PDX Ultimate Examined

I've been playing a little thing called Ultimate Frisbee* for a number for years. Back in college, it was a serious affair with practice daily, jerseys, and tournaments. Since college, it has been with friends in the park once a week. In that time, our group has developed its own nuances, rules, etc. Within the bubble that is Anacortes Ultimate, I've somewhat lost touch with how our skill level compares, common styles of play, etc.

One of my big goals for my time here in Portland is to get a few games in. While my first attempt was thwarted by an improperly updated website, I got one in this evening. The whole time I kept noticing differences about the games here compared to the games up there. And for your viewing convenience, I offer you this chart.

 PortlandAnacortes Advantage
Location6 miles to playfields6 blocks to the playfieldsAnacortes
Frequency6-8 games a week1 game a weekPortland
Numbers7s with subs5s, maybe 6s if we're luckyPortland
Force1x: "Force home!"
6x: "OK"
1x: "Force home!"
1x: "OK"
2x: "What's a force?"
Todd: "Which way is home again?"
Portland
PunctualityStarts over an hour lateStarts more or less on time (except for Sherlock and Russ, of course)Anacortes
Skill levelReally goodPretty goodPortland
Group of folksInconsistent strangers with a few regularsFairly consistant regulars (except Herff, of course) with the occasional new comerAnacortes
Otter PopsNothing yetThere was that one time...Anacortes

It looks like it is too close to call. Higher level of play, but without the comforts of playing with friends using well adapted rules*. I had a great time and hope to get at least one more game in before I leave town, but I will be anxious for Tuesday night when I get home.
Thursday July 19 2007File under: Anacortes, events

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Game Night - Laughs, Fun, and Extremely Poor Drawings

In honor of the McCool troop (no pun intended) being in town, we all got together for another edition of the world famous game night. We had many of the usual players in attendence as well as some first timers. Many thanks to all who made it, some on very short notice.

Highlights included [baby] Max, plates of spectacular food (thanks Keith!), mozzarella cheese (thanks Tyler!), a house full of laughs and smiles (thanks everyone!), Chantiel Krav, and an artistic rendering of Katy (thanks Sean!) (Note: artistic rendering not posted by request)

A little on-the-fly javascripting (courtesy of moi) and you can check out some of the drawings from the draw your friends game! Also, here are some examples of pictionary telephone done well and, well, interesting.
Sunday February 11 2007File under: games, events

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ACFL Pulling Party

One of the big assets Anacortes and Fidalgo Island have going for it is the Anacortes Community Forest Lands. There are enough trails too keep even a long time resident exploring. These days, I find myself out on hikes in the forest lands at least 4 times a week. I'm so grateful for the commitment to preservation of these lands for everyone to enjoy.

Since I spend so much time out enjoying the forests, it is only fair that I pitch in a little. I've known about the monthly work parties for some time, but until now, I haven't been able to find time to go join in. Today's work party happened to coincide with the most beautiful winter day (although it almost feels like spring). About 8-10 people showed up at Little Cranberry lake to pull non-native invasive plants.

After a little lesson in which are keepers and which need to get the kibosh, it was off into the forest. I spent an hour pulling english ivy and an hour pulling daphne. While my own feeling regarding non-native plants are not strong, it was great to learn how to identify them and a little about their history around this area.

The next work party is on March 10th at Whistle Lake at 10:00am. I had so much fun this time, I hope to make it to the next one as well.
Saturday February 10 2007File under: events

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Word Racer Wrap Up

Alert ESPN. Someone call Will Shortz. The results are in from BdWs first officially sponsored event, the Word Racer Meet Up. The results are: FUN!

Four states from 3 time zones were represented by the full house in social lounge 6, including the trifecta from Jamaica Plain, MA. It was fast paced action with great performances by all. Highlights included "quieter", "sunset", "molten", and "emoted" from the Great Finds category. For Comical Inclusion, "shat", "booty", and "hooty" all deserve a mention. "Veg", "hoy", "wen", and "cole" top the list of Words I Didn't Know Were Words. As for the I Could've Sworn Those Were Words category, we'll leave those for insiders only.

A big thanks to all those who participated! Keep an eye out for WRMU II soon!
Tuesday January 30 2007File under: events

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The greatest show on earth!

Last night, I saw Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Baily circus at the Everett Convention Center. I'm not going to lie to you: I didn't have high expectations. I've grown accustomed to fancy circuses like Cirque d Soliel and Teatro Zinzani. I was expecting some elephants rolling on large balls, and a bunch of clowns. Boy was I wrong.

Yes, there were elephants and clowns, but there was a bunch more. Hat juggling, acrobatics, trained house cats (which, we agreed, was right up among the top acts), a strong man, pyrotechnics, and 7 motocycles in the globe of death: it was great. I highly recommend going. The seats were cheap, and it was totally worth it.

What made the experience even better is that a buddy of mine from college is a clown with the show. Afterwards, he took us backstage where we saw the clown dressing room (and got a couple autographs), and then to the train. The train, when compiled, is almost a mile long. We saw where the stars of the show live and travel. All along the way, Dan told anecdotes and details from his two years traveling with the circus.

All in all, it was a late night, but so worth it. It was really something to see what it is like to be in a circus. I don't see myself running off to join one anytime soon, but it is nice to know that if I do, I'll know what is awaiting me.
Friday September 8 2006File under: events, juggling

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Lasqueti Island Juggling Festival 2006

Lasqueti Island is a world away from everything. Last weekend, Nora and I biked up the east side of Vancouver Island (75 miles, round trip: We were proud of ourselves at least) to catch the little foot pasenger ferry over to Lasqueti. The juggling festival was a good time, but seeing the island and the culture there took the cake for me. The food for our meals were grown right on the property and cooked on the open fire. I slept in the middle of the garden under the stars. I pooped in a bucket. It was awesome.

On Saturday night, we put on a show at the community center. Not too many people showed up, but what can you expect on a little island. Highlights of the show included fire juggling, 6 year olds hula hooping, a mud boot dance, and zucchini juggling.


Biking with gear in my little old milk crate


Luke only paid half price to bring his uni on the ferry


A little juggling action from the public show


Passing fire with Johnny

Tuesday August 29 2006File under: events, pics

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Silent Movies are a riot!

So last night I went to see Sparrows (1926) at the The Paramount as part of their Trader Joe's Silent Movie Mondays. It was a grand old time and I recommend it to everyone. The Mighty Wurlitzer was played to perfection. The crowd got into it hissing at the bad guys and cheering the good ones. And there were even prizes given away. It gave some idea of what the movie experience would have been like back in the day.
Tuesday August 22 2006File under: events, movies

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A celebration of local foods

For my birthday this year, I decided to start a tradition of hosting a party that celebrated the local foods of the area. The experience turned out to be amazing, both the party itself, and all the knowledge and experience gained in the prepartion.

The main reasons behind the party were:
*the environment (minimize resources that are used in transporation of food
*economics (by supporting local agriculture and food production, we help support our communities)
*health (eating foods grown in the area mesh better with your innards)
*history (to learn how things were before you could get Italian olive oil at the local supermarket)
*fun (working within strict guidelines presents a challenge that was fun to overcome.
*taste (fresh just tastes better)

For me, the highlights were twofold. Firstly, all the preparation was great fun. We made our own butter from cream that we skimmed from local raw milk. Churning butter isn't nearly as hard as I thought. Figuring out a way to get salt was another fun challenge. I ended up getting some seawater from Fidalgo Bay and evaporating it in the sun. I was really suprised at how much salt is in salt water. Flour is something that I have always taken for granted. Yes, I see wheat fields around, but there is a large gap between that, and the flour that I use in my pizza doughs. Well, thanks to Keith, I now know the process start to finish. He gathered some rye from his neighbor's yard and threshed it for me. I ground the rye seeds(?) to flour using my coffee grinder. Then Jule and I baked bread with the flour. Gretchen also used some of it for a kick ass crust on her crisp. The second highlight for me was seeing people's reaction. Explaining to people where every ingredient in what they are eating came from led to a lot of wide eyes combined with a new appreciation for the food. The general support, excitement, and delight from all the participants just furthered my joy at the idea.

So for those of you that couldn't make it, I've put together a menu of most of the things we had. Last minute additions unforuntately didn't make it to the list.

So a big thanks to everyone that came and participated. Special thanks to Andrew and Per for taking some pictures.


The kitchen was abuzz with great smells and great helpers

Todd and Marieke look questioningly at the mushroom pate

Joey and Per share a romantic glass of honey wine

What party is complete without a fire juggling show?

Saturday August 19 2006File under: events, pics

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