Archive for October, 2007

If you’ve read my rantings with any relative regularity you probably know that I am infinitely capable of tossing out ultimatums with reckless sincere abandon and then immediately or shortly thereafter fail to follow through.

Such was the case yesterday after getting stuck in the residual traffic due to the fatal accident  nearby on the 405 Freeway, averaging less than 3 mph over the remaining 1.5 miles to work. I vowed to make my bike my primary option not twice or three times a week but every freakin’ day.

Then Susan and I were up late last night carving pumpkins and making final preparations with our outdoor and indoor Halloween decor, spooky sounds and a not-simple lighting scheme (let’s not forget the dual fog machines!), and though I rolled outta bed at about 5:30 a.m. as usual, intent on getting a mighty move on, I soon found myself losing steam and oh-welling and rationalizing that maybe I should give my lungs one more day to recover and came *this* close to resigning myself to being a loser and driving in today.

Then I manned-up, got showered and shaved and the morning chores outta the way and hell yeah now I’m ready to get my bike on! And it’s funny, for as reticent or lazyassed as I can be, I know the moment my butt hits the saddle and I’m pedaling there isn’t any other way I’d want to get from points A to B — and if the commute that was sooooo hellacious yesterday is back to normal today? Who cares.

I left home in my truck this morning at 8:03 a.m. All was going as smoothly as could be expected, with me getting down to Commonwealth and Wilshire in six minutes and passing Crenshaw and Jefferson about 20 minutes after that. If all went well from there I would’ve been to work in another 15 minutes. Tops.

It didn’t go well.

Traffic up to La Cienega was backed-up halfway to La Brea. Once across that seven-minute bottleneck it was easy going until I crossed Overland at 8:45 am. I should’ve been parking three minutes later, but instead check it: those remaining 1.6 fucking miles between Overland and Jefferson to Sepulveda and Centinela took 36 minutes to traverse (with the only visual clue as to the jam’s cause seen on Sepulveda as I finally turned left off of it near work: a brightly colored “Road Work Ahead” sign).

I could’ve parked near Overland and walked to work quicker.

And by bike!? That’s the freakin’ point: five sweet minutes — if that! — spent slicing through the gridlock  like a knife through butter. You don’t think I was kicking myself? In the head, dammit!

So here’s the deal — the ULTIMATUM, if you will: four wheels become the adamant last resort, instead of the begrudged first resort. No more 60/40 split between bike and truck. From now on 100% bike. Anything needs to be trucked to — Vons, Costco, et cetera, can be done on the weekend.

Sure, this massive traffic attack may have been the after-effect of of an isolated — and yes, tragic —  incident and that things will be back to normal (whatever that is) tomorrow.  While I’m certainly sorry the trucker died, the good news is I can prevent it from negatively impacting me the next time.

So enough of this whiny “oh but I’m not back to full lung capacity after my bronchial episode” or “but I need to get home early for Halloween.” Tomorrow and until further notice: two wheels are the primary mode. The GOTO.

And if/when I end up having no other choice but to resort to my vehicle because of weather or health issues, it’s gonna cost me my normally “lazy” mornings. Instead of rolling out at 8 a.m., I’m gonna be hitting the road at 7:30 and have expectations of a 90-minute commute preloaded rather than dumped on me while trapped in the middle of one.


It escaped many, but not me… no matter how minor it may be. See typically and for as long as I can remember Daylight Saving Time has ended the weekend of or before Halloween. That’s right, whoever those state or federal powers might be decreed that in the year 2007, the DST period would not only be increased on the front end but the back end as well. Thus we have an additional week of the dying of the light with which to contend.

This bothers me for a couple reasons. With clocks falling back the weekend before October 31 we were ensured of an earlier nighfall.  It was like something of an “on you mark, get ready” to trick-or-treaters (or those of us who are still trick-or-treaters at heart) that brought the cloak of darkness so much sooner.

On the flipside, getting that hour back meant morning was gratefully resurrected. Instead of it being barely dawn at 6:30- 7 a.m. — making it that much more diffficult to rise and shine — all of a sudden goodness was restored and one could get out of bed and see what was going on.

Instead now we’ll be contending with this feeble simpering dusk for another few afternoons (including Halloween, which is sacrilege) while still groping around in the dawn’s lingering dim trying not to trip over the cats and dogs. Somehow I don’t think this is what Ben Franklin had in mind when he decided to start goofing with the timetables to save some candlewax.

I’m still not 100 percent, but taking it easy today definitely put be back into the low 80s — healthy and ambulatory enough to slather some makeup on my mug and join my wife in the annual Dia De Los Muertos festival at Hollywood Forever, and it was by far my favorite of the previous two editions. It was our first time getting there before dark and that enabled us to better admire many of the altars whose details get lost in the night and the crowds.

Flickr photoset here.

Afterwards we adjourned to Eagle Rock for party by a former coworker of Susan’s who just got married and had an informal Halloween-flavored reception. Once we got home from that and before scrubbing our faces off we paused and posed for posterity by trying to stand perfectly still for 15 seconds of a timed exposure among some of our frontyard decor (click to triplify):


Happy Halloween!

The smoke-filtered harvest moon as seen from Silver Lake this morning just before 7 a.m. (click to doublify):


 Shine on, baby!

So last week I was all “gung-ho: get your flu shot on,” and subsequently walked that walk Wednesday. As is a risk of getting innoculated against such things there is the chance one might experience side effects such as a low-grade fever and such. If they manifest they usually dissipate in 24 – 48 hours.

Mine started manifesting Sunday in the form of a fever and have built up since to include congestion, fatigue, cough, sneezing and sore throat — none of it ultra-disabling but it was enough to keep me home from work today.

I actually don’t think I have the flu. Maybe I do, but if so it’s definitely a “light” version. I figure I’m more likely to have grabbed some minor cold bug on the plane rides either in and out of Orlando a couple weeks ago that my immune system kept at bay until having to open up a second front against the flu shot a week ago.

Then what do I do the day after the needle but log some 40 miles of cycling via a work commute and Thursday’s night bike ride up to the top of Elysian Park where all the wind-sucking I had to do defintely harsed my breathing pipes. And the beers and tequila later that night didn’t help either.

What I’m trying to say is that I’m still totally pro-flu shot, it’s just that one probably shouldn’t get stuck shortly after a plane trip and then immediately thereafter overtax the system with vigorous, prolonged exercise.

On top of that let’s factor in all the particulate matter I’m moving into my lungs from the massive and heartbreaking destruction wrought by the fires all over and it all works out to leave me feeling as if I been rode hard and put away wet.*

You might remember back during the heatwave that baked L.A. at the end of August/beginning of September on a half-assed whim I risked my aged laptop and digital camera putting them up on the roof of the house under the full day’s unrelenting sun and triple digit temps and came away with a pretty cool  timelapse video of the clouds building up out beyond the Verdugos that I posted up on YouTube.

Low and behold, three weeks later I get an email from a senior editor at an international educational publishing company in the UK who tells me that the author of a book and companion interactive CD called “Longman Physics For Caribbean Secondary Schools ” saw the clip and wants to include it on the disc, and if I was interested to include copyright line and fee information at my earliest convenience.

I replied indeed that I would be interests, provided a copyright line and pegged my fee at a negotiable $600 all the while my shields were up and I didn’t really expect a reply or if I did get one that it would devolve into some sort of scam.

I’m skeptical like that.

Well I got a reply pretty quick. And though the editor regretted not being able to cover my admittedly lofty asking price she said the company would be willing to pay me half and I was fine with that figuring half of something is better than all of nothing.

Last I heard from her she’s told me to hang tight and will tell me what she needs from me in order to process payment. I’m still not entirely convinced the other shoe ain’t gonna drop, but when I googled variations of the company’s name and the word  “scam” the only thing that came up was a book slated to be published by the company next year on avoiding scams.

At this point I’m thinking it’s a legit situation, but I could wrong. If so, oh well. And if not, then cool: Aalittle rooftop experiment that I did on a lark and just for fun is bringing me in some entirely unexpected green  and the end result will be used as an international educational tool.