Just got back last week from a work trip to Colorado Springs, and today received this warm reminder of our mini-snow adventures from my friend (and Singapore-based co-worker) Anton Widodo. He always does an amazing job on these travel vlog videos, and it was kinda surreal to be in front of the camera for a change – where I apparently acted like a snow pixie or whatever.
It’s time for my annual tradition of posting photos of my loot from the latest nerd convention, something I’ve been doing since way back in JR high school.
This year, I ended up with a kick-ass Star Wars 40th Anniversary Darth Vader doll, The Will and Lying Cat figures (from Saga), convention exclusive comic books (most signed), half-dozen t-shirts, Dragon Ball Z scopes for the kids, and eleven Twin Peaks prints from Josh Howard, and then all the small random stuff that ends up in the bag along the way.
Here’s a snapshot of Lizeybug, kicking back, waiting for prospective clients to engage her in conversation about chartering her Corellian ship (not the local bulk cruisers mind you) for a intergalactic voyage. Space Uber, if you will.
It’s also the only photo I was able to snap off before one of the friendly supervisors let me know that photographs aren’t allowed in the Oceaneer’s Club on our recent Disney Dream cruise. Completely makes sense. “My bad!” I quickly put my camera away, and had the unexpected benefit of feeling like a space smuggler on my way out.
By the way, Disney doesn’t half-ass anything. If you think this area was rad, you should have seen the Millenium Falcon cockpit.
I’ll admit, it’s been a real hassle getting my group of forty-something nerds together for D&D night. Between kids and jobs, and the endless march of time, the timing is never just right for each of us to drop everything and throw down with a d20. So when we get together, it’s imperative that we make the most of the evening.
We’re all aligned in the same goal, to “get out of the house” and socialize, which is why none of us simply host the event at one of our houses. We often opt for a bar or restaurant where we can slip into a corner booth and be left alone. It doesn’t always work out. People spot us nerds from a mile away.
I was lamenting this fact to our rogue, Melinda saying, “I wish there was a place like Voicebox where we could just get a room and play D&D.” For those of you that aren’t from Portland, Voicebox is a karaoke bar where reserve private rooms for karaoke parties. It turns out that Melinda had a Groupon deal and the rest is history. Within 10 minutes we had all agreed to play D&D in our Voicebox room, while singing and performing throughout the night. Read More
Before the Holidays, polite conversation would typically go something like this:
Them: “Are you going anywhere for the holidays?”
Me: “Um, yeah we’re going to New Zealand.”
Them: “Oh. Um…wow.”
Me: “Yeah, it’s going to be fun.”
Them: “Are you going to that Lord of the Rings place?”
Me: “YOU BET YOUR FUCKING ASS I AM.”
You know, polite conversation and all. Read More
NOTE: I wrote this several weeks ago, but held off on publishing until now in order to reduce the surface area of attack for posting Rogue One spoilers.
I saw Rogue One on opening weekend in New Zealand. That’s not a particularly impressive statement if you live in New Zealand, or maybe even Australia. But people from just about anywhere else (or maybe Americans) might think that’s rad. Read More
This week I got together with a few of my closest friends over 40 and we rolled some serious D&D dice. It’s been decades since I actually played the Dungeons & Dragons, and this was after an entire year of promising to get the actual game together. Everyone rolled up 5th Edition characters and showed up the bar with Player’s Handbooks and dice, ready to throw down. Yes, we played at a bar. We had pub food, cheap draft beers, and it was glorious.
It was very surreal, actually sitting down and playing. I’ve been buying D&D manuals and modules for years, even though I’m not playing. And I’ve spent way more time on Twitch and YouTube watching other people play the game. I’ll admit, I was a little nervous at first, playing the dungeon master. My main source of anxiety was making sure I still had the mechanics of the game down properly. In the end I think I might stocked the game with softer monsters than necessary, but everyone had a great time. Now it’s just a matter of figuring out when we can all do it again!
I think my favorite thing about traveling Iceland is how dramatically the landscape can change over just a few
miles kilometers. One moment you’re in a scenic storybook landscape and in the next you’re alone on an alien landscape. That’s the main reason that so many genre movies have been using the “land of fire and ice” as the backdrop for otherworldy tales. Driving across the countryside, I directed an entire sci-fi short film in my mind (one that I hope to shoot there someday).
This weekend while on a quick getaway to Astoria, Oregon, my wife asked what places we should visit. It took me less than half a second to shout out, “the Goonies Jail!!!”
Now serving as the Oregon Film Museum, the former jail and movie set, is a tribute to The Goonies and other films shot in the state.
Twin Peaks fans have had quite a bit to rejoice about lately, with the series being revived by Showtime after 20+ years. So it’s not only sad, but bittersweet to hear about the passing of Catherine Coulson, known to fans around the world as the “Log Lady”.
It breaks my heart, especially after knowing first-hand that she was such a sweet person. I went to college in Ashland, Oregon, and she worked nearby at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Hearing from some colleagues that I was a super-fan, she sent me an autographed photo and a hand drawing of her infamous log, writing, “My log knows, JL” How rad is that? Several months later, she graciously signed her official trading card for me. (I had been carrying it around with me for several weeks before I ran into her). I have other friends from back then with similar, fun stories of meeting her.
I’m still going through the five million photos that I took at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, and here’s of a my first favorites. Starting with Wonder Woman looking for back issues.
Scattered, and occasionally hidden, all over the Gaslamp District during San Diego Comic-Con are numerous pop-up shops, branded lounges, and genre “experiences” for fans to visit. For the most part, you’ll wait in a long line to eventually get into a themed room to score some swag or get your photo taken with a movie prop (don’t forget all the #hashtags!). Sometimes they’re epic, like Flynn’s Arcade from Tron. Other times they’re interesting, but usually little disappointing.
This year my favorite had to be Skeletor’s Lair.
The jet lag killed me.
I’ve been on a lot of international adventures, but never experienced the aftermath from a brutal, sixteen hour time difference. Whatever blogging or Flickr uploading I wanted to do upon my arrival home was near impossible when I inevitably slammed into that impenetrable wall of exhaustion.
So now I’m finally well rested, sharing a few photos and impressions, several weeks later.
Firstly, I almost went about this trip all wrong.
My best travel advice for going to a place like Tokyo is to go there and just take it all in – especially the food. Embrace the weirdness. Often I gone on trips like this, planning to do very specific things – like find certain geeky, collectibles – only to find that what I’ve been daydreaming is quite different from reality. Read More
Over the past week since San Diego Comic-Con 2014 wrapped, I’ve often been asked what was my favorite part of the action packed weekend. It’s difficult while still in the Comic-Con haze to answer that question without blurting out a half-dozen crazy things. But now that I’ve had some time for my mind and body to recover, I can now say without hesitation that it was running through The Walking Dead Escape.
The event, which shoves participants into a massive zombie themed obstacle course, has been a staple on many of the “best of Comic-Con” lists for the past few years. I decided, “No more excuses!” I was determined to get chased by fake-Zombies this year, even if it killed me. And after three days of Comic-Con, it nearly did.
Working in London for the week was a rather fun experience, even if the transportation strike screwed up all my travel plans. With the Tube (that’s the ‘subway’ to us Americans) mostly shut down, I wasn’t able to venture out to quite as many touristy spots as I would’ve liked. On my final even there, I decided at nearly the last minute to go on a spontaneous adventure. I looked at all the subway routes open and formulated a plan.
That’s how I ended up at Platform 9/34 in King’s Cross Station.
After figuring out how to buy a ticket, I hopped on the next train (several actually) and arrived at the station about an hour before many of the train service ended. It didn’t take long to find the “platform” and get queued up. I’m told that on an average day there’s a long line of people standing by at all hours to have their Harry Potter themed photos taken. Turns out it was the one moment the strike worked in my favor, as I only stood around for three minutes before it was my turn to don a scarf and wand.
When I first realized that I was being sent to London on business, the first thing I did after booking my travel was to locate the nearest Tardis. Well, the closest thing I could find to a real-life Tardis anyway.
I threw down a Google query for “police boxes in London” and found a nifty site called The Police Box Map which lists all the various old-timey police boxes left in London area. It even describes them so that you don’t end up at a different colored box by mistake. I quickly determined that there was a perfect box just a short walk from my hotel and the conference center I’m working from.
Here’s a short glimpse into the macabre makeover we gave the news studio last week for Halloween. The theme was that of “deranged experiments” so we threw liberal amounts of (fake) blood around and had a half dozen monitors streaming videos of more ‘patients’ locked in holding cells. Yes, that is a real hospital gurney. No, that is not a real heart. Yes, that is an Ikea BYGEL cart spattered with blood.
This year I made a concentrated effort to spread out my social media updates at the convention, using Twitter as my go-to service for status updates. I used Instagram for a majority of the photos and artsy videos. But Vine was what I used for some fun cosplayer interactions.
They built a mini-prison right in the middle of the Exhibit hall and stocked it with ravenous zombies!
There was a totally lifelike Rick Grimes looking over the event hall.