Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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More construction

Filed under: — stan @ 7:32 pm

This evening after dinner I put up railings on three sides of the upper level of Lucinda’s new play structure. I also ordered the monkey bars.


Geek break

Filed under: — stan @ 7:57 pm

Note to self: I set up natd on Moe today so that Lucinda’s Mac can connect out to the Internet. To do this, I had to recompile the kernel, with these new options added:

options IPDIVERT

Then I had to add the following to /etc/rc.conf:


And voilà. It works. Now Itunes can see the Apple music store and Cathy can load up her ipod with all manner of stuff.

Have I mentioned recently that FreeBSD rocks?

First sleepover

Filed under: — stan @ 7:44 pm

Lucinda had her first sleepover at a friend’s house last night. She said that she had fun, but not a lot of sleeping got done. I guess that’s just pretty normal for those sorts of things. So when she came home today, she ended up taking a nap with Mommy. But still, it’s a first for her, and it was a new adventure for all of us.

There’s probably a closer bagel place…

Filed under: — stan @ 12:58 pm

Today’s ride was out to San Dimas to have a bagel at the Bagelry there.

It was a perfect day. The sun was shining at 8:00 in the morning when we set out. The ride out there is pretty straightforward. It’s just straight east. Across Arcadia and Temple City. Then through the Irwindale gravel pits. Straight across the auto-shop ghettos in Azusa and the endless shopping centers in Covina.

The only real excitement of the ride out there was when we discovered an error in Gene’s route slip. Several of us took a wrong turn and ended up going a few extra miles. Darn.

When we got to the Bagelry, we sat down and had bagels. The bagels there are pretty good, and they taste especially good after riding twenty-something miles to get there.

After the bagel break, I was talking with the couple on the tandem (I’m sorry, I’ve forgotten your names. If you read this, mail me and refresh my memory.) and I saw how they do their navigation. She clips the route slip to his back pocket and reads it while they are riding. It reminded me of reading about the Long March where the soldiers would pin little inspirational notes from Mao on the cap of the soldier in front of them so they could march and be indoctrinated at the same time. (Not that I’m comparing Gene’s route slips with Communist propaganda or anything. I just thought it was a funny mental image.)

When we got back on the road, for some inexplicable reason everyone started riding really fast. These rides usually move along at a pretty good pace, but this was beyond our usual speed. In fact, we were going so fast that I almost had to break down and shift to a higher gear. My bike has 18 gears, and I use all one of them. I go on 50 and 60 mile rides up and down mountains, and I never shift. It’s kind of silly, but it’s a holdover from my racing days. In the East Coast racing culture, the theory of training was to ride everywhere in one gear, usually a 42×18 or equivalent. The idea was that riding that gear up hills will make you strong, and riding it fast on flat land or downhill will teach you to spin the pedals smoothly. So it’s been 25 years since I last raced, but I grew so used to just riding everywhere in one gear that I still do it to this day.

The rest of the ride back was pretty uneventful. We came back across Azusa, Duarte and Monrovia. Then we went up Highland Oaks in Arcadia to Grand View. We took Grand View across Sierra Madre. This was our hill for the day. As usual, Matt was first to the top.

When we got back to the park, it was only 11:00, so Vikki, Matt, and I decided to do a little après-ride up across Altadena. We went up Altadena Drive, and then took some little residential streets across the upper part of Altadena. We passed the big landslide on the Mt Wilson Toll Road, and also passed the Mt Lowe Railway historical marker at the bottom of Rubio Canyon. Then we came out at the top of Lake Avenue. We took Loma Alta down the hill to Lincoln Ave, and then went past JPL on Windsor Road. From there, Vikki headed off for home, and Matt and I came back on Woodbury Road. It was a very pleasant ride.

54 miles.


Construction update

Filed under: — stan @ 4:02 pm

Today I put down the plywood flooring on the upper and lower platforms on the tower. I also built the two large “X” braces on the sides. Now the tower is very stable. I can stand on it and it doesn’t wobble at all. Ray mentioned that he thought that doing the concrete footings is hardcore. I wouldn’t think of doing something like this without them. Lucinda’s swing set is also anchored in concrete. When I was a kid, my Dad did concrete for my swing set, and it was like a rock. I remember going over to some other kid’s house to play and having his swing set topple over when we were playing on it. Of course I knew that would never happen with my swings. And so of course I decided that it should never happen to my kid’s swings, either. So I make concrete.

Next order of business is going to be the ladder to climb up to the top, and railings around the top platform. Then I will add the monkey bars.


Building project

Filed under: — stan @ 7:27 pm

Lucinda has been asking for a play house in the back yard. I told her that that would be too big of a project, but that I would build her a play structure with monkey bars. So I’ve been building. So far, I’ve got the basic tower erected. It’s anchored in the ground with concrete footings under the posts, so it’s pretty stable. I still need to do some more bracing on it for lateral stiffness. Then I will put in another set of concrete footings for the other end of the monkey bars. Then she will be able to play on it.

In some ways, this is kind of an insane project. But at the same time, I have fond memories of my father building insane things for me when I was little, and I want Lucinda to be able to think back on the same sorts of things when she grows up. So it’s off to Home Depot for me.


A few more seconds of fame

Filed under: — stan @ 1:56 pm

I sent an item in to Steve Harvey’s column in the Los Angeles Times yesterday, and he published it today, complete with the photo I sent in.,1,6592639.column?coll=la-mininav-california&ctrack=2&cset=true

Also, my dead dot-com gallery got linked from Milk and Cookies the day before yesterday.



Filed under: — stan @ 10:13 pm

I have a Jade Plant in my office. I have a window with a southern exposure, and it’s generally pretty happy. I have to turn it every few months because it grows towards the window, but aside from that, it’s pretty low maintenance. But today I noticed that there are two little yellow mushrooms growing right by the base of the plant. They’re rather striking. I don’t know much about mycology, so I have no idea what kind of mushrooms they are. My first thought when I saw them is that maybe I’m watering the plant too much. But it seems happy. In any event, these mushrooms are the first I’ve ever seen that are quite that shade of bright yellow. So they’re interesting.

Of course, bein’ a geek and all, I did some searching with the Oracle (aka Google) and I found that they are likely Leucocoprinus birnbaumii, which they say is ‘possibly poisonous‘. Cool.


Does this mean I’m grown up, or just old…

Filed under: — stan @ 7:41 pm

Today we went to see “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room” today. As both Democrats and residents of California, it was predictably enraging. But at the same time, it was funny and entertaining. And a weird thing happened, too. One of the people interviewed in the film is the Dean of the University of Houston Law School. I knew her in college, and I’d heard about her being named Dean a while back. It’s weird that people I knew way back when are now grown up and getting close to the levers of power. On the other hand, I’m also happy for her. I’m always glad to see someone I knew and liked in college make good.

After the movie, we stopped by my office. I’d gotten a call earlier in the day about an electrical burning smell in the computer room. None of the critical computers were down, but since we were in the area I wanted to have a look. We’d had a M5.6 earthquake this morning, and there was one lonely-looking news truck parked outside the lab. My key card was broken, so while we were waiting for the security guy to come and unlock the door, we were talking with the reporter. The funny thing is that he said it was supposed to be his day off, but he was called in for the earthquake. He didn’t feel like getting dressed up for the occasion. So he was wearing his white shirt, tie, and jacket, but with jeans and sneakers. He said that lots of others wear shorts, but he felt a bit ridiculous dressed like that. Sadly, I didn’t have my camera handy, but if you’re in the L.A. area you might have seen him in the news tonight. After all that, I got into the building and checked out the computer room. Nothing obvious was out, so we will have to investigate more tomorrow.


Beverly Hills and the June Gloom

Filed under: — stan @ 2:57 pm
detail of above
detail of above

Since I can’t go on the regular club ride tomorrow, I went for a ride by myself today.

It’s June, and one thing that the tourist books never talk about is the “June Gloom”. Gray, overcast, cool days are all part of it, and today was a textbook example. The sun struggled mightily to break through, but it never really did.

I decided to ride out to Beverly Hills and up Benedict Canyon. This is one of my sentimental favorite Hollywood Hills rides, another being Nichols Canyon.

It’s springtime, and the jacaranda trees are in full bloom, so the streets are just covered with little purple flowers.

I went across Pasadena and down through the arroyo, and then took La Loma up and over the hill into Eagle Rock. I started to ride up Nolden Street, which is the ridiculously steep hill there, but I thought better of it. For some reason, I was feeling kind of tired and dragging today, so I thought that perhaps I shouldn’t push my luck by trying to ride up a 32% grade hill. So instead, I took Yosemite Dr across to Eagle Rock Blvd.

After the ride south on Eagle Rock Blvd, I crossed over the L.A. River into Silver Lake. That was where I saw the art project with television sets arranged on the hillside, each with a short message written on the screen.

After crossing the Franklin Hills and the Shakespeare Bridge, I entered Hollywood. I saw one building with an interesting sort of bas-relief design on the fire escape. So of course I stopped to snap a picture.

Riding a bike down Hollywood Boulevard is always kind of an odd experience. Early in the morning there are very few tourists out, and the street crazies who live there are mostly still asleep.

I took a little side trip down to Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood to see the old Pussycat Theater. This was the flagship of the former porn chain, done in by the invention of the VCR. It’s now the ‘Tom Kat’ and shows gay porn. But the front of the theater still has the old ‘porn walk of fame’ from the ’70s. I got a picture of Linda Lovelace’s signature and hand prints in the concrete there.

Continuing west, I got on the famed Sunset Strip. I passed my favorite book store, Book Soup, and also passed the Viper Room, which I always remember as the place where River Phoenix died back in 1993.

Then I crossed the city limits into Beverly Hills. The street got wider, the pavement got smoother, and everything was fine and dandy. I passed houses with separately marked Service and Guest entrances. Then I got to Benedict Canyon. I took the right turn off Sunset and started up the canyon. It’s a nice, quiet street, and the first couple of miles are pretty flat. I passed Cielo Drive, which is the street where Sharon Tate lived before she was brutally murdered by the Manson Family in 1969. The original house was torn down years ago, so there really isn’t anything to see there any more.

Next came the actual climb up out of the canyon. The road got a bit steeper and switchbacked up the ridge to the crest of the mountains. There I turned right on Mulholland Drive. Back in the days when we lived in Hollywood, I used to ride up there all the time. I always remember seeing lots of women’s clothing lying on the side of the road on weekends. A shoe here, a skirt there, and underwear all around. I didn’t see any of that today, but I’m sure that sort of thing still goes on up there.

At Coldwater Canyon, I saw an odd street sign. It said that the road ends at night, but that implies that it doesn’t during the day. I thought it was funny, so I took a picture.

I continued on Mulholland all the way down into Cahuenga Pass. There I took Wonder View up the hill on the other side of the freeway to the top above the Hollywood Reservior. Then I went down Lake Hollywood Dr to Barham Blvd and on down the hill into Burbank. I took Zoo Drive back into Griffith Park before turning north into Glendale. That was where I saw the funny ‘falling softballs’ warning sign.

After that, I went up Verdugo Blvd to Hospital Hill. At the top of the hill, I turned and went down the hill past Descanso Gardens. From there, it was the regular route home across La Cañada and Pasadena.

60 miles.

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