Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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4/8/2008

Greek meets Geek

Filed under: — stan @ 11:26 pm

The Caltech campus gets filmed a lot for movies and TV shows. Today, they had the end of one of the buildings dressed up to look like the entrance to a basketball arena. And they were filming just outside. There were banners for the fictitious Cyprus Rhodes University from the TV show “Greek“. They’ve filmed this on campus before. There was a night some time ago when the house that my office is in was used as a frat house for this show.

I think it’s funny that the show “Greek” is being filmed on a campus that’s more known for “Geek”.

They didn’t have any signs saying to stay out of their staged pep rally, so I rode my bike through it to get work.

4/4/2008

Dearly Departed

Filed under: — stan @ 10:55 pm

Today was a special day. I took a day off work to go and take the Dearly Departed Tragical History Tour of Hollywood. I had recently found out that my friend Sherri shares my interest in Hollywood history and celebrity death. So we went on the tour together.

First, we met for lunch at Musso and Frank, since that’s Hollywood’s oldest restaurant, and many of the old-time movie stars who are stops on the tour had eaten there. We sat in one of the small booths and had our lunch before walking down the block to the tour meeting place.

The tour was great fun. We started off seeing one of the costumed characters who stand in front of the Chinese Theater. He was dressed as Batman, and he was carrying a McDonald’s bag. The McDonald’s bag was surely the detail that made it funny.

Early stops on the tour included the apartment where Bela Lugosi lived in his final days. Also the house alleged to have been the site of the Black Dahlia murder. And the La Bianca house where the Manson Family began their rampage back in 1969.

The next picture shows the house where Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio lived during their short marriage. Nearby was George Burns’s house, complete with his initials in the concrete driveway.

The tour includes one bathroom break in a park in Beverly Hills. The one where George Michael was arrested for lewd behavior back in 1998. We all took turns getting souvenir pictures by the bathroom entrance.

We took a turn up into the hills to see Ozzy Osbourne’s old house, which was featured on “The Osbournes“. Then we came back down into Hollywood, passing the apartment where Dee Dee Ramone lived and died.

Overall, this was great fun, and made for a perfect afternoon getaway. I was able to forget for several hours the utter disarray and awfulness of my life. So this was a Good Thing.

We’re going to go back, too. He does a special Helter Skelter tour once in a while, and that’s surely not to be missed.

3/27/2008

15 seconds of fame!

Filed under: — stan @ 6:42 am

couch
The Los Angeles Times “L.A. Now” blog featured the Abandoned Couches blog yesterday. While it’s not my invention, I am an occasional contributor to that site. The L.A. Times entry even linked to one of my couches.

3/26/2008

Climbing Mt Hollywood

Filed under: — stan @ 12:14 am

It’s Tuesday, so it was time for another evening hike in Griffith Park. I’ve been doing these hikes for several weeks now, both to socialize and to get out of the house. It’s all part of my Master Plan to deal with a world gone mad.

Tonight’s hike was up Mt Hollywood, which is the highest point in Griffith Park. Most of the hike was on fire roads. On the way up, we took a detour up a steep foot trail, but the trip down was all on roads, since the footing is generally better there for walking in the dark.

I got a picture with Susan, since we were the two on the hike who had shirts with snarky sayings on them. And when we got to the top, I took a picture of the mist creeping through Cahuenga Pass with the sunset in the background. That was nice.

Overall, it was a fun time.

3/16/2008

Fargo Street 2008

Filed under: — stan @ 9:46 pm

Sunday’s bike ride was down into Echo Park in Los Angeles to see and possibly attempt the Fargo Street Hill Climb. This is an annual event where people attempt to ride up the steepest street in Los Angeles. It’s about 33%, which is terrifying by bicycle standards. Last fall, after I beat Newton up Turnbull Canyon I was thinking I would make another attempt on Fargo Street this spring. But with the unpleasantness at home and such, I pretty much gave up on that. But it was still fun to go watch.

The day was chilly, and rather windy. It felt like we were fighting a headwind all the way there. That made the ride down there a bit of a trial. But when we got there, we got to see the spectacle of people trying to climb that hill. The first picture is one I took of a guy trying the hill. The second picture is the same as the first, but rotated so that it is actually properly oriented. Look at the wall of the garage in the background. That gives an idea of just how steep this hill is.

A couple of guys in our group tried, but neither one made it. I think the farthest the made was about 3/4 of the way up, which is about how far I got when I tried it in 2005. And you can see how that turned out for me in the bike photo album. I was curious about two things: I thought that letting some air out of the tires to make them soft would help with traction on the hill. Gaurav tried this, and he said that it did help, but he still just wasn’t able to make the top. The second was my idea of riding part-way up and then stopping to do a trackstand to rest for a bit. I was curious to see if I could do a trackstand on a hill that steep. I rode one block over to Baxter Street and tried it. But the hill was just too steep, and I couldn’t deal with it. So that was that for any thoughts I had of trying it this year. Maybe next year, when things are better. I’ll practice on Nolden Street in Eagle Rock.

After watching for a while, we headed home. Not surprisingly, it felt like we had a headwind going back, too. Still, it was a fun ride.

39 miles.
cycling

3/14/2008

The Art Ride

Filed under: — stan @ 11:27 pm

Tonight is Art Night in Pasadena. And there was a group doing a bike ride around to visit all the museums. So, in the interest of getting out of the house and having some fun, I put the light on my bike and headed over there.

The group met in the courtyard at One Colorado. It was a pretty big group. We started out riding to the Norton Simon Museum, which I’d never been to before. We had about 30 minutes there before going on to the Pasadena History Museum. The exhibit there was about the history of the purse. A bit odd, but very entertaining. Then, on to the Armory Center for the Arts. The collection there was more to my liking, with lots of very strange pieces, and some that were outright disturbing.

There was a short interlude at the main Pasadena Public Library. They had coffee and snacks there. A very nice woman I’d met on the ride bought me a chocolate-chip cookie there, which was very sweet. Both the woman and the cookie, that is.

Next and last was a double at the Pasadena Museum of California Art and the Pacific Asia Museum. The PMCA was very nice, and had a lot of interesting pieces. Also, I got a nice picture of Pasadena City Hall off the roof there. And that was the rest of our evening. By the time we all trooped over to the Asia Museum, it was 10:00 and they were shutting the doors.

Still, it was a very fun time.

3/13/2008

More baby hummingbird

Filed under: — stan @ 8:23 pm

baby hummingbird
I went up on the garage roof again today to get another picture of the baby hummingbird.

3/11/2008

Night hiking in Griffith Park

Filed under: — stan @ 11:18 pm

This evening, I did a night hike in Griffith Park in Los Angeles. Since Gene’s accident last November, I’ve been trying to do a bit more weight-bearing exercise. And besides, this is a good excuse to get out of the house.

I joined a hiking club that I found through meetup.com. We met at the parking lot by the merry-go-round, and headed up the hill. When we started out, it was dusk, but there was still a fair bit of light. But it got darker as we went up. We saw a nice sunset over the Griffith Park Observatory on the way up.

By the time we got to the top, it was pretty dark, but that was all right. We took in the view of city lights all around us, and then we headed down. We had to be bit careful on the way down, since it was hard to see, but most of the hike was on dirt fire roads, so it wasn’t particularly tricky. And overall, it was a fun time.

3/9/2008

Baby hummingbird update

Filed under: — stan @ 3:51 pm

baby hummingbirdI took a peek into the hummingbird nest in the back yard again today. I wanted to see if the baby hummingbirds were still there. I saw one baby hummingbird, and it’s getting quite large.

And again, my camera rocks. I took the picture from up on the garage roof, using the full 12x zoom with manual focus and the camera mounted on a tripod for stability.

2/29/2008

Hummingbird update

Filed under: — stan @ 9:06 pm

Here’s an update on the hummingbird nest in our back yard.

The hummingbird’s eggs have hatched. Lucinda and I took a quick peek inside the nest when she left to go feed. And there they are. They must have just hatched. This should be interesting to watch. And I hope they won’t be too bothered by having a bunch of kids in the yard tomorrow for Lucinda’s birthday party.

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