Adventures in Housesitting

As most of you know, I'm an occasional housesitter. For round about 3 months spread throughout the year, I watch people's house, pets, plants, mail, etc. When I describe the job to others, I make it sound like the best thing in the world, and usually it is. There are those times, however, when things go awry and you realize why it is called a job and not a hobby. Yesterday was one of those times.

First off, I recognize that in the grand scheme of things, this would barely be considered a blip on the grand bad-days-at-work scale. There was only a short time when it felt like disaster and now all is back to normal. But when things usually go so smoothly, a minor detour from that can feel like a lot - a minor detour, like say, losing the dog.

Technically, the dog lost me. She was outside playing, like is her wont, and all of the sudden, she was no longer outside playing. (I blame the bad influence of the husky she was playing with.) What followed was a frantic two hours of running through the woods on her favorite trails, calling the owner of the husky to see if he had seen them, and shouting the dog's name until I grew hoarse*. Then a neighbor called to say that she was hanging out in his front yard. I went over to pick her up and that was that.

As if that wasn't enough, on my way to turn off the lights to get ready for my much needed night's sleep*, I see a little bird perched on the ceiling fan. So that's what has been driving the cat bonkers. I briefly contemplate how to capture the bird to get it out of the house, but since nothing occurs to me, I just sleep with the door closed. I figure he will either go out the way he came in or present me with an opportunity to release him.

Yep, so that was yesterday's adventure in housesitting. At least there were no flat tires, carjackings, or crazy truck drivers. But who knows what today will hold.
Tuesday February 3 2009File under: work

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FC 60 - Old Habits Are Hard To Break

I didn't realize this until after the comic was nearly complete, but I drew this one totally with my left hand. Not bad. Anyhoo, I've got 3 fancy panels this week (although no plot, characters, or storyline. Sorry Hannah). There is, however, a nicely placed Simpsons reference. I hope the idea of this comic comes across right. I ran it by a fellow comician* and she coaxed me to be a little more explanatory. I hope it works.

Oh, and a little PSA* to boot: be like Earl. Remember to turn off lights when you leave the room. Electricity doesn't grow on trees. And even if it did, you shouldn't waste it. After all, you don't throw perfectly good apples, avocados, or other tree-growing things away, do you now? So unless your light is a beacon to some sort of precious cargo*, when away you walk, be a dear and make it dark.*.
Thursday January 29 2009File under: comic

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A Full Social Calendar

I've been housesitting up in Bellingham for just over 2 weeks now (this stint), and I'm having a blast. Perhaps it is coming from a smaller town where there is less going on, or perhaps it is because I'm starting to get to know the social scene of the town better, but I'm feeling like the most social guy in the world. My dance card is full of activites*.
     + Monday: Juggle club at the Cirque Lab
     + Tuesday: Trivia at Uisce*
     + Wednesday: Trivia at the Longhorn Saloon in Edison
     + Thursday: Something always seems to come up on Thursdays.
     + Friday: Winter League ultimate frisbee with Bellingham Ultimate.
In between all the planned activities, the weather has been so good that I've been out hiking in the woods almost daily. With such a full social schedule, I haven't had time to do all the time-killing activities I had planned (knitting, a jigsaw puzzle, intense nerd-out computer time, watch lots and lots of T.V. on the beautiful flat screen they have here, etc.). But I can't really complain. I'm feeling more busy (in a good way) than I have in years. After all, I can rest when I'm dead*.
Tuesday January 27 2009File under: misc

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FC 59 - Failure Leads to Failure

I didn't want to have to say a bunch of stuff just to save layout on this one, hence the oversized portion. But as always, click to see the whole shebang.

Oh, and this is dedicated to all those lawyers, whether official or still working on it.
Friday January 23 2009File under: comic

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Crossword For a Sunny Day

With all this sun we've been having recently, I was inspired (between my many wonderful hikes)to write a crossword. "What does have a crossword have to do with the sun?", you ask. Do it and you will see. Online version here and printable version here.

(Also, if crosswords written by a witty guy you kind of know are your kind of thing, I think Chris's uncle has put a few out. Otherwise, you can go check out my list of mediocre crosswords on the games page. (Scroll all the way to the bottom. (There are more than just the ones I've made posts about.)))

So, at trivia last night*, I brought out a copy of this crossword*. In between rounds and when we were waiting for our score*, the team put their heads together in working on it. None were avid crossworders*, but they had a great time* and finished it up. Let me tell you, there are few greater pleasures for me than seeing people do my crosswords and enjoying themselves. The point of this rambling story is*, however, if you have some time to kill, consider doing a crossword. Oh*.
Wednesday January 21 2009File under: games

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Sunny Days In Bellingham

Truly sunny days here in the Great Northwest are few and far between during the winter months. On the one hand, it can make life a bit dreary. On the other, however, it gives a person wonderful motivation to get out and enjoy the sun on the rare occasions that it is there. This past weekend (and so far today), the sun has been going all out to expose the beautiful vistas and invite all to come and play. And play I did.

The above picture was taken off a still unknown trail* off Cleator/Hiline Rd. The road is washed out, so it made for quite a long walk, but wonderful, as there were no people around. Plus, the view we ended up with was great. (Here's a close up of the Olympics which kind of got lost in the panorama.) The day before, I finally made it down to Clayton Beach, which has been on my todo list for quite some time. We got a little lost, but there was still plenty to see.

Yep, sunny winter days are true jewels in the Northwest. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm headed back outside.
Monday January 19 2009File under: misc

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FC 58 - Friends Can Be So Fickle

Putting googly eyes on any inanimate object makes it funny if you ask me. I'm hoping that at least that will elicit a chuckle, even if the comic itself doesn't.

Gosh, not much else to say, but lots of space to fill up lest the whole formatting of the blog go askew.

*crickets*

I guess I could put out the call for artists again. I know I've been drawing a lot of the comics recently, with varying degrees of success *ahem*. I'm always game for trying to get a new artist into the mix. I've got a list of ideas. You can take your pick. Any takers?
Thursday January 15 2009File under: comic

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Grenada Slideshow

One of the best things to do when returning from a trip is to review photos. For me, it helps me recapture a bit of the adventure and wonder when it is usually quite needed. (Post-vacation blues is no laughing matter). I went back and forth on whether to do a slideshow set to music or a captioned, proceed-at-your-own-pace slideshow. Since I am too lazy to write clever* captions and all the fancy javascript to go along with the latter option, I opted for the former. I hope you like it.

Many thanks to Maggie for letting me pull from her photos in addition to mine. Any really good photo was probably taken by her. Oh, and Sean, the star wipe at the end is just for you. Oh2, and I used Vimeo instead of YouTube this time because YouTube didn't like that I was using copyrighted music for the soundtrack. Alas.
Wednesday January 14 2009File under: video, travel

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FC 57 - RoShamBo...On a Higher Level

Now that I'm back home it's time to start back up with the Friday comics. I had one all lined up for last week, but I figured no one was going in to work on the Friday after New Year's Day, and since part of the idea behind the comic series is to give cubicle jockeys and others who work behinds computers a chance at a giggle, I thought I would save the comic for this week.

I feel obligated to apologize for the funky color pattern stuff in this one. Windows Power Tools image resizer seems to do not nearly as good a job with .gifs as with .jpegs. Alas. (For the hard core large screen high resolution folk, you can view the slightly larger but with better color version here.)

(Oh, and Andrew, don't forget about that $11 you owe me from your epic RoShamBo loss on Tuesday. Epic!)
Thursday January 8 2009File under: comic

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Racing the Waters

Of the 5 legs of this most recent journey, 4 of them have been effected by mostly weather-related delays. I guess that is part of winter travel. Luckily none of them were catastrophic and one or two of them were even for the best. This last leg, however, was by far the most adventurous.

After spending a great 4 days in Portland thanks to friends new and old, I decided it was time to make my way home*. I looked forward to the train ride as a time to wind down and reflect on my trip and how incredible it was*. The weather gods, however, decided that my time on a train was not meant to be. Mud slides between Seattle and Portland had all but canceled all trains out of Portland for the next 3 days. Luckily, my travel mate and I are the unruffle-able types and took it as a adventure.

We found a friend who graciously let us borrow his vehicle* and we set off northward. The top of the hour newscast, followed by calls from concerned friends and family, alerted us to what might be our next hurdle: floods were expected to close I-5, and soon. After a discussion of whether to turn back and possible contingency plans, we pressed on. Freeway off ramps were closed as we raced by because everything below the level of the freeway was underwater. We saw police and highway workers getting ready to close down the last open land route between Portland and Seattle. As we looked in the rear-view mirror after passing the worst of it, a call came on the phone announcing that the freeway is now closed. We were among the last 100 cars to get through.

While the rest of the ride wasn't totally stress-free (heavy rains and dangerous puddles made for a bit of a white knuckle experience), we were glad when we crossed onto Fidalgo Island safely. Now as I listen to news of road closures, evacuation notices, and river stages I think about 1) the awesome power of Mother Nature 2) that it is good to be reminded that, despite what we want to think, we are still at the mercy of our environment 3) how glad I am to live in a place where the perennial disasters (fire, flood, drought, etc.) have so far avoided and 4) how glad I am to be home safe and sound.
Thursday January 8 2009File under: travel

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