Archive for November, 2007


Originally uploaded by Wildbell

Random photo of a gecko we found hanging out near our hotel suite when we were in Zanzibar in the Summer of 2005.

At first I thought the sound I was hearing was from my neighbor’s predawn sprinklers working a little overtime, but you can bet I was surprised to find the rare and far more natural form of irrigation at work when I got up this morning.


I haven’t been an ardent follower of the local weather report, but still on the bike ride home last night there wasn’t much in the way of meteorological hints that showers were threatening.

And just to give any of you hope that I’m not a total nutbar, I will be breaking the five-days-straight-biking plan and not be pedaling into work today (even though it’s not doing much more than sprinkling at present). Plus there’s a sequence to my sanity: by driving in I’ll be able to get a couple things checked off my “Things To Do This Weekend” list on the way home: general groceries; and maybe a visit to The Kobbler King (I might even pick up that discarded fence post I spotted a couple weeks ago on Jefferson (don’t ask; if I get it you’ll see what I mean). Hell I even through a load of laundry in this morning to get a jump on things.

Of course, weather permitting, that means I’ll have to make up for today’s lost cycling with an extended bike ride tomorrow morning in order to put me up over the 3,700 mile mark. Oh gee darn.

Things I Wanna Do This Weekend (and probably will):

  • Bike up to the Hollywood nunnery and get a loaf of pumpkin bread (thanks for the reminder Militant!)
  • Begin my Christmas shopping
  • Clean the bike (and change the slow-leaking rear innertube)
  • Take Susan to dinner at that new El Caserio restaurant on Silver Lake Boulevard north of the 101
  • Put up the Christmas decorations

Things I Wanna Do This Weekend (and most likely won’t):

  • Finish my Christmas shopping
  • Drive over to The Kobbler King on Jefferson and check out their wares
  • Drive a little further on Jefferson and pick up the abandoned fence post I saw ( if it’s still there; don’t ask)

Things I Don’t Wanna Do (but gotta):

  • Go to the vet’s and get medicine and special food for Shadow
  • Groceries (Costco & Vons)
  • Clean the house
  • Rake leaves
  • Laundry

UPDATED (12/3): Not too shabby. The only things I didn’t get done were that visit to The Kobbler King, dinner at El Caserio, and my bike’s cleaning.

I reconnected one of the webcams and pointed at the birdbath outside since it’s finally been getting some visits from the locals. Obviously it’s likely to be more miss than hit as to whether you’ll see a bird in the static images that are served up, so I also archived all the pix captured into a timelapse (with the long stretches of inactivity edited out) that I hoisted up on YouTube:


Technorati Profile

Nothing to see here folks. Just following my blogbuddy Jo Gillis’ lead and going through the motions of doing something I shoulda done years ago: making my blog visible to the spideys of Technorati. Move along.


Shadow’s present affliction is a mild blow, but a blow nonetheless — and one that resonates. She’s improved, which is good. But she’s old, which is what it is.

Shadow came into my life as a handful of pup when I found her abandoned at Lake Balboa in the Sepulveda basin on Labor Day, 1994. I was not even two months past my motorcycle accident that by all accounts should have left me dead or paralyzed. Instead it left me with a broken, scarred face and an internal duel between being thankful to be alive and bitterly angry to be so forever changed.

Shadow couldn’t have come along at a better and worse time in my life. When I brought her home that day and watched her tumble about the converted Van Nuys garage, if there was any joy at the new member of the family it was brought to heel by the selfish funk I was in. I didn’t want or need this responsibility. All I wanted was to feel sorry for my disfigured self and pop enough generic Vicodin so that when I did sleep I could keep the apocalyptic nightmares at bay along with the terrifying sick-grinning goblin that had taken up a sentry-like residence in the corner between the closet and the bed.

These were disturbing, dark day, generally not condusive to puppy love.

“You’re just going to die one day,” I said to her all of six to eight weeks of age and attempting to eat her first tennis ball. “And I don’t need to deal with that.”

But of course I did and in doing so she gave me a responsibility that took some of the focus off my own self-pity and unconditional love in return and through the thick and thin of the last 13 years we’ve managed by and large to stick together. In fact, the only time there was a sliver of concern that we might have to go our separate ways was in 2004 when mom sold her house and was soon relocating to Tennessee. I was a few months into seeing Susan and living in my “No Dogs Allowed” East Hollywood apartment.

“Guess we’ll have to find a home for Shadow,” my mom said. And when I relayed that in some distress to Susan she sealed my love for her even stronger by quietly suggesting that perhaps it was time to get her backyard fenced in. Shadow’s actually lived at the house and with Susan longer than I have.

I’m actually not very worried about Shadow. In a conversation Susan had with the vet, he said he  found through a blood test that her cholesterol and protein levels are high and there’s a thyroid problem and he wants to put her on a special diet along with pills.  When she asked about Canine Peripheral Vestibular Syndrome he discounted it, and neither of us are sure why. Perhaps because there’s no surgery or treatment or medicine charges to foist upon our credit card.

As I wrote at the top Shadow’s getting better. Her heads still prominently tilted, but she’s walking with a bit more control and is eating more. She’s a tough and scrappy gal with a lot of vitality in her and I expect this was a minor health blow. But like I said, it’s a blow that resonates as a reminder that there will come a day when she won’t be here anymore.

It’s a day I’ve dreaded since our first together but the difference now is that whenever it does come I can deal with it.

Having not biked an inch while traveling this past week and also having amply stockpiled moooore than enough calories before, during and after this Thanksgiving, I’m opting to make this back-t0-work week a full bike-to-work one in part so that I can burn some of this excess fuel  as well as enter the final month of the year with somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 miles left towards attaining my revised goal of 3,000 cycling miles for 2007.

I certainly don’t mean to put the bike on top of the rider, but barring 30 days of rain or the theft of any or all of my bikes that basically means it’s pretty much a done deal. Even if you figure me biking to work only twice a week, that’s 200 miles right there, leaving me but 100 “extracurricular” miles to go.

But if as expected I should maintain my average of commuting thrice weekly, that’s about 280 miles, leaving me a solitary Midnight Ridazz -type ride away from 3K… and the odds of me going on just one fun ride in December is pretty remote. Hell, one of these weekends coming I might just bust out the old mountaineer for old time’s sake and go for a dirt cruise up the Verdugos (something I haven’t done in more than 2.5 years).

P.S. Has it really been two years since my first ride on The Phoenix (recorded here)?