RANDOM PIC OF THE WEEK
Of all the weird things, on my Twitter feed these two Tweets came in on top of one another. What are the chances that a Tweet about a new Catwoman comic and a picture of Lee Meriwether would end up juxtaposed together???!!
While spinning around the dial on the satellite the other night, I came across an old Heart concert. And listening to “The Dog and the Butterfly” gave me such peace and tranquility. This song is truly a gem. Here it is…
Monday the 9th – PHONE PHUN! – My day started with a conference call regarding the Voices Against Cancer event we’re staging in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on June 27th. I spoke at length with a friend of mine from church who is a brilliant marketer, and his friend who is a well-known event planner. Then I got on the phone with my friend Joe regarding my kid’s book project. My attorney had recently returned from Toy Fair in New York and had lots of great news for us to share within our group. We’ll be making some definite decisions very soon regarding an agent to present the product to the publishing world! Very exciting! I had fully intended to go for a walk to get some errands run, but by the time all my phone conversations had finished it was too late. I did a few things around the house and then grabbed a short nap. I got up later to write out Wally’s Week and do some auditions. It was raining very nicely out, and we’re expecting rain off and on throughout the next week. We’ve hardly gotten any rain this winter at all, but it looks like we’re going to get all we need over the next two weeks. We really need it!
Tuesday the 10th – TIME FLIES! – While I was working on an independent film late last year I met a gal named Croix Provence who was fascinated with the world of Voice Over. Since she usually works as an on-camera actress, we shared notes on testing the waters of each other’s businesses. She just finished two Voice Over demos and we talked about strategy over a 3 hour lunch meeting at Jerry’s Famous Deli. It was a good conversation and she’s well on her way to entering the field. By the time we got done, however, it was too late to get to the jewelry store to get my watch fixed, or to go to my effects guy Jim Ojala’s studio to drop off a piece to be molded for some puppet eyes. So instead I headed home to do some work, record an audition, and grab a nap in the Puppet Room. I got up later and did a lot of work around the house, made some food and did some organization. I started working on the design for my Animal Muppet cap (to go with my Rowlf and Oscar the Grouch caps) and then headed to bed to watch “The Mod Squad.”
Wednesday the 11th – MAKIN’ MOLDS! – There weren’t any meetings scheduled for today, so it was an all Wally day. As I drove around I started hearing some reports on the Wuhan flu that could alter the societal behavior of us Americans. It was a bit concerning. I drove to Kit Kraft to pick up some molding compound, as I decided against bothering Jim with my little puppet eye project. He’s busy moving his studio to a bigger facility, and the last thing he needs is for me to bug him to make some stupid little puppet eyes. So I’ll make the molds and copies myself to take to Plastic Depot and have vaccuformed for me needs. I went to my box to get my mail, got some food at the McDonald’s drive-thru, and then headed home. I started mixing up the molding compound (similar to the stuff they use when your dentist takes a mold of your mouth) and made a few “negative” copies of my eyeball form for my “Beautiful Day” puppet. At first the mixture wasn’t working out so well, but I tried it a few more times and found a nice mix. Once I had the negative molds made I poured in some stuff that’s similar to plaster to make the hard copies that I need to give to Kyle at Plastic Depot to vaccuform. Vaccuforming is a machine that heats up a large sheet of plastic with a heating element, and lowers it onto a screen with amazing vacuum suction from below. The suction draws the warm plastic around the thing that you want molded (called a “buck”) and when it cools down you have a plastic copy of your buck. Pretty swell. Masks are made like that all the time. As I let the molds set I grabbed a short nap, but was awakened by the sound of my cat Spooky going insane again. During the evening I leave my screen door shut and locked, but leave the heavy door open to get the nice, cool air into the house. But sometimes a neighborhood cat will approach outside the screen door and challenge Spook, which drives him nuts. He obviously can’t get to the cat (though I considered letting him out once so he can see how “un-fun” fighting really is) so he gets wild-eyed and fuzzy-tailed and starts howling wildly and tearing around the house. He always seems to want to take his aggressions out on poor Roxy, the most peaceful dog on the planet. And that’s when she comes running to me with the look of “save me” in her eyes. When this happens, I have a spray bottle of water that I keep handy for when Spooky misbehaves. He despises getting drenched, and when he goes crazy like this, that’s exactly what happens. I’ll chase him down with the bottle and back him in to a corner and drench him so completely it looks like I put him in the shower. Eventually he relents and settles down. I’d like to get a second sprayer and fill it with vinegar that I can spray the neighborhood cat with to get him to stay away. But perhaps I’ll look into other “cat be gone” options the next time I’m at my local pet supply store. I recorded my nightly auditions, pulled out the bucks for my puppet eye pieces, and hit the hay.
Thursday the 12th – GNARLY NEWS! – At high noon I met with my old pal Michael Reagan for lunch at Paty’s in Toluca Lake. He’s the son of former President Ronald Reagan, and I met him many years ago when he was doing a talk show at a radio network, and I was there doing radio comedy for another department in the company. He was nice enough back then to welcome my parents to his office whenever they visited Los Angeles, and we’ve been friends ever since. Oddly enough, on the rare occasions we meet we never talk about politics. It’s usually about his family, or the broadcasting business, or other stuff. I would imagine he gets sick of talking about politics, since that’s his business, so we take great delight in talking about other stuff. It’s always good to see him. It was raining pretty hard when we finished lunch, and it was good to see L.A. wet. I drove over to Wienerschnitzel to get a banana split for desert, and sat in my car eating it, with the heater on, listening to the news reports on the radio. This Kung Flu thing was becoming more concerning, as world governments strongly alter their societies. As luck would have it, I had a doctor’s appointment at 2 so I could get an allergy medicine refilled by the doctor. We had a chance to chat a bit about what was going on in the world, and my doctor said, “It’s a lot like the regular flu. But we don’t quite know yet how it’s going to behave.” He didn’t seem too alarmed about it, but perhaps it will make people a little more conscious about their personal hygiene going forward. I’ve been a germaphobe all my life, and I always have hand wipes at the ready wherever I go. When I see people coughing and sneezing out into the open I shudder. But maybe now all that’s changing. I came home to walk Roxy, and then I drove over to Studiopolis to record 2 hours’ worth of voice tracks for a new anime film. I get to play the main villain, which is always fun! By the time the session ended we had completed about half of what this character needed to do, so we’re right on target. We’ll pick it up again next week. I came home and fed the kids, and napped to the rain on the couch. It was nice. When I awoke I worked on my “Dreams Come True” speech that I’ll be giving at my friend’s Mensa anniversary event in Costa Mesa in 3 weeks. It’s my standard speech I give about how an average kid from the Midwest dreamed big dreams and accomplished things that ended up being beyond his wildest dreams. I show examples of things I was into as a kid, and then juxtapose them against how things turned out later in my life. I presented a version of it at Siouxpercon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota last September and it went very well. But I’m embellishing it a little bit more for this meeting. But I’m hearing that Disneyland is closing until April 1st, and all sporting events are being cancelled until further notice. So I’m starting to wonder if the Mensa event will even still be on. EEK!
Friday the 13th – ZOMBIELAND! – Normally I enjoy Friday the 13ths whenever they come around, but this one was not good. I pulled into the Jerry’s Famous Deli parking lot at noon to meet with my friend Chris about Voices Against Cancer, and the parking lot was mostly empty. That’s very unlike Jerry’s during peak lunchtime hours, and I was starting to suspect that many people are staying home in fear of the news reports about the Wu Flu. As Chris and I dined, the restaurant did fill up a little more, but nowhere near what it usually is at lunch time. When we finished I went to CVS to get my prescription filled and it was a madhouse. But I stayed calm and cool and just observed. To everyone’s credit, the customers were behaving very well given the panic and mania that was setting in. I also went to the grocery store and saw rows and rows of empty shelves, which I don’t really understand. Were people not using toilet paper BEFORE this panic hit? I was lucky enough to be able to find most of the stuff I needed and I went to the checkout stand. The girl at the checkout saw me and her face lit up. I smiled back at her, but she kept staring at me. She said, “Are you—?” Knowing that I’m not who she thought I was, I kept goading her along. “Who do you think I am?” The back and forth help to lighten the mood, and I eventually discovered that she thought I was Michael Keaton. I told her, “I wish I was Michael Keaton, because the look on your face was worth it.” I headed to the hardware store to pick up some things, and then got some food for Spooky at the vet’s office, picked up some supplements for Roxy at the pet food store, and headed home. I checked e-mail and found out that two of my sessions for the following week were canceled because of the panic, and I found out that the Mensa event was also canceled. Luckily, the sessions will pick back up in April after the panic subsides, but the Mensa event may not be rescheduled. So now the panic is starting to affect work. Great. Don’t they know that Voice Over people are some of the most hygienic people out there? We have to be! It’s our livelihoods. So until then we’ll wait for the rest of the world to catch up to us. I grabbed a short nap, and then got up later to sand the bucks for my puppet eyes. I did some other work around the house and then got hungry. I called into Denny’s to get my usual order to go and they picked up on the first ring. That’s very unusual for 2am at Denny’s. I placed my order and then drove over to get it. There was only 1 guy sitting in the booths at Denny’s, other than that, it was totally empty. Roger, the manager, said that people were avoiding going to clubs and bars, and that cut into his after-hours dining business. I went home and ate my food while watching another episode of “The Mod Squad.”
Saturday the 14th – LAST MEAL! – Mid-afternoon I went to my box to get my mail, gassed up the Mustang, and then headed home to get ready for dinner. My pal Brittney Powell had a birthday a few days earlier so I was taking her to a late birthday dinner at Miceli’s. Normally on a Saturday night their restaurant is packed, but tonight it was only half full. We had a nice dinner, but still the energy of the place was off. The manager told me that they were only half-staffed to cut down on overhead since patronage was low. I returned home and took a short nap. I stayed up all night doing work around the house, working on my puppet eye bucks, designing some more puppet ideas, and getting on-line to buy materials. I’m fearing that a lockdown of society is coming soon, so if that happens, I want to have plenty of stuff to do, like – make puppets! I monitored a few news reports and then hit the hay.
Sunday the 15th – LOCKDOWN! – I hadn’t planned on going to evening church because the debate was on at 5pm. But under the circumstances I called my ‘adopted grandma’ Shirley and told her to stay put for a while. She said the assisted living quarters where she lives had pretty much locked everyone down anyway. I ordered a pizza and watched the debate. I fell asleep on the couch watching the post-debate wrap-up, and got up later to do my auditions. I had gotten messages from several friends that, while I was sleeping, the L.A. Mayor had shuttered all gyms, movie theaters, bars, and restaurants. I don’t go to gyms or bars, and I rarely go to movie theaters, but the restaurants being closed was going to hurt. But it’s not like I didn’t halfway expect it to come. Rats. This is gonna suck. But I guess it has to be done to mitigate the spread of the Wu Flu. I’m hoping that when this is all over, people will have learned a valuable lesson and change their hygienic habits. As a life-long germaphobe I will welcome them into what’s been my normal routine for decades. But frankly, some of the stuff I see when I’m out and about makes me wonder if some people were raised in a barn by wolves. Freely sneezing and coughing into the air, not washing their hands after visiting the bathroom, etc. – it’s all frightening. It makes me realize how a virus like this could spread so easily, given people’s loose hygienic habits. And you know what? I’m totally OK with no longer shaking hands. We can bow, salute, even give the Vulcan “live long and prosper” hand sign…it’s all good. But I will not miss handshaking at all. Since I didn’t make it on Saturday night, I made my traditional Saturday Night Super Salad a night late, and watched “Space 1999” before bed. I’ll be interested in seeing what this week brings. But for my part, I’m just staying peaceful and calm.
And how was YOUR week??!!
PIX FROM THE WEEK
I figured I’d give you another look at my Tranquility Zone, the place of peace and relaxation I retreat to at the end of every day. I fully encourage you to construct your own Tranquility Zone, and make a place that takes you away from the troubles of the world.