Stan’s Obligatory Blog

Happy Thanksgiving

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7/29/2008

A scene of devastation

Filed under: — stan @ 10:31 pm

So I was out at lunchtime, walking to the store to get some food for dinner. And I felt the ground move. At first, I thought it was a small earthquake, since it didn’t feel like much. But then I saw the big crane at the construction site on San Pasqual swaying. And I immediately turned around and headed back to the office.

When I got there, I realized that the quake was much larger than I’d thought. And I was greeted by this scene of chaos and devastation in my office. Oh the penguinity…

7/20/2008

Up Montecito

Filed under: — stan @ 6:25 pm

Today’s bike ride was Gene’s “Up Montecito” route. The name comes from the fact that we ride up the hill on Montecito Drive. We’ve ridden down that hill on the “Noodling 1” ride, but today we did it the other way. It was cool and overcast this morning, so it was just about perfect for riding.

We rode across Pasadena and down to Highland Park. We passed Chicken Boy on Figueroa. We crossed back over the arroyo, where we passed the giant dragonfly. Then we turned left and headed up the hill on Montecito.

The hill was nice. Not as steep as going the other direction. So we were able to maintain a pretty brisk pace all the way to the top. Then we headed down the steep side, where we saw some abandoned couches, which I collected for the Abandoned Couches Blog.

Heading north and east again, we crossed into South Pasadena, where Steve got a flat.

Continuing east, we went as far as El Monte. At that point, Susan and I turned off to head for home. We were going to go to the big tattoo show at the Fairplex this afternoon, so we wanted to get back a bit early.

It was a nice ride.

36 miles.
cycling

7/15/2008

It’s about time…

Filed under: — stan @ 6:34 am

The Los Angeles Times today reports that California is considering ‘pay as you drive’ car insurance.

I’ve long thought that this was a good idea. I’ve only driven about 1,000 miles a year for the last five years. I’ve even found cobwebs on my dashboard. Yet I’m still paying the same amount for insurance, regardless of how little I’m driving.

So bring it on. This sounds like a Good Thing.

7/14/2008

Toad away

Filed under: — stan @ 10:02 pm

Yesterday when I started my car, the oil pressure gauge went down to zero. Usually, this is a Bad Thing. So today I had the car towed to my favorite mechanic to check it out. From what I’d read, the possibilities were that either the oil pump was bad, or the sensor for the gauge was bad. I thought it was probably the gauge, since the engine wasn’t making ‘no oil’ noises, but I thought it prudent to get it checked out.

In the end, the verdict was that the gauge had gone flaky. So now I have to decide what, if anything, I want to do about that. But whatever it is, I hope to avoid having to buy a new car. My car is 18 years old and has 105,000 miles, but I just can’t afford to replace it.

7/13/2008

Balls!

Filed under: — stan @ 9:51 pm

Today’s bike ride was a variation on our usual Larchmont Village ride. The variation was a detour around the north side of Silver Lake reservoir to see the balls. I’d recently read that the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power had decided to cover Silver Lake reservoir with 3 million floating plastic balls. This is to shade the water from the sunlight and keep birds from landing. But I just thought that it was something that we had to see.

The ride down there was pretty routine. Then we took the route around the back side of the reservoir to look at the balls. Then we rode down to Silver Lake Blvd. That was where I saw the LA Doggie Style groomers.

In Hancock Park, I saw the truck with the sticker promoting Universal Celibacy Day.

When we got to Larchmont, we stopped at Noah’s Bagels for our usual bagels. Then we rode back through Hollywood to get back to the L.A. River. Then we rode up through Eagle Rock and back to Pasadena.

It was a nice ride, and we saw the balls.

39 miles.
cycling

7/12/2008

La Verne on another hot day

Filed under: — stan @ 4:50 pm

Today’s club ride was out to La Verne again. It wasn’t as hot today as the last time we went there, but it was still on the warm side for SoCal.

We had barely gotten started when I heard the unmistakable “PANG” of a spoke breaking. My back wheel went gimpy, and I had to stop to true it up enough to go on. I was able to get it pretty straight, even with the broken spoke. The spoke was on the non-gear side of the wheel, so I figured we’d look for a bike shop along the way to get a replacement.

After fixing my wheel, Susan and I set out to try and catch everyone. The big group we started with had fragmented, and we caught up with some of them right away. Then it was a long haul up Gladstone St with nobody from our group in sight. In San Dimas, we caught up to Charley. But we never did catch the front group. When we got to Coffeeberry, they were already there. They said they hadn’t been there for long, though. If the ride had been a bit longer, we might have caught them.

While we were sitting on the nice shade patio at Coffeeberry, Gene mentioned that the San Dimas Incycle was pretty close by. So we decided to alter the route to go back with a stop there so I could get a replacement spoke. We rode over there, and I got three new spokes. I figured that I’d replace the broken one right now. And if I had two spares, that probably meant that I wouldn’t break any more on the way home. So I put the new spoke on and trued the wheel up right there in front of the store. And then we headed out for home.

The way back was pretty uneventful. We took the route back through Santa Fe Dam and the nature center there. We’re having a small monsoon condition here the last few days, and the humidity is on the high side for L.A. And the San Gabriel River actually had water in it today. I think there must have been thunderstorms last night up in the mountains.

We stopped at Encanto Park in Duarte for water. Then we rode the last few miles home across Monrovia and Arcadia.

It was a pleasant ride, even with the broken spoke.

53 miles.
cycling

7/7/2008

The man in the Moon

Filed under: — stan @ 11:08 pm

On Monday night, Susan and I went to the Egyptian Theater and American Cinematheque in Hollywood for a screening of “The Space Movie“. This was part of the Mods and Rockers Film Festival. I’m not sure what the connection is there, but that’s no matter.

The film was put together in 1979 for the 10th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing. It was made up of film from NASA and was meant as a tribute to the achievements of the space program. While much of this film has been seen in other places over the years, the real draw was that Buzz Aldrin was going to be there to introduce the film and to talk a bit about his experiences. This means that I have now seen three of the twelve people who walked on the Moon, and also the only one who was also a guest star on “The Simpsons“.

I rode the train down to Susan’s office on Wilshire and we headed up to Hollywood from there. We had dinner at the Pig ‘n Whistle on Hollywood Boulevard, which was amusing. It’s a nice bit of Hollywood history, and it’s right next door to the Egyptian Theater.

After dinner we headed over to the movie. This was the first time I’d ever been inside the main auditorium of the Egyptian. It was impressive. The film was good, although a lot of it had been squashed down to TV resolution, which just doesn’t look all that good when it’s projected on a big screen. And sadly, Buzz Aldrin said that he doesn’t do autographs, so all of us who’d brought books, posters, etc to get signed were all disappointed. But he still had some funny stories to tell, so we had a good time.

7/6/2008

Art in the afternoon

Filed under: — stan @ 6:59 pm

This afternoon, Susan and I went to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Bank of America is having a promotion where having a BofA credit card is good for free admission there on the first weekend of the month.

We went to see the “Los Angelenos” exhibit. For some reason, the opportunity to see the art collection of Cheech Marin was just too good to pass up.

Afterward, we went to see the Contemporary Art building. That was interesting. We saw a lot of nice art, and some pieces by famous recent artists as well. I think the giant balloon animal was our favorite.

Before we left the park, we took a walk around the tar pits. As always, I’m amazed at plants that grow right in the middle of the tar.

A nice ride with (virtually) no hills

Filed under: — stan @ 12:18 pm

Today’s ride was the route I made up last May. The intention was to come up with a route with as few hills as possible.

We started out from Victory Park in Pasadena and headed east. The route goes all the way out to Glendora, and then makes a loop back through Covina to Irwindale. This includes a couple of nice roads that are just slightly downhill. Just enough that we can feel strong and ride fast.

Of course, I got the obligatory picture of Susan with a packet of Gu.

Our snack stop was at Planet Cookies in Monrovia. Then we headed home through Sierra Madre. This involved a little bit of uphill riding, but it was still a pretty flat ride. Our average was about 16mph, and we were home by 11:00.

43 miles.
cycling

7/4/2008

July 4th in South Pasadena

Filed under: — stan @ 10:02 pm

On Friday night, I took Lucinda and her friend to see the fireworks show in South Pasadena. We’ve been to this before, and it’s usually a pretty good show.

We got there and took our places on the artificial turf. That was a little weird. Sitting on fake grass that had fake dirt underneath it. The fake dirt was made of ground-up tires. So it was a totally un-natural experience. But it was soft and pretty comfortable. So I guess that’s just how it goes.

The show was good. They didn’t waste any time. As soon as it was dark, they started up. And right after the climax at the end, the lights came on, and everyone went home. No wasted time or motion.

It was a fun time.

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