1. How did you get into acting, and what is your most lengthy role (to date) in terms of stage time?
Heh. Pretty much the same answer to a previous question. Did the Christmas Play at my elementary school, where I played the postman. It was the only speaking part of any note, and I got a lot of positive feedback from it. The interest sparked there. As far as my longest role stage time? In my professional career that would be as The Creature in “Playing With Fire,” but in high school I played Antrobus in “Skin of Our Teeth.” I think that was a longer show.
2. For my travel list, what are the three best restaurants in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area?
For Breakfast – The Frog Pond (Indian Rocks Beach). The place only does breakfast, and they do it WELL. The portions are absolutely huge (five egg omelette’s, pancakes that are about an inch thick and cover the entire plate, etc…) and they refuse to give smaller portions. On top of there being a lot of it, the food is incredibly good.
For Lunch – Ricky T’s (Treasure Island). I’ve got a slight bias here, as this is where my Mom works, but the food is really quite good. Everything is made from scratch in the kitchen (including the cheese sticks, which are worth the trip alone…they are more like fried cheese logs). They have a daily lunch special that’s usually some type of hearty home cooked meal, but the stock menu is damned good as well. If you go there for lunch during the week, you’ll have the best damned bartender on the beaches taking care of you. Tip her well.
For Dinner – Athenian Garden (St. Petersburg). This was actually a rough call to make. I mean, there are quite a few good restaurants around, but a few of the ones we go to on a regular basis are chains (tourist area…we have lots of them here). Athenian Garden is a good, local restaurant though. Obviously a Greek restaurant, the menu covers pretty much anything you’d want in that arena at very reasonable prices. I think a sign of a good restaurant is how well they do the bread, and the table bread at this place is just scrumptious. They also make an amazing greek salad. My favorite dish here is the Falafel sandwich. I’ve honestly never found a better one. I like them so much, I get them over their Gyros…which are also to die for.
Honorable Mention – Edo Japanese Steak House (St. Petersburg). I’ve got a few friends who don’t care for this place, or who think that their Sushi is sub-par, but I love it. It’s close, it’s comfortable, and they have a large and interesting sushi menu. They have the big grills for tappanyaki if that is your thing, and a standard menu as well. I’ve gone into sushi-induced food comas several times here, and will continue doing so happily.
3. Have you ever read any of D.T. Suzuki’s books on Zen Buddhism and, if so, what were your impressions?
Not that I’m aware of. Lemme check….
4. What is your favorite role-playing game system and why? And have you seen 3_sided_dice, _roleplayers_, dnd3e, dndfanz, metagaming, and perfectrpg yet?
In terms of the created universe, Shadowrun wins hands down. I’m not sure how well they are currently pulling it off, but the original versions stunned me by the complexity of the lore and the fact that everything tied together so well. Plot points from modules would be hinted at in other modules, the hacker comments throughout the books were made by the same “people,” and often continued a story if you really paid attention. It was just a very well thought out and executed world. That being said, the system was a little…lacking. I’m tempted to pick up the third edition and see what kind of improvements they have made, because it really was a stunningly beautiful game.
Overall, though, I’d have to go with good old fashioned Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. No bloody 2nd edition. No bloody 3rd. Not for any reason to do with mechanics, but simply for what the game meant to me. I can still remember the first time I held my Monster Manual, and the cool Dungeon Masters Guide with the adventurers prying a gem from the eye of a large red statue. I remember running “The Assassin’s Knot” and “Against The Giants.” I remember the ecstatic joy we felt after clearing out “White Plume Mountain” and our amusement at the notion of actually giving back the relics to their rightful owners. I remember seeing DL-1 Dragons of Despair long before even the first novel came out (holy crap! I just found a web site with conversions for the old modules, and I still have them!). Of all my gaming memories, the oldest and strongest are of Dungeons and Dragons and it will always hold a special place in my heart.
5. “They are going to mess up the entire Spiderman movie series with the upcoming ‘Venom’ movie.” Yea or nay?
Nah. Just depends on how they pull it off. I’ve got a lot of faith in Sam Raimi. I think he’s done an amazing job with the series so far, and as he’s said in the past he hates Venom so if he’s decided to go that direction he has to have a really good reason to do so. Personally, I think it’s going to be a lead up story. Venom isn’t confirmed in this movie yet – Only Spidey in his black duds. Much like Dark Phoenix, it’s really not something you should tackle in one movie. See, in my mind the X-Men did it right. Kill Jean off in the second movie bring her back in the third with new powers that she has a hard time controlling, then have her go ape shit at the end and be the “bad guy” in the fourth. Venom doesn’t need quite that much set up, but I definitely think that he doesn’t need to be a “second half” character. That was the big problem with the Batman movies. They had too many bad guys! Unfortunately, as cool as Venom is, I’m not sure he COULD be the focus of a whole movie in and of himself. I mean, he’s pretty one dimensional as a bad guy. “Kill Spider-Man!” It wasn’t until he really became the anti-hero that he got some depth, so they may very well have to introduce Carnage in order for it to have some dramatic depth. (Venom trying to kill Spider-Man, Spidey and Venom trying to stop Carnage and prevent others from getting killed, you know the drill). Again, though, that might be a hard thing to pull off with how touchy people get over religion. The suit found Eddie Brock while he was in church, contemplating suicide, and he saw it as a gift from God. He was convinced that Spider-Man was the evil one, and it was his Catholic upbringing that made him a “defender of the innocent.” Like all lunatics, his definition of innocence was pretty flexible and easily bent towards his current situation, but he really thought he was a good guy. If that makes it into the movie, it will be “ZOMG Hollywood hates Christians!”
But really, anything could happen. I mean, they’ve hooked Peter and MJ up and she already knows his secret. They are just now introducing Gwen Stacy, who was supposed to die in the Green Goblin story line. Harry is still out there, still hates Spider-Man, knows his secret and knows what his father was. They’ve introduced Kurt Conners. There really are a million directions the movies could go, and if Sam has proven anything it’s that he’s likely to take one that you didn’t expect. Don’t despair, true believer!