A Minute About Minutae


I know why I picked up this bottle cap you see above. Primarily I removed it from its rusting place at the turnout off Utah Highway 261 just before reaching Interstate 163 otherwise known as the Valley of the Gods otherwise known as the Middle of the Big Nowhere because I hate litter and I have a personal mandate to pick other peoples’ shit up.

But that I kept it means there’s more to it than just removing it from the ecosphere someone had put it however long ago. I kept it and brought it all the way back to scan at my desk here in Los Angeles not just because I like to ponder the mystery of its history, but more because it was something so small in a place so totally vast:

[larger size here]

It’s Like A Trigger Being Pulled

So one of the joys of where I live is that we have an old-fashioned ice cream truck that cruises southbound past the house at about 3 p.m. on most weekdays, around noon on the weekends. Well, it just went by a few seconds ago blaring its “Lullaby and Good Night” ice cream truck music and I had to resist the urge, as I do most days, to stop, drop everything and rush out there to get me sheer joy on a stick, otherwise known as a:


I manage to stave off the urge because 1) it is pretty much against all known social mores (and perhaps several civic ordinances) for anyone over the age of 14 to go running after an ice cream truck, and 2) a Fudge Bomb Pop has a lot of those precocious little units of energy known as calories. Damn them all to hell.

But before you go congratulating me on my success in not making a fool of myself or indulging, it ain’t over yet. Get this: what image dances in my head immediately after the ice cream truck music drifts out of range? That’s right: Foster’s Freeze. And wheeeeeeeere am I just going to happen to be for a 6:30 p.m. river ride tonight? Yeah, about a quarter mile away from the one in Atwater Village.

I am soooooooo there.

But I’m going to pay for it — ahead of time. Thanks to my “Burn It To Earn It” mindframe and I’m already planning to head out for the river ride about an hour or so early and take the long way to Atwater via Sunset to Chinatown and a pedestrian/bikeway alongside the 110 Freeway up to Riverside Drive north to Fletcher and the fabulous Foster’s and get that craving outta the way before I meet up with my fellow IAAL-MAF riders. It’s only about an eight-miler but I figure I’ll have harvested if not an equivalent of the caloric goodness found in a large vanilla dipped cone than pretty close — and I’ll have the river cruise to help zero things out.

All this for a damn ice cream. Do I have no life or what?

UPDATE (9:35 p.m.): Just to illustrate that I’m not a total slave to the ice cream demon, I did do the pre-ride ride I said I was going to do, but opted not to partake of a Foster’s cone after all.

Easy Like Sunday Morning

I’m always relieved when I finish a writing assignment. Whether it’s the best thing I’ve ever written or just an exercise in going through the motions, when I put a story to bed it’s as if the biggest burden has been lifted from my shoulders.

Thus before I put myself to bed last night, I cracked the whip and stayed up until I had first said rock-a-bye to my latest scribing gig, making this wide-open morning with my baby that much more enjoyable.

With yesterday’s hawk back and being pestered and strafed by some mockingbirds none to happy with the raptors proximity to their home, Susan and Shadow and I set out for a walk up Silver Lake Boulevard to the reservoir that culminated with breakfast of iced cofffees and a fried-egg sammich for me and an omelette for Susan at the precious Back Door Bakery & Cafe. I just love that place. Sitting there at a sidewalk table in the shade of a pepper tree watching the neighborhood go by is just the right way to spend a bit of the morning.


As for the rest of the day, I’m thinking I’m gonna book me some hammock time later and if for some strange reason I become particularly motivated to do something productive I just might drag the clubs over to the driving range and/or transplant a couple potted plants into the backyard and side garden.

And/or not.

Today Was Flag Day

Sure, I didn’t display it properly, but the point is at that almost-midpoint between Memorial Day and July 4th, I celebrated the colors that don’t run:


The Russian Word For Miracle Is …?

Not a whole lot to report. The big event of the day was to be my first-ever visit to Cole’s Pacific Electric Buffet (I know… what kind of Angelino am I that I haven’t ever been to that historic L.A. eatery?!) but my mom wasn’t up to it so instead we walked down to Cafe Tropical and she had an espresso con leche while I gave their Cuban sandwich a try and regaled her with yesterday’s tale of good samaritanship gang aft aglee.

Other than taking care of some pre-Death Valley trip business, lounging in the hammock and TiVo’ing through last night’s two-hour season finale of Hunh? — I mean Lost — the only other thing I did was as a follow-up to my entry on Buster and World Turtle Day a couple days ago I dove into the blog archives and came up with the posts about the undeniable miracle of not losing Buster back in March of 2004, which you can read here if so inclined.

Or you can just peruse the following snip:

So it will forever be a mystery as to what put Buster over the balcony. Whether it was a sudden interest in what lay out there? Or a sudden push from one of the cats? I will never know.

But how did Buster survive the fall is as big a miracle as the timing of my turn onto Del Mar. Bigger even.

I would guess that from my balcony all the way down to the ground is a good 15 feet. Had Buster dropped all that way to the concrete landing, I don’t care how tough a tortoise you are, there’d be some damage at least — a chipped or cracked shell at the luckiest, but with nothing to cushion a 15 foot freefall, a crushed or broken limb or death would be far more likely.

There wasn’t so much as a scratch on her.

So what happened? One absolute mini-miracle after another (indicated as m1, m2). As best as I can figure, once past the point of no return, Buster did not fall at all out (m1) so much as straight down (m2). And about three or four feet below my balcony floor are these wrought iron rails spaced about six-inches apart that are curved outward at the top and extend about a foot(m3). My theory is that Buster landed on these extensions while falling somewhat parallel to the ground (m4; falling perpendicular to the ground she would have moved right between them) and slid down them without slipping through (m5), coming to rest between them and the other upright metal rails that enclose the garage area (m6). I then offer that at some point either immediately or after struggling to manuever she did fall three feet onto the floor of the garage rather than 8 more feet or so to the concrete walkway outside (m7).

Tomorrow should provide more blog fodder, either here or/and on Blogging.la. I have a dentist trip out to Encino and I’m going to make the 17-mile trip out there by bike and the return trip using the MTA’s Orange and Red lines to get me back downtown, specifically 118 E. 6th Street, which just happens to be the street address of Cole’s because I’m jonesinghard for some historic restaurant action… oh yeah, and a french dip sammich.

Weekend Wrap

Saturday was another episode of Get Outta The House, with Susan and I deciding to make a return visit the the San Gabriel Mountains and hike the Sam Merrill Trail, which we had seen snaking and switchbacking its way up across the canyon during our nature walk up to Inspiration Point a couple weeks previous. While only five miles round trip and an elevation gain of 1,400 feet, it was certainly no walk in the park. But it’s an excellent trail, and the scenery and serenity atop Echo Mountain where the ruins of the railway and its “White City” can be found make it an excellent and highly recommended excursion.


[Photos from the hike are here]

Today being Mother’s Day, we made it over to Burbank to get my mom and take her for brunch at Castaway, a restaurant high up in the Verdugos above Burbank. I’d last been there more than 15 years ago, and as such I’m not sure how that place came to me as a potential Mother’s Day destination, but as I wasn’t really interested in doing the low-key Philippe’s thing like we’d done the last couple years, I called them up last week hoping they wouldn’t laugh too loud at me making a reservation so late in the game. Turned out they had room fo us at 1:30 and that’s when we got there.

It didn’t start off well. The main parking lot was packed so they were diverting overflow traffic to an alternate lot down the hill and shuttling people up. Somehow we ended up in a long line waiting for a shuttle almost 30 years minutes and we feared we would just be dropped off at the top of the hill to face another long line, but the dining gods were with us on this day and when I checked in with the hostess I told her we’d be willing to be seated outside on the terrace and we got seated right away. Apparently most parties coming to Castaway on this day didn’t want to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine and would rather be crammed inside — pffft, who knew?!

So Susan ordered a mimosa and mom and I ordered bloody marys and we all went to town on the expansive buffet. Dude, I totally gorged. Multiple plates of shrimp, eggs benedict, a paella dish, rice, lox, sushi, this sweet-and-spicy Mexican cornbread, bacon, free-flowing champagne (note to self: find out where they sell bottles of Wycliff — or maybe Wycliffe — bubbly around here; s’good stuff), and I won’t even go into dessert details. Let’s just say I guesstimated my calorie intake for the meal as 3,500… probably high, but not by much.

After dropping mom back off at her place, Susan and I came home and have spent the afternoon lolling around the house awaiting the latest episode of The Sopranos, which just ended. And in a few minutes the Survivor finale begins. Dinner? Not necessary. Not in the slightest.

Armoire Para Mi Amor

My baby ordered a new media cabinet for the livingroom that was delivered yesterday, weighing some 200 pounds. The furniture we had everything hooked up on before was actually a combination of two TV stands stacked one upon the other, one I bought from IKEA for my old apartment and another that I purchased when I bought the TV itself.



Needless to say the set-up was an unstylish means to an end that neither of us was thrilled with, and with the replacement piece she found online it was finally time to go out with the old and in with the new

It took much longer than expected, almost six hours. Assembly of the piece was finished in the first two and I was thinking, dang I’ll have time to go get some cigars and a haircut — via my bike! Not. The real time killer came in transfering all the components from one to the other. It’s easy to forget what a tangled web of wiring and inter-connection one must unplug and replug until you get knee deep back there in with the cables and the dustbunnies and realize it’s a damn crazy complex undertaking. There’s the TV, the satellite box, the TiVo, the 5.1 home theater DVD player, the stereo, the Playstation2, the turntable, the VCR.


(trust me, everything’s in there and plugged in and working)

It all adds up to one helluva long day. But I had it all done by the time Susan got home — and she loved it.