Blog history

the sights of sandy

sandy-streetSandy isn’t just a road in Portland. It is a lifestyle, one that hearkens back to the days when the Pacific Northwest was a bit wilder, a bit less gentrified. There are things on Sandy that just couldn’t exist anywhere else in the city. Now that Isis and I have the great fortune of living on this historic street, I can report on the many gifts Sandy imparts on its people.

Fountain.decorative-fountainFountains similar to this can be found in the older parts of the city. They are constantly running through the spring and summer. When it isn’t raining they can really come in handy. This is by far the fanciest of these fountains. Clearly it belongs next to a statue of George have we decided to immortalize the first president of the United States? He never came to Portland. I don’t think he ever tried a microbrew (well, maybe. Were they all microbrews back then?). In any case, George looks stoically northeast, as if towards the hated England.

Sandy boasts a thriving entertainment center. One of the local television stations is stationed here.katuAs is the historic Hollywood Theater. Why Hollywood? Portland has been the filming site for a number of huge movies. At least two of them starred Harrison Ford.hollywood-theaterNearer to us is the beautiful one-screen theater, the Roseway. Highly recommended.roseway-theaterAfter a late show, why not head down the street for some live nude girls? Pirate’s Cove is easily spotted due to its shape (a jug) and its inventive message board.
Today’s message? “No Comment.” pirates-coveNo important street is complete without a branch of the public library. Sandy hosts the Gregory Heights branch of the Multnomah County Library.library1By far the most lovely storefront on Sandy is Ed’s House of Gems. It is a rock shop. It is also really big, which leads me to assume Portland is chock full of rock hounds. eds-house-of-gems2eds-house-of-gems1Quality Tires is as advertized, I guess. It used to be a gas station, by the looks of things, but is now a gigantic pile of tires. They lock the tires up after hours behind a chain link fence, so don’t even think of trying to sneak in at night and stealing all these beautiful, precious tires.tires5tires3tires2tires1Only two blocks away from the pile of tires is The Grotto, a Place of Solitude, Peace, and Prayer.
Really, it is a lovely place, tucked into the side of a hill, with space for a service as well as paths for wandering.grotto1grotto2Near the 205, Sandy leaves Portland for the eastern suburbs of Gresham and Troutdale. At this transitional place, there is a tiny hidden cemetery. Some of Portland’s oldest residents are buried here. Someday I’d love to look up a bit more about this place and the people who are buried here. I’m sure there is some major Portland history in this place. Fitting that it resides on Sandy.

pioneer-cemetery1My journey along Sandy ended at the 205. This traveler, looking east, presumably laughing at all the terrible weather he’s leaving behind for the bucolic Pacific Northwest, will be my end mark. Thanks for traveling along Sandy with me.


autobiography Blog

extraordinary measures

emToday I would like to talk to you about a movie you will not see me in. The movie is called Extraordinary Measures, starring Han Solo and Encino Man. Extraordinary Measures is the very first movie that I worked on. I was a stand-in for this guy:jaredharris1
Jared Harris. A British actor who often plays Americans. Unless he is the bad guy, when he whips out that sinister British accent.

I was not expecting to get such an interesting part in the movie. I only signed up to be an extra, but this plum job got offered to me and I accepted. Being a stand-in can be demanding: you have to pay attention to what the actor does in rehearsal so you can mimic his movements so the camera guys and the lighting guys can set up. You also have to wear approximately what the actor is wearing, which for me meant a suit. Finally, you have to resemble the actor. Fortunately, my genetics suit me perfectly to stand in for a fair-skinned, light-haired guy who happens to have enormous pectoral muscles. There wasn’t a scene in which Mr. Harris had to bust out of his shirt, Hulk-style, but I would have been ready to practice that for the cameras.

I wasn’t around for the whole shoot, so much of the movie will be a surprise to me when I see it. I know a bit of the plot from guesswork (reading the dailies and trying to piece them together into a story) and from talking to the crew while on set. It’s about a guy, John Crowley, whose kids have a deadly disease. Crowley is also a doctor, so he begins doing research in hope of finding a cure. Unable to work alone, he teams up with a rogue doctor, Dr. Harrison von Stonehill, and together they attempt to subvert the system to get the job done. The character Mr. Harris plays, Dr. Kent Webber, is more traditional in his approach to funding medical research, so of course he buts heads with Dr. Stonehill and John Crowley.

Then there’s a big car chase, followed by the Clone Wars, capped off with the explosion in the Seventh Dimension. Your typical medical drama.

You should all go see this movie, not because you will see me (you won’t), but because you’ll see some awesome actors acting awesomely. You’ll also see quite a bit of the Portland area and the Oregon coast.

It was a real pleasure watching not only Harrison Ford, Jared Harris, and Brendan Frasier work, but getting to see how a movie is made, setup by setup. People who know better than me have said the process gets old after a while, but I had so many questions answered I never felt boredom creeping in. I also had time to read two very good books.

And since Jared Harris seems to be the only actor (well, maybe not the only one) I could stand in for, I hope he comes back to work here again.jaredharris2


Blog fiction

Actors Allowed To Play Cartoonists

Following up on my last post about how cartoonists should not be portrayed on TV, I hereby submit a short list of actors officially sanctioned by the Falling Rock Committee to play cartoonists in upcoming TV and movie roles. Further, cartoonists shall only be portrayed as being well-adjusted, outgoing, patriotic millionaires.

The Falling Rock Committee will accept further suggestions for actors to play cartoonists.

Harrison Fordharrisonindy4
Cate BlanchettCateBlanchett68064
Samuel L. Jacksonsam-jackson
Christian Balebale

(This may be cheating, as he has already played a comic book character. But if he were to petition the Falling Rock Committee, he would most likely be accepted.)
Penelope Cruzpenelope cruz