Archive for July, 2014

July 28 – August 3


DOLE WHIP DONE RIGHT! Remember, when you visit Lappert’s Ice Cream in Palm Springs, ask to have a Dole Whip “Wally-ized!”

When I first hit the road on Sunday, heading to a rain-soaked Palm Springs, I cued up this song to start the trip. It’s called “Sacred Ground,” and it’s by my old pal Craig Chaquico. Craig used to play lead guitar in Jefferson Starship in the 70’s. We became acquainted when we played his solo material on 94.7 The Wave back in the 90’s. We used to send cartoon faxes back and forth in the middle of the night. I always told him that I considered his guitar riffs in Jefferson Starship’s “Runaway” to be some of the best in rock and roll! But he does some pretty nifty guitar work in this song too!

Monday the 28th – CHECKING ON THE CHECKS! – My hair guy Sergio came over at noon to do some more work on my Cowardly Lion bust, and it’s really coming along nicely.  He just has a small amount of styling, cutting and texturing to do and then he’ll be finished.   While Sergio worked away with the combs, scissors and hairspray, I went through the day’s mail.  I had received a couple of checks for residuals from a very large studio. But on the checks themselves the amounts were ZERO with a VOID demarcation.  Strange.  I thought this was odd considering that the check stub that was attached to the checks actually had a sizeable amount indicated.  I had remembered getting a check a few weeks earlier from the same studio that was also marked ZERO and VOID.  I just thought it was a snafu and threw it away. Now I needed to find that check so I could start building a history of check numbers when I called the studio to find out what was happening.  Though I dug through the trash furiously for several minutes, I realized that the check was thrown away the week before…and the garbage truck had already picked up that load of trash.  Rats.  I went back upstairs and through the process of elimination; pulling out check stubs and comparing them against the scans of paychecks I had scanned into my computer, I found the number of the missing ZERO-AMOUNT check.  First I called SAG/AFTRA to see if they knew anything about this, considering the residual check was sent to me, from the studio, through them.  Naturally, SAG/AFTRA knew nothing about it and continued to live up to its useless nature.  (Can you tell I’m not a fan?) They gave me several numbers to the studio’s payroll department and I started calling.  The first two numbers I got voice-mail messages. The third number I called actually had an outgoing voice-mail message that “somewhat” addressed the problem.  Apparently there was a snafu in their payroll system at the beginning of the year, and no Federal withholding was withheld from the residual checks.  Now all subsequent checks needed to be voided out until that amount was paid up.  At least I’m assuming that’s what happened. The voicemail message was very vague.  But common sense told me that’s what happened.  It would be nice if the studio would have stapled a note to all their residual checks explaining in writing what happened, but I guess that would have been too easy.  And too logical.  So after digging through my trash for 20 minutes, going through my files of check stubs and comparing them to scans of my past paychecks, calling SAG/AFTRA and getting the runaround there, and now calling three phone lines to ascertain an answer, it looks like the mystery was solved.  I wasted an hour and a half on this, when the studio (or at the very least our union) should have sent some sort of notification to the actors affected.  What a bunch of hooey!  Sara came by to pick up some mail, and I continued to busy myself at my desk.  I started writing Wally’s Week and kept writing until Sergio left for the day.  I grabbed a dip in the Jacuzzi and took a short nap on the couch.  I got up later in the evening and did a bunch of auditions, then fed and walked Roxy.  I sat by the pool at 3am listening to the crickets and looking at the stars.  It was nice and quiet.  A cool breeze blew through the area to make things even more pleasant.  I headed inside to make some dinner and watch another episode of “The Twilight Zone” on Blu Ray!

Tuesday the 29th – BYE BYE BLEACH! – Right at noon, my hair guy Sergio came by again to do some more work on the Lion.  I had to head out the door to go record the final episode of “Bleach;” episode 366.  Hard to believe it, but we’ve been working on that show a looooong time!  My character Renji only had about a dozen lines or so, so it didn’t take very long to finish.  On the way home I stopped to get some groceries, and then check my mail at my box.  I stopped home to put the groceries away, and Sergio said we needed to stop by the local wig store to pick up another wig for the Lion’s costume.  Apparently the color of the wig we bought previously was much too dark.  Right between the Lion’s beard, and where his costume starts, there’s a “hair necklace” (as Sergio calls it).  It’s a triangle of hair that eases the transition between the Lion’s prosthetic facial hair, and the lion-skin costume he wore.  We found the perfect wig!  We headed back to the house and Sergio kept working.  When he finished up I grabbed a short nap on the couch.  When I got up I had plenty to do…auditions, dishes, laundry, take out the trash, and other work around the house.  I made a pizza and watched another “Twilight Zone” before bed.

Wednesday the 30th – WEDNESDAY LIKE A SUNDAY!? – This was one of those days where absolutely nothing was going on.  It was a lot like a Sunday, but in the middle of the week!  It was odd.  Even the neighborhood was quiet.  No phone calls, hardly any e-mails…nothing.  I slept until noon (the dog and cat teamed up on me and woke me up!) and I got up to walk Roxy outside for a bit.  But since there wasn’t anything happening, I went back to bed for a while.  It felt good to catch up on some rest after the whirlwind that was Comic Con.  I headed over to Floyd’s Barbershoip at 5 to get a touch-up on my color.  Then Sara and I walked over to Panera with Roxy to have some dinner on the patio.  It was a very nice night, and a very fun walk.  When we got home Roxy was pooped out!  Figuratively and literally!  I recorded some auditions then worked a bit around the house.  I made some late dinner and watched another couple episodes of “The Twilight Zone” before bed.

Thursday the 31st – OH SHOOT! – I met my pal Kevin Castro for lunch at Jerry’s Famous Deli at 1:30.  Kevin was an editor on “The Tonight Show” and we worked closely together on the show all the time.  He’s a great guy and it’s always fun catching up.  We talked about a few projects he and I may want to do together in the future, then we went to the range and did some target shooting.  It was the first time he had ever been to a range, and though nervous at first, I think he had a great time.  He’s a darn good shot too!  His first shot was dead center!  I got home and recorded some voice tracks for a friend’s project, and then I walked Roxy for a bit.  I grabbed a quick nap and then got up to do my nightly auditions to e-mail to my agents.  I did some more work on the computer, scanned some checks for deposit, and then drove to the bank to put the envelope of check into the night depository.  I drove over to Denny’s to get some food to go and headed back home to watch “The Twilight Zone.”  I’m almost done with the third season set!

Friday the 1st – A JOURNEY OF SPIRITUAL NECESSITY? – I had to go back to the target range to pick up my ear muffs. I left them there the day before while I was shooting, so I figured while I was back, I’d do some more shooting but with a different gun. My neighbor Alex was laying out by the pool, and since she’s been wanting to go shooting for quite a while now, I figured this would be a good opportunity.  She jumped at the chance, so we took off.  First I stopped by Baron Hats in Burbank to look at the progress on the hat I was having made for my Phantom of the Opera life-size figure.  It was looking good, and the only thing they had left to do was to put the ribbon around the outside.  They were out of the proper sized ribbon so until they get it in, it’s going to take just a bit longer.  Plus the hat has to be specially blocked to give it that “Phantom slant” that he has.  The left side of the brim is blocked up, while the right side of the hat is blocked down to dip over the Phantom’s mask.  We had a fun time at the range, but at one point Alex had stepped up to the firing line and before she took a shot she flinched.  She told me she had something in her arm.  Sure enough, a very small piece of metal was imbedded in her upper left arm, and had started to bleed a little.  What we think happened is, the people shooting next to us had a wild shot that hit the metal hanger that holds the target.  Perhaps a piece of that metal hanger broke off with the shot and ricocheted back and hit Alex in the arm.  It’s really quite a freak accident when you think about it.  The chances that would happen are astronomically low, and of all the times I’ve been shooting that’s a first for me!  She just shrugged it off and didn’t think much about it, but we did go to the front desk to get an alcohol wipe so she could rub it down.  Who would have thought you could get shrapnel at a shooting range?  On the way home we stopped by Guns Direct so I could pick up a new gun cleaning kit.  I was out of solvent and cleaning pads.  While I was there I spotted a really nice Walther PK380 I liked.  So I bought it.  I’ve yet to go back and fill out the paperwork for it though, even though I’ve already paid for it.  I got back home and walked Roxy and checked my e-mails.   I was getting ready to settle in for the weekend.  I took a nap on the couch for a bit, then got up to do some work around the house.  But I made the fatal mistake of checking the Palm Springs weather forecast.  Apparently they were expecting thunderstorms all weekend.  We don’t get the window-ratting thunderstorms here in L.A. all that much, and with all the rain they were expecting in Palm Springs I was starting to think that it was something I wanted to experience.  A desert rainstorm…mmmmm.   I had been pretty restless lately and I really could use some time alone in the desert to reflect and focus.  Something to calm my spirit.  I had movie night scheduled for Saturday night, but I could leave Sunday and come back Monday.  I took  Roxy out for a walk and pondered the possibility some more.  Then I sat by the pool and watched the stars and relaxed.  I saw a terrific shooting star and I made my mind up.  I was going to book the room.  Since it’s the middle of summer room rates at the Hyatt were very reasonable.  I got on-line, booked the room, and called the Hyatt to arrange a specific room for my short stay.  I made some buffalo mac and watched more “Twilight Zone.”

Saturday the 2nd – WATER IN THE WIND! – Although Palm Springs was expecting a huge thunderstorm to move through all weekend, Los Angeles was also experiencing some of those conditions.  But without much of the rain.  We definitely had the humidity though. It didn’t even cool off much at night, as the air still hung heavy with hot moisture.  I took my assistant Sara to Paty’s for lunch, and we sat out on the patio watching the heavy cloud cover.  Then we got some grocery items and I headed back home to get ready for movie night.  I got a chance to get a brief nap on the couch.  My friends Josh, Joe and Nancy came by about 6:30 to get some swimming in before movie night.  We sat around in the Jacuzzi chatting until it was time to go in.  Later in the evening, during movie night, I took Roxy outside to go potty and it had started raining.  It was coming down pretty good for a while, but then it subsided.  When movie night was done I did some auditions that were due Monday morning (since I wouldn’t be here Sunday night to record them) and I started packing for my short trip.  I checked out the 24 hour Palm Springs webcam and I could see that they were getting a good dose of rain!

Sunday the 3rd – WHAT’S THAT SMELL?! – I got up at 2 and though I was already packed, I wasn’t really in the mood to go to Palm Springs any longer. Not sure why.  But I just wasn’t feeling it.  But I would have to eat the cost of the room if I didn’t go, so I figured I’d go anyway.  I got on the road at 3:20 and about 40 miles outside of Palm Springs I was glad I came.  When I got into the desert area it had started to sprinkle on my windshield. Then rain.  Off in the distance I could see huge black clouds looming over the desert landscape, and from those clouds long black ribbons touching down on the horizon.  Somebody was getting some awesome rain!  I must have driven right into it (or another system) because it poured down for a while.  But once I got to Palm Springs at 5pm I found out I had missed all the action.  They said a huge thunderstorm had passed through around 3 that rattled the windows and colored the sky with lighting. Rats.  The time to really be there was Saturday night.  I checked into my room, unpacked, and surveyed the city from my 6th floor balcony.  It had been drenched!  But the majority of the storms, sadly, were gone.  I was too late.  The smell in the air was odd though…something I had never smelled before.  I figured it was the smell of “wet desert.”  I walked back downstairs and caught up with my friend Darlene at the front desk. Darlene does tours at the Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway in character as Priscilla.  We chatted for a bit and I asked her if she could have housekeeping come clean a few cobwebs off my balcony.  Then I walked down to Ruby’s Diner to have a burger.   As I walked I tried to place that smell.  And I figured it out.  The closest thing I could relate it to was the smell of a steam room…hot, steamy moisture.  That’s what it was!  After dinner I walked over to the pet store called “Cold Nose, Warm Heart.”  I went next door to Fame and bought a cigar to enjoy later, and then I got a delicious Dole Whip at Lappert’s ice cream.  Unlike the one I had last week, this was fully “Wally-ized,” with coconut shavings and chunks of pineapple!  I wandered around some more, and then went back to my room.  It was good to clear my head and relax.  I grabbed a short nap.  When I got up later I went across the street to order an NYPD pizza to go.  While it cooked I strolled around downtown Palm Springs on the quiet, still wet streets, smoking my cigar.  I got my pizza and returned to my room.  It was then when I noticed some items had been removed from my room.  I brought two Citronella candles with me to keep the mosquitoes away while I sat out on the balcony at night, and I also brought a bottle opener with me to open the bottles of Coca Cola I like to drink.  I searched everywhere for them until I realized, the maids must’ve removed them when they came to clean the cobwebs.  They must’ve thought they were left by the previous guest.  Luckily the mosquitoes weren’t bad, and luckily the front desk loaned me a bottle opener for the evening.  Ester at the front desk promised me they would have my items returned to me first thing Monday.  But I had a very enjoyable night on the balcony watching the heavy black clouds move across the sky, occasionally letting the half-moon or a few stars peek through.  Nice!

And how was YOUR week??!!


Though there’s still more work to be done, it’s darn near finished! The Cowardly Lion is really coming to life! Next, Sergio will do the hairline work by hand, laying in hair strand by strand to match the make-up from the film. He also needs to trim, shape, curl and texture the “hair necklace” around the Lion’s neck. And the final touch will be adding his eyebrows. Stay tuned for more progress shots!

The rain pours down on my windshield as I cruise the 111 Freeway into Palm Springs. Beautiful!

The cloud formations after the desert thunderstorm in Palm Springs were stunning!

Even Mount Abe got drenched!

Appearing over the horizon only for about 2 minutes, was this beautiful rainbow!