ShBang 2013 In Review


Sh'bang, the annual festival of awesomeness out at the Lookout Arts Quarry, again went off without a hitch. Well, more specifically, there were lots and lots of hitches, just like usual that included but were not limited to running out of toilet paper, oodles of mud*, high ticket prices, blown sound system, and a super frazzled organization staff. But, despite all that, it was a pretty dang neat festival.

The highlights of the weekend seem to fall into a few categories: stage fun, racing fun, and swimming fun.
  • I myself am not much of a fan of live music, but the bands that found their way to the stage(s) even gave me pause to tap my foot a time or two. And the fact that circus acts took the stage throughout the weekend was a definite plus.
  • The soapbox derby racing was as fun as always, this time without too many crashes*. I brought old Al the Pallet out of retirement for one more trip down the hill. He performed admirably. But the real action was with the serious racers, those who put more than 3 hours into building their carts and actually know how to weld. Those guys keep the festival more than just another cool music festival.
  • Each year for Sh'Bang, it seems we have a new water feature. Two years ago it was a janky carpet and tarp waterslide that lasted a total of a couple dozen trips down. Last year it was a much improved waterslide complete with minimal ass scraping. This year's addition tops them all: a zip line across the quarry into the water. Needless to say, there was a line most of the weekend. Many got in on the action.
Another bonus highlight for me this year was the turnout of so many family and friends. The quarry is a place I'm proud to be a part of and I really like showing it off. It sometimes takes a festival to get people to come out and enjoy it with me.

The passing of Sh'Bang ushers in the close of Quarry Season, as it were. I'll still try to pop up there a time or two to work on my cabin (or have a rustic getaway weekend from gritty city life.) But I doubt there's many more runs in the zip line for me this year. It's all good though. It's that much more to look forward to next season that, again, will all build up to Sh.......BANG!
Tuesday September 17 2013File under: quarry

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First Night In the Cabin

My cabin has now officially been used...like a cabin...for sleeping in*! Della and I spent our first night up there this past weekend, and despite there still being no door, a few critter-sized gaps in the walls, and nothing but temporary furniture, it was awesome.

As the cabin turns more from a place to work to a place for just being, I'm starting to get an idea of how it might be as a living space. I've had people over to chat, I'm starting to figure out the logistics of where stuff can get stored, and I'm starting to feel comfortable in knowing that this is my space, a concept that hasn't been in my world much lately.

My hope is that in the next couple weeks, I'll get the door in, fix those critter-sized holes, and maybe even get the wood stove in or roofing on. Then it will really start to feel like a real thing, rather than a pile of rocks and plywood out in the woods. And when it is starting to really be a real thing, I'm sure I'll do a big post, have a nice cabin-warming party, and more. Until then, it's one night at a time, wake up, and onto the next improvement.
Wednesday August 28 2013File under: quarry

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Sleeping Around 2012-2013

Anyone familiar with this blog probably knows about my favorite pet project, my sleeping around page, so I'll save you the ramblings about how I feel it encapsulates my life, how much fun I have making it, and how I hope to keep on collecting data for a long time to come* Well, my ubicational year has recently come to end and it serves as a great time to sum up the data.

From a general categories standpoint, things look pretty average*, either a testament to how predictable my life has become or evidence that over the span of a year, even erraticness can average itself out.. On the subcategory level, however, we see a dramatic increase in international travel over last year which brings it up to about the 5-year average.

An interesting, yet unsurprising, rising trend is the number of nights spent at the quarry (47). I can only imagine that with the impending completion of my cabin, that number will continue to rise.

Travel Breakdown
In-state86 (56%)
Domestic28 (19%)
    # of states (other than WA)2 (OR, HI)
International37 (25%)
    # of countries (other than US)5*
Additional Stats
Nights in a Car40
Nights in a Tent20
Nights on a Boat10
Nights in a Hotel26
Longest Stretch at Home15


While I could probably go on about the ins and outs of this data for hours, I'll spare you the pain. If you're really that interested, play with the full data yourself.

Previous years' posts can be found here: 2008-2009, 2009-2010, 2010-2011, and 2011-2012.

Thursday August 22 2013File under: stats, travel

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Small Town Shows

Of all the program elements of a given stop on the Chautauqua tour (parades, workshops, community shows, etc.), my favorite by far is the "a rip-roaring, balls o' fire, all the bells and whistles, vaudeville variety show", esp. when it is in a small town at a tiny theater packed with an enthusiastic audience. The 2013 tour had only one such stop (as it was more focused more on the institutional/community shows which were more outdoors, etc.).

Our show in Concrete was just plain fun. The theater was awesome, the audience was enthusiastic, and the Big Juggle totally hit (except for the complete yard sale* by Zack and Clay up front.) It's a bit of a bummer that Della and I couldn't do our rope act due to her torn calf muscle, but there will be other shows in other small towns.

Yes, big shows in small towns is what attracts me to Chautauqua tours. I look forward to many more in the future!
Wednesday August 14 2013File under: circus

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Chautauqua 2013 Part 1

As expected*, there hasn't been much blogging time since heading out on tour with the New Old Time Chautauqua. And, as with the past years, only when trying to post about it do I realize how woefully bad I've been at taking photos. But I shall not let that stop me from posting about what a great time we've been having.

Almost as a warm-up to tour (party/community/fun/more!), Della and I headed down to Bobland for Ball and Bones fest. We had a great time and dusted off a our juggling act for the upcoming tour. Unfortunately, however, our musical accompaniment wasn't scheduled to tour with us.

After Bobland*, we headed Chumleighland on South Camano Island where the first half of the tour was to be based. Chumleighland, milieu if the old time vaudevillian Rev. Chumleigh, is a pretty awesome place. When not hosting itinerant circus folk, he does an outdoor cinema with old time movies and hosts performance workshops. Oh, and there's a great tiny train.

Overall, tour has been going great. The shows have been good and well received*. Della and I have been performing our rope piece and I've been heading up the Big Juggle (prev. coverage here or rehearsal video here). I've been trying stilts in the parade which has gone...okay.

Anyway, we're ducking off tour for a quick few days to do the Happy Little Farm party (prev. coverage here) and to give Della a bit easier time in recovering from an injury sustained in the most dangerous act ever, the Chair Dance*. To keep up on the happenings of tour, check out the tour blog which does an infinitely better job of covering tour than BdW*.
Friday August 2 2013File under: circus

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Chautauqua Does Western Washington

It's that time again, time for the summer tour of the New Old Time Chautauqua. This year's tour is exciting for a number of reasons. For one, it is my 5th tour which feels slightly like a milestone. And to celebrate said milestone (at least for me), Della and I actually auditioned an act! It's my hope that we make it to stage a time or two at least. But more importantly, it is exciting because the tour is right here in my backyard*. With stops in Bellingham, the Quarry, Mount Vernon, Camano Island, Olympia, Arlington, and more, this feels like a melding of two worlds close to me: circuslandia and my real world.

Since I know at least a few readers out there are Western Washington based, I wanted to pass along a few of the details before we head out. More information can be found at Chautauqua's website.
Outside of the totally public schedule, we are also doing a collaboration with the Lookout Arts Quarry (whoop!), a day of workshops, swimming, mingling, potlucking, and a fun fun show. It's going to go down on Monday, July 29 with workshops at 1:00 and the show at 6:30. The goal of this show is to give people an excuse to come to the Quarry (if for nothing else than swimming and hanging out) and also come see Chautauqua. This is my highest hope for the tour, to get the Chautauqua community and the Quarry communities together. And I hope that you will be there for the fun.

I think it's going to be a great tour with lots of great acts, great music, and great fun. It'd be great to see you out. If you have any questions, I'm thinking I might have limited internet from the road, so give a shout if you have questions. Otherwise, I hope to see ya'll on the other side with great photos!
Sunday July 21 2013File under: circus

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More Quarry Craft Time


Between my time working on the cabin out at the quarry*, I spend a bit of time working on various other projects, some for fun and some for function. Above are a few of the latest endeavors.

The first picture is of the info booth I built to house a donation box*, notices about upcoming events, a "private property" sign*, and more. With summer in full swing, we get lots of visitors, many of whom barely know anything about the quarry except that it is the best swimming hole around*. The second picture is a close-up of the roof, my first experiment in license plate shingling. I'm super excited about how it turned out!*

Project #2 is, well, aptly named. With the number of residents climbing for the summer, we were filling up the port-a-potties faster than was preferable. The solution? A good old fashion pit toilet. The pit part was easy. The throne took some doing. But it was fun. And how often can I say "look at my shitter!"?

With the cabin getting so close to being inhabitable, I've turned my thoughts toward furnishing it. The above stool was my first attempt at rough cut furniture. I think it turned out pretty dang good. Now all I need is a counter to sit at with it.

All the projects above are at least partially made from raw wood, i.e. never milled, from the stump to the workshop. It's been great fun splitting large logs when a beam is called for, etc. It's a bit of a pity that I'm not so details oriented so the stuff actually comes out nice. But I'm function oriented so the stuff always comes out functional...and that counts for something.
Saturday July 6 2013File under: quarry

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FC 174 - Whoa Whoa Whoa

It's been over seven months since I last released a Friday Comic. Oddly enough, very few readers have lamented the loss. Well, I shan't be discouraged. A comic idea struck me that I just couldn't pass up (mostly because I like trying to draw butts) so here it is.

It's been an interesting experience diving back in to the comic creation scene. I had forgotten how long they take and how poorly drawn they often turn out. Alas. Knowing that I don't have deadlines, quotas*, and possible book inclusion (copies still available of Friday Comics 2 here) does help the whole thing be a bit more fun.

Does this post remind you how much you like reading comics? If so, spend a little time browsing the archives*. Does it remind you how much these comics feel like space filler? Don't worry. It most likely won't become a regular thing.
Friday June 28 2013File under: comic

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I Bought a Car!

After over 6 [wonderful] years of not owning a car, I decided it was time. Between housesitting at non-public transportation accessibly places, transporting building materials to the quarry, and always bumming a ride to trivia, the time is right.

This yet to be named steed is a 2000 Toyota Echo. I'm pleased to say that the buying process, something I haven't done in 18 years, went smoothly and there was very little run around. As long as the transmission doesn't fall out in the first couple weeks, I consider it a successful purchase.

The last 6 years of being without a car have been a wonderful experience, one that I wish many many more people went through. It helped me learn [and love] public transportation, develop a consciousness and deliberateness in transportation choices, and so much more. Someday I will have to write up some thoughts on my carless years to share all the wonderful aspects.

But for now, I get to explore what it's like to have a car again. Hopefully I'll retain much of my biking/public transporting tendencies. But I'm guessing that I won't be missing a trivia due to lack of transportation any time soon.
Thursday June 20 2013File under: transportation

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Cruise-Europe-Morocco Trip Financial Breakdown

I really like, after a significant travel adventure, to put a little time into reviewing it's finances; to get an idea of overall costs after so much time of looking at finances from a one hotel room to the next view. And since I find it so interesting, I thought maybe other folks might too. So here's how the money panned out for this last trip. (Oh, and if you like this kind of stuff, you might like previous trip recaps here and here.)

(Interesting side note: I spent over $55 in "international exchange fees" from my stupid bank on top of bank withdrawal fees. This 3% on all non-domestic expenses is worth keeping in mind (and is going encourage me to look for a new bank for my next travels))

Major Transportation Expenses
Flight Seattle -> Puerto Rico$188
Cruise Puerto Rico -> Portugal$452*
Ferry Spain -> Morocco$50
Flight Casablance -> Amsterdam$122
Flight Amsterdam -> Vancouver$515

Day to Day Expenses (hotel, food, domestic travel, sights, etc.)
PlaceDuration of stayTotal CostCost/dayNotes
Puerto Rico2$70$35This was just bare bones hotel and food. We didn't do any internal transportation (except for a city bus or two) and no sights/museums/tourist activities*. I imagine if I was to visit in earnest (rather than a cheap as possible layover with trips to the beach), these numbers might be higher.
Cruise10$452$45For the caliber of food, lodging, entertainment, and more, this was a spectacular deal. The fact that it covered transporation as well* just made it all the better a deal.
Portugal/Spain9$425$47For Europe being one of the more expensive places in the world, I feel like these totals aren't bad at all.
Melilla (Spanish Morocco)2$125$62I used this time to huddle up in a hotel with wifi to do some work, so I imagine I could have gotten by slightly cheaper. But Melilla doesn't have cheap hostels*, so housing, at €35, really makes it an expensive stopover.
Morocco11$465$42Morocco was quite a cheap place. A bit of an extravagant 2-night trip into the dessert at $130 greatly up the per day.
Amsterdam3$195$65Again, lodging was the culprit for such a high per day, but again, I'm pleased with being able to visit a European city for such a relatively low cost. And since this 3 day stopover saved me $200 on airfare*, I consider it pretty much a free stop in an awesome city

Overall
Total cost# of daysTotal cost/day
$2653*38$70

Saturday June 8 2013File under: travel

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