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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Phone Booth Score

You've heard of a ground score, right? When you find something neat on the ground (ex: money, a crossword puzzle, train ticket to Peru, etc.) Well, the "score" concept can be applied to other locations as well—pocket score (finding something in your pocket you had forgotten about or that maybe you didn't even put there), public transportation score, etc. Well, this weekend at the farmers' market in Port Townsend, I had myself quite the phone booth score.

Have you tried Baconnaise? I haven't yet either, but the slogan alone has me extra curious: "The ultimate bacon flavored spread". Sounds like a pretty freaking good idea to me. Anyway, I found this sealed container of Baconnaise in a phone booth in Port Townsend and was forbidden from trying it while under a friend's roof (because the use by date was 3 months ago and the ingredients contain egg yoke). So now I am just waiting for the right "sandwich, salad, dip, sauce, chicken, fish, or fries" to come along so I can give it an initial try. I'll keep you posted.

(P.S. Dear animal loving friends: it's "kosher and even safe for vegetarians"!)
Monday July 19 2010File under: food, misc

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Overheard at OCF 2010

The midnight show's not at midnight. It's at 10:00. Every is SO OLD now.
Cry randomly but in a cute way.*
I'm sorry, I didn't recognize you. You look different without pants.*
How long do I have to keep my fake butt?
Ew, poop sauna*
Boyfriends? Boyfriends are for home.

How do you describe in 200 words or less something that is almost indescribable? That's kind of how I feel about making a post about the Oregon Country Fair. (Here is my attempt from a couple years ago.) I could talk of it's magic, heat, crowdedness, shows, music, talent, dust, nature, extreme hippiness, and food. Pictures sure would help, but anytime I tried a shot, it didn't even come close to doing the scene justice. So instead, I selected a random smattering of quotes I overheard (or were directly told) to share with you. I hope you enjoy! (Oh, and a tech note*)
Tuesday July 13 2010File under: misc

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Trivia Town

For the past couple years, I've rarely passed through Portland without stopping in for one or more nights of pub trivia. The options are vast and convenient, the trivia is high caliber (mostly), and it is a great excuse to see friends that I might not other be able to see. When taking stock of where all I've played trivia here in Portland, I was amazed to find that I could name 9 places off the top of my head. Here's a quick review.

39th St Sports Pub: This was one of my fist Portland trivia endeavors and, if I remember correctly, one of my least favorites. Pretty much all I can remember about it was it non-syndicated and pretty unanimously agreed to be low caliber*

Basement Pub: Owner run (i.e. non-syndicated), quick and to the point (30-ish questions rapid fire with no breaks), decent food, kind of a late start time, but it is made up for by its quickness. I've done trivia here a number of times.

Eastburn: A ShanRock trivia venue. A good personal game of trivia. The person reading the trivia is the person that writes it (a big plus), encouraged interaction between teams, and a non-trivia interaction round (the time I went, it was competition Barrel of Monkeys).

Belmont Inn: One of the harder, yet better attended Pub Quiz USA venues. Pub Quiz USA has a format that I love with lots of questions and lots of variety in types of rounds and questions (anagrams, music, etc.). There is a theme each week which is announced via e-mail newsletter. The Belmont costs $3 to play, but the winning team gets the whole pot. I've played here a number of times and enjoy it quite a bit.

Morrison Hotel: A one off trivia (i.e. non-syndicated) that is very topic oriented, which is good and bad. The people are totally fun with lots of interaction. This isn't a trivia I see myself going to a bunch, but was a lot of fun when we did go.

NePo 42: A Last Call trivia syndicated venue. Last Call trivia has a rather common format of one question with the time span of one song to answer it (rather than many questions per round). That means fewer questions, but more chat time. Another added feature of the format is being able to wager based on your confidence of your answer. This makes it a strategy intensive game (which can be good and bad). I had an enjoyable time at this and hope to try it again.

Rose and Thistle: Another Pub Quiz USA venue and my current favorite. The questions aren't too hard, the quiz master is super awesome, it's free to play, but has good prizes. Oh, and we totally got first place there this week.

Sante Fe Taqueria: Last Call Trivia here. The night we went, it was underattended with only 3 teams. We won the $30 gift certificate for first place, but couldn't feel too good about ourselves because of the lack of competition. It is really nice having trivia in a non-bar, though!

Biddy's: Pub Quiz USA again and about in the middle on difficulty and attendance. This it the place I've done trivia the most, but mostly just because of location. But it is a place I would gladly go back to.

Yep, Portland is pretty rich in trivia options. I look forward to exploring more of those options in my [hopefully many] future Portland visits.
Wednesday June 16 2010File under: misc

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