Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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I’ve been remiss…

Filed under: — stan @ 6:06 pm

I should start posting stuff here again. Otherwise, I won’t have anything to put in the Christmas letter..


The Whittier Greenway

Filed under: — stan @ 4:21 pm

Today’s bike ride was another visit to the Whittier Greenway Trail. It’s a pleasant ride, and we’ve done it before. And I took no pictures at all today.

43 miles.

Route map and elevation profile


(Humming)bird is the word

Filed under: — stan @ 7:05 pm

I was outside this evening firing up the barbecue, and I saw this little hummingbird coming around to the feeder. There are usually a lot of hummingbirds around here, but this is the first time I’ve seen one this color.


Another milestone for my Pet Project

Filed under: — stan @ 6:56 am

Last summer, I was very pleased to see when the Earthquake Notification Service passed 150,000 subscribers. On average about 30-50 people sign up for it every day, and more after each large earthquake. And this week’s M7.2 Baja California earthquake pushed it over the top to more than 200,000 subscribers.

The earthquake also set a new record for the amount of mail sent in one day. The previous record of 2,326,000 messages was set after the M8.8 Chile earthquake in February. But this earthquake blew right past that record with 4,508,522 messages sent. And it would have been more if the database problems hadn’t slowed the system to a crawl. At the end of the first day, there were over 600,000 messages waiting to be sent, and over 500 earthquakes waiting to be processed.

Fortunately, I’ve found a workaround to keep the system from getting slow while processing large numbers of earthquakes, and I’m working on a re-architecture of the database to be able to handle heavier loads in the future.


The devastation was great…

Filed under: — stan @ 11:48 pm

Christmas came, and Lucinda got a Wii. And she also got a few other things, but that was the big one. Thanks to Uncle Larry and Aunt Francesca for braving the crowds to find it and buy it for her. And we also had a nice dinner and visited with the family. So overall, it was a fun time.

Pictures are here.



Filed under: — stan @ 9:21 pm

This afternoon, we all went over to West Hollywood to see “What Would Jesus Buy?” at the Sunset 5. I think that this may be the first time we’ve taken Lucinda to see and art-house movie, and it turned out to be quite a little adventure.

The film follows Reverend Billy from the Church of Stop Shopping when he and the Stop Shopping Gospel Choir go on a nationwide tour to try to stop the commercialization of Christmas and to raise awareness of the costs of our consumer culture. They visited the Mall of America, Disneyland, and lots of places in between, preaching the gospel of anti-consumerism. It was hilarious.

For a special treat, the director was there to answer questions after the film. The film was produced by Morgan Spurlock, who did “Supersize Me”, and this film is done in a similar style, with Reverend Billy and the choir doing guerilla ‘interventions’ at big-box stores and malls. He uses his bullhorn to preach of the coming ‘Shopocalypse’. They also performed exorcisms of credit cards to drive out the demons of debt. Overall, it was a fun time, even though Lucinda was the only child in the audience.


Visiting San Diego

Filed under: — stan @ 9:38 pm

For the day after Thanksgiving, we headed down to see Grandpa in San Diego. The plan was to go visit, take him to lunch at Prado, and then go see the Midway aircraft carrier museum.

The lunch at Prado was nice. We also got to see our friend Laura there. She manages the place, and it appears that she never leaves there. I guess that’s just how it is to manage a big restaurant. But the food was good, and the presentation was first-rate.

The Midway was interesting. Its active days spanned from the end of World War II through the Vietnam War. They had a lot of the older airplanes on display on the hangar deck. They also had several flight simulators on the hangar deck, and they were selling rides in them. Maybe next time we’ll have to try them.

Up on the flight deck they had newer airplanes on display. The A4 reminded me of the time when I was working in San Diego and one of them crashed down the street from my office. We heard it go by and could tell by the sound that something was wrong. We all ran to the windows in time to see the plume of smoke and the pilot drifting down on his parachute. It still amazes me that he was able to aim the plane for the parking lot between two office buildings before he ejected.

There were also exhibits about taking off and landing on the carrier. They had retired pilots giving talks to explain how the process worked. It was pretty interesting, and it’s really amazing that they are able to make it look (relatively) easy.

Overall, it was a fun day.

I also got a new sign for the Animal Crossings Gallery.


The big feed

Filed under: — stan @ 9:37 pm

Today was the big Thanksgiving feast. Where we over-eat even more than usual. As always, I’m the cook, so I got up early and got started.

The two test pies I’d made recently worked out well. I was prepared this time. For last-minute advice on making the crust, I consulted The Teen Guide to Homemaking. This is a 1950s-era home economics textbook that I have. It’s a classic, and it has a lot of good information about basic cooking techniques. It also has good information about making lots of things from scratch. So I made the crust, filled it, and baked it. And it was good.

I also made a whole bunch of other stuff. Green-bean casserole, but not with the canned mushroom soup. The goop was made from scratch with cream, fresh mushrooms, etc. Also, brussels sprouts with garlic and pancetta. And cornbread stuffing made from homemade cornbread. It was all good. As evidence, I present the smiling faces of everyone who was there.


Plays Well With Others

Filed under: — stan @ 10:54 pm

On Friday night, we went out to Santa Monica to the opening reception for “Plays Well With Others”, which is a collaborative art show with Sharon Kagan, Leslie Yagar, and Lana Shuttleworth. Lana was the artist who did the “Cone Migration” show that we saw recently.

This new show is a single large piece in the gallery. It’s a poppy field suspended from the ceiling, with poppies made from dyed coffee filters, pieces of traffic cones, and crocheted yarn. And we got to meet the artists, which was a fun time. I’d been looking forward to meeting Lana, since I participated in the Cone Migration. And in the photo, be sure to check out her purse made from traffic cones.

It was a fun evening.


Lots of candy and a telescope, too

Filed under: — stan @ 10:23 pm

Here’s the report from Halloween night. Lucinda went out with Cathy and some of the other kids from our neighborhood, while I stayed home and handed out candy. I set up my telescope in the front yard and let the kids look a Jupiter and also Comet Holmes. The comet was a special treat, since I’m usually kind of hard up for something interesting to look at if Jupiter or Saturn isn’t up.

Overall it was a good evening. Lucinda came home with 7.5 pounds (3.4 kg) of candy, which we all considered to be a good haul.

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