Thursday, November 30, 2006

Like "You Got Served" With Christmas Carols

Tomorrow (Friday) from 6:30-8pm Westlake Center is going to be filled with the sounds of Christmas cheer in addition to the sounds of Christmas commerce. We didn't even know this happened at all, but it's the 20th(!) annual Great Figgy Pudding Street Corner Caroling Competition. Their press release says it's a Seattle tradition, but this is the first we've heard of it. It's definitely for a good cause though, as the teams compete to gather the most money to donate to the Pike Market Senior Center & Downtown Food Bank. Seattle, you continue to surprise us, and to quote Martha Stewart, "That's a good thing."

Date: Friday, December 1, 2006
Time: 6:00pm – 8:30pm
Where: Westlake Center & Pine Street between 3rd Ave. & 7th Ave.
What: 40+ teams compete in a caroling competition to raise funds for the Pike Market Senior Center & Downtown Food Bank.

(5:00 - 6:00pm) Pre-Figgy Entertainment: Christmas in the Northwest artist, Doxology will perform on the main stage in Westlake Center.
(6:15 – 7:15pm) Caroling Team Competition
(7:30-8:30pm) Caroling Competition Finals and Award Ceremony

[via Rachel]

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Mac & Cheese Cookoff This Weekend

In some sort of cosmic synchronicity, spanning_time has managed to become part of a Mac & Cheese cookoff this weekend on the same day that Union is hosting one of their own. The one at Union is a bit spendier than we'd usually post about here, but it's a benefit for Farestart, so we're willing to support it regardless. It's a reasonable substitute for the smaller DIY version in which we're taking part. We've already tweaked our recipe, and we think we've got what it takes to win. Should we do so, we're more than willing to share our recipe if there's interest.

Union's Mac 'n' Cheese Cook-off!

Join us for all-you-can eat Mac 'n Cheese cook-off at Union benefiting FareStart!

Enjoy this comfort food favorite as prepared by Seattle area's top chefs including Ethan Stowell of Union, Seis Kamimura of BOKA Restaurant + Bar, Renee Erickson of Boat Street Cafe, Robin Leventhal of CRAVE, Steve Smrstik of 35th St. Bistro, celebrated food writer Cynthia Nims and others...

You love Mac 'n Cheese... see who makes it best!

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

So That's Where We Get It From...

Mama spanning_time has just informed us that today she's going to be watching the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy in her own marathon. Gotta love it.

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Blogging From the East Coast

We just had a long post eaten by Blogger, so we're going to be a bit more brief this time around. We're typing this from our less event-filled home in Virginia, where we'll be for the next few days of our Turkey Day vacation. Last night we made a trip to Jillians and saw a couple of noteworthy games we'd like to share with you.

Possibly our new favorite arcade game is Panic Park. Released in 1998 by Namco, the game cabinet features two horizontally-aligned levers, one for each player. These levers move along the same track, giving players the chance to bump, nudge, or otherwise alter their opponent. The game itself doesn't feature one involved narrative, but instead consists of 5 randomly selected mini-games, each of the "collect the coins," "avoid the barrier" variety. Very simple to pick up, and addictive once the competitive juices start flowing - nothing like bumping your opponent into lava at the last second to take the win. We don't know of this game existing in Seattle, but we plan to work on that, with emails to both Gameworks and Jillians. We're big-time bloggers here, so we've got all kinds of pull.

The other "game" isn't a game at all, but a horse-racing simulator. Derby Owners Club allows players to create, train, and finally race their own horse. We're not sure if this is ultimately for cash and prizes, but you can actually save your horse's stats and take it with you. This wasn't a casual game in the slightest, with the players there keeping tabs on their progress in notebooks, discussing strategy on occasion with the others there. We didn't get it at all, but couldn't help but to be fascinated by it, which counts for something, right?

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Friday, November 17, 2006

Checking on the PS3 Front Lines

Oh the joys of planned shortages...So we managed to make it up to Northgate to check on the campout situation for the PS3. There was a crowd of about 50 outside Best Buy, with a group of around 6 friends upstairs at Target. Best Buy was telling people that they expected 34 units, while Target had a sign only listing 8. We heard no mention of a list at Target, but one of the people in line mentioned he planned to buy 4 units, one to keep, the rest to place on eBay. We didn't survey the Best Buy line, but they had buying limits in place (one per customer) to avoid some of that sort of behavior. Moreover, they had a list of people allotting every unit they had. The list was filled up when people started lining up Wednesday afternoon (!). The catch with the list is that people still had to stay outside the store in line, which is fair. And those people beyond the 34? They're in line in hopes that those original people lose their will to stay, that their credit cards don't work, or that by some miracle of supply chain management Best Buy gets more PS3s than they're expecting. spanning_time is writing this post from the warmth of home. We salute these enthusiasts and entrepreneurs for their efforts, but we'd rather play our PS2 than camp in the cold for a PS3.

(There aren't expectations for this same sort of mayhem Saturday night for the release of the Wii. Best Buy is expecting over a hundred, with resupplies every few days. Nintendo has stated that everyone that wants a Wii can get one before Xmas.)

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It's Late Notice But...Scrabble @ Westlake

Letters. We've got letters. We've got sacks and sacks of letters. Leeeetttterrrrsss!This event snuck up on us since we got the release for it a few weeks back, but this is definitely worthy of your time if you work near Westlake Center. What else are you going to do on your lunch hour? Eat? Psh.
The RealNetworks (which, of course, anagrams to AN OK WRESTLER) Man vs. Machine competition will be held at downtown Seattle's Westlake Center on Friday from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM Jim Kramer, the 2006 US Scrabble Open Champion, will be enclosed in an isolation booth as he tests his SCRABBLE skills against the RealArcade version of the game. Jim has a chance to win $10,000 if he can beat our game. Serving as Masters of Ceremonies for the competition will be John Williams and John Curley, Anchor for Seattle's Evening Magazine.

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

A Weekend Based Around Endurance

It's a bit late to do a weekend recap, but so what, we're just now recovered and we're going to do it anyway.

- Stranger Than Fiction. Recommended. Sure it's a bit schmaltzy at the end, but the overall movie experience is a good one. Will Ferrell does a good blank everyman, and the story has some interesting spanning_timey overtones to it. We're willing to say it's the feel-good movie of the season, but we're prone to cinematic clichés. In all seriousness though, we liked it and think you will too.

- Seattle MindCamp 3.0. Once again we didn't stay the 24 hours, as we felt our 12 was enough. We got to see the new Nintendo Wii in action (very fun, even just to watch), got drawn by the Drawbot, and of course attended a variety of talks. Mind Performance Hacks and How to Open Source Your Life were most directly spanning_time-centric. We'd love to be able to mention the lucid dreaming talk, but we left before that began.

- Shorty's Pinball Championship. We expected to show up, eat a hot dog, watch some pinball and leave in an hour or so. We ended up there for SEVEN hours - and we weren't in the tournament. The tournament ran for nine hours total, and we stuck around because a friend of ours was competing (he ended up taking third, taking him to around #160 in the world rankings). Of interest to us was the disdain competitors had for the vintage machines, learning that the nachos at Shorty's are pretty tasty, and further cementing that we suck at pinball, since the scores being put up were orders of magnitude above our lifetime best.

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PS3 Launch Tomorrow

Any gamer worth his salt already knows that this is the biggest week in recent memory game-wise. The PS3 launches tomorrow, while the Nintendo Wii launches in just a few days. These are both Big Deals. And yet, spanning_time is more interested in the phenomenon of camping out for the consoles than in obtaining one of the consoles for ourselves. We're thinking of making a run to local retailers to survey the campout scene and compare it to what we've seen online. As an example, here's video from the Union Square Circuit City:

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Shorty's Pinball Tournament Tomorrow

Beer, hot dogs, pinball. What more could you ask for? Shorty's is one of spanning_time's favorite Seattle destinations, and one of our favorite times to go there is for their annual pinball tournament. There's not much need to show up for the whole thing (we'll admit watching someone else play pinball is only so exciting), but it is a good excuse to stop by for a midday hotdog and beer.
Double Elimination Head to Head Competition
Doors open practice begins at 11am
Registration at 1pm
Competition starts at 2pm
Endorsed by the IFPA

Winner takes the grand prize of a vintage pinball machine and 25 points for the world player ranking list. 2nd Place is 15 points. 3rd is 10 points and 4th is 5 points.

Lots other prizes!

Entrance fee is $5. Spectators are FREE!
Must be 21 or over to enter (because, well, we're a bar)

[via Seattlest]

Friday, November 10, 2006

In spanning_time News

- Seattle Mindcamp is this weekend. It's got -5 tickets left, so it'll be beyond a packed house. We're hoping for entertaining talks, delicious food, and productive nerding. We won't be blogging from there (there will be more than enough of that), but we'll do a recap of the event.

- The Rock Paper Scissors World Championship is tomorrow. No, we're not going, and no, we don't want to talk about it. Here's an interview from a guy who is. [Thanks Rebekah!]

- It's official. A burrito is NOT a sandwich.


Learn the Art of Seduction

This is a timely post, considering the big comment explosions coming in the wake of this week's maintenance of the lapdance status-quo. If you want to learn the ins and outs of seductive dance (for yourself, your lady, or your fella, we don't judge here), there are classes available for you. Since we'll be indoors the next few months, might as well make it sexy-time.
Beginning Burlesque Dance/Movement aka Bump & Grind with Miss Indigo Blue
Learn to move like a burlesque star!
Mondays 6:30 - 8:00 - Ongoing!
Northwest Actors' Studio, 3d floor
Cnr 11th & Pike, Capitol Hill
$30/drop-in, $140 for the remaining classes:
Nov 13, Nov 20, Dec 4, Dec 11, Dec 18
Register at


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Because it's Funny

In case you missed this among all the more attention-worthy items floating around the Interweb the last few days, here's an analysis of the political alignments of some of your favorite comic book characters (check the comments, some of them are pretty insightful). Nice work Dave's Long Box.

[via Seattlest]


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Vote Today

This is just a reminder to get out there today and vote (or mail off your absentee ballot). We know it's rainy, but go vote...all the cool kids are doing it.


Monday, November 06, 2006

Just Because this is Pretty Neat

Are you tone deaf?

We got 88.9%. Top that!


Bad Google, No Cookie!

That RSS explosion? Not anything we did. We blame Google. In any case, sorry for the inconvenience.


Pretty, Witty and Bright

We feel no sense of shame in admitting that we are positively addicted to West Side Story. We've got the crazy, super-deluxe edition of the DVD, we've got the original soundtrack...on vinyl, and you have no idea how many times we've almost bought an official West Side Story t-shirt. So despite the gray weather, you have no idea there we are for this talk/performance tonight by Marni Nixon, who dubbed for Natalie Wood in the film. If she sings "I feel pretty," we're going to cry.

Here's the copy:
One of the best-known and best-loved singing voices in the world, Marni Nixon dubbed songs for Natalie Wood in West Side Story, Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady, and Deborah Kerr in the King and I. She debuted with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at 17 and continued her career with Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Charles Ives, Stephen Sondheim, Rogers and Hammerstein, and many others. She has performed on Broadway, starred in her own Emmy-winning TV show (Boomerang) in Seattle, appeared in concerts, theaters, and night clubs and has released classical recordings, and toured extensively with both Liberace and Victor Borge. Still an active and compelling performer, she has written her own behind-the-scenes story in I Could Have Sung All Night. She returns to the Seattle stage for an evening of stories and song illustrating her six decades of performing.

[via Metblog]


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Halloween Aftermath

We didn't make much mention of Halloween around here, since it's not like it really needs much help from us. We hope you all went out with your Dan Savage masks and had a grand time. spanning_time managed to come up with a costume in time for Halloween-observed on Saturday, dashing any of our political aspirations by crossing the gender barrier as a sexy nurse (Yes, pictures exist, and No, you can't see them). Fun times were had by all.

So now what? It's November, it's cold, but there are still good things out there to enjoy. For one, there's pumpkin ale (if you're into that). For two, it's Cupcake Harvest Season. For three, it's voting season, and you could even span_time while helping the cause (spanning_time is socially responsible). But most importantly, and for four, it's curling season. That's right, it's time for more weekend afternoons spent making an ass of ourselves out on the ice (and convincing our readers to come along for the fun). The first set of open houses has already passed, but try to keep your weekends open because there's definitely going to be a spanning_time event for this soon (maybe we'll get cupcakes, drink beer and vote on something just to make this post have some sense of cohesion).

In any case, welcome to fall y'all. We'll do our best to fight the urge to hibernate and keep you updated with the relevant information to fill your free time with levity.


Help Out the Science Fair!

In the pre-s_t days, we attended the SOAP-sponsored Science Fair, and we have to say it was a good time, with big-ass baking soda volcanoes ("big-ass" being the technical term for "very large") and crazy experiments with electricity. It messed with your reactions because every few seconds you were distracted by either a bright flash or loud noise. Despite such reflex-exhaustion, it was fun. They're looking to have another and need your help (yes you!). Here's the copy, and more details about this will be forthcoming as it gets closer.

Weird Genius Real Science Fair
Jan. 20th, 2007
In an old schoolhouse down in the valley (location to be revealed, in Seattle)

Calling all mad, weird, funny, and real scientists! The third Weird
Genius Real Science Fair is scheduled to occur in just under three
months, and we are beginning to take science project submissions. At
this time we are requesting just a rough outline of what you wish to
demonstrate about the wondrous workings of science and science related
automagic. For example: I would like to do a waterfall of delicious
beer to demonstrate how potential and kinetic energy relate to each
other. I'll need a hose, a wall outlet, and some nachos. Mail those
submissions here ->

This is a 21+ event, with beer, and multiple volcanoes. We are not
responsible for your white labcoat du jour, and we maintain the right
to refuse any project that will put us in jail, burn the entire place
down, kills/zombify, or harm seemingly innocent picklesquashes no
matter how much those bitches deserve it.

At this time we are also looking for volunteers, inquire within. Mail
here -> .

Questions -> Look for a formal announcement of
the event that you can send to your friends, family, and colleagues
sometime soon. For now, dream that impossible (but quantifiable and
provable via scientific method) dream.

The Seattle Outsider Artist Project (SOAP) is a Washington State
non-profit dedicated to undifferentiated creative proliferation in the
community. Please contact us immediately if you create anything.

Seattle Outsider Artist Project

SOAP is a sponsored program of The Shunpike: "The Shunpike Arts
Collective strengthens the Seattle arts community by partnering with
artists to more effectively present and distribute their work."