Thursday, May 31, 2012

Emmie, Do You Want A Play Mate?

Tuesday, May 29: Waynesburg, PA-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 26
Lot: Fairgrounds

It was an overcast day, and according to my phone there was a good chance we would be hit with storms. They all must have passed us, though; the sun came out just in time for the shows to make the weather hot and humid.

Ryan and I could just not catch a break during the first show. First off, the tiger cage take down took F O R E V E R! Ryan and I really had to stretch what already is a borderline lame gag; I suppose that is the nature of the spot.

Next, while we were setting our props for the hillbilly gag we noticed that a few items had been sprayed with tiger pee. Grrr.

The final straw came in the Angry Birds gag. John Moss was finishing his announcement, "It's a game I love to play. It's called Angry......"
His speech was cut short as the generator died.
Ryan and I knew we couldn't leave John hanging, and as everyone knows, the old adage is, "The show must go on."

We ran out and did the gag as best as we could. John was preoccupied with the power outage, and there was no way to make a graceful exit without music and a microphone, so the gag was a mess. That's putting it nicely....

We both went to our trailers to change for the surfing gag. I waited awhile and then went over since I couldn't tell what part of the show was on without any music.
When I got over I found out that the show had been stopped right after the Angry Birds gag. Ryan and I got together some juggling clubs to go fill until the power was back on, but by the time we got back to the tent, the show had resumed.

Needless to say, both Ryan and I were frustrated and angry. What happened to "The show must go on"? It was ok for us to go out and present crap to the audience, while the rest of the show waited awkwardly until the music was back on.
Ok, my point is made and my rant is done.

Luckily the second show went better, and I was able to get some Tasty Kakes after the show to calm myself down further.


Wednesday, May 30: Masontown, PA-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 16
Lot: Masontown-German Park

When we arrived at the lot, we were all directed to a small parking lot to await further instructions. I heard that a tractor was being found to pull us onto the lot, but shortly after that information Tavo directed me onto the lot and I was parked. I'm not sure what the wait was for.

There was a chain link fence surrounding the tent and semis. All the trailers were parked on the back door side of the tent, outside of the fence.
There was only a small gate allowing access to the back door, and of course it was too small for the hillbilly box to fit through.
We drove my truck all the way around to the other side of the fence, where there was a big opening, so we could unload the box and get it inside the tent.

I took Ryan into town so we could go to the post office. After dropping him off back at the lot, I walked into town to get lunch.
Town was also the only place where I had any sort of phone signal, so I made sure to make the most of my visit.

We had good audiences today. There was a short rain shower in between shows that really cooled things down for us.

The only other exciting occurrence of the day was when Silvano, who fills our water tanks, called me over to show me something in the grass. It was a baby bird of prey; after closer examination Ryan guessed it was a baby hawk. It was so cute!

When I had a break, I went over to take a picture of it. It had decapitated a baby mouse and was busy trying to swallow its body whole. How adorable!!!




Wednesday, May 30, 2012

No Signal...Again

Hey everyone, I don't have Internet (or phone signal) at the lot, so there will be no blog post today. I am in town right now; the only place with signal. As much as I love you guys, I am not going to peck out a blog on my phone's keypad....sorry. See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Gordooooooooooooooooon!

Monday, May 28: Washington, PA-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

This afternoon Jeff Gordon and his partner, Roger, took me to lunch before the first show. I picked Jeff's brain about his year with Ringling and his many seasons on Big Apple.

Jeff and Roger watched the first show, and afterwards Jeff had some very insightful and accurate criticisms and advice for us. I am glad we got the chance to visit today.


I'm not going to lie, the shows today were rough. At least we had friendly faces in the first audience; the second show afforded us no such comfort.
Another circus is coming to town for three days this summer....good luck guys!

Fridman took off for three days to pick up his motorhome. With him gone, Ryan and I were in every other act in the first half. That coupled with the heat made for no walk in the park.

At least there was a light at the end of the tunnel. After the shows I went out and had sushi for the first time in a couple of months.
I also went to Toys 'R Us to try and find some Pocoyo dolls for Nico. Alas, my mission was a failure.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Bang Bang!

Sunday, May 27: Washington, PA-3:00 p.m.
Miles: 140
Lot: Consol Energy Park

It was a hot, humid, hot, muggy, hot, sticky, hot, nasty day.

There was a flea market next to the lot that I walked to with Ryan and the Fusco family. We got in for free since we were with the circus.
There were a few neat items, but everything was fairly expensive. The coolest thing I found was this Emmett Kelly doll:


Unfortunately, it wasn't "$50 cool."

While I was making a little lunch, I got a knock on my door. It was Jeff Gordon, better known as "The Clown Gordoon", who was on Big Apple for many seasons.
He and his mother had a booth at the flea market, and she spotted all the circus trucks coming in this morning.
He had to get back to his booth, but he said he was coming to the show tomorrow.

Jerry, a local circus fan, was visiting today. He brought gifts for a few folks: I got some great photos, a video of the Clown College 20th Anniversary TV special, and some magazines.

We only had one show today. After performing it, I was thankful we only had one. 'Nuff said.

I went out to eat dinner, and then I met up with some folks to watch a ball game. The baseball stadium was only a few feet from my house, and the park graciously gave the circus free tickets.

A decent sized group from the show went over to have some fun. We had great seats right behind home plate.
The game was a match between the Washington Wildthings and the River City Rascals.

Many foul balls were hit into the area where our trailers were parked. We all joked about broken windows and dented vehicles, but luckily nothing was actually hit.

It was a fairly slow moving game, but it got exciting towards the end. Unfortunately the visiting team won by only one run.
After the game there was a great fireworks display to wrap up the evening's entertainment.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

"HEY YOU GUYS!"

Saturday, May 26: Mt. Hope, OH-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Miles: 65
Lot: Auction Barn

Last year we drove on a hellish road to get to the Mt. Hope lot. This year we took a route that was a little longer, but much better.
When we got to the lot Ryan said that doing the drive was like playing a video game: there were curves and hills to navigate, and Amish buggies to dodge.

Our friend, Jeff Potts, came to visit today. Jeff helped us out in the prop shop for a week this winter, and he carved our megaphone prop for the surfing gag.

Jeff and I had a delicious breakfast across the street at Mrs. Yoder's Kitchen, and then Jeff took Ryan and I to an Amish fabric store.

I was hoping that animals would be on sale at the auction grounds, like they were last year (I got my black duck, Emmie, in Mt. Hope), but we were the only event going on.

The audiences today were so quiet! The Amish seemed to be very appreciative, but they are not noisemakers.

The start of the second show was held for over twenty minutes. Even though the tent was full, there was a line out the door that didn't seem to end.
I was afraid we'd have to do a third show to accommodate everyone, but every body that bought a ticket was squeezed in.

David Powell and his family were at the show, and David brought me a couple of Amish pies as a free roll.

After the shows Jeff took me, Ryan and Radar to his house in Canton. We had dinner (grease fire hamburgers, mmm mmm!) and toured the Potts' beautiful house.
Of special interest was the downstairs area where we saw the costumes that Jeff and his kids made for The Avengers premiere; very ingenious and creative stuff!

Ryan and I narrowly escaped becoming an exhibit in Jeff's clown museum...


...despite that, we all had a lot of laughs during our visit; it was a fun evening.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Ministry Of Donuts

Friday, May 25: Centerburg, OH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 60
Lot: High school grounds

Folks from the church located next to the lot brought over donuts, coffee, and juice for everyone this morning. It was a nice, welcoming gesture.

Yesterday I was told that there might not be any water for us in Centerburg, which I found strange, because the last time I checked, Ohio wasn't a third world country!
Luckily we did have water access, so all the trailers and trucks got their tanks filled. I was relieved since I had planned to clean house today.

It was a hot, sweaty day. Every time Ryan and I made an appearance, the heat just zapped our energy. Luckily we had good audiences that helped buoy our spirits.


Friday, May 25, 2012

We Are The Champions!

Thursday, May 24: London, OH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 55
Lot: Eagleton Center

This morning I stopped to get some breakfast before we left Dayton. Despite that, I still arrived in London before most folks.

We were in a great location today. We were right next to a Walmart, a hair salon, and some restaurants. Quite a few people from the show went over to get their hair cut today, and I was not an exception.

The lady who cut my hair was asking lots of questions when she found out I was a clown. She told me that she was going to the second show, and she hoped her son wasn't afraid of me. She then went on to tell me that her husband was afraid of clowns.
I scoffed and asked, "How old is he, five?"
She replied that the movie, "It", had scarred him. I responded with my stock answer/joke, "Yeah, I saw that movie. You know the part where he turns into an old lady? That scared the heck out of me! I still can't talk to my grandma!"

A group of circus fans, including Doug Kruest, brought desserts to the cookhouse for dinner. The goodies were scrumptious!

After the shows I rushed to get cleaned up so Radar and I could have dinner at Bob Evans before they closed.
While we were waiting on our food, Radar told me that several audience members had approached him at Intermission to tell him that out of the several circuses that have been in the area over the past month, ours was the best show.
Go team Kelly Miller!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Great Day!

Wednesday, May 23: Beavercreek, OH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 96
Lot: Middle School

On the route slip this morning it said that we couldn't get to the lot until after 8:45 a.m. Because of that we had a late call. 
Even though I stopped twice, once for fuel and once for breakfast, I still got to the lot a few minutes before 8:45 a.m.
Apparently it wasn't that big of a deal, because several folks had already been parked.

I went to do laundry this morning, and when I got back Ryan and I loaded up and went to the Half Price Books in town. I picked up a Chaplin book, a Carol Burnett book, a book on clowning that I repeatedly checked out from the library when I was a kid, and a couple of old Hollywood magazines.

Later in the day I ate at Red Robin and went to the mall to get a belated birthday gift for Johnny and Nathan Moss. I love being around civilization! 

I was glad that I was gone for most of the day. Up until show time there was a steady flood of annoying tweens and teens walking around the backyard. They were highly skilled at being obnoxious and getting in the way of everyone.

On the plus side, we had great audiences for the shows tonight. Derek, who wants to be a clown, and James, his roommate, came to visit with me before the first show.
I answered any questions Derek had, they watched the show, and then I gave more advice afterwards.



Rocco Paris, a former Red Show clown who is very funny (that's almost an oxymoron), came to the second show with his family. Ryan and I had a good time chatting with him after the show; hopefully next time we're in the area we will have more time to talk.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

It's Just A Jump To The Left....

Tuesday, May 22: Coldwater, OH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 30
Lot: Municipal Field

This morning when we arrived at the lot, we were treated to donuts and juice from the local Chamber of Commerce. I thought that was a very nice, welcoming gesture.

This morning Ryan and I worked on measurements for a new prop; I'm surprised we fared as well as we did; math is not our strong suit.

Castro fixed something on my truck today. I'm not sure what it's called, but here is a picture of it:



Whenever I shifted into drive, I would hear a clang underneath the truck. It was that little devil pictured above! All is well now.

The generator usually has its rear facing the tent's back door, so the noise is considerable. Today the generator was facing the other way, and it was amazing how much of a difference it made.
Ryan noted that everything seemed calmer with the newfound quiet. A guy could get used to that!

We had good audiences tonight....

And now for something completely different:

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

An Eye For An Aye, Aye, Aye

Monday, May 21: Spencerville, OH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 66
Lot: Well site

It was supposed to storm today, but we only got a little sprinkle and then everything cleared up. It was nice and cool all day, which felt great when we were working.

Dick Kohlreiser was around visiting today, and he watched the first performance, but I didn't get to say hello. Hi Dick!

In the first show's hillbilly gag, Ryan and I were doing the slap fight part of the act. My wet rag wrapped around Ryan's head and whipped him in the eye.
Ryan started screaming in pain, while laughing at the same time. This started me laughing, and by the end of the slap fight we were both a mess.

To continue with the wackiness that had started, Ryan decided to give me an impromptu kick to the butt while I was bent over picking up my fallen pants.
Unfortunately for me, I had my legs apart, and Ryan's surprise punt caught me right in the family jewels.

I wish I could have seen my face as it went from "silly hillbilly expression" to "surprise/pain/anger" in a flash.
I held it together and finished the act; however, when I got backstage I crumpled to the ground and rolled around (a proven healing method).

When Ryan discovered what he did, he felt awful. Of course, that didn't stop both of us from having a good laugh over the incident.

Who wants kids anyway!?

Later in the evening when Ryan removed his make up, he discovered that my rag hit to his eye actually cut his eyelid. Thank God he had his eyes closed! I don't think I'm quite qualified for orogolomistician surgery.

In the future I think we need to do safer gags like "Ring, Ring" and "Tide".

Monday, May 21, 2012

The "Fargo" Gag

Sunday, May 20: Dunkirk, IN-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Miles: 66
Lot: City park

When I was standing in line to get paid this morning, a teenage boy came up and said hello to me. After a second it dawned on me who it was. His name is Codey, and I remember talking with him a lot at both shows when we played Dunkirk three years ago.
The amazing thing was that he picked me out of the line of people and knew who I was out of make up.

He hung around the lot all day and evening, and he watched both shows. Some people really love the circus!
I guess it helped that he lived right next door to the lot....

In 2009 when we played Dunkirk, there was an accident on the flying trapeze. Renato Fernandes fell to the ground and was taken to the hospital.
Luckily he was ok, but this year in Dunkirk, tragedy struck again!
Ryan and I fell several times each performance! I think we are going to be alright though.....

Before finale of the first show, Ryan and I were talking about a story from Ringling's Red Unit Clown Alley in 1999.
For some reason the clowns were making a "statement" to management, so whenever they left the Alley to do a number, they would all put on sunglasses. They would wear the sunglasses until they got to the curtain, where one of the clowns would collect all the eyewear in a box before the gag or production number started.
As soon as the clowns came off the floor, they would put the glasses back on until they got back to their dressing room.

With this fresh in my mind, I had a good laugh in the second show's package delivery bit. As soon as we got into the tent, I turned to talk to Ryan, who had slipped on a pair of sunglasses on our way in.

Hey, you know what the best part of the second show was? When it was over!

After the shows there was a big soiree over at the Moss' trailer for Nathan's tenth birthday. There was lots of good food and company to enjoy.
Codey, our biggest fan in Dunkirk, stopped by to tell me how much he loved our gags. His favorite part was when I threw Ryan into the "wood chipper" at the end of the hillbilly gag.

Before I went to bed I talked on the phone with Rachel, a high school student in Minnesota who is writing a paper on the circus for a class assignment.
Someone she interviewed pointed her in the direction of my blog, and so she e-mailed me and asked for an interview.

I told her about how I got started in the circus, my daily routine, and some of the highlights of my circus career.



Sunday, May 20, 2012

Tippecanoe and Peru Too

Friday, May 18: Peru, IN-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 27
Lot: River walk

This morning Tom Dunwoody was nice enough to take me and Radar to the Circus Hall of Fame and give us a guided tour.
We couldn't have asked for a better tour guide; Tom had great and interesting information about the artifacts in the museum, the wagons and other equipment, as well as the vast amount of land that used to belong to the circuses that wintered in Peru.

Here are a few pictures of the sights that peaked my interest:







After our tour, we visited with John Fugate, Wayne Scheiner, and Doyne Snider in the Hall of Fame office. Wayne and Doyne were also nice enough to open the gift shop for us, and then Wayne treated us to lunch at the Circus City Grill.
Peru's circus restaurant is not nearly as well decorated as Hugo's, but they have quite a menu!

While Ryan and I were unloading our props, Rick Purdue called us over to his trailer. Rick has been with us for the past week taking shots for the program. He showed us some of his work; it was beautiful!

Ryan and I died a horrible death in the ring for the first show. To tell the truth, everyone did. To quote Jimmy Hall, "You couldn't get a rise out of those people if you stuck a stick of dynamite up their butt".

Pat Kelly, the youngest son of Emmett Kelly Sr., was at both shows performing meet and greet on the midway and in the tent.



My friends, Beth and Connor, came to see the second show. Also in attendance were Brian and Tina Miser, their daughter, and Brian's father. The Misers have been with Ringling almost ten years now, performing cannon and also the high fall.
Luckily the audience was much more lively when our friends were in the crowd. That's why I always tell folks to come see us at the evening show. There's nothing wrong with stacking the deck!

After the shows Beth and Connor joined a group of us from the show for an evening of bowling. The alley was right next to the lot, and after a phone call from Becky, the owners/managers were nice enough to keep the kitchen staff around a little longer so we could stuff our faces in between frames.

It is safe to say that I had a great time in Peru!


Saturday, May 19: N. Manchester, IN-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Miles: 31
Lot: High School

Culpepper Merriweather advance clown, Tina Bausch, was visiting today. She came over for awhile in the morning, so we could get caught up.

It was hot today! Despite that, the audiences were fairly responsive.

End transmission.

Durp

Hey everyone,

Yesterday I had lousy Internet, hence the no blog posting thing.....
I know you're all probably sick of hearing that excuse, and believe me, I'm sick of writing it.

Two blog posts will be up later this afternoon.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Way Down In Kokomo

Thursday, May 17: Kokomo, IN-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 30
Lot: Future Park

Wayne Scheiner and Doyne Snider came up to say hello this morning from the Circus Hall of Fame. They brought with them Pat Kelly, the youngest son of Emmett Kelly.
I chatted with them for a few minutes before they took off back to Peru. Pat is going to do meet and greet for us tomorrow before the shows.

I had a clear path to get off the lot today, so I took advantage of that and went out and enjoyed what Kokomo had to offer. (i.e. chain restaurants and shopping)

I was feeling great for the shows. I don't know how to explain it other than I was in a good mood and all my actions and reactions felt spot on.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

I Should've Had Lasagna.....

Wednesday, May 16: Fairmount, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 70
Lot: Playacres Park

This morning I drove the 9 miles to neighboring Gas City (what's that smell?) to do laundry and get coffee. I was going to go to Walmart as well, but it turned out to be a distribution center, and not a market.

When I got back to Fairmount, I took a little walking tour. Both the actor, James Dean, and Jim Davis, the creator of the character "Garfield", are from Fairfield. The Historical Museum had many James Dean artifacts, and one room devoted to Jim Davis.





I browsed in the one antique store that was open (who closes on a Wednesday?! I mean really?!), and then I stopped in The Giant, a bar and grill that the two ladies working at the museum recommended.
Sue and Mike were there as well, so I joined them.
We had the Giant's famous giant pork tenderloin sandwich. I must say, it was worth the hype.



Sue and Mike split one. I made mine lunch and dinner (and late night snack).

We had good audiences tonight; I love getting those big laughs!

Brent "Cheeko" DeWitt was visiting today. He set up his calliope out by the midway during the shows, and I spent some time visiting with him after work.

I felt like taking a late night stroll, partly because there was a poster in a coffee/ice cream shop that I wanted to nab.
I had asked the owner for the poster earlier in the day, and she was very wishy washy about it. "Well, not a lot of people seem to know you guys are in town, I should leave it up so they can see it" she told me. I guess she didn't see the big crowd that showed up for the tent raising this morning.

The lady told me that if I came back after the shows, the poster was mine. Well, when I went by in the evening, there was a younger girl working, and she was just as uncertain about handing the poster over to me.
I honestly don't know what the big deal is. I just wanted the poster because it has my picture on it. Yes, I'm a narcissist, so what?
When I ask to take one, people react like I am asking them to hand over all the money in the register, or their first born child.
From now on, I'm taking. No questions asked.

"'Tis easier to ask forgiveness than permission."

That's what I told the judge anyway.....

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Rainbow World

Tuesday, May 15: New Palestine, IN-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 25
Lot: Lions Club grounds

There were a lot of people walking around the backstage area all day, which has always been a pet peeve of ours.
I told Ryan one strategy I came up with to scare folks off. When I see people walking backstage, I'll march around, throw glitter and confetti in the air, and sing (in my best Ethel Merman voice) this song...



....until they retreat in terror.
Of course, my brilliant plan could backfire, and folks might demand an encore....

Kyle, his girlfriend, Cookie, and Cookie's parents came to see the second performance tonight. They brought much needed energy to the tent. In fact, after the show, while they were waiting for me on the midway, several performers went up and thanked them for being such good audience members.

Kyle and Cookie were kind enough to take me and Radar out to eat after the shows. There we laughed and talked of days past. (I wrote that last line with a British accent, in case you were wondering)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cut And Dry

Monday, May 14: Rushville, IN-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

I walked around town today, partly for exercise, and partly to check out the antique shops. The only item of note that I found was this Oliver Hardy doll.


We had good audiences today. There was a photographer at the first show that snapped some shots. Here's a link to her work:

http://cmsphoto.zenfolio.com/p601719486

Sunday, May 13, 2012

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!

Happy Mother's Day to everyone.

We have the day off, so I am going to write two posts tomorrow. Have a good day, folks!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Aw, Ragatz!

Friday, May 11: Nashville, IN-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 22
Lot: Eagle Park

This afternoon Ryan and I went to check out Nashville's cool downtown. We had both noticed how nice the area looked as we drove through it on the jump this morning.

We looked in the different shops and had lunch. When we passed by the local playhouse, we saw a poster for a show performed by Steven Ragatz, formerly of Cirque Du Soliel.
His show was at 7 p.m., so I sent him a message inviting him to our 4:30 p.m. show. He unfortunately had set up to do before his performance, so he couldn't make it.

We had good audiences tonight. Myrna, who was the cook on the show several years ago, stopped by to say hello before she watched the second performance.

Joe Lee and his son, Brandon, came back to see the show again tonight. Afterwards Ryan and I joined them for dinner at the Muddy Boots Cafe (yeah, I get it, what an appropriate name...hilarious) where we had a great time talking.
Joe showed us some of his artwork and traded drawing tips with Ryan, while I picked his brain about his time at Clown College, Circus World, and the King Bros. and Hoxie shows.


Friday, May 11, 2012

(Title Missing)

Thursday, May 10: Martinsville, IN-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 36
Lot: fairgrounds

Since we jumped to Martinsville last night, I was able to sleep in this morning, which was heavenly. To add to my celestial morning, I got to go to a Starbucks in town. Huzzah!
After a trip to Walmart to pick up groceries, I was feeling most accomplished.

John Walker, the owner of a drive in theater in Spencer, IN, was at the first show. I went over to visit with him during Intermission and after the show; he brought me an issue of White Tops and some newspaper clippings from when Culpepper was in Spencer.

Beth Grimes, who saw the show on Tuesday, was back tonight for a second viewing. When I went out to see her at Intermission, I met Joe Lee, a 1976 graduate of Clown College. In addition to spending time on the road with a couple of mud shows, Joe is an excellent illustrator.
He even wrote and illustrated a book titled: "The History of Clowns For Beginners", two copies of which he kindly autographed and gave to me and Ryan.

After the shows, Beth was nice enough to treat me to dinner. I invited Joe and his family as well, but he said maybe they would come visit tomorrow in Nashville.



Thursday, May 10, 2012

Up, Up, And Away

Wednesday, May 9: Danville, IN-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 62
Lot: fairgrounds

We had an early call time this morning because a hot air balloon party was taking place at the lot in Danville between 7 and 9 a.m.

Becky, Sara, and Armando arranged for a company that does hot air balloon rides to come out to the lot. In addition to the rides there were donuts; all of this was for their children, Fresia, Gigi, and Bevelis, who have birthdays around this time.

It was a neat experience getting to go up in the air like that. I'm normally not a huge fan of heights, but we were only up around 85 feet. The guide said on a regular (untethered) trip, they go up to 7 or 8 thousand feet.
No sir, not for me!




After the last ride was completed, the guide had everyone stay inside the basket as he deflated the balloon.
It quickly caught the wind as it came down, and this hilarity ensued.

                                                

Hot air ballooning was an unexpected, but fun way to spend the morning!

My next goal was to get laundry done. I loaded up my truck and started to drive away....only to get stuck in some soft ground.
I had to wait for the tent to be set up and the seat wagons to be set before Alex could come pull me out of my ruts with the Bobcat.

The shows tonight were about as fun as a root canal. Yay, lot and license towns!

We had to move to the next town this evening because Danville wouldn't allow us to stay overnight at the fairgrounds. What a welcoming town.
The upside was there were a ton of RV dump stations on the way out of the fairgrounds.

Tonight's drive was a pain in the butt, especially in the dark. There was a decent stretch on a winding, narrow road, and I had a hard time seeing the arrows for most of the trip.

On the way into Martinsville I was thinking to myself how much I would love to eat at a Steak 'n Shake, when low and behold I spotted one only a few miles from the lot.
As soon as I parked my rig, I unhooked my truck and went to nosh.

On the way back home I was behind a couple of vehicles from the show. They drove past the entrance to the fairgrounds, so I called the lead driver and told him to turn around.
I would have done the same thing when I first arrived in town, but I spotted the fairgrounds sign before it was too late.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Programs, Half Off

Tuesday, May 8: Covington, IN-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 40
Lot: City Park

Since I had company visiting this evening, I spent most of my day cleaning house.

My friends, Kyle, and his girlfriend, "Cookie", came to hang out before the first show. They brought me a bag full of Asian goodies. Rum, rum....er, yum yum!

Kyle and "Cookie", proving their intestinal fortitude, watched both shows today. The first performance reminded me why I always tell friends to attend the night show...

In between shows, two more friends, Beth and Ryan, came by with fresh bread, ham, and cheese. Beth, Ryan, Kyle, and "Cookie" were a great cheering section for the second performance. They really helped pump up the rest of the crowd with their enthusiasm.

When I went out to visit my friends at Intermission, I saw half a program sitting on a chair next to them. Literally, half a program. There was a clean, machine edge cut vertically down half of the program.

When the owner of the program came back, I asked her why she only got half a program, and if she paid half price for it.
My attempts at humor went straight over her head, and trying to get an intelligent answer out of her was like trying to get something funny out of a Red Show clown.
The young lady had two good reasons why she apparently didn't need any smarts. 'Nuff said.

After the shows my support group and I went into Illinois to go to Steak & Shake for dinner.
And a good time was had by all....

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

BLAAARF!

Sorry everyone. Once again I didn't have Internet yesterday. So, here's two blogs!
And begin...


Sunday, May 6: Paris, IL-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Miles: 45
Lot: fairgrounds

The fact that my trip to the Rural King across the street from the lot was the most exciting event of my day should speak volumes.

Lately I have become bored with the routine of the circus, so I fooled around with my make up a bit today.
I put a "Chesty" Mortimer-ish line going from my mouth down my neck.



I know, right? I'm such an exciting, rebellious spirit.

Well, now the joke is on me, because Rick Purdue was at both shows taking pictures, possibly for the program.
Now there is the chance that future clown scholars (i.e. nerds) will look at the 2012 Kelly Miller Circus program and think that the neck line was part of my look.
Damn my fickle fancies!

Radar, Christian, and I joined Radar's grandmother for dinner after the shows. It was so nice being home for the evening by 8:30 p.m.


Monday, May 7: Clinton, IN-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 18
Lot: Sportland Park

We were treated to thunderstorms on this morning's jump. By the time everyone had parked though, the rain had subsided.
Most everyone was parked only a few feet from the road, which was a great idea. It seems every year that we play Clinton it rains and everyone has to be pulled off the lot.

I have no idea what hit me, but this morning as I was reading in bed, a rock seemed to form in my stomach.
Pretty soon I was (excuse my crudeness) praying to the porcelain god. Many times I will make ridiculous vomiting noises (usually when hearing something I find unpleasant) to make my friends laugh; well, I was actually making those noises this morning, which made me want to laugh even though my head felt like it was going to explode.

Luckily whatever was ailing me was forcefully ejected from my system, and after a long, hot shower and a nap I felt much better.

After my esophageal escapade this morning, I was afraid to eat anything but a handful of peanuts and pretzels.
Needless to say, I did not have much energy for the first performance. Luckily there were three folks sitting on the sidelines that were going absolutely bananas over everything Ryan and I did.
They helped give me the energy to get through the show.

By the time the second performance rolled around, I was feeling 100% again. Unfortunately it was a rough show. Ryan and I had a lousy hillbilly gag, complete with bad timing and me getting slapped in the nose.
I also lost a heel to one of my clown shoes during the Angry Birds gag. Ryan lent me his Clownverse sneakers to wear, and Tatiana managed to find my heel so I could re-glue it.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Leaverton To Beaverton

Saturday, May 5: Palestine, IL-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Miles: 45
Lot: Leaverton Park

It was a nice sunny day and we had two good audiences. There's not much more I can say on the subject.

After the shows Radar and I had a delicious Italian dinner in Robinson, the next town over.

And that's the rest of the story.....

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Mt. Stormy

Friday, May 4: Mt. Carmel, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 33
Lot: Industrial Park

This morning after I arrived at the lot, I unhooked and drove across the state line into Indiana to go to Walmart. When I got back I gave Sister Bernard a lift to the laundromat in town.
Awhile later she called to have me pick her up; just as I was leaving, a thunderstorm hit with heavy rainfall. Luckily by the time I got to the laundromat it had all passed.

To express their gratitude for the ride to the laundromat, Sisters Dorothy and Bernard had me over to their trailer for coffee and lunch.

I felt much better for the shows today; I had way more energy than I did yesterday.
My friend, Cody Byrns, came to see the second show. Unfortunately around Intermission it began storming again, and the second half was cut way down. I was sorry that he didn't get to see a full show, but I suppose safety comes first.

Every year that we play Mt. Carmel it either storms or threatens to storm and we all have to move off the lot. This year was of course no exception.
As soon as the show was over I rushed to get my rig onto solid ground. I parked and then went out with Cody to have some dinner and catch up.


Friday, May 4, 2012

An Addict's Withdrawal

Thursday, May 3: Carmi, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 56
Lot: fairgrounds

An addendum to yesterday's blog: Bill and Dan Reynolds were also visiting yesterday. Bill was nice enough to bring some valve oil for Ryan.
So any of you that don't like Ryan's trumpet playing, you can thank Bill for his enablement.

Now on to Carmi....

I was feeling worn out and run down today. I was extremely lethargic, and I was moping around everywhere backstage during the shows....even more so than usual!

It was a chore getting through our acts, but I managed as best I could. In the second hillbilly gag, I was running over to Ryan when all of a sudden I just kind of....fell over.
I crawled over to Ryan and pulled myself up using his body. Ryan got a good laugh out of it, but I seriously was that exhausted.

That's the last time I go one day without drinking any coffee!


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Gold Digger

Wednesday, May 2: Sesser, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 50
Lot: school grounds

We had a very early call time this morning since the lot in Sesser was at a school. Everyone had to be on the lot before 7:00 a.m. to beat bus traffic.

Since I didn't have internet yesterday, I had a lot of catching up to do online this morning.

Becky tipped me off that we were only 40 miles away from Carbondale, IL, where Ringling's Gold Unit was waiting to open on Friday.
I texted my friend, Dean, and let him know that we were close to him.

The first audience today.....well, the less said about the first audience, the better! I was just sorry that some of the Gold Show cast and crew saw us in front of such a rough crowd.

Luckily the second audience was better. Dean, a clown who Ryan and I worked with on Ringling, and Paula, a dancer I worked with my first year on Ringling, and two of the tech crew were in attendance.

In the Angry Birds gag, when the big eagle drops on us at the end, it fell a little early and took us by surprise. It fell right on top of my head and really messed up my neck; I hope I didn't get whiplash!
I think it was all an elaborate plot by Johnny Moss, who drops the bird for us. Right before the act we were talking about how we were going to pie him for his birthday.
I suppose he wanted to make sure we were out of the picture so that wouldn't happen.

It was nice to visit with my friends after the show, but they couldn't stay long, because they still had to drive back to Carbondale.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Nasty Days

Sorry folks, but yesterday I had no Internet connection, which aggravated me more than you can possibly imagine.
How I could not get a good signal in a town of 14,000 people, I will never know.


Here we go!

Monday, April 30: Vandalia, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 67
Lot: Waggoner's parking lot

There was a restaurant right next to the lot this morning, so I moseyed on over to have breakfast. I was so disappointed in my meal; I guess it is a good thing for my wallet that I can make a better breakfast than most restaurants I go to.

Later in the morning Ryan and I went to get new batteries for our trailers. On our drive I spotted a laundromat, so after dropping off Ryan back at the lot, I took my clothes for a "warshin'".

Unfortunately the laundromat was as big a disappointment as my breakfast! One of the washers was broken, so after finishing it's cycle, it filled up with water again.
This left my clothes sopping wet. I wrung them out by hand as best I could, and then I put them in a dryer....that ate 3 of my quarters and only ran for a few minutes.

By this point half of my clothes were dry, so I put the extremely wet bunch in the dryer I had just used. After close to 50 minutes some of my items were still damp.

I was extremely frustrated, especially since there was no attendant at the laundromat, and no signs saying how to get ahold of one.
Luckily, back at the lot Tatiana let me throw my remaining wet items into her dryer.

I went to Wal Mart to do some grocery shopping, but I rushed because it had begun to rain. I had to drive across some soft grass to get back to my trailer, and I wanted to get back before the ground became too wet.

It rained a bit this afternoon, but not all day like the forecast predicted. It was still a nasty day to work though.
The tent was set up on rocks (always a clown favorite), there were water puddles everywhere, and the rocks were covered with slimy, slippery algae.
Just nasty, nasty, nasty!

I spotted Mr. North in the seats during the first show; it's a shame he came back on such a gross day.
I was just ready to be done with the shows so I could be inside my (comparatively) clean trailer.


Tuesday, May 1: Centralia, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 35
Lot: Fairview Park

This morning after I parked and got settled, the rain came down like crazy for a little while. After that the sun appeared for the rest of the day.

We were set up right across the street from a shopping center that had a movie theater, so Ryan and I went with Nico to see "Pirates: Band of Misfits".
It was a fun movie, and there were some very clever jokes, but I didn't think it was as funny as the Wallace and Grommet films (which are made by the same company).

Again, it was a nasty day to work. There were a lot of puddles in the back yard, and there was nasty, slick mud everywhere in the tent. Also it was humid and sticky all afternoon and evening.
Just nasty, nasty, nasty. (I sense a theme here)
To add to the stress, the cradle act was out, so Ryan and I had to haul butt to make a quick change in time for the hillbilly gag.
At least the audiences were good; their reactions helped bolster our spirits a bit.

Right before Ryan and I went out for the package delivery bit in the second show, Jacob told me about an elderly woman in the tent that loved clowns and wanted a picture. He said if we got a chance, to please go over to her.
At first I thought to myself, "Forget that! I'm miserable today, and the last thing I want to do is go out and spend extra time in all the mud and humidity!"
But then in my trailer I started thinking, "What kind of a clown, nay a person, does that make me? What kind of life does this woman lead? Maybe I'll bring her a lot of happiness by just the simple act of taking a picture with her."

Yeah, yeah, schmaltzy stuff, I know, but I felt really bad about my initial decision to blow the situation off.

At Intermission, after Ryan and I set the bird prop, I called over to the group from the home just as they were getting ready to leave.
I slid over through the mud and introduced myself to the woman and said that I understood that she really loved clowns.
One of the employees there with the elderly folks was very excited that I had come over, and she snapped a picture of us together.
In the end, I was happy that I went over and made a little good karma. Groovy.

At the conclusion of the shows it felt soooooooooooo good to take a shower.
We had to move off the lot, so I had made preparations during the last show so I would be ready to move after my shower.
I wanted to make sure that I got out of the back yard before the band wagon pulled out of the tent and blocked me in until tear down was complete.

I had already scouted out a driving path with the least amount of standing water, I had packed up my house, and I had my power cable all rolled up and stored, so I was off like a shot shortly after the show had ended.

After getting out of the "danger zone", I pulled alongside Becky's trailer, just a few feet from the road. There was still a lot of foot and vehicular traffic from the show letting out, so I decided to scout out my route even further.

I ran all the way to the back of the lot, where the entrance was, and saw where Tavo wanted us to start lining up our rigs.
I ran back to my trailer again just in time for an opening to appear in traffic. (With all that running in the humidity, I totally negated the shower I had just taken)

As I started up my truck and began to drive, I was met with a lot of resistance. My rig was sinking into the soft ground!
I uttered a heroic line just like a star in an action movie, "I didn't come this close to be stopped now!", and slowly but surely I pulled onto the road and out of the muck.
Huzzah! Take that, Centralia!