Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Metro Journal: Aug 4 Where There's Smoke

smoke1 I had to run a few errands, none of which was more than 1½ miles from home, but as much as I hate driving when there are Other People on the roads, I hate dealing with parking lots even more. I could have walked this route, which I've done before, but even in the late afternoon, it is Freakin' Hot now. So, bus to the rescue.

I think I've finally got the day-pass-on-TAP card thing down. I was spazzing for a while, and I even saw a sign on one bus explaining how it's done. Here are the steps:
  1. Tell the driver you want a day pass and that you have a TAP card.
  2. Feed in your $5.
  3. Wait for him to press whatever button and then tells you to tap your card.
  4. TAP your card, but not too quickly. Hold it against the scanner for a couple seconds, until it beeps.
Part of my problem was that there is not obvious "DAY PASS LOADED" message that comes up on the LCD display on the fare box. It beeps, but it beeps no matter what. I just feel like a dork asking the driver practically every time if it worked.

Anyway, first stop was the post office where I have my box. There was a package pick-up slip waiting! I got my box and it was from my Ravelry $10 Amigurumi group swap partner! I went to the table and opened it right away, trying to keep a minimum safe distance between me and the man standing next to me who was making phlegmatic noises. Inside, I found kitchen cotton (just the right stuff for the tawashi (Japanese scrubbies) and catnip empanadas I've been making), safety eyes, beads, and two sunny amigurumi flowers!
My Swap Box from Froggingqueen

(I had sent my partner some lace-weight merino and a cotton/Modal blend from my stash, an amigurumi booklet with three patterns, some stitch markers, and some, well, safety eyes, plus these two little guys:)
Penguin Toitle
(Turtle pattern by Tamie Snow. I came up with the penguin.)

Anyway, back to our story. After the post office, I took the 780 about a mile west to Glendale Ave. I walked to the post office a block north, blissfully in the shade of whatever-city-building is there, going toward to the bank. Now, we had had to pull over a couple times on the way there for police and fire vehicles with their sirens blaring, coming from the opposite direction. Today was one of those hot, clear days, with just a few cirrus clouds in the sky. Then I noticed ugly brown smoke, a huge cloud of it, to the northeast. Ah, that's why I had heard helicopters in the day. (As opposed to night, when they're used to track fleeing suspects in the dark.)

I went to the bank and got several rolls of quarters, because I am seriously delinquent on my laundry. Then I went to Starbucks, got an iced tea, read for awhile, then went to wait for the bus. I took the 201, which I'd never been on before, which runs from downtown, up through Silver Lake, overlaps the 180/181/780 route a bit through Glendale, then goes up Chevy Chase to end at whichever hospital is just to the north of the 134. (Glendale Adventist? I can never remember.) I had to pick up a prescription at the pharmacy. This put me much closer to the fire, and at this point I counted no fewer than 5 helicopters, probably 3 of which were news choppers because they were keeping their distance. Not out of any sense of Doing the Right Thing and keeping out of the emergency vehicles' way, of course, but because they'd get in trouble otherwise. (Aren't I a cynic?) The smoke appeared to be pretty close to the hospital, maybe (hopefully?) just a little to the east, but if my bad distance estimates are correct, that would put it in a dense residential area.

Duh, I just realized it would be all over the news websites by now. According to the Glendale News-Press site, the fire is centered over 40 acres around the 134/2 interchange, a rather woody, hilly area, where Glendale and Eagle Rock meet. Right now, the fire department is saying the fire is 70% contained, but voluntary evacuations are continuing. The cause of the fire is labeled "suspicious."

Anyway, while I was waiting for my prescription, the southbound 685 went by, which meant there wouldn't be another for 30 minutes. I decided to walk the mile or so home. I would be going south, and the early evening had cooled off enough that as long as I stayed in the shade on the west side of the street, I would be fine.

When I got back to my building, I noticed one of the semi-feral strays conked out in the dirt. She woke up when I got out my camera. She's absolutely beautiful, and looks like she has some kind of Siamese in her. If I thought it were at all possible to domesticate her, I would try.

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