Friday, October 29, 2010

NW Bibliophiles Online

Posted By on Fri, Oct 29, 2010 at 1:26 PM

Here's a fabulous tool for all those bibliophiles out there:

The website is dedicated to all things related to and involving independent bookstores, authors and books in the Northwest. Want to find the nearest indie bookstore in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho or Montana? Log on and they'll tell you. Want to find out more about a Northwest author? ... You guessed it. Need to see what the latest and greatest release is? It's there.

Boise's own Rediscovered Bookshop is among those featured on the site, and owners Laura and Bruce Delaney said a video showcasing the store's new location in downtown will soon be added to the site.

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Chef Tries to Pay Homeless Men to Kill His Wife

Posted By on Fri, Oct 29, 2010 at 9:38 AM

Former Food Network Chef Juan-Carlos Cruz pleaded no contest to charges that he tried to pay homeless men to kill his wife. He apparently tore 10 one hundred dollar bills in half and bribed the homeless men with a “half now, half when it’s done” payment schedule.

Juan Carlos Cruz: In a pot of really hot water.
  • Juan Carlos Cruz: In a pot of really hot water

The no-contest plea means that Cruz, 48, will spend up to the next nine years in prison. He was reportedly caught on video tape trying to pay off the men to kill his wife. He even drove one of the men to his apartment to show him how to get into the building.

The chef was the former host of Calorie Commando and Weighing In, two spots he landed because of his pastry art skills; he was formerly a pastry chef at the Los Angeles Hotel Bel-Air. He weighed in at 280 pounds at one point in his life, and then after a stint on reality TV, he lost 100 pounds. On Calorie Commando, he took fattening recipes and broke them down into healthy lighter versions.

Cruz had been under investigation since May. No motive has yet been revealed.

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Time-Risk-Candy Management

Posted By on Fri, Oct 29, 2010 at 9:26 AM


I finally got around to buying Halloween candy today. With just a few days remaining until the holiday, I feel like my risk-benefit analysis is favorable. The benefit of me not having to go to Winco on the weekend solidly outweighs the risk that I will eat all of the Halloween candy before Sunday night.

In order to come to this conclusion, I had to factor in two other variables: the under-18 population density within a one-mile radius of my house, and the degree to which I crave the type of candy I buy. The first multiplier is complicated by the fact that I live on a hillside, thereby effectively reducing at least the lower half of the one-mile radius. The degree of craving, however, is an undefined variable that changes pretty much with the direction of the wind. One moment, Reeses Peanut Butter Cups hold only moderate appeal; the next moment, they're more addictive than my morning coffee.

The ultimate question is, do you buy candy that you like so that you don't end up with a bunch of unwanted leftovers, or do you buy candy that you don't like so that you don't eat it all before the trick-or-treaters even knock on the door? Sorry. I shouldn't ask questions with my mouth full ... I buy candy I like.

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New Video Released by Kanye West's Ego

Posted By on Fri, Oct 29, 2010 at 6:00 AM

Never one to flirt with the possibility of constraining his ego, Kanye West has struck again with the release of a new video for the song, "Runaway."

The video clocks in at 34 minutes, and covers a wide variety of themes, mixing explosions and fast cars with mystical forest creatures and hip-hop flavored takes on Victorian romantic poetry and marching bands.

Though the video isn't anywhere near as focused or iconic as Michael Jackson's "Moonwalker," it does raise a similar question: can an artist become wealthy and famous enough that they really can get away with anything, regardless of whether or not its a good idea?

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Constellations at Neurolux

Posted By on Thu, Oct 28, 2010 at 5:52 PM

The Constellations at Neurolux
If there is a single action that defines modern rock music, it has been the reclamation of pop from the manufactured teen tarts in hot pants. And though it's become sweeter, more tender and less douchey, something has been lost. The funky, nasty sex of it all.

But if ever there was a band out there trying to make rock gloriously nasty again, it's The Constellations. Their show at Neurolux on Wednesday was one giant hip-grinding dance party both on and off the stage.

Their sound has roots in the gritty funk-rock of the late '70s, but it's undeniably modern.

It started with electric piano tones and riffs a la Stevie Wonder or Supertramp, with a foundation of ragged funk bass hits and simple, solid beats. On top were tremeloed guitar riffs, slightly grunty lead vox with a pair of female backup vocals, assorted percussion and synth leads. They even tossed in the bongo drums.

It was a great sound that combined the grit and drive of funk, but the space and atmosphere of contemporary rock, like if Phoenix or The Shins put out a Kool and the Gang album. It was also pretty awesome that the band paired serious eye-candy with at least three distinct genres of homelessness visually.

A few songs in the middle lagged, lacking the initial oomph of their opening number, "Perfect Day." But they quickly recovered with a gusty cover of Bowie's "Let's Dance," a song I'd previously hated for its chintzy sound.

And then came their blowout finale: A funky 9-minute electro epic and percussion freak out called "Step Right Up," that was every bit the terrifying combination of voodoo curse and dirty-dance music that Screamin' Jay Hawkins built his career on. And though none of The Constellations shoved a bone through their nose or emerged from a coffin, they brought a rare intensity to the Neurolux stage, groaning, grinding and pounding every last bit of drama out of the song just the way Hawkins would've.

"Thank you, Boise," the singer for The Constellations said. "I'll never underestimate you again."

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Bogus Ski Swap

Posted By on Thu, Oct 28, 2010 at 4:08 PM

As the trees drop their leaves and the clouds prepare to drop snow; skiers and snowboarders are getting ready to flock to Expo Idaho for new-to-them winter gear.

The Bogus Basin Ski Education Foundation's 60th annual Ski Swap starts on Friday, Nov. 5. Expo Idaho will be filled with thousands upon thousands of pieces of used ski/snowboard equipment, along with every piece of gear that accompanies the winter sports. This sale is the foundation's largest fundraiser and all proceeds will support the ski training programs.

It works like this: anyone with any used gear that they would like to sell can take it to the Expo and buyers in need of equipment will acquire it for a very good deal. The seller gets 75 percent of the sale price, while the Ski Education Foundation takes 25 percent for commission, which will be donated to the training programs.

The ski swap accepts all winter sport gear: skiing gear, Alpine, Nordic, snowboarding gear, clothing and all related accessories. Sellers may drop off equipment Thursday, Nov. 4, 3-9 p.m.; Friday, Nov. 5, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; and Saturday, Nov. 6, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. This will ensure fresh equipment will continue to flow throughout the event. The ski swap is open to the public and the sale begins Friday, Nov. 5 at 5 p.m. and ends Sunday, Nov. 7, at 3 p.m.

Any unsold equipment may be picked up on Sunday, Nov. 7, from 3-5 p.m.

For additional information, head over to Good luck out there!

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Need Somehing to Do Halloween Weekend?

Posted By on Thu, Oct 28, 2010 at 4:00 PM

Still looking for something spooky to do this weekend? Not to worry—we’ve got you covered. Here’s a list of happening hot spots for you to check out. Load the family up and hit on of the many fall festivals, spend Sunday taking in a play, and finish the weekend with dressing up and getting down. Click the hotlinks to visit our online calendar for details.

Dance and Costume Parties For Big Kids:
Black and Orange Ball at Hannah’s—Costume contest, drink specials and creepy classic videos by DJ Jake and the Rocci Johnson band.

Halloween Masquerade Party at Flatbread in Bown Crossing—Mysterious masks are a must, and the best one wins a Flatbread gift basket. Cover charge includes beer, wine and food.

Halloween Bash at The Whiskey River—Live music with Riff-Raff and prizes for best costumes.

Fright Fest at the Basque Center—All ages Halloween dance party featuring more than 10 DJs. Full bar for those 21 and older.

Halloween Party at Piper Pub—Featuring Candread and Rizing Rezistance.

Halloween Party at The Refuge—Costume prizes and drink specials. Music by Upinatem, Demoni, Gravity Bong and trigger Itch.

Costume Party at Montego Bay—Don your best costume for this one: $500 in prizes are up for grabs.

Art and Theater:
"Monsters In The Cupboard" at Flying M—Group art show featuring local artists' depictions of spooky scenes painted on old cupboard doors. Bid on the pieces through the month of October. Proceeds will benefit the Idaho Food Bank.


"Dia De Los Muertos" at Gallery Alexa Rose—Opening of the exhibit of works by local artists honoring the Mexican holiday, which is time to honor loved ones who've passed away and the cycle of human life. Meet the artists and participate in making your own offering.

Jekyll and Hyde at the Nampa Civic Center—Musical adaption of the Robert Louis Stevenson classic, in which a man must battle with his chemically induced alter ego.

Dracula at the Nampa Civic Center—Adaptation of Bram Stoker’s creepy classic about Count Dracula. Suitable for those 14 years and older.

Phantom of the Opera at the Egyptian—Benefit screening of the silent film, accompanied by live theater organist Dennis James. Proceeds benefit the Egyptian Theater Robert Morton Pipe Organ restoration fund.

Boo At the Zoo at Zoo Boise—Take your little monster, or lion, or superhero to the zoo for trick-or-treating with vendors from the community. Face painting and Halloween-themed games and activities are interspersed with the animal exhibits.

Philharmonsters at Esther Simplot Center for the Performing Arts—Boise Philharmonic’s annual spooktacular Halloween concert. A pre-concert party with games and a musical petting zoo followed by a 25-minute concert. Costumes encouraged.

Halloween Carnival and Apple Bob at the Downtown YMCA—Halloween activities and games followed by an apple bob in the pool. Games, prizes and open swim for the whole family.

Hullabaloo Halloween Carnival at Wings Center—Family friendly Halloween-themed carnival and costume party. Proceeds from the sloppy joe dinner go to benefit Teen Challenge Academy.

Scarecrow Stroll at Idaho Botanical Gardens—Stroll the Garden to view and vote for the most creative scarecrow.

Odds and Ends:
Psychic and Holistic Wellness Fair at Her Spirit Center for Women—Wear your Halloween costume for this day of healing, learning, and fun including psychic readings, dream analysis, Reiki healing and massage. Shop for artwork, jewelry and crafts.

Wicked Wonders at Solid—Vaudeville Productions presents an hour-long "evil" magic show in the spirit of Halloween. Kid-friendly shows are those scheduled earlier in the day.

Haunted World in Nampa—The Northwest's largest outdoor haunted spot. Tour the haunted grounds including a corn maze, dungeons, barnyard and hostel. Concessions and gift shop available.

Frightened Felons at Old Idaho State Penitentiary—Get a look at what life was like for prisoners during the Old Pen's creepy past. Activities include dice-making, bean flipping and scavenger hunts. Friday's event is geared toward visitors 10 years and older. On Saturday visitors must be at least 13 years old.

Spectrum Spook-tacular at Joker’s Wild—Starve a vampire and donate blood during this family-friendly event. Jump houses, face painting and prizes for all, must be 17 years old to donate blood. Schedule an appointment online at

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Watch the Great American Seafood Cook Off (Because I Am On It)

Posted By on Thu, Oct 28, 2010 at 3:44 PM

Every now and then I get to be a part of something really cool.

This summer, I was invited to the Great American Seafood Cook Off in New Orleans. I got to hang with John Besh, Jeff Corwin (he is tiny, by the way) and a personal hero, Chef John Folse.

I competed against 15 other chefs from all across the country, and I placed seventh. Fortunately for my fans, the Louisiana Public Broadcasting Company recorded the whole event. The half-hour broadcast is below.

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Need Something to do Thursday?

Posted By on Thu, Oct 28, 2010 at 11:42 AM

Open mics are tricky. They fill an important hole, allowing performers the chance to test new material and acts or simply get in front of an audience. But they're rarely good for said audience, and generally not much better for the performer. That's often because the open mic is so disregarded, shoved into the corner of a dive bar with abrasive lighting and a lineup of mean drunks grousing that they can't hear the TV. To have any hope, an open mic needs to be an actual performance venue with a stage and a sound system. And more importantly, it needs to be wide open thematically, rather than locked into the predictable pattern of the same six dudes with acoustic guitars who come back week after week.

With the loss of the two local comedy clubs and the open stage policy at Terrapin Station on Monday nights, Boise's open mics have been a bit lackluster lately. You can hit Pengilly's on a Monday, O'Michaels on a Thursday and The Plank once a month, but none of them are really milking the possibilities of the open mic. And that's sad, because the potential is endless.

But tonight there's a new kid in town. And it might be the chance to reclaim the open mic from that old dude with the acoustic guitar that everyone's been waiting for.

Liquid, an actual venue, and one that doesn't play well to acoustic Neil Young covers, is now running open mic on Thursdays. It runs from 9:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. and doesn't cost a thing. So bring your tapping shoes, your homemade Carrot Top halloween costume, your best roller disco moves and your magic act. It's effin open mic night.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Photos From Boise State V. La Tech

Posted By on Wed, Oct 27, 2010 at 4:28 PM

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