Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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Monday evening on my bike

Filed under: — stan @ 9:41 pm

On Monday, I had a rare free evening, so I went riding. I did my usual route down to South Pasadena, up the hill to the water tower, and then down to the Rose Bowl. I rode around the Bowl a few times. Along the way, I saw an attractive young girl with some major tattoos running there. That’s a sight that always brightens up my day. I also met a guy who had more stickers on his bike than I do. After a few times around, I headed home by my usual route through Altadena. It was a very pleasant way to spend the evening.

30 miles.


Cirque Berzerk again

Filed under: — stan @ 11:51 pm

cirque berserk
Last month, I went to see Cirque Berzerk. I liked it a lot, and I told Lucinda about it. And after hearing about it, she wanted to see it. Since the show had been extended into August, we had a chance, and we went tonight.

She thought that the crowd was pretty amusing. A lot like the crowds she’s seen when she went to tattoo conventions with me. And the show was great fun. She said that her favorite was the trampoline act, but that she liked all the acrobatics. It was a fun little evening, even if it did make for kind of a late night for us.

Mt Washington on a Sunday morning

Filed under: — stan @ 11:14 pm

Today’s bike club ride was an old favorite. The Mt Washington route that goes through La Cañada and down into northeast Los Angeles. Then home by way of South Pasadena. It was a typical summer day. Cool in the morning, but it got hot later on.

Tommy joined us today for the first time in a long while. So I got to chat with him and tell about all my adventures of the past year and a half, from the sublime to the ridiculous. It was fun to get caught up.

We rode up past the Self Realization Fellowship on Mt. Washington, and then down the other side and into South Pasadena. We stopped at Kaldi’s for a bagel and juice. Then we took the slightly roundabout route home in order to plump the ride up to the normal 40-mile distance. It was a very fun little ride.

40 miles.


Bring on the guinea pigs!

Filed under: — stan @ 5:24 pm

On Saturday afternoon, I took Lucinda and her friend to see “G-Force” at the El Capitan in Hollywood. We’ve been seeing previews for this movie for a while, and they were pretty excited to see it. The tickets for the El Capitan were a bit more than at the regular theater, but they included a visit to the “G-Force Experience” attraction across the street. This made it more than worth the extra price for the tickets. The movie was very entertaining, even if I just couldn’t shake the idea that Agent Darwin looked just like a slightly furrier John McCain.

The “G-Force Experience” included life-sized games for the kids to play, set dressings from the movie, an obstacle course for the kids (and parents) to run through, and a show. It was great fun, and we had a very nice afternoon there.


The Miracle Worker

Filed under: — stan @ 7:14 am

In today’s obituaries, John Barry has died. He was the CEO of the WD-40 company. Back some 30-mumble years ago, I used to work summers in a bicycle shop. And WD-40 was what I used daily on every stuck bolt or rusted chain that came my way. It worked miracles, and I’ve long been a big believer in it.

Barry’s business genius during three decades at the company was in emphasizing brand loyalty for a lubricant that fights rust and eliminates squeaks. He preached the value of staying focused on your product and your market, and not being distracted.

“He had a saying: ‘Don’t be like a blind dog in a meat house,’ ” said Garry O. Ridge, WD-40 Co.’s current president and chief executive officer.

Once again, let’s take a moment to recognize those who have done something to change the world and make it a better place.



Filed under: — stan @ 10:16 pm

The short version of my story from this past weekend:

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

“And you may say to yourself, My God! What have I done?”

Filed under: — stan @ 10:08 pm

And you may ask yourself
What is that beautiful house?
And you may ask yourself
Where does that highway go to?
And you may ask yourself
Am I right? Am I wrong?
And you may say to yourself
My God! What have I done?

Everyone who knows me remembers that I spent quite literally years ranting about how much I hated living in Texas. So it comes as a great surprise, and I think it very deeply weird to find that the 1,476 days I spent living there have turned out to be the single best thing that ever happened to me. So this weekend, I made what amounted to a spiritual pilgrimage back to Austin for the 16th anniversary party for the social club I started* when I was living there. It’s my association with that group and my notoriety for starting it that came back into my life last year and turned everything around. Amid all the sturm und drang of the divorce, it made me a minor celebrity in some circles, and it led to many, many good things happening in my life. Hence the pilgrimage.

I flew out on JetBlue just like last year, and it was a very pleasant trip. Leslie was planning on accompanying me, but her father had a stroke just a few days before the trip, so she had to cancel. There was an empty seat next to me on the flights both ways. But even though I was traveling alone, I still had a good time.

When I got to Austin, I could feel the heat through the airplane window. I’d heard that it had been exceptionally hot and dry there recently, and it was over 100 degrees when I arrived. My friend Paul came to the airport to pick me up, and we went to the hotel where the event was being held. After getting installed in the hotel, we headed down to Pok-E-Jo’s BBQ for dinner. I’d announced a “Founders’ Dinner” for Friday night. This was not an official part of the event, but I thought it would be nice to see some of the ‘old-timers’ to start things off. Only about three people said that they were coming, so I thought it was going to be a small turnout, but when we got there, there was a long table full of people. I got my usual brisket sandwich and fried okra. And all was right with the world.

The official start of the event was a social and mixer held at the Chain Drive, which is the local gay leather bar near downtown Austin. There was a good crowd there, which was nice. The place also had a broken air conditioner, which was not so nice. July in Texas is a very bad time to have the AC break down. Still, it was a very fun time. I got my official event registration packet, T-shirt, and a new pin for my vest. I saw lots of old friends, and made several new ones. It was good fun.

Saturday was the main event. The hotel monitors showed the day’s events, which included four rooms with seminars that ran from 10:00AM to 5:00PM, a vendors area in the ballroom, and a buffet luncheon. At the luncheon, I got to get up and speak to the group for a few minutes. I told them about how seeing the event they’d put on made me feel like George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life”. It’s just so good to see something I created doing well and doing good things for the community. Then I introduced the keynote speaker, who is an old friend, and he gave a very entertaining and interesting talk.

At the end of the afternoon events, they tallied the results of the silent auction. I bid on and won a couple of items, including a mummified alligator claw on a stick. I have no idea what to use it for, if anything. I just thought it was so deliciously weird that I had to bid on it.

The main event Saturday night was a party, held at an old-style Texas dance hall out in the country. On the way out there, we went to the dinner for the presenters and other VIPs at the Catfish Parlour. Fried food all the way. Then it was out to the party. I didn’t plan on doing anything at the party, aside from just milling about schmoozing and holding court. I saw even more old friends from many years ago, and it was just great seeing everyone enjoying themselves there.

On Sunday morning, I had breakfast with my old college friend Mike. We traded stories of our adventures since last year. His included trips to San Francisco, New York, and London. Apparently his bicycle shop had a very good year last year. Something to do with gas being $4 a gallon or some such. Go figure.

Sunday’s event was a picnic at Recreation Plantation out in the country, near Dripping Springs. The directions to get there included going several miles down some very narrow country roads before turning off onto a dirt driveway that turned out to be over a mile long. To say it was secluded just doesn’t do it justice. It was in a little hollow by a creek, surrounded by low limestone hills. Sounds we made there would echo off the hills, which was actually a nice effect. Fortunately, the heat wave sort of broke on Sunday, so it was not too brutally hot. Also, they had a pool there, so I spent the latter part of the afternoon in the water. It was a very nice time.

After the picnic, I bummed a ride back to town to my friend Leona’s house. I had dinner there and told Leona and John about the adventures of the weekend and the past year.

I stayed over Sunday night in order to not have to leave the picnic early on Sunday, and also to have time to visit with my friend Stu on Monday. He picked me up at the hotel and we went to the Yellow Rose. Austin has the best topless bars I’ve seen anywhere, and I learned a lot about how that business works back in 1992-93 when Cathy worked there. So I like to go back there whenever I get the chance.

After Stu dropped me off at the airport, I got some food to take on the plane, as well as a souvenir for Lucinda. Walking around the airport and seeing all the Texas tchotchkes in the gift shops, I saw lots of things for Keep Austin Weird. I like to think that I’ve done my part in that. I felt so incredibly fortunate to have had the experience of being there and contributing to the community.

Overall, it was a Most Excellent Weekend.

* I could have made a link to it here, but I’m not going to, since it’s sort of NSFW. If you really want to find it, it’s not hard. The Google is your friend.


Evening bike ride redux

Filed under: — stan @ 9:55 pm

I had another free evening today. And since I’m not going to be able to ride this coming weekend due to taking a trip out of town, I went for a ride now, since I had the chance. I rode down to South Pasadena and then up to the water tower on top of the big hill. Then up to the Rose Bowl. Noodled around the Bowl a few times before heading home by way of Altadena. It was a nice little evening ride.

36 miles.


Hills ‘n’ Heat

Filed under: — stan @ 9:36 pm

Today’s bike club ride was the “Glendale Hills” route. This one goes up and over through La Cañada into Glendale, up into the Verdugo Hills, and then down into Burbank. The snack stop was at Paradise Bakery in Glendale, and the route home was back up and over Chevy Chase and Lida into Pasadena. It was a nice day, albeit a bit on the hot side.

We started out from the park and headed up Altadena Dr to the top, riding across Altadena and then past JPL into La Cañada. Then up the hill into Glendale, where we got a nice view of downtown Los Angeles that showed a low inversion layer trapping the smog at about the 1,500 foot level. Then we went down the somewhat terrifying Mountain St. Crossing Verdugo Blvd, we headed up the other side into the Verdugo Hills. That was where we saw the coyote trotting around on the suburban streets. We rode up and down along the south side of the hills before dropping down and riding into Burbank. We took a quick vote about taking a small detour to see the pirate ship in Burbank. The “Arrr”s won, and we took a short side trip up Angeleo St to see the backyard pirate ship. Then we continued on to Paradise Bakery, where we got eclairs and Gatorade.

The trip back was fairly direct, with just the Chevy Chase/Linda Vista/Lida hill in the way. Then we rode past the Rose Bowl and back to Orange Grove. Then we rode back to the park. Don’s fancy bike computer said that we’d done a total of 3,400 feet of climbing, which is not bad for a ride that didn’t go up into any real mountains.

It was a nice ride.

40 miles.


This brought back memories

Filed under: — stan @ 9:44 pm

Today I had a rare free evening. No kid, no activities planned, no date, just free time. So I went for a bike ride. I rode down through San Marino and South Pasadena. I rode up the hill on Via Del Rey to pass the South Pasadena water tower. Then I headed up Arroyo to the Rose Bowl. I’d planned on just riding once around it and then heading up Lida St, but when I got there, the pack ride was just beginning. They were going slow, so I thought I’d just tag along while they did their warm-up. But like a frog in a pot of water, I didn’t even notice that the speed was ramping up. Until we were going 30mph. It was fun, and it brought back memories from 30 years ago when I was a Category 2 racer, and riding in huge racing packs was just a normal thing in my life.

I stayed with the pack for one full lap. Then I decided I’d had enough, and I didn’t want to push my luck. After all, the last time I did the pack ride, I got knocked down by a novice rider and ended up spending the night in the hospital with broken ribs and a collapsed lung. So one lap was enough. I dropped off the back and just rode at a leisurely pace. And then I found Michael, who used to do the regular Sunday club ride a few years ago. So we rode around several more laps while talking and generally catching up on things. Then I turned off and headed home by way of Altadena. By then, the shadows were getting long, and I was getting hungry. It was a very nice little evening ride.

36 miles.

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