Posted in Around Town, Issues, Not Your Momma's NW Pasadena, Pasadena

Fussing and Fighting, My Friend

This is the post you’ve been waiting for.


I have bad news. We are all racists.

I know, I know. You don’t want to be a racist (I don’t either). You think it is despicable to demean the humanity of another person, or to think of an entire group of people as inferior. Or perhaps you are a member of a group that has been victimized by another group, and you carry hate inside you, even though you don’t want to. Continue reading “Fussing and Fighting, My Friend”

Posted in Around Town, Current Events

Doo Dah Parade 2009


Welcome to Doo Dah 2009.


I marched with Thorny Rose Ann Lau and the Great Firewall of China Marching Brigade.


Photo by KchristieH.


I was a computer with a monitor head and keyboard hands, unfettered by Yahoo, Google and Microsoft.


I marched because Shi Tao can’t march. Shi Tao is in prison.



Photo by Jon Delorey.

Was it silly to protest the pro-Olympics float in the 2008 Rose Parade? Well, did you see the NY Times article about Ji Sizun, now in prison for “forging official seals and documents”? Or did he just try to apply for a permit to protest?

Call me Debbie Downer, but this gets my dander up. I’m getting old, folks, so prepare for a life-time of built-up dander to come snowing down in ’09.


Photo by Jon Delorey

More here. Clearly, I’m going for “Doo Dah 2009: Most Issue-Laden Blog Post.”

Let’s not forget Mutts for Marrow!


Photo of Mutt-in-Chief Susan Carrier by KchristieH, who took many wonderful photos of the parade.

It may be true that like Eli Cross in The Stunt Man, a blogger-poet-painter-filmmaker will go to great lengths to ‘get that shot.’



Or is Miss Havisham doing what she does best—pursuing the past with a vengeance? Ah, we must do what we must do.

I must take photos of men and babies and beer…


…at Lucky Baldwin’s after the parade.

Say bye-bye!


PS – A lovely sign of hope ( <— Oh, do watch it!) at the parade, again courtesy of KchristieH:


Posted in Around Town

Rose Parade 2009: The Prep Edition

Old, cynical Pasadenan that I am, every year I think to myself, “Oh, the parade. Ho hum.” Then it gets to be the 28th or 29th of December, and I feel the anticipation in the air.

I find myself on south Raymond Avenue, where a parking spot has miraculously opened up. In true Harriet the Spy fashion, within seconds I’m up close and personal observing parade floats under construction.

May I present to you a special Rose Parade…

Continue reading “Rose Parade 2009: The Prep Edition”

Posted in Let's Get Visual

Welcome Home!

After my last post, sommayous might’ve thought I’d still be in Oregon. But I’m home! Here’s proof:


Hmm. Looks quite a bit like this from my June 2008 post, wouldn’t you say?


Dyslexia?  These two walls are opposite each other on Montana St. just east of Lincoln Avenue. Quite near my house. Why I persist in posting these photos and thereby keeping my property value low, I’ll never know.

Posted in Let's Get Visual

Church of the Angels: Photo Shoot

Pasadena is well-known in Southern California, in the Western United States, throughout the world (!) as having several architecturally significant structures.  We love this, of course, as it feeds into our sense of living in the center of the universe.  (We best be careful about letting this boast get east of the Mississippi.  I’m sure there are New Yorkers who would gladly layeth the smackdown on our presumption.  Here’s how it would go:  They would tout their superior architecture and arts scene, and then we would burn them with our mighty sun.  But I digress.)

So yesterday pastor and gospel singer Donnie McClurkin was at Church of the Angels shooting photos for his new album.  (Previous posts about the church here, here and here.)  In addition to using the church, the able staff of photographer Andrew MacPherson set up a white background in the parish hall.  Meet Dustin, who organizes all the images (yesterday’s crop: about 1,500).

While Andrew was working hard “that’s good, that’s great, amazing!”  –  I sneaked in a few shots of Donnie from the back . . .

No, there’s no hidden Donnie in the photo above.  I just included it because I like it.  More reflection shots:

Andrew MacPherson was kind enough to let me take his photo while he was working.  Being a student of The Scout’s school of natural lighting, I couldn’t bring myself to use my flash.  Hence, a fuzzy Andrew.  Mind you, Mr. MacPherson works very hard and moves non-stop:

Then I grabbed one of Andrew outside with ye olde camera phone.  You can see Cheryl (left) and Jackie (right) in the background.  They work for Sony/BMG and flew in from NY for the shoot.  I had fun chatting with them.

Having spent years with The Scout, I understand things from the photographer’s point of view.  Light is paramount.  Keeping the subject (the talent) engaged, energized and happy is key.  Toward the end of the day (when the light in the church is absolutely wonderful), Donnie got tired.  He ended up flat out on the grass (another camera phone shot – so washed out!).

Most of the time, I work alone, so it is interesting to me to see a group of people working closely together on a project.  In this case, one person (yes, just ONE PERSON) was late to the shoot yesterday morning (one hour and forty-five minutes late).  It threw the entire schedule for the day off course.  We were supposed to leave at 5 pm.  The last person (Dustin) finally left a hair before 7 pm.

My very best wishes to Donnie and all who were involved with the shoot.  Other than the schedule slip, it was a great day.

photo courtesy of Sony/BMG

UPDATE:  Well, it lasted two whole hours.  My first blog post in the month of September that did not mention Sarah Palin lasted two whole hours.  Then I found this (via Cajun Boy):

Posted in Around Town

ECPAC: Friends in Deed

Wow, I had a busy weekend. My friend Catheryn J. Brockett is involved with a volunteer group called Century of Compassion, and a group of ’em were at the Ecumenical Council of Pasadena Area Churches (ECPAC) this past weekend to do some painting. ECPAC is better known as Friends in Deed (though technically Friends in Deed is a project of ECPAC).

Catheryn, like any true artist, wants to get it right. So she brings her own edger to these painting shindigs.

Catheryn and Alvin Paolo (sorry, dude!).  (See how Alvin Paolo put his arm behind himself for the photo? The Scout will tell you – portraits of people look better without floppy arms. Alvin posed correctly with no prompting from your truly.)

Pastor Pat O’Reilly, the Executive Director of Friends in Deed, was kind enough to show me around and tell me about the all the good things they are doing. On Friday, the nice folks from Nestle painted this part of the building. The area to the right is where a washer and dryer are being installed.

There’s Pastor Pat with David Gooler, who I know from the trenches of PTA at Washington Middle School. David installed the washer and dryer.

Friends in Deed now has a program called The Women’s Room that was developed by All Saints’ Women’s Issues Committee. It’s a twice-a-week drop in program that provides women with access to a shower, a washer and dryer, telephone and a computer, and even a place to nap. Awesome.

Friends in Deed has also started a vegetable garden.

They even have a portable lettuce patch thanks to local Boy Scouts. Why portable? Because they need their parking spots too.

There are many ways to be involved with Friends in Deed, and you can read about them here.

A big THANK YOU to all who went here and left a comment supporting the idea of giving my friend Adela a much needed infusion of cash. Alas, they’ve chosen Flashes of Hope.

AP birthday bash photos… Continue reading “ECPAC: Friends in Deed”

Posted in Around Town, Let's Get Visual

Church of the Angels 3

Ah, history. We’d like to know the whole story, but the mists of time the shroud of mystery we don’t.

If this blog had a sound track, right now you’d be hearing Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. (I particularly like the bit starting at 2:50.)

Fun fact to know: Fr. Robert J. Gaestel, who has been at Church of the Angels for over 25 years, was given this year’s Outstanding Volunteer Service Award by the Pasadena Police Department. Yeah, he packs responsible heat.

A beautiful building is, at the end of the day, just another place. It’s the human element that makes a difference.

Previously in this series:

Church of the Angels

Church of the Angels 2

Posted in Around Town, Let's Get Visual

Church of the Angels 2

Petrea’s still at it (here is a reverse of the photo below, and here is where you might sit if all the pews are full, and there is a shot of an upstairs room not seen by many here). Call me a copycat person who thinks it is fun to complement what Petrea is doing.  I’m going to post a few more Church of the Angels photos too.

(Click to biggify.) What with this being a company town and all, Church of the Angels has been used as a filming location several times.

Heathers. Lawnmower Man (exterior only).

Assorted episodes of JAG. The West Wing. Desperate Housewives.

Even this video with Mick Jagger (press play and get yourself a glass of water…it’s toward the end).

Yeah, we are not above making a buck. Ninety percent of filming income goes to help with the upkeep of the building. Believe me, it’s not cheap to keep this building and the parish hall and the rectory in good repair.

The other ten percent is designated for causes/projects recommended by parishioners.

I’m happy to report that these guys are going to summer day camp.