Archive for April, 2012

Here We Go Again. Again.

Monday, April 30th, 2012

According to EastsiderLA blog, some dastardly jackass cyclist on the LA River Bike Path this past weekend reportedly knocked down and slightly injured a volunteer helping with the Friends of the Los Angeles River’s annual Great LA River Cleanup. And didn’t even bother to stop. Sigh.

And of course the moment such preventable things like this happen, Elysian Valley residents get quoted saying things like “We need to do something more than has been done about this shared-path conflict,” and “Let’s not wait until a serious injury occurs before we take some more positive action.”

While I couldn’t agree more at the face-value of such statements, ultimately the subtext beneath the “more” that needs doing and the taking of “positive action” comes loaded with a bias against cyclists who, through the thoughtless inconsideration of an individual, all get painted as being the cause of the conflict.

Because gawd knows, no peds ever do anything self-centered or careless. Not this speed-walker salmoning upstream fully hogging the wrong lane.

Nor this group of dog lovers with every one of their one, two, three, four pooches off-leash (click the images for bigger pictures):

Nah. Nothing wrong in these two encounters that yet ANOTHER sign pointing the finger at me on my bike telling me to slow down and share the path under penalty of law WON’T HELP.

I’m all for more the more that needs to be done and the positive action that needs to be taken regarding getting ALL users to be more responsible and less selfish and therefore make the path a safer place. But while I’m holding my breath waiting for that to happen I’ll just continue like most cyclists and ride conscientiously and carefully so as not to negatively impact anyone else on the river — especially those who negatively impact my enjoyment of it.

 

 

 

 

Follow The Follow The Follow The Follow The Follow The Yellow Rock Road

Monday, April 30th, 2012

One of our destinations inside Joshua Tree during our daytrip there this past Saturday was the famous Skull Rock after which Susan and I went for a hike of a couple miles around the rocks in the area.

On our way back we deviated from any marked trail and meandered a bit where we made the totally lucky discovery of an awesome rock-lined spiral path, that certainly took some doing by whoever constructed it (maybe it was a team effort started by someone and then built out by subsequent visitors who happened upon it).

Of course, to honor the efforts of the mystery builder(s) I went to the center of the circle and walked my way out to the other end and Susan snapped me at a point in my progress:

Here’s the timelapse view of the spin I took through it from my chest-mounted GoPro cam:

Afterwards, I went looking on the internet for any information about the man-made formation, but found none. Zero. Then I went to GoogleMaps to see if the spiral was visible via satellite view, and wouldn’t you know? It is (gmaps link):

What a wonderful and entirely serendipitous bonus to an awesome first visit to Joshua Tree National Park, the moral of whose story is: don’t stay on the beaten path because you never know what you’re missing.

 

Straight Outta Steinbeck

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

When we entered the south end of Joshua Tree National Park early yesterday morning I wondered rather hopefully but doubtfully to myself if Susan and I would be so gifted as to see both a bighorn sheep AND a desert tortoise during what was our inaugural visit.

Then we went about making our way north through the park awed at the amazing scenery and solitude. By the late afternoon it was time to head home and pretty much as expected we hadn’t encountered either of the two animals. But then, at the last opportunity we literally intersected paths with a desert tortoise crossing the road about a mile from the exit at Joshua Tree.

Being a huge fan of Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath,” I immediately drew a parallel between this tortoise and the metaphorical one found crossing the highway in that book’s third chapter.

With a crowd of other passersby gathering there was concern the creature might stress and void its bladder (aka “drop its water”), which can often be a dehydration death sentence to a tortoise out there in the dry and wild. But any drama as to what to do with the tortoise who was really in no hurry to get off the warm asphalt, was nicely resolved when a park ranger happened upon the scene and moved it safely (and without dropping its water) well away from the other side of the road. What an awesome way to end our first visit to this amazing place. Next time: camping, for sure!

Silver Lake Stormwatch: April 26

Friday, April 27th, 2012

‘Twas another quiet storm, falling almost silently throughout yesterday’s early morn. But in the the end this  soaker brought upon our Silver Lake backyard another 1.5 inches. Will it be the last one of the season? If so, the total inches caught by our hard-working precipitometer between the first rain in October and now stands at 29.07.

Personally I’d love to see another system or systems drop at least 0.93 inches just so I can report hitting the 30-inch milestone.

Another Day, Another Opossum

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

‘Tis indeed the season. The previous weekend’s young opossum rescue didn’t surprise me when it ended with the poor creature’s demise, and when I first discovered another under Jiggy’s paw yesterday in the backyard — this one also still breathing but with a far bloodier wound on its left side nearer the neck — I held out even less hope, as evidenced with following tweet:

I hate that the only possums I get to hold are injured ones with little chance of survival.

Still, I retrieved it, half expecting it to expire in my hand. But instead after being installed in a safe box it went from being not quite completely dead (or at least playing at it very well, as ‘possums are programmed to do) to being very much almost completely alive as seen in the following videos I captured with my iPhone. Check out the adorable open-mouthed threat gestures:

In between those previous clips I also posted this one at Yfrog, but I can’t get an embed to work

It ended up nestling deep into the towel for the night and this morning it’s in that same position — blessedly still breathing. I’m hoping Animal Advocates near the Fairfax District might have room to take possession of it today, but if not it’s back to the California Wildlife Center we go.

UPDATE (4.25 3:41 p.m.): It was looking almost like a lost cause — not the opossum who continued its remarkable rebound — but finding a place to take it. Animal Advocates was at capacity, and I was further distressed when a call to California Wildlife Center ended also with a decline to help (due to having more animals than it could care for).  It seemed like my only option was to contact the city’s animal services department, but that was a death sentence. Finally at the suggestion of Animal Advocates I called Coast & Canyon Wildlife in Malibu and they welcomed the little opossum (female) with open arms. Bless C&C Wildlife!

CicLAvia No. 4

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

I’m a week late in posting anything about the April 15 CicLAvia mainly because I’ve tried five times to upload the 12-minute timelapse video to YouTube, and five times YouTube has aborted the upload. It’s not like me to provide some documentation of what’s my favorite biking event ever, so in lieu of banging my bloody head against YouTube’s failness yet a sixth time, this weekend I went through and pulled some  70 or so stills from the footage and uploaded the set to Flickr, viewable here.

They Call It Swarmy Monday…

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

Ranger’s bark by the backdoor yesterday brought me to her to find something absolutely awesome: A large transient bee swarm had came from who knows where to literally hang out in the backyard fig tree for a spell, and of course I got footage of the experience from various angles, accompanied by my narration that won’t be making David Attenborough or Jeff Corwin nervous anytime soon.

In this first clip, being such an awesomely unusual event of course I ventured outside among them for a closer look:

After checking them out from the ground (in part 1), I went upstairs to look out the bathroom window and get a brief and closer look at where the bees had massed in the fig tree:

Then I set up the cam  with the  spotting scope to get an up-close look at the teeming bee mass up in the tree:

Lastly and most coolly, I was onhand about an hour later when the bees decided it was time to move on. What I most like about this clip is that as the group breaks up you can see what lies beheath: the living infrastructure they’ve built amongst each other to hold the mass together: