Archive for June, 2009

Bullet Time

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

I’d heard the first two, but it was when the third one sounded that I came awake as if shot from a gun myself. Then came the fourth round. All of them in quick succession. But the fifth took just a split second longer. As if the shooter hesitated thinking maybe four was enough, or perhaps his finger got juust slightly fatigued.

Bang bang bang bang, bang.

Not a cannon of a gun — in hindsight it sounded like a .22 or .25 caliber — but still its reports invaded through the wide open windows of our bedroom. We’re still new to our recently remodeled second floor and this was another lesson in how different a few vertical feet can be. These weren’t the first bullets we’d heard fly around the neighborhood before, but from the first floor they’re a bit farther removed — their soundwaves blocked and deflected and muffled by various barriers.

Here on the second floor our ears are much more accessible. The pair of double-hung windows frame a grand and minimally impeded view to the north, with the street immediately in that direction being Sunset Boulevard.

As I came out of my sound sleep the loudness had me thinking for a moment that the gunfire was really close. Maybe out on the street where we live. I listened for an aftermath of voices, screams, tires screeching or the bullets hitting anything or anyone, but there was nothing. Nothing at all, which made it all the more eerie as if the perpetrator had decided to send five bullets into the air for no reason other than it seemed like a fun thing to do.

I looked at the clock. Or maybe he fired because it was 2:54 this morning. Susan stirred.

“We’re those gunshots?” I asked. I knew that they were but I was looking for confirmation that it wasn’t something I’d dreamed.

She murmered an mmm-hmm and I reached for the phone dialing 911. A dispatcher answered immediately and I got out of bed, crossing over the wood floor to the windows. All was still.

“What emergency are you reporting?” the dispatcher asked. I told her what I knew: that I’d heard five gunshots, that most likely they came from Sunset Boulevard, probably somewhere in between Parkman and Benton Way.

The dispatcher said officers would be sent to check it out, and I thanked her and hung up. Lingering at the window, I entertained a miracle payback scenario of the bullets coming home to roost and drilling into the fleeing maggot that set them loose. One in his left thigh making him look up in surprise just in time to take one in each eye and the other two through his forehead.

Thunk thunk thunk thunk, thunk.

In lieu of such high unlikeliness of the lead planting the scumbag six feet under I instead hoped that the bullets harmlessly found nothing but the city’s surface to bounce off of or bury themselves beneath.

Back to bed I waited awhile wide-eyed and tense for sirens telling of their approach to a discovered crime scene, but none arrived. Or at least not before sleep came to me.

It Was A Bike-Fixin’ Sunday!

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

I did a bit o’ the Bike Kitchen thing this morning, in the comfort of my frontyard.

It’s going to be interesting to see how different the bike rides all reconfigured. Not just with the new seat and tires and bottom bracket, but some dimensional stuff as well. Nothing major, but I’ve gone up to a 52-tooth chainring from a 48, which will make me slower off the line but give me a bit greater cruising speed at the other end. The cranks are a different size, too; down from 170mm in length to 165mm.

There’s A Sunflower In There Somewhere

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

The largest of our batch of sunflowers is almost four feet tall and it looks like there might be the makings of a wee flower emerging. Or it could just be more leaves (click for Flickr page).

Chock Full O’ Chores

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

I got home early enough yesterday afternoon to get started and finished emptying the contents of this 200-pound box and assembling the various parts into a love seat, two chairs and a coffee table, otherwise known as The Anniversary Present That Almost Wasn’t.

While putting everything together I was very pleased that Susan was very pleased with my choice of design style and color, but as expected all four pieces just were not going to fit on our front porch. So this morning when I got busy with the big list of chores, first up was figuring out what would work best out there — which quickly turned out to be the two chairs and the coffee table.

frontporch

No, not on my To-Do list was there anything about me burying my head in the newspaper and having a cuppa joe — otherwise known as Saturday Morning Heaven — but I had to test the chair for comfort and position and what better way than to bury my head in the newspaper and have a cuppa joe!?

Later on that morning I found sleepyhead Susan had finally arisen and was doing the same thing and so I deviated from my tasks to join her in watching the neighborhood go by for a spell.

Like I said: HEAVEN!

Morning Snaps: Goin’ Yard!

Friday, June 19th, 2009

Just a couple things discovered whilst making my way through some of the outdoor portion of my morning chores. First up, there used to be a whole mess of aloe plants growing haphazardly in the frontyard planter box at the top of the steps, and it was about three years ago Susan when did some serious thinning to the space and decided to evict the half-dozen or so succulents.

Of them, I picked one and knowing that you could pretty much put aloe anywhere and it’ll thrive, plunked it into a spot in the backyard and after it got dug up by a critter later transplanted it to the pot it’s been in for a couple years now.

For the first time ever ‘ello aloe! It’s telescoped out a bloom — actually two, but this one’s the first to start opening up (click to doublify) :

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A few minutes later while watering the northside garden, I caught sight of a big black carpenter bee after it buzzed my head and then hovered for a spell by a pot with an old log in it, disappearing out of sight a few moments later. I stood there waiting for the bee to emerge and fly off, but nothing. No bee. So I hunkered down for a closer look and found it had done what carpenter bees do and carved itself a rather amazing nest into the decaying piece of wood. Either that or it’s a dime-sized portal to another dimension (also click to doublify):

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I sat a bit with the cam hoping to catch it emerging from its home, but it didn’t oblige me. Maybe next time.

Truly A Happy Anniversary

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

I had a veeeery disappointing experience ordering our anniversary present via target.com last week. Placement of the four-piece wicker “conversation set” for our front porch was simple enough, but it rapidly descended into a flurry of¬† form emails informing me of problems with my credit card and requesting I “update” the info — which I did and I was given the e-version of a thumbs up sign only to be told again the next day that there were problems with my credit card and requests to update the plastic. Again.

Gah. So I placed my first call to their customer service and provided them with a different card, which was all good until a day later I got another email that there were problems with that credit card and another request to update it. I was told to ignore that by the customer service rep. So I did.

Then on Monday, I got notice from Target that the card had been declined — this despite having gone through the multiple online and voicemail layers of fraud protection with the card’s bank, verifying that I had indeed authorized the charge. The last straw was one final unspecific email telling me there was a “problem” with my order and now there was a chance it wouldn’t arrive until June 25.

Honestly, having placed the order June 10, I hadn’t expected the furniture¬† to arrive any early than June 19 — three days after our 4th anniversary — but now June 25!? Oh hell no. So I placed my second call to their customer service to cancel the debacle outright and — par for the course — I was told it was too late to cancel… even though it hadn’t shipped yet. The best they could do was put in a request to cancel and hope it got there in time. If it didn’t my only recourse was to refuse delivery and go through that bother of getting the charge reversed off my credit card.

Of course, the order cancelation didn’t hit and the product shipped so I girded myself for possibly having to take the day off work potentially 10 days down the road to stand before the delivery truck and say “Take back that hell from whence it came!”

Only some how, some way, a miracle happened. The package — all 200 pounds of it — was delivered yesterday and left on the side of the house:

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I’m not sure if Target cracked the whip and pushed the delivery company to get it here ASAP, but I’m pretty sure designating it as “OK to leave without signature” was a tactic to make it impossible to refuse and that much more of a burden to return. Tricky.

But all’s well that ends well. Like Sisyphus this morning I rolled the big ass box into the backyard, where most likely this weekend one of my projects will be assembling it.

Happy Anniversary, Bay-Bee!

A Non-Pit Pitstop

Monday, June 15th, 2009

Coincidentally at Saturday’s Hot Dog Death March, fellow LA Metblogger Jodi made mention to her husband Eric of the emergency bag o’ kibble I’m rarely without while biking to/from work or play.

I say “coincidentally” because it had been awhile since my last interaction with a stray on the streets, but sure enough this morning I came across this fine, friendly and handsome fella on Jefferson Boulevard just west of Hauser:

dawgz

Larger versions of the pix making up this thumbnail montage can be viewed here.