Saturday, February 04, 2006

S is for Santa Barbara

For some reaason when the blog server went down it deleted this post. Don't know why but here it is again.

In honor of the Santa Barbara Film Festival (playing in Santa Barbara) I thought I’d share one of my travelogues from a few summers ago.

With both kids away this summer (I forget where) my wife and I snuck off to Santa Barbara for a long weekend. Other than the speeding ticket and dropping my cell phone in a pool it was a wonderful trip. Santa Barbara has become the land of the "smart writers who got out and bought when prices were still affordable". Now one must go to Buelton. So all enjoyment this weekend was tempered with deep envy. Thus the perfect vacation for a Jew.

"Golden Girl" writers have gorgeous homes up there. But I shall not dwell.

Every structure in Santa Barbara is made of stucco. Every floor is tiled. Every hotel room has pictures of the mission. Maybe one in a gazillion tourists come up to Santa Barbara to see the friggin' mission.

Shacks are referred to as "cottages".

We stayed at the Inn at the Spanish Gardens. Lovely hotel. Not as nice as Bob Zemickis' guest house but still. Walking distance to State Street and in a perfect location. Down the block from the Council of Drug Prevention and Acoholism. Across the street from Legal Services. And around the corner from the Probation Department. It was the San Ysidro Ranch of Watts.

The town was jumping as was to be expected. All the guys looked like Ashton Kutcher or Grizzly Adams. All the women looked like Demi Moore or Ashton Kutcher.

The writers of "Hope and Gloria" have an amazing house in Montecito.

By the way, nothing against all of these writers. They're lovely people one and all, completely deserving of all good things. I just hate that they're all smarter than me.

Sue Grafton, the mystery author, lives up in Santa Barbara. And so, in following her lead....

S is for Sushi -- There are sushi restaurants on every block. Typical small town America.

I is for Informercial -- My favorite store in Santa Barbara is called "As Seen on TV". It offers all the dandy items you see on television that you order by phone. From Vegematics to that miracle foam thing you put between your knees when you're sleeping, they have it all. My favorite is the Jane Fonda treadmill with the great added feature that there's nothing to plug in. It uses no electricity. You generate the belt moving by yourself! Excuse me, but isn't that called "walking"??? You're paying $200 to walk??? Shouldn't it be called the "Jane Fonda Hamster Wheel"? I overheard a customer say "How does this place stay in business if you can return stuff because none of this crap actually works?"

O is the Oxyclean kit we bought.

W is for the Wizard Pancake maker (which also makes donuts at no extra cost).

R is for Rain -- It rained Saturday. First time in late July in Santa Barbara since the Pleistocene Era. But did real estate values go down?? Nooooo.

P is for Polically Incorrect -- Santa Barbara boasts the first (and now only) Sambos restaurant. Noted without comment....except...come on guys!!

E is for End of an Era -- the mask store on State Street is going out of business. Where will people who eat at Sambo's get their masks?

H is for Heist -- I saw an officer of the SBPD tooling around on a motorized scooter. If you want to rob a bank and your getaway vehicle isn't a Kia I'd seriously consider Santa Barbara. Or if you want to buy a house in Santa Barbara.

G is for Great Food -- The Palace Grill and Andersons.

J is for Jezaira -- our waitress on Saturday. Take the mesc AFTER you take our order.

M is for Mission -- Okay, we went to a mission after all. Gorgeous, impressive, truly majestic. No wait, that was our friends Dave & Sally's new house in Ojai.

N is for Nude Beaches -- they have them in Santa Barbara. Considering that most people I saw shouldn't wear shorts much less go naked I did not visit.

D is for Dumbshit Capitol of the World -- Solvang. Didn't visit there either.

Z is for Zorro -- who, as legend has it, bought his first mask at the mask store on State Street.

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