The Jumping Pics Project

A long term project of mine, that I've feature here a number of times, is a series of jumping photos all around the world. I often find myself wishing I had these photos collected in a place so as to be able to scroll through them and remind myself of how cool this project will be when completed*. Well, as they say, there's no time like the present. Here is the beginning of the compilation of the jumping photos I have so far. Some I need to track down the hi-res versions of, and I know I will forget a few on the initial pass, but each journey begins with a jump.

Plaza de España * Eiffel Tower * Arc De Triomphe * Excalibur Hotel * Great Wall of China * Angkor Wat * U.S. Capitol * Saraha Desert * My First Cruise * Parthenon * Old Bridge of Mostar Bosnia * Chichen Itza

(in looking back over this blog, I'm seeing all sorts of missed opportunities (not a single jumping picture in London!?!). Hopefully this post will serve as a reminder to always jump at the opportunity!)
Thursday October 29 2015File under: jump, pics

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Homemade EL Wire Glow Juggling Clubs

I was recently hired to do ambient juggling at an event at a Porsche dealership*. The theme of the event was "electric" so they were looking for glow props. In talking it through, we decided that the majority of the reasonably priced glow clubs on the market wouldn't be glow-y enough so I thought I'd take a crack at making my own using EL wire. For those interested in the making of the clubs, I've chronicled that at the end of the post.

In the end, while the clubs turned out pretty good, it was all for naught. The gig wasn't dark enough for the glow to show. I would have been better off just juggling my long-suffering renegades or really pushing for fire*. But whatevs. The party goers didn't notice the lack of glow and were duely impressed by the juggling in general, so it was all good. They were also treated to some super-dope poi-ing by Nick with way better glow props than myself. So glow was incorporated after all.

And although the glow clubs weren't a hit for their intended purpose, glow juggling props are perfect for long exposure photography. With Rod as the organizer and Thaddeus as photographer, we did an after-juggling club photo sesh that turned out some super fun shots.

Now, after all the eye candy, I bet you want to see my clubs in action! Well, never let it be said that I disappoint. Behold!*

For a base, I used Dubé airflite glow in the dark clubs*. I cut about 2cm off the top to allow access to the inner cavity to store the battery pack (2 AAs). Then I wrapped a 3m piece of white EL wire (starting at the center so as to have it lay out evenly), hot gluing the wire in place every 1/2 wrap or so. After the wire was glued in place, I took a 1-inch wide roll of saran wrap and wrapped it tightly to help secure the wire. I used a narrower piece so it could go on more wrinkly free.

Once the wire was secured to the club, I put the battery pack in the cavity sandwiched between 2 pieces of foam. Another piece of foam was put in to essentially cap the cavity, to keep the battery pack from flying out.

All this weight made the clubs quite end heavy. To combat that, I wrapped some lead wire at the knob end of the club and secured it with black athletic tape. I continued the black tape wrap all the way up the handle for looks. In retrospect, having black handles on juggling clubs you plan to juggle in the dark was a bit of an oversight, but it does make the clubs look cool.

In the end, the weight and counterweighting made for some dang heavy clubs. And the 1 of the 2 brands of battery packs I used flickers off if dropped (or caught abruptly). But all that said, they look pretty freaking awesome. It was a great experiment.

Oh, and here's the requisite self-portrait. Good times.
Thursday October 15 2015File under: juggling, work

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Summer Stone Projects

Above is a picture of the bottom terrace wall that I built this summer at the Quarry. Someday we hope to have the whole hillside terraced, but it turns out that building big rock walls is hard work, so the most I could get done this year was 1 wall. I'm shooting for one per year and soon enough, we'll have ourselves a nice little amphitheater! But since the picture above doesn't really do the wall justice, here's a few more. (It's a really nice wall)

Speaking of rock work, check out this patio I made behind Mom's house in Anacortes, also this summer. It is an extension of the patio that has been there since around 1995. Back then, Flip built it. In the 20 intervening years, I've learned all Flip has to teach* and put it into effect (-ish). The fountain is based, in part, on one don't at Mt. Rainier I helped erect (during Dude Camp 2014).

Yep, I like playing with rock—I mean, working with rock. Totally working.
Thursday October 8 2015File under: work, misc

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Amuze Cabaret at the Muse

In the vein of being super fancy professional juggler/performers*, Della and I find ourselves as a part of a dinner and variety show at the super awesome Conway Muse theater. The show runs 2 weekends (Sept 11-12, 18-20) and I think will be a lot of fun. I'm super excited for this and you should think about coming. Ticket info can be found by clicking on the poster below.

Tuesday September 8 2015File under: juggling, work


Summer Juggling Pics

For Della and me, this summer has been jam packed with juggling gigs. It's been a whirlwind of festivals, fun, and getting our routine down pat. We're usually so busy, however, that I don't get a chance to take any photos. Luckily, there are helpful folks around that shoot and share.

Here are a few photos that have made their way to us via various forms of social media. They are from (in order) Tin-type photo from Stringband Jamboree, Kids Fest in Bellingham, neighborhood Night Out in Seattle, Food Truck Fridays in Bellingham, Stringband, Seattle Night Out, Polecat Anniversary show* and Anacortes Arts Fest.

A big thanks to all the photographers for sharing and all the audiences for enduring—er, I mean, watching.

Tuesday September 8 2015File under: juggling, work


Sleeping Around 2014-2015

If ever there was a case of data being both boring and exciting at the same time, this is it. Data from my Sleeping Around calendar from the last year both captures my imagination with its simple encapsulation of a life and almost puts me to sleep with its predictability.

First, the predictable stuff: as has been the case for the last 3 or so years, my time comes out almost evenly split between the 3 major categories. Nights spent housesitting changed by less than 2%. The division of travel between its 3 sub categories stayed more or less similar, thought a 9 day trip to Dominican Republic boosted the international numbers. All in all, this year was a lot like last year.

As for the exciting stuff, just analyizing and presenting the data makes me smile. Little differences like a drop in nights in a car or a jump in nights in a hotel reflect little excitements that make this year different than last year.

Additional Stats
Nights in a Car18This number is significantly lower than last year due to Della getting a place in Bellingham so the van not being our primary spot when in town.
Nights in a Tent1This one's significantly lower. the lowest it's ever been. With no Chautauqua and only a day trip to Lopez Juggle Fest, I barely squeezed one night in at a frisbee tourney in Friday Harbor
Nights on a Boat2Nothing quite as exotic as tropical live-aboards in years past. Instead, just a conveient layover spot in Seattle on a friend's moored 33-footer
Nights in a "Hotel"31A full month sleeping in hotels and hostels. This includes a week long work trip to Mt. Rainier, my Wheel of Fortune trip to Hawaii, that DR trip, and various other quick trips. Good thing I didn't have to pay for them all!
Longest Stretch at Home14
# of states (other than WA)8CA, OR, NV, NY, CT, MD, CO, HI

As my database* grows with more years of data, the more I like looking at the trends slowly emerging. Here's what 7 years looks likes.

And, with past years to compare this year to, setting goals for next year is easier. Resolved: I will spend more than 1 night in a tent, and my international travel numbers will go up*. But most of all, I resolve to keep logging the data!

(For recaps on previous years sleeping around, check out these posts: '08-'09, '09-'10, '10-'11, '11-'12, '12-'13, and '13-'14.)
Wednesday August 5 2015File under: stats


Fare Thee Will - The End of a Trivia Era

Last night signified the end of an era. The longtime host at my favorite trivia place ended his epic 7 year run of hosting the best damn trivia around. The night was a fitting tribute with the Longhorn totally packed. Extra trivia, extra prizes and extra fun, with hip-hip-hoorays, "for he's a jolly good fellow"s, and even a few tears. Hopefully Savanah will be as appreciative of Will and his trivia hosting prowess as we all are here.

I've posted about Longhorn trivia a many times before (as it was a big part of my life). In looking back, I see that it was almost 7 years to the day when I first attended (post here) where Andrew, Saxtor, and I got first place. Well, last night, Saxtor and I again teamed up (with Rebecca and Andrea) to put a nice bookend on my Will-hosted Longhorn trivia career with an epic win. The stakes were a little higher this time with the loot including 2 beers, 4 t-shirts, $25 gift certificate, and 4 Mariners tickets! Good times.

The ending of an era often creates the beginning of a new one, and it is my hope that that is the case here. With my best attempts at filling Will's shoes, I, along with Matthew, will be stepping into the hosting role at the Longhorn starting next week. I've been stockpiling my questions for weeks and am super excited. It's going to be great. I hope I do Will proud. There's only one way to find out. Come check it out: Wednesdays at 7:00 at the Longhorn Saloon in Edison, Wa. Hope to see you there!
Thursday July 30 2015File under: trivia

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Juggling at Bacon Fest

This summer, Della and I have kind of a lot of juggling gigs booked. At last count, between performing, teaching, and, more often, a hybrid of the two, I think I am up to 14 or 15 events*. Some are private parties or weddings, some are big public festivals (Anacortes Arts Festival, Subdued Stringband Jamboree), some are school gigs, and some are fundraisers. It's kind of a busy schedule for not so much being a performer. :-)

Recently, one of the events I juggled at was Bellingham's Bacon Fest, which is just as it sounds: a festival about bacon. The event benefited the Max Higbee Center, so not only was it good food, but it was for a good cause. Chipps and I did our best to radically proliferate delight (stated mission of Bellingham Circus Guild) by roaming around and juggling, stilting, rope tricks, and more. I think at least a little delight was proliferated.

The Bellingham Herald was there taking pictures and snapped a couple of fun ones of yours truly.

I'm kind of digging on this being a juggler thing. Hanging out at festivals, making folks smile, putting a little money in my pocket (or bacon in my belly as was the case here)—not a bad way to spend a glorious summer in the Northwest.
Saturday July 11 2015File under: juggling

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The Better Than What Was There Before Building Company

Over the years, I've picked up little bits of handyman know-how here and there—from jobs, volunteering, personal projects, etc. And I occasionally have reason to put said skillz to use (like in building my cabin*, for example). Practical application of a skill is always a satisfying endeavor for me, so this past week, when I was invited down to Portland to help in the construction of a garden shed, I was stoked.

Working in the 95°+ heat, Andrew and I turned a pile of lumber, gravel, and used doors and windows into something that looked pretty darn neat and will serve as a great place for storing garden tools and to do some spring time potting. The clear roofing material* and sun-exposed windows may even make the space usable as a little greenhouse.

Little miscalculations and inexact cuts, while hardly noticeable in the finished structure, left us joking that if I ever started a construction company, it wouldn't be called "Quality Building" or "Grade A Construction". Instead, we came up with "Wren's Better Than What Was There Before Construction Company - The results might not be perfect, but if you wanted perfection, you would have paid somebody". Hopefully Andrew and Fam find this garden shed better than what was there before. Luckily for me, it's not hard to outshine an uneven plot of gravelly sand!
Saturday July 4 2015File under: Portland, work

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Island Disc

The last frisbee tournament I went to was a hat tournament on the island of Maui (posted about here). It was a great excuse to have a little vacation under the guise of competition and exercise. Two plus years later, I found myself packing up the tent, water bottle, and this time an ankle brace, and again heading out to an island for a hat-style tournament.

The Disc Divot tournament in Friday Harbor was a little closer to home, and a little less frisbee focused, but I couldn't have asked for a better weekend. We played frolf on the amazing Roche Harbor course, played pick-up with new fun people, played stick cup and other lawn games, swam in the local lake, barbecued, and watched an outdoor drive-in style movie, all set against the gorgeous backdrop of the San Juan Islands. The weather was perfect and it was a much needed excuse to re-visit a spectacular place so close to home that I often forget it is even there.

So a big thanks to Brendan and his crew for putting it together and I greatly look forward to next year's fun!
Monday June 15 2015File under: frisbee, games

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