The L.A. Report Ė Part 15



Hey Everybody,


I should probably call this ďThe Madison ReportĒ because thatís where Iím living right now.


As I said in my last report, the mainframe computer programming market is pretty dead in L.A. right now so Iíve taken a 6-month contract at Viking Insurance Ė a division of Sentry Insurance Ė in Madison, Wisconsin.Fortunately, my sister lives there and has a huge finished basement (complete with two bedrooms and a bathroom) and invited me to live there.She even has an extra car - an SUV for the rare occasion she needs to pull her horse trailer Ė that sheís letting me use to drive to work.Itís a bit of a gas guzzler but my office is only 2.3 miles from her house so thatís not a problem.And since itís so close, it takes less than 10 minutes to get there (the shortest commute Iíve ever had!).My brother also lives here so Iíve seen him once, too.


One of the reasons I moved away from the Midwest was to avoid the brutal winters.Well, my move to Madison has given me the opportunity to experience it once again.Madison has had a record-smashing 100 inches of snow this year (10 of which Iíve gotten to shovel myself).Since I arrived March 1st Iíve done a few of my runs in temperatures in the teens and 20ís and heavy snow, ice and slush.Even today, it was only about 40 when I did my run.Pretty sharp contrast to L.A.; Joyce said itís been in the 70ís and 80ís lately.She was even gardening one day when I called her after coming in from a snowy, 20-something run.


One night last week it snowed harder than Iíve ever seen; luckily it was above freezing and much of the ground was already bare so most of the cornflake-sized snowflakes melted as soon as they hit the ground.It was also totally calm so it was Ė dare I say Ė rather pretty.


Iíve tried to make at least a half-hearted attempt to take advantage of the winter weather so I cross-country skied once (first time in about 10 years) and downhill skied once (first time in at least 15 years).Both activities were rather humbling; I wasnít nearly as good at either one as I used to be, which is not surprising I guess.


Iíve completed one-sixth of my sentence here and Iím already looking forward to going back.In fact, Iíve been looking forward to that since the day I got here.Madison is a decent city and itís really been great to see so much of my family but I really miss Joyce, the ocean, the mountains, my condo, my car, the acting scene, etc.Would I ever move here?Not in a million years!Well, maybe in a million years because with global warming, itíll probably have California weather by then!


Speaking of the acting scene, I said I wasnít going to do any more ďextraĒ work but in November something came up and I didnít have anything better to do so I was an extra on a Ben Stiller/Jack Black movie called ďTropic ThunderĒ. ††Actually it was kinda fun for such a big call (about 600 extras!).  The scene took place at the Academy Awards so there were a bunch of celebrities there doing cameos - Alicia Silverstone, Tori Spelling, Al Pacino, Robert Downey, Jr., John Voight, Nick Nolte, Jason Bateman and of course, Ben and Jack. 


I told you about my new Web site (  From the very beginning I was concerned that I might have copyright problems.Sure enough, my very own school district sicced a copyright lawyer on me.So I removed all of the Black River Falls Senior and Junior High yearbooks.Crap.I really put a lot of work into them, too.I didnít want the same problem with the Little Rock school districts so I wrote to the president of their alumni association and she said sheíd try to find out if theyíre a problem.So far she hasnít heard much from them so Iím just going forward with them until I hear otherwise.


I didnít run the L.A. Marathon this year but Iím still running at least four days a week.I even celebrated my 25th anniversary of running March 14th.


In my last report, I told you about Cheetaís 75th birthday.  As far as I know, he's still alive but I mention it because I found my copy of the magazine cover that had his story and attached it to my Part 14 report.  I couldn't find it before because I searched my hard drive for "Cheetah" but it's spelled "Cheeta."


Thatís all for now.Hopefully Iíll be writing my next L.A. Report from, well, L.A.!