Sunday, July 30, 2006

Hail, Kinnell, Half-Elf Druid

It's finally happened.

For years I had dallied in the languor of my own brand of lovable half-nerdiness. Nerdy enough to play 'Axis and Allies' and dig They Might Be Giants, but normal enough to oh, go out in public and not make an ass of myself.

Earlier this year, though, I started reading several 'graphic novels' and enjoyed them immensely. I flirted with MMO's, and was heavily addicted to World of Warcraft for about a year. But just this weekend, for the very first time, I played pen-and-paper Dungeons and Dragons.


For a few amazing hours on Saturday morning, a few friends from work, along with a few new outsiders, sat in a conference room at G4, rolled up new characters, and got our first taste of the intricacies of the d20 roleplaying system.

And it was awesome.

Pretty much all throughout middle school, I'd wander to the 'games' section of my local mall's Waldenbooks, and pour through whatever Dungeons and Dragons manuals I could find. Sure, wizards were cool, and those weird psionicists sure looked complicated. But it was the solitary druid that always struck my fancy. While that may seem a fairly obvious choice for anyone who knows me now, keep in mind that in middle school I was neither a). a vegetarian or b). someone who went outside on his own accord.

But alas, no one (at least, that I knew of), also wanted to play this heavily stigmatized game, nor did we have the resources to buy all of the dice, figures, books, or anything else the game required.

And so it was with great joy that I filled out the character sheet for Kinnell, my new half-elf druid and his still-unnamed wolf companion. And it was with even greater joy that Kinnell journeyed into his first dungeons with my fellow adventurers, to use said wolf to tear the shit out of anything that stood in our way.

'Cause you know what? That game is pretty fun. Especially when you're playing with cool people. And it's not all olde-timey role playing, either. There's a surprising amount of strategy, tactics and teamwork that go on in that game. We'd spend a lot of time trying to figure out the best way to conquer a situation, and when we did, we were genuinely excited about it.

I honestly can't wait until the next time we play.

I'm also now taking bets on how long it takes before I go to some DnD convention dressed like this:

that one guy you know, 8:26 PM | | | | | | | | | | link | 5 comments |

M. Night Shyamalan's M. Night Shyamalan Video Diaries by M. Night Shyamalan

I made these!

Enjoy them!

The actors, they were amazing. All were great to work with.

that one guy you know, 7:55 PM | | | | | | | | | | link | 1 comments |

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Weekend and a Half

I've stepped away from the blog for a few days, mainly to work on a few AOTS skits (which will be posted here shortly), and a few extra life-type things.

After finishing up a day-long shoot on Friday, I decided on a whim to drive down to San Diego for ComiCon. I was semi-interested in checking out the NerdFest itself, but moreso interested in walkin' around one of my favorite cities, hanging out with some work friends, and meeting up with my good friend (and fellow college comedy troupe member / roommate) Justin, who writes for ToyFare magazine's excellent Twisted Toyfare Theater.

After sweating in my car for a few hours (mental note - don't try to detour through the desert when it's 100+ degrees and your air conditioning isn't working), I got to San Diego, parked at the hotel and took a shuttle to the convention center ... where I promptly met up with Luis and spent a few hours pub crawling around the gaslamp district.

I eventually met up with Justin while he was waiting in line for the Spiderman 3 conference, but the auditorium filled up ... so we went back to the gaslamp district for more food and beer before his flight home.

At this point, you may begin to predict a pattern. And you would be correct in predicting that I never actually made it inside the convention hall, and spent the vast majority of the day hangin' around San Diego and drinkin'. Next year I'll go in. Honest. It seemed pretty cool ... and the few AOTS fans I met outside seemed like they were having a good time.

Oh well. I still had a good time. It's always nice to get out of L.A.

On Sunday, I woke up early and drove out to the Poway, northeast of San Diego, for a bit of hiking up Woodson Mountain with my new hiking boots. I was drawn in by the pictures of other-worldly boulder formations:

I should have been deterred by the boiling temperatures that had almost melted me on the drive down.

But of course, I wasn't. I'm a hiker, goddamnit.

The trail was short, but was pretty much a straight line right up the side of the mountain, and man - it was hot. I'm pretty sure I almost died on this hike. For sections of the hike, I was pretty much just trudging from shaded area to shaded area, then dropping down on the ground and panting. But by then I was more than halfway up, and that's no time to turn back. Even when you start getting dizzy.

Despite the haze and the radio towers, the views from the top were pretty great. Boulders cover pretty much the entire landscape as far as you can see, and I could make out some of the distant mountain ranges in southern Anza-Borrego. There's some more pics on Flickr, too.

Man, I do love the desert.

Just not as much in the summer.

Oh, I also went to the Flaming Lips show at the Hollywood Bowl that night. Quick summary:
- Os Mutantes are awesome. They sounded really sharp live, and had amazing energy. I'm big fans of theirs, but I think the whole 'singing in Portuguese' turned off some of the audience.
- The Thievery Corporation is also awesome. They had almost the entire Bowl audience up on their feet in a matter of minutes.
- Flaming Lips put on a really great show. It's like a combination of a rock show, a broadway musical, and a religious revival ... with a good amount of performance art thrown in for good measure. I thought their set was really short, though - like 40 minutes or so, with a short encore ... and they were recording the show for a DVD, so Wayne kept telling the audience we weren't cheering loud enough.

The lesson? TV ruins everything.

Here's what the show looked like:

That white light? Powered by the pure joy of the audience.

Also, electricity.

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that one guy you know, 9:08 PM | | | | | | | | | | link | 3 comments |

Sunday, July 16, 2006

An Internette Shorte Filme

My old friend and ex-partner-in-Boston-area-comedy-crime Alex has just posted an original animated short on the ol' YouTube.

The first joke is 15 seconds of silence, and it just gets better from there.

Click below and check it totally out.


that one guy you know, 7:59 PM | | | | | | | | | | link | 1 comments |

Why I Haven't Updated In A Bit

You can thank the fine folks at the Park La Brea Service Department and their gross mishandling of a bad plumbing situation that I've been trying to get fixed for several months now.

Now I'm no plumber, but I'd been noticing signs of a deep water leak somewhere in our walls for months. You know, the subtle signs that you really have to pay attention to see - like paint peeling off walls, cabinets folding in on themselves, and shallow indoor pools located on our kitchen floor.

So after several months of the PLB folks telling me nothing was wrong and I was clearly being hysterical, I managed to get an actual plumber to show up on Tuesday night after water began seeping up through the floor in the kitchen. Up. Through the floor. Amityville Horror style, except without the blood cells.

They came over, and I was finally able to show them that I wasn't just calling because I was lonely. They said they'd have to rip out some walls, and they'd do it the next day. I was down with that. We could get through one morning using minimal water.

So on Wednesday when I got home and saw the exterior of our apartment taken to task, it looked like everything had finally been settled. Crews had left notes saying the leak was in our upstairs bathroom, they'd found it, and taken care of it. Great.

Until I started washing dishes and noticed water coming up through the floor again.

The crew came back that night, realized the leak was in the kitchen, and left.

Next day, the leak appeared to be fixed, and the signs of work were present - ripped apart walls and paint chips all over the kitchen. We could use the sink, but couldn't put anything back in our cupboards until they came and patched up the wall. Which, for some reason, they didn't want to do that day.

The weekend came, and they fixed our cupboards but left our walls stripped of paint. At least the drains were working, and no leaks had sprung.

Today, I opened the cupboard beneath our sink to take out our recycling, and the bottom of the paper bag fell out. Because it was wet. Upon further inspection, a large plastic bowl underneath the sink, where we stored brushes, scrubbers, and another ephemera, was completely filled with water.

Now, I'm guessing the people reading this have as little experience in modern apartment building plumbing as I do. But take a look at this picture and see if you can figure out where our leak might be coming from:

Any guesses?

For the record, we currently have no leaks. But our walls are still inexplicably stripped of paint.
that one guy you know, 6:51 PM | | | | | | | | | | link | 1 comments |

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Drawings of Casey Schreiner Doing Things That Are Awesome III

Part three of my sporadically ongoing shitty art project.

For archival purposes, here are Part One and Part Two.
that one guy you know, 8:26 PM | | | | | | | | | | link | 2 comments |

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

MySpace Documentary and Superman's Father

A little while back, I helped out Television's Chris Gore with a short interview about the perils of MySpace untruthiness. His girlfriend cut the piece for a film school documentary project, and I've still got a few quips left in there. If you've got ten minutes, it's worth a look-see.

Get this video and more at

If you haven't got ten minutes, then perhaps you'd rather check out the latest bit of John Walsh-acted video fun, wherein Jor-El dispenses a bit of fatherly advice to Superman. Then keeps doing it. It's quality. Enjoy.


that one guy you know, 1:43 PM | | | | | | | | | | link | 0 comments |

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Social Hiking?

Earlier last week, I got an invite from a few of my friends for a hike in the Angeles National Forest. Switzer Falls, a short 4 mile hike with a very low elevation gain, leading to a two-tiered waterfall.

My first thought: Just 4 miles? Second thought: No elevation gain? Third thought: 6 other people?

Yes, I had become a hiking elitist, turning my nose up at a hike my asshole-ish instincts told me was too easy. Either that, or I'd become some sort of outdoors junkie, needing hikes to be painful or frightening in order to enjoy them.

So I was initially noncommital, offering up my Adventure Pass but not making any definite plans on joining. While I was having a late lunch with a production assistant I'd just abused for a few hours, she encouraged me to think of it more as an early morning social outing. And so, at the very last minute, I joined the party and hoped in the car with Aimee to drive out to the Angeles National Forest.

LocalHikes said the Switzer trailhead was generally pretty crowded, and they were right. The bottom parking lot was pretty full by 10:30, and there were several picnics and parties already in full swing. Now, I don't mind when a lot of people get out to National Parks and Forests to experience them. That's part of what they're there for. What bothers me, though, is when people don't treat these areas with respect.

Several trash bins at the parking lot were literally overflowing with garbage, trees were carved to shreds with peoples' initials, there was spray-painted graffiti on the cliff walls, and a fair amount of garbage thrown from the trail itself. Of course almost all of the trash was recyclable - water and gatorade bottles, mostly.

That stuff bugs me. A lot.

I don't want to make it sound like the trail was a giant garbage dump wasteland, though, because it was actually very nice. Most of the trail runs right alongside a boulder-strewn creek, which was still running pretty heavily when we were there. We had to cross the stream a bunch of times, which wasn't too difficult ... but I did have to keep an eye on where I was walking for most of the hike. Twisted Ankle City over there ... but hey, the views were nice.

About halfway through the hike, the trail emerged from the streambed and hugged the side of a steep canyon, bringing us into the sunlight and heat, but giving us some pretty impressive views of the deeper parts of the Forest ... where I'd probably be had I gone alone and gotten up at the ass-crack of dawn.

None of us minded the temporary temperature increase, though, as we were very shortly treated to the sight of Switzer Falls - a two-tiered gently flowing waterfall, which collected its cold, clear water in a nice pool at the bottom. We all took off our shoes and scrambled across some of the fallen logs above the pool, trying - unsuccessfully - to get our canine hiking companions to swim out to us.

After hanging out at the bottom for a while, we watched a pair of hikers climb the side of the falls to the top and squeal with a combination of delight and shock as they hopped into an icy pool in the middle of the rocks. Aimee and I were interested, and were soon climbing up the side trail ourselves. Aimee didn't hesitate before taking off her shoes again and hopping in.

It took me a few more minutes of self-convincing before I followed suit. Cotton pants and all.

Note the grafitti on the walls. Why someone would hike all the way out there just to spray paint a boulder, I'll never know. And how they were able to do it while their lower body's temperature hovered slightly above freezing I'll never know, either.

I've got a few landscape pics up on Flickr, but luckilly Aimee was photographically active throughout the whole trail, and took a lot more pictures of our fellow hikers. Well worth a look, even if just for some pictures of one of the world's most adorable small dogs.

So 'social hiking' can be fun, too ... Although, to be honest, I'm already itchin' for my next peak hike. Anyone interested?


that one guy you know, 7:30 PM | | | | | | | | | | link | 0 comments |

Saturday, July 08, 2006

New England Summer Adventure Photos!

A few weeks ago, our CEO announced that the entire company would be closed on the Monday before the 4th of July. They gave us a paid holiday so we could fully enjoy the 4 day weekend. Fortunately, that also opened up the opportunity for taking off a few more days to take a trip back to Connecticut.

With some subsidizing from the family, my tickets back home weren't too expensive, and I snagged a red-eye from LAX to Hartford on Thursday evening. There was, unfortunately, a slightly long layover in the Las Vegas airport. I hate Vegas. Even the airport, which is pretty much an extension of the rest of the city - a giant strip mall theme park, filled with fat tourists and loud slot machines.

I really hate that city.

Instead of running through the entire trip, I'll just do a few photo highlights / summary.

My sister enjoys my DS Lite on the way back from the airport.

I spent most of the first day lounging around with the family dog and lying outside reading Bill Bryson's "I'm A Stranger Here, Myself." Good book.

The next day was spent at my aunt's farm in western Massachusetts, to visit my Goddaughter and cousin. They are adorable. The setting was beautiful, and anytime we drove near the farm, we were followed by the World's Happiest Dog, literally bouncing through the fields.

We also stopped in the town's Historical Society, where they had a very nice collection of well-preserved local artifacts. I spent some time talking with one of the curators of the museum - mostly about how I hate that Los Angeles doesn't preserve any of its history, and some of the quirkier aspects of New England that I miss. I also commented on the museum's collection, noting in particular the password hole upstairs for Know-Nothing Party meetings - a short lived anti-immigrant, anti-Catholic party that popped up in the mid-1800s.

Drank some good New England brews (Long Trail summer hef - nice and citrusy; and Smuttynose Shoals Pale Ale) and played guitar with my brother. He's still way, way better than me.

Woke up early to hike the Appalachian Trail with my brother to the highest peak in Connecticut. It's not the highest elevation in the state (that's part of the slope of Mount Frisell, whose peak is in Massachusetts), but the views were nice, the rock-climbing was great, and the trail was an explosion of green.

I also forgot how many mosquitos the east coast has.

It was my first time on the Appalachian Trail, and I was kind of hoping to meet a through-hiker. Luckily, we did. A middle-aged fellow with the trail name of "Sandman," who'd started from Georgia in April. He looked like he was having the time of his life, and he told us how great the trail was so far. I was incredibly jealous. Here's to a safe finish for Sandman.

Had a big family picnic and played a game my cousin Daniel invented called "The Game." You've got to toss these home-made golf ball bolos at these PVC pipe goals. If they stay on the poles, you get points. It's also got a lot of hyper complicated backup rules, which makes it even more appealing to me. The first time I tried to throw, the bolo hit my leg and fell 3 feet in front of me. The second time, I accidentally tossed it backwards. After that, though, I got the hang of it. It's actually very fun, and my brother and I even managed to win a few games.

It was fantastic to get a nice, big, head-clearing break from Los Angeles, surrounded by family, beer, animals, trees, Dunkin' Donuts' iced coffee, and a fairly rural environment. It was also nice to be back in New England for the summer, which I hadn't seen since I moved out to California.

There's a bunch more pictures up on Flickr, with some especially nice ones of the old Massachusetts town my aunt lives in, the Appalachian Trail, and general family shenanigans.

Oh, and Mom dug the DS Lite, too.


that one guy you know, 9:41 PM | | | | | | | | | | link | 1 comments |

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Return to Los Angeles

Just got in from spending almost a week in New England around the 4th of July.

I'll post more when I get settled in, with plenty of Flickr pics for all. But for now, know that I recharged my batteries with historical preservation, microbreweries, family gatherings, dogs, hiking, and all-around agrarian wonder.

Also, I held a baby goat, and it was adorable.

More later.
that one guy you know, 9:54 PM | | | | | | | | | | link | 3 comments |