Stan’s Obligatory Blog

Happy Thanksgiving

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6/29/2008

More movie magic

Filed under: — stan @ 7:18 pm

On Sunday afternoon, Susan and I went over to Beverly Hills to visit the galleries at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The two current exhibits are:

I’ve been to these sorts of things before, and they’re always fun to see.

The animation exhibit was interesting, and we got to see a lot of original artwork from cartoons from the 1940s to the 1960s. And upstairs, we saw parts of sets of quite a few recent movies. We saw Indiana Jones’s desk. Too bad he was denied tenure. We also saw The Chief’s desk from “Get Smart“, got our picture in the cave with the Mark 1 suit from “Iron Man“, and Susan poked around the props from “The Spiderwick Chronicles“.

It was a fun little afternoon, and we finished off with dinner at the French Quarter in West Hollywood.

La Tuna Canyon

Filed under: — stan @ 12:41 pm

Sunday morning’s ride was the La Tuna Canyon route, complete with the four-mile uphill that I love so much.

The ride out was pretty uneventful. We caught up with a group of three riders on Glenoaks. They turned off and took a shortcut to La Tuna Canyon Road. When we started climbing, Jon caught up with them. The rest of us were catching up to them when I got a flat. So that was that. Susan took the picture for the Flat Tire Gallery.

A little farther up the canyon, we saw a nice set of abandoned couches on the side of the road. At the top of the hill, we stopped for a few minutes before heading down the other side into Montrose. We rode around the weekly street fair there, and then up Hospital Hill to our snack stop at Goldstein’s Bagels.

After the stop, we rode down the hill and back into Pasadena. We took a left at Windsor Road to go up into Altadena. We took a small detour to see Charles Richter’s old house. Then we took Mendocino back across Altadena and then down the hill back to the park.

41 miles.
cycling

Parrots

Filed under: — stan @ 6:36 am

Just a couple of parrot pictures. There is a large colony of feral parrots that live somewhere nearby, and I see them around my house most days. So I tried taking a few pictures of them just for fun.

As always, my camera rocks.

6/28/2008

La Mint

Filed under: — stan @ 2:58 pm

Today’s club ride was the “La Mint” route. This is a bit of a misnomer, in that the La Mint restaurant no longer exists, and then we stopped at the Bagelry instead of the restaurant that was formerly known as La Mint. But it was still a nice ride.

We met at Arcadia Park in Arcadia. While we were waiting, I saw some women doing some sort of training that involved them taking turns looping an inner tube around each other and running while pulling the other along.

The route went pretty much straight east all the way to San Dimas. We stopped at the Bagelry on Lone Hill Ave, which was pleasant. From there, we had a choice of routes home, and we chose the longer one.

Riding back through Covina, we had to stop along the way because Silvio got a flat. So I took the picture for the Flat Tire Gallery.

After fixing the tire, we turned south and headed into the hills near Bonelli Park. We took a somewhat roundabout route through there, which was nice, even though a few of the hills were pretty steep. By the time we made the top of the last hill, I was running out of time. I needed to be home by 1:00, so Susan and I didn’t stop to wait for everyone else. We just kept going and headed straight for home.

Around Encanto Park in Duarte, my phone rang, and I found out that I had more time than I’d thought. So we were able to slow down a bit. We stopped for water at the park, and then when we left, I heard that unmistakable “PANG!” sound of a spoke breaking. My back wheel went gimpy, and I had to stop to mess with it with the spoke wrench so the tire wasn’t rubbing on the frame. Then we continued home, albeit at a reduced pace.

In Arcadia, we saw Gene on his way home. He must have been riding pretty fast, since we’d last seen him miles back in Covina. Then we turned and headed back across Sierra Madre to home.

It was a nice ride, even with the broken spoke. And we made it home at 1:01, which wasn’t bad.

57 miles.
cycling

6/22/2008

Big ol’ jet airliner…

Filed under: — stan @ 7:10 pm

jet blue
People from Foothill Cycle Club may have noticed that the pictures from this morning’s club ride don’t include any pictures of Susan. She had to go back to New York for the weekend for a funeral. So now I’m just watching her plane as it crawls its way back home across the continent…

Sunday ride to look for E.T.

Filed under: — stan @ 12:54 pm

This Sunday’s ride was a route that I made up a couple of years ago. It’s a ramble through La Crescenta and Tujunga, with a sightseeing stop at the house where they filmed “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial“.

It was hot today, and that made riding up the hills even more of a joy than usual. But it was still fun. We rode up through La Crescenta, and then straight up Rosemont to the top. There was a sign near the top warning us that mountain lions have been seen there. So we attempted to maintain a brisk pace. Then west across to Tujunga, where JJ got a flat.

After fixing the tire, we headed up the hill going up to Elliott’s house. That’s something like a 15-18% grade. There was a house with sprinklers that were watering the street, so we all rode through the spray to cool off. At the top, we took a picture in front of the house before heading back down.

Coming down Tujunga Canyon Road, we stopped at a little park to get water, since we were running out. Then down into Montrose, where we stopped at Oven Fresh Bakery.

After the stop, it had gotten quite hot. So we had a secret ballot and voted to take a shortcut home. It was a nice ride, but pretty hot today.

37 miles.
cycling

A backyard interloper

Filed under: — stan @ 7:39 am

This morning, the dogs were out in the back yard, barking like maniacs. So I went to have a look. There was a mother opossum on top of the wall at the back of my yard. It had one baby clinging to its back, and it was just standing there looking at the dogs. Opossums are like skunks that way. They just amble around like they own the place, and they don’t care how much noise anyone else is making about it.

6/21/2008

What it means to be American

Filed under: — stan @ 7:08 pm

On Saturday afternoon, I went to Hollywood to see “Bigger Stronger Faster” at Grauman’s Chinese. This is a documentary about steroids in athletics and performance-enhancing drugs in general. While this may sound dry, it was actually tremendously entertaining.

I didn’t think they really came down on steroids as either all good or bad. It was more of, “well, this is just an extremely gray area”. But they did point out that our culture has a very ambivalent attitude to all kinds of performance-enhancing drugs. The point being that our collective prudery about drugs used for athletics doesn’t square with our overall embrace of drugs to enhance performance in all manner of other endeavors. In particular, the musicians taking beta blockers to control stage fright was an interesting example of this gray area.

But when it comes down to it, this was just a very funny and entertaining movie. The part exposing the fraud of muscle-building dietary supplements alone was worth the price of admission. In particular, the interview with the photographer who explained how he can take the ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures on the same day. That was hilarious.

6/15/2008

Toluca Lake and the Bicycle John’s race

Filed under: — stan @ 7:03 pm

It’s Father’s Day, which means it’s time for the annual Bicycle John’s Grand Prix race in Glendale. We’ve been to see this race several times before: 2007 2006 2004

The route was the now-classic “Toluca Lake Inverse” ride.

It was a perfect day for riding. We headed out from Victory Park, down into San Marino and South Pasadena. Then over across Highland Park to the L.A. River. Then we got on the bike path. There was a guy fixing a flat right at the bike path entrance. He wasn’t part of our group, but he had a flat tire, so I took his picture for the Flat Tire Gallery.

We rode the bike path to the end at Riverside Dr. Then went through Griffith Park to get to Barham Blvd by Warner Bros. Our snack stop was at Priscilla’s on Riverside.

After the stop, we headed back, taking a small detour to see the race in Glendale. I watched for a little while, but I needed to get back on the early side, so Susan and I left early to go home.

The route back was up Verdugo into Montrose, and then home by way of La Cañada. It was a fun ride.

42 miles.
cycling

6/14/2008

A bike ride to Point Loma

Filed under: — stan @ 7:01 pm

This weekend, Susan and I were visiting my father in San Diego. We brought our bikes along, and on Saturday morning when he was playing bridge, we went for a ride down to Point Loma. I did this ride last year when I was there when he had knee replacement surgery.

It was a cool and overcast morning, which was nice for bike riding.

We headed over to La Jolla, and then took the coast route there, stopping at the cove to see the seals on the beach. Then we rode through Pacific Beach and Mission Beach to Mission Bay. Then through Ocean Beach to get to the road to Point Loma. At the entrance to Cabrillo National Monument, we paid our $3 to get in and took a moment to grouse about Ronald Reagan and the Republican Party for instituting fees for that area. Then we rode down the hill to the tide pools.

After looking at the ocean and the cliffs there, we rode back up the hill to the lighthouse. Then we left and headed back down to Mission Bay. We took the road around the east side of the bay to the Rose Canyon bike path. Then back up into La Jolla Colony and back to my father’s place.

It was a fun ride.

42 miles.

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