Archive for December, 2015

December 28 – January 3



RANDOM PIC OF THE WEEK

I found this shot of my dad hanging out in the Puppet Room with Roxy during my parents’ recent visit, and thought it was just too cute not to post.

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This is the song that came up on my iPod while I was marveling at the gorgeous sunrise on New Year’s morning.  Listen to Deep Forest’s “Sweet Lullabye (Ambient Mix)” and just imagine you’re watching the clouds in the east turn from pink, to orange, to amber.  It’s a cool, quiet morning…completely still.  Not a sound is heard.  It’s a new year, and things are looking good.  Then you’ll have the feeling of what I was experiencing that morning.  Aaaah, the magic of music.

Monday the 28th – FINAL WEEK OF FUN! –  Since I accidentally ran over my camera with my car on Christmas Day, I needed to dash off to Best Buy to buy a new one.  I got up around 3 and headed over there. But I made a stop off at Roundtable Pizza first to grab a pizza for lunch.  I don’t get Roundtable pizza much so it’s a real treat.  After getting my new camera I went to Target to pick up a few items there.  I got some groceries at the grocery store and ran into my old “Tonight Show” pal Renee.  She was the main switchboard operator there, so it was fun to catch up on what’s been happening.  I drove by “The Christmas House” one final time.  I didn’t think I’d be able to get by to see it before they took it down for the year.  I sure do enjoy watching that lighting display, and I’m glad it’s become one of my annual Christmas traditions.  I went to DuPar’s to meet with my pal Aaron who is going to sell some stuff on eBay for me, once I start my great “purge” over the holiday week.  I have a lot of books, shirts, clothes and miscellaneous items that I no longer use, and they need to go so I can have some room to get NEW stuff!  I told him when I had a box of stuff ready to go I would call him.  We talked about how the whole system would work and we ironed out the details.  I went home to unload all the stuff I got, write Wally’s Week, and send out my invites for New Year’s Eve.  I had something special planned for my friends this year.  I made dinner and watched “Thunderbirds” on Blu Ray and then hit the hay. WOW! What a day!

Tuesday the 29th – IN (AND OUT) OF THE CLOSET! – In the afternoon I headed over to pick up a friend who was in from out of town, so we could hop on the subway and go to Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum in Hollywood.  But on my way to get her she texted me and said she wasn’t feeling very good.  So I turned around and headed to the car wash to get my Mustang cleaned.  When I had parked to get groceries the night before, I parked under a tree that apparently is a bathroom for the birds.  When it was finished I went to get some packages at my mailbox, and then I met with my assistant Sara for some lunch at Paty’s in Toluca Lake.  Then I headed home to work on the house, take a dip in the Jacuzzi, and grab a quick nap.  When I got up I continued working on cleaning my closet.  It was taking a lot longer than I expected, but it sure was looking good!  I was now able to walk around in my closet with ease!  And everything was completely organized!  While I worked I continued to dub old family home movies on to DVD.  I had started the project a long time ago, and then hit a snag and didn’t finish it.  But the stack of old VHS tapes on my closet shelf was one of the things that needed to go in my organization project, so dubbing them while I worked was a perfect idea.  It was fun seeing a lot of the old videos of friends and family; some of them from over 20 years ago!  I spent all night working on the closet by organizing and labeling, dusting and cleaning.  Shortly after sunrise I finished up, made some hot dogs on the grill outside and watched “Thunderbirds” again.

Wednesday the 30th – 39 HOURS!! – It was great sleeping until 4 in the afternoon, especially after the night of work I did.  I worked on the computer for a bit, worked in the bedroom closet some more; pulling out some clothes I no longer use, and I did some more work on my family home movies DVD dubbing project.  But I needed a break and some food.  So I met Sara at Bob’s Big Boy for dinner.  The hot vegetable beef soup sure tasted good on a cold night!  I stopped by the grocery store to pick up some items for New Year’s Eve and went home to put them away.  Once again, I worked all through the night on my closet and I finished up my dubbing project.  The final total?  39 DVDs which each contain an hour of videos!  WOW!  Back when my niece Sara was little I would call her on Christmas Eve as Santa.  On one of the VHS tapes I dubbed, my ex-brother-in-law was capturing her reaction to the phone call on video.  She was also really into Barney the Dinosaur at that time, so Barney got on the phone too.  When I used to make the calls, I obviously couldn’t see her face (no Skype, back then) so I just figured she enjoyed the calls. But seeing it from her perspective really moved me.  I could see on her young face that she was totally involved in the fantasy and believed with total conviction that Barney and Santa were both on the phone with her.  Her young eyes were huge with wonder, and it made me fairly emotional; to see this reaction after all these years.  She’s in her 20s now so Santa (or Barney) hasn’t called her in many years, but it sure was fun seeing the magic she enjoyed on Christmas Eve all those years ago.  It was then I realized that I’m definitely blessed to be in the right business, doing things exactly like that for people but on a much bigger scale.  I’m a lucky guy.  The dubbing job was a huge job, but definitely worth it.  And now I can dub DVDs on my computer and send copies to my folks.  I think they’ll be surprised at all the great videos they’ll see…family trips from the early 90’s, my late grandmother playing and singing on the piano, my kids opening gifts on Christmas Eve from 25 years ago.  I fed and walked Roxy, and then went inside to make some chicken noodle soup and watched “Thunderbirds.”  It’s hard to believe that the long holiday break is over!  Where did it go?

Thursday the 31st – NEW YEAR’S EVE-NING TO REMEMBER! – When my alarm went off at 1, I was sleeping so soundly that I was actually confused when I woke up.  I went to check e-mails but Time Warner had my internet shut off AGAIN!  Apparently they are really having technical issues.  My internet has been off four times in the past three weeks!  I called them to see what was going on, but (surprise surprise) they had no idea what was going on…only that “technicians were working on it.”  I may need to go back to AT&T DSL again.  My maids came over at 1:30 to clean up Planet Wallywood for my evening festivities.  My pal Brittney Powell came over for a quick visit, and my buddy Kevin brought over some video lights that I could use for a shoot later that night.  Kevin is the producer of our upcoming webseries “Wacky Wally’s Vintage Toys,” which (after many delays) WILL begin shooting in the new year.  My friends Scott and Vickie Sebring came over to set up Scott’s audio recording equipment. The special treat I had planned for this New Year’s Eve was a live concert by my buddy Elliot Lurie; the voice and writer behind the 70’s group Looking Glass, and the million-selling, #1 hit “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl).”  It would be just Elliot and his guitar and we would be shooting it with a three camera set-up and a professional quality audio recording set-up.  I set up the living room with bean bag chairs and regular chairs.  Unlike movie night, where we would all be facing the screen, we set the chairs to the left so Elliot could be seated in front of the fireplace for his concert. When Elliot arrived we did a quick run-through for camera angle, lighting and audio.  The guests started to arrive around 7:30, and at 8 the pizzas arrived.  At 8:30 we started the concert.  Elliot did “Baby What You Want Me To Do,” and old rhythm and blues great. And then he went into “Brandy.”  Wouldn’t you know it, just as the song started, my house alarm went off!  WHAT?!  I turned off the alarm and we had to start over again because the noise ruined the take.  And then as my dog was going upstairs from the downstairs area she made a quick turn and banged her left front paw on the wooden footrest on my director’s chair. She howled and whined in pain. I thought I was going to have to take her to the emergency room if it was broken.  So much for the concert!  But it was just sore (not broken, thankfully!) and we put her in the kitchen so she could relax for a bit.  Then we rolled cameras again and the rest of the concert went perfectly.  It was great hearing acoustic versions of the songs I love.  He said that that’s how they sounded when he wrote them in his living room all those years ago.  He also did a few originals that were terrific!  We are going to edit these all together and we’ll have the finished, edited versions on my website, as well as Youtube and other websites very soon in the new year! Stay tuned!  You WON’T be sorry!  Then we started our movie program for the night.  We watched the Mark Hamill “Muppet Show” appearance, which was awesome.  Then, at Elliot’s request, we watched the Tom Hanks movie “That Thing You Do” on Blu Ray.  He said that movie kind of summed up the experience he had with Looking Glass back in the early 70’s.  I had forgotten how funny that movie was. It was VERY enjoyable!  At midnight we rang in 2016, and then finished the final 20 minutes of the movie.  My guests left and I spent the evening cleaning up and reorganizing the living room.  I made soup and a sandwich, and watched “Thunderbirds” with a prayer that this would be a very good year.

Friday the 1st – END OF THE YEAR BUSY WORK! – Happy New Year!  Just before they drove back to Palm Springs, Edi and Elliot stopped by to pick up their equipment.  Instead of running it in and out of their hotel room, they just left it at my house and grabbed it on their way out of town.  Sara came over for a bit to help with things around the house, and then I grabbed a quick nap.  When I got up I met her for dinner at Miceli’s. There’s nothing like starting the new year with some delicious, cheese-covered lasagna!  I got home and napped (again!) and spent all night working on stuff around the house.  I had fully intended to completely reorganize my bedroom over the holiday break, but I didn’t get half the stuff done that I had hoped.  (But my closet looked amazing!)  But since it’s the new year, I had a lot of end-of-year busy work to do with reconciling bank accounts, bookkeeping, and I dubbed DVD copies of our home movies for my folks.  I paid some bills and then walked and fed Roxy.  I was craving Denny’s, so I phoned in my order and headed over to pick it up.  I finished up some more work and then got ready for bed just as the sun was coming up.  I don’t know if it was the spirit of the new year or what, but I got very introspective and meditative watching this gorgeous sunrise.  My bedroom window is situated perfectly to observe the sun rising in the east.  As I listened to music on my Palm Springs playlist, I just sat quietly, meditatively, watching the clouds turn from pink, to orange, to amber.  It was very peaceful, cool and quiet that time of the morning.  The Deep Forest song I was listening to was underscoring my experience perfectly!  A great way to start the new year!  I ate my Denny’s and watched “Thunderbirds,” and then hit the hay.

Saturday the 2nd – THE REAL BOXING DAY! – My eyes snapped open at 3 and I started the day.  I stopped by the bank to get some cash, and dashed by the hardware store to get a new battery for my alarm system. The reason my alarm went off during Elliot Lurie’s concert at my house, was because the back-up battery had died and my alarm was letting me know that the battery needed replacing.  It’s timing was odd to be sure!  I mailed some letters, bills and autographed photos at the post office, and then stopped by Rusty’s Discount Pets to get some food for Roxy.  The owner Terry and I chatted for about an hour in his office, while his collie Rusty snuggled up next to me.  I got home and then Sara dropped by so we could go to Barone’s for dinner.  Since we just had an amazing New Year’s Eve gathering, I didn’t feel the need to have movie night two nights later.  So Sara and I met up with our friends James and Cynthia for a nice dinner.  We had such a nice time; I got an idea for the new year.  I think in 2016 I’ll only do movie nights three Saturdays in the month, with one of the Saturdays being just a “dinner with friends” night.  We all had such a great time chatting and dining that I would like to do that on a monthly basis.  During movie nights we don’t get a chance to sit down and talk as much as I’d like, because we’re so focused on the evening’s movie, so hopefully a change in the Saturday night schedule will rectify this.  I got home and grabbed a nap, and then got up to do a bunch of work, closing out stuff from the past year.  I know the day after Christmas is technically called “Boxing Day,” but this was MY boxing day.  I packed up all my 2015 pay stubs, packaged up all of my receipts from 2015 for tax purposes, and stashed them in storage downstairs.  I dubbed more DVDs for my folks, made my usual Saturday night salad and watched the old British “Avengers” series before bed.

Sunday the 3rd – DUSTING OFF THE COBWEBS! – Late in the afternoon I got up and prepped for church.  Roxy and I walked over for the service, and my friend Kristy stopped by.  She was in town from Montana and came by the church service.  She used to go to that church when she lived here, so she had a great time seeing everyone again.  I walked my friend Shirley home, and then Kristy and I went to Jerry’s Famous Deli to have dinner with her friend Tina.  I headed home and dove into my auditions.  Yup, auditions. I hadn’t had any of those in my inbox in two weeks and it was time to dust off the cobwebs and get back to work for the new year.  Normally, I’m itching to get back to work and I see the two week holiday break as a bit of a nuisance.  But this year I was actually a little sad that it was over so soon, wishing I had another week of rest.  I fed Roxy and hit the hay for an early, Monday morning audition in Hollywood.  How many more days until NEXT Christmas???!!

And how was YOUR New Year’s holiday week??!!

PIX FROM THE WEEK

Over the holidays, when many of my friends were traveling, I got a bunch of phone calls asking if I was the voice on the American Airlines phone system and in-flight safety videos. They had heard me at some point during their trip. A good pal at American sent me a snippet from their newsletter heralding their interactive system which is second to none in the industry. I've been working for them for about 5 years now on this project and I'm proud to be involved with them. They've even named the system "Wally!" How cool!

Over the holidays, when many of my friends were traveling, I got a bunch of phone calls asking if I was the voice on the American Airlines phone system and in-flight safety videos. They had heard me at some point during their trip. A good pal at American sent me a snippet from their newsletter heralding their interactive system which is second to none in the industry. I’ve been working for them for about 5 years now on this project and I’m proud to be involved with them. They’ve even named the system “Wally!” How cool!

My friend Edi's dog Bunny was digging around in the beanbag chair to get comfortable and became a magnet for static electricity. We laughed so hard we cried!

My friend Edi’s dog Bunny was digging around in the beanbag chair to get comfortable and became a magnet for static electricity. We laughed so hard we cried!

My pal Elliot Lurie and I just after he finished his mini-concert at my house on New Year's Eve.

My pal Elliot Lurie and I just after he finished his mini-concert at my house on New Year’s Eve.

Elliot and his lovely new wife Edi!

Elliot plays by the Planet Wallywood fireplace.

Elliot plays by the Planet Wallywood fireplace.

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