Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Expendables

Taken from my car window along Beverly Blvd. near Western Avenue in Los Angeles, July, 2010.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Fire Station 31

On Sunday, Castle Green had its annual Christmas open house. (That's Castle Green in the background.) Bellis, Hiker and I tried to go but it was so crowded we opted out. Me + crowds = ugh. Apparently, Hiker and Bellis feel the same way.

We wandered the Old Town Pasadena alleys and took pictures. Old Town has great alleys that harbor secrets even now. We'd just come out of an alley parallel to Fair Oaks Avenue when a fire truck turned in. Within moments, a nice fireman walked toward us and asked if we were lost. "We're just exploring," we told him. So he invited us to explore Fire Station 31.

Fire Station 31, at 135 S. Fair Oaks in Pasadena, has a little museum with a collection of antique fire helmets, tools and other paraphernalia. They also house two original bells from the old fire station on Dayton Avenue, one bell from the building's interior and one from the exterior. But the the centerpiece of the place is this beautiful fire engine, the first motorized fire engine west of the Mississippi, manufactured in 1909 by Seagrave, who still make fire trucks today...

...though the detailing is a little different now.

I'll let you visit Fire Station 31 to see all the little details. The Hiker tells the story differently but it's all true, even the part about her being taller.

L-R: That's me, then Firefighter/paramedic Captain Myron Cooper, the Altadena Hiker, Bellis and firefighter/EMT Carlos Delgado who helped the Captain show us around. Carlos even slid down the pole for us (he was too fast for my camera to catch him). He and Captain Cooper said they're always happy to have visitors, unless of course they have to go fight a fire. But more often than not they don't, so stop in. You want to hope Captain Cooper is there because he's so knowledgeable about the history of the Pasadena Fire Department. Many thanks to them both! We had a great time. And thanks to Daniel Nausha for taking this picture.

Bellis and I decided to get a cup of coffee but Hiker begged off and we said goodbye. As Bellis and I strolled north on Fair Oaks, we heard sirens. Could our timing really be that good?

Sure enough, it was the guys from Station 31.

The turned the corner to head east on Green Street.

The sirens stopped after about a block.

Could it be? That's where Castle Green is.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Look Out

This wasps' nest is as big as your head. Bigger.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Balboa Island, California

There's a sunny beach.

If you find it too crowded... can get on a boat and go...

...for a sail.

Okay, maybe it's crowded in the water, too.

Are they seals or sea lions?

Maybe that boat was too crowded for this guy.

Room for everyone.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Just Enough Chefs

the sugary dome of our fair City Hall

In what's to become an annual event, the Pasadena Museum of History will hold a 124th birthday party for our city this Saturday, June 12th (click the link for details). The birthday cake will be fashioned like the top of City Hall. I got to see the cake in progress where 14 student pastry chefs, under the guidance of Chef Joshua Orlando and Chef Instructor Alicia Boada, are creating it at Le Cordon Bleu's Pasadena west campus.

Student pastry chefs Rosetta Heung and Stacey Choi match colors for the cake's layers.

Andrea Bramall and Jonathan Whitney place tiny, tasty tiles on the dome.

How many cakes have you made that require a production schedule?

Flowers, garlands, and all the elegant architectural details you know of Pasadena's City Hall will be meticulously reproduced on the cake. If you can't make it to the party Saturday, check with Le Cordon Bleu school. You might be able to see the decorative part in their lobby for some time to come.

Student pastry chefs Jeanne Nelson, Berlin Mercado and Tracy Latimer remove a protective sheet from the cake's layers.

Tracy places a stencil.

Looks like this layer's going to be round. That's Crystal Mazzarella with the knife.

Find more information and another shot of these fabulous women at Pasadena Daily Photo.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Glendale's Grand Central Airport

You may have already known this, but until Vanda took me there on a photo safari I didn't even know it existed: the first official airport of the Los Angeles area was Glendale's Grand Central Airport.

The windows and doors have been boarded up, but one of the coolest things about it is it's still there.

Closed and in need of repair, but still there.

It was built in the 1920s and still bears many of its art deco details.

There's plenty of web info and lots of great old pictures. Go here and click on Glendale Airport/Grand Central Air Terminal.

The blimp that flew by while we were there advertised "tickets to fly!"

Go ahead and read the links. It's a pretty sure bet Amelia Earhart walked these halls.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Amir Sadeghi

One of my Facebook friends, Iranian photographer Amir Sadeghi, was arrested yesterday at the office of Farhang-e-Ashti newspaper, his place of work, for having published images of the security clampdown on protesters last December 27th.

His Facebook page is gone. His family doesn't know where the authorities have taken him.

Amir has worked for website Tehran24 and blogs at, which today appears to have been co-opted by authorities. The photos and sentiments posted there now are not Amir's.

This is not the first time Amir has been imprisoned for posting photographs of demonstrations. When protesters first burst onto the streets of Tehran last June, Amir was there to record his country's history. But it seems his government doesn't want its actions documented.

Amir's friends have created a Facebook group in hopes of helping to Free Amir Sadeghi. I've joined; you can, too. It's clear the Iranian authorities are web savvy; they use Twitter and Facebook to monitor their own people.

If I were living in Iran right now I don't know if I'd be brave enough to do what Amir and those other journalists did. But I know the world needs these heroes.

Most of us don't live in Iran. From where we sit we can be brave enough to stand up to the authorities. We can show solidarity for Amir and the other (so far) 65 journalists in Iranianian prisons. We can show solidarity with the Iranian people in their stand for freedom--freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of self-determination.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Yesterday when the radio announcer said there was a brush fire burning "in the hills above JPL," I lost a breath. I walk Boz in the wild lands near the Jet Propulsion lab.

Losing a breath is appropriate. Pasadena is once again situated between two brush fires, one in Glendora (the Morris Fire) and one above La Canada Flintridge (the Station Fire). It smells like a camp fire around here. If we didn't have to breathe it in and out all day I'd almost call it pleasant.
Today I went to the Devil's Gate Dam to get a photo of the fire over La Canada Flintridge. Readers of Pasadena Daily Photo might remember another glimpse of the mountain here. That's the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) on the lower right, obviously not threatened by the fire. The winds are moving in the opposite direction. Good news, sorta. That smoke is going away from us but the Glendora smoke is heading here as I type.

I drove over to La Canada Flintridge and up into the hills to get a better look. (The air is worse over there.) The best place I could find in the time I had was on a neighborhood street below the hilltop, under some wires that were buzzing and crackling. I don't know if it had anything to do with the fire. Maybe, maybe not. I could also hear the water-dropping aircraft but I couldn't always see them.

Wait. Let's zoom in on that shot. You still might have to click on it to see.
Sure enough. A helicopter. Seems awfully small to be fighting such a big battle.

The aircraft left to get more water. While they were gone the smoke shifted and billowed. It's beautiful, really. It was hard to tear myself away--from a safe distance, that is.

John took this one on the way home from work. The view is from a corner a little less than a mile from our house. The fire is, I would guess, a good twenty miles away.
Bless those firemen. They are crazy and brave.

Update: the Station Fire subsequently grew to historic proportions and I continued to blog about it on Pasadena Daily Photo.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

On the Trail Of...

If you've been following along on Pasadena Daily Photo you know about the al fresco art exhibit I attended last weekend at Oak Grove Park. The exhibit, called "On the Trail Of," was sponsored by NewTown and funded by grants from Pasadena Art Alliance, the Pasadena Arts & Culture Commission and the City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Division. A few more shots:

Above, one of Three Untitled Framing Devices by John O'Brien and Cielo Pessione, "placed in relationship to where an interesting panorama could be framed." I found that you could frame the panorama with the device, or you could frame the device against the the panorama. Each device was mounted atop a base etched with a quotation. This one, by Annie Dillard, said, "Spend the afternoon. You can't take it with you."

Below, Richard Newton's Seek no evil - Fear no evil - Be no evil echoed the Tarot by interpreting three of the cards in a traditional deck. I found them all striking, but Fear no evil was especially spooky when viewed from the high path in the misty woods.

Neil Fenn's Watershed Temporary Aesthetic Improvement Program entailed the "wrapping of large numbers of rocks in blue translucent plastic paper" alluding to, among other things, "the purposes and functions of a watershed." If you click on the photo to enlarge it, you can see the meticulous work that went into creating this, with "water" trickling down from the hilltop.

Many thanks to Barbara Ellis for the photo above. (You may remember Barbara; she was good enough to lead me/us on a tour of Caltech for Pasadena Daily Photo in March.) The picture is of one of six works entitled Ponds, by Toti O'Brien. "In plain view and sheltered from casual view, ceramic boats suggest journeys, real and imagined, liberating and confounding, chosen and serendipitous." I would also add, enchanting. They were small and hard to find, even with our map of the works. I saw four before I had to go. Barbara stayed to go back over the path and find the rest. Below you see how easy they were to miss, and how much they were worth looking for.