Stan’s Obligatory Blog

Page 1 of 212»



Filed under: — stan @ 9:21 pm

This afternoon, we all went over to West Hollywood to see “What Would Jesus Buy?” at the Sunset 5. I think that this may be the first time we’ve taken Lucinda to see and art-house movie, and it turned out to be quite a little adventure.

The film follows Reverend Billy from the Church of Stop Shopping when he and the Stop Shopping Gospel Choir go on a nationwide tour to try to stop the commercialization of Christmas and to raise awareness of the costs of our consumer culture. They visited the Mall of America, Disneyland, and lots of places in between, preaching the gospel of anti-consumerism. It was hilarious.

For a special treat, the director was there to answer questions after the film. The film was produced by Morgan Spurlock, who did “Supersize Me”, and this film is done in a similar style, with Reverend Billy and the choir doing guerilla ‘interventions’ at big-box stores and malls. He uses his bullhorn to preach of the coming ‘Shopocalypse’. They also performed exorcisms of credit cards to drive out the demons of debt. Overall, it was a fun time, even though Lucinda was the only child in the audience.

The Mountain Lion Ride

Filed under: — stan @ 9:06 pm

Route to Oven Fresh
Route back to Victory Park

Today’s ride was number 8 in Gene’s “Noodling” series. This is the one that we test-rode last summer. The high point of the ride is the steep hill on Pinecrest Drive in La Crescenta. There is a sign there warning us that mountain lions have been seen in the area. So ever since then, we’ve always referred to this route as the “Mountain Lion Ride”.

Since Gene is out of commission for a while, I agreed to lead the ride today. I went down to the park to meet the group, and we set out.

The first part of the ride was to climb up into Altadena, and then across before dropping back down to Woodbury Road to get to La Cañada. Then we started the real climbing.

We rode up and across La Cañada before going down all the way to Foothill Blvd. Then we went west for one block and rode back up the same hill on Briggs St. At the top of that hill was where we got on Pineglen Road and rode up Mountain Lion Hill. That was as much fun as the first time. I even said ‘uncle’ and shifted all the way down to my 39×22 for the steep part. I still reserve the 39×24 for the really steep hills.

After climbing Mountain Lion Hill, we headed down into Tujunga. We rode through there until we got to the Viking House. I’d put horns on my helmet today in honor of this house. So James took my picture in front of it. Then we continued on. We took Apperson all the way down to the end. Then we came back on Day St and McGroarty, which basically parallel it. We stopped for water at a park along the way, and we also stopped to take pictures of some peafowl and an abandoned couch. Finally, we came out on Tujunga Canyon Road and took the long downhill back into Montrose and our snack stop at Oven Fresh bakery.

After the snack stop, we headed straight back to Pasadena and the park.

42 miles


Bad Day at West Covina

Filed under: — stan @ 9:41 pm

Today’s ride was a bit of a debacle. But it started out quite nicely.

It was a chilly November morning. It was clear, and promising to warm up nicely. I rode over to Arcadia to meet the club for a ride out to San Dimas.

Right away, I noticed that my back tire had a leak. So I had to change it right in the parking lot in Arcadia, before the ride even started.

The ride out was very pleasant. We passed a traveling carnival, and we were all amused by the “Kamikaze” ride. A bit later, we saw the Montrose Ride group go flying past us in the opposite direction. Then we got to San Dimas and started back. Then things sort of went bad.

At the corner of Barranca and Cortez in West Covina, Gene and Charlie ran into each other while making the left turn. There were no cars around, and nobody else was involved. The rest of us were about 50 yards ahead, so we didn’t see what happened. But we heard the yelling. We looked back and saw the two of them lying in the road. Gene was in a lot of pain. He said that he’d fallen hard on his hip. The same hip he’d broken once before. So we took up positions to wave traffic around, and I called for help.

Emergency calls on cell phones are a bit of a crapshoot, at least here in California. They are all sent to the California Highway Patrol, and their call center is almost always overloaded. But I had the Pasadena Police number in my phone. I’d made sure to program it into the phone after the last time I had to call for help after an accident. So I called the Pasadena Police, and they got me the number for the West Covina Fire Department. I called them, and within about a minute there was a police car and paramedics there. They checked Gene out and then took him off to the hospital. Before they left, he gave me his phone number so I could call home and tell his wife what had happened. Ben offered to stay at the scene with Gene’s bike until she could get there to pick it up. Ben also knew where the hospital was, so he could give her directions to it. And the rest of us headed off for home.

The remainder of the ride home was reminiscent of the Napoleon’s Retreat from Moscow. Except we didn’t have any horses to kill and eat.

48 miles

This evening, I spoke with Gene’s wife. She said that Gene has a broken femur. He was being transferred tonight from the hospital in West Covina to Verdugo Hills. (This is the hospital at the top of “Hospital Hill” that I’m always talking about here.) He will be having surgery to put a plate and screws in his leg, and he should be home in a few days.


Visiting San Diego

Filed under: — stan @ 9:38 pm

For the day after Thanksgiving, we headed down to see Grandpa in San Diego. The plan was to go visit, take him to lunch at Prado, and then go see the Midway aircraft carrier museum.

The lunch at Prado was nice. We also got to see our friend Laura there. She manages the place, and it appears that she never leaves there. I guess that’s just how it is to manage a big restaurant. But the food was good, and the presentation was first-rate.

The Midway was interesting. Its active days spanned from the end of World War II through the Vietnam War. They had a lot of the older airplanes on display on the hangar deck. They also had several flight simulators on the hangar deck, and they were selling rides in them. Maybe next time we’ll have to try them.

Up on the flight deck they had newer airplanes on display. The A4 reminded me of the time when I was working in San Diego and one of them crashed down the street from my office. We heard it go by and could tell by the sound that something was wrong. We all ran to the windows in time to see the plume of smoke and the pilot drifting down on his parachute. It still amazes me that he was able to aim the plane for the parking lot between two office buildings before he ejected.

There were also exhibits about taking off and landing on the carrier. They had retired pilots giving talks to explain how the process worked. It was pretty interesting, and it’s really amazing that they are able to make it look (relatively) easy.

Overall, it was a fun day.

I also got a new sign for the Animal Crossings Gallery.


The big feed

Filed under: — stan @ 9:37 pm

Today was the big Thanksgiving feast. Where we over-eat even more than usual. As always, I’m the cook, so I got up early and got started.

The two test pies I’d made recently worked out well. I was prepared this time. For last-minute advice on making the crust, I consulted The Teen Guide to Homemaking. This is a 1950s-era home economics textbook that I have. It’s a classic, and it has a lot of good information about basic cooking techniques. It also has good information about making lots of things from scratch. So I made the crust, filled it, and baked it. And it was good.

I also made a whole bunch of other stuff. Green-bean casserole, but not with the canned mushroom soup. The goop was made from scratch with cream, fresh mushrooms, etc. Also, brussels sprouts with garlic and pancetta. And cornbread stuffing made from homemade cornbread. It was all good. As evidence, I present the smiling faces of everyone who was there.


A loop around Griffith Park

Filed under: — stan @ 8:59 pm

Today’s ride was out to Glendale for a stop at Paradise Bakery, and then a loop through Griffith Park. It was chilly this morning, but forecast to get warm later. When I was pumping up my tires this morning, the tube ripped at the valve stem when I pulled the pump off. So I got a flat before I even left the house.

Heading out from Pasadena, we went up to La Cañada, which was good. Going uphill warmed us up, and the fog thinned out in that direction. Then we went down Hospital Hill and down the long hill into Glendale.

We took Mountain and Kenneth across Glendale to get to Paradise Bakery. I had my usual chocolate éclairs. I still think they have the best éclairs there.

As we were leaving Paradise, some fire trucks came racing by, so we took a one-block detour to see where they went. There wasn’t any obvious fire, but they were setting up a big ventilator fan in the door of a house, so maybe it was a gas leak or something like that.

After the stop, we headed into Griffith Park. The sign said that the fire danger was “LOW”. I had to take a picture, since I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen one of those signs say anything other than ‘HIGH’ or ‘VERY HIGH’ or ‘EXTREME’. Maybe it’s low now because everything flammable already burned up last May.

After passing the Los Angeles Zoo, we rode through the DWP Festival of Lights area. Of course, being daytime, there wasn’t much to see there.

On the way back across Eagle Rock and Highland Park, I saw an abandoned couch underneath a tree, and another one that looked like it had been overturned in a riot.

It never did get particularly warm today, though.

43 miles.


Mulholland Drive

Filed under: — stan @ 8:27 pm

Today’s ride was down the length of Mulholland Drive from Cahuenga Pass to the hills above Encino, and then back to Pasadena by way of the San Fernando Valley. It was kind of chilly this morning, but promising to warm up nicely. We met at the Elks Lodge in Pasadena, where they already have bleachers up for the Rose Parade. From there, we rode over to Griffith Park to meet the rest of the group.

On the way, we passed T&A Grocery in Glendale. This makes the third “T&A” shop we’ve seen. There’s also T&A Seafood and T&A Hobby.

When we left Griffith Park, the route said to go up Barham and then on Cahuenga to get to the beginning of Mulholland Drive. I hate that section of Cahuenga, since there’s a lot of traffic, the road is narrow, and it’s rough. So I took a detour up Lake Hollywood and then down Wonder View. This cuts through a quiet residential area to bypass Cahuenga. The only downside to it is that taking the ’shortcut’ involves going up and over a steep hill. So nobody else joined me for this part of the excursion.

Once we got on Mulholland, we just rode west all the way until the road ends above Encino. Along the way, I pointed out some of the local sights, including the Chemosphere House, another house with some nice glass-block walls, and one with a tennis court on stilts hanging off the hillside. I missed it, but a couple of the guys saw Jay Leno out road-testing an antique steam car that he’s restoring.

At the end of Mulholland, the road just drops off a cliff down into the Valley. It was a very steep descent, and I didn’t think we were high enough for that much downhill. When we finally got to the bottom, we headed for home.

The trip home was pretty easy. It was flat all the way across the Valley. We stopped for a snack at Priscilla’s in Toluca Lake. Then we rode straight across Glendale and back to Pasadena, going back up the Colorado hill. By that time, it had warmed up very nicely.

64 miles.


Plays Well With Others

Filed under: — stan @ 10:54 pm

On Friday night, we went out to Santa Monica to the opening reception for “Plays Well With Others”, which is a collaborative art show with Sharon Kagan, Leslie Yagar, and Lana Shuttleworth. Lana was the artist who did the “Cone Migration” show that we saw recently.

This new show is a single large piece in the gallery. It’s a poppy field suspended from the ceiling, with poppies made from dyed coffee filters, pieces of traffic cones, and crocheted yarn. And we got to meet the artists, which was a fun time. I’d been looking forward to meeting Lana, since I participated in the Cone Migration. And in the photo, be sure to check out her purse made from traffic cones.

It was a fun evening.



Filed under: — stan @ 6:43 pm

A friend of mine went to a coroner’s convention recently. There were some crime-scene cleanup companies there, and one of them had this for an advertising item. Heh.


Beating Newton

Filed under: — stan @ 6:01 pm

Today’s ride was up and over Turnbull Canyon, which is a nice hill between Whittier and Hacienda Heights. To ride up it is to challenge Newton and beat the force of gravity. And today, I also beat Newton, who is the star hill-climber of our group. This is one of the very few times I’ve beaten him to the top of a big hill. So it was an exciting day.

It was cool and threatening to rain today, so I thought the ride might get cut short. So I left a few minutes early and took the long way down to the park. Along the way, I saw the first abandoned couch of the day, on Orange Grove Blvd. Then I headed over to Victory Park to meet the group.

We had a small group today. I suppose the weather may have scared some away. We headed out to Arcadia and then directly south through El Monte, where I saw the second abandoned couch. Then we crossed into Whittier and headed up to Turnbull Canyon.

The road up Turnbull Canyon is a nice bit of the country in the middle of the city. It’s a steady, winding climb. Jon, Newton, and I led the way. I made sure to stay with Newton, even when he put on some bursts of speed to try to shake me. I knew that no matter how much it hurt, I had to stay close. If I lost contact, it would hurt twice as much to try and catch up later. It also helped that it’s been a while since we did this ride, and I’d forgotten just how long the climb is. Several times I thought we were almost at the top, only to go around a bend and see yet another switchback. But in the end, I managed to hang on to the top, which was a remarkable thing. I usually can’t hang with Newton on a tough climb. So maybe all this riding is actually making me stronger. Or maybe I’m just learning how to hurt and make more effort. Whatever. And being first to the top made up for the fact that I’d said ‘uncle’ and shifted on the way up. To commemorate the occasion, I got a souvenir picture at the top.

The ride down is nice. It reminds me of riding a steel roller coaster. For some reason, the road gives the feeling of flying, even though we stay firmly on the ground. It’s a fun downhill, and I don’t even find it terrifying for some reason.

At the bottom, we headed back by way of La Puente and Industry. Amid all the warehouses in Industry, we saw some people riding horses, which looked kind of strange. We also saw a Metrolink commuter train go by, which is a rare sight on a weekend.

Our snack stop was at Planet Cookies in Monrovia. The whole Old Town Monrovia area has already been decorated for the holidays. It seems a bit soon, but that’s not unusual these days.

By this time, it was getting colder again, and starting to look more like rain. So we headed straight home.

It was a fun, if slightly chilly ride.

53 miles.

Page 1 of 212»

Powered by WordPress