Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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Molly Ivins *Can* Say That

Filed under: — stan @ 11:38 pm

Tonight, Kathleen and I went to Westwood to see “Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins“. This is a one-woman show, with Kathleen Turner playing the part of the late Molly Ivins, talking about her life and experiences. I was familiar with Molly Ivins from my time in Texas. There are, in fact, liberals in Texas. They’re not plentiful, but they do exist. And Molly Ivins gave voice to them. She was very witty, and was something of a national treasure to the liberals, while the others still respected her, since she was a Texan, and you don’t talk ill about your family. So overall, she was an oddity, but an oddity who is sorely missed now that she’s gone. And Kathleen Turner did a very good job bringing her back to life on stage. This was a great show.


Pulp Shakespeare

Filed under: — stan @ 11:19 pm

Last week, I saw a review of “Pulp Shakespeare“. This is a play that is a ‘re-imagining’ of “Pulp Fiction“, if it had been written by William Shakespeare. It had been years since I’d seen “Pulp Fiction”, but this sounded amusing. And since we’d seen “Hamlet” and “The Merry Wives of Windsor” last summer, we were relatively ‘up’ on our Shakespeare. So I got tickets, and we sat down and watched the movie again before going. And yes, it was truly hilarious. All the dialogue had been reworked into faux-Shakespeare, and they worked in a lot of well-known Shakespeare quotes in the mix. But the story and characters were pure “Pulp Fiction”. They even adapted the music, so the show had a lot of the same music, but reworked into an appropriate style to maintain the 16th-Century Elizabethan feeling.

All told, it was a great show, and I recommend it highly. We may have to go back again before it closes.


Living in a Modern Way

Filed under: — stan @ 7:40 pm

Since today is a holiday, Kathleen and I went over to LACMA to see “California Design, 1930–1965: Living in a Modern Way“. We’d seen a little bit of this last fall when we saw the Tim Burton exhibit, and we’d been meaning to come back to see it.

We went there a bit early, just on general principles, and that turned out to be a good thing. Today was a Target Free Holiday Monday, so the museum was free, and it was packed. Still, we had a good time looking at all the odd objects in the exhibit, from the Airstream trailer that looked like an aluminum lucha libre mask, to a 1938 digital clock. We also saw a propaganda poster that looks just like things we see today, an original 1959 Barbie doll, and a video with Walt Disney demonstrating how a nuclear bomb works with mouse traps and ping-pong balls. It was a weird assemblage of stuff.

After that, we wandered around the rest of the museum. We went looking for Magritte, since I like surrealism. We also saw the big “Metropolis II” installation. That had little cars and trains zooming around the giant model city. It was kind of hypnotizing to watch, although it was kind of loud.

It was a fun afternoon.


Here we go again…

Filed under: — stan @ 10:00 pm

I told Lucinda we could go to Disneyland once before school starts up again next week, so today was the day. There were five of us this time. Myself and Kathleen, Lucinda, and Kathleen’s daughters, Trinh and Melissa. As you might expect, once we got to Disneyland, Kathleen and I were on our own, and only saw the girls a couple of times in passing throughout the day.

Our day was fun. It was a bit on the crowded side by our standards, but we still managed to ride Space Mountain twice, Thunder Mountain four times, Matterhorn twice, and over at California Adventure, we rode California Screamin’ twice together, and I did it three more times in the single-rider line. Which brings my total up to something like 86 rides on that roller coaster. Nope, I still don’t believe it either.

At one point, California Screamin’ broke down, and we got to watch them evacuate the train from the top of the big hill. I’m glad we weren’t on it then. I don’t mind riding the train down that hill, but I think walking down it on the steps would give me the willies.

At the end of the day, we met up with the girls, and we went for our usual dinner at the Jazz Kitchen. From the sound of it, they managed to do a lot today, too. So overall, the day was a success.



Filed under: — stan @ 9:14 pm

Since we’d spent the morning going to see the horses, afterward, we took a walk over to see the floats. They park them down the street from my house, and they’re on display for the afternoon after the parade, and the next day. Since that generates a lot of traffic, the parade people give everyone in my neighborhood free tickets to go see them.

One of the floats had a little replica of Mt Rushmore, complete with Washington, Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, and Elvis. Hmm. That doesn’t sound right…

The RFD-TV float had Trigger and Bullet prominently displayed. The Paramount Pictures float had the classic USS Enterprise. And we got to see the La Cañada float with the flying pigs that we saw on last Sunday’s bike ride. And finally, we got to see the big Natural Balance Pet Foods float with the wave tank and the surfing dogs.

It made for an amusing afternoon.

The Rose Parade

Filed under: — stan @ 9:06 pm

So today was the Rose Parade. Which means we’re on virtual lockdown here.

We began the day by going outside at 8:00 to watch the B-2 fly over the parade route. That marks the beginning of the parade. Since we’re at the end of the route, the actual parade doesn’t get here until about two hours later.

When 10:00 rolled around, we took a walk out and around the neighborhood. The horses in the parade all end up here, and they bring the horse trailers here to pick them up. So we got to see the little miniature horses, the Wells Fargo wagons, and several cowgirl groups. And of course, the cleanup people with their shovels and rolling trash cans. I even saw one horse with an on/off switch. Wonders never cease.


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.


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.


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.


Did I ever mention that this sport is insane?

Filed under: — stan @ 7:38 pm

It’s December, and time for the second edition of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Climb for Life. This is yet another charity skyscraper stair climb. And of course, I had to be there, along with Kathleen, Lucinda, and all our stair climbing friends.

The venue was the Wilshire-Figueroa building in downtown Los Angeles. It’s only a 53-story building, which is rather modest by our standards, but it’s still hard enough to climb. So far this year, I’d been going slightly faster in practice runs than last year, so I was going in to this with (relatively) high hopes.

At last year’s event, They didn’t have a photographer in the stairwell to capture the pain and suffering, so I’d talked to Chanda from CFF about this, and she said I could arrange for something. I put out a call on the Light Chasers photography mailing list, asking if there was anyone who wanted to try their hand at this. In the end, three guys showed up. One took pictures around the start and in the lobby of the building, one was on the 21st floor landing, and one was on the big landing at 49, right below the finish line on 51. I figured that that would make for good pictures.

When it was time to go, I made sure to go to the back of the line of the ‘elite’ climbers. I wanted some people to pass, since that helps me to get motivated. Usually, when I finish a climb like this, I have no memory of the people taking pictures, but this time I was actually aware of them, since I’d arranged for them to be there, and I knew where they would be. At 21, I remember Norman leaning in to take a picture as I went by, and I remember thinking it was odd that he was shooting with just the dim ambient light in the stairwell. At 49, I saw the flash of Luther’s camera, but I don’t recall seeing him as I went by.

I managed to put on something of a final sprint from 49 to 51, and I stumbled out of the stairs with a time of 8:33. This was all right. It was a full 9 seconds faster than my race time last year, and it was essentially equivalent to my best practice time this year. I waited on 51 until Lucinda came out, and then I waited a bit more until Kathleen got there.

When we got back down, they were posting the results. They updated them several times as more people finished, and in the end it was time for the awards. My 8:33 was good for 11th overall out of 180 runners, and I was 3rd in the 50-59 age group. Lucinda’s time of 15:14 was good for 3rd in the 19 and under group.

After everything wrapped up, we joined the whole West Coast Labels stair climbing group for lunch at Bottega Louie.

It was a fun time.

The pictures from the 21st floor are here:
The photos on the 49th floor are here:

And the full race results are here

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