|This year's Local Foods Party* was again a great success. Like in years past, there was homemade salt, garden grown veggies, and oodles of fresh berries. Like in years past, there were new and creative additions to the menu (some of which worked and some of which did not.) And like in years past, we had a great group of people gathered together to celebrate the bounty and abundance of northwest Washington's local foodscape.
Some highlights for me (besides being surrounded with good people): smoked bison, pizza*, a gorgeous nicoise salad, crab(!), and peaches and cream. As with the first year, there was also a little entertainment (esp. enjoyed by the kids)
A couple of the foodie experiments that I was hoping to contribute didn't turn out as well as I hoped (but were still lots of fun to do). An attempt to make sugar from beets ended up as taffy so instead went to sweeten blackberry popsicles. The critics commented "I like the first taste, but not the last one that it leaves in your mouth". Also, I made another attempt at tortillas, which I was sure I had pegged. After rendering some fat into lard, finding a local flour source, and drying, storing, and grinding corn into cornmeal, I thought I had all the ingredients, but something just wasn't right. They turned out more like tostadas rather than tortillas. Alas.
Thinking, planning, and talking about the challenges* and rewards of local foods is always a great way to remind me of what we as a culture so often take for granted. Having a meal dedicated to not taking that stuff for granted makes me very happy. Having good friends around to share it with makes it that much better.
|Sunday August 23 2009||File under: food, events|
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|Huzzah huzzah for adding another to the list of Friday Comic contributors. Chris from over at IHJ found time between ferreting out military secrets and reading his kids 34 books per night to heed my call for new comic submissions. Not only did he take on the role of drawing, he also conceived of and wrote this one himself. All I did was clean up a little artifacting caused by a filetype error (example) and it was ready to go.
It should be noted that the comic has somewhat nerdier leanings, but we are all nerds here . Anyhoo, enjoy and Happy Friday!
(Next week I've got another new guest contributor to Friday Comics that I am really excited about. More people, more styles, more funny, more fun!0
|Thursday August 20 2009||File under: comic|
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|Where a person lays his/her head says a whole lot about his/her life, I think. If you look at this data over time, you get an idea of a person's routines, travel habits, and maybe even relationships. Whenever I heard a traveling salesman or musician say "I spend 200 nights a year on the road" or whatever, it would always make me wonder: where did they spend their nights, in what size chunks was that time spent, etc. It also spurred the question for me: how many nights a year do I spend on the road? It wasn't one that I could readily answer (at least with any accuracy) so about a year ago, I started keeping track.
Now I have over a year's worth of data on where I slept. I've put it together in this [visually pleasing] interface to share with you (so specifics have been omitted), but mostly for myself in getting a picture of what the last year of my life has looked like. Some interesting things I've realized: I haven't spent more than 11 nights in a row at home; nights at home vs. nights housesitting are almost equal; I've spent a month's worth of nights in a tent, 12 in a wheeled vehicle of some sort, 16 on a boat, and 2 on a plane.
Not only has this exercise served as a great way to quantitatively describe my lifestyle (or at least as much as you feel is represented in this data), it also serves as a great log. In 20 years when I wonder what it was like to be young* and free, I can see how I spent my time. This whole thing has been so fun and informative for me, I'm hoping to continue keeping track for years to come. I only wish that I had been doing it for the last 10 years as well.
|Wednesday August 19 2009||File under: travel, misc|
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|I'm posting this for a couple reasons which I will present in bullet format.|
|Tuesday August 18 2009||File under: beard|
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|What a better way to celebrate rolling over the old odometer than heading out into the woods with some new friends. That's what I did this last week: a 5-day backpacking trip in Glacier Peak Wilderness.
The plan was to do a 35-mile loop from North Fork Sauk River up to White Pass, Red Pass, Kennedy Hot Springs, and Byrne Lake*. The first day, just at the beginning of the switchbacks*, the rain starts. By the time we reach camp that first night, we are soaked. The decision is made to take the next day off, at least from packing up camp, and do a day hike south on the Pacific Crest Trail. The weather somewhat clears on and off to allow for some great views*. The following night/morning, it rains again so we do a day hike north on the PCT. We all decide that hiking without crazy huge fully soaked packs is the best way to go anyway.
All in all, it was a great time. The good company, wildflowers, fresh abundant berries, vistas, escape, and nature greatly outweighed the weather*, bugs, and two flat tires. I might just have to try this backpacking thing again someday.
|Friday August 14 2009||File under: misc, pics|
|I'm not a performer. I think I must have stated that 100 times on the trip (and hundreds more throughout my life). I just don't really enjoy it. I wish I did, but I don't. I've come up with many rationalizations for it, but the root of the matter is that it just doesn't do it for me.
That said, I made it on stage for the last show of the tour. For some reason, "Kitchen Bit" made it to the line-up. Originally it was just supposed to be a fake fashion show for the awesome recycled aprons we had been wearing all tour, but since everyone in the kitchen can juggle as well*, we decided to spice it up a bit. Lime juggling, broom chin balancing, padiddling*, and more: we took out all the stops for the final show. My part: besides being a padiddling model and group juggling a huge pot, pot lid, broom and water jug, I ended the bit by juggling 5 raw eggs. Of course half of them ended up on the floor (after a solid run), but the audience wouldn't have liked it any other way.
I had a blast and was glad to be able to contribute to the show part of the tour (which is the most forward facing aspect). I had such a good time that I catch myself thinking that maybe I should rethink my non-performer title. Perhaps "semi-reluctant rare-occasion performer" is better.
|Saturday August 8 2009||File under: chautauqua|
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|Back to the real world means back to Friday Comics. I still have at least one circus post up my sleeve that I'm waiting on pictures for, but there's no reason to delay the inevitable.
After a long hiatus from comicdom, Deanna is back behind the pen on this installment. As always, she did an awesome job. As for any Penny Arcade readers out there*, any resemblance there is totally a coincidence. Deanna had never even seen that comic until I pointed out the striking similarity. (For a fun exercise, go page through their archives and see if you notice the resemblance.)
Anyway, Friday comics are back for a while (although next week's might be late or rain checked because I might be hiking around in the woods with a big pack on my back), so if you are aching to stretch your comic drawing muscles, drop me a line*. Otherwise, get out there and eat some blackberries...but be sure to check your teeth afterward.
|Thursday August 6 2009||File under: comic|
Finding internet has been hard, so I haven't been able to post as much as I would have liked. I'm also kind of slacking on the picture taking front. Hopefully now that tour is over, I will be able to find a little more time and a few more pictures to eke out at least one more post. Until then, here are a few random pictures to tide you over.
|Tuesday August 4 2009||File under: chautauqua|
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|As a people watcher, I see group dynamic watching as the next logical step. (Last time I ran away with the circus, it was one of the first things I posted about.) When you put 60 or so people (with people coming and going daily), group dynamics is something that exists in abundance. Who contributes and who doesn't really pull their weight, who complains and who makes due, who gets along with whom, who are snuggle buddies, etc. etc.
One of the things that intrigues me most about this ever-morphing animal that is called Chautauqua is the way responsibilities are handled. There is no end-all buckstopper to whom you can take your questions or even figure out who you should take your question to. In general, if you start asking the questions, you become the one that has to answer them. Take "When are we going to leave?" for example. A simple question, right? Well, try asking it around a Chautauqua camp the day before a travel day. You quickly become the one to coordinate between all the people that know what else has to happen and when, such that you become the authority.
This whole concept of responsibility for the taking is one that has its ups and downs. Ups: everyone is responsible for the experience, rather than being able to point to just one organizer; each year is very different (so I'm told); everyone has a say in how things go down; you can be as involved as you want; the fact that it works is just plain amazing. Downs: it is easy for people to decide not to pull their own weight since there is no one to call them on it; each year is different*, the people who care often get overworked and burnt out; personality conflicts can have a bigger impact.
Sufficive to say, it is a trip, both on the performance/travel/circus side as well as the group dynamics side.
|Thursday July 30 2009||File under: chautauqua|
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|Salt Spring Island B.C. is the third stop on this tour. Three stops is enough for me to start to get down the routine. The big day of every stop is Show Day, the day where we get all dressed up in costumes, parade through "town"*, put on a teaser show and workshops (in hopes of drawing as many people in), and finishing the day with the big show. As a non-performer*, it isn't as stressful a day as it could be, but it is still a lot of hustle and bustle, and we all play our role.
The reward, however, is worth it. Between the logistics of camping, food, and transportation, etc. and hanging out with awesome people, I sometimes forget that the focus of Chautauqua is on putting on a quality vaudeville show for the communities we visit. After the show, and usually until we leave the community, the people let us know how much they appreciated and enjoyed it. Hearing, "Hey, aren't you those circus guys? You were awesome!" does the whole goosebump thing for me, even though my role in getting the show to go on simply involved mathematics of erecting a trapeze set and putting oatmeal in the performers bellies.
Anyway, Show Day is a good day. (Actually, they've all been good days, but show days are particularly fun.)
|Saturday July 25 2009||File under: chautauqua|
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