Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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6/5/2022

The 40th Anniversary of E.T.

Filed under: — stan @ 3:41 pm

June of 1982 was 40 years ago, and that was when “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” was released. At the time, it was just a nice little movie, but over time, it’s taken it’s place in our culture. We’ve been to see Elliott’s house from the movie before, but not for some years. So it was time to go again.

I pared the route down a bit from last time to cut down on the amount of climbing. It was still an impressively steep hill to get up to the house, but we made it.

36 miles.

Route map and elevation profile.

6/4/2022

The Daily Show Strikes Again…

Filed under: — stan @ 7:26 pm

On Friday, I heard that “The Daily Show” had set up another art project honoring “Heroes of the Freedomsurrection” for all the brave patriots who fought against the United States. And after displaying it in New York, they were bring it it to Los Angeles. So of course we had to go see. Heh… “Lion Ted”…

This was another “Daily Show” stunt along the lines of the “Presidential Twitter Library” they did a few years ago. And as that was, this one was pretty funny, since the actual underlying reality of it is pretty horrifying.


5/29/2022

The Berlin Wall

Filed under: — stan @ 7:30 pm

Today’s bike club ride was a visit to the Berlin Wall on Wilshire Blvd, across the street. It’s there because of the Wende Museum, and it’s the largest piece of the Berlin Wall outside of Germany.

This morning, I read that the city of Los Angeles had arranged for the original artist to come back and repaint the Micheltorena Stairs, after they had been painted over by unknown vandals a few weeks ago. So we decided that we’d also take the short side trip to see them on the way out to the Berlin Wall. The stairs look good, and apparently the city has arranged for them to treated with an anti-graffitti coating so that if they are vandalized again, it can be washed off easily.

We made it out to the Berlin Wall and took in the sight. We also saw that the main building for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art across the street has been completely demolished. I’d heard that they were rebuilding it, but I didn’t realize that that meant it was going all the way to bare ground.

We went for snacks at the Curson Cafe in Park La Brea. We’ve been there before, and it’s nice sort-of-hidden place.

On the way back, we were about halfway back to downtown Los Angeles when I broke a spoke. Of course it was on the back wheel, and of course it was on the gear side. I took out my spoke wrench and managed to tune the wheel enough that it wasn’t dragging on the brake or the frame, and we continued on until we got downtown. Then I said ‘uncle’ and we got on Metro Rail to go back to Pasadena.

34 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

5/13/2022

B-17

Filed under: — stan @ 7:15 pm

Back in 1998, I went to an airshow with some restored WWII bombers. Over the years, I went to see them a couple other times:

bombers in Burbank 2003

bombers in Burbank 2012

Each time, they offered rides in them, but was only this time that I decided to sign up for the ride.

The actual flight was only about a half-hour, and it was impossible to forget for even a second that we were flying in an actual antique airplane. These machines were built for a very specific purpose, and the comfort of the occupants was very low on the list. It was amazingly loud in there, even with some pretty serious earplugs. Once we were stably airborne, they let us get up out of our seats and walk around, with the important caveat to always, always be holding on to something. This airplane is really quite small by today’s standards, and it bounced up and down a good bit. We never got terribly high up. They said we had to be at least something like 2,000 feet above the ground, since we were flying over suburbia. I’ve been through that area many times on the freeway, but you just don’t get a sense of how many houses have been built all over the hills there. And any place that didn’t have houses on it, was obviously graded and set up to build streets and still more houses.

In any event, it was in interesting adventure, and I now have much more of an appreciation of what the guys who flew those planes during the war went through. Sure, when they were flying them, the planes weren’t antiques, but at the same time, they were being shot at, which is far, far worse.


5/8/2022

Holiday Bowl

Filed under: — stan @ 2:35 pm

I was watching an episode of “Lost L.A.” the other day about how the Crenshaw neighborhood was a mixed Black and Japanese area after the Japanese came back to Los Angeles after the war.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9TyxQy57Q4

After seeing the part about Holiday Bowl, I figure that was going to have to be the Sunday bike ride for this weekend. So here we are. We rode out to Crenshaw to see the building that used to be Holiday Bowl.

45 miles.

Route map and elevation profile.

5/1/2022

The Los Angeles Riots

Filed under: — stan @ 2:28 pm

It’s been all over the news this week that this is the 30th anniversary of the 1992 Los Angeles Riots. So it seemed appropriate that we should take a ride back to where it all started, as it were. So we rode over the Forest Lawn to see Rodney King.

Afterward, we rode over to Burbank and Priscilla’s for drinks and snacks.

46 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

4/24/2022

This is why we can’t have nice things…

Filed under: — stan @ 9:13 pm

This week, I saw a news item about the Micheltorena Stairs in Silver Lake. This staircase had been painted with hearts and rainbows, and it’s on the list of ‘the most Instagrammed places in Los Angeles.’ We’ve been to see them before. But this week, the news was that the stairs had been painted-over.

This is why we can’t have nice things.

So I figured it was time for us to go visit again.

We used the mostly the same route as last time, just without the extra bit to West Hollywood to see the Pink Wall. When we got there, we could see that the designs painted on the stairs had been painted over. I walked up to the second set of stairs to see if they had been painted over, but apparently they had not. The article I read said that the city is talking to the artist who painted the stairs originally, and she may come back to re-do them. If so, we’ll have to come see them again.

After seeing the stairs, we made a quick stop to see the “Music Box” stairs, since they’re just a couple blocks away. Then we went to Noah’s Bagels in Larchmont for drinks and snacks. And then we headed home by way of downtown L.A.

42 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

4/17/2022

Dinosaur Safari

Filed under: — stan @ 7:55 pm

This past week, one of my friends sent me a link to Jurassic Empire because they were doing an event at Westminster Mall in Orange County. I had a look, and I saw that they were also doing it at the mall in West Covina, and I immediately said, “I know where where going this Sunday!” So today’s ride was a trip to go see some dinosaurs. The event was intended as a drive-through, so I figured we wouldn’t be able to ride through it, but I figured we’d be able to see the dinosaurs anyway.

The route went out to the east by a kind of roundabout route, just to pad it out. It was a nice day for riding. We made a big loop around before ending up in West Covina. The mall is right next to the plaza we went to see on the “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” ride. The actual exhibit was fairly small, and it didn’t look like much in the morning light. I think the trick is that the animatronic dinosaurs have motion sensors in them, so there would be a fair amount of motion, sound and action if there were cars going through. But the dinosaurs looked good.

Afterward, we went across the street to have drinks and snacks at Panera in West Covina. Then we headed home by the most direct route.

43 miles

Route map and elevation profile

4/2/2022

Atomic Tourism

Filed under: — stan @ 7:36 pm

A couple weeks ago, my friend Gordon called me up and said, “They’re having an Open House at the Trinity Site on April 2nd. Want to go?” Gordon and I met sharing a cubicle at McDonnell Douglas back in 1982, where our department was all about nuclear weapons effects. And back then, we talked about wanting to someday go visit the Trinity Site. And it only took us 40 years to get around to it. But here we are.

We made arrangements to fly in from Los Angeles and New York, and meet in Albuquerque. I’ve been thinking about how much fun it was back in the ’80s when we had convertibles, so I arranged to rent us one for this trip.

On Saturday morning, we headed south on I-25 for something like 80 miles or so from Albuquerque to get to the site. Apparently this is a Big Thing, since there were many hundreds of people there, all for the same reason we were. There were tables set up at the edge of the parking lot with information about the Trinity test, and people to answer questions. There was a table with some samples of trinitite, along with Geiger Counters to show us that it was in fact radioactive. There was also a big trailer with a full-scale mockup of the Fat Man bomb, which was the bomb dropped on Nagasaki, as well as the same design as the ‘gadget’ that was tested at Trinity. And of course, there was the monument built at the spot that was under the tower where they assembled and detonated the ‘gadget’. Everyone wanted to get a picture with the monument, and we were no exception.

They had told us that it was still possible to find little bits of trinitite around the site, so we walked around a bit, scanning the ground, and we found a few pieces. They were small, about pea-sized. They were green, glassy on one side, and visibly fused sand on the other side. And after taking pictures, we left them on the ground for the next group to find.

The find part was the bus ride to the McDonald Ranch house, where they assembled the core for the ‘gadget’. That was several miles away, but certainly part of the complete atomic tourist experience.

Afterward, we headed out, stopping for lunch in Socorro before heading back to Albuquerque. When we got there, it was still daytime, so we headed out to see the three little cinder cone volcanoes on the west side of town. I’d seen them when I visited my college girlfriend Cindy in Albuquerque in 1980, so I was curious to see them again. The area they’re in is now part of the Petroglyph National Monument, so we couldn’t drive up dirt roads to the cones like back in the old days. We parked and hiked in to see them this time.

All around, it was a fun day, and I’m glad we finally got to do it, even if it did take us 40 years to get around to it.

3/13/2022

The TV Hall of Fame

Filed under: — stan @ 2:51 pm

A few weeks ago, we went to see the Skirball Center’s exhibit about “Star Trek”. One of the stories in the exhibit was about how, without Lucille Ball, :”Star Trek” might never have come to be. So this week’s ride was a visit to the TV Hall of Fame in North Hollywood, since they have a garden of statues of people who are in the Hall, and of course, Lucille Ball is one of them.

The route took us down through Highland Park to the L.A. River, and then up the river trail to NoHo. The TV Hall of Fame garden is outside the TV Academy building on Lankershim. We looked around the garden for a bit. I saw they had a bust of Merv Griffin, and I was reminded of his headstone from the cemetery in Westwood.

Afterward, we rode to Groundwork Coffee in the old Pacific Electric depot building at Chandler and Lankershim. We had snacks and drinks, and then headed home across Glendale. The route took us up and over the big hill on Chevy Chase and Linda Vista. Then back down by the Rose Bowl and home from there.

48 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

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