Archive for the 'Entertainment' Category

Silverwood Theme Park

I took the opportunity to take my family this weekend to visit the Silverwood theme park since we had never been since we have lived in the Northwest.  It was a lot of fun for everyone.  They had some roller coaster rides that were really impressive.  I admit that I was a bit nervous on several of them and I actually like to be thrilled.  Anyhow, I do recommend it, although it is a bit of a drive from Seattle (it is located north of Coeur d’Alene in Idaho, about an hour from Spokane).

The Kinect is really cool

For Christmas, I bought our family a Kinect.  It was tough having to wait to play it, but I didn’t want to just buy it so close to Christmas and miss the opportunity to have it be a cool present instead.  Previously I wrote about a funny aspect of this device but didn’t reveal when I would get a Kinect so that it would be a surprise to my family.  Anyhow, it is really cool as many people are finding.  Although it’s not perfect, it works pretty well for the most part and is a lot of fun.  You do want to give yourself some room to play it to avoid injury to yourself and others, but the game actually does a pretty good job of trying to make sure you know this and tries to ensure you are unimpeded.  It actually will pause when it detects someone else where you are supposed to be.  Not bad. 

kinect

Kinect

I love the concept behind Microsoft’s new Kinect device for the XBOX 360.  It really is the obvious evolution to now have a person’s actions be detected for use in a game instead of having to use a handheld device.  Being an XBOX owner, I will likely buy this device soon as it has so much potential.  Of course the more interesting aspect that I have been following lately is the device’s potential for causing injury to yourself and your family or friends.  Not that you couldn’t get almost as carried away using the Wii’s handheld controller, but it seems XBOX has really brought us to a new level of possibilites with which to accidentally cause injury.  It should almost be called the “Connect” with its increased opportunity to allow for a lot of physical connecting with those you game with.  Anyhow, it does sound like fun and should add a new dimension to gaming.  Of course I look forward to when they figure out how to make this work for most of the action games that I play, but I’m sure they will figure it out soon enough.  Be safe out there kids – give yourself lots of room when using the Kinect!  Watch the videos already on YouTube to get some tips about what to avoid.

Picasso at the SAM

The Seattle Art Museum (SAM) is currently hosting an exhibit of Picasso’s works normally found only in France.  It will be there until Jan 17th.  I went to see this exhibit last weekend.  It was pretty cool.  It is always interesting to see art in person that you have seen in books.  It is often fairly different than you expected.  Sometimes it’s bigger or smaller in real life than you’ve seen in photos and often just more interesting in person when you really see the textures and details.  If you are a fan of Picasso, you need to go see it while it is still a little closer and less expensive to see.

Another great myth busted: cell phone use at the gas pump

Don’t they even have signs up at most gas stations telling you not to talk on your cell phone while pumping gas?  I know I still see them, but apparently this isn’t a likely scenario.  Apparently the more common occurrence is that of people building up static electricity and not grounding themselves before removing the nozzle from the car.  Interesting: http://www.bing.com/videos/watch/video/mythbusters-cell-phone-gas-station/poe2pwx?from=sharepermalink

Finally. An answer to the age old question on fuel efficiency on a hot day.

I don’t know about you, but I really love the mythbusters concept.  They go out and test all the myths and age-old advice that exists and try to find some truth.  I love it – so helpful to those of us who don’t have the time or resources or brains to figure everything out on our own, even though we’d love to know the truth (and you know I would certainly give it a try if I could).  Well recently they finally help answer the question of which is more fuel efficient on a hot day: running the A/C with the windows up or opening up your windows.  The answer I think might surprise some people: http://www.bing.com/videos/watch/video/mythbusters-a-c-vs-windows-minimyth/p0kq7cu?rs=myth&from=en-us_msnhp&form=msnhed&gt1=42007

Summer Fun at the Bite and the Block Party

So as I said I would, I did make it to the Bite of Seattle and the Capitol Hill Block Party (CHBP) the past few weekends.  At the Bite I had some good food and then watched several comedians perform.  The CHBP was actually held both on Friday evening and Saturday this past weekend.  That was a lot of fun.  There were some really good bands and a great atmosphere.  The weather was also great for both weekends, even though we got some rain on both sides of this last weekend.  Anyhow, the sad thing about the CHBP is that they had 4 stages that were going at the same time, and we had to decide which one to watch.  So of course I didn’t get to see them all, but I think I made some good choices.  Here is the list of the bands I got to see with my thoughts on them (just in case anyone cares).  Also, I think several of them are definitely worth mentioning in case you are into checking out cool bands you probably don’t know about.
 
On Friday I saw:
Common Market – this guy is good (and local), but hip-hop is not really my favorite.  But if you’re into that, you should definitely have a listen.
U.S.E. (United States of Electronica) – this is moderately good local band, but really popular for its fun/party vibe.  Definitely a band to enjoy in person.
Les Savy Fav – these guys are really good musicians but the lead singer is a bit off his rocker (they are from NY, btw).  Another band to see live because you just won’t understand what I’m talking about until you see the lead singer do his thing.
Black Eyes and Neckties – this is a fun local glam rock band.  They also put on a good show.
Thee Emergency – this group is really cool!  They have a sort of "heavy soul" sound, which comes from a 70s classic rock sound (and fashion sense) mixed with a great female vocalist who really gives some feeling to her words.  And the lead guitarist of this band had me thinking that Hendrix would have liked this guy.
Vampire Weekend – it was pretty cool to see this new NY band who hit it big recently visit Seattle for our little party.  This band is pretty good, but it seemed the younger crowd were real fans.
 
On Saturday I saw:
Kay Kay and his Weathered Underground – interesting name for an interesting local band.  They are really good, but have a unique, northweestern style that you’ll have to check out for yourself to see if you like it.
The Cave Singers – again, another local band that is uniquely northwestern.  Very talented, but a bit folksy.  I almost thought I could have heard this stuff at Woodstock (assuming I were actually old enough to have been there).  On a nice sunny day, their music was nice to listen to.
Darker my Love – another really cool soul rock band (but from cali).  They really rocked the house (they played inside Neumo’s).
The Builders and the Butchers – this band also rocked the house, but in a more Irish rock meets northwestern folk way (they happen to be from Portland).  They had two drummers just hitting away on some drums, but not on kits, and their lead guitarist actually played both a mandolin as well as a banjo.  Their music was very cool though and I can’t recommend them more.
The Hold Steady – this is a local band that has been around a while and really felt some love from Seattle.  Unfortunately I had never heard of them and the music was only OK in my opinion, so I kind of just hung out with the crowd and enjoyed the nice evening.
DeVotchka – this was the headliner on Sat.  These guys were really talented, but I just couldn’t really get their sound.  The music was Russian influenced rock, as if the name didn’t give that away.  But I was really impressed with their peformance.  The drummer was amazing, one guy switched between the violin and the accordian, and a female band member switched between a large upright double bass and a huge tuba.  That was pretty entertaining, but just a little funny to me; so I called it a night half way through their show.
 
Anyhow, I guess you can see how I got my money’s worth. 🙂 
 

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Bill Hagins

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