Saturday, August 22, 2009

Artful Life

With beauty imperfect and uncontrolled; this is how I want to spend my weekend.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Recycling Efforts

I saw my friend and neighbor Linda Centell at the District 3 block party. You may remember Linda; she works with Ann Erdman, Pasadena's Public Information Officer. At the party, Linda introduced me to Gabriel Silva. Linda thinks the world of this guy and now that I know more about him, I do, too.

Gabriel is Pasadena's Environmental Programs Manager. Do you want to guess what that involves, or should I just tell you?

It'll take too long to get a consensus. I'll just tell you.

The Environmental Programs Manager is responsible for the following recycling programs: residential curbside, green waste, used oil, large venue/special events, compact fluorescent light bulb/battery, sharps (needles, syringes, etc.), e-waste (like the free collection events), composting and of course all those Christmas trees. His duties also include: elementary school education/outreach, household hazardous waste disposal, coordinating the Greening the Earth Day Festival, annual outstanding recycler awards, developing new programs to increase the City's waste diversion, managing several state grants, and reporting.

I know the above is true because I got it from Gabriel. Though it seems like a lot, a paragraph still doesn't give you the scope. Think of each of those duties as containing other duties. For example: did you know that a single Rose Bowl Game (large venue/special event) can generate as much as six tons of recycling trash? Someone has to pick up all that stuff. And sort it. Eeuw.

Silva doesn't collect all those cans himself. He coordinates the effort, though, by teaming up with the Los Angeles Conservation Corps to employ 50 to 80 young adults to help at UCLA Home Games, the Rose Bowl Game and the BCS Bowl Game.

I'd say something about how well he delegates his staff, except if I understand it correctly there's only one staffer to delegate. So I have to assume Gabriel does a lot of the work himself. When Linda introduced us, we interrupted him collecting the trash bins from the block party. It was a Saturday, but these things have to be done and when you don't have underlings to do them for you, you do them yourself.

Just take another look at Gabriel's list of duties and think about that.

Ow. My back is killing me.

Here's more information about recycling in Pasadena.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Empty Mailbox

In attempts to save paper I've set most of my bills to arrive electronically. I pay them that way, too. Via the U.S. Mail I receive a lot of stuff I don't want--advertising, mostly. I can't remember a time in my life when I've purchased a product from a direct mail ad; all that stuff goes directly into the recycle bin.

Snail mail hasn't lost its value for me. Until my employers give in and choose direct deposit, I still receive my paychecks that way. And I like my mailman. To keep him working, I mail the occasional greeting card.

But I can't remember the last time I received a hand-written letter. Nor have I written one, sealed it in an envelope and mailed it to a friend.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Win Yerself a Quality Pasadena Tee

What building is this?

First one to answer correctly gets a Pasadena t-shirt (size small, that's all I've got). The shirt's an attractive navy blue with sophisticated gold lettering. I'm in possession of this nice, new shirt partly thanks to the generosity of Ann Erdman, Pasadena PIO, and partly thanks to the fact that I don't know what size I wear. (Well, now I do, and it ain't "small.") Answers will be accepted only in the comments section for this one.

John, Boz and I are going to the dog beach today. I'll announce the winner when we get back. But you guys'll all know by then anyway. Good luck and thanks for playing!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Big Bang University

Locals will recognize NASA's Caltech/Jet Propulsion Lab, which looks like a college campus. I remember being surprised about that when I first saw it. I think I expected something high-tech and sleek, like from a sci-fi movie about a "jet propulsion lab," because I didn't know what a "jet propulsion lab" was. I still don't.

My neighbor is one of the geniuses who developed the Planck Space Telescope. It just started collecting data last week. On its mission to "collect light left over from the Big Bang explosion that created our universe," this telescope is looking to help scientists like my neighbor answer the question of how the universe came into being.

I live across the street from that guy. He's nice. How does he even have a conversation with me?

If you enlarge this photo you can see the birdie.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Zen Monday: #59

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 look for something provocative 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 16, 2009

Feels Like the 101st Time

You know those things you walk by a hundred times but don't notice? These mailboxes are one of those things for me.

John and I lived in beautiful Altadena when we first got married and I became a regular customer of some businesses there. One was Merit Dry Cleaners on Mariposa and the other was Webster's on Lake, which was one store at the time but is now divided up into, oh, nine or ten different shops. I kid, I kid! Webster's is a card/gift store, a stationery shop, a pharmacy and a liquor store.

Did I miss any?

Though I now live in Pasadena I'm still a customer of these shops (including Merit Dry Cleaners). The other day I was in Webster's Fine Stationers and I noticed these mailboxes. I've walked past them how many times? They look like the old timey kind, don't they?

It turns out they are. I asked Scott Webster about them (when you're a customer as long as I've been, you get to know a Webster or two); Scott said his dad, who's of the second generation of Websters to run the business, acquired them from a mailbox store on South Lake Avenue when it went out of business some years ago. Not sure which mailbox store it was, but at least the boxes are from within the Pasadena family, so to speak. They've been in the stationery store for a long while now.

They're having a tea party up at Webster's Fine Stationery this afternoon at 3:00. Don't go spilling your Earl Grey on the thank-you notes.