Archive for May, 2012

At the close of a very low key anniversary of my birth (very much the way I like them), while watching most of the first installment of History Channel’s excellent “Hatfields & McCoys,” I went to wash dishes and Susan went out back to wrangle Bink (who officially doesn’t come in at night unless his presence is officially requested).

Next thing I know Susan’s calling out “Possum!” and I go toward her fearing she’s found a stricken one. But as I’m coming out the backdoor, Susan’s coming in and moving to the front of the house and I follow her. In pursuit, all  she says is “It’s a big one!” and we throw open the front door just in time to see it scoot past along the walk and around the corner up the south side of the house. I follow at a distance so as to not further stress it out, and it decides to settle in between the green and blue trash bins, politely waiting for me to get my camera and even more politely allowing me to flashsnap its picture without hissing or showing off its bad-assly impressive set of teeth:

A fair share of people are repulsed by these amazing creatures, but as I’ve said before opossums have my utmost respect and compassion, in part because they’re beneficial creatures with an awesome ability to adapt to such a harsh environment, but moreso because frankly it’s hard out there for a ‘possum. Brutal even. Those in urban areas typically endure short and difficult lives fraught with perils that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. So to encounter a healthy mature one (albeit with what looks to be a wound on its muzzle, perhaps from fighting for a mate) — especially after the last two opossums I found were both infants and injured — is a gift I cherish.

As I’ve done for many years now during the Memorial Day weekend, I get on my bike and make a solemn sojourn to Los Angeles National Cemetery. Late last week, in response to an inquiry from KPCC as to who or what their listeners would be thinking about and doing for the occasion, I recorded my thoughts for them via SoundCloud:

My Memorial Day Ritual by wildbell

It was a beautiful day and a beautiful ride, and as you’ll see in the video, I did my annual duty in righting a whole bunch of individual flags that had fallen. But I pedaled very pensively the way home, thinking both about the freshest graves I found there of soldiers killed in Afghanistan in August and September of 2011, and of those undoubtedly to come.

A couple days ago, as I do on a basis sometimes more semi-regular than regular, I dumped all the photos accumulated on my iPhone onto my desktop’s iPhoto program. Except this time some of the image being imported weren’t my photos, namely those eight above that feature a passel of black-and-white kittens, taken Friday, May 11, specifically between 11:13 and 11:23 a.m.

No, seriously: I did not take those. I’ve never even seen those kitties or know anyone who is raising such a crew of cats. Most certainly I can assure you that I DO NOT paint my toenails as can be seen on the feet of perhaps the photo taker in that triplicated groupshot snap in the middle of the bunch.

Though Susan probably wouldn’t ever borrow my phone much less know how to take a picture with it, I asked her if they were her pics and she said they weren’t.

So how the hell did these snaps get on my iPhone? I do remember on the same day these pictures were taken, some status updates suddently started showing up on my Facebook page via my iPhone’s Facebook app that I didn’t do — odd two-letter combos like “Rw” — and I quickly reset my password. Could the two anomalies be connected?

This is krazee.

Yesterday was Tuesday, which like most of the Tuesdays since March meant that I would be biking to and from my volunteer shift at the SPCALA Spay/Neuter Clinic on Jefferson Boulevard.

So as usual I got myself onto 4th Street Bike Boulevard (even though specificaly calling it “Bike Boulevard” is now frowned upon by many in the urban cycling complex) and made my way west, where at about Rossmore I found myself riding with two other cyclists — just three two-wheeled commuters cranking it cross-town.

Nice. Right up until a few blocks along when one of us had to prove he was a jerk by pulling off the cliché selfish and endangering move that never fails to leave motorists and us responsible cohabitation-minded cyclists understandably stewing.

Crossing Hudson in a single file-ish line with me in the middle we approached June Street. As you’ll see in the photos sequenced below (captured on my ever-present handlebar cam; images enlarged if clicked), when the lead cyclist arrived at June, (1) she appropriately yielded to a southbound motorist who’d gotten to the intersection first. I followed suit and the motorist proceeded forward until he had to jerk to a stop because the jackass who’d been behind us (2)saw no reason to obey the law or concede the right of way that was not his and instead (3) just plunged across June without so much as a hesitation. Afterward, (4) the lead cyclist and I continued to yield and the driver (5) resumed his way across the intersection on his way, as did we.

My pointedly derogatory comment describing how I felt about such a blatant cheesebaggery was lost on its intended recipient because when I caught up to him waiting in the median gap to cross Highland I found out his audio inputs were fully blocked by earbuds. Of course they were.

So instead when he turned my way and found I’d negated any gain his sociopathically compulsive stop sign jump had made, he also found my my righteously disapproving glare back at him while shaking my head. His response was to turn on the afterburners once Highland cleared. But that impressive display of running away was for naught as well as I rolled up casually at the red light he got stuck waiting for at La Brea.

Snapped at 6:38 p.m. as projected through a spotting scope onto the palm of my hand from our front porch.

Last year the Amgen Tour of California ignored Los Angeles, and the year before I had to go downtown to watch a bit of the time trial stage, but this year the Amgen tour’s course designers did me a nice favor in sending the final stage cyclists along Sunset Boulevard — literally a half-block from my Silver Lake front door. So at 10:20a.m., about ten minutes before they were scheduled to roll through on their way downtown, I set up my cam on a tripod with a backdrop of some appropriately complementary street art, and they literally WHOOSHED by only a few feet from my lens.

Preface: You are being duly warned that this is an odd rambling post about the throwback Citizen wristwatch I’m presently wearing, brought about by the sudden and surprise arrival of a 1988 photo of me — sent and taken by my friend Joel Ordesky (that he found while searching for other pics) — in which I happen to be wearing the first Citizen I ever owned. You should also prepare yourself before continuing beyond the jump for the mint-green sweaterlishousness I was wearing in said photo, plus the fact that I was once young with nary a gray hair on my wrinkle-free head that still sported a baby face some of whose original parts were lost six years later in my motorcycle accident: