Taiwan and Japan Slideshow

I was waiting for a few additional images to come in before putting this together, but I'm just too antsy. Everybody seems to love a slideshow, so I wanted to get it out ASAP. If the images do come in, I'll post a few of them in the comments or something.

I tried to use only pictures that weren't posted on the blog from the trip, although you'll probably recognize some of them because they greatly resemble pics I did post. I also more or less tried to maintain the trip's timeline throughout, so if you see a picture towards the end of the slideshow, it probably happened near the end of the trip.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy watching it as much as I did putting it together. Oh, and make sure you've got the sound on. The music really sets the mood.
Tuesday May 5 2009File under: travel, video

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Elwha Camping Adventure

Close on the heels of the start of sleeping outside season comes the beginning of camping season. This year's season started with 2 nights at the Elwha Campground in beautiful Olympic National Park. Despite rain and a lost pocket knife*, I'm calling the adventure a success. Being out on new trails, around big trees, and surrounded by unknown wildlife sounds was a much needed change of pace.

One of the highlights was finally making it up to the much storied Olympic Hot Springs. An easy 2.5-mile hike took us to 7 or so shallow, steamy pools. The unoccupied ones were a little grubby for my liking, so I made due with just soaking my feet. Next time, however, I hope to come back in the true off-season and be able to get in the good ones. Shooting for just a couple weeks earlier in the year would not only clear out the other soakers, but would also probably have more than the trace of snow that was around this time. Soaking in natural hot springs with snow and gorgeous nature all around you - yeah, sign me up. Next year.
Monday May 4 2009File under: misc

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FC 65 - We All Wear Disguises

I find it slightly amusing that such a minor difference between two animals can cause such a difference in public opinion. I suppose if doves crapped all over the place and begged for food, we wouldn't be as keen to epitomize them as peace symbols, so maybe the difference is bigger than just color.

Only now, after "drawing", cropping, uploading, etc. am I realizing how this is rather reminiscent of the first comic I ever drew for the Friday Comic series. I'd like that think that my drawing style has come a long way. As for my comedic sense, I'll plead the 5th.

A quote to leave you with:
     "A weed is no more than a flower in disguise."
Thursday April 30 2009File under: comic

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North Sound Connections

Remember that North Sound Transit Guide I put out a while ago? (If not, read about it here or check it out here.) When it started making the rounds, the buzz it created opened a door that has led to my latest resume addition: North Sound Connections.

Essentially, this is a trip planner for Northwest Washington (north of Seattle) that covers all sorts of transit options: public bus, amtrak, ferries, airporters, etc. It offers sorting and filtering to help narrow down the choices and google maps integration to help pinpoint transit stations. Scheduling information is only available on those routes that are compatible with google transit, but hopefully more scheduling integration is on the way.

This is a tool that can really make a difference, and being able to be a part of creating it makes me feel very proud. Not only does the positive social and environmental impact of this project make me proud, but the technical aspect as well. This is by far the largest technical project I've tackled on my own. And now that it's done, all my worries about my ability to manage such a large project are somewhat eased.

Yes, a project that's good for the world and good for me–I'm really lucky to live a life that affords such opportunities.
Wednesday April 29 2009File under: work, transportation

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Ichiro Beard...Kinda

I don't really know what I was thinking calling this one the "Ichiro". All my time in Japan, his face was everywhere, so you would think that I would have his beard all figured out. But now, looking back through pictures, whatever beard shape that I thought he was sporting, I was wrong. That doesn't mean that there still isn't value to this beard (although there isn't really).

I wanted to get it down to a super fine, Back Street Boy-esque chin line, but my skillz, patience, and razor weren't up the challenge. So all we get is this lousy excuse for a midweek blog post. But never fear: flag day is just around the corner.
Tuesday April 28 2009File under: beard

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Quote for Monday 6

"The world is a playground. You know that when you're a kid, but somewhere along the way everyone forgets it."
This week's quote comes courtesy of the epitome of cuteness, Ms.* Zooey Deschanel in the movie Yes Man. While I pretty much can't stand Jim Carey and much of the movie was predictable and overdone, there was an undertone theme that really agreed with me, making me quite glad I watched it. But as almost anyone can attest, taking a movie suggestion from me is much like asking for food recommendations from a dog (a.k.a. not advisable).

(Muchas gracias to Saxtor for manning the pause button enough for me to jot down the quote.)
Monday April 27 2009File under: quote

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FC 64 - Just Doing My Part

First off, happy Earth Day! I know I am a day or two late but I can't go messing with the Friday Comic schedule*. If you forgot it was Earth Day or weren't able to celebrate it properly, I encourage you to take some time this weekend to do a little something-something (but not turning on the AC with the window open. Or leaving the fridge open.)

Anyway, my standard comic explanation/disclaimer: I didn't really have the people drawing skillz this week*, so I borrowed a few of my previously drawn elements. Ain't cut and paste grand! Please don't think less of me. Or do, as that seems to be the hip trend these day.

Anyway, if you haven't, be sure to check out the dedicated comics page for more drawin' and less yawin'.
Thursday April 23 2009File under: comic

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Sleeping Outside Season

When the weather starts to get warm and there is a relatively small chance for overnight rain, nothing beats sleeping outside*. [Pictured here is the coveted sleeping outside spot, on the deck upstairs. Notice the view of Mt. Baker in the background, but high enough railings to block out any street lights.]

Last night was my 2009 inaugural outdoor snooze and it was awesome. Sure the birds start chirping at some ungodly hour, it gets bright well before I even consider getting up, and there's no Morning Edition to lounge and listen to, but the clear cool air makes up for it all. There is just something so primitive (in a good way) about sleeping under the stars.

Yep, sleeping outside on the deck is one of the [many] awesome parts about spending summers in Anacortes.
Tuesday April 21 2009File under: Anacortes

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Mysterious Monday Quote

Life is tragic. Life is wonderful. Embrace it.

"Why mysterious?", you ask. Well, I ran across this quote this past week* and thought what a great, and applicable, quote. As with most people, I imagine, my life recently has had both big bummers and big wonders. When I read this quote, I filed it away to await Monday. Then I forgot where I got it from (which means it might not be an exact quote*). I was almost sure that it was from the latest issue of Mental Floss*, but in a quick search, I couldn't find it. That doesn't lessen the value of the quote, however.
Monday April 20 2009File under: quote

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FC 63 - How Does That Make You Feel

Now that my travels are over with*, it is time to get back to the business as usual. This comic, drawn by East Coast MS Paint virtuoso Annie (with caption suggestion by her beau Sam)*, has been sitting in my inbox since before I left for Taiwan so many weeks ago, making it long overdue for posting. Luckily, once ya'll see it, you'll agree that it's worth the wait.

While I've still got one or two lingering travel posts I'm planning, you can count on your Friday fix of amateur comics resuming for at least a while longer. (Traveling solo lends itself to lots of thinking time which in turn leads to at least a few comic ideas.)

(And if you are just getting into the Friday Comic series, catch up on previous ones in an easy to navigate format here*.)
Friday April 17 2009File under: comic

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