The L.A. Report Part 2

02-16-1999

 

Hey Everybody,

(warning:  this one's pretty long)

I've been in
L.A. for two weeks now and the initial shock of the freeways
has passed; I'm already used to them.  In fact, they're pretty efficient;
you can usually get where you need to go very quickly.

I've often said that "
L.A. is a horrible place to live".  But that was based
on hearsay and a week's stay here 14 years ago in a less desirable part of
the city.  I've completely changed my tune now:  I really like it here!  I
miss my cats, my house and my friends but I don't miss winter at all.  If I
did, I'd just go up in the mountains.

The hotel I stayed at was in
Glendale.  It was right off the freeway so it
wasn't the best part of town but I always felt safe there - in the daytime
or at night.  And less than a mile away was a very nice shopping mall - the
Glendale Galleria - not too different from Edina's Galleria but much bigger,
with a Macy's, Nordstrom's, May, Mervyn's, Penney's, Circuit City, Border's,
Fredrick's of Hollywood :-), etc.  In fact, the downtown area is very clean
and new.  One street even has diagonal parking and has a quiet, quaint,
upscale Edina-like feel to it. 
Burbank is very much the same, with a very
nice downtown and also a quiet street with diagonal parking.

There are certainly more cars here (and lots of really nice ones - BMW,
Mercedes, Lexus, you name it), and most of the streets have more and faster
traffic with somewhat less parking, but the neighborhoods are mostly very
calm and quiet, like Minneapolis.  I've run or driven through lots of really
nice neighborhoods that I wouldn't mind living in - very well maintained,
well-kept lawns and plants and flowers almost everywhere - again,
reminiscent of the better parts of south
Minneapolis or Edina.  And there
are palm trees almost everywhere, often reaching 60 - 80 feet tall and often
lining roads or boulevards (remember the Beverly Hillbillies?).

The weather was rather dreary the first five days or so but it's been sunny
every day since then, with highs from 60 - 70 and lows from 40 - 50.  My
back is finally feeling better so I've been running every day for the past
week in shorts and tee shirt.

I just moved into an apartment between
Hollywood and Burbank just down the
street from Warner Bros. and half a mile from Universal Studios.  It's a
huge complex of corporate housing and behind it is completely wild and
undeveloped.  I've even seen deer in my parking lot a couple times!  A faint
aroma of Eucalyptus permeates the air that you can smell when driving or
running in the area.

I've been running to
Lake Hollywood, which is a reservoir for Los Angeles.
It's only about a mile away but the hill to and from it is a KILLER; you can
only take baby steps.  There's a road halfway around it that is closed to
cars so it makes a nice run.  The whole area is adjacent to
Griffith Park,
which is the largest city park in the
United States.  It's about 3 miles
square and besides having a golf course, observatory, zoo, theater and the
Hollywood sign, it's mostly wild.

I've already been to three contra dances - one in
Long Beach, one in Sierra
Madre and one way up in
Santa Barbara.  There are contra dances on Fridays,
Saturdays and Sundays here and they're very similar to ones in the Twin
Cities but some are smaller and some are bigger.  I've already seen a few
people more than once so I'm kinda building a new dance-friend base.

Thursday I got a call from one of the agents I sent my headshot to.  She
asked to see my demo tape.  Unfortunately, my wonderful cellular phone lost
the damned signal before I got the woman's name but luckily she told me the
name of the person I had sent my headshot to and my phone showed me the
phone number so I immediately went to my hotel, grabbed a tape and took it
over to the agency.  I hope they like it.  I'm told they're one of the top
agencies in town, too, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

I did register with Cenex Casting, one of two agencies that does all the
casting for extras.  So far they've needed people for Mad About You, The X
Files, America's Funniest Home Videos, some new comedy show and a couple of
commercials and movies.  I tried to call for Mad About You but the line was
continuously busy.  I should get through on something in the near future.

I also sent about 10 resumes out for programming work, too, but I think the
companies are balking at the rate I'm asking.  The rates don't seem to be
quite as high here as they are in the Twin Cities.  So I may have to cut my
rate a little.

I could definitely get used to this place.  Would I want to live here?  I
never expected to say this, but yes!  Could I afford to live here?  Yes.
Could I afford to buy a house here?  Ah, there's the rub.  Probably not.  I
looked at a house in a nice neighborhood in
Glendale that was about the same
size as mine - three bedrooms, two baths - that was listed for $275,000!  A
house I liked in an even better neighborhood was $425,000!  Where do these
people get their money?  If
Minnesota keeps out the riff raff with winter
weather,
California keeps it out with home prices, I think.

Stay warm.  I'll update you with any major developments.  Or maybe just
minor ones.

Love,

Jay