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12:50 pm - Sun 1/26/03
Sick Day

Sick Day

SAT 1/25/03 1:26 pm

Got back from the Missing Breath meeting about an hour ago. It ended up being much shorter than I expected.

I was about twenty minutes early, running into the director, Leor, on the way in. He asked if I had any questions, about the script or my part, which left me a little bit confused; I'd never seen the full script. And the only time I'd read my own part was at the initial audition.

I said, "Well, not unless it's been changed since I auditioned..."; Apparently, he thought I'd been mailed a copy of the script by Keith, the producer, but I hadn't (That kind of thing would typically hit me as a "red flag"--A situation where two people running a project each think the other guy has taken care of the details seems...problematic--but since it didn't matter to me one way or the other that I hadn't gotten the script already, I didn't think much of it).

When we got to the room, I helped him get the chairs into a circle, then he gave me a loose copy of the script, and I had my first full reading of it then.

It's really bad ( Actually, it would have to go through extensive rewrites to work up to being "really bad" ). The dialogue is terrible--As I read it, I thought, 1)"Nobody talks like this...", and 2) "What the hell are they talking about?"--there's symbolism that certainly eluded me, at least one character that doesn't seem like he needs to be in the script at all, and an ending I interpreted to mean exactly the opposite of what the director (Who I presume also wrote the script) intended.

It stinks. It stinks on toast.

But you know what? That's okay. After all, they're just film school students; they're supposed to be pretentious and arty at this point.

And for my purposes, it doesn't really matter if the overall film sucks or not. I'd like it to be a good movie, don't get me wrong, but I understand my scene and my character, and all I have to do is play my little scene and go home.

But I want to sneak in a little nap-time before work, so more on this and other exciting developments later...


Recently, I sent a form back to my old bookstore, to "cash out" my 401K there.

I procrastinated for a long time, I guess because this falls under the very broad category of "adult stuff I'm not good at". Then when 9/11 happened and the stock market went to hell, I felt downright paralyzed; I was afraid to just leave it, for fear the post 9/11 stock market would continue to be screwy and I'd lose all my money, but I was afraid to take it out too, because I thought "What if I take it out when things are at an all-time low, and then the market starts looking up again?".

(My 401K, at its peak, was something like $3700. Currently, it's $3000)

But we're about to go to war, and if I'm waiting for things to be "normal" again, it looks like I'm in for a long wait.

And then I thought, "If I can relieve at least one of my anxieties"--the one where I'm freaked out over being my age and having no retirement savings--"I should do that, and get this money into an IRA".

So I went to my bank with what paperwork I had for my 401K, and said I wanted to "roll it over".

They told me I needed such-and-such a form, which I could get from my old workplace.

So I contacted M.E. back at Schulers, and got such-and-such a form.

Then I procrastinated some more (Actually, I know I went to the bank on more than one occasion with the intent of getting this done, and no was was working the "Financial Planning" desk; Thinking positively, maybe the guy's done so well with his own "financial planning" that he doesn't need to work a full-time job!).

(I just called in sick to work. And for the record? Yes--I really am sick.)

Anyway, I finally went in, and started to put my name on the waiting list. And that's when one of the bank employees came up and asked me what I was there for.

When I told her I wanted to "rollover" my 401K, she said something about how they couldn't do anything for 60 days, how I should just have the 401K people cut me a check, etc and so on.

Well, I may not feel like I'm good at "adult stuff", but I know enough to know that just didn't sound right; The point of "rolling over" a 401K is specifically to avoid the taxes and penalties that occur if you just cash it out.

But I was confused and discouraged enough, to be getting this obviously wrong advice (And from my bank, no less!), that I went back home without having gotten my business done.

I called their hotline, and the person I talked to had no idea why someone at the bank would would tell me I should just cash-out my 401K and bring the check to the bank; She said I should go back, and told me what to say if I got the same wacko line.

And at that point, it hit me--"Jim, I understand you're worried about your future, but you've got problems in the here-and-now! What you need to do is take whatever money you get from this 401K and use it to get out from under."

So I took the such-and-such form, and instead of filling out the "rollover" stuff, I filled out the "Give me my damn money" stuff, and sent it to M.E. back at the old bookstore.

I don't think the penalty for "cashing out" is quite as bad as I thought--I was thinking they'd calculate the penalties, then pour a dixie cup full of pennies into my hand--and whatever I end up getting back will certainly help. The money situation right now is pretty dire, and it's the only spare money I have to bring to bear on the situation.

So bring it to bear I shall.

Well, I'm going to take a break, because my eyes are stinging with a combination of fatigue and sinus-y pressure, and I'm feeling a powerful desire to lie down...

4:00 pm

Superbowl is on...

I could care less about football, but I am kind of interested in the commercials (And there have been ads for both The Hulk and The Matrix Reloaded so far. The latter opens on my birthday). I also want to watch the special "Weekend Update" segment that NBC is programming opposite the halftime show.

I feel guilty for calling in today, but if you can't call in when you're actually sick, when can you call in?

As with other times I've called in, it's not so much being sick that made me decide to call in, as being in this place that's tired beyond tired. I'm dead on my feet, but I can't seem to do anything more than doze for a few minutes at a time (And I gave up on cold medicine years ago, after one-too-many times buying remedies that proceeded to do absolutely nothing).

But enough about me on my deathbed (My sinuses have gotten so bad in recent years, and I feel crappy enough as a rule, that it can take awhile before I realize I'm actually sick!)...

I'm bouncing back and forth from good to bad feelings so fast lately, that I sometimes don't know how I'm feeling at any given moment!

It was fun recently to have a couple of nice acting things happening; The Washington Mutual commercial (Where the casting agency asked specifically for me), the student film, and probably most importantly, the audition for Ed Begley's play.

These things gave me something nice to think about, something to make me feel like my life here isn't going to be Borders forever, hope that something's going to break for me soon (And the exciting thing about going out on these commercial auditions? With each audition, there's the chance my life will change for the better in a single moment).

I felt good about recently signing up for direct deposit (I know--pretty basic stuff--but it's a good sign that I'm willing to work on making my life run more smoothly). Often lethargy, and the comfort of habit, keep me from doing things that would actually make my life better.

It took me almost two years, but I'm glad I finally dealt with the 401K thing. I wish I wasn't having to steal from my future to fund my present, but at least the money is there to steal. And it's my money; I'm not having to ask someone else to help me deal with my problems(Well...actually I just borrowed $50 bucks from Cary, so I can at least pay the minimum on my outstanding credit card bills and not get zapped with late fees, but that's just a stopgap thing).

And a number of nice things have happened lately...

A week ago Wednesday, I saw a free screening of Chicago (It was advertized in Backstage. Typically I haven't been able to go to these free screenings, but this one fell on a day off). I had a great time--I thought the movie itself was huge fun, and the director and some of the other production people were there for a talkback afterwards (Though my decision to walk the 6 or 7 miles home afterwards turned out to be something of a mistake, since I ended up with blisters on both feet. But I did save 75 cents...).

I really enjoyed my recent breakfast outings, first with Chris, then with Nick.

And speaking of Chris, since he's SAG, he's been getting free movies sent to him, "for his consideration" during this award season. And he gave me his copies of 8 Mile, Igby Goes Down, 25th Hour, and Moonlight Mile. Pretty cool at any time, but in this period of particularly precarious finances, free movies are a very good thing.

And Kevin is going to send me a scanner that he isn't using (I can see using it for both "acting stuff" and D-land).

And when I went in to work yesterday, there was a late Xmas present waiting for me "from Santa" ("Santa" is Sharon Queneau. She's a lovely woman who works at the store, along with her daughters, Michelle and Robin. Days before Xmas, she had an accident at her home, severely injuring her knee. She's back home now, after surgery, but will probably be out for at least another couple months yet).

She'd bought me a Jansport backpack (Which I was sorely in need of; The one I had was falling apart).

Inside the backpack was a very cute beanie baby ("Nanook", a husky puppy who is now sitting on top of my monitor), and a four-pound bag of Jolly Ranchers, which are the greatest hard candy ever made, in my humble opinion.

Accompanying all this bounty was a very sweet note from "Santa"; It turns out "Santa" thinks more of me than I do of myself.

So there have been good times, there has been hope, there have been gifts. There has been a lot to feel good about.

And yet...


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