The L.A. Report Part 11



Hey Everybody,


My last L.A. Report was about a year and a half ago so this is way overdue.  And long, too, for the same reason.


My biggest news is that I now have a new job.  My position at Unitrin was going to be eliminated (sometime, although they still haven't said when) so I'd been looking for a new one for over a year.  I answered several ads on and finally got an interview out of a couple.  A recruiter in Phoenix was trying to fill a position at Crystal Cruises in Century City so I e-mailed her my resume and got an interview.  In fact, I had four interviews with them over a period of 6 months, but to make a long story short, I got the job.  I even got a tiny ($250 a year) raise, which is better than a pay cut like I was expecting.  I started there two weeks ago.


Crystal Cruises only has three ships and they're smaller than Princess, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, etc. - their capacity is only about 1,000 passengers (instead of 3 or 4 thousand like on most big cruise lines).  But they're very upscale, elite and pricey.


Do I get a discount?  After I've been there a year I can go on cruises for $15.00 a day!  My relatives can go for $100 a day (which tells you how expensive they usually are!).  After seeing a promotional DVD of theirs, I can't wait to go on my first one in 350 days!   


The people have been great so far.  The system is a bit annoying because it's mainframe DOS and my 24+ years of experience have been with MVS, a much more powerful and easier to use operating system.  But the application is vastly more interesting than insurance!  The commute is only one mile further than my old one but it's in much more congested traffic so it takes anywhere from 35 to 50 minutes each way (I'm still experimenting with different routes).  Anytime you can drive to work in less than an hour in L.A., you're doing great!


I'm on the 15th floor of a high-rise in Century City, less than two blocks from the "Nakatomi tower" from Die Hard I (Bruce Willis) and right across the street from Beverly Hills High School.  In fact, my desk overlooks their athletic field so I can watch their cheerl---, er, athletic activities.  I can also see the Hollywood sign from my chair (and I just hiked to it yesterday for the third time) so my aspirations of becoming an actor are at least "in sight".


I haven't had a lot of auditions lately.  I had two last summer for two different episodes of Reasonable Doubt, a new courtroom re-enactment show on the Discovery Channel.  I really thought I nailed that second one but I never heard a thing.  Sigh.  Speaking of re-enactment shows, I even had an audition for a Michael Jackson trial re-enactment show but I guess I didn't look enough like the lead attorneys.  Last week I had a chance to audition for a Sealy mattress commercial but the casting director sent me an e-mail in the morning and I usually don't check my e-mail 'til evening.  Sigh again.


Most of you know that I had to put Rusty, my favorite cat, to sleep last month.  If you didn't see the PowerPoint memorial I did for him you can see it on my Web site at


In November, I went through another breakup.  We were only together for six weeks but I had a helluva time getting over it.


My M.S. has been about the same, maybe a little worse.  I've really noticed it in my handwriting lately; my hand is very crampy and uncoordinated.  I don't think the injection I take every day is doing any good.


Fortunately, I can still run.  In fact, since I'm not sure how many more years I'll be able to, I've started running races again.  I don't know if I'll try any marathons, but I've run ten 10K's and two 5K's in the last year.  My times are terrible compared to what they used to be but I still manage to finish in the top 20% every time.  I'm on schedule to finish my first lap around the earth (24,902 miles) in June.


We've had over 36 inches of rain this season, the 2nd rainiest season on record.  And you've probably heard about the mudslides and rockslides (see attached pictures from the L.A. Times).  My apartment has had lots of leaks, too.


If America is a "melting pot" of ethnicities, L.A. is a great example.  In my last company, in my department alone, there were people from Mexico, Canada, Brazil, Israel, Holland, Russia, Austria, China and the Philippines.  At my new company, there are people from Yugoslavia, China, JapanTaiwan, Morocco and Russia.  It's kinda refreshing to get back home where the only accent you hear is Wiscaaaaaahsin and Minnesoooooooota.


And when will that be?  I don't get any vacation for 6 months so I'm not sure.  October, maybe?  Probably.


'Til next time  . . . . .




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