happenings


This Sunday is the next CicLAvia, in which a route through the city is closed off to motor vehicular traffic and open only to the wide variety of self-propellers: cyclists, walkers, joggers, skateboarders, skaters, and the like.

I’m looking forward to this one in particular because of a couple firsts. The first first is that the course is brand new, spanning between downtown and the beach mostly via Venice Boulevard (click the graphic below for the bigger picture).

ciclavia

The second first is that contrary to every one of the past five CicLAvias I’ve participated in, I actually don’t have the day to myself and instead have someplace to be. Fortunately that place is down South Bay way and thus I’m relieved that I can avoid missing my first CicLAvia by incorporating it part of my overall roundabout outbound commute.

Specifically, I have to be in Hawthorne by 1 p.m. ready to participate in an spcaLA-offered beginner dog training class. So my plan is to roll downtown around 9 a.m., and just get meandering west until I arrive at Venice and then make my way around the marina and across Ballona Creek onto the bike path that winds its way alongside the sand out of Dockweiler State Beach. From there I’ll bail inland and back onto the streets via Imperial Highway, working my way onward via a staircase of eastbound/southbound/eastbound/southbound streets until I arrive at my destination, like so:

restway

Depending how I’m feeling about pedaling the entire distance home afterward, I may head up Crenshaw to Leimert Park and roll back home across the basin, or I’ll just ride the rails back into downtown by intersecting with a Green Line train to the Blue Line (perhaps working in a stop at Simon Rodia’s Watts Towers since I’ll be in that area).

license_20130415071614_94143At right is a re-creation of the vanity license plate I saw on the ass of the ridiculously large and and even more ridiculously expensive-looking Fleetwood Revolution LE Earth Schooner cruising eastbound ahead of me in the No. 3 lane of the Pomona Freeway on Friday.

Maybe your interpretation is the correct one, but my reading of the incomplete words was as “SWEAT SUCKS,” which was followed by a semi-incredulous shrug of my shoulders while thinking that if the vehicle’s owner is proud to broadcast his or her or their aversion to any type of physical activity either laborious or recreational that produces perspiration, so be it.

Whatever floats your land boat, Jabba.

But then I got close enough to read the custom frame around the plate (also re-created below), and though it clarified things entirely it opened up a whole other level of incredulity, while inducing some chuckle-induced eye-rolling:

frameInstead of “SWEAT SUCKS,” the plate was an approximation of “SWEET SUCCESS.”

Full Disclosure: I am of the unwavering opinion that with the possible exception of 0.00002 percent of ALL the vanity plates in existence in the galaxy, the rest are lame.

So it is that from so unapologetically biased a basis I decree this particular plate is among the other 99.99998 percent, first and foremost because in the list of unwritten rules regarding vanity plates (the first one being: Don’t get a vanity plate), one of the top ones is:

If, in the course of requesting and acquiring a vanity plate, there is any possible ambiguity in the lettering that could cause a misread, you shouldn’t get that vanity plate.

I can just imagine this owner smugly ordering and blissfully attaching this plate to his spanking new Fleetwood’s backside, proud to proclaim his financial achievement and totally blind to the fact that it can be so easily misread… until it’s finally brought to his attention by other lesser motorists at various red lights or RV parks.

“Ha! ‘Sweat sucks!’ That’s funny! I hate sweat, too!”

“No! It’s ‘Sweeeeeeet successssssss!’

“Oh. Well… ‘Sweat sucks’ is better.”

“But it’s –.”

“Whatever, dude.”

Eventually it happened enough times where the owner frustratingly figured he had to get the frame to put a stop to the madness. And that’s where the unwritten subsection of that unwritten rule above comes in, involving the unfortunate after-the-fact realization of the confusion inducement:

If, after acquiring the plate you only then are made aware that it is being misread, you should immediately surrender the plate and by no means purchase and install a customized frame to clarify and or correct and or otherwise correctly and completely spell out the misinterpreted wording.

Of course, there’s no real penalty for breaking these rules, just as there’s no real cure for dumbshit. But in looking further into this specific violation one wishes there were ordinances prohibiting a person’s transgressions against basic common sense — for their own safety!

Allow me to explain, by showcasing the specific recreational vehicle in question, one which  veritably turns full-sized quad-cab pick-up trucks into Tonka Toys like this, by the way (click it for the bigger picture):

2010 Fleetwood Revolution 42W LE 3 Slides + full sideslide

Check out the size. This beast is 43 feet long. It’s powered by a 400-horsepower diesel engine. Width and height I’d guesstimate to be 10 feet and 12 feet, respectively. Something that big comes with a big price tag. A quick check of the internut found used and new ones in a price range spanning $200,000 to $400,000.

Four. Hundred. Thousand. Dollars. Gasoline not included.

In a nutshell: the vehicle alone makes a bigger-than-bold statement. By itself it already screams FLTHYRCH, so putting a vanity plate as a backside exclamation that augments that blaring point is RDNDNT at best and DNG STPD, at worst.

Why stupid? Well see, it’s all well and good if the only attention this vehicle attracts is from the likes of mild-mannereds like me and the reactions don’t go past smirks, chuckling and eye rolls.

But seeing as it’s piloted by a privileged 1-percenter hogging up the public highway lanes across this great city, county, state, and country, rolling along surrounded by the rest of us 99-percenters, there are inevitably some far more desperate and angry than I who instead of seeing a humongous RV with a lame vanity plate and a lamer explanatory frame, sees a giant bag of money driven flagrantly by someone who just has to be an equally ginormous tool. Maybe they imagine a neon sign in the rear window that says RIPE FOR THE PICKING and/ or a bumper sticker that reads:

DRIVER CARRIES NO MORE
THAN $10,000 IN CASH.

Maybe it’s a 65-year-old handyman who’ll be lucky to retire at all and sees nothing funny about it. Maybe it’s a 20-something day laborer with a family back in Mexico who hasn’t been able to send money home in a month for lack of work. Maybe it’s a gangbanger and his homies with nothing better to do. Maybe it’s a guy rapidly approaching 50 who’s putting himself through a training program at his own expense in hopes of landing a job that barely pays him in a year a tenth of the top-end cost for that RV. Oops, that last one’s a bit too close to home.

Without belaboring it any more than I’ve already belabored it, my point is: One person’s “success” is another’s “sucks.”  Especially so the latter when it’s those that fail at recognizing they’re doing themselves no favors by flaunting their SUCS to those among us who think that SUCS.

 

 

In this Season Nine premiere of the never-ending dramedy we find our sleepy homeowner who has just pushed his trash cans out to the street early this cold morning for today’s pickup. In so doing he discovers a pearlescent green Honda Element SUV parked in too small a space at the curb by his garage whose late-for-yoga, mat/coffee-carrying driver is exiting and whose vehicle’s rear end is encroaching more than two feet across his driveway apron, effectively prohibiting his wife’s imminent departure from the tight, two-car garage, even though there are at least two curb spaces within the homeowner’s spitting distance  large enough to accommodate the vehicle.

The devil-side of our homeowner considers simply speed dialing parking enforcement and towing said illegally parked pearlescent SUV of said late-for-yoga, mat/coffee carrier, but goodness triumphs and instead homeowner attempts to spare the person the imposition of ticket and impound fees by requesting that the vehicle be relocated. Stupid him.

Homeowner: Excuse me?
Yoga Mat/Coffee Carrier (walking away from locked car turns in surprise): Yes?
Homeowner: Your vehicle is blocking my driveway enough to make it next to imposs —.
Yoga Mat/Coffee Carrier (interrupting while walking to the rear of the vehicle and over dramatically throwing up the hand not carrying the rolled up yoga mat and cup of coffee): May I stop you there?
Homeowner (considers not stopping, but does): Sure.
Yoga Mat/Coffee Carrier (talks slowly to homeowner as if addressing someone developmentally disabled, accompanied with a deliberately irksome nodding): Yes. I seeeeeee that your driiiiiiveway is blooooocked, and I will reeeeeelocate my caaaaaar immeeeeeeediately.

A few seconds pass quietly as the Homeowner and Yoga Mat/Coffee Carrier stare at each other, the latter oblivious to the fact that the former is intently considering the ramifications of bum-rushing the latter.

Yoga Mat/Coffee Carrier (breaking the silence): OooooKaaaay?
Homeowner (considers giving Yoga Mat/Coffee Carrier the award for Best Extended Use of Vowels in Marked Condescension to the Wrong Person at the Wrong Time before saying, nonplussed): Wow. Inconsiderate AND patronizing.
Yoga Mat/Coffee Carrier (obviously irritated at being cross-condescended, as well as reminded the center of the universe is elsewhere, while also  being forced to be a couple more minutes late to yoga class): We’re done and you’re welcome!
Homeowner: Not quite. The irony is if I hadn’t given you consideration and gotten this STARTED you’d be returning to a vehicle that had been ticketed and towed. So it’s YOU who are welcome.
Yoga Mat/Coffee Carrier (unlocks door, gets in and before slamming door and starting vehicle repeats): We’re DONE!

Happy Ending: Pearlescent-green Honda Element seen below on StreetCam parked in a legal space (with another one across the street) that the late-for-yoga mat/coffee carrier could’ve and should’ve utilized aaaaaaaaall aloooooooooooong, Ooooookaaaaaay?!

suv

I’m not usually so tardy with my timelapsings, but then rarely do I attempt to capture anything more than a couple hours. This one — November 17th’s 7th-annual Great Los Angeles Walk, organized by Franklin Avenue Blog’s Michael Schneider — ran a weeee bit longer. Starting at about 9:30 a.m. and traversing a 17-mile route over about eight hours from downtown to Ocean Park in Santa Monica, my attempt wasn’t a total success. An inexplicable camera fail resulted in the stretch walked on Melrose between La Brea and almost La Cienega being unrecorded. And then there was the matter of the rain that fell upon us that day eventually being enough to get into the camera housing and fog-up of the lens the last couple miles.

Those discouraging things were quantified by YouTube repeatedly aborting attempts to upload the mega-sized files of higher-resolution versions, until I gave up for awhile until finally exported it in a stripped down old-school 320×240 and said to hell with it. YouTube finally relented and so here it is, an 11:21 minute  jerkjumpy document of a long walk across the city.

If I didn’t have other errands to run I’d’ve just walked the half-block to our polling place, but since I had to go to Glendale, I hit the start button on my handlebar-mounted GoPro, hopped on the bike and made casting a ballot my first stop, where I was pleased to find myself waiting behind about 10 other voters ahead of me. You’ll never hear me complain about having to wait in a line to vote. It fires me up to see members of the local electorate fired up enough to make me have to stand around a few extra minutes.

As I moved up, others fell in behind me. I asked if it was OK to bring my bike inside and a volunteer said sure. And though I thought I’d shut off my cam, it turns out it kept recording my neighbors and me (in the black knickers shirt and backpack) doing our duty as citizens. Kinda nice to have a physical record of it. I even had the pleasure of helping out a first-time voter in the booth next to me who was unsure how to put the ballot in the voting machine and asked for my help.

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.

 

I always feel a twinge when something living gets destroyed, but in this case I’m in full agreement with our neighbors, who decided the towering row of out-of-control, top-heavy and increasingly teetering giant birds of paradise growing on the south side of their house needed to come down. Proof of how awesome they are: they even gave us a heads-up as to their plans and asked if we were cool with it.

So when I heard a crew arrive this morning and begin to make preparations for the plants’ removal, I grabbed a cam for before and after shots from the same vantage point (click them for the bigger pictures):

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