FC 14 - An Unfortunate Discovery

This week's comic get the prize for the most difficult to get posted. On a dial-up connection, trying to scan an image on a computer with Windows ME*, with the punch line being changed up to the last minute. Even with all that, I'm stoked on it. I hope you are too.

My gracious host here in Yelapa has stepped up to lend her artistic hand this week as well as provide collaboration on phrasing. We literally went through dozens of phrasings before we got tired of trying and went and ate some quesadillas*.

Anyway, without further ado (and before my dial-up connection drops out on me), here we go...
Thursday January 10 2008File under: comic

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Fresh Fruit

Tropical climates always have the best fresh fruit (except for berry season in Skagit County, of course). You can just walk around the streets and find people selling fresh squeezed orange juice, freshly sliced pinapple, and all sorts of exotic local fruits. Fruit salads at the restaurants are awesome as well as cheap. Yep, I never lack vitamin C when travelling to warm places.

This past week, however, I've taken fresh fruit to a new level. The place I am staying has fruit trees galore. In our yard, we've got a lime tree that we can't even come close to keeping up with. I've been working on my limeade recipe daily and it is getting better*. There are also banana trees all over the place. The neighbor, who is oh so generous, has 3 different types of bananas, lemon and orange trees (which aren't ripe yet), and passion fruits. I've been making some passion fruit juice that is to die for.

Another abundant "fruit"* that I am absolutely enamored with is the coconut. You can find them littered on the beach or along the paths. It takes some work to get them open but it is definitely worth it. You get a nice sip to quench your thirst and more sustanence than you might think. Amiel, Hallie, and I split a coco on the beach the other day (that I laboriously peeled usingly only a rock) and we couldn't even finish it. Yum. Right now, I've got a bowl of coconut meat waiting for me to attempt to turn into coconut milk in hopes of making a kick ass coconut fruit shake for breakfast. I'll let you know how it goes.
Thursday January 10 2008File under: Mexico, food

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Group Dynamics


click pictures for the evolution

I've never travelled with a group this large before, at least not when it wasn't totally organized where the itenerary was completely set before hand*. The experience has been interesting. I can't say that it was exactly what I was expecting but then again many parts were very close. All in all, the experience has been great. Now, when I meet a fellow circus person on the road and they ask "Have you road tripped with the circus before?" with a devlish grin, I can answer in the affirmative.

(Oh, and since I just upload this picture because it relates to the whole group thing, I suppose I will link to it even though I can't really fit it into context. Oh, and this video fits too. Group eating and group playing. Good times.)
Tuesday January 8 2008File under: travel, Mexico

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A Day at the Beach

There are different ways to do a day at the beach. Some people just like to bring a book and a blanket, and just chill. Me, I get too hot in the sun and too bored just sitting there. That is why our day at the beach on New Year's Day was just my style.

There was all sorts of circus practice going on, from the professional (here and here) to the less than professional (here). Some of the local kids got in on it and got a few free lesson and a free show (and who doesn't love free?). Then there was the body surfing, which was awesome. I won't go as far as to say it was gnral shralpingly good, but it was good.

The coup d' gras, however, was the sand city we built, much to the amusement of passers-by. We had some great help from some of the local kids who wanted in on the action. One of my contributions was my rendition of Chichen Itza, which quickly went to ruins because it wasn't behind the sea wall.

Yes, it was quite a way to spend a day at the beach and a wonderful way to start the new year.
Sunday January 6 2008File under: travel, Mexico

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FC 13 - Revenge of Rock

Okay, after a brief one-week hiatus that we will attribute to, let's say, the holidays, the Friday Comic series is back in action. For this week's contribution, I went back to our Floridian MS Paint virtuoso Annie. Since she did such a good job with the topic last time, I let her loose on the old roshambo one more time.

As for the coloring job, I must apologize both to Annie who left the duty to my supposed capable hands and to all you readers. My excuses are these: working from an internet cafe, I only have access to MS paint and it turns out that using it is really really hard to do anything at all. It has just raised my appreciation for the work that Annie does. My second excuse is one of format. The color is so ghetto because I tried to save it as a .gif and the conversion from .bmp to .gif didn�t go so well. I would try to redo it, but uploading with an FTP client is kind of a bear.

Anyway, excuses aside, I'm pleased with how it turned out. I hope you like it too. To my commissioned* artists, if you have a pending comic order, I would love for you to send it my way. Just because I am in Mexico doesn't mean that the cogs stop turning.
Thursday January 3 2008File under: comic

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Really Big Shoe. Really Big Shoe.

This past New Year�s Eve* is one to definitely file under "New Experiences" (and no, that doesn't mean I got a midnight smooch making it an even 10 years in a row.) This past NYE, I got to play professional circus roadie (I'll post my business card as soon as they come back from the printer).

The circus folks with whom I am travelling had their big gig at the Four Seasons Resort* NYE. Because of the rush of getting the bus functioning, driving halfway across a continent, etc. there wasn�t a whole heck of a lot of time to prepare re:costumes, practice, run-thrus, but that didn�t phase anyone (although had I been a part, I would have had to change my britches numerous times).

Anyway, the show happened, and despite a few glitches (technical and meteorological in nature), the consensus is that it went well (or at least everyone is glad it is over). During the fray, I found myself helping out in anyway I could (helping people into costumes, helping the magician try out his new illusion, running to and from the bus a million times*, cleaning juggling clubs, official time keeper, grabbing food for after the show, lending my* shoes to the magician, fetching fire, and more)

Anyway, here are a few pics from the show: Vern getting into the mantis, the Jollies, the puppet*. I will try to find a few more pics from other people's cameras and maybe post them in the comments when I get around to it*.
Wednesday January 2 2008File under: travel, Mexico

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2007 - A Great Year


Monday December 31 2007File under: holidays, pics

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Puerto Vallarta

I took today, our third full day in Puerto Vallarta, to go exploring, camera in hand. Sure, I felt like kind of a cheesy tourist, but it actually allowed me to fit in quite nicely with the cruise ship crowd. Anyway, here is my pictorial spread of Puerto Vallarta*.

Most of my time spent meandering about has been down on the malecon, or boardwalk, that runs most of the length of the beach. The city has done a great job of keeping it somewhat classy so it isn�t completely overrun with tacky t-shirt shops and tattoo parlors. There is lots of public art (some just purty to look at (see above) and some that you can play on). Some of the art is even temporary (with a nod to the season of course). In the evening, street performers and food stands pop up, making it a great scene. I�m hoping to head down that way soon to watch a glorious sunset with my 3rd fresh coconut ice cream of the day in hand.

I�ve also spent a fair amount of time cruising the back streets, whether looking for hole-in-the-wall food stands or because I am completely lost I can�t say for sure. This is the part of the city I�m starting to like a little better. The food stands you eat at don�t have menus in English and all the other patrons are locals. Plus it gives a better impression of what life is really like here. Anyway, this has become one of my favorite routes from the bus to the Cultural Arts Center (home base for costume making, etc. before the show).
Saturday December 29 2007File under: travel, Mexico

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Veggie Fuel

Unfortunately, this picture is kind of hard to see*. Written in dust on the back of the bus, it says "100% Waste Veggi" and "Zero Fossil Fuel". While this is a bit of an overstatement (we use a bit of regular diesel fuel to warm up the engine and a couple of times when the veggie system has failed), it is something we are very proud of. When I�ve explained it to people in the past, I think they might have gotten the wrong impression, what with all the media hype surrounding ethanol, biodesiel, etc. So here�s a brief explanation of how it works.

Our engine burns vegetable oil, not biodesiel. The oil comes straight from the grease barrel behind the restaurant and into our gas tank. (Gonzo collecting is the most fun part, see?) When looking for used vegetable oil, you have to be kind of particular about quality. Most fast food places use hydrogenated oil which is bad (for some reason I�ve yet to understand). Also, not having chunks of stuff floating in the oil is a good thing. Water content is another thing. Sushi places are generally considered to be the best places to obtain the oil, although we got our first tank full from The Keg in Bellingham.

Okay, so now you�ve got a tank full of used veggie oil. Most vehicles that have been converted to run on veggie oil also still have their deisel tank and fuel lines with duplicates for the veggie stuff. The veggie lines usually have another filter or two as well as a heat exchanger, to heat up the oil. But once you�ve got all that stuff in place, you just warm up the engine and veggie oil using diesel fuel and the throw the switch, and -badda bing- your tail pipe starts smelling like french fries.

The pyschological effect of not using fossil fuels to travel is really something. You are taking something that would have been thrown away and using it to power your vehicle. While you�re still not in the clear regarding environmental impact of traveling (additional parts need to be replaced, roads need to be built and maintained, etc.), you are lessening your impact drastically. So now, when we idle the bus for the 15 minutes we�re stopped at a rest area (or, in the case of being in Mexico, a stand of trees), I no longer freak out about wasting fuel.
Friday December 28 2007File under: travel, Mexico, environment

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Twas the Day Before Christmas

Twas the day before Christmas and all through the bus,
All were doing their own thing, all 12 of us.
Ukoiya and Lindsay were stretching on the floor.
Three days on a busacan make you quite sore.
Kelsey and Jules drew doodles here and there.
Now our plywood table/bed doesn't look so bare.
There is engine talk from Islando and Vern.
To get the bus running again is their main concern.
Joselynn and Paul are looking into flights,
Concerned we might not make it by Christmas night.
Hallie's in bed with a book. Amiel is online.
We can't get the bus working, but the internet works fine.
River is zonked from a late night at the wheel.
And I, our "head chef", reluctantly ponder our next meal.
What's that? It's a rumber from down below.
The engine guys are trying another go.
We all cross our fingers, and hold our breath,
But the egine quietly sputters to death.
Wait just a sec. It seems to be getting stronger.
The time between sputters grows ever longer.
It was air in the lines that had to be bled.
It's always something, we just shake our heads.
Now we're back on the road, we'll hit the border by dawn.
Here's hoping for smooth sailing from this point on.
So as we roll out of Palm Springs on Interstate 10.
I wish Feliz Navidad to you and your kin.
Monday December 24 2007File under: holidays, poetry

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