Stan’s Obligatory Blog


Stand and Deliver in Turnbull Canyon

Filed under: — stan @ 4:01 pm

I got a robo-call from Lucinda’s school a few days ago that said that they were doing AP testing this week. That got me to thinking about Jaime Escalante and his calculus class. I remember reading about them in the summer of 1982, when ETS was challenging their scores and made them retake the test to prove that they really did know calculus. This story was the basis for the film, “Stand and Deliver“. So I planned out a ride to visit Mr. Escalante’s grave at Rose Hills in Whittier.

It was chilly this morning, and GT was cold when we were starting out. A little while later, we had to stop when Stewart got a flat.

When we got to Rose Hills, we were able to find the space pretty easily from the location given at But sadly, Mr. Escalante’s grave is unmarked. It seems odd for someone who had such an effect on the world.

Continuing on, we rode across Whittier and up Turnbull Canyon. After a brief stop at the top, we headed down the other side and turned for home. Our snack stop was at Merengue in Monrovia. By then, it had cleared up and turned into a very nice day. A good day for riding.

51 miles.


Saturday morning on my bike

Filed under: — stan @ 5:52 pm

I went riding on Saturday morning. Nothing special. Just a loop ride to nowhere in particular. But I did see a couple of funny mailboxes in Arcadia. One was a miniature of the house, and the other was a steam locomotive.

I rode through South Pasadena and saw a Gold Line train passing through. I don’t know what they’re complaining about there. That’s the quietest train I’ve ever not heard. And I’ve got very sensitive hearing.

Going by the Rose Bowl, there were the usual assortment of people running, skating, walking, and so forth. I did see one attractive and pretty heavily-tattooed young woman running there. That always makes my day. And on that note, I took a short side trip on the way home to visit Shannon.

It was a nice little ride.

29 miles.



Filed under: — stan @ 10:31 am

I’ve worn earplugs in movies, at concerts, in bars, while mowing the lawn for the last 30 years. And you know what? It worked. I found this site with ultrasonic phone ringtones. You listen to them until you get up to a frequency you can’t hear any more. And then they tell you what that means. And in my case:

Or maybe you are a mosquito, you certainly can’t be human.

The highest pitched ultrasonic mosquito ringtone that I can hear is 21.1kHz

Find out which ultrasonic ringtones you can hear!


Bombers in Burbank by Bike

Filed under: — stan @ 6:45 pm

After going to see the restored WWII bombers yesterday, I thought that this might make for an interesting bike ride destination for Sunday’s ride. I plotted a route, and we were on our way.

We rode along the Chandler bikeway in Burbank for a bit. There was a statue and display about the workers who built the railroad that used to run on the right-of-way where the bike path is now. We also took a short side trip to see the big desert tortoises in the front yard of a house there.

The bombers were parked around on the north side of the airport, so we had to ride all the way around to get to them. We stopped by the main entrance for a photo-op with the topiary jetliner there, and we also passed Jet Stream Liquors on Vanowen across from the airport.

When we got to Atlantic Aviation, we got to see the bombers parked there, but they were not open yet for tours. Still, we did get to see them. After that, we headed south to our snack stop at Priscilla’s. While we were sitting there, we heard a distinctive low-pitched propeller airplane noise overhead. We looked up, and the B-17 was flying right over us. I got out the camera, and few minutes later, the B-24 came by overhead. So we finally did get to see them fly after all.

On the way home, we tried a new route across Glendale and Eagle Rock. It was a nice change. When I got home, I realized that the route was a little bit longer than I’d expected, but that’s all right.

45 miles.


Bombers in Burbank 2012

Filed under: — stan @ 6:35 pm

On Saturday afternoon, Kathleen came with me to go see the Collings Foundation’s restored World War II bombers on display at Burbank Airport. This is my third time going to see them, and I still think it’s amazing and terrifying to think of what the guys who flew these planes went through.

This time, they also had a P-51 fighter plane there, and people were taking rides in it. The airplane rides were $425 per person for the bombers, and $2200 for a half-hour in the P-51. A bit beyond our means, but it still meant we got to see the P-51 fly. I had my camera on ‘fast action’ mode, but I had no idea that it would be quick enough to freeze the propeller of the plane when it was under full takeoff power. Wow.

We took the walking tours through the bombers, and I’m still amazed at how tight the space is in there.

The actual veterans who flew these airplanes in combat are getting pretty rare these days. There were only a couple on hand, and only one who was able to talk about his experiences. Soon, all we’ll have left are the books they’ve written and recorded interviews.

It was an interesting adventure.


The cupcake ATM

Filed under: — stan @ 2:25 pm

A few months ago, I read an article about how Sprinkles cupcakes in Beverly Hills had installed a ‘cupcake ATM’ on the front of their store. This is an automated machine that sells a selection of their cupcakes 24 hours a day. The very idea is quite absurd, but it’s also funny. And of course, I immediately looked up where it was so I could plan a bike ride there to see it.

On the way across Hollywood, we stopped to see Carol Burnett’s star in front of the old Pacific Theater. We’d heard the story as part of the Neon Cruise last night, so I wanted to stop and see it.

In West Hollywood, we went past Dicks St, which we’ve been out to see before. Then it was on into Beverly Hills to see the Cupcake ATM. We got there just as the store was opening. There was a line outside waiting to get in. But we were there for the machine, so I went straight for that. It has a touch screen menu that was easy to use, but it really needs an awning over it. It was very hard to see in the sun. It played a little earworm ‘I love Sprinkles’ jingle when it wasn’t being used. I guess that’s its way of being its own carnival barker.

I selected a Dark Chocolate cupcake. I put my credit card in, and the machine started making a lot of mechanical noises for a few seconds before the little cylinder on the front rotated around to reveal a single cupcake in a little box, ready to go. It was packaged quite nicely. I took it out and ate half of it right there. Then I stuffed the box in my pocket. I was curious to see how well it would travel.

You can see it in action on youtube.

We had a quick bathroom break at Will Rogers Park in Beverly Hills before heading up Benedict Canyon. When we got to Mulholland Drive at the top of the hill, I took out my cupcake. The top had separated from the bottom on the ride up. So there are limits to how well it can travel in the little box. But it was still tasty. It was about as good as a bought cupcake can be. I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to baked goods in general.

We rode along Mulholland for a while, stopping briefly to look at the mailbox at Fire Station 97. Then we turned off down into Studio City to stop at the gelato place we like there. After that, we headed home by the shortest route. This was a bit longer than our usual ride, and it was getting late. When I got home, I had 59.7 miles, so I went around the block once, just to make it a nice route number with a zero on the end.

60 miles.


Saturday night neon

Filed under: — stan @ 10:49 pm

Since the Museum of Neon Art is in the process of moving to Glendale, they held a special Neon Cruise on Saturday night, beginning and ending at the Americana there. This was our third time doing a Neon Cruise, and it was fun like always.

The actual cruise route was very similar to the others. There are some neon signs in Glendale, but apparently, not all that many. We headed into downtown Los Angeles by way of Angelino Heights. The cruise is not just neon, but also takes in a lot of local history, so the old Victorian houses on Carroll Avenue were a nice sight. When we got downtown, we had a brief stop at Phillippe’s for snacks, drinks, and neon signs. I think this may have been the only time I’ve ever been to Phillippe’s when I wasn’t on jury duty.

I brought along some cookie’s I’d made and shared them with the other tourists on the bus. It’s a good way to try out new recipes, since I’m doing development now of recipes to enter in this year’s L.A. County Fair.

Heading out of downtown, we went up into Hollywood for a trip down Hollywood Boulevard, and a stop at the Cat and the Fiddle. After that, we headed back to the Americana for the end of the tour.

It was a fun evening.

A visit to the Bunny Museum

Filed under: — stan @ 9:53 pm

Today is Obscura Day. It’s a day to see and do odd and obscure things. And today, I noticed that there was an event very close to my house. The Bunny Museum was hosting an event for Obscura Day. They’ve been on my list of things to go see for a long time, so today was the day.

We went up there after I got back from bike riding. I knew where they were, since the giant topiary rabbit in the front yard is one of the stops on my Topiary Tour bike ride. We signed in and took the tour.

There were bunnies. Stuffed plush bunnies. Porcelain figurine bunnies. Real, live bunnies. Freeze-dried former live bunnies. Pictures of bunnies. Household objects in the shape of bunnies. Books about bunnies. Books with ‘bunny’ in the title. It was impressive.

It was an amazing and amusing afternoon.

More weirdness by bike

Filed under: — stan @ 8:12 pm

On Saturday morning, I went out for a little ride. I wanted to go see the Doo Dah Parade. It’s only about a mile from my house, but it didn’t start until 11:00. So I rode there by way of Duarte.

In Monrovia, I saw a house that had bushes that were trimmed so they looked like they came out of a Dr Seuss book. A few of them had very flat tops, and I was curious if I could stand my water bottle up on one of them. So I did. I had to put my walled on the bush to spread the load out, but then it made a fine little table.

In Bradbury, I saw a golden mailbox. I suppose it only gets good mail. No bills or jury duty summons ever could sully the golden mailbox. Then, around the corner, I saw the chromed stamped steel mailbox with a hot-rod flames flag. That was a good one, too.

When I got to Duarte, I saw another flat-topped tufted bush, so I stood my water bottle up on it for a picture.

There was a school sign that said “DOLPHINS WILL ROCK THE TEST”. That’s not what The Onion told me.

On the way back through Arcadia, I stopped to look at the tennis-playing light fixtures, and I also saw some peafowl wandering about.

When I got back to Pasadena, it was time for the parade, so I went to see that. Here are the pictures:

24 miles.


Castle Green

Filed under: — stan @ 10:16 pm

Today was the springtime Castle Green tour day. Castle Green is an old hotel in Pasadena that has been converted into apartments. It’s a unique place. I’ve been here for the tour once before, but that was years ago, so it was time to see it again.

The tour starts when we walk into the lobby. The sign said that the lights were deliberately left exposed without glass globes so that we could see that they were using electric lighting, which was a new thing when the building first opened.

We walked up the stairs one floor at a time, stopping to see the apartments that were open for the tour on each floor. We got to see one apartment that Tim Burton used to live in. That was most likely back in the days when Old Town Pasadena still smelled of urine, and was a relatively cheap place to live.

The building and decor in Castle Green are very interesting and amusing. We enjoyed seeing how each apartment was decorated. I particularly liked seeing how each person who has one of the end apartments decided to decorate the round room in the turret at the south end of the building.

We made our way up one floor at a time, until we came out on the roof. After that, we went back down to see the rest of the first floor, and also the one open suite in the basement.

It was a fun afternoon.

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