Archive for July, 2011

You Know You’re A Bike Geek When…

Friday, July 29th, 2011

…You sit back (take a picture) and admire what is probably the cleanest, nicest innertube patch job you’ve ever done (and trust me I’ve done scores and scores over the years):

Backstory: Just before setting out on Tuesday’s river ride, I noticed the business end of a goathead thorn buried into my fully inflated front tire. I debated pulling it and dealing with the flat right there, but instead left it alone hoping it would stay put and continue acting as a plug.

It did, giving me hope that maybe its tip hadn’t breached the tube.

The next day when I de-river gunked my bike I found the thorn and yanked it. Air immediately pssssssh’d out.

Whadda Pane In The Glass

Friday, July 29th, 2011

The saga began more than two years ago when Ranger, while barking at a worker outside lunged toward the guy from behind the closed window in the study and cracked a lower pane. For what was supposed to be a very short-term solution, I plugged up the hole with a piece of cardboard, and just for fun took an image I had of a wolf and blew it up to same size as the the cardboard and attached it so its menacing gaze faced the street. Then I taped it all into place.

About a year later I fiiiiiinally went about getting the stuff needed to make the repair, but when I undertook the job I found I’d measured the piece of glass wrong… it was juuust a scosh too big for the space. Of course I then tried to force the pane to fit and broke it, so up went the cardboard-backed wolf picture again.

Where it stayed until yesterday when with triple-checked dimensions I returned to a local glass place, ordered up two panes (in case I broke one, or if not we have a spare), and did a passable job installing it (my window putty/glazing work leaves a bit to be desired).

This morning, I then threw open all the curtains in the study (also perhaps for the first time in a couple years), and got a good luck at what how filthy windows can get when they haven’t been cleaned in six years.

So I cleaned them. Inside and out. Screens, too (click it for the bigger picture).

Ranger approves.

Timelapse: Los Angeles River East Bank/Bed Ride, No. 247

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

No, not really Ride No. 247 down the East Bank, but it’s certainly become a go-to for me of late. Guess I’m catching up for not discovering it earlier in my biking life.

Anyway, this past Tuesday morning for the latest in my increasing string of East Bank/river bed rides I was joined by a fellow named Errin who I follow on Twitter. He tweeted me that he wanted to take his awesome new Salsa Mukluk into the LA River waters and we made good on plans to meet up for a ride that ended up taking us down to the 6th Street Bridge and back. It was a pleasure meeting and riding with him (and I’m totally jonesing for a Salsa Mukluk of my own now):

 

I’ve also pulled some still from the footage, viewable here on Flickr.

And a heads-up: Errin and I are planning on bike-salmoning up the Arroyo Seco’s bed from its confluence with the Los Angeles River next Tuesday morning. So if you’re willing and able, let me know.

I’ve Seen An Osprey Three Times In My Life

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

The first time was in 2006 in Spokane, Washington. The second time was a few days later in Troy, Montana. The third time was this morning while biking the East Bank of the Los Angeles River.

I managed to point-and-shoot my point-and-shoot at it as it headed upstream (click it for a not very much bigger picture):

Never in my life did I imagine I’d see one of my rarest-seen birds, right in my own backyard.

Between The Pit Of Mans Fears, And The Summit Of His Knowledge

Monday, July 25th, 2011

In the bookcase that constitutes the majority of my analog library resides a trade-paperback-sized volume. To describe it as dog-earred would be a lie. It’s spine is in tatters, its back cover is long gone. To describe it as cherished would also be a lie. Over the years I’ve shed hundreds of pounds of books donated to libraries, but this one will never be one of them while I’m still breathing.

It’s “The Twilight Zone Companion,” by Marc Scott Zicree, and it will be 30 years old in 2012. Being that “The Twilight Zone” is my favorite television series ever and for all eternity, Zicree’s reference book is like a bible to me. Inside is a synopsis of all 158 episodes that ran between the series’ 1959-1964 run on CBS.

If you look at those years and roll your eyes over something soooooo completely and squarely old, it should be noted that the upcoming Hugh Jackman film “Real Steel” is based on The Twilight Zone” Season No. 5 episode “Steel” written by Richard Matheson and starring Lee Marvin.

Open up — carefully, reverently — my copy and flip slooowly through its aged pages, beside the episode title at the top of each of Zicree’s summaries odds are you’ll find a hand-scrawled asterisk, indicating I’ve seen it. In the latter years a few of those asterisks are accompanied by a date, signifying when I saw it. Of all those episodes listed in the book, there are 146 asterisks, all painstakingly accumulated over the decades via summer vacations spent stopping and dropping whatever I might have been doing to watch the two episodes KTLA used to show at noon weekdays, augmented by the various marathons that would air.

You’d think in my glacial quest to see every episode these last few years, I’d’ve picked up the complete series box sets that have become available, but I kind of like my here-and-there haphazardry (coupled to my disposition against owning box sets of anything).

The point of all this — other than I’m a neeeeerd — is that the aforementioned 146th asterisk came today, with me seeing “A World Of Difference.” A wonderful episode in the “who am I, really?” theme also penned by Matheson, which aired 51 years ago during the show’s first season, specifically: March 11, 1960. I didn’t chance upon it on KTLA or the Psigh-Pheye channel (or however lamely they’re spelling “sci-fi” now). Instead, this weekend while slogging through what’s available on Netflix streaming, I stumbled upon the awesomness that I have 138 episodes of The Twilight Zone at my fingertips. No DVDs, no random tuning in of individual episodes or entire marathons. To see “A World Of Difference” I merely flipped the companion to the page of the first episode without an asterisk then scrolled down Netflix’s episode list and there it was.

It’s as simple as just pushing play. Which is just what I did for lunch this afternoon. To think I can now conveniently get closer to that never-before-imagined day where maybe — just maybe — an asterisk will reside next to every single episode? Wow. For a fan like me, that’s like a twilight zone of it’s own.

 

And AAA Responds

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

On July 14, in response to a post on BikinginLA to contact the Auto Club about its opposition to Senate Bill 910, (which would make it law for motorists to allow at least three feet when passing bicyclists), I wrote to the heads of the Northern and Southern California chapters, the letters of which you can read here.

In the mail yesterday came the following two-page reply from Stephen Finnegan, AAA’s manager of Governement Affairs and Public Policy (both images can be enlarged to readability if clicked):

In a nutshell it’s a restatement of what I knew already to be AAA’s position, with some insight offered into the organization’s initial interest in getting “clarifying amendments” added to the original bill. When those amendments were not included an “oppose unless amended” was the stance taken.

Finnegan also included some companion materials to reinforce a point he made about the Auto Club’s commitment to multi-modality. Unbeknownst to him those pieces did more damage than endearment as they were a slanted feature in Westways magazine that I took letter-writing issue with after reading it last year, and a booklet AAA published, whose first words disagreeably read by this previous 30-mile roundtrip bike commuter are “Bicycling is a great option for shorter trips…” and whose last page features the following image of a road sign showing an aggressive sportscar “sharing” the road by passing the cyclist with decidedly less than three feet between them:

Just as Finnegan wrote that AAA supports the intent of SB 910 but doesn’t think it will be effective in achieving this objective, so do I support the intent of his cordial and informative and timely response, which was ultimately as ineffective.

Reflective Rivarat

Sunday, July 24th, 2011


(click it for the bigger picture)

Susan joined me yesterday for her first bike trip down the east bank of the Los Angeles River, and so was on hand upon dry land to nicely document me and my reflection’s inability to abstain from rolling around in the wet stuff downstream from where the concrete riding surface gives way to water.