Little Stories

Travel blogging is funny. I'm always thinking of what to post next, how to keep things fresh, etc. etc. What sometimes gets lost in the process are the little stories, the ones that I might tell when I got home at the end of the day, but two or three days later, seem of minor importance. Anyway, I've collected a few of these littles stories, which, each in their own right wouldn't be a blog post of its own, and combined them to share. I hope you enjoy!

Two Forks, Two Toothpicks, and a Salt Shaker
I found a bunch of vacationing Peace Corp folks to pal around with and we were all out to dinner. As is my wont, in fidgeting to entertain myself and others, I did the old two forks, two toothpicks, and a salt shaker trick. While the peace corp folk were mildly amused at best, the waiters loved it. The first one saw it while clearing off the dishes and promptly examined it to the point of knocking it down. Then he handed me the pieces in an obvious do-it-again gesture. I did, and he ran off to get his buddy. Next thing I know, there are 3 waiters gathered around our table, excitedly speculating (I can only assume) in rapid Turkish on how to do the trick. They then take away the forks and salt shaker and retreat to the back room. We all have a good laugh and settle in for our dessert.

In two or three minutes, the waiters are back. They couldn't quite figure out how the toothpick goes between the forks so again have me show them. When I show them, one slaps the other on the shoulder in an I-told-you-so fashion and off again they run, all smiles.

While we are making our way to the door, the peace corp peeps encourage me to show them a rope trick or two*. I do, and they love it, having me do the more curious ones time and time again to try to figure them out. Once we are out the door, the head waiter chases me down and pulls me back in to show the boss man more rope tricks. One of the waiters shuffles over as I'm about to leave and gestures for me to hand him the rope, with which he busts out his own rope trick!

Pretty much awesome. Gimmicky "magic" tricks cross language barriers better than anything I've encountered to date, except of course a smile. I'm glad I'm travelling with my rope and my bag-o-tricks. The come in super handy all the time.*

My Cave
I've found my cave. The main room is maybe 6'x8' with 5' high ceilings. The short passage in is lower still. There is a large floor to ceiling window that looks out over the valley. I sit with my legs dangling out of it, 15 feet above the ground. Last night's lack of sleep on the overnight bus from Istanbul hits me and I lie back. My legs are in the sun and it feels good.

With my eyes closed, I start to develop an intior design plan for my cave, with schemes for heating and screening to keep the birds out. Yes, I could live here, for a while. Give me a broom and a bed roll and I'll start my lease tonite. The song bird landlords no doubt will accept my cookie crumbs as payment.

The call to prayer from the nearby mosque bring me back. Reality reminds me that we are no longer cave dwellers. Insurance issues, you know. But I could do it. I know I could. When the housesitting market falls through, and no more volunteer circuses need help in the kitchen, I will be back, to take up residence in my cave.

Spreading American Culture
Travelling is not only a good way to learn about the place you are visiting, but also about so many other places in the world. Every place I stay, there are other travelers from all over the world with whom I love talking and sharing jokes, world views, language tidbits, and more..

For the past couple days, I've been travelling with a wonderful little group consisting of a Canadian, a German, and two Croatians. The Croatian girls are fire crackers, always go go go with a joke, a smile, and quite often singing as they skip down the trail. On our last afternoon in Cappadocia, the three of us went out to explore euphemistically-name Love Valley, after the distinct shape of some of the towers of rock. Sitting on a hilltop with the setting sun casting the rock formations in an amazing light, I made a grave mistake. Thinking that I was sharing in a little cultural exchange, I taught the girls about the penis game.

For those of you that don't know the penis game, don't be scared*. It is a childish activity that consists of seeing who can (or is brave enough) to yell "penis" the loudest. Typically this is played by giddy teens in shopping malls, public squares, or anywhere else there are people around. Luckily for me, we were pretty much lost ourselves, so there wasn't anyone near to be affected. Needless to say, the girls took to playing the game with fervor.

Culture, esp. American culture, has its good points as well as its bad. And while I try to share my favorite bits with my new foreign friends, a bad one is bound to slip out now and then. So if you ever happen through Zagreb, Croatia and hear some offensive yelling, I'm sorry. My bad.

Tuesday March 29 2011File under: travel, Turkey

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Postcard from Cappadocia




Cappadocia is awesome. I'm staying in a town called Goreme, which is right the heart of the region. Valleys with cliffs covered in human-carved caves are around every corner, perfect for hiking and exploring.

I ended up on a tour yesterday that took me to a huge underground city (again, all hand carved caverns), to a monastery-turned-caravan stop (again, carved in the rock), and another beautiful valley. Tours aren't usually my thing, but this one worked.

I like this place so much, I don't want to leave. But so goes the nature of travel, I guess. I leave on a night bus tonite for places unknown. I'm fairly sure that smiles will await.

                                                             ~Wren
(Click to flip)

Saturday March 26 2011File under: travel, Turkey

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Istanbul (Not Constantinople)

ISTANBUL
(NOT CONSTANTINOPLE)*

Thursday March 24 2011File under: travel, Turkey

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On the Way to the Blue Mosque

A funny thing happened on the way to the Blue Mosque...

Istanbul is a city full of mosques, many of them very very beautiful. I set out yesterday with the aim of making it to the Blue Mosque, one of the most famous. Being that it is one of the most famous mosques [in the world], I figured it must be the biggest one I see on the horizon so set off in that direction.

Once I arrived, after gawking at the spectacular innards, I realize that this isn't the famed Blue Mosque. Oh well. It's a wonderful sight I might not have visited otherwise, so I can't be mad. Instead, I take a gander around at the surrounding hills and spot the next most magnificent mosque on the horizon and set off on foot towards it.

Navigating by landmark in the distance in Istanbul leads to some less than traveled roads and paths, which is partially why I do it*. So while this second mosque also wasn't the Blue Mosque, not only was it again totally worth seeing, but it led me to some great out of the way places*.

Finally, I made it to the Blue Mosque, but so late that I couldn't visit the interior. But that's okay. Now that I know where it is, I will go back. Mosques are like cathedrals in Europe or temples in SE Asia—while they are all totally spectacular, seeing too many in a row can cause one's eyes to glaze over. So perhaps saving the Famed Blue Mosque for another day is what the universe's plan was all along.
Tuesday March 22 2011File under: travel, Turkey

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NYC Whittling

It feels like I've passed through New York City quite a few times in the last couple years. If I had to guess, it'd be about 5. In that time, I've slowly ticked items off the list of NYC activities. But it's a big city and it seems like my to do list grows despite my slow whittling.

While visiting wonderful friends is always highest my highest priority, I always seem to have enough time to throw a few other activities in the mix. This time around, I found a spare hour to ride the oft-touted Staten Island Ferry*. The highlight was a closer than expected view of the Statue of Liberty.

Another activity that was on my list for quite a while and am so glad to finally check off was a visit to Dube, Inc. juggling store. Over the years, I've bought more than a few props from them, all by mail order, and it was neat to simply be surrounded by props.

It was a low-key couple days in the big city, but wonderful nonetheless. Thanks to the friends that made it great, and thanks to the city itself for continually showing me something new (like these yummy donuts made with mashed potato dough from Wonder City Donuts!).
Sunday March 20 2011File under: travel, USA

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FC 138 - Remember Me...

Perhaps this comic is a day late. And perhaps even it is a dollar short. But either way, it is what it is and the concept makes me laugh, esp. as I saw people roaming around Penn Station in New York City dressed all in green with that "I'm going to go so drunk I can't even tweet" look in their eyes. Oh to be young and stupid...*

As per usual, this comic isn't meant to offend. I'm not trying to put down saints or Irish or hospitals or checkered floors. It's just a kooky idea that found it's way into my head that I decided to make into a comic.

Much to some of your relief, this will be the last Friday Comic for a while. It was a stretch even to get this one out (hence the late posting hour). But hopefully the lack of comics means more good stuff on the blog and more adventure for yours truly. But rest assured, once I'm back on American soil, Friday Comics will be back with me. If you need a Friday fix, check out the archives or maybe even go buy a copy of the book!
Friday March 18 2011File under: comic

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Happy Pi Day 2011

Of all the things I shouldn't be doing right now, baking a pie is right up on the list. I should be packing and preparing to leave town for a couple months; laundry, bank, post office, charging batteries, downloading podcasts, cleaning, etc. But I just can't help it.

Today, you see, is Pi Day (previously covered here and here). It being one of my favorite holidays, I had to drop everything and make a pie. Now I have to drop everything and eat said pie. (Perhaps now you are starting to see why it is one of my favorite holidays).

I hope your Pi Day is 3.14 times as exciting as you hoped!
Monday March 14 2011File under: holidays, food

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FC 137 - Ode to Portland

I'm constantly learning new things about making comics. One area I still have a lot to learn is the framing of a scene. I start out with the background, then the people, and lastly, add in the speech bubbles. Often times, however, the speech bubble(s) cover a background element that I spent a lot of time on (or I thought was a neat addition). Case in point, the window/painting* -- I did some nice color fades in the water and the sunset, drew a nice boat, etc. etc. but it all got covered up. I could change font sizes or stretch the canvas, but I guess I'll just let it slide, and chalk it up to a lesson learned.

Anyhoo, I tip my hat to Andrew for the idea behind this week's comic. I tried to get him to draw it, but he wouldn't agree to making it appropriate (specifically he was non-committal as to whether the drawing would have bare butts in it). I hope this ass-less version lives up to Andrew's standards and garners a chuckle or two with ya'll. Happy Friday!
Thursday March 10 2011File under: comic

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Warehouse Erection


I just can't help posting this picture larger than normal in all its glory. For one, notice that small chunk of blue in the upper right corner? Well, that's the sky! Feeling the sun on my shoulder while working outdoors on a project that I am truly stoked on is nigh on perfect (esp. after a couple months of rain and being indoors).

"What is this project?" you ask. This is the long awaited warehouse at the Quarry. Slated to be a practice/occasional performance/warm dry space, this represents a huge step ahead in the mission of creating an arts-oriented, livable-in, festival/perfomance-available, all-around awesome place. (I think the mission statement is worded slightly differently in the official literature.)

While I still plan to continue to post about the interesting/fun goings on at the quarry (esp. if I happen to be there to participate), if you want even more quarry updates, you can "like" us, or become our "friend", or whatever on our page over at that all-knowing facebook*. Or you could just these: 1, 2
Tuesday March 8 2011File under: quarry

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FC 136 - Sexiness Is Relative

Having spent the last 2 weeks hanging out with a dog, a number of dog related comic ideas found their way into my mind. This one is the one I chose for this week. Unfortunately, it isn't autobiographical. The poop scooping part, yes. As for the hot blonde acknowledging my responsibleness,, not so much. Alas. Maybe dog ownership isn't for me.

My other dog comic idea was too good to be true, so I looked it up thinking maybe someone else had done it. Oh, it's be done, that's for sure. I'll need to do some investigation to see if the way I was thinking of doing it is different enough to not be intellectual property rights infringement. If it is, there might be another dog comic on the way!

Either way, Happy Friday!!
Thursday March 3 2011File under: comic

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Recent Content:
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*2017 Valentines Day Act
*My Crossword in the Orange County Register
*A Breakdown of Earnings
*My TV Extra Debut
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New pictures!
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13. Toke, yo (aka really mature humor)
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updated at 12:06 am Aug 20th


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