Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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A visit to the Shrine of Aviation

Filed under: — stan @ 6:44 pm

This Sunday’s bike ride was to visit the Portal of the Folded Wings at Valhalla Cemetery in North Hollywood. It’s a monument to people who you’ve probably never heard of, but who played key roles in the early development of aviation. It was a nice day for riding.

We rode straight out across Eagle Rock and Glendale into Burbank. Then we took Victory Blvd to the cemetery. We spent a little time looking around before we headed out. On the way, we stopped to see Oliver Hardy and “Curly Joe” DeRita, who are also buried there. Then we headed south to our snack stop at Priscilla’s in Toluca Lake.

The route back took us down the L.A. River bike path, where we saw trees bent over from the rushing waters that filled the channel last week when we had some hard rain. Then we headed home by the standard route through Highland Park and South Pasadena.

It was a very pleasant ride.

44 miles.


Hot set up the street

Filed under: — stan @ 11:27 pm

The old hospital up the street from my house gets used a lot as a filming location. But it’s fairly rare that they film anything there outside the building. But they had the street posted for no parking tonight, which meant they were going to be filming on the street. So I took a walk up to see what they were doing. It was novel seeing the old hospital dressed up again as a hospital. It’s been closed for almost ten years now. They had a car on a platform set up with lights. The street was a little bit wet, which means they’d been filming something with the car driving on the street. I guess now they were going to film the close-ups of the actor inside the car. There was a tremendous amount of activity, but very little action, which is typical for these things. I gather it’s a pretty slow-moving business. But we all know that the end result looks good.


Filed under: — stan @ 8:44 am

Everybody makes mistakes. But in today’s obituaries, there’s a story to top all of them. Just be glad if none of your mistakes turn out to be like this one.


The Big Donut

Filed under: — stan @ 8:02 pm

Today’s bike ride was out to La Puente to see the Donut Hole drive-through donut shop. We’ve been out there before, but it’s always an entertaining sight. The weather was overcast and threatening to rain. Due to the street closures for the Pasadena Marathon today, we met at Memorial Park in Sierra Madre.

Riding east and south, it started to rain lightly. And then it started to rain harder. It got to be a pretty steady rain by the time we got to Las Tunas and took shelter under the overhanging roof of a 7-Eleven store. We waited there for about 20 minutes and the rain stopped. Looking at how the clouds were moving, it appeared that the rain was done with us for a while, so we continued on the ride.

When we got to the Donut Hole, we all got donuts and took a group photo. Then we continued on the route, making a loop around and ending up at Panera Bread in West Covina. We had some bagels and such. Then we rode back to the park. It was a pretty flat ride, and aside from the rain at the beginning, it was very pleasant.

43 miles.


Very precise

Filed under: — stan @ 5:46 pm

Tomorrow is the Pasadena Marathon, and they have signs up on all the streets that are going to be closed for the race. The signs on the street by my office all say that the road will be closed from 1:00AM to 9:05AM. I wonder what’s special about 9:05? And if I go up the street and around the corner, will they say 9:06?


Another icon of American culture

Filed under: — stan @ 1:39 pm

The inventor of the Easy-Bake oven has died. Read his story here.


Another day at Universal, with much less water

Filed under: — stan @ 8:55 pm

Since Lucinda and I had the Presidents’ Day holiday off today, we decided to go back to Universal again. They only sell tickets with the ‘buy a day and come back any time for a year’ thing, we figured we’d take them up on it. Since today was a nice sunny and warm day, we figured there would be more people than last time, but the upside to dealing with crowds was that we weren’t going to get soaked. So we gathered up Kymber and we all headed over there this morning.

When we got there, we immediately headed down to the lower lot, since the sign said that the lines for the rides down there were not very long yet. We rode Jurassic Park once, then the Mummy twice, and then back to Jurassic Park again. In between the first and second Mummy rides, I stopped at the snack bar and got a napkin to make some earplugs. And then I was much more comfortable. As I’ve mentioned before, riding a roller coaster with two ten-year-old girls can involve a lot of screaming. The first picture on Jurassic Park had me stoically holding my ears to block out all the screaming on the final drop.

We had lunch overlooking the end of the Jurassic Park ride, and then we went back up and saw the “Waterworld” show. After that, we did the obligatory tram tour. I got a chuckle from the Los Angeles Fire Department golf cart. We usually think of the fire department with lots of gear going very fast to put out fires. And the image of them puttering around in a golf cart was just a bit absurd.

After the tram tour finished, we went back down to the lower lot for the “Backdraft” show. And then one more time on the Mummy. By then, it was getting late. I figured we had time for one more ride, so Kymber and I got in line for Jurassic Park again. This time Lucinda didn’t want to go for some reason. So while we were waiting, I texted her and said that we were going to send her a message from inside the ride. I wrote up a short message:


and saved it in the ‘Drafts’ folder on my phone. Then, when the boat was just tipping over the edge of the final drop, I pulled out my phone and hit ‘Send’. The ride photo shows me holding my phone in the air as the boat plunged into the water at the bottom.

All around, it was a fun day, even if we did have to wait in line some. The rest of the pictures are in Lucinda’s photo album.


The scene of the crime

Filed under: — stan @ 5:19 pm

Last week, I saw that TMZ had posted the coroner’s report on Michael Jackson’s death. Right on the first page of the report, it gave the address of the house where he had been living, and like Phineas Flynn, my first thought was, “I know what we’re gonna do today.” I mapped out a route for the Sunday bike club ride.

We rode out by the most direct route possible, through South Pasadena and Highland Park, and the across the L.A. River and into Hollywood. We rode down Hollywood Blvd, which is always a bit of a weird place to be riding a bike. Then we cut south to Fountain Ave, where we saw the house with “STOP In the Name of Love” on the roof. Then we rode down part of the Sunset Strip and on into Beverly Hills. We made a short sightseeing stop at the tree where Lindsay Lohan crashed her car a few years ago. Then we stopped at the park where George Michael was arrested in 1998. Then we turned off Sunset Blvd and up the street to Michael Jackson’s house. The gate was covered in flowers and little printed tributes that people had posted online.

Leaving the scene of the crime, we passed what was one of the coolest mailboxes we’ve ever seen. Then we rode up Benedict Canyon and then down the other side into the Valley. We stopped for a snack at a little coffee shop in Studio City, right across from Vitellos, which is the restaurant where Robert Blake and his wife shared their last meal before she was murdered.

On the way home, we also stopped off at the Barris Kustom showroom to peek in the windows at the Batmobile and other cars on display there.

All in all, it was a fun little sightseeing ride.

56 miles.


Lions and boulders and mud – Oh my!

Filed under: — stan @ 8:07 pm

Today’s bike ride was the somewhat notorious “Mountain Lion Ride“. This is the one that goes way up the hill in La Crescenta, where they have signs warning that lions have been seen in the area. And because of that, we always try to maintain a brisk pace, which is difficult when going up a 20% grade. Also, we wanted to tour the mud and debris flows that had come down Ocean View Blvd in La Cañada yesterday.

It was chilly, but clear and sunny today. So it was pretty good for riding. We headed out, up into Altadena and then across to La Cañada. Then we started up the hills. When we got close to Ocean View Blvd, we started to see a lot of mud on the street, and occasional basketball-sized rocks. A lot of the houses had sandbags and K-rails in front of them. When we got to Ocean View, it was obvious that something had happened there. There was mud all around, even though a lot of it had already been cleaned up. There were trucks and earthmoving equipment heading up the hill, and there was a pile of random debris. Tree trunks and rocks piled up.

We headed down the hill and then took a shortcut across the wash on a pedestrian bridge. That brought us out in La Crescenta, where we started back up the hill. There wasn’t much mud there, but there were a lot of small rocks on the road, and it was still obvious that great quantities of water had been flowing down the streets yesterday. We rode all the way to the top of Pine Glen Road, which we refer to as “Mountain Lion Hill”, since that’s where they have the ‘Beware of lion’ sign. Then we came down Pine Cone Road, which ends at the Genofile house, which was the subject of one of the stories in John McPhee’s The Control of Nature.

From there, we rode west some more, into Tujunga. Then turned south, passing the Hobbit House and making a loop through the flat part of Tujunga. That was where I got a flat.

After fixing the flat, we rode down through Montrose and up Hospital Hill to Goldstein’s Bagels. We sat at a table in the sun, and it was very pleasant. Then we rode back to the park. It was a nice ride, although a bit more climbing than we usually do.

41 miles.


A (wet) day at Universal

Filed under: — stan @ 7:40 pm

Today was a random day off for Pasadena schools. For the past two years, Lucinda and I have made a tradition of going to Disneyland on these random days off. Since most other schools aren’t off, the parks tend not to be very crowded. But this time, our friend who works at Disneyland is off on family leave with his new baby, so he wasn’t available to let us in. So we decided to try something different and go to Universal Studios. I haven’t been there since 1996, and Lucinda has only been there once before. So we got her friend Kymber and the three of us went there today.

The school schedule dictated when we had to go, and the fact that it started raining today wasn’t going to stop us. It was cold and wet there, and we got pretty soaked walking around in the rain. But we still had a fun time. A lot of the rides are indoors anyway, so those gave us a chance to get in out of the rain for a bit. We rode the Simpsons ride twice, and eight times on the Mummy ride. In the afternoon, they opened the Jurassic Park ride, and we rode that one three times. Well, actually, Kymber and I rode it three times. Lucinda didn’t come the first time. But we dragged her along for the second time, and she decided she liked it enough that we all went around for a third time. This was the upside of the rain and cold. There were no lines for anything today. We just walked up and got on.

So even with the wet and cold, it was a fun day. The rest of the pictures are in Lucinda’s photo album.

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