Crypticon Seattle 2009

Crypticon Seattle 2009 was this weekend so Wendy and I stopped by to experience the horror. It was a great event and the horror community in Seattle are a great group of folks. Some highlights from the event are as follows: First of all, there is Night Zero. Night Zero is a photographic novel based in Seattle that is created with high dynamic range photography. Next, there were plenty of horror film greats ranging from Ken Foree (Dawn of the Dead and my favorite From Beyond) to Michael Berryman (The Hills Have Eyes, Weird Science). Panels focused on films like Phantasm and The Fog, but the crew from Field of Screams, Washington’s premiere haunted attraction, were also on hand to expose their world of haunting. Finally, evening events such as a completely improvised horror movie and the Crypticon Costume Contest made nightfall more fun than creepy. Want to see more? Click in the space below to play the highlights video (requires Microsoft Silverlight).

Thanks to The Kits (Horror Movie) and If Else Then (Emeryville Horror) for the songs used in this video (sourced from the Podsafe Music Network).

Greenwood: A Destination for Beer Lovers?

It’s nice to see Greenwood, a northern suburb of Seattle, starting to come alive with interesting places to imbibe.  The most recent addition is Pillager’s Pub, located at 8551 Greenwood Avenue.  The pub is actually a showcase for Seattle’s Three Skulls Ales brewery (which is an offshoot of Baron Brewing), though there is no onsite brewing at Pillagers.  As the name implies, the pub is pirate themed.  This theme is consistent with the beers brewed by Three Skulls Ales which include Black Bonney Porter, Pillager’s Pale, and Cutthroat Red.   It certainly makes sense to keep the brand in sync, but I am not a big fan of pirate themes and we already have the Maritime Jolly Roger just a stones throw away in Ballard.  Still, owner Jeff Smiley is a huge fan of pirates – so at least it’s derived out of personal passion and not a random marketing ploy.

Upon entering the pub, it feels a bit like entering the Tully’s that previously occupied the space.  One obvious difference is the large pirate ship battle mural that takes up the entire West wall.  It’s beautifully done and I found myself looking it over for much of my visit.  Additionally, large wood tables and matching benches line the windows and seem to encourage decent sized groups (many of the tables could seat at least six).  Still, some additional work needs to be done to really make the place feel like its own.  They were only on their second day in operation when I visited, and I sense that work is still being done.   I had a Black Bonney Porter and was quite pleased.  I also tried the Pirate Wings (traditional buffalo wings with blue cheese ) and they were a fine accompaniment.

Just south and across the Street from Pillagers Pub is Naked City Taphouse.  After my porter and wings, I shuffled over to see how Naked City was doing now that they’ve been open for a couple months.  I was  impressed with the atmosphere, the people and the beer selection.  I had originally gone to Naked City on their opening night, and it was clear they still had a few kinks to work out.  I’m happy to say they seem to have worked them out.  The menu is a bit more interesting and the atmosphere is comfortable and inviting (dimming the lights a bit made a big difference).   I had their olive tray and a beer and both were tasty.  I’m also interested to try their Pickled Hops Shoots when those are in season later in the year.  One final note: they will fill growlers with most of the beers they have on tap (though they don’t sell growlers, so you’ll have to bring your own from home).

In summary, promising establishments are opening up in Greenwood that make it a great destination for getting quality beers with neighbors and friends.   This is nice to see and I look forward to spending more time at both Pillager’s Pub and the Naked City Taphouse.  I’d also like to make it into Gainsbourg soon.  Gainsbourg is a recently opened French style lounge on the same block providing, in their own words: “unique cocktails, wonderful wines, a broad beer list and obscenely affordable French-inspired small plates.” Old standby’s like Baranof, Crosswalk, and Pig ‘n Whistle are also close by for those who want to “crawl” the neighborhood.

Web 2.0 … The Machine is Us/ing Us

From time to time I speak to classrooms and groups about Podcasting and RSS.  When doing so, I’ve always struggled to communicate the impact of XML over the traditional HTML that defined the web for so long.  Today at Podcamp SeattleEric Weaver played this video in his presentation and I was extremely impressed at how well it delivers the message.