A Beard With a Story

Here's the story:

There is a short beard-related documentary showing at the Pickford Cinema here in Bellingham. Being a beard enthusiast, I rallied my beard-o-phile friends together to go. Then I had the thought, "Hey, I'm due for my bimonthly shave anyway. Why not get creative for the event." I promptly called my buddy to borrow his hair buzzer.

Said buddy is a clowny fellow. And it just so happened that the buzzer exchange was going to happen at Vaudevillingham. Clown buddy decided that we should turn the ridiculous beard trimming into an act. I somewhat (but not really) reluctantly agreed.

The act was an audience plant act. I was the plant and I was to win the bid on a special hair-cut auction. When I got on stage, I sat down to get ready for my hair cut. Then out came Blinky. He brandished juggling knives, took a shot from his bottle of whiskey, then went to down on my beard. He climbed up on my knees, pretended to shave my legs*, shushed the audience, and generally clowned around.

And then I ended up with this beard. On the Trustworthiness of Beards scale, they call it a Horseshoe a.k.a. The Hogan and rate it "unsavory". If it is paired with oversized, yet mismatched, sideburns, I only imagine that moves it more to the "threatening" side of things. The upside is that after the movie, I'm free to shave it off. The downside is that that won't be until Tuesday.
Sunday April 18 2010File under: beard

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FC 101 - Down On Bourbon Street

A rant: one of my biggest pet peeves is this proliferation of beads in the parade/celebration scene. Okay, so maybe it isn't the beads per se, because dressing up and having a souvenir isn't so bad. It is the fact that the beads are/have become super crappy plastic that is so cheap that no one feels they should keep them. So, during a parade/celebration, those who have the beads want to get rid of them (because they bought a box of 100,000 necklaces or whatever) and when people take them, they just throw them away when they get home. It all makes me cringe.

But that's not what this comic is about. It was inspired by my recent-ish trip to New Orleans and seeing how it has become quite a family tourist destination, which necessarily tones it down. I thought it was funny seeing parents trying to give their kids the New Orleans experience yet also protecting them from exactly that. Oh well. The thought made me chuckle.
Friday April 16 2010File under: comic

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Cirque Lab on the Move

The Cirque Lab, home of the Bellingham Circus Guild, has found a new home. While the old space was pretty dang neat (and home to many great memories*), circumstances dictated finding a new place to better accommodate Vaudevillingham and the other great shows that are in store.

Anyway, along with a new space comes moving. It's really amazing how much stuff can accumulate in a shared space, esp. when shared by circus folk that can turn pretty much anything into a prop or costume. A bunch of people helped out on the moving, so it was a hoot. There was climbing around to unhook aerial equipment, trying on old costumes, and alternative transportation.

So now all the is left is organizing the new space to get ready for this month's Vaudevillingham show. Speaking of which, you should come. Use it as an excuse to check out the new space, see a great show, and support a worthy local circus group. Info (address, times, etc.) can be found on the website. Hope to see you there!
Wednesday April 14 2010File under: misc

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I Love My Job

I love my job. For those of you who don't know (or are saying to yourself "You have a job!?!?"), I am a professional housesitter*. While technically the focus is usually on pets, since I do the plants, mail, papers, etc., I think "housesitter" encompasses the job better than "petsitter".

Why do I love this job? It's always different. I get to shop at different grocery stores, see different views, hang out with different pets, get to know different neighborhoods, and ride different buses, just to name a few things. And while housesitting requires you to be around the house as much as possible, it still leaves time for me to do my thing: make and do crosswords, draw comics, read, watch t.v., make websites, etc. But what I like most of all about housesitting is that I can see the direct result of my work. There is no middle man between me and the people for whom the service is being rendered, and they always appreciate it so much. That, the being able to directly help someone out, is what I love most about my job.

Do you know someone who needs a housesitter? I'm always looking to take on new clients and move into new markets*. And the jobs don't have to be in the northwest. I'd be happy to do a stint in Delaware, California, or Germany. Just get ahold of me and we'll work something out.
Monday April 12 2010File under: work

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FC 100 - Billable Hours

Woohoo!! Comic number one hundred!* I'm halfway tempted to review the history of Friday Comics, from a one-time shot to a month long experiment to what it is today, but won't. If you are feeling nostalgic, however, have a browse through some of the past 3 years of comics.

Instead of a nostalgic look back though, I thought it might be fun to look at a few stats:
  • Besides me, there have been 11(!) guest artists*
  • 8 guest artist contributed just one comic apiece*
  • Guest artist contributions account for 38% of the Friday Comics
  • At the time of their contributions, guest artists represented 5 different states and 5 different countries!
  • Since the official start of Friday Comics (Oct 2007), a new comic has been posted on over 75% of Fridays*
  • 90% of comics have been 1-panel, 4% 3-panel, 3% 6-panel, 2% 4-panel, 1% 2-panel
  • 26% of the comics have been drawn by hand on paper*, about half of guest artists' chosen medium
Any stats I missed that you'd like to know? Any particularly fond memories or favorites you have from over the years? As for me, there's too many to count. And hopefully, there will be many more.
Thursday April 8 2010File under: comic

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Bus Pass Pride

I am the proud owner of an April 2010 WTA bus pass. "Big deal", you might be saying to yourself. For me, it is. It has been many years since I've had a bus pass* and I am super excited to have one again.

My schedule is such that owning a month long bus pass wouldn't benefit me. Either I am in Anacortes, where the bus is only really useful for getting out of town, and I don't do that very often, or I am only in a place for a short period of time, not long enough to justify getting a pass.

This month, I have a couple of housesitting gigs lined up back to back in Bellingham and it works out calendar-wise that I can justify buying a pass. The benefits of having a pass aren't just saving money when you ride often. There is also not having to think about transfers*, never needing correct change, and the knowing smile exchanged between you and the driver that you are a frequent rider, a user of public transit.

Yes, I am excited to have a bus pass again and am reminded of that every time I swipe my card. YAY FOR PUBLIC TRANSIT!
Tuesday April 6 2010File under: transportation

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Rejected Photos From Mex-Guat-Bel















In the course of a trip, there are good pictures that don't make it to the blog, whether because of subject matter (they didn't fit into any post I was making), balance (there were already enough pictures for that post), or timing (someone else took the photo and got it to me after I already made a post on the topic).

These are those photos from the 2010 Mexico/Belize/Guatemala trip. I'm trying something new in terms of displaying them*. I hope you like it (I sure do). (If you are reading via RSS, please do come visit the blog for this one as it is worth it (I hope).)

(If I did things right, you should be able to scroll the photos by clicking through the right hand of each photo once it has enlarged).

Saturday April 3 2010File under: travel, Mexico

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FC 99 - Immortalization

I know how hard it has been for you all without the beloved Friday Comic series this past month. Don't worry; it's back! And since I don't foresee any epic adventures in the near future*, hopefully there will be FCs for at least a couple more weeks.

Some of my comics have no basis in my life: I've never met a talking emerald and never crossed paths with Fuzzy Wuzzy. Some, however, are totally taken from real life (84, 66, and 90 just to name a few). This week's is so taken from my life right now that I even used my own name in it. (I was going to go into an explanation of what's going on, resplendent with all sorts of cutsie euphemisms*, but then I realized that's what old people do, talk about their health maladies. If you're under 50, you can't really get away with it (and for good reason!))

Anyway, I got a few good comic ideas on the road, so I'm looking forward to the next couple FCs. But, as well all know, good ideas don't necessarily equal good comics, so time will tell.
Thursday April 1 2010File under: comic

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Financial Breakdown of My Mexico-Belize-Guatemala Trip

A popular topic of conversation for travelers is money. From how you work it to travel (if you are on a longer trip or travel frequently) to daily budgets, it pretty much all gets covered. Luckily for me, instead of feeling like this is an intrusive topic, it is one that really interests me. How do other people find funds to travel? How long with their saving hold out? What do they plan on spending per day and what do they actually spend?

For this last trip, I gathered up all my recipes and compiled them to have a better idea of my travel budget (which could help with future planning). I post them here not only for posterity and for my own reference's sake, but also because the finances of travel are a big part of it all, so it is just another piece of the puzzle.

CountryLength of stayMoney spentDollars per day
Mexico (Yucatan/Quinta roo)8 days$243$31
Belize5 days$217$44
Guatemala2 days$130$65
Mexico (Chiapas)8 days$247$31
Total23 days$837$36

Flights
Portland, OR -> Cancun, Mexico$159
Tuxtla-Gutierez, Mexico -> Seattle, WA$355
Total$514

Overall, this trip cost $1384 (on ground expenses, flights, and getting home from the airport). Not bad for 24 days of adventure. Some interesting observations:
  • in general, the longer time spent in a country, the lower cost per day. I attribute this to transportation costs, mostly, but also getting to know where to eat cheap and learning the ins and outs of cheap travel in that place.
  • Flight costs are more than 1/3 total trip cost, in this case. Again, a longer trip will help offset that and allow for a lower cost per day.
  • Compared with what a person might spend on average during their normal life back home (rent, food, concerts, etc.), these numbers can definitely start to look more doable
  • I know I could bring down the per day costs by staying in sketchier places, eating fewer ice creams, not bringing home one of each bill as a souvenir, etc., but those small additions to the enjoyment of it all totally seem to be worth it when looking at the distribution of it all
  • Next trip, it would be interesting to break down costs even further, maybe into lodging, food, transportation, and entertainment (ruins, circuses, museums, etc.)

Monday March 29 2010File under: travel, Mexico

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Tikal vs. Palenque

Tikal   Palenque   Comparison  

Eleven or so years ago, I visited Tikal, the "Heart of the Mayan World", during my first trip abroad ever. Recently, while passing through northern Guatemala, I thought I'd stop in and have an other look.

Tikal is dang impressive. The temples are big, the jungle is vast, and your chances of seeing a monkey flying through the canopy above are high (we saw both spider monkeys and howler monkeys, which make the most incredible, well, howls).

I had a great group of people to tromp around with which made it that much more fun. They let me act as tour guide, of sorts, and even humored me in letting me get a geocache*.

Yeah, walking around in the jungle with amazing ruins all around isn't a bad way to spend a day, even if I have "been there, done that" before. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if I find myself back this way again before I die. Some things are just worth seeing again.

Friday March 26 2010File under: travel, Guatemala

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