Archive for June, 2008

Well, I’m glad I asked. Last week, something made me wonder where my bike-commute subsidy moola might be for the months of March/April and so I sent an email to the Howard Hughes Center’s transportation coordinator. Typically it arrives a month or so after logs are submitted, but here we were nearing the end of the second month and I got nothing.

Good thing I got curious because the transportation coordinator told me I had not been forgotten and that a Visa gift card for my commutes along with a bonus card for riding my bike on May’s Bike To Work Week had been delivered more than a couple weeks ago. I asked around to the appropriate people in the office, but nope: nothing had been delivered along those lines for me.

So emails went back and forth until finally new Visa gift cards were reissued and delivered today ($68.50 for the March/April commutes and $25.50 (WOO HOO!) for the Bike To Work Day ride, so dang if I ain’t $94 mad money dollars richer — all for just riding my bike:

And hell, I just remembered I’ve still got $25 left on the gift card from my January/February commutes.

The early afternoon run to Home Depot Sunday was a success in procuring the materials I’d need to build the lid to cover the main part of the tortoise hutch begun and completed Saturday. By the time I got home it was hot and I wasn’t really planning on commencing construction, but with Susan still out running errands, and the primary option being long overdue vacuuming, I figured what the hell and got busy.

I am remiss in that I did not document the build in-progress. But it was hot and I was baking and so instead I snapped the following pix of the ceiling in place and attached on this the morning after:

I added the images to the end of the Flickr photoset from Saturday, viewable here.

It’s funny, when you think about the materials involved in putting together a 5′ x 5′ outdoor pen for our Russian tortoise Buster — four boards, four legs, slats, screening material and some brackets it seems like putting it all together would take hardly any time at all.

Four hours later, I finally was done — with stage one. Still to come before adding Buster is construction of a hinged and lockable custom roof screen, plus I have to decorate the interior with a layer of dirt/bedding, and a covered space (with heating element)… but she’s gonna love it! At least as much as a chelonian can love anything.

Flickr set of the above images of the work in progress is here.

Our Russian tortoise Buster, whom you may have seen recently in a far more active mode, likes to position herself in the late afternoons to catch the last of the day’s rays as the sun sets behind the Micheltorena Ridge, and only minds it a little bit when I encroach with my cam on such quiet, reflective times (click to triplify):

Work on a long-overdue 5′ x 5′ outdoor enclosure begins today.

Inaugural entry here: Leonardo

Back a few months after I got my Street Legal tee-shirts completed, my friend and sincere cyclista Mihai’s main squeeze Brigitte (also a dedicated rider) emailed me saying how much she’d like to buy a his ‘n hers set to surprise her beau for his upcoming birthday.

Buy? Down to the last few of the supply of 24 that I’d been happily giving away to friends and acquaintances, I certainly wasn’t going to start charging now and I packed ’em up and sent them to her and she contacted me when they arrived, thrilled.

T’was my pleasure Brigitte.

Last week I got an email from her telling me she’d like to return the favor in the form of a shirt she’d created whose typographic design is a timely call to action that plays off the iconic Robert Indiana Love sculpture from the 1970s and she wondered if I’d like one. What do you think I said:

It arrived a few days ago, looking awesome. On the back it reads Nov. 4 in the same style. Not only is it an insta-fave but thanks to a purge of my dresser drawers last weekend I have room for it and it won’t get buried.

Thank you, Brigitte!

My guess is they were after the bike. Probably saw it on the porch from across the street, but couldn’t tell it was secured to the house with a cable lock and a Kryptonite u-lock.

I had only a minute or two earlier slid the deadbolt and shut off the front door entry light and the living room light, and maybe that was the signal the coast was clear, presuming they were casing the place. Trouble for them was I adjourned to the kitchen to refill water and kibble bowls for the night and after that was done gave Jiggy and Pepper a goodnight pet then ventured back up to the front of the house to give Pumpkin a cuddle where he lay on the comfy chair next to Buster.

If Pumpkin hadn’t been camped out there I might’ve missed all the fun. Because in a textbook case of good timing, when I stood up and looked out the window, that’s when I first saw them. There were two, their forms silhouetted and creeping up the front steps from the sidewalk. If our tenant Joe were still alive I might have presumed they were visitors as it wasn’t entirely odd for people to come see him late at night. But Joe’s not here anymore and we obviously weren’t expecting anybody so I strode to the door threw the bolt back with a thwack! and before the door was open the pair had turned tail and run.

“What’s all this about, huh?” I boomed as I yanked the door back and barreled past the screen door. But the only answer was their rapidly beating footsteps northbound toward Sunset.

“Yeah, you better run!” I yelled after them. Then I trotted down to see if I could get a better visual as they fled, but they were already long gone. Then I realized I was standing in the middle of the street in my underwear. And I didn’t give a shit.

After Susan came to the door from getting ready for bed wondering what was going on, I told her as I moved the bike inside. Then I called the nonemergency LAPD number and passed along the info that I’d just chased a couple of trespassing hoodlums off and if a unit was available to prowl the area they might find the punks looking for other thefts to make from less wary and reactive residents.

It was a safe bet they wouldn’t come back around here, but still I stood watch on the porch for a few minutes in case they were stupid enough to return for an encore. Then I came inside and took up a position in the library window. Then I sat down to tap this out hoping it would help dispell the adrenaline and the hackles-up disgust I have for petty cockroach snatch-n-grabbers who have no respect for property that’s not their own.

Click here to see the best footage yet of Buster the Russian tortoise going full nom on her foodstuffs!