Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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Tattoo Convention

Filed under: — stan @ 11:19 pm

Body Art Expo
Yup. It’s time for another tattoo convention. This time it’s the winter edition of the giant Body Art Expo at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds. Today was a perfect day for it. The sun was out and it was warm.

When I got to the Fairplex, they were having the Easyriders bike show and an RV show, too. So the parking was packed. But that’s normal for any event that’s held there. There’s always something else going on.

When I got there, I saw my friend Stormy and her dog Nakai. Nakai is a service dog in training, so she get to go places where ordinary dogs don’t. She was also very cute and smart.

When I got inside, I saw David and his friend Justice. Justice recently moved back to L.A. after moving away after the Northridge Earthquake, and she had some concerns about Los Angeles and earthquakes. Since I’m in the earthquake business, I did my best to allay her fears.

A bit later, Mandy and Rob showed up. They were my ’straight friends’ for the afternoon, since they don’t really fit the freak mold. But it was nice to see Mandy again.

I saw Rick at the Mermaid’s Tale booth.

Anna was at here Anagram Fine Art booth again, so we had to visit and take a picture.

They had a fashion show, which was amusing. The outfits were from the Folter booth, and they were very nice. Brought out lots of cameras. The funniest bit was the first two girls who came out and posed. Then they turned around and flipped up their short schoolgirl skirts to show us their panties that said “PERV” on the back. Sadly, I was not able to capture that moment, due to digital camera lag.

There was also a booth for Utilikilts. I stopped in to just say hello. (waves to KarlElvis) And while I was there, two of the girls from the Folter show stopped by.

So it was a fun afternoon. All the pictures are here:


My 2005 Reading List

Filed under: — stan @ 1:30 pm

I thought it might be interesting to make a note of the books I read this year. I’ve found some interesting books by seeing them mentioned on other people’s blogs, so I thought I’d just stick my little book list in a virtual bottle just in case anyone else might enjoy one of these.

The Annals of the Former World by John McPhee. This is his magnum opus about the geologic history of North America. It’s composed of five books, two of which I’d read before. While the subject sounds dry, it’s really quite entertaining. The stuff about conodonts was quite interesting, and the story of how California came to be was also very good. But that’s just because John McPhee is a very good writer.

Tiny Ladies in Shiny Pants by Jill Soloway. It’s her memoir about growing up, chock full of funny stories and little rants. And reading it was great fun.

How to Make Love Like a Porn Star: A Cautionary Tale by Jenna Jameson. Her story about how she became the well-known porn star. It’s kind of sad at times, and hilariously funny at times.

Lights, Camera, Sex! by Christy Canyon. This is another ‘how I got into porn’ story. I met Christy once, and she was quite charming and funny in person. And her book is the same way. It was tremendously entertaining.

Collapse by Jared Diamond. An examination of history and the reasons why societies collapse. Part historical tome and part cautionary tale for the present, it’s quite readable.

Conduct Unbecoming by Randy Shilts. The full history of gays in the military, told in minute detail.

Stiff by Mary Roach. All about uses for human cadavers in research and education. Tremendously funny, although that might not be immediately apparent from the subject material.

Astro Turf by M.G. Lord. A history of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, but from a viewpoint of examining its male-dominated culture and the women who now inhabit it.

Finding Fault in California by Sue Hough. I work with Sue, and her book is intended as a tourist’s guide to seeing the scarps, hills, and sag ponds formed by fault movements around California. I’ve found that going to see them makes for some nice little bike trips.

The Bone Woman by Clea Koff. This is a personal memoir of a forensic anthropologist who worked exhuming the mass graves of genocide victims in Rwanda and Kosovo. Well-written, but it’s ultimately a grim story.

Candy Freak by Steve Almond. A somewhat personal story about the history of candy in the United States, and in particular about the few remaining independent candy companies still in business. Tremendously funny.

Bare by Elisabeth Eaves. This is her memoir about being a stripper at a peep show in Seattle. Full of interesting stories and some introspective talk about why she felt drawn to stripping. Very entertaining.

And one re-read of note:

The Control of Nature by John McPhee. Three stories about how man tries to control natural forces. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, I had go back and read the section about the Army Corps of Engineers and their attempts at controlling the Mississippi River.



Random stuff on a Rose Parade Day

Filed under: — stan @ 6:09 pm

Today was the Rose Parade here in Pasadena. And it rained on the parade for the first time since 1955. So we didn’t go, and I’m told that lots of other people didn’t go either.

In the past, they parked the horse trailers on our street to collect the horses at the end of the parade, but this time they had the trailers at the St. Luke’s parking lot up the street. So I just got one soggy-horse picture.

The National Weather Service had issued a flash flood warning for Los Angeles County today. The rain was bucketing down for a while here. When it stopped, I went outside and snapped a picture of what passed for storm damage on our street.

Later, we took our dogs for a walk. We passed the shuttle buses for people who came to see the floats. I had to take a picture of the ‘Live in Baton Rouge’ advertisement. It’s always odd to see places advertising for people to move there. And the ‘viva mas barato’ just clinched the deal. Back when we lived in Hollywood, there was a store near our house called ‘Las 3-B: Bueno, Bonito, Barato’. So we always get a little laugh from stuff like this.

I don’t use my car much (continued)

Filed under: — stan @ 12:06 am

Since today is the first of the year, I looked at my records to see how much I used my car last year. I have a little notebook in the car where I record every time I do maintenance or put gas in the car. And according to this, I drove my car 1705 miles in 2005. I was actually a bit surprised by this. I thought it would be less. I guess that the 274 miles I put on going to San Diego this week made a difference. In any event, I guess I’m about due for an oil change. The last time I did it was May 1, 2004.


I told Jenny I’d put her picture on my web site…

Filed under: — stan @ 8:54 pm

This afternoon, I went to Downtown Los Angeles to meet my friends Kathleen and Richard and Kathleen’s daughter Jenny. I used to work with Kathleen at Hughes Aircraft back in the late 1980s. At the time, I remember her saying that I’d have to meet Jenny some time, because she thought we’d be friends.

So yes, I like Jenny a lot. We’re a lot alike in many ways. I once taught her how to pick locks for fun. We used to go to the astronomy club together when she was in high school. I’ve known her now for something like 15 years, and she’s gone from being a little kid to being an actual adult. She lives in London now, sharing an apartment with her boyfriend. She was back in L.A. just for this week, so it was a treat to get to see her again.

A ride to start the new year

Filed under: — stan @ 8:34 pm
stans liquor

Today’s weather forecast was grim, at least by Los Angeles standards. Chilly and wet, with the chance of rain increasing throughout the day.

So I went down to the park to see if anyone else was going to ride. When I got there, Michael was ready to go, so we decided to head up to Montrose. As we started out, Jon came down the road, so there were three of us for the ride.

We started out heading up to La Cañada. We took a little detour up Chevy Chase to Figueroa, then down Linda Vista and back up Chevy Chase, so we got in two big hills. Then we headed down Hospital Hill into Montrose.

Along the way, Jon told me about how they had recently filmed a scene for CSI in his living room. Apparently, a location scout had liked his house and asked if they could use it. This has no bearing on the ride, but it’s just a sample of how along-the-ride smalltalk is just different here in L.A.

When we were riding through Montrose, we noticed that we’d lost Jon. So we stopped, and about a minute later he came down the road. He said that he had to stop when he looked down and saw a dead bird lodged in his crankset. He had no idea how it got there, but he had to stop and remove it. I told him that if that ever happens again to be sure to call me so I can take a picture.

After passing through Montrose, we continued on into Tujunga. The weather seemed to be holding, so we decided to head over La Tuna Canyon. It got kind of cold during the four-mile downhill, but it was all right.

At the bottom in Sunland, we took a right on Sunland Blvd and headed up towards the mountains and Foothill Blvd. This was where we saw a road-killed dog. I didn’t take a picture because it was actually a very disturbing image. Its end was obviously violent, as it was torn in two.

We had a brief stop at a Starbuck’s in Sunland. I had a somewhat-dry bagel and some orange juice. Then we continued on back towards Tujunga.

I had to stop for a brief photo-op at Stan’s Liquor. I always make a note of any business that has my name on it. I also had to take a picture of the sign for the Poo Ping Restaurant. It was about now that we started to notice a few raindrops. It was also getting colder. We decided that we probably should just head straight home and not stop any more.

We took Foothill all the way back to La Cañada, then went back down past Descanso Gardens. At the bottom of the hill, we all split up to go our respective ways home. I took the standard route back on Woodbury Road. I stopped briefly to snap a picture of the towers on top of Mt. Wilson shrouded in clouds.

When I got home, I had a hot shower to bring my numb toes back. Despite the cold and wet, it was a nice ride.

43 miles

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