Thursday, January 31, 2013

Getting Ready

2013 is shaping up to be a great year.  I grant you January has been bleak, but the rest of the year is really taking shape. 
We will be back at Beech Bend Amusement Park but instead of July we will be there from June 3-16. We then  head to Clarskville, TN for a week followed by two weeks in Northern Ohio. Then we head to the corn field of Iowa with the rest of July at three fairs there.  From there we head back eastward to West Virginia.  We are in talks with several other fairs and I will have a full schedule soon. We will also be back at the Mohave fair in September.  

This week is the last major mailing and email campaign for the 2013 bookings. Believe it or not we start the 2014 booking marketing in late April.  We already have a gig in British Columbia and Minnesota booked for 2014. 

Anti-Monkey Butt Powder will sponsor us for another season. We really enjoy promoting them. This year we will get to attend a few opening of stores that sell the very useful anti-itch powder. see them at or on Facebook. 

We have set the BMT (Big Metal Thing) a.k.a. the trapeze rig set up in our back 40. The kids have begun designing their new routine for 2013. You've already seen the pictures of the kids working out new stuff for their acts in prior posts.  All I can say is they are pretty impressive. The dogs have even started a new routine practice.  Three poodles this year.

The gas prices seem awfully scary this year. Even more so than last year because the prices were what they are now at the beginning of summer last year. Which means there is a good chance this summer will start with even higher prices. Fuel cost has been our biggest enemy these past 4 years. I still remember paying 99cents/gallon in Toledo just six years ago. Oh well. 

This weekend JC, Bill, and I will be heading down to Hollywood to network and press the flesh down at the Magic Castle. Each year we seem to meet people who have been helpful or instructive or have hired us. So I wonder what this year holds for us.   I met Tippy Hedron (The Birds) and Tony Curtis a couple of years back.  I even got to perform for Tippy. We met some other stars as well like the man who played Wyatt Earp in the early TV series and a famous male porn star who is currently in critical condition in an LA hospital. (I wasn't thrilled to meet him, and no, I did not shake his hand.)

I will be performing a birthday party, of all things, tomorrow. I haven't done that in years. But the lad I am doing it for is the son of a man who I performed for when he was a lad. That makes me old! 

I will post pix from Hollywood and anything else that comes about as they come about. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Month Update!

It has been 24 days since my last posting. Sorry to all our faithful. I have no excuse. As is our norm we don"t perform a lot in January. We spend most of this month either marketing, going to conventions, repairing or building new tricks and/or props, and developing new skills, tricks, stunts, etc.   The kids work daily on new stunts on the tight rope, the unicycle, hula hoops, Contortionism, etc. A long time ago we removed most of the furniture in our living room and have taken the 27X14 foot space and turned it into a training center/stage where we practice.   Of course the tightrope and trapeze work is done outside when it isn't raining or too cold.
Well, this January has not been boring. California had a special election so Jim and I were asked by the Voter Registrar's office if we would be election officials again. We had the day free so we went for it.  Turn out was very low since there was only one race on the ballot.  At my polling place we have two precincts and the inspector (manager) of the other precinct came down with the flu and couldn't work so I volunteered to be the inspector for both precincts. That meant double the work, which wasn't mush until closing. That's when all the official stuff goes down and everyone is running around like madmen getting the place torn down, ballots counted and sealed, etc.   In spite of the double duty we were out of there by 8:25 and the long 16 hour day was finished.   We slept late that next day.
Like in the presidential election I was at the prettiest polling place. In fact, in the morning and evening we got to watch a family of deer (a buck, two does, and 4 fawn) eat the grass outside our 20 foot high 50 foot half circle window.

The day before the election I had to put Cynthia and Miles on a plane back to Kentucky. Both wanted to stay longer but school duties have since come into play and they are doing well out there.

This month also brought a couple of medical alerts for us. First we heard that a good friend from our church had a mini-stroke.  Now this lady in in her 80s and still rides her bike everywhere. She lives way out in the country up and down a couple of pretty good hills. Yet she rides almost everyday. She's not the type to enjoy a hospital stay.  So when I visited her I found her dressed in her bike-wear and on the edge of her bed literally ready to leave.   She was signed out while I was there.
I was already in the hospital because my mother had gone in the day after our friend went in for the stroke, for an operation.  She would stay for about 4 days and is now at home recovering. It's amazing how just going home can lift a person's spirit.  She is doing well but has had an infection come and go. Keep her in your prayers please.

Here are a couple of fun pictures I have come across. Apparently the prez often runs into fly trouble. Over the last four years he has had three interviews where flies attack.  Proof that what comes out of this man is pure BS????
 The rodents are coming out in support of gun proponents. (credit goes to Facebook for this picture.)
And here is an interesting picture that shows the highest area of gun violence seems to be areas with the strictest gun laws and the most democrats. 

Ok, enough of that talk for now.

Bookings are coming along. Our summer tour has us in TN, OH, IA, WV, AZ, CA, KY, and possibly MI as of right now. We are in talks with a couple of other states.   Quassy Amusement Park had inquired about having us back (they are in CT very close to Newtown).  They didn't like our prices and don't like us selling things to compensate for a lower rate so those talks fell apart.  They are sticking with local acts this year to save some doe.

 Above...Jim at the Iowa Convention in my costume balancing a girl.  Below...bored at the hotel prior to the convention Jim builds a monument.
Jim went to Iowa and was able to get us a very nice Iowa tour that will keep us in the Corn State for the full month of July. As always he was a popular guest at the convention and balanced everything he could find on his face.

My dear friends, JC Dunn and Bill Jackson, will do our yearly pilgrimage to the Magic Castle in Hollywood next week. We always have a good time and it's a great networking and marketing opportunity. And you can't ask for better travel companions.

Well, that's all I have got right now. Talk again soon!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year and SF trip

2012 is history. Not our best year.
2013 is already proving to be better with bookings rolling in.
We have spent the eve playing games, watching Dr. Who an the Twilight Zone. The kids had sparkling apple juice.
I am excited about this new year in spite of the excess taxes and dumb new laws.
I can't say 12 was a completely rotten wise it wasn't the best. But the love and kindness of friends (like JC an Bill) and family have made it a blessed year.
I want to share the love of Christ this new year w/all whom I meet.
Be blessed and happy 2013.

I wrote the above New Year's Day. Since then I have booked several shows for the summer tour and sadly had to turn down a fundraiser show in Alabama; they wanted a larger circus show with big animals and a tent.  We're a smidge too small for that.
Cynthia wanted to do her yearly pilgrimage to SF so she, two of her friends and Miles (and me) hit the road 5am on the 2nd for a full day in the City By the Bay. We left early to try and get early bird parking rates. (the rates have gone up from $20 all day to $33 and early bird was changed from 9am to 8am at the lot we usually use. So we drove around and found a 9am early bird lot for $10....oversized $20......We were oversized. Turned out the lot was closer to our starting point (Pier 39) than our old lot so it turned out OK.  (on one more note EVERYTHING in SF is more expensive this year: Parking meters $4.00/hour and no more free after 5pm. no more plastic bags in the city and if you want a paper bag you pay 10 cents....not for the store but as a city fee. Mix that with the already higher sales tax given a 1% boost by the state and balabing balaboom your broke before you know it. High overhead of the city also makes the prices for anything outrageous as well. )
Since we got to the Pier early, and no shops but the coffee shops being open, we watched the workmen load in the boxes and containers for the various shops and restaurants. And then went around their trucks to get a few pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, etc. The sea lions never close so we enjoyed watching them frolic, scratch, stretch,  but mostly lay around barking.  One other note on the wildlife: the seagulls and pigeons are really fat in SF.
Though Cynthia (and James and Mami and the kids) have all gone on my walking tour of SF (I used to live and work there) Miles had never gone; it was his first. It was his first cable car ride too (which is also a dollar more expensive over last year.) The coolest thing about the cable cars is the technology and equipment are all authentic from the early days of SF.

below are the pix of the SF trip.....out of order but I will put captions....first here was our tour....Pier 39 then Fisherman's Wharf, a stop at Boudin Sourdough Bread Factory while I hit the fishmonger row to get my traditional calamari salad, a few stops at stores in the area (including the touristy ones) and then down to Ghiradelli Square for a free sample of chocolate, we enjoy the street performers as we pass and drop a buck in if we like them, we then get in line for the Cable car and ride it to Powell Street near union Square, More shopping,and a quick piece of pizza pie at Blondie's  then we walk through China town up to little Italy and down to the financial district around Telegraph Hill (made the mistake of going over it to visit Coit Tower one year....nearly died), back down to the Embarquadero to the piers and then to the van. We then drive to Japan town for lunch and shop hopping. Then back in the van we head to the Sutro baths, Cliff House, and Ocean Beach for the sunset. On this trip we added a trip to Stoneridge Mall, a shopping mall near SFSU. It sure has gone high class since I went there back in college. Next we drove to my old home of Westlake, Daly City where we shopped and I gave the kids a tour of where their mom and I lived when we first married. Then we added a trip to South SF to go to a great Asian Market where we picked up Japanese food ingredients for Mami. Back to Westlake we drove, passing the hospital where James was born.  Back in Daly City we stopped by the very old but very delicious Joes of Westlake where we ate spaghetti and then went home. The waters at Joes have always looked like mobbed up waiter...the white shirts, bow ties, back apron and accents.
 On the Wharf near Pier 39.
 End of the day waiting for their stable at Joes.
 The submarine you can tour if you want to shell out the cash. It's benind the mechanical games museum....which is free.
 A shot from the cable car.....California street...the very steep California street.

 China Town

 On the Wharf.  I've watched these guys age.
 Ocean Beach...sunset.
 the Wharf

 Port of SF as we arrived.

 Japanese lunch.
 From the mechanical games museum
 Bay bridge and rocket ship as we arrive in the morn.

 Ocean Beach
 Giant Candy at a candy shop on the wharf.
 Sutro Baths

 Photo Bomb....can you see me?

 Friends at the Beach

 Cable car

 TransAmerica Pyramid from the bottom
 Sutro Baths
 Cable car
 Sutro Baths
 I forget where this picture was taken
 Running on the beach?
 Sutro Baths.

 Japan Center
 Pier 39.....she takes a picture with him every year.
 OK...somehow Victor with his cardboard-duct tape knight outfit snuck in here.....

 As we came by on the cable car we watched the workers take the tree down in Union Square.
 Pier 39's Tree.

 View looking up from the Sutro Baths.

 Pier 39

 Cynthia found a store that sold one of her favorite childhood snacks.
 China Town

 The top of Lombard (the squiggly street)
On the Cable car.

 While we were SF the other kids worked on their acts. Olvia has taught herself how to a most interesting way.
Below is our newest artwork almost finished.