2017: My Year In Review


Happy New Year, all two of you! Glad you’re still around reading my infrequent posts.

I’ve decided to go ahead and keep my tradition of Year In Review posts going for yet another year with  pictures of the most memorable things that happened. Let’s go!

January 2017

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I rang in the New Year right by going for an early run/walk. Seeing the sunrise on January 1st was pretty metaphoric – highly recommended. Personally, I think sunsets are overrated. Sunrises are where it’s at.

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I bid a fond farewell to my Yamaha Zuma 125 which was damaged beyond repair in my accident of October 2016. Bummer.

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The family went to the Norton Simon Museum. Seeing actual brushstrokes on canvas by the likes of Picasso and Van Gogh is nothing short of mesmerizing.

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Took the kid to another Dodger Fan Fest where organist Dieter Ruehle played the theme to the Mary Tyler Moore Show since she had passed away a few days earlier. Very nice.

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I reminisced on the inauguration of Barack Obama (seen here at my employer at the time in 2009). Now we have to deal with daily shitstorms of tweets and a strange obsession with Hilary Clinton from our current “leader” as well as ending everything 44 did while in office. I’m not bitter. I’m pissed. And please remember to vote.

February 2017

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I celebrated one official year with my new employer! (The last list of anniversaries has me as being hired in August 2015, though.)

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The family had a group birthday outing to Benihana to celebrate all of our birthdays since they fall so close together. It’s a nice experience but I don’t think the prices justifies it – even with a $30 birthday voucher it was still over $100!

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I saw this couple wandering near the office and held one of the reptiles for a moment. Some people are freaked out by snakes but I find them amazing creatures, and it was cool to hold one this size.

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Speaking of the office, I didn’t realize how close I worked to some of the locations used in the classic movie It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. Here are some then-and-now shots, literally walking distance from the job.

March 2017

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Ann’s real birthday!

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Anthony’s real birthday! I’m officially the father of a teenager (and yes, it’s everything you’ve heard it was).

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I took Anthony to a Breakfast Club Cruise-In at the Petersen Automotive Museum. So many great cars.

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We went to the beach in San Clemente after outlet shopping. Note the length of my hair. Ahem.

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In another non-blogged story, I found this little hummingbird outside the office lying on its back with feet in the air and wings spread out. Thinking it had died, I picked it up and looked for a place to put it. Then I noticed its eyes still moving so I stroked its little chest for a bit and it perked up, rolled over and stood in my hand as you see it here. I also removed the feather stuck it its eye. I then placed it in a planter outside the office. Hopefully the little guy (or gal) turned out okay.

April 2017

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Grand Prix time! The office is almost deserted on Free Friday for practice and qualifying.

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I participated in a local Beach Streets event, my first one ever. It was a lot of fun, plus the exercise didn’t hurt.

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In March, a twist of an ankle during a playground football revealed a fracture, but that didn’t stop Anthony from enjoying a Las Vegas vacation! We had a blast and visited quite a few places.

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The flower display at Bellagio was spectacular.

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Nelson Ghost Town is as picturesque as you want a place to be, but load up on gas before you go – there’s none for miles and it’s very remote.

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And because Anthony likes Tanked! we had to visit the place where it is filmed.

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Standing on the bridge overlooking Hoover Dam. Strangely, despite my acrophobia, I didn’t mind being up here. And that hair…

May 2017

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We visited JPL and just nerded out. Also, Anthony spotted Kevin Sussman, aka Stuart from Big Bang Theory, while we were there and took this selfie with him. He’s real good at that it seems.

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While riding my bike on lunch, I came across a nice VW van that looked familiar. Some quick research confirmed it belonged to comedian and Long Beach resident Gabriel Iglesias. So I sat and waited for him to return to it so I could get a picture with him, and hair…uh, here it is.

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I discovered a Friday farmers market near the office. It’s a happening place.

June 2017

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A coworker upgraded to the iPhone 7 Plus and wanted to know how Portrait mode worked so I willingly posed for them.

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The Dew Tour skateboarding event returned and I took tons of action shots. Parking wasn’t an issue – I walked from the office.

And Ann and I celebrated 24 years of wedded bliss!

July 2017

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I finally took the leap and got my long overdue dental work started. You can read about it here, here, and here.

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A new family member! The Kitten Formerly Known as Prince became Benny, or Bento as I call him. Notice Monte in the background not having any of it, although now they are best buddies.

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You just can’t prepare yourself for some things, and the passing of a friend is one of them. Ray was just 44 when he passed away in his sleep of a pulmonary embolism and it was a shock to all of us. I miss him dearly, especially our discussions about our beloved Dodgers. Vaya con Dios, amigo.

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Pow! Wow! Long Beach returned and I spent my lunch hour visiting the local murals and speaking to a few of the artist, including “Bryan” Blue seen here with his work in progress.

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Promo shot for my new album. Not. Hair level: near the shoulders.

August 2017

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The Great Partial Solar Eclipse! Hair official longer than Ann’s.

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My second biking event, CicLAvia ran from my hometown to San Pedro. Read about it here.

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Dodger game.

September 2017

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Look! Another Dodger game!

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Ray.

October 2017

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I took over Depeche Mode’s Facebook page for a day which included attending a taping of Jimmy Kimmel Live! You can read about it here.

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Year 8 of the Long Beach Marathon Bike Tour and Year 3 of the combo 5k went in the books.

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Local wildfires made for an eerily beautiful backdrop but the air quality meant not going outside for an extended period of time.

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Our annual family picture at the local pumpkin patch! We started in 2004.

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Yeah so…Halloween at the office went a little something like this.

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My Dodgers made it to the World Series!

November 2017

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We went to a local event and saw some planes up close. That’s Anthony and his grandfather who, at age 80, will still run circles around you – even after a quadruple bypass years ago. The plane in the background is the Boeing C-17, one he helped build.

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Anthony wanted to see firsthand what the Black Friday fuss was about so we took him to Target. This was the line to get in.

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He wasn’t impressed.

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My Dodgers lost the World Series but stocking up on merchandise from their amazing season at deep discounts was fun. Wait ‘til this year…

December 2017

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I stood where Jim Morrison stood.

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I took a few vacation days and did a little photo essay of Los Angeles or the Theatre District at least. Going solo, I had all the time in the world to take well over 350 shots and not worry about driving (Go Metro!). Images sans descriptions can be seen here or feel free to scour my Instagram account for them. The highlight was getting kicked out of a theatre I wasn’t supposed to be in but hey, if you give me and open door…

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I bid a fond farewell to Pat DiNizio, singer/songwriter for The Smithereens, who passed away suddenly. While not a household name, this New Jersey band rocked with the best of them and put on one hell of a live show. We’ll miss you, Pat.

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I got to meet legendary DJ Richard Blade at a book signing for his autobiography World In My Eyes. This guy got Depeche Mode their big break in L.A. and has hung out with just about every mover and shaker of the ‘80s New Wave movement. If you love music from that era or interested how he got started then you must pick up this book. I’m the proud owner of a signed First Edition!

And that hair. Mine, not his.

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Last and most recently, I took Anthony with me on another photo excursion to Los Angeles while on Christmas vacation. This is a view from the observation deck of Los Angeles City Hall and it’s one of the coolest things you can do while visiting the city. Bonus: totally free. Just pass through a security checkpoint manned by LAPD’s finest and head up to the 26th floor.

That’s a wrap. What’s on the slate for 2018?

  • Surviving this joke of a presidency if we don’t get nuked first
  • Getting my rear back in shape, although running is getting more difficult (which I attribute to the added weight)
  • Not a lot of traveling, just staying local
  • Trying new things
  • Enjoying the last year of my 40s

Oh, the hair. Did I mention that at all? The reasons for letting it grow are simple:

  • Because I can. Most guys my age are either dyeing what’s left of theirs, bald, or shaved.
  • I don’t work for the Walt Disney Company where grooming standards are ridiculously strict (yeah yeah, it’s all for show). My employer is filled with creatives, most of whom are very much into individual expression via colored hair, tattoos, dress, art, etc. We’re free spirits so being different is part of our culture and perfectly acceptable.
  • I’ve never done this before so I thought I’d give it a shot.

And there you go. Happy 2018!

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Preparing for the New Year


Now that it’s December, I’m sure that many people are starting to think about their New Year’s resolutions. But I’m not.

That’s because I don’t make resolutions. To resolve to do something means that you are determined to do it, to settle something, etc. It’s a nice little word but it’s not exactly one I’ve used over the past few years and it sounds like a short-term solution to a lifelong problem.

Instead of making resolutions, I make commitments. One is committed to their religion, to pay their bills on time, or to their job. It’s something that you hold in high regard because it needs to be done, much like my weight loss and maintenance over the years. No, at this point the scale isn’t exactly where I would like it to be but I’m still nowhere near my starting weight of 300 pounds. That’s because I made a commitment to change my life by eating right and exercising.

Compare that to the resolutioner who will buy their gym membership in January and stop using it by March because it was more than they could handle. Running is always a kick at the start of the year because my running route and the bike paths are really populous but in a few months they are empty again. I’ve seen it happen every year.

Anyway, I’ve committed myself to doing at least three things in this upcoming year, my 46th year on this material sphere. They are as follows.

Commitment 1: Stay Active and Eat Better
As I had mentioned, the scale hasn’t been in my favor recently so I’m going to change that in 2015. No, I’m still not springing for a gym membership because I really don’t like the environment: parking, sweaty machinery and equipment, the loud boots-and-pants music booming from the usually awful sound system. Just not for me. Instead, my plan is to start eating better and getting much more exercise in. I’ve already started by simply walking rather than running and by eating right, that means not falling for those snake-oil cleanses sold through MLM people who knew nothing about nutrition before signing up for their scheme but now promise to help you lose ridiculous amounts of weight in a short time with their overpriced product (only to gain it all back just as quickly if not sooner). I may run a few miles while I’m out but walking is a welcome change, and change is good. I’m currently averaging 8 miles per walk which is good for burning at least 1,300 calories. This boosts my recommended caloric intake to early 3,500 so if I eat less than that, the weight will start to fall off again. That’s exactly what I need.

Commitment 2: Find a New Job
Working at the ol’ grocery store has been a good time but I’ve decided that I won’t make it to my one-year anniversary in the middle of February. The lethal combination of part-time hours and minimal pay are simply not the way a family should live and we’ve resorted to using credit cards again as a result. That’s not what we wanted to do but when you need a microscope to see your paycheck, you gotta do something. Additionally, the company is looking to hire 1,200 people. I don’t know where those people are going to get their hours if the ones currently working aren’t getting any themselves. Oh, and I found out via a random Google search that the location is up for sale because, as the description states, the company has “not achieved the desired sales at this location and has indicated that it may close the location or sublease the store.” In short, it sounds like our days are numbered to begin with. It would be nice if our management would maybe give us a little insight on this matter but nobody has said anything about it. In other words, it’s time for me to fly.

Commitment 3: Vices
We all have them. Perhaps my most painfully obvious one was my penchant for diet sodas which I know aren’t good for me, but my liking can be compared to Oscar Wilde’s thoughts on cigarettes.

“You must have a cigarette. A cigarette is the perfect type of a perfect pleasure. It is exquisite, and it leaves one unsatisfied. What more can one want?”

I’ve tried to kick the habit in the past and failed miserably but when I decided to lose weight, I committed myself to avoid them and I did. Well, it’s time to do that again and replace it with water and tea. In addition to diet sodas, I have already taken the proper steps in kicking another of my vices to the curb. Without saying exactly what it was, I will say that it was not an addiction to chemical, tobacco, or alcohol nor was it entirely harmful to myself or anyone else. It was not damaging my health or illegal yet it was something that was slowly taking over me and got to the point where I had to think about what I was doing and put a stop to it immediately. In the end when I really think about it, it’s just silly and pointless and something that none of my lifelong friends would probably expect from me. Either way, I’m done with it and you’re not getting me to tell you what it was.

Commitment 4: Zen
I’m currently reading The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Zen Living, a book that covers the ins and outs of what zen is and isn’t. It’s yet another way that I’m trying to incorporate peace and a spiritual awakening in my life, something that I’ve been trying to achieve for a few years. Meditation is still working as are simple Buddha quotes (the ones that are real, at least). Buddhism and zen are extremely complex yet in the end, they come down to simple philosophies that I can adhere to more than any religion I’ve read about. Who knows? I may even commit myself to becoming a Buddhist by the year’s end and visiting temples to see what it’s like. And no, Buddhism isn’t all about reincarnation. It’s much more than that.

Whew, is that enough? Looks like I have plenty to take care of in 2015.

Happy 2013!


Wow. 2013.

As the years pass, I start thinking how weird my headstone is going to look with 1969-20xx on it. It’s gonna seem like I lived a million years and accomplished so much.

At any rate, I’m scheduling this post to go live at midnight in the off chance I am not awake by then (which is possible). It just want to wish everyone a very happy, healthy, and successful New Year.

So break out the hats and hooters already! It’s gonna be a great year!

Happy New Year!


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Look! It’s a post from the future! And my first post of 2011!

Actually, it’s a post from the past so I’m sorry to ruin your fun. I’m writing this post on the heels of the December 30th post since Ann and I will be entertaining tomorrow and plan to ring in the new year with some good friends and I won’t have time to do it then. I just scheduled it to post at this time which, if I mysteriously died sometime between now and then, would be pretty eerie, huh? ZOMG A POST FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE!!!111!1!

Ahem.

That said, I want to take a moment to wish all of you a very happy and prosperous 2011, a year which will mark my 7th year of blogging. Who ever thought that would happen?

If you’re a reader of the blog, you know that my 2010 was chock full o’ stuff that I wouldn’t wish on anybody. That’s just me taking the hit for all of you. I truly do wish nothing but good things for all of you…heck for the whole world, for that matter, and that 2011 brings all of us the bestest, most fantastic year of memories and events we’ve ever had.

And come December 31, 2011, I want us all to look back and say, “Goddamn, we could have not had a better year, could we?” Then we can usher in 2012, start The Final Countdown bullshit, and party like it’s our last ever.

Which is what we should really be doing in the first place, no?

Happy 2011, everybody! Be careful on the roads and don’t get too crazy with the Barnes & Noble Bartles & Jaymes.