Home Churned and Hand Pressed

Another [near-]equinox weekend means another Lopez JuggleFest. As with the years past, the weekend was wonderful. This was the first year I got to head out early to help with the prep, and with that came additional organizational tasks, which I accepted with pleasure. So in between as much juggling as I could fit in, a shift in the bakery, and general set-up, I helped head up the cider press and the ice cream making.

The cider press is a hand crank jobber (both the masticating and the pressing). If you add a few willing volunteers, it makes for quick work*. This year, we pressed maybe 30 gallons of delicious cider. I drank probably a gallon of it by myself*. (Oh, and it probably goes without saying, but all the apples for the cider came from on island if not from the property itself.)

Organizing the ice cream took a little more doing. Amiel and I were handed the ice cream torch due to the absence of the usual ice cream guru. We learned the recipes, bought/picked the ingredients, gathered supplies, facilitated the crankers, quality controlled, and helped to serve up the bounty. Everyone* agreed that the results were spectacular. The flavors were kiwi*, blackberry*, peach/nectarine, vanilla, and coffee. Yum.

If it wouldn't blow my strict word limit out of the water, I would go on about all the other great food there was (not to mention all the camping, creativity, campfire, juggling, marimba band, community goodness), but I guess that will have to wait for next year. Ah next year's JuggleFest - another yearly traditional I love having to look forward to.
Monday September 21 2009File under: juggling, food

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FC 81 - It Practically Drives Itself

Give me my old Datsun 210 (a.k.a. the Pickle) with a slightly more reliable engine and I would be a happy man*. All these new fangled cars with their heated seats and automatic everything drive me crazy. I once went to a drive-in movie and had to watch with the tailgate closed because there was NO WAY to turn off the dome light while the door was open. (We even tried to attack the fuse box.)

In response to these new "smart cars", I couldn't help myself with this comic. This is kind of how I feel. (The same goes for more "user friendly" software that tries to do everything for you but actually makes it all more complicated, but that's a different story (and maybe even a different comic).) All that said, however, I admit that there are times when a reminder that your lights are left on or being able to roll down the back passenger-side window are helpful. Still, I don't know if it worth the trade off. But that's just me. I don't think I am Detroit's target demographic.
Friday September 18 2009File under: comic

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Soapbox Derby 2009

Picture it: 8 derby racers that run the whole gamut. There is a converted lawn mower, a custom welded tricycle, a scorpion looking inverse tricycle, and a pallet with wheels among others. The drivers stand around showing off their contraptions and getting the instructions. Waiting for the drivers is a minorly modified version of last year's track. One of the notable modifications is a tabletop jump that looks hard to avoid.

After gawking and preening, we all lug our vehicles to the top of the track. Practice runs are had (except for me because I didn't have faith my car would make it more than one run, and I wanted it to be officially timed) and the serious competitors quickly become apparent. The process, similar to last year, is annoyingly unorganized leading to lots of waiting, but I guess that is part of the accessible atmosphere. Everyone rolls with it and has a good time.

My car, Cherryette of Fire, performs admirably (which is to say doesn't lose a wheel like last year). After hitting a hay bale on the first run while trying to avoid the jump, I learn my lesson and just hit the jump at a reasonable speed the next two runs. Needless to say, I've got some signification modifications to do if I want to be a competitor next year. Just being in the race, though, is a hoot.

Besides the races, there was swimming, cliff jumping, tight rope walking*, circus shows, good music, good people, and so much more. The event did a great job of showcasing the emerging Lookout Arts Center (a.k.a. the Quarry) as a venue for such great events. I greatly look forward to next year. Start designing your car now!
Wednesday September 16 2009File under: misc

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Wishing Well

I get a great amount of pleasure out of creating things. While I can imagine* having a great feeling of accomplishment after running a marathon, I like having something to show/touch/point to for my efforts. It is neat to be able to come back after some time to be reminded of the creative energy that went into it.

My latest creative project is this wishing well. Perhaps you remember my mention of wanting to build a one a couple months ago. Well, I can now proudly say mission accomplished.

How do you build a wishing well you ask? First you dig a hole. Then you put on one layer of rocks. Then you lift more heavy rocks into place creating the next layer. Repeat until you have an awesome wishing well. Finish by dropping in a coin and making a wish. Of the 3 wishes I've made so far, one has come true, one is looking likely of coming true, and one is looking not so likely - not too bad.

Anyway, if you ever make it up to the Quarry (a.k.a. Lookout Arts Center), check it out and make a wish (or just throw some money in and don't make a wish if that's the way you are. Either way is fine by me.)
Sunday September 13 2009File under: misc

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FC 80 - Please Hold Your Applause

It feels good to be back behind the pixels again after a reprieve provided by a great bunch of guest artists this past month. That said, I am remembering how these comics don't just pop out in a few minutes. This one esp. with all it's people* and speech bubbles...oy!

I was all set to do a comic with a different joke (that included stink lines!) this week, but was inspired this morning while listening to NPR. I apologize about the pseudo op-ed nature of this comic. Hopefully no one is offended, etc. etc. I'll have to do the stink lines comic another week. Maybe next week!
Thursday September 10 2009File under: comic

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Family Reunion in Des Moines

Interchallenge virtuouso Sara totally nailed it. Des Moines, Iowa was the secret location of the last blog post. Why was I in Des Moines, Iowa you ask. For the not even close to annual* Studer Family Reunion.

As you all probably know, my mom's family isn't small. Oodles of aunts, uncles, cousins, cousins-once-removed, and even a couple cousins-twice-removed necessitates some organizational efforts: color coded shirts, name tags, and an elaborate family tree. But in addition to spending some great times with rarely seen but dearly loved relatives, we had a little bit of nuclear time as well.

Family reunions sometimes get a bad rap. And I'll admit I was a little reticent heading into this one myself. But there was no need. I had a great time and look forward to a little less hectic time with such great people in the not as far away future.
Monday September 7 2009File under: travel, misc

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Where Am I

Ever since Andrew made that awesome "Where am I?" post* from some podunk South Dakotan town, I've always wanted to make one similar. I got close with that giant Paul Bunyan post earlier this year. Good times.

Anyway, while I realize my visual clues aren't nearly as good as Andrew's were, I thought I might still throw it out there for anyone looking for a good time waster (or immediately recognizes anything specific). Where am I? I'm only looking for city and state because these 4 photos were not taken at the exact same location (but all in the same city). Oh, and if I told you where I was headed beforehand, no fair "guessing".
Saturday September 5 2009File under: travel

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FC 79 - Please Place in the Overhead Bin

As promised, this week's comic again comes from a far away land. Sean took time from his push-ups and jogging (and probably some sort of military stuff) to put together this comic (both art and concept.) Along with the comic came this explanation: The military charters civilian aircraft from airlines and stuff like that to fly us to the Middle East. We have our rifles, and senior enlisted and officers also have pistols. But we have no ammo. It just seems kind of weird that they freak out over multi-tools and pocket knives and make us pack them in our checked baggage considering we're carrying rifles and pistols onto the plane.

In addition to the explanation, there was an invitation to make a few artistic tweaks. Since it has been almost 2 months since I've done any comicking, I couldn't help myself. See the untweaked comic here.

A big thanks to all four comic contributors from this past month. It has been fun seeing what ya'll come up with. If any royalties ever find their way to me*, I'll be sure to share.
Thursday September 3 2009File under: comic

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Upcoming! - Soapbox Derby

You all remember last year's Lookout Arts Center's Off-road Soapbox Derby, right? Of course you don't, because you weren't there. Well, don't let that happen again this year. Mark your calendars, set a blackberry reminder, train your dog to remind you: SEPTEMBER 12th, 2009. Besides the races (and I use that term lightly, judging from last year's competition), there will be circus-y stuff, swimming (at the best swimming hole in the county), and more. Get all the info here.

While I haven't technically started on my entry for this year, I've started gathering parts and working on ideas. Using the lessons learned from last year combined with a [hopefully] larger number of entries, I figure I've got a fighting change to not come in last place. And even if I do get last place, there are prizes for best style, spectaular crash, and there is even rumored to be a prize for "most sustainable materials used" or something (which I think means people who build their cars out of wood because they don't really know how to weld or anything, so it is obvious that their car won't win any speed competition.) Anyway, I hope to see you there!
Tuesday September 1 2009File under: events

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Custom Crosswords

On my last crossword post a couple of months ago, I mentioned the idea of custom crosswords. At the time, the idea was not so solid. Now, I'm pleased to say, it has come to fruition. I've done 3 custom crosswords for specific occasions and/or people. Some of them are generic enough that you don't need to be "in" to do them. Other ones might have a few clues that leave you stumped, but a good puzzler would be able to figure them out using the cross clues.

Making a custom crossword for a person or occasion makes me happy. It is a way of honoring something with my own twist. I wouldn't, of course, go and make a crossword puzzle for a crossword hater. Most of the fun for me is in seeing the person get excited about doing it. And since there are so few people in my life that are crossword lovers, I don't imagine I will be making too many custom crosswords again.

But if you are among those crossword lovers, give some of my creations a try. Then, when I am a famous published crossword puzzle creator*, you can say "I knew his puzzles back when he was doing them for free on his dinky little blog."
Monday August 31 2009File under: games

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