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2:14 pm - Fri 7/20/07
Just For Fun

Just For Fun

Thurs 7/19/07 (5:18 p.m.)

Well, I finally did it—Today I booked my flight back to Lansing, so I can attend Mark and Jane’s 15th anniversary party over Labor Day weekend.

I’ll be leaving on The 30th of next month, and coming back on the 4th of September (I thought that would give me time to see the people I’d like to see, but have me back in L.A–hopefully-right before Mark and Jane start getting sick of me).

This should be fun–getting to go back home, seeing friends I haven’t seen in years, having an actual “vacation” for the first time in quite awhile--but I’ve been anxious about this (spending the money), and anxious about that (“booking out” with JS, PMG, and Direct Talent), and most of all, anxious about keeping my job (At this writing, I’m not sure ArcLight’s going to approve my time-off request, because it might be a “blackout period” at the theater).

That’s an awful lot of anxiety centered around something “fun”, wouldn’t you say?

But I can’t have my life held hostage to worries about finances or missing gigs. And I’m sure not putting my life on hold for a $9.00 an hour job with shitty “benefits” at ArcLight.

I’ve been back home once in the past six years, I want to go back for this special occasion, and I’m going.

Fri 7/20/07 (9:20 a.m.)

Yesterday I also made arrangements for another trip, in October.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it in here, but Jon Gindick, author of the Klutz Press book Country & Blues Harmonica For The Musically Hopeless–the book I learned how to play on--runs a series of harmonica “Jam Camps” across the country (It’s a weekend “intensive” of instruction and “jamming” for all levels of players. I found out about it when I stumbled across some of Mr G’s videos on YouTube).

There’s a “Jam Camp” scheduled for Irvine–about an hour away from L.A.–in October, and anxieties aside (spending the money, nervousness about new people and a new situation, etc), it’s something I want to do (Mostly just for fun, and to do something different–which isn’t always easy for me–but also to see if it rekindles my interest, and “opens up” the possibilities of doing more with the instrument).

So right after booking my flight to Lansing, I made my reservation for “Jam Camp”.

It does make me nervous, spending all this money “just for fun”. But right now, I have the money to spend, and “fun” has been in pretty short supply these past six years, so I’m going to “take the plunge”.

But speaking of “nerves”, I have to take a break right now, because I have to call Jon G. for my “phone consultation”.

Be back in a bit...


Well, that was fun.

He spent almost 45 minutes with me on the phone.

First, he had me just play, so he could hear what I could do. And he was pretty complimentary. He said what I did was very “musical”, very “playful”, and that I had a really good “tone” (He also liked my “vibrato”).

His main criticism was that I play a lot with my lips, and not enough with my throat (“Articulation” on the harmonica is mostly about air flow). So he gave me some basic instruction, some “things to think about”, to improve my “articulation”.

For the rest of the time, we stayed mostly on one hole (The 2), working on triplets, bends, breath control, being rhythmic/percussive, etc. (He would explain what he was going to do, play it, have me try it, then correct me or compliment me, depending on how I did). As he put it, “I want to hear what you can do, and what I need to teach you”.

Now I feel pretty silly for being nervous (Though it’s been years since I’ve played, or practiced, with any regularity). From his books, tapes, and YouTube videos, Gindick comes off as a friendly, upbeat guy, who wasn’t going to suddenly turn into an asshole just because I can’t play like Little Walter (He is a teacher, after all).

And talking/playing with him on the phone, turns out he really is a friendly, upbeat guy (And a really good teacher).

He mentioned a Monday night “jam” on Western and someplace, so even though I work on Monday nights, I emailed him for details, and to see if he knows any places I could go on Wednesdays or Thursdays (My “weekend”). It might be nice to have a little “jamming” under my belt before “Jam Camp” in October.


In other Jim-news, I’m not walking the neighbor’s dog anymore, at least for now.

Mark called early last week, to let me know that his job, which had been temporary, was over, so he’d be able to walk the “Lady” himself for the immediate future.

Truth to tell, I wasn’t totally bummed about the news. Granted, that’s $100 a month out the window, which kinda sucks (Cause it was pretty easy money). But on the other hand, it’s been nice not having to factor walking the dog into my daily plans (When wanting to see a matinee at the theater, having a late-morning/early afternoon audition, or what-have-you). I’ve enjoyed not being tethered to my apartment by my dog-walking duties. If I want to leave the apartment mid-morning and be gone for the day, now I can do that.

One chronic worry I had with the dog? Just about every day, when I would go to get her, she’d be asleep right inside the door. And since she’s really old, she wouldn’t immediately get up when bumped by the door–or even when I’d call her name–so for awhile, the first thing that would pop into my head was “Oh Shit! She’d dead”. And I really didn’t want her dying on my watch (If she had died, I probably would have called Mark to break the bad news, though I’d have been tempted to just back out of the apartment, and tell him, “Hey, last time I saw her, she was fine”).


Had a workshop last night, with Sherrie Henderson of Dream Big Casting (They cast a lot of low-budget features).

She talked for days–a lot of casting people are frustrated actors/stand-up comedians–and I thought her scenes were terrible.

But she was nice, and seemed to genuinely like actors.

And I was pleased when, at the end of the night, as we were leaving, she raved over my expressive face, and said she was going to give my headshot to so-and-so and so-and-so (producers/directors of one of her projects, I guess). So we’ll see what happens.

Well, there’s so much more to write about, but I think I’ll save it for next time...


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