Ventura, California

There was an Odd Fellows’ instructional session up in Ventura, California that I attended. It was held at the Ventura Odd Fellows’ lodge on Main Street. The lodge is in a nice, old building with a vertical sign out front and the three links above the doorway. The first floor of the building has shops while the lodge is on the second floor.

The Ventura Odd Fellows’ lodge building.

Ventura is an old coastal town and I found the building below to be particularly impressive.

It turned out to be a Morgan Walls & Clements building. I should have known. They’re an architectural firm that I’ve always been interested in.

Some detail on the Bank of Italy building.

More detail from the side of the building.

Down a couple of blocks from the Bank of Italy is a mission.

It’s the Mission San Buenaventura.

A wedding was happening inside the mission so I wasn’t able to take the $4 tour. I bought this postcard to soothe my disappointment.

This sculpture was on the building next to the mission. He looks like he’s from the 1930s and sculpted by Eric Gill.

So, I was walking down a side street and stumbled upon this.

I’ve always liked Perry Mason.

I turned on Perry last night just to take a photo of him and my favorite episode was on: The Case of the Nebulous Nephew. I would let Raymond Burr defend me.

There were lots of nice old Victorian style houses near the beach.

There’s a big pier too.

Me almost on the beach. I would like to live in Ventura but I was told by one of my Odd Fellow brothers that it’s a rather expensive town to live in so I remain an Angelino.

 

San Francisco

I went up to San Francisco to do some “book readings” at two book events on two different nights.

I took the Coastal Starlight from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

I took the Coast Starlight from Los Angeles to Oakland.

I left from Union Station in Los Angeles. Consensus pretty much says this is the last great train station built in the United States. I agree.

I left from Union Station in Los Angeles. Consensus pretty much says this is the last great train station built in the United States. I agree.

We stopped at the Santa Barbara Station for a smoke break. It was a great station right out of the 1920s. Taking the train is like going back in time.

We stopped at the Santa Barbara Station for a smoke break. It was a wonderful station right out of the 1920s. Taking the train is like going back in time.

An hour or so later we stopped for another smoke break here.

An hour or so later we stopped for another smoke break here. This train station needed a good coat of paint but it was still beautiful.

Along this stretch we saw 50 (?) miles of ocean from the train.

Along a 50 (?) mile stretch all we could see out the windows on one side of the train was the Pacific ocean.

It was cool being that close.

It was cool being that close.

I actually debarked at Jack London Square in Oakland. Then took a shuttle bus to San Francisco.

I arrived at Jack London Square in Oakland — then took a shuttle bus to San Francisco.

SAN FRANCISCO

PALACE OF FINE ARTS

This has to be one of the most beautiful buildings every built and rebuilt.

Since I was going to San Francisco there were a few places I wanted to see and this was number one. This has to be one of the most beautiful buildings ever built and then rebuilt.

We went at the right time of day. The light was just great.

We went at the right time of day. The light was just great.

This building was originally built for the Pan Pacific International Exhibition in 1915.

This building was originally built for the Panama-Pacific International Exhibition in 1915.

The architect was Bernard Maybeck.

The architect was Bernard Maybeck.

Bernard Maybeck. This photo is circa 1886 and from a book called Bernard Maybeck: Artisan, Architect, Artist by Kenneth H. Cardwell.

Bernard Maybeck. This photo is circa 1930 and from Pacific Coast Architect.

It's just wonderful.

It’s just wonderful.

Originally built of plaster and wood it was practically collapsing by 1964.

Originally built of plaster and wood it was on the verge of collapse by 1963.

The city of San Francisco wisely rebuilt the entire structure in 1964.

The city of San Francisco wisely rebuilt the entire structure in 1964.

It's an amazing monument. It's only function is to be beautiful.

It’s an amazing monument. It’s only function is to be beautiful.

That's Bob and me. I'm the one slightly out of focus.

That’s Bob and me. I’m the one slightly out of focus. Bob is my number one picture taker and my oldest friend. I’ve known him for more than a quarter of a century so I emailed him and said, “Why don’t you meet me there, we can go and see all these sights together, go to these book “events,” and you can take pictures of ME!” Jeez, I sound big headed when I write this stuff down. I don’t know why he puts up with me or still talks to me.

 THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE

Uh, it's the Golden Gate Bridge.

Uh, it’s the Golden Gate Bridge. It wasn’t on my to see list but I’m glad I went because it’s spectacular.

This is a plaque on the way to the bridge.

This is a plaque on the way to the bridge. Basically, the plaque says the Bank of America’s founder Amadeo Giannini was the first finance guy who thought the bridge was a good idea. On the plaque he’s shaking hands with the bridge’s engineer.

The engineer of the bridge was Joseph Strauss. This blurb and photo are from a brochure I bought at the bridge's store.

The engineer of the bridge was Joseph Strauss. This blurb and photo are from a brochure I bought at the bridge’s store.

I'm not into selfies but I did take one of myself at the Golden Gate Bridge.

I’m not into selfies but I did take one of myself at the GG Bridge.

This photo was taken before walking across the bridge. That's Alcatraz out there.

This photo was taken before walking across the bridge. That’s Alcatraz out there.

This view is from the bridge itself.

This view is from the bridge itself. You can see the Palace of Fine Arts in the foreground.

I went to the first tower. It was really windy and cold but I forced myself through. (Uh, there's a dark spot on the left side of this picture and the next one. There was a smudge on my camera lens but I'm still using these photos.)

I went to the first tower. It was really windy and cold but I forced myself through.

It's huge. "That's what she said," The Office.

It’s huge. “That’s what she said,” The Office.

A brochure I bought for a $1.

A brochure I bought for a $1.

 COIT TOWER

This is a view of Coit Tower from the Ferry Building from the day before we actually went.

This is a view of Coit Tower (architects: Arthur Brown, Jr. & Henry Howard) from the Ferry Building.

It's not a exceptionally tall building but it does have a presence.

It’s not a exceptionally tall building but it does have a presence. It looks like a government building.

A plaque installed when the building was built.

A plaque from when the building was built.

A plaque from 50 years later.

A plaque from 50 years later.

There are murals throughout the ground floor.

There are murals throughout the ground floor.

wpa mural 2

He’s a surveyor and very WPA.

I think the reason I like these murals so much is because they are WPA.

I think the reason I like these murals so much is because they are WPA.

This is one of my favorites. It seems so common man.

This is one of my favorites. It seems so working class.

He's a big cowboy and he looks moody.

He’s a big cowboy and he looks moody.

I bought this at the gift shop.

I bought this at the gift shop.

BOOKS, INC.

I took this picture about an hour before the event started. It's a real bookstore.

The primary reason I went to San Francisco was to read my short story, Motorcycle Mash-Up, at a book launch. My story was included in an anthology called, Best Gay Romances 2015. I’m not sure why they included my story. My story is bitter, angry and unhappy. What’s that got to do with romance? I took this picture about an hour before the event started. The Bookstore was located at 2275 Market Street in the Castro district.

This was inside the window. There's the book.

This was inside the window. There’s the book.

Felice is doing an introduction.

Felice Picano is doing an introduction.

This guy had a great story and he had a low key delivery.

This guy, Kevin Killian, had a great story (But for the Grace of God, Baby, There Go I) and he had a low key, almost lethargic, delivery. He was quite funny.

Dale Chase is a kind human being. I immediately liked her. I should be more like her.

Dale Chase is a wonderful human being. I immediately liked her. She was reading from her story, Matters of the Heart.

That's me. I wasn't nervous at all but I felt as if everyone had much more experience doing this than I did. I was thrilled to be there though and overwhelmed to be asked.

That’s me. I wasn’t nervous at all but I felt as if everyone else had much more experience doing this. I was thrilled to be there. I felt more like a writer that night than I ever have before or since.

This guy was also very funny. He was very emotional when he read his story.

Daniel M. Jaffe is an experienced storyteller. His story is called The Great Masturbator. 

There was a good crowd.

There was a good crowd.

All the writers read that evening. The night surpassed my expectations.

All these writers read that evening. The night surpassed my expectations. I’m glad I went.

GOOD VIBRATIONS

I didn't like any of the pictures that were taking of me at this event but I like this one. It was an unusual venue.

I didn’t like any of the pictures that were taken of me at this event, Good Vibrations, but I like this one. It’s a little blurry but that just makes me look younger. It was an unusual venue.

There's the book on the counter.

There’s the book on the counter.

This is Felice Picano. He's reading his introduction to the anthology.

Felice is reading his introduction to the anthology.

This guy is funny. He's been published in over 30 anthologies. Wow. I'm impressed.

This guy was humorous. I forget his name. He’s been published in over 30 anthologies. That’s 29 more than me but it’s not a competition, I know. Whatever.

I've know Eric for about a year. He always dresses so nicely and he's slim. I'm slightly envious.

I’ve know Eric Andrew-Katz for about a year. He always dresses so nicely and he’s slim. His story is called The Kingdom of Haeven.

I didn't get to talk to him but his story was interesting.

I didn’t get to talk to Tom Baker but his story, Jury Duty, was interesting. It involved murder. The other authors that read that night were Dale Chase, Daniel M. Jaffe and me.

My story, Motorcycle Mash-Up, is at the link below. You can read the whole thing there. It's got an alternate book cover but it's still the same book.

My story, Motorcycle Mash-Up, is at the link below. You can read the whole thing there. It’s got an alternate book cover but it’s still the same book.

http://www.prismbookalliance.com/2015/02/felice-picano-ed-on-best-gay-romance-2015-excerpt/

The Ferry Building

It was a nice building with restaurants, gift shops and a grocery store.

It was a nice building with restaurants, gift shops and a grocery store. It sits next to the bay.

The story behind the Ferry Building.

The story behind the Ferry Building.

I took this short. I'm going into photography if this writing thing doesn't work out.

I took this shot. I’m going into photography if this writing thing doesn’t work out.

These two birds spent a lot of time squaking at each other. The one on the railing was kind of dirty. He didn't groom himself very well. Maybe, that's what they were talking about? It was obvious that they were friends.

These two birds spent a lot of time squaking at each other. The one on the railing was kind of dirty. He didn’t groom himself very well. Maybe, that’s what they were talking about? It was obvious they were friends.

CABLE CAR

Cable Car safety tips.

Cable Car safety tips.

We went downtown to take a Cable Car. We wanted to get on the Powell/Hayden line because it went the furthest.

We went downtown to take a Cable Car ride. We wanted to get on the Powell/Hyde line because it went the furthest.

My ticket.

My ticket.

We were near the front so we had a pretty good view.

We were near the front so we had a pretty good view.

The gears were ancient.

The gears were ancient.

Look at that ceiling. It must be a hundred years old.

Look at that ceiling. It must be a hundred years old.

Another selfie but this time on a Cable Car. It was a rocky ride so I'm kind of amazed it's focus.

Another selfie but this time on a Cable Car. It was a rocky, jerky ride so I’m amazed it’s in focus.

THE ODD FELLOWS TEMPLE

That's me at the 7th and Market Streets Odd Fellows Temple. It is such a cool building. How this building survived all these years intact is a miracle.

That’s me at the 7th and Market Streets Odd Fellows Temple. It is such a cool building. How this building survived all these years intact is a miracle.

I like God's eye the best followed by the shaking hands.

I like “God’s eye” the best followed by the shaking hands.

The three tenets of the Odd Fellows are Friendship, Love and Truth so I like that Truth is painted on the side of this Odd Fellows building.

The three tenets of the Odd Fellows are Friendship, Love and Truth so it’s appropriate that Truth is painted on the side of their building.

Their entrance. I want to get inside this building. Evidently, Peter Sellers, has created a small Odd Fellows museum inside.

Their entrance. I want to get inside this building. Evidently, Peter Sellers, has created a small Odd Fellows museum inside.

I contacted California Lodge number 1, in advance, because I wanted to visit. They no longer meet at 7th and Market streets (but other lodges do). Instead, they meet in this building. I don't remember the names of everyone I interacted with but Patty, Rose, Tom, Frank and Chris were all extremely friendly when I visited their lodge. The great thing about the Odd Fellows is

I contacted California Lodge no. 1, in advance, because I wanted to visit their lodge. They no longer meet at 7th and Market streets (but other lodges do). Instead, they meet in this building above. I don’t remember the names of everyone I met but Tammy, Rose, Tom, Frank and Chris were all extremely friendly when I visited their lodge. The great thing about being an Odd Fellow is no matter where you go — you always have friends. I’m glad I joined the three links fraternity.

SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY

We didn't have the best WiFi in our motel room but it was at a great location -- 17th and Market Streets. Consequently, we went to the San Francisco Public Library every morning to plan our day. I'm looking at my IPAD there. I hope I'm not looking at pictures of myself.

We didn’t have the best WiFi in our motel room but it was at a great location — 17th and Market Streets. Consequently, we went to the San Francisco Public Library every morning to plan our day. I’m looking at my iPad here. One of the wisest things my publisher had me do was create a website. I never realized how much I would use it. On the other hand, one of the worst things my publisher had me do was create a website. I find myself fixating on it sometimes which is never good.

THE END

Great bag! I bought some post cards at the Golden Gate Bridge store and they put them in it. My book, The Odd Fellows, was published on December 16, 2013.

Great bag! I bought some post cards at the Golden Gate Bridge store and they put them in this bag. I’ve put it in one of my scrap books. My book, The Odd Fellows, was published on December 16, 2013.