Archive for February, 2007

Man did I just have an idea that might or might not suck. Well, in actuality it wasn’t my idea, nor did it just happen. It’s actually been sauteeing in my brain pan for a few months now. I think it originated from one of my fellow biking buds — Steve or Spencer perhaps — during one of the IAAL/MAF rides I’d routed. Maybe it was one of our small Thursday night rides or it could’ve been one of our larger invitationals. The Hello Dahlia ride comes to mind in which I led a score or so riders from downtown to the location where Elizabeth Short’s remains were discovered. Narrating at occasional points and landmarks along the way someone said that I should totally start up a company specializing in touring L.A. by bike. I laughed and shrugged because while it’s a great and appealing idea that combines my loves of biking and this city, that kind of endeavor would require little stuff like capital and a business model and promotion, not to mention a stable of bikes and a way to transport them. Then after all that it would be something with appeal that people would not only want to pay to do, but also feel comfortable doing.

Because let’s face it, being a veteran of many years and thousands of miles rolled around this town have left me somewhat fearless (not reckless) when it comes to swimming with the sheetmetal sharks. The guys and gals I roll with regularly are equally streetwise and tough, but it would be a whole different consideration with say for example me having to play tour guide to a couple nuclear families from the midwest out here for their first time to see the sights of Hollywood or downtown or Beverly Hills who’ve never seen these streets before much less from the saddle of a cycle. Hell, they might not even have been on a bike in years.

As I am so inclined toward all my aspirations I have little trouble finding the hitches and speedbumps and caution signs that allow me to talk myself down from such a flight of fancy. And yet, since it was first expressed in passing to me some months ago, all my internally naysaying hasn’t kept it from percolating, albeit on a waybackburner like a simmering dream that I reach out to stir on occasion.

And the reason it’s bubbled up again is simple: last weekend’s ride to the Watts Towers of Simon Rodia — not just because it was a really cool and unique ride, but moreso because I was profoundly moved by Rodia’s perseverence, dedication, vision, eccentricity and longevity in crafting his soaring creation which speaks to something very deep in me. And his quote “I had in mind to do something big and I did,” is something that I find myself repeating, half in awe and half in envy of what he accomplished.

What I love most of all is that he didn’t begin the endeavor until he was 42 and continued at it for more than three decades. While I remain perturbed at not seeing it for so long, there is something fitting in my seeing his masterwork at the same age he was when he commenced building it. 

I think we all have in mind to do something big, but most of us don’t. I certainly haven’t. And while I’m not sure if a bike tour company is my big thing, it certainly would be something that fulfills me. So it’ll keep percolating, and I’ll keep you posted.

Barring significant and steady rainfall tomorrow and looking for one last looooong pre-marathon conditioning walk, I’m seriously considering setting out super early and making Wednesday’s morning commute from Silver lake to El Segundo entirely on foot.

Should it not be raining and I somehow keep common sense at bay I expect I’ll be following alongside the tire treads of my established bike route, the distance of which totals 15.6 miles. Hoping for a pace maintained in the 3.5 mph range, I should be on the road about five hours… which means I’ll need to have feet on the pavement by 4 a.m. if I’m going to get to work on time.

And I thought the 110 was slow?

UPDATE (7:26p.m.): I got home a few minutes ago and reports of my motivation for this endeavor have been greatly exaggerated. I’m bushed at the present and the thought of getting up at 3 a.m. to walk five hours and then work eight hours and then mass-transit it home… in  a word (or two): ain’t happening.

Weird. Weirdweirdweirdweirdweird. Sometimes you just can’t anticipate the twists and turns a post might take.

Last Wednesday evening , biking up from El Segundo to West Hollywood, I rolled past the corner of Robertson and Olympic in Beverly Hills to find the southeast corner seriously and semi-psychedelically shrouded. I stopped, dismounted and took a picture of the screen. Then I noticed a small tear in the material and knelt down for a peek. Inside was a far-out structure and some people enjoying some sort of private gathering. I poked my camera through the rectangular tear and documented the scene with a picture. Then I got on my bike and left.

Later on that evening I posted about it here on wondering what the place was, and soon found out the next morning from a reader that it was a new-fangled go-green gas station getting set to grandly open.

End of story. Or at least until today when came a late comment this morning from a “Calvin” who basically disputed my chronology of events, adamantly stating that there was no way I got the photos when I said I did:

Nice photo trick. Just for the record the privacy screen came down on Wednesday the 21st at night and the opening party was on a later date. Had you put a camera through the screen and taken a picture you would of seen wall to wall workers & construction equipment. I see the gas pumps are lighted up so that means this picture was taken after the screen was removed as they did not even have power to them until Thursday night. Looks to me that you took the picture standing next to the price sign. If you dont believe when the screen was removed just check with the local police as they were there checking to see what was going on.

I was helpless not to reply with the following WTF?

Am I catching your drift Calvin? Are you suggesting that I’m pretending to have snapped these two photos on the evening of February 21, sometime around 6:15 p.m.?

What would be the point of that?

Let me get this straight… You’re conjecting that I somehow took the picture of the screen on one day, then because you know believe there was no party Wednesday evening that I came back on an entirely different date and got a picture of the party, thus lying about sneaking the snap through the breach in the barrier.

Your contention is that the party people weren’t there Wednesday night, that the event I captured somehow happened at a later date yet I somehow recorded it, traveled back in time and uploaded it Wednesday?


It’s simple, Cal. I rolled up on my bike that evening of Wednesday February 21 and the screen was still up. I took a picture of it. That screen had a hole in it as indicated, visible in the picture I took. I knelt down on that same Wednesday night and put my cam through and got the shot of all the party people milling about inside. Then I got on my bike and I left. The end.

If you want to go conspiracy theorist and insist that didn’t happen, I got three questions for ya:

1) Why would I go to all that trouble?
2) What are you smoking?
3) Where can I get some?


An entire life in Los Angeles and up until last Monday I’d never been to Simon Rodia’s powerfully and profoundly moving Watts Towers. With today’s group bike ride from the Cornfield and back I’ve been there twice in six days, only this time the Towers were open and I along with a nice-sized contingent of fellow cyclists forked over the seven bucks each for the 30 minute tour.

Flickr photoset can be viewed here.

As seen next to Echo Park Lake during our walk this morning:


There’s something about carving a peace symbol into a living thing that just doesn’t work for me.

I don’t trouble myself or my point-and-shoot cam with equalized exposure settings and such, I just snap ’em and stitch ’em, like this series of three taken around 5:30 p.m. Friday from the 8th floor of the El Segundo garage behind the building I work at (click to enlarge):


Previous LAX shot, here.

At 5:19 a.m. a restless Ranger was whimpering and trotting around the house and so I got up to let her out into the backyard thinking she had to pee, which she may have hade to do, but instead she first charged up into the corner of the backyard and practically right into the ass of a fleeing skunk, who gave her a little somethin’ somethin’ right in the face. Actually a lot of somethin’ somethin’.

We’ve quarantined her outside and shrugged our shoulders because such a close encounter was bound to happen at some point. And it’s kinda funny watching Ranger attempt the “rub a little dirt on it” treatment, but now I’m off to the store for these ingredients to see if they’ll work in the aroma removal procedure that’ll be coming up next.

How’s your Saturday morning so far?

UPDATE (9:53 a.m.): Well, it wasn’t too bad. It appears Ranger was dealt a glancing spray across the chest and shoulder/flank, and took to being bathed surprisingly calmly — and the mixture had a positive, but not total effect on the odor.

UPDATE No. 2 (11:07 a.m.): Susan’s got pix up of me and Ranger rub-a-dub-dubbing in the the tub.