FC 68 - Incentives

As promised, this drawing comes all the way from across the Pacific Ocean courtesy of an internet cafe that charges a lot for scanning*. My dear friend Gabriella (artist of various other Friday Comics) was kind enough to contribute this one, which we can only assume she whipped up while sipping a cold Singha on a warm beach in Thailand. Tough life, huh?

I was tempted to save this drawing until I got a cubicle job again and do the caption about the rat race and the futility of it all, but I don't foresee a cubicle job in my near future. Not that I'm opposed, mind you. Having something to fill my days besides creating crosswords* and whiling away hours on various life-draining websites would save much internal strife and help maintain my sanity, but I just don't see it in the cards. One thing I will say for having lots of time: I can keep the Friday Comic series up and going which at least makes me smile*.
Thursday May 21 2009File under: comic

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On Stage

I'm a hobby juggler—meaning I'm not the kind of juggler that likes to perform. That is a hard concept for a lot of people to understand. Often in their minds, juggling and performing go hand in hand. While often times they do, there are tons of jugglers out there that juggle for the sake of juggling: for the social aspect, for the exercise, for the zen of it all. I consider myself firmly in that camp.

But while I don't really like performing, I want to like it. I like the concept of being able to entertain people*. I like the concept of getting good enough at something that you can feel confident in showing it to people. And let's be honest, I like the concept of the positive attention it often garners.

So in a step outside my comfort zone, I took the stage with my friend Amiel at this month's Vaudvillingham* with a short juggling act. Besides a slight miscommunication with the emcee and some lighting issues, I would say it went alright for a semi-rehearsed act: not flawlessly, but not a disaster either. The sizeable* crowd was patient and appreciative, and I think they probably even enjoyed it*.

Overall, the experience was a good one and I'm glad I did it. I hope to get back up on stage in the near-ish future and try my hand at a solo performance. Stepping outside one's comfort zone every once and a while, while hard, is a good thing.
Monday May 18 2009File under: juggling

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FC 67 - A Case of Semantics

I started drawing this comic long long ago. I got the perspective right on the road vanishing into the distance and everything, except the dude. Back then, I didn't have the confidence to create a comic that depended so much on a person and his posture, etc. So instead of finishing the comic as planned, I turned it into this one. Now that I've got my new found confidence with eyes and noses, I thought it was time to give it another crack.

("Hitching" a ride from some wonderful people coming back from the Port Townsend ferry recently also helped kick me in the pants to get this one from the "comic ideas" list to the "comics completed" list. Speaking of the "comic ideas" list, if anyone is aching to get their artistic skillz showcased* on the Friday Comic series, just drop me a line. Next week's drawing comes all the way from Thailand!)
Thursday May 14 2009File under: comic

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10 K Clicks

Normally, a vehicle odometer hitting 10,000 wouldn't be something to celebrate. Cars are still pretty much new after 10,000 miles. Since Scoot Scoot's odometer is in kilometers, 10,000 is an even less impressive achievement. But when you think of going at 35 mph, exposed to the elements and other drivers, 10,000 km isn't so shabby. Because of that, I wanted to post a little homage to Scoot Scoot in thanks for the interesting times we've shared and in hopes that we share another 10,000km.

A quick technical review for anyone happening upon this post who is interested in buying a Yumbo C110: overall, I love the scooter. The gas mileage (110-120mpg) is awesome. I love the style of transmission. It's got more pep than I would have thought off the line. On the downside, the gas tank is really small, it has a hard time starting in cold weather, and if you drive it for a couple thousand miles at high RPMs, something in the engine gets clogged up and you have to take it in. But like I said, overwhelming positive reviews from this scooterer.

Some interesting numbers:
Kilometers traveled (so far)10,000
Miles traveled (so far)6250
Months of ownership26
gallons of fuel consumed (approx.)57
gallons of fuel consumed by average American passenger car1 for same distance277
Number of tune-ups2
Number of times I've run out of gas*3
Rating, on a scale of 1 to 10, of how happy I am that I own this scooter9.4

Wednesday May 13 2009File under: transportation

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Cross-Blog Babysitting Adventure

You often hear horror stories about babysitting gone wrong. "I lost the baby", "The kid #2ed all over the house", or "You're supposed to feed kids!?!?". I offer this as a counterpoint to all those horror stories.

Last night, I had the honor of watching the IHJ kids* and let me tell you, they were super stars. No crying, they ate all their brussel sprouts, they went to bed right on time with no whining, and Calvin even changed his own diaper*. That left plenty of time for such valuable play lessons as "How to throw a frisbee" and "Let's touch the sharp thing".

Not only did I have a great time and was super happy to begin to return the many favors the IHJ crew has shown me, but the experience was good mind-brain fodder at a particularly apt time. Yeah, I might even consider a career change* if I thought all kids were as good at being babysat as Jonah and Calvin.
Monday May 11 2009File under: Anacortes, misc

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FC 66 - Curses

I think I've mentioned XKCD before. It bills itself as "A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language." In thinking about this week's comic, I realize it is much influenced by XKCD, hence the mention. Anyway, if you've never checked it out, do. But don't give up after reading a couple that don't make you laugh. As with any comic, not 100% of them are funny. (I'd settle for someone saying half of mine are funny.)

Anyhoo, I'm pleased with how the "art" for this one turned out. I finally found a way to do eyes that don't look overly creepy. Also, I like the new way of doing noses. Two features down, only about 27 to go. Also, you can't even tell that I did this one 100% left handed. Three cheers for ambidexterity!

(Oh, and for the sake of comments*, let's all pretend the inspiration for this one is hypothetical. Super.)
Thursday May 7 2009File under: comic

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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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