Life, Shopping

Things I Learned Today: March 24, 2017


In an effort to keep this here blog of mine going I’ve decided to try something a little different.

They say that we learn something new every day, and today I found that to be exceptionally true. In fact, I started compiling a list in my head while on my drive to work and only found myself adding more things to it, so that didn’t really go as planned.

I’m not very good at mental note-taking so I tried my best to remember what it was I had thought of and haphazardly typed it into Word while on my break at the office. And now I present today’s list.

Things I Learned Today for March 24, 2017

1. People still use CDs in their cars. Shocking, I know. But I was reminded of this when I drove past a guy who had a Case Logic visor CD organizer that was filled with purchased CDs and burned-at-home CD-Rs. It all seemed rather ‘90s since my last two cars have had USB ports and my music has either been on a thumb drive or smartphone ever since. I’m not a big terrestrial radio fan and am a proud Spotify Premium subscriber so my music collection had been downloaded from there and is all on my iPhone. Also, Ann’s car doesn’t even have a CD slot – all music is played via Bluetooth or USB port.

2. The local daily newspaper now costs $1. There was a time when I had to scrape together four quarters to buy the Sunday paper in order to get all of the retail ads and coupons. The daily cost a fourth of that. But as with everything, technology has just about killed this format. Coupons and ads can now be seen online and with Amazon, you don’t really need ads anymore because chances are they have what you need for less and will ship it to you for free. Then why did I even bother buy a newspaper today? The Long Beach Grand Prix is approaching and there was a voucher for a free Friday ticket in today’s edition. That’s the day that the office sort of takes a rather long lunch since the event is literally across the street from us. So spending the $1 was well worth it. Any other day? Not so much.

3. Water refill stations still exist. Whether they are against the wall of the local Walgreens or fancy stand-alone jobs that look like a windmill, they are still around and people still use them. I found this out while researching them since we are in the market to have water delivered to us. I am still not drinking [diet] soda regularly, although there have been a few occasions while dining out when I did get one as a treat. Water is still my mainstay and I have an app to remind me to reach my daily goal of 100 oz., so I figured that having it delivered might be cheaper than buying a case of bottled water at the store. At $1.50 for five gallons from said refill stations, it probably will be. And while I don’t buy soda anymore, I have found a tasty substitute should I crave something bubbly. Highly recommended if you can find it in your area.

4. Domino’s pasta bowls are carb overload. This one may seem a bit obvious but I learned the hard way. Ann ordered three of them last night for dinner and being as hungry as I was when I got home from work, I devoured mine in no time. The bad part: I wasn’t running a marathon today. If I had been, the combination of pasta and pizza crust would have been an excellent source of fuel to burn off. Instead, they sat in my stomach all day and magically turned into sugar as they tend to do if you don’t use them. It was total carb overload, and I felt it all day long. Pretty stupid move.

5. Vans never go out of style. Last week we took Anthony birthday shopping at the local outlets. He loves Vans and has a pretty decent collection of them. In fact, his love ignited mine and I started to build my own collection which includes a pair inspired by The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine (that I will never wear). I wore Off The Walls all the time as a kid – when we could afford them – so wearing them again on a regular basis is fun, and it doesn’t hurt that I can wear them to the office. I have an assortment of colors to choose from but I made a purchase at the outlets last weekend that I won’t soon regret.

Photo Mar 24, 9 15 00 PM

Depending on your monitor calibration, the brightness of your smartphone screen or any other number of factors, these Old Skool style Vans are bright pink with the signature Vans stipe running the sides in cyan. For $20 and 50% off a second pair, I couldn’t pass them up. They are a hit, inside the office and out. I actually had a guy stop me while I was on my bike ride to tell me how much he liked them and today while returning from a Starbucks run with a coworker, someone else walked past and complimented me on my choice of footwear – only I was wearing these instead.

IMG_5229

These are all purple with gold eyes. I also have pairs in dark green and blue, and I dig them all. All this admiration just goes to show that Vans are timeless and at least in their birthplace of southern California, they are more of a lifestyle than anything.

What will I learn tomorrow? Who knows. But I hope you enjoyed the list of things I learned today.

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Life

The Naked Truth 


The good thing about this iPhone 7 Plus is that it’s ridiculously huge, which makes blogging much easier than using one of those puny phones. Or, in this case, not having to get my lazy rear out of my La-Z-Boy lounge chair and sit at the computer desk.

Anyway, there were some strange things afoot around the office today and believe me when I say I’ve seen some strange things going on around there.

Like the guy in the rat costume picketing outside Starbucks, or the couple lighting up something that wasn’t a cigarette or vape. No, nothing like that, but definitely weird.

I sit next to a window on the second floor of our building and as I do on occasion (in order to give my eyes a break), I’ll look away from the monitor and out that window. Most of the time I just see the usual pedestrian traffic on the sidewalk which is no big deal. But sometimes, something will catch my eye when I didn’t intend to take a little break and I can’t help but stare.

Today was that day.

As I sat there plugging away at a project, I happened to notice what appeared to be a woman walking down the sidewalk — totally nude. But nah, maybe she was wearing flesh-colored leggings and a top that made her appear like she was naked. It happens. Right, ladies? 

By the time I gave a second glance, she was to a point where I really couldn’t see much anymore because the signage and a tree outside the adjacent building were obscuring her. But I seemed sure of what I saw.

I told a coworker about to look out the window and see if she could confirm my suspicion. But again, the naked lady was gone. But as I was telling her about what I had seen, local city guides were on their radios walking in the same direction of the lady.

Then a few police officers on bikes were behind them. Then a few more. We had to go check this out now.

But before we did, something else caught my eye: a guy walking down that same sidewalk carrying a cross with an American flag draped around the top half of it. I told my coworker to look out the window and this time I had a witness — she saw it, too. I wasn’t totally mad.

So we decided to see what was going on and my eyes were not deceiving me.


I was right. The woman was indeed naked and the police attempted to cover her with a towel. But as you can see by the strategically placed emoji, it didn’t cover everything. While in custody, she struggled with and yelled at the officers meaning she probably wasn’t doing too well mentally or was under the influence of something.

That was that. A naked woman and a guy carrying a cross. Definitely strange.

We went back to our desks and about an hour later, something else caught my eye.

It was a guy on some kind of three-wheeled vehicle that looked like it was being propelled by an electric motor. He was flying down the street and positioned on top of the contraption, legs resting on the frame and wide open. It looked like it was made from really flimsy pipes and kind of reminded me of this:


Now just throw three wheels on this thing, lay it on its side, sit on top and there you go.

I’m going to try not looking out my window too much tomorrow. I might see something even more odd, if that’s possible.

Life, weather

It’s Only A Little Rain


Friday as seen from my deskThe family ventured out this morning as we normally do each Saturday and for the most part our Saturdays are uneventful.

But today? Hmm.

Our first stop was PetSmart where we had to pick up some bags of vittles for the cats and one smelly dog. Not a whole lot going on there. We also made a few random stops at the same shopping center and again, nothing of note.

Then we made the mistake of going to Michaels. Ann’s a crafty one and needed some yarn to make us all warm and fuzzy hats to wear on our next snow trip – yes, snow! The weather has been rather wet lately (see photo above) and it’s been dumping feet of fresh snow in the local mountains.

We walked into the place after almost being run over GTA V-style in the parking lot by several impatient drivers. It seemed people were running around as if their hair was on fire and they were in need of finding a place to soak their head.

The line of people checking out was way beyond the capacity of the holding area. I mean, really. This is Michaels. The lines aren’t this long even during Christmas or if they are having a big sale. It was ridiculous so we walked back to the car, dodging even more bad drivers along the way.

Our next stop was Kmart where we ended up finding more than we thought we would: Christmas merchandise was 90% off so we stocked up on rolls of wrapping paper and cards. We then made our way to the cashier.

The lines here were just about the same as they were at Michaels. What the hell was going on?

We eventually got through that mess after listening to the person in front of us haggle the prices of everything she had – and ended up leaving half of it. Some people.

On the way home we passed by Ralphs or, as I used to call it when I worked there, The Place Where Dreams Go to Die. Guess what? The parking lot was at near capacity.

It took us a moment to figure out exactly why everyplace was so freaking busy today.

hurricane

Remember that I had said it’s been a little rainy here lately. It really has been, so much so that it’s made a huge dent on our drought conditions and turned the local mountains nearly pure white. Absolutely beautiful. And on the day I took the picture shown at the beginning of this post, I sat at my desk and watched a barricade being blown into the street by strong winds and saw palm branches fall from on high. They could knock someone out cold if they hit them.

We’ve been hit by a series of storms with today giving us a break, and that’s exactly why the stores were busy.

See, most Californians don’t handle the rain very well. We get spoiled by our 72-degree average temperature so when things start to dip below that or – Jeebus forbid – a storm is approaching, most of them lose their freaking minds.

And the storm approaching tonight/tomorrow morning is supposed to be one that will last all day Sunday and into Monday. Again, rain. Not snow, not a hurricane, not a tornado. Just rain.

But our weathermen with goofy names like Dallas Raines and Johnny Mountain have made the next one sound like it’s gonna wipe us off the map, and the wiping is scheduled to commence at 2:15 am according to local reports.

That’s the exact reason why people were our in force and acting so nuts today: because it’s going to rain tomorrow. The masses were stocking up on corn nog and wadded beef in preparation for the onslaught of wet stuff falling from the sky, then will be hunkering down in their homes to wait out the storm for the next few days.

It’s no wonder the rest of the country makes fun of us.

Life, year in review

Dear 2016


On a personal level, you were a mixed bag.

In February, I was finally hired at my job after working months as a freelancer and I love it. I can’t imagine being anywhere else (in terms of commute, location, the job itself). Also in February, I had a little incident with the parking garage arm while exiting on my scooter. I didn’t write about it since it happened at work.

In April, Ann spent a few days in the hospital after experiencing chest pains. Everything checked out fine and she’s has no problems since.

The summer saw us spending time at quite a few local spots and some not as close.

And in October, I had a second incident on my scooter which was a little more severe than the one in February. But I’m fine and it’s all taken care of, even if the scooter was declared a total loss.

All in all, the good definitely outweighed the bad and for that I’m thankful.

But enough of me. Nobody can look back on you, oh 2016, without thinking about all of the talent we’ve lost. I compiled a list of those I could think of, and note that since starting this list I had to reluctantly make some additions to it:

abe vigoda
Abe Vigoda of Barney Miller

alan rickman
Alan Rickman

alan thicke
Alan Thicke

arnold_palmer
Arnold Palmer

beth howland
Beth Howland of Alice

billy paul
Billy Paul, known for his hit song “Me and Mrs. Jones”

carrie-fisher-debbie-reynolds
Carrie Fisher (12/27/16) and her mother Debbie Reynolds (12/28/16)

dan haggerty
Dan Haggerty of Grizzly Adams

dave mirra
Dave Mirra

david bowie
David Bowie

david huddleston
David Huddleston, who was in two of my favorite movies: The Big Lebowski and Blazing Saddles

doris roberts
Doris Roberts

erik bauersfeld
Erik Bauersfeld, voice of Admiral “It’s a trap!” Ackbar

florence henderson
Florence Henderson

garry marshall
Gary Marshall

garry shandling
Garry Shandling

gene wilder
Gene Wilder (seen here in Blazing Saddles)

george s irving
George S. Irving aka Heat Miser from The Year Without A Santa Claus

george kennedy
George Kennedy

george martin
Sir George Martin, producer extraordinaire

george michael
George Michael

glenn frey
Glenn Frey

gordie howe
Gordie Howe

greg lake
Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake and Palmer

harper lee
Harper Lee

3201004P NEW YORK METS
Broadcaster Joe Garagiola (seen here with Gary Carter, who died in 2012)

john glenn
John Glenn

jon polito
Jon Polito, who also was in The Big Lebowski

kenny baker
Kenny Baker

kimbo slice
Kimbo Slice

leon russell
Leon Russell

leonard cohen
Leonard Cohen

maurice white
Maurice White of Earth, Wind and Fire

merle haggard
Merle Haggard

morley safer
Morley Safer

mr fuji
WWF star Mr. Fuji

muhammad ali
The GOAT

nancy reagan
Nancy Reagan

natalie cole
Natalie Cole

pat harrington
Pat Harrington of One Day At A Time

patty duke
Patty Duke

pete burns
Pete Burns

RA1004_PRINCE
Prince

prince be attrell cordes
Atrell Cordes aka Price Be of PM Dawn

robert vaughn
Robert Vaughn

Rod Temperton
Songwriter Rod Temperton

ron glass
Ron Glass, also of Barney Miller

vanity
Vanity, Prince protégé

zsa zsa
Zsa Zsa Gabor


So hey, 2016. Your time is up.

Seriously. Get out. You’ve done enough damage. Nobody will miss you.

Here’s wishing you all a very happy and prosperous 2017!

 

Life, Music

The Way It Used to Be


It seems I need to get back into blogging.

Since I don’t watch much TV, I’ve been spending my nights in a fruitless effort to try to learn the Japanese language – and still getting nowhere. At least it feels that way. It’s doubtful I’ll make much progress anymore so it’s on the back burner for now. Disappointing, yes, but you know what they say about old dogs and new tricks, let alone those of a foreign language.

And on top of that, it’s kind of a way to hit the proverbial Reset button. I need to do this as much as I need to meditate, something else I haven’t done in a long time.

At any rate, this old dog spent last Saturday night with his son at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles to see one of his all-time favorite groups, Pet Shop Boys. In all my years of concert-going, this was only the second PSB show I have attended. Technically, it should have been the third but things happen. As expected, it was spectacular.

PSBSuperTour

The good thing about this venue is that like most of my favorite spots in Los Angeles, it’s close to a Metro station and that makes me happy. Rather than spend $20 on parking plus burning all that gas to get there, I spent $7 round-trip for the both of us.

The trip to the Pico Station was pretty uneventful save for the usual hustling from vendors selling food and cell phone accessories. Pretty much expected.

When we arrived at our exit, I saw a couple exit before us and the girl gave me a glance and said, “You going to the Pet Shop Boys concert?”

She had me pegged. It must have been my shirt from their 1991 Performance tour that gave me away.

“Oh yeah, I’ve been waiting a long time,” I told her. She then gave me a rundown of all PSB shows she’s attended then pointed to her boyfriend.

“He hasn’t seen them live yet.” I smiled.

“Oh, you will NOT be disappointed,” I told him as we made our way down the sidewalk. Anthony held the gate for them and they were surprised. Kids don’t do that these days.

We then split up and told them to enjoy the show as they made their way into a corner Mexican restaurant across the street. Anthony and I headed over to the venue.

And wow. Let me explain. In addition to the usual Saturday night crowd, there were also two other events happening: Stan Lee’s Comic-con at the L.A. Convention Center and the League of Legends Championship at Staples Center and outside Microsoft Theater. There were tons of young people there having a great time. Granted I don’t know much about either of those things – remember, Old Dog – but I’d be more inclined to attend the comic-con if I had a choice. There might be a slight chance I’d be able to recognize some of the cosplay outfits based on my limited knowledge of anime. In fact I’m sure I saw a young lady dressed as one of the Sailor characters. There are many and I can only identify Moon. Jupiter, Mars, Venus? Forget it. But one out of…many isn’t bad I guess.

And to their credit, most of them are handmade. Probably not the easiest thing to do.

As we made our way through the crowd, there was a guy pointing out and verbally identifying people by their wardrobe and giving a high-five gesture, then slapping them one if they held out their hand. So many smiles everywhere. Video screens flashing ads and music videos lit up our steps to the venue.

File Oct 31, 10 06 51 PM

Anthony then asked me, “Is this what Japan is like?” Hmm. Shibuya and Harajuku. Osaka’s dotonbori. I looked up and around.

“Yeah, pretty much,” I told him basing my opinion on sheer speculation and not fact. But they do look like places that would have a similar vibe, if not better.

“Okay, we need to go then,” he said with a smile. In time, my man. In time.

The show began a little after 9 pm and as previously stated, it was amazing. A lot of newer stuff mixed with classics like “West End Girls,” “Domino Dancing” and “Always On My Mind.” Then, of course, “It’s A Sin.” That song pretty much changed my life.

We left the venue satisfied, ears ringing, and walked the couple of blocks back to the train station for our ride home. That’s where I saw the couple from earlier that night. I saw the guy and asked, “Well?”

“It was outstanding,” he said with a smile. His girlfriend chimed in and agreed. I then asked which stop was theirs as the train approached. It was only one away from ours so Anthony and I sat next to them for the ride and introduced ourselves.

I discovered that the couple – we’ll call them Jack and Dianne – were big music fans and regular concert-goers. At 31, Jack was the oldest of the two and about 7 years Dianne’s senior. At one point Dianne mentioned that she had seen Depeche Mode a few times and was looking forward to seeing them this time around. I am too, and I told her about the DM shows I have attended.

“Oh, I first saw them in 1987 at The Forum. Music for the Masses Tour. Then I saw them at the Rose Bowl in 1988.”

“Really? And how much was it for that show?”

I replied without hesitation. “$22.50. And for four acts: Wire, Thomas Dolby, OMD, and Depeche Mode.”

Totally stunned. That concert is the stuff of legends. I then told her I was at the Jimmy Kimmel taping in the pit taking lo-res pictures with my old Verizon LG enV flip-phone.

We talked about how incredibly expensive concerts can be now, even for the cheap seats. I agreed then told them they have it easy these days. They didn’t remember a time before the Internet and apps when buying concert tickets was an event in itself.

How did you even get to see any shows back then?

“Two ways to buy them: camp out or call Ticketmaster and 213-480-3232. See? I still remember the phone number. And you had to keep calling if the line was busy and if you finally got through, it was a miracle. This was before the Redial button, you know. But even if you camped outside Music Plus or The Wherehouse, there was no guarantee you’d get them. Scalpers have always been around and they still are.”

And camping out usually meant sparking up conversation with the people around you, especially if the wait was expected to be long. And when it was over, you’d part ways with the knowledge you might just see them at the show. And if you didn’t, hey, you at least had a great chat to kill some time.

Then we went over shows we’ve been to. That lasted a while with me but it turns out that despite me being old enough to be Dianne’s father, we all had similar taste in music. I said the last show we attended was Perfume, a Japanese electro-pop group that rarely tours the U.S.

Not only were ticket prices discussed but physical tickets in general. We used to collect them and put them in scrap books or our wallets as a way of showing our friends we were there. Well, outside of buying a shirt. Now I’m not even sure if you can opt for a physical ticket or have to print them at home (and still get charged even though you’re using your own ink). But I do know that a virtual ticket is indeed pretty cool but nowhere as cool as a stub. And if you don’t screencap it, it’s lost.

IMG_9786

Speaking of Perfume, I told them that as I was waiting for them to tour the U.S., I wanted to find some videos on YouTube of their Japan tour. It was impossible and the reason is simple: I learned that in Japan, it’s not allowed. At all.

So it was only natural that the conversation took yet another turn. I said concerts were so much better in the days before smartphones. Why? Because we were in the moment enjoying the show. We knew we would have stories to tell the next day at school or at work. There seemed to be more of a personal connection between the music and the fan back then, rather than this “look at me” generation that cares more about taking selfies with the stage in the background or posting live videos on Facebook. Seeing a sea of screens in front of me the entire show is pretty annoying because I come from the cigarette-lighter-during-a-ballad generation. And it was waaaaay cooler.

To further prove my point about the disconnect between music and fan today, I told them the story of the mixtape I found and how making one back in the day was such a labor of love. It had to express how we were feeling and being caught up in the creation of it was part of our connection to the music because we knew how hard it was to get this tape just right.

And the act of buying music itself? Totally different. Click-to-buy is nothing like lining up for that new CD on New Music Tuesday.

We had a great chat that made the trip seem so much shorter. When Anthony and I arrived at our stop, we shook hands and exchanged pleasantries while they complimented me on Anthony’s politeness at the Pico Station where he held the gate open for them. We both thanked them.

And while I could have given them links to my social media accounts to stay in touch, it only seemed appropriate to end our talk and part ways with these kids like this.

Just like the way it used to be outside Music Plus, waiting for Phil Collins tickets to go on sale.

Family, Fatherhood, Life, Uncategorized

Manic Monday


Monday night was crazy.

Earlier in the day, Ann had sent me a picture of my wonderful neighbor — you already know I’m being fatuous — standing in the street next to his car. That is, his damaged car.

Turns out that another resident on our street came flying around the corner at their usual high rate of speed, lost control, and wiped out my neighbor’s car. They flipped their car twice after impact which shows you how ridiculously fast they were going, with a child in the back seat. All are fine and I’m sorry that kid has a mother that doesn’t take his safety into consideration when she gets behind the wheel. They are known for speeding on our street all the time.

Ann told me the sound of the accident was horrible as they usually are but being close to the scene made it sound worse. She was a bit shaken up by it all and I can’t say I blame her. Accidents are truly scary to hear, scarier to see, and even more scary to be in.

That’s when I enter the picture, about 7 miles away.

I was making my way home as usual, taking the same streets as I always do. Just another ho-hum ride home for me.

Then it happened.

Just as I passed an intersection, a car made a right turn into my lane on their red light. Contact was made and the impact threw my scooter out of control. Yes, I was on my scooter.

I went sideways for a moment before finally losing control and falling to the ground, rolling in the street maybe about four times at around 35 MPH. My helmet made contact with the asphalt and got scraped up pretty bad. The impact on the asphalt jammed my scooter’s center stand into the body and it is no longer usable. All of this happened within seconds.

And all I was thinking while I was rolling was “Hang on…hang on…just hang on…don’t let go.” The adrenaline was pumping anyhow and that’s probably what kept me going. The worst thing I could have done was panicked — and I didn’t. Macho man.

Once I stopped rolling and dusted myself off, then having a few choice words with the driver who hit me, I texted Ann the following: “I got hit. I’m fine. Exchanging information.” But with all the chaos happening outside our own house, she left her phone in the kitchen and didn’t get the message until much later.

Daylight was quickly fading into night.

In the midst of all of this, between police questioning and fire trucks and ambulances, I finally got a call from her to make sure I was okay. I assured her I was. Then I got one from Anthony and it was something I never want to hear again. He was absolutely hysterical but again, I was fine and I calmed him down.

My bodily damage? Minimal. I have a few spots of road rash on my left leg (DON’T EVER Google that if you’re not ready for it) and not much else. Thankfully, nothing is broken and I didn’t suffer a concussion with my head hitting the ground. The police made their report, the paramedics checked me out, and I refused to go to the hospital as I felt good enough to ride home, which is exactly what I did.

There are more details but that’s all I’m divulging. I don’t pay my insurance for nothing.

Since I started riding, I’ve always worn a video camera of some kind on my helmet. Not because I was doing stupid tricks to share on YouTube but for the one time I may need it. Plus it keeps my own self honest. And after two years of riding, I thought I was about as safe as they get: lane-splitting only at red lights, avoiding any kind of trouble, etc. I’d never had an accident; just a few close calls that were wiped clean from the memory card of my GoPro. Of course, I keep the clips of interesting things I’ve witnessed on the road.

The camera itself was an investment and a form of insurance provided anything ever happened. And so far I was certain that I’d never need any footage recorded with it.

That was until Monday night. The point of impact, me rolling several times in the street, my feet flying up in the air, my brand new Vans shoes being ruined.  It’s all on there and…well, remember what I said earlier about being in an accident? Try having yours recorded. It really makes you sit back and think.

But perhaps the most gut-wrenching feeling I had was when Anthony called me, crying like never before. There I was with flashing lights all around me trying to reassure him that everything was going to be okay. Easy for me to say.

But I’d heard that cry in the past, and it was from me in 1976 when Mom got the call that Dad had passed away at the hospital. It absolutely tore me up.

And that was it. That ride home on my scooter would be my last.

I took Tuesday off so that I could take care of business. First, I submitted my insurance claim to see if it would cover any damage to my scooter. As of this post, the other guy has yet to contact their insurance or make a claim. I get the feeling they won’t, but that’s when the GoPro footage will come in handy. My company already has a copy of it and all they have to do is send it over to the other insurance company.

Second, I cancelled the insurance on the motorcycle and it’s going to sit in the garage until I can find a buyer. Yes, I’m getting rid of it. I do, however, plan to keep the scooter only because I’m so deep into it with the credit card that was used to pay for it. I won’t get much for it anyhow, and even less now that it’s been in an accident. I don’t know the extent of any damage to the body of my scooter so I’ll have to have it checked.

Third, I went out and got myself a car. I wasn’t kidding when I said I was done riding. It’s a 2015 Nissan Versa Note and I have to admit that since Nissan pays me (although I don’t work for them directly), there’s a sense of pride being behind the wheel of their product. I already know everything about it and I just got it.

Granted the payments aren’t exactly what we negotiated but it’s a small price to pay for my own safety. There’s no doubt I’ll miss riding and all that goes with it, but when I got the scooter it was meant to be a temporary fix until we could find another solution. And it worked, until Monday night.

And I’m willing to hang it up and put all of it behind me.


Because I’m not putting my family through this kind of misery ever again.

Composed with the WordPress iOS app

Cars, Family, Fatherhood, Life, Photography, Staycation

A Summer That Won’t Suck, Outing 1: Petersen Automotive Museum


Well, if there’s anything that will get me blogging with regular frequency, it’s going out and doing things. And that’s exactly what the kid and I did today.

He had heard about an event going on at the Petersen Automotive Museum months ago: a Lamborghini cruise-in. He’s really into said cars right now (to the point of my wishing to never hear the name again) but figured he would really enjoy seeing the cars roll in.

Oh, and the museum would be hosting the North American debut of the Lamborghini Centenario, a car so rare that all 40 of the planned models have been sold already – at $2 million each.

Must be nice, no?

Anyway, the cruise-in was scheduled to start at 8am which meant waking up at the crack of dawn to give us time to battle whatever L.A. traffic we happened to encounter along the way. Fortunately, none of the highways were backed up and we made pretty good time even if it was drizzling pretty heavily almost the entire trip.

I would hesitate to call it rain – even as a California native.

We arrived and parked the car then waited near the entrance to watch some of the cars pull in.

Photo Jun 12, 6 57 43 AM

Anthony has been using Ann’s old digital camera for his Photographic Journalism class in school and he brought it today to get some more practice.

Once it got closer to 8am, we walked upstairs to the 3rd level of the parking structure to view the parked cars. And wow, what a collection of old and new. Here’s a Lamborghini Mura (foreground) and Espada (background). Just beautiful cars.

Photo Jun 12, 7 50 33 AM

Granted the old ones sounded nothing like their newer siblings but they were still beautiful. And as we walked around, more started to arrive.

Photo Jun 12, 8 07 18 AM

This is the Batventador, or an Aventador with Batman logos all over it. Interesting to say the least and Anthony knew of it right off the bat because he’d seen it on Instagram. I later sat by the owner of the car, Debbie, at the debut of the Centenario. We had a little chat over the empty seat next to me and a few laughs about it (since the woman who was sitting there never returned). Turns out she’s super-nice and also ultra-cool to kids.

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These are all new models. I peeked at the window sticker of the white one: 12 MPG and a price of over $530k. The rest were more “reasonably” priced by comparison.

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Then there was this young man who was well-known by museum volunteers. He sat in his chair and rendered a Lamborghini 350GT. Quite a talent to say the least.

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I really could shoot car details all day long, no matter the model.

But all of this, of course, was only part of the reason we were there. The debut was scheduled for 10am so after getting an eyeful of these exotic cars, it was time to go into the museum and see yet another one.

And it was near chaos. Those who purchased tickets for the day got a sticker and also early entry to the debut. Everybody else had to wait, despite submitting my RSVP last week and having my confirmation.

Security had no idea. People were getting a bit angry and while it’s only a car, I can see their point. Why RSVP if you’re not going to let us in?

After about 10 minutes, those with RSVP emails/printouts were let in while those without had to wait even longer. Seemed fair.

Two people spoke at the event: one from Turn 10 Studios who produces the Forza Motorsport games for Xbox, and a representative for Lamborghini. Their speeches weren’t long as the crowd was big and pretty excited to see the Centenario.

Well, a replica of it at least. None have been made yet.

And after their speeches, the car was unveiled.

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With all the crowding, these were the best shots I could get and unlike the all of the previous images, I used my phone. It was just easier.

By now, the both of us were getting hungry and also needed some fresh air. Apparently the AC doesn’t work too well in the museum (my assessment at least) so we went outside and walked around. Of course, I still took pictures.

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I like how the building practically matches the shape of the museum’s architecture from this angle. Frames is perfectly.

And I had spotted this early on but didn’t get a good shot of it until after the event.

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Johnie’s Coffee Shop was temporarily turned into Bernie Sanders HQ and still has all the propaganda in place. It’s normally closed but has been used in a bunch of movies including The Big Lebowski and Reservoir Dogs.

At the end of the day, the kid was more than satisfied with the event and seeing his favorite brand of car up close and in ridiculous quantity.

And honestly, I could have done this on my grocery store salary since the event was free and parking only set me back $12. A fun day indeed.

And with that, A Summer That Won’t Suck has officially begun! Stay tuned for more.