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Saturday, August 8, 2009

La Loma Bridge

I took this photo at dusk, when colors are blending into gray. I fooled around with the picture. Tried making the shadows lighter, tried sharpening the edges, tried it in black and white. In the end I left it unaltered.

The La Loma Bridge spans the Arroyo Seco about a mile south of the Colorado Street Bridge. The La Loma Bridge is around 90 years old and in need of a retrofit. It's been discovered that the Eagle Rock Fault runs beneath the bridge, so that's going to have to be one damn fine retrofit.

I hope it doesn't change the look of the bridge. I don't think the look needs messing with.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Time Well Spent

I mentioned yesterday I had a photo from the Pasadena Historical Society. To be more clear about it, the Pasadena Historical Society operates as the Pasadena Museum of History, which houses its archives/treasure trove in the museum basement.

It's darn near impossible to finish a project at the PMH archives in a single day because there's more information than you thought possible. But that's okay, because you'll want to spend a lot of time there. And Laura Verlaque and her impressive team of volunteers run the place like a friendly study room. It's a nice place to do your research.

Plus the volunteers know stuff. They keep it in their heads. Plus, there will be someone else, I guarantee you, who knows about the thing you're researching. Or you'll know something about the thing they're looking up. And sooner or later...

I remember that! My grandfather owned the bakery on the corner. We used to go after school and wait until my mother came to pick us up after work.

I remember that bakery, that's where all the rich people shopped.

We never saw the rich people, only their servants. Isn't that funny? The servants did the grocery shopping, too. The grocer was--what was his name?


Someone else will know and the conversation goes on from there. You leave with your head spinning. You wouldn't leave at all, but they have to close and you have to eat and sleep. You'd stay and dig in the archives and listen to more stories if only you had all the time in the world.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Rube Goldberg Was Not from Altadena

I've been up at the Altadena Historical Society a couple of times recently. Pasadena, too (yes, I've got a photo or two). When I asked Altadena archivist Sherry Cavallo if I could post a picture of this contraption she said "Please. Maybe someone can tell us what it is."

It looks scientific, and after all, plenty of scientists live in or have lived in Altadena. Richard Feynman, for one. The host of pie night, for another.

Isn't it gorgeous? Wouldn't you love to have it in your living room? Your parties would always be exciting.

What is it? Any guesses?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Nothin' But Blue Skies

Yesterday was particularly clear in the Los Angeles basin. The views were endless. You could see for miles. It was nice while it lasted.

In the afternoon there was a brush fire in the hills just above the intersection of the 134 and the 2 freeways. It looked pretty bad on TV: bright red flames, close to homes. Smoke.

Climate change and three years of drought are a great combination if you're a fire. They say we could have a pretty bad fire season this year. Not that fire season any year is what you'd call good.

I was in Hollywood when I heard about the Glendale fire. My usual route home is via surface streets through Silverlake, then up the 2 freeway and east along the 134 through Eagle Rock and on into Pasadena. I checked my online source then headed home, listening to the KNX traffic reports.

In Silverlake, I saw two water-dropping helicopters lift off from the reservoir. Didn't have my camera ready but it was exciting to see! And lucky for me, the worst of the traffic was on the westbound 134. The 2 was fine, as was the eastbound 134.

I pulled off the freeway in Pasadena and took this shot, facing west on Mountain near Lincoln. A lot of smoke had come our way. Lucky for us, the threatened homes weren't Pasadena homes. Not this time. The sky will be clear again soon.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Mad Tea Party

I had a different post in mind for today, but yesterday afternoon the neighbors gathered in our yard and Marcellina brought storybooks. When spontaneous magic happens, you post about it.

And the kids were into it! Marcellina let me read Rain Makes Applesauce, an imaginative book written with a tad bit of sarcasm by Julian Scheer, with phantastic illustrations by Marvin Bileck.

I loved books when I was a kid, but did I scream and laugh at every page? Was Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures In Wonderland as thrilling as this? Yes, I think it was (and still is--has been for a long time). The original drawings by John Tenniel remain uniquely wonderful, too.

I had other stuff to do yesterday. I forget what it was. Who cares?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Zen Monday: #57


Zen Monday is the day you experience the photo and give us your thoughts rather than me telling you what the photo's about. I like to find something provocative for you or, failing that, at least something odd.

As I post each new Zen Monday photo, I'll add a label to last week's to identify it if necessary (if I know what it is).

Sunday, August 2, 2009

On the Back Porch

Usually it's Laurie who posts poems. But I'm posting a poem today because the photo is of the back porch of a poet friend of mine.

I've recently read a couple of poems by Dorianne Laux. I think she's really something. I found this poem of hers on line.

On the Back Porch

by Dorianne Laux

The cat calls for her dinner.
On the porch I bend and pour
brown soy stars into her bowl,
stroke her dark fur.
It's not quite night.
Pinpricks of light in the eastern sky.
Above my neighbor's roof, a transparent
moon, a pink rag of cloud.
Inside my house are those who love me.
My daughter dusts biscuit dough.
And there's a man who will lift my hair
in his hands, brush it
until it throws sparks.
Everything is just as I've left it.
Dinner simmers on the stove.
Glass bowls wait to be filled
with gold broth. Sprigs of parsley
on the cutting board.
I want to smell this rich soup, the air
around me going dark, as stars press
their simple shapes into the sky.
I want to stay on the back porch
while the world tilts
toward sleep, until what I love
misses me, and calls me in.