RANDOM PIC OF THE WEEK
A friend recently sent me this Muppet layout from an unknown publication. But it sure is fun!
As a nearly life-long fan of the nocturnal life, I remember this Neil Diamond some every once in a while. “Thank the Lord for the Night Time” becomes my mantra from time to time. “I get a relaxation!”
Monday the 22nd – THE CANVAS CAN DO MIRACLES! – The weather is heating up so I planned to put the Torino back in my auxiliary parking and got out my Mustang. But one last drive first. I dropped my dog Roxy off at the groomer’s to get a much-needed bath. Then I headed to my mailbox. I received my beautiful canvas print from Shutterfly for my Puppet Room. It’s a picture that was taken when I was just about 2, and in it I’m standing with my Great Grandpa. In the picture he’s amazing me with a hand-carved wooden puppet of a dancing man. He held the body aloft with a rod in the puppet’s back, and the arms were attached to the body with little hooks so his arms would move as he danced. Beneath the puppet, held fast under my Great Grandpa’s thigh, was a wood plank that he would knock on with his knuckles. The plank would bounce back up and hit the puppet’s legs, which were also attached with little hooks. This made the puppet’s legs move as if he was dancing. You can see the amazement in my young face, and undoubtedly it was the start of my lifelong obsession with puppets. I’d like to think I’m carrying on his tradition, but instead of carving wood, I carve foam rubber. I was lucky enough to obtain one of his hand-carved puppets several years ago from his relatives and it currently sits framed in the Puppet Room. His grandkids said he would carve them and give them away to the kids in the neighborhood. I would LOVE to have the one in the picture, but the one I have is about 6 inches tall. I’m just glad to have something he worked on! I went to the bank to make a few deposits, and the line was very long. They’ve closed a good number of their branches because of the virus thing, so this is forcing everybody into a few, still-functioning branches. I went to one of my old haunts, the Coral Café, to grab a quick lunch, and then drove over to Alex In Wonderland. Alex and her team helps me out with the puppet stuff I can’t do; namely sewing and some fabrication. I had been working on a cap that looks a lot like the Muppet Animal, but after I got him nearly completed I realized that he needed a bigger nose. So I took her the cap and a bigger Styrofoam ball than what I had previously used. Luckily she had just enough of the fleece left to cover a second nose. I also dropped off the arms, feet and hands for my Green Grover project, and after she gets them all stitched up I’m going to stuff the hands with batting and return them to her to have everything attached permanently. After he gets the seal of approval, she’ll “stain” the fur with a darker green color, and then we add the nose and eyes. He should look pretty great, I think! I stopped by the groomer’s and picked up Roxy and headed home to feed the pets. I listened to the new mixes of my kid’s stories (I narrated them all and had sound effects and music put to them) and I was elated at how they turned out! I did some auditions, went through my latest bank statements, paid some bills, typed out Wally’s Week, and walked Roxy on our late-night stroll through the neighborhood. I took advantage of the nice set of cigars my pal Sheriff John gave me during his recent trip here, and enjoyed a stogie during our walk. Close to dawn I could tell it was another “blue morning” dawning. The Los Angeles area experiences something called “June Gloom” during this time of year, which means at about 4am a thick cloud cover moves in over the basin. When the sun rises it creates a gorgeous, translucent covering that takes on a peaceful blue hue. I look forward to “blue mornings” every time they occur. Gorgeous! I made myself soup and a sandwich and watched another episode of “Mod Squad.” It was a very heavy episode!
Tuesday the 23rd – SUPER SANITARY SCORE! – The day started with a check of my e-mails, and then I switched back to my Mustang and put my Torino away for a while. I got some groceries and headed over to drop a few off for my ‘adopted grandma’ Shirley (who’s 93) at the place where she resides. Because of this crappy virus, she’s been locked down in her room for four months now, unable to see anybody, go anywhere or have visitors. But I keep her flush in movies to watch and any grocery items she may need. I figured since I was out and about I would call in a pizza to Barone’s, grab it and take it home. It smelled delicious! Knowing I wasn’t going to be able to keep my hands off of it on the way home, I visited the 7-11 next door to get a Diet Pepsi. And then…there, behind the counter, were packets of WET ONES; my go-to for hand sanitation wipes! I used to stock up on them like mad for my usual travels in the Voice Over world, but since this virus madness hit I haven’t been able to find them. But there they were, like an old friend! I bought as many as I felt like I should get, without being a hog about it, and was giddy! SCORE! I went home to unload the groceries, worked around the house a little bit and finished off the first half of the pizza. Later I did my auditions, checked up on e-mails, and prepped a script for a Wednesday session until just before dawn. I sent the script to the studio engineer so he could print it out and have it ready for me at the studio. Luckily he was awake at that hour. He responded and told me that the session had been canceled as of Monday. Not sure why I hadn’t been informed of this, and I was a bit miffed by this. I just spent 2 hours prepping this script and I wasn’t at all very happy about hearing of the cancellation. Time to have a chat with my agent on Wednesday!
Wednesday the 24th – E-MAELSTROM! – After speaking via e-mail with my agent, I found out that she sent the cancellation notice to an old e-mail address I hadn’t used in over 10 years. Not sure why she still has that old address still in her address book, but going forward I asked her to please… 1) delete that old address immediately, and 2) always suspect I didn’t get the e-mail if she doesn’t get an acknowledgement from me. I acknowledge every e-mail she sends in some way. So looking ahead this won’t happen again. I spent the evening cleaning off my patio and putting out a table and a director’s chair so I can enjoy some meals on the upcoming warm summer evenings. I also like to sit out on the patio at dawn and enjoy the “blue mornings,” by simply sitting there and vegging out, thinking and meditating, and awaiting the first coo of a local Mourning Dove. VERY peaceful! I light a Citronella candle to keep the mosquitoes away, just like I used to do on the balcony in Palm Springs. I arranged my audition schedule and did a few more things around the house. Later, I did a ton of auditions, cleaned up Planet Wallywood a bit, cleaned off my kitchen table (which I had been using as a puppet construction workbench), drove to Denny’s to get some food, and came home to watch “Mod Squad” and eat my dinner.
Thursday the 25th – A PATTY ON THE PATIO! – I enjoyed a full day of rest just lounging around the house doing virtually nothing. Craving a McDonald’s hamburger, I drove over to get some food to go to enjoy on my patio. Yep, the first meal on my freshly cleaned patio (which I’m now calling the “Tranquility Annex”) is McDonald’s cheeseburgers and fries! It was VERY relaxing, enjoying a meal on the patio as the day started to wind down. I did a few auditions, and started in on an on-going project in The Chaney Room. A long time ago it was a functioning make-up and costume room (before I decided to turn it into a wax museum) and the shelves had become overpopulated with make-up items. Many of the items were outdated, old, or no longer usable. So shelf by shelf I started weeding out all the unwanted resources and cleaning off the dusty shelves. I got several shelves into the process and decided to quit for the night, though I have lots more to do. I fed the pets and took Roxy out for a walk, and relaxed on the “Tranquility Annex” and enjoyed another quiet, cool, slightly breeze “blue morning.”
Friday the 26th – POWER OUTAGE OUTRAGE! – Though I had just gotten to bed around 8:30 am, I was awakened about 45 minutes later to the sound of all the power going out in my bedroom. I always hate that, especially when the fan I keep on while I sleep stops. It always wakes me up forces me to get out of bed to go see what the problem is. If it’s something exclusive to my house only, then I have to address the issue. If it’s something my neighbors are experiencing too, then it’s just something I’ll have to wait out. I found out that it was due to an issue from the city power company, so there wasn’t much I could do. I went back in and had a bowl of cereal, and by the time I was finishing up the power came back on. But I had to be up in a few hours to start my day. Luckily I was able to get back to sleep and get a few more hours in. At noon I got up for my maids so they could clean up Planet Wallywood, and after they left I drove to my mailbox to pick up my packages. I drove by the bank to take care of a few matters, but the line was out the door, so I took a hard pass and decided to handle it next week. A store I like to frequent called Rocket Fizz is going out of business in my area. I initially thought it was another casualty of the virus, but I remembered that the store in Palm Springs closed a few years ago. This was the place I could stock up on vintage candy and soda. Most recently I had found several six packs of Dr. Pepper in the tiny glass bottles, which I absolutely adore during my nightly TV Time. I stopped in to see if they had any more six packs I could buy, but no luck. Their stock of everything was mostly gone. Very sad. When I bought the six packs last week I noticed some “orphaned” bottles sitting next to the six packs. I thought to myself that I should have bought them too, but I didn’t want to be a hog, so I let it slide. Now I wish I would have bought them. I stopped by Jersey Mike’s for a sandwich, and then went to my chiropractor Dr. C for an adjustment. I’m still experiencing some numbness in my left hand and left foot, so I’m thinking that I may need to get an X-ray or MRI to see if there’ s a pinched nerve causing it. Based on the symptoms I describe to Dr. C., he said there could be some issue in my lower back. I stopped by my seamstress Shelley’s house to pick up a new curtain she made for my “Beautiful Day” cabinet. When my bedroom blinds are open during the day, and the sun comes beaming in, I like to shield my Muppet replicas from the UV light with protective curtains. Since they’re so expensive I don’t want the sunlight fading their colors at all. I also picked up the body covering she did for my next Muppet replica; Robin the Frog. I got home and painted his eye pieces, and then did some work around the house. I plan on spending all weekend working on designing Robin’s legs, flippers, hands, and arms. Later I attached the green fleece covering to Robin’s fat little foam rubber frog body, and “picked out” the seams with a needle. The reason the Muppets starting making their puppets out of fleece is because it’s easier to hide the seams on television. But after a puppet is stitched together, you have to take a needle and get between the seams to pick out the fleece pile to disguise the seam. It’s really very clever! It’s why you don’t see a lot of seams on Muppets. I watched a fantastic “Mod Squad” episode with the always amazing Sammy Davis Jr. (his third appearance on the show) and enjoyed my Jersey Mike’s leftovers.
Saturday the 27th – AM-PHIBIAN PHUN! – During evening time, I ordered a Domino’s pizza and chilled on the patio. I’m really enjoying my “Tranquility Annex” and I’m trying to think of different ways to make it more tranquil. I ordered a hammock, which will be nice, but I also want to devise some ways to decorate it in a more peacefully conducive way. I did some writing, and then sprayed a matte finish coating on the eye pieces for Robin the Frog. I spent all night listening to oldies on 1260 KSRF, the local station with no DJs, and all music from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s… and on the AM band! Just like when I was a kid! I spent some time designing Robin’s flippers, hands, legs and arms. I pinned them together and pinned them on the body, but they still looked too short. So I gave it a few more tries before settling on something that looked correct to my eye. I’ll take the two arms and two legs back to Shelley to have her seam them up on the machine, and then stuff them with batting, pin them in place on the body and take it all back to her to have everything hand stitched in place. The final touches will be to put on the bottoms of his feet (I think I’ll use a really nice forest green suede), put his eye pieces in, and the final touch will be gluing in his mouth plate. The mouth plate is the last thing I’ll do, because I need his mouth open so I can have access to attach the eye pieces. After a fruitful night I made my Saturday Night Super Salad and watched an episode of “Space 1999” before bed.
Sunday the 28th – HANDS ARE HARD! – Later in the evening I began working on Robin’s tiny little hands. It’s not as easy as you’d think, because they’re so darn small! It took several tries before I got a cut that I liked, but once I finished them they were looking good! Then it’s off to Shelley’s on Monday to have the next phase tackled. With luck, Robin and Green Grover should be arriving right around the same time. Then I need to start making the stands for them. After that, I’m done making puppets for a while. I’ll finish up my Chaney Room make-up shelf project, start my garage rearrangement project, and then start in on the enormous project of scanning some old slides and negatives I want to have in my computer system. I dined on some leftover Domino’s pizza (helpful hint: when ordering a pizza, always have them put extra sauce on it, as it keeps the pizza moist longer!) and I did my nightly auditions. I fed the pets and worked around the house. I had a busy day planned for Monday, so I hit the hay just after dawn.
And how was YOUR week??!!
PIX FROM THE WEEK
The box I keep my Green Grover fur in has fascinated my cat.
And turned him into a nocturnal being like myself!