Saturday, January 31, 2009

Storm Twilight

I had fun taking pictures during our storm a few days ago. We had gorgeous skies and some crazy light.

On Wednesday, USElaine of Willits Daily Photo tagged me to reveal 5 things about myself. I wouldn't do this for just anybody, but hey - it's Elaine. So here goes:
1. I was once what you'd call a Led Zeppelin freak.
2. My mother told me I'm descended from the pirate, Henry Morgan, and I like to believe her.
3. I've been lifting weights.
4. I can't bear the smell of perfume.
5. I can burp on cue. And it ain't no pansy belch.

I like color, it suits me. But this time I like the B&W too.

Friday, January 30, 2009

School Lunch

I went downtown earlier this week to take photos of the old growth trees. Those you see here may or may not be coming out soon, to be replaced by palms and/or gingkos.

I caught these guys heading south from Colorado Blvd. on Madison. Since they're wearing those crisp white chef hats and jackets and heading for Bistro 561, I've leapt to the conclusion that they're students at the California School of Culinary Arts. They must have been on their lunch hour. On a student's budget, who can eat at 561 every day?

Having entered neither establishment, I can't speak with authority about the Bistro or the School. Can you?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Nouri Rugs

You've been by it. I had. It's just around the corner from Zona Rosa (yesterday's post) on Colorado Blvd. (636 East, to be exact). I wasn't in the market for an imported oriental rug so I'd never stopped in. But the other day I was out with my camera, and I stopped when I saw the prettiest red rug hanging on a rack on the sidewalk.

The thing is, it was raining and the rug was getting wet. A man stood outside the store (later I learned his name was Mr. Martinez). I asked him if the rain wouldn't ruin the rug and he told me a little water wouldn't hurt it. "Come in and see," he said.

I stepped over the threshold of Nouri Rugs and took it all in. I've tried to give an idea here of the sheer volume of rugs but I couldn't get them all in the photo. There have to be at least 2,000 rugs in there. Maybe 4,000. I don't know how to tell from the piles, rolls and hangings. I met the salesman, Fred, who told me every rug in stock is hand made in Persia (Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, etc.). On their business card it says the rugs are old and new, and that they buy, sell, clean, repair and appraise oriental rugs. The business card also says "Since 1907."

I stepped back into the rain, bedazzled. The pretty red rug still hung outside, the rain rolling off its back like it was nothing.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Zona Rosa Caffe (#8 in a Quest)

Zona Rosa is a charmer of a coffee shop on El Molino just south of Colorado Blvd. The sidewalk tables with an eclectic selection of patrons attract you to stop. From there you might think it looks European, but step inside and you'll know: Zona Rosa has a Mexican flair.

I've enjoyed Zona Rosa before and even posted about it. The other day for the first time I took my laptop there to work. On the ground floor there's a small bar and just the one table in this photo. But head up a little flight of stairs and you'll find couches, more tables and always some interesting artwork on the walls (right now some pieces are more interesting than others). The upstairs room is intimate but bright, with two large windows overlooking El Molino Blvd.

I'd love to find a coffee shop with a library hush, but such a shop would likely be patronless besides me. No, no, a shop with an unhurried atmosphere is the best one can expect, and that's Zona Rosa. It even says so on their website. The Latin music is pleasant background. The patrons all seem to get it: we're not loud here, we're respectful. We're here to chill.

I set up my laptop at one of the window tables, which turned out to be too high for typing comfortably for very long. Upstairs at Zona Rosa the other choices are coffee tables, which have the opposite problem. The outside tables are the right height but it was too cold to sit outside that day.

I'm starting to sound like Goldilocks.

Don't expect to order a meal; it's strictly coffees, teas and baked thingies, with a decent variety. My cookie and juice were fine fuel, and I can recommend the coffee from past experience.

There are great coffee places for flirting, meeting a friend or even having a cup of coffee. Zona Rosa is all three. My quest is to discover the perfect coffee shop in which to write. If you click on my previous Zona Rosa post you'll see others obviously find it a good place to work. I'll stop back and try a sidewalk table there on a warmer day.

Update: In today's comments Cafe Observer reminds us there's no wifi at Zona Rosa. Altadenahiker reminds us that can be a good thing.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

First Cut Contest: Mad Man

The last time she was alone in a room with a man and had pulled her weapon, she'd shot that man to death. That was five years ago, but it seemed like yesterday...Most cops retire without ever firing their gun in the line of duty. She thought that would be her story. She already had the blood of one man on her hands. This was different, she told herself...Watch the hands. The hands could get you killed.

In Dianne Emley's crime thriller, The First Cut, trouble starts for Pasadena Police Detective Nan Vining when she encounters T.B. Mann (her daughter's nickname for "the bad man") in one of Pasadena's early 20th century two-story colonial mansions. The address where the fictional incident takes place doesn't exist, but I thought I'd use this home as the example because it's used to being photographed. It's not the home of a Bad Man but of a Mad Man. I have it on good authority that AMC's Mad Men uses this as the exterior for the home of their hero, Don Draper (played by Jon Hamm).

As you may recall, we've been running a contest on this here blog. You can click on the label "Emley" below and see all the related posts. Midnight tonight is the deadline for getting your entry to me via email (the link is on the upper left side of the blog). Three winners will be randomly selected from all the correct entries, and those winners will each receive a free copy of Cut to the Quick, the second book in Dianne Emley's Nan Vining thrillogy! (Which goes on sale today, by the way.)

I've received only one request for a photo of location in The First Cut, but the offer's still open. If you want me to post a shot of a Pasadena location mentioned in The First Cut, send your request in an email or in the comments, and please mention the page number.

Meanwhile, the sun has returned. So, to fulfill the first request, I'm off to pool-crash.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Zen Monday: #33

Zen Monday is the day you experience the photo(s) 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.

As each new Zen Monday is posted, a label is added to last week's to further identify it.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Puddle Shot

It's been raining for a couple of days. Boz and I got stir crazy, so during a let-up we headed out to Hahamongna Watershed Park to let off steam. (There's our steam in the background, rolling over the hills.)

We don't get big puddles often so I took advantage of this one to get a picture, and to give Boz some off-leash fun. (The sign in the background says he's supposed to be on the leash, but I had no intention of joining him in the puddle.) I like the photo because Boz took a pause to look at his reflection.

Dogs react to their reflections in different ways. Some don't notice or care. Others see a reflection and recognize it as a dog, but don't recognize the reflection as their own. Scientifically speaking, they fail the mirror test. But hey, so do we until we come of age (about 18 months, according to Wikipedia).

Did Boz recognize himself in the puddle? I don't think so. In the realm of dogs the fact that he noticed the dog in the water makes him a genius. He held still for a moment, sniffed the other dog, then planted his paw in that dog's face.