Kinetics in Port Townsend

This weekend, I cruised on through Port Townsend to check out their much talked about kinetic sculpture race, basically human powered sculptures that have to navigate road, sea, and mud but somehow put the majority of the focus on showmanship. Luck would have it that I missed out on seeing the race and instead had to settle for the tail end of a parade and the safety check, but I wasn't disappointed.

The entries(/sculptures/racers?) were pretty dang cool, both with creative decoration and sometimes creative propulsion, like this vehicle that is powered by the driver essentially bobbing up and down. You can tell that all the participants put a lot of time into their creations, whether they looked race worthy or not.

The theme for the event was something to do with Alice in Wonderland*. People dressed up, many of the entries were themed, there were tea parties in the street, etc. From the brief exposure I had to the whole thing*, it seemed that just as much focus is placed on the non-racing participants (judges, supporters, general crowd, etc.) as on the racers themselves. Basically it was just a big happy creative event. I'm glad I got a peek.
Saturday October 3 2009File under: events, misc

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FC 83 - We Demand Total Coverage

Buried deep within this comic, there are some hints as to my thoughts on the current health care reform debate, most specifically the insurance portion of it*. But I went through various revisions of this until I found a framing/wording that made it less of an editorial comic than an attempt at being funny. I hope I did well enough that you chuckled rather than felt whatever editorial comics are supposed to make you feel*.

The drawing of this comic, however, took much longer than usual*. Luckily it is a labor of love, both for comics in general, but also circus-y stuff. If a protest like this was happening, I would turn out just to see the show. Hmmm...maybe that is a possible revenue stream for my circus performing buddies - a way to bring attention to a client's rally or protest. Who knows if that would be breaking moral bounds by joining a protest you didn't believe in just because they gave you money. I suppose being a performer's agent to organize something like that would be seedier still. Alas.
Thursday October 1 2009File under: comic

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Worlds Fastest Knot

So as anyone who has crossed paths with me for more than 10 minutes in the past 3 years probably already knows, I'm big into so-called flying knots. I find them a great diversion for my ever fidgeting hands and they occasionally impress people to boot*. Occasionally, when I am practicing my knot tricks, someone gets inspired enough to want to learn. There isn't a whole lot of material out there to point them to and many of the tricks take more instruction than can be given in a brief 5-minute interaction.

The excitement people get when they do learn one of the tricks got me thinking about wanting to find a way to share these tricks with people in a more effective manner. Since I dabble in comic drawing, I thought maybe doing a little diagram/instructional thing might be a fun exercise. It turns out it was! So if you want to learn how to tie the world's fastest knot, check this out.

Hopefully I will put together a few more of these, maybe enough to fill a small educational pamphlet. Then everywhere I go, people will be throwing flying knots and giggling with glee. That way I won't be the only giggling knot thrower out there. Tee hee.
Wednesday September 30 2009File under: misc, juggling

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Portland Food Carts

Image courtesy of* Food Carts Portland
I recently had occasion to spend a few days in Portland, land of happiness (remember?). While I missed out on some of the happiness inducing elements (unfortunately there was no time for the cheap cinemas or frisbee*), I got to delve deeper into that [almost]ultimate bringer of happiness: food.

I love street food. While it isn't something you see a lot in the states, occasionally you will find pockets of food carts which is about as close as it gets. Portland has a wealth of food carts, many of which are conveniently clustered downtown. After passing by them many times on the bus, I decided it was time to drop in. The verdict: good, inexpensive food that completely fits my definition of street food.

My meal was as follows: Vietnamese sandwich* for $2.95, Thai ice tea for $1.00, carne asada taco for $1.50, and pork/vegetable dumpings for $4.00. Needless to say, I was stuffed, sated, and happy. It would take days to try out all the good food there is on offer down there. I think I'm up to the challenge.

Yep, chalk another one up for Portland. Remind me why I don't live there again...*
Sunday September 27 2009File under: food

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FC 82 - Order Up

Kind of a quickie this week as I'm doing a little bit of traveling(ish). I should probably sit down and pump out a few extra comics next time I've got some spare time so I won't have to feel the stress* of Friday's deadline every week. Anyway, I came up with this idea so long ago that I had forgotten about it. It's a good thing I keep a list of comic ideas on file.

One thing notable about this comic (since I've got this little space to fill and nothing else of value to say), I used more freehand in this comic than any previous ones (almost). (Okay, not really notable, but space filling, at least.)
Thursday September 24 2009File under: comic

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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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