Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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The ‘Relatively Flat’ ride

Filed under: — stan @ 8:35 pm

Today’s bike ride was the ‘Relatively Flat’ route. This was the first time we’ve done this route since last May. It was a bit colder today than it was back then, but it was still a nice day for riding.

Not much interesting happened along the way. This ride doesn’t go anywhere in particular. We passed the topiary teddy bears in Glendora, and that was about it for weird sights.

Our snack stop was at Merengue in Monrovia. I got an eclair there. It was good, but still not quite as good as the ones at Paradise Bakery in Glendale. But that’s all right.

It was a nice ride.

43 miles.


It’s egret time again!

Filed under: — stan @ 8:38 am

It’s winter, and that means it’s time for the egret to make its appearance at the ponds on the Caltech campus. The ponds are stocked with little mosquito fish, and apparently they make a nice fun-size egret snack.


More pinball!

Filed under: — stan @ 11:26 pm

About six months ago, I told Lucinda that when the divorce was finalized we would celebrate by buying another pinball machine. So when it was all done, I went on Ebay and started looking around. And I found this little diamond-in-the-rough. It’s a 1993 Data East “Last Action Hero” game. It was a promotional item for the movie that almost nobody remembers, but it features Arnold Schwarzenegger, aka “Der Governator”. When we turn the machine on, it says, “I’ll be back”. And the camp value of that just defies description.

So today, I rented a pickup truck and Lucinda and I went up to Pacoima to pick it up from the freight company that brought it here from New Jersey. We brought it home and unwrapped it. Then my friend Nick came over and helped carry it inside. We set it up and started playing. There were a couple of minor mechanical problems, but I fixed them, and we had a fun evening with it. It’s going to take us some time to fully understand the game and know how to play it well. But I think we’re going to have some fun with this.


A brief WTF moment…

Filed under: — stan @ 11:59 pm

On my way home from work today, I turned a corner and saw a small pile of snow around a light pole. Since as far as I know it hasn’t snowed around here since 1949, this was a strange sight. The last time I saw something like this was when they were filming a scene involving snow up the street from my house. But there was no sign of any filming, so it’s just a very small mystery.


A bit of Cold War history

Filed under: — stan @ 8:27 pm

Today’s bike ride was a sightseeing trip in to the Hollywood Hills to see the former Lookout Mountain Air Force Station. This was a small film studio run by the military during the Cold War. Since I like to collect Cold War memorabilia, this looked like an interesting piece of history.

It was chilly in the morning, but clear and sunny. There was snow on the mountains. It was the kind of day when they take postcard pictures.

We took the most direct route out there, riding straight down Hollywood Blvd, which is all right early in the morning. I collected a new entry for my collection of amusing signs. There was a crew filming something right in front of the Chinese Theater. Then we turned up Nichols Canyon for the ride up into the hills. That’s where we saw the teepee up on the hillside. That was strange. Coming down into Laurel Canyon, we passed by the former site of Houdini’s house. Then we headed up Lookout Mountain.

The ride up Wonderland Ave was a slog. Only moderately steep, but the hill seemed to go on forever. We passed the site of the 1981 Wonderland Murders, and then I saw a garage door with a fallout shelter sign above it. That was the back entrance to the former studio, which has been converted into a very large house. They had a fence around it, so we couldn’t see too much inside. Just a little peek over and through the fence. It looked like a 1940s-era military building. And it must make a very funky house.

We rode back down Wonderland and then up to Mulholland Dr. On the way, I saw a mailbox that looked like something straight out of We stopped at the Fryman Canyon overlook for water and to take a group picture. Then we headed back down Mulholland Drive. We took a shortcut down Woodrow Wilson Drive at the end, and that’s where we saw the tile house. That was very strange.

Our snack stop was at Priscilla’s. It was still chilly, but we sat in the sun and it was nice. Then we headed home by the most direct route possible, which meant riding up and over a fairly large hill in Glendale. We were all pretty tired from the slog up Wonderland Ave, but we made it. And yes, it was a nice ride.

48 miles.


Time for another new adventure

Filed under: — stan @ 1:22 pm

I signed up for the ‘Scale the Strat‘ stair climb up the Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas. When I did the U.S. Bank tower stair climb last fall, some of the other climbers told me about the Las Vegas event. They said it was fun, and I think it looks like it will be.

It’s a two-part event this time. The first round is on Saturday, with a ‘climb-off’ for the top 50 runners on Sunday. I was in the top 10% at both the U.S. Bank and the Aon Center stair climbs, so I think I have a decent chance of making the cut.

As always, it’s a fundraiser for the Lung Association. It’s a good cause, so if you can, please stop by and make a small donation to them. The page for that is here



La Tuna Canyon and some broken spokes

Filed under: — stan @ 7:32 pm

Today’s bike ride was the classic La Tuna Canyon route. Across Glendale and Burbank, and then up the four-mile hill. Very nice.

It was a chilly morning, but otherwise nice for riding. Right near the start, Pat broke a spoke in his front wheel. The wheel didn’t go too gimpy, so he just continued riding. Then I broke a spoke in my back wheel. The wheel went out of true, but fortunately, I carry spare spokes. And I’m pretty good at the Black Art of wheel truing. So after a few minutes’ stop, we were back on our way.

On the way across Burbank, we took a small side trip to see the backyard pirate ship. Then we took Glenoaks up so Sun Valley and turned off to climb up La Tuna Canyon. As always, it was a nice uphill slog. Just the way I like it.

Coming down the other side of the hill, we rode across Montrose and stopped at Goldstein’s Bagels. We saw a Tesla parked there. That’s something you don’t see every day. By then it was a pretty nice day. We sat in the sun and just enjoyed the pleasant weather. After all, it’s getting ready to rain soon.

It was a nice ride.

40 miles.


Glendale Vistas on a January day

Filed under: — stan @ 7:18 pm

Today’s bike ride was the “Glendale Vistas” route. This has some nice hills, and also a stop at Paradise Bakery in Glendale. I checked the calendar, and we hadn’t done this route for almost a year, so it was time.

It was a perfect day for riding. One of those achingly nice days we get in the winter here. We took a meandering route up through La Cañada and then all the way down Chevy Chase through lower Glendale. Then back up to Glenoaks and Paradise Bakery. One of the guys got the “Chocolate Mouse”. It had a little mouse made of icing on top of it.

When we were leaving the bakery, I noticed a small wire sticking out of my back tire. I tried to pull it out, but it broke off, leaving the rest of it embedded in the tire. The tire seemed not to be losing air, so I just let the proverbial sleeping dog lie.

We headed up into the hills. This ride has some steep ones, including the one where I broke my cassette two years ago. No such drama today, though. Just a nice view of downtown L.A. from the top.

The route home went through Montrose and up Hospital Hill. Then back home across Pasadena. And when I got home, I took a closer look at my tire. It turned out that the wire was just embedded in the wall of the tire, and never punctured all the way through. So I got some pliers and pulled it out. It was a nice ride.

40 miles.


Now what?

Filed under: — stan @ 1:09 pm

It’s my first full day post-divorce. I feel a bit like Prometheus unchained. I’m just sort of standing next to the rock, wondering how I’ll occupy my time now without the eagle coming down to eat my liver every day.


A new beginning…

Filed under: — stan @ 7:15 pm

This past Sunday marked two years since my odyssey through divorce hell began. At the start, I never dreamed it could take so long. But when one side is unreasonable these things happen.

Back in August, somebody finally decided to come to the table and negotiate in good faith. We talked, and in 45 minutes we had hammered out an agreement. Just for curiosity, I wanted to see how many minutes two years represents:

2 x 365 x 24 x 60 = 1,051,200

Over one million minutes. All to get to an agreement that took 45 minutes to make. Doing some more math shows that we spent 0.00428% of the time negotiating like adults. Sheesh.

But now the agreement is finished, and we’ve both signed it. And I just got word that it was signed by the judge today.

We are done.

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