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Tweeting in the Wind: My Hurricane Diary  

You might be wondering, “What was Tim’s hurricane experience like?” If you live in NYC, it was probably a lot like yours, only different. Here, for the benefit of posterity and historical documentation, is my firsthand account of Irene, told in reverse chronological order through tweets and Facebook updates (apparently that's how we do things now):

iamtimellis Tim Ellis

We now know: hurricanes cannot be stopped by sending an extraordinary amount of tweets about them. #irene

22 hours ago Favorite Reply Delete

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My NYC Hurricane Preparedness Kit



Kardashian Names of the U.S. Presidents


While trying to keep up with the Kardashians (it’s not easy), I noticed an interactive feature on their web page that will tell you your Kardashian name. Apparently, everyone has one; you just have to look it up. In order to get a little ahead of the Kardashians, and as a public service, I decided to research the names of the 44 U.S. presidents. I publish them here as a matter of public record:

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Casual Pimpin': Liner Notes

A lot of people have asked me how the song “Casual Pimpin’” came about. (Actually, only one person has, but I assume others were too shy.) It’s always difficult to explain the mystery of the creative process, but let me try…

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SONG: Casual Pimpin'








Casual Pimpin' by timelliscomedy (PLAY SONG)

Written & performed by Tim Ellis (a.k.a. Timmy E.)
Produced by DJ Ben Radar, in association with Vanity Project Records

Lead vocal stylings: Timmy E.
Beats: DJ Ben Radar & Jam Pack 3 (in collaboration with Timmy E.)
Out-of-tune guitar: some guy
Almost-in-rhythm Synth Bass: Yamaha PSR-270 (turned on by Timmy E.)
Pimp chorus: Tim Ellis, Timmy Ellis, Timothy Ellis, Tim J. Ellis, & Timothy John Ellis
Extraneous shouting: Timmy E. & DJ Ben Radar
Photos: Meeshmonster
Wardrobe: Gap, Old Navy, & JCP



Earlier this week, I played a small but significant role in a major motion picture. I thought I would write about it, giving a behind-the-scenes look at the working life of a film actor. While on set, I was asked to sign an agreement not give out any confidential information about the project “orally, in writing, or by any other media.” It read, “Confidential Information shall include all scripts, characters, cast, settings, locations, special effects, costuming, make-up, lighting, sound, data” and a bunch of other stuff I wouldn’t even think of talking about. With that in mind, here’s what I can tell you:

I was in a movie. It was a comedy, or maybe a tragedy. The movie was shot in a highly populous city on the Northeastern seaboard. It had a big star in it, someone you’ve heard of and may even like a lot. I was in a scene with the star, and my job was to react to a particular thing that the star was doing. You will definitely hear about this movie, and may even want to go see it. It may or may not be good.

I think I can tell you that I had my own dressing room in a trailer, parked on a street in this Northeastern city. The room was small and narrow, but air-conditioned, which was important, since the city was experiencing a heat wave. It had a bunk with a plastic mattress, a fire extinguisher, and a sink with a sign on it that said “Potable Water. Not for Drinking.” (Doesn’t “potable” mean safe to drink?) I sat in the trailer for many hours. Once in a while, someone would knock on the door and ask me to try on clothes (which I’m not allowed to describe) or fill out paperwork, such as the non-disclosure form. A writer stopped by to brief me on the scene. He told me, “Keep it very small.” I said, “Sure, you mean just be real.” He said, “That’s right.”

Oh, but another thing I think I can say about acting in a movie is that my room had a wall-mounted stereo with an awesome cassette deck, which I would’ve used if it’d been 1985 and I’d had a tape on me. Instead I just listened to classic rock radio. I also had my own bathroom, which I didn’t realize until halfway through the shoot. Before that, I’d used the public bathrooms, which were housed in a different part of the same trailer and marked Desi (for men) and Lucy (for women). These trailers are called “honey wagons.” According to Wikipedia, “‘honey wagon’ is a facetious traditional general term for ‘a wagon or truck for collecting and carrying excrement or manure.’” I hope I’m not disclosing too much, but I know people are interested in showbiz and how it works.

Outside my door, there was a piece of tape with the name of the role I was playing written on it with a Sharpie. OK, I’ll just tell you, it said “Offended Customer.” (I think I can say that without breaking my agreement, since it isn’t really a character name but more a generic description.) It was a part I thought I would be good at, since I am often a customer, am often offended, and frequently both at once.

Like I said, I’d been cast in this role to do a hilarious reaction -- ok, a small hilarious reaction -- to something that the star of the movie would be doing in a particular scene. (I would explain, but I’d get sued.) You might say that a whole joke or set piece in the film depended on my small but hilarious reaction to this thing, and for that reason I was not only worth paying the SAG day rate, but I was money in the bank.

At some point, we rehearsed the scene. The director told me to keep it very small. I said, “You mean just be real.” He said, “Yes.” During rehearsal, I got nervous, because the star was a very big star, and he or she was telling me what to do. But I basically ignored what the star was saying, because I knew that’s what the star would do if he or she were in my shoes, and because that’s just the way I roll. I went back to my trailer while they did some film production stuff.

Later, we shot the scene. It went well. Beforehand, the star came up and chitchatted with me. He or she said to me, “Just keep it very small.” I said, “Yeah, yeah, just be real.” The star said, “Yes! Very real.” We did several takes and the star and director didn’t say anything to me, so I figured I was doing all right. I heard the director say, “I think we got it.” Then I went back to the honey wagon and sat there for a long time in case they needed me again, which they didn’t. I ate some spaghetti from the craft services table, and my work was done.

That’s all I can say, except that the rest of the movie is being made right now, and the film will most likely be released in the future. It will be projected onto a large screen in a darkened room, perhaps at a theater near you. I may or may not be in it.