Saturday, May 28, 2011


Those would be limes. That would be salt. And over there is a pitcher of watermelon margaritas. Summer's here. It's official.

I have a list of things to do this weekend:
bathe the dog
clean up the pile on my desk
have an iced coffee on the back porch
have an iced coffee on the front porch

I'll probably get most of it done, but not all.

Have you got something great planned for your weekend?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Favorite Place in Glendale

My Burbank friend and I have finally found the perfect middle ground: Favorite Place (that's its name) in Glendale.

I'm not a foodie. I'm not a restaurant reviewer. I can't describe the delicate blabbedy blah on the palate or the minglings of fine spices in the this and the that. What I can tell you is the food is fresh and tasty and unusual, the service is not just friendly but downright sweet, and the atmosphere is all charm.

From a glimpse of the outside you could be fooled into thinking you're about to enter a greasy-smelling diner to sit at a Formica counter and drink coffee that's been sitting on the burner since last night. But don't judge a restaurant by its storefront. And do call ahead for reservations.

Favorite Place has unself-conscious class. Also they have rose petal lemonade. Who else has rose petal lemonade?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Seriously, Though

It's safe to say that every moment in one's life is the result of all previous moments, but some moments are more culminating than others. Every once in a while there's the rare instance that requires you to stop and remember what brought you there.

It's a gratitude moment. It's standing at the end of the diving board and pausing to remember--not your training, because that's in your muscle memory--but your trainer, your friends, your family, your education, your lover, your past, your present, your good and your bad. All of it--all of it--has brought you there and made you ready. You don't know what's next, but you give thanks.

And then you dive.

And then you laugh at yourself for having chosen a picture of cement to accompany these thoughts.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Guest Post: Dianne Emley and "Love Kills"

Today we welcome guest author Dianne Emley, best-selling crime novelist. Her Nan Vining "thrillogy" is set in Pasadena and features a female Pasadena Police Detective. Dianne was the first author I interviewed for PDP and she's been a friend of the blog ever since. I always wondered how she researched the books and today we get to find out.
Hello Pasadena Daily Photo readers. I'm delighted that Petrea invited me to contribute some words to her blog space. My current series of suspense novels features Nan Vining of the Pasadena Police Department—homicide detective, single mom to a spirited teenage daughter, and survivor of an ambush by a knife-wielding assailant who got away.

I'm often asked whether I do a lot of research for my books. Yes, I do. Research is fun. And since I'm writing about the life, work, and mindset of a police detective and her colleagues, it was absolutely necessary because before I began the series, I had virtually no experience with the real world of law and order. So why did I decide to write about cops?

I had the first glimmer of the idea while attending the Pasadena Police Department's Citizen Police Academy (CPA)—a wonderful program available to anyone who lives or works in Pasadena. I found that I was fascinated with police work, from the tactics and procedures, to the psychological aspects, to the politics. I wondered, could I pull off writing a novel about cops? I knew if I did it, I'd have to nail it. Frankly, I was terrified.

Of course, I read books: cop novels, cop non-fiction books, and police science and forensics textbooks. The books were valuable, but they weren't enough to help me give my story the colors, textures, and emotions necessary to make it seem real. For that, I needed first-hand experience.

The CPA gave me a head start because the program includes a patrol car "ride along." Boy, was that eye-opening. I arranged more ride alongs, with a male rookie recently approved for patrol, a female seasoned officer, and a veteran officer who'd seen it all. A helpful lieutenant let me shadow her. I probed friends and family for other connections, leading me to a prosecutor in the L.A. County District Attorney's Major Crimes division, the first female LAPD Deputy Chief, the first female FBI Executive Assistant Director, and the LAPD Robbery Homicide detective who led the task force that nabbed the notorious "Grim Sleeper" serial killer. Yes, there's value in studying how Joseph Wambaugh's cops talk in his novels but it's richer to hear it firsthand.

A great place to meet real law and order professionals is at conferences. There's a terrific one, The California Crime Writers Conference, on June 11 and 12 at the Hilton Pasadena. It's only held every two years, so don't miss it. Those folks I mentioned are going to be present there, plus several more, as I organized most of the Forensics track. Keep your pen and notebook handy.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Stubbornly Persistent Illusion

I've always had a desire to travel back in time. I've even written a novel about it called Camelot & Vine.

I'm not the only one with this desire. We want to go back and take a look—safely, of course—with plenty of food and decent sanitation and toilet paper. And beer.

Renaissance Faire! That's the way you do it. You can go, have lunch, and be back in time to feed the dog.

Friends of ours spend their spring weekends working at Faire. The mom is a serving wench. The older daughter dances. The younger—I'm not sure, she's cute enough to sell anything and she'd make a fine pick-pocket (she'd fit right in with these kids). The dad is a Poxy Boggard. (Don't click that link unless you enjoy sublime harmonies and profanity as much as I do. Click this one if you want to skip the profanity.)

My only regret is that we waited until the last day of this year's Faire, and a massive crowd of other time-travelers did the same. But the weather was cool, the mead flowed (very good and very strong but not very cheap! huzzah!) and we had a good time.

I realize this post doesn't help you one bit, as it's too late for you to time-travel to the Renaissance Faire this year. But I couldn't time-travel to the future to post it, so I've done my best. 

The distinction between the past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.
--Albert Einstein

Monday, May 23, 2011

Zen Monday: #147

Here's your Monday Zen, a chance to give us your thoughts on the photo without me telling you what I think it's about.

There's no right or wrong, no secret, no prize. Just tell us what the picture makes you think or feel. Have fun and enjoy the other comments, as I do every Monday.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

No Darwin Awards Yet

Close, but no cigar. I wonder where that saying came from.

We had a good time here Friday making fun of predictions of the rapture. We weren't the only ones. The internet is rife with photos of piles of clothes left empty. At parties last night, people celebrated not being raptured. I heard of a gathering where they released 20 blow-up dolls filled with helium. Hilarious.

It's a tad less hilarious for those who believe(d) in this stuff. 

I don't think Harold Camping deserves 100% of the blame. Sure, he perpetrated a fraud (and collected $18 million from his followers to advertise it), but it's not like he forced people to believe him. Folks needed this. They ate it up. A few wanted so badly to leave this awful, awful earth that they sold everything they had and spent their life's savings in the process.

$18 million. Imagine if Camping had decided to do something good, like help people.

They say God helps those who help themselves. You know the story about the guy stranded in the flood who's sure God will save him? A boat comes by and he refuses to get in it, saying "God will save me." A raft comes along with friendly folks aboard. He says no to their offers of aid. "God will save me." A helicopter comes but he won't climb on. "God will save me," he says. Finally, when the water's up to his chin and there's no help in sight he calls out, "God, why haven't you saved me?" and God says, "Hey! I sent you a boat, a raft and a helicopter! That's all I've got!"

Some churches have offered consolation and counseling to those followers of Camping whose hopes were dashed along with their bank accounts and their pride. Maybe a few will see the hand of their God in that generosity, offering a life raft. But when Camping has disappeared from the limelight, the rest of the cowards who are too lazy or scared or just plain tired to help themselves will seek out some other Jim Jones, who will be more than glad to lead them by their noses to their ignominious doom.

I feel sorry for these people, I really do. It makes me angry to see them abused. But they make it so easy for the bad guys.

I post at midnight. I hope this story doesn't get any worse by morning.

If only the numerals in the photo said "2012." Close, but no cigar.