Archive for September, 2010

I was taking a break on the serene L.A. River Bikeway just north of the Hyperion Viaduct in Atwater Village during today’s afternoon bike ride, admiring an egret and a great blue heron side by side waiting for their respective next meals to swim by.

All of a sudden moving noisily upstream, the biggest bug I’ve ever seen shot out from under the bridge, and I just had time to flip my cam to video mode and capture the anomaly. Check it out for yourself (but do please excuse the semi-maniacal laughter that issues forth from my amazed self):

By the time I pedaled south of the bridge the water bug was gone, leaving a telltale trail of the wet stuff up the east bank where no doubt it retreated to the streets via the entrance to Red Car Park. I’ve seen some preeeeetty strange things in the river, but this just about takes the prize.

Let this be a lesson to you folks: never go anywhere without a camera.

Me again, with the rough-stitched panorama. Funky weather we’re having, eh?

The cloudcover’s been a nice filter for the blazing hot sun, but it got a bit hostile lateyesterday afternoon with lightning, thunder even a few drops through the oppressively muggy subtropical temperatures of an intensely liquid substance the weather people are on rare occasion known to refer to as “rain.”

And then there was that nice double rainbow (or a rainbow and a fragment of a second one if’n you wanna be technical) that I tried valiantly to pixelize through our bedroom window (click it for the bigger picture):

The weird thing? At the end of the main rainbow? American Apparel owner Dov Charney’s hilltop mansion (blocked from view by the giant bird of paradise leaf in the foreground).

Since Susan and I returned (and actually while we were there) I’ve been grousing about how any photos taken of the giant sequoias in Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks are preordained to fail. It’s pretty much a fact that taking a picture of an almost unfathomably gigantic tree amidst other almost unfathomably gigantic trees is the equivalent of going to a field and taking an ant’s eye-view photo of the largest blade of grass standing amidst all the other blades.

Bottom line: it’s just not going to communicate the mindblowing grandeur — especially to anyone who hasn’t been there and stood before these unfathomably gigantic living things — which was me up until this trip.

Case in point, here’s a two-shot composite (basically a verticle panorama) I made when Susan and I arrived awestruck at the General Sherman Tree:

Sure, you can tell it’s ginormous. But even if you’ve seen far better photos than mine that better demonstrate its massiveness, unless you’ve physically stood beneath it there’s just no way this photo can properly let you recognize the near-unfathomable size.

And that was the trouble with the shots I took of the trees — and the source of my grousing, as well as the reason I wasn’t in that big a hurry to throw them up into a set on Flickr. But I finally did so yesterday, and also goofed with stitching that above pano together. And it’s when I blew it up to it’s full 72″ vertical size on my computer’s screen and scrolled from the top down, I got to the trunk and found the simple obvious comparative that could somewhat convey its almost unfathomable massive livingness. Duh: it’s people. In this case an average-sized woman and two average-sized kids next to One Of The Largest Ever Living Things Ever In Existence Ever On This Planet Ever. Ever:

click to get the bigger picture

My Flickr set is here.

As one of them perportedully perfeshunal editor types, I’m at risk of being on the receiving end of a wiiiiide variety of press releases — most of them unrelated to my publication.

Some of them are not only unrelated but flat-out kooky. Case in point, this one just landed in my inbox and I’m helpless to keep it to myself:

Subject: News Conf/L.A. Press Club/Oct 8/Chocolate Strawberries 4 U

(Los Angeles)  Center of The Golden One will hold a major news conference at the LA Press Club in Los Angeles on October 8,2010 at 11:00am.

At this special news conference on October 8, Kendra Gamble, great-great-granddaughter of one of the founders of Procter & Gamble will unveil”The Announcement,” which will lead up to an online and print media event on 10-10-10.

The event called “The Announcement” will feature a presentation by Ms. Gamble and Rachael Wilder, Press Secretary for Center of The Golden One.

“The Announcement” is potentially the most significant event in modern history and may ultimately affect the lives of millions of people throughout the world.  In preparing to make “The Announcement,” Ms. Gamble has already been heard by over a million people in her print and radio interview.

“There are many names for God.  There are many paths to God.  But there is only one God,” said Ms. Gamble, “For history’s sake and the sake of peopleeverywhere, come hear ‘The Announcement.'”

Refreshments will be served.

Where to begin LOLing:

  • The “Chocolate Strawberries 4 U” in the subject line
  • Center of the Golden One
  • Great-great granddaughter to a Procter & Gamble founder
  • The “LA Press Club in Los Angeles” redundancy
  • 10-10-10 tie-in
  • The total lack of imaginative flair in simply calling such a to-be-monumental event “The Announcement” instead of perhaps “The Really Big Announcement” or “The Miss This And Be Damned Announcement”
  • Bonus points for repeating “The Announcment” four times
  • Ms. Gamble heard by more than (say it emphatically, Austin Powers-style) ONE MIIIIIILLION people
  • Ms.Gamble’s urgent plea to the world for the sake of the world to come to the announcement of The Announcement… nevermind that it’s a “news conference,” which by design doesn’t require the whole world to be present
  • Ending with “Refreshments will be served.”

I’m almost tempted to go to this.

Click image for the bigger picture

Next in my occasional trippings down memory lane through the Los Angeles Public Library’s digital archives, I share with you this blast from the past. Undated, but if the visible vehicles are any indication probably taken somewhere around the late 1920s to early ’30s, we find Carpenter’s Drive-In that once stood at 6285  Sunset Boulevard between Vine Street and Argyle in Hollywood.

As one carhop serves a customer at the right of the image, a pair waits for arrivals at this prime example of a city catering to the automobile where one could order up  “A Real Hamburger Sandwich” for 15 cents and wash it down from behind the wheel with a few draught beers (see the sign above the heads of the two carhops) before hitting the [*hic*] road.

Can you imagine?

Both the then-acceptable behavior of drinking and driving and Carpenter’s were long gone by the time I came around. But I’m old enough not only to have childhood memories of the eating at the similarly circular Delores’ drive-In that stood on Wilshire, just west of La Cienega, but also to have teenage recollections of  when it was torn down in the early 1980s to make way for the office building that occupies the real estate now.

Watch live video from wildbell on

During one of the many football games I watched this weekend, a Chik Fil-A commercial came on and I immediately recognized several downtown locations where it was filmed — including this process-shot two-fer at the end that I paused and snapped (click to enlarge):

See, this scene doesn’t actually exist in nature. The fire station central in the foreground (long defunct and privately owned, the last time I biked by it was empty and for sale) is west-facing and located on Santa Fe just south of 7th Street, which means that the sky behind it is entirely empty, not filled with civic center high rises from which rogue cows can drape illegal supergraphics… in large part because low buildings and the Los Angeles River pretty much occupy the space where those buildings have been placed (though the inclusion of the US Bank Tower’s reflection is a nice touch).

Don’t believe me? Google Maps Streetview doesn’t lie: