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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Tragicomic

A great deal of clean-up has been accomplished in the Arroyo Seco north of the Colorado Street Bridge. There's more to do, but that doesn't mean other stretches of the Arroyo aren't worth exploring.


I took this photo several months ago. This graffiti of Comedy and Tragedy, the theatrical masks, was just south of the Devil's Gate Dam near the 210 Freeway overpass. I haven't been by in a while so I don't know if it's still there. I hope so. I'm not a graffiti lover, but I like these two with their sinister expressions.


The Mystery Plays opens in one week, so I've got theatre on the brain. Rehearsals are entering that final-week fever pitch.


Sorry for the late posting today. There's one thing I dislike - I dislike it extremely, about Pasadena. That's that we have only one choice in a cable company: Charter Communications. What a sad excuse for a business. I look forward to the day when we're free to choose something else. Anything else.


Friday, October 24, 2008

My BFFs! (two posts today)


My friend Monoblog of Izmir honored me (surprised me, too) with the "Blogging Friends Forever Award." From the start of my blog, he has encouraged me with his expertise and kindness. The photo of Monoblog above is by Diederick (Blognote) of Aronaeveryday and posted with his permission. Today I learned from Diederick that access to blogger has been suspended by the Criminal Court of Peace in Turkey. Turkish bloggers can't log into blogger at all as of now, and this means Monoblog. Monoblog doesn't know for how long. He won't be able to upload photos or answer comments for the duration. Let's all go to Izmir and send him a note of encouragement that he'll see when he's allowed to return.

Now, I get to give the award in turn to five bloggers, according to the following rules:
1. Only five people are allowed.
2. Four have to be dedicated followers of your blog.
3. One has to be someone new or recently new to your blog and live in another part of the world.
4. You must link back to whoever gave you the award.

Sometimes these awards can be like chain letters and I'll understand if my designees choose not to pass it on. But this one's been going around delighting people (it certainly delighted me), so I'll give it a try. It isn't easy because there are so many good blogs. There are many excellent ones right here in Pasadena. So rather than leave anyone out, I'd better choose all out-of-Pasadeners. (Check out my local blogroll, please!)

Here goes:

I joke with USElaine of Willits Daily Photo that she and I are blogsisters, but I don't list her here just because I like her. Her stark, quiet photos of Willits, California lead us through its streets with a new eye on the old west.

Dina of Jerusalem Hills Daily Photo regularly educates me about not only Jerusalem, but also Judaism, history, archaeology and tolerance. Her photos lead me to secret places; her commentary comes straight from her open heart.

Virginia, of Birmingham, Alabama Daily Photo, excels at portraiture, mood, color, framing...she's just darned good. Funny, too. Like my other awardees, she's someone I want to meet, though I feel like I already know her.

Vanda's blog, Toadberry, isn't a City Daily Photo blog like the others. But Vanda's into photography - hers, as well as an intriguing collection of found photos. She's a terrific photographer. I never thought of North Hollywood as beautiful until I saw it through Vanda's eyes.

Saretta is my new friend from another part of the world, Molfetta, Italy. The small town of Molfetta is mine to discover through her photos, even as I get to know Saretta.

I hope you'll check out the blogs above. While doing so, rejoice in your freedom to express yourself and send a good thought to our fellows in Turkey, in hopes that they'll soon be able to do so again. Thanks, Monoblog, my Blogging Friend. Come back soon.

In n Out

If you like to have your hamburger at mealtime - the lunch hour, for example, or I don't know, maybe at dinnertime - then you're going to have to wait. Even when it's not the 60th anniversary of southern California's own In-n-Out Burger, there's always a line at Pasadena's Foothill Blvd. location.

The exact anniversary was Wednesday. I forgot. I only knew I craved an In-n-Out burger that day, so I drove on over with the taste on my mind's tongue. Alas, the line was a block long and I had to be at rehearsal by 6:30. It was my loss.

Ben, however, was prepared on Wednesday. Look what I missed.

I encourage you to peruse the In-n-Out website. Several things make In-n-Out unique: the way they run their business and the way they care about their employees are just a couple. But the taste of those burgers is what keeps the countless loyal customers lining up for more.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Observers

This little-known gem is part of The Carnegie Observatories, a venerable institution that's been around since 1904, when George Hale got the idea to hit up the Carnegie institute for the money.

The simple, classically-styled building pops up at 813 Santa Barbara Street, a residential side street off of Lake Avenue. If traffic never got tight on Lake you might not know it was there. Hey! You can observe them! They give tours! And they're having an open house November 16th.

The plaque dedicates the building to George Ellery Hale, the first director of the Observatory, and notes that the "building was erected in 1912. Myron Hunt, Architect." Mr. Hunt designed many of Pasadena's most beautiful homes including that of Henry E. Huntington (now a gallery of the Huntington Library), as well as such other southern California landmarks as Occidental College in Eagle Rock, Pasadena's Public Library and the Rose Bowl.

Here's a side door. The sign in the window says "no skateboarding." I picture guys and gals with Einstein hair, whipping their wheels off that porch and onto the sidewalk.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Central Grounds (The Quest Begins)

I've been finding it hard to write at home. Too much needs doing here: floors need to be swept, dishes need to be washed, the web needs to be surfed.

So I'm going to try every coffee shop in town until I find the perfect place to work. First stop: Central Grounds, the outdoor cafe at Pasadena Public Library.

Ben posted a picture of the Library's front steps. Once you've entered any of the main portals in Ben's photo, you're in the entry courtyard. Central Grounds is at the east end.

There's always a lot going on at the Library. We receive a newsletter telling us about seemingly endless programs happening there all the time. Miss Havisham posted photos of textiles on display there now, inside the back door. There's a bookstore and countless reading rooms. Oh - and books.

As for Central Grounds, it has good points and bad points from a writer's standpoint:

Good:
I like the courtyard setting.
It's outdoors, and yesterday was a good day to sit outside.
The coffee's good.
The service is very friendly.
Free wifi with your library card, and it's easy to get one of those. (Not that I used the wifi, of course. I was there to escape the internet.)

Bad:
Besides coffee, the menu's limited to muffin-type stuff, yogurt, fruit (sold out by 11:30) and bottled soft drinks. I noticed, however, that people brought take-out food from other places and no one seemed to mind.
Helicopter fumes. There's a helicopter pad atop the police station across the street.
Music. The stuff they played wasn't obnoxious, but when I write I find any music distracting, especially if it has lyrics.
The chairs are hard on the old behind after a while. No cushions.

I got a lot of work done. And darned if I didn't come home to find out the house didn't fall apart and the internet managed to get by without me all day.

I may have to try several places until I find the perfect writing spot. I mean, how many coffee shops don't play music? I'm going to enjoy the search. Meanwhile, Central Grounds is a great spot to meet for a cup of coffee and a quiet chat in Pasadena's Civic Center.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ruins

Altadena has some interesting ruins, at least temporarily. Though not exactly ancient, they go back a few years.

These are the remains (or were, a few days ago) of the Washington Mutual Building that succumbed to fire last February. A crew is in the process of cleaning the site. The remains won't remain for long.

An interesting post from Altadena Above It All from the day of the fire comes with a comment stating that the building once housed "Altadena Federal" in the 50's and 60's, a locally-owned savings and loan. I was able to find a Google blurb from 1962 about said Savings & Loan, but the link led nowhere. Old news, I guess.

I also found a more recent survey on Stonehill News, polling locals about whether or not they'd like to see the adjacent Ralph's Grocery store expand onto the soon-to-be-cleared WaMu property. Nothing personal, but that Ralph's is depressing. Central/western Altadena could use a better grocery store. So the enthusiastic survey responses are no surprise. At one time, everyone thought there was going to be a "Super Ralph's" on that spot. What happened? All I could find were a couple of blurbs on a couple of websites, essentially saying the same thing: the deal fell through because the landowner was asking for too much money.

I wonder how easy it'll be for that landowner to find a buyer now?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Zen Monday: #21


On Zen Monday you experience the photo and tell me what it's about, rather than me telling you what to experience from viewing it.
There's no question or answer, no right or wrong.
If the photo evokes something in you, that's all it is.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fire in the Sky

With three wildfires burning in the vicinity, our air has had an odd feel to it lately. On the worst days we could smell it. Mostly though, the air just feels close and hot. Not as close and hot as it feels to the firefighters. By the way, they have all the local fires contained now, and the cause found for at least one.

We can't complain here in Pasadena - I mean, the fire's not burning here. We've been warned, though. Fire season has only begun, so people are clearing dry brush and being careful. It's when the Santa Ana winds kick up that folks have to be the most vigilant.

In my part of town we have plenty of asphalt, and I tend to think that's a decent firebreak. But we should probably clean our gutters just in case.

In San Marino the other night, particles in the sky produced a stunning sunset.