I’m digging this hyper realtime alternative to timelapsing. My third and fourth rides of 2015 — the morning commute to work of approximately 8.5 miles and the dusk-to-dark ride home of 10.6 miles– seen at approximately ten times normal speed.

Agggh, my tiring old GoPro. It’s got a mind of its own. Instead of timelapsing my January 2, 2015, bike commute home it video’d it in real time. But rather than find away to bore everyone entirely to death with an upload of the entire uneventful 54-minute journey across town, I found a way to show you something a little different by speeding the clip up ten times faster from start to finish — a true hyperlapse. It still might bore you to tears, but at 5:45 in length, at least it will do so in a tenth of the time the original would.

Be it hereby resolved I will ride 2,015 miles in 2015 and it began with this standard south-and-west bike commute of 8.43 miles primarily on Hoover Street and Jefferson Boulevard from home to work.

Oh no: not that Tara. I’m talking about the famed fictional plantation manse from a little film back in the day whose name coincidentally rhymes with the last name of the film’s central character — O’Hara, as in Scarlett. As in “Gone With The Wind,” or GWTW, if you will.
 Yeah, that Tara.

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Let me back up. I ravenously follow the Photos of Los Angeles group on Facebook, gobbling up its never-ending parade of pictures of L.A.’s distant and not-so-distant past. A few days ago this photo (at right, click to enlargify), was posted of a still from an episode of the 1950s TV series “SupermClark! Behind You!an,” showing its star, George Reeves (who coincidentally had a part in GWTW) in full Clark Kent mode, on a hill back-dropped by a broad swath of our smog-inundated city. The poster, Sally Deupree, asked, “Culver City. Recognize the building in the lower left with four columns?”

I immediately recognized it as Tara, which meant Reeves was standing hat in hand on what is now a section of the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook State Park — which meant beyond him was Jefferson Boulevard, then the Ballona Creek channel and then the old Pathe Studio backlot, where so many of the exterior scenes of GWTW were realized.

In an attempt to get a past/present frame of reference (I last did that with the location of Wrigley Field’s homeplate in South Los Angeles), I went on a googlehunt for a layout of the old studio, and hit gold at the 40 Acres website with this 1940 map (click to enlargify) pinpointing the various GWTW sets on the Pathe Studio backlot, with Tara’s position indicated there on the left.

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Then, of course, for a present-day juxtaposition I google-mapped the location (click to enlargify):
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Which means basically that at the deadend of Hayden Place south of Higuera Street, somewhere around the current location of Woo Agency and Omelet you can stand on the paved-over land upon which Tara once stood, not to forget Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable, and, yes, George Reeves. Cue the sweeping overture that is “Tara’s Theme”:

I typically resolve not to do anything on New Year’s Day except eat, drink and watch some college football bowl games. I was successful in all three endeavors yesterday (though left despondent in defeat with the latter, watching them northern boys from up there in O-Hai-uh beat up on my beloved Crimson Tide in last night’s national championship semifinal (Good luck with Oregon, ya Buckeyes).

But as usual, I digress. My point was supposed to be that I’m not beyond the reach of resolutioning, I’m just predisposed to waiting a day to get that party started. Or nine.

This year it was a day. My resolution? To log a total of 2,015 miles on my bike this year, part of a grand fitness scheme to reverse the silly amount of weight I’ve gained in roughly the year-and-a-half since I graduated Rio Hondo Academy (I still haven’t gotten on a scale because I haven’t steeled myself for whatever that reality is; but I don’t really need a specific number to know it’s long past the time to reverse that course). Almost two years ago going into the last module of that training, at 198 pounds I was at the best fitness level I’d been ever. I could go into the backyard and do 10 sets of circuit training (20 push-ups, 30 sit-ups, 100-revs jump rope, 10-band-assisted pull-ups, 15 TRX strap body-lifts) in 45 minutes. I would go for four-mile runs around the Silver Lake Reservoir because anything less would be uncivilized. I would bike to Whittier on Saturdays, put in a full strenuous stress-laden day at the academy and then bike home.

Those days are gone my friends and I’m now – unofficially – waaaaaay greater a shadow of that former fit and trim self.

But enough of the pity party and back to the biking. In the past, I’ve made vows to “ride every day” or for a consecutive number of days, but I always fail at that. Because inevitably one night early on I’d grumble procrastinatorily and end up doing some meaningless half-mile ride around the block at 9 p.m. just to keep the streak alive. Afterward I’d be all: Enough. It’s bull taking something as fun as riding a bike and turning it into an obligatory chore.

So this year, it’s simply a totally doable milestone of 2,015 miles pedaled over the course of 2015. And it started this morning. I woke up still heartbroken over last night’s Alabama loss and I felt that lingering depression working its way up to being an excuse to drive to work rather than get out and roll through the cold morning, but I shut that devil down and rode my standard south-and-west morning commute, which according to my Cyclometer app is 8.43 miles.

Only 2,006.57 to go.

Bonus:  Since I’ll be documenting each and every ride with my handlebar cam I’m also aiming to showcase something interesting that it captures along the way, “interesting” being relative and subjective, of course. Here’s today’s snap shot at Jefferson Boulevard and Western Avenue. The guy leaning against the post at right caught my eye, especially that he’s not focused on a smartphone but rather old schooling his intent on what he’s writing with a pen upon paper. You don’t see much of that anymore (click to enlargify):

Word

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We opted not to do the tree thang this Christmas. Thought it better to keep the $80-plus and the roughly five hours total spent finding/decorating/undecorating/hauling-to-the-recycling-station.

So here’s last year’s. While it now exists only as mulch somewhere, my wishes for everyone to have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year are as fresh as ever.

bamano

To most SoCalians, nothing at all. And for me as that rare and weird combo of being a native Angeleno and a fan of Alabama it’s not so much about what’s wrong anymore as what’s typical of the L.A. Times Sports section.

See, it’s business as usual for its writers and editors to minimize if not entirely ignore the team that happens to be No. 1 in the country right now — even when something occurs like the thrilling victory over its arch-rival Auburn last night in the vaunted Iron Bowl. This failure to report is borne of an institutional disdain for the team that stretches back to the early 1960s and staffer Jim Murray whose columns denouncing the team and its Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant are widely considered instrumental in denying Bama an invitation to play in the 1962 Rose Bowl.

Here’s a fragment from a great post on the subject at SECRant.com:

This brings me to the 1961 regular season. UCLA won the “Athletic Association of Western Universities” title (forerunner to Pac 8)and secured a Rose Bowl berth. Ohio State won the Big 10 title. UCLA-Ohio State Rose Bowl,right ? No. The Ohio State faculty senate, because of financial concerns and some concerns over a “pay for play” scandal with the West coast teams voted not to allow the Buckeyes to travel to Pasadena. Big 10 runner-up Minnesota had played in the Rose the previous year. The Big 10 had a “no repeat” precluding a team from consecutive Rose Bowls.

Enter Alabama, and LSU, for that matter.The Tide and Tigers were SEC co-champs and Alabama was #1 and unbeaten while LSU was #3 and once beaten. The Rose Bowl couldn’t really have a UCLA scrimmage game, so the committee looked to Alabama and LSU focusing mainly on the Tide to come to the Rose. The Tide had already won the National Title, with the polls being awarded before bowls. UCLA-Alabama would work out pretty sweet for the Rose.

When the national sports media got wind of this, it died on the vine. Led by local sports columnist of the Los Angeles Times and syndicated nationally Jim Murray, he and others vehemently opposed a southern team playing in the Rose, going into the litany of racial turmoil and no blacks on SEC teams (Murray hated all things Southern and piled on every time he could including the aftermath of the 1970 Southern Cal-Alabama game). In 1961, think of Jim Murray like Jim Rome,ESPN and Paul Finebaum combined. Murray’s sentiments went nationwide and the Rose dismissed the notion of Alabama,and LSU for that matter.But no where in Murray and his supporters was any addendum to their contempt of Alabama with “oh,by the way,Bryant is a dirty,cheating SOB !” Trust me,it wouldn’t have been overlooked if true.

The Big 10 compromised and allowed Minnesota to return to Pasadena and they beat UCLA, 21-3.

But! Had my Crimson Tide had lost yesterday? Oh well, then the headline would certainly at least have supplanted the news of Jordan Spieth in the upper right of the image. More likely it would have taken the top spot.

Instead they won, coming back from a horribly demoralizing first half to shut-down dominate a charging Tigers team that was threatening to runaway with the game. It was a victory that was thrilling and rejuvenating and one that made the sports world — minus the deaf-mute LA Times — stop and pay deserved respect.

Roll Tide.

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