|The sun is shining outside so I can happily play frisbee, bike to trivia*, or get in some outdoor juggling practice. But now I've got another reason to be happy that the sun is shining: it's making me money!
Through the exhaustive legwork and vision of a few very environmentally minded local folks, the Skagit County Community Solar project was born. The idea behind it is this: not everyone can put solar panels on their home (maybe they rent, live in a shaded area, or can't afford the cost of a whole system) but many want to support solar energy. So, if we all pool our money and find a well-lit spot, we can all share in a piece of the solar energy experience. The state of Washington encourages exactly this type of thing with a program called Community Solar. From their side, it encourages local jobs*, raises awareness of solar energy, and helps delay* building new power plants.
In short, the financial arrangement works like this: 20-30 folks bought "shares" to fund the purchase, install, and start a maintenance fund. Then, for the next 7 years, all governmental subsidies/payments get divvied up among the share holders. The money earned from selling our power back to the local power company goes to pay for the lease on the community roof we are using. Then, at the end of 7 years, we will sell the system to the Middle School (where the system is installed) and those profits, plus what is left out of the maintenance fund will be distributed among the shareholders. The idea is that shareholders will recoup their investment plus maybe 4%, depending on weather, maintenance, etc.
All in all, it's really an awesome kind of project to be involved in. We earn money, support the environment, and raise awareness about how others can support the environment as well. Win win win!
|Wednesday October 9 2013||File under: environment, Anacortes|
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|It feels like it's been a long while since I've done a good old ridiculous beard post. That doesn't mean I haven't been creating ridiculous beards, just that they all seem to be repeats of previous ridiculousness that have already been posted here on BdW. Well, this last time around, we* came up with a fun-ish one. The mark of a truly ridiculous beard, in my opinion, is whether one would wear said beard out in public. And while my adventurousness for wearing ridiculous beards in public has grown, it's not nearly to this point.
Speaking of required adventurousness, one's would have to be very high to wear this one out in public. Maybe someday. Maybe someday.
|Thursday October 3 2013||File under: beard|
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|I've often proclaimed that I'm not really a performer when it comes to juggling/circus. And while I still somewhat maintain that, it is getting harder and harder to say as I find myself performing more and more. Take last week for example: I performed 2 different times, once at the Bellingham Co-op for their Eat Local Festival* and once street performing at the Anacortes Farmer's market.
Street performing is something I really didn't see myself getting into. Any successful street performer can tell you that it isn't about your juggling skills as it is about your show: how you keep a crowd, build to a climax, have a good hat line, etc. That stuff doesn't interest me. Instead, I'll show you a trick or two, and if you like it, you can drop a buck in my hat.
With the help of Della, I gathered all* my props and headed down to put my style of street performance into effect. After the fact I can say this: my way is a whole lot of fun. And while it doesn't bring in the huge hats that some of the big guys can, it was definitely worth while*. It was so much fun, in fact, that I could see getting into the habit of it. Yeehaw.
Yep, I guess when you have spent as much time juggling and playing as I have, performance is kind of unavoidable. I think I'm okay with that.
|Wednesday September 25 2013||File under: juggling|
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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.
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 2013||File under: quarry|
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|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 2013||File under: quarry|
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|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.
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 2013||File under: stats, travel|
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|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 2013||File under: circus|
|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/
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 2013||File under: circus|
|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.
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 2013||File under: circus|
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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 2013||File under: quarry|
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