little lost robot

Henk Comics, Amsterdam

By November 15, 2015 Comic Book Stores, Comics

When I was firming up plans for an upcoming business trip to Amsterdam, I did the two things that I always do when preparing for a trip. The first was to research if any of my favorite bands were on tour there, and I was THRILLED to see that Chvrches would fit nicely into my evening itinerary (ignoring the fact that I’ve already seen them twice in concert this year). Secondly, I looked for local comic book shops, which led me to Henk Comics, located in the Chinatown area, just as it bleeds into the infamous Red Light District. I found the store along a cobblestone street, illuminated by early holiday decorations and neon lights.
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Things From Another World at Universal Citywalk

By October 10, 2015 Comic Book Stores, Comics, Uncategorized

While geeking out with my family at Universal Studios in California (which is inferior to the Orlando park in every way), I wandered into the ridiculously massive Things From Another World comic shop. Being a resident of Portland, I’m already very familiar with the TFAW brand, so it was kinda fun to see one of the shops outside my local area.

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Like I said, the store is huge. Did this used to be a Rainforest Cafe or something? (j/k) While the store does have a current releases wall, it definitely caters mostly to the touristy, gift shop crowd with tons of Legos, t-shirts and Funko type figures. I mean, it would definitely be weird to have a pull list there unless you worked somewhere on the Universal Studios property or have a season pass to cover the expensive parking lots.

Anyway, there was a lot to check out there and would probably be a great introduction their online store for folks wanting to similar items when they get back home.

Remembering Catherine E. Coulson

By September 30, 2015 My Geek Adventures, Twin Peaks

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.
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My new geek space / office is looking wicked.

By July 17, 2015 Comics

Now that I’m back from my international and geeky travels (for a while), it’s time to shift focus on getting my office space into shape. For months I’ve been hoarding variant covers from Jeff Lemire and John Tyler Christopher. However, I decided that the walls would reach maximum radness with the Wicked + Divine covers from Jamie McKelvie and Matt Wilson.
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Here’s a few random Comic-Con ’15 snaps!

By July 13, 2015 comic-con, My Geek Adventures

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.

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Inside Skeletor’s Lair (SDCC 15)

By July 13, 2015 My Geek Adventures

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.

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My nerd loot from SDCC 15

By July 12, 2015 Collectibles, comic-con

It’s been My nerd loot from StarFest ’89 to snap a pix of all the just I acquired at a convention, spread out on the hotel bed. Here’s my assortment of junk (much of it free swag) from this year’s San Diego Comic-Con. I snatched up some exclusive comics, including Avatar’s Mercury Heat #1 (Limited Edition). I added two more Superfight expansions to my already overcrowded deck (I passed on the Anime set). I grabbed a lot of killer items at Super 7’s ‘Skeletor’s Lair’, and a bunch of indie graphic novels that have been on my list.

And believe it or not, this all somehow fit into carry-on luggage. FTW!

Geeking out around Tokyo, Japan

By July 1, 2015 My Geek Adventures

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.

Rainy awesome day doing location scouting in Tokyo!

A photo posted by JL Watkins (@littlelostrobot) on

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

Portland, I’m glad to get to know you. Again.

By June 25, 2015 PDX

It’s weird being back in the Pacific Northwest. It’s not the first time I’ve have this notion when returning to Portland. But it’s so much more tangible now that I’m here to stay. Maybe it hasn’t quite sunk in yet.

Over the past ten years I’ve been a Portlander at heart, but with each passing year I realize less what that actually means. It appears being a hipster weirdo is still an option, if I want to go back down that path. The city hasn’t changed much, but it has been changed all around. Places I used to frequent have been replaced, or have altogether vanished. Streets now make weird turns in directions I’m never expecting.

I used to know how to navigate the city by all the grim landmarks of TV new stories I’ve covered. I’m relieved that the mental overlay of homicides and sex crimes is now less opaque when I travel throughout the town. In my younger days, I knew the city by its nightlife. These days, I’m getting to know it again through family friendly activities and discovering geeky stores as I explore my fine city once again.

And even though I’m no longer breakdance fighting for survival, or busting up vampire dens in Old Town, part of it still feels right. I’m finally back.

And yes, #@$% you, I moved here from California.

I had the Most Interesting Day in the World

By April 4, 2015 My Stuff, Photography

I love it when an unexpected assignment comes along, and everything falls into place like magic. While in Las Vegas this past weekend, I was tasked with writing and directing a short video. I had roughly thirty minutes to shoot everything, but I found myself needing far less.

I would expect nothing less when working with The Most Interesting Man in the World.
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That one time I decided to be The Avengers…

By March 10, 2015 Photography, Portraits

I have no idea where I began with this little project. One day I was trying on a Thor helmet, and just a Prime shipping days later I had several costumes that I just had to be photographed wearing. Why be one Avenger when you can be them all, right? Without telling anyone other than my studio assistant, I threw this little photo shoot together.

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Here’s how my Avengers got assembled:
I grew out my beard for a few days until it seemed good enough for Thor, and then picked a quiet night in the studio to knock out the photos. (Studio setup photos below) Read More

I’m totally hooked on these Star Wars action figure variants

By February 19, 2015 Comics

A long time ago in a comic shop not to far away, I snagged the first issue of Marvel’s new Star Wars comic book like just about everyone else in the known universe. There were over fifty variant covers, but there was no way I’m getting caught up in any of that. Though I did have a moment of weakness over the Hasbro action figure variant with Luke Skywalker on the cover. It was pretty rad, but I didn’t budge, stating that “it wasn’t really my thing.”

(Spoiler: It turns out to totally be my thing.)

I have a bad feeling about this.

Flash forward a month to the release of issue #2, and – sure enough – there’s a Han Solo action figure variant. Standing in front of the new release wall I lament, “So this is going to be a thing now?” There was a moment where I almost bought it. However, since I didn’t get the last one I figured it was too late. And it’s not like I’m in need of new things to hoard.

One week later and I’m staring at Darth Vader #1 and it’s glorious variant cover. If you guessed that I fucking snapped, then you would be correct. “How bad do I want these now?!” I remember yelling out loud, or at least in my head.

The force is strong with this one.

It turns out that the comic shop still had last week’s Hand Solo variant, and I was able to buy the Luke Skywalker issue off Amazon for only a few bucks. I’ve added the variants to my pull list, and it’ll be interesting to see how long i can keep up with them. I heard that they’re retailer incentives, so if they don’t order or sell a certain number of issues, they won’t get that cover version.

Regardless, I’m in the game now. Can’t wait to add Princess Leia #1 and Obi-Wan Kenobi from Star War #3! I’ll update as they arrive.

For a moment, I felt just a glimmer of the Force

By February 3, 2015 Growing Up Geek

You never know when nostalgia is going to strike. For me, it happened on a random stroll one day through sleepy, downtown Springfield. We were just wandering down Main Street and stumbled across the most rad antiques store window display, crammed full of vintage Star Wars collectibles.

I had this brief, jarring moment where I felt like I had tripped over some invisible, metaphysical pathway from my past. Were these my toys? I had to reset my brain momentarily. These were toys that I had, just not these particular toys.

It’s been a while since I had been this close to original Star Wars toys in the wild. I found myself captivated, staring through the dirty pane of glass, as my mind raced back to imaginary sci-fi battles of my youth.

But I wasn’t the only one taken back…

The force is strong with this vintage shop. #starwars

A photo posted by JL Watkins (@littlelostrobot) on

“You used to play with these?” my daughter asked, completely fascinated by the toys in the display. She didn’t even realize that they seemed so much older and different than the modern figures she’s seen her whole life. To her, they were just really neat toys. “All of them” I replied, breaking my gaze to look at her.

“That’s pretty cool!” she said as we walked away. It certainly was.

Destiny Diary: How much do I need that Icebreaker?

By January 20, 2015 Gaming

It’s a story as old as time itself. A lone guardian spends a week dashing around amongst the wreckage and shattered remains of mankind. His entire week is spent playing grab-ass on Earth patrols and performing reckless Sparrow stunts on Mars. Friday morning his world comes crashing down around him when he learns that Xur is selling Icebreaker, and he probably should have been saving up for it. Granted, this is like a thousand years in the future so he wouldn’t have heard the old parable about the lazy squirrel who didn’t collect enough nuts for winter.

Wait. What am I talking about?
Oh yeah, buying Icebreaker.

I jump into the Destiny app and do a quick scan of my inventory, noting that I only have 13 – of the required 17 – coins needed to purchase the Icebreaker from Xur. Shouldn’t be too hard to get, right? The easiest way to earn coins is by running the weekly Nightfall strike, which I already completed, earning nine coins. That’s the hands-down easiest way, and I already exhausted it. It turned out that I was going to have to work for it. I mean really work for it, considering that I was taking the kids to Disneyland all weekend, leaving me with just a few hours accomplish this task. Read More

My loot from Image Expo 2015

By January 10, 2015 Comics, Conventions

I didn’t take very many photos or tweet snarky comments while at this year’s Image Expo 2015. I think it was because I was caught up in all the fun of listening to all the amazingly talented creators share their new projects with the world. After dropping a ton of cash each year on San Diego Comic-Con International, buying the ‘premium’ ticket to this event (which was like $25 over the normal ticket price) seemed like a reasonable decision. And for the most part, it was. We didn’t really get any advance seating or anything like that, but the swag bag was killer.

What’s in the bag?

Tote bag, Image Comics t-shirt, and program guide. There were also the following expo-exclusive comics: Bitch Planet #1, East of West #16, Wytches #3, and Rumble #1.

The best thing that wasn’t in the bag? Not having to wait in the long line after the general session to buy the exact same items. As it turns out, the premium pass was more like a pre-order – which I will order again, without hesitation next year.

Daryl Dixon’s Chopper (Funko Pop! Rides review) – The Walking Dead

By November 18, 2014 My Stuff, Toys

It’s a slippery slope, buying vinyl Funko figures. They’re so affordable, ubiquitous, and highly collectible. As a geek, it’s near impossible to avoid having one. Recently, I’ve fallen off the deep end and snatched-up pretty much the entire run of American Horror Story and The Walking Dead Funko Pop! Vinyl collections for my office at work.

Luckily, I can turn this obsession into something more productive – such as doing some fun videos for the new action figure review site, GoFigure. I won’t usually post the videos here, but I wanted to share the news. This week I’m showing off the completely badass Daryl Dixon’s Chopper (terrible sound effect not included).

“Pan” (Palo Alto Networks Parody of “Her”)

By October 30, 2014 My Stuff

Here’s a short film that I directed for Palo Alto Networks. It’s a parody of last year’s indie darling, “Her”, but with a network security angle. It’s rather steeped in technical and industry-insider talk, however I think Ryan (my actor & co-producer) and I knocked this one out of the park.

I survived The Walking Dead Escape

By August 17, 2014 comic-con, My Geek Adventures

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.

Read my complete wrap-up over on Movieweb.com

It’s always been ‘Cruel Summer’

By July 11, 2014 Growing Up Geek, Music

“Hot summer streets, and the pavements are burning. I sit around, trying to smile, but the air is so heavy and dry.”

The hot summer breeze drifts into the Valley, carrying along with it the promise of recreation and a respite from the daily grind. My own adventures begin when I lace up a fresh pair of black Converse sneakers and hear my favorite summer jam on the radio. Sometime near late May, radio stations mercilessly shuffle and repeat playlists until a single track – through sheer tyranny of will – conquers the national zeitgeist, becoming the unofficial ‘song of summer.’ For me, it happens to be Bananarama’s Cruel Summer.

It’s always been Cruel Summer.
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