RANDOM PIC OF THE WEEK
While scanning photos this past week, I came across this school photo of me. I’m not sure how old I was, but I had forgotten that I had David Letterman teeth! I also shouldn’t have dressed in a shirt that was the same color as the background. hahahaha
While I was driving around this past weekend with the top down and my iPod blaring, “The Spirit of Radio” by Rush came on. I cranked it and listened to the pure brilliance of these lyrics. While they don’t rhyme, as with most songs, the words tell a story that absolutely represents my decades in radio. My favorite lines are “But glittering prizes and endless compromises, shatter the illusion of integrity.” True words from a profession who spent over 20 years in radio! Enjoy the song, and crank it up!
Monday the 7th – THAT’S A WRAP…FOR NOW! – When I got up in the early afternoon I noticed that Roxy had a pee-pee accident on the floor in the living room. Luckily I bought the pet-stain resistant carpet when I had all the carpet replaced a few years back. But whenever that happens it usually means she has a bladder infection. I’m going to be watching her very carefully over the next few days. If her potty routine changes too much I’m taking her to the vet. I spent some time on the phone with my accountant regarding a big tax issue in this year’s tax filing. Because of a large financial transaction I did this past year it threw things into a bit of a tizzy, and come to find out, it was something that was completely avoidable. I’m not happy about it and may need to find another accountant. It was a pretty big screw-up. I drove to McDonald’s to get some lunch, and then headed over to Studiopolis in Burbank to do a 3 hour session to wrap the first half of a new season of a cartoon I’ve been working on. It’s been a lot of fun, and I look forward to working on the remaining episodes this fall. I stopped at a store on the way home to pick up an item I had pre-ordered, and then headed home. With Roxy’s advancing age she hasn’t been eating all that well, and sometimes she’ll go without food for so long she’ll make herself nauseous. Even though I had her sequestered down in the living room because of the pee-pee issue, where she has to stay on a large rubber mat in case she has another accident, she managed to find the one small spot of open carpet to puke on. Great. When she doesn’t eat I have to force-feed her by hand. Eventually she realizes that it tastes pretty good and she continues eating. I wonder if she just simply “forgets” to eat because of having “dog-mentia” or something? She has plenty of kibble around to graze on so she doesn’t get nauseous, and I even installed an automatic feeder for her. I remember going through the same thing with Sassie when she was at the tail end of her life. I guess they just simply lose interest in eating. Once I got her settled I recorded my auditions, relaxed a bit, and later I wrote Wally’s Week. I made some buffalo mac and watched a few more episodes of “The Lone Ranger.” I’m deep into season 3, and it’s the first time he’s ever said his name, “I’m the Lone Ranger.” In all previous episodes he’s danced around his identity and let people figure it out for themselves. The rest of the week is in flux, as there are some potential sessions in the offing. I’m just waiting for them to finalize, book time, and I’ll schedule them into the week.
Tuesday the 8th – FLEXING AND FLUXING! – The plan was for me to take my Mustang into the body shop to have the front bumper repaired, get a ride from my friend Mike to my auxiliary garage to get my Gran Torino, and drive that around for a few days while they repaired the Mustang. But my friend Mike had something come up and he couldn’t make it. Plus the body shop said they had gotten booked up at the last minute. So given the fact that everything this week is still up in the air, it might be best for me to wait on having the Mustang repaired. It’s nothing that affects the operation of the car, so it can wait until after things settle down. Through my agent, I had been offered a role in a show that could have me working five days a week for the next five and a half weeks. The producers sent me an episode of the show to see what I thought. They also sent me the script. Without saying too much, it’s a foreign sitcom that is being dubbed for streaming. And they wanted me to dub the lead character’s lines into English. They thought my voice and comedic sensibilities would be perfect for this show, so they reached out to me through my agent. I’m not sure it’s for me, but I’m going to delve into it heavily and see what I think. If this gig happens, it could mean a HUGE adjustment to my daily routine deep into April. I rested the remainder of the day, and it felt very good. Clearly, I needed it. Later I had a TON of auditions to record, and one audition required me to submit a photo and resume. That’s pretty rare for a Voice Over job. So once I located my resume I realized it was in need of “freshening up.” I had to spend quite a lot of time looking at imdb.com to acquire the names of some of the recent projects I’m on. I needed to get rid of some of the older projects, and update the resume with newer projects. But when you work on these shows they all use “working titles” so that information about the project doesn’t leak prematurely. So when I do the Voice Over sessions I have no idea what I’m working on, unless they tell me what the title is going to be. And usually, by the time the project is released for public consumption, I’ve long since forgotten about the session. So it was quite eye-opening to see all of the stuff I was on that I had forgotten about. Needless to say, updating my resume took a goodly amount of time. Later I made some barbecues and chili and watched a few episodes of “The Lone Ranger.” One of the actors in one of the episodes was Sheb Wooley, the actor/singer who wrote “The Purple People Eater!”
Wednesday the 9th – THE RUBBER MIGHT BREAK! – After dashing off to my mailbox to pick up my packages I went to Paty’s in Toluca Lake to have a salad on the patio and enjoy the gorgeous day. I had gotten in some miniature panels of brick sheeting for my Yellow Brick Road base I’m making for my “Oz” display, but sadly it wasn’t enough to cover the entire 30” X 15” area. Plus, it seemed a little cheap and floppy. I’ll save it for another project down the line. If you remember from a few weeks back, I had discovered that the left rear tire on my Mustang had a slow leak. I drove over to my local Firestone store to see if they could determine where the leak was coming from and do an appropriate patch. But after looking at my account they discovered that I bought the tires back in 2014, and there’s some sort of California law that says you can’t patch tires more than 5 years old. Apparently the chemical composition of the rubber breaks down over time and after 5 years they become unstable. My tires were NINE years old! The tech wanted to replace all four tires but I didn’t have time to wait, so I just had him pull the leaky tire off and put a new one on. I’ll buy three more that match and have them put on the rest of the car when I have more time to wait. While they changed my tire I went over to a hardware store to pick up some items for my “Wizard of Oz” base; screws, washers, tape, etc. I have some more sturdy brick sheets coming in soon that will probably end up working for my purposes. Once the new tire was on I went to CVS to get some supplies and a prescription, and then I hit the grocery store to get some food items. There’s a new magazine special published by Entertainment Weekly all about Batman, and it looked like there were some great Adam West pictures inside. So I picked it up. I also picked up some cereal made by Kellogg’s that is supposed to taste like a Wendy’s chocolate Frosty! I can’t WAIT to try that! It basically looks like Cocoa Puffs with Count Chocula marshmallows. YUMMY! While checking out, I pointed to the picture of Adam West on the cover of the Batman magazine and told the kid bagging the groceries, “I was friends with that guy for 37 years.” He replied, “What ended your friendship?” I realized right then and there that the kid had no idea who Adam West was. I simply said, “Leukemia.” Silence. Way to bring down the mood in the grocery line, Wally! Good job! I got home and started prepping for a session on Thursday where I get to voice one of the greatest superheroes of all time. I spent most of the day talking in my “low” voice, in order to train it for the session. I didn’t want my voice to settle into its natural upper register until after the session. I needed my voice to have lots of resonance and stay in the lower register. Later I did some auditions, and prepared a bank deposit.
Thursday the 10th – HERO FOR HIRE! – Since I had detected several signs in her behavior, I decided to run Roxy over to the vet to see if she had a bladder infection or UTI. Since the vet was pretty booked up for the day, the best they could do was a “drop off.” I would drop her off and they would see her when they could squeeze her in between other appointments. I dropped her off around 10 in the morning, and then drove over to the bank to make a deposit. I stopped by Jack in the Box to get some food to go, and then went home to eat and rest. I wasn’t sure when the vet would call so I made sure my phone’s ringer was on and turned up loud. My doctor called for a telemedicine appointment early-afternoon, and then I prepared for my session. I was still taking in my “low” voice for the upcoming gig where I get to voice a famous superhero. I’ll be glad to be able to go back to my normal speaking voice later in the afternoon. I went to Salami Studios, checked in, and saw some people I knew. We chatted and got caught up. It’s great being back in a real studio again after a few years off for all the virus weirdness. I recorded the super-hero lines, and my voice was nice and deep and resonant. Then we switched to another character in the project who was slightly older and had a slightly higher pitch. When the session was over I made a decision to stop by Little Caesars and pick up some food on the way home. I had spotted it on the way to the session and thought it sounded pretty good. I got a pepperoni pizza and an order of Crazy Bread with two tubs of Crazy Sauce. LOVE THAT CRAZY BREAD! Roxy was ready to be picked up, so I swung by the vet’s and grabbed her and took her home. The vet had given me some antibiotics to give to her, and mousse for some patches of dry skin she had. They gave her a shot to help her allergies for the next six weeks, so that should help all of the licking she’s been doing. Strangely enough, she hasn’t been scratching at all, just licking. But this shot should give her some relief. We got home, I fed the kids, and I got on my e-mail. My agent and a casting company finalized the deal to have me dub a foreign sitcom/mini-series as the lead character, which will take about 90+ hours of recording. It will have my schedule locked up for five days a week, for the next five and a half weeks! It’ll almost be like having a full-time job again. Except this job will be FUN! The casting company sent me all of the episodes to look at so I can get familiarized with the tone of the show, the humor and the characters. This will be GREAT! And because they’re under a tight deadline, the first session will start tomorrow! Later I did a bunch of auditions, and watched the first episode of the foreign sitcom. I made some notes to take in with me to the first session, as questions, ideas and preparation are always welcome in a situation like this.
Friday the 11th – THE RUBBER BROKE! – On the first day of my “regular job” I stopped for some lunch to go at Weinerschnitzel, which happens to be down the street from the studio where I’ll be working for the next 5+ weeks. I located the studio, parked, and went inside to get acquainted with the engineer. The director will be working remotely for a little while longer. When virus regulations relax a bit more it’s possible that he may come into the sessions in person. It’s a good thing I did my prep, because it really informed me well about this project. The process for dubbing a foreign live-action show is a lot different than dubbing an anime cartoon. In anime you dub one line at a time, which is fine, but it doesn’t give you a sense of what’s happening in the overall scene. In the past decade, when I’ve dubbed anime, I always ask for them to run the scene down first so I can get the context of what’s happening in the story before I dub my lines. In this particular live-action dubbing protocol, they let you dub the entire scene, as opposed to line by line. Then the studio engineer will line up the lines you’ve done over the actor’s mouth movements and we’ll review how it turned out. Sometimes words in the script have to be added, and sometimes they need to be deleted. But it’s a pretty sweet way to work. I think this job is going to be GREAT fun and I’m looking forward to getting deeper into it. The four hours in the sessions just FLEW by, and when we finished I stopped by my mailbox to get my packages. It was like Christmas in March! Not only did I get the plastic sheets of miniature bricks I had been waiting for, but I got in the Laurel and Hardy original autographs I bought last week on eBay! Like clutching a pouch of gold I hurried home to feed the pets. I did some work around the house, and then took the wood dowel support rods that I had cut for my “Wizard of Oz” hand puppets and started inserting the support screws and washers into the bottom of the rods. Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion all went very well because they were made from a softer type of wood. But Dorothy, the Wicked Witch and Glinda were all made from a harder wood and it was a bit more difficult to achieve. Glinda seems to be a character that is my bad luck charm, for some reason. If you recall from a few weeks ago, the Glinda 1:12 figure I got in had a broken wand and was missing some decoration from her tiara. Also, the likeness of the figure wasn’t very close to the real actress in the film. Now, as I’m inserting support screws into the rods (which will be attached with a washer to the underside of the Yellow Brick Road base), Glinda’s was giving me the hardest time. It took several tries to get it right! But I finally got it as good as it’ll ever be. I napped briefly in the Puppet Room, and when I got up later I got a bunch of stuff done! I needed to make a pattern of the bottom shelf of the display case where my new “Wizard of Oz” display will go. So I needed to clear out everything that was in there to make the pattern. For the past 20 years I’ve had 7 of the “Oz” Mego figures on that shelf, and they were all supported with little wires that ran under the base I made out of poster board. I pulled each character out of the cardboard base and laid them to the side. They all popped out very easily, but when I grabbed “bad luck” Glinda, she just fell apart in my hands! Each of these figures are held together on the inside with a big “rubber band,” of sorts. It helps in their flexibility when you’re posing them. But since these figures were all made in the early 70’s, and since rubber does deteriorate over time, occasionally the rubber bands on the inside wear out. I’ve recently had problems with dissolving rubber on action figures that were made within the past five years! Talk about crappy quality! But luckily, Glinda was the only one who came apart. And luckily, there was enough of the rubber band left in her neck, that I could take some elastic cord and attach it to the remaining part of the rubber band, and restring the figure that way. After several tries, my dull needle penetrated the remaining rubber band and the elastic cord and I attached them together with monofilament (fish line). I brought the cord down through the torso and through the ball joint at the waist. It wasn’t any problem inserting the cord into the hip section, but getting to loop around the plastic support and come back up for attachment wasn’t something I was able to do. So I just tied off the elastic cord under the ball joint, in a knot so big that it wouldn’t slip back through, and decided to attach the ball joint at the waist to the hip and leg section with duct tape. I didn’t have any other alternatives. Luckily, the little rubber bands that join the arms together and the legs together were still in good shape. Restringing those would have been a beast! I redressed the figure in the gown and Bad Luck Glinda was back together again. Though she won’t be seeing as much “action” as an action figure usually sees. But all I need to do is get her mounted on the new base, and she probably won’t be touched for another 20 years! I taped together big pieces of tracing paper and laid it on the bottom shelf of the display case. I drew out all the dimensions, including the notches for the cabinet’s support posts. Then I took all 9 pieces of the miniature brick sheets and duct taped them together on the back. As luck would have it, I’ll be going to Alex In Wonderland’s shop on Saturday to discuss other projects, and I can see if my pal Mike (Alex’s husband) can assist in the cutting of the pieces. I don’t have a power saw capable of making these cuts. I ordered my usual meal at Denny’s and drove over to get it. Then I enjoyed a few episodes of “The Lone Ranger” and my Denny’s salad and buffalo chicken nuggets!
Saturday the 12th – A CARNIVAL OF CREATIVITY! – Like any perfect day, it begins with a visit to the KFC drive-thru for some food. Then I headed over to the studios of Alex In Wonderland to check in with Alex and her husband about some projects they’ve been working on for me. First, my Roosevelt Franklin replica Muppet. Alex has stitched together the arms, the hands, the body and the head. The arms were still a bit too big, so she took the seam in a bit and they were perfect. Then we sized them up to the body to see how long we want to make them. The hands were perfect, and the little “puppet skeleton hand” pieces I made several weeks ago fit inside perfectly! She’ll insert them into the hand covers, stuff them so they’re nice and fat, and then we’ll attach the rods permanently to the “skeleton pieces.” When that’s done, she’ll attach the hands to the arms, and then the arms to the puppet’s body. The head was completely hand-stitched using the “Henson stitch.” This way it makes the seams virtually undetectable in the fleece fabric. I’ll need to take the head home at some point and cut the fabric around the mouth so it overlaps perfectly onto the mouth plate. But he’s looking VERY close to being finished! We spoke about the most perplexing aspect of this puppet; his hair. His hair is VERY high; higher than the usual pile of a single piece of faux fur; which leads me to believe there’s a “layering effect” going on in his hair piece. I thought the faux fur would be folded upon itself in layers to achieve that effect, but Alex suggested that a small, foam wedge could be used as a “bump,” similar to how the women in the golden age used to do their hair. When women needed more height to their hair, they would put a small piece on their head called a bump, and then style their hair over it. (I believe Snooki from “Jersey Shore” made this popular again about 10 years ago). Alex’s idea was perfect. This will give Roosevelt Franklin the gradation in his hair height that he needs! She’s going to cut a wedge out of foam (which I think might look like an orange slice), cover it with the hair and we’ll see how it works! Then she can simply stitch the faux fur to his head! Once the head gets attached to the body, she’ll give it to me to finish the mouth, and then I’ll bring him back to have his turtleneck shirt made. Once that’s finished, we’ll put the shirt on the puppet, feed his arm tubes up through the sleeves of the shirt, attach the arms to the body, and close the shirt up the back. Because of the permanent arm rods that will be in his wrists, feeding his arms “hands first” through the sleeves won’t be possible. I love when a plan comes together! Mike gave me the estimated price for the Popeye and Mr. Magoo cut outs I’m having him make (that will be replicas of the pieces on the wall at the kid’s show I watched when I was 4 years old) and I gave him the greenlight. Then we started talking about the Yellow Brick Road base. Mike has been making models and dioramas for miniatures since he was a kid. He knew exactly how to do it. He’ll cut a ¼” thick piece of board (the same type of board we’re using for the Popeye and Magoo cutouts) that will perfectly match the dimensions of the base of the display case. Then I’ll take it to Planet Wallywood to see how it fits. If some adjustments need to be made he can do some shaving and sanding as needed. Once we get it perfect, he’ll attach the sheets of brick to the wood base, and trim it to match the dimensions of the base. Then I’ll drill small holes along the front so I can snake armature wire up through the base and up into the pant legs of the figures for support. Along the back I was going to put holes in the base for the wood dowel support rods I had been working on. But Mike suggested using a T-nut array that would work better. That way I could just use threaded rods, cut them to length, and screw them into the T-nut for support for the puppets. I like that idea much better than using the wood dowels. I use a T-nut system to support my 12 inch action figures in the display case in my living room. That will work MUCH better! Once everything is finalized on the base, I’m going to prime it, and paint it yellow! On the way home I stopped at a grocery store to stock up on Pure Leaf unsweetened iced tea. It’s my go-to beverage for Voice Over sessions, and since I was looking at a busy work schedule for the next five weeks I needed to have a good supply on hand. I bought seven jugs and two six-packs. As I was heading out the door I saw a girl and her mom selling Girl Scout cookies. I said, “Well, I should probably have something to help wash down all my tea!” They asked why I had so much tea and I explained that I was a Voice Actor and that was my favorite drink. They asked if I was on anything they’d know. This is always fun for me. I asked the girl if she played any of the Batman video games. She said she did, so I did a bit of the Riddler for her. She was amazed. I asked her mom if she ever watched any of the Jay Leno “Tonight Show.” She did, so I did some of that for her. Then I asked the girl, “Did you ever watch ‘The Garfield Show’ at all?” It was like somebody turned a switch on. She effusively explained how she and her friend loved watching that show when she was 7. I said, “OK, close your eyes.” Then I did a few lines as Jon and she squealed. I love these moments! I bought a few boxes of cookies and made my way through the night towards home. As I was pulling into Alex In Wonderland’s parking lot, Roxy’s vet called with the results of her tests from Thursday. Since Roxy is on a daily dose of Carprophen to help her mobility, we have to monitor certain levels in her liver to make sure the medication isn’t doing any damage. The Dr. said those liver levels were perfect! But other liver levels were concerning. If they got worse they could lead to something called Cushing’s Disease. The Dr. didn’t think she had the disease yet, but she said she’d like to keep an eye on those levels going forward. She also said the test results didn’t detect any sort of bacterial infection in her urine, but she said the sample they received was fairly diluted. So if she’s responding well to the antibiotics, just complete the treatment. She also mentioned that Roxy had lost some weight since her last visit. This was no surprise since Roxy hasn’t been eating very well of late. So I’ve decided to start adding some cheese to her roasted chicken and kibble meals. She loves cheese and this may help her eat more of her dinner, and hopefully the cheese will help fatten her up a bit. Sure enough, I cut up some cheese cubes and put it in her dinner and she ate 2 and a half helpings! Note to self: STOCK UP ON CHEESE!!! Later I did some miscellaneous things around the house; I put all my 2021 tax stuff in storage, put away the dishes and the laundry, and did a few more odd jobs. As you probably know I’m NO fan of switching the clocks back and forth every six months in an exercise of absolute futility known as Daylight Saving Time. As a wise Native American was quoted as saying, “Daylight Saving Time” is like cutting off the bottom of a blanket and sewing it to the top, and believing the blanket is longer.” I’m paraphrasing, as I’m sure he said it more eloquently, but you get the idea. Nobody has given me a convincing argument as to why we’re still engaged in this absolute idiocy. “Oh, but it’s for the farmers!” Naw. I know LOTS of farmers (remember, I’m from South Dakota) and one farmer told me, “Look, we work from sun up to sun down. We don’t care what time the clocks say it is.” Time for Dumblight Saving Time to GO! Begrudgingly, I set all of the clocks in my house ahead an hour. And I have a LOT of clocks so it took a while. When I was at the “Puppet Up!” show last week, I bought a toy version of one of their mascot characters. This character has protruding, bucked teeth that look very funny on the actual puppet. But the toy version has his teeth made out of stiff felt, and the way they’re stitched into the mouth seam, they don’t protrude; which kind of ruins the look of the character. So while I was down in the garage storing some stuff, I found these little thin plastic corner pieces. I could cut them into little strips at 90 degrees and attach them to the upper inside of the mouth just behind the teeth. These little pieces will force the felt teeth to protrude just right! So thanks to some Barge glue and a Q-tip, my plan worked perfectly! The axe I painted for my 12 inch Tin Man figure fell out of his hand. It had only been squeezed into his rubber hand with pressure, but eventually gravity won. I tried a small dab of Museum Wax to see if that would work, but it eventually fell out as well. So, since I had the Barge glue out already, I put a small dab in the palm of the Tin Man’s hand, and on the handle of the axe. I let it cure for a little bit and get tacky, and I placed the axe in his hand. The axe will be in his hand permanently for now on, but the wand is in Glinda’s hand permanently as well, so I guess those props are part of the character. I mean, what’s a Tin Woodsman without his axe? Earlier in the day I picked up my Robin the Frog replica Muppet from Alex in Wonderland. She was doing a slight bit of “plastic surgery” on him; a chin lift, if you will. There was a bit too much fabric under his mouth which created a weird wrinkling effect. She removed just a sliver of the fabric, hand-stitched it back up, and it worked perfectly. I took a small piece of foam rubber, cut a wedge out of it to curve it, glued it together and let it cure. Then I placed this small piece under the fabric of his chin and it filled it out very nicely! As I was working in the display case which will host my new “Oz” display, I looked carefully at the display on the shelf above it. I have my original Muppet toy puppets that I had as a kid all lined up side by side. Ernie, Bert, Cookie Monster, Roosevelt Franklin (very rare, by the way), Oscar, Grover and Kermit are all standing shoulder to shoulder. Unlike the others, for some strange reason, Cookie and Oscar have very short bodies on them. When I made the support stands for these puppets a long time ago I only made them long enough to accommodate the length of their bodies. But standing next to the others, these puppets were down so low you could barely see them. I cut chunks of foam about 3 inches long, put them on the top of the support rods, and then replaced Cookie and Oscar on their stands. Now they’re at the same level as the other puppets and it looks much better! In front of these puppets I have two vintage Popeye puppets (one talks and one squeaks!) as well as the “Sesame Street” finger puppets. The display looks MUCH better now! Of course, while I had all of the puppets out doing repairs on their stands, I took the liberty of cleaning the shelf and the puppets too. A HUGE improvement! I made my traditional Saturday Night Super Saint Salad and watched an episode of “The Saint” before bed. Whew! What a day!!!
Sunday the 13th – THERE OUGHTTA BE A LAW AGAINST SUCH IDIOCY! – If anyone has a convincing argument supporting Daylight Saving Time, I’m willing to listen. But so far I haven’t heard one good reason to keep going with this stupidity. As is always the case on the first day of Dumblight Saving Time, I felt a bit out of sorts. My body feels one way, but the clock feels another. And my body clock is terrific! Sometimes I’ll be nowhere near a clock, but I can call the correct time within about 10 to 15 minutes of the actual time! It’s a little skill I developed during my years in radio. I got on the computer and got caught up on all the news, relaxed a bit, fed the kids, wrote Wally’s Week, and prepped for Monday’s dubbing session. What an amazing, amazing week!!
And how was YOUR week??!!!
PIX FROM THE WEEK