Category: "Anything Else"

San Diego Comic-Con 2017 Sunday Schedule Highlights

Here it is, the final day of the schedule. I am usually pretty wiped by Sunday so we'll see how things go this year. Get the full schedule here.

Spotlight on Paul Dini
Comic-Con special guest Paul Dini (Batman: The Animated Series, Dark Night: A True Batman Story) is joined by his good friend David Mandel (writer/executive producer, Veep, Seinfeld ; co-author, Star Wars Art: Ralph McQuarrie) for a lively discussion on the many facets of Paul's career, ranging from comics to Star Wars to Harley Quinn and maybe even to their short time working together on the Clerks animated series. Bring your questions about cartoons, comedy or whatever-these guys will rattle on about pretty much anything.
Sunday July 23, 2017 10:00am - 11:00am
Room 7AB

Marvel's Spider-Man World Premiere
Time to roll out the "web carpet," Spidey fans! Because you're invited to the world premiere of Marvel Animation's newest series, Marvel's Spider-Man ! Hosted by Cort Lane (SVP, animation and family entertainment) and Kevin Shinick (supervising producer, Marvel's Spider-Man), featuring the MARVELous debut of the new voice of Peter Parker! Be part of the very first audience to see the two-part premiere adventure before it airs later this summer!
Sunday July 23, 2017 10:15am - 11:15am
Room 6A

World Premiere of LEGO Scooby-Doo! Blowout Beach Bash
Mystery, Inc. heads to Blowout Beach for a real swinging beach party, but when the Ghost Pirates threaten to crush the good vibes, it's up to Scooby-Doo, Shaggy, Fred, Daphne, and Velma to get the party back on track and save the day! Be among the first to see this all-new LEGO/Scooby-Doo movie, then stay for a fun-filled panel featuring actors Matthew Lillard (Twin Peaks, The Bridge) and Grey Griffin (The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy), the voices of Shaggy and Daphne respectively, alongside producer Rick Morales and director Ethan Spaulding. TV Guide Magazine senior writer Damian Holbrook will moderate the hijinks. LEGO Scooby-Doo! Blowout Beach Bash will be available on July 25, 2017 on DVD from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.
Sunday July 23, 2017 10:30am - 12:00pm
Room 6BCF

Spotlight on Bruce Timm
Emmy Award-winning animator/producer/director (and Comic-Con 2017 special guest) Bruce Timm talks about his career in animation, including the 25th anniversary of the ground-breaking Batman: The Animated Series, his latest project, Batman and Harley Quinn (which had its world premiere at Comic-Con on Friday night), and his comics work. Questions and answer session, too!
Sunday July 23, 2017 11:00am - 12:00pm
Room 7AB

Cartoon Voices II
With the smash-hit success of yesterday's Cartoon Voices I panel, there's no choice but to do another one-with different but equally talented actors from the world of animation voicing. Once again, moderator Mark Evanier has assembled an all-star dais that will include Neil Kaplan (Transformers, Voltron), Nickie Bryar (Family Guy, American Dad!), Bob Joles (Puss in Boots, SpongeBob SquarePants), Debra Wilson (MADtv, Family Guy), Chuck McCann (Fantastic Four, DuckTales), and probably someone else.
Sunday July 23, 2017 11:30am - 12:45pm
Room 6A

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Two Decades with Feeling A 20th Anniversary Celebration
The authors of the upcoming oral history Slayers & Vampires from Tor Books about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman (co-authors of The Fifty-Year Mission) reopen the Hellmouth and look back at the secret history of the slayer who saved the world a lot, in honor of the show's 20th anniversary. They will also look at what the future might hold for slayage in the 21st century and revisit the underappreciated genius of Angel and the Buffys that never were, featuring some surprise guests.
Sunday July 23, 2017 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Room 7AB

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency: BBC America Official Panel
Join stars Elijah Wood (Todd Brontzman), Samuel Barnett (Dirk Gently), Hannah Marks (Amanda Brontzman), Jade Eshete (Farah Black), Fiona Dourif (Bart), Mpho Koaho (Ken), and new to season two, Alan Tudyk (Mr. Priest) and Tyler Labine (Sherlock Hobbs) when they descend on Hall H with writer and executive producer Max Landis (Bright) and showrunner Robert Cooper (Stargate Atlantis). Moderated by Kevin Smith, the panel will chat with fans about how everything was connected in season one and provide an exclusive sneak peek at season two. Inspired by Douglas Adams’ (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Doctor Who) acclaimed novel and from the studio of The Walking Dead, WIRED says the BBCA original series “has all the makings of a new cult favorite” and the Hollywood Reporter says it’s “a fun, absurdist story that will have loads of weird twists and turns.” Season one is available to binge on BBCAmerica.com, BBC America App, and On Demand from July 1-31. Season two premieries this fall on BBC AMERICA.
Sunday July 23, 2017 1:00pm - 2:00pm
Hall H

Stephen King's Mr. Mercedes
Jack Bender (EP/director, Lost, Under the Dome), Harry Treadaway (Penny Dreadful), Kelly Lynch (The L Word), Holland Taylor (Two and a Half Men, The Practice), and Breeda Wool (UnREAL) discuss their new original series on AT&T Audience Network based on the bestselling Stephen King novel, which follows a demented killer who taunts a retired police detective and the crusade to bring the killer to justice before he is able to strike again.
Sunday July 23, 2017 1:30pm - 2:30pm
Room 8

Doctor Who: BBC America Official Panel
BBC America’s Doctor Who returns to San Diego Comic-Con for the final Hall H panel with star Peter Capaldi. Fans will have an exclusive sneak peek of the upcoming Doctor Who Christmas Special—the final episode starring Peter Capaldi as the Doctor and written by Emmy Award-winning lead writer and executive producer Steven Moffat. Join Peter Capaldi (the Doctor), Pearl Mackie (Bill), Matt Lucas (Nardole), Michelle Gomez (Missy), writer and actor Mark Gatiss (Sherlock), and showrunner Steven Moffat (Sherlock) for a panel moderated by Chris Hardwick that will celebrate Christmas in July and share one last look back at their time with the iconic global hit series with fans. Watch the entire critically acclaimed new season of Doctor Who now on BBCAmerica.com, BBC America App, and On Demand.
Sunday July 23, 2017 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Hall H

Hanna-Barbera 60th Anniversary
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment salutes the 60th anniversary of legendary Hanna-Barbera Studios with a panel led by artists and writers who worked side by side with the cartoon icons. Join Alan Burnett (The Smurfs), Spike Brandt (Tom and Jerry and the Wizard of Oz), Tony Cervone (Scooby-Doo! and KISS: Rock and Roll Mystery), author and animation historian Jerry Beck, and some surprise guests for a look inside the making of The Flintstones, Jonny Quest, The Jetsons, Magilla Gorilla, Hong Kong Phooey, Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines, The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, Top Cat, Wacky Races, The Yogi Bear Show, and more.
Sunday July 23, 2017 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Room 7AB

NOTORIUM: Title Announcement with Creator Terry Crews
Making his creative debut in the comic book arena, actor/creator Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Expendables series) presents his new sci-fi miniseries NOTORIUM through studio AHR Visions, LLC. Crews and the creative team will discuss the comic, plans for the property, and the need for expanding reflective diversity within the comics and entertainment multimedia platform.
Sunday July 23, 2017 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Room 6DE

There's definitely a good variety of stuff going on Sunday with an emphasis on kid and family friendly panels. There's definitely some stuff I want to check out but I also make sure to spend some of Sunday back in the exhibit hall as it is a good time to get the best deals. So there it is. Comic-Con is a week and change away. See you in San Diego!

posted by | 07/09/17| 05:02:00 pm| Anything Else| Leave a comment »


Beverly Hills 90210 Recap - "Coming Out, Getting Out, Going Out"

I just got home from a pretty insane Lucha Underground taping that I can’t talk about so what better way to wind down than with my continued re-watch of Beverly Hills 90210. I am pretty deep in the series now, past the point that I was watching every single episode during it’s original run. This episode, titled “Coming Out-Getting Out-Going Out,” aired on March 12th, 1996. It is episode 24 of Season 6. I was a sophomore in high school and finally had a budding social life so at this point 90210 kind of took a back seat. I would tune in every once in awhile so I vaguely remember most of these episodes but those memories could also be from the summer of 2000 when I watched the bulk of the series as FX re-ran it in order to celebrate the series finale. I think I’m going to do this free form and see where it goes. I realized I spend a lot of my time on my phone while watching shows and that seems like a bit of a waste of time so maybe I can at least write about what I’m watching and get something productive out of it. We shall see.

Last week on 90210 Kelly was in rehab for her coke addiction. Meanwhile her drug buddy ex-boyfriend Colin got busted in a sting and ran from the cops to no avail. Valerie had just swooped in on Colin. Brandon met Susan’s parents and it was pretty nuts. Donna tried to convince Joe to have heart surgery. David was doing David stuff. Steve bought a motorcycle and it pissed off Claire. I think that’s everything.

Kelly is back home after completing rehab. Her rehab roomie Tara calls immediately. Nothing bad will happen as a result of this. Oh wait, this is Kelly we are talking about. Kelly in post Brenda 90210 is a catastrophe magnet. Valerie puts up the Peach Pit After Dark to bail Colin out and Ug from Salute Your Shorts is Colin’s defense attorney. I think I just found a new favorite guest star.

Immediately after Ug walked in to 90210 land I found out David Bowie died and now my mind is kind of a mess. But Bowie made Blackstar while he was dying of cancer so none of my excuses for not writing or doing anything for that matter are worth a damn. Let’s do this, world.

Oh, I almost forgot that Claire and Susan are on a mission to save Nat’s relationship with a woman he re-connected with at a Roger Corman Festival in a previous episode because Nat was in a Roger Corman movie. Yep. This woman works at a lamp store because I guess that is a logical place for a retired actress to work in Los Angeles.

I forgot how great Emma Caulfield is as Susan. She’s right behind Emily Valentine in my favorite Brandon love. Also Kathleen Robertson is great too.

I can’t even remember the last time any of the gang was really at school. I guess the writers finally realized actual college is pretty boring.

Just as I wrote that they show the gang at CU. I don’t know what I’m doing. Susan wants to re-create Nat’s golden years so he and Joan can ignite that flame. I wish when I was in high school and college I had a diner I could live at and whose kind old owner I could befriend. Also why isn’t there a real Peach Pit in L.A.? I would live there.

David dumped Valerie because she offered him to her best friend who was blackmailing her and he seems to regret his decision. Come on, dude. He hassles her about Colin and she stands firm. You’re both idiots.

Donna takes Kelly to a Blockbuster video. 1996 Blockbuster is everything I remember. Playstation games! Those buckets of popcorn my mom wouldn’t let me have! Kelly runs into her doctor from rehab so she can start another inappropriate relationship.

The kids take the olds to a hot dog stand in a limo. This date is pretty great. I’m pretty sure even hot dog stands frown upon you bringing outside booze. This is Beverly Hills though so who knows.

Kelly and Donna are getting ready to watch Soap Dish and Tara calls. She’s bailed out of rehab and is in Venice. The travel times on this show are the most unrealistic thing about it as Kelly and Donna seem to teleport there.

Great shots of 1996 Sunset Strip. Aww… Tower Records. They stop at Nat and Joan’s old place but it’s gone. Nat and Joan kiss in a vacant lot while the kids watch.

Donna and Kelly agree to take Tara to their apartment instead of back to rehab. Great decision making. I guess I did a lot of dumb things when I was 21. Tara found the remote so she must be cool.

Colin is having Shawshank flashbacks from his time in County. He can’t go to prison. Valerie does seem genuine in her love for Colin. That’s nice.

The group date’s last stop is the Excelsior Hotel which Nat says has been closed for years but they all walk right into. Somehow the gang has restored the Stardust Ballroom. Nat and Joan dance. Brandon dances! He’s danced quite a bit this season. Him not dancing was silly anyways.

And that’s the end! Nothing is resolved but that’s why it’s a teen soap.

posted by | 01/11/16| 08:37:00 pm| TeeVee, Anything Else| Leave a comment »


Download Chapter Two Of My Book!

Chapter Two of my Untitled Memoir Project is now available for download and to celebrate that I have created a dedicated page here for the book. You can get both chapters here. I am currently working on Chapter Three but I am not sure when it will be ready. As I've said before I have a lot of irons in the fire right now but I am taking time each day to write at least a paragraph, usually more. Feel free to hit me up with any feedback or suggestions and thank you very much for reading!

posted by | 04/13/13| 10:01:00 pm| Books, Anything Else| Leave a comment »


The Hardest Blog Post I've Ever Written

Do you want to know how I know who has listened to me on Bagged and Boarded? It’s really easy. I know who has listened to me on Bagged and Boarded because those are the people who know I am gay. I came out on the show 3 years ago during the second episode I hosted. If you didn’t know I was gay until just now, then you didn’t listen to my show and that bums me out a little but I understand because we cussed a lot on that show and I guess that makes some people uncomfortable. I know many people might not understand, especially if you’ve known me for a long period of time. I don’t have all the answers you guys. I just know a few things. First, I know that I first thought I was gay when I was very young but I remember my dad telling me that was bad so I put it out of my head. I also didn’t know anyone who was gay until high school so it was easy to think that all gay people were bad people. Then I became a Christian when I was 13 and that made it easy to think I wasn’t actually gay since I was taught no one was really gay, it was a sinful choice they made and they were all going to hell unless they were celibate forever and even then it was kind of a gray area. So I lived with that for years. Always thinking in the back of head that maybe I would be more happy if I could be myself. No, I didn’t want to go out and have gay sex. I still don’t really want to go out and have gay sex. Sex period kind of freaks me out you guys but that is a whole other thing.

I feel like I’m dropping a bunch of bombs right now on my friends and loved ones and I am sorry. I’ve been so scared to share this with anybody, let alone you guys so I hope you can forgive me. I love everybody and I don’t want anybody to be mad at me but I know that’s an unrealistic thing and I just have to get over it. So what changed? So much changed. I could write a whole book about it and in fact I will once I finish the book I am working on right now. When I got back from China in 2005 I was a mess. As I slowly rebuilt the pieces that were once a Christian leader named Brendan, I realized that guy wasn’t really me. I wanted to still love God, I wanted to follow Jesus but I had done that all the way to China and I only found pain, emptiness, and misery. Again, that is kind of a separate topic so I’ll move on from that since this isn’t about religion or anything like that. This is about a guy who was trying to figure out who he really was and one day his friend got him a job at Disneyland, the happiest place on earth. I loved it at Disneyland, for the most part. My favorite thing to do was work guest control during parades because I got to talk to people and walk around and I got to watch the parade. It was great. One day on my parade shift I met this guy named Greg. We started talking and realized we had a whole lot in common. We had pretty religious backgrounds that we were both trying to move on from, we both never really dated, and we had a passion for life that most people just didn’t seem to understand. We quickly became best friends.

It was probably a few months into our friendship that I realized I was falling in love with Greg. While our relationship was never physical and we were both afraid of what our relationship meant given our backgrounds, it was more intimate than any relationship I’ve ever had. He was the only person I’ve ever felt I could truly be myself around, that I could truly be vulnerable. He was the only person who knew everything and he never judged me. The more we talked, the closer we came. If that’s not intimacy, then I don’t know what is. I knew it was different than a normal friendship because I already had a best friend, as most of you know. Phil is my best friend. But as Jay always says in Kevin Smith movies, he is my “hetero-lifemate.” While Phil knew me pretty well, better than most people, there were still things I kept from him. Both out of the fact that we were two friends and I respected our boundaries and also just because it’s really hard to show your full self to anybody. Greg told me he loved me, and I know he meant it. No one besides my family and some very close friends had ever said that to me and not in this way ever. It was the happiest I have ever been in my whole life but the whole time I still was so conflicted with my own sexuality that I tried to be straight. I tried dating women. And don’t get me wrong, there are some beautiful ladies out there and I’m still not 100% sure I’m completely unattracted to them, BUT I know I don’t want to date them really or have sex with them. I think women are cool though and my female friends are awesome. So please don’t think I hate the ladies. I just know when I’m with a girl I have to force it and even then it is awkward at best. Every girl I have ever attempted to have a relationship with can definitely attest to this. Any of my friends who have ever witnessed me try to date a girl or woo a girl can attest to this. The main reason is because I was playing a part the whole time. Doing what I thought was normal, doing what I thought I had to do otherwise I would be labeled UNCLEAN or god forbid a “faggot” a word I had heard all too often when I was younger. So I would make attempts to date girls, they would fail, and I would be angry single guy for months on end. A lot of that anger came from the fact that I had no idea who I really was or what I really wanted. That all changed when I met Greg. Then it all went to hell.

As most of you know, Greg killed himself in 2007. Aside from the death of my father, that day was the worst day of my life. The worst thing about it was that I had to hide my true grief since I couldn’t tell people the love of my life had just abandoned me. I could only say my good friend died. And no one knew the truth. Nobody. I fell back into a depression that would last for years. I also thought I had gotten my answer about whether or not it was OK to be gay. It seemed like that was a big no. So I just withdrew from dating period for over 3 years.

Then some other stuff happened and I ended up on a stage on a Friday night at Smodcastle, telling my story in front of a bunch of people and for thousands of listeners of our show. I told some friends, I told my brother, but that was it. I was too scared to tell anyone else. I was kind of out, but not really. That all changed today. Due in part to the recent supreme court hearings over Prop 8 and DOMA and due in part to the facebook postings of some of my less tolerant friends, I decided I can no longer ride that fence. I am standing by my fellow gay brothers and sisters with my head held high. As I wrote on my friend’s facebook wall just a few minutes ago:

“I'm tired of being afraid of my own friends, I'm tired of hearing people I respect say stupid things about fellow human beings. I'm just tired man.”

That’s basically what this all comes down to. I’m tired. I’m also sorry I haven’t done this sooner. I love you all. Thank you.

posted by | 03/27/13| 08:34:00 pm| Thoughts and Ideas, Anything Else| 4 comments »


Please come to my Battle Royale screening in San Diego on April 10th!

Tugg - Battle Royale in San Diego, CA on Wednesday, April 10, 7:30pm

I am hosting a one time only screening of Battle Royale on Wednesday April 10th at AMC Fashion Valley. I honestly thought it would be sold out by now due to the fact it's Battle Royale. Instead I am the only person who has bought a ticket and it's bumming me out you guys. If you know anyone who would be interested, please pass this along. I just want this to happen. I don't make any money off of this but if it goes well I am hoping to turn it into a screening series. I think it would be fun! If 71 people don't buy tickets in 6 days, the screening doesn't happen so jump on it!

posted by | 03/27/13| 04:37:00 pm| Movies, Anything Else| Leave a comment »


Tips For Starting a Webcomic

I got asked for webcomics advice on Reddit yesterday. It made me feel pretty good. I thought I would share what I wrote to the guy.
In Record Time. : comics

Here are my tips:
1) Start with a schedule you know you can keep. Can you keep up with a daily? If you don't think you can, might want to dial it back a bit. The key to retaining and gaining readers is making a schedule and sticking to it. Nothing will cause your readers to disappear like missing several updates.

2) Have fun and make sure you have something to say using your material. If you're constantly struggling to find ideas, this may be a sign you might want to re-evaluate your subject matter.

3) Just keep going. Write like no one is reading. At the beginning, be aware that not many people are and be happy about this because this will give you the chance to hone your craft.

4) Honing your craft takes time. Not just days, weeks, or months, but years. Seriously.

I love webcomics and I write them because of that. I don't write to get famous or be rich. I think that is the key. Enjoy it! It is so much fun and things WILL happen if you keep it up. I am just now starting to see good things from my work after doing our strip for 4 years now and 400 strips. I still haven't seen very much money, but my partner and I have gone to tons of cons for free (including SDCC for the last 4 years), done panels at major conventions, met tons of cool people, published a book, and tons of other little cool things. It is beyond worth it. Never stop learning, never stop adapting, and you will be golden. I hope that helps man.

Also, I highly highly highly recommend the book How to Make Webcomics by Scott Kurtz, Kris Straub, Brad Guigar, and Dave Kellett. They are all super awesome and helpful dudes, both online and in real life and this book is the thing that got me and my friend from an idea to having our comic up and now 4 years later with 400 strips and a book. And we are two dudes with little motivation and follow through and neither of us are artists. So if you take anything away from this, take that. Buy that book, it's 10 bucks and I guarantee it will teach you and motivate you.

Here is his comic. I think it's pretty funny and he has lots of potential. Find more great webcomics and share your finds at Webcomics Advocates.

posted by | 03/13/13| 08:18:00 am| Anything Else, Comics| Leave a comment »


Video of the Day: How I Fell Down a Canyon and Saved Two Dogs

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This was something that happened to me while on my walk yesterday. It was pretty nuts. My leg still hurts a little bit and I have a gnarly bruise on my back, but other than that I am fine. Just scraped up a little. It was worth it though as I don't think those dogs would have made it out of the canyon. Be sure to keep your dogs' tags up to date! If I hadn't been able to get a hold of the owner, I'm not sure what I would have done. I probably would have had to take them to a shelter or something.

posted by | 03/04/13| 07:54:00 am| Anything Else, Video of the Day| 1 comment »


Link of the Day: Game of Thrones - The King's Roadmap

This was emailed to me today and I thought it was really cool. Spoilers though. If you want to get a quick catch up on the events of the TV show just scroll through it and it will take you all over Westeros, episode by episode.

Game of Thrones - The King's Roadmap

posted by | 03/01/13| 11:06:00 am| TeeVee, I'm a Big Geek, Anything Else| Leave a comment »


Radio BrendoMan Kickstarter Just Passed $1000! HOLY CRAP!

I'm kind of speechless right now. I'm also really feeling the love. We just passed the $1000 mark and hit our third stretch goal on our Kickstarter. Thank you so much to everyone who has pledged and shared and retweeted. You guys did this, not just Phil and me! To reward you for all your hard work we've added additional rewards and stretch goals. There's tons of cool stuff to be had!

posted by | 02/28/13| 07:06:00 pm| Anything Else| Leave a comment »


Download the First Chapter of My Book at Archive.org

I am in the process of writing a book. It is something I have been wanting to do for basically half my life. It is basically the story of my youth and the death of my father and how that affected me. There's both humor and heartbreak. I want to thank my team of folks who read the treatment for the book and gave me a lot of great feedback. This is very much a work in progress but I feel pretty good about chapter one. You can download it at archive.org here. I am working on getting the PDF converted to other formats. If anyone wants to help me with that, feel free. The PDF is CC licensed, no commercial, share and share alike.

Update: My buddy Ish Plata made a Kindle version in Amazon format which can be uploaded directly to your Kindle. You can download that here. The archive.org link now has other formats available including mobi and epub.

posted by | 02/26/13| 07:47:00 am| Thoughts and Ideas, Books, Anything Else| Leave a comment »


Radio BrendoMan Kickstarter

Hey there everybody. I guess this is my first post here of 2013. I find myself posting things I used to post here on Facebook instead. I don't know how I feel about that. I do have some plans for this blog this year. I will probably be posting more long form stuff here and maybe some of my writing projects that I am working on.

The reason I am posting today is to alert you to the Radio BrendoMan T-Shirts Kickstarter that Phil and I launched last week. We already reached our $500 goal and will be posting some awesome stretch goals soon. I would highly recommend checking it out. Also please give the show a listen if you haven't yet.

What's going on with everyone on this side? If you're not on Facebook, you probably aren't aware that I have lost 36 pounds since December 30th and I am on track to lose much more. I will detail that sometime on here. I also successfully migrated Radio BrendoMan off of Podbean and we are now hosting our files at Archive.org. I learned a lot through this process and also plan to share what I learned sometime soon. I've got a lot of irons in the fire right now though so I can't promise any timeframe.

posted by | 02/13/13| 09:39:00 am| Site News, Linkworthy, Podcasting, Anything Else| Leave a comment »


2012 Year in Review

This morning I was thinking about highlights of 2012 for me and the thing I kept coming back to was this: I was in a dance circle with Felicia Day, Amber Benson, Brea Grant, Adam Savage, Alexis Denisof, and Joss Whedon. Yeah. That alone makes 2012 pretty damn cool. And also this:

Comic-Con crazy happenings aside, 2012 was a pretty banner year. Here's to 2013!

posted by | 12/28/12| 08:26:00 am| Thoughts and Ideas, I'm a Big Geek, Anything Else| Leave a comment »


We need to start talking about mental health issues

I wasn't going to post this here because I wanted it to get read and I don't think people read blogs that much anymore. However, I wanted to be able to share it with folks on Twitter and make it easy for others to share it who aren't on Facebook. So here you go.

I was going to post this on my blog but I don't think people read blog posts anymore (maybe?). I have been wanting to post about this for awhile and I think today is as good a day as any with the tragic events in Connecticut. No, this is not about gun control. I will let others pontificate on that one.

We need to start talking openly about mental health issues. As many of my close friends and
family know, I have struggled most of my life with various mental health issues including clinical depression, anxiety disorder, ADD, suicidal thoughts, and other not fun stuff. I have been in and out of therapy, on and off drugs, done both in-patient and outpatient treatment. I am lucky to be able to say that for the most part I have gotten the help I need when I needed it. Many are not so lucky.

Even with my very good HMO plan, mental health is like the red-headed stepchild. I can only visit a therapist once a month. I have to jump through several hoops to get certain medications every single time I need a refill. I have to drive twice as far to my psychiatrist as I do to my doctor because there is a severe lack of psychiatry offices. When I moved to San Diego, I almost had to re-do all my evaluations (which would have taken numerous doctor visits and a co-pay each time) because of bookkeeping issues. After calling about five different people and working my way up the chain, they finally agreed to "make an exception for me" and allow me to continue treatment un-interrupted. I can't tell you how stressful this whole process was and how close I came to just giving up for the time being.

And I am one of the lucky ones with adequate health coverage. When I had no health insurance, I didn't get any treatment because it was completely unaffordable. Without insurance, my meds cost hundreds of dollars a month. Doctors visits are out of the question. I suffered for a few years in silence. Things would get really bad and then they would get better for awhile.

Many are also afraid to talk about their mental health issues because of social stigma. "Stop being depressed!" How many times have we heard that? I know I've heard it a lot. If someone is asking you honestly for help and you respond in that manner, you are part of the problem. For those of us who are clinically depressed, positive thinking and cheering up and all that other stuff will not work. It won't. Sorry.

So what can we do? We can encourage our politicians and our healthcare providers to make mental health a priority, especially in this era of health care reform. We need to create an environment where people aren't afraid to talk about these problems with their friends and loved ones. That is a big step in getting the help we need. I know it was for me.

All right, end of soapbox. I hope that made sense.

posted by | 12/14/12| 01:55:00 pm| Thoughts and Ideas, Anything Else| 1 comment »


I'm Still Here

Hey there. A lot has happened since my last blog post. In late September I got a call from one of my company's competitors asking me to interview for a position there. The catch was they were located in San Diego. This lead me to almost reject the offer outright because I liked where I was. The more I thought about it though the more it seemed like something I should at least consider. So I drove down to San Diego after doing two phone interviews. The company, Websense, is located very close to where I went to high school. I've always wanted to move back here at some point in my life. So when they offered me a job, it really was a no brainer. They paid for my move from Irvine, they offered a significant raise in pay, and there are a lot of opportunities for me to grow in my career that I really didn't have before.

So yeah, I moved to San Diego and started a new job last month. It's been a bit nuts but things are settling down. I have a pretty cool apartment in Rancho Penasquitos. I have 50 mbps internet, which is freaking awesome. My drive to work is pretty easy and it is weird because I take the 56 freeway which connects the 5 to the 15. The weird thing about it is that when I last lived here the 56 didn't connect and so no one used it since it didn't go anywhere. Now that it connects Carmel Valley and the surrounding area pretty much exploded since now you don't have to drive on a dirt road or go way out of your way if you want to go somewhere inland. It's still pretty wide open though, which is cool.

I have been doing these little excursions on the weekends that are like mini-time traveling trips. Last weekend I wanted to check out the new Arclight in La Jolla and I discovered it was at UTC. UTC is a mall that has been around my whole life so going back there was pretty cool. A flood of memories washed over me as soon as I started walking around. I also drove by my old high school and my old house, which both look mostly the same. I miss all my friends in L.A. and Orange County but I also feel like I really am "home" here. Whatever that means.

So that is what is going on with me. I am headed out to Tuscon tomorrow to go to Brian (AKA Gringo's) wedding and Danny is coming too so that will be sweet. Danny and I (and maybe Brian if he isn't too busy) are going to record an episode of Radio BrendoMan so that should also be cool. Hope everything is good with all of you guys out there.

posted by | 11/14/12| 10:53:00 am| Anything Else| 2 comments »


Some Days I Want To Punch All The Things

Hello brendoman.com, I am sorry I am neglecting you. I am busy working (argh...) and also playing too many video games and watching too many reality shows involving storage units and large collections of things. I'm doing a call out for post topics. Give me an assignment people! Maybe then I'll actually do it!

posted by | 08/31/12| 12:31:00 pm| Anything Else| 5 comments »


Comic-Con was awesome

I am finally recovered from Comic-Con '12. It was super awesome. If you want to hear more about it, just listen to our Comic-Con megacast. Here is a player so you don't even have to go anywhere:



Podcast Powered By Podbean


Pretty neat, huh? Anyways, I got home on Monday night last week and I couldn't talk so I took Tuesday off work. Thursday I got in line for Dark Knight Rises at 5:30 PM and there were still like 250 people in front of me. Why did I get in line so early? Because my awesome friend Ross paid for me ticket in exchange for me getting there early to wait in line. I was joined by Derick, Ross, Paul, Kim, and other assorted friends and was promptly separated from them when it became clear there were no blocks of seats in a good area. I loved the movie. I guess some people didn't. Oh well.

In other things, I am post comic-con broke so I am spending a lot of time at home catching up on movies and TV and I also started playing Team Fortress 2. If you haven't added me on Steam yet my handle is brendoman (duh). I am having a lot of fun running around not knowing how to play really. I am also almost done re-reading all of the Harry Potter books, which only took about a month. I also re-watched all the movies. Harry Potter is awesome. That's pretty much what is up with me. What is up with you guys?

posted by | 07/24/12| 09:58:00 am| I'm a Big Geek, Anything Else, Comics| 2 comments »


Advanced Podcast Stuff - Microphones, Mixing, and More

This will be the first in a series of posts about advanced podcasting techniques I use on Radio BrendoMan. You can read my introductory article here. If you have your own tips or have a question, feel free to comment.

Microphones

People are often tempted to blow a huge chunk of cash on a fancy microphone thinking it will make their podcast awesome. This is true and also not true. If your content stinks, a fancy mic will do nothing for you. But I’m not here to judge your show. Heck, I still don’t quite understand why people seem to enjoy listening to me talk about teen soap operas and Doritos. If you can only afford a cheap pc microphone, use a cheap pc microphone. You may have to clean up the show a little bit more in the mixing process but as long as you don’t get too close to the mic it won’t sound completely terrible. I recorded my original show on a $2 microphone hooked up to my Dell laptop and nobody ever really complained about the audio quality.

That being said, if you can afford a nice microphone it is probably the best thing to spend your money on. I was lucky and I got a Blue Yeti for Christmas last year from my lovely family. If your family isn’t as awesome, maybe shoot lower. Blue makes a really great line of USB microphones that are all great. Whatever you choose, make sure you know how it works. If you can, get a pop screen, but it’s not the end of the world if you don’t. You can also make one. You may have awesome USB microphones lying around and not even know it. Phil uses the USB microphone from his copy of Guitar Hero World Tour and it sounds pretty stinking great. I tested out my Rock Band mic and it sounded pretty good. If you are using a handheld mic like that, I would recommend investing in a mic stand.

Once you have your mic and the placement of it figured out, the next thing to do is make sure any unnecessary background noise is gone. When I had a PC with a really loud fan, this meant turning down the fan speed and making sure the mic was pointed away from the fan. It might also mean you need to turn off the AC or any other noise generating device. Sometimes when we recorded Pop Sickles it got really hot due to this fact as we had no AC and had to close the front door. It really made a difference in the recording though. I know you are a smart person and this may sound like I’m talking down to you but it’s easy to forget minor things like this when it’s time to record.

Create a Template

Anything that streamlines your post-production process is a plus. That way you can spend more time focusing on the show itself and less on the rest of the junk you have to do to get the show on the web. One of the ways I have saved some time is by creating a project template file. It contains my opening and closing music and they are mixed to the way I want. I saved that as an Audicity project. Once I have my finished file of the show itself, I just drop that into the template, do a final check, export and I’m done. Also make sure to save a copy of your ID3 tags that you can load each time, that way you only have to change the title when you save a new episode and you have a uniform set of ID3 tags on all your shows.

Mixing the File

I used to spend a lot of time tweaking the file in Audacity, trying out all kinds of filters and leveling techniques. Then Gates told me about Levelator and all that changed. Once I have our merged file I simply run that through Levelator and then drop into my template and I’m good to go. As long as you keep your levels halfway decent while recording, this is all you need to do. Things get a little more tricky when you are recording in front of an audience or have a ton of guests or people sharing a mic, but in most cases Levelator should be all you need. I would also recommend reading any documentation or tutorials you can find on Audacity or your program of choice as there may be lots of other useful editing tips and tools in there. I just wouldn’t totally stress out about getting the mix exactly right. This is another one of those stress traps podcasters fall into and eventually can cause them to burn out and even give up. Don’t do that!

Next time I will talk about iTunes, hosting, and other stuff like that. So stay tuned for that.

posted by | 06/12/12| 01:49:00 pm| I'm a Big Geek, Podcasting, Anything Else| 2 comments »


How to Record a Podcast Using Skype and Audacity

A lot of people have been asking how the newly re-launched Radio BrendoMan is recorded and published. It is really the easiest podcast I’ve ever done. Phil and I live pretty far apart so recording in person was not an option. However, recording a Skype conversation also really wasn’t an option because even the best Skype recorders sound pretty crappy. So we used a workaround that podcasters have been using for years.

Step 1: Download Skype for each host.

This is pretty self explanatory. You probably have it on your computer already. The only thing I changed for podcasting purposes was to turn off the auto mic levelling in Skype because that ended up messing up my levels when trying to record. Thanks Adam Wells for that tip.

Step 2: Download Audacity (or some sort of recording software) for each host.

Everyone has their favorite recording software. I know a lot of Mac users only use Garageband and that’s totally cool. As long as it’s something you know how to use and can export in both wav and mp3 format, you are good. I prefer Audacity because it is totally free, easy to use, and surprisingly robust. Make sure each host has Audacity running and they know how to use it. Again, it’s pretty basic. You just click the record button and you’re off. I would recommend doing a test recording just to check your levels and to make sure everything is in working order.

Step 3: Start the Skype Call

This is pretty straightforward. Make sure you can hear each other, but don’t worry about the quality of the call because this is not what you are recording.

Step 4: Sync up and start recording

Phil and I have a pretty basic process. Phil counts off and we click record, then he counts off and we clap into the microphone. This needs to be done simultaneously so when you mix each file together, you just sync up the clap, which should be easy to spot. Then you just do your normal podcast routine. If you have to stop in the middle of recording, make sure you sync back up again when you resume.

Optional Step: Use Google Drive for Show notes and to share wav files

Google Drive allows you to have a document you can share and edit collaboratively in real time. Phil and I have an entire shared folder where we keep our show notes file as well as other miscellaneous files for the show. It’s also where Phil uploads his wav file when we’re done recording.

Step 5: Save and share raw files.

Once you have stopped recording, each person now needs to save their recording in a raw format (either WAV or AIFF, I prefer WAV). In Audacity, you do this using File-Export. Next, the person who isn’t creating the final file needs to get their wav file to the editor. Phil and I use Google Drive to do this but you can use Dropbox, an FTP server, or whatever else you want to do.

Step 6: Assemble show from raw files.

Once you have all the raw files, create a new project in Audacity (or your preferred audio editing program) and import each file. Then use your clap you did at the beginning of the record to sync them up. As part of my process, I then export this combined file as a WAV and run that through Levelator, then use that to edit the final show. This is entirely optional though. You can edit and mix however you like once you sync up the raw files.

Step 7: Export and Upload MP3

Now that you’ve mixed and edited your show, export the MP3 file and then upload it to whatever podcast host you use. I’ll do another post on how to choose a host and other advanced techniques but for now you have a complete MP3 file of your show and if you didn’t totally screw up the levels it should sound pretty great. At the very least, it will sound way better than if you had recorded the actual Skype conversation.

posted by | 05/31/12| 05:06:00 pm| I'm a Big Geek, Podcasting, Anything Else| 7 comments »


Google Is Awesome

Google Is Awesome

That is all.

posted by | 04/26/12| 02:51:00 pm| Anything Else| 1 comment »


Ten Years!

TEN YEARS! I can't help but think of Jeremy Piven yelling that in Grosse Pointe Blank as I write those words. Ten years ago this morning I was coming down from the last gasp of a caffeine infused all-nighter, sitting in the CCCB cafeteria eating biscuits and hash browns and watching Saved by the Bell on TBS with Eric Wright. Earlier in the wee hours of the morning, Eric had shown me Blogger. I had converted my crappy tripod site into a blog and had made my first post. Then I invited all my friends to join in. The rest is history.

I know the blog has changed a lot over the years. I feel at times that Facebook and Twitter and other things like that have almost made it obsolete as far as this being a place where a bunch of friends can stay in touch. But there's so much history in these pages, so many memories, that I could never let it go. It's just nice knowing it's here. It's also nice having a place where I can still post my thoughts on things that don't quite belong anywhere else.

I want to give huge hugs and props to everyone who's ever posted here at brendoman.com. You guys are all awesome. I also want to give hugs to all the people we've connected with exclusively through this site. You are a constant reminder of why the internet isn't always dumb and evil. I met tons of cool people thanks to this blog and this community. When I think of all the stuff I've learned and ideas I've had that have come directly out of this, it kind of blows my mind. Case in point: Danny taught me some Linux command line basics so I could manage the site better through SSH. That knowledge helped me get the job I have now.

Speaking of Danny, biggest hugs of all to him for being the true keeper of the keys for all these years. We've changed blog software three times. We've changed hosts four times. Without him, I would have thrown in the towel a long, long time ago. I can't even count how many emails I've sent over the years pleading for help and he's always quick to respond. YTMND.

I could go on and on but I feel at this point, the blog speaks for itself. Here's to ten awesome years and many, many more. Hundie Jo!!!

posted by | 04/10/12| 09:30:00 am| Site News, Anything Else| 3 comments »


In Case You Missed It: Radio BrendoMan is Back!

I know many of you already are aware but for those folks who aren't on Facebook or Twitter, I will post the news here. Phil and I are recording new episodes of Radio BrendoMan! You can check them out at our new site or on Facebook. Phil and I have been wanting to do a podcast together for years and I thought this would be a great way to bring back the show. Basically we just record both ends of our Skype conversation and then I mix them together. At some point we would like to have some guests, maybe some of the brendoman.com crew, as long as everyone is capable of recording their end of the conversation and uploading it to dropbox or something like that it should work just fine. So check out the show and let us know what you think!

posted by | 04/03/12| 11:38:00 am| Site News, Podcasting, Anything Else| Leave a comment »


Bully and The MPAA

Review: Bully exposes MPAA flaws and a touchy feely approach to schoolyard harassment - HitFix.com

Let's make this clear. The very reason the MPAA assigned "Bully" a R rating - which means children under 17 need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian to watch the movie in a theater (at least a theater that properly enforces the ratings, but that's another issue) - is because kids WHO ARE CLEARLY UNDER 17 say the "F" word too many times. In a documentary. There is no explicit sexuality (or sexuality of any kind really), no graphic violence, no gratuitous language, no complex adult themes or situations that parents may understandably deem unacceptable for mature pre-teens or teens. And for that "Bully" receives the exact same rating as "Saw 3D," "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" and "The Hangover Part II." If that's not a sign of a broken or at least nonsensical and unreliable system in need of an overhaul, I'm not sure what more it would take.

I really want to see this movie. As the excerpt points out, it is mind blowing that a movie with f-bombs in this context is considered rated R. While I agree with its PG-13 Rating, it's nuts to me that the Hunger Games has some pretty graphic child on child violence yet movies like this get R ratings for language. It makes no sense. Thoughts?

7UMJ9PZCAK8B

posted by | 03/29/12| 02:35:00 pm| Movies, Rants and Raves, Anything Else| Leave a comment »


brendoman.com Facebook Page

I guess it's only appropriate that as we approach our ten year anniversary, I finally got around to creating a Facebook Page for this site. A few years ago I would have thought it was a dumb thing to do, since why have a facebook page for a website since you can just go to the website. The reality now is that a whole lot of people go on Facebook and don't really leave. It's like the old days of AOL. I find that very strange. On the other hand, it's nice to have all the information you want in one nice little place. So if someone who normally wouldn't go to the trouble of coming here will like our page and then find out about all the stuff we post about and our other projects, why the heck not.

To summarize, Like our Facebook page and maybe we can have a second life on Facebook. Who knows.

posted by | 03/21/12| 09:47:00 am| Site News, Anything Else| Leave a comment »


Remember Gunbound?

Softnyx - Gunbound

I was a little surprised to see that this was still around. I was telling my friend Ish today about how we (the brendoman.com crew) would jump from game to game every couple of months and that this was one of our bigger obsessions for a time. I think we should have a brendoman.com Retro Game Night sometime on a weekend and play some Gunbound, Counterstrike, Unreal Tournament, and maybe some Age of Empires 2. We could open a Ventrilo channel or some other voice chat and just party it up. What do you guys think?

posted by | 02/24/12| 02:35:00 pm| Anything Else| 5 comments »


Awesome/Not Awesome

Hey look, it's the first one of these of 2012! This is only my second post on here this year. I am sorry.

Awesome

  • Mass Effect 3 demo dropped today!
  • Walking Dead is back! Mad Men comes back next month! Game of Thrones comes back in April! So much awesome TV and we have a 70" TV now at our place. It's nuts.
  • Phil and I are going to start doing a podcast. This will be in addition to Pop Sickles, so don't worry.
  • I finally played Mass Effect 2 since Mass Effect 3 is coming out, and holy crap it is amazing. I already beat it once but I'm playing through the DLC now. Such a great game. Great story, great gameplay.
  • I guess my current thing I am digging is video games.
  • I was happy to see Bon Iver win best new artist at the Grammy's but puzzled because his first album came out in 2008 and was on many people's (including my) best of lists and stuff. I guess because it was an independent release? Does that mean if you are independent for like 20 years, then release an album on a major label, you can win best new artist? I just did some more research and his second album was released on the same label, so I really don't know what the deal is. Oh wait, it's the Grammys, they don't have to make sense.

Not Awesome

  • The only thing not awesome right now is my doctor said I had to give up caffeine forever so I am working on that, I'm down to one diet coke a day. It's kind of making me crazy. Hopefully that will go away soon.

Happy Valentine's Day!

posted by | 02/14/12| 11:43:00 am| Anything Else| 1 comment »


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