Do This Today: Make Music Pasadena

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Guess what it’s time for already- Make Music Pasadena! If you like music and saving money, check this event out in Pasadena. It’s FREE- TOTALLY FREE! – and filled with music. It’s a great place to get exercise and people watch and dance. Click the image above to see all the stages and map. There are stages and bands playing all over this route, and check out the shops and restaurants nearby. I’ve gone multiple years and can confidently say it’s a fun time. Plan to park on side streets (avoid Colorado if you’re in a car) and do a lot of walking.

Event: Make Music Pasadena 2014 (link)
Location: Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA
Time: Saturday June 7, 2014 ALL DAY!
Cost: Free! TOTALLY FREE!

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Do This Today: Art Night Pasadena

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I hope the sky clears up because tonight from 6-10pm is Art Night Pasadena! Coolhaus and the India Jones food truck will be in attendance. Free shuttles will loop around Pasadena. Get ready for a free night of music, art, and fun!

Event: Art Night Pasadena (event link)
Location: Colorado and Fair Oaks Ave, Pasadena (see map above)
Time: Friday March 8th, 6-10pm
Cost: FREE

Do This Today: Ghosthunting in Southern California

Since it’s Halloween Eve (aka Mischief Night), it’s only fitting that they Do This Today be spooooky. Los Angeles has a crazy history, including ghosts. Tonight author Sally Richards is doing a book reading/signing/discussion of her book, Ghosthunting In Southern California, at Vroman’s in Pasadena. Why not go and learn about paranormal activity in your backyard?

Event: Sally Richards book signing of Ghosthunting in Southern California
Location: Vroman’s, 695 E. Colorado Blvd, PAsadena, CA 91101
Time: 7pm
Cost: FREE but the book will cost you

Jet Propulsion Lab Open House 2012

This weekend was the Jet Propulsion Lab’s Open House. It happens one weekend a year, and since I missed last years it was high on my priority list to go this year. It’s a free event so it’s definitely a great cheap way to spend a weekend.

It was a PACKED event. We arrived on Sunday around 11a and had to park in a High School parking lot way down the road. Yeah it was crazy busy. The positive of having so many people there was seeing how many people care about science and all the families that brought their children for a family day out. That made me feel good about society at least.

This is the Mars Science Laboratory Rover. It’s the 1/3-scale model used in tests on the property. The full scale version was launched in Fall 2011 and will be landing on Mars in the summer of 2012, where it will stay for several years.

Is there another Earth out there? In each building courtyard they had tents set-up like this one, with a main topic and several presentations about the topic.

It was so busy, that it was hard to focus on the information. We got to see a 5 minute film on mars showing the simulation of the rover collecting information. It was interesting, but so short and we waited in a long line to see it. This event had a lot of lines.

We decided to just walk around the property and not wait in lines, which meant we didn’t get to see many specific displays but we tried to take in the whole event.

They did have plenty of food options which was nice. We ended up sharing a shrimp quesadilla and chips + guacamole.

After eating and people watching, we were all feeling the heat (it was crazy hot out) and decided to head home. I’m so glad I saw this event, and if I come back next year I’m going to get there as the gates open. It was like a Science Disneyland, complete with the Disney-type lines, so arriving early is a must.

Secret Stair Walk #1: La Loma Road

I have to say a big thank you to Hidden LA for reposting my last Secret Stair Walk. People posted some really nice comments, and I thank you for your support and interest in the blog. Now it’s time to get down to business… Secret Stair Walk #1: La Loma Road (Pasadena), from my 2012 walk book Secret Stairs.

I must preface this post with my usual spiel. I’m intentionally vague on the details because I encourage you to buy the book and do the walks yourself, but that won’t stop me from posting my findings. I went on a cloudy day (rare for LA), which means most of my photos are very gray. It was a bummer, but the walk was still a good time. This walk is especially residential and very peaceful. Instead of the usual LA sounds (horns and sirens) I could hear birds singing and neighbors out washing cars and doing yard work. The people I passed on this walk were very friendly and there were some lovely homes tucked away in the hills.

This walk was only 2.7 miles and had close to 1000 stairs. The step count is misleading, because while there were many sets of stairs, there were also a lot of steep roads.

I can’t tell if my photos sell the steepness, but this walk was definitely a workout as I was panting after 5 minutes into it.

Thankfully, for every steep hill is a staircase down. Don’t you love the home in the photo above. Brown, turquoise, and the glow of the paper lanterns make this nestled hillside bungalow adorable.

Such cute quiet streets and picket fences.

This house wins the cutest mailbox award.

It was along this passage of stairs that you could look through a gap in the fence and see a private putting area that someone installed on their back patio. I didn’t want to invade their privacy so I did not take any photos of it, but if you do the walk you’ll get to see a glimpse of it.

Climb, climb, climb.

I shall end this walk with the photo above, taken while I was going down a set of stairs near the end of the walk. Artsy-fartsy, I know, but it was a beautiful walk despite they gray skies.

Chinese New Year(s Eve)!

Get ready for a ton of pictures, because the best way to describe the celebration is with images. Although, due to the religious nature of the event, and it taking place in a temple, I couldn’t get the best angles or close ups I would have liked (as I didn’t want to be obnoxious). But lets start at the beginning, where my good friends, Lindsey and Michelle, and I had Tibetan food at the Tibet Nepal House in Pasadena. It was my first time having Tibetan food and it was pretty good. They had several veggie options and we ended up getting several plates and serving ourselves family style.

You can tell by all our empty plates that we loved it. Plus the plates weren’t huge so we could order several and try several different things. I liked the shrimp in coconut milk… yum.

After dinner, Lindsey and I continued on to Chinatown to visit the Chuan Thien Hau Temple as their festivities were beginning.

There was tons of incense burning and tables full of offerings of oranges and cabbage. The smokey air made for great ambiance, but Ill admit I reeked by the end of end of the night and my allergies were going nuts.

The temple was so beautiful. I’ve walked around the area before, but never really saw the inside all lit up. It was all so ornate.

I just wish I knew the significance of it all! While people watching, I could pick-up on certain repeated activities that people were doing, but couldn’t understand why.

Even their exterior columns are ornate.

Around 10:30 festivities were beginning in the street in front of the temple. We got a spot out front and waited while they were setting up for the fire crackers to go off. In the meantime the performers were warming up and these adorable little boys were warming themselves with a heat lamp.

Once the pyrotechnics were set-up, important members of the community came out to light the long strings of fire crackers. The actual blowing up of the fire crackers was cool in person, but lame in photos. All the photos I have just show a blur of smoke and the photos don’t sell that sound that you are hearing when 100’s of fire crackers go off at a steady pace for 5 minutes.

Once the firecrackers were done, the performers came out and begin doing their dragon dance. Two people made up each dragon (a head and a tail) and there were 4 dragons as part of this dance. They were full of energy with their giant dragon heads.

At one point they all ran up a trail into the temple where they continued their dance. People were saying it’s good luck to touch the dragon as it runs around the temple. So as soon as the dragons ran in the temple, everyone chased after them.

Here you can see everyone trying to touch the dragon.

Once the dragons ran back out in front of the temple, the rest of the performers joined in showing off their skills. It was at this point that Lindsey and I needed to hit the road, as we both had to get up early for work in a few hours.

As we walked away I got this last shot, which I really liked. Other friends at the event told us that after we left there was more dragon dancing and another round of firecrackers. I highly recommend this event, and you better not miss their 2013 New Years Eve.

Weekend Guide Oct. 14+15+16

So it’s already that day of the week, FRIDAY! Do you have any fun weekend plans? Tell me what you’re up to. Let the world know about the fun things your up to, because they will want to join and make it awesomer (that’s a word, right?).

Next weekend I’ll be in Milwaukee, blogging to you from a wedding with dear friends that I’ve actually never met in person. It’s wild how in the digital age, good friends never even have to meet face to face. That awesome story will unfold in 7 days, count’em. This weekend will involve some shopping to prep for it (invest wisely, because company stocks will rise based on everything I still need to buy).

FRIDAY: Let’s start with plans for tonight. Are you free? UCB is hosting A Dead Author Reading where Paul F Thompkins (or PFT as comedy nerds know him) will play H.G.Wells. Tickets are $5 and it goes to support 826LA (a charity that helps children with reading and writing). Brian Stack, who writes for Conan, will also be there. It’s at 6:30p tonight, so get tickets now!

Also, tonight at the Largo Jeff Garlin will be leading a conversation with Judd Apatow to discuss his new book. Tickets to that are $30, and that also starts at 6:30p tonight. PFT also has a show here on Saturday night. Check out Largo’s schedule for cool upcoming shows.

SATURDAY: I haven’t been alerted to any special events this Saturday night (crazy, right?) but there are plenty of on going events that are worth checking out. For example, Oktoberfest is happening in the Southland. There are many going on, but the one I hear the most good things about is Oktoberfest at Alpine Village. Tickets are $10, and as there are only 8 more days left, I suggest you get there now. If I remember correctly bring cash and tickets, anything to avoid the monster line that could form. Bring a group of friends an have an awesome night.

As Halloween is rapidly approaching, you should check out some of the haunting events around LA to get you in the spirit. Universal Studios has discounted tickets to their Fright Nights. Old Town Haunt is a haunted house in Pasadena which will cost you $15, 7p-12am. The Haunted Hayride is happening right now in Griffith Park in the Old Zoo, but will set you back $25 a head (but I hear great things). Or what about the Queen Mary, which is supposed to be haunted on a normal day, but extra haunted around Halloween. Tickets are $20 and it also runs 7pm-12a.

SUNDAY: The Nerdist Panel’s are back. Check out Meltdown comics on Sunday at 5pm for a discussion with many television writers and how they got where they are. Tickets are $15 and you can get them here.

If writing and comedy aren’t your thing, the owners of my favorite bar Tony’s Dart Away (see my post about them HERE) are opening a brewery called Golden Rod Brewery in the valley. Tickets to the grand opening are $20 + $3 service fee and you can get them HERE. That will make for a glorious Sunday afternoon.