Content-type: text/html Ray Manning

Thursday, April 16, 2001 7:25 AM

Another Weekend

I'm on the Blue Line train headed for downtown Los Angeles. It is approaching 6:00 pm in the evening. I'm riding, conveniently, through North Long Beach, Compton, Watts, South Central Los Angeles, and the Vernon district. I exit at the Pico station and walk east on Pico and north on Hope. I get into the BMW of the kinesiologist/biomechanics and we start driving to Eagle Rock. "Let's stay off the freeway and take only surface streets", I say.

I get an answer in the affirmative and pretty soon we are heading east on 6th street. "Will you show me where skid row is?" asks the kinesiologist/biomechnician. Now we're heading north on San Julian and making a left, after a long wait at a traffic light, onto 5th street. "Where's the mission?"

"There it is. Right on the corner there." We're cruising past the mission and past a number of sleeping bags, tents, and cardboard boxes on the street. The means which will serve as home for the night for a number of people. I point out the Lorriane Hotel which continues to advertise rooms for $222 per month. I point out the park on 5th street where, though I've never bought heroin there, have been told that it is easy to find there. Pretty soon we are at 5th and Los Angeles streets and I tell the kinesiologist/biomechanician "Pull over here and park. We need to go have a diet Coke at the King Eddy saloon."

"Uh un. I'm not stopping. I'll drop you off. But I'm not parking in this neighborhood. And I'm certainly not getting out of the car."

I'm disappointed. This points out a basic incompatibility that we have. But we work around it and make the best of the situation. We eventually make it to Eagle Rock via surface streets as we go past the old county jail, union station, and the Los Angeles river. We spend a great evening of reading and relaxing.

Friday night, after some arm twisting, the kinesiologist/biomechanician and I head for the Frat House. Sabrina, the HVAC, does not show up this week though she was present last week and told me that she has moved back to Westminster from West Hollywood. A number of friends/acquaintences show up and we have quite a crowd gathered around our table throughout the evening. Brandon and Joe are both there. The kinesiologist/biomechanician and I have planned our attack on Joe at the approprate time.

Sidebar: A previous entry in this diary stated: Later Joe asks me what the kinesiologist/biomechanics USC student and I talk about. When I respond with "We usually talk about impedance- matching lower back muscle control, solving the steady state Ricatti equation, and when one can safely ignore Coriolis acceleration terms", Joe shakes his head and heads for the dance floor. He occasionally shoots me glances of "What the heck are you talking about?"

So now, on Friday the 13th, Good Friday, when the hour is approaching a late one, the kinesiologist/biomechanician and I pull out a pen and start making a commotion over nonlinear state space equations and optimal control equations written on a Frat House napkin. Eventually Joe comes back and, leaning on both the kinesiologist/biomechanician and me, he sees that we are writing equations and asks us what is going on. I ignore Joe and yell into the ear of the kinesiologist/biomechanician "The R and S matrices in the penalty function have to be positive semi-deifinite." I turn to Joe and yell into his ear "The R and S matrices in the penalty function have to be positive semi-definite."

He cannot quite hear, or doesn't understand, and yells back "What?"

When I repeat myself "The R and S matrices in the penalty function have to be positive semi-definite" Joe seems to lose his balance and staggers away from us. After he regains his balance, Joe comes back and grabs the pen and scribbles an obscene drawing on the napkins.

Andy, the DJ, who has recently dyed his hair from jet black to platinum blonde, sees the commotion around our table and comes over. "Why aren't you guys dancing?"

When we respond with comments to the effect that we are busy solving the Ricatti equation backward in time to obtain the steady state solution, he asks "Don't you like the music?"

And I, with a calmness and professionalism that has become apparent in many previous diary entries, respond with "No - it's other things."

This answer satisifes Andy and he heads back to the DJ booth.

The kinesiologist/biomechanician and I eventually get out of the Frat House though it was a major production making sure that we said goodbye to all of the appropriate people.

It is a three day weekend with weather as glorious as Easter itself. I am totally exhausted by the end of the weekend with three bicycle rides, late nights, painting a room, washing and waxing the truck, and picking up a new cell phone that computes my biorythm for any day of the year.