taz_39: (footprint)

On Monday I did absolutely nothing. Had not slept well, and neither had Jameson, so we decided to stay at the train.

I was bored. I cleaned my room, boiled some eggs, and did a little research on U-Hauls. I finished watching an anime series called Shinsekai Yori. It's pretty dark subject matter but a great story and great art. I really enjoyed it and am sorry to have finished it.

Later in the day I ended up getting an honest-to-goodness job offer. I haven't officially accepted yet, so more on that later. I spent the rest of the evening researching apartments and sublets near the job location, and reviewing the company's website.

At some point during the day it started to snow.

On Tuesday I borrowed Jameson's car to run errands. First I went to U-Haul to look at their smallest trailer (which is the only one my car could pull) and to get an estimate for installing a trailer hitch. I hope that this won't be necessary, but it's good to be prepared.

Then I hit a nearby Kroger, because the train run from Cincinnati to Norfolk is sure to be long and I want to be fully stocked for the trip. I know it's early, I could have taken an Uber to the grocery on Sunday night, but somehow I doubt I'll be in the mood.

Back at the train I unpacked and made a few calls related to housing in my potential new city/state of employment. Again, it's too early to know what I will need, but may as well give myself some options and know what's available.

Wednesday the weather was fairly crummy due to winter storm Stella. Although we didn't get accumulation here in Ohio, it was cold and wet and windy. I would have liked to go somewhere and do something, but there just aren't many options around here. Instead, I researched apartments and made appointments and tried to figure out what kind of furnishings (if any) I'd be able to afford for a new place.

Later in the evening Jameson and I drove out to our boss Brett's house for dinner. We arrived a little late, and were surprised to see so many circus people there. People from production, the band, wardrobe, the school...it was a big ol' get together! We had burgers and pasta and beans and other treats, enjoyed good conversation, had intense air hockey competitions, and sat around looking at old circus programs that my boss has collected. We had fun looking for our friends in the old programs...some of these people look very different now, or perform different work on the show. For example, it was awesome to find a program with Brian French on the high wire! I've always known him as an elephant handler.

(photo courtesy Chaz C.)

A big topic of conversation was of course "Have you found anything?" or "What are your plans for afterward?". Many people still aren't sure what they'll be doing once the show closes, while some have found jobs or are using the travel time between cities to hunt for work.

As it got late, Theresa (Brett's wife and a former Ringling dancer) handed out her famous chocolate pumpkin loaves as we said our farewells. I gave her an especially tight hug, knowing that we may not see each other again for a long time. It occurred to many of us that this might be the last time all of us would gather like this. With Jameson leaving, the band will be very different from now on. Others will certainly be leaving early as well. Everything is changing and will continue to change, up to the very end when this community, and this lifestyle, will fall apart and be no more. Not to be melancholy, it's just the truth.

Jameson and I talked about it on the drive back, about all the things we love about the circus community. I will miss being able to look around in any city and see at least one circus person among the crowd. I will miss the complete disregard for language barriers, and the deep trust that exists between people who have never exchanged a word. I remember being startled and amused the first time a non-English-speaker whom I'd never met thrust a phone at me in the train yard, with a frustrated Uber driver on the other end. Or the times I've been out sightseeing in a city, and a Chinese or Mongolian or Russian person grabbed me and thrust a map into my hands, knowing that as a member of this circus family, I would help them no matter what. And all the times I've needed help myself, and found it offered without reservation and often without even having to ask, simply because I'm a part of this amazing community. I will miss the cheerful greetings exchanged on a one show day, or the good-humored exasperation that we'd share at the start of a six pack weekend. I will miss seeing people breathing fire or flying through the air or riding elephants in my daily life, as natural as breathing. I could go on, but better save some of this sentimentality for May. The bottom line is, there is more being lost here than a job. I will miss these people and this life.

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taz_39: (footprint)

Jameson and I spent the night in Duluth, so that he could rest up and fight off the flu. The train would take a long time to reach Cincinnati, so we were in no hurry.

On Monday morning we enjoyed a nice breakfast, then went to a shipping store so I could mail off my spare trombone slide to a buyer in New York. I hope he'll enjoy it! After that we hit the road, reaching our second hotel in Knoxville TN around dinnertime. We decided to eat at a nearby Outback Steakhouse, and although the food tasted good both of us felt bad after eating, so we spent the rest of the night lying flat on our backs in the hotel room.

On Tuesday we began driving to Cincinnati, and got there in time for dinner again. We found a good pizza place for some oven-fired margherita. After our meal we saw that the train was still not in the yard (we are always late to arrive in Cinci due to the high volume of rail traffic). We decided to see a movie and if the train wasn't spotted or close to it by the time we got out (10pm) we'd get another hotel. We chose M. Night Shyamalan's "Split". It was really creepy, and at the end there was, of course, a twist! We really enjoyed the movie. By the time it was over the train still wasn't in the yard, so we decided to cave and get a hotel. It turned out to be the right choice as the train ended up officially spotting sometime after midnight.

On Wednesday there was another round of severance negotiations in the morning, so Jameson took us back to the train and waited while I sat in on that phone conference. We are making progress, and I'm excited for the day when we'll be finished negotiating. After the meeting we went to get some groceries. As we returned to the train and began unpacking, I was surprised by a visit from Brian Miser, a former Human Cannon with Ringling and a current Human Cannon in his own right. Mr. Miser is thinking of purchasing one of the Ringling train cars for a project he's putting together. Cool! I invited him into my room to look around and take some measurements. He also took a look at Jameson's room, since it's a different size and shape. While I'm sad that the train is being sold off, it does make me happy that a circus person is considering purchasing this piece of circus history...I'd like it if this car, which I consider to be "my home", ends up in good hands rather than a scrap yard. I was too shy to take a photo while Brian was in my room, but snapped a quick pic as he went outside to inspect the undercarriage and such.

The weather was sunny and windy, and since we're here for two weeks I decided to take my flytraps outside and keep them there until the weather turns. I'll be pretty ticked if anyone runs them over.

They have begun growing again since I took them out of the fridge, so maybe they'll be all right!

Later in the day Jameson finally got his offer of employment letter from LA Film School. It's official, he's leaving us. I'm very happy for him, but of course it's hard not to be sad, too. Neither of us wanted to leave this job yet. Neither of us wanted to have to think about living and working apart. But what we want never does have much to do with the big picture, does it?

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taz_39: (footprint)

Monday was Jameson's birthday!!
Unfortunately we found ourselves in Youngstown!!

But still, we were able to have some fun! We found a very nice restaurant close to our hotel. Jameson enjoyed a savory steak topped with his favorite, blue cheese (eew!). While we were eating, music from our preshow began playing in the background. I was dismayed...Jameson danced!

After our meal we went bowling. I am horrible at bowling but enjoy it all the same. We played five frames. Jameson beat me every time!

There was an arcade in the alley as well, we played a few games and won enough tickets for some disguises. It was a fun night!

(photo courtesy Jameson)

Read more... )
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We drove to Chattanooga and spent the night. The next day we went to Bluewater Grille for lunch (we remembered it from two years ago). After a delicious meal we visited the candy store across the street, just because we could. This particular store specializes in weird sodas. Flavors ranged from the normal root/ginger/butter beer and fruit flavors to the bizarre and sometimes downright gross. Ranch dressing? Gravy? Sweet corn? Eew!

Jameson was brave and got the PB&J soda. He has yet to try it. I got an almond-flavored one and will check it out sometime this week.

Then we drove to Nashville. After checking into the hotel we decided to do some looking around. First stop, Gruhn Guitars to check out some amazing and rare instruments! I don't know much about guitars, but this was a very impressive collection. Jameson really enjoyed looking at them and playing a few.

After poking around in a nearby antique mall, we decided to get dinner at the highly recommended Hattie B's. I was skeptical that fried chicken could be anything but plain ol' chicken...but this was something special! You choose your chicken portion and the heat level you want. Neither of us were brave enough for "Shut the cluck up" spice, but we both enjoyed the "medium" heat. The chicken was SO good, juicy and tender. The sides were delicious as well, especially the black eyed pea salad. Don't leave Nashville without stopping in for a bite!

We were both pretty tired, so decided to just enjoy the hotel that night. Just as we were falling asleep we got a call from Rebecca (wardrobe) who lives on our car. Apparently the train came to an emergency stop, causing a lot of things to go flying around in everyone's rooms. Soon after, smoke started coming from Jameson's room. It turns out a bottle of (ironically) Jameson fell onto the stovetop knob, turning the burner on. A stick of deodorant fell on top of the burner and caught fire.

Fortunately we've got some quick thinkers on our car. Rebecca called train crew while Chaz (drummer) got into the fuse box and turned the power off to Jameson's room. Rebecca was kind enough to take some photos of the area around the stovetop. It's fortunate that none of the other flammable items lying around caught fire.

(photo courtesy Rebecca)

Jameson was very relieved, and thankful to everyone who helped to take care of the situation while we were traveling overland. Thank you Rebecca and Chaz, and everyone on train crew, for looking out for us. One emergency is hard enough to deal with, much less a second unexpected one. Thank you.

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Toledo is only about two hours from Cleveland, so we stayed at the same La Quinta we'd been in upon arrival in Ohio. The next day after another fabulous lunch at The Rail, we decided to pay a visit to the A Christmas Story house!

(all photos of the house are courtesy Jameson)

Jameson is a big fan of the movie. I think I've seen it maybe once! But I still enjoyed seeing this amazing house, which has been restored and refitted to look EXACTLY like the movie set!

During the tour we were encouraged to try on the infamous pink bunny suit, and to hide under the sink. Jameson also recreated a bathroom scene and posed with the infamous Red Ryder BB gun (if you've seen the movie you'll know what I'm talking about, if not...go see the movie :P).

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Jameson and I drove to Cleveland on Monday. It was six hours from our hotel, so not a bad drive. It's strange (and nice) to be back in the eastern US...there are green plants, real trees, and rolling mountains. I don't think I realized how completely dry California is until I had something to compare it to!

Anyway, when we got to our next hotel we were pleasantly surprised to find that it was right next to a large mall! We decided to go see Crimson Peak. It was a good movie, but we were both disappointed at the lack of actual scary scenes. Still, a fun time :)

The next day we got up late and enjoyed lunch at The Rail, a burger place attached to the mall. They've got really good locally-raised beef, locally-made ice cream, and locally-brewed beer. I treated myself to a root beer float along with my "bootlegger" burger. Yum!

After that we did a little shopping (both of us needed shoes), then got groceries, then found the train, hopped on, and unpacked.

Opening day was good, good rehearsal followed by a good show.
Thursday was similar, with only one night show. During the day I did chores: laundry, cooking, cleaning, taking care of internet business. After the show, it was time for the annual Halloween tradition...Haunted Clown Car!!!

Read more... )
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I'd like to apologize--again--to anyone who's tried to read past entries in this blog. By the time I got working internet, the photos had once again been moved by facebook. I'm happy to announce that I spent the entire first day of the train run repairing all posts from 2012. Just the photos, not links or anything else. I'll go back for that once all the photos are back. Thanks for reading!

So yeah, the internet was working wonderfully. I spent all of Monday online fixing the blog. I didn't go outside for photos but I'm not above hijacking other peoples' great shots!

(photo courtesy David Shipman)

(photo courtesy Lindsey)

On Tuesday I did spend time outside, and happened to be out while we were crossing a series of bridges along the border of WV/KY/OH.

This bridge was very high up. People looked tiny.

Here we are going around a yard somewhere in WV.

Grass growing up between the ties makes this look like a green path of sorts :)

Near the end of our trip we passed a junkyard using buses as a fence:

Read more... )
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The run was only a day long. We arrived only a few hours late.
By the time we were spotted I was dressed and ready to go DO stuff!

I took a bus to the arena (the train is parked in Springfield so it's a 30 minute ride this week) and from there walked to a large shopping plaza across the highway. A few other circus friends were going there too; there's an overpass, but no pedestrian walkway. Sometimes, we've got to make our own way.

Read more... )
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Blue Unit update:
(note: all links used were previously posted on Nicole Feld's twitter,
or obtained from other company sources.)

Here are Nicole Feld's thoughts after visiting with the injured performers. (VIDEO: CLICK HERE)
A statement by the father of one of the performers, an acrobat himself. (ARTICLE: CLICK HERE)
A statement from one of the acrobats who was injured. (VIDEO: CLICK HERE)
Jonathan Lee Iverson (Blue Unit ringmaster)'s account of the incident. (ARTICLE: CLICK HERE)

A letter of thanks from the Felds to the people of Providence, RI. (ARTICLE: CLICK HERE)


The Red Unit had a nice train run to Columbus. We got started a bit late, but at least it wasn't raining!


Cool old engine:

The weather on the second day was great, so I spent a lot of time on the vestibule. We arrived more or less on time. Jameson recognized the yard right away; it took me a little while :P As soon as the train was spotted we hopped off and grabbed some groceries at a Giant Eagle we both remembered.

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taz_39: (woody2)

My boss Brett borrowed my car to get to his family in Cincinnati, so I rode with Jameson on this overland.

We first stopped at a hotel in beautiful Asheville. After a relaxing evening we continues to a Hawthorn Suites equidistant between Brett's house and the arena. It was a surprisingly nice hotel, very new. We may have been the first people to stay in that room!

That night we had dinner at PF Chang's. Their chicken lettuce wraps are awesome. I also enjoyed a "flight of sake", my favorite of which was the pear flavored. It was light and clean :)

(photo courtesy Jameson)

I also have to say, after spending so much time together, Jameson and I are still very much enjoying each other's company. It's easy to have fun when you're with an awesome person!

The next day we went to BJ's for lunch, then to Brett's house to get my car :) Brett took great care of my Corolla...even washed it for me! I went straight to get the oil changed and new wiper blades, and while it was in the shop I hit a nearby Plato's Closet. Didn't find anything this time, but that's thrifting for ya! After the car was done I checked on the train's progress. Mathew on train crew was kind enough to fill me in: the train would not be arriving until late. Like, midnight. Soooo...we booked another hotel. Better than waiting in a train yard all night.

The next morning we discovered that the train was still not spotted. I got groceries and went to the address where the train would supposedly be, and waited. And waited.

(photo courtesy Jameson)

Two hours later, still no train. Jameson went to a movie, and I decided to stay. I took a nap in the car, read a book, got a cup of coffee and came back. During this process a cop came by to glare at me. He circled around my car to glare at me again but saw my Ringling parking pass the second time and left me alone after that. Finally after four hours of waiting, it was 4:15 and I couldn't wait any longer....we had a show to do!!!

The situation was similar to what happened in 2012, before I joined the circus. The Fully Charged show arrived late and crews rushed to set the rigging while Dustin, the boss clown, grabbed a megaphone and performed the preshow on the concourse. What a nightmare! Even though once again the train didn't arrive on time for Built to Amaze, we HAD to get moving on setting up the show. The bus took people from the train's temporary location to the arena so that we could at least try to open on time. With only 6 hours to work with (load in usually takes 12), showside crews were hauling a$$ to make it happen.

These photos were taken about 4 hours before the doors were opened to the public. Talk about cutting it close.

(photo courtesy Chris S.)

(photo courtesy Chris K.)

Ryan M. climbing into the rigging.
(photo courtesy Ryan M.)

Two hours before the doors open, and the portal, sound and bandstand aren't set up just yet.
(photo courtesy Ryan S.)

By the time preshow started, setup was almost done. Almost. For safety reasons, guests once again weren't allowed on the arena floor. Ashley (preshow host) had to improvise a preshow from the seats (sound was up, so she didn't need a megaphone). She did a fantastic job, getting everyone to cheer and dance along with her. We were able to open the show on time, thanks to floor/lighting/sound/everyone's hard work.
Great job, Red Unit!!!

After that show we returned to find the train spotted and featuring heat, electricity, and running water. Aaaaaah.

Read more... )
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We arrived in Cleveland a little late,
but early enough for Jameson and I to walk to the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame!

(photo courtesy Jameson)

I don't have a particular obsession with rock, but Jameson does and it was fun to go through the exhibits with him giving me little factoids here and there :)

Some items belonging to John Lennon...glasses, DL, Passport, etc.

This David Bowie costume looks heavy! It was used during his Glass Spider tour.

Jimi Hendrix sketched this, the message is clear. Obey Railroad Signals y'all.

We opened on Wednesday, everything went well. It was nice to get up on Thursday knowing there was nowhere in particular to be until nighttime! I spent that day catching up on laundry and grocery shopping. Thrilling stuff, I know, but it needs to be done. The weather was pretty insane--sleet, snow, hail, freezing rain, windy, and thunder/lightning--so even the short 1.5 mile walk to the grocery left me chilled to the bone. Still, it's great to be back east!

The Haunted Clown Car was on Thursday night! Every year the clowns decorate their train car, turning it into a haunted house! This year's haunting featured 3D glasses and blacklights, WOW!!

(photo courtesy Chris)
Read more... )
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A quick little post, because internet is limited.
Youngstown is boring.

We didn't have shows until Friday. During the down time I looked around, like I do.
Our yard this week:

Photos from downtown:

Youngstown is one of those industrial cities that was devastated by the recession. The downtown is virtually empty. There are shop fronts with the names of businesses displayed above the doors or in the windows, but most are closed.

There's not even anywhere to eat near the arena. We either had to pack food or eat at Pie Car Jr. (I did both).

So yeah, Youngstown is boring.
Its nothing like Brooklyn, that's for sure.
But you know what? The people were great.

Audiences sang the Star Spangled Banner along with the Ringmaster,
applauded after each act, and cheered loudly at the end of every show.
The arena here was a fraction of the size of the one in Brooklyn,
but it seemed bigger, because these people filled it with enthusiasm and true enjoyment.

I've got to say, after all the PR and media and sponsorship we went through last week,
it was nice to just play for people.

That's just my impression from the short time we had here.
Thanks for the warm welcome, Youngstown.
I hope things get better for you!!

Nothing of high interest happened this week.
I did my taxes :P
My parents sent an Easter care package full of candy and other treats,
including this nifty hex sign!

Around the middle of the week I was in the Pie Car thinking about what to eat,
and decided on soup. Uncle John hadn't made any yet (it was morning) and asked
what kind I'd like. I replied, "Anything without cream!", and here's what he made!

I have some mild lactose problems, hence, no cream :)
But I needed the Lactaid anyway, because a few days later he whipped up a batch of
'Dirty Girl Scout Pudding'!

Words can't describe how delicious and alcoholic this was.
My eyes were crossing after the first two bites, lol!

Red Unit has the best chef, hands down :)

A few other photos:

Some performers enjoying the first warm, sunny day of the year between shows:

Our stuff at the arena:

And a fun fact:
Here in Youngstown, the arena did not have warm water.
So when the clowns did the soap gag, the liquid soap they had to dive into
and dump on each other was ICE COLD. Clowns are tough and dedicated and this proves it.
Way to go, guys and gals!

We're currently enjoying a three-day train run to Norfolk, VA!
Hoping to see lots of friends there!
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**Warning - Long post!**

Boy are my feet sore!

I walked ten miles today...can you believe it?!

We have internet on the train (for once), so last night I was able to sit down and do a Google exploration of the city. Since there were so many stores that I was interested in visiting, and since they required a great deal of walking to reach, I decided to take a solo adventure!

Onward! )
taz_39: (Default)

Weelll, I was hoping not to ever have to play it, but we did last night.

Read more... )

Dayton, OH

Apr. 27th, 2012 07:34 pm
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Yesterday I went for a reeeeally long walk, found a Kroger and some fast food restaurants, but nothing to write home about. Our train yard this time has no internet and virtually no phone reception either. When I can get my hands on some wifi again, the first thing I’m going to do is google our next three stops so I don’t get stuck without a clue in Nowheresville again :P

It’s not all that bad actually…exploring is fun! But I’d like to know in which direction I should head to avoid any rough neighborhoods or long stretches of boring road. And if there are any unique sights to see, I want to see them!

Downtown Springfield turned out to be pretty lame...found a Buffalo Wild Wings and that's about it! But at least I got a good walk in :)

Today I went to Dayton early because there's a mall and used bookstore nearby. I picked up a copy of The Fountainhead and the His Dark Materials series. They didn't have Battle Royale, which I want to read after finishing Hunger Games. Also got a backpack (feeling stupid for leaving mine at home) and some summer shirts from Plato's Closet. Yay shopping!

Now I'm going to relax a bit before our evening show :)


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