RANDOM PIC OF THE WEEK
Despite how horribly this city and state are run, I have absolutely no problem with how beautiful this state is. I snapped this picture of a rising full moon on my walk back from Roxy’s vet. It looked a lot better in person than what a camera can capture. But it was stunning.
Every Christmas-time when I hear this song by Barbra Streisand, I remember how much I absolutely love it. It’s called “The Best Gift.” If you have a child, go grab them and hold them tight. Then play this song and concentrate on the words. What’s that in your eye? Must be allergies.
Monday the 23rd – HIT THE CAN, MAN! – Though I got up late in the afternoon, I figured there was still enough time to shoot a short video for little 2 year old Carlos; a young boy who’s fighting cancer. I had already done two videos (one with my Kermit, and one with my friend Vickie doing Cookie Monster) for him, and the third in the trifecta is Oscar. But I wanted to shoot it outside to give it a sort of “Sesame Street” vibe, along with Oscar’s famous trash can. I had just enough daylight left in the day to set it up and shoot it. I had already recorded the voice track (since mic-ing myself while doing a puppet poses certain issues) so all I needed to do was to perform Oscar to the track. I was pretty happy with what I shot. I’ll put it together with the audio track later and send it off to Carlos’ mom. Starting Thursday (Thanksgiving) L.A. put the kibosh on outdoor dining because of the whole virus thing. This is absurd since, according to L.A.’s OWN contact tracing program, outdoor dining only accounts for 3% of any virus spread. Ridiculous. So my pal Officer Mark and I went over to Bob’s Big Boy for one final outdoor meal before the 3 week lockdown began. Even though it was fairly chilly out, the food was dynamite as always. I got back home with a full tummy and did some more work around the house. I put the audio track to the Oscar the Grouch video I shot and sent it off to Carlos’ family. Later I made some soup and a sandwich and watched “The Mod Squad.” I found out that the city of Pasadena has thumbed their nose at L.A. county and is going to continue their outdoor dining. Pasadena has their own Board of Health, and THEIR Board of Health doesn’t see a problem continuing with outdoor dining. So I’ll be going to Pasadena soon and giving them my business.
Tuesday the 24th – A LEAK?! AGAIN!? – The plan was to go have lunch at Paty’s, but my friend Edi was unable to make it. I had other things to attend to though. I did a quick home studio test with a big recording studio to make sure everything was working well for a videogame pick-up session I had scheduled for Wednesday morning. Everything worked out great so we’re all set. Later I came down to my kitchen and noticed water on the floor. I thought maybe my dishwasher had leaked again, but then I noticed that the water was dripping out of the light fixtures in the faux ceiling overhead! Could it be coming from the upstairs bathrooms? I immediately called my contractor Handy Don and asked what to do. He thought it could be due to possible deterioration of the wax rings in the upstairs toilets, or possibly the cartridge in the Puppet Room shower. In any event, he said to keep a bucket under the leak and he’d be over on Wednesday. Later on, a second leak started out of a second fixture. Good grief! Oddly enough, when the leak in the second fixture started, the leak in the first fixture dried up! What was going on? I took the light fixtures out of the holes in the faux ceiling so I could look up to the real ceiling and see what was happening. I saw two small drips coming out of the drywall of the true ceiling. I did my nightly auditions, fed and walked Roxy and made sure the two pails were secure to catch any water that leaked out of the light apertures.
Wednesday the 25th – PINHOLE PROBLEM! – The repairman who works for our homeowner’s association came by to try to assess my leak problem before Handy Don got over to Planet Wallywood. He suggested it could be a number of things; many of which Don already suggested. He said he didn’t think it was a drainage leak, because the leaking had continued all night while I slept. If it were a drainage issue, it would have stopped after the water had drained from the pipes. It seemed like it was coming from one of the water supplies to the house. He said those copper pipes can occasionally rupture due to manufacturer’s defects. I set up my home studio for a quick Voice Over session for a Marvel videogame. When I finished I heard from Handy Don that he was on his way over. I did some more work on-line and then Handy Don arrived. We started the investigation. He reached through the lighting apertures in the faux ceiling and poked holes in the true ceiling’s drywall to let all the water out. We still couldn’t tell where the origin of the leak was, even though most of the drywall in the true ceiling was soaked and worthless. He checked the shower cartridge and it was fine. Once he cleared away pieces of the water-damaged drywall in the true ceiling, he found the issue. It was a pinhole leak in the copper pipe that feeds cold water to my bathrooms. He thought he could get to it to put on a temporary patch by simply accessing the problem through the lighting apertures, but he didn’t have enough room. So a hole had to be cut into the faux ceiling so he could gain full access to patch the leak. Once the faux ceiling is patched and textured, I’ve decided to paint that whole area midnight blue and make it a star ceiling – with glow stars! It’ll look neat, and we have to repaint that area anyway. So why not? He put a temporary patch on it that will last until he can get over on Saturday to solder the leak permanently and patch the ceiling back up. I drove out to pick up some packages at my mailbox and to run a very special Christmas-type of errand. (I’d say more, but she may be reading this) I got lunch at Taco Bell and then headed back home to finish up with Handy Don. Later I listened to the beautiful non-stop Christmas music on 1260 AM. They’ve stopped playing the oldies I love, and have gone to a classic Christmas format. These songs are MEANT for AM radio. They sound like how I remember them sounding when I was a kid! I felt like I was 5 years old again! I laid down on the couch with my electric blanket I just bought and listened to the music – this year’s Christmas Nappies (if you remember my routine from past Christmases). Spook fell asleep on my chest, and Roxy was asleep in the beanbag chair. It was really nice. Later I fed and walked Roxy, and then I made a salad and watched another episode of “The Mod Squad.” This was turning into a nice Thanksgiving Eve, but it’s going to be one of the weirdest Thanksgivings I’ve ever had. And it’s all because of the strict gathering restrictions imposed upon us by the ‘leaders’ of our city and state. Leaders who, as we well know, don’t adhere to their own advice, hypocritically. When I first moved out to L.A. in 1987, I was usually alone on Thanksgiving. I would travel back to South Dakota over Christmas to be with my family, so it didn’t make much sense to go for Thanksgiving too, since the two holidays were so close to each other. In the past two decades or so, I’ve staged many hangouts and big dinners with all my friends which have been fabulous. But this year I’ll be all alone again, like back in the early days. Very strange.
Thursday the 26th – Happy(?!) Thanksgiving! – The only semblance of normalcy on this Thanksgiving is that I had a meal pre-ordered through The Smokehouse. We had a great dinner last Thanksgiving at The Smokehouse with about 20 people. But this year all we could do was pre-order our meal on-line, go by the restaurant to pick it up, and skedaddle. Though I got up late and lounged around, I started to think about all of the things that I was thankful for, despite having a year unlike any other I’ve ever seen during the course of my life. It would be easy to drown in how miserable everything is; can’t eat out, can’t be with friends and family, can’t stay out after 10pm, etc. – but it was Thanksgiving. One of the traditions of our annual Thanksgiving dinners is when I pass around index cards and pens and ask everyone to list one random thing they’re thankful for. It could be important, menial, inconsequential or heartfelt. So I took my own advice and started mentally listing all of the things I’m thankful for this time. Despite almost a full year of shut-down productions, I still managed to make a great living. I was thankful for Handy Don for saving my ass from a leak which, if left unattended, could have required me to build an ark. I was thankful that I will enjoy a wonderful health insurance plan for the next year. I also noted thankfulness for a multitude of opportunities in the new year, the good health of my friends, family and pets, and the many people in my life (past and present) who have influenced my outlook on life. All in all, it was pretty great. I got my meal at Smokehouse at 7pm, and got home to eat it. It was scrumptious, but kind of weird. I shot a video of a quick video of my Chaney Room, for my ongoing 2 minute Twitter tour series. I edited it and added music and then posted it. The maids were coming on Friday, so I cleaned up a bit for them. (I know, that sounds weird, huh?!) Though they weren’t due until the following Monday, I recorded a few auditions simply out of sheer boredom. I fed and walked Roxy, and then made some spaghetti and watched another episode of “The Mod Squad.” I enjoyed the leftover garlic bread from The Smokehouse with my spaghetti and it was divine!
Friday the 27th – MAIDS, MOODS & MEDS! – My maids came and cleaned up Planet Wallywood, and then I walked over to Roxy’s vet to get some more of the medicine that keeps the inflammation in her back legs minimized so she can live a normal life. I worked around the house a little bit, but honestly, I didn’t have much interest in doing much. I laid on The Most Comfortable Couch in the Universe and took some “Christmas Nappies,” and started thinking again about how thankful I am for everything. With the Christmas music playing, my cat curled up next to me, Roxy asleep in the beanbag chair and a nice fire in the fireplace, I was in a pretty great holiday mood.
Saturday the 28th – HANDY DON DONE! – When it rains, it pours – as the old saying goes. While Handy Don was up in the kitchen ceiling about to repair the pinhole leak in a copper water pipe, he noticed an ABS pipe below it that was going to be in his way during the soldering process. He told me he was going to have to cut it out of the way, and then patch it up again afterwards. But when he grabbed the ABS pipe, it was very wobbly. After closer inspection, he noticed that it wasn’t connected to anything. After even CLOSER inspection, he noticed that the 90 degree turn it had been attached to had snapped off. This wasn’t a water pipe, but rather a pipe used for air ventilation for the sinks. So, while he was in the ceiling we decided that both pipes should be repaired correctly. That took an additional amount of time and set up behind our original repair schedule. He also had to make a second hole in the faux ceiling in order to access it. Six hours later the leak in the copper pipe had been soldered, and the ABS ventilation pipe had been rejoined with the 90 degree turn. That evening I enjoyed some more “Christmas Nappies” and got up later to do some work around the house. The repair work had required another swabbing of the kitchen floor and vacuuming of the carpets. I shot another 2 minute Twitter tour video of my Aisle of Art which I’ll post next week. I edited it and put some music behind it. I fed and walked Roxy and it was really COLD out! It had me longing for those 120 degree days we had in the valley a few months ago. I actually didn’t mind them that much. But I REALLY don’t like the cold! Instead of watching “The Saint” and making my traditional Saturday Night Super Saint Salad, I decided to make a Chef Boyardee pizza and have ‘Laurel and Hardy Theatre’ again. I watched the Academy Award winning short “The Music Box,” as well as “County Hospital” and “Scram!” All great shorts!
Sunday the 29th – NOTHING! NADA! ZILCH! – Sundays seem to be just right for doing nothing. So that’s exactly what I did. I chatted on the phone with my folks, a few friends, and I just sat around vegging out. I squeezed in some more ‘Christmas Nappies’ on the couch, and got up later to prep for my friend Michelle from Florida who would be arriving on Monday night. I called Denny’s to get some food to go. I grabbed it, came home and watched an episode of “The Saint” before bed. I really LOVE this show!
And how was YOUR Thanksgiving week??!!
PIX FROM THE WEEK
Here’s the Oscar video I put together for young Carlos. And…
…here’s Carlos enjoying his video message from Oscar the Grouch. Blessing to that young boy and his fight against cancer!
Yup, this year gets the prize for The Weirdest Thanksgiving Ever.
Here’s a quick look around The Chaney Room