Boba: The Quest for Perfection (Cha for Tea, Long Beach)

I visited Cha for Tea in Long Beach where I got blended Thai Tea because they didn’t have my favorite flavor: chocolate. It was way too sweet. And way too icy. The bobas were perfect, though.
The customer service is fantastic. All of the girls working were very helpful and friendly.
They had samples of tea at the register along with way too many things to read and look at.
There is no lounge area. Just wooden tables and chairs with a confusing number system.
1/5 bobas. 
P.S. The name of your business doesn’t make sense.

Natraj Cuisine of India

That guy might be a nerd...
Is Indian food considered geeky? I don’t know, but I had to write about this restaurant.
My friends Sean and Sam took me to Natraj Cuisine of India in Belmont Shore. I’ve only had Indian food maybe twice before, but this was AMAZING.
Sean and Sam are regulars at this restaurant and thus are treated like royalty. We were warmly greeted by the owner the moment we walked in. The warm ‘hello’s continue from every staff member we came across.
Natraj is a little bit of a hole-in-the-wall (my favorite kind of hole (I know)). The restaurant is quiet and dark and warm and fresh. The décor is not too cheesy: There is a wall mural of the Taj Mahal, but, c’mon, isn’t that standard practice?
We ordered a plethora of vegetarian dishes. As well as some rice and garlic naan. SO GOOD. And, because Sean and Sam are on 'the list', we got to share a complimentary frozen cheesy piece of heaven. Then the owner came back over to us and wanted to make sure I, specifically, was satisfied.
So, after your love interest agrees to a second date (since you took him/her to The Library for coffee on your first date), take him/her to Natraj Cuisine of India and relish in the, “You know all the good places,” compliments you are sure to receive.


The Library: A Coffee Shop

I don't know these people.
Do you like hot beverages? What about books?
I stumbled upon a way-cool geek-friendly coffee shop in Long Beach: The Library.
Think of the kind of coffee shop you see in movies and TV shows. Central Perk, anyone? Those sort of lounge-coffee shops don’t really exist, right? In the real world we have stark, always-the-same, Starbucks. Not so fast, Mr. Negative.
This place is so comfortable and cozy. I browsed through books, made 2 new friends, and enjoyed a delicious soy chai tea latte. If I had the foresight to have brought my laptop, I may have been inspired to write a novel – who knows. It’s just THAT awesome of a place.
If you’re a nerd without the courage to ask a someone on a real date and instead asks him or her to ‘coffee’. This is where you should take that person to get said coffee. Your guest will, for sure, agree to a second date to see what other amazing hidden places you know about.
One draw-back: parking. Isn’t that just Long Beach in general, though?

Update: Harry Potter Midnight Screening

We found a group of half-assed costumes.

Was it worth the wait? Of course!
Less people were dressed up this year. Maybe because it was cold? I don’t know.
I slept for the first half of the day. Yeah, just out – on the ground – whatevs. Then we met up with Bellatrix Lestrage and wandered all over the Spectrum taking pictures. It was great fun.
We were probably 20th in line when we got to the theatre. By the time we went inside we were 60th. Stupid kids holding spots for dozens of people.
We got good seats. However, we were sitting next to some OC Bro Douches who had clearly snuck in. They were loudly hating on all of the Harry Potter pride that was happening in the theatre. Finally someone stood up to them and said, “knock it off.”
A chorus of, “oh, tough guy, huh?” broke out.
THEN THE BEST LINE OF THE NIGHT was uttered by one of these a-holes. In a classic meat-head-bro drawl, “I’ll stupefy his bitch-ass.”
Then the movie started and they fell asleep.
Narcissa, Bellatrix, and Snape re-create the unbreakable vow from HP and the Half Blood Prince.
I’m not going to give you my review of the movie. It is your job to go see it and tell me what you thought!


Harry Potter Midnight Screening

Are you ready for what’s about to happen?
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 is coming to a theatre near you on FRIDAY. THIS Friday.
If you’re truly a fan, you’ll be seeing this film on Thursday at midnight.
I’ll be getting in line for the 12:01am IMAX screening at the Irvine Spectrum at 9am. That’s right, I will be waiting in line for 15ish hours on Thursday.
That’s insane! No, not really. Midnight screenings are one of my all-time favorite events. One gets to spend the day with like-minded geeks, playing trivia, talking about the film, taking pictures in costume.
COSTUME? Oh yeah. I’ll be dressed as Luna Lovegood and I’ll be hanging out with Sirius Black.

Even if you’re not a fan. It’s gonna be worth visiting the Spectrum to see all the crazy.
At the Midnight Screening for Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Update: OC Improv Cup

Laughs were heard, moneys were raised. 
Cherry Spitz Comedy did really well in the Cup. We had players finish 6th, 4th, and 2nd. Hurray!
“You know who really won? Hole in the Wall Camps Charity.”
Thank you to everyone who came out. 
If you missed it, there's always next year!  

Sptiz at the cup: Kevin Stevenson, Blaire Byhower, Erik Wargo, Tim Gale, Kat Shea, Lars Hansen, James Stebick, Ify Nwadiwe

Whimsic Alley

This is the most magical place in Los Angeles. Unless you think that the Spider Man in front of Grauman’s is really him.
By now everyone knows about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, Florida. BUT!!! Did you know there is what might be considered a Wizarding World gift shop right here in So Cal?
This is indoors. Neat.
This shop, Whimsic Alley, is designed to look like… an alley. Brilliant. Each tiny shop within the shop carries a different type of HP merchandise: costumes, hats, toys, wands, TWILIGHT.
That’s right. Edward and Jacob set up shop in the middle of Harry's store. “You, Harry, will have a monopoly on this imaginary Alley, NO MORE!”
The IDEA of this place is great. The execution makes me feel like Harry Potter was invented to sell children over-priced make-believe accessories. I kept seeing Harry as an old washed-up used car salesman, pushing last year’s inventory. Dirty. 
Hey, have you’ve been searching for a $20 chocolate frog? I found it.
I was hoping to find a Ravenclaw sweater to go with my scarf and tie (NERD ALERT). The only option was itchy, fit strangely, and costs $40. Sigh.
Oh hey, Sorting Hat.
The décor makes this shop worth the visit, though. There is even a ‘great hall’ where special events and birthday parties are held. It's mini version, but it's still awesome.
If you can’t afford visiting Florida… well, you probably won’t be able to afford this place either.
My solution is for you to leave your wallet at home and hop on the 5 for a spell.


There it is! That green soda is Mr. Q. Cucumber!

Now, I’m not a soda drinker, but when I heard about this place I HAD to go.
Galco’s is a soda/candy/beer shop in Los Angeles. Not just any soda/candy/beer: hard-to-find/independent/disappearing soda/candy/beer.
The main event, though, is the SODA. The owner of the shop is crazy in-love with soda. He hunts down independent brewers like a soda bounty hunter then makes them an offer they can’t refuse. He carries around 500 different kinds of the sugary beverage.
"Take us with you."
What are the stipulations to becoming a member of this carbonation carnival? You must be in a glass bottle. Plastic is the enemy. AND, you should be made with real cane sugar. Not all of the beverages carried here have rejected the corn syrup model. But, most are sweetened with nature’s sugar: sugar. Take that diabetes.
The prices are extremely reasonable. Most bottles are around a dollar. That’s less than a stupid old PLASTIC (yuck) bottle of coke from a vending machine.
This place is so fun. I felt like a kid in a soda/candy/beer store. We may have ended up spending $60 on glass bottles of carbonated sugar water… But now we have a Noah’s arc of root beer in the fridge.
Best/strangest flavor? Mr. Q. Cucumber. AMAZING. Buy it. Drink it. LOVE it.

Boba: The Quest for Perfection (Lollicup, Fullerton)

While making the funny happen at the Improv Cup in Fullerton this weekend, I became parched. Luckily, there is an awesome boba shop right around the corner from the theatre!
This place has plenty of relaxing space. It’s really open and airy. There is a shelf full of board games, two hilariously confusing Japanese video games, and a few sets of couches.
The quality of the boba was spot-on. My tea was delicious: Really smooth and mild, not too sweet.
I also enjoyed some tofu. SO GOOD.
There is no sign out front. It just says “Coffee and Tea” in tiny letters. Also, one entire wall of the store is windows. When it’s dark outside, who knows what might be watching! Creepy.
4/5 bobas.


Nerdy Thursday

Some 'bros'.

A collection of musicians, comedians, short video makers, and poets gather at Mulberry St Restorante every Thursday night to put on a free variety show.
Every week has a different theme. Themes of the past include ‘post-apocalyptic’, ‘dinosaurs’, and ‘the 90s’. This week was ‘bros’. Thus, all of the acts revolved around making fun of the anti-geek, the bro. The re-occurring jokes were fantastic. “Which is better, Sublime or Lip Bizkit? Havasu or Lake Powell? A raised F150 or a raised F350? Tribal tattoos or nautical stars?...” The event itself, however, seemed like a group of friends that got together at someone’s apartment every week, not a professional show.
Hey! She's too pretty to be a nerd!
My friend Nikki, a Fullerton local, and I attended the event together. When we first walked into the restorante we thought we had the wrong place. It looks like a 65-year-old couple’s dream date night: Dark wood, red leather, white table clothes, dim lighting, long old-fashioned bar at the entrance… Minutes before 10 o’ clock (when the show is scheduled to start), there was no one setting up and barely anyone there.
Eventually people started trickling in and at most the venue had 20 geeks in attendance. While waiting for the show, we had some time to people-watch: MAN! Geeks LOVE beards. The beard is like the universal signal for, “I like Indy Folk music, thrift shops, and film festivals.” 
At 10:50pm the show began. The acts were hit or miss. Some were awkward and some were clever. Over all, it's entertainment and the price is right.

Nerdy Thursdays does not take place at Hibbleton Art Gallery from 8 – 10. It is at Mulberry St. Restaurante from 10 – 12.

As I am to understand you have something to do with the Nerdy Thursday Variety Show, please mention the information SOMEWHERE on your website.
Also, the phone number you have listed is no longer yours. You should get on that.

As Nerdy Thursday is an event at YOUR place of business, you should consider mentioning it on your website.

Please either officially change the start time of your show to reflect when it actually begins, or start when you say you will.


Photo Cred: Bert Brown


The Bruery in Orange

"Drink us..."

Snobs and yuppies have wine tasting. We get beer: another win for the geeks.
Very recently The Bruery opened in the circle in Orange. The sign has been up for months – teasing me. I finally got to visit last night.
First up, you’ll notice that “brewery” is spelled wrong. The Bruery is a play on a family name “Rue.” Mr. Rue started brewing beers in his garage during his fist year of med school (understandably) and changed his profession shortly there-after (understandably).
The Bruery is a small, Orange County based brewery, focusing on mostly Belgian and unusual styles of beer. This is their second store-front.
First impressions: The style of the shop is a little too elegant for what I expected from a small, unique, company. I wanted to see more of a man-cave and less of a Napa Wine Cellar. More fun and intrigue, please.
Wine barrels?
I felt a little confused when I walked in. I asked the guy at the front to tell me about the place and he did a great job. Then he directed me to the back of the shop to do tasting.
My face shuts off when tasting.

They have a bunch of different “tasting flights” and all of them are INCREDIBLY affordable: $3 - $8! They also offer several cheese plates to pair with the flights. I love doing tastes: It's like sending my mouth on a treasure hunt!
I wanted to try the Bruery beers more than anything else, so I asked for one of their flights.
I got 5 beers that ranged from almost clear to med-dark. I would have purchased 4 out of 5 of them. The last one, the darkest, was the most interesting. It was a holiday-flavored sweet brew. Nutmeg, Yams, cinnamon… Dang.
If you want to geek-out over some unique, independent, beers – visit The Bruery. Even if you’re not into supporting the little guy (what kind of monster are you?), they have a bunch of different, more main-stream options. I say, get there in the early evening with some fellow beer-lovers, spend $20 on 4 flights, and send your tasters on an adventure.


OC Improv Cup

James Ro-Sham-Bo-ing at the IO Cage Match.

That’s right, you can come see nerds battle to the death-ish this weekend, November 12th-13th!
There is a handful of improv teams, here in Orange County. We pretend to get along and support one another, but mostly we all do our own thing. NOT THIS WEEKEND!
My guest appearance at LSD's show.
Josh Nicols of The Lobby Improv is heading up an Orange County Improv Cup. All the improvisers of the OC have been mix-matched into teams of four. These teams are going to battle head-to-head at the Stages Theater in Fullerton until a winner can be crowned. Losers will be PUNISHED (or maybe not)!
I happen to be on a team made up of mostly girls: selling point!
Anyway, the whole thing is for charity and promises to be hilarious.
See you there!

We're Alive: A Story About Survival

We’re Alive is an old fashioned Radio Drama Style Podcast… about zombies.
This story has all the classic zombie moments one would expect from a story about the z-apocalypse. But what really makes it great are the character plots. This is a VERY character-heavy piece, which makes it that much juicier. It’s like a prime-time soap, but the stakes are raised as high as they can go.
The show is in its second season and is taking off. This is the #1 podcast on Zune and is rapidly rising to the top of iTunes. And, it’s FREE to download. Though, I highly recommend purchasing the completely re-mastered, commercial-free CD box set. Xmas, anyone?
Every Monday a 15-25 minute portion of a chapter is released. Each chapter is around an hour long. Kc Wayland, a graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Media Arts in Orange, writes, directs, edits, and produces the show. He says that approximately 120 hours of writing, recording, and editing go into every chapter. It shows.
This podcast is unbelievably well-done. Everything from the sound design to the acting is professional quality.
Everyone I have exposed We’re Alive to, from my geeky improv team to my mom and grandma, has loved it!
If you must know, I play Lizzy.
The only thing I HATE about this show is that it doesn’t make any money. Everyone involved does it because they love it. They deserve to get paid! However, I’m told that the more Facebook Fans the We’re Alive page gets, the more likely it is that the series will be sold and turned into a TV show!
So what are you waiting for? Start downloading! Go ‘like’ their fan page! Go! Go! Go!

Boba: The Quest for Perfection (Lollicup, Orange)

It’s been a few years since I quit my addiction to Boba drinks. I think it’s time to start it back up.
If you don’t know what boba is, firstly, what kind of geek are you? Secondly, it’s tapioca. You know the little chewy balls in tapioca pudding? That’s the tapioca. Bobas are larger, slightly sweet, black balls (yeah, I know) that the Taiwanese started throwing into their tea.
 A few years ago boba shops started popping up all over the place (but mostly in Irvine). The two chains I’m most familiar with are Tapioca Express and Lollicup.
The idea behind Boba Shops is to provide, not only a delectable variety of milk and bubble teas, bobas with a balanced chewy consistency, and affordable prices, but to create a geek-friendly hang out zone. This usually consists of been bag chairs, couches and free wifi.
I am now officially kicking off my hunt for the best boba shop in OC!
First up: Lollicup in Orange. 
It's time to buy a new menu board.
This shop was a mess. Papers were taped up everywhere announcing different sales or new products. The kitchen looked in shambles. The menu board had new prices taped on top of old ones and some things crossed out. A 1999 Christina Aguilera concert was on the flat screen (someone asked if it could be changed, it couldn’t be). There were old cups and snacks from guests long-gone that were still out. The store is also really narrow and doesn’t provide a comfortable lounge area. Plus, there was only one dude working when, clearly, there needed to be at least two. Orders were pilling up on him.
"I'm unimpressive."
The quality of the tea was so-so. My chocolate snow bubble (like a slushy) was pretty icy. The bobas were over-cooked, and thus, slimy.
The location does offer free wifi. The state of the place might have been because of someone calling out sick. And, this was my first boba drink in a long time.
I give Lollicup in Orange 1/5 bobas.

Aquarium of the Pacific

Fish! So interesting, those fish. Right? RIGHT? Meh… not really.
I received free tickets to the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific. Score! I love fish, sharks, the whole lot! That’s why I SCUBA dive occasionally. Well, that, and my parents eventually forced me to do a physical activity.
I took a day off work, grabbed Grandma (the friend I know is always available and up for anything), and we hit the Aquarium! When we first arrived I scheduled our day around the shows. The shows are usually the best part of animal-related amusement parks. The shows are when the animals have to actually do stuff, well, if they want to eat.
First up: Whales, A Journey With Giants. This is to be a show made up of 8 projections on the walls. 8 SCREENS?!! AWESOME! The location of the show is called the Great Hall and is huge. I’m thinking this place is going to transform into an underwater paradise: whales swimming all around… Nope. 8 identical 4ftX5ft fuzzy videos play in various nooks of the hall.
Diver in a big ol' fish tank.
Next show: SCUBA divers. For this show a couple divers get into a 3-story tall tank! One has a microphone and he… barely audibly tells us about how important recycling is. Okay. Moving on.
Sharks! Yes! We’re going to see huge scary sharks ferociously rip apart their food. No we’re not. We’re going to see incredibly bored sharks ignore their dinners.
Otters? Uneventful.
Another diver? Same dude, same spiel, different tank.
Lorakeets? Closed.
The most exciting attractions were the embossing stations around the park. Find the page of your Visitor’s Guide that discusses this area, and emboss it! Yay! Grandma and I collected them all.
Now what? Let’s look at fish.
Turns out, watching fish swim around and be fish-like: not very interesting.
My friend, Matthew, however, tells me that on Fridays one can enter the outdoor portion of the Aquarium for free. He says they often have a band playing and it can be a way cool nerd date-night.
In conclusion, if you’re not on a nerd date and/or you’re not a 2nd grader getting out of school to learn about fish and recycling… meh.
Hello. I am at the Aquarium.