Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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5/27/2006

A visit to the Petersen Museum

Filed under: — stan @ 5:25 pm

Read the sign

Today we went over to the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. This was an amusing little bit of history, since Los Angeles is a city that grew up and was largely formed by the automobile.

The first thing we saw there was Art Arfons’s “Green Monster” out in the parking garage. Years ago I saw a documentary about him on PBS, and it was very interesting. Art is something of the hard-luck story of the land-speed record circuit. He set the record three times, only to have each record broken just a short time later.

On the second floor of the museum they had three special exhibits. One was about Hot Wheels, including full-sized Hot Wheels cars that were built for the exhibit. To an eight-year-old boy in 1968, Hot Wheels were the stuff of dreams. And it’s tremedously funny that someone took the time and effort to actually build real cars out of them. The second exhibit was “Cars and Guitars” with lots of rock stars’ cars. That was amusing. They had a couple of Elvis’s old cars, including one that he shot in frustration when it broke down.

The third exhibit was about the future and alternate power sources. That was mostly amusing because they talked about hybrid cars and had a 1917 Woods hybrid. Apparently it was an idea ahead of its time. They said that at the time it was the worst of both electric and gasoline, and it didn’t catch on. They also had a mockup of a proposed nuclear-powered car, but I think I’m glad that that never got serious consideration.

The last part of the museum we visited was the children’s area on the third floor. Cathy and Lucinda took turns climbing into the Indy car there, and they also posed in the Model T.

And of course no visit to a museum with a kid is complete without the gift shop. Lucinda got some little trinkets and Cathy got a “Built for Speed” pinup girl shirt.

5/6/2006

Bring on the dancing horses…

Filed under: — stan @ 10:58 pm

Cathy saw an item in the paper this week about the Fiesta of the Spanish Horse. It was at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Burbank. I’ve been by there hundreds of times on my bike, but I’d never been inside. So we decided that this might be something interesting.

We don’t really know anything about horses, but it was interesting to see them close-up and see the riding demonstrations. Apparently, a big part of their training is teaching them the distinctive gait. It looks a bit funny at first, but we got used to it. And in the show, they did it a lot, along with other moves that made the horses look like they were dancing. So overall, it was an interesting thing.


4/29/2006

Movie costumes, neon art, and lunch at a big gay hangout

Filed under: — stan @ 8:49 pm

Today we had a little adventure in Los Angeles. The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising downtown had an exhibit of costumes from movies last year. This is the same place where we saw the “Star Wars” costumes last fall. We’d only seen some of this year’s movies, but it was still fun to see them close up. We saw costumes from “Harry Potter”, “King Kong”, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, and such. We also saw the figures that were used for filming “The Corpse Bride”, as well as the Vogons from “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”. It was a nice little adventure.

After that, we walked across the park to the Museum of Neon Art and saw the current exhibit there. MONA is still easily our favorite art museum of all.

The last part of our adventure was to go to West Hollywood for lunch at the French Market Place. This was Lucinda’s first time there, and she liked it. And we found out that, despite it being a big gay hangout, they have a children’s menu and crayons there. They also have koi pond inside the restaurant, and Lucinda liked watching the fish. So overall, it was a fun afternoon.

4/1/2006

Twenty years…

Filed under: — stan @ 11:00 pm

It’s April, and that means it’s time for our trip down to Seal Beach for dinner at Walt’s Wharf. That was the site of our first date. It was April 4, 1986. So this year marks twenty years together, which still sounds like a long time to us. We certainly don’t feel old enough to say, “We’ve been together twenty years”.

So we went down to Seal Beach. When we got to Walt’s, there was a wait. Apparently they don’t take reservations for dinner, so we got the little pager-thingy and went out walking on Main St. We walked down to the pier, but it was closed, apparently because they have some heavy equipment parked on it to repair a wall underneath. Then we browsed around in various stores until they had a table ready for us.

We were seated upstairs, just two tables over from where we sat the first time. We had a nice dinner, finished off with some killer desserts and a souvenier picture. So overall, it was a fun time, and a good way to mark twenty years together.

2/26/2006

Tour of California

Filed under: — stan @ 7:46 pm

On Sunday afternoon, I took Lucinda down to Redondo Beach to see the last stage of the Tour of California bicycle race. It was a perfect winter beach day, warm and sunny.

This was actually the first time I’ve ever been to an actual professional bicycle race. It was nice. The crowd it drew and the riders in the race were all impressive. The race itself was pretty exciting, with an early breakaway that lasted nearly the whole distance before being caught on the last lap. Lucinda liked watching it, and I got to tell her stories about my bike racing days while we were watching. We also got to see a BMX stunt show, and wander around near the beach. It was a very fun afternoon.

And on a related note, I had found out recently that my old bike racing friend Ray is the founder and manager of the Navigators Insurance Pro Cycling Team and that he was going to be at the race. Lucinda and I had spent a good bit of the afternoon looking for the team camps without luck, but at the end of the race, we saw the Navigators team car go by and we just followed it to their camp. After the prizes were awarded, we found Ray. It was fun to visit with him and reminisce about the days when we were young, strong, and fearless. And Lucinda got an official Navigators cycling cap. So this was a special treat to top off a very nice afternoon.

cycling

2/20/2006

Dogs, dogs, and more dogs!

Filed under: — stan @ 8:32 pm

Today we went to the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana. They were having a special exhibit about dogs, including a dog stunt show, so Lucinda wanted to go see it.

The parking was full when we got there, and there was a long line to get in. I suppose I should consider it a good sign that that many people want to go to a science museum. But on the other hand, I think it may have more to do with the fact that it’s actually a pretty small museum, and the parking lot is also small. Anyway, after parking the car at the nearby mall (there’s no shortage of those in Orange County) we got our tickets and went in.

We saw a presentation on therapy dogs at the local Children’s Hospital, and we got to meet and pet one of the dogs.

The main event of the day was the dog stunt show. The dogs did tricks, including catching, jumping, and running obstacle courses. They were all very good at what they did, and it was very entertaining.

The last thing we did was to ride in the earthquake simulator. It’s one of the better museum earthquake simulators, and it’s more realistic than most. They also have a whole section of the earthquake exhibit devoted to Lucy Jones, which is funny to me, since I work with her. I don’t think of her as being famous, but she’s about as famous as a scientist can be. (Have I mentioned lately that I really like my job?)

After the museum, we stopped off at the mall where we’d parked the car so that Cathy could look for some red hair color. The red she’d gotten just wasn’t red enough. While she discussed hair color minutiae with the beauty supply people, Lucinda and I went and got ice cream.

It was a fun day.

2/12/2006

An evening at the ballet

Filed under: — stan @ 10:12 am

This evening we went to see Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. This is a an all-male comic ballet company. They perform classic ballet en trasvesty. The ‘ballerinas’ have faux-Russian stage names like Ludmila Beaulemova and Tatiana Youbetyabootskya and such. The actual dancers are all trained in traditional serious ballet, but they do this as a form of ‘ballet outreach’. A lot of the humor is based on sending up the traditions of classic ballet. Since we’re not that familiar with the conventions of ballet, we probably missed a lot of the jokes. Still, it was very funny and very entertaining. The ‘dying swan’ was particularly hilarious, with feathers falling out of her tutu all over the stage, followed by two very serious-looking janitors coming out to sweep up afterward.

I had seen the Trockadero ballet on PBS’ “Egg” several years ago. At the time, I made a note that we should see them if they ever came to Los Angeles. And we were not disappointed. It was a very fun evening. And Lucinda has a story to tell now that probably no other kid in her class will be able to match.

1/29/2006

An afternoon with the Jumbo Shrimp Circus Academy

Filed under: — stan @ 6:21 pm

Today’s adventure was one that Cathy found. An afternoon with the Jumbo Shrimp Circus Academy. This was a three-hour session for the whole family, to teach basic circus skills.

At the start, they had us to a few group exercises for basic human interaction skills. Then we started out. The first was balancing a peacock feather. It’s not all that hard to do, but it does require a bit of focus. The people who got good at it were encouraged to try balancing it on their nose, or to try tossing and catching it while keeping it balanced.

Next was the spinning plate. They passed out plates and sticks for everyone, and we all had a go at it. The trick was to get it started. Once it was spinning, it was easy. But the people who mastered getting it spinning then had to try to balance the stick on their finger, palm, or nose, which wasn’t so easy. The room was filled with the sound of falling plates hitting the floor.

After a short snack break, we tried some new things. There was a tightwire, juggling balls, the diabolo and devil sticks. Cathy and Lucinda both did the tightwire, and I tried to learn basic juggling. Sadly, it’s not the sort of thing one can pick up in five minutes, or even a half-hour. I made some progress, but I’ll have to practice more. Lucinda did some more plate-spinning, and Cathy tried her hand at the diabolo and devil sticks.

The last part of the class involved some balancing and building a basic human pyramid. Cathy and Lucinda did some of the two-person balancing, and I got picked for the base of the first pyramid.

At the end, they opened up all the activities for anyone who wanted to try something again. I had to try the tightwire, since my father had made a tightwire when I was a kid. He strung it up between two trees and we used to practice walking on it. But the last time I walked on it was 1971, when I was 11 years old. So I was a bit rusty. The wire this time was a bit more wobbly than I remember, but that may be because I’m a bit bigger and heavier. Still, it was interesting to try it again.

This was a fun afternoon activity and Lucinda liked it a lot. We had been planning on having a circus theme for her birthday party this year, so this fit in well. We also bought some clown noses, plates, and juggling balls while we were there, so now we have activities for her party. So overall, it was a fun afternoon.

Also, we have this year’s obligatory ‘cute couple’ picture. Cathy and I were wearing sort-of-matching shirts today, so we had to get a picture.

1/22/2006

I’m not paying for this!

Filed under: — stan @ 11:00 am

varla's cd
Last night, we had a rare evening out. We dropped Lucinda off with Aunt Maggi and then headed over to Hollywood to see Varla Jean Merman’s new show, “I’m Not Paying For This!”.

We first went to dinner at the French Market Place in West Hollywood. We had a nice dinner and browsed a bit at our favorite gay gift shop, Dorothy’s Surrender. Then we headed over to the Renberg Theater at the L.A. Gay Center.

“I’m Not Paying For This!” is Varla’s new show, and it’s her tribute to the Seven Deadly Sins. She had a song for each, and it was very entertaining.

According to Varla, Lust leads to “guilt, a fractured tailbone, and a soiled clown suit”.

Varla also displayed a new talent, playing the theme from “Star Trek” on the theremin.

At the end of the show, she did one encore, singing “Girl With a Pearl Necklace” and also her “Schoolhouse Rock” medley.

Afterwards, we bought her new CD and she signed it for us. Overall, it was a very fun evening.

Her show runs through February 5.

1/7/2006

Tattoo Convention

Filed under: — stan @ 11:19 pm

Body Art Expo
Yup. It’s time for another tattoo convention. This time it’s the winter edition of the giant Body Art Expo at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds. Today was a perfect day for it. The sun was out and it was warm.

When I got to the Fairplex, they were having the Easyriders bike show and an RV show, too. So the parking was packed. But that’s normal for any event that’s held there. There’s always something else going on.

When I got there, I saw my friend Stormy and her dog Nakai. Nakai is a service dog in training, so she get to go places where ordinary dogs don’t. She was also very cute and smart.

When I got inside, I saw David and his friend Justice. Justice recently moved back to L.A. after moving away after the Northridge Earthquake, and she had some concerns about Los Angeles and earthquakes. Since I’m in the earthquake business, I did my best to allay her fears.

A bit later, Mandy and Rob showed up. They were my ’straight friends’ for the afternoon, since they don’t really fit the freak mold. But it was nice to see Mandy again.

I saw Rick at the Mermaid’s Tale booth.

Anna was at here Anagram Fine Art booth again, so we had to visit and take a picture.

They had a fashion show, which was amusing. The outfits were from the Folter booth, and they were very nice. Brought out lots of cameras. The funniest bit was the first two girls who came out and posed. Then they turned around and flipped up their short schoolgirl skirts to show us their panties that said “PERV” on the back. Sadly, I was not able to capture that moment, due to digital camera lag.

There was also a booth for Utilikilts. I stopped in to just say hello. (waves to KarlElvis) And while I was there, two of the girls from the Folter show stopped by.

So it was a fun afternoon. All the pictures are here:

www.1134.org/stan/tattoos/gallery/bodyartexpo2006jan

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