Stan’s Obligatory Blog



Filed under: — stan @ 1:43 pm

Went riding today with the Foothill group again today. It was chilly by So Cal standards when we left, but the sky was clear and the sun was up, so we all thought it was going to get warm later. As it turned out, we were sadly mistaken.

The ride was Gene’s ‘Horizontal Bomp’ route, which goes east for a bit, then south, and back west for a big, flat loop. The whole time we were riding, the clouds were getting thicker, and it felt colder and colder. Our stop was in Old Town at Il Fornaio. When we got there, we saw lots of people milling about in Old Town, and we realized that today is the Doo Dah Parade. So perhaps today was not the best day to be riding a bike around there. But we were already there, so we stopped at Il Fornaio and had a snack. Of course we also cooled off, so we didn’t really enjoy it all that much, sitting shivering on the patio. And then we saw dozens of idling buses on the street there and we realized that they were there to bring thousands of people to the Rose Bowl for the Billy Graham crusade today. So we thought that perhaps we should skip the part of the ride that goes past the Rose Bowl and just go around it to get home. So we skirted around the Rose Bowl and headed up towards the mountains. That was when we noticed that there was a little bit of snow on top of Mt. Lowe. The snow doesn’t usually come down that low unless it’s very cold around here. And as we headed up the hill, it got colder and windier. The last part of the ride was down a three-mile hill, with gusty crosswinds, dodging around fallen tree branches. I’d like to say it was fun, but it really wasn’t. We’d all had enough of being cold by then, and I was quite happy to finally get home and get inside the warm house. 35 miles.


Holiday’s a comin’

Filed under: — stan @ 6:39 pm

I have a six-year-old poinsettia in my office that I rescued after Christmas some years ago. I keep it in the window, and because I never turn on my office lights, it sees the natural day-night cycle, and it blooms every year. It’s starting to turn red now, so that means that the holidays are not far away.


Interesting page rank

Filed under: — stan @ 12:03 pm

For a long time, my “I hate Texas” page has been either #1 or near it in Google. I recently moved our whole site from its old domain to a new one, and Google has finally crawled the new site and gotten the current URL for the page. But now I see it’s fallen all the way to page seven in the search results. I suspect that this has something to do with how Google calculates page rank, and the fact that the ‘’ domain site is relatively new. It will be interesting to watch and see if the rank of that page climbs over the next few months.


Toluca Lake Redux

Filed under: — stan @ 1:40 pm

Today’s ride was the ‘Toluca Lake Inverse’. We rode through South Pasadena and Highland Park to the L.A. River, then north along the river past the Zoo, Travel Town, and Forest Lawn to Burbank. We stopped for a snack at Priscilla’s, and then came home through Glendale, and over “Hospital Hill”. 46 miles.



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.

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