Things I Learned Today: October 22, 2017


First, I want to state that the things mentioned here are a collection of observations over a period of time and not things I noticed just today. It will be that way going forward – now you know.

So here we go!

Things I Learned Today for October 22, 2017

Wait, October is almost over? Holy cripes.

1. After a long bike ride, beer ain’t so bad. I have been riding in the Long Beach Marathon Bike Tour since 2010 and not once did I ever go for the option of having an ice-cold beer at the completion of the ride. The usual finish line fare consists of a bag of snacks, a banana, water and – ugh! – coconut water. Now I don’t know if you ever tried that stuff but there’s nothing good about it. “Devil’s armpit sweat” is about the only way I can describe it. It’s putrid and people tend to drink it because they’ve convinced themselves it tastes good – just like kale. Don’t believe the hype. The stuff is garbage and so is kale.

So this last time (October 8), I opted for the Beer Garden. Keep in mind it’s about 7:30 am and I just finished riding 20 miles. With medals clanking around my neck, I got in line for a wristband, grabbed my can of beer, cracked it open and took a sip.

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And you know what? Coconut water has got nothing on this after a nice bike ride – this stuff very refreshing and light. I actually enjoyed it and I’m not the biggest beer drinker (which probably explains things). Now I know what I have to do next year.

2. People still use Mapquest. This one will lead into other things. For example, I had no idea Mapquest was still around. You see kids, back in the day we had no GPS or smartphones so outside of consulting the Thomas Brothers street maps for directions, this was our only real option. In fact it was probably the most popular online mapping service back in the ‘90s and it would be years before any competitors would show up. But with smartphones and GPS, Mapquest is all but obsolete but people still use it. How did I find this out? I saw somebody driving with printed directions with the Mapquest logo on it. I realize not all of us are fortunate enough to own a smartphone or GPS unit and some choose to live without either (a coworker comes to mind), but I still found it unbelievable.

3. Newspaper machines still exist. While I wrote about the cost of the daily newspaper in my last “Things I Learned…” post, I guess it never dawned on me that there’s still a demand for newspapers in general. Additionally, people still use slugs to try to fool the machine.

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With the cost of the daily paper now $1.50, I can almost understand why. That used to be the cost of the Sunday Edition of the Los Angeles Times which got you retail ads plus coupons, the Calendar section (a great resource for upcoming concert information), and a killer Classified section.

4. Payphones are still around. And yes, I’ve seen people using them.

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5. “Bette Davis Eyes” is a cover! We all know the classic ‘80s version by Kim Carnes which goes a little something like this:

But through a search on Spotify, I discovered the original version was recorded by legendary songwriter Jackie Deshannon back in 1974. GET OUT! Really!

(Guilty Pleasure alert: this song remains one I would somehow incorporate into a movie scene since I freaking dig it. Night, beach party. Camera pans down from a darkened sky. The scene is lit by unseen moonlight, song playing in the background. And that’s all I’ll say – there’s more.)

And while I’m blowing your mind, Hall and Oates’ “Family Man” is a cover of a Mike Oldfield song. That’s right, the guy that composed “Tubular Bells,” aka the song from The Exorcist, also wrote that one. What a world.

Well, time to throw away that Post-It note and start on another list. And since I spoke of newspapers this post, here’s one you should see.

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THE DODGERS ARE IN THE WORLD SERIES!

Ahem. Pardon my enthusiasm but it’s been 29 FREAKING years! I was still a punk teenager the last time the won it all and I can’t wait to see it all happen again starting Tuesday.

Dodgers. World Series. I can’t stop saying that.

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Vin Scully Avenue on Google Maps


Vin Scully.

The Los Angeles Dodgers.

Pretty much one in the same.

Scully has been the voice of the Dodgers since 1950 or, if you’re keeping score at home, a whopping 66 years.* He’s been graced with just about every broadcasting award you can think of and is a member of the Hall of Fame—deservedly so, as nobody calls a game quite like him.

The accolades are endless. And now, thanks to a Los Angeles City council vote of 12-0 on January 29, Scully’s name will become a permanent part Los Angeles as his name will be emblazoned in white across a street sign’s blue background—a most appropriate color scheme—as what is now Elysian Park Avenue will be renamed Vin Scully Avenue in his honor.

Ever humble, Scully had always waved off the notion of such honors in the past. But with his announcement that 2016 will be his final year behind the microphone, his reluctance had to give in to the harsh reality that Dodger fans will indeed miss him once this season is over.

Sorry, Vin. You truly deserve it.

And while no official date has been planned for the name change, you can rest assured that it will not be without the usual pomp and circumstance* that accompanies such an event.

But it seems that the people at Google Maps are on top of things.

I discovered this a few days after the City Council vote. For reasons I can’t particularly recall, I was scrolling around Google Maps and came across Dodger Stadium. In the process I noticed that the street that is still, for the moment, Elysian Park Avenue had already been changed (click to enlarge).

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Perhaps it’s just Google’s way of being ahead of the game, knowing that this street name will indeed be changed in the near future. Or maybe, just maybe, they are big Dodger fans—or Scully fans at the very least.

Bing? Nope. Yahoo!? Bzzt. Only Google has changed the name.

I’m not quite sure how I’m going to react when I hear Scully call his last game, but I can almost assure you that there will be tears involved. As a fan who has heard announcers come and go, the one constant in Los Angeles was the smooth voice of our beloved Vin Scully. We’ve been lucky beyond measure to have him stick around for as long has he has but like all good things, they’ve got to end sometime.

But soon, Los Angeles will forever have a small part of the town named after our Vinny and naturally, it’s the street leading into Chavez Ravine.

And we wouldn’t want it any other way.

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Sunset. Echo Park. Grand.

Vin Scully.

Fits right in there, doesn’t it? 

*That’s Scully talking right there.

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

At the Ballpark


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We drove down to San Diego to watch the Dodgers play the Padres. All I can say is that this is a beautiful ballpark. Gonna go check things out in a few.

This was part of an event held by the University of Phoenix Alumni Association of which Ann is a member. Aside from gas in the car and parking, it cost us very little to enjoy the day.

UPDATE: It’s always a good time in San Diego when the Dodgers are in town. The crowd seemed to be 70/30 Dodger fans but it could be that we were making the most noise. Then again, there was a ton of blue everywhere we looked. Besides, the Padres didn’t do much on the offensive side and were shutout 4-0 behind the incredible arm of Clayton Kershaw.

Before any of this, I drove across the Coronado Bridge which is something I’ve always wanted to do and apparently, so do many others. There’s a u-turn at the end of it so you can turn around. Sadly, as scenic as it is, it’s also one of the top suicide bridges in America and there are many suicide prevention hotline signs posted along its path.

Watching a game at Petco Park is only part of the experience. Sure, you can buy your ticket and watch but Petco has gone the extra mile by adding to the experience and making it much more family-friendly because, let’s face it, kids have a hard enough time sitting still in general let alone trying to watch a baseball game.

Just outside the stadium (but still considered a part of it) is the Park at the Park, a nice little area where fans can sit on a hill and watch the game either obstructed by the centerfield backdrop or on the screen attached to the back of it. This is where we spent inning 3-8 and loved every minute of it. It’s more than just “going to the ballpark”: the park includes a playground, affordable food vendors, and best of all, a small diamond where kids can play some baseball while Padres employees pitch to them.

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Here’s Anthony taking his turn at the plate. Remember: he’s a golfer.

There’s also lots of other fun stuff like face painting and balloon animals.

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There’s also this little area that has a sandbox in front of it.

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And to top it off, it’s surrounded by an amazing skyline.

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Petco Park and the Padres have taken just going to a ballgame a more memorable experience, one that I would be happy to have for my home team.

Toward the end of the evening, Anthony and I found ourselves playing catch in the park with a souvenir baseball he bought.

We’ll never forget that moment.

Thank you, San Diego.You should be proud.

See the complete set of pictures on Flickr

“Dodgers Suck”


PHOTO_20130918_131121Although my city of residence is closer to Anaheim than Los Angeles, I am a Dodgers fan and always will be. Nothing will change that.

But there are some in the area who choose to make that stadium in Anaheim and its team of residence – the one with an identity crisis that can’t choose which town they hail from – their lifeblood. And that’s fine.

Then there’s those who take their fanaticism to ridiculous levels and think that their current team (now 5 games under .500 with no chance of making the playoffs) is still better than this year’s Dodgers (87-64 with a Magic Number of 2).

I had a run-in with one such gentleman at Anthony’s school today and it was classic.

I had just picked up Anthony and was nearing an intersection bustling with kids crossing in every direction. There was some kind of SUV in front of me, one that could imply more than a few things, whose driver apparently couldn’t decide whether to pull over or stop at the intersection. The driver eventually did park all caddywhompus with the rear of the SUV sticking out into the street. I maneuvered around it to the stop sign.

Approaching the busy crosswalk, I told Anthony – he chatting away as usual – to tone it down while I took in all the sights and sounds around me so as to proceed with caution.

Even with him quiet, there was still a steady cacophony from the kids leaving school and crossing in front of me. Then as I was sitting there, I heard the following being mumbled on my right side.

“Dodgers suck.”

It was from the guy driving the SUV who no doubt saw my lanyard hanging from my rearview mirror (see image above). I turned down the radio and looked over at him, smiling.

“I’m sorry, but what did you say?” Dude probably figured his little sotto voce sentiments would go unheard by me but alas, even with my tinnitus acting up, I heard him loud and clear.

“Oh…I’m just waiting for my son,” he said uncomfortably.

“That’s funny because I thought I heard you say, ‘Dodgers suck’ instead.”

Trying to justify his statement he simply replied, “Well, they do,” which is akin to a child wagging their finger in another’s face and saying, “Told you so!” Put simply, there is no justification for his remark when given the stats from this year’s Dodger season. I won’t bore you with those but he apparently forgot about this.

Maybe he figured I was going to start yelling and screaming. Maybe he thought I was going to get out of my car and get in his face. I did neither. I’m not that fanatical and I know the facts, so I just kept on smiling and replied.

Mr._Krabs_-_OMG“Oh, well I’m sorry you feel that way, guy. See you in the playoffs. Have a good day!” I threw him a peace sign and drove off, still smiling.

Dude didn’t know what hit him. His face was blank, as if Mom just found his porn stash/pot under his bed while she was cleaning his room and confronted him with it.

He had nothing else of substance or fact to contribute to this unscheduled conversation, and it’s doubtful he will bring this up with his wife or anyone else.

A guy named Mahatma Gandhi said it best:

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

So thanks for expressing your knee-jerk opinion, Mr. Angels Fan! And I truly hope you have a good day…although my Dodgers may have already ruined 2013 for you…