My friend Christina alerted me to the fact that both of us were featured in the infamous reality TV show Bad Girls Club! Check it out yourself in the Hulu player below, for Season 4, Episode 13. I appear at 16:41 or so, just as the bad girls are getting out of a limo in front of the Cow's End cafe. Too funny. I haven't seen this particular season but the season I did see was certainly a very guilty pleasure, and I'm happy to make my little contribution to such an important and worthy show. I guess this is what it's like to be famous. 😉
I decorated my motorcycle's sidecar, helmets, and dogs in a Christmas motif and Francine, Osita, Lupa, and I piled on and went for a ride around Venice today to spread glad tidings on this merry Christmas. We brought along a Christmas sack full of candy canes and handed them to people we met along the way.
Merry Christmas everyone!
I had this little idea to film various body parts as they go about their relatively mundane, but on some level fascinating, impressive routines.
I made a little sample video and camera holder just to see whether it was worth investigating further, and I think it probably is.
Here's the sample video and camera holder.
And here's what the little camera holder I made looks like. The camera is this tiny little one that is intended for wearing on helmets when you bike ride, ride your motorcycle, or surf, or skydive, it's tiny and pretty rugged.
I'm currently working on construction of version 2 of the camera holder as well as playing with the software needed to make the video I capture ultimately compelling.
Finally had a chance to finish up and paint the sidecar cage. I'm very pleased with how it came out. I learned a lot of lessons which would lead me to do some things differently were I to do it again, but I doubt I would do it again because most of those lessons related to my cutting lots of corners knowing my attention span was limited and I just needed to push through and get it done as quickly as possible. And fortunately nobody else will know what I know about the corners I cut, so it hardly matters. I think the entire project took me about 35 hours, from idea to completion.
The dogs have yet to ride in the completed version. On what was to be the first test ride, with dogs all loaded up and in their goggles, the spark advance cable snapped as I tried to start the engine. I replaced that part within a day or two only to have the December rains descend on Southern California. Hopefully by Wednesday they clouds will part and the dogs and I can show it off.
And here's the link to all the pictures of it.
I've been performing sea trials of the custom dog cage I built for my sidecar rig. Below are the photos and video of Osita and Lupa in their new three wheeled conveyance. Fortunately the dogs seems to love it, despite the tight quarters.
Everything seems to be working well, so all I need to do is reinforce, redo, and temper a few welds and then give it a paint job (black). I will also make a removable dog bowl holder so they can travel in style with a bowl of water and food. You can see some earlier photos of the cage.
Last Sunday a half-off coupon encouraged me to the iFly Hollywood indoor skydiving wind tunnel. I had no particular yen to try it, but it was an inarguably good deal, and I like new and unusual experiences. While I'd love to give a simple answer and say it was super fun, the reality is far more complicated. My mind and body are simply too overwhelmed by the newness of the experience and the requirements being made of you to make sense things, or to idly evaluate the situation as enjoyable or not. In that sense it reminded me very much of my tandem skydive last year.
With indoor skydiving you essentially fall forward into this very tall Plexiglas room and your trainer manhandles you as he tries to get your body into stable aerodynamic shape so that you can fly unaided. The wind coming up through the bouncy metal net you're standing feels slightly warm, slightly pulsy, and noisy, passing you at about 125 mph. Despite the 5 minute instructional video you sit through before suiting up, your body reacts as though it has almost no idea what to do when you're actually there. You do what you think you are supposed to, but any control you have is born out of subtle movements in response to your new environment, not your rigid attempt to maintain some position you think is expected of you. The flight times are so short, two minutes in my case, that it feels like there is simply no chance for your brain and body to adapt or learn, further complicating the situation is that the trainer is clinging onto you almost the entire time (for your safety and to help you find the right body shape) and his interaction feels like interference, muting the feedback loop that would naturally occur through failure, allowing you to more readily discover what impact various body positions have on your motion. I imagine a situation where you are multi-point bungie-corded to the ground, without the touch of a trainer, might provide a better environment for learning (at least for me).
I would certainly do it again, but at $20/minute (mid-week) and $10 parking , and a round trip drive time of about an hour and a half (because of traffic) it probably won't become a new passion of mine. Still, I would like to at least get to the point where my mind and body figure out how to fly unaided.
Here is the video and a still from my four minutes of flailing.
The Griffith Park Sidecar Rally was this past Sunday and the day before I got the bright idea of making a custom fit cage / crate to fit in the sidecar bucket for the easy and safe transportation of pets. I had the idea about 4 years ago but never got beyond a few sketches. Eventually Osita just started joining me without a cage (instead held in with a padded harness). That system worked brilliantly, but Osita has recently begun palling around with another smaller dog and I'd like to occasionally take them both in the sidecar and the harness system just wouldn't cut it. Sadly, as so often happens, I discovered I was overly ambitious and started way too late, so there was no way I was going to finish it in time for the rally... but that's ok, it was the impetus I needed to get started, and it's now about 85% done. The only tricky part which still remains will be the door, and that will only be tricky because it'll take a bit of planning, measuring, cutting, etc. The rest of the cage I made on the fly without any drawings, rulers, notes, or anything; I just added every new piece of metal where I thought I wanted it (I knew if I started by planning I'd never actually make it). Hopefully I'll be done by next weekend, painting (black) and all. (It's been nice to get back to oxy-acetylene welding... though my hands are killing from all the many burns.)
The scooter group I'm in took great these photos of this year's rally; I didn't make their ride, sadly, I was still working on building this when they left. Among those photos are two of sidecars for dogs, apparently my idea wasn't so unique:
Still, I like my design better.
Follow Up: A few weeks later I finished the job! You can check out the final pictures and the photos of the dogs in it.
Last month I visited my friend Fay and took some panoramas of his fabrication workshop. Fay is one of the people I most respect and admire, he has created a life which is a model for us all. I wish I lived closer so I could enjoy his company and conversation more.
That James Joyce wrote a book called Finnegans Wake was not new information to me, that knowledge seeped into my brain by happenstance years ago, but it was only just now that I learned it is a charmingly unreadable mess. A friend suggested we read it together, hinting at its peculiar nature, and that seemed a lovely idea to me, so in preparation I downloaded a copy to my Kindle so we could do just that. Getting beyond the first few pages has proven more difficult than ever I could have imagined. If you can understand (unaided) even 5% of what he's saying you are a better man or woman than I will ever be.
I'm a bit puzzled about what to think of Mr. Joyce's tome. Were it a small fraction of its length I would declare it the clever work of a genius exploring the beautiful landscape of all available ideas, but its considerable length and the considerable time it required to create suggests it the work of a genius (always or in latter years) gone mad. I wish I was the sort who could slog his way through such a book, but the need to look up every third word presents quite an obstacle to ready enjoyment. Perhaps it will take me the next seventeen years to read what it took him a similar seventeen years to write. I marvel and applaud his effort, I just wish my attraction and appreciation was on a less theoretical plane.
Here's how the book opens, in case you think I'm lying about its degree of obfuscation...
riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend
of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to
Howth Castle and Environs.
Sir Tristram, violer d'amores, fr'over the short sea, had passen-
core rearrived from North Armorica on this side the scraggy
isthmus of Europe Minor to wielderfight his penisolate war: nor
had topsawyer's rocks by the stream Oconee exaggerated themselse
to Laurens County's gorgios while they went doublin their mumper
all the time: nor avoice from afire bellowsed mishe mishe to
tauftauf thuartpeatrick: not yet, though venissoon after, had a
kidscad buttended a bland old isaac: not yet, though all's fair in
vanessy, were sosie sesthers wroth with twone nathandjoe. Rot a
peck of pa's malt had Jhem or Shen brewed by arclight and rory
end to the regginbrow was to be seen ringsome on the aquaface.
Finnegans Wake (w/ mouse-over annotations)
I was just listening to OK Go, which led to re-watching some of their amazing videos, in particular This Too Shall Pass (Band Version), and This Too Shall Pass (Rube Goldberg Version), Invincible, Do What You Want, Get Over It, and more. I must confess to a big mancrush on their lead singer, Damian Kulash. At this hour of night, seated outside my local writer's haunt, sipping peppermint tea, trying to ignore the stabbing pains in my lower back, from a muscle strained during a week of noble exertions, I am in a curious mood. I will admit to the lesser parts of myself. And to the part of me that wants to be Damian Kulash, wishes my face knew how to contort into his charming smiles, wishes my body knew how to move between the poses of his lusts (and plays at person-ified loves), wishes my brain could reduce life down to his sparer, baser words, wishes my voice could project his cool, wishes others would find in me the gravitational pull others (and I) find in him, and wishes my brain seemed as engineered for this world of busy, busy, busy peopled now. But I am not Damian Kulash. I am me; and that is, and must be, enough. The beauty of life must come from the struggle to be, not the becoming. And I am not bemoaning who I am, I have a sincere affection for me. But I may forever be finding new comforts in old skin; a protracted settling into self.