Stan’s Obligatory Blog

1/2/2012

The Rose Parade

Filed under: — stan @ 9:06 pm

So today was the Rose Parade. Which means we’re on virtual lockdown here.

We began the day by going outside at 8:00 to watch the B-2 fly over the parade route. That marks the beginning of the parade. Since we’re at the end of the route, the actual parade doesn’t get here until about two hours later.

When 10:00 rolled around, we took a walk out and around the neighborhood. The horses in the parade all end up here, and they bring the horse trailers here to pick them up. So we got to see the little miniature horses, the Wells Fargo wagons, and several cowgirl groups. And of course, the cleanup people with their shovels and rolling trash cans. I even saw one horse with an on/off switch. Wonders never cease.

12/31/2011

Last post of 2011

Filed under: — stan @ 10:36 pm

So here we are at the end of the year again. It’s been a fun year, so we decided to return to the place where we began it last year. Takami in downtown Los Angeles. This is a very nice Japanese fusion-culinary-mashup place on the 21st floor of 811 Wilshire Blvd. Right across the street from the Aon building. Our table was on the semi-enclosed patio, so we had a great view of downtown, and since there was a radiant heater above our table, we weren’t cold.

We ordered a whole bunch of different things off the appetizer and robata menus. Everything was very good, and we finished with the semi-molten chocolate cake. It was all good, and we had a good time.

12/24/2011

Lafayette Square

Filed under: — stan @ 5:47 pm

One blog that I’ve recently taken to reading regularly is perilsofdivorcedpauline.com. Last week I was reading a post where she talked about the historic neighborhood she lives in. From what she said, I gathered that it was in Los Angeles, and somewhere in the West Adams area. I wrote to her to ask about it, and she pointed me to information about Lafayette Square. It’s a little pocket of old mansions right smack in the middle of mid-city L.A., not far from downtown. And of course, I immediately started thinking about riding there to see it.

I made up a route to test out, and Carla agreed to join me for the ride. We headed downtown by way of Huntington Drive. Along the way, I was amused to see that there’s a street called Supreme Court. And I’m sure there’s no significance to the fact that it had a sign that said “NOT A THROUGH STREET”.

We rode through downtown, partly along the new green-painted bike lane down Spring St. I’m not sure what I think of this, but it was an interesting sight.

Riding out on Adams, we turned north just west of Crenshaw and found our way into Lafayette Square by the back way. Most of the streets in and out of the neighborhood are gated or otherwise closed to cars, but we were able to get through on our bikes. And once we got inside, we were bowled over. The houses are grand. Most are well-kept, and the whole neighborhood just looks and feels like something that one would not expect to find in Los Angeles, especially in this area west of downtown. It was nice. We rode around a bit and looked at the houses. Then we headed out the way we came in and headed for home.

We passed the former House of Davids, just to see what it looked like now. All the Davids were gone, but it looks like the house is still for sale. After that, we stopped for a bagel at Noah’s on Larchmont. Then we rode over to Silver Lake and headed up Benton Way. From there, we rode home by way of Eagle Rock Blvd and up the Colorado Hill.

It was a nice ride, and I think we will be doing this route again with the Sunday morning group soon.

44 miles.

12/18/2011

Times are tough, apparently

Filed under: — stan @ 4:38 pm

I went out to the back yard to pick some more tangerines off my two trees, and I found about half of the remaining tangerines had been eaten by something. It was kind of surreal, seeing all the hollowed-out tangerine peels still hanging from the tree. I’m guessing it’s still more of the fallout from the big windstorm we had.

12/12/2011

The Wettest Place on Earth

Filed under: — stan @ 10:29 pm

Kathleen and I took a trip to Disneyland today. We’d planned this a couple weeks in advance. What are the odds it’s going to rain? Note that that statement is a close cousin to “How hard could it be?”, like I say before all my stair climbs. So today it rained. Not the hardest rain we’ve seen around here, but enough that it was very wet, and it was quite cold by SoCal standards.

On the other hand, this meant that there weren’t that many people there. So the uncomfortable cold and wet was offset by the lack of lines. It was a lot like the very wet day we spent at Universal a last year. Note the picture of the queue for California Screamin’. I’ve never seen it that empty before. We were able to just walk up and get on. And I did just that. Seven times. On one of them, the sky opened up and it started raining hard right in the middle of the ride. Getting hit in the face with raindrops when you’re going 60mph on a roller coaster is a uniquely unpleasant experience.

One of the good aspects of Disneyland is that there are a lot of indoor rides. We rode Space Mountain four times, and the longest wait was about 15 minutes. So that wasn’t bad at all. Even the line for the newly-revamped Star Tours was only about 20 minutes. Kathleen even got me to go to the Tiki Room. She said it was something that fascinated her as child, and I could see why. Although I found the singing flowers to be a bit nightmarish.

We finished the day off with our traditional dinner at the Jazz Kitchen. It was a day of tradeoffs, but all around, it was fun.

12/1/2011

Wild night

Filed under: — stan @ 7:23 pm

This has all been covered other places, but here are a few random pictures from Thursday morning, December 1 in Pasadena. It’s fortunately not often that I step outside in the morning and think that my street looks like a war zone.

11/19/2011

A weird Saturday morning bike ride

Filed under: — stan @ 1:08 pm

I had a few hours free this morning, so I went for a short bike ride. I wasn’t planning on going to see anything in particular. Just wanted to tool about a bit. But it turned out to be a weird little morning.

I rode out to Arcadia, and smack into a traffic jam in the detour around a parade route. It was a strange parade, consisting entirely of marching bands. And there were essentially no spectators. Just people who were with the bands. And one of the bands was marching and playing, and chanting, “We want fried chicken!” It was weird.

Heading back to Pasadena, I found out there was a UCLA game at the Rose Bowl, and the street I wanted to ride on was closed. OK, so a game at the Rose Bowl isn’t all that unusual, but I thought the girls on top of the Winnebago with the giant inflatable CU buffalo were funny.

After getting past the Rose Bowl, I headed up into Altadena for the trip home. And I rode right into a crime scene. The L.A. County Sherriff had a block of Christmas Tree Lane closed off with cars and deputies at both ends, and a helicopter circling overhead. The told me they were chasing someone on foot, so I thought it was probably best to just get out of their way.

And finally, I went by the house where the wallabies live, but they weren’t out today.

All told, it was a weird morning’s ride.

28 miles.

11/13/2011

The Great Wall of Los Angeles

Filed under: — stan @ 6:51 pm

This Sunday’s bike club outing was a ride to North Hollywood to see the Great Wall of Los Angeles. This is a long mural painted on the side of a flood-control channel that depicts events in Los Angeles history. It starts with giant slots and saber-tooth cats at one end, and goes up to the 1984 Olympics at the other end.

It was a good day for riding, and we had a good group. We headed out across Eagle Rock. In Burbank, we took the Chandler Bikeway for a while, which was where we saw perhaps the fattest chihuahua I’ve ever seen anywhere. It looked like a bratwurst with four toothpicks for legs.

Oxnard St took us the rest of the way to the park that runs alongside the mural. We came in at the modern-day end, and we worked our way back through time to the mammoths at the start. Then we turned on Chandler for the ride back. Our snack stop was at the Panera Bread at Chandler and Lankershim in NoHo. Then a bit more on the Chandler Bikeway across Burbank, and then back home via Yosemite Dr in Eagle Rock.

When we came back into Pasadena, we saw the first bleachers going up for the Rose Parade. Like the first robin of spring, that’s a sure sign of the changing seasons around here.

It was a nice ride.

45 miles.

10/30/2011

Down for the Count, 2011

Filed under: — stan @ 5:27 pm

It’s Halloween weekend, and time for our bike club ride out to Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City to visit Bela Lugosi’s grave. This time, we had a little extra in the form of a PBS biography program about Bela Lugosi that aired on Saturday night. So we got to learn a bit about how he pretty much originated what we think of as the standard vampire character.

It was a nice day for riding. We headed down through downtown L.A., we saw the Occupy L.A. encampment by City Hall. And we had to take a little detour because of the Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon. Several key streets were closed for the event, but we were finally able to make our way through and then head out West Adams toward Culver City.

When we got into Culver City, John got a flat. In the process of fixing it, he accidentally pinched and punctured several more tubes before we finally got the tire back on and holding air.

Continuing on, we got to the cemetery and headed over to the Grotto, where Bela is buried. As always, people had decorated his grave for Halloween. On the way out, I was talking to Michael and found out that he was part of the original punk rock scene back in the late ’70s, so I took him to see Darby Crash’s grave on the hillside by the entrance.

On the way back, we stopped for bagels at Noah’s, and then headed back by way of 4th St. That’s a nice, quiet street. Not at all the place where you’d expect to run across the Batmobile. We see some decidedly odd things when we’re out riding.

All told, it was a fun ride.

52 miles.

10/16/2011

The House of Davids

Filed under: — stan @ 6:23 pm

I recently read that the House of Davids is for sale. Apparently, Norwood is dismayed that his house is more famous than he is, and so he wants to move away. So I figured we should pay another visit. I’d heard that he was going to be having a yard sale, but we were too early for that.

It was a nice day for riding. We headed out across Highland Park and down into Silver Lake. Then into Hancock Park to the House of Davids. He had one of the Davids wearing his holiday regalia, I guess just to show what they look like around the holidays.

After that, we headed north into Hollywood. Our snack stop was at Groundwork Coffee on Sunset. It was a nice day to sit out in the sunshine. Just like the day when we were sitting there in the sun reading the CNN news crawl across the street telling us that the Metrodome in Minneapolis had collapsed from the weight of the snow on the roof.

From there, we headed home. On Fountain Ave, we got to see a fairly violent car crash. A small car ran a red light and T-boned a big pickup truck. Made quite a sound.

And that was our ride for the day.

42 miles.

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