Archive for May, 2013

May 28 – June 2 (2013)


Somebody sent me this picture in my e-mail this week. They wondered if I had ever posed for a pirate statue. Not that I recall, but now that you mention it….

While vacationing in Palm Springs I was so relaxed and restful that it was difficult to get the energy to some things done. My pal Edi wanted me to go somewhere and I told her I needed a quick rest to get my second wind. Though it had nothing to do with the story in Billy Joel’s hit “Second Wind,” I inevitably kept singing in my head. It IS a great song!

Tuesday May 28 – THIS IS WHAT VACATION’S ALL ABOUT! – I ended up sleeping about 10 straight hours in air-conditioned comfort, in my room at the Hyatt in Palm Springs. I got up around 2:30 and lounged around a bit. Then I went downstairs to the business office, got on-line and finished up Wally’s Week from the previous week. I drove out to the local Staples and found the fifth (and final) filing cabinet I needed to complete my office redesign project. Then I hit the Walmart next door to pick up some supplies. My rule about dining when traveling is this…never eat at a place that offers food I can get in Los Angeles. So when I’m on the road, I rarely eat at chains like McDonald’s, Burger King or the like. I try to eat at restaurants that are native to the locale. But the last time I was in Palm Springs I got some local Mexican food that was virtually tasteless. (Not sure how that’s possible, exactly, with Mexican food). This time I took a chance at a local Italian restaurant and again…disappointing. The meat sauce on my spaghetti was orange. More meat than sauce, I’m afraid. I ate half of it and they asked me if I’d like the rest to go. I didn’t want to offend them so I said yes. Though when I got back to the hotel I promptly dumped it. Thinking I could get back to the hotel from Gene Autry Trail, I took that. But I was wrong. There wasn’t a way to get back to where I was going, and I ended up heading to Desert Hot Springs. But I was in my Land Rover having a good ol’ time, so I just continued driving to see where I ended up. I encountered a stretch of G.A.T. that was completely unsheltered…smack dab in the middle of the desert. The wind kicked up and started shooting sand across the road. In the headlights, it looked like a South Dakota snowstorm! I could hear the grains of sand, traveling at a high velocity, pelting the side of my Land Rover. It was scary for a little while. But I pulled over to get some gas and it was OK. When I stepped out of the car the wind blew my cap off my head! The guy inside the gas station said this wind was nothing. Sometimes it blows around 60 miles per hour! I don’t think I’d like to be around when that happens. On my way back to the hotel I made note of the name of the local movie theatre. It was my plan to catch up on a few movies while I was vacationing. When I got back I checked showtimes for the movies I wanted to see and made a mental note to head over there Wednesday. Then I headed downstairs to grab a quick dip in the hot tub. I got out, wrapped myself in a big towel and laid back on one of the enormous orange beds that line one side of the pool. I just laid there staring up at the beautiful, clear, starry sky. It was so peaceful and quiet that I actually nodded off for a bit. Then I went back to my room to get ready for a night of SERIOUS relaxation…sitting on my balcony watching stars all night. It’s something you really have to experience first hand. The stillness of a warm desert night, listening to a specially selected playlist of music on my i-Pad, lighting a scented candle, popping some Blast O Butter popcorn in the microwave I brought along, cracking open a few bottles of Coca Cola in little glass bottles (that have been chilling in the freezer of my room’s little refrigerator all day). It’s quite meditative! In addition to watching the stars dip behind the mountain outside my room one by one, I saw all kinds of shooting stars. I also saw (for the first time ever) a strange, spacial phenomenon! As I’m staring at the sky, I would occasionally see a star-sized flash. It was the size of a star, but not constant like a star. Just a FLASH, then it was gone. It wasn’t a plane flying overhead, and I don’t think it was a star (unless it was going Super Nova), but it was basically like somebody from outer space taking a picture. Very odd. I’d love to know what that was, as it happened more than once. As it grew closer to sunrise, I saw the bright LED flashlights of hikers on the mountain in front of me. They were no doubt climbing to the top to watch the sunrise.

Wednesday the 29 – IT’S FISHY! – Did I mention yet how much I love the aquarium video that the Hyatt has running on their closed-circuit TV? It’s very relaxing, and they have it playing on the TV when you go into the room. I had seen it a few times before when I’ve stayed there, but this time I really fell in love with it. So much so that I ended up naming most of the fish in the video. Cutie Pie, Bob, Edi and Ems, and Pickle. I slept until 1pm because my pal Edi was supposed to be in by then. But she texted me that she left L.A. later than expected, so I went back to sleep and napped until 3! Nobody can accuse me of not getting a LOT of rest this trip! When she arrived I showed her the cool aquarium video on the TV and she fell in love with it too. We laughed when I gave certain fishes voices and dialogue. There was even an eel in the tank that I named Kim Jong Eel. We hit Burger King to grab some late lunch, then went to the afternoon showing of “Star Trek: Into Darkness.” “Tonight Show” Casting Director Scott Atwell was also in Palm Springs relaxing at a friend’s condo, so he met up with us to see the film too. The theatre was cool and comfortable, and Palm Springs movie audiences are very civil and polite (unlike the majority of those in Los Angeles!) Nobody kicked my seat, talked on their cell phones, texted, or rattled their candy wrappers. Heaven! When the movie was over we went to Ruby’s Diner in downtown Palm Springs to meet up with my pal Ron Chaney to discuss some upcoming ideas for Chaney projects. Ron is the grandson of Lon Chaney Jr., and the great-grandson of Lon Chaney Sr.! But by the time we got there Ruby’s had closed. So we went across the street to Lulu’s and had a bite on the patio. After some delicious chicken quesadillas, it was back to the hotel to check e-mails and get set for another glorious night of star watching!

Here’s the video the Hyatt runs on their closed-circuit channel. It’s an amazing aquarium video that I have totally fallen in love with. Does anyone know how to buy this??

Thursday the 30th – SMOKIN’ CIGARS AT SUNSET! – Again I got to sleep in. It’s great because no matter how hot the weather was outside, I was enjoying a nice cool room indoors. As the heat of the day began to wane, I got up to start the day. Perfect! We went to see “Iron Man 3” at the same movie theatre again. This was a smaller theatre, but the chairs were leather and enormous! And LOTS of leg room! Edi and I got back to the hotel just in time to enjoy some cigars by the pool as the sun set behind the picturesque mountain in back of the hotel. (I call it “Mount Abe,” because a section of the top of the mountain resembles Abe Lincoln’s profile). There were two ladies taking glamour photos of each other by the pool with their i-Pads. Maureen (a nurse) and Angela (a pharmaceutical rep) were taking shots to e-mail to their boyfriends who were in other states on business. They asked if I’d like to take some shots of them together and HEY! — who am I to turn down a few ladies in need? It was fun chatting with them and taking some great shots that would have their long-distance loves eating their hearts out. When we finished up the impromptu photo shoot, Edi and I got ready to hit the Thursday night street fair. We found “The Pillow Lady” who had sold me some awesome theme pillows the last time I was in Palm Springs. I bought several of them for my movie night guests. Not only did she sew the pillows out of fabric she located at fabric stores, but she sewed in a panel of white fabric to write their names on and customize them. I bought about seven, gave her all the names and which pillows they went with, and we went to eat while she worked. This time we got to Ruby’s before they closed. We were sitting on the patio with Edi’s dog Bunny, and the group at the table next to us started conversing about Bunny and the dogs they owned. Come to find out they were from North Dakota. So I started talking about South Dakota. The guy in the group had worked in radio all his life. I told him I had as well. His name was Tim Ingstad, and his family had owned a large group of stations in the area in which I grew up. I was very familiar with the name. Then I asked if he was related to Terry Ingstad. He said, “Yes, he’s my brother!” Terry Ingstad is the real name of Shadoe Stevens, actor, radio personality and voice-over guy. What a small world! After dinner we went back to “The Pillow Lady’s” booth and picked up my pillows. But she had made an error. The Spider-Man pillow was for Joe, and the Superman pillow was for Bob. But when she wrote down her notes of names, she just wrote “S-Man.” So she got Superman confused with Spider-Man, and put Joe’s name on the Superman pillow. Luckily she caught her error before she made the Spider-Man pillow, and she wrote the correct name on that one. But she said she would have to go home, make another pillow and send it to me Fed Ex, so it would be there in time for movie night to give to Bob. I gave her my address and thanked her. I headed back to the room and enjoyed my final night of star watching. More hikers were on “Mount Abe” around 3am. It’s fun watching their flashlights gradually go higher and higher up the mountain.

Friday the 31st – ALL GOOD THINGS… – I got up shortly after noon and started packing up my stuff. It was a great vacation, but I was ready to get back home and see Spooky and Roxy. I had intended to take Roxy with me, but as it grew closer to the time to go, it looked like the weather was going to be a little too hot for her. In addition to impact of the heat on her furry little body, the sidewalks were hot too. So it may have burned her little footsies. I loaded up the Land Rover and headed out. It was a very hot day, but still nice. It’s definitely a different kind of heat than South Dakota, and even Los Angeles. Not uncomfortable at all. Traffic on Friday afternoon was moving along nicely. Until I got to the Ontario area. Then it slammed to almost a complete stop. I had a late-afternoon meeting scheduled with my agents at my voice-over agency, and after checking the clock, I started doing the math. It wasn’t looking very likely that I would make the meeting on time. So I called one of my agents and apologized. Had I arrived at the meeting late, that would mean getting the rental car back late, and being too late to pick up my Mustang from Ford, which had been in all week for a new alternator. So I altered my route a bit and headed straight home. I unloaded the SUV, saw Roxy and Spook, and then sped off to Enterprise to turn the car back in. My assistant Sara picked me up there and dashed off to Ford so I could get my Mustang. Life was restoring to normalcy again. I walked Roxy, fed Spook and started unpacking stuff. My office was looking good now that it had the fifth black metal cabinet in place. But I was craving a nap. So I laid down and slept until 1:30 in the morning! Then I got up and started working around the house. I had to transplant all of my office supplies into the new cabinets, and organize them as I went. No easy task! I fed Roxy and then took her on our little latenight jaunt around the neighborhood. It was good to be back. While we were walking down the street, I looked across the way and saw what looked like a dog casually strolling down the sidewalk. Roxy saw him and went crazy. Barking and pulling to get to him. But it wasn’t a dog. It was a wild coyote! Just walking along, minding his own business. He wasn’t even acknowledging Roxy’s barks. Though he did keep his pace up considerably, so he was obviously aware of her presence and attitude towards him. As we walked back I saw a hand-printed flyer taped to one of the street light poles. It had a picture of a beautiful black cat on it, with a plea to anyone who may have seen this lost pet. After having just seen the brazen coyote strolling casually down my street, I got a sinking feeling that I knew exactly what had happened to the poor little feline.

Saturday the 1st – BLACKOUT! – I woke up in the afternoon with Roxy and Spooky on my bed vying for attention and pets. It was good to be home. I got showered and met up with my friend Esme Bianco, who played Ros on “Game of Thrones.” (SPOILER ALERT!) She had recently left the show, as her character was unceremoniously killed off. So she was meeting with all her friends to let them know she was now available for other projects. We walked Roxy over to the Studio Cafe, and it ended up being a lot hotter outside that it seemed at first. Whew! As we strolled through the neighborhood looking for shade, it became apparent that there would soon be a lot less shade than usual. Two big, beautiful trees were being chopped down. These threes must’ve been in the neighborhood for decades. And now they’re being taken down and chopped up in to little discs of lumber. Sad. Really sad. I love my neighborhood, but with less trees and more coyotes around, I was starting to be painfully aware of certain changes. We had a great lunch and Esme took some awesome shots of her and Roxy to Tweet. We walked back, I said goodbye to Esme, then headed over to my mailbox to see what mail had come in while I was gone. The Pillow Lady had come through, and mailed Bob’s Superman pillow to me in time for movie night. I also got a long-awaited piece for my collection. Last August I ordered one of the Riddler’s Trophies from the Arkham Asylum and Arkham City games. It took them awhile to get completed and shipped, but it was worth the wait. But when I got it home and opened it up, the green question mark had snapped off the base. It was broken! Missing cats, chopped down trees and now this? I think I want to go back to Palm Springs and hide from all the disappointment! Oh well, at least The Pillow Lady came through! I got home and hopped on my bike and biked over to my stylist’s to get a cut and color. When I got back home it was time to set up for movie night. As the gang started to show up, I noticed one important component missing. Bob. He didn’t come to movie night this particular night. And after I had his pillow Fed Ex’d in! Rats! We were in the middle of watching one of my favorite films “McLintock!” on Blu Ray, and at 11pm BAM! Everything went black! Lights out! The entire complex was without power. I went to check on my neighbors to make sure everything was OK, and I noticed that the lights were still on across the street. Why just our complex? My movie night gang waited it out (it was kinda fun actually) and about 40 minutes later power was back on. So we resumed the film and finished it up. When everyone left I did some work around the house, and then went upstairs to enjoy some Saturday night “Saint.” (Every Saturday night for TV Time, I suspend what I’m currently watching for a night and treat myself to an episode of the old British TV show “The Saint” with Roger Moore) It was the very last episode of “The Saint” in the series. I’ll miss it. But I think I want to look into buying the first four seasons on DVD in black and white. It’s a great show, and the black and white shouldn’t affect me much.

Sunday the 2nd – BACK TO BIZ! – I slept all day and woke in time to take Roxy to evening church. It was Youth Sunday, and the entire service was performed by the youth of our church. Roxy’s a big hit with the kids! After the service I met up with Edi and her daughter Ems, and my pal Amanda. We enjoyed dinner at The Coral Cafe, and then I went home to tackle a TON of auditions that had been building up in my inbox the previous week. Then I worked on my computer a bit, and fed and walked Roxy. But since I had to be up early the next morning to start dubbing the “Tiger and Bunny” feature film, I hit the hay. Oh well, vacation was fun while it lasted.

And how was YOUR week??!!


My lovely friend Esme Bianco, as she appears in “Game of Thrones.”

Riddle me this! When is a trophy, like a former bucking bronco? Answer: Because they’re both broken!

Coming this November, a brand new Riddler statue from the Arkham Asylum games! GOTTA have it!

Edi’s dog Bunny Benton gets ready to have some eats at Ruby’s Diner in Palm Springs.

Bunny sez: “The grilled chicken at Ruby’s is AMAZING!”

Bunny’s clearly tired when she’s rudely awakened from a nap. You can tell she’s been sleeping by her “sleepy” eyes and her “Stan Laurel” hair-do!