Category Archives: Television

Sensei Richard Rabago #shorinryu #karate #martialarts #tradition #btilc

The door opened around 6:00pm today. I heard happy notes being sung as boxes rustled and keys clanked on the kitchen counter. It is comforting to hear such lovely sounds at the end of a long work day. I was making my bed on the other side of the house when he walked in, arms full of stuff. 

First, I spotted the grey gi, perfectly pressed without a single wrinkle. I remember that gi very well. The sound of the “snap” when Sensei Richard pulled a punch or perform a series of moves in a kata would echo off the walls of the dojo. 

Sensei Butch stacked up a mountain of movie costumes and trophies but I fixated on the grey gi. All those nights filled with physical training – running basic blocks, kicks, punches, stances over and over and over until the movement became automatic and natural.  Countless hours of challenging my shyness to feel ready to perform kata alone, in front of strangers and classmates. And numerous moments of laughter and smiles after class was pau, just talking story or ribbing students about nothing and everything, it all came back to me in a flash. I walked to the kitchen and found my Rabago Shorin Ryu patch from 15 years ago. We will sew it onto Sensei Richard’s gi before we hang it in the dojo. 

“…and this Hakama from one of his movies…and this ninja hood from the movie, ‘Pocket Ninjas’  and ‘Full Impact’ which he produced…” we went through each item and shared memories. Sensei Butch worked on a lot of these projects and had stories about Sensei Richard and other black belts. On some films, Sensei Richard choreographed stunts, in others he was an actor and at times, he produced the films. He also spent years playing “Tao” in the TV series, “V.R. Troopers.” 

Sensei Butch always talks about how lucky he was to have a father who supported his martial arts training and a Sensei who treated him like a son. They both pushed him to train hard and stay focused. Butch often states that karate pulled him out of the ghetto, that’s real. Because of his talent and hard work, Sensei Butch travelled across the country and around the world to compete in karate tournaments. 

None of these costumes would possibly fit Sensei Butch so I decided to try on a few items. 
  Do I look like a “Pocket Ninja” in my Hello Kitty kigarumi and ninja costume hood? 
   Costume from “Big Trouble in Little China.” 

This little walk down memory lane felt like a gentle reminder as to why I train. Karate gave me an anchor and home base after college. I had a new home and an expanded family as I grew into becoming an adult. I know that so much of my life success as a single mom with a demanding career can be attributed to what I learned on the dojo floor. My responsibility is to pass along what I can to help instill the values of discipline, respect, tradition, humility, integrity and Ohana to our students at Togisala Shorin Ryu. 

My Guest Host Appearance @thebecauseshow @baldmove 

 “The Because Show” is an affiliate podcast on I started as a listener, contributed silly ideas/voicemails and look at me now, Mama, I’m a guest host today!
We talk about Mad Men, restraining orders and vibrators. Super fun topics  for adult audiences only! 

Take a listen and please leave a five star iTunes review, if you love it as much as I do. 


For Our Consideration @WalkingDead_AMC #TWD

One of the fantastic perks about being in LA and knowing people who work in the Industry is having nights like last night. Pre-Emmy voting season, the Academy hosts evenings where an episode is screened and cast members, along with producers and/or directors, will have a Q&A panel. Last night, we attended a For Your Consideration event for “The Walking Dead”.

The event was held at the Egyptian Theater, right in the heart of Hollywood Blvd. I actually had forgotten that it was next to the iconic restaurant bar that I used to frequent in my 20s called Pig and Whistle. It also sits less than a block away from one of the more notorious sites:

Blogger’s note:  if you haven’t watched “Going Clear” the HBO doc about Scientology, you should.

We waited in a long line but what I noticed was this crowd looked a lot less like industry people and a lot more like fans who attend Walker Stalker Cons or SDCC. I only saw one person in Cosplay, dressed as Michonne, but I definitely saw and heard chatter from die-hard TWD fans. My daughter brought something other than her earbuds and phone to kill time in line, while I answered work email.

She just started “Lord of the Flies” for school. That made me very proud. I had her do a ton of homework over the weekend so she could attend this event with me, I did not make her bring the book, though.

Once we got in, check-in was a smooth process and the theater quickly filled up. We actually walked to the theater early just so I could feel comfortable with where we were going. I’m glad we did because 90 minutes before the screening was to start, the line was halfway down the block already!   I also saw my friend from @walkrstalkrcon, LeAnn. She’s been with the con since the very beginning and we met at WSC ATL 2013. I adore her.

LeAnn and her friend, who happens to work with Soneiqua Martin-Green, scored third row seats. Her pics kick butt on mine ūüôā

For this event, they showed S5 finale and the cast came out for Q&A. When I saw the number of chairs on stage I said to myself, “Damn, I’m glad I’m not moderating.”  Check out this stage:

Kirkman, Gimple, Nicotero, Lincoln, Reedus, moderator from Deadline Hollywood, Yeun, Gurira, McBride, Coleman, Martin-Green and Cudlitz. How could they all possibly have equal time to respond to questions?  Well, they didn’t. The moderator asked a few, the audience asked a few and some came via Twitter. I tried to capture a few of the responses, sorry the video is crappy, I sat in the cheap seats towards the back.

Chad L Coleman talks about Tyreese’s death scene, after we saw a clip, and Andrew Lincoln follows up with his comments about it. Loads of well-deserved praise for Coleman’s performance in Lincoln’s comments.

It is really fun to hear the actors talk about how much they support one another. I think audience members don’t realize that on a show with a cast this size, there are times when they may not shoot together. Or, they may never work on the same day. So when a big scene is going to happen, many times the other actors will come to the set to show their support and watch filming. Obviously, they are also The Walking Dead fans.

Norman Reedus added his perspective on that day, as well. There was a lot of Tyreese death scene love love.

Melissa McBride fielded a question from the audience about why she is so mean to children.

Finally, Steven Yeun had an opportunity to speak *swoon*.  He is such a #SHAG (smoking hot Asian guy.)

After the panel, we all went outside for a reception. Free booze and pupus on a Monday night in Hollywood, just another day in the life of a DiversityNerd.  

Us with #SHAG  

This last photo is the cast’s POV on us! 

Walker Stalker Con ATL 2014 Steven Yeun panel @steveyeun


Watching the Steven Yeun (#SHAG Smoking Hot Asian Guy) panel at Walker Stalker Con 2015 was not in my schedule. I was lucky enough to take a photo with him in 2013 and had front row seats for his panel, as well. Poor Steven felt sick last year and that supported the storyline in the show when we all thought he might die from that strange walker virus in Season 4. We all know that he didn’t die from the virus but damn, is he going to get killed off in Season 5?

I had walked in late, with my slice of cheese pizza, and plopped down in front of the screen to listen in on the panel. James and Eric of The Walker Stalkers had already opened the floor to questions from the audience. They seemed to have put a max on the number of hugs allowed which made me giggle. Although I know fans love the opportunity to get a hug and/or take a selfie, it isn’t all that interesting for the hundreds of others in the room.

Steven Yeun fielded questions about working with Lauren Cohan and Scott Wilson. The respect he gave to Scott Wilson’s acting ability really impressed me. But, Steven also shared stories about how Scott Wilson has fallen asleep during scenes. Even though that is old news, it still brought a smile to my face and sparked laughter in the audience.

As the panel continued, I heard a familiar voice on the mic. Sweet-voiced Rosie asked a quick question and followed up with, “can I come sit with you?” Turns out Rosie had on the Detroit Tigers hat that Steven had sent to her after last year’s Walker Stalker Con Atlanta. Rosie had asked if she could trade hats with Steven last year. He really didn’t want to say “no” but he told her that the hat was a gift from someone and he promised to mail Rosie a hat. Lo and behold, there were photos posted on social media a couple of weeks later and Rosie’s beaming smile peeked out from beneath a Detroit hat that was sent to her from Steven Yeun. That gesture endeared me to Steven, he really is more than just a #SHAG.



Towards the end of the panel, a mom brought her daughter up who requested a favor. This little girl wanted Steven to deliver a message to Danai Gurira. Unfortunately, Danai had a shooting conflict and couldn’t make her Walker Stalker Con appearance. So, this young girl asked Steven to tell Danai that she was her favorite character and she loved her. It really was remarkably adorable. Steven agreed at first but took a beat and decided to one up relaying a message. He grabbed his cell phone and said, “let’s record her a message and I will send it to her!” The entire crowd breathed in a collective “wow” and off he went, phone in hand, jumping down from the stage to kneel down next to the little girl. I tried to catch that on my iPhone.

That was such a cute moment, I really think it made everyone smile, including Danai Gurira, once she opened that message from Steven.

So even though this panel was not a part of my Walker Stalker Con plan, I’m very happy that I was able to witness such a cute moment.

Almost as happy as I looked last year, when I took my photo with Steven Yeun in my Black Milk Zombie Nation Skater Dress.



Oct 17 – 19, 2014 were the dates for Walker Stalker Con Atlanta this year. I wanted to drink it in as an attendee and just chill. Sitting in the audience is a rare treat. I’ve been running all over the country conducting presentations on Diversity this year. Of course, in my excitement about being at the con, I couldn’t stop myself from shooting a few clips from panels. Since the videos clips and pics taking up space on my iPhone, why not share some with you? Please forgive the giggling in the background, I had a ton of fun at the con and my friends were cracking me up on this panel.

Once again this year, it was moderated by Jason and Karen of “The Walking Dead’Cast” and the guest podcasters represented four other Walking Dead podcasts: ¬†Jasmine and Michael of “The Walking Dead Girl”, Yardley from “Talking About Walkers”, Jim and ARon from’s “The Watching Dead” and Eric from “The Walker Stalkers”. Each of the podcasts have a distinctive flavor and tone so if you’re a fan of the show, you may want to subscribe to one or all of these podcasts. I listen to three of the five that were represented, “The Walking Dead’Cast” and “The Watching Dead”. However, Jasmine impressed me enough to check out “The Walking Dead Girl”. She’s very sharp and a fan of both the show and of horror. On top of all that, her enthusiasm about the show is infectious. And it turns out that Yardley writes in to Bald Move fairly often so they were all familiar with him. I am taking that co-sign as a nod to go ahead and give his podcast a listen. ¬†I now have two new subscriptions to add to my rotation. That’s good for the hours and hours of running I should be doing to get ready for some upcoming half marathons.

My point of view for this panel:


Last year, this panel focused attention on each of the podcasts, the discussion centered on the unique flavor they each bring as they cover “The Walking Dead”. ¬†For 2014, a decision was made to talk about the actual show. ¬†Because the first episode was the only one that we had seen for Season Five, Jason asked questions about the show and allowed the podcaster panel to just run with it. ¬†You can hear me giggling while I held my little iPhone 5S up to record segments of the panel. ¬†One thing I learned from San Diego Comic Con was that trying to record long segments makes it harder to use them in my blog. ¬†So goes just one limitation of using an iPhone instead of an actual computer to blog. No doubt there is a way to do all of the above on an iPhone, I just haven’t sat down long enough to figure it out.

About halfway into the panel, the group has warmed up to each other and Jason asked, “Who will be the first character to die?” ¬†The conversation started with the name “Carol”. ¬†Not everyone agreed but everyone had an opinion. Check it for yourself…

See what I mean? The all cover the show and they all have different thoughts on where Season Five is going. One thing I enjoy about listening to the different podcasts is the diversity of perspectives and how influences my enjoyment of the show. ¬†When one host points out a detail that I didn’t pick up the first time I watched show, inevitably I will look for it during a re watch. ¬†I am not the person or the fan who argues if I disagree with someone’s opinion. One of the things I appreciate about art, be it television or a painting or a novel, a variety of perspectives adds to the richness of the experience. There is room for everyone to have an opinion, we all have one, just like a**h****. ¬†Value comes when people feel safe enough to share their opinions (please don’t ask if that applies to a**h**** because that is none of anyone’s business but their own). Diversity of thought and opinions adds to the richness of life and work.

The Walking Dead pulls together zombie and horror tropes with a family drama, all wrapped up with incredible costuming (Eulyn Womble)¬†and knock your socks off special effects (Greg Nicotero). ¬†Getting to know crew, cast and podcasters who work on the show has created a new intimacy with the show for me. ¬†That is what I enjoy most about this panel during Walker Stalker Con, the audience is a community of fans listening to fans in a convention that focuses on “The Walking Dead.” These podcasters are fans who invest their personal time into analysis and review of The Walking Dead. ¬†Check them out, you can find them on-line.

Here is a shot of ARon and Jim from Bald Move and the glowing mic.