Behind the Scenes at America’s Largest Contiguous Hop Farm | Serious Eats. I had this same learning experience when I attended Hop Academy two years ago.
The Amazing, Original Green Building Is Soon to Be Vacated by the Original Timber Company | Slog. You can see this building while driving on I-5 and it’s amazing even from a distance.
The Heron and the Snake | BirdNote. This was a very unusual Bird Note, and basically the audio version of that Never Give Up frog vs. heron poster.
Part 1: I cheated on my girlfriend of 8 months. At Do You Think You’re Pretty? the blog of Emily V. Gordon who I hereby nominate as the best councilor for us all. Between telling this guy what he needs to hear I also love this: “No love, no matter how great or small, benefits from being overly romanticized. It makes us forget that we’re actually just two people who decided they dug each other.”
Everyone In Hollywood Has This Hairstyle at Refinery 29. Next time I head to get my haircut I’m just going to pull a bunch of these images as examples for what I want.
A tiny gathering of artists has become the most interesting weekend in tech | The Verge.
The narrative lottery at XOXO – Boing Boing.
The XOXO Festival and the fierce urgency of nice — The Message — Medium.
· comments  · 10-9-2014 · categories:links · misc ·
“What would happen if a whale suddenly appeared in the sky and then plunged down into a South American town.” at the Ninth Letter Arts & Literary Journal. Via The Morning News. No mention of a bowl of petunias.
Bone Records – Mighty Girl. Oh wow, people in the Soviet Union listened to banned music made using records created from repurposed the vinyl in old x-rays.
Damn, Gina, It’s never not a good time to read Wikipedia’s Bog Bodies at Damn, Gina. We saw a few of these at National Museum of Ireland in Dublin. Go and read about how they were found and try not to think about it next time you are enjoying your Scotch.
Harvesting Free Food at Seattle’s Beacon Food Forest | Garlic Gulch. This is in my neighborhood!
Recasting Gilmore Girls for the Highly Anticipated, Hypothetical Movie, at Gawker. I was pretty worried about what recasting choices people might expect but this article makes some solid points. Via Making It Lovely.
Cool Tools – Hugo’s Amazing Tape. It only sticks to itself.
Five Things You Didn’t Know About The Red Carpet – A Practical Wedding. Meg’s writeup about what it’s really like on the red carpet is a whole lot of fun.
nateswinehart: Being good to each other is so important, guys. This is so true, and so funny, and true again.
48 Unexpected Views Of Famous Historic Moments. These are really amazing. Via Girls of a Certain Age.
· comments  · 09-10-2014 · categories:links · misc ·
Death Star Gown | MAKE: Craft. That Star Destroyer handbag!
Feel the Burn: Mailbag! Posture! Desk Jobs!. Exercises good for those who slouch. You can’t see me right now but know that I’m pointing at myself.
5 Details They Cut from My Season of ‘The Biggest Loser’ | Cracked.com. “That is the mighty power of the television editor: With enough time and a copy of Adobe Premiere, you can make Mr. Rogers look like a blood-drinking psychopath.”
Flexible Light Helps People Find Keys And Wallet In Their Giant Bags – PSFK. A flat, rechargeable purse light with 24 LEDs. Want! via Girls of a Certain Age.
Cool Tools – What’s in My Bag? Christopher Michel. A frequent world traveler shows which items he keeps with him at his seat in the plane. I do something similar, it’s so calming knowing I have everything I need to block out noise or charge up without digging through a bag at my feet.
Infinite Trees – The Colossal Shop. So simple and so lovely. Should this actually be a Christmas link?
Wonder Woman Costume Designs We’d Love To See On The Big Screen, at i09. Some of these are great, recognizably Wonder Woman but a bit more badass.
Engineer Prints from Photojojo. Huge 3′ by 4′ black and white prints for your home, shipping is included in the $25 price. I have a plan.
Douglas Adams’ Guide To Interspecies Sex Getting Published At Last, at i09. These will be the unpublished works that were on paper, whereas The Salmon of Doubt was what was left behind on hard drives. As somebody who found the tapes of the original radio series at my library and listened to them obsessively when I was in high school I’m stupidly excited.
· comments  · 06-2-2014 · categories:links · misc ·
Recently King Arthur Flour gathered a group of PNW bloggers and we all made dinner for a shelter here in Seattle. It was part of their Bake for Good initiative to encourage and help people reach out to their communities in various ways. In addition to getting food to those in need, baking for community events and bake sales to raise money they also have a Bake for Good Kids traveling tour that helps kids learn to bake and work with their communities. In addition to all this King Arthur Flour is an employee owned company where each employee donates time each year to volunteering and helping the community. You know what? There’s been a lot of gloomy stuff going on in the news lately and being a part of the Bake for Good tour reminded me that there is plenty of goodness out there and sometimes you have to create it.
(The image above is from the King Arthur Flour website. The pictures below are all from my aging iPhone, the days were so packed with flour and butter and dishwashing that I didn’t pull out my camera.)
(My bread was a little lopsided but bascially worked. The one here looked so pretty I took a picture of it instead.)
We spent some time in commercial kitchens which was a thrill for me. On the first day we made braided white loaves, dinner rolls and apple pies.
We braided white bread dough, you start from the center and braid down, then flip it over and braid down again. Not as easy as it sounds, at least the first time.
It rose! And got brown and pretty!
I’ve never been able to get a handle on pie dough. I’d seen plenty of demonstrations on cooking shows, I’d done the vodka thing, the food processor thing but I never had any success and basically gave up on it. Turns out some hands on learning with a cheerfully helpful teacher is what I needed.
What I learned? Half of the butter bits need to be way larger than I suspected. And one of these large plastic scrapers is oh so handy. Seriously, I won’t ever make pie dough without one of these again. It’s particularly great if you don’t have cold hands because it can mix and fold with minimal contact from your hands. It’s also great for scooping up chopped vegetables, even easier to use than a metal bench scraper. There you, my new favorite kitchen multitasker.
In my notes I have VB, which stands for Visible Butter, something you want during the last stages of putting your pie dough together. When you are gathering it to chill before rolling out you want the dough to be both shaggy and crumbly, not too dry but just wet enough to hold together. Right, I’m not going to do any good telling you about it, go find a pie person and practice!
The next day we made salad, macaroni and cheese, chicken and a few other vegetable side options. I appreciated the oversized tools.
We had a tour of the shelter and it was pretty sobering. Everybody there was a good soul caught in a difficult situation. It made me feel very grateful for what I have and like I could be doing a lot more to help out in my community. I’ll be seeking out as many opportunities to volunteer as I can.
If you like to cook I do have a suggestion for helping out in your area, look up your local VA hospital and see if they are seeking volunteers to cook dinner for the caretakers of patients who are living there are on a short or long term basis. Here in Seattle the Fisher House is one of those spots, this is something my friend Fresh Picked Seattle organizes from time to time so all credit goes to her. In addition to cooking they have room for people to come and hold craft nights, garden, organize outings or teach a class.
Alright, let’s go out and do some good.
· comments  · 05-30-2014 · categories:food · misc ·
How To Clean Tarnished Silver Jewelry — Jewelry Making Journal. Getting rid of the tarnish on silver jewelry using stuff you have in the house already and without (much) polishing, nice.
Back Of The House: The Life of a Cook’s Illustrated Test Cook | Serious Eats.
NPR’s April Fool’s Day Prank Was An Absolute Masterpiece, at Filmdrunk. Very clever!
Cool Tools – Kitebuilder. A site all about building kites, with tips and plans.
A Goose That Lays Golden Eggs by Geraint Krumpe of Y Line Product Design — Kickstarter. This product scrambles eggs inside the shell without piercing the shell at all. Nicely thought out and I kindasorta want one, but I also really like an egg with a runny yolk.
Campfire Boyfriend Sweater | Mighty Girl. Need-want all of these things. We are without fire in my house and I miss it.
· comments  · 04-22-2014 · categories:links · misc ·
DIY Travel Size Toiletries in Drinking Straws | Mighty Girl. So smart.
Hot Male Cellists’ ‘Thunderstruck’ Cover Will Blow You Away (VIDEO) | The Stir. I had never heard of these two who do covers of modern songs. For this one in particular they really get into it near the middle of the video.
So You Think You Want to Open a Brewery… | Serious Eats. From my summer spent with Spinnaker Bay Brewing I can tell you everything he says here is spot on.
defective yeti — Board Games via Skype.
Lammily, a doll based on the average size of actual human girls. From what started as an idea to find out what the Barbie doll might look like if it were scaled to an average human comes this doll ready to be produced. The arms and legs articulate so she can were flats or heels, play sports and sit. It’s already 400% funded with 23 days to go. I might buy one for my office to remind myself that people are good.
Tagalongs vs. Peanut Butter Patties: The Great Girl Scout Cookie Regional Naming Rift | The Hairpin. See also: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Girl Scout Cookies at Baking Bites. “One of the two bakeries, ABC Bakers, produces four completely vegan cookie varieties: Lemonades, Thanks-A-Lot, Thin Mints and Peanut Butter Patties. These same cookie varieties are not vegan when they come from Little Brownie Bakers.”
· comments  · 03-12-2014 · categories:links · misc ·
How to make a fake bag, at Kottke. The CEO of Saddleback Leather giving a crash course in leatherwork and how you can make a cheap ripoff of one of his bags.
Fall DIY Project: How to Re-Wax Your Clothing and Gear | Man Made DIY.
Cool Tools – Waterpik Water Flosser. It’s not really for flossing, it’s designed to work on “the bacterial biofilm that perpetually forms on the surface of teeth and that never quite gets cleaned away by toothbrushes, dental floss, and various gum-recess cleaning gizmos.” Good to know.
craigslistmirrors. Endlessly fascinating. For real. Via Waxy.
The Radiating Beauty of Wheel Icicles, at Visual News. This is crazy. Via Girls of a Certain Age.
From Hummingbird Heads to Poison Rings: Indulging Our Antique Jewelry Obsession | Collectors Weekly. An interview with Monica McLaughlin who writes the fascinating column on estate jewelry over at The Hairpin. One of the things shown are coach covers, hollow hinged spheres women used to cover the diamond in a drop earring to hide it from view during the day, so clever. Also, taxidermy jewelry! Via Girls of a Certain Age.
The Story Behind The Gilmore Girls Music tol by Sam Phillips. At Refinery 29. Amy Sherman-Palladino is a former professional dancer? That makes Bunheads a bit clearer.
· comments  · 01-30-2014 · categories:links · misc ·
Er Wang Dong cave in China so huge it has its own weather system | Mail Online. I love caves, it’s been far too long since I’ve been in one.
Three Panel Soul » On Discovery. Yup, that’d be me too.
What things cannot be made by machine? | Ask MetaFilter. “For example knitting can be duplicated by machine, but crocheted items can only be made by hand.” As a knitter who has avoided learning crochet because it seems to involve too much counting and too much paying attention at all times, this comparison is riveting. Will we eventually foil the robot takeover by communicating via crochet and macrame?
Family Outfitted in Awesome ‘Labyrinth’ Costume Ensemble. Via Laughing Squid. This is amazing all around.
Podcast Thing, short interviews with interesting people offering up their favorite podcasts. Via Swissmiss.
Dopp Kit Essentials. “Dopp kits gained their namesake from a German immigrant leatherworker named Charles Doppelt.” Tell me more.
Art of the Shim. Shims are serious, low-alcohol cocktails that are fun and delicious but won’t knock you out with booze. My friend Dinah just happens to be the author of this book and I know for certain that she has great taste in cocktails.
Damn, Gina, dramaticstart: Vacation rentals for viewing The Northern Lights. What?! I am doing this.
Testing 30 Life Hacks We Found on the Internet | Mental Floss. (Video.) I adore how delighted he is when something actually works.
How Has “Bust” Magazine Survived? – The Awl. I’m glad it has.
· comments  · 01-9-2014 · categories:links · misc ·
· comments  · 09-18-2013 · categories:links · misc ·
D.I.-Why?: Emily Matchar on the Allure of the “New Domesticity” | The Hairpin.
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, a sequel to Carl Sagan’s Cosmos. Produced by Seth MacFarlane and hosted by Neil DeGrasse Tyson! at Kottke.
Why I’ll Miss Bunheads: Because I’m a Mess, Too | The Hairpin. What she said. I’m going to miss that show a lot, maybe even more than Gilmore Girls.
Luxe by MOO | Premium Business Cards. These look really nice, and really affordable. The example cards they show off are funny!
THL Talks: Tim Gunn on Why the Future is 3D Printed AND Handmade | The High Low.
Make my own deodorant? Check. | FreeTime, Ltd. A maker approved, DIY totally irritant-free deodorant. I’ve been having strange reactions to antiperspirants and the most basic and natural of deodorants lately (lucky me) so I’m going to try this. Via Mighty Girl’s round up of You Made This on Go Mighty.
· comments  · 08-22-2013 · categories:links · misc ·
About an hour of Christian Marclay’s The Clock at Kottke.
The Story Behind the Lacoste Crocodile Shirt | Threaded.
The Maze. A mysterious choose your own adventure puzzle thingy.
Text to Morse code convertor. You never know when you’ll need it.
Sir Realism – Soul Searchin’. An indie game I really must finish someday soon, very clever idea. From a previous year’s Ludlum Dare.
Conjuring – Futility Closet. This card trick isn’t an illusion, but it’s really neat to do over and over to prove it true.
Checklist | Get Your Shit Together. A straightforward and very helpful guide to how to prepare your shit (wills, passwords, bank accounts, life insurance) just in case.
What TV show should I watch next? | Ask MetaFilter.
The Technium: The Clock in the Mountain. All about the Long Now foundation’s clock.
Amazon.com: PocketToolX Mako Titanium Bike Tool. This looks useful, and tiny.
Robbed! by Megan Seling – The Stranger. How bands and individuals can insure their instruments, and plenty of devastating examples as to why you should do this right away.
Giant Colin Firth Terrorizes London – The Atlantic Wire. I must see this for myself.
· comments  · 07-17-2013 · categories:links · misc ·
My superpower is being able to find four-leaf clovers. It’s not very handy but, hey, the luck might rub off. This patch was one I spotted next to a sidewalk last month and it was so full of perfect four and five-leaf clovers I couldn’t bring myself to actually pick any.
Staring at that patch I realized that I still didn’t know if four-leaf clovers are caused by mutation or a recessive gene and looking at the Wikipedia article on four-leaf clovers it appears that the answer is that science doesn’t really know either, that it’s sort of both. Some points about clover that I particularly liked from that entry:
- Each leaf is believed to represent something: the first is for faith, the second is for hope, the third is for love, and the fourth is for luck.
- Clovers can have more than four leaves: the most ever recorded is 56, discovered by Shigeo Obara of Morioka, Japan, on May 12, 2009. (Editor’s note: daaamn.) There is a photograph.
- A five-leaf clover is known as a rose clover. That is so lovely.
- There are reports of farms in the US which specialize in four-leaf clovers, producing as many as 10,000 a day by feeding a secret, genetically engineered ingredient to the plants to encourage the aberration. (Are GMO four-leaf clovers still lucky? I think not darling.)
By the way, I find that early Summer and early Autumn are the best times to look for four-leaf clovers. They appear most in clover beds that have been undisturbed for a while (meaning: nobody has cut the grass in a while). My favorite place to look for clovers is in farm fields while walking through a pumpkin patch. The biggest and most perfect four-leaf clovers I’ve ever seen were in a fallow patch of a community garden. Go forth and stare intently at the ground. And good luck.
· comments  · 06-4-2013 · categories:misc ·
Cool Tools – New Complete Guide to Sewing. Cool Tools mentions that this is the book Tim Gunn recommends, and I’ll add that when I entered college to study costume design this was the book I was required to bring with me. I have the version with the 1970s patterns in the back though!
I’m trying to come up with some quirky actions that a survivalist or adventurer might do in the wilderness, actions which might seem odd or random to the uninformed but are actually useful, clever or at least have a specific function which is not immediately obvious. Once you know WHY someone is doing it, you realize it isn’t nutty at all. What are some other examples? | Ask MetaFilter. I feel like I need to read some of these recommendations.
The Fake Townhouses hiding Mystery Underground Portals | Messy Nessy Chic. Fascinating! Via Making It Lovely.
Your Favorite Interview-Format Podcasts? | Ask MetaFilter.
Legends Never Die by Caroline Rothstein. “Two decades after a low-budget film turned Washington Square skaters into international celebrities, the kids from “Kids” struggle with lost lives, distant friendships, and the fine art of growing up.”
GeoGuessr, at Kottke. You’re given five random locations from Google Street View and you have two guess. My best score so far is 10K. Really fun.
Peter Murphy at Webster Hall + concert-going tips. | Door Sixteen. Anna knows how to prepare and engage with the artist at a concert, take note.
Hit me with some joyful, hopey songs that are less “everything is going to be all right” than “the bad shit is over — everything is all right!” | Ask MetaFilter.
· comments  · 05-28-2013 · categories:links · misc ·
Last year when I was attending Camp Mighty I won a grant from Go Mighty and Bing for one item on my Life List. They chose my goal of “throwing a dinner party for eight people”. I was excited to win but there was a problem. It was actually a big record scratch moment. You see, the dinner party on my list was more of an aspirational thing. My house isn’t large enough to hold that many people in the same room. My goal was really something more like: “move to a larger house and then hold a big dinner party for all the people I love”. Obviously Go Mighty wasn’t going to be giving me a bigger house, so I had to improvise.
I was making plans in the depths of winter here in the Pacific Northwest where it’s drizzly and cold for weeks on end so an outdoor party wasn’t an option. (Though I wish it had been, I really admire the outdoor dinner parties that Jordan Ferney throws.)
I rented the back room of a restaurant, Via Tribunali, here in Seattle. I was familiar with that room since I’d attended a party there before. I was all nervous about renting it, it seemed like a big deal to me. But the restaurant was responsive and even asked if there was anything they could do to make the occasion more special. Which in fact there was! More on this later.
Next was the guest list. I was sitting down with a friend talking this over when we ran into somebody we both know from different places so I took it as an auspicious sign and grew the guest list out from there. I gathered people I know who know somebody else at the party but for a different reason. (I was trying to overlap some circles and in the end it appeared to work out really well.) I checked some dates and chose the one everybody was free, which was April 1st.
So I had a location, a guest list and a date. But how to make this something more than just meeting at a restaurant? I needed a theme. Since it was going to be April Fool’s Day I took a distant memory of Miracle Fruit parties which were happening here in Seattle about five years ago. Miracle fruit, in case you’re not already acquainted with it, makes your tongue perceive sour flavors as sweet for a short period of time. It’s a kind of trick and it involves food. Perfect for April Fool’s Day. And it turned out that nobody else at the party had tried it before so it was a new experience for all of us. I decided dessert would be a spread of various sour foods to sample. (I ordered the mberry tablets right from Amazon, they came with a list of foods they suggest you try which was really helpful.)
I took some advice that Maggie Mason gave way back and put some time into the invitations. (I was a delighted recipient of the ones shown here and it was very memorable.) Good invitations set a tone, get people excited and make everybody feel especially welcome. At least I hoped.
When I was a kid I remember getting Transformers toys packaged in a box that had a squiggly red square on the side. Inside the box was a piece of transparent red gel paper that you held over the squiggles to reveal a code. It was nearly more exciting than the toy itself. I mean, it revealed a secret code. It was awesome. I decided to use this as part of the invitation.
I’m not the only one that feels this way and I found on the Martha Stewart website a printable squiggly line overlay for you to use, along with instructions, here. I was too late to order the red premade cellophane decoders so I had to create my own. I used a red gel meant for lighting which I found at a party supply store. I found some premade cardstock labels, cut windows out of the center and sandwiched my red decoder gel in the middle. Simple. After that all I had to do was find a font I liked. The only word that needed to be revealed was “sweet”, because I didn’t want to make the invite too mysterious. Everybody liked the invitations, and everybody was thrilled to get a piece of real mail. This made me awfully happy. (A similar idea that I’m also smitten with is shown here, instructions are half way down that page. By the way, the decoder I made works when you view the image on that site. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Secret decoder website messages!)
Meanwhile the restaurant asked if there was anything they could do to make the dinner party extra special, and mentioned creating a custom cocktail in particular. I explained about the miracle berries, made sure it would be ok for me to bring a variety of sour foods that we’d sample during the dessert portion of the evening and asked if they would make an extra sour cocktail for us. And they made us three. One was a take on the Jasmine and involved fresh lemon juice and Aperol, one was lime juice and tequila based, and the last was the restaurant’s own coffee cocktail. I was incredibly pleased that they put so much thought into making our evening special. Thanks!
The evening of the dinner party arrived quickly and I didn’t have time to stress over it nearly as much as I thought I would. The room was dark in a delightful way, but it was horrible for photographs so please forgive my lack of them.
We chatted over dinner and ordered a huge bottle of wine, which was great fun to pass around, I’m afraid I completely failed to capture the scale in the picture above. Jameson picked out the wine, if at all possible I recommend you have a wine writer at your dinner party. He was awesome and gave me this tidbit about the wine:
Nothing says “dinner party” like a large bottle of wine on the table. Why settle for a puny, standard 750ml bottle when you can impress your guests with a big 1.5L bottle? And the 2009 Vietti Perbacco was a pizza-pleasing Italian gem. Hailing from Northern Italy’s Piedmont region, it’s made from the Nebbiolo grape. This is the same grape that makes the area’s most famous wine: Barolo. And the Perbacco is pretty much a Barolo in everything but name. But while Barolos need to spend a bit of time in the cellar before they can strut their stuff, the Perbacco has more of a “drink now” style that’s perfect for a dinner party with friends and lots of pizza.
Bonus: In the local dialect of Piedmont, “Perbacco” roughly translates to “Oh my God!” Luca Currado of Vietti explained that what his mother said the first time she tried this wine. (Thanks to Carrie at Dalla Terra for this bit of information.) We had a similar reaction at our table: “Oh my God, this wine is fantastic with pizza!”
After dinner was cleared we started in on the Miracle Berry experience. I had bought the tablets, which you allow to dissolve in your mouth for a few minutes. Then we sampled lemon and lime slices, vinegar potato chips, tiny lime tarts, cornichons and balsamic vinegar. All while the restaurant brought us three courses of the sour cocktails. Consensus was that lime slices were amazing, the vinegary things were interesting but not pleasant, the drinks were great. But it was the lime slices everybody went back for.
This is what I learned: Friends are amazing and want to celebrate with you, and if you don’t have room to fit them inside your house they won’t mind a bit. An invitation sent through the mail will make everybody feel welcome and excited. I’m not going to hesitate for a second to hold another party, renting space in a restaurant is far less expensive than a new mortgage and is entirely worth it.
It was a really fun evening and it made me eager to be able to hold more gatherings in the future. Thank you Go Mighty and thank you Bing for helping me to find that entertaining a large group outside of one’s home isn’t complicated or scary. I also want to offer a huge thanks to my guests, a girl couldn’t ask for better friends. Here are what they are up to: Kyle is the man behind the nerd rock band Kirby Krackle and the future (soon!) Charging Hippo Brewing. Maggi and Jeff are currently selling their very excellent house. Jameson has a wine blog and podcast called Wine Without Worry. Lucia works hard at our local PBS station (and is our in on when Downton Abbey is coming back) and wants you to know you can now get PBS on your Roku. And Scott is my husband and haver of many projects including the band Kin to Stars, now with drums, who are getting ready for a show at Folk Life this summer.
Disclosure bits: The Life List grant gifted by Bing covered the cost of the meal. I was not paid to put up this post. All opinions are my own. Pinky swear.
· comments  · 05-14-2013 · categories:misc ·
We got back from the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo yesterday and I’m all jittery with leftover excitement. I’d gone primarily to see Kirby Krackle (for those just tuning in my husband Scott plays bass in the band) when they opened for Weird Al. Look, I tried to play it cool but this was a big, exciting, “if only I could tell my 15-year-old self” type deal. And it was indeed amazing and fun and I’m so grateful I got to be there for it.
After we arrived in Calgary I was given I Guest Pass to the expo and a Backstage Pass to the concert, neither of which I was expecting. I resisted my urge to jump around and squeal.
The band got a peek at the arena the day before when things were still be setting up. Three thousand some seats. No pressure.
The afternoon of the show was load in, including piles of rented equipment. The behind the scenes halls of convention centers are very sexy, as you can see.
The theater was more dramatically lit than the day before.
Weird Al’s equipment had already been set up and I fell in love with this drum. Hello cutie.
First Weird Al’s band did a quick monitor level check, along with dramatic lighting. Either they have a band member that does a really great Weird Al singing imitation or they have a Weird Al voice modulator (for harmonies?) but at some point a Weird Al sounding voice (not a recording) was tested and I wanna know how they did it.
Next came Kirby Krackle’s sound check, still with some dramatic lighting. They had smoke machines running before we arrived and I tried to get video of how cool it looked being pumped into such a huge room while they ran through various lighting cues but I completely failed.
During sound check they went through and set the sound level for each band member’s instrument and microphone. During Scott’s turn Weird Al came over to greet the band. (You can see his elbow in the photo above, just behind Scott’s knee. I promise!) So Scott didn’t get to say hello, which was a bummer. I was on the wrong side of the stage to grab a good photo of the moment. But we hear from close and trusted sources that he was a nice guy.
My husband wielding his huge instrument. Hey there.
We did a panorama of the theater with Kyle and Scott appearing at both ends. It’s possibly funnier when you’re scrolling the picture on the iPhone.
The band’s green room was really posh. Ok, not really. It was the locker room for a hockey team. The away team. It smelled like the inside of rental hockey skates and was all cement and wooden benches. It was awesome, actually, because the band ran through an acoustic version of Grandma’s House and really made the echo-y surfaces work.
I make fun but I should also say that the expo took really great care. There was nothing that wasn’t provided backstage (including private space) and everybody was professional and great at their jobs and happy. Calgary you’re great.
I attempted to keep a low profile while blatantly abusing my backstage privileges. Behind the stage was a curtained off area that contained piles of costume changes and from the right angle you could spy Weird Al’s jacket for Eat It! I wonder how many versions of this have been made over the years? Or is this the same one? Is it real leather? Pleather? I was too timid to run up the ramp and touch it. Also, I’m very certain that I would have been stopped and then kicked out. Maybe.
This was innocently sitting stage right. I walked past it a dozen times before I realized that oh my god this is Weird Al Yankovic’s accordion!!! I wish there was some haze-and-halo filter I could have put on this photo. I didn’t touch the accordion. I should have. Just to say I did. Also because nobody was looking and I totally could have gotten away with it. (“I touched Weird Al’s accordion” sounds misleading though, no? Funny, yes.)
Kirby Krackle took the stage to a swell of cheering. Which was amazing and made me smile. I have shaky video of the moment that contains a loud off camera “thank you” (from a volunteer photographer that I’d just helped sorta kinda sneak into a semi-backstage photo vantage point) and a whispered “you’re welcome” as the camera wobbles. I regret nothing but maybe it’s time to invest in a good video recorder and some big headphones?
(Photo taken while sitting slightly backstage, the screens were projected from behind so I could see a clear but mirrored image.)
On either side of the stage were big screens that showed the live footage as it aired by flipon.tv. You can (for free!) view the entire Kirby Krackle performance. I am listening to the show while I type this. It sounded better in person, but then again it’s hard to capture the awesome. Right around 17:35 I believe you can catch a glimpse of Kyle’s younger brother sneaking onto stage to capture iPhone video from behind the drums.
At a few points Kyle (the bright blur in the middle of the photo) jumped down off stage to run through the seats. The first time he did it he nearly gave me a fit because I thought he was going to jump all the way down. Happily he knew better than I and used a row of big speakers as a giant step. I heard later that Kyle had been caught examining his route down during sound check and had been given a stern “no” by a stage manager. Rule breaker!
The lighting and sound guys were quick. During Ring Capacity they threw up green lights.
Shortly after I took this photo the band ended their set and as I was turning back a guy (who had no idea I was connected to the band) bounded past and said to me “that was great!” Indeed it was, mystery man.
We watched most of the Weird Al concert from the arena seats that were behind the big screens. We’d situated ourselves in the shadows far back from the stage and early on a manager came over and indicated that we all needed to move closer to the stage. Turns out during Weird Al’s show all of the band members have a costume change for each song (the time is covered by Al TV clips, which are hilarious). From where we were sitting we possibly could have seen rushed clothing changes. They were a very good looking band but, yeah, I would have made sure we all moved too.
I live in Seattle so I had to include this picture of the wig that Weird Al wears during Smells Like Nirvana, his drummer was wears a wig of amazing dreadlocks. I’d seen the girls with pom-poms who are onstage during this song practicing backstage, they had a room with a window and as I passed by I thought one was waving frantically so I glanced over. It was awkward. I hope they don’t think I was peeking. Oops. In any case, Scott and I later saw them doing a full cheerleaders-with-pom-poms rehearsal in the hallway. I think they were dancers hired just for that show and if so they learned the routine the few hours before they went on. Bravo gals!
· comments  · 04-30-2013 · categories:links · misc ·