Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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A very pleasant ride to nowhere

Filed under: — stan @ 9:15 pm

Today’s ride was one of those ‘noodling around not really going anywhere in particular’ rides. But it was a very nice day, so it was a fun time.

We started out from Victory Park and headed west. We rode out to near the Rose Bowl and then went north a bit to Oak Grove, near JPL. We took a left on Berkshire and rode up to Chevy Chase and Descanso. At the top of the hill, we turned left and headed down Hospital Hill.

At the bottom of the hill, we took a little detour to get around the Montrose street market. Then we took Honolulu for a bit before turning down the hill and then taking a detour on some streets that went up and down the hills there in Glendale. Some of the hills were quite steep. I almost said ‘uncle’ and shifted, but I was able to avoid the temptation.

We went up and down a couple of pretty big and steep hills before coming out on Cañada Blvd by the park in Glendale. Then we turned right and headed downhill a bit to Mountain Ave. We turned right there and headed across Glendale.

We took Kenneth for a bit and then went left on Sonora to get down to Glenoaks. Our snack stop was at Paradise Bakery. They have the best chocolate eclairs there. So I got two and snapped a picture of them. They were that good.

After the stop, we headed back across Glendale on Glenoaks. We took it all the way to where it went up and over a short but steep hill to get to Chevy Chase. Then we took a left and rode up the long climb back up to La Cañada. At the top, we took a right and ended up on Inverness for a bit before going left and coming out at the bottom on Highland. That took us into Linda Vista to pass by the Rose Bowl again.

At that point, the route was to go back to the park by way of Orange Grove, but Tommy, Doug, and I decided to do a little more. We took a right and rode up the hill above the Rose Bowl and then down San Rafael, passing by the Old Seismology Lab there. Then we rode down into the arroyo and into South Pasadena. Then we took Monterey Road across and through San Marino, and then got on Huntington. We took that all the way out to 1st Ave in Arcadia, and then up Highland Oaks to Sierra Madre Blvd. Then we took Sierra Madre back home. Like I said, it was a nice day, so it was fun ride.

51 miles.


A cautionary tale about parenting

Filed under: — stan @ 12:48 pm

This past week marked 24 years since I graduated from college. So in honor of that, I went up in the attic and visited my diploma. Well, actually, I had to go up in the attic to check the rat trap, but while I was there I saw my diploma. I had tried hanging it on the wall for a while back in the ’80s, but I just didn’t like looking at it. You see, I didn’t care much for the school I went to. In fact, I pretty much hated it. And when I graduated, I swore a solemn vow to do everything I could to forget about it. I have kept my diploma largely because every job I’ve ever had has wanted to see it on the first day. So I can’t throw it away. At least not until I retire.

This is a cautionary tale because it relates to parenting, and that’s something that is on our minds a lot. A few years ago, we took a parenting class. The teacher talked to us about how to get your kid to do what you want. It’s easy when they are small. When a kid is 3, “because I said so” can actually be a valid reason. But she also said that if you are still saying that when the kid is 16, you’ve failed. This relates to my college experience because “because I said so” is how I chose where to go, which is to say that I didn’t so much choose as have it chosen for me. Which is funny, since my mother always told me that choosing where to go to college was one of the most important decisions I would ever make. I guess I just didn’t understand the subtext, which was “therefore we’re going to make it for you so you don’t get it wrong.” And so this is what I think about whenever we have to make a decision for our child. It’s always tempting to think, “you’ll thank me for this when you’re older”, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen. And now that I’m on the other side, I want to always remember that and try not to run roughshod over my kid’s feelings and wishes. Even when she’s only seven years old.


Bring on the dancing horses…

Filed under: — stan @ 10:58 pm

Cathy saw an item in the paper this week about the Fiesta of the Spanish Horse. It was at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Burbank. I’ve been by there hundreds of times on my bike, but I’d never been inside. So we decided that this might be something interesting.

We don’t really know anything about horses, but it was interesting to see them close-up and see the riding demonstrations. Apparently, a big part of their training is teaching them the distinctive gait. It looks a bit funny at first, but we got used to it. And in the show, they did it a lot, along with other moves that made the horses look like they were dancing. So overall, it was an interesting thing.

Random sightseeing, and the tiniest house

Filed under: — stan @ 8:18 pm

Route map and photo locations

Today’s ride was a sightseeing trip to Hollywood and Silver Lake. Part of the route was the regular Foothill Cycle Saturday ride, but then Gene and I took a side trip to do some sightseeing.

We started out at Victory Park and rode over to the Pasadena Elks Club Lodge, where we met the rest of the club group. Then we headed west on Colorado through Eagle Rock. That was where I saw the gym advertising kickboxing for kids. For some reason, I found this to be a funny mental image, so I stopped for a picture.

We rode into Glendale on Wilson, and then took Jackson up to Glenoaks. Then we took Glenoaks all the way across Glendale. A left on Sonora brought us down to Riverside in Burbank, just across from the Bette Davis Picnic Area. Then we crossed the river and the freeway and took a right on Zoo Drive.

We rode past Travel Town and up the hill in Griffith Park. A right turn at the closed gate brought us onto the road up the back side of Mt. Hollywood. This is a nice long climb, and it’s especially pleasant because the road is closed to cars. So it’s just a nice place to ride.

When we got to the intersection by the tunnel, Gene and I went right, down into Fern Dell. We rode down all the way to Los Feliz Blvd, and then went right to get to Franklin Ave. Then we took Bronson down to the cemetery.

Hollywood Forever is home to many stars, and today we were there to visit with Don Adams, who is perhaps best-known as Agent 86 of Control in “Get Smart”. His grave is currently not marked with a stone, but I was able to locate it with some help from the people on the Get Smart mailing list. I gather that his family is still considering trying to have him buried in Arlington National Cemetery, due to his service in World War II. But in the meantime, he is in Hollywood Forever. Also, while we were there, we walked down by the pond to see the cenotaph for Jayne Mansfield.

Leaving the cemetery, we rode back across Hollywood and into Silver Lake. We took a right on Sunset and headed south, passing by Lovecraft Biofuels, which is a shop that does bio-diesel car conversions. Then we took a left on Benton Way and rode up some hills to come out on Silver Lake Blvd right by the reservoir and the dog park.

At Glendale Blvd, we went left, and then right on Fletcher and right again on Riverside. We took Riverside all the way to Figueroa, with a quick side trip down Oros St to see a house I’d seen the real estate listing for last week. This one is even smaller than the one we saw last week, and the one from the week before. This one is 299 square feet. The flyer says that the lot is 1300 square feet, which means that the lot is smaller than my house alone. It was impressively small.

Oh, yeah. Just for everyone who’s not in California, the asking price for the shoebox-sized house was $199,000.

Leaving the tiny house, we rode up Figueroa St to Ave 60, and then over to Monterey Rd and into South Pasadena. We rode all the way across San Marino and then went north on Sierra Madre Blvd, and then we were home.

It was a nice ride.

46 miles.


Oil: Or we’re all gonna die!!!

Filed under: — stan @ 5:57 pm

I just finished reading two books about oil and why we’re about to start running out of it. And actually, neither of these books is of the alarmist bent that says that civilization will collapse when we pass the peak of world oil production. But they make the case that things are going to be difficult, and that day is most likely upon us now.

Twilight in the Desert is Matthew Simmons‘ magnum opus about Saudi Arabia and its super-giant oil fields. They are apparently the largest ever found, and even now they provide some huge percentage of the world’s supply. And the end is drawing near for them. Most oil fields are most productive for 20-30 years, and then they start to taper off. The big Saudi fields have been going for fifty years, and they are showing signs that they are past their prime. And more troubling is that in most cases, when the natural pressure of the field is depleted, they can inject water into it to get the oil flowing again. But the Saudis have been doing this since the 1960s, so they are already doing secondary recovery on their fields. So when they do start to decline, there is less that can be done to try and squeeze out more oil. There is an article available on the web that contains a short version of the information in this book.

Beyond Oil is Kenneth Deffeyes’ companion to his book from 2001, Hubbert’s Peak. In the first book, he told us why the peak of the oil age is imminent, and in this one he refines his prediction to say that the worldwide peak of oil production would be in December, 2005. The rest of the book examines what can be done about that in terms of alternate sources of energy. He’s fairly optimistic in that there are things we can make from coal that will take the place of oil for most applications. But environmentalists will probably shit when they see how dirty that’s going to be.

So no, civilization is probably not going to collapse or even grind to a halt. But it’s going to get dirtier and more expensive. As for me, I just got a new tire for my bicycle, so I’m set for commuting for another five years.


On this day in history…

Filed under: — stan @ 5:31 pm

It was May 2, 1976, and it was the day of my first big race. I was 16, and had no idea what I was in for that day. We all had our old-style leather-hairnet ‘helmets’ on, and I didn’t even know to zip up my jersey collar. When the race started, it was all just a blur. We went faster than I’d ever imagined was possible. But I stayed with the pack, and even tried to break away a couple of times. I didn’t know that first-year riders usually get dropped, so I didn’t get dropped. It’s amazing what you can do when you don’t know that you’re not supposed to be able to do it. It was great fun.

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