Archive for August, 2008

Watering the plants in the side yard, I tried to dislodge what I thought to be an abandoned cobweb spun between the hose and the house by spritzing it only to discover it was most certainly still occupied by a wet western widow who barged out of her hiding place to see what the hell was going on.

I’m surprised I actually finished watering first instead of just dropping the hose and running to get my cam. Here’s the best snap I got, a macro, from about an inch or so away (any non-arachnipobes who are still here can click to triplify):

Given the lack of definition to the telltale hourglass-shaped coloration on its abdomen, at first I thought it might have been what I’ve heard of commonly referred to as a “false widow,” but it turns out to be the western variety. Yes, the regional equivalent of the “most venomous spider in North¬† America.”


Did I kill it? Of course not. Why should I? I’d rather marvel and respect then freak and destroy. And besides, it’s not hurting anything accept the critters it preys on, so instead of harming it I actually apologized for disturbing it and then intruding upon it with my point-n-shoot.

Back in February I called bullshit on a neighbor, who for whatever reason rather than during a day during the workweek, purposefully schedules his gardening crew to come do their yardwork on Saturday mornings and on that particular one they spent a combined bunch of hours with an illegal gas-powered leafblower going full blast and I had enough.

The compromise achieved since is that the gardeners still come Saturdays (WTF’s up with that?) but at least they use an entirely legal electric leafblower that he’s provided them. Small victory.

At around that same time our gardeners (whose regular day is Friday) came on a Saturday with their own gas-powered leafblower I guess because they’d been unable to make their regular appoinment and Susan shut them down and sent them packing — and then followed it up with a call to the head of the crew strictly forbidding the future use of the heinous devices.

Fast forward to yesterday morning when the crew came earlier than usual. They set upon trimming the shrubbery in the front yard and just as I was coming out the front door with my bike to head to work they powered up a fucking gas-powered leafblower and the kid manning it came up onto the porch to use every last bit of overtorqued horsepower to blow the six leaves that were there off it.

I can only wonder how long or short our “ban” had lasted and imagine the disdain from next door if my neighbors heard this coming from our property. Gah!

I wasted no time telling the kid to shut the thing down and then told him that we had made it clear back in February that those machines were not to be used here. That they’re against the law.¬† Whether he knew or not, I don’t know. I don’t care, and as I left for work he and another worker with him reluctantly had rakes in their hands to clean up.

At various points throughout the day I made bets with myself as to how long this latest “moratorium” would last and I decided to make it permanent by telling Susan last night that it was time for them to go and for me to take over the semi-monthly duties. Hell, the backyard’s already been my domain for a couple years since we no longer allow them in there because they had proved on a couple occasions that closing gates they opened was a difficult task. And the $100 a month saved will pay for any hedging/trimming equipment I might need.

But no blowers.

Cut loose from the office early this afternoon, I celebrated the beginning of my four-day Labor Day weekend with a sunshiny ride home that included a stop at Scoops in the Bicycle Zone for some green tea caramel ice cream (that I enjoy on-camera) before heading home. The surprise last frame to me is the very quintescence of a holiday weekend: beer. dog. ball. let’s play:

So because I knowz you can’t get enough of my timelapsificationz, here’s the Youtuber of this morning’s trip into work along the route I call the “right angle” owing as it mainly follows Hoover south and then Jefferson east, as opposed to any of the “staircase” treks I make across town via 4th Street and Venice:

So far, so good. Since my first roll Friday morning across the stretch of Ballona Creek Bikeway that includes the spot where a cyclist was attacked and robbed last week, I’ve encountered nothing that would even be considered remotely menacing.

Here’s the timelapse from this morning’s creekside ride from Dusquene in Culver City to Inglewood Boulevard in Mar Vista:

Boldly Going: Ballona Creek Bikeway – 08.02.25 from Will Campbell on Vimeo.

Even though the first few trips haven’t shown me any dangers lurking out there, I retrieved an item from the depths of a desk drawer that has about a 50/50 chance of either helping me or getting me in trouble.

No it’s not a gun or a knife. It’s a telescoping steel baton that I bought a year or so ago when I worked at DirecTV for a few months and was biking home through Inglewood, Crenshaw, Leimert Park and east along Exposition Boulevard. Fully collapsed it’s about seven inches long. Fully extended it’s about 21. It came with a handy belt holster. But even unconcealed its pretty much illegal to carry and I never had the guts to do so. I never even brought it with in my backpack a time or two because how often does one have time to unzip and retrieve something when you’re in the process of getting jumped? Not often.

Anyway, I brought it out into the light and took it out in the backyard and swung it around. It felt good in my hand and I imagined an epic scenario where I produce the weapon much to the surprise of the thugs closing in on me. Then I imagined the baton being taken from me and used against me. And so I whacked the thing against a river rock until it bent and would not compact, then I dismantled it into its segments and put it in the recycle bin.

I’m mostly a firm believer of it being better to have something and not need it rather than vice versa, but that doesn’t apply to fear.

I know this because I am keeper of both the receipt and the pipecase (and a really crappy scanner):

In light of the recent attack on a cyclist riding on the Ballona Creek Bikeway and to counter the growing perception of the route as too dangerous to traverse, I’m extending my morning and evening workweek commutes to include the section where the attack occurred. There’s a definite criminal element accessing the route and I’m not trying to say there isn’t, I’m just trying to showcase that it ain’t 24/7.

Here’s a timelapse of how she looked Friday at 7 p.m. from Inglewood Avenue and the Mar Vista Gardens projects inland to Dusquene Avenue in Culver City:

Ballona Creek Bikeway from Will Campbell on Vimeo.