Saturday, January 9, 2010

State of the Blog

In PDP news:

Editor Colleen Dunn Bates of Hometown Pasadena has named Pasadena Daily Photo on her list of Top Ten Experiences in Pasadena for 2009. PDP proudly shares the #9 slot with Timothy Rutt's powerhouse Altadenablog.

The San Gabriel Valley blogging community is a thriving, generous, positive place where I've been encouraged and buoyed by my fellow bloggers from the very beginning. I'm grateful to Colleen for her recognition, and to all the bloggers I've met for being such cool people.

In PB news:

Each year Pasadena's mayor gives a State of the City address. This year's theme is "Charting a New Course." A video will be presented to go along with the theme of Mayor Bogaard's speech. I auditioned and was chosen to do the voice-over for the video! It was a fun experience and a real departure from my usual :30 second and one minute spots. Linda Centell, Pasadena's assistant Public Information Officer, edited the video.

If you're in town, you can attend this free event on January 28th at 6:30 p.m. at LaSalle High School, 3880 East Sierra Madre Blvd. For more information call (626) 744-4311 or email Inagahiro (at)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Hot Set

I'm a fan of Pasadena PIO, the blog of Ann Erdman, Pasadena's Public Information Officer. That's where I read that KPAS, our local cable access TV station, is moving from channel 55 to channel 3 on the Charter Communications System. The move happens on Tuesday, January 12th. Ann wrote a PSA to publicize the move. You can see it if you click on her blog.

If you're not a Charter customer (if only we had a choice!) you can go to the City Manager page on the City of Pasadena website and can click on Video Streaming at the right side of the page. I just clicked and found Ann Erdman herself, interviewing a nice young woman about planting 700 trees in Pasadena!

I had the pleasure of recording an important voice-over at the KPAS studios recently. I'll tell you about it soon.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Susan Stroh: Coaching it Out of You

Susan Stroh is one of those people who asks about you first. To start a conversation she says something nice about you--not your outfit, you. She points out something intriguing she heard you say, or mentions how well you carry yourself or how interesting your work is. She knows how to focus outside herself. I imagine this skill comes in pretty handy in her work. But I wanted to focus on her this time.

Susan and I met through the Women's City Club Business Boot Camp. A writer and editor (she published 15 personal essays in 2009 alone), Susan has an office but she'd rather work at Pasadena's Central Library, so we met for a cup of coffee at Central Grounds. With our shared backgrounds in acting and writing, we found a lot to talk about--my acting, my writing, my blog--wait a minute--I was supposed to be interviewing her. How does she do that?

Besides her own writing, Susan's in the business of coaching other writers. It fits. Her gifts for getting people to open up and for seeing an individual's strengths are ideal for a writing coach, because each writer is different. With novelists, for example, coaching might involve a good deal of brainstorming. With those working on a memoir, a session with Susan might be about coaxing an idea to fruition. Susan describes part of her process as "finding what the client is doing right and encouraging them to do more of it."

I told her I'm so intent on my own work I don't think I could focus that hard on someone else's. I asked how she does it. Her answer: "Standing back and creating a vacuum for the writer to fill is so satisfying to them that it's satisfying to me."

She can be tough. She expects agreements to be kept and deadlines to be met. "So many people mean to write, plan to write, say they're going to write, and put off writing. I help them keep the promises they make to themselves."

"I know," I said. "I had to set a deadline, then tell people about it so I'd be accountable."

"What's your deadline for?" she asked.

And I was off again, telling Susan my story instead of getting hers. I'm not selfish. Really I'm not. She's just that good at coaxing my story out of me.

Morning classes for Susan Stroh's ten-week Memoir and Personal Essay Writing Workshop begin January 20th. Evening classes start February 2nd. For more information and to sign up, contact SusanStroh (at) or call (818) 497-7486.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Yesterday was a beautiful day for a hike or a walk, but I stayed home.

After having lived in apartments for so long, almost any house would have been a relief. But in our 85-year-old wood-frame home, with its hardwood floors, built-ins and casement windows, we feel gratitude every day. Really. Every single day we are conscious of how fortunate we are to live here.

I did get some sunshine. Picked a bushel or two of clementines from the tree in the back yard.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Please enlarge this one.

John got a photo-stitching app for his iPhone and now he's as bad as I am. Everywhere we go, we're both snapping pictures. A couple of addicts.

Me: snap, snap, snap.

John: snap-turn, snap-turn, snap-turn.

We now have panoramas of our house, our street, Hahamongna, the mountains, the dam, the dog, trails, valleys, beautiful things, weird things, dead things.

Yesterday the light was glorious for taking photos, basking or sniffing. Boz is so over photography.

(The app John's using is Autostitch from Cloudburst Research.)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Zen Monday: #79

Zen Monday is the day you experience the photo and give us your thoughts rather than me telling you what I think the photo's about. There's no right or wrong. It means what you think it means, or what you want it to mean.

I look for a photo worth contemplating or, failing that, something odd or silly. And I
stay out of the comments box for most of the day to avoid influencing the intellectual path of the (usually highly erudite) discussion.

As I post each new Zen Monday photo I add a label to last week's to identify it if necessary.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Communication Not Separation

I saw this mural when I was out shooting pictures of the Rose Parade aftermath. It's at 1292 Colorado Blvd. overlooking the parking lot just west of the Incycle bicycle shop.

The artist is Victor Steinbacher, assisted by Leo Sanchez. A tidbit of undated information I found on the web said Steinbacher studied at Art Center College of Design and resides in Pasadena. The mural dates from 1993. That's about it. I found even less about Sanchez.

This piece isn't on the City of Pasadena Art Walks, which are more centrally located to downtown. But there's art all over Pasadena. You don't have to look too hard to discover it.

My favorite thing about the mural is that I had never seen it before. I love finding new things (new to me). Plus I love that the guy on the left is green.

What do you think of it?