Archive for January, 2010

Nah, that headline ain’t some sorta code. Just the general compass points I was facing when I snapped the following images in the vicinity of Dante’s View while on our way up to the top of Mt. Hollywood Saturday morning.

What I’m taken most with is the fact that though the two shots were taken literally steps away from one another, they look like they could be hundreds of miles apart. Such is the grand topographical diversity of my city.

Click for the bigger pictures, but be warned: For the sake of my own personal enjoyment, they have both been somewhat rigorously run through my fauxtography filter cycle in Photoshop (click each for the bigger pictures):

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Honda has a cool TV ad campaign out for its new Crosstour vehicle. A couple of the spots feature fetching animation backgrounded by great songs. One is a jazztastic version of “Fever”, and the other I immediately recognized when I first heard it this weekend but couldn’t identify, and I certainly  wouldn’t’ve known it by its name and artist — owing to the fact that its infectious melody carried me waaaaaaaay back to a visual of me hearing it from the AM radio while in the passenger seat of my mom’s Chevy Corsair.

Meaning I was 3 years old, maybe 4. A time when performers’ names and song titles didn’t mean all that much to me.

In all honesty I can’t recall having heard it since, but there it was burbling out of the TV speakers into my ears for what may very well be the first time in 40-plus years, simultaneously making me bop in my seat and like a time machine transporting me back to a long-forgotten moment of joy in my toddlerhood.

So of course I blindly gooogled “Honda Crosstour Commercial Music” and ultimately found myself at the page within the automaker’s website where they were so good to identify the singer and song: Miriam Makeba, “Pata Pata.” Next of course I clicked over to Makeba’s Wikipedia page where I sadly learned she died at the age of 76 in November 2008, after having collapsed onstage during a concert in Italy following the performance of “Pata Pata,” which was her biggest international hit in a remarkable life and career.

I wasted little time finding the single available on Lala.com and purchased it, and I share the joy of it with you:

Alternate Title: A Less-Attentive And Intuitive Cyclist Would Have Become A Momentary Hood Ornament

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Here’s the slow-mo video of the slow-speed encounter beginning when I proceed from my stop on 4th Street a couple blocks east of Western Avenue as the northbound vehicle crosses the intersection (worth noting in that first frame below how the southbound vehicle hasn’t arrived at the limit line):

All in a day’s ride, folks. Aaaaaaaaaaaall in a day’s ride.

Susan and I made good on vague plans suggested a couple weeks ago to forego our usual Saturday-morning porch time and get ourselves over to Griffith Park for a near-sunrise hike from the Observatory up to the top of Mt. Hollywood.

It was my first time on pretty much any of GP’s trails since the devastating fire back in May of 2007, a disaster that part of me is sorry I missed experiencing first hand, but a larger part of me is glad I was far away on a ship somewhere in the Mediterranean Sea as it happened (but I must say it was odd learning about my virtual playground going up in smoke while floating about so far removed some 6,000 miles away).

I literally could not bring myself to visit the burned areas in the ensuing years because the park is so close to my heart and  I knew if I got up close to all the damage I’d risk breaking down in tears — or at the very least walking through the denuded areas shaking my head so incessantly I would appear to have the most severe case of Parkinson’s ever. I even had trouble looking at pictures of the park in the fire’s aftermath.

So yesterday was my first day in it. And while I still despaired at the lingering evidence all around me, I was heartened at the recovery taking place — bolstered no doubt by this past week’s storms.

But the worst reminder was the pocket to the west of Mt. Hollywood’s summit known as Captain’s Roost, which prior to the fire was a wonderful oasis, but now stands done-in and still waiting any kind of organized attempt to restore it to its former glory.

Whereas the breezes used to blow overhead through the boughs of towering eucapytpus and other trees, those are all gone now but for their charred stumps, leaving little more than a promenade of palms — trunks blackened but surviving.

Among the many things carved into them by representatives of the legion of mouth-breathing cretins compelled to furtively leave definitive evidence of their inbred stupidity, I found one to be the most laughably ridiculous of the bunch: a peace sign.

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Given how wordy I’m known to be, I could of course go on and on and on seething about the irony of using a living thing as a canvas upon which to destructively carve such a hopeful symbol, but instead I’ll convey how incensed it made me via the fragment of a dream I had sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning, one clearly influenced by having watched “Inglourious Basterds” earlier that evening.

In it I was walking along the fire road above the Roost, shaking my head in despair when I  found the culprit in the act of  immortalizing his idiocy. Though it seemed as if the dream started with me empty handed, when I looked down I had a baseball bat in my left, and a giant knife in my right.

I did nothing stealthy in my approach because the young man turned, saw me and simply went back to it as if either he was entitled to do or my walking in a park with a bat and a monster knife was nothing out of the ordinary, so I just walked casually down to a place directly behind him and watched as he continued, the bat resting on my shoulder, the grip on the knife loose.

My guess is he thought I was admiring his work, or at least up until the violence began. But unlike Quentin Tarantino I’ll leave what happened next up to your imagination — other than to say that what I did with the weapons distinctly mirrored their most horrible uses in his movie.

And on what’s expected to have been the last day of this week-long series of storms over Los Angeles, I measured an additional 0.375 inches, bringing the total accumulation to 2.71875 inches.  And for my next trick I will measure the amounts that evaporate. Just kidding. The end.

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Yeah, yeah. I know the storm has wreaked havoc in other areas, and last night put on quite a show with heavy downpours, huge lightning and a touch of the hail as I was driving home in it, but in terms of my locations in the city during these past four days, I haven’t been very impressed — especially in terms of the overall rainfall I’ve been monitoring to which only another 0.4375 inches was added yesterday by the storm that had been prognosticated by meteorologists to be the so-called knock-out punch. In my corner of the 90026 that knock-out punch only brought the cumulative amount to 2.34375 inches.

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Well, yesterday was bigger than the day before, but both combined just barely topped Monday’s rainfall total. All in for yesterday: 0.6875 inches for a three-day accumulation of 1.90625 inches.

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Note: Marker lines are approximations of the previous day’s rainfall. Calculations are made based on differences measured between photographs, not lines.