Archive for May, 2008

Catching Up Is Hard To Do

Friday, May 30th, 2008

Been a bit dormant here the last couple days. Sorry ’bout that. I’m happy to report that my “Ride of a Lifetime” ended up being a 70-mile affair and when I got home pretty much the only thing I did was play catch with the dog, drink a couple tall Pabstsesses and watch the clock drawing to the time when I had to get cleaned up, suited and over to Granada Hills High School for my daughter’s graduation yesterday evening.

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Both the outrageous birthday bike trek and my Katie’s awesome achievement have left me in a bit of a proud and contemplative state of solitude, but yesterday in between beers I did manage to upload a buncha photos of the pedaling portion of the day here on Flickr, with links to photos of the specific places on the list:

  1. Good Samaritan Hospital, Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles (May 29, 1964)
  2. S. McCarty Drive, Beverly Hills ( – 1966?)
  3. Westminster Avenue, Los Angeles (1966? – 1970?)
  4. S. Hamilton Drive, Beverly Hills (1970? – 1972)
  5. S. Tower Drive, Beverly Hills (1972 – 1974)
  6. Holly Drive, Hollywood (1974 – 1977)
  7. S. Wilton Place, Hollywood (1977 – 1979)
  8. S. Hamilton Drive, Beverly Hills (1979 – 1983)
  9. Murietta Avenue, Van Nuys (1983 – 1984)
  10. Beverly Glen Boulevard, Sherman Oaks (1984 – 1986)
  11. Fulton Avenue, Van Nuys (1986 – 1988)
  12. W. Tujunga Avenue, Burbank (1988 – 1990)
  13. Verdugo Avenue, Glassell Park (1990 – 1990)
  14. E. Palmer Avenue, Glendale (1990 – 1991)
  15. Murietta Avenue, Van Nuys (1991 – 1991)
  16. Beverly Glen Boulevard, Sherman Oaks (1991 – 1994)
  17. Murietta Avenue, Van Nuys, (1994 – 1994)
  18. Seabury Lane, Beverly Glen (1994 – 1995)
  19. Burbank Boulevard, Encino (1995 – 2001)
  20. Beverly Glen Boulevard, Sherman Oaks (2001 – 2003)
  21. Del Mar Avenue, Silver Lake (2003 – 2004)
  22. N. Occidental Boulevard, Silver Lake (2004 – )

And this morning I got around to building a rough-n-ready composite of the narrative video clips I captured at various points along the bike route the way and foisted it onto YouTube:

It’s About Time

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

There are two ways you can read that headline: 1) As coming from someone whose patience is waning, or 2) As coming from someone answering “What’s this about?”

From my perspective I’m way more in the No. 2 camp. See, this Thursday it will be 44 years to the day that I came into this world at 7:08 a.m., delivered via C-section at Good Samaritan Hospital, across the street from Pacific Dining Car restaurant. I like to wonder who might have been having their breakfast a baseball steak’s throw away from me when I got hauled into the cold and light.

If you happen to be nothing more than acquainted with me you might roll your eyes when I tell you that I really have no issues with the number. Why not? July 6, 1994, that’s why not. Folks who either know me well enough or those whose visits here have happened to coincide with some sort of exploratory recap of that particular evening might recollect I could have died that night. But since I didn’t — whether it be for the grace of god or a fluke of impact physics, or vertebrae density/resilience/flex, or the fact that I’m a tough sumbitch who can go motorcycle helmet-first into the side of a car at 40mph and stand up right away with a wrecked head and a flood of blood — pretty much every day since has been a gift too precious to get too bogged down worrying about the trivial realities that come with hiking further into middle age. The scars and damage I suffered may still bother me, but the wrinkles and the gray? I’m just glad to be here to have ’em.

krpdyum.jpgYeah, but do I hop up out of bed and greet every single day with a whistle and a grin? Hell nah. I’m not some sort of carpe diem freak. It may all be gravy to me these past 14 years but sometimes that gravy is lumpy and cold and gloppy.

But this Thursday the gravy’s gonna be savory — in part because I’ve decided to do something I wouldn’t normally do and take the day off work… so that I can do something I wouldn’t normally do and start eeeeeeeeeearly spending the better part of the day celebrating the milestone by pedaling a 68-mile route around the city that’s been percolating in the cranium for quite some time under the working title of “This Is Your Life” ride.

That might be something of a misnomer, because it isn’t really anchored on specific events of my life so much as all the places I’ve lived during that time. Thus will I be pedaling to each of the 16 addresses I’ve lived at throughout the first semi-nomadic half of my life (assuming I’m indeed somewhere in the middle of it) — and my first stop will be Good Sam Hospital where it all began. I’ve charted the 68.3-miles via Gmaps as follows:

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Chronologically speaking, here’s the where and when (any question marks early on indicate approximations and do not take into account a period of my very early childhood spent living with my grandmother in Carbon Hill, Ala.):

  1. Good Samaritan Hospital, Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles (May 29, 1964)
  2. S. McCarty Drive, Beverly Hills ( – 1966?)
  3. Westminster Avenue, Los Angeles (1966? – 1970?)
  4. S. Hamilton Drive, Beverly Hills (1970? – 1972)
  5. S. Tower Drive, Beverly Hills (1972 – 1974)
  6. Holly Drive, Hollywood (1974 – 1977)
  7. S. Wilton Place, Hollywood (1977 – 1979)
  8. S. Hamilton Drive, Beverly Hills (1979 – 1983)
  9. Murietta Avenue, Van Nuys (1983 – 1984)
  10. Beverly Glen Boulevard, Sherman Oaks (1984 – 1986)
  11. Fulton Avenue, Van Nuys (1986 – 1988)
  12. W. Tujunga Avenue, Burbank (1988 – 1990)
  13. Verdugo Avenue, Glassell Park (1990 – 1990)
  14. E. Palmer Avenue, Glendale (1990 – 1991)
  15. Murietta Avenue, Van Nuys (1991 – 1991)
  16. Beverly Glen Boulevard, Sherman Oaks (1991 – 1994)
  17. Murietta Avenue, Van Nuys, (1994 – 1994)
  18. Seabury Lane, Beverly Glen (1994 – 1995)
  19. Burbank Boulevard, Encino (1995 – 2001)
  20. Beverly Glen Boulevard, Sherman Oaks (2001 – 2003)
  21. Del Mar Avenue, Silver Lake (2003 – 2004)
  22. N. Occidental Boulevard, Silver Lake (2004 – )

For purposes of the most mileage-efficient route we will not be going in chrono order, instead it will be as follows:

  1. Good Samaritan Hospital
  2. Del Mar Avenue, Silver Lake
  3. S. Wilton Place, Hollywood
  4. Holly Drive, Hollywood
  5. Westminster Avenue, Los Angeles
  6. S. Tower Drive, Beverly Hills
  7. S. Hamilton Drive, Beverly Hills
  8. S. McCarty Drive, Beverly Hills
  9. Seabury Lane, Beverly Glen
  10. Beverly Glen Boulevard, Sherman Oaks
  11. Burbank Boulevard, Encino
  12. Murietta Avenue, Van Nuys
  13. Fulton Avenue, Van Nuys
  14. S. Tujunga Avenue, Burbank
  15. Verdugo Avenue, Glassell Park
  16. E. Palmer Avenue, Glendale
  17. N. Occidental Boulevard, Silver Lake

If this seems an outlandish thing to do, I’ve done more over-the-top stuff. A couple years ago with the help of Susan and my good friend Rachel Rausch I summited Death Valley’s 11,049-foot Telescope Peak my last day as a 41 year old and for the first morning of my 42nd year bombed the 17-miles and 8,000-feet elevation drop between the Mahogany Flat campground and the Panamint Valley floor.

To me this seems totally tame in comparison.

“Recount” Bummed Me Out

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

The Memorial Day weekend was rolling strong and steady. Dodger game Friday. Errands and “Indiana Jones” Saturday. Then Sunday Susan and I rose early to drive out the 5 to the 126 all the way out to San Buenaventura to explore the town a bit and ride bikes along the awesome Ventura River Trail and back. I’m not one to rave about fastfood burgers but on the drive back home we stopped at Burger King and I couldn’t get enough of their new Angus Steakburger. Yumma.

We got back around 4 p.m. and a couple hours later I punched eight-year-old bruises watching Recount on HBO and yesterday was pretty much a bust in that I put out the flag and then was pretty much grumbling and grousing around the house rather than out on my bike riding out to Los Angeles National Cemetery and back as planned.

I managed to be somewhat productive. I got laundry done. I patched a flat on my mountain bike. I broke up and green-binned the quartet of fallen palm fronds that for whatever reason the gardeners didn’t touch. I cleaned up my singlespeeder — I even carved out a patch to plant the sunflower seeds I received last week as part of the Great Sunflower Project. Heck I also managed a late-inning sweep up of the backyard before Susan grilled us up a fine pair of porterhouses and we enjoyed Richard Widmark, Thelma Ritter and Jean Peters (and a young Richard Kiley!) in the highly recommendable 1953 Sam Fuller noir classic Pickup On South Street.

So it’s not like I just sat on my hands in some sort of paralyzed state as the World’s Angriest and Past-Dwelling Democrat, but the movie definitely took the wind out of my sails bringing back some bad memories on yesterday’s Memorial Day.

A Bit O’ This & A Bit O’ That

Saturday, May 24th, 2008

Pretty productive morning.

  1. Got a package sent off to the winning eBay bidder in Virginia — his prize a pair of Justin camel/elkskin boots I’ve had for 20 years and worn maybe four times during that period.
  2. Got a haircut, while Susan got our grocery shopping done.
  3. Went to see a matinee of “Indiana Jones” and it was okay in a shoulder-shruggy way. Having Indy pronounce “nuclear” as “noo-kyoo-lur” and have Shia TheBeef’s first appearance onscreen be in a total ripoff of Marlon Brando’s character in “The Wild One” did nothing to endear the film to me, but the action sequences rocked.

And when we got home I rescued a grasshopper that I suspect Pepper of bringing inside. The thing wound up in the space between the stove and counter and I somehow managed to shepherd it into a paper bag that I then used to carry outside for its release on the fence where it proved to be in no hurry to get anywhere in particular so I grabbed the cam and got some up-close shots of it, like this one that’s clickably biggifiable, of course:

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Rain Delay

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

10:11 p.m. 2-1 in favor of the Cards. Bottom of the ninth. One out. Bases empty. Three balls and two strikes to Matt Kemp. Then the sky opened up and two minutes after this shot was snapped umpires said no more and out came the tarps.

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Not only have I never been to a Dodger game before by bike. But I’ve never been to one where it rained, much less delayed the game.

Dare I admit that my friend Michael and I bailed out of our seats and took refuge under the eaves. And not long after the umpires ordered the field cleared we ordered ourselves out of the stadium to our bikes and homeward.

Empty Nest

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

So she’s all by herself now, the tiny momma spider who tended her egg sac for weeks in the notch above our front door until her multitude of offspring emerged from it this past weekend. Alone again, naturally. It’s kind of sad because now that she’s done her duty she might herself be done. I don’t know why that chokes me up, a bit. But it does.

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The thumbnail on the left was snapped this morning with not a baby in her immediate vicinity. The thumbnail on the right shows the nearest one who’s begun its journey through life by first moving a few feet away to the the other side of the door frame. The pencil eraser included in that image is not there to rub out the spiderling, but to give a better idea of how truly tiny these little eight-leggers are — especially when considering the previous and scale-less macro pix I snapped of them (here and here).

FOUR!!!!

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

I can’t believe it’s less than a month shy of two freakin’ years ago when I last did this, but that’s not stopping me from entering into a golf tournament that’ll be taking place at this championship course as part of an industry convention I’ll be attending this September in Savannah, Ga.

I’ve got four months to go find some semblance of game — but make no mistake about me harboring any delusions of grandeur. By “semblance of a game” I mean one that only sucks versus one that ultra-superdooper sucks.