An Endeavour To Remember

With Endeavour’s morning arrival in Los Angeles delayed, I scratched plans to bike up to the Observatory for her impending fly-by and instead just parked an adirondack chair atop the roof of our house and camped out until she arrived.

Here’s a still of me and Endeavour taken by my timelapse cam, followed by a photo of Endeavour across Micheltorena Ridge to the west. Last but not least is the brief YouTube clip of the timelapse of me biding my time until Endeavor shows up right near the end:

The Big Three Zero

The scale this morning read 204.2. Subtract that from the weight of 234.8 from which I started this downward journey on March 1 and the result is I crossed over the milestone of 30 pounds lost.

In terms of my overall goal, I’ve changed things up a bit and gone with a longer view. These past few months my aim has been to lose four to five pounds a month, but since that’s what I’ve proven to be averaging across this past half-year, rather than continue to go for short yardage, I instead went deep down field with my next deadline. My aim now is to reach 190 pounds by January 1, 2013.

New Year’s resolutions don’t get any better than achieving them on day one.

PS. To celebrate, I bought a pair of 36-inch-waist pants yesterday. After 25-plus years of never buying anything less than 38s (at best… 44s at my heaviest point), that was REALLY nice.

Two Two Zero Point Zero

Given this weekend, my uneducated guess is sometimes you just gotta over-eat to get your metabolism to lighten up. How else can you explain the scale showing me a new low-low of 220.0 pounds this morning following a weekend of ultra-indulgence that began Friday night with ribs and papaya salad and larb and green tea ice cream from Leela Thai, then continued Saturday with a late-night mega-binge of a Costco-sized bag of pine nuts (seriously, I munched on masses of them through the Harry Potter finale like they were popcorn), which was then encored by Sunday’s richly rich brunch for Mother’s Day at Tam O’Shanter in Atwater Village.

Whatever the reason, it’s so very good to be back here at 220 after SO long away.. even if it’s only for a moment before I bounce back for a return trip to Room 222.

CicLAvia Abbreviatta

What a pleasure it was to have my daughter Katie over for a visit and for her to join Susan and I during Sunday’s third CicLAvia.

As such we decided to load the truck up with our bikes and drive down close to the route, parking near 3rd and Rampart and pedaling to the course at 6th. Since we didn’t get rolling until after 1 p.m. we stopped for lunch at Mama’s Tamales on 7th for lunch and then casually rolled to the middle of 4th Street Bridge where we hung out for a spell under an absolutely gorgeous day before retracing our steps back to where we started.

And yes, indeed. As evidenced by the photo above ’twas the first time in I can’t remember how long that I rode a bike without a helmet. But if there’s any place where a helmet might be optional, it’s on the CicLAvia course.

Frustratingly I found out after the fact that my GoPro cam’s memory card filled up prematurely, which means I had forgotten to clear it of Friday’s long ride up to Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook. As a result, the timelapse video above ends a couple blocks before arriving at the bridge.

All in: 10.10 miles.

The Early Bird Gets The Paddle

The historic Paddle The Los Angeles River pilot program begins next weekend (continuing Saturdays and Sundays through September 25) in which the public will be legally allowed to kayak/canoe in the Los Angeles River for the first time in I don’t even know how long… decades, at least.

Now, it’s not something as easy as dropping a raft anywhere along the river that you’re willing and able.  The event, a culmination of efforts between city officials, the Los Angeles Conservation Corps, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and a variety of volunteer and environmental organizations, is hyper-organized, super-supervised, and takes place specifically along the section of the river in the Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area between Balboa and Burbank boulevards. And it’s not cheap. Tickets run $53.74 a person.

None of that hindered the 280* tickets available from quickly selling out after they went on sale this morning. Given how dear I hold the river to my heart, of course I was there at my computer when they became available at 7 a.m., reloading the registration page impatiently until it went live and I was able to order up two for August 21. A lot of other people weren’t as lucky. Less than an hour later they were all gone.

*Why so few? This inaugural program aims to assess the feasibility of the river for future recreational
uses, and its short timeframe only allows for a limited number of participants.


There’s no way I can prove to you that I didn’t just walk up to the board and place these darts where you see them. Nor is there any way or anyone to corroborate that I did indeed land those three bullseyes in consecutive throws: one double and two singles. But I wouldn’t be writing about it if I didn’t.

Because I did just that: one, two, three.

I had walked out the back door with darts in hand initially intent on throwing a few rounds. Then I saw the latest batch of scattered unripened figs that had fallen or been half-eaten and squirrel-flung to the patio and stepped to the line distracted by the mess. With three decidedly casual overhand tosses that had entirely no regard for proper or disciplined throwing form, coupled to a mental focus less on the board and more on picking up the grounded fruit, I landed the bullseyes three in a row. Single, double, single.

Then I forgot all about the figs and realized gape-mouthed and substantially giddy how easy it can be to do something you’ve long thought near impossible when you mentally get out of your own way.. and how hard it can be to mentally get out of your own way.

Then I picked up the figs.

I’m Published In New Zealand

As you might remember, a year ago in October I had something of a miracle encounter on Ballona Creek with a stricken gull whose injury most certainly would have proven fatal had I not been able to come to its rescue beyond my wildest imaginings.

Well, around the anniversary of that amazing incident, I got an email from a woman last month in New Zealand who endured a similar encounter with a gull that ended up on her deck, its beak entwined shut in fishing line. Unfortunately the gull flapped into the sea and paddled away to its heartbreaking fate before she could capture it. In the aftermath she got on the internet to see if anyone else had experienced a similar situation and found my post.

Deciding to write about it for a local magazine there she wrote me to ask permission to use a photo of the bird to accompany her article, which I didn’t hesitate to grant. She sent me the link today to the digital version of the November issue of Ponsonby News, and sure enough there’s my picture of the gull at the top left of page 90 (click for a larger version).