2014: My Year In Review


I know it’s a few days late but I like to wait until the year is over because hey, you never know what can happen, right?

Anyhow I bid you a very Happy New Year. And in keeping with what seems to be a new tradition since I’m always taking pictures of even the most minor event in my life with my phone, I’m going to share with you my photographic year in review* as I did last year. I enjoy doing these posts because I throw in a lot of crazy little things that I saw along with the big things, plus add often sarcastic commentary to go along with all of it.

Will 2014 compare to 2013? Will it be better or worse? You be the judge. So grab your choice of beverage, sit back, and enjoy the (possibly bittersweet) ride.

January 2014

We were invited to go to Disneyland and took the first of what would be, quite honestly, too many trips to Walt’s Magic Kingdom.

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I found a wallet and tried to return it, which turned into one clusterfuck of an ordeal. (Note that the term “clusterfuck” may appear many, many more times in this post – you’ve been warned!) The coins were found in the parking lot next to the wallet but I kept them. Half-dollars are cool.

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We made another trip to Disneyland a few weeks after the last one. It’s already too much.

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I had two of my photos posted in the local newspaper which recently shut down after only 20 months.

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February 2014

I discovered that the local church has parking dedicated to corpulent parishioners.

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In an effort to cut costs due to unemployment, we cut the cable cord and bought Roku boxes and digital antennae.

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Speaking of unemployment, I got a job the day after my birthday at a local grocery store where I tend to take selfies in the freezer.

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And speaking of birthdays, I turned 45 without much fanfare as don’t have my birthdate visible on Facebook. (Those who know, know.) I’m not a big birthday person and only posted this cryptic image on Instagram for people to figure out. I think only one person did.

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I celebrated Chinese New Year the way I did last year, by riding in the Chinatown Firecracker 30-Mile Bike Ride. It’s one of my favorite events but sadly, due to my part-time status, all of my events for 2015 have been put on the back burner. I may not do any if I can’t get the money together for them.

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March 2014

I participated in my second Coaster Run but only the 5k. It rained for most of it and was probably the most fun I’ve had doing an event.

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I witnessed one of the most amazing sunrises in recent memory.

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We switched from MetroPCS to AT&T using my new Corporate Discount through work. That, of course, required getting new phones.

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I decorated (read: wrote on) my first cake while working in the Bakery.

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After around a week of building, I completed constructing The Simpsons LEGO house.

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We celebrated Anthony’s 10th birthday at a local pizza place where his grandfather showed him how to score a bunch of tickets playing the Blackjack game.

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April 2014

While out for a run, I saw the Amityville Horror house being built in a local park.

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You know. Korean Doritos.

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We took one of two trips to the tide pools, one of our most favorite local spots.

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Sadly, on my Mom’s birthday, my Aunt Mary (seated) passed away. This was taken a year earlier at Mom’s surprise 75th birthday.

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May 2014

We were invited to go to Disneyland’s 24 Hour event and I was the only person in our group to make it to sunrise on Saturday (after arriving around 4pm Friday). I didn’t blog about it; I only posted my pictures on Instagram.

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June 2014

We discovered that there’s a Hello Kitty wine, but we don’t like Chardonnay. I’m more of a Merlot person now that I occasionally drink wine.

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We took our final trip to Disneyland.

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July 2014

I got this really creepy lenticular Jesus picture sent to me from a church that was begging for money. I was on their mailing list for a while and got all kinds of weird stuff sent to me, including a communion wafer.

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The door of the baler at work came down and smashed my fingertips. They were numb for about a month or so but are fine now.

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In an effort to earn a few bucks since I was (and still am) only working part-time, we sold our extra refrigerator. And you know what? That turned out to be a big clusterfuck as well!

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Only 17 months into our lease, we had to say goodbye to the Kia Optima. Working a minimum-wage, part-time job just wasn’t enough to make the payments anymore. It felt like a kick in the gut but it has turned out to be fine in the end. It also gives me yet another opportunity to say that Kia financing is the worst on the planet. Read this post for more information.

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The day we got rid of the Optima also ushered in a new day of motoring for me: I bought my Yamaha Zuma scooter which I still love. Payments are 1/4 that of the Optima and it is ridiculous on gas (between 65-80 MPG), meaning I’ve never put more than $3 in it since I’ve owned it.

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I applied for a job at Disneyland. I had the interview and was shortlisted then later offered a position. I turned it down for many a good reason.

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I got a second job someplace near and dear to my heart, which I quit after only one day of training. I’ve never seen the paycheck. I quit for many reasons, the main one being their ultra-strict policy on personal items and phones. It pretty much granted them the right to search my locker, backpack, and phone any time they wanted with no reason or cause. I’m an honest guy but their policy was way overboard for me, so I left.

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After a month of studying, I took the written exam for my motorcycle license and got my permit.

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August 2014

Anthony got his parakeets.

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I hit 100 miles on the scooter.

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We took a trip to Mattel, across the street from where I used to work.

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We paid a visit to the Queen

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…and her neighbor, a Russian submarine.

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My friend commissioned us to refurbish the sign for his restaurant. Here is the Before shot.

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September 2014

My “promotion” at work became official. But I still take selfies in the freezer.

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I was reunited with some friends from my old Catholic school whom I hadn’t seen in over 30 years.

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Remember the sign we were working on? Here’s the finished project.

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How YOU doin’?

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October 2014

The job allowed us to root for our favorite local team in the MLB playoffs, so naturally I did.

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My mad art skillz came in handy at work once again when I was asked to conjure up a sign for a our seasonal caramel apples.

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Catastrophe. Just a few days before participating in another event, I dropped my phone and rendered it useless.

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That same day, my scooter was vandalized by local school kids who don’t understand what it’s like to have their property willingly broken.

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Anthony ran in his second Aquarium of the Pacific Kids Run

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..and I did my second duathlon the following day. I did it last year and rode the bike tour the previous four years.

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I replaced my broken phone with this, the Samsung Galaxy Skyrocket II. It was such a horrible phone that I returned it the next day.

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It was replaced with the HTC one M7, an absolutely amazing phone.

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November 2014

I got a new camera and started shooting quality photos again. My first trip was a Dia de los Muertos event.

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A few days later, we made another trip to the tide pools where I messed with the different settings on the camera.

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Anthony and I took the train to the L.A. Auto Show where the camera performed well in every lighting condition.

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December 2014

Well, outside of Christmas, there wasn’t much to speak of in December so I don’t have many pictures for that month. It looks like 2014 had its share of highs and lows but naturally, I took the good with the bad and moved on.

By the way, I’m still on Facebook Vacation and enjoying it. It’s amazing how much you can do with your time when you don’t give it so much attention.

Anyhow, there’s my second annual Year In Review post and I hoped you enjoyed it. Here’s hoping my 2015 is less phone-breaky, scooter-pushy, and wallet-findy and that yours is everything you wish it make it to be.

*Selected events, of course. You don’t need to know about my doctor’s visits.
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13 More Pictures of the New “Amityville Horror” House


First and foremost, I need to explain a little bit.

As I post my pictures of the location and the interest in this movie continues to gain momentum, I’ve witnessed a blatant disregard for the intellectual property in regards to my images. I’ve seen many of them being reposted on Instagram and while I have no problem with that, when users go so far as to crop out my watermark on the image, that’s when it becomes an issue.

The watermarks on the images serve two purposes: to clearly indicate the owner of the image and to deter unauthorized use so when someone doesn’t ask permission or give me credit, at least my Twitter handle will still be visible. That hasn’t been the case with the images I’ve seen on Instagram where the watermark was cropped out completely.

While I understand that trying to prevent images from spreading like wildfire online is practically impossible, intentionally omitting the owner’s mark and pretending that the images is yours for the sake of gaining 200 likes is, in a word, uncool. That said, I have had bloggers contact me asking permission to use them to which I agreed as long I was given credit for them. All of them have complied but it only takes a few bad non-blogging apples to spoil things so from this point on, I will be watermarking the images with my Twitter handle in a conspicuous location on the image as well as applying filters so that they are more distinct. Hopefully this will alleviate things or at least show who the rightful owner is.

Besides, I will always own the original, hi-res versions.

With all that out of the way, here’s today’s batch of images from the new Amityville Horror location. It’s been almost a few weeks since I last went running through the park so a lot has changed. Here’s a shot approaching the rear of the set.

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Walking up to the set, it appears that a lot of the props are now starting to be placed. Here we see a small boat as well as some gardening tools.

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The rear of the house seems to be taking the longest. Since my last visit, roof tiles have been placed, windows installed, and painter’s tape/masks removed from the existing windows.

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In addition to this, a fence has been constructed around the backyard and foliage – real and artificial – has been set in place.

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Compared to last time, we can see that this side of the house appears to be much more detailed with the addition of shrubs. Although not visible here, zooming in on the original image shows that house now looks more weathered than it did before. Those SFX guys are amazing.

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I wasn’t able to get a good 3/4 shot last time so here you go.

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The front of the house.

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Another shot of the infamous home. Note the prop tree stump and firewood. You also get a better view of the wooden fence from this angle. Filming must be happening soon if the details are going in now.

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Also put in place since last time was this big pile of firewood which I saw the security guard messing with as I was walking by. I’m not sure if he was going to bother me or not so I played it cool with taking pictures until he was out of sight. I should have just taken them anyway. (I mean, come on, it’s in a public park. We have a right to be there!)

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An interior shot showing wallpaper being hanged. Note the “NOT A STEP” warning written on the ledge above my watermark.

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A better shot of the backyard details.

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The backyard fence.

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And finally, from afar.

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At this point I went back to my 2-mile mark to hydrate a little bit then continued on my way. Unfortunately, I had worked 8 hours (4pm – midnight) the previous day and my knees just couldn’t take much more punishment, especially working on 3 hours of sleep. I ended up walking the rest of the way, my route shortened from the standard running of 9 miles to walking 4 miles. To top it off, my Endomondo app kept losing my GPS signal and my measured distance was way off. It was a horrible workout overall and I didn’t even save it. I’ll save a better workout later on.

One more thing I’d like to address. I’ve gotten questions as to whether the set was located near a lake. The answer is yes, it is, but not entirely close to it. Click to enlarge the image, courtesy of Google Maps.

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And with that, this post is a wrap. I will post more images as I take them. Hope you’ve enjoyed what I’ve gotten so far.

Pictures of New “Amityville Horror” House


Last week, a little bird told me that there was some kind of construction going on at El Dorado Park, which just happens to be part of my BSR (Big Sunday Run) route. The park, literally 2 miles from home is huge, divided into two parts, and takes up a good portion of my run.

I figured I had to check this out for myself so I took a break from my run to see what was going on.

Here’s the back of the house, still under construction:

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Here’s another shot with a small garage adjacent to the home:

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I continued to make my way around the house:

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This is where I thought it would be funny to pose with a rather frightened look on my face (flames added for dramatic effect because, you know, Amityville Horror and stuff):

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And finally, the front of the house:

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The set is drawing a lot of attention because, well, it’s in the middle of the park for crying out loud. For someone unfamiliar with movie locations or set construction I’m sure they’re curious as to why a home is being built in here and to those who know, it’s becoming a cool spot to take pictures and brag to your out-of-state friends about. In fact just after I took this shot, a group of runners was taking a break and decided to take some pictures themselves. They wanted a group shot so I volunteered my services and took it for them.

For more info on the movie, visit this post at OLV.

And hey, one of those pictures looks familiar, doesn’t it? With all the filming around here, I’m always on the lookout for new locations and tweet pictures to OLV when I see something new. I’m always happy to let them use my shots.

Oh, and my run? I ended up with 9.2 miles. Not bad for an old(er) guy.