Upcoming Bike/Ped Activitays & A Morning Snap Of A ‘Mater

It’s been purty quiet around these here blogparts this first few days of the new year/decade. Not a lot going on but chores ‘n stuff: de-cluttering of the yards, de-decorating of the house, re-vacuuming of the floors, recycling of the Christmas tree, laundry, revisiting of the Costco, reviewing of the Rose Parade, along with a couple replacings of electrical outlets from ancient two-prong to far more contemporary three-prongers. On the entertainment tip we extended our streak of not seeing “Avatar,” while instead allowing ourselves to beoh-so-visually and morally assaulted seeing “Bruno.”

Generally these first three days were filled with stuff so ultra-compelling I thought it best to refrain from subjecting you to such awesome fascinatingness.

Was I right? Or was I right?

But now it’s time to look forward to a couple happenings I’m planning to start planning, so if’n they interest you getchur pencils sharpened and calendars out:

Long ago in the final September of the naughty aughts, I conjured up the Five Presidents bike ride, but stopped short of doing it or attaching it to a specific date. Since then it’s happened only in my mind, but two things are getting it out of my head and into reality:  1) the upcoming Presidents Day weekend in Feburary, and 2) the chance discovery last week/year/decade on my way to work of two other semi-residentially, full-presidentially named streets in Culver City (Madison and Jackson) that can be incorporated into the route, thus necessitating the ride’s renaming to the “Seven Presidents” ride.

That’s friggin’ unpresidented!

But whoa: better make that “Eight Presidents” because I just found a Van Buren Place in the vicinity of Madison and Jackson. Somebody stop me!

We now pause for a moment of clarification because I can hear some of you saying “Yo Willy, what’s the big whup pedaling along seven or eight or however many streets whose names happen to be the same as past presidents?” To that I first say, don’t EVER call me Willy. Secondly I say there is no big whup. It’s just an excuse to ride bikes with other people along a pre-determined route, connected by a certain theme that coincides with a certain day related to that theme. Was there ulterior motive to the “10 Bridges” ride? No. Existential depth to my Frank Lloyd Wride? Nah. It’s mainly just a chance for people who like to get together and ride bikes to do so. So don’t hurt yerself looking for meaning or relevance where there is just a reason to have fun and perhaps a chance to do something trivial that’s never been done before in the history of civilization as we know it.

More details to come posted here, and crossposted at LA Metblogs, Midnight Ridazz, Twitter, et cetera (but not MyBook or FaceSpace), but for now the most important thing you need to know if you’re thinking of joining me is that it will happen the morning of Saturday, February 13.

Nextly, in the wholly appropriate month of March (tentatively scheduled for Saturday the 6th, but that could change), I’ll be doing the next in my occasional series of urban walks, this one involving Jefferson Boulevard between the Shrine Auditorium and the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook Park.

Stay tuned for further, less sketchy details.

And in the meantime before getting my ass in gear and back into work mode, here’s my first photo of 2010, whose subject is brought to you by our potted tomato plant who worked hard these past few months nurturing this proud little fella until it dropped this weekend. Clearly the plant doesn’t know the concept of seasons or the meaning of the word quit. Ladies and gems I bring you:

Wintermater

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Morning Snap: And For Ranger’s Next Trick

Kneeling down to hoist up my loaded-up backpack from the club chair ottoman is usually the second to last thing I do before leaving for work in the mornings (the last thing being give the dogs a jerky treat before the bike and I head out the door).

This morning, as I bent over to get the pack I was confronted with this substantial slice of sweetness from our Ranger:

dogball(click for the bigger picture)

What makes it all the more awwwwwwwwww-some is that the only thing keeping her seemingly gravity-defying ball from dropping to the floor is that it’s perfectly tucked in like a pillow between her oh-so-sleepy head and the blanket.

I managed to quietly extract my cam from my backpack and capture this preciousness without disturbing the scene. Then I whispered her name and she looked up me with those sleepy eyes and the ball fell with a thud to the hardwood. She didn’t even blink and went back to her nap, but I interrupted it further, helpless to prevent myself from smothering her with hugs and kisses.

Morning Snap: Microcosmos

Suffer yet another sunflower  post, won’t you? This time around, it’s not just something amazing about the flora I found, but rather the discovery of an opportunistic hunter making its home on one of the blooms. Behold the goldenrod crab spider (click for the bigger picture):

crabspider

At first I was blown away considering the odds of such a specifically and perfectly camouflaged arachnid pairing up with our sunflowers, but then I found some fascinating facts from asktheexterminator.com:

The goldenrod crab spider is completely yellow when sitting on a goldenrod flower or sunflower, but can change its color to white when on a daisy. Its body is white, but the spider can produce a yellow liquid pigment in its skin when on a yellow flower to become nearly invisible. It can then excrete the pigment to return to a white color. It takes the spider twice as long to produce yellow pigment and turn yellow than it does for it to turn white. Other Crab spiders resemble tree bark, leaves, fruit, and even bird droppings. Another group of fascinating crab spiders has adapted to look like ants, presumably so they can get closer to their ant prey without being noticed.

The wonders of nature will never cease.

Morning Snaps: Goin’ Yard!

Just a couple things discovered whilst making my way through some of the outdoor portion of my morning chores. First up, there used to be a whole mess of aloe plants growing haphazardly in the frontyard planter box at the top of the steps, and it was about three years ago Susan when did some serious thinning to the space and decided to evict the half-dozen or so succulents.

Of them, I picked one and knowing that you could pretty much put aloe anywhere and it’ll thrive, plunked it into a spot in the backyard and after it got dug up by a critter later transplanted it to the pot it’s been in for a couple years now.

For the first time ever ‘ello aloe! It’s telescoped out a bloom — actually two, but this one’s the first to start opening up (click to doublify) :

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A few minutes later while watering the northside garden, I caught sight of a big black carpenter bee after it buzzed my head and then hovered for a spell by a pot with an old log in it, disappearing out of sight a few moments later. I stood there waiting for the bee to emerge and fly off, but nothing. No bee. So I hunkered down for a closer look and found it had done what carpenter bees do and carved itself a rather amazing nest into the decaying piece of wood. Either that or it’s a dime-sized portal to another dimension (also click to doublify):

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I sat a bit with the cam hoping to catch it emerging from its home, but it didn’t oblige me. Maybe next time.

Morning Snap: Earth Angel

earthangel

It’s a mad hectic convoluted crazy work week that’s left me off my bike for two straight rainy days and waking to anxiety attacks at 3 a.m.. For better or worse it will all be behind me in a few more days, so in the meantime I took a few seconds to stop on my bike ride in and finally snap this half-buried cherub through some chainlink who’s long cheered me the many, many times I’ve passed it on the Ballona Creek Bikeway.

Morning Snap: Cooper On The Lookout

coopers

Before you go notating that this blown-out low-resolution image of our local (and notoriously hard-to-capture sitting still) Cooper’s hawk in a pine tree a block away won’t drop any jaws over at National Geographic’s photo office, please understand I pixelized this predator by aiming my point-‘n-shooter through the eyepiece of my handheld binoculars, and frankly I’m amazed on such a gray, lightless day I picked up as much detail — and moderately in focus — as I did.

Snow Day

One of the coolest (literally!) of our house’s bonuses is the view to the north it offers the day after one of these rare arctic storms blasts through. This one not only dumped two inches of rain on our roof, but dusted the ridgeline of the San Gabriels with snow as seen from our kitchen window (albeit via a 300-mm lens; click for larger size).

snowday

It makes me that much more eager to get our upstairs master suite started and completed –  whose second-floor vantage point will make it all the better to enjoy future views such as this.