Saturday, January 17, 2009

Reflections at Russell's

I hadn't been to Russell's in a long time and my friend suggested it for lunch yesterday. There's an elegant calm to Russell's even though the menu's casual. The service couldn't have been better. There are about a million things on the menu, but I had the BLT (with avocado) because that's my favorite. But this isn't a restaurant review. This is just noodling around with the camera and hoping for a fun picture. I'm not even sure how this one happened. There must be a window beyond the window, creating a reflection of the reflection.

My friend and I did a lot of talking and listening in that way women learn about each other. She's kind of a new friend, one of those people I knew right off I was going to like. Sometimes you meet someone and it's okay, that was nice, bye bye. But sometimes you just know you're going to be friends.

I don't know why that is. It's very human, isn't it? Something tells us either we have things in common or we don't. We don't have to agree on everything (wouldn't that be dull?) and we don't have to be best friends (how many BFFs is too many?). But we know when we're going to find similarities in things like where we came from or how we were raised, books we like to read or things that get our creative juices going.

When you meet someone, how do you know you're going to like them (or not) even before you know much about the actual person? I think it's because we see ourselves reflected in them.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Home Shopping

I thought of this home as a possible contender for Laurie's challenge to "show [her our] local Craftsmans!" The sun was at a low angle when I shot it, so I was able to catch some of the wrap-around porch without much shadow.

I ended up using a house with more pronounced Craftsman elements for the challenge, but I still like this one. It's giving me ideas. There are homes for rent and for sale in Pasadena. Would you like to see some? We've got all kinds: mansions, cottages, gorgeous monsters and run-down fixers. This one's got four bedrooms and two bathrooms, it's in a historic district (Orange Heights) and it even has its own website.

I'm shy about photographing people's homes. I imagine someone's going to come storming out with a shotgun and shoo me away from the property. But so far that hasn't happened. People here are used to having their houses photographed. And if there's a For Sale sign out front I feel bold.

So what do you think? Want to go home shopping in Pasadena with me?

Update: Either I'm prescient or this real estate agent knows where I live. I just received a flier about an open house at this very house this Saturday and Sunday from 1-4 PM. If you're interested or nosy, now's your chance.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

California Entrance

When I have time between errands I like to park the car and take a walk with my camera. It doesn't matter where I am; a walk around any block guarantees a discovery. Usually it's something I've passed many times. Maybe I've seen it before and not taken notice.

I'm always seeing things I want to photograph, but in the car I'm in a hurry, plus I've got a few tons of machinery to manage and I can't be snapping photos and steering at the same time (well, I shouldn't, anyway). On foot even the most nondescript neighborhood comes to life. Little details beg to be photographed. Interest is everywhere.

This one doesn't count as nondescript. It counts as one of those things I've passed a million times and meant to photograph. It's the side entrance of West World Imports at the corner of California Blvd. and Arroyo Parkway. I admit I've never dared to venture inside, but I have dared to dream while perusing their website. There's a pretty courtyard on the other side of the building but it was locked when I was there the other day. I'll go back and try again. By the way, long ago a PDP commenter asked me to get a shot of that courtyard. It may take me a while (okay, it may take me forever) but I do get to your suggestions. Eventually.

Was it me complaining of the cold a couple of weeks ago? It's been unseasonably hot for the last two days.

I'm off on a tangent. What I started to say is that West World Imports is such an attractive shop even the side door is pretty. The front door is on California Blvd. and this sign in the parking lot says "Please Use California Entrance." But this looks like a California entrance to me.

Update: In today's comments Pascal Jim says: "This beautiful structure, designed by Wallace Neff, where he had offices, was duplicated across the street, now destroyed, now a gas station. Please, enter the building, its patio has a most calming effect..."

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Laurie's Challenge

On January 11th, Laurie posed a challenge on her Glimpses of South Pasadena blog: " me your local Craftsmans!"

The reason she did so is we're having trouble photographing them. Well sure, you can see this house. You can tell it's a Craftsman home. But can you see the porch? No. It's so well shaded I'd have to take professional lighting equipment up there to get you a shot of it.

Pasadena's famous Craftsman homes were built in the early part of the 20th Century by - well, by craftsmen, who knew what they were doing. I've never been inside this house but I'll bet it stays warm in winter and cool in summer. The owners probably don't have to turn on the air conditioning until at least noon even on the hottest southern California days. The walls are thick. The windows are shaded from direct sunlight.

Craftsman houses are simple, made with fine materials. I find them beautiful. Many are painted in dark colors and it's hard to get a good shot of them because they hide in their own shadows.

As soon as I read Laurie's challenge I knew this was the house I wanted to photograph. The first time I saw it three years ago it was weathered and tired. But the new owners have brought it back to its former glory. If only you could see the porch!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

First Cut Contest: How's It Going?

At the top of the steps, a supporting post of the arcade bore four plaques commemorating officers killed in the line of duty since the city's incorporation in 1886...Vining reflected that she had nearly become the fifth name...

Okay, you know we're doing a contest, right? Read The First Cut by best-selling Pasadena author Dianne Emley, answer questions about it and win a copy of the sequel, Cut to the Quick. (The rules are here. The questions are here.)

In the story, Pasadena Police Detective Nan Vining is wrestling with her own demons while trying to track down the real-life demon who murdered LAPD officer Frankie Lynde and dumped her body under the Colorado Street Bridge.

Until Mademoiselle Gramophone pointed it out to me, I hadn't realized you could get The First Cut at the library. But of course! And Pasadena's library has several branches. So if you like a heart-pounding read, check it out. Literally. Of course you can also get The First Cut at any book store. The contest deadline isn't until January 27th so there's plenty of time.

You're allowed to ask questions, either via email or in the comments. And hey! Is there a Pasadena location in the book that you want to see? Send in your requests (include the page number where it's mentioned) and I'll do my best to get you a picture of the site in the book.

How's it going? Check in!

Update: Rereading the post this morning I note a couple of things: First, the real-life officers who died in the line of duty gave their lives making Pasadena safe for the rest of us. Second, since 1886 many officers have died, but only four died in the line of duty. That's an amazing record of safety.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Zen Monday: #31

Zen Monday is the day you experience the photo and give us your thoughts rather than me telling you what the photo's about.
There's no right or wrong.
If the photo evokes something in you, that's all it is.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Live Jazz

It's a place I haven't tried yet - Red White & Bluezz on the corner of Raymond and Green. I've got no excuse, it's been there long enough for me to have made a visit. My neighbor Bill even works there and he's about had it with me. Apparently I need to get on down.

The reviews on are mixed, but they mostly lean toward pretty darn good. What do you think? Anybody been there? Tell me if Bill works in a nice club where a lady might appear without damaging her reputation, or if he's just trying to get me to lose my money in some lousy gin joint.

Apropos of nothing, John and I left town during the Rose Bowl festivities. The pics are up at Overdog.