This past week of workouts were a bit off for me. Part of the problem was that during the second half of the week I wasn’t feeling ok (more on that tomorrow), but the workouts just didn’t seem to mesh well with me for some reason.
Monday was a strength day so I didn’t get to do much running, but it was still a pretty good workout for me. I walked all of the hill work for the push paces, but we also had some flat incline pushes. So I was able to run those plus the all outs which were on a flat incline as well. I was even able to do 6.5 miles an hour for one of my 30 second all out paces. That’s a little too fast still for me, but I can handle it for 30 seconds especially since the treadmill takes a bit of time to get up to speed.
The floor work on Monday was a lot of arm work and for some reason when I started I had some weird shoulder pain. I’m not sure what caused it because it’s gone now (maybe I slept funny?), but it made me a bit concerned so I did lighter weights than I normally do. I didn’t want to hurt myself so I knew I had to take it easy. I was also having that same pain for some of the body weight work that we did (walkouts were the main one that hurt), so I did my best but also wasn’t able to do as many of each thing as we were supposed to do. I didn’t feel great about my workout, but I also didn’t know that I would have a worse workout later in the week.
On Wednesday, I was feeling a bit off. I thought I might be getting sick, but I didn’t feel too bad so I figured I’d be able to do a pretty tough workout. This day was endurance, strength, and power so there were more opportunities for me to get some running done. For the endurance section, we had a couple of 1 minute push paces followed by 30 second base paces. I’ve been doing a lot of 1 minute run/1 minute walk things, so this was pretty good for me. I think that 30 seconds to walk between running is a bit short for me, but it was nice to try and hopefully will make future runs a bit easier. During the strength section, I walked since it was hills. I thought about trying to run on hills again, but since I was feeling off I didn’t want to push it. And for the power section we had some 1 minute push paces followed by 30 second all out paces. I was able to run for all of that which was awesome and I finished with a 1 minute all out pace at 6.3 miles an hour.
On the floor, we had rowing for each block. The first block was 200 meters (I forgot to track my time), the second block was 300 meters (I did it in 1:09), and the third block was 600 meters (I did it in 2:41 which shocked me!). The rowing didn’t feel as awkward as it has in the past which may explain how I did some really great times on my rows. It was another day focused on arms and I was able to use some heavier weights than on Monday since I wasn’t having that weird shoulder pain. Even though I was still feeling off at the end of the workout, I was feeling great about how I did in class.
Friday was not a good day for me. I’ll explain more about what happened to me on Thursday, but I decided to stick it out and do my Friday workout. But I knew I had to take it easy no matter what I did. So I skipped the treadmill and went on the bike. It’s been a while since I’ve used the bike and it was a bit weird at first. But I got back into the groove pretty quickly. I didn’t focus a ton on what the workout was that day (sorry Bruce), but I tried to increase the gears on the bike when we had push paces or all outs. I wasn’t doing as much as I used to during my 4th workouts of the week on the bike, but it was better than doing nothing.
For the floor work, we had 300 meter rows (I did them in 1:24, 1:19, and 1:13 which is weird because I usually don’t get faster throughout the workout) and some arm work where we were either in a plank position or on our backs on the weight bench. It was tough to do those things because I was feeling dizzy in those positions, but I did better for things where we were sitting down or standing up. I had to use some lighter weights again and they felt really heavy to me that day. But I just had to keep reminding myself that I wasn’t hurting myself by doing a workout and it was better to do this than to not come to class.
I don’t have the highest hopes that this week of workouts will be better. As I’m writing this post (on Sunday), I’m still feeling off. I’m sure my Monday workout will be affected by it but I’m hoping by the end of the week I’m back to normal again. I don’t like to take it easy because I’ve been making such huge improvements lately, but I also know that it’s better to take it easy than to overdo it and not be able to work out the next time.
After my dentist appointment was over, I had something fun scheduled. A few days before the appointment, my Disneyland friend June asked me what I was doing on the day of my appointment. I told her that I should be free after 4pm and she asked if I wanted to go to Disneyland for a few hours to check out the Halloween stuff.
I said yes right away since I wasn’t sure if I’d be at the parks anytime while the Halloween stuff was up (now it looks like I’ll make it there next month), and even though it was going to be a long drive in rush hour to get there I was super excited! I needed something positive to focus on during the dentist appointment, and I think knowing I had a Disneyland adventure after really did help keep the panic away (June and I have already said that we will have to go to Disneyland after my next appointment).
The drive down was a bit longer than usual, but fortunately there were carpool lanes on a few freeways we used. It was just over an hour to get to the parking lot but it took quite a while to get through the parking booths and parked (lots of people going into the parks for some after-work fun). By the time we got into Disneyland, it was 6pm and we were on a mission to check out all the Halloween themed stuff.
Our first stop was the Tower of Terror. This ride will be closing in a few months, but before it closes they are doing a special totally dark version of the ride at night. Instead of seeing the various scenes before the elevator drops, it’s totally dark and you only hear the voiceover. There are some tricks that they do that make the ride feel very different, but I don’t want to give away the fun! But I have to say that riding it was really awesome and I was laughing so hard I was crying.
They also have a really awesome photo spot in front of the ride and we took advantage of that. I’m glad we did that because I’m hearing now that the Hollywood Tower sign was taken down that night and I don’t know if it will be put back up before the ride closes.
After Tower of Terror, we actually decided to leave California Adventure and go over to Disneyland where the other 2 Halloween rides were. We really only had a plan to ride those 3 so we were on a mission to get them done! Our next stop was going to be Space Mountain, but as we passed Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters with almost no line so we made a quick detour and battled each other on the ride. I ended up hitting one of the secret targets that gets you a ton of points, so I did beat June. But I’m guessing if I hadn’t hit it that June would have beat me.
Then it was time to ride Space Mountain. I’ve loved the Hyperspace Mountain overlay, but for Halloween they do a Ghost Galaxy overlay. It’s fun to ride the ride with different theming and it does make it feel like a totally different ride even though it is the same track. It felt super fast and while we did pose for a photo during the ride, the photos weren’t working so we didn’t get an official ride photo.
The last Halloween themed ride we wanted to go on was Haunted Mansion Holiday. This technical lasts through Christmas, but we wanted to go on it for Halloween too. They have added some stuff to the ride each year and it was very fun spotting what was new and different while riding it. It was just as good as I remembered it from last year, and while I love the regular Haunted Mansion too the Holiday one is fun too!
After accomplishing all of our Halloween rides, we realized we had about an hour before the park closed. We were impressed with riding 4 rides in 2 hours, but we wanted to see what else we could do!
Our next stop was Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. We noticed it while walking back from Haunted Mansion because it looked so beautiful in the dark!
It had been a while since I had been on the ride and it was more intense than I remembered. I wanted to keep my hands up in the air (how I ride roller coasters), but I kept sliding on the seat so I had to ride with one arm up and one holding on.
We decided to continue on with our crazy ride count and went to Fantasyland where several rides had almost no line at that point in the night! We almost walked onto Snow White right away! We figured this ride fit into the Halloween theme of the day since it is one of the scarier kid rides (which is probably why there was no line). Then we ran next to Snow White to ride Pinocchio which also had almost no line.
With about 5 minutes until the park closed, we decided to do one final ride which would bring us to 8 rides between 6 and 9pm (which is insane since on a normal full day we don’t always get 8 rides done!). Our final ride of the night was the Carousel which was also a walk-on. It was a nice calm ride to end our evening with and it felt like we really had the perfect Disneyland outing.
Since our first 2 rides (Tower of Terror and Buzz Lightyear) both had ride photos, we decided we needed to do a ride photo or a selfie on each ride that we went on. Some of them are in the dark so it’s not as easy to see, but we did get our 8 ride photos in that night.
As we were walking out, it was pretty crowded since the park was now closed for the night and everyone was heading home. But I did manage to get a picture of the big Mickey pumpkin in Main Street with no people in it! I don’t know how that timing happened, but I thought it was pretty cool!
Overall, this was the perfect thing to do after a dentist appointment. It kept me positive, gave me something else to focus on, and I got to walk off all the nerves I had while walking from ride to ride. We had no idea that our 3 hours at Disneyland were going to be so amazing, but I’m so grateful that June had the idea to do this because it really was one of the best Disney adventures!
I’ve written a bit about my issues with going to the dentist in the past. It still bugs me that I used to be completely fine with the dentist and now it’s become a huge ordeal for me. I know I need to go 3 times a year and I don’t avoid the appointments because that can lead to more issues than I want to deal with. But it doesn’t make it easier to get through each appointment.
I’ve also written about how taking Vyvanse was supposed to make my panic attacks worse. But for some reason it’s had the opposite effect for the dentist. I’m so grateful that is the case for me, but it doesn’t eliminate all the panic I feel and it’s still a bit of an ordeal for me to go.
I had my cleaning this Monday and I tried my best to be ready for it. I had plenty of teeth nightmares (thinking my teeth are falling out, have massive cavities in them, need them to be pulled out) in the month leading up to the appointment. And when I was brushing my teeth the week before the appointment I seriously thought I saw something that looked like a cavity so I was freaking out. I was dreading the bad news I was expecting to get at the appointment and just tried to get to Monday so I could get it over with.
I had my usual workout in the morning (which was a nice distraction for an hour) and several errands scheduled between the workout and the appointment. But when I was driving over to the dentist I was starting to have a panic attack. But this panic attack wasn’t about being at the dentist. This was about worrying that I would have a panic attack while I was in the middle of the appointment. I literally was panicking about potentially panicking. It wasn’t fun.
As soon as the dental hygienist came to get me, I really felt like I was about to burst into tears. I wasn’t shaking and my breathing was normal, so that was an improvement. And I let her know my concerns so she could try to get me reassured as quickly as possible.
The first thing the hygienist did was check my teeth for any damage. She takes her time doing this because she wants to give me an answer immediately if there are any issues that I should be worried. While she was looking I was pinching my arm as hard as possible to distract me from when felt like impending doom. And once she was done looking she said that everything looked fine (not even something that looks like it could turn into a cavity anytime soon) and got on with the rest of the appointment.
As soon as I got that news, all the fear and panic melted away from my body. I felt completely normal and made it through the rest of the appointment with no issues at all. Even all the stuff I hate (like the scraping stuff) was fine and I felt relaxed.
I keep joking with the hygienist that I’m ready for this panic about the dentist to end. I’m doing significantly better but I’m not back to how I was before the panic attacks started. I feel like the panic attacks are now a fear about potential panic attacks which is a bit better than panicking about the appointment itself. These are baby steps to getting over this issue and while the progress is annoyingly slow for me it’s progress.
Hopefully within the next few years dentist appointments will bring the same lack of panic as any doctor appointment for me (I only panic when I know my blood has to be drawn). Once I can treat these appointments as just a normal part of life, the better.
There is one other thing that may have made this a better appointment than in the past, but that is a story for tomorrow’s post!
I had another meeting with my Women In Film mentoring group this past weekend. Even though we haven’t met with our mentors in a while, all of us mentees have been happy to continue meeting every other month to keep each other accountable and to catch up. I’m so happy that most of us are still able to get together and these women have truly become my friends. I know if I need any advice that I could ask any of them. Which makes these meetings a really great and educational time.
We are continuing to meet for brunch, and this time we tried a new place for us. It’s called Beach Nation and there is actually a sand pit in the middle of the seating area that you can sit in! We got a table so we didn’t get sandy, but it was still fun to see. They aren’t necessarily known for their brunch selections, but they had a good variety on the menu and I think all of us were pretty happy with the options.
Since we got there soon after they opened, we were able to get our orders in quickly so we could start the more official part of the meeting. The format we have stuck with for the meetings is going around the table and each of us updates the others on what has been happening since their last update. Everyone else can chime in with support and advice, but it’s really the time for the person giving the update to talk.
This time, I didn’t have as much to update everyone about. They already knew about “Single Parent Date Night”, but I did share that I saw an edit of the film and we are getting close to being done with the post-production on the movie. I really hate watching myself on screen, but I’ve watched each edit that we’ve had. And while I’m super harsh about my performance (I think I can do better but I know I did a good job), I think the movie is super cute and I think when we are ready to screen it that people will like it.
I also updated everyone on the day job juggling. It’s not easy to have multiple jobs, but I’m getting a balance going with it and things have continued to take a turn for the better with that situation. I think that things also seem a lot better because I’m been working really hard on budgeting and I think I’m getting my spending down and that is making it feel like I’m making more money. I still have debt to pay off and I know I’ll have some big purchases coming up soon (I need new tires on my car and I will be getting a new computer when a new model is released), but I don’t think either thing will be a huge financial hardship for me now.
Everyone else had some pretty awesome updates as well. Some people have new day jobs, some are in new classes, and some are working on some major productions right now. Even though we are all at different stages in our careers, it’s been nice to see how we have all progressed since we had our first meeting. I think all of us have taken huge strides forward and I love that we are all super motivated and dedicated to continuing our careers in the entertainment industry. I’ve had a lot of friends either give up or decide they don’t want to try anymore so it’s cool that all of us have been sticking with it.
After we all got to do our updates, our food arrived. I ordered the breakfast burrito and it was really good!
While we were eating our meeting turned a bit more into social time (as it usually does) and we were talking about fun events coming up that the others may be interested in. I signed up for a couple of new email lists based on recommendations that I heard at our meeting so I could potentially go to some more screenings than the ones I go to now.
We will have our next meeting in about 2 months, and I really hope by then that I can have some more substantial updates to share with everyone. I’m not feeling stuck in my career like I was last year, but when you have some progress you just want to continue doing that and that’s exactly how I’m feeling now.
It’s really shocking to realize that my term as a delegate with SAG-AFTRA is already more than halfway over. Even though this isn’t the most involved position as an elected union member, I’ve tried to be as involved as I can. I really loved my time at the National Convention and I’ve been trying to find that in as many aspects of my union participation as I can. While it can be tough to be involved while balancing as many day jobs as I can, I try to find the time or at least stay informed on what’s happening.
We’ve had some really awesome stuff happening in our union lately. In case you aren’t a union member (or are but aren’t aware of these things), one of the biggest things the union has been working on since SAG and AFTRA merged was the merging of the healthcare plans. Split earnings was such a huge issue, and it was announced this summer that starting on January 1st 2017, the plans will be merged and split earning will be a thing of the past! I’m not eligible for the healthcare yet, but I know how big of a deal this is for my fellow actors and hopefully in the future I can take advantage of it.
Another big thing that’s been happening lately is a bill that we are trying to pass that helps to reduce the age discrimination that happens with actors (and other industry professional). Some industry websites post the birth dates of people on it, and while that doesn’t seem like a big deal to most people it really can cause people not to book a job. If someone is in their late 20’s but looks like a teenager, they shouldn’t automatically be eliminated from consideration because of their age. No other job allows your employer to see your age before considering you, so I don’t see why acting should be any different. This bill hasn’t passed yet, so if you are in CA and want to see age discrimination reduced in industry jobs, you can fax in your support of the bill passing (and you can fax for free from your email!).
And we’ve got our upcoming contract negotiations happening with our TV and theatrical contracts. I’m not a part of the negotiation committee, but that doesn’t mean that I (or any union actor) can’t be involved in this process. We’ve got our wages and working conditions meetings happening now and we will continue to have them for a while leading up to the negotiations. I think every single SAG-AFTRA actor needs to attend these to share their experiences and to learn from others. It’s so important to know what is happening and what issues are going on so you can learn as well. I’m excited to attend some in the future when I know I will have a bit more free time between day jobs.
These things are things that have just been announced recently, but have been in the works for a very long time. The age discrimination issue has been in the works with SAG-AFTRA for 8 years and they finally got it to the Governor just recently. While I think all of us would love to things to change faster than they do, it just shows how dedicated everyone is in the union and how we can make changes if we try hard.
Since I’m seeing the results of long-term dedication to SAG-AFTRA, I’ve started to think about our election that will be coming up next year. I have no question in my mind that I will be running for a delegate position again. This has been such a great thing for me as an actor and I only wish I had done this sooner! I wish I’ve been more involved this past year, but I know that the day jobs had to take priority until I got a bit of stability happening. Now that that’s more normal, I can focus more on my acting career and union.
But I’m not totally sure that I’m fine with just being a delegate again. I’m seriously considering running for the local board so that I can be even more involved in what is happening in my union in my local area. This will be more responsibility, but I think that I can handle it and really do some great things. I’ve got some time before I have to decide what positions I’m running for, but I’m really leaning toward being both a delegate and local board member.
I’m so happy that about 2 years ago a friend of mine encouraged me to run for a delegate position. I love all the people who I’ve met through UniteForStrength and the various union events. I’ve never felt more connected as a member and I can’t want to make that connection even stronger through the years.
This past week of workouts really made me happy. My biggest issue lately has been my endurance. I can do some running, but I question how much I can really do in a row. I still feel like I get tired easily and I know that if it is my plan to run/walk my next 5K race, I have to get stronger and gain more endurance.
I did do another non-Orangetheory run this week and for that run I went for 20 minutes, so I did prove to myself that I have a bit more endurance than before. But that was toward the end of my week so I think that my Orangetheory workout really helped to make that run/walk as great as it was for me.
Monday’s workout was a power day. I think power days are my favorites because they are designed as close to what a regular run/walk feels to me. They tend to be a lot of all out runs with walking in between. And this workout wasn’t that different. We had 10 all out runs in the class. I ran for each of them, and while I wasn’t doing my fastest speed I was still happy that I ran for those 10 minutes. We also had a 2 minute push pace, and even though I know I can run for 2 minutes I didn’t want to push myself too much so I ran for 1 minute and then walked for the other. That felt comfortable but challenging so I think I made the right decision with that.
On the floor on Monday, we had sprint rows for each block. The sprint rows were 100 meters, 150 meters, and 200 meters so they were always under 1 minute on the rower. In between the rows we had mainly upper body work (which was nice after all the running). I was pushing myself again with the 20 pound weights and even used a light weight for the weighted sit-ups instead of doing them without a weight. I didn’t want to feel so tired that I was in pain later that day (since I went to Universal), but I did find a great balance between going hard in the workout and not overdoing it.
Wednesday was an endurance day. Ironically, even though my endurance is what I need to work on, endurance days aren’t my best run/walk days. We have very long push pace segments that I can’t always run in full. I want to push myself, but I don’t want to go so hard that I can’t finish the treadmill workout. I tried to keep things the same as usual. For the long push paces, I ran for a minute and then walked the rest. For the all outs, I ran the entire thing (several times at 6 miles an hour). We had a progressive push which basically means that you bump your speed up every minute, but since it was longer than I knew I could run I did it as a power walker with increasing my incline each minute. And since we didn’t switch between blocks, I got a pretty great distance on the treadmill when we were ready to switch to the floor.
It used to be a goal for me to get to 1.75 miles during the treadmill segment when we don’t switch between blocks. Now I’d love to see it if I could make it to 2 miles within those 30 minutes. I know that at my current average mile speed it’s possible, so I’m glad I have that goal to strive for now.
My last workout of the week was on Friday (I need to get some 4 workout weeks in, but I’m struggling to find the weekend time for that). It was another power day but this time we did switch between blocks. It was a smaller class than usual, but that meant that we all worked as one group which is a nice change of pace. Again, we had 10 all outs to do between all 3 treadmill blocks. I ran all of those and I tried to be at 6 miles an hour for each (sometimes I could only do 5.5 miles an hour). A friend of mine who usually isn’t in class with me was there on Friday and he started to yell at me that I should go faster. So for one of the all outs I managed to be at 6.3 miles an hour.
We also had some longer push paces during the treadmill and I stuck with my 1 minute run/1 minute walk for that. When I started to run again, I set a lot of goals for myself about how long I could run at a time. The quarter mile one is the longest I’ve done so far. By now, I really thought I could run for 5 minutes non-stop. And honestly, if I tried and had no other running to do I could very possibly do it. But I’m realizing that being able to run/walk for a long period of time is more important to me right now than running without walking breaks. It’s tough to let go of some goals that I’ve set for myself, but I think I’ll be doing a lot of reevaluation after my next race and seeing what happens then.
The Friday floor work reminded me a lot of Monday. Again we had sprint rows for 2 of the floor blocks. And almost all of the floor work was body weight stuff like lunges, burpees, and ab work. It’s nice to do body weight stuff since I can always do those at home (I don’t own weights at my house yet). And for our 3rd floor block we had a 4.5 minute core blast. This included plank jacks, palms to elbows (which I really hate) and static ab work. My abs were so tired by the end of the core blast and I was happy that I made it through the class without a ton of modifications.
This month is quickly coming to an end and I’m realizing that I’m probably not going to make it to as many workouts as I was hoping to. There are some chances to do 4 workouts weeks this week and next depending on how things go (and doing those may eliminate the runs I’ve been doing on my own). My weekends are getting really busy now and that doesn’t allow for the workouts to be added in like I want. But I know that even if I’m going 3 times a week, that’s so much better than I’ve done any time before Orangetheory so I can’t be too upset with myself.
I’ve realized lately that I’ve been having some serious up and down swings in my emotions. I don’t like having such wild swings in my emotions because it really takes a lot of time and effort to calm down when I’m feeling depressed or anxious and when I’m super excited I crash really hard later. I’m not sure if this has been going on for a while and I didn’t notice it, or if it just started. But either way, I want to get some things under control.
I’ve been making some really great strides in my eating disorder recovery lately. The number of binge episodes per week has been down the past few weeks and I’m steadily losing weight. I’m finding new ways to distract myself when I’m having a tough time and I’ve added in extra physical activity into my day (yoga plus the extra running) which not only is a distraction but helps to balance out the calories on my bad days.
I’m really happy with the steps I’ve made and I know that the results are showing by the number on the scale and a few friends noticing as well. Seeing things going the right way is extra motivation for me to keep going and the momentum has been really nice. This wasn’t something that I set out to start, but it happened naturally and I think that is one of the reasons that it has been working well.
But then the other day I was doing a weigh-in for a fat loss challenge that is going on at Orangetheory. I know that I won’t be winning because it is tough to make drastic fat loss happen at the weight I’m at. But since it was free to enter the challenge, I figured why not go ahead and do it.
For the initial weigh-in, I told the person who was running the scale that I want to do blind weight. I do this for all doctors appointments and any time I have to weigh-in somewhere that is not my controlled environment. I know how crazy my weight can fluctuate through the day plus every scale is a little different. So I only weigh myself on my scale at home (which I do first thing in the morning) and I don’t look at the weight on any other scale.
The person running the scale looked at me like I was a bit crazy, but I explained that I’m working toward recovery from an eating disorder and this is how things are best for me. He covered up my weight but since I wanted to see what my fat percentage was he didn’t block that with his hand. It was a number that is lower than I know it has been in the past, but still higher than it should be.
When I did my second weigh-in this week (for the mid-point of the challenge), I did blind weight again. My fat percentage went up even though my weight and the pounds of fat I have went down. This is part of the issue with losing weight when you are as heavy as I am. You don’t always lose it the way you want to. I did lose some muscle as well (but that has to happen because the pounds of muscle I have now is not a number I can have at my goal weight) and that’s why the percentage went up.
Before I stepped on that scale, I was feeling pretty amazing about myself. After stepping on it, I was feeling miserable and like I wanted to go eat a bunch of crap food since I didn’t feel like my efforts were paying off. It made me feel like I’ve been wasting my time with all the work I’ve put in (which isn’t true in the least) and that I might as well not try.
It’s not just weight issues that are making me have such crazy swings in my emotions. Someone I respect said something pretty hurtful to me. I don’t think they meant to say it or put it the way that they did because they apologized soon after, but it still upset me. I was obsessed about thinking what I did to deserve it or why they wanted to say that to me. Even though they said they didn’t mean it, I still felt like what they said must have been the truth and that stuck in my head.
Unfortunately, having that happen to me did cause me to binge. It sucks, I feel awful, and I wish I could go in time to change it. But what’s done is done and now I’ve been working back toward where I was before and getting on track again. I know that setbacks are a part of recovery, but somehow they are easier to accept when I don’t know what causes them versus when something I can pinpoint triggers it.
I need to find a way to let go of having such strong reactions to things that may or may not be in my control. I can’t control what a scale other than mine might say or that my weight loss might not be happening in the most ideal way (which would be only losing fat but gaining or maintaining muscle). But I can control how I react to it and that’s what I’m trying to work on now. And hopefully whatever is making my emotions swing so much will be under control again soon and I’ll be back on track and kicking butt!
I’ve written in the past that I’m a bit of a podcast junkie (currently, I listen to 39 different podcasts). I love podcasts and I also work for one. One of my favorites is Anna Faris Is Unqualified. If you aren’t listening to this yet, download it and I know you’ll love it! It’s so much fun and everyone on the show are always entertaining to listen to. Unqualified is one of the few podcasts that I listen to on the day that it is released and I’m sad it doesn’t have episodes more often.
A few weeks ago, they announced that they would be doing a live show for the podcast and the tickets were going to be a lottery system. Everyone applies to buy tickets by a certain date and then after that passes they select the winners and they are the ones who get to have the tickets. It’s actually a pretty great system because the scalpers can’t try to get all the tickets the second they go on sale. So I entered the ticket lottery, but since I rarely win anything I figured I wouldn’t get to go.
But then about a week ago I got the email that I won and got tickets! I was so shocked and excited! So this week my friend Erin and I went to Meltdown Comics (where the show was held) to check out Unqualified Live!
We got there right before the doors were supposed to open and I’m glad we got there then because we were toward the beginning of the line and so many people showed up a few minutes after us. After we got checked in at the front, we all lined up in front of the Nerd Melt Showroom to wait to be let in. While we were waiting, I got to look around Meltdown a bit. I’m not a comic book person, but the store looked pretty cool and I think a ton of my friends would love going there.
Once we got inside the room where the show was happening, Erin and I found some seats in the first row on the side. We were so excited to be sitting so close to stage and our great luck in getting amazing seats!
The show started with the theme song for the show being sung live by Josh Ostrander and that was really fun to experience (sorry, I didn’t get any photos of that). Then, Anna and her producer came out to start the show! And as soon as they sat down, I learned that maybe our super amazing seats weren’t as amazing as I had thought. Because this ended up being my view for a good chunk of the show.
Fortunately for Erin, she was able to see just fine and I’m happy she was able to enjoy things. And it totally was my choice to sit there so I only have myself to blame.
And my view wasn’t totally ruined the entire time. When Anna brought up Allison Janney up on stage (Anna and Allison did a demonstration on how to slap another actor for a scene), they moved up toward the front of the stage so my view wasn’t as obstructed.
And then about after an hour I finally got the courage to tap the producer on the back to ask if he could possible move his chair back a bit so I could see. He looked so apologetic and moved his seat back so I could see the rest of the live show. I wasn’t expecting him to move his seat at all (he was busy working and making everything go smoothly), so I was so grateful that he went out of his way to make sure everyone in the audience was having a good time.
And even though I couldn’t see most of the show, that really didn’t ruin my experience. I’m used to listening to podcasts so not having a visual made it seem just like any other podcast I listen to. And just being in the room with all that creative energy made me so happy and I had the best time that night!
Toward the end of the show, Anna wanted everyone to stand up to hold hands (she ended up borrowing my hand sanitizer so she didn’t have gross hands while doing it). Because I was so close to the stage and everyone up there, I ended up holding hands with the producer and Erin and we had to stand on stage to reach. We both found it pretty funny that somehow we ended up on stage with the team for the podcast by the end of the night. It just was amazing.
After the show was done, I got to talk to some of the podcast team a bit (love talking with people who understand what it’s like to produce a podcast!) and then Erin and I got a chance to talk to Anna as well! I have to say, while all the celebrities I’ve met have been kind and generous people, Anna is on a totally different level with how wonderful she is! She was so patient taking photos and talking to everyone who wanted to meet her. She honestly was grateful for every person who got a ticket for her show. And she was just a delight to get to talk to. And of course, Erin and I had to get a picture with her.
While I’ve run liveevents for Inside Acting in the past, this has inspired me to do so much more with our next live event. Unqualified really did an amazing show and I only hope that our podcast is this much fun for our listeners as this was for me. It’s been a full day since seeing the live taping and I’m still on a high from the wonderful energy that was in the room and how much fun I had there!
I’m just hoping that they will have another live episode, I’ll be able to get tickets for it, and maybe then I’ll pick a different seat so I can experience the entire live event!
I’ll admit, my last trip to Universal Studios wasn’t the best time. I felt bad about being stopped by the “fat police” for days after it happened and it really upset me every time I thought about it. I know I’m probably making a bigger deal out of it than it was, but for me it was just humiliating and I never wanted to have an experience like that again.
After that trip to Universal, I did some research online and found out that for the accessible loading area for the Harry Potter ride they have a loading area that doesn’t have a moving walkway (which means I would have more time to get onto the ride). It reminded me of the accommodations Disney makes on Space Mountain so I kept that in mind for when I could go to Universal again.
I made it back to the park this past Monday and I’m happy to say that the day went so much better! I went with my friend June, but it turned out my friend Robert was going to be there too so we all got to hang out!
We started our day with taking the Tram Tour. Both Robert and I are ex-employees so we had a bunch of fun talking about our time working at Universal while on the tram tour. And I got to show him different places that I had to go for work while I worked there for Halloween. I got to share with him some crazy stories from my 3 years there and all of us enjoyed seeing the silly stuff on the tour. One of my favorites has always been Jaws and I got a pretty decent picture of the shark coming up to the tram (we were sitting in the first row of our car so it was tough to not get the tram railing in the photo).
And of course we got to go by my old workplace on the tram. Because Halloween Horror Nights is about to start, the Bates Motel was hard to see because of the HHN stuff that is already in place.
But the War Of The Worlds area (where I worked my second year at HHN) was still looking as great as ever!
After the tram, we were starting to get hungry so we walked over to the Harry Potter section and went to Three Broomsticks for lunch. Both June and Robert have been to the park a bunch so they both have been working their way through the menu at Three Broomsticks. They were able to share with me what was good and what was too filling to eat for a lunch if you are planning on still riding more rides.
While I am working on HDE, I also wanted to make a good choice for food. There were a couple of things that looked good to me, but I also knew that I didn’t want to feel too full and I might get a snack later. So I ended up getting the chicken salad (which was one of the cheapest things on the menu so that was nice) and I was pleasantly surprised by how giant the salad was!
It was really good, but not as filling as I would have liked. I ended up being hungry again sooner than I would have wanted to, but that’s not the worst thing. If I had planned things out better, I probably would have gotten a side of something with my salad. That will just have to be something I do next time.
After lunch, we headed over to the Harry Potter ride so I could hopefully have a better experience. Robert wasn’t going to ride it, but because of the alternative loading area he was able to wait where the load/unload area was (and he held our purses so we didn’t have to use the lockers). The alternative loading area was actually a fun adventure to get to and while the wait was probably longer than the regular wait, it was totally worth it! Oh, and I wasn’t stopped by the fat police so that was pretty awesome too!
The bench you ride on it brought over to the side where you can load. Nothing is moving around it and I was able to get into the seat easily without feeling rushed. June helped me pull the harness down and it locked easily. When the employee came over to check the harness, he asked me if it was too tight because I could loosen it 2 clicks and still have it low enough to be ok. I don’t know if I’ve gotten that much thinner or what happened to me last time was a weird experience, but obviously I am small enough to have harness options now. I did loosen it one click (we put it down really tight because that’s what they did last time to me). After we were all set in the bench, they handed us the 3D glasses and the bench moved over toward where the regular ride was.
When we moved over, we had to wait a minute or two for our bench to have a turn to go into the ride system. But while we were waiting we were able to see all the benches from the back that were on the ride track! Both June and I are total geeks about seeing how the rides work, so this was so exciting for us. Even when we started the ride we could see a bit of the track and arms controlling the benches before we got into the regular ride.
I seriously enjoyed this time on the ride so much more than last time! I know that last time I was feeling pretty upset the entire ride time and that made it tough to focus on the ride and have fun. This time, there was no stress and everything was just amazing for me! And when the ride was over, we got moved back over to the alternative loading area where I could take my time getting out of the bench (which I needed because my hip was locking). And after we were out of the ride, we were able to see a bit of the ride track for the regular loading area (which was behind us) and found out the loading area is actually 20 feet above the ground!
After that, Robert had to head out to get ready to work that night. But June and I were going to stick around a bit longer and headed over to watch Waterworld. It’s such a fun show to watch and I enjoy it every time! And we sat all the way on the far side, so it was a different view than I’m used to seeing.
Our final ride of the day at Universal was the Minions ride. This is in the place that the Terminator ride used to be in and I had never been on it before. It was a cute little ride, but probably not one I’ll be doing all the time. It was a bit jerky and it’s in a corner of the park that I’m not usually in. But I’m glad we got to ride it this time because I’ve been curious about it.
I think it’s pretty clear that this trip to Universal was significantly better than the last time. I’m so glad I learned about the alternative loading for Harry Potter because I know I’ll be using that from now on. It really helps me and makes a huge difference in my enjoyment in riding the ride. It’s tough when I feel super rushed to try to get in and out of a ride and this makes that go away.
I’m not sure when my next trip to Universal will be. My Mondays are starting to get really busy and my pass might not be good for Sundays at all (and if it is, I’m not sure if I want to deal with the crowds). I’ll totally be there again at least one time before my pass ends next year, I’m just not sure how soon that will be. But I’m already looking forward to it!