Archive | October, 2009

Ventura, CA

30 Oct

I lived in Ventura many years ago, in my late teens and early twenties. What I’ve always noticed about it is that it could be a cool city but it’s not. It seems depressed, and there are a lot of empty shops on Main Street. I’ve wondered why it never became another Santa Barbara. It’s on the ocean, the climate is wonderful (cool most of the time). It seems like the perfect place for hip to set up shop, but hip has gone elsewhere, leaving Ventura to its thrift stores and its bars.

Cathy said it’s because it’s a very conservative town, and then there are the gangs. It’s right next door to Oxnard. I don’t know if that has anything to do with it, but Ventura just never lived up to its potential, in my opinion. I’ve occasionally thought I could live here, were I to move back to California (before I met Frank) and then thought twice. No . . . it’s a nice place to walk through for a hour, but it just has this down-on-its-luck feeling I wouldn’t want to spend too much time around.

Ojai, CA – the Blue Iguana Inn

30 Oct

We’re staying at the Blue Iguana Inn, just about three houses away from my sister’s house on Loma Drive in Ojai. The main highway is right outside, but you don’t notice, especially when your within the grounds, and definitely not from the rooms.

Two years ago we stayed at the Emerald Iguana, sister to this place, a bit more off the beaten path and larger. But it’s terrific here. We have a suite, with a large living room, full kitchen, and big bedroom. I love these kinds of rooms, but we need to use the kitchen one of these times. I don’t like having a kitchen to go waste, and this is one you could cook big, full meals in. Maybe I’ll make breakfast tomorrow or Sunday.

The room rates are very reasonable (just about anywhere outside Manhattan seems reasonable to me, until you get to Europe). $150 the first night, $199 the second two, because it’s a weekend. This is the kind of place you could easily stay a week, and not even leave the room much.

Note: If you’ve stayed in places where the staff is friendly and says, “Good morning, where y’all from?” don’t expect it here. There’s a definite chi chi vibe. We went to the office for the continental breakfast they serve and the supermodel behind the desk didn’t acknowledge us in any way. So if you want cozy-friendly, find a bed and breakfast run by overweight extroverts.

Addendum: The lady at the front desk this morning was very friendly, I take it back. I guess it just depends on who you run into and how friendly you are yourself.

Dinner at McCormick & Schmick’s in Burbank – four yums

29 Oct

We had dinner last night with friends of Frank’s from the music business. I’d met Ed and Joel before when we stopped at their office in Malibu two years ago. This time we were joined by Joel’s wife Ria and Vicky, a record promoter Frank’s company has worked with many times.

We ate at McCormick & Schmick’s, primarily a seafood restaurant. They have steak, chicken and some other things, but it’s really about the seafood with them. I had some amazing catfish. From what I could tell everyone loved their food – a solid four yums. And, of course, the waitress came out at dessert with a slice of birthday cheesecake for me.

Los Angeles on my birthday

29 Oct

We almost missed the plane. We left the apartment at 7:30 for a 9:00 am flight. In good traffic and weather that’s okay, maybe, but it was raining and there was an accident on the expressway. At 8:15 we were still in traffic and I was getting nervous. Finally we got past the accident and we made it, about fifteen minutes before they would have shut the plane door.
We were on the gangway and I looked up to see my friend Joe as the steward, welcoming people onto the plane. Now, this is the sort of thing that hasn’t happened before and will never happen again. Joe doesn’t fly NY-LA for JetBlue. He does the NY-Long Beach route, and Ft. Lauderdale. He even said yesterday he’d never worked the LA flight before. But, here we were. On my birthday, flying to LA, and there was Joe, who I haven’t spoken to in a year and a half. It was great to see him, it’s been a long time and we’ll have lunch in the coming weeks.

The flight left on time, which surprised me given the rain. Overall the trip went very smoothly. We got our car at Enterprise, made it to the radio station Frank was visiting, and finally to the hotel in Burbank. So far so good. This morning we’re off to have breakfast with my old friend Sal, theater director and acting teacher who was the artisitic director of Friends and Artists Theatre Ensemble twenty years ago. I was a writer in residence. I don’t think I’ve seen Sal in ten years, since I stopped here with Gerry on the way to Hawaii. Then we’re off to Ojai.

10th International Conference on Gay & Lesbian Tourism

26 Oct

I’ll be getting back from California, but in case you want to go – the conference is next week, November 1–4, in Boston (short notice, sorry).

From Community Marketing:

Community Marketing’s 10th International Conference on Gay & Lesbian Tourism is only a week away, November 1-4, 2009 in Boston.

We have a fantastic line-up of speakers covering the very latest in sales and marketing approaches to reach the LGBT community. The gay and lesbian community has proven to be amazingly resilient during this recession, and it is a fantastic opportunity to learn more about how to serve this important travel industry niche.

Registration is only $595 (includes all meals). And we still have a few registration and three nights hotel packages for only $1,100 (which includes all taxes).

Click here to download the conference schedule.

The leaves turn in New Jersey

25 Oct

This is the stretch of road that runs from highway 29, a mile up to the house. Always enchanting.

Coming soon – California!

25 Oct

We’re heading to Los Angeles on Wednesday. We’ll visit some people and spend the night in Burbank, then drive on to Ojai where my sister Cathy lives. Lots of pictures and video to post, can’t wait!

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