We were out in Colorado for a wedding (a post about that later) which just happened to coincide with the event. A group of us gathered up some bikes, donned costumes (complete with capes honoring the special couple), and dove into the chaos. Della and I brought along our Yippee and Ki-yay costumes, but with a twist. The twist: wearing nothing but undies underneath the chaps. Being out in public (a parade no less) dressed rather far outside of our comfort zones was an experience. But people loved the hilarity in it and we had fun.
The event was more than just a parade of costumed people on bikes. There was a festival awaiting particpants at the end with food and beer booths, music stages, crazy bike contraptions and more. And all the money raised went to support bike organizations int the Ft. Collins area. So neat!
Yep, the Tour de Fat was a super lucky coincidence for us and really added to our already great trip to Colorado. Who knows, maybe it'll draw us back some time in the future!
|Tuesday September 2 2014||File under: colorado, transportation|
|For the past 3 years on my birthday, I've been involved in some Chautauqua event, whether tour or a benefit. While Chautauqua is always a fun time, individual celebration can get lost in the mob. This year, my calendar was clear and I tried to take full advantage of it. With the planning help of my wonderful partner, the day was a resounding success.
In short, breakfast with the fam (including cake*!), a dip in the quarry (when the weather was super hot, so it was great!), gathering with friends for happy hour (and more cake(!)), juggle club at the park with more friends (some of whom even dressed up as me!), and all ending by sleeping in my cabin at the quarry*.
Birthdays can be stressful with too much expectation or can be lonely with not enough planning. Mine, I'm happy to report, was just perfect.
|Thursday August 14 2014||File under: holidays|
|Who's ready to nerd out on the most insignificant details and break them down statistically!?! Everyone? Good, that's what I thought. So without further ado, here's the breakdown of my year of Sleeping Around™, the industry standard for tracking one's itinerant life.
Some interesting observations: this year takes the cake for most nights spent at home, up 20 nights from the previous high mark (and up 37(!) over the 5-year average). I attribute this to the settling that Della and I have been doing in the Outback (covered here).
Also notable is the record low number of travel, down almost a full month from the previous low mark (down 50(!) nights from the 5-year average). While there's a twinge of regret in seeing that number, I also know that it's low because I've got a pretty dang good life for myself here on the home front so there's less fun to be had in leaving. But still, I hope to see this number rise for the '14-'15 year (esp. that peskily low international travel number).
Other fun data:
Since this is year number 6* of data collection, I thought I'd throw a fun little Over the Years graph, a fun way to compare year to year.
To have a further look at this year's data so you can run your own graphs and charts, go here. Posts on previous years sleeping around can be found here: '08-'09, '09-'10, '10-'11, '11-'12, and '12-'13
|Monday August 4 2014||File under: stats|
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|I've recently been spending some time up at the Lookout Arts Quarry. Besides summer being a perfect time for hanging out with the artsy folks there just for the season, for some of the best swimming around, and for spending time at/working on my cabin*, it is also a great time for working on all sorts of projects out there. I wanted to share a couple of my latest.
The first is a welcome sign to go along with my license plate-roofed info kiosk (covered here). I got the idea from a housesitting house. I'm super pleased with how it turned out. And with the remnants of the project, I can make oodles more signs! If I just had more things to say....
The second project was one that I worked on over the spring but finally came to fruition recently. Up near my cabin, there's a gorgeous viewpoint lookout out over the whole quarry. But like most viewpoints, it was paired with a dangerous cliff. To keep it at least a little safe, we had DANGER tape strung up haphazardly which totally ruined the pristiness of the place. Well, I built what I call a highway viewpoint style guardrail to keep people safe but not ruin the beauty of the place, maybe even enhance it! I'm excited for a few trees to get removed and have it really be a place people can enjoy!
There are so many projects deserving of attention up there. It's nice to have the great weather to get up there and get some of them done. If you're ever in the area, make sure you allot some time to swing on by. I love giving tours! And maybe we'll even get you to chip in on a project or two.
|Friday July 25 2014||File under: quarry|
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|First, let me assure the Wheel of Fortune producers and legal team that there is nothing in this post about the winners, outcome, or any content of any episode (as I agreed to in my contract). This post is merely to share a little about the process with my friends who are very interested in this great show and institution. Please contact me with any concerns. And thanks for being totally awesome!
Among the things I've gotten to do in my life, there are quite a few neat ones: running away with the circus, spending time on a deserted tropical island, getting a crossword published, building a cabin in the woods, etc. etc. Well, I've now got another great experience to add to the list: being on Wheel of Fortune!
My taping was last week down in Culver City, CA. Della and I flew down for a 3 day stay* where we got to explore the area a little, but mostly it was a focus on the task at hand.
The day started early with a shuttle picking me up at the hotel and whisking us off to the studio where we went through some paperwork, logistics, etc. Then it was time for make-up, a whole new experience for me. The make-up lady was so super nice (just like everyone I interacted with*) and the hair lady said I looked great and didn't need to do anything.
After we were all gussied up, they took us out on the set to first ooh and aah over seeing the set, which was totally awesome! but then to film our hometown howdies, a short clip of us saying where we're from and when you can watch us on our home station. I don't know if KOMO airs these (some stations do and some don't), but I look forward to seeing it!
Next was spinning practice. You might think there isn't much to spinning, but there is! The wheel weights 2400 lbs and to get it moving is not as easy a task as you might think. They actually had us do stretches before hand so as not to pull a muscle! When it was our turn to spin, they had us practice our calling out of letters in loud clear voices. They really want the show to be as good as possible.
Seeing the set, spinning the wheel, and even a cameo appearance in the green room by Vanna both served to calm my nerves in getting me more comfortable with everything but also get me more nervous in knowing that it was actually happening! While I won't say that I was a wreck, I was more nervous than I thought I would be, and I wasn't even playing yet!
After spinning practice, they divvied us up into games* and our positions on stage. I was put in the 4th show of the day, just after lunch. This meant that Della, who was to arrive at 11:00, would have to wait until I went on at 3:30 but not know it. As the contestants came out for each show, she said she was on the edge of her seat waiting to see if it was me!
Those of us not in the first show were then ushered into the audience* to watch the tapings before it was our turn. While I initially was bummed at my draw of a later show (thinking that it just meant more time to stew), seeing how everything was done (commercial breaks, movement of the contestants, etc.) helped me feel more comfortable in knowing how things were going to play out*.
And then it was my turn to hit the set, which is where this story will have to end for now. I fully intend to keep my promise to the producers about not revealing the outcome, and I wouldn't want to anyway. I want you to watch and find out for yourself. So tune in on October 30, 2014. Check your local listings for times and channel.
Overall, I have to say again how wonderful the whole experience was. Between the clear communications, wonderfully helpful people, great co-contestants, and the extreme neatness of seeing how things that you love are done, this experience ranks up near the top of my Life Neato list no matter what the outcome. To know that outcome, be sure to watch!
|Wednesday July 16 2014||File under: games, misc|
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|When you are in the LA area, it's kind of a rule that you've gotta do something Hollywood-y. If you're in town to do a taping of Wheel of Fortune, it only makes sense to have your Hollywood-y thing be a tour of the Sony Picture Studios in beautiful(?) Culver City.
While the price tag on the tour was a little steep, I justified it as a way to get a little more comfortable with all things Lights Camera Action, before I had my big day. But it was really just an excuse to do something that I knew would be really cool, and it totally was.
The coolness fell into two different categories. First, there was the "I've always wondered how they did that". One example of that was the sound effects room, a room filled with all sorts of crap with piecemeal flooring, where they record everything but the dialog. Super interesting. Or the sound mixing room. Or sound stages with sets*, green rooms, etc.
The other coolness category was the "I know that thing/place from TV/movies!". There were old movie props, building facades, and more. It was neat to see how often a certain building would be reused for different shows, scenes, etc.
But really, the crowning glory of the tour was being able to see the sound stage where the Jeopardy! set was set up. There was a neat museum documenting memorable moments, history, etc. There were replica lecterns*, rows and rows of Emmys, and a life size reproduction of the Man himself. I was in hog heaven. Someday I will be back here as a contestant. But until that day, this tour was good times!
Seeing how movies and TV are made is fun! Rubbing elbows with the stars...' assistants' valets, so much history, and lots of behind the scenes anecdotes made the Sony Picture Studios tour a great way to spend an afternoon! Plus it took my mind ever so slightly off my big day of taping the following day. Yikes! I mean, Yeehaw!
|Monday July 14 2014||File under: travel, USA|
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The two biggest changes were a new bed(!)* and a new wall dividing the space into 2 "rooms". It's amazing how interior walls can make a small space seem bigger actually. Now Della's got a place to permanently set up her sewing and still have room for a mini office.
Otherwise, the changes have been minor: curtains covering our junk shelves, boxes upon boxes of cast-offs to the Goodwill, and new wall adornments. Some of my favorites are my framed pride and joy and my first attempt at a trinkets shelf. Fun!
I imagine the process will continue to evolve, hopefully with clearing out even more stuff and learning the systems that allow us to work in a small space. But I think it's safe to say, this is a huge improvement!
|Tuesday July 8 2014||File under: misc|
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After making "this-is-how-I-creatively-attempted-to-shave-off-my-beard" posts for the past 8(!) years (you can view the 25 or so posts here), it is hard to come up with new twists. Well, with thanks to the lovely Della, here's a new twist.
It was time to chop the old cookie duster in preparation for my big TV appearance. Della, the ever creative, decided she wanted to make a fake mustache out of my real mustache, a process she's working to perfect. After much snipping, gluing, and a bit of creative craftery, she succeeded. There's a bit still to be desired about the process: my Burt Reynolds somehow turned into a Mike Ditka. But there's a neatness to knowing that this fake mustache is a real fake mustache.
|Wednesday July 2 2014||File under: beard|
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|Last weekend, Della and I cruised down to Bend, Oregon for some friends' wedding. The wedding was so great, with all of our circus friends in a super lovely location. The only draw back was me borking my ankle severely so not being able to participate in much of the circus-y fun. Alas.
After the wedding, many of the stragglers went for a nice float down the Deschutes River. We comprised 6 large rafts and a kayak, quite the flotilla. The float was about 2.5 hours, enough time to cycle from goofy pirate like antics to calm and reflective and back. It has been so long since I've done a river float, I had forgotten just how awesome they can be. Super thanks to the happy couple for making it all happen.
And here are a few photos:
|Thursday June 26 2014||File under: Oregon|
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|Last night, at the Brown Lantern in Anacortes, the Tournament of Champions trivia night was held. It was an invite only affair that pitted the best teams of the last year and a half against each other with a different format and higher stakes*.
I'm pleased to report that our team, Poupon Parade, the team with the winningest record for the year, prevailed decisively. (For a look at our record, check out the trivia results database here.)
Big thanks to Nick (from The Business) for writing and hosting a great season of trivia and to my awesome team for just plain being smart. Here's to another great season!
|Wednesday May 21 2014||File under: games, Anacortes|
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