Have Another Drink

A lot is said about food with regards to travel. And I'm sure I'll add my 2 cents before this trip is done. But one my favorite parts of Malaysia and Singapore so far are the drinks! Delicious, interesting, new, and cheap—couple that with a climate that makes you want to drink something cold and icy all the time and you've got a recipe for fun!

To start with, there is, of course, tea. We got to tour a tea plantation and factory (being sure to take the requisite 1 million selfies). And although the traditional pot of tea is nice, my favorite way to take tea is with ice, milk, sugar, and BOBA! I finally get the bubble tea craze, though I will have a hard time paying $5 back in the states when it comes to about $1.25 here.

Other favorites so far have been fresh mango smoothies (made with real mango), coconut milkshakes (made with real coconut), strawberry juice (made with real, grown right out behind the restaurant strawberries), and corn juice (made with real corn)*. Who knows what Indonesia will have in way of can't-be-missed drinks. But I can only imagine they will be cold, they will be cheap, and we will drink a lot of them!
Thursday December 19 2019File under: travel, malaysia

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Supertrees of Singapore

The same way Paris has its Arc de Triomphe, Dubai its Burj al Arab, and Mostar its Old Bridge, perhaps the most associated image of Singapore is that of its Supertrees. In a slightly jet-lagged state and with first-day-of-vacation walking optimism, Della and I set out to find said icons to see what it was all about. We succeeded [and got the requisite photos to prove it], but we found Singapore's Gardens By the Bay to be so much more than Supertrees!

I actively avoid getting too much information about a place before I visit lest I'm unable to keep an open mind upon arrival. Singapore, and Gardens By the Bay, was no exception. So aside from the trees, we didn't know what to expect. As it turned out, around every turn there was something new and wonderful to see: large scale installation art, topiary gardens, water features, an amazing food court*, and a holiday light installation to that puts Vegas to shame. We wandered through mostly deserted paths and were positively giddy*.

All in all, Gardens By the Bay set a wonderful tone for the upcoming 2 months of adventure: hidden wonders, delicious food, and being together. This is going to be fun!
Sunday December 8 2019File under: travel, singapore

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2019 Summer Juggling Recap

If you're not following @wrenanddella over at instagram, what are you waiting for!?! In this new day and age of social this and insta that, Della and I finally got around to having a place to put pictures up on a slightly faster timeline than this blog. But since we all know how traditions die hard with me, I offer up some photos from our 2019 juggling summer season. Enjoy.





Tuesday November 19 2019File under: juggling, pics

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Ghostbusters Halloween Circus Act

It's been since Something Wonderful back in 2016 and 2017 since Della and I have been part of a larger group juggling act. They are always a ton of fun but lots of work getting schedules together and everyone on the same page artistically. For this year's Beastly Frightful Unspeakably Spooky Circus of Doom, Della and I teamed up with Eric and Britt to do a Ghostbusters act. It turned out amazing. Della logs it as our best act ever*. There was enough skill, goofiness, cultural reference, and fun to really get the crowd jazzed.

And as is my wont, I present the video of the act, again courtesy of the ever amazing David and his team at Access Bellingham. Enjoy!


And because a Circus Guild show isn't the same without photo booth photos, have a look at these gems*:

Tuesday November 5 2019File under: juggling, holidays

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Cover Story of the Skagit Valley Herald

I've posted a number of times here on BdW about small town newspapers and the occasions I have appeared. I even have a series of posts called "Minor Media Mentions" where I capture for posterity the occasional photos or blurbs that make it to various print media outlets. This latest, however, doesn't feel like it quite fits the category "Minor". Recently, a profile story about me and my crossword endeavors was featured on the front page of the Skagit Valley Herald.

The SVH runs the Universal crossword, which, up until this past year, was a somewhat of a throw away puzzle constructed and edited by a persona non grata. Then editorship was taken over by David Steinberg, a great editor I've worked at the Orange Country Register and the Puzzle Society. This allowed for some of my puzzles to appear in the paper, which I thought was neat, something a small town paper might be inclined to point out—"Today's crossword is by area man" or whatever. So I pitched the idea when I had a puzzle coming out. To make a long story short, this article is what came of the pitch, notably not in conjunction with one of my puzzles. In fact, it doesn't even mention having a puzzle in the SVH, which was the pitch in the first place.

I can't deny that it is nice to have a feature story about me on the front page of my town's newspaper (albeit with a less than flattering photo). It feels like a neat nod to this thing I do. It would have been great if things could have come together to have the feature run with a puzzle, but I guess you can't have it all. If you want to try some of my puzzles, I've started a bit of a resume, as it were. Here's to hoping it keeps growing.
Monday September 23 2019File under: media, crossword

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An Eating Contest Champion I Am Not

I feel like there's a saying that you should try everything once. Despite the obvious counter-examples*, it's an adage worth considering. With that (and a free meal) in mind, Della and I signed up for the XXXL Challenge at the casino.

The contest was to eat a Fatburger XXXL burger (3 1/2 lb patties with all the fixings) as fast as possible. The initial plan was to simply take our time and enjoy the free burger, but then our competitive sides kicked in. I finished last in my heat at 8 minutes 20 seconds (which, it turned out, was better than average). If there's anything that takes the fun out of eating, it's trying to cram it down my maw as fast as possible. But there is pride in accomplishment, and I did it. Della finished with the fastest female time at 12 minutes 55 seconds.

I now have no doubt that competitive eating is truly a skill, and a skill I don't have. But I'm okay with that. Does this mean that I won't sign up for another eating contest in my life? Probably not. I'm just too much of a sucker for free food. But if I do, I hope I remember the discomfort that comes with such an affront to nature.
Monday Aug 26 2019File under: misc

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Sleeping Around 2018-2019

The best way to sum up this year's Sleeping Around data, my annual dive into an attempt at comprehending my life through looking at where I lay my head, might be "as much as things change, they stay the same." Besides a few percentage points here and there, this year and last year look almost the same. But just because things look almost the same doesn't mean they don't warrant a closer look.

Housesitting is up; that's good. As our circus business grows, housesitting represents a less critical financial piece, but it is still a prominent part of our life that I would not like to see fade away. Travel is down; that's bad. Both overall and the two most interesting types of travel, international and domestic, are not nearly as high as I would like. After two years with no nights in a tent, we got 2, internationally no less. At Home percentage is spot on to the 10-year average, which I find oddly amusing.

Other interesting stats from the year:
# of housesitting houses134 new "clients"
# of states (other than WA)5OR, NY, CT, UT, NV (fewest ever?)
# of countries (other than US)1 :-(Mexico
Longest stretch at home7
Longest stretch away from home70Just sleeping away from home. I passed through much more frequently.
# in car22Hotel Toyota
# in hotel/hostel24For work and play

As always, I'm excited to see what the next year will hold. We've got a big international trip planned, some changes in the housesitting landscape, and as always, the possibility for the unseen. Life is fun. Looking at it through the lens of data is fun too!
Friday August 2 2019File under: stats

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I Wanted To Be a Millionaire

If you haven't seen the episode and don't want any spoilers, I suggest you skip to the end of this post and give it a watch before continuing. I can wait...

Nearly 4 years to the day after I taped my Wheel of Fortune episode, I found myself back in a TV studio, this time in Las Vegas, nervously waiting to appear on Who Wants To Be a Millionaire.

The process with Millionaire wasn't too dissimilar to Wheel, if you replace face-to-face testing and auditions with Skype calls*. There were a few more logisitics around bringing your "plus 1" and my producer was a bit more specific about wardrobe*, but overall the process was something like:
apply online -> [get lucky to be picked to move on] -> take a test -> [be smart] -> have audition -> [get lucky your attempt at jokes go over well] -> wait hopefully (and a bit nervously) -> [receive "You're in!" letter] -> do a jig -> anxious wait to hear about taping date -> binge watch the show for studying purposes -> keep waiting* -> fly to Las Vegas to tape the episode -> exhale
It turned out to be 9 months between taping date and air date, a long wait while having to keep a secret. The episode turned out great. I feel I came across quite well on screen considering I didn't do as well as I wished I had. Sure it was hard to relive missteps like burning those two lifelines early on and not correcting Chris's pronunciation of Anacortes, but I didn't cringe as hard as I thought I might. In fact, for the better part of that 9 months, I was stressed about how it might all turn out, knowing what I knew about the outcome. But via a couple of awesome watch parties and the fun facebook group with some of my fellow almost-millionaires, I found much more joy in the outcome than I expected.

Overall, it was a wonderful experience. I got to meet some really great people, added another cool adventure to my life resume, and ended up with a little bit of change in my pocket*. While the result of this pass at TV game show-dom didn't quite support the this-is-a-big-part-of-my-how-I-make-my-living plan, I'm not going to let that stop me from continuing to try!






Oh, and if you never saw my Wheel episode, check it out here

Thursday May 2 2019File under: video, pictures

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The Real Food Show (with Minor Media Mentions)

Almost 5 years ago, I posted about a show Della was involved in that goes into elementary schools and teaches kids about healthy eating and lifestyle. As of about 2 years ago, I took over the roll of Frank* and have been busy performing in schools all over Western Washington.

The Real Food Show is a dynamic 35-minute performance that combines circus arts, food education, laughter, healthy lifestyle awareness, and fun. Della eats an apple while juggling. I ride a unicycle. Della dances* while standing on my shoulder. I balance a huge stack of protein blocks on my face. It's a really fun show.

The funding model so far has allowed schools to get the show for free through sponsorship by local area co-ops. Overall, the show has been in 75+ schools (40-ish under my tenure) and is universally well received. But we're looking to expand to communities that might not have co-ops. We're excited to be doing a PTA sponsored show soon and hope to find lots more ways to bring this important message delivered in a fun way to more students! If you have want the show to come to your kid's school or have an in anywhere that might want the show, please contact me.


A few of our recent shows have been covered in print, and as is my wont, I shall post the articles here for posterity. A big thanks to the Port Townsend Leader and the Skagit Food Co-op for the coverage, and as always, the Community Food Co-op for their initial and continued support of the show!



Friday April 19 2019File under: media, juggling

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Mexico 2019 Finance and Picture Recap

Our recent trip to Mexico was quite wonderful. It was relaxing, adventurous, warm(!), much-needed, and varied. It almost felt like 4 trips in 1: beach time with my dad in Zipolite, urban adventuring in Mexico city, lazy resort time in Puerto Vallarta, and off the beaten path time in Yelapa. And as is my wont, I wanted to summarize costs and post a few random pictures so that this fun adventure (and its details) won't be lost.

Finances
The total trip, including airfare, hotels, food, in-country transportation, lots of ice cream, and all entertainment came to $2360 which covers both me and Della. We were gone 15.5-ish days* That makes the per day per person cost to $76. With the amount that we did and saw, this is a number that we are both rather proud of. It's nice to know that travel doesn't have to be crazy expensive.

Flights$778YVR->HUX, HUX->MEX, MEX->PVR, PVR->SEA*
All-inclusive resort$8505 nights. This was a timeshare deal. Included in this money is supposedly a cruise and additional resort stay. I'm somewhat skeptical, but we'll see.
Everything else$732Food and hotels for the other 9 days, museum entrances, subways, etc.

We have a breakdown of every penny we spent (tracking that is kind of our hobby), but I won't subject you to that. But having this rough idea helps us contextualize the trip and plan for future trips! Next winter is going to be a big one!! :-)

Pictures
Click on each photo to read the caption for context.

Saturday April 6 2019File under: Mexico, pictures

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Recent Comments:
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*robin schultz on My Circus Valentine 2020 Act
*Mom on Borobudur and Prambanan
*Horge on Twas the Night Before Christmas 2019
*Horge on Supertrees of Singapore

Recent Content:
*My Homemade Quilt
*Best Extra-ing Ever - Three Busy Debras
*Ghostbusters Halloween Circus Act
*My Circus Valentine 2020 Act
*Financial Recap of Singapore-Malaysia-Indonesia
*Grab and Gojek - A Ray of Light in the Otherwise Dismal Transportation Scene in Bali
*The Photo Not Taken
*Borobudur and Prambanan
*Celebrity Status in Indonesia
*Twas the Night Before Christmas 2019

Websites du Friends:
* Wren and Della
Della and my juggling website
* The Real Food Show
A circus-inspired elementary assembly show to teach kids about healthy eating
* Della Moustachella
Della's performance website
* The Fun Bags
Della and Sadye's Performance Troupe


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