Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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1/15/2017

“And your little dog, too!”

Filed under: — stan @ 3:12 pm

I recently read that there was a memorial monument at Hollywood Forever in memory of the dog who played Toto in “The Wizard of Oz”. So of course I figured it would have to be a sightseeing destination for the Sunday bike ride.

We started out heading into downtown L.A., and then out of downtown on 7th St. Along the way, we got to see how construction of the Regional Connector was coming along. The plan was to get to Larchmont Village for bagels at Noah’s, and then to go the short distance to the cemetery. When we got there, we asked the guy at the information booth, and he gave us directions to where the monument was. On our way there, we passed yet another pyramid crypt. I’d read some years ago that there were only three of these in Los Angeles County, and this one makes four. And we’ve been to see all of them now.

The bronze statue of Toto is life-sized, and I’m surprised I’d not seen it before, since it’s basically right across from the monument to Johnny Ramone. And while we were there, I stopped off to look at Dee Dee Ramone’s grave, which was covered with a larger-than-usual number of lipstick kisses.

For our route home, we began by taking the advice offered by Bette Davis, and we took Fountain. Then we crossed the L.A. River and headed up Eagle Rock Blvd, and then home across Highland Park and South Pasadena. It was a pleasant ride.

39 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

7/12/2015

The Rock Walk

Filed under: — stan @ 1:28 pm

A few years ago, I took a ride to Hollywood to do a Ramones tour. One of the stops on that tour was at Guitar Center on Sunset to see the Ramones’ handprints in the concrete in front of the store. I recently realized that the Rock Walk has a lot more than just the Ramones on it. In particular, I saw that the Funk Brothers are on it. So I thought this would be a good piece of sightseeing for the Sunday morning bike club ride.

We rode out there by our regular route through South Pasadena and Highland Park. After we crossed the L.A. River, we made a quick stop to see the Snow White Cottages. We’ve been by there a hundred times, but never made the half-block side trip to see them.

Once we got into Hollywood, we rode the length of Hollywood Boulevard down to the Chinese Theater. Then we turned off and headed down to Sunset and Guitar Center. Sadly, Guitar Center doesn’t open until 11 on Sundays, so we could only look at the handprints through the screen that they close at night. Still, it’s quite a collection.

From there, we rode down to Larchmont Village to Noah’s Bagels. I took a walk a couple doors down the street to Salt and Straw just to see what they had there. It looked and smelled good, but 10AM is just a little early for ice cream for me.

The route home was our regular route up Benton Way through Silver Lake. I’d read recently that they were draining the Silver Lake reservoir, but when we went by it, it still had quite a bit of water in it.

At the end, we went through Eagle Rock and up the Colorado hill to get back to Pasadena. It was a nice ride.

40 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

10/27/2013

Another Halloween ride

Filed under: — stan @ 6:41 pm

Today’s bike club ride was supposed to be out to Glendora for a tour of Rubel’s Castle, but that fell through at the last minute and will have to be rescheduled. So in the meantime, we did yet another Halloween-themed ride. Today’s destination was Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood to visit Vampira.

It was foggy in the morning. Riding into downtown, my glasses were fogging up, and it was pretty hard to see for a time. Fortunately, it started to lift by the time we got downtown. We saw the Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon in progress, and we also saw the Wilshire-Figueroa building sticking up into the fog. I’m on track to climb that building 100 times by the time we’re done with the last race of the year there.

We rode out to Larchmont for bagels at Noah’s. There was some sort of street fair being set up there. The camels were an odd touch.

After the stop, we headed up into Hollywood and Hollywood Forever. We found Vampira over on the east end, just across the street from the pond and from DeeDee Ramone. We also stopped to see Johnny Ramone, and I noticed lipstick on his guitar this time.

The ride back was our usual route through Eagle Rock and Highland Park. By the time we got back to Pasadena, it was a pretty nice day. So overall, it was a fun ride.

42 miles.

8/18/2013

Johnny Ramone and John Waters

Filed under: — stan @ 11:35 pm

This evening was the 9th Annual Johnny Ramone Tribute at Hollywood Forever cemetery. This year, the event included a screening of “Cry Baby“, and a personal appearance by John Waters to introduce the film. Add to that that Johnny Depp, Traci Lords, and others from the movie were going to be there, Being a big fan of both the Ramones and John Waters, this was an event not to be missed.

Since Kathleen was laid up at home recovering from her surgery last Thursday, Lucinda and I made plans to go to this, along with my friend Lisa from the West Coast Labels stair-climbing team. I made us a too-big picnic to bring along, and dug out our Tommy Bahama chairs, and we were ready to go.

We set up camp on the lawn, and Lisa got in line to get autographs from John Waters. I didn’t bring anything for him to sign, largely because everything I have by him is already signed. And as it turned out, that was a good thing. She waited in line for a long time, and then they cut the line off just before she got to the front.

Lucinda spent some time sightseeing in the cemetery and taking pictures. They had Johnny Ramone’s statue decorated for the occasion, and they turned on the lights as darkness fell.

Before the film, they held question and answer session with John Waters and the others from the film on the stage. Lucinda was excited when she found out that the panel would be introduced by none other than Dita. They took some questions from the crowd and talked about making the movie. Then John Waters took the stage by himself to introduce the film. As always, he was very funny to listen to. After he finished, we watched the movie, and as always, it was very entertaining. It had been years since I saw “Cry Baby”, so all around, this was a very fun evening.

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.

1/12/2008

Hollywood signtseeing by bike

Filed under: — stan @ 8:26 pm

Today’s ride was an informal sightseeing trip to Hollywood. Five of us went, and we had a nice list of sights to see.

We met in South Pasadena and headed on over to Hollywood. When we got there, the first stop was at Hollywood Forever. I’d been there a while back to visit Don Adams’ grave, and I wanted to see if he’d gotten a stone yet. As it turned out, he had. I took a couple of pictures, and then we took a short tour around the cemetery. We saw Cecil B. DeMille’s grave. Also Dee Dee and Johnny Ramone, and Mel Blanc. Pictures are all in the Graves Gallery.

Leaving the cemetery, we took some side streets across Hollywood, passing by my old house there, as well as Mickey’s Greenhouse. Then we stopped for a photo-op on La Brea at Kat Von D’s tattoo shop that is features in “L.A. Ink“. Then we went up to Franklin Ave to see the Highland Gardens motel, where Janis Joplin died back in 1970.

Heading west, we stopped at the site of the motel where Divine died. The building was recently torn down, so it was just a vacant lot. Then we headed over into West Hollywood, passing by Jack Cassidy’s old apartment, as well as the alley where Sal Mineo was murdered.

We took a small detour down to Dicks St just for a chuckle. Then we went back up to Sunset and headed back east, passing The Viper Room, where River Phoenix died back in 1993. Then we turned left up Sunset Plaza and headed up the hill. Along the way, I spotted another hot-rod mailbox, so I added it to my collection.

Going over the top, we headed down into Laurel Canyon, passing by the site of Houdini’s old house. Then we turned and rode up Willow Glen, which is a very steep hill. It’s also always wet, which makes for tricky riding. At the top, we went down into Nicholls Canyon, turning left on Nicholls Canyon Road for the climb up to Mulholland.

We rode part-way down Mulholland before realizing that we’d gone the wrong way. We wanted to visit the site of Errol Flynn’s house, so we had to backtrack a bit to find it. Then we went back down Mulholland, turning on Woodrow Wilson to go down to the freeway in Cahuenga Pass.

Coming down the hill into Burbank, we stopped at Priscilla’s in Toluca Lake for bagels and orange juice. Then we headed home by the most direct and flattest route possible.

Overall, it was a very nice ride.

about 60 miles (my bike computer was on the fritz)
cycling

8/14/2007

Last-minute sightseeing

Filed under: — stan @ 11:48 pm

Tuesday was the last day of our trip, and I had one more thing on my list to see. Since I had to be in New Jersey, I couldn’t miss the chance to visit Hillside Cemetery in Lyndhurst and pay respects to Joey Ramone. I’ve been a big Ramones fan for almost 30 years, so it was a necessary stop.

Chelsea* directed us to the cemetery. Then I stopped in the office to get the exact directions. The woman working there was very helpful, and she said that Joey Ramone was probably the most famous and most-requested person buried there. She told me to go to the northernmost road through the Jewish section of the cemetery. Then look for the two pillars marked “New York Social Club”. Joey is buried three rows back in that section, right next to his mother.

After that, we went down to Liberty State Park in Jersey City. Since we’d missed the Statue of Liberty on Monday, I found out that we could just make it there if we made the 12:45 boat out to the island. So we got on the boat and rode out to the statue. We didn’t have time to stop off at Ellis Island, since we had to make our flight home at 6:00. But Lucinda got to see the statue close-up, which was the whole point.

When we got back to shore, we headed over to the airport. We got there early to check in our rental car, since we’d been told we’d have to fill out an accident report. The guy who checked us in looked at the car and just said something like, “it looks fine to me” and we were done.

So we had plenty of time to have lunch while we were waiting. Then we got on the plane for the trip home. Newark is apparently notorious for delays around that time of day, and today was no exception. We left the gate about 30 minutes late, and we actually took off 90 minutes late. There was a huge backlog of planes that apparently were all scheduled to take off at 6:00.

Once we got in the air, the trip home was just fine. When we were going over New Mexico and Arizona, there were some big electrical storms below us, and it was interesting to watch the lightning from above. I tried taking pictures of it, but it was hard to do it justice.

Overall, it was a pretty fun trip.

* The GPS navigator unit offered a choice of several different voices. But Lucinda didn’t like the ‘American English’ one, since when it said ‘left’, it always sounded like ‘bleft’. So we switched it to ‘British English’, which sounded much more cultured and mannered. And that was when Lucinda decided to call it ‘Chelsea’.

10/29/2006

Grave Tour for Halloween

Filed under: — stan @ 9:56 pm

Route map and photo locations

Since this is the weekend before Halloween, I thought it might be fun to do a theme ride today. My first idea was to ride out to visit Bela Lugosi’s grave, but that turned out to be about a 60-mile round trip from Pasadena, so that was too long for a Sunday ride. So instead, we visited Hollywood Forever and Forest Lawn to visit a few music legends.

We rode west from Victory Park, taking Orange Grove, Colorado, and Yosemite to get to Eagle Rock Blvd. Then we took a left and headed south, turning right on Ave 36 to get across the L.A. River and into Silver Lake. Then we crossed the Shakespeare Bridge and took Franklin Ave into Hollywood.

Just before we got to the turn at Bronson, we saw a couch on the side of the road. So I stopped and collected it for the Abandoned Couches Blog.

At Bronson, there was a cutout bird hanging from the wires overhead. I’d read recently that there is someone going around hanging up these little cutout birds above streets in Hollywood. Then we turned and took Bronson south to get to Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

The guard at the gate was very unpleasant, and he insisted that we were not allowed to ride our bikes into the cemetery. This seemed a bit odd, since we’ve been there many times before and never had a problem. Normally, the people at the gate are very pleasant and helpful. But they were having some special events there this weekend, so maybe that was why they had a guard there.

So we agreed to walk our bikes into the cemetery. John, Jon and I all walked in. The rest of the group decided to just continue the ride. We walked in, going back to the pond to find Bianca Halstead’s grave. She was the singer and bass player for Betty Blowtorch. They were just on the verge of making it big in 2001 when Bianca died in a car accident after a show in New Orleans. It’s a sad story, but it’s pretty clear from her grave that she still has a lot of fans who miss her.

Just a few feet away was Dee Dee Ramone’s grave. We’d been there to see it before, but this was the first time I’d noticed lipstick kisses on his stone. Again, it’s plain that he still has fans who miss him.

Leaving Hollywood Forever, we retraced our steps back up to Franklin, and then headed up Beachwood toward the Hollywood sign. The route took us up a very steep hill to just below the sign, and then down the other side and past Lake Hollywood. Then we rode down into Burbank to Priscilla’s for a bagel. And after riding up that hill, we really appreciated the bagel.

After the snack stop, we rode to Forest Lawn. We entered the cemetery and rode to the Courts of Remembrance. There, we saw the graves of Bette Davis and Liberace. Not at the same time, though. Bette is at the front of the building, and Liberace is buried with his mother and brother near the back.

Leaving Forest Lawn, we rode back across Glendale, going up the big hill on Chevy Chase and Linda Vista. There was about a 50-foot stretch of road that was closed for no immediately apparent reason. So we portaged the bikes over the barricades and kept riding. Then we rode down Lida and went around the Rose Bowl. Then we took Orange Grove back to the park, picking up a couch near Fair Oaks and another near Lake.

It was a very pleasant ride.

50 miles.
cycling

6/22/2005

Google works in mysterious ways, aka this is funny

Filed under: — stan @ 12:54 pm

screenshot
Every so often I poke around in the logs for my web site and see what people are looking at and where they came from. Today I noticed something funny. My statistics for this month said that the number three search string was ‘Ramones’, and looking at the logs showed that I was coming up in an image search. I went to see the Ramones live once, back in 1980, but I certainly don’t have any pictures of that. I’ve also been to see the Ramones dead a couple of times. My picture comes up on the second page of the search results. It’s from the day I rode over to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery with the bike club and we visited Dee Dee Ramone’s grave and also the memorial to Johnny Ramone.

But the picture that comes up in the image search is of a squished crayfish. Why that picture? There are ten pictures with that blog entry. None of them have any alt text. How did the Infinite Wisdom of Google select that picture over the others?

Try the search

I’ve read that Google is God. Maybe there are some things Man was not meant to know.

2/27/2005

Larchmont Village and The Ramones

Filed under: — stan @ 2:58 pm

Today’s ride was to Larchmont Village. This is a small-town-like shopping district just south of Hollywood in the Hancock Park area of Los Angeles. We were also very happy to have Matt along on the ride for the first time in months. Matt is in the Navy, and is just back from Iraq, so we were glad to see him back in one piece.

We started out going through Pasadena and Highland Park, where we passed the LAPD Historical Museum. This is definitely on our list of things to see one of these days. From there we took Eagle Rock Blvd and Fletcher across the L.A. River in to Los Feliz. Then we went past the Silver Lake reservoir. This was where we got into the ‘gritty urban cycling’ part of the ride. We rode through Koreatown, where we saw the ‘98 Cent Discount Store’. Glad to see that the 99 Cent Store has some competition. We also saw the LAPD in action near there.

After we crossed Western Ave, we went into the mansion district of Hancock Park. When we got to Larchmont Blvd, we saw the house where Adriana Caselotti lived. She was the voice of the original Disney Snow White, back in the days when voice actors in cartoons were not the big deal they are today.

We stopped for a bagel at Noah’s Bagels on Larchmont. That was where we saw the ‘Party in a Box’. We all had different ideas of what should be in the box.

After the stop, we went north past Paramount Studios to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. The recent rains made the pond there overflow, so there were squished crayfish all over the roads there. We stopped to see the statue of Johnny Ramone, as well as Dee Dee Ramone’s grave, which are both in the same area of the cemetery. We also saw another monument that looks like an Atlas rocket. We don’t know who is buried there, but we were all curious, since it was a unique monument.

Continuing north, we passed the somewhat creepy Scientology Celebrity Center, and then took Franklin Ave east to the Shakespeare bridge. From there it was the standard route home through Highland Park and Eagle Rock.

44 miles.

cycling

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