Stan’s Obligatory Blog

Happy Thanksgiving

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8/12/2019

The Met and the NHM

Filed under: — stan @ 9:09 pm

Today was a big walking tour around Manhattan to see the two big things we wanted to see. Kathleen wanted to go to the Met, and I wanted to go to the Natural History Museum. The Hall of Dinosaurs there was one of my most favorite things when I was a kid.

At the Met, we saw the “Camp” exhibit, which was very entertaining. Then we walked across Central Park, stopping for lunch at the boathouse for lunch. At the NHM, we saw the two big dinosaur halls, and also the special T-Rex exhibit, where we got to see the new vision of T-Rex with feathers.

All around, it was a fun day.

8/11/2019

Playing tourist on the Lower East Side

Filed under: — stan @ 8:43 pm

Today’s adventure was to play tourist in Lower Manhattan. We started with dim sum in Chinatown, which was good. After that, we walked a bit to get to the Tenement Museum. We took the “Hard Times” tour, which was recommended as a good overview of the sorts of experiences and problems that recent immigrants had to deal with. And seeing the tiny apartments inside the building – yikes.

After the tenement tour, we went to the Eldrige Street Synagogue. This dates back to around the same era as the Tenement Museum. And we never knew that there was a large Jewish settlement in northern China in the late 19th century, populated largely by Russian Jews.

After the museum tours, we walked back to the World Trade Center and took the ferry back across the Hudson to Hoboken.

8/10/2019

Visiting Stamford

Filed under: — stan @ 8:43 pm

This summer’s big trip was a visit to the East Coast. First, to Stamford, Connecticut, where Melissa is having her White Coat Ceremony. In the Physician Assistant program, this marks the end of the first year of classroom instruction, and the beginning of about a year and half of real-world experience with doctors and patients. It’s a Big Deal.

We started out our day at LAX, which is generally not the way one wants to start any particular day. And today was a brilliant example of that, since when we got there, we quickly found out that our 9:30AM flight had been delayed until 3:15PM. Fortunately, I’d come prepared with my MacBook and a few movies. So we watched “Pandas” and “Long Shot” while sitting in the terminal at LAX.

We finally got underway at just a bit after 3:00, finally getting to JFK at about 11:45PM. The plan had been to take the train to Stamford, but because we were getting in so late, Melissa was able to drive into the city to pick us up.

In the morning, we all headed up to Sacred Heart for the ceremony. It was nice, and the 39 students all looked very pleased.

The next day, we played tourist a bit around Stamford. We went to the Stamford Nature Center. We got to see feeding time for the little river otters.

The original plan was to take the train to New York after the Nature Center, but I had contacted my old high school friend Steve to see about when we’d be able to get together. And it turned out that not only does Steve have a very nice boat, he keeps it at a marina in Stamford, just a half-mile from the hotel where we were staying. So we arranged to stay one more night in Stamford, and then we went sailing with Steve on Saturday. That was a nice and unexpected treat.

After sailing, we rode the train into New York. The, two subways and a PATH train later, we came out in Hoboken to visit with my old friend Gordon.

So far, it’s a pretty fun trip.

8/4/2019

The Coliseum Mural

Filed under: — stan @ 4:02 pm

Last week, I saw an article in the Los Angeles Times about how they recently rediscovered the story behind the mural painted inside the arched entrance to the Coliseum. It was apparently painted in 1969, as part of the city’s bid to host the 1976 Olympics.

www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-coliseum-mural-20190712-story.html

In any event, I knew we needed to ride down there to go see it. The route took us into downtown L.A. We stopped to see the progress on the Metro Regional Connector. They are making good progress on the tunnel entrance on 1st St. Then we continued down Santa Fe Ave, pausing to see the progress on the new 6th Street Bridge. We rode down to the edge of Vernon and then turned west. We passed the currently-closed Metro Blue Line. Then we also saw the fossilized steel rails embedded in a sidewalk on Grand Ave. These are relics of the former Pacific Electric Air Line to Santa Monica. We’ve been to see them before. Then we arrived at the Coliseum. We couldn’t get inside the fence, but we were able to see the mural from outside.

After the stop, we headed north to our snack stop at Valerie Confections in Echo Park. Then we headed home by way of Highland Park.

42 miles.

Route map and elevation profile.


7/30/2019

I didn’t think it was possible that city services could be *too* good…

Filed under: — stan @ 10:44 am

Last night, a big branch broke off one of the trees across the street from our house. This happened at about 10:30 or so, and I made a note to call Pasadena Forestry first thing in the morning to have it taken care of. We went outside for a look, and I took some pictures. I was kind of excited that I finally had a reason to use my Big Serious Flash on the camera. The branch that broke off was about 8 inches thick or so, and it fell down on the street, blocking about half the street. Fortunately, our street has very little traffic, so this wasn’t a problem.

This has happened before:

http://www.1134.org/blog/2005/08/28/have-i-mentioned-that-pasadena-has-emgreatem-city-services/

http://www.1134.org/blog/2004/07/29/crack/

Both of those times, the fallen branch blocked our driveway. But this time, the branch wasn’t blocking anything to speak of.

So we went to sleep. And we were rather rudely awakened at 05:20 by a chainsaw about 50 feet from our open bedroom window. I looked outside, and there was a city crew there, cutting up the fallen branch. I went outside and asked them why they were doing this at 00-dark-whatever, rather than waiting until sunrise. They said that they had been told by the Po;lice Department that it was an emergency and needed to be cleared immediately. I called the police, and they said that one of the neighbors had called it in, and they pointed the finger at the Fire Department as to why it was deemed to be such an emergency.

But seriously, looking at the pictures, it’s pretty clear that this could have waited. By 6:00AM, I’d already written a letter to our city councilman.

And it’s also happened before that they sent a crew out in the middle of the night for something that really wasn’t an emergency:

http://www.1134.org/blog/2007/09/12/hey-look-no-branch/


7/28/2019

Covina Bowl

Filed under: — stan @ 7:44 pm

This past week, I saw an article in Curbed L.A. with a map and list of some of the best still-surviving examples of 1950s Googie architecture. We went to see the Premiere Lanes bowling alley sign, the former Johnie’s Broiler in Downey, as well as others. So, looking at the list in the article:

https://la.curbed.com/maps/googie-map-los-angeles

I saw that Covina Bowl is on the list, and we’d never been to see it. So that was today’s bike ride.

We started out going south, for no particular reason other than to pad the mileage out a bit. Then we headed east and made a loop Through Covina and West Covina. We saw the former bowling alley, and then went for snacks at Panera in West Covina. Then we headed home by way of Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area.

42 miles.

Route map and elevation profile.

7/21/2019

Whittier – Including more teapot!

Filed under: — stan @ 3:07 pm

Today’s ride was a visit to Whittier, and the Whittier Greenway Trail. Along the way, we also went to see a couple of odd landmarks, including the hovering teapot in Temple City, and Dork Street in Pico Rivera. We’ve been to see both before, but we revisit them from time to time, just because they’re entertaining little landmarks.

In Whittier, we rode most, but not all of the Greenway Trail. At Greenleaf Ave, we turned north and went in to Uptown Whitter for snacks at Mimo’s Cafe.

Coming back, we took the Rio Hondo bike trail, and at the northern end, we found the trail partially flooded. This has happened before, but this time we thought it was probably not to deep to ride through. So that’s what we did, and it wasn’t too bad.

45 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

7/7/2019

Scoops Ahoy!

Filed under: — stan @ 1:45 pm

On Friday, I saw an article on LA Eater about how they have a pop-up Scoops Ahoy ice cream shop in Burbank. This is a promotion for “Stranger Things” on Netflix. These sorts of things happen from time to time, like the time we rode out to visit the Kwik-E-Mart they built as a promotion for “The Simpsons”.

It was a perfect day for riding. Cool and overcast. Perfect for a ride to Hawkins.

About 42 miles. I’m not completely sure, because my GPS turned itself off in North Hollywood.

6/30/2019

Ciclavia Pico-Union

Filed under: — stan @ 1:42 pm

Today’s bike club ride was a visit to the Pico-Union area of Los Angeles. There is a Ciclavia going on there today. And besides that, the start of the Ciclavia route is just a block or two from Powers Place, which has the distinction of being the shortest street in Los Angeles.

Riding downtown, we made good time, and for the first time in a long time, we made it to the L.A. River in time to see the Metrolink 8:46 train to Lancaster go by. Then we rode through downtown L.A., where we saw that the north end of the Metro Blue and Expo lines is shut down for maintenance. The Pico station had signs warning us that there were no trains running there right now.

The Ciclavia route was like the time they did the Ciclavia to the Sea in 2013. We rode the length of the route, and then headed north to get to Hancock Park and our snack stop at Noah’s Bagels. After that, we headed back by our usual route through Silver Lake, pausing briefly to check out the Happy Foot/Sad Foot sign on Sunset. Apparently, it’s going to be moving away soon.

44 miles.

Route map and elevation profile.

6/23/2019

The Stonehurst Cottages

Filed under: — stan @ 2:18 pm

Today’s bike club ride was a trip to Sun Valley to see the Stonehurst Cottages. There are a collection of stone houses, all built by one man in the 1920s. It’s a testament to what can happen when you have one man with a vision, as well as a lot of time on his hands.

The ride up there was pretty straightforward. Across Eagle Rock, Glendale, and Burbank. We did one short side trip in Burbank to see the house with the backyard playhouse in the shape of a pirate galleon. Then we continued on up into the auto-wrecking-ghetto of Sun Valley, and then turned off on Sheldon St to get to the Stonehurst neighborhood. We rode around randomly on some of the streets there to see a few of the stone houses. Then we continued on through the horse neighborhood around there. Seeing and smelling horses, it felt like we were out in the country, not inside the city limits of Los Angeles. This was the same neighborhood we visited once to see a llama named Lorenzo.

44 miles.

Route map and elevation profile.

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