Stan’s Obligatory Blog

Happy Halloween

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2/28/2006

Nancy Drew

Filed under: — stan @ 4:46 pm

Today they are filming a scene for a new “Nancy Drew” movie down the street from our house. It’s a simple scene, but as seems to be usual for these sorts of things, it takes all day. They have a big crowd of people setting up lights and such, but aside from that, there’s not a lot of action. The paper that they dropped off at our house said:

It will be a short scene which our actress knocks on the door looking for a certain individual who doesn’t live at that particular house. The home owner says “sorry”, and closes the door.

Still, this is only the second time in ten years that they’ve filmed at a house on our block, so it’s kind of novel.

2/26/2006

Tour of California

Filed under: — stan @ 7:46 pm

On Sunday afternoon, I took Lucinda down to Redondo Beach to see the last stage of the Tour of California bicycle race. It was a perfect winter beach day, warm and sunny.

This was actually the first time I’ve ever been to an actual professional bicycle race. It was nice. The crowd it drew and the riders in the race were all impressive. The race itself was pretty exciting, with an early breakaway that lasted nearly the whole distance before being caught on the last lap. Lucinda liked watching it, and I got to tell her stories about my bike racing days while we were watching. We also got to see a BMX stunt show, and wander around near the beach. It was a very fun afternoon.

And on a related note, I had found out recently that my old bike racing friend Ray is the founder and manager of the Navigators Insurance Pro Cycling Team and that he was going to be at the race. Lucinda and I had spent a good bit of the afternoon looking for the team camps without luck, but at the end of the race, we saw the Navigators team car go by and we just followed it to their camp. After the prizes were awarded, we found Ray. It was fun to visit with him and reminisce about the days when we were young, strong, and fearless. And Lucinda got an official Navigators cycling cap. So this was a special treat to top off a very nice afternoon.

cycling

Tour de Oozing Oil

Filed under: — stan @ 11:48 am

Route map and photo locations

Today’s ride was one that I came up with earlier this week. There was an article in the Los Angeles Times about how oil had come oozing up out the middle of Olive St in downtown L.A. My immediate thought was to make a bike ride to go and see it. So that’s what we did today.

We started out from Victory Park in Pasadena and headed down Sierra Madre Blvd in to San Marino. Then we turned on Huntington Drive and took that all the way to Mission Blvd on the edge of downtown L.A. There we took a right and rode a bit to Main St, which took us into downtown.

A quick right turn on Ord St brought us into Chinatown, and then a left on New High St sent us south, past City Hall. We rode south all the way past Pico Blvd. Then we took a right on 14th Pl and took that over to Broadway. That brought us to our first sightseeing stop, which was the St. James Oil Company site at 1325 S. Broadway. This is the set of oil wells that is most likely the cause of the seepage. I took a couple of pictures and then we moved on.

At Olive St, we turned north and quickly came to the 1200 block, which was closed to traffic. We hopped up on the sidewalk and went in to see. There were some cleanup tanker trucks parked there, and there was a backhoe digging up oil-soaked dirt from the middle of the street. I took some more pictures.

From there, we continued north on Olive St, up Bunker Hill, where we saw the sign for General Thaddeus Kosciuszko Way. I’d hate to have to give directions involving that street.

At 1st St, we took a left and headed out of downtown. We passed the Department of Water and Power building with the solar-powered parking lot. We also passed the entrance to the old Pacific Electric Subway at 1st and Glendale Blvd.

Continuing on Beverly, we passed the original Tommy’s hamburger stand, and then took a right on Benton Way. This is a small street that goes through Silver Lake and is a nice quiet alternative to riding on Silver Lake Blvd. The downside, so to speak, is that it goes up and over a steep hill. But that’s all right. I like riding up hills. At the top, we stopped to regroup, and that’s where I saw the ‘Ask Me About My Vow of Silence‘ bumper sticker.

From the top of the hill, we went down the other side, coming out on Silver Lake Blvd right by the reservoir and dog park. Then we continued on down the hill to Glendale Blvd. At Fletcher, we took a right and went across the river. We took Eagle Rock Blvd north to Yosemite, which took us across Eagle Rock. Then it was up the Colorado St hill and back into Pasadena.

On this ride, Spencer and I were racing up every hill. This was fun, but something seemed to be not quite right. On the way back into Pasadena I realized what it was. We passed Michael going the other way and I realized that that was what was missing. If Michael had come on the ride today, he would have been the King of the Hill, and Spencer and I would have been left in the dust. Still, we had some fun.

34 miles.
cycling

2/25/2006

MatheMagic!

Filed under: — stan @ 9:44 pm

Today Lucinda had a friend from the neighborhood over to play, and we took them to see “MatheMagic!” at Caltech. This is one of their “Saturdays at 2:00” programs for kids.

Today’s show featured Bradley Fields, the “Mathemagician”. His show was a magic show combined with math tricks and history of mathematics. And it was very funny and entertaining. Lucinda and her friend liked it a lot.

2/20/2006

Dogs, dogs, and more dogs!

Filed under: — stan @ 8:32 pm

Today we went to the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana. They were having a special exhibit about dogs, including a dog stunt show, so Lucinda wanted to go see it.

The parking was full when we got there, and there was a long line to get in. I suppose I should consider it a good sign that that many people want to go to a science museum. But on the other hand, I think it may have more to do with the fact that it’s actually a pretty small museum, and the parking lot is also small. Anyway, after parking the car at the nearby mall (there’s no shortage of those in Orange County) we got our tickets and went in.

We saw a presentation on therapy dogs at the local Children’s Hospital, and we got to meet and pet one of the dogs.

The main event of the day was the dog stunt show. The dogs did tricks, including catching, jumping, and running obstacle courses. They were all very good at what they did, and it was very entertaining.

The last thing we did was to ride in the earthquake simulator. It’s one of the better museum earthquake simulators, and it’s more realistic than most. They also have a whole section of the earthquake exhibit devoted to Lucy Jones, which is funny to me, since I work with her. I don’t think of her as being famous, but she’s about as famous as a scientist can be. (Have I mentioned lately that I really like my job?)

After the museum, we stopped off at the mall where we’d parked the car so that Cathy could look for some red hair color. The red she’d gotten just wasn’t red enough. While she discussed hair color minutiae with the beauty supply people, Lucinda and I went and got ice cream.

It was a fun day.

Here’s something you don’t see every day

Filed under: — stan @ 9:20 am

We’ve been having a cold spell here in L.A. At least it’s cold by our standards. And this morning, there was even frost on our garage roof. In 10 years in this house, this is only the second time I’ve seen that.

brrr

2/19/2006

I still got to go riding a little today

Filed under: — stan @ 3:50 pm

Today started out cold and rainy, and it rained out the regular Sunday club ride. But then, almost miraculously, it stopped raining and cleared up. But 10:00, the sky was blue and the streets were (almost) dry. So I went for a little ride by myself.

I headed east through Sierra Madre to Arcadia, then east some more into Monrovia. When I got there, I went up Norumbega Drive, which goes up a nice hill and makes a loop back down to where it started. It was a nice gratuitous hill.

Then I went down Mountain Ave, and it was there that I spotted a thong in the street. When I used to live in Hollywood, I rode every weekend on Mulholland Drive, up in the hills. And every Sunday morning, I would see lots of women’s clothing, particularly shoes and underwear on the side of the road. That was just a normal thing in the hills above Hollywood, but this is the first time I’ve seen anything like that here in the suburbs.

I rode through a little bit of Bradbury and then into Duarte. I took the bike path along Royal Oaks to its end, and then went up Melcanyon just to add another gratuitous hill. I made a loop up there and came out on Encanto by the park there, and then headed back towards home.

I took Santa Clara St back into Arcadia just so I could stop for a photo at the Young Dong Restaurant. Its name probably means something like “Mom’s” in Korean, but the sign looks funny to American eyes. And it’s right around the corner from the Turf Analist, so there is an ongoing tradition of Engrish in that area.

Next, I headed back up 1st St to get to Highland Oaks and Sierra Madre for the trip home. I stopped for one more photo of the “Reclamation Center” sign, right by the cemetery. I guess it makes sense in some way.

From there, it was downhill all the way home. It was a pleasant ride, even if it was chilly and kind of windy.

27 miles.
cycling

2/18/2006

A gag gift in every sense of the word…

Filed under: — stan @ 7:37 pm

Today we had to go over to the costume shop in Arcadia to pick up some of the supplies we ordered for Lucinda’s birthday party. While we were there, we noticed a little display on the counter. It was a little plastic squeeze bottle sitting on a wooden base. The label said, “Liquid Ass“. So, of course, we smelled it. And it was easily the most horrible odor any of us had ever smelled. (Between growing up in New Jersey, and my father being a chemist, that means something.) So in the true spirit of the Internet, I just wanted to spread the word about Liquid Ass. This is one gag gift that will truly make people gag.

2/17/2006

Sightseeing Los Angeles

Filed under: — stan @ 8:32 pm

So I’ve been living here in L.A. for many years now, and I like sightseeing around the city. So I decided to put together a list of things I’ve seen that I think are amusing. Just to have it all in one place for future reference.

www.1134.org/photomap.php?xmlfile=sightseeing.xml

I’ll add new things to the map as I find them. And needless to say, Disneyland and the other usual ‘tourist’ things are not on my map.

2/15/2006

Permanent bases?

Filed under: — stan @ 7:20 pm

There’s an article in Salon today about the big permanent bases in Iraq and how this story is pretty much being ignored. But they made a big deal about how big these bases are, so I thought that maybe I could find them on Google Maps. And it wasn’t all that hard. Here’s Balad Air Base:

maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=baghdad,+iraq&ll=33.940939,44.369659&spn=0.086587,0.172005&t=h

Here’s the article where a reporter visited the base:

www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/03/AR2006020302994_pf.html

And here’s a bit of background about it. Apparently it used to be an Iraqi Air Force base. You can still see the airplane shelters mentioned near the ends of the long runway.

www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/iraq/balad-ab.htm

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