Archive for September, 2011

Middle of last week there’s an email in my inbox from the Olympus camera company telling me about their PEN Ready Project and how they’re giving away more than 1,000 cameras to more than 1,000 folks and that “we think you’ll be a perfect addition.”

I have no idea how they came to such a conclusion since I’m not a blogger of any renown or one who’s prone to reviewing things (and even then it’s usually stuff I’ve bought), but if Olympus wanted to send me a $500 PEN E-PM1 camera that was mine to keep — especially when they added I was under no obligation to be anything but honest in my assessments and opinions of the device — who was I to say no?

So I emailed ’em back and said hell yeah and they emailed me back and said cool along with a link to an online form to fill out that was full of waivers and rules (the main one being I have to post a minimum of 20 pictures to the PEN Ready website by October 31). After they received it they said hold tight we’ll get your free-to-keep camera out to you in a few days.

It arrived this afternoon. Say hi:

With its compact size, external flash and removable lens system it’s a unit that Olympus has positioned as an alternative to those in the market for a camera who want more than a point-and-shoot but aren’t ready to go the full DSLR route.

Being so well-versed and immersed among various Canon DSLR and point-and-shoot cameras these last few years, there will no doubt be a learning curve as I learn the language of its bells and whistles, but being not a total idiot, I was able to install its battery and start shooting with it right out of the box. Literally I swung my desk seat around and clicked snoozy Ranger (click for the bigger pictures):

Then I wandered out back and snapped a late-season cactus flower:

Me likey the results.

Being able to snap with it from the get-go is great, but another thing that will take getting used to is its size. It’s certainly compact and far smaller than my Canon Rebel, but the externally mounted (and interchangeable) lens (none others included) sticks out like a sore thumb when compared to my trusty Canon Powershot SD1100, that I can holster on my belt or backpack or keep in a pocket ready to point-and-shoot it on a moment’s notice.

I know: Oh boo hoo.

Trust me. I’m not griping. Just noting an adjustment regarding mobility. If I carry this cam with me on bike rides it’ll either be in my pack or around my neck if I wish it to be more readily accessible (and I’m decidedly an anti-strap guy). Because you know I’ll be carrying it with me on bike rides and other adventures.

Since first reading my friend Waltarrrr’s tweet on Tuesday that he found Alan Deane in my more than 2-year-old timelapse video of my Bike To Work Day 2009 ride, I’ve been wanting to figure out how that needle-in-a-haystack discovery came about. He revealed a bit of the mechanics when KPCC’s Sharon McNary (who I talked to about Alan for a piece she was putting together for the station about Deane) asked him via Twitter how he came to connect with the vid.

He responded that he’d been searching for news about Deane and it led him to Streetsblog LA. So I did a search there for “Alan Deane” but came up empty, and tweeted back to him “but that then begs the question how Streetsblog found it,” to which he replied that he found Alan’s name in the comments.

So I went back to Streetsblog LA and this time looked for posts about Bike To Work Day 2009, which turned up this overview post of activities from that year and included my video. Sure enough, there in the comments was this (click it for a slight enlargement):

So there it is. Rather amazingly it was Deane done did it. Basically Alan identifying himself (and my since-corrected misspelling of his name) is what ultimately led to the connection.

Getting on a bike for a 26-mile ride across the city and back in the dark to visit a ghost bike installed at a Pasadena intersection installed in Alan Deane’s honor and memory is not about logic. It’s not about common sense. It’s about representing. It’s about recognizing. And in doing so I got a sense from the other cyclists I met up with in Glendale that he was a remarkably resilient and resourceful person who was easily and well liked and is deeply missed.

The city is less a place with Alan Deane no longer in it.


There was a bike ride on Sunday in Pasadena I wish I’d gone on. It was done in the memory of cyclist Alan Deane, who was killed on his 61st birthday, September 22, struck by a car while riding in Pasadena. I knew about his death and I knew about the ride — I even thought about going as late as a couple hours before it began, but didn’t because it was Sunday and I was lazy and there was football on and I was lazy and it was Sunday.

The reason for my after-the-ride guilt is that it turns out I met Alan. On Bike To Work Day in May 2009. It wasn’t the wonder of my memory that allowed me to recall the chance encounter at a pitstop in Glassell Park, it was the wonder of the internet, via my friend Waltarrrr who tweeted:

I have absolutely NO clue how Waltarrrr dug that needle out of the haystack that is my haphazard collection of timelapsed rides — much less the entire youtubernet — but sure enough there the two of us are, timelapsed between 0:58 and about 2:04, in and out of frame engaged in conversation, a large part of which was spent offering him up alternatives when he asked about the best way to get to MacArthur Park.

Very nice guy. Meeting him helped remind me that one of the joys of biking is the opportunity to meet members of the LA bike family. And we are all family.

It’s funny though. I remember when I was readying the clip for upload to YouTube, I thought about cutting out out most of that segment, because frankly two old dudes standing around for more than a minute isn’t the most compelling thing to watch.

Now I’m glad I didn’t.

Because in its handlebar-mounted herky-jerkiness, that footage keeps Alan alive, and in the midst of doing what he loved.

The above is a still of Alan (click it for the bigger picture) and his bike from my video immediately upon my arrival at the pitstop. I can’t remember whether I said something to illicit the smile or if that’s just how he greeted a fellow pedaler, but I’ll bet it’s the latter.

Rest in peace, Alan.

UPDATE (3:58 p.m.): Scott of Tropico Station blog clued me in that another group ride remembering Alan as well as Jocelyn Young, a 24-year-old killed September 18 while also cycling in Pasadena, will be departing tonight at 9 p.m. in Glendale. I’m going to do my best to join them.

The comment I posted to this clip of such amazing movement reads as follows, and I mean it:

I am not worthy to watch such genius. The brilliance is blinding!

Buster got some exercise/explore time out of the tortoise hutch and around the backyard this morning: