Saturday, December 27, 2008

This Contest Can Be Won

Pasadena's police headquarters is a dramatic building, with high arches and fancy scroll work that would fit right in on the Walt Disney Studios lot. But there's no funny business here. Whether you like the Pasadena cops or not, they're serious about what they do. Mess with the law in Pasadena and they don't just send a squad car, they send helicopters.

Call it overkill, but it seems to be working. I was able to find a few statistics on the web that show a dramatic drop in crime in Pasadena from 2005 to 2006. I'd like to know how we've been doing since then but wasn't able to find statistics for 2007. Could be it takes a while to compile them. PIO? Anyone?*

Pasadena's finest are featured along with their headquarters in The First Cut, a novel by Pasadena novelist and crime writer Dianne Emley. I introduced the soft-looking but tough-as-nails author here on PDP November 1st. Emley's Nan Vining Trilogy is finished. The First Cut comes out in paperback December 30th, to be followed in rapid succession by Cut to the Quick and The Deepest Cut.

So heads up, book lovers, especially those who love a scary, gritty, down and dirty read. Get ready to get your copy of The First Cut, because we're going to have a contest here on Pasadena Daily Photo. Watch for the official announcement here on December 30th.

*Vanda contributed three crime maps including this one from, with a 2008 copyright on it. (Click her links in the comments.)

There's now an ongoing art exhibit in the lobby of the building.

A .pdf about the building's design and architects here.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Geology Lesson #1

Today John and I will be enjoying an apres-Christmas dinner with Pasadena Daily Photo's new staff member. You heard me right. I'm pleased to announce PDP now has a resident Geologist (Pasadena resident, that is). Her name is Becca and she's Sprocket's guardian.

During our dog walks I get the occasional geology lesson. Who knew there was so much geology going on in Pasadena? My god, it's happening all the time, right under our feet!

About this photo, Becca says:
"This is a nice example of graded bedding. When water flows through the stream channel it transports material of various sizes. Fast-moving water transports relatively large sediment such as boulders, cobbles, and/or pebbles. Slow-moving water only has the energy to move small sediment such as sand, silt, and/or mud. Imagine taking a jar filled with water and sediment of various sizes, shaking the jar and placing it on a table. The larger sediments will settle to the bottom first, and as the water current in the jar continues to decrease, progressively smaller sediments will settle on top.

"As a side note, if these sediments were buried and left undisturbed, they could go through a process called lithification and turn into a sedimentary rock. And then, my friend, this beautiful graded bed would be preserved in the rock record!!"

Many of Becca's colleagues have gone off make money drilling the planet for oil. Becca's dream is to transmit her love of the planet to her students. "If one of them picks up a piece of litter and puts it in a trash can, I've done my job," she says.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas, 2008

If you're in town, you can view Pasadena's Christmas tree in person (or in tree, as the case may be). It stands in the entryway to City Hall. I recommend you visit after dark when the lights are most spectacular.

I don't think the city of Pasadena would mind if I wish you a merry Christmas on its behalf.

Merry Christmas! And thanks for visiting, virtually or otherwise. May your days be merry and bright.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Home for Christmas

I spent all of yesterday accomplishing about two hours' worth of errands, and still didn't get everything I wanted. But when I finally made it home I was glad to be here.

Today it's Christmas eve. For many, Christmas has become a non-religious holiday. Still, we're human and humans are tribal. We have our traditions. We need our rituals.

Maybe you can see atop our Christmas tree an old plastic star. I always thought it looked like Sputnik. I still have the original box from the 50's. The star got melted once by a too-hot Christmas bulb and how it's held together by a rubber-band. My siblings and I grew up with it atop our family Christmas trees, and I can't let it go.

It doesn't take much for me to stop and remind myself that I'm fortunate. I may not have everything I want, but I have everything I need.

I wish you peace and blessings.

Update: Find Christmas greetings from GinaB, one of my Sputnik siblings, on Overdog.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Winter Bird

Okay, my horticulturalites, what are these berries? Should I eat them? Should Boz?

They put me in mind of grade school. I liked school all right, especially drama, art, reading and French. But in other subjects my mind often wandered and I watched Cedar Waxwings outside the classroom window. There must have been berries like these growing there. Otherwise why would berries in the Arroyo Seco make me think of Cedar Waxwings and grade school in Illinois?

The holidays tend to make me nostalgic. Maybe that's all it is.

I looked up Cedar Waxwings online. I thought I remembered them snatching those red berries from snowy branches. But that's unlikely. Cedar Waxwings are rarely spotted in northern Illinois in winter, except perhaps in memory.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Zen Monday: #28

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

Excuse me while I break with tradition to announce that today is an important day in Zen Monday history.

I've figured out/remembered where the idea came from. I thought it came from me, but it didn't. I got it from Mitch Rossow at Mitch planted the seed in my brain with this post.
I didn't realize it at the time, nor did I realize that Mitch was doing a semi-regular Saturday Moment of Zen. He was first, and I still think that snowman with the yellow hat is the best Zen post ever. I'm still looking for a Zen Monday photo as good as that one. I may always seek it.

Thank you, Mitch.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


I ran into Cafe Observer last night. Each of us was stricken, in the same moment of Pasadena night-time magic, with an inability to pass by City Hall without taking photos. So there we were in the courtyard snapping away, freezing our fingers and jawing.

This photo was taken from across Euclid Avenue in the Plaza Las Fuentes next to All Saints Church. My camera's lens refused to include both City Hall and it's reflection in one of the fountain pools. C.O.'s camera allowed both, but he needed a tripod. I happened to have one. I think I won't tell you who pressed the button. Thank you, Cafe Observer, for letting me post our photo here.

Happy first day of Chanukah, by the way. (Well, first night - the holiday begins at sundown.) I know about as much about Pasadena synagogues as I do about Pasadena churches, so I googled. The Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center and Chabad of Pasadena each have events today, and Chabad of Pasadena invites the public to menorah lightings on December 22nd, 23rd and 24th at 5pm in the courtyard at One Colorado. I think that sounds fab.