Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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The Real O.C.

Filed under: — stan @ 9:52 pm

Today we took a trip to the O.C. so that Lucinda could visit with Grandma and Grandpa. It’s also a chance for us to get out and do some non-kid stuff for an afternoon. So we went to see “Finding Neverland“. It was good and entertaining, but that wasn’t the point. The point was that we got to go out and be a ‘couple’ again, rather than having to be parents. So after the movie, we were faced with the usual problem we have when we go there. What is there to do around here? So we did the thing that they have in abundance there. We went shopping! Of course, all the places look the same. Just big faceless malls. But who can argue that tattooing hasn’t hit the mainstream when we walked into a mall in Orange County and saw a billboard with a prominent tattoo theme?


Shannon’s birthday party

Filed under: — stan @ 11:41 pm

Our tattoo artist friend Shannon had her fortieth birthday party this evening. It was at a little tapas restaurant in Old Town Pasadena. As one might expect, it drew an eclectic collection of characters. It was a fun time. They had a flamenco show there, and they made a point of dragging everyone who was having a birthday up on the stage to participate.

Also, quite unwittingly, I took one photo that was kind of funky and arty and quite the sort of thing that I’d like to be able to do. It was an accident, but here it is.

Griffith Park

Filed under: — stan @ 10:57 pm

Today I did the Foothill Club ride, which was from Arcadia to Griffith Park and back. I met Gene at 7:30 and we rode down to Live Oak Park in Temple City because we were supposed to meet Newton there, but when we got there, there was no sign of him. So we headed up to Arcadia to meet the rest of the group.

We got started on the real ride at 8:30, and we headed out across Pasadena and Eagle Rock. We took Colorado Blvd across Eagle Rock, which is the shortest route, but not really the most pleasant route. But it wasn’t too bad.

When we got into Glendale, the street was being torn up for repaving, so we took a little detour to avoid the bad street. When we crossed the Verdugo Wash, we noticed that there were little periodic waves in the water coming down the wash. This looked odd, but I’m sure there is a good reason for it.

Today’s flat tire went to Jerry. He’s now the latest addition to the Flat Tire Gallery.

When we got to Griffith Park, we went the back way up around the Zoo to the golf course. We stopped for a snack at the golf course coffee shop. Not bad, but the services was slow. We were there for almost an hour.

Leaving the park, we took Los Feliz Blvd back. We stopped off at the Costco there to see the site of the big train wreck that happened last week. They had cleaned up most of it, but there were still train parts around in the parking lot, and the damaged Union Pacific engine was still there.

Finally, we headed home on Colorado and Orange Grove. It was a pleasant ride.

52 miles.

Technorati tags: cycling

Lazer Vaudeville

Filed under: — stan @ 4:27 pm

We took Lucinda down to Caltech this afternoon for one of the “Saturdays at 2:00” kids’ programs. Today’s show was Lazer Vaudeville, which was an amusing mishmash of juggling, light shows and a little bit of acrobatics. It was very entertaining, although Lucinda was a little bit scared at the beginning when Alonzo the fluorescent dragon came out on the stage to introduce the show. Still, she had a fun time, so it was all right.


Crank Science

Filed under: — stan @ 3:34 pm

Working in the earthquake business, my office is like a lightning rod for cranks. There are many, many well-meaning people out there who all think they have solved the problem of earthquake prediction.

Yet another of these well-meaning people has been contacting our office recently. So we invited him in in the hope that just having a chance to explain himself to an audience might help him to feel that he was being listened to.

Of course, his presentation was very much classic pseudoscience. He had data in the form of millivolt-range measurements of voltages in the earth. From this, he made the conceptual leap to assuming that the slight differences he was measuring were somehow related to earthquakes. As one of his handouts said:

It has been shown that large earthquakes can be detected months in advance. This was demonstrated by Chinese scientists in the Beijing Seismological Bureau in 1976

Actually, so such thing has ever been demonstrated, yet he acted like this was a well-established fact.

To be sure, there is actually some serious research in the area of measuring electrical properties of the Earth related to earthquakes, but it’s thus far not produced any dramatic results. In particular, Dr. Anthony Frasier-Smith is considered to be the foremost expert on electromagnetic phenomena associated with earthquakes. But when we mentioned his name, our guest said that Frasier-Smith had already dismissed his ideas. Then he did the classic crank thing of invoking Galileo.

Never a dull day at my office.


Getting on the bandwagon

Filed under: — stan @ 10:35 pm

I see that both Karl Elvis and Laura Lemay are doing the Technorati tags thing on their blogs. Sensing a bandwagon, I thought I should find out more about this. Turns out that I’m already in it, and never knew it. My blog categories are all automagically turned into tags when I post. As an example, look at stuff tagged as ‘life in l.a.‘ and there we are.

Of course, putting tag links on posts is a bit of a problem. I tried editing some posts and inserting the links by hand, but that’s kind of a pain. Ideally, there should be some Wordpress plugin that just makes a footer on each post with links to the tags based on the categories of the post. But if such a beast exists, I haven’t found it yet. And I don’t feel like hacking Wordpress right now to add it myself. So this will likely remain a problem for a while.

And there you have it.


Up on the roof…

Filed under: — stan @ 7:30 pm

Lucinda asked to go up on the roof today. Doesn’t everyone let their five-year-olds go up on the roof? So we went up together. And since we were going up, I brought my tools along. The city had moved our electric service to a new pole, and the service wire was hanging a little low, so I figured I could just move the clamp up on the pipe thingy to get the wire off the gutter.

So there you have it. An idyllic day having quality time with our child up on the roof of our house…

Technorati tags: home repair | kids

Sunday bike ride

Filed under: — stan @ 1:59 pm

It was another perfect day here in Southern California, and perfect for riding. Today’s ride was a relatively flat one. We headed east a bit and then south through Temple City. That was where Jason got the obligatory flat tire. It’s just not a complete bike ride unless someone gets a flat.

After the flat, we soldiered on. We had to take a little detour because part of the usual route is under water due to the recent rains. So we went a different way, passing “Nice Guy Tattoo”. Then we got on the Rio Hondo bike path and headed south.

When we got to Whittier Narrows, we got off the bike path and started back north through Rosemead. This is where we passed the Green Acres Lodge, which is the convalescent hospital where Curly Howard died.

Continuing north, we passed through San Gabriel and San Marino, and finally back into Pasadena. Our snack stop was at Il Fornaio in Old Town.

After a brief rest, we took the Prospect Ave route around the Rose Bowl, and then Arroyo up into Altadena. We got on to Altadena Drive for the long downhill back to the park. That was where we passed the ‘Walsh house‘ from “Beverly Hills 90210″. Then we came down the hill and we were done.

It was a fun time. 40 miles.

Technorati tags: cycling


I’m a nerd

Filed under: — stan @ 9:10 pm

And it’s not just on my license plate.

I am nerdier than 98% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

Bike maintenance

Filed under: — stan @ 8:21 pm

After the ride today, I noticed a small aneurism on my front tire. So I headed out to the bike shop and got a replacement. I also got four new brake pads. They are Clark’s CP200 for the front and CP202 for the back. Steve at Open Road recommended having softer ones on the back. So now I’m ready for tomorrow’s ride.

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