Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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1/11/2019

Brown Mountain

Filed under: — stan @ 3:27 pm

Today was yet another furlough-cation hike for our little USGS and Forest Service group. This time, we did the Brown Mountain loop trail above JPL. It was cool, but still a nice day. The trail is very popular with mountain bike people, and we saw a lot of them along the way.

On the way up, Nicholas saw some old mylar balloons in the brush a bit off the trail. That got us started, and we were looking for more, and in the end he was able to find something like seven old balloons. When we got to the top, we sat down and had lunch. Then we continued on down the rest of the loop. We saw several deer crossing the trail ahead of us along the way. They ran away before I could get the camera out, but I did see some little hoof prints on the trail.

All told, this was a good way to spend yet another furlough day.

7.6 miles

Route map and elevation profile

1/9/2019

Josephine Peak

Filed under: — stan @ 5:40 pm

It’s now the third week of the government shutdown, and Karina is back in L.A., so we’re going on the traditional furlough-cation hikes. We did this during the 2013 shutdown, and it was a good way to fill the time.

Today’s hike was Josephine Peak. I’ve doing this one once before, but that was back in 1995, so it’s been a while. The trail is a fire road, so it’s not terribly difficult. The road wraps around the mountain, so we got lots of good views in all directions. At the top, we sat down for some lunch. There used to be a fire lookout at the summit, so the foundations of it made a good place to sit.

8 miles.

I forgot my GPS, so I don’t have a map this time.

6/15/2018

The Donald J. Trump Presidential Twitter Library

Filed under: — stan @ 3:47 pm

Last week on “The Daily Show”, Trevor Noah mentioned that they were going to have the Donald J. Trump Presidential Twitter Library in Los Angeles for two weekends. Since I took Thursday off to go to Santa Cruz to fetch Lucinda, I also took Friday off, just because I have a ton of leave that needs to be used. So I figured that today would be a good day to make the trip to West Hollywood to go see this.

Right at the entrance, they had the Trump Nickname Generator. Everyone ran the generator, and then was given a little nametag. Mine said that my Trump nickname was “Total Amateur Stan”.

Next to the nickname generator, there was a timeline of Trump twitter, all the way back to his first tweet on May 4, 2009. There was a display analyzing his tweets by the number of mentions of people, of numbers of times he used particular words, and topics that tweets were about.

Possibly the highlight of the museum was the little Oval Office set, complete with American and Russian flags, a desk, and a golden toilet. Everyone wanted to get their picture taken sitting on the golden toilet.

In the corner, they had the Trump Inauguration cake. The cake was made of styrofoam, covered in fondant icing, with only a small sliver of actual cake in one spot on the bottom layer.

The “SAD!” retrospective was also very funny. Just a sampling of the many things Trump has deemed to be “SAD!” over the years.

Overall, this was all tremendously funny. It had to be, since the actual underlying reality of it is pretty horrifying.

1/21/2017

Can you spot the theme here?

Filed under: — stan @ 2:08 pm

As I tell everyone, we’re really quite appalled by what’s happening in our country now. So we joined up with a few hundred thousand of our best friends and went to downtown L.A. to yell about it.

3/21/2011

I can haz redistribution?

Filed under: — stan @ 8:00 am

Which kitteh are you?

Political Pictures - Economics Starring Kittehs and Pizza!
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12/4/2010

It’s about time…

Filed under: — stan @ 8:03 am

In today’s L.A. Times, I see this:

California motorists who spend little time on the road could pay significantly lower insurance premiums with new “pay-as-you-drive” auto policies starting in February.

Now, why couldn’t this have come along back in the days when I was only driving 1,000 miles a year? I even read an article about this two years ago saying it was going to be available Real Soon. I did the math once, and there were years where I used my car so little that the cost of my insurance worked out to something like $20 for every time I took it out of the garage.

And Proposition 103 said that insurance rates should be based on miles driven and driving record, rather than on ZIP code. That passed back in 1988. And it took 22 years to actually put it into effect? WTF?

I’m still going to look into it. I rarely drive to work, so I’m still on a low-car diet compared to most people in L.A.

6/25/2010

Disneyland for Graduation

Filed under: — stan @ 11:04 pm

Thursday was the last day for school for Lucinda, and her last day of elementary school. She’s off to middle school next year. So of course, that meant it was time for another trip to Disneyland.

We went down there and met our friend Mike, who let us in with his pass. He’s been telling Lucinda that she should try riding California Screamin’. He’s been telling her that for at least a year, but so far she hadn’t done it. I rode it back in May just so I could tell her what it was like. I thought that today would be the day.

When we got back there, I got us Fast Passes for it, and then we went to ride Mulholland Madness. That’s a kind of silly little rollercoaster, and it’s kind of rough. The brakes on it are very harsh. But with that as a warmup, we headed back to California Screamin’.

We went through the short line and got on. But at the last minute, Lucinda got cold feet and walked across to the exit platform. So it was just me and Maddy. I got out my camera and we were off. The first ride was a bit weird, since at one point I looked down and saw that my hat, which was on the floor by my feet was missing its band. I thought it had been blown off by the wind, so I spent the last 2/3 of the ride reaching down there trying to find it. So I kind of missed most of the ride.

In the end, it turned out that the hatband had come off, but it was sewed to the hat on one side, so it didn’t get lost.

Of course, this meant we had to ride it again.

The second time, Lucinda almost sat down to ride, but at the last second she walked across. She said she would ride it for sure the next time we come. In the meantime, I put my hat in the little pouch in front of the seat, so I knew it was secure, and I could pay attention to what was going on this time. I had one weird introspective moment when we were going down the big second hill. I was thinking, “I used to hate rides like this. But now… Wheeeeee!!!” I had the camera out to get an upside-down picture on the loop, and I also made a point to look out to the side just to watch the world flip over. That was novel.

After that, we walked over to Disneyland and rode the Matterhorn. While the girls waited in the line, I walked over to Space Mountain to get Fast Passes, but they were giving ones for 10:00 that night already. So I knew that if we were going to ride it, we’d just have to bite the proverbial bullet and wait in line. Which we did. And it was a fun time, even if we did have to wait 45 minutes for it.

Next, we rode Big Thunder Mountain twice, once through Pirates, and even did the Indiana Jones ride. Lucinda had done that one once before, about two years ago, and she didn’t like it then. But this time she thought it was all right.

Finally, after the requisite stop in the gift shop, we headed over the the Jazz Kitchen for dinner and a souvenir photo.

It was a very fun day.

7/1/2009

Good thing we ate beforehand…

Filed under: — stan @ 10:53 pm

food, inc
Tonight, Leslie and I went to see “Food, Inc“. This is the new documentary about the American food system, how it works, what’s in it, who controls it, and all those unsavory details. Think, “Super Size Me” meets “The Corporation“. Yick. Fortunately, I’d made us a nice home-cooked dinner before we went, since this film has a way of killing one’s appetite. Still, it was a good film, and definitely worth seeing.

11/5/2008

Last night

Filed under: — stan @ 6:04 pm

Last night Susan and I went to watch the election returns with some of my friends from the office. To say that we were pleased with the outcome is perhaps understating it a bit…

3/16/2008

What ever happened to Barton Springs?

Filed under: — stan @ 10:52 pm

Today I went to the Nuart to see “The Unforeseen“. This is a documentary about land use and development in Austin, Texas. We lived there for four years from 1991 to 1995, and were witness to a bit of the debate over development there. In particular, there was a big controversy about development in the Barton Creek watershed. The environmentalists said that it would degrade the water quality of the water in Barton Springs, which feed the city swimming hole. There was a big referendum campaign when we were there, with the city voting to stop the development. So then the developer had the state legislature pass a bill to overrule the city. This bill was vetoed by Governor Ann Richards. But then, when George W. became governor, they passed it again, and he signed. And apparently, all the bad predictions have come true. The film included underwater views at the springs in 1996 and 2004, and the difference in the water clarity was stunning.

As much as I’ve always said that I hated living in Austin, there’s really nothing wrong with the place. It just wasn’t where I wanted to live. But I was always curious about what had happened with the Barton Creek development issue, since that was such a large part of local politics during our time there.

And one other treat was that I got to meet Carol, who I’ve known online for several years but never met in person before. So that was fun.

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