Oh the Spammers I Get on this Site

I’m sure many of you wonder why I make you have to work for a comment on this site, and why you have to provide an email address. I can tell you I am not collecting email addresses so I can spam you. Quite the opposite. I use the email addresses to either whitelist you (allow) or blacklist you (block spammers).

The first time you leave a comment here you have to enter an email address and I have to approve the comment. The second time you leave a comment you get approved automatically. Why? Spam!

The spambots are rampant and ridiculous. Let me share a few “comments” that have landed on this page. I will not share the links that are associated with these people, because I don’t want you to give them any traffic or get any viruses by clicking thru.

Some sample comments on my blog entitled “The 10 Commandments of Travel,” with my own comments in bold.

I opine that to receive the credit loans from banks you ought to present a firm motivation. However, once I’ve received a small business loan, because I wanted to buy a building. I’m not sure what this has to do with buying a building, but good luck.

phrase up this submit is doctor of arts shiznit. This one did make me laugh.

ok how is this supposedto mean? For how you are what says?

And on the topic of “How to Win an Emmy: Add it to your Bucket List!”

Scads of substantial, tough to obtain data here. Checked this blog article by accident on Yahoo. You’re truly making me reexamine my feeling about this stuff and rarely does that happen to me… LOL. Thanks! Accident my ass, but I’m glad you’re reexamining your feelings about the Emmys.

Hi. I go through a few of one’s other posts and wished to understand in the event you would be interested in exchanging blogroll links? Can haz cheezburger.

Classic exposition, I have also mentioned it in my blog article. But it is a pity that almost no frienddiscussed it with me. I am very happy to see your article. You have no click thrus because I’m not posting your bogus comments. So there! Ha!

That was intriguing . I like your finesse that you put into your post . Please do move forward with more similar to this. Why thanks. I’m so grateful for your opinion. Now go spam someone else.

So now you know why I require an email address to leave a comment. Once I know you’re not a spammer you are whitelisted and can comment without my approval. If you don’t want to comment you can just click on the little heart at the bottom of each blog and show some love. :^)

Was I Really at Fry's or in Some Alternate Reality?

frys_logoI’m a list person. Shopping at Fry’s during their 25th Anniversary celebration was not on my list on Saturday, but I guess I missed the huge ad campaign they supposedly ran promoting this event.

If I tell my kids that I have errands to run, and then ask them if they’d like to join me, their normal reaction is to just pretend they didn’t hear me, which is exactly what happened on Saturday.

“Okay then. I’ll just see you guys when I get back from Fry’s,” I said casually as I grabbed for my purse and started heading for the door, knowing full well what their reaction would be.

You would have thought I yelled “Fire!”

“Fry’s?! Wait! Hold on! Just let me finish this level. I want to go,” said both of my previously deaf children.

We drove down to Wilsonville and pulled into the crowded Fry’s parking lot to find…red white and blue streamers and…a petting zoo. WTF?

“Is that a llama in the parking lot?” my daughter exclaimed.

“No, I believe that’s a miniature donkey,” I said, wondering what the connection was between the petting zoo and the anniversary.

We skipped the petting zoo, and walked through the front door to be greeted by a Fry’s employee who handed me a raffle ticket to win some huge TV, and pointed me in the direction of the live music and free popcorn.

I had my list. I was on a mission. How dare they try to distract me with live music, free popcorn and mutant animals in the parking lot. I put on my blinders and headed straight to the cell phone kiosk with my daughter, while my son headed straight to the game aisle. We all had our priorities.

My daughter’s phone contract had expired with AT&T, and I had been pretty stealth about making sure the mailers that showed up in my mailbox weekly made it to the recycle bin before she had a chance to see them.  I was enjoying the fact that the contract was expired and I wasn’t beholden to AT&T at the moment. But, one day she went to the mailbox before I got home, and there it was: the AT&T mailer showing the latest touch screen phone that could be hers if I just signed a new 2-year contract.

So, here we were at the AT&T kiosk, two weeks before her birthday, Mom caving in. She walked right up to the AT&T display and said, “I want that one.”

We were quickly approached by a Fry’s employee who’s name rhymes with Bill.

“Listen,” I said. “Is this phone really free or do I have to sign up for some data package or messaging package to get it? Because when I went into the AT&T store they said this required a data package if I wanted it for free.”

Bill informed me that the AT&T stores operate under different rules than resellers like Fry’s, and that Fry’s did not require a data package, and by the way this particular phone was part of the 25th anniversary special and was indeed free.

Score.

“Great,” I said. “We’ll take it. And do you have a replacement battery for this Blackberry Bold? I know it’s considered ancient by your standards since it’s an older model.”

Bill walked us to the battery aisle, found a replacement battery and walked us back to the phone kiosk so we could complete our phone upgrade.

“I need this phone battery, because I’m leaving for Italy on Tuesday and I don’t want my phone to die every two hours,” I said.

“I’m going to Finland in a week,” he answered, and then explained that his brother had been signed to play on a professional football team in Finland, and he was going to visit him in some city that started with a “J”  and was a couple of hours north of Helsinki. “Oh, Jyväskylä?” I said, because it was the first city I thought of that started with a J. He said he thought that was the place, but I think he may have been thinking of the word “jalkopallon” which means football in Finnish.

Back to business. He started trying to upgrade my phone, and noticed the AT&T plan I had. “Wow. I’ve never seen this plan before.” He called his colleagues over to take a look at it, and they were all scratching their heads.

You see, I have a plan that AT&T doesn’t have listed on their website, doesn’t advertise, and would probably deny its existence if you called and ask for it. It’s $19.99 a month. I got it because I called AT&T to try to reduce my daughter’s monthly phone bill somehow, and I just kept pushing and pushing until I had whittled down the phone plan to the bare minimum. My daughter wants to text her friends. They all live in the 503 area code. That’s it. She can call and text anyone she wants in the 503 area code for $19.99 a month. Excellent.

Because this plan doesn’t actually exist in their upgrade screen it required some manual intervention, which gave Bill and I some time to chat. Turns out Bill is going to law school, and judging from the way he finagled that free phone upgrade I’d say he’ll make a fine lawyer.

We swapped out the battery in my Bold, moved the SIM chip from my daughter’s old phone to the new phone, said our goodbyes and went on our merry way.

Next stop, laptop accessories. I needed a power adapter for the airplane. No, not because I want to work the whole way. I have Rosetta Stone on my laptop, and I want to practice my Italian.

Need an extra storage card for my camera. Check.

Time to head to the check out counter, which as you know requires you to walk the gauntlet of temptation. Fry’s knows geeks and their children well. You came to buy a wireless router, but they know you have a weakness for peanut M&Ms while you install that router. They know you’re going to take that new XBox 360 game home and play it for hours, and you will need sustinence. And they make you wait in that aisle for the next available register, giving your will power ample time to crumble.

I quickly walked through the candy gauntlet, kids behind me saying, “Mom, can I get something,” to which I replied, “No, no and no.”

By the time we got out of Fry’s it was nearly 5pm and the petting zoo was gone, which begs the question, was it really every even there in the first place? Was there really a 25th Anniversary celebration or was that just my alternate reality that day? Was Bill really an adorable law student working at Fry’s for fun while he lived off student loans and got his law degree? Does professional American football really exist in Finland?

If I win that giant TV I got a raffle ticket for I’ll believe it was all real. Until then I’ll believe I was in the Twilight Zone for a few hours that day.

Scene in Portland: Leverage, NBC Movie, Con-Con and more…

Scene_in_PortlandNBC Movie of the Week Shooting in Portland

I was standing in my agent’s office when the breakdown for NBC’s Movie of the Week In Her Shoes—not to be confused with the Cameron Diaz movie of the same name—came in. The excitement of yet another major movie project coming to Portland certainly created a buzz. I have not read the entire script, but I will say it involves a few very topical events, including families struggling to cope when a family member is away on military duty.

First-round auditions are over for most roles and callbacks are in progress. So far no major roles have been cast out of Portland or L.A.; fingers crossed for all of the Portland actors!

Extras Only hasn’t announced if they will be doing the extras casting for this project, but my guess is they will. So go sign up to be an extra if you want to be part of this movie.

In Her Shoes will be directed by John Kent Harrison and films in Portland during May.

Leverage Needs You

So you missed the Thug Boot Camp that Lana Veenker put on and you want to know if you can still be involved with Leverage. The answer is YES! The staff at Extras Only Casting needs you. They are looking for all types of people, not just “thugs.” They need all minorities, and upscale business types as well.

Go to www.extrasonly.com, fill in your information, and put the word “LEVERAGE” in the Project Code box at the bottom of the page. Extras Only is the premiere extras agency in town, and there are no fees. They get paid when you get paid. They cast almost every major project that comes into town, so if you don’t get on Leverage they may be able to use you for something else.

Leverage Fans Converge on Portland for Con-Con 2010
Back in October of 2009, a group of fans got together and decided to meet up in Portland to share their passion for their favorite TV show: Leverage. What started as an idea became a full fledged convention (Con-Con) the weekend of March 20th, attended by hundreds of fans from around the world. The highlight of the convention (held at the Governor Hotel) was a Q&A session featuring the Leverage cast and executive producer Dean Devlin.

Industry Networking Events

Schmooze, a networking event for people from all areas of the film community (casting directors, musicians, crew, and of course actors), is happening on Monday, April 12, 7pm to 10pm at Urban Grind, 2214 NE Oregon St, Portland St. Bring your self, your screenplay, your project and network with the local film community. The event is free, and the organizers hope to make it a regular event.

Casting Couch

Spots recently shot: Humana, Leverage promo. Recent and current castings: XBox, Capital One, Oregon Lottery, AT&T, T-Mobile, Kroger (Fred Meyer), NBC Movie of the Week In Her Shoes, Leverage, Meet Jane Doe.

The Muse at 48

Forty eight years ago today my mom put down her cup of coffee, stubbed out her cigarette, looked at my dad, and said, “It’s time.”

That was the first Facebook status I posted on my forty-eighth birthday earlier this week. I don’t know if it’s true, but knowing my mom, I’m sure it is. In fact I’m pretty sure she finished the cigarette before she went to the hospital.

Many of you have inquired as to my whereabouts over the past two months, so I thought I’d update you. I checked out from the public spotlight for a couple of months. Okay that’s a bit of a lie. I worked like a dog. That’s the truth.

Excuse #1: Working Like a Dog

I work in the field of interactive television. I am in a small group of people who deploy the hardware and software that supports all of the interactive applications my company has running at any given time. Well, for the past few months we have been ramping up to launch two major appllications. First an app for the Olympics on the NBC cable channels (MSNBC, CNBC and USA). This required lots of prep and being on call 24/7 during the Olympics. I can’t say much here, but let’s just say this one went out to about 13 million cable households.

Second, I was the lead support person for a Showtime Boxing app that launched last week. So I spent many nights testing that app on a live channel while you all were sleeping. :^) I spent last Friday night actually on the phone with everyone involved while we watched the app playout during a live MMA match. This was an incredible moment, because this was the first app ever to play out nationally on HD.

This is what I do for a living. This is what the app looks like on Showtime:

http://www.sho.com/site/itv.do

Excuse #2: Exes

Enough said. Let’s just say I see my attorney way too often.

Excuse #3: Kids

Demanding little buggers!

Excuse #4: Real Life

In the past two months I have been bowling with a little Yeti figure, spent time with an Italian tutor/friend, been to the Kink Live Performance Lounge a few times, discovered some great bands around town, survived a layoff, instigated Narcissist Thursdays (which is sometimes held on Saturdays), auditioned for Leverage (the TNT series), changed agents (now with OMM for modeling and film), gone swing dancing for the first time in years, kissed a stranger on New year’s Eve (He was hot!), started doing my TV show again after a year off, rediscovered the library.

Promise #1: I can’t Not Write

I love to write. It feeds my soul. I just don’t know what form that will take. This website will stay and my blogs will be here. I may also continue to write for The Portlander. We shall see.

Yeti Bowling

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To the Point TV show

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To the Point TV Show Topics for Jan. 6, 2009

I can’t believe it’s been over a year since we last taped a To the Point TV show. I had been writing, co-producing and hosting this show for over three years when I decided to take a break last January. It was a lot of work for no pay. But it was always interesting and challenging.

Well, all good breaks must come to an end. We taped two back-to-back shows last night, and they will start airing in the Portland Metro area next week on channels 21 and 23 I think. They will be up on our website ToThePointTV.org in a week or two.

The panelists last night were:

State Representative Matt Wingard

Mike Riley, Riley Research

Richard Donin, Energy and Educational Consultant

and guest panelist Courtney Clarke, a local business owner.

International
The protests that began after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s controversial re-election in June have grown into what some say is the biggest challenge to the government since the 1979 Islamic revolution. Just this week the government banned all citizens from cooperating with foreign organizations such as the BBC, Voice of America, and various human rights groups, saying these groups were trying to destabilize the government.  Who will prevail, Ahmadinejad or the people of Iran, and what if anything can the world community do?

National
On December 25th a suspected al-Qaeda member, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, got on Northwest Airlines flight 253 in Amsterdam and attempted to detonate a bomb during the flight’s final descent into Detroit. British intelligence had been tracking Abdulmutallab for more than a year, and Abdulmutallab’s father had warned U.S. intelligence of his son’s radical behavior six weeks prior to the incident. The U.S. has already announced it will require additional screening for air passengers bound for the U.S. from any of 14 countries, including Algeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria. But will this work?

State
According to the Cascade Policy Institute (a free market think tank), Measures 66 and 67 could cost Oregon up to 70,000 jobs. Opponents of the measure say we shouldn’t be increasing taxes during a recession and the government hasn’t tightened its belt enough.  Proponents say the tax is only on the wealthiest Oregonians and corporations and that schools and health care services will have to be cut if the tax increases don’t pass. Let’s talk about the key points in these measures.

Local
He’s a former Portland Trailblazer, a financial adviser, and a sometimes basketball and lacrosse coach in Lake Oswego. He’s Chris Dudley and he’s running for Governor. Can he win the  Republican nomination with a lot of financial backing but no political experience?

International

The country of Yemen is being torn apart by a tribal rebellion, a secessionist movement, and the worst poverty and unemployment in the Arab world. And al-Qaeda has been quick to take advantage of the chaos, and create a presence in Yemen. How can the U.S. be most effective in fighting this terrorist organization?

National

Both the Senate and the House have put forth legislation to pass a behemoth healthcare bill. Some argue the bill violates constitutional rights. Others say it doesn’t go far enough. Assuming the bill passes, what will be the most significant impacts on the average U.S. citizen?

State

According to an investigative report published in The Oregonian newspaper, the administration of Governor Ted Kulongoski misrepresented the true cost of a tax credit created to subsidize renewable energy, in order to get it passed by the State Legislature. Is the Business Energy Tax Program still a good program even with the additional costs?

Local

Economists say the state has technically climbed out of recession. but tell that to the 11.1% of Oregonians who are still unemployed. Tom Potiowsky, Oregon government’s chief economist says it’s a jobless recovery and it’s going to be a long, slow road. What is it going to take for Oregon to dig itself out of the recession?

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