Oh Man...I am in Oman!

Our last 2 cruise stops have been in the country of Oman, a sultanate situated on the SE tip of the Arabian Peninsula. It was neat to visit an obscure* country that I knew very little about before this trip. While we did little beside goofing around, searching for internet, and what Della has affectionately dubbed 'Death Marches'*, it was nice to get at least a little bit of a feel for the place.

In Salalah, we took a very expensive* cab into town only to find, well, not much. I did find the prevalence of American chain restaurants with the names in Arabic to be rather interesting. At the McDonald's, Della snapped this photo of a bunch of fully covered ladies waiting in the "Ladies Only" line. What a clash of cultures!

In Salalah, we also go to go for a swim in the Arabian Sea. I was excited. At first Della, only dipped her feet in the sand. But in the end, she succumbed to the opportunity.

We found Muscat more amenable with clean streets, helpful signs, and a few neat things to see. The king's palace was nice. And I was able to complete my collection of Omani money* which has been a project of mine in each country we visit.

Who knows, someday I might it back to Oman. I know there is still a lot to see and I know it would be a pleasant time. But for now, I have a little bit more knowledge about a corner of the world I hardly imagined going to, and for me, that's pretty neat.
Wednesday December 23 2015File under: travel, cruise

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The Suez Canal

The day we transitted the Suez canal was very hazy. I can't say if it was smog, fog, or some desert version of thick-air that I've never heard of. But luckily, the Canal from edge to edge was easily visible and from the brief glimpses we got, there mostly wasn't much to see beyond besides random outpost and lots of desert.

Luckily, diminished visibilty did little to hamper the impression the canal made on me. It is another one of those places that I've heard about and known the general significance of forever, but to see it really makes it come alive. So all morning, I stood on the foredeck scurrying from one side to the other just taking it in. Occasionally there were fisherman or the lolling guard(?) on shore waving. And once there was a town more than just a conglomeration of concrete apartment buildings. But mostly, it was just a strip of ocean through the desert, made by untold amounts of labor and easing the transit of people and stuff unknown.

Now we're on the other side, in the Red Sea. While geographically not far from our last port, it feels further away, like by passing through the Suez canal we're on the other side of the world. For me, it represents new territory, not only the furthest east I've ever been, but to a whole new culture. And I'm excited.
Saturday December 19 2015File under: travel, cruise

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Instagramming Cruise Stops

Here are some photos from our last 3 ports of call. Della is a wizard with the instagram, so most of the shots are hers. (If you want to read what she has to say about the trip, check out here blog here.) We enjoy taking the photos. Hopefully you'll enjoy looking at them. (Captions giving context to each photo should appear when a photo is enlarged.)

Messina, Sicily







Heraklion, Crete







Marmaris, Turkey









Sunday December 13 2015File under: travel, Italy

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Punning Around Europe

A Nice Day in Nice
Transatlantic travel can plum tucker a person out, esp. when flying on the world's most budget transatlantic carrier*. So I was expecting our brief overnight layover in Nice, France to be spent recuperating at the hotel and little more. But as happens when adventure is afoot, we found the energy to get out and explore and I'm glad we did.

Nice has a lovely promenade along the Mediterranean on which we stretched our legs. I can tell why the French Riviera is such a thing. Being beckoned by the giant Ferris Wheel, we found our way a square being done up wonderfully for Christmas. The public fountain was turned into a giant snow globe, there were nativities and Christmas trees everywhere, and lots of joyous people about. Seeing folks out and about after the tragedy so reently befell the country was warming.

In the morning, Della got to experience French coffee and a croissant as a nice "welcome to Europe". Then we packed our bags to catch a train to Italy where our cruise ship awaited, ending our short nice stay in Nice. Hopefully someday I will be back with more than an evening to spend and significantly less jet leg.

Roaming Around Rome
About 12 years ago, I spent 2 or 3 nights in Rome. I remember it fondly, both the great monuments and museums, but also meandering around narrow streets and bumbling into public squares with random fountains. Having the opportunity to roam Rome again, albeit more abbreviated, proved to be awesome.

We saw the Colluseum and the Forum. We fought our way through the crowds at Trevi Fountain to toss our coin*. The Pantheon was again the highlight of my visit where we scored these awesome panoramas. St. Peter's Basilica had a line much to long to get into, but we sat in the Square and basked in the Vatican vibe. And between it all, we stumbled on random fountains, roamed back alley squares, and poked our head into little shops, and even found a penny smasher!

Six hours is hardly enough time to see all there is to see in Rome. We didn't even get to all the things I was hoping to see. And in our roaming, we stumbled on another handful of things I'll be excited to check out next time I'm in town*. But there is something about the place which makes anytime spend in Rome good time. And Della and I sure had a good time. We came. We saw. We roamed.
Monday December 7 2015File under: travel, Italy

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Thirteen Months of Beard

Yesterday, I shaved off my beard after letting it grow longer than I ever have before, 13 and a half months*. An epically long/ridiculous beard wasn't the plan from the get go. I was on track for my normal not-shave-until-it-becomes-ridiculous-or-inconvient-then-lop-it-off-and-start-over plan. But after a while, we started to get curious what a year's worth of beard would look like on me. And since every man should grow a year's worth of beard once in their life, we* thought we'd give it a try*.

To you few remaining longtime BdW readers, you might be expecting something extra fun for the once in a life time 1-year beard. And we tried. But in the end, all we ended up with was a few wacky pictures, nothing as creative as what has been featured in previous beard posts. Enjoy (or cringe, if you prefer).



Before & After



The Process


Other Ridiculousness

Now I'm "clean"* shaven and it feels pretty dang good. Plus it's kind of nice to have people not cringe when they meet me. Eventually, I know, the beard will be back. But until then, I'm going to enjoy beard free living!

Tuesday December 1 2015File under: beard

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The Jumping Pics Project


A long term project of mine, that I've feature here a number of times, is a series of jumping photos all around the world. I often find myself wishing I had these photos collected in a place so as to be able to scroll through them and remind myself of how cool this project will be when completed*. Well, as they say, there's no time like the present. Here is the beginning of the compilation of the jumping photos I have so far. Some I need to track down the hi-res versions of, and I know I will forget a few on the initial pass, but each journey begins with a jump.

Plaza de España * Eiffel Tower * Arc De Triomphe * Excalibur Hotel * Great Wall of China * Angkor Wat * U.S. Capitol * Saraha Desert * My First Cruise * Parthenon * Old Bridge of Mostar Bosnia * Chichen Itza

(in looking back over this blog, I'm seeing all sorts of missed opportunities (not a single jumping picture in London!?!). Hopefully this post will serve as a reminder to always jump at the opportunity!)
Thursday October 29 2015File under: jump, pics

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Homemade EL Wire Glow Juggling Clubs

I was recently hired to do ambient juggling at an event at a Porsche dealership*. The theme of the event was "electric" so they were looking for glow props. In talking it through, we decided that the majority of the reasonably priced glow clubs on the market wouldn't be glow-y enough so I thought I'd take a crack at making my own using EL wire. For those interested in the making of the clubs, I've chronicled that at the end of the post.

In the end, while the clubs turned out pretty good, it was all for naught. The gig wasn't dark enough for the glow to show. I would have been better off just juggling my long-suffering renegades or really pushing for fire*. But whatevs. The party goers didn't notice the lack of glow and were duely impressed by the juggling in general, so it was all good. They were also treated to some super-dope poi-ing by Nick with way better glow props than myself. So glow was incorporated after all.

And although the glow clubs weren't a hit for their intended purpose, glow juggling props are perfect for long exposure photography. With Rod as the organizer and Thaddeus as photographer, we did an after-juggling club photo sesh that turned out some super fun shots.

Now, after all the eye candy, I bet you want to see my clubs in action! Well, never let it be said that I disappoint. Behold!*

For a base, I used Dubé airflite glow in the dark clubs*. I cut about 2cm off the top to allow access to the inner cavity to store the battery pack (2 AAs). Then I wrapped a 3m piece of white EL wire (starting at the center so as to have it lay out evenly), hot gluing the wire in place every 1/2 wrap or so. After the wire was glued in place, I took a 1-inch wide roll of saran wrap and wrapped it tightly to help secure the wire. I used a narrower piece so it could go on more wrinkly free.

Once the wire was secured to the club, I put the battery pack in the cavity sandwiched between 2 pieces of foam. Another piece of foam was put in to essentially cap the cavity, to keep the battery pack from flying out.

All this weight made the clubs quite end heavy. To combat that, I wrapped some lead wire at the knob end of the club and secured it with black athletic tape. I continued the black tape wrap all the way up the handle for looks. In retrospect, having black handles on juggling clubs you plan to juggle in the dark was a bit of an oversight, but it does make the clubs look cool.

In the end, the weight and counterweighting made for some dang heavy clubs. And the 1 of the 2 brands of battery packs I used flickers off if dropped (or caught abruptly). But all that said, they look pretty freaking awesome. It was a great experiment.

Oh, and here's the requisite self-portrait. Good times.
Thursday October 15 2015File under: juggling, work

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Summer Stone Projects


Above is a picture of the bottom terrace wall that I built this summer at the Quarry. Someday we hope to have the whole hillside terraced, but it turns out that building big rock walls is hard work, so the most I could get done this year was 1 wall. I'm shooting for one per year and soon enough, we'll have ourselves a nice little amphitheater! But since the picture above doesn't really do the wall justice, here's a few more. (It's a really nice wall)

Speaking of rock work, check out this patio I made behind Mom's house in Anacortes, also this summer. It is an extension of the patio that has been there since around 1995. Back then, Flip built it. In the 20 intervening years, I've learned all Flip has to teach* and put it into effect (-ish). The fountain is based, in part, on one don't at Mt. Rainier I helped erect (during Dude Camp 2014).

Yep, I like playing with rock—I mean, working with rock. Totally working.
Thursday October 8 2015File under: work, misc

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Amuze Cabaret at the Muse

In the vein of being super fancy professional juggler/performers*, Della and I find ourselves as a part of a dinner and variety show at the super awesome Conway Muse theater. The show runs 2 weekends (Sept 11-12, 18-20) and I think will be a lot of fun. I'm super excited for this and you should think about coming. Ticket info can be found by clicking on the poster below.

Tuesday September 8 2015File under: juggling, work

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Summer Juggling Pics

For Della and me, this summer has been jam packed with juggling gigs. It's been a whirlwind of festivals, fun, and getting our routine down pat. We're usually so busy, however, that I don't get a chance to take any photos. Luckily, there are helpful folks around that shoot and share.

Here are a few photos that have made their way to us via various forms of social media. They are from (in order) Tin-type photo from Stringband Jamboree, Kids Fest in Bellingham, neighborhood Night Out in Seattle, Food Truck Fridays in Bellingham, Stringband, Seattle Night Out, Polecat Anniversary show* and Anacortes Arts Fest.

A big thanks to all the photographers for sharing and all the audiences for enduring—er, I mean, watching.




Tuesday September 8 2015File under: juggling, work

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