I Tell Jokes

I've never made up a joke before. I'm pretty good at remembering jokes I've heard and I love sharing them, but I've never made one up. (Comics, of course, don't really count as jokes. Some of them might be funny, but you can't just bust one out in a joke telling session.)

This weekend, while gathered with a bunch of Chautauquans for a benefit weekend full of shows, meetings, and good times, we got into some inevitable joke telling sessions. Many were repeats from previous tours, and there were a few new ones. A something-walked-into-a-bar series* got rolling and it just hit me.

A pair of Daisy Duke's walks into a bar and says to the bar tender "gimme a beer".

The bar tender says "Sorry, you're cut off."

Heyo! Or maybe not. Kind of a groaner, but I've heard worse. What's the best joke you've ever made up?*
Monday December 6 2010File under: misc

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Christmas Lights in Portland

Back in the day, I used to do up our house real nice with Christmas lights. Okay, so maybe not "real nice" but there were a lot of lights and that counts for something. Lately, however, I haven't been around Anacortes for the holidays so haven't had the chance to put up any lights. But opportunity would have it that I've found a new tradition.

This year is the second year that I've helped* Andrew put up lights on his house. Last year we started from scratch and this year added a few more strings. By 2017, look out Griswalds!!

Here's hoping that the tradition continues!
Sunday November 28 2010File under: holidays, misc

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The Height Wall

In your home growing up, did you have that one place on the wall that you marked all the kids' heights as they grew? Well, we did, and one of the great things about still living in the house I grew up in is that I get to glance at the height board every now and again.

Anyway, Punksto was up this weekend and it looked like she had grown another 17.5 inches since the last time I saw her. To the height wall! I got her to stand up straight, no slouching, but no tippie toes and I make the mark: 58 inches. That's a tall little girl.

Then I started looking at the context and just about died laughing. Cora is the same height at 8 years old as Andrew was, with shoes, at 12.5. We all had a good laugh. But don't worry, Andrew, we were laughing with you, not at you. We all, Cora included, still love you!
Sunday November 21 2010File under: misc

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2011 Bellingham Circus Guild Calendar


It's that time of year again, time to start thinking about finding a new calendar to hang on your wall, to look at day after day, to entrust your appointments to*. I suggest, if I may, the 2011 Bellingham Circus Guild Calendar. It's got lots of pictures of pretty people doing amazing things, fun facts about the Guild, reminder about Vaudevililngham on the 15th of every month, and, best of all, the proceeds go to support the Guild, to keep the Cirque Lab open for teaching classes, giving awesome performance, and hosting a weekly juggling club* among other things.

Why am I shilling this masterpiece of monthly merriness? Well, just like last year's calendar, I am co-creator. This year, however, I was giving more creative license, and from my side of things, the process was much smoother, so no gripes at all. Just a fun calendar to support a fun group!

To obtain a calendar, come by the Cirque Lab during juggle club or December's Vaudevillingham, talk to a cirque guild member, or contact me. I'd be glad to work out the details (payment, shipping*, etc.). We are asking for a donation of $10-$20 per calendar, and again, the money goes to support the Guild.

To entice you further, here are a couple sample pages: July and May*.
Tuesday November 16 2010File under: circus, misc

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Sketchy Dude

This past Halloween, I spent a good chunk of the day on a bus coming back from that fancy Rally that everyone has been so excited to hear about. Partially because of this and partly because I just didn't get my act together, I didn't do the whole costume thing. Luckily for me, however, some good friends threw their annual bash this weekend with a costumed theme: superheroes.

I went as Sketchy Guy. What, you've never heard of Sketchy Guy? Or maybe just not in superhero context? Well, let me tell you something, I've got all sorts of super powers. In fact, just come back to my place and I'll show you ;-) (Note to self: picking a costume that allows you to—nay, requires you to say sketchy things through the night is awesome. Awesome.)

Other notable costumes from the party: a spitting image of Mighty Mouse, Scotch Tape Woman*, Captain Hot Sauce, the Cupcake Kid, and possibly the best of all, Soroptimist Prime*.

Even though my costume failed me and I ended up going home alone*, I still had a great time. Costume parties are fun. Best of all, I've put together a costume that I can reuse next time I go out on the town*. Watch out, ladies!
Sunday November 14 2010File under: misc, beard

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Smashed Pennies

You've all seen them around. They are at just about every hardcore tourist place you can think of: Disneyland, the Space Needle, Maryland rest areas. Penny smashing machines are practically ubiquitous these days, but also offer a great, cheap way of tellin' 'em where you been.

I really like having a mission when I am traveling, something to aim for when I am out meandering so I can objectively say that I had a successful day. Finding penny smashers in the various places I go has become that mission for me. In some places, it is all too easy*. Other places, it is quite a task*.

What do I do with my wallet full of smashed pennies when I get home? Just like any good souvenir, I pass them off to an unsuspecting family member. Jule's collection is actually pretty impressive. Perhaps I'll frame it all up as a photo shoot one day. Until then, I'm off to go find more penny smashers.
Friday November 12 2010File under: misc

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Rally to Restore Sanity

What happens when you gather a lot* of people together in a small space to rally for the cause of sanity? Well, it gets a little insane, but in a good way.

Today, I attended John Stewart and Stephen Colbert's Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear in Washington D.C. Let me tell you, it was an experience. Here's my bulleted pointed review.
  • The crowds - we are talking a lot of people. When leaving the mall, we pretty much claimed the streets of downtown D.C. as our own, because there was no way the sidewalks were going to contain us
  • The energy - sane people from all over gathered to enjoy being sane together*. Goofiness with a good dash of passion and purpose is the best I can describe it
  • The special guests - Kareem Abdul Jabar, Yusef Islam*, Ozzy Osborne, Kid Rock & Sheryl Crow, Sam Waterstien, Father Guido Sarducci, the Mythbuster guys* , and more
  • The message - mostly over the top parody (very funny) but ending on a heart-felt serious note of really working together, approaching politics more level-headedly, and tuning out fear-mongering mass media
  • The music - besides those listed above, there were a bunch of famous people that I didn't recognize because they are from a different era, but my cultural translator Saxtor filled me in on the importance
  • The witty signs - Make English (muffins) law, Frustrated Arizonans Rejecting TEA, Give Quiche a Chance, [citation needed], You may have a good point but all this yelling makes it hard to understand, BIG SING IN ALL CAPS, Down with toilet seats, ALL CAPITAL LETTERS MEANS I'M SERIOUS, I support this sign, and so many more. Sign spotting was almost the highlight of the day
Although we pretty much watched the whole event via huge t.v. screens set about the lawn because of the immense size of the crowd, just being there to support the cause, feel the energy, and, well, say I was there made the day a great experience, one like I doubt I'll ever experience again. After all, how often in one's life does one get to gather with 150,000+ people on a beautiful day in a beautiful place and have a bunch of fun?
Saturday October 30 2010File under: misc

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Sun Chips Experiment Response

To those of you that followed my recent Sun Chips Compost Experiment (esp. the results), I thought you might find this of interest, a response letter from Frito-Lay. Basically, it gives the definition what they consider conditions for a home compost bin and composting tips on how to achieve that. While I kind of feel like they are missing the point of my letter (that I found their advertising campaign to be a bit of an exaggeration), I appreciate the response, clarification, and info.

Hi Wren,

Thank you for contacting Frito-Lay to share your comments about the 100% compostable SunChips package.

As you know, composting generates heat as a by-product. The temperature and rate of degradation will vary on how you maintain your compost pile. The hotter the temperature of your compost, the faster the materials in your pile will decompose. The SunChips compostable bag will break down in about 14 weeks if the compost temperature is maintained above 130F. If your compost pile does not get that hot, the package will still break down, but it will take longer.

It's important to maintain a good mix of "green" and "brown" materials in your compost bin. Try to add about one part "green" for every three parts "brown." The reasoning behind this is to balance the carbon to nitrogen ratio to encourage microbial activity.

Greens: fruit & veggie scraps, grass, garden clippings/flowers, green weeds
Browns: dry leaves, small twigs, straw/hay, sawdust, paper, soil/mulch/woodchips, coffee (include the filter), SunChips compostable bag (cut up)

Thicker, more fibrous items will compost faster if they are cut into smaller pieces before placing in the bin. The moisture level in your compost pile is another important variable for successful composting. Depending on the season and type of bin, you may need to water the compost several times a week.

Our home compost research found that the bigger compost bins (21 cu. ft and up) equals more efficient composting. Having a larger mass of organic materials will enable the pile to insulate itself and lose less heat from the surface, therefore increasing the rate of degradation.

Thank you again for your comments. We will continue to post composting information on www.sunchips.com.


Best regards,

Friday September 10 2010File under: environment, misc

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Sun Chips Experiment Results

A couple of months ago, I embarked on a little truth in advertising experiment. I set out to investigate Sun Chips' claims on the home-compostability of their new packaging. (Previous blog post here.)

After the prescribed amount of time, I dug through the fully decomposed* and still fresh food scraps of my home compost bin and found the bag remains completely intact with a negligible amount of decomposing having occurred. While not surprised (I've tested companies' claims before (and after)), I was hoping this one would be different. Alas. So disappointed was I that I wrote to the company. Here's what I said.


Saturday September 4 2010File under: environment, misc

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Tuesday Thoughts on Happiness

Happiness is...
     :-) Last minute, on a whim travel
     :-) Free airport WiFi
     :-) Fancy breakfast in bed
     :-) Unexpected gems that I would never find in a travel guide
     :-) Candy
     :-) Good friends
     :-) Seeing something I've always heard about.
     :-) Being reminded that we had the right idea long long ago
     :-) All around us
Tuesday July 27 2010File under: travel, misc

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