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.

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Roll for the Galaxy

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Premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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Wasabi-flavored Kit Kats from Japan

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Incredible kim chi fried rice from Little Meats LA

Frontier sign at the Neon Boneyard Museum

Frontier sign at the Neon Boneyard Museum

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A summer night at Dodger Stadium

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

 

Day 331: KISS Mini Golf

KISS by Monster Mini Golf

KISS by Monster Mini Golf

While I haven’t played the iconic Pebble Beach golf course yet, I have played miniature golf at a KISS-themed course. I’d like to think that it’s an icon of another kind, either of rock band merchandising or Las Vegas excess.

In either case, it was an awesome experience.

As a kid growing up in the late ’70s, KISS was everywhere. I remember seeing the KISS Alive II poster in my cousin’s room and being scared yet fascinated by the four characters, especially the blood-spewing Gene Simmons.

Whatever shock value they had in the early part of the decade was gone by the time I was listening to them in elementary school. They had their own comic book and starred in a terrible made-for-TV movie, KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park. After the disco-influenced Dynasty album (the poster of which I had hanging in my room, which led to my parents questioning my sanity), the band went into a down period before resurrecting itself in the mid-’80s.

I saw the band twice during the ’80s and grew out of them shortly thereafter. But the second my wife bought a Groupon for a round at the KISS by Monster Mini Golf experience, I was ready to Rock N Roll All Nite (and Party Every Day). We joined my brother’s family during the Thanksgiving week for a trip through our past as we introduced the kids to KISS’ music through the miniature golf course, which is a sentence I never thought I’d ever write.

It was an absolute blast. While the kids enjoyed playing glow-in-the-dark golf, I was loving all of the details on the course, highlighted by the ongoing KISS music blared throughout the place. Every hole had some kind of KISS or rock music theme to it, from maneuvering around Peter Criss’ drums to putting right through Ace Frehley’s Les Paul. There was even an animatronic KISS band at the center of the room that would occasionally come to life.

Of course, the only way to end a KISS round of golf was at the 18th hole’s tongue ramp into the Gene Simmons face (shown above).

Day 330: Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

While we didn’t do the traditional Thanksgiving this year (instead, we spent a few days in Las Vegas), I couldn’t be more thankful for my family.

Food, laughs, more food, and more laughs: these always happen when we’re together, no matter where we are.

Day 328: Neon Museum

The Neon Museum in Las Vegas.

The Neon Museum in Las Vegas.

I crossed off one of the items on my Bucket List: visiting the Neon Museum in Las Vegas. Ever since I’d heard of its existence I’ve wanted to see all of the old neon signs up close and personal in their final resting place.

The last time I was in town I tried to get a same-day reservation and learned that it frequently sold out. This time I made a reservation weeks ahead of time and had no problem.

My wife and I loved the hour-long tour. Las Vegas has a lot of colorful history and our tour guide did a fine job covering it as it related to the signs we saw. From the segregation in the 1950s to the family-friendly 1990s, the neon Vegas signs were products of their times.

We heard stories about Bugsy Siegel, Howard Hughes, and the Rat Pack in addition to the creators of the signs themselves, including Betty Willis, the woman responsible for the iconic Welcome to Las Vegas Sign.

It was a fun, informative tour and the hour flew by. I wish we could’ve had a few more minutes to take even more photos, but another group had already begun its tour. We were okay with that, though, since it gave us an excuse to do the night-time tour (with a few of the signs restored to their former glory) one day.

Day 121: Ang Pambansang Kamao

Pacquiao-Mayweather weigh-in.

Pacquiao-Mayweather weigh-in.

We’re less than 24 hours away from the Fight of the Century and I’m bracing myself for a letdown. As I wrote on Day 28 of my Quest, both fighters are past their primes and no matter who wins, there will always be the “well, if they had fought five years ago…” question hanging over this fight. Millions of people are paying over $100 to watch on television, while others are forking over thousands and thousands of dollars to be in the arena. The revenue from the match will be half a billion dollars. Today’s weigh-in already had the crowd and energy of a superfight. There’s no way this thing is living up to the hype. It’s sickening, it’s insane …

And I’m fired up.

Pulitzer-Prize-winner Jose Antonio Vargas wrote a recent article on why Manny means so much to Filipinos and Filipino-Americans. It’s a terrific piece that doesn’t gloss over Manny’s shortcomings and Vargas, like millions of us, still root for Ang Pambansang Kamao (The Nation’s Fist). He’s forever tied into our identity, someone that Filipinos can proudly declare as their own, mainly because so many of us can relate to his rise from poverty to the pinnacle of his profession. We might not have gone days without food or received an eight-figure paycheck, but in Manny we see the struggles of our parents and grandparents. We see his hard work providing for the ones he loves. We see his smile and we see ourselves, our families.

No matter what happens tomorrow night, I hold my head up high. Just like Manny Pacquiao.

Day 120: Supply and Demand

Manny Pacquiao

Manny Pacquiao

My friend is out in Vegas right now for the big fight. He’s a huge boxing fan and even though he’s not going to the fight itself, he is going to the weigh-in tomorrow. The weigh-in takes place at the MGM and tickets were $10 each. My buddy posted earlier today that scalpers were selling them for $400 each.

That’s $400 to watch two men be weighed. Of course, you could fork out a few thousand more to actually watch them fight, so $400 to be part of the circus is a bargain.

It’s the perfect example of supply and demand. And sports-fueled insanity.