Thursday, April 9, 2009


I take a bus south on the 405, through the Sepulveda pass, to get to work. On the uphill portion of the pass, the ground surrounds the freeway as it occupies the lower portion between hills. I started noticing across the road, on the hill by the shoulder of the northbound side, a white cross. I saw numbers and letters, among which were "RIP."

It was always just a little bit too far for me to see clearly, plus the motion of the bus meant I only had a matter of seconds to see it at all. But it was in my mind whenever I noticed it that I should make note of the numbers (likely birth and death dates).

Eventually I would write the digits down. I got them slightly wrong the first time around, but took another look a day or two later, and fixed my error. When I was at work and thought about it, I punched the birth date and the death month (it didn't allow for exact death date entry) into a searchable Social Security death index online. It turned up several people, but only one whose death date matched the one from the cross. And he was the only one who had died in California.

I searched Google with this name, and found a news posting. He crashed his motorcycle into a truck one afternoon late last summer, and died on the northbound 405.

I'm posting about this because the cross has been removed; I first noticed its absence a few weeks ago. As I was writing this, I stopped to think if I could remember the numbers. As I brought them to the front of my mind, I realized that today is his birthday, the first since his death. The little marker by the 405 is gone, but I still remember Thomas Brough, although I never knew him.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


It's been a long time since my last appearance. Not that it particularly matters, since I still have yet to tell anyone about this, but 7 months of silence after 10 days of activity is pretty extreme.

I grew my facial hair through September and October, then shaved all but my beard off and put on some oversized Goodwill clothes so I could be Shaggy from Scooby-Doo for Halloween. I don't think I'll be growing out my face again. It was neat to look different for a while, but I prefer the bare-faced thing.

Still doing the night thing, still traveling by bus to get there, but I discovered that a specific set of routes, suggested by the city's public transit web site, which I dismissed as having too much extra distance, was actually the better choice for travel time. I'm learning not to think like a walker/bike rider in planning how I travel via non-foot/bike means. It turns out that a little bit of easterly movement at the start of my generally south-southwest travel helps me avoid my previously described frustration most of the time.

I had a big day outside of work last week. I can't talk about it much at the moment (it'll be months before I can; see you in the summer), but I exceeded my expectations in a challenging situation. Much like I've done with some karaoke or open mike performances, I look back and find it hard to imagine that it was me.