Saturday, November 8, 2008

Picture Window

We don't have a cat because Boz, as gentle as he is, is intolerant of the feline set. But I love cats.

My experience photographing dogs is limited mainly to Boz and his pal Sprocket, both of whom are shy - Omega dogs, if you will. They're photogenic but not great at close-ups because they don't like to challenge the camera.

Cats are indifferent to the camera. Look at it, don't look at it, whatever. I have a nap to take, a bug to annoy, a glorious body to lick.

This photo was one fun result of an ill-fated tea outing with friends in August (other fun results were good company and Miss Havisham's post).

Friday, November 7, 2008

Bean Town (#3 in a Quest)

As part of my quest for the ideal coffee shop, here's one for Karin, the Altadenahiker. Her favorite coffee shop in the Pasadena area isn't in Pasadena at all. It's Bean Town in Sierra Madre.

Our Karin has excellent taste. I'm not crazy about this photo; it doesn't convey the comfy, cozy homeyness of Bean Town. The decor is eclectic, with old signs, vintage furniture and exposed brick walls. The service is friendly and fun. The music playing the other day was orchestral, which I don't mind because it doesn't interfere with concentration (or conversation, if that's your preference). And the coffee is downright tasty.

When I first arrived Monday afternoon, though the outside tables were crowded, inside I had several tables to choose from. As the afternoon progressed, however, the place filled up. A woman approached and asked politely if she could share my table. I didn't want to be rude so I said yes, thinking "I'll never be able to concentrate with another person here." I was wrong. She sat down, we exchanged pleasantries, she opened her laptop and got to work. A perfectly workable situation.

I did ask her, "Is it often this crowded?"

"Usually lots of laptops," she said.

To sum up Bean Town: great coffee, great atmosphere. Free Wifi, though it was really slow at first and I gave up on it. I don't know if the speed picked up later. It's a bit far for me to drive on a regular basis so it probably won't become my daily grind. But I like Bean Town. And Sierra Madre loves it.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Pasadena Coffee Company (#2 in a Quest)

On election day I needed a break from the TV, radio and noise. I took my laptop out to continue my quest to find the perfect office/slash/coffee shop for me to write in. So here's installment number two:

I'd been wanting to check out the Pasadena Coffee Company, a.k.a. Caffe d'Amore, for a long time. It got glowing reviews on

My experience was different from that of the happy reviewers. I expected a charming hole-in-the-wall. It's not a bad spot, but charming it is not. The counter guy wasn't rude, nor was he particularly friendly. And the place is low on atmosphere. It's small, with fluorescent lighting and bright, white shelves with not much on them. There are about five tables with chairs inside. The tables at the front were occupied (lots of chatty folks and some kids) so I moved to the back where the tables needed wiping.

The Pasadena Coffee Company, based in Monrovia, has specialized in gourmet coffees since 1969. The latte I got tasted fine but not strong enough to suit my palate.

The chair was way too low for the table. Or was the table too high? I was like a little kid a the grown-ups' table. Bad bad bad for typing.

No wifi.

Conservative talk radio playing. Talk radio of any kind is not conducive to writing.

I wouldn't give the Pasadena Coffee Company a bad review. I think they're geared more toward retailers, though they do have a consumer product line. It's obvious from the insider pages reviews that the cafe has its fans, but it's not a spot for quiet communion with one's muse.

I soon left and continued my quest that very day. More exciting installments to come! Do you have a suggestion or request? What's the best spot in the Pasadena area to park one's butt and one's laptop? I will not stop until I've tried them all! Well, all the good ones at least...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Proud Again

Proud the voting went well - imperfect, but well. Proud so many people got out and voted. Proud of Senator McCain's gracious speech - last night he sounded like the McCain I remember. Proud we made history by electing the first African American president. Proud we elected the right president for our times.

Proud to be an American.

Barack and Wayne and You and Me

I thought about simply encouraging you all to get out and vote today. I thought about not mentioning my choice in a candidate, although anyone who reads this blog knows I'm voting for Barack Obama. Then I thought, if I can inspire one person to go vote, I've got to do it. And if I can't inspire you, maybe Wayne Nelson can.

Several months ago Mr. Nelson hired artist Harmon Mandigo to paint this mural on his Altadena clothing store, Wayne's Fashion. The Pasadena Star-News did a story about the mural and quoted Nelson as saying, "I figured I'd do whatever I can to help..." (I'd like to read the rest of the article but the charge for reading archived articles on the PSN website is unbelievable, outrageous, even despicable. But I digress...)

Timothy Rutt of Altadenablog was the first to post about Wayne Nelson's mural. I found it while tooling around Angela Odom's State & Lake. (I particularly like her photo.) I hurried on over to be third in line.

Nelson's small shop at 2808 N. Lincoln Avenue in Altadena is a busy place. The shelves are piled high with all things Obama. When I arrived the store was packed with customers buying Obama t-shirts, hats and buttons. People want to represent. But Nelson was able to take a minute to pose with his prized mural. He even took a picture of me with it.
We are excited, Wayne and I. We are two seemingly different people brought together by our hopes for America. We like Obama's message of hope and tolerance. We like his world view. We like the way he's taken the high road during his campaign, unlike the other candidate who degraded his own once-decent reputation by stooping to lies, insults and racial slurs.

We believe a President Obama can return America to decency in the eyes of the world and in our own, and lead America down the high road as a great nation once more.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Zen Monday: #23

On Zen Monday you experience the photo and tell me what it's about, rather than me telling you what to experience from viewing it.
There's no question or answer, no right or wrong.
If the photo evokes something in you, that's all it is.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Family Proposition

When I saw little Hannah Hernandez carrying her Vote No on Prop 8 sign at the Farmers' Market yesterday I trotted after her family to ask if I could take their photo. They were happy to pose, just as I'm happy to say I oppose Proposition 8.

Proposition 8 would amend the California state constitution, eliminating the right of same-sex couples to marry. Californians will be voting for or against Prop 8 Tuesday in the general election. If you're not from California you may think we're all fine with the idea of gays and lesbians marrying, but the issue has been hotly contested.

The Hernandez family of Altadena reminds me of another Altadena family I know, where both parents of beautiful children happen to be women. I don't see why those parents and children shouldn't have the same rights as others. Or what about the gay couple who lives down the street from us? They've been a couple longer than John and I have, they keep their place as nice as we do. Well. Nicer. America is where discrimination is supposed to be illegal, not legitimized. I think San Diego's Mayor Jerry Sanders said it best: "No matter how people feel about marriage, using our state constitution to discriminate is wrong..."

I thank the Hernandez family for standing up for their beliefs. Plus I really like Hannah's boots.