Thursday, June 30, 2005

Cripes, I'm Getting Old...

So I was watching VH1 Classic today and Pat Benatar's video for "Fire and Ice" came on. And as usual, I watched it.

It's not because I had a crush on Benatar. Well, okay, she did have one hell of a voice back in the day. The reason I still watch this video is simple: I'm in it.

Yeah, me. Way back in the 80s, my brother won tickets to this event from KFI when they were still a music station. It was on a little soundstage in Hollywood and the band performed at least four songs. A performance, not lip-sync. And it was pretty good.

At any rate, I believe it was me, my brother, and a few neighborhood friends who ended up going. We stood near the back of the crowd for some reason. I'm pretty easy to spot because I'm wearing an old Toronto Blue Jays hat. When the camera pans the crowd near the beginning of the video, you can see the top of the hat. Yeah, that's me.

Need proof? Here's a few screen grabs:

Or, you watch near the end of this clip. It happens fast, so look near the bottom of the screen near the center:

"Fire and Ice" video clip (WMV file, 7.48 MB)

So there you have it. I get around, don't I?

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Glad I'm Healthy

I've been home from work the past few days to take care of Ann and Anthony, both of whom are sick. Ann started feeling ill over the weekend and finally became really sick yesterday.

Anthony also has been sick but he seems to be better today. I was just about ready to leave for work yesterday when Ann called me from her mom's house. She told me that Anthony had just barfed and barfed a lot. So I called in and we took him to the pediatrician, who was also Ann's pediatrician.

He said the kid was fine but that there's a virus going around that's causing all this mess. We went home from there, and that's when Ann began feeling really sick. And barfing. It was then when her mom told her she was starting to feel sick. My God, it was like a scene from "Airplane."

I called in today and sent an email to the boss, apologizing for taking this time off. If there's a good thing about my job is that they don't say much if you have to take days off--you'll be punished with plenty of work to catch up on when you return. She even told me that if I'm feeling bad to stay home so that nobody in the office catches it. So I'm sort of covered.

I can't remember the last time I used the Gateway Solo laptop so much. Sure it's ugly and bulky, but it does what it needs to do. I've been sitting in the den and connecting wirelessly with the thing so that I can keep an eye on Anthony--that is, when I'm not holding him. I've also been checking my work email and doing what I can do to make things less dreadful tomorrow. Even though a bulk of our work still relies on hard copies, I can't imagine how the publishing industry survived before email.

As a preventive measure, I went to Jamba Juice and ordered Coldbusters with Immunity Boosts for us. And Parmesian Pretzels.

Hopefully, we'll be okay.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Video Post!

I came across a free video host for small files, so I'm going to try and post one here. It's of $1 million. Really, a million bucks. We saw it during our last trip to Las Vegas.

So without further ado, here it is (Quicktime file, 2.69 MB, about 11 seconds, Kodak EasyShare DX6490):

A Million Bucks

This is a first of what might be many, depending on how it works. It's a pretty good way to share files without clogging inboxes, too.

Okay, here's another one (Quicktime, 7.33 MB, about 32 seconds, Kodak EasyShare DX6490):

Anthony and the caterpillar

That's enough for now. Oh, and I did see a really ugly dragonfly today:

What, not enough detail? Then here's a hi-res one for you:

Free Image Hosting at

Take that!

Sunday, June 26, 2005


We went to Burger King the other day for dinner. I was hungry, so I opted for the Double Whopper combo meal.

This is what is depicted at the drive-thru:

Image from

This is what I got:

I had to double-check and make sure that there were two patties in there. Kinda similar to the McDonald's Big Breakfast fiasco, but at least this time I got a picture of it.

Now here's a real burger:

That's the T-Rex Burger from the Wheel Inn, Cabazon, CA. Three patties, and that was before I put the condiments on the thing. The Wheel Inn is aka the place with the big dinosaurs:

Yeah, that's me alright. So I got a little crazy with the pics tonight. Those last two were taken in 2002 with my old Sony Mavica MVC FD-75 digital camera, hence the poor color saturation. But a reliable camera nonetheless.

Oh, and we played some over-the-line on Saturday. My knee is now wrapped in an Ace bandage.

And I'm still cravin' an Icee.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

My Uncle, The Author

If you've been here before, that title might sound familiar.

My Uncle Lupe had told me months ago that he was in the process of having one of his books published--finally. He mentioned it to me only once and that was it, and he never got back to me about when it was going to be published.

Uncle Lupe's hard to get a hold of most of the time. He always has been, but that's what makes him who he is. Regardless, it's that kind of mystery that makes me love the guy to death.

Anyway, his project dawned on me today while at work. So I did some digging and came across his book, Cut Flowers, at

I had trouble at first because he used the name Lou instead of Lupe. That's so like him. And if you despise shopping at Amazon, here's a list of other booksellers carrying it. You can also visit his website, as tiny as it may be.

I'm damn proud of Uncle Lupe for being persistent in getting this published, and I wish him much success in his future writing endeavours.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there. Hope you enjoyed your day.

Here's a shot of what Anthony, Ann and I did today:

There was an event at Dodger Stadium today called "Father's Day Catch" where kids and fathers alike were allowed to play catch on the outfield grass for a limited time.

Now I've been on the field at Anaheim Stadium plenty of times, but this was Dodger-Friggin-Stadium here. The history is amazing. Vin Scully's call of Kirk Gibson's 9th inning home run in the 1988 World Series..."High fly ball hit into deep right field...she is GOOOOONNEE!" Fernandomania. Garvey, Lopes, Russell, Cey. And here we were, on the same field under the beautiful California sun.

I propped Anthony on my shoulders and ran from the centerfield entrance towards first base. I wish I could have had a picture of the smile that was on my face. He giggled as he bounced in a moment I'll never forget. I almost got all choked up.

Here I am giving Anthony a rundown on things. That's my old jersey that I wore when I played in an adult baseball league:

We were given free, soft baseballs to use. I can't image the havoc using real baseballs would have caused.

This event was followed by lunch at the original McDonald's in Downey, CA:

Now you might think that eating at McDonald's was kind of odd for Father's Day. Well, not really. Today was also our 12th wedding anniversary, and this is where Ann and I went to eat after our first date at Golf N' Stuff, also in Downey, CA. So there is some significance.

On Saturday I took Anthony to see my dad for the first time. I printed a picture that he could leave for him. He's holding it in his hand:

He pulled some of the flowers off and placed them there. I also gave him the "tour" of the cemetary, visiting my grandfather and grandmother as well.

For all the joy Father's Day gives me, it still hurts.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

What's On Your MP3 Player?

This is probably going to be of the easiest posts I've done.

Music's a big part of my life, so I thought I'd entertain you with a list of folders on my Archos AV140 MP3 player.

Here we go:
60s, 70s, 80s (300+ songs), 90s (200+ songs), Aladdin (soundtrack), Annie Lennox, Art of Noise, B-52s, Beatles, Billy Idol, Billy Joel, Carlos Mencia, Cars, Cause & Effect, Corrs, Cult, Culture Club, Dave Gahan, Dead of Alive, Depeche Mode, Devo, Donna Summer, Doobie Brothers, Doors, Duran Duran, Eagles, ELO, Electronic, Elton John, Elvis Costello, Erasure, Eurythmics, Everclear, Fleetwood Mac, Foo Fighters, Funk (various compliation CDs and singles), Garbage, Genesis, George Harrison, George Strait, Glenn Miller, Go West, Go-Go's, Godsmack, Gran Turismo 2 (soundtrack), Guns N Roses, Hall & Oates, Howard Jones, Instrumental Gold, INXS, Jellyfish, Journey, KLF, Kool & the Gang, Level 42, Lightning Seeds, Limbeck, Living Colour, Louis Prima, Madonna, Maldita Mecindad y los Hijos del Quinto Patio, Martin L. Gore, Marvin Gaye, Matthew Sweet, Metal (various singles), Metallica, Michael Jackson, Mike + the Mechanics, Moody Blues, Morris Day, Morrissey, New Order, Nightmare Before Christmas (soundtrack), No Doubt, OMD, Oingo Boingo, Paul McCartney, Perez Prado, Pet Shop Boys, Phantom of the Opera (Broadway recording), Phil Collins, Police, Pretty in Pink (soundtrack), Prince, Pure Disco, Queens of the Stone Age, REM, Rap (various singles), Siouxsie and the Banshees, Smashing Pumpkins, Smiths, Smithereens, Social Distortion, Squeeze, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (soundtrack), Styx, Sublime, Sugar Ray, Tears for Fears, Those Wonderful Years (various volumes), Tom Jones, Trash Can Sinatras, Vocals (various), Wham!, Weezer, XTC, Yaz, Yes.

You probably did a double-take on a few of those. But when a writer's in a creative slump, anything serves as inspiration.

Our clients probably have no idea that I could be listening to Wham's "Club Tropicana" while writing their articles.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

When I Was Young...

I grew up in the 70s. For you young ones, that means that we didn't have cable TV, we rode our bikes without helmets, and only the rich could afford color TVs with remote controls. Well, I take that back--the adults did have remotes, and they were us. And if we didn't change it to "Bowling for Dollars" when Dad asked us to, we felt it.

But you know what else? We survived. We grew up, got jobs, had families.

All of this segues so beautifully to what I'm trying to get at. When I was young, kids didn't have ADD, ADHD, or whatever the hell doctors call it. We just did what we did--act as kids--and got our asses beat when we acted up. It seemed to work very well. We learned and we never made the same mistake again. Forget "time outs"; our parents and even school principals had [ping pong] paddles. With holes drilled in them for maximum stinging power. I kid you not.

And you know what else-else? Kids are hyperactive by nature. My own son, all of 14 months, is into everything these days. He doesn't stop walking/pacing, always has something in his hands, and is always chatting to himself. Does he have ADD? Should I have his head examined? No, for Chrissakes--he's being a kid!

Look, I'm not trying to be Dr. Brackett here, but c'mon. If you grew up in the same time you know exactly what I'm talking about. If you really think about it, every kid on the planet suffers from Attention Deficit ("Look! A balloon!") Hyperactivity Disorder ("Anthony, put that down!").

Honestly, I think it's a bunch of crap; crap that can be solved with a little discipline.

Now where's my remote..?

Oh, and in case you didn't hear, we had an earthquake today. It's a shocker, I know, being in California and all. But it was so minor I didn't even flinch. I was microwaving my lunch at the time it hit. The floor rumbled, I heard the walls shake a bit...and then every woman in the office started yelling, "We're having an earthquake!" Out of the corner of my eye I saw a bunch of them go running past the breakroom in hysterics. By the time I looked up *DING* my food was ready.

I grabbed it, calmly walked back to my office, and went back to work. There's really nothing more you can do than ride it out so there's no need for excitement.

That's why I prefer them to any other kind of natural disaster. Sure, we don't know when they'll hit, but chances are the only damage we'll suffer is a broken jar of Peter Pan Peanut Butter or something like that.

And I can live with that.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Free Eats!

It's pretty rare when I go somewhere for lunch while at work. I usually drink a can of Slim-Fast then take a nap in my car for about 30 minutes.

But yesterday I decided since I had a few bucks in my pocket, I'd go treat myself to a large order of chili cheese fries with onions. Yum.

So I headed over to the local greasy spoon and placed my order in the speaker. I drove up to the window and handed the cashier a $5 bill for the $4.63 I owed.

She gave me back my $5--and the 37 cents in change. She thought I gave her a $10. Profit: $5.37.

It was then one of those moments where you have an angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other. Both had valid points, but the devil had a pitchfork. And in my book, a pitchfork beats a harp. So I played dumb and kept the money.

Then today I went to Taco Bell and ordered a Seven Layer Burrito and a Double Decker Taco, two of my favorites there (next to the Chilito and the Big Bell Beefer). I got all the way to work and looked in the bag--which was missing the taco.

I headed back to the Taco Bell and was lucky enough to get the manager. I explained what happened. He apologized and told one of the girls to whip up a Double Decker Taco. He then handed me a large drink cup which I filled with Diet Pepsi. As I turned to get my order I saw him scribbling something on the back of a business card.

To make up for their mistake, he gave me a hand-written certificate for any combo meal of my choice for free. As he explained, the girl handed me my bag.

"Give him an order of Cinnamon Twists, too," he ordered. I shook his hand and told him his actions were appreciated.

But I'm still keeping the $5.

Sunday, June 12, 2005


In a world obsessed with televised poker and blackjack tournaments, it's refreshing to know that I'm not the only one who doesn't give a rat's ass about the World Series of [insert card game here].

Yesterday we spent time with some old high school cronies I recently became re-acquainted with, Tim and Ed. I hadn't seen or heard from either one in about 10 years. That's until one day I came across Ed while on my way to work.

Long story short, we've all been hanging out every now and then. Back in the day we'd play crazy-ass Triple Yahtzee tournaments until the wee hours of the morning. And last night was no exception. We played two games of Triple Yahtzee, both of which were won by Tim, and two games of Sorry! It'd been a long time since I played Sorry! and didn't realize just what a pain it can be. But revenge can be had in this game. And it's sweet.

Before we did any of this, we went to the park to hit some baseballs and play catch. Jesus, did that feel good on my 36-year-old bones. I woke up sore but had the most fun I'd had in years. Ann also joined they fray, playing catch sans mitt. She can. That's the way her father used to play catch with her. And she'd damn good, too. But give her a mitt and you can forget it, buddy.

By the way, do you know what a bitch it is to find Triple Yahtzee scorecards in stores? The only place I could find them before was K-Mart. I'm glad I found them and bought a bunch last time. It's not like we couldn't have used the scorecards from the old Yahtzee games that Ann's grandfather left behind--still in the box and un-opened. Check out his, now our, vintage collection:

Fine and well. But what the hell is that over in the corner, in the green box?

It's called Kismet, a Yahtzee rip-off game. They call a five-of-a-kind a "Kismet" and Chances "Yarboroughs".

Yarboroughs? No wonder the damn thing flopped.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Time for a Plug

Okay, folks. Ann's officially a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant. If you wanna order some goods from her, you can visit her website.

I even made her a card in Photoshop:

What are you waiting for?! Order some stuff!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

I Aim to Please

So it turns out that my little blog here is one of the results when you search for the term "Big John's Beans 'n Fixin's" in Yahoo! and Alta Vista.

Who am I to disappoint? If it's beans 'n fixin's you want, it's beans 'n fixin's I'll give you!

Take a look at these lucious images, taken June 5, 2004:

Yours truly, looking smug. Because...'s my surplus. I still have a few cans left as of this post.

The beans.

The beans in the pot.

The fixin's.

Beans 'n fixin's together.

May that satisfy all the Big John's fans out there. Last time I checked, Stater Bros. no longer carried them. And the Spring Farms market in Long Beach had a big black "D" on the shelf lable. Could mean "discontinued."

Sad. Those are some awesome beans.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

The Wonder of Youth

Ann took this picture the other day at the park. It's of Anthony enjoying the swing. Check it out:

Youth. What an amazing time to be alive.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Where to Find Me, or Free Zoo Pics!

See that little bar graph under my counter on the right? One click on it will tell you how people found my blog, mostly from Yahoo! searches. It finds keywords from my posts and shows my blog in the results.

Here are some of my favorite terms that link here:
Big John's Beans 'n Fixins
Marukai 98 Store
Chuck Henry is an ass
McDonald's Big Breakfast (ranked #2 on Yahoo!)

But, but, but...when I clicked to get today's stats, I found that some dipshit--possibly a furry--was looking for "free zoo pics" and came across my blog, perhaps thinking that here they'd find beastiality pics or something.

No way, man. That's just not right.

And in case you don't know what a furry is, here's a definition. I don't know what's worse: furries or cosplayers.

Great. Now that I posted those words, here come the freaks.