Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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6/19/2011

Another trip to San Diego

Filed under: — stan @ 10:31 pm

This past weekend, Kathleen, Lucinda and I went to San Diego to visit my father, see the seals, and also visit the zoo.

We drove down there on Saturday morning. We had lunch with Grandpa, and then we went to La Jolla to see the seals. Sadly, there were few seals to be seen. The anti-seal people were asserting their ‘right’ to use the beach, and they scared most of the seals away. There were a couple swimming around just offshore, but most of them were camped out on a rock some distance out.

This was a big disappointment. Every time we go to San Diego, we make a point to go see the seals, and we’re there to see seals. We can look at people at any one of the many beaches in San Diego, but there’s only one where we can see seals.

After that minor fiasco, we went back and took Grandpa to Prado in Balboa Park for dinner. We go a bottle of The Pessimist wine with dinner. I kind of expected the bottle to be half-empty. As always, the food was great. We had a nice time there.

On Sunday morning, we went back to La Jolla. The seals usually come ashore by sunset, since the people leave then, and they’re usually still on the beach in the morning. But not today. There were already people on the beach, and the seals were scared away again. We saw some of them in the water, and a lot were on the same rock offshore, but there were none on the beach.

We took a walk and saw some sea lions on the rocks just a little bit north of the seal beach. We also visited Sunny Jim Cave. We’ve been there several times now, and they guy who runs the cave store remembered us.

After that, we went back to visit Grandpa again. My aunt and uncle had come to visit for the day, so we all went to lunch at Costa Brava in Pacific Beach.

On Sunday afternoon, Kathleen, Lucinda and I went to the San Diego Zoo. This was my first time there since 1987, and Lucinda was interested in seeing the giant pandas. We had a nice time there.

The pictures of the seals and sea lions at La Jolla Cove, as well as the zoo pictures, are all here:

animal pictures

Lucinda’s pictures are here.

6/9/2011

Art Walk

Filed under: — stan @ 10:38 pm

Tonight was the monthly Art Walk in downtown Los Angeles. We’d gone to this back in April, and it was a fun time. Lucinda and I went downtown and met up with Kathleen there. We made the rounds of the galleries and the food trucks. We got ice cream from the Lake Street Creamery, which was good, as always. We found the Grilled Cheese Truck, but sadly, the line for it was too long. I suppose that’s a recommendation. The Lobsta Truck also had a really long line.

We started out the evening at the Museum of Neon Art, since this is their last week downtown before they move to their new home in Glendale. From there, we just sort of randomly wandered around, looking in the galleries. There was lots of nice art, some old signs, and lots of neon. One of the galleries was in the old Los Angeles Stock Exchange, which was a very ornate and interesting building. There were even swastikas decorating one of the very old bank buildings on Spring Street.

All told, it was a fun evening.

5/15/2011

Viva Las Vegas

Filed under: — stan @ 10:12 pm

I’ve been to Las Vegas twice in the last two years, both times to compete in the Stratosphere Tower stair climb. Each time, after I came back, Lucinda said that she wanted to go there. So this weekend, we did just that. Lucinda and I took a trip to Las Vegas with Kathleen and her daughter Trinh. It was a pretty free-form affair. We had two rooms reserved at the Stratosphere, and the only planned activities were riding the three big roller coasters. Beyond that, it was all open.

We headed out early Friday afternoon. That put us ahead of the Friday afternoon traffic, and it got us there a bit early. That meant that we had time to stop off at the state line and ride the Desperado roller coaster at Buffalo Bill’s in Primm. As always, Lucinda was a bit apprehensive, but afterward, she said that she liked it. So that was good.

When we got to Las Vegas, we checked in and then went to dinner at The Peppermill. Kathleen and I had gone there back in March when we were there for the stair climb, and we liked it. After that, we all took a walk down the Strip, since the girls wanted to do some sightseeing. Along the way, a homeless man christened Lucinda with a new nickname: “Pebbles”. After that, we went back to the Stratosphere and took a ride up the tower. At the top, we took in the view and had a look at the rides and all the lights from the city.

On Saturday morning, Lucinda and Trinh went to the Premium Outlet downtown to shop for swimsuits. And after that, they went to the pool. So that left me and Kathleen to our own devices. I got up early and went to do some stair climbing with my friend Randy. We went to Fitzgerald’s in downtown. Apparently, this is the hotel that the fire department trains in, so they don’t have a problem with people coming in there to run the stairs. We did the 33 floors four times, which was fun in its own weird way. Stair climbing is still the most painful thing I’ve ever done, but I still like it. I really can’t explain that.

After the stair climbing, Kathleen and I went out for some sightseeing and visiting. We had found out that my old tattoo artist, Dave Zero has a shop just about two blocks from the Stratosphere. So we took a walk up there to go see him. After that, we spent the rest of the afternoon there doing more typical Las Vegas-y things.

When dinner time arrived, we walked back to the Stratosphere and got the car. Then we headed down to Circus Circus to meet the girls there. We were all going to ride the Canyon Blaster roller coaster in the Adventuredome amusement park. We rode the coaster twice, since it was a pretty fun ride. Then we all went to dinner there before heading downtown. We’d seen an article about the Neon Museum and how they had a display of old neon signs on Fremont St in downtown. Since I’d never been there since they’d built the Fremont Street Experience, it seemed like it could be a lot of fun.

When we got there, the girls saw the zipline down Fremont St, and they all wanted to do it. I wasn’t really in the mood for it, so they went without me. While they waited in line, and I scoped out where to stand to get the best pictures when they came down the wire. My new camera has a low-light mode that works pretty well. They enjoyed their ride, and all in all, it was a very fun evening.

On Sunday, we checked out of the hotel and headed over to Randy and Lynn’s house for a barbecue. The girls went in the pool with their kids. Lucinda got a little sunburned, but aside from that, it was a good time. After that, we stopped off at Luv-It for some frozen custard. Yum. Then we went to New York, New York to ride the roller coaster there. But sadly, the wind had picked up enough that they’d closed the ride, so that will have to wait for next time.

By now, the girls were tired, and it was time to head for home. It was a fun weekend.

4/6/2011

Stairway to Leaden

Filed under: — stan @ 8:45 pm

I somehow managed to convince Lucinda to try doing one of the Aon building practice climbs with me today. We took the train downtown and got suited up to go.

I gave her a four-minute head start, so that I’d pass her somewhere along the way, but not too early in the climb. As it turned out, I caught her at about the 40th floor.

I was doing all right up to about 40 or 45, but then I was once again overcome with a wave of “OMG what the HELL was I thinking when I signed up for this.” I made it to the top, but I don’t know what my time was. I thought I knew how to use the split time feature on my stopwatch, but in my 60th-floor-delirium I must have pushed the wrong button. By the time I was recovered enough to look at the watch, I saw it was still running. So my time was probably a bit below 11 minutes, but I don’t know by how much. I just know it was nowhere near my best practice times.

I went back into the stairs to see Lucinda as she came up the last flights. I could see her when she was about five flights down from the top. Apparently, this was quite a bit harder than the 30-story stair climb we did in San Diego. That time, she was smiling when she came out at the top. But this time, she looked a bit like this:

cat
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

In the end, her time was 18:42, which is not bad at all. But she did say that it was the hardest thing she’s ever done, and I can’t disagree with that.

2/28/2011

There’s nothing cuter than baby seals

Filed under: — stan @ 10:39 pm

This past weekend, Kathleen, Lucinda and I took a trip to San Diego. We went down on Saturday morning, and after lunch with Grandpa, we went to the cove and saw the baby seals. The pupping season for the seals runs from the end of January to the beginning of March, so we wanted to see the newborn seals on the beach.

It was a fun time. There were quite a few babies there, and I was able to get some good pictures.

After seeing the seals, we walked over to Sunny Jim Cave and took the walk down the tunnel to the cave.

It was a fun weekend.

The seal pictures are here:

baby seal

Lucinda’s pictures from the weekend are in her photo album.

2/27/2011

A veritable walk in the park

Filed under: — stan @ 10:16 pm

As part of our weekend in San Diego, I managed to convince both Lucinda and Kathleen to try a stair climb. The Lung Association had one there at the Omni Hotel downtown. It was a short one – only 31 stories. And as I always say, “How hard could it be?”

We went down there on Sunday morning and got our numbers. Then we wandered around a bit before we found the starting line, which was a the back door outside behind the hotel’s main entrance. There was a group of firemen in full gear getting ready to go. They let me go ahead of them, although a few had already started up. I went first, and Lucinda and Kathleen started just after me.

I caught and passed the firemen about halfway up. I also passed a couple of other people. I’d set my metronome on 90. I figured I needed to crank the pace up, since the race was so short.

I thought that the finish line was on 32, so I’d planned on starting my final sprint to the finish at the landing just above 30. But then it turned out that the finish was on 31, so I only got in a short burst at the end before I came out at the top. I took in the view for a couple of minutes before Lucinda and Kathleen got there. They both said that it wasn’t as hard as they’d expected.

After that, we all went back down to the bottom to see the results. My time was 4:03, which was all right, but not spectacular. For a long time, I was in second place in the 50-59 group, but then two guys in the last group to climb beat my time and pushed me down to 4th. So no medal for me this time. But Lucinda got one. Her time was 7:13, and that was good for 3rd place in the 10-19 age group.

Overall, it was a fun time.

Results are here: raceresults.eternaltiming.com/index.cfm/20110227_Fight_For_Air_Stair_Climb_-_San_Diego.htm


2/21/2011

Yo Ho Yo Ho… well, you know the rest

Filed under: — stan @ 10:32 pm

Today was a holiday for Pasadena schools and also for people who work for the government. So that meant another trip to Disneyland. This time it was me, Kathleen, Lucinda, and Lucinda’s friend London.

When we got there, we headed for Lucinda’s favorite ride: California Screamin’. We rode it twice before lunch and twice more afterward.

After that, the girls decided it was time to go to Disneyland. So we walked over and rode the Matterhorn. Then we went and got Fast Passes so the girls could drive the Autopia cars. They were not good for a bit more than an hour, so we split up. Kathleen and I bit the proverbial bullet and stood in line for Space Mountain. The ride must have broken down briefly while we were in the line, since we spent a lot of time standing in one spot. And even the Fast Pass line got long. But they got it running again and we got on. It was still fun.

When we got out, it was time for the girls to drive at Autopia. Lucinda was very pleased to see that she’d grown enough to drive. So they went off to do that and Kathleen and I took a monorail ride. When we got back, the girls were done driving, but they wanted to go again. Since we’d gotten four passes, they could do that. This time, we just stayed nearby to watch them on the ride. We also got to see a kid barf. It was just like being in a John Waters movie.

By now it was close to getting dark. So we went back to California Adventure and rode California Screamin’ one more time. Then the girls rode the Silly Symphony Swings a couple of times before we called it a day.

We all walked over the Downtown Disney. Sadly, our traditional restaurant was booked up solid, so we had to find a Plan B. The Uva Bar and Cafe had an outdoor area that wasn’t crowded, and we had a patio heater, so it wasn’t bad at all. So we had a nice dinner there before heading home.

It was a very fun day.

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

1/8/2011

Cirque Berzerk

Filed under: — stan @ 11:42 pm

This evening, Kathleen, Lucinda and I went to see Cirque Berzerk again. I’d taken Lucinda to see them two summers ago. Apparently, they’ve moved uptown since then. The shows that time were in their tent, set up in the middle of a field outside downtown Los Angeles. This time, they were performing at Club Nokia at L.A. Live.

The show was every bit as much fun as it was before. The story line was basically the same, but the acrobatics were a little different, but still very impressive. Kathleen remarked that it was much more theatrical than she’d expected. As I’d told her, their show sort of defies description. But it’s very, very fun.

It was good fun and a weird evening in all the right ways.

1/6/2011

Another day at Disneyland

Filed under: — stan @ 10:27 pm

School doesn’t start again until Monday, so I took Lucinda and her friend Maddy to Disneyland today. It was a nice day, and we had a good time. It wasn’t too crowded, although it wasn’t as empty as it was when we were there back in September. Still, we got to ride California Screamin’ eight times. And we even saw the ‘hidden Mickey’ on it.

We spent the whole day there, and we had a nice time. To finish off, we had our now-traditional dinner at the Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney.

It was good fun.

Addendum: The rest of the pictures from the day are here.

12/20/2010

Holiday’s a comin’

Filed under: — stan @ 10:53 pm

Lucinda and Suzie and I are ready for the holidays now.

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