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Entries in oregon (6)


When I was an RPG Playtester...

Anyone who knows me knows that I played a TON of roleplaying games between the ages of 10 and 20. My frequent journeys to End Games (a hobby shop Nirvana when I was a kid) located inside Clackamas Town Center in Portland, Oregon usually resulted in one or more purchases of the Portland based D & D products of local supplement company Sage Lore Productions, Inc.


My ultimate geeky achievement was becoming a playtester for this product, The Handbook of Arcane Artificats , that was introduced into the Sage Lore Productions, Inc. lineup in 1990. I believe you can still find my name in the credits of the playtesters.




10 Random Facts About Wa...

1.  Wa is the initials of my first name “William” and my middle name “Angus”. In order to avoid confusion with my father I was nicknamed W.A., which by junior high had evolved into just plain “Wa”.  When I began performing and producing concerts the unusual name seemed to help others remember me.

2. I was born in Connecticut while my father was stationed there,  but I’ve lived nearly my entire life in The Dalles, Oregon.

3. I have been told that I had refused to speak for the first two years of my life. When my grandmother became impatient waiting for me to speak she offered me $5 if I would say the word “banana”. As the story goes, I blurted out the word, grabbed the money, and ran.

4. My mother brought me to the grand opening of our new Fred Meyer in 1979 to meet Spider-Man. I was too shy and began crying at the prospect of meeting the webbed hero.

5. My favorite Read - a - Along 33 rpm vinyl record was E.T.

6. Lawrence Welk once proclaimed that I would be not merely a good, but a GREAT, trumpet player someday. Other than a brief stint with the instrument as a pre-game on-field fill-in in college, I’ve never played the instrument.

7. I won a trip to Disneyland by selling newspaper subscriptions door-to-door when I was 10. I traveled alone by bus round-trip to Anaheim from Oregon.

8. Once while throwing horseshoes in a pit behind our house I accidentally hit a close friend in the head. No major damage was done. He walked away from it with just a bump on his head. Horshoes has never been as enticing.

9. I experienced a crash while cycling on a Boy Scout trip that stripped skin from much of the left side of my body as I slid across the road wearing only shorts and a pair of tennis shoes.

10. When I was five, I was struck by a drunk driver in the crosswalk in front of my school. The force of the skidding car knocked me through the air to the crosswalk on the opposite side of the intersection.


The Penalty Phase

During the summer of 1986 one of most interesting things in my childhood had been put into motion.Penalty Phase [VHS] , a TV movie, began filming in my small hometown.

The film starred Peter Strauss (Judge Kenneth Hoffman) and Melissa Gilbert (Leah Furman, Court Clerk). The film dealt with the struggle of a Judge who must follow the letter of law even if the consequences may set a serial killer free.

One of the reasons this was such a monumentous occasion was because so many of my family and friends appeared in the film in one way or another. In the title sequence we see a still frame of our Wasco County Courthouse. Outside the building seated on a newspaper on a bench is my cousin and renowned landscape painter Anthony Kiser reading a newspaper.

My mother and many of my cousins appear in the audience that listens with rapt attention to the political debate that takes place in the film. The location for that scene was The Dalles High School auditorium.

I bring up this film because recently because I found this essay that Gale Patrick Hickman the writer of The Penalty Phase (former attorney and Orange County, California presiding Judge) posted, The Writing and Filming of The Penalty Phase, that recounts his experiences that led to the creation of the screenplay and the process of casting and filming it in The Dalles on the banks of the Columbia River.



Oregon Mother threatens to ban and burn "The Book of Bunny Suicides" by UK author Andy Riley

The Oregonian’s Joseph Rose reports that the mother of a thirteen year old student at Central Linn High School, Taffey Anderson (I shit you not, her real name is Taffey), has stolen a book from the Central Linn High School library and refuses to return the book. She insists that “it has no intellectual value” so she will burn or destroy “The Bunny Suicides”. Additonially she has threatened the district that she will steal any new copies that are purchased to replace the lost book and destroy those as well until the book is banned at the Central Linn High School library. The library wants to consider the matter by reviewing the book, but is unable to because of Taffey Anderson’s refursal to return the book rightfully to the library.

This is quite honestly the kind of ignorant social conservative nonsense that I’ve had to endure during my childhood years in Oregon. Tolerance and respect for creative works has improved a bit over the years, but we still have more than our share of unsympathetic laggarts who seem to think they have the right to make a decision for the rest of us without considering the possibility that it is none of their business what other people’s children do or do not read.

I was particularly offended that is has been suggested nowhere in the article that this woman should be arrested for theft (in the event that she does not return the book by a set deadline) since she has confessed already to possessing the book, and charged and fined with vandalism of public property for destroying an object that our state tax dollars purchased.

Some seem to think that placating her is enough. I disagree. We need to stop entertaining the book banning, ignorant, socially conservative opinion and treat them and this kind of action for what it is: complete and utter stupidity.


Old School

by request, a photo of me from high school:

yes, I was a band geek who received letterman jacket pins in four different musical groups.

And another one from the iron age:


All Good Things Must Pass...