Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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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.


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:


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.


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.


Toy Story

Filed under: — stan @ 10:24 pm

On Saturday night, I took Lucinda and her friend to Hollywood to see “Toy Story 3” at the El Capitan theater. We’d gotten a mailer about it that said they were going to have a sort of carnival midway set up behind the theater for the kids to play in after the movie. Sort of like the “G-Force” attraction that they built last summer.

The movie was good. Sad in a lot of ways, but very well done. We all enjoyed it. And afterward, they played for a while in the little “Toy Story Fun Zone” carnival that they’d set up on the playing field behind Hollywood High School.

It was a very fun evening.


A fun Tuesday night adventure

Filed under: — stan @ 11:34 pm

On Monday, I was just poking around the net looking to see if there were any good movies that Kathleen and I could go see on Tuesday night. And I spotted John Waters in a banner ad on the L.A. Weekly site. We’re both big fans of his, so I had a look. It turned out he was speaking and doing a book signing at a theater in Little Tokyo. So we just had to go.

On my way home from work, I stopped at Vroman’s in Pasadena and picked up his new book, Role Models.

I rode the train downtown, since the theater is just two blocks from the Little Tokyo station. On the way I got to read the first chapter of the book, where he talks about how he likes Johnny Mathis. As I suspected, it was hilarious.

When I got there, I met up with Kathleen, who drove in from the Valley. We went and had a quick dinner around the corner. Then we went over to the theater. We saw my friend Sherri and her friend there, and the four of us went in. John Waters came out and read three short excerpts from his book, and then he sat down to talk with Carrie Fisher. They were very entertaining and funny, and it was all well-worth the trip.

Afterward, he greeted fans and signed books in the lobby. Overall, it was a most excellent weeknight adventure.


Car report – the first year

Filed under: — stan @ 10:37 am

It was a year ago today that I got my new car. At the time, I was anticipating doing a fair bit more driving than in the past, between having to ferry Lucinda around to her activities and also heading out into the dating world. The days when I could drive my car less than 1,000 miles in a year are gone. My hope for this year was that I could keep it under 10,000 miles.

It’s not likely to get better any time soon, since I have a kid going into middle school and a girlfriend who lives out in the San Fernando Valley. The final tally was 9,979 miles for the year. I made my goal, but just barely.


Memorial Day

Filed under: — stan @ 9:28 pm

Some odd things happened today. First off, every Memorial Day we get groups of WWII fighter planes flying over our house. The noise they make is quite distinctive and different from modern small propeller airplanes. But this time, we also had a low flyover by a four-engine jet. This was obviously not a WWII airplane, but was certainly related in that it’s some sort of military plane, and after some poking around, I think it was a C-17.

In the afternoon, Lucinda and I went hiking up the Mt Wilson Toll Road. We took Suzie along to see how she would do. It was quite hot, which I guess had something to do with the fact that we set out at the crack of noon. Next time we will have to leave earlier.

Coming back down, we saw fire trucks parked by the trailhead, and heard a loud helicopter noise. And then a Sheriff’s Department helicopter came flying out the narrow opening of Eaton Canyon. This was an impressive bit of flying, and we figured that something must be happening, since they don’t fly helicopters through narrow canyons for fun.



Filed under: — stan @ 5:56 pm

On Saturday afternoon, I took Lucinda to the Grammy Museum. They have an exhibit about Michael Jackson that she was interested in seeing. They had some of his costumes there, along with letters, handwritten song lyrics, and various other items from his life.

On the other floors of the museum they had other exhibits related to music. I thought the highlight was the exhibit about the ’60s, which focused on Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix. They had Jim Morrison’s Boy Scout membership card. Just the idea of Jim Morrison as a Boy Scout made my brain hurt.

Another Disneyland first

Filed under: — stan @ 11:15 am

Over the last two years, I’ve taken Lucinda to Disneyland many times. It started out as something for us to do that she would enjoy. But over time, I grew to like it, too. And yesterday I went there on a date for the first time ever. Kathleen came over in the morning and we headed down. My friend there was going to meet us at the gate, but he got stuck fixing the dragon and had to send one of his friends out to let us in. But we got in and got our day going.

We hadn’t thought about the fact that it was Friday before Memorial Day. The parks were pretty crowded. At least compared to what I’m used to from bringing Lucinda on random weekdays. We picked up passes for Soarin’ over California and then walked back to try out California Screamin’. The line wasn’t long and it was fun enough that we did it twice. I tried to take an upside-down picture in the loop, but I just got a nice shot of the seat in front of me. It’s tough to get the timing right with digital camera lag.

We headed over to Disneyland and picked up passes for Space Mountain. We figured we’d save them for later. But the line wasn’t too long, so we went in it and rode it once. After that, we did the Matterhorn, Big Thunder Mountain and Pirates. After all that, it was almost time for our passes to Space Mountain. We rode the train around to Tomorrowland, since I’d never been on the train before. When we got there it wasn’t quite time for our passes. So we waited in the regular line and rode once, and then took our passes and went around to ride again to finish our day. Both times we made a point to be in the front row to feel the wind. Since you can’t really tell how fast it’s going in the dark, the wind is the only real clue. And besides, it put us in a better position for the final picture.

At the end of the day, we went and had dinner at the Jazz Kitchen, since that’s become my sort of constant backdrop to see my progress. And I think my life has rebooted quite nicely.


After the flood

Filed under: — stan @ 2:45 pm

Today’s bike club ride was a trip up to Tujunga to see if the house on Eby Canyon Road had been washed away last winter. We’d been up to see it last November, so we were curious to see if the deflection wall they were building worked. The house sits in a canyon right below the merging of two higher canyons, so when it rains, the wash there must turn into a raging torrent. It was a perfect day for riding.

We headed out across Eagle Rock, Glendale, and Burbank. I stopped to take a picture at Thirst Quencher Liquor. It’s not as funny as Hammered Liquor, but I thought it was amusing.

We rode through Shadow Hills. There were some steep bits, but it wasn’t too bad. Then we came out on Sunland Blvd and headed west to the mouth of Big Tujunga Canyon. The road into the neighborhood where the house is was under water. But it was only about 4-5 inches deep, so we just rode through it. Then up the hill on the other side and down into the canyon. And the house was still standing. The wash looked like it had been severely scoured by rushing water, and the culvert under the driveway was plugged. It also looked like the driveway had been buried by sand but they had had it plowed clear. So it looks like the wall worked.

Coming back across the wash, we rode through the water again, and then across Tujunga to get back to Montrose and our snack stop at Goldstein’s Bagels. It was a nice day to sit outside in the sun. Then we rode home by way of the trail over Devils Gate Dam and back into Pasadena.

It was a very nice ride.

47 miles.

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