Archive for November, 2012

Sunday Salon: The Walk

November 25, 2012 6 comments

It’s been a busy couple of weeks! Here’s a bullet list since I’ve only managed to blog about one of them so far.

  • Discovered a really good band thanks to the guys re-tiling my bathroom: Needtobreathe
  • Went to a two-day Arab Spring shorts film series.
  • Walked 11 of the 16 miles from Downtown to the ocean.
  • Took a tour of Heritage Square.
  • Had lunch at the San Antonio Winery.
  • Visited a Thai version of Costco.
  • Spent an entire day reading at the library (heaven!) while my car was having some work done.
  • Thanksgiving!
  • Checked the first of 21 California Missions off my must visit list.

I also managed to read two books, but am only talking about one of them for now because I have this…thing…with my friend in Germany where we both read a book and write up our review of the book but we don’t send the review until both of us have read the book. She hasn’t finished this particular book yet so I don’t want to say anything about the book on my blog in case she should stumble upon it.

The book I can talk about now is one that my Mom recommended to me. It’s rare that Mom and I like the same book. Mysteries and detective stories rarely hold my interest. She loves them. I love long descriptive passages and lots of detail. She complains that the author “Sure does take the long way around to get to the point.”

Once in a while, however, one of us finds a book that neither of us can put down. This time it was The Walk by Richard Paul Evans.  It’s about an ad exec who loses his wife, his job, and his home. Just as he’s about to kill himself, he hears a voice telling him to live. Feeling a need to walk away from what’s left of his life in Seattle,  he looks at a map and chooses the farthest city he can walk to…Key West, Florida. This book is about the people he meets, the experiences he has, and the life lessons he learns along the way.

Since I’m a hiker and a walker, I was totally into this book and wanted to grab my pack and take off on my own walk across the country!

Now I need to read the second book in the series, Miles to Go.


Sierra Club Urban Hike: Mission San Fernando Rey de España

November 25, 2012 5 comments

Mission San Fernando Rey de España may be California’s 17th Mission but it was my 1st Mission. I think my parents took me to Mission San Juan Capistrano when I was little, but I don’t remember it so it doesn’t count. 😉

Our Sierra Club leaders, Sandra Tapia and Gerrie Montooth, did a great job making this outing fun and interesting. First we toured the Memory Garden located in Brand Park on the other side of the boulevard. My first thought was that I’d like to sit on one of the benches surrounded by the roses and read a book. Then I remembered that I’m terrified of bees so maybe that wouldn’t be such a good idea.

Next, after paying the $4.00 admission fee, we toured the museum and Convento building. The Convento building is the only original building that remains on the site. It’s the largest adobe building in California and the walls are four feet thick. It felt good to step out of the hot sun into the much cooler adobe.

The Convento was built between 1808 and 1822 and served as a residence for the Bishop and missionaries. You can see the Bishop’s Room and the Governor’s Room, which is where visiting VIPs stayed.

The church was destroyed in the 1971 Sylmar earthquake so an exact replica of the 1806 church stands there now.

I enjoyed the tour of the mission very much and would like to go back sometime just to sit on one of the many benches and enjoy the beautiful grounds. One nice spot is the Bob Hope Memorial Garden where he and his wife, Dolores, are buried on what looks like the stage of a band shell.

After the tour, six of us had lunch at The Bear Pit Bar-B-Q, which has been in business since the late 1940s. I prefer pulled pork to the Bear Pit’s sliced, but I must say they have the tastiest bbq beans I’ve ever had in my life.

I hope I can visit another California mission soon. One down, 20 to go!

Valley Film Festival: Vinyl

November 10, 2012 2 comments

Tonight I went to the Valley Film Festival at the Laemmle NoHo7 to see the movie Vinyl.

Vinyl is based on the true story of when Mike Peters (Alarm / Big Country) couldn’t get his song (45RPM) played because his band was considered too old. He got another band, the Wayriders, to pretend to be a band called The Poppy Fields and lip sync to the song.

In the movie, it’s a middle-aged punk rocker named Johnny Jones who hires a bunch of kids to form a fake band (The Single Shots) to lip sync to his band’s (Weapons of Happiness) song “Free Rock and Roll”.

My friend and I both loved this movie so much! There were a lot of laughs, really good music, (I must have the soundtrack!) and good actors. Phil Daniels, Keith Allen, Perry Benson and Jamie Blackley, especially. Oh and whoever played the A & R guy at the label…James Cartwright. Loved him.

The movie is directed and co-written by Sara Sugarman and will be in theaters in March 2013, but if you’re in NoCal, see it tomorrow at the Napa Valley Film Festival!

Here‘s the trailer (scroll down).

Oh and kudos to the Laemmle for being old school, putting the butter on my popcorn for me!

Gold Line Adventure: Del Mar Station

November 10, 2012 4 comments

My friend, Cristina, suggested we and our friend, Lori, get together, hop on the Gold Line (light rail) to Pasadena and get off at 3 or 4 stops to explore. As it turned out, that’s not possible. There’s too much to see at each stop!  🙂

We took the Red Line (subway) to Union Station where we took some time really looking at the art that we normally rush by without even noticing.  (Who knew there’s an aquarium in the East Portal???)

The MTA published a handy guide to the art found in each station so we used that to identify each piece and we were constantly reminding each other to look up

…and look down.

We even walked across to the MTA office tower (aka the Taj Mahal), looked at the art and marble inside, and then walked around outside where we  found some pretty cool tile.

From the Gold Line we got off at the Del Mar station and were deciding which direction to head off in to search for food when we turned around and there was La Grande Orange Cafe in the restored 1935 Santa Fe depot! It was so cute we had to eat there. We each got a different taco platter…one short ribs, one swordfish, and one chicken mole….homemade corn tortillas, guacamole, pico de gallo, and a yummy kale salad that had quinoa, red grapes and parmesan cheese in it. So good! Our coffee was served in individual French presses  and they offer complimentary salted chocolate chip cookies!

After lunch we walked over to the Pasadena Visitor’s Center and got a bunch of brochures. One brochure mapped out various self-guided architecture tours that you can walk, bike, or drive. We located the one for our location, #6 Civic Center and Playhouse District, and visited each site, including City Hall, Library, Pasadena Playhouse, and beautiful churches.

Since this post is already too long I’ll just post some pictures of the All Saints Episcopal Church, which I liked because of the twisty-turny passage ways.

In the afternoon it started raining but that didn’t stop us.  Cristina grabbed a plastic bag from a wedding caterer in the City Hall parking lot to cover her head, and, drenched to the skin, we carried on!

The door to the American Legion post was open so we went in and the man in charge of the restoration process gave us a tour. There’s a bar, massive kitchen, small library, and a nice room with a stage.

By the time we got back outside it was dark and time to head for home. We were now closer to the Memorial Park station so that’s where we jumped back on the Gold Line.

We had a great time and are looking forward to our next adventure!! I highly recommend you grab some friends, buy a Metro day pass, and go on your own rail adventure!

AFI Fest 2012: Kid

It’s time for AFI Fest 2012!!


Last night I saw a movie called Kid.

Not to be confused with Charlie Chaplin’s masterpiece, The Kid.

Kid, a Belgium film by writer/director Fien Troch (Someone Else’s Happiness and Unspoken), is about a little boy whose name is Kid. He and his older brother, Billy, live with their mother on a farm.

A hog farm.


When the pigs first appeared on screen I missed some of what was going on in the film because my own thoughts took over: “Oh great (!). Leave it to me to pick a film that has animals in it. I hope nothing horrible happens to those poor piggies. Do the Belgians have the same strict rules and regulations about using animals in films that we do? Do they have their own version of the ASPCA on set?”

Luckily the only horrible animal scene was when the pigs were loaded into a truck. A man was smacking them with a stick (!!!!) to keep them moving, and, once they were all loaded up, the camera zoomed in to show the very frightened face of one of the pigs.

But getting back to the story,  I never figured out why, and maybe it doesn’t matter, but for some reason the mother owes money to some very scary guys. She has to sell everything. Something terrible happens…no spoilers… and the boys end up living with relatives. It’s all very upsetting for the children and Kid acts out in various ways.

All the kids in this movie were really wonderful and I wanted to comfort those poor little guys. I shed quite a few tears but there were some laughs as well, especially thanks to whoever that adorable boy with round glasses is. Too adorable.

I give this movie Here‘s a trailer.

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