The Two Faces of January
Wednesday in Escondido and LA

Tuesday in LA

When I make my annual visit to LA, I like to stay at Su Casa; the rooms are one-bedroom apartments with a full kitchen and lots of space to spread out. I always get an oceanview room. You are literally 40 feet from the sand once you get out the front door. The front desk gets one (1!) copy each of the NY Times and LA Times for all the tenants. I grabbed the Times; no one else asked for it. Sign. Print media really ARE dying.

As usual, I tried to do too much in the morning, so instead of the one-hour walk on the beach I wanted, I got a 20-minute walk. My motto is: something is better than nothing. I excused myself because I knew I had a big walk coming.

It was time for my annual walk and talk with J, a colleague from my days at He lives in Studio City, across the street from an entrance to the Santa Monica hills. Usually, we hike to the top, but he is now 82 and told me he didn't trust his balance on a dirt path with steep sides. So, we went instead all over his neighborhood. It was a two-hour walk, and pretty vigorous at that.

Thank goodness the LA heat wave had broken that morning, so it was only 80 instead of 90. I love the people I get to see in LA each year, but even in October, the town is too damn hot for my taste.

J and I talked of cabbages and kings, of politics (he is a rather conservative libertarian/Republican), and the Authors' Guild (we are both members, but he makes real money from his books, something I never did do), of old Hollywood, architecture, and the death  of pets. We have eaten lunch at the Good Earth for a decade on these visits, but the restaurant was gone, so we had Thai food instead. Nice, but nothing to write home about. I know we both enjoyed our few hours together, because we both told each other we had.

Back to Su Casa for a quick nap, during which I was reminded that a rotating selection of musicians sits directly across the beachside path from my room, plugs an amplifier into a portable generator and plays music, loudly, on a continuous basis during the day.

Ninety minutes, at rush hour,  to make a trip Google said should take an hour, to Echo Park for dinner with B, an IT industry guru and consultant, with whom I have maintained a friendship since I profiled him for InformationWEEK in 1986. We had prime rib at Tam O' Shanter, the original Lawry's restaurant from the 1920s. We sat there for several hours, swapping old IT stories, as well as life stories. He is a raconteur, no question about it. And again, I don't have to guess that we both enoyed our time together. Usually we spend some time on the patio at his lovely old house, but I was sleep-deprived, so begged off early. After my experience with freeways earlier in the day, I took Western to Sunset to PCH to Ocean to my hotel. About the same amount of time, but at least I was moving...