Saturday, October 3, 2009

New Swank on South Lake

I'm always poking around on Hometown Pasadena, the brainchild of local publisher, editor, writer and whirlwind Colleen Dunn Bates. You can't help but scare up something great there because Colleen's got a little bit of everything. Last week she hooked me with this: Hometown Pasadena Five to Appear. It was an invitation to the open house for Granite Park Place, the new luxury condos currently under construction at the corner of San Pasqual and Lake. If you RSVP'd and showed up you not only got a peek inside the new condos, you got a free, signed copy of the latest edition of the book version of Hometown Pasadena.

Well, dayum. I wanted my free book.

I've featured these condos before. First here, then here. Obviously I was unprepared for the swank.
(Whether or not the interior design of the model is to your taste, you have to admit the dining table is out of this world. At least admit I need it in my house. It's ceramic or clay or something glazed. It probably cost at least as much as my car. I mean as much as my car cost new.)

The real estate personnel were gracious. Paul Sunshine of Domineum Marketing (right rear above), greeted me upon my arrival. He knew darned well I was not going to buy a condo. He knew I was not with the Pasadena Star-News but a mere blogger. He saw my blue jeans. Yet he gave me a friendly tour of the model condo.

While most people were down the hall chowing down on their beautifully catered bento box lunch, I shared the model condo's living room with no one but the string quartet. I took pictures while they serenaded me with a medley from Camelot. I wonder if the condos come with...? No, no, surely not. But one would have a string quartet if one were going to live in a luxury condo, doesn't one agree? In short, there's simply not a more congenial spot. Hey, I know my swank.

Judging from the number of unavailable units in the building, Granite Park Place is selling like Zhu Zhu Pets, even with the high price tag. Let's hope its presence perks up business on South Lake Avenue.

And oh yes! A coup! I got my free book! Signed by all five authors. Dayum.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Well, Almost Every Day

Sometimes I'll take a picture of something I like, and it's not until I post it that I go Googling to figure out what it is. I just like it, is all. Then it's late, and I'm tired, and I think "Oh, I'll just post this." And wait just a minute there, fella! I uncover something. Or I almost do.

There's a lot of public art in Pasadena--sculptures, mosaics, etc. At Plaza Las Fuentes just east of City Hall you'll find fountains, sculptures and brightly colored tile walls across a wide plaza connecting All Saints Church, the Hotel Maryland apartments, McCormick & Schmick's, California Pizza Kitchen and the Westin Hotel. So, you get it: big plaza. Lots of fountains, lots and lots of tiles, very colorful.

The City of Pasadena website provides fantastic walking tour maps of the public art. The one for this area shows three different possibilities for what we're seeing right here: items 4, 5 and 6 on the map. Item 4, "Dreamer with Fish" fountain by Michael Lucaro (can't find him online but I find a Michael Lucero. Typo, or I'm giving you the wrong link.) In the foreground we have a fountain, and it looks like a dreamy kind of fish. The background must be Item 5, "Pasadena, the City of Roses" tile wall by Joyce Kozloff. Yes indeed, a tile wall with roses on it. That's gotta be it.

Now take a look at item 6. "Tile Fireplace," mantle water fountain, by Ernest A. Batchelder. If you don't know Batchelder, well, he was a Pasadena townie who made such beautiful tiles for which we are so nostalgic that if your home has a Batchelder fireplace the price goes up. The City's website doesn't say when the piece was made, but Batchelder was born in 1875 and died in 1957, so--before that.

Well dang, I don't know what a Tile Fireplace mantle water fountain is, but I'm pretty sure I don't see that in my pitcher. I gotta go back and uncover that particular hidden treasure.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Theme Day: Contrast

This is not a scene from the Station Fire. It's the remains of a small brush fire that occurred within the Cobb Estate in Altadena within the last year. I thought it appropriate for today's City Daily Photo blog theme day because it shows the contrast of the burned forest in the foreground and the living forest behind it.

The Cobb Estate is a natural, wild area that belongs to the U.S. Forest Service. It didn't burn in the Station Fire but it remains closed (see the closed gates here) in order to aid the USFS in limiting access to the burn area. The station fire burned more than 250 square miles of forest and is still burning in some spots after more than five weeks.

We look forward to the reopening of our forests, although we know what we'll see when we get back up in the mountains will be in stark contrast with what we remember.

Check out the other blogs participating in today's theme.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Last Day, September 2009

5/29/09, 4:00 p.m.

I have this idea, but it's not my idea. I don't suppose there's any way of knowing who did it first. Monet did it with haystacks. Went back and painted them again and again in different seasons and different light.

8/22/09, 6:01 p.m.

But I'm no Monet. I might be more like Marley of Cheltenham Daily Photo-Marley (as opposed to Cheltenham Daily Photo-Lynn). Marley, a fellow City Daily Photo blogger, started his Changing View posts in September of 2008 and ran them monthly for a year, giving his visitors a busy street corner in all its seasons.

9/11/09, 6:08 p.m.

The most striking example I've seen is this gallery by J?r?me Chom? (that's how it looks at pbase) at I can't stop looking at it. It's the kind of work I want to be able to do.

9/28/09, 10:48 a.m.

I've found a spot I like. I can get there often enough to shoot it in its differing seasons and times of day. I'll stop posting when you get tired of them, which may be sooner, but I'll keep shooting until I get tired of them, which may be later. Last day of the month, starting now.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Friend of Hahamongna

Thanks to the inimitable Altadenablog for alerting me to this:
There will be a meeting of the Hahamongna Watershed Park Advisory Committee this evening at 6:00pm at La Casita del Arroyo, 177 S. Arroyo Blvd. in Pasadena. Much has been said, plans have been made and I'm confused about what's going to be done with Hahamongna.

I wish it were nothing. Hahamongna is accessible wilderness in the middle of civilization, a ragged wedge of land where humans can breathe the scent of sage, watch a heron fly, even make eye contact with a coyote. There's nothing like it in Chicago or San Francisco or even Paris. It's one of the gems that makes Pasadena unique. It is often my muse.

But change may be coming to Hahamongna as inevitably as the Station Fire came charging through the San Gabriel Mountains. There was no stopping it once the arsonist had done his work.

I'll be at the meeting. Maybe I can help make sure the changes are for the good. So much of Pasadena's natural surroundings have already been destroyed; I'd like to see this small, ragged wedge preserved.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Zen Monday: #65

Zen Monday is the day you experience the photo and give us your thoughts rather than me telling you what the photo's about. I look for something worth thinking about or, failing that, at least something odd.

As I post each new Zen Monday photo, I'll add a label to last week's to identify it if necessary (if I know what it is).

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Blissful Affair

J and I were actually out after dark last night, and I believe we were at the social event of the season. It was the 9th Annual Perello Private Outdoor Affair, where we got to meet new people, chow down on great food, have a drink and--believe it or not--enjoy a brief massage. Now that's what I call a party favor.

If you visit here often you've heard me mention Ibarionex Perello, a photographer and human I admire. Well, there's a Cynthia to our Ibarionex, and she, too, has the soul of an artist. When she shared her original poem, "Bliss," it seemed to have everything to do with having her family and friends all around. We were honored to be included.

I took a lot of pictures of Cynthia. Most of them weren't clear, but in this one I caught the light of someone else's flash. That flash was so bright it worked on her like a spotlight, and she worked it right back.