FC 12 - Yo Ho Ho

So here's the story with this one: I stole the idea from a 7-year old kid. Does that make me a bad person? I don't think he fully appreciated the complexity of it anyway. Plus, it is the holiday season so sharing is the order of the day, right? Anyway, I hope you like it.
Friday December 21 2007File under: comic

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Running Away with the Circus

One year ago today, I was just getting back from a grand adventure in SE Asia*. It just so happens that today, I am headed out of the country again. This time, as you might have guessed, to Mexico. To put it concisely, I'm running away with the circus. No, I won't be performing with them*. I'll be more of a roadie, a circus roadie. I've signed on to be the head chef for U&I Production's road trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

What makes me qualified to be a head chef for 12 people?, you ask. Well, nothing really, but don't tell them that. I wanted an adventure. They wanted a chef. I like food, so that can't be a bad qualification. In all honesty, though, I'm pretty nervous about it. Hippies are notoriously picky about their food*. But that's okay. I have faith that it will all turn out. And if it doesn't, I will just jump out of the bus somewhere on the side of the road.

Oh, speaking of the bus, it is to be powered by post-consumer vegetable oil. Take that Al Gore. I love the idea of it and I look forward to ninja-like missions to grease traps behind Chinese restaurants in some little burg along the way. I made such a run with the juggling contingent of the circus last summer and I'm still telling the story to this day. The bus interior is fitted out with bunks, a kitchen, and a yoga space. It will be a little cramped and uncomfortable, no doubt, at least until we get there and can escape each other for periods of time. But that just adds to the adventure, right?

Anyhoo, stay tuned to BdW for all the latest.
Thursday December 20 2007File under: travel, Mexico

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Let It Out (a.k.a. SwearBot 2007)

#@!%*
Have you ever just had one of those days, or maybe it was just a moment, where you get so frustrated you just want to scream? This is meant to be a hypothetical question because I know we've all been there. Maybe it is because the cat peed on the chair again, you computer isn't doing what you tell it to*, or you've made the same mistake that you always make even though you swear you will never make it again. Well, when it happens to me, I sometimes want to swear. Who knows where the urge comes from? I'm not incredibly proud of it, however I rarely audibly swear in such instances because you never know when there might be tender ears around.

Anyway, I had this thought: what if I created a forum for such an outlet but somehow buffered it, so readers wouldn't get an earful* but it could still fulfill the desire for an outlet. Plus, by expressing your frustration in a non-intrusive way, hopefully it will encourage others to sympathize with you and send out positive energy to help alleviate said frustration.

With that in mind, I've created the SwearBot 2007. Enter your swears (as unPC as you want. No one will see the untranslated version), exclamations, derisions, or complaints. Press "Translate". Presto! Now you have a squeaky clean outlet that you can paste into an e-mail, print out and put on the office refrigerator, or paste into the comments of this very blog.



(P.S. I promise the next post will be a follow up to "The Next Adventure")

Wednesday December 19 2007File under: misc, coding

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The Christmas Crassula Ovata

Among our family's Christmas traditions, I think the Christmas Crassula Ovata (that would be jade tree to you non-Latin speakers) has got to be my favorite. Okay, I better make that second favorite right behind pfeffern�sse*. It is something unique, it save cutting down a live tree, and there are no dropped needles messing up the floor*. Anyway, I mentioned it in an earlier post so I thought I would post a picture.

It turns out that combining my second rate picture taking ability with a camera that always seems to have trouble with light and exposure results in some shoddy pictures. But since a picture is worth a thousand words, maybe a shoddy picture is worth 134 words or so. Yep, just about right for a blog post. (Oh, and here's another attempt at a picture of the tree. Notice how we've gracefully phased out the juice concentrate lid glitter ornaments.)
Monday December 17 2007File under: holidays

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The Next Adventure

I've had some wonderful adventures over the past few years; deserted islands, ridiculous road trips, countries and cultures far far away, etc. I really like the little routine I've sort of fallen into, with not much time passing before I get to embark on one adventure or another. I love where they take me and the feeling of freedom they instill. I also love sharing my experiences, both through this blog, and just in talking to be people when I return. The question I get asked most, though, is "what is the next adventure?"

It is a hard one to answer. For one, I never know what opportunities fate will throw my way. Usually, it seems, the time between learning of those opportunities and taking advantage of them is very short, so when faced with the question, I generally have to honestly answer that I don't know. It is fun to discuss the possibilities. The way the question is usually framed reinforces in my mind that anything is possible. If I wanted, I could decide to ride a camel across the Sahara or maybe deliver solar panels to remote jungle villages*. Having that sense of freedom reinforced is a good thing. On the flip side, however, the question usually feels like it is laced with a bit of expectation. What can I say that won't let people down? Perhaps it is all in my head, but it is something I've noticed more and more.

Anyway, an opportunity for my next adventure has presented itself and I've decided to grab on. Since I don't have all the details yet (and I love adding a sense of suspense), I've created this little teaser to give a clue to my what my next adventure will be. What fun would it be if I just came out and told you?

So stay tuned to BdW for what should prove to be another wacky adventure.
Saturday December 15 2007File under: travel

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FC 11 - Matchless

This week's edition of the Friday Comic series is another cross-continental collaboration. I convinced my friend Sara in Illinois to help me out with this one. (As always, by "help", I mean "do the thing that actually requires artistic talent")*.

Winter really brings the problem of mismatched socks to the forefront. During the summer, you can just match any white sock to any other white sock, or even go sockless*. Wool socks in winter, however, require there very own match. Oh, if I only had the strength to wear mismatched socks in public, life would be so much easier. (Kids, can you say "New Year's Resolution"?)
Thursday December 13 2007File under: comic

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Stuff For the Stocking

Not that troothpicks need any help in the sales department– sales have been through the roof*– but it is worth mentioning that they might be possibly the best stocking stuffer around, esp. if your bare-footed recipient* likes to throw parties, likes to eat little cubes of cheese, likes to clean their teeth, or likes fun things.

Anyway, if you were hoping to surprise that special someone with 48 little pointy cylinders of fun, you had better get your orders in soon. Let's set a "get your order by the holidays" date of Friday, December 15th. Oh, and also worthy of note is that the long awaited "Fortunes" line is now no longer on back order! So place your orders at troothpicks.com or send me an e-mail (or write your order on the deed to a deserted tropical island paradise and send it to...*).

And if you need any further convincing that trootpicks are the perfect holiday gift, have a look at this professionally staged photo. Ooohhh.... Aaaahhhhh.... So festive!
Tuesday December 11 2007File under: holidays, misc

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A New Look

Adopting a new look can be a very empowering experience. It proves to yourself that you are still in control and can change your situation whenever you want*. For me, a new look pretty much only means shaving my beard*. I find myself shaving my beard at times in my life when I need a little empowerment; to prove to myself that I am still in control of something. Or sometimes I just shave because I am starting to look* overly ridiculous. This time was a little of both.

But instead of doing the old clean-cut Wren, I thought I would try something a little new. Mustaches are all the rage these days. Jason Lee in My Name Is Earl wears one. Tom Selleck in Las Vegas wears one. Why shouldn't I wear one? (not that I plan to either be in a trailer park, jail, or Las Vegas anytime soon.) Anyway, I figured this look is better than my previous idea at a new look. (If I only had the nerve...) Plus, nothing says "Hey ladies, check me out" like an awesome mustache.
Monday December 10 2007File under: beard, misc

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www.SponsorMyLoans.com

I sometimes wish I was a lawyer or a doctor, or even a used car salesman. These are the types of jobs where you can really help out a friend. When you do something as specialized as web development, opportunities to help out friends, thereby adding to the continual cycle of people helping people*, are limited. That is why I'm always glad to lend a hand when a friend needs some web work done.

In this case, Luke (of blogaboutbeer.com fame) came up with a crazy plan to sucker — um, I mean encourage others to help repay his college debt. Thus was born www.SponsorMyLoans.com. I lent a hand in turning it from a generic template website into the gloriousness that it is today*. In exchange, not only did I get a karma card in the great favor exchange game of life, I also got free advertising for troothpicks.

From the press release:
Portland, Maine � In an unusually audacious move, Luke Livingston, of Portland, Maine is asking everyone with access to the Internet to help him retire his student loans. Livingston, 23, is a 2007 graduate of Clark University, in Worcester, Mass., and like most of his contemporaries, finished school encumbered by a mountain of debt.

Go have a look at the site, if for nothing else to see some neat troothpick banner ads.
Sunday December 9 2007File under: links, coding

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FC 10 - Roshambo

It turns out that my call for submissions last week piqued a few interests which I couldn't be more pleased about. Being able to collaborate with great artists to bring ya'll these comics is quickly becoming a highlight of my week.

What is especially neat about this week's comic, courtesy of Annie down in Florida, is that, if I'm not mistaken, it was drawn completely in Microsoft Paint, possibly the worst drawing program ever made (besides that turtle one back before mouses were invented). Anyway, it just goes to show you how talented some people are.
Thursday December 6 2007File under: comic

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