Archive for December, 2007

The Morning After

Wednesday, December 26th, 2007


Walking to the kitchen to get the coffee started and begin contemplating my resolutions for the new year this early Christmas-Plus-One Day I found our stately tree framed in the foyer and couldn’t resist setting up this one-last-shot in the dark, a six-second exposure (click to quadruplify).

Gallery of Backyarchaeology

Monday, December 24th, 2007

Well it ain’t as fancy as I’d been thinking of doing it, but it’s done. After these several years of writing about various finds excavated from the trove that is our backyard (such as the World War II-era German army helmet unearthed in 2006), I finally got all the crap together, set up a cheapass version of a desktop photo studio (consisting of a few sheets of propped-up paper and an overhead light, and digitally documented the collection haphazardly, but at least it’s all in one place in the form of this Flickr photoset, with room to grow as new trinkets, trifles, treasures and trash trickle in.

@ Peace

Monday, December 24th, 2007

So not only did I do enough riding to put me past my revised annual goal (passing it somewhat appropriately in the bike lane on Riverside Drive by the Los Angeles Equestrian Center), but I also paid visits to IKEA, Supply Sergeant and OSH in Burbank before coming back through Griffith Park and over Los Feliz to Wacko and Uncle Jer’s all for some last-minute stocking stuffer shopping of various frivilousity.

By the time I left my last stop it was dark, and my pack was loaded down large with and I got home to find my baby a bit under the weather, but not enough to keep her from making an awesome pork soup before curling up on the couch to find out there was nothing on TV worth wasting our time with other than “Spiderman 2.”

But before we turned it off Ranger and Jig curled up alongside her and each other and though I had to resort to use of the cam’s blinding flash, I managed to capture the animals’ quiet time together.

(click to triplify)


Up & Over

Sunday, December 23rd, 2007

Gotta go over to mom’s in Burbank today to help her with something so I’ve pre-charted a 20-mile course that’s gonna get me upriver over there and then to IKEA to stock up on $2 battery-operated LED light strings for next Christmas, then down to the Supply Sergeant on Victory near Magnolia because I rarely miss an opp when in the vicinity to browse its military surplus goodness, then back through Griffith Park and Los Feliz Village down to Wacko then Uncle Jer’s for some random stocking stuffer shopping before coming home.

And at somewhere right about this point in today’s journey I’ll pedal into my 3,000th mile for the year (with each and every route and ride chronicled and charted here). To put it a bit in perspective… my 10-year-old truck rolled past the 100,000 mile mark on May 4. In the seven months since then I’ve only put 1,700 miles on its odometer, while having biked more than 2,000.

Heavenly Coffee

Sunday, December 23rd, 2007

I’ve written before of the single bag of local coffee we purchased at the airport in Kigali on our way out of Rwanda back to Kenya when we visited Africa in 2005 and how it turned out to be the best coffee we’ve ever had. After we’d quickly emptied the bag I tried on several occasions to arrange shipment directly from the company since their beans weren’t available in the U.S. Eventually I connected with their marketing manager who kindly informed me via email that a 12-ouncer would run me $7 — not including shipping via DHL, which would be $265.

It was good coffee, but not that good.

Fast forward a few months ago and I get an email from a Doug Sherman in Massachusetts who wrote me because I believe he’d either found my trip pix on Flickr or my journal of our travels in Africa and had some questions about a Rwanda excursion he was thinking about making with his wife during their upcoming trip there.

coffee.jpgIn the exchange that ensued I encouraged him to take advantage of the opportunity and answered his questions as best I could and at the close of one of my emails I think I practically begged him to bring us back a bag of coffee. He said he’d be happy to.

It arrived yesterday. And while it is a different company (COOPAC) than that which produced the bag we bought we’re nonetheless brewing up our first pot of Café de Maraba in anticipation as we speak. Thank you Doug!

Night Riding

Saturday, December 22nd, 2007

I think my brainstem mighta gotten a touch o’ the frostbite during the combined 40 miles of cycling that I did last night between 7:30 p.m. and 1:30 a.m., because I’m up this morning with a killer base-of-the-skull headache perhaps from improperly thawing my cranium out afterwards. In other words, it was COLD last night.

I started off by channeling my inner agitator/guerrilla and rolling up to Griffith Park to participate in the looooong overdue storming of the DWP Lights Festival, which Militant Angeleno accurately recounts as being somewhat anticlimactic thanks to everyone — cars, bikes and authorized enforcement personnel — just getting along like it was a perfect world or some such nonsense.

If there was a single moment that summed up the glory of that ride it came near the beginning as we were splitting the gridlocked lanes on our way to the entrance to to the light show. I was riding behind a regular night rider buddy named Al who’s sound-system equipped bike was blasting Twister Sister’s wholly appropriate and rocking version of “Oh Come All Ye Faithful!”

Joyful and triumphant, indeed!

Once out the other end we gathered at the L.A. Zoo parking lot and ultimately decided to push the envelope by riding against traffic from whence we’d come. But instead of being netted in some sort of multi-agency coordinated effort to quell the uprising we were instead greeted by congenial horn honking and shouts of “Merry Christmas!” and “Happy Holidays!”emanating from inside the darkened interiors of the vehicles that we passed heading south.

From there I joined a contingent of riders heading to the Chinatown Gold Line station for what would be my first Sins ‘N Sprockets ride, which ventured south as far as Slauson and Soto and then east to Eastern and Washington, stopping at various libationary destinationaries along the way.

The cool moment for me during that ride came when I was approached by a young lady named Karen with “I know where I recognize you from!” and she proceeded to wow me with her recall ability by reminding me that she had been on the one-and-only Downtown Art Ride I’d led some 16 months previous whose duty I’d volunteered for to help out its organizers Eric and Dave who were both predisposed at that time. Shortly thereafter her husband Charlie came up and it came back to me that I’d encouraged both of them to check out Midnight Ridazz — which I remember they did the next time around.

In my ignorance I asked Charlie how many Sins ‘N Sprockets they’d done.

“Well, we pretty much created it,” he said.

Doh! No idea much?

From my clear case of cluelessness, I found some solace in the fact that there were but a few degrees of separation that existed between me and them: from my art ride in April of 2006 to their first Midnight Ridazz the following month to them organizing and building up their own monthly bike outing. And a popular one it’s become at that — not that I’m taking any kind of credit, just saying it’s cool that I was a player in that process.

Here’s a snap of Charlie and Karen getting set to get the ride moving again from Soto and Slauson:


Rolling back into downtown I split off as they made the final right from Cesar Chavez onto Alameda back to the ride’s endpoint in Chinatown. Climbing solo up over Sunset back home, I rolled in cold and tired at around 1:30, only 13 miles away from 3,000 rolled for the year.

Here’s the combined route on Gmaps, and here’s the photoset on Flickr.

Morning Snap: Wreath Needles & Raindrops

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007



(click to quadruplify)

I’m loving the rain (while at the same time hoping it doesn’t bring about slides in the burn areas), but then again it looks like it’s gonna linger  through today and even tomorrow which’ll keep me off my bike and stuck about 50 miles from the 3,000-mile mark I would have passed today had the weather stayed fair.