|A while back, I did a post called Crafts Camp about how crafting can be, for lack of a better word, good*. Well, things have been slow recently for me (no housesitting, adventures, etc.) so I've used a little of my time for semi-artistic endeavors once again. As with last time, making stuff feels good, even if it isn't going to win any awards. And when it comes to stuff, I'd much rather have a lumpy handmade bowl or less than perfect sweater made by myself or someone I know than something that you might see in a museum or fashion show.
Yesterday, I worked on 3 different genres of crafts. I fashioned the above spoon from the cherry tree I removed from our front yard. I've started curing the wood for a second, hopefully better one. Then I did some stained glass. Neither picture turned out great but here they are anyway: a geometric sun(?) and a juggling club. Lastly, I finished up a hat I started knitting last year.
All this crafting and I still managed to fit in more hours of t.v. than I care to admit. At least I can feel like I accomplished something (even if it is just creating a sliver delivery device).
|Saturday November 14 2009||File under: misc|
|I drew this comic almost a year ago, just before I went down to Grenada. I filed it away to have for when I was traveling or otherwise busy but wanted to keep Friday Comics going. Well, since I realized it is somewhat time sensitive, that plan might not work so great. Instead, I'll just post it this week and take the comic that I drew for this week and file it away for my backup comic.
A special thanks to Andrew for helping me work out a decent caption for this one. My first stab* left me unsatisfied and my second stab I wasn't so sure of either. Andrew allayed my fears and we settled on one. This is all basically to say that if you like or hate this week's comic, don't blame me.
Another interesting note: this week's comic represents the 10th in a row that I've drawn, which is by far a record. When I started this series over 2 years ago, my plan was to write the gags and then farm out all the artwork. Now I'm the artist on more than half the comics and getting more settled every week. Anyway 10 is a round number that I thought deserved mention. That is all.
Sorry for the late post. I've been having a hard time keeping track of what day it is recently. Thanks to KK for the reminder.
|Friday November 13 2009||File under: comic|
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|Have you ever played headlamp croquet? I didn't think so because before this weekend, the sport didn't exist. I was involved in the inaugural game and it couldn't have gone better*.
This weekend, I went over to the Olympic Pennisula (Sequim specifically) for a little adventure. I was thinking hang out with friends, eat some good food, play some frisbee, etc. In addition to all that, I got to participate in the beginning of a movement. Keep an eye out for headlamp croquet coming soon to your neighborhood.
While it could probably go without saying, here's how you play:
1. find some night. The darker the better.
2. Set up a croquet set.
3. Put on headlamps.
|Tuesday November 10 2009||File under: misc|
|Does anyone you know actually sleep with a sleeping cap on? I mean, I see the advantages esp. if you sleep in a place with no heat (like some people I know), but still it seems to be a fad long gone. Well, I put a sleeping cap on this poor poor fellow because I just wasn't up to drawing hair. And that's your 'in the "artist's" mind' thought for this week.
Speaking of artisticness, I was thinking today that a good comic would involve having a pumpkin carving itself a la an M.C. Escher drawing or something but I just couldn't really envision how it would go. And even if I envisioned it, actually drawing it would be another story. So instead, I settled on this little gem. Maybe I can sell my pumpkin carving itself idea to a real artist/comic maker. It would be kind of like how after the first few albums, rock stars no longer write their own songs and instead buy them from the no-name little people. I'm a no-name little person. So Dan Piraro*, fork over the dough.
|Thursday November 5 2009||File under: comic|
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|This past weekend, I made the trek* over to eastern Washington for a frisbee tournament. Well, if you want to get technical, it is called an ultimate tournament because "frisbee" is a trademarked name. Still, I call it frisbee.
Anyway, a couple things of note about this tournament:
1. Teams were supposed to play in costume. Our team took inspiration from The Princess Bride. We had a Humperdink, Buttercup, 2 Fezziks, Inigo Montoya, the "Boo Boo" rag lady, an RoUS, the Grandpa from the beginning, and 2 Dread Pirate Westleys. (I was one of the Westleys but was sorely outdone costume-wise. Alas.) Many aspects of the costumes, however, got shed throughout the day due to weather and hindrance of play concerns. (I tried to take pictures but my camera ran out of batteries. Hopefully someone from the team will post some pictures which I will intern re-post here.)
2. Speaking of weather, since when do we get 70 degree sunny days in Washington in November. Maybe I've been living on the wrong side of the mountains all these years. On Saturday, however, there was a wicked wind to contend with. We got our fair share of zone offense practice.
3. Traveling for sports in a non-academic environment is kind of fun. This was my first multi-day tournament that I went with a team (instead of meeting them there, picking up with a random team, or just commuting from home) and I really enjoyed it. Seeing new scenery, getting to spend time with good people, etc. etc. Yeehaw.
|Tuesday November 3 2009||File under: games, travel|
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|I hear from a very reliable source that the SATs are no longer doing analogies. I hope that doesn't make this comic inaccessible for younger readers. But since a reminder would probably be good for us all, the old SAT analogy section used the format X:Y::Z:A, which read "X is to Y as Z is to A". Will knowing that make the comic funnier? Probably not. But at least now you know my thought process.
So another word about this comic: it is recycled (everybody's gotta do their part). I took the image I made for a birthday card for a friend and modified it to work for this week's comic. I hope that fact doesn't lessen the value of the effort in either the birthday card case or the Friday Comic case.
Anyhoo, I hope you like this comic more than everyone* liked last week's. Hit and miss...that's how it goes. If it was a hit everytime, I'd be syndicated and sleeping on large piles of money with lots of beautiful women, just like Gary Larson does.
|Thursday October 29 2009||File under: comic|
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|As we all know, I'm a huge fan of biking as a mode of transportation. In places that lend themselves to biking* during nice weather, it is a no-brainer. I bike places instead of driving because it is enjoyable as well as being good for the environment, etc. Well, when you take away the good weather and the bikability of a place, then what?
I'm currently housesitting in Bellingham, which, in itself is a pretty bike friendly town. I'm about 3.5 miles from downtown, so a quick jaunt is not as quick as in, say Anacortes, but there are bike lanes and off-road paths, so it's not so bad. Headed away from downtown, however, is a different matter. I've been riding out to Alger recently (10.5 miles one way) which is all on back [shoulderless] roads. It's a beautiful ride, though, and not much traffic.
But no matter where I ride, chances are that the weather is going to be against me. Rain and wind are autumn* trademarks of the northwest. A rider has got to be prepared to get wet, which, whether I was prepared for it or not, has happened a good number of times in the past 2 weeks.
All this is to say that even despite the less than ideal conditions, I'm still loving my chosen form of transportation. I feel good about what I'm doing for the environment* and about what I am doing for my body*. I share all this in hopes of conveying that whatever the obstacles to you not riding are, they can be overcome.
|Tuesday October 27 2009||File under: transportation, environment|
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I attended the Anacortes event, where there were brainstorming sessions, bitch sessions, a couple of presentations, and a wonderful spread of donated food. Seeing people gathering together to talk about taking action filled me with hope. Hearing someone suggest we turn off the lights and use the natural light of the space filled me with happiness. Knowing that at least one person will walk away from the gathering with the motivation to make some of the changes that we all need to made also make me happy.
But the real reason for this post* is to encourage any and all to take a moment to assess your environmental impact and entertain ways in which you can lessen it: turn down the heat, finally get around to organizing a carpool, if it's yellow let it mellow, etc. After all, everyone needs friendly reminders once and a while. Consider this that.
|Sunday October 25 2009||File under: environment|
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|I'm going to attribute this comic to Erik of Anacortes Kayak Tours. Well, I won't place the responsibility of the comic on him, but he does get credit for the joke. He said he saw some high schoolers playing soccer and at any given time, at least one of them had their cell phone out for texting. He naturally assumed that they were texting each other and what else would you text to a fellow teammate.
Speaking of text messages, I can receive them now thanks to my google voice account. Texting is a whole other culture of which I never felt a part, but now I'm starting to get it. its gr8! (If you want my fancy phone number so we can be text buddies, e-mail me (or contact me via the contact page)).
|Thursday October 22 2009||File under: comic|
|I've always thought of oats, or any grains for that matter, to be one of the least processed food stuffs. Some form of grain is at the base of most diets around the world. You can imagine my surprise, then, when I found that getting oats from the stalk to my belly to be such an ordeal.
Step 1: Harvesting - I first attempted pulling up the whole stalk (or cutting it off low to the ground). To separate the grains from the stalk, I tried whacking the stalks around in a big bucket. A few grains were freed, but the majority stayed on. I ended up having to run my fingers down each stalk to free the grains, much like you get the thyme leaves from the stem. For my second field, I bypassed pulling up the whole stalk and instead just did the seed pinch thing with the stalks still in the ground.
Step 2: Separating Seed from Hull - (I know I am using the incorrect terms all over the place here, but hopefully you will still get the point) So when an oat comes off the stalk, it has a papery hull on it. You're not supposed to eat this part. To separate it, I first tried rubbing between my hands (as if you were warming your hands). This worked pretty well, but many seeds still had their hulls, apparently because they were dried out well enough. To remedy this, I put them in the oven for 20 minutes on low heat. This dried them out sufficiently to be able to disengage the seed from the hull, again via the hand warming method.
Step 3: Filtering Chaff from Seed - Now that the seeds and hull were not connected, I needed to actually separate them. This is possibly the most ingenious part of the process to me. Since the seeds are a good deal heavier than the papery hulls, a good cross-wind will aid in the separating. I used a fan to keep a constant airflow.
After all this processing, I ended up with maybe 2 quarts of oat seed. Thinking about how much effort went into preparing the soil, obtaining and planting the seed, harvesting, and processing, I have a much better appreciation of all grains. I realize, of course, that using a machine to do all the work makes it significantly easier (and arguably more efficient). That said, however, there was a time that combines didn't exist and people did it by hand. In those days, the work equal to a bowl of oatmeal was nothing to sneeze at.
Future Step 4: Maybe Another Separating Step? - So now I've got a bunch of seeds. I thought I was done. The seed that is remaining, however, is still in 2 parts, one kind of enveloping the other. I might need to separate those from each other, but I don't know.
Future Step 5: Making the Seeds Usable - Most of us are used to oats as rolled oats or steel cut oats for oatmeal. It turns out that rolling oats is really hard (needs a big old machine) and I have no idea what steel cutting is, except maybe just cutting somewhat regularly. I'm thinking that the most accessible way to prepare my oats for my belly is to grind it into oat flour. From there, I'm sure there is something I can come up with.
|Wednesday October 21 2009||File under: food|
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