Stan’s Obligatory Blog

10/5/2008

Another day at the races

Filed under: — stan @ 8:10 pm

Today, I took Lucinda down to the ADT Center velodrome in Carson to see the last day of the USA Cycling national championships. We went to see this last year, as well as the year before, and we’ve always had fun.

When we got there, they were doing the finals of the team sprint. After that was the women’s points race, which was a lot of fun to watch. The winner was part of a breakaway that lapped the pack. They each got 20 bonus points for doing that, and that was enough to clinch the victory.

The highlight and last race of the day was the Madison final. There’s a lot of action with the big group of riders doing their exchanges. It’s hard to photograph, since the light inside the building is not so good, but it’s still lots of fun to watch.

Lucinda and her friend also got to meet Sarah Hammer there, since she was at a table promoting the OUCH Pro Cycling Team.

It was a fun afternoon.

9/20/2008

The Portal of the Folded Wings

Filed under: — stan @ 6:57 pm

Today’s club bike ride was over Turnbull Canyon, which is always a fun time. But due to scheduling difficulties, there was no way I could make it to the start in time. So Susan, Steve, and I went on another ride. We went over to North Hollywood to see the Portal of the Folded Wings Shrine to Aviation at Valhalla Cemetery.

We rode out across Eagle Rock, Glendale and Burbank to get to Burbank Blvd, which took us across the 5 freeway to Victory Blvd. Then we rode west to get to the cemetery.

The cemetery is just off the end of the runway at Burbank Airport, which is a fitting place for a monument to aviation. There were planes taking off over our heads the whole time we were there. A lot of major figures of early aviation are buried there. And befitting the tribute to flight, there was a very large bird’s nest built near the top of the building, too.

Coming back, we headed south to Toluca Lake and then down the L.A. River bike path. Along the way, we saw the Motion Picture Costume Cleaners, which seemed appropriate, since there is a lot of movie business going on in that part of town.

We finished by coming across Highland Park and South Pasadena, and then back home to Pasadena. It was a fun little ride.

44 miles.
cycling

9/14/2008

Yes, we have a county fair in Los Angeles…

Filed under: — stan @ 9:29 pm

On Sunday afternoon, Susan and I went out to Pomona to the Los Angeles County Fair. Neither of us had been to it in years, so we thought it might be a fun thing to do.

We saw lots of animals, which is perhaps a bit surprising, since there is very little agriculture going on in Los Angeles County. On the other hand, ‘very little’ is not ‘none’, so there are farmers here, and they have crops and animals and such. So that was fun and interesting.

On the other hand, they did have a booth selling body jewelry, which is fitting for L.A.

We went to see the crafts and food, too. After looking at the baked goods, I’m totally going to enter my perfect blueberry muffins next year.

We had some pretty good barbecue for dinner, and then we got ice cream from Dr. Bob’s. It was a fun afternoon.

9/12/2008

The rest of our short Lake Tahoe vacation

Filed under: — stan @ 11:34 pm

I’d mentioned that Susan and I went to Lake Tahoe to do the bike ride around the lake, but here’s the rest of what we did there.

We got there about 3:30 on Friday. We rested a bit at the house before going out to dinner. And that was about it for Friday.

On Saturday, we went for a short bike ride, just to limber up a bit. Then we went and did the Heavenly gondola ride up the mountain. The views were great from up there, and we also saw the small sign about Lake Tahoe that reminded us about what we were going to be doing on Sunday.

When we came back down, we got our picture taken with a large wooden bear. Then we went to Tahoe Sports to pick up our packets for the ride on Sunday. After that, we went back to the house and cooked and ate dinner on the deck. Then we went to the pool and sat in the hot tub for a bit. We were thinking that that was going to feel particularly good on Sunday afternoon after the bike ride.

On Sunday, we did the ride around the lake. After that, we had the pasta lunch that they provided at the finish, and then we went back to the house. We went to the pool, and we also spent some time in the hot tub. That was nice. And that evening, we finished out our trip with dinner at Evan’s, which is my favorite restaurant there.

It was a very nice, albeit short trip.

9/10/2008

Tour de Tahoe

Filed under: — stan @ 6:31 am

bikeThis past weekend’s cycling adventure was a bit different. Susan and I did the Tour de Tahoe, which is a 72-mile ride around Lake Tahoe.

The weather was perfect, albeit a bit chilly when we started out at 7:15. But as soon as the sun came up over the mountains, it was quite pleasant.

The ride itself was very spectacular. Sadly, some of the best vistas were on downhill stretches where it wasn’t practical to stop and look. But in any event, the views were very good all the way around.

There were really only two big climbs. The first was up the switchbacks to the overlook by Emerald Bay. The second was where we went part-way up the mountains on the east side of the lake to meet highway 50 for the final descent back to the finish at South Lake Tahoe. Each of these was about 1,000 feet of climbing. The lake level is about 6,200 feet above sea level, so the tops of the climbs were both close to 7,000 feet. We were able to notice that the air was a bit thinner than what we’re used to here in Pasadena, but we hoped that the lack of smog may have helped make up for the lack of oxygen.

I took so many pictures on this ride that I had to make a separate album for them.

It was a very nice ride.

74 miles.
cycling

9/9/2008

Just a placeholder

Filed under: — stan @ 10:26 pm

The Witness Protection Program goes on vacation.

Actually, there’s a real story here, but I don’t have time to write it up now. I’ll have to do it later. But suffice to say that it was a very nice, albeit short vacation.

8/25/2008

The stars at night are big and bright…

Filed under: — stan @ 10:04 pm

Did I say that I hate Texas? Well, perhaps those reports have been greatly somewhat exaggerated.

The occasion was the big 15th anniversary party for -ahem- a social group I co-founded while living in Austin, Texas in the early ’90s. This was a big and remarkable occasion, and it actually prompted me to go there for the first time in many years, since they were putting on a big all-weekend event for the occasion.

We flew there on Jet Blue, which was really very pleasant. And it was non-stop to get there, which was a treat. In the past, it was always necessary to change planes in Phoenix or El Paso, which made it into an epic journey. But this was straight-through and very easy.

When we got there, we took the shuttle to the Airport Hilton, where the event was being held. The group had rented the presidential suite for the Hospitality Suite, and they gave us the key so we could stay in the suite at night. We felt a bit like the Beverly Hillbillies, since we’re just not accustomed to staying in such luxury. It was fun.

The event was Great Fun. Everyone was very nice and happy to see me. Susan said it was like traveling with a rock star. On Sunday, they had a picnic out in the country and a big birthday cake for the group. My co-founder Joel and I did the ceremonial cake cutting.

We stayed over one extra day in order to visit with a couple of other friends of mine there. My friend Stu picked us up at the hotel and then we all had breakfast at Kerbey Lane Cafe with my old college friend Mike, who now owns Waterloo Cycles. We also went and visited Mellow Johnny’s, which is the bicycle shop that Lance Armstrong owns. I got a picture of Susan with one of his framed yellow jerseys from the Tour de France. Then we went to Zilker Park to see the Hartman Prehistoric Garden which was built around the dinosaur tracks that were found there in 1992. And finally, we visited Barton Springs, since I’d seen “The Unforeseen” back in March.

It was a fun little trip.

8/13/2008

Opening up at Book Soup

Filed under: — stan @ 10:45 pm

This evening, we had another ‘in the city’ adventure. I rode the train in from Pasadena to meet Susan at her office. Then we headed up to West Hollywood. We had a nice dinner at the French Market Place, and then we went to my favorite book store: Book Soup.

The occasion was a talk and book signing by Tristan Taormino about her new book Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships. Now, this isn’t actually a topic that either of us is particularly personally interested in, but we thought it could still be fun. I have a friend who knows Tristan, and I’d heard that she’s an interesting and entertaining person. Besides, the skills that an open relationship requires are good to have for any relationship. So we thought that this would make a nice little weeknight adventure.

Tristan read a few excerpts from the book, and she also spoke and took questions from the audience. She also made a point to mention that a fair number of porn stars were there. I gather that quite a few of them are friends of hers. Also, anyone in that business pretty much has to practice open relationships in their personal life. So it seems it would be a topic of interest to them. She even took a question from the legendary Georgina Spelvin.

I had to run outside to feed the parking meter at one point, and on my way out, I noticed Adrianna Nicole there. So I stopped to talk to her when I got back. I’d met her two years ago at the “O” party in Hollywood. We chatted a bit, and I introduced her to Susan.

Lastly, we went to the back of the store, where Tristan was greeting everyone and signing books. We got our book signed, as well as the other book of hers that I’d brought from home. And with the book, we got a free little bottle of lube. What’s not to like about a book tour that’s sponsored by Astroglide?

Overall, it was a fun little adventure, marred only by one sudden “D’oh!” when I was on the train to L.A. and realized that I’d forgotten to bring my camera.

7/7/2008

The man in the Moon

Filed under: — stan @ 11:08 pm

On Monday night, Susan and I went to the Egyptian Theater and American Cinematheque in Hollywood for a screening of “The Space Movie“. This was part of the Mods and Rockers Film Festival. I’m not sure what the connection is there, but that’s no matter.

The film was put together in 1979 for the 10th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing. It was made up of film from NASA and was meant as a tribute to the achievements of the space program. While much of this film has been seen in other places over the years, the real draw was that Buzz Aldrin was going to be there to introduce the film and to talk a bit about his experiences. This means that I have now seen three of the twelve people who walked on the Moon, and also the only one who was also a guest star on “The Simpsons“.

I rode the train down to Susan’s office on Wilshire and we headed up to Hollywood from there. We had dinner at the Pig ‘n Whistle on Hollywood Boulevard, which was amusing. It’s a nice bit of Hollywood history, and it’s right next door to the Egyptian Theater.

After dinner we headed over to the movie. This was the first time I’d ever been inside the main auditorium of the Egyptian. It was impressive. The film was good, although a lot of it had been squashed down to TV resolution, which just doesn’t look all that good when it’s projected on a big screen. And sadly, Buzz Aldrin said that he doesn’t do autographs, so all of us who’d brought books, posters, etc to get signed were all disappointed. But he still had some funny stories to tell, so we had a good time.

7/6/2008

Art in the afternoon

Filed under: — stan @ 6:59 pm

This afternoon, Susan and I went to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Bank of America is having a promotion where having a BofA credit card is good for free admission there on the first weekend of the month.

We went to see the “Los Angelenos” exhibit. For some reason, the opportunity to see the art collection of Cheech Marin was just too good to pass up.

Afterward, we went to see the Contemporary Art building. That was interesting. We saw a lot of nice art, and some pieces by famous recent artists as well. I think the giant balloon animal was our favorite.

Before we left the park, we took a walk around the tar pits. As always, I’m amazed at plants that grow right in the middle of the tar.

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