The L.A. Report Ė Part 21
Itís been two years since my last L.A. Report, so now seems like a good time for my next one.
A couple months after I wrote Part 20, I got a programming contract with Union Bank (where I worked in 2010).† It was supposed to be for just five months.† But they kept finding more and more projects for me to work on and it stretched out to 22 months, ending at the end of February.† It may have gone even longer but Union Bank has a weird rule that contractors can only work there for a maximum of 18 months, then they have to go away for at least two months.† I was able to hold on for four months longer because I was working on a critical phase of a critical project.† Will they hire me back in May?† Possibly, but most of what I was working on is pretty well finished and theyíre trying like hell to do as little as possible on their mainframe applications.† So Iím not holding my breath Ė I do apply for the few other mainframe jobs that come up.† In fact, last Friday I was supposed to have a phone interview with AAA of Southern California, but they never did call.† But itís probably just as well Ė since theyíre in Orange County I would have had to rent a room down there during the week, like I did when I worked in Irvine.
In my last report I told you about my all-day non-emergency emergency room visit at the county hospital.† I finally got a bill from them Ė after five months Ė for $1,050.† WTF???† For ten minutes in a doctorís office???† Christ, even the most prestigious plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills wouldnít charge $6,000 an hour!† So I disputed the charge and have been sending them letters of protest (usually ignored by them) ever since.††
Also in my last report I told you about my role on an episode of Unusual Suspects on the Investigation Discovery channel.† An old friend from Minnesota (who now lives in Phoenix) was flipping through the channels last week and saw me in that show.† She recorded it and re-recorded my segments with her iPad.† I hadnít seen it and was surprised to find that they actually used my voice; when they were shooting they just told me to ad-lib some stuff about the suspect so I had no idea that they would actually use it, I thought it would be silent with narration over it!† For several days I tried to find it online and just last night I got lucky Ė I found it on YouTube: http://youtu.be/h-9YiG0g_zA.† Iím at 21:48 and 24:13 (although the second one is garbled, apparently from bad reception by the recorderís service).
Now that Iím not working, Iíve thought about getting into background acting again but I havenít decided yet.† Iím now eligible to join SAG-AFTRA (got lucky and did three days of union work on Gangster Squad), so I could join and work for $148/day (plus almost always overtime), instead of $64/day plus overtime.† The drawback (besides having to pony up $3,200 to join) is that thereís not nearly as much work for union background performers as for nonunion.† Plus, I would never be able to do nonunion work again (legally).† The benefit, though, is that Iíd be eligible to do speaking roles.
Iíve started looking for a new agent, too (my previous one retired).† I just met with one last week in Beverly Hills but she didnít seem to have much clout so Iím still thinking about it.† Iím meeting with another one next week.
Still loving California.† We havenít had many earthquakes in the last several years but we had a minor (4.4) one Monday.† That one was the second-strongest one Iíve experienced.† No damage, but it woke me up, and one of my CD-cabinet drawers came open.† Yesterday we had a 2.7 aftershock.† I also felt (and heard) that one.
My health is still pretty good (knock on wood).† Still running, hiking and dancing.† Iíve also been playing quite a bit of golf lately.† I usually play with my best friend Susan, and we usually play when the ďtwilightĒ rate starts at about 2 hours before sunset.† We always walk so it only costs us about $14.00 each for nine holes.
The biggest news is that my ďBatmobileĒ failed its latest smog test.† It was 17 years old, had 232,000 miles on it and Iíd had to make a few thousand dollars of repairs in the past year.† To fix the smog problem would have cost another couple thousand so I decided it was finally time to retire it.† I traded it in for a new 2013 Kia Rio (click on the picture below).† I wanted something cheap ($17,000) but good (100,000-mile warranty).† I miss the tight, sporty feel of my 3000GT but otherwise I like it.† Itís technically a sub-compact but itís actually 4 inches longer than my 3000.† Feels like a minivan compared to my old car!† Youíll notice itís not black!† No, black is reserved for cool cars, not boring and practical ones!† J
Well, hopefully my next report will have good news on the job front and the acting front.†