Archive for December, 2012

I joined some of my fellow Glendale Trail Safety Patrol volunteers — Paul, Rafi and Mark — and we tackled the Brand Motorway from bottom to top, with a side trip over to Tongva Peak before heading back down:

For all the riding I’ve done in the Verdugos, I haven’t rolled up or down the Brand Motorway since at least 2002, when a wildfire scorched much of the southern-facing hillsides around that area and subsequent rains washed out portions of the trail. As such I’d long forgotten how much more arduous and lengthy a climb it is than the Beaudry North Motorway (3.53 miles versus about 2 miles). In having my memory refreshed, I’m pleased to report I was able to make the trip up, nonstop — a first.

The 9.37-mile route with 1,873-feet of elevation gain/lost is mapped here


The thundering — long and low reams of the stuff rolling from one end of the overcast sky to the other — came out of nowhere yesterday morning and I knew the storm that was expected to land later in the day was coming way early. So I wasted no time tarping the tortoise hutch and the hammock, and battening all other hatchenings just as the rain drops started falling on my head and into our backyard precipitometer.

Less than four hours later — full of some furious moments in between — the storm was pretty much finished, producing an impressive total slightly over an inch and a half, or 4 centimeters or 1.57 inches to be more precise.

December 29: 1.57″
Season Total: 12.48″



Let’s call this one a three-fer. This latest trio of storms came in for their respective landings one after the other like planes lined-up on approach to LAX. The first one on Saturday night/Sunday morning delivered a weak 3/16ths of an inch to our Silver Lake property and since the forecasts were calling for more and soon, I just left the backyard precipitometer alone and let the second system that arrived on Christmas Eve eve/Christmas Eve add to it. And in fact, it did quite an exceptional job, ending up 3/16ths of an inch short of two inches. Then came the final act last night to this morning that raised the water level a wee bit shy of the 2-3/4 inches mark, which for the three successive storms between Saturday night and this morning I’m officially calling 2.72″, pushing us well into double-digit land for the season.

December 22, 24, & 26: 2.72″
Season Total: 10.91″

photo(2)On Christmas Eve morning Susan and I set out in the light rain for a Silver Lake walkabout that turned into an almost-six-mile loop around our wonderful neighborhood. We discovered new stuff, like this colorfully reborn parking meter we dropped a couple coins into where it stands just south of Rowena on West Silver Lake Drive. This one’s set up to raise money to keep lighted the lovely “Chandelier Tree” the property owner created, and represents a variation of a movement afoot in various cities across the country to re-adapt and reuse the defunct machines as donation stations for various causes.

And we stopped into a variety of shops catering to last-minute holiday shoppers including Yolk, Brightwell, Broome St. General Store, Casita del Campo (for a mid-route libation), The Cheese Store of Silver Lake, Pull My Daisy, Reform School, the 99-Cent store, Daisy’s Antiques and Danish Modern LA.

Before we left I loaded into my backpack a couple books because the one place I wanted to visit in order to give rather than receive was St. George Street branch of the Little Free Library that’s been set up for well over a year (and actual it’s stationed on Rowena between St. George and Hyperion).

Mission accomplished:


One of these years I’m going to add my own satellite branch to the extensive nationwide system.

Merry Christmas!

PS> For a few more snaps of some of the things we saw along the way, check out this Flickr set.

I blew it. Missed the centennial anniversary of the oldest familial object in my possession. For several years, bestowed upon me by my mother who’s kept it I don’t know for how long,  I’ve had a remnant of my grandmother’s father’s life: a Gordon pipe clamshell case seen below (click it for the bigger picture):


Also seen in that image above is a piece of paper that I found within the case when I opened it up. It’s a receipt for $2 spent made out to my great-grandfather W.D. Sims (William Devon), most likely for the pipe and case. I say “most likely” because the receipt is not specific, only identifying the purchases made as “50 cts incidentals — $1.50 supplementals.” But the fact that the folded piece of paper was kept for so long within the container seems to make a good case that one resulted from the other.

The reason I’m mentioning it is that the document, written in pencil by one A.S. Scott, is 100 years old, dated December 2, 1912. Of course, I’d been planning on mentioning it on the actual anniversary of its creation, but I’m three weeks and a day late because I’d gotten it into my head that the date was sometime at the end of the month, not the beginning.

And when I cracked open the case to doublecheck the date this morning you can imagine how disappointed I was that I’d missed it by such a margin. Of course the disappointment is quickly supplanted by the amazement at holding a century-old moment in time of one of my ancestors. Owing that I have absolutely zero knowledge of the branch of my family that extends back from my unknown father, it’s nice to be able to hold something in my hand from the side to which I do have a connection, however tenuous it may be.

There’s an amazing story about my great grandfather that I’ve taken various incomplete stabs at drafting into written form. It’s full of details I’m woefully inaccurate about, the anniversary of which is the least of my worries. What I do know is that it was post-Civil War when he was a much younger man and a sharecropper somewhere in Alabama, and it involved him killing a man in cold blood who had taken to harassing his mother over a debt… one substantially more than two dollars, and that he paid off in full the moment before gunning the man down where he stood cash in hand.

Whether my great-grandfather’s intent to zero out the debtee’s heart rate upon zeroing out the balance owed was pre-meditated, or whether the deceased brought about his own demise with some derogatory and/or condescending words that in a hundred years of hindsight would have been better to go unspoken so soon upon receipt of the money, is both an historical and plot point with which I continue to grapple.



rain1219Little lax and late in getting the latest water fallings posted. I snapped this picture of our backyard precipitometer yesterday morning of the most recent rainfall that fell mostly Monday night into Tuesday morning. Once again, a very workmanlike total — a 32nd below 1.25 inches. Better than the previous two systems, but gone this season it seems are the storms of last’s where I’d more regularly tally up two-plus — even three — inches dropped at a time. Oh well. Every little bit helps.

December 18: 1.22″
Season Total: 8.19″

rain1215No sooner had I untarped the tortoise hutch and hammock yesterday when clouds started rolling in from the northeast and roiling about and by the time the sun had set sprinkles were upon us again and I was out retarping.

All that redundancy for what amounts to an overnight rainfall amount I’m going to peg at 2.8/8ths of an inch, aka 0.35″ — not even enough to put us beyond the 7″ seasonal milestone.

By way of comparison, on this day last year our backyard precipitometer had already hauled in 13.364″.

December 15: 0.35″
Season Total: 6.97″