My Circus Valentine 2020 Act

The My Circus Valentine show at the Bellingham Circus Guild is one of the not-to-be-missed events of the year. I've had the privilege being part of the show the last bunch of years and I always like to share what Della and I came up with for an act. This year, we decided on Star Wars* as our theme (only partially as an excuse to buy $1000 worth of fancy juggling clubs).

The act turned out great, if a little high difficultly level. The moment when the lights go down, the beat kicks up, and the clubs start to blink really brought the energy out of the crowd. This video, captured by the David and his awesome team at Access Bellingham, was during the first official run of the show and we dropped our hardest trick (back-to-backs). But hopefully it gives you an idea of the act. If nothing else, at least it is captured here for posterity*.


And here are a few pictures for fun. The photo booth run by Jeff Lefferts produces some of Della's and my favorite photos of the year.

Wednesday March 18 2020File under: juggling, holidays

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Twas the Night Before Christmas 2019



Twas the night before Christmas
With the air thick and moist
The jungle all around us
Sings with its enchanting voice

The chirps of the bugs
The calls of the birds
The howls of the monkeys
Form these foreign words

Four kinds of primates
Or was it five?
That we saw today
On our boat ride

Macaques and proboscis
A few I forget
But watching the orangutans
Was really the hit

So human-like and graceful
They swing tree to tree
The babies and their mamas
Were the most fun to see

Now we're anchored in the magroves
With the jungle close at hand
Three nights on this houseboat
Is our Christmas plan

We'll look for more monkeys
See what Borneo has to share
We'll night hike to tarantualas
If we might dare

It's a different Chrsitmas
Than at home it is true
We trade cold for hot weather
A ham for fish stew

But even without trimmings
Carols, gifts, and bells
We have each other
And time to oursevles

For us, that's just right
Plus it gives me a reason
To write my "Night Before" poem
To chronicle our season

Now the candle's burning low
And tomorrow's an early start
So I'll pass along this wish
From the bottom of my heart

May your Christmas be
As joyous as mine is
Full of love, fun, and smiles
And perhaps some bad rhyme-es

These "Night Before Christmas" posts have become some of my favorite over the years. If you're interested, check back to poems of the past via the archive.

Monday December 30 2019File under: holidays, poetry

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Ghostbusters Halloween Circus Act

It's been since Something Wonderful back in 2016 and 2017 since Della and I have been part of a larger group juggling act. They are always a ton of fun but lots of work getting schedules together and everyone on the same page artistically. For this year's Beastly Frightful Unspeakably Spooky Circus of Doom, Della and I teamed up with Eric and Britt to do a Ghostbusters act. It turned out amazing. Della logs it as our best act ever*. There was enough skill, goofiness, cultural reference, and fun to really get the crowd jazzed.

And as is my wont, I present the video of the act, again courtesy of the ever amazing David and his team at Access Bellingham. Enjoy!


And because a Circus Guild show isn't the same without photo booth photos, have a look at these gems*:

Tuesday November 5 2019File under: juggling, holidays

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Twas the Night Before Christmas 2018

Twas the night before Christmas
At the house on the lake
It's gone from raucous to quiet
Now I'm barely awake

It's been a full day
Filled with of all sorts of good
Good food and good people
Just like a holiday should

We played in the pool
We pet the horse and the goat
We ate grilled oysters with butter
But I don't try to gloat

Homemade duck pate
Smoked salmon that Sam caught
Dates stuffed with cream cheese
And a spaghetti filled pot

It felt like a whirlwind
But of the best kind
Now that everyone's gone
We begin to unwind

It's just me and Della
For where now we call home
Next month we'll be elsewhere
As we tend to roam

It's a big part of our life
Bouncing from place to place
Different housesitting and travel
Rarely in our home base

This year is a rarity
That we're here and not there
So we were happy to host
This Christmas affair

Next year who can say
Where I'll be writing this post
Maybe an island in Thailand
Or in a van on the coast

But next year is next year
And this ode's about now
But since it's getting quite long
I think it's time to say ciao

Thanks for reading my rhyme
(The tenth that I've done!?!)
I hope that your Christmas is merry
Full of food, folks, and fun

My last words for the night
Before I click send
Is Merry Christmas to you all
My family and friends
Tuesday December 25 2018File under: holidays, poetry

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Twas the Night Before Christmas 2017

Twas the night before Christmas
Reggae beats drift on by
So it goes in Jamaica
For my sweetie and I

We've come down to visit
This Caribbean island nation
For escape and adventure
To have a nice little vacation

And so far, it's worked!
A week in and we're thrilled
We done a few things
But mostly we've chilled

Last night was Grand Market
A sight to behold
We found our way to the right town
Or so we were told

Music was blaring
Up and down every street
With stands of all kinds
Especially jerk meat

The place was packed full
Of revelers and glee
Della and I were the only
White faces to see

But that makes it authentic
Not what most tourists get
Following our noses
Hasn't failed us yet

With the reggae still ringing
through us to the core
We spent X-mas eve day
Exploring some more

After fresh smoothies of star fruit
Picked right from the tree
We cram ourselves in a mini-bus
Which flies at speeds unsafely

We arrive at a place where
the sea meets a cascade
I proceed to re-enact
A blog post from last decade

Next we walked into Ocho Rios
A little too touristy for us
After a quick dinner and crunkies
We were back on a bus

Now we're settled at "home"
A quaint little AirBnB
Outside the reggae drifts by
Inside its just Della and me

We won't do anything special
Maybe watch a movie or read
But we'll be totally at peace
Because we have all we need

Adventure, warm weather
Time to ourselves
Santa couldn't make us happier
With all of his elves

Now I sit back and reread
My Twas posts from the past
I get quite a kick
From the pile that's amassed ('07, '08, '09, '11, '12, '13, '14, '15)

For while I'm kind of a grinch
About most yule themed things
These silly little poems
Much joy to me brings

I hope you have a your own reasons
For joy this fine night
May the upcoming year
Bring you much love and delight

Now I'll end it right here
With this last seasonal cliche
Merry Christmas to you
On this joyous day
Sunday December 24 2017File under: holidays, poetry

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2017 Valentines Day Act

This year, Della and I had the pleasure of once again being in the Bellingham Circus Guild's My Circus Valentine show. The show turned out super great, with 5 sold out, standing room only shows. The cast was amazing, the acts were fun, and the total vibe of the space and show were just magical. Every year, the producer does such an amazing job all around and we feel lucky to be a part.

If you missed the fun, I've included a video of me and Della's act. It was conceived of on a long bus ride in Costa Rica and hashed out in many long hard hours of rehearsal. During the process of creation, Della and I swear we'll never do it again, being that it puts too much strain on our relationship. But in the end, after we share it with the audience and feel their positive reaction, we forget about the struggle and are happy with what we've created. Anyway, we hope you enjoy it too!



Every year, there is also a photo booth at the show. Della and I find time between shows to sneak in and get a few shots. So, in the interest of posterity, I include them here. Try not to throw up on yourself due to our cuteness.

   


Thursday February 23 2017File under: juggling, holidays

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Thanksgiving on the Farm

Being a city boy mostly these days, it was nice to spend some time at the family farm in Oklahoma this Thanksgiving. I was surrounded by family, noodles, hay bales, baby lambs, peanut brittle, pitch*, and more...and it was great! I took Della along to give her a taste of the Midwest and she took to it quite nicely*

There's a beauty and simplicity to county life. The days centered around meals (which were plentiful and wonderful!) and excursions. Such excursions took us to dad's old homestead, which has seen better days, Norman to visit friends and family and cruise through the old stomping grounds, and a neat little roadside attraction off Route 66 that featured a 60 foot LED pop bottle and the soda selection to go along with it*.

Yes, it's good to go back home once in a while. This trip to Oklahoma reminded me that I should make a habit of going back more often. It was just so wonderful to be surrounded by family, the simplicity of life on the farm, and lots and lots of good eats!
Saturday November 26 2016File under: holidays, Oklahoma

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Pi Day 2016

We all can agree that Pi Day is the best holiday ever. It combines nerdiery and dessert and can be celebrated in the simplest possible way. I've documented 7 previous instances on this here blog (see archive) of me celebrating in one way or another (creating a crossword, getting a [different (and much better)] crossword published, testing my pi memory, and, of course, baking pies). The only 2 Pi Days I've missed posting on since the blog began were when I was travelling (Japan and Belize/Guatemala). So I can hardly let this Pi Day pass by.

This year, we didn't do anything too special, just baked a couple of pies: quiche for breakfast and an apple/rhubarb pie for dessert. The carved apple "π DAY" was a nice touch. But just because we didn't go all out celebrating doesn't mean we didn't appreciate the holiday in all its glory. 3.14 cheers for Pi Day!
Monday March 14 2016File under: holidays, food

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Twas the Night Before Christmas 2015

Tis the night before Christmas
And here in Dubai
We're taking it all in
My Della and I

We saw Burj Kalifa
Tallest building man made
We watch the grand fountains
And strolled the promenade

At the Burj Al Arab
Down on the sea shore
We jumped and we jumped
And got the pic I came for

This town seems to teem
With malls big and small
We visited a half dozen
But that's hardly them all

Paris has the Seine
And Vegas's nightlife is hopping
But as fars I can tell
Dubai's known for shopping

The places were packed
You couldn't swing a dead cat
Acre upon acre of
Things to look at

We peered at the sweets shop
Where they made candy by hand
We watch sharks in huge tanks
And we browsed luxury brands

At one mall we saw
The biggest afront made by man
A ski slope in the desert
Just 'cause they can

This town's an enigma
Nothing else like it on earth
I'm glad to be seeing it
Whatever that's worth

But tomorrow we move on,
Flying out Christmas Day
On our way to Luxor Egypt
We might pass Santa's sleigh

Tonight I'll hang up
My socks with great care
Not to be filled with gifts
But 'cause they need the air

I'll lay down my head
Upon the mattress on the floor*
And be thankful I have
All I could ever wish for

An adventuresome Christmas
Is best gift I could get
Some time with my sweetie
That I'll never forget

But now I must go
And close out this verse
Lest my words become boring
And rhymes become worse

So I'll just end it the way
That I always do
With all of my heart
I wish Merry Christmas to you

(If you're jonesing for more
Of my silly yule tradition
Go on and click through
To the previous editions
'07, '08, '09, '11, '12, '13, '14)

Thursday December 24 2015File under: holidays, poetry

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My Pi Day Crossword

This year's Pi Day has been getting a lot of attention, as it should. It's a once a decade event!* (If you've somehow missed all the news coverage, it's a big deal because it is 3/14/15 to correlate with 3.1415....) But as longtime BdW followers may know, Pi Day has always been a big deal here*. It is usually celebrated with the baking of a pie (or two) and a reciting of the first 50 digits, which I still remember from 9th grade*.

This year I plan to bake (and eat) a pie or two, of course. What would Pi Day be without pie? But since it is a special Pi Day, I wanted a special way to celebrate, one that I started working towards 5+ months ago. I set out to create a crossword to commemorate the day and get it published in a nationwide publication. I'm happy to say mission accomplished (ish).

My puzzle, Pi Row Technics, appears in this week's Chronicle of Higher Education online. It was slated to be in the print edition, but some quarterly insert preempted the crossword section, and since the puzzle was time sensitive, they couldn't push it to next week, so online is where it ended up. Not ideal, but as the editor pointed out, most of the solvers use the online version anyway so the audience isn't much diminished.

This marks my third published crossword and my glee is as high as it was for that first one. And with each published puzzle, I'm learning more about the industry. What was interesting about this experience was to see how many changes the editor made for publication. Besides changing ~75% of the clues, he also changed 7 grid squares. I know these changes are the editor's job, as he knows his target audience and difficulty levels, but I was surprised to see the volume of changes.

One of the downsides of CHE's online crosswords is that you need a special program to download and play them. And since I know all of you want to have a crack at it but don't want to install new software, I've created a PDF of the puzzle for you to print and solve. Just be sure to visit CHE and surf around a bit as a thank you for continuing to make my dreams of professional crossworder come true. (In case you are interested to see the before and after edit, you can see the submitted puzzle here.)

Each experience with getting a puzzle accepted amps me up to get in even deeper. I've got another puzzle slated to come out in a couple months and a few out for consideration to various places. So keep watching BdW to see the excitement unfold. In the meantime, go eat some pie and do a crossword!

(03/20/16 Edit: In preparing my 2016 Pi Day post, I noticed that I didn't post any pie pictures for this year's Pi Day post. Even with the excitement of this crossword coming out, I figured I would have celebrated the holiday properly, so I went back through my instagram feed and found this! Sometimes it's nice to be reminded that I can be very predectable.)
Saturday March 14 2015File under: crosswords, holidays

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