Pumpkins to Potatoes and More

What a weekend! After what feels like non-stop weekends of festivals for the past month, this weekend I found myself checking out 3 more. First off, the Pumpkin Pitch in Burlington. I've been wanting to go to this for years but never thinking about it until Halloween which is too late. This year, however, I saw the sign while riding the bus* so made it happen. Basically, competitors build giant trebuchets and huck pumpkins. The winning team chucked one over 1500 feet!

From the pumpkins to potatoes, we headed to Mount Vernon to check out their harvest festival which was highlighted by a world record attempt for the largest potatoes au gratin. While the spectacle was fun and it was great to run into so many folks I knew, the potatoes were rather unsatisfying: undercooked, cold, and lacking any spices whatsoever. Luckily, a hop over to the Skagit coop for some bacon ice cream cleansed the palette.

Lastly, after somehow missing the action for the last 5 or more years, I walked to downtown Anacortes to check out the Oyster Run, our town's annual motorcycle rally. In a word, it was big. So so so many motorcycles and people in black leather. While it was interesting to stroll through and see all the action, I can't say that I'm so excited that I'm looking forward to next year. But a party is a party and it was definitely good for the businesses of A-train.

All in all, a fun weekend. Who would have thought our little corner of the state could be so exciting!
Monday September 26 2011File under: Anacortes, events

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The Magic Chamber Comes to Anacortes

This will probably be of interest only to those readers in Anacortes (or with connections in Anacortes).

I'm happy to be helping my friend Joey Pipia put on his new show, The Magic Chamber, here in Anacortes. My main role is spreading the word, making sure everyone knows what an awesome show it is going to be. And you better believe it is going to be awesome! I've seen a number of Joey's acts, and they've all been funny, positive, and above all, really quite amazing. I fancy myself pretty adept at figuring out how they do that, but he's got me stumped on a lot of them.

The show is Feb 5. at 7pm at the Depot Arts Center in Anacortes. There are only 30 tickets available making it a perfect setup for those up-close tricks. But that also means that you should get your tickets early. Tickets are available at Watermark Books or online here.

So here's hoping it's a success; for the Anacortes events scene, for a great performer, and for all the audience. Spread the word, tell your friends, see the show!
Tuesday January 25 2011File under: Anacortes, events

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Coming Soon - SHBANG!


It's coming up on that time of year again, folks. In less than 3 weeks, Lookout Arts Quarry will be hosting the 3rd annual Off-Road Soapbox SH'BANG!!* Perhaps you've read about it here before: 2008, (pre) 2009. Now come be a part. Besides ridiculous cars hurtling down the hill, there will also be a circus show, bands, swimming*, food stands, and a wishing well! Besides all that, it is a great opportunity to check out the now world renowned Quarry. (I'd be glad to give you a personal tour.)

Any questions, any question at all, you can either post in the comments and I will respond, or contact me. I can tell you all about how to get there on the public bus (so you can save $20 on parking), what to expect, how awesome it will be, etc.
Wednesday August 25 2010File under: events, quarry

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Kinetics in Port Townsend

This weekend, I cruised on through Port Townsend to check out their much talked about kinetic sculpture race, basically human powered sculptures that have to navigate road, sea, and mud but somehow put the majority of the focus on showmanship. Luck would have it that I missed out on seeing the race and instead had to settle for the tail end of a parade and the safety check, but I wasn't disappointed.

The entries(/sculptures/racers?) were pretty dang cool, both with creative decoration and sometimes creative propulsion, like this vehicle that is powered by the driver essentially bobbing up and down. You can tell that all the participants put a lot of time into their creations, whether they looked race worthy or not.

The theme for the event was something to do with Alice in Wonderland*. People dressed up, many of the entries were themed, there were tea parties in the street, etc. From the brief exposure I had to the whole thing*, it seemed that just as much focus is placed on the non-racing participants (judges, supporters, general crowd, etc.) as on the racers themselves. Basically it was just a big happy creative event. I'm glad I got a peek.
Saturday October 3 2009File under: events, misc

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Upcoming! - Soapbox Derby

You all remember last year's Lookout Arts Center's Off-road Soapbox Derby, right? Of course you don't, because you weren't there. Well, don't let that happen again this year. Mark your calendars, set a blackberry reminder, train your dog to remind you: SEPTEMBER 12th, 2009. Besides the races (and I use that term lightly, judging from last year's competition), there will be circus-y stuff, swimming (at the best swimming hole in the county), and more. Get all the info here.

While I haven't technically started on my entry for this year, I've started gathering parts and working on ideas. Using the lessons learned from last year combined with a [hopefully] larger number of entries, I figure I've got a fighting change to not come in last place. And even if I do get last place, there are prizes for best style, spectaular crash, and there is even rumored to be a prize for "most sustainable materials used" or something (which I think means people who build their cars out of wood because they don't really know how to weld or anything, so it is obvious that their car won't win any speed competition.) Anyway, I hope to see you there!
Tuesday September 1 2009File under: events

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Local Food Party 2009

This year's Local Foods Party* was again a great success. Like in years past, there was homemade salt, garden grown veggies, and oodles of fresh berries. Like in years past, there were new and creative additions to the menu (some of which worked and some of which did not.) And like in years past, we had a great group of people gathered together to celebrate the bounty and abundance of northwest Washington's local foodscape.

Some highlights for me (besides being surrounded with good people): smoked bison, pizza*, a gorgeous nicoise salad, crab(!), and peaches and cream. As with the first year, there was also a little entertainment (esp. enjoyed by the kids)

A couple of the foodie experiments that I was hoping to contribute didn't turn out as well as I hoped (but were still lots of fun to do). An attempt to make sugar from beets ended up as taffy so instead went to sweeten blackberry popsicles. The critics commented "I like the first taste, but not the last one that it leaves in your mouth". Also, I made another attempt at tortillas, which I was sure I had pegged. After rendering some fat into lard, finding a local flour source, and drying, storing, and grinding corn into cornmeal, I thought I had all the ingredients, but something just wasn't right. They turned out more like tostadas rather than tortillas. Alas.

Thinking, planning, and talking about the challenges* and rewards of local foods is always a great way to remind me of what we as a culture so often take for granted. Having a meal dedicated to not taking that stuff for granted makes me very happy. Having good friends around to share it with makes it that much better.
Sunday August 23 2009File under: food, events

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Class of 98 Reunion

Ten years ago today, the Anacortes High School class of 98 done grajemated. Ah, the good old days of high school*. We were all so good looking back then.

Besides being a great opportunity to reflect on the good old days and how quickly the time has passed, ten years also means it is reunion time. The only official word I've heard about the reunion is a page over at MySpace. Since I know a good portion of the world doesn't use MySpace*, I felt the need to spread the word. But not only did I want to make sure all you 98ers were in the know, I wanted to include my very sincere plea that you all make every attempt to come. If ever an occasion embodied the phrase "the more, the merrier", this would be it. Even if you only want to see what Robert Kennedy is up to, settle a bet as to how many kids Clint Lucas has sired*, or finally get up the nerve to talk to your old crush, PLEASE COME! If you've got a pseudo excuse, I'm sure we can solve it together.

Anyway, the gist (for those of you who hate MySpace to the point of not even wanting to visit even for information purposes) is August 9th! Location isn't apparent from the page, but something has supposedly been booked, and we can only assume it is going to be here in Anacortes. I'm sure you will all be here too, right?

(Oh, and I plan on having a yearbook study session at my house on the evening before the event so we can at least have a refresher and not pull the old Matt Henry/Peder Moore faux pas. Perhaps we will even break out an old copy of Grosse Pointe Blank to study up on how reunions are supposed to go.)
Wednesday June 4 2008File under: Anacortes, events

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Birdhouse Factory

We all know I am a circus geek, right? (No, not that kind of circus geek, although chicken is pretty tasty. Anyhoo...) Whenever a circus type performance comes to the area, I like to attend. This latest circus, the Birdhouse Factory, particularly piqued my interest.

Its website describes it as acrobatics + machines + theatre + circus. What's not to be piqued about that? Well, that turned out to be a pretty accurate description. The props really added to the shows. Whether it was the unicycle driven stage or the elaborately geared German wheel*, there was always something mechanical going on on stage.

Besides the standard circus fare of juggling, aerialists, and whatnot, this show had something I haven't ever seen before, which is always a pleasant surprise. There was a trampoline act that was among the neatest things I've seen in a while. Performers would jump off a platform, perform various flips, and then land back on the platform as smoothly as if it was a video being played in reverse speed. So neat!

Another really neat aspect of this circus was their schedule. They performed mainly in smaller towns up the west coast (Bellingham as opposed to Seattle), at least for this tour. So often, it seems to me, a chosen denizen of smaller cities/towns, that culture/entertainment sometimes passes us by. To see groups catering to that leaves me with a warm fuzzy feeling.
Tuesday November 13 2007File under: juggling, events

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The Red Note runs the NYC Marathon

Looking for a good time? Call 867-5309. Even better, come out this Friday night for a for some fine music courtesy of The Red Note (and special guest!). The show is at the History House in Fremont* at 7:00. To accompany the entertainment, there will be season appropriate beverages for sale. All the information can be found at The Red Note's website (*)

The show is a benefit to help Chapman raise money to fight lung cancer. The money serves as his entry fee to the NYC marathon, which is in turn donated to lung cancer research as I understand it. Running 26.4 miles is a feat in itself and doing it for the betterment of humanity is all the more commendable. If you would like to support Chapman but can't make it to this Friday's show, click here.
Wednesday October 24 2007File under: events, misc

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Harry Potter Mania

One of the big goals for my time in Portland was to visit the oft extolled Powell's Book. For some, this isn't just a must see when you visit Portland, but reason enough to make the trip in the first place. I chose to combine my required literary pilgrimage with the circus I knew would be taking place around the release of the new Harry Potter book.

Even in my wildest dreams I couldn't have imagined the spectacle that awaited me. The party was slated to start at 10pm with the books going on sale at 12:01am. I arrived at about 9:15 with the thought of grabbing a bite to eat and maybe finding myself a good used paperback before I gawked. From a block away, I could hear the festivities and see the commotion. The street was blocked off with t.v. vans with satellite dishes raised to the sky. There was a smoke machine and face painting tables. Then there was the line: hundreds of cape-clade, striped scarf wearing fans with their lawn chairs and coolers zigzagging and doubling back Disney-style to fully occupy the closed off street. Although I didn't ask, I'm sure many of them had been there all day.

While I don't consider myself a fan*, I've read a few of the books and know of the characters, many of whom I saw running around with wands, etc. Besides the slew of Harrys and Hermoines dressed in Hogwarts' attire, I saw a Dumbledore, a Prof. Sybill Trelawney*, and, my favorite, Hagrid, true to form towering 2 feet above everyone else. Among the non-Potter related, there were all manner of stilt walkers, a fire juggler, and some Scottish/Irish song and dance troupe that clacked sticks as they do-si-doed.

As I waited for transportation home (unfortunately the bus came before the magical train), the book-purchasing line overflowed its bounds of the block off street and wound halfway around the block, this at only 10:30. I can't only imagine how long the line got by midnight. The poor kids who had gone home to nap before the big event were relegated far from the excitement not to mention prolly not getting their copy until well after midnight. I guess that goes to show what it takes to be a true fan in this day and age.
Saturday July 21 2007File under: travel, events

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