40

Top: Dad with my brother at Knott’s Berry Farm, 1968. I was still in the oven.

Bottom: me at Knott’s Berry Farm in 2016 with these same ladies.

Today is the 40th anniversary of Dad’s passing. There’s only so many words that can be said, only so many photos that can be posted. But there never seems to be an end to the number of tears I can shed.

I had a hard time dealing with it this year, probably because it was such a monumental anniversary and in two more years, Dad will have been gone exactly the same time he was here: 42 years.

And every year on this date I go through a range of mixed emotions.

It’s not fair. It never was. But that’s okay. No, it really isn’t. I’m being selfish. Time to let it go and move on. So I will. But I won’t.

I hardly spoke a word at the office today and just threw myself into that endless pile of Excel files that need to be edited, cross-referenced for content, etc.  It made the day go faster and kept my mind off of things.

I goofed around with my kid outside for a little bit before the mosquitos started to bite us. Anything to keep my mind going.

And now, aside from blogging, I’m watching the Dodger game. When that’s done I’ll throw myself into something else, maybe play some Xbox one or study one of the languages I’m trying to learn.

Or maybe I’ll just go to bed.

But in any case, I’ll most likely find myself shedding at least one more tear for the man who was loved by all who knew him.

Thank you and goodnight, Dad. I miss you.

 Quality Not Quantity 

As my restraint from posting on Facebook continues, I’m realizing that I’m not missing it a whole lot. That’s mostly because I grew tired of idiotic stories that local media thinks I should be paying attention to, like the woman who took a selfie in what she thought was her daughter’s dorm room — only it wasn’t.

That’s apparently “news” in this day and age. Before social media and the importance of taking a selfies, it would have just been a campfire story handed down from one generation to the next.

“Did I ever tell you what your great-grandmother did when I was in college?”

There’s a lot to be said about having a personal story to tell rather than watch it become a viral sensation that shifts our focus away from more important matters of the day.

You now, like the Running Man Challenge.

But meaningless stories aside, I’ve also come to realize that there’s a good chance that my friends probably don’t really care about what I’m eating or where I am at the moment. Many of us have become so focused on the immediacy of sharing the moment rather than taking the time to live and enjoy it.

That’s the point I’m at now. We no longer need Big Brother because we’ve become him.

For example, yesterday we went for a little road trip to the local beach community of San Clemente. That’s the birthplace of Rainbow Sandals, a high-quality flip-flop that will last you longer than you’d ever imagine. I own about four pairs and ended up bringing home another pair today as did Ann.

After buying our Rainbows, we did some shopping at the new outlets around the corner.

And during that whole time, I didn’t use my phone to take a single picture. That’s because I brought my camera with me.

My reason for doing so was simple: instead of just instinctively (and more often than not, thoughtlessly) taking a picture with my phone, the camera makes me think harder about the composition and in turn keeps me focused on, and honest about, the moment.

I find my subject. Compose the image. Check my shutter speed. Zoom in as I see fit. Grip the camera tight, hold my breath, release the shutter.


The moment, captured, with me in the middle of it.

There’s no “Share” button. No hoping I have a strong signal on my phone. No selfies with cans of chili in the grocery store. Just me and my camera taking the time to enjoy life and, of course, me writing about it hours later.


The moisture on this flower didn’t go unnoticed. It adds detail to the image. Was it hit by morning dew or did the sprinklers do this? Who knows for sure.


The Rainbow Sandals store has natural light beaming throughout which makes for excellent shooting conditions without a flash. Just a picture of footwear? Not really.

In the end, yes, I did share these moments after all. But it was much, much later in the day.

Because to me, being a part of and savoring the moment is much more important than having them posted to your timeline seconds later.

While I’ll still visit Facebook for pages I follow (that I have mostly in my Feedly feed anyhow), it isn’t for an extended period of time. Along with those “news” stories, there’s only Snapchat videos and/or face-swaps I can handle.

Well, This Sucks

I’ve been listening to a lot of Japanese music lately at work courtesy of J1 Radio, in particular their Gold channel which plays some really, really good oldies. No translation needed; the music alone is fantastic.

Although I have to admit that a lot of words are becoming more familiar to me, like “toki doki” (sometimes), “watashi” (I), and “kawaii” (cute). Anyway…

When I hear a song I really like, I’ve gotten into the habit of copying-and-pasting the artist and song title into an email draft and at the end of the day (or couple of days, depending on how well I can manage the list), sending it to my personal address.

From there, I’ll look them up on the YouTube and add them to a playlist. But therein lies the problem.

The issue I was having is that the songs were presented on J1 in Romaji, or the Romanization of the Japanese syllabary.

Example: searching for Mayuzumi Jun “Tenshi no Yuwaku” — my current song obsession — might only yield a few results because most users would have uploaded the video in its traditional Japanese using the combination of Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji.

In short, this: 使の誘惑 黛ジュン

Here’s the song and oh, it’s a good one. It’s been stuck in my head for a while and the video is so freaking retro it kills me.

But here, finally, was the problem. Many searches returned absolutely nothing when using Romaji and being I’m not fluent in Japanese nor would have any clue on how to translate the title properly, there was no hope for some of the songs I wanted to find and add to my ever-expanding “Japanese Classics” playlist.

What a bummer.

But today at work I accidentally found the solution to my problem. The site has a page where you can request a song and of course with that, you’d have to know the artist and/or title. What I discovered was that they maintain an A-Z database of artists they play on the station. So if I were to request the song above, I’d look up the singer’s name under the M category. All of her songs J1 plays would be listed under her name.

So I did just that. I found her along with her name and the song title in proper Japanese characters. But being I already had it on my playlist, I opted to search for one that I couldn’t find on the YouTube using Romaji.

I picked one I know I couldn’t find with Romaji, copied the Japanese title, and searched for it on the YouTube.

BINGO. Found. Then I tried another. BOOM. Score.

This was becoming all too easy and I was happy. I added those few I had found to my playlist and couldn’t wait to go home when until I finally had some quiet time in the evening to finish up my search.

With the kid to bed at 9pm, it was time to look at those emails and apply my new-found method of searching so that I could a) finally add them and b) have a good ol’ time doing it.

I had just started to read one of the emails and began seaching, adding whichever version of the song(s) I preferred to my playlist since I was now getting multiple results for each song. I would have been there all night doing it if it were my choice.

And it was all going so well…before the site went down for maintenance and, as of this post, is still down.

(UPDATE 5/7/16: it was back this morning. Yay!)

Grrrrr. So just when things were falling into place, I get shot down. Hopefully it goes back online real soon so I can continue my searching.

At least this little unexpected outage gave me time to write and less time on Facebook which I’m trying to avoid again. Less time on Facebook has also given me time in the evening to workout and study Spanish so it’s definitely working out.

And if I keep up all this working out, I’ll have to expand my Workout Playlist. After all, who wouldn’t want to workout to “Sexual Violet No. 1”?

I know I would!