Swing Tour Oregon 2012


I now feel like I know what it would be like to be a traveling salesman. I just spent 2 days on the road from dawn til dusk, covering 900 miles and meeting with 10+ people in 5 town in Eastern Oregon in preparation for this year's Chautauqua tour. From navigating in new places to eating fast food on the go to living out of a rental car, I felt the experience was just a motel away from the epitome of traveling salesman*.

The upshots: seeing beautiful countryside*, meeting with our partners in great communities, getting back on the road*, and feeling more prepared for tour this year.

The downsides: go go and then go some more, way too much time in a car, not any time to keep up on normal life, and, well, the loneliness.

All in all, a great trip and super helpful to the cause. But next time, I'm taking someone with me and going about half as fast!
Wednesday June 6 2012File under: travel, USA

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FC 167 - Zombies Need Jobs Too

First off, let me apologize for letting my comic deadline slip*. I've been trying to keep up with the every other Friday schedule but let a week slide this last time. It won't happen again (until it does...)

But more importantly, this week's Friday Comic has a real treat in store. Like's been done a time or two in the past, this week I've invited a guest artist to provide a different style on the same idea. We take one of my comic ideas and both do our own thing with it. Then I post 'em both here to BdW and you, the reader, get to benefit. Two for the price of one.

I don't even need to tell you who did which comic. I did one and the amazingly talented Stef (who blogs over at StefCo) did the ridiculously awesome other. Did I mention it's incredibly freaking awesome? Good good fun. I'm thinking we might need to convince Stef to do another here in the near future.

Anyway, a big thanks to Stef for the awesome comic and a big thanks to all you readers* for, well, reading. Happy Friday!
Friday June 1 2012File under: comic

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Beardamation

It has been a long time since I've done a true beard post*. In fact, it's been a long time since I've shaved. According to my records, it's been 7.5 months(!) since last semi-respectable Wren graced the world with his presence. Well, to go with my fancy hair cut*, I decided it was time. And since an opportunity like this can't be passed up, we had some fun.

Artistic director Della took control of the camera and the razor. I did the fancy* computer work afterwards to stitch it all together (my first animated .gif, believe it or not.) Anyway, I think it is pretty darn fun. Hope you get a kick out of it too.
Wednesday May 30 2012File under: beard

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60-Hour Work Week

It's not often that I can say I worked a 60 hour work week. In fact, I don't think, outside of volunteer work*, I've ever put in that many hours in a week. This past week, however, I worked 60 hours hauling gravel, weeding, spreading bark, building trails, painting, planting, driving a fully loaded truck, crawling under the house to do plumbing, and more. And while I am pooped, I'm happy.

In terms of jobs, you couldn't really ask for a better gig. We spent the week just outside Mt. Rainer National Park*, working on a million dollar cabin right along the river with beautiful grounds complete with waterfalls, private forest paths, and beautiful stonework everywhere you turned (my personal favorite being the spiral outdoor shower*). My boss has been going down there for a week or two per year for over 25 years and to see the culmination of all that work was amazing. And to participate in the storied trip was a real opportunity.

In our few off hours, we played horseshoes*, frisbee golf, poker, and ate well! It was dude time. There was even a surfer movie and some Simpsons. The combination of working and living together in a place where it is all about the work* really suits me. And with the overtime I logged and the spare change I put away, I could see doing it every year, if I'm lucky enough to be asked back.

Yes, work comes in all shapes and forms. A week working under the sun in a beautiful place with a bunch of cool dudes is one of my favorite forms.
Tuesday May 22 2012File under: work

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FC 166 - Actors Show Us the Way


For every idea that eventually makes it to Friday Comics, there are probably 3 that don't. This is not for lack of hilarity, but merely from not remembering to write the idea down. Quite often, an amusing situation will arise in my life where someone will say "That would make a great comic!" looking my direction. I try to keep track, but I often fail.

Anyway, this idea was among such real life occurrences. After we all had a good laugh at the awkward situation I was put in and my oh so clever escape, someone said "You should make that a comic!". And I did. So there.

(There was some discussion as to whether people would get the whole "Line." reference. Do you? You might think you don't, but you do and it just isn't that funny. "Line." is what actors say when they don't know/remember what to say next, right? Did you get it? Well, I hope at least someone had a chuckle.)
Thursday May 10 2012File under: comic

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bebidas.saxtor.com

Blogs, as I've mentioned here before, are kind of a thing of the past*. People are into twitter and facebook now (which I consider blogging for the lazy man). So when a new blog comes around, I'm happy to give it props and encourage you all to check it out.

Saxtor, frequent commenter, one-time personal blogger, and hummus maker extraordinaire, has started a themed blog on bebidas ricas Mexicanas (or rich Mexican drinks to you no hablo espanol people). From it's about page:

This blog aims to collect in one place all of the delicious beverages that accompany Mexican cuisine. We are all familiar with tequila, and probably horchata and other agua frescas, but just as the world of Mexican food extends far beyond burritos and nachos, so does the world of Mexican beverages.

While many of the recipes/post cover alcoholic beverages, I picked a simple cucumber-lime agua fresca to try out for this post. Verdict? Simple and clear instructions, easy to make, and super yummy; perfect for those rare sunny days here in the NW.

Anyway, I highly suggest checking out bebidas.saxtor.com. Expand those horizons and viva las bebidas!
Wednesday May 9 2012File under: food, links

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Change in Genre

I wouldn't consider the books I typically read high brow literature*. I often approach books like I approach movies: turn on and tune out. That usually leads me to reading fun fiction that you forget immediately after you close the book (hence the need to keep a list, so as not to reread). But of late, I've forayed into other genres with much success! So instead of paperback fluff*, I've read a couple of non-fiction, a graphic novel, and a young adult novel, each with their own story.

The Origins of Dexter & Stray Part One: The Horizon Line
By Z. A. Armstrong

It has been so long since I've read young adult fiction, I didn't really know what to expect. I semi-reluctantly decided to read this one because it was written by a buddy of mine and I wanted to be a supportive friend. Whatever concerns I had about reading a "young adult" novel were totally unfounded. The story was super engaging, the characters were fun, and I couldn't put it down. It pretty much combines all my favorite things in the world: travel, juggling, and wonder. I could only imagine being a young adult and stumbling onto this book and gobbling it up. I can't wait to read it to the Punksto!

The Downhill Lie: A Hacker's Return to a Ruinous Sport
by Carl Hiaasen

Reading a non-fiction account of some guy's return to golf sounds about as boring a book as I could imagine. But when that some guy is among my favorite authors (and I've already read all his fiction, a genre he seems to have completely given up on), I figured I might as well give it a try. I'm so glad I took the chance. A Downhill Lie is hilarious and at the same time inspirational. At times, I found myself wanting to head out to the links and try to conquer the sport myself. Or, pick a completely random project and dedicate 18 months in its pursuit all in the name of a book.

The Griff
by Christopher Moore and Ian Corson

Comic books were never my cup of tea as a young 'un, though I actually never really gave them a try. So I had no idea what I was getting myself into with a graphic novel. But again, like A Downhill Lie, it was my favorites author's foray into a new genre that led me there. (Christopher Moore's books top my all time favorites list and I recommend him to anyone I meet.) And, like with A Downhill Lie, I wasn't disappointed. The story was great, the art was fun, and visual aspect gave a whole new dimension to the book. My only complaint is some of the drawings were done so stylistically that I could hardly tell what was happening. But all in all, a great, fun read.

Yay for reading! But for now, I think there is a John Grisham that I haven't read. To the book depository!
Tuesday May 1 2012File under: books

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Quarry Tour...Kind Of


I talk about the Quarry all the time, or at least it seems that way. I'm either talking about my cabin or some event that is about to happen or has just happened. But I realized that I've never done a more general post, so many of you don't really have an idea of what it's like out there. Well, I recently had to go out and take a bunch of pictures for a prospective quarrior so I thought I'd present said pictures in this here post. Hopefully that will at least partially orient all ya'll who have never had the opportunity to come out and visit (and maybe kick you in the butt to do just that.)

The front area (pictured above) is where most of the activity goes on. There's the warehouse, the airstream kitchen, the bath yurt, the yoga/music yurt, and the clown pods. Usually, the convoy of [live-in] school buses, ancient RVs, and gypsy trailers are also parked out in this general area which makes it the hub of activity.

The "Back 40" is where the quarry is, in all it's glory. The only water access point is at the swimming area entrance, where there is a dock, a tightrope, and rocks for jumping off. Much of the rest of the Back 40* is undeveloped* at least in terms of living space. There are, however, lots of hidden treasures. The Playground often hosts events and in a few years of letting the grass and fruit trees get established, it will be a paradise. Then there is the Dreams Come True Pavilion, Bluff 69, the Soap Box Derby course, the Meadow*, and more.

It's only now, putting this post together, that I'm realizing how big a project documenting the place well enough to accurately convey it is. Perhaps this post can serve as a start. In the future, I'll try to augment this more pictures and explanations. Until then, come visit us, and be sure to bring your bathing suit!*
Monday April 23 2012File under: quarry

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FC 165 - The Immutable Laws of Science


Sometimes I have a hard time bringing myself to keep making these Friday Comics. The couch is so comfy and it's not like I didn't already spend all day dinking around on the computer*. But then there's always some reason that reminds me of why I do it. Occasionally, ever so occasionally, I make a comic that makes someone giggle. In my daily dinking yesterday, I found evidence of just such a causation; I saw that someone read every single one of my comics start to finish....on an iPhone! I didn't see where they came from or have any idea where they are from*, but seeing those page hits back to back to back sure made me smile.

So with that thought in mind, I proudly present you this week's Friday Comic. And even if this one doesn't elicit giggles out there on the interweb, I laughed. Good times. Happy Friday!
Friday April 20 2012File under: comic

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Winedow

I couldn't be more proud to present...my Winedow, the product of many months of pondering, pent up enthusiasm*, experimentation, and hope. It turned out great and I can't wait to get it installed in my cabin and see it in the wild.

As you might have guessed from the ever-so-clever name, it is a window made of wine bottles. I have heard of (and even seen) a few of these in the real world, but nothing exactly like what I wanted, so I had to just wing it. I've briefly outlined the steps I used below. If you are wanting to try this yourself, please feel free to contact me with more questions.
  1. Get a bunch of wine bottles. I tried to get a variety of colors with different thumb indentions.
  2. Cut the bottles. The method I used for cutting was to score the outside of the bottle in a jig, then to pour a thin stream of boiling water over the score followed by a thin stream of cold water. This causes a nice cut.
  3. Get a frame. I used cross-section of a metal 55-gallon barrel, about 1 foot tall.
  4. With the frame sitting flat against the ground, fill it with sand, which allows for positioning of unevenly cut bottles, and holds them in place while filling in the gaps.
  5. Once the bottles are arranged in the sand, fill in the gaps with expanding foam, up to 2-3 from the top surface*.
  6. Fill the rest of the way up on the gaps with mortar. I( left about .5-1 inch of the bottle exposed.
  7. Let set and dry for a couple days and voila!
The project is only half done, really. I still have to finish the backside, which I plan to do with a solid piece of frosted glass, edged with a decorative piece of rope(?). Then, of course, I have to install it. Once in place, I'm sure it will warrant another post with lots of pictures, but in the meantime, here it is [in all it's glory].
Wednesday April 11 2012File under: misc

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