Sunday, April 8, 2012

I Have a New Blog!

I have retired from the City of Pasadena, so now I'm posting on the new Ann Erdman blog. Visit me here!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Clear Skies Predicted for Our Bloggers Picnic!

Actually the forecast is for cloudy skies during the day with a slight chance of rain in the evening. That means it'll be clear!

Many thanks to the Altadena blogs for organizing the picnic again this year:
Altadena Hiker
Altadena Above It All
Open Mouth Insert Fork

Monday, March 19, 2012

We Partied Anyway!

UPDATE -- Below I misspelled (or squished together) the wonderful bakery/restaurant. It's Euro Pane (thank you, Cafe Pasadena). The mystery woman standing next to Jervey Tervalon is Georgia Jeffries (thank you, Larry Wilson).

LitFest Pasadena was rained out on Friday, but the planned after-party for organizers went on anyway at Europane on Colorado between Euclid and Garfield after it was closed for the night (thank you, Sumi!).

Mayor Bill Bogaard and Light Bringer Project President Tom Coston:

I don't know the name of the woman on the left below (chime in if you do). Left to right next to her are local author Jervey Tervalon, Pasadena Star-News Public Editor Larry Wilson and Libros Schmibros founder David Kipen.

Sandra Tsing Loh addressing the group:
New date for LitFest Pasadena: Saturday, May 12.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Mystery History -- Solved!

Cafe Pasadena with his 11:30 p.m. Wednesday guess "Well, it looks like early Pasadena in the late 1800s...Could easily be a tent or a barn since not much was built yet."

In the circa 1887 photo above, two adult males hang out on the back side of a barn that was used temporarily as living quarters.

During the building boom of 1886 to 1888, settlers were teeming to put down roots in the newly incorporated city. Many put up barns first -- some quite fancy architecturally -- and lived in them until homes could be built.

Pasadena looked like this in 1883 (looking north from Raymond Hill)...

...and like this seven years later (shot from the rooftop of the Hotel Green:

Here's an excerpt from my favorite local reference book, "Pasadena: Historical and Personal" by J.W. Wood, published in 1917, which can be found in the Centennial Room at Pasadena Central Library:

It was a strange overturning that began in 1886 and drove hitherto placid-minded, contented citizens to acts of frenzy and drew to the village of Pasadena thousands of boomers and speculators, turning the ordinary conditions topsy-turvy and firing the imagination of the most phlegmatic*...

...There had been occasional movements in real estate prior to the end of 1865. Now and then some one would drop into the village of Pasadena and buy ten or twenty acres of land and pay from $100 to $300 per acre, according as to whether improved and how. In 1886 there was a sudden stimulus; why, no one can exactly say. In 1887 Southern California, especially Los Angeles and Pasadena, was on the high plane of boom prices, and in 1888 -- the beginning of that year -- it had reached the climax: the blue, blue sky! Then it was
facilis decensus, indeed! leaving numerous putative "millionaires" stranded, financial wrecks -- dazed and amazed at the sudden and tragic conclusion of their dreams. This quick finish to their rose-hued visions was sickening and remorseless. 

* Tuberculosis was a big issue back then. See a related blog post here.

Many thanks to Pasadena Museum of History and Pasadena Public Library.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Mystery History

Where are we? And what's happening?

The first person to guess correctly will get free admission to LitFest Pasadena this coming Saturday!

I'll have the full scoop on Thursday.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Farmers Market Colors

While recuperating in Jamul from my most recent surgery, I went with family to a farmers market in San Diego. A couple of photos were keepers, including the berries above and whatever that is below!

Here's a long shot of the farmers market, with San Diego Bay in the background:

Now I'm back in the office, with just 13 working days until I retire!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Mystery History -- Solved!

I'm giving my heart to Wanda for her 1:55 p.m. Tuesday guess "Maybe it is an initiation of some sort."

In the 1940 photo above, members of the Sorelle Club, a Pasadena City College sorority, look on as one of 14 prospective new members goes through the rite of initiation in a Pasadena barn.

The women's hair was smeared with molasses and raw eggs, they were dressed in nightgowns and masks, and made to smoke foul cigars and grovel on the barn floor.

After the humiliating hazing was complete, they were offically welcomed into the sorority during a formal ceremony:

When I was a senior in high school, I was initiated into the Belle Filles, a community service organization/junior sorority. The other candidates and I were blindfolded, taken to a very dark spot on Proctor Valley Road in rural San Diego County and made to kiss a severed cow's head on the lips without realizing what it was until the blindfolds came off (I knew it was something horrifying; turns out the father of one of the members owned a meat packing plant).

Thankfully, hopefully, this kind of hazing doesn't happen very often any more, if at all!

Many thanks to Pasadena City College.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Mystery History

Where are we? And what's happening?

The first person to guess correctly will win my heart (since I was still recuperating on Valentine's Day).

I'll have the full scoop on Thursday.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I'll See You in March

I'll be out of commission until early March due to another major surgery that I'm having on Feb. 2. Please say a prayer, and I'll see you around the corner!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Mystery History -- Solved!

I stumped everyone this week. I thought that by showing a photo of the esteemed person holding flowers up, thereby blocking part of his face, someone would make the leap that it was Dr. E=MC2 himself.

In the 1932 photo above, Albert Einstein and his wife Elsa are given a huge send-off as they prepare to leave Pasadena after one of their sojourns here.

Here's a more revealing shot:

I did screen captures from a historic video that you'll find here.

In the early 1930s, Einstein spent three winters in Pasadena, living the first year in a bungalow at 707 S. Oakland Ave. During the following two winters, he resided at Caltech as a visiting professor and gave prominence to that institution and others. He spent his time working, lecturing and making public appearances here and throughout the greater Los Angeles area.

In January 1933, Einstein and Pasadena stood together as he made a national radio address from the stage of the Pasadena Civic Auditorium advocating for peaceful relations with Germany.

Here's a photo of him at the curtain that evening:

An answer came back only a few days later when Adolph Hitler became chancellor and the Nazi party made it clear that Einstein, a German and a Jew, would never be welcomed back to Germany. He never again set foot in his native land.

Here he's looking through a telescope at the Mount Wilson Observatory, accompanied by Edwin Hubble (center) and observatory director Walter Adams.

And here he's giving a talk at the Carnegie Observatories headquarters in Pasadena in 1931:

Many of Caltech's competitors in the annual Pasadena Collegiate Field Tournament have worn curly white wigs in tribute to the physicist:

In 2005 I co-produced a video titled "When Einstein Lived in Pasadena" to commemorate the 100th anniversary of his famous five papers. Institutions throughout the world hosted exhibits and special events throughout the year and traditional media and websites explored his life and career. The City of Pasadena won a national award for the video from the City-County Communications and Marketing Association (3CMA) that year.

The five groundbreaking papers set traditional scientific theories on their ears and sparked remarkable innovation that continues to this day. In the five papers, the 26-year-old patent clerk proved the existence of atoms, presented his special theory of relativity and put quantum theory on its feet.

When he was awarded his only Nobel Prize in 1921, it was for his work on the photoelectric effect, the basis for today’s quantum theory, which deals with the behavior of matter at the atomic and subatomic level.

These studies were just the beginning for Einstein, who went on to create the general theory of relativity (E=MC2) and to pioneer quantum mechanics.

Albert Einstein is considered the most significant person in the 20th century and one of the most brilliant minds in history.

And he was all ours for three winters in the 1930s.

Caltech has a nice site here.

Many thanks to British Pathe, Carnegie Observatories, Caltech and Corbis. The photo at the Pasadena Collegiate Field Tournament was shot by yours truly.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mystery History

Where are we? And what's happening?

The first person to guess correctly will have sweet dreams.

I'll have the full scoop on Thursday.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Best Friends in the World

I couldn't ask for better friends in the whole, wide world!

Last night at the home of Paul and Margie Grossman, some of the friends who made it possible for me to ride on the Kiwanis International Float in the Rose Parade gathered for a dinner and debriefing with me about my experiences. It was so sweet of them to have this post-parade celebration!

That's Claire and Bill Bogaard in the top photo.

Below are Dale Downs, Nancy Esbenshade and Judy Kent.

Ben Green and Dianne Philibosian:

Paul Grossman and Dale Downs:

Margie Grossman and Judy Kent:

Jerram Swartz and Dennis Downs:

Claire Bogaard and Tom Seifert:

Betty Ho and Deb Swartz:

Thank you so much, everybody!

See more about my experiences here, here and here.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

More Kiwanis International Float Photos

Many thanks to Isabel Chavez for the photo above and the next one below.

And many thanks also to Kathy Hernandez for this one (she was something like nine stories up!):

See more here and here:

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

I Love a (Rose) Parade!

Well, yesterday was quite simply a dream come true and the thrill of a lifetime!

Thanks to a group of wonderful and generous friends, I rode on the Kiwanis International float in the Rose Parade (see this post for background). That's me waving to the right of horse in the photo above.

The day before the parade, all the riders got together in front of the float at the Rosemont Pavilion. The woman in the chair is 99-year-old Eleanor, who rode on the Vista del Arroyo Hotel float when she was 16. The others are Kiwanis International officials, Key Club high school students from around the world and Miss Latina Global. It has been the wish of the boy at front left, all his short life, to ride in the Rose Parade, so Kiwanis International flew him here from Charlotte, North Carolina.

Our navigator, who sat under the front of the float giving instructions to the driver in the back of the float:

The driver's seat:

Julie was trying to escape my lens in this next photo and almost made it! Her father, a member of Kiwanis for 50 years, was scheduled to be next to me on the float but was too ill so Julie rode in his honor, carrying a framed photo of herself with her dad in healthier circumstances. The guy in the white suit is a Tournament of Roses official.

The Wrigley Mansion, headquarters of the Tournament of Roses, is owned by the City of Pasadena. I shot this as we were passing the mansion on Orange Grove Boulevard:

Looking up at the Goodyear Blimp while "floating" down Colorado Boulevard:

A miniscule glimpse of the estimated 700,000 people who lined the 5.5-mile Rose Parade route:

My long-time PIO pal Karen George shot this on her TV screen in Minnesota:

By the end of the day I was happy, giddy, emotional, you name it! It was the thrill of a lifetime.

I can never repay the fantastic generosity of the friends who made this happen for me.

And many thanks to Cafe Pasadena for the top photo, which he shot from a rooftop on Colorado Boulevard.

See the next post down for what led up to this incredible day! And then go here for even more photos.