Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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Filed under: — stan @ 5:38 pm

Today we rode the Metro Gold Line. It was a pleasant ride into downtown, and then we took the Red Line subway to Hollywood. Below are a few pictures from the ride.


Our vacation report from Lake Tahoe

Filed under: — stan @ 6:55 pm

Vacation Diary – July 30

Here’s our trip report for our vacation at Lake Tahoe.

First off, we went to LAX to fly to Reno. After waiting a bit, we were on our way. This was Lucinda’s first airplane trip.

After the short flight to Reno, we stopped for lunch before driving over the mountains to South Lake Tahoe.

When we got to Grandpa Schwarz’s house there, Lucinda wanted to sniff the tree that smells like vanilla.

That afternoon, Lucinda and Cathy went to the pool. After that, we all went to dinner at the Sage Room at Harvey’s Casino. This is their ‘big meat’ steakhouse restaurant. Lots of dark wood and dim light. But it was good.

Vacation Diary – July 31

On Thursday morning, Lucinda spent some time playing on the spiral staircase. After this, we headed out for our first hike, which was a short trip to Cascade Falls. At first, Lucinda wanted to smell all the trees, but after a while she got tired and wanted to be carried. But all that changed when the trail got rocky. This was more fun, and Lucinda climbed all over the rocks.

When we got to the falls, Lucinda tried to make friends with the chipmunks. She also played around the falls. While we were there, we noticed that our cell phones still had a good signal, so Cathy called her friend. And Lucinda finally did manage to make friends with a chipmunk.

That evening, we had dinner at the Christiania Inn. The food was good, and there was another family there with a little boy. Lucinda spent some time showing him around and telling him how to behave in a restaurant. She liked being the ‘older kid’ for a change.

Vacation Diary – August 1

Friday was a quiet day. Lucinda couldn’t go hiking today because of the blister she got on Thursday.

Lucinda went to the Heavenly Pre-school on Friday afternoon, so Mommy and Daddy could have a rest. We were going to ride the gondola up the mountain and hike the trails on top, but there were thunderstorms in the area, so the top of the mountain was closed.

At the end of the day, we all went to dinner at Chevy’s. It was a bit downscale compared to the rest of our vacation dinners out, but it was still good. And we had the Coconut Cajeta for dessert, which was quite good. Also, this dinner was somewhat remarkable in that it was the first time we had ever had a handicapped waitress. She was quite good. She scooted around the restaurant in her wheelchair with a tray balanced on her knees, and she did a very good job.

Vacation Diary – August 2

On Saturday, we went to Virginia City, NV. This is an old gold and silver mining town that has reinvented itself as a tourist trap.

Our first stop was to climb the hill to the main street. From there, we wandered around a bit. We stopped in at ‘pan for gold’ stand, but Lucinda was too small do try it. Still, the man there gave her a little vial with a tiny gold nugget in it. After that, we had lunch at the Delta Saloon, and then headed over the the Virginia and Truckee depot for the train ride.

The train was not pulled by a steam engine this time, as the steam engine was out for repair. So they had a ‘vintage diesel’ for the ride. We got on the train and took the ride to Gold Hill, passing through one of the old V&T tunnels. At this time, is had gotten quite cold, and started to rain a bit. But by the end of the ride, it had cleared up. Here’s a picture of Stan and Lucinda next to the train.

The town is located on the east side of a horst in the Basin and Range terrain of Nevada. The Comstock Fault accumulated a great vein of gold and silver, which was the reason for the town. Our next stop was the Chollar Mine. They have a short tour that goes back into the main tunnel into the ore body. Here are a couple of pictures of Cathy and Lucinda outside the mine, and then inside the tunnel.

When we got back to Lake Tahoe, we tried to have dinner at Josh’s at the Horizon Casino, but they were booked solid. So we settled for the Four Seasons, which turned out to be really quite good, even if not in the ‘fine dining’ category.

That evening, Lucinda posed with her loot from the trip. And Stan was pleased to have collected to new additions to his collection of ‘animal crossing’ signs. There was a quail crossing and a momma bear and cub crossing.

Finally, Stan did some work on a project in the house. The houses at Tahoe Tyrol were all built in the ’70s, and were all-electric, which was the style at the time. After a while, the owners saw their electric bills for heating, and they all said, “Holy Shit!!!”. When a gas line was put in to the neighborhood, they had gas heat installed. Grandpa Schwarz’s house has a gas furnace, but the electric heaters had never been taken out. The electrics no longer worked, but the thermostats were still there in each room. We noticed that all the thermostats had been turned up by previous guests, and that there were numerous ‘the heat doesn’t work here’ comments in the guest books. So Stan went around the house on Saturday evening and removed all the old electric thermostats and replaced them with blank face plates.

Vacation Diary – August 3

Sunday was our trip to Emerald Bay and Vikingsholm. This turned out to be something of an ordeal. The parking lot at the start of the trail was jammed. So Cathy had to take the car and park nearly a mile down the road. But we finally managed to get underway. Lucinda was hamming it up on the trail. When we got down to the shore at Emerald Bay, we spent some time on the beach before doing the tour of Vikingsholm.

Inside, the house was pretty grand. Lucinda had fun looking in all the rooms.

After the tour, we climbed back up to the road and the big rock overlooking Emerald Bay. Cathy and Lucinda posed on the rock. Lucinda made a new friend there, and she also did some more climbing. Before we left, we got a picture of Stan and Lucinda over Emerald Bay.

After all this, we went back to the Horizon and had dinner at Josh’s. It was quite good. And for dessert, Cathy had a tiramisu, and Stan and Lucinda shared a chocolate mousse.

Vacation Diary – August 4

Monday is trash day at Tahoe Tyrol, and everyone had put their trash out the night before. Apparently, the animals know about this, and a lot of trash cans were knocked over. Our can has a lot of tooth marks to show that it has been attacked many times.

Today, Lucinda went to the Heavenly Pre-school again, and we took the gondola ride up the mountain. Here’s a picture of Cathy in the gondola.

At the top, we took the hiking tour of the trails. Here’s Cathy at a trail junction, and both of us at an overlook with the lake behind us. Here’s Cathy at the top and Stan at the top. Finally, here’s Cathy back at the gondola terminal.

After the hike, we took the gondola back down and picked Lucinda up. Then we went to dinner at Evans. Lucinda liked the pate’. She also liked getting a Shirley Temple, complete with extra cherries.
Evans is perhaps the best of the bunch of all the nice restaurants we went to on this trip. And for dessert, we had the Chocolate Obesssion and the Frozen White Chocolate Mousse. Yum.

Vacation Diary – August 5

On Tuesday morning it was time to go home. We packed up all our stuff, and we headed back to Reno. We stopped for lunch before dropping off the rental car. Then we took the shuttle bus back to the airport.

We had a little extra time after we got to the airport, and Lucinda tried mightily to get us to buy her every toy she saw in the airport gift shops. She was also very intrigued by the billboards for the female impersonator show at the Horizon. We had seen one of the performers from the show when we had dinner at Evans on Monday night, but he was dressed normally then.

On the plane, Lucinda wanted to see what the bathroom looked like.

Finally, we were back in L.A. and we had to just ride one more bus to get back to our car. Then we went home.

Overall, it was a fun trip.


Filed under: — stan @ 2:20 pm

This morning, there was a film crew working in front of a house on our block. We see a fair amount of filming here in Pasadena, but this was the first time it’s been on our block.


Planes of Fame Air Museum

Filed under: — stan @ 9:18 pm

Today we went to the Planes of Fame Air Museum in Chino. They were having a special presentation about the air war in Italy during World War II. Lucinda wasn’t too interested in hearing the talks, as it was not really geared to a four-year-old. But she did like seeing all the airplanes. They had a lot of planes from World War II. The first hanger had British, Japanese, and German aircraft, including a V-1 buzz bomb and a pair of German and Japanese rocket planes. They also had a children’s area with some small airplanes for the kids to climb into and play. There are pictures of Lucinda in her photo album. Later on, we got a chance to see a P-47 fly. We also toured their B-17 bomber and we got to talk to a fellow who had flown as a ball turret gunner in a B-17 in 1944. He had a scrapbook with all his orders, photos, and letters home the war. It was nice to talk to him, as this is what really makes history come to life. For more on this, see the pages from the other times we got to meet and talk to bomber veterans about their experiences:

Bombers in Burbank – 1998

Bombers in Burbank – 2003

After this, we all went to Cafe Bizou in Old Town Pasadena and had a nice dinner out.


Filed under: — stan @ 7:40 pm

We went to the science museum to see the Titanic Artifact Exhibit [] This was a show of all manner of objects brought up from the wreck, from a big piece of the hull, down to playing cards and hats. It was all very fascinating to see.

Afterward, we walked over the the newly-reopened Aerospace Hall and saw the Gemini 11 spacecraft and other relics of the Space Age.

Finally, we went out to the Rose Garden in Exposition Park for a while before heading home.


Filed under: — stan @ 7:45 pm

We went to see “Bend it Like Beckham” today. This was a very entertaining story of Indian immigrants in England and football. Highly recommended.

After the movie, we went to Aunt Maggi’s house to pick up Lucinda after her sleep-over.



Filed under: — stan @ 1:29 pm

We went to see “Unprecedented: the 2000 Presidential Election” today. This was part of Laemmle’s Documentary Days film series. It showed the breathtaking and utterly shameless methods that the Republican Party used to get their way in Florida. For more information, see the film’s web site at


Bombers in Burbank – 2003

Filed under: — stan @ 8:01 pm

We went to Burbank Airport today to see the two restored World War II bombers again. These are the same ones we saw back in 1998. We took Lucinda along, and she had fun
climbing back and forth through the airplanes.

We also got to meet some more veterans of the war. One man had been the radio operator on a B-17 in Europe. The second had been the flight engineer on a B-24 in Italy near the end of the war. He said that his job involved mostly taking care of the fuel tanks to keep the airplane balanced. He also told us about building a little ‘igloo’ out of flak jackets to hide in when the plane was under fire. They both said that flying in combat was a horrendously frightening thing. But at the same time, they felt like they were fortunate in a way. When they weren’t flying, they were safe back at the base, eating good food and sleeping in real beds. They felt that this was better than being in the Infantry and being shot at all the time.

For more on this, see the page about the other time we saw these planes:

Also, for B-17 history, see

To get a little idea what it was like flying in these planes, see “Exerpts from the diary of a B-17 ball turret gunner” at

Finally, just to add a special non-sequiter to the day, we heard a roaring jet engine just outside of the plane. Being at the airport, we weren’t too surprised by this until we got out and saw that it was actually a motorcycle. It was Jay Leno, stopping by for a visit. So very L.A.

Finally, we stopped off for a nice dinner out at Cafe Bizou.


Natural History of Chocolate

Filed under: — stan @ 7:28 pm

We went to the Natural History Museum in Exposition Park today to see the Chocolate exhibit. The story of chocolate, from the Mayans in the rainforest up to the present. It was quite interesting and amusing.



Filed under: — stan @ 10:39 pm

Today we dropped Lucinda off at Grandma and Grandpa Tarantino’s house and we went down to Laguna Beach. We met our friends Paul and Patty there, and the first stop was the Laguna Art Museum. The exhibit was “Whiteness, A Wayward Construction”, which consisted of artworks about whiteness as a social and cultural identity. After that, we walked down to the Coast Gallery to see “Classic Rock”, which was an exhibit of photos of rock bands from the ’60s and ’70s. Finally, we stopped in at the Chuck Jones Showroom to see cels and paintings from his cartoons. We rounded out the day with dinner at Ichibiri in Laguna Niguel.

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