Wednesday, March 31, 2010

March 27-28: Hugo, OK & Idabel, OK-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. & 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

On Saturday we had a 5:30 a.m. call for our 86 mile jump to Hugo. The drive didn't seem to take any time at all.

We were playing on the same lot as last year, the old glove factory, but it was much better this time around; there was no mud and it wasn't freezing cold. The wind was blowing like crazy though.

Jessi, Nikki, Carla, and I went to breakfast at the Circus City Diner, and then I hung out at the lot with Dudley, our go to guy in Hugo as well as the Kelly Miller WQ caretaker, his daughter, Carol, and her husband, Rich.

Dudley and Rich took me to the Orscheln's so I could buy baby ducks. I bought two, and I named them Ralph and Norton, after my favorite comedy duo from "The Honeymooners".

That's Ralph in front and Norton in back. Ralph, true to his TV counterpart, was scheming the minute I got them back to the lot, and he attempted to escape twice!
The first time, he jumped out of the box I brought them home in. The second time, he found a space between the bars in Pato's old kennel that was big enough for him to squeeze through.
Luckily Radar happened by at this time and caught him. After thwarting that escape, Radar was immediately called upon to catch Mariana Poema's escaped bunny rabbit!

There was a cameraman from the Fox TV station at the lot who was interviewing various people from the circus. Jim Royal asked Ryan and I if we would go in front of the camera; I'm sure our interview baffled all the Fox viewers in that part of Oklahoma.

Before getting ready for the shows, I made sure to swing by my favorite Hugo hangout, The Busy Bee, for a delicious cheeseburger.

We had a full first show, and a 3/4 full second show. I took advantage of the longer break between performances and caught a few winks. Because of that, I was very disoriented for the opening of the second show.
Luckily the second audience was a lot livelier than the first, and they helped wake me up.

After the shows Dudley, Rich, and Carol treated me, Ryan, and Tatiana to dinner. When we were finishing up, a big group from the circus showed up.
We decided to get out and distance ourselves from such lowlifes!

On Sunday we had a 6:30 a.m. call for our 48 mile jump to Idabel. I was off to a rough start since my battery (once again) wouldn't start in the morning.
To complicate matters, I wasn't even hooked up to my trailer yet! Needless to say, I was the last person to arrive at the next lot.
I got parked right by the road, far from the back door. On the upside, it made my plans for taking the truck into town tonight a lot easier!

The day started out cloudy and very chilly. My first order of business was to buy a new battery for my truck.
John Moss helped me remove my old battery, since I proved ignorant at such tasks, and then I bought a new one in town after going to Wal Mart with Jessi and the twins.

When I got back to the lot, Casey helped me put the new battery in and I cleaned up all my connections with a wire brush on loan from Leslie.

Our friends, Dave and Cherie Gregg, came to visit today. Jessi and I went to lunch with them, and they ended up staying to watch both shows since they enjoyed the first one so much.

The first show was jam packed; they had to add extra bleachers to the tent. The second show was full all except for the two extra bleachers.
During the shows the sun came out and it turned into a beautiful day.

After we were all done, a big group of us went out to eat at a Mexican restaurant that we had visited last year.

We were told right off the bat that they were out of beans. Danny, Tavana, Arwen, and I got our meals (sans frijoles) in a reasonable amount of time, but it took an additional 15 minutes or so before everyone else got their food.
They were told that the delay was because the kitchen was out of rice too.
We were all given two free desserts to share and 50% off our bills in compensation for our crappy service.

April 2: Waldron, AR
April 3: Greenwood, AR
April 4: Easter-Day Off

Monday, March 29, 2010

March 25-26: Whitehouse, TX and Winnsboro, TX-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

We had a 6:00 a.m. call for our 57 mile jump to Whitehouse on Thursday. When I got into town I saw Chris, our 24 Hour Man, driving in the other direction, so I knew something was up.

All the show trucks and trailers sat in the parking lot of an abandoned Wal Mart while we waited on a concrete lot to be found. I guess the lot we were going on was flooded or hella muddy.
There's a lot of that going around lately.

Everyone started leaving for the new lot around 11:30 a.m. We set up out in the middle of nowhere, next to an RV park and a big lake.
We were on cement, and the day turned overcast and chilly. With the lake right there, the wind was very strong.

I didn't get the memo, but there was no water source at the lot, so none of the tanks got filled. I wish I would have known before I took a really long shower.

We had a small crowd at the first show; Harry Kingston and wife were in attendance. The second show had an even smaller crowd.
It was kind of a bummer of a day.

On Friday we had a 6:00 a.m. call for our 70 mile jump to Winnsboro. Jessi called me en route and told me that there was a dump station on the lot. I was happy to be able to empty my tank before getting parked.

We were on the same lot as last year, a grassy city park, and the weather was beautiful.
I borrowed Jessi's car and picked up Dan on my way to a donut shop. Later in the day I took advantage of my parking location to pull off the lot and fuel up my truck.

We had an average sized crowd for the first show, and a decent sized crowd for the second show.
We haven't been having very exciting days around here lately. In some ways that is a blessing, and in others, it is a curse (mainly the small houses part).

March 30-DeQueen, AR
March 31-Glennwood, AR
April 1-Mena, AR

Friday, March 26, 2010

March 22-24: Royse City, TX, Crandall, TX, and Malakoff, TX-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

On Monday we had a 6:30 a.m. call for our "39" mile jump to Royse City. The reason I put 39 in quotations is because the drive seemed a lot longer than 39 miles.
When we got into town, Chris directed me to park by a church with most of the other trailers. We then played the waiting game to see which lot we were going to.
The lot we were supposed to be on was a bog, and the alternate lot (which we played last year), also had standing water on it.
They tried pulling the big trucks onto the alternate lot and got them incredibly stuck.

During the waiting, I found out that we didn't get our tanks filled up yesterday, so I was out of water.
I went over to Ryan's house to watch Child's Play, and then I got started on going through all my 2009 receipts and itemizing my deductions.

At 2:00 p.m. I found out that we were moving to a cement lot that had been acquired. It was a Race Track a few miles from where we were sitting.
After having Lucky and Danny try and jump my "dead battery" (I put dead battery in quotations because it wasn't dead....the engine wouldn't start because I didn't have my truck in Park. Durr!), I was on my way.

The crew was in a mad rush to set up the tent in time for our first show (show times were bumped back a half hour to 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.).
We started the first show at around 5:20 p.m., not bad for a set up started at 2:30 p.m.

We had decent sized crowds at both shows; Kyle Clay, a Fort Worth based fireman/clown, his wife, Anna, and their son, Jacob, came to see the second show.
Kyle brought me a gift: the book, World War Z.

The power went off three times at the start of the second show; one time was during the tiger chase, but it worked out perfectly with a bit in the chase.
Despite the technical difficulties, the crowd loved the show.

I met the owner of the Race Track; he was very cool and everyone was very thankful that he let us use the lot and stay overnight.

The Clays took me out to dinner at IHOP after the show where we talked and laughed (and indulged in crepes).

On Tuesday we had a 6:30 a.m. call for our 36 mile jump to Crandall, TX. We were playing on the same lot as last year, a rocky one right by the highway, and it was a beautiful day.

I worked on my taxes some more this morning before helping Ryan fix a snafu on the beehive's rigging.

Nikki and I had coffee and watched some Arrested Development, and when Jessi got back from laundry we drove to Mesquite to visit a Half Price Books.
I was very disappointed in their selection. Last year Ryan and I found a ton of books at that store....I guess we cleaned them out!

There was a small crowd for the first show. Ryan, Tatiana, Jessi, and I were out of web since the dog act was out for the first show. It was nice having a break after the table act.

In the exterminator gag, right after we entered, some man in the audience loudly exclaimed, "Uh oh!"

"Uh oh indeed," we mused to ourselves. For the whole gag we used (and overused) that phrase to make each other laugh. It was kinda' like this:

Dedicated to Gregory "Uh Oh" Parks

We had a decent crowd for the second show. Doug Teranova, Shane Johnson, Carmen Hall, and other circus folks were in attendance.

After we were done the Cainans, Jessi, Radar, Nikki, and I went out to eat at an Italian restaurant with Doug, Shane, and Fletcher.

On Wednesday we had a 6:30 a.m. call for our 46 mile jump to Malakoff, TX. We arrived to find a muddy lot and overcast skies.

I finally finished my taxes and got them mailed off to my accountant, and while I was out I picked up some things needed around the trailer.

Ryan, Tatiana, and I watched "The Princess & The Frog" while Ryan and I made squibs. Tatiana made us a delicious lunch too.

We had a small crowd for the first show; to liven up the festivities, I threw a little local joke into opening.
During one of the "comedic pauses", I started coughing and then said, "I just Malakoffed."

In finale, when the cast took our final style, we were met with dead silence. People actually stopped clapping and making noise as soon as our arms went up into a style.
The only noise to break the silence was my jackal bray of laughter at the ridiculousness of the situation.

We had another small crowd for the second show. We had been told this morning that a bad storm was going to be coming through tonight somewhere between 7:00 p.m. and midnight, so the show was kept moving quickly to get the tent down before things got ugly.
Ryan and I had the jukebox gag, the exterminator gag, and walkarounds cut. This meant that we had the whole second half off (since there was no finale either).
We got our props loaded during Intermission, and I got my trailer hooked up and ready to go.

As soon as the tent was on the ground being folded, the storm hit: thunder, lightning, wind, and heavy rain. Talk about good timing.

The plan was to have everybody pull up onto the gravel at the front of the lot, since we wouldn't have access to our Bobcat in the morning (the pole truck that carries it was leaving early in the morning to get to the next lot).
I had a clear path off the grass, but as soon as I tried to go I got stuck. Danny, Castro, and Leslie came over to help pull me out with the Bobcat. Castro and I were crawling around in the water and mud on the ground trying to hook up the chain to the underside of my truck. That is when it decided to REALLY start raining hard.
I got in the truck and couldn't see where Danny was directing me thanks to all the rain pummeling my windshield and my glasses fogging up. When I took my glasses off, I couldn't make out which direction Blurry Danny was guiding me either!
In short, it was kind of a mess.

The guys got me unstuck and parked on the gravel though, and I was able to take a hot shower once I got out of my soaked clothes. I don't envy Danny, Castro, or Leslie at all; they must have put on about 15 pounds of water weight after the drenching they endured getting everyone out of the mud.

Jessi put a positive light on things by saying, "Well, at least it is done and you don't have to worry about it in the morning."
Of course she was right, but I wasn't feeling very positive at the time!

March 27: Hugo, OK
March 28: Idabel, OK
March 29: Ashdown, AR

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

March 19-21: Frisco, TX-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., 2:00 p.m., 5:00 p.m, and 7:30 p.m., Day Off

We were on a different lot in Frisco than we were last year. All the trailers were parked on cement, and all the big trucks and the tent were on soft grass right next to the parking lot.

Nikki and I went to get lunch at Go Go Burger on Friday, which was one of my favorite Frisco haunts last year; I was a little dissapointed in the quality this time around.

Jessi and I went to go do laundry after she was done with school, and then we ran by a Half Price Books and Target to do some shopping.

We had a full first show, with Dick Monday and Tiffany Riley in attendance. Dick and Tiffany ran the Ringling Clown College its last year years, and they currently clown in the Dallas area. They also run a puppet shop/theatre in the Dallas Galleria Mall, where my buddy Kelly works. Coincidentally, he was at the second show, which was 3/4 full.

Kelly and I were like brothers on Ringling, so it is always good to see him. He joined me, Jessi, Radar, and the twins for an awesome night out at the Irish pub after the shows.

It rained all through Friday night, so I knew to expect mud when I woke up on Saturday. What I didn't expect to find was Senor Pato, dead in his pen.
I was racked with guilt as the thought of him freezing to death raced through my mind, but Casey came over at that point and told me that Pato had still been alive earlier this morning; Casey's prognosis after an examination of the body was a broken neck.
I was holding everything together well until Casey picked Pato up to bury him; after that I lost it and had to go inside for a little while.
I'm very grateful to my friends for burying Pato, because I don't think I could have done it myself.

Jessi and I were going to go out and have some fun this morning, but I was in no mood for it after our discovery. She and Carla left to shop and I stayed home to grieve.

It was a windy, cold, muddy day; the weather matched my feelings perfectly. Despite the adverse conditions, there was a decent sized crowd at the first show.
On another good note, it didn't get too muddy in the tent. Performing also cheered me up a great deal, which I was happy about.

We had an average sized crowd for the second show. As the day went on, the temperature just kept dropping; by the end of the performance it was sleeting.

We had a very small crowd for the third show....and that is when it started snowing. Not just a little snow, but full out stick on the ground snow!
Our friend Crystal was at the last show with some friends. Last year when she came to see us in Ava, MO, it was the exact same scenario: freezing cold and no people in the tent.
I made a side comment to her during opening, "Why is it always so cold when you come to visit!?"

After the shows I joined the Cainans, Danny, Jessi, and our friends, Jody and Chris, for another outing to the Irish Pub.

When we all went to bed the snow was still going strong...

At 4:40 a.m. someone pounded on the side of my trailer and woke me up. I didn't know what was going on at first, but Jessi looked out the door and saw that the tent was being taken down.
Danny came by a moment later and told us that we needed to get the clown props out, so Jessi helped me load them so Ryan wouldn't have to get up.
Poor tent crew was taking the tent down until almost 10 a.m. Then everything was hauled off the grass with a humongous tractor.
Needless to say, the ground wasn't looking too pretty.

We all decided to make the best of the situation and had snowball fights (i.e. throwing snowballs at Radar), and we made a Snow Hermaphrodite.

A big group of us went to the mall to spend our day off (and our paychecks) to the fullest.
In the Lego Store I saw that they had a bunch of Lego Star Wars keychains, so naturally I had to get one for Jessi. I picked out Slave Leia (our favorite), and later when I saw Jessi, I gave her the present.
It turns out that she had a present for me as well....the exact same keychain! Great minds think alike.

Jessi, the twins, and I had lunch at California Pizza Kitchen, and then we went to a shopping center near the mall to do some more perusing.

When we got back to the lot, all of the snow had melted. Casey had to jump start my engine due to the cold weather, and once I got that accomplished I hooked up to my trailer as well.

Most of my friends went to the Irish Pub tonight, but I sat it out to save money and watch some episodes of M.A.S.H.
Later on I joined the Cainans and Jessi for some pizza and Lego Star Wars on the Wii. Casey bought the game at the mall today. Another one joins the fold....

March 26: Winnsboro, TX
March 27: Hugo, OK

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

March 18: Bridgeport, TX-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m

We had a 6:00 a.m. call for our 47 mile jump to Bridgeport. Ryan was one of the last to arrive at the lot because he had a flat tire from the jump into White Settlement, and he blew the spare that was put on for this trip.

It took awhile for the generator to arrive, so Nikki and Carla came over to the trailer to hang out until it did. I pulled out the propane heater, and they joined Jessi and I for a blanket and book club.

There was frost on the ground this morning, but it warmed up and became a beautiful day. I ate lunch at the BBQ restaurant next to the lot, where they had delicious homemade rolls.

I received my much anticipated package from Becky Raborn today, the books "Zombie Holocaust", "Monty Python Live!", and "Behind The Bell" by Dustin "Screech" Diamond. Thanks Becky!

We had a 3/4 full tent for our first show, and the second show was almost full.
When we were in Bridgeport last year Ryan and I gave Johnny Moss a pie in the face and a seltzer bottle wash down for constantly calling us Beavis and Butthead.
As an anniversary celebration, he crossed out our names on the backstage running order and wrote Beavis and Butthead in their place.
Johnny Moss, you are hankerin' for a prankerin'!

We had a 60 mile jump to Frisco, TX tonight to avoid Dallas rush hour traffic in the morning. I remembered the drive being tricky last year, so I followed Raul the whole way and arrived without incident.

March 22: Royse City, TX
March 23: Crandall, TX
March 24: Malakoff, TX
March 25: White House, TX

Saturday, March 20, 2010

R.I.P Senor Pato

This morning I went outside to see Senor Pato had died. Casey said that he had been alive earlier this morning; the prediction is a broken neck.
I am really not looking forward to having to make people laugh for three shows today.


I'll miss you buddy. Even if you were a little bastard sometimes.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

March 15-17: White Settlement, TX-Travel Day, 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Day Off

On Monday we had a 5:30 a.m. call for our 303 mile jump to White Settlement, TX. In my head 303 miles didn't sound like much, but by the time I arrived at the lot (12:30 p.m.), my brain was fried!
The drive just kept going, and going, and going, and going....luckily I had my iPod to keep me company!

We were on the same lot we showed last year, a nice, grassy one; the weather was beautiful as well. Jessi, Nikki, Carla, and I went to the mall a few miles from our location and bummed around for awhile.
We then checked out Half Price Books, where I dropped a ton of money on a big stack of literature. Whoo hoo!

We were all pretty loopy after being up all day, but I was able to stay awake and make it through our dangerous BBQ (Casey kept trying to set us all on fire) tonight before crashing.

On Tuesday I woke up at 4:00 a.m. to hear rain pouring down. Ryan and I had unloaded the exterminator cart last night and it was just sitting out in the downfall. Luckily we left a packing blanket over the wooden box holding all the props, so I wasn't too concerned.
I awoke again several hours later to discover that the nice lot had been decimated by the rain. There was a lot of mud kicked up by the tent set up too.

Yesterday I moved my box truck to the outskirts of the lot so I wouldn't be blocked in by the tent. The plan was to get four new tires on the back of the truck this morning, but Danny informed me that Azle, our town for Wednesday, was canceled and we would be sitting in White Settlement for another day. He advised waiting to get tires in the morning so things could dry out a bit.
I took the extra time I had to edit some of our gag footage and read.

We had an almost full first show. The good audience made the condition of the ring tolerable; it was incredibly slick inside the tent and I almost ate it running in for opening.
I'm glad Casey was able to (barely) maintain his footing during the tiger act.
Everybody was having to fight to stay up for entrances and exits from the ring; Ryan and I presented what had to be the "Slowest Tiger Chase In Show Biz".

The ring mat got covered in mud the first time it was put out, so therefore Ryan and I got covered in mud doing our gags. Our poor table act shirts didn't stay white for very long. The first back fall we did was right into a mud puddle on the mat, and by the end of the act both of us had footprints and mud stains all over our shirts.

We had another good crowd for the second show; finale was cut due to the condition of the ring. Ryan and I were nice (i.e. stupid), and agreed to go out with John for a closing to the show.

During our BBQ tonight Casey and I decided to indulge in a little stupidity and chicanery inspired by Radar's bath on Sunday.

Ingredients: One inebriated tiger trainer, one clown constantly seeking approval from others, one cold night, and one shallow duck pond.

The result:

Sorry you can't see it....sound will just have to do.
I'll be sure to keep you all updated as I recover from pneumonia in the hospital!

On Wednesday we had another day off. The story I heard was that the lot we were going to play in Azle was not accessible because of construction.

Danny took me to a garage this morning so I could get four new tires on the back of my truck; I was in and out in no time.

I was worried that I wouldn't be able to get my truck close to my trailer because of the mud, but I had no problem pulling in.
Ryan and I gave our props a thorough cleaning before loading them. We were assisted by Dylan and Nicolas, Fridman and Valerie's children.
They asked if they could help and Ryan agreed, "Alright....but you'll have to pay me."

Jessi and I went to Half Price Books where I once again bought a ton of books (surprised?), and then we got some Jamba Juice before picking up the twins at the mall.

Nikki and I went out to have a Thai dinner this evening, and then we got some Cold Stone ice cream for dessert.

When we got back to the lot we caught the last leg of the BBQ that the Cainans were having for Natalie's visiting family.

Monday, March 15, 2010

March 13-14: Falfurrias, TX & Pleasanton, TX-2:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

On Saturday we had a 5:30 a.m. call for our 72 mile jump to Falfurrias. I wanted to get on the road a little earlier, and it was a tight squeeze trying to get around the trucks that were in my way, but I made it!
The reason that I wanted to leave a bit early was because there was a Flying J's on our route. I was able to dump my tank and get fuel too.

Yesterday a few of the Mexican crew guys went across the border for awhile. When they came back, two of them were held at the border, despite having their paperwork.
Because of that, the show was short a couple of drivers. Jessi ended up driving Oscar's (our concessions manager) truck and trailer, and Radar drove Jessi's car for her.

We were playing on a thick, grassy lot with lots of flowers growing everywhere; it was a beautiful sunny day.

We had a small crowd for the first show. The energy that the audience was putting out made it a rough show for everybody.
The second show had a small audience as well. The camel act and the Poema's act were each a bit shorter, and Natalie's dog act and the exterminator gag were cut for the second performance.

Not having Natalie's dog act made things difficult for me. I ran off from the table act and ran right back into the tent to set Jessi's web.
Sadly, it was another rough show for everyone response wise.

We jumped to the next town when the shows were done. I was able to leave pretty quickly and I completed the 129 mile trip to Pleasanton without any problems. Well, except for the part where I didn't have headlights for awhile (I guess there is a switch by my brake that turns on and off the lights if you hit it with your foot. Oops! Oh, and did I mention I didn't have trailer lights the whole drive?!)

We had a BBQ at the new lot to unwind after a demanding day.

On Sunday I woke up to discover another beautiful day, not to mention a beautiful lot (the back yard was right by a little river).

Ryan and I were treated to lunch by Pam and Albert Ramirez and their two children. Pam and Albert were both on the Red Unit of Ringling, and we had a great time hanging out with them and swapping stories.

Jessi took the school kids on a field trip to the Alamo this morning. Not a single kid asked where the basement was.

We had an almost full first show (which the Ramirez family came to), and there were only a few less people at the second show.

I got to meet Dan Gabert today; he and his family came to the BBQ after the show, and he was taking pictures around the lot during the shows.

I didn't stick around for the BBQ, but I did stop by for this bit of fun.

Why did we do it? Why not!

I borrowed Jessi's car and took Nikki and Carla to San Antonio so they could visit their friend, Marti, who works in the office for the Century 21 Shows. They had a carnival set up by I-10, and we were treated to free rides and free funnel cakes!
Thank you to everyone at Century 21 Shows for the hospitality!

March 17: Azle, TX
March 18: Bridgeport, TX
March 19-21: Frisco, TX

Fan Photos

Jonathan Dunn on his 6th Birthday!

Christy McDonald and her two favorite jerks

March 11-12: Elsa, TX-6:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

On Thursday we had a 6:30 a.m. call for our 18 mile jump to Elsa. Progress was impeded by the incredibly dense fog in the air.
Luckily things cleared up later in the day and we enjoyed nice weather on our grassy lot.

Nikki came over to watch the movie "Big Fish", and then Ryan and I practiced tap dancing and I tried out my new cornet for the first time.

We had an average sized crowd for the first show. The ring was difficult to work in because it sloped down from the bandstand towards the audience. Running in was like going down the first drop on a roller coaster!

We had a small crowd for the second show. We were worried when the tiger chase and walkarounds were met with dead silence at their conclusions, but we got good laughs for the exterminator gag.

After the shows Nikki and I went to get milkshakes and to get a few things from H.E.B.

On Friday I decided to eat over at the cookhouse and be sociable. I took my own plate, and at the end of my meal, I turned it in at the window to be washed without even thinking about what I was doing.
Of course Brian and the kitchen staff gave me a lot of razzing over it; Brian asked if I had any pots and pans that I expected them to wash too!

Ryan and I watched "The Shining" this afternoon while making squibs, and then we did some tap dancing and trumpet playing.

We had a decent sized audience for the first show. Ryan's knee was bothering him from an accidental spill he took last night, and when we were running out from opening I stepped in a hole and tweaked my ankle.
We were joking that we were the "Gimpiest Clowns in Show Biz".

We had a good sized crowd for the second show, and they were a great audience. It was a nice way to end our run in the Valley.

I had a difficult time hooking up my truck to my trailer after the shows because I was parked on a little hill. Every time I would get out of the truck, it would roll back and move the hitch from under the jack.
With some help from Nikki, I was able to get things ready to roll.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

March 8-10: La Feria, TX, Los Fresnos, TX, & Combes, TX-6:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

On Monday we had a 6:30 a.m. call for our 32 mile jump to La Feria, TX. We were on a grass lot with dirt ruts running through it. We were near civilization (if you call a bunch of fast food restaurants "civilization"...which I do) and the day was overcast though humid.

As soon as I got parked I attempted to unhook my trailer and move my truck up, but the jack was shot. I drove to Donna, TX (about 20 miles away) so I could buy a new jack at Hoover RV.

When I got back to the lot, Casey and Radar threw my new jack on for me in no time! While I was gone, they also fixed my battery problem that I was having under the trailer. Thanks guys!

Ryan and I made squibs in his motorhome while watching "Drag Me To Hell". I'm hoping we get more ignitors in the mail this Friday, because we only have enough bombs to last us through the weekend.

We had decent sized crowds for both shows...not much more to report than that.

Hooking up my trailer tonight was so much easier with the new jack; I was having to really crank the old one to get it to move.

Nikki, Jessi, and I went over to the Cainans trailer to enjoy some pizza and watch that perennial favorite, "Blazing Saddles".
Ya side windin' cracker crooker!

On Tuesday we had a 6:30 a.m. call for our 25 mile jump to Los Fresnos. As I was pulling into town, I stopped at a gas station to get some diesel.
I became frustrated when I pulled up to the pump and had to cut a corner sharply, which messed up a spot on the front of my trailer where a hinge on the truck can hit it.
I became more frustrated when I attemped to fuel up only to be informed that the diesel truck hadn't arrived yet.
My frustration reached new levels when I went to start my truck and the battery was dead!
I called Jessi so she could drive back to the station and attempt to jump my battery. I sat and watched all the show trucks drive by until Leslie, the mechanic, came to my rescue.
Jessi's car engine wasn't strong enough to get me going, but Leslie got my motor running in no time (that sounds really dirty).
My final worry was that I would have trouble getting out of the station (what with the tight turn around the pump and the four lane highway, packed with traffic, that I needed to make a left turn on), but fortune smiled upon me and I was able to get back on track and make it to the lot.

We were on a grass lot at the fairgrounds; it was much nicer last year. The ground was dry and cracked, which made it rather hard.

After Jessi was done teaching school, we hopped in her car and drove up the road to Port Isabel, where our friend, Christy McDonald, works. She was a Ringling clown and currently runs a pirate cruise business. She gave us a tour of her ship and a description of her tour before treating us to lunch.
Christy had to get ready for work, so Jessi and I drove a little farther to South Padre Island, where we briefly checked out the beach.

Back at the lot I took my truck to fuel up (at the same place...the diesel finally showed up); I'm very lucky that my battery didn't die again, because I forgot to bring my cell phone with me!

We had a small crowd at the first show, and a smaller crowd at the second show. The second audience had more energy though, and I had people I was performing specifically for. Christy, her father, and his girlfriend, Laurie, came to see us.

Laurie left her beret in my trailer, so when we were doing opening I said to Ryan, "Did you know it is International Give Someone A Free Hat Day?"
I then turned to Laurie and gave her the beret.

I also got a nice laugh from the audience when I quipped, "Did you know that Los Fresnos is Spanish for....The Fresnos".

After the show we visited with Christy and company before going over for a BBQ.

On Wednesday we had a 6:30 a.m. call for the 22 mile jump to Combes, TX. We had an uneven lot waiting for us; Chris said that the grass was waist high yesterday before it got mowed.

Dan sold me a cornet this morning for a great price; Ryan started teaching me to play trumpet two years ago, but I haven't played much recently. Now I have a good reason to.

Nikki came over this morning for some coffee and to hang out; we also squeezed in an episode of the Muppet Show.

It was a very hot day, and neither show had spectacular attendance. There was a lady in the front row of the first performance that was having a great time though.

The table act was very tiring today because of the uneven ground, by the end of the shows we were both bushed. Ryan joked to me that if he stopped climbing the ladder in the exterminator gag, it would be because he fell asleep.
This prompted us to play narcoleptic clowns in the gag. Anytime one of us would fall on the ground or pause for a few seconds, we would snore loud enough for each other to hear.
Nothing like making fun of a disability to get you through a gag!

March 14: Pleasanton, TX
March 15: Travel Day-Day Off!
March 16: White Settlement, TX

Monday, March 8, 2010

March 6 and 7: Palmview, TX-3:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m., and 8:30 p.m.

On Saturday Ryan went out and bought us tap shoes from McAllen. We tried them out on the table and scuffed it up real nice!

We had a decent sized crowd for the first show, and the last two shows were 3/4 full. The webs were moved around a bit so Ryan and I are at the back of the ring. I guess Tatiana and Jessi would rather us pay attention to them than screw around with the audience sitting next to us.
Go figure!

It was overcast all day and humid as hell. An army of ants were running an assembly line right by and under my trailer and Ryan's motor home.
The battery under my trailer was spazzing out the past couple of days, and I was praying that it wouldn't happen again since the parade of insects went right through where I would need to lie down to work.

With the three shows, the humidity, and the lack luster audience response against us, several of my friends and I were in a funk today. I was ready to be done with the day and have a fresh start.

We ended the evening well with a great BBQ at the Cainans. Thank God for the simple pleasures of eating, drinking, and tormenting Radar.

On Sunday Ryan and I worked on tapping in our new shoes with Mr. Fusco. We actually had to back track in our learning a bit to correct mistakes that are now evident thanks to the taps.

Jessi and I decided to give our Lego Star Wars game a rest today in favor of watching the actual Star Wars movies. It was a nice change and shook up the routine a bit. It was strange seeing the characters as real actors instead of funny little Lego people.

We had a decent sized crowd for the first show. Ryan was wearing a different shirt for his agent suit today, a purple and black striped t-shirt. Casey and Natalie were giving him a lot of flak for it backstage, so I decided to throw a few jabs into our opening as well.
As soon as we started, I turned to him and said, "Hey, nice shirt."
After Ryan did his lip synch bit, I quipped, "Ryan, that was just....awful. Like your shirt."
At the end of the act, I was singing "shout" over and over again like usual. When I noticed that the music had stopped I slowed down, "shout......shout.....shout.....(I looked at Ryan) shirt.....shout"

We had a good sized crowd for the second show; for some reason the Combs clan picked this performance to try and end the Copeland family tree.
First Tatiana nailed me in the family jewels with her purse during the table act (just before that she hit me in the mouth with the purse so hard that I thought I lost a few teeth).
Then in the exterminator gag Ryan kneed me in the bladder while bungeeing. He came down crooked on his third bounce, which is when he lands on top of me. For some reason he thought putting his knee down would solve his problem; all I know is that if he had hit an inch or two lower on my body, I don't think I would have been able to get up.

We changed around the way we do walkarounds today. Instead of us coming out together and doing in four different spots, we decided to have Ryan run out to the center of the ring, do his walkaround, and then when he leaves I run in and do mine.
I loved doing them simultaneously, but the two spotlights we have just weren't enough to properly illuminate us. Also, we have the opportunity for complete focus on each gag, so we might as well use it!

We had another good sized crowd for the third show; they were also our first lively audience of the whole four day stand!

After the shows were over Jessi, Nikki, and I went to get milkshakes to celebrate the end of our last (hopefully) six pack. We then went to the Cainans' trailer to play Wii.

March 11-12: Elsa, TX
March 13: Falfurrias, TX

Saturday, March 6, 2010

March 3, 4, and 5: Lyford, TX & Palmview, TX-6:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

On Wednesday we had a 6:30 a.m. call for our 22 mile drive to Lyford, TX. I stopped on the way so I could air up my low trailer tires.
We were happy to see another grassy lot and more sunny weather today.

I took some time for myself to lie down and watch some episodes of the Smothers Bros. Comedy Hour, and also the movie "Run Fat Boy, Run".

Ryan and I had our tap dance class with Mr. Fusco, and then Casey came over to fix the leaks coming from my hot water heater. Ryan noticed drips coming from under my trailer yesterday, and some of my floor boards near the sink were starting to swell from water being underneath them.

We had a packed first show, and a slightly smaller crowd for the second show. I am happy that we are having such good business on these one day stands.

We were by railroad tracks today, and during our "Shout!" opening a train went by the tent. While I was slowing down from my solo jam session where I say, "shout!" over and over, the train's whistle interrupted me.
I turned to Ryan and said, "Sounds like the 6:15 to Shoutville is right on time."

On Thursday we had a 6:30 a.m. call for the 45 mile drive to Palmview, TX. I started out at the head of the convoy, but thanks to the slowest gas station in Texas and awful construction near the lot, I arrived much later than I had planned to.

Casey and I walked over to the small plaza next to the lot to have breakfast at the great Mexican restaurant we remembered from last year.
It was closed.

Radar, Ryan, Adrian Poema, and I borrowed Casey's truck to go see the movie, "The Crazies", this morning. It was fun, but not as scary as I wanted it to be.

Ryan and I tried something new with our tap dancing today. We played some different songs and attempted to adapt the different steps we have learned to the different beats.

We had a small, dead crowd for the first show, and a smaller, dead(er?) crowd for the second show, which made performing really seem like work.

Jessi tried to give me a black eye in the web routine. When I pushed her up, she elbowed me right in the cornea!
For the rest of the routine I complained about it to the audience sitting next to me (i.e. Mrs. North).

Casey, Natalie, the twins, and I went to go see a midnight showing of the new "Alice In Wonderland" movie after the shows.
I wasn't expecting to like it, and I was not dissapointed. I'm never a fan of heavy CGI usage; I think Tim Burton could have done much more creative things with make up and prosthetics. Also, the movie seemed to drag on for hours and I couldn't understand half of what the characters said.
But I'm not a film critic. I just slide on a table and hit Ryan with a flyswatter.

On Friday afternoon, the show was invited to the house of Pat, Marites, and Mabelle Davison for lunch.
The food was delicious and plentiful, and I had a great time hanging out.

Jessi and I went to Best Buy after lunch so I could buy an external hard drive. My iPod (which I use as an external hard drive) is crapping out on me and I have to restore it. Since I don't want to lose all the pictures and movies I have stored on it, this purchase was a necessary one.

It was a dreary day today, and the audiences matched the weather; both shows had average sized crowds.

Ryan was very happy that he got his first scream of utter terror when he did his rabbit walkaround.

Frankly I'm surprised it took him this long!

During the second show's slide table there was a man on his cell phone for half the act. Every time I ran by him I yelled for him to hang up.
When I ran out for web an act later, he was sitting right where I was supposed to be, so I borrowed his phone to "call my mom".
While I was setting Jessi's web, the guy's phone rang again, so I chastised him some more. He told me that it was my mom calling back!
For the whole act his family was talking loudly to one another and not paying attention to the show.
People just don't respect live performance anymore.

After the shows Casey, Natalie and I watched the movie, "Semi Pro". It isn't Will Ferrel's best work, but the last 20 seconds of this scene made me laugh out loud.

March 8: La Feria, TX
March 9: Los Fresnos, TX
March 10: Combes, TX

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

March 1-2: Mercedes, TX & Rio Hondo, TX-6:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

On Monday morning our call wasn't until 9 a.m. (so we wouldn't have to deal with rush hour traffic), so Nikki, Carla, and I borrowed Jessi's car to go get coffee.

Everyone actually ended up leaving a little bit after 9 a.m. because the lot in Mercedes was soft and a tractor was needed to pull some people on.
As soon as I started my drive I noticed that the tires on the driver side of my trailer were low, so I took it easy on our 20 mile jump.
The lot was definitely overgrown and soft in some places, but I made it on alright.

A circus fan and blog reader, Rex, came by today and traded me a Big Apple DVD for a copy of the Lennon Bros. Circus DVD that I got from the Ogles.

Ryan and I had our daily tap dancing class with Mr. Fusco this afternoon. The spot where we had our slide table was so soft that the table legs sunk almost all the way into the ground from us jumping around on top.

We had an average sized crowd for the first show. They were dead for our opening, and my intention was to keep the number moving along, but this proved difficult when my microphone started shorting out. I had to share a microphone with Ryan, which slowed things down.
To top it all off I pulled one of these: "Hello.....where are we again?"

The ring was very difficult to work in today. The overgrown grass made lumps in the ring mat, there were sharp bush stumps all over the place, and once the elephants ran around on the soft ground there were a considerable amount of potholes.
Tatiana twisted her ankle jumping into a hole off of the slide table; luckily she was able to tape it up and she was fine.

I was in a weird mood for the first web number. When we all ran out I got tangled up in Jessi's web and then just wallowed around on the floor for a little while.
Backstage, Fridman (who dances right next to me in the number) told me, "Every show I watch you and you always do something different and weird. But tonight that was the worst thing I have ever seen!"
That comment made me laugh and made me glad that I got all of that awfulness out of my system.

We had a smaller crowd for the second show. I thought my opening would be incident free, but when I jumped up on the ring curb to introduce John Moss, I fell. My intro went something like this: "Ladies and GeAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!"
Backstage there was discussion between Ryan and John on whether they thought I had said, "s**t"or "balls" when I fell.
Sorry to disappoint you guys, but it was definitely "GeAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH"!

Right before we went out to do the final exterminator gag of the evening, one of the wheels of the cart fell off.
We just carried the cart while I held the wheel on with one hand.

Tonight I was very proud of a personal achievement: I hooked up my truck and trailer ALL BY MYSELF!
Mommy WOW! I'm a big kid now!

Carla, Nikki, and I went to the Cainans house tonight to have pizza and watch the Lennon Bros. Circus DVD.

On Tuesday we had a 7 a.m. call for our 24 mile drive to Rio Hondo. We were on a beautiful, grassy lot (the best so far this year) and it was a wonderful, sunny day. Now THIS is circus!

I borrowed Jessi's car and drove to TSC so I could get supplies to fix the wheel on our exterminator cart.
When I got back to the lot, Casey fixed everything for us. Ryan and I then took the time to make squibs while watching "Life of Brian". I had forgotten how funny that movie is!

Another tap dance class with Mr. Fusco followed our bomb making. By the end my shins and ankles were killing me, but we had a nice little routine put together that we ran several times.

We had a full house for our first show tonight, and what a fun audience they were!
Georgia made us laugh after the exterminator gag. When we all got through the curtain after she chases us out of the ring she exclaimed incredulously, "No one was laughing!"
I replied, "Now you know how we feel every day!"
Georgia spent the rest of the evening practicing her Queen Bee role so she would be perfect for the next gag.
As she and Casey were walking back to the trailer after the second show, she proudly told him, "I made them laugh that time!"

There was a good sized crowd for the second show, and they were a lot of fun as well. Ryan and I had a blast doing our opening for them. We were cracking each other up as much as we were making the audience laugh.

After the shows I attempted to air up my low trailer tires with the air compressor I bought today, but it wasn't powerful enough to fill them completely.
After airing the tires (somewhat), taking out the trash, hooking up the truck and trailer, and showering, I finally made it over for the BBQ.

March 4-7: Palmview, TX

Monday, March 1, 2010

February 27-28: McAllen, TX-3:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

On Saturday morning Jessi and I walked across the street to the shopping center to meander. On the way back we walked by last year's lot, where Ryan and I tried out our ingenious jack rabbit trap.

Although I have much more sophisticated tools this year (thanks to the exterminator gag), I just didn't have it in me to attempt another capture.

We had an almost full first show, and the last two shows were packed. The audiences for the last two shows were fantastic to boot.
A lady in the seats made me laugh during the second tiger chase. As I ran by her she yelled, "Oh s**t!"
I'm not sure if she was startled or if she was just commenting on the content of the act.

We tried a new bit out in the exterminator gag with our bear trap prop, which got a laugh.
Ryan made me chuckle at the end of the gag when I bring over the cable ladder for him to climb.
"Up you go," I said as he began his ascension.
"Up yours," he replied.

After the show Jessi and I (with the moral support of friends on the sidelines) solved our sewage tank problem with one of Casey's whips.

After that crappy job was done (harr harr) I joined the Cainans, Radar, and Nikki for an inside cookout and some Wii.
We played a rousing game of bowling with high stakes. If I won, I got to hit Radar. If Casey won, he got to hit Radar. If Nikki won, she got to hit Radar. If Radar won.....we all got to hit him!
I ended up winning, and I think I did more damage to my hand than to Radar's shoulder (as could be guessed by how I dropped to the floor clutching my knuckles after the hardy blow). No wonder Radar said he wanted me to win!

On Sunday I drove off the lot to get fuel in my truck.
It was windy as hell all day and the tent flaps of the back door had to be closed for both shows to eliminate the curtains flapping around.
This made it difficult to make entrances without rubbing our costumes on the dirty flaps.

Jessi and I spent our free time during the shows playing Lego Star Wars on Xbox.

All three shows today were packed. After the first show, which Pat Davison and his family attended (Pat, his wife, Marites, and their daughter, Mabelle, were on the show with us at the beginning of last season), Jessi fixed my front door latch for me.
What a woman!

During the second show I hit a wall until I got some coffee in my system. It helped, but by the end of the day I was ready to be done.

Naturally I had enough energy to go to the BBQ, where we witnessed a car with a flat tire involved in a high speed chase with four cop cars! They zoomed right by the lot and onto the highway.
The excitement never stops at the Kelly Miller Circus!

March 3: Lyford, TX
March 4-7: Palmview, TX