Day 363: A Thousand Words

Best shot I hit all year on the golf course.

Best shot I hit on the golf course in 2015.

I can’t believe I only have two more days until I’ve completed My Quest to Blog Every Day in 2015!

I’ll write more about this on the final post of the year, but for now let me say this: I wish I would’ve written more substantial posts. I didn’t realize how tough this quest would be and I have a greater appreciation for those that publish quality content on a regular basis.

What’s the old saying? A picture’s worth a thousand words? Here are a few photos I took this year. I’m not sure I could write a thousand words for each, but they are a good sample of what I did during the previous 363 days.


Roll for the Galaxy


Premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens


Wasabi-flavored Kit Kats from Japan


Incredible kim chi fried rice from Little Meats LA

Frontier sign at the Neon Boneyard Museum

Frontier sign at the Neon Boneyard Museum


A summer night at Dodger Stadium


Celebrating the US Women’s World Cup victory at LA Live


Day 356: Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson.

Jackie Robinson.

I thought this was a cool bit of news today. Dodger Stadium is erecting its first statue on its property: Jackie Robinson. It’ll be on display during the 2016 season.

As a lifelong Dodgers fan and proud Angeleno, I couldn’t be happier. Actually, I might be happier if the Dodgers win their first World Series since 1988, but I’m not sure. Hopefully the team will give me the chance to figure this out.

Day 288: The Drought Continues

Greatest World Series moment ever.

Greatest World Series moment ever.

The Dodgers were just eliminated from the playoffs, which means we’re closing in on 30 years since the team last played in the World Series. I know I’ve been a fortunate sports fan, having seen all four of the major sports teams in Los Angeles win a championship during my lifetime, but it’s still a drag when the season ends without a parade in downtown.

Speaking of that last World Series appearance, I’m going to watch this on repeat until this end-of-the-season sadness is gone.

Day 286: Must Win

After the Dodgers went up 3-0 against the Mets, my wife and I decided to go to our favorite Mexican restaurant for dinner. My wife asked if I was sure if I wanted to go and I said yes.

As we were driving there, the Mets scored a run against Clayton Kershaw and my first thought was, “here we go again.” I also thought about turning the car around, but we were starving and didn’t feel like making dinner.

Thankfully, everything turned out perfect: we shared our favorite dish, Kershaw broke his 7th-inning curse, Jensen saved the game, and the Dodgers get to play Game 5 in L.A.

And as an added bonus, we made it home in time for another hilarious episode of Fresh Off the Boat. I was as pumped up as Kershaw was tonight.

Day 282: Superman and Clark Kent

The Dodgers' Greinke and Kershaw.

The Dodgers’ Greinke and Kershaw.

The Dodgers lost the opening game of their playoff series against the Mets. Sad to say, it wasn’t as shocking as Clayton Kershaw’s meltdown against the Cardinals last year.

With how much Kershaw looks like Superman during the regular season, he has quite a few Clark Kent moments during October. It’s hard to knock the best pitcher in baseball, but the truth is with each postseason loss, opposing hitters are gaining confidence against him. They’re being patient and aren’t scared of him, knowing that he can be cracked at some point.

While I had my doubts about these Dodgers going to the World Series (hard to get too fired up about a team that was no-hit twice during the season), I was hoping Kershaw and Greinke could do their best Johnson-and-Schilling imitation and drag this team to the promised land.

Greinke is pitching tomorrow. He better be in great shape because that additional weight he’s carrying is the entire Dodgers organization.

Day 276: Random Saturday Thoughts

Tastykakes from the freezer are the best!

Tastykakes straight from the freezer are the best.

A few random thoughts on a Saturday night:

  1. Tastykakes: They’re an East Coast treat, but over the years I’ve seen them more frequently in Southern California. My local grocery store was having a 2-for-1 sale and I couldn’t resist the power of the Tastykake.  I LOVE the peanut butter Kandy Kakes, which taste like a Reese’s peanut butter cup in mini-cake form. They’re even better when frozen.
  2. Dodgers: The good news is they won the NL West again and are going to the playoffs. The bad news is long-time organist Nancy Bea Hefley is retiring after this season. I hope the Dodgers don’t get rid of the organist position; as much as I love the snippets of today’s pop music during a game, there’s something very soothing about being at Dodger Stadium and listening to the between-innings notes from the organ.
  3. Jeopardy!: It’s always fun to see a player dominate on my favorite game show and Matt Jackson’s five-show run has been terrific. I liked this first-person account from one of his vanquished opponents.

Day 174: Another First

The Magic Words

The Magic Words

I’ve written two posts about Filipino Heritage Night at Dodger Stadium two weeks ago, so I promise this will be my last. I just wanted to document something I saw that night that was a first for me: a couple got engaged on the big screen.

The moment happened between innings, during the Kiss Cam. A few couples were shown and they kissed, much to the delight of the crowd. After the last couple kissed, however, the camera lingered on them. At first I thought someone forgot to turn off the camera, but all of a sudden the guy got down on his knee and produced a ring box. His girlfriend was stunned and all of us in attendance roared our approval. After she accepted, he placed the ring on her finger and the cheers continued all the way to the start of the inning.

It reminded me of the last time I was at Dodger Stadium, when I was telling my wife that out of all the baseball games I’ve attended — major and minor league — I’d never seen a benches-clearing brawl. Sure enough, just a few innings later, the Diamondbacks threw at Yasiel Puig and the brawl was on.

Coincidentally, it was the Diamondbacks who were playing the Dodgers when I saw my first Proposal at a Sporting Event. I wonder what I’ll see the next time they’re in town?

Day 166: Great Night of Blue

Dodger Stadium, aka Heaven.

Dodger Stadium, aka Heaven.

Rather than update my previous post about the Dodgers’ Filipino Heritage Night, I’m recapping that great day here.

My family and I left early so we could beat traffic and enjoy a pork BBQ plate at Bernie’s Teriyaki. We succeeded on both counts: we experienced no traffic and beat the dinner crowd at Bernie’s. We’re onto the third generation of our family who have eaten here (they opened in 1977) and the taste and quality have remained the same over the years. It also seems like they haven’t upgraded the facilities in nearly four decades of business, but if ain’t broke, why fix it, right?

Our bellies full of delicious Filipino-style BBQ and rice, we made the quick 10-minute ride to Dodger Stadium and, having paid half-price for parking online, we zoomed right to the shortest Pre-Paid Parking line and made it to Lot 1. Although it’s a trek to the Right Field Pavilion, it’s normally not a problem, especially if it means saving money (the closer Preferred parking lots cost $35 online and $50 at the gate). Unfortunately, my knee was sore from a Monday full of driving and moving, so I had to take it at a slower trek.

Once we got closer to the stadium, we noticed people at a truck handing out freebies. Normally, this thing would be swarmed by fans, but once I saw the name on the side of the truck, I knew why most fans were ignoring it: [INSERT NAME OF CABLE COMPANY THAT WON’T SHOW DODGERS GAMES TO MOST OF LOS ANGELES HERE]. The young interns were all smiles and giving away free Dodger cups to the masses. From what I saw, fans were just walking by, but I’m sure the workers got some verbal abuse as more fans walked in. For the record, I decided to take a cup, but vowed to scratch out the cable company’s name.

So, my ambivalence about taking said cup aside, I was fired up for the game. It was the first game I’d been to in a few years, after the previous non-Magic-Johnson owners nearly ruined everything great about the Dodger Stadium experience. Mainly, however, the thrill of celebrating Filipino Heritage Night with my family and my brothers’ families outweighed everything else.

We met up, collected our cool Filipino Heritage Night Dodgers shirts, caught part of the Filharmonic performing a few songs, and found our seats. The weather was sunny and mild and once the game started, we were treated to a back-and-forth affair, with the Dodgers prevailing on a walk-off single by Howie Kendrick. The highlights of the game: Yasiel Puig nearly hitting for the cycle and crushing a 3-run home run and Joc Pederson climbing the center field wall to rob the D-Backs of a homer.

Although I would’ve preferred sitting in the reserve section like we did during our last trip to Filipino Heritage Night, there’s something to be said for sitting in the Right Field Pavilion; mainly, it’s the spot where Gibson hit The Home Run. I’ll never forget sitting in my buddy’s truck in 1988, listening to Vin Scully’s perfect call on AM radio: “High fly ball to right field … she is out of here! [long pause as Gibson rounds the bases, then hugs his teammates] In a season that has been so improbable, the impossible has just happened!”

That home run is one of my favorite Dodger memories. My other favorites? All of the games I attend with loved ones.


Day 55: Family Celebration


Gaviola family favorite Salo-Salo Grill was the site of another celebration tonight. Whenever we get together here, we tend to order too much food. It’s consistently excellent Filipino food, served in abundant portions. I call it The Place Where Diets Go To Die.

Clarissa Wei, one of my favorite food bloggers, recently posted this guide to Filipino food in Los Angeles. There are  some great spots listed; I’ve been to a few of them and others were new to me. I would’ve loved to have seen Salo-Salo on there, but it’s still a solid list. Newbies to Filipino food should start with her article; better yet, I’d point them to one of the Filipino-American restaurant icons of L.A.: Bernie’s Teriyaki.

Bernie’s has been serving inexpensive plates of Filipino barbecue for decades in the same location. Yes, the name suggests Japanese food, but that taste is undeniably Filipino. In fact, I prefer Bernie’s over Grill City, which was one of the places in Wei’s article. Unlike Grill City, Bernie’s doesn’t overdo it with the barbecue sauce and glaze; it’s a more subtle taste and there’s less fat on their pork sticks, which sets them apart from most Filipino barbecue.

In my family, we’re on generation three of the Bernie’s fan club.  The menu isn’t as Filipino-heavy or authentic as Salo-Salo’s menu, but those barbecue plates are deeply satisfying and inexpensive to boot. The location is ideal during baseball season: you can pick up a plate to go before making the short trek to Dodger Stadium.