Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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Bike ride on a dreary day

Filed under: — stan @ 5:00 pm

Today is kind of gray, overcast, and it was drizzling a bit. So we went for a bike ride.

The ride was mostly flat. We started out going east and south into Temple City. We picked up the Rio Hondo bike path at Peck Park. From there, we went down towards Whittier Narrows.

Next, we headed back north, passing the hospital where Curly Howard died. Then it was north through San Gabriel’s Chinatown.

We passed the old Spanish mission in the middle of San Gabriel. It was near there that we had a little mishap. Brian bumped into John at a stop sign, and they both fell down. They weren’t hurt, but it was still an unpleasant thing. Afterwards, everyone was asking why I didn’t take a picture of it, but nobody had gotten a flat tire.

After straightening out the bikes, we continued on north, going up the scarp of the Raymond Fault just north of Lacy Park in San Marino. We stopped for a snack at Noah’s Bagels on south Lake Ave.

The final part of the ride was out to Duarte and back. Newton had started from Encanto park there, so I rode back there with him. It was a completely pleasant ride, even if it did start actually raining on the way back through Sierra Madre.

50 miles.


Echos from the past

Filed under: — stan @ 10:52 pm

Every Memorial Day weekend there is something that happens near here, because we have fighter airplanes from World War II flying over our house. It’s kind of odd, but also interesting. The sound is distinctive, and quite different from any other kind of current airplane. It’s not every day that you have a piece of history flying overhead.

Artistry in Ink

Filed under: — stan @ 10:04 pm

Highlight for Album: Artistry in Ink 2005
Saturday was the little tattoo show that “Tattoo” magazine puts on every year at the Anaheim Convention Center. It’s not the biggest show, and they always have the air conditioning on too high so it’s freezing cold in there. But it’s still a fun time. I went on Saturday afternoon. I have a whole little circle of friends that I see at these things that I don’t see anywhere else. So it’s fun to catch up with everyone and see what’s new.



Filed under: — stan @ 5:28 pm

Cathy’s car had been in the shop this week, and I picked it up after work today. So I was driving home from work today. It felt very weird. I actually actively prefer riding my bicycle.

Anyway, I saw this car with a vanity license plate that said “TCP GRAM”. Now, I have one that says, “IMA NERD”, and I thought that this one might very well be another computer geek. But no, it’s a grandma whose grandchildren’s names begin with “T”, “C”, and “P”. But I still thought it was funny, and I wouldn’t have been able to get the picture if I’d been on my bike.


Hufu anyone?

Filed under: — site admin @ 3:46 pm

Found this today from a post on the Skeptic mailing list:

“The Healthy Human Flesh Alternative!”




Filed under: — stan @ 8:04 pm

Today’s ride was through the Mount Washington section of Los Angeles. This is a little hill neighborhood just outside downtown.

We started off going west across Altadena. We rode into and through La Cañada, and then down Hospital Hill into La Crescenta. Then it was a long downhill all the way down through Eagle Rock and Glassell Park. That was where we saw the market with the big fiberglass cow on top of the sign.

Next, we headed into Mount Washington. We passed Flor y Canto, where the Perpetual Motion Roadshow will be stopping next Wednesday. Cathy and I have been to one of their shows before, and we enjoyed it tremendously. After that, we rode along the Gold Line tracks for a short way before heading up the big hill. The hill was nice. It was quiet and winding, and at the top we stopped in the shade by a very imposing gate. Vikki noticed that the gate was the front of Paramahansa Yogananda’s Self-Realization Fellowship. So this made it picture-worthy.

After that, we headed down the hill into Highland Park. We went north and crossed over into South Pasadena. Our snack stop was at a little bakery there.

The final part of the ride was across South Pasadena and San Marino, where we found ourselves riding five abreast down the road. (What do you mean, “single file”? We were all in a line.) Then we turned north back to Victory Park.

When we got back to the park, I only had 38 miles, and it was still early. So I rode out to Monrovia with Newton. I stopped at the Pavilions store there, since I knew that they had a refrigerated water fountain. Then I headed back, with just a brief stop to look at the hot rod car show they were having there.

53 miles.


First piano recital

Filed under: — stan @ 9:11 pm

Lucinda has been taking piano lessons for some time now, and she played in her first recital today. She was one of the youngest children there, but she did well. She played three short songs, and she said that she had fun. So that’s about the best we could hope for.


JPL Open House

Filed under: — stan @ 7:37 pm

I took Lucinda to the JPL Open House today. We saw some exhibits about the history of the lab and space exploration. She liked the pictures of Jupiter, Saturn, and their moons, since we’ve seen them through our telescope.

The downside of it was that it was very hot and very crowded. Crowds are hard enough to deal with when you’re an adult. For a six-year-old, it’s even harder. Being less than four feet tall makes being in a crowd a trying experience. So we ended up not staying too long. Still, it was a fun time.

And one other funny thing we saw was a parking lot where not every space was marked ‘COMPACT’. What a novel thing…


Earthquake Tourist

Filed under: — stan @ 4:58 pm

Since I promised Lucinda I’d take her to the JPL Open House tomorrow, I can’t do the regular Sunday ride. So I went for a ride today.

I decided to do La Tuna Canyon with a little side trip from Sue Hough’s book Finding Fault in California.

I started out going across Altadena on Woodbury Road. Then that turned into Oak Grove. That section of Oak Grove is part of the old Foothill Freeway that was built back in the early ’50s. When the present freeway was built, it was demoted to a regular street.

For the last few months, I’ve been hearing geese flying over our house. Southern California is a desert, and there is usually no water for waterfowl to enjoy. But there is apparently a nice big lake backed up behind Devil’s Gate Dam now. So I think this probably accounts for the recent presence of waterfowl.

From there, I went up the hill, through La Cañada, and then down Hospital Hill into Montrose. Then I took Verdugo down into Glendale.

I took Glenoaks across Glendale and into Burbank. There, I saw a sign in front of Bubank High School. Their prom is tonight, and it’s being held at the Skirball Museum. I think that sounds like a great place for a prom. If my high school had had its prom at a place like that, I might have even gone.

The north part of Burbank is a bit more industrial. It’s under the flight path for Burbank Airport. But I like watching airplanes, so it was all right.

Continuing on up Glenoaks, I crossed the border from Burbank into Sun Valley. At this point, the area started to look distinctly more downscale. It became an industrial area with lots of auto wrecking yards and used car lots with big signs promising “CREDITO FACIL”. The low point was probably passing the landfill. They had a big pipe stuck in the ground with gas flaring off of it. It was giving off a very strange smell. Not really the smell of putrefaction, but not a pleasant odor by any means.

Finally, I got up to San Fernando and the McDonald’s at 1955 Glenoaks. There is a small fault scarp caused by surface rupture in the 1971 San Fernando Earthquake. They just landscaped the scarp and made it look pretty.

Next, I headed back down Glenoaks, back the way I came. San Fernando really had the feeling of having taken a wrong turn and ended up in Mexico. There were lots of street vendors with carts selling pieces of fruit and grilled corn and such. That was also where I saw one of the “Los Angeles, CAMexico” billboards that people have been getting all riled up about. It was kind of strange. But that’s part of what I love about L.A. I can be a world traveler without going far from home.

At one point in Sun Valley, I happened on a street lunatic. He was standing on a corner yelling at nobody in particular. The light was red, so I pulled up and stopped. He looked at me and said, “Hello, sir” in a very pleasant voice. I smiled and said hello back. Then he turned back to facing nobody in particular and started screaming, “L.A. LAW!!! I’M A LAWYER!!!” Then the light turned green and I left. Have I mentioned lately that I love living in L.A.?

Also, I happened to notice KAOS Auto Parts. I had to stop for a picture, even though Siegfried wasn’t there. Agent 13 was probably hidden in the mailbox in front of the building.

After all this fun and frolic, it was time for the trip over La Tuna Canyon. This is a nice four-mile uphill ride through a part of Los Angeles that feels more like rural Nevada. Near the top, I passed a few other bike riders. I said something like, “Ain’t we got fun?” and they just laughed. It was also about here that I ran out of water. It was hot, so this was a problem.

Cresting the hill in La Tuna Canyon, I went down Honolulu Ave into La Crescenta. That was where I saw a sign for “Lauren’s Party” at a park entrance. I thought, “if they are having a kid’s party in this park, they must have a drinking fountain.” So I stopped and refilled my water bottle. Now all was right again for the rest of the trip home.

I went back up Hospital Hill and down past Descanso Gardens and back into Pasadena. It was a very nice ride.

53 miles.


A nice night

Filed under: — stan @ 9:43 pm

It’s a warm and still night here in Pasadena, so I got out my telescope. Jupiter, Saturn, and the Moon are all up in the early evening right now. So Lucinda and I went outside and set up the telescope.

We had a look at Jupiter first. The air is very still tonight, so even though it’s a bit hazy, the seeing was quite good. I was able to run 200x and still get a good image. I was able to see the Great Red Spot, which crossed the meridian at 8:03 PDT.

Saturn was nice, too. It’s not completely dark, so I was only able to see three of its moons. But it’s still fun to look at.

The moon is a crescent, which allows for lots of nice shadows from the mountains and craters.

So, in the interest of making an experiment, I got my camera out. I don’t have a fancy camera, or even a way to actually attach it to the telescope. I just used some packing tape and taped it to the eyepiece. Then I set it on no-flash-night-mode and a 10-second timer. And here are the results. You can’t see the cloud bands or Red Spot on Jupiter, but you can see the four Galilean satellites. You can’t see any of Saturn’s moons. But the craters on the Moon came out pretty well.

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