A Slice of Fried Gold

The Creation of Evel

Sunday, October 28, 2007
The Humble Beginnings...

I love Halloween. It's such an awesome time always, and a lot of the fun is in the fact that you a) get to wear a costume and b) get to make a costume. This year I had one key requirement - must include a cape. Well, and that I wanted to be the only person dressed up as whatever I dress up as. And sure enough, my idea - Evel Knievel - was an original. No one else dressed up as him for sure, and it was a total success. Before I get into the actual event of the Halloween celebration on the Party Bus, I will take you through the creation process.

In progress...

To start, the idea was crafted at Siam Cuisine over dinner with Amy, Lacey, and Hannah. We were discussing what I should dress up as and I announced the cape requirement, and somehow I just sporadically came up with Evel Knievel. Second off, the design was brought together over lunch at Moose's Tooth with Kim and myself, where we decided that the majority of it should be duct tape. As you can see, what I am wearing is created out of two things - white jumpsuit and duct tape. Lots and lots of duct tape.

The finished product minus one pair of goggles!

The hardest part by far was actually finding the jumpsuit, which I finally found this week (at the buzzer!). As soon as that came together, the hardest part became the arduous task of creating the cape and adding stars. Thankfully, I had a wonderful team to assist me in making this glorious costume come together.

Creator #1 - Kimberly!

I'd like to thank Kim for helping with the conceptualizing and application of our concepts. She made my belt buckle (which was totally sweet and totally lost last night) and pretty much was the idea factory.

Creator #2 - Amy!

Amy was the super awesome applyer of the first layer of tape. She helped me create all red and blue parts on the costume, and made my totally awesome cufflinks and collar. Booyah Amy!

Last but not least, my Mom and family friend Penny get bonus kudos for solving the riddle of the cape and for helping cut out 120,562,312 stars to put on my costume, which was INSANELY time consuming. But it looked great which is all that matters.

I'd like to say I had the best costume last night (besides maybe the guys that were dressed like Scorpion and Sub Zero from Mortal Kombat or maybe Iron Man), and if not the best, then I would like to say the most original. It was super sweet, and as a believer in the concept that Halloween can only be as good as the costume, then my Halloween was a complete success.

Even better, was the super cost effectiveness of the costume. While others were spending all kinds of cash on their costumes, my costume cost me the amount of money it takes to get a jumpsuit, a bunch of duct tape, and materials for a cape. Which is really not that much.

But yes, so there it is. There is my costume. I wish I had more pictures of the process, as it was actually kind of a lengthy one, but I sadly do not. Next year I will go more into detail, and I am already brewing up ideas for next year. I'm thinking theme, and Colver and I have already started discussing doing a team costume again, ala our Beastie Boys in the Sabotage video costume from a few years back. Ideas? Feel free to submit!

Random Post of the Day

Friday, October 26, 2007
I just think this is awesome. Today at work I have to work until 10 am, then I get to go to the Egan Center and play around all day for charity. I'm playing in a charity Texas Hold 'Em tournament, then I'm playing in a Guitar Hero tourney as well (GUITAR HERO 3 THIS WEEKEND! WOO). If that's work, then I'd like to work every day, all day. Also, because of said charitable event, I'm the only person in the office until 9 am, so I'm sitting here blaring Alkaline Trio, doing sales reports, and drinking some coffee. Not too bad.

Many updates coming soon, including Am I Buying a Car?, Creating the Perfect Costume, and Party Bus! Intrigued? Come back for more later people!

Trivia Champs once again

Friday, October 19, 2007
The Drunken Cowboys have prevailed for the fourth (fifth? I've forgotten how many times we've won) time. This time, it was a mixed bag team, with Lorna, Colver, Sean, Ben, Cole, and myself leading the charge, and Nick with Yume joining in later on. We overcame missing the first rounds final question (even though I myself suggested the correct answer) to storm back in the second and third and win on a cakewalk final question. Plus, there was a glorious comic book question that I knew very well. It was a very grand night.

The final question was rather difficult, as none of us REALLY knew it, but it was "What is the name of the movie that is playing at the Drive In Theater during the opening credits of the Flinstones?" and it was the Monster. We went democratic and did a vote, with The Monster winning 3-2-1. I did not vote for that, but I don't particularly care, because we won! Woo! $230 more dollars than we used to have. Booya! Go Drunken Cowboys!

One excellent point to make - we led going into every final question. That's consistency baby. That's what that is right there.

Ho Hum

Sunday, October 14, 2007
Oh Tom...you're so dreamy...

So today my boys the New England Patriots and the Dallas Cowboys faced off at Texas Stadium in Dallas, and it was a battle of two of the three remaining unbeaten teams in the NFL. It was...not close. The Patriots murdered the Cowboys souls, beating them 48-27 in a game that was not as close as the score indicated. Tom Brady threw for 5 TD's (currently on pace to have the single greatest season for any QB ever), Wes Welker received for two, and it was just another day at the office for the Pats. They are the best team I've ever seen. I've been watching Football for most of my life, and a Pats fan since 1993-ish, and this is by far the best Pats team I've seen, including any of the three Super Bowl championship years.

Some who read this know that when I watch the Patriots I am normally what could be described as an emotional wreck. I don't even get nervous anymore.

I sort of feel bad for the rest of the NFL, because the Patriots are seemingly untouchable. But at the same time, I don't care, because this rocks. Go Pats!

Bling Bling

Saturday, October 13, 2007
Thom Yorke from Radiohead with his new stunner shades

Radiohead's In Rainbows has performed rather well since its release to the public through their website. Here are the numbers.
  • 1.2 million downloads
  • Average of $8 paid per download
  • 1 in 3 people estimated to have paid nothing
  • At least one user paid $1,000 for the album

This means the Radiohead has pocketed $9.6 million so far for the album, roughly of course. That's a mighty fine performance for those British blokes. As shared by my good friend Sheri, bands such as Oasis, Jamiroquai, and the Charlatans have committed to releasing albums in the same way. Welcome to the future of the music business folks.

In Rainbows

Thursday, October 11, 2007
Radiohead

As many of you have likely heard (considering it has made most every form of news, from every blog in the world to the Anchorage Daily News), Radiohead released a new album yesterday. Typically, this would be a big deal for music aficionados as the band is simply one of the best out there, and even those who are not big fans of their music likely respect them for their clear talent and their longevity. However, what makes this a far larger (the word epic has been bandied about, and god knows people don't use that lightly) happening than a simple album release is the distribution method.

This album was only released online.

It was only announced 10 days before its release.

You can pay whatever you want for the album.

Also, when I say whatever you want, I mean literally whatever you want. I love the band, but I am also cheap. Apparently my cheap side overcame the love side, and I paid $0.00.

For a band that is well known for making rather bold statements (ask them about Bush's Presidency - I dare you), this may have been their boldest. From a Marketing and Distribution standpoint, this single move may have revolutionized the music industry. Some would argue this type of movement of music is the future. The band is without a label, they released it entirely on their own through their own site, and they did not go out and interview about the album or hype it or anything. They simply announced it and let the hype grow organically. Or as organically as something on the Internet can grow.

The point is, this single album could force the changing of the tides from CD to digital music once and for all. A band like Radiohead doing this proves the viability of this type of venture, but only if it is a success. Which by every indication so far, it is. Now you are probably wondering, why would a band willingly take money out of their pockets by doing something like this? Well, they did not take a whole lot out, as removing the record label from the equation means that all money earned from sales of their album is in fact earned. Instead of taking in something like 10 cents on every dollar, they are earning a dollar on every dollar. Even if half of every "purchaser" pays nothing, they will likely still be earning five times as much as they would with a label.

Outside of that, the ability to pick up the album for free could easily create a new generation of Radiohead fans, catapulting the band to even higher stratospheres of popularity than before, allowing them to build on their already high revenue on merchandise and ticket sales.

I'm sure this move terrifies record label executives, as it could easily be a change of direction to a new future for the entire industry. Already, Trent Reznor (aka Nine Inch Nails for all intents and purposes) has abandoned his label, citing the need to get away from the current form of the music label. Will he do the same thing that Radiohead did? I would not be the least bit surprised, nor would I be surprised if he wasn't the first of many.

So that is enough of that, everyone knows the current issues with rapidly decreasing CD market and the increase in alternative distribution. This just happens to be an extreme case that happened with a far more high visibility band.

The main question now that the album has been released and the hype has subsided a bit is...is it any good?

Well, it isn't going to reinvent the wheel. If you like Radiohead, you'll like the album. This is their 7th full length album, if you didn't like any of the other albums, you probably will not change with this one. It is a very good Radiohead album, and I would probably put it as my fourth favorite after about 5 listens, behind OK Computer, Amnesiac, and Kid A, but ahead of Pablo Honey, Hail to the Thief, and the Bends. It is a very relaxing album, and sort of feels like an amalgam of every album they've made (besides Hail). Each of their albums had very individualistic feels, and this one is the first one that feels as if it smashes it all together into a big Radiohead album. It has raw instrumentation, electronic effects, distortion, ambient vocals. Yep. It's a Radiohead album.

It is by no means a fun album, nor is it exactly radio or driving music. But if you are the type of person who listens to music while studying, reading, or surfing the Internet, this is a great zone out album to put your cares away to. Especially the track "House of Cards." That is a particularly good one. Although someone else needs to listen to "Jigsaw Falling Into Place" and tell me why that reminds me so much of "Hotel California." Why does it sound so much like it?!

Anyways, this was a very random posting by me, I just find the idea of Radiohead releasing a free album online that is actually very good to be extremely cool. Check it out. Why not? It's free, and that is a price no one can deny. Or pay money, so I can feel a bit better about the fact I paid nothing. Either way, get on that!

An admission

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

This is a terrible thing to admit. I like to think I am intelligent person. I really do. I have no real reason to not think this, as I know a lot of things, know how to do many others, and know more useless things than many people know in their entire knowledge base (yes, I do think I am hot stuff...deal with it my gracious readership). But there is one thing that is strange for me, more than anything.

I love kids books.

See, intelligent people are supposed to read the classics and thought provoking fair. Why read Harry Potter when you can dive into something like War and Peace? Who cares about the Golden Compass when you could read the sumptuous verses of Ulysses?

Well the reason I read those books is because I get a ridiculous amount of enjoyment out of them.

For example, I just finished reading the Golden Compass (or its original title - Northern Lights), the first book out of the His Dark Materials trilogy by Phillip Pullman. It was a wonderful young adults fantasy about a young girl named Lyra whose fate was to save the world, but one of the keys was her to not know about it along the way, all the while being led by a Golden Compass called an Alethiometer. It takes her from Oxford, to London, all the way north to fictional iced over worlds called Bolvangar, Trellusland, and Svalbard. It has a wonderful cast of characters that help her, terrible villains, and brilliant ideas all along the way. The sad thing is it has probably been classified as a children's book by your average book reader and/or adult, when truth be told the sheer escapism and the wonderful characterization and adventurous plot should be seen more often in today's world.

In today's world full of televised despair and instantenous updates on insurgent bombings, who really needs a glum book about depression anyways? I don't! I'd rather read about the Panserbjorn, the warrior bears of the North. Or about Lee Scoresby, the Texan aeronaut who helps Lyra along the way. This is why I in no way feel badly about my love of these types of books. I just get so much enjoyment out of them, how could anyone that is wrong.

With all that said, regardless of your age, I fully recommend reading this series. I'm currently on the second book and it is similarly wonderful. The first book however, I can fully attest for and it is absolutely riveting and alternately joyous, adventurous, and tragic. It is every bit as good as the Harry Potter series (oh my god, what did I just say...did I really just say that?!) but with not nearly the hype behind it. Sorry...I have to compose myself, I can't believe I just said that I liked that book as much as the Harry Potter books. Take a deep breath...take a deep breath. Ok. Better.

Also, the movie of the Golden Compass is coming out December 7th, as directed by Chris Weitz and starring Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, and newcomer Dakota Blue Richards as Lyra (and she best by top notch because Lyra is the backbone and heart of the story). The new trailer came out, and I can already tell that they changed the plot around a good bit, but that is OK. It's like with the Harry Potter series - when you have a longish book that you have to convert into a movie, things need to change around and certain characters need to disappear to really fit the outline.

I cannot in good judgement say that this does not look awesome anyways. I am ridiculously excited to finish the book series, and I want the movie to come out, become a huge success, and then the next two movies to come out as well. Is that so much to ask? Now get reading and make sure to watch come December 7th. If not for you, but for me. I am but a simple man who loves children's books and the films that are adapted from them. Is that so weird?

Also, I have included the third and final trailer for the film. Enjoy! It's a pretty one!

So...

Sunday, October 7, 2007
I've been wanting to write about this for a little while, as I find this to be pretty amusing, but it is also one of my entirely useless blogs that has nothing to do with anything besides a useless thought I had. So here goes.

I find the word "so" to be the world's most amusing word. Why is this? A little while back, I was talking with someone, and then there was silence, and then the person transitioned back into speaking by saying "so..." (periods of ellipsis meaning a pause) and then they asked a harmless question. So let me correct myself already, I don't find "so" to be particularly funny. It has to be followed by a pause, and then a question. Whenever someone says the word "so" followed by a pause it means they pretty much have nothing left to talk about and are filling the gap from there. Here's an example...

Me: Yeah, so I've been doing really well at my job. It's pretty boring, but you know, whattaya gonna do?
Other person: Yeah. I feel the same way.
(awkard pause)
(awkward pause...both people look around for someone more interesting)
(awkward pause...look at cel phone, as if willing it to call)
Other person: So...what are you doing this weekend?

It's very terrible of me, but I always find myself laughing a little to myself about this. Of course this also ties into the default question when you have no questions left and are a young person. It could be Monday morning at 8 am, and someone will still ask you what you are doing this upcoming weekend if they have nothing else to say. But that is another topic for another time.

You probably haven't noticed it before, I hadn't before that first time, but after I had I started noticing it constantly. It's kind of like when someone you know just got a new car (let's say an Expedition that is blue) and before then you had never seen them around and all of a sudden they are everywhere! It's exactly like that - you will notice every one on one situation will likely have one of these little sections.

Perhaps it is just me, as I have found myself to be strangely terrible about dealing with one on one situations. The funny thing is, I generally find myself to be a very good conversationalist. This is another example of my all or nothing nature. If I'm talking with someone one on one, I could either go for hours and be charming and funny, or I can have nothing to say and be insanely shy. Thus, I inspire more "so..." situations than the average person, but I think everyone has to deal with it.

I think if there is one thing I could improve on (although there are of course many things I wish I could improve on) it would probably be to become a more consistent person. I'm essentially the Richie Sexson of social situations. Sure I hit .205 and have 90 hits in a season, but you know that probably a third of my htis are going to be home runs!

Back to the original point - pay attention in one on one situations. Is this just something I inspire, or is "so..." an epidemic? I'd like to think it is the latter, but you never know with people. It's like Jimmy Morrison says...people are strange. He definitely hit the nail on the head with that one.

Television: An FDA approved drug

First off, before I start my first official post vacation blog, here is a link to my video I took of Spoon performing Back to the Life at the Crystal Ballroom at Musicfest NW. Additionally, this will get you to the rest of my videos I took from Bumbershoot and Musicfest NW, although there are only about 7 total. Plus, due to the fact that I was taking this video on a tiny digital camera and that Google Video nukes the resolution of uploaded videos, they may be more on the not so good side. However, do check them out, as I sacrificed my body and potential well being to take those videos so they should be respected at the very least.

Now enough with that. As some of you may know, I have become an addict to television to a certain degree. I essentially craft my evenings around what TV shows are playing that night at this point, and generally believe that Television is producing far better overall product than movies at this point. It's not that there is something that TV is inherently doing better than movies, it's just due to the wide scope of possibilities that the medium provides writers - the scope simply allows them to take the shows to greater lengths than movie screenwriters can possibly do.

Example: Let's say you compare Mark Verheiden (a chief writer for my favorite show Battlestar Galactica) and someone like William Monahan (Academy Award winner for Adapted Screenplay for the Departed). Is Verheiden a better writer because I prefer Battlestar to the Departed? No, of course not. But because Monahan has to deal with the constraints of movies (namely the fact that they typically must be around 2 hours or they will be cut to smithereens so the general populus can handle them) while Verheiden deals with a serialized television show, one that is going onto its' 4th season and its approximately 40th hour of existence. Given the sheer amount of exposure to the characters and overall storyline, Monahan simply has no chance to compete against the medium of television for my love. Hence, why TV rocks my socks these days - Serials have developed to become the name of the game for TV anymore, many rooted in genre origins (Genre in this case meaning Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Space, etc.), which many of you will also know is right up my alley.

Another reason for TV overcoming movies in my opinion, besides the change in focus of TV shows topics and the overall improvement in writing, is the sheer fact that it is simply producing better shows than it ever has before. Battlestar Galactica, Lost, Veronica Mars, the Office, 30 Rock, etc. fit firmly into some of the best shows ever debate in my opinion. That doesn't even include the multitudes of high quality shows that do not necessarily fit in there quite yet and all of the others that are extremely well loved that I do not watch (like the Wire and Friday Night Lights). Even with long time powerhouse the Sopranos going away, the level of content being put out on a week to week basis by the industry is astounding.

The point I was trying to make (and feel as if I may have successfully done at this point) is that I really like TV. It sort of rocks. Another thing that rocks is we are just passing pilot season, with some shows already on their way to cancellation and other shows on their way to maybe joining the Mount Rushmore of Television shows. How do you tell one from the other? What should you be watching as a budding television watcher in your own right? Well here are my three can't miss recommendations, although odds are you are already watching them if you are a big time TV viewer.

Best new show of the Fall: Pushing Daisies

Wait...you're kidding me. My favorite new show of the Fall is Pushing Daisies? How can this be? A show that was created by TV god Bryan Fuller (creator of other awesome shows Wonderfalls and Dead Like Me and former writer for Heroes)...that stars brother extraordinare from Wonderfalls Lee Pace, the cute as a button Anna Friel, the charming and amusing Chi McBride, bizarrely awesome Swoosie Kurtz, and the voice of Harry Potter books Jim Dale...that had its "Pie-lette" directed by movie man Barry Sonnenfield (of Men in Black fame)...AND is ridiculously quirky (always a big plus in my book)...is my favorite new show? I can't believe it! Shocker of all shockers.

With all that said, I've only seen one episode so far so this could change of course, not to mention the fact that I really honestly liked this and the second place show as much as each other, but the overall production value of Pushing Daisies and the somewhat repetitive feel after two episodes of the second place finisher put Daisies over the top. Possibly more exciting than the fact that it is most excellent? It did great in the ratings, far contrary to Fuller's traditional "success" with TV. He normally has his shows cancelled fairly fast, but this one may be built to last.

Number two with a bullet: Reaper

What does the bullet represent in this case? The bullet represents the fact that at any given week it may ascend past Pushing Daisies as the best new show of the season. Reaper through two episodes has been remarkably amusing, displaying sharp wit, tons of quirk (gotta have it!), amazing rapport amongst the cast, and the always great sight of Spanish from Old School in a primary role. Who doesn't love Spanish?

The show stars Bret Harrison as Sam, a normal slacker type guy who after his 21st birthday has to become a bounty hunter for Hell because his parents sold the soul of their first born to the Devil. Sounds pretty bizarre right? It very much is, and it is extremely funny mainly due to the awesome Ray Wise as Satan himself and the rapport between Sam and his best friend "Sock" (Tyler Labine). The main concern with the show as of right now is the fact that it has had two episodes so far that have had very similar structures and plots. Sam finds out about new escaped soul. Sam grows concerned over his ability to do the job. Sam confronts concerns and takes down the escaped soul. Profit. Lather, rinse, repeat. Not a big deal so far, as it is early, but if they keep up the structure repetitiveness, it could greatly harm the show in the long run.

Regardless of the repetition, it still has been great fun to this point and I fully recommend it.

Third best new show of the season: Chuck

As my friend Kim pointed out, Chuck and Reaper are remarkably similar shows. Both are about a slacker in his early twenties who is working a nowhere job when something comes out of nowhere to take his life in a drastically different direction. Both star pseudo outcasts who have ridiculously cute girls in their lives. Both have sidekicks who fit the necessary comic relief niche. Both have scary men in their lives (one only because of reputation - Satan - the other because he's hulking and violent - the always awesome Adam Baldwin).

Sure they are similar, but this tech support guy turned secret agent show does not suffer for it. It succeeds both in its putting of Chuck himself into dangerous situations, but also in its taking two traditional hardcases and putting them into decidedly low key jobs. Putting people in fish out of water situations is perpetually amusing, but having two cases of it in the show leads to extra hilarity.

The cast is extremely able, with Zachary Levi being a great lead (who claims to be a big dork himself, being a big gamer and comic guy - can I get a hell yes?), Baldwin as the amusing hardcase NSA guy, and Yvonne Strzechowski pulling off the uncommon feat of being gorgeous, funny, and believably badass (but seriously, have a more intense name - I dare you). Paired up with Heroes, this show will certainly succeed ratings wise (or it better at least), and it deserves it as well. It's a fine show, and I am looking forward to the exploits of Chuck and his friends for the remainder of the season.

So those are my favorite shows of the newbies. What else am I currently watching from the new crop? Of all the new shows, I am currently watching Dirty Sexy Money, Journeyman, and Bionic Woman. Dirty Sexy Money is the best of the three, with Peter Krause leading a fantastic cast, while Journeyman so far has been good with potential for greatness and Bionic Woman has been...kind of boring. It definitely has potential, so I figure I'll give it 4 or 5 episodes before calling it quits, plus it gets a grace period because it was created by Battlestar exec-producer David Eick and frequently features appearances by Bstar folks like Katee Sackhoff and Aaron Douglas (Starbuck and Chief Tyrol respectively).

This is where it gets really sad, as I will list what I am currently watching and you can see how much my life is owned by TV.

Sunday: Dexter
Monday: Prison Break, Chuck, Heroes, Journeyman.
Tuesday: Reaper (coming in February is Lost)
Wednesday: Pushing Daisies, Bionic Woman, Dirty Sexy Money.
Thursday: My Name is Earl, 30 Rock, the Office, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (x2) (Scrubs coming...someday).

Yeah, so it owns my life, but that's cool. That's why DVR's were invented...so I can have something to do in between conference calls on Saturday. Hurrah!

Bridgetown Bonanza and Musicfest NW

Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Due to the fact that I am two parts lazy and three parts busy (or maybe switch those two), I have fallen ridiculously behind on my blog. I am just now finishing up the blogging about my vacation. Is that sad? Yes it is, considering my vacation ended September 10th. Man oh man, I suck at blog. Because I have been so terrible, I will simply coast through the remainder of my vacation. It was most excellent, but definitely less eventful than the rest of my trip. Unless you consider a ridiculous amount of walking eventful. Then in that case, my trip was eventful as they come. With all that said, here are the highlights of the trip.

Best Mode of Transportation goes to...WALKING! (Just kidding, the Max wins)

What is the Max? See above. The Max is Portland's primary form of mass transportation. It is put together by TriMet, a wonderful company that does various forms of mass transit. For $4.25 (that is, if you pay, as many people who lived there told me they did not) you get an all day pass that will get you limitless travel by Max, Streetcar, and whatever other forms of transportation TriMet has in Portland. It was super awesome, getting me from Sobo and Todd's (which was near a Max station) to downtown in 15 minutes or so each time, allowing me to reach all of my destinations on time always.

Whether it was catching Once at the local theater (superbly delicious film by the way) or getting a ride back at 1 in the morning after my last night at Musicfest Northwest, the Max was the man on my trip. Of course I still had to walk countless miles to get to and fro various other locations, such as the Willamette Week offices or to Audio Cinema (an awesome concert venue where I saw a special Nike show - Cat Power and Bobby Bare Jr. with the Decemberists backing him...very cool...very relaxed), but altogether it wasn't that bad. Some good exercise, but my feet and back hated me by the end of the trip.

Best building in town goes to...this house!!!

Random huh? In Bridgetown itself, you would think I would call one of their bridges the coolest building/bit of architecture I saw, or maybe one of their larger buildings or even one of the cooler old buildings I took pictures of. But nope. This house was ridiculously cool, with its very large windows, unique design, and its extremely cool multi-tiered garden at the top. Sure it was actually split into apartments, but that doesn't mean I can't become filthy rich and buy the place, then evict all of the tenants and live there myself (Insert evil laugh here). Plus, it was in a nice neighborhood nestled in between Good Samaritan Hospital and Burnside, so I was definitely pretty sold on the place.

Best place for a midnight snack goes to...Voodoo Donuts!!!

Sheri took me to Voodoo Donuts after hyping it a good amount before my arrival and while I was there. Considering I was wiped after my ridiculously awesome Musicfest NW experience that night, nothing could possibly have been more delicious than some awesome donuts and a nice serving of Milk. This place was not your ordinary Donut shop, as I ordered an Apple Fritter (ridiculously delicious!) and a Maple Bar that had bacon on it. Both were superb, but it was so hard to choose as they had the most ridiculous selection I've ever seen.

Essentially they had the traditional stuff, variations of the traditional stuff (by putting weird things like bacon and Apple Jacks on them), specialties (like the Memphis Mafia, which sounded amazing but they were out of - it was a big glazed donut covered in chocolate chips, bananas, and peanut butter...mmm), and various other things. It was packed and was definitely a big time hipster place, drawing crowds from nearby concert venues and late night bar patrons. I fully recommend if you are ever in the area.

Best band at Musicfest NW: Favorite Band Division goes to...Spoon!!!

My personal favorite band Spoon performed the first night of Musicfest NW at the Crystal Ballroom, and after them being massively underhyped (I had heard they were not very good at all live), they totally rocked the house. They performed with openers Black Joe Louis (shockingly good with a fantastic bluesy sound) and Viva Voce (once again excellent), but regardless of how good the openers were, Spoon simply could not be topped. Even though I had to bail a little early (to catch the last Max out of there), they still played a lot of my favorites and managed to play a wide variety of material, covering tracks off Girls Can Tell, Kill the Moonlight, Gimme Fiction, and their new classic Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga.

It was a great show, although I was saddened that my boy Britt Daniel did not pull out his acoustic guitar for my favorite song ("I Summon You"), however I was excited because it was the last song I got to hear. I feel as if it was Britt trying to get me to stay and watch the rest, but alas I had to go. However, for all you folks out there, make sure to catch them this weekend on Saturday Night Live. It should be a good one as Seth Rogen hosts and they are the musical guest, so be there or be square!

Best band at Musicfest NW: Super Fun Rock Division goes to...the Thermals!!!

The Thermals were the last band I saw at Musicfest NW, and they were just an absolute blast. It was Sheri and myself at this show at the Crystal Ballroom, and it felt like the first concert I had ever been to. It was just a blast and a reminder of how fun shows can be.

The amazing thing is that similar to Art Brut, I am mostly ambivalent towards the band recorded. I really like a few tracks, but for aggressively fast three piece punkish bands, I mostly find them boring. Not live. Because Sheri held my stuff during Girl Talk, I held her purse and sweatshirt (plus my sweatshirt) during their set, and jumped around in the pit and danced and played and just had a great time. This was pretty much everything you could want from a rock show, and I was so happy we went. Sheri said it reminded her of Junior High, back when you would just go to a show and rock out and have fun. Sounds about right to me.

Best band at Musicfest NW: Dance Party Plus Division goes to...Girl Talk!!!

Now traditionally, you would think that a guy who essentially makes all of his music on a laptop by seamlessly meshing together other people's music would be pretty boring live. Right? I had heard stories of Gregg Gillis, aka Girl Talk, and his insane concerts. Nothing could have prepared me. At the very beginning of the set, after Lifesavas had finished and a good hour plus before headliners Clipse went on, I went up to the front to take a picture, as seen above. Right as I was considering going back, Gillis turned the entire venue upside down. What happened was some of the most fun I've ever had at a concert, as he did his entire set from right below the stage and with the entire audience around him and confetti shooting out from the ceiling.

Gillis commanded the audience to essentially have a big dance party, and that he wanted everyone to bob because it was too hard to dance. Well, as soon as the music started, chaos ensued for 45 minutes and I was right next to him, dancing my feet off and taking many absolutely astonishingly terrible pictures. It was truly an experience show, as I think if I hadn't been right up front it would have been an entirely different experience. The possible thought that Girl Talk would be boring live? Long gone. Girl Talk and his laptop were quite possibly the most memorable performers of the entire festival.

Also, as proof of the insanity, look below to catch a video of Girl Talk performing, and please, pay attention for yours truly as I am heavily featured in the video. Thanks to Pampelmoose, as I know this is his video but I am sure he won't mind.

video

Bands seen at Musicfest NW: Bobby Bare Jr. (with the Decemberists supporting), Cat Power, Black Joe Louis, Viva Voce, Spoon, Lifesavas, Girl Talk, the Thermals.

Musicfest NW grade: A

I mean come on? It's a festival that is based around going in and out of various shows and really getting a special experience. I had a great time. Although I am very sad I skipped out on Rilo Kiley, as I do quite like them.

As for the rest of the trip, it was a great time hanging out with Sobo, Todd, Sheri, Erik, Katie, and Sarah. It was excellent seeing everyone again and whenever I see them again is too far away. Thank you all so much for your hospitality and putting up with my transient nature. I must admit, next time I plan a trip to visit people, I will make sure it is sometime when they can get time off. I spent a large amount of my time by myself, which is not a problem, but I wish I got to spend more time with my friends. Finally, my blog will shift back to the present. I do have to say this, can't wait for next year's Bumbershoot and Musicfest NW experience!