Archive for December, 2007

Having been cut loose from work early this afternoon on this the last day of 2007, I tacked on a a downtown detour to the ride home that ended up totaling 31 miles on December 31st to finish at 3,100 for the year.

Three thousand one hundred and two point five miles to be exact.

Tomorrow we reset and start all over toward my 2,008 goal of 3,000, beginning with a New Year’s Day ride that will depart the Brite Spot at 4 p.m. and venture around downtown and up to the top of Elysian Park.

And if you thought my bike posts were tedious this year, then you’ll be looking to avoid the expanded coverage I have planned for next year in which I separate my commuting miles from recreational miles, utilize my new Garmin eTrex GPS unit (my Christmas present from my Bay-bee!) for added trip minutae, post more HandlebarCam vidclips of bike routes on YouTube, and maybe even venture into the frame for some sure-to-be tentative and totally amateurish bike vlogs.

This doesn’t come close to being a find of any type of archaeological proportions, but in a city so often faulted for covering up its history, I can’t help but feeling somewhat similar to what I imagine a palentologist might feel discovering¬† preserved footprints of some ancient creature.

In this case it’s the pawprints of some dog (or maybe even a coyote, perhaps?) that happened to trek out from the apron of our driveway across the still drying concrete that had been poured to pave the street we live on. Here’s a a pair of side-by-side prints:


The year: 1925. That’s right, 82 years ago. Our house had been standing some nine years already when the city got around to covering up the dirt road that had existed for who knows how long before that.

I didn’t just now discover them. I first saw them perhaps a year or so ago, and since then I’ve attempted photos that never quite showed the worn impressions satisfactorily. I even once tried to take a molding of one with silly putty but that failed miserably too. So yesterday I just said screw it, and snapped several shots. The one after the jump shot from the center of the street has red circles that indicate the progression of the prints as they move away from our garage, disappearing across the center line.


Yup, with five days left of 2007, it’s right about now when I start mulling what I’ll make happen in the new year. So here’s where I’m at, and it’s all about keeping it simple and specific — no “read at least 16 books” or “lose weight” or other such vague and general nonsense.

  1. I will bike 3,000 miles.
  2. I will read “Don Quixote.”
  3. I will step on a scale and it will show 195.
  4. I will mountainbike the from Ubehebe Crater to Racetrack Playa in Death Valley and in the middle of the dry lake bed camp under the stars.
  5. I will write fiction every day as an exercise and post it to this blog.
  6. I will complete two manuscripts and pursue their publication.
  7. I will help Susan plant and grow a backyard garden.
  8. I will learn Spanish.
  9. I will adopt the south side section of Sunset Boulevard between Occidental Boulevard and Benton Way and spend at least three hours a month cleaning it up.

…On the way to the office today. Actually two — actually three, with the third one teaching me a valuable lesson.

1) In what may very well be a quintessential L.A. rite of passage (or at least a case of what-are-the-odds timing), I intersected with the downward trajectory of a falling palm frond (loosed from its unknown mooring no doubt by the blustering Santa Ana winds) that clipped me while biking westbound on 4th Street through the east end of Hancock Park. Had the feathery frond side of the project raked down my back I might not have even noticed, but instead I got thumped a glancing blow along my pack by the back end. Didn’t hurt. Just startled me in a “sky is falling” sort of way.

2) Still on 4th after safely crossing Highland, about a block or two further west a white Chevy SUV pulled up alongside me and the sheepishly grinning shaggy-haired driver immediately started apologizing out the open passenger window for almost hitting me. Being that I’m A) usually pretty aware when I come into close contact with vehicles and, B) had no knowledge that such a thing happened, I inquired as to where this purported near-miss happened and he told me that he had turned right onto 4th from Rossmore and didn’t see me until it was almost too late. Mind you, we were now aaaaall the way past Highland and not only was he not at Rossmore and 4th when I crossed that quiet intersection (with the nearest southbound car a 100 or so yards away from me to the north), but now I was three blocks from La Brea and as I have a helmet-mounted rearview mirror and use it religiously I would most certainly have seen him behind me at some point between there and here, but I had not. Still, given that he was being so nice and conciliatory about it, I opted not to dispute him as either stoned, hallucinatory or perhaps confusing me with another cyclist and instead just thanked him and he moved forward.

3 ) Last but not least… well actually it is pretty trivial. But the lesson learned resonates. For the last several commutes in which I’ve traveled on Venice Bouleavard, I’ve passed a corner 99-cent store wannabe a block east of Hauser, and painted on the walls are various rough representations of some of the merchandise available inside. There’s rudimentary wristwatch and a skewed scooter and other items and in the midst of them is this nicely grafitti’d anteater that clearly falls into the “one of these things is not like the others” category. Each time I pass by I chuckle wondering what aisle the aardvarks might be on and each time I vow to stop the next time and get a picture for posterity. Well, this morning was that next time, only the animal that had been there the previous Monday had been painted out sometime between then and Christmas, dangit. That’ll teach me to put off tomorrow what I could snap today.

Sorry for the craptastic phonecam snap, but it’s all I have to work with in digitizing the check I received this morning in the amount of $61.32 for my October and November alternate-commute efforts as part of my building’s employee transportation incentive program. Doing something I enjoy and getting paid for it!? What a concept!

Here’s a day-after-Christmas addition to the Gallery of Backyarchaeology: I’ve been going down into the basement for more than three years and it wasn’t until I was under there doing some organizing December 26 that I noticed this small pulley mechanism screwed into a floor beam in relative plain sight. Its rusted condition and iron construction leads me to believe it could be anywhere from as old as the house (built in 1916) to half that. Beyond the mystery of its age, I can only wonder for what it was used.


Santa brought my bay-bee a brand new shaft-driven velocipede so we took it out on the L.A. River Bikeway Christmas day for an inaugural spin before heading downtown for a matinee of “I Am Legend,” which was disappointing, but we made up for it by riding the Bonaventure Hotel’s elevator to the top floor afterwards and then wandering around taking snaps of stuff.

Flickr photoset is here.