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On Monday, after a good breakfast, we went to the Ft. Worth Zoo!!

This zoo is so awesome! The enclosures are as close to a natural habitat as possible. You can walk the entire zoo in a few hours, so that's exactly what we did. Because it's the start of the school year, there were very few visitors. It felt like we had the whole zoo to ourselves!

Partway through our visit, our friend and former Ringling vet tech Jessi came and found us...and she brought some friends! Jessi works in the outreach portion of the zoo. She handles certain animals for educational programs (school groups, camps, etc) giving people a chance to learn more about these amazing creatures in person. Today we got to meet Allie the American alligator! Isn't she beautiful? When she arrived at the zoo, she was only as big as her head is now! She'll continue to grow up to eight feet long! Wow!

Jessi's coworker was also there with a penguin named Oscar. So cute! We found out that Oscar was hatched at the zoo, and that she's a she!! It is very difficult to tell male and female penguins apart, and she was named before it was discovered that she was female. But the name stuck. She was very cute! It was awesome to see Jessi and meet her two-and four-legged coworkers!

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It only takes an hour to drive to Ft Worth, but of course it takes the train much longer! The train was in three cuts and had to be reassembled, plus we probably had to avoid commuter rails. Jameson and I stayed in Dallas overnight. In the morning we went to Seasons 52 for lunch. We both got salmon; he treated himself to a wild salmon filet with snap peas and some delicious-looking corn side/thing, while I had sesame salmon salad. Seasons 52 is basically guaranteed to be good!

After our meal we went to a large Half Price Books to kill time. Jameson found some music books, and I found a 1919 National Geographic! I've got this weird obsession with old magazines...I find it fascinating that things I take for granted, like toothpaste and wall paint, were new and exciting back in the day. This old magazine also had an article on Korea (as in Whole Unified Korea) that included a map...an incredibly empty map that claimed to be  incredibly detailed, haha. In the article, the caucasian writer describes the locals' fascination with his blue eyes to the point where they question his ability to see (he proves that he has good vision by shooting a dog from several yards away, which the locals promptly cook for dinner). Later on the writer is invited on a random tiger hunt that ensues when some farmers spot two tigers on a mountain from a distance. Amazing how much has changed in the last century.

Then it was back to the mall to see Sausage Party! Um...gosh, there's no good way to describe this movie. If you can tolerate dirty humor, I mean REALLY dirty, and a lot of drug references, then you'll like it! There were definitely a lot of funny parts, but I found myself blushing more often than not. Scandalous!

After the movie it was finally time for the snack we'd been looking forward to all week...Howdy Homemade ice cream!! This is a unique store in Dallas that serves ice cream made right there in the shop. Howdy Homemade employs adults with special needs, and they run the whole operation from churning each flavor to serving guests and running the register. Andy was at the counter that day, and along with a barrage of amazing ice cream samples (that I could have just stood there eating all day haha) he made us laugh with some one-liners. I hope he's a comedian on the side because his jokes and the speed at which he dealt them out was amazing! :D

There were SO many fantastic flavors to choose from! "Classic" flavors like strawberry and chocolate, more unique flavors like mango and cookie monster, and some downright bizarre flavors like hot tomale and avocado! Andy let us try many different kinds. The avocado was strange, but surprisingly good! The cheesecake was AMAZING. If I ever get to come here again I'll be getting that flavor! This time we settled on Howdy Homemade's most popular creation: chocolate chip Dr. Pepper ice cream. It was fantastic!!!

If I weren't lactose intolerant I'd have eaten a gallon. Jameson got his in a Dr. Pepper float (because if you're gonna do it, do it all the way) and I got a second scoop of carrot cake ice cream, which tasted exactly like carrot cake complete with chunks of carrot, and reminded me of autumn. Maybe the best part about this whole experience was eating our treats with golden spoons :) Thank you Howdy Homemade...we'll be back!!!

After our treat we fought rush hour traffic to reach Ft Worth. Since the train wasn't quite spotted we decided to put in our time at the gym, and wouldn't you know it, right when we finished the train was ready for us! We grabbed some groceries and went home.
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Monday ended up a little busier than expected. I got up early to take my two trombones to Eric Edwards for repairs. His shop is a ways outside Dallas, but he's a top-notch repair tech so it was worth the drive! His workshop is in his garage. I love seeing all the awesome tools that brass techs use to fix instruments!

Brett's (my boss's) trombone needed a good cleaning and some cosmetic work. Trombones are supposed to be soaked in a bathtub and then cleaned, but as you can imagine I don't have access to many bathtubs :P It's been four years since this trombone had a good wash...I probably waited too long. My trombone just had a leaky tuning slide, which is a pretty straightforward fix.

While Mr. Edwards was working on the repairs, I got a lot done. I mailed FedEx and USPS packages, got a protective cover for my phone, ate lunch, took Jameson's car to the wash, and went grocery shopping. By the time I got back Mr. Edwards was almost done, so I hung around in his kitchen and sent a few emails from my phone. Here he is test-playing Brett's horn.

Soon enough the repairs were complete! I was amazed at how great Brett's trombone looked, clean and with many dents and dings removed. The slide had been regulated as well, and the leadpipe had been fitted with a new grip, making it easier to remove (so maybe I won't damage it again!). My trombone was already in pretty good shape, but now it's in excellent shape! I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts! Thank you Eric for fixing up these two awesome horns!

I got back to the train around dinnertime and returned the car to Jameson.
On Tuesday we got up early to go to the gym, and brought Lindsey (clown) along! She recently got a Planet Fitness membership. I guess it's currently pretty popular with circus folks! After our workout it was back to the train for laundry and cooking.

I'm going to skim through the rest of this week, because it was a series of one-show days and not much happened. It was over 100F every day, so I didn't feel like going out. I did a lot of indoor stuff, chores, movies...boring things. The shows went well and were surprisingly well attended for weekdays.

During the week there was a shoe drive PR event, an attempt at hitting a world shoe collection record while taking donations for a good cause. Unfortunately we fell short of the world record, but still managed to gather the most single-day donations in the history of the charity. Congratulations and thank you to everyone who participated!

It was also time for the clowns to make their annual contract renewal decisions: who will stay, who will go, and who will transfer to the Blue Unit. As it turns out, more than half Clown Alley will be leaving us after this year :( Everyone in our Alley is fantastic, I'm going to be very sad to see them go.

Saturday and Sunday were both three show days, with Sunday's shows beginning at 10:30am for some reason. Honestly we all just plowed through this six pack weekend. I got nothin'!

I'm really, REALLY looking forward to Ft. Worth and a little break next week.

Other stuff:

Here are the Blue Unit band's new outfits! They look like space captains! I'm jealous!!!

(photo courtesy Melissa Y.)

Pretty train photo from Nikki R.
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The overland to Dallas was pretty uneventful. After arriving a day before the train, we put in our hour at the gym. Then to reward ourselves for our efforts, we went to Blues Burgers!

It's a small restaurant in a shopping plaza, offering burgers and sandwiches along with local sodas (the website says Oak Cliff but the brand we saw in the restaurant was Dublin). We enjoyed cherry and orange sodas with a queso appetizer, then our amazing food arrived...Jameson got the True Blue (angus beef, blue cheese, house slaw, caramelized onions on locally-baked bun), and I had the Yardbird (fried chicken breast, pepperjack, mango chutney, caramelized onions, lettuce & tomato, garlic aioli on a grilled ciabatta bun). So dang good!!

The food was super fresh and delicious. I'd highly recommend Blues Burgers to anyone visiting Dallas!

After our awesome meal we went to the hotel expecting to chill out. Our plans were thwarted when some of the equipment in the mechanical room (which was right next to our room) began making an insanely loud banging noise. There was no way we were gonna get any sleep, so we asked for a different room, but there were none. So we ended up packing up around midnight and moving to a different hotel down the street (don't worry, we were refunded).

After a good night's sleep we woke up, had a nice breakfast at a nearby diner, and found the train. This yard is under an overpass and next to a small, rundown neighborhood. The yard is extremely active, with trains going by at almost all hours and honking their horns loudly as they cross the street under the overpass. I'm grateful for my earplugs!

Opening day was good, good crowds, good show. I like this arena :)

(photo courtesy Lindsey A.M.M.)

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Monday was a day of rest. For dinner Jameson and I got dolled up and went out for sushi at Azuma in downtown Houston! We first decided to start dating over a sushi lunch three years ago, so figured this was an appropriate way to celebrate! We both managed to order the same rolls...you know, the lovebird connection and all :P Here we have the "Peppercorn Kings" (peppered salmon and tuna, cucumber, Old Bay) and the "Sunshine" (salmon, avocado, asparagus, mango, and marbled kombu paper):

After our meal we went to see Lights Out. Jameson is a big fan of scary movies! I'm ambivalent toward them :P This one was enjoyable, several cool moments, but not enough to give me nightmares! We had a lot of fun and enjoyed each other's company, and that's what it's all about :)

On Tuesday we went to the gym, then relaxed back at the train. Partway through the day train crew made an announcement that the water would be shut off momentarily. I thought nothing of it until about an hour later, when I saw Josh (trainmaster) and Nikki's (train crew) photos. Our water had been knocked loose by a large tree branch floating down the rain-swollen stream next to our train. Train crew dove right in!!

(photo courtesy Nikki R.)

(photo courtesy Josh R.)

(photos courtesy Nikki R.)

Soon enough the water was restored. Thank you train crew!!

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It was nice to have some days off without travel involved! Strangely homey :D

On Monday Jameson and I went to check out a Planet Fitness in Houston. Jameson has a medical condition that makes high-impact exercise difficult. Although he has tried to exercise on his own, our lifestyle of constant travel and living in small rooms has been something of a road block. The most obvious thing to do was to find a chain gym with locations in every city we'll visit, and open a membership. Planet Fitness fit the bill.

(photo courtesy PF Spring Branch)

We were given a tour of the facilities by a young lady with blue and purple hair (she had the most complex name so I'm not even going to try). As we walked around the gym and listened to her explaining the equipment, gym policies, etc., I was struck by the variety of people exercising. I saw men, women, teenagers, seniors, some who were full-figured and some who were athletic-looking. I've never in my life had a gym membership, mainly because the few times I've been to a gym (in college and while living in VA) there have been jerks in there hogging equipment or judging others or screwing around. Exercising in public is already anxiety-inducing enough without such people making it worse. But here, there seemed to be none of that. Just regular folks squeezing some exercise in between work and feeding the kids.

So we decided to sign up. Jameson made the account, and I'm his "guest", meaning that I've got to go with Jameson to have access to the gym. That's fine as he's got the car :P I can get my own membership later if I like...and in the meantime, we'll be saving some money and splitting the cost of one membership. Sweet!

Now that we had our membership it was time to make sure we had the proper equipment! We hit a nearby mall for some things...a gym bag, shoes and socks for Jameson, and sweatpants and sports bras for me. There was a Target attached to the mall so we got some groceries too. While walking around we couldn't help but notice how many, MANY people were there to play Pokemon GO. I couldn't help but smile when I saw a dad and his daughters playing, or a group of teens standing in a huddle and enjoying some gameplay. Texas was where I first started playing Ingress, a similar augmented reality game made by the same developers that is pretty much the predecessor to Pokemon GO. So I'm looking at these GO players and feeling those feels :D

Anyway, we got back to the train and spent the rest of the evening relaxing. At some point the band guys got together for some Topgolf. What a lovely day to play!

(photo courtesy Jameson B.)

The next day we decided to try out the gym!
I put on my new workout clothes (including a complementary PF shirt) and spent about 15 minutes stretching, then did two 20-minutes sessions on the treadmill. Once I got started, it actually wasn't that bad.

I am fortunate. I do not have significant weight to lose, or health problems to combat. So I will be exercising to gain flexibility and stamina, "because it's good for me", and to make progress with my sweetheart, whose health is paramount to me. Thank you for the motivation my love! Let's do our best!

(yeah, I know I look dubious. I'm sure eventually that will be a smile :))

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Before leaving Louisiana Jameson and I got to eat lunch at a Blue Dog Cafe! We both had shrimp, his was fried and mine was grilled. Absolutely delicious. We are both wondering what that white sauce was for the shrimp. It tasted like nothing else I've ever had and was very good!

The train was supposed to arrive around 3am so we got another hotel in Houston. After a nice dinner we went to see Secret Life of Pets. It's a very cute movie! Definitely for a younger crowd, but there are some moments in there for the adults too. And the evil villain is a cute bunny rabbit whose viewpoint parallels that of another real-life evil bunny :P Funny stuff!

The next day we got groceries and got to the train. Jameson is still reeling from the bad news he got last week and was looking forward to having some alone time, however his car needs servicing and the best times to take care of that are on these days off. While he was taking care of that, I got to relax at the train for the rest of the day.

Strangely we both had trouble remembering this train yard until we were in it...but once we were here, we both remembered the weird entrance and the bumpy road, under an overpass and across from a church :)

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We had a looooong drive from Phoenix to San Antonio!

There were several mishaps along the way. Poor Applesauce (head of lighting) ended up with a cracked windshield :(

(photo courtesy Applesauce)

Mr. Štipka (camel trainer) had some trailer trouble, and although he was able to get assistance quickly, he was delayed. Kudos to him and all of animal crew for putting the animals' needs first and getting them safely to Texas!!

Even the train had problems: a collision with an 18-wheeler who thought he'd crossed the tracks but his back end was hanging over the rails. He was very, very lucky. This could have been much, much worse. Since the train had to make an emergency stop for several hours while the authorities arrived, Lindsey (clown) had time to get this photo of the back of the truck. Safety first y'all. Stop, Look, and Listen. Trains cannot stop for you.

(photo courtesy Lindsey)

Jameson and I were fortunate to have a problem-free overland. We actually arrived in San Antonio around the same time as the train. We knew this thanks to a neat app on the iPhone called Find My Friends. We've been using it to follow Rebecca (wardrobe) who often rides the train.

Of course it takes much longer for the train to be parked than our car ;) So we got a hotel for the evening and went to the train the next day.

The yard here is not very hospitable...there's a gas station near one entrance, but you have to cross a lot of live track to get to it. The arena is similarly solitary. When I first joined the circus, they were playing at the Alamodome which is right downtown, but since then we've switched to the AT&T arena a bit on the outskirts.

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Before getting started this week, a note:

I've added tags "CLOWNS", "ELEPHANTS" and "TIGERS" to the tags list.
These tags are for any posts that contain photos of one or more of those three things :)

Also, please note that for many of my posts I "borrow" photos from friends, colleagues, and the company.
If those folks decide to delete or move those photos, I may not be able to re-include them in this blog.
So Enjoy them while they last :)

*end of note*

The train run was so short it's hardly worth mentioning, other than to say that for once we arrived on time!!!

On Tuesday I took a stroll downtown to run some errands. Not downtown proper, but closer to the University. There are lots of cool little shops nearby. Austin has a rep for great food and interesting street art.

The train yard is near a strange little side street. It took me a bit to remember what was around, but soon I recalled a really great Goodwill a few blocks away and took a walk over.
On the way there was this truck with a pig...randomly sitting on top....okkkkk.....?

I found two nice shirts at the Goodwill. This was not one of them. Keep Austin Weird, indeed.

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The run was short, but I did get a nice pic of the Margaret Hunt Bridge leaving Dallas.

We rolled into the yard on Monday night.
Tuesday was load in, meaning it was a free day for me.
I took my bike out for a little bit. The roads are wide and traffic is light near the yard, and there's a little residential area, so I pedaled around there for a while until I got tired. This yard stands out in my memory because we're parked next to a large grain elevator.

This was the yard where I first started buying air filters because the pigeons were pooping/dropping feathers into our ventilation. And this was where I bought my Brita water filter, because of the open vat of raw sewage right next to our hydrant and because the tap water came out orange the first time I turned it on.

Aaah, the memories!
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Monday was a bust for me.

I got up early, excited because the circus bus was supposedly going to Northpark Mall. It's a big mall with a movie theater and three levels of shops, and a Whole Foods next door (you KNOW this is what I was REALLY excited about). I got dressed and packed a lunch and hopped on the bus. Twenty minutes later we pulled up to a small mall on the east side of town. Apparently it had been decided that Northpark was too far away.
Gosh, that would have been nice to know.

I got back to the train by noon and ate lunch, then got back on the bus for a Wal-Mart run. It was very crowded, with people standing in the aisles. All of us were wondering how on earth we were going to fit ourselves AND our groceries on the bus for the return trip. Fortunately Daniel (bus driver) sent for a second bus, as there definitely wouldn't have been enough room for all of us on just one bus.

That was Monday. Tuesday we only had one show at night, so it was almost like another day off. It was very hot out and I had nowhere to be, so used the time to relax and catch up on chores. The evening show went well. We found out that our new show is to be called "Circus Extreme". Oh excuse me, that's XTREME.

On Wednesday auditions for new clowns were held. Not sure when we'll hear results of that, but I hope everyone did their best and had a great time! For me it was another day of not much, enjoying a late morning and messing around, practicing the big trombone at the arena and playing Ingress with Jameson.

On Thursday I got up early to take myself to the Northpark Mall since I'd missed the trip on Monday.
I was surprised to see a large group waiting for the 9am bus...apparently there was CPR training at the building that morning!

(photo courtesy Claudia)

But first we had to get to the building. The bus was 1/2 hour late.
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Somewhere along the route between Houston and Dallas, car 38 must have picked up a poltergeist.
We woke up on Monday to find only a trickle of water coming out of the pipes. By the end of the day it was gone. The next day we had no water until after 1pm, at which point Eric (porter) was able to take a look at our pump. Thanks Eric :)

As soon as water was restored, our hallway power outage alarm started beeping for absolutely no reason. Annoying as anything, but not half as bad as going without water for two days!
Although I'm kinda glad we didn't end up in a hotel, it's also times like this that make me realize the reason I'll leave the road in the future won't be because of the job itself.


We are in a different yard here in Dallas. We are right next to some kind of gravel-shoveling operation, so there's a lot of whiteish dust flying around. It looks like a typical yard, nothing exciting :P We are nowhere near the light rail or anything of interest. Fortunately the arena is right downtown, so we'll all be getting our kicks there.

On opening night the wheel act was out due to a broken part, so we played Emergency music while the clowns did a Walkaround. I hate playing emergency music because it brings up scary thoughts, but a planned emergency is way better than a real one! That night Jameson had to stay late to help the clowns rehearse their gags for next year. On Thursday they'll audition in front of the Felds to get their gags approved for the new show. They also find out this week whether they get to stay on for 2015. All of our clowns are wonderful people and hard workers. No matter what the outcomes, I hope they all realize how awesome they are!!

Thursday and Friday were split show days. For the morning show, KCT performed in place of the Wheel act and we altered the music accordingly. It's nice to play something different. After the show Jameson went to perform for the clowns' auditions. I had a hair appointment at Matthew Tully's. Brannon, the stylist, couldn't change my cut much as the last person to cut it had left the top layer too short. But he did clean it up very nicely. I can already tell he did a great job because he didn't wash it, blow dry it or style it, but it's laying well without all of that. Thanks Brannon!

After that, a quick trip to a grocery down the road. I could have skipped the trip but since the weather was good, thought to pick up some fresh produce before it gets hot next week. Upon returning to the arena, discovered that the last bus from the train was SUPER late. Some people didn't get to the arena until 10 minutes before showtime. And the Felds were in the audience. Yeeeeeek.

The rest of the weekend was work work work. On Friday I used the split break to return to the train, cook, and take a much-needed nap. The clowns had their auditions, and ALL of them will be staying with us!!! Awesome!!! Except for Oscar, who will be taking some time off from clowning to pursue other things.
We'll miss you Oscar!

(photo courtesy Oscar)

On top of that good news, the Felds approved ALL of the clowns' gags for the new show!!! That's incredible! Congratulations to all of our clowns. You've worked so hard...you deserve it!!!!

Saturday and Sunday were three show days, one of our last 6-packs of the year. The Wheel act was out all week, so we got to play the KCT Double Dutch music for every show. Fun! Sunday was Bennett's (Brett's son) birthday! The Barlows brought a watermelon cake to share with us. NOM!

On Sunday I walked with Jameson to the bank after the last show. We've started playing this game called Ingress, it's pretty fun! You have to walk around to various landmarks, which are 'portals', and either hack the portals for items or protect them against the opposing team. You can also link portals together. On the way to the bank we hacked about five portals and upgraded some of their defenses together. In some ways we might end up being really good at this game as we travel to so many notable locations. On the other hand, with over 150,000 people playing at this point, I feel like we're latecomers and might be a bit behind!

I'm sorry for the lack of photos this week. Everyone was just working so hard, I don't think anyone made time for random photos! Maybe next week :)
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Jameson and I are celebrating one year of dating!

Maybe that's not a big deal, but it is for me! I've never been a romantic person, but when you find someone who's personality meshes well with yours...well, it's a game-changer :) It's hard to believe it's been a year already. We've had so much fun together...I can't wait to have more adventures with him!!!

Jameson got us the best treat you can ever get a circus person: three nights in a hotel with a REAL bed and a REAL shower and tub and a BIG tv. And he picked an extended stay, so we had a full kitchen and fridge too!

Our "staycation" started off on Monday with a trip to the Houston Museum of Natural Science.
I had gone before, and was excited to bring Jameson, especially to show him the fantastic Hall of Paleontology. We took the lightrail downtown and after a quick lunch, we hit the museum!

First we checked out one of the temporary exhibits, called "Nature Unleashed". Volcanoes, hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes were some of the natural disasters covered in the display. You could 'make your own' volcano with different combinations of gas pressure and lava/ash. In the hurricane area, there were news clippings and witness accounts of Hurricane Katrina. The tornado section was smaller, but there was one really cool immersive experience...a tornado chaser dropped a 360 camera in the path of a tornado, and you could stand in the center surrounded by screens and watch as the tornado hit you and passed over. It was surprisingly intense!

Next we checked out the new permanent Egypt exhibit. In addition to artwork and writing samples, there were real mummies! (Warning: mummified remains ahead)

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I treated Monday just like a train run; that is, I didn't go anywhere or do anything of import. It was a day of laundry, cleaning, reading, and napping. And backing up my computer as I planned to reinstall the OS.

Sadly for me, when I went hunting for a copy of Windows 7 on Tuesday, it was not to be found anywhere in stores. I could either have it mailed and wait another week, or install Windows 8.1. Being impatient I went out and bought 8.1. Installation was very easy and smooth, but right after it was finished my screen went black. After 3-4 hours of trying to figure out the problem, the frustration was too much. Jameson came over to help me out. 5-6 hours later (around 2am), we had determined that it was a conflict with the graphics driver, but we were unable to fix the problem using any logical conventional means. Poor Jameson worked so hard to fix it. What a trooper! We went to sleep exhausted and frustrated.

The next day after calling both Microsoft and Intel and getting nowhere, I asked our bass player Jerome to take a look. Jerome has vast knowledge on many different subjects, and when it comes to computers and their maintenance/repair, he's the go-to guy here at the circus. He figured out that my BIOs was outdated, and once it had been updated he was able to reinstall the graphics driver, and just like that my computer was back to normal!

I am one of those holdouts who still prefers PCs over Macs. But this whole experience was ridiculous. One more episode like this and I might make the switch. To be fair, the problem was with Dell's components. But somewhere along the way, either Microsoft, Intel or Dell should have run a compatibility check and notified customers of the exact updates needed for at least the most standard equipment.

In any case, now that I've had time to actually work with Windows 8 I think it's pretty cool. Basically the Desktop has become the Start Menu, and you can install apps to it like you would on a tablet. It's actually very similar to the XBox Dashboard. The normal Windows Desktop still exists, but personally, I'm more inclined to keep everything on the new Start menu. Some of my favorite features include the Bing News app in which I was able to customize my own newspaper, and the ability to install apps just as you would on a tablet and have them display information instantly on startup. Speaking of startup, I notice an increased speed there and on overall function as well. Best of all, if you right-click on the Start menu button, you'll immediately get Task Manager and all of the other wonderful system tools that Microsoft tended to bury in previous versions.

Anyway, that's my opinion on that :P The next day (Thursday) we had a split. I brought my PC to the building to reinstall all of my things. There was no internet in the dressing room, so I set up near the elephant compound to work. While waiting for some updates, I noticed that Siam was having a blast with some toys :)
Thanks to Jimmy for permission to take pics!

Super cute~<3

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The train run from San Antonio was short. We are in a new yard this year!

As soon as we were spotted I took my bike outside. We're going to be here for three weeks, so I'm looking forward to some rides. I rode it up and down the yard just to remember how to turn and stuffs.


Evidence that the circus has been here in the past:
a bridge across the moat under the overpass so people can reach the grocery ;)


A homeless person has camped out under this pass.

On Tuesday Jameson got us a rental car! We went for lunch at a Mexican joint, then to Target and Fiesta for groceries. Fiesta is pretty awesome. They're like a normal grocery, only with larger-than-normal International Foods sections. You can buy imports from the UK, Germany, India, Mexico, Jamaica, and other awesome places! In addition to the normal foods, I got cactus fruit (also called tuna) and candy coated fennel seeds.

The biggest excitement for me this week was going to my first-ever rock concert!
Jameson and I got floor seats to see Queen + Adam Lambert on Wednesday!
(The price on the ticket isn't what I paid, as I got these through StubHub)

Our seats (yellow circle). Pretty good!

Well, before the concert, we stopped for dinner at Azuma Sushi. I got a "saketini" and the pink lady dragon roll, and Jameson got the key lime martini and a Philadelphia/Peppercorn tuna and salmon combo.

And then we went to see Queen.
Because we had floor seats, we were able to see the gear close up.


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I got some nice pictures leaving New Orleans.

Rollergirlderby took some lovely footage of our train passing back over the huge bridge.

For lunch I made a nice salmon salad (this is significant because it's the first salad I've had since before Mexico).

Crossing Texas was a little boring photo-wise, but I still enjoyed gazing out the window.
We arrived very late, meaning it was unfortunately a "load-and-go" for the crew. No one likes to feel rushed :/
We are also in a different arena this time. Two years ago we played the Alamodome right downtown, a short stroll away from the Riverwalk and the Alamo. This year it's the AT&T Arena, and the surrounding area was not promising :/ Oh well. Can't always be in a convenient spot!

So no sightseeing for me this week. But the 4th of July was on Friday, and we had a company party!
Much like last year, there was a water slide for the kids and a pool for the grown-ups (though I only saw kids getting in haha). There was an open bar with beer and wine, and in addition to the usual hot dogs and hamburgers, Uncle John made some fantastic delicious juicy ribs!! 'Merica!

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Yesterday we had our last show in Texas!!

I like TX and all, but...I'm so glad! Haha. It's been VERY hot.
You know how much I love to walk. The heat often made it difficult to be outside for more than an hour at a time.

Of all the cities in TX, Austin was the most appealing to me. Maybe it's got that 'hipster' vibe that I like...maybe it's that there's so much weird stuff that I haven't seen anywhere else...who knows!
But I'd love to come back and do a better job of seeing all there is to see...maybe when it's not so stinkin' hot out.
Or when I've got a bike :P

I'm excited to go back north, and to be on a REAL train run again!
Since we've been moving from city to city in TX, the runs have been short and jerky affairs with little change in scenery. This run to Moline, IL will take about 3 days and cover some 1100 miles. You can bet there will be pics!
Once again it's just Rebecca and I on car 39...everyone else has opted for mini-vacations.

Last night I wanted to hit 6th street one more time; there are lots of cool little bars and shops over there, and though I saw much of the west half apparently the majority of the unique stuff is on the east side. I decided to stay in in the hopes of poking around a bit this morning before the train moves. At the very least I wanted to take a walk. But now it's almost noon, and I haven't left yet, and we're asked to be on the train by 2pm :/

The reason I'm off to such a late start? I was poking around in my neighbor's room. He's accepted a teaching gig in Vermont, and yesterday was his last day with us.
His name's Jason, and... )
taz_39: (Default)

Quick note, I've edited the privacy settings here so that viewers can comment on posts if they like.

Today was our first day in Austin the capital of Texas!
Technically we got in last night, but it was pretty late and I was already in train run mode so didn't explore :P

Today however, I got up nice and early, ate breakfast and got right down to it!


This is more or less the route I took.."A" is our venue.
LOTS of pictures! )
taz_39: (Default)

Hello again from Fort Worth!

Today is our last day in this city...we have one 3pm show, then we'll hit the road around 4am I think. It's so nice to have only one show in the middle of the day. I can wake up late, enjoy a good breakfast (and write in this blog, yay!) and make sure I've got all I need for a fabulous train run :)

This is the first city where I really feel like I missed out on 'experiencing the city'. There seemed to be lots of interesting buildings and shops in the Stockyards area, but the walk would have been over 3 miles and the weather + show schedules were uncooperative on the days I'd planned to visit.

Yes, I could have gotten a cab, but chose not to. Next year...I am bringing a bike!!!

On our day off, I did take a walk around the venue to see Sundance Square and the recently-built Bass Performance Hall.

Read more... )
taz_39: (Default)

We're traveling from Dallas to Ft. Worth today. It's a very short run so we should get there by noon I'd imagine (it's 11:30am CT now).

Our second week in Dallas had a much lighter schedule than the first...four days of only one show per day. It was still boiling hot out, but I did manage to see much of the city thanks to the cheap and air-conditioned light rail :D

Explorations & Photos! )


taz_39: (Default)

March 2017



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