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All posts for the month November, 2018

9:00 We’re still in the parking garage. We emerge into the sunlight at 9:09. Now where are we? I see the letters GB in neon and the number 225. Not enough to go on. Yet. I see the words “General Thaddeus Kosciuszko,” which is the name of a street. So we’re on Olive Street right now heading southwest-ish. This couple can really dance, but I sincerely hope that those are some version of cheerleader “spankies” under her skirt. We make a left onto 4th Street. We go a block and then everything starts to look different from how it looks in Google Street View, but the view behind the dancer matches, so we’ll assume that we’re still on 4th. We cross Broadway and then make a right. I panicked for a moment when we could see a sign that said “4th Street” behind the 9:24 again, but then we passed what was a Walgreens in January of 2017 and a sign that said “5th Street” and I knew that everything was all right.

9:28 Our dancer is a woman in a motorized wheelchair or scooter of some sort. As we reach the intersection, Beattie heads a little to the south and I thought that we were going to turn. Nope. He was walking down the curb cut so that she could use it as well. That made me smile.

9:32 We are now filming a guy carrying a pizza. Is he a delivery guy? Is it his pizza? Is he doing a favor for a friend? We don’t know yet. He does make a left onto 7th, though. And he starts dancing with the pizza. I hope he’s not a delivery guy because that pizza is definitely not held level throughout. He holds the pizza out to some people he passes. Maybe he’s selling the pizza? At any rate, he puts it down and then makes a left onto Spring Street. I hope one of the crew (from what I’ve read, there are like 15 people involved at any moment) is watching the pizza. Boy, Downtown LA has big blocks.

9:36 We’re somewhere else now. Let’s find out where. We’re still on Spring Street between 6th and 7th, still going the same direction, even. But we’re on the other side of the street. We then turn right onto 7th and head northwest.

9:44 We’re just all over the place today. We have the word “Tower” and a sign that says “8th Street,” so it looks like we’re at 8th and Broadway headed northeast on Broadway. If you ever get invited to dance in a video, you can’t go wrong with The Pony. If I had more intestinal fortitude than I currently possess, I would go back and figure out exactly how many dancers are doing The Pony in this thing.

9:50 This kid is a good dancer. Also, there’s another police car.

9:52 Another small kid with better moves than I’ve ever had. Don’t know where we are yet, though. She passes a Famima!! (yes, the exclamation points are part of the name) store. I think I see the Los Angeles theater in the background, which means that we’re still on Broadway. Yeah. I think we’re between 5th and 6th on Broadway.

9:56 Let’s find out where we’re going to spend the hour between 9:56 and 10:56. I can see a sign that says Cesar E. Chavez Drive. Another sign says “Mozaic.” That ought to be enough to go on. We’re now near Union Station on Union Station Driveway, near as I can tell. And then we dance our way right into the station. Let me guess that this is where Pharrell will turn up next. I love train stations. I guess I know one place we’ll be going the next time we’re in California.

Believe it or not, Union Station is just within the boundaries of our polygon. So now our polygon is 21.64 square miles.

Also, this is when I realized that Pharrell has to be between the Alexandra Hotel and the next building over in his 1:00 am appearance. You can see the arched windows of the building at 5th and Broadway behind him.

10:00 I guess that 10:00 will have to go with 9:00. All hour, the dancers have stayed in or near Union Station. They occasionally have walked outside of Union Station, but no one has actually left the property.

10:56 Let’s see where we go next. I wish I could read the name of the street in the background there. It’s a short name and the first letter looks like maybe an “M”? There’s something that looks like a convenience store there on the right. We head down an alley and I still haven’t been able to identify anything. I can see the word “shop” one of the windows. Maybe it’s a barber shop, maybe it’s a tailor shop. I guess we’ll find out.

So I’ve decided that rather than futzing around with a map (and my spellchecker liked “futzing.” Who knew?) I’d just copy the list from the city website. And messing with the list makes me think that maybe futzing with a map would be easier. Dear God.

Ultimately, once I remove all of the formatting and the extraneous stuff like addresses and photos, I’ll maybe bold the ones I’ve been to and change the colors of the ones I’ve written up? Or maybe pretend I’m using a highlighter and turn the ones I’ve been to blue and the ones I’ve written up green or purple? Or maybe use pink and orange, so that it looks less like links. I think I like that.

So ultimately,

Friedrich Wilderness Park

Will turn into

Friedrich Wilderness Park

once I’ve visited it and

Friedrich Wilderness Park

once I’ve written it up?

Should I pick a different shade of orange?

Friedrich Wilderness Park

Yeah. I like that darker orange better.

Now, once I’ve cleaned up the list what should I do with it? For reasons I don’t understand, school playgrounds are on the list now — this makes me a bit nervous since, well, school property. I think I’ll remove them from the list as I go.

Should I put them on my “about” page? Add a new “about”-type page for this list? Make it a blog post with a special tag?

I think that probably the new “about”-type page would be best so that *I* can find the list pretty easily. I don’t want to lose it and then have to recreate it again.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go remove photos from the “L”s.

P.S. It just hit me. Once I’ve finished this list and all of them are orange, I’ll have to go back through the official city list because I’m pretty sure that they’ll’ve added new parks in the however-long it takes me to go through the whole list.

This is what’s known as job security. Or would be, if I were making any money from this yet.

I’m finally getting back to posting these and I owe it all to J. Balvin. I heard his song “Safari” (that is a YouTube link; this is the Amazon link) on the radio and the voice of the man singing “Vente conmigo. Solo conmigo” sounded so damn familiar. And it turned out to be Pharrell Williams, which reminded me why Pharrell’s voice sounds so familiar. This project.

Lots of people dancing up the river for the first hour but not many landmarks, so we’re getting two hours for the price of one here.

Next up, the rest of 6:56, followed immediately by 7:00.

7:00 We’re on the Los Angeles River now and likely to stay here for a long time. Looks like after 7:04 we start walking north along the river. At around 7:19, we pass a sign that says “Equestrians prohibited” which makes some kind of sense, since the horse chestnuts would probably be difficult for bikers to avoid. But then we pass a “horse crossing” sign and now I’m totally confused. I also don’t buy that this is 7:00 am because (a) the direction of the shadows makes me think that the sun is to the west, and not the east, and (b) cars are actually able to drive on the 5. If I recall correctly, by 7 am traffic is at a standstill on the freeways.

7:56 We move to the actual river itself, rather than the bank. It looks like the place where they filmed the race scene in Grease. And it doesn’t just look like it. This is the same place. The bridge in the background is the 7th Street Bridge in Grease, and today there’s a kind of low-lying building with lots of windows up on the bank. You can see the same building (or a substantially similar one) on Google Street View. Stretching that corner of the polygon out that far brings us to 21.58 square miles. So now we have 163 Hours of Happy.

8:00 We’re still in the LA River. This part of the river has a current. I was not expecting that. Pharrell walks down the dry edge of the river, up the berm under the next bridge, and around what looks to be some homeless person’s shopping cart. Hey, loving a city requires you to accept some of the less pleasant aspects (even if you aspire to change them). We end up in some kind of tunnel.

8:04 So this is fun. We dance through that tunnel and out onto the street. You can see that we’re near a bridge, but fuck if I can tell what bridge we’re near. Finally, after 8:08, we dance past a sign saying “590santefestudios.com” so I use that as my signpost to find our location. The closest bridge to that sign is the 4th Street bridge, but that wasn’t right. So I did some digging and found that the 6th Street bridge wasn’t demolished until 2016. So it was still there when the video was made. So I hit Google Street View, and there, in November 2015, is the bridge. And there, from under the bridge, is the building that our 8:08 dancer is passing. Then I took a step forward and the bridge and building are both gone. I couldn’t find the exact spot again, but I found one close to it and went back and forth “Now they’re here” “Now there gone” for a while. That’s always fun to do on Google Street View.

We make a left onto Willow (the building she dances past is still there in October of 2017). She covers a lot of territory in her four minutes. I didn’t expect her to get nearly as far as she did on Willow. We make a right onto Mateo and then another right onto Palmetto and a left onto Santa Fe.

8:20 We’re at a bridge again. What bridge? Dunno. Wait. We’re at the 4th Street bridge. How do I know that? Because with the disappearance of the 6th Street bridge, I was looking around the 4th Street bridge back at 8:04 and I recognize that building behind the dancer. We then follow Santa Fe Street northwards-ish to Mateo, make a right onto Mateo and then a left onto 4th Place, I think?

8:24 We skip ahead a bit to Molina Street and make a left and then a right onto Palmetto and then another right onto what I think is probably Colyton. “Colyton”? That looks like a typo, but it’s really the street name.

8:36 We return to Hollywood for the appearance of some kind of fighter or other (Youtube comments say that it’s Urijah Faber?) and a young woman who is apparently his sister. We start on Argyle Street just north of the W hotel and make a right onto Hollywood Boulevard.

8:40 I don’t know. Probably back where we were before on Colyton, I guess? No, we’re definitely somewhere else. I see the number “500” and the word “Enterprises” but unfortunately they’re on different buildings. This is no help. Oh, good. “Enterprises” is apparently 439. Wait. We are still on Colyton, only at the other end of the street. And, yep. There’s “Enterprises” on Google Street View. The other side of the sign reads “Lidderdale.” We make a left back onto Palmetto.

8:48 Now where are we? Okay. Now we’re going down Hewitt, which we skipped before for some reason. I wonder if the road was blocked off before. Huh. There’s a police car back there. I wonder if he (or she; can’t tell at this distance) has noticed our little guerrilla music video. I used to have long hair and it never swung like that. It always kind of moved in a big chunk. Does the 8:48 dancer use any kind of product to get that or is she just lucky? I go back and forth between watching her hair and watching that police car, which pulls to a stop right behind her as the song ends. I wonder if we find out what happened next? Well, I guess the police officer was just parking. We get to the intersection of Hewitt and 4th and then turn back around and head back up Hewitt. At 8:55, the 8:52 dancer goes right past that police car and we can see that it’s a sheriff’s car. For what that’s worth.

8:56 We’re somewhere else now. I see a sign that looks like it says “Music Center” with an arrow pointing left. And upon looking it up, it seems that “Music Center” is something that a sign in Los Angles might say, so we’ll go with that. Another sign that says “Grand” and Grand is a street near the Music Center, so we’re making progress. We’re shooting looking up at this dancer for some reason. I just accidentally found our location. We’re in an underground parking garage at 4th Street and Grand Avenue. I wish I could figure out why Google Street View will suddenly send me underground or beneath streets when I don’t mean it to, even if it worked out in my favor this time.

I have a three-day weekend coming up November 9 through 11. It seems a shame to waste it hanging around in San Antonio* but I have an 17.5-year-old cat who I just boarded for the weekend of October 19 through 21 and so it’s too soon to board him overnight again.

So I really should stay pretty close to home. Like less than a three-hour drive. A map with a circle with a radius of 180 miles lets me go up Interstate to West (and thus includes Austin, Waco, and San Marcos), out east on Interstate 10 to the outskirts of Houston, includes quite a bit of the coast, including Corpus Christi, out west on Interstate 10 to Ozona, and south on Interstate 35 almost to Ozona. I can also go into Mexico as far as Anahuac (?).

I wonder what’s worth seeing in Zaragoza, Mexico. Um . . . There’s a waterfall.

I could stretch it a bit, I guess, and go to Houston Or maybe San Angelo? There’s got to be more to do in San Angelo than there is in Zaragoza.

While typing this, I’ve been playing a YouTube playlist I’m building based on the Latino radio station that I listen to and it’s on shuffle. It keeps replaying the same songs, so it’s probably bedtime pretty soon. But I need to at least send out my Pokémon Go gifts before I can go to bed.

There’s a state park in San Angelo (with the creative name of “San Angelo State Park,” believe it or not). That might be worth a trip. I may have to bring Alex in on this one. Stay tuned and I’ll let you know where, if anywhere, we decide to go.

*Speaking of hanging around in San Antonio, I need to get back to writing up the parks but I’ve forgotten where I left off. I’m considering buying a big map and posting it on the wall and highlighting all of the parks I’ve written about. But where would I post it, I ask myself. I guess I’ll let you know what I decide about that, too.

*Also because it’s the end of the first day of NaNoWriMo and I haven’t written a single word yet.

I’ve been doing work  with Amazon’s Mechanical Turk project for a few years and the thing I’ve been doing most often are surveys. I’m certainly not going to make my fortune doing this, but it gives me something to do when I’m bored and I’m making about $10 a year at it and if I can keep it up for another 100 years or so (!) it should add up to something fairly respectable.

The surveys, once in a while, ask me to check a box to prove that I’m not a robot and I’m, like, what if I am and I just don’t know it? Would I be able to plead that I’m not a robot, I’m an android? Or would that be splitting hairs?

Of course, I’m reasonably certain that I’m neither a robot nor an android and most of that certainty has to do with medicine. I mean, how many androids have wheezy lungs that respond well to albuterol and whose wheeziness can be prevented by daily doses of budesonide and formoterol? I mean, okay, “formoterol” does kind of sound like “for motor oil,” but that’s just a coincidence. I hope.

I’ve always been very mucousy in general (and my spell-check doesn’t like “mucousy”but Wiktionary has my back) which I don’t think that androids would be. I have produced so much mucus in my life that when I found that one of the key signs of cystic fibrosis is that people with cystic fibrosis taste salty because their sodium channels malfunction, I licked my arm. I’m not salty, by the way. Also, I’m older than 50 and the odds of a cystic fibrosis patient born when I was making it to 50 are slim.

Besides, I have humans who can attest to the fact that I have human insides. I’ve been cut open four times, I think (if having impacted wisdom teeth removed counts, then five) — a pilonidal cyst removal during my adolescence, a c-section, implantation of a subcutaneous chemotherapy port, and a lumpectomy.  Oh, and removal of my sentinel lymph node, but that was the same time as the lumpectomy, so maybe that occasion would be four and a half?

At any rate, that’s lots of witnesses — three surgeons**, at least three other doctors assisting, nurses and Thomas. He didn’t intend to see me cut open, but when he went to see Alex for the first time he forgot that I was cut open and when he turned around to come back to my side, there I was in all my glory. He found the process of them sewing me closed really fascinating, by the way. I’m sure if I were an android someone would have said something at some point. “Why are we cutting this android open? Androids don’t even (get pilonidal cysts, get pregnant, get cancer)?”

So, until it turns out that androids *do* get pilonidal cysts, get pregnant and/or get cancer, I’m going to continue attesting that I’m not a robot.

** The same surgeon did the lumpectomy and the port placement.