Stan’s Obligatory Blog



Filed under: — stan @ 2:16 pm

A funny thing happened today at the grocery store. When I went in, I stopped to get out my list and my pen, and just then, I noticed a mouse on the floor in the flower section. It was just sitting there watching the people go by and doing its little mousy things. Of course I know from Cathy’s studies in food science that vermin are verboten around food. But what to do? Being a fairly quick thinker, I grabbed a grocery basket and plopped it upside-down over the mouse, just like in the old game of “Mousetrap”. Then I got the manager and he did whatever they do to mice there.

Further adventures in home improvement

Filed under: — stan @ 1:45 pm

Today I started repairing the hole where our old chandelier was. I had to move the junction box and redo the wiring. This wasn’t too bad, even if the wiring was a bit complex because of the three-way switches on the light. The pictures show the old box and wires, the hole when I removed the box, and the wiring all put back together.


Polar Express

Filed under: — stan @ 5:07 pm

I had a day off work, and Lucinda had a day off school. So we all went to the movies. We went to the new AMC megaplex in Santa Anita Mall. We wanted to see “The Incredibles”, but it was sold out. So instead, we saw “The Polar Express”. This was described in Salon as “a creeping horror”, by the Los Angeles Times as “creepy”, and the Boston Globe as “merely a marvelous toy that has somehow become convinced it has a soul”. But Lucinda wanted to see it, so we went in.

It wasn’t bad, although I could see why people found it both creepy and overly-loud. We all wore snack-bar-napkin earplugs, and it was still too loud at times. And a lot of the movie had the feeling that it was only there to either pad out the story and make it longer, or just to show off some neat effect that they could do with the computer animation. And the computer animation was pretty good. It’s come a long way over the last few years. And it’s almost good enough for this movie. It’s good enough to render a reasonably believable human who is standing 6 or 8 feet away from the ‘camera’. It’s still not quite good enough to render a fully-believable human close-up. That was the origin of the reviewers’ creeps, and the reason The Boston Globe described the movie as “a breathtaking visual feast peopled by dead-eyed mannequins”. The close-up humans are just not good enough yet.

But none of that really matters all that much to a five-year-old. Lucinda enjoyed the movie, so in the end that’s all that really mattered to us.



Filed under: — stan @ 6:11 pm

Check this out:

I’ve been pretty cranky lately, but not that cranky…


Sunday fun

Filed under: — stan @ 5:21 pm

Today’s bike ride was conducted under threat of rain. We rode a big loop through Arcadia, San Marino, and Highland Park to end up by the Rose Bowl. We were going to do some more riding in the hills there, but it started to rain a bit. So we headed for home. Then the rain stopped, so we rode a bit more out to Arcadia Wilderness Park and back. 42 miles.

The fun after I got home was to replace the overhead light in our dining room. The complication was that since we got the new hutch, we had to move the table over, and the light was no longer centered over the table. So I had to go up in the attic and uncover the box for the chandelier and then branch some wire off of it and put a new box a little ways over. Then I installed the new light below the new box. The new light is a lot brighter than the old one, and it uses only about 1/4 the electricity. So that makes up for its lack of funky-vintage charm. Next weekend I will have to go back in the attic and move the original box so that I can patch the hole in the ceiling.


Quote of the day

Filed under: — stan @ 7:05 pm

I think this makes it for Quote of the Day regarding the last election:

“Quite frankly, I’m sick of having a spoon of shit forced down my throat each Fall.”

Sadly, we here are familiar with that feeling. I’ve been voting since 1978. It was 1986 when I finally saw someone I voted for win. And in 7 tries, I’ve only gotten my choice for President twice. There is also a school of thought that this shows that democracy is actually working. Everyone comes away a little bit unhappy when things are working correctly.


Birthday Bike Ride

Filed under: — stan @ 12:26 pm

Since it’s my birthday, I took the day off work. I went for a bike ride, since it’s yet another insufferably nice day here in L.A.

I rode up through La Cañada and then down into Glendale. That’s where I saw the Harp Center. Who knew there was such a place? Then I came back across Eagle Rock, pausing only briefly for a side trip up Nolden St. This is a little residential street that goes up a terrifyingly steep hill. They say it’s usually a bad sign when you’re riding up a hill and the sidewalk turns into a staircase. But I like riding up ridiculous hills, so it was fun. In fact, coming back down was much scarier than going up. The route home went near the Rose Bowl, where I saw preparations for the Rose Parade already starting. 25 miles.

Election Day

Filed under: — stan @ 9:44 am

Lucinda came along today to vote. It was a very relaxed experience. Not too many people were there when we went. Our polling place is at Eaton Canyon Regional Park, so after voting we looked at the nature displays in the visitor center and then took a walk on the “Fire Ecology” nature trail.


Halloween Night

Filed under: — stan @ 11:29 pm

I’ve made a hobby of setting up my telescope out in the driveway on Halloween Night. It seems fitting to do some astronomy here, since we live at the base of Mt Wilson in California, where a lot of astronomy history was made. I hand out candy and let the kids and their parents look through the telescope. I started doing this back in 1998 when Jupiter was high in the sky, and it’s turned out to be popular enough that I’ve done it every year I can since then. The last two years were cloudy, but this time the sky was clear. There aren’t any good planets up now, so I ended up showing the kids two different star clusters, NGC 457 in Cassiopeia, and the famous Double Cluster, NGC 869 and NGC 884 in Perseus. While these don’t have the same ‘Ohhhh’ factor as Saturn did in 2001, they still were interesting, and the kids seemed to like it. So overall, it was a good evening.

Today’s ride

Filed under: — stan @ 1:34 pm

Today we did the Rio Hondo/San Gabriel River bike path loop. It turned out to be a perfect day, warm and sunny, but with snow on the mountains above us.

This route is a mostly-flat ride. South through Temple City to the Rio Hondo bike path. Then south some more to Whittier Narrows. Then we cut across to the San Gabriel River and went back north to Santa Fe Dam. Then home through Duarte and Monrovia with a stop at Beantown in Sierra Madre. 42 miles.

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