Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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6/19/2009

Cirque Berzerk

Filed under: — stan @ 11:46 pm

cirque berserk
Friday night’s adventure was a trip to Cirque Berzerk at Los Angeles State Historic Park. The tent was set up in the middle of a dusty field, which seemed quite appropriate, since the Cirque grew out of an act at Burning Man some years ago.

The show itself was great fun. It sort of defies description, and about the closest I could come is to say that it’s sort of like a mash-up of “Cabaret” with a circus acrobatics show, performed by the Transylvanians from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”. They had a live band and singers on a high platform at one end of the stage. They made a big deal about some seats being better than others, but even the far back row was only about 50 feet from the stage. The tent just wasn’t all that big.

There was a small fenced-in area outside the tent with a bar and a stage. The sign said that drinks were not allowed outside the fenced area, but they had a fenced corridor to the tent, so people could bring drinks into the show. The show itself was about an hour and a half, with a 20-minute intermission. There was a band playing in the outdoor bar area after the first show. They said that cameras were not allowed in the show, but I saw a lot of people at least attempting to take pictures. It was pretty dark in the tent, so I doubt that the pictures would have been very good.

It was very weird, and tremendously entertaining. Certainly worth the trip.

6/18/2009

Disneyland to start the summer

Filed under: — stan @ 11:26 pm

It’s the day after the last day of school. What are you going to do?

I’m going to Disneyland!

I took Lucinda and her friend Claire to Disneyland today to start their summer vacation. We did the whole bit, starting with California Adventure, then lunch, and then the rest of the day at Disneyland. We were there for about eight hours, and we rode a lot of rides. And the girls had a good time.

At the end of the day, we were all tired. We had dinner at the Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney before heading home. It was a very nice day.

As always, all the pictures from the day are in Lucinda’s photo album.

6/14/2009

40 years later…

Filed under: — stan @ 8:50 pm

This afternoon’s adventure was a trip to the Gay Pride Parade and Festival in West Hollywood. This summer marks 40 years since the Stonewall riots, which are regarded as having started the modern gay rights movement. One of my friends did the web site for Christopher Street West, so she had VIP passes for us, along with about a dozen others in her business partner’s entourage.

I was a perfect day for a parade. I got there a bit late, but still saw quite a bit of it. There was a bus with older gay people touting “Gray Pride”. There were also cheerleaders doing stunts. A fire engine was the float for Mickey’s, which recently reopened after a fire. Hence the “flaming gay bar” banner. There was also a big contingent from the Tom of Finland Foundation.

After the parade, we stopped in to Millions of Milkshakes before going in to the festival. There was the pervasive thump of dance music everywhere, and it was very crowded. We walked around the festival for a bit, and I even ran into a few people I know there. Then I had to leave early to get home to pick up Lucinda.

It was a very fun afternoon adventure.

6/6/2009

I got a new mailbox!

Filed under: — stan @ 7:45 pm


Today I went down to Long Beach to the Queen Mary for the Ink ‘n’ Iron show. This just keeps getting bigger and bigger every year.

I got there earlier than I have the last few years, which made parking easier. I went inside and commenced wandering around. I saw a lot of familiar faces, and got to visit with old friends. And I even got a new mailbox. There was one booth that was selling mailboxes hand-painted with hot-rod flames. And he had a box-type one, so I just had to get it.

It was a very fun afternoon, even though I had to leave early to go home to pick up Lucinda. And nothing beats a new hot-rod mailbox.

5/25/2009

Echo Mountain

Filed under: — stan @ 10:53 pm

Today I took Lucinda and her friend Alisha hiking. We went up Echo Mountain above Altadena. This is a very nice local hike, about 2.7 miles each way, with nice views and some interesting ruins at the top. We’d last done this hike two years ago.

We started out from the top of Lake Ave and headed on up the trail. After a while, the girls started to complain about being tired, but I convinced them to soldier on. We stopped for lunch at the two-mile marker. When we got close to the top, Lucinda started running. And when we reached the top, they were both very happy to have made it.

We poked around the ruins of the Echo Mountain House, and the girls tried out the Echo Phone. They were very entertained by the echoes coming back across the canyon.

It was a fun afternoon adventure.

5/16/2009

Saturday Night Weird

Filed under: — stan @ 11:58 pm

On Saturday night, Shari and I went over to Hollywood. The occasion was a party and book signing at Antebellum Gallery for my friend Elayne’s new book, The Piercing Bible. I’ve known Elayne for more than 20 years now, and seeing her is always a treat.

The art on display at the gallery was an odd mix of old Bettie Page bondage pictures, clown paintings, and photos of amputees. And the crowd that turned out was equally entertaining. I saw a number of people who I hadn’t seen in many years. I also got to introduce Shari to my friends Nina Hartley and Ernest Greene. That was some fun.

It was a very fun evening. And as a piece of trivia: I’ve known Elayne since 1987, but she’s never actually stuck a needle through me. The one time I had an appointment to get pierced by her, she called in sick and so Jim Ward did it instead.

5/3/2009

More nerd fun

Filed under: — stan @ 11:45 pm

on mars
On Sunday afternoon, I went over to JPL to meet up with my friends Carol and Lee, and their friend Sarah. We wandered around and looked at the various displays. And we went to Mars for the obligatory 3-D picture. It was good nerd fun.

4/26/2009

A ‘fun’ ride

Filed under: — stan @ 6:36 pm

Today I did something different. It was the City of Angels Fun Ride. We’d seen this ride go by last year. The idea of riding with a rolling road closure was appealing, since it meant that we wouldn’t have to stop at all. So I thought I’d try it. I guess I was expecting a well-disciplined group that could ride smoothly together, which can be a lot of fun. When I got there, I saw Ben from the Sunday Morning ride group, so we rode together.

As it turned out, this was a sort of different usage of the word ‘fun’ with which I was previously unfamiliar. Because of the rolling road closure, they required that we ride in one large group. This was a lot like riding in a large racing peleton, but with mostly riders who do not know how to ride in a peleton. So the end result could more accurately be described as ‘harrowing’. We toured around the city, but really couldn’t do any sightseeing, since I didn’t dare look away for even a second. During the first part of the ride, I only saw one rider crash. This was pretty remarkable, considering all the bumping and bonehead moves that I saw going on in the group.

They had a rest and snack stop at the Ford Theater in Hollywood. I grabbed an orange and a few cookies. Then, when it was time to go, several more riders fell while pulling out of the parking lot. They hadn’t realized that the street was uphill, and they were in the wrong gears. Turkeys.

For some inexplicable reason, the police escort we had forced us to go really slowly into Griffith Park. We rode through the park, and then made one lap around it. At the end of the lap, we were about to leave the park and ride back to the finish. But they made us all stop. They said we had to wait 10 minutes for some reason that they really didn’t make clear at all. At this point, I’d had enough. I wasn’t enjoying it. So I unpinned my number from my jersey, pulled out of the line, and rode home.

The ride home was very nice and relaxing. Even having to deal with cars and traffic signals was much mellower than my experience riding in that group. So overall, it was not an especially nice ride.

77 miles.
cycling

4/25/2009

Nice dinner at Drago

Filed under: — stan @ 11:50 pm

For several years I’ve known Silvio from the Sunday morning bicycle club rides. About a year ago he mentioned that he manages Drago in Santa Monica, and he said I should come out some time for dinner. So tonight was the night.

We made an afternoon of is. Shari and I did some costume and jewelry shopping across Hollywood on the way out there. And when we got there, a table was ready and waiting for us. After looking at the menu, we decided to go for the prix fixe menu. Silvio said he would pick the wine for us. He selected and comped us a very nice bottle of Sicilian red wine that was very good, and went well with the filet mignon and lamb chops we had picked.

At the end, he brought us a special dessert sampler, which was all very good. Overall, it was a very fun little evening.

4/18/2009

Hey! I can see my house from up here!

Filed under: — stan @ 5:41 pm

A few weeks ago, I signed up for the Climb California stair climb up the AON tower in downtown Los Angeles. And yes, it turned out to be an interesting adventure.

Since doing this meant missing my regular bike ride, I decided to ride my bike there. Besides, I figured that would give me a good warm-up for the stairs. The guy who organized our group lives right across the street from the tower, and he said I could leave my bike at his place while we were climbing.

When I got downtown, I heard a savage yell, and I saw what looked like a group of Vikings in front of an ATM. They were being filmed for something or other. It almost never says what they’re filming.

When I got to Dan’s place, I changed while we waited for the rest of our group to arrive. Then we took a picture before starting out. Notice how we’re all smiling and ready. Then we headed across the street and took our places in line to start. When they said “go”, I just sort of trotted in the door and starting climbing the stairs. The actual flights were very short. Only about 8-10 steps each before a turn. I took the first 32 floors two steps at a time. But after that, I had to slow down a bit and go to single steps. Running up stairs is a lot like bike riding up hills, and it brought out my competitive side in the same way. I passed lots of people on the way up. Each time, after passing someone, I just focused on catching and passing the next person in front of me. Nobody passed me.

I took my picture Myspace-style at about floor 43. At that point, I could really ‘feel the burn’, and it was pretty grim, as you can see in the picture.

When I went around the last turn and saw sunlight in the stairwell, I knew I was there. I sprinted up the last flight and up onto the roof. Then I stopped and just stood there panting in the bright sunlight. After I stopped panting, I got my picture taken with Hollywood in the background.

Looking around at the commanding view from the roof, I said, “Hey! I can see my house from up here!

After all five of us made it to the top, we took an ‘after’ picture and then headed down the stairs to the 60th floor. This was a big open unfinished space. They had water and cut-up oranges. We just wandered around and looked at the views out the windows. Then we got in the elevator and rode back down to the ground.

When we got down, they were already posting the results. I was pleasantly stunned that my time of 12:50.49 was good for 23rd overall, and 20th among men. There were only four men my age or older ahead of me. I was very pleased. Especially since I’d prepared last night by sharing two bottles of wine with a friend and staying up until 2:00 so I looked and felt my best. I guess all that bike riding really is good exercise after all.

Afterward, we headed back across the street to Dan’s place. I had some chips and salsa before mounting up my bike for the ride home. My legs felt a little tired, but it wasn’t bad at all. So overall, I give this adventure an “A”.

29 miles by bike, 62 stories by stairs.

Update 4/20/2009: I found the final results online, and it looks like one later climber beat my time. D’oh! So I was actually 24th overall out of 327 finishers. I was 21st among the men, and 7th in the men’s 40-49 group. Still, I don’t think that’s half bad.

Full results are here: http://events.bazumedia.com/event/CCA2009

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