Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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The Museum of Neon Art is back again

Filed under: — stan @ 9:16 pm

I got my renewed membership card for the Museum of Neon Art last week. They just reopened the museum in a new space on 4th St in downtown Los Angeles. And tonight, they had a reception for the new exhibits. I went down there with Susan from the morning bike ride, since we’d talked about it while riding up the canyon. With a membership, we got in free, and we got to enjoy some wine and snacks while looking at all the neon.

The new space is a very funky one. It looks like it used to be the lobby of a hotel in years gone by. There were big holes in the ceiling, and lots of new electrical wiring on the walls to power all the neon lights. It’s a bit smaller than the old space at Olympic and Hope, but it’s all right. They are still looking for a larger and more permanent space for the museum in the future.

The exhibits included one of soda neon signs, some regular neon artwork, and also a collection of photos of old soda advertising signs. It was pretty entertaining, and we had a nice time looking at it. And maybe in the summer, we will go on one of their neon cruises around the city.

La Tuna Canyon the Right Way

Filed under: — stan @ 12:32 pm

Today’s club ride was “Up La Tuna Canyon“. To my mind, this is the right way to do this road. I like the four or five miles of steady uphill. I enjoy that more than riding down that hill.

We met at the Pasadena Elks Lodge for the 9:00 start. On Green St outside the lodge, I noticed that there were two parking spaces marked in blue paint for the Rose Parade. They were marked, “BLIMP”. But I’ve never seen a blimp parked there. That would be some impressive parallel parking skills. Leaving the Elks lodge, we headed out across Eagle Rock and Glendale. It was a nice day, and promising to be hot like summer by mid-day.

In Sun Valley, we took a right and took some small residential streets to get to La Tuna Canyon Road. And then the fun began. Look at how Susan is smiling in the picture. She and I set the pace, and by the time we were near the top, we’d dropped everyone in our group. We were passed by one guy from another group, but we figured that that didn’t count. She was fading a bit near the top, so I did a few practice Madison throws to give her a little push to the summit. When we got there, we stopped to regroup.

When most of the group was there, we headed down the other side into Montrose. We stopped for a snack at Berolina Bakery. I had an eclair there. It was good, but not quite as good as the ones at Paradise Bakery in Glendale.

After the stop, we headed back up Hospital Hill and then back down into Pasadena and home. It was a fun ride.

40 miles.


Mt Hollywood on a Friday night

Filed under: — stan @ 11:08 pm

On Friday night, I went with the L.A. Hiking meetup group for an evening hike up Mt Hollywood in Griffith Park. This is a pleasant little hike. Just enough to get warmed up, but not too hard. And doing it in the evening is nice, since it’s cool, and the views are nice.

On the way up, we took a combination of fire roads and some smaller trails. It was still daylight, so there was no problem finding footing on the trails. By the time we got to the top, it was just after sunset. Everyone had brought food and wine and such, and we had a little party on top of the mountain while looking down at the city lights.

Coming down, we took the fire roads all the way. By then, it was pretty dark, so the roads are easier to follow.

It was a fun little diversion on a Friday night.


The lava’s red glow

Filed under: — stan @ 9:13 am

lava glow
Kilauea Volcano on the Big Island of Hawai’i is having some activity in the summit crater. This is the first time there’s been anything going on there since 1982. And back then, webcams hadn’t been invented yet. Yesterday, I read that Hawaii Volcanoes National Park had been closed and evacuated due to the sulfur dioxide. I called one of the volcano program people I know in Menlo Park to see how their web site was doing with the increased traffic they get when stuff like this gets in the news. I’d gone to a meeting with them last year to talk about ways to deal with web traffic surges. She said it was doing all right, and that I should check out the Halema’ua’u webcam in the morning, just before the sun came up in Hawai’i. The volcano observatory guys had said that the glow of the lava was visible.

So here it is.


Return of the Rock Star Scientist

Filed under: — stan @ 7:39 pm

Stephen Hawking is giving a talk at Caltech tonight. And this is the line to get in. The talk is at 8:00, and this is the line at 4:15.


Greek meets Geek

Filed under: — stan @ 11:26 pm

The Caltech campus gets filmed a lot for movies and TV shows. Today, they had the end of one of the buildings dressed up to look like the entrance to a basketball arena. And they were filming just outside. There were banners for the fictitious Cyprus Rhodes University from the TV show “Greek“. They’ve filmed this on campus before. There was a night some time ago when the house that my office is in was used as a frat house for this show.

I think it’s funny that the show “Greek” is being filmed on a campus that’s more known for “Geek”.

They didn’t have any signs saying to stay out of their staged pep rally, so I rode my bike through it to get work.


San Dimas on a gloomy Sunday

Filed under: — stan @ 9:32 pm

Route map

Today’s ride was the “San Dimas South” route. It’s a ‘flattish’ route. There are a few hills, but nothing really big. This was good, since I was still feeling the effects of the 78 miles yesterday.

The weather forecast said, “June gloom in April”, and that was about it. It was gray and overcast. No drizzle, but just gray and gloomy. But it was cool, so it was all right for riding.

We headed straight east all the way to Covina, and then south in to San Dimas. We went close to Bonelli Park before turning back west. There were a couple of small hills there, but soon we were back on the flat land and heading for our stop at Panera across the street from the mall in West Covina.

After some bagels and such, we mounted up and headed for home. There really wasn’t anything remarkable on this ride, but we had a nice time anyway.

46 miles.


A simple dinner on a Saturday night

Filed under: — stan @ 7:17 pm

Lucinda is over at her mom’s house today, so I’m on my own. But I’m still eating well.

Tonight, I had a steak on the barbecue. I built a little oak wood fire to cook on. The steak was rubbed with olive oil and seasoned with ground black pepper and fennel seed, and also with rosemary and thyme from my garden. I made potatoes with the spice mixture. I made a foil pouch and cooked them on the barbecue, too. I also grilled a portobello mushroom to go with the steak. And tonight I got to have the swiss chard from my garden for the first time.


Seal Beach

Filed under: — stan @ 7:07 pm

Today’s club ride was a longer one than usual. We started at Live Oak Park in Temple City and rode to Seal Beach. It was kind of cool and overcast, so it was nice weather for riding. I have a policy of not going on any ride that I can’t ride to the start of, so I rode down there from my house. On the way, I got a flat. Since I was alone at this point, I had to take the picture for the Flat Tire Gallery ‘MySpace-style’, holding the camera at arm’s length.

We started out going down the Rio Hondo bike trail. This brought us to Whittier Narrows. As we rode over the dam, I felt that my tire was going flat again. So I stopped and this time I had to patch the tube. Susan took the picture this time.

Continuing on, we rode straight down the San Gabriel River bike path. For some reason, we were riding very fast. You can see it in the lean of the bikes in the first photo. Along the way, we saw egrets and other birds in the river. We also saw a guy doing like “The Karate Kid” in the river bed. As we got close to the ocean, there was more water in the river, and we even saw a few boats. Then we got to the end of the path, where we turned left and headed into Seal Beach. At this point, my tire was going flat again. So this time, Silvio and I went and found the local bike shop on Main St in Seal Beach. I bought a new tire and tube. As before, Susan took the picture as I put it on. After that, I went down to the beach just to see the ocean, since it’s not every day that I ride my bike all the way to the ocean. Then I went back to the bakery and very quickly ate a honey-bran mini-bundt cake. Yum.

When it was time to head back, we went back the way we came. Since water runs downhill, the way back was a gentle uphill grade the whole way. Susan set the pace, and she pretty much rode the rest of us into the ground. I was able to keep up, but I was working pretty hard. Garett and Andy also kept up, but they were having a harder time. We dropped everyone else. We were all impressed with her riding.

When we got back to the park, Garett, Silvio and I headed back home to Pasadena. They were dragging by then. I was doing all right, but I could still feel that we’d done some miles. Our bike computers all said our average for the ride was just over 17mph. It was a fun little ride.

78 miles.


Dearly Departed

Filed under: — stan @ 10:55 pm

Today was a special day. I took a day off work to go and take the Dearly Departed Tragical History Tour of Hollywood. I had recently found out that my friend Sherri shares my interest in Hollywood history and celebrity death. So we went on the tour together.

First, we met for lunch at Musso and Frank, since that’s Hollywood’s oldest restaurant, and many of the old-time movie stars who are stops on the tour had eaten there. We sat in one of the small booths and had our lunch before walking down the block to the tour meeting place.

The tour was great fun. We started off seeing one of the costumed characters who stand in front of the Chinese Theater. He was dressed as Batman, and he was carrying a McDonald’s bag. The McDonald’s bag was surely the detail that made it funny.

Early stops on the tour included the apartment where Bela Lugosi lived in his final days. Also the house alleged to have been the site of the Black Dahlia murder. And the La Bianca house where the Manson Family began their rampage back in 1969.

The next picture shows the house where Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio lived during their short marriage. Nearby was George Burns’s house, complete with his initials in the concrete driveway.

The tour includes one bathroom break in a park in Beverly Hills. The one where George Michael was arrested for lewd behavior back in 1998. We all took turns getting souvenir pictures by the bathroom entrance.

We took a turn up into the hills to see Ozzy Osbourne’s old house, which was featured on “The Osbournes“. Then we came back down into Hollywood, passing the apartment where Dee Dee Ramone lived and died.

Overall, this was great fun, and made for a perfect afternoon getaway. I was able to forget for several hours the utter disarray and awfulness of my life. So this was a Good Thing.

We’re going to go back, too. He does a special Helter Skelter tour once in a while, and that’s surely not to be missed.

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