RANDOM PIC OF THE WEEK
This picture always makes me laugh! What a menagerie!
This song came up on my iPod on the plane ride home, and while I always liked it as a kid, I really realized how well engineered and crafted it is when listening to it with headphones. If you can, plug in some headphones and give it a listen. From Hawaii it’s the Liz Damon Express with “1900 Yesterday.”
Because of a whirlwind two week period, I wasn’t able to turn around Wally’s Week last week in a timely manner. So, for your enjoyment, here are TWO weeks’ worth of Wally’s Week! Thanks for reading!
Monday the 4th – COMEDY CAVALCADE! – Tonight would be my first attempt at stand-up comedy in a Los Angeles comedy club! The first Monday of every month a club in Burbank called Flappers features an all VO cast of stand-ups in something called “We Talk Funny.” It’s been going on for a few years now, but tonight was my turn. I had written my act, prepped, re-written, re-prepped, and re-written my act again. It went through a lot of phases. When I got up late afternoon I rehearsed my act again, got ready, and then drove over to Flappers to meet up with my friends James and Cynthia, and Officer Mark. My pal Karl from church also showed up! It was a fun night of comedy, my bit seemed to go over well, though I’m thinking many of my references were only understood by people over 40. I talk about classic TV shows and old music. There was a gal who did a “Game of Thrones” bit and the crowed really enjoyed it. I would have enjoyed it too, had I ever seen one episode of the show. But I was happy she was killing it! But I made sure to keep my act within very strict confines, considering how easily everyone gets offended about every little thing these days. And to be fair, the acts weren’t performed in front of a normal, off-the-street audience. This audience was all full of “friendlies.” But it was fun and I’m glad I did it. I’ll probably never try stand-up comedy again because I just don’t have enough interest in engaging in the modern world to comment on it comedically. Mark, Karl and I went over to Bob’s Big Boy to get some food after the show, and then I came home and collapsed for a bit. I did my nightly auditions and hit the hay. (If you’d like to see the entire 10 minute act, you can see it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyYGdrypc3A
Tuesday the 5th – LEGO LOVE! – I got up at 10:30 and drove to Pure Imagination to do a few hours’ worth of voice tracks for a Lego project. Lotsa fun! Then I headed off to the bank to get some ‘operating capital’ for my upcoming trip to Orlando, Florida. I got some fried rice at Chin Chin for lunch, and then went home to eat. I was a bit tired so I laid down in the Puppet Room and napped for a bit. I got up later and wrote Wally’s Week, did my nightly auditions, prepped some more for my Orlando trip, made some soup and a sandwich, and watched the final Power Ranger episodes that I needed to refresh on.
Wednesday the 6th – TUESDAY ON WEDNESDAY! – Roxy and I walked over to a local café to meet my friend Tuesday Knight and her mom. My pal Edi also joined us. It was a fun lunch, and just before we all left, Tuesday’s mom had me record her outgoing message for her cell phone. Since her late husband Baker Knight wrote “The Wonder of You,” one of Elvis’ best songs, I sang the chorus of the song in my best Elvis voice in the parking lot of the restaurant. Roxy and I walked back home, I did some auditions, prepped for Orlando, drove to my box to get my mail, picked up a few groceries, and then headed back home to do a few more auditions. My pal Emily came over to help me prep for the trip, I packed some clothes, dashed out to my seamstress Shelley’s house to pick up a few custom bowling shirts for my appearance in Orlando, and when I got back home the entire video of my performance at Flappers was in my inbox. I did some editing and sent it to my webmaster Scott for posting, I did some more packing and then hit the hay.
Thursday the 7th – OFF TO ORLANDO! – My house sitter Brittney came over to begin house sitting responsibilities, my driver Gary arrived for our drive to LAX, and I kissed the pets goodbye and loaded up my luggage for Ranger Stop 2019! The ride to LAX was very smooth and quick, I checked into my flight, had a Jersey Mike’s sandwich, and slept for the majority of the way to Orlando. It was a direct flight so there weren’t any layovers or connections to worry about. I arrived in Orlando just after 11pm, my pal Brandon came to pick me up, and we headed to the hotel. I got checked into my room, but the hotel gave me the wrong room key and when I opened the door to the room it was full of people. It was a suite, of sorts. I thought to myself, “This can’t be my room with all these people.” Come to find out, that suite served as the convention’s HQ and the hotel had given me the wrong key. We went back to clear up the confusion and get the correct key. After about an hour of confusion they finally gave me the right key, I dropped my luggage and Brandon and I walked over to Perkins for a quiet meal. I loved the fact that there was a Perkins within walking distance from the hotel. I used to love eating there all the time when I lived in South Dakota. Luckily enough, there was also a Walgreens close by, so I stopped there and got some supplies for my stay. I went back to my room to unpack, ironed my shirt for Friday’s appearance, and hit the hay.
Friday the 8th – POUR-LANDO! – The day started with my old pal Jeff Christmas meeting me in the lobby of the hotel around 2. He just happened to be in Orlando vacationing with his family, so he stopped by to hang out for a bit. Then the Ranger Stop convention officially started at 3, so I went inside and tried to find my signing table. I couldn’t find where I was supposed to be, so I found Brandon and asked him where I should sit. He said my table was down the aisle a bit. The reason I couldn’t find it is because my table had to banner. The banner had been designed, but apparently had never been ordered for printing. Brandon made a call and got the company to print the banner immediately. I should have it in a few hours. It was fun meeting the fans, doing photo ops, and doing a panel with the other “Power Rangers in Space” and “Lost Galaxy” guys. I got back to the table and met some more fans, some of whom gave me really great gifts! Though my part in the Power Rangers franchise was very, very small – the fans seem to really enjoy the Psycho Ranger characters, and some consider them the best villains the series ever produced. The convention ended at 9 and I walked back to my room to relax. But it was pouring rain out. Since the location of the convention was at a resort, and not a hotel per se, it was quite a considerable walk to the building I was staying in. I was getting soaked, but the rain was so warm and refreshing I didn’t really care much. A guy yelled out to me from one of the balconies, “Do you need an umbrella?” I said, “No thanks! I’m going to just ‘Gene Kelly’ it and sing in the rain!” I got to my room, took off my soaked clothes, put on my PJs, opened the balcony door to my room so I could hear the rainstorm, and sacked out on the bed for a while. It was nice napping to the rain. I woke up just before the cut-off time to order food, and ordered a pizza and some boneless Buffalo wings to eat in my room. I dined, ironed my shirt for Saturday, and then hit the hay. I had to be up very early for Saturday’s festivities.
Saturday the 9th – THRILL-FILLED SATURDAY! – I’m not sure if it was the nap I took or what, but I popped awake at 7am for no reason. It was 4am my time. Not sure why I couldn’t get back to sleep right away, but it took me quite a bit of time before I nodded off again. I woke up at 9 and got ready for the convention. My pal Officer Mark had flown in on the redeye, and he had already checked into his room. He met me downstairs at the con at 10 with his many cameras and the day began. It was a day filled with signing, photo ops, meeting fans, and more signing. My pal Graham stopped by with his daughter Emily to say hi. Emily’s a big fan of “Invader Zim” so I signed a Tallest Red picture for her and we got some photos. Graham works at Universal and Disney World and was kind enough to supply us with free passes for the park on Monday. He would also be serving as our tour guide. I got to meet two amazing cosplayers who were in costume as the Arkham Riddler and Scarecrow. They said they drove 3 hours to meet me. Unbelievable!! I made sure to spend a lot of quality time with them and get a lot of photos. When our interaction was over, they got back in their car and headed back. They really DID just come to see me! It’s a very humbling, but honorable feeling. After the show I went to my room to shower, change and rest for a bit. There’s a VIP dinner at 7 that I needed to pop into for a while, and then Officer Mark and I would be heading to Perkins for dinner. I got to the hall for the VIP dinner and all of the Power Ranger actors were lined up in a hallway outside the hall to be introduced to the crowd one at a time. I was third from the last. Many people were commenting on my Andy Kaufman shirt I was wearing, and we started talking about Andy’s comedy. Then I got an idea. “What would Andy do” in a situation like this? Well, he’d do something bizarre and unique. So I found one of the hotel workers in the hallway who looked amenable enough, and asked him what he was doing. He said he wasn’t doing much at the time, so I asked him if he would sub for me during the introductions. Since he was an older, African American gentleman, the optics of having him walk into the room after they introduced me would be quite a fun switcheroo. The fact that his name was Willy was just a bonus. I said, “When they same the name Wally Wingert, charge in and wave to the crowd. Pretend you’re me. Really sell it.” Willy said, “Can I dance?” I said, “Dance all you want!” So the moment came, the emcee yelled, “Wally Wingert!” and Willy entered the room with his arms in the air. It was hilarious. Luckily Officer Mark was there capturing it all on video. The audience went wild. Willy left the room and I entered to make my appearance. If it had been Andy, he would have made Willy take the stage and sit down in my place for the rest of the evening. But Willy had other things to do. But it was very funny. After the rest of the actors had been introduced, I grabbed a towel, threw it over my forearm, put a tray in my other arm and went from table to table doing a snobby waiter voice asking the guests if everything was to their liking. It was fun improvising with the crowd. My pal Anthony (who had supplied me with his Psycho Ranger helmet to use at my table during the day) joined Officer Mark and I for dinner at Perkins. After talking all day my voice was staring to get rough. I had learned from the experience at my class reunion in August, and my appearance at Siouxpercon in September, that I needed to get some voice rest after a day of talking nonstop. So it was nice to have a quiet meal and not talk much. I hit Walgreens for some more supplies, and then hit my room to turn in.
Sunday the 10th – HOW I ‘CAPPED’ OFF THE DAY! – Day 3, the final day of Ranger Stop 2019 was underway. And though the pace was considerably slower than the previous days, it was nice to hang out with the fans and the other actors. The day started with a panel about Voice Over at 11:30am, which was a fun time. My pal Sheriff John and his wife Officer Kelly had arrived to hang out all day, and really enjoyed the panel. I went back inside and signed a little bit, and then Sheriff John brought us all lunch from Subway. Sheriff John is a regular reader of Wally’s Week, so he knew my Subway order by heart! I closed out the afternoon by saying goodbyes to all the fans and new friends, and then went back to my room to shower and change into comfy clothes for dinner. Sheriff John wanted to buy Officer Mark and I steaks, so we decided to go to Ruth’s Chris steakhouse, which was in the area. The other option was a place called Longhorn, which I thought sounded much more fun. But I was voted down in favor of Ruth’s Chris. We got to the restaurant and checked in for our reservation. Just before we were led to our table, the hostess looked at me and said, “Sir, would you mind removing the cap?” I said, “What?” She said, “We don’t allow caps in the dining room.” Without hesitation I turned around for the door and said, “Goodbye.” Sheriff John and his wife Officer Kelly started laughing. The hostess said, “You can eat at the bar if you want.” I said, “No thanks. We’ll go to Longhorn.” I had wet hair from my shower and I wasn’t in the mood to be confined by any hoity toity dinner rules. I just wanted to relax with friends and eat lots of meat and potatoes. So, off to Longhorn we went with Sheriff John laughing all the way at what had just occurred. But it was a good move. Longhorn was a hoot and a half! As we walked in we saw LOTS of guys wearing caps. Every guy I pointed out who was wearing a cap would make Sheriff John burst out in hysterical laughter. Even our server Carli was great. She saw my ELO hoodie and said she loved that group! Seeing that she couldn’t have been more than 22 I said, “Really? What’s your favorite ELO song?” She said, “Turn to Stone.” She told us that Steven Tyler was her ‘first kiss.’ Her mom had taken her to an Aerosmith concert when she was 17 and they met Steven backstage. It was great food, and a very comfortable atmosphere! After dinner Sheriff John and Officer Kelly took off for home (they had a 1.5 hour drive back home) and Officer Mark and I walked around an area called Icon Park. We got some ice cream and strolled around the area. They had a 20 story swing ride that would twirl people around in circles 20 stories up. It looked fun, but I opted not to do it. I got back to my room to plan our day at Disney World!
Monday the 11th – DISNEY DAY! – At 8:45 I was up, and by 9:15 Officer Mark and I were grabbing our Uber to the Disney World drop off point. After going through security, and getting wanded, we got on the Ferry (or is it “Fairy?”) to Disney World. We met up with my pal Graham and he ‘passed’ us in with his guest passes. Our first stop HAD to be “Pirates of the Caribbean!” I had done some pirate voices for a new section of the ride a few years ago. And I still had not heard the result. I had seen it on YouTube, but hadn’t seen it in person – even at Disneyland! (Which I still need to do!) It was an amazing experience hearing myself as several animatronic pirates in that section of the ride. The pirate on the bridge overhead says, “Yeaaaaah!” – then in a different pirate voice I say (as a different pirate off to the right) “THE RUM! – and then the bridge pirate says, “We wants the rums!” Then in a chorus of several more of my voices I chant, “We wants the rums!” It went by so fast, and I was so amazed by the experience, that we had to get right back on and ride again. To think that my voices will be in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride at Disney World and Disneyland for decades to come thrills me beyond belief. When my family and I came to Disneyland for the first time in 1976, Pirates was by far my favorite attraction – followed closely by the Haunted Mansion. We went to get some lunch, and then went to the Hall of Presidents. I always loved the “Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln” attraction at Disneyland, but this was astounding! All 45 U.S. Presidents are on stage together, and each animatronic figure are controlled by their own, individual system – which gives them all independent life. They blink, turn their heads, nod, and literally “stay alive” during all the other sections of the show. What an achievement! We did a lot more walking in the warm, humid Florida weather and we enjoyed more attractions. Disney World would be closing at 6 for a Christmas celebration, so we made plans to leave just after 5 and head to the Hollywood Studios park. Our first stop was Star Wars land, but we didn’t want to wait in the long line to ride any of the rides. As I watched kids assemble droids and light sabers in the assembly attraction, I kept saying, “Where was this when I was a kid??!!” We went over to see the “Muppet 3-D” attraction (which I hadn’t seen in many years when it used to be at Disney’s California Adventure) and I had forgotten that Sweetums comes out toward the end! I did some shopping and went to the Men’s room. All day long Christmas music was playing throughout both parks. Since it was only November 11th I was thinking that it was a bit too soon for that stuff. In years past you may remember me telling you about my personal tradition. Whenever I hear Andy Williams’ “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year” in random passing; be it in a store, or on the radio, or somewhere when I’m out and about, that’s how I know that the Christmas season has officially arrived. I don’t like to hear it ‘too early’ – otherwise I get miffed. Sure enough, standing in the Men’s room at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, it comes on the overhead music system. I said, “OH NO!” What a drag. But, I guess under the rules and guidelines I’ve established for my own tradition, it has to count. We headed over to Toy Story land, did some more shopping, and then went to the Star Wars area to have an ‘interaction’ with Darth Vader. It was a pretty cool experience, the way they had it set up, and we got some good video and photo ops. Again, WHERE WAS THIS WHEN I WAS A KID??!! We big Graham goodbye and thanked him for the amazing day, and Officer Mark and I got our Uber back to the hotel. We got back around 9, and realized that we had enjoyed a full 12 hour day of activity. I showered up, and then we walked over to a deep dish pizza place for dinner. But first they got my order wrong. If you know anything about deep dish, you know that it takes about 25 minutes to bake one of those things. But they promised the CORRECT order would be out in about 10 minutes. But when it arrived it was definitely not worth the wait – quite underwhelming. We walked over to Walgreens to pick up a few more supplies, and then I headed back to my room to pack. Whew! What an amazing day. What an amazing trip! One for the books!!
Tuesday the 12th – FROM RIGHT COAST TO LEFT COAST! – Officer Mark and I paid the extra $50 to be able to stay in our rooms until 3pm. Our flight wasn’t scheduled to leave until close to 7pm, so we had lots of time. Around noon we walked over to the local UPS store so I could ship some things. Then we had a nice, leisurely lunch at Perkins. I went back to my room to grab a short nap (since I was all packed up and ready to go) and we were checked out by 3. Our Uber arrived to take us to the airport, and since we were 3 hours early for our flight we decided to do some shopping and grab some lunch before we went through security. I got a few slices of pizza at Sbarro, and Mark stood in line to get Chik Fil-A. While I was eating a young uniformed TSA agent asked if the seat next to me was taken. I told her my buddy Officer Mark would be sitting there soon, but she was more than welcome to sit next to us and chat, considering he was law enforcement as well. Her all-too-brief lunch was spent discussing things like her love of Muppets, Beetlejuice, squirrels, cosplay and other stuff. Jokingly I asked if I might have known her mother at some point because, based on all of our common interests, she almost seemed related somehow! I gave her my card and we agreed to keep in touch, because our common interests were so plentiful. What a fun chance meeting! Officer Mark and I bought souvenirs at the NASA store, and at the Sea World store they had all sorts of great Sesame Street products! We got through security and got on the plane and I slept virtually the entire way. But when we got close to LAX I woke up feeling very warm. I looked around and saw other people fanning themselves. I asked the Flight Attendant if it had gotten warm suddenly. She said, “Some people were complaining that it was too cold so we lowered the air conditioning.” Isn’t that what the blankets are for? Good grief, they had people on the flight fanning themselves and standing in the aisles to get some ventilation. Of course the body heat of the person standing in the aisle next to me (I had an aisle seat) didn’t help much. I honestly think I could have napped the entire trip had it not been for the sudden increase in temperature on the plane. Eventually it cooled off again, but I was awake for the rest of the trip. I walked to the bathroom at the front of the plane, and as I walked through First Class it was nice and cool up there. The convention had flown me coach (I always prefer to fly First Class for myriad reasons) so I had to spend several hours each way crunched into a tiny coach seat. Luckily I was so tired on the way back that I was able to nap, but the seats in my row were so close together that I kept feeling the elbow of the guy next to me bump my arm every time his hand moved up on his laptop keyboard as he typed furiously. This in addition to his not one but TWO cell phones he kept making notations on. Really?! Is it THAT important that you can’t relax for a few hours on a flight to LA and quietly watch a movie? Never flying coach again unless it’s a real emergency! We landed and Officer Mark’s girlfriend Connie was there to pick us up. I got home and saw the pets, showered and napped. I got up later to do some auditions and unpack. It was good to be back, even though it was an amazing trip.
Wednesday the 13th – PICTURE PICKIN’! – Smashing right back into life, I went over to Pure Imagination to do a few voice tracks as Jon Arbuckle for a Garfield project. Then I went home to relax and sort through the tons of amazing pictures Officer Mark had taken during the Orlando trip. I took a short evening nap, and then got up later to do my nightly auditions. I worked around the house and had a very busy night. My left ear had been stuffy over the past few days and nothing I was doing to correct it was working. So I got an appointment with my Ear, Nose and Throat doctor Dr. Jill for Thursday. She’ll fix it right up!
Thursday the 14th –FUNGAI FOR A FUN GUY! – The first order of the day was lunch with my pal Edi at Paty’s in Toluca Lake. Then I mailed some stuff at the post office. I went to see Dr. Jill about why my left ear was stuffy, and she determined it was a fungal infection. That’s a new one on me. So she did her magic and sent me on my way with a promise I’d come back the Tuesday before Thanksgiving for a follow-up. I got home and did some work around the house, and then napped on the couch. As much fun as the Orlando trip was, it was pretty exhausting. With the recent change back to Standard Time, and the 3 hour time difference from L.A. to Orlando, and then again from Orland to L.A., plus the amount of energy one expels when talking to fans and being “on” all the time during a convention, I was due for some heavy rest. I got up later to do auditions, and then went to Denny’s to get some food to go and watched an episode of “Police Woman” before bed.
Friday the 15th – JUMP! JUMP! FOR MY LOVE! – Right at 1pm I woke up to let my maids in to clean Planet Wallywood. But they didn’t arrive until 3pm. So I did some writing, did some work around the house, sorted through more Orlando pictures, and did some writing. When the maids finished up, my pal Brittney came over to get her check for house sitting, and I relaxed some more. A bit later, I went to my auxiliary garage to get my Gran Torino out for a spin. It had been well over a month since I had it out last, and I was sure the battery would be dead. While I have a cutoff switch that cuts off all power being drained from the battery while it sits idle, the dome light and the alarm still are powered by the battery. So after a month of sitting idle, the alarm has drained the battery enough where it won’t start up on its own. I bought a neat little jump starter that I keep in the trunk (it’s cheaper than calling AAA all the time!) so I pulled that out and it started right up. Now I need to drive it for about a half hour to let the alternator fully charge the battery again. My pal Sara and I drove to Lancers to get dinner, figuring that it was far enough away that the battery would be fully charged by the time we got there. But I hadn’t counted on the headlights being an additional drain on the battery as we drove. So when we came out of dinner, the Torino needed another boost. Luckily I had enough charge left in the jump starter to provide the Torino with another jump. I came home and napped on the couch, then fed and walked Roxy, organized some more Orlando pix, made some soup and a sandwich, and watched another episode of “Police Woman.” I’m midway through the first season now, and neither the writing nor the acting has improved. Angie Dickinson’s acting is especially bad and she seems very “disconnected” from what’s going on in the scene. Paul and David in “Starsky & Hutch” seemed very engaged in the story and played it very “life and death,” but it seems like she’s just simply reciting her lines with no deeper involvement in the action. It’s very odd. The producers are also trying to make it seem like her character and her boss (played by Earl Holliman) have a thing for each other, but there’s 0 chemistry between them and it seems very forced and contrived. I don’t think I’ll be ordering the other seasons on DVD, as I’m simply not very engaged in this show.
Saturday the 16th – PERSONAL LOG PROBLEM FIXED! – Early afternoon I got up so I could record a few fellow church members for a feature on my church’s website. Each Easter and Christmas, the church elders write short meditations that are published by the church for other church members to read during the holiday. Last year it was decided that they would have the elders record their meditations for those who would rather listen to them than read them. So this year we’re doing another round of recorded meditations. After they left I got the Torino out (which thankfully started right up!) and drove to my mailbox to get my mail. Then I stopped over to Rocket Fizz to pick up some more Dr. Pepper in glass bottles, I got some lunch at the Burger King drive-thru, and then I got some groceries. I got home, put the groceries away and then my pal Scott Sebring came over to show me how to record the entries from my personal log digital voice recorder into my computer. If you remember from a few weeks ago, one of the little digital recorders that I used to record personal log entries was having trouble downloading the files from the internal memory into my computer. Though the files were still playable on the device itself, the computer wasn’t reading it properly during the download process. It kept saying FOLDER EMPTY, even though the internal memory was full. The technician at Olympus said that I could record the files in an analog sort of way, but getting a patch cord that would fit into the device’s headphone jack, and putting it into the microphone jack of another player. But better yet, I got a cable to go from the device’s headphone jack into my computer’s audio recording system; the same one I use to record my auditions. But the setting had to be changed specifically, so that the input on my recording system would go from reading my microphone, to the digital recorder. Scott was able to sort through the program’s preferences and we hooked it up so it worked perfectly! So now I need to find time to record (in REAL time!) 95 files from my digital recorder into my computer system. It will be time consuming, but worth it for archiving purposes. We started movie night at 8:30 with a Scooby-Doo cartoon and then the movie “Rocketman.” I had seen it on a plane a few months ago, but it was much better watching it uninterrupted without all the airline’s pauses and announcements telling us to put our seatbacks and tray tables in their upright position. After everyone left I napped for a bit, and then got up later to start the transfer process from my digital recorder into my computer. It worked PERFECTLY! After doing that all night, I made my traditional Saturday night Super Salad and watched another episode of “Space 1999.”
Sunday the 17th – SLEEPY SUNDAY! – Roxy and I walked over for evening church, and afterwards we walked back with my ‘adopted grandma’ Shirley so we could put Roxy inside and take the Torino over to Paty’s for dinner. I’m afraid I wasn’t very good company, as I was still feeling the effects of the two whirlwind weeks. I dropped Shirley off at her residence, and then headed home to shower and nap in my bed for a while. It was really nice. I got up to do some work, feed the pets, and then I laid down on The Most Comfortable Couch in the Universe and slept until 7am Monday morning! I got up to walk Roxy one last time, showered and hit the hay. I have a full week of activities ahead of me, so I need to be on my A game!
And how were YOUR two weeks??!!
PIX FROM THE WEEK
Here are some random snippets from my fantastic Orlando experience!