Archive for January, 2016
January 25 – January 31
RANDOM PIC OF THE WEEK
After the amazing afternoon of cleansing rains in the Los Angeles area last Sunday, I photographed this gorgeous rainbow just before I left for evening church. AMAZING!
As I sat in my Tranquility Zone, this song came up on my iPod. This song really takes me places! It’s William Orbit’s “Optical Illusions,” and it’s amazing! See if it has the same effect on you!
Monday the 25th – WACKY AFTERGLOW! – It was a gorgeously sunny day when I woke up at noon. I did some last-minute auditions, e-mailed them to my agents, worked on writing Wally’s Week, and then grabbed a short nap. I was still a bit exhausted from the previous day’s shoot of our first two episodes of “Wacky Wally’s Vintage Toys.” It went very well, and reportedly we got some amazing stuff, but it was a fairly long evening. Not only was I the host, but I was handling some of the producing responsibilities as well. When I got up I grabbed dinner with my pal Brittney Powell and my assistant Sara at Ernie’s Taco House. I got home and did some work and then got a few more hours of sleep. When I got up I recorded my daily auditions and handled some work around the house. I was happy to just relax and take it easy. I made some food and watched another episode of “Thunderbirds” on Blu Ray. But before I turned in at 10am on Tuesday morning, my agent called with a last-minute audition. So I recorded it, e-mailed it in, and hit the hay!
Tuesday the 26th – NO MORE COFFEE FOR THE PIANIST! – Around 2 I woke up and hit the ground running; doing a bunch of work around the house, reconciling my bank statements, doing some book keeping, and doing random end-of-the-year stuff. I made some phone calls and spent all day working at my desk, paying bills, and other annoying activities. It was tiring work but it needed to be done. I walked my neighbor’s greyhound Abby, and then I came back inside and got cleaned up. Sara and I went to eat at Miceli’s Italian restaurant for dinner. But the regular piano player whom we enjoy wasn’t there. The piano player they had was very jarring and annoying. Firstly, he played WAY too loud. Secondly, he played WAY too fast. It was like he was on speed or something! It got to the point where my ears were getting so tired from his hyperactive ivory-tickling, that we finished our food and headed out. It was really starting to grate on my nerves. Not relaxing at all. When I got home I continued the arduous task of cataloging and labeling the entries in my personal log. I make recordings occasionally on a small digital recorder, and I plan to leave them for my descendants to listen to long after I’m gone. But labeling them and doing all the organizing work is a bit tedious. I’m only done with the entries from June of 2014! I still have a full year and a half’s worth of recordings to go through! I did some auditions and then hit the hay. I had to be up early for a “Sonic Boom” session in the morning, and a commercial for Paypal in the afternoon. It was going to be a busy day!
Wednesday the 27th – WILD WEDNESDAY! – 8:15 was the time my alarm went off. I got ready and hit the road for the “Sonic Boom” session at Studiopolis at 9am. It was a fun session, and we finished everything up by noon. I got home, walked Roxy, gave her a treat, and then hit the road again towards Santa Monica. I had to be at Lime Recording at 2 to record a commercial for Paypal. I took advantage of the long travel time and made some phone calls. My pal Johnny Green called from North Dakota to discuss a new project he’s working on, and I also called my “adopted Grandma” Shirley to see how she was doing. I grabbed a bite of lunch at Campo’s in Santa Monica (my favorite Mexican restaurant) and then did the session. I was out by 3:30 and on the freeway back home. I knew it would be an hour before afternoon L.A. traffic would allow me back home. I just made phone calls and settled in for the ride. I made it back home by 5 and fed my pets and walked Roxy. I did some work around the house, checked my e-mails, and grabbed an evening nap on the couch. When I got up I had a bunch of auditions to do, and when I finished them I made some stew and watched “Thunderbirds” again. Apparently it was the final episode of the first season, because it was, what I call, a “remember when” show. Basically a “clip” show. It featured highlights from the first season’s episodes. Since I had just seen the episodes within the past few weeks, I really didn’t need to see a repeat of some of the scenes. But I soldiered through.
Thursday the 28th – HOTLINE HAPPENINGS! – When I went to bed early Thursday morning I made sure the hotline in my bedroom was on and operational. The people who produced the Paypal spot I did the day before said they may need some line changes, so the possibility existed that I would need to head down to Santa Monica again later in the afternoon. Sure enough, I was booked to do another session at 3pm. The powers-that-be reviewed the work that we did on the spot the previous day, and decided to change a few words. So I was back on the freeway and headed to Lime Studios. Since we were only changing a few words, the session only lasted about a half hour. The traffic heading down there was a breeze, but of course the traffic back in L.A. afternoon drive traffic took me a while. But I relaxed and enjoyed the ride. I stopped by Jersey Mike’s to pick up a sandwich and then I headed home. I ate my dinner and watched the debate on TV, and then napped on the couch for a bit. As usual, when I got up I worked around the house, did my auditions, and did a little more work on my bedroom reorganization. A long time ago, I put up a bunch of glow-in-the-dark stars on the wall directly above my TV. After the sun shines in my room all day to charge them up, they glow for quite a long time through the night. I got some great glow paper on eBay a while back and it’s amazing how long it holds the glow. But unfortunately I mixed them in with some “lesser quality” glow stars, and those don’t hold their glow for very long at all. I decided to completely remove the inferior glow stars, and cut some replacement stars out of the wonderful glow paper. Identifying the bad stars is not easy though. I have to turn on the lights for about 5 minutes, grab a short ladder, and then douse the lights. Then, in the dark, I get up on the ladder with a black grease pencil and mark all of the stars that lose their glow quickly. Then I turn the lights back on and remove the stars with the black marks. I take various sized hole punches and punch out little spheres from the glow paper. Then I take those spheres, peel of the backs, and stick them where the bad stars used to be. Since I have hundreds of them on my wall (some good and some bad) it is fairly time consuming. But I made a lot of headway. I just wished I had a few more varying sizes of hole punches to really complete the picture. I made some food and watched “Thunderbirds” before bed.
Friday the 29th – SHIRLEY, SPOOK & A SCOT! – No sooner had my alarm gone off at noon, than my maids were knocking at my door to begin their cleaning of Planet Wallywood. While they cleaned I scanned a bunch of checks to go into the bank and did some more work around the house while trying to not get in their way. When they left I cleaned up and grabbed my cat Spooky and put him in his travel carrier. His long claws were becoming a hassle; as he was sticking to things like blankets, the carpet and me. While his nails were being trimmed at Rusty’s, I went next door to Studiopolis and picked up a check. I got Spook, dropped him off at home, and then called my friend Shirley (my adopted Grandma) to let her know I was picking her up for lunch. My first stop was the bank, and I was trying to think of a good eating place near the bank. I realized that Chin Chin was next door and I asked Shirley if she liked Chinese food. She said she had been craving Chinese food recently. I told her to be careful what she wished for she just may get it. We hit the bank so I could make my deposit, and then we went next door to eat. But before we went into Chin Chin, I stopped into say hi to my pals at Voice Trax West. I met a Voice Actress there named Katy Townsend who was about ready to go into the studio with Jenna the engineer to do a session. Katy seems like a very fun person and we had a few laughs. And she has the cutest Scottish brogue. Shirley and I had a fun time chatting with the folks at Voice Trax West, and then we went next door to have lunch. Just as we were finishing my agent Vinnie called and said that the “Ellen” show had just e-mailed me a script for a bit. He asked if I could turn it in soon. So I paid the check and we headed to my house. Had I had my wits about me, I could have just downloaded the script next door at Voice Trax West and recorded it there. But I wanted to show Shirley my house anyway. She said her grandson works at a comic book store and would LOVE my place and collection! I finished the bit and then we drove to the local Verizon store so Shirley could get a charger for her cell phone. Then we hit Michael’s crafts so I could shop for hole punches to continue my work with my glow stars project. I found some great options and picked them up! We went to get groceries at the store, and then I dropped Shirley off at her apartment. I carried her groceries upstairs for her and bid her a good night. Whew! What a day! But I did get a lot accomplished! I checked some e-mails, put up a few new glow stars and then grabbed a nap from 10:30pm to 3:00am! I slept much longer than I intended, but I guess I must’ve needed the sleep. After feeding Roxy I went over to Denny’s to get some food to go. I came home and walked Roxy on our late night stroll through the neighborhood, and then came inside to prepare my dinner and watch another “Thunderbirds” episode. I only have about four episodes left before I will have seen the entire series. I like the show and it’s very clever, but I’m ready to move on to a show with real people in it.
Saturday the 30th – AN EPIPHANY! – Today marked my dad’s 81st birthday. When I got up at 2 I called him on my way to the lighting store. After stopping at Taco Bell for a quick drive-thru lunch, I bought several light bulbs and a new lava lamp for my “Tranquility Zone.” Since I started my bedroom redecorating, reorganization and reimagining project over the holidays, I’ve decided to turn it into my own “fortress of solitude.” I call it my “Tranquility Zone.” I want it to be a sanctum that is completely removed from the outside world. I want it to be a relaxing, tranquil environment that appeals to all five senses. For my sense of hearing I have nice music playing on my iPod (normally my “Palm Springs” playlist…very meditative). For my sense of sight I have lots of great lighting effects and relaxing visuals to ease my spirit. I have my comfy bed and electric blanket to appease my sense of touch. I light a nice scented candle for a little aroma-therapy, and I have a wide array of delicious food to enjoy. It ensures that I start my sleep cycle as relaxed and peaceful as I can possibly be. And it really has worked well! As I sit in bed preparing for my nightly “TV Time” each night, I look at my room and get new ideas about things to change. Since I’ve cleaned out a lot of corners of my room during my reorganization process, I realized that one corner of my room looked a little empty. So I’m adding another lava lamp to that corner. On the way home I stopped by a pet store that sells cool cat trees. The one Spook has is pretty old, stained and smelly. So I’m going to dump that one soon in favor of a new one. But after talking to the guy in the store, I think I’m just going to have him make a brand new one in the exact same style of the one Spook has now. I stopped by Bed Bath and Beyond to pick up a new electric blanket. The one I had on my bed was 2 years old and it’s starting to lose its heating ability. That happens with those blankets; they usually only last a few years. I also picked up a new iHome iPod dock. The one I have now is one I’ve had for a while, and the digits on the alarm clock are burning out. If it’s cold in the room it’s nice and bright, but if it senses any heat at all (if I have the heater on in the house) the numbers almost completely fade away. I stopped by CVS to get a few prescriptions, and then headed home to feed the pets. I set up the new iPod dock, but it wouldn’t work with my iPod. It’s too old I guess. So I packed up the new dock so I can take it back to Bed Bath and Beyond for a refund. I like wearing a variety of baseball caps. It keeps the sun out of my eyes and off my face, and I like the comfort of wearing them. But they were stacked up on my dresser and they looked pretty messy. I found a cap holder that is basically a long elastic strap that hangs on your closet door. Each strap has hard plastic tabs sewn into them, and you can hang the caps on those tabs. I put all my caps on the holder and it looks very neat and orderly. It’s really a very clever invention! For movie night we ran the old movie “The Oblong Box” on Blu Ray. A quick story about this movie…when it came out in 1969 my Dad took me with him to see it at the local theater in Aberdeen, South Dakota. I was only 8 going on 9 at the time, and I remember riding my bike around all day psyching myself up to see this movie; probably my first scary movie in a theater. I ended up sitting through most of it, though after one scene I had to excuse myself to the lobby and sit on the stairs which led up to the balcony. When the movie ended my dad came out and we went home. The movie revolves around an African curse put upon an English aristocrat which leaves him insane and deformed. In order to exact his revenge on those who have wronged him, he puts on a creepy crimson velvet mask and begins his killing spree, after having been buried alive in an “oblong box.” He does this with a long knife with a serrated edge that I still remember to this day as it’s drawn across the throats of his victims! The movie had left an impression on my young mind; and I was seeing the man in the crimson mask with his jagged knife in every corner of my room. I had no idea at the time that the movie starred two greats; Vincent Price and Christopher Lee…two icons of whom I would eventually become a fan! I had seen this movie on VHS back in the early 90’s and was surprised that I was so scared by it. It didn’t seem like much of anything at all. A mediocre movie at best. But seeing this movie again at movie night helped to generate an epiphany. The killer of the movie, whom I was scared by as a 9 year old kid, was actually the HERO of the movie; a very sympathetic character! He killed NO innocents in this movie, and was only out to right the wrongs that had been done to him by wicked people. While watching it on Blu Ray I actually became sympathetic toward him, and felt bad at his demise at the end. The African curse was put upon him because he was accused of a crime he didn’t commit. So again, I felt sorry for the plight of this poor character. It took 46 years, but the scary man in the crimson velvet mask that used to freak me out, was now somebody I was feeling very sorry for. Pretty cool! After movie night I put the new electric blanket on my bed. I took the other one and put it on the bed in the Puppet Room. It does get warm, but not as warm as it did when it was new. I made my usual Saturday night salad and watched another episode of the BBC show “The Avengers.” As this show gets closer to the end, the episodes get harder and harder to watch, unfortunately. When I turned in for good around 8am Sunday morning, it had just started to rain. We were supposed to get some heavy rain throughout the day.
Sunday the 31st – MISSED IT! – I folded back my blackout curtain and pulled up the blinds on my bedroom window at 2 when I awoke. I was expecting to see it pouring rain, which would have made me want to slip back into my electric blanket and snooze some more. But it was partially sunny…the rain was gone. Rats! But everything was wet and REALLY green! Some of the grass was so green it almost looked neon! Compared to the ugly brown and burnt grass I saw over the summer, this was a welcome sight! Sara texted me and said that it was raining heavily around 10am to noon. I walked Roxy to evening church, and when it was done I walked my friend Shirley back home. She said the streets were so flooded earlier in the day that she couldn’t cross the street to get to the morning church service! I called Sara and had her meet me at Little Toni’s so I could get some spaghetti. I came home to nap in my new electric blanket. But I woke up a few hours later almost sweating! It was TOO hot! Wow! That really works well! I got up around 2 and fed Roxy and did my auditions. Then I made some soup and watched “Thunderbirds.” Sadly, it was probably the worst episode of all the ones I had seen so far. But I only have about 3 more to go before the series ends.
And how was YOUR week??!!
PIX FROM THE WEEK
If you remember, a few weeks ago my pal Elliot Lurie (former lead singer of the 70’s group Looking Glass) posted the first of four videos he shot live in Planet Wallywood on New Year’s Eve. Here’s the second of the four, and it’s a little tune he calls “The Divorce Song.” Enjoy!