Local Foods and Local Fun

I'm pleased to announce that this year's local foods party was a resounding success, although anyone who stopped by knows that already. Round about 30 people contributed to a menu of over a dozen dishes of all* local ingredients. Recipes and tips were exchanged as well as origin and often times history of the ingredients ("The currants were from the neighbor up the street and the apples from my own tree.", etc.). It was truly delicious food for the body and, for me, food for the soul.

For those of you unfamiliar, a bit of history: last year I conceived of the idea of having a collaborative meal where all ingredients were from the local area, as arbitrarily defined as a 100-mile radius (this is not a new idea and has been gaining lots of media attention recently). The idea is to understand where our food comes from, appreciate what northwest Washington has to offer, capitalize on the bountiful season, and do it all in an inspiring, educational, and fun way. The party went extremely well and drummed up much enthusiasm and discussion. (A write-up of last year's party including pictures and a menu can be found here).

This year's party wouldn't have been nearly as successful if it hadn't been for all who those who contributed and participated. Being able to share my enthusiasm for local foods and getting such a positive response is what makes it so much fun. Also, a big thanks to Andrew and Ma for the pictures (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

Hey, I got an idea: let's do it again next year!
Monday August 20 2007File under: Anacortes, food

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Skimboarding

One thing about living in the same place you grew up is that friends who have moved on to bigger and better things always return for a visit. This week is one of those times where loads of people are all back in town, from Boston, Quebec, Yukon, California, and more. And when so many people are around, lots of activities ensue.

The activity du jour was skimboarding (previously covered here). With new boards in hand and enthusiasm to beat the band, we found ourselves a great sand bar down at Rocky Point for some schralpin'. To kill time until the tide was right, we all tried our hand at building sand castles. And after the tide passed, we investigated various ways of hucking ourselves into the ocean.

Yes, besides the bumps and bruises, a sun burn, and the extremely sore legs I will have tomorrow, this skimboarding mission was an complete success.
Wednesday August 15 2007File under: Anacortes, misc

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Wiffle Ball

The universe often sends out its energy in waves. The wave of late has been wiffle ball energy. Having not played (or thought about) the game in ages, the opportunity to play two games in almost as many days is the universe's way of telling me it has been too long.

Game 1: It was no contest. Team Birthday Boys trompled the heavily favored Hometown Heroes 11-2. I hit one over the fence in the fatty-batty inning to really put the nail in the coffin. The score, however, doesn't do justice to Hometown Heroes. They were worthy opponents. Perhaps next year, a rematch is in the wind.

Game 2: (also covered here) There must be a resurgence of wiffle ball in Bellingham because bats are difficult to find. We found possibly the last bat in town after visiting a number of stores. But with equipment in hand, we got down to business. The Flying Platypi held their own in this 10-10 tie, even with the disadvantage of missing out on the fatty batty inning. (Those $2 bats just don't last as long as they used to, even when pre-wrapped with duct tape.) Again, it was a fun game where everybody won.

Yep, wiffle ball isn't just for kids. It is good fun for late twenty-somethings clutching desperately at their long gone childhoods. Or wait, maybe that is just me. Anyway, thanks to all that made it such a fun time.
Tuesday August 14 2007File under: Anacortes, misc

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Filler

It's been a busy time for me recently. On the work front, I've been housesitting and mixing concrete (don't worry, not together). On the fun front, it I spent some time at the Anacortes Arts Festival*, checked out the always wunnerful Spoonshine show, did another fun trivia night at the Back Porch Cafe, and learned to play guitar hero.

Since I've been so busy*, I haven't been able to give the old blog the time it deserves. And because I don't want anyone who visits to be overly disappointed, I thought I'd throw up this little filler post. Don't worry, I've got a few posts brewing that will be ready soon.

In the meantime, see how many of these robits you can name. Our team did about as well as we did on the last picture identification round: badly. (Oh, and I neglected to get the actual right answers, but I figured you either know you know them or you don't, so the answers are rather superfluous.)
Wednesday August 8 2007File under: Anacortes

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Dream Science Circus

I consider myself somewhat of a circus arts snob. I've seen enough shows in my life to know what is good, creative, skillful, and professional. I've dabbled with enough of the skills to have the respect for those who do what they do well. While every show is different, many are too often the same. That is not the case with Dream Science Circus.

This is the third year Dream Science Circus has come through Anacortes, each time to a positive reception. This year, they performed in the depot, rather than their circus-style tent of years past. The new venue was probably easier for setup and had more comfort for the audience, but the loss of the tent did take away from the atmosphere a bit. The performers, though, did a great job conveying an other worldly atmosphere.

As for skills, there was juggling, lots of acro-balance, contact juggling, vignettes, aerial acrobatics, and more. The emcee, while good, drew out the in between bits a little too long for my liking which led to the whole show running a bit long, esp. for some of the children in the audience. I could have done without the plot all together, but like I said, I'm kind of a snob like that.

What was best about the show, for me, was the familiarity with the people. The circus is based out of Bellingham which has a close knit circus arts group of which I am lucky enough to be on the fringes of. To see performers on stage that I've juggled with and seen improve over the years is just plain neat.

Did I mention that I like circuses?
Sunday August 5 2007File under: Anacortes, juggling

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PDX Ultimate Examined

I've been playing a little thing called Ultimate Frisbee* for a number for years. Back in college, it was a serious affair with practice daily, jerseys, and tournaments. Since college, it has been with friends in the park once a week. In that time, our group has developed its own nuances, rules, etc. Within the bubble that is Anacortes Ultimate, I've somewhat lost touch with how our skill level compares, common styles of play, etc.

One of my big goals for my time here in Portland is to get a few games in. While my first attempt was thwarted by an improperly updated website, I got one in this evening. The whole time I kept noticing differences about the games here compared to the games up there. And for your viewing convenience, I offer you this chart.

 PortlandAnacortes Advantage
Location6 miles to playfields6 blocks to the playfieldsAnacortes
Frequency6-8 games a week1 game a weekPortland
Numbers7s with subs5s, maybe 6s if we're luckyPortland
Force1x: "Force home!"
6x: "OK"
1x: "Force home!"
1x: "OK"
2x: "What's a force?"
Todd: "Which way is home again?"
Portland
PunctualityStarts over an hour lateStarts more or less on time (except for Sherlock and Russ, of course)Anacortes
Skill levelReally goodPretty goodPortland
Group of folksInconsistent strangers with a few regularsFairly consistant regulars (except Herff, of course) with the occasional new comerAnacortes
Otter PopsNothing yetThere was that one time...Anacortes

It looks like it is too close to call. Higher level of play, but without the comforts of playing with friends using well adapted rules*. I had a great time and hope to get at least one more game in before I leave town, but I will be anxious for Tuesday night when I get home.
Thursday July 19 2007File under: Anacortes, events

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Peoples Guide to Anacortes


The People's Guide to Anacortes (originally named Anacortes for CheapOs) has been a project that I've been thinking about for quite some time now. The idea sprung from this post and the wonderful comments that it spawned. The more I thought about it, the more I wished this kind of thing existed for the places I travel to; a simple guide to the free, non-commercial activities a location has to offer. Anyone that has been to Anacortes knows that free activities abound here (hiking, swimming, parks, beaches, etc.)

My intended audience is essentially the younger, more adventurous, less affluent crowd (think heckers (my* oh so clever name for the folks that descend on Anacortes for the What The Heck Fest)), but there are activities for everyone, simply categorized with some fancy technology for syncing up the map with the description. Also available is a printable PDF.

I assume once some of my fellow Anacortians (Anacortisian?) have a look over the list, there will be suggestions for what I missed, etc. and I welcome that. Please pass those along via the comments or the contact page. I'll try to keep the list updated. Another thing you, dear readers, can do to help is to encourage people to check it out. If you have a friend that is going to be visiting Anacortes or the San Juan Islands, send them a link. Knowing that I've opened people's eyes to some of what Anacortes has to offer is the best form of payment I could get for a project like this*.
Wednesday July 18 2007File under: Anacortes, travel

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Lake Swimming

The talk of the town these last few days is all about how hot it is. No, it's not 117� like some places, but mid-eighties is still pretty hot for us wussy Northwesterners. And what is there to do here in Anacortes when the going gets hot? WHISTLE LAKE!!!!

We made it to the parking lot before the throngs of cooler-toting, party dudes descended, and made a bee-line for the relative seclusion of the skinny dipping spot (although no skinny dipping occurred.) The water was cold, but it was a refreshing cold. A quick swim across the lake and back was enough to remind me it has been too long since I have been swimming, as my arms were barely keeping me afloat*.

Yes it's hot, but if it wasn't for the heat, a dip in Whistle wouldn't feel nearly as good as it does, and for that reason, I'm not going to complain. (Well, okay maybe a little.)
Wednesday July 11 2007File under: Anacortes, misc

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Quiz Night!

A wise man once said, "If you put your vibe out into the universe, the universe will respond", or something along those lines*. Well, I've been putting out the trivia vibe into the universe recently (reading Ken Jennings's Braniac, watching Jeopardy as often as possible, and composing a little trivia challenge of my own (to be released at the next game night)). The universe did its job and responded brilliantly.

The Back Porch Cafe (the cute little cafe/restaurant/food-buying-for-eating* place connected to The Business) held its first monthly (or so they say) Quiz Night. There were 5 teams of four members each. Play consisted of 2 30-minute rounds in written format. Topics included 80s metal*, geography, food additives, the heart, Antarctica, and pictures of dudes (as seen here). While the style of these questions didn't quite suit me, I had a great time nonetheless.

After a rout in the first round putting us in the lead by 5.5 points, we got to feeling pretty cocky. Yep, we aced geography and food additives. Round 2, however, we didn't do so hot, getting only 1.5 points on the pictures of dudes category*. In the end, we came in second by a lousy half a point. Oh well, there is always next month. I, for one, will definitely be there.
Friday July 6 2007File under: Anacortes, games

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Small Town Parades

Small town parades are one of the great joys of living in Anacortes. Sure, it is mostly classic cars, candy, kids on bikes, and shameless commercialism (although this guy spiced it up, making me feel better about bowing out of my two year tradition). But chances are, you know somebody in at least one of the troupes which always makes it fun. Plus, walking down the streets, you are bound to run into people you haven't seen in a while, and it is always good to catch up.

One of the bummers that gets me every year is the on-it's-way-to-the-trash-heap crap that Shell Oil and others insist on throwing to the masses. Stop by Kiwanis the week after the parade, and I bet you'll find hundreds of those unthrowable frisbees stuck in purgatory on the shelves. And those are the ones that didn't end up the garbage, like I'm sure the majority of them did. Also, do we really need to pretend we are New Orleans and do the beads thing? The plastic crap is one aspect of the parade I could do without.

On the up side, however, there was a pleasant counterpoint, a new addition to this year's parade. A troupe advocating carbon reduction marched along advocating living in harmony with nature, using bikes and public transportation, and more*. Star of their group was the much talked about electric car.

Yep, living in a small town ain't so bad at all. Top it all off with a top notch fireworks display this evening, and I'll pick Anacortes's Fourth of July any day.
Wednesday July 4 2007File under: Anacortes, pics

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