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DanT1999

is happily asserting imperfection



Recent entries from DanT1999
Pages: 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 27 28

DanT1999Cher at the Staples Center

I saw Cher in concert at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on July 7, 2014, one of the last stops of the first leg of her Dressed to Kill Tour with Cyndi Lauper as the opening act. To go to this concert was kind of a spontaneous decision. The day before Andrew and I were looking up availability for an Elton John concert at the Staples Center that I wanted to go to in October for my birthday when we noticed that Cher was going to be performing the next night and that tickets were still available. Since we both liked Cher and neither of us had been to a concert at the Staples Center and the tickets were cheap in the “nosebleed” sections, we decided to check it out.

We both got out of work a little bit early and took the Metro from Koreatown to downtown LA instead of driving in and trying to find parking to make it well before the 7:30 start time. When we got our tickets at Will Call, we were told we had the option to upgrade to a better section with no additional charge. Apparently, the concert didn’t sell out which turned out to be good for us. The crowd skewed a bit older, which I guess shouldn’t have been a surprise, and also gay which was also not surprising.

The concert started when Cyndi Lauper came out with a very “goth” look, with red hair dressed in all black and with boots and some sort of hooded cloak as she sang “She Bop”. I felt like I was taken back to my childhood in the mid 80’s as her mix of pop and punk contained sounds I don’t hear in the music of today. It made me feel old to realize that it has been 30 years since the release of her breakthrough “She’s So Unusual” album. Even her band, including member who have been with her since her start, had gray hair and wrinkles. It’s a little bit funny because I don’t really think of old people rocking out, but as I get older myself I find it less funny. Anyway, Cyndi Lauper, who is 61, had no lack of energy in her performances as she jumped around the stage quite a bit. Her banter was kind of humorous too and she seemed like she would be a fun person to chat with. One thing she said to the audience was “I love you but only in a metaphorical sense because I don’t know you.” She sang her most popular songs like “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and “True Colors” but my favorite that she performed was a more obscure song that I hadn’t previously heard before called “Witness”.

After a longish intermission, Cher finally came out in an ornate show girl costume and I then understood they needed so long set up for her. Her show was a much more elaborate production with different set designs, video monitors and a crew of dancers. She sang her recent dance hit “Woman’s World” followed up by “Strong Enough” from her “Believe” album. Her voice sounded powerful and at 68 could still pull off wearing a variety of revealing costumes. She was not as agile as the talented dancers surrounding her and it was a bit weird to think of the sexuality that shirtless men young enough to be her grandsons exuded toward her, but the way she commanded herself made her seem timeless. It was so cool when she said something like “So what’s your grandma doing tonight?” She sang some of her hits from the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, 2000’s and today. That longevity I find awe-inspiring. I mean, how many artists can say they have had actual hits in all those decades?

From her Sonny and Cher days, she sang “The Beat Goes On”. It was almost poignant when she sang “I Got You Babe” as a duet with archival footage of Sonny Bono who appeared on a screen behind her as he “sang” his part. After a set and costume change, from the 70’s she sang “Half-breed” and “Dark Lady”. That was followed by another set and costume change when she performed some songs from her “Burlesque” movie, probably my least favorite part of the concert. There was some occasional banter, but nothing that interesting except her complaint that Dr Pepper never thanked her for promoting them as she took a break to drink some. What really got the audience up on their feet was her performance of “If I Could Turn Back Time”. That was followed by my all-time favorite Cher song “Believe” which was the soundtrack of my last months in college and first months on my own. She closed with “I Hope You Find It” one of the songs off her new album while being transported above the audience in some sort of canopy covered with little lights, a fitting end to what was a fun experience. 2 weeks ago


DanT1999 2 weeks ago


DanT1999Monday 7/7, Tuesday 7/8, Wednesday 7/9 & Thursday 7/10

Thursday, July 10

1) I and one of my staff members were shocked to see one of the senior managers wearing an unusually flashy shirt…

2) Birding at the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve after work… Today was the first day I had seen an osprey there in over a month…

3) Watching episode 113 of the Korean drama “Shining Romance”... Less than 10 episode left to go…

Wednesday, July 9

1) Some coworkers pointed out to me while walking to lunch today that my average walking pace is a lot faster than average…

2) Lunch with the Chief Actuary at Kate Mantilini with some colleagues… The food was so-so; I think I just ordered the wrong thing…

3) While birding at the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve after work today, I photographed an unusual looking bird with a long tail that was black with a large blue beak, long tail and yellow and white wing patches. I figured that it was an exotic species, perhaps an escaped or released pet. It was eating grass seeds and seemed tame. After a bit of research, I determined that the bird was a white-winged widowbird, a bird that is native to Africa. In eBird, users are requested to report all birds seen in the wild, even the exotics (even though those observations are invalidated), so white-winged widowbird was species #300 on the list of birds I have seen in Los Angeles County in 2014…

Tuesday, July 8

1) When explaining that I went to a Cher concert last night, I admitted to some coworkers that “Believe” by Cher was one of my favorite songs which seemed to result in some surprised reaction…

2) Talking with a Korean-speaking coworker about some of the Korean expressions I had picked up from watching the Korean dramas…

3) Watching episode 111 of the Korean drama “Shining Romance”...

Monday, July 7

1) Light summertime traffic during the morning commute…

2) A shorter than normal staff meeting this morning…

3) Going to the Staples Center in downtown LA tonight to see Cyndi Lauper and Cher in concert It was the first time I had been to a concert in four years… I think I should go to concerts more often…

See the collage of photos I took while birding during these days… 2 weeks ago


DanT1999Thursday 7/3, Friday 7/4, Saturday 7/5 & Sunday 7/6

Sunday, July 6

1) Running this morning despite not getting enough sleep last night… It was already hot at 7 AM…

2) I went to Colorado Lagoon in Long Beach this afternoon to see an eastern kingbird that some birders had found there this morning. Luckily, I easily found the bird when I got to the park as another birder was already looking at it. Eastern kingbird was species #299 on the list of birds I have seen in Los Angeles County in 2014…

3) Watching the Miley Cyrus concert special that aired on TV tonight… I don’t think her singing is all that great, but I view her whole act as performance art…

Today was my 7 year anniversary on 43Things… Too bad it’s highly likely to be my last…

Saturday, July 5

1) All the lack of sleep last week had finally taken its toll on me as I could literally not get out of bed all morning…

2) Recycling this afternoon…

3) Fresh guacamole to snack on…

Friday, July 4

1) A drive up the Pacific Coast Highway through Malibu with Andrew on my day off today… The beaches were so crowded for the holiday that we didn’t even stop anywhere…

2) Our drive ended in Oxnard where we had fish tacos for lunch…

3) Staying in tonight and relaxing instead of going out…

Thursday, July 3

1) Talking in the office about how people often “covertly take the day off” (i.e., do as little as possible while in the office) just before or after a holiday… I would never do that of course…

2) It seems I had found a solution to a data problem that had been plaguing me all week…

3) Birding and (mostly) people-watching at Malibu Lagoon after work (see the collage of photos I took)... 2 weeks ago


DanT1999Tuesday 7/1 & Wednesday 7/2

Wednesday, July 2

1) During a quick stop birding at Lake Balboa this morning before work, I saw a white-faced ibis which is not too common at this location this time of year…

2) Once again birding at the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve after work…

3) Watching episode 105 of the Korean drama “Shining Romance”...

Tuesday, July 1

1) Remembering to pay all my bills on time…

2) Birding at the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve after work… I ran into Chris. I showed him where to find the newly arrived Wilson’s phalaropes in the river (see the photo I took) and he showed my the spot where the owls had moved to…

3) Watching episode 104 of the Korean drama “Shining Romance”...

Happy July, by the way… 2 weeks ago


DanT199948:04

I ran in the Summer Splendor 10K by A Better World Running (formerly Rocket Racing Productions) on the boardwalk near the beach in Santa Monica, California on the morning of June 29, 2014. Like all of the runs that the event organizers Mark and Michele put on, this was an informal event (like a “fun run that is timed” as their website promotes it) on an open course with no more than 100 or so participants racing a few distances including, in addition to the 15K that I ran, a 5K a 10K, a half-marathon and a marathon. Again, I continue to highly recommend doing a A Better World Running run if you are anywhere near the LA area because they are casual and low cost without the hoopla surrounding more organized events, and everyone involved is friendly and supportive.

On race morning it was overcast but warm and muggy and I wasn’t feeling like I was in my best shape. Even despite that, I had a good time during the run and felt inspired by the other runners to nevertheless do my best which turned out to be a finish time that was almost 2 minutes short of my personal record. There were a couple of women that were running neck and neck with me during the entire race but I pulled ahead with about a half mile to go. I ended up peaking too soon as they each pulled ahead of me at about the quarter mile mark. We gave each other five fives at the end.

Here’s how I did:

Overall: 9 out of 40
Men: 6 out of 18
Finish: 48:04 (hours:minutes:seconds)
Pace: 7:44 (minutes:seconds per mile) 2 weeks ago


DanT1999Saturday 6/28, Sunday 6/29 & Monday 6/30

Monday, June 30

1) Talking with some coworkers about what our earliest memories were… Mine was when I was less than 4 years old of a family gathering in the backyard for my mom’s 19th birthday (she was 15 when I was born)...

2) I saw this joke… Employer: “In this job we need someone who is responsible.” Applicant: “I’m the one you need. In my last job, every time anything went wrong, they said I was responsible.”

3) Birding at the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve after work… It’s hard to believe that even though summer has officially just begun, some birds are already beginning their “fall” migration back down south. I saw my first least sandpipers of the fall migration season today…

Sunday, June 29

1) I ran a 10K is Santa Monica this morning which was fun though I didn’t finish with a great time…

2) Sleeping and not doing much this afternoon since I was so burnt out after the 10K… I seem to have gotten out of shape…

3) Watching another couple of episodes of season 6 of “True Blood” this evening…

Saturday, June 28

1) I went to Santa Paula this morning to look for the scissor-tailed flycatcher that had been reported nesting in a city park there with a western kingbird. I easily found the bird because the park was small and there were already a few other birders looking at the bird when I got there. I got some decent photos (see the attached photo which I took). Unfortunately, Santa Paula is in Ventura County so I couldn’t count the scissor-tailed flycatcher on my year list which is for Los Angeles County…

2) On the drive back up to LA on Hwy 126 I stopped at the Fillmore Fish Hatchery and bought some pellets to feed the trout. I find watching fish oddly relaxing…

3) Japanese spaghetti for dinner with Andrew at the Spoon House in Gardena… 2 weeks ago


DanT1999Tuesday 6/24, Wednesday 6/25, Thursday 6/26 & Friday 6/27

Friday, June 27

1) Running this morning… It already felt hot at 6 AM…

2) A weekly staff meeting normally held late in the afternoon was moved to an earlier time. I was happy because it’s never fun having to work late on a Friday…

3) Birdwatching and people watching at Malibu Lagoon after work (see the collage of photos I took)...

Thursday, June 26

1) A quick birding stop at the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve on my way to work… I ran into Kate and Mike, a couple of the regular birders/photographers I regularly encounter. Kate told me that Benny, another one of our birding buddies, was in the Northeast banding birds for the summer. Anyway, the highlight of the morning was watching one of the owlets catch and eat a beetle…

2) Indian buffet for lunch at Royal Delhi Palace in Canoga Park to celebrate a colleague’s birthday…

3) Going home and vegging out after work… My sleep hasn’t been that good this week…

Wednesday, June 25

1) Running this morning…

2) Wasting time with a bunch of colleagues this afternoon playing a game in the office to shoot down pins with a Nerf gun. It did horribly, but it was fun. The game helped to lighten the mood and build a sense of camaraderie so in that sense it wasn’t completely a waste of time…

3) Watching episode 100 of the Korean drama “Shining Romance”...

Tuesday, June 24

1) A quick birding stop at Lake Balboa before going to work… It was rather uneventful except for a rather skittish American avocet on the shore of the lake. In five years this was only the second time I have seen an American avocet at this location…

2) I had dinner after work at Melody’s Mexican Kitchen in Reseda. In a tree near the parking lot of the restaurant there were at least a couple of dozen very noisy yellow-chevroned parakeets…

3) Watching another couple of episodes of season 6 of “True Blood” this evening… 4 weeks ago


DanT1999Saturday 6/21, Sunday 6/22 & Monday 6/23

Monday, June 23

1) Making it to the Monday morning staff meeting with plenty of time to spare… I love summer light traffic…

2) Birding at the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve today after work… I didn’t see anything noteworthy. I ran into Chris and a couple of the other regular birders/photographers and shared news about our recent local sightings…

3) Watching episode 98 of the Korean drama “Shining Romance”...

Sunday, June 22

1) Running this morning… In the ditch between the road and the golf course (some people call it a “creek” but I think that’s a stretch) I saw a male orange bishop in its beautiful breeding plumage. Orange bishop was species #298 on the list of birds I have seen in Los Angeles County in 2014…

2) While driving around today I was listening to the countdown of the top songs for this week in 1983 on the eighties channel on Sirius XM. I was in kindergarten and first grade in 1983. Anyway, I think that 1983 was a decent year for music. The number one song was “Let’s Dance” by David Bowie…

3) We found that season 6 of “True Blood” was finally out on DVD. Andrew bought it, and we watched the first couple of episodes tonight…

Saturday, June 21

1) I went birding in the San Gabriel Mountains this morning (see the collage of photos I took)... I made stops at Lily Spring and Cortelyou Spring along the Angeles Crest Highway and then hiked up to Little Jimmy Springs. I didn’t see anything new to add to my list but some interesting sightings included MacGillivray’s warbler and Wilson’s warbler, and I got some nice, close-up shots of a white-headed woodpecker… My leg brushed against some turricula parryi (“poodle-dog bush”, known to cause blisters more painful than poison oak) but fortunately my exposure wasn’t enough to cause rash…

2) Dinner with Andrew at Adrian’s Trattoria in Reseda…

3) I was happy for the first official day of summer, my favorite season, and the longest day of the year today though it was a shame I was too tired to do anything to celebrate it… I just went to bed early… 4 weeks ago


DanT1999That's right...

You should let me know when you’re in San Diego again and Andrew and I could join you. :) 4 weeks ago


DanT1999I did...

after first making sure she wasn’t instead waving at someone next to me just in case it really was someone I knew… :) 4 weeks ago


DanT1999Tuesday 6/17, Wednesday 6/18, Thursday 6/19 & Friday 6/20

Friday, June 20

1) Having lunch spontaneously with the Chief Actuary and one of my staff members…

2) Birding and people watching after work at Malibu Lagoon (see the collage of photos I took)... There weren’t so many birds as can be expected this time of year…

3) Watching episode 97 of the Korean drama “Shining Romance”...

Thursday, June 19

1) A conversation with one of my staff members about how he doesn’t look forward to turning 30 this summer…

2) I’m still having a hard time getting enough sleep this week so it was nice to go home and zone out for a while after work…

3) Watching episode 96 of the Korean drama “Shining Romance”...

Wednesday, June 18

1) I got complimented on a new shirt I wore today…

2) Having lunch with my two staff members at Chipotle this afternoon…

3) Fresh strawberries for dessert…

Tuesday, June 17

1) Running this morning…

2) The cashier in Walgreen’s saying “Be well” when giving me my change…

3) Having a discussion with a coworker about whether or not zero raised to the zero power was in fact equal to one… 1 month ago


DanT1999Saturday 6/14, Sunday 6/15 & Monday 6/16

Monday, June 16

1) My boss said in a staff meeting that you become outstanding by building your strengths not by over-emphasizing improvement on your weaknesses… I hadn’t thought of it that way before as my previous boss had said that working on weaknesses should be a priority…

2) Birding at the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve after work… I noticed a least bittern hiding in the vegetation at the edge of the lake and spent a lot of time waiting for it to pop out so I could photograph it well and had some limited success…

3) Watching episode 93 of the Korean drama “Shining Romance”...

Sunday, June 15

1) I ran the Manhattan Beach 5K this morning…

2) I was sad to hear of the passing of Casey Kasem today whom I had recently rediscovered listening to repeats of his Top 40 countdowns from the 1970’s on the 70’s channel on SiriusXM. Anyway, his trademark catch phrase always brought a smile to my face: “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars”...

3) I was listening to the countdown of the top songs of this week in 1989 on SiriusXM… I think the music of 1989 was crappy (the number one song was “Wind Beneath My Wings” by Bette Midler). Listening to these countdowns from various years in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s as I have the past few months it’s interesting to contemplate how radically musical tastes change in just a few years…

Saturday, June 14

1) Hiking and birding in the San Gabriel Mountains this morning on the Throop Peak trail (see the collage of photos I took)... In the parking area as I was getting into my car ready to leave, I encountered a 76 year old Korean man who asked directions for the hike to Mount Baden-Powell, quite a hike even for a younger person. I drew it out for him, and he thanked me and took his picture with me… I hope that if I make it to that age I will be in such good shape…

2) I went to an engagement party with Andrew for his friend Kenna and her fiance Carson at a house next to Dodger Stadium… We didn’t really know many other people there but ended up chatting with one of the members of the band Semi Precious Weapons and his girlfriend who were acquainted with the couple. We hadn’t heard of that band before but found there music online after the party. They have an interesting sound, like Lady Gaga…

3) I bought new sheets for my bed at Bed Bath & Beyond… 1 month ago


DanT199923:49

I ran in the Manhattan Beach 5K on Sunday morning June 15, 2014 which was also Father’s Day (see the photo of my bib number). I don’t have much interesting to say about it other than that I have participated in this event a few times before and especially like it because it is the only race locally that I know of that takes place on the sand and I could run it barefoot. I fell well short of my personal best for a 5K but thought I did okay considering I have not been in top shape and woke up race morning feeling a bit “out of it”. It was overcast and not too warm and I felt energized being at the event. Here’s how I did:

Overall: 28 out of 207
Men: 26 out of 124
M 35-39: 6 out of 19
Finish: 23:49 (minutes:seconds)
Pace: 7:39 (minutes:seconds per mile) 1 month ago


DanT1999Tuesday 6/10, Wednesday 6/11, Thursday 6/12 & Friday 6/13

Friday, June 13

1) My staff member put on a good presentation that I think reaffirmed the direction I set for the major project we’re working on now…

2) We had a department lunch at Kashcool Kitchen, a Persian restaurant in Woodland Hills… I had fesenjen, which is pomegranate stew…

3) Birding at the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve after work (see the collage of photos I took)... The highlight was seeing a pair of white-faced ibises in breeding plumage…

Thursday, June 12

1) Running this morning…

2) I worked late with a staff member tonight which was not so fun, but I think we are in good shape for tomorrow’s presentation…

3) Watching episode 91 of the Korean drama “Shining Romance”...

Wednesday, June 11

1) Reading political blogs in the aftermath of Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s surprise election defeat last night…

2) I took advantage of some Father’s Day sales at the mall and bought myself some new stuff…

3) Watching episode 90 of the Korean drama “Shining Romance”...

Tuesday, June 10

1) Running this morning despite not sleeping well last night… I have a retainer that I haven’t been wearing regularly and wore it last night for the first time in a while so it kind of hurt and kept me awake but still had to run because I feel myself getting out of shape…

2) Birding at the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve after work… The birding was kind of slow… I met up with Chris and some others to watch the owlet but didn’t stay long enough to watch it hunt…

3) Watching episode 89 of the Korean drama “Shining Romance”... 1 month ago


DanT1999Friday 6/6, Saturday 6/7, Sunday 6/8 & Monday 6/9

Monday, June 9

1) For the first time in a week I felt well-rested when I woke up…

2) I got an e-mail from my friend Martin in Germany whom I had not heard from in a while… I take too long to respond to his e-mails and feel guilty about it, but I enjoy his e-mails nonetheless…

3) Birding at Malibu Lagoon (see the collage of photos I took) where it was cool and overcast and then at King Gillette Ranch where it was still quite warm. It’s amazing how locations just a few miles apart can vary in temperature by some 30 degrees (Fahrenheit) or so…

Sunday, June 8

1) I spent all morning in bed; all the lack of sleep the past couple of weeks must have caught up with me…

2) When I got my energy back, I spent most of the afternoon doing more spring cleaning…

3) Korean pancakes for dinner with Andrew at the Chunju Han-il Kwan restaurant in Koreatown and then black sesame flavored shaved ice for dessert at nearby Snow LA…

Saturday, June 7

1) I went whale watching on a Marina del Rey Sportfishing boat this morning… It was overcast during most of the almost three hour trip and no whales were to be seen though there were lots of dolphins… As for birds, I added sooty shearwater (species #295) and pink-footed shearwater (species #296) to the list of birds I have seen in Los Angeles County in 2014…

2) I got confirmation from some other birders that a bird I had photographed poorly at Malibu Lagoon on May 12 and had a hard time discerning was a long-billed curlew. I am counting long-billed curlew as species #297 on my county year list…

3) Going to bed relatively early tonight…

Friday, June 6

1) I got what I wanted out of a somewhat contentious meeting, but now the pressure is on me and my team to prove that my approach will work…

2) Dinner at California Pita in Sherman Oaks where I go just for the jalapeno and olive oil dipping sauce…

3) My mother would have been 52 today so I took a few moments to recall some fond memories of her… 1 month ago


DanT1999Monday 6/2, Tuesday 6/3, Wednesday 6/4 & Thursday 6/5

Thursday, June 5

1) Running this morning despite feeling tired, but it was the first morning that I didn’t feel too tired…

2) I left work on time today (i.e., not late) and went straight home to rest being so tired…

3) Watching episode 86 of the Korean drama “Shining Romance”...

Wednesday, June 4

1) I didn’t feel as tired as yesterday though I still didn’t have an adequate amount of sleep last night…

2) A quick birding stop at the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve before work…

3) Watching episode 85 of the Korean drama “Shining Romance”...

Tuesday, June 3

1) I got so little sleep last night, but that still didn’t detract from the experience of voting in the primary election this morning… I didn’t feel very strongly about any of the candidate but with turnout expected to be so low like under 20% I figured that my vote could have more influence…

2) I presented something to my boss today and he seemed to like my work…

3) Birding at Lake Balboa after work this afternoon… The highlight was hearing a yellow-breasted chat singing, making whistling and various other interesting sounds…

Monday, June 2

1) A busy day today… I did a training session in the morning and then ran a meeting in the afternoon that I thought went reasonably well…

2) Birding at the Golden Valley Ranch Open Space preserve (see the collage of photos I took) where a grasshopper sparrow had been reported. I couldn’t find the sparrow. I ran into Brittany who also couldn’t find the sparrow. The hike was nice nonetheless…

3) Watching episode 83 of the Korean drama “Shining Romance”... 1 month ago


DanT1999 #198 - Violet-green Swallow

(_Tachycineta thalassina _) I shot this photo in the morning on May 31, 2014 in the Angeles National Forest near the Grassy Hollow Visitor Center in the San Gabriel Mountains of Southern California. This is a male who seemed to be guarding a couple of females as they gathered twigs for nest material. Over the past few years I have had a difficult time trying to capture a photo of violet-green swallows in flight as they seem, at least to me, to fly faster than other swallows. I guess a photo of one perched will have to do for now.

From my own experience, violet-green swallows are widespread spring visitors throughout Southern California and are summer breeding residents at the highest elevations in the local mountains. They seem harder to find during fall migration. According to allaboutbirds.org, violet-green swallows breed in woodlands up through Alaska and winter in Mexico and Central America. 1 month ago


DanT1999Friday 5/30, Saturday 5/31 & Sunday 6/1

Sunday, June 1

1) Running this morning…

2) Sleeping most of the afternoon…

3) Dinner with Andrew in Koreatown at the Chunju Han-il Kwan restaurant where we had Korean pancakes…

Happy June, by the way…

Saturday, May 31

1) Birding this morning in the San Gabriel Mountains around the Grassy Hollow Visitor Center (see the collage of photos I took)... I added dusky flycatcher (species #294) to the list of birds I have seen in Los Angeles County in 2014…

2) I went to the outlet stores in Camarillo with Andrew in the late afternoon… I bought two near pairs of shoes, one for work and one for walking, and a wrinkle-free shirt for work…

3) We had dinner at the Lure Fish House restaurant nearby. It was a little bit pricey, but it was good. We had arctic char and charbroiled oysters…

Friday, May 30

1) Only working half day today…

2) I took the afternoon off to look for a rare Cassin’s sparrow that had been seen for a few days in the Antelope Valley. I think I was two days too late as I couldn’t find the bird or much birds of any sort in that hot, desolate location, but I had to check anyway…

3) Watching episode 82 of the Korean drama “Shining Romance”... 1 month ago


DanT1999Tuesday 5/27, Wednesday 5/28 & Thursday 5/29

Thursday, May 29

1) Some vindication that a data issue I discovered is now being taken seriously by the Accounting department…

2) Discussion about the drawbacks of getting older with a coworker…

3) Watching episode 81 of the Korean drama “Shining Romance”...

Wednesday, May 28

1) I once again heard a Say’s phoebe singing outside my apartment window earlier this morning…

2) Someone waved at me seemingly excited to see me but I had no idea who it was… Probably a case of mistaken identity…

3) Birding at the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve after work…

Tuesday, May 27

1) Managing to stay awake during a long meeting at work… A few interesting points were brought up, but it was just run inefficiently…

2) Birding at Malibu Lagoon after work where it was cool and windy and then at King Gillette Ranch (see the collage of photos I took) where it was much warmer…

3) Watching episode 79 of the Korean drama “Shining Romance”... 1 month ago


DanT1999#197 - Red-breasted Merganser

(_Mergus serrator _) I shot this photo on the overcast morning of May 25, 2014 at the mouth of the San Diego River in San Diego, California. This bird is a male in breeding beautiful breeding plumage. Most red-breasted mergansers should have gone north by this time of year, so it was a treat to see one on this day and to be able to approach it so closely. Also, for some reason most red-breasted mergansers I encounter tend to be female which have less striking plumage so that this bird was male was an added bonus.

According to wikipedia, North America, the red-breasted merganser breeds in Alaska and Canada and winters south along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. It is also found in Asia and Europe. In a brief search, for some reason it was difficult finding many detailed facts about this bird. 1 month ago


DanT1999 #196 - Common Loon

(Gavia immer) I shot this photo on the overcast morning of May 24, 2014 at the mouth of Ballona Creek in Playa del Rey, California. It is rare that I get to see a common loon in its beautiful breeding plumage. They are usually winter visitors to California and have drab, gray plumage when they are here. I believe this particular bird may have been oiled which likely prevented it from migrating north a few weeks earlier when loons were migrating through the area.

According to allaboutbirds.org, the common loon is a “classic bird of North Wood lakes” where their eerie calls can be heard. They breed on large, clear, unpolluted lakes in Alaska, Canada and parts of the northern United States and winter in the ocean close to shore along both coasts and occasionally in large, deep inland lakes. They are expert swimmers and fishers. If you have been to Canada, you are aware that they are also famous for being on the Canadian dollar coin which is referred to as a “loonie”. 1 month ago


DanT1999Saturday 5/24, Sunday 5/25 & Monday 5/26

Monday, May 26

1) Running at Black’s Beach this morning…

2) Breakfast once again at the Bread & Cie before heading back to LA… I was sleeping while Andrew drove back…

3) Back at home it was too hot to do anything outside so I stayed in and did some spring cleaning…

Sunday, May 25

1) Eating at a couple other of our favorite places in San Diego, the Bread & Cie for breakfast and Spicy City the Chinese restaurant for lunch with lots leftover for dinner…

2) Birding at a couple of locations… This morning while Andrew was still in bed I was at the San Diego River estuary (see the collage of photos I took). Later in the afternoon while Andrew rested in our hotel room I went for a hike at Mission Trails Regional Park near Santee…

3) Our second night was spent at the Residence Inn in La Jolla where we stayed in and watched “The Normal Heart” in HBO. It was not bad, just a little bit cliche and not original; maybe I have already seen too many AIDS-themed movies…

Saturday, May 24

1) Birding at the breakwater in Playa del Rey this morning where there was a common loon in the channel in beautiful breeding plumage. Also, I saw a pair of least terns. Least tern was species #293 on the list of birds I have seen in Los Angeles County in 2014…

2) Driving four hours in heavy traffic to San Diego with Andrew where we were going to spend the weekend… I ended up in National City going toward Tijuana without even realizing it; I think I must have been “sleep driving”. Fortunately we finally made it safely to the hostel in Point Loma where we were staying our first night…

3) Dinner at our favorite restaurant in San Diego, the Pomegranate Russian-Georgia Restaurant… 1 month ago


DanT1999Tuesday 5/20, Wednesday 5/21, Thursday 5/22 & Friday 5/23

Friday, May 23

1) My boss seemed to share my perspective on the direction I want to take one of my projects…

2) Dinner at California Pita in Sherman Oaks where I really go just for the jalapeno and olive oil dip…

3) Falling asleep earlier than the previous few nights this week though still not early enough…

Thursday, May 22

1) Birding at the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve and Lake Balboa during my morning off… Its been kind of dead since spring migration has more or less ended…

2) I went to the dermatologist so he could remove more tissue surrounding the area where he had removed a mole a couple of weeks ago since the mole was found to be “abnormal” though fortunately not melanoma. I was happy to take this extra precaution to ensure no bad cells were left behind…

3) An afternoon nap…

Wednesday, May 21

1) Birding at the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve after work late this afternoon… I thought I had seen a willow flycatcher, but after close examination of my photos I realized it was a western wood-pewee. I had been hoping for willow flycatcher since I hadn’t seen one at that location before, but oh well…

2) Thai food for dinner at the restaurant across the street from my apartment… The owner is still trying to get me to order something other than Singapore noodles…

3) Watching episode 76 of the Korean drama “Shining Romance”...

Tuesday, May 20

1) In bed early this morning with the window open I could hear a Say’s phoebe singing outside in the parking lot…

2) I went birding and people watching at Malibu Lagoon after work (see the collage of photos I took) and also stopped at King Gillette Ranch…

3) Watching episode 75 of the Korean drama “Shining Romance”... 1 month ago


DanT1999Monday 5/19

Monday, May 19

1) Spending the morning wandering around San Francisco, stopping at a camera store and the mall, not anything too exciting but relaxed…

2) While waiting in the airport for our flight back to LA this afternoon, I asked Andrew to buy me the latest copy of Rolling Stone magazine. He came back embarrassed because Neil Patrick Harris appeared naked on the cover... That wasn’t why I wanted the magazine, by the way. I wanted it for a political article in that issue, if you can believe that. :)

3) Back at home tonight watching episode 74 of the Korean drama “Shining Romance”...

See the collage of photos I took wandering around San Francisco this morning… 1 month ago


DanT1999Sunday 5/18

Sunday, May 18

1) The craziness of running the Bay to Breakers race across San Francisco…

2) Meeting up this afternoon with Andrew’s San Francisco friends Luke and Hoa at Cafe Flore. Hoa was training to do the AIDS/LifeCycle ride next month from San Francisco to LA and had gone on a 90 mile bike ride yesterday… I was impressed especially because I can’t even go 90 inches on a bike!

3) Dinner at Suppenkuche, a German restaurant, with Andrew and Abe… I feel like I had eaten too much food today and spent too much money, but of course I had a good time…

See the collage of photos I took at Bay to Breakers today… 1 month ago


DanT1999Saturday 5/17

Saturday, May 17

1) Flying Virgin America to San Francisco this morning… They have to most entertaining flight safety videos (link here). I usually don’t pay much attention when the flight attendants do their demonstration, but this video had me the whole time. It should win some kind of award!

2) Arriving in San Francisco, Andrew and I stayed at the Good Hotel (really that’s what it’s called) not far from the Civic Center. It was a much better place than when we stayed in town for Bay to Breakers the last couple of years…

3) Coincidentally, we found out that Andrew’s friend Abe from LA was also in San Francisco for Bay to Breakers so we met up with him and wandered around the city having some beers, shopping at Uniqlo (where I bought a couple of wrinkle-free shirts for work), stopping for dinner in Chinatown at a really crappy restaurant and then having dessert in the Castro at a food truck selling creme brulee…

See the collage of photos I took today… 1 month ago


DanT19991:05:17

I ran the 103rd Bay to Breakers, the 12K race from one end of San Francisco to the other which this year was sponsored by Zozi, on Sunday morning May 18, 2014. This was my third year in a row participating in this event and likely I’ll do it again. I ran the race seriously despite being a bit out of shape and expecting to fall well short of my goal to finish in under an hour. A lot of the people who attend Bay to Breakers are there for the carnival atmosphere which I admit is one of the main reasons why I bother to make the trip from LA to San Francisco to attend it. Many of the runners, even some of the serious ones, dress in costume. There were a lot of interesting costumes this year, as always, with people dressed as anything from superheros to Homer Simpson to chickens to who knows what. Also as expected there were a few runners, like me, wearing nothing at all except running shoes.

Unlike the prior two years I stayed at a relatively decent and quiet hotel this time and actually got a good night’s sleep. It also helped that the race started at 8 instead of 7 this year. I was just thinking that if only I were also in better shape this year than the prior two years I would have a good chance of making my goal time. On the BART subway ride from Civic Center near where I was staying to the Embarcadero where the race was to start, to see the cars filled with grown adults dressed in various sorts of costumes made for a fun atmosphere even as I was dressed as a rather ordinary runner. I made it to the staging area about fifteen minutes before 8. As is tradition, tortillas were flying through the air as was a beach ball. I was in Corral A, behind the subseeded group. I was scanning the crowd for other potential naked runners until finally I met up with a guy named Patrick also wearing a yellow hat, which is what the naked runners traditionally wear. Since we were planning to go the same pace, we agreed to run the race together.

Standing around waiting during the 25 minute delay before the start of the race I was thinking about whether I was really going to “do this” but also knew that if I didn’t do it I would regret it. Three minutes before the start of the race when the elite runners were off we had our cue to strip. A couple of older ladies who were nearby asked to take a picture with us and said they were glad to see people with the courage to do this and wished us well. And then we were off. After the initial one second I really had no self-consciousness about not wearing clothes. Reaction was interesting. There was only a small number of negative comments like “put your clothes on” or “it really must be cold today” or stuff along those lines, but far outnumbering those were smiles, giggles, thumbs up or cheers. Some runners seemed specifically motivated to not be beaten by naked guys and they went faster. Mostly, at least from the perspective of a “serious” runner trying to finish with a good time, it was just like an ordinary race and the vast majority of people seemed indifferent which was cool and how I think people should view nudity. This would only be possible in San Francisco I guess. Regarding the race itself, Hayes Hill was a struggle as I hadn’t done much hill training at all this year. Overall, I felt like I was going faster than I actually was and was surprised to finish over five minutes slower than I had hoped. We put our shorts back on right after crossing the finish line and went back to being ordinary and inconspicuous.

Here’s how I did this year:

Overall: 2,587 out of 28,253
Men: 2,068 out of 12,966
M 35-39: 287 out of 1,616
Finish: 1:05:17 (hours:minutes:seconds)
Pace: 8:45 (minutes:seconds per mile) 1 month ago


DanT1999Tuesday 5/13, Wednesday 5/14, Thursday 5/15 & Friday 5/16

Friday, May 16

1) Only working half day today…

2) Spending the afternoon birding at Apollo Park in Lancaster…

3) Dinner at the Pita Kitchen in Sherman Oaks where they make the best falafel although I I didn’t have falafel today…

Thursday, May 15

1) A quick birding stop at Lake Balboa before work…

2) Work was humdrum today so the next happy thing was birding at the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve after work. The hermit warbler and a pair of Townsend’s warblers were still there…

3) Watching the season finale of “Grey’s Anatomy”... I was happy that no one was killed off this time and that Christina got her happy ending…

Wednesday, May 14

1) I was the only person who showed up at a defect prioritization meeting with the IT department which was good since that meant that my issues got top priority…

2) Birding at Malibu Lagoon after work… It was so hot today and there were more people than birds (see the collage of photos I took)...

3) Watching episode 72 of the Korean drama “Shining Romance”...

Tuesday, May 13

1) Running this morning…

2) A quick birding stop at Lake Balboa before work… It was cool to see about half a dozen Bullock’s oriole mobbing a raven and chasing it away. Usually I see ravens mobbing hawks and owls so it was good to see one get a taste of its own medicine. Also, I saw a willow flycatcher which was species #292 on the list of birds I have seen in Los Angeles County in 2014…

3) We had a welcome/farewell lunch for a couple of colleagues today at the Cheesecake Factory… 2 months ago


DanT1999Friday 5/9, Saturday 5/10, Sunday 5/11 & Monday 5/12

Monday, May 12

1) I conducted a training session today that I thought went well…

2) Birdwatching and people-watching at Malibu Lagoon after work (see the collage of photos I took)...

3) Watching episode 70 of the Korean drama “Shining Romance”...

Sunday, May 11

1) Running this morning…

2) Lunch at Follow Your Heart in Canoga Park…

3) I spent some time this evening printing out more of my best bird photos…

Saturday, May 10

1) Birding in the Antelope Valley this morning where it was very windy but the wind seemed to keep some birds grounded. At Apollo Park in Lancaster there was a plethora of Hammond’s flycatchers and I also found a green-tailed towhee which was species #290 on the list of birds I have seen in Los Angeles County in 2014. At the nearby Lancaster sewage ponds I added red-necked phalarope as species #291 to my list…

2) While driving around I listed to the Casey Kasem countdown for this week in 1976 on the 70’s on 7 channel on Sirius XM. I think 1976 was another good year for music. Number one was “Welcome Back” by John Sebastian but my favorite was number five which was Silly Love Songs Wings…

3) Lunch with Andrew at California Pita in Sherman Oaks…

Friday, May 9

1) It was kind of a light day at work today with some celebration regarding our good first quarter performance…

2) An executive said to say “Super Fantastic!” when asked how you are doing since you can’t say that without smiling…

3) Birding at the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve after work where even at this late date there was a nice variety of warblers… 2 months ago


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