Thursday, September 30, 2010

first church of christ, scientist

i didn't know much about this church when i took the photo (and i still don't know much), but i was able to track down their website which does have some more detail about what exactly the first church of christ, scientist, pasadena is.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

surviving the heat

it seems like every year we have a heat wave that is worth writing about.  the past few days have been that moment.  pasadena and los angeles county has seen record breaking temperatures for this time of year, making it almost unbearable to do anything outdoors. 

after temperatures hovering around 110 degrees (43 for my celsius friends), i'm looking forward to a forecast of temperatures in the 80s.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

class is now in session

i took two short two-week classes this summer, and had the rest free to get to know my daughter.  sadly, this week marks the first classes of the fall quarter at fuller seminary, which means it is time to get back to work - academically speaking.

the library (pictured above) is slowly filling up with students working on papers and projects.  i guess we should all be grateful - many schools have been back for a few weeks now.

Monday, September 27, 2010

the l.a. county fair

i grew up knowing that when fall rolled around it meant two things - my birthday, and fall fair season.  we lived close to a few, but the markham fair was the pinnacle for me.  so it was with great anticipation that i ventured with some friends to the l.a. county fair.

i'm not sure what i was expecting, but what i found was different than any fair i've ever been to.   most fairs i've been to involve three elements - judging competitions (for food (where i was able to find blogger stan's (of stans obligatory blog) award winning cookies), arts, and farm animals), carnival midway (with rides and food), and entertainment events (concerts, demolition derby, tractor pull, etc).  this fair had them all, but they were kind of different.  what i began to notice is that the rural farm influence just isn't as strong at the l.a. fair.  where the fairs i grew up going to would have building after building of show-quality animals, there was just one area that included a few cows, some pigs, and a few other random things.  all of the food and crafts were in one building, and i certainly did not see any signs of a tractor pull on the schedule.

what we did find were several massive buildings containing novelty items and "as seen on tv" stuff for sale.  there was a massive toyota showcase, and a few strange additions like a pirate play area and a large tent where hot tubs and jacuzzis were for sale.

the food was pricey, but it did meet my carnival expectations, and in some cases the size of the portions were bordering on ridiculous (as you can see from the footlong sub claiming to be a sausage sandwich, and the ridiculous krispy kreme chicken sandwich featured on the gastronomer's blog).

never-the-less, we did have a great time.  an experience that differs from your expectations is not always a bad thing!  if you want to see some more photos, jt over at daily photo l.a. has been posting all week.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

cd sunday: jack johnson's brushfire fairytales

shenandoah valley.  the blue ridge mountains.  skyline drive.  harrisonburg, virginia.

this is where i went to college.  this is where i fell in love.  this is where i grew into the person i am today. 

it is also where i was introduced to jack johnson.  this may sound odd...  that i was introduced to a hawaiian surfer guitarist in the land of bluegrass, country, and folk music is odd in itself.  but for some reason jack johnson's music was perfect for a college student who was loving life.

Brushfire Fairytalesi remember exactly where i was when i first heard brushfire fairytales.  my friend josh had invited me to go out somewhere - maybe the local wafflehouse? - wherever we were going, it was late at night, and we were hungry.  josh popped in this cd, and i was instantly hooked.  it was laid-back, upbeat, poetic, and deeply musical inspite of its simplicity.  i knew almost immediately that i needed to track down this album for my own collection.

i still consider it to be brilliant music.  songs like "fortunate fool", "the news", and "f-stop blues", are beautiful, timeless, and deeply meaningful.  others like "flake" or "mudfootball" are playful pieces of music in a lazy saturday afternoon kind of way.

jack johnson's other albums are also worth checking out (we even chose to use his song "better together" in our wedding ceremony) but i think this one (his first) is his most raw and maybe his best.  simply put, his music has been a part of my life.

you can check out the rest of the albums in my favorite 20 album countdown by clicking on any of the links below.  

1. u2 - the joshua tree
2. dave matthews band - crash
3. cake - comfort eagle
4. blue rodeo - five days in july
5. the beach boys - pet sounds
6. coldplay - viva la vida
7. weezer - pinkerton
8. mates of state - re-arrange us
9. radiohead - ok computer 
10. nickel creek - this side
11. u2 - how to dismantle an atomic bomb 
12. the beatles - the white album 
13. sloan - one chord to another 
14. o.a.r. - risen
15. paul simon - graceland

Saturday, September 25, 2010


three years ago this blog began as a way to give me an artistic outlet while i worked on my mdiv program at fuller seminary.  we figured it would be a fun three years in california.  i could complete my degree, work on getting to know pasadena through this blog, and move on when three years were up.  one year arrived, then a second, and now here is the third anniversary of the sky is big in pasadena.

since then, plans have changed.  my three year degree has stretched beyond its original timeline, and surprise-surprise, we are still in pasadena.  we like southern california more than we ever imagined.  we even took some time to add to our family.

in the meantime this blog has continued to truck on.  at times i've wished i didn't make such a lofty commitment to posting a photo every single day, but all in all, it has been an incredible journey.

we don't know how much longer we'll be in pasadena (at least another year, then who knows?), but this blog will continue to roll forward as it has since day one.  i couldn't do it without the love and support from all of you who follow this blog on a daily basis and who give me your comments - almost always, constructive and positive.  thank you all.

over the past three years this blog has seen almost 60,000 visitors and almost 100,000 page views.  and although my daily visitors have reached a plateau and are no longer rising every month, the popular website traffic monitor, alexa, ranks this blog as the 171,034th most visited site in the usa.  some websites even claim theskyisbig has some cash value.

i thought it was fitting to post a palm tree sky.  both palm trees, and the pasadena sky, have been featured hundreds of times on this blog.

Friday, September 24, 2010

of brick and sky

the backside of first united methodist stars in today's skywatch friday photo.

side note -- i've been trying to clean up the links listed i have listed under the san gabriel valley blogroll heading.  some had been dormant for years, others are no longer located in the san gabriel valley.  let me know if you have a sgv blog that isn't listed there and you'd like it to be.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

open for business!

i had the priviledge of attending the ribbon cutting and grand opening party for my friend john's new business, "get it organized".  john specializes in creating space for those who are overwhelmed with clutter and disorganization in a variety of areas - residential, home office, work place, classroom, and even moving between homes.

i hear he does excellent work.  get in touch if you need some help organizing your life!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

madison elementary

back to school for most. 

i still have a few more days of freedom until the fall quarter begins at fuller seminary.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

contrasting lights

after recently having some blood work done (ugh..) in this building, i noticed the incredible lighting fixture in the entry way and had to grab a photo.  unfortunately i was in the pharmacy at the time and caught the reflection of a much uglier source of light at the same time.

Monday, September 20, 2010

pasadena's boxing legacy

i'm not a big boxing fan, but i love the uniwatch blog and anything that has to do with sports asthetics.  so it was this beautiful jacket that caught my eye on a recent trip to the library.  do you see the chain stitching and needle work on that thing?  incredible.

as it turns out, this led me to learn a bit about pasadena's boxing history.  this jacket belonged to hall of fame boxer, canto "tnt" robledo, and there is a large display about his career and legacy on display right now at the library.

i also learned that there was a statue of some sort installed at the villa park community center this summer.  i may have to go do a little detective work and get a picture.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

ball four turns forty (and i turn 28)

yesterday the wonderful baseball reliquary hosted a celebration of the jim bouton's incredible book, "ball four" at the central library in burbank.  the event was packed - standing room only at the back of the room.  the day included panel discussions with the author and some of his fellow teammates (including tommy davis and greg goossen, pictured above), as well as a few other notable sports personalities.  we also got to screen a documentary on the team bouton played for when he wrote "ball four", the seattle pilots.  as usual, the reliquary had a wide variety of artifacts on display for us to browse (photo of some of the items below).  you can also visit my other blog to see what i got signed.

it was a fantastic way to spend a day with some friends - especially on the eve of my birthday.  that's right, your favorite blogger turns 28 today!  crazy stuff.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

we are not an agency

those who hung these fliers on the top of this lamp post seriously want people to understand that they are NOT an agency.  i thought i'd pass their interesting message along.

today i'm venturing out to burbank with a few loyal friends to experience the baseball reliquary's "ball four turns forty" event.  i really can't wait!

Friday, September 17, 2010

harvest moon?

a hazy moon at dusk for today's skywatch friday contribution.  i snapped this photo off several months ago and found it while browsing my archives.  i like it quite a lot and was surprised to find out that i never posted it.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

bird or flower part 2

one of the first more "artistic" photos i posted on this blog (almost three years ago!) was of the beautiful bird of paradise flower.

you can see the original right here.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


this magnificent display was taken at the new(ish) south lake avenue farmers market a few weeks ago.  the south lake farmers market has been in a trial phase for the summer on wednesday afternoons and evenings.

i wonder if it has been successful enough that it will continue on...

what do you think?  if you are a pasadena farmers market fanatic, which one do you go to?  how do you feel about the south lake location?  is there a section of the city that needs a farmers market?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

pasadena police - the chase is on!

while walking with the baby a few weeks ago, i was passed by a fleet of police vehicles.  there must have been about ten of them, all driving with the pedal to the floor.  these were the only two i caught by the time i pulled out my camera.  the composition of the photo isn't the greatest, but i like the movement that came out in this shot.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sunday, September 12, 2010


one more from our recent trip to canada.  my parents are apple growers - they have about 400 trees planted on their mixed use farm.  here is a shot of one of those trees.  this photo is of an old variety they grow called gravenstein.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

menu board at euro pane

almost anyone who blogs regularly in the city of pasadena knows of the illusive "cafe pasadena" - a canine blogger who comments on local blogs more than just about anyone.  today's image is for him, as it is a photo of the interior of the new location of euro pane (his favorite watering hole, naturally).

europane is a fantastic little bakery with two locations in pasadena.  they have really terrific pastries, sweets, and even small meal items.  the new location has a really interesting feel with its bright windows and long shared wooden table as the centerpiece.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

family photo

just got back from a week in lovely southern ontario, where we spent time visiting friends and family and introducing them to the newest member of our family.  we had a great time - although as with most vacations with people you love, it went by much too quickly.

pictured above with meredith, myself, and the new baby, are my parents (on the right), one sister and my brother-in-law (on the left), and my other sister holding the baby's hand.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

life imitates art

as a part of my favorite twenty albums, i featured the exterior of the norton simon museum featuring an advertisement for an art exhibit of japanese block prints by hiroshige.  meredith and i recently visited and were able to see the print found on the banner (above) as well as the original piece of art used by weezer for the pinkerton album.  very cool!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Monday, September 06, 2010


the landscape at the huntington feels a little surreal at times - almost as if you've left pasadena behind and were transported to another planet.  strange, yet incredibly beautiful.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

cd sunday: paul simon's graceland

it was my dad who introduced me to this album.  i had no interest in paul simon (i though he was a little to soft and "easy rock" for me), but when i returned from a semester abroad in south africa, i suddenly felt a deep connection for this album.  for one, much of the music on this record was deeply influenced by south african street music.  it even includes south african artists like ladysmith black mambazo.

Gracelandand when i began to really take the music seriously, i realized, "wow, this is good stuff!"  each song holds incredibly deep meaning and emotion.  there is a deep energy present here that is hard to catagorize.  the music does have some african influence, but it is clearly still paul simon's style.  it isn't quite rock, nor is it folk music in the traditional sense.  it is something new - even now, almost 25 years after its original release.

today's photo is from that semester abroad in south africa.  one afternoon our group took a trip to the beach where we found this incredible secluded spot.  one of my classmates took this photo (my camera had been stolen earlier in the trip (for the 2nd time i might add)), and it came out beautifully.  it is a photo - much like this music - that transports me back in time to that semester of experiencing new cultures, values, peoples, and food.  a time of wonder, excitement, struggle, and stress.  and something i will never forget.

1. u2 - the joshua tree
2. dave matthews band - crash
3. cake - comfort eagle
4. blue rodeo - five days in july
5. the beach boys - pet sounds
6. coldplay - viva la vida
7. weezer - pinkerton
8. mates of state - re-arrange us
9. radiohead - ok computer 
10. nickel creek - this side
11. u2 - how to dismantle an atomic bomb 
12. the beatles - the white album 
13. sloan - one chord to another 
14. o.a.r. - risen

Saturday, September 04, 2010

cd saturday: o.a.r.'s risen

the above photo brings back a wave of memories.  the haphazard ugly furniture, boxes of pizza all over the room, friendly faces, and all eyes turned toward the tv.  it could only be one thing - my first college dorm.  my friend dave took this picture during one of our massive late night pizza eating frenzies.  you might be asking what this photo has to do with cd saturday...

let me try and explain.

someone decided to install a small stereo in one of the bathrooms on our hall.  for some reason, o.a.r. (of a revolution)'s risen album ended up being played over and over again.  someone would get up in the morning to take a shower and press play.  the sound would echo off of the bathroom walls and spill out into the hallways.

it became polarizing for those of us who lived on oakwood third - some loved it, and kept insisting that it be played at full volume, others thought it was absolutely the worst, most overplayed album they had ever heard.  i fell in to the first group.  i loved it, and i bought a copy for myself and took it with me to the following year to the next dorm i lived in, and have continued to listen to this album to this day.

Risensomething about this album just clicks with me.  i'm sure no small part of that is due to my amazing college experience.  it is something of a soundtrack to my formative years.  songs like the incredibly catchy "delicate few" (the song which was played more than any other on our hall) speak to o.a.r.'s pop song writing ability, while the more melancholy "someone in the road" and "here's to you" were like candy for my young twenty-something ears.

since this album o.a.r. has become bigger and more successful.  some of their songs have been featured in national tv advertising and television shows.  but i don't think they've ever been able to re-capture the raw energy and emotion of risen.  then again, i'm probably a little biased.  i'm sure this feeling is probably due to the context where i first fell in love with this music.  college was an amazing point in my life.  i'm sure we all have music that we can connect with these formative years.  music that touches us on a level that we cannot quite explain.

oh yeah, one more thing, can you find me in the above picture?

1. u2 - the joshua tree
2. dave matthews band - crash
3. cake - comfort eagle
4. blue rodeo - five days in july
5. the beach boys - pet sounds
6. coldplay - viva la vida
7. weezer - pinkerton
8. mates of state - re-arrange us
9. radiohead - ok computer 
10. nickel creek - this side
11. u2 - how to dismantle an atomic bomb 
12. the beatles - the white album 
13. sloan - one chord to another

Thursday, September 02, 2010

arcade lane clock tower

the other day i noticed that this somewhat unassuming shopping area has a clock tower.  i've lived here for three years and never noticed.  sometimes the little details just pop out when you least expect it.

we're leaving today for a week in ontario to give the baby a chance to meet our friends and family.  if i'm slow responding to comments, that is why.  see you all soon!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

september theme day: open air market

a glimpse of one of pasadena's many farmers markets - this one is the villa park market which is held on tuesday mornings.  we also get a chance to get fresh produce at the wednesday south lake market, the thursday south pasadena market, friday market at robinson park, and the saturday morning market at pasadena high school.

as usual, this theme is being explored by hundreds of other daily photobloggers, in cities across the globe.

Click here to view thumbnails for all participants