FC 47 - Synergy

I came up with this idea a while ago after hearing some trendy buzzword being co-opted by some corporation to sell something. (Chances are, it was some company advertising themselves as green*.) Well, just last night, not 24 hours after I actually started putting this comic together, I heard someone talking about Slow Food Nation, a slow food conference in San Francisco. The topic of what they ate at the festival came up*, so the woman started talking about how there were booths where you stood in line and got your food (much like at any other festival). Everyone had a good laugh at the seeming irony and I got to try out my little line. People seemed to like it. I hope you like it too.
Thursday October 9 2008File under: comic

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Preach On Will


REST AND BE THANKFUL - William Wordsworth


This view and this quote greeted me after a quickie solo jaunt up Blanchard Mountain(?) in the Chuckanuts this afternoon. I was trying to take advantage of what might be one of the last sunny, non-muddy days of the hiking season. If the weather man cooperates, maybe I can get a longer jaunt in this weekend. It's the perfect cure for those computer blues.
Wednesday October 8 2008File under: misc

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FC 46 - Meat Huffer

Last weekend, I found myself looking back through the archive of comics here on BdW and grew incredibly nostalgic. While I know many of you don't much care for the comics*, I like them. They make me smile. And if nothing else, a blog should at least humor its author. So with that said, I would like to announce the reinstation* of the Friday Comic Series. Who knows how much longer it will go, but I hope for years and years and years (or at least until I have enough good ones to make a hugely profitable book).

Yeah, so I put this one together (obviously). I sketched out a slightly doodilier version while in a meeting at work, and was planning on scanning it in, but then I didn't.* Being that I've got a couple more weeks of doing the work thing, maybe I will try another meeting sketch comic. I find that nothing inspires creativity like meetings. (Granted, the creativity usually has nothing to do with the topic of the meeting, but still...)

(Oh, and it is worth noting that it is practically the one year anniversary of the Friday Comic Series. But I'll save the thank you speech and reminiscing until FC 52.)
Thursday October 2 2008File under: comic

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Reading Season

Last year at about this time, I posted about the beginning of knitting season. And while I am still excited to starts me some knitting, it would be kind of a cop out to post about that again. So instead, I'm going to post about the beginning of reading season!

Most people talk about the summer reading season, but I find there is just so much else to do in the summer. Granted, if you find yourself at a beach, it is always good to have a book handy, but my reading time is just before bed, and when the sun is still up when I go to bed, I just don't feel like reading. But now that days are getting darker sooner and it won't be long before outdoor activities become somewhat tedious due to rain and whatnot, I'm getting my winter reading list ready.

One of the things that may have gone unnoticed in the big switch over to the new skin here at BdW is the addition of the "Life Book List"* link on the header. It is a list of all the books I have read since the beginning of high school, sortable by author, title, and date read*. I've found it a great asset for when I am looking for a new book of a particular type. I just go through and find an author that I had forgotten about, and see if s/he has written anything new. Or when a friend asks me for a suggestion, I can quickly scan what I've recently read and hopefully come up with one.

At the beginning of this reading season, I'm feeling pretty ambitious. Last night, I started Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. It is merely 837 pages, so I should be able to finish it easily before the spring thaw, maybe even sooner. If I do finish it sooner, do you have any suggestions for me (and others), esp. based on what I've read so far? Please limit your recommendations to 1 fiction and 1 non-fiction. (We don't need to go recreating GoodReads here.) I'll list my recommendations in the comments below.
Wednesday October 1 2008File under: books

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PDX Weekend


As I mentioned in last week's Lopez Jugglefest post, I was planning on attending the Portland Juggling Festival. This past weekend, I did just that. It was, however, less juggling oriented than I thought it would be. While I did get my a fair amount of juggling in (including a great walk around pattern with drop backs that we came oh so close to running) and watched some great juggling take place, the weekend was so packed with other stuff, it would be unfair to restrict my post to just juggling.

There was also gambling friendly wagering! In the course of just 24 hours with Andrew, I managed to lose $24 in bets about the most random things. $9 on trivial pursuit (the wager: +$1 for every question I got right, -$1 for every question I got wrong*), $10 on skee ball ($5 per game), and $5 on frolf. Andrew (or in the case of frolf, Myke) won each of these bets on a fluke and I would be willing to throw down anytime again. Luckily, just before leaving the juggling festival, I made all my money back by winning the crumbled dollar bill juggling event in the games*.

Besides juggling and gambling friendly wagering, there was some biking around to visit friends. Once again, I was reminded of how bike friendly Portland is, even if you happen to be riding a fixed gear bike of death or basket-ed cruised that is 11 sizes too small (but seriously, I'm grateful you guys letting me pedal your babies).

Biking, juggling, wagering, frolfing, and hanging out with friends: not a bad way to spend a weekend. It serves as a great opening to my travel season.
Monday September 29 2008File under: juggling, travel

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More Bus Fun

Warning: Rambling anecdote follows. Proceed at your own risk.

I love riding the bus in new places. It reinforces the power of public transportation when a person unfamiliar with an area can get where they are going without resorting to taxis or calling a friend to pick them up. With the proliferation of online trip planners, finding your way around a non-familiar area is easier than ever. That said, it doesn't always go so smoothly.

Yesterday, I took the train down here to Portland. (My love affair with trains continues, despite them not showing a movie...) Andrew, being the good friend he is, offered to pick me up at the train station. "No," I said. "I'll just hop on a bus." I had done my research before hand (on trimet.org) so I had schedules and routes all documented.

I exit the train station and find my bus stop. There was someone else there, so I quickly confirmed that this is the bus I wanted. We had 20 minutes or so to kill, so we struck up a great conversation*. The bus comes and we go on our way. Trimet buses have reader boards displaying each stop as you pass it, so if you are paying attention, you won't ever miss your stop. I was paying attention.

While I don't know Portland overly well, I've spent enough time to get a general feel for it. From that general feel, I sensed the bus wasn't going in the direction I was hoping to. "Have faith," I told myself. Often buses take meandering routes to get to their destination. When everyone else had gotten off, my faith started running dry. I asked the driver and sure enough, I got on the right bus, but going the wrong way. Alas.

Armed with new directions from the driver, I get off and start trudging to the nearest bus stop. (By this point it is after 10:00). As I am walking away, the driver opens her window and yells, "I got a better idea. Get back on." It turns out that she was officially off duty and returning the bus to the garage, which was in the direction I wanted to go. So she turned on the off-duty sign, made me promise not to tell how fast she drove, and then floored it. In the course of my personal bus ride, she told me her life story, another meaningful conversation with a stranger courtesy of the bus.

I finally made it to my destination, perhaps a little later than I might have, but filled with inspiration from meeting a few good people and an ever renewed sense of appreciation for public transportation.
Friday September 26 2008File under: transportation, travel

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Lopez JuggleFest 2008



This weekend, I hopped out to Lopez Island for the 18th annual Lopez JuggleFest. It was my 5th(?) time attending and this year was as magical as ever. My thoughts from last year still apply: wonder and appreciation at the cooperation, thankfulness, and thoughtfulness shared. Oh, and there is always some kick ass juggling too.

As I was explaining to a friend recently, annual events such as this provide an opportunity for me to notice changes in my life that might have happened slowly enough that, without this chance for comparison from year to year, would go unnoticed. This applies both in a concrete sense (my first lopez festival 6(?) years ago, I had to leave early to get back to a housesitting gig just as I did this year i.e. some things don't change) and more conceptually (the practice of sharing a hug with a [near] stranger has gone from unheard-of-ly uncommon (and uncomfortable) to unremarkably common (and enjoyed) i.e. some things do change).

All this is to say that while my juggling skills got a much needed workout* this weekend, my mind-brain also made a few laps, both in analysis of change and merely of revisiting times past. Next weekend's juggling festival in Portland will be a little more juggling focused and a little less thought-provoking. Stay tuned for a post on that which will be a juggling post actually about juggling.
Sunday September 21 2008File under: juggling

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A Corny Experiment

It is corn season here in the Northwest. There are trailers parked on the side of the road at freeway on-ramps and at various locations across the Skagit flats advertising 6 ears for $1. Here soon, it will undoubtedly drop to 10/$1 when the peak of the season hits and people are starting to get tired of seeing kernels everywhere they look*.

I love corn, esp. when it is so fresh and sweet like we have here. Each year, I tell myself that a) I will try to grow some and 2) I will try to put some away (either by drying or freezing). Every year at my local foods party, I get mad at myself for not having put some up the previous year so as to have local corn meal to try out with new recipes. This year, I'm happy to say, I can check both things off my list.

My attempts at growing corn are proving alright. Nothing staggering, but my little plot will provide a few ears. To get enough for drying, I had to turn to Joe's Garden in Bellingham. At the outrageous price of 3/$1.25, I bought 12* and set to drying. Unfortunately corn season and sun season in the northwest don't conveniently coincide, so I'm having to resort to the oven for drying. We'll see how it goes. If everything goes right, I'll take my knowledge from the garden corn to produce a decent little harvest next year AND have this year's dried corn to turn into corn bread or corn tortillas for next years local foods party.
Friday September 19 2008File under: food

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Soap Box Derby

This weekend, I competed* in the first annual Lookout Arts Center's Off-Road Soap Box Derby near Alger, WA. (Info here.) The whole experience was a hoot – from the dunk tanks and live music, to gravity fueled mayhem, to cliff diving and berry picking*.

My entry was easily the weakest of the 5 derby racers. Everyone else had contraptions either welded together by someone who obviously knew what they were doing, or a converted/modified vehicle of some sort. Me, I had a couple wheels and assorted parts and came up with this beauty. Brakes were a piece of 1x that rubbed up against the wheels and steering was by loose bolts on the front wheel that allowed you to wiggle it from side to side (which is much harder to do while cruising down the course than you might imagine).

By vote of the racers, the course was lengthened to include a gnarly stretch of trail that my horse wasn't build for, so it was no surprise that I didn't even complete the full first run. I did, however, almost make to the bottom, which is much more than I expected. What eventually did me in was a weak axle in the right wheel. The others, however gave us quite a show.

The whole thing was good fun with lots of creativity and enthusiasm. Hopefully next year will bring with it even more racers, more spectators, and more fun. See you there!
Sunday September 14 2008File under: misc, pics

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Longhorn Trivia Revisited

Seven weeks ago, Saxtor, Andrew, and I went and checked out a trivia night at a local bar. (Groundbreaking coverage can be seen here.) Since then, it has been a weekly tradition. The teams are always in flux with whoever happens to be around that particular week, but the fun is always the same. In the 7 weeks, my team has scored 3 first places, 1 second, and 3 fourths. (If it wasn't for the pesky music round, I contend many of those fourths would have been more like seconds or thirds.) Not a bad average considering there are often between 12 and 15 teams competing.

Anyway, to share the joy, as it were, I thought I'd post the visual identification round from this week. How many of these can you solve? (Team Discovery Channel* scored an 8. Hark!) For answers, hover: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.
Friday September 12 2008File under: misc

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