Standby

Killing time in an airport isn't the worst way to spend an afternoon. It isn't the best, but it isn't the worst. And I seem to be doing that a lot recently. Not because I've been travelling more, but because of how I've been traveling. Through the generosity of a friend, I'm in the in-crowd, able to hop on flights for free or little money (provided it's the right airline) without jumping through the hoops of time-sensitive fares, blackout dates, etc. Yes, I'm a travel companion!

The upsides of this arrangement are many. There's the whole cheap cheap travel, of course. And then there's the way the airline folks treat one of their own. I've had so many great experiences, esp. with the ticketing and gate people. And maybe they're this nice to everyone. If so, I didn't notice until now. And with the cost of travel a non-issue, freedom of travel increases. Hop to San Francisco for an evening? Why not? Weekend trip to Hawaii? Alhoa!

But as with anything, there are downsides. The two biggest for my situation are this: the airline I get to go free on has a business model that isn't conducive to flexible travel. They serve small airports via hubs and don't do any connecting flights. This works great if I'm just going Bellingham to Vegas or LA, but doesn't work well if I want to head to the east coast. It can be done, but it involves overnight layovers and transfers in obscure midwest locations. But the biggest downside is what has me killing full afternoons in airports unexpectedly: I only fly standby.

It seems when I was flying via traditional paying means, none of the flights I ended up on were fully booked. There was always one seat to be had somewhere. But now, a full 25% of my flights have been booked to the point of leaving me waving to them from the airport while they taxi away. It's not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but it can sure throw a wrench in one's planning*.

So here I continue to sit, poaching free wifi and counting heads as the waiting room fills up, hoping there will be one measly seat for little old me.
Sunday February 23 2014File under: travel

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8th Roses Are Red Off

Hey, I've got an idea. Let's write Roses are Red poems right here on the blog. It'll be great. I'll write a few to get you started. Then you can contribute your own. Over the next week or so, you can check back to read the awesome ones other people write. How about we set the rules as every poem much contain either the word "roses" or "red" and must follow the standard Roses are Red rhyming/stress pattern.

Full disclosure: this is not a new idea. It's been done many times, some of which were right here on this blog! Check out posts from '13, '12, '11, '10, '09, '08, '07
Roses are red
And contain a bug or two
When we eavesdrop dear Angela*
We feel closer to you
Rosas son rojas
Mi chiquita bañana
Besa me esta noche
Don't wait for mañana
You shouldn't buy roses
If you really cared
Buy local instead
And our earth with be spared1
Roses are red
But such a frivolity
And I thought you believed
In gender equality
Here, take your roses
Now I've done my duty
Is that sufficient
For you to show me your booty?


Wednesday February 12 2014File under: poetry, holidays

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Sheep To Shawl

Last summer, I got a call from a friend asking for some help shearing her sheep and alpaca. In the mood for an adventure, I hustled on over. And while I didn't do any of the actual shearing (quite a specialized skill), I did help round them up, hold them down, keep them happy (at least attempt to as some man was going at them with a buzzer), and be an extra pair of hands. In exchange, I received a nice lesson on farm life and a big sack of unprocessed wool. What a deal!

Summer passed and winter fell, as it tends to do, and I found myself feeling a little bit crafty. Enter: wool sack. I first tried my hand at carding and spinning. It's hard. Like really hard to get things nice and even. Ten hours of carding, spinning, and knitting just to make a 4"x8" 'shawl' is enough to make a person really gain appreciation for industrialization. But I know as I do it more, I'll get better. The end goal is to knit myself a new hat (as this one is getting a little ragged) having completed the process start to finish, or "sheep to shawl" as they say.

Another craft endeavor I tried with the raw wool was felting. Using youtube tutorials, I had a couple goes at it. While a bit faster than spinning and knitting, it still isn't fast or easy. But I'm excited about the products of my first attempt and look forward to dialing it in a bit. If I end up with a nice felt hand-made hat, I would be stoked beyond belief. So many crafts, so little time.
Monday February 10 2014File under: crafts, misc

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Taking Troothpicks To the Next Level

Interest, both mine and the world at large's, in troothpicks tends to wax and wane. Someimtes I'll go 10 months without thinking or hearing about it at all. Other times, there's seems to be something exciting happen with them every other week. Some recent excitement was inclusion in Nomad, a travelling trailer full of indy art, based out of Bellingham and some long overdue internet sales!

So keeping in form with this latest wave of interest, I've decided to step it up to the next level. I've open up a troothpicks store on Etsy! My hope is that the wider marketplace will bring troothpicks happiness to more people making the world a better place...and maybe putting a few bucks in my pocket*.

I've heard a number of Etsy success stories recently, including Della's! She makes awesome juggling bags and has sold out in just the last week on her Etsy store. You should go check it out yourself and get a pre-order in before demand drives the price through the roof*!

Anyway, it's my hope that this new move puts troothpicks where it deserves to be: on the verge of making me a million dollars! If you felt so inclined, I'd love help spreading the word. Tell your friends, 'favorite' my etsy shop, --heck, maybe even buy a package for yourself or a friend.
Saturday February 1 2014File under: misc

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A Brief Visit to Madison

The happy coincidence of having family in the same city as a well known juggling festival led me to hop on a plane and bounce on over to Madison WI for the weekend, a place I've always wanted to check out anyway. The verdict: pretty dang neat.

Seeing the midwestern version of a juggling festival was interesting. Madfest, now in it's 47th year is pretty big as far as juggling festivals go. Lots of people, lots of talent, and lots of age diversity, which was really nice to see*. And while between the awesome show and all the happenings in the gym, there was plenty of great stuff to watch, the overall vibe was a bit cliquey. I mostly juggled by myself* and am looking forward to getting back to the awesome Bellingham club meeting to get my fill of high level passing.

Aside from the juggling festival, there was lots to do and see in Madison, and I had a great tour guide and host. We walked the city in freshly falling snow, sampled a bit of the local cuisine, got a geocache(!), saw Cora's school, and much much more. It was the perfect taste of the place and it has me looking forward to coming back someday.

In short, my time in Madison was awesome. Getting there and back, however, there were a few more ins and outs. But that'll have to wait for another post.
Monday January 20 2014File under: travel, USA

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2013 Year End Letter

For the past couple years, I've been meaning to get around to writing a year end/christmas letter. I always really appreciate it when I receive such a letter in the real mail as it keeps me informed about my friends' lives and let's me know that they are thinking of me. So this year I finally did it. It was a neat exercise, from picking the few pictures that I could include to narrowing down and summarizing my year.

If people still read the blog (like you do, which I am ever so grateful), most of the content would be a rehashing. And indeed, if you didn't get a fancy schmancy paper copy of this in the mail, it is most likely since I know you are a reader and it would all be redundant. But I wanted to post it here 1) for posterity* 2) because it is a nice summation of my year (and 3) If you can't tell, I'm desperate for blog material these days)

Anyway, click on the image* above and have a read.
Tuesday January 14 2014File under: misc

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Trivia Database

Pub trivia (or trivia of any kind, for that matter) is becoming a pretty big part of my life these days. I do my darnedest to attend the three local events (as covered here) and always try to hit up new spots whenever I travel. It's fun. It's engaging. And it can be pretty dang lucrative.

Well, as is my way, I decided to start tracking me and my team's showings just for kicks. Not only will it be neat to look back at how we did, etc., but it will serve as a way to track winnings. At one spot alone last year, we earned an estimated $2000 in gift certificates. Not bad for a bunch of nerds.

Much in the same way I keep my sleeping around online, I've put the trivia data up as well, just for yucks. You can check it out here.

Take that NSA. No need to bug my phone or e-mail. I've got it all laid out nicely for you right here on my blog.
Friday January 10 2014File under: games, data

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Game Night 2013

Remember those game nights from back in the day, when a bunch of people gathered at my mom's house, chatted, ate yummy food, and played games? If you don't, here's a few links to refresh your memory (2006 and 2007).

Well, after a far too long hiatus, we tried it again. And again, it proved to be dang fun. Thanks to everyone that came and played along.

A first time addition to this game night was trivia, which I wrote and hosted. I really like writing and hosting trivia. I had a go at it this past summer with Chautauqua which proved to be a hit. And this turned out pretty great. An innovation I hadn't experienced before emerged: everyone contribute one question for the final round. Good times. The picture round can be seen here*.

To counter the new time addition, we played a couple rounds of the good old standby Pictionary Telephone (covered here on BdW before). Here are a few of the highlights: 1, 2, and 3.

Yep, to whomever suggested the resurrection of game night, a hearty thanks. And now that I remember how awesome it is, maybe we'll have to do it again next year!
Thursday January 2 2014File under: games

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Twas the Night Before Christmas 2013

Twas the night before Christmas
In my cabin made of stone
The only light glowing
was our "tree" which just shone

It's just a twig, really
A humble little bough
But with only 96 sq. ft.
It's all the space would allow

But it serves us supremely
Setting just the right tone
As we bustled about
Making the place feel like home.

We brought blankets, we brought pillows
We brought gifts, we brought food
We brought a generator and 2 heaters
Which did little good

We swept mouse poop, made the bed
With blankets piled high
We juggled and did crosswords
As the evening passed by

To say this place was cozy
Is a tad bit extreme
It's got a ways to go
To live up to that dream

A wood stove would be nice
To chase off the cold
It'd be drier, it'd be cozier
It'd keep down the mold

By next year perhaps,
Or sooner if I try hard
It'll be picture perfect
Straight from a Hallmark™ card

But now, at this moment
I can't really complain
It has all that I care for
And keeps out the rain

My sweetie is beside me
And the world is far away
It's as simple as that
What else can I say?

Some people want Elmos
And others want blenders
Big screens and jewelery
A new car w/ chrome fenders

For me, it's just simple
What makes this evening just so
It sits in the corner
Quietly aglow.

Yes the sweet little twig tree
Brings us plenty of joy
Just a simple little token
No need for the toys

So as our eyelids droop
Whether from sleep or from cold
It'll sign off as always
Lest these rhymes get too old

I wish you and your loved ones
The same joy as me
Happy Christmas to you
And may your New Year be merry.
Wednesday December 25 2013File under: holidays, poem

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FC 175 - Tis the Season


Can it be? Really? Well humdinger, it's a Friday Comic! How did I used to do this every week? Now I'm averaging 1 every six months. And this one wouldn't have come about if it weren't for some gentle coaxing from a few friends that, to my utter surprise, expressed missing these artistic atrocities. Well, for those few folks, here you go: an early Christmas present.

And since there have only been 2 comics this year, you've no doubt forgot about all those old ones. Why not check out the archive to track down your favorite or let randomness decide.

And while I'm sure it's a little late and a lot flat, I can't post a comic around x-mas without at least half-heartedly trying to sell you on one of my amazingly funny compilation books. Get them here: Volume 1, Volume 2.

(And for an extra Christmas bonus, Della did a comic too! Good times!)
Friday December 20 2013File under: comic

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