A Day in the Life


So yeah, here’s how the last day has gone.

I worked a shift at my regular job on Saturday night, a shift that went from 8 pm to 12 am. The thing about these closing shifts is that much needs to be done before you leave the store for the night and doing such things – usually in a hurry – can wear you down pretty quickly. It’s not like working a regular shift where you clock out and walk out, no. They didn’t take too much of a toll on me but I’m still grateful to be working so close to home because of said tasks.

With my tasks done I then clocked out and drove my grueling 2 minutes home. (It’s been raining so I drove that day.) By then it was around 12:10 am on Sunday. I got home and Ann and I chatted a bit then decided to go to bed, around 12:30 am.

By the time I fell asleep (or remember doing so) it was about 1:30 am. I had already set my alarm for 5 am so that I could make it to the Coaster Run 5k in plenty of time since parking can be a hassle at the event.

I ate my usual runner’s breakfast of peanut butter toast and scampered down to Knott’s Berry Farm, the site of the venue. and while still cloudy, there was a glimmer of hope when the sun started to peek through as I sat at the corner of Beach and La Palma.

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I parked the car then headed over to the event corrals where I was slated to start in Corral 7. I did some stretching, took a few photos, then waited for the waves to start.

The sun was still shining somewhat at this point but it didn’t last long because just as the run was starting to get underway, the skies just opened up and started to drop some rain on everybody.

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It wasn’t coming down in buckets but it was definitely significant as you can tell by the number of ponchos in the crowd. Bah, really? But as was stated over and over in both emails and the event’s Facebook page, the event would continue rain or shine.

And so it did. I finished the 5k, drenched in rain, in 32:22 which was around 1 second slower than my PR in Hollywood. Overall, I finished 566th out of 2726 and finished 18th in my Old Man Division (45-49 males). Ran in rain from start to finish. The course is flat I love running through Knott’s, my stomping grounds from 1989-1991. It was a lot of fun.

Oh, did I mention that this race gives you a big, fat slice of boysenberry pie once you cross the finish line? Because they do and unlike last year, I devoured the whole thing in a matter of seconds. I must have really wanted it this year, almost as much as I wanted to devour a bag of hot, fresh kettle corn at 7 am.

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If not for the beloved boysenberry and Walter Knott’s genius, the Farm or Buena Park may not have ever be what they are today. Well, Cordelia did make some wicked chicken.

Okay, 5k is done. I then stood in line to get my official finisher’s photo (taken by an event photographer and much like the image in the upper left of this collage). While in line, I spoke to a woman named Vickie who was running her first official 5k. She had decided to start running after she gave up smoking not too long ago and for that I commended her. She also told me she was in a car accident last night but it wasn’t going to stop her from participating in the run. Again, commendable. I’m sure she will be just fine in her fight against smoking. We all have stories and I love hearing them. It’s what makes runners understand other runners, why they do it, and why non-runners generally don’t “get it.”

By the time I got home it was around 9:30 and Ann already had plans for me, namely to go to Ulta and get her free birthday gift. (Did I mention her birthday was March 1st and we celebrated with friends at karaoke on February 28th after I worked a 4-8 pm shift?) Anyway, I ate a little bit, took a shower, and we were on our way.

She got her free makeup and by then the family was getting hungry. We then went to lunch at Chipotle  followed by desert at Yogurtland. I’m still running on 3.5 hours sleep.

While at lunch, I get a text from my buddy with whom I’ve been working for at his restaurant. He asked me if I wanted to work a few hours that night and me, never one to turn down a few bucks, agreed. I was to start at 4, meaning I’d have to leave around 3 pm.

We got home and I took it easy for a little bit. I think I may have closed my eyes for around 10 minutes before almost falling out of my chair after losing my balance. Still feeling relatively fine, I drove out to deliver some pizzas from 4-7pm.

With that shift done, I stayed around and did some catching up. He also told me I could make Ann a nice antipasto salad for her birthday if I wanted to, so I did. I left around 8 and got home around 8:45, just enough time for Anthony to see me and send him off to bed at 9 pm.

Finally, after being up since 5 am and getting less than 4 hours of sleep, my day had mercifully come to an end. I kicked up my feet on the recliner and grabbed the laptop in the hopes of chronicling the day’s events which didn’t work out that well. I ended up falling asleep while blogging yet again but at least I had an excuse this time. I finished the post just now, Monday morning.

So that was my day. Uh…how was yours?

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When A Bargain Isn’t A Bargain


People love their bargains and we’re no exception.

We’ve used sites like Amazon Local and Groupon to snag some fantastic deals in the past and all of them were handled the way we expected them to be. And the deals are usually comprised of the same formula: get $[retail amount] of merchandise/services/food for $[discounted amount]. Easy.

Past deals I’ve bought have included $40 worth of Restaurant.com credits for $10, $30 towards the purchase of Dodgers tickets for $7, and $5 for a $10 Amazon Gift Card. No doubt they were fantastic deals. You pay a discounted price and get more in return. It’s not a difficult concept.

Then there was today.

Ann had purchased the following deal on some new discount site I’d never heard of called Double Take Deals. Look closely and tell me if it follows the same formula as the rest.

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She figured hey, it’s nearing Christmas and this would be as good a time as any to refresh our decorations and at a bargain price. I mean, this seemed like a great offer so that’s why she bought it:

With this DoubleTake Deal, get festive with $50 of Christmas decorations including wreaths, greens, ornaments, figurines and more for only $25.

So if I read this right, we would get $50 worth of merchandise and only pay $25 for it. Am I right? It’s not that convoluted, is it?

After looking this Barcana place up online (and laughing at what seemed to be a Geocities-hosted website), we headed down there and looked around for a bit. It was our first time there and admittedly, they do have a great selection of decorations, so much so that we had trouble deciding what to buy. In the end, we decided that the tree would have a candy theme this year so we stocked up on candy-related decorations and placed them in the basket.

Once finished, we waited in line to pay and were pretty excited with all the stuff we had found. Ann started off by handing the cashier her Double Take Deals voucher which she would apply once she was done ringing everything up. Our total was $64.30 which, once our $50 was applied, would mean we owed only $14.30. Hey, we made out alright.

“So your new total is $39.30,” the cashier said.

Ann looked puzzled. She glanced over at me and I started to think, “That’s way too much.” Ann then asked her if the discount had been applied.

She went on to explain that the discount had been applied – all $25 of it, which makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Why would I spend $25 on a voucher that I’m going to use myself to only get $25 credit in the store? Isn’t the point of getting such deals is to, well, get more for less? Otherwise, it’s like we just bought $25 in Disney Dollars. This is not how it works.

As we continued to try and explain things to the cashier, she defended her position. Another one even intervened, condescending attitude and all, and spoke to us like we had just fallen off of the turnip truck. This is not how it works.

Here’s a copy of our receipt:

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As you can see, the “check” amount is the applied Double Take Deals amount or the amount we paid for the deal. But as the deal stated on the website:

With this DoubleTake Deal, get festive with $50 of Christmas decorations including wreaths, greens, ornaments, figurines and more for only $25.

After not arguing with the Cashier with an Attitude (there’s no sense fighting with someone like that), I spoke with a man who appeared that he might know what he was doing. He said it was their first time doing this sort of offer and that Double Take Deals had the wording all wrong. I didn’t understand this since it seems as clear as day to me: get $50 for $25. Even the screenshot about reads “Savings 50%.”

So what did they not word properly? The only thing that I could think of is that we’d get $25 off with a minimum $50 purchase which this offer does not state either on the website or voucher nor is that a savings of 50%. This is not how it works.

We feel conned and totally ripped-off by what transpired. Our only recourse is to contact Double Take Deals on Monday and see what they have to say about the matter. I’ve already tweeted my dissatisfaction to them but being their Twitter account was last update in August 2012, I doubt I’ll get a reply.

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If nothing gets done, then we’re out a hypothetical $25 and will never use them again. But even if they do resolve it and we get the extra $25 to spend at Barcana, it will be our last trip there. I have no time for cashiers talking to me as if I don’t understand what’s going on and talking to us like we were idiots. In this day and age of social media you’d think that people would be a little more courteous, otherwise those they were rude to might blog, tweet, Facebook, leave reviews on Fouraquare, etc.

Someone apparently hasn’t learned this lesson and what a huge disappointment this has been. Stay tuned for an update should anything change.

UPDATE 12/2/13: After a few days of emails between Ann and Double Take Deals, Ann was contacted by someone at Barcana who indeed told us that the deal was not done right. She has promised to make things right by issuing a $25 gift certificate.

Blogging 365, Day 69: Coaster Run 10k


Years ago, Uncle Lou gave Anthony some pointers on how to swim and tread water.

When he saw that Anthony was having trouble with it, he dropped this piece of advice on him:

“A man can do whatever he wants.”

Naturally, he meant “whatever he wants” in terms of whatever he sets his mind to do. And while this was my first 10k, his words resonated during the entire run and helped me pull through.

The sold-out race started around 7:30 am with waves of runners leaving every minute and with me being in the 7th wave, it took some time to cross the starting line. But once I got going, I never looked back and the first half breezed by fairly quickly.

I continued and at about Mile 4, I slowed a bit to take some sips of water from the bottles on my hydration belt. I would only take a few two more breaks, one for each remaining mile. By the time I turned the corner and saw the Mile 6 sign, I was pumped.

I crossed the finish line with as much steam as I had in me and, once crossed, was handed my medal and immediately started to sob. It was pretty emotional not only for it being my first 10k but also for the fact that I dedicated the run and medal to Uncle Lou. It seems his words my guidance as I continued to run at a pace that was no doubt one of my best to date even if I dropped a few seconds from miles 4 through 6. The official results:

  • Gun – 1:15:14.5
  • Chip – 1:05:48.5
  • Pace – 10:37

All in all it was fantastic run to be a part of and I look forward to 2014’s event. But the one thing I won’t look forward to is this: bandits.

For those who don’t know, a bandit is someone — not considered a true runner by other runners — who sneaks into an event without paying but reaps the benefits by getting a medal. Keep in mind that running events take a lot of time to put together and benefit a variety of organizations. A bandit is a low-life who not only cheats a paying runner out of their medal but also the beneficiary out of their money. It’s a lose-lose for all involved. Just imagine if your kid finished their first 5k and, thanks to a handful of bandits, all of the medals were gone.

In other words, a thief. Not cool.

But it seems that there were a lot of them at this popular event and one of them even bragged about it on her Instagram feed.

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This was posted on the Coaster Run’s Facebook page. Looks like user celisshy isn’t all that shy if she is brash enough to bandit this run then go about bragging about it on Instagram — and tag it #coasterrun. Many runners began to criticize her and, curiously, her feed was soon made private. I hope she felt the guilt of it all, especially knowing she cheated kids out of their medals. The good thing is that the organizers have promised to give medals to those who didn’t get them as soon as they have more made.

Anyhow, I did take some pictures and they can be seen below in what is my first WordPress album ever! Note that these are a combination of photos from my phone, Ann’s phone and Anthony’s Samsung Tab.

And as for Uncle Lou’s words, yes, he was absolutely right. A man can do whatever he wants 🙂

Another 5k Done!


I ran the Wet&Wild 5k this morning and it was a fun event. Here are a few pictures.

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The course.

Waiting to start. Yes, I wore my Kings sweater!

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Hence the name Wet & Wild 5k. If you don’t go through the water, you must take the Walk of Shame and your time is not recorded. Believe me, the water is a much-needed break.

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In the water!

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Me with Anthony and Shoe Dog of Roadrunner Sports.

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…and the reward. You can see my time and route via Sports Tracker. I had a great time and am looking forward to my next event, whichever one that may be 🙂

Respect the Van


It took a little wheeling and dealing but the nightmare involving our Ford Escape is now over.

And here is the result:

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That’s right, peeps, we traded it in for a minivan. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

It’s a 2009 Chrysler Town and Country that we purchased from Sunrise Ford which is way out in Fontana (or Fontucky as some locals refer to it) from the salesman that helped us out on several other cars. He definitely pulled through on this deal as well.

It’s also a step up from the Escape in that it is larger, seats 7, and has storage up the yin-yang. So much storage, in fact, that Anthony is now stowing away all of his toys into whatever compartments he can find which is fine with us since it won’t look so messy inside (and I have no problem with that). The Stow-N-Go seating is beyond awesome—the seats fold into the floor, leaving the van practically empty should you decide to give your 900-pound friend a ride to Wal-Mart or buy a MINI Cooper and don’t have someone to drive it home for you. It’s pretty cavernous.

When we were looking at cars years ago I had hinted to Ann that minivans are incredibly useful, even more so than SUVs in some respects. And given the fact that most SUVs will never be driven off-road, a minivan makes sense since it will carry the family, all the cargo you need, and is extremely comfortable on long trips.

We’ve only had it a few days and can’t be happier with it. It’s just the start of the good things that will happen this year. Now all we have to do is begin working on everything else that needs attention but look at it all in a positive light.

I’m still convinced it’s going to be a good year. It couldn’t be worse than the last Smile