This is probably the coolest product I’ll see all winter….Indoor Snowball Fight kit! Genius!

Given the hectic (and weird) weekend I had, I needed to hear something soothing and spiritual. This is “Give It Away” by Zero 7. This song takes me places.


Monday the 14th – OSCAR AND ME…TWO GROUCHES! – The first order of the day involved recording a Voice Over bit for the “Ellen” show. I gave them a few takes and e-mailed them in. Then I hopped in my car and checked my mailbox for packages. I stopped over at KFC to get some lunch to go, and then I went to see Mike at a place called “Alex in Wonderland” so he could fabricate a ‘blinking mechanism’ for the eyes on my new Oscar replica puppet, which I’ll be finishing very soon. It’s been in process for a long time now, but it’s taken this long to find somebody who could fabricate the parts I need for the blinking mech. Mike and I had lots in common, so we ended up talking for a couple hours. I went home to do some work and feed the pets. It was then I discovered that my main microwave (the one that came with the house when I bought it back in 2000) has given up the ghost. It served me well. So after a quick call to my contractor Handy Don to see what kind to get to replace it (it’s a built-in unit, so it has to match the space exactly) I brought down my small microwave from my room temporarily. But while I was on the phone with Don, I was looking in the shelf space above the microwave to see if there was some sort of power cut-off or power cord. That shelf is where I keep all of my light bulbs. And while taking on the phone with one hand, and moving around bulbs with the other, several bulbs came crashing down all around my feet. I do stupid stuff like this all the time and it really aggravates me. Ugh. I need a break! So after cleaning up all the broken glass, and clearing out the bottom drawer in my pantry closet, I moved all of the bulbs down there. I figure they’ll have less distance to fall the next time I do something stupid. Totally aggravated at myself, I sat down to do my auditions (unfortunately there were no auditions for any grouchy characters), and then grabbed a nap. I got up later to do more auditions, organized some of the photo files in my computer, typed out Wally’s Week, made some spaghetti and watched another episode of “Police Woman” on DVD before bed.

Tuesday the 15th – GOTTA STAY CREATIVE! – In the late afternoon I went over to my effect guy’s studio to see how my new silicone mask for Halloween was coming. I won’t say who it is yet, although you have probably guessed already, but it’s looking great. A thick band of elastic holds the mask on my head which will be hidden by the wig I’ll be wearing. Once he got the band fitted, it’ll be painted up, and the appropriate hair pieces will be attached. I stopped by my mailbox to get my packages, and then I went home to do busy work all night. Creative busy work. I worked on finishing the upper palate for my Oscar puppet. Once I finish that I can take it back to Mike and we can start positioning the eyes and figuring out where the eye blink mechanism will go. I also figured out a way to keep the communicator firmly in the left hand of my new Captain Kirk lifesize figure. I sewed an elastic loop on to a piece of Velcro, and then glued the Velcro to the back of the communicator. Then I’ll affix the communicator into the figure’s left hand, put the loop around his middle finger and it will be perfect! The hand is upturned, so the loop of elastic won’t be visible, and I need to keep the communicator removable because the batteries in the unit (which has original “Star Trek” voice clips) will need changing someday. I also sketched out some patterns for some new toys, which relate to my kids’ book project, which I’ll take to my seamstress Shelley in a few weeks. Then I had a TON of auditions! Later, I started packing for my trip to Palm Springs!

Wednesday the 16th – EXODUS!! – My first stop was to take Roxy to the groomer’s for a bath before we left for Palm Springs, then I took a ‘Sons of the Desert’ fez over to an embroiderer to have some markings put on it. Mine was already there, but I wanted to take my ‘adopted grandma’ Shirley’s over too so our fezzes would match. I went to the grocery store to pick up my usual supplies for a Palm Springs getaway. But oddly enough, they didn’t have any Rice Krispy squares. Roxy and I always enjoy traditional Rice Krispy squares on the balcony at night while watching stars. I hope this isn’t a bad omen. I’m fairly OCD when it comes to stuff like this, so when my routine gets broken I start to wonder. I stopped by Enterprise to rent an SUV for the trip, and got yet ANOTHER Nissan Rogue! I’ve had a Rouge TWICE over the past two times I went to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and I found them to be wonderful! I got Roxy at the groomer’s and got packed up and ready to go. My pal Edi came over around 8:30 to housesit and watch my cat Spooky for the weekend, and then we hit the road. All went well until I hit the 111 freeway, the one that takes you off the main freeway and leads you directly in to Palm Springs. Luckily, I’m a “left lane” driver on a two-lane freeway. For some reason I just love hugging the left. Good thing too, because in the right lane of the 111 there was a dog of some sort, and it looked like it was eating road kill off the road! It all happened in a flash! Luckily he saw me and ran off the road. If I would have hit a dog it would have literally ruined my trip! I called my friend Edi in a panic and she said it was most likely a coyote, since there aren’t any houses on the 111 where a dog would live. But it didn’t make me feel much better. I got to Denny’s to get our usual take-out dinner, and then got to the room and unpacked. Over the past 9 years I’ve been going to Palm Springs to enjoy the night time view out the private balcony in my usual room, the night skies have become increasingly more light polluted. I understand that a half moon was high in the sky, and could have had something to do with it, but it just looked much too bright. Sad. I guess I might need to find a better stargazing place to unwind in the future. Admittedly, Palm Springs has gotten more developed in the past four years, not to mention noisier, so perhaps this isn’t the place for me anymore. I was still a bit shook up about the dog(?) on the freeway. I hope it wasn’t another bad omen!

Thursday the 17th – PALM SPRINGS IS DOG FRIENDLY…BUT NOT ALL DOGS ARE FRIENDLY! – Roxy and I slept all day and got up at 3 so I could take her outside for a potty break. Then I came back inside and napped until 6:30! It felt good getting some rest. Our usual routine on Thursday nights in Palm Springs is to go out to the Thursday night Street Fair and do some shopping, see some people, and meet some other dogs. Since Palm Springs is very dog friendly, we’ve met some amazing pups. I realized when I woke up at 6:30 that we were missing the Street Fair, as it started at 6! I quickly showered and headed downstairs with Roxy. We got outside the hotel and immediately a horde of people were gathered around Roxy asking to pet her. (That happens a lot) One guy came up with two dogs and said, “Can my dog say hi to your dog?” I said sure. He had a smaller dog too, but the one most interested in Roxy was a dark gray pitbull. I watched carefully to make sure they were good, and once I was satisfied that they were cordial I started talking to a lady about collies and shelties. All of a sudden I heard growling and snarling and looked down to see Roxy locked in battle with this dark gray pitbull. Figuring they were just snarling at each other, I pulled Roxy back, BUT THE PITBULL WAS ATTACHED TO HER FACE! It was like they were Velcroed together! He yanked the pitbull back and Roxy let out a “YOWLP!” Clearly this pitbull had attacked her. There was a very deep gash on her left cheek. I lost my mind. I started yelling at the guy and causing a scene! I asked him why he had such a vicious, unstable dog in a public place like this. I told him he’s lucky it wasn’t a child, or the cops would have shot his dog and he’d be in jail. I was yelling and screaming and shaking. This was NOT the vacation I had in mind. The pitbull owner was calm and collected, knowing full well that I had the legal right to take most everything he owned in a civil suit (which I threatened over and over). He gave me his card. An uninvolved party stepped in and started talking to me abrasively and I told him to mind his own business, this didn’t concern him. (Some people!) The ladies I had been talking to about collies and shelties were comforting Roxy and they were looking at her cheek wound. I took Mr. Pitbull’s card and told him I’d see him in court. Shaking, I took Roxy to my room. I told the girl at the front desk that my dog had just been attacked and if she could find a 24 hour vet in the area that would be great. She said she would look for one asap. I went to my room to calm down and call Palm Springs Animal Control to file a complaint and report. I had been going to the street fair for 9 years and this is the first time that’s ever happened. Some vacation. The closest 24 hour vet was about 20 miles away in Indio, so we went over. I figured it was better to have her looked at. While there, I gave Mr. Pitbull’s card to the vet and they called him to make sure the vicious dog was up on all its shots. The vet said the guy was very apologetic and agreed to pay for everything. He wanted to talk to me on the phone. Calmly, coolly and now collected, I spoke with him on the phone in very even tones. He was clearly afraid of my threats of a lawsuit. He asked me sign an agreement that, if he paid for the vet visit that night, and one follow-up visit in L.A. in a couple weeks, would I absolve him of any further legal responsibility. I thought long and hard, but I really wanted it to all be over. I told him that would be fine. But as Roxy was being examined, things seemed to change almost by the minute. I was afraid she’d have to have stitches, which meant “the cone of shame.” That meant we’re packing up and going home. But the vet said she likes bite wounds to heal on their own in the open air and not be stitched. I breathed a sigh of relief. Maybe we could salvage what was left of our vacation after all! The exterior wound was bad enough, but later they got concerned. On the inside of her mouth she had a pretty severe laceration, much worse than the exterior one. This one they DID want to stitch. I told them that would be fine…UNTIL they brought me the paperwork involving the “do not resuscitate” option. I asked them what that was. They said that in order to get the inside of her mouth stitched she would have to be sedated with a light sedative. They also said that some dogs react adversely to the anesthesia, and if there were any coronary issues that arose from the sedative I had to choose whether or not to resuscitate or not. WHAT?! I told them I’m not putting an 11 year old dog under sedation in a non-life or death scenario. I started having horrible flashbacks to when I had to put my other dog Sassie under anesthesia for an MRI, and how her blood pressure was dropping severely. That was the sad day I had to let her go. The vet said Roxy would heal much more quickly with the stitches, but with no stitches she would heal in about 6 weeks. For the next two weeks she’s to be on a soft food diet. So now Mr. Pitbull’s bill just went higher, because Roxy will be unable to take the daily antibiotic medication prescribed. Instead, she will need to be given an antibiotic shot, which is much more expensive. He called the vet and asked to talk to me again. He wondered why the bill was more than what he originally was told. I explained that his wonderful dog had lacerated the inside of my dog’s mouth and she’d be unable to take the medication by pill form, so the vet decided to give her one, powerful shot instead. I thanked him for being calm, and explained that Roxy is my world, and I told him that if that would have happened to a child…a) the child would be forever scarred physically and emotionally, b) he’d most likely be in jail, and c) his dog would be put down immediately. There was a long pause on the other end of the line…so long that I thought he had lost his cell signal. But when I gave the phone back to the receptionist he was still there. I think the magnitude of what I just told him had affected him beyond words. I hope he takes my advice seriously, because he clearly has a very flawed, unstable dog that should never be taken out in a public setting ever again. I’m glad I called Animal Control in Palm Springs shortly after the event happened, so now there’s a record of his unstable, dangerous dog in case anything else happens, God forbid. After four hours waiting at the vet, mostly for him to pay the bill, we were released shortly after 11:30pm. I was so mad on the drive back, that part of me wanted to go back on my deal of letting him off the hook for the vet bills, which will total slightly less than $1,000. I wanted him to learn a lesson. I wanted to sue him for $100,000. I wanted the authorities to apprehend is vicious, unstable dog and put it down. The thought of him taking that monster out in public again, and having that happen to a child haunted me. If it DOES happen, then it would be on MY soul if I didn’t do something. I still may contact Animal Control and file a grievance asking that the vicious dog be removed from his care. I haven’t decided yet. Even though I agreed not to sue him civilly, I did NOT agree to pursue action through the local government. I’m still deciding what to do about that. Roxy and I got back to the room, exhausted. I got a pizza at NYPD across the street and went back to chill. Again, I couldn’t see the nighttime sky very well because of all the light pollution. It was very hazy out. I’m wondering if the recent fires in L.A. had anything to do with that considering that the moon really wasn’t all that bright. Maybe the rest of the trip will go better. Or maybe the 111 Dog(?) was telling me to go back home! What a totally mucked up night!

Friday the 18th – FRIENDS TO THE RESCUE! – After knocking out for several hours, when I got up later in the afternoon I saw that I had some messages from my friends Scott and Vickie Sebring who were in the area camping at Joshua Tree National Park, a stone’s throw from Palm Springs. They were in the area, so I had them come up to the room and told them the whole lurid story about the missed Street Fair and Mr. Pitbull. It was good to have familiar faces around. We strolled down to Ruby’s on Palm Canyon Blvd. for dinner, and then walked around. I took Roxy back to the room so she could rest, after her exercise, and then we continued walking around the downtown village. Later on I got another pizza from NYPD, and got ready for my night time star watching…but again, much too bright and hazy. Not only that, but it got breezy and chilly. I walked Roxy around 6:30am and noticed that the hotel’s breakfast buffet was starting. So I got a plate of food and ate it on my balcony. Breakfast by sunrise was nice. Then I hit the hay.

Saturday the 19th – CHANEY HQ! – About mid-afternoon I took Roxy back to Ruby’s so I could get another of their delicious salads, and Roxy could get more grilled chicken (THAT part of her soft-food diet she REALLY enjoyed!) But because of the pain meds Roxy was on she was fairly lethargic, and I could tell she wasn’t enjoying the long, brisk walks. I took her back to the room so she could rest. I drove about 12 miles away to visit my old pal Ron Chaney, descendent of the famous Chaney movie family. Normally Ron drives in to Palm Springs to see me, but this time I decided to take a night time drive through the desert to visit he and his wife Linda at their home. Their home is far enough outside the city that the skies above them are dark and star-filled…lovely! Plus I always love getting out into “Chaney HQ,” where Ron runs Chaney Enterprises. His great-grandfather Lon Chaney Sr., and his grandfather Lon Chaney Jr. are represented by their own, individual rooms in his office space. Known as the “Senior” and “Junior” rooms, he has file cabinet after file cabinet of photos, documents, books and resource materials. It’s nirvana for a “Chaniac” (Chaney Maniac) like me! He gave me a few glow-in-the-dark Chaney toys for my collection and I made my way back to the hotel to check on Roxy. I ordered some lasagna at NYPD, smoked a cigar while I waited for it to bake, and headed to my room to eat. I got a blanket from the front desk, anticipating that I was in for another chilly night on the balcony. I was still deciding if I was going to head back home Sunday afternoon, Sunday night, Sunday late-night, or Monday afternoon. I had a very busy week ahead!

Sunday the 20th – THE 111 DOG(?) WAS RIGHT! – I finished up a night of chilly starwatching and hit the hay around 6am. But I woke up around 7am with a sour stomach. I figured that the lasagna I ate wasn’t agreeing with me for some reason. Shortly after that, the chills started. I couldn’t get warm enough. I grabbed the extra blanket I had gotten from the desk downstairs and pulled it over me and shivered. It was either food poisoning or a 24 hour stomach flu. After multiple bathroom visits I resigned myself to the fact that was the by far the WORST Palm Springs visit I had ever endured. I stayed in bed as much as I could, with back-and-forth bathroom visits. When I got up later in the day my body was aching something fierce. But I eventually threw all my stuff together to make a hasty exit homeward. With my sore muscles and body aches, I loaded everything into the Rogue and headed down the road at 8pm. Luckily I was feeling well enough to stay alert on the freeway and not have to make any pit stops. I got home around 9:40 and boy was it good to be home. Roxy has been doing continually better, so there was some light to be had! Without even unpacking my bags, I showered and hit the hay. My stomach was still a bit upset so I curled up in a ball and slept for a while.

And how was YOUR week???!!


Here are the silicone masks my pal Jim Ojala ran in his effects studio for my Halloween project. One was too thin and floppy, not sure what the defect was on the other, but one of these is the perfect deal! I tried it on to get a perfect fit, and then it got painted by his effects artists. Now they just need to add all the hair components and we’re good to go!

A gorgeous morning in Palm Springs looking out my hotel room’s balcony!

It’s always good to see my friend Lexi and her daughter Athena, who’s a huge fan of “The Garfield Show” on Netflix!

Seeing these vintage Halloween decorations in a store window made my night! They’re gorgeous, charming, and bring back days of Halloween fun as a kid!

Breakfast on the balcony while being entertained by a gorgeous Palm Springs sunrise! It doesn’t get much better than this!

At first Roxy’s wound didn’t seem very bad…

…but after we got to the vet and it was cleaned and dressed, I saw just how horrifying it was!