blogworld and more reviews

I have to agree with Philip: I hate Las Vegas.

The BlogWorld Expo in Las Vegas was tons of fun. My liver is fine, but my heart is a little sad for having to say goodbye to my fellow Blogcritics editors until next time. It was wonderful to meet everyone and to get a chance to just be with each other. It’s amazing how well such a diverse group of people can get along.

We definitely had one of the best booths there, thanks in part to the great swag, but also because of who was staffing it. Several people commented that we were more warm and friendly than the folks at other booths, and Pete from the Planetary Group kept coming back just to hang out because he enjoyed being with us. I think we will have quite a few new writers joining soon, particularly now that they know we do critical reviews of all sorts of stuff, not just blogs.

The panel I was on was fun and informative, and I think in the end, beneficial to us because it helped us define what makes for a good review for a variety of styles and formats. I wish we could have had a larger audience, but all things considered, we did pretty well. I understand we had good representation on several other panels, and there were several folks who stopped by the booth after hearing one of our Politics section editors speak on a political panel.

The only down side to the whole event was the location. I’d never been to Las Vegas before (besides the 30min or so I spent in the airport on a layover one time), so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Now that I know, I’m fairly certain that the only thing that would get me to go back would be my Blogcritics pals or some other conference.

Anyway. Here are some reviews I’ve written recently for BC Magazine:

Wishing ChairFolk and Roll: Live in Austin [full review]

[This album] has a little bit of something for everyone. From newer arrangements of old favorites to brand new songs, the album straddles the line between being a best-of compilation and something fresh and different.

The Best of the Colbert Report [full review]

This collection is sure to please fans, although some will be disappointed that even with nearly three hours of content, a few of their favorite segments will have been left out of the collection. For viewers who have not yet caught on to the show, this collection is a good introduction; however, I recommend watching it only a little at a time in order to build up a tolerance.

Jim Bianco / Jenny Owen Youngs / Sean Hayes – High Dive – Seattle, WA – 11/12/2007 [full review]

Prior to the concert, I had not listened to any of the acts, and had only a passing familiarity with their names. Probably not the best example of research, but I went with an open mind and low expectations. In some cases, those expectations were exceeded far beyond my imagination, and in others, not so much.

hangin’ with the hipsters

Indie rock concert pleases the large crowd in Seattle.

My review of the Rilo Kiley show in Seattle last Saturday has been published on Blogcritics.org. I had an extra ticket from the publicist, but I could not find anyone to go with me. I even tried trading it for a place to crash afterwards via CouchSurfing.com, but no dice. So, I ended up having to do the two hour drive home alone, since I didn’t have the cash for a motel room (even the Motel 6 are $50+ per night). This meant leaving the concert at midnight when I was starting to worry I’d fall asleep on the road.

My seat afforded me a relatively head-free sightline to the stage, as well as a good vantage point for people-watching. Most of the audience members were in their 20s, with a small minority of older folks. I suspect that the start time had an effect on the demographic more so than the music genre.

By the time I got to Seattle, I had decided to give my extra ticket to someone who wasn’t able to get one before the show sold out. Unfortunately, I later discovered that the nice young man hanging out in front of the venue who needed “just one ticket” was actually a scalper. D’oh.

#18

A fun romp through alternate history.

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

I hadn’t planned on reading another book on my trip, so I had nothing for the return flight. In fact, I have a pile of podcast episodes to catch up on, so I figured I’d listen to them on the way home. However, after my time warp experience with reading on the flight out, I decided to find a book while in the Atlanta airport. Anything that will make the four hour flight to Seattle more tolerable is worth seeking out.

I had almost given up in my search when I spotted a Penguin paperback edition of The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. I have a copy of this in hardcover, but I haven’t read it yet. I decided that buying a second copy was better than the torture of sitting bored out of my mind in a cramped space for four hours. After reading it, my only complaint is that it was too short. By the time I finished, I still had an hour and a half to go before we landed. Maybe next time I won’t start reading a half an hour before the boarding process begins.

As for the book itself, I felt a bit ignorant at times. I’ve read Jane Eyre and a handful of the other classics referenced in the story, but often I felt as though something would have more significance if I knew the other works better than I do. Still, quite a fun romp through alternate history!

northwest airlines is going down

Or, why I think Northwest Airlines is going to fold in the next year if they don’t get their act together.

Or, why I think Northwest Airlines is going to fold in the next year if they don’t get their act together.

My parents were told late last week that their original flight from Dayton (Ohio) to Seattle through Minneapolis was canceled and they were re-booked on a flight through Detroit instead. This flight was scheduled to leave earlier than the original one, so they booked a hotel room in Dayton the night before with a 4am wake-up to get to the airport in time.

Their day began with a 2am fire alarm in the hotel that didn’t get shut off for an hour. This is the only screw-up of the day that is not Northwest Airlines’ fault. After the alarm was turned off, they decided to go ahead and stay up, rather than trying to sleep for another hour or so.

They arrived at the airport in plenty of time for their flight, and everything seems to be okay until they are on the plane, which sat for an hour waiting for mechanics to fix a problem. Finally, everyone was told to get off the plane and go stand in line at the other end of the airport where they would be re-booked on different flights.

Except that the flight they were supposed to be on was never officially canceled in the computer system, so no one could get re-booked. On top of that, even when the customers could get re-booked, both printers at that station were broken. Neither of the airline employees at the counter knew what was going on with the flight. In fact, they told the people in line to call some numbers to see if they could find out what was happening. At no point did any management person come down and explain anything or try to fix the problems.

After several hours of standing in line, my parents were told that the best they could get was a United flight that would arrive in Seattle tomorrow night, and they would still be returning on Northwest Tuesday afternoon. They declined and went home.

Here’s the rub: Their original flight through Minneapolis was not canceled at all. It left on time while they were standing in line. And, they weren’t the only ones on the Dayton-Detroit-Seattle flight who had been told the Dayton-Minneapolis-Seattle flight was canceled and had been re-booked through Detroit.

Along with the “mechanical problems” that delayed my Northwest Airlines flights in December, this is the reason why I think the airline is going down and will likely fold in the next year if they don’t get their act together.

jonathan coulton – seattle, wa – 2/24/07

Geek rock superstar gets a warm reception in Seattle.

Cursing the parking situation in downtown Ballard, my friend and I arrived at the Tractor Tavern a few minutes before Jonathan Coulton's set was supposed to begin. Thankfully he did not hit the stage until ten minutes after the start time, which gave us time to visit the facilities and secure seating.

The small venue was packed, and all of the seats were claimed, but we located to stools and re-positioned them on the other side of a post, thus allowing us to actually see the stage. Other latecomers were not so fortunate, and by the time the show began, the standing-room only overflow area was filled with concertgoers straining to see the stage over the heads of those in front of them.

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