Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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Metal fatigue strikes again

Filed under: — stan @ 9:00 pm

On my way to work this morning, I noticed the bike had picked up a new squeak. It was a very strange squeak. And when I got to the office, as I rode up the little uphill on the driveway, I heard a snap noise, and the bike felt weird. So I stopped to look. And I saw that the joint where the seat tube connects to the bottom bracket had broken. This is a Very Bad Thing. And it’s pretty much the end of the line for my old commuter bike. I’ve had the bike for 18 years, and been riding it to work daily for 14 years. So I figure I’ve gotten good use out of it.

At lunchtime, I rode home very carefully and got my car. Then, after work, I went to Performance Bike and had a look at what I could get that was suitable. I found a Fuji Absolute 2.0 that was a leftover from last year, so it had a clearance price. That was just the ticket. I took it for a test ride, and then brought it home. So I’m back in business for tomorrow.


40 years later…

Filed under: — stan @ 8:50 pm

This afternoon’s adventure was a trip to the Gay Pride Parade and Festival in West Hollywood. This summer marks 40 years since the Stonewall riots, which are regarded as having started the modern gay rights movement. One of my friends did the web site for Christopher Street West, so she had VIP passes for us, along with about a dozen others in her business partner’s entourage.

I was a perfect day for a parade. I got there a bit late, but still saw quite a bit of it. There was a bus with older gay people touting “Gray Pride”. There were also cheerleaders doing stunts. A fire engine was the float for Mickey’s, which recently reopened after a fire. Hence the “flaming gay bar” banner. There was also a big contingent from the Tom of Finland Foundation.

After the parade, we stopped in to Millions of Milkshakes before going in to the festival. There was the pervasive thump of dance music everywhere, and it was very crowded. We walked around the festival for a bit, and I even ran into a few people I know there. Then I had to leave early to get home to pick up Lucinda.

It was a very fun afternoon adventure.

Glendora for an easy ride

Filed under: — stan @ 8:28 pm

Today’s bike ride was out to Glendora for a snack stop in Old Town there. I picked this one because it’s a little on the short side, and I wanted to get back a little early today.

There wasn’t much remarkable about this ride. It was cool and overcast the whole way. But it was very pleasant.

36 miles.


Blueberry pie!

Filed under: — stan @ 7:56 pm

Today I saw that Vons had a special on fresh blueberries, and I was suddenly seized with the desire to make a blueberry pie. From scratch, of course. So at lunchtime I walked over and got some berries. Then when I got home, I looked up a recipe and got busy.

I made a basic pie crust from the Joy of Cooking. Then I made the filling and put it all together. It was actually pretty easy. Easier than the apple pies I’ve made before. And it smelled nice when it was baking.

Now it’s sitting in the laundry room cooling. I put it there because that’s the coolest room in the house tonight. I hope it will be cool enough to cut before bedtime.


Check out the view…

Filed under: — stan @ 11:42 pm

On Sunday evening, I had dinner with a friend in Marina Del Rey. We were up on the roof, where they have barbecues and tables. I’d never been on the roof of one of the high-rises there, and the view was pretty impressive. And dinner was good, too.

Seeing stars in Hollywood

Filed under: — stan @ 4:36 pm

Today’s bike ride was my route that goes up to the Hollywood sign and then down the other side into Burbank. It was a nice day for riding. Cool and overcast, with the sun promising to come out later.

Heading down Eagle Rock Blvd, Scott got a flat. He decided that he didn’t trust his spare tire for the rest of the ride, so he turned back then. Ben and I soldiered on, crossing the L.A. River into Silver Lake, and then across the Shakespeare Bridge into Hollywood.

Turning up Beachwood, the climbing started. Then we turned left and the hill got much steeper. By the time we got to the stop, we were seeing stars. We stopped for a few minutes below the sign to take in the view. Then we rode down the other side to Lake Hollywood. The reservoir level looked pretty low, so I guess that’s why the Department of Water and Power is saying there’s a water shortage.

To get to the road down into Burbank, we had to climb up from Lake Hollywood. This is the hill that I always forget about, until it’s time to ride up it. And then I remember. It’s actually harder than the climb up to the sign.

We stopped for a bagel at Priscilla’s in Toluca Lake before heading back by way of Glendale, Montrose, and Hospital Hill. Then it was (mostly) downhill all the way home. We stopped to look at the house that has the plastic cows on the front lawn. They’ve added a second calf to the herd.

It was a very nice ride.

44 miles.


I got a new mailbox!

Filed under: — stan @ 7:45 pm

Today I went down to Long Beach to the Queen Mary for the Ink ‘n’ Iron show. This just keeps getting bigger and bigger every year.

I got there earlier than I have the last few years, which made parking easier. I went inside and commenced wandering around. I saw a lot of familiar faces, and got to visit with old friends. And I even got a new mailbox. There was one booth that was selling mailboxes hand-painted with hot-rod flames. And he had a box-type one, so I just had to get it.

It was a very fun afternoon, even though I had to leave early to go home to pick up Lucinda. And nothing beats a new hot-rod mailbox.


The time had come…

Filed under: — stan @ 8:35 pm

Back in April, the reverse shift cable in my car broke. It turns out that my car is so old that the part is discontinued and is apparently impossible to find. Even the junkyards in Sun Valley didn’t have one. So it appeared to be time for a new car, for the first time since 1990.

Not wanting to spend a lot of money, I went used this time. Not wanting to deal with typical car salesmen, I went to Carmax. Very easy and simple. The only non-simple part of it was that the car I decided on was at their store in Buena Park, and couldn’t be transferred. So in the end, I had to figure out how to get myself down there to pick it up.

It turned out that Metrolink has a station in Buena Park, not far from the car place. So after work, I took the Gold Line downtown and got on the first Metrolink train going out that way. The Metrolink automated ticket machine was displaying a BSOD. So I had to buy my ticket at the regular window. It was an easy ride. Not very scenic, but pleasant. And when I got there, it was about a half-hour walk. And I bagged my car.

I’m turning 50 this fall. And I know that the stereotypical thing for men my age is to buy a sports car. But I’m embracing middle age. And what could be more middle-aged than a Chevrolet Impala? My mom had a ‘62 Impala when I was a kid. Somehow, when I was very young, I figured out that an impala was an animal, but I always envisioned it as something like a hippopotamus. A great blubbery wallowing beast. Because that was my mom’s car. The new models now are not quite such great lumbering beasts, but they still retain the ‘comfy living room on wheels’ feeling. And I think that’s just fine for my middle age.

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