Soap Box 2011


Thanks to Luke for filming and putting this together!

Tuesday September 13 2011File under: quarry, video

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2011 Soapbox Shbang

Yep, folks, it's that time again. Time for the Lookout Arts Quarry's annual fundraiser/ridiculous-fest called Off Road Soapbox Sh'bang. And this fourth annual installation of derby racing madness promises to be even better than years past. Each year, the quarry gets a little bit better with improved access, additional features, and new areas uncovered. This year, more carnival games will be the new attraction for some. But for most, the non-OSHA approved water slide will be feature of the year*.

But the real draw is homemade derby cars being powered by gravity and creativity alone flying down the hill, over jumps, and avoiding swinging hay bales all vying for the coveted golden goggles. In between heats, music and circus will occupying the various stages and last year's super-well received Sideshow will have it's own tent (complete with oddities, sword swallowing, and more!).

Hopefully you are all sufficiently enticed to make a plan to come check out the quarry and all the antics we can pack into one day. The big day is this Saturday, Sept 10. For more information, directions, etc., check out www.lookoutarts.com. I hope to see you there!
Tuesday September 6 2011File under: quarry

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Tall Bikes

Tall bikes seem to be the rage these days with young artsy types, esp. in the more artsy urban areas (I'm specifically thinking of Portland here). And while I've always thought they were pretty neat, I also thought of them as not very utilitarian*. I can't imagine riding through the streets of a city knowing that if I hit a red light, I'm pretty much toast. Well, while my utilitarian view of them haven't changed, getting a chance to ride some tall bikes was a whole lot of fun.

For those of you who don't know, tall bikes are much like what you would think: bikes that are tall. They range from slightly taller than your average bike to you-need-a-ladder-and-wing-man-to-mount-them height. The ones we got to try out weren't of the latter variety. (The largest one available was the one I am on in the picture to the left, which presented mounting challenges of its own.)

The opportunity to experiment with these mix of form and function was provided by the Zenga bros. at Bobland. And I must say they are fun. Riding around, so far above that which is around you is quite a novelty. And the looks you get from passers by just adds to the fun. So while I'm not about to go building my own tall bike (welding skillz and general bike repair handiness come in quite useful), I do have a newfound appreciation for this twist on a classic.
Sunday September 4 2011File under: transportation

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FC 145 - Teach a Man to Fish

The idea for this comic came while on Chautauqua tour where over half of our troupe of 49 people could juggle in some capacity. I suppose technically, the idea wholly came from our bus driver. I did, however, tweak a thing or two before comicizing it. I hope it works.

Perhaps this is a joke that only jugglers or circus folk will get. Or perhaps only we will think it is funny. But it is one of those pretty close to true jokes in that most of the jugglers I know aren't employed, at least in the traditional sense. Whether that is an effect of the juggling or perhaps a cause, I couldn't tell you. What I do know is that if the drawing was done a little better*, this would make a fun t-shirt for to sell at a juggling festival. Maybe it is time that Friday Comics hits the product mainstream. T-shirts, mugs, calendars, and more for everyone!

Or maybe I will just try to keep comic coming on a regular basis. Happy Friday!
Thursday September 1 2011File under: comic

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Racing Stripe Beard

After 5 years(!)* of creating and documenting various beard removals, I'm finding it harder and harder to come up with new creative styles to sport (if only for long enough to take a picture). Luckily, beard removal day recently fell while hanging out with the circus. And if ever I've seen creative people, it's in the circus.

I decided to turn the reins over to a guest artist and let her do her worst. These awesome racing stripes are what she came up with. Not bad at all. I even let myself be talked into keeping said beard style for 36 hours (which included at least 2 trips to the grocery store and one river rafting trip*). The next day, when I went for the for the clean slate, there was another fun in between stage as well.

I kind of like this guest artist concept of the beard series. I may have to stick with it. If you've got an idea, sign up now!
Tuesday August 30 2011File under: beard

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FC 144 - I Dont Get It

Monday is the new Friday! Okay, not forever, but for this week, Monday will act in lieu of Friday for comic day. "Why?" you ask. Well, Thursday, normal comic posting day*, I was down at Bobland checking out the the Zenga Bros/Winking Circle Eccentrification Tour. (P.S. It was awesome.) Then, Friday-Sunday, I was at the quarry for the first Lookout Arts Quarry Circus Campout. (P.S. It was awesome too.) So that's why the comic is coming on Monday instead of Friday.

As for the comic, meh. Again, not a great execution from concept to comic. But hopefully people will see the idea behind it all and maybe have a chuckle. Anyway, happy Monday!
Sunday August 28 2011File under: comic

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Sleeping Around 2010-2011

Overall Stats
Nights At Home78 (21%)
Nights Housesitting78 (21%)
Nights of Travel209 (57%)

Travel Breakdown
In-state45 (22%)
Domestic75 (36%)
International89 (42%)

Additional Stats
Nights in a Car*25
Nights in a Tent22
Nights in a Boat3
Nights in a Hotel58
# of States (other than WA)6
# of Countries (other than US)9
Longest stretch at home11
It's that time of year again, one of my most looked forward to blog posts of the whole year: my recap of the year of sleeping around! As I've explained and posted about before, I keep a calendar of where I lay my head every night of the year and categorize it in different ways. It is my way to see my year, where I've been and what I've been doing, in numbers. I find a ridiculous amount of interest in it and it helps me answer the question "where do you live?" much more easily.

Now that this is my 3rd year of keeping stats, I have some interest data for comparison. For example, I realize that this past year, my housesitting numbers are lower than the last 2 years (by over a month(!)), but my international travel nights are almost triple last year.

I plan on (and am downright giddy about) keeping this borderline-OCD record keeping going for as long as the data stays interesting enough to warrant it. And I've already started looking forward to next August when I get to run the numbers again.
Wednesday August 24 2011File under: stats, travel

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FC 143 - Kids Say the Naivest Things

Back at it! I still have a Chautauqua or two post up my sleeve but I couldn't help but jumping back into the Friday Comics as soon as possible. The idea for this one came along the Al-Can highway, seeing a nice sky marred by smokestack output. Someone commented "cloud factory!" and the comic idea was born.

The drawing was initially an exact take on the Texaco/Shell* refineries here on Fidalgo Island but perspective reared its ugly head and I had to do a little coast line tweaking. You may notice that not all perspective/scale elements are fixed, but I suppose that is what lends Friday Comics their charm, right?

Anyway, I hope you have a great Friday (summer Fridays are the hardest to be stuck at a desk).
Friday August 19 2011File under: comic

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Local Farms on the Road

My Chautauqua world heavily revolves around food: when and how to serve it, what food choices will piss the fewest people off*, how much money to spend on it, and where to buy it. Over my past 2.5 tours as kitchen manager, I've tried to incorporate local farms (usually organic) as the source for most of our produce. While the logistics of finding a farm, getting out there, and working with the sometimes limited veggies that are in season can be difficult (esp. with so much fun circus stuff happening that I would love to be a part of), the choice has been a rewarding one for me.

On this tour, I found my way out to at least 5 local farms (nearly one in each community) and walked the fields with the farmers seeing what was ready for harvest. Some farmers just heap the veggies on us, letting us just have past-their-prime veggies. After freshly cutting us kale, cabbage, zucchinis, and plenty of lettuce, Ed in Talkeetna couldn't stop himself. "I'm sure you could find a use for some rhubarb", he said*. And then, with our arms full and almost to the car he insisted we take a bunch of flowers too. When I came back for a second load of whatever he had a few days later, I left him with a couple of comp tickets to our [3+ hour] show.

For me, the health/taste/freshness argument for shopping at local farms doesn't resonate strongly, but knowing the people and story behind at least part of the food I serve does. And since Chautauqua is so much about enriching communities whether through service, performance, or education, participating in the local economy just makes sense.

(On a personal note: if I don't see kale, zucchini, or cabbage for the next 3 months, I won't be disappointed.)
Monday August 15 2011File under: circus, food

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Circus Folk at the Carnie

It isn't uncommon for non-circus folks to mix up circus folks, those who perform skills for audiences, with carnies, those who travel with carnivals to run the rides and man* the booths. Last night, Chautauqua, the band of 45 or so circusy folks I'm currently running around Alasqua with, camped at the Alasqua State Fairgrounds outside of Palmer and the two worlds merged.

Led by a veteran Chautauquan looking to recreate fond memories of the Alasqua tour 11 years ago, we hopped a fence to frolic among the not in use tilt-o-wheels, mini-roller coasters, ferris wheels, and hall 'o mirrors. While being amongst abandoned carnival rides was a little creepy, it was also really fun. And since we are in the land of ridiculously long day light, at least it wasn't dark at midnight when the frolicking reached its peak.

Next time I visit a [working] carnival, I will have a better understanding of the machines from having climbed on and explored them unhampered. But I will also feel slightly less safe knowing that all it takes is a hop, skip, and jump for anyone so inclined to do exactly the same thing.
Monday August 1 2011File under: chautauqua

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updated at 11:14 am Aug 17th


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