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By all accounts…I’m a pretty geeky guy.

………………

Wow, please, don’t gasp in shock all at once.

But I am. I collect DVD/blu-rays/comics and the occasional toy. I can talk endlessly about movies and comics. I know the works of directors/writers/actors off the top of my head. I watch fringe comedy/sci-fi shows. I go to fan conventions.

So yeah, I’m super geeky.

There are only a few things I’m don’t do the world of geekdom. 1.) I’m not a video gamer (I like video games just fine, but I don’t own a system and I just play casually with friends) 2.) I’ve never cosplayed (costume played)

Like video games, I have nothing against cosplay, but I just never did it. When I was younger (and a lot more cynical) I used to mock cosplayers at conventions. That’s ridiculous of course. It’s basically the kettle calling the other kettle black but with a weirder spout.

I never thought about cosplaying until…well…last year.

It was the midnight screening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2. My friends decided to dress up in full Harry Potter cosplay that night.

Now for them, they only did Halloween costumes and never did a convention. Tonight, well tonight, they felt the love.

Fans got excited, tons and tons and tons of people wanted pictures. They were mini celebrities that night, and they were having a blast. At the end, they started thinking about wanting to do this for an actual convention. I saw how much fun they were having, and soon my brain started thinking.

In the months to come, I saw a few more friends try out cosplaying (this time at conventions) and soon they saw the fun in it too. The joy of pretending to be a  character, the fun of posing for pictures….it was starting to be appealing.

Cut to a few weeks ago. I was hanging out with some friends. We just watched a movie together and were walking to get some dinner. Two of my friends were planing on cosplaying at ANIME EXPO (an Anime Convention in LA).

One was going as Deadpool….

The other was going as movie style Hawkeye….

My friends (lets call them Deadpool and Hawkeye respectively for this blog post) asked if I had plans on cosplaying for AX. I told them no, and that I wasn’t sure what to dress as anyways.

I told Deadpool that I had some mild interest in dressing up as Nightwing or Robin at one point, but I don’t have the time or the money.

Deadpool said “How about Red Hood? I have one of those masks from comic con.”

What mask is he talking about? This one….

And who’s Red Hood? Red Hood is former Robin Jason Todd, who is now a “dark” vigilante.

Huh….I thought about it.

When I went home, I reminded myself on how Red Hood looked like.

I quickly realized I HAVE that jacket. The rest is all black, some guns and a bat symbol. While Red Hood is not really one of my favorite characters, I can make the costume really quickly and easy.

So…..it wouldn’t hurt to do it…for ONE day.

I made a cheap (and I do mean CHEAP) red bat symbol out of cardboard, borrowed some belts and holsters from friends and well…..

Ok….I think it stinks and I look like a weird Mexican wrestler.
But you know, thats ok, I have seen worse at other conventions.

So I walked around with Deadpool and Hawkeye at the convention. I wasn’t getting much attention (especially since their costumes were AMAZING) until we were looking at one table at artist alley. The artist behind the table looked at me and quickly said….

Artist at Artist Alley Table: ….whoa, dude…are you….uh…oh crap…RED HOOD?!?

I nod my head.

Artist at Artist Alley Table: DUDE! Can I take a picture of you?

Ah….so it begins.

Or so I thought.

Not shocking, Red Hood (an American Comic character) is obviously not very well known at an ANIME convention.

But that’s ok. For every 3-4 people who confused me for Deadpool (which is funny because I was standing right NEXT to Deadpool!) Spider-Man, Batman Beyond (the red bat symbol makes it confusing I guess…), Batman (REALLY?!?) I got the few really excited guys who knew who I was.

One moment played like this….

Young Fan 1: OH man! Check out who this guy is dressed up as!

Young Fan 2: Duude, that’s a sick Deadpool!

Young Fan 1: NO YOU IDIOT! That ain’t Deadpool, this is Red Hood!

Young Fan 1 proceeded to tell me and Hawkeye how much he loved Red Hood, got excited because I was doing the new comics version of him, showed us his very cool pipe cleaner toys he made (his Red Hood one was at home he said) and proceeded to geek out to me. It was pretty adorable.

Now, Red Hood’s history has a dark one. You see, when Jason Todd was  Robin, he got beaten to a pulp by Joker. When Todd came back from the dead as Red Hood(long story), lets just say he had some beef with Joker.

So of course…look who I bumped into at the convention…

He mockingly called me Deadpool and bird boy…and yeah, I played along, acting tough and gruff. Not gonna lie, it was pretty awesome.

I also enjoyed freaking out my friends that I did see at the convention, but didn’t know I was in costume…

Example below…

I did that twice, and probably enjoyed it more then I should.

I ended the day taking some duo pictures with Deadpool and Hawkeye..

Then we ended our day at Denny’s.

So my finale thoughts on my first time trying out cosplay?  Well, like my friends earlier in the blog post….I finally get the appeal. It’s fun, and yeah, its extended dress up for the right crowed.

And yes…I’m going to do it again. I want to actually put some WORK into it. I want to have a character that I can have some fun with. I have ideas for the next ones. Nothing crazy or elaborate. I won’t be ready for San Diego Comic Con, but the plan is to have it ready for Long Beach Comic Con. So yeah…I guess I cosplay now.  Who knew. Sorry that I avoided it for so long.

P.S. All photos were taken by either Deadpool (if he’s not in the shot) or Hawkeye (if she’s not in the shot). Also, to commemorate my first cosplay, they got me this pin from Artist Alley. Thanks guys, your the best!

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Yesterday, the website Ain’t It Cool News had a contest. The prize was two free tickets to the screening of the 20th Anniversary of  The Rocketeer at The El Capitan Theater in Hollywood. In order to win, we had to write our memories on seeing The Rocketeer on June, 21, 1991.

I started thinking about the my memories that day and I figured it was worth a shot to enter.

So, here below is my email to Ain’t It Cool News….

“It was 1991, I remember the trailer. The music, the 1930’s era, and most of all….that rocket. The dream of flying was more real to me after seeing the trailer. Superman flew…but I could BE the Rocketeer.

I remember that whole year I couldn’t wait to see The Rocketeer. My older brother, the film buff who shaped me into being a film buff myself, started showing me some 1930’s adventure serials as little cinematic appetizers before I saw the film . King of the Rocketmen (which I loved!) and Radar Men from the Moon (in which I realized that it was the SAME footage as King of the Rocketmen!)

It was THE film for me that year. I used to pretend that my backpack was the rocketpack. I used to have a cheap black helmet that I put on just like Billy Cambell did in the film’s trailer and asked an imaginary Peevy how do I look (I WAS seven…it was ok for me to talk to myself back then…right?) I “flew” all around my house. Fought bad guys. Mind you…this was BEFORE I saw the film.

You could imagine how much worse it was after I saw the movie, and I did….at the El Capitan. On June 21, 1991. Yes, twenty years ago I was there on opening day with my older brother. It was a magical day for me. I’ve never been to a theater like this before. It was big, and it was gorgeous. And the movie…it was better then what I ever thought it would be.

Rocketeer shaped the things that I loved today, and I have remained a fan since. I’ve bought all the fantastic comics from writer/artist Dave Stevens, (who we lost too early) and have since dreamed of more Rocketeer stories, be it another film or comics.

It’s still one of the best comic book films I’ve seen, and the day that I saw it at The El Capitan Theater is a childhood memory that I cherish to this day.

Whenever I hear the James Horner theme I’m 7 years old all over again.

I would to like revisit that day again, with me and my older brother. Thank you.”

Sadly we didn’t win (click here to see the Ain’t It Cool page for the contest and the winner) but strangely enough, just thinking about that day and my memories of seeing it was enough for me.

It seems like a movie that still works on a lot people to this day. It’s timeless, fun, has heart and yes, still one of the best superhero/comic book films made.

Thanks again Kuya (my older brother) for taking me to see this film 20 years ago, that day and that movie still means a lot to me.

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I have a great fondness of used bookstores. My brother used to take me to several in our area when I was a kid. Aladdin’s Books in Old Town Fullerton and Book Baron on Magnolia in Anaheim were my favorites. I loved walking around in these places, looking at the different cover art and the variety of books. Who needs Barnes and Nobles, these books have history, other people have read, enjoyed (or even hated) the books on the shelves. God, I even love the smell of the slightly  stale air of the books.

Sadly both stores are gone, as well as all the other used bookstores that I used to go to. But once in a while, you sometimes can discover another one, waiting to be found.

As I was driving around in Huntington Beach, I saw a store front that just simply had a sign that said “USED BOOKS”. I figured, what the hell…it wouldn’t hurt to look around.

This is what I found when I walked inside…

I nearly cried. In an age where bookstores (big and small) are going away, I find one that’s just like the ones I remembered. Walking around brought back all my memories of the used bookstores of my youth. I couldn’t have been happier.

I saw on YELP that people say that it’s a terrible store because of the disorganization…well those people don’t get it. Seeing piles of books on the floor, that to me is used bookstore heaven. This place isn’t disorganized, it’s just right.

I mean, you gotta love a bookstore that has Doc Savage to buy on the shelf…

Or a store that has signs like this….

And yes, I did buy something from the store, a nice hardcover of Sherlock Holmes mysteries (this one containing both A Study in Scarlet and The Hound of Baskervilles) that was $6. Oh yeah…you also can’t beat the price of these places.

If you live near Huntington Beach, CA here is the address of this place…

Sandcastle Used Bookstore

16582 Gothard St
Unit E
Huntington Beach, CA 92647

(714) 847-9944

But you know what, I’d advise you to just drive around your area, because who knows, maybe you’ll make your own discovery.

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I walked around tonight.

Yeah, ok, not really something to write about, but this was different.

Currently I’m working on a big reality show. Due to a confidentiality clause I can’t say what I’m doing on the show. All you need to know is that the hours are long and the schedule is LATE. The neat part of the job is that I’m in a legitimate studio lot, one where a lot of famous shows and movie have been filmed in.

While I am working, the plus of the job is that I have a bit of down time.  Most of the down time is used to either waste away online, write my blog (::ahem::) or eat at the 24 hour kitchen.

Tonight I was enjoying a late night piece of toast with jam as one of my coworkers came in.  We started shooting the shit and talking about how we’re trying to stay awake.

“I just did a bit of a jog to keep me up man.” my co-worker said.

“Good call.”

“I walked around the New York set too, it’s pretty freaking rad.”

“Really!” I replied “That’s a pretty damn good idea.”

“Dude, do it, it’s pretty neat down there. It’s kinda freaky too at this hour too.”

Inspired, I finished my toast and quickly headed out to do a bit of wandering.

I started wandering around the lot, peaking my head in at any open sound stages and found my way to the New York street set.

It’s an open set, used for exteriors. Shows such as Seinfeld were shot on this street (hell I even found the store front for the Soup Nazi’s shop.) It was mostly dark, and lit by the moon and any small amounts of lights nearby. I would be lying if I didn’t walk in a little scared. Not scared of being caught, but it was pretty convincing at night. It felt so real that I could have sworn I’d seen a homeless guy sleeping near a stoop.

Now the walk wasn’t that long…because it wasn’t that long of a set. I was done walking in “New York” before I even started.

I wondered around a little bit more on the lot, looking at the suburban area sets and such. It was nice.

On my way back to set I realized one thing about myself.

No matter how long I’ve been actually working in this industry, I still get excited about the whole filmmaking process. I still love looking at sets, or watching a scene get filmed. I’m still super curious when I see film crew on the streets of LA because I want to know what they’re shooting.

Yeah, this industry is hard and challenging to ones ego and self-esteem, but I’m glad I’m still able to maintain my naive look and feeling on film. Walking around a set is still magic for me, and I hope I never lose that.

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