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Packed Weekend!

This last weekend was not a typical weekend for me. I’m always busy but I was busier than usual this time. Please allow me to share:
Friday: I had picked up four images from my friends at ArtWorks (where I have all of my art shot) the previous day for a Sideshow Collectibles project. I realized that two of the images were not up to my standards, so I completely redid both of them and rushed them back to ArtWorks who were nice enough to get the photography back to me that same day. A couple of these images turned out to be among some of the best images I’ve ever done (Sorry I can’t share them yet; I’ve been sworn to secrecy!). My wife and I dined at Bacchus Kitchen (a neighbor had kindly given me a 20% off coupon for this fabulous restaurant) that evening. We watched Bill Maher on HBO upon our return home, plus an episode of This Is Us.

Saturday: Early in the morning my wife and I drove over to a part of Pasadena owned by my pal, the talented artist Kenton Nelson. Kenton bought and restored a row of old craftsman homes in a great Pasadena neighborhood. Kenton is he current president of the Pasadena Breakfast Forum (nicknamed by some of our offspring as “The Old Men’s Breakfast Club”), a group that’s been around since the 1930s. Kenton and magician Mike Caveney invited me into this exclusive (only 45 members allowed) club a few years ago. We get together for breakfast at the CalTech Atheneum every other Wednesday. Each meeting features a half hour talk by one of the members. The first talk is always autobiographical; the rest of the talks given can be about anything (I gave an illustrated talk on the history of life in Antarctica about a month ago). This Saturday morning Kenton hosted an coffee-and-sinkers open house for the Breakfast Forum members from 8:00 to 11:00AM.

After Kenton’s, we returned home and I sent off the images to Sideshow, then colored four more entries for my book Legends of the British Blues: Elkie Brooks, Jon Lord, Dick Heckstall-Smith and Ian A. Anderson (the acoustic blues player; not the Jethro Tull leader). Elkie and about ten others will be appearing in an article I just wrote for the Whole Life Times entitled “The Godfathers (and a Godmother) of British Blues”, in which the origin of blues in the UK is explored and examined.

During the day, my wife and I began preparing elements for the dinner we were hosting later that evening. We had invited some very dear friends we’ve known for a long time. We met through our kids’ school. Their family consists of some of the kindest, most generous folks we know. Sadly, due to a medical emergency, they had to cancel. I suggested that, since we had most of the food in the making, that we invite my son, his wife and our grandsons over for dinner — which is what we did.

To my amazement, one of our previously scheduled dinner guests dropped by with flowers (beautiful sweet peas!), a great salad and a wonderful bottle of wine by way of apology for having to cancel on us. Like I said: incredibly thoughtful and kind.

Our family got together. I got to play with my grandsons, we had a great dinner, and then my son Andy proposed we rent Thor: Ragnarok, which we did. It’s one of the very best Marvel films, great to look at and very funny. It was directed by a new favorite director of mine, New Zealander Taika Waititi, who also co-directed What We Do In The Shadows and directed the brilliant and quirky Hunt for the Wilderpeople. A great time was had by all!

Sunday: I tried out a new model at my figure drawing workshop: Michelle Gibson. She was so good that the entire workshop applauded her after she completed her final pose for us.

I then rushed home, as I had purchased tickets for the Supermarket. The Los Angeles Times is hosting a month-long food festival/charity fundraiser, The Food Bowl. They timed it to coincide with an annual one-week event here in L. A., The Night Market a collection of incredible food booths with tasty international specialties offered up by the city’s best chefs. The Supermarket is a special area within the Night Market. The Night Market is free; entrance to the Supermarket is ten bucks. I sprang for tickets for the whole family. The Supermarket was carefully curated by Jonathan Gold. Jonathan Gold is an excellent reason to live in L.A. He was the first (and so far, only) person ever to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for reporting about food and the first to take the food truck movement seriously. He began at the freebie newspaper the Los Angeles Weekly and graduated to writing a weekly food column for the Los Angeles Times. He performed a pretty spectacular job of curating the Supermarket. We sampled dishes from around the world, my favorite being the beef brisket and hot links I purchased from Bludsoe’s BBQ (the best BBQ in L.A.). We tried all different kinds of food and shared them family style. The biggest hit with my grandsons was the soft shell crab sandwiches (they missed out on the baby octopuses on a skewer, which they would have loved. Sold out, though).

Another key part of this Night Market experience was getting there. It was being held in downtown Los Angeles at Grand Park. Several years ago, I (and several hundred thousand other L.A. denizens) discovered that we have a subway that serves Los Angeles when it was featured in the great Tom Cruise film Collateral. My wife and I decided to take the Gold Line Metro to Grand Park. It was my very first ride on the system. I was impressed; fairly simple to use and very clean. I’m going to start using it more.

After an afternoon at the Night Market, my wife and I headed home on the Gold Line. We watched John Oliver on HBO and then called it a night. I had the foresight to bring home a tray of Bludsoe’s BBQ which I consumed for lunch the following day, stretching out my foodie adventure.

Allow me to repeat myself: a great time was had by all.

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Spring Is Here!

This was my view this morning from the back porch I designed for my 1913 Craftsman home. The bougainvillea and wisteria are in bloom, as you can see.

No visits (or gifts) from the raven for a few days now.

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Saga of the Raven: Part Six

Here’s what’s been going on with the raven:
I think my leaving an assortment of jewels for the raven backfired. He disappeared. I think the jewels made him think that he was in competition with another raven and that he couldn’t compete with all of the cool gifts the “other raven” was leaving me.

So, I removed the cheap jewelry. The next day he was back, leaving me a bunch of bread crumbs. The next day he left some chicken white meat. Then he disappeared again for a few days (weather?), then left me some little bird bones.

I encountered him about to leave what looked like a dead lizard. I stood and watched him, making sounds I thought might soothe him. But no — he freaked out and flew away with his “gift” still clutched in his beak.

The weather’s nice again, so I’m hoping to see him (or some new gifts) today. I better go out and change his water…