Archive for October, 2010

So for my Go Pro Hero cam’s inaugural run I got off the beaten path this Halloween morning… quite literally. Venturing from Silver Lake to Chinatown I got onto the largely unkown ped/bike way that parallels the 110 freeway and then ventured down to the LA River “bed,” where my proximity to its confluence with the Arroyo Seco drew me to pedal up stream until I acquired the far more official and infinitely smoother-paved Arroyo Seco Bikeway.

Unfortunately the cam’s memory filled up just prior to me reaching the bikepath’s northernmost access point… which means to paraphrase Chief Brody “We’re gonna need a bigger SD card,” because my 4-gig storage unit ain’t gonna cut it. I’m thinking 12-gigs would be better suited to enable the timelapse chronicling of the entirety of such 26-mile rides and not just what amounts to basically the first third, as follows:

I do hereby officially proclaim the Arroyo Seco to be fully navigable by bike (though a fat-tire ride with a suspension might be the better choice of transports over the bed’s moderately rugged and uneven terrain).

PS. In case the Quicktime file above doesn’t show up and/or play, I’m in the slow process of uploading the file to YouTube and hope to have that link up presently. Ahhh, here it is now:

Ahhhh, rains the early morning of All Hallow’s Eve Eve have left bones all over the graveyard! Isn’t it lovely in the dark before the dawn!?

Last year about this time as Susan and I were planning on Thanksgiving in Death Valley — part of which involved me fulfilling a long-delayed plan to mountain bike from Ubehebe Crater to the Racetrack Playa — I was shopping for bike-mountable HD or near-HD cams upon which to immortalize the journey.

I narrowed it down to a couple of makes, and was leaning towards the Go Pro Hero, but ultimately couldn’t force myself to part with the required $300… and it was just as well because bad weather ended up with me wisely postponing the endeavor, which I ended up doing the following April — or at least the 14-mile uphill part of it (but still HD cameraless as I remained hesitant of the pricetag).

Fast forward to last weekend while at Costco and out of the corner of my eye I spied a Go Pro Hero cam package for substantially less than $200, and while it wasn’t the full 1080 HD model, it was the 960. Pleeeeenty enough definition for me. The ultimate selling point was that the unit has a built-in timelapse function. And you aaaaaaall know how much I am loving of the timelapse.

So I bought it and then side-ordered the handlebar mount so I wouldn’t have to look like SuperDuperDork with the thing mounted to my helmet. That accessory arrived yesterday and if all goes well with the work I’ve got to get done today, I expect I’ll take the bike out for a spin around the hood this afternoon and see if the thing’s worth keeping or returning.

Off the cap of my cranium I can’t remember how long ago exactly  it was that I amended a patch of soil in the backyard and we planted several pumpkin plants… I think it was near the middle/end of August.

We knew we’d gotten a late start if we were thinking about harvesting a would-be jack o’lantern for Halloween, and we also knew there was a chance the plants wouldn’t bear any fruit whatsoever.

Over the next couple weeks, the vines took off growing in every direction and there was a good amount of flowering but little else, until finally I spied a bloom that had a little something extra at its base. Low and behold a pumpkin had been born.

Other pollinated blossoms would bear tiny fruits, but only this first one managed to survive and thrive, growing from the size of a pea to a marble to a golf ball to a tennis ball to a softball.

I was ready to let it keep on growing until yesterday, when I traced its vine trough the tangle back to its place in the ground and found it withering severely. I knew it was time to cut the chord.

And the result is just about the most adorable palm-sized little I done ever did see. From where it grew upon a rock, it’s backside has a nice arch to it, allowing  it to seat with a nice backwards lean so its “face” has a nice upward tilt… am I anthropomorphologizing this vegetable too much?

click image to doublify

Little more than the size of an extra-large coffee mug, our great little pumpkin weighed in very close to my 20-ounce guess yesterday: 19.7 ounces.

We’re very proud.

click it for the bigger picture

Over the last three days on lunch breaks and several times when my computer’s crashed and it was either A) Beat my head against the desk, or B) Walk away, I’ve performed that rite of fall and commenced spookitating the frontyard like the whacked-out Halloween-loving manboy I am. There are still some ghosts to hang and fog machines to place and test and lighting to arrange… plus if the winds kick up between now and Sunday I’ll have to pick up most everything seen above and reinstall it, but most of the big ticket ghoulification is complete!

What a coincidence… Literally the same freakin’ day I post about the good that can come from showing a little restraint toward the inconsiderati, Susan got home from work to find she couldn’t get into the garage thanks to the asshole who parked his or her Dodge Charger like so:

Gone immediately was any benefit of doubt. I put the “no” in note-leaving and taught the lesson the hard way. An hour later the car was still there, but then again so was a parking enforcement officer citing it and a police garage impound tow truck. A few minutes later both the truck and the suck were gone.

UPDATE (10.26): At 7:15 a.m. I went down to get the paper and was approached by two women asking if I’d towed a car yesterday. “Absolutely,” I replied. Mostly relieved that her car hadn’t been stolen, one of the women went on to say she fully believed when she’d parked the car there (more than 13 hours previously) she’d been “fully along the curb.” I pointed out o her the relatively prominent garage half-blocked by the large portion of her car that most decidedly wasn’t along the curb, but that didn’t seem to make a difference to her and instead she “forgave” me because I didn’t know she was a neighbor… as if had I been privy o’ that bit of information towing her car would’ve been wrong and it would’ve instead been incumbent of me to seek her out and request she relocate it. People, man.

Whether they’re in a rush or just are straight-up inconsiderate I still am forced to deal with the occasional motorist who frustratingly parks blocking our driveway. But this weekend I fought off one for every day. There was a neighbor’s car poorly parked Thursday and all the way to Friday morning. Then there was a black sedan Saturday, followed by a Silver one Sunday.

In fact now that I think about it, when Susan and I left Saturday morning for our apple-pickin’ daytrip, we caught another parker in the act, whose vehicle’s back end extended a good three-feet across the apron.

“Can you get out?” he asked as I stood there staring at his car’s ass in a classical WTF pose.

“That would be no,” I answered curtly and he started the car and booked it. Debate occurred between Susan and I as to whether he would have gotten out and checked like a dutiful and considerate human, or whether he would have just rationalized why it was OK to be a dick. I fell squarely into that second camp.

There was a time a couple years ago where this BS was such a regular enough occurrence that I had LADOT parking enforcement on speed dial. I still do, but whereas I used to call them up requesting a citation expecting to be on a first-name basis with the dispatcher, of late I’ve taken a different tack. Maybe it’s the economy. Maybe I’m getting soft in my old age. But instead of meeting rude with cold I go to the trouble of printing out the following form note and slipping it under the offending vehicle’s wiper blade:

You have been partially blocking the driveway behind your vehicle. To you it may not seem like much, but this is a tight two-car, split-level garage, and any encroachment across the apron — such as how you’ve chosen to leave your vehicle — not only makes it difficult to get in and out, but unnecessarily puts your vehicle at risk of being hit accidentally during exits.

Personally, I’ve always been aware of how I park at curbs and wouldn’t dare park as you did, whether it was for a few minutes or a few hours.  As such, I’ve never bothered leaving notes such as this. Instead, I’ve just contacted parking enforcement to have vehicles such as yours ticketed and/or towed. They are more than happy to oblige.

But lately I’ve been working a different angle: I’m attempting to be considerate towards people who aren’t in the hope that the next time — whether it’s this driveway or another one — you’ll be a bit more attentive and less thoughtless.

Whether I’m wasting my time or not is up to you.

To be honest, of the three careless culprits I mentioned, I did call parking enforcement on the black sedan, whose prevention of us entering the garage properly unimpeded was what we were greeted with upon our return from our daytrip Saturday afternoon. Maybe the driver got out of there before the officer arrived. Maybe not.

But the silver sedan on Sunday morning, pictured at right, got my usual benefit-of-the-doubt treatment. The surprise came later when I found a reply lodged in the garage door handle (after the jump):