Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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4/5/2009

A nice ride out of town

Filed under: — stan @ 7:31 pm

For a year now, Susan has been telling about the rides she used to do with the Channel Islands Bicycle Club when she would visit Ventura. So this weekend, we headed up there for an overnight micro-vacation complete with a bike ride on Sunday morning.

The ride started at the park next-door to the hotel, which was very convenient. It was relatively warm for 8:00AM. The ride went up to Ojai and back, including a gratuitous climb up the Dennison Grade on Highway 150.

We started out on the Ventura River bike trail, which paralleled the 33 Freeway. We rode through some oil fields on the way out of town, but we were out in the country very quickly. We went up past Lake Casitas, which had some very nice views from the road. Then it was down into Ojai. That was where I saw the Muffler Horse. I’ve seen Muffler Men before, but never a horse.

A bit later, we saw a house with the front yard turned into a large found-object art project. That was pretty amusing.

Then it was time for the gratuitous climb. It was a pretty nice uphill, with a nice viewpoint near the top, complete with a wall I could balance the camera on for a picture. Then we turned around and went back down.

At the bottom, we picked up a stiff tailwind, and we were able to cruise at 30mph easily. That was fun for a few miles. Then we got to the snack stop. We loitered around for a bit until a group decided to head back. We rode pretty much straight south back to Ventura. It was mostly downhill, but with a weirdly varying wind that kept changing direction on us.

The last part was back down the bike trail we’d started on, which let us off right by the park where we started.

It was a very nice ride with some very pretty scenery.

41 miles.
cycling

3/14/2009

Under the Sea and up on the rocks

Filed under: — stan @ 9:24 pm


This afternoon, Susan and I took Lucinda and her friend to the California Science Center IMAX theater to see “Under the Sea 3-D”. We’ve been fans of the 3-D IMAX movies since going to see “Sea Monsters” last year.

When we got there, Lucinda had to try lifting the truck at the lever demonstration exhibit in the parking lot. Today was the first time that she was big enough to be able to lift it.

The movie was good, although it was a bit odd, since it was narrated by Jim Carrey. I guess he’s trying to stretch his dramatic range a bit.

After the movie, we went into the museum. Lucinda and her friend wanted to try the rock climbing wall. Apparently, it’s harder than it looks, since they only made it about halfway up. We looked around the museum a bit more before they closed. Then we headed home, after the obligatory stop in the gift shop.

It was a nice afternoon, and marks the first time that Susan and I have taken Lucinda somewhere together.

Pictures are in her photo album.

3/7/2009

Divorce! The Musical

Filed under: — stan @ 11:37 pm

Tonight was a little live-theater adventure. Susan and I went to Hollywood to see “Divorce! The Musical“. Since I’m part-way through this rather grim process, I’m ready to laugh about it. So I figured that this would be an appropriate outing.

The mood of the show covered the range from unspeakably sad to hilariously funny, which is no mean feat. The story is about Penny and Rich, married four years and getting divorced. There are therapists, lawyers, and dirty tricks on both sides. It’s all very true-to-life. It illustrated the emotional roller-coaster ride with songs like “Lawyer Letters”, “Winners and Losers”, and “There Were Good Things”. There are snippets of a few of the songs on the show’s web site. At the end, Penny and Rich sign their final agreement, which leads in to the very poignant final song, “Pennies and Riches”.

It was a very good show. Both heartrending and hilarious. It’s quite rare to find those two in the same place.

2/16/2009

Yet another day at Disneyland

Filed under: — stan @ 12:03 am

I took Lucinda and her friend Claire to Disneyland today. I still think it’s a bit amazing that I’m willing to go to Disneyland, but in any event, we had a fun time. Most of the pictures are in Lucinda’s photo album.

We rode lots of rides, and it was actually a very fun day. And I got a big pickle.

1/17/2009

Visiting San Diego for a decidedly geeky purpose

Filed under: — stan @ 10:42 pm

This weekend, Susan and I went to San Diego to see “Star Trek: The Exhibition” at the San Diego Air and Space Museum. This was a show of costumes, models and props from the “Star Trek” TV shows and movies. A lot of the artifacts from the original series are lost, but they had a lot of things from the more recent shows.

On the way in, Susan had to stop for a photo-op with the life-sized standup of Charles Lindbergh that was in front of The Spirit of St. Louis.

Inside the exhibit, they insisted on no photography, so we don’t have pictures of us on the bridge of the Enterprise or in the transporter. I did sneak one picture of the Guardian of Forever from “The City of the Edge of Forever”. Still, it was a fun time.

We also wandered around the rest of the museum. We saw a reproduction of the Red Baron’s airplane, as well as his collection of medals from the war.

Afterward, we went to visit with my father for dinner at his place.

1/1/2009

Floats!

Filed under: — stan @ 10:06 pm

This afternoon, Susan and I walked over to see the Rose Parade floats. It’s usually amusing to see them close-up, and it was a very nice day.

As a matter of hometown pride, Susan wanted her picture with the City of Alhambra float. I got mine with the train on the Roseville float.

There were a lot of seagulls perched on top of the high school. We don’t usually get seagulls this far inland, but I think they were just waiting for everyone to leave so they could swoop down and gorge on all the spilled popcorn, half-eaten churros, and other edible detritus left by the crowd.

And finally, the Rose Bowl game was starting while we were there, so we got to see the B-2 bomber fly over us on its way to the stadium.

Along with the bike ride this morning, and the martinis and steaks last night, this was easily the best start to a new year that I’ve ever had. It was a most excellent time.

12/31/2008

Martinis, steaks, and chocolate cake

Filed under: — stan @ 10:14 pm

New Year’s Eve 2008. As I said in my Christmas letter, this has been a trying year. But it certainly ended on an up note. Susan and I went out for steaks and martinis at Smitty’s Grill in Pasadena. We made reservations online, which was very easy and pleasant. When we got there, they had a table ready and waiting for us. But we started off with a martini at the bar. We talked about the past year and how it’s been for both of us. We shared most, but not all of it. And it’s been quite an experience. We had lots of great adventures, and we’re looking forward to more.

After the martini, we went to our table and had dinner. It was very good. Afterward, they tried to interest us in the dessert menu, but I had Deep Dark Chocolate Cake at home. Susan had brought a bottle of champagne, so we headed home for cake and champagne to watch the ball drop in Times Square at 9:00. We’re both originally from the New York area, so we figured that was good enough.

It was a fun evening, and a very good way to end the year.

12/21/2008

Neon lights for the holidays

Filed under: — stan @ 11:54 pm

Tonight, Susan and I went on the Museum of Neon Art’s Holiday Lights tour. Being that it’s December, and the tour was after dark, it was cold by L.A. standards. We dressed warmly and brought along a couple of blankets, since the whole tour is conducted from the upper deck of a double-decker sightseeing bus.

It was a tremendously entertaining tour, but sadly, it didn’t transfer into photographs well. To take good photos at night, the camera has to be on a rock-solid platform to hold it steady enough. And the upper deck of the bus just wasn’t a steady enough platform. So if you want to see the lights, you’ll just have to take the tour. But it was certainly Great Fun.

12/13/2008

A little city adventure

Filed under: — stan @ 11:12 pm

This evening, Susan and I were supposed to go out to her friend’s boat in Marina del Rey to watch the light show there, but she decided against it, since it was going to be cold and possibly raining when we got there. So instead, we had a little adventure in the city.

We went to the IMAX theater in Exposition Park to see “Wild Ocean 3D: Africa Meets the Sea”. We saw the “Sea Monsters – 3D” movie last spring, and it was great fun, so this new one was on our list. As always, the photography was impressive and sometimes vertigo-inducing. There were lots of good 3D effects of fish and dolphins and such swimming out of the screen. Good fun.

On the way home, we stopped off in Chinatown for dinner. We had a 1/2 Peking Duck, along with some Chinese broccoli and some soup. That was nice. We also walked around Chinatown for a bit to see the neon signs. We will probably be seeing them again next week on the Museum on Neon Art’s Neon Cruise.

Afterward, we went home, opened a bottle of wine, and watched Julia Sweeney’s “Letting Go of God“. It was a nice evening.

11/30/2008

All hail William Mulholland and the Department of Water and Power

Filed under: — stan @ 3:57 pm

Last night, I went to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Griffith Park Light Festival. I went with Juju, since we’d had originally planned on going on the Museum of Neon Art Neon Cruise, but it was canceled due to not having enough people sign up to rent the bus.

The first week of the festival is car-free, which is nice. We parked at the zoo, and just walked down and back and looked at the lights. The lights were almost all LED-based now, which is part of the DWP trying to ‘go green’ by reducing power consumption.

After that, we headed back to Silverlake and had dinner at Gingergrass, which was quite nice.

It was a nice evening out. And yes, it was a fun time.

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