Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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5/3/2009

More nerd fun

Filed under: — stan @ 11:45 pm

on mars
On Sunday afternoon, I went over to JPL to meet up with my friends Carol and Lee, and their friend Sarah. We wandered around and looked at the various displays. And we went to Mars for the obligatory 3-D picture. It was good nerd fun.

4/26/2009

A ‘fun’ ride

Filed under: — stan @ 6:36 pm

Today I did something different. It was the City of Angels Fun Ride. We’d seen this ride go by last year. The idea of riding with a rolling road closure was appealing, since it meant that we wouldn’t have to stop at all. So I thought I’d try it. I guess I was expecting a well-disciplined group that could ride smoothly together, which can be a lot of fun. When I got there, I saw Ben from the Sunday Morning ride group, so we rode together.

As it turned out, this was a sort of different usage of the word ‘fun’ with which I was previously unfamiliar. Because of the rolling road closure, they required that we ride in one large group. This was a lot like riding in a large racing peleton, but with mostly riders who do not know how to ride in a peleton. So the end result could more accurately be described as ‘harrowing’. We toured around the city, but really couldn’t do any sightseeing, since I didn’t dare look away for even a second. During the first part of the ride, I only saw one rider crash. This was pretty remarkable, considering all the bumping and bonehead moves that I saw going on in the group.

They had a rest and snack stop at the Ford Theater in Hollywood. I grabbed an orange and a few cookies. Then, when it was time to go, several more riders fell while pulling out of the parking lot. They hadn’t realized that the street was uphill, and they were in the wrong gears. Turkeys.

For some inexplicable reason, the police escort we had forced us to go really slowly into Griffith Park. We rode through the park, and then made one lap around it. At the end of the lap, we were about to leave the park and ride back to the finish. But they made us all stop. They said we had to wait 10 minutes for some reason that they really didn’t make clear at all. At this point, I’d had enough. I wasn’t enjoying it. So I unpinned my number from my jersey, pulled out of the line, and rode home.

The ride home was very nice and relaxing. Even having to deal with cars and traffic signals was much mellower than my experience riding in that group. So overall, it was not an especially nice ride.

77 miles.
cycling

4/25/2009

Nice dinner at Drago

Filed under: — stan @ 11:50 pm

For several years I’ve known Silvio from the Sunday morning bicycle club rides. About a year ago he mentioned that he manages Drago in Santa Monica, and he said I should come out some time for dinner. So tonight was the night.

We made an afternoon of is. Shari and I did some costume and jewelry shopping across Hollywood on the way out there. And when we got there, a table was ready and waiting for us. After looking at the menu, we decided to go for the prix fixe menu. Silvio said he would pick the wine for us. He selected and comped us a very nice bottle of Sicilian red wine that was very good, and went well with the filet mignon and lamb chops we had picked.

At the end, he brought us a special dessert sampler, which was all very good. Overall, it was a very fun little evening.

4/12/2009

Sunday afternoon, with leather

Filed under: — stan @ 11:22 pm

On Sunday afternoon, I went over to Santa Fe Dam to join some of my friends at the Renaissance Faire. They’d decided to meet there en masse today. Little did we know that Easter Sunday is the busiest day of the year at the park there.

The trip out there was easy, until we got to the corner of Irwindale and Arrow Highway. This is nowhere near the actual entrance, but the line of cars waiting to get in was all the way back there. We sat in line for about 45 minutes to get to the front. Then the police closed the entrance and put up a sign saying it was full. So we drove down to where the bike path goes over the dam. I was thinking we might be able to park there and bushwhack over the dam to the fair. But there was no place to park there. So as a last-ditch attempt we went and parked on one of the streets by the chemical plants behind the Miller brewery. I knew that there was a back entrance to the park there. I figured we could walk in from there. There was plenty of parking there, but the walk in turned out to be something like 1.5 miles. But it was a nice day, so it wasn’t too bad.

When we got there, we got our tickets and went in. The plan had been to meet at noon, and it was 1:45. But it turned out that everyone else had had a similarly epic journey to get there. So we were able to meet up with the group at a picnic table in the shade. It made for a very pleasant setting to watch the cavalcade of weirdness passing by.

At the end of the afternoon, we hitched a ride out with a couple from the group who had gotten there early and had their car into the parking lot. But even that was a epic journey. It took us something like 45 minutes to cover the 1.5 miles back to my car.

When we got to my car, I started it up and started to back out of the parking space. Then I heard it make a weird SNAP noise. And it would not go into reverse. I ended up having to push it out, which was difficult, since the front wheels were in the gutter at the side of the road. Fortunately, I was able to rock it back and forth enough to get out. Then I used my bicycle-riding-up-hills-in-stupid-high-gears muscles to push the car out far enough to be able to get out going forward. It was a very weird ending to a weird afternoon. So to celebrate the weirdness, we went to Kabuki in Pasadena for sushi. Yum.

It was both a very weird and very fun afternoon.

4/10/2009

Friday night on Mt Hollywood

Filed under: — stan @ 10:55 pm

Tonight I went with the hiking group on yet another hike up Mt Hollywood. On the way up, I realized that I’d done this same Friday night hike this weekend last year. And that weekend turned out to be quite fun and memorable.

We took a rather steep route up, which was actually great fun. When we got to the top, we all pulled out wine and food, and we had a little party.

On the way down, I chatted with a woman in the group, and I told her my story about living in Texas, and how I decided that I don’t hate Texas any more.

It was a nice way to end the week..


3/14/2009

Under the Sea and up on the rocks

Filed under: — stan @ 9:24 pm


This afternoon, Susan and I took Lucinda and her friend to the California Science Center IMAX theater to see “Under the Sea 3-D”. We’ve been fans of the 3-D IMAX movies since going to see “Sea Monsters” last year.

When we got there, Lucinda had to try lifting the truck at the lever demonstration exhibit in the parking lot. Today was the first time that she was big enough to be able to lift it.

The movie was good, although it was a bit odd, since it was narrated by Jim Carrey. I guess he’s trying to stretch his dramatic range a bit.

After the movie, we went into the museum. Lucinda and her friend wanted to try the rock climbing wall. Apparently, it’s harder than it looks, since they only made it about halfway up. We looked around the museum a bit more before they closed. Then we headed home, after the obligatory stop in the gift shop.

It was a nice afternoon, and marks the first time that Susan and I have taken Lucinda somewhere together.

Pictures are in her photo album.

2/16/2009

Yet another day at Disneyland

Filed under: — stan @ 12:03 am

I took Lucinda and her friend Claire to Disneyland today. I still think it’s a bit amazing that I’m willing to go to Disneyland, but in any event, we had a fun time. Most of the pictures are in Lucinda’s photo album.

We rode lots of rides, and it was actually a very fun day. And I got a big pickle.

1/31/2009

Bahooka!

Filed under: — stan @ 10:55 pm

This evening I met up with Susan and her father for dinner. He’s visiting her for the Super Bowl, and we all went out for dinner at The Bahooka in Rosemead. I’d seen this place every time I took the dogs to the kennel before trips last summer, and it looked like an interesting experience. And it was.

We had martinis at the bar before sitting down for dinner. While we were at the bar, we were all fascinated by the soft-shell turtle in one of the fish tanks below the bar. I never knew that a turtle could have such a long neck. When we sat for dinner we all had the ribs, which were quite good.

It was a fun evening.

1/23/2009

What could be more timely?

Filed under: — stan @ 6:46 am

Divorce! The Musical
Given all that’s going on in my life right now, could this new show be any more timely? A card came in the mail the other day for “Divorce! The Musical“.

On the web site, they say:

There’s a great saying: tragedy plus time equals comedy. If you’ve ever been divorced, then you know this is true.

DIVORCE! depicts a journey many of us have shared– a journey through sadness, bitterness, irony and above all, that miraculous ability we all have to heal, forgive and move on.

And the Playbill article linked from the site says:

According to production notes, “Set in present-day Los Angeles, Divorce! The Musical takes us on Penny and Rich’s journey, as their fairy-tale marriage unravels. Denial, deception, and raw outrage collide with greedy lawyers, dramatically inclined family members, mountains of paperwork and out-to-lunch therapists. Divorce! The Musical reminds us that laughing in the face of tragedy can sometimes be the best way to move on.”

Musical numbers include “Till Death Do Us Part,” “I’m Living In My Parents’ Basement And My Friends Forgot My Name” and “Half.”

This sounds like a hoot. Even though my divorce process is nowhere near finished, I’m ready to laugh about it.

12/21/2008

Neon lights for the holidays

Filed under: — stan @ 11:54 pm

Tonight, Susan and I went on the Museum of Neon Art’s Holiday Lights tour. Being that it’s December, and the tour was after dark, it was cold by L.A. standards. We dressed warmly and brought along a couple of blankets, since the whole tour is conducted from the upper deck of a double-decker sightseeing bus.

It was a tremendously entertaining tour, but sadly, it didn’t transfer into photographs well. To take good photos at night, the camera has to be on a rock-solid platform to hold it steady enough. And the upper deck of the bus just wasn’t a steady enough platform. So if you want to see the lights, you’ll just have to take the tour. But it was certainly Great Fun.

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