Never rains in California…except in winter

Even though the local weather people didn’t tell us, this must be an El Nino year. With this current storm system, a “pineapple express” is bringing in rain from the tropics and the total rainfall will be close to double the amount we normally get by this time of year. The worst of this storm is supposed to be in my neighborhood in about an hour.

rainstorm in California on Feb 2 2019
Looking north through my livingroom window towards the San Gabriel Mountains, which are invisible in the rain.
The same view as above but taken from outside on my balcony. The San Gabriels are still invisible. The little tree on the lower right is a Eureka lemon tree . It used to be taller than the roof on the right, but has died back during the recent drought years.

Decorating the South Pasadena Rose Parade float

In keeping with the “Melody of Life” theme for the 2019 Tournament of Roses Parade the city of South Pasadena is entering a float called “Three Little Birds”. Volunteers were busy decorating it in a huge tent on Friday and will continue over the weekend.


If you are interested in seeing the progress of the South Pasadena float as it is decorated you can park on Fair Oaks just north of the 110 freeway exit. There is a large sign on Fair Oaks showing the location.

A follow-up after the Rose Parade. The South Pasadena float was behind the big one that broke down and sadly, the “Three Little Birds” float did not show up on the TV broadcasts of the parade.

decorating the South Pasadena Rose Parade float
This float is being decorated from the top down. Two women add red roses to the guitar body while a man indicates color blocks on the lower part of the float. In the initial drawing for the float the body of the guitar is shown as brown but these roses are definitely very red.
Thousands of red roses are already attached to the “drum” that will be on the float. The musical notes are covered with seeds. By the time the float is ready to roll out of the tent and uphill to the parade route in Pasadena, every visible inch of the float will be covered with natural materials.
It looks as if they are using brown-dyed pampas grass to decorate this red bird. Every inch of it will be covered with natural materials before it goes on the float and joins the parade.
This year there seem to be more tropical flowers being used on the South Pasadena Rose Parade float than in previous years.
tropical flowers for South Pasadena float 2019
Buckets of flowers in vibrant tropical colors were lined up outside the tent waiting for volunteers to add them to the float.
But it isn’t all flowers. These cauliflowers were being prepared to go onto the float.
Two people preparing the yellow cauliflower while other people unload the truck filled with other additions for the South Pasadena float.
Women attaching kitty litter to a panel that will be the sign on the front of the Three Little Birds float.
Once a year this huge tent rises in a park along Fair Oaks Avenue in South Pasadena. Almost all the other floats are built and decorated way out in the barns in Irwindale and I am not sure they encourage visitors out there. On the other hand it is easy to park on Fair Oaks, just north of the 110 freeway exit and stroll over to see this float. There used to be a couple of float barns actually in Pasadena, but they have been closed.

Ripe dates on palm trees on Christmas Day

No snow on the palm trees or freezing, snowy weather in Pasadena or Los Angeles on Christmas Day. In fact the date palms planted along the center of Arroyo Parkway in Pasadena are bearing fruit. No doubt the birds and other critters love this!

While there is no snow in the L.A. area, in the nearby mountains all the ski and snowboarding resorts are open for people who want winter cold.
A close up of the dates ripening on the palm trees in Pasadena.
Not far from the palms, the leaves of the Liquid Amber tree turn yellow then red in November and December in So California. The Liquid Amber tree is also known as the American Sweet gum tree. In the front are South African aloes which bloom in mid-winter, bringing color to otherwise dull, all green gardens.  Lots of sunshine, of course.

No guns. No knives. No cigarettes. A sign of the times at Kaiser?

  • The new sign that greets patients at the Kaiser Permanente Optical office reads: “No Weapons Allowed”.  Smoking, of course, has been banned in most California locations for years, but this is the first I’ve seen a sign about weapons.
"No Weapons Allowed" sign
The new sign on the door of KP Vision Essentials Optometry center where I went to pick up new glasses. I guess Kaiser wants to keep its patients healthy but this sign was unnerving.

Queen Sassy Classy as Lady Godiva and other strange stuff at the Doo Dah Parade

What a surprise!  The photos of the 2018 Doo Dah Parade I thought had vanished turned up last night, so here are more pix of this crazy fun event in Pasadena. To see more pre-parade photos go here.

Doo Dah parade Queen Sassy Classy Jennipha Nielsen
Rather than traveling in a float, this year Queen Sassy Classy, Jennipha Neilsen, rode the parade route wearing her Lady Godiva outfit  while on a white horse with a peacock blanket 

As you will see, it gets weirder and weirder as the parade goes on.

Santa Claus at Doo Dah parade 2018
Of course there was a Santa Claus! After all this is a family event. I have wondered what the children watching this parade will remember when they become adults.  I guess the whole world is stranger these days than when I was a child. Santa continues century after century.

Fuzzy critters at the Doo Dah parade 2018
These fuzzy critters are  almost creepier than clowns IMO.

Devils giving beads Doo Dah 2018
These guys have been in previous parades. One of them was handing out beads, a la Mardi Gras.


Howdy Krishna Doo Dah 201
I wonder if this man was one of those Hare Krishna people who chanted on street corners back in the 1970s. He looks to be about the right age to be a former Hare Krishna-ite. No tambourine though.

Belly dancer 2018 Doo Dah parade
The man sitting next to me gave this belly dancer some of the fake money that is handed out during the parade He tucked it into her waistband.

Derby Dolls Doo Dah parade 2018
Oh those Roller Derby girls!

Mystery float Doo Dah parade 2018
Colorful and fun looking? Yes! But what does an open book on the front of this float, puppets, a man in a red sparkly cape, plus Mexican paper art banners have to do with each other. No doubt they have an explanation, but I didn’t even ask.

Getting wierder Doo Dah 2018
One very bizarre creature plus a medical team plus others strange characters marched in the 2018 Doo Dah Parade.  Notice the lady in the Marie Antoinette (?) outfit who follows and is followed in turn by the roller derby team, the Derby Dolls.

Boatmobile Doo Dah 2018 #LA City Pix
Instead of a batmobile (which you can see here on the Warner Bros. movie lot) there was a boatmobile in the 2018 Doo Dah parade. Look closely and you can see the tortilla this little girl threw at the float.  It is that whitish ellipse above the driver’s head.  Throwing tortillas at floats and marchers–and them throwing the tortillas back–is an old tradition at Doo Dah.

Coffin car and trailer Doo Dah parade
A coffin car pulling a coffin trailer. Not sure what this was all about.

Radioactive Chickenheads a real band 2018
This is a real band. I know because a friend of mine plays with them from time to time.  For all I know he might have been on this truck/float.

Trump Pence must go Doo Dah parade 2018
Political groups were scattered among the more fun parade marchers. Among them were the Sierra Club, the League of Women Voters, the Save Tibet people and others. Seriousness among the silliness.

Creative chaos at the Doo Dah Parade in Pasadena

Launched 41 years ago as a send-up of the oh-so-serious Tournament of Roses parade, the #PasadenaDooDah parade has been wacky and chaotic from the start. The Briefcase Marching Band is probably the most famous entrant in those early Doo Dah days.

Warm up act Doo Dah parade
Before the parade started this guy walked along the 2 block long parade route and did a warm-up of the crowd.

What struck me most as I watched in 2018 was the individual creativity — unlike the cosplay stuff that goes on at ComicCon and other similar events that Millennials adore, but are not very creative.  Cosplay is just copying.

Okay.  Enough of this rant.  Now on to the Doo Dah parade for 2018. Oh, something happened when I was downloading my photos and I lost about 2/3rds of my photos including a couple of the Doo Dah Queen who, in the spirit of Lady Godiva, rode a white horse in the parade.  Her skin-color body suit was decorated with strategically placed purple embellishments, so no shocking nudity. Other wore less revealing costumes.

Nutcracker and Sugar Plum fairies Doo Dah
Jr. Nutcrackers and “Sugar Plum Fairies”. Funny!

Leading the parade was this bagpipe group, here rehearsing “Camptown Races”, the music they played at the beginning of the parade. Why Camptown Racer? Because the name “Doo Dah” is in the lyrics!

Behind the scenes Doo Dah parade
Why wear clothes when you can wear plastic tubes in neon colors? The lady on the right apparently belonged to one of the marching bands. The Christmas ornament on her hat is a nice touch as is the Santa on top of the hat to the left.

Burning Man Doo Dah 2018
While I ranted about cosplay, I have to tip my hat to Burning Man, a very creative festival. Can’t make it the desert festival? Well come to the Doo Dah parade!

Couple in yellow Doo Dah 2018
Loved these yellow outfits of this couple marching in the parade. You don’t need a sponsor to be in the parade.  But it’s a good idea to have a costume of some kind.

Giant figure Doo Dah parade 2018
I haven’t a clue as to what this giant figure represented. Pretty impressive however.

Dressed for fun Doo Dah parade 2018
All dressed up and waiting for the parade to begin.

Here, in no particular order, are a lot of other photos of the 2018 parade.

Cry Baby Buick Doo Dah Parade 2018
Some might call this politically incorrect. Others call it an art car. It’s called “Cry Baby Buick”.

barbie doll art car doo dah parade
A close-up of the Cry Baby Buick art car. Damaged Barbies are the preferred decorative element.

Mobile Music Fest band 1 Doo Dah
Let’s hear it for rock ‘n’ roll bands and a lead singer with bleached blonde hair! During the parade 3 different bands performed on the stage as the “float” rolled round and round the 2 block long parade route.  So if you can’t make it to Coachella, here is an alternative!

Mobile music fest band 2 Doo Dah
One of the bands performing at the Mobile Music Festival. I think this “float” was sponsored by a local bar. Instead of bleached blonde hair one guy  in this band wore a red wig.

Band followers Doo Dah parade
If you have rock music bands, then you have to have groupies and followers. These carry signs of the times.

Doo Dah Mix up
As the parade draws to an end after two or three times around the 2 block long parade route, marchers drift from one group to another. All order, such as it is, disappears. Those white circle things on the street are tortillas. The custom is to throw tortillas at the parade participants and some participants throw them back at the crowd. No one seemed to throw marshmallows this year.  They are more difficult to clean up than tortillas.