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.

2013: My Year In Review


Since this is a personal blog, I figured that instead of writing a year-end review about other things, it would be better suited for me to give a year-end review of things that actually happened in my life. It’s much easier to do something like this now since chances are I captured those moments with my phone, giving me photographic proof of the events.

With all of that out of the way, here’s a month-by-month photo essay of how things went with me and the family in 2013, some of which was never mentioned here on the blog. Take a virtual trip of the things we did, places we saw, events that brought us happiness, triumph, and even sadness.

Got your scrollin’ finger ready? Good! Here we go!

Continue reading

Blogging 365, Day 55: Good Luck


After yesterday’s bike ride through Chinatown and beyond, I decided to do a little shopping for everybody. I bought some incense for myself and knick-knacks for Ann and Anthony.

While I was walking back to pick up my bike from the corral, I came across the coin fountain where everybody seems to thrown their coins with reckless abandon in the hopes that it will land safely in one of the many bowls with labels such as Luck, Health, Serenity, etc.

I tried for Serenity several times and never quite got there – literally and figuratively.

Then with one dime left I decided to go for this one:

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I tossed the time in the direction of the bowl.

It landed right in there from more of an odd angle shown here.

The guy next to me was amazed at the feat and told me that a penny was a small investment for such good fortune.

“It was a dime,” I said. “You gotta spend money to make money!”

We both laughed and parted ways.

Strangely enough, our tax return had been direct-deposited into our account that same day.

I’m not saying it has anything to do with this but hey…it’s nice to think about what may be in store for us 🙂

Blogging 365, Day 54: Long Day


UPDATE: The video is now up! Go to bottom of post!

Indeed it was.

I woke up at 4:30 am, took a shower, got dressed, had a little breakfast, put the bike on the bike rack, hopped on the train, got to Chinatown, rode my bike almost 30 miles…and by the time I got home, it was nearly 3 pm. So here I am, exhausted.

Anyway, here’s the day in pictures since I’m pooped. I am having trouble uploading the video of me lighting the firecrackers but when I can do it, I will post it. I had a great time doing that and riding today.

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Union Station is incredibly awesome. So many movies, shows and commercials were filmed here.

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Chinatown

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Waiting for the event. I got there way early.

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My bike.

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Firefighter giving us tips on lighting. We had to wear helmets and goggles and when the firecrackers went off, even where we were standing, the debris was hitting us. We also had an option to wear earplugs which I did.

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Near the top of one of the many hills we had to climb.

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Dodger Stadium, still looking as great as ever (even under construction).

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Pit Stops were set up every 10 miles with goodies like this, fruit, peanut butter, and water.

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Warner Bros. Studios Gate 2. I worked here when I was on The Whole Truth.

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Roy E. Disney Animation Building.

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Walt Disney Studios. I worked there when I was on No Ordinary Family.

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River sans bike trail. We rode along another river.

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With my medal. It was pretty small. Here’s a better view.

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I don’t drink beer but I thought I’d try. And to this day, I don’t know what compels people to drink that garbage. It’s awful stuff (but was free to all riders after the tour).

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Even got a free meal afterward. And Chinese food in Chinatown? Nothing compares.

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All in all, it was a beautiful day and a great event with awesome volunteers. Thanks to all of them, the organizers, and to the LAPD for keeping traffic in check while we rode along.

I’m pretty sure it’s time for bed now. I’m sure you would be ready too if you did this today.

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UPDATE: Here’s the video!

 

Blogging 365, Day 53: Like It’s Dynamite


267947_10151465053925042_1930891769_nTomorrow morning I will be getting my first medal of the year when I cross the finish line of the Los Angeles Chinatown Firecracker Run’s 30-Mile Bike Ride. It’s my first time riding in this event so I’m pretty excited yet somewhat freaked out about it since I’m roaming into unknown territory.

I mean, I know L.A. but this is nothing like riding in Long Beach like I have for the past 3 years (and again this year): no street closures, a lot more hills, etc. But regardless, I’m committed to it and I can’t wait to see what challenges lie in store for me.

But what’s going to be great about Saturday’s event is what will take place before it: the lighting of 100,000 firecrackers right in the center of Chinatown. It’s a pyromaniac’s dream and something that can only be done legally in Los Angeles during events in Chinatown since fireworks are banned within the city.

What makes that so great? Well, who doesn’t like firecrackers?

And it just so happens that the organizers of the event held a contest on their Facebook page a few days ago that would give 3 randomly selected riders a chance to help light the 100,000 firecrackers before the event starts. All interested parties had to do was change their profile picture to this to qualify for the contest:

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Oh, you know what the heck it’s implying and what it actually means. Don’t act like you don’t.

I figured I had nothing to lose so I went ahead and changed my profile picture.

So imagine my surprise this morning when I read one of their Wall posts that was congratulating the winners of the contest, one of whom was me.

Yes, that’s right, people. I was one of the lucky 3 riders who was selected to help light the 100,000 firecrackers and I can’t tell you how happy my inner childhood pyromaniac is. This is without a doubt a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I’m completely honored and stoked to have been chosen.

This is taking tomorrow’s ride to a whole new level. I mean, come on. It’s called the Firecracker Run because the lighting of the firecrackers is a BIG part of the event, and I’m going to be a part of that opening ceremony.

This is nuts. How did I get to be so lucky?

Meh, I don’t care. All I know is that I’ll be 1 of the 3 lighting up those suckers tomorrow morning then hopping on the saddle to tackle almost 30 miles around Los Angeles.

Videos and pictures will be posted Saturday. Stay tuned!

(Posting this video to avoid the painfully obvious correlation between Katy Perry and the lighting of pyrotechnics)