RANDOM PIC OF THE WEEK
And on the subject of Tim Burton movies, this looks REALLY fun! Halloween and Christmas together…hmmm…what a great idea!
I’ve always been enchanted by Danny Elfman’s movie scores, but I’m particularly in love with his soundtrack for “Edward Scissorhands.” I’ve been humming “The Grand Finale,” with that lush, gorgeous orchestration and vocal combination.
Monday the 10th – MELLOW MONDAY! – Pete, my AC guy, came by to see why my AC was still acting strangely. He had been out a month or so ago and replaced a motor and a few other mechanical things, but it was still misbehaving. I could hear that the unit was on, but nothing was coming in through the vents. He said it was low on refrigerant, which he resupplied. I thought we had just given it an update recently, but he suggested there may be a leak somewhere. Since we had a pretty sizable earthquake recently he said that may be the culprit, as solders in the lines can sometimes crack during a tremblor. I should be good to go for a while, and just in time; it’s going to get into the triple digits next week for a healthy dose of our usual August weather. I worked all afternoon on-line, had a good phone call with my trademark attorney regarding all the meetings I’ve been having lately with my brand agent and literary agent. I paid some bills, reconciled my bank statements, and recorded my auditions for the night. I typed out Wally’s Week and hit the hay so I could be up for an early session on Tuesday morning.
Tuesday the 11th – FLEAS, AND THANK YOU! – From 10 to noon I did a fun session for a really cool thing, as a really cool character that I can’t tell you really anything about. I know…it sucks. But it’s a character I’ve done many times before, but this is an entirely new application for said character. Luckily, I’ll be able to announce it very soon, so stay tuned! But it was good to be back at Voice Trax West again doing a CDC-compliant Voice Over session. I stopped by my mailbox and picked up my mail, and then headed home. My friend Michelle came over so we could spend the day together bopping around L.A. Last November, when I was in Orlando for the Ranger Stop convention, I met a TSA agent in the food court and we started chatting. Come to find out she’s wildly interested in puppeteering, so we exchanged information. Apparently she’s considering a cross-country move to LA early next year to pursue acting, modeling and…puppeteering. She was very curious about puppet building, so after a delicious lunch at Lancer’s I took her across the street to Foam Mart to show her the types of materials I use when I build a puppet. Already her imagination was starting to spin with all of the wonderful supplies they had in stock, and ideas about future puppets she could make! She loves antiques, so I took her down ‘antique row’ (Magnolia Blvd.) in Burbank to show her all the shops that existed. Then I gave her the tour of Planet Wallywood and showed her all the Muppet replicas I’ve amassed. She just lost her cat recently, so she was enjoying spending some quality time with Spook, who was happy to receive all of the nice pets and scratchies. It was then she made a horrible discovery…FLEAS! EEK! First she found “flea dirt,” and then the actual fleas themselves! She also found them on Roxy! DOUBLE EEK! I dashed to my cupboard and pulled out some cat flea medicine from Frontline I’ve had in stock for a while. She put it on Spook (under the back of his neck, between his shoulder blades) and then I made a call to Rusty’s Pets to see what they suggested for Roxy. We put Roxy in the car and headed over there immediately to get some medicine for her. I’ve been meaning to get the carpets cleaned in Planet Wallywood anyway (as I’ve had my new carpet for over a year now) but this will expedite the decision! How could I have missed FLEAS?! We got back to Planet Wallywood to relax and chat, and then she took off to meet friends for dinner. Since I had been going non-stop all day I took the opportunity to grab a short nap. Later I did my nightly auditions, worked around the house, and fed and walked Roxy on our late night stroll through the neighborhood. The Persied meteor shower was still going on this week, and it was supposed to peak tonight. I kept watching the sky to see if any of them were visible in the light-polluted skies of L.A., and as luck would have it, I saw TWO! Just before 5am I saw one in the western sky, and I saw another in the eastern sky! But they’re the kinds of things you usually catch out of the corner of your eye, and they happen so fast! Also surprising, was that just before sunrise, I spied the Orion constellation in the eastern sky. Normally I only see that constellation as it gets deeper into the fall, or even winter. But there it was, crystal clear and gorgeous! I went inside and made a sloppy joe and watched another episode of “The Mod Squad.” It was a very heavy episode (very “Mission Impossible-esque”) that involved Peggy Lipton’s character of Julie having to assume the identity of a dead girl. Great stuff! LOVE this show!
Wednesday the 12th – “LEAF” IT ALONE FOR NOW! – The day started with a last-minute audition that I recorded and submitted to my agent. As I’ve been spending a lot of time at home lately (haven’t we ALL?!) I’m trying to make my patio more conducive to relaxation. Up until recently it was a fairly neglected area of my home that I really didn’t pay much mind to. But since I haven’t been able to get back to Palm Springs to watch stars in a while, I decided to try and upgrade my patio to a “Tranquility Annex.” I wanted to have an area where I could relax and enjoy the summer nights with an occasional meal, or an occasional nap on my hammock. The latter affords me the luxury of lying there looking directly up into the sky. My patio is surrounded by a stucco-laden barrier wall, which is really pretty mundane. One of my neighbors had put up a faux “leaf curtain” on his wall, which really adds to the decorative quality of his patio. And being artificial…NO WATERING! I bought one the exact length and height of my wall and figured it would be an easy task to hang it. WRONG! The first screw wouldn’t go in very far. And nails just bent as I tried to pound them in. What was under the stucco…LEAD?! I called my contractor to ask what I was doing wrong, and he said I needed specific concrete screws to go in. In order to hang the curtain I really only need a few of them, but it’s clearly above my skill level. So once I get a second curtain for the other wall on my patio, I’m having him come over to do it right. It’s getting progressively hotter out as it will peak later in the week into the triple digits, and stay that way for about 7 days. I went inside (fairly frustrated) and made some phone calls, checked e-mails, and later did my nightly auditions. I fed and walked Roxy and took her out for our late-night stroll through the neighborhood. The weather was warm and fairly humid for L.A., and there were gorgeous clouds in the sky. As I walked I kept marveling at all of the delightful shapes and densities. But suddenly I saw two bright flashes behind two separate banks of cumulus! Was it lightning?! The conditions were certainly right for it! Cloudy, warm, humid – conditions that I recall from my South Dakota days as being perfect for a thunderstorm. But even though I saw the flashes there was no punctuation of thunder. Were my eyes playing tricks? Once Roxy and I got out of the areas surrounded by aromatic plants and vegetation, I got out into open air, I detected the distinct aroma of electrified air. You know the kind – it smells like the air purifier in your home has been turned up to high. It was then I realized that what I saw most likely WAS lightning – albeit brief. I hit the hay to be up early on Thursday for a call-back audition.
Thursday the 13th – AC UH-OH: PART 3! – Once again, my AC wasn’t working like it should. The unit was running (I could hear it) but there wasn’t any air coming out. So I called Pete my AC guy and luckily he was in the area and came over right away. I had an audition scheduled that morning, but once Pete came inside to diagnose the problem I had to call my agent and postpone the audition. This AC problem had to be fixed once and for all. While Pete’s partner was up on the roof looking at the unit, Pete was inside looking at the ductwork, vents and filter. The intake was working well, but the return was clogging. One of the strange idiosyncrasies of the kind of unit in which I live, is that they’re designed with a two-filter system. One filter is up on the roof, and the other filter is in the ceiling on my third floor. It’s a redundancy that spells trouble. I called the head of the Homeowner’s Association and he told me that the staff no longer replaces the filters on the roof (like they used to do semi-annually) for this very reason. Everybody wants to control their own filters in their units. But Pete’s partner told us that there WAS a filter on the roof, and it was completely clean, which led Pete to pull the filter out on my third floor landing. Sure enough, it was FULL of dust! Think of it this way – you breathe in air through your nose, but you have to exhale it through your mouth. But your mouth is full of food, and you can’t exhale properly. Well, you’re brain’s going to explode if that persists. We had just replaced the filter in that location a few months ago, but it was already filthy! So I’m going to buy a box of filters and keep them in the garage, and replace them on the first day of every month whether it needs it or not…just to be safe! When the intake and return aren’t operating at optimum, the cooling coils on the AC unit freeze up. This means you have to turn the AC off for a period of time and let the ice melt off before the unit will function properly again. So Pete’s partner turned my HEATER on (it was about 95 outside at this time) to expedite the dissipation of the ice. In about 20 minutes, he turned the AC back on and it was beautiful! Lesson learned! Other than that it was a lazy, hot day. My agent called back with an alternate time for my postponed audition for Friday at 2. After the sun went down it cooled off a bit, so I put Roxy in the back of the Mustang, put the top down and drove over to McDonald’s to get some food. Later I was walking Roxy and we saw a beautiful Praying Mantis in the lawn. I put a leaf down for him to jump on and he jumped right up on it! Then he started climbing up my sleeve! He wanted to say hi! I put him back on the leaf, and he kept trying to crawl up my arm and my leg. He wanted to be on me! I always love seeing these little critters as they’re very friendly and outgoing, unlike all the other insects. I’m wondering why they’re so unafraid of humans. Do they know they look cool and no human in their right mind would harm them? I placed him in an area of plants where he would be safe. I didn’t want him on the sidewalk where he could be stepped on accidentally, because he looks so much like a green leaf! It was very hot and humid out, so I went inside and did my auditions. I made some spaghetti and watched “The Mod Squad.”
Friday the 14th – FLEA FREE! – The guys at Roxy’s groomers said to bring her back in on Thursday for a flea bath and cleaning. But with all of the AC troubles and repairs, it had totally slipped my mind. So I dropped her off in the morning and then drove to Igloo for the callback audition I missed the day before. I hit Burger King for some drive-thru lunch, and then went to get some groceries. I got home and put the groceries away, and then drove over to get Roxy. They also showed me some topical spray I could use on Roxy and Spook to keep the fleas at bay. Roxy was cool with it, but Spook hated it! It was like I was killing him! I fed him some treats and while he was eating I held him gently and sprayed it on him softly. But he really hated it just the same. Roxy’s groomer told me that there were a few living fleas on her still, but they got rid of a TON of dead fleas and flea “dirt.” Ugh. I talked to my pal Joe about my “kids book” project that he’s helping me with, and then I set up my camera to shoot a Cameo video. I did a few takes but really wasn’t happy with them, so I moved the camera downstairs and got a take I really liked. It’s still very hot and humid out and it looks like it’ll be around for about a week; typical August weather in L.A. I lounged around a bit, and cleaned up a few areas to prepare for the carpet cleaners who would be arriving on Saturday morning.
Saturday the 15th – SPOOKY FUNNY MONKEY! – I was up at 10 sharp to meet the guys from Chem Dry carpet to clean all the carpets in my house. Just over a year ago I got all new carpet in my lower two floors, but kept the carpet upstairs in the bedrooms. It would have been a major pain in the neck to move everything out to put new carpet in up there. But not only was it time to clean the new carpets, but it was time to give the ol’ upstairs carpets a washing too! Shortly after 10 they arrived and got set up. I was happy with the pets, as I had to shut them in the kitchen to be out of the way. I put Spook’s cat condo in the Chaney Room (which has hard wood floor) and put Roxy’s favorite beanbag chair in the kitchen. But Spook decided he wanted to relax on the beanbag which forced Roxy to relax on the floor. My kitchen and Chaney Room adjoin, but because I have the doors between two rooms normally closed, the access between the two is limited. I opened the door slightly so Spook could go between the Chaney Room (to his cat condo) and the kitchen. They behaved very well, and because I didn’t shut the kitchen door, but rather put up a see-through gate so they could monitor what was going on, they seemed very happy. I think if I would have shut the door they would have complained, but the see-through gate made them feel that they weren’t being punished. Neither of them likes the sound of the carpet cleaning devices anyway. While the carpet techs worked away, I started in on writing Wally’s Week. Later I drove to Chin Chin to get some food for dinner, and then I checked e-mails. As I was busy reading and writing, Spook jumped up on my lap. I started petting him and massaging him (he loves massages) and started seeing evidence of dead fleas and flea dirt. So, just like a monkey does, I started grooming him and picking stuff out of his fur. He loved it, and just laid there to be groomed. When I took Roxy out for our late-night stroll through the neighborhood, it made me nostalgic for my nights in Palm Springs. The weather was “weatherless,” (not hot and not cold) and was absolutely perfect! During our walk I enjoyed a nice cigar, and then put Roxy when we were done. But I still had some cigar left so I just walked around by myself, stared into the sky and enjoyed the night and the rest of my cigar. I came inside and started in on my negative cataloging project. I organized them into eras and locations. For example, all the negatives from the time I lived in Aberdeen, South Dakota went in one pile. All the negatives from the time I lived in Sioux Falls, South Dakota went into another pile, and all the negatives from my life in L.A. went into the bottom of the box to be dealt with later. I made it almost to the end of the Aberdeen negatives, but I ran out of the glassine sleeves. I bought 100 sleeves on eBay for this project and figured that would be enough. But it wasn’t even 1/4th of what I needed! I went right back on eBay and ordered 60 more, and I also contacted the seller from whom I bought my original set to see if he had any more to sell. Hopefully he will. The very first roll of film I shot on my own was on 110 film back in about 1972. It was a 12 picture set of my dog Ralph. 11 of the pictures were of Ralph (only about 3 pictures were actually any good) but the final shot was a picture of Ralph, me and my childhood pal Danny Wilson. I MUST scan this roll of film! From then the negatives went on into 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977 and 1978. I was using my dad’s camera for all of the photography I was doing, but there were a lot of negatives shot by my mom and dad that I wanted to keep because they featured my friends and I in various plays and doing our Elvis show. I also had a few sets of negatives of concerts I had been to (Elvis, Dr. Hook and Sha Na Na). By the fall of 1978 our family left Aberdeen and moved to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. But with only 3 sets of negatives left in my Aberdeen pile, I ran out of sleeves. The glassine sleeves were really handy for keeping negatives separated so they wouldn’t scratch each other. Once the emulsion on the negative rubs against something it can add scratches to the film. In my early days of film processing (up until approximately 1982) the processing labs would stack all the negatives together in 4 frame strips and put them in the envelope along with your prints. Oh sure there was one little glassine sheet in the envelope to keep the negatives and prints separated, but nothing prevented the negatives from rubbing against each other! It’s because of this that I’m anticipating seeing a lot of scratches on the negatives once I get into the scanning mode of this project. It wasn’t until later that the labs got wise and started putting each strip in individual sleeves. So given this methodology I’m anticipating that every set of negatives through 1982 will need glassine sleeves. I haven’t done an official count of how many I’ll need, but I’m thinking at least another couple hundred would do the trick. I’ve already bought 60, but I’m waiting to hear what the original seller says about his remaining stock. That particular seller was an active photographer back in the pre-digital days, and would specialize in motorcycle shows. He said he used to buy those sleeves in bulk to handle all of the negatives from his shoots. But once everything went away from film and went digital, he had no use for them any longer. I’m hoping he still has a decent supply left. I made my traditional Saturday Night Super Salad and watched another episode of “Space 1999.” Unfortunately, this episode was what I referred to as the “Spock’s Brain” of “Space 1999.” (“Spock’s Brain” is roundly considered to be one of the worst original “Star Trek” episodes ever shown.) Luckily, the female guest star in this particular episode of “1999” was easy on the eyes, and reminded me of an ex-girlfriend. So that kept me entertained.
Sunday the 16th – MISSOURI CREW! – Most of the day was a relaxation day, but later that evening my friend Tabby from Missouri informed me that she was in L.A. with her family, and were just a few minutes away from me! I invited them over for a tour of Planet Wallywood. After a trip to Hollywood Boulevard, they called and said they were on their way over. I had been talking to Tabby via Instagram for a while, but when she said she and her husband and kids were coming to San Diego to visit her husband’s mother, I suggested they drive up to LA for a day and come visit. Tabby and her husband are big anime fans, and particularly like “Bleach” and “Tiger and Bunny.” It was fun showing them around Planet Wallywood. They almost canceled their vacation for fear of travel hassles with the whole virus thing, but I told them to go ahead and come anyway. I’m not one for procrastinating, as I’ve learned in the past that it can sometimes be ill-advised. Since today marks the 43rd anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death, I’m particularly mindful of that. Back in June of 1977, I had the opportunity to see Elvis in concert in Sioux Falls. Even though I was living in a town 200 miles away, I was determined to see him. I invited my mom, a lifelong Elvis fan, to go with me to see him. I even offered to pay for the motel and tickets if she would drive (as an early birthday gift). I was only 16 at the time and not driving much, especially long distances. But she said words that I will never let her forget (in kindness and love, of course). “That’s OK, I’ll see him next year.” Oops. He died two months later. Luckily I went on a bus with my friend Greg Cutler and we had an amazing time! But I learned at an early age not to procrastinate under any circumstances. Tabby said they were having a great time in California and they were glad they ended up coming out. I did my nightly auditions, fed and walked Roxy on another perfect night, and came back in to do some more work with my negatives. Back in the days of living in Sioux Falls I had a 20 image composite photo created by a local printer, which displayed 20 of my characters. I took the prints with me to L.A. to show casting directors that I was a “Man of Many Faces.” During my rummaging through the negatives collection, I found this 20 sleeve set of negatives. Each negative had been pulled from their original sets, as the image that I wanted on the composite was found on that particular strip. This meant that all I had to do was find the original set that those orphaned negatives belonged to, and reunite them with the set. That would free up a sleeve for another purpose. So all 20 negative strips were reunited with their “family” which now left me with 20 extra glassine sleeves to be used for other purposes! I quickly filled them up with negatives and through some clever repurposing and cut and paste work, I was able to complete all the cataloging of my Aberdeen negatives! Also, I found out from the eBay seller, that he had an additional 200 sleeves in his stock, but they weren’t in a continual sheet; many of them were in one sheet or two sheet increments. I told him that would be fine, as I could tape together the sleeves I needed for certain sets. At least I’d have them. He arranged for me to BUY IT NOW on eBay and sent me the auction number. I grabbed them right away! I drove to Denny’s to get some food and noticed that the creaking in my Mustang’s undercarriage had returned. I had it into the Ford dealer several weeks ago to fix that, but the creaking is back. I’ll take it into the dealer this week to get it looked at again. I came back home and fed and walked Roxy, and ate my Denny’s food while watching another episode of “The Mod Squad.” I’m prepared for another week of triple digit days. Thanks PETE for all the great work on my AC!
And how was YOUR week??!!
PIX FROM THE WEEK
This is one TIRED cat…dreaming of…SOMETHING! I wonder what it is.