Stan’s Obligatory Blog


Disneyland again

Filed under: — stan @ 10:58 pm

Today was a school holiday for Lucinda, so even though we’d just gone to Disneyland two weeks ago, I told her I’d take her again.

As always, we started out in California Adventure. We rode the rockets, Mulholland Madness, and the jellyfish rides. Then we had lunch and got some soft-serve ice cream before heading over to Disneyland.

We hadn’t realized it, but apparently Veterans Day is a big school holiday, so every high school kid in southern California was at Disneyland. It was as crowded as we’ve ever seen it. So instead of riding the Pirates of the Caribbean first, we headed straight for Big Thunder Mountain. Lucinda rode that last time and liked it. Alisha was a little apprehensive at first, but about halfway through the ride, I heard her yelling something like, “This is awesome! Let’s do it again!” So when we got off, I was glad that I’d gotten us Fast Passes for it. We were able to just walk back around and get right back on.

There’s nothing quite like riding a roller coaster with two ten-year-old girls. There is a lot of screaming. I’ve not traditionally been one to not hold on and put my hands up in the air on these rides, but I had to this time. Just so I’d have my hands free to hold my ears. Next time, I’m bringing earplugs.

After that, we went and rode the Matterhorn. The line was pretty long for that, and they didn’t have Fast Passes for it. Then we did Star Tours, which is my personal old favorite. Then we walked back to do Big Thunder Mountain again. Along the way, we stopped and picked up passes for Space Mountain, but they turned out to be useless, because they were for 9:40 that night, and there was no way we were going to still be there that late. So when we went to Big Thunder Mountain, I talked to the people running the line there, and they gave us a pass that was good for any one ride in the park, and they also let us do the Fast Pass line for Big Thunder Mountain again. So we rode that two more times for a total of four for the day.

Next, we walked to Toon Town to ride Gadget’s Go Coaster. Lucinda thinks this ride is kind of tame now, but was the first coaster she rode, back in August. So it’s something of a sentimental favorite.

By now it was dark and starting to get cold. We decided to use the pass they’d given us at Big Thunder Mountain to do Space Mountain. Lucinda was nervous, but we were able to calm her down and get her on the ride. And she loved it. Since that ride is completely in the dark, I couldn’t get any pictures, but there was a lot of screaming. They take pictures of each train right at the end, and our picture showed me sitting and holding my ears. Like I said, next time I’m bringing earplugs.

It was a very fun day. After the requisite stop at the gift shop, we went and had dinner at the Jazz Kitchen. We got our picture there, so I can add it to my track-my-progress collection.

The rest of the photos are in her album.


Marking a half-century…

Filed under: — stan @ 11:19 pm

I’m not generally one for big birthday parties. But this year was special. It’s a big round number with a zero on the end. And I get to join AARP now. So it seemed worth a party.

I got two briskets from HOWS market and spent all day Saturday smoking them over an oak fire. Since I decided I no longer hate Texas, it seemed appropriate to have central-Texas-style barbecue at my party. And it turned out quite well.

Lucinda isn’t used to having large numbers of people in our house, but she adapted all right. And she beat everyone at pinball. She even set a new high score tonight.

It was fun having all my friends over, and my tattoo artist Shannon did a special belly dance and gave me a certificate for a free tattoo session with her.

Overall, it was an excellent way to mark a half-century.

A Topiary Tour

Filed under: — stan @ 2:10 pm

Today’s bike ride was a tour around the San Gabriel Valley to see examples of topiary. I’ve been collecting photos of these sorts of things for a while, and I decided to put then all together into one ride.

The first stop was the topiary rabbit at the Bunny Museum. Then we rode to the Pasadena Elks Lodge to see the topiary elk’s heads by the front door. Next was the topiary Pegasus at the Mobil station on Lake Avenue. This one is not well-kept, so it’s kind of a lame topiary.

After that, we rode out to Glendora to see the topiary teddy bears. Along the way, Sage got a flat. This is her first appearance in the Flat Tire Gallery. We also had a laugh at the “For Sale” sign on a Dodge truck. After all, how hard is it to spell “Dodge” when it’s right on the side of the truck?

Our snack stop was at Classic Coffee in Glendora. Then we headed home. Along the way, we saw Vikki, and I got to talk to her for a bit for the first time in a while.

The last topiary was a rocking horse in Sierra Madre. And then we rode back to the park. It was a nice ride.

45 miles.


This warms my heart…

Filed under: — stan @ 2:09 am

Physician accused of deliberately injuring two bicyclists is convicted

I’ve been riding seriously for more than 35 years now, and I’ve had countless run-ins with assholes like him. So it’s really nice to finally see someone getting punished for acting like that.


Ich bin ein Berliner

Filed under: — stan @ 5:39 pm

Today’s bike ride was a trip out to the Variety office building on Wilshire Blvd, across from LACMA. There is a piece of the Berlin Wall on display there for the 20th anniversary of the fall of the wall. It was a perfect fall day for riding.

We left Victory Park, and almost immediately, JJ got a flat.

We rode down Huntington Drive to Mission Rd and Main St into downtown Los Angeles. Then we took Olympic Blvd all the way out to near Hancock Park. The section of the wall was on display on the lawn in front of the building, so we were able to get up close to look at it.

For our snack stop, Gene suggested Farmers Market, since that was very close to us. We went there and settled in, but then one of their security guards told us we had to leave. He pulled out a piece of paper with the ‘Code of Conduct’ on it. It said that bicycling was not allowed inside the market. We pointed out that we were not bicycling. We had dismounted and walked in. But he still gave us a hard time, so we resolved never to go there again.

Coming home, we went through Hollywood. At one point, we heard sirens and saw smoke coming from Beachwood Canyon, below the HOLLYWOOD sign. Then we rode over the Shakespeare Bridge and home by way of Highland Park and South Pasadena. We passed a very energetic and excited street preacher along the way.

It was a very nice ride, aside from the run-in with the guard at Farmers Market.

45 miles.


Halloween night at Chez 1134

Filed under: — stan @ 10:57 pm

Here’s the recap on our Halloween night.

Lucinda dressed as a zombie jester and went out with one of her friends and the neighbors. I set up my telescope in the driveway and handed out candy and and looks at Jupiter and the nearly-full moon.

When Lucinda got back, she weighed her bag, and she had five pounds of candy. We spread it out to do the inventory.

It was a fun evening for both of us.



Filed under: — stan @ 10:36 pm

Wednesday was a Staff Development Day in the Pasadena schools, so Lucinda and her friends had a day off. And so I took Lucinda and her friend Claire to Disneyland. Since Lucinda had made a big breakthrough at our last trip to Disneyland, she was ready to try out some more roller coasters.

We went to California Adventure first, where we rode Mulholland Madness. They both enjoyed it. Next, we went to Toy Story Mania, and we got Mr. Potato Head to remove his ear. Then it was time for lunch, followed by Soaring over California.

Next, we walked across to Disneyland. As has become our tradition, we went to Pirates of the Caribbean first. After that, we got Fastpasses for the Haunted Mansion and then walked over for a look at Big Thunder Mountain. They watched the train go by and decided they were up for it. So we waited in the very short line and then rode it. They both had a good time, although it was difficult to take pictures on the ride.

By then, it was nearly time for our appointment at the Haunted Mansion, so we walked back and did the ride. It was decorated for Halloween and Christmas together, just like last year.

After the Mansion, we went to Toon Town to ride Gadget’s Go Coaster. This was the coaster that we persuaded Lucinda to try last time, and the reason she’s decided that she likes coasters now. We had fun riding it, and then they decided that they wanted to try the Matterhorn. The line wasn’t bad, and we got on in about 15 minutes. They both liked the ride, and decided that they wanted to do it again. So we got back in line. The second time, we rode the other side, so we got two different Matterhorn experiences.

Finally, they were curious about the Innoventions building, so we went in. They played some video games and did a little karaoke of one of the songs from “High School Musical 2″.

By then, it was time to leave. The park was filling up, due to “Mickey’s Trick or Treat Party” that was going on that evening. So it was a good time to go home.

We had a nice dinner at the Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney and then we went home. It was a long, but very fun day.

The rest of the pictures are in Lucinda’s photo album.


Mt Washington on a nice fall day

Filed under: — stan @ 10:48 pm

Sunday’s bike ride was our old favorite route through northeast Los Angeles, with a nice climb up Mt Washington. It was cool in the morning, but warmed up nicely. It was a perfect fall day.

There wasn’t a lot remarkable about this ride. We did a slight variation on the route, taking different streets down the big hill. The change of scenery was nice, but the streets were pretty rough, so it was a real bone-shaker. Our snack stop was at Kaldi’s in South Pasadena. And then we just headed straight home from there.

It was a very nice ride.

38 miles.


New frontiers in advertising

Filed under: — stan @ 8:34 pm

Last night, I was at Club 705 in Hermosa Beach for Leslie’s sister’s wedding reception. And in the bathroom, I saw a type of advertising I’d never seen before. It was a piece of previously unused space being recruited to sell a new reality TV show. But it seemed strangely appropriate.


And it’s a new personal best

Filed under: — stan @ 9:13 pm

Lucinda and I were playing pinball this evening. She is getting to be very good at it, and she set a new personal high score of 938,320. Since we reset the high score recently, this is now the high score of record. Now the next frontier for her will be to roll it over a million, and I’m sure that’s not going to take long.

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