Archive for February, 2006

I skipped my weekly weigh-in yesterday. I made the decision to do that the previous Sunday when my scale showed I hadn’t lost any weight and my wife’s scale had me at 257.5 — 5.5 pounds more than what my scale showed.

So I decided to step off the devices in part because they are inexact and also because I just didn’t need the aggravation… especially when there’s much stronger and entirely unrefutable proof to be found in the fact that I’m now notching my belt two holes tighter than when I began this weight loss odyssey on January 8. They may say the scale doesn’t lie, but it certainly can be unreliable. There’s nothing unreliable in the two inches that are gone from my waist line.

It wasn’t as conscientious a weekend as I would’ve liked. We had lunch at Olvera Street’s El Paseo Inn on Saturday and then I brunched upon a Monte Cristo sandwich Sunday at Flor Morena, a new eatery here in Silver Lake that we’ve wanted to try.

But those meals are nothing to get discouraged about and I’m not. It’s not about food deprivation it’s about food management and I’m still as positive and dedicated as ever.

Susan and I braved any unstable air masses, cold temps, and dark clouds for a walk that turned into a five miler, with a break halfway for a brunch at the new Flor Morena Fine Foods restaurant that opened in Silver Lake a few doors down from the Edendale Grill on Rowena where it meets Glendale Boulevard.


What a wonderful little place it is, in a great location with ample space for customer parking (a factor that almost guarantees its success). On the way there, from the west side of the Silver Lake reservoir I got a couple shots of the San Gabriels well-dusted with snow that yesterday’s storm brought down to some pretty low levels:



At Flor Morena, Susan opted for the chorrizo burrito while I just said what the hell and had their Monte Cristo sandwich. If anyone out there has never had a Monte Cristo, good for you. Just understand that it is one of the most healthless and decadent and calorie-laden things ever. Imagine turkey, ham, cheese, butter and mayonnaise between two thick pieces of bread, with the whole thing dipped in an egg batter and fried up french toast-style, then dusted with powdered sugar and served with a side of maple syrup. If they sound horrible, they’re not. They’re just horrible for you.


Anyway, this is what Flor Morena’s looks like… smaller than some I’ve had in the past, but just as tasty. To my credit I used only a smidge of the syrup. But yes, I even ate the somewhat incongruously included dill pickle spear.

In accordance with logging everything I consume, I scoured the internet for any sort of caloric measurement and the only thing I found was mention of one topping out at 1,324 calories with 53 grams of fat. I’m not so sure mine was thaaaaat much, but I went with it.

Afterward, we took the long way home and headed across Rowena to Hyperion where we stopped at Trader Joe’s for various foodstuff, which I then dutifully carried the rest of the way home (and promptly put on a scale to see that the bag weighed 12 pounds).

Tomorrow morning, the Phoenix and I bike ride the Griffith Park loop! Pix to follow.

Lantern Festival PerformerSusan and I headed down to Olvera Street this afternoon for lunch at El Paseo Inn and for the annual Lantern Festival taking place in the nearby El Pueblo de Los Angeles historical monument. We got there too early to enjoy the good stuff (the lion dance and the silver dragon parade) and split before the presentation of the lanterns at 4:30 p.m., but it was otherwise very colorful and well-attended and coolest of all we got a unique chance to extensively explore the historic Pico House. Finished in 1870, Pico House was the city’s first three-story building and was considered the finest hotel in the southwest in its day.

And it just so happened that for whatever reason it was wide open from top to bottom, which meant Susan and I couldn’t help but wander through it entirely unsupervised — and of course that meant shimmying up an access ladder onto the roof!

I’ll shut up and let the pix do the talking:

Pico House interior courtyard
Pico House interior courtyard.

Pico House Third Floor Wall Detail
Wall detail on the second floor.

Pico House Third Floor Bannister
Looking down through the bannister from the third floor landing

Pico House North Wall
Susan with the thrid floor north wall windows in the background.

Union Station From the roof of Pico House
The view of Union Station from the Pico House roof.

I’ve cross-posted this to with a link to more photos from inside and atop Pico House via this photoset on — and belated thanks to Kevin Roderick at L.A. Observed for the link love!

Mack Reed over at L.A. Voice, who I’ve previously dubbed L.A.’s unofficial bikepoet laurreate supplied an excellent post with tons of pix about the cycling route he took this morning that included the bikeway between the Golden State Freeway and the L.A. River.

It was enough to get me nostalgic over the route I’d charted a few months ago, before finishing The Phoenix, and which covers some of the same territory along the bikeway. Click to biggify the image below to see it in all its satellite-view supersized glory and follow the yellow line that meticulously traces the loop I plan to ride at least once a week, if not more.

Bike Route

From the red dot, which is our house, up past the Silver Lake reservoir onto the L.A. river Bikeway, around the northeast corner of Griffith Park to Traveltown, turning back up and climbing up to the observatory before heading back down Vermont to Hollywood Boulevard to Sunset and home to the red dot again. I’m estimating it’s anywhere from 13 to 16 miles roundtrip, with a nice Hollywood Hills elevation gain.

Weather permitting, The Phoenix and I will be giving her a go early next week and I’ll be seeing how foolish it is to attempt to climb from the bottom to the top of Griffith Park on a single-speeder.

And maybe I’ll see Mack up there.

I’d rather not write about this. I’d rather just personally and privately acknowledge the binge and move on. But in the interest of keeping it real and not wanting anyone to continue believing I have some sort of ironclad willpower, here’s what happened.

I went to the supermarket today. The trip began with me on the way to the bread aisle passing an endcap full of Millena’s take-and-bake pizzas and salads and such. The last thing to catch my eye is a little square package containing nine nuggets of ready-to-bake chocolate chip cookie dough.

I keep on walking without even breaking stride, grab the loaf of light sourdough and move on through the market and the rest of the list. But there’s trouble: Shopping for everything else, I can’t shake that cookie dough from the front row of my conciousness. And sure enough once I have everything I make a beeline back across the store “just to have another look at the cookie dough.” Yeah, right. It goes into the cart without even the slightest hint of resistance.

Fast forward and I’m home. I’ve put everything away… except the cookie dough. It sits on the counter while I make a sandwich consisting of two slices of sourdough bread (110 calories), one garden burger patty (150 calories), a double dab of mustard (10 calories), some okra pickles (60 calories) and a diet Dr. Pepper (0 calories). I scarf that down while watching the last bit of The Color Purple on TV (I always bawl at the end when she’s reunited with her sister and meets her children for the first time).

I bring the cookie dough, still unopened, to my desk and input my lunch into my food log. All told, I’m at about 900 calories total for the day, which is excellent.

I consider just throwing the package in the trash, or better yet, flushing the contents down the garbage disposal, and I think what a blast it would be to do that and then proclaim my triumph here. But I don’t do that. Instead I open it. I remove one of the luscious looking raw doughy morsels. I put it back. I repeat the last two steps several times. Truth is: I don’t want the stuff. Never mind that I don’t need it, I really truly don’t want it.

But I eat one. Initially it doesn’t even taste good. In fact, it tastes down right bad. It’s got that stale freezer taste that’s just us unyummy as it gets, but then the chocolate chip flavor comes shining through and for a second you’d think I’d just shot up heroin. My eyes roll back in my head and I just savor the hell out of it.

Then another. And another. By the sixth one, every part of me is screaming ENOUGH! But since I’ve eaten this much I might as well eat the rest, right? So I gobble two more as if on auto pilot and then there’s one left, and now I really don’t want it. I’m feeling a little ill, the taste is gross… so here’s the perfect opportunity for me to make a stand with what little esteem I have left and pitch that sucker down the drain Instead I eat it, too. I think I even grimaced as it went down.

Now it’s about 30 minutes past my ingestion of what amounts to nine cookie dough pieces that equals 1,170 calories in at best five minutes. I have a literal headache. And if my stomach’s reaction and behavior tothe avalanche could be translated into English it would be saying WHAT THE FUCK!?!

The showers that just rolled in preclude me from getting on my bike and going for a 15-miler up to the zoo and back, so instead for the next hour or until Susan gets home (whichever comes first) I’ll be gliding/skiing on the exercise machine she got from Sharper Image. I may not be able to get this crap out of my system, but at least I can burn some of its calories.

Too bad I can’t burn idiocy.

It’s only been very recently that the generally reclusive and recalcitrant Bink (whose somewhat devilish demeanor led me to dub him “binkubus” early on in our relationship… I think specifically it was after he bit me on the head while I slept one early morning) has begun emerging from his shell and not only broadening his range beyond the bedroom but also increasing his interaction with us bipeds.

It’s still a surprise when he comes out into the livingroom and actually hops up on the couch with us to hang out, but we’re getting used to it — except when he pulls a fast one and does something never before seen, like hang out atop the piano as I found him this morning shortly after rising:

Bink on the piano

Of course, I rushed to grab the Canon G3 to immortalize the moment, forgetting that I dropped it and broke it yesterday while trying to take pictures of the treasures I dug up during yesterday’s yardwork, so I had to settle for the DV cam’s snapshot ability in the very dim light, and obviously afterward had to goof with it Photoshop to get Bink to be anything more than a black blob.

A larger version can be found here in my fauxtography pool on Flickr.

I’m running late for a commitment, so I can’t expound on the day in my usual deathless way. It will have to suffice to say that i spent a good block of time in the backyard with the continuing reformation of the southeast corner into a potentially usable space.

Little did I know my excavations would yield up another trove of bottles:


Four of them to be exact, along with two marbles and another fragment from a dish of some sort. The brown bottles on either end seem to be elderly as opposed to the plastic-capped ones in the middle. The really interesting thing is that the green one is still full of pills of some sort (no I haven’t yet opened it to see what they might be).

But the supercool unique find was this teaspoon, uncovered late in the shovelings:


What’s supercool about a spoon? Well, check out the details:

An interesting insignia at the end of the handle

International Silver Company stamp
International Silver Co. stamp on the underside.

Beverly Hilton
The Beverly Hilton stamp on the underside.

While there’s nothing to indicate it’s actually anything but a piece of stainless flatware, I’m still just bamboozled as to how a teaspoon from the Beverly Hilton Hotel ended up buried in our backyard, and for how long?