Stan’s Obligatory Blog

Happy Thanksgiving

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4/29/2005

Heh…

Filed under: — stan @ 10:36 pm

Well, since Carol got the Evil from me, I had to try the Commonly Confused Word test:

English Genius
You scored 100% Beginner, 100% Intermediate, 100% Advanced, and 80% Expert!

www.okcupid.com/tests/take?testid=14457200288064322170

So I’m a grammar geek, too…

Check it out…

Filed under: — stan @ 9:09 am

Found this thanks to Karl Elvis and Ray. While I can’t compare to the essential evil of Karl, I think 35% is pretty good:

This site is certified 35% EVIL by the Gematriculator

4/24/2005

Playing tourist

Filed under: — stan @ 6:13 pm

One of the great things about living in L.A. is that we can just go out and play tourist any time we want. So today was the day.

We went over to West Hollywood and had lunch at the French Quarter, which is one of the big gay hangouts for Sunday brunch. The food is pretty good, too. And for us, it’s a chance to see what it’s like to be in the minority.

Next, we went to the Hustler Hollywood store. I got a DVD player for my 10th anniversary at my job, so we wanted to get something to play in it. Outside the store, we saw Ron Jeremy’s hand prints in the concrete. They had several others, but he was the one we are most familiar with.

After that, we went back to Hollywood Boulevard. Along the way, we passed Rock-n-Roll Ralphs on Sunset. We used to shop there sometimes when we lived in Hollywood, and it was always an adventure. When we parked, we saw the to the Skooby’s Hot Dogs car, as well as the dancing shoes on the parking structure. Then we went to the Erotic Museum for the Hollywood Sex Gods exhibit. It was interesting, giving the history of movie censorship from the Hays Code up through the establishment of the present ratings system, as well as a little bit of history of the association of porn and Los Angeles. We also saw some original Vargas Girls, Hugh Hefner’s robe, slippers, and pipe, and the inside of a Real Doll. Yikes. It looked kind of like the Terminator’s love-doll fantasy, with the metal skeleton exposed.

When we left to come home, we passed the former Pussycat Theater on Hollywood Boulvard. I find it immensely amusing that the former smut palace, done in by the invention of the VCR, has found new life as a church.

Piano Lessons

Filed under: — stan @ 9:16 am

Lucinda has been taking piano lessons for about a year now. All this time, she has been playing a little toy piano at home, but she’s been getting quite good at it. Recently when she was at ballet, she asked to play the grand piano they had there, and she sounded quite good. Since a real piano is out of our range, both in terms of money and space in the house, we got her a little Casio keyboard to practice on. It sounds pretty good, and the key feel is pretty close to a real piano, right down to the pressure sensitivity of the keys. So she’s having fun playing with it.

4/23/2005

On this day in history…

Filed under: — stan @ 7:52 pm

It was April 23, 1978. It was the Acton Road Race. I was excited, because they had separate races for categories 1 and 2. Usually in those days, 1 and 2 were combined, and if you were a Cat 2 like me, it meant that it was harder to place in the top ten. So the prospect of a separate Category 2 race was very nice. On the other hand, it was in the mountains, and there were some climbs on the course. I was generally pretty good at hills, but being from New Jersey, I wasn’t used to the size of the hills here.

The course was a nice 24-mile loop through the hills north of the Antelope Valley Freeway, about half-way from Los Angeles to Palmdale. The race was three laps, or 72 miles.

The course was very nice. The roads were smooth, and it was a perfect spring day. The pack was about 50-60 riders. I was hoping just to stay in the pack and finish with the group, since I’d had some bad experiences in the last two road races in the mountains.

The pack stayed together for the whole race. On the last lap, when we were going up the last big climb, I lost contact with the pack. I was feeling discouraged, and I was having trouble going up the hill. But then, about half-way up the hill, I suddenly started thinking:

“I am not going to let this happen again. I got dropped at Pyramid Lake. I got dropped at Bouquet Canyon. I am not getting dropped again!”

And suddenly, I was suffused with the strength of ten Grinches. I caught up with the pack at the crest of the hill. At that point, I was going so fast, that I ended up at the front. We crested the hill and went flying down the other side. We crossed the freeway and took the right turn that meant we were almost at the finish. I was so excited that I’d caught the pack that I was able to stay at the front all the way to the end. The finish was an uphill sprint, and I managed to reach the proper mental state of Zen Hulk-dom to do the sprint.

I came in 8th, which was pretty good, considering that I recovered from getting dropped. In fact, that was the only race I ever rode where I was able to catch the pack after being dropped. So overall, it was a remarkable and perfect day.

And sadly, as with most of my favorite racing stories, I have no pictures to go along with it. Just my own memories.

Dork Street

Filed under: — stan @ 12:45 pm

Last Monday, I saw an item on cnn.com about a street in Pico Rivera named Dork St. Of course, my first thought was to look it up on the map and see if it was close enough to ride to. It turns out to be just below Whittier Narrows Dam, so I wrote to Gene and we made plans for a ride.

We met at Victory Park here in Pasadena and headed south. We went through San Gabriel, passing by the convalescent hospital where Curly Howard died. Then we turned south through Whittier Narrows and into Pico Rivera.

When we got to Dork St., I had to take some pictures. Sadly, my photo-op with the sign didn’t come out very well, so I guess we’ll have to go back again some time.

After that, we got on the San Gabriel River bike path and headed north. The path took a kind of strange route around and over the dam, but the rest of it was pretty much straight and slightly uphill. It was along here that Newton met up with us for the ride into Glendora. We also passed the big Irwindale gravel pit, which was also Fred Flintstone’s gravel pit.

Then we headed east and north into Glendora. In Old Town, we saw a store that apparently specializes in Beanie Babies. And I’d thought that Beanie Babies had peaked some years ago.

Next, it was time to see the Castle. Rubel’s Castle is something of a landmark in Glendora. Sadly, like all good castles, it was surrounded by a high wall, so we couldn’t see much. Still, it was interesting.

From there, we headed back by way of the San Gabriel River bike path, and then through Duarte, Monrovia, and Arcadia.

51 miles.

cycling


4/22/2005

Some fun on a Friday

Filed under: — stan @ 10:44 pm

Today, Lucinda’s class did a little performance at lunchtime. The had been rehearsing some songs for the last few weeks, and today was the day that they invited the parents to come and see. So they all filed in and took their places on the front steps of the school. They sang “It’s a Grand Old Flag”, “America the Beautiful”, “God Bless America”, and “My Country ‘Tis of Thee”. It was all very cute.

It was also an interesting adventure, since I rode my bike to the school from the office. It’s about 5.5 miles, and the last bit is pretty steep uphill. It wasn’t bad, though. I’ve done it before. And on the way back, I passed by some filming near Caltech. Whatever this was, it was a big shoot. There were trucks and trailers parked along the streets for a couple of blocks on both sides.

4/17/2005

Neon Art Opening Party

Filed under: — stan @ 1:45 pm

On Saturday night, we went to the opening party for the new exhibit at the Museum of Neon Art in downtown Los Angeles. This year is the 24th anniversary of the museum, and we’ve been going there for almost all of that time. It’s still our favorite art museum.

There was a pretty good crowd there, and lots of nice neon on display. We saw the dancing devil from last time, as well as some new pieces. And they had food there, too. Lucinda and I chowed down on the chocolate chip cookies. After riding 66 miles that morning, I figured I’d earned some.

There were a number of religious-themed pieces. There was Jesus on a cross decorated with neon and peeps. There was also Jesus painted on beer-bottle caps. There were also some animal pieces. One had a neon frog leaping into a pond, another had a neon frog skeleton, and a third had an animal skull with neon antlers. It was fun.

Ride to the Getty

Filed under: — stan @ 1:42 pm

“Looks like another perfect day
I love L.A.”

Today was a perfect L.A. spring day. On the warm side, sunny, and just very pleasant. Today’s ride was the Foothill Cycle Club ride out to the Getty Center in West L.A. Gene said that the ride would be about 50 miles.

We started out going straight across Eagle Rock and Glendale, where we saw a just-happened car accident. Of course, I took a picture.

Next, we went through the L.A. Equestrian Center, where they have separate horse and bike lanes in the street. We also passed the Bette Davis Picnic Area. We’d heard of Bette Davis Eyes, but not a picnic area. Just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

When we got to Burbank, we passed Warner Bros and headed up the hill. We got onto the beginning of Mulholland Drive and then went up a nice big hill. We stopped to regroup at the scenic overlook above the Hollywood Bowl. There was a tour bus stopped there, so I took a picture of it. The people on the bus were all taking pictures of the HOLLYWOOD sign and the Bowl, so I figured I’d be a reverse-tourist and take a picture of the tour bus.

From there, we continued on up Mulholland. We rode almost the entire length of the Hollywood Hills portion of the road. I stopped at the little park just past Laurel Canyon to refill my water bottle and take in the view of the Valley smog. When we were nearly to the 405 freeway, we turned left on Roscomare and headed down into Bel Air. That was where we saw a rather odd vehicle with the “TV SUCKS” license plate. We continued on down the hill until we got to the bottom, just below the Getty.

It was at this point that I decided that it was getting too late, and I needed to head for home. So I left the group and headed back up the hill on Sepulveda. That was where I joined the Flat Tire Gallery. Since I was alone, I thought I might not be able to get a picture, but then another rider stopped to see if I needed any help fixing the tire. I told him I had it covered, but he helped me by taking the picture. Of course, after he left, I realized that both tubes of glue in my patch kit were dry. So I couldn’t patch the tube, so I had to put in the spare tube. Then I was back on the road.

At the top of the hill, I had to go through the tunnel, and then down into the Valley. I went down into Sherman Oaks, almost as far as the Galleria, as seen in “Valley Girl”. Then it was east on Valley Vista and Moorpark for the ride back across the Valley. It was around this time that I ran out of water, and I started thinking, “I’d really like to be home now”. It was also about this time that there was a magnitude 5.1 earthquake near Bakersfield. This set off my pager, and soon my phone rang, too. There was a problem with the aftershock probability report getting on the web site. So there I was, riding and talking computers at the same time. I can’t even remember how we got anything done before cell phones.

I went back through the Equestrian Center on the way out, pausing briefly to snap a picture of the Bette Davis Picnic Area. Then it was straight across Glendale and Eagle Rock to home.

66 miles.

cycling

4/14/2005

Stupid human tricks

Filed under: — stan @ 1:58 pm

He thinks it looks painful. It probably did hurt. But at the same time, I think it’s kind of hilarious, particularly the blast of flame out of the mouth bit:

www.torr.org/blog/2005/04/this-is-just-painful-to-watch.html

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