Saturday, October 17, 2009

Oak Grove Equine

inspiration: Laurie

Yesterday at Glimpses of South Pasadena, Laurie posted a photo of a front yard with an unusual tree swing. The more I thought about it, the more I thought, "I've seen that before. I've even photographed it."

Close, but no cigar, as they say. At Oak Grove Park, a similar swing hangs from a high branch not far from the parking lot. This is a lesson to me, which is Never Delete a Photo.

Friday, October 16, 2009

See My Shells

I met Shell Sherree over at Paris Daily Photo. I don't remember if I visited her blog first or she visited mine, but she's well entrenched in the Pasadena blogging community now--a regular over at Finnegan Begin Again as well as the Altadena Hiker. I've seen her hanging out at Cafe Pasadena, too, and I've seen all these folks over at Shell's place. She's practically a Pasadenamanian, or she would be, if Pasadena were in Brisbane, Australia.

Shell is a talented painter. You can see her works on her blog (and purchase select items at her Etsy shop). On September 29th I won her first year blogaversary contest. The prize was a Shell Sherree original! It arrived the other day from Australia in a pretty package, with a bonus: a Shell Sherree original with my name on it.
(I'd seen it on the blog. Shell used it to announce the winner and I wasn't shy about asking for it.)

Thank you, Shell Sherree. These are swell and lovelee. I'll get 'em mounted, framed and into a place of honor (instead of the porch) asap.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day 2009

NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab hunkers down in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. Enlarge the photo (or, as the Altadena Hiker says, "enbiggen" it) and you can see patchy scrub growing on the low hill behind the campus. The higher mountains beyond are barren. Every bit of vegetation that once grew on them burned in the Station Fire, which began on August 26th. Amazingly, the Station Fire continues to burn in small "nuisance smokes" today. The fire's been at 98% containment for a couple of weeks now.

These empty, gray mountains go on for miles in either direction. As you drive through the towns below them it shocks you how far the fire went. And you see what the firefighters had to do: they beat the flames back and protected towns and structures. Beyond that, they had no choice but to let the fire go. 250 square miles of it. They saved the people. They couldn't save the forest.

In time, the forest will renew itself.

What if there had been no water available to fight that fire?

As of last count, 9975 blogs in 151 countries (and counting) are participating in today's Blog Action Day, expecting to reach over 13 million readers in a global discussion of climate change.

At the Copenhagen Climate Summit in December it will finally be time for America to step up. From Here to a Global Climate Treaty, a recent blog post at, gives an idea of where the United States stands. There's a link to the Senate Finance Committee so you can see just which individuals it comes down to, besides you and me. We are a top emitter of greenhouse gases. We can urge our senators to help us take responsibility for our emissions. We can do something.

I think we can all agree climate change is happening. I'll leave it to the scientists to figure out how and why. Other crucial issues exist, but if there's not enough food because the earth can no longer grow it--if there's not enough water left on the planet to drink, let alone protect us from the inevitable fires brought on by global drought--then nothing else matters, does it?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rainy Day Muse

We had rain yesterday, lovely rain, for the first time in many months. It rained all day and into the night, but reports said it wouldn't be enough to cause landslides. Fingers crossed.

I had the kind of day where I didn't get to practice as much art as I like to. I guess most days are like that. Most days are filled with errands, tasks and work you get paid for (if you're lucky), and usually that work isn't writing the great American novel or performing Shakespeare or poking your camera around pretty gardens.

I mean the "general you." Well. I mean me.

I worked in Valley Village (which is--what?--a nice way of saying "north Sherman Oaks?"--"west North Hollywood?"). When I left there I took the freeway to an appointment in La Canada Flintridge. It was (appropriately) along the stretch of the 134 that runs between Disney Studios and Forest Lawn Cemetery that I had an inspiration. My muse came to me and said something brilliant, and I said, "Could you jot that down for me, please? I'm driving in the rain here." She laughed and disappeared. Haven't seen her since.

It'll come back to me.

I pulled over and took the photo of Lupe's Place in La Canada Flintridge because that bright orange table looked forlorn in the rain. Look what's next door to Lupe's. You can see it just beyond the sign in the other picture. My muse is mocking me.

Margaret, this photo's for you.

Update from the Pasadena Star-News: Resources for residents in potential mudslide areas

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Lost Garden: Entropy

I'm back online (yay!). And so, on to the final post about Earthside Nature Center. The first three are here.

I'm a fan of entropy. I like it as a photographic subject. I don't know if it's much good for the urban landscape; I leave that to others to decide. But I'm glad I had a chance to photograph Earthside Nature Center in its--I won't say decay--its overgrown condition.

Peering between Earthside's wild grape vines, you'll see this old train car. I don't know how it got there, but it was obviously used for something. Someone took the trouble to add stairs. Someone took a lot of trouble to create all of Earthside, and now others are deciding what the next use will be for this land.

That's what happens. The old people drift away, or die. New people come and make use of things as they see fit. I hope they keep some of it--the pretty railings, maybe, or some of the plants. I hope the memorials will find a home.

Some people don't care, they're just glad they got to go there with a friend.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Zen Monday: #67

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 worth thinking about or, failing that, at least something odd. And sometimes you have to look closely.

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, October 11, 2009

Cafe Culture (#10 in a Quest)

I'm blogging from my favorite coffee joint so far, though this isn't my favorite picture. I've got photo uploading software on the laptop but nothing with which to edit.

Long story short: here on the ol' blog we were in the middle of a series about Earthside Nature Center when my home DSL line stopped working. We'll return to Earthside as soon as possible because I have another day's worth of photos, but they're on the Mac Mini which doesn't travel well.

In the meantime I'm at Cafe Culture and glad to be here. I love this spot. I hear music but it's quiet. Sometimes the TV is on but that's never loud either. There's free parking out back. Inside there's a varied menu plus the usual baked goods, decent coffee, wifi, an outdoor patio (with a view of St. Luke's) and a laid back atmosphere. The place has all the comforts of home except photo editing software and soft chairs. It even has the chairs but only two, and other people are in those right now.

The owners are a married couple. Sweet people. The woman makes all the breakfasts and lunches and I hear it gets pretty crowded here around meal times. A lot of items on the menu have a Middle Eastern flair. Cafe Culture is at 1359 N. Altadena Drive, just north of Washington Blvd.

I was pretty mad earlier this afternoon when I thought I wasn't going to get to post or check my email. Sometimes machinery gets the best of me. I know one can go to a coffee house for one's internet needs, though the case for programs like MobileMe and GoToMyPC was driven home today. For me, though, as you know if you've read previous installments of the Coffee Shop Quest, not just any coffee shop will do.

If I ever find a spot as comfortable as Cafe Culture with yet more perfect chairs I'll be in heaven. But I have my doubts. I think this might be it.