Archive for October, 2012

Our five pumpkins we grew in the backyard patch before and after they went under the carving knife (click it for the bigger picture):


They won’t win any design awards, but my timeframe might qualify for an honorable mention: I hacked up all five in 30 minutes flat. And yes there’s a timelapse of it… soon to come.

Happy Halloween!

UPDATED (11.01): Yep, here’s all the timelapsed frenzy of pumpkin cutting activity:

And lastly, here’s the obligatory night shot of the quintet as they were meant to be seen:

I’m back again on the bike on a regular basis, which for a three-year period not too long ago meant 30 miles a day, five days a week, but now translates into 18 miles once a week. Yesterday’s roundtrip to spcaLA in Jefferson Park where I’m now volunteering with the Animal Protection Services Division by which I hope to one day be employed as a Humane Enforcement Officer, included a couple of pleasant surprises — both on the return home.

The first was found as I cut through the main promenade across the USC campus: customized sharrows:

Since it’s not often I cut through TrojanTown, these welcome additions could be old news to the student body, but they’re new to me.

Secondly, after my brief visit to USC, I headed north on Figueroa where I played a friendly and respectful game of leapfrog with a Dash bus heading toward downtown. With the Dash bus behind me in the No. 2 lane and gaining as we neared Washington Boulevard, I spied a large custom tour bus parked at the curb up ahead of me, its width occupying most of what’s a Bus Only (Bikes OK) lane. I could sense the Dash bus would be alongside me just as I was alongside the parked behemoth, and though I should have moved out into the No. 2 lane and taken it, I instead hugged the left side of the bus and hoped for the best, which is what happened when the driver made a full change to the No. 1 lane to make sure there was plenty of room for us to both safely proceed, before transitioning back to the No. 2 lane ahead of me. Nice!

See for yourself in this brief timelapse segment from my handlebar cam: Dash Pass

With conscientious drivers like that it’s no wonder Jerry Brown keeps vetoing the 3-foot safe passing zone bill as something he doesn’t consider necessary… even thought it’s completely necessary and Brown’s a puppet jerk for killing it again last month.

PS. Since I had the bus number from the timelapse, I made sure to go to the LADOT Dash website and submit a commendation to the unknown driver for showing how easy and awesome it is to share the road.

There’s actually a couple other gourds out in the backyard still growing — one barely a pound in weight and the other probably about six or seven (and shaped awesome/ominously like a skull) — but they’re still mostly green and probably still will be by Halloween so I left them alone to continue to do their thing, and instead harvested the three that have orange’d up the most:

The most consistent thing is that we went five for five. We planted five seeds back on July 4 and each one ultimately produced one pumpkin — along with an hellacious amount of flowering vines. The least consistent thing was their size. I’m not knocking that… hell, I’m thrilled that we got something for our trouble. It’s just curious the differences.

Above (click it for the bigger picture), from the left: 3 pounds 11.25 ounces, 11 pounds even, and 1 pound 10.75 ounces

Special note: We call the smallest one on the right our “special needs” pumpkin because she leans over no matter which way you set her down (a product of growing up somewhat strangled between competing vines from the other two pumpkins.

I usually bring the glass portion of my backyard precipitometer in when there’s no rain in the forecast — the better to prevent it from getting broken. But following this week’s surprise storm, I left it out there, and in doing so I may have accidentally stumbled upon a secondary use as a measurement to gauge the power of any winds.

See, the Santa Ana winds blew through yesterday, and this morning I found the precipitometer had registered its catches of the night. Now to everyone else it’s just a coupla leaves, but to me it’s a clear indicator based on the positioning of the respresentative sample captured at right (click it for the bigger picture) that some 1.5″ of foliage got blown down onto our backyard yesterday — 1.75″ if you count the stem.

I typically treat any announcements of rain chances below 60% with a healthy dose of skepticism. This is Southern California, after all, where you are better off believing it’ll rain only when you see it rain. So when the various meteorological institutions and representatives were saying that there wasn’t much more than a 20% chance of scattered showers expected, you’d expect I’d just laugh that off as sillyology.

Instead, as I looked at the leaden clouds yesterday morning, something made me take heed. Call it intuition, optimism or whatever. But the cumulos nimbusing above were just way too dark and saturated. So I dutifully tarped the tortoise hutch and the hammock, tipped up the various outdoor seat cushions, and set up the backyard precipitometer.

Nothing dropped during the day, but I left everything battened down yesterday evening and sure enough, between lights out last night and this morning, a surprising full quarter-inch hit the deck (click it for the bigger picture):

October 22: 0.25″
Year To Date: 0.4375″

Last month, I wrote about the privilege and honor of being able in my own small way to participate in a ceremony at Rio Hondo College on the anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy.

This past weekend I was pointed to visual proof of my involvement in the form of a photo montage from a campus photographer that appeared in the monthly newsletter put out by the college’s president. I’m there — rear row, second in from the left — near the center of the montage among three of my fellow Police Academy cadets, to the right of the Fire Academy class (click it for the bigger picture):

It was nice to be able to say I was there. Nicer still to see.


On September 21, I wrote about how it was waaaaay too soon for me to be stepping onto the scale and having it read 200.6. The previous day I’d dropped to a new low at that point of 203 pounds and it was just completely anomalous for me to follow-up the very next weigh-in with another such big drop.

As such I violated my rule of weighing myself one-time-and-one-time-only each day and recording the result whether it was fantastic, depressing or indifferent, and I stepped on the scale again immediately, wherein the numbers read 204.4 — a far more realistic measurement.

I might not have re-weighed that day if it had read 201-something, but because the 200 mark is almost as monumental a milestone as my ultimate diet goal of 190, I wanted the achievement to be legit and inline chronologically with my roughly pound-a-week loss program, not the result of a fluke or the scale’s failing battery.

That’s why, almost four weeks after that September surprise, when I stepped on the scale this morning I just flat out accepted it and figuratively high-fived myself when it read:


Honestly, I can’t pinpoint when I was last 200 pounds. All I remember is that I was sub-200 throughout high school so  it was probably nineteen hundred hellyeah and eighty three-ish for those of you-ish keeping score at home.

As to anyone looking for a more visual quantification, behold below my torso in a relic I’ve never ever before been able to comfortably wear for the 22 years, 6 months, 2 weeks, and 2 days I’ve owned it — a memento from my participation in the Jimmy Stewart Relay Marathon that took place on April 1, 1990, in Griffith Park. I kid you not, even on the day of the event my extra-large frame (augmented by an even more extra-large spare tire) was too wide for this slim-fit tee: