Trish and Harold's Weblog

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

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Winter Is A Great Time For Chicken Pot Pie!

Hey guys

(note: I must still be feeling nostalgic... listening to Sting's Nothing Like The Sun as I write this. Ah, the carefree days of the 80's... "We'll be together to-niiiiiight...")

It's cold outside, and I don't know about you but the last thing I like to eat on cold days is a light salad or something weenie like that. I like me some warm, filling food when the temperatures get down under 40.

Last night I made a home-made chicken pot pie using this recipe. The Food Network's web site is an AMAZING resource for stuff like this... all you have to do is put a dish (or just an ingredient) in the search box at the top of the page, and they'll bring up hundreds of recipes. I knew that I wanted Chicken Pot Pie last night, so that's what I searched for. If you're looking for cooking inspiration, though, you can just put ingredients into the search box. For instance, I just put in Beef, then "refined the search" by adding onion, tomato, and cauliflower (just some ingredients I've got in the fridge) (no, wait, I lie... I'll have no cauliflower in any fridge of mine!! Yeeeeech!!! I just thought it'd be an odd addition to a beef and tomato recipe). Here's what the site gave me. It's a great resource for those evenings when you can't think what to make. Keep it book marked!


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Another Great Free Wifi Spot

Hey everyone

Just a quick little note to let you know about another wonderful free wifi spot in Portland. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I had to take Trish to a dental appointment this morning. I took my laptop along, figuring I could get some work done while I waited. A quick glance at Computer Chips Magazine's list of free wifi hotspots showed only one in the neighborhood of our dental clinic... but it's a real winner.

Harry's Fresh Deli, located at the corner of Marx and 122nd (5055 NE 122nd - here's a map) is a big, open space with nice affordable deli food and yummy coffee. The folks behind the counter are very nice, and the big windows and high ceilings help to make the place feel much more comfortable than it otherwise might. They also play real up-beat music, which works with the light from outside and the coffee to keep you humming along. If you find yourself in this part of town and need a wifi connection, I'd highly recommend the stop.

One down-side: they don't have public-use computers. You'll have to bring your own laptop or wifi device to make use of their internet connection.

Ok... I'd better go pick Trish up at that dental appointment... hope you're all doing all well!


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Just Like An Old Shoe...

(Note: Listening to Cirque de Soleil's Solarium as I write this... Cirque de Soleil has great music for their shows, and Solarium is a bunch of re-mixes of their music. VERY cool stuff. You can listen to samples at the page I linked to above)

I just got done with my second murder mystery rehearsal tonight... but it felt more like a "pick up" rehearsal for a show I've been doing for a while. Makes sense, when you consider that I've been working with Wild Bills for almost ten years now.

James O'Neil, father of Eugene O'Neil and a contemporary of the great American actor Edwin Booth, played the title role in The Count of Monte Cristo for almost 30 years. I remember reading that fact in my college theatre history class and wondering how you could continue to play the same part in the same play for that long and still keep it interesting. I'm certainly not at the 30 year mark, and Yuletide Homocide, the murder mystery I'm doing this month, is a far cry from Alexandre Dumas (sorry Steve)... but I think the past couple of rehearsals have given me a little taste of what it must have been like for O'Neil.

Coming back to Ned Cypher, the computer geek who's constantly mocked by his employers and office-mates, has been like getting re-acquainted with an old friend. Reading through the script before the first rehearsal on Sunday was more of a refresher than an exercise in memorization... it was all in the grey matter. I just had to dust it off.

Putting on the mannerisms in the rehearsal itself was like second nature. I could feel my face automatically taking on its squinty-eyed, lip-curled mask the minute I walked on as Ned. This actually worried me a little... it's more than possible to be too comfortable with a character, to the point where you're just going through the motions by rote instead of actually making the character "live" in the present moment of the play. Like I say, murder mysteries aren't Shakespeare, but you have to play a believable character for the patrons if they're going to get a good show.

I needn't have worried, however... I'm working with talented actors like Tony Sonera, Tyler Hughes, Duane Hanson, Kelly Stewart and Lori Lewis. They gave me fresh stuff to react to and play off of, and Ned was there to respond to them. We all had a good time getting re-acquainted with our characters on Sunday, and we had another quick rehearsal tonight... we're more than ready to do the show for an audience on Saturday.

I'm actually looking forward to it... I love doing these murder mysteries, even if they aren't "Theatre with a capital 'T' ." They've become an essential part of my holiday festivities... if I can't get out in front of folks and perform at a few parties, it just doesn't feel like Christmas. Ned's been with me for almost ten Christmases, but I haven't gotten to play with him (or the murder mystery audiences) a couple of years in the past because I was in a conflicting show, or out of town. I've missed the fun of performing each of those times... the holiday just didn't seem all that full without them.

Anyway, that's what's going on my life... hope you're all having a happy holiday season (screw you Bill O'Reilly - I know plenty of people who DON'T celebrate Christmas, and I'm under no moral obligation to push MY holiday down their throats)


Saturday, December 03, 2005

Ok, NOW Christmas Can Start.

I'm sure many of you are already suffering from "Holiday Fatigue." When you start hearing Christmas music in October, when the stores are putting up their Christmas decorations as early as September, it's easy to get cynical about the holiday season. The quickest cure for the over-commercialized-holiday-blahs? A visit with that American saint George Bailey. Trish and I had a visit with him just last night, but not in the way one normally checks in with Frank Capra's holiday creation... this visit was live, on stage at Portland Center Stage's production of their new show This Wonderful Life.

Before I talk about the show, I have a confession to make... I believe in George Bailey (and, for that matter, I believe in Jefferson Smith). It's easy to look at the early 20th century sentiment in Frank Capra's films and dismiss it as "hokey schmaltz" from a bygone era. To be sure, the pace of those old films can put some people off, as can the broad acting and cinematic conventions of the time. But the lessons contained in these movies, about the power of the individual to change the world around him, about the importance of the connections we make with family and friends... these are fundamental truths that we need to reminded of from time to time.

PCS's production of This Wonderful Life never loses sight of these simple bits of wisdom. While the being faithful to the screenplay, playwright Steve Murray and actor Mark Setlock add in a dash of contemporary commentary on the film... The one-man show (handled ably by Setlock - you've got to give this guy credit for playing all those characters so thoroughly!) is a dramatized "telling" of the movie, rather than an attempt to completely re-stage the film. Setlock tells us about the film, from the first moment to the last, cutting some of the bits from the film out but leaving us with all the good stuff. He plays the parts but never loses sight of the fact that this is a shared experience between himself and the audience - he doesn't "do" Jimmy Stuart. Instead, he "suggests" Jimmy Stuart and lets our own memories and recollections do the rest.

The technical elements of the show are just simple enough to evoke the settings and occurances of the movie without overpowering the single actor on stage. Corners of houses and signs hung from the flys help to indicate the setting, individual walls and doors are used for a multitude of purposes, and a single desk acts as a central playing area. Director Martha Banta has done a great job of directing Setlock's movements on stage to keep the "retelling" of the film flowing while allowing him time to take on new characters and inhabit each fully. Jen Raynack's sound design plays an especially important part in setting the scene and adding more "voices" to the piece when needed.

This show is the perfect holiday companion. I know PCS ticket prices are steep, but you'll really be doing yourselves a favor if you take the time to check it out.

For myself, I think I'm gonna have to start listening to Christmas music...


Friday, December 02, 2005


Hey guys!

In part 423 of our continuing series, "There's A Lot Of Wierd @#*%& on The Internet," I submit to you... the YTMND.

This is a bizarre little subculture (imagine that... a bizzarre subculture on the internet! Who'da thunk it?) that puts together single pages with looping sound files and a single image (though that image may be animated or tiled, making it appear like multiple images). You can read a complete history of YTMND here at Wikipedia, but in a nutshell it started with a photo of Sean Connery and a permenant loop of him saying "You're The Man Now Dog" (a line from Finding Forrester , written by Portland screenwriter Mike Rich and directed by Portland director Gus Van Sant. Woo hoo!).

For whatever reason, this annoying little curiosity (and it was REALLY annoying... check it out) caught the interest of people all over the internet, and they started making "tribute sites." Now, it's a full-fledged community... the pages these folks create can be humorous, strange, offensive, or motivated by current events.

Wierd stuff, that there internet... very wierd stuff.

ANNNYWAYS... I've gotten a few nice emails from people I knew in High School since my nostalgic search for high school memories across the internet. My old friend Leif Sawyer contacted me through (the inexpensive AND independant answer to Classmates, TBirds... get yerselves signed up already!), and life seems to be going well for him. Another high school friend, Frank Delaney, also sent me an email, as did Amy Lynn Lynn Vance (now Hoagland).

Still no word from John Heginbotham, though... ooOOOOOooo... Mr. Big-Time-New-York-Dancer is too busy to send emails to old high school friends! :) Nah, I think my previous intuition about how the inquiry would be received is correct:

Mark Morris Dance Company Intern: Uh, we just got an email through the general mailbox from some guy who says he went to high school with John.
Mark Morris Supervisor: What, another back-woods Alaskan who wants to suck up to the world-famous dancer? Sigh...
Intern: Yeah, this one has a 'blog and says that he wants to meet John in Portland when he does the Whitebird show in April '06.
Supervisor: Ok, ok... forward it to the anti-stalking-unit and file it under "questionable but probably violently deranged." I don't think we need to show John this when he gets back from London. Just to be on the safe side, though, double security at the airport in Portland, and circulate this photo from his 'blog.
Intern: Should we send someone to his house with pepper spray?
Supervisor: Nah, we'll wait until the Portland trip, then locate and eliminate him.

In other news, the Mt. Hood Rep Christmas Show is starting to take shape. Trish went over to Tobias' yesterday and they put the peices in order and talked about casting. I think we'll have it ready for the 19th :)

Trish and I are also going to be doing some holiday murder mysteries for Wild Bill's in the next couple of weeks... Fun stuff, and some nice extra cash, which never hurts. I'd say you should come down and see us, but Wild Bills only hires out for private events. We're the entertainment for the big corporate fat-cats, ya know.

Time to get to work... hope you're all doing well!