Thursday, April 29, 2010

Where's Sally?

Not much more to say about this one that hasn't already been said so well...

Bon Appétit

Dinnertime in South Pasadena is not much different than in the rest of the world. Oh, we have our fair share of fine dining -- it's grand to indulge in Bistro de la Gare's Entrecote Flambee Au Cognac washed down with a glass of Châteauneuf-Du-Pape, or Mike and Anne's pork chops with lingonberry sauce or Firefly's Duck Paprikash. More likely, though, you'll throw together supper at home after a commute, after homework, after work and chores and shopping. As spring stretches the daylight hours, perhaps you'll fire up the barbecue. The divine scent of my neighbors' mesquite-grilled chicken often floats over to my place. With open windows, we share sounds of clanging pans and chopping onions.

"I want grilled cheese!" I hear the 8 year old neighbor boy's voice.

"I want mac and cheese!" Says his 6 year old brother.

"You'll have spaghetti and like it!" Says their dad.

So...what are you having for dinner tonight?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Details, Details...

I couldn't help but notice the iron curlicues on the upper window. Do you think they were originally added for the sole purpose of casting whimsical shadows in the late afternoon sun? Me too.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mixed Media

Finding inspiration in the ordinary...

I've touched on it here before. And then again. Sometimes all it takes to uplift your spirit is to look down at a wonderfully decrepit street, where the cracks have been there long enough for moss to grow and the city markings (gas lines? sewer?) look like tags from a minimalist graffiti artist. It's happenstance art and it's hidden in plain sight.

Well, that's how I see it, anyway.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Settings: Part 26

I hadn't planned on playing my favorite game again so soon, but when I drove past the library and saw the tree from yesterday's post being used as a backdrop for yet another South Pas film shoot, I couldn't resist.

Since this actually is a setting for a movie, what do you think the scene is about?

Sunday, April 25, 2010


...they grow deep in South Pasadena. Here, they spread out beneath a towering heritage tree outside the library. Kids like to climb over the whole layout as if it were kind of Middle Earth jungle gym. I've seen a few high school kids hanging out in the shade. I like to perch there with a library book and a cup of Kaldi's dark roast.

We're all putting down roots, too.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Camera Crossing

I've posted before about the abundance of film and television location shoots in South Pasadena. (Even in my own neighborhood!) Here, crew members wheel a camera across El Centro at Meridian. I bumped into three separate productions around town on the day I snapped this shot. Some may find it annoying, but I love it that my city serves as a back lot. Then again, you guys know how much I like to imagine scenes from movies...

Friday, April 23, 2010


Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all.

--Emily Dickinson

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Natural Beauty

This grassy spot is tucked away in a curve of street as you drive from Mission past the golf course and toward lower Arroyo park. Looks worthy of a picnic blanket to me...

Happy Earth Day, everyone!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Red Zone

Sylvia Plath saw it one way:

Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair
And I eat men like air.

Springsteen sees it like this.

My daughter calls it "mermaid hair" after Ariel's locks.

I just call it way cool.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Pull up a Chair...

Kaldi's laid-back aesthetic offers a coffee break from reality -- unless you bring your laptop and take advantage of the free WiFi. But why do that when you can relax at an outside table beneath a canopy of camphor trees? When a breeze rustles the leaves, it's like someone whispering "slow down, slow down..."

Monday, April 19, 2010

Reading Between the Lines

In a town as smart, creative and kooky as South Pasadena, you can be sure to find great bumper stickers. (I'm sure all of you will remember my personal favorite.) But what can we make of this unusual directive? Sure, it's probably from a nifty restaurant on the coast somewhere. But what if it's code for something? A message hidden in an anagram! Yes! Let's crack this mystery right now!

Actually, the only anagrams I can come up with are: "Tubeless Hamsters" and "A Teamster Blushes."

I'd make a lousy spy.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Saturday, April 17, 2010


I couldn't decide whether to focus on the historic house, the curving tree or the wrought iron fence.

How about all three?

Friday, April 16, 2010


Taking a picture may not actually stop time, but it definitely snags a moment of it. Push the shutter, and you make an imprint of something elusive. It's like being a kind of quantum wizard and forcing all those spinning quarks to pause.

When I take a picture, I get to slow down life's mad rush and notice things I might have missed. Like the bright afternoon sky. Or the girl's rainbow hair. Or the man's crinkly, unexpected smile.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Settings: Part 25

I just can't decide on a character for this place...

Serial killer with multiple personalities?
Manifesto-writing recluse?
Rural cousin of the Big Lebowski?

Then again, what do you think? Just like all the other times I've forced you to put on your director's hats -- if this were the setting for a scene in a movie, what would happen here?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


It was far too pretty outside to take advantage of Busters' charming interior space. But doesn't it look cool in the late afternoon light?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Happy Hour

If ghosts ever belly up to a spirit world bar, I doubt they reminisce about the huge events of life. Sure, jackpot lottery tickets and Academy Award speeches are life's exclamation points. The winning touchdown, the heroic escape, the artful dodge -- they're loud and exciting. They break things up and flex the adrenals. But nobody wants to listen to a continuous drum solo, and too many fireworks obscure the chorus of stars. It's the day-to-day stuff that gives life it's base. We need to find our footing on solid ground in order to tilt at windmills, right?

I've been thinking a lot about the joy of ordinary things. Flowers from the Farmers Market next to a well-used teapot? Not exactly high art. But then again, if Van Gogh is up there nursing a scotch and talking about glory days, I'll bet what he remembers most are the irises, not the fact that he got famous for painting them...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Color Coordinated

Remember the art director I've mentioned before? The imaginary one that seems to move just ahead of me, setting up scenes that are almost too good to be true?

Well, he's been at it again.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Quiet Night

Walking on a cold, spring night (bristling at the chill, squinting at the colors, wishing after stars and chasing after memories) is sort of like a midnight swim. It's refreshing, but a little melancholy.

Kind of like this...

Friday, April 9, 2010

Seize the Day (Listen to the Shirt)

Simon and Garfunkle once sang that the words of the prophets were written on the subway walls. And we've already seen wisdom on a license plate. Well, here the advice comes straight from the back of a T-shirt.

I just love the South Pasadena Farmer's Market. You never know what you're going to find.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Pretty in Pink

I think it's an old LeBaron. (Not quite this, but definitely in the same family... )

UPDATE: Oops! I meant to say an old LeSabre!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


...the conversation went something like this:

"I finally finished it honey," he said, "I built your dream house."

"No!" She cried, "I said I wanted a house surrounded by orange trees, not an orange house surrounded by trees!"

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

As opposed to five short minutes?

I vacuumed my car at the gas station yesterday and noticed this sign on the machine. (I can't wait to find out what you guys have to say about it...)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Spring: Sprung

Spring is like a perhaps hand
(which comes carefully
out of Nowhere) arranging
a window, into which people look (while
people stare
arranging and changing placing
carefully there a strange
thing and a known thing here) and

changing everything carefully

spring is like a perhaps
Hand in a window
(carefully to
and fro moving New and
Old things, while
people stare carefully
moving a perhaps
fraction of flower here placing
an inch of air there) and

without breaking anything.

--ee cummings

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Basket Case

Look who I found leaning against the wall in the corner of the wine cellar... (Actually, the wine cellar happens to double as the laundry room, and this bunny awaits a spring cleaning because he seems to have gotten chocolate egg on his face.)

Happy Easter, everyone!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Closing Time

A lone car, an almost empty lot and a peachy-purple sky prompted me to scramble for my tripod before the light dissolved into black. I had gone to Orchard Supply Hardware for light bulbs and vacuum cleaner bags, but I ended up with inspiration.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Seeing Red

Today is the first of the month, and that means it's Theme Day for participating City Daily Photo bloggers. This month's theme is Red -- a color which so often tell us to stop, but that in this contrary sign encourages us to go. (Good advice for spring.)

Be sure to check out all of the creative interpretations of today's theme from our worldwide community. Click here to view thumbnails for all participants