Stan’s Obligatory Blog


There’s nothing in IMDB about this…

Filed under: — stan @ 6:52 pm

Since I got a flat on Sunday’s ride, I took a ride over to the bike shop today to get a new tire. And on the way back to my office, I saw this sign. I always like seeing familiar places dressed up as something different. They had signs up that they were going to be filming all day on Wednesday. As always, they don’t say what they’re filming. But one of the customer reviews on Amazon of John Cheever’s novel Bullet Park mentions that he thinks it would make a good movie.


The 5th of July

Filed under: — stan @ 6:33 pm

Today is a government holiday, and I didn’t have anything else pressing that I needed to do, so I went for a bike ride with Don. We didn’t go anywhere in particular. Just down the Rio Hondo bike path and then up the San Gabriel River to Santa Fe Dam. Here are some random photos from along the way.

There was a high temporary wall around a lot in Temple City. So we peeked inside to see what they were building. It was bare, except for a large oak tree and a fake-tree cell phone tower.

Along the San Gabriel River, there were a lot of people riding horses. There was also a bit of WTF-style graffiti.

There was a fair amount of water coming out of Santa Fe Dam. At least it seemed like a lot for being this far into the dry season.

In the Santa Fe Dam nature area, we saw a family of California Quail crossing the road. I wasn’t quick enough with the camera to catch the line of little baby quail.

We stopped at Encanto Park. I noticed the sign that said that the playground was built by the Miracle Recreation Equipment Company. I guess if nobody gets hurt, it’s a Miracle.

On the way home through Monrovia, we found a rare large-mouth bass mailbox. And I got my picture taken with the big plastic cow.

It was a fun ride.

44 miles.


Sunday ride to San Dimas

Filed under: — stan @ 7:59 pm

Today’s bike ride was on out to San Dimas. This is an old route, and it doesn’t go by any celebrity graves, topiary, or hot-rod mailboxes. But it’s a nice ride anyway, and it was time to do something without a lot of hills. It was cool and overcast, so it was pretty much perfect for riding.

We headed out, east into Azusa, where I got a flat. This was the same tire that went flat last week, so I think that’s a sign that it’s time for a new tire.

Next, we saw an abandoned couch. Well, actually it was a chair. But it was good enough for a picture.

We rode down through the little canyon to get to Via Verde, which was just about the only hill to speak of on the whole route. Then we came back through West Covina to our snack stop at Panera. By then, the sun was starting to break through the clouds, and it was turning into a really nice day.

On the way back, Pat got a flat
Pat got a flat.

Overall, it was a nice ride,

45 miles.


Toy Story

Filed under: — stan @ 10:24 pm

On Saturday night, I took Lucinda and her friend to Hollywood to see “Toy Story 3” at the El Capitan theater. We’d gotten a mailer about it that said they were going to have a sort of carnival midway set up behind the theater for the kids to play in after the movie. Sort of like the “G-Force” attraction that they built last summer.

The movie was good. Sad in a lot of ways, but very well done. We all enjoyed it. And afterward, they played for a while in the little “Toy Story Fun Zone” carnival that they’d set up on the playing field behind Hollywood High School.

It was a very fun evening.


The next big event

Filed under: — stan @ 9:10 pm

It’s time for the annual Stair Climb to the Top, up the U.S. Bank tower in downtown Los Angeles. I did this last year, posting a time of 15:07. This time, I’ve got some more experience from the Stratosphere and Aon stair climbs, and my goal is to go under 14 minutes.

This will hurt a lot. It will also be great fun.

As always, this is a fundraiser, this time for the YMCA in Los Angeles. So if you can, please make a small donation to them at my sponsors page.


Five Wrights

Filed under: — stan @ 5:42 pm

Today’s bike ride was one that John White had suggested. A meandering route to see five different houses designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. One was in Pasadena, and the rest were in the Hollywood and Los Feliz areas. It was a perfect day for riding.

We started out from Victory Park and headed west. Near the Rose Bowl, we took our first detour to see La Miniatura.

Continuing on, we went south through Eagle Rock, across the L.A. River and into Silver Lake. Our second stop was the Ennis House, high up the hill just below Griffith Park.

Next, we turned around and headed back down the steep hill we’d just climbed, and all the way down to Hollywood Blvd and Barnsdall Park. This is the site of the Hollyhock House.

From there, we went west into Hollywood, and turned north up the hill behind the Chinese Theater. After another steep climb, we came to the Freeman House. This one is very near the house we went to see in 2006 on another architecture tour.

There was only one more house to see, and it was on Hollywood Blvd, but on the far western end, where it winds its way up into the hills above the Sunset Strip. We rode just a short distance on Sunset Blvd before turning and heading up the steep hill to get to the Storer House.

At this point, we’d seen all five houses, and it was time to climb up and over the hills to get to our snack stop at the little gelato place on Tujunga Ave in Studio City. We rode Hollywood Blvd all the way to its end near the top of Sunset Plaza. Along the way, we saw an abandoned couch. Couches don’t usually end up out in the street in neighborhoods like that, but there it was. At the top, I got my picture taken with an ostrich statue in front of a house that had a whole collection of animal sculptures. We continued on, down into Laurel Canyon and up to Mulholland Drive. We stopped for water at the Fryman Canyon overlook and then headed down the other side into the Valley.

We had gelato in Studio City, and then headed for home. We stopped briefly at Velo Studio in Burbank to see some of Keira’s artwork on display there. Then we headed home through Glendale, where I got a flat.

It was a fun little ride.

51 miles.


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.


Another new adventure

Filed under: — stan @ 9:14 pm
Photo by Tom Henneman

I signed up today for the stair climb up the Willis Tower in Chicago. This is the building that used to be the Sears Tower, and it’s the tallest building in the United States. It’s almost 1 1/2 times the height of the U.S. Bank tower here in L.A.

Based on my time at Aon in April, I think I should be able to climb the Willis in just a bit under 20 minutes, which seems respectable compared to last year’s results.

This should be fun. And as always, it’s a fund-raiser for charity, so if you can, please make a small donation in my name to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.


Seals on a Sunday Morning

Filed under: — stan @ 6:14 pm

On Sunday morning, I took Lucinda down to La Jolla Cove to see the seals. We go to see them every time we are in San Diego. This time most of them had gone in the water to forage by the time we got there, but there were several swimming hear the beach, and also a few still sleeping on the rocks.

We watched them from the breakwater for a while, and I got some good pictures. As always, my camera rocks. When we left the beach, we went back to Sunny Jim cave and took the walk down the stairs to see the waves in the cave. When we were in there, we could hear some sea lions nearby. They sounded like they were in the cave, but we couldn’t see them.

Finally, we went and picked up Grandpa and we all went to lunch at Costa Brava in Pacific Beach. This is a Spanish restaurant, and it was quite good.


The Sea World Circus

Filed under: — stan @ 11:36 pm

Lucinda and I went to San Diego this weekend to visit with Grandpa and also to visit Sea World and also go see the seals at La Jolla Cove. We went down on Saturday and went to Sea World first.

We rode the sky ride, and while we were on that, we noticed the big stadium they have facing out on to Mission Bay. We hadn’t noticed that before, so we decided to go see the show there. It was a show that was entirely circus acts, with no animals at all. Aside from the obvious caveat that humans are indeed animals. It was still pretty entertaining, even though there were no leaping dolphins.

A bit later in the day we went to see the “Blue Horizons” show, which also had a lot of circus acrobatics, but this time with the addition of dolphins and a pilot whale. I took a bunch of pictures in search of some dramatic action shots, and I think I got some good ones.

When we left, we went to visit with Grandpa for a bit before bed. Overall, it was a fun afternoon.

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