Monday, April 21, 2014

Post #50 - Getting to know me

When I first started to blog, all I wanted to do was share a couple of thoughts here and there about using vintage glass on my camera.  I have a ton of manual glass that is begging to be reviewed from my Voigtlander 40mm to my wide array of Olympus OM glass. Little did I know that this blog would turn into something extremely different. It became my soap box, my place to document my journey as a student of photography, to review gear that I love and loathe and an even artistic outlet.  Whether or not anyone reads this (and I appreciate those who do), it has definitely shaped me and I appreciate all who've been along for the ride. I have no idea if anyone has followed me from the beginning, but I dedicate this 50th post to YOU (even if you are a first time reader). 

A special gift given to me by my future father-in-law
I know this is a strange concept, but I figured I would take this opportunity to let you guys know a little bit about who I am. I've found celebrities, musicians, artists or any famous individual more interesting and relate-able when I discovered the little things that make them tick. So here are 13 random things about me that hopefully make me more interesting to you =)

Just me - taken by my incredible fiancee

1. I was born in the Philippines and moved to the United States when I was less than a year old.  My parents immigrated to California in response to the country's state of affairs under President Marcos' tenure as president and I am forever grateful for their decision.

2. I love the Los Angeles Lakers.  I am a die-hard fan and will continue to support the team despite their god-awful record this year. 

3. I am a huge RPG nerd.  The Final Fantasy series will always be my favorite games to play.  I first got hooked playing the Super Nintendo Version of Final Fantasy 2 (FF IV in Japan), but believe Final Fantasy 3 was the greatest ever made (FFVI in Japan). The opera scene will forever have a special place in my chubby little 10 year old heart. To this day, I still listen to orchestral covers of the soundtrack.
My favorite game of all time 

4.  For a short period of time in my collegiate years I had a strong passion for dance.  I joined a dance crew, Inner Soul Xpression or IS'X for short.  It was short lived, but extremely fun.

5. I am an avid runner.  I've run several half marathons and one full marathon in the last 3 years.  I love the feeling of conquering long distances, but I don't ever feel the need to run 26 continuous miles again =). After reading the book, Born to Run, and realizing that I no longer comfortably fit in Nike shoes (I don't I ever did), I have replaced all of my shoes with minimalist, zero-drop shoes.  

6. I broke my leg playing dodgeball.  Out of all the sports to really hurt me, it had to be a game I used to play in grade school. I broke 3 bones, dislocated my foot and crushed the cartilage upon successfully jumping over a ball (laterally).  I now have over 10 titanium pins in my leg as a keepsake of my time joining a league.

7.  The saying "So say we all" is a reference to Battlestar Galactica, one of my favorite TV shows. I was a late bloomer and watched the series on Netflix long after it's final episode. It spoke to me on so many levels and I first heard Edward James Olmos (as Commander Adama) say these words during a powerful scene in season one.  I decided to end most of my blog posts with this saying as an obscure nod to my "nerdiness". 

8.  Despite what many people think, I am a Disney fan more for their business practices rather than their characters or movies. The amount of attention they put into customer service sets them apart from other businesses and theme parks, especially in Southern California. I always strive to offer Disney level CS whenever I can as I know my clients appreciate it and will go a long way in a service-oriented industry like photography.

One of my favorite shots from California Adventure

9. Tom Hanks can do no wrong.  I feel every movie he has ever touched is gold, including Saving Private Ryan and You've Got Mail ;).  

10. I have strange obsession for doughnuts.  You can say it's my kryptonite. I go out of my way to find decent doughnuts. In fact, my fiancee and I both agreed that we will have a doughnut display for our wedding. If you are in California, you are in luck because there are a ton of high quality shops to choose from.  Among my top three are the following:
  • The Donuttery out in Huntington Beach: they are known for their delicious cake doughnuts.  I personally recommend their Strawberry and Blueberry flavored varieties
  • Donut Friend out in Eagle Rock: this shop is located in the up and coming parts of Eagle Rock (has a Bohemian or hipster feel to it). Think of it as a the Cold Stone of Doughnuts where you can add as many or as little ingredients as you want.  The strangest thing I saw was Sriracha sauce drizzled over a glazed doughnut. I personally recommend the glazed doughnut filled with Nutella and sprinkled with sea salt.  Soooo good.
  • Randy's Donut: This place is where you will find the best glazed doughnut in Southern California (in my opinion of course). It is soft, moist and the glaze topping is perfect (not too rich or too sweet, but just right). You can always judge a doughnut shop by how good it's most basic doughnut is, as it is the base for most of its offerings and they've got the classic raised doughnut down to a science. I highly recommend taking a trip to this iconic shop out in Inglewood.  You've probably seen the storefront in the move Iron Man 2. 
One of those days I regret not bringing my camera - Donut Friend's Nutella doughnut
11. I love podcasts. I listen to podcasts when I get ready in the morning, when I am at work, while I shower at home, while I do the dishes, etc.  The following are a couple of my favorite non-photography related podcasts:

The amazing Burt Scott from We're Alive
  •  We're Alive - This is the best of the best.  It's a serialized audio drama about a story of survival. I am sad it's on its last season, but glad to see a story end on a high. If you like zombies, a compelling and dynamic story-line with fantastic voice acting and sound effects, this is a must listen. Plus it's free.
  • Laser Time - These guys originally started as a videogame podcast, but transitioned to an awesome nerd pop-culture show that covers topics that I generally can relate to.  As a child of the 90s, I fondly remember some of the things they discuss from TGIF shows to the old campy movies of my generation. The hosts definitely tug on my nostalgic heart strings and I look forward to their weekly shows.
12. Captain America has always and will forever be my favorite super hero.  Not until he became a mainstream hit in the box offices did he become a household hero.  However, I've always seen him as the underdog, who clearly is not as powerful as Thor, the Hulk or even Spiderman (yes, he is an Avenger), but he commanded the respect of his peers because of his intelligence and leadership skills. I've always cheered for the "underdog" and love his particular character archetype.  Even in videogames, I choose to be characters that share qualities of the Cap. Plus he is a complete bad ass with his shield. 

Well....not really the Avengers
13. I think Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye the Science Guy are some of the most interesting people today.  They would fall in my top 10 celebrities I would like to meet. Not only are they extremely intelligent (learning from them would be an added perk), I feel they would be cool people to hang out with.

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