Archive for November, 2007

But instead of amassing them in one big set I’ve built a Thanksgiving 2007 collection broken down into smaller sets of the specific places Susan and I visited. Captions and details of individual images forthcoming.

Saturday morning was spent with one last wander around downtown Charleston before saying goodbye and finally getting a move on up to the Magnolia Plantation, where we spent a few hours wandering the gardens before getting ourselves over to Charleston International Airport to board a 7:17 flight to Atlanta and from there climbed onto a 9:25 jet back here where we touched down a few minutes past 11 p.m. L.A. time and were home around midnight to find all our animals safe and mostly sound.

By mostly I mean that Shadow began manifesting some odd symptoms that our pet sitter called and told us about Friday night that either could have been a stroke or an ear infection (she’s otherwise mobile and alert, but with a marked loss of equilibrium, “drunken” walk and a head tilt to one side) and they ended up taking her to our vet yesterday and keeping us posted.

The vet thinks it’s none of the above and are running blood tests because they think it might be kidney related, noting that her blood is excessively thick. We’ll know more tomorrow when the results are back from the lab.

But in the meantime she’s happy to see us, as are all the animals — even moreso us seeing them — and we’re going to work hard chilling and milling around our own little plantation today.

UPDATED (8:49 p.m.): Further regarding Shadow’s condition, Susan went searching onling and her efforts seemed to have hit a diagnosis square on the head: Canine Peripheral Vestribular Syndrome.

If you’d never heard of Murrells Inlet (where we’ve been since flying in Wednesday morning), it’s quite the wonderful little place and yesterday Susan’s mom gave us a tour that included a walk around the saltmarsh, a cemetery visit, and a walk through the landmark Archer Huntington residence called Atalaya.

On the early morning stroll along the length of the Marsh Walk, we encountered not just the statue of apparent local legend Bubba Love (known as “the Mayor of Murrells Inlet”) but the man himself who’d just returned from a high-water oyster harvesting excursion and allowed us to take pictures of him as he was shoveling his susbtantial haul off his boat to be later put on today’s menu.

Among the avian specimens around the way we saw greater egrets, great blue herons, eastern brown pelicans, turkey vultures, grackles, gulls — and best of all: a bald eagle soaring overhead (click to doublify the digizoomtasticness):


Being a fan of cemeteries, the one we visited was especially enjoyable thanks to the huge live oaks growing there dramatically draped with Spanish moss. Unlike the walled-off cemeteries of Los Angeles, this one was like many found throughout southern communities: wide-open and accessible at all hours with residences situated just across the street.

Our last stop was the remarkable Atalaya Castle, the sprawling winter residence of Archer Huntington completed in 1933 (SoCal connection: Archer’s father was Collis Huntington whose nephew was Henry Huntington of the Huntington Library & Gardens in San Marino).

From there we got back with plenty of time to relax the afternoon away before an excellent prime rib dinner prepared by Susan’s mom.

This morning we’ll say our goodbyes and be off down Highway 17 southbound for Charleston where we’ll spend the day exploring that city’s remarkable history and then tomorrow tour the Magnolia Plantation before getting on a plane back for L.A.

For Susan and I this month has historically become a pretty solid time of travel. Our first November together back in 2004 when I was a docent for the L.A. Zoo I was thrilled to be selected to be part of the volunteer crew that got to spend three days on a remote part of the remote Santa Cruz Island assembling breeding pens for the endangered Channel Island foxes there. A week later we spent a weekend in Death Valley and for Thanksgiving a couple weeks later we flew up to Reno for a drive with her mom and stepdad up to Redding where her grandma lived. The next two Novembers were a little less far-and-wide, with only Death Valley in 2005 and only a flight to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for Thanksgiving with her mom and stepdad in ’06.

This year we were back at it full force. A couple weeks after my mid-October trip to Orlando, Susan had to go to Chicago for a four-day conference at the beginning of the month. Five days after she got back we were in Death Valley for a quick weekender, and tonight (if the fog isn’t too thick for take-offs and landings) we’re getting on a late-night flight for another Thanksgiving in Myrtle Beach by way of Atlanta. the Friday after we’re going to stay an extra day and drive down to explore Charleston before flying back home Saturday.

I’m packing light, which means no laptop so I’m not sure if I’ll be near the computational means to post while we’re away, but I’ll toss the odd/occasional phonecam snap up on Flickr and certainly have some stuff to show and tell once we return.

In the meantime I hope you have and yours have a Happy Thanksgiving!

What the hell am I thinking!? I do a 15-mile walk across Pico Boulevard from downtown to the beach on Saturday (plus about four more getting to the walk’s start and to the bus from the walk’s end)and this morning sore as heck not only am I biking into work but then afterward I’ll be biking up to Griffith Park for the DWP Festival of Lights Bike Night?


For as inopportune and imperfect (and avoidable) a blunder as it was mangling my right foot yesterday morning and throwing into doubt my ability to fully participate in today’s Great L.A. Walk, last night’s surprise spill on my bike was the exact opposite. As spills go, it couldn’t have gone better. And certainly could’ve gone much worse.

Here’s where it happened just about a block or so east of Highland, eastbound on Beverly:


You can see the asphalt is pretty messed up and as a result of the breaking and cracking the concrete gutter has become the receptacle for the bits of gravel that are shed.

Well, as I was cycling through this stuff (probably at no more than 15 mph) with a vehicle passing very close beside me on my left, I felt my front tire lock briefly into a crease and in the next split second kicked up over a chunk of loose roadway. It’s hard to explain it but the point of no return had arrived: the bike and I were going down.


Sufferers of my deathless postings about my urban bicyclizings, sorry: here’s my next one.

At the end of bike business today, with a roundtrip work commute that included a side venture up to The Grove’s Apple Store (to pick up a replacement mouse for the one I broke trying to fix the little roller bally thing on top that had failed and whose functionality I can’t live without), my total mileage for the year stands at 2,522 — a full 515 miles over my original goal (achieved in September) of 2,007 miles for 2007.

You know where this is going, right? Yup: 3,000 miles. A number I’ve never before achieved in any 12-month period and wouldn’t have dreamed of getting close to… until now. With a total of 46 cycling days left in the year in which to roll a cumulative 478 miles to get there, I have but to average a lousy 10.6 miles per day. Hell, if I do nothing but get up at 5 a.m. every morning and bike around the Silver Lake reservoir¬† a couple/three times I’ll hit it.

But that’s not going to be how I roll — and certainly not on an every-day basis. There’s bound to be weather issues at some point (or at least one can hope) and we’ll be in South Carolina for most of next week for Thanksgiving. So as it stands I’ll have to rely on my weekly commuting mileage combined with any extracurricular distances afforded me by the occasional weekend day ride or odd group night ride.

Let’s go get it!