San Diego Comic Con 2017: Conival


I got to spend some quality time at Conival, the big bash hosted by Legendary Entertainment’s Nerdist, Geek & Sundry, and Alpha. The lounge was outside on the Marina Terrace behind the Marriott and it was an ideal location overlooking the water.

Even though San Diego is known for its mild weather, it can still be pretty tough being in the sun all day and thankfully there were plenty of shaded areas, misters, and two huge fans to keep everybody cool.

I loved that Conival was outside: it made for a nice change after being engulfed by the sweaty masses inside the convention center. And what better way to enjoy the great outdoors than by playing board games?

My friends Marlon and Julla met me at the lounge and we played FUSE and Wits and Wagers. We shared a loss and a victory in FUSE and were awarded some terrific freebies: books and a book bag.

In Wits and Wagers I eeked out a single-point victory, thanks to the final question, which couldn’t have been more perfect for the setting: “What year did Superman first appear in comics?”

While you Google the answer to that (here, I’ll help you), I’m going back to the con for more gaming and what-not.


Humans of the Tabletop: Gamex 2017

One of the best things about playing board games is the time spent hanging out with your fellow human beings, bonding over your shared experience at the tabletop. Inspired by Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, I present Humans of the Tabletop, an ongoing series about some of the people I’ve played games with.

This initial series is from Gamex 2017, the second of three conventions hosted by Strategicon every year in Los Angeles. My heartfelt thanks to these first participants, all of whom I’m fortunate to call my friends.


“I’ve been playing the COIN (COunter INsurgencies) games series from GMT. The last one I played was A Distant Plain, based on the Afghanistan War. They’re long games and they’re fun, plotting out how to build up your troops and how to attack people. I think I’m one of the few Filipino gamers in Phoenix, so it’s always exciting to meet someone that understands your cultural heritage, your big family, your similar background. I play a lot of war games so I’m usually the only woman in the room. I feel like L.A. is a much more diverse crowd. It’s cool to see women gamers and gamers of color all around here.”


“At my first Strategicon I volunteered during the first day. After I finished, I walked around to see what was being offered in each room. The next thing I know, I’m playing one game after another. It felt like Vegas, where there’s no windows and you can’t tell what time it is. Then I experienced my first game of Werewolf at a convention. Man, I did not know what I was getting into. There were about 30 people and there were 3-4 games going on at one time. Ten in the morning rolled around and I ran into some buddies. I joined them and played more games until about 10 at night. The last game I played I was falling asleep at the table, but I finished it.”


“Outside of gaming, I train for half marathons. I do the Avengers Infinity Gauntlet Challenge, where you run a 10K on Saturday and a half marathon on Sunday. That’s 19.3 miles in two days and I’ve been doing it because I saw that shiny Infinity Gauntlet medal. Each medal has a different gemstone from the Marvel Universe. So I’m stuck running this half marathon for six years straight and after that I’m done. I’m going to lift weights the rest of my life.”

Day 363: A Thousand Words

Best shot I hit all year on the golf course.

Best shot I hit on the golf course in 2015.

I can’t believe I only have two more days until I’ve completed My Quest to Blog Every Day in 2015!

I’ll write more about this on the final post of the year, but for now let me say this: I wish I would’ve written more substantial posts. I didn’t realize how tough this quest would be and I have a greater appreciation for those that publish quality content on a regular basis.

What’s the old saying? A picture’s worth a thousand words? Here are a few photos I took this year. I’m not sure I could write a thousand words for each, but they are a good sample of what I did during the previous 363 days.


Roll for the Galaxy


Premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens


Wasabi-flavored Kit Kats from Japan


Incredible kim chi fried rice from Little Meats LA

Frontier sign at the Neon Boneyard Museum

Frontier sign at the Neon Boneyard Museum


A summer night at Dodger Stadium


Celebrating the US Women’s World Cup victory at LA Live


Day 307: Cold Night, Hot Pho


Tonight was the first cold night we’ve had in a while, so that meant my soup craving kicked into high gear. The local pho spot had a line out the door, so my wife and I tried a new place. It wasn’t quite as good, but it was still delicious and the filet mignon pho satisfied my craving.

Day 232: Throwback Tree Thursday

Baguio, Philippines

Baguio City, Philippines

For Throwback Thursday (and a belated Tree Tuesday), here’s a photo from my trip to the Philippines five years ago.

Most people’s first thoughts on the Philippines are of heat and beaches … and Manny Pacquiao. When I was there, I felt the heat, hung out at a few of the beaches, but never saw the Pac Man. I missed him by a few months; he trains in Baguio City before finishing his camp in Los Angeles.

The high altitude of Baguio is perfect for training; fighters in the U.S. do the same thing at Big Bear, California. Baguio reminds me of Lake Tahoe, with its plethora of trees and mild weather. It’s just one of many beautiful places in the Philippines; one I miss a lot and I can’t wait to see again.

Day 225: Bingo

Bingo Under the Stars

Bingo Under the Stars

I’ve played bingo in smoke-filled halls. I’ve played it at family get-togethers. I’ve even volunteered at a church bingo event.

Tonight was the first time I experienced Bingo Under the Stars at the Americana at Brand and it was a blast!

The game itself was standard bingo, with a few of the fun versions included (blackout, four corners, criss cross, etc.), but the event was better than a typical game, thanks to “Bingo Boy” Jeffrey Bowman and his lovely assistant Devon. They were hilarious and kept the game moving quickly.

Even though my wife and I didn’t win anything, we enjoyed every minute and laughed a lot. I learned a few new callbacks (actually, quite a few, since the only one I ever remember is “B-4 … and after”).

It’s nice to start the weekend early with a Thursday date night. It’s even nicer when we get the VIP treatment, thanks to Yelp.

Day 220: Yelp Street Team

I Love Yelp

I Love Yelp

I volunteered for the Yelp Street Team tonight, representing the brand at the 626 Night Market. It was a lot of fun handing out Yelp swag to the attendees and in my three hours at the Yelp Booth, I noticed one thing: people LOVE Yelp.

Actually, I noticed two things. In addition to the Yelp love fest, I saw how ginormous the 626 Night Market has grown. I was here in 2013 and thought it was big then, but tonight was nearly overwhelming. So much food, so many people, and plenty of good vibes. When you have an event centered around food, it seems to produce a less hostile crowd than, say, a Dodgers-Giants game in the middle of a heatwave.

Most people already had the Yelp app on their phones, so it was easy to get them to check-in and claim their free tote bag or drink koozie. My fellow street teamers Tiffany and Ruth gave out free high fives upon request, as did my stepdaughter, who helped out for an hour. We even posed for photos with a few people who made us feel like rock stars.

My favorite part of tonight? Talking to other enthusiastic users of Yelp. There were a lot of them, including several who stopped by the booth just to say how much they loved Yelp.

I told them I knew exactly how they felt.

Day 206: Shakespeare in the Park


Wherefore art thou, Romeo?

Here’s something that makes for an awesome date night: Shakespeare in the park.

Tonight’s play at Griffith Park was Romeo and Juliet. I liked how they incorporated a rock vibe to the play (with a live band, to boot). The actors were solid and it was an entertaining show.

What I love the most about Shakespeare in the park is that it’s not your typical theater-going crowd. People from all walks of life come to see The Bard’s work come to life. It’s great to see so many non-theater types enjoying a play written centuries ago.

Day 205: Tops Burgers

Tops' Chili Cheese Fries

Tops’ Chili Cheese Fries

Besides doughnuts, my one edible guilty pleasure is a big ol’ order of chili cheese fries. The best are always served at greasy spoons or old fast-food joints.

Tops Burger in Pasadena has been around for over 50 years. The restaurant is showing its age, but that’s part of its charm. I occasionally ate here in my youth when my waistline could afford the occasional indulgence.

Nowadays, it’s rare that I’ll grab an order, especially at Tops. The small is more than enough for two people and the large can probably feed an entire family. The other day I went with the junior (child) size and it was more than enough food for me.

I felt pretty good for restraining myself from ordering a larger size. That hasn’t always been the case at Tops.