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!

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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.

Friday 5: Into the Lens


Look, I know this is a day late but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to write about it after seeing a fellow blogger do it. The topic is relevant to me so it’ll be a good fit. Now just keep in mind that I’ve also worked in photo labs and have been shooting for years so the answers could be much longer than you bargained for.

The topic is Into the Lens, in which we answer photography-related questions. Let’s get to it!

What was your first camera like?
I didn’t own a camera of my own until high school when I took my first photography class. Until then, I had only used my brother’s Canon Snappy a few times. In 1985 I believe, I got my first SLR for Christmas: a Minolta X370 which I still have (even if it isn’t working at the moment). I shot with it for many, many years and captured some cool stuff, including George Brett’s 3,000th hit. Yes, I was a part of baseball history!

What kinds of accessories have you purchased for a camera?
What didn’t I buy for this camera? While the set I got for Christmas came with two lenses, a flash, cleaning accessories and one of those ugly camera bags that nobody but a hipster might be seen with in public today, I bought my share of goodies for my camera and mostly on the cheap. I had different colored lens filters for black-and-white photography, back when you had to imagine the image before you shot it.

“Hmm. The sky is a nice blue and I want to bring out those clouds. I need my red filter for that. Wait, this is the 52 mm diameter filter. Where’s my 55 mm one? NOOOO!”

I also had a cable release and tripod for long-exposure shots. Ann and I actually drove to the middle of nowhere in 1997 to capture the Hale-Bopp comet on film. True story.

I once picked up a zoom lens at the local thrift shop for around $10 and years later found a motor drive for the same price. What’s a motor drive, you might ask? See, old camera didn’t advance the film on their own and if you wanted to take a sequence of shots (known as Burst Mode today), you needed an autowinder. A motor drive took the idea of an autowinder to the next level by giving you the luxury of a shutter button on the side so when you were shooting portrait-style images, the button would be on the top — no twisting your wrist to release the shutter. And, even better, this mode allowed me to shoot up to 3.5 FPS (frames per second, not first-person shooter). Can you imagine how much film I went through when I used that feature?

When did you last shoot photos on film, and how many rolls of unshot film do you have in your house?
Strangely, I shot a roll of film just a few weeks ago because I was feeling retro. I haven’t developed it yet because I don’t even know if any local stores still do it. As far as unused rolls, I have two blank ones for the next time I’m in the mood.

Digital photography has all kinds of advantages over film photography, but what’s better about shooting on film and having to get it developed and printed?
The beauty of using film was that it was pure alchemy. You shot your film based on what your vision was at the time and you most likely only got one chance at getting things right due to the restrictions of available frames (24 or 36, since nobody used 12-exposure rolls). You had no idea what the results would be until you got them back in an hour or week or whatever time-frame you chose. As the filter example above clearly indicates, getting a good shot on film required a lot of work and quick thinking. It’s nothing like it is today, where you can just take another shot if the first one wasn’t any good.

How do you manage your digital photos?
I have a few backup methods for my digital photos. For ones I shoot with my DSLR, I back them up to my external drive and burn them to DVD so that I have at least two copies. I name the folder with the date I transferred them plus the event/location: “2015-04-02 Knott’s Berry Farm” or whatever. This method, of course, does no good if the house should burn down and both copies went with it. (I really should hand over the DVDs to the in-laws to be safe.)

As for those taken with my phone, since they seem to be more personal and require more attention, I wait until I reach a certain threshold then back them up the same way but also put them on my private Google Photos account so that I can access them whenever I need to. For DSLR shots that I want to share online, I drag a copy into Dropbox then download it to my phone. Dropbox is great for sharing data but horrible for managing photos. Google Photos is pretty amazing and does an excellent job organizing them, plus unlimited storage. Can’t beat it.

Okay. That should do it. While shooting digital is fun, most people today don’t even know what they are missing with film cameras. Use one for a day to understand and appreciate what us old[er] folk lived through — and how much we liked it.

Blogging 365, Day 25: Friday Five – Unusual Stuff


Here’s the deal, banana peel.

I’ve been working overtime all week and doing another four hours on Saturday. I’m tired. I’ve got a headache. I’m also a Grumpy Gus because that’s what headaches do to me.

As a result, this is what you get: a Friday 5 entry. I’ll do the best I can then I’m turning this blasted laptop off and going to bed.

And here we go.

What’s the most surprising or unusual thing to be found in your wallet, purse, or backpack? Anthony is always putting little things in the front pouch of my backpack that I take to work with me. I can guarantee there are a few Hot Wheels or erasers down at the bottom of it.

What’s the most surprising or unusual thing to be found on your computer’s hard drive? Deep within the platters that are my hard drive of my desktop, I can guarantee there are pictures of me in drag from Halloween 2006. This was when I was working at the place that paid me so much more money than what I’m making now. On this laptop there is nothing of note. I keep it streamlined and free of unnecessary stuff.

What’s the most interesting thing hanging on your walls? A lithograph of Salvador Dali’s Hallucinogenic Toreador. That or the autographed copy of Depeche Mode’s Music for the Masses LP.

The_Hallucinogenic_Toreador

What’s the most uncharacteristic thing in your fridge? A can of Mazda-branded energy drink that I picked up at the L.A. Auto Show a few years ago (seen here, but not my image). I don’t do energy drinks. I don’t even know why I still have it.

What’s something you’ve done in the past year that you thought was going to be awful but turned out pretty good? Reading. I started reading again and got so immersed in it that I devoted time to do it. That’s unusual for me.

And with that, I bid you goodnight. Grumpy needs his sleep.

backoffgrumpy copy-500x500

Friday Five: It’s Not the End of the World


It’s Friday. You’re saving your energy for a 5-mile run tomorrow morning. And much to your disappointment, no fire or brimstone rained down from the heavens as was (sort of) promised by the Mayans and their wacky calendar.

You’ve also got no blog topic to speak of but you feel the need to write. Well, that’s what Friday Five is all about! Today’s topic is, appropriately enough, It’s Not the End of the World so here we go.

What’s something gross you’ve seen or tasted recently?
Let me think about this one. Oh yes, I know what it was. I tried a piece of homemade rum cake a few days ago and it was a bit too rummy for me. I gave it the old college try but only after a few seconds in my mouth I had to spit it out. No es bueno. Besides, I’m a bit of a teetotaler.

What movie this holiday season are you most looking forward to?
Without question it’s The Hobbit. I read the entire The Lord of the Rings series way back in 8th grade and fell in love with them all over again after finding all three books at a thrift shop. Naturally, I will seek out The Hobbit in paperback form and read it once I’m through the trilogy, currently near the middle of The Two Towers. (Side note: I had to drag Ann to see The Fellowship of the Ring when it came out but by the end she curious as to what happened next. I smiled and said, “Read the next book – or wait until next December.” She waited for three years to see them all and never read the books.)

What makes one photographer better or worse than any other?
Technique.A sunset is a sunset is a sunset unless someone decides to change angles, use reflections in glass or water, filtration, etc.

What specific, annual part of this season most makes you feel all the positive feelings again?
New Year’s Eve. It’s a time to reflect upon everything that happened in the last 365/6 days and see what could be improved upon. The beginning of a new year brings with it so much promise but in the end, after the ball as dropped and the drinks consumed, it seems like just an ordinary day. It’s also a time to see all of the resolutioners start their exercise programs. The trails will be filled in January then empty and left for us regulars again in March.

What are your thoughts on eggnog?
If it wasn’t made from milk or so damn fattening, I’m sure I’d drink it all day. There is a soy variety but if I’m going to have freakin’ eggnog, it’s going to be the real deal.


As of 3:30 today, I am officially on vacation! I’m pretty jazzed about that despite the fact that we got swamped with work at the last minute. Well, not the last minute but at 1:30, the time we would normally be dismissed on a Friday before the company’s annual shutdown.

That’s right. We’re in shutdown mode until New Year’s Day and I won’t be returning until January 2nd. I’ve got 11 glorious days away from proofreading Magyar, Srpski and български*! The bummer? There’s rain in for forecast for the next couple of days so it could impede upon my workout program which will start tomorrow morning.

Either way, I’m looking forward to being with the family during that time and the good thing is that if it does rain, there may likely be snowfall in the local mountains. Sounds like a road trip to me. We’re also planning on going to see the Space Shuttle Endeavour at the California Science Center, checking out Chinatown, and maybe even a day or two of doing absolutely nothing.

That alone beats sitting at a desk for 8 hours.

*Смятате ли, че беше трудно?Опитайте да прочетете на страница след страница от него!