Friday Five: Payday


Yep, so I’m a day late with this one. With the release of the SNES Classic yesterday, I spent the evening playing Super Mario World with Anthony on my original console.


Seen here with Super Star Wars, it’s ugly, turning yellow and still works, but I’m not sure for how much longer. It couldn’t seem to handle some of the more intense movements in certain games — because, you know, 16 bits — so who knows. Anyway, that’s the reason for not posting this last night.

Let’s go with the Friday Five!

1. From whom did you receive your first real paycheck?

My first job ever was at a one-hour photo lab inside a grocery store (The Giant branch of Ralphs that took over former Zodys locations). It was called PDQ 1 Hour Photo and I still have my name tag somewhere. I made a whopping $4.25 an hour which I think was minimum wage at the time. The Giant was a warehouse-style grocery store ala Costco that featured smaller shops on the inside. It was an interesting concept but it didn’t last.

By the way, saying someone got their clothes at Zodys was an insult back in the day.

2. Among board games involving the exchange of money, which have you enjoyed most?

Easy: none. I hated and still hate Monopoly and never really dealt with board games that involved money. I spent way too much time playing games like Perfection which probably explains why I’m this way.

3. PayDay is the name of a candy bar consisting of salted peanuts rolled in caramel surrounding a firm, nougat-like center. How does it sound to you if you haven’t tried it, and how do you like it if you have? Is there a similar candy bar you like better?

I like PayDay bars but they are hardly satisfying if I want a snack. Lots of protein, yes, but I normally have a box of protein bars in my drawer at work. I get my protein and my chocolate craving in one sitting. I’ll still buy a PayDay now and then but they aren’t at the top of my list.

4. When did you last do something nice for yourself just because it was pay day?

Why, this payday I did! I bought an Xbox One game called Cuphead, a hand-animated scrolling shooter adventure made to look like a 30s-era cartoon. I have been waiting for this one and downloaded it today after Xbox got their server issues in line (*shakes fist*). The music, dialog, animation, everything is to-the-era perfection. It’s like you’re playing a color version of Steamboat Willie but a lot less Disney-fied (read: animated violence).

5. What person with the surname Day are you most familiar with?

Although Morris Day is the first, I’m going to post Doris Day video. Just because.

The kid is venturing out with friends tonight to go to Knott’s Scary Farm/Halloween Haunt, a local event at Knott’s Berry Farm that’s been going on for over 40 years. It’s a big local event that is packed every night and something I myself would never attend. I was scheduled for a few Haunt shifts when I worked at Knott’s. Way too many people for my liking. Nope.

But the good thing is I got fantastic corporate pricing and it gives me and Ann the chance to have a dinner sans kid. It will be nice I’m sure.

Peace out!

Advertisements

Friday Five: Stuff I Don’t Get Either


Well, look at that!

In an effort to get my lazy self blogging again, I’ve resorted to the old standby of the Friday Five, a series of questions posted by a random Internet person that I, most likely another random Internet person to you, will answer. So let’s hop right into it.

1. Twitch is an enormously popular livestreaming platform mostly for watching people play video games. It has more than 1.5 million broadcasters and more than one million visitors per month, and Amazon acquired it for nearly a billion dollars in 2014. Which of your computer activities would you livestream if there were a way to make some money doing it?

I lead such an exciting life, online and offline, that I wouldn’t know where to begin (obvious sarcasm). But if I were any good at the Xbox games I have, I guess I’d stream those provided anybody wanted to watch me drive a car since I don’t play much of anything but racing games. FPS games confuse me — too many controls. Then again I’m an old fart and the current generation of kids wouldn’t bother tuning in other than to “roast” me. (Yeah. I have a teenager and that’s a completely acceptable term as of this post.) That’s just console video games. Computers? I don’t use my computer for gaming so I can’t imagine anybody wanting to tune in and watch me open up iTunes and manage my music collection.

2. EDM (electronic dance music) is usually performed by DJs on stage in front of audiences, playing tracks they’ve mixed, right off their laptops. If you were a push-button DJ playing your tunes in a club, what would be your opening and closing songs, assuming everyone’s there because they’re into whatever sounds you’re into?

I know nothing of this genre except that it’s not my thing. But I suppose if given the chance, I’d open with Perfume’s “Edge” (Triangle Mix) and end it with with Electronic’s “Idiot Country.” I guess. Maybe. I don’t know. Maybe this Friday Five thing wasn’t such a good idea after all.

3. What’s a good Adele song, and why is Adele so popular?

There’s a few things I know about Adele. First, I’m not familiar with any of her songs other than her big hits and I don’t care for any of those. In fact I’ll change the station in the car the second I hear her (provided I’m listening to a station that plays her — a rarity, and the reason I’ve always got my phone connected to the radio). Second, she seems a bit long-winded and whiny about lots of things which isn’t scoring any points with me. Maybe there’s a reason why she likes to carry on for so long but I’m not aware of it. I’m just not a fan of hers. As far as her popularity goes, the only thing I can attribute to that is she entered the scene right about the time Amy Winehouse left this earth and she’s filling the void she left behind. Why or how is beyond me; I wasn’t a fan of hers either.

4. The Walking Dead?

I’ve never seen an episode in any of its incarnations and don’t plan to. In case you aren’t aware I’m not a big TV or movie fan, especially any that are popular, and this one is no exception. Name a show — chances are I haven’t seen it. But this one? Oooh, zombies and blood and shit. Big deal. And while we’re on the topic of “Stuff I Don’t Get,” I can’t forget those people who dress up as zombies at those [whatever]-cons and schlep themselves down the street en masse while grunting and groaning. You do you. I’ll do me, thanks.

5. Every generation seems to arrive at a “They don’t write ’em like that anymore” attitude. Why does it seem like most middle-aged people lose interest in new music?

This one is easy: today’s music sucks. There’s little to no substance in today’s music, nothing like the epic storytelling “American Pie” or concept double albums anymore; it’s mostly commercialized garbage. Well, I can’t say all of it because — get ready — there are some current artists that I listen to and enjoy. Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age, Panic! At the Disco (Death of a Bachelor is unbelievably spectacular), even Lady Gaga to a certain extent. But out of all the artists on the scene today, Bruno Mars tops them all in my book. His songwriting is amazing, musicianship top-notch, and he can dance like nobody’s business. Look up his Super Bowl performances and Prince tribute — pure talent. That cat can do it all.

Well, that’s it. I started this post this morning and finished it up on my phone right now. I’m still fighting off some kind of cold or something so it’s time to go relax and probably fall asleep early.

Have a great weekend, provided the world doesn’t end on Saturday.

Trollin’


I’ve been at this blogging thing since 2004. After 1,274 posts I think I kind of know what I’m doing.

Actually, the fact that I can string words together and form a cohesive thought makes me a pretty smart cookie when compared to the average person posting umpteen selfies on social media from everywhere they go — even church. Yes, I’ve seen it. Never mind why you’re there; just do it for the “likes.”

But I digress. I’m no genius but at least my comprehension of the English language is on-par or better. I mean, come on. I’ve worked as a writer or proofreader since 2003 (excluding that awful 1.5 years in the grocery store). It’s not complete mastery but you get the idea.

That said, I’ll be the first to admit that not every post here is perfect or gold — comedy or otherwise. You haven’t even seen the ones that are still in my Drafts folder that I keep for fun or the ones that I threw out because they were so awful.

And each of my posts has a star rating system at the top so readers can give me some feedback about what they just read. Apparently, I did something to piss off a few trolls on April 14, 2017 since on that day, several of my posts were given a salvo of one-star ratings or, as it reads on the mouseover, “This sucks!”

The WordPress report is a little fuzzy but you get the idea.

Look. I don’t care about your one-star ratings because they were all on the same day and the same quantity. They mean nothing. But if you really want to voice your opinion on any given post, if it pissed you off that much, don’t be a little shit and hide behind a gold star and your keyboard in Mom’s basement. Use the Comments section and speak up.

Blogging costs me money and time but even after all these years, I still get a great deal of enjoyment from it.

The rating system will remain open. A few trolls ain’t gonna stop me.

But This One Goes to 11


spinal_tap_but_it_goes_to_eleven

Well, here it is. Over a week into the new year and you finally get a new post. Terrific!

That said, I need stuff to write about. I’ll be trying my dang-doodly-darndest come up with topics of interest and whatnot without trying to step on too many toes along the way. Try, at least.

So what’s with the 11? This year marks my 11th year of blogging which I started over on Blogger, a site which apparently hasn’t much improved in terms of…everything, and still looks like something created with Geocities or Angelfire. I can’t say anything about Tripod, though. It seems they’ve upped the ante.

I’ve renewed my domain mapping which means that whenever you type in the URL, it will redirect to my WordPress-hosted blog. I will be renewing my domain just before its expiration as well.

So Happy New Year, and I promise to get off my duff and get back to creating the low-quality content you’ve come to expect from me. I’ll also be cleaning up the joint with a new header, links, theme, etc. It needs to be done.

And speaking of the new year, did you see Jesus on the Rose Parade float? It’s not his first time, either! But this year’s Jesus – that could be my new band name – was much thinner with darker hair than the one on the link…

IMG_3304

…and looked much more like a certain galactic princess.

MV5BMTMyNTc2MjEyN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTEyMTIyMw@@._V1_SX640_SY720_

Anyway. Yeah. I’m back.

2015: My Year in Review


Either I was going to do it or Facebook was by putting random pictures together and calling it “my year.” I don’t think so.

As I have done for the last few years, I am once again tying a ribbon on the end of the year with a review of all of the good and bad things that happened to me over the last 365 days including things I’ve never mentioned here or on my personal Facebook account. Of course, pictures and links to accompanying posts will be posted whenever possible.

By the way, this is only my 27th blog post of 2015 so I’ll try to make it worth your while. Here we go.

January 2015

I ran quite a bit and rescued my neighbor’s turtle who had slipped underneath their gate.

2015-01-26-20-43-44_deco

Anthony and I attended the Dodger Fan Fest and it was everything I hoped it would be. On the field, in the dugout…just an amazing time.

2015-01-31-102940-41_1

February 2015

Rather than get gifts for his birthday, Anthony opted to have his room made over which meant finally painting over the Thomas the Tank Engine picture I had painted on his wall when he was 3 years old. I never quite finished it but he didn’t mind and was actually hesitant about getting rid of it since it was there for so long.

img1424040546374

I took my HTC Re camera on California Screamin’ at Disney California Adventure.

A post shared by Dave (@morenoland) on

Oh, and I turned 46. Meh.

March 2015

My job at the grocery store bakery continued to give me fits.

IMAG0933

I didn’t quit when I wrote the note you see above but I was ready to almost every time I clocked in. Having to document everything (in pictures or writing) was a royal pain but a necessity according to my then-union rep. It’s hard to stay motivated when the boss would leave stuff like this behind and expect you to clean it up plus do your regular duties.

IMAG0934

And don’t get me started on all the spelling errors in their notes and labels.

IMAG0968

I failed my DMV motorcycle skills exam.

img_0008

I was part of about 1,000 people to take part in the Run the Runway event, celebrating the Grand Reopening of R25 at Long Beach Airport. It was a short one-mile and obviously flat course.

2015-03-31-18-40-10_deco

April 2015

We went to Knott’s Berry Farm’s Boysenberry Festival and tried all sorts of boysenberry-flavored items. The tasting card also included fried alligator and I have to admit that it was pretty darn good.

2015-03-28-13-19-18_deco

Fried alligator bites and fries, oh my!

IMAG1237

Anthony and I participated in the Grand Prix View, an event in which residents were able to ride, walk, or run along the shortened course of the upcoming Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

2015-04-07-114520-04_1

Here’s a video of our lap.

My job continued to suck as is obvious by this note. Seems like the manager was the only one who never made mistakes and I refused to be a victim anymore.

IMAG1226

My penmanship is usually much better but when you’re frustrated and in a hurry to leave, you get your point across any way possible.

We went to the Formula E race to watch electric race cars quietly tear up the track we rode a few days before.

A post shared by Dave (@morenoland) on

I ended up on Bing Maps after spotting their survey vehicle on the way home.

bing

My doctor confirmed that I had tendonitis in my right wrist which was caused by work. I filed an accident report but didn’t pursue a claim as it would have only led time off and no pay, something I didn’t need or want. Naturally and as expected, it turned into a clusterfuck of biblical proportions.

91ad0267-4a72-4979-8bbb-261a13a9067b

My condition improved as the months went by, thankfully.

May 2015

I decided to retire from blogging (again) only to return a few days later (again).

And because May is National Bike Month, I decided I’d ride my bike to work all month.

It lasted two  days.

1430556018207

We bought a couple of red-eared slider turtles and they are some of the coolest pets we’ve had. (They are surprisingly quick on dry land!)

IMAG0016

With the pittance my job was paying me, we bought what we could from the visiting Hello Kitty Café van (but their prices were kind of high, too). Ann had been waiting months for this!

2015-05-23-13-31-46_deco

I ran 10k on the beach for the hell of it and made my own medal out of a seashell – for the shell of it.

IMAG0192-01

June 2015

I thought it would be fun to learn Japanese and I was all gung-ho to start. I made some progress but have pretty much given up at this point. I may start up again, though.

Anthony graduated from grade school and made his way to middle school. We’re incredibly proud of him and although the transition was tough at first, he’s now handling it like a champ.

2015-06-15-091328-44-01

We went to a Touch-A-Truck event where kids were free to climb, touch, and experience huge vehicles up close.

DSC_2275

Despite my job sucking the life out of me, the company decided to send me to the Corporate Office for thorough Bakery and Deli training for whatever reason. I’m smiling here because a) I was not at the store being tormented and miserable and b) it was the first time I had ever gotten a 40-hour check while working there. And, we got to take home the food we made every day.

imagejpeg_0-01

I discovered that a local mall doesn’t allow alligators on their escalators.

IMAG0330-01

At said mall, Ann found an outfit she HAD to have but didn’t buy. (No, she didn’t have to have it. We just thought it was hideously ugly.)

IMAG0414-picsay

After my week of training, I returned to my regular work schedule only to realize that nothing at the store had changed.

IMAG0383

We discovered a revolving sushi restaurant and my life hasn’t been the same since. For the good, I might add.

IMAG0410-01

At $2.50 a plate, things can add up pretty quickly…

IMAG0325-01

July 2015

I was commissioned by a friend to shoot some stills of Anthony and other young golfers in action.

DSC_2913-01

For the second time this year, I failed my motorcycle skills exam.

Skip to :58 to see me dip inside the line in literally the last segment of the test. I still think it was messed up that the DMV official didn’t give me a second chance like the previous one did, especially since I had made it further into the test. Now I have to take it again. Thanks, buddy.

I won tickets to a Dodgers game, courtesy of world famous Philippe The Original.

IMG_20150624_202220

Here we are at said Dodgers game.

100_2131

The Screwing of the Dave continued at work where I was given some overnight shifts, apparently for being a such an awful person. Stocking dog food at 1:13 am is a job for unskilled morons who work overnight because it’s best they don’t associate with the general public, and thanks to the store manager, I had become one of those morons.

IMAG0491-01

Oh Hello, Kitty! She’s got the right uniform, too.

IMAG0638

I attended a meditation and chanting service at a local Buddhist church and loved it. I can see myself going regularly. (Note that this is my altar that sits on my drawing table.)

IMG_1800

August 2015

You can only kick a dog so many times before he turns around and bites you, and that’s exactly what happened in August. Pushed into a corner at work, I had no choice but to fight my way out of it which led to my indefinite suspension and eventual termination (or “your services are no longer needed” as was stated by the manager). But you know what? That’s okay because I can’t say enough positive things about the job I’ve been working since then, even if it’s only freelance work and I had a few weeks off. It’s close to home, it pays me well, and there are so many other things about it I love. Can you say beer and pretzels at our weekly Social Hour? Twice-weekly breakfasts? An environment free of drama? And there’s still hope that they will hire me soon which is something I desperately need now. Not only for the money, but because I really effing love what I’m doing now – as does Anthony, who I’ve taken with me a few times.

11892279_10153265501414118_3967696643630396980_n

See that? That’s the face of someone who is earning decent pay doing a job not many can do in an environment filled with like-minded and creative individuals. So screw stocking dog food and feminine hygiene products overnight, Ralphs. You can have it.

By the way, former boss. Shouldn’t you be wearing gloves while you handle food and assemble cakes, especially after touching your mouth?

IMAG0394

But remember, I’m the moron who didn’t follow the rules.

Anyway.

We bid a fond farewell to the Spirit of America, the local Goodyear blimp. We arrived the day after the official public event only to learn that there was a private event being held for friends and family of the blimp workers. But my brother worked for the blimp years ago and I dropped a few names and pointed out a few people in the crowd to the PR person – and we were in. Not only that, but we got to go inside the gondola, something that visitors on the previous day couldn’t do. It helps to know people!

DSC_3392

Although I have been on at least six blimp flights, it was still an absolute thrill to climb aboard her one last time. I just wish I could have been “going up” (as the crew would say) that day. Dad used to bring me here to watch the blimp land so it was even more meaningful for me to have Anthony experience it up close. He now has something to tell his kids about when the time comes.

IMAG0812-01

Useless Fact: during one blimp flight, I was asked by the pilot if I wanted to fly her. I refused for some reason, and that regret will follow me to my grave!

Later that month, I did another golf photo shoot in the wee hours of the morning. Lots of great shots were taken.

DSC_3454

Despite my best efforts to avoid it, I had become a part of the Apple Cult when we switched providers. I looked high and low for an Android phone that appealed to me and none of them did, so I went with the iPhone 6 if, for anything, a different experience. So far it has been and I love it. I’ve since upgraded to the 6s.

Photo Aug 31, 8 31 18 PM (1)

A group of FA/18 jets were practicing at the airport and the public was invited to see them up close.

Of course we went.

Photo Sep 05, 2 11 35 PM

September 2015

After riding 20+ miles one day, my bike’s odometer finally hit 1,000 miles. I had at least 1,000 on it before I installed the device.

Photo Sep 13, 8 34 48 AM

Still working, still enjoying the view from the patio.

IMAG0949-01

While putting my stuff away after work, I ended up throwing my keys in my scooter’s underseat storage – and closing it shut. I had to take the train as close to home as possible where Ann met me with my backup key.

Photo Sep 15, 12 24 07 PM

I then had to take the train back to work and was able to ride my scooter home. What an adventure. But worth it because I saw this guy on the train. Don’t bother – you’ll never be as cool as him.

Photo Sep 15, 1 22 10 PM

I decided to join a gym again, a move I kind of regret because the closest one isn’t really close. And being outdoors is better.

Photo Sep 27, 6 19 53 PM (1)

October 2015

I discovered San Antonio Winery and I like every flavor I’ve tried so far.

Photo Oct 05, 8 09 49 PM

The first week of October in Long Beach means one thing: Marathon Weekend!

Photo Oct 09, 12 47 14 PM

Anthony participated in his third Kids Fun Run on Saturday…

Photo Oct 10, 9 31 53 AM (1)

…while Dad was up at an ungodly hour to ride his bike 20 miles on Sunday. It was 4:30 am when I took this shot.

Photo Oct 11, 4 24 07 AM

But even if it’s a long day, the reward is so worth everything you put into it.

Photo Oct 11, 7 56 11 AM

This was my sixth bike tour and I will be back in 2016 for my seventh, and my third combo (I’m running the 5k on Saturday).

Here’s the entire bike tour. I’d recommend running it at 2x speed.

Green Tea Kit Kats. ‘Nuff said.

Photo Oct 14, 1 12 31 PM

Our family tradition that started in 2004 continued as we got our picture taken in the cut-out at the local pumpkin patch.

Photo Oct 25, 11 32 35 AM (1)

Despite November being No-Shave November, I went the opposite way and rid myself of facial hair a few weeks before because I got tired of the upkeep. And the grey.

Photo Oct 16, 11 07 57 AM

Halloween at the new place was as insane as I expected it to be. I wore this just so I could be in shorts at the office but I had to get my picture with a coworker who was dressed like The Dude – complete with his rug. Because it really tied his cubicle together.

Photo Oct 30, 12 26 47 PM

November 2015

An unannounced rocket test freaked out everyone in the SoCal area, including us.

Photo Nov 07, 6 04 43 PM

Video:

A post shared by Dave (@morenoland) on

For the first time ever, I left some stuff on Dad’s headstone for Dia de los Muertos. Anthony made the flowers out of duct tape.

Photo Nov 01, 12 59 16 PM

We goofed around at the L.A. Auto Show.

IMG_2516

A bit of a proud moment at the auto show when I saw one of the projects I worked on finally on display. It was strange seeing it in its intended state when previously I’d only seen it as a PDF file for proofing.

IMG_2483

My brother stopped by for a visit. He works as Disneyland and was in Tomorrowland for a few days, so I had to pose with this hideously ugly costume he was issued.

IMG_2070

Long Beach native Snoop Dogg (or Snoop Doggy Dogg or Bigg Snoop Dogg or Snoop Lion depending on the day of the week) was doing his second turkey giveaway that week. I was off work early and decided to drop by VIP Records and see what was going on. Pretty cool guy, and he knew just about everybody who talked to him. Keepin’ it real, to use the parlance of our times.

IMG_2024

On Thanksgiving morning, I ran a Turkey Trot 5k at the last moment. A friend of mine and her wife were planning on doing it but one became sick a few days before, so she offered their entries to me and a former coworker. Every ninth finisher got a pie. I didn’t but my friend did. Lucky duck!

IMG_2079

And in the spirit of being thankful, I’m very thankful for Mom’s health improving. At her request, I’ll say nothing more about what she’s gone through over the last year.

December 2015

Holiday parties commence at the office. One day every department was treated to pizza and an assortment of libations. Yes, this is at my desk. No, it’s not uncommon to see alcohol in the refrigerators at work. Yes, I work at an amazing place with amazing people.

IMG_2667

With the price of the GoPro Hero 4 Session dropping to $199, I had no choice but to upgrade. Merry Christmas to me!

IMG_2647

More fun times at work, this time for the Kids Holiday Party. Poor Santa is struggling – Anthony is a solid kid.

IMG_2869

The decorations down the street from the office are beautiful.

IMG_2898

And that’s pretty much been my year and unless anything amazing happens in these last few days, that will be it for this blog post.

One last thing. After freelancing since August, I’m this close to being hired permanently. There are still some things that have to be worked out but it’s looking very good for me at this point, and all I have to do is wait until these things happen – and keep my productivity where it is. They seem to like me.

From stocking shelves at a grocery store where I was treated like crap to working on all sorts of literature for the automotive industry at a place that respects my abilities and where I’m surrounded by creative people. I’d say my year turned out to be pretty good, even if it had some awful moments here and there.

Here’s wishing your 2016 is filled with luck, health, and much love. Live one day at a time and never look back. It’s the only way to get through these crazy times.

 

All the best!
Dave