Trish and Harold's Weblog

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

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.