Category: Miscellaneous/Unsorted

The Del Amo Mall Bizarre Goods Tour

Today my journey to the Del Amo mall as a chauffeur for my sister got a fair bit more interesting when I was able to drag my buddy Juan along for an impromptu hangout.

All-and-all it was a great time, far more than it would have been if I just went and sat around by myself. We had lunch, explored a bunch of kitch-y stores, made fun of some really silly products and talked about all the important things in life.

Like video games.

But that’s another story. I thought it might be fun to take another look at some of the photos I took of some ridiculous things around the mall. Because that seems just quirky enough to probably be interesting, and it’s a real easy kind of post to do while watching Ready Player One with my family.

So let’s begin with this:

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Boxing Jack-Jack and the raccoon from Incredibles 2.

I’ll be honest, the scene where Jack-Jack fights the raccoon is probably the best part of this movie. But… Wow. How could you make a toy that looks so unsettling?

I understand the idea that they’re sock puppets. It makes sense. The interactivity of the toy is also cute, since both characters make noises when they punch their arms.

I just wish the thing didn’t make it look like both a small baby and a raccoon weren’t twink boxers. Because god damn is it just… Not great.

Luckily there were a bunch of other cute Incredibles toys for parents to buy. Don’t buy your kids this unsettling bit of nightmare fuel, parents.

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Here’s a clothing shop that’s just called “Q.” I don’t know why it’s just called Q. I didn’t go inside so I’m not sure what the gimmick is.

It’s just Q.

Honestly, I don’t have anything else to say about the place. I just thought it was so bizarre that it was worth pointing out.

Unlike this next picture, which has so many bizarre things to it that I can’t stop talking about it:

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Seriously I’m not even sure where to begin here. The clashing art styles all being thrown together immediately stand out of course, but it’s the fine details that really just dig into your cerebellum.

Like why is Naruto wearing Goku’s outfit while standing next to Goku in a much more soft, pastel tone.

Why is Crono from Crono Trigger hanging out with Black*Star and Sonic the Hedgehog and Kirby? Except Kirby is red instead of pink.

Why is Bijou from Hamtaro sitting on top of Cloud’s shoulder? She ain’t in any Final Fantasy games.

Oh and let’s not forget the extra bizarre inclusions. Why is Nyan Cat in the top corner? Why is Navi from Ocarina of Time hanging out without any other Zelda character anywhere on the piece?

Ultimately though, I think there’s just one question to ask.

Who allowed this photoshop hodgepodge to be a thing?

I could honestly talk about that thing all day. But I won’t because I might actually descend into madness if I do.

So instead I’ll talk about this.

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Anybody remember Xiolin Showdown? Because I do!

I used to seriously love this show growing up. So when I saw this PSP game sitting in a shop, I couldn’t not take a look.

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I never owned a PSP or anything, but this game seems like it was probably pretty cool. I wonder-

Wait.

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Oh no… What did they do to your face little guy?

I… I can’t even look at that. It’s physically painful.

Okay let’s move on to something hopefully less nightmare-inducing, shall we?

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I spoke too soon, there are just as many nightmares over in toy land.

I don’t know whose decision it was to make ‘Mighty Muggs’ a thing, but they made a very poor choice when it comes to overall design. Especially if they were hoping to compete with things like Funko Pops.

But hey, let’s look at something less terrifying, shall we?

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Like check out all of these god damn copies of Wii Fit.

I don’t know who out there decided to trade in all their copies of Wii Fit to Book Off in the Del Amo mall, but I just wanted to give an extra special shout out to all of them.

Because look at how amazing this collection is. It’s literally the most stocked game in that store, and it’s beautiful.

Worth the trip all by itself, honestly.

Though that wasn’t the only amazing game that made this trip worthwhile.

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My Stop Smoking Coach. For the Nintendo D.S. An Ubisoft title.

Only one dollar.

To be completely honest the fact that I didn’t go out of my way to buy this thing out of sheer curiosity’s sake may just be my greatest regret.

Actually I got ice cream because I didn’t buy this game, so I guess I don’t regret it too much. But if I see this thing again next time I go to the store, I’m definitely going to go out of my way for it.

Here’s another game that I thought was interesting from a series that’s probably a little more well-known.

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Harvest Moon: Save the Homeland.

I don’t have too much to say about this overall. I threw it over to my friend Sam who’s a huge Harvest Moon fan and she’s never played this particularly title in the series.

I just wanted to throw it out there because it probably has the most nationalist title I’ve ever seen. ‘Save the Homeland.’ Can’t help but imagine the Von Trapp family showing up to beat off some Nazis.

That was about all I had in terms of video game stuff. But I did have a little more to cycle back to from our stop in Disney earlier:

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Check out this Porg. Everyone loves Porgs, right?

Well, this is a Porg mug that has a scalped Porg. So you can drink it’s brains.

For the children, right?

I don’t know maybe that isn’t as funny on here as it was in person, where Juan pulled his now infamous ‘drink of my Porg’ line.

So I’ll let that one fly and move into this last fun thing I pulled out of our last trip to GameStop on the way home.

I’m not a huge basketball person, but my Twitter has been rampant with talk about LeBron James joining the L.A. Lakers. I have my own opinions about that whole thing and how… Ridiculous the number of dollars thrown around for one man are.

But that’s neither here nor there.

In the end I think it’s all worth it just for what this GameStop employee did to this NBA 2019 advertising stand.

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Pure genius.

It’s about as good a place as any to end off, if you ask me.

Hopefully you enjoyed this romp into weird shit I found today. If so let me know! Also don’t hesitate to send me any weird things you might find, because I thrive off that.

Pushing through those Mental Roadblocks

Pushing through those Mental Roadblocks

Have you ever had those mornings where something seems like a mental roadblock, almost totally preventing you from getting started on work?

I’m asking as a rhetorical question, of course. I’d be surprised to hear that hasn’t happened to everyone at least once.

Be it from a serious problem, anything ranging from a bout of depression to the echoed memories of an argument the night before, or from something less serious, like the anticipation of an upcoming event or simply laziness, everyone has had those moments where they put off work they need to do.

In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with the idea of possibly putting off plans to sit down and concentrate on something so long as that break isn’t an immediate problem.

After all it’s different to say “well maybe I’ll lay here a bit more and work later” when whatever needs to be done has no immediate deadline than when it’s due in the next hour. In the latter case it’s imperative that one finds a way to push through that apathy.

Now obviously I’m not just bringing this up as a casual conversation topic. Anyone who has been following my daily chats on various topics this summer should know they almost always tie back to an immediate consideration for me.

My sick has been a somewhat convenient excuse for me the last few days. It’s hard to bunker down and work when you sleep half the day away and cough away the other half into some phlegm-covered mess.

But even with that said, I managed to get through my transcript for the Magic interview I did while sick. So that can’t be the topic at hand here, right?

Yes, that’s right. You’re quite observant when I write your thoughts for you, aren’t you reader?

While I would consider sickness a more serious, justified reason to push off work at least a little, what I faced this morning was… Much less so. To say the least.

No, today I have to blame Fire Emblem. Because of course I do.

The game clearly was not an all-day kind of debilitating mental roadblock, as I’ve gotten the energy to at least write this post (though that in itself could be considered more procrastination, I just won’t get into that here). However, the fact that it stopped me from concentrating on anything else for even a few hours is something I wanted to unpack as one of the ridiculous ways my brain works.

Hector was the source of my ultimate dismay this morning. Specifically, his Legendary Hero special battle map.

You remember this sucker from a few days ago, right? The map that I said didn’t seem as hard as the Ryoma banner map from about a month ago?

Well… I was wrong.

For me, this map on Infernal difficulty was far harder than the Ryoma one. I was able to come up with my own way to defeat Ryoma rather easily, giving me the satisfaction of having conquered a hard challenge on my own.

I wasn’t able to come up with a solution to the Hector map. Each time you defeat one of the units surrounding him, a new one spawned that added a whole other dimension of pain that I wasn’t prepared for.

Luckily I was able to eventually find a solution (thanks to Pheonixmaster1, a YouTuber who does some pretty solid FEH content), though that required a good amount of set-up and resource allocation to match. I also didn’t think to look something up until at least a half hour+ sitting in bed frustratedly tapping at my phone screen.

Now I’m sure you must be asking yourself why I cared so much about beating this one stupid map that I wasn’t able to concentrate on anything else until I got through it.

Well, from a surface level I’m just willing to blame my brain for being weird and obsessive in all the wrong ways sometimes. But I also managed to rationalize it in a very specific way.

See, the special map for this banner goes away in two days alongside the banner itself. Because the banner is full of limited time units, it’s arguable that once they’re gone it’s the last time we’re ever going to see them.

That kind of nagging feeling was what drove me to spend far too many orbs on summoning after my lucky triple pull. However, doing so got me caught in a ‘worst case scenario’ loop.

The more I summoned, the higher my change at getting a rare unit got. But I wasn’t getting a rare unit, so the chance kept building. The higher it built, the less willing I was to let all the previous investment go to waste. Which meant I wound up needing more orbs to pour into the banner, and felt constrained by the two-day time frame.

It’s probably the worst part of free-to-start games like this, but it’s a reality I’ve gotten used to over the last year-and-a-half.

The Infernal Hector banner offered four orbs, so in my head those four orbs were a necessary object to help me break out of the feedback loop. So I threw myself against it over and over until I won.

Luckily, those four orbs were just what I needed to finally summon a rare unit, which brought my summoning chance back to its base and removed all stress from wasting that chance.

I’ll admit, getting another Myrrh instead of Hector is a double edged sword. I love the girl so I’m happy to have another one to merge.

But now I have four. And I probably would have preferred the special legendary unit in the long-run.

But hey, beggars can’t be choosers. After all, Myrrh here has helped me escape my summoning hell so I can go back to focusing on my work.

If you’ve found yourself stuck in a similar kind of mentally debilitating feedback loop that you’ve had to solve before you could move on in your life, especially one you would consider bizarre in hindsight, let me know in the comments below! I’d love some validation that I’m not the only freak on this blue marble of ours.

However, don’t expect me to see if you do anytime soon. Because now I’m going to go bunker myself down and get into this profile since I feel kind of bad about pushing it off for even a few hours to worry about video games.

Sleeping, working and dying.

If I had to characterize my day today in just a few words, it would be easy. Sleeping, dying and working.

Basically a perfect microcosm of life I suppose.

Like I mentioned in my post yesterday, I’ve been sick lately. Today happened to feature a nasty flare-up, which led to sleeping in until at least 1:00 p.m. followed by an afternoon of sequestering myself away in my room to avoid disrupting the world with my somewhat intense cough and Advil-riddled outlook.

On the one hand that seclusion was a positive because, as I mentioned, it gave me the chance to focus on work. I managed to work through my entire transcript for the interview I conducted with Magic the other day, giving me an easy head start for the profile and Spotlight I’m writing.

On the other hand I basically spent the whole day sitting around in my own sick misery. That’s never exactly a positive, all things considered.

Because of that rather uneventful course of events, I don’t have a bunch to talk about in this blog post.

So I just wanted to give a shout out to the one thing today that gave me a series relief outside of drugs: Chinese food.

Yeah that sounds silly I know. But really, what’s better on a day when you’re sick than some hot, tasty soup.

Now I don’t have a lot to say about Chinese food specifically, don’t get me wrong. I’m not promising a particularly meaty discussion here. I just figured it was worth reflecting on something or another to avoid a day where I haven’t written anything.

Even if, to be fair, I did write about 6,000 words or so just transcribing my interview. But that’s a different story.

Though writing it out seems silly from how ubiquitous the act is in American life, My family has ordered in a lot of food over the years. Chinese and Pizza are the chief culprits, naturally, though with more recent advents like Grubhub that spectrum of potential has expanded widely.

One thing I’ve given almost no thought to over all those years is the middle man in the equation, that person who delivers the food. Don’t ask me why, it seems like they would be the first thing that comes to mind from how ever-present the idea of being a food delivery person is in popular culture, but I guess I’ve always been more focused on the destination than the journey in that regard.

Today I’m feeling a bit more fond toward the delivery people of the world. Perhaps it’s some outlandish association between the comfort that came from hot soup against my sore throat and the fact that it wouldn’t have been possible without the guy from Emerald Garden at the door.

Even if it is a very specific association, it’s something to extrapolate much further. It’s easy to say that those delivery people, like many others who hold jobs we may take for granted, are what help keep modern day society rolling along as smoothly as it does. For the most part.

So take this as a plea from a sad, strange little man dying from a cold. Treat your delivery people well and tip them well. Because they deserve it.

Thanks for the soup you wonderful man. I hope your July brings many great things!

Catching the Anime Bug

This post title has a double meaning because I’m looking to talk about anime and also I’m kind of out sick.

Except I’m not planning on talking about the sick part because of anime. So why even bring it up?

Well… Because why not I suppose.

Probably because being sick makes me ramble aimlessly.

Though that isn’t really any different than usual around here, now is it?

Anyway. Getting super off topic.

While hanging out with my friend Sam today, a lot of the videos we watched had the creators interjecting ads throughout their content. Many of those ads were for the anime site Crunchyroll, or their streaming service VRV.

At the same time, I’ve been seeing lots of commercials for the anime FLCL Progressive on Toonami lately while watching some Adult Swim with the family.

As a side note, I’m not sure why we’ve been doing that, honestly.

However it has been interesting to experience watching the sort of shows with my parents that I used to stay up late to watch secretly on my bedroom TV because they were ‘adult shows’ and I felt like I rebelling in some way by seeing them without my parents knowing.

Amazing how life cycles around like that.

Toonami was always one of my favorite parts of the secret late night TV watching experiences, as I’m sure many others would agree. It was (and still is since coming back to life) Adult Swim’s anime block, and I’ve discovered a lot of really interesting anime though it.

The ones that chiefly come to mind right now are Deadman Wonderland, about a boy who has blood powers that winds up in a psychotic hell prison after being blamed for killing his entire class at school, and FLCL, about…

Er…

I’ll be honest, I don’t quite remember what FLCL was about. I do remember enjoying it quite a bit, but for the life of me I can’t recall any specific plot details.

Seeing commercials for what I assume is the sequel/follow-up to the series brought some intrigue into the forefront of my mind, and as a result I’ve been considering going back and watching the original FLCL again to see if I can actually retain it this time around.

Once in a while certain things bring that desire to watch anime back for me. It’s usually one show at a time before a few month’s break, as I did in my previous sessions watching the entirety of the Dragonball saga (before Super was anywhere near starting), watching both runs of Fullmetal Alchemist, Madonna Magica and Soul Eater.

It has been a long time, and I’m thinking FLCL might be my next project this summer.

Though at the same time, there’s also a few others I’ve been meaning to watch that I missed for one reason or another.

My Hero Academia has been highly recommended by my friend Mitchell recently.

One Punch Man is something I feel I’ll be very interested watching but I just missed my shot when it first came around.

At some point there were more episodes of Attack on Titan that came out that I should go back to see.

Past that I’ve also heard good things about a lot of other shows. Little Witch Academia, Kill la Kill, Neon Genesis Evangelion… So many shows that I need to catch up on.

Perhaps I’ll consider this post to be a checklist of sorts and start to work through some shows over the rest of the summer while getting my other work done.

If there’s any anime my gracious audience can also think to recommend that I haven’t listed but should go ahead and try to watch, please let me know! I’d love to jot some more down before my interest begins to fade for another chunk of time.

Starting to Schedule

After a brief (sort of) respite yesterday, I’m here to deliver on what I promised: A blog post about my planned class schedule for the fall 2018 semester.

Because… People care about that, right?

Sure. Why not.

Because I’m a part of the Honors Program at CSUF, I get priority registration when it comes to scheduling my courses. While I’ve loved a lot of the honors classes I’ve taken, this is honestly the main reason I’m endlessly grateful that I joined the program.

I can’t imagine what it would be like to get all the classes I want if I wasn’t able to cut in line, as it were.

My friends that go to other CSU schools ironically tell me that my ‘priority’ registration is still months later than when they register for classes, since they do it in the middle of the semester rather than during the summer. But that’s another story.

More of a funny aside right now, if anything.

When scheduling myself out for this upcoming semester, I also found I had less to worry about because I’m officially done with all of my general education requirements.

Insert confetti pop here.

As sarcastic as that text-audio joke might sound, I am actually really happy about that. As a result, I was able to only schedule major, minor and honors courses — the stuff that I’m in college to actually learn.

I may not have been able to schedule any Honors Project-related courses because I’m still working on my proposal, but again. Different story, different time.

Besides, I scheduled one that I’ve been quite interested in taking for a long time instead.

It’s about now that I hear all the bored audience members out there ask that I quit the dumb set-up and get to what I’m actually taking.

So I’ll do just that:

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Simple and Clean

Ta da! Isn’t that just a nice and balanced 15 unit spread?

Before I break down what I took and why, I just wanted to give a quick shout out to the Titan Scheduler application that CSUF provides to work out class schedules. It’s actually a really useful way to pick out classes, add breaks and see just how many overall options become available to lay out as a result.

But no, that isn’t any sort of ‘go check this out’ shout out. Because it’s only available to CSUF students, and would likely only be useful for them even if it was more widely available.

So that said, let’s get into classes.

As usual I scheduled out an extra break day on Friday, a force of habit from having Titan shifts on Sundays, and I managed to get every class started at 1 p.m.

Hopefully that will give me more morning time to do things I should have been doing a long time ago. Like go to the gym. Because I need to.

On Mondays and Wednesdays, that day of class starts with Psych 302: Learning and Memory.

Now that I’ve officially finished the math-heavy portion of my Psychology minoring experience by getting through statistics and research methods, I can finally break into the fun stuff that I joined the department to learn more about.

All of the crazy and weird things our human brains do.

Seriously, I’m not sure I’ve ever had more fun learning than I had back in AP Psych with Mrs. Mata in high school or in Abnormal Psych at El Camino a few summers back, when everything was all about getting my mind blown thinking about the fact that I can think about how certain collections of lines look, interpret those lines into sounds and interpret those sounds into words with esoteric meanings.

Have fun thinking about that for a while.

The concepts behind how we learn have always been a big one for me, so Learning and Memory seemed like a perfect choice, but even that isn’t quite as exciting to me as my Tuesday/Thursday starter: Sensation and Perception.

I’m hoping those are going to be as fun as I imagine going in.

Following Monday’s journey into the mind, I’m going to be taking (what I hope is) an equally mind-bending class: Evolution and Creation.

I love the idea of this class not just because the idea of examining the dichotomy between those two lines of thought excites me. It’s also a smaller, intimate honors course (with 18 students max) that’s being taught by a professor I’ve had before and like.

As I said, it’s a class I’ve actually thought about picking up every year for a while, I’ve just never had a schedule open enough to do it until now.

Beyond that, I’m also taking what I’m considering the gauntlet of Communications courses. Visual Communications and Mass Media Ethics.

Both once-a-week three-hour courses, both taught by Comm professors I don’t think I’ve met before.

While that’s somewhat daunting, I did the exact same kind of thing last semester with two three-hour courses later in the day, and I wound up really liking both of them. These two not only fulfill some of the few requirements I still need for my major degree, but they also seem like they’ll help with things I should learn more about.

Namely, how to best apply things that aren’t strictly print and how to handle potentially unethical things over the internet. Probably very useful skills all things being equal!

Plus they help me delay the inevitable struggle that will be Communications Law. Reportedly the hardest course in the major, despite being a fascinating romp into the world of laws via the journalism department head.

And with that, you now have my thoughts about the classes I’m officially registered for in the fall 2018 semester. Perhaps once the semester is over I’ll come back to this and see how well my expectations matched up with reality.

If you have any big plans being worked out for the near future, let me know in the comments!

Nothing to see here

I’ll be completely honest, I’m not feeling very inspired to write about anything in particular tonight.

There’s no topic coming to mind that I think I could write anything substantial about just off-the-cuff, and the only things I did of note throughout the day were apply for a position on the Honors Program’s Student Advisory Council for next year and go out for ramen with Mom and Aly.

Granted it was good ramen, but I’m not honestly in the mood to wax poetic about my food or go into some childhood backstory about Naruto like my sister suggested.

So I think I’m just going to cut things short for the night, take this L and come back to write more tomorrow. Probably about the classes I’m going to register for in the morning or something.

Hope everyone out there who reads this space filler to end all space fillers has a good night all the same!

The Aftermath of Creation

The Aftermath of Creation

Having just wrapped up the second season finale of Westworld, HBO’s killer hit about robots populating a Wild West theme park that slowly come to some semblance of consciousness, I can’t help but sit here and just…

Stare blankly at the wall. Because holy shit.

I’ll be honest. After the absolutely wonderful first season and everything the show did to subvert any and all ideas about what was happening through unreliable narrators and timeline fuckery, I figured the second season would be way more straight-forward and focused on the repercussions of the first.

Also on samurai. Because all of the promotional material leading into the second season featured glimpses of Shogun World, a feudal Japanese-themed park adjacent to West World.

Those portions of the season set in Shogun World were just as amazing as advertised, by the way.

But that’s beside the point. What I’m getting at is the fact that the second season of the show wound up once again subverting my expectations by creating an absolutely beautiful loop of events through multiple timelines and a twisted web of character actions and motivations.

The writing in the show is absolutely beautifully well-done and leaves no thread unresolved. Except for those that are clearly setting up events for season three, but that’s a more spoiler-ridden discussion that I’m not planning on going into since we’re so fresh off the episode’s release.

If you are interested in marinating in the world of spoilers and mind-blowing writing loops, I do have some solace for you. That’s a world that is adjacent to what I’m looking to chat about today.

See right after the Marvel-esque post-credit scene, my dad decided to try to look up some answers as to what the hell just happened. He came across this very timely article by The Wrap where some questions were answered in strikingly specific detail by one of the show’s co-creators.

I would imagine they might want the crazy speculation trade to run rampant for a few days to drudge up more interest, but I can’t argue about having tangible answers.

Reading through the small interview got me thinking about the fascinating dynamic that’s created between an artist or creator of any kind and those who take in the created work.

After essentially melting into a pile of my own brain goo after watching the constantly evolving and ramping finale to the show, it was almost jarring to watch one of the co-creators treat the exact same content with such a casual, omnipotent attitude.

But then it occurred to me. Of COURSE she’d be almost unreasonably casual about it. She’s known what was going to happen since before the physical show itself had a single frame recorded. All creators know what their works look like well before it’s observed by the public at large.

As someone who creates stories himself, both non-fiction stories and fictional ones (in my head at the very least), I suppose I’ve experienced the exact same thing. Seeing people come to see an article I’ve written is something that has made me feel really proud, even excited.

Despite the fact that it’s at a much smaller scale than a HBO hit series.

That scale is hard to imagine, but must be incredibly satisfying to experience. Thousands of people, hundreds of thousands even, all in the same place I currently am as a fan, all flooding the internet with messages of bewilderment and craving the opportunity to learn as much as possible about the content we just absorbed.

It must be insanely gratifying to not only watch those people come in, but to be able to provide them answers that have been in-the-works for not just all the weeks leading up to the show’s finale, but the months of production before that.

For a show like Westworld, that level of gratification is certainly warranted. I wish nothing but the best upon those who brought such a beautiful creation into the world for everyone to experience.

Especially one based on a cheese-y 70’s flick. Because the way that original idea became this new phenomenon is an incredible transformation in its own right.

The whole idea of bringing something into the world for others to experience that’s full of hopefully surprising developments has gotten me thinking more about my own personal works as well. Over the next few weeks I’m likely going to be working more on the proposal for the novel I’m going to write as my senior honors project, and I might just be posting things around here about that to gauge interest, acquire feedback or simply store my ideas for the future.

So stay tuned for that, if you’re interested in seeing what I’ll be cooking up!

Glendale Friendventure

Glendale Friendventure

Once again I spent all day today with some friends off on a friendventure. So instead of a long, intricate post, I just figured I would do a real quick run through of all the photos I took as something fun.

We went well off the beaten path for our usual hangouts by going to the Glendale Galleria, a large mall in… Well, Glendale. It was somewhere Juan and I had been to before but nobody else had, so we figured it would be a good place to just explore since it’s a real big area.

Plus Juan wanted to go to the LEGO store to buy something, and it was either there or Downtown Disney.

After an almost hour-and-a-half drive (both there and back I might add, with all five of us packed into my car just chatting and having a good time), we wound up in a totally different world, surrounded by so many fancy cars that we decided to affectionately title our trip “Detroit becomes Glendale” after the current future-set David Cage experience everyone’s pretty into right now.

The first store we went into was this place called Box Lunch, which seemed to be the less angst-ridden version of Hot Topic. While there we discovered, among other things, this figure of Sora from Kingdom Hearts:

He’s seen some things, man.

I also decided to snap this photo of a Guardians of the Galaxy t-shirt to share with Aly, since it seemed right up her alley.

Needless to say she was a fan:

Then we started to really wander the place. One of the things that stood out was this absolutely incredible advertisement starring Johnny Depp:

He’s straight up about to be eaten by that wolf.

Also, we had a very long debate on whether or not the name of the cologne was someone misspelling “sausage” or “savage.” Either way someone definitely should have been fired, we decided.

Soon enough we made it to the LEGO store for the first time, because we were going to confirm they had the set Juan wanted before coming back later to buy it so he didn’t have to carry the whole thing around all day.

Here he is playing with the machine that makes sets build in front of you in augmented reality:

Mitchell, Jonathan and I can be seen off in the background of the video screen by the way. Fun fact, I suppose.

We also discovered a number of things. First, the fact that porg LEGOs exist. Second, that the Millennium Falcon LEGO set is 800 god damn dollars.

I’m honestly not sure which of those facts is more shocking, even hours later.

From there a lot of the journey was relatively uneventful. Mostly just walking and talking.

Eventually we wound up in an area with a Japanese pop culture store that had awfully suggested figurines to an almost comic degree, as well as plenty of stores under construction.

Including a place called PLAYlive Nation, which is apparently just a lounge that people can come in and play video games together.

Another fun fact, the second selling point on the place’s website is that it gets gamers out of the house to make friends.

Seems like an awfully savage thing to put so high on the features list in my opinion, especially since just across the street was an icon of gamer hangout spots:

Hey it’s Mitchell, what’s up dude?

A R E. Y O U. G A M E?

Also this was a place.

I’m just not going to say anything, because we thought it was suggestive enough on its own.

Speaking of food, however, that was what we did next. Juan got Blaze Pizza, Tiana got Boba, Jonathan and I got Five Guys, and Mitchell…

Well he didn’t get anything.

Except the pleasure of enjoying this New Yorker article about Incredibles 2 that Tiana introduced us to because WOW it’s just unreasonably suggestive of all the sexual baggage the movie leaves with the parents who go to see it.

It’s absolutely incredible and worth a read.

We also discovered this Build-A-Bear Workshop kiosk which was… Odd. To say the least.

Seems like the kind of place that makes infinitely more sense as a store, but oh well. This serves the purpose just as well, I suppose.

By that point we had essentially circled the entire mall, so of course our last stop was the LEGO store redux. Juan bought himself a giant set while the rest of us goofed off a little.

Tiana and I had a pretty good time just building with LEGO pieces at one of the builder stations. I even made this neat mini house!

I guess it kind of looks more like a car than a house… But still.

Are you proud of me yet, internet?

I sure hope so. Because some much younger kids came to play with the LEGO pieces and we just sort of backed away awkwardly as the grown adults we are.

Once the set was bought, we made our way home again. An hour-and-a-half worth of a drive later we were back in Redondo, where we got to play video games and watch the second live action Scooby Doo movie.

It’s super fun having adult friends, guys.

The Ramblings of a Madman with a fresh Haircut

The Ramblings of a Madman with a fresh Haircut

After a few too many weeks of waiting, I finally got my hair cut today. It’s been a long time coming, and as cliché or obvious as it must sound I feel a billion times lighter now that the mop on my head has finally been shaved down.

I was getting into that dark place of no return that my Cousin Erika would call the “Jew-Fro” zone.

In hindsight, I imagine it could’ve been interesting to do a “before and after” picture comparison for this post. But I didn’t exactly think of that until it was too late, so we’ll have to scrap that idea and return to it another day.

However, despite my initial plan to possibly talk about the feeling of freedom that comes with losing 20 lbs of hair, I think that’s a bit too cliché for my tastes right now. I also don’t exactly feel like talking about how I wish I’d gotten this haircut before going to lunch with my friend Mimi this afternoon because I looked like a wind-beaten Wolverine.

So I guess the question is: What do I want to talk about?

Honestly, I’m not super sure. So I’m just going to riff a bit and see where my tired mind takes me.

I didn’t decide to go for my haircut until after I got back from lunch in Fullerton this afternoon, which was around 5:30 p.m. or so. That’s what made it so surprising that when I called into my local Supercuts, they said it would be another hour.

An hour wait? For a Wednesday night haircut? Seemed pretty bizarre…

But I wasn’t going anywhere else, so I figured I would go with it. Mom figured they were potentially busy because it’s the middle of school graduation season.

As it turned out that didn’t appear to be the case when Aly and I arrived at 6:30. Instead it just seemed like there were only a couple people on shift.

Yeah Aly came along to the hair cut with me, because why not? Also because she was able to make me hold back laughter awkwardly by making faces at me in the mirror from the waiting area.

And mooch food off of me afterward.

One thing I found myself contemplating throughout my stay in the stylist’s chair was the large mirror, actually. As strange as that probably sounds.

It’s purpose is fairly obvious. It gives everyone under the sheers an opportunity to see how their hair is being treated, and likely gives the cutter another angle to see things from while they work.

But I found there isn’t much to observe just watching the stylist at work. So instead I wound up focusing more on myself. Staring into the void, as it were.

On the one hand, that kind of constant staring at oneself without any outside distractions was strangely meditative, allowing me to interpret my more casual resting facial expressions.

On the other hand it was kind of distressing to just stare at myself. Because I don’t know if it was just the writing in the room, but I swear I looked like a super villain in that moment. Large shadows all around my eyes and dark crevasses over my cheek bones. Kind of reminded me of that scene in Revenge of the Sith where Anakin walked into the Jedi Temple ready to kill some younglings.

Is it weird to compare myself to someone on the verge of large-scale child murder?

Maybe I just need to get some more sleep.

He says with a laugh. More sleep? As if. There’s way too much to do late at night. Like catch up on Let’s Plays. Or play Minecraft.

… Boy I’m kind of lame aren’t I?

I should cut this off before I start to get too real, it’s not like this is amounting to anything but silly filler anyway.

Cookin’ for Dad

Happy Father’s Day, everyone! I hope you have all had a great day with your families.

My sister and I typically have a tradition of cooking breakfast for holidays centered around mom and dad. Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, birthdays, etc. However, this year we decided to do something a little different by cooking dinner instead, since we had breakfast with the more extended family yesterday.

Figured that would make for perfect blog fodder tonight. Though I probably won’t spend too much time fiddling around here because of the whole. You know. Time with the family kind of stuff.

That in mind, hope you’re all ready for some Eggplant Parmesan.


After breakfast yesterday, Aly and I stopped at a grocery store to pick up everything we needed. Eggplant, bread crumbs, pasta, eggs, marinara sauce.

There was only one thing we missed… But I’ll discuss that later for anyone who cant figure out what just yet.

Using the eggs, along with some half-and-half, we made a batter to stick the eggplant slices in before coating them in the breadcrumbs.

From there the slices got fried, which was primarily my job since I’m fairly well known around these parts for being the guy who does things like cook the bacon.

Then once all of the eggplant was done we moved on to the rest of the meal while letting it stay warm in a 200 degree oven.

We hit the pasta and sauce at the same time, one on each stovetop.

Fun fact, Alyson decided to grab angel hair nests in some grandiose attempt to make our meals look fancy…

And I was right telling her that they would just fall apart in the water anyway.

So take that, Aly.

Once those portions were finished, the only step remaining was putting it all together:

Delicious.

Now, for the attentive viewers out there, you might notice that our Eggplant Parmesan was missing a little something.

… The parmesan.

Yeah somehow we managed to make a meal while completely forgetting an ingredient that literally comprises half the name of the dish.

It takes an impressive amount of screwing up to do that, frankly.

Luckily we had SOME cheese in the house to make the meal better. It just wound up being Eggplant Provolone more than Eggplant Parmesan in the end.

But hey, it was still just as tasty.

All we needed to wrap up the meal was a good old fashioned Western. Thank goodness Westworld was here to save the day.

Get it? It’s a spaghetti western.

Haha. Ha.

I hope the joke was worth it, because the episode was heavy this week. Like… Wow.

But hey that’s neither here nor there. Again, I hope you all had a great Father’s Day, and thank you for making my silly series of cooking pictures a part of it.