Stan’s Obligatory Blog

Happy Halloween

10/23/2011

La Tuna Canyon

Filed under: — stan @ 4:26 pm

Today’s bike ride was the classic La Tuna Canyon route. Out across Eagle Rock and Glendale, and then back by way of La Tuna Canyon and Montrose. It was a little chilly in the morning, but turned out to be a very nice day.

Not much remarkable happened along the way. The only bad thing was when we were going up La Tuna Canyon and I got a flat.

On the way home across Altadena, I saw people putting up the lights on Christmas Tree Lane. They told me that they have a pulley mounted at the top of each tree to make it easier to haul the lights up without someone having to climb all the way to the top every time.

And finally, I went by to see if the wallabies were out. And they were both lounging on the grass in the front yard.

41 miles.

10/22/2011

Glendora Ridge and Baldy Village

Filed under: — stan @ 2:21 pm

Today was a special ride. Carla organized a group to ride up Glendora Mountain, along the ridge, all the way out to Baldy Village. I’ve done this ride before, but that was back in 1978. I recall it as being fun and not all that hard, so I was curious to see it again and see how hard it is now. Or, as I’m fond of saying, “How hard could it be?”

We all met up at Encanto Park in Duarte. I violated my usual rule of always riding to the start point today, largely because I knew we were going to be doing a lot of big hills. So I got a ride out there with Carla. While we were getting ready, David came up, with his bike stuffed behind the seats of his convertible Jaguar.

We started out up San Gabriel Canyon Road. When I did this route back in 1978, I was newly-arrived from New Jersey, and the guys I was riding with were telling me that we were about to ride up “the biggest hill you’ve ever seen in your life.” At the time, I got excited and ended up racing them all up the hill. This time, we took it at a more leisurely pace. We stopped at Camp Williams for water, and then headed up the back side of Glendora Mountain. That was a nice 5-mile uphill. The sign at the beginning said it was a 6% grade. At the top, we stopped to regroup and take some pictures. Then we headed off down Glendora Ridge Road. This was the part that I remember from 1978 as being just a sort of gentle rolling and winding road with nice scenery. But apparently, I was much stronger in those days. The scenery was still very nice, but it was a hard ride. The trend was uphill, but with some significant downhill portions. On the other hand, it was nice and quiet. In the whole 12 miles, I only saw six cars. When I got to the end where the road drops off down to Baldy Village, I stopped for some more pictures and to rest. Then we all rode down the hill to lunch at the Mt Baldy Lodge.

At that point, we had a choice. We could go back the way we came, along the ridge. Or we could go down Mt Baldy Road into Claremont and just take Foothill Blvd back. I was game to try the ridge, just to see the scenery again, but everyone else wanted to go back the easiest way possible. And I can’t complain about that. So we rode down into Claremont and made our way back that way. When we got back to Encanto Park, we were nicely tired, but not in a bad way. So it was a fun ride, even if it did prove once again that I’m not as strong as I was when I was 18.

58 miles.

10/16/2011

The House of Davids

Filed under: — stan @ 6:23 pm

I recently read that the House of Davids is for sale. Apparently, Norwood is dismayed that his house is more famous than he is, and so he wants to move away. So I figured we should pay another visit. I’d heard that he was going to be having a yard sale, but we were too early for that.

It was a nice day for riding. We headed out across Highland Park and down into Silver Lake. Then into Hancock Park to the House of Davids. He had one of the Davids wearing his holiday regalia, I guess just to show what they look like around the holidays.

After that, we headed north into Hollywood. Our snack stop was at Groundwork Coffee on Sunset. It was a nice day to sit out in the sunshine. Just like the day when we were sitting there in the sun reading the CNN news crawl across the street telling us that the Metrodome in Minneapolis had collapsed from the weight of the snow on the roof.

From there, we headed home. On Fountain Ave, we got to see a fairly violent car crash. A small car ran a red light and T-boned a big pickup truck. Made quite a sound.

And that was our ride for the day.

42 miles.

10/15/2011

Tim Burton at LACMA

Filed under: — stan @ 10:55 pm

On Saturday afternoon, Kathleen and I went over to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to see the exhibit on Tim Burton.

The exhibit was great fun. They had examples of all his artwork, all the way back to notebook sketches from his high school days in Burbank back in the ’70s. And I’m sure he enjoys having his old artwork on display along with the teacher comments and rejection letters that it got back then. That sort of thing is always fun.

This is a very popular exhibit, so they had separate tickets for it. It was very crowded, and took quite a while to get through, since there were so many people there. But it was fun time.

Yet more odd things I see when I’m out riding my bike

Filed under: — stan @ 12:33 pm

On Saturday morning, I went on my usual ‘I have a couple of free hours’ bike ride. It doesn’t go anywhere in particular, but I still sometimes get to see some strange things along the way.

When I rode by the Rose Bowl, there was something going on, but that’s not unusual. I just kept going until I saw a solid row of cars across the road with flashing lights coming towards me. So I turned off up Salvia Canyon to get out of their way. When I looked back down, there were being followed by a marching horde of people chanting something or other. It was strange.

In Altadena, I saw a yard sale. That’s not unusual in itself, but this is the first yard sale I’ve ever seen that came with nutrition information.

On the way home, I took a short side trip to see if I could see the wallabies again. They weren’t out, but instead, I saw the desert tortoises that live there having some fun in the front yard. Rule 34 strikes again.

30 miles.

10/13/2011

Artwalk October

Filed under: — stan @ 10:50 pm

This Thursday was time for the monthly downtown Los Angeles Artwalk. So after work, I got on the train to meet up with Kathleen downtown.

The food trucks were out in force again. Kathleen got a lobster roll from Lobsta Truck, and I got Korean BBQ cheese steak sandwich from the Kogi truck. Odd, but quite tasty.

After that, we headed out to make the rounds of the galleries. I took a few pictures, but not many, as the lighting is not really conducive to that sort of thing. Still, we saw lots of art of all kinds, as well as the insides of a lot of ornate old buildings downtown. As always, it was a fun time.

10/10/2011

“I am not a crook” and other great moments in history

Filed under: — stan @ 9:01 pm

Monday was a government holiday, so Kathleen and I went down to Yorba Linda to visit the Nixon Library and Museum. I’d been there before, many years ago, but I’d read recently that it had been taken over by the National Archives, and that they’d reworked the exhibits into a more fact-based form. So that made it worth the trip.

Some of my earliest childhood memories are of my mother ranting about how much she hated Richard Nixon. She’d gone to high school for a year in Whittier in about 1953 or 1954, so I guess he was prominent around there then. And of course, he’d run for President in 1960, just after I was born. Then, in 1973, my mother and I spent the summer watching the Senate Watergate Committee hearings on TV. This, of course, culminated in watching Nixon’s resignation in August of 1974. So you might say that Richard Nixon was a big part of my upbringing.

The museum isn’t nearly as glamorous a setting as the Reagan Library, which we visited on this holiday last year. But it’s still interesting to see. The first portion of it covers Richard Nixon’s life from the beginning up to his second term as President, with a small detour with a gallery devoted to Pat Nixon’s life. A lot of interesting and significant things happened during his time in office. The trip to China was one that he could take credit for. The moon landings, not so much, but he was still there for it.

Then we came to the final gallery. The color scheme changed, and we went into Watergate. The old museum had a gallery devoted to Watergate, but it was told from the Nixon point of view. Which is to say, it was a sort of bizarro-world version of the story. There used to be an exhibit where you could listen to an excerpt from the so-called ‘Smoking Gun tape‘ where Nixon and Haldeman are discussing the cover-up of their involvement in the Watergate break-in. And the sign on the exhibit told us that we could listen to it and hear clearly that they were not talking about a cover-up. But listening to it, it seemed pretty obvious that they were. So now, the exhibit has a series of touch screens where you can listen to excerpts from the tapes, and the synopsis on each one actually tells what it’s about, and the pieces of the story all fit together.

And then there was an entire exhibit devoted to the 18 1/2 minute gap. They had a picture of Rosemary Woods stretching across her desk to show how she might have ‘accidentally’ erased part of the tape. They also had a listening station where you could listen to the entire gap tape, complete with the clicks that indicated where there were multiple erasures. The only thing missing was the song.

They even had the lock picks that were found on the Watergate burglars. Being that lock picking is a hobby of mine, I found this amusing.

After that, we went outside to take a tour of the former Marine One helicopter, which was the Presidential helicopter for Presidents from Kennedy to Ford. We finished up with the tour of the family home and a visit to Richard and Pat’s graves.

It was an interesting day.

Chantry Flat

Filed under: — stan @ 11:05 am

It’s a holiday, and I had a little free time this morning, so I did a short ride up to Chantry Flat. I haven’t been up there for some time, and it was a nice day.

It was a pleasant ride, or at least as pleasant as 3.5 miles up a sort-of-steep hill can be. And the view was nice, even if it was a bit hazy today.

21 miles.

10/9/2011

Another urban bike tour

Filed under: — stan @ 12:53 pm

Today’s bike club ride was a sort of random tour of L.A. It was also the day of the third CicLAvia, but we decided not to go to that, since the last time, it was crowded enough that it didn’t feel safe riding in that group. Too many people seem so have the attitude that if there are no cars around, they don’t have to pay attention to anything or follow any sort of rules of the road. So that was out.

A few weeks ago, I read in the L.A. Times about a place in Echo Park that has a room full of vintage pinball machines and hosts a pinball league. So that was one stop on the tour, mostly just to see where it is. On the way, we went pas a car club meeting in Echo Park. The Nash Metropolitan hot-rod was pretty funny.

When we crossed Alvarado St, we found ourselves facing a hill that looked like a wall. But it looked flat on the map…

Continuing on through Silver Lake, we went into the east end of Hollywood, where we had a brief sightseeing stop at the Vista Theater. This is the place that as a small Walk of Fame composed of the hand and foot prints of some of the lesser-known stars of cinema.

On the way back, we stopped off at Antigua Cultural Coffee for snacks and drinks.

It was a nice ride.

40 miles.

10/4/2011

And yet another odd thing I saw while riding my bike

Filed under: — stan @ 9:36 pm

It’s the Google Maps Street View bicycle. Well, tricycle, but you get the idea. I saw this guy riding around through the Caltech campus today. He said the idea is so that Street View can work along bicycle and walking routes.

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