There's been a lot of discussion about HDMI-to-VGA conversion, both here at Adafruit and on the official Raspberry Pi forums. The HDMI-to-VGA adapter we carry is one of the few cable-powered units that works reliably on the amount of current the RasPi can deliver. We tested it on many different monitors and for long periods of time before putting it in the catalog, but it seems there are still plenty of devils among the details.
@cwc1885: First, make sure you have a good power supply. In my own testing, I've found some flakiness in the video output when using 5v/500mA supplies. Noisy supplies also seem to make life more difficult, but you already want a smooth supply to avoid killing the polyfuse at the input.
If "hdmi_safe=1" doesn't do the job, try the other suggestions on the offical troubleshooting page: http://elinux.org/R-Pi_Troubleshooting# ... put_at_all
Those are primarily for HDMI issues, but might help the HDMI-to-VGA conversion.
Also try running these commands to see what your RasPi sees when it looks at the monitor:
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/opt/vc/bin/tvservice -d edid.dat
@tetrode: If you found an adapter that works, that's awesome. I'm trying to collect all the information about the subject I can, so can you post a link to a description? Also, do you happen to know how much current it's drawing from your RasPI?
When you void a product warranty, you give up your right to sue the manufacturer if something goes wrong and accept full responsibility for whatever happens next. And then you truly own the product.