Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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Filed under: — stan @ 6:36 am

Just a couple of parrot pictures. There is a large colony of feral parrots that live somewhere nearby, and I see them around my house most days. So I tried taking a few pictures of them just for fun.

As always, my camera rocks.


The big shakeout

Filed under: — stan @ 6:40 pm

Today was the media event for the start of the Southern California Shakeout. This is an exercise to see if we can collectively deal with a M7.8 earthquake on the southern San Andreas Fault. This is the ‘Big One‘ that they have been telling us about for some years now.

They had an animation showing the waves traveling across southern California in real time, showing just how long the earthquake would last. It was impressive. Most earthquakes we’ve dealt with recently are over in seconds. The Big One will last something like three minutes.

Have I mentioned lately that I really like my job?


Friday night in Griffith Park

Filed under: — stan @ 10:54 pm

On Friday night, Susan and I went to Griffith park to do one of the evening hikes. Tonight’s was up Glendale Peak, which is one of the small mountains in the park. I’ve done this one before, but it’s a pleasant hike. And it’s also a good way for us to get some weight-bearing exercise.

On the way to the start of the hike, we saw a lone coyote hanging around in one of the parking lots in the park. On the way up, we saw a small frog in a little puddle on the side of the trail. And a bit later, we saw a couple of deer running around just above us on the hill.

By the time we were close to the top, it was dusk, and so we got a picture with the city lights and Griffith Observatory in the background.

The trip down was nice, since it was cooling off by then. And the nearly-full moon was plenty of light to see by.

It was a fun evening.


Nerd Fun at JPL

Filed under: — stan @ 9:35 pm

After the bike ride this morning, Susan and I went to the JPL Open House. Bein’ nerds and all, this was great fun.

We saw models of the three generations of Mars rovers, from the tiny Sojourner to the current Spirit and Opportunity rovers, and the relatively huge Mars Science Laboratory rover. They also had photos of Mars in 3-D. They gave all of us anaglyph 3-D glasses to use for viewing these.

We got our picture taken with the Sergeant missile. We also had a laugh at the “Rover Xing” signs. One building had a small exhibit of art projected on blocks of aerogel. And outside they had a rover demonstration where the rover drove over kids lying on the ground.

Finally, we got our picture taken in 3-D on Mars. It was a fun afternoon.


Greeks, Geeks, and a Fuel Cell Car

Filed under: — stan @ 8:11 pm

Just a couple of random things I saw and found amusing:

Yesterday, they were filming “Greek” again on campus at Caltech. It’s weird to be riding my bike across campus and suddenly see things in the middle of the sidewalk that I know are just props. And it’s always funny to see a familiar place dressed up as something different. It wasn’t quite as dramatic as the last time I saw them filming this on campus, but the bulletin board kiosks on the sidewalk were kind of jarring to see. Especially since if I wasn’t paying attention, I’d have run into one of them.

Later, when I was going out for the evening, I saw a GM fuel cell car on the road. I’d seen a couple of these parked behind the GM Training Center in Burbank back in February. So it was interesting to see one out on the road. It was very quiet.


A fun Saturday night

Filed under: — stan @ 10:51 pm

I didn’t say anything about the time between Saturday’s bike ride and Sunday’s bike ride. It was a very fun time. But it wasn’t the sort of fun that I can talk about here. So here’s the officially sanitized version.
redacted report

View from the playground

Filed under: — stan @ 9:21 pm

This morning, when I dropped Lucinda off at school, this is what I saw from the playground at the school.

The fire in Santa Anita Canyon was crossing a ridge about 2 miles away. It was a bit unnerving to see actual flames on the mountain that close to the school. But the word tonight is that they are gaining ground on the fire, and school will be open tomorrow. So I guess that’s a Good Thing.


Urban hiking in Griffith Park

Filed under: — stan @ 10:28 pm

I’ve been doing the Tuesday night hikes in Griffith Park lately. It’s fun, and interesting to see what’s in the park right here in the city. Tonight was a different hike, where we went and looked for an old trail that was burned out in last year’s fires. We went up a fire road for part of the way, and then struck out on a faint trail up a ridge, just overlooking the Golden State Freeway. Such is urban hiking. We can be walking up the side of a mountain, but listening to the roar of a freeway. But we got a nice view of downtown L.A. at dusk, which was nice.


The Museum of Neon Art is back again

Filed under: — stan @ 9:16 pm

I got my renewed membership card for the Museum of Neon Art last week. They just reopened the museum in a new space on 4th St in downtown Los Angeles. And tonight, they had a reception for the new exhibits. I went down there with Susan from the morning bike ride, since we’d talked about it while riding up the canyon. With a membership, we got in free, and we got to enjoy some wine and snacks while looking at all the neon.

The new space is a very funky one. It looks like it used to be the lobby of a hotel in years gone by. There were big holes in the ceiling, and lots of new electrical wiring on the walls to power all the neon lights. It’s a bit smaller than the old space at Olympic and Hope, but it’s all right. They are still looking for a larger and more permanent space for the museum in the future.

The exhibits included one of soda neon signs, some regular neon artwork, and also a collection of photos of old soda advertising signs. It was pretty entertaining, and we had a nice time looking at it. And maybe in the summer, we will go on one of their neon cruises around the city.


Mt Hollywood on a Friday night

Filed under: — stan @ 11:08 pm

On Friday night, I went with the L.A. Hiking meetup group for an evening hike up Mt Hollywood in Griffith Park. This is a pleasant little hike. Just enough to get warmed up, but not too hard. And doing it in the evening is nice, since it’s cool, and the views are nice.

On the way up, we took a combination of fire roads and some smaller trails. It was still daylight, so there was no problem finding footing on the trails. By the time we got to the top, it was just after sunset. Everyone had brought food and wine and such, and we had a little party on top of the mountain while looking down at the city lights.

Coming down, we took the fire roads all the way. By then, it was pretty dark, so the roads are easier to follow.

It was a fun little diversion on a Friday night.

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