Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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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.

10/11/2010

Air Force One and a trip into the belly of the beast

Filed under: — stan @ 10:37 pm

Monday was Columbus day, and that was a holiday for all of us who work for the government. So I thought it would be fun to take a trip out to Simi Valley to see the Reagan Museum and Air Force One.

They built a whole new wing on the building to house Air Force One. It’s set up on pedestals to look like it just might fly away at any moment. It was interesting to see the inside of the airplane and how it was set up. And the other exhibits were also amusing, including portraits of President Reagan made with jelly beans. Yikes. They also had a small piece of the Berlin Wall there, as well as a collection of other items, including the suit he was wearing when he was shot by John Hinckley, and a bejeweled saber from the Boy Scouts of Saudi Arabia. Who knew there were even Boy Scouts there?

They also had an exhibit of a miniature White House. Apparently, the model builders keep the miniature White House up to date. Looking in the windows, we saw pictures of President Obama and his family. That was a little jarring, since the rest of the day was a solid Republican experience.

All in all, it was a fun day.

9/18/2010

County Fair Time!

Filed under: — stan @ 10:14 pm

Today was our trip to the Los Angeles County Fair. This promised to be extra-fun, since this time I actually have winner in the baked-goods competition.

Kathleen and I went there along with Lucinda and her friend. We rode the skyride across the fairgrounds. Then the girls rode a bunch of other rides. Kathleen and I just watched. Partly because we didn’t feel like swinging 130 feet in the air, and partly because we just didn’t want to spend the extra money on more ride tickets.

We got some Dr. Bob’s ice cream. As always, it was quite good.

After that, we walked over the “Culinary Styles” exhibit hall to see my cookies on display. That was great fun. If you want to try making them, the recipe is here:

chocolate-peppermint-cookies.pdf

We got some chocolate-covered bacon for Kathleen to try. As was the case last year, we all just thought it was a bit weird.

And of course, no county fair is complete without a mechanical bull ride for the kids. We also saw the 1200-pound pumpkin. Impressive, but it didn’t seem like it was good for much else. We also saw lots of cows, pigs, and goats. No county fair is complete without them.

The girls rode some more rides and played a few carnival games. Then, at the end of the day, we had six ride tickets left over, so Kathleen used them to ride the little flying ride. It looked like she had a good time.

The rest of the pictures are in Lucinda’s photo album.

7/6/2010

There’s nothing in IMDB about this…

Filed under: — stan @ 6:52 pm

Since I got a flat on Sunday’s ride, I took a ride over to the bike shop today to get a new tire. And on the way back to my office, I saw this sign. I always like seeing familiar places dressed up as something different. They had signs up that they were going to be filming all day on Wednesday. As always, they don’t say what they’re filming. But one of the customer reviews on Amazon of John Cheever’s novel Bullet Park mentions that he thinks it would make a good movie.

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