Ol’ 55

I know how to party

I didn’t realize until I got home that my fun birthday ride featured two different cemeteries. I know how to party.

But technically, Forest Lawn doesn’t call itself a cemetery; it’s a memorial park. A traditional cemetery only has things directly related to dead body stuff. Graves, markers, maybe a chapel or a mortuary. A memorial park actually downplays a lot of the “dead people” aspect of death. It features things like lush lawns and pieces of art (both originals and copies). The memorial park style of graveyard has been mocked since it was created. In 1965, The Loved One was a popular movie based on a book about a barely disguised Forest Lawn.

Evergreen Cemetery, on the other hand, is a cemetery. I promised I’d talk about Biddy Mason and name some important people buried there, so:

  • Biddy Mason has a story that’s way too interesting to cram into a sentence or two in a silly blog post. The National Park Service has a biography that gives an outline of the most significant parts of her life. It’s well worth reading.
  • Mary Foy was the first female head of the Los Angeles Public Library
  • Eddie Anderson, who played Rochester on the Jack Benny Show
  • Matthew Beard, AKA Stymie from the Little Rascals

Also: A Chinese potter’s field that was found on First Street was moved there when the city was expanding, and THOUSANDS of unclaimed bodies have been cremated and interred there.

A Bridge Once Too Far

Alex Baum, who the Baum Bicycle Bridge is named after, was a concentration camp survivor who became the head of LA’s Bicycling Advisory Committee.

1019 Foot Queenie

The LA Times posted about The Queen Mary’s struggles on June 1st. On my birthday the city of Long Beach announced that they have taken control of the ship and will fully restore it.

I’ve been on the Queen Mary exactly once. I officiated a wedding there for two friends on Halloween. Yes, I can officiate your wedding. My price: you have to feed me.

Tubey, or Not Tubey

I probably could have patched that tube and made it home, but my brain was too fried to think of that. Today’s plan: An exciting trip to buy more tubes! I KNOW HOW TO PARTY (as stated above).

I do the rock, myself.

Okay, I might be able to do this crazy 350 miles a week thing if I keep my rides slow and flat. I did a bit over 50 today, and it wasn’t horrible. I could have gone farther, but I have a really long ride coming up and I didn’t want to fry myself. It’s going to be a challenge, but I’m going to try!

Total mileage so far: 3,596.82 miles. Only 1,403.18 to go! Easy peasy.

There’s talk of adding bike and bus lanes to Colorado in Eagle Rock. I hope it happens. Here’s one set of plans.

There sure have been a lot of bad movies about Area 51.

I almost feel sorry for Ellen. Not quite, but almost.

28 days left!

I should watch this to prepare.

Or maybe this.

Title source:

Two of many rides

I rode a bunch this month, but hardly shot anything, so you get footage from about one tenth of the last month’s rides and a bonus talking head thing at the end.

I learned most of what I know about Richie Valens the same way everyone else my age did: by watching La Bamba. Years later when I saw an actual picture of the guy I thought “That can’t be right- that guy doesn’t look anything like Lou Diamond Phillips.”

Donna’s not any closer in appearance, but at least they managed to hire an actress born in the San Fernando Valley.

In addition to being a film location, apparently The Pink Motel has hosted multiple skateboarding events. I’m not surprised that it’s used so much as a film/tv/event location, because there is nothing anywhere near the place that would make you want to stay there.

The place looked a lot greeners when I took this picture 13 years ago.

Did you donate yet? If not: go donate now if you can! If you did: donate again if you can! Multiple donations are not only allowed, they are greatly appreciated!

Twenty-nine days to go!

Man, that was a long video

Eight minutes? Crazy.

Some stuff that wasn’t in the video:

  • When I worked at Germain the mascot was a Viking with a sword. After I left they decided a cute little guy stabbing things was not the best idea for an elementary school mascot. They are now the Mustangs. They also changed from an elementary school to an “Academy for Academic Achievement.”
  • There are many versions of The Oregon Trail, but the iconic one (and the one my students played) was a black and white (well, black and green) version of this version. It was supposed to teach you about the difficulty of a wagon trip across the United States, but most kids would just buy a bunch of bullets and shoot stuff for the whole class.
  • The Apple IIc Plus was an impressive computer for its time. It had an internal 3.5″ drive when most computers still ran off 5.25″ floppies. It plugged in to any TV if you had an adapter (or a TV with RCA jacks) and a carrying handle, so it was very portable. PCs at the time were usually giant boxes with dedicated monitors.
  • The name for hitting something to make it work is percussive maintenance.
  • I forgot to say what the Howard Colonial had to do with the Red Car. It was an electrical substation for the line. An article about the urban legend that automakers (not Judge Doom) conspired to kill the Red Car. Also, Militant Angeleno has created a map of Red Car information.
  • There’s a short history of the Idle Hour on Atlas Obscura, one of my favorite sites to find weird places to visit.
  • Eddie Brandt’s Saturday Matinee is fighting to survive. Their Facebook page says that most of the business is “in limbo,” but you can still get old movie stills and photos through mail order.
  • I wonder if Arturo still owns my old apartment building.
  • Iliad Bookshop is a great place to nose around for odd books. I don’t know how it works in COVID times, but pre-pandemic you could grab a stack of books, sit in a comfy chair, and poke through them to find something you wanted to read. Support your local bookstore!
  • I have no idea what the model of that classic car is, but it is a glory to behold. Pictures do not do it justice.

Sweep the leg

I can’t believe I forgot to stop at the LaRusso’s apartment. It’s probably the most recognizable location from the movie.

Almost four decades later and it looks almost the same. Probably got a bit of fixing up thanks to the Cobra Kai series.

I almost stopped at Mr. Miyagi’s house, but they didn’t shoot the part you see from the street. It just looks like a house surrounded by a wood fence that could use a little “paint fence up down.”

Another thing to notice about Ali’s house: listen to the ambient noise. Down in The Valley everywhere is surrounded by cars. Up in the hills it’s quiet. So quiet that I’m practically using my “library voice.”

If you’re wondering why I didn’t include any Cobra Kai locations, it’s because they shoot most of the show in Georgia. That’s also why I didn’t go to the Golf ‘n’ Stuff, which is not even close to the San Fernando Valley. My guess: the script originally had them go to Castle Park in Sherman Oaks, but it was easier/cheaper to film in Downey. And a trip to Leo Carrillo Beach would have added more than sixty miles and 3000 feet of climb to my ride.

I should do more “SFV as a film location” videos. I could do a bunch just on the movies of Paul Thomas Anderson.

Winter weeks are short weeks

Almost a minute of content! Don’t gorge yourself!

Riding in the wind blows

Cold is fine, especially when the sun is out. I can throw on some long sleeves, maybe a set of knee warmers or long pants, and I’ll be plenty warm once I start moving. But the wind? NO. WIND BAD. That means I’ll probably get farther behind in miles until it warms up, which means weird, short videos for a bit.

The Rose Bowl was built in 1922, twenty years after the first “Rose Bowl” game (originally called “The Tournament East-West Game”). Since 1923 only one Rose Bowl game was held somewhere else: in 1942 people were afraid it would be an easy war target, so they moved the game to Duke University in North Carolina. Duke lost the game.

The football from the first game played at the Rose Bowl

This was the first time I rode around the stadium, and I learned one important thing: go clockwise. If you go clockwise you get to ride on a path around the park; counterclockwise and you end up on the regular road.

Magazine clipping of the members of the band The Monkees at the Rose Bowl

The Monkees filming Head.

Lots of movies have been filmed at the Rose Bowl, including mainstream stuff like Yes Man and Cheaper By The Dozen (the 2013 Steve Martin version), but also some odd and/or less remembered stuff, like:

And many music artists have played here. When Depeche Mode was at their peak they had a massive concert at the Rose Bowl.

Other bands:

  • U2
  • Journey
  • *NSYNC
  • Beyonce
  • Jay-Z
  • Eminem
  • Rihanna
  • One Direction
  • 5 Seconds of Summer
  • Kenny Chesney
  • Coldplay
  • Green Day
  • Taylor Swift
  • Ed Sheeran
  • The Rolling Stones
  • BTS

…and twice KIIS-FM’s Wango Tango, which had a ton of muscial acts. My favorite list is the one from 2003 that has Bowling For Soup as the first/headline band and KISS and the last band, below such noted musical luminaries as Jennifer Love Hewitt, O-Town, and Paris Hilton. No shame in that.

More stuff about stuff

I don’t know why I got confused about which version of Psycho filmed at that lot. Hitchcock filmed the original when he was at Universal, which is less than a mile up the street. A couple of years ago the current dealer held a screening right before Halloween.

Look how close it is to Universal!

That sheepskin seat cover place really was a bit of a miracle. I have no idea what arcane magic they used to keep it open so long.

I can’t believe that I talked about different artists who drew Batman but didn’t mention Neal Adams, the comic artist legend who now runs a comic shop within a couple of miles of the statue.

He draws a cool Batman, that’s for sure.

I haven’t been to his shop yet, but that’s only because COVID is keeping me out of all non-essential stores. Get your shots, people!

Also shot at Johnie’s: the “I can get you a toe” scene from Big Lebowski.

The May Company Building (which, in spite of my failing brain’s insistence otherwise, never had anything to do with Bullocks) is Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument number 566. It’s been used as an exhibition space for LACMA, but hasn’t yet opened as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Museum. They’re still hoping to open in December. I hope so, too. Get your shots, people!

This ride:

Oh, this poor neglected site.

Really, every web site I’ve ever set up has been neglected, but neglecting this one is particularly egregious. Almost two years since my last post? That would be bad enough normally, but I’ve spent the last two years biking a lot. A lot. In just the last three months I rode two different century rides. I added over 100,000 feet of elevation. I’ve now covered more that 40% of the streets in the San Fernando Valley. And that bike I was so excited about in the last post in gone, replaced with a lovely Trek road bike.

Seriously: look at all that coverage. And look at the hills!

I think part of the issue is trying to spread not-quite-enough content for one site across three or four (or six or ten) sites. New plan: post in one place! For now everything’s going on my main blog. If I suddenly become Walt Whitman and feel the need to share my multitudes I’ll change things around.

Legends of the Fall

Brian and I went for a slightly longer ride today. It looked like this:

I also did something I haven’t done in three years of riding with clipless pedals: I fell over. 

The new bike has much tighter clamps on the pedals. I thought I’d loosened them enough, but apparently not. I’m fine. The bike’s fine (though I did have to straighten the cockpit a bit). I actually thought it was funny. AND I CAN PROVE IT! I never record rides – my bike and phone mount are too damn shaky – but I decided to try it. Most of the ride is too shaky to watch, but this part looks good:

Luke has as many as three bikes, depending on how you count

I love my Long Haul Trucker but it has skinny tires and a short stem, which makes riding on anything other that straight, smooth roads a little spooky. My Fuji Touring is a little better, but still not really up to any kind of dirt or gravel road. 

Solution: NEW BIKE! Look at this lovely thing:

A Salsa Journeyman!

But three bikes in an apartment is crazy – especially when I hardly ride the Touring these days.

Solution: “Loan” my brother the Touring!

I couldn’t just let it go – it’s the bike I rode to Santa Barbara, for corn’s sake – but I hated seeing it sit unridden. So it’s on indefinite loan to my brother, who will ride it a bunch.  

I got the Salsa three days ago, but the smoke from the wildfires was too thick to go for a ride. Today I took it for a short shakedown.

…and I plugged some holes!

It’s about what I thought. A little slower, a lot more stable. A fun ride. I’m still adjusting it, but I can tell it’s going to be a nice ride.