Archive for July, 2007

Back in February things frankly weren’t looking good for The Bink.  Drastic loss of appetite and weight loss brought him to the vet where we learned in addition to a hairball in his stomach the size of a golf ball and an enlarged liver, an X-ray revealed he’d been shot by an asshole with a pellet gun, the projectile of said firearm still lodged in his hip (thankfully harmlessly).

But we never gave up hope and Susan never gave up force-feeding her beloved buddy and slowly but surely he’s made a remarkable rebound. He’s bulked up a bit, he’s eating on his own and just last week he did something huge in venturing outside in the backyard for the first time since  his 12-straight day and night outing last September (thankfully this time he didn’t hesitate to come back on in).

Today I opted to keep everyone with four leg indoors, but in another minor milestone, Bink decided to come out of bedroom that is his sanctuary and station himself on  the chippendale sofa beneath the back bay window:



So the DSL modem went into what turned out to be its death throes last night, its panel of three LEDs raging in a blinky fluttering show of red and orange and green desperation.

I unplugged the thing and let it sit a bit before reconnecting it, but that didn’t help things. Then I pulled out all the ethernet and phone cables and let it sit some more but it seemed the hardware had come to its end at the sad young age of 2.

Too soon. Waaaaaay too soon.

This morning. Nothing. Not even the faintest blip of light emitting diode flashed and so I called AT&T’s tech support and after getting connected to “Jeff” in Banganila and dutifully redoing the steps I’d already done he declared the 2Wire 1701HG Gateway deceased, and without even so much as giving me a chance to grieve over its corpse offered to send me a new and improved 2Wire 2701HG “free” if I upgraded my account… which meant a price bump of about five bucks a month.

No thanks, bastards.

I’m pretty sure they killed it with some sort of self-destruct code sent from an underground bunker in Bangor. Or maybe Bangalore. Damn them.

But I’m not getting suckered into their scheme. Instead I hauled out the old lapper and plugged in a phone line and did the old dial-up thing, the 56K-speed connection screech brrrrp sound bringing back memories of the early ’90s. Then I promptly (meaning “glacially” in terms of surfing speed) found a bigbox store nearby that has the new 2Wire 2701HG unit and I’ll be picking that up today on my way back from a job fair down in Anaheim.

UPDATED (9:33 a.m.): Wow, I actually resurrected the 6-year-old Apple Airport base station that’s apparently too old and obsolete to be effected by AT&T’s Biennial Gateway Decimatrix Pulse. I’m still cruising the internuts at 56K, but at least the lapper ain’t tethered to a phone cord.

UPDATED (3:58 p.m.): New wireless router/modem installed. Ahhhh. Much better.

UPDATED (7:00 p.m.): Might I add that my term “Biennial Gateway Decimatrix Pulse” is my new favorite invention ever. I might even get it put on a shirt.


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Tonight’s sunset over the Micheltorena ridge.

It started with the territorial alarm calls of a pair of mockingbirds in the tree that grows over into the front yard. Jiggy, the cat most noted for messing with them was inside, so I knew he wasn’t the source of their distress. For once.

Judging from how high up in the boughs the confrontation seemed to be coming from, it probably wasn’t another of the nosy neighborhood cats. It was probably a bird. Maybe a crow or a red-tailed hawk, and as I moved out onto the front porch I saw a flash of feathers moved northward to a palm tree about 100 yards or so up the street pursued hotly by the mocks who landed on a frond near the raptor and recommenced their tag team divebombing defense.

“I think that’s a Cooper’s hawk,” I said to Ranger — yes, out loud — who was looking out through the library window, and as if on cue the bird let loose with its characteristic call that too me sounds like laughter.

Though the bird was far out of range of any decent images — even those I could get with the 300mm lens on my Rebel digital — I retreived it and came back outside to get something… anything as I’d not yet pixelized the rather elusive creature (click images for a 75% enlargement):




That last picture found the bird in the pines at the corner of Silver Lake Boulevard and Ellett Place, where it flew to from the palm tree. About 400 feet away, as the hawk flies.

That HBO’s Entourage survived my post-Suckpranos-finale boycott of the network surprised me. Seriously, John From Cinncinnati suffered my dismissive wrath. Debuting immediately after Tony and family and a plate of onion rings left us forever in limbo I couldn’t change the channel fast enough and vowed never to return no matter how rave the reviews.

And Flight Of the Conchords? Please.

But I kept on watching Entourage. Partially because I’m a huge Jeremy Piven and Kevin Dillon fan, but mainly because we had set it up with a season pass on the TiVo. Certainly not because of the ever-weakening story line. Then something happened. There was a brief break and then the show’s new season started and it centered around the trials and tribulations that Vince, E, Johnny, Turtle and agent Ari (with wonderful sidekick Lloyd) had to go through in order to get their dream project — a biopic film of drug kingpin Pablo Escobar — made with little in the way of a safety net and a madmadmadmadmad genius of a director.

Where there’d been wafer-thin episodes about spending thousands of dollars on a pair of sneakers, all of a sudden there was crisp insider intrigue and conflict — not to mention Vince in a silly fatsuit as Escobar.

Well, that all went away with last night’s sex farce episode. Unabashedly titled “Day F***ers” it opened with the general opinion that E can’t have unemotional sex (apparently a bad thing) and then centered around a $5,000 bet between Johnny and Vince that Johnny could get Turtle laid before Vince could do the same for E.

Suffice it to say that by the end of the episode Vince, E and Johnny (substituting for a retiscent Turtle who couldn’t muster up the furry bluster to do it with a Craigslist date while donning a pink bunny costume) all get down, and just like that the show has reverted back to its vapid roots and left me on the verge of deleting its reserved slot from the TiVo’s memory.

But the power of Piven as an actor provided reason for a reprieve via a continuing B-story featuring his Ari resorting to dirty tricks that fail to keep his son from being booted out of the exclusive private school he attends (not for anything the kid’s done but because Ari’s a certified ass who the school despises). After exploring the other educational options (public school, eeek!) he comes home one night with an arm full of children’s books and a desperation plan to be a better father. Sitting with his son to read to him the boy looks at him wide-eyed and asks his dad if he’s going to be able to go to school with his best friend next year. With no way left to spin the truth a heartbroken Ari breaks down in frustration right there and the powerful and honest moment of raw emotion totally caught me by surprise.

Later on, Ari shows up at the school director’s home in the middle of the night and with tears streaming down his face literally begs the man not to make his son suffer the transgressions of his father. And I was choked up right along with him.

Of course, this being Hollywood the headmaster happens to have a “special” son he’d like to see promoted out of the talent agency mailroom he’s in. As Ari can make that happen a deal is brokered that keeps his son in school, but one I’m sure he’ll regret next week.

And I’ll be watching.

My friends and neighbors Cybele & Manny went all-day whalewatching up off the coast of Santa Barbara today and when they asked me to come take their dog Becky for a mid-day outing I told them I’d be happy to do so and walked over to their place shortly after 1 p.m. After hanging out in the backyard with Beck for about 15 minutes I got her situated back inside and decided to come back via Westerly Terrace, which winds down to Sunset Boulevard by La Parrilla restaurant and is notable for its southerly view, which at 2:08 p.m. looked like this:


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Of note: Before being considered a part of Silver Lake, the ridge where our house is on the left side of the panorama south of Sunset (which is where our house is) was originally known back in the early 1900s as Rowland Heights, which for whatever reason is now here between Hacienda Heights and Diamond Bar.

So last night Susan and I loaded up a canteen full of cheap red wine and brought along some bread, cheese, salami and olives to snack on at downtown’s California Plaza off of Grand Avenue before enjoying the Grand Performances presentation of China’s Guandong Modern Dance Company (reviewed nicely by Lewis Segal in today’s L.A. Times).

Afterward we walked around the watercourt and the skyscrapers taking pictures, of course, and then opted to stroll up the street around the Disney Concert Hall and through its gardens.


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The requisite Flickr photoset is here. Susan’s is over here.

Tonight we venture out into the wilds of Topanga Canyon for a picnic before what sounds to be the Theatricum’s fascinating Transylvanian transformation!