Reno, NV: Journeys, Chess, and the Mustang Ranch

Reno, NV: Journeys, Chess, and the Mustang Ranch

day1_blearydeparture4:15 – Christi’s klaxon alarm clock goes off, hurtling me out of bed making my entire body vibrate after only four and a half hours of sleep.

4:57 – Kiss girlfriend good-bye in the dark…which isn’t as romantic as you’d think it would be…mostly due to me being a bit bleary eyed…not due to the beautiful sexy woman I’m saying good-bye to (wink). She snaps a photo. (click!)

I realize many people travel all the time, but I’ve only recently started actively exploring and traveling again. I forgot how much fun it is! The adventure. The experiences. The excitement of the journey. The quick adapting to unexpected changes in plans.

Okay…sometimes I don’t handle changes to plans so well. Now, I’m not saying I freak out and scream at people. But I do freak out….a little.


Because I tend to plan ahead like in a game of chess. And when something changes, a whole line of thinking needs to be taken into consideration to keep other plans on track.

Back to Reno…

Let’s just say I TRIED to plan ahead and pick a NICE hotel. And, well…okay, so I freaked out when we checked in to the Atlantis Spa and Resort, they gave us the key cards and said, “You’ll be in the motor lodge behind the resort, but I gave you a view of the hotel.”

Um. What?

NOTE TO SELF: You MUST read the fine print on ANY online reservation.

Ten minutes in the room and we all decided to upgrade.

Took me a while to shake it off. I was embarrassed we were in this situation, irritated at the extra cost, and angry I hadn’t read things as clearly as I thought I had.

Okay…really it took me all night, sleeping, getting up, breakfast, and finally a text message shifted me into a good mood.

My beautiful clever girlfriend threw my own words back at me by text, “Why is it that we so often forget to take every moment we have and enjoy it and the people around us? Why don’t we stop what we are doing, quit focusing on ourselves and see what is right in front of us?”

She’s good. Very good.

So, I sit here, writing this blog viewing the sunset shining off the mountains in Reno. My friend Jon sitting next to me sipping coffee. My sister sitting across the room catching up on her business and friends. All of us happily interrupting each other to make a comment, share a moment, or point out something that has caught our attention. Waiting for tomorrow when all the Xocai Healthy Chocolate seminars and celebrations begin.

No checkmate. The board has been cleared and now covers the whole world.

Oh…and no need to go to the Mustang Ranch. Just thought it was catchy in the title.
(WARNING: Link not work friendly!)

P.S. I know I’m trying to post daily. Technically, it’s 11:00 p.m. in Reno, so I’m still making it on time. Will post new one earlier tomorrow. Thanks for reading!!



"Retro"spect on 2008

"Retro"spect on 2008

Vegas Nights

Everyone begins the year with a list of “New Year’s Resolutions.” Things we say we’re going to change about ourselves, or things we’ve put off doing, in order to grow.

I have the wonderful benefit (or curse) of having been a blogger for over 2 years. Not that I’ve been regularly doing it daily, but enough that I can tell you exactly what was going on when I was writing.

Now, several years ago, I made a resolution to give up resolutions and I haven’t started them back yet. However, to my dismay, I discovered SEVERAL entries where I stated what my next intentions were to better myself. I just didn’t do them on January 1st.

I suppose I’m not truly dismayed at the one entry that jumped out at me, but I did discover I’ve been working on the same things for over two years. AND, I haven’t been doing everything possible to make those things come true. There WAS a third item, and I actually accomplished it…sorta. It was “Moving into a condo so I could focus on traveling and not working on my house.” Well…I DID get to move into the condo temporarily, and it DID lead to me getting an apartment that freed up a ton of money so I could travel. So…that kinda worked. Right?

But the other two…not so much. Except for one I have recently started. These two were:

  1. Begin a writing career
  2. Work on a movie in some capacity

Well, I’ve done some writing off and on, but as of January 1st, I will have a short column in a small local publication (with big dreams). It’s called the MOMster Chronicles. It’s basically for, you guessed it…Moms. They have a new owner who wants to branch out and give moms as much support and information as possible to make life better for their family and themselves. Not sure if it will be online anytime soon, but I believe you can register for it. I’ll post the column the month after they publish. Meanwhile, here’s what they’ve got up for now:

I’ve also started writing for a new web site that I plan on having humor, information and communal advice when it comes to relationships. The column, I think I’ve mentioned before, will be called “The Single Guy” and be about the misadventures of a single guy trying to find love. It will be based off of many stories I’ve heard from friends as well as some of my own embellished stories. Hope to launch that VERY soon.

As for the movie making business? Well…that’s going to have to wait a bit longer. But let’s just say all the things I’m doing are moving towards giving me resources and time to go that direction as well. I’ve MET and NETWORKED with screenwriters, directors and other film folk. I’ll keep you posted on that as well.

Meanwhile, I’m off to Vegas with Christi via Interstate 40 and a 19 hour drive. We’re heading to a Chocolate business conference that starts at 10:00 a.m. in Vegas. We’re leaving on New Year’s day at 7:00. Our plan is to make it to Flagstaff, AZ by 10:00 p.m. Thursday night. We’ll keep you posted and maybe post some photos and/or video. Being the techno-geeks we are.

So, on this day when we all portend “New Beginnings” let’s start simple and just focus on “New Outlooks” and see where our visions can take us.

Mine is taking me to Vegas, baby!

Comic Con 2008 – Last Day (sunday)

Comic Con 2008 – Last Day (sunday)

Well, the adventure draws to a close. Our plan was to take Chris to the airport around 9 and head back to browse for a couple of hours. But we didn’t schedule quite right and traffic was still bad the closer you got to the convention center.

By the time we got close, we only had about 45 minutes. I really needed to drop in to buy a gift for my nephew, so I asked to be dropped off and meet him back in the alloted time.

3 blocks away and still a huge crowd, it took 15 minutes to get into the building. I stopped long enough to snap a picture of an army of ceramic warriors set up for the new Mummy movie. Oh…and a very cool “Black Cat” costume. I had seen several, and I’m sure some may reflect an older version of Black Cat, but this one was very current (see sample).

Anyway…the last picture was me and Troy on the way back to drop off the car. My camera was out of batteries.

Comic Con! I highly recommend it.

Upon returning, I’ve been sent photos and video of the weekend and have found over 24,000 photos, 80+ YouTube videos, and several independent ‘professional’ blogs and news blogs with videos on their site as well. Not to mention all the ones that pop up from previous years.

Next time I go….I have to figure out a way to pace myself. There is SO much going on there at ALL times of the day and night that it is nearly impossible to get through a fraction of what is going on. Films at nearby hotels, after parties at hotels, bars and restaurants, not to mention at the Comic Con they had film festival, anime festival, gaming, costume competitions, autograph signings and if you were an exhibitor or professional there, networking opportunities.

HUGE! I tell ya!

Well…I’ll blog more when I have something new to say. Give me a few days.

Namesté ya’ll!


Comic Con 2008 – Day 4 (Saturday)

Comic Con 2008 – Day 4 (Saturday)

This was GOING to be the last day, so we were prepared to get the most out of it. And there were panels we all wanted to see on our own, so we did.

Troy headed off to see Heroes panel, Chris went off to see Futurama and Simpsons and I…well… I wanted to shop and browse and zig zag through the exhibit hall untethered. I bought some shirts, took photos of people in costume, got some freebies and ran SMACK DAB into Felicia Day who wrote The Guild, an online webisode series that was hilarious! I’m sure I looked like a weird fan hovering, but she was on the phone and I was waiting until she was done. After she got off the phone, I spoke briefly to her and snapped a photo. I was going to try to catch up with her and her cast again, but the line was long at her booth and I had some panel sessions to attend.

Felicia Day, creator of "The Guild' and Eric

Felicia Day, creator of "The Guild' and Eric

ALSO, I managed to connect with a group I read about on the web months ago. They are producing their own movie by funding from the masses online. I met the lead actor and the woman who started the project, Jessica Mae Stover. I hope to connect with them further. I also met the author of, Phil. He had just taught at Governor’s School in Conway, Arkansas (which I attended WAY back in 1983…as did Troy!)

I also snapped a picture of Jamie Bamber (from Battlestar) who was at a booth for autographs and promoting a new movie.

Now…my MAIN event I wanted to attend was the Battlestar Galactica panel moderated by KEVIN SMITH! To GET to that, I ended up going to two OTHER sessions before it. The first was Dean Koontz just speaking about his work and life and answering questions. This was followed by Joss Whedon, Eliza Dushku and Tahmoh Penikett, Helo from Battlestar. They were promoting and discussing their new series “Dollhouse.”

Now, this WAS the room we were unable to get into the day before. As I said, I learned my lesson. PLUS it was easier for one person to find a seat than four finding seats together. Luck would have it that Chris was already IN the room so I ended up joining him after Koontz.

The Battlestar Panel was great. Lots of inside-behind the scenes stuff. Not so much spoilers or giving anything away, but thoughts about their experiences during the show. Plus, Kevin Smith asking the questions was VERY entertaining. The cast that appeared were the director and producer, Ronald Moore and David Eick, as well as James Callis (Balter), Tricia Helfer (Six), Katee Sackhoff (Starbuck), Michael Trucco (Anders/Cylon), and two others who weren’t scheduled, but were there: Jamie Bamber (Apollo) and Tahmoh Penikett (Helo).

They recived a very very long standing ovation, took pictures of the audience and graciously stood to recieve the applause.

I was really glad to see them in person as this has probably been one of my favorite shows.

Afterwards, me and Chris headed back to the exhibit hall to wander seperately and waited on Troy to get out of his session, Kim, her husband and daughter to show.

We headed for food before the big Masquerade Ball and ended up at a nifty restaurant that was a mexican/western/coastal fusion thingie. It was hella good! Kim and Tom’s little girl is C.U.T.E.!

Only Troy, Kim and I headed to the con. The place was packed, but spread out with screens in all the major rooms, since the ballroom was full. 46 entries, and they all did little shows. Unfortunately, we didn’t get back until contestant #34. Only a couple were really good. We didn’t stick around to see who won. However, they WERE serving up some snacks, and a cash bar. A D.J. busted out some music and soon the Joker and Catwoman were cuttin’ a rug and robbin’ the attendees. HAD I KNOWN there would be dancing and late night activities….

As it was, I was SLEEPY and thinkin’ we had to get up early to get Chris to the airport. Obviously I’ve been wiped out at night since I haven’t been updating regularly.

Here are some pics…and I made sure to take some for my women friends!

More in next posting…

Comic Con 2008 – Day 3 addendum

They warned us about crowds and lines. They weren’t kidding. But nothing any different than Disney World. And instead of a 3 minute ride, we generally got an hour of entertaining and informative information. Not to mention all the tv and movie stars. Granted, having to watch on a screen wasn’t TONS different then just watching online. However, it was LIVE and in person.

We started out the day trying to get there earlier for the Stormtrooper parade. Never saw it. Lines were long to get in the convention center, but moments after opening them, the crowds flooded in. We had waited outside for a bit as one of us had forgotten our wallet. The wait proved educational so we didn’t rush to get there early on Saturday.

Once there, we got in line at Starbucks which took forEVER! Nearly 45 minutes. WHAT WERE WE THINKING???

We met up with our high school alum Kim H. and headed to see the panel for the upcoming Watchmen movie (due out next year). The room was filled to 6,400 capacity! And it was AWESOME. The lead cast was there along with the director. Additionally, the artist of the comic from 1986 was there. He had a great comment during the Q&A. After years of languishing in development hell, seeing his artwork come to life in real sets, with real actors, all come to life was surreal.

Can you imagine? Doing artwork and later in life it’s all real? Very cool.

From there we RUSHED to the Joss Whedon panel and ended up staying in line for nearly 45 minutes. Only to reach the end of the line and we were 8 people away from fitting in the room. (see pics from last post outside…the line wrapped up and down a hallway and outside back and forth…capacity was around 4,500 people).

You see, the trick was (we learned), to arrive to a panel happening BEFORE the one you wanted to see. Or even one before THAT! (which worked very well on Saturday…more on that later).

With time to kill before the next thing we wanted to attend (Kevin Smith’s panel), we wandered the floor (see crowd pictures from last post and additional ones here).

Grabbing some lunch, we sat down for a bit. While reading over schedules for the day, I looked up at a man and his red headed kid who sat down to eat their cheeseburgers. I did a double take, but thought better of it. But curosity got the better of me as I glanced at his name badge. However, it was just below the table and I couldn’t read it. Still curious, I popped open my laptop and pulled up and confirmed my suspicions…

There, sitting at our table, was none other than Bill S. Preston, Esquire, of the Wyld Stallions!!! (for you NON-geeks out there, that’s Bill from “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure!”) (cue air guitar)

I didn’t get a picture, but did strike up a short conversation with him and his son. They were on the prowl for a Joker action figure. I told him I was a big fan of the movie and he graciously accepted the compliment. His kid was cool too.

After shopping, it was time to go get in line for Kevin Smith. We planned on getting there TWO sessions early. Can’t recall, at the moment, what was first. The line was VERY long, but we got in without a problem.

The first panel was really great. It was Entertainment Weekly’s Visionaries panel with Frank Miller, Judd Apatow, Zack Snyder and Kevin Smith. BONUS! Hilarious and informative panel. Judd Apatow (40 Year Old Virgin) and Kevin Smith played well together.

Staying in the room, we got to listen to Kevin Smith lead the panel and show us a clip from his upcoming movie Zack and Miri Make a Porno. Stars Elizabeth Banks, Seth Rogen, Traci Lords, Justin Long, Brandon Routh and an ex porn star I don’t recall the name of. No really. I don’t know it.

The panel lasted until 8:00 and it took us a while to find food in nearby Little Italy. It was VERY tasty. However, finishing at 10:00 (or later) and being an old fogey now-a-days, we decided to call it a night.

I wanted to catch Joss Whedon’s “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” with Felicia Day, Nathan Fillion and Neil Patrick Harris. I found out, by bumping into Felicia Day the next day, that the room was filled to capacity and they had to open two more rooms! It’s available for download on iTunes. Joss Whedon created Buffy, by the way.

No new pics. I uploaded them already. But wait for the next posting!!!