Archive for January, 2012

I saw a most amazing thing last weekend. I was up in the rear of of our backyard watching a number of bushtits chirping and flitting through the branches of the unknown flowering tree that’s centrally located back there. Suddenly an Anna’s hummingbird dives in and squares off aggressively against one of the bushies only a few feet above me. Buzzing the Bushie and diving at it while putting on a display of spread tail feathers and noisy clicks and chirps, the bushie eventually had enough and vacated the area to a different part of the tree. Then the hummingbird lighted on a nearby branch and stood watch. I was amazed having never seen such a big display of territoriality from such a little thing.

My guess was that even though it’s hella early, the hummer had built or was building a nest in the vicinity and was preventing the bushie from pilfering material from it for use building its own house.

I didn’t locate the hummingbird nest then, but today, bingo — and found it almost completed.

Given the awe I have for the little creatures, I set up the spotting scope and got the cameras clicking both while it was in its nest, on a quince tree limb, and grabbing a sip from a nearby aloe bloom:

Lastly here’s a short vid I got through the spotting scope of the bird sitting in the nest and then leaving it.


I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out!

For the life of me I have never understood why such unchecked criminal violence in hockey is not only tolerated, but so flagrantly condoned — even appreciated! Seriously, the most embarrassing aspect of this video isn’t just the despicable behavior of the players so much as the detestably laudatory announcers and the gleeful spectators shown in the stands.

And even if someone could sit down with me and by talking slowly and using small words definitively and irrefutably explain why stopping the game so that opposing players can slug each other repeatedly and with reckless abandon on the ice is a necessary component of that game, I’d thank them for their time and still suggest they take the entire sport and shove it sideways.


After my trip Thursday to the Metro Courthouse to see about the status of the ticket I got on my bike in December turned out to be a wasted one, I pedaled up to the Central Library to redeem the day by checking out an exhibit of historical Los Angeles maps that are being displayed in the branch’s first floor galleries (If you’re interested, I wrote at about why it’s something worth checking out).

Of the excellent selection of cartography arrayed, one that I found very intriguing was the first true plat map made in 1884 showing ownership of various parcels of land throughout the city’s original core boundaries. And after marveling both at the creek that used to run down what’s now Silver Lake Boulevard as well as at what had been the unknown original reservoir location to the south of what’s now the Silver Lake Reservoir (basically submerging Silver Lake Boulevard between Sunset Boulevard and Effie Street), I snapped the following picture of the northwest corner of it for further review to determine which not-yet-subdivided parcel contained our future lot (click it for the bigger picture):

So today I opened it up, and from the bottom third of the above pic was able to translate the near nonexistent street grid of the city 128 years or so into the future and find the intersection of Canal and Temple streets then are today’s Bellevue Avenue and London Street, from which our street extends northward over parcels that were first owned by a GH Smith & GS Patton.

With a last name of Patton I wondered if that wouldn’t be the coolest thing if that person might not be a relation of none other than famed World War II General.

So I took a shot in the dark and googled “GS Patton land owner Los Angeles” and I wouldn’t you know there stood a good chance that it was Patton’s dad. Via a link to the book “Los Angeles from the Mountains to the Sea, Vol.2” by John Steven McGroarty, a passage in it showed me that GS Patton was General Patton’s father, who it turns out owned a lot of real estate after coming to Los Angeles in 1878 (see the bolded text near the end of the passage below):

Since there’s some vagueness as to whether that bolded sentence referred to Patton or Benjamin D. Wilson, the influential father of the woman he married, I went searching from more proof. So I next googled “GH Smith.” The first hit took me to a book titled “Out West, Vol. 25” by Charles Lummis that identified a “Col. G.H. Smith” as being one of the founders of the Los Angeles Public Library. Then another reference identified him as “Geo. H. Smith,” and finally I got to the George Hugh Smith Wikipedia page, and found what I was looking for (text emphasized below):

George Hugh Smith was born in Philadelphia, the son of George Archibald Smith and Ophelia Ann Williams. His family moved back to Virginia when he was a child. Smith attended Virginia Military Institute (VMI) in Lexington, Virginia with his cousin George Smith Patton, and graduated in 1853. Smith was admitted to the bar in 1855, and he practiced law until the out break of the Civil War.

Smith and Patton… cousins!? Dang.  Further on down Smith’s Wiki page it says he came to Los Angeles in 1869 and got into the legal side of the real estate game:

In 1870 Smith joined the law partnership of Alfred Chapman and Andrew Glassell, the firm becoming known as Glassell, Chapman & Smith. Their law practice was confined chiefly to real estate transactions and they made their fortunes in the large partition suits.

In fact, if you look on the map two parcels south of the Canal and Temple streets intersection you’ll see one owned by an A. Glassell — no doubt Smith’s partner, Andrew.

So there you have it, folks. In the grand scheme of things this might not be much more to most than an asterisk in the annals of Los Angeles’ first land boom, but to a history geek like me, it’s just diggity dang cool knowing that in 1884 the father (and cousin) of the legendary World War II general — and two notable gentlemen in their own right — were the first owners of the standard plot of land upon which our little house was build 22 years later in 1906.

UPDATE (02.25): I learned through this nifty little documentary vid linked from this post at the Eastsider LA Blog regarding the history of The Cut that was first a railway and then Sunset Boulevard, that a geneological clarification is in order. While GH Smith was in fact the cousin of GS Patton II as well as of Patton II’s son, the famed World War II general, Smith was also and more importantly Patton II’s and the general’s step-father and step-grandfather, respectively. The general’s paternal grandfather, GS Patton I, was killed in a Civil War battle, leaving Susan Thornton Glassell a widow, who Smith subsequently married in 1870. So in addition to being a bloodline cousin to Gen. Patton, Smith was his step-grandfather by marriage and, in fact, the only grandfather he ever knew.


With tomorrow being the deadline to appear regarding the citation I received Dec. 09 during the annual Midnight Ridazz All-City Toy Ride (my multiple attempts to process it online denied due to the citation being “not found”), I pedaled down to the Metro Traffic Courthouse on South Hill Street, only to find out via the clerk there that the ticket doesn’t yet exist in the system most likely due to the officer not yet entering it.

Turns out — according to the clerk (and in contradiction to my January 27 appearance date as indicated on the citation) — the officer has up to a year to register the ticket… an entire freakin’ year. So basically, the trip was not only a wasted one, but on top of that since a mailed courtesy notice isn’t guaranteed, the responsibility is entirely on me to keep checking the LA Superior Court website to see when it ends up in the system, and only at that point can I pay bail and request a trial by declaration. If it isn’t in there by December 10, 2012, it’s void.

In the meantime since tomorrow will come and go without any record of me taking any action I asked for and received a “tracer” from the clerk that at least shows I presented myself before the deadline. Trouble is it expires in 90 days, so if the end of April arrives and there’s still no citation, I’ll have to go back and get another tracer. And then maybe another one after that in July. And another one in October.

The one glimmer of hope in all this additional frustration is that if the ticket hasn’t been entered by now there might stand a chance that it might not be entered at all. Fingers crossed, from now until December 10.

UPDATE (01.28): Guess I can uncross my fingers. A second “Notice of Correction/Proof of Service” form dated January 26 arrived in the mail today advising me that my court appearance date has been changed to March 15.

I haven’t done much here in way of tooting/touting my upcoming bigger-and-better-than-last-time’s Watts Happening Ride next month, but I figured since I slapped together the spokecard art yesterday, why not start the tooting/touting now:

Basic details — When: February 18 at 9 a.m. Start/Finish: Happy Foot/Sad Foot sign at the northwest corner of Sunset Boulevard & Benton Way in Silver Lake. Approximate time to elapse: 5-6 hours. Total distance: 32.95 miles.

Optional partial ride: If doing the full ride isn’t feasible, consider joining the ride at approximately 9:30 a.m. downtown on Spring Street (anywhere between 2nd & 9th streets) for the roughly 9-mile segment to the Watts Towers. The 103rd Street Blue Line station is near to the towers and can be an alternative to get you back into downtown.

The Facebook event page is here. The complete route map is here.

Helluva sunset this evening. Enough to get me up on the highest point of the roof and point my camera in its general direction. For anyone keeping score, those distant silhouetted protrusions about a third of the way in from the right are the skyscrapers of Century City, roughly 8.2 miles away as the crow goes.

Two day’s after the first rain of 2012 comes the second storm of the year. Expected by meteorologists to pack a bigger wallop across the region than Saturday’s, it did not — at least not in our backyard according to our precipitometer, which registered 1 7/8ths of an inch (1.875″) as of 5 p.m. under clearing skies. Season-to-date total: 17.531″.