Archive for November, 2011

Literally. Patches came trotting into the study while I was at the computer, jumped up next to her food bowl behind me and plopped the thing next to it, presumably to have a kibble appetizer before her main course. Except the still-very-much-alive and relatively small (perhaps young) rat (or the largest freakin’ mouse I’ve ever seen; about 11-12 inches long, tail included) didn’t cooperate and tried to get away. This forced Patches to scramble and grab it up and exit, which is when I saw it in her jaws. Suddenly the previous commotion at the food bowl I’d not paid attention to made sense and up I got to chase Patches into the backyard so she wouldn’t drop it in the house.

She obliged, running out the back door, up on the patio and behind the barbeque grill, which when I slammed it startled her into abandoning her catch. The rat in the meantime hobbled on an injured rear foot/leg under the patio table where I was able to catch it up in a shoebox and install it in Buster’s old reptiquarium, where it can hopefully de-stress while I figure out if I should take it to an animal rescue place of if its injury is minor enough to let it heal and release it.

I’ve observed it drinking some water and limping around, so I’m cautiously optimistic that there aren’t any internal injuries.

On a side note, this critter and I might very well be related, so to speak. If not one of the backyard litter I assisted (after inadvertently destroying their den) back in 2007, then maybe it’s one of their offspring.

UPDATED (11.30): My optimism came too early. I found the rat dead this morning. Sigh.


I’d been eyeballing the increasingly sorrier looking butternut squash patch, which at its flourishing leafy height mid-October looked like this:

But for the last couple weeks in large part because the nil amount of light now coming from a sun sliding so low across the southern skies the patch has been working its way down to looking like this:

So I went to work this morning and now it looks like this:

My crop yield was lucky seven, albeit with the smallest four still being far from ripe:

There’s conflicting info on the internest about squash ripening off the vine, with some resources saying yes they do, some saying hell no. My instinct is the quartet won’t be orange’ing up anytime soon.

And of course I weighed them (smallest to largest, in ounces):

  1. 07.75
  2. 08.00
  3. 17.25
  4. 21.25
  5. 32.50
  6. 34.625
  7. 55.25

For a total of 176.625 ounces, or 11.04 pounds. Not bad. In fact, I’m pretty damn impressed.



Today was just an absolutely spectacular day. Highs in the 80s, blazing bright sunlight, visibility that seemed to be broadcast in high-definition. So since there’s no better conditions in which to go rolling in the river than in the days immediately after it gets a good storm scrubbing, I got the hell out of the house with the mountain bike and did what’s become a typical river rat run from Fletcher Drive down to the 7th Street Bridge and back. Only this time when I arrived back at Fletcher, I kept going upstream along the Los Angeles River’s east bank and in the water to go under the Hyperion and Los Feliz Boulevard bridges — something I first and last did, oh… 21 years ago. Back then there were actual rusting hulks of derelict automobiles in the river. Now it’s a bit more welcoming, as seen in this timelapse of the last four miles up and back alongside Atwater Village (overall route: 17.27 miles):

At the other end of the ride, I stopped and mused about the future of the cherished 6th Street Bridge:

Those deathless herkyjerky timelapse videos I compile from my bike rides are often filled with a whole lotta nothing happening beyond a 12 frames-per-second commemoration of whatever route I’ve taken.  But usually I can count on encountering something  eye-catching and worth a second glance. Maybe it’s a unique pedestrian or a scenario or an architectural aspect that I’m happy to have been able to capture.

Such is the cloud-crowded frame above (cinematic, if I do say so myself; click it for the bigger picture), snapped as I was making my way east across the Sixth Street Bridge onward to Montebello for some Broguiere’s egg nog last Monday. Pedaling  past these independent filmmakers during a break in the traffic flow as they rolled on a key moment between what I’d guess could be the protagonist and his or her love interest against a background of the downtown skyline.

Since my approaching presence posed no danger or impediment that forced them to yell cut and flee to the sidewalks, maybe the final cut of the film will find me pedaling along the outskirts of this scene.

Given how elaborately ghoulish and over-the-top our Halloween decorations are, one might think I go totally overboard for the holidays as well. But no blow-up Santas on the ivy for me. Instead, I am decidedly low-key in how we deck the halls for Christmas, with this year being literally no different than the last: icicle lights on the eaves, a strand up the bannister, a wreath on the porch over some reindeer. And as of yesterday everything’s out of the basement and up on the house:


Susan and I made a getaway to MOCA downtown on Grand Avenue to check out the awesome “Naked Hollywood” exhibit of  photos by Weegee, and afterward we walked through the halls housing the museum’s permanent collection, where we found many creations that left me shaking my head — especially the one pictured above. This “painting” literally makes me want to slug anyone who’d dare earnestly defend it as “art,” which in this bullshit’s case can only qualify if art is defined as “paint applied to a canvas that’s hung on a wall.”

Northbound cyclists on Spring Street near 8th Street, circa 1899:

Source: USC Digital Archives

Southbound cyclists on Spring Street near 8th Street, circa yesterday:

Bonus shot: Me Eastbound to Montebello, taking a break up on my beloved 6th Street Bridge to appreciate her and apologize for the City Council.