Saturday, October 31, 2009
The spirit of a jack o lantern? The black sheep of the Blue Man Group? A tequila sunrise? At any rate, he sure brightened up the corner of Fremont and Lyndon yesterday.
So, dear readers, what are you dressing up as this Halloween?
Friday, October 30, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
I can't speak with certainty about very many things. Oh, but I have my suspicions.... I suspect that soy isn't nearly as good for us as they say it is. I suspect that almost every conspiracy theory contains a kernel of truth. I suspect that many of today's known facts will someday be in the same dustbin as flat earth theory. I suspect that consciousness is far more phenomenal, enduring and individual than anything religion or neuroscience can begin to explain. I suspect that fashion designers secretly sit around laughing at what they can sucker women into wearing. I suspect that the final season of LOST is going to be a disappointment. I suspect that rock and roll does more for curing depression than Prozac and that jazz can inspire genius. I suspect that I'm rambling. Again.
But there is one thing I know: love is real. Whether this universe is merely Newtonian-mechanical or M-theory dimensional -- love is the stuff that fires it up and keeps it humming. Love. Jesus was right about it. So was John Lennon. And I'm lucky enough to have great treasure troves of it -- indeed, probably more than my share.
Today, I want everybody to revel in a giant rave-worthy love buzz because it's my wedding anniversary. Today marks 8 beautiful years with my beloved -- the one who puts up with all my rants and suspicions and who loves me anyway. My Zen-trickster groom. My comrade and champion. The smartest man I've ever met. The world's best father. The love of my life.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
I've been in LA for almost 22 years. Before moving to South Pas I lived in Hollywood, Venice Beach, Palms, West Los Angeles and Santa Monica. None of those areas have insects that could even hope to rumble with the likes of ours. (Well, except maybe the cockroaches in Hollywood.)
There's a kind of mysterious Land of the Lost/under intense gamma rays quality to the creepy-crawlies around here. I've seen prehistoric-looking praying mantises on my porch beams, huge walking sticks on the car windshield and one nightmare-inducing house centipede on my bedroom wall. Every spring, bees try to build hives in the attic and in the neighbors' trees. Ladybugs cling to the rosebushes and caterpillars cling to the camphor leaves. Charlotte may have spelled out words for Wilbur in Charlotte's Web, but I think the massive garden spiders in my potting shed are spinning fractals. (Maybe they work for Caltech or JPL.) The neighborhood is often visited by large, velvety-winged, black and yellow butterflies that look like they could have been painted by Gauguin. One of them recently hovered around and finally landed on my daughter. She named it Flutter.
The HUGE fly in the above photo found its way into the house the other night. Frankly, it was just too impressive to swat. After an evening of loud buzzing and desperate window tap-tap-taps, it finally found its way out the front door.
Yes, even bugs remind me of poems. This one by Katherine Mansfield:
Voices of the Air
But then there comes that moment rare
When, for no cause that I can find,
The little voices of the air
Sound above all the sea and wind.
The sea and wind do then obey
And sighing, sighing double notes
Of double basses, content to play
A droning chord for the little throats—
The little throats that sing and rise
Up into the light with lovely ease
And a kind of magical, sweet surprise
To hear and know themselves for these—
For these little voices: the bee, the fly,
The leaf that taps, the pod that breaks,
The breeze on the grass-tops bending by,
The shrill quick sound that the insect makes.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
This is one local concert where the entire world is invited: it's streaming in a live, global webcast on YouTube for free tonight at 8:30 PM, Pacific Time.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
The Finger Puppets in the Attic Dollhouse
If they, more petite
than the mice whose flittings
have pillaged their robes’ sparkled trim,
on the plumped felt tops
of their thimble-sized footstools
the worn fabric
of this room’s blue distances,
would they locate
the source of lightning bolts
in our faces’ wrinkled pleats
and construe the stars’
dance from the tattered
embroidery of our steps,
or find in our seamless
the tissue of apocalypse?
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
South Pasadena is a great study in the yin/yang idea of opposites fitting together within a greater whole. On the one hand, we have all the small town baseball and apple pie goodness of a Norman Rockwell painting, but we're tucked into the exquisite chaos of greater Los Angeles -- and that keeps us from becoming treacly or naive.
Low and high, male and female, backwards and forwards ... interacting opposites that manifest the whole. Somewhere in the grey area, we find balance. Aristotle described it as the Golden Mean, "the desirable middle between two extremes, one of excess and the other of deficiency." After I eat my broccoli, I'll lift my brandy snifter to that idea. How could we have balance without something else on the other side of the scale?
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Let's let Omar Khayyam offer the commentary for this one:
A book of verse, underneath the bough,
A jug of wine, a loaf of bread - and thou
Beside me singing in the wilderness -
Ah, wilderness were paradise now!
Friday, October 16, 2009
Um, yeah. About that tire swing...
My first thought pegged it as something out of an old German expressionist film but, upon reflection, maybe it's actually a hobby horse. (From an old German expressionist film?) South Pas is definitely kooky enough to inspire a photographic series on unusual swings and things.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Or maybe I just love to anthropomorphize things.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
My four year old daughter pointed out today's picture. Nothing like a preschooler to educate you in the many-faceted wonder of puddles. "Look at that!" She said, pointing at the wet street. "The clouds are making mirrors on the ground and putting watercolor paints in them."
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Freeways -- even empty ones -- just can't compete.
Monday, October 12, 2009
A tree that can fill the span of a man's arms grows from a downy tip;
A terrace nine stories high rises from level earth;
A journey of a thousand miles starts from beneath one's feet.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Friday, October 9, 2009
In my mind this house is inhabited by characters out of Edith Wharton or Henry James. And the same goes for the neighboring houses. The dream of those candlelit parlours and spinet sonatinas makes me feel a little less frazzled after a long day when I unwind in my own 110 year old home. It's like everyone who lives here has sworn to uphold an unspoken pact. We preserve our old buildings and take care of our heritage trees and cheerfully call the plumber when our 19th century pipes burst so that we can make sure that we all get to live in a place that looks like a setting for plays by Thorton Wilder or films by Frank Capra.
When my family moved from West LA to South Pas, we spent the first few months in giddy sense of shock. Sure, the San Gabriel Valley is only 25 miles down the 10 and 110 freeways, but it's light years away in terms of architectural charm. (The vintage streetlamps! A million Craftsman houses! Bricks! Check out all of the wonderful old bricks!) I'm sure the spell wears off after a while. But I've been here almost two years and I'm still not over it.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Like Dali said, "The difference between false memories and true ones is the same as for jewels: it is always the false ones that look the most real, the most brilliant."
My flights of fancy may be artificial, but Nicole's is the real deal.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Live music, beer, wine and food will be available at the Mission Gold Line Station plaza, with more jamming down the street at South Pasadena Music Center. A wide assortment of styles will be featured including alt-rock, jazz, Celtic, world music, vintage, flamenco, innovative percussion and classical.
Don't miss this chance to celebrate South Pasadena's creative spirit! Click here for more information.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Libba Bray's newest novel Going Bovine came out last week and it's so gloriously weird, so jaw-droppingly brilliant I just have to make sure every one of you goes out and reads it. And not just because Libba and I are old pals. (You should have seen us rocking out to Billy Idol back in college. I was sporting the Madonna-in-her-Borderline-phase look. Lib leaned more toward Cindy Lauper.)
I'm happy to name drop when it comes to raving about this novel. Not that Libba needs my help to get people to buy her books. Most readers know her as the author of the New York Times bestselling Gemma Doyle series -- a supernatural grrrl-power trilogy set in Victorian England that serves up a much juicier, cooler, more psychedelic mythology than anything found in Harry Potter. But Going Bovine? I have no idea how to describe it. Back in my copy writing days, I would have been hard pressed to come up with a tag line for the book jacket. "A boy with mad cow disease loses his mind and finds himself..." No way. That doesn't even begin to tackle the lush, heartbreaking, hilarious, mind-bending splendor of this story. As Libba described in her riotously insane book trailer it's the "feel good mad cow disease string theory book of September 2009."
It's a road trip as well as a head trip about life, death, madness, reality, love, meaning, dreams, hope, despair, humor, microwave popcorn, parallel universes, happiness cults, jazz, quantum physics, connection and the ephemeral nature of existence led by a 16 year old boy, a hypochondriac dwarf, a punk rock fairy and, yes, a talking garden gnome. Don't let the Young Adult classification throw you. This is a new classic along the lines of Catcher in the Rye and Don Quixote. (Only much more fun.) If you love John Irving, Douglas Adams, Kurt Vonnegut, Tom Robbins and Charles Dickens -- read this book. You'll never look at a garden gnome the same way again.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Contrast is why I adore complicated people -- all those incongruous non sequiturs and seemingly incompatible views. Contrast makes us honest. It highlights all the bumps and cracks. And it's the best part about happiness. After all, without bad as contrast, good is just the same old boring status quo.
But then again, I like to tip scales.
You can contrast my approach with all the other talented members of the City Daily Photo community. Click here to view thumbnails for all participants