Archive for December, 2010

You might recall past blog posts of mine regarding driveway blockers and how I deal with them. Most get a page-long letter scolding them for their inconsideration. Some get cited, and the occasional superfail gets his or her car’s ass towed to the nearest impound yard.

Well, thanks to the internet, I have found a far more concise version to that correspondence option, courtesy a 1974 answer from Cleveland Stadium to a Browns fan and season ticket holder who wrote to complain about the frustrations forged by his fellow fans who deigned to fly paper airplanes during games:

Gentlemen:

I am one of your season ticket holders who attends or tries to attend every game. It appears one of the pastimes of several fans has become the sailing of paper airplanes generally made out of the game program. As you know, there is the risk of serious eye injury and perhaps an ear injury as a result of such airplanes. I am sure that this has been called to your attention and that several of your ushers and policemen witnessed the same.

Please be advised that since you are in a position to control or terminate such action on the part of fans, I will hold you responsible for any injury sustained by any person in my party attending one of your sporting events. It is hoped that this disrespectful and possibly dangerous activity will be terminated.

Very truly yours,
Roetzel & Andress
By Dale O. Cox

The hilarious response below is just about the best worst example of customer consideration I’ve ever encountered… but then again, in hindsight it’s somewhat par for the course given the giant fah-kyoo the Browns gave the entire city of Cleveland in relocating to Baltimore as the Ravens in 1996 (click it for a larger version):

And of course in my own twisted mind, I readily adapted such matter-of-factness to possibly pertain to the next person who flagrantly impedes our driveway ingress/egress:

Dear [Make] [Model]:

In case the tow truck gets here before you can leave, I felt you should be aware that some asshole is parking you like it’s OK to block me.

Very truly yours,
The Garage

Think of the amount of printer ink I’ll save!


(click it for the heavily stylized bigger picture)

I made the mistake of believing the worst of the storm had past this afternoon, and set out to take care of a truck errand on my lunch hour. Since the work on my Nissan was going to take about that amount of time I went for a walk to the LA River. Once there the skies opened up wide and a few minutes later I got the above shot  of a great blew heron lifting off from the east bank over the swift-moving water. By the time I walked back through the downpour from to where my truck was, I was entirely drenched.

Serves me right.

I know that many areas across Southern California have long reached the saturation point and there are a lot of bad things at risk of happening if the sky spills so much as  another drop. Even so, I was expecting to wake up this morning to enough of a torrent for my collection cup to be veritably runnething over and ended up a bit deflated at the rather paltry amount of rainfall landing in the Silver Lake area — barely an additional inch since yesterday morning.

At well more than 7.5″ overall that’s still an amazing amount to fall here since Friday, but I’d bit into the meteorological hype that today’s storm was going to be stupenedous compared to what’s already come, and that just hasn’t transpired.

I only marked the porch-based precipitation quantification device to five inches and as you can see below, the amount collected since Friday morning has well surpassed that delineation upwards into the six-inch level.

With the heaviest rain expected later today and tomorrow, I think we’ll see the beaker fully filled before these storms are through.

After setting my reading specs down on the table beside my chair in the livingroom last night, I chanced to glance how I’d serendipitously placed them upon the current copy of Smithsonian magazine and it gave me a chuckle as I grabbed for my cam to capture it (click it for the bigger picture):

It’s not the easiest read, but as of a few minutes prior to posting this, the precipitation station I set up in front of the porch webcam has collected a representative sample of slightly more than three inches of rainfall since it was put in place Friday morning at roughly 9:45 a.m.

Even less visible are the black lines I inked every half-inch onto the container. With heavier rains expected today and more to come Monday, it looks like I shouldn’t have stopped marking at five inches.

Of course I’m timelapsing the accumulation at a frame a minute, so if all goes well, I should have a condensed version of the condensation collection once the clouds quit crying.

UPDATED (12.20 @ 7:47 a.m.): Looks like the wet is yet to come. Not only did the day after hitting the 3″ mark result in another 1.5″ of rain, but now the meteorologistsesses are excitedly saying with some pretty serious confidence that from Monday on out Los Angeles is looking at an immediate future of anywhere from 3″-8″ more pour across this week. I think I’m gonna need a bigger beaker.

The mailman rang the doorbell yesterday holding an air mail package that he said needed a signature, so he handed it and a pen to me through the screen door and since I hadn’t been expecting anything I looked it over unsure what it was and where it had come from. For Susan, perhaps? No.

All I could immediately tell was that it originated in Shanghai, and it was indeed addressed to me. For some odd reason the address on the label also included my Google Phone number.

I hesitated for a split second since I was certain I hadn’t ordered anything from the People’s Republic of China, but with a curiosity-stoked what-the-hell I signed it anyway, returning the package and pen to the postman so that he could tear off the form and be on his way.

I closed the door and looked again at the package for clues. The return address was simply “DX Shanghai Postbox 443-068.” No company name. Nothing beyond a registered mail barcode label, and a postage meter stamp indicating it began its journey to me on November 28. Later on I’d run that barcode number through usps.com, but come up with nothing but the following chronology:

  • Delivered, December 17, 2010, 12:39 pm, LOS ANGELES, CA 90026
  • Arrival at Unit, December 17, 2010, 8:05 am, LOS ANGELES, CA 90026
  • Processed through Sort Facility, December 15, 2010, 9:47 am, JAMAICA, NY 11405
  • Origin Post is Preparing Shipment
  • Foreign International Dispatch, December 08, 2010, 11:20 am, SHANGHAI, CHINA PEOPLES REP
  • Foreign Acceptance, November 28, 2010, 1:16 am, PORTEE

On the back was the customs declaration indicating the category of the item as “gift” valued at $4.10. The description: “Festival Gadgets.”

Inside? Nothing in the way of additional documentation, just…

… five, individually bagged battery-powered strands of 30 LED lights (as seen above in that hard-to-tell-what-the-hell-that-is photo of the bunch of ’em with one powered up). These are MUCH nicer then the strings of 10 LEDs from Ikea that I adorned my santa suit with for last week’s All-City Toy Ride.

Which makes their unannounced and unintentioned arrival from halfway around the world all that much more of a mystery.