Category Archives: Shows

SDCC 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Until next year, SDCC!

European Vacation – Amsterdam

We left Ireland in the morning with our egg sandwiches courtesy of gem and flew to the Netherlands four our single night in Amsterdam. There were flight delays due to closures in Amsterdam, but we made it eventually. We also met a woman named Stevie on the train, also from the States. It was fun getting a chance to talk to her!

Here I am playing live action Papers, Please. At least that’s how I saw it.

We didn’t have much planned in Amsterdam, so we wandered around a little and took in some tourist shops.

When it was lunch time, we stopped at McDonald’s. As a reminder, Anela wanted to try McDonald’s in every country.

Chicken nuggets are weird in the Netherlands. Just kidding, that’s obviously not a chicken nugget, but I don’t really remember what it was.

Antonio fell in love with stroopwafels back in Ireland, so we had to stop for some at this outdoor market.

Now I’m really craving stroopwafels. I could go get some from Trader Joe’s, but they’re just not the same unfortunately.

After really enjoying our canal cruise in Copenhagen, we decided to take Blue Boat Company’s Amsterdam Canal Cruise. Honestly, it was a let down. Unlike the one in Copenhagen, this cruise used an audio guide rather than live tour guide. The boat also had a roof, which made photographing less fulfilling.

Despite the tour being less than stellar, the canals were very beautiful. How cool would it be to live along these canals?

If I’m remembering correctly, you can’t anchor new houseboats, which makes the demand for the ones that are already there much higher.

I don’t have anything in particular to say about this building, but I liked it!

Next we took Sandeman’s New Amsterdam walking tour, Red Light District Exposed, with our tour guide, Lisa. As you can conclude from the name, it was a tour of the Red Light District. One of the first things we saw was this condom shop, the Condomerie. Part of the reason it exists was to make using condoms more acceptable.

While not technically part of the tour, we did pass this delicious looking dessert shop!

Here’s an interesting little plaque on the ground. Also you can see a bit of Anela and gem in the corner!

It was fairly interesting learning the history of the Red Light District. It seems like it’s still a bit of a political issue, and not everyone agrees with its existence. As most people know, the red lights in the windows indicate that the woman is a prostitute. We also learned that a blue light indicates that the woman is trans. The rooms are connected to each other on the inside and can’t lock from the inside. This keeps people from entering, locking the woman inside with them, and getting out of hand. We also learned that the city tried to get male prostitutes as well. When they put advertisements out for male prostitutes, no one was interested. When they asked for men to have sex for money, then they got people interested. Apparently “prostitute” has a feminine connotation. Anyways, it didn’t work out. Men couldn’t go repeatedly and had trouble performing with women to whom they weren’t attracted. Pretty interesting, really. The tour took us throughout the area and gave us some interesting history before ending near a location called Theatre Casa Rosso. Apparently the owner of that establishment owns a large number of the shows, has a lot of money, and uses that money in politics to keep the laws and zoning in his favor.

After Indonesian food for dinner, we headed back to our hostel. When we were looking for a ride back, a found both a taxi and a rickshaw at the same time. The taxi driver seemed to get mad at us for considering the rickshaw and even talking to the driver (rider?). He actually started yelling things like “f— you you f—ing idiots! I’ll let you ride for half price! F— you!” Yeah, no thanks. You can give us the ride for free, but I’d prefer the man not cussing at me. We went with the rickshaw, got our ride to our hostel, and got ready for bed so we’d be ready to continue on our journey to Belgium the next day!

My 31st birthday

My 31st birthday was a week and a half ago, and it was pretty great! My birthday landed on a Monday, so I planned a birthday dinner at Gen Korean BBQ with some friends for the Saturday before my birthday. Here’s Antonio, Kaleigh, Anela, gem, Edward, and me after enjoying delicious KBBQ.

I’m getting ahead of myself. Before dinner, I saw Little Shop of Horrors performed live at Musical Theatre Village in Irvine with gem and Anela. I’m so glad gem found out about the show. I love the movie and had never seen it live. It was awesome! I loved the puppeteering of the Audrey II, and the actors performing both Seymour and Audrey were wonderful.

gem gave me these taco / dinosaur socks, which are perfect for Taco Tuesdays.

The Hursts had me over for dinner on Sunday. Look how big Meredith is getting! She’s adorable.

Henley picked out this delicious carrot cake for me. He informed me that the carrot on top was made out of frosting and that I had to share the cake if I wanted it. He also told me that I could lick the frosting off the candles, but I let him do that too. That kid’s one wonderful little person.

The following weekend, gem took me on a surprise trip. I knew she had something planned, but I didn’t know what. We went to Lions, Tigers & Bear, a sanctuary near San Diego. It was amazing!

I fed a bear! Yes! Seriously! This is Albert, a wonderful and gentle boy who loved his peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Yep, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! What an awesome experience. We got a tour of the sanctuary and each of us had a ticket to feed one animal. gem and I both chose this beautiful grizzly bear!

The animals here are never bred and are never touched by humans unless under sedation. Guests feed them by using long tools so that they don’t get too close. The cats would all jump at the food, but Albert just lazily took the food. I love him!

Here are two of the sanctuary’s lions. The lion in the foreground was pretty aggressive. He really wanted all of his dinner at once and didn’t like how long it was taking. You should have seen him tear into his turkey leg.

This is Maverick, the tiger formally owned by Tyga the rapper. He was pretty awesome and definitely jumped for his pieces of meat! There was another tiger that was pretty crazy. He was super aggressive and would surely have torn us to pieces given the chance.

This gorgeous white tiger was cleaning himself just like a house cat.

This spotted leopard was willing to climb for his lunch. We also saw bobcats, a chicken, some peacocks, and Tom, a house cat who likes to wander around the premises. It was such an awesome experience.

Now, I know I already mentioned this, but I have to say it again…

I fed a bear! I fed Albert the grizzly bear! Look how cute he is! Thank you, gem, for the wonderful trip. And thanks too all my friends who helped celebrate or wished me a happy birthday! 🙂

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.

San Diego Comic-Con 2016

Luke Triton

SDCC 2016 was a blast! I cosplayed as Luke Triton from Professor Layton for the first time while gem cosplayed Professor Layton herself. I also did a quick cosplay of a Team Valor Pokemon trainer as well as my Fix-It Felix, Jr. cosplay from last year. I saw a number of panels, met a lot of cool cosplayers, got some free books, partied, and did a whole lot more. I was also very exhausted 🙂

Luke Triton

I was really happy with my Luke cosplay. gem and I stopped by the Capcom booth and took a photo with this picture of Phoenix Wright. There was a crossover Professor Layton and Phoenix Wright game, so we thought it was appropriate. I was hoping to run into a Phoenix Wright cosplayer, but it never happened.

Layton and Luke

Here’s a promotional picture of Layton and Luke if you’re unfamiliar with them.

We stopped by the Behemoth booth like we do every year. One guy running the booth, Larry, recognized us from last year when gem asked if Hatty was going to be in attendance! He remembered that gem wrote a note and gave it to him to give to Hatty in 2015. He was awesome!

We went to a number of interesting panels starting with “Retellings and Remixes” with Marissa Meyer, Renee Ahdieh, Colleen Houck, Anna Todd, Jodi Meadows, and Colleen Oakes. gem’s a big fan of Marissa Meyer. Although I hadn’t read her works, they sounded interesting, and she was a great speaker. I’m looking forward to reading more of her work in the future. The panel focused on retelling fairy tales and classic novels in a reimagined way.

“Nedist TV: The Boundary-Pushers” featured Bryan Fuller, Michael Green, Steven Moffat, and Alicia Lutes discussing the new acceptance of genre TV with a focus on American Gods and Sherlock. They also went into tangents about accepting all kinds of peoples it definitely went anti-Trump at times.

“A World After Harry: The Changing Genre of YA Fantasy” featured Sarah J. Maas, Jessica Cluess, Gena Showalter, Thomas E. Sniegoski, Soman Chainani, and Tobie Easton discussing how young adult fiction has changed after Harry Potter. It was interesting to hear how authors set themselves apart from J.K. Rowling.

In “Creating Immersive Game Story,” Chris Avellone, Leah Hoyer, and Elbert Perez discussed game narrative, going into how to really engage players well.

J. Jonah Jameson

My favorite panel was “Cosplay as Storytelling” in which Adam Savage, Jay Justice, and Deborah Nadolman Landis discussed cosplay and how it’s a form of storytelling. Adam went into how cosplaying isn’t just wearing a costume, but it’s a type of performance. I definitely know what he means. Look at this awesome J. Jonah Jameson I met. He’s not just in a costume. He’s performing; he’s telling a story. And he’s great!

The last panel I attended was the “Spotlight on Marissa Meyer,” which was interesting. Unfortunately we were a bit late due to an autograph session, but it was still fun.

tokidoki autographed photo

Did you hear about the new tokidoki x Peter Anargirou collaboration? I printed one of my photos and took it to Simone Legno’s autograph session. It’s fascinating how great artists and creative people of all types and collaborate, and I love collaborating with people in small ways. Having him draw on one of my photos was a cool way to collaborate with him, and since gem’s in the photo, she got to be in on it as well! Now it looks like gem is photographing the cute Kaiju!

I also got a copy of Heartless autographed by Marissa Meyer as well as Red Rising autographed by Pierce Brown. I came out of the con with a few other few other free books as well – An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks, and Bombs Away: The Hot War by Harry Turtledove. I wasn’t a fan of the last book by Turtledove, but I’ll give this one a try.

Sonic the Hedgehog 25th Anniversary Party

The three of us attended the Sonic the Hedgehog 25th Anniversary Party at the House of Blues, meeting two new friends and running into an old friend, Pat, as well. It was a ton of fun – a lot more than I expected. It was sponsored by Totino’s, so we got to eat some greasy snacks, but we also took shots and I had a few White Russians. I took a photo with a cool Sonic the Hedgehog cosplayer, we got some swag, and I talked a lot. There were games to be played there too, but I didn’t touch them honestly. At the end of the night, the staff recorded the audience yelling “Sega” to be used as the intro for the next Sonic game. After the party we went back to the hotel for more drinks. There was live music at the bar, and I did a little Balboa swing dancing. It turns out that I’m a decent dancer (to a drunk crowd of SDCC attendees).

Pushkin

gem and I met our friend Mike for dinner at Pushkin Russian Restaurant. It was so delicious! I hadn’t seen Mike since New Year’s Eve, so it was good to see him. Afterward we checked out the Nerd HQ party, but it wasn’t that good honestly.

Pokemon Go

There was a Pokemon Go panel in Hall H, the largest hall at the convention. Previously, you’d need to line up over night to get into Hall H. This year, you could line up for wristbands, given out at 9:00 PM. We checked out the line around 8:30 PM, and it was huge. Absolutely huge. And then we found out from the guy working there and watching the line that the night before the line was that long, but he didn’t know if they got wristbands. He got off work at 1:00 AM, and the wristbands hadn’t reached that far back. Yeah, we decided to skip Hall H. However, there were rumors that Niantic would release something for Pokemon Go in the panel, so a ton of Pokemon Go fans congregated around Hall H or above it. Convention staff started yelling at people to leave. I’d like to add that they never once tried talking like normal, civil people, and they also made up lies to get us to leave. Not cool. What was cool was when people realized that if they line up for the Mrs. Field’s Cookies stand, they were no longer just loitering. Yep, that line pictures above was for cookies – totally not Pokemon Go. And by the way, nothing was released in the panel.

Pokestop

Pokemon Go was extremely popular. Here Professor Layton checks for Pokemon since there’re lures on the Pokestops near her.

Nintendo Lounge

This guy working in the Nintendo Lounge loved gem’s Ariel and asked for a photo with her. Look happy they look! This guy was awesome.

Nintendo Lounge pokeball

Here I’m in my quick Team Valor Pokemon trainer cosplay with a giant pokeball.

Nintendo Lounge pikachu

When meeting pikachu, you need to give him a big hug so that he knows you’re his friend.

Nintendo Lounge pikachu

Once he’s been lulled into a false sense of security, you bust out a pokeball and catch him!

Star Trek

Star Trek was also very popular this year as it’s the 50th anniversary. MAC had a building designed to look like the saucer portion of the Enterprise while they showed off their Star Trek makeup. I didn’t care about the makeup, but we took the opportunity to stand on transporters as Layton and Luke! Plus, Nichelle Nichols, who played Uhura on Star Trek, was there.

Joker and Harley Quinn

I asked these two cosplayers if I could take their photo because I thought they had great costumes. The Harley Quinn cosplayer noted that most people don’t even ask and said they’d be happy to pose.

Joker, Harley, Layton, and Luke

Professor Layton and the Curious Clowns

Actually, the Joker cosplayer recognized gem’s cosplay and asked us for a photo! How cool 🙂

Fix it Felix Jr. and Boo

Here’s a shot of me in my Fix-It Felix, Jr. cosplay along with a Boo cosplay from Monster’s, Inc. How cute is that cosplay?

Akuma

This Akuma cosplay is great too. The cosplayer was nice enough to find a good spot to take the photos. gem noted that you could sense his personality and mannerisms change as he got into character just like Adam Savage said cosplay often does.

Xena and Gabrielle

Last but certainly not least, this is Bernadette Bentley and Cathy Kutz as Xena and Gabrielle respectively. It was awesome to run into them and take their photo because I was already a fan. They were really nice!

Shimmy Shakedown

Shimmy Shakedown

Shimmy Shakedown 2016 was on Sunday, and I was really looking forward to it. I hadn’t yet seen Anela with her new troupe, and Melissa’s part of the same troupe, giving me another reason to be excited.

Shimmy Shakedown

gem and I drove up early so we could have lunch. We ate at King’s Hawaiian Bakery & Restaurant. So much food. Oops. Too bad watching people shimmy doesn’t actually burn as many calories as actually dancing.

Shimmy Shakedown

Here’s Anela and me after the show. The show itself was fantastic. Dancers included Richy, Emily Iman, Jasmina, Delyla, Aubre Hill, Akasha Starr, Jizzelle, Fahtiem, Jillina, Amirat Al Sharq, Tonya’s Treasures, Meera, Tina Enheduanna, Rania, Stefanya, Ana Edith, and Atlantis. Fadi El Saadi, Ozzy, and Diana Rash also provided live music and singing.

Shimmy Shakedown

Here’s gem and Anela!

I wish the lighting was better in the lobby for photos though!

Everybody was really talented. I especially enjoyed Jillina second set, Meera, and Jizzelle’s last set. Some of the costumes were truly amazing too.

Shimmy Shakedown

My favorites, however, were these two. I suppose it’s no surprise; I’d always prefer to watch people I know and care about do something they love.

I recorded their performance too. It actually starts out shaky before the dancers come on stage, but luckily my hands get steadier. I especially enjoyed the transition between pieces. It’s making me laugh as I rewatch it now!

All the performers came out for the finale, so I had to record that too!

It was a fantastic evening, and I can’t wait for the next time I can watch my friends dance.

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.

Christmas musical and party

alpaca

This weekend I met an alpaca. I’ll get back to that.

the loaned manger

The Compass Kids of Compass Bible Church performed The Loaned Manger this weekend, and gem’s nephew, Micah, was one of those kids. We saw the first performance, and it was a lot of fun. Some of the kids were super talented! We even got to sing some Christmas songs before and after the show.

Here’s one of the songs.

camel

There was a petting zoo outside, so after the musical, we got to hang out with some animals. This camel was pretty cool, but he really wanted my coffee.

tortoise and the hare

gem met the tortoise and the hare! I guess the hare won the race, because the tortoise didn’t really move.

alpaca

I might be blurry, and he might be derpy, but I still like this photo.

alpaca

Here’s gem with the alpaca too!

twelve days of christmas

This weekend was also my friend Demian’s annual Christmas party! I had a blast, and I ate a ton. Rice Krispy Treats are good, but have you ever had Cap’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries treats? Wow. Also – pickleback shots! They’re a shot of whiskey chased with a shot of pickle juice. Pretty delicious actually.

The party was also a good time to sing The Twelve Days of Christmas. Pete made these signs about twenty years ago, one for each day of the song. Singing was a family tradition. Everyone sings the song until it comes to a day and then the person with the sign sings his or her part. For example, we’d all sing “on the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me,” and then I’d sing alone, “ten lords a-leaping.” Unfortunately, less people are coming to our family Christmases, so we don’t get to do it. It went over really well at the party though!

twelve days of christmas

gem even accompanied the singing on her ukulele. It was so cool! It was a great party, and it was also cool to catch up with friends whom I hadn’t seen in a while.

Happy Back to the Future Day!

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

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

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

Cirque du Soleil’s inspiring and breathtaking Kurios

KuriosCirque du Soleil was in town this weekend, and there was no way I’d miss it. I went with gem Friday night to watch Kurios under the Grand Chapiteau!

Kurios

Everything I read indicated that this was one of the best Cirque du Soleil presentations to date. It really was fantastic, but it’s hard to conclude any sort of “winner” when every Cirque show is amazing.

KuriosI really had to resist purchasing goggles and a hat. They would have integrated with an Aquabats costume in a fun way!

Kurios

The show had a steampunk aesthetic and was filled with lots of typical performances, great music, and some more novel performances.

I particularly enjoy the scenes that involve some extreme showcase of the human body with which I have some personal familiarity in a minor way. For example, the aerial bike scene that involved a woman riding a bike that was attached to a cable. She rode it around the stage before riding it through the air, and then performed a trapeze-like act on it. It reminded me of aerial hoops, and while I’ve never done that, I know people who have. The contortionists were another example. The back bends they did were so amazing. When I do back bends, they don’t look like theirs!

One act, the invisible circus, has one perform showcasing a variety of “acts” involving invisible performers and animals. It’s all about his reaction and some prop movements. I particularly enjoyed the invisible lion, mostly because it’s an interesting consideration of animals in the circus.

Of the more atypical acts, there was a chair balancing act that had an inverted version happening concurrently from the ceiling with a performer stacking chairs downward. At first, I thought it was a projection, but nope, it was happening! There was also a performer in another act using his hands like puppets to act out scenes. This was filmed and projected above on a floating balloon that was really cool.

Kurios was an excellent show that was truly inspiring. I just wish I had another Cirque du Soleil show approaching to anticipate! Whatever comes next, I know I’ll love it too.

 

 

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!

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!

Bellydance IDOL presents Om Kalthoum Tribute Show (and other weekend fun)

Me and Anela at the Bellydance IDOL presents Om Kalthoum Tribute ShowThis weekend was full of fun! The big thing on my calendar was the Om Kalthoum Tribute Show on Sunday. Anela had told me about it a few weeks in advance, and I was really looking forward to it._19528523815_9362d91743_o

Duncan and I picked up Anela and her friend Marina from Anela’s place. It was my first time meeting Marina, and it was very nice getting to know her during the ride! She danced with Anela in the same set.

They performed a shamadon, which is an Egyptian candelabra dance. I hope I got that terminology correct! I was sure to have at least taken photos, but Anela asked me to record it, so I did that. I couldn’t get closer due to some distractions on the side (which also caused kept causing me to lose alignment sometimes), but at least I got it recorded! It was really awesome, and the dancers were quite skilled. The amount of talent my friends have is amazing._18907669373_862454d127_o

After their set, I went to the bathroom and found the dancers in the back. Of course, I had to stop for some photos._19532771991_94c3812f55_o

And I had to get one with another dancer at the end of the night too, Bethany Rose, who was also one of the organizers!

The event was held at Byblos in Los Angeles. The food was delicious, and it just kept coming too. They were also very accomodating. The show started at 8:00, but we got there at 5:40 or so because the dancers needed to be there by 6:00. I asked what time we could come back, and they ended up letting us wait inside, even opening the bar so Duncan and I could have some drinks while we waited. During dinner we met a man and his date who were very pleasant and talkative. Shortly before the show started, we met two other people as well, one of whom is actually part of the dance troupe but wasn’t dancing. It was great talking to them as well, although we didn’t get a lot of time.

Okay, but what about the Fourth of July?!

Untitled

Whoops, I didn’t take a lot of photos. Kaylin and Andy hosted a party at their apartment. Here’s one photo I took – burgers, tomatoes, and bacon cooking in delicious bacon grease. When gem, Duncan, Matt, and I arrived, Mariam was already there. I don’t know her well, but we’ve talked before, and it was nice chatting with her. Collin, Niki, Joseph, and Mariana arrived later. We ate a ton of delicious foods, had some great conversation, and played Werewolf and Cards Against Humanity. gem and I also took a short break from the party in the middle to visit Anela for costume help (and to deliver some food). It was a great Fourth!

And there was also Friday.

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I went ice skating in Anaheim and climbed on this bike outside.

ping pong

I also played ping pong at the Anaheim Packing District. Did you know you could rent paddles and a ball for free? Awesome!

What a fantastic weekend! And now I’m off to San Diego Comic-Con for what I can only assume will be another great weekend.

iHOOKAH featuring Anela and Second City featuring Alex

Hi there! I did some things this weekend.

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

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

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gem balanced with Anela’s sword while Duncan relaxed.

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

ihookah

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

ihookah

I just noticed that they blur out the bottles.

ihookah

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

Actually, I think he was putting it down.

ihookah

Remember to tip.

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

second city

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

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

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

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

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Robin Williams.

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Tom Hanks!

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Some sort of cute French restaurant that was closed.

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

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!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HIStory/HERStory and the OC Improv Fest 2015

ImprovCity's HIStory/HERStory

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

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

Orange County Improv Festival 2015 hosted by Spectacles Improv Engine

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

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

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

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

Jetzo.

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

Orange County Improv Festival 2015 hosted by Spectacles Improv Engine

There was also strange grinding on Michael.

Orange County Improv Festival 2015 hosted by Spectacles Improv Engine

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

Orange County Improv Festival 2015 hosted by Spectacles Improv Engine

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

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

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

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

Orange County Improv Festival 2015 hosted by Spectacles Improv Engine

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

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

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

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

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

Orange County Improv Festival 2015 hosted by Spectacles Improv Engine

Derek Mears must have been talking about something large.

Orange County Improv Festival 2015 hosted by Spectacles Improv Engine

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

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

Orange County Improv Festival 2015 hosted by Spectacles Improv Engine

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

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

Orange County Improv Festival 2015 hosted by Spectacles Improv Engine

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

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

Belly dance trip to iHOOKAH

belly dance at ihookah

Friday night, Daniel and I accompanied Anela to iHOOKAH in Riverside where she was performing. She invited us so there could be some friendly faces with her. Here she tries to teach me to dance with her while I awkwardly fail at it.

Belly dance trip to iHOOKAH in Riverside

As we were leaving her place, there was a DUI checkpoint. If she’s not going to take a selfie, I’ll grab a quick snapshot!

Anyways, iHOOKAH was a pretty chill place. Daniel and I split a hookah and each had a beer, and it was only $20 or so excluding tip. The people around us were pretty fun, and there was even a small birthday party sitting next to us. They brought a cake! And of course, it was fun to watch Anela perform.

iHOOKAH even recorded it!

It’s been years since I’ve been to a hookah lounge – nine years maybe? I think it was back when I worked at Albertsons. I wouldn’t mind going a little more often.

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!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ice skating

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And that was my weekend!

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!

ImprovCity’s Thursday Nightmare performs four hits

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

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

First there was Night of the Leapest. Watch out!

Next was Ice Scream with a very strange premise.

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

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

Teenage Mutant Pizza Party

Last weekend I went to the best kind of pizza party there is – a Teenage Mutant Pizza Party! (As you may know, Friday was pizza day / The best day of the week.) This was another event from CinemAttack!, the awesome group reinvigorating movie-watching. I would much rather go to an event like this to watch an old movie than pay an insane amount of money just to sit in a theater and watch a movie without any bonus fun added!

Turtle Van!

First I got a picture of gem with the Turtle Van. Look how excited she looks!Teenage Mutant Pizza Party

I was pretty excited to get my photo with it as well. Man, I’m such a child. Foot stinks!Teenage Mutant Pizza Party

There were fliers up outside promoting the turtles and pizza while dissing the Foot Clan! While we were getting in line, we ran into our friends Ratana and Joe. We joined them for the evening, which definitely made everything even more fun!

Uncle Krang's Pizza

The first 100 pre-sale ticket-holders in line got an Uncle Krang’s Pizza box. I’m totally keeping this sweet pizza box too.

TMNT food

There was a surprising amount of food in there too! They gave everyone three slices of pizza. As they were handing them out, I had a chance to tell the creators of the event and CinemAttack! how much I appreciate what they were doing. They’re super nice people!

You can also see my turtle pie in there – basically a chocolate pudding pie with green food coloring. I purchased that separately but put it in the box. As we got settled in the theater for the festivities, they brought more pizza to the front. I guess there was extra. Joe grabbed some more pizza, and I ate all the pizza I wanted. Pretty sweet!

Of course, there was the movie too! It was fun 🙂

Biking

And then gem rode off into the night on her bike! Well, actually, we just drove home. There are a few more pictures in my Flickr album as well.

Birthdays, plays, farmers markets, yoga, and more: a very full weekend

What a super full weekend. Friday was Halloween, also known as Jonathan’s birthday! After work, I rushed through some last minute Hallow’s End activities in World of Warcraft and Mad King Thorn in Guild Wars leaving for the long journey to Jonathan’s party. It was downstairs. I might have had about 3900 calories worth chips, wings, pizza, alcohol, and other food that day. Maybe. And that might have been way too many carbs yet still under my protein goal. Whoops. Anyways, it was fun hanging out and watching Jonathan play scary games. I got to give some candy to trick-or-treaters too!

Strawberry-dipped donut

On Saturday morning I headed to the farmer’s market and picked up some usual treats – hummus, feta, and dolmas. When I was about to leave, I saw this donut and had to get it too. I can happily report that it was tasty.

Saturday was also my mom’s birthday, and my brother had the idea that we could take her to a show. The Man from Earth was playing at Stages, so I picked up some flowers and met them at their house before we went to the play. It was really good! It’s basically the story of a man at his going-away party who explains to his friends that he’s a caveman who has survived for more than 14,000 years. It was very interesting even if the quick summary there sounded kind of dumb. After the show, we ate at Angelo’s & Vinci’s Ristorante, where I had eaten once previously. The service was kind of iffy, but I liked our waitress anyways, and the food was delicious.

gem found out about a free yoga class on Sunday at the Anaheim Packing District. I went with her and definitely enjoyed it. The instructor owns a nearby studio, and a woman in the class just got back from China because she works for Disney and was there for the new park. After the class, we went to that farmer’s market, because you can never go to enough farmer’s markets in a weekend. Oh man. So many good foods. I bought spicy feta, olives, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, pluots, persimmons, strawberry Greek yogurt, and cheese crisps.

Grilled cheese and salami

Next we went in the Anaheim Packing House for lunch. I had an amazing grilled cheese with salami from the Black Sheep Grilled Cheese Bar. The salty flavor of the meat went so well with the grilled cheese. I’d definitely eat there again.

popbar

I keep hearing so much about Popbar’s gelato, sorbet, and yogurt bars, so I had to stop there. Somehow I thought gem was raving about, but she’d never been there. I think all the great things I’ve heard have actually just been from Anela. But she was right, because it was pretty fantastic. I had a pumpkin gelato bar dipped in white chocolate, drizzled in dark chocolate, and covered in waffle cone crumbles. Man. I want another one right now.

Dinner

Sunday was later filled with chores around the house, video games, Netflix, and of course, more eating. This time it was just eating a bunch of the foods I purchased at the farmer’s markets. And then I needed to sleep it off!

The Scott Pilgrim Picture Show

The 2nd Scott Pilgrim Picture Show!

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

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

Scott Pilgrim Picture Show Marquee

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

Bread makes you fat?!

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

Flyers!

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

Scott Pilgrim photo op

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

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

The Chaos Theater

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

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

Coins for throwing!

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

Scott Pilgrim Cosplay Contest

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

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

Scott Pilgrim or gem?

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

There are some more photos in this album.

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

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.