The L.A. Report Ė Part 20



Hey Everybody,


Still doing background work.It still doesnít pay well but itís often pretty interesting.A couple weeks ago I worked on Burt Wonderstone, a movie about a washed up Las Vegas magician.I was pretty far away from the action so I doubt youíll be able to see me, though. ††There were quite a few stars Ė Jim Carey, Steve Carrel, Steve Buscemi and James Gandolfini.Jim Carey bought me a cup of coffee; well, actually he hired a coffee truck and they made mochas, lattes, whatever you wanted - for all the cast and crew Ė to thank us for all our hard work.


A few days later, I worked on the TV show Hot in Cleveland.Again, lots of stars Ė Betty White, Ed Asner, Jane Leeves (ďDaphneĒ from Frasier), Valerie Bertinelli, Wendie Malick and Jon Lovitz (the liar guy from Saturday Night Live).I was sitting at a table at a companyís anniversary ball and the scene was fairly small so you should be able to see me.The episode was called Rubber Ball.


Iíve told you about the incredible food they usually serve on these movie and TV shoots.At lunch on the Hot in Cleveland shoot, I was getting a piece of chocolate cake and there was a guy standing next to me waiting for the pie server.After I got my piece I handed the server to him and was surprised to see it was Jon Lovitz!Usually the stars donít eat with the crew or extras but occasionally they will.I didnít say anything to him although we did talk to him a little on the set.


A couple weeks ago I worked on a low-budget crime re-enactment show and actually got to act.I played a maintenance worker helping a woman get back into her hotel room after she got locked out.I did do some speaking when a detective was interviewing me but I think it will be mostly silent with narration over everything.The show is called Unusual Suspects and itís on a cable station called Investigation Discovery.

Last week I worked on a commercial for a golf tournament sponsored by RBC (Royal Bank of Canada).I donít know if it was for a specific tournament or just to show that RBC sponsors golfers (they often donít tell us much about the projects).Ernie Els and Jim Furyk were there the first day and Luke Donald (the number one golfer in the world) and Matt Kuchar were there the second day.Each one did about 8 or 10 drives.Jim Furyk still has that bizarre swing but he still hits the ball very well!


Shortly after we checked in they asked if any one of us was an actual golfer.I was the only one of about 80 people who raised their hand so they asked me to come over and talk to them.They asked me how tall I was and I said 5í10Ē and then they said, ďoh, well, I think weíll just go with this guy on our crew [who was over 6 feet]Ē.They wanted to film someone from just the knees down hitting a drive that was basically a stand-in for Ernie Els after he did his actual scenes.Itís probably just as well; with my track record of very inconsistent shots, I probably would have dubbed it and been really embarrassed (not to mention wasting film/video storage).The guy they did use hit it well.The weather was uncharacteristically lousy; the first day (which started in the dark at 5:45 a.m.) it was about 55, cloudy and drizzled the whole day.The second day was sunny but it still was cold and breezy.So between shots we would put on our heavy jackets and take them off when the cameras were rolling.


My dad was quite a golf enthusiast so I thought about him a lot those two days.


Well, I thought all that fun and games was coming to a screeching halt.I had three interviews for a programming job with an Indian consulting firm that has a big contract with Kaiser Permanente (where I worked in 2000) but I didnít get the job.They decided they wanted someone with more experience in leadership and coordinating off-shore [Indians in India] and on-shore [Indians here] teams.Itís probably just as well; it was more of a coordinator function and I prefer to do the actual coding instead of writing specs and explaining it to someone else.Next week I have an interview for a teaching assistant job at L.A. Community College (already passed one exam).It wouldnít pay nearly as well, but at least itís a job.


My health is still pretty good but Iíve been having eye muscle spasms intermittently for about six weeks so after my last job interview for the Kaiser job I finally made a trip to LA County USC Medical Center (a hospital for poor people like me).  The first parking lot was full so I went to the second one.  That was also full.  I said to hell with it and started to drive home.  Then I thought I should just try again, at least once.  Those two lots were still full but I miraculously found a place on a nearby street at about 12:30.


If you've never been to that hospital before, you have to start at the emergency room (gee, I wonder why our emergency rooms are always so crowded).  The waiting room had about 75 people in it and I waited for about 45 minutes to talk to an intake nurse.  She took my blood pressure and asked me a few questions then sent me to another waiting room.  They called me in about 20 minutes and another intake nurse asked me the same questions and told me to go back to my seat.  After waiting another three hours (with society's downtrodden - including two shackled, orange jumpsuit-clad prisoners), at about 5:15, they said "okay, you've been approved to go to the urgent care clinic" and a nurse walked me all the way to another building about an eighth of a mile away.  Another intake person added more info into the system and put me in another waiting room.  I waited about 45 minutes and finally I got into a doctor's room, where I waited another 20 minutes.  When the doctor finally came in I told her about the problem and told her I've had MS for eight years and that I was thinking it probably has something to do with that.  She did the usual neurology diagnostic tests and decided to refer me to one of their neurologists.  I waited another 30 or 45 minutes for them to arrange that (although I don't yet know when it'll be; I'll be getting something in the mail).  But at least the process is in motion and I now have my county medical card and can make appointments at the free clinics without first going to an emergency room!  It'll be interesting to see how long it'll take to get my neuro appt.  I hope he orders an MRI but I shudder to think how long that'll take!


I got home at about 8:15.  Good thing I'm not working now!


Iíll send another report when some of these things get resolved.