Yum! Mrs. Cronk We also came across some old school photos. Can you find me? This is from kindergarten. Mrs. Thorness And this one is from first grade. Later Saturday night I read some of Aeneid, finished Iphigenia at Aulis, and watched Big Hero 6. Exciting evening! Original Pancake House

Sunday morning I awoke early to pick up Anela from LAX. I actually drove over 350 miles this weekend, which is impressive considering I didn’t actually go out of town. On the way home, we stopped at Original Pancake House for breakfast! We had blueberry pancakes and Swedish pancakes. Tasty tasty.

Pumpkin pie blondies (with dark chocolate)

In the evening, I finished the weekend by eating leftovers and watching Frozen with gem. We also had these treats! I baked pumpkin pie blondies recently. They tasted decent though they were too strong and too soft and mushy. I considered them failures. gem thought to cover them in dark chocolate. It was a nice improvement; they were much tastier!

Hatha for Hunger

Hatha for Hunger 2015

Saturday night was Hatha for Hunger, a Halloween gala hosted through Purple Yoga to raise money for hungry children. It was held at the Long Beach Museum of Art and kicked off with two yoga classes – an outdoor sunset vinyasa flow and an indoor gentle flow.

Hatha for Hunger 2015

I chose the outdoor class and had my mat near the front so I could easily see the ocean. It was quite beautiful and hosted by two of my favorite instructors, Alex and Sean, as well as Scott, who I didn’t know.

Hatha for Hunger 2015

Here’s the view at the end. It was one of the most enjoyable classes I’ve even taken.

Hatha for Hunger 2015

I took the easy path and wore my Aquabats costume. I didn’t put together a new costume, and this seemed like the easiest costume in which to do yoga. gem went as a mermaid!

Hatha for Hunger 2015, me as an Aquabat and Alex

Here’s a photo of me and Alex after the class.

Hatha for Hunger 2015, Sean as caveman and me as Aquabat

Sean didn’t club too many people during class.

Hatha for Hunger 2015, Sean and gem

Here’s a great photo of Sean and gem. I’m glad I got one in which you can actually see gem’s costume.

Hatha for Hunger 2015, Sterling and Megan

Here I am with Sterling the wrestler and Megan as a… okay, I think I can remember it all… mermaid, butterfly, unicorn… and Flavor Flav if you consider her clock purse (not shown).

Oh, and I wore the socks my grandmother gave me a few months ago because she confused me for someone else and thought I loved crazy socks. One has burgers and the other has fries. I think it goes well with the Aquabats costume.

Hatha for Hunger 2015, Kel, Jai, gem, me, aquabat

I squeezed into the frame with gem, Jai, and Kel for this great photo.

Hatha for Hunger 2015, JT as Forrest Gump and me as Aquabat

Last but not least, I danced with Forrest Gump (JT). Such an awesome costume!

It was a super fun evening. Besides yoga and taking photos, there was also some wine and champagne, great music, and lots of socializing. DJ Dory was there, playing music for the outdoor flow and the party afterwards. I also made some new friends, talking about yoga, working out, music, dancing, and more. Yay for new friends! I’m thankful to everyone who helped make it what it was, including staff and attendees alike!

(But sorry to my other friends at Rita’s party that I didn’t see, heh. I was too sleepy.)

Michigan Vacation

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

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

Fairy doors of Ann Arbor

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

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

Cottage trip in Michigan

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

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

Mackinac Island

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

Every fort needs some cannons.

Mackinac Island

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

The island had plenty of trees.

Mackinac Island

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

Mackinac Island

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

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

Lighthouse visit

It was just a tad foggy but very beautiful.

Jackie and Kenneth

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

Jackie and Kenneth

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

Robot Supply and Repair

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

Graffiti Alley

We also saw a ton of cool street art!

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

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

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

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

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

See, I guess I like birds now.

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

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

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

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

Sonic Boom

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lee's Palace

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

Lee's Palace

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

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

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

September! 30 yoga classes, 24 dance classes, 12 dances, and lots of friends

 

atomic ballroom

Happy October! While I didn’t get as much reading done in September as I wanted, I did a lot of other things. I took 30 yoga classes in 30 days at Purple Yoga, which was fun! When I realized I was close, I decided I could totally do it. And it was easy!

dancing

I also got the New Student Special at Atomic Ballroom, giving access to unlimited classes for a week. I took 24 dance classes and went to 12 dances, including evenings at Atomic Ballroom, Folly at Dapper Day, and dancing in Downtown Disney. You can see a lot of wristbands in the photo at the top. Alicia took this great photo one of the nights we went to Atomic. Yoda tried to squeeze into the photo too.

Atomic

I don’t know who Cynthia is, but I’m stealing Luke’s Snap since I’m in it too.

I tried 6-Count Lindy Hop, 8-Count Lindy Hop, Salsa, Country Two Step, West Coast Swing, Country Line Dancing, Collegiate Shag, Bolero, Foxtrot, Milonga, Argentine Tango, Cha Cha, and Charleston classes. I already like Lindy Hop, and it’s still my favorite, but I found that I really enjoyed Argentine Tango and Country Line Dancing too – all for completely different reasons. Oh, and I might have tried to belly dance too. There’s totally no video. Thanks gem, Anela, Luke, and new friends for making the week fun! I ran into old friends and acquaintances and met a lot of new, cool people at Atomic too.

And I did squeeze in two tragedies by Euripides and some of The Aeneid as well as picking up Super Mario Maker. My body’s ready for tomorrow’s vacation! Time for Michigan with Duncan! I’m going with him on his yearly trip, leaving Friday and returning a little over a week later. Plans include a cottage, dinner with old friends, Canada, Niagara Falls, and Detroit – a nice combination of staying busy while also resting. Let’s go!

 

Atomic Ballroom Student Showcase: Celebrate the Magic

Atomic Ballroom Student Showcase: Celebrate the Magic

Atomic Ballroom’s Student Showcase was this weekend. Because gem’s loud and quick to yell when told that the loudest person wins tickets, she won tickets to the show. The theme was “Celebrate the Magic” featuring Disney music. It was pretty awesome! I particularly liked watching the shadows dance when these two were in the right position on stage. Besides this, I didn’t take many photos.

Atomic Ballroom Student Showcase: Celebrate the Magic

The performers were really good. It was nice to see people of so many different levels dance. I’m sure it took a lot of guts for some of them to get up there. I really enjoyed pieces such as “Kiss the GIrl” from The Little Mermaid, featuring a shimmery, mermaid-tail-like dress, “Strangers Like Me” from Tarzan, “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” from Mulan, and “Friend Like Me” from Aladdin with an awesome dance (that suddenly made me really sad when I thought of Robin Williams and then the closing of Disney’s Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular. I just noticed while looking at the program that one of the dancers in that Aladdin piece, Jeff Glass, is a psychiatrist at the Long Beach VA. How cool! For all I know, he could have helped my father.

Oh, and I have to add that there was an adorable little girl doing some of the transitions. One time she was a mermaid, one time she ran across the stage dressed as Indiana Jones and running from a “boulder,” and one time she was Rapunzel.

After the showcase, there were complimentary refreshments. I ate too much, but the food was delicious. It was a lovely evening!

Folly at Dapper Day

Folly at Dapper Day

Dapper Day was here this weekend! I was the expo for about 15 minutes right before it closed due to traffic. Ugh! On the bright side, I won a free bow tie from xoelle through an Instragram repost contest and got to pick it up!

There was some stress as I waited in line to see if we could get tickets to Folly, the after party, while gem spent a good hour trying to park. Luckily, we did get inside the party. Folly had drinks, a live swing band, a keyboardist and bassist in another room, and lots of dancing upstairs at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen.

gem captured me enjoying my White Russian.

Folly at Dapper Day

Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself, because I still wanted to share this photo of us in line.

Folly at Dapper Day

Here’s another shot of us while we waited in line.

Folly at Dapper Day

gem enjoyed the fireworks while wearing xoelle’s business card in her hair.

We were hoping to meet some other friends there, but no one came. However, we made some new friends. It was an awesome night anyways with drinks, lots of dancing, and great music. Super fun!

Spotify’s Discover Weekly, a great way to discover new music

Spotify introduced the Discover Weekly playlist, giving users custom playlists of new music based on their usage. So far, it’s been pretty amazing for me. If you haven’t tried it yet, check Browse > Discover > Discover Weekly.

Checking my Last.fm reveals that in the last week, nine of my top ten played songs were from my Discover Weekly playlists from the last two weeks. Spotify’s algorithms seem spot on; they certainly know what I like. Discover Weekly is a single playlist that’s updated every Monday. Because I want to save them, I make a new playlist that’s a duplicate of my Discover Weekly. When the Discover Weekly is changed, I still have my duplicate.

One song it recommended was Obsessed With You by The Orion Experience. It recommended it to me two weeks ago with the introduction of Discover Weekly, and it’s now my 38th most played song ever according to Last.fm. That’s crazy. I guess I listened to it a lot. Whoops.

I’ve been looking for ways to discover new music, especially since there are some kinds of music that I enjoy but about which I don’t know much. This is a perfect way to discover new music! And in the interest of discovering new music, here’s a selection of tracks that I’ve enjoyed from my Discover Weekly playlist:

  • The Orion Experience – Obsessed With You
  • The Bird and the Bee – F-cking Boyfriend
  • I Fight Dragons – The Geeks Will Inherit The Earth
  • MisterWives – Twisted Tongue
  • Beautiful Small Machines – Counting Back To 1
  • Crayon Pop – Bar Bar Bar
  • Garfunkel and Oates – Gay Boyfriend
  • Morgan Laurence – Come On! Come On!
  • Dixie Flatline – Just Be Friends
  • Noah and the Whale – 5 Years Time

If you use Spotify and haven’t checked out your Discover Weekly playlist yet, you’re missing out every week you don’t take a look!

San Diego Comic-Con 2015

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

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

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


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


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


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


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

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


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

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

Fix-It Felix, Jr. at SDCC 2015


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


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


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


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

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


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

Woody and Dhalsim
gem even did yoga with Dhalsim!

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

Aquabats Set List


They even signed my set list!

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

gem and Allie Brosh


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

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


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

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

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

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

Bay Area vacation and the Lithium Network Conference 2015

Bay Area friendsLast week I was attending a conference in the Bay Area, so I went a few days early to visit friends! I stayed with Katie and Matt, hung out with Marc as well, coincidentally saw some Southern California friends, and attended the Lithium Network Conference. I had a great time!

Lithium is all about social: they’re the providers of Toshiba’s forum as well as Lithium Social Web, the web application that I use that pulls the forum, Facebook, and Twitter into one screen.

Friday

I flew in Friday night after some delays. Matt and Katie picked me up from San Francisco International, and we headed back to their place in Fremont after a quick stop for some tasty In-N-Out. It was late, so we mostly talked, and Matt and I played games.

Saturday

Saturday was the action-packed day! Marc came over, and then we visited Matt’s university, San Jose State University, where we failed to return library books and failed to see a flight simulator. We tried at least. Luckily, San Jose is also filled with delicious foods.

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At SmokeEaters I ate some delicious wings, onion rings, fries, and a beer. This was the start of a bad day for my stomach.

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I was kind of excited to see a banner for Fanime. I don’t know. I’m sorry.

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After our unhealthy lunch, we stopped at Psycho Donuts. Just look how good they look! Yes, yes, yes!

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We walked past a place called Iguanas just because I wanted to take a picture of their sign. Burritozilla! I want to eat Burritozilla!

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When we got back to Katie and Matt’s, we tried some of the donuts. Another bad stomach decision, but a great decision for my taste buds. The top-left one was the Cookie Monster donut. Reminds me of Afters Ice Cream! 🙂

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We made some White Russians, watched some YouTube videos, listened to Spotify, and talked. The White Russians were the final bad decision for my stomach, haha.

Matt found this playlist on Spotify – 2000’s Rock by Scott Sweatman. It’s… kind of great. It caused a lot of nostalgia, but at the same time, I can tell why I don’t listen to this music anymore. It was pretty perfect.

This might sound uneventful, but it was a pretty important evening. I had a lot of fun with them. Marc’s friend even came over as well.

Sunday

gem was in te Bay Area to go rafting with a group of friends, which included one other person I knew – Vivian. Marc came over again, and then he drove us to Berkeley to meet with them.

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We decided to meet at Sather Tower, a bell and clock tower, commonly called The Campanile.

You could hear the music from a pretty good distance.

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I liked the bears at the base.

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After realizing you could go up the tower for a nominal fee, we had to check it out.

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I wish this photo offered a better sense of scale. The bells could totally crush a person.

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gem, Katie, and Matt!

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Here’s where the musician sits to play the carillon, which is the bell system.

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Here’s the view.

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And here’s a group of photos of a lot of us.

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Here’s gem, Marc, Katie, Matt, and myself. I was trying to spread the Half Past Two, So Cal ska love to the Bay Area.

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We stopped at Sheng Kee Bakery, where I tried some of Vivian’s tea eggs – basically eggs boiled in tea rather than water. Delicious! Then it was off to Sliver Pizzeria. Each day of the week they feature a different pizza, but that’s it. That means that each day they only have a single kind of pizza. On Sunday, it was roasted potatoes, roasted onions, mozzarella, jalapeño jack cheese, Italian parsley, oregano, thyme, and olive oil. I wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I did. It was great! I’m going to need to try to make something like this some time.

Over lunch, someone I had just met that day asked me what I did for a living. I said, “I work for Toshiba…”

He replied with “hey, that’s my line!”

I’m paraphrasing, but he works for Toshiba as well, although he works for a different Toshiba company. Small world! And speaking of small worlds, another person was going to take the BART back to Fremont, so Marc just gave him a ride too.

It was cool seeing the university as well as the city. The city was pretty interesting. I can understand how it gets the reputation it has, because the people clearly cared a lot more about the environment and helping each other than I’m used to seeing in Orange County.

Once we got home, we had a quiet evening mostly of watching TV and chatting. I got some work done as well, and we watched American Ninja Warrior. It’s a cool show pitting athletes against insane obstacle courses that require a great deal of strength, agility, and balance.

Katie made an amazing fish dinner that made my stomach feel much better. It was super good!

Monday

I started Monday morning by working before Matt drove me to the BART station.

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When I got into San Francisco, I took a picture of the building outside the Powell Street station like I always do.

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This was the view from my hotel room. Not amazing, but I like that Scalzi always posts photos of his view, so I like doing it too. I stayed at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis, which was right next to Saint Patrick’s Chuch, where Patrick and Caroline got married. Pretty cool!

Anela gave me some recommendations of things to do. Some of them I’d done previously, and some, like hike recommendations, just didn’t fit with my schedule. But some things had to be done!

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Did you know that at the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory you can watch people make fortune cookies? Well, she did, and now I do, and now you do.

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They start out round, while they’re still hot, she shapes them into fortune cookies. I got to try some nice hot ones that were still round, and I bought a bag of normal and chocolate fortune cookies.

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I tried one chocolate one from the bag, and my fortune was “Your luck will soon be at a high point.” That seems good, but what if it just means my luck is going to be terrible for a long time after that? Uh oh.

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I took some other random photos too.

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Building art.

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Yummy not-quite-a-fortune-cookie!

I had to stop at a bakery too, so I got a pineapple BBQ pork bun from The AA Bakery & Cafe. I love pork buns!

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Anela also recommended I get pastries in Little Italy, so off I went. I often say I don’t really like looking up recommendations because it’s more fun to find stuff on your own, but I wasn’t sure about Italian pastries, so I turned to reviews and found Stella Pasty and Cafe. Everyone seemed to recommend their Sacripantina.

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According to their site, it contains “vanilla sponge cake, zabaione (a delicate custard made with egg yolks, sweet butter, marsala and sherry wine) cream, and rum.” It was light yet rich. I could only eat about half of the piece actually.

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I knew I wanted pizza while I was there too, and I felt like looking around to see what caught my eye. Spoiler alert – it wa Golden Boy Pizza. I just liked the feeling and look of the place. Foursquare recommended the garlic clam pizza, so I went with that.

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It was a thick slice, and I put red pepper on it. It was good, although I didn’t find it amazing. Still, I liked the place enough that I might try to go back and get a different kind if I can. It was small on the inside but was covered with stickers and similar art.

I also want to mention Victoria Pastry Company. I didn’t eat there, but I got detoured as I followed the amazing smell. I just wasn’t hungry enough.

My final goal was Ghirardelli Square. Anela recommended this as well, although I’d actually been there already. However, I just love chocolate. On the way, I stopped at Dennis Rae Fine Art. They had an exhibit on the art of Theodor Seuss Geisel – Dr. Seuss. It was neat.

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I bought a few things to take home at Ghirardelli before purchasing a hot fudge sundae to eat! The fudge was just so awesome. I kinda sorta maybe love hot fudge.

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Even so, I couldn’t do it. There were just too many things to eat that day and not enough room in my stomach.

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Here’s a nice view from the Fisherman’s Wharf area near the San Francisco National Historic Park (or maybe it’s part of it).

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Look, a ship.

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This was a really heroic ship, but I heard it killed its family once.

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I liked the view from the end of the pier.

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Hey, it’s me!

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On my way back to the hotel, I happened to walk past Lombard Street at it’s famously twisted block. This was actually another recommendation from Anela, although I wasn’t aiming to see it this time since I’d already seen it. I just happened to walk past it, so I took a picture because of how beautiful it looked.

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I just thought this door was cool.

The welcome event for the Lithium Network Conference was held at Jillian’s. There was a variety of food and an open bar. I know what you’re thinking, but actually I only had a small glass of wine. Too exhausted, so I didn’t stay long. After a detour at Target to buy water, I went back to my room for the night.

Tuesday

Tuesday was the first actual day of the conference. After a quick breakfast, I was off to the weird introduction!

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That woman was a bunch of bananas.

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And that woman was the whole city!

The opening was about three and half hours, and it mostly talked about what customers expect from social engagement. Blah, blah, blah. You don’t care about that.

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But then there was lunch and time to socialize! Yes, some of that was through texts to home, but I also talked with some cool people at the conference.

After lunch, I went to a session on “Self service content publishing” and another on “How to get content in the right place at the right time” that were both interesting. They were more about developing applications and custom modifications to the Lithium platform, which isn’t something I have the power to go implement, but I like seeing new ways to think about the process.

The conference ended for the day with two pretty great speakers. The first was Sal Khan, founder of the Khan Academy. The Khan Academy is a free online tool for education. It originally sprang from him tutoring his cousin on the phone, then tutoring many of his cousins, then making custom tutoring software to help him tutor them, and then creating videos to help as well. I can’t really do it justice. He discussed how school goes at a certain pace for the whole class and then judges them rather than helping them master something before continuing. He wants to bring this free education to everyone in the world. It’s a beautiful idea, and a couple parts of his talk made me tear up. Shh, don’t tell anyone.

The second speaker was Orny Adams, a comedian. “Let’s talk about what we really wanna talk about. We hate our customers. Because they’re stupid.” He was joking, I swear. Yeah, he didn’t really care about crossing any lines as he also made fun of people who avoid gluten or are scared of germs (uh oh) and even had to end with some differences between men and women. He was pretty hilarious.

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That night’s party was held at City View on the fourth floor of The Metreon.

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There were a lot of people inside and out. I talked to some cool people, including a long conversation with a Greek woman who compared Greek family members with me! She’s actually a contact at Lithium I hadn’t met, so that was very cool. I also had a great conversation with a man from Zürich.

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The view was nice!

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There were oh so many desserts. Combined with all the normal food I had that night, it added up to another terrible health night.

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Oh, and then after all that I discovered more food.

Wednesday

I didn’t really take many photos this day, but I did attend sessions on “Master social lead generation” and “15 tips for new community managers.” I don’t really need sales leads, and I’m not a new community manager, but I like looking at new ways of thinking.

Later I had a meeting with my coworker, the VP of Global Strategic Accounts & Value Engineering at Lithium, the Chief Revenue Officer of Lithium, and a woman in charge of Customer Success at Lithium.

Dr. Michael Wu, Chief Scientist at Lithium, did a talk about how customers perceive brands, customer expectations, and a lot more. He wears a distinctive hat and glasses, so the conference gave a hat and glasses to everyone in attendance!

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I didn’t take the glasses since I already wear glasses, but a free hat? Sure.

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I also took an accidental selfie on the way to the BART.

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And the last photo I took in the city was this. It reminded me of the RISK! podcast.

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It was a great trip, but by the end I was exhausted and happy to get home. If only I didn’t have two work days left in the week.

Thanks for the wonderful time, Bay Area.

And the best part? I didn’t really gain much weight!

There are more photos in my Flickr album.

Kindred Throats are the best!

Kindred Throats show

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

Kindred Throats show

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

Kindred Throats show

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

Kindred Throats show

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

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

Coup de Comedy Festival 2015 featuring Kindred Hearts singing to gem

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coup de Comedy 2015

I think they enjoyed their cookies!

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

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

Coup de Comedy 2015

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

Coup de Comedy 2015

Two pictures, actually.

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

Coup de Comedy 2015

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

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

It was a laugh-filled weekend!

Rude Boy, Wayzgoose, and reggae yoga

Lots of interesting things happened this weekend!

Friday night was the first screening of Rude Boy the Movie at the Frida. It follows Rudy, a Mexican-American teenager from Anaheim in 1984 who doesn’t fit in at school. He eventually finds ska and rude boys. It was a lot of fun!

Wayzgoose 2015 at UCI

Saturday was Wayzgoose at UCI! I walked to campus and spent a little time wandering around, taking in the festivities. It seemed a lot smaller than previous years honestly.

Wayzgoose 2015 at UCI

The Psychology Student Association had this awesome Adventure Time booth with sweet cosplay. I had to get some tacos from them for that! I hope tons of people bought from them.

Wayzgoose 2015 at UCI

Some people seemed to be practicing quidditch too. It wasn’t a full game, but they were definitely out there having fun. I talked with them a bit, and they seemed really cool. Quidditch sounds like a pretty fun activity, and it’s cool to see people at UCI playing! Thanks for all the info, Anteater Quidditch!

Wayzgoose 2015 at UCI

I’ve been going to Wayzgoose since 2007, and every year I get a shawarma from the Muslim Student Union. Yum, yum, yum. Besides the tacos and shawarma, I also had horchata, a churro, spam musubi, and a brownie. It was a delicious day.

Wayzgoose 2015 at UCI

The 3D printing club had a booth showing some of the neat things they made. Here’s a bulbasaur.

Wayzgoose 2015 at UCI

And here’s a squirtle. I like the bulbasaur more. I didn’t see a charmander even though charmander was clearly the best of the three.

Wayzgoose 2015 at UCI

The anteater was pretty cool though!

Wayzgoose 2015 at UCI

On my walk back home, I decided to walk through Middle Earth. I stopped to take a picture from Gondolin.

Wayzgoose 2015 at UCI

I also saw cool restrooms in Middle Earth. When I lived there, they were men’s and women’s. Now they’re both all-inclusive. Pretty cool.

Wayzgoose 2015 at UCI

I had to stop by my old dorm too. It seems weird to think that I lived there a decade ago.

Later that night I went to Sean’s reggae yoga workshop. It was a two hour yoga workshop with DJ Tory playing reggae music. It was a lot of fun. After the workshop, I went to an after party. There were a couple people I knew and a lot more that I didn’t. Everyone seemed really cool, making a really awesome night!

By the archive, it’s Intergalactic Nemesis: Twin Infinity!

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Sunday afternoon gem and I saw The Intergalactic Nemesis: Twin Infinity at the Segerstrom Center. I saw the first two in 2013 (and wrote about them) and have been eagerly awaiting the third.

The Intergalactic Nemesis is a live-action graphic novel. The panes of the comic, minus the speech bubbles, are projected sequentially on a screen while three voice actors perform all the dialogue live. They’re accompanied by a Foley artist and pianist. The performers are all a little more than their roles as well because they use gestures and facial expressions even though it’s also conveyed through the graphic novel. It’s really fantastic. All three books of Intergalactic Nemesis have audio drama as well as live performances. The first two have graphic novels, while Twin Infinity’s graphic novel isn’t yet released. There’s also a podcast spinoff that’s getting released as a novel soon too.

Book One: Target Earth is available on YouTube. Maybe it’s be easier if you just checked it out. The YouTube videos were produced by KLRU-TV, Austin PBS. I enjoy seeing how the content is adapted into different mediums. While the YouTube videos are recordings of a live performance, it’s still a difference experience in that the video is segmented so you can see multiple things at once. It’s a cool solution.

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After the show, I had the performers sign my ticket so I could put it in my ticket scrapbook with the tickets to the first two shows!

Before the show, they had some fun activities. At the Foley station, gem and I watched a short animated video to get an idea of what was happening and then made the sound effects while they recorded us. We used a wind machine, rain sticks, shoes on a board, and a thunder sheet. After we were recorded, they played the video back again, this time with our sound effects. Being a Foley artist must be really fun!

There was also a voice-acting booth with Jamieson K. Price. He’s a voice-actor with a long list of credits including some Blizzard titles. He was Ga’nar, known to Horde players as a rather important orc in Frostfire Ridge! gem and I took turns reading lines while Jamieson added altered our voices. He was really nice, and I had fun chatting with him. We even got the chance to talk to him after the show, too!

I haven’t yet listened to the audio drama version, but I’ll do that soon, and then I can check out the podcast! Each medium is a bit different, but they’re all excellent. I highly recommend The Intergalactic Nemesis!

My 29th birthday weekend!

Snapchat banana gunsI had a super awesome 29th birthday weekend! My birthday was Friday, and I worked from home. After work, I took Alice’s yoga class, which was really great. Anela was covering someone’s shift, so I got to see her while I was there too. After yoga, I met with gem for dinner. She gave me these guns that might or might not have been bananas. She’s good at Snapchat edits.

29th birthday!

We went to Sake 2 Me and ate way too much sushi.

29th birthday!

I don’t remember exactly what the one on the left is called, but it has fried onions on top and is tasty. The one on the right is the Green Goblin. It’s amazing; sorry people who don’t like cilantro!

29th birthday!

For dessert, I got a cherry pie from Polly’s Pies. gem lit this candle for me and sang to me!

29th birthday!

Mmmmm.

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On Saturday, gem and I had lunch with our friends Matt and Katie. They were in town from the Bay area to go to Disneyland! We ate at the Anaheim Packing House. I forgot to get a picture of us, but I did get a picture of the crepe we split. I guess we know my priorities 🙁

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Later that night, Jonathan came to the house. He joined me and the other roommates in a game of Power Grid. It was pretty fun!

29th birthday weekend!

Sunday was a day for Huntington Beach! This mailbox looked pretty cool.

29th birthday weekend!

Looks beautiful, huh? It was actually pretty chilly and overcast most of the day, but it was still fun.

29th birthday weekend!

Anela and Edward ended up meeting gem and me there. We had some tacos at Sancho’s Tacos. They pretty much make the best tacos ever.

29th birthday weekend!

I also tried their nachos for the first time. The nachos were good, but I still wouldn’t dare order something without getting the O.G. tacos.

29th birthday weekend

After we finished eating, we decided to go to a restaurant and get more food. Don’t worry, it makes perfect sense. This was some sort of tangerine ice cream with a chocolate chip cookie from Zimzala.

29th birthday weekend

And ganache! So rich!

I tried an apple blossom cocktail with apple brandy, apple juice, lemon, and cinnamon syrup; a cucumber cooler cocktail with Grey Goose pear vodka, agave, cucumber, lime, and soda; and tequila shots. The apple blossom was good, and the tequila shot was surprisingly smooth, but the cucumber cooler was absolutely delicious and quite refreshing and crisp!

The main reason I wanted to go Sunday instead of Saturday was because Danny Maika performs on Sunday. I requested some Sublime.

gem asked for some ukulele music. It’s no surprise that this was one of the songs he played!

gem also asked him to sing me “Happy Birthday!” Yay, thanks gem and Danny!

29th birthday weekend

There was a Connect Four board out, so we had to play some games. Edward had left by this time, but the three of us had fun playing. Anela is better than gem or me!

The Shorebreak Hotel also had these neat little fires outside. gem noticed they look like sunflowers!

On the way back to our cars, we also two cats. One didn’t want to hang out with us, but one was super friendly. We got to pet him a bunch!Danny Maika

From left to right, here’s Anela, gem, Danny, and myself. Unfortunately, I didn’t think to get a photo until after Edward left. It was a rad day and a super fun weekend! Thanks to everyone that made it great!

Scott Bradlee & Postmodern Jukebox

Scott Bradlee and the Postmodern Jukebox at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa

This weekend I saw Scott Bradlee & Postmodern Jukebox at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. I’ve loved them since gem introduced me to them, so I was excited to see them. It was also great that this was the first show I’d seen in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall despite having seen many shows at the Segerstrom Center. I didn’t tell gem what we were seeing, and she got surprised that they were playing Scott Bradlee & Postmodern Jukebox from the speakers outside the concert hall. I acted surprised until the usher confirmed with us that we were there for Postmodern Jukebox, and then I think she was happy.

Scott Bradless & Postmodern Jukebox performs covers of modern, popular music in various other, older styles. Die Young in a “bluegrass / country western / saloon-style” is one of my favorites.

I’m also a fan of their motown cover of Shake It Off!

Scott Bradlee and the Postmodern Jukebox at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa

We had a half hour before the show started, so we took some photos inside the hall.

Scott Bradlee and the Postmodern Jukebox at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa

It was pretty!

Scott Bradlee and the Postmodern Jukebox at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa

Here’s gem with a swirly background.Scott Bradlee and the Postmodern Jukebox

We asked someone to take our photo. Trying to hide the program behind my back just made it look worse. Whoops.

Scott Bradlee and the Postmodern Jukebox at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa

They had chalkboard speech bubbles and the OFf Center Festival backdrop for photographs. I think it was supposed to be for feedback.Scott Bradlee and the Postmodern Jukebox knock knock joke

gem decided to do a knock, knock joke. We ran low on time, but this is what we did!

Scott Bradlee and the Postmodern Jukebox at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa

Here they are performing! They were super entertaining! Besides great music, there were some burlesque dancers and even retro, radio advertisements. For example, we learned about the newspaper feature for finding good, conservative men – Tinder – as well as a service to experience horseless carriages with semi-professionals – Uber!

I didn’t recognize every song, but I knew many of them; there were a huge variety of styles too. The tambourine man went crazy with energy, and I totally loved him for it. In my photo, you can see man in a white shirt reaching toward the stage. He seemed totally into it, constantly reaching up at them. At one point the tambourine man invited him onto the stage and gave him a tambourine. Pretty cool!

Scott Bradlee & Postmodern Jukebox ended the night with Shake It Off!Scott Bradlee and the Postmodern Jukebox knock knock joke

After the show, we went back to finish our knock, knock joke.

Let’s end this post with their rendition of Call Me Maybe!

Hello, 2015

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

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

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

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

It was a cool year.

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

We’re off to a good start.

Ska Luau V!

Magnolia Polynesian Dance Troupe

Last night was the fifth annual Ska Luau at the House of Blues Anaheim, and it was an awesome show! I was ready to go with a new (or at least never worn to a concert) Half Past Two shirt, and despite it being 42 degrees outside, it was nice inside!

The show opened with the Magnolia Polynesian Dance Troupe. They did dances from a bunch of a different countries and had both men and women, but I didn’t record very much.

The first band to perform was Failed to Victory. I’ve seen them before, and they’re great.

I’d never heard Skadonna, but they were really fun. You might guess that they perform Madonna covers. I’ll admit, the songs that I didn’t know weren’t as cool, but I really enjoyed hearing the covers.

Los SuperSpies graced us with their debut! Not all of their songs were new to me though. Here they’re playing The World is New. If you’re a fan of Save Ferris or Starpool, you’ll probably become a fan of Los SuperSpies too!

Half Past Two is one of my favorite bands, so it was awesome that they performed as well.

Hey, look what I just found.

Sorry, that has nothing to do with the Ska Luau, but it came up as a recommended video at the end of the one I recorded. I didn’t know they covered this, and I like Vampire Weekend.

Half Past Two and friends

Back to the Ska Luau! Here some friends joined Half Past Two on stage.

Suburban Legends! Another one of my favorite bands! I love their awesome choreography (and music of course).

LIttlest ska fan

This little guy was rocking out too! Well, honestly, he was mostly napping. But his parents were enjoying the show.

There might have been a surfing contest too. Competition is fierce when a prized pineapple is on the line.

It was such a terrific show with a truly amazing line up. Spending the 30th with excellent ska and the 31st, tonight, with friends is a great way to end 2014.

Carne Asada Fries

And the best way to end a night of ska is carne asada fries. My diet was upset, but my taste buds were happy.

Aloha!

Welcome to Goon Holler!

Welcome to Goon Holler

Welcome to Goon Holler, a new book from Parker and Christian Jacobs, came out a few days ago, and today there was a signing at Barnes & Noble in Huntington Beach. These two guys are amazing: Christian Jacobs is the frontman of The Aquabats, and Parker, his brother, is the frontman of GOGO13. They’re also responsible for The Aquabats Super Show! and Yo Gabba Gabba! (What a rad family, because their brother Tyler is one of the creators of CinemAttack!)

I forgot to add when I first posted this that I came across a really great interview with Parker Jacobs. Check it out.

An Interview with Parker Jacobs!, Anthony Sansone, 11/12/14.

Welcome to Goon Holler

Here Christian is reading the story, standing in front of the table, while Parker sits and provides voices.

Welcome to Goon Holler

Look at that turn out!

Welcome to Goon Holler

When we lined up for autographs, a kid behind us wanted to try gem’s ukulele. I think she was a little worried, and he was a little rough, but it was fine! Speaking of ukulele’s, I knew that Parker uses one in GOGO13, but I wasn’t expecting him to bring one and play it at the signing. Now that would have been cool all by itself, but in addition, there was a ukulele song with chords in the book! Super rad!

Welcome to Goon Holler

There was a family in front of us with four kids. We had a good time chatting with them. The woman was actually the singer in Los Pantalones, a band that contained a lot of people that later went on to form Save Ferris!

This is her daughter, Scarlett, who was very sweet. She looks like such a natural with gem’s ukulele. (Also, check out that awesome cats-in-space dress.

Later while we were in line, we ran into our friends Remy and Tawney who run Pizza Beat Entertainment (of It’s a Ska World). I love running into people I know from the ska scene.Welcome to Goon Holler Signing

Here I am with Tooba the hungry bigfoot (from the book) and two of the three Parker brothers! Parker told me that he and Christian are like peanut butter and chocolate. I asked how Tyler fit, and after thinking about it, he said that Tyler is the wrapper that holds them together.

Prom Night of the Living Dead

Zombie at Prom Night of the Living Dead

Last weekend was Pizza Beat Entertainment’s Prom Night of the Living Dead! They’re the group that held Ska Day at Disneyland as well.

By the way, even with makeup remover (which I did not buy before trying on the make up the first time), it’s really difficult to get that eyeshadow off. Also, I splashed blood on the flowers.

Zombie at Prom Night of the Living Dead

Once I was a zombie, I had to go after Angel for her delicious brains.

Zombie at Prom Night of the Living Dead

Unfortunately, I forgot that she was dumb.

Prom Night of the Living Dead

Here’s my wounded hand. I guess I didn’t do that great of a job blending it to my skin.

Prom Night of the Living Dead

Victim’s point of view!

Prom Night of the Living Dead

The prom king and queen were pretty cool! gem went after them while I took their photo.

Here’s how zombies dance. gem even requested Dead Man’s party.

Zombie at Prom Night of the Living Dead

Feeding time!

Zombie at Prom Night of the Living Dead

The pursuit.

Zombie at Prom Night of the Living Dead

Animated!

Prom Night of the Living Dead

I kind of like what happened to the undershirt more than my visible shirt. It looks more “natural,” like there’s really blood soaked on my shirt.

There are more pics in my Flickr album.

Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra with Viernes 13 and Skapeche Mode

Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra sign The Observatory in Santa Ana on 10/9/14

Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra gave an awesome performance yesterday at The Observatory! Half Past Two posted about it, but I wasn’t planning on spending money. However, when Max talked to me about it at this week’s Ska Parade Lounge on Wednesday, he convinced me to go. I’m glad he did!

I’d never been to The Observatory in Santa Ana, but it was a pretty sweet venue. Reviews on Foursquare seemed pretty negative honestly, but I thought things were fine. There was a lot of space and multiple tiers as well. Multiple tiers also means multiple walls on which to lean so there’s a lot of room for people who want to take it easy.

Viernes 13 The Observatory in Santa Ana on 10/9/14

The show opened with Viernes 13, a ska band from LA. Before they started, I noticed that the woman next to me was with a man who kept leaving for long periods of time. As it turns out, he was the keyboard player. I seem to be running into a lot of Spanish ska lately! They were fun with a good variety of music, including a Skatalites cover. I talk to the guy on keys, Francis “The BubbaMaster” Sanchez (assuming their Facebook is current), a little after the show too.

Skapeche Mode The Observatory in Santa Ana on 10/9/14

Skapeche Mode performed second. Given their name, it should be no surprise that they play ska covers of 80’s music. Their Facebook says that they’re “Committed to ruining both the eighties and ska, one show at a time.” Well, they certainly weren’t ruining either because they were awesome. Skapeche Mode had awesome stage presence – especially the singer and horn section. Is the trumpet played Bryan Lackey, the same trumpet player from Failed to Victory? Did I somehow see him two nights in a row? Rad, because he’s great!

I know what you were thinking. You wanted to check out what they sound like considering these jerks aren’t on Spotify. There you go.

Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra The Observatory in Santa Ana on 10/9/14

Last but not least we have Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, a ska band all the way from Japan! Composed of drums, percussion, trumpet, trombone, tenor sax, baritone sax, vocals, guitar, bass, and even a melodica, they really rocked! They just had so much energy and really commanded the stage and enthralled the audience. I particularly enjoyed the bari sax player. Also, and I’m sorry if it’s weird that I noticed, but their clothes, especially their jackets, fit. It’s rare.

I know you’d be sad if you got to see a bad video of Skapeche Mode but no bad video clip of Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, so there you go. They do have an album on Spotify too, so check them out. One thing I really liked them about them is that despite having guitar, bass, and vocals, I really felt like the horns stood in the spotlight. Their line up isn’t very different than a lot of full ska bands (besides the melodica), but normally it seems like vocals take center stage with guitar and horns standing side-by-side. I liked the feature on the horns! They also did a fantastic rendition of the song from Tetris. How could I not fall in love with that?

Another successful ska night! At the beginning of the night, I’d never seen these three bands. By the end of the night, I have three more bands I’d love to see again in the future!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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