OC Fair 5k Fun Run


On Sunday I ran in the Orange County Fair 5k Fun Run, the first time I’d participated in the event. I had honestly forgotten about this one until I saw it being advertised in an email I got from Active.com so I figured I might as well go for it.

Much like the WetNWild 5k, this is more than your standard 5k. The route winds through the OC Fair and you have a choice of running straight through the course or, as was my case, decide to take several “Detours of Fun” along the way. I’ll get into those as you scroll through the pictures.

Speaking of pictures, here we go.

Here is the pile of finisher’s medals being prepped at the start/finish line.

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The start/finish line. I was back about halfway so that I could pace myself and not get in the way of anybody who wanted to pass me. And I was actually shocked at how many, um, thinner runners I managed to pass after the first mile.

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Here was one of the Detours of Fun: the Euroslide.

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And here’s a video from my POV sliding down it!

Did you notice the stuffed animal at my feet? No, it wasn’t a good luck charm that I carry with me to each 5k. It was a prize I won at another Detour of Fun in which runners were given two baseballs to break at least one plate. I managed to break two but we were only allowed one prize. (I couldn’t have done that if I paid!) I ran by Ann and Anthony during the run where I gave my prize to him, gave him a hug and a kiss, and kept on running. He named him OC5k.

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Another detour was at the Pacific Amphitheater. Here is the backstage VIP area.

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Nothing fancy, right? Well, they also let you go onto the stage. Here’s what it looks like to perform in front of…a bunch of empty seats.

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While onstage, you could have your picture taken as you live out your rock-and-roll fantasy by standing in front of a mic with a bass – back to the crowd, strangely. It’s worth noting that The Beatles’ “Helter Skelter” was playing in the background as my photo was taken and I yelled, “I’ve got blisters on my fingers!”

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And, of course, my efforts were rewarded in the end. Here’s me, now goatee-free if you hadn’t noticed yet, with my finisher’s medal.

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A better shot of the medal.

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Oh, then there’s my not-so-magnificent time below. I can explain. The time you see is the total time that included my lollygagging with all of the Detours of Fun.

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But this is why I use the Sports Tracker app. I stopped it at all Detours and started it when I was finished. According to the app, my total time over 3.16 miles was 34:03 which is much more like my average pace. Click image below to enlarge.

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Afterward, we all sat around and waited for the Fair to open. Thinking we had to exit and come back in, we were told that we could just sit tight where we were and partake in the Fair once it opened. So that’s exactly what we did. Granted, we could have gotten in for $2 per person and I got a ticket as part of my goodie bag, but free is good. I ended up giving my ticket to a mom who was bringing her kids in as we were leaving.

And yes, Fair silliness ensued.

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That’s a totally big cow.

All in all it was a fantastic day for a run and some fun in the sun.

Next run on the list: Awesome ‘80s 5K/10k on September 1, 2012. I’m looking forward to seeing some awful ‘80s fashions at that one since runners are encouraged to dress the part.

And yes, my outfit is almost complete. You will see it in less than a month…

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Fun on the 405


commute

You see that map (click to enlarge) to the left? That there is my daily commute to work and although it’s only Tuesday, I’m about ready to start riding my bike there.

Why? Pretty simple.

The people who take the 405 at the same time I do all suck eggs. They’re a bunch of moronic demons that Hell hath spawned for the singular design of making my blood pressure shoot through the roof and by the time I get to work, trust me, it’s done just that. Just in case you need some kind of idea of what I mean, let me expand on that a little bit by explaining what I’ve seen in the past two days.

Before I even got on the 405 this morning, there was a woman stopped behind me at a red light, who appeared to be taking her daughter to high school. I saw the woman smoking which I thought was no big deal until I saw the daughter, maybe all of 16, take a puff from a cigarette of her own. Nice, mom. Bet they drink together, too.

So I get on the freeway and wait for the light on the onramp to turn green. It does and I step on it because the lane ends quickly and if you don’t get over, chances are nobody will let you over and you’ll have to squeeze in at the last minute and risk driving on the shoulder. This is a daily occurrence.

Not even before I reach the 605, I see a woman in a Mustang zoom by me as traffic was slowing and naturally, at the last minute, she slams on her brakes and just misses rear-ending the guy in front of her. The smell of rubber was overwhelming. Close call, but she seemed to be in a hurry as I saw her weaving in and out of traffic a few times.

death raceI continued my slow drive to work and decide to let a person over since we weren’t going anywhere to begin with. I crawl and give her space only to glance in my rearview and see the guy behind me yelling and waving his hands as if those gestures would somehow push me to go faster. They didn’t and I let the person over. I threw up my hands at the guy as if to say, “Dude, really?” How much of an asshole do you have to be to make this an issue?” Believe it or not, this happens every day.

As my crawl continued, traffic slowed down again at one point to rubberneck the sight on the shoulder: it seems Mustang Woman got a little overzealous with her driving and unlike earlier, she failed to miss the car in front of her. She was now exchanging insurance information with a guy in a white minivan. Serves her right.

Much like the guy I saw yesterday who was tailgating everybody and also weaving in and out of lanes. He passed me early on and I saw him later when he slammed his car into the rear of a Honda Civic a few lanes to the left of me. If he wasn’t already late for work. And that’s only one of the many accidents I’ve seen unfold before me, in either my direction or the other, while going to work.

Then there’s this woman:

I just had merged onto the 405 from the 73 and immediately started to hear honking. It seemed unreasonable to me because a) traffic wasn’t going anywhere and b) I was sure that I hadn’t cut anybody off. In fact even when we were sitting still, somebody was still honking.

It was this woman who was not only honking for no apparent reason but also yelling and throwing up her hands whenever she lacked the words to express how she or her horn really felt. She even honked at me, which is when I realized it was her. (As a side note, she apparently loves Pogo as her “I [heart] Pogo” license frame indicated. People still know what Pogo is?)

And it’s only Tuesday.

So to all of you who take the 405 for your daily commute, I’ve got a few words of advice for you:

Chill. The fuck. Out.

Seriously. We all have somewhere to go and if you just let people over and take it easy, not drive like your collective hair is on fire, we will all reach our destinations in one piece and free of any extensive psychological or vehicular damage. I guarantee that. You might even also make there on time. Should you choose to ignore such a simple rule, that’s when shit like what I’ve posted here happens.

It’s so simple that we can all do it, right?

Six Years of Nonsense


Can you believe that I’ve been pecking away at this keyboard for six years already? Well, not continuously, of course. I’d have serious ass problems if I did that. But you get the idea.

Wait, let me rephrase that.

Can you believe that I started blogging six years ago today? Yes, it was on this fateful day back in 2004 when I started to send my thoughts to the world electronically, at least through blogging. (I’ve had an e-mail account since the early ’90s.) It’s pretty much been all downhill since then as you can probably tell.

Then there was that time when I thought I was going to give up blogging for good in an attempt to become a normal, anonymous citizen.

That didn’t last long.

And just to blow your mind, here’s me and Anthony back in July 2004:

Here we are in 2010 (today, in fact):

So yeah, a few things have changed over the years, including taking major steps back in photographic quality. Actually, this was taken in lo-res with my webcam so there. Neener-neener.

At any rate, here’s to many more years of blah blah blah. Now onto other stuffs.

We took advantage of today’s free admission and free parking at the Orange County Fair, the one event we look forward to each year (and the one time when calories don’t count). And I have to admit that I was mildly disappointed.

The main reason anybody goes to the fair is to engorge themselves in the variety of foods that are available. Immediately after entry, we headed on over my favorite food vendor, Ten Pound Buns. I look forward to eating their BBQ chicken, sourdough-bread pizzas each year and of course, 2010 was no exception. And as matter of fact, here I am back in 2008 when I was their first customer:

And you know I could have very well been their first customer this year, too–if they hadn’t had problems with their power. They said that they should have everything up and running in 10 minutes but instead of waiting, we headed over to an Italian eatery in an attempt to curb Anthony’s now growing pizza fit.

Bad idea. Turns out that they were having problems with their registers and couldn’t ring anybody up. Now it’s getting bad but the good thing was that, between deciding on which places to eat and relaying the information back to Ann, Ten Pound Buns was now open.

Anthony and I head on back and place our order.

“One original and one BBQ chicken,” I say.

“We don’t have any BBQ chicken right now,” said the cashier. I smirk and chuckle in astonishment, add a Pespi to Anthony’s order, pay the man and wait.

We get our order and head over to the table. By then, Ann had gotten her lunch at the Hawai’ian BBQ place which, from what she told me, was an experience in itself (note: rude workers). I take a few pieces of Anthony’s pizza and Ann ended up giving me some of her orange chicken and rice. That was my lunch since I refused to pay for anything else but my BBQ chicken pizza.

As we finished up, we walked by Ten Pound Buns and lo and behold, they were now serving BBQ chicken. And while I don’t have a picture of me really expressing how I felt, here’s a fairly accurate representation of it:

Look, I realize that shit happens. But on the first day of the fair–the one day when thousands of people get into the place for free for an hour–for shit’s sake make sure you’re prepared. I say this because, in addition to Ann, I wasn’t the only one that had poor experiences with some of the food vendors today. I witnessed another guy literally walking away from Juicy’s BBQ giving one of the workers the finger and from what I had [over]heard, they too were out of something and this guy was obviously not happy. It didn’t help that he was also in front of me in line at the Italian place whose registers were on the blink.

So I gotta admit that our first hour at the fair was definitely memorable but not for anything good. But things got a little better afterwards when we started taking advantage of the $1 samples that all vendors were selling. Mmmm…funnel cakes…

Then at about 3:30 it started to get just too damn hot and we decided to leave.

Ann’s a little sunburned, Anthony’s a asleep, and I’m…sitting here talking to you. I love you guys and all but it was a long day and I’m gonna call it a night. Besides, I got my library card (!) this weekend and checked out Screenwriting for Dummies.

Oh Lord, he’s at it again…

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Saturday Review


Alright, it’s 11:15 p.m., the Dodgers just reduced their Magic Number to 5, and I’m not quite tired yet. So here we go.

As promised, we spent the morning at South Coast Plaza to buy Tony a toy for completing the school week on a positive note. In particular, we went to a store called Puzzle Zoo (note: lame website) which carries a wide variety of unusual toys and collectibles. Being located in SCP, it’s not surprising that many of their items are what I’d consider pretty expensive.

That did not stop me, however, from buying a vintage R2-D2 Star Wars action figure (see inset) for a mere $5.95. The place has three buckets filled with used figures, most of which are in poor condition and all missing weapons. The ones in better condition and with full accessories (or NRFB for you collector dorks) are in a display case and, needless to say, are not $5.95. Either way, I’m happy to be able to have a slice of my youth staring back at me while I write this. I may go back for more sometime.

Anyway, visiting SCP is always a trip. On one hand, you have a very upscale mall with ritzy merchandise: Cartier, Rolex, Versace, Tiffany & Co., etc. I almost feel like I’m walking through a Beverly Hills shopping center at times.

Then I go outside and realize how wrong I was. Despite its upscale retailers, the mall is located in Costa Mesa which isn’t exactly the neighborhood you’ll see on The Real Housewives of Orange County. In fact, those people couldn’t survive living in Costa Mesa unless Spanish was their collective second language.

A short drive up Bristol Street is far cry from the sparkling watches on display at the Rolex store. The glitz and glamor or the mall is replaced with pupuserias, Targets, and 1988 Nissan Stanzas held together with bubble gum and duct tape. Instead of seeing the well-dressed carrying shopping bags, you’ll see homeless pushing their lives around in shopping carts. Orange County isn’t exactly how it’s portrayed on the idiot box, believe me.

Either way, we accomplished what we set out to do and I took a few pictures as well. In fact I uploaded a fresh batch of phone-cam images to my Flickr account, including the ones taken today. Also in the set are some other interesting shots taken over the last few weeks, so go ahead and check them out! There are some pretty crazy things in that set and each has a full description. Feel free to comment on them as well.

Well, it’s now almost midnight and I’m now getting tired. See ya!

The Weekend


I’m writing this post at the Mariposa Avenue Green Line station. Wait, here comes my train.

*fights away a few people*

Okay, on the train.

Anyhow, the weekend is here again and it looks like we’ve got nothing planned beyond a trip to South Coast Plaza, one of Orange County’s more upscale malls (next to Fascist Fashion Island in Corona del Mar). We promised Tony a trip to the toy store there so now we have to deliver. Besides, it gives me an excuse to sneak by Micro Center which is right around the corner. It’s Geek Heaven.

Other than that, it looks like a few days of a lot of nothing. I’m over this cold or whatever it was I had so I’m happy. I feel 100% better than I did a few days ago and Tony…you’d never know that boy was running a fever and barfing during that time. Kids rebound from illnesses amazingly well.

And sweet baby Jesus, it smells like burning rubber in this train. My eyes are burning. I think the person next to me smoked a cigarette made by Uniroyal or something.

I also think some Rock Band 2 is order. And this isn’t a knock on Billy Corgan’s vocal range, but Tony only failed once when he sang “Today.”

Keep in mind he’s four–and can’t quite read yet. Take that as you will!

Have a good one, peeps!