Archive for November, 2008

Today could be a truly pivotal day for bicycling in the city of Los Angeles what with the City Council’s special bike-themed Transportation Committee meeting taking place at City Hall.

I spent the week mulling ways in which I could take the day off and attend, but it’s just not going to happen, dammit.

So instead I’ll have to settle for being there in spirit between being in the saddle to and from work.

In other news I’m but 28 away from pedaling past my 6,000th mile for the year, which means I should arrive at that milestone this evening somewhere around the Bicycle Kitchen, appropriately.

Well that was a long night. I got home later yesterday than I have been these past couple that Susan’s been away on biz in Denver. Whereas the last time she was out of town, her stubborn Bink decided coming in at night wasn’t something he was obliged to do (and thus left me stressed out and severely sleep-deprived over several days), this time Bink was the picture of perfection; coming in when called, or just being there in his usual spot on the bed when I arrived. Hallelujah!

Rolling in around 8 p.m. last night, I was very pleasantly surprised to find Bink was once again on the bed and making my life easier for what would be the last night before Susan gets home. Jig came inside shortly thereafter, but Pepper and Pumpkin were nowhere to be seen.

After a few more consternated minutes of calling for them, I adjourned inside to feed the dogs and two cats present and accounted for, then I went back outside for another round of repeatedly calling out “Pepper!” and “Pumpkin!” over and over and over.

Finally, near 9 p.m. Pepper appeared and we went inside to grub him up.

But still no Pumpkin. And now my consternation transformed into increasing worry. See, our beloved orange feline isn’t the brightest cat in the cradle. He exhibits definitively dopey behavior pretty regularly, and can go from serene to startled on a moment’s notice — usually by his own tail. Worse, he has a history of also getting himself into predicaments. There was the time in 2004 when he treed himself across the street, and then a year or so later he seemingly vanished without a trace until Susan’s sharp ears picked up his signature near-silent mewing and we traced it to the house next door coming from a crawlspace entrance that had been open long enough for him to enter and get under the neighbor’s house where he went exploring long enough for the access panel to be closed back up, trapping him.

Needless to say I checked the area trees and fine tuned my ears for any distress calls. And I looked everywhere. I did a perimeter check around the house a dozen times. I went up and down the street calling out “Pumpkin!” repeatedly with little regard for how foolish it might look/sound.


Finally at 10:30 I called off the search. Leaving the backdoor open and the screendoor latched I put a circle of love around him so that he’d be safe wherever he was and tried to get some sleep. I suppose technically I got some, but I was also up and looking at even the slightest hint of a meow or a push of the screen or Ranger reacting to something going on outside.

Exhausted I ignored my two alarms that would usually have me up by 5 a.m. and didn’t rise until 6. An initial glance through the screendoor into the backyard showed it devoid of Pumpkin, but after grabbing a cup of coffee I turned around filled with a horrible sense of helplessness… and there was Pumpkin sitting there, finally at the end of his all-nighter.

I don’t know where he was or what prevented him from coming in, say, about nine hours earlier, but as I ushered him in any frustration was swept away by the relief that he was safe and home. And now he’s curled up on the pillow in the study as if nothing out of the ordinary happened.

The wonderful bastard.

Rowdy’d up Ranger says: You want the ball? You can’t handle the ball!

It’s not every day that the haphazard pile of foliage that is our Russian tortoise Buster’s grub inspires me to grab a cam and capture it, but then again it’s not every meal that it falls into such a display of symmetry and color:

After typically tumbling the foodstuffs into Buster’s pen, I was particularly struck at how the quartet of purple-y snail vine blossoms ended up arranged in an arc around the hibiscus bloom.

It’s been awhile since our infamously fascinating backyard has given up another tidbit of its mystery/history,  but today’s find marks one of the more intriguing in that I’m fairly certain during a long overdue raking session this morning I unearthed the above-pictured hunk of lead whose size and shape seems indicative of a bullet and whose damaged point leads me to believe it was fired. As in from a gun.

Being nothing of a ballistician I can only guess at the caliber of the projectile. A .38 or .357 mayhaps?

But the bigger question is what might have prompted its launch and at what or whom was it fired?

My friend and fellow-L.A. Metblogs contributer Frazgo posted up news yesterday about an animal attack in Monrovia in which a bicyclist was reportedly aggressively chased by a pair of coyotes near a city park and bitten.

Fraz included news of the mountain lion killing last week that triggered my first post on the subject and linked to a post about it on the Monrovia City Watch blog, as well as to another post in the aftermath of mountain lion killing in September that I did not know about. The post itself is pretty straight-forward, but a follow-up comment by the same writer — written in response to a commenter who wondered why the creature couldn’t have been tranquilzed and lamented human encroachment — really blew me away and not in a good way, Here’s what he had to say:

I’m tired of hearing that we moved into their land. This isn’t their land they were not alive when homes were built here, they were born much later. If you want to be dinner for wild animals than be my guest or if you want to feed your children or pets to them then do it but don’t tell me that this is their land.

If you subscribe to that theory then where do you start and finish. Man doesn’t have a place on the planet because others were here before him. Non Native Americans don’t belong in the United States, we need to leave. Mountain Lions shouldn’t kill deer because they have a right to be here this is their land also.

We have a duty to keep ourselves, our families and neighbors safe and sooner or later we are going to have to start killing the animals that would kill us. We are the reason that they are so prolific because we provide an easy living for them that allows them to thrive in numbers that were unheard of a few hundred years ago.

There is no place to relocate them that does not allow their quick return and that makes all in danger and they have become accustom to us and we and our pets have entered their food chain and we are quickly becoming the prime target because we are the weakest, slowest and easiest Kill.

Obviously I submitted a differing point of view — surprisingly diplomatic in tone — that attempted to counter this fellow’s misperceptions. Unfortunately they were sent via an email form that the blogger can then decide to post or not (I’m betting not) and I didn’t copy them to paste them up here.

So suffice it to say that such a myopic and misinformed point of view is pretty aggravating.

Barring vacations these last couple years, I can’t recall being off my bike for such a span of time. And certainly none so long when I’ve been able and available to ride. Until this morning when I pedaled to work, the last time I was in the saddle was October 31.

Twelve days.

I blamed going bike-less last week on a variety of issues, one of which was my workload. And that certainly didn’t get any better this week. But with the last hurdle overcome this morning, this is pretty much the first day in which sighs of relief are available to me.

One of those sighs of relief was the fact that I still have a job. On top of everything else I’ve absorbed and processed (to varying degrees of success and failure) this last month or so, the doozy came Tuesday when a mandatory all-staff meeting was called.

Historically, there are three things that have happened when we’ve been hastily congregated into the conference room — all usually having something to do with the losing of jobs. Tuesday’s was no different other than it being on a larger scale and driven by the state of the business.

Thankfully, my value as an employee was enough to keep me on the roster — which was cause for an extra sigh of relief for me, if from nothing more than a timing standpoint. See, it will be three years ago this week that the zoo showed me the door and you know damn well I’d be looking to kick November coincidence in the big fat ass if I suddenly became gainlessly unemployed so close to that still-stinging anniversary.

But it got me thinking or perhaps opportunistically rationalizing my somewhat inexplicable extended swap of two wheels for four. With the vibe at work being rather depressing these last couple months, I’m curious if perhaps I sensed a change a-coming and subconsciously wanted to be able to make a quick getaway if the bell tolled for me?

Hard to say.

But the bell didn’t and I’m back in the saddle.

Two good things.