March 5 – March 11


I saw this pic this past week and it cracked me up.

 Since seeing Steve Perry at a hardware store this past week, the song “I’ll Be Alright Without You” by Journey has been seared into my brain. It’s always meant a lot to me, as it was first released during a painful time in my life. I recently learned that Steve’s mom passed away during the production of the album “Raised on Radio,” (which produced this single) so that explains the amount of pain you can hear in his performance of this song. A true classic in every sense of the word.

Monday the 5th – CONTAGIOUS! NOT! –I had been dealing with an annoying tickle in my lungs since last Saturday which was producing a lot of coughing. I feared that I had caught another “mini-cold” like I had in early January. I went to my doctor to get completely checked out and he asked me if I had chills, fever, or body aches. I answered “no” to all the questions. He said that my lungs were a victim of an allergic issue. He said much in the same way the nose can fill up with gunk when it has an allergic reaction, the lungs can too. At least I’m glad I’m not contagious! He gave me some prescriptions and I was on my way. I stopped by my box to get my mail, and then headed to CVS to get my prescriptions filled. The inhaler they gave me was EXPENSIVE! Even with insurance! I went home to relax and my assistant Sara came over to pick up a check. I showered and headed off to bed to rest. I got up around 2 to feed the pets, and then I went right downstairs and napped on the couch until about 4am, when I got up to walk Roxy. The worst thing about this cough (other than how it sounds) is how tired it makes me. My body is constantly convulsing and it fatigues the affected muscles. All of the rainy weather we’ve been having has caused the vegetation around to flourish. So my allergies are my cross to bear, I guess. I came back inside and laid on the couch until 8am!

Tuesday the 6th – COUGH IT UP! – It always throws me when my “normal” schedule gets upset with extra nap-time, but I just roll with it. Since I was up, and was no longer tired, I spent all day working on projects around the house. I put a second coat of paint on my Mahna Mahna puppet’s eye tubes, and now they really pop! I installed a new piece of lighting upstairs in my Tranquility Zone, and then I spent the rest of the afternoon building the head of a new puppet I’m working on. It took a lot of patience and precision cutting of foam rubber, but it’s turning out very nice! All the while I fielded phone calls, e-mails, and texts. My cough is a bit better but not gone. The problem is all of the gunk that’s living in my lungs. I have quite a rattle! Needless to say all of the coughing has cost me a bit of flexibility in my voice. Voice troubles are always an unwelcome side-effect of a bad cough. By 4 I realized that I hadn’t eaten in a long time, so I made some spaghetti and went to bed to watch an episode of “Barnaby Jones” from the season 8 DVD set. I fed the pets around 5:30, walked Roxy, and then slept until about 2am. It’s funny, while I’m horizontal and sleeping, the lung congestion isn’t a problem. Also, when I’m sleeping I think I take shallow breaths, which helps. But when I’m up and around and taking deep breaths, then the trouble starts. When I got up I fed the pets and wrote Wally’s Week. I have a pick-up session for a cartoon tomorrow, so I’m downing a ton of fluids to prepare.

Wednesday the 7th – PLASTIC, PICK-UPS AND PUPPETS! – Since my pick-up session wasn’t until 5pm in Burbank, I had a few hours before to run some errands. I drove to CVS to get a prescription for some cough medicine, and then I went to my mailbox to get my packages. I went to the post office to mail a few things, and then I stopped by Wendy’s to get some lunch to go. I hadn’t been to Wendy’s in a long time and I was craving. I went to see my pal Kyle at Plastic Depot in Burbank so we could start working on a display case for my Mahna Mahna puppet. Then I headed over to Studiopolis in Burbank to do my pick-up session for a series of cartoon shorts I initially did the voice tracks for several months ago. It’s always fun to see how the animation turns out months after recording the initial voice tracks. This was bright, fun, and wacky. I can’t wait to get approved to tell you more about it someday soon. The voice was holding up alright, and it helped that my character’s voice was low and gruff anyway. I drove home to feed the pets, do some work around the house, and do some work on completing the mouth for my puppet project. Then I showered, took some cough medicine and went to bed. I got up around 1am to do some auditions, but I was struggling with my voice. Between the session earlier and all the coughing fits, my vocal cords were shredded. I fed the pets, walked Roxy and headed to bed to rest up. I have a noon session for some TV commercials Thursday and I’m hoping there won’t be any vocal problems.

Thursday the 8th – DON’T “TEETH” ME! – Right at noon I was at Voice Trax West to do a session for a series of TV commercials for an electrical repair company. Again, I was lucky that the character in the spots had a low, gruff voice. But even though I drank copious amounts of tea (hot AND cold) after a few hours my voice started giving me noticeable problems. The producers on the other end of the line understood, since one of the producers was going through the exact same thing I was! We made it through the two hour session alright, but since I’ll be going back next week to record the radio commercials, I’m expecting there will be a few pick-ups recorded for the TV commercials at that time. I’d like to be able to replace some of the lines I did that turned our kind of rough, since my voice will no doubt be better by next Friday. After the session I met my assistant Sara for lunch at Panera, and then I drove to Wienerschnitzel to get a banana split. I had a meeting with my endodontist Dr. Okata to talk about the prospect of having to have one (maybe two) teeth pulled because of a cyst that’s sitting above the roots of two back molars. He said he’s going to do some research to see if there’s a way to get the cyst removed without removing the teeth. He said the danger is that the roots are so close to the sinus. He’s going to have a look at the CT scan once it’s sent over from my oral surgeon’s office and call me to chat about it. Boy, if there’s any way I wouldn’t have to lose my 14 and 15 molars, I’m all about it! I stopped by my mailbox on the way home to get my packages, and then went inside to feed the pets. I also kept working on my puppet project. I carved the puppet’s lower jaw out of foam rubber and glued it together. While it set up, I attached the puppet’s head to the mouth and let it dry. I napped for a while and then got up later to do my auditions. My voice was still giving me problems, so it was tough. When I finished I did some more work on my puppet. After feeding and walking Roxy I made a pot pie and got into bed to watch another “Barnaby Jones” episode. Luckily the annoying tickle is starting leave, but there’s still a substantial rattle in my lungs.

Friday the 9th – WALLY WALKER! – My maids came over around noon to clean up Planet Wallywood, and while they worked I prepared a few deposits for the bank. After they left I got cleaned up and put on my walking shoes. My first stop was Kit Kraft; a wonderful neighborhood craft store with all kinds of neat little curios for the crafty type of person. I was looking for a few pieces for my puppet project. Then I walked over to the bank to make my deposits. It was a warm, overcast day. I felt great out, but we’re expecting another few days of rain soon. I dropped by Which Wich to get a pizza sub, and then headed home to feed the pets. We all enjoyed our dinner together. I started working on my puppet project again, using a pair of plastic spoons as molds to make the eye pieces. I have a terrific sculpting compound I love called Magic Sculpt. I’ve been using it for years for all sorts of projects. It’s a two-part compound that, when joined together, starts a chemical process. You have several hours to work with the molding putty, and when you get it completed you set it aside and allow it to fully cure. Once it’s cured you can carve it, sand it, even add more compound to it! Then when you’ve got it where you like it, you can paint it! I’m using this for my puppets eyes and nose. I pressed the compound into the plastic spoons (but first I greased the spoons with Vaseline as a mold-release) and set them aside to let them set up. Then I pressed the compound into an oval shaped container and let it set. This will be the puppet’s nose. I got some black wool felt from the storage boxes in my garage and lined the mouth of the puppet. This is going very well, and it’s a LOT of fun! I took a nap and then got up later to do a little work around the house. I fed the pets, and a little while later I took Roxy out for our late-night stroll through the neighborhood. I had a bowl of yummy cereal and then hit the hay.

Saturday the 10th – SATURDAY WITH STEVE! – On the way to a lunch meeting with a young lady who wants to get into Voice-Over, I decided to stop at my neighborhood hardware store to get some sandpaper for my puppet project. While I was there a guy with thick black hair walked in. I thought he looked really familiar. Then I realized as he walked past me that it was Steve Perry; someone I consider to be one of the greatest voices in rock and roll! I know he lives in my area, and I had seen him driving around the neighborhood m any times before, but this was the first time I was in his presence. As he was studying a rack of tape I had to get by him to get to the sandpaper aisle. As I would with anybody when I interrupt their eye-line I said, “Sorry” as I scooted by. But there wasn’t any response or acknowledgement. He talked to one of the store clerks who seemed to know him as a regular customer. As I was checking out the clerk said, “Do you know who that is?” I smiled and nodded. There was so much I wanted to tell him. How his “Raised on Radio” album is one of my all-time favorites, and this his songwriting and producing contributions to that album were truly stellar. That “I’ll Be Alright Without You” can still bring me to tears when I hear it because of personal issues I was going through at the time the song was released. How my wedding party back in 1982 happily adopted the “Steve Perry Look” and wore our tailcoats with jeans and t-shirts at the wedding dance. How I consider him in the company of Roy Orbison and David Coverdale as the greatest rock singers in history. His music and soaring voice has meant so much to me personally in my life, (both with Journey and his solo material) but he just didn’t seem like he was in the mood to get any accolades from a drooling fan. His physicality seemed very closed off to any and all unnecessary interactions. So going with that feeling, I left it alone. There may be a better opportunity, but today wasn’t it. In L.A. you have to develop a sixth sense about whether or not to approach a celebrity like that. And it’s when those instincts are ignored that you get into trouble. At my lunch meeting we were seated by a large window at Jerry’s Famous Deli, and it was very relaxing watching it rain. It was very pleasant enjoying a grilled ham and cheese sandwich and chicken noodle soup on a rainy afternoon. After the meeting I went to get some groceries. I didn’t mind the rain at all as I put my groceries in the car. Actually it was kind of nice getting sprinkled on. It wasn’t raining that hard so it wasn’t too bad. I got home and put the groceries away. I canceled movie night because of my bronchial issue. I figured taking a night off and resting would be better for my recovery. I slept for a bit, and then got up later to work on my puppet some more. Oh yeah, then I had to “spring forward” and set my clocks ahead an hour. Of all the dumb things. I really can’t believe we’re still doing this after all these years when it’s been proven time and time again that it’s an absolutely useless exercise with no cultural benefit at all. When will it all end? Hopefully in my lifetime, as I see it as the epitome of futility and idiocy. I made my traditional Saturday Night Super Salad and watched an episode of “SNL” from the first season. Then I hit the hay. I promised myself if I felt better I’d try and get to evening church.

Sunday the 11th – NO SUN SUNDAY! – The rain had stopped but it was still very overcast. I got up at 4 and felt good enough to walk to evening church with Roxy. I missed last week because of my lung issue, so it was good to see the gang again. My “adopted grandma” Shirley wasn’t there because she was at a birthday dinner, so Roxy and I walked home and I had a bowl of cereal. I felt like a nap, so I got into bed and got some good sleep until 2am. I got up and fed Roxy, and then napped for a bit on the couch. I got up to walk Roxy for a while, and then came right back inside and plopped down on the couch. The only way to beat this lung thing was rest, so I was all for it! I ended up sleeping on the couch until 10am Monday morning!

And how was (cough, cough) YOUR week??!!