Saturday, September 6, 2008

Cui Xia Qiao

Hot, dry days continue in southern California. Our air conditioner chose to stop working two days ago. Apparently we're not the only ones with perfect timing; there's nary an available repair person for miles around for the next few days.

How we suffer. We'll have to experience actual weather.

Or we could go to the Huntington. We could stroll about the (air-conditioned) galleries and breathe in the art. We could meander through the Japanese garden, the Australian garden, the desert garden (maybe not today) or Liu Fang Yuan, the Chinese garden, with its bridges and waters and views upon views upon peaceful views.

Here's the Bridge of Verdant Mist, also known as Cui Xia Qiao, or to these ladies, a good place to catch up on what's important.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Night Houses

Driving home late
long tired
of noise
radio off
windows open
admit the quiet shouts of the night houses
move on, move on now.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

City Hall Hall

Do you mind if I post another photo of City Hall? I've said it before: it's hard to take a bad picture of the place. This is the hallway that runs the length of the east side of the building. There are similar hallways along the other three sides of the courtyard, but the east side's different because it's open to the street, and to the sun.

I've posted about City Hall before. You can read those other posts by clicking the label "city hall" below. If you're in town, stop by the information booth inside the (impressive) entryway and get a brochure. Give yourself a tour. Take some photos. It's hard not to.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


This orange was probably not dropped by a human but by a tree. If nobody's going to eat this item of delectability, Pasadena Department of Public Works Street Maintenance and Integrated Waste Management has a plan for it.

It cannot go into the bin on the right. That bin is for yard waste recycling. Public Works will have you know, fruit is not yard waste. Neither is dirt, your garden hose, nor your dog's art work. (Here at PDP dog waste is called "turdets," a word coined here by the witty, charming and thoughtful Dina.)

The orange can't go in the bin with the blue lid, either. That bin is for household recycling. Did you know that in Pasadena, "the more you recycle the less you pay"? We can recycle all kinds of stuff but not everything, so we have to educate ourselves. The city sends out an instructional flier at the end of each year. I keep it on the fridge and refer to it, to make sure I'm not throwing the wrong stuff into the bin. You can also check the website.

This family's doing a good job of recycling. The two biggest bins are recycling bins. The wayward orange goes in the smallest bin, the garbage bin. Yep, the orange is waste.

Unless somebody eats it. Squirrel? Skunk? Possum? Anybody?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Zen Tuesday: #3

On Zen Monday you experience the photo then tell me what it's about, rather than me telling you what to experience from viewing it. Because yesterday was theme day, t
his week Zen Monday is Tuesday.

The Zen photos will now be numbered instead of titled, so as to leave more to the imagination.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Theme Day: Sister Cities

The first of every month is theme day among the City Daily Photo blogs, and the theme for September 1st is Sister Cities. I got it together too late to sign up officially for the theme this month, but will that stop me?

Pasadena has several sister cities. One of them is Xicheng District, Beijing, China. Hmm. Let me see, what's been going on in Xicheng District lately? Do I know anyone in Beijing?

Ooh. I'm so lucky. My friend and voice-over mentor Michael Villani, one of the loveliest people you could ever meet, has just returned from calling indoor volleyball in the Xicheng District of Beijing at the 2008 Summer Olympics. You may have seen Mike on your television screen as the indoor volleyball venue announcer at the table right at the net. He was part of the action and he had the time of his life. Here's Mike's caption for the photo above:

Mr. Tien, the Indoor Volleyball competition manager, with me and Du Shuen, my Chinese contact for the last 6 months and Mr. Tien's assistant...and a shot of the new (for the Olympics) Terminal 3 at Beijing Capital Airport, at 3.8 billion (yes, Billion) dollars to build, it's one of the largest buildings on Earth.

Mike's been writing a column for his hometown newspaper in Costa Mesa, and emailing copies to friends. A couple of excerpts:

I am being treated like a “rock star” here. I’ll be sitting at my announcers table...and a group of enthusiastic young Chinese girls and guy volunteers will come up and snap a picture. The bolder ones ask if I’ll take a picture with them. When you pass them, they go out of their way to smile, wave and say hello...It’s just one of the most pleasant environments I have experienced in a long time...I have found, especially with the young exuberance and joy that abounds in everything they do. These are extremely content, happy individuals, who love to treat one another with the utmost respect, kindness and dignity. I have to say it is very refreshing.

Before boarding the flight home, Mike sent a reflective message:

How do you write about a surreal dream...something you can't even imagine happening to you in the first place. How do you capture the essence of magic and try to do it justice in a few columns?

148 City Daily Photo blogs got it together in time to participate officially in today's theme. Check them out!

(Because today is theme day, Zen Monday will be Zen Tuesday this week.)

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Seeing vs. Believing

It's been a while since I've posted a shot of palm trees and sky. And telephone wires.

Before I looked at the photo I thought I had taken a picture of palm trees and sky in the shape of a V.

(Shouldn't we have found an alternative to wires by now? This is the 21st century. Wires seem so 19th century to me, tracing across the landscape like shoelaces, holding the world together. But that's beside the point.)

I've talked to other photographers about this; we think we see a shot. We point the camera, we even shoot. When we view the shot later, it's not what we had thought it was.

I didn't notice the wires before because they're so much a part of our landscape as to have become invisible. Until I looked at the photos. Wires everywhere.

And my V's not perfect, there's a gap in the left side.

It brings to mind a quote by the great photographer Dorothea Lange: "The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera." This is why you see photographers walking around making the little box with their hands and looking through it.

Obviously I'm still learning how to see without the camera. I'm also walking around all dreamy-eyed, because everything looks like a photo to me now. Since I've been taking pictures, I want to capture it all. But there's no urgency. There are plenty of telephone wires to photograph.