Bellingham Circus Guild Calendar

I've just finished work on a project that I've had a good time with. It is a calendar to be sold for a fund raiser for the Bellingham Circus Guild. I think the finished product will turn out nice (although I'm not on the printing/assembly team). So if you are interested, be sure to get yourself one. Either talk to a member of the guild, or e-mail me and I'll act as middle man.

The project was very interesting on two fronts. For one, the layout of a calendar isn't so straight forward, at least with the way we decided to lay it out: the back of this page is the front of that page but upside down, etc. I had to make a mini-calendar to figure out the layout of it all. Working out the captions that go across pages was a task on its own. After working with it now for almost a month, I feel pretty confident that to do it again would be no problem whatsoever.

The second front that made the project interesting was one that has popped up in a few different projects of my recently. It goes like this: I pour quite a bit of effort into something, both technical and design effort. When I present the results of said effort to the "client" proudly, the criticisms I receive really affect me more than they should. Part of it is feeling that the suggester doesn't have a firm grasp of the technical implications of their changes (which means they have don't have an appreciation for my input). Part of it is a frustration that if the client had such strong opinions about the details of the thing, it would have been much more efficient use that from the get go instead of me putting in so much time making something that is just going to be deconstructed anyway.

I recognize that this is a symptom of collaboration and that this frustration is of my own creation. It is something that, now that I'm conscious of it, I can mitigate. All that said, however, being involved in projects like this bring me more joy and pride than frustration, so it's all good.
Thursday December 17 2009File under: jugging, misc

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Friday Comic Stand-In

As is becoming somewhat of a routine here on BdW, the Friday Comic is going to go on a bit of a hiatus while I'm on the road. I can only assume that it will start back up in full strength soon after the new year, as my enthusiasm for the project (originally slated to be 4 weeks long) is at an all time high. So hopefully a little adventure will manifest itself into a couple new comic ideas and the series will plod on towards magic number 100 in no time flat.

As a hold over, at least for this week, I thought I would offer up something I had totally forgotten about: my comic beginnings. I wanna say it was sometime between 6th and 8th grade that Ego Man was conceived (and lived out the remainder of his short career). The drawings are even cruder than my current drawings, but there is definitely more plot. In briefly glancing through, I even detected a romantic subplot. Anyway, I scanned a few pages* for your enjoyment*. Page 1, Page 2, Page 3(with special guest artist Andrew from Brothers Root), and Page 4
Thursday December 3 2009File under: misc

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High Winds Make for an Exciting Night Aboard

I slept on a boat last night*. I was in Bellingham for Vaudevillingham and was starting a housesitting gig the next day so didn't want to go home only to come back. Amiel was good enough to let me crash on his boat. Not only did this up a lagging stat on my Sleeping Around calendar, it turned out to be quite an experience.

The winds throughout the night were ripping. Data from the nearest weather station (as so awesomely visualized here) showed sustained winds of around 35 units per unit* with gusts well into the 60s. This made for lots of rocking and, to a greater degree, noise. A couple of times, Amiel came sprinting through the cabin to make sure we hadn't had the mast ripped down or been dragged out to sea.

On a walk through the marina in the morning, this only damage we saw was a boat knocked off it's trailer. From the apocalyptic sounds from the night before, I was expecting to see the little boats impaled on the big boats masts. Too bad. That would have made a good blog post.
Monday November 16 2009File under: misc

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Slow Days Turned Crafty Days

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 2009File under: misc

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Headlamp Croquet

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.
  4. Play.
  (5. Laugh.)
Tuesday November 10 2009File under: misc

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Plants Grow

Back in May, I embarked on a little experiment. I planted oats (remember?). The skeptical among you might be saying to yourselves, "That doesn't sound like much of an experiment." To that I say, "Please save your questions until I'm finished."* The premise of my experiment was this: plants grow. That's what they are programmed to do. All this micro-managing that we impose on our growing of plants helps increase yield, allows us to grow plants not well-suited for our climate, etc. but my theory is that it isn't necessary. If you put some seeds in the ground and walk away, they will grow.

I'm pleased to report that my oats did just that. Despite having one of the longest rain-less periods in years, my oats, which I didn't weed, water, or fertilize, grew just fine. Had I done any of the above, I'm sure they would have grown better, but without doing anything, I still produced a yield. And while I'm sure this plant-and-walk-away method won't work for every crop, it works for oats here in the Northwest.

This concept, that plants grow, really makes me happy for some reason. It reminds me that many things in life are often much simpler than we are taught. It makes food production accessible to me, even though I may not be willing to devote 2 hours every other day to its pursuit. It reinforces that biology hasn't been completely reversed with all our fancy cross-breeding and specializations. Basically, I just think it is neat.

Now what to do with the oats? Stay tuned and you will see.
Thursday October 8 2009File under: food, misc

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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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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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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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