Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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1/20/2011

It was a nice clear day

Filed under: — stan @ 6:42 pm

This afternoon, I got an email that there was going to be a launch of a Delta IV rocket from Vandenburg at 13:10:30 PST. I got this about five minutes before the fact, so I had just enough time to go across the street and up on the roof of the Seismo Lab. I wasn’t sure if it was going to be visible from Pasadena, since it’s quite far away, but it was. I could see the trail from the first stage very clearly. The first stage is powered by liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, so I guess the trail was just a very large vapor trail. It was impressive that it was visible this far away.

1/15/2011

Looks like another perfect day…

Filed under: — stan @ 7:56 pm

I had an unexpected free afternoon on Saturday. And it was a very nice day. So I went for a ride. As always, when I’m out riding on a nice winter’s day in L.A., I remember when I used to ride in the winter back in New Jersey. This is just so much more pleasant. And I remember my 6th grade teacher, Mr Wagner.

I did my usual route for when I have a free afternoon. Down to South Pasadena and up the hill to the water tower. Then back to the Rose Bowl for a few times around before going home through Altadena. It was a nice time.

26 miles.
cycling

1/1/2011

The 2011 Rose Parade

Filed under: — stan @ 6:20 pm

New Year’s Day is a day when it’s best to stay home. My house is right by the end of the Rose Parade route, so it’s basically impossible to go anywhere. So we took a walk to see a bit of the parade, and also to see the floats close-up when it was over.

The day started with the B-2 flying over, which is amusing in its own peculiar way. After all, under normal circumstances, seeing one of those planes flying by would mean that Something Very Bad was about to happen.

One of my most favorite things about the parade itself is seeing floats being towed over the finish line after breaking down. Dunno why, but that’s always amusing.

There was a float this year dedicated to Ronald Reagan. And I got a chuckle from the portrait of him on the end that totally looked like Leonid Brezhnev.

And the city of Burbank float had little floral F-117s and an SR-71 Blackbird on it. More airplane fun for all the airplane geeks.

12/31/2010

2011 should be a good year

Filed under: — stan @ 11:05 pm

For New Year’s Eve, Kathleen and I went downtown for a nice dinner at Takami. This is the Japanese place I found last year that’s on the 21st floor of a building on Wilshire Blvd in downtown Los Angeles. The view is great, and the food is great, too. And that’s a winning combination.

2010 was a very nice year, and we’re looking forward to more fun and frolic in 2011. It was a nice way to close out the year.

12/18/2010

Los Angeles – December, 2010

Filed under: — stan @ 11:40 pm

Tonight, Kathleen and I went on the Museum of Neon Art’s Holiday Lights tour. This is a tour around Los Angeles to look at both neon signs and holiday lights. They rent a sightseeing bus, and everyone sits up top to look at the lights.

Sadly, it was raining.

One of the first stops on the tour was a L.A. Live to see the big LED billboards. Between that and the constant rain, we all felt like we’d entered the world of “Blade Runner“.

They got a bus with a plexiglass awning over it. The sides were still open, but we had at least a semblance of a roof over us. But the roof leaked, and so it was generally a very wet experience. We brought along a towel and blanket, as well as our fur hats, so we were reasonably warm. Overall, it was all right.

The tour went around downtown and then up into Hollywood. They had a stop at Farmer’s Market so we could get out and get something hot to drink.

The final stop was at the House of Davids. Truly a magnificent sight when it’s all lit up.

It was a good little adventure, even if we did get kind of soaked.

Egrets, I’ve had a few

Filed under: — stan @ 11:25 am

This is the first time I’ve seen two at the same time at the pond at Caltech.

12/12/2010

The House of Davids

Filed under: — stan @ 9:32 pm

Sunday’s bike ride was a holiday sightseeing route to Hancock Park to see the House of Davids. They always have an over-the-top display there, and this year was no exception.

We rode there by way of Silver Lake and Koreatown. We’ve been passing the Harbin Deer Antler Trading Company for years, and today was the first time it occurred to me to have a look in the window. And yes, there were antlers in there.

When we were in Hancock Park, I saw a house with some small potted topiary reindeer. I wonder what they do with them the rest of the year.

The House of Davids did not disappoint. All the Davids were decorated, and the lion heads on the house all had little Santa hats. It’s just too bad we can’t ride there when it’s dark to see it lit up.

Heading north into Hollywood, we passed the Never Open Store. As always, it was closed. Our stop was at Groundworks Coffee on Sunset, where we sat in the shade and watched the CNN news crawl telling us about the Metrodome collapsing from the weight of the snow in Minneapolis.

It was a nice ride.

42 miles.
cycling

Heh

Filed under: — stan @ 2:16 pm

One scene from this morning’s bike ride. We stopped at Groundworks Coffee on Sunset in Hollywood. This is across the street from the CNN building. It was warm, and we were sitting there in the sunshine as the news crawler across the street told us about the Metrodome in Minneapolis collapsing from the weight of the snow on it.

I love L.A.

12/4/2010

It’s about time…

Filed under: — stan @ 8:03 am

In today’s L.A. Times, I see this:

California motorists who spend little time on the road could pay significantly lower insurance premiums with new “pay-as-you-drive” auto policies starting in February.

Now, why couldn’t this have come along back in the days when I was only driving 1,000 miles a year? I even read an article about this two years ago saying it was going to be available Real Soon. I did the math once, and there were years where I used my car so little that the cost of my insurance worked out to something like $20 for every time I took it out of the garage.

And Proposition 103 said that insurance rates should be based on miles driven and driving record, rather than on ZIP code. That passed back in 1988. And it took 22 years to actually put it into effect? WTF?

I’m still going to look into it. I rarely drive to work, so I’m still on a low-car diet compared to most people in L.A.

11/11/2010

Yet another day at Disneyland

Filed under: — stan @ 10:21 pm

Today was a holiday for some of us, but not for our friend who works at Disneyland. So we were able to go and have a day there.

Right away, we headed straight into California Adventure to ride California Screamin’. One of the ride operators even remembered us from the last time we were there, when we rode it 21 times.

The place was kind of crowded, so the lines were longer than we were used to. We rode the big roller coaster twice. Then we had lunch and went back to ride it again. After that, we headed over to Disneyland. The line for Space Mountain was too long, so we skipped that. We went to Tom Sawyer Island for a while. Then we rode Pirates, Thunder Mountain, and the Matterhorn. By then it was starting to get dark, so we went back to California Adventure and rode California Screamin’ two more times.

It wasn’t our best day at Disneyland, but it was a fun day none the less.

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