Shoenicycle (Part 1)

I've been putting off this post until the project is complete, but I can't wait any longer. Completion is within sight, but I gotta share what I've got so far.

I introduce you to the Shoenicycle. Totally custom made from salvaged parts (and shoes), it's been a project almost a year in the making. With bucketloads of help from Per, the frame was welded, grinded*, and brazed at his bike fabrication shop in Montreal. The wheel* was put together in Anacortes with my old shoes that I knew I had been keeping around for some reason. Tweaks to the axle/pedal mechanism were made on the spot of the first test ride at the Cirque Lab in Bellingham.

The first (and second) test ride attempts both identified problems, so officially, it has yet to be ridden. But with new steel crank arms, I trust that the last problem will be overcome soon. Hopefully, within a month, I'll have a video of this frankenstein of a machine being ridden around with glee. Then comes working up an act for Vaudevillingham. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for March.
Wednesday February 2 2011File under: circus, misc

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Picture Taking as a Reminder

Recently I've been reminded of how easy it is to take for granted the beauty of Fidalgo Island when I am surrounded by it daily. To those that aren't used to the verdant greens, wide views of the ocean, and occasional glimpses of towering mountains, this picturesque island that I call home is something new, something very beautiful. I was glad to have this reminder, esp. because I've been doing possibly one of the most beautiful hikes on the island everyday for the last 2 weeks, and sometimes even forgetting to look up to appreciate it all.

To force myself to look around and appreciate it all, I took my camera along while out on my daily dog walk. The above shot is the best, but this is one that I've been wanting to get for a while. I like how the color on this one turned out. Then, lastly, I had to do the old self portrait (mostly to document how out of control the old beard is getting).

Anyway, I submit this post to remind us* that we all live in beautiful places and sometimes we can forget that. So I encourage you to take a moment and look around and enjoy it.
Sunday January 30 2011File under: Anacortes, pics

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FC 131 - Non-standard Commute

Yes that's supposed to be a zebra. As I've noticed before (and I think I've even commented on it), animals are harder to draw than people. In the past, I've mostly traced my animals (birds, cats, cows, dogs (though for some reason I've been prone to freehanding chickens)). This time, however, I was determined to do it myself. Afterall, how am I supposed to grow as an artist unless I push myself.

I was also halfway tempted to do this as a caption contest comic. While I like the idea and the drawing, I'm not totally satisfied with the punchline. In that spirit, please feel free to add your own in the comments below. If yours is better than mine, I might just do a switcharoo before putting it in my next comic collection*.
Thursday January 27 2011File under: comic

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The Magic Chamber Comes to Anacortes

This will probably be of interest only to those readers in Anacortes (or with connections in Anacortes).

I'm happy to be helping my friend Joey Pipia put on his new show, The Magic Chamber, here in Anacortes. My main role is spreading the word, making sure everyone knows what an awesome show it is going to be. And you better believe it is going to be awesome! I've seen a number of Joey's acts, and they've all been funny, positive, and above all, really quite amazing. I fancy myself pretty adept at figuring out how they do that, but he's got me stumped on a lot of them.

The show is Feb 5. at 7pm at the Depot Arts Center in Anacortes. There are only 30 tickets available making it a perfect setup for those up-close tricks. But that also means that you should get your tickets early. Tickets are available at Watermark Books or online here.

So here's hoping it's a success; for the Anacortes events scene, for a great performer, and for all the audience. Spread the word, tell your friends, see the show!
Tuesday January 25 2011File under: Anacortes, events

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Forging a Trail

I spent today out on Guemes Island working on building a trail with Washington Trails Association and it was great!

Volunteering has been on my mind a lot recently, specifically about wanting to find an opportunity that fits with my skillz, time restraints, and values. While I haven't exactly been beating down doors, nothing was jumping out at me and feeling like a good fit. Luckily, this opportunity to be out in the woods, give back to my community, and help create something that I so often enjoy dropped in my lap (courtesy of my good friend Nora).

I was kind of hoping that we would get to be involved in the plotting of the trail through untouched wilderness, but that wasn't so much the case. Instead, we improved and put the finishing touches on the roughed-in trail that was already there. This consisted of trenching to properly drain water, clearing away organic matter to expose gravel (the preferred trail material), and carrying buckets of rocks to build a French drain to allow water and trail to cross.

All in all, it was a great experience. I learned a little about what it takes to construct (and fine tune) a new trail, got to be outside on a gorgeous NW winter day, felt good about giving a little something back, and will sleep wonderfully tonite being that all my muscles are pretty much done for. Oh*.
Sunday January 23 2011File under: Anacortes, misc

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FC 130 - Live or Die By Our Standards

I'm a picky eater—some might say extremely picky eater. I always hide behind my supertasterism, but I know there is a hint of pickiness as well. This week, however, I've been shamed by a few eaters even pickier than me. Their qualms, however, don't stem from taste but from all the other Pollan-esque aspects of food. Not that I'm one to judge, but I was highly entertained by it all to the point of having to do up a comic about it.

Speaking of comics, I know BdW is starting to seem like a comic only blog. Don't worry. I left that Friday Comic - Book Edition post up for so long in hopes that my work in conceiving, drawing, and compiling these comics would receive a little more support*. But now I understand. Self-publication of a unskilled comic artist isn't your bag. Don't worry. I won't cry. Probably.

Anyway, don't run away. More, fun, non-comic posts will be on their way shortly, hopefully. Until then, I hope you enjoy this week's comic. Happy Friday!
Thursday January 20 2011File under: comic

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Friday Comics - Book Edition


"Could it be...? Is that what I think it is? OMG! My dreams have come true. This is the happiest day of my life!"

That's what my imaginary fan base screamed when they heard that I went and did it, I actually made a book of my comics*. The book contains 59 of my favorite comics in full color on 34 pages*. Dimensions are 4.25" tall by 7" wide with a fold binding. If I do say so myself, they turned out GREAT (waaaaay better than this attempted promotional shot makes them look)! I really enjoy this pseudo-publishing thing* and can't wait until I have enough decent new comics built up to make the next edition.

Anyway, I made these books to share. I've really enjoyed making the comics over the years and sharing them with ya'll. So if you want a copy, I'll gladly send you one. I'm asking for $10 per copy to offset printing* and shipping costs (if I can hand deliver the book instead of shipping it, I only ask $8.) Contact me by whatever way you see fit and we'll work out the details.
Sunday January 16 2011File under: misc, books

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FC 129 - Backup Plan

What did you do with your Thursday? I spent all day essentially putting together the back page of a newspaper. There was this comic, of course. (And if you don't get it, don't feel bad. I think it isn't the most obvious (or funny) of jokes. Here* is an explanation.)

Another good chunk of my day was spent putting together the latest* in my ever growing catalog of crosswords. These take me quite a bit longer to create and are enjoyed by much fewer people*, but I like making them a lot. And I imagine that I'm a lot closer to attaining professional crossword creator status than getting any comics published.

Anyway, a comic and a crossword - what more could you ask for on a newspapers back page? Maybe a horoscope? Here you go: you will read a semi-funny today.

Overall, not a bad way to spend a day. Oh, and I made a quiche. But that doesn't quite fit the whole newspaper back page thing.
Thursday January 13 2011File under: comic

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Hiking in Boulder

It turns out I really like Boulder, CO. Twice in the past week, I've been released solo into the town to see what it has to offer. Both times, my opinion of the town grew and I can't wait to go back.

The first visit was specifically to check out Chautauqua Park, mainly just because of the coincidental name*, but it turned out to be a great place to hike as well. While I didn't come away with many good hike pictures*, I did come away with a fun souvenir pic.

Visit #2, a couple of days later, I ended up on another great hike, this time following Boulder Creek Path from downtown. But what made this hike so fun was that it happened in the midst of a pretty good snowstorm (such that I ended up with some pretty awesome ice chunks in my beard). The way sound is dampened, that the light is different, and all nature seems to take on a completely different feel makes being out in nature so much fun.

Anyhoo, thanks Boulder. Hopefully I'll see you again soon!
Tuesday January 11 2011File under: travel, Colorado

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Cheers and Jeers for Denver Area Public Transit

Coverage: RTD, Denver's public transportation system, along with connecting systems in outlying communities, do a great job of covering the greater Denver area. When I was through last year, I couldn't get up to Ft. Collins, a large population center only 60 miles north of Denver. Now, connecting service has been put in place to allow for easy movement. I've also popped back and forth to Boulder, all within the RTD system. Public transit extends as far south as Colorado Springs via the FREX.

Frequency: I will be riding a bus from Boulder back to Denver at 11:00 on a Sunday evening, and that's not even the last bus. That is just downright impressive and quite representative of the system's wonderful frequency.

Light Rail: While only connecting the south bits of the city to downtown, the lightrail is clean, convenient, and fully integrated payment-wise with the rest of the system.
Airport Surcharge:* It costs $11.00 to get from Denver International Airport to downtown on the public bus, a distance of only 25 miles. Downtown Denver to Boulder is 30 miles but costs $5.00.
     Wouldn't it make sense to make the airport accessible to a city's residents and vice versa? Once people learn that they have to tack on $20 to a round trip plane ticket (5-10% of many tickets' cost) to visit Denver, it seems like that that might turn one or two away*.
     When the cost of public transit is so much higher than the alternative (driving or getting a friend to drive you), it is effectively discouraging people from using this technology that they really need to be embracing*.

Pueblo: It sure would be nice if there was a public option for getting from Colorado Spring to Pueblo. These are pretty big cities separated by only 45 miles. This would also extend the publicly traversable area from Ft. Collins in the north to Pueblo in the south, the better part of an emerging megaregion.

For more on alternative transportation in the area, check out the interview I did for Alternative Commute Pueblo.
Sunday January 9 2011File under: transportation

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