RANDOM PIC OF THE WEEK
My folks just LOVE going to pancake suppers in South Dakota. Here’s a picture of my dad enjoying some flap jacks and tasty sausage!
Since I had been rehearsing this song all week, I just had to watch the amazing Barry Dennen perform it again from the “Jesus Christ Superstar” film. Amazing
Monday the 15th – INTERNATIONAL CALLS! – I was up at noon to prepare for a call from the UK at 1. It was from a television production company who was working on a special, and they found me on-line and reached out to see if I would be interested in participating. After chatting with the producer for about a half hour, I did some work around the house. Monsterpalooza weekend was fantastic, but now it was time to get down to business and get some things reorganized around the house. My persistent cough was still hanging on, though it was much better, so I spent the day trying to rest my voice as much as possible. Those violent coughs can really stress out the vocal cords! I took a quick nap later in the afternoon, and then headed over to my church’s social hall to rehearse for an upcoming event called Homeward L.A. – of which I’m going to be a part. The Homeward L.A. project was put together as a fundraiser for The Midnight Mission in downtown L.A.’s Skid Row, and it features various actors reading stories from formerly homeless people about their lives and struggles; including how they became homeless in the first place. It’s a fantastic project that will play in different venues all across L.A. for a 10 day period. Ours will be on Saturday May 4th at 8pm. Since my birthday is only a few days after that, I’m asking friends to buy a ticket to the event instead of getting me some sort of birthday present. For my birthday this year, I decided I wanted to do something to help somebody else. And this seemed like a wonderful option! Then after the show we’ll all go out for a later dinner together. Tonight’s rehearsal was a chance for all the actors to get together with the director and producer and hear their vision for the event. Then we did read-throughs of each of our pieces. I got home and typed out Wally’s Week, and then I got another international call at 11pm. This was from a videogame developer in Finland who wanted me to record some voice tracks for their game. While they gave me certain information about the character, I would be self-directing for the actual session. Is this the wave of the future? My nocturnal existence worked out perfectly for them, because just as I’m coming into my favorite time of day, the producer in Finland was just starting his morning; as they’re 9 hours ahead of L.A. time! Perfect! After our conversation I did my nightly auditions, and then set about doing the videogame session. I gave them two takes of each line, divided them up into scenes, edited out the mistakes, and uploaded them to the videogame company. It was fun getting feedback from the videogame developer as I uploaded the files! When I finished I did some work around the house, took a short nap, and then got up to walk and feed Roxy, make some pizza rolls and watch another two episodes of “Happy Days” from the second season DVD set.
Tuesday the 16th – I VANT TO DRAW YOUR BLOOD! – Boy did it feel good to sleep in until 3! Shortly after I woke up I decided to go over to a place called Quest Diagnostics to have blood drawn. My doctor and I decided it was about time I got a physical, since it had been a while. He wanted to start with all sorts of blood tests to see how I was doing. Then I’ll follow that up with an in-office visit to check my heart, and all the other stuff. Aside from the nagging cough from the cold I had a few months ago, I have always felt really good. I get my walks in, stay active, and don’t eat “too” crazily. Since the last thing I ate was at 8:30 that morning, before I went to sleep, it had been about 8 hours since my last meal. When you draw blood you have to fast to give them an accurate reading, so it was perfect! I got in, gave them the paperwork, had several vials of blood drawn, and headed over to Arby’s to get lunch. (So much for the “not eating too crazily” thing) But I was craving a beef ‘n’ cheddar! Then I went over to Fast Signs to pick up a new sign they printed for me for my Batman and Robin display. Since I added my updated Robin figure the signage didn’t properly reflect the credits for those who contributed work to it. I went to my mailbox and got my packages, and then got home and did some work around the house. I recorded an audition, and then grabbed a nap on the couch. When I got up, I started a project I had been promising myself I’d do for a while. Since Easter was approaching, and I committed to playing Jesus on Easter morning for the kids’ “Easter Walk” at church, I had to move some of my lifesize figures around in the Chaney Room to get at the closet door to dig out the costume. While I was there I found several other jackets and shirts that I no longer needed, that I would sell on eBay soon. I’ve sold so much stuff already, that opening my Chaney Room costume closet is no longer a dreaded experience. There was a time when I couldn’t squeeze even a t-shirt in there, it was so stuffed with clothes! But I have extra room on the clothes rack now, and it’s a beautiful thing! I got the Jesus costume out and hung it in my living room. While I had the figures moved around, and I had access to my record album cases, I decided to breeze through those and pull out LPs that I no longer needed. That case TOO was overstuffed with albums! I figured if I could just get rid of 20-30 unneeded albums, I would have a lot more room in the case for the albums to be pulled out and examined easily when I needed them. Just as I was unloading the shelves to peruse the records, the top shelf collapsed! One of the cheesy little plastic supports that had been holding the shelf up all these years finally gave up the ghost! Now I would need to go buy metal supports to replace them before I could put everything back where it belonged. I had three shelves of things in that case. The bottom shelf was full of record albums, and it had a plywood support to keep the shelf above it from bowing. Above that was another shelf of record albums, and again a plywood support to keep the shelf above that from bowing. And the top shelf was full of Lon Chaney books, photo albums and other resource materials. Since it WAS the Chaney Room, after all, that was the place for it. But books are heavy, so the shelf support just gave way under the pressure. It was bound to happen sooner or later, so I was glad it happened while I had everything out and was working on it. That particular shelf held records from A to P. I ended up pulling out about 20 albums that I didn’t figure I needed any longer. Plus, while I had everything out, I decided to file them in different categories. I split them into Soundtracks, Children’s, Comedy, and Music by Artist name. That way, I’d be able to land my hands on the album I needed much more easily. But until I purchased metal shelf supports at the hardware store I couldn’t do much more work with them. So with piles of records everywhere, and lots of lifesize figures standing around, I danced around the mess and shut the door to the Chaney Room for the night. I did one other audition, fed and walked Roxy, and then started with my big upstairs project that I had been planning for a while. Since I got my new Rowlf the Dog puppet made, I wanted to add him in with the other Muppet replicas I have in my Tranquility Zone (my master bedroom). I have two cases in my room that each contain toy representations of characters I’ve voiced in my career. Whenever I voice an iconic character, I’m always really adept at finding a representative action figure or related toy to add to the case. One case is full of toys from original animation or videogame characters I’ve performed (Tallest Red, Riddler, Ant Man, etc.), while the second case is full of anime characters I’ve performed when I dubbed Japanese anime into English (Renji, Wild Tiger, Dr. O’Shay from “Astro Boy,” etc.). I already cleared out the top shelf of the anime cabinet a while back to put my 1:1 Gonzo replica in there. So the bottom shelf was where I consolidated all of the anime toys. My Mahna Mahna replica Muppet has been in a custom-built Plexiglas case on top of the cabinet for a long time. But due to Rowlf the Dog’s size, I need to put him on the top of the cabinet (his custom-built case is currently being constructed by my pal Kyle at Plastic Depot in Burbank) and put Mahna Mahna in the bottom part of the cabinet where the anime toys were. So I decided to cull through the anime toys, remove certain redundant characters, and consolidate them with the animation toys in my first cabinet. Of course when you pull out toys that have been in a cabinet for a long time, there is quite a bit of dusting required, and rearranging of the toys so they all fit. It was QUITE the major undertaking. I found that removing the plush figures freed up a lot of room, as plush figures take up considerably more space than small plastic figures. In the main cabinet I got all three shelves dusted and rearranged. I was VERY happy with the results! I put Mahna Mahna in the bottom of the (what’s NOW called) the Muppet Cabinet. And I put Rowlf the Dog on top, while he waits for his case to be finished. I filled one whole giant plastic bin of toys that I removed from my anime case. If anybody wants a Renji, Dr. O’Shay, Wild Tiger toy let me know! Once I put the finishing touches on that, I took Mahna Mahna’s custom-built case and moved it to the Puppet Room. I put it on top of one of the glass cabinets in there, moved my Gonzo Photo Puppet Replica from Master Replicas into that case, moved some toys around and filled the cabinet, dusted a lot, and finalized the look. Whew! I finished up around 5:30am. Time to make a pizza and watch “Happy Days!”
Wednesday the 17th – “MEASURE TWICE, CUT ONCE!” – Once again I enjoyed sleeping in until around 3. I walked over to the hardware store and picked up some metal shelf supports to get back at my record album project. I got a sandwich at Subway and headed home. I put the new metal shelf supports in, but I had bought the wrong kind, so I needed to chisel a small section out of the side of the shelf in order to get it to fit properly. Once the shelves went back in the case, I refastened the back cover piece of the cabinet with screws and washers, dusted the entire thing top to bottom, and enjoyed my Subway tuna sandwich. I grabbed a shower and took a short nap. I got up later for my auditions, and then I started putting the record albums back in the cabinet; alphabetized and categorized. Some of the albums I pulled out are special ‘radio only’ released that I’ll try to sell on eBay. But the regular albums that have no particular importance I’ll just donate to Goodwill. Then I remembered what my late friend and contractor Terry Crisp always told me, “Measure twice, cut once.” I went upstairs to the Tranquility Zone to measure and REmeasure for my Rowlf the Dog Plexiglas case. Once I was sure I had the measurements right, I went to my drawing table, dug out some graph paper, and made detailed sketches of each of the components for my Rowlf the Dog case. It included the cover itself, as well as the rod and base that Rowlf would sit on. The old pointers I learned in Drafting class in Junior High sure were coming in handy! I made a pot pie and watched a few more episodes of “Happy Days” from the second season DVD set, just before they went to the dopey “live audience sitcom-y” thing. The episode called “Guess Who’s Coming to Christmas” actually made me teary-eyed, about Fonzie lying about his plans for Christmas. Henry Winkler was so freakin’ good in that show! He’s a national treasure! The “single camera” episodes were FAR superior to the “three camera” sitcom/live audience episodes they did. I wonder why they had to ruin it? The episodes from the first two seasons were touching, poignant, and really impactful. When they went to a live studio audience, it just became mindless fodder. Just before I turned in I got an e-mail from my Dr. about my blood test results. He said all was normal, but I may want to watch my carbs and sweets, as my fasting sugar levels were a bit higher than they should have been. Rats!
Thursday the 18th – THE TOOTH TRUTH! – Shortly after 2 I got up and drove Roxy over to the groomer for a bath. I got the Mustang gassed up and enjoyed the almost-90 degree day! I went to my oral surgeon’s for a follow up appointment to have my implant looked at. He X-rayed me and said it all looked good. The next step is to have him make a small cut over the implant, remove the small cap that is covering the aperture in the implant, put a small post into the aperture, and stitch me back up. Then I have my dentist take an impression with the post in the implant, and that post is what the crown gets attached to. But he had patients waiting and I had to go pick up Roxy, so we made an appointment in the coming weeks for him to numb me up, slice me, screw me, and stitch me. Sounds awful, I know, but it’ll be a welcome relief to have a tooth back there again. It’s been over a YEAR since the whole process began!! I hit the local Chick-Fil-A for lunch, got some groceries, and then went home to unload them. I put my cat Spooky in his bag and took him over to the groomer’s to have his nails trimmed. I picked up Roxy and we all went home to eat. I did some work, recorded a few auditions, and napped. I got up later to do some work in my garage, putting away all of the storage bins I had moved during last week’s Monsterpalooza festivities. It was a lot of work putting stuff away, logging new items that I had put into storage, and organizing the bins neatly into the storage area. I fed and walked Roxy, drove to Denny’s to get some food to go, came home to eat and do some writing, and then I hit the hay!
Friday the 19th – GOOD FRIDAY! – The maids were due between 2 and 4, so when I got up at 2 I spent some time doing some more writing while I waited for them to arrive. The arrived at 3, and while they cleaned I finished a new children’s story in the series I’ve been working on for a while. After they left I fed the pets, cleaned up and headed to my church for the Good Friday evening service. Several of us would be performing music from “Jesus Christ Superstar” for the service, and I asked if I could perform ‘Pilate’s Dream.’ I wanted to do it as a personal tribute to my pal Barry Dennen, (the original Pilate on the ‘brown’ album and in the film) who passed away a few years ago. We rehearsed and then started the service. It all went very well! Since ‘Pilate’s Dream’ is so short, and I know the show so well, I didn’t need lyrics and sang it from memory. After the service I went to Taco Bell to get some food, and then headed home to record the children’s story I had just finished. I grabbed a short nap on ‘The Most Comfortable Couch in the Universe’, and then got up later to feed Roxy. I laid back down on the couch again for another short nap, and then got up to take Roxy out for our late-night stroll through the neighborhood. It was cloudy and cool out; absolutely gorgeous! I promised myself I would make a Chef Boyardee pizza-in-a-box and watch a few more episodes of “Happy Days” before bed. Absolute paradise!
Saturday the 20th – DEAD BATTERY AND A DEMENTED DOG LADY! – Since I hadn’t had the Gran Torino out in a while, I figured it would be a perfect day to take it for a spin. It was cool and partly cloudy out, not too hot, so it was ideal! My first stop was the local lumber yard so I could have about ¾” taken off one of the support boards for my record album cabinet. Once I had changed out the shelf supports, the board was no longer fitting perfectly. The guy didn’t even charge me for the cutting. NEAT! Then I went to my mailbox to pick up several packages. I went over to the cleaners to drop off the Frankenstein bowling shirt I wore at Monsterpalooza the previous weekend, and then I drove over to JoAnn fabrics to do some shopping. Since it was getting dark I had the headlights on. But when I went into JoAnn’s I had forgotten to turn them off. Even though I was only in there for 15 minutes, when I came out to start the Torino, it wouldn’t start! The battery was dead! I guess since I hadn’t driven it in a while, all the short trips I took weren’t sufficient enough to charge the battery up all the way. And leaving the lights on didn’t help either. The only thing that draws power from the battery while the car sits idle is the alarm, which draws hardly any power at all. But since I hadn’t had it out in several weeks, the battery was just low enough to have insufficient power to crank over a fifth time. So I called AAA and waited. As I sat there waiting, enjoying the day, an absolutely crazy lady walked through the parking lot yelling and screaming nonsensical things at the dog she was with. I could tell she wasn’t right in the head. As luck would have it, she decided to stand on the sidewalk with her dog directly in front of my car. I was really hoping to avoid any sort of altercation with her, as I was stuck and couldn’t leave until the AAA guy came to jump me. The battery jump starter I normally kept in my trunk had been stolen during the initial theft of my Gran Torino back in 2016, and stupidly I never replaced it. Though she didn’t abuse the dog physically, I felt sorry for the poor thing having to take the verbal abuse from a very disturbed individual. On the light pole near where she was standing, there was a photocopied notice taped up with a photo and details about a lost dog. For no apparent reason she just tore the sign down and threw it in the gutter. Then she took the collar and leash off her dog and threw it down and walked away. Then she cuddled her dog’s face for a while, picked it up and walked away, leaving the collar and leash on the ground. When she returned she saw me sitting in my car and started yelling at me. I pretended to be on my phone, not noticing. I was hoping I had enough juice left in my battery to blow my siren if I needed to frighten her off, but it didn’t come to that. She said, “Every red car is a dirty car! There’s a mannequin sitting on the right with long hair! And no front license plate! And. It’s. A. FORD!” I wasn’t sure if she was on drugs, or certifiably insane, or both. But I was hoping the AAA guy would come soon. I really didn’t want her to come near my car and start doing something to it. But I REALLY felt sorry for the dog, as I’m sure it has to endure verbal abuse (and possibly physical) from her every day. When the AAA guy finally showed up he asked how long I had been waiting. Noticing the screaming crazy lady, he laughed when I told him I had only been waiting about 15 minutes, but it seemed like four days! He ran a diagnostic on my battery and sure enough, it was only half full. He jumped me with a jump starter and told me to run it for about a half hour to fully charge it again. By now the demented dog lady had moved across the street to hang out with her friends at the liquor store. I was more than happy to get out of there! As I turned the corner to leave, I saw the demented dog lady running towards me and full stride, yelling something at me. I wanted out of there…FAST! I decided to drive to an auto parts store in Burbank to get a jump starter. If indeed my alternator was faulty, I’d need it to jump it again to take it to the mechanic. The first place I went didn’t have one with enough cranking amps (the AAA guy recommended one with at least 1500). So I went to another one over by Lancer’s and Hobby Lobby. Convenient, since I needed to go to Hobby Lobby anyway. The auto parts store there had a jump starter that went to 1000 and I bought that. Without shutting the car off, I dashed into Hobby Lobby to pick up a few shirts. And then I was on my way. I got home and parked it in my garage, turned it off, and then started it up again. It started right back up, so I guess the battery and alternator were all good. I put the jump starter on a cord and began charging it up for the next 36 hours. I went inside to feed the pets, did some work, and then packed up my costume for Easter morning. I got a few hours’ worth of sleep before needing to be up early Sunday morning for the ‘Easter Walk’ at my church.
Sunday the 21st – HAPPY EASTER! – When the maids cleaned my room, they accidentally jolted my iPod out of the cradle on my alarm clock. Luckily, when that happens, the alarm clock beeps rapidly, instead of gently awakening me with a favorite song. So when the alarm went off at 8am, I heard this beeping. I sprang awake thinking it was the smoke alarm. Then I realized what happened, and I put my mind at ease. I showered and grabbed my costume bag and headed to my church. Every year our church has an ‘Easter Walk’ for the kids. They can walk through certain scenes and see actors portraying Biblical characters. This is about the fifth year I’ve done Jesus in the Last Supper scene, and it’s always fun. It’s the one Sunday a year that I actually get up early! I got my costume on and got ready. They always have animals at the event, and this year there was an adorable donkey named Marie, and a precious baby goat named Chip. The event runs from 9 to 10, and afterwards I change out of my costume and head upstairs to the social hall and enjoy the breakfast that’s put on by the church’s youth. I chatted with friends, enjoyed breakfast, and then walked back home. I did a little work on-line, but then started getting sleepy again. I laid back down and slept until it was time to get up for evening church. I hadn’t seen my ‘adopted grandma’ Shirley in a while. I found out that she had been in the hospital during the week because of some blood pressure issues. But she was feeling much better now. While she didn’t make it to the morning festivities, she wanted to be sure to be there for the evening service so we could go eat afterwards. When the service completed I walked home and the Torino started right up! WOO HOO! Every Sunday night on my favorite AM radio station K-SURF, they do Sunday Night 70’s. From 7 to midnight they play all 70’s stuff. It’s quite the deviation from their normal playlist, when they play the same old 50’s and 60’s songs over and over. I discovered it last week when I was driving back from Monsterpalooza in Pasadena. It was great driving around in my 1974 Gran Torino listening to all 70’s songs on AM radio! It really IS possible to time travel! Shirley and I drove to Coral Café and had a great dinner. I dropped Shirley back home, and then headed back to Planet Wallywood to do a little work, and nap on the couch. I got up later and did my auditions, put the Jesus costume away for another year, made my Saturday Night Super Salad (one night later) and watched an episode of “SNL” from the fourth season with Steve Martin as the host. But just as I was heading to bed around 8:30 I checked my e-mail. My friends at Fox needed me to record a voice-over for a promo, as they were under the gun to get it finished soon. I told them I could do it now. So I got my equipment ready, and they dialed in. We worked for about a half hour laying down the tracks, and then I edited them, cleaned them up and delivered them to their inboxes. By the time everything was complete it was about 11am. So, I headed to bed.
And how was YOUR week?!
PIX FROM THE WEEK
Chip the Kid steals the show at the Easter Walk!
I never thought I’d start the day by conversing with a Mourning Dove!
This foggy full moon looked like something out of a Universal monster movie! Striking!