Stan’s Obligatory Blog

Happy Halloween

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Holiday’s a comin’

Filed under: — stan @ 6:39 pm

I have a six-year-old poinsettia in my office that I rescued after Christmas some years ago. I keep it in the window, and because I never turn on my office lights, it sees the natural day-night cycle, and it blooms every year. It’s starting to turn red now, so that means that the holidays are not far away.


Interesting page rank

Filed under: — stan @ 12:03 pm

For a long time, my “I hate Texas” page has been either #1 or near it in Google. I recently moved our whole site from its old domain to a new one, and Google has finally crawled the new site and gotten the current URL for the page. But now I see it’s fallen all the way to page seven in the search results. I suspect that this has something to do with how Google calculates page rank, and the fact that the ‘’ domain site is relatively new. It will be interesting to watch and see if the rank of that page climbs over the next few months.


Toluca Lake Redux

Filed under: — stan @ 1:40 pm

Today’s ride was the ‘Toluca Lake Inverse’. We rode through South Pasadena and Highland Park to the L.A. River, then north along the river past the Zoo, Travel Town, and Forest Lawn to Burbank. We stopped for a snack at Priscilla’s, and then came home through Glendale, and over “Hospital Hill”. 46 miles.


What’s wrong with this picture?

Filed under: — stan @ 8:40 pm

Today, I went past the old hospital up the street from our house, and I saw piles of snow in the parking lot. This is odd, since I think it’s only snowed here once in recorded history. But they do a lot of filming there, and so I figured it probably had something to do with that. In any event, I thought we should bring Lucinda up there just to see it. The guard there said that they had been filming an episode of “Judging Amy” there, and they had had the whole parking lot covered with snow for the shoot. They tied up the palm trees and brought in their own trees to make it look right. After all, it just looks strange to see piles of snow in front of palm trees.


Filed under: — stan @ 2:16 pm

A funny thing happened today at the grocery store. When I went in, I stopped to get out my list and my pen, and just then, I noticed a mouse on the floor in the flower section. It was just sitting there watching the people go by and doing its little mousy things. Of course I know from Cathy’s studies in food science that vermin are verboten around food. But what to do? Being a fairly quick thinker, I grabbed a grocery basket and plopped it upside-down over the mouse, just like in the old game of “Mousetrap”. Then I got the manager and he did whatever they do to mice there.

Further adventures in home improvement

Filed under: — stan @ 1:45 pm

Today I started repairing the hole where our old chandelier was. I had to move the junction box and redo the wiring. This wasn’t too bad, even if the wiring was a bit complex because of the three-way switches on the light. The pictures show the old box and wires, the hole when I removed the box, and the wiring all put back together.



Filed under: — stan @ 12:16 pm

The power went out at our house last night around 8:00PM or so. This doesn’t happen all that often, and it’s not all that big of a deal most of the time, but when you’re a five-year-old who’s afraid of the dark, it can be a big deal. We got out all our emergency candles and flashlights, but no matter how you sliced it, it was dark. Fortunately, Pasadena Water and Power was on the ball. They got the lights back on by midnight, so Lucinda could sleep with her night light on again.


Polar Express

Filed under: — stan @ 5:07 pm

I had a day off work, and Lucinda had a day off school. So we all went to the movies. We went to the new AMC megaplex in Santa Anita Mall. We wanted to see “The Incredibles”, but it was sold out. So instead, we saw “The Polar Express”. This was described in Salon as “a creeping horror”, by the Los Angeles Times as “creepy”, and the Boston Globe as “merely a marvelous toy that has somehow become convinced it has a soul”. But Lucinda wanted to see it, so we went in.

It wasn’t bad, although I could see why people found it both creepy and overly-loud. We all wore snack-bar-napkin earplugs, and it was still too loud at times. And a lot of the movie had the feeling that it was only there to either pad out the story and make it longer, or just to show off some neat effect that they could do with the computer animation. And the computer animation was pretty good. It’s come a long way over the last few years. And it’s almost good enough for this movie. It’s good enough to render a reasonably believable human who is standing 6 or 8 feet away from the ‘camera’. It’s still not quite good enough to render a fully-believable human close-up. That was the origin of the reviewers’ creeps, and the reason The Boston Globe described the movie as “a breathtaking visual feast peopled by dead-eyed mannequins”. The close-up humans are just not good enough yet.

But none of that really matters all that much to a five-year-old. Lucinda enjoyed the movie, so in the end that’s all that really mattered to us.



Filed under: — stan @ 6:11 pm

Check this out:

I’ve been pretty cranky lately, but not that cranky…



Filed under: — stan @ 8:10 pm

Lucinda can write her first and last names now, so she got her own library card today. She was very pleased with this, and she checked out about a foot-high stack of books.

After dinner, we made a fire in the fireplace, and Lucinda toasted marshmallows.

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