Time for another update - my last one was over a year ago. Warning: this one's another long one!
First, and foremost, is my new girlfriend.
Her name is Joyce and she's from
I've attached a picture of us at The Magic Castle
The next big news is that I'm not working for Crystal Cruises anymore. I really liked the job and everybody there EXCEPT my boss was a real a__hole. Really bad. It got to the point that every time I received an email from him, my heart would start to pound. Well, you can't live like that for very long so I quit and went to work for Princess Cruises, one of their biggest competitors. It's more than twice as far away (22 miles) but it's what they call a "reverse commute", i.e., you are going the opposite direction (away from downtown, etc.) from most of the other drivers. So I can drive 75 or 80 miles per hour and get there in 35 to 45 minutes, even less than my old 10-mile drive. I started there on a 6-month contract (which ends in just a few weeks) and then I become a permanent employee. Then I'll get cruise benefits after a year.
Princess Cruises uses a lot of Indian contractors,
both here and in
And while I'm on that subject, one of the women I met contra dancing when I first moved out here was stricken with ovarian cancer last year. She died this year. I hadn't done anything with her in a few years but we had a few casual dates before so she was a pretty good friend.
Never take life for granted. It can be over so unexpectedly.
Speaking of cancer, I've recently learned a little about pancreatic cancer. Most cancer these days is quite curable, especially if caught early. That's not the case with pancreatic cancer, however. It has an extremely high mortality rate - something like 99%. There just isn't an effective treatment for it. So I'm running a race at the end of the month that is a fundraiser for pancreatic cancer research. If you're interested in pledging money for it, go to http://www.LaCancerChallenge.com, click on Make a Donation, Sponsor a Participant, type in my name and click on Search. When my name comes up, clicking on it will bring up my donation page.
After running the race, I have to race home and take a shower and try to get to the annual meeting of the M.S. Society. Fortunately, the meeting is in Sherman Oaks this year, only a couple miles from my home.
Speaking of M.S., how's mine? Thanks for asking. It's still pretty mild but it's definitely getting worse. My biggest problem has gotten to be my handwriting and pretty much any activity with my right hand. Good thing I can do these reports by typing; you'd have a hard time reading my writing.
Speaking of running, I'm still doing my 18 miles a week, 4 days a week but I only ran one race this year. It was a 5K and I ran it one full minute slower than last year but I still finished 4th in my age group and the top 17% overall. Can't complain.
I've now been in my condo for a year and four
months. The housing market has gotten a little soft lately but the
value of it has gone from $319,000 when I bought it to $362,000 when I had it
appraised last month. I finally got around to taking some pictures
of it and my neighborhood. I didn't tidy up much for the photos so please
excuse any messes. As you can see I still haven't unpacked all my boxes
yet (I finally did my kitchen boxes, though, thanks to Joyce). The
outdoor photos show
As you can see from my bedroom photo, Spooky is still hangin' in there despite his diabetes and a tumor on his liver. I still have to give him insulin injections twice a day. He's the last of the bunch; Ebony and Emma both died in the last year.
I haven't done any acting lately. I was in a Madlife music video last November. You can see it on YouTube but they really did a hatchet job on it and I didn't get much screen time at all. I've had five auditions this year (one for Untold Stories of the E.R., one for a commercial advertising an instructional DVD and three for independent films), but I didn't get any of the roles.
It's still fun to be in entertainment land. I saw Pavarotti and John Williams (composer of Star Wars, Olympics theme, Shindlers List, etc.) at the Hollywood Bowl last year. There are lots of movie screenings, both new and classic, where people from the cast or crew show up and give talks, etc. This summer there was a week of screenings of Olivia De Havelland movies, including Gone With the Wind. She's 90 years old and gave a talk before a screening of The Heiress.
I just found out that NASA's Jet Propulsion
Gas prices are finally coming down. We were paying well over $3.00 a gallon this summer but now it's down to about $2.50. They're supposed to fall at least a little further, too. Hard to believe I was complaining when they went up to $1.55 in 1999.
Like much of the rest of the country, we had a really hot summer, much hotter than usual. We had twenty-some consecutive days of 100-degree highs. It got up to 119 degrees one day in Woodland Hills, where I used to work. One Saturday it was 113 degrees on my deck, but I still managed to run that day. I usually do six miles on Saturdays but I shortened it to four and slowed it down. Even then, I damn near died. I probably shouldn't even try to run when it's that hot, ESPECIALLY with M.S; it's bad enough for normal people but people with M.S. are very sensitive to heat.
Besides the mudslides and wildfires (we haven't had
an earthquake in awhile, knock on wood),
Congratulations! You've survived reading another one of Jay's rambling L.A. Reports!