Archive for the ‘Around Town’ Category

Rose Parade 2016

1 January, 2016

On TV, the Rose Parade looks orderly. Polished. Once the parade gets past the network cameras, it’s real life and real people.

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They say never to view the parade from the north side of Colorado Boulevard because the floats are built to look good for the cameras located on the south side. And, as the parade goes on, the sun rises right into your eyes. I stood on the north side anyway, because it was nice to feel the warmth of the sun.

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Parades are like coconut or cilantro. You either like them or you don’t.

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I like parades. Oh, I know the Rose Parade is corporate and blah blah blah. The floats are beautiful, and half the fun for me is being in a crowd of people who are having fun.

The Disney float was a crowd pleaser.

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One need not watch The Batchelor to appreciate this float, and one need not include said Batchelor in the photo either.

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Another hometown crowd pleaser. The two young women standing next to me made a point of staying to see this one.

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I like it that flowers are fashioned into things terrifying and beautiful:

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RB 2016 Dragon 2

And into things whimsical:

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The parade had its usual fits and starts this year…big spaces between entries; traffic jams during which the parade stopped and dancers performed for 5 minutes straight – and bless their hearts they still had five miles to go; and floats that had to be towed.

Good-bye until next year–

RB 2016 Wave to Band

P.S. It was too beautiful to spend the rest of the day inside, so I watched the sunset from Chaney Trail. The lights in the center are the Rose Bowl.

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Pizza of Venice

7 August, 2013

Pizza of Venice has arrived in Altadena, CA.  It’s been around long enough to garner rave reviews on Yelp.

Say what you will about economic recovery.  When a place like Pizza of Venice opens on Fair Oaks Avenue in Altadena, there’s good reason to rejoice.

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When the “Fungi” pizza goes for $7.00 (the one on the left), there’s even more reason to rejoice (mushrooms, caramelized onions, goat cheese, no sauce).  The chicken curry pizza on the left (the special on the day I visited) was $13.00.  It was appropriately spicy and delicious.

Congrats to Sean and Jamie, the owners.  Shout out to Leo for his expertise in the kitchen.

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Pizza of Venice, 2545 N. Fair Oaks Avenue, Altadena, CA 91001.  Telephone: 626-765-9636.

Doo Dah 2012

2 May, 2012

Congratulations to Ann Erdman, Grand Marshal of Doo Dah 2012

Tra la, tra la.  That’s the sound of Ms. Ann, Lady of Leisure.

All Hail the Queen (the once and future Princess HaHa).  I prefer Intergarlictica, but these days Her Majesty is known as Patrizzi Intergalactica.  When you hear those frogs croaking in Hahamongna, you can be sure they are breathing her name to Mother Earth, rousing the energies to preserve the wildness as it is.

Mr. Developer, step away from the watershed.

More photos of Doo Dah 2012 by the talented Brian Biery are over here.

Occupy the Rose Parade

11 January, 2012

I was fortunate enough to receive a couple of seats to the Rose Parade this year. If you watched the parade on TV and saw the opening musical number, I was sitting near the performers who popped up and belted out their lines. I noticed them before the show started and they had that far away look in their eyes like Laurence Harvey in The Manchurian Candidate. Perhaps that what the specter of appearing national television does to one’s psyche.

People seemed to have a problem with the concept of Occupy the Rose Parade, but the intent was not to disrupt the parade. Why not take advantage of an opportunity when the streets are blocked off and people are watching to express one’s opinion? After all, those Jesus people do the same thing every year.

The music is courtesy of the Rose Parade—it’s the “good bye, we’ll see you next year” music. Of course, seeing the Constitution roll by with “Sentimental Journey” playing…well, the irony was not lost on yours truly.  Oops…the song is Moonlight Serenade.  Thanks, PetreaMr. Earl mentioned it was Moonlight Serenade on Facebook too.  In any case, as you can hear in the video, the music was terrifically loud…

The music was more upbeat by the time the Octopus rolled by (anyone know the name of the tune)?

Working World

30 April, 2010

It’s very quiet in the building today, but I have the cubicle next to Loud Mouth Louie. He is interviewing prospective candidates over the phone. “What draws you to the non-profit world?” he asks.

The new employee is Dimitri, and at the end of Day Two, they say to each other, “This was a good day.  A good day.”

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Is this the building where foreign policy is decided?  Or environmental policy?

Musical Theater Prevents Life of Crime for Pasadena’s Youth

13 March, 2010

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Fueling Up

3 September, 2009

I got out of the car and could see ashes floating in the air. (more…)

Free Speech

27 August, 2009

Here’s an article from the New York Times entitled “Is it OK to Blog About This Woman Anonymously?”

Very interesting indeed.

Getting Old(er)

20 August, 2009

“As we get older and more experienced, we overestimate the accuracy of our judgments, especially when the task is difficult and when we’re involved with something of great personal importance.”

Gladwell, Malcolm. “Cocksure: Banks, battles, and the psychology of overconfidence. The New Yorker 27 July 2009: 26.

Gladwell comes to this conclusion based (among other things) on the research of Ellen Langer, a psychologist who says, regarding competition, “…because ability makes a difference in competitions of skill, we make the mistake of thinking that it must also make a difference in competitions of pure chance.”  This results in overconfidence.

“In conflicts involving mutual assessment, an exaggerated assessment of the probability of winning increases the probability of winning,” Richard Wrangham, a biological anthropolgist at Harvard, writes.  “Selection therefore favors this form of overconfidence.”  Winners know how to bluff.  And who bluffs the best?  The person who, instead of pretending to be stronger than he is, actually believes himself to be stronger than he is.”

We’re good so far, right?  Here’s where the analogy to the Pasadena blogosphere breaks down.

“According to Wrangham, self-deception reduces the chances of “behavioral leakage”; that is, of “inadvertently revealing the truth through an inappropriate behavior.”

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It seems like overconfidence is helpful…up to a point.  One needs overconfidence tempered with knowing what one’s limits are.  My dad has been a master of overconfidence his whole life.  In first grade he didn’t want to go back into the classroom after recess, so while marching in the line of children heading back inside, he didn’t make the left turn with the rest of the class but kept marching straight on in the direction of home.  As a 20-something, he convinced the Library of Congress that he had a reasonable knowledge of modern foreign languages and got a job filing foreign-language periodicals.  In truth, even though he had no mastery of any foreign language, it was easy enough to tell the French from the Dutch from the Swedish, etc., so he had no problem doing the job.  It was filing, for gawshsakes.  At least the task of deciphering one language from another added a bit of interest to the job.

Flush with confidence from a string of jobs (journalist-photographer in the Air Force, Evelyn Woods speed reading instructor, teacher at Massanutten Military Academy), he got a naval commission and was sent to Viet-Nam.  He went on to a civil service career in public relations, high school counseling, army recruiting — endeavours that require one to exude confidence.

Pop at Dodger Stadium

My dad and me at Dodger Stadium, 2008.

As a kid in western Pennsylvania, my dad moved a lot (Franklin, Guys Mills, Meadville, Zelienople…Okay, I’m not sure about Zelienople, but I threw it in because it’s such a great place name).  As an adult, my dad has moved a lot.  My dad has lived in Hollywood since 2002, which means he has not lately been moving a lot, and he is ready to move.  He has been applying for civil service jobs overseas, but with his hearing in bad shape and his memory getting worse, it is unlikely he could either be hired or handle a full-time job.

I recently had to talk him out of moving to Las Vegas, an idea prompted by tax problems with the State of California.  (He doesn’t understand, as a government retiree, why the government should take money out of his retirement.)  Able to minimize the wretched Vegas heat from the comfort of his top-floor Hollywood apartment, he was attracted by the lower cost of living.  He probably also wanted to continue his streak: “I’ve never lost in Vegas,” he avers.

Plans for Vegas have now been shelved, but my dad continues to exhibit, between episodes of JAG and Perry Mason, a desire to move.  At the same time, he does tell me about his failing memory.  “I have no secrets,” he’s always said.  He gets mad at me when I don’t respond to his e-mails, he’s crotchety when I call in lieu of e-mailing, and the other day he got mad at me for using the word “palindrome.”  Despite all this, my fingers are crossed that he will continue to have lucid moments of honesty when he tells me about his failing mental state.

Pop's Confidence

Confident in Covent Garden, London, 2008.

I’d love to hear about how it’s going with you and your aging parents.  Feel free to comment, or leave links in the comments.

Getting the Message Out…or IN

13 August, 2009

I’m in the midst of planning my high school reunion. It will start on Guy Fawkes Day – though I don’t anticipate that we will build a bonfire in the hotel lobby.

Among other e-outreach activities, I set up a Facebook page for the event. The FB page contains info about the date, the city, the hotel, etc. I think it is pretty clear. Yet people still leave comments or send me e-mails asking where and when the reunion will be.

This puzzles me. I think I’ve laid out the basic information very clearly, yet some people don’t seem to be able to grasp what it actually right there in front of them.

Come to think of it, the first time “Carolina Logue” (the nom de plume of a parody blog writer) left a comment here, I deleted it. I didn’t read it carefully—it was more like I got a whiff of skunk and my eyes were too busy rolling back in my head to focus on the words. Later, when I got another comment from “Carolina” I saw that “she” was on a computer in Philadelphia. Thank you, wordpress.com, for revealing the IP address of commenters! Feh on blogspot for not doing the same!

So in the plainest speak possible: Aaron Proctor was Carolina Logue, author of the Pasadena Newer Progressive. With no help from anyone but his girlfriend, Kat.  You can read my previous post explaining all this here. (more…)