Thursday, June 22, 2006

Punk'd (tm) by!

Lurking somewhere in the forgotten depths of is a list of hotels which allow non-guests to use the pool areas. When I read this, I was stoked - there's a pool where I work out, but it's a typical gym pool (and not too clean in the summer when it's heavily used), so no languishing poolside with a cocktail and relaxing, jumping in every so often to enjoy a dip - which is, of course the point of hanging out poolside at any hotel.

Two of the hotels on the list were the Bel Age and the W, both within striking distance of my house, so I thought I'd swing by after today's podiatrist appointment to enjoy a pool not filled with testosterone-jacked lap swimmers (the other two hotels listed were the Standard Downtown which I hate and the Lowes Santa Monica which requires a $25 day pass).

Did I mention that I have no air conditioning? I suppose that's the price I have to pay for a charming 1920's-era pad with loads of 'character' and French windows throughout (so no window-mounted units for me). My place doesn't have heat, either, but that's much less of a problem.

My first try was the W Hotel in Westwood. I marched into the lobby and cheerfully informed the concierge that I was there to use the pool - after all, said it was okay, right?


"I don't know who told you that", she said. "Our pool is for guests only. During the winter, non-guests may use the pool if they lease a cabana (for $300 per day), but during the summer, I'm afraid it's off-limits unless you have a room here".

For the record, she was very nice, but damn. The W has a terrific pool - I should know. I once worked on a movie that shot there, so I got a good look at it while I was wrapping cable and wishing I could jump in without having my toolbelt drag me to a watery grave in the deep end (or being drowned by my boss had he discovered me swimming while I should have been working).

Next stop, the Bel Age:

"Absolutely not" sniffed the guy at the front desk. "Besides the liability issue, we'd prefer our pool area remain exclusive. Which website was it that listed us? Our management would like to correct that error."

Double damn.

I'm sure at some point in the past, these places did allow non-guests in, otherwise a fine, upstanding website such as wouldn't have listed them.

Which means I missed the boat and am condemned to swelter this summer.

Triple damn.

Couch of the day:


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Soccer Fever!

LA is a famously multi-cultural city (although it is possible to ignore if one keeps to certain parts of the Westside), but the "melting pot-ness" becomes even more noticeable during the World Cup.

It seems everyone is soccer-crazed in the City of Angels.

The Korean lady at the laundromat roots for whichever team has the best legs - unless, of course, they play against Korea, and then they become 'dirty bums'.

The Persian guys in the coffeehouse have brought a portable TV from home so they don't miss any action (I have to squeeze in my coffee order during breaks), and in my favorite Indian restaurant service stops whenever someone makes a good play, and a bar on Hollywood Blvd proudly sports a banner announcing "Watch all World Cup games here!!"

The games are almost impossible to ignore - they blare from every apartment window, bar or eatery that's got a television, passing cars are tuned into the radio broadcast; pedestrians who don't have portable radios lean into the car windows to find out the score - in my neighborhood, it's possible to walk down the street and follow a game just by the sound from the open windows.

Yesterday, at the Farmer's Market, I saw three England supporters sitting outside in team jerseys and scarves (it was almost 90 degrees yesterday) while animatedly discussing that afternoon's game. I really wanted to root for England, but I felt I should follow my Korean mentor's lead. The Swedish team did have better legs.

These days the international language around here is the announcer's hysterical scream of "GOOOOOAAAAL!" (surprisingly, it's the same in every language).

I know the majority of Americans don't seem to care about soccer, but it sure doesn't seem that way around here.

Couch of the day (okay, so this one's a chair):


Monday, June 19, 2006

A more exciting weekend than usual

Saturday night's Subject Line Here was great - an incredibly talented group of folks reading some awesome material, and I finally got to meet the people whose lives I've been reading about for ages. As I left, I had the feeling that I'd spent the evening with some old friends, which in a way I had.

Sunday, Anthony Bourdain was signing books at the Hollywood Farmer's Market - I'm a HUGE fan, and am deeply ashamed to admit that I completely geeked out and probably made an ass of myself. Hey, at least I picked a fellow fan of Hunter S. Thompson and someone who's written some terrific books, right?

After the Farmer's Market, I walked around the corner to The Hungry Cat, where I met a friend for lunch and ordered a delicious crab frittata which unfortunately made me sick for the rest of Sunday and most of today. I'll still go back though. That place rocks, although I think I'll avoid dishes containing egg in the future.

Couch of the day: