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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Big Rock Candy

Toward the end of the day when it's nearly dusk here in the flatlands, the mountains north of Pasadena get a pinky-orange glow from sun still warming their folded slopes. It only lasts a few minutes (more than five, fewer than ten) so you have to pay attention.

I grew up in Illinois. It's flat there. Your eyes can go for miles without running into so much as a hill. Living here is a constant marvel--mountains! ocean! desert! And every time I look north I feel blessed, especially when the mountains are pink.

I'll tell you this, too: visits to Illinois, which don't happen often enough, bring just as much wonderment. When nothing obstructs your vision, it's amazing how much you can see.

Friday, February 3, 2012

What to Wear to the Ball

I shot this photo out of the car window last night, just before the light changed from red to green. If there hadn't been any cars behind me I'd have lingered to gaze into all the windows at Mary Linn's Bridal shop at the corner of Fair Oaks and Green Street. The whole place is a Cinderella fantasy right now (complete with glass slippers in the lower left corner of the photo). The windows at Mary Linn's are always beautiful but right now they're especially spectacular.

Maybe it's because Valentine's Day is coming up (or looming, as some people might say) but I'm primed for a fairy tale. I don't expect I'll ever wear one of Mary Linn's amazing dresses, but it doesn't hurt to fantasize.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

World Book Night

Is that a library tucked into that shady glen?

It is, absolutely, and why not? It's the main branch of the Altadena Library at 600 Mariposa Street, home of amazing books (and book sales, thanks to the Friends of the Altadena Library).

I read a lot about the publishing industry, which is undergoing wild changes like every other industry affected by the internet and the economy (which is every industry except the chocolate-covered insect industry). Some people say books will disappear. I don't think so. I think this will fadge in such a way that we'll just have different ways of distributing and receiving reading material, much as we have different ways of distributing and receiving music and movies.

Speaking of distribution: World Book Night is coming up on April 23 (Shakespeare's birthday). If you want to sign up to distribute free books you need to do that by February 6th. From the website: 

"Just take 20 free copies of a book to a location in your community, and you just might change someone's life...The goal is to give books to new readers, to encourage reading, to share your passion for a great book. The entire publishing, bookstore, library, author, printing, and paper community is behind this effort with donated services and time. The first World book Night was held in the UK last year, and it was such a big success that it's spreading around the world! Please volunteer to be a book giver in the U.S."

When you volunteer, they give you the books to distribute. You are required to have read the book you give away. Here are this year's books

I've read four of the books on the list: Little Bee by Chris Cleave, which I can't say I liked because it was too horrifying but it was also excellent, if you know what I mean; The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri, which I'm sorry to say I barely remember; The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, I don't know why I read it because the subject matter is about my least favorite but everyone was reading it back then so I did; and The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls, which I absolutely loved. 

Several other books on the list are ones I want to read, but I don't think I'm in the target audience for a free book and my pile of to-be-read books is almost up to my waist, so I'll have to get to them when I can. Because they're good books, and good books aren't going anywhere.

Let me know if you sign up.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Theme Day: Animals

Well, I think it's very weird that a month of 2012 has already passed and it's February 1st, but it is, so it's time for another City Daily Photo theme day. This month's theme is animals.

How do you like my flare? I like it. If you enlarge the picture you might see a couple of contrails in the sky, too.

I'd love to give you exotic animals but Pasadena doesn't have a zoo and I'll be damned if I'm going up into the hills to chase mountain lions. However, if you click on the other participants in today's theme, I bet you'll find some fantastic animals! After all, City Daily Photo is now 1444 blogs strong, worldwide. Our newest member is Jersey Photos from the Channel Islands. And as far as theme day and Jersey Photos goes, let me just say great minds think alike.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tea and a Madeleine

My friend and I went to Vroman's Bookstore last night for a signing of Why we Broke Up by Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman. You're sorry you missed it. If these two artists are half as delightful together on the page as they are in person, the book is going to be a treasure.

I did take pictures of Handler and Kalman, but the shots I got are not complimentary and I have a personal rule: I don't do that to nice people. I assume they're nice. They're certainly entertaining.

They sparked a great conversation between me and my friend that continued down the stairs and through the store as we browsed, selected more books and made our purchases. (Have you ever waited in line to buy books at Vroman's? You don't have to. There's never a line at my favorite check-out counter by the Zeli entrance.)

Which brought us to Zeli Coffee Bar, a there-when-you-need-it spot for a coffee or, if it's almost closing time, a cup of chamomile and a madeleine. And a conversation that ran the gamut from Lemony Snicket to Michael Pollan to Las Vegas to financial planning to controlling parents to world travel to Hurricane Rose.

What subjects did you cover in your last heart-to-heart?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Zen Monday: #181

For today's Zen Monday we turn to Hollywood. Because I work there this isn't the first time and it probably won't be the last. Hollywood is...well, it's not Zen, but it has Zen pockets.

Rather than me telling you what the photo's about, please give us your explanation in the comments.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Chimed, I'm Sure

I've been reading about the Church of the Angels in Within the Vale of Annandale, a book by Donald W. Crocker that's becoming increasingly rare, judging from the price of a used copy on Amazon. (I didn't link you to the one on Alibris because they didn't have a picture.) This book is a detailed, homespun history of what is now the southwest Pasadena/Garvanza area. Construction on the Church of the Angels, 1100 N. Avenue 64, was completed in 1889. It was about the only thing out there at the time, but people came from miles around to attend.

So because it's Sunday, and because I have this photo looking south from the roof of the church, I thought I'd post it. It wasn't until I began editing the picture yesterday, three and a half years after I took it in July of 2008, that I noticed the raised printing on the side of the bell. "Meneel..." something.

That rang a bell. So to speak.

I don't publish every photo I take because they're (obviously) not all good enough. But I keep most of them, and I still had these photos I'd taken in December, 2010 at Fire Station 31 on South Fair Oaks in Pasadena. I did a post on Overdog about my visit there with Bellis and the Altadena Hiker. Here's FF/PM Captain Myron Cooper with the station's original bell. I don't remember much of what he told us about it, except that it was made in New York in 1888. That information is forged right on the bell.

Meneely & Co.
..st Troy, NY 1888. Which, if you read the Wikipedia article linked above, you will surmise is East Troy, now known as Watervliet.

Meneely even has an online Museum.

Station 31 has a more modern bell now, but they keep the old one as part of their museum, which you can visit at 135 S. Fair Oaks.

I guess Meneely was the place to have a bell forged, back in 1888-89. Either that or somebody knew somebody. There's a connection somewhere, if only in the synapses of my mental pictures.