Monday, July 31, 2006

Excuse Me, Your Nerd Is Showing

While we realize that spanning_time is on all the cool kids' RSS aggregators, every now and then we're going to have to indulge some not-so-latent nerd tendencies. This weekend's ComiCard Convention is one reason for such indulgence. Despite having attended (and being scarred from) an attendance at the Emerald City Comicon a few years back, we can't help but to think that this is worthy of your time.

Are comic book conventions as bad as you think they are? Yes. There was a time when comic books were a part of youth culture, when kids and adolescents read them, and adults read them because it was a part of their childhood and became a hobby. Well, there was a shift of sorts. Kids stopped reading for the most part, making the stereotype of the male comic reader all too accurate. The world of indie comics is a bit of its own beast, not really subject to quite the same stigma, but that's not what comes to mind when you think comics convention. The aforementioned trip to ECC was filled with solitary, pale males, shying away from the costumed females (yet admiring from afar), poring through bins of comics and toys for their next collection addition. We're not trying to separate ourselves too much from that demographic (we were there because an artist we liked was there), but all the same, it just felt bizarre to be surrounded by a cliché run amok.

So why attend this weekend's smaller convention? Considering its size, it's almost certain to be even more catered to the hardcore consumer. There's a certain entertainment value in that. That's not why we'll be there though. We'll be there because we're looking for a Batman action figure. Not just any Batman figure though. THE Batman figure. We'll know it when we see it. And now that we've admitted that, we're going to hope you can still respect us enough to keep us as part of your blog rotation.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Washington's Strongest Man!

So it's been slow around this here blog lately. Largely due to "life" getting in the way, but things have seemed slow overall around town. You don't need spanning_time to tell you about the Bite of Seattle (which we've missed once again). That said, here's something more than worthy of your attention, courtesy of the SLOG. Tomorrow, early enough to still make the Capitol Hill Block Party, there's a free(!) set of strongman competitions at the Redhook Brewery in Woodinville. Yes, Seattle's own (well, the Seattle metro area's own) version of the World's Strongest Man competition, which features all manner of scientifically-enhanced behemoths. There's no way to know if our own competitors will be similarly 'roided up, but regardless of whether they are, they'll be tossing around 800 lb. tires moving heavy things from place to place. Makes me tired just to think of it.

As an added bonus, you can also watch members of the Pacific Northwest Armwrestling team get schooled by teammate and World Champ Jacob Abbot.

Another Example of a Corporation with a Clue

So spanning_time has completely dropped the ball (sort of) on the latest example of corporations trying to be "cool," since some of the events are already done. Sure, it's always a completely obvious marketing device, but at the same time, they can pull off some interesting things, and if you're going to be marketed to anyway, you might as well enjoy yourself. That said, Yarisworks is holding all kinds of events as part of their "be cool like Scion" campaign. They're certainly hitting the DIY aspects pretty hard, while the Scion takes on the more urban scene. In any case, over the next couple of days they have a few events, which can be seen here. You'll also notice that they've got kickball on there, but that's for Boston, as are the Japanese Book Binding workshop and the Swap-O-Rama. Yarisworks, you're not sucking so far, but really, bring that stuff you're doing in Boston here too.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

R.I.P. Ephraim Alexander (1971-2006)

(I'm going to violate two rules here, namely dropping the only partially-adhered to Editorial We, and talking about something personal. Readers, I hope you'll understand.)

In just a few hours I head off to bury a friend. Ephraim's wonderful qualities have been extolled elsewhere, so I'll try not repeat all of that. He was a great guy, with no shortage of charisma in his two-stepping body. He loved his booze, he loved his women and he loved his weed, but most of all he loved his music and his friends. I'm happy to be able to say that I've received more than my share of friendly smiles and hugs from Ephraim, and each time I'd smile and hug back, even if that wasn't where my mood was.

I don't take this blog too seriously (as you've likely noticed). I feel like this blog is only a part of what spanning_time is. I started this blog just to share some things going on that get me excited (and don't plan on stopping yet, so don't worry). In truth, I feel that spanning_time is an energy that extends beyond these words. It's why a boring trip to Rockport can turn into an afternoon of awesome. Why alpaca can wipe away the frustration of an hour spent driving in the wrong direction. Why the search for funnel cake will never die (no, I haven't been to IHOP yet for their promotion - it feels almost too easy). spanning_time is about hope, about faith, about friends, about taking a moment to forget whatever's causing stress and just enjoying the moment. Ephraim was a true spanning_timer, although I'm pretty sure he never read a word I've written here. He had the spirit in spades, and because of that I admired him, and because of that I will now miss him.

Ephraim: alav hashalom ("On him, peace").

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

spanning_time: Rockport, MA Edition

These were the spanning_time favorites.  They needed to use more duct tape though.
As mentioned earlier, spanning_time spent some time back east. Specifically, in Rockport, MA. The word "quaint" was used repeatedly to describe the waterfront town, which in this case is a bit of a euphemism for "slow" and "boring." There is no downtown to speak of, the town is dry, and teens have zero options for places to go (there were plenty hanging around the center of town just sitting on benches chatting with one another, not even a mall to house them - so sad).

That said, the trip was entertaining, and Rockport managed to surprise on Saturday morning. After a quick walk from one beach to another, spanning_time managed to find an event worthy of Seafair (pirates included). A local charity (Freemasons?) organized a cardboard boat race.

Teams entered the contest with a fee of $100, at which point they were provided with a set of materials, which included two large sheets of cardboard, some wood, a roll of duct tape, a shower curtain holder (metal, and just one), and a can of spray shellac. Given two hours to complete their boat, they then would move them to the water, not just to see if they would float, but to actually race. Absolutely brilliant. The day's festivities meant that the actual race was missed, but seeing the fervor of construction and contemplating strategies for victory (along with a few side bets) made the event more than worthy of spanning_time inclusion. They got the spirit right, even if the locale is far removed from Seattle. spanning_time is taking over the globe, one sleepy town at a time.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Workin' for the Weekend

spanning_time's off to the greater Boston area for the next few days, but here are the things we'd be mentioning to you if we weren't continuing our summer of travel.

- Flash Mob Water Fight: There's a whole lot of wackiness going on over on First flash makeout sessions, now a water fight Sunday.

- Munny Show: It's a group show of those vinyl toys that all the kids with too much disposable income like.

- Music at Golden Gardens: The sun should be out, the music good. What more could you want?

- West Seattle Summer Fest: Sounds like a good funnel cake opportunity if you aren't too scared of crossing that bridge.

- Hot Dog Eating Competition: What's the catch? It's in Portland, new home of the world's largest hot dog.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Free Coffee* (Some Reading Required)

Does anybody else remember Book It? You'd read some books in elementary school, and after reading enough you'd get a free Personal Pan Pizza from Pizza Hut. It was the best incentive program going, and for an unstoppable reader just meant free pizza once a month or so, making for a pretty sweet deal. Seattle's library system is smart enough to have an equivalent program (sort of) for adults, allowing grown readers to get themselves a free latte from Starbucks. Here are the details:
- Read three books or listen to three books on tape between June 15 and Aug. 31, 2006.
- Write the books, titles and authors, and a sentence or two describing each book, on the entry form. If you have a favorite book, check the box next to it.
- Turn in your entry form at any location of The Seattle Public Library to earn a finisher's prize: a Literary Latte, good for $4 at any Starbucks Store (while supplies last). You will also be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a "Booklover's Basket" of goodies (one at each Library location).

Revisiting the Closet

When it comes to doing slightly off-kilter things with your time, Rebar knows whats up. Between the monthly editions of Spazz 360, the seizure-comparable dance competition, the new spelling bees, and the semi-pro wrestling, Rebar knows how to produce compelling content to get people off the couch and out to the club in the middle of the week. They've managed to one-up themselves this time though. For the next two nights (it opened Tuesday night, but well, time was being spanned elsewhere), the Brown Derby series is performing R. Kelly's opus, "Trapped in the Closet."

For some readers, no further explanation is required. Somehow though, people have missed out on the brilliance of this "hip-hopera," so we'll give some explanation and some spanning_time homework links for you to catch up.

"Trapped in the Closet" was released as a series of videos in late 2005. Each of normal music video length (3-4 minutes), the videos featured the singing of R. Kelly as he revealed an ever-sprawling tale of deceit and infidelity, the series beginning with his character in a bedroom closet, hence the title. Filled with dramatic twists and turns, the story was a little confusing, the instrumental a bit repetitive, but the story was no less engaging because of the vocals of R. Kelly. Pulling out every vocal trick in the book, Kelly sang the parts of all characters, pausing, exclaiming, and generally pulling you into the twisted tale. It was a great display of R. Kelly's musical focused insanity, all the while providing a distraction from the fact that he was accused of misconduct with a minor (misconduct here involving a fetish for watersports). The drama, currently at twelve chapters, was so over the top that it quickly gained meme status, popping up online and in various parodies.

There aren't many details about how the Brown Derby interpretation is going to work. Are people going to sing their own parts, or is there going to be some sort of narrator as in the videos? Is it going to be as straight as you can play it, or attempt to go even more over the top (a difficult task given the material)? Regardless of the answers, the Rebar performances should prove to be nothing but entertaining. Since the original is so bad it's good, and so good it's amazing, if the play does nothing but get the spirit right, that will be more than enough.

Your homework:
Chapters 1-5 of Trapped in the Closet - The beginning of the story... (you can find the other chapters on youtube)
Mad TV Parody - One of the funniest things you'll see this year.
South Park's "Trapped in the Closet" - This banned episode takes on Scientology and won't be re-aired on television, but also features some R. Kelly cameos to wonderful effect.

Extra Credit:
The Wikipedia entry - In case you really have to know all the details.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Reminder: Rock Paper Scissors Tonight!

8pm. Baltic Room. Rock Paper Scissors. Be There.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Rules for Future Pirate Engagements

Well, at least the stickers they were giving out were appropriate.
The picture above says it all. The Seafair Pirate's Landing was weak weak weak. Not one aspect of it went the way it should have. What could have been great turned out to be a great disappointment. Here are some rules for future pirate engagements:

1) Pirates don't need escorts from the U.S. military. Rather than renting a big pirate-y ship from Rent-a-ship, the pirates arrived on military boats. They looked like they were storming Normandy.
2) Pirates storm, they don't saunter. Upon landing, the pirates didn't run (as advertised in their TV spot). Rather, they walked, shaking hands, kissing babies and making their way to a booth for photos.
3) Pirates don't give out stickers. Stickers!? OK, it's a family event, need to do something for the kids. I'm not against that entirely, but smiling pirates giving away stickers. It just seemed so neutered.
4) Pirates don't hug. Same with the above. If they're going to pose for a photo, they should at least have a sword to your throat. Seriously, pirates don't want to be your friend, and kids should be able to deal with that (Yes, some kids will get scared. There's nothing wrong with that. Clowns are terrifying, but they keep showing up at the circus.).

Perhaps when there are little spanning_timers to deal with our attitude will change, but it just seems like yesterday's family fun was all family, while the fun was left out in Davy Jones' locker.

Friday, July 07, 2006


Everyone loves pirates. Pirates, ninjas, monkeys and robots seem to all hold the title of infinitely cool things, so this wouldn't be a good blog if it didn't mention the not one, but two pirate-related things going on this weekend.

First, there's the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie. You surely already know about this so there's no need to dwell on it. It releases today, reviews are mixed, yada yada yada. (There's also still Wordplay and Superman if PotC isn't your thing.)

The bigger deal since it's in Real-Life is the Pirates Landing at Alki Beach. It's part of Seafair, which is apparently cooler than previously given credit for, considering it's now made the spanning_time cut twice. Good for them, that's just the exposure they needed to become a household name. Here are the details:
Join the fun loving SEAFAIR Pirates as they storm Alki Beach at 12 noon, kicking off the month-long summer festival. Fun, games and prizes for everyone.
Time to go find an eyepatch.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The One and Only Dominator


Young upstart Joey Chestnut did very well, but Kobayashi was just too much. Setting a new world record with 53 3/4 hot dogs in 12 minutes to Chestnut's 52, Kobayashi was spurred by the pressure despite his cool, calm facade. Chestnut managed to even take the lead for portions of the competition, a rarity considering Kobayashi's dominance, but in the tenth minute his face grew pained as his pace slowed just enough for him to lose the lead for good. It was a competition for the ages, and despite today being a day for patriotism (or even regionalism, as competitors from Virginia and Seattle were in the running as well), today was a day for Japan's Kobayashi. Congrats to him. If there's any better inspiration for a day full of BBQs, we don't know what it is.

Happy 4th!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Kobayashi vs. The American

Tomorrow morning is the Nathan's International Hot Dog Eating Championship. Held in NYC every year on the 4th of July, it's a celebration of America's tendency to overindulge, and over the last year spanning_time has become more than a little obsessed with the sport (why isn't there anything in Seattle), and its reigning champion for the last five years, Takeru Kobayashi. He holds the record for hot dog eating, working his way through 53 1/2 hot dogs in 12 minutes. Thing is, while he owns the record and has positively destroyed his competition, he hasn't always broken the 50 mark. That said, there's a new kid on the block this year. Twenty-two year old Joey Chestnut managed to finish 50 hot dogs in this year's Las Vegas qualifier, giving him the American record. This could be a close one. Given our Kobayishi worship we don't know whether to let patriotism get the best of us here. Either way, we'll be up at 9am to see what happens, and we recommend you do the same. Hmmm...think a sports bar would be open to showing this?

Oh, and have a great (safe) 4th!

Here's a video of Kobayashi at work:

A Spelling Bee for Grownups

Spelling Bee season isn't over just because the national champ has been declared. Instead, the season for grownups is just beginning, as Rebar is now host to a monthly series of bees by the same folks that have been organizing them in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The first installment is Thursday at 8pm. Sounds like a fun time, although spelling for drinks and a paid bar tab doesn't amount to much when you only drink water. No matter, spanning_time will be there in force, and there's no way "piazza" is going to knock us out again like it did in the fifth grade.

From the creators and champions of the hit night in Williamsburg, Brooklyn comes Re-bar’s latest monthly series: Seattle Spelling Bee! Willing audience members and local spelling know-it- alls get drunk, flirt, and flaunt while they slur their way through progressively more difficult words to win drink tickets and prizes!