|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 2011||File under: quarry|
|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 2011||File under: transportation|
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|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 2011||File under: comic|
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|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 2011||File under: beard|
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|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 2011||File under: comic|
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|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.
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 |
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 2011||File under: stats, travel|
|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 2011||File under: comic|
|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 2011||File under: circus, food|
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|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 2011||File under: chautauqua|
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|The Al-Can highway has much myth and lore associated with it, at least in my mind, Being that far away from services with wilderness that close at hand could lead to all sorts of fiascos. For the 2011 Chautauqua tour, all of the fiascos occured before leaving the inhabited land near the border.|
Fiasco #1: I've now run away with the circus 4 times. A solid 3 of those have come complete with bus fiascos*. The bus fiasco this time went like this: our bus was supposed to leave Eugene Oregon Thursday morning to meet many of us in Bellingham on Thursday evening. About 5 hours after they were supposed to leave, I got a call saying "once they install the driver's seat and find some side mirrors to install, they'll be on the road". This means the bus hasn't been actually driven in a while which can't be a good sign at all. It turns out it wasn't. On attempting to pull out of the garage, the brakes locked up and wouldn't let go. It took 2 days and lots of hand wringing before things were fixed and on the road north. So while the tour was only 24 hours behind schedule (before even starting), we also lost a valuable day of work on the bus (installing bunks, properly packing, etc.)
Fiasco #2: I cross in and out of Canada frequently enough to forget that it can be an issue for some people. In our case, the "some people" happened to be one of our drivers who had a minor infraction 30 years previous regarding an anti-war protest. In Canada, however, it wasn't so minor, I guess. So at 3 in the morning, we were told that while the bus, truck, and 38 of our 39 members could pass, one of the only totally integral people for the drive to Alasqua couldn't. A switch of border crossings and a little sweet talking later, we averted that potential deal breaker.
Fiasco #3:The majority of the Al-Can highway doesn't really have cellphone reception. That doesn't sound like a big thing but when it has becoming so completely ingrained in our culture's planning, it can be an issue. In this particular case, our caravan got slightly separated due to an unscheduled pee break. The drivers of the uHaul didn't know of the upcoming only turn of the whole trip, so they missed it. We were on the edge of cell phone range and thought that, if they didn't get the messages we left, while we might end up in Alaska, our stuff might end up in Quebec. Again, after much roadside conference, hand wringing, plan B-ing, and more, the issue was resolved when someone came running out of the bathroom (with pants still mostly down) announcing excitedly that contact had been made. Two hours later, the caravan was reunited and back on the road.
While perhaps "fiasco" is a strong word for these events, it sure felt pretty extreme, although it was probably compounded by the lack of sleep*. And, aside from a few close calls with hitting moose or bears in the road and almost running out of gas 14,239 miles from the nearest gas station, the rest of the trip was fiasco-free! With the trip behind us, now we have the rest of tour to look forward to! Stay tuned!
|Wednesday July 27 2011||File under: circus, travel|
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