Stan’s Obligatory Blog


More getting out of the house

Filed under: — stan @ 11:58 pm

I signed up for another cooking class this evening. This one was about vegetables and grains. Not as glamorous as the soufflé class I did last month, but it’s likely to have more wide application in daily cooking.

This class did not have a hands-on segment. It was just watching them prepare the food and asking questions. But it was still good. I got some new recipes and techniques to try out at home. And the roasted cauliflower was quite good. It seemed a bit of an unlikely thing, but was very tasty.

About halfway through the class, we got a small salad plate with samples of the first two dishes they’d made. And at the end, we sat down to sample all the others.

It was a fun time.


Night hiking in Griffith Park

Filed under: — stan @ 11:18 pm

This evening, I did a night hike in Griffith Park in Los Angeles. Since Gene’s accident last November, I’ve been trying to do a bit more weight-bearing exercise. And besides, this is a good excuse to get out of the house.

I joined a hiking club that I found through We met at the parking lot by the merry-go-round, and headed up the hill. When we started out, it was dusk, but there was still a fair bit of light. But it got darker as we went up. We saw a nice sunset over the Griffith Park Observatory on the way up.

By the time we got to the top, it was pretty dark, but that was all right. We took in the view of city lights all around us, and then we headed down. We had to be bit careful on the way down, since it was hard to see, but most of the hike was on dirt fire roads, so it wasn’t particularly tricky. And overall, it was a fun time.

An exercise in real-world engineering geekdom

Filed under: — stan @ 9:07 pm

It’s springtime, and time for the ME72 Engineering Contest. This year’s contest was a departure from the past ones I’ve been to. For the first time I remember, it was held outside, and this time, the contest was to build a machine to launch a small object across the field. They had a horizontal rope 30m from the launch pads, and 5m high. The machines had to send their payload over the rope. Beyond that, the longest distance would win.

The machines ran two at a time against each other. So the winner each time was the machine that threw its payload the farthest in that round. There were basically two types of machines used. Most were catapults of some sort, using rubber tubing as a large rubber band to store energy for the launch. They were basically large slingshots. Most of these machines used a small electric motor to stretch the rubber bands. Some had very short launching tracks to fit within the space constraints. Some had longer tracks that started out vertical and had to pivot downward to the proper launching angle. The machines had to fit within the horizontal area of the launch pads.

The second type of machine was a variation on a trebuchet. There were two of them in the contest, and they did very well. One of them was finally eliminated in a later round when its throwing arm buckled during a launch. They repaired it, but it just wasn’t the same, and it ended up losing.

In the end, it came down to Team Savage Rabbit against T.T.B. (Team To Beat). A catapult against a trebuchet. Both machines were very dependable, but in the final contest, the catapult shot its projectile just a little bit farther. The winning margin was only a few feet.

Anyway, it was a fun afternoon.


More cooking adventures

Filed under: — stan @ 6:41 pm

Tonight, I made penne with chicken, mushrooms, and artichoke hearts in an asiago cream sauce. It was perhaps a fairly ambitious quick dinner, but it was good. And the fact that it was involved and complicated is a Good Thing. After all, I’m cooking a lot of very involved things these days as a way of attempting to assert some tiny degree of control over a world gone mad.


Baby hummingbird update

Filed under: — stan @ 3:51 pm

baby hummingbirdI took a peek into the hummingbird nest in the back yard again today. I wanted to see if the baby hummingbirds were still there. I saw one baby hummingbird, and it’s getting quite large.

And again, my camera rocks. I took the picture from up on the garage roof, using the full 12x zoom with manual focus and the camera mounted on a tripod for stability.


Filed under: — stan @ 3:40 pm

Route slip

The Sunday ride for this week was my route up to the Hollywood sign, coming back by way of Toluca Lake and La Cañada. The time change had some of us a little sleepy starting out, but it turned into a perfect spring day.

We rode out through Eagle Rock and down to the L.A. river, crossing over into Silver Lake. Then we went across the Shakespeare Bridge and down Franklin Ave. At Beachwood, we turned right up the hill and headed for the sign. Just after the Hollywoodland gate, we turned left, and that was where the real climbing began. The road up the hill there is very steep and rough. At the top, we went right on Mulholland to get to the dead end right below the sign. There are large signs telling us that hiking up to the sign is prohibited. But there is an obviously well-worn trail that begins right behind those signs. We stopped to take in the view and take some pictures. Then we headed back down Mulholland, down to the Lake Hollywood reservoir. From there, there was another steep climb up and over the hill to get to Barham Blvd. Then down into Burbank, and our snack stop at Priscilla’s.

Coming home, we rode straight across Glendale and then up Verdugo to Hospital Hill. Then down the other side through La Cañada and back into Pasadena. Finally, we took Mendocino back across Altadena and then back to the park. The actual route was about 44 miles, and I rode out to Sierra Madre and back again, just to enjoy the sunshine some more.

50 miles.


Toluca Lake, and Andy Gibb, too

Filed under: — stan @ 2:31 pm
Andy Gibb
Chicken Boy
Doug got a flat

Today’s bike ride was the regular Toluca Lake route. Straight out across Eagle Rock and Glendale to a snack stop at Priscilla’s in Toluca Lake. Then home by way of Griffith Park and Atwater Village. It was a nice day for riding.

The ride out was pretty uneventful. We saw one abandoned couch in Eagle Rock, pushed up against the retaining wall for the 134 freeway. We stopped for snacks at Priscilla’s. Then we started back. The route back went past the Hollywood Hills Forest Lawn, so a few of us stopped off to do some celebrity grave sightseeing. The main attraction this time was Andy Gibb, who, sadly was not “Stayin’ Alive“. We also saw Jack Webb, Albert “Cubby” Broccoli, Freddie Prinze, Walter Lantz, and Forrest Tucker. Pictures are in the Graves Gallery.

On the way back through Highland Park, we saw Chicken Boy. Then we crossed into South Pasadena, where Doug got a flat.

When we got back to the park, I had 46 miles, so I rode out to Sierra Madre and back, just to get to a nice, round 50. It was a fun ride.

50 miles.


It’s Lucinda’s Birthday!

Filed under: — stan @ 1:15 pm

She’s nine now. The party was Saturday. Pictures are in her photo album:

Humorous Pictures
Enter the ICHC online Poker Cats Contest!


More nesting

Filed under: — stan @ 10:22 pm

The hummingbird is still nesting. I haven’t seen the baby hummingbirds sitting up yet, but that should be coming in the next few days. The mother is still sitting on the nest most of the time, and just flying off to feed for a few minutes at a time.

And I’m still nesting. Lamb loin chops with fennel-rosemary-thyme spice rub grilled over an oak wood fire, mashed potatoes garnished with chives from my little spice garden, and broccoli cooked Italian-style with olive oil and garlic. It was pretty good. And I have enough left over for three lunches this week.

So the little hummingbird and I are buddies. We’re both getting by on our own.

Tour de Carpenters

Filed under: — stan @ 6:19 pm

Today’s ride was a Carpenters theme route. We rode to Downey to see the “Close to You” and “Only Just Begun” apartments, and also to see their old house, which was pictured on the cover of their 1973 album, “Now and Then“.

We rode straight south down through San Gabriel and then on Rosemead Blvd down to Downey. We stopped off at the oldest operating McDonald’s at the corner of Lakewood and Florence. Then we rode over to see the two apartment buildings that Karen and Richard Carpenter bought and named for their first two hit songs. Then we rode back across Downey to see their old house on a cul-de-sac right near the 5 freeway. There was an article about the house in the L.A. Times a couple of weeks ago, since the owner is trying to get a permit to tear it down and build a new McMansion on the lot. Apparently, there’s a lot of that going on in that area.

On the way home, we tried to stop off to see Dennis the Menace Park in Downey, but the entrance was not on Lakewood Blvd, and it was not obvious from peering through the fence how to get to the entrance. So that photo-op will have to wait for another day.

When we got back to Rosemead, we saw the ‘Welcome to Rosemead’ sign, with the slogan, “Where city pride is justified.” And, I guess, “if it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”

By the time we got back to the park, it was a very nice day. So I rode a bit more, just to enjoy the sunshine.

46 miles.

Powered by WordPress