Stan’s Obligatory Blog

Page 1 of 212»


Last post of 2011

Filed under: — stan @ 10:36 pm

So here we are at the end of the year again. It’s been a fun year, so we decided to return to the place where we began it last year. Takami in downtown Los Angeles. This is a very nice Japanese fusion-culinary-mashup place on the 21st floor of 811 Wilshire Blvd. Right across the street from the Aon building. Our table was on the semi-enclosed patio, so we had a great view of downtown, and since there was a radiant heater above our table, we weren’t cold.

We ordered a whole bunch of different things off the appetizer and robata menus. Everything was very good, and we finished with the semi-molten chocolate cake. It was all good, and we had a good time.

LOLcats 2011

Filed under: — stan @ 5:17 pm

I already posted my serious year-in-review, so now it’s time for the silly one. This is the story of my 2011, as told in pictures from


It’s a Wonderful Ride

Filed under: — stan @ 1:12 pm

It’s Christmas Day, and it’s also Sunday, so that means it’s time to go for a bike ride. And I came up with a theme-ride for today. We rode to Forest Lawn in Glendale to visit Jimmy Stewart, who is perhaps best known for playing George Bailey in the 1946 film “It’s a Wonderful Life“. And from there, we rode to La Cañada to see the house that was used in the film to portray the Martini family house in Bailey Park. This was part of showing George all the good he’d done in the world, since the Martini’s were able to buy this nice house with help from the Bailey Building and Loan.

It was a bit chilly when we started out, but it promised to get warm soon. We rode out across Eagle Rock and then south through Glendale to Forest Lawn. I asked for directions at the gate, and then we headed in. Jimmy Stewart is buried near the Wee Kirk ‘O the Heather church, which is up on a pretty steep hill. But we made it up there, and we got to pay our respects. And we also talked a bit about how it was kind of funny that the movie itself was originally considered a commercial failure, but after it fell out of copyright in the 1970s and was shown a lot on television, it came to be regarded as a classic.

Leaving Forest Lawn, we headed up to Paradise Bakery. After a stop there, we rode up the long hill to Montrose, and then up the somewhat steeper Hospital Hill into La Cañada. There, we saw the La Cañada Rose Parade float parked under the 210 freeway, and then we saw the Martini home. And after that, we headed home by way of Altadena.

It was a wonderful ride.

37 miles.


Lafayette Square

Filed under: — stan @ 5:47 pm

One blog that I’ve recently taken to reading regularly is Last week I was reading a post where she talked about the historic neighborhood she lives in. From what she said, I gathered that it was in Los Angeles, and somewhere in the West Adams area. I wrote to her to ask about it, and she pointed me to information about Lafayette Square. It’s a little pocket of old mansions right smack in the middle of mid-city L.A., not far from downtown. And of course, I immediately started thinking about riding there to see it.

I made up a route to test out, and Carla agreed to join me for the ride. We headed downtown by way of Huntington Drive. Along the way, I was amused to see that there’s a street called Supreme Court. And I’m sure there’s no significance to the fact that it had a sign that said “NOT A THROUGH STREET”.

We rode through downtown, partly along the new green-painted bike lane down Spring St. I’m not sure what I think of this, but it was an interesting sight.

Riding out on Adams, we turned north just west of Crenshaw and found our way into Lafayette Square by the back way. Most of the streets in and out of the neighborhood are gated or otherwise closed to cars, but we were able to get through on our bikes. And once we got inside, we were bowled over. The houses are grand. Most are well-kept, and the whole neighborhood just looks and feels like something that one would not expect to find in Los Angeles, especially in this area west of downtown. It was nice. We rode around a bit and looked at the houses. Then we headed out the way we came in and headed for home.

We passed the former House of Davids, just to see what it looked like now. All the Davids were gone, but it looks like the house is still for sale. After that, we stopped for a bagel at Noah’s on Larchmont. Then we rode over to Silver Lake and headed up Benton Way. From there, we rode home by way of Eagle Rock Blvd and up the Colorado Hill.

It was a nice ride, and I think we will be doing this route again with the Sunday morning group soon.

44 miles.


End of the year wrap-up

Filed under: — stan @ 6:50 am

It’s that time of the year. Time to go back and see what we’ve been up to all year. And then cram it all down to one side of one sheet of paper.


Another inventor who changed the world

Filed under: — stan @ 9:33 pm

Since the last Sunday of this month is Christmas, I decided that we should move the monthly ‘longer ride’ back a week. So this week, we rode to the San Fernando Mission cemetery to visit the graves of Lee de Forest and Chuck Connors. Lee de Forest was the inventor of the Audion Tube, which was a precursor to vacuum tubes, which made modern electronics possible.

The route was pretty simple. We rode across Eagle Rock to Glendale. Then we got on Glenoaks Blvd and just rode north for many, many miles. That’s where we saw the giant Mario walking down the street, which was suitably weird.

When we got to the cemetery, we found Lee de Forest and Chuck Connors. Most of us knew Chuck Connors for his role in “The Rifleman” on TV, but we didn’t know that he had also been a professional athlete, playing both baseball and basketball. That’s a pretty good range of skills.

The ride back was nice, aside from my getting a flat in Sun Valley. We rode up La Tuna Canyon coming home, and that’s always fun. Our snack stop was at Goldstein’s Bagels in La Cañada. They were playing Christmas music there, which I thought was a bit odd.

All told, it was a nice ride.

56 miles.

Times are tough, apparently

Filed under: — stan @ 4:38 pm

I went out to the back yard to pick some more tangerines off my two trees, and I found about half of the remaining tangerines had been eaten by something. It was kind of surreal, seeing all the hollowed-out tangerine peels still hanging from the tree. I’m guessing it’s still more of the fallout from the big windstorm we had.


The Wettest Place on Earth

Filed under: — stan @ 10:29 pm

Kathleen and I took a trip to Disneyland today. We’d planned this a couple weeks in advance. What are the odds it’s going to rain? Note that that statement is a close cousin to “How hard could it be?”, like I say before all my stair climbs. So today it rained. Not the hardest rain we’ve seen around here, but enough that it was very wet, and it was quite cold by SoCal standards.

On the other hand, this meant that there weren’t that many people there. So the uncomfortable cold and wet was offset by the lack of lines. It was a lot like the very wet day we spent at Universal a last year. Note the picture of the queue for California Screamin’. I’ve never seen it that empty before. We were able to just walk up and get on. And I did just that. Seven times. On one of them, the sky opened up and it started raining hard right in the middle of the ride. Getting hit in the face with raindrops when you’re going 60mph on a roller coaster is a uniquely unpleasant experience.

One of the good aspects of Disneyland is that there are a lot of indoor rides. We rode Space Mountain four times, and the longest wait was about 15 minutes. So that wasn’t bad at all. Even the line for the newly-revamped Star Tours was only about 20 minutes. Kathleen even got me to go to the Tiki Room. She said it was something that fascinated her as child, and I could see why. Although I found the singing flowers to be a bit nightmarish.

We finished the day off with our traditional dinner at the Jazz Kitchen. It was a day of tradeoffs, but all around, it was fun.


Sally Rand

Filed under: — stan @ 2:51 pm

This week, I happened on the featured grave of the week at It was Sally Rand, former silent movie star and burlesque performer who is famous for her fan dance. It said she is buried in the cemetery in Glendora, so I knew where we were going this Sunday.

It was kind of chilly, but not a bad day for riding. We had a small group, but that’s pretty normal when it gets colder. We headed out to the east. We saw a lot of storm damage in Arcadia, and a little in Monrovia. In Azusa, we saw one sign blown over, but that was the end of it.

In Glendora, we stopped at Classic Coffee. We were just sitting down when Carla rolled up. She had been about 5 minutes late to the start, and she’d been chasing us all the way there. We had coffee and snacks, all the time wishing that our table was about 10 feet west and out of the shade of the building.

Continuing on, we came to Oakdale Memorial Park. Apparently, they don’t get a lot of tourist traffic there. I had to go into the office and they had to look up where Sally is buried. It took them a few minutes to find, but I came out with a little map marked to tell us how to get there. So now I have yet another entry for my graves gallery. We had neglected to bring fans, so Carla made do with the map and two route slips to demonstrate the basics of the fan dance.

Our sightseeing mission accomplished, we headed home. It was a nice ride.

42 miles.


I had a couple of hours free…

Filed under: — stan @ 4:31 pm

It turned into a very nice day today, and I had a few hours free, so I went riding.

I’d seen the yard-Grinch in Arcadia before, but he’s always appropriate around this time of year.

There wasn’t any parade today, and no marching bands chanting about wanting fried chicken.

Ever since the storm, crews have been going around cutting up and carting away the fallen trees. I’d wondered briefly what they were doing with all that stuff, and when I rode by the Rose Bowl I found out. They had a tremendous pile of sticks and leaves and branches. There was a front-end loader scooping up batches of stuff and dropping it into the hopper of an enormous grinder. This was followed by BIG NOISE, and then ground-up stuff came spewing out the other side. There were a lot of pine and eucalyptus trees damaged in the storm, so the ground-up stuff smelled pretty good.

I saw they had part of the road closed for filming near JPL. It’s on the part of the road where it’s like a little freeway for about 1/2 mile. The guy at the barricades said they were filming a commercial.

The wallabies weren’t out today. But I did see the remains of the biggest fallen tree I’ve seen from the storm last week.

30 miles.

Page 1 of 212»

Powered by WordPress