Stan’s Obligatory Blog

6/9/2011

Art Walk

Filed under: — stan @ 10:38 pm

Tonight was the monthly Art Walk in downtown Los Angeles. We’d gone to this back in April, and it was a fun time. Lucinda and I went downtown and met up with Kathleen there. We made the rounds of the galleries and the food trucks. We got ice cream from the Lake Street Creamery, which was good, as always. We found the Grilled Cheese Truck, but sadly, the line for it was too long. I suppose that’s a recommendation. The Lobsta Truck also had a really long line.

We started out the evening at the Museum of Neon Art, since this is their last week downtown before they move to their new home in Glendale. From there, we just sort of randomly wandered around, looking in the galleries. There was lots of nice art, some old signs, and lots of neon. One of the galleries was in the old Los Angeles Stock Exchange, which was a very ornate and interesting building. There were even swastikas decorating one of the very old bank buildings on Spring Street.

All told, it was a fun evening.

6/7/2011

Yikes…

Filed under: — stan @ 5:35 pm

I signed up for the Sears Willis Tower stair climb today. 103 stories. How hard could it be?

6/2/2011

Art on a Thursday night

Filed under: — stan @ 10:47 pm

On Thursday night, Kathleen and I met up downtown to go to a little art gallery party at Art Share in downtown Los Angeles. This is a small community art center in an old warehouse and the gallery was showing art by five artists who have been active in the downtown art scene for many years. It was a small show, but fun. There was even some minor excitement when Malia K showed up with her entourage. We have no idea who she is, but everyone seemed to think she was some sort of Big Deal.

In the end, I bought a print of Mirpolsky’s “Sharks” for my house.

All in all, it was a fun evening adventure.

Some more old signs

Filed under: — stan @ 5:46 pm

I had occasion to be in Old Town Pasadena on Thursday, and I saw a couple more faded signs painted on the sides of the old buildings there. And apparently, I’m not the only one who likes looking at these things.

6/1/2011

Vents

Filed under: — stan @ 6:43 am

When Kathleen and I went to see the movie about Star Wars fans and George Lucas, we saw a trailer for “Dumbstruck“. This is a documentary about ventriloquists, and it looked interesting. So last night we made the trip over to Westwood to see it.

The film begins and ends at the Vent Haven convention in Kentucky, and it follows five ventriloquists. They range from a 13-year-old kid just learning the craft, to Terry Fator, who won on “America’s Got Talent” and went on to a $100-million contract performing in Las Vegas. We’d seen billboards all over town advertising his show when we were there last month. The film also visits the Vent Haven Museum for some history of the art.

All told, this was a really fun little movie. It’s got a good cast of nicely strange characters, and that’s just the people. We enjoyed it a lot.

5/30/2011

More adventures in the kitchen

Filed under: — stan @ 9:28 pm

I’d noticed a while back that Kathleen had an ice cream maker in her garage, so I asked her to bring it over this weekend. I thought that this might make for a nice little culinary adventure.

I looked up a couple of recipes for homemade ice cream. I mashed them together and scaled them down a bit, since we were going to make a small batch for the first test of the machine. I thought chocolate chip sounded good, so I got out my little rotary grater with the shaving attachment and made a bowl of chocolate shavings. We scalded some milk and then chilled it in an ice bath. Then we put that and the cream into the ice cream maker and started it up. We packed it with ice and salt, and things were off and running. It took a bit longer than the instructions with the machine said, but in the end, we could see the ice cream forming nicely inside the can. When it was ready, we mixed in the chocolate shavings and put it in the freezer to harden.

And yes, it was quite good.

5/29/2011

Return to the Scene of the Crime

Filed under: — stan @ 8:51 pm

I’d read recently that Michael Jackson’s doctor was being prosecuted in connection with his death, I thought we should take another ride out to visit the scene of the crime. We’d gone there once before. It was a perfect day for riding, and we were in for a lot of it. Since my wheel mishap last week, I’d gotten a new wheel. Since it’s been 3 1/2 years, I thought I’d better change my chain and cassette again, lest I have a repeat of the broken gear incident of 2007. So I took a picture of my clean new drivetrain. It won’t stay that way for long.

We headed out by way of Highland Park, where we got to see Chicken Boy standing next to a billboard advertising a McDonald’s chicken sandwich.

We rode across Hollywood and down the Sunset Strip. The banners told us it was “The Street that Rock Built”. I suppose that’s a fair statement. After that, we crossed into Beverly Hills and rode across to just past the city limits, where the road went back into Los Angeles. That’s where we saw Michael Jackson’s former house. The notes and flowers were gone from the gate, and there was just a realtor’s sign out front.

From there, we headed over to Benedict Canyon, and along the way, I had to stop to admire what I think is one of the greatest mailboxes I’ve ever seen. Then we turned and headed up the canyon. We took a short side trip up Westwanda Dr to see Yvette Vickers’ house. She was in the obituary pages recently with a rather bizarre story, so I wanted to see her house.

At the top of the hill, we regrouped and then headed east to Coldwater Canyon. Mulholland Drive is a pretty nice road to ride on. Then we went down into the Valley and our snack stop at the gelato place in Studio City.

The trip home was pretty straightforward, passing across Glendale and Eagle Rock. It was a very pleasant ride.

56 miles.


5/25/2011

Now that’s stability

Filed under: — stan @ 5:39 pm

This is from one of my office mail servers:

Copyright (c) 1980, 1983, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

FreeBSD 4.8-RELEASE (EQINFO) #0: Wed May 14 10:10:17 GMT 2003

Welcome to FreeBSD!

This is eqinfo3.geo.berkeley.edu.

%date
Wed May 25 12:07:21 PDT 2011
%uptime
12:06PM up 2192 days, 1:34, 1 user, load averages: 0.15, 0.05, 0.01

Yes, that’s right. Six years without a reboot. FreeBSD is up to release 8.2 now, but the old system is ticking along just fine.

5/22/2011

Another architecture tour

Filed under: — stan @ 5:16 pm

I recently saw an item in the Los Angeles Times about the last remaining Greene and Greene house in L.A. being for sale. So I looked it up and we took a ride out to see it today.

We rode into downtown L.A., and then down through to Adams, near USC. Along the way, we passed the convention center and its sign for the “Everything to do with Sex” show. Then we headed west on Adams. The house itself is in the “Harvard Heights Historic District“. Which is apparently a fancy name for a former high-class neighborhood that’s kind of gone to seed. The house across the street was quite large and ornate, but it had broken windows and just did not look like it was being maintained.

Our stop was at Noah’s Bagels on Larchmont. Then we started for home. David got a flat, and while he was changing the tube, I checked the true on my back wheel. It was way off, and a closer look showed that one of the spokes had pulled out of the rim. This sort of thing is never a good sign. So I trued the wheel as best I could and we continued on.

After just about another mile, David said his tire was going flat, so we had to stop again. This time, I took a close look at his tire and found a staple stuck in it. Mystery solved.

Going up Benton Way in Silver Lake, I spotted a new topiary. I don’t know if it can be incorporated into one of the existing Topiary Tours that we do, but I will keep it in mind.

In Eagle Rock, my bike started making a weird noise. Turned out the spoke had come loose from the rim and was flapping around. So I stopped and twisted it around the spoke next to it to hold it still for the ride home.

When we got back into Pasadena, we saw a roadblock in Old Town, so we went to see what it was, and we rode into the middle of a Ferrari show.

It was a kind of strange, but very fun ride.

41 miles.


5/19/2011

Another person who changed the world we live in

Filed under: — stan @ 7:53 am

In today’s obituaries, we have Willard Boyle, one of the inventors of the CCD, which makes digital cameras possible. I believe that this ranks right up with the invention of tortilla chips or instant ramen noodles. This has enabled an entire generation to post endless streams of Facebook profile pictures. And as is often the case, they didn’t set out to invent the thing they invented:

In the fall of 1969, Boyle and his co-laureate, George E. Smith, both of them at Bell Laboratories, gathered in Boyle’s office after lunch to think about ways to develop a new memory device for computers. Within an hour, they had come up with the rudiments of the CCD.

And this is why we need places like Bell Labs, where scientists can just play around to see what they come up with.

Read the whole story here:

http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-me-willard-boyle-20110519,0,4043815.story

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