Archive for June, 2008

Having just crossed La Cienega Boulevard on my ride home tonight I sighted a folded up dollar on the street and stopped to celebrate the find. She’s nothing but a buck and a mangy, beat-up one at that but she’s still legal tender and she’s all mine mine mine.

Clifford over at his blog Asymptotia has a great post up about the cycling he does and enjoys in Los Angeles and wonders what the best answer might be to strangers who see him on his bike and assume incorrectly that its all about the price of gas, while at Franklin Avenue Mike blogs some love for Silver Lake’s L.A. Mill Coffee Boutique and its upcoming Free Coffee Day (June 24) to celebrate its six-month anniversary. Mike also provides details on a charity event to be hosted at L.A. Mill that day called Bikes To Rwanda whose aim is to provide bicycles to cooperative coffee farmers in that country.

Reading about that reminded me of one of the photos I took from our African honeymoon in 2005 of Rwandans on the road from Ruhengeri, two of many who were pushing bikes bearing large and heavy containers of freshwater they’d filled at lakes some distance away, and so I posted the link to its page on my Flickr photostream in my comment to Mike’s post suggesting that not just bikes are needed, but bike trailers, too. Here’s the image:

Can you imagine having to do such an epic chore? Perhaps once a week or once every couple days? Hell, I’ve been bitching to myself this week because of the extra weight of the couple additional cans of Diet Pepsi I’ve brought in my backpack from home with me on my morning commutes (because the office vending machine owner just raised the price of their beverages 15 cents to $1.40). What if it was a couple hundred pounds of water I was obligated to get to Point B and mostly uphill?

The answer is I’d do what I have to do and so let’s go back to Clifford’s post. One of the comments a reader submitted somewhat sheepishly is something I regularly hear and boils down to the impracticality of a bike. I myself don’t disagree as evidenced by the truck I own and that I most recently used to go to Granada Hills and back at the end of May for graduation events at my daughter Katie’s high school, and to Costco a week later. We drove to my mom’s last night for a belated birthday/anniversary dinner in Burbank.

But the combination of Clifford’s post yielding that comment and Mike’s post making me recall that photo of those burdened Rwandan men got me thinking — and none of it profound. It just made me realize that no matter how ultimately successful and determined we humans are as a species, we are cursed with the ability to find a rationale for not doing something.

Can those Rwandans afford the luxury of options. Of course not. They and their families need water to survive and that’s the most efficient means available to them to get it.

So conversely to all the excuses we can raise in defense of the status quo, humans are nevertheless remarkably adaptable and capable. We can do what we have to do whether we have no choice or make the choice. And just as readily as we can avoid doing anything we don’t want to do — until we have no choice but to.

On his bike my friend Stephen has been sporting a simple declarative sticker given to him by a fellow rider that grows more awesome with each new gas-price increase and thus is something I’ve been coveting of late. But in this day and internest age why waaaaaaaaaait around hoping for a handout when you can crack open photoshop or some similar program, upload the file to any of several makeyerownstuffdotcoms, and voila!

So in photoshop I mimicked what I’d seen on Stephen’s bike, then I visited a few days ago, blew the dust off my dormant account and rustled me up batch o’ these (which arrived yesterday):

While they last I’ll be packing them with me on my various group and solo ridings around town so if you see me give me a shout and I’ll hook you up if I have one. Or boy howdy: go make some for yerself!

UPDATED (12.28): Better yet, support a fellow cyclist/creative type by getting some directly from the guy I just learned is the OG in the triple-zero sticker realm. He goes by the nom du net of Jonny5 and has a pretty serious grudge against goats, but he sells some sweet sticker action at

For as organized as I purport myself to be, the drawers containing my socks, briefs and t-shirts tell a much different story. So badly overstuffed and everything poorly folded, it’s entirely feasible that I could easily place something new in there and not see it again for months — or longer, if I didn’t go digging and chance upon it.

Such is the case of this favorite shirt of mine:

Susan and I found it in Venice, Italy, last year. If memory serves, we had just crossed the Rialto Bridge across the Grand Canal and found ourselves in the midst of a produce market. During our walk that day I had seen this shirt from other souvenir vendors — drawn to it for ob(ike)vious reasons — but I had held off getting on because it didn’t exactly speak to me of Venezia.

Then the next shirt spot we passed after leaving the produce market had one and i said what the hey I had to have it. In the time since I’d worn it a couple times… maybe three. As such it slowly got rotated to the bottom of a shirt drawer, and I only found it today buried at the bottom of one of two drawers holding some shirts I may not have worn since 2005. Outta sight, outta mind.

Time for a purge methinks.

As to whether the reproduction of the bicycle sketch on the shirt represents proof that Leonardo Da Vinci “invented” a bicycle about 300 years before the development of the modern version … well that’s open to debate. Some see it as a downright hoax, others believe somewhat romantically that it’s legit.

Yesterday, Buster our tortoise took most of the morning to find the snack of snail vine blossoms I left for her (which she then devoured within minutes).

This morning within minutes of installing her foodstuffs (with another generous helping of snail blossoms), she was aaaaalllll over it, allowing the TortoiseCam to capture what I consider to be the very definition — the quintescensce, if you will — of reptilian nom nom.

P.S. Yes, a picture of Buster’s famed and much beloved namesake* was added just because I could.

*And don’t start about me naming a female Buster. When I first began caring for the fugitive tortoise back in 2001 I thought she was a he — and either way the stoic resemblance is there.

About 45 seconds in, “Billy C” may or may not be someone you recognize:

It took more than four hours for Buster to discover the snackables, but there she is exiting the scene of the carnage for a much-needed high-noon nap,

In case you missed out on all the feeding frenzy fun, I managed to capture images of Buster going stone cold-blooded off on the edibles and they’re viewable via this slideshow on Flickr.