Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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Another great Google Maps application

Filed under: — stan @ 12:25 pm

Cathy is on her way home today, and I went to the Delta Airlines web site to check the status on her flight. I was able to find it by putting in the start and end points, and then it offered a link that said “Track it”. So I clicked, and it brought up this neat little Google map showing where the airplane was, updated every few minutes.

You can zoom in on the track. It appears that the plane must report lat/lon points about once or twice a minute. The blue line shows the flight plan track, and the yellow is the actual path. If you zoom in enough, the actual path seems to wiggle along, which must be some sort of artifact of the data, since airliners tend to go pretty much in straight lines.

Of course, maybe they’ve had this on the web site for years. We don’t travel much, so I never looked at it before…


Santiago Canyon

Filed under: — stan @ 10:18 pm

Route map and photo locations

Today was Aunt Maggi’s “Girls’ Party”. Cathy usually takes Lucinda down there for the day, but because she is out of town, I had to do it. I was left with the afternoon to find something to do. So I brought my bike along and went for a ride.

I got the route from Hugo, who lives in the area and used to work at my office. I modified his route a bit to shave off a couple of miles, and I did it backwards. I thought this would work out better, since I knew I’d be finishing up near sunset, and I didn’t want to be riding down Jeffrey in Irvine into the setting sun.

I started out going east on Jeffrey, towards the mountains. There was a good view of Saddleback from the start. Along the way, I saw strawberry fields, which still looks kind of odd. I’m not used to the idea that there is still farming going on in the depths of suburbia.

A little bit farther along, I saw a campaign sign for Kang, who was running for City Council. Of course, my first thought was, “don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos!

On Jamboree Road, I saw a tumbleweed. We don’t see them much up this way, but it shows just how close the suburbs come to wilderness.

Turning up Santiago Canyon Road, there was a sign warning of fire danger. The canyon is quite scenic, and the road was pretty nice, even if there is a fair amount of traffic on it. There is a big bike lane the whole way, so it was pretty good.

A bit farther into the canyon, I saw a sign of the Nanny State at work. There was a sign that said “Concrete Barrier Ahead”. The barrier was in plain sight about 50 feet behind it. Duh. Glad they told me that.

I rode for a bit with a guy named Mike, who told me about how his job requires him to travel a lot, and how he has a bike stashed with friends in every city he goes to.

At the end of the canyon, I came out in Lake Forest. The bike lane split off onto a separate path, which was pretty nice. I got a view of Saddleback Church, which certainly deserves the ‘mega-church’ label. This is Rick “Purpose-Driven Life” Warren’s place. It had its own traffic light, and the entrance looked like the entrance to a stadium.

I followed the path a while longer, until it started wandering away from El Toro Road. Then I got off and took El Toro down into Lake Forest.

A right on Muirlands got me going north again. There were some more fields, complete with a ‘Tractor Crossing’ sign, which I collected for the Animal Crossing Signs gallery.

Muirlands turned into Barranca and brought me back into Irvine. By now, the shadows were getting long, and it was time to be done.

It was a very pleasant ride.

37 miles.


Getting ethnic

Filed under: — stan @ 2:25 pm

Since Lucinda asked for Chinese food for dinner, I took a trip to the 99 Ranch Market in Arcadia to get in touch with my roots and stock up on food. Being half-Chinese is not an odd thing any more, but it was cosidered pretty peculiar when I was a kid. And the food is really my only connection to Chinese culture.

Today I noticed more signs of cultural assimilation at the store. The PA announcements giving the week’s specials are now in Chinese and English, which was kind of novel. And the shopping cart ads are also different than what we see in the regular supermarket. Who knew that Chevrolet has a Chinese web site?

So I got home with my 25-pound sack of rice and lots of other stuff that we can’t find in the regular grocery store. And I’m ready to get down and cook.

Chantry Flat

Filed under: — stan @ 11:44 am

Cathy is out of town on a trip, and Lucinda had a sleep-over at her friend’s house, so I went for a little ride this morning.

I rode out through Arcadia and Monrovia as far as Mountain Ave. Then on the way back, I went up Santa Anita to Chantry Flat. The road up there was closed for a long time after the winter rains and landslides last year, and it’s been over a year since I was up there. But it’s still a nice four-mile hill, so it’s great fun.

The road is mostly repaired. There was just one spot near the top where it was only one lane due to the outside lane threatening to fall off the mountain. The rest of the road was really quite nice. The pavement was smooth and clean, which is one benefit of having cars around. Mountain roads that are totally closed to traffic tend to be kind of wretched to ride on.

Overall, it was a fun little ride. Now I have to go grocery shopping, since I promised Lucinda I’d make Chinese food for dinner.

25 miles


Life imitates art

Filed under: — stan @ 7:22 am

We went to see “Borat!” over the weekend. It was tremendously funny. And today I saw this article in the Los Angeles Times about a Russian who traveled to L.A. to stalk Hilary Duff:,1,3641208.story?coll=la-headlines-california&ctrack=1&cset=true

Man is arrested in stalking of Hilary Duff
…Myaskovskiy “apparently came to Los Angeles a little over two years ago for the sole purpose of meeting and becoming romantically involved” with Duff, according to court papers…

Presumably he wanted to have “sexy time” with her. No word yet on whether or not he brought the traditional wedding sack.


This could be a larf…

Filed under: — stan @ 7:26 am

I don’t usually write about politics here, but I had a funny thought today.

Tuesday is Election Day in the USA. And right now, the talk is that the Republican Party is in trouble. Something about incompetence and corruption. But that doesn’t matter. The thing is…

We should all vote for Democrats this time. Because it’ll be a larf.

If the Democrats take control of both houses of Congress, they can launch simultaneous impeachments against President Bush and Vice President Cheney. Now comes the fun part. If they are removed from office, the new President will be… the new Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. At this point, the entire Republican Party will shit their pants. And that would be fun to watch, and easily worth the price of admission.

So in about 18 months, you might be seeing Rush Limbaugh squirming on TV, and it won’t be because he’s making fun of people with Parkinson’s Disease. No, it will be because he has a big, fresh, steaming dookie in his pants. And that would be a laugh riot.


Revised South Lake Ride

Filed under: — stan @ 8:10 pm

Today’s ride was a revised version of Gene’s “South Lake” route. He added some more miles to it because the last time we did it, I apparently said something in my writeup to the effect of ‘it was too short’. It was a perfect day for a ride, clear, sunny and warm.

We had a big group today. One of the biggest ever for the Sunday Morning Ride. We rode east through Monrovia and Duarte to the Santa Fe Dam bike path. Then we took the bike path down to Lower Azusa Road. Usually we have to ride to the south side of the road and then cross to go west, but this time the gate was open on the north side. This is the first time I’ve seen that gate open.

At El Monte, I saw the Surprise Chinese Restaurant. For some reason, I thought that was funny, so I took a picture. Then we continued on up to Longden and then west through San Gabriel.

At San Marino Ave, there was some confusion about which way to go. Gene’s directions didn’t say which way to turn, so we went right. Then we realized that we should have gone left. This was the beginning of the added portion, which was a big loop through Alhambra. It was all right, and it added about five miles to the ride. So I wasn’t complaining.

Coming back up into South Pasadena, I saw a campaign lawn sign for Stephen Sham, who is running for City Council in Alhambra. I don’t know how hard it is to get people to vote for a Sham, but his sign said that he favors finishing the 710 freeway, so if I lived in Alhambra, I’d vote for him.

When we got back into Pasadena, we rode up El Molino. That was where I got a flat. I don’t know what I ran over, but the tire went flat immediately. So I stopped to fix it, and Vikki took the obligatory picture for the Flat Tire Gallery.

After the fixing the flat, I saw a couch on the side of the road, so I picked it up for the Abandoned Couches Blog.

The snack stop was at the Corner Bakery on South Lake, which is why Gene calls this the “South Lake” ride. The line there was out the door, and I only wanted a drink, so I walked upstairs Trader Joe’s and got a quart of orange juice. While we were sitting there, Vikki showed us her special socks. They are supposedly to prevent blisters, but she said that she just found them annoying.

After the stop, we rode across Caltech and down San Pasqual. At this point, we all headed for home by different routes. Newton had ridden in from West Covina, so I decided to follow him a bit and go home by way of Arcadia. And I saw a pair of leather couches there.

It was a nice ride.

52 miles.


Lunchtime bike ride

Filed under: — stan @ 6:39 pm

Route map and photo locations

Today at lunchtime we did the Lida ride again. It was a perfect fall day. The sun was warm, the air was cool. Perfect for riding.

When we passed the Rose Bowl, we found Parkview St closed. I had thought that when they closed it last weekend it was just for the game, but it looked like they were doing some actual work on the street, and it was completely blocked off. So we had to take Salvia Canyon up the hill instead.

On the way Lida, I saw that the coyote paw that we’d seen before was still there. It looked like something had been chewing on it since last time, but the end of the paw was still intact.

Aside from that, there really wasn’t anything remarkable about this ride. But it was fun anyway.

19 miles at lunch, 27 for the day.

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