RANDOM PIC OF THE WEEK
I never considered Barry Gibb to be an historical figure, and I’m pretty sure we all know what he looks like already. So was this really necessary? Or did some random historical figure bear a striking resemblance to the only remaining Bee Gee?
While I was on the plane this past week listening to my iPod, “Show Me What I’m Looking For” by Carolina Liar came up. I hadn’t heard this song in a long time, and it sure sounded good! Now…it’s on my mind!
Monday the 3rd – TAKE A WALK ON THE MILD SIDE! – Just after 2pm I woke up and did some work around the house. I put on my walking shoes and my iPod and walked over to Kinko’s to get some color prints made of the presentation for my kid’s book and toy concept to show around at the upcoming Licensing Expo in Las Vegas. I was lucky enough to get them printed while I waited! I figured I’d have to go back the next day and pick them up. I bought some stamps at the post office, and then came home to record a few auditions. I wrote up the packing list for my Las Vegas trip on Tuesday (something I do EVERY time I travel to ensure I don’t forget anything important) and did a few other odds and ends. I grabbed a nap, and got up later to write Wally’s Week and start packing!
Tuesday the 4th – THAT BAG’S A DRAG! – All afternoon I spent finishing up packing for my trip later that night to Las Vegas. My housesitter Ariel arrived at 5pm to watch the pets for a few days, and I drove over to the Burbank airport to catch my flight. It’s only an hour to Las Vegas from Burbank so it’s really pretty convenient. I got on my 7:45 flight, got to Vegas on time at 8:45 and everything seemed great. When we landed everyone was standing up getting ready to deplane, but I stayed seated because I was in no particular rush. A gal got up and placed her Gucci satchel under her arm, and then turned to get her luggage out of the overhead compartment. WHAM! The corner of the satchel caught me right in the left eye! OUCH! Then the cab driver I got wouldn’t stop talking to me. He tried to talk me into letting him take me to a poker game. I told him I didn’t play poker, but was only in Vegas for a few days for work. Then he tried to talk me into letting him take me out to some clubs to party. I told him I don’t drink and I was only in Vegas for a few days for work. Then he tried to talk me into letting him take me to various “girly” clubs to meet girls. As tempting as it was, AGAIN, I told him I was only in Vegas for a few days and I was there strictly for work. He left me with his personal cell number in case I changed my mind. Good grief! Was this clown on a commission or something? Plus, it seemed that the route he took me to the Luxor was the long way, considering that the Luxor is at the end of the strip that’s closest to the airport. Hmmm. By the time I got to the Luxor and got checked in, my attorney had already turned in for the night. So she wasn’t interested in going to get something to eat. She had a very busy first day at the expo. So, I was on my own. I got a bite to eat in the deli downstairs, and then plotted my route to get to the Mandalay Bay convention center the next morning. I stayed at the Luxor on purpose, because it adjoins with the Mandalay Bay and is a fairly easy walk to get there. Plus the room at the Luxor was hundreds of dollars cheaper than the Mandalay Bay!! I took some Advil PM and hit the hay! But the air conditioning in the room wasn’t very good. I like to sleep with the AC on high, but after a few hours the AC would reset itself to Auto, and would shut off. Great.
Wednesday the 5th – EXPO-NENTIALLY GREAT! – I woke up at 10 and got ready. By 11 I met my attorney Stephanie outside of the expo so we could get my credentials and head on in. I had never been to anything like this before, so it was a learning experience for me. It was a world I was unfamiliar with. Stephanie was afraid I wouldn’t like it, and would think that the trip was wasted. Au contraire! I LOVED it! It was kind of like being at a Comic Con, but then again it wasn’t! There were all kinds of companies there who were looking for properties to license, and there were also lots of companies and individuals there who were looking to get the properties and ideas they owned licensed to companies. Though we didn’t have an official booth, Stephanie knew enough people that we could have impromptu meetings on the floor and show them my concept. I even saw several people I knew! Stephanie was amazed that I knew almost as many people there as she did! Our project was VERY well received, and we spoke with several interested parties. Though I had the “deck” (pages of information about our concept, complete with text and artwork) on my iPad ready to show, Stephanie and I found that the printed versions I had made at Kinko’s were FAR more useful. It allowed us to place the booklets in the hands of the people and show them the work. MUCH better than having to dig out the iPad, turn it on, swipe through things, etc. Good old fashioned analog printing on paper! Since the project is very nostalgic and has a retro flair, this old fashioned “printing on paper” thing was received as quite novel! After a few hours we extricated ourselves from the melee and hit a restaurant at the Mandalay Bay to have a quiet lunch and discuss what we had learned. Then we headed back to the expo for several more hours. Stephanie headed back to her room to rest, and I went back to my room to recalibrate before my evening dinner with my pal Bruce Kulick and his wife Lisa. The last time I was in Vegas (a few months ago for the Las Vegas Toycon) Bruce was on tour with his band Grand Funk, so we missed each other. But he was in town this time and we agreed to hang out. I hadn’t seen them since they moved there over a year ago! They picked me up at the hotel and we went to the Peppermill restaurant. I fell in love with this place when I was there for the Toycon. The Vegas-y/diner atmosphere is fantastic, and the music they play in the overhead system is amazing! It was exclusively 70’s when I was there last time, but this time it ran the gamut from 60’s, to the 70’s, to the 80’s. But during the dinner hour it was so busy, we really didn’t hear much of the music anyway. But it was good to catch up with Bruce and Lisa and have some yummy food! Then they drove me to their new house and I was amazed at how incredible it was. They got in an amazing area, and the house itself is stellar! They drove me back to the hotel and dropped me off so I could pack up for my flight on Thursday morning. I’m sure glad I came to the expo. I had learned SO much, and had met some many great people. The future ahead for this project of mine seems VERY bright indeed!
Thursday the 6th – 103 to 66?! – Even though my alarm was set to go off at 9am, so I could be up and out to catch my flight, I woke up at 7am and couldn’t get back to sleep. I was much too excited. So, I guess I was up for the day. I packed up, lounged around as much as I could, did the express checkout thing on my hotel room’s phone, and went downstairs to get a cab to McCarran International Airport. My cab driver was MUCH cooler than the one from a few nights previous. He said it was going to hit 103 that afternoon! I couldn’t believe I was leaving! I would LOVE that weather! But when I got to the airport, the fare was HALF of what the guy charged me on Tuesday night! That confirmed that my chatty cabbie had taken me the “long” way, and had…well…taken me! I got checked in, got through security, and then went to the Wendy’s in the Southwest Airlines terminal to get some lunch, which has become somewhat of a Vegas tradition for me now. I did that when I went to see Olivia Newton-John back in 2016, I did that when I went to the Las Vegas Toycon a few months ago, and I did it again. Though I haven’t had much love for Las Vegas in the past, I was starting to warm to the idea of the city. I know I’ll be back sooner rather than later. And I can definitely see that it’s a quickie-getaway destination for L.A. people who just want to get out of town for a few days and have some fun. As I sat there waiting for the flight to board, the monitor overhead said the temp in Burbank was hazy and 66. That’s quite a difference from the 103 Vegas was expecting later that day! I zonked out on the flight back to Burbank, and returned promptly at 12:45! I got my car loaded up, paid the parking fee and headed home. The whole trip had been really very flawless! (Excepting the horrible Gucci-bag-in-the-eye mishap and the horrible AC in the hotel room) I stopped at the cleaners to pick up my dry cleaning, hit the mailbox to get my mail, and then got home to pay Ariel and see Roxy and Spook. I had a few last-minute auditions that needed to be submitted immediately and started unpacking. Within a few hours my agent called and said I had already booked the job from one of the auditions I submitted! It was an ADR job at Sony studios in Culver City (ADR = Additional Dialogue Recording) which involved me doing a voice match for an actor who was on-screen. They decided to change some of the character’s lines, but either the original actor was unavailable for the session, or resided in a different location other than Los Angeles. The actor in question wasn’t a celebrity, but I sounded enough like him to make it work. So that meant an 8:30am call time on Friday would require me to get up around 6am on Friday for the long drive in Friday morning L.A. traffic to make it on time. Hey, work is work! I got busy cleaning out the Puppet Room closet, because as I was putting a few things away during my unpacking, I decided I’d had enough of this cluttery closet! First thing I did was to throw out every wire hanger in there. I rehung some of the costumes in there, reorganized some of the things I had stored, and tidied it up. Though it took several hours, it looked VERY organized now! I continued to unpack, did some laundry, and by now the day was slipping away. I ordered a Domino’s pizza and did some more planning for my upcoming trip to Sioux Falls, South Dakota for my parents’ 60th anniversary party. I completed my packing list, and I was pleased to discover that I didn’t need to pack a separate box to send items ahead, like I normally do. The trip was going to be so short, I could fit everything I needed into my checked luggage. Plus, my parents keep a supply box of toiletries and other items with them in Sioux Falls that they give me when I arrive. It really saves having to bring those items in my luggage every time I go back. Not having to go to UPS on Friday made me very happy, as my Friday schedule was already looking very full! I got to bed around midnight. It was a very long day. But not as long as the day ahead was bound to be!
Friday the 7th – 22 HOURS A DAY! – Again, though my alarm was set for 6:30am, I sprang awake at 6:20am and started the day. I got cleaned up and hit the freeway at 7am for Culver City, home of Sony studios. I’m not entirely sure why (who can explain L.A. traffic patterns anyway) but I made the trip in a mere 50 minutes! I was thinking it would take at least an hour and a half. So I got checked into the Sony lot a full half hour before my call time! When I got to the ADR stage, I met the sound engineer named Howard. As we continued talking, I realize that he seemed very familiar. I asked him if he did sound work on an old show called “Family Law.” Sure enough he did! I was in the “walla” group for “Family Law” back in the late 90’s! WILD! I looped some of the lines for a film called “Charm City,” and the folks on the production staff were very cool. I stopped by the studio store to buy some swag, and then left the lot. I stopped by Regenix to pick up some supplies, as they had moved to Culver City about 6 months ago from their offices at Cedars-Sinai. Though Culver City is a bit of a longer drive for me, I didn’t miss having to negotiate the craziness of Cedars-Sinai to get my supplies. As I drove around Culver City I could not believe how much it had changed since I lived there 19 years ago! WOW! But one of the things I always loved about Culver City was a Mexican restaurant named Campo’s. That was STILL there! I stopped by and had my usual #3 combo and enjoyed it immensely! Then I drove back to my area and stopped at Staples to buy some pens for the autograph signing I would be doing at the Robo Toy Fest this coming Sunday. I tried to get gas, but the line was REALLY crazy. This particular gas station has much lower prices than everyone else, but it’s such a hassle to get in there. So I left. I stopped to get some groceries, and I found out my pal Aaron (who works at the store) had to put down his German shepherd dog a week ago. Very sad, but the doggie’s health was deteriorating quite rapidly. There’s no greater pain in the world! I felt bad for him. I stopped by the hardware store to get a key made, and then headed home to put the groceries away. I did some work on the computer, did a few auditions, sent some e-mails, did some writing, and did a few other things. By now it was around 3pm. Some photos I was having printed for Sunday’s autograph show would be ready at a store called Prints Charm’n by 4 or so. So I got back in my car and headed back out. I got some gas and picked up the photos. At the photo store, I struck up a conversation with Earl Holliman, a great actor who has appeared in almost every old TV show I’ve ever loved. But he’s most famous for his work in “Police Woman” with Angie Dickinson. Which reminds me, I think I’ll order the DVDs of “Police Woman” and add it to my viewing queue! I got my photos and headed home to start cleaning up Planet Wallywood for a film crew that was coming later that evening to interview me for a new documentary about collecting. I got everything spic ‘n’ span just in time for my make-up gal Rebecca to arrive at 8. The two-man crew arrived around 8:15, and my pal Officer Mark arrived at 8:30 so he could shoot some photos of the event. I showered up and did my hair, and then Rebecca started doing my make-up. We started with a walking tour of part of my collection, and then we did a sit-down interview for about an hour. It was a blast! Jacob the cameraman said he’d be going to Robo Toy Fest on Sunday to shoot me signing autographs at the show. As they tore down and got ready to leave I ordered us pizza. When everyone left I spent some time cleaning the place up, putting everything back in order, and prepping for the activities the following day. By the time I got in bed and got ready to fall asleep, I noticed that the time was 4:20am on Saturday morning…a full 22 HOURS since I had first gotten up to drive to Culver City! 22 hour days for me are rare, but they DO occur. It had been quite a week! Whew!
Saturday the 8th – PETE, PUPPIES AND PUPPETS! – At noon I was up and ready to meet my pal Pete at a restaurant down the street to talk about a cool TV show idea we have. He’s a TV producer, but also a collector of all the cool stuff I like, and a few months back we hit upon a terrific idea for a show that’s never been done before. We enjoyed an outdoor lunch for a few hours, as the weather was exquisite! In fact, it was such a nice day, that when we were finished I decided to walk over to the hardware store and have another key made. The one I had made a few days ago didn’t work, so I needed to have a new one made. But I was feeling so great, and the day was so gorgeous, I decided to keep walking over to CVS and pick up a few supplies. I didn’t have my usual walking shoes on, and I didn’t have my usual iPod with me for tunes, but I didn’t need them. It was simply wonderful out, and it felt great to walk! And I got to meet some really cool dogs during my excursion. When I walked back home I settled down and did a little work. I took a short snooze and then got up to get ready for dinner with my pal Mark Evanier and friends. We were meeting at Frankie’s on Melrose, a legendary Italian restaurant, before we all went to the Henson studios in Hollywood to see a live presentation called “Puppet Up.” After a fun dinner, we drove to the lot and got checked in. “Puppet Up” is done infrequently, but it involves puppeteers who are also improv performers doing a very funny live presentation. Though it’s from the Henson Company, these are not the Muppets we’re used to seeing. It’s the brainchild of Jim Henson’s son Brian, and it’s basically like your regular improv show, where the performers take scene suggestions from the audience. But they use a variety of really cool puppets! It’s not for a young audience either, as it’s totally uncensored! I was pleasantly surprised to see that my old pal Grant was one of the puppeteers, as was a guy named Drew, whom I had met several times. It was emceed by an actor named Patrick Bristow, who I worked with on the first season of “Family Guy.” I also got to see Brian Henson in person, which was terrific! As a life-long Muppet fan, it was cool seeing him on stage looking very much like his dad. Even though he has his mom’s nose and mouth, he has the presence and physicality of his dad. I wanted to stick around and say hi to everybody after the show, but I had a very busy Sunday planned so I had to get going. Plus I needed to get my pal Valerie Perez back home, so I still had a full night of running around to do. But I’m on the mailing list for future shows, and I’m DEFINITELY going to go again!
Sunday the 9th – NO REST THIS SUNDAY! – After a short 5 hours’ worth of sleep, it was up at 8:15am to get ready to go sign autographs at the Robo Toy Fest in Pasadena all afternoon. My pal Scott Zillner produces these shows and I had promised him I’d come over to sign many months ago. When I got up I had a text from Officer Mark that he was outside my garage waiting. Though I hadn’t expected him to drive me, it was a pleasant surprise. After all, driving over together DID make more sense. Mark was coming over to shoot some photos of the afternoon’s festivities! I packed up all my stuff; photos, pens, other props and things, and we went to pick up my friend Sara, who would be assisting me at my table. The drive to Pasadena was quick, since we could use the carpool lane, and I got inside and got my table set up around 10:15. I had arrived a little later than I had expected, but I got there in good time and got to see everybody I needed to see. The video crew was there, and it was fun spending several hours chatting with fans and friends. Not only was it fun seeing some of the other Voice Actors who were also signing, but it was great meeting the people who love the shows and videogames I’ve been blessed to work on in my career. One couple, Alex and Rebecca, told me they drove all the way from San Francisco just to meet me! That blew my mind!! They even brought me some hand-made artwork they gifted me with. I’ve really never done much of this type of signing thing before, but I think I’m going to do more of it, as it was a great time meeting everyone and having an afternoon of laughs. But in order to get home, get changed, get my ‘adopted grandma’ Shirley, and get over to evening church, I had to leave the show around 3. But it looked like the people I needed to see had already been by the table, so it was late enough in the day I felt OK by making an early exit. I got home, changed clothes, drove over to get Shirley, and headed to the church (even though we were about 20 minutes late for the service.) But it was a great service and we then headed to Jerry’s Famous Deli for dinner. As I sat there eating my salad, the enormity of the incredible week had caught up with me. I was getting very tired! I took Shirley home, came back to MY home, showered and napped for about 4 hours. I got up later to do a bunch of bookkeeping work, reconciling my business receipts, paying some bills, and preparing a bank deposit. With all the fun I had this past week, now it was time to do “adult” things, which aren’t quite as fun. But the fun doesn’t stop here. The next week and a half were going to be very busy as well! This is just the beginning, and as the great Robert Frost poem goes, “I have miles to go before I sleep!” Onward and upward!
And how was YOUR week??!!
PIX FROM THE WEEK