Vote Vaudeville to the Gulf

Online voting in lieu of actual judging of contests, etc. is a hard concept for me. On the one hand, I recognize that when open to an almost infinite audience, the best ideas (/photos/etc.) will be selected. Afterall, what defines best, esp. in terms of art, etc. than what pleases most people. On the other, all such contests have ulterior motives (get e-mail addresses, promote a product or idea). And because of the prize aspect, the participants will lobby, campaign, urge, etc. which makes the voting hardly unbiased. All in all, I wish such promotions didn't exist in that form. But since they do....

The circus I run with, the New Old Time Chautauqua, has put in an application for an online contest Pepsi is running to bring some good to the Gulf Coast (after this whole BP debacle). The idea is that taking circus, music, workshops, and parades to the area is a great way to spread positivity, joy, hope, and fun. If you believe in this idea (or if you just want to support my love for travel, circus, and service) please go check out the voting page and consider giving us your vote. You gotta sign up (unfortunately), but I used my this-account-is-only-for-sign-ups account.

http://gulf.refresheverything.com/currenthopecircusandmusictour

You can vote every day between now and Aug 31. And if Chautauqua wins one of the grants, I will send each and every voter (from this blog) a postcard from some small town in Louisiana (as if the bringing joy to that area isn't reason enough to vote.) Thanks so much!!
Wednesday August 11 2010File under: circus

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Stage Time

For being a non-performer, I've found myself on stage quite a bit recently. In fact, I'm thinking of jettisoning the "non-performer" label in favor of "not really a performer" since occasionally, it seems, I have occasion to take the stage.

Recently, Chautauqua did Future Fest down at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds. This was the fair's third year and we've been there every year. This year, however, was different because it didn't coincide with tour, therefore we didn't have a show at the ready. Somehow, during the putting together of the show, I got in with my one trick pony "act"*. Besides having to lug a giant horse head on a public transportation trek that encompassed 6 buses and a ferry (and sleep with it in my tent), it was great. All those in the know, that have a basis for criticism of such circus-y acts were uniform in their assessment. "It's short!" they said, which, in the land of vaudeville shows, is almost always a great compliment.

This past weekend I found myself on "stage" yet again. I say "stage" because it was really just a flatbed trailer, but still. Some friends were throwing a big old barn party and asked me to put together a circus show for it (as our lawn juggling at the previous year's shindig garnered much comment). Due to a few last minute cancellations and time conflicts, I ended up filling in a few holes in the line-up myself. Oh, and I also ended up MCing. The show was a huge hit (barn audiences are the best audiences) and even us performers* had a great time. *

Yep, I'm starting to get my stage legs, kind of. And for this, I'm glad. To be able to entertain is a noble pursuit, and I'm glad fate is pushing me in that direction.
Sunday August 8 2010File under: circus

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FC 112 - Taking Science To the Streets

Did you take a logic class in college? I didn't but wish that I had. I think I would have been good at it, plus it shows up in all sorts of nerd comics around the internet. Not that Friday Comics is a nerd comic (because a nerd comic would have to be written by a nerd, which we all know that I am not*)

Anyway, if I had taken a logic class in college, I could have probably come up with a better word than "paradox" to explain what is going on there. "Irony" is another one we* played with, because it would be ironic if a person honked at the sign, but after reading a few definitions of "paradox", that's what I decided to go with.

Anyway, I hope the nerdienss of it all doesn't stop you from having a spectacular Friday.
Thursday August 5 2010File under: comic

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Sleeping Around 2009-2010

Of all the various projects I have going on here on this blog, the Sleeping Around schedule is by far my favorite. Essentially, it is a graphical and statistical look at where I sleep*. Last year about this time, I posted about it, and being that I've just completed my second year of record keeping, I thought I would do a little summary post about this year's sleeping around.

Overall stats
Nights spent at home:79 (21.6%)
Nights spent housesitting:122 (33.4%)
Nights spent travelling:164 (45%)
Travel Breakdown
In-state travel:50 (30%)
Domestic travel:83 (50%)
International travel:31 (19%)

Other stats worth noting: I slept in a tent or under the stars* 39 nights—that's over a month! Also over a month (34 nights) in hotels/hostels. I spent almost a month's worth of nights (24) sleeping in cars, trains, or planes (but mostly cars, for that stat).

Being able to look back on a year to see where I've been and get a clearer picture of how I've spent my time is so interesting and beneficial. I'm so glad I started the habit of keeping track. I hope I keep it up (and that it stays as interesting and diverse) for years to come.
Wednesday August 4 2010File under: stats, travel

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Apron Coffee

Have you ever made coffee for 60 people? What about coffee for 60 people at an outdoor, makeshift kitchen with not much in the way of coffee pots and no electricity? Well, let me tell you, it takes a little creativity and doesn't always satisfy everyone involved, but it can be done.

I'm down here at the Great Peninsula Future Festival in Kitsap County with Chautauqua for a fundraising event. It's like a mini-tour, with us all camping and cooking our meals over our propane burners. And the way we do coffee is, well...unique.

1) Get a giant colander.
2) Find a semi-clean linen(?) apron.
3) Situate giant colander over giant pot.
4) Pour a lot* of ground coffee in apron.
5) Pour a lot of hot water in apron.
6) Repeat.

Yep, brewing coffee in an apron lined giant colander isn't an experience I had before Chautauqua, but I guess I could say that for a lot of experiences. Good times. And now "apron coffee" is a new entry in my personal lexicon. You should add it to yours too.
Saturday July 31 2010File under: circus, food

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FC 111 - Buy You Some Peanuts and WHAT

I could see this comic idea becoming a series. Or, if I was a syndicated comickist*, I could put maybe 3 of these next to each other and make a good Sunday-sized panel. But, alas, I'm just a lowly hobbyist comickist, so this will have to do. But maybe I'll bust the idea back out when comic ideas run low, or when I need a couple of off-blog comics to add to my book to make it more sellable*.

I do, however, encourage you to add your own onomatopoetically named sport in the comments. What if synchronized swimming was named "splish splash"? Or boxing "oof"? We're a smart bunch here. We can come up with some good ideas I'm sure.

P.S. The title of this post should really include a "?" at the end, but this crappy blog software doesn't allow for special characters in the post titles. Lame.

P.P.S. A reader who got a preview of this comic pointed out that some people might not know the word "onomatopoetically". dictionary.com defines it as [the adverbial form of] "the formation of words whose sound is imitative of the sound of the noise or action designated, such as hiss, buzz, and bang". Now we know.
Thursday July 29 2010File under: comic

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Scoot Scoot Rides Again

After 8 or so months on the DL, Scoot Scoot is back in action. During his time off, he got a new tire, a new chain, and eliminated that pesky pulsing action that has been plaguing him for the past year or two.

Part of what took so long in getting SS back on the road was pure and simple racism. It is really appalling the number of motorcycle shops that downright refuse to work on Chinese scooters, even if it is something as simple as replacing a chain or tire. Due to that, I had to do all the work myself (although a few handy friends helped out along the way). While I might have prefered otherwise, I at least got a little practice in problem solving, parts acquisition, and, most of all, patience.

Yep, it feels great to be back with the wind in my hair and that little bit of extra freedom motorized wheels gets me. And with a couple months left of decent scooter riding weather here in the northwest, I'm looking forward some good riding.
Wednesday July 28 2010File under: transportation

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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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FC 110 - Wheeeeee!

As you all know, I don't really need a new reason to ride public transportation. "Oh, that bus is a new color. I must ride it", "I've got 13 minutes left on my transfer. I'd better not let that go to waste", or "new route? Sure I don't need to go that way, but a new route is a new route". But some people are still working to overcome the hurdle of becoming users of public transit.

With increasing ridership in mind, I've submitted a proposal to the cities of Atlanta, Miami, and Detroit* to install roller coaster based transit systems. Think of the impact this could have: people clamber to ride public transit instead of driving because it is so fun, children get hooked at a young age possibly going on to never own a personal car, the system pays for itself by lost change under the loop-d-loop, new jobs will be created for saw dust shovelers to cover "transit related sicknesses"—the list goes on and on.

Or maybe we can all just have a chuckle at the thought. Happy Friday!
Friday July 23 2010File under: comic

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Dreams Come True Pavilion

Yesterday, I finished the Dreams Come True Pavilion, a project began almost a year ago first with a wishing well and then a [fancy] rock wall. This last phase has been laying stone and broken concrete to create the "pavilion" part of the pavilion. The project has been an outlet for a creative need, an exercise in my stone stacking skillz, an investment in a project that I believe in, and an attempt to create something that really affects people in a positive way.

The result of hauling, stacking, and laying all these rocks is something I'm quite proud of. I would love to show it to you sometime if you ever find the chance* to make it up to the Quarry (between Anacortes and Bellingham). If you come, be sure to bring some coins for wishing (and a swimsuit for the best swimming hole in the county). Until then, have a look at a picture or two: dedication stone, the well front and center, an artist's self portrait (posted here for archival purposes).

And remember, dreams do come true. (They really do.)
Wednesday July 21 2010File under: pics, quarry

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