Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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Candy and telescopes again

Filed under: — stan @ 10:29 pm

Since 1998 I’ve set up my telescope in front of our house and handed out candy and looks at whatever was up in the sky. Tonight there was just the moon, but that’s interesting enough for most kids.

The first time I did this was when Cathy was pregnant with Lucinda. I figured that I should do something to get some practice talking to kids. And it turned out to be a big hit. The kids liked it, and over the years they come back again and again. So it’s sort of taken on a life of its own now.

There was actually a comet up this evening. I spent a little time early on finding it. Comet SWAN was up in the western sky. Even here in the city, I was able to see it. In the telescope it looked like a fuzzy star. Our neighbors across the street are interested in astronomy, so I showed it to them when they brought their daughter over for candy. Everyone else just looked at the moon, since that has a better ‘wow’ factor.

Overall, it was a fun evening.


Our Eighteenth Anniversary

Filed under: — stan @ 1:21 pm

Today is our 18th wedding anniversary. So in honor of the occasion, we went out to dinner at Shogun here in Pasadena. This is one of those teppanyaki restaurants. So I didn’t have to cook, Cathy didn’t have to clean up, and Lucinda got to have a drink with maraschino cherries and watch the show. So it was a fun time for all of us.

Of course, the fundamental problem with all of this is that neither of us can believe that we’re old enough to have an 18th anniversary.


Grave Tour for Halloween

Filed under: — stan @ 9:56 pm

Route map and photo locations

Since this is the weekend before Halloween, I thought it might be fun to do a theme ride today. My first idea was to ride out to visit Bela Lugosi’s grave, but that turned out to be about a 60-mile round trip from Pasadena, so that was too long for a Sunday ride. So instead, we visited Hollywood Forever and Forest Lawn to visit a few music legends.

We rode west from Victory Park, taking Orange Grove, Colorado, and Yosemite to get to Eagle Rock Blvd. Then we took a left and headed south, turning right on Ave 36 to get across the L.A. River and into Silver Lake. Then we crossed the Shakespeare Bridge and took Franklin Ave into Hollywood.

Just before we got to the turn at Bronson, we saw a couch on the side of the road. So I stopped and collected it for the Abandoned Couches Blog.

At Bronson, there was a cutout bird hanging from the wires overhead. I’d read recently that there is someone going around hanging up these little cutout birds above streets in Hollywood. Then we turned and took Bronson south to get to Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

The guard at the gate was very unpleasant, and he insisted that we were not allowed to ride our bikes into the cemetery. This seemed a bit odd, since we’ve been there many times before and never had a problem. Normally, the people at the gate are very pleasant and helpful. But they were having some special events there this weekend, so maybe that was why they had a guard there.

So we agreed to walk our bikes into the cemetery. John, Jon and I all walked in. The rest of the group decided to just continue the ride. We walked in, going back to the pond to find Bianca Halstead’s grave. She was the singer and bass player for Betty Blowtorch. They were just on the verge of making it big in 2001 when Bianca died in a car accident after a show in New Orleans. It’s a sad story, but it’s pretty clear from her grave that she still has a lot of fans who miss her.

Just a few feet away was Dee Dee Ramone’s grave. We’d been there to see it before, but this was the first time I’d noticed lipstick kisses on his stone. Again, it’s plain that he still has fans who miss him.

Leaving Hollywood Forever, we retraced our steps back up to Franklin, and then headed up Beachwood toward the Hollywood sign. The route took us up a very steep hill to just below the sign, and then down the other side and past Lake Hollywood. Then we rode down into Burbank to Priscilla’s for a bagel. And after riding up that hill, we really appreciated the bagel.

After the snack stop, we rode to Forest Lawn. We entered the cemetery and rode to the Courts of Remembrance. There, we saw the graves of Bette Davis and Liberace. Not at the same time, though. Bette is at the front of the building, and Liberace is buried with his mother and brother near the back.

Leaving Forest Lawn, we rode back across Glendale, going up the big hill on Chevy Chase and Linda Vista. There was about a 50-foot stretch of road that was closed for no immediately apparent reason. So we portaged the bikes over the barricades and kept riding. Then we rode down Lida and went around the Rose Bowl. Then we took Orange Grove back to the park, picking up a couch near Fair Oaks and another near Lake.

It was a very pleasant ride.

50 miles.


Halloween Carnival

Filed under: — stan @ 10:11 pm

Lucinda’s school had a Halloweeen carnival on Saturday night. They have games set up for the kids. The parents are all strong-armed into volunteering to run the games. In our case, we had to run a simple shell game. The funny thing is, Lucinda came with us when it was our turn to run the game, and she wanted to try running it. So we showed her how, and she did it for our whole time. Later on, she wanted to go back and run the game some more.

I thought that perhaps this might point her towards a career as a carny. Or at least a sideline. Maybe she can earn a little money on the side. In any event, she had fun.


Filed under: — stan @ 5:58 pm

A few weeks ago, I saw a post on Needled about Andrew Krasnow who is an artist who works with human skin. And he was having an exhibit at a gallery right here in Hollywood. Needless to say, this sounded interesting, somewhat disturbing, and certainly something not to be missed.

So today was went over to Hollywood to the ADM Project gallery on Santa Monica Blvd. Appropriately enough, it was right across the street from Hollywood Forever Cemetery. It was a fairly small exhibit, but it was certainly unique.

Because of laws about human body parts, none of the art was for sale. But they were selling a poster of one of his flags, and also a fine-art photo print of “The Hollow Muscle”, which was a heart made out of skin. Also, the art is available for extended display. Sort of like a ‘lease’.

We’ve never seen anything else quite like it. And it was disturbing, in the way that good art should be. So we enjoyed it a lot.

The exhibit runs through December 14.


Another snarky letter to the editor

Filed under: — stan @ 7:27 am

There was an article in Thursday’s Los Angeles Times about the New Jersey Supreme Court decision that same-sex couples are entitled to some sort of ‘legal equivalent of marriage’. When I read this, my first thought was a snarky comment that ‘legal equivalent’ sounds a lot like the old Jim Crow doctrine of ‘separate but equal‘. So I dashed off a letter to the editor to that effect, and they printed it today:

So the New Jersey court says that same-sex couples are entitled to the legal equivalence of marriage. Hmm. “Legally equivalent” sounds a lot like “separate but equal.” And we all know how well that worked out.,0,4646427.story?coll=la-news-comment-letters


Water Tower Redux

Filed under: — stan @ 8:04 pm

Route map and photo locations

Today’s lunchtime ride was the last before the time change. Not that this matters for riding at mid-day, but the early sunsets may make it impossible for me to ride my road bike to work for a while. So we made the best of it today. And there were even three of us along for the ride.

It was a perfect fall day. Erik, Vikki and I met outside and we decided to do the Water Tower ride again. So we headed south, through San Marino.

The climb up to the water tower was nice as always. Erik kind of left us behind on the bigger hills. But that was all right.

When we got to Colorado, we saw a hawk flying circles over the freeway. This was a bit odd, but still interesting. Then we turned and rode up the big hill on Patrician Way.

Coming down the other side of the hill, we rode down to the Rose Bowl. It looked like they were getting ready for some big event. There was a truck parked there with rolls of temporary fencing ready to be put up.

After passing the Rose Bowl, we rode up to Orange Grove and then back to the office on Green St. Along the way, I was trying to explain to Vikki and Erik how to do a track stand on a road bike, but I don’t think I was explaining it all that well. Still, it was a very pleasant ride.

18 miles at lunch, 26 for the day.


Heh. They said ‘orders are flowing in’…

Filed under: — stan @ 10:19 pm

It’s sometimes amazing the things that people find to be offended by. The artist who designed these said “the idea her urinals represented a man peeing into a woman’s mouth never occurred to her”. Um, OK. I find that a bit hard to believe. But it’s still funny.

In any event, it seems the writers had some fun doing this article. ‘Orders are flowing in’ and all.


Water Tower

Filed under: — stan @ 7:50 pm

Route map

Today’s lunchtime ride was a new route. Down to South Pasadena, up the hill, and around the water tower. Seemed like a nice change.

We rode straight south from the office, through San Marino. We passed Lacy Park, going down the scarp of the Raymond Fault. Then we turned right and took Monterey Road through South Pasadena. At Via Del Rey, we turned left and rode up the hill, passing by the water tower at the top. Then we rode back down the hill and up to Mission to get to Arroyo.

A left turn on La Loma crossed the arroyo and went up a nice short hill. Then we took some small streets through the hills there to get to Colorado and Patrician Way. This was a very nice climb, followed by a winding descent down to Linda Vista. Then we rode around the Rose Bowl and took Green St back across Pasadena to the office.

It was a very nice ride, even if there were no sights remarkable enough for pictures.

18 miles at lunch, 26 for the day.


Today should be a holiday…

Filed under: — stan @ 6:29 pm

Because it’s Weird Al Yankovic’s birthday. He’s got 10 days on me.

So in honor of the occasion, have a look at his video for “White and Nerdy“.

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