Archive for July, 2018

July 30 – August 5 (2018)


Here’s how I looked right around the time I started getting mistaken for Jeff Lynne. This would have been back in the late 80’s.

 The opening band for ELO was called Dawes. And they impressed me so much I bought one of their songs when I got home. This is “Feed the Fire.” These guys are great!

Monday the 30th – INEPTITUDE ON PARADE: PART 1! – It seems like everywhere I wanted to go was not possible due to road closures! Oh well, my tax dollars at work, I guess. I was up at 10 and out the door by 10:45 to an on-camera audition in Hollywood. The casting office was completely surrounded by construction work and closed streets, so I parked a ways away and walked. Good thing it was slightly cooler than it had been, otherwise I would have arrived drenched in sweat. The audition was for a Voice Over guy, but one that you would see on-camera. After seeing the prototype they had pictured on the sample scripts I realized that I probably wasn’t what they were looking for, but I did my best nonetheless. I saw a bunch of guys who looked the part waiting to audition, and then I saw a few of my old VO pals who were sitting there wondering why they were there…like me. One of my pals said, “I have to come do one of these things every once in a while to remind myself why I don’t do these.” Well said. As a rule, VO folks don’t really enjoy on-camera that much, and some avoid doing it altogether. But since the casting office requested me, I figured I’d better at least make an appearance. After the audition I headed home to meet the plumbers who were finally going to fix my water heater the way they should have when the job was initially done two years ago. The plumbing works fine, but the way they installed it wasn’t up to code. So when the city inspector came to inspect it, he had three corrections that needed to be handled before he could sign off on the permit. Oddly enough, the guy who screwed it up the first time returned to the “scene of the crime.” He’s still employed! Unbelievable! But this time the inspector told me exactly what he needed to see before he would consider it up to code. When I told the plumbers what the problems were, they acted surprised; as if they’ve never heard these things before. Is the code different for my house than every other house in L.A.? Good grief, man. How did this guy get a job in the first place?! I napped on the couch while they spent three hours correcting the problem. After they left I did some work, fed Roxy and Spook, and then Brittney came over to follow me to the Ford dealer so I could drop off my Mustang for “early bird service.” This service allows you to drop the car off during the night, after business hours, so they can get to it first thing in the morning and have it ready for you by mid-afternoon…allegedly. I needed to have my rear shocks replaced so I prepaid for the parts when I had my Mustang in for maintenance a month ago. They didn’t have the parts in at the time, but with all of the traveling I’d been doing, this is really the first chance I’ve had to get over there to get the work done. But the place they’ve provided for overnight early bird parking looked sketchy to me. It wasn’t well lit, and the Ford dealership isn’t in the greatest of neighborhoods in the first place. Plus, with a convertible, I worry about somebody taking a knife and slitting open the top to get what they want. (After having my Gran Torino stolen a few years ago I’m excessively nervous now) I took Brittney over to Denny’s to grab a bite to eat, but her chicken fried steak was too salty. So she sent it back in favor of some Buffalo chicken strips. But the celery that came with them looked rotten, so she took that back. Good grief, does ANYONE care about their job anymore? I like Denny’s as a rule, but tonight they weren’t on their A game. Like the plumbers. While at dinner I was thinking about the dubious place I parked at the Ford dealer. I called the dealership, and since the showroom floor was open until 10, I spoke with the manager. I told him I was nervous about leaving my car there overnight, and he suggested I come back and he’ll move it to a more secure lot. Then he would e-mail the head of service to let him know where to find it. Now I’ll sleep better at night. Speaking of sleep, I went back home to grab a nap, and then got up to do my nightly auditions and write Wally’s Week. I fed and walked Roxy, and then got some paint and started painting the wall at 4am. No, I wasn’t scrawling my name or gang affiliation, but I was painting the new copper pressure relief valve that the plumbers had installed outside my house. It had to be a certain color in order to adhere to association rules. So with my high-beam flashlight, a paintbrush, some paper towels and a can of paint, I sloshed on a coat and let it dry for a while. I returned a short time later, after my late-night stroll through the neighborhood with Roxy, and sloshed on a second coat. The main reason I wanted to do it in the middle of the night was that the outdoor temperature was at the ideal level for paint to dry. If it’s too hot outside, it’s not optimum for painting. I went inside and finished Wally’s Week, made some lasagna and watched a few more episodes of “Happy Days” from the first season DVD set.

Tuesday the 31st – INEPTITUDE ON PARADE: PART 2! – The best advice I ever got from my dad is, “You’ve got to double-check EVERYONE! And then double-check them again!” It’s advice I’ve always tried to follow to the letter, but sometimes I slip. Plus, if you’re always double-checking everyone, they think you’re attempting to impugn their abilities to do their job, and you come off looking like a jerk. But when I don’t double-check them, I usually end up getting burned. When I got up at 3 I fully expected a call from the dealership telling me my Mustang was ready. I was going to brave the triple-digit temps and ride my bike the short distance to get my car. I could lower the top, put my bike in the back, and head home. But there was no word from Ford at all. What could have happened? It was only rear shocks! Then it hit me…what if the service manager hadn’t seen the e-mail from the showroom manager telling him my car was parked in a different lot. If they show up in the morning and there’s no car parked there, then they probably don’t look inside the key drop box. So my car and my car key were probably still sitting in the same place I left them 17 hours ago! Of course my calls to the dealership were unsuccessful. They couldn’t find the service manager, so I explained my situation to the girl at the desk. Big mistake. She said she’d investigate and call me back in 15 minutes. 30 minutes later, after not hearing back, I called them again and explained my problem to ANOTHER girl. Still no sign of the service manager. But a half hour later I got a call from one of the other service guys who swore he’d get to the bottom of it. 45 minutes later the M.I.A. service manager called and explained the problem. He said he didn’t check the keybox that morning, which they’re instructed to routinely do, and he admitted it was his mistake. I thought it was nice he owned up to it, and didn’t shirk the blame off on somebody else. He also said he’d get right on my car and have it ready by 7pm, just before they closed. Unfortunately, I had anticipated picking up my “adopted grandma” Shirley for that evening’s Laurel and Hardy “Sons of the Desert” fan club meeting. I didn’t want to take the Torino because it was too hot. Plus, the parking at the meeting is tight and I didn’t want anyone scraping up my Torino. So I called my pal Clay and he drove over in HIS Mustang and we rode over to the Ford dealership. As a thanks I took he and his wife Mariah to dinner at the Coral Café afterwards. What a wasted day. I went home to nap for a bit. I didn’t have any auditions to do because it’s the “slow” time of year for the industry. But when I got up I did some data entry on my computer, and did a wardrobe inventory check with my bowling shirts. I have about 15 custom-designed bowling shirts I like to wear at appearances and conventions. The fabric ranges from Laurel and Hardy, to Star Trek, to Muppets, to Frosted Flakes. And everything else in between. I also discovered that I prefer to wear a color coordinated t-shirt underneath the bowling shirt, and leave it unbuttoned. I really like that look. So I’ve been busy looking at every bowling shirt in my collection to try and ascertain which color t-shirt would look best. I’ve already color coordinated a solid fabric to go into the side panels, trim and collar on the shirts, so the t-shirt would need to be a different contrasting color. So I decided to pick some little obscure color out of the print and try and match a t-shirt to that. These days, you can find a t-shirt in almost every color of the rainbow. I particularly like those “soft wash” t-shirts that feel worn-in. After compiling a list of colors I needed, I bought a few on eBay that I figured would work nicely. Then I made some hot dogs on the grill and started my next set of “Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” DVDs.

Wednesday the 1st – DOIN’ THE ANTS DANCE…AGAIN! – Mid-afternoon I woke up and did some things around the house. My pal Emily came over and we ran some errands. First I hit my mailbox to pick up some packages, and then we went to Hobby Lobby so I could buy a few colored t-shirts that I needed for my bowling shirt ensemble. We grabbed a bite next door at Lancers, and then headed to the local “pot shop” to get some CBD oil for Roxy. I’ve had her on CBD oil for her vaginal tumors (which occasionally bleed) and since I’ve had her on it she hasn’t bled. So maybe it’s working! I went back home to do some work and then nap on the couch. When I got up later I started working on my photo album project again. I’m really close to being finished with all my South Dakota photos! Then I’ll move on to my “orphaned” L.A. photos! But first I had another ant situation to handle. I thought I had plugged their entry points, but apparently I missed one. So before I killed them, I got a light so I could follow their trail. Once I ascertained their point-of-entry I plugged it with packing tape, and killed every ant I could find. I also fixed the runner for one of my kitchen drawers. Then I turned my attention to my photo albums. These categories are going to be much easier than the last ones, because these are just photos. They won’t have a narrative or captions. The thing that really slowed me down with the last set of photo albums was having to print out captions for pertinent photos in the collection. I scanned some checks for a bank deposit and then hit the hay.

Thursday the 2nd – BIG SCREEN BOND! – When I woke up in the middle of the afternoon I got some work done around the house. Then I headed off to the bank to make some deposits, over to the vitamin store to get some supplements, and then went back home. I fed the kids and then got cleaned up for my evening out with my friend Stephanie. She had never seen a James Bond film before, so she was in for a treat. A local theater is playing a Bond film starring a different James Bond every Thursday during the month of August. The Sean Connery pick was “Goldfinger.” I had seen it on the big screen before, but it was a lousy film print. I was happy to see that they’d be running a blu ray print of it on the big screen! I dropped Stephanie at her house and then headed home to grab a quick nap. I got up to do a few auditions, and then did some more photo album work. Then after her dinner, Roxy and I took a nice, quiet stroll through the neighborhood around 4am. Then I got back to my photo album work. I made a pizza and then got ready for bed.

Friday the 3rd – SPOTTY SLEEPING! – At 8:10am I got a call from the City of L.A. telling me that the inspector would be out between 11am and 1pm to do the inspection of my water heater. Hopefully this will be the last of it. So I slept 3 hours and got up at 11. The inspector arrived at 11:20. He inspected the work and signed off on it. It’s all good. He said there’s only paperwork to complete by the plumbers, but I won’t be seeing him again. Whew! Glad it’s over. Then I napped on the couch for a bit while I waited for the technician from DirecTV to come see why I was having trouble getting high def programming on my upstairs system. (The downstairs system was fine) I woke up when my phone rang. It was DirecTV’s automated system telling me the tech would be there between 2:30 and 3. Good. So I slept a little while longer. Then they called back at 2:30 and told me that he was 15 minutes away. I appreciate their diligence, but the intrusions into my sleep was bugging me. He arrived and worked for about 2 hours. He restored my system successfully after a lot of goofing around with my converter, futzing around with my dish on my roof, and splicing cables. When he left I slept until 6. I fed my pets and showered quickly. I needed to be at my mailbox by 7 to get my packages. Then I got some groceries, picked up a sandwich at Jersey Mike’s, and headed back home. The spotty sleep I got during the day had left me still feeling tired. So I napped on the couch for a while (I turned OFF my phone!) and got up later to do more work on the photo albums. I ate my leftover Jersey Mike’s sandwich and watched a few more Johnny Carson episodes.

Saturday the 4th – ‘ELLO ‘ELLO ELO! – When I saw Jeff Lynne’s ELO in concert at the Hollywood Bowl back in 2016 I had said it was probably the best concert I had ever been to. And that coming from a guy who’s seen Elvis and McCartney. So I was very excited to see them again tonight at the Forum. After having observed ELO fans in the audience dressed as Jeff Lynne (on the Wembley and Hyde Park DVDs) I decided I’d do my part. I had been mistaken for Jeff several times back in the 80’s because I wore a full beard, tinted glasses and a full afro. So I figured this time I’d make the most of the slight resemblance. I got up at 3, did some work around the house, and then started in on doing my hair. Since my hair is a lot longer than Jeff’s, I had to spray it with product and scrunch it as I dried it. That way it would stay in place and not fall down in my eyes. By the time I was ready to go I literally had a “hair helmet.” My pal James picked up Edi, Gina, Mark and myself at my place at 5. We wanted to get there nice and early to make sure nothing got in the way of our evening. It was a fun (and quick!) trip to the L.A. Forum. We got there just before 6, and in Saturday L.A. traffic, that’s somewhat of a miracle. I had been to the Forum many times back in the 80’s and 90’s (a few Lakers games, McCartney in ’89 and Kiss in ’97) so I had forgotten how really small it is compared to the enormous concert halls like the Staples center. But there was a nostalgic charm to it. We parked in Preferred Parking (really the way to go!) and walked up to the Forum. It was fun watching people do double-takes as I walked up with the group. Because I had sunglasses on I could watch people out of the corner of my eye, and they had no idea where I was looking. Some people would just stand there and stare, trying to decide if they should approach me or not. But then I bought some ELO swag at the souvenir stand. After that the fun was kind of over, because people figured if I really WAS Jeff Lynne, why would I be carrying around a bag of my OWN merchandise?! But it was still fun and we got some great photos. Mark, James and I all were wearing out Xanadudes t-shirts; shirts they we had printed up 2 years ago when we met Olivia Newton-John in Las Vegas. We enjoyed some Pink’s hot dogs, lounged around and enjoyed the weather (because the Forum is close to the ocean there was a nice cool breeze). I was standing there thinking about how blissfully happy I was. Shortly after 7 we went inside to find our seats. I went to find some water and some caramel corn. As I walked to the snack stand, people would stare at me as I walked by. I wasn’t carrying my bag of swag this time, but really – why would Jeff Lynne be walking to the snack bar just before showtime? But one guy said, “There’s Jeff Lynne right there!” It’s probably the closest thing I’ve done to cosplay in recent history. But it was a blast! By 8pm the auditorium was only half full, but there was an opening band named Dawes who took the stage shortly after 8. In my experience, opening bands are usually horrible. The rare exception was when I saw Billy Squier open for Pat Benatar in 1980 and he literally blew her off the stage! But this band was really good, and a good pick for this demographic. They weren’t loud, the vocals were amazing, and the songs were well-crafted and right up this audience’s alley. In fact, I made note of a song called “Feed the Fire” which I bought when I got home later. They were damn good! They got quite an ovation after their set was complete. I urge you to check them out. And here all along I thought opening bands were a thing of the past. Mark, James and I stood up during the intermission to stretch our legs, and we stood in the aisle by our seats. When we saw the band take the stage we rushed to our seats. The guy in the seat next to me leaned over and whispered, “Should you be up THERE?”! That made me laugh hard. ELO was fantastic, but it’s hard to beat the Hollywood Bowl show from 2016 with its outdoor ambience and a 42 piece orchestra. However, it was an amazing time! The audience was great, people were dancing and singing along, and everyone had a superb time. My only complaint would be that the show is too short. There are SO many ELO songs I would have liked to have heard. I actually got quite emotional during a few of the songs and had to put my sunglasses back on. My discovery of and history with ELO all came flooding back to me as I sat there enjoying “Can’t Get It Out Of My Head.” The first ELO song I ever bought was “Strange Magic” on 45 rpm. It had a picture sleeve and it looked like this…

I thought they looked like a cool bunch of guys. Later when I got into radio at the age of 16 in Aberdeen, South Dakota, I heard a promo that our Music Director put together. It started out with the haunting strains of “Midnight. On the water.” I asked him what song that was and he said it was ELO’s “Can’t Get It Out Of My Head.” Then, as ELO started to have hits with “Turn to Stone” and “Sweet Talkin’ Woman,” I would sit there in the radio control room and study the 45 label carefully. I noticed that the songwriting credit in parenthesis under the title had the name “Jeff Lynne.” I thought it was funny at the time, because the owners of our radio station were Jeff and Lynn Solem. Jeff Lynne. Funny. After that, I was hooked. And by the time I had moved to Sioux Falls at the age of 17, I was listening to “Out of the Blue” continually in my room, picking out every little musical nuance that helped to construct some of the most amazing music I’d ever heard. The same aforementioned Music Director used to be a mobile D.J. He had these huge blue lights that he would light up at his dances for effect. When he quit doing the mobile D.J. stuff he had given me one of his lighting set-ups just before I moved to Sioux Falls. So I had this huge bank of blue lights in my room. While other kids were experimenting with marijuana and alcohol at that age, I was locked in my room with my blue lights on, listening to ELO albums and getting high in my own way…with the music. I had even written my senior year literary thesis about that very subject (wish I still had it!). I didn’t know it at the time, but I was meditating, in a fashion. To this very day I have my Tranquility Zone which is essentially the same thing. Blue LED lights and lots of meditative music (yes, even some ELO!). When I became a full-time DJ in Sioux Falls I had to travel around the area to events. My 1974 Nova didn’t have a tape deck, so I put fresh batteries in my boom box, took along my cassette of “A New World Record” and played it continually. Every single song on that album is a gem! In 1989 I was mistaken for Jeff Lynne at the Culver Studios, and ended up getting invited to watch the Beach Boys and Chicago rehearse for their tour. But I’ll save that story for another day. So yeah, ELO means a lot to me, and yeah…I got a little emotional. After the show we drove back to my house and everyone got in their cars and took off. I showered all of the hairspray out of my hair and grabbed a short nap on the couch. I got up later and fed the pets, walked Roxy on our late-night stroll through the neighborhood (there were some good stars out!) and went back inside to make my traditional Saturday Night Super Salad and watch another episode of “SNL” from the second season DVD set. I had been waiting for Bill Murray to show up, and this was the episode! It was just after the Christmas break in 1976, and it was the first episode in 1977. Belushi had injured his meniscus and was in the hospital so he couldn’t do the show. So they were down to just Garret and Dan as male Not Ready for Primetime Players. Chevy had quit toward the beginning of the season. The first bit Bill Murray did was as a grandpa sitting at a chess board which was hysterical. Later he showed up as a TV director who was rehearsing a televised execution of a prisoner. Comedy gold! It’s funny that when Belushi called Jane Curtin from his hospital bed during Weekend Update he said, “Who’s that new guy…Bill Murphy?” Little did we know at the time, but of all the SNL stars, Bill Murry would become the biggest of them all; even getting nominated for an Oscar for “Lost in Translation.” (Though Eddie and Dan have also been nominated for Oscars as well) And this particular episode featured Andy Kaufman doing his Elvis impression, wearing the very same costume I have in my collection! Amazing!

Sunday the 5th – MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: EATING VEGAN! – The day started with a conference call with some business partners at 5. Then I headed over to evening church. I got back home and walked Roxy, changed clothes and drove into Hollywood to meet my friend Valerie Perez at the Arclight to see “Mission Impossible: Fallout.” She got me to break my boycott of all “Mission Impossible” films. When they made Jim Phelps the bad guy in the first one I vowed to never see one again. I loved Jim Phelps in the TV series and making him the bad guy was a stupid move. This film was action-packed and full of amazing stunts. The story was a bit difficult to follow, with this person working for this person, but this person defecting and this person working for this person who’s now working for this person. But there were a few typically good “Mission Impossible” moments that made me cheer, and it’s always fun hearing that amazing theme song on gigantic theater speakers. On the way out an usher named Ryan commented on my ELO hoodie. He said it’s one of his favorite bands (he’s only 26!) so we chatted for quite a while. Good kid! By the time Val and I hit Sunset Boulevard most every eating place had closed up. It WAS Sunday night after all. The only place left open within walking distance was a Vegan place. I figured ‘what the heck’ and we went in. I ordered some mac ‘n’ cheese and some fries. The fries were GREAT! But I don’t think there was any real cheese in the mac ‘n’ cheese, so it was a little like eating apple pie where the apples had replace by Styrofoam balls. But Val and I had fun anyway. I got back home and napped on the couch for a bit, and then got up to feed and walk Roxy on our late-night stroll through the neighborhood. We saw a wayward bat flitter around above our heads for a while. I said to myself, “It’s an omen!” (Every time I see a bat overhead I mutter those words as an homage to the origin story of Batman.) As I turned around to lock up, I looked up into the eastern sky. Just before dawn I saw the Orion constellation begin to rise. That to me tells me that fall is coming soon. You can really only see Orion during the winter months for some reason. It’s the first I’ve seen of that constellation for many, many months. It made me feel good that fall is coming. I went inside and hit the hay.

And how was YOUR week??!!


Here are a few shots I took at the ELO concert last Saturday. What a show!


Here’s a video composite of some of the tunes they played. Sorry for the shaky camera work, but it’s tough to hold it still with people moving and dancing all around you.

Here are some fun pics taken by my pal Mark…

Here’s some video that Mark took of the ELO experience as well.

I’ve figured out the solution to the plastic straw conundrum currently plaguing society. Chew the ends off of a Red Vine suck your liquid through that. It’s biodegradable and adds a slight STRAWberry flavor to your beverage. When your drink is finished, eat your straw!