Stan’s Obligatory Blog


Seal Beach

Filed under: — stan @ 7:07 pm

Today’s club ride was a longer one than usual. We started at Live Oak Park in Temple City and rode to Seal Beach. It was kind of cool and overcast, so it was nice weather for riding. I have a policy of not going on any ride that I can’t ride to the start of, so I rode down there from my house. On the way, I got a flat. Since I was alone at this point, I had to take the picture for the Flat Tire Gallery ‘MySpace-style’, holding the camera at arm’s length.

We started out going down the Rio Hondo bike trail. This brought us to Whittier Narrows. As we rode over the dam, I felt that my tire was going flat again. So I stopped and this time I had to patch the tube. Susan took the picture this time.

Continuing on, we rode straight down the San Gabriel River bike path. For some reason, we were riding very fast. You can see it in the lean of the bikes in the first photo. Along the way, we saw egrets and other birds in the river. We also saw a guy doing like “The Karate Kid” in the river bed. As we got close to the ocean, there was more water in the river, and we even saw a few boats. Then we got to the end of the path, where we turned left and headed into Seal Beach. At this point, my tire was going flat again. So this time, Silvio and I went and found the local bike shop on Main St in Seal Beach. I bought a new tire and tube. As before, Susan took the picture as I put it on. After that, I went down to the beach just to see the ocean, since it’s not every day that I ride my bike all the way to the ocean. Then I went back to the bakery and very quickly ate a honey-bran mini-bundt cake. Yum.

When it was time to head back, we went back the way we came. Since water runs downhill, the way back was a gentle uphill grade the whole way. Susan set the pace, and she pretty much rode the rest of us into the ground. I was able to keep up, but I was working pretty hard. Garett and Andy also kept up, but they were having a harder time. We dropped everyone else. We were all impressed with her riding.

When we got back to the park, Garett, Silvio and I headed back home to Pasadena. They were dragging by then. I was doing all right, but I could still feel that we’d done some miles. Our bike computers all said our average for the ride was just over 17mph. It was a fun little ride.

78 miles.


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.


French cooking with Saveur

Filed under: — stan @ 10:55 pm

I signed up for yet another cooking class tonight. This time it was “Saveur Cooks: French Classics”. This was a slight departure from the other cooking classes I’ve done at Chez Cherie in that the recipes and menu were provided by Saveur magazine, rather than straight from Cherie.

We all got a little Saveur tote bag with some food samples and a recipe booklet in it. The dishes that we got to see done were the Gougères, the Salade des Moines, the Gratin Dauphinois, and the Poussin Vallée D’Auge. All the demonstration was done by Cherie, who is very entertaining, and also answered questions along the way. At the end, she demonstrated making chocolate soufflés before we all headed up to the tables in front to eat everything she had made.

It was a very entertaining evening, and I’m going to try out some of these recipes Real Soon Now.


Another wet bike ride

Filed under: — stan @ 8:02 pm

Today’s bike ride has no pictures. And it nearly didn’t happen. Lucinda is with me for Saturday and Sunday, so I had to find a babysitter for Sunday morning in order to be able to ride. I was able to arrange that, but then Sunday dawned, and it was raining. But because I’d already gone to so much trouble to arrange everything, I had to still go riding. I went down to the park, and there was only one other rider. But we went anyway. It rained pretty hard on us for a little while, but then it stopped. We were pretty cold and wet, but we still managed to soldier on. It was actually pretty entertaining, since he was new to the Sunday ride, and he used to race back in the ’70s, too. We both knew a lot of the same people from the races back then. So we had a good time swapping stories. In the end, we only went 35 miles, but that was enough for how cold and wet it was.

35 miles.


Mt Hollywood again

Filed under: — stan @ 2:02 pm

Today’s bike ride was the “Philippe’s for brunch” route. We met at the Elks Lodge in Pasadena for the 9:00AM start. A lot of rides start there, but this was the first time I noticed the topiary elk heads by the door.

We rode across Eagle Rock and into Glendale. That was where we saw both the giant inflatable rubber ducky and the VW Beetle complete with antennae. We took Glenoaks all the way across to Sonora, and then left down to get to Griffith Park.

In the park, we took a right on Zoo Dr and looped around Travel Town and up the hill behind the zoo. Then we turned and rode up Mt Hollywood Drive. This is a nice climb, and the road is closed to cars, so it’s nice and quiet. We saw a couple of coyotes along the road there. One of them is somewhat visible in the fifth photo.

Coming down the hill and leaving the park, we commenced with the Gritty Urban Cycling part of the ride. We took Vermont down to Sunset, and then rode Sunset all the way into downtown L.A. Along the way, we Lovecraft Bio-Fuels, Rough Trade Leather, and the new LAUSD high school that’s been dubbed the “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century High School

We stopped at Philippe’s downtown. I wanted to get some of their biscuits, but they were out. Then we headed for home. The route back was very direct. We took Main St to Mission, and then Mission to Huntington. Finally, we took Collis to Hill and into South Pasadena, and then Grand Ave back to the Elks Lodge.

It was kind of chilly, but aside from that, it was a pleasant ride.

42 miles.


I’m on a low-car diet

Filed under: — stan @ 11:32 pm

Low-carb diets were all the rage not so long ago. But I’m on a low-car diet. For a long time, I’ve wanted to not have to use the car for grocery shopping. But there are a lot of heavy and/or bulky items that I have to buy that just don’t fit in my backpack. So I bought a little bike trailer on craigslist. And now I can do my grocery shopping by bike. The trailer can carry 100 pounds, so that pretty much covers anything I need for a week. It’s slightly uphill to the store, so on the way home, the trailer just pushes me down the hill. I think this is going to work out nicely.

This is a Good Thing, since I’m having to use my car a lot more than I’m used to due to the current unpleasantness at home. So anywhere I can cut down on driving is good. Based on my last three years of car usage, it costs me 58 cents per mile to drive. It’s 1.25 miles to the grocery store, and that’s $1.45 saved on each trip. That will add up over time.


In today’s obituary page…

Filed under: — stan @ 8:39 pm

Herb Peterson, the inventor of the Egg McMuffin has died.

Peterson came up with idea for the signature McDonald’s breakfast item in 1972. He “was very partial to eggs Benedict,” Fraker said, and worked on creating something similar.

The egg sandwich consisted of an egg that had been formed in a Teflon circle with the yolk broken, topped with a slice of cheese and grilled Canadian bacon. It was served on a toasted and buttered English muffin.

It’s always important to note the passing of those who have so profoundly affected the world we live in.

15 seconds of fame!

Filed under: — stan @ 6:42 am

The Los Angeles Times “L.A. Now” blog featured the Abandoned Couches blog yesterday. While it’s not my invention, I am an occasional contributor to that site. The L.A. Times entry even linked to one of my couches.


But I’m still eating well…

Filed under: — stan @ 8:39 pm

I may be here alone, but I’m still going to eat well. Tonight, I made grilled chicken and asparagus on the barbecue. I use charcoal as a starter, and then throw on a piece of oak wood. It gives a nice flavor. I made a Thai-style peanut sauce for the chicken, and some jasmine rice. And I have leftovers to take for lunch tomorrow.

Finding Emo

Filed under: — stan @ 6:13 pm

For the last several months, I’ve mentioned stress and my life being in a hole. And I’m not going to talk about it in depth here. But this is the essence of it:

Tom DeLonge says, “The song was inspired by a friend whose marriage was kind of falling apart. It touched me so deeply that I was up one night crying for him — I felt so hurt.”

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