Stan’s Obligatory Blog

Happy Thanksgiving

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5/31/2008

A nice ride to Claremont

Filed under: — stan @ 8:23 pm

Today’s bike club ride was to Claremont, and it was a perfect day for riding. I’d recently arranged so Susan could get a Caltech jersey, so we were twins today. At the start of the ride, I got Silvio to take a picture.

The route was very direct. We just went straight east, passing through Duarte, Azusa and Glendora before turning south a bit and then taking Bonita Ave out to Claremont. There really wasn’t much to it. But we still managed to miss a turn. Still, we found our way there just fine.

When we got to Claremont, we went to 42nd St Bagels. The rest of our group went down the street to Some Crust Bakery. But both are nice. I had a garlic bagel and some orange juice.

The ride back was pleasant. We went by the most direct route, which included the stretch of Gladstone St with the 1% downgrade. That’s always fun.

When we got home, our average was just about 16mph, which is not bad for this distance.

56 miles.
cycling

5/30/2008

Eight notes that changed the geek world

Filed under: — stan @ 6:40 am

In today’s obituary pages, Alexander Courage has died at 88. The headline says it all:

Alexander ‘Sandy’ Courage, 88; composer wrote ‘Star Trek’ theme

Apparently, he had a prolific career writing music for movies and TV for over 50 years. But in the geek world, he’s going to always be known for “Star Trek”.

And the eight notes:

The eight-note brass fanfare that Courage wrote to herald the starship Enterprise became one of the most familiar musical signatures in TV history.

“I’d argue that it’s the most famous fanfare in the world,” Burlingame, who teaches film music history at USC, said Thursday.

“It’s been around 42 years — and it’s all around the world — and when you hear those eight notes you immediately think of the Enterprise,” he said.

Read the whole article here: www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-me-courage30-2008may30,0,1290138.story

5/29/2008

In today’s obituary pages…

Filed under: — stan @ 6:36 am

Film and TV director Joseph Pevney has died at 96. Bein’ a geek, I immediately recognized his work on the original “Star Trek”. He directed several of my favorite episodes ever: “Amok Time“, “Arena” and “The City on the Edge of Forever“. And of course, he also directed “The Trouble with Tribbles“. So hoist a tribble and take a moment to remember yet another person who helped shape modern geek culture.

www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-me-pevney29-2008may29,0,2766431.story

5/25/2008

Sunday morning in Glendora

Filed under: — stan @ 11:59 am

This morning’s bike ride was the “Old Glendora” route. A straight ride out to Glendora, with a stop for a snack there. Then a straight ride back. It’s a relatively flat route, which was just the thing for today.

It was cool this morning when we gathered at Victory Park in Pasadena. We started out going south to Temple City, and then turned east on Longden, and we just headed east all the way to Glendora. When we got there, we saw a house with a big collection of weird stuff on the front lawn. I figured that was worth a picture.

In Old Town Glendora, we were going to go to the French bakery there, but when we got there, we saw that it had gotten a “C” grade from their last health department inspection. Since none of us were ever all that crazy about the food there, we decided to try something different. We went back down the block to Classic Coffee, which turned out to be quite good. The food and drinks were good, and the service was good, too. So I changed the route slip for the future. We also got a little chuckle out of the mirror ornament in the car parked next to our table.

The ride back was nice. Just straight west all the way back. We took Sierra Madre Ave across Glendora and Azusa, since it’s open again after being closed for reconstruction for the last couple of years. And we got back to the park by 11:00, which is pretty early for us. But the ride was a little shorter than we usually do, and we were going pretty fast. So it was a fun ride.

38 miles.
cycling

5/24/2008

Bang your head in Baghdad

Filed under: — stan @ 9:33 pm

This evening, Susan and I went to see “Heavy Metal in Baghdad“, which is a documentary about Acrassicauda, which is the only known heavy metal band from Iraq. They started some years before the war, and the film included some video of them doing a concert in 2002. They said that in order to get permission for the concert, they had to agree to sing a song praising Saddam Hussein.

The band members said that at first they thought the war and the fall of Saddam would be good for them. But over time, they found that living and playing in a civil war zone was no good. When they did a show in post-Saddam Baghdad, it was in a hotel surrounded by concrete barriers and troops. And the show had to be over by 7:00, so everyone could make it home before curfew. Later, their practice room was blown up by a rocket, and all their instruments were destroyed. Finally, the film followed them as they escaped Iraq to Syria in hopes of finding peace there.

Overall, the film was kind of depressing, but also uplifting. It’s a triumph of the human spirit. Even under the worst circumstances, young men will find ways to rock out and bang their heads.

5/23/2008

Neither rain, nor…

Filed under: — stan @ 7:14 pm

Today is Friday before Memorial Day, and so we had planned on having a cookout at the office. Who knew a freak storm would blow in and it would be raining? Usually, if it’s after March, this is just not something we have to worry about here in L.A. So nobody could have foreseen this. But the show must go on. We moved the actual serving area inside to the conference room. But the grill was still outside, so I just stood out there in the rain cooking our sausages. It was all right.

5/18/2008

Mt Washington once again

Filed under: — stan @ 7:02 pm

Sunday’s ride was the Mt Washington route. We’ve done this one before, and it’s always fun. It was hot today, so this seemed like a good choice.

Before we even left the park, there was a sudden, loud hissing noise, and Silvio’s front tire went flat. So he had to fix it before we could even start the ride. But this turned out to be a good thing. Jon was a couple minutes late to the start, so we were still there when he pulled up.

We started out heading up into La Cañada, and then down Hospital Hill, and down Verdugo all the way through Glendale. Then we took a detour to cross the L.A. River and go down Riverside Drive. There’s no real reason for this diversion, but it turns a 36-mile route into a 39-mile route.

The ride up Mt Washington is nice, especially since they repaved the road. So it’s a fun climb. Just look how Susan is smiling in the picture. Or perhaps that was because we were within sight of the top. When we got to the top, we stopped in the shade in front of the Self-Realization Fellowship gates. Then we headed down the other side.

At the bottom, we turned to head into Highland Park, with another short detour to Eldred Street, which is reputed to be the second-steepest street in Los Angeles. But we didn’t see any bighorn sheep there.

Our snack stop was at Kaldi’s in South Pasadena, which has a nice shady spot for the tables outside. And after that, we rode across San Marino and then back up to Victory Park.

It was a nice ride.

39 miles.
cycling

5/17/2008

“That’s one old chair”

Filed under: — stan @ 7:31 pm

On Saturday afternoon, Susan and I went to the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena. I’d been wanting to go there for some time, and they were having an exhibit called “Chinaman’s Chance” about the Chinese immigrant experience. As it turned out, there wasn’t much to the Chinese exhibit. It was three artists whose art reflected their views of straddling the cultural divide. It was amusing, but not very filling.

The rest of the museum was nice, though. There was an exhibit of ceramics from China, along with other artifacts. One of the artifacts was a chair dating from the Ming Dynasty between 1368 and 1644. When I read the card, my first thought was, “that’s one old chair.”

La Verne on a very hot day

Filed under: — stan @ 7:25 pm

Today’s ride was out to La Verne. It seems that when we go there, it’s either very hot or very cold. Keeping with that tradition, today was very hot. The bank thermometer in San Dimas said 95 at 10:00 in the morning, and my back porch thermometer read an even 100 when we finished the ride.

The ride started at Live Oak Park in Temple City, which is a nice seven-mile mostly-downhill ride from my house. From there, we headed straight east, mostly by the flattest route, which was nice on a day like today. On last Sunday’s ride, we’d passed by Random Lane in Duarte on the way back, so I made a point today to stop for a picture.

When we got to La Verne, some of the riders wanted to eat a full breakfast at a restaurant. The rest of us went down the street to Coffeeberry, which has a nicely shaded patio. We had iced tea, iced coffee, and juices there. There was also a rock shop next door with some nice fossils on display in the window.

After the stop, we headed back. The route back was down through Bonelli Park, but by way of the bike path around the lake, so it avoided all the hills in the park. Again, this was nice on a day like today. We saw people jet-skiing on the lake, and a lot of people walking in a fund-raiser for cystic fibrosis. Then we got on Cypress St and rode all the way back to Irwindale. At that point, we left the official route and headed for home by way of Santa Fe Dam and the bike trail there. We stopped at Encanto Park in Duarte to get water and sit in the shade for a bit. We also met another rider who was on his way from Anaheim to Santa Clarita, which is a fairly ambitious ride on any day, even if it’s not 100 degrees. We helped him out a bit with some pointers on the route to take, and also where to stop for water.

It was a nice ride, even if it was very hot.

58 miles.
cycling

5/16/2008

Friday night in Griffith Park

Filed under: — stan @ 10:54 pm

On Friday night, Susan and I went to Griffith park to do one of the evening hikes. Tonight’s was up Glendale Peak, which is one of the small mountains in the park. I’ve done this one before, but it’s a pleasant hike. And it’s also a good way for us to get some weight-bearing exercise.

On the way to the start of the hike, we saw a lone coyote hanging around in one of the parking lots in the park. On the way up, we saw a small frog in a little puddle on the side of the trail. And a bit later, we saw a couple of deer running around just above us on the hill.

By the time we were close to the top, it was dusk, and so we got a picture with the city lights and Griffith Observatory in the background.

The trip down was nice, since it was cooling off by then. And the nearly-full moon was plenty of light to see by.

It was a fun evening.

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