Saturday, March 17, 2012


It's time for the second annual Hahamongna Walkabout, Saturday, March 31st, sponsored by the Arroyo Seco Foundation and Need I tell you where the Walkabout will take place?

Find out what makes Hahamongna Watershed Park so special, why every visit there inspires me and so many others, and why I can't resist taking pictures at every step along the trail (bring your camera!). Learn from experts about the history, natural habitat and current threats to this special place, including LA County's giant sediment removal project. All that and you get to walk. About.

If you want to be an insider, you can volunteer to help. Last year's Walkabout was a huge success. I'm told this year's will be even more fun, but I find that hard to believe.

Seems I've been giving you a lot for your calendar lately. There's so much good stuff I can't post it all. Is March always this busy?

Friday, March 16, 2012

He Make Movies

Along about the time I started this blog (1/1/08) I was transitioning from an acting career into writing. I didn't know at the time why I lost interest in acting, though it's clearer to me now. I'd been working in Hollywood, in small parts on television. At first it was exciting--let's face it, it's fun to be on TV and it's an honor, too, because there's a lot of competition. But I found myself playing the same parts over and over again.

When you work in the Hollywood entertainment industry, unless you're a mogul you're always working for one--serving someone else's vision, supporting someone else's story, making someone else's dream come true. There's nothing wrong with that. But if you've ever wondered why even famous actors sometimes perform live theater for free, perhaps this makes it clear. Hollywood's not about art, it's about money. That's why you see remakes, why "blockbuster" films feel formulaic. They are.

Not so independent films. Their makers don't hold the big purse strings, but like self-publishing authors they are finding ways to make movies. Smaller movies. Different movies. Often better movies.

Which brings me to my husband, John. He's an independent filmmaker--a self-published filmmaker, if you will, "independent" isn't exactly the word. John's part of a collective called We Make Movies. I told you about We Make Movies when John and I went to a screening a few months ago. WMM was formed by indie filmmakers to help each other make their movies by sharing resources and working together. It started out as a couple of people. Now they have more than 500 members: actors, writers, producers and other film artists.

John produced a video for WMM's Kickstarter spring funding effort (other members shot, edited and participated, as you'll see). You could watch this video. You could even kick in a buck or two if you are so inclined. (It won't make you a mogul, but there are no moguls here, which is kind of the idea.) In the video, John explains (in fewer words than I've used here) why independent filmmaking is important. You get to see him in action! Sort of! (Well, he sits and talks, and he's wearing the same t-shirt in the video as in this photo!)

And if WMM reaches their fundraising goal you'll get to see John's short film, because his script was selected for funding this time around.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Don't Bring Around a Cloud

With what's being called "100% chance of rain" Saturday, I guess it had to happen.
The links are still good! However, I promise to keep you informed.

John and I have a two bedroom house with a den. The den is my office, the extra bedroom is John's office and we share the master bedroom. (The dining room is Boz's bedroom. He keeps office hours on the front porch.)

I tell you this not to give you a home tour but to give you an idea of how many places we have for stashing and stacking books: shelves in the offices; the coffee table as well as built-in shelves (okay, we have some DVDs, too) in the living room; matching nightstands in the bedroom, each with a shelf for books, not to mention--okay, I'm mentioning--the books lining the tops of the dressers; plus the boxes in the garage full of books we haven't found shelves for. But we will, because we need to make room for more books.

Which brings me to the first annual LitFest Pasadena, Saturday, 9am to 5:30pm at Central Park, just south of Castle Green. Come on down! Admission is free. There'll be writers, panels, booksellers, booths, a children's area, fabulous food trucks and more. The full LitFest panel schedule is here.

Can't wait to see you!

Rain, you say? Yes, well. Ahem. There's a chance of rain.

Oh no! Wait. No. Oh joy! Wait.

Well, I hope the rain waits 'til Sunday because everyone's worked so hard. But we need our rain around here and we take it when we can get it. If rain happens, check the Pasadena Star-News online for contingency plans.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Drawing a Blank

Sometimes the day is long. You come home, sit down at the computer to create your little ditty and discover you've spent what meager brain pennies you had. There's nothing left to create with.

I spent my sense in Sherman Oaks yesterday, which is appropriate because that's where, two years ago, I took this photo. I knew it would come in handy sooner or later. (That's called saving for a rainy day.)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Year of the Girl

I don't often take pictures of people. It's only because I'm chicken to ask. But these Girl Scouts made it easy.

You've probably seen the Girl Scouts out and about, selling cookies in your neighborhood or at the grocery store. It's that time of year and as the sign behind them says, "some things should never change." This group was at the back door of Vroman's Bookstore on Colorado Blvd.

Because I love cookies I was glad to see them. But because I don't need cookies, we struck a deal. I bought two boxes and the girls let me take their picture (with permission of available parents and a scout leader, of course). Then one of the girls told me I could donate my cookies to American soldiers overseas. Perfect! Now a few lonely soldiers know the Girl Scouts and their patrons are thinking of them.

The Girl Scout Cookie program is huge; it supports many worthy programs, from leadership projects to summer camp. Did you know the Girl Scouts organization is 100 years old this year? Yep. It's The Year of the Girl.

You can buy your cookies from these very girls this coming Saturday, outside Vroman's.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Zen Monday: #187

Zen Monday is the day you tell us what the photo's about, rather than me telling you what I think. We don't do this because there is some brilliant answer. We do it because there are so many stupid questions.

Please share your insights in the comments.

Update: I've had a couple of emails today from people saying they are unable to comment. I don't know what Blogger's up to, but commenting has been an issue for a few weeks now (they've changed the format, you can only follow a conversation on a blog using the 'embedded comment' format, etc.). Many of us are complaining to Blogger but so far, no luck. Perhaps what they're hoping is we'll all move to other blogging formats. Surely, if the problems continue, their wish will be granted.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Building Materialize

It's amazing how often I can pass a place and not notice it. I have no idea how many times I've driven down Raymond Avenue in Old Town, how many times I've walked there, how many times I've passed 182 South Raymond.

Yesterday I noticed this building, plopped charmingly between Fishbeck's and Del Mar Station, directly across the street from Central Park. I've never seen it before. (Yesterday was a beautiful day to be at the park; I was there to attend a meeting of the volunteers who'll be helping out at LitFest Pasadena on Saturday, March 17th. We're ready! Come on down!)

I was able to discover the current inhabitants of 182: Hamlett Benefits Group (no website) and J. Bullock and Associates, an Architectural Presentation firm (new term for me, but they have a website so now I get it).

In a sales blurb the structure is described as "historical" but that history itself isn't mentioned. The place looks historical, but one of the things the blurb doesn't say is when the building was built. It says the building has been called the Wilkinson Building as well as the Casablanca Building. I had no luck finding them on the web either.

If you've got info, please share! Otherwise, I'm happy to believe that I never saw 182 before yesterday because it just now materialized.

Update, 3/12/12:
Brilliant (and diligent) reader Betsy found information linking designer Bernarr Judson Garnett to the Wilkinson Building and the Wilkinson Building to the Pasadena Public Library. 182 S. Raymond was built in 1931 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Thank you, Betsy!

Another update, 3/12:
Another brilliant reader, Diana, sends this information from the National Register of Historic Places, the records of which differ from those of Pasadena Public Library where Betsy got her info: 

The National Register nomination ( says this is a vernacular masonry building built by William T. Loesch. The descriptive paragraph, which is pretty terse, reads:
"Known historically as the Wilkinson Building, this one-story brick building with a stuccoed façade sits well back from the street. Brick trim enhances the building by outlining the edges of the façade, doorways, and windows as well as by creating a frieze-like panel across the front. The rear entrance fronts on the railroad tracks."

The record also says the building was built in 1922, not 1931. It's a "contributing building" to the Old Pasadena historic district, but there's no further description of it in the National Register nomination for the historic district\ other than the one quoted above.

By the way, if you're experiencing difficulty commenting as Diana did, I'm sorry and I've notified Blogger. I'm not the only one with this problem. Many who use Blogger are complaining about this ongoing difficulty but we've received no response. I welcome your suggestions. My immediate thought is, "Wordpress."