Cycling to the beach, painting a bus, playing an ecello at CicLAvia Culver City

Bicyclists at CiLAvia Culver City
Call this the establishing shot. At the end of the street is the beach. This CicLAvia event in Culver City and Venice seemed far less crowded than the one in Pasadena in June.

I am in the process of writing a novel set primarily in Toluca Lake, a neighborhood here in Los Angeles, and along the Los Angeles River. I’m working on it five days a week, but I want to keep up this blog, too, so it will be mostly photos today.

I didn’t ride in this CicLAvia, but took the Expo Metro Line out to Culver City, one of the hubs for the event. The next CicLAvia will be in downtown L.A. again on October 18th.

On the Metro to CiLAvia
Riding the Metro to CicLAvia Culver City.

(My novel, untitled as yet, will be published this Fall.)

So here is what I saw at CicLAvia Culver City-to-Venice last Sunday, August 9th.

Cirque de Soleil photo booth
Cirque du Soleil’s newest show had a stand at CicLAvia where people could be photographed on a big wheeled old bike.
Marston Smith and his ecello
It wasn’t all cycling–there was music, too. E-cellist Marston Smith was playing on the street.  Outside the nearby Honda dealership a DJ was spinning music-to-cycle-by.
Painting the CiLAvia bus
Roberto del Hoyo, owner of Mobile Mural Lab, stands in front of a bus that bicylists and friends were encouraged to paint. Mobile Mural Lab supplies the bus and paint for promotion at special events. Lots of messages about fit living were on the bus.
Bike Friday hauler bike
This man told me his bike, built by Bike Friday up in Oregon, was great for hauling groceries, etc. He and his wife plan a cycling trip in Germany using collapsible bikes they can carry in their suitcases.
Bicycling with bubble machine
Oh whimsey! This couple had a bubble machine on the back of one bicycle. Look carefully and you’ll see a cascade of bubbles by his pants. All those white dots are other bubbles.
Bicyclist with GoPro camera
Quite a number of bicyclists were wearing GoPro cameras like this young man. No doubt the video will be one he treasures but cycling in Culver City isn’t quite like those wild young men in flying suits jumping from cliffs.
Children playing in water feature Culver City
Not everyone was bicycling. These children were having great fun playing in the water feature outside the historic Culver Hotel. Some of these watery play areas around the city have been shut off because of the drought. I was happy to see this one still operating. Kids love it!
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Who is this singer lip-syncing on Venice beach in California?

singer of Venice Beach California
Surf pounding beside her, this young singer was the subject of a video session in Venice.

The music biz lost me when rap began to take over the air waves and I switched five of the six radio buttons in my car to oldies stations.  The sixth button tunes to a classic music station. But apparently pop music continues churning out stars or wanna-be stars.  And example is this young woman (who I did not recognize) lip-syncing while three young men armed with cameras took video of her on the beach in Venice.  I love seeing things like this — sort of an only-in-California moment.

Okay.  In a previous post I wrote about the Tsunami warning sign in Venice and speculated that everyone in the city-designated tsunami zone in Venice would have to evacuate by car.  Well, I was right.  Here is the sign that shows us where we should go in our cars if a tsunami threatens Venice Beach.  No doubt a traffic jam  the size of a tsunami would develop almost immediately!

tsunami evacuation route sign
The city of Los Angeles tells residents and tourists which route to take to escape a tsunami.

And finally.

roosterfish bar mural Venice california
Mural on the outside of the Roosterfish in Vanice California

After walking almost two miles in the sand on the beach taking photos of surfers I was too tired to take photos of murals.  But I did find one to post.  It’s on the outside of a bar on Abbott Kenney Blvd., the too-hip shopping street for Venice.

A paddleboarder takes on the big surf at Venice

big surf Venice california
A storm deep in the south Pacific generated waves that crashed onto Southern California beaches yesterday.

A storm way out somewhere in the Pacific sent 8 to 10 foot waves onto west facing beaches in Southern California.  This is not an entirely unusual event in winter.  I had gone to Venice to take photos of murals but instead I went to the beach to take some photos of the waves.  (Venice mural photos will be in another post later.)

A paddleboarder seemed to be taking the most rides.  Again and again he came gliding in, standing, balancing himself  on his board.  A big cluster of surfers–or it is a flock of surfers or a school of surfers–hung out much closer to the breakwater than he did and didn’t seem to be catching as many waves as he did.

A paddleboarder surfing at Venice Jan 2014
A paddleboarder surfing at Venice Jan 2014

All the local TV weather forecasters and the lifeguard service advised against going into the water, but some surfers couldn’t resist, including a young woman, below.

Young woman surfing the Big Surf in Venice California
Young woman surfing the Big Surf in Venice California

In my novella, New Vampire in Town, Cate the Vampire tells of surfing at Mavericks, a famed big surf locale in northern California where waves can reach 15 to 25 feet in height. At the Big Surf contest going on up there right now, waves are approaching 50 feet in height. that’s big!   I’ve never been there and have never surfed.  I was a licensed suba diver decades ago.

What does a Chris Paul mural and beach bikes for rent have in common? Vampires!

Chris Paul mural in Venice California
The L.A. Clippers point guard is depicted on this mural steps from a place where there is a vampire confrontation.

This mural of L.A. Clippers point guard Chris Paul is right on the wide path along the beach in Venice, California.  It is within steps of the site where a key confrontation takes place in my new novel, New Vampire Online.  Cate, the new vampire in the book, is, however, a long time Lakers’ fan.  In fact, a key turning point in the novel happens at a Lakers game.  In reality–not in this humorous book of fiction–the Clippers are playing much better basketball these days and it’s more difficult to get tickets to their games than to the Laker ones.

Now, about the bike rentals.  This shop also rents skates and a key character in New Vampire Online is a young human who skates along the Venice/Santa Monica bike path at night.

bikes for rent Venice California
You can rents beach bikes and skates at this shop in Venice, California.

New Vampire Online, the second in the series, is on Kindle!   The first one in the series, a short novella entitled New Vampire in Town, is available on Kindle now, too.

There are other images from the New Vampire series on Pinterest.

My vampires don’t visit the #Venice canals, but they could have seen a Christmas #kayak float if they did

Kayak Christmas float Venice California
A couple of days after Christmas the kayak owner was still paddling around with her decorated float on the VEnice canals.

The biggest Christmas boat parade in Southern California is in Newport Beach.  There you can see over 50 yachts and boats decorated and cruising around the harbor for four nights running.  The houses facing the harbor are also decorated to the nines.  Further up the coast in Venice the boat/float parade is more modest, in part because only canoes, kayaks and other small non-motorized boats are allowed in the canals.  The canals are actually quite shallow pools of water, unlike the canals down on Naples Island in Long Beach.  Like the Long Beach canals, however, the homes lining them have been transformed from rustic cottages to mini-mansions.

It was a couple of days after Christmas when I took this photo.  The woman in the kayak told me that the parade was so much fun that she decided to continue using her kayak float for a while.

What my vampires no doubt passed by on their way to the wide bike path in Venice  where exciting things take place was this huge mural on the side of a commercial building.

mural on building Venice California
This two story mural is just blocks from the beach in art beach neighborhood of Venice California.

Okay, here is the shameless self-promotion:  In mid-January I will be publishing the second novel in my New Vampire series.  It’s entitled New Vampire Online.  In it Cate, a slightly ditsy new vampire, sets up an online business with the help of her new boyfriend, Conrad.  And that old and gorgeous surfer vampire, Jack, is back and causing problems again.  I’ll be announcing the precise date New Vampire Online is available on Kindle on this blog.  In the meantime, if you need a humrous vampire fix you can get New Vampire in Town on Kindle right now.  It’s short, a novella, and is priced at just .99 currently.

There are other images from the New Vampire series on Pinterest.

So chilly! Surfing at Venice beach in Los Angeles in December

surfers at venice beach in december
Surfing at Venice beach in Los Angeles in December

I realized that I’ve been writing about Venice beach without showing the beach, so here it is.  I took these photos in late December and the air temperature was well over 80 (fahrenheit).  The water temperature of the Pacific was closer to 60 degrees fahrenheit.   It never really warms up much because of the cold currents sweeping down the Pacific coast from Alaska year round, so everyone surfs in California wearing wetsuits.

surfer heading for ocean venice california
Surfs up!

Okay, here’d the promo part:  in my soon-to-be-published novel, New Vampire Online, one character, Jack, a 200 year old vampire, is also a surfer bum who lives in an RV and sometimes surfs at Venice.   He plays a key role in the book, but it has nothing to do with surfing.  He has another skill that leads to trouble, but you’ll have to buy the book on Kindle to find out what it is.  I’ll update this post with a link when the book is published.

In the meantime, if you can’t wait for a vampire fix, read the first of the New Vampire books on Kindle.  Just click here.

There are other images from the New Vampire series on Pinterest.

Oh those gorgeous bodies! Muscle men and bikini girls in Venice California

bikini shop venice california
Arrive in L.A. without your bikini? No problem! You can buy one at a bikini shop facing the beach in Venice California.

Okay, the headline is somewhat misleading, but in December there were not many bikini clad young women and muscle men on the beach in Venice.  But you can see in the photos where you’ll find them when the weather warms up.  Now for the shameless promotion part of this post:  this location is not far from where Cate and Conrad, two very contemporary vampires, have a fight with other vampires right on the bike path in my soon-to-be-published novel, New Vampire Online.  In an earlier scene in the book Cate runs her online business while wearing a blue-striped bikini in her corporate colors, but it’s doubtful she purchased her bikini at this store.  She and Conrad are living in Las Vegas when the novel opens.

muscle beach venice california
Muscle Beach now is officially sanctioned as a tourist attraction. It has a stage and arena seating next to the weight lifting center.

The elaborate Muscle Beach facility has outdoor and indoor weight stations plus a small stage with permanent arena-type seating.  How things have changed from the old days when Max Yavno, one of my favorite photographers, took photos of Muscle Beach.  I think it was more fun then.

If you can’t wait for the vampires, you can read the first book, actually a short novella, in the New Vampire series on Kindle right this minute.  Just click here.

There are other images from the New Vampire series on Pinterest.