Archive for June, 2009

For no reason this morning I opened up a folder on my computer containing the thousands upon thousand of images from our African honeymoon that began four years ago next month. This is the first photo I clicked on of a solitary black rhino backdropped by the jawdropping vastness and grandeur of a mist-shrouded Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania (click for the bigger picture):


Susan and I have strung together a remarkable series of vacations beginning with this one in 2005. The following year we did our 4,500-mile Western states roadtrip, in 2007 we cruised all the way around Italy and visited Paris, and last year we explored the rich history of Central Mexico.

We hadn’t planned on a full-tilt vacation for 2009 primarily because of the work on the house (the last bits of which are being completed this week), and also in part because we’re going to Yosemite to enjoy the famed Bracebridge Dinner for Christmas with my mom thanks to her generosity. I also have hopes for a November excursion to Death Valley to bike the Racetrack Playa road and camp out on the dry lakebed.

But last night Susan wondered about doing something to get away. “I need some time off,” she declared imperatively.

Read ya loud and clear, sweetie.

So I’m thinking a couple options: a road trip up to Monterey and then a meander back down Highway 1 for stops at Big Sur and Hearst Castle. Or south for a long weekend in San Diego with a sidetrip to Tijuana.

Stuff to ponder.

In light of the citation I received Friday evening in Larchmont Village I decided to show you what a flagrant lawbreaker I am on a daily basis by reviewing and cataloging every single one of the citeable offenses I committed on my 14.5-mile commute to work this fine Monday morning.

And while the haters will see the list as pure reason to pimp and perpetuate their position that cyclists think they’re above the law, it should be needless to say that the violations detailed below were done only when it was absolutely safe and entirely without impact to my fellow commuters. And what it shows me is I should not be at all surprised when the Officer Bookers of the law catch up with me every 36,000 infractions I make every year… give or take a few hundred either way:

  1. Failure to stop – Marathon & Occidental
  2. Excessive speed (33 mph in a 25 mph zone) – Occidental downhill between Marathon and Bellevue
  3. Failure to signal right – Occidental & Bellevue
  4. Failure to stop – Occidental & Bellevue
  5. Failure to signal left – Bellevue & London
  6. Failure to signal left – London & Reno
  7. Failure to signal right – Reno & London
  8. Failure to signal left – London & Vendome
  9. Failure to stop – Vendome & Council
  10. Failure to signal right – Vendome & 2nd
  11. Failure to stop – Vendome & 2nd
  12. Failure to signal left – 2nd & Dillon
  13. Failure to stop – 2nd & Dillon
  14. Failure to signal right – Dillon & Hoover
  15. Failure to stop – Dillon & Hoover
  16. Failure to signal left – 2nd & Commonwealth
  17. Failure to stop – 2nd & Commonwealth
  18. Failure to signal right – Commonwealth & 4th
  19. Failure to stop – Commonwealth & 4th
  20. Failure to stop – 4th & New Hamsphire
  21. Failure to stop – 4th & Berendo
  22. Failure to stop – 4th & Catalina
  23. Failure to stop – 4th & Kenmore
  24. Failure to stop – 4th & Alexandria
  25. Failure to stop – 4th & Mariposa
  26. Failure to stop -4th & Ardmore
  27. Failure to stop – 4th & Kingsley
  28. Failure to stop – 4th & Harvard
  29. Failure to stop – 4th & Hobart
  30. Failure to stop – 4th & Serrano
  31. Failure to stop – 4th & Oxford
  32. Failure to stop – 4th & St. Andrews
  33. Failure to stop – 4th & Norton
  34. Failure to stop – 4th & Windsor
  35. Failure to stop -4th & Plymouth
  36. Failure to stop – 4th & Lucerne
  37. Failure to stop – 4th & Arden
  38. Failure to stop – 4th & June
  39. Failure to stop – 4th & Las Palmas
  40. Failure to stop – 4th & McCadden
  41. Failure to stop – 4th & Citrus
  42. Failure to stop – 4th & Orange
  43. Failure to stop – 4th & Sycamore
  44. Failure to signal left – 4th & La Brea
  45. Failure to signal right – La Brea & Redondo
  46. Failure to stop – Redondo & Edgewood
  47. Failure to stop – Redondo & 12th
  48. Failure to stop – Redondo & Packard
  49. Failure to signal right – Redondo & Venice
  50. Failure to stop – Redondo & Venice
  51. Failure to signal left during lane changes – Venice between Delmas & Hughes
  52. Failure to signal left – Venice & Hughes
  53. Failure to stop at yellow light – Hughes & Culver
  54. Failure to signal right – Duquesne & Ballona Creek Bikeway
  55. Failure to signal left – Ballona Creek Bikeway & Inglewood
  56. Failure to signal left – Inglewood & Culver
  57. Failure to signal right – Culver & Mesmer
  58. Failure to stop – Mesmer & McDonald
  59. Failure to stop – Mesmer & Port
  60. Failure to stop – Mesmer & Beatrice
  61. Failure to signal left – Mesmer & Centinela
  62. Failure to stop – Mesmer & Centinela
  63. Failure to signal right – Centinela & Sepulveda
  64. Failure to stop – Centinela & Sepulveda
  65. Failure to signal left during lane changes – Sepulveda between Centinela & Center
  66. Failure to signal left – Sepulveda & Center
  67. Failure to signal right – Center & Park
  68. Failure to stop – Center & Park
  69. Illegal u-turn – Park between Center & Howard Hughes
  70. Failure to signal right Park & 6100 Center Drive service entrance

Just me, a magnolia blossom and a hungry green June beetle on a Sunday morning in Silver Lake with me perched somewhat precariously atop our garage to get the shots and quick video that make up this Flickr photoset.

Fellow LA Metblogger David Markland just hipped me to the fact that my post there yesterday remembering when I met Farrah Fawcett, was deemed worthy of inclusion in New York Magazine’s Daily Intel column featuring an online roundup under the headline of “Farrah Fawcett’s Touching Tributes.” Neato!

I knew I was going to get a ticket when the cop hit his siren’s squawky chirpy thing not once but twice from behind me, in addition to the fact that he’d lit up the rooftop lights of his prowler — and despite the fact that before the second blarp! I’d already pulled over to the southeast corner of Clinton at Gower.

I’d rolled a right turn on my way home this evening traveling approximately 5 mph without coming to a full and complete stop before proceeding onto Clinton back at Larchmont.

Guilty as charged and I already knew the answer, but that still didn’t prevent me from asking the hard ass, easily 15 years younger than me, if he might consider letting me off with a warning after I presented him the ID he wanted to see.

“You can ask,” Officer Booker said, “But I’m afraid the answer is no.”

“Yeah, I figured.”

So I asked him if it was a slow night and he said it wasn’t. Then he asked me if he knew why he’d stopped me and I said I didn’t.

“You ran a stop sign back there,” he told me.

“Really? Which one?” knowing full well my sarcasm would go right over his clean shaven head and he was going to tell me, which he did. Sigh. Cops, man.

After that I ran out of things to talk about so I stood there in respectful silence without making any sudden moves during the interminable amount of time it always takes for an officer of the law to pen a ticket. But I had to object when he presented me with the citation to sign and decided it was time to lecture me on the road responsibilities I have “being the same as cars.”

“Officer,” I interrupted him. ” With all due respect, I bike from Silver Lake to Westchester and back. Thirty miles. Pretty much every workday. I’ve been doing it for closing in on two years now and I’m not dead yet despite witnessing and or being victimized by dozens of vehicular infractions, misdemeanors and felonies every day and being accorded a general level of respect and consideration usually reserved for cockroaches.”

I pointed out my bike with its lights and its now unnecessary bike license, and my helmet and my age as evidence that I’m a conscientious rider.

“And your point is?”

My point is I’m a dedicated bike commuter well aware and respectful of the rules of the road. Does that mean I do a three-second stop at every stop sign I encounter? Obviously not. You got me there. But at least give me give me the benefit of the doubt that I’m not some yahoo without a clue in need of a lecture.”

“Fair enough,” he replied. “If I could get you to sign here without admitting guilt…”

And I did.

But I also readily admitted guilt. Almost gleefully. In fact I confessed to the 500 stop signs I’ve serially rolled this month. And the 500 this ticket won’t stop me from rolling next month. See to me, it’s not the laws of the California Vehicle Code so much as it’s the law of averages. It’s inevitable I’m going to roll through stop signs at intersections where I deem it safe for me to do so, and it’s equally inevitable that at some point I’m going to do so in the presence of the Officer Bookers of the city  who are going to make me pay my dues.

I signed on the line and handed his citation book back to him.

“I appreciate your cooperation,” he told me. Tearing my copy and handing it to me.

“And I don’t appreciate your inflexibility,” I told him. “I know that this ticket is a result of my actions, but  you had the opportunity to not write it, and that’s a shame. Because in the time it’s taken for you to get my weekend off to such a great start you could’ve found any of several four wheelers to cite for bigger fines — maybe even impound.”

“I see things a bit differently,” he said and I stuffed the ticket in my pocket and got on my bike.

“Well then I’d recommend corrective lenses. But don’t worry. I’ll be that good bicyclist and  stop at the next stop sign I see. In fact, I’m going to make full and complete stops at the next three in your honor. But if you want to meet me over at Van Ness and write me up again, I’m gonna roll that one just for spite.”

And I took off, doing exactly that.

But Officer Booker declined to attend.

Literally no sooner had my reminiscing post recalling the day I “met” Farrah Fawcett gone live at L.A. Metblogs when news started trickling in about Michael Jackson.

To say goodbye to one adored icon of my youth — in essence my Marilyn Monroe — was tough enough. But on the same day for a cherished voice and monumental talent that has been a part of my e n t i r e life to be silenced so suddenly and so shockingly…

Let’s just say I am very much in mourning right now. Very much.

Our cat Bink is somewhere approaching his fourth month of self-imposed outdoor exile — this despite our best failed efforts to trap him a couple weekends ago utilizing the old baited-crate-balanced-on-a-stick-tied-with-string routine.

He knows where home is and sticks close by and we see him pretty regularly either live or pixelized when his image gets captured nabbing a bite to eat on the PatioCam. He looks healthy and no worse for wear, but he’s still just not at all interested in rejoining his family indoors.

And now that we’ve got a crew back for a couple weeks to soffit up the central air/heating ducts and finish some other stuff, it looks like that’s going to continue to be the status quo for the time being and once that’s done we’re going to have to put away the amateur attempts to catch him and go with some sort of official spring trap because all the waiting and all the string yanking just ain’t gonna cut it.

In the meantime, here’s the latest webcam snapshot of him made this eeeeearly morning at the patio table buffet we leave out for him — oh wait, that’s not Bink cleaning the bowls, that’s Rocky: