The Weekend, Plus A Late Friday Five: Rockit


First off, it seems blogging is becoming more difficult as my computer is taking much too long to respond to just about anything. But the stupid thing is pretty old and considering we didn’t pay a dime for it, I guess I can’t complain.

No. Wrong. I can complain. It sucks. Come on, it’s a Gateway. Remember those big boxes with cow print on them? Yeah, it’s that old.

Second, I went for a run yesterday for the first time on a long time, taking a break from my usual Saturday morning walk. It happened for two reasons: 1) we had things to do that day so I needed to get home sooner and 2) I needed to kick things up a notch. My time wasn’t impressive but overall it was a great run. Oh, and getting a little runner’s high near the end of Mile 4 was pretty awesome. Yes, it was only five miles total but that endorphin release felt good and helped carry me home.

Then today I rode 20 miles to the beach and back. I see weird things sometimes and have to document them, because that’s just how I am.

Photo Feb 11, 7 53 50 AM

And I also played some baseball with the kid in the afternoon. I know one thing: tomorrow at work, my legs are going to be ridiculously sore but it will be ridiculously worth it.

So with my weekend out of the way, let’s jump into the Friday Five: Rockit

What’s your favorite instrumental hit song?

Let’s start with this. Are you old enough to remember when instrumentals were a thing? Songs like Chariots of Fire, Love’s Theme, Music Box Dancer, Rainforest, Nadia’s Theme and Joy? Older folk like me lived in great times when instrumentals were indeed a thing as were “disco versions” of popular movie themes (Star Wars and CE3K) which were, for all intents and purposes, pretty horrible. That’s not to mention all those TV themes by Mike Post that got radio play. Those days are definitely gone.

Anyway, to answer the question, mine is really a tie between two songs:

“Chase” by Giorgio Moroder and Harold Faltermyer (from the movie Midnight Express)

“Crockett’s Theme” by Jan Hammer

Both are quintessential synthesizer songs. Both way too cool for me to handle. And in a secret life, I’m surrounded by keyboards like Tony Banks can play them perfectly.

Tony-Banks-Genesis-Keyboards-Birthday-March-27

What’s a good movie with rockets in in it?

Oh, a movie question. Dang it. I don’t watch many, let alone any featuring rockets. But for the sake of answering the question let’s go with The Rocketeer. The ‘30s setting is fantastic, I like the plot, and you gotta love how the Griffith Observatory looks exactly the same to this day (with the exception of their recent – we’re talking years ago – expansion).

In 1977, Voyager I took off on its very long journey, loaded with two golden records containing sounds meant “to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth, and are intended for any intelligent extraterrestrial life form, or for future humans, who may find them,” according to Wikipedia.  The contents were chosen by a committee chaired by Carl Sagan, but if Dr. Sagan called you today (you know, from beyond) and said there was room for ten more minutes of music and he was letting you choose it, what would you fill the ten minutes with?

I would ask him for an extra 41 second to accommodate Genesis’ “Duke’s Travels/Duke’s End” from their Duke album, one of my all-time favorites. It’s just brilliant.

What’s something you know about constellations?

I know that if you have never seen Saturn (746 million miles from earth) or Jupiter (356-601 million miles from earth) through a telescope with your own eyes, you are missing out on something special. It’s a very humbling experience. Also, if you sit and stare up at the night sky, letting your eyes adjust to the darkness, you will see a lot of things floating around up there which can be anything from space junk to small meteors.

When did you last spend time in a rocking chair?

Our house has no rocking chairs and for the sake of staying young, it probably never will. But I did sit in one a few weekends ago at the in-laws’ house, which has one in every room if I’m not mistaken.

Well, that’s it. I have a ton of pictures to transfer from my phone but I don’t feel doing it tonight, especially with the way the computer has been acting.

And by the way, no, “Chariots of Fire” is not on any of my Spotify playlists for when I go running. Just had to point that out.

“Eye of the Tiger” on the other hand…

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Friday Five – Groundhog Day


27332728_10155534282559118_3082583756623170160_nHeadphones on. White noise playing. Candle burning. Flux capacitor…fluxing. Time for another Friday Five – on time this week!

The topic for today is Groundhog Day and before I get to the list, I’d just like to say that I think this is one of the dumbest traditions still going. Come on, a bunch of guys in silly hats and gloves waiting for a rodent to emerge from his home in the hopes he’ll predict the length of winter.

Don’t be silly. The whole thing smacks of stupidity. Even meteorologists with satellite maps can’t get things right most of the time. This is why aliens don’t visit us, and the fucker probably just wants a carrot for being awakened so damn early.

Oh. And it takes place in Gobbler’s Knob. I’ll just leave things there.

Ahem. So…

Friday Five: Groundhog Day

What’s your favorite Bill Murray performance?

I’ve only seen a handful of Bill Murray movies, not including Groundhog Day. There’s Stripes, Ghostbusters, Lost in Translation, Caddyshack, and I even saw Meatballs for crying out loud. While I thought he had an interesting role in Lost in Translation, my vote would have to go Caddyshack when he played Carl Spackler. Classic, quotable role.

IT'S IN THE HOLE!

What’s been a highlight of your winter so far?

Win…ter? I don’t know what you’re talking about. We had a few days of very light rain but as for the rest of our so-called winter, let this image sum things up for you. This is First Street in downtown Long Beach, a transit mall reserved for buses and the Metro train.

File Feb 02, 9 29 12 PM

Aside from the warm weather, I’d say the two photo excursions to Los Angeles – one solo and one with the kid – were definitely fun. I didn’t blog about them; all the pics are on Instagram. It was just easier that way.

What’s there to look forward to in the next six weeks?

There are a lot of birthdays this time of year. The wife and kid are both in March and mine is somewhere between February 1-28. As a big communal celebration, we’ll pick a place we all want to eat and go there for dinner. Last year was Benihana which we thought was fun but definitely not worth the price. In 2016 we went to a Korean BBQ which was also fun but much more affordable. This year? I’m thinking Mongolian. There’s a killer place nearby.

Too early for flapjacks?

NEVAH! I will eat them any time of day. But flapjacks are one of those things that always seem like a good idea and once you get them, you never finish them. You can go a week without eating and have two plates of them shoved in front of you, and you’ll only finish one. Diabolical bastards. Speaking of flapjacks, I’m looking forward to my free Denny’s birthday Grand Slam breakfast, too. (Last year I took the day off work and went to every single place that was offering free birthday food — and it was fuuuuun!)

If someone in a bar asks to buy you a drink (and let’s just say for the sake of the question you are amenable), what do you order?

The only time I’m in a bar is for my monthly karaoke gathering with my former coworkers. In the odd instance that this would happen to me in the first place (HA!), my choice would be easy: White Russian. Because The Dude, and because I can’t name any others. Maybe a raspberry Smirnoff Ice because nobody carries Bartles & James.

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Okay then. That’s two blog posts since I decided to take a break. I’ve been getting better but it comes and goes, and right now it’s coming back. Time to go relax the eyes again.

I’m out!

Friday Five (Late Edition) – Returns


I was on Facebook for a bit today and noticed that one of the humor pages I follow had sold out and was starting to post clickbait and crap stories, the latter with the formulaic, millennial-appealing headlines of  “[noun] [verb] [something potentially outlandish], and [group reacts].”

Gag. That’s the last act of someone who cares more about the revenue those stories might generate as opposed to having a human element tied to their page. For me, it’s easier to unfollow those pages than them getting anything from my clicks. And while I may have ads on here, believe me when I say that I’ve earned zero from them. You’re free to ignore them or not click on them – don’t care either way!

Anyway, I can promise you that as long as I’m around to keep this dog-and-pony show alive that there is indeed a human behind it, one who just lit a fruity scented candle on his desk and is using that and the illumination from the monitor as his only light sources. I like it this way.

Now that that little diatribe is done, I thought I’d use the old Friday Five standby to get myself blogging again. And I thought the topic would be fun so let’s get to it.

Friday Five: Returns

What was the last item you returned or exchanged at a store?

I am a notorious non-gift-returner because I just think it’s rude (even if the giver never finds out). The only time I will return something is when it’s an article of clothing that looked better on the mannequin or just didn’t fit right. Other than that, I don’t care how bad the gift is, I will not part with it and most likely end up giving it away years later. That was until one of our White Elephant gift exchanges at work last Christmas (oh, George!) when I “won” this:

Saved-by-the-Bell

I have never been more pissed off about a gift in my life – seriously, I was not happy. Yes, I understand the purpose of the White Elephant. Yes, I should be grateful. But fucking hell! A Saved By the Bell fucking board game? I was not “so excited” to play it because I didn’t and since it had a “Target exclusive” label on it, took it right back the next day. I didn’t get full credit since I didn’t have the receipt but it’s a small price to pay for not having the likeness of Screech in my home. I ended up buying an exercise ball with the gift card credit. Lesson learned: always steal at White Elephants. At least you might end up with something good.

When did you last leave the house and then turn right back around and go back inside?

Sadly, I almost do this on a daily basis. It’s like I have OCD about checking to make sure the doors are locked and the toaster unplugged, even if nobody used it that day. Wanna know what’s weird about the toaster thing? I have no problem with Ann leaving the crock pot on all day while we’re at work. Go figure that shit out. I’ll go back inside if I’ve forgotten something (rare occasion) but I do go back to check the doors.

What’s the latest you’ve ever returned a library book?

Li…brar…y? Oh. I’ve got it. I visit them so infrequently that I’ve forgotten how it’s pronounced. But when I have I can assure you that I returned the books on time, all the time, and sometimes sooner than their return date – like a week sooner. I’m such a solid reader [insert strong arm emoji here]. Besides, punctuality is one thing I’m a stickler about.

What location among places you’ve traveled would you most like to see again?

Having flown a grand total of two times in my life, I’m anything but a jet-set traveler. In fact, outside of the the states I’ve driven to (Arizona and Nevada), the only other two states I’ve visited have been Arkansas and Missouri, and Missouri was only hours at St. Louis Airport. But I have taken a cruise to that beautiful shithole country of Mexico and I would love to go back and explore a little deeper than our cruise destination of Ensenada. It’s where my heritage lies and visiting would mean a lot.

What’s an unlikely movie sequel you’d like to see?

One of my all-time favorite movies is The Big Lebowski so regardless of how horrible the trailer for its unlikely sequel might be, I’d more than likely catch it first-run. This Dude would abide.

And that Friday 5 is done.

Oh! I can’t believe it’s here already but February 1st marks my second anniversary at NR (or Not Ralphs as I referred to it in this post). It’s my official hire date although if you count my freelance time, I’ve been there for closer to 2.5 years. Either way, I’m still incredibly happy, fortunate, and thankful to be there.

Alright. Time to hit the exercise ball. Or nap…maybe on the exercise ball…

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!

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.