The L.A. Report Part 9

01-28-2003

 

Hey Everybody,

It's been another year since my last L.A. Report so I
thought it was about time for another update, especially
since I didn't send out Christmas or New Year's cards this
year.

The biggest news is that after more than two years together,
Kathy and I broke up about a month ago.  She decided that
our priorities are just too different.  We're going to
remain friends but right now we're taking a break from
seeing each other.

The next biggest news is that for the first time in 20
years, I got a real job; I'm an employee of a company.  I
was unemployed for a year and a half!  That's how bad the
economy is, at least for the I.T. profession.  Hard to
believe, huh?  Yeah, I never would have dreamed it, either.
In July, I finally got a contract with Unitrin, Inc., an
insurance company in Woodland Hills.  They just happen to be
in the very same building I worked in three and a half years
ago.  After I was there for three months, they made me an
offer for a permanent job and I grabbed it.  Before you
think that this should provide some stability, however, I
already know that they plan on doing away with their
mainframe and the mainframe programmers within probably a
year, so I'll just have to milk it while I can.  But I
actually like it there a lot, which I certainly can't say
about my last two contracts.  It's a tiny shop compared to
what I'm used to - less than 10 mainframe programmers
compared to dozens or even hundreds, and they're just great
people.  I didn't really forget anything in my 18 months
off, which was reassuring, and I'm catching on to the
business pretty quickly.  I'm even kind of surprising
myself!

Since I've had to concentrate on my "real" job for awhile,
my acting has temporarily taken a back seat.  I did do a
small part in a student film in September.  I wasn't going
to do student films anymore but
this one seemed unusually professional.  It was even shot on
35mm and I got paid $100.  I did a little more "background"
work and I've done over 30 different TV shows now.  I also
worked on the movie "Old School", which is coming out next
month.

The cats are fine but Spooky has developed diabetes so I now
have to give him an insulin injection twice a day.  It took
months of trying different kinds of insulin and figuring out
his dosage but I think we finally have it.  I'm sure that
giving shots to a cat sounds like a nightmare but it is
surprisingly easy.  I couldn't even believe it.  He is so
cooperative; he even trots over to his special place when
it's time.

Just before I started my new job in July, Kathy's family was
having their bi-annual family reunion - in
Breckenridge,
Colorado
this time.  I was in the middle of interviews, etc.
for this new job so I didn't think I should go along.  So
she flew out there with just her kids.  When I got my offer
solidified, I decided I wanted to go but the flights were at
inconvenient times and expensive so I decided to drive out
there.  I was about 1000 miles and it took me 13 hours
straight.  When I got to the lodge they were staying at,
Kathy hadn't gotten there yet so I hid my car in the garage
and waited for her to arrive.  When the lookouts said she
was approaching, I called the lodge on my cell phone.  Her
brothers and sisters called to her, "Kathy, Jay's on the
phone" so she rushed in and grabbed the phone and I asked
her how the house was, how her trip was, etc., as I snuck up
on her.  She had her back to me so I started kissing her
neck and she thought her brothers were goofing around so she
was kinda brushing me away.  Then she turned around.  You
can imagine her reaction.  That one moment made the grueling
drive all worth it.  Then we had a fun week, playing games,
throwing horseshoes, golfing, panning for gold, etc.  On the
way home I had a bit of a fender bender with a semi going
about 2 mph but all in all it was a great trip.

The director of the choir that Kathy and I had been singing
in decided to retire this summer so we thought that was the
end of the choir.  But some of the members just didn't want
to see it die so they formed a non-profit corporation and
hired Kathy to be the director.  We've had one concert and
it went very well so we're looking forward to more.

I've been feeling fatigued for at least a year now.  I had a
physical in June and one of my blood tests showed that I had
had mono within probably the previous six months or so.
Most people have the Epstein-Barr virus in them so it's a
little hard to say what effect it has actually had.  In
everyday activities I feel just fine but when I run, there's
definitely something wrong.  Over the past two years or so,
my pace has slipped from consistent 8-minute miles or less,
on a typical run, to between
9:00 and 9:30 now.  When I do
my weekly speed workout, the best I can eke out is about an
8:30, if I really push it.  It's not cardiopulmonary; I
never feel that winded, I just don't have much energy.  And
I don't think it's just a matter of old age - I wouldn't
have gotten this bad this fast.  So I don't know.  I'll just
chug along for now.

I'm still loving this
Southern California weather - golfing
and running without a shirt in January!  And this is the
month that the air is permeated with some heavenly smell.  I
think it's some kind of Jasmine - it is a shrubby tree with
little white flowers.

It's still remarkable to find pockets of nature even in the
busy suburb of Sherman Oaks.  One morning there was a bunch
of crows creating a hell of a racket, dive-bombing a palm
tree across from my apartment building.  Being the birder
that I am, I knew that more than likely meant one thing:
They had to be mobbing a Great Horned Owl.  I got my
binoculars and looked up at the tree but I couldn't see what
they were harassing.  A woman down on the sidewalk saw me
watching with my binoculars and asked me what I saw.  I told
her I couldn't see what the crows were harassing but that it
was probably a Great Horned Owl.  She sat down on the
sidewalk and we both tried to see if we could see what was
up there.  Finally, after about 15 minutes, sure enough, an
owl flew out of the palm tree and the crows screamed after
it.  The woman seemed moderately impressed and said, "How'd
you know it would be an owl?"  I just modestly said
something like, "because I know birds."

A few months before the owl incident, I was getting some
mockingbirds hanging around my palm tree, sometimes coming
right up and landing on my balcony rail (the cats loved
that).  Within a few weeks I started to hear this

high-pitched buzzing in front of the building.  Finally it
dawned on me that those mockingbirds probably had a nest
with chicks in it.  So I went outside and saw them
periodically flying into a hole in a bush, at which time the
buzzing would get frantically louder.  I didn't want to
disturb them so I didn't look in there but it was pretty
obvious.  I hoped I would get to see them when they got a
little older.  A few weeks later I saw the adults
frantically chasing a crow.  I figured they were trying to
protect one of their chicks.  Unfortunately, I saw the damn
crow wrestling with something and I had a bad feeling about
it.  When I went down there I found a dead baby mockingbird.
The parents did all that work and the little one's life was
over in about a minute.  That's nature.

Take care,

Jay