Sheep To Shawl

Last summer, I got a call from a friend asking for some help shearing her sheep and alpaca. In the mood for an adventure, I hustled on over. And while I didn't do any of the actual shearing (quite a specialized skill), I did help round them up, hold them down, keep them happy (at least attempt to as some man was going at them with a buzzer), and be an extra pair of hands. In exchange, I received a nice lesson on farm life and a big sack of unprocessed wool. What a deal!

Summer passed and winter fell, as it tends to do, and I found myself feeling a little bit crafty. Enter: wool sack. I first tried my hand at carding and spinning. It's hard. Like really hard to get things nice and even. Ten hours of carding, spinning, and knitting just to make a 4"x8" 'shawl' is enough to make a person really gain appreciation for industrialization. But I know as I do it more, I'll get better. The end goal is to knit myself a new hat (as this one is getting a little ragged) having completed the process start to finish, or "sheep to shawl" as they say.

Another craft endeavor I tried with the raw wool was felting. Using youtube tutorials, I had a couple goes at it. While a bit faster than spinning and knitting, it still isn't fast or easy. But I'm excited about the products of my first attempt and look forward to dialing it in a bit. If I end up with a nice felt hand-made hat, I would be stoked beyond belief. So many crafts, so little time.
Monday February 10 2014File under: crafts, misc

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Taking Troothpicks To the Next Level

Interest, both mine and the world at large's, in troothpicks tends to wax and wane. Someimtes I'll go 10 months without thinking or hearing about it at all. Other times, there's seems to be something exciting happen with them every other week. Some recent excitement was inclusion in Nomad, a travelling trailer full of indy art, based out of Bellingham and some long overdue internet sales!

So keeping in form with this latest wave of interest, I've decided to step it up to the next level. I've open up a troothpicks store on Etsy! My hope is that the wider marketplace will bring troothpicks happiness to more people making the world a better place...and maybe putting a few bucks in my pocket*.

I've heard a number of Etsy success stories recently, including Della's! She makes awesome juggling bags and has sold out in just the last week on her Etsy store. You should go check it out yourself and get a pre-order in before demand drives the price through the roof*!

Anyway, it's my hope that this new move puts troothpicks where it deserves to be: on the verge of making me a million dollars! If you felt so inclined, I'd love help spreading the word. Tell your friends, 'favorite' my etsy shop, --heck, maybe even buy a package for yourself or a friend.
Saturday February 1 2014File under: misc

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A Brief Visit to Madison

The happy coincidence of having family in the same city as a well known juggling festival led me to hop on a plane and bounce on over to Madison WI for the weekend, a place I've always wanted to check out anyway. The verdict: pretty dang neat.

Seeing the midwestern version of a juggling festival was interesting. Madfest, now in it's 47th year is pretty big as far as juggling festivals go. Lots of people, lots of talent, and lots of age diversity, which was really nice to see*. And while between the awesome show and all the happenings in the gym, there was plenty of great stuff to watch, the overall vibe was a bit cliquey. I mostly juggled by myself* and am looking forward to getting back to the awesome Bellingham club meeting to get my fill of high level passing.

Aside from the juggling festival, there was lots to do and see in Madison, and I had a great tour guide and host. We walked the city in freshly falling snow, sampled a bit of the local cuisine, got a geocache(!), saw Cora's school, and much much more. It was the perfect taste of the place and it has me looking forward to coming back someday.

In short, my time in Madison was awesome. Getting there and back, however, there were a few more ins and outs. But that'll have to wait for another post.
Monday January 20 2014File under: travel, USA

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2013 Year End Letter

For the past couple years, I've been meaning to get around to writing a year end/christmas letter. I always really appreciate it when I receive such a letter in the real mail as it keeps me informed about my friends' lives and let's me know that they are thinking of me. So this year I finally did it. It was a neat exercise, from picking the few pictures that I could include to narrowing down and summarizing my year.

If people still read the blog (like you do, which I am ever so grateful), most of the content would be a rehashing. And indeed, if you didn't get a fancy schmancy paper copy of this in the mail, it is most likely since I know you are a reader and it would all be redundant. But I wanted to post it here 1) for posterity* 2) because it is a nice summation of my year (and 3) If you can't tell, I'm desperate for blog material these days)

Anyway, click on the image* above and have a read.
Tuesday January 14 2014File under: misc

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Trivia Database

Pub trivia (or trivia of any kind, for that matter) is becoming a pretty big part of my life these days. I do my darnedest to attend the three local events (as covered here) and always try to hit up new spots whenever I travel. It's fun. It's engaging. And it can be pretty dang lucrative.

Well, as is my way, I decided to start tracking me and my team's showings just for kicks. Not only will it be neat to look back at how we did, etc., but it will serve as a way to track winnings. At one spot alone last year, we earned an estimated $2000 in gift certificates. Not bad for a bunch of nerds.

Much in the same way I keep my sleeping around online, I've put the trivia data up as well, just for yucks. You can check it out here.

Take that NSA. No need to bug my phone or e-mail. I've got it all laid out nicely for you right here on my blog.
Friday January 10 2014File under: games, data

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Game Night 2013

Remember those game nights from back in the day, when a bunch of people gathered at my mom's house, chatted, ate yummy food, and played games? If you don't, here's a few links to refresh your memory (2006 and 2007).

Well, after a far too long hiatus, we tried it again. And again, it proved to be dang fun. Thanks to everyone that came and played along.

A first time addition to this game night was trivia, which I wrote and hosted. I really like writing and hosting trivia. I had a go at it this past summer with Chautauqua which proved to be a hit. And this turned out pretty great. An innovation I hadn't experienced before emerged: everyone contribute one question for the final round. Good times. The picture round can be seen here*.

To counter the new time addition, we played a couple rounds of the good old standby Pictionary Telephone (covered here on BdW before). Here are a few of the highlights: 1, 2, and 3.

Yep, to whomever suggested the resurrection of game night, a hearty thanks. And now that I remember how awesome it is, maybe we'll have to do it again next year!
Thursday January 2 2014File under: games

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Twas the Night Before Christmas 2013

Twas the night before Christmas
In my cabin made of stone
The only light glowing
was our "tree" which just shone

It's just a twig, really
A humble little bough
But with only 96 sq. ft.
It's all the space would allow

But it serves us supremely
Setting just the right tone
As we bustled about
Making the place feel like home.

We brought blankets, we brought pillows
We brought gifts, we brought food
We brought a generator and 2 heaters
Which did little good

We swept mouse poop, made the bed
With blankets piled high
We juggled and did crosswords
As the evening passed by

To say this place was cozy
Is a tad bit extreme
It's got a ways to go
To live up to that dream

A wood stove would be nice
To chase off the cold
It'd be drier, it'd be cozier
It'd keep down the mold

By next year perhaps,
Or sooner if I try hard
It'll be picture perfect
Straight from a Hallmark™ card

But now, at this moment
I can't really complain
It has all that I care for
And keeps out the rain

My sweetie is beside me
And the world is far away
It's as simple as that
What else can I say?

Some people want Elmos
And others want blenders
Big screens and jewelery
A new car w/ chrome fenders

For me, it's just simple
What makes this evening just so
It sits in the corner
Quietly aglow.

Yes the sweet little twig tree
Brings us plenty of joy
Just a simple little token
No need for the toys

So as our eyelids droop
Whether from sleep or from cold
It'll sign off as always
Lest these rhymes get too old

I wish you and your loved ones
The same joy as me
Happy Christmas to you
And may your New Year be merry.
Wednesday December 25 2013File under: holidays, poem

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FC 175 - Tis the Season


Can it be? Really? Well humdinger, it's a Friday Comic! How did I used to do this every week? Now I'm averaging 1 every six months. And this one wouldn't have come about if it weren't for some gentle coaxing from a few friends that, to my utter surprise, expressed missing these artistic atrocities. Well, for those few folks, here you go: an early Christmas present.

And since there have only been 2 comics this year, you've no doubt forgot about all those old ones. Why not check out the archive to track down your favorite or let randomness decide.

And while I'm sure it's a little late and a lot flat, I can't post a comic around x-mas without at least half-heartedly trying to sell you on one of my amazingly funny compilation books. Get them here: Volume 1, Volume 2.

(And for an extra Christmas bonus, Della did a comic too! Good times!)
Friday December 20 2013File under: comic

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Panama Pictures

Here are my leftover, didn't-make-the-blog-elsewhere-but-are-still-neat-and-I-want-to-share-them pictures. I attempted a creative way of showing them, like I have before (here, here, and here), but I'm afraid this country silhouette collage method falls a little short. So instead, why not go ahead and click on any tiny picture below (or here) and scroll through them using the good old fashion lightbox slideshow. Included is a little blurb about each picture. You could even think about it like 13 instagram posts in one! Enjoy!


Sunday December 15 2013File under: travel, Panama

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Chronicling Travel

When one returns from a wonderful trip, there are lots of memories that will stay for a life time. Then there are the other memories, the stories that get lost when recounting the adventure for family and friends, and after telling more or less the same account of the adventure, get lost even to yourself. So has been so many of my adventures; if it didn't make it to the blog*, it sometimes just slips away.

Since travelling with Della, she's instituted a great new travelling habit, one that I plan to implement on whatever adventure I am on from here on out: chronicling. At the end of each day, we record what we did that day. It's amazing how even little notes about the day can remind you of some story or adventure that didn't make it from short term memory to long term.

Here's a couple examples from this latest Panama trip (augmented with photos of course):
Day 8: Wednesday 20th
 - pancakes
 - awesome bike adventure, "¡somos los batidos!"
 - geocache, binocs, Trump tower, threw pennies in fountain
 - empenadas
 - taxi to parque metripolitano (opted out of paying, walked short trail then into long walk home)
 - long walk home (jugglers, Della's scary neighborhood, turned down ride from cops, cheap taxi home)
 - Batidos! and park
 - Dinner @ Mac n Cheese place (Tapas) Fue delicioso
 - Evening walk through pleasant neighborhoods
Day 6: Monday 18th
 - Eaten by bugs, poor sleep, hot, buggy, kind of miserable, full of bites
 - We like fry bread!
 - Ate ceviche in grass...Della tried it!
 - Our dude rode us across in his boat
 - Bussed to Porobello (tiny internet place)
 - Bussed to Colon (walked to train station, didn't get shot :)!)
 - Train w/ 27 Frenchies...oui oui!
 - Della saw a crocodile (or 2!)
 - Awesome train ride
 - Haggled w/ cab driver
 - Found awesome hostel (Luna Castle)
 - Crazy ass rain shower
 - Cheap ass dinner
 - Wren snored


As you can see, it pretty much covers the bases, sometimes a little too much. But having this record will be great in 25 years when we head down to Panama again. After all, it will be very important to remember "Somos los Batidos!"

(Note: Della has been doing her own blogging about our trip and it is totally worth checking out. But please pretend all the photos for this post weren't stolen from there. Thanks!)
Saturday December 7 2013File under: travel, Panama

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Recent Comments:
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*rus on Losing a Phone In Puerto Vallarta
*Mom on Losing a Phone In Puerto Vallarta
*Andrew on An Age Milestone
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Recent Content:
*2018 Year End Letter
*2018 Halloween Circus Show
*Losing a Phone In Puerto Vallarta
*An Age Milestone
*Twas the Night Before Christmas 2018
*TV and Film Resume
*2018 Summer Juggling Recap
*EXTRA EXTRA - American Vandal and others
*Sleeping Around 2017-18
*My Second NYT Crossword

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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