Archive for December, 2010

Well, with 2010’s bike mileage tally, my back-to-back streak of 6,000-plus mile years did not three-peat. While 2008 saw me log 6,608 miles and 2009, 6,741, I certainly started off 2010 on track to top 6,000 again, collecting more than 2,000 miles by the end of April.

But then came May and with it my new status as a full-time telecommuter, and what went away was a 30-mile roundtrip commute between Silver Lake and Westchester, one that I’d made more than 400 times over that combined two-year stretch.

Sure I had grand plans of picking up the slack with an increase in recreational riding, but that hope was soon replaced by my oft-lamented refrain about how easy it is to ride when you have to, and how easy it is not to ride when you don’t have to. Case in point, in the eight months that I’ve been working from home I managed little more than 750 miles, ending this year at 2,769.

I’m not sure what bike mileage totals 2011 has in store for me nor am I setting any goals, but I do know that I won’t be averaging less than 100 miles a month like I did the last two thirds of 2010. The new year will see me expanding the number of group rides I’ve typically done only on Saturdays in May, so if the past paucity of the 10 Bridges Ride, or the Black Dahlia West-Adams Mosey Ride, or the Watts Happening Ride or the Frank Lloyd Wride or the Two Rivers Ride have left you and your schedule unable to attend, there will be greater opportunities to do so.

In addition, I’ll be organizing rides involving dead celebs, Arroyo expeditions, memorials hidden in plain sight, cemeteries, and such. There’ll be downtown meanderthals, Scoot ‘N Shoots, Eastside excursions, offroad explorations… Hell, on any of several given dawns during the week I’m gonna do my damnedest to be found doing laps around the Greater Silver Lake area — including the reservoir where it all began with the infamous International Association of Armed Librarians/Mobile Assault Force.

In short, there’ll be plenty of opportunities for me to get my bike on — and yours. For me it starts tomorrow  afternoon with what will be the first of my regular monthly offroad rides, this one in the Verdugos  from the Beaudry Trailhead up to Tongva Peak and back down.

See you out there!

While it used to happen on occasion prior to our remodel, never yet had all of our four cats simultaneously napped together on the bed upstairs — until Sunday (click it for the bigger picture):

The puddles of cuddles are from bottom left: Bink, The Jig, Pepper (atop the left pillows) and Pumpkin.

And while I’m at it, here’s a clip I got of Jiggy, pretty much the way he always interrupts me for his daily dose of attention every workday at around 10:30-ish in the morning:

Christmas 2010
Originally uploaded by there2roam

Susan beautifully captured this Christmas morning moment I shared with my grandson Aiden as I helped him open one of his presents during his visit with us yesterday. He’ll be 2 next year.

It may be rather humbuggy or me on this day after Christmas to discuss such things, and if so, I’ll wear that hat. Because case in point: On Christmas Eve after stopping at a Sunset Boulevard spice shop that turned out disappointingly to be closed, I rolled back onto the boulevard and headed westbound, past another cyclist who was coming off the curb and going in the same direction.

I arrived at the red light at Hyperion and stopped (as I do for all red lights), and the other cyclist passed slowly between me and the curb. I knew right away she wouldn’t be bothered with obeying the law and sure enough, the young lady just keeeept oooon gooooooing, casually rolling across Hyperion through the red with a seeming nonchalant air of it being totally okey dokey to do so.

Of course, I caught the episode on my handlebar cam during the timelapse I was making of my last-minute shopping excursion (that I clipped into the brief Quicktime vid below, which you should be able to play beginning to end and/or scroll through frame-by-frame with your arrow keys):

The irony, of course (as evidenced by the fact that once I had the green light, I was able to catch up to her little more than a block away) is that she was in no hurry whatsoever. It wasn’t a conscious choice to run the light, it’s just that she didn’t  know she was doing anything wrong.

Sure, that’s a broad judgmental conclusion to jump to, but is it entirely baseless?  Hardly, given the prevalence of the segment of the bike riding population she represents — whether she wanted to or not.

Having seen so many cyclists summarily jump reds, I’ve long thought about how they can be so self-centeredly blatant and flagrant in their disregard — both for the law and for any resultant social disapproval.

And what I’d yet to consider is that I was overthinking it. Such acts may not be done in defiance or entitlement or just plain laziness. It may simply be that they don’t see the act of running a red light as blatant and flagrant, much less in disregard of any law or peer perception. In essence it’s a mental disconnect between right and wrong.

Certainly if you put this young lady behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, she wouldn’t do what she did (or at least one would hope so). But sit her backside on a bike saddle and she reverts to almost a childlike lack of awareness as she glides across the intersection unconscious of any potential danger or disrespect from the rest of us sitting at the intersection respecting the law.

It would be easy of me to excuse such things to quaint innocence. But like most red runners I encounter this young lady is no child who hasn’t yet learned the difference between right and wrong or the consequences of her bad decisions. She’s an adult who should know better, but clearly demonstrates she does not.

That’s not innocent. That’s pathological.

Some last-minute stocking stuffer shopping was thrown a sad-face when it was discovered that Silver Lake’s Spice Station decided to be CLOSED when I arrived at 2 p.m., earining a WTF (but probably saving me a boatload of money). Grumbling I made my annual holiday Wacko ransacko and after that worked in a stop for some red velvet cupcake goodness via Lark.

Here I am in a still from the above clip, loading my Wacko purchases into my backpack:

Merry Christmas!

Last summer, I moved outside a small birdhouse that Susan made (and that’s decoratively lived inside since she built it long before I came along). I attached it to a decorative post that wasn’t doing very well holding a birdbath and for a little extra height I mounted the post to a small end table that wasn’t doing much other than falling apart. Then I stood the thing up in the garden on the north side of the house under the giant birds of paradise.

Et Voila (click it for the bigger picture):

In the initial weeks I kept an eye on it hoping for some avian activity or interest, but as it was late in the nesting season I figured maybe it would find some feathered tenants next year. And in fact, in the five months since, not once — not a single solitary time — did I ever see a bird go anywhere near it.

Shows you how attentive I am because this morning, when I saw that the 8.5″ of rain fallen from the previous six days of storms had left the stand sunk awkwardly into the soggy soil and the birdhouse sitting at a slant, I stepped in to straighten it up. In doing so peered in the portal rather nonchalantly, not expecting to see the full-fledged nest that occupied the floor:

Et Voila (click it for the bigger picture):

Judging by the level of spiderwebbing occupying the interior, the nest was oh so awesomely and stealthily built some time ago and then abandoned, perhaps never used. Perhaps next spring that’ll change.

And here we are at the end of this inundation:

To you it may look like what amounts to just slightly less than 8.5 inches of rainfall collected between Friday morning and last night, but to me it’s sooooo much more. To you it’s but mere coincidence that I placed what turned out to be the exact-sized container required. But to me, mwaaa-haha it represents an innate ability to literally predict how much rain will drop.

Case in point? I coulda putta five-gallon jug out. Or a shot glass. Or a mason jar. Or a Bavarian beer stein (seriously, it’s from Bavaria). But nooooooo. Instead I subconciously put out this very piece of glass and — dare I say: miraculously — the rain stopped but millimeters from the top.

This is not serendipity, people. This. Is. Genius.

Don’t believe me? That’s understandable. So guess what sized containment device I’m gonna put out today? Trick question! The answer is none because by the newly discovered power vested in me I predict there will be no rain today in Silver Lake. Nada.

Scary, right?

No kneeling required, but now I completely know how Zod felt.