Stan’s Obligatory Blog


Riding away from the brushfire smoke

Filed under: — stan @ 12:25 pm

Sunday’s bike ride was a route I made up that took us as far away as we could go from the smoke of the Station Fire, which has been burning in the Angeles National Forest for the last 10 days. We rode down into Downtown Los Angeles, and then out on Wilshire for a bit before turning north to get to Larchmont Village. Then home through Hollywood and Eagle Rock.

It was a nearly-perfect day for riding. There was just a hint of smoke smell in the air when we left Pasadena, and we quickly left that behind as we rode down Huntington Drive toward downtown L.A.

In downtown, we rode down Grand Ave, past the skyscrapers on Bunker Hill. I got a good look at the U.S. Bank Tower, which was nice. I’ve signed up to do the “Stair Climb to the Top” there in a few weeks, so I will be getting more acquainted with it then.

In Larchmont, we usually go to Noah’s Bagels, but this time we did something different. There is a farmer’s market there on Sundays, so we went and got snacks there instead. It was pretty nice. Then we headed up into Hollywood, passing the stage for “Divorce Court“, and also the Suicide Girls office.

As we rode back into Pasadena, we could faintly smell the smoke from the fire again, but it wasn’t bad. So overall, it was a nice ride.

40 miles.


Butterflies and a dinosaur

Filed under: — stan @ 6:07 pm

On Saturday, I took Lucinda and her friend to the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum so they could see the butterflies on the last weekend of the exhibit. They have the butterflies there every summer from the end of May through Labor Day. This was the first time I’d taken her to see them since 2004.

When we got there, there was a tremendous crowd of people in the the park, and we realized that there was a USC football game about to start in the Coliseum next door to the museum. This made getting inside a bit of an adventure, and if I’d known about this, we might not have gone today, but we were already there, so we made do.

The butterflies are in a large outdoor cage, sort of like a small aviary. They enjoyed seeing the butterflies flying around, and also finding some caterpillars, spiders, and other insects there. One of the docents helped them to find some of the more interesting sights, including the web of the spider that inspired E. B. White to write Charlotte’s Web.

Afterward, we went inside for the “Dinosaur Encounter“, where they had an animatronic dinosaur that came out and walked around the room. It was a pretty good effect. We’ve seen robotic dinosaurs before, most recently a few weeks ago when we went to the San Diego Wild Animal Park, but this was the first time we’d seen one that actually walks around free. It was quite novel.

Finally, we spent some time looking at the gems and minerals exhibit before going home. It was a fun afternoon.


Who brought marshmallows?

Filed under: — stan @ 10:09 pm

On my way home today I saw that the Station Fire had a big flare-up this afternoon. Given that all of us here in Pasadena have been living in the smoke and ashes of this fire for over a week, was it a faux pas that I was barbecuing dinner tonight?

Dinner was pork chops marinated in rosemary and balsamic vinegar, and corn roasted in the husk. It was all quite good.


Onward and especially upward…

Filed under: — stan @ 6:57 am

I registered for the Los Angeles U.S. Bank Tower stair climb today. It’s on Friday, September 25th, and I’m hoping to make a decent showing there. When I did the AON tower stair climb back in April, I came in 24th out of 327 runners, and I’m hoping to improve on that this time. Given that my time for the 62-story AON tower was 12:50, I’m hoping to make the 73 stories of the U.S. Bank Tower in just a bit under 15 minutes. Based on the 2006 results I found online, this would put me at about 30th among the men and about 35th overall. Hey, I’m goal-oriented.

As with the other stair climb, it’s a fundraiser for charity, and I have to solicit donations to make my fundraising goal. In this case, the donations go the Ketchum Downtown YMCA, which I think is a good cause. I used to go training classes there back in the ’80s when I was an aerobics instructor. So this is my way of asking all my friends to consider making a small online donation.

I will be taking my camera along again, and I’m going to get some pictures from the roof of the building, and also probably an ‘action shot’ or two on the way up. Just so you can see how hard I’m running to get a good time.

And as always, there’s a LOLcat for every occasion:



Filed under: — stan @ 9:49 pm

I took part of the afternoon off so that Lucinda and I could bake blueberry muffins, black walnut bread, and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies to enter in the Los Angeles County Fair. It was unbearably hot in the kitchen, but in the end, everything turned out quite nicely. Then we made the trip out to the Fairplex to deliver everything. The guard gave us directions, and we drove through the fairgrounds to the hall where the food exhibit will be held. They put little tags on everything I brought, and now we’re done. Apparently, they don’t announce the results. You have to go to the fair to find out. But we’re looking forward to going to the fair anyway. After all, what’s not to like about a place where you can get chocolate-covered bacon?

A tiny feast

Filed under: — stan @ 6:57 am

This morning I went outside and found my mint and dill plants completely eaten. And some fat and I guess minty-fresh caterpillars lounging on the stems. Sheesh.


Another view of the fire

Filed under: — stan @ 11:32 pm

Before coming home tonight, I got a view of the Station Fire from the 14th floor of my girlfriend’s Marina Del Rey high-rise. It was impressive that the fire was visible from that far away. And it was a bit scary to think that I was about to get in my car and go to my house, which is almost directly underneath it. Eep.

Carbon Canyon

Filed under: — stan @ 10:26 pm

This morning, I’d planned on doing a bike ride to the south, away from the mountains and the smoke from the Station Fire. But when I went outside, the smoke was so thick I could barely see to the end of my block. So riding around here seemed like a really Bad Idea. So I hatched a plan to go riding somewhere else. I called Newton, who lives out in West Covina, and I asked him what the air was like there. He said it was fine, but that he could see that Pasadena was completely invisible under a blanket of smoke. So I figured out a route to start in Covina and go over Carbon Canyon into Brea. It was 41 miles, and would be nowhere near the smoke.

I went down to the park just to see if anyone else would show up. I figured we could all go in my car and go riding out there. But nobody else was there, so I just headed out by myself. The first picture shows the view from the park, looking towards the mountains. And there are mountains there, even if you can’t see them. They are only about 2 miles away, which gives you an idea how thick the smoke was. As soon as I got a few miles east, the smoke cleared, and it was a pretty nice day. I parked at Covina Park and mounted up to ride.

I passed Alpha Omega Burgers, which I thought was funny, since that was the name of the doomsday bomb in “Beneath the Planet of the Apes“. Perhaps they should have a slogan, “Our Burgers are the Bomb”.

When I got to Chino Hills, I saw some people playing rollerblade hockey. That was kind of novel, since I’ve only ever seen hockey played on ice before.

I found a hot-rod mailbox on Carbon Canyon Road. At the top of the hill, I balanced the camera on a fence post for a picture. Then I headed down the other side into Brea. When I saw the oil wells, I knew I was there. I rode around to Brea Blvd and turned right. This brought me into Brea Canyon, where I saw the historical marker for Don Gaspar de Portola’s 1769 campsite. I also saw the small forest of oil derricks in the canyon.

On the way back on Grand Ave, there was a speed sensor sign. It said I was going 11mph. It was uphill. At least it didn’t tell me to slow down.

Back in Covina, I saw a warning sign to watch for deaf children. That was an unusual sight, but I guess there must be a reason for it.

It was a nice ride. Clear air, even if it was pretty hot.

41 miles.


The view from my front porch…

Filed under: — stan @ 9:55 pm

I stepped outside to see if I could see the glow from the fire, and instead, I could see the flames. Yikes.

Living room decor

Filed under: — stan @ 9:10 pm

It’s been almost a year and a half since Cathy moved out, and the space where the couch used to be has been empty the whole time. Today, it was miserably hot here in Pasadena, and Lucinda and I were looking for something to do indoors. So we decided to go look for a couch.

We went to IKEA and had a look there. In the end, we both liked one that’s really a sort of futon-like couch that can double as a bed, but not a very good one. More for occasional use only. But that’s all right. We don’t want it for the bed. We just liked how it looked and felt as a couch. So we go that and some pillows and a coffee table.

On a whim, we went through the lighting section, and I got a pair of small under-cabinet kitchen lights. I’d had the idea of putting some lights like that on top of the new cabinets in the dining room. This would be so that we could have some soft indirect lighting in there for times when we don’t want the harsh overhead light on, but where candles are just not enough. So I made a wooden housing for them, complete with a switch box on the end to control the two lights independently. And the second picture shows what it looks like. It’s a nice effect.

I’d set a goal of having a new couch by the end of 2009, so I guess I can cross that one off my list now.

Powered by WordPress