Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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San Dimas and points south

Filed under: — stan @ 6:38 pm

See the route and photo locations

Today’s ride was out to San Dimas, passing next to Bonelli Regional Park there.

We started out heading south and east through Arcadia and Temple City and finally Covina. Along the way, we passed the 99-cent burger place, and also Inflictions Tattoo, which I’ve heard good things about in tattoo circles. Then we went south, passing by the edge of Bonelli Regional Park to Via Verde.

When we got to Grand Ave in Covina I noticed that my tire was going flat. Newton asked if I could make it another five minutes. We made it up a little hill and around the corner onto Cortez St. There was a nice shady spot to sit and fix the flat. John took the obligatory picture for the Flat Tire Gallery. I also managed to get a nice macro-focus shot showing the little wire that had punctured my tire.

Leaving the nice shady spot, we headed west until we got to Citrus. Then we went north past the freeway and stopped for a snack at a Starbucks there.

Next, we went west on Workman Ave until it ended, then we went north to Badillo St and took that west into Ramona Blvd and finally Lower Azusa Road. At El Monte Blvd, we turned north back up to Duarte and then west to Holly, right by Santa Anita racetrack. We took Fairview west some more to Golden West and rode up the western edge of the Los Angeles County Arboretum. We didn’t see any peacocks roaming the streets, though.

Coming out back on Michillinda, we went north, passed behind Sears, and then took Orange Grove back to the park.

50 miles.


Play structure

Filed under: — stan @ 9:58 am

I built the two gates for Lucinda’s play structure. One is at the top of the ladder and the second is to allow access to the top of the monkey bars. Lucinda asked for that one. The instructions that came with the bars explicitly said that children should never play on top of the bars, but Lucinda wanted to be able to do that if she wanted. She does it at the park, so we decided it’s not a big deal. So I built a gate so that the upper level will feel like it is enclosed, but still have access.

In the first two pictures, Lucinda is checking out the gate at the top of the ladder. The second two pictures show the gate to the monkey bars.

With this, I have officially completed all that I initially set out to do with this structure. We are considering adding a tarp roof, but that’s still in the planning stages. So I think it’s time for a rest.


A story about a teacher who changed my life…

Filed under: — stan @ 8:42 pm

When we visited Grandpa last week, I got to dig through some piles of old photos and rediscover pieces of my past. I found a big stash of pictures from my bike racing days, which was fun. I also found my 6th grade class picture. This was from Radio Park Elementary in State College, PA.

I will never forget Mr. Wagner, and I think of him pretty often, considering how long ago I was in his class. But the reason is simple. In the fall of 1970, he won some sort of sweepstakes, and his prize was a trip to the Rose Bowl and Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California. This seemed terribly exotic to all of us kids there in central Pennsylvania. When he came back, he gave our class a slide show of his trip. Lots of pictures of parade floats and football. Both things that really don’t interest me. But I remember one thing he said about the trip. That it was 75 degrees on New Year’s Day. And I made a mental note right then and there that when I grew up, I wanted to live in this ‘Pasadena’ place. And now, here I am. And it’s quite nice. So I will always fondly remember Mr. Wagner for (perhaps unwittingly) piquing my interest in Southern California, which has turned out to in fact be my Most Favorite Place.



Filed under: — stan @ 3:23 pm

Addendum: Here’s a map with the route plotted and photo locations marked.

Today’s ride was out to Glendora, with a stop at a little bakery there.

We started out heading east and south to get to Longden Ave. We took that all the way out to where it merged into Live Oak, and then that turned into Arrow Highway. We passed Arrow Radiator (aka “a damn good place to take a leak“) and also the hot rod mailbox.

When we got to Glendora, we sat down and had some pastries. Philippe spent some time chatting with the baker, who was also from France.

After the snack stop, we took a quick side trip to Rubel’s Castle to marvel at the sight of an actual castle sitting in the middle of a suburban housing tract. Then we came back down the hill a bit and took Sierra Madre west. That was where I saw the Fatboy Ice Cream truck. Is that an example of truth in advertising?

We crossed the San Gabriel River on the bike path and headed into Duarte. We took the standard route home, straight across Duarte, Monrovia, and Arcadia. Then we headed north a bit and took Sierra Madre Blvd back to the park.

At the park, Philippe, Spencer, Vikki, and I all kept going. I took them on my somewhat convoluted route to Caltech so that they could see the funky palm tree. Then Vikki turned off and headed for home.

We then went south into San Marino. We went all the way across San Marino and into South Pasadena, where Spencer turned off for home. Then Philippe and I took Fair Oaks Blvd south to Huntington Drive for the trip home. Fair Oaks and Huntington used to be a big junction for the Pacific Electric, and the modern street intersection still shows this.

It was a hot and humid day today, which is unusual for Southern California. We do hot all the time here, but humid is not common. So we did one more short stop so that Philippe could get a new, cold bottle of Gatorade. I snapped a picture of the store sign, since it looks like a throwback to a bygone era.

Continuing west on Huntington, we passed Twohey’s in Alhambra. They have a very nice neon sign outside, although I don’t know why the guy on the sign has a clothespin on his nose.

The last bit of the ride was back up Sierra Madre Blvd, and then I was home.

53 miles.


Over the river and through the woods…

Filed under: — stan @ 10:50 pm

Today we took the train down to San Diego to visit Grandpa Schwarz. Riding the train is a pleasant way to go there, and it’s an arduous trip by car. The only bad thing(s) that happened were that we missed the first two trains. When we got to the Gold Line station in Pasadena, the train left just as we were coming down the stairs. We had to wait for the next train, and then when we got to Union Station, we looked out the window and saw the Amtrak Surfliner leaving for San Diego. So we had to wait for the next one.

Once we got there, we had a nice time. Grandpa picked us up at the train station and we all went to lunch. After that, we went back to his apartment. He played computer games and music with Lucinda, while Cathy and I looked through piles of old photos. I found a lot of pictures from my bike racing days back in the late ’70s, which was fun. I’ve scanned some of them for my photo album already, and I’m going to see about getting the slides scanned.

After a fun and relaxing afternoon, we got back on the train for the trip home. The train was crowded, so we ended up in the front car, which turned out to be entertaining. The engineer had the door to the cab open, so we could look out the front window. He also let Lucinda blow the train horn. So we had a fun trip back.

When we got home, we were all tired, but it was a fun day.


More Google Maps geekery

Filed under: — stan @ 12:47 pm

I’ve been playing some more with Google Maps. I made up a little script to create the xml file for listing the photos on a bike ride. So I tested it out with the pictures from the ride to Encino from a few weeks ago.

Here are the pictures

I guess the next step would be to plot the route on the map…


Larchmont Village and another cemetery tour

Filed under: — stan @ 5:51 pm

Note: I’m doing some experimenting with Google Maps to show the locations where the photos were taken. Here is a map showing the locations of today’s photos. Click the markers to get the caption and a link to the full-sized photo. And let me know how it works and if there is anything else I should add.

Today’s ride was out to Larchmont Village for a bagel at Noah’s.

We started out going west, across Pasadena and down into the arroyo. We went down past the stables at the bottom and then up the other side into Highland Park.

Going down York Blvd, we passed the Los Angeles Police Department Museum. This has been on my list of things to see for a long time. It sounds interesting.

Turning south on Eagle Rock Blvd, we went down to Ave 36 and then Fletcher. We passed the old Van de Camp’s bakery, which has been saved from the wrecker’s ball and is now slated to be a new L.A. City College campus.

Crossing the Los Angeles River, we passed into Silver Lake. We went around the Silver Lake Reservoir and then down the hill. That was where we saw Mom’s Donuts and Chinese Food. Yikes.

A few turns later, we were in Koreatown, where we saw a very strange sign with a gorilla on it. But since the signs were all in Korean, we have no idea what they said.

Crossing Western Ave, we passed the event horizon that divides the mansions of Hancock Park from the barred-window liquor stores of Koreatown. We went west until we got to Larchmont Blvd.

At the corner of 2nd St and Larchmont, we passed the former home of Adriana Caselotti, who was the voice for the original Disney Snow White, back in 1937.

We stopped for a bagel at Noah’s on Larchmont Blvd. We got lucky, and there were tables and enough chairs for all of us right out in front.

Leaving Larchmont, we went north to Melrose, and then took a quick right and then left to get to Gower St. We went up the west side of Paramount Studios to get to Santa Monica Blvd. Then we went right to get to Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

At the cemetery, we stopped to see Mel Blanc. We also went and had a look at the rocket monument we saw last time. I went over to get a closer look and found out that it was indeed an Atlas rocket, and that the monument is for Carl Morgan Bigsby, who died in 1959.

Leaving the cemetery, we went north on Bronson through Hollywood. We turned right on Franklin Ave and went east. We passed the Dearly Departed Tours van, which sort of fit in with the cemetery visit. Then we crossed the Shakespeare Bridge and headed back across the river to Highland Park.

We went up Burleigh Road and La Loma to cross the hills and get back to the Arroyo. Then Gene and most of the riders went east on California, and just a few of us went straight up Arroyo to the Rose Bowl.

From the Rose Bowl, we went up the little hill at the end to get to Linda Vista, and then went north to Highland and the bridge across the freeway below Devil’s Gate Dam. Then we took Windsor Road north some more and then Altadena Drive back across town and back to the park.

50 miles.
see the route


Body Art Expo

Filed under: — stan @ 11:31 pm

body art expo
This weekend is the big Body Art Expo at the L.A. County Fairgrounds. This is billed as “The World’s Largest Tattoo and Piercing Convention”. I don’t doubt that. They spend a lot on promotion to make it so that pretty much everyone in Los Angeles knows about it. So the sheer size of it is impressive. Still, perhaps I’m getting jaded in my old age. It’s just not as much fun as it seems like it should be.

I got there around 3:30 or so. I stayed until about 9:00. I had an acceptably fun time. Highlights included the girl with the corset piercing. She had one of the best outfits there. I also enjoyed seeing my friend Rick at The Mermaid’s Tale booth.

There was a barbershop booth there that was doing a brisk business with hot towel shaves. That was a bit odd. One funny bit was the massage booth with the big banner announcing “MASSAGE CONFORFAblE”. That looked like something straight out of And call me old-fashioned, but I still think The Jerky Hut looks strange at a tattoo convention.

Anyway, it was an amusing afternoon and evening.


I’m just speechless…

Filed under: — stan @ 4:15 pm

Keith Alexander, an old online friend died yesterday in a bicycle accident. The witness said that he wasn’t hit by a car, and if he’d been wearing his helmet he would probably still be alive. Keith, I can’t believe that you were riding in NYC without a helmet.

Addendum: Here’s Dee Snider’s eulogy for Keith.


Sir! Yes Sir!!!

Filed under: — stan @ 10:43 pm

This evening, our dog Buddy was barking out the front door at something, so I looked out the window and saw a supremely weird sight.

There is some group that does a ‘fitness boot camp’ thing at the park down the street from us. They run around the park and do calisthenics and such. Apparently, this evening the instructors decided to take them out of the park. So I looked out and saw a whole bunch of people lined up down our street, all holding poles and doing calisthenics. So I grabbed my camera and went outside and took their picture. They thought this was funny, but I told them that I thought it just looked supremely weird. Then the instructors barked something at them about not talking, and they all jogged off down the street.

Now I’m not one to shy away from exercise, especially when it involves a bicycle. But this sort of thing, and especially paying for it, just strikes me as weird. But whatever. After all, I used to be an aerobics instructor, and that struck most everyone who knew me as weird. Anyway, it’s just all part of the stuff that goes on in our neighborhood.

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