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.

Advertisements
Exercise, Life, Running

Run the Runway


Okay folks, first things first. My wrist is feeling a whole lot better which means I can use a computer keyboard to write again. Granted, I would prefer to be in my corner of the den with my laptop but ah, it shuffled off this mortal coil months ago.

Secondly, my new glasses arrived today and I can see much better. Call that a two-fer. They will come in especially handy when…well, I’ll talk about that when (and if) it happens. So with all of that out of the way, let’s go.

I was at a loss as to what I should write about but in reality dang it, I had plenty going on but just got lazy. I let my social media sharing tell the brief story instead of giving a full report here. Case in point: the Run the Runway event on March 31, 2015.

The event was just as its name implied: you ran on a runway. It may not sound exciting if you aren’t a runner but you didn’t have to be one. Participants could walk or even skip if they so desired.

The whole point of this event was to celebrate the Grand Re-Opening of Runway R25 at Long Beach Airport which had gone thought a major renovation. And let’s face it: should you ever find yourself running the length of a runway, there’s a good chance you’ll either be pursued by authorities or be run over by an incoming plane.

But not at this event, which is why I thought it would be fun to attend. When else would I get this chance? Without being shot at or splattered?

The run itself was not very long. From the Start/Finish line to where the airport fire truck was parked only measured a half-mile and once you reached that point, you had to run back to the Start/Finish line. A solid mile for fun on a totally flat course – for free. Not bad. But even at free, there was still a line where participants – limited to 1,200 invitees – had to turn in their waivers and get their free t-shirt.

2015-03-31-132040-06_1

There were also a few cool planes on display, including this one that flies to beautiful Catalina Island (a mere 26 miles away).

2015-03-31-132924-09_1

And yes, there was even a sheriff helicopter that I soon discovered didn’t have a lot interior room. (This, by the way, will probably be the only time I’m ever in ANY helicopter. I’m not good at heights or small, enclosed areas.)

2015-03-31-133726-20_1

Then there’s the runway itself, all shiny and pretty. Just imagine how it looks now only a few weeks later.

2015-03-31-134652-38_1

It’s also not every day that you can get some interesting camera angles on a runway.

2015-03-31-134252-31_1

Waiting for the event to start. This is when you get in some stretching and your preferred exercise tracking app ready.

2015-03-31-135816-45_1

Once everything was cleared and the horn blasted, we all took off and being it was only a mile, it was almost over as soon as it began. I finished at my usual mile pace of 10 minutes which is by no means fast but definitely steady. There were no medals, only a commemorative shirt to take home and the bragging rights that come along with running across a tarmac with 1,200 other people.

All in all it was definitely a memorable event and one that we won’t likely see again in the near future. Thanks to all involved for making it spectacular!

2015-03-31-18-40-10_deco

I’m smiling here, but I had to work the midnight shift later that night. Ugh.

Cars, Economy, Money, Work

Our Friday


Last Friday, Ann and I had a list of things to accomplish:

  1. Sell our old refrigerator. It was an extra taking up room in the garage and hadn’t been used on a regular basis since I was laid off in 2009, back in a time when I actually made decent money and we could afford to buy extra groceries and store them in the garage. It was money sitting around that we could use.
  2. Get rid of the Kia Optima. While it seemed like a wise decision at the time, what was our 20th anniversary gift to each other turned out to be a nightmare when I was let go from my last proofreading job. Unemployment just didn’t pay enough and I couldn’t find a job so despite our best plans to keep the thing, we just couldn’t do it.
  3. Look into a means of transportation for me. I had told Ann that while I can easily walk or ride my bike to work, there may be days when I need to go a little further than either foot or bicycle could take me – comfortably, at least. A scooter of some sort was the best solution we could come up with so we had a list of stores to check out.

So let’s cover each and every bullet in this list.

The Fridge
IMG_20140702_180325We had plugged it in a few days before so that potential buyers could see that it was working. Then Thursday morning, I placed an ad for the fridge on Craigslist and got a bite later that night via text message. We were initially asking $400 for it which we thought was reasonable considering it was over $1500 brand new.

The buyer thought otherwise. Stating that she was unemployed (and a host of other sob stories I won’t elaborate upon), she told me that renting the U-Haul truck cost more than she expected and asked if we would take $280 for it. Ann and I discussed it and agreed we would. We arranged the pick-up time of 9:30 am on Friday morning since we had planned to be at Carmax to sell the Kia at about 10 am.

They didn’t arrive until 11 am but the buyer was keeping in touch with me via text message (traffic on the freeway, etc.). Both of us were nearly livid despite her good nature. But when she and her helpers arrived to pick it up, she then said it wasn’t what she expected and that she thought the entire unit was stainless steel, not just the doors. You can guess where it went next.

That’s right. She wanted to pay only $200 for it. By now, Ann was fed up with all the bargaining and just agreed to take it to get this person out of our hair. I concurred. Take your fucking shit and leave. We already wasted our day waiting for you to arrive. Hell, I even threw in an old tube TV that someone down the street was getting rid of. I was going to use it for my NES but figured I’d never get around to it, so I let her have it.

The lesson learned here: don’t sell shit on Craigslist. Just don’t. You’ll get burned.

The Kia Optima
20140711_125642What you see here is the last picture I ever took of our 2013 Kia Optima as it sat waiting in line at Carmax. We had it appraised earlier in the week for X-dollars and came by to rid ourselves of it.

Of course, it wasn’t as easy as one might think, especially when the vehicle has negative equity. This means we had to pay the difference between what Carmax offered and what the buyout quote on the lease was. Yes, we had to take out a loan with Frankie and Knuckles to cover the cost of the negative equity but in the end, we left free and clear of the car we could no longer afford.

Now let me tell you about Kia. They are jackwipes. Total, complete jackwipes. Shortly after I was laid off, I called them to ask what we could do in order to keep the car: defer payments, return it, sell it, etc. Their only suggestion was to sell it to a private party which in essence we did. But when I inquired about deferring payments, they refused to help because it was a leased vehicle.

Hmm. That’s strange. When I had a 1991 Nissan Sentra, Nissan Motor Acceptance Corporation was kind enough to defer two payments for California residents after the Northridge Earthquake and a bunch of wildfires – even if they were nowhere near either. When we leased a Ford Escape and I was laid off, a call to Ford was all it took to defer three months of payments so that we could get ourselves back on our feet. Toyota also lent a hand when when we needed some financial help.

Kia? No way. They wouldn’t budge. They are the cheapest and most unsympathetic group of bastards I’ve ever dealt with, and they even gave Carmax a hard time about selling the Optima to them. I will never, ever buy another Kia or for that matter, Hyundai. Same thing.

The lesson learned here: be like me and don’t even think of buying either. Kia will not help you when you need it.

The New Ride
It was a long day by now. We took $200 less than we wanted for the fridge, the selling process at Carmax took much longer than expected (three hours, mostly because of Kia being a bunch of jackwipes), and we were adjusting to the reality of having only one car. It sort of hit us hard and kind of left me deflated. But we had to press on and look at the possibility of getting me a way to get around.

I had been doing some research about scooters and had a few in mind and where I wanted to check them out. Earlier in the week I visited a local shop that had a few Lance scooters in their tiny showroom.

What, you’ve never heard of Lance Scooters? It’s okay. I bet most haven’t. Anyway, it all sounded okay and then I asked about financing.

They wanted half the cost of the scooter as a down payment and post-dated checks for the remainder of the term. They would deposit them as each month came around.

Yeah, no. I didn’t have the $1200 to put down.

After we sold the Kia, we went to another local store to see what they had. It was a small selection and they were only 50cc, meaning a small motor that wouldn’t go very fast or keep up with traffic. Besides, they salesman didn’t seem to interested in helping. By the way, the used ones they had were actually Honda Metropolitan models that were used by Rose Parade officials during the parade. Kind of cool, but only 50cc. Next.

It was getting late and I wanted to check one more place which was by the in-laws’ house. By now we were all cranky and in need of a break. We went to Del Amo Motorsports and spoke with a cool guy named Martin about what it was I was looking for.

He showed me everything that would do the job and then some. In the end, the overall best deal was the Yamaha Zuma 125, the number obviously implying the motor type (125cc). It had power, it didn’t look like a wannabe Vespa and unlike a Lance scooter, parts would be easy to come by should it ever have problems. It’s a Yamaha, you know.

Then the number-crunching game began. I always hate that part of making a big purchase and was hesitant about it. Then again, the cost was nowhere near that of a car nor were the payments. In fact, they are about 1/4 what we were paying on the Kia Optima. After some wheeling and dealing we came to an agreement, shook hands, picked out a helmet that was part of the deal and then like the rest of the day, waited – again.

But this was a good waiting period. Things were happening and everyone at this shop was a total pro and very thorough. I signed some paperwork, got approved, then was made a fool of as they announced over the paging system that they had sold a Yamaha Zuma 125.

Then I banged the gong to let everyone in the store know I was the lucky dude. The scooter was prepped, I was shown how to operate it and then nervously, hopped on it and took it for a spin.

Did I mention that it had been years since I last rode a scooter and damn near hit my own car with it? Yeah. Maybe not.

But it was different this time. Maybe all of the cycling I’ve done has made me more aware of things and not as crazy when riding because I handled riding this like a champ. It took a few runs up and down the street adjacent to Del Amo Motorsports to get a feel of it but once I did, I had it down.

The lesson learned here: buy your scooter from Del Amo Motorsports. You won’t regret it, and tell them Dave sent you. I get rewarded for referrals!

The End of a Long Day
The ride home was fun and I don’t mean that in a sarcastic way. It was literally fun. With Ann following me, I took the long way so as not to encounter much traffic. It was at an open stretch of road with no cars around that I decided to open it up a little and hit a speed of 45 MPH, which feels a lot like 90 MPH on a scooter. I took it easy the rest of the way home.

When I pulled into the driveway I had a smile on my face and told Ann, “You need to get one of these things!”

And for what it’s worth, here’s a collage of my new ride.

2014-07-12-10-33-19_deco

The mileage on this thing is estimated to be around 89 MPG but naturally, depending on a number of factors including driver’s weight, YMMV. The Optima never managed to deliver more than 19 MPG even while using cruise control. It had horrible mileage despite what Kia claims.

With the scooter’s 1.6 gallon tank and an estimated 89 MPG, we’re looking at around 142.4 miles per tank. It doesn’t seem like a lot but with me working so close to home and not going very far otherwise, that could last me a long time.

Besides, who couldn’t get used to this?

2014-07-13-16-21-40_deco

It didn’t have a full tank when I drove it home and with me riding it home and doing a little local riding plus going to work, the gas had gone down to a little over half a tank.

It may now cost me $5 to fill my tank versus the $25 for half a tank on the Optima. And in addition to cutting payments by 75% versus what we paid on the Optima, the cost to insure this is lower as well.

We’re saving money on insurance. We’re saving it on gas. We’re saving it on monthly payments.

For everything we put up with last Friday, I’d say we ended the day making the right choice.

Entertainment, Filming, Local Filming, Movies

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.

DO NOT USE WITHOUT PERMISSION OF OWNER

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.

DO NOT USE WITHOUT PERMISSION OF OWNER

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.

DO NOT USE WITHOUT PERMISSION OF OWNER

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

DO NOT USE WITHOUT PERMISSION OF OWNER

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.

DO NOT USE WITHOUT PERMISSION OF OWNER

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

DO NOT USE WITHOUT PERMISSION OF OWNER

The front of the house.

DO NOT USE WITHOUT PERMISSION OF OWNER

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.

DO NOT USE WITHOUT PERMISSION OF OWNER

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!)

DO NOT USE WITHOUT PERMISSION OF OWNER

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

DO NOT USE WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE OWNER

A better shot of the backyard details.

DO NOT USE WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE OWNER

The backyard fence.

DO NOT USE WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE OWNER

And finally, from afar.

DO NOT USE WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE OWNER

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.

amity map 2

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.

Entertainment, Filming, Local Filming, Movies

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:

2014-04-15-21-20-18_deco

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

IMG_20140413_071934-picsay2

I continued to make my way around the house:

2014-04-15-21-18-39_deco

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):

2014-04-15-21-32-23_deco

And finally, the front of the house:

2014-04-15-21-34-25_deco

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.

Commentary/Opinion, Complaint, Good for the Soul, Humor, Life, Money

When Right Is Wrong


It’s normal for me to find things while I’m out running or cycling. Within the past year I’ve found two phones and I happily returned them to their owners, an easy task considering that neither phone was locked and there was a contact labeled Home in both of them.

Easy. The owners even gave me a little something for my trouble when it was no trouble at all.

But last Tuesday, I came across a few things, one of which was rather important.

IMG_20140107_100916-picsay

Here you see an opened gift bag for Chinese New Year and a wallet. The gift bag was near the sidewalk of my usual rest stop for my BSR (Big Sunday Run of at least 8 miles) and the wallet was about 50 feet away and lying on top of a short cinderblock wall.

When I saw the gift bag I thought, “Hey, pretty cool” and put it in my pocket. What you see here is what was in it: four half-dollars. I figured there’s no way to prove who it belonged to or where it came from so there was no harm in taking it home. It was as I was starting to run again when I saw the wallet.

I looked at it and noticed that the owner’s driver’s license was on top of it along with their medical insurance card, almost as if someone had gone through it. In a standard case I would have just looked up the address and delivered it to them personally but the address on the license was nowhere near me – it was about 100 miles away.

And here’s where the adventure begins. Thinking I was doing the right thing, I put both IDs in the wallet and took it home. That was my mistake.

Continue reading “When Right Is Wrong”

Phone-Cam, Photography

The Morning Paper


In my year-end post, I mentioned that there was a chance that this image would be used in our local newspaper.

IMG_20131220_162940

Well, after running 8 miles, I went to the local newspaper machine and opened it up to page 2, the home of The Big Picture section and here’s what was there.

picsay-1388685453

The caption is my account of what I saw. And while I’m glad my shot made into the paper, I’m also embarrassed for incorrectly identifying the statue.

The name is “Unconditional Surrender” not “Unconditional Release” as I had stated in the email sent to the writer. I guess I was in a hurry to get the image to them and sort of slipped, thinking of the baseball term. I feel a little dumb about that considering the popularity of the photo it is based on.

I’m just glad that I was able to capture the moment at all. These are the chances you take when you love to shoot photos: you go out of your way to get them.

But you should slow down and get your facts straight…