The L.A. Report Part 8

01-11-2002

 

Hey Everybody,

I just sent out New Year's cards for the first time in four
years and I sent my last
L.A. Report over two years ago so
this one is way overdue.  This one is based on the card I
just sent so a lot of what I say will just be a rehash if
you also got a card via the U.S. Mail.

As you might expect, this one's a long one, too.

In my last L.A. Report, I told you I had just cancelled out
of a deal to buy a house.  I FINALLY got most of my $20,000
back but it was a huge nightmare and I still ended up losing
a couple thousand dollars and a couple hundred hairs!

My lousy talent agent went out of business.  Then I got
another one (also not the greatest) but she dumped me after
about 9 months because I wasn't getting booked or even
called in for auditions very often.  At least I've done a
lot of work as an extra (a.k.a. "atmosphere" or "background
artist").  I've worked on Mad About You, The X-Files, The
Practice, Felicity, ER, Martial Law, The West Wing, CSI:
Crime Scene Investigations, Ally McBeal,
Pasadena, Boston
Public,
Providence, NYPD Blue and Family Law.  But I still
haven't gotten any of those all-important SAG vouchers which
will enable me to join the union and audition for speaking roles,
etc.

I had another computer contract, this time with Kaiser
Permanente, the country's first HMO.  But I was out-of-work
for 9 months in 2000 and the whole year in 2001!  I turned
down a job with Farmers Insurance about 6 months ago because
the salary was less than I made 10 years ago.  Maybe I
should have accepted it; I didn't realize how horrible the
job market had become.  There used to be 4 or 5 pages of
computer jobs in the Sunday want ads; now there are maybe 3
columns.

It was recently announced that if
California were a country,
it would be considered the 5th largest economy in the world.
I hope all that wealth trickles down pretty soon!

One of the upshots of this dismal economy is that it has
depressed gas prices.  I don't know what they're like in
your part of the country but they've actually dipped below
90 cents a gallon here, although they seem to be creeping up
just slightly in the past week or so.  What a nice change
from the $1.96 a gallon I paid (about a year ago?).

So what have I done with all that time off?  It's strange,
but I feel even busier than when I was working.  I've
learned some new computer skills and created a new Web
site - http://pages.prodigy.net/jayblake.  Check it out.
I've also done tons of personal organizing, including 15
years worth of photographs; I've culled my collection of
over 8,000 photos down to about 1,700 (plus over 1,000
slides).  I've also done a lot of favors, errands and
projects for my girlfriend, attended lots of events (like
Hollywood Bowl concerts, the Pageant of the Masters, the
Lion King, the L.A. Opera and the Rose Parade) and done a
little traveling.

In August of 2000, I went on a 10-day trip to
Colorado (see
photos on my Web site) with my girlfriend (at the time).
One of the highlights was stopping at the
Grand Canyon on
the way and taking a helicopter flight over it.  Incredible.
However, one year later, there was a fatal crash of one of
the helicopters from the same company we used.  Yikes!

My running has also been pretty consistent - 1,000 miles in
1999, 1,100 in 2000 and 1,150 in 2001 (the most I've run
since 1988).  I saw from the results of the
L.A. Marathon
last year that if I had run it and tied my best time, I
would have finished 50th!  That got me thinking that maybe I
should try running it this year.  Then I remembered all the
hours of training.

In November of 2000, I met a woman named Kathy at one of the
contra dances and I started going out with her.  She's a
music teacher at a Catholic school and has a degree in
classical guitar.  She's also a harpist and a great singer
and has recorded a CD.  We have a lot in common.  We both
like the same foods, the same music, working out, dancing
and singing together.  She's a great cook, too.  She has two
really nice kids - a 10-year-old girl and a 13-year-old boy.
 She's very giving and she's just totally normal - the most
normal person I've ever met.  She's probably through having
kids but I finally decided I can live without having my own.
We've been together for 14 months now so things look very
promising.

Kathy is the assistant conductor of an amateur choir so I've
started singing with her group.  The director is the former
musical director from the Johnny Carson show.  He still
records an occasional CD and I did some singing on his last
one.  Last month Kathy and I did a duet with her playing the
harp.  One of our performances was at a retreat center in
Malibu and Dick Van Dyke was in the audience.  He came up to
us afterwards and shook our hands and complimented us.  He's
the only celebrity I've run into out here, though, other
than the ones I've worked with.  Kathy has seen a few more,
though.  Pat Benotaur was in the audience at one of her gigs
and gave her a nice compliment.  She is also good friends
with Johnny Carson's son Cory and was invited to Johnny's
house for Cory's wedding reception.  That's pretty rare;
Johnny has only entertained at his own house three times:
for his brother's wedding, his son's wedding and his own
wedding.  She's also met Bob Hope.  And did you hear about
Nicole Kidman's stalker, Matt Hooker?  He was her prom date
25 years ago!

I hope you had a chance to see the Leonid meteor shower on
November 17th.  Kathy and I went with two of our friends and
watched it for a couple of hours.  It was the best one we've
ever seen (one meteor every 20-30 seconds) and those exact
conditions won't happen for 80 more years.

My dad had more heart problems in 1999, including a heart
attack, and he just got weaker and weaker and he died on
January 3rd, 2000.  I spent Thanksgiving that year with the
whole family in
Colorado but didn't see them this year (for
the first time in my life).  I spent it with Kathy this
year, as well as the last two Christmases.

The cats are all just great.

I'm not sending any photos with this but I have lots of 'em
on my Web site.

I don't know when my next L.A. Report will be - probably
when I have some interesting news - hopefully in less than
two years next time!

Love,

Jay