Category Archives: friends

Am I Still A Geek?

When I created this image I really thought this blog was going to go another way.

In the past I would have no problem identifying with this statement:

I am a geek.

I don’t think that this is any kind of real surprise to anyone who reads this blog or knows me, but it’s not something that I bring up that often for public consumption.  Working in toys has really activated my geekery gene and since that is what I’ve been spending so much time on turning it into content for the internet seemed like the next natural choice. But as I’ve gotten back into my geekier pursuits I’ve noticed that I’m not feeling particularly connected to “geek” as a community – and I don’t know how I feel about that.

Why do we care?

In all likelihood you probably don’t, but it’s very possible that we are about to see a change to geek culture and since geek culture has been mainstreamed any changes that come are likely going to affect the entertainment industry in a massive way. I think my identity crisis is just a symptom of something bigger… maybe.

Being a geek is nothing new and we are somehow still in a geek culture golden age. If you were to tell me twenty-five years ago that some of the most popular things on YouTube, videos that were getting MILLIONS of views, were of people playing Dungeons and Dragons and other role playing games I’d laugh until I passed out. Put on top of that the fact that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is one of the most popular, profitable and unstoppable franchise factories making household names out of characters that no one knew of merely a decade ago? And the fact that Star Wars as a universe is still chugging along in mainstream media? And that I can find Iron Man action figures in just about every single armor that he has ever worn both on screen and in the comics? I tell you my little teenage heart would burst.

But it was not always this way.

I like to frame myself as a “proud geek,” but if I’m being honest that hasn’t always been true. Even in times as geek popular as now I tend to hold that part back from the spotlight. In the past I have justified this hiding because of my “brand.” On this blog and on social media I preferred to be an actor first, focus on career related things… and every once in a while toss in an obscure movie reference, mention that I need to go play D&D, or talk about Iron Man. But that was not very authentic in how much of my private identity can be tied back to what are considered geeky (sometimes VERY geeky) things.

Although some of the geeky things have gained a hip status, the fact of the matter is that all the cool popular people playing or involved in this stuff  are a very small, niche part of the people who play and participate in the core of geekery. The core audience still carries the stigma that was turned into stereotypes used in TV and movies, especially in the late 70’s through the 90’s. Hell, that was my bread and butter for most of my young acting career.

That’s me, in the broken glasses, as Kirby the Nerd.

You can see it in the faces of cosplayers, Magic the Gathering players, wargamers and hard core D&D enthusists; there is an underlying fear anytime they are around people outside of their community that they will be made fun of. And I totally get that, I have also had that fear.

I think that Simon Pegg has presented the best definition of the modern geek:

As he points out, this doesn’t just apply to things like superhero fans and Warhammer 40,000 players but sports fanatics and people who love cars too. But the stigma doesn’t follow the latter the way it does the former. Jocks and nerds may be satisfying the same itch deep down, but society in general views them in very different ways and always at odds.

I was at Rose City Comic Con this year. It’s the first con that I’ve been to since San Diego ComiCon back in either 2012 or 2014 (I can’t remember) and even longer than that since I went to a convention of any size that wasn’t related to the entertainment industry in some way shape or form. This year felt different than what I remember.

Some of my favorite childhood memories are of my dad and I going to comic cons all over Southern California (mostly the Shrine Shows in L.A.) looking for old Iron Man back issues, checking out old toys and collectables, and doing our best to bargain down a price with the dealers. At these shows I built a very impressive collection of Yoda memorabilia, got my first Iron Man action figure from the defunct Secret Wars line, and completed a volume 1 collection of Iron Man comics. 

I would spend my days reading comics and coming up with adventures for all my favorite characters in my head. The reading material came in handy for auditions as well since I was merely a passengers for nearly a decade. I was proud to know as much about the Marvel Universe as I did. I knew Doctor Who lore and stories that would surprise adult fans. I knew Star Wars down to the Tonnika sisters. But I had very few people that I could share all this with.

Junior High School, the worst of all the “schools” in my opinion, was when I met my core group of friends, people I still know and love to this day. Jeff Garvin was my entry point to the group. He and I met doing Annie with a community theater group (another thing that is generally considered pretty geeky, but that’s another blog post altogether). We shared mutual interests, Star Wars and comic books in a general sense, and he introduced me to his Dungeons and Dragons group. Jeff, Dan and Scott became my best friends through school. 

In addition to D&D we shared other common interests in movies and music. Star Wars and Indiana Jones were big favorites and we spent way too much playing the original X-Wing and TIE Fighter computer games. We tried some other RPGs and Dan, Scott and I all started playing Warhammer 40k. We had each other’s backs. We were our own little community and we could run in the circles of other geek communities without effort.

At Rose City Comic Con I was the outsider. Even though I’m an over 40-bearded-beer-gut-guy (a description that has come to be the standard archetype for the stereotypical geek) I saw the distrustful looks that came from the cosplayers and gamers and comic book fans. I imagine I must’ve looked like a dad who was missing his kid, especially since I was there by myself. There was a part of me that wanted to say, “Don’t worry I’m totally one of you.” But even writing that seems condescending and pointless, especially since geekdom and fandom are plagued by toxic jerks right now. I can’t find fault with the suspicious looks. If you didn’t know any better I could be one of those entitled, angry and anonymous man-children screaming about The Last Jedi. Toxic Fandom is the culmination of people who felt powerless finding a voice and, in most circumstances, trying to claim ownership on a fictional world that should be open to everyone. When that kind of “fandom” finds other people who feel the same we get things like what we saw with recent Star Wars stars leaving social media.

But that’s not what I want to see. Sure there will always be jerks, but in general the community is at its best when it is supportive of each other and when people who want to learn about and participate in the geekery are welcomed. Even though I got a lot of side-eye yesterday, the folks at the convention we all very polite and super excited about what they were doing there. That’s the part I like. That’s what I’d like to see more of.

To that point I’m going to start talking about my geekier pursuits here on the blog more. I may not feel like I’m directly linked into the community like I used to be, but I still D&D like a boss, build and paint 40k armies competently, and can still throw down in Supernatural continuity conversations with the best of them. The old saying goes “be the change you’d like to see” and I’d like to help put some positivity back into the geeky stuff that I love.

Please join me! Tell me about the geeky stuff you love in the comments. Introduce me to that thing you like that maybe you’re self conscious about. Let’s build a better community without entitlement and toxicity.

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Filed under awesome, books, comic books, comic movies, commentary, DandD, doctor who, dungeons and dragons, fanboy, fantasy, fiction, friends, fun, Games Workshop, geek, getting old, Han shot first, hobby, horror, in real life, internet, iron man, Lego, Marvel, mordheim, movies, nostalgia, personal, pop culture, rambling, random facts, reading, sci-fi, star trek, star wars, storytelling, super-heroes, television, toys, video games, Wolverine, zombies

The Gunslinger – I read it

This is NOT about the movie. I did not see the movie. I don’t think I’ll see the movie unless it’s free on a plane. That’s how I saw Batman vs. Superman and I still wanted my money back (Good gravy, that movie was terrible!).

No, today I finally posted my response to the “Should I Read The Dark Tower?” video I posted back in June. As a refresher, here’s the video:

And here is the response:

Want to check it out for yourself, or maybe this would be the perfect gift for the reader in your life? I’ve got links to the books down below and a link to the amazon Prime trial for that sweet free 2-day shipping!

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Fireside Chat Episode 2 RELEASED!

Over a year ago one of my oldest and best friends, Jeff Garvin, and I sat down in front of a camera and read from our high school journals. It was an embarrassing trip down memory lane. It was in response to this blog I posted: The Value of Journaling but was also something that Jeff thought might be neat for the readers of his novel, Symptoms of Being Human, since it would be a window into his actual high school self. What follows is the stuff we caught on camera after we edited out most of the swearing and inside jokes:

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Filed under Andelon, friends, friendship is magic, funny, video, videos, YouTube

This, this, all the this!

If you are a creative, this video will sounds very familiar – but it’s a universal message. Lord knows I’ve been down this road a few times. Determination, persistence and touch of naivete is usually enough to win the day – it’s just the “day” in question usually lasts for years.

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Filed under actor 101, actor stuff, art, artist, behind the scenes, commentary, doing new things, education, fail, failure, filmmaking, friends, fund raising, general, getting fit, getting started, happiness, how-to, inspiration, jobs, learning experience, making movies, productivity, projects, REVOLUTION, social commentary, video, videos, YouTube

I’ve Touched the Sun… and it was Friday Night Lights.

There are a lot of things that I’m late to the party on: Jeff Buckley, Breaking Bad, not dropping the thundaduh, but the thing that I’m trying to catch up on right now is Friday Night Lights. Those familiar with the show are, I’m sure, yelling and laughing at me right now through the computer screen saying, “I told you so” and collecting money from imaginary bets that no one actually made but somehow still make sense in the reality of this analogy. It’s a great show.

Seriously, a great show.

One of the greatest things I’ve ever watched that was created for television.

Where Breaking Bad takes the idea of the criminal underworld, deconstructs it and then rebuilds it into something that resembles the “failing upward” comedies of the eighties combined with a hard-boiled drama, Friday Night Lights is all heart. ALL heart. Like so many people who didn’t catch onto this show originally, I didn’t give it a chance because I don’t care about football. Never have. I have teams (Geaux Saints!) but that’s mostly on pain of death from my in-laws. I also grew up with the Bears and Packers, not knowing that there was a huge rivalry between the two. My favorite football moment in history was The Superbowl Shuffle.

I think I’ve made my point.

As I was saying, my football bias got in the way of me giving this show a chance. People told me over and over again, “It’s good you should watch it!” Yet I did not. I heard programs like NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour rave about it. I still didn’t try it.

Finally I gave in. I was bored one day and scrolling through Netflix (how do I get a sponsorship through them?) and the show came up under popular TV shows.

I gave it a shot.

I touched the sun.

That phrase, I touched the sun, comes from my high school days. My friend, author Jeff Garvin, and I used to hang out with a guy named Ryan Moore. Ryan was (and I assume still is) a clever dude. He helped to introduce me to the magic of The Beatles, showed me how to use Video Toaster and was a good writer from what I remember. He also had a knack for delivering a turn of phrase when the moment called for it. One day he was explaining something and said, “I touched the sun, Jeff. You know how people can tell you that the sun is hot, but you don’t really know how hot until you actually touch it? I touched the sun.” Well, it was something really close to that. I don’t remember it verbatim. But the point should be clear. There are things that we go through all the time that you just can’t fully understand unless you actually experience them. Little things like a hot fudge sunday or what it feels like to pet a porcupine, all the way up to big things like falling in love or racism.

That was a harsh way to leave that sentence, but I stand by it. Friday Night Lights may not be the same as falling in love, but it’s a damn good show and if you want to know how good I truly advise you to touch the sun.

See you next time!

Also, in case you want to own the series you can purchase it here at

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A Week in Re-Cap – But only One Picture

Really I could talk about a lot more than a week, but I’ll try and keep it centered around the last week’s worth of events – unless I ramble and start talking about other things too.  We’ve been busy lately!  Shooting for the documentary has ramped up and the next six to eight weeks are going t be packed!  Today I get to purchase my doctorate.  Still debating whether or not I’m going to be a doctor in gravy or pick a better “specialty.”

OK, I was trying to write about other things but there’s really only one thing I’ve wanted to write about for the last few days – GO-KART RACING!

I love my job!  We have business meetings in the best places and last week we had one at a K1 Speedway in Gardena.  Open racing, Chinese food and a healthy dose of manly competition (even the women were feeling manly)!  A friend of ours was having an event for the pre-production of their new film “Super Go” which is about, you guessed it, go-kart racing.  I’ve been indoor go-kart racing before, but I have to give it up to K1 – who is not endorsing me – for a pretty killer time.  The karts were smooth and quick, they took a surprising amount of punishment (all unintentional, of course) and 
all done with electric motors!  Here’s a view from my kart before the start:

Since it was a private party they weren’t really keeping great stats, but I’m pretty confident that, even if I wasn’t winning a lot, I was a top racer.

When we were done I felt like I’d just played Grand Theft Auto for eight or nine hours straight.  I had to cool off before I felt safe getting back in my own car and even when I did it felt very different to drive a real car again.  Zeke said we should just make movies about go-karts from now on so that we can have an excuse to race more.  I can’t argue that, it’s a good idea

Off to shoot more movie stuff!

See you tomorrow!

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Filed under business, friends, fun, making movies

Sunday Morning 11-28-2010

It’s Sunday morning, the coffee is brewing and I’m a bad blogger.

Normally I feel like it’s customary to write a “What I’m Thankful For” post – I see them all over the blogosphere – but do you really care what I’m thankful for?  The things I’m most thankful for (family, wife & dog) you can probably guess and I don’t know that any major epiphanies are going to rise out of discussing them however, in a kind of weird associated way, Thanksgiving at my parent’s house did get me thinking.

Rene and I went to my parent’s house on Friday – we had two separate days of Thanksgiving, one for each family, this year – and after all the turkey was gobbled and we were sitting around double bloated from that dinner and the dinner from the night before Rene reminded me that this would be a prime opportunity to play Just Dance on the Wii and try to work off some of the mountain of food that we ate.  I had forgotten the game at our house (we had taken it to her parent’s house the night before) and needed to go get it.

On the drive back, with the winter light, the smell in the air and powered by the sentimentalism that goes along with the holidays my brain somehow was reminded of a conversation that I had had back in high school with my friends Jeff, Scott and Dan.  It was one of the kind of conversations that you have when you’re “16 and angry” and you’re tying to figure out your place in the world.  The way I remember it Dan had been talking with his parents about something, I believe it was how much he thought high school sucked, and his dad told him to try and enjoy high school because they were the greatest days of his life.  Dan took a great deal of offense to this and told us that if these were the best years of his life then he must be aiming too low.  Then I completely agreed with that!  I still do.  All of my greatest years have come after high school – all of them – but it took until Friday evening for me to really see what people mean when they say that the high school years are the greatest years of your life and finally I see that it isn’t about the accomplishments but the opportunity!

High school is the last bastion of childhood before adulthood.  We throw out the term “teenagers,” but in reality that term is just a marketing device designed to convince 12 to 17 year olds to spend their parent’s money on stuff that only 12 to 17 year olds want.  They are the last years where you have the guaranteed safety of family and school and you can test your boundaries without risking your future beyond the school year.  It is four years of opportunity just waiting to be used populated by by the very people who will willingly choose NOT to use it.  It’s a wonderful juxtaposition.  Adults looks back and think of the different number of things they could have done while teenagers knee deep in it barely scratch the surface.

When I think back on my high school years I have very little that can pass as a regret, my high school experience was pretty good, and although they may not have been the greatest years of my life I unwittingly did make quite a bit out of them.  Even still I know that there is more I could have done.  I will always wonder what it would have been like if I had accepted that position on the wrestling team, if I had taken student government just a bit more seriously or not abused the absence policy my senior year.

…Who am I kidding, the absence policy needed abusing.

So if you’re reading this and you’re still going through high school I hope that you’ll take advantage of the different opportunities that are there for you and enjoy them.  I know that it can seem like the pits – I remember – but even the pits are nice to look back on later.

See you tomorrow!

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Filed under friends, high school, rene

Pop Culture Happy Hour

Blatant Plug: I LOVE the NPR podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour!

I know that there is a risk of sounding pompous or hipster, but I do not care!  To quote a segment from the show: Pop Culture Happy Hour is something that is making me happy this week – and really every week when it shows up in my iTunes.  This morning when I was dropping Rene off I saw that I had a new episode and I felt as my face rose into a huge smile and I couldn’t click fast enough to start it.

Let me tell you a bit about the show as I see it:

It’s a round table conversation show – with real conversation, not just talking points.  Your hosts are writers and editors from sections of the NPR studio that deal in pop culture specifically Linda Holmes of the NPR Monkey See Blog, Stephen Thompson from NPR Music, arts editor Trey Graham, and comics blogger Glen Weldon.  They are friends and colleagues that genuinely enjoy talking to each other and make you feel, as a listener, like you are as much a participant even though you can’t actually add to the conversation.  They talk about current television, movies, books, music, whatever but also aren’t afraid to dip into pop culture’s back catalog and pull out the more obscure references and gems.  There have been a few times when an old show or reference has sent me to my own archive and the internet to hunt down and see for myself what all the hubbub is about and they have also opened my eyes to the possibility of reading The Hunger Games books (thank you

At the risk of sounding like a complete drooling fanboy, the biggest reason that I listen is because this show reminds me of the conversations that I enjoy having with my own circle of friends.  Replace Linda, Stephen, Trey and Glen with Rene, Dean, Zeke and myself and the conversations drift into the same places – except I can rely on a weekly dose from PCHH and it can be hard to get all of your friends into the same place at the same time.

I’ve included a link HERE!

Check it out, I think you’ll like it.  Or if you don’t let me know why in the comments.  Each show is about 45 minutes long – but it goes by fast!

See you tomorrow!

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Filed under blatant plug, friends, podcasts

Project 365 10-2-2010 D&D & Birthdays.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a geek.  I play Dungeons & Dragons un-apologetically and a few other different table top war games like Warhammer 40k and Mordheim.

I play D&D with my oldest childhood friends and so the game really becomes an excuse to get together and catch-up…

…in addition to killing orcs, goblins, and lord only knows what other monsters.

Part of tonight’s game was eating cake for my friend, Liz’s, birthday:

See you tomorrow!


Filed under dungeons and dragons, friends, Games Workshop, project 365 2010

Project 365 8-23-2010 Five Guys. Burgers, Not Gay Porn.

I’m not sure if you’ve heard, however if you’re in the North Orange County area of Southern California then that’s pretty unlikely, but there is a new new burger joint in town.  It is very popular all over the country.  It is blogged about by people other than me, it is praised in Zagat surveys and it’s even been mentioned in the pages of Marvel Comics.  Five Guys Burgers & Fries has opened in Orange near the 55 freeway and it’s making the same kind of splash that Krispy Kreme and the iPhone made when they first came out. 

There are lines around the block, excitement from those in the line and high expectations.

Maybe those expectations are a bit too high.

Dean and I went to Five Guys for lunch and ordered some of these nationally renowned burgers.  Burgers that, if you believe the hype, are “…better than In-N-Out!”  We ordered bacon cheeseburgers, which come standard as “doubles,” and I had mine with  lettuce, tomato and grilled onions – just like my Double Doubles.  I also ordered the Cajun fries and washed it all down with a root beer.

The result:

I intended to take a picture before it was eaten, but I dove right in.  Dean put it best when he said, “…you didn’t even put it down!”  So as you can probably tell I liked it.  It was a really good burger – but it was far away from being the “best” burger I’ve ever had and that got Dean and I in a discussion about hype vs reality and the Apple phenomenon.

When it comes right down to it I still like In-N-Out burgers better.  There is a taste to In-N-Out burgers, a kind of salty hint, that is what I look forward to when I know I’m getting In-N-Out.  The taste gets me excited!  Five Guys doesn’t have a specific taste.  Dean and I both agreed that it tasted like a really good homemade burger.  Desirable?  Totally, but I know what it tastes like because I make burgers like this at home and when I’m out I don’t want to feel like I just paid more for something I could have made myself. 

I felt kind of tricked.  Yeah, the food and fries were good and made from “high quality ingredients” but it wasn’t the life changing experience that the press had told me it would be.  That’s the downside of hype.  If the product can’t live up to what it has been built up to be then, even if it’s a great product, it’s disappointing.  Dean and I were drawing comparisons to other things that get a lot of hype that we don’t seem to get like Chickfilet and Apple fanboys.  I have never seen why Chickfilet is so popular.  I find them bland and expensive, but fans of the chicken treat it like the white meat second coming!  And I think we all know, or are, an Apple fan boy.  The thing is that these products are good, great even, but do they warrant the price or praise that is associated with them?  How much are you paying for quality and how much for the prestige of the name?  And with the iPhone 4 it had a great launch and continues to sell well, but it’s legacy is marred by “antenna-gate.”  Krispy Kreme had a great shot out of the gate, but since then they’ve had to close stores and they are far from the glory of the late 90’s. 

So it remains to be seen if Five Guys will go the way of Apple or the way of Krispy Kreme, but if you’re in the neighborhood and you’ve got a good two hours to blow stop in a try a burger, just adjust your expectations.  You don’t want to be a victim of the hype.

See you tomorrow!

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Filed under food, friends, musings, project 365 2010