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? - 7/24-7/25
...Coming Soon To A Medical School Near You

Coming Soon, To A Medical School Near You

(An epic laundry day - Six loads from just little old me. Which is what happens when you don't like doing laundry, so you buy a couple pairs of jeans as "play clothes" just so you can procrastinate even more than you already were. But anyway...)

12:40 pm

(Laundry done, and - almost - put away. Now where was I...?)

There's so much going on in my giant head I hardly know where to start (And just about everything in that giant head could be an entry all by itself)...


I did the patient thing on Thursday ("The Patient Thing" - a.k.a. The orientation/interview/audition for the "specialized patient" doctor-training program through UCLA).

As is often the case, the hardest part of the experience was parking - We'd been instructed to park in only a certain area of the parking structure, which of course was full - and I left not only not knowing if I'd gotten the gig or not, but not sure if there was even going to be a "Yea" or "Nay" email at some point (Or if we'd just get "put on the list" of available people, and wouldn't know we'd gotten the gig until/unless they specifically contact us about coming to work).

But while the "pre-" and "post-" experiences were not terribly satisfying, the actual thing was interesting, challenging, and kind of fun.

They started by showing us an episode of Seinfeld, where Kramer and his friend Mickey take jobs as "patients", to great comic effect (As he turned off the TV, the program head said, dryly, clearly enjoying himself, "That's not what we do").

He then went into what they actually do, what the expectations are for the "patients", how much it paid (More on that in a moment), and took questions.

Then there was a demonstration of what a "training session" might look like.

After that, they broke us up into smaller groups, and sent us off to interview & audition with a trainer (At that point, there was a slight break-in-the-action, and they invited me to check on my car; With the spots we were supposed to park in all full, I'd told them I eventually just parked in a "wrong" spot, deciding getting a ticket would be better than being late, or - I thought this but didn't say it - doing what I felt like doing at one point, and just going back home. But happily, the car had not been ticketed, a "legal" spot had opened up, and life was good).

I came back in, and after a cursory "interview" (Asking us our best and worst "doctor stories"), we started the audition part of the program.

We'd all been given the same "character" that wasn't age or gender-specific (But there was coincidentally a history of foster care in their back-story, which I'd hoped would be helpful to my cause, since improvisation isn't my strongest suit as an actor).

When the trainer asked who wanted to go first, the two young ladies who were also auditioning both looked at me (I was in the center), so I was, like, "Okay, I guess I'm on!".

(It was interesting - I used to audition in front of other actors all the time in community theater, and kind of "fed on it" as a performer...but that was over 15 years ago, and now it kind of made me nervous, especially since I was auditioning in a way I'm not completely comfortable with.)

The scenario was basically that we were foster children who had eventually gotten adopted, and now our biological family had asked to meet us (The trainer was playing the role of the case worker).

The "twist" we didn't know about was that the reason for the meeting was our brother (A diabetic, like us), who we hadn't grown up with, hadn't taken care of himself, and now needed a kidney.

I went where it felt natural to go, and teared up when she asked how I felt about meeting my family, and was additionally gobsmacked when she explained exactly why my family had asked to meet me.

I thought things were going okay, so I felt a little deflated when she gave me a re-direct, asking me to now respond to the revelation with less angst, to be calmer and more analytical.

But I thought I took the direction fine, toning down my consternation, and asking a lot of questions about the situation.

And, it turned out, she did that with all three of us - Whatever choice we made on how to accept the news, she then directed up to do something else. Which made sense, since they needed to see something of our "range" as actors.

As I said, I don't know if I "got in" or not, and I don't even know what all the criteria are (I imagine part of the decision-making might be just "demographics" - If they're short of older guys, they might need me, while if they're kinda "set" in that area, then...not).

It pays $25 an hour (Though there's a $50 minimum per job), sessions can be anywhere from 2 1/2 to 6 1/2 hours, the jobs tend to mostly be Mon-Thurs afternoons, and it can take up to six weeks to get paid.

There's no guarantee of work, or how much work, or how often you'll work (The Director made a point of saying "This is not a full-time job. We consider you a vendor". And they've already got a list of "regulars" - Miriam, who turned me on to it, has been doing the work since the early 90s - who I have to imagine get preference).

So at this point, it seems the best way to look at this is that it was an interesting experience I had, and nothing else.

Even if it happens, and I start doing the work, it won't be something I can count on. Which is disappointing - I'd really like to have money coming in I know is coming in - but it would still be extra money, and kinda-sorta "acting", which I like, and strongly prefer to working for a living.

Anyway, that was a thing I did.


8:00 pm

(Back from Zumba...)

Well, now it can be told...

Back in June, I got my first-ever red-light camera ticket.

Then, within weeks of the first one, I got another one (At the same stop, around the same time - On Sunday morning, a few blocks from work. So clearly, I didn't quite get what had gone wrong the first time. Or else I'm just a rebel who cares nothing about "the rules").

I'm not going to litigate the case (s) here - Because who cares, really? - but for a time, I decided to take the advice of the Internet, and ignore them (Again, not going to get into the nitty-gritty of that argument, but it's "out there" - that for various reasons, I believe centered around the fact that, unlike getting a ticket from an actual cop, they can't prove you actually received notice of the ticket - you can just "pretend it never happened" and suffer no ill-effect).

I was initially so committed to this course-of-action, I wasn't writing about it in here, or talking about it on Facebook, or anything (A little paranoid, perhaps, but I was looking for "complete deniability").

But before the first ticket was even due, I realized I'm not built to have something like this "hanging over my head" forever (There's no "statue of limitations" on tickets). I'm way too neurotic for that.

The most recent "just ignore them" info I found on the internet was three or four years old, for one thing, so I didn't know if the legal rationals still held (ex. The stuff I read said, because of a lawsuit, camera tickets don't get sent to the DMV. But I don't know, if that was indeed the case, if it's still the case in 2017).

And for another, it would seem that, in order to ignore these tickets, you have to operate on the assumption that you will never again get stopped by a cop and have them check your license and registration.

It's been years since I've been stopped by a cop for anything (The last time was for an illegal U-turn in Burbank - The cop let me off with a warning), but it seems like the height of optimism to assume it will never happen again.

And if it did, if I got stopped for another illegal u-turn in Burbank or what-have-you, seems like that would be bad. I imagine you get to pay even more money, maybe go to jail, get your license suspended, etc.

So I decided to roll the dice, and employ the services of The Ticket Clinic, to the tune of about $400 (To deal with both tickets). - They appear in court for you, they have an 80% success rate, and the reviews I read online were more positive than not.

I'm hoping I spent $400 so I won't have to pay $1000-plus, get points on my license, have my insurance go up, etc...but there's every possibility I've just "thrown good money after bad" - For all I know, the 20% of cases they don't win are all "red-light camera tickets".

(And with The Ticket Clinic, as in life, there are no guarantees.)

But as if this writing, I'm glad I did it. If I'd just let it go, I would have made myself crazy "waiting for the other shoe to drop".

But by the same token, I sure as shit don't want to pay through the nose for what, I'm guessing, were "rolling stops" that didn't put me or anyone else at any risk whatsoever (We're looking at a "right turn on red" scenario here, on a Sunday morning, when there's minimal traffic, and I have an absolutely clear view of what is or isn't coming. In other words, I might be legally "guilty" - though I don't know for sure, cause I haven't seen the video - but I feel absolutely no guilt. In my estimation, it's the textbook definition of "a victim-less crime").

So anyway, we'll see what happens.


Had a commercial audition on Friday, the first one in quite awhile.

There's not really much to say about it, since I'm actually not supposed to say anything about it...but as I left, I was struck by how delighted the camera-person was with what I'd done (Which didn't involve any lines even, just a couple reaction shots).

Now, there's something of a superstition about this among actors - "If the camera-guy cracks up at what you did, or just genuinely compliments your work, you're not gonna book the gig" - because, statistically, that's mostly what happens.

And in my own experience, I have had camera-people clearly love what I did in the room, and not only haven't booked the gig, but didn't even get a callback.

But all that said, I was tremendously gratified by the feedback I'd gotten, superstition be damned.

I haven't acted on stage in 15-odd years (And I haven't been funny on stage for longer still...unless you count my two outings as a stand-up, which I kind of don't).

So I'm gonna take my "instant gratification" where I can get it.

And on that note...I didn't get halfway through my list of things I wanted to write about, but as I've said before, I never want to go on so long in here it becomes a chore to read, because I care about you, Dear Reader, whoever you may be (Though fair warning - I am considering attempting some more long-form, essay-style writing, just to see what happens).


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