Stan’s Obligatory Blog


2010 in LOLcats

Filed under: — stan @ 6:04 pm

O hai!

Iz tiem fer mai yer in LOLcats. Dis iz teh story uv mai yer, told in picturez frum I Can Haz Cheezburger


The House of Davids

Filed under: — stan @ 9:32 pm

Sunday’s bike ride was a holiday sightseeing route to Hancock Park to see the House of Davids. They always have an over-the-top display there, and this year was no exception.

We rode there by way of Silver Lake and Koreatown. We’ve been passing the Harbin Deer Antler Trading Company for years, and today was the first time it occurred to me to have a look in the window. And yes, there were antlers in there.

When we were in Hancock Park, I saw a house with some small potted topiary reindeer. I wonder what they do with them the rest of the year.

The House of Davids did not disappoint. All the Davids were decorated, and the lion heads on the house all had little Santa hats. It’s just too bad we can’t ride there when it’s dark to see it lit up.

Heading north into Hollywood, we passed the Never Open Store. As always, it was closed. Our stop was at Groundworks Coffee on Sunset, where we sat in the shade and watched the CNN news crawl telling us about the Metrodome collapsing from the weight of the snow in Minneapolis.

It was a nice ride.

42 miles.


Filed under: — stan @ 2:16 pm

One scene from this morning’s bike ride. We stopped at Groundworks Coffee on Sunset in Hollywood. This is across the street from the CNN building. It was warm, and we were sitting there in the sunshine as the news crawler across the street told us about the Metrodome in Minneapolis collapsing from the weight of the snow on it.

I love L.A.



Filed under: — stan @ 6:21 pm

I saw this sign in the entrance to a parking garage near my office. I think the stars are the detail that really makes it.


Holidays at the Seismo Lab

Filed under: — stan @ 7:58 pm

Today was the day for decorating the tree at the Seismo Lab. They brought out the box of ornaments. And I noticed that they were wrapped up in old paper seismograms. I’d always wondered what became of all the old paper records after we went digital.


New sightseeing discoveries

Filed under: — stan @ 10:00 pm

Today’s bike ride was the ‘Relatively Flat Ride’. This is the route I made up that tries to avoid as many hills as possible. It’s about 43 miles round trip from Pasadena to Glendora and Covina.

It was a bit chilly, but basically a nice day for riding. We started out from the park, and we hadn’t even gotten around the first corner when we saw Carla racing to catch up with us. She likes to sleep in as late as possible on Sunday mornings.

We took a small detour in Arcadia to see a house with an over-the-top Christmas display, complete with a fiberglass cow and calf. That was suitably weird to be a photo-op. In Bradbury, we saw a couple houses with horse-themed topiary in the yards. Those will be added to the original Topiary Tour route.

On the way back, we had a minor run-in with a motorist. We caught up with him at the next light, so I made a point to get his picture. 5SFY673, you’re an asshole.

Our snack stop was at Merengue. Carla bought me an eclair, which was superb as always.

It was a nice ride, aside from the brief interlude with the asshole.

43 miles.


Up we go, into the dusty stairwell

Filed under: — stan @ 3:19 pm

Today was the first Cystic Fibrosis Foundation stair climb in Los Angeles. The venue was the Figueroa at Wilshire building. The climb was from the exit door on the side facing 6th St up to the 51st floor. They said that’s 49 floors and something like 1274 steps.

I’d done the practice climb there a couple weeks ago, so I had an idea what to expect. I had been a bit disappointed in my performance at the Willis Tower climb and also at the U.S. Bank Tower. Both those times I’d felt that I really hadn’t been mentally able to really give it all, and I didn’t make my goals. So today was the time to do it right.

In the practice climb, I’d done it in 9:32. That was all right, but I really thought I should do better. At the Aon climb last April, I did 11:42. Scaling for the different heights of the buildings, if I did the same pace here as at Aon, I’d get to the top in 9 minutes. So my goal for the day was to do 9 minutes or less. I recently worked out what I think is a more efficient way of doing the turns on the landings, so I wanted to try that out.

They had us line up with the competitive stair climbers in front. That basically meant Mark and his West Coast Labels group. I got in line towards the rear of the group, since I knew that most of them would be faster than me. I set my metronome at 80 and off I went.

As always, by about the 20th floor, I was hurting. But that’s normal. And I found that the necessary concentration to remember how to do the turns was a useful distraction. I just kept time with the metronome and tried not to look at the floor numbers. I didn’t pass anyone, and I was only passed by one other guy.

When I finally looked up at the floor numbers, I was at 40. And I thought, “Crap! I don’t feel all that bad. I could have gone faster!” But I kept to my pace until 45, and then I made a sprint for the finish.

My time was 8:42, which I was quite pleased with. In retrospect, I maybe could have gone a bit faster, but the pace was good, and I’m going to use that same setting next time I do the Aon building. And my time was good for second place in the 50-59 group, which is not bad. Mark was the only guy my age who went faster, and he’s very, very good at this. I feel no shame being beaten by him.

Overall, it was a very fun time. The CFF people did a good job organizing and running the event. Now I’m looking forward to the Stratosphere and Aon climbs next spring. Onward and upward.

Addendum: I did some quick math, and my power output for this climb works out to 288W, or 0.39 horsepower. This is my highest power output to date in these climbs.

Addendum 12/9/2010 – They posted the official results, and I’m 11th overall, 7th in men, and 2nd in 50-59. Results are here.

It’s about time…

Filed under: — stan @ 8:03 am

In today’s L.A. Times, I see this:

California motorists who spend little time on the road could pay significantly lower insurance premiums with new “pay-as-you-drive” auto policies starting in February.

Now, why couldn’t this have come along back in the days when I was only driving 1,000 miles a year? I even read an article about this two years ago saying it was going to be available Real Soon. I did the math once, and there were years where I used my car so little that the cost of my insurance worked out to something like $20 for every time I took it out of the garage.

And Proposition 103 said that insurance rates should be based on miles driven and driving record, rather than on ZIP code. That passed back in 1988. And it took 22 years to actually put it into effect? WTF?

I’m still going to look into it. I rarely drive to work, so I’m still on a low-car diet compared to most people in L.A.


San Diego weekend

Filed under: — stan @ 9:18 am

On Saturday, Lucinda and I went to San Diego to visit my father. When we do this, we make a point to find one or more other things to play tourist with while we’re there. This time, we went to La Jolla Cove again to see the seals, and we went to the “Science of Aliens” exhibit at the Air and Space Museum.

It was a nice weekend, and we’re thinking about going back in February when the seal pups are being born. Nothing like baby seals to brighten up one’s day.


Any questions?

Filed under: — stan @ 9:15 am

Here are the two official pictures from the Sears Willis Tower stair climb. The first is right at the start. I’ve got my metronome set for my pace, and I’m feeling strong and fresh.

The second is at the top, 102 stories later. At that point, it was a struggle just to keep moving. The funny part is that, judging by the shadows in the second picture, the photographer was using a flash. Yet I have no memory of his being there, or of seeing the flash. As I said, it was miracle enough that I was still upright and moving at that point.

Any questions?

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