Trish and Harold's Weblog

News, information, and random thoughts from the busy lives of Trish Egan and Harold Phillips.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Ah, Nostalgia...

I guess I drank too much coffee at the Mt. Hood Rep board meeting tonight. Here I am up at 2 am posting to the steenkin' blog, and I have to be up at 7 for an early appointment.

In any case... I don't know what got into me. Maybe it was seeing Trish hook up with her high school friend in Boise, maybe I'm feeling my age, maybe I'm just tired from the trip and the time change from Mountain time to Pacific time... but on the way home from the board meeting I got to thinking about high school, and the fact that my 20 year reunion is going to take place in just three years.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not at all morose about the 20 year reunion coming up... quite to the contrary, I feel damned contented with my life. I'm married to a lovely woman, I'm helping to create good theatre (even if I'm not getting paid for it... grumble grumble), I've played TWO of my dream acting parts already (Hornbeck in Inherit The Wind and Charlie Fox in Speed The Plough), and even though I do another job to supliment my acting income, I'm an actor first. The other job is truly "just a day job." I figure I'm doing ok.

Sure, I'm no John Heginbotham (you'll have to scroll down the page to see him), dancing with a world-renouned dance troupe and jet setting all over the country and the world. I'm no Dawson Moore, a well known playwright and coordinator of an international Theatre Conference (he has playwrights from Australia vying for his attention... he's a BMOC, I tells ya!). I'm certainly no... uh... wait, anyone else I went to high school with as well-thought-of in artistic circles as those two?

Beuler? Beuler? Probably, but I can't think of any at the moment :)

Whatever... the point is, I drank too much coffee at the board meeting, and as I was sitting at the computer I started to look around to see what I could find out about my East Anchorage High School class of 1989 chums. Surprisingly... I found quite a bit!

For instance, I found this site created by an East High graduate as an alternative to Classmates and the other big sites out there. I would hope that when the Class of '89 reunion committee puts plans together (there is a reunion committee, right? :) ) they'll post it there. Heck, I even gave the guy $5 on paypal to keep the site going. It's very well put together.

I also found this Yahoo Group for EVERYONE who's attended East High (there's only 98 members signed up, so I don't think that EVERYONE knows about it). And I found that quite a few of my classmates have put up profiles on (not sure yet if I want to spend the $36 it'd take to look at those profiles, though :) ).

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I found out where John Heginbotham's been hiding and sent him an email (through the general mailbox on the Mark Morris Dance Group site). Looks like the Mark Morris Group will be in Portland in April of 2006 doing a show with the White Bird Dance Series... maybe I can talk him into having a drink with me if he's coming out with them. He was a great guy, and I always thought he epitomized that rare example of someone who deserved success actually getting it.

Then again, he probably won't remember me and the Mark Morris people will put me in the "Stalker - Do Not Respond" pile. Either way, I feel like I've massaged my nostalgia muscles enough for one night.

I'm headed for bed. 'Night!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Idaho Trip Part 3 - The REVENGE!

... and so we're back! Actually, we got back Saturday night after a LONG day of driving, but I was too busy recuperating from the trip on Sunday and working today to post much.

Sunday we took off from Boise at about noon. We stopped at the Airport Denny's for breakfast (mmmmmmmmm... lumberjack slam...) and then hit the road. It snowed the evening before, but most of the white stuff had melted by the time we left. Still, even with the sun out, the temperature never passed 42 degrees the entire trip back. We drove through a little freezing rain before we hit the Oregon border, and I-84 was actually closed at LaGrande due to a multi-car fatality accident.

We sat and had coffee and pie in LaGrande and considered staying there overnight... about the time our piece of cherry pie was brought to us, we got word that the highway had been reopened. We had a police escort for the first 20 miles outside LaGrande... two state troopers with their lights on drove in front of the line of cars and made sure no one exceeded 40 miles an hour. It was a good thing, too... as we climbed up the mountain passes the roads kept getting icier and icier. If the cops hadn't been there keeping everyone's speed down we probably would have seen another wreck.

Once through that stretch the roads got better and the traffic opened up. We ate dinner in Biggs (0utside of Hood River) and got home at about 9:00 after checking our post office box. Thankfully we'd called Trish's son Jesse from the road and he knew we were going to be in late, so he and his girlfriend Jessie came over and fed the dogs for us... they stayed the night, too, so we had a full house as we drifted off to an exhausted sleep.

And that's the end of the Idaho Odyssey. We're pretty glad that we made the trip - it was good to see Pete and touch base with him, and it was especially nice to feel like we'd brough a little "family touch" to his Thanksgiving. Trish got a chance to meet up with an old friend from high school and visit her parents' grave in Boise, and we got to spend a lot of time together on the trip to and from. The Prius was great- a wonderful ride and we never got under 40 miles to the gallon the whole trip (we filled the 11 gallon tank four times in the 1250 mile round trip... we could have made it on three fill-ups, but we decided to play it safe).

Even so... the best thing about traveling is coming home to the familiarity of your own home, the smell of the back yard, the warm face-licks of your own dogs. It was a nice trip, but it's good to be home.

Hope you all had a good weekend... time to get to work!


Friday, November 25, 2005

Idaho Trip part 2

Hey everyone

Had a very nice day yesterday... we got up at about 11:00 am in Boise and packed our way out of the University Inn. Temperatures were in the mid-to-high 20's as we pulled out (the ice from our trip through the passes was still on the car in the morning), and we bundled up against the cold. We called Trish's brother Pete before we left and asked if we could bring anything... the conversation went a little like this:

Pete: "Yeah, do you guys want coffee? Bring some coffee."
Trish: "Ok, do you have a -"
Pete: "No."
Trish: "You don't have a coffee grinder?"
Pete: "No, I don't have a coffee pot. You should get some instant."

Trish hung up her cell phone and we headed to a Boise Albertsons to buy a coffee pot and coffee. Didn't cost that much, and she didn't look forward to drinking instant coffee :)

We had some breakfast at an Elmers in Boise and watched the families coming in for their Thanksgiving lunches/ dinners. Then we hit the road.

The drive to Pocatello was pretty easy and uneventful. We almost made it all the way to Pocatello on one tank of gas (well, we started in Boise at just under half a tank), but we thought better of it and pulled pulled off just outside Pocatello on the Banock reservation (great gas prices on the Rez - $2.08 a gallon!). We drove for about 15 more minutes and pulled into the Pocatello Red Lion.

We stopped to get vanilla ice cream at the convenience store by the hotel and then headed to Pete, his girlfriend Cindy and her brother Larry's place. Cindy had been cooking all day, and we had a very nice dinner of turkey, cranberries, fruit salad, oyster stuffing, sweet potatoes and deviled eggs. After dinner we sat and talked, and Pete and Trish went into the music room (Pete has his music mixing computer and amplifier in there) and sang a couple of songs. We then took off back to the reservation and met up with Pete's friend Tom Turnbull for a quick hello.

We got back to our room at the Red Lion around 11:00. The bed was very comfortable and Trish and I slept like logs! We got up at about 10 and got up and moving... we're going to meet up with Pete for coffee before we head back to Boise. The weather report says that we'll likely hit freezing rain and snow on the way up there, and on the way to Portland tomorrow, so we're going to be taking it easy.

Hope you all had a good Thanksgiving yesterday, and that you have a good weekend. We'll talk to you all soon...


Thursday, November 24, 2005

Idaho Trip: First Leg

Hey all. It's about 3:15 am Mountain time (that's 2:15 am Portland time), and we just got off the road in Boise.

The trip to Boise took a couple more hours than expected... we hit the road at about 6:00 after Trish's doctor's appointment. Traffic getting out of Portland was pretty heavy. As we got outside the Portland area and in to the Columbia River Gorge (between Portland and Hood River) we encountered some seriously strong wind gusts. The Prius, being a comparitively lighter car than the Camry I used to drive, was very reactive to the wind gusts... It was a fight the whole way to Hood River. Once we got past the Dalles, however, the wind had let up and we had smooth sailing until we got to the mountain passes.

We stopped in the little town of Boardman Oregon for dinner at about 8:30. The small diner we ate at was called the CD Drive In (home of the "Bozo Burger" - a HUGE bacon cheesebuger that was very tasty. We had a good time reading the monthly newspaper for the area, the Irrigon Irrigator, while we ate.

It was around LaGrande that we started to encounter a light dusting of snow and heavy fog. Our speed had to drop down into the 50 mph zone (speed limit through there is 65). We went through a pretty bad patch as we went through the Blue Mountains, and then things cleared up.

We filled up the gas tank in Baker City, OR (we got about 300 miles off of the Prius's 11 gallon tank... an average of 38 miles per gallon). From there on out things were pretty smooth until we get close to the Idaho border. Once we got close to Ontario Oregon (right on the border) the heavy fog started up again, and the thermometer in the Prius was reading 21 degrees. The road started to ice up, and as we crossed over into Idaho the fog was so thick that we had to drop down to 45 for safety.

I have to say that the Prius acquitted itself quite well on the trip. It handles the curves really well, and we can't complain at all about the gas mileage (as I said above, we got about 38 mpg between Portand and Baker City, and around 45 mpg between Baker City and Boise. The lower mileage on the first half of the trip is, I think, largely due to the high winds in the gorge and the steep grades of the mountain passes. The second half was more level and we didn't have to push against the wind). We were comfortable through the entire trip, both in terms of the seats (great back support) and the temperature (all you have to do in this car is set a temperature and put it on auto... the computer keeps the cabin at whatever temperature you set).

The only way we knew we were close to Boise was the "Now Entering Boise City Limits" sign that we passed in the fog. The lights weren't visible at all. We pulled into the University Inn parking lot at around 2:45 (Mountain time). Great people here... not only were they very friendly and sympathetic to our fatigue as we pulled in, they gave us a later check-out time to allow us to catch some more sleep.

Which is just what we're gonna do now... time to crash. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

- Harold

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Turkey's In The Oven and There's News to Share

Wow. It's been a whole week since I posted anything. Looking back over the past week, it doesn't seem like there's a lot that's newsworthy, yet I've been too darned busy to breath. Funny how ephemera piles up and keeps us on the run, even if we can't quite isolate what we're running around doing.

Anyhoo, here's some things I wanted to pass on:

I'm so late in getting this up that I'm sure none of you will have time to go
see the show... but please read this
little review of Peter Armetta's new work, To Shine At Last
. If you
can actually make it out tonight to see the final performance, please do so...
you won't be sorry!

Last week I attended a meeting of development directors (hosted by our friends at Artists Repertory Theatre Company) dealing with the Oregon Cultural Trust. If you live in Oregon, you pay Oregon state taxes. You can lower the amount you pay in those taxes AND help support arts, humanities and cultural organizations throughout the state by donating to a theatre company (like, oh, say... Mt. Hood Rep?) and making a matching contribution to the Cultural Trust.

The trust is an innovative plan that the state of Oregon has put into place
to provide a sustainable funding mechanism for museums, theatre companies,
cultural and historical preservation throughout the state. Your
donation, however small, will go towards building a $200,000 endowment which
will continually fund cultural organizations. Best of all, you get the amount you donate to The Trust as a tax credit on your Oregon taxes! That means you get the money you donate to the trust back - money you would have already paid in state taxes! Plus, you get to point out to
the State Legislature and other elected officials just how important arts funding is to Oregon residents.

It makes good sense, and it allows you to "double-dip" on your taxes this year... your donation to the theatre company (like, oh, say... Mt. Hood Rep?) is deducted from your federal taxes, and your contribution to the Cultural Trust comes back to you in April when you pay your state taxes. Don't wait... you have to make both donations before December 31.

Speaking of tax credits... check out the new addition to the Egan/ Phillips driveway:

Ever since the spike in gas prices earlier this year Trish and I have been talking about trading in my 2000 Camry (which gets around 26 miles to the gallon) for a hybrid car like a Toyota Prius (which gets around 55 miles to the gallon). Between my computer consulting job and the odd requirements of the actor's lifestyle (rehearsal in Gresham one day, performance downtown the next, where's that prop we need... In Tigard?), I drive a lot. It's not uncommon for me to spend $100 or more a month on gas (thank you Quickbooks for pointing that little fact out). The Prius is, I hope, going to cut down on the gas payments a bit... and do the planet a little bit better with its lighter emissions "footprint."

Plus... it's just a damn cool car to drive! I've been sold on these since we bought the Camry in 2001 (at the time we couldn't afford the payment on the Prius, so we went with the old reliable). It's a smooth ride with a lot of power (given that it has a 4 cylander engine, the torque on the electric motor is at full the moment you step on the gas... you don't have to wait for the gas engine to rev up), it's surprisingly roomy, and it has some nice extra features like an LCD readout of what your fuel economy is, a nice climate system (you set the temperature instead of turning the heat on high, medium or low), Standard CD player, an extra storage compartment under the floor of the hatch-back... heck, you don't need me to lay out all the cool toys this car has. Click here and see what Toyota says about it (no, we didn't get the "extra" features like the smart key, bluetooth, or navigation system... that would have put the car WAY out of our price range).

The real capper on the decision was finding out that there's a federal tax deduction for the purchase of a new hybrid AND an Oregon state tax credit available. We're going to be saving around $3500 on our taxes (ballpark) with the purchase of this car... and since most of our income is self-employment income, that means a lot to us on April 15.

  • Little story about the actual purchase... Priuses are pretty hard to find. A lot of people have pre-ordered them and are waiting 6-8 weeks for them to be delivered. We called up the guy at Thomason Toyota who sold us the Camry, Cliff Silvers, to see what he could do. Cliff's a great guy, and he tried like heck to get us a good deal on the simple, base-line package we wanted, but he just couldn't make it work (all they had in stock was the more expensive model with the high-end toys). I'd recommend Cliff to anyone, though. He's a good guy (even for a car salesman!), and will work hard to make sure you're happy with your car and that the purchase fits your budget.
  • So, I had to cast a wider net... I'd been hearing ads for Broadway Toyota on our local Air America affiliate, KPOJ, so I decided to give them a shot (vote with your dollar, right? I made sure to let them know that KPOJ was why I came in there). They actually had two used Priuses which fit my budget, and I was very close to sealing a deal with them until I found out that we couldn't get the tax benefit on used cars. Still, they were good people and treated me right. I'd happily send someone over to them if they were looking for a new or used car.
  • Finally, Trish and I did a search on to see if there was a new Prius in our price range with the options we wanted (read: none) within even 100 miles... and we found Lassen Chevrolet Toyota in Albany (about 75 miles away). We drove down, did a test drive, and bought the car. They were good folks down there, and treated us right (Cliff from Thomason, who called the next day to say he might have tracked down a less expensive model, even said so).

So, I'm quite happy with the car, and I've had a ball driving it around since I bought it on Friday. I've been averaging around 45 miles to the gallon (the gas mileage varries depending on your driving style, city vs highway driving, etc) and have been having a ball. I'm actually looking forward to driving it to Idaho to see Trish's brother Pete over Thanksgiving; if we keep this kind of fuel economy on the trip we should be filling up the tank maybe... three times? Yipee!

AND... That's pretty much all the news over here. We did our staged reading of G.B. Shaw's The Devil's Disciple out at Mt. Hood Rep to a very nice and responsive house (around 70 people who seemed very appreciative). Today is taken up mostly with domestic chores and preparations for the trip to Idaho tomorrow night.

Hope you're all doing well, and that you all have a nice Thanksgiving.


To Shine At Last

I actually feel really bad about getting this up so late... Last Sunday I went to see my friend Peter Armetta's new play To Shine At Last, and I was completely blown away. If I hadn't been so busy last week, I would have put this post up sooner and urged you all to go see it. As it is, you have just one more chance to see this new work at Coho Productions tonight at 7 PM. Some marketeer I am, huh?

To be frank, I didn't know if I was going to like Peter's show when I went to see it. It has been billed (not necessarily by Peter) as an Opera, and I'm not really an opera fan. From the first moment of Peter's very heartfelt curtain speech, however, it was clear that this was no musty opera with characters (to quote Peter Shaffer's Amadeus) "So lofty the shit marble." I don't even know if the work qualifies as an opera per se - there's as much or more spoken narration and dialog as there is music. Wikipedia says that Opera is "a dramatic art form... in which the emotional content is conveyed to the audience as much through music, both vocal and instrumental as it is through the lyrics."

I'll leave it up to the experts and critics to decide if To Shine at Last is a proper opera; what I saw last Sunday was a magical, dramatic journey into the realms of dream and metaphor. The story Peter is telling through this piece is his own very personal journey towards self-acceptance, an understanding of his place in the world and the cosmos, and the ability to love his now-wife Kristina. This story includes music, but the cornerstone of the piece is Peter's descriptions of the landscape and feelings he experienced on this journey (the text was actually put together from a series of dreams he had while he was falling in love with Kristina).

Something this "artsy-fartsy" could have been an excruciating and masterbatory exercise. Perhaps because it's Peter and Kris playing all the roles, however, To Shine At Last became instead a very committed Orpheus-like guided tour into the subconscious world, with flying horses, golden gods, disembodied heads, and any number of other symbolic characters. Peter knows his own story and he tells it well - you never get the feeling that he's just "going through the motions."

Mention also has to be made of Amy Jo McCarville's direction and design of the piece. Because of the metaphorical and symbolic content in the play, To Shine At Last could easily require a million dollar budget to bring the worlds Peter and Kris take us into to life. They didn't have a million dollars (even with that RACC grant), and the coho space isn't big enough to hold a Lion King - sized production anyway. The feats that Ms. McCarville pulled off with masks, pvc tubing, wigs, and simple costume pieces are in many ways the epitome of theatricality. By simplifying the visual images needed to evoke the mythic beasts and locations of the story, she allowed the audience to invest themselves more fully in the ride that our narrator was taking us on. Her expertise as a mask-maker and designer were on display in full - force; I truly hope that you producers out there see this show and consider adding her talents to your future productions.

Again, I'm getting this up here so late that it's possible none of my readers in the Portland-area (what, all five of you? :) ) will be able to get out tonight to see the show. If Peter is able to re-mount it, however, you'd be doing yourselves a favor by making time for this magical little gem. It's a show unlike anything else you've seen... and one that will haunt you for days to come.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

News from New Orleans and Travel Plans (no, not to New Orleans)

Howdy all.

My good, dear friend Jill who stayed in New Orleans during the post-Katrina evacuation sent us this article about the surreal landscape that New Orleans residents are living in right now. The photos and stories we say during the disaster were horrifying and heart-rending; these stories of surviving in the aftermath are alternately funny and poignant. Check it out (you may have to put your zip code and birthday in for the Times Picayune's web site; it's just demographic info. Don't worry).

On a lighter note, you just gotta love that gol-durned internet thingee. Trish and I had a phone call last week with her brother Pete who's currently living in Trish's home town of Pocatello, ID (interesting link, here... from a site called " " Lots of demographic information, including a "Gay and Lesbian" section with a "National Index." Who knew there was a national index of Gays and Lesbians? Guess Ashcroft managed to sneak another wierd provision to the Patriot act through before he left, huh?).

So, we sat down on the laptop this afternoon and planned out our trip. Mapquest was an invaluable tool in this effort. We were able to look at the projected distance and driving time between Portland and Pocatello, and (given that Trish has a doctor's appointment at 5:30 pm on the Wednesday we plan to leave) decide to stay overnight in Boise, then drive down to Pocatello the following Thursday morning.

Next it was time to look into lodging for the trip (Pete and his girlfriend Cindy's place is pretty small, so we figured we'd get a hotel while in Pocatello... and of course, we'd need one in Boise for the trip down). Searching Expedia and showed us some of the lowest-priced hotels in the area (surprisingly, there were more inexpensive hotels listed in Boise than Pocatello). Once we found some good options, we visited the individual web sites of the hotels and, in both cases, got room rates as-low-as or lower than the rates advertised on the travel sites (in the case of the University Inn in Boise, we saved almost $10 off the Expedia price by contacting them directly).

So, in one afternoon we planned travel, booked hotels, made arrangements with Pete and Trish's son Jesse (for dog care while we're gone). Like I said above... gotta love that durned internet thingee.

Hope you're all doing well...


Saturday, November 12, 2005

Some good news!

Hey all.

We got some great news yesterday in the mail... there was a FedEx overnight package from the production company who filmed Trish's national Discover Card commercial. Her part in the commercial has been upgraded from "extra" to "Principal." What's this mean? Well, it means more money (which is always nice), but more importantly it means that she's not just going to be in the background of the commercial. Instead she'll be front-and-center in most of the camera shots.

We have no idea what the commercial will look like, or when it's going to be broadcast, but the extra exposure is very welcomed. The down-side? She has to sign a contract with Discover which says that she won't do commercials for any other credit cards, and the Screen Actors Guild may be knocking on her door soon demanding that she join.

Why would either of these things be an issue? The exclusivity contract with Discover would mean that she's cut out of work for any other credit card. If she was guaranteed a certain number of commercials for Discover, that'd be ok... but there's no such guarantee. So, by signing this contract she's effectively taking herself "out of the running" for future work. Kinda lame, but there it is.

The union membership is a little more complicated. If we lived in Los Angeles, union membership would be a very attractive thing. There are many many many SAG commercials and film projects shot down there (and in other larger cities like New York). SAG membership, however, means that you aren't allowed to work on non-union shoots. In the small market of Portland, most of the commercial and film shoots here are non-union. So, if she were to join SAG she'd be taking herself out of the running for that work.

Now, one hand, I'm in full support of the union, and its television (AFTRA) and theatre (Actor's Equity) cousins. Like all unions, these entities protect those folks working in the field. They make sure that health and safety requirements are met, that their members get paid, and that the individual has collective bargaining power within the industry. These are all very good things, and things that every worker in every field should want.

The sticky part, however, is in the pay scale. The acting unions have a minimum amount of pay that they require for each type of role (and, at least in the case of Equity, the pay for the entire run has to be sent to the union in advance of the process). Most of the theatres and production companies in Portland are small, low-budget outfits who can't afford that pay rate, and don't have the money at the beginning of their production process available to pre-pay the union. Because of this, there are few union plays and television/Commercial/Film shoots here in PDX. Consequently, many of not most union actors are forced to travel outside of Portland if they want to work. Trish and I like working, and we like staying in Portland. So... there's the rub.

And that's not even touching on the disarray that SAG is in right now after their recent election... check this out:

Yyyyyeah... this'd be a good time to join. Absolutely :). Sorry, Mary.

In any case, she got upgraded for this spot, and there's no guarantee that union membership is going to be required. So, for the time being, we're just happy that she got upgraded.

Other news:

  • Went to Sam Barlow High School's production of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers last night (you may remember that I did some stage combat choreography for this production). It was a hoot! The kids all put out their best performances, and they all committed to the fights I'd arranged. Rhonda McBeth, the director, added some combat elements I wasn't aware of to the show. She said that the kids were all comfortable enough with the moves I'd taught them to be able to work the fights up on their own... and they ended up looking great. I'm very proud of all the kids for what a fine job they did. Sure, there were some hiccups last night... a dropped line here, a mis-cue during a song there... but it was a fun show.
  • It's been a while since I posted any photos on the MSN photo page. We recently got some pictures back of Trish in one of her costumes from Frankenstein at Northwest Children's Theatre. I scanned them in and posted them here (scroll to the bottom of the page to see the new shots).
  • I also posted some new City of Heroes and City of Villains shots. You can find them here. City of Villains is a blast! Trish and I have been playing since the Beta Test period. The game mechanics are exactly the same as City of Heroes, but the tone and style is very different. Plus, the character "Archetypes" (classes, for you traditional RPG'ers) are very different as well. Best of all, we get to play both games for the same monthly fee, AND our the good guys and bad guys can interact in special PVP zones. If you've been waiting to join us in City of Heroes, this could be your chance. Check the game out at, sign up, and join us on the Justice Server. We'll be happy to invite you to our respective supergroups :)

Ok, that's it for now... hope you're all doing well...


Friday, November 11, 2005

Why Does Pat Robertson Still Make Headline News?

I mean, seriously, guys... can someone explain this to me? I know the guy's rich, and he has his own TV network, but he's constantly saying stuff like this claptrap.

Of course the Rev. Pat has a long-ranging history of making statements worthy of any babbling schizophrenic standing on a streetcorner covered in his own urine (interesting to note: this link is from a Republican Blog! Strangely they don't talk about the time "God told him to run for president" in the 1980's).

So I ask you, why do his crazy pronouncements consistantly make it among the top stories on CNN? I mean, for God's sake, he's got his own TV network. Let him spout his secret messages from the heavens there, and let the "real news" deal with the "real world". Surely there must be some teenager from the US missing somewhere in the world... that so much more important, right?

Speaking of secret messages, I've got bad news for the other schizophrenics, conspiracy theorists and Joaquin Phoenix. My friend Bob Rindt sent me scientific proof that the armor of choice for the paranoid, the tinfoil hat, is really not such a great tool after all. In his words, "What happens when you mix university students (MIT no less) with sophisticated scientific equipment and *way* too much free time? Well, a generous act of public service through emperical (cough) research, of course!"

Check it out:

Pat Robertson's gonna have to have another 700 Club fund raiser to delveop new anti-liberal-mind-control technology, I guess...

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Season of Giving (and other bits)

Howdy everybody! It's been around a week since I posted, and you know what that means... another bulletted list!

  • If Gary Larson, Hunter S. Thompson and Rod Serling all dropped acid, drank some absynth and worked on a project over mescaline laced munchies, they'd probably produce something like Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. Hit the second arrow pointing to the left above the cartoon to see some of the earlier posts... it's wacky creepy funny hoo-haw!

  • Ok, I know... it's not even Thanksgiving yet and already we've got Christmas decorations in stores, Christmas music playing in the malls, Christmas catalogs coming in the mail, Christmas ads on TV... ARUGH!!! It sucks! It's sick! I know. That being said... it's not too early to think about helping those who are down-on-their luck out during the holiday season. You probably remember that in my last post I mentioned my friends Rhonda and Paddo's yearly "Madeline's Party." I've been helping them update their web site over the past few days with some new information. Please consider coming to the party and buying a gift for an underpriveldged kid. A few bucks out of your pocket can mean the world to a child who doesn't have anything. Visit for more info.

  • Trish's production of Fifth of July got a good review in the Oregonian yesterday. You can check it out at Here. There's still one more weekend to see the show: Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights at 7:00 PM at Theatre! Theatre! located at 3430 SE Belmont St. There's a very slight chance that I may have to go on stage for the guy playing John on Saturday night. He's flying down to California that morning and is planning to be back in time for the show. I don't think there's anything to worry about, but just in case I'm going to the show tonight to get down as much of his blocking as I can.

  • I'm also going to be appearing in a reading of George Bernard Shaw's The Devil's Disciple at Mt. Hood Rep on Monday, November 21. One night only... a great play, though, directed by Keith Scales. Do come and check it out if you've got the evening free.

That's it for now... hope you're all doing well!


Friday, November 04, 2005

Buy your duct tape and visqueen now...

Feel the power and the mystery... I, Carnac the magnificent, can predict with almost 100% certainty that the US's "Terror Alert Level" (you know... we're going up to yellow... now it's orange... no, not red, that'd be too politically damaging. NO, YOU FOOLS! NOT BLUE!!! You're never safe!! Never Safe!!! NYAH HAH HAH!!!!) is going to be elevated as far as it can go during the week of August 25 - 28, 2008. Mark that date on your calendar, and be sure to tape up your homes and pay no attention whatsoever to the news. Be afraid... be VERY afraid... how do I know this? What mystic powers of the universe am I harnessing to make this dire prediction? Click here to find out...

(Thanks for loaning me the costume, Johnny... we miss you).

So, I'm sitting here at my favorite internet cafe in Portland, The Fireside Coffe Lodge, after a particularly nice audition. There wasn't much to the audition... a woman and I acted like husband and wife with improvised dialog (we were supposed to be making cookies) for a Fred Meyer holiday commercial. The woman I auditioned with, however, was a delight to work with. I think her name was Kelly Flood (she's also represented by Murphy Management, my agent)... we both felt very comfortable with each other. Our improvised dialog flowed and I really felt like we were working together on a holiday project.

As we walked out of the audition room we chatted about how important it is when auditioning to have someone opposite you who's comfortable with the the process, and with you as a partner. We've both been in situations where our audition "partners" have been too nervous about being in front of the camera to even make eye contact with us... if we can't get something to react to, then we don't do our best work, and we can't make the partner look good. It's a funny thing about auditioning... so much of it depends on who you're in there with. You can be perfectly comfortable with the script and your abilities, but if you're up there with someone who isn't connected to you, your performance can seem flat, desparate, nervous... a lot depends on the interraction between an actor and his or her partner.

Before I forget, check out Each year my friends Rhonda and Paddo put together this party to help gather presents for families in need. I've got a special place in my heart for efforts like this... when I was a kid, my parents were members of the volunteer fire department in Chaparral, New Mexico (right across the border from El Paso, Texas. My dad was stationed at Fort Bliss in El Paso, but we lived in Chaparral). Overall it was a poor community, with lots of migrant workers who had nothing but a plot of land to stick a trailer-home on.

The fire department put together a similar toy drive every year, and they had a party, sort of like Madeline's Party, where they handed out gifts to these impoverished familes. One memory in particular has always stuck with me... a young hispanic boy got a very small gift: a toothbrush. The look of surprise and delight on his face as he ripped the package open and started to brush his teeth really brought home to me (at age 7 or so) just how much we take for granted in our lives. There are plenty of people out there who don't even have the resources to buy their kids dental care products, let alone toys for Christmas.

I'm a big believer that the spirit of the season has very little to do with mall decorations or expensive gifts from the Schlemmacher Heimmer catalog (or whatever). The spirit of the season is all about celebrating the goodness in each other, and trying to bring warmth and light into the dark, cold times of our lives. I don't have a lot of cash to throw around, but at the very least I can buy a toy to help some kid with nothing else have that same joyous look that I saw in the little hispanic boy's eyes so many years ago.

I hope you'll all consider joining me in doing what you can to help out Madeline's Party... visit the site, contact Rhonda and Paddo, and see if you can help bring a little light of your own. Nothing brings a feeling of holiday cheer like the knowledge that you've been able to touch someone else's life and make it a bit better.

Hope you're all doign well...