Monday, December 13, 2010

My Very Quiet Year - and 1/2

It has been one and one-half years since I last blogged. Yeah, that's quite some time off. I guess it is about time for an excuse and an update.

Well, I guess I just didn't have a compelling reason to post anything. This blog evolved from a racewalking training diary to a way to keep in touch with my nephews to saving some interesting notes and articles for future reference to sort of a pointless collection of wandering musings. Note that my last post was about downsizing to one car and a scooter, but there was a lot more going on at that time that I didn't write about. Why? Maybe I was a bit afraid--afraid that what I was doing would be a complete failure or perhaps I might be doing something wrong and a government agency would use my post as proof of illicit activity.

Enough with the fear, it seems that there is way too much of it going around these days. As for what wrong I might be doing--I'm having so much fun that it probably isn't legal. We did a few upgrades to the studio that the previous owner built over the garage and converted it into a very cozy guest house. Then we moved into the guest house and rented out our main house. Now for the best part, when I finished up the show I was working on at DreamWorks Animation, my wife Rosie and I took a trip to Greece and toured around some of the islands. When we got back I enrolled at Los Angeles City College and signed up for drawing and guitar class. I went back to work between semesters, but just long enough to keep my union hours updated so that we wouldn't lose our health insurance benefits. Oh, and we also took a trip to New Mexico to deliver a car to a friend who was working out there and another trip to Spain for a friend's wedding.

All this traveling around has changed my perspective on the world, or more specifically on how we live in the United States of America. We downsized and rented out our house so we could work less and have more time for ourselves. In other words, we wanted to check out of the rat race. Not surprisingly, people in the US tend to work more and travel less than Europeans. I think that a part of that is the fear that the government has instilled on its population, of course there are terrorists going after Americans--just look at the government's foreign policy. In addition, we have higher medical costs than most countries. In fact one of the main causes of bankruptcy in the US is caused by medical bills. The one thing that is keeping us in the workforce is the fear of losing our health insurance. If we need to buy the coverage that we're getting from the Motion Picture Industry Pension & Health Plan we'd need to find a part-time job. However, there are no part-time jobs in our professions, there are only jobs with long days. No wonder one of my co-workers at DreamWorks used to say, "yeah I served time on that show" whenever we talked about work.

Where am I headed from here? I'm playing around with doing some hand-drawn animation. I've only done a little bit of it so far but it is great fun and totally different from the army of "creative" people employed by the studios cranking out ****--well, I guess it's called entertainment. Sometimes something really good comes out of Hollywood, but not very often.

I'll be getting back to posting, if for nothing else than to save a few notes and have them out in the open to share with anyone--without fear.


Unknown said...

Great post, Dan. Yeah, most of us Americans have no idea how it is in the rest of the world. I really admire how you and Rosie figured a way out of the system. You guys rock!