Sunday, August 16, 2009

Saturday Brunch at the Market

I used to consider eating prepared food at the Farmers' Market a cheat. After all, I was there to buy fresh fruits, vegetables and other ingredients for the week. I should just go home and make something!

After three out of four of my last restaurant dining experiences ended in a stomach ache and not so pleasant case of what I can only assume was mild food poisoning, I have come to appreciate Brunch at the Market. It is a delicious dining experience that works for both body and soul.

The Alemany Farmers' Market now has Food Row. I like the new arrangement, with all the food carts, coaches and booths along the South side of the market and tables at both ends, much better than the previously haphazard placement with all of it sort of piled in the middle. There is something for everyone among the various and tasty delights available, and now you can see them.

Here are some of my favorites:

All Star Tamales (fondly known to us as The Tamale Guys)

These are by far the best tamales at any Farmers' Market. I know there are folks out there with flashy marketing selling at the fancy market, but let me tell you, their tamales Pale in comparison to All Star's.

I eat the Vegan Tamale. The masa is perfect and not too thick. The ample stuffing is made up of black beans, green beans, carrots, cauliflower, corn, roasted red peppers, and spinach. This tamale does not need cheese. You can taste all the vegetables and the roasted pepper imparts a little smokiness with each bite. The tamale is wonderful by itself or with a squirt of the green salsa. I am not a big fan of hot, so I stick to the mild.

The Tamale Guys serve 14 different kinds of tamales from traditional to unusual. They are made with NO lard and are available either cold, to take home and eat later, or hot to be eaten on the spot. They have green salsa and a couple of kinds of red salsa, varying from mild to burning hot, to add as you see fit. I recommend you try a few bites without adding anything just so you can appreciate the variety of flavors in these truly delicious tamales.

OK, so I haven't actually eaten from this booth, but they have the most beautiful breads I've ever seen! Ralphie, the owner, and his crew, supply bread for over 200 restaurants and hotels in the Bay Area. In addition, they also have been vending bread at the Alemany Market for the past fifteen years.

While I was chatting with Ralphie and Mr. Green was taking pictures, a young woman with a threeish-year-old child walked up. Ralphie turned to me and said, "See?" "I've know her since she was a teen!" "Now look at her!" "She has a husband and this beautiful child!" The woman smiled and said "I'm here almost every week." I could see and feel the connection. Beautiful.

Panorama is also at the Alemany location on Sunday during the Flea Market. I'll be trying their bread soon!

Spring Hill has a lot of different kinds of organic cheese. And when I say a lot, I mean it. It is all from their cows who live in Petaluma so it is Estate Cheese. The ingredients are simple: Grade A milk, enzymes and salt. That's it. And their rennet is vegetable rennet. Since I'm not a cheese maker, I'm not sure exactly what that means, but I can tell you that all the cheeses I've tasted are good.

My favorite, so far, (one can only eat so many samples of cheese at once) is the Yellow Jersey Cheddar. It's smooth, tart and creamy. Not hard, not squishy, just firm and palatable. I thought for sure I would love the Garlic Cheddar or the White Cheddar, but not so much. The basic Yellow Cheddar is the one. I have no idea what the difference between yellow and white is. To be honest, I've always thought it was food coloring, but it must be something else, because the white cheddar and the yellow cheddar taste totally different.

The other item that Spring Hill has is Butter. This is butter that is meant to be enjoyed on a cracker or on a breadstick or on a slice of your best homemade bread while it's still warm. It's sweet and delicious and so good that you could serve it on a whole grain cracker as an hors d' oeuvre! There are samples. just ask for a taste. Now that I think of it, this butter on a slice of Panorama bread would be perfect!

Estrallita's Pupusas

Ahhhh. . . the Pupusas! A Salvadorian treat! These are delicious and so worth the wait. Cooked as they are ordered, these maize flour dough wonders are grilled to perfection, then served plain or with a pile of cold slaw on top and a ladle of mild or hot sauce.

The best way to understand what they are is to watch them being made. The woman who makes them takes a little ball of dough and flattens it out on her palm by patting it and turning it. then she puts a generous amount of filling in the middle, gathers the edges up and seals them, then flattens the whole thing out again and puts it on the grill.

The result is a savory mix of flavors with the smoothness of a mild white cheese all nestled in a browned crust that is heavenly. A perfect example of umami. Deliciousness that can't be described. Makes my mouth water just thinking about it. I like the mushroom and cheese and I get it "with everything".

And, by the way, pupusas are by far the best prepared food buy at the market. For only $2.50 each, they are a steal of a meal and a generous gourmet treat.

Malaysian Lacy Crepes

Azalina, the owner and chef at Malaysian Lacy Crepes has been working as a public and private chef for over fifteen years. She is from Malaysia and has been living in the states for seven years.

These crepes are different than the typical thin pancake with stuff inside. The crepe is actually lacy and full of holes and ends up on the bottom of the container with the "filling" on top. I love this because it makes the filling the feature - as it should be.

I tried the vegetable curry, which is completely different than Indian curry. Malaysian curry is mild which meant I could taste the vegetables, including pumpkin, which I love. The combination of sweet and savory is wonderful in this dish, and the pieces of crepe are the perfect, slightly spongy, accompaniment for the vegetable mixture.

The other item that is absolutely To Die For that Azalina makes is Chai Banana Fritters. These deep-fried blobs of heaven are the best dessert at the market. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, the dough is the flavor of mild chai spice and is enhanced by the pieces of warm banana nestled inside. Amazingly tasty!

After I tasted mine, a woman was debating with her friend about whether to get some or not. I said I highly recommend them. I saw her later and she thanked me profusely and referred to them as "phenomenal".

Azalina and her husband are new at the market and are educating people about Malaysian food. As soon as people figure out how good it is, there will be a huge line!

The Hummus Guy

Mohamed is the Hummus Guy! He is from Tunisia. He is friendly and honest about who makes the hummus. His sister and his mom do. He gives them full credit for all the delicious flavors. He says he's just the sales guy - and he's good at it. His favorite flavor is Artichoke. Mine is Garlic and Chive. He says I won't get any kisses eating that and I better get Mr. Green to try some, too! The plain is also good.

I love this hummus because it doesn't have any weird unpronounceable ingredients. Just garbanzos, olive oil, tahini, garlic, lemon & the herbs or veggies that makes each kind special. It's great on toast. It's great on carrot sticks. It's great on a spoon! And, of course, it's great on pita, which the Hummus Guy also sells.

OK, so I haven't eaten at this booth, but I love the idea of Grilled Watermelon! I also love the thought of a delicious pulled pork sandwich for breakfast. I'll be trying it soon for two reasons. First, because the smell of the meat cooking on their grill is scrumptious and second, because all the people I asked who were eating from Good Foods said it was "Fantastic".

Their food display was such a beautiful pile of comfort food, I couldn't not include them.

These guys drag a 1700 pound real wood-fired brick oven to the market each week (slightly crazy!). And the make amazing pizza! The oven itself is a reason to stop by. It's a functional work of art. Beautiful on the outside and hot on the inside. Their pizzas cook in two minutes!

I love thin crust pizza and this one is a good one. The owner, Tom, gets his flour from Giusto's, which is an organic flour mill located here, in San Francisco. The pizza crust is perfect. Crispy on the outside and slightly chewy toward the center of the slices.

I have eaten this pizza twice and enjoyed it both times. The sauce tastes fresh, slightly tart, and has a good hint of basil in it. It's light and just tomatoey enough to show off the flavors of the toppings, whether you choose traditional meats or a variety of veggies.

Uncomplicated is how to order this pizza, which is why the menu recommends two toppings. You want to be able to experience all the flavors from the crust to the cheese without muddying it up with too much on the top. There are a variety of topping options available. I like roasted garlic and mushroom or spinach and tomato. Mr. Green enjoyed the pepperoni.

Of course, what makes this pizza is the oven. Pizza cooked in a wood-fired brick oven has a taste that you just can't get with a conventional oven. The crust finishes slightly smokey and brown, as does the cheese. Delicious!

Tom uses as many local ingredients as he can find. He also makes and sells these ovens and will bring one to your place and cater. How fun would that be?!

I love brunch at the market! There are so many great food choices. There are many more choices than the ones I have written about. These are just the ones I like best. I dine first and then shop for produce. It's a wonderful way to start my Saturday.

To be honest, I would like it more if I could get it on a real plate with a real fork. I'm seriously considering taking these items with me. And maybe a cloth napkin. And possibly a split of champagne with a stemmed glass. That, and a seat at one of the tables, would make my Saturday Morning dining experience complete!

To view the rest of the pictures we took of the food vendors, see Mr. Green's photo album.

Thank you so much to Mr. Green for being my photographer, technical whiz and fellow foodie. . . kisses.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


*cartoon by Nataliedee
Here is an article about "green" impulse buys. It bothers me. I don't think buying more stuff is actually Green. Do we need more stuff? Even if it's green? And it's women who make these purchases. . . I don't know what the items are, but they must be pretty tempting.

One of my goals lately has been to go a whole week without stepping into a regular store. We get our food from various farmers' markets or from farmer friends and if we plan well, we only need to go to a larger store for other perishables (like toilet paper and dish soap) a couple times a month. I also have the privilege of Mr. Green doing most of the shopping, which totally works for me. Somehow, not shopping gives me a sense of freedom. Freedom from consumerism. I don't need anything. I have clothes. We have a home. We have all the creature comforts necessary to live a comfortable life.

And now this idea of not really needing anything has a label and a vocabulary, thanks to Lynne Twist, the author of The Soul of Money. It's a great concept. It works for me. It's the concept of "Enough".

While on vacation in Ketchum, Idaho, Mr. Green and I purchased a CD by Lynne to listen to on our long drive through Nevada back to San Francisco. It is called Unleashing the Soul of Money. I haven't read her book, The Soul of Money, but Mr. Green has and he's been considering a re-read.

Mr. Green was driving, two days later, when I put the CD in the player. Lynne is pleasant to listen to and the subject matter was certainly engaging. I don't remember everything about the CD but I do remember the part that "stuck". It was this concept of "Enough".

At this time, in the U.S., people are considered consumers. We "consume". That is our purpose according to mass media, the banking system, our government, etc. Everyday we hear about the consumer index and whether or not we are buying - buying homes, buying cars, shopping, shopping, shopping. It's a bad day if no one buys anything. This has always bothered me. Makes me feel like a locust. One of the many.

Yes, I do buy things. And some of the time they are things I don't actually need, but just want. And I don't think there's anything wrong with that. What bothers me is senseless buying. Buying with out consideration or thought. I've done it. I've come home from the grocery store and taken something out of the bag and thought "What the Hell did I buy THIS for?!"

And yet, I gave up on being a super-consumer a long time ago. Long before I got rid of the huge storage room of extra "belongings" that I had amassed through raising two kids and moving three times, I decided I didn't need any more stuff. Looking at the stuff in my storage actually used to make me feel sick. I would get queazy and headachy in anticipation of dealing with all of it and at some point deciding was important enough to keep. I hoped it would all just disappear.

Unfortunately there was no act of god and when it became clear that my stuff was overstaying its welcome in it's free home in the basement of a building that belonged to a friend, I finally went through it and got rid of about 75%. I gave it to good will. Books, furniture, clothes, nick-nacks, gee-gaws, yard tools, sports equipment - you get the idea. Do I miss any of it? Hmmm. Let me think. NO.

Lynne mentioned that we used to be called "citizens" instead of "consumers". Citizens are responsible. They take care of, and care about, their country. I'm never a fan of stepping backward to some idealized time. It feels like regression to me. I believe that the concept of being a citizen has a new meaning now. Think about it. Not only do we care about our country, we care about our world. And there are a whole pile of us who want to take care of our world by not consuming it.

Next Lynne started talking about considering the possibility that what we have right now is enough in a different way. That we are enough, what we do is enough, who we know is enough, what happens around us is enough. That it's all enough. Whoa! This startled me. If what we have in this moment, in this bigger concept, is enough, what is there to strive for? Why bother to go to work in the morning? Why create anything new? If the universe meets my needs, exactly, right now, what's the point of doing anything besides laying in bed all day waiting for the universe to provide what's next?

I was totally resistant to this idea that it was All Enough. I kept listening but the little voices in my head had grown huge and were screaming, "No!" "It Can't Be Enough!" "You Will Die!" I could barely hear the world around me. I kept listening to Lynne and to the voices and I have no idea what she said, but suddenly I got it.

It's not about there not being enough. There is plenty of everything for everyone. Yes, the portions are screwed up and that's something to work on, but there really is no scarcity on the planet. We can choose to frame it all differently. Right now in this moment. To put it in the context of contribution and passionate living. Everything we do, we do because we want to. Not because someone told us to. Or, because of the almighty dollar.

I can spend my day working in non-profit making a buck, or I can spend my day working in non-profit being a contribution to the mission of the organization. Let me tell you, the latter makes the work much closer to play and much more rewarding. All those phone calls? The outcome is what it will be. The contribution is making the connection with another human who also wants to be passionate about the choices they make.

I already knew this. I've worked in non-profit for years. What is new for me is holding the context of Enough everyday. It's changed the way I make choices. It has lowered my stress level. It has shifted the lens through which I view life. As odd as it may sound, it's made my life better. Easier. More focused on passion and acceptance and caring. I'm more thoughtful about the choices I make.

This concept is important. It will change the world. If it's all enough, why would we want too much? Why would we hoard anything? We won't. We will share. We will put our resources where they are most needed: to support our families, our communities and our world.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Guerilla Gardening in Portland

A friend of a friend posted the story below on Facebook. Mr. Green wrote to him and he was kind enough to lend this version of it to us to post. It's a true story, well written and worth the read. . . Enjoy! And, thank you David for sharing the experience.

A block from my downtown Portland apartment, there’s an easement about five feet wide and half a block long, which divides a parking lot from the sidewalk. Recent city ordinances call for such an amenity around all new lots, but of course most of them are older than the ordinance and comply only partially, if at all.

For most of the four years I’ve lived in the neighborhood, this one has been nothing more than a strip for weeds, trash, and dog poop. It got cleaned up a little earlier this year, and some bark was laid in, but that was all.

Several weeks ago, my wife and I noticed that someone had planted vegetables along a portion of the strip. There were several tomato plants, some beans, a chili pepper, a jalapeno, an eggplant, possibly a cucumber -- about sixteen in all. Although I took a similar number of non-food-bearing plants nearby for part of the same plot, it turned out they were not connected to the guerilla planting.

We gave the vegetable plants less than a 50-50 chance of survival: most likely, the homeless people in the neighborhood would steal the edibles and trample the plants before they were ripe, we thought.

The weekend of July 25-26, I noticed the plants had grown, but were looking pretty dry, and in some cases flattened. They didn’t appear to have been watered at all. Record heat was forecast for the coming week; three days later, temperatures hit 107 and remained in three digits -- rare for Portland -- for several days straight.

I decided to help ’em out. I borrowed a key from my building’s maintenance guy and filled a pair of my own buckets, repeatedly, at one of the exterior spigots along the outer walls of our building, and walked diagonally across an intersection to get to the parched greenery. It took five trips, with 2-1/4 gallon buckets, to water all the plants in the strip -- maybe a total of 22 gallons.

I’ve never had much of a green thumb, but I had been laid off my five-year-old job the week before, so I had plenty of time on my hands. For two days I watered the plants. On the third day I found the first sign that somebody else cared about them: the tomatoes had been staked so they now stood up to two feet in the air.

There were also several printed paper signs among the plants that had the parking lot’s logo at the top and read:

“Dear Enthusiast,

“This area is not intended as a vegetable garden. Please remove all plants by Monday, August 3rd. If you fail to do so, we will be forced to remove them.

“Thank you for you [sic] cooperation.”

Would be “forced” to remove them? Because the strip had been despoiled after being so attractive and productive before? Because someone was stealing invaluable soil nutrients that until now had provided an exquisite cushion for litter and animal waste? Was the owner worried that someone might eat the vegetables, get sick, and sue; or, worse, sell the goods at a profit?

I had to admit it was refreshing to see “enthusiast” employed as a pejorative term.

I still had no idea who planted the vegetables. I thought it might have been someone from the church that abuts the lot. I rather indignantly watered them a third time on that hottest day of the year, and a fourth time the morning of the fifth day.

Having just read a new biography of Camus, I was primed to view the situation as a classic illustration of an existential response to the absurd: no one seemed to want to take responsibility for the situation, and the end was foreordained.

There was no sign of a planter who might move the plants to a safer location, but a Big Brother warning set a hard deadline. Thus, my choice to water the plants was an “acte gratuit” -- a senseless move in the face of certain doom.

Still smarting with indignation, I wrote up an account of the situation and fired it off to the op-ed team of the Portland daily, The Oregonian. The online op-ed editor, charmed by the Camus reference, requested a photo of the plants (I made certain to include the warning sign) and put the piece online that very afternoon, July 30. It garnered some lively comments that were mostly supportive:

The print edition the following morning called attention to my piece, and directed readers to the online essay.

As I continued my one-man bucket brigade, passersby had told me they’d been worried about the garden and were happy to see me watering “my” plants. They were astonished when I responded that they weren’t my plants; I didn’t know whose they were.

A homeless man making his way slowly by saw me pouring buckets of water on the plants and said, “Doin’ it the hard way … whatever works.” A moment later, almost approvingly, he added: “You might get a tomato.”

It was only late on the evening of the sixth day that I heard from the original “perps.” A student wrote me an email praising my online essay and revealing that kids from the local college had planted the vegetables. They were members of a summer class devoted to the topic of “revolution and radical social change.”

He asked me not to identify the class or even the college, because most of the students (and even the instructor) were worried about potential legal and academic effects upon their careers if they were to be identified.

I responded that I would have failed each and every student in the class who did not wish to have their activities and the course publicized, for they evidently hadn’t learned the first thing about revolution and social change. It doesn’t happen unless and until you put your ass on the line, and risk something.

If the instructor felt the same way, then he shouldn’t be teaching the course, I continued. To take action without being willing to take any responsibility for it was a violation of revolutionary principles; it’s precisely what has made so many would-be revolutionaries a laughingstock throughout history. The class’s action seemed to me as funny as it was pathetic.

I asked what the class had intended to do -- or not do -- with the plants. Was planting the garden and not bothering to water it part of the point? Were they just trying to see whether anyone would notice?

I didn’t receive any answers before the Monday deadline. When that came, it was over quickly.

My fear had been that I would be too late. I was afraid the property owner, having noticed that someone had seen what was going on, would send out an employee to tear up the plants in the wee hours of the morning in order to avoid confrontation and further publicity.

But when I got up the morning of August 3, I could see from my sixth-floor apartment window that the plants on the next block were undisturbed. Preparing for a long day, I packed a folding deck chair, books to read, some munchies and a thermos of ice water, and a digital camera to record whatever was going to happen.

I swung by the Starbucks downstairs and fumed silently in a line of caffeine addicts as the clock ticked up to 8:00 a.m. By 8:03 I was on site. Everything was undisturbed.

By now, though I had not planted the garden and it certainly wasn’t on my property, I had a proprietary interest in the plot (in more than one sense). Over the preceding week, I had lugged an estimated 115 gallons of water -- in buckets, by hand -- about 80 yards from my block to the garden.

I decided to take photos of each of the plants at their (possible) zenith. There were beans showing, a few green tomatoes, tiny jalapenos, and a tiny but richly purpled eggplant.

I was only halfway through photographing all the plants when a young woman in a white shirt and black trousers arrived and informed me that she had been tasked with tearing them out. We left signs saying people had until Monday to remove them, she informed me. Most of them have blown away, but here’s one, she said, pointing to a paper sign I had carefully preserved on a tomato stake, and around which I had watered, the past four days.

That’s fine, I said. I’m just going to take pictures of you while you do it. Assuring her they were not my plants, I asked for a contact phone number for her employer, which she gave me. She said “the church” had also requested the plants be removed.

That surprised me. As I said earlier, I had initially thought the planters might be members of the congregation of the neighboring church. If they hadn’t planted the vegetables and probably didn’t own the lot, why would they care that someone else had?

As the woman bent to her job, she said, “I really don’t want to do this. It’s a damn shame.” I settled in my deck chair with my vanilla latte and blueberry scone. As the woman gently pulled up the vegetables and placed them in a black garbage bag, I took a few photos.

When she had finished and turned to leave, she said (rather grimly I thought), “Have a good day.” It was all over by 8:15. No friends had come by, no passing cars honked, no TV crews showed up (though I had emailed the local stations about this late the night before).

Somewhat happily, only the vegetables were gone; the other plants were apparently not part of the guerilla garden and were allowed to stay. I found out later they are probably part of the property owner’s compliance with city ordinance.

I went home and made some calls. A heavily accented gentleman at the abutting church said nobody knew anything about the vegetable garden, and he did not think anyone there had requested it be removed.

A friend who works for the city did some digging and found that taxes on the property are paid by a different, much larger church that sits on the next block to the north of the parking lot and soil strip. The number the employee had given me rang at the offices of a huge downtown parking and development company, which presumably manages the lot on behalf of the church.

When I finally heard back from my contact in the class, he explained that the vegetable plot had not been a “class project.” The students and instructor had designed a curriculum together at the start, and agreed to act and approve projects by consensus. Everything had to be legal and ethical.

Apparently, the class had not approved the vegetable garden project; I think the proposers may have asked the church’s permission up front and failed to receive it. They went ahead and planted without the approval and support of their classmates and the instructor, as well as the church.

My email contact admitted that he had scoffed at the garden proposal -- how could planting a vegetable garden in famously green and eco-friendly Portland constitute a radical act? -- and had been taken aback by the attention it had gotten.

He personally agreed with pretty much everything I had written, he said; the word he chose for his classmates’ behavior in trying to duck recognition was “craven.” But since he had contacted me (also without consulting the group first and obtaining permission) and thereby brought unwanted attention to his classmates and the instructor, with potential legal and academic repercussions -- still pretty small, in my and his estimation -- he was now being regarded as a Judas by his fellow students.

They did not want me coming to their class to speak, which he had proposed the week before -- apparently because it might blow their cover. It was very amusing to me to be treated like a bomb-throwing anarchist with a mile-long FBI file when all I had done was . . . water some plants and then talk about it.

Meanwhile, the print edition op-ed editor for the Oregonian had called me and requested a 500-word summation of the caper for the print edition. That ran on Wednesday, August 5, and again garnered many reader comments, mostly in support:

It’s easy to hate the property owners, but I’m not convinced that anyone came out of this with clean hands. Even though the vegetable garden was a lovely revolutionary act, much applauded by the public to whose attention I brought it, the planters acted against the consensus of their group (another common violation of revolutionary principles), and I have a hard time seeing what they managed to accomplish without my intervention.

Several months ago, the manager of my apartment building acquired a third dog, a lovely dachsund, to go with his two basenjis, when he witnessed someone abandon it in the nearby park. People have been breeding dogs and trying to sell the puppies on Craigslist, he told me, but when the animals get too big, they just dump them.

What the college planters did looks pretty much the same to me. They seem to have abandoned the plants. Knowing the property owner was likely to come after their work, and having been informed roughly when it would happen, they didn’t appear to have devised any strategy to witness the deed, let alone rally support to stop it.

Plenty of folks, both strangers on the Oregonian’s Web site and Facebook friends who read my reports via that venue, applauded my efforts, but no one stepped up with a solution. I suspect if I had beat the bushes and pleaded, someone might have come up with a safe plot to which the plants could have been moved. But that was part of the point I wanted to make: if we’re going to be a community, everyone has to contribute ideas and labor. And they weren’t my plants.

On the other hand, a friend told me this morning that if it had been a 20-year-old tree -- something with more of a history -- she might have made more of an effort to find an alternative lot for it. Also, situated where they were, these vegetables would likely have had a high lead content. Another friend directed me to an essay by an longtime gardening activist who decried folks that attack guerilla gardening with good intentions and verve but virtually no gardening skills:

And I? Well, I was guiltily pleased that I didn’t have to sit out in the hot sun all day but could return to my air-conditioned apartment and go back to looking for a job. I got some published writing and quite a few strokes from friends and strangers out of the deal.

There’s a maxim from Tertullian regarding faith: credo quia absurdum est, which means (given that faith cannot be proven or justified by reason): “I believe because it is absurd.”

My attitude as illustrated by this caper would be somewhat similar: “I take action because it is futile.” My college roommate, a classics major, emailed me that the Latin version might be ago quia futile est.

That encapsulates my perspective at many levels, whether it’s watering the guerilla garden, my little, brief life on this planet, or the survival of the human species and the rest of life as we know it.

With so many powerful interests working hard to make us into mere consumers and spectators (at worst, voyeurs), it’s important to act and speak up, even if it’s only to give others a chance to teach you where you’re wrong.

Otherwise, you’re not learning and growing; you’re just opening your mouth for someone else’s spoons.

The story and photos above are by David Loftus who is an actor and writer living in Portland, Oregon.Samples of his writing and voice acting work may be found on his Web site at