Archive for the ‘Places in LA’ Category

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New work begins

January 2, 2009

OK, y’all.  We’ll try this again.  I’m doing my best to write the current entries, as well as rewrite and post ALL of my previous missing entries dating back to November.  My GOAL is to post one new entry here on the top page each day, and I’ll work on posting the make-up entries ASAP, several at a time.  I DO have entries and stories for the past month or more, believe me!  But it is a new year, so I thought it would be good to begin posting current entries again.  Then, when I post the back entries for Nov/Dec, it’ll be kindof like the Star Wars prequels or something.  Well, those weren’t universally loved, so maybe that’s not a great analogy.  Anyway, HAPPY NEW YEAR and thanks for reading!

FRIDAY
2 January 2009

Today was my first day working for Good Dog!  It was really foggy today, so Jocelyn and Chance – the couple that runs the rescue – called to tell me they’d opted not to set up for adoptions given the timing and the weather.

I was already on my way to Spot – the pet boutique in Beverly Hills they’ve partnered with for adoptions – when I got the call, so they asked if I’d go walk one of the adopted pups who had been returned that morning.  So sad.  His name is Bo and he’s a beagle/hound mix:

bo

Such a handsome guy.  I took this picture before Christmas.  Bo is the litter-mate of Diddley, the dog who has chosen me as his next guardian.  That situation is gonna take some figurin’ out.  And if Diddley truly is my pup, a name change is definitely in order.

Anyway, it seems Bo was causing a ruckus with this family’s other beagle.  Traumatic for both dogs, and definitely for the family that had to return him.  Ugh.  Adoption returns are never fun for anyone.  Bo will find the right family soon enough.

Anyway, a few of the younger volunteers, Natalie and Tatiana, had shown up, so Chance decided to go ahead and set up shop anyway.  There were no adoptions today, but I think an application or two were filed.  Tomorrow a litter of SEVEN Newfie pups that are eight weeks old are showing up.  That will be cuteness beyond all get out.

After the store closed and everything was packed up, Chance, Jocelyn and I had a pow-wow at Taco Plus to talk about a fundraiser they have coming up, and to figure out some other ways I can use my writing/producing skills to help them.  Good meeting, plus I love riding in their minivan with their 7 dogs!

Tomorrow we start earlier and go later, so it’ll really be a full day.  I’ll get a much better feel for what a typical day is like with Good Dog.  I’m so grateful Chance and Jocelyn have hired me on.  Clearly, they could smell my dog-loving freakishness from 10 miles away!

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A fantastic new year

January 2, 2009

OK, y’all.  We’ll try this again.  I’m doing my best to write the current entries, as well as rewrite and post ALL of my previous missing entries dating back to November.  My GOAL is to post one new entry here on the top page each day, and I’ll work on posting the make-up entries ASAP, several at a time.  I DO have entries and stories for the past month or more, believe me!  But it is a new year, so I thought it would be good to begin posting current entries again.  Then, when I post the back entries for Nov/Dec, it’ll be kindof like the Star Wars prequels or something.  Well, those weren’t universally loved, so maybe that’s not a great analogy.  Anyway, HAPPY NEW YEAR and thanks for reading!

THURSDAY
1 January 2009

I can not express in blog-space how excited I am about 2009.  The last year definitely presented its challenges, but I have come to peace with them and am actually grateful for all I’ve been through this year.  I know I am stronger, better and wiser than I was at this time last year.  Well, let’s hope I’m wiser!

The first day of the new year started at 6:00am when I heard my housemate Jeffrey come in from the New Year’s Eve festivities he attended downtown.  I heard the door open, but the footsteps weren’t Jeffrey’s.  I could tell because they were very fast-paced, very scritch-scratchy, and it was obviously more than two feet walking across the floor.

I went to see what the dealeo was.  There was Jeffery closing the door, but he had a guest: a furry little white poodle-type dog who was prancing around the room, tongue out, panting, happy to be alive.  “This dog followed me home,” he said.  Jeffery, not the dog.  I could tell he hadn’t been roaming the streets for a long time or anything, because it was pretty healthy and well-fed.  I got him some water, and we checked the collar for a tag.  Bentley was his name, and Jeffrey called the owner.  Here’s a picture I snapped with my camera phone (of Bentley, not the housemate).

bentley

Well, Bentley was about as happy-go-lucky as a dog can be.  We should all be so lucky to have this much enthusiasm for life.  I sat in a chair in the living room and Bentley jumped up next to me, put one of his paws and his snoots on my leg.  Jeffrey went to bed since he’d been up all night, and I wanted some extra rest, too.  I went back to my room and Bentley followed right quick, hopped up in the bed with me and settled in for a little nap.  Such a cutie.  If only my dates were as willing…

The call came for Bentley at about 8:30am.  Turns out he’d escaped the yard at 11:45 the previous night and had been wondering around all night, presumably until he found Jeffrey.  There were three other dogs who were still unaccounted for.  The woman who picked up Bentley was dogsitting him, but the other three dogs were hers.  She had been up and out all night searching for them.  What an agonizing start to the new year for her.  I am keeping my fingers crossed her dogs make a safe and healthy return home.  It turns out she works for the vet who does a TON of the veterinary work for the animal rescue group I am working with.  What’re the odds??

It being the new year and all, I FINALLY decided: “OK, damnit!  I’m going to the beach today!!”  I hopped on a #333 Venice Boulevard bus and was at Venice Beach in all of 10 minutes.  The ‘boardwalk,’ I am calling it – with all the shops, booths, tarot readers, street musicians and… let’s kindly call the rest a ‘unique cross section of the human species’ – was busy with walkers and gawkers.  I wasn’t that interested in the shops, a slice of pizza, a henna tattoo or a seeing a two-headed turtle at the Museum of Oddities.  I just wanted to visit the water.

The payoff was worth it.  It was really peaceful and beautiful.  Cloudy today, but here’s a picture:

venice-sunset-0011

I found myself wondering “How have I not lived here my whole life?”  It felt very natural to me.  Is Libra a water-sign?  I dunno.  I love the ocean:  the smell of the salt water and the sound of the waves.  The water crashing and the wind blocks out all the other sounds of the city… traffic, people, industrial hum.  It is quite magnificent.  I sat down and took some time to think about how truly grateful I am to simply be alive during this time.  I can’t explain it, but I know I am being watched over.  There is some greater purpose for me here, and I’m closer than I’ve ever been to understanding what that is.  2009 will be astonishing and wonderful.

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Day 84: A Very Brady Bike Ride

November 2, 2008

WEDNESDAY
28 October 2008

I had a meeting today with my seminar small-group coach Troy.  It was an interview of sorts, in that he has a project on which I may be able to help, so this was a chance to learn more about his project and show him some of my mad skillz.  I gathered a few of my corporate samples to show him.  I’m always hesitant to show my corporate work because it is such a completely different animal than feature work.  All the same, most of my projects in that milieu are pretty slick and high-end.  In addition, the budgets I’ve had to work with as a producer in the non-broadcast/industrial video realm have been larger than what most independent producers have to work with.  I’m learning more and more through this Flash Forward class that I have more transferable experience and cachet than I was previously acknowledging, and I’m grateful for this self-discovery.

Yesterday, I had to relinquish Robert the BMW to one of Darrell’s friends who would be using him for a few days.  With that, today became a bike & subway kind of day because I was meeting Troy in North Hollywood.

I haven’t talked about this for a while, and it sounds pretty ridiculous, but my riding acumen on this bike comes in fits and spurts.  Some days I’m super-confident, zipping down the streets, up driveways, down curbs, past gawking tourists.  Other days I’m as wobbly as Jan Brady riding her bike without her glasses (even AFTER Marcia confronted her).  Today was a Jan Brady day…

Let’s start with my bike helmet, and the fact that it looks like a consolation prize won at an 8th grade nerd convention.  I’ve had it forever, and it’s time for an upgrade.  It’s hard to feel like my usual suave and sexy self (ha!) once I’ve stretched the kevlar straps across my face and locked them together.  Today’s helmets are more sleekly designed and fashionable, which are adjectives that are not typically associated with me.  Even so, I’m able to deal with the geek factor because I’ve known people whose lives have likely been saved by their helmets.  Let’s face it, brains smeared on the pavement = not sexy.

On my way to the subway station, I went over a HUGE curb that must’ve been about 9 inches high.  Please don’t ask how I’m able to easily assess – almost unconsciously – this specific unit of measure.  Anyway, after my back tire hit the street, I heard a thud, and noticed the under-seat satchel that holds the bike lock and a spare inner tube had snapped off and was on the ground.  Ugh.  Great.  Another item to carry around in my already over-stuffed backpack.  I’m grateful I heard the thud, though, otherwise I would have arrived at my meeting unable to lock up the bike.

The best moment, however, was when I was riding past a restaurant on Sunset Boulevard.  Since it was a sunny day – what else is new? – this fine, upscale establishment had some shade umbrellas up to protect the delicate patrons out on the patio.  The umbrellas were out in the middle of the sidewalk right in the riding path, AND they were angled at 45-degrees, so it’s not like I could very well duck under them.  I’m not painting a great picture here, I admit, but suffice it to say the damn umbrellas were in my way.  As I was delicately attempting to navigate between one of them on one side and a light post on the other, my shoulder BARELY grazed the umbrella and over it fell.  SOOOO embarrassing.  Truly.

I stopped, parked the bike, and walked back to reset the thing.  This particular umbrella had been protecting a table of 7 or 8 twenty-somethings, all of whom were now looking at me like I had just touched down from the planet Neptune. Their faces were contorted into various shapes of disbelief, repulsion and utter confusion.  It was as if they’d discovered their trust funds had been depleted, I’d keyed all of their cars and was now going to force them all to wear clothes from The Gap.  I could see the wheels turning as they soon looked to one another for what to do next.   I imagined the whispers: “OMG, do we call someone?” or “Don’t look directly at him.” or “Poor people are so clumsy.”

It was one of the more amusing anecdotes from my otherwise busy day.  Oh!  After my meeting with Troy was over, I stayed behind for a while at Panera and saw Tim Allen, the Home Improvement/Santa Clause movies dude.  He parked his car, plugged the meter and, I’m guessing, was just a-walking around NoHo tending to some errands.  So weird to see celebs in their natural habitat.  Perhaps, like me, you are wondering what the hell he’s been up to lately.  Here’s some info about that. There’s actually a Toy Story 3 in the works.  Who knew?

Otherwise, not much more to share today.  The Jan Brady incident had a lasting effect that carried me through the whole day…

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Day 82: The USPSWTF

October 31, 2008

MONDAY
27 October 2008

Dear God, what a day.  With so many phone calls, emails, names, numbers, ideas, people, places & things oozing out of my brain, I half-expected to find a word jumble on my pillow this morning.  I knew a lot of my energy today would be trying to wrap what is left of my mind around all of the information downloaded to me over the weekend.  I managed to be pretty successful though, and got through a lot!  I’m not sure I will continue to be as productive, but I’ll sure try.  After all, with no housing at the moment and still seeking gainful employment, I DO have some basic needs to which I must tend.  Food and shelter, anyone?

This was the day, however, when I decided it was time for my own mailing address.  I can’t keep imposing on Darrell to meet me every 3 or 4 days with my mail.  That ain’t right.  I went online to determine what I needed to take to the post office so the process there would be quick and painless.  Lo and behold, I discovered you can now apply and pay for the PO box online, so it simply becomes a matter of taking the application into the post office (along with two forms of ID), getting your keys and voila!  You’re off and running.  Fantastic!

I arrived at the West Hollywood post office with everything in perfect order.  FINALLY!  In another 10 minutes, I could cross this off my list.  Woo-hoo!  The wait in line wasn’t all that long.  The clerk was friendly and reviewed my application to make sure everything was correct.  I handed over my two forms of ID – my shiny new California driver’s license and my U.S. Passport.  It was about 10 seconds later when I think I heard an audible SCREEEEEEEECH as the PO box application process came to an abrupt halt.  “I can only accept one of those as a form of ID,” the clerk informed me.  “The other needs to be a secondary form… a voter registration card, a lease agreement, a work ID.”

HUH??!!  I admit, I didn’t think she was serious at first.  I told her that online at usps.com, there was a page indicating the acceptable forms of ID, and that these were both on the list.  “I know, but the website is wrong.”  OK, then… “Do you have a mortgage statement or a rental agreement with you?”  Of course!  I always carry any and all housing documents on my person, just for special occasions like these.

“What about a corporate ID?  A work ID with your photo?” she asked next.  This was confounding to me – the idea that a corporate photo ID would trump my U.S. passport, even if I worked at, say, Chuck E. Cheese.  Or Eastern Onion.  Or Raging Stallion Studios (imagine THAT company’s holiday party).  In this circumstance, these IDs have more power than my government-issued passport.  Last time I checked, it was the same government that owned the very building I was standing in, and employed the clerk I was speaking with.  I can travel to China wearing a bath towel and a jockstrap as long as I have my driver’s license and passport, but I can’t rent a 3″x5″ post office box in West Hollywood with them.  Can I get a “WTF?!”  Incidentally, I would not be surprised if someone actually HAS walked into that post office in a bath towel and jockstrap at some point.  Remember, we’re in West Hollywood.

“So…” I posited, “with these two forms of government-issued ID, both of which are acceptable as indicated right here on line 5 of my USPS PO box application…” – I pointed to the document for emphasis – “…you still can’t help me?”

“I can’t,” she said.

I took a deep, cleansing breath and tried to go to my happy place.  “Is it just me, or is it completely ridiculous that the information on your website and on this application in front of you doesn’t match what you’re telling me?”  To be clear, I wasn’t mad at her or bitchy with her.  I was matter-of-fact.  She’s just doing her job and giving me the facts as she knows them.  I simply wanted to make sure I wasn’t off my rocker.

“No I hear you, and I get it,” she said.  “Welcome to the United States Post Office, sir.”  Well, that’s reassuring. If I’m not mistaken, this is the same organization that will be delivering my election ballot to the county registrar in the next few days.  Wonderful.

She handed me another list – dated April 2004, FYI – of acceptable forms of secondary ID, and told me if came back today with another one of them, I could go directly to her window without waiting in line again. The only other item I had on the list was my voter registration card back at Darrell’s, buried God-knows-where in one of the boxes I cart from place to place.  I did manage to find it, went back to the post office, and of course, she was on her coffee break.  Internal heavy sigh #1.

Another clerk helped me set up the box and gave me my keys.  I asked to buy some ‘forever’ stamps, and was told she didn’t have those.  More blank staring from me.  “You can buy them in the vending machine outside.  It takes credit cards.”  Internal heavy sigh #2.  If I thought an audible heavy sigh would have gotten me something, I would’ve gone for it.

I did manage to find a helpful manager outside by the vending machine, and told her about the past hour-and-a-half of my life with the USPS.  She said the website changed about a month ago, and they’ve been dealing with situations like mine ever since.  I also pointed out that this conversation was probably happening in every post office, in every state, every single day.  Like the clerk before, she empathized with my frustration, threw up her hands and said, “Welcome to the United States Post Office, sir.”

Is this their slogan now?  Did I miss an advertising campaign?  “Welcome to the United States Post Office” inflected with the tone “We totally suck.”  Time for a new ad agency, wouldn’t you say?

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Day 81: Brain… so… tired…

October 31, 2008

SUNDAY
26 October 2008

This morning I woke up early, and the plan was to drive into Burbank to have a coffee and spend a few minutes preparing for the seminar.  I had a Starbucks gift card Hank sent me for my birthday.  Yes, Hank my dog.  Sidebar: I asked my ex how it was possible that Hank’s income was currently exceeding mine, such that he could afford to buy me gifts.  I’m was informed Hank is doing some modeling for Abercrombie & Fitch and also testing a new line of Prada dog booties.  Hmmm.  As photogenic and booty-loving as Hank is, I’m not 100% convinced.  If it’s true, I think I should be netting some of those residuals, right?!  Regardless, I’m grateful for the thoughtful gift.

Anyway, in Burbank I fired up the Verizon GPS to get a 20 on the closest Starbucks.  Unfortunately, all the closest Starbucks that kept coming up were on-site at Disney Studios or on the Warner Brothers lot.  DANGIT!  I can’t get to those.  It’s unfair and downright mean for Verizon to offer them up as suggestions when I can’t access them without a three-picture deal.

I manage to track one down on San Fernando Boulevard, find a rock star parking space, go in to order… and my gift card is gone.  Oh HELL no!  There was still $11 on that thing!  I ordered my tall decaf coffee and sulked for a while before I was seminar-bound.

My friend Tori is one of the coaches in the seminar.  As soon as I walked in she asked how I was holding up.  I talked about my whole housing/employment quagmire and she suggested maybe I need to revise my goal for the seminar, noting I needed to tend to these very basic needs.  I was still exhausted from yesterday, and I know her intentions are for my greatest good, but it wasn’t a conversation I was ready to have at that exact moment.  Unfortunately, it came out something like, “Tori, I am so overwhelmed right now with everything, and spent all day yesterday getting to full speed with this other goal,.  Now you’re asking me to make a complete 180, and I can’t even process that at the moment, so LEAVE OFF!!”  OK, I didn’t say the last little part.  Since she reads people’s energy, she likely sensed I was at my saturation point and didn’t press further, bless her heart.  I took a few deep breaths and did make a point to speak to Suzanne (the seminar leader) before the day’s lectures began.  She helped me make some revisions to my course plan.

Sunday was another amazing seminar day.  One of the highlights for me was the idea that this Hollywood thing is really a big game we should be having fun playing, otherwise why do it?!  Suzanne talked about this in her morning lecture, likening it to playing with our toys when we were kids AND deciding who you want to play with.  Her husband James, a writer and showrunner at Fox who was one of our guest speakers for the day, reiterated it in our small group Q&A with him.  It puts everything I’m doing into a very different perspective, and I’m grateful both Suzanne and James embody this philosophy.  It’s such a great way of thinking about things… and all of life, really.  We are here to enjoy it!  To feel good!  To have fun!  With all their success, they are living examples that it works – and the fact they want to share that energy with other people in the industry is inspiring to me.  Yes, I’m sounding a little like a broken record, but that’s OK.  Sometimes you need to hear something 50 times before it sinks in.

After two days in close quarters with all of these seminar participants… I am more strongly motivated than I have felt in a long, long time.  I’m expecting great things to come out of Flash Forward, and am equally excited to see what everyone else in the class will achieve.  At this point, however, my brain simply can not process any more information.  Quite frankly, I’m amazed I can formulate sentences at this time.  As much as I want to jump into the work tonight, I think I need to sleep and recharge so I don’t crash and burn.

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Day 76: Meanwhile, back at the manse…

October 24, 2008

TUESDAY
21 October 2008

Ed and I packed up his SUV this morning – got the bike in there and everything – and he drove me into West Hollywood to Darrell’s house. Aaah, it is lovely to be back at the manse, if only for a short time.

Darrell is having his kitchen counters replaced, so everything’s kinda spread out all over the place.  The silverware is in the pantry, the dishes are in the living room and the closest running water is in the bathroom sink in the hallway around the corner.  The small island in the kitchen is the only place to set dishes, keys or anything else.  It will make for some creative meal prep and clean-up, to be sure.

His new tenant Christoph has also moved into the studio apartment in the lowest level of the house.  This is the cool kind of dude Darrell is:  he essentially told Christoph he can do whatever he wants to the place, aside from any kind of major demolition.  At this point, I can hear Christoph hammering away on what sounds like major construction, and Darrell offered him the use of any unused paint in the garage.  Christoph is keeping the whole project under wraps until it’s complete.  Having seen the ‘before’ version of the apartment, even I’m curious to see what the transformation will look like.

I thought Darrell was leaving tonight for Fort Lauderdale, but he told me it’s actually tomorrow night.  I’m sure he told me the correct date and I just flip-flopped it in my own mind.  Grr.  With that, I felt bad I’d made plans to hang out with another friend tonight, kinda like, “Hey, thanks for the invite to stay here again for free.  I’m all moved in downstairs, so see you later!  Hugz!”  I’m not sure if Darrell had plans for the night or what, but had I not messed up the days in my mind, it would’ve been cool to hang out and catch up.  As I’ve said before, Darrell is very logical & left-brained, whereas I’m the right-brained “ooo, colors, shapes and esoteric things” type, so I like hearing his perspective on my job hunt and my other misadventures thus far.

Darrell was kind enough to drive me down the hill for a business meeting.  My Dreamworks Animation contact had put me in touch with a colleague of his who works at Activision.  I think went pretty well… he was as gracious and generous with his time and feedback as the majority of industry people I’ve met in LA have been.  We chatted a long time, and I was grateful he seemed genuinely interested in learning about why I was here, what I was trying to accomplish in LA and how he might be able to help me move forward.  I left the meeting totally charged, again feeling grateful that these are the types of industry people I am fortunate to keep meeting!

I had dinner with my friend Doug, and for dessert we visited Greenblatt’s Deli, which felt like it was plucked from New York City and dropped down right on Sunset Boulevard.  After a big ol’ piece of chocolate cake – yeah… that healthy food plan I was starting… what happened to that?  – it was time to head home for bed.  Busy day… moving, meeting, cake with enough sugar to induce a diabetic coma, etc… pretty tired at this point.  More tomorrow.

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Day 67: Out and about

October 14, 2008

SUNDAY
12 October 2008

Today was my second visit with Tinkerbell.  When I arrived, Marilyn told me that last week, little Miss TB hurled chunks about an hour after I brought her home, so she must’ve eaten something disagreeable on our outing.  After seven years of walking Hank, who is constantly panning and scanning for anything and everything edible, I’ve learned to watch for unsavory items a dog would go for.  I’ve also extracted some heinous things out of Hank’s maw, so nothing phases me in this respect.  Still, Tinkerbell must’ve snuck something past me.  After all, her head is only about 6 inches from the ground, and according to Marilyn, Tinkerbell is quick and crafty.

We walked a little over three miles and it was all business.  There would be no dallying, no grass eating, no yipping at other dogs and sending them into shock.  She’s a smart little thing and caught on quickly that that I would tolerate no shenanigans today.  Her furry little two-inch legs were working overtime, but she stayed right beside me the entire time.  Adorable.  I stopped now and then to let Tinkerbell tinkle, gave her some praise just for being darling and off we were on the next leg.  She really is a sweetheart, but still, it was hard to pass a cute jogger or otherwise studly neighborhood resident without feeling like I was wearing a sparkly pink tutu.

This afternoon, my friend Tony – the internet-ordained minister – offered to pick me up in West Hills so we could check out the Valley Pride festival.  I figured it would be a good way to get out and see some of my peeps, plus it was on the CBS Studios lot.  This isn’t the big, no holds barred LA festival, but I still figured it’d be fun people watching and it was a lovely day out, despite there being wild fires raging a few miles away.

The crowd was small, but we found all the usual Pride booth suspects:  political action groups, churches, STD awareness organizations, social groups such as the gay men’s chorus, country western line dancers and even a gay polo league.  We’re talking polo with horses, saddles, helmets, pads, boots, chaps, whips, tack, stick bags, balls and buckles.  With that line-up of accessories, suddenly that booth’s inclusion at a gay pride event made much more sense to me.

There were food booths, entertainment stages and all the other requisite gay-owned businesses hawking their wares to the community – financial planners, clothiers and MANY wedding-oriented businesses such as wedding planners, caterers, photographers… you name it.

As is typical at such events, every other person is asking you to sign up for this group or that, take this test, enter a contest, etc.  There was a rather aggressive group that called themselves the Hep Team, which I thought was a somewhat unfortunate moniker.  They were there to promote awareness of getting Hepatitis shots, bless their little hearts, but they weren’t exactly keen on taking “I’ve got all my shots, thanks” for an answer.  I didn’t think I’d need my vaccination card to stave off harassment.  Geez.  Would you like to hook me up to a polygraph machine, Pushy McPush?

Otherwise, it was a laid-back afternoon at the festival and very fun people watching.  Of the shows they shoot on the lot, I saw the stage for Samantha Who, and I love that show!  Just the thought that the lovely Christina Applegate glides to work every day just feet away from the “Free Sling Rides” booth gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling all over.

After the festival, Tony and I went into West Hollywood for eats, coffee and more man-scoping.  Tony is great to talk to, and I liked hearing about his life out here.  Also, his eyes didn’t glaze over when I would yammer on about Law of Attraction stuff.  It seems he’s on a similar page, so that’s a plus.  He also said he’d be willing to help me assess my resume and re-categorize/re-label my work and experience into “LA parlance”, so I’m pretty stoked about that.  Another important charge for the coming week!