Leia’s Seafood Party

(11 images) There are few things more fun than spending some time browsing in an Asian market – it is a visual extravaganza of interesting and/or exotic food items and packaging ranging from cute to bizarre. Here is the result of our recent excursion at California Market:

Leia 90210

Leia 90210

(30 images) In continuing with the insomnia trend, Leia and I set out before the sun rose this past Monday morning. Letting our intuition guide us, we ended up driving over the canyon roads and into Beverly Hills, where we found a quiet and mostly deserted Rodeo Drive, save a few window washers and miscellaneous transients like us. Since this is mainly a shopping mecca, most of the pics are of the well-known storefronts that are supposed to entice us with their brands, logos, and designs. However, we did manage to allow some hijinx amidst the regal poses – Leia even managed to whip out her riding crop again (pun intended) when we happened upon a horse statue in front of Bijan. Even though Leia and I are more down-to-earth (or down-to-Alderaan, in her case) kind of gals, we still couldn’t help but feel a little thrill as we took in the sites of this famous street:

 

Leia’s Melange a Trois: Water, Wildlife, and WallArt

Leia's Melange a Trois: Water, Wildlife, and WallArt

(13 images) On this uncharacteristically overcast and cool Los Angeles morning, there was a vague yet certain hint of adventure in the air. After spending the early a.m. hours enjoying coffee, a bagel, and some internet time at a groovy cafe in the Highland Park neighborhood (which was recommended by this blog), Leia and I hopped in the car and set out in search of a photo-worthy locale. While we saw many interesting things, the excitement became evident when we neared a section of the Los Angeles River which could be accessed via a bike path entrance in a small, unassuming neighborhood.

We parked the car, made our way to the bike path, and knew we had arrived at our intended destination. Some curious city chickens, a friendly duck, and a serenely lush segment of the river made this a wonderland of Photo Opportunities. The first image was taken upon Leia’s insistence that we show the proximity of the chicken coop to the bike path. Also, if you look very closely at the fourth image (where Leia is in the lower left of the frame), you can see that she is gesturing toward a Heron (crouching underneath the green bush in the far right center of the image):

After taking in this lovely spot, we ventured West to see if we could find some groovy freeway underpass locations. We happened upon this awesome stretch of graff art and just had to stop for some shots:

We tried stopping at Silver Lake next, but it was a bit of a bust – the lake access is barred by a big, black chain link fence, and we couldn’t get a decent picture. We decided to backtrack and head North toward Griffith Park. On our way there, the “Californian” sign (main image above) caught our eye, so we had to veer off the road and explore. There was some kind of carnival being set up, but we had forgotten to bring Leia’s accessory box from the Santa Monica trip last weekend. (Not to worry, we will make it a priority to revisit this spot and get some decent shots.) We did, however, happen to have one prop with us that had to be utilized in order to satisfy Leia’s rebellious spirit:

Happy Friday!

Go West, Young Leia

Go West, Young Leia

(14 images) One of the perks of erratic sleep and insomnia is getting up early enough to accomplish great things before the rest of the (majority of) people in crazy Los Angeles. Today was such a day. Leia has been on haitus for a bit, but this morning found her teeming with excitement at the thought of resuming her adventures. One that we had discussed at length was the Santa Monica Pier, so we decided to beat the weekend tourist crowd, arriving by 7am, just as the sun was rising, the joggers were warming up, and the miscellaneous oddballs like us were getting a jump start on the day. A side benefit of arriving this early was that there was nobody at the parking ticket booth, so we got a free space next to the pier in what is normally a $12 lot. Score!

As we pulled the car up near the sand, we could see that the weekly Veterans for Peace memorial was already up and underway. It’s quite moving to see this display of crosses in the sand, which has been assembled on a weekly basis since 2004. At one moment, Leia performed a one-blaster-pistol salute to honor the fallen veterans:

After a few moments, we turned our attention toward the main attraction: the ferris wheel. We managed to sneak in all the way to the ride entrance, but just as we were poised to get some pictures, a patient yet authoritative security guard – who addressed me as Ma’am – stated that I wasn’t supposed to be in that area. Leia was well-behaved and did not get bent out of shape at being excluded in his address, and he was kind enough to let me attempt to take a couple shots with Leia holding her Super Size cotton candy. However, we do not perform well when being observed and under time constraints, so the three shots we tried to take were either blurry or contained my hand in the frame, a faux pas for this blog (and tremendous embarrassment for Leia, who doesn’t want people to think she needs assistance of any kind):

Of course, neither of us planned on leaving before getting some excellent images including that wonderful wheel, so we backtracked to the entrance of the ride area and proceeded to get a few choice shots with both the cotton candy and the triple-scoop cone accessories:

Our last stop was at the other end of the pier, where the carousel is housed in a glass-windowed building. Leia had eagerly anticipated this part of the trip, insisting on bringing along her leather riding crop. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that it would probably be closed at this early hour. Her disappointment was palpable as she pressed her petite plastic hands against the windows, the majestic horses just beyond her grasp. As a consolation, I let her bring out her frosty mug of root beer to pose in front of a vintage soda ad:

It was a highly successful adventure. Afterward, we took a leisurely drive North on Highway 1 along the coastline to Malibu. There are no pictures of that leg of the adventure; however, it’s worth mentioning, as we enjoyed it immensely and used the time to plan future outings. Stay tuned!

Leia’s Literary Exploits

Leia's Literary Exploits

(20 images) Taken at Gatsby Books in Long Beach, CA. This was quite a fun adventure, in great part due to Sean, the owner of this excellent used book store. When I initially arrived, I asked his permission to take some photos, and explained what I was doing. He immediately asked about my blog and looked it up online. He thought it was a cool idea, and even offered to put a link to my blog on his website! Most excellent and gracious of him. But that’s not even the best part – when I was nearing the end of my photo session, he walked up to me and said, “You’re not going to believe this,” and proceeded to hand me a miniature gun – that just happens to fit perfectly in Leia’s hand – which was on the ground just outside the back door of the shop. He had gone out there while on a call, and there it was, anxiously waiting to be united with just the right plastic action figure hand. Seriously fortuitous and groovy things happen when Leia is out and about, I’m telling you!

One of the first displays I noticed after getting the go-ahead from Sean was a bunch of Star Wars books and other memorabilia. What better place to start! Leia was, of course, preoccupied with Han. The last one is a bit of a cheat, but Leia was captivated enough that I was willing to include this obligatory pic:

Next, we went around in search of some fun book titles (with a bit of silliness thrown in for good measure):

As you might imagine, one of the reasons I picked this location was because I happen to have…location-appropriate props! Yes, it’s true. Faithful followers of our Facebook page have already seen the fabulous Adirondack chair, but the prop that made me squee aloud is a legible (yes, that’s right – legible) Leia-size book entitled A Little Princess. Sean was so cool – he even made a “Personal Growth” sign for Leia that is included in this next gallery. Take a gander at this awesomeness:

The last shot is of Leia posing next to the books of one of my – well, our – favorite authors. They didn’t have Lullaby, my favorite of his novels – but I’m willing to speculate that this is because some savvy reader snagged the last available copy before our arrival:

Leia, Whom the Night Makes So Fair

Leia's Ode on a Grecian Urn

(28 images) This post is different than the ones I’ve done in the past – it is based on a theme, rather than a collection of images from a single location/photo session.  The theme of today’s post is water fountains, and because the images come from several different locations, I’ve decided to label each image separately within the photo gallery. I’ve created two galleries, one for day and one for night. Note Leia’s fun drink umbrella prop for the last pics in the day gallery:

And the night images, which were all taken by the fountain in front of the Edwards movie theater. They have some psychedelic lights at night, so I got plenty of photo options at this one location:

Here is the translation of the Baudelaire poem that is the namesake of this post:

The Fountain

My poor mistress! your lovely eyes
Are tired, leave them closed and keep
For long the nonchalant pose
In which pleasure surprised you.
In the court the bubbling fountain
That’s never silent night or day
Sweetly sustains the ecstasy
Into which love plunged me tonight.

The sheaf unfolds into
Countless flowers
In which joyful Phoebe
Puts her colors:
It drops like a shower
Of heavy tears.

Thus your soul which is set ablaze
By the burning flash of pleasure
Springs heavenward, fearless and swift,
Toward the boundless, enchanted skies.
And then it overflows, dying
In a wave of languid sadness
That by an invisible slope
Descends to the depths of my heart.

The sheaf unfolds into
Countless flowers
In which joyful Phoebe
Puts her colors:
It drops like a shower
Of heavy tears.

Oh you whom the night makes so fair,
How sweet, bending over your breast,
To listen to the endless plaint
Of the sobbing of the fountains!
Moon, singing water, blessed night,
Trees that quiver round about us,
Your innocent melancholy
Is the mirror of my love.

The sheaf unfolds into
Countless flowers
In which joyful Phoebe
Puts her colors:
It drops like a shower
Of heavy tears.

— William Aggeler, The Flowers of Evil (Fresno, CA: Academy Library Guild, 1954)

Leia Lucia

Leia's Night and Day

(22 images) Yes, this is a combo of both day and night shoot – the Naples Canals in Long Beach, CA are so groovy, I felt they deserved some extra attention. The above pic is one of my favorites – Leia innocently enjoying a moment of tranquil repose, completely unaware of the looming Bob (of Bob’s Big Boy) just behind her. He reminds me of the Stay Puft Marshmallow man in Ghostbusters; initially benign-looking in his plastic, friendly demeanor – however, a closer look reveals a big, menacing character with a hidden agenda, evident in his overly large, bugged-out eyes. He scans the horizon in silent anticipation, poised for the perfect moment to swiftly and accurately hurl that mammoth burger weapon at his next victim. Leia is very lucky that she is sitting just outside his peripheral view.

First the day shoot images. You can see in the first image how Leia is contemplating Bob from a relatively safe distance. There was a lot of activity in the canals during the day, and Leia enjoyed people watching and taking in the decor of the homes along the water:

Now for the really cool night images. We discovered that Bob is best approached from the front, and were able to get a shot of him holding Leia while gazing down at her with an affectionate/somewhat crazed expression. I am especially fond of some of the images taken around the footlights in front of different homes along the canals, which I found to be really good for creating artsy shots:

To close, I’ll share this cute Tom and Jerry version of the song associated with gondoliers everywhere (also the inspiration for the title of this post):