Archive for February, 2011

What May Very Well Be The Best Valentine’s Gift Ever

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Yeah, that’s right. I’m talking about the cooler above. Just hear me out.

You see, our megatastic top-of-the-line, barely-two-month-old Samsung fridge fully crapped out on Sunday. Up and died. It doesn’t refrigerate. It doesn’t freeze. It doesn’t make ice, but it sure melts it good. Yep, this state-of-the-art appliance is now just a state-of-the-art piece of shit that just sits there doing nothing.

In addition to Susan being righteously pissed at such a revolting development, she expressed concern about all the food inside the appliance going bad. A valid concern as we’re one of those few those sad households who don’t just happen to have a spare fridge we can pull out of our back pockets and use while we wait the one — maybe two! — business days until a Samsung-authorized repair service can call us to make an appointment. Grrrrrrrrr. And then gawd knows how much longer until the appointment or appointments required to make the repair — assuming repairs can be made!

Cue the stream of invective.

So in that deathless cuss-laden interim, all the meats and cheeses and such that were in the respective refrigerated and freezer sections of the now-deceased hunk of muzzafuzzin’ junk is at good risk of spoiling. But! While we don’t have a back-up fridge to fall back on, I realized that we do have a spare monster camping cooler, which I dutifully brought it up from the basement.

Now the cooler itself is not the Valentine’s Day gift. More specifically it’s the combination of the cooler and the 60-pounds of ice that I went and bought and put into the cooler, followed by most of the stuff from our perished fridge so that we might be able to not have to throw any of the perishables out.

I know what you’re thinking: GENIUS!

I’m betting Susan’s going to get home from work tonight and go from grumbly to less grumbly and probably punch me in the arm for being so solutions-oriented — and trust me, a punch in the arm from my Bay-Bee is high praise.

But lest you go thinking that I consider a cooler full of ice to be the height of romance, she’s also gonna find these waiting for her.

The Magic Of Photography Is That Sometimes You Just Open The Shutter With No Idea The Outcome

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

I think occasionally I’ll come up with an amazing photograph (or at least one that I find so), simply because I take so many pictures. It’s a law of averages that once every couple thousand snaps I’ll be blown away by what I find. It’s certainly not from a mastery of camera mechanics so much as a massive amount of frames made.


The corner of calles Allende and Madero in historic Queretaro, Mexico.
(click it for the bigger picture)

Take the above photo for instance, which I thought was lost when my previous desktop computer crapped out for good last November (but it turned out I’d had the foresight to migrate my photo archives to an external hard drive). It’s a timed exposure — about five seconds in length — with the camera handheld but braced against the balcony railing of our room overlooking Calle Ignacio Allende at the spectacular La Casa de la Marquesa Hotel in Queretaro, Mexico, during our extraordinary visit in the summer of 2008.

I did the long exposure simply because it was too dark to get the scene of the beggar in a doorway without using the flash and destroying all the rich color and texture. And it’s doubtful the flash would’ve illuminated the mood even if I’d used it.

So I opened the shutter it turns out a moment prior to the couple coming from around the corner and walking past the woman ignoring her and her outstretched hand that held a cup presumably to catch any spare pesos that might be offered.

Little did I know that the headlights of a vehicle approaching Calle Madero on Allende from the right would have a bonus strobe effect on the couple’s legs as they walked past.

Pros could certainly argue why it’s not a better fauxtograph than photograph. It’s blurry, busy, and not an easy or quick read. But to me it’s one of my favorite shots of the thousands I took during that trip in large part because of the serendipitous inclusion of the passersby, ghostlike and fleeting against the flesh-and-bone woman looking for a handout. I don’t want to dive too deep into tortured symbolism, but it juxtaposes the fantasy of affluence against the reality of poverty.  I couldn’t have intentionally captured that even if I knew what I was doing.

Perchance To Dream

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

Watch the following report — and you should watch it — and ask yourself if such an amazing extent and scope of events and coverage occurring after a cyclist vs. reckless driver collision would ever happen in Los Angeles. The answer is painfully clear.

Hat tip to Streetsblog LA and Streetfilms.

I Almost Drove To Work Yesterday… Then I Saw How Seriously That Would’ve Wasted Such A Beautiful Day

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

Here’s a Google Earth Bird’s Eye of the 30 miles:

Beautiful Butterfly

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011


(click it for the bigger picture)

Walk: On!

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Just a companion post to redunduntally augmentalize what I tossed up on Blogging.la this morning. My 2nd-Annual March March is set for March 5 (if raining, postponed to March 12).  I’ll be heading east to explore the historic and amazing Whittier Boulevard.

But instead of an out-and-back entirely on foot, we’ll be gathering at Union Station for a 10 a.m. departure to board the Gold Line out to East Los Angeles. Along the way we’ll be detraining at a few stations (to be determined) for quick loops around those stops.

Eventually we’ll reach the end of the line at Atlantic Boulevard and from there we’ll start walking in earnest, first south to Whittier and then westward until we cross the historic 6th Street viaduct. We’ll then cut up through the Arts District and make our way into downtown and back to Union Station via Los Angeles Plaza and Olvera Street.

With the Gold Line eliminating a substantial amount of mileage, this walk’s total distance will depend in part on the number of tangents we take. The main stretch back to Union Station from East Los Angeles through Boyle Heights is about 7.5 miles, so the total will probably fall somewhere between the 10- to 14-mile range. I’m betting we end up somewhere around 12 miles.

What: 2nd-Annual March March — Whittier
Starts/Ends: Union Station (main entrance)
When: March 5, departing at 10am. (if raining, March 12, 10am rain or shine)
Costs: Bring money for food/drinks and a $6 Metro Day pass is highly recommended
How far: About 12 miles, give or take
How long: Approximately 5 hours. Could be longer, could be shorter

Hope you can come along for the stride.

Rainbot

Friday, February 4th, 2011

In a post to his Busblog, Tony Pierce shares some Twitter love he got from The Donnas and it prompts him to wonder if they know how much he loves them, or if anyone knows how much he loves them.

Right below that he shares the following wonderful bike-related video, a Swedish import that if not for him stood a good chance of otherwise missing my radar:

robo-rainbow from mudlevel on Vimeo.

I love Tony Pierce.