Saturday, January 29, 2011

There's No School Like an Old School

The signs in front of this building limit parking to fifteen minutes. I couldn't imagine why anyone would want to stay there that long.

Might make a good movie set. Drug deal? Chase scene?

This building houses the southern California campus of the San Francisco Theological Seminary as well as something called North-West College, both viable institutions as far as I can tell, so I shouldn't be so mean. But I can't help thinking those students must be a wee bit jealous, right across the street from the brand new library and lovely Craftsman buildings at the Fuller Theological Seminary.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Hilltop Life

"Solid life has a capillary connection with the air," says J. "You can burn it, but it won't die."

He speaks metaphorically, of course. Many living things died in the Station Fire a year and a half ago. But you can't defeat life itself. Thus the new growth in the lower part of the photo.

I took the shot a few yards above The Meadows, a hilltop neighborhood in Altadena. You have to be dedicated to live in The Meadows. Every time there's a brush fire or a heavy rain, you get evacuated. The fire came so close to those homes I could have thrown a baseball from a back yard into the flames--and I've got a sissy throw.

But the mountains are at your doorstep. The trail head is in the middle of your block. The trails are beautiful and the temptation is great. People get up there, fall in love with the life, get their capillary connection to the air and neither flood nor fire will move them off that hill.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sediment and Sand

Although the January 25th meeting of the Hahamongna Watershed Park Advisory Committee was well attended, it was a low-key affair. Folks were calm and polite. But if there had been any sand at Casita del Arroyo, one might have seen toes drawing lines in it.

Many citizens don't want Hahamongna to be another Arcadia Woodlands disaster,
LA County is all set with its Post Station Fire Sediment Removal Project for Hahamongna
the Committee (HWPAC) has procedures to follow. It's not always easy to know which way they're going to go.

But Tuesday night their toes were showing.

Highlights of the discussion:

Past Committee chair Tim Wendler expressed that he would like to see alternatives to the current plan that would "cause less environmental impact." (Basically, the 50 acres just north of Devil's Gate Dam will be freed of vegetation and kept that way, if the County is true to its word.)

LA County's Ken Zimmer said there are no alternatives to the plan.

Apparently not satisfied with Mr. Zimmer's answer, a Committee member whose nameplate I couldn't see asked him if alternatives had been studied.
He said there were no alternatives.
The Committee member rephrased her question. "Did the County study the possibility of reinforcing the [Devil's Gate] dam without tearing out acres of wildlife?"

"That possibility was not studied," said Mr. Zimmer.

The committee asked the County to return with alternatives to the current plan. Whether the County will do so remains to be seen. Maybe they don't have to. Maybe they can just kick that sand in the public's face.

Obviously I don't have a good feeling about this. I hope to be proven wrong.

The next meeting is currently scheduled for March 22nd, 6pm. As soon as I know the location, I'll notify you.

In the photo:
Pasadena city staff member Loren Pluth operates the computer as staff member Rosa Laveaga watches the screen. Committee members had visited nature centers in other cities to get inspiration for the Environmental Education Center planned for the Hahamongna Annex. But that's another story.

Check out Laurie Barlow's Post about it here.

THIS JUST IN from Altadena Patch:
If you want to find solutions and prevent the destruction of Hahamongna Watershed Park, come to an organizational meeting of environmental activists:
  • Where: 1750 N Altadena Dr, Pasadena, CA 91107 (Eaton Canyon Nature Center)
  • Date: January 29, 2011
  • Time: 10:00am
  • In the wake of the destruction of the Arcadia Woodlands and concerns over the sediment removal plans for Hahamongna, a group of local environmentalists are meeting to discuss forming a local environmental coalition.
    The idea would be to have a group that could help influence public environmental policy in a positive direction.
    Members of the local Sierra Club, Audubon Society, and other organizations will be in attendance.
    The meeting will take place at the Eaton Canyon Nature Center.  All are welcome.
  • Features: Open to All, Volunteer
  • Email: 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Superfluous Detail: Underfoot

A sidewalk grate on the Caltech campus.

Do most places go to this kind of trouble for sidewalk grates? This thing is above and--


--below and beyond.

To me, a superfluous detail is something beautiful that doesn't have to be--something that enhances the look of a functional item, just for the sake of art. This grate reminds me of Celtic art in its interconnectedness. It is medieval, serious, dark. It's artwork I can hear (the clash of metal against metal) in my imagination.

It's a delight to walk around the Caltech campus and admire the superfluous details. Be sure to look up as well as down.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Self Portrait at Macy's Parking Lot

What can I say? I'm a square. Who knew? (Don't answer that.)

I spent way too much time in my young life trying to keep up with trends, be cool and say and do what I thought other people wanted me to say and do. I worked so hard at it I fooled myself into thinking it was important.

I'm glad that's over! But I'm not going to waste more precious time regretting it. Youth is like that and I was young.

Middle age has given me permission to be myself. I have embraced my inner nerd.

How cool are you?

This just in:

Hahamongna Watershed Park Advisory Committee meets tonight at 6pm, La Casita Del Arroyo
177 S. Arroyo Blvd. 
There will be an update on the Sediment Removal Project.

Show up! Let's be educated and prepared so what happened in Arcadia doesn't happen in Hahamongna.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Zen Monday: #130

Students of Zen learn through experience.

Please experience the photo and tell us, in the comments, what you have learned.

(Your first Zen Monday? Just have fun.)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Darling Buds of January

With apologies to William Shakespeare:

Shall I compare this to a summer's day?
It is more comfy and more temperate:
Hot sun doth bake the darling buds of May,
And summer's heat hath all too long a date;
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every day the heat doth make us pine,
When budgeting for air conditioning's slim:
But our delightful winter shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that green it hast,
Nor shall dearth brag we wand'rest in its shade,
Nor is infernal sun our doomed forecast.
   So long as I have camera and compute,
   So long lives this, I hope it's not too cute.