RANDOM PIC OF THE WEEK
A fan in Ireland named Daniel Fee gifted me with this amazing drawing of some of my animated characters! I LOVE IT! Thanks Daniel!
Not sure why, maybe because I’m in a dancin’ mood, but I’ve been humming Peter Brown’s “Dance With Me” all week. It might be the Torino. I don’t know.
Monday the 20th – WONDERFUL WALK! – One of my agents contacted me to see if I would supply some audio files for a callback audition. That means that the clients liked my initial audition, but wanted to hear a bit more before making the final decision. It was a lot of technical stuff, and it needed to sound like it came from a guy who was an expert. Even though I really didn’t understand a lot of what I was reading, as an actor you have to make it SOUND like you do. It’s pretty much why I always get cast as the “brainy” characters like Hank Pym, Reed Richards or The Riddler. I can take complicated word constructs and make them my own, whether or not I personally understand them. I guess that’s a good thing. So I recorded the callback audition and submitted the files. Then I put on my walking shoes to go enjoy the gorgeous day. I walked to the post office to mail off a signed photo overseas. But because I had DO NOT BEND written on it, the cost to mail it was more expensive than if I hadn’t written DO NOT BEND on the outside of the envelope. WHAT?! With rules like that, it’s no wonder why the postal service is going bankrupt. After determining that it was a ridiculous rule, I had the clerk cover up DO NOT BEND with sticker paper and I paid the fee. Bizarre. Who makes these rules?! I had a bunch of cardboard in the envelope, so if the carriers can’t figure out not to bend it, then they are clearly in a job they’re underqualified for. I stopped to get some vitamins at GNC, a couple of nice cigars at my local cigar vendor, and I stopped by the vet’s to pick up a refill of Roxy’s prescription. Then I went over to the hardware store to buy a few items, and then stopped by Subway to get a sandwich. When I got home I took Roxy out to the courtyard to do her business, and there were 2 moms and 3 kids out there playing. They all went nuts over Roxy, and Roxy enjoyed standing there while the kids rubbed her and pet her for an extended period. One of the moms told me that her boy was deathly afraid of dogs, and Roxy was only the 3rd dog he had ever pet! But he loved her because she seemed so calm and loving. Roxy is truly a gift. I recorded a few auditions, scanned some checks to be deposited into the bank, and wrote Wally’s Week.
Tuesday the 21st – GREEN GROVER GOES HOME! – My first stop was to my mailbox to pick up my packages and mail. Then I went to the bank to deposit my checks. I was supposed to meet Alex at Alex In Wonderland studios in Burbank right after, but she texted me to say she was running late. So I went over to one of my old haunts, the Coral Café, to have lunch. Since indoor dining isn’t allowed currently, I grabbed a table outside and enjoyed the day. I’ve always preferred eating outdoors anyway. I got to Alex’s and picked up my Beautiful Day replica Muppet, who had his hands replaced. I got my Robin the Frog, who was looking good! Alex had opened a seam between his eyes and removed a little excess fabric, so the eyes would pull closer together and his face would be flatter. Amazing! I don’t know how she did that, but it was surgical precision! Then she gave me Green Grover. My final step was to put his eyes on, and then she would airbrush some more dark green on the fur and he would be complete! I got home and did some work around the house, recorded some auditions later, and then put on Green Grover’s eyes. One of the things I really like about this puppet is that there are a few inside secrets to him. First, the orange fleece I gave Alex to cover his nose (which is a Styrofoam egg) is vintage fabric called Royal Fleece, which they haven’t made in about 40 years. I had bought a bunch back in the early 80’s when I was making puppets back then. I used it to make the body for my Animal replica back then, as well as my Ernie replica. I had lots left over in my storage, so I figured it would be neat to have his nose covered in actual vintage fabric that I’ve had around for a long time. Secondly, the eye pieces I’m using for him are vintage as well. They’re flat, black oval pieces with a little stem on the back, and then once they’re pushed through the fabric (or foam rubber) they are held fast with a compression clip. It basically looks like a flat, tin washer – but with teeth to lock around the stem when it’s fastened. Once they’re on, they’re permanent! Luckily I had about 6 more of these pieces in my collection, leftover from when I made my blue Grover replica back in 1981. I sanded them, painted them, sprayed a matte finish over them, and prepped them for Green Grover. So he’ll end up having two elements on his body that are callbacks to my early puppet building days. That makes me smile. I worked with the fur on his face to separate it so I could attach the eyes in relation to where Alex placed the nose. But one the eyes went on I realized that something wasn’t quite right. That’s never a good feeling when you’ve just attached permanent eyes pieces! I put the pupils on the eye pieces, which I cut out of black sticky-backed velvet, but it still didn’t capture the look. I compared him to pictures of the real Green Grover and realized that the nose and eyes needed to be moved down on his face about ½” inch to really nail the look. At first I figured I might just let it go and deal with it. But as I laid in bed I started thinking about it. The nose was just stitched on the fur fabric and could be easily moved. But the eyes had been poked through the foam and fastened permanently. I figured that Alex’s husband Mike might be able to help me remove those clips somehow so we could replace them a bit lower. I was determined to make it right, as I’ve spent so much time and money already on making him perfect. So I took some photos of him and put them in my photo program. Since the eyes were placed within the proper distance of the eyes, I cut out the eyes and nose together and moved them down a bit on the photo. VOILA! THAT was the look I wanted. I sent an e-mail to Alex right away and told her what needed to be done.
Wednesday the 22nd – WHAT A DIFFERENCE A HALF INCH MAKES! – They notified me that my vintage negative sleeves had arrived at my mailbox! I need these for my negative scanning project I’m soon undertaking. In the early days of photography the photo store would develop your film, print your images on paper, and then cut the negatives into four-frame strips and include them in the envelope. Eventually they got wise that stacking the negatives together was scratching the emulsion on the back of the film. So they started putting them in individual sleeves for protection. The first batch of my vintage negatives (from the old South Dakota days) doesn’t have individual sleeves. Before I scan and store them away I want to make sure they all go into individual sleeves so no more damage to them can occur. I stopped next door to the post office and mailed off some autographed photos, and then drove to Alex In Wonderland to show Alex the problem I was having with Green Grover. She wholeheartedly concurred. It all needed to move down one half inch equidistantly. Removing and replacing the nose would be easy, but to get the tin compression clips off the back of the eye stems would require her to make a small slit in the back of his head, and remove them with needle-nosed pliers. Then she would glue shut the holes in the foam that I created to put the eye stems through, and she would glue and sew up the incision she made in the back of the head. Because it’s fur, you’ll never see that it’s been tampered with. She’s going to pin everything on and show me before we put it on permanently again. I also dropped off my Hutch mannequin that I ride around with in my Gran Torino. I love having him in the passenger seat when I travel around in it, because he looks like Hutch sitting there riding shotgun. He’s got blonde hair, 70’s sideburns, a black turtleneck sweater, and a brown leather coat. He gets lots of “double-takes” when I’m driving around. Sometimes people react more favorably to him than the car itself! But when I’m at a stoplight, and people look over at me and notice Hutch, I can see on their face how tickled they are when they realize he’s a mannequin. Well, I want to have a small joystick on my center console that will make Hutch’s head swivel right and left. That will REALLY shock them! Alex’s husband Mike is going to remove his head (the seam will be hidden by the collar of the turtleneck sweater), place a small servo motor inside, and run the wires down through the body, joining into a joystick that I’ll have between the two bucket seats. Then whenever I want, I can toggle the joystick and Hutch and look around. I think the visual gag will be WELL worth it! I stopped by the Del Taco drive-thru to get a hamburger (Yup…the best fast-food hamburger in town is at a taco place!), chatted with my “adopted grandma” Shirley on the phone for a while, and then went home. I did some work around the house, recorded my nightly auditions, and fed and walked Roxy. I was feeling VERY good that I took Green Grover in to have that minor tweak. It’s such a small thing, but it will make a world of difference in copping the “look” of the original Green Grover! I made some spaghetti and ate while I relaxed. I could tell that the sky was clouding over pretty well, so I was in for another “blue morning!” It’s when the L.A. “marine layer” covers the sky, and the sun rises behind the translucent covering, making for a beautiful, quiet, steely-blue sky. I sat out on the Tranquility Annex and just sat there in utter quiet and peace watching the day dawn. I got very thankful that I can live a life that I can eat when I’m hungry, and sleep when I’m tired. There are going to be very few “blue mornings” left as we get deeper into summer, so I have to enjoy them while I can!
Thursday the 23rd – ANIMATIC! ANIMAGIC! – Even though I had the Gran Torino in my main garage, I felt like I needed to take the Mustang out for the day. I walked over to my auxiliary garage and drove to my chiropractor’s office to get adjusted. I have been having real issues with a pinched nerve which I believe is in my lower back, which is causing a lot of numbness in some fingers on my left hand, and some numbness in my left foot. I may need to go see an actual nerve doctor to get some sort of shot to relieve the constant inflammation that’s causing it. But for now, I’m trying chiropractic. I got some groceries for Shirley, stopped by KFC to get some food at the drive-thru, and went over to Alex in Wonderland’s to drop off some more vintage orange fabric for Green Grover’s nose. One of the things I wanted to change, while we had his nose removed, was the seam running down the center of his nose. I felt it was too distracting when you looked at Green Grover directly from the front. But Alex didn’t have any of the fabric left, so I dropped her off some more for the redo. This will be the third nose for Green Grover, as the egg we used for the first one was too small. I drove by Shirley’s residence to drop off her groceries, and then headed home. I chatted with my neighbors for a while on their patio. I went back inside and started working on something new I’m doing for my kid’s book project. I had spoken with a storyboard artist named Luke Ski who had worked at Cartoon Network. I want to have him create an “animatic” for my first story. An animatic is a series of still drawings edited together to a soundtrack in such a way to give you an idea of what a fully animated project would look like. It will approximate the movements and characters in a finished animation, but is much less time-consuming (and expensive!) to create! I recorded my daily auditions, worked around the house cleaning up, fed and walked Roxy, and enjoyed yet another “blue morning!” But I was so excited about the animatic that I really couldn’t relax and enjoy it. My mind was buzzing with ideas! With this completed animatic, I’ll be able to finally release to the world what I’ve been working on for so long with my kid’s book project! I have 13 stories in total, and this will only be the first of the series. But it will give everyone an idea of the concept, and I’m very excited to see how it’s received! It may even serve to create some sort of crowd-funding endeavor.
Friday the 24th – BLOGGER BUDDIES! – It was the day for the maids to come clean Planet Wallywood, so I got up and readied the house for their arrival. Later I got cleaned up and drove the Gran Torino over to Paty’s to join some friends for dinner. My pal Eric is the drummer for KISS, and his friend Jordan is a huge Andy Kaufman fan. Jordan also blogs quite a bit, so he wanted to get some footage of my Kaufman collection for one of his internet features. He brought his blog partner Amy with him and we all had a great dinner on Paty’s patio. The Torino always gets lots of attention, and it’s always fun to see people walk by the car and take pictures as I sit and dine. I’m always happy to answer questions about it. We took a drive through Bob’s Big Boy’s parking lot, since it was Friday night. For decades, Bob’s has had Classic Car Night every Friday, so it’s always fun to drive through and see what’s there. Of course, the Torino gets LOTS of attention. I even blew the siren a little and put the red beacon on top of the roof while I drove through. It was fun seeing everyone having so much fun and taking pictures, particularly given the current mood of the world. We all went to Planet Wallywood for a tour which took several hours. They were all so interested in everything I wanted them to see as much as they wanted. After they left I worked around the house, fed and walked Roxy on our late-night stroll through the neighborhood, enjoyed a nice cigar, came inside to make a sloppy joe and watch an episode of “The Mod Squad.”
Saturday the 25th – PRODUCTIVE DAY! – My pal Luke Ski came over to meet about the animatic we’re doing, and we came up with some really amazing ideas! Then my pal Brittney Powell came over to do some work. But first we drove the Torino over to Barone’s to get some food to go. We sat on the Tranquility Annex and enjoyed our dinner as dusk settled in. Later I did some more work around the house. Even though I should be starting on my negative cataloging and scanning project, I wasn’t in the mood. I made my traditional Saturday Night Super Salad and watched an episode of “Space 1999.”
Sunday the 26th – DIARRHETIC DOG! CONSTIPATED CAT! – Late Saturday afternoon I noticed that Roxy wasn’t her usual self. She had a case of diarrhea and I was closely monitoring it. I could tell when I was meeting with Luke on Saturday afternoon that Roxy was having issues. Add to this the fact that I think my cat is constipated and leaves me little gifts around the house occasionally. It just never ends. I made Roxy some rice and chicken and she ate a little bit. But I can tell she’s in pain because she cries occasionally. If it continues I’m going to run her to the all-night vet down the street. I went through some of my new headshots to post on my website, and did some other work that needed to be done. I didn’t want to get into any project too deeply in case I had to run Roxy to the vet. When she cries like that she’s obviously experiencing some pain. So I looked in the cabinet to get out her pain medication that she was prescribed the last time she had something like this. I checked the date on the medication and it said 7/21/19 – virtually one year and a week from today’s date! I started wondering if this was something that might be seasonal. What are the chances?! I fed her some chicken and rice, and she seemed interested and would eat for a bit, and then walk away. I decided to run her to the vet and gave them a call. They said to bring her in at 6am, as the next doctor would be on duty then. Stay tuned for next week’s Wally’s Week to see what happened!
And how was YOUR week??!!