Archive for March, 2012

This is a portrait of my mom, taken yesterday.  Behind her is a more formal portrait of my mom and me and her granddaughter Kate and let’s not forget her dog Crockett in the dark lower left corner) taken in the mid-1990s.

This time last year, I came home from our fabulous Far East vacation with Susan and was greeted by a voicemail message from her that she was in a Glendale hospital with cancer. Two of them actually: ovarian and colon.

She kicked both their asses so well that it made her doctor cry. Literally.

Now that her hair has grown back she wanted me to take a picture of her to show my cousin Margaret how wild and crazy her “March hair” is. So I obliged.

Margaret emailed back: “I think it’s beautiful.”

I couldn’t agree more.

It is my new absolute favorite picture of her ever.

I love you, mom!

Last Saturday I wrote of dropping out of my 230s for the first time since beginning this diet March 1, and I qualified the milestone with the understanding that what goes down must go up.

I did just that the next day, re-crossing the threshold and landing at 230.4 on March 25, but the days since have been astoundingly seesaw-less, leaving me at 225.4 as of this morning. Five pounds in four days.

I attribute it to being in the zone, for want of a proper term. My physiology has finally calibrated to the reduced caloric intake and I simply need nor want anything more. Case in point is these last two days in which my consumption has been 1,966 and 1,919 calories, respectively — while not feeling even slightly hungry. Up to this point, I’d be happy to finish a day at 2,600 calories and only feel partially famished. Trust me: it’s a moderately euphoric feeling.

That sensation took longer to arrive in 2006 when I started my descent from my all-time high of 263 that finished six months later with me at an all-time adult low of 208.  Interestingly enough it never arrived when I caught myself at 236 in July 2010 and reversed that trend. I was ultimately successful in getting back to 220, but I went no further because each and ever pound I surrendered was a battle — primarily because I wasn’t restricting my calories so determinedly.

So I spoiled myself at breakfast this morning. Not with chocolate-covered chocolate or waffles with extra syrup or a heaping bowl of sugar with some cereal in it. Nah. Instead I went krazee and awarded myself 12 ounces of 1% milk, instead of the usual 6 ounces.

Like I said: In. The. Zone.

After some particularly egregious vandalism last October, I took an old mostly broken DV video cam out of my drawer and hooked it up to an old mostly broken laptop that I set up under the front porch, with the cam pointed down the front steps to the sidewalk. Since then, not counting the computer crashes (which were pretty plentiful), the not-very-dynamic low-tech duo has been sending a low-res still as a webcam image every time something triggered a sensor in the computer program I used, and it’s also archived all the images together as Quicktime timelapse movies that up until last month I reviewed with regularity.

I dub the implementation of the rough-rigged surveillance system a complete success because there hasn’t been a single vandal seen since.

In their lowlife place I’ve captured stills of squirrels, various birds, skunks, of course our cats, opossums, raccoons, delivery persons, Gas Co. and LADWP meter readers, myself, Susan, any visiting friends, family, or neighbors and the occasional Jehovah’s witness or other such uninvited solicitor. Once I even got a blurry thing beelining it down the center of our street that I was pretty sure was a coyote, but couldn’t be conclusive.

Well, in reviewing the lengthy timelapse file that I hadn’t checked since February 11, I’ve now got that conclusion as bright as day. Literally. Check out the bold pair* of coyotes who dropped by at 11 a.m. on a rainy February 15 for more than five minutes, like they owned the place (click any the series for the bigger pictures).

*There is a chance it’s just one coyote, but a pair of them has been active in the neighborhood these past few weeks — the very same pair I chased a pair out of our neighbors yard and up the street a couple weeks ago.

What coyote? Check out the ears and eyes just emerging there above the top step.

The first one has arrived!

Not quite a minute later, there comes the second one.

Check out the rest of the pix after the jump.


Just by yesterday’s much-need storm itself, March distinguished itself from January and February by doubling the number of measurably wet days over those previous two months — and yesterday’s meant business. It was also a storm somewhat unique in that didn’t get started pouring until near the noon hour and then lasted well past 10 p.m., with some pretty intense cells passing over our Silver Lake backyard during that interval. But there wasn’t much in the way of thunder or lightning that had been anticipated, at least not in our area of the city.

In the end, our waterlogged backyard precipitometer logged water that fell to the tune of 3.167 inches for that period, for a seasonal total (begun back in October) of 23.323 inches. That amount is more than three times the official Los Angeles tally (somewhere around seven inches), and my only guess as to why the vast difference is because of where we might be situated on a west-facing (if not at all prominent) hillside.

Whatever the reason behind the over achievement, it’s very much appreciated.


As part of a media event at the new Navitat Canopy Adventures, I was excited to be among a group of bloggers who got to experience this amazing new facility in scenic Wrightwood, Calif. And as a person with a distinct aversion for leaving perfectly solid ground and/or structures to go flying through the air, I was also more than a little bit terrified.

In the above helmetcam clip, I ride the longest segment of the course, a quarter-mile long cable strung across a deep canyon between two massive pines that can get you moving at 50 mph-plus. It’s literally mindblowing flying above and through the forest, unlike anything I’ve ever experienced or participated in ever before in my life. As you’ll see at the end of my ride, a come up little bit short on the end thanks to some serious winds and so I had to hand-over-hand it the last few feet to the platform. But after being unhooked by our lead guide Joe, I capture our other guide Lexie coming across and in for a textbook perfect finish. What an AMAZING place. Navitat’s season opens March 31.

Overall there are 10 different ziplines, three rappels and skybridges so I’ll have more clips and stills to come but in the meanwhile, for more info on Navitat Canopy Adventures and how to go get some of your own, visit

It’s a bit like a long-distance swimmer cheering himself on for passing a milestone that’s still miles away from the finish, but so what. Twenty-three days in to my latest round of nutritional hyper-awareness, one that started with me at 234.8 pounds March 1 (but then jumped up to 236.8 on March 3 and stayed there for a couple days), has finally seen me drop out of the 230s for the first time this morning to 229.6. So depending on the date/weight, I’ve lost either 5.2 pounds in 23 days, or 7.2 in 21. The first one’s the “official” measure, of course, but I reeeally like the look of that second one.

And yeah, I know only too fully well the seesaw effect could swing me back up to that oh-so-familiar territory tomorrow or the next, but every new low point is a new high point.

Walking Ranger this morning, I passed street artist “Dcypher” adding some blazing color to the corner of Silver Lake Boulevard and Parkman north of the Sunset Boulevard overpass with a mural done in conjunction with the upcoming Silver Lake Jubilee (click it for the bigger picture):