RANDOM PIC OF THE WEEK
HAPPY GNU YEAR!
While sitting in at Little Toni’s Italian restaurant with my pal Sara last week, I always like to keep my ear tuned to their overhead music system. I’ve heard some absolute gems in the past; songs that you don’t normally hear on those services. When I heard the opening saxophone riff from Glenn Frey’s “The One You Love” it really took me back. At first I couldn’t place the title of the song, but the song put me in “a mood” and I just sat there eating my spaghetti with a dopey smile on my face. This is truly a beautiful song.
Monday the 20th – THE STALKINGS WERE HUNG…! – It was time to swap cars again. My Mustang had been fixed at the Burbank Auto Doctor, and I needed to get my Gran Torino in again so the hazard lights could be repaired. I drove over, switched cars, went to my mailbox to get my packages, mailed off a gift for a buddy in South Dakota, and then I went over to Bob’s Big Boy to meet some out of town friends for an early dinner. After dinner we met at Planet Wallywood so I could give them a tour. After everyone left I took the liberty of enjoying some “Christmas Nappies” with the pets. Later I typed out Wally’s Week, went through the receipts from the weekend’s convention activities, and plotted out the Christoween social media posts for the week. I went down to the garage to continue unpacking all the stuff from the convention weekend, and I consolidated all of the remaining Christoween merchandise into one plastic bin. I’ll put them in storage until next year. I got totally unpacked and settled, and then I did some work around the house. I took the pegboard wall display that I used at the convention over the weekend, and put up pegs to hold all 14 of the prototype Christoween Stalkings. I put up all the Stalkings and got a photo of them all together. They all looked pretty cool there hanging as a set.
Tuesday the 21st – EXECUTIVE DECISION! – Even though I had a few things I needed to take care of, I made an executive decision to give myself the day off. I did a little work around the house, but I mostly rested and relaxed all day. After the whirlwind weekend at the convention, and the craziness leading it up to it, I felt it best to just decompress. Later I met with my pal Sara for dinner, and since I was out of everything, I went grocery shopping to stock up!
Wednesday the 22nd – HERE COMES THE RAIN AGAIN! – Not only is it expected to rain over the next few days, but well into next week as well. It’s going to be a “wet” Christmas for sure! I ran a few errands, took the battery-operated string of Christmas lights I used at the convention and decorated my Mustang’s dashboard with them, and took off into the gloomy, misty day to get some Little Cesar’s pizza. I ate the pizza and Crazy Bread in my car while talking to a buddy of mine in South Dakota. I sped off to my mailbox to get my packages and got the new printed fabric for my Roosevelt Franklin replica Muppet. It looked perfect! The sizing and spacing will be in perfect scale to the puppet I’m working on. I’ll be working on him this Christmas Eve! I also got a new tension rod to use with the giant background curtain I recently purchased for my on-camera auditions. I was sick of wrangling the annoying rolled paper background I had been using, and this was going to be a nice alternative. I did a little work around the house and then enjoyed some “Christmas Nappies.” I packed up some last-minute Christoween items that had been purchased and got them ready to mail off. That evening I did a phone interview with a journalist about Christoween.
Thursday the 23rd – CHRISTMAS MODE: ENGAGED! – It was a nice, relaxing rainy day, so I put myself in early Christmas mode and basically did nothing. And I LOVED it! Before the holidays I had to turn around one quick Voice Over job for one of my regular clients. But during the session I was having to deal with so much gunk on my vocal cords that I was getting frustrated. This led me to clearing my throat over and over again, and eventually clearing my throat rather violently to try and shake off all the gunk. It happens all the time when it rains. The rain comes down, all the plants bloom and as a result, it triggers my allergies something fierce. Instead of the violent clearing of my throat, I should have sought out some sort of solvent to gargle with to take care of it. But I got lazy.
Friday the 24th – I BLAME BON JOVI! – My maids arrived just before noon to clean up Planet Wallywood, and off they went to enjoy their Christmas weekend. I was craving McDonald’s, so I hopped in the Mustang, turned on my dashboard Christmas lights, and cranked up the Christmas music. It was fun driving around, looking at all of the places that had closed up early for the weekend, and singing at the top of my lungs with Christmas songs; in particular, “Please Come Home for Christmas” by Bon Jovi. But at the apex of the song, when he hits the high note, I noticed a few issues. Normally I have no problem hitting those Bon Jovi notes, but they were coming out kind of creeky. I tried it again. Still not right. Hmmm. I was thinking that I was having some more vocal burn problems from acid reflux issues. I stopped by my church on the way home to watch them get set up for the Living Nativity. I was looking forward to taking Roxy by the festivities later so she could see the animals. I’ve been taking her to my church’s Living Nativity for years, and she enjoys meeting the chickens, the goats, the donkey, et al. When I got home I noticed that my legs felt a bit achy, which normally happens when I’ve consumed too much Diet Pepsi. The aspartame in diet drinks sometimes makes me feel a bit achy in that way. I fed the pets and then drove Roxy over to the church for the Living Nativity. Normally we would walk over, but because she’s 13.5 years old I felt it best to make the drive. She had a wonderful time seeing the animals (and in particular Jackson, the donkey) and we headed home. I took some quick “Christmas Nappies” before I had to be up for the candlelight service at 11. I woke up a little earlier than I had anticipated, so I decided to get the house wired up and ready to enjoy my favorite Christmas radio show “Christmas Across the Lands.” This was going to be an exceptionally amazing year, because I would be doing a few character voices in this year’s show. As a fan of this show for years, I reached out to the writer/producer Randy Sherwyn to compliment him on a wonderful Christmas radio tradition. As time went on we developed a friendship, and early in 2021 he asked me if I would do the voice of an elf that he wanted to include in some of the show’s trivia segments. I jumped at the chance to be on the show. But since terrestrial radio in L.A. is on life-support and fading fast; populated almost exclusively by pay-for-play longform shows and robotic, computerized jukebox music programs, not a single station in L.A. would be carrying the show. Luckily, my buddy’s station in Sioux Falls would carry the 12 hour show all through Christmas Eve day, and then repeated again on Christmas Day. My main sound system in my living room is wired with an auxiliary amplifier to feed sound to speakers in three other rooms in my house. So I need to stream “Christmas Across the Lands” from my buddy’s station in Sioux Falls, plug a long cord into the heaphone jack of my CPU, and plug the other end into my main receiver downstairs. That way I can feed the station’s feed all throughout the house. I wanted to have it cranking by the time I came home from the candlelight service at midnight. I plugged everything in, but as luck would have it, the signal from the right channel was very static-y. So I had to unmount the speaker wires on the back of the amplifier, peel away some of the plastic on the wires, reseat them into the speaker terminals, and try it again. It still wasn’t right. Just my luck. This always seems to come with certain problems. Nothing’s ever easy, as I always say. I futzed with the volume control knob on the auxiliary amplifier and found that to be problematic as well. Since I haven’t had movie nights in Planet Wallywood for a few years the gear isn’t getting the workout it used to. So I’m sure sitting idle for a while hadn’t helped. In fact, the last time I could remember using my auxiliary amplifier in this way was…well…last year’s “Christmas Across the Lands!” So it eventually worked itself out and was working well, but by that time I was woefully late to the service. I walked over anyway because I at least wanted to be a part of the singing of “Silent Night” by candlelight at the end of the service. Even though I was late I still got to hear the main message, and of course enjoyed the wonderful tradition of “Silent Night” by candlelight. After not getting to enjoy that last year, it was good to be back again this year. But I noticed that my vocal problems were not improving. In fact, they were getting worse. So I walked home to start my usual Christmas Eve tradition of doing something creative while listening to “Christmas Across the Lands.” This year I’d be working on making a Roosevelt Franklin replica Muppet. As I worked away I tried to sing along with a few of the songs on the show, but I decided just to keep my mouth shut and rest my voice. That Bon Jovi song really screwed me up earlier in the day! Or maybe this was a holdover result from all of the violent throat-clearing I did on Thursday. Anyway, I wasn’t happy with the first mouth plate I made, so I started over again and made a second one. Then I had to cut about three or four different tongues before I was happy with the result. I was having difficulty concentrating, and my body aches were getting worse. Had I caught some sort of “con crud” at the convention the weekend before? Was it now manifesting itself in this? I worked through the night on the puppet and got most of the head finished, but I decided to make my traditional Chef Boyardee pizza and watch some “Lone Ranger” episodes before bed.
Saturday the 25th – CON CRUD FOR CHRISTMAS! – About mid-morning I woke up and found that I had no voice at all. I quickly texted the friends I planned on meeting later that night for Christmas dinner and told them I had to cancel. When I called the Smokehouse to cancel the reservation I could barely croak out the cancellation. I wasn’t having any other problems; no fever, no sniffles, no cough – so I wasn’t sure what was going on. I had about 10 minutes of chills but then they passed. I could still smell and taste just fine so I wasn’t too alarmed. But I did want to go back to bed to rest and see what else would happen. Later I could tell a sore throat had begun creeping in, and by late Saturday night I had no voice at all. But I still felt alright, considering.
Sunday the 26th – STREP?! – While doing all of the things one normally does when they suspect they have a cold, I tried to drink a lot of fluids. But drinking (and eating) was so incredibly painful I thought for sure I had a case of strep throat. I had a few cases when I was a kid and I remember it not being very pleasant. I’m calling my doctor on Monday for sure! The body aches I can handle, but not being able to swallow is pure torture!
Monday the 27th – HI, IT’S WALLY WINGERT! – I could barely croak out the words once I got my doctor’s nurse on the phone. Normally when I call we laugh and joke, but I barely had enough voice to be heard on the phone. At first I thought she wasn’t hearing me at all, so I tried to raise my voice as much as possible. She could tell right away something was wrong. We set up a telemedicine call with my doctor for later that morning. He phoned me just before noon and we chatted about my issues. He prescribed me an antibiotic, so there wouldn’t be any residual bacterial lung infections after this is over, and he prescribed me something for the pain. Normally my pharmacy texts me right away after they receive the prescription to let me know it’s ready. But I waited all afternoon to hear from them. I was taking it that they were a little busy. Later, in the early evening, I got the text that my prescriptions were ready, so I bolstered myself and headed out the door to get my meds. Even my pharmacist Christine could tell something was wrong with me when she saw me. She said I was pale and she could tell by my voice that I was having issues. But she said the prescriptions would fix me right up. I didn’t waste a second. I got them and headed home and went to bed.
Tuesday the 28th – THE NEXT PHASE! – My voice was starting to come back a little bit, and my sore throat was finally subsiding. But now the next phase was a stuffy nose and a cough. I used some Sinex to keep my breathing passages open, and I dipped into my cough medicine supply to keep the cough at bay (as much as it could). In the middle of the night I took Roxy on a long stroll through the neighborhood, so I was feeling a bit better. Poor Rox, she had been virtually neglected the past few days, so I felt I owed her a nice, long stroll.
Wednesday the 29th – SICK AND TIRED OF BEING SICK AND TIRED! – Breakthrough! I was feeling much better! I got up around noon and did a little work around the house. I was really sick of sleeping. Plus, I was actually getting sore from sleeping too much! It rained like crazy so there wasn’t much else I could do but stay inside and try to occupy my mind with something. Dealing with a monsoon AND being under the weather is just no damn fun.
Thursday the 30th – RAIN RETREAT! – Our wet weather was finally subsiding, and I was finally feeling better. Little by little I want to do more and more stuff. I think Friday I’ll go out and do a few errands and see how it goes, but I’m still not 100% yet. I made myself busy around the house, doing random things. I dumped the garbage, straightened up my room, put laundry away and cleaned the catbox.
Friday the 31st – THE CATBOX! – Proud of myself for doing so many useful things around the house, I hit the hay. But a few short hours I sprang away with horror! “I CLEANED THE CATBOX!” Nothing was out of the ordinary about that. But what WAS different is that it didn’t make me gag like it usually does. I COULDN’T SMELL IT! I got out of bed and grabbed everything that I knew had a smell; Ben Gay, hand lotion, soap, etc. Yup, my olfactory senses had gone on vacation. I hope this doesn’t last too long. As bad as the catbox is, I DO enjoy smelling pleasant aromas! Later in the day I got my mail at my mailbox, stopped by Taco Bell to get some food, and headed home to relax. I didn’t want to push too much. Luckily my sense of taste is still in tow.
Saturday the 1st – OOOO OOOO THAT SMELL! – Feeling the need to feel a semblance of normalcy again, I ordered some food at Chin Chin and went to pick it up. Luckily my sense of smell was coming back. I’m wondering if it wasn’t from using the Sinex so much while I was under the weather. I got into bed with my food and watched The Three Stooges on ME-TV. After a nap I did some things around the house, and later that night I made my Saturday Night Super Saint Salad and watched an episode of “The Saint” again. I will never take for granted my “normal-ness” again! It felt great to be back in the old routine again!
Sunday the 2nd – WHILE VISIONS OF HOT BEEF SANDWICHES DANCED IN HIS HEAD! – A sure-fire way to tell that I’m feeling normal again is whether or not I have an appetite. And when I woke from a nap where I was dreaming of hot beef sandwiches, I knew I was almost there! I called Coral Café and ordered a hot beef sandwich to go and drove over to get it. I got home and enjoyed it, and even did an audition! I started in on writing the two long weeks’ worth of Wally’s Weeks, and planned out the new, upcoming week. I wouldn’t be doing too much, but if you’re gonna be sick, this is definitely the time of year to do it. There’s not much else going on anyway! It sure feels good to be normal again!
And how was YOUR Christmas-to-New-Year’s break?
PIX FROM THE WEEK