Shit Happens

As evidenced by discovering two relatively fresh piles on the parkway today while sweeping up the frontyard and sidewalk, either one dog-walker or more have become perfectly OK with their pooch pooping in front of our house and then failing to remove the fecal matter.

As such I’m mulling over the following options for signage and could use guidance among the following three I’m considering:

  1. Please scoop your dog’s poop
  2. If you’re not a dick, up the dogshit you will pick
  3. Circumstance and a dogged (no pun intended) sense of righteousness will eventually conspire to allow me to catch you not cleaning up your dog’s dungheap. So by all means, go ahead and let your pooch crap in front of my house — again. But be warned: when that glorious day of reckoning arrives, I shall race down like winged vengeance upon the steaming pile, palm it from where it lays and do my level best to decorate the back of your head with it.

No. 1 is respectful and direct, but I like No. 2’s Yoda-esque truth. No. 3, though, is very, very satisfying, but would require a pretty large piece of cardboard, hope that the offender isn’t too short-attention spanned, and probably a good lawyer to help get me acquitted of any assault charges. Thoughts?

The Magic Of Photography Is That Sometimes You Just Open The Shutter With No Idea The Outcome

I think occasionally I’ll come up with an amazing photograph (or at least one that I find so), simply because I take so many pictures. It’s a law of averages that once every couple thousand snaps I’ll be blown away by what I find. It’s certainly not from a mastery of camera mechanics so much as a massive amount of frames made.


The corner of calles Allende and Madero in historic Queretaro, Mexico.
(click it for the bigger picture)

Take the above photo for instance, which I thought was lost when my previous desktop computer crapped out for good last November (but it turned out I’d had the foresight to migrate my photo archives to an external hard drive). It’s a timed exposure — about five seconds in length — with the camera handheld but braced against the balcony railing of our room overlooking Calle Ignacio Allende at the spectacular La Casa de la Marquesa Hotel in Queretaro, Mexico, during our extraordinary visit in the summer of 2008.

I did the long exposure simply because it was too dark to get the scene of the beggar in a doorway without using the flash and destroying all the rich color and texture. And it’s doubtful the flash would’ve illuminated the mood even if I’d used it.

So I opened the shutter it turns out a moment prior to the couple coming from around the corner and walking past the woman ignoring her and her outstretched hand that held a cup presumably to catch any spare pesos that might be offered.

Little did I know that the headlights of a vehicle approaching Calle Madero on Allende from the right would have a bonus strobe effect on the couple’s legs as they walked past.

Pros could certainly argue why it’s not a better fauxtograph than photograph. It’s blurry, busy, and not an easy or quick read. But to me it’s one of my favorite shots of the thousands I took during that trip in large part because of the serendipitous inclusion of the passersby, ghostlike and fleeting against the flesh-and-bone woman looking for a handout. I don’t want to dive too deep into tortured symbolism, but it juxtaposes the fantasy of affluence against the reality of poverty.  I couldn’t have intentionally captured that even if I knew what I was doing.

Minor Miracles

This morning I enjoyed a couple unique experiences, the first involving a spider floating in full retracted dead position upon the surface of the backyard waterbowl, who turned out not to be dead, and the second demonstrating a rather exceptional ability to find things I hadn’t even lost yet.

Maybe you saw my video a little while ago of a jumping spider I found skating along the surface of the backyard birdbath’s water. Well, this morning during my chores I found a spider of indeterminate species floating in the dog bowl, legs fully pulled in. Fishing it out with a dead leaf I looked for any sign of life but found none, and left what I thought may very well be its tiny little corpse sitting on an adjacent brickwall. Checking back a few minutes later I saw it still hadn’t moved — even when I flipped it over on its back. Oh well.

Then I came back outside about a half-hour later and wouldn’t you know I found it upright and nestled into a nook in the brick, having just needed some extra time to revive. Yay:

For my next trick, I ventured into uncharted territory within the space/time continuum to find something I hadn’t even known was lost: my truck keys. That’s right I went back into the past to rescue something before I discovered it missing in the future. Dood. Let that soak in for a bit.

It was when I went out this morning (after the spider rescue) and down to retrieve the newspaper. Coming back up to the door I glanced entirely randomly at the following section of the edge of the landing at the top of the front steps:

More specifically, my eye somehow caught the partially hidden shiny thing in the center, indicated by the arrow, like so:

Said shiny object turned out to be the key to my truck’s steering wheel lock, and with it unseen is my truck’s key. Now, I’m not sure how the keys got there, but the last time I was in the truck was Tuesday, a full three days prior. So that’s how long they’d been sitting there. My only guess is that while coming up from the garage, the connector opened that allows me to separate the truck keys from my house keys and they dropped there. Whoa.

No big deal? Au contraire. With my propensity to compulsively obsess over things I can’t find when I need them, I invite you to imagine — had I needed the keys before and/or not chanced to spy them in the grass this morning –  how search crazy I would have become when I discovered my keys weren’t where I normally keep them. I literally would have spent hours turning the house upside down and inside out in the mother of all fruitless searches, because despite looking everywhere they could be (as well as in dozens of places they couldn’t physically be), I nevernevernever would have looked along the edge of the walkway at the south side of the house.

So in resting my amazed appreciation at being able to go back in time to find something I hadn’t yet misplaced, I pay homage to “Diehard’s” Hans Gruber: “You asked for miracles, Theo. I give you my Lucky. Keen. Eye.”

Just About The Coolest License Plate-Based Coincidence Ever

So the plates came this week for our Ford Escape, and as “NML” lovers we were pleasantly surprised by the serendipitous combination of its three letters, obviously requiring it be paired with an appropriately-themed frame, which we picked up at Pep Boys on the way back from Costco and I installed this afternoon, like so:

While technically we have a menagerie of nine animals, it is the six furry ones with which we most often interact. The only thing that would have made the absolute randomness of this not-personalized personalized plate more mind-blowing is if we had received the one made 49 prior this one. The 840 would’ve matched our house number.

What A Difference A Day Makes

You can click to gigantize this roughly knitted  panorama of a series of stills that capture the hundreds of people gathered prior to the start of the walk Sunday afternoon.

The news has landed. The coroner’s office has ruled today what many people feared and some will refuse to believe, that Silver Lake’s beloved Walking Man, Dr.Marc Abrams, killed himself.

Given how I feel about suicide I don’t want to believe it. Given the horrible manner within which he’s purported to have done it — by drowning himself in a covered hot tub — I can barely imagine it.

Not that I didn’t consider it in the days following his shocking demise last week. In fact I suprised myself by being ready to accept that conclusion if it had been a decision made in the wake of him contracting some debilitating illness that would ultimately immobilize him. But if he killed himself because of the criminal investigation that came to light, well… the following about-face might seem heartless, but as someone who spent many hours as a volunteer telephone counselor with the Suicide Prevention Center talking with people thinking about killing themselves but who had the strength to reach out for help, the regard I had for him just evaporated and the only sympathy I have is for those in his life who held him dear and who he so selfishly abandoned.

I’m not so narrow as to not realize there may be more to the story. Maybe he did reach out for aid and found no comfort from it. Nor am I callous enough that I can’t recognize the turmoil he must have been in to do such a terrible thing. But now because of what I can only accept as his official cause of death I’m left with abject disappointment, questions there may never be answers to, and the empty wish that he had been able to recognize there was a better way he could have gone.

I walked to honor Abrams twice, individually on Thursday and  yesterday with hundreds of others, because of what he meant to me and because I mourned the community’s loss of him. I wouldn’t walk for him today not because I no longer grieve, but because what he means to me today is something entirely less honorable.

Gimme A Sign: Entranced By Enterance

Forgot aaaaall about this fella found on an afternoon bike ride of about a couple weeks ago (but who’s counting? I am. It was 16 to be exact.) at the corner of Mateo and something near the Arts District. I pedaled past it. Did a double take. Turned around. Stared at it for a bit suddenly doubting if it was spelled incorrectly.

You know how it is with some words you’ve known all your reading/writing  life but you see them in print wrong and they just catch you off-guard by suddenly looking right? It’s the flip of words that look wrong when they’re right. Like “weird” as an example. Weird always looks weird to me.

Anyway. So I snapped the above picture and forget about it 25 seconds later because since my cellphone had died I was on the hunt for a payphone to call 911 about a guy I saw from the 6th Street Bridge I’d just come across back from Boyle Heights who was prone in the LA River bed about midway to the 4th Street Bridge and thrashing about like he might’ve been hurt and who couldn’t hear me yelling at him to see if he was all right and so I figured since the LA River at dusk is waaaaaay down my personal list of places I’d like to be laying about and flaying I decided that while I certainly could be wrong it might not be anywhere near that dude’s first choice either so I reconciled it would be the far, far better thing I do not to ignore his potential plight and instead to summon people who might be able to help him if he needed it.

But that’s another story. Actually, no it isn’t. Other than finding that payphone across from Wurstkuche and reporting the situation and hoping the guy was OK, that’s about all of it. But wow. I don’t if I’m more impressed by the digression or the length of that run-on sentence.

Annnnnnywaaaaaaay. I remembered the typo when I saw the shot of it this morning browsing through my archives, and damn if it still made sense to me enough that I resorted to looking it up in the dictionary just to make sure “enterance” wasn’t in the dictionary.

And it wasn’t.

But it still looks like it should be.

Oh Say Can You See…

I’m a flag waver. Proud to be. I used to just display the colors on the various national holidays, but last year I hung the stars and stripes from our porch beginning on Memorial Day and left her up through Labor Day, and I’m doing the same thing again this year.

Hanging as it is from a pair of mismatched eyehooks screwed into a leftover dowel I’m obviously not a  fundamentalist stickler when it comes to proper flag display protocol, except for one particular point: if you’re going to let your banner yet wave in the dark it must be directly illuminated. I see it as patriotic homage to the rockets’ red glare Francis Scott Key witnessed and wrote about. Proof through the night that our flag was still there, and all that.

Plus, it looks purty.

But for the last two weeks-plus, mine has not been so proved. And it’s bothered me. But not toothache bothered me… more like Gary Coleman’s ex-wife or The Bachelorette bothered me. And so I finally addressed and remedied the situation yesterday and admired her last night.