Friday, October 26, 2012

Stick A Fork In It!

Thursday, October 25: Ardmore, OK-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Finally it arrived, the final day of the season! Hooray!
It was also the final pay day! Booooo!

Around noon a cold front blew in and ruined the perfect weather we've had for the past several days.

There was a rehearsal this afternoon for next year's production number and the finale. Ryan and I didn't know about it since the notices giving that information were put up inside the bandwagon and on the left performer's entrance, the two places Ryan and I never go during the shows.
John Moss sent us a text to inform us that we were late, so we hustled over to take part.

After skipping around the ring for thirty minutes Ryan and I watched "The Fog" for our "Scare-athon". We both agreed that it was a better movie than the majority of the schlock we've been watching, but we were disappointed in the lack of make up effects.

The Gordon family: Dave, "Shorty", and their son, D.R., came to see the final two shows tonight. I've known the Gordons since I began my circus career back in 2002, so it was great to see them again.
They just sold their house in Yukon, OK, and now they are going to be moving to Arizona where "Shorty" will attend culinary school. They were understandably excited.

The final two shows went off without a hitch. The highlight for me and Ryan was the final package delivery bit. Ryan rained down punishment on the giant box the entire number. He even fell off the bleachers on top of it, which got a big laugh.
After we left the tent we put the box exactly where it belonged:

In the second finale John Moss gave a speech about how the audience had just witnessed the final performance of the 2012 tour. He gave the crowd different statistics, such as how many miles we'd traveled, how many performances we'd given in how many different states, etc.
One new statistic he added was that Ryan and I took over 3,000 pratfalls this season (a very conservative estimate). Does anyone know a good chiropractor!?

After saying my goodbyes to folks on the show (Sara and Gigi will not be returning next season) and the Gordons, I got cleaned up and joined Radar, Elisa, and Christian for a celebratory late night snack at Sonic.

As a final gift to the cast and crew, the show generator ran all night long. Whoopee!

Today, Friday, the 26th of October, we had a 105 mile jump back to Kelly Miller Winter Quarters in Hugo, OK.
Ryan and I have been busy all day long, and it doesn't look like it is going to stop anytime soon.
We have a lot to do this winter (doing gigs, teaching, and constructing props and costumes for next season); hopefully we'll find some time to relax too!
As I'm sure you've guessed, we are returning to Kelly Miller in 2013 for our 5th season.

Thanks everyone for reading the blog this year. I don't plan to put it completely to rest for the winter. Check back every weekend for a new update on what's happening with us.
We hope to see you down the road in 2013!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 24: Ardmore, OK-Travel Day
Miles: 230
Lot: Corner of Commerce & Veterans

This morning's jump was a piece of cake for me, but some of the highways we drove on were ridiculous! I swear that my trailer was bouncing up and down the road half of the time I was driving.
Between that and driving onto the incredibly bumpy lot we show in Ardmore, I'm very surprised that the inside of my trailer wasn't a complete disaster area.

After I got settled at the new lot, Elisa and I drove to Walmart for some last minute shopping. I needed candy and gift bags for the circus kids' trick or treating, and I also needed to pick up a few things to complete my costume for the Halloween party.

After giving out candy to the trick or treaters, I dove into my preparations for the Halloween party. In total it took me about an hour to get ready; Ryan had come over earlier in the afternoon to help me design the make up and explain how to make my latex and toilet paper appliques.
Here is the finished result:

I told Ryan that people were going to have a hard time eating around me. Well, more so than usual anyway!

The Kelly Miller Halloween party was, as usual, a lot of fun. I was impressed with the amount of participation in both the costume and pumpkin carving contests. Here are some photos of the party:

 Kimberly Moss
 Ryan's pumpkin (second place winner adult carving)
 The Boss as The King (tied 1st place adult winner with Sara)
 The Fusco-stone Family (winners best group)
 Nicolas (tied second place kid costume with his brother Dylan) 
 Jaime's pumpkin (undisputed king of carving at 1st place adult yet again)
 Another shot of Jaime's pumpkin
 Luis (winner best unknown)
The Flintstones making their grand entrance
 Jaime's brother's pumpkin (it must run in the family)
 Another shot of Marcelino's pumpkin
 Radar and Elisa
 Tetto, Liam, and DeeDee (Ninja Tetto won second place adult costume)
 Becky, Marshall, and Fresia
 Carolyn and Mrs. North
 Danny, Arwen, and Tavana
 Jacob, Cody, Bevelis, Daniel, Christian, Radar, and Jeremiah (Christian won 3rd place adult costume)
 Danny's pumpkin
Sammy and Liam's pumpkins...and Mike!

I didn't get a picture of Sara or Gigi's costumes, but Sara won 1st place adult costume, and Gigi won 3rd place kid costume.

When my spiders found out that they didn't win anything, they crawled back under my skin and continued eating away at my brain.
There's always next year!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Stop Texting!

Tuesday, October 23: Pryor, OK-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 90
Lot: fairgrounds

Today's lot was the nicest one we've been on since we left the Chicago area. It was flat, level, and the grass was short.

All evening I was busy making preparations for our big jump to Ardmore tomorrow. Mainly I was concerned with making sure my trailer tires were all full of air. Two of them seem to have a slow leak; that's just one of the many projects revolving around my house that I plan to tackle this winter.

The audiences tonight were great. Their energy was a nice change from the past several towns; they gave me and Ryan a much needed boost.

There was a girl texting front and center during the skeleton chase. I scared the heck out of her when I came close to hitting her with the shovel. I figured that would have taught her a lesson, but when I saw her later in the show she was still texting.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

"Heigh Ho!"

Monday, October 22: Granby, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 90
Lot: Ballpark Hwy. 60 East

Dave and Sherri, our advance clowns, were waving goodbye to everyone as we left the lot this morning. They have been traveling with us for the past few days, but now they are on their way back home.
Thank you guys for all your hard work over the past two years! We'll see you down the road!

Armando and his family returned to the show today, so we are back to having three elephants.

Today for our "Scare-athon" Ryan and I watched "Seven". Though it's technically not a horror movie, there are some horrific elements. Not to mention it is a great film; it was definitely the best movie we've watched in awhile.
It's about a serial killer who utilizes the seven deadly sins for his murders. You all know the seven deadly sins right? There's Doc, Grumpy, Sneezy, Sleepy, Bashful, Happy....

...and everyone's favorite, Slothy.

Tatiana was nice enough to make us lunch while we were watching the movie. It was a good thing too, since the gluttony scene really made me hungry!

This afternoon we had a rehearsal for next season's finale. I see a lot of skipping and dose e doe-ing in my future. grumble grumble

In the first show Ryan and I ran out to play our fanfare for the opening. There was a family in the front row standing with their backs turned to us as they tried to get situated in their seats. I quipped, "I'm glad you guys made it on time", which they didn't hear in their pursuit of the perfect seating arrangement.
John Moss began his opening speech as the family continued to stand a few feet away with their backs to us.
Backstage I was commenting to John Moss about the situation, and he laughed and informed me that it was the sponsor and his family. Classy! 

After the shows everybody had to move off the lot in anticipation of thunderstorms throughout the night. 
It was a difficult space for us to park in; thank God Tavo was there to direct traffic and get us all situated.

Monday, October 22, 2012

No Chili For You!

Sunday, October 21: El Dorado Springs, MO-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Miles: 90
Lot: beside Fugate Motors

I was feeling worn out today, both mentally and physically. I took a nap in the morning which made me feel a little better. Unfortunately I woke up with a splitting headache. At the start of the first show I took some medicine, because I was not looking forward to getting hit and falling down with my head throbbing non stop.

It was humid today. I'm surprised all our bodies aren't going into shock from the drastically changing temperatures. I am;however, happy that we haven't been freezing too much lately.

Local circus fan Mike Sealy was at both shows today. In between performances we visited with him for a bit, and he purchased two autographed Steve & Ryan 8x10s.
Don't forget that you too can purchase a photo! E-mail me at if you're interested.

Thanks for your support, Mike!

I was bored doing the shows today, and the audiences didn't really help my disposition. In the ring I tried to do as many stupid things as possible to get me out of my rut.

After the show I migrated next door to the grocery store; I was not surprised to see many other folks from the circus also doing some convenient shopping.
I spent the evening at home and played the video game that Johnny got me for my birthday.

Only three more show days!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Those Crazy Eye-Trallions

Saturday, October 20: Pleasant Hill, MO-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Miles: 40
Lot: fairgrounds

This morning's jump was over before I knew it. I had a lot on my mind, and with that to occupy me the miles just flew by.

Johnny Moss brought over my birthday present this morning; he got "Resident Evil 6" for me. Every year Johnny gets me a video game for my birthday (usually zombie related [he knows what I like!]) that entertains me through the winter months.

We were on a gravel lot today, and it was extremely dusty. I felt filthy every time I went back to my trailer after a gag.

Today for our "Scare-athon" Ryan and I watched the Italian movie, "Zombie". It's a werewolf film.
Just kidding.
It is (in)famous for two scenes: 1) an underwater fight between a zombie and a shark and 2) a woman getting a huge piece of jagged, sharp wood slowly shoved into her eye.

You're lucky I didn't put up the splinter picture...

I've seen the film before, but this time I was especially impressed by the shark scene because the actor playing the zombie a) does insane things with a shark (riding on its back, biting it, etc) and b)  has no visible eye protection or breathing apparatus for the lengthly underwater shots (did I mention he's opening his mouth to bite the shark?). Very impressive!

The second audience today was great. They really surprised me since I was expecting a reserved audience like at the first performance.

I joined Radar, Elisa, and Radar's grandmother for dinner after the shows; we went to a BBQ joint where the food was delicious!

When I got back to the lot I was anxious to play the video game that Johnny got for me. I turned it on, and about five minutes into my game the power shut off. Grrrr.
What especially frustrated me was that the generator was turned off at 9:50 p.m., over an hour earlier than the usual weekend shut off time.
I was not a happy camper about my forced curfew.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

29 And Feeling Fine!

Thursday, October 18: Boonville, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 59
Lot: fairgrounds

It was a cold day, and the wind was blowing strongly almost non stop. Ryan and I tried to stay warm indoors by working on more business stuff (that's the technical term).
John Moss was nice enough to let me print out some paperwork, and then David Shepard gave me a ride into town so I could mail off a contract.

I was still dealing with the sore throat that started last night, so I tried not to strain my voice in the shows. I just didn't feel as funny without my usual arsenal of high pitched girly screams.

Friday, October 19: Warrensburg, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 71
Lot: fairgrounds

Today was my 29th birthday. While I was packing up my trailer in preparation for our morning jump, a sharp pain shot up through my neck as I was putting my generator in the house. Ah, the joys of being another year older!

Our advance clowns, Dave and Sherri, treated me to a delicious breakfast for my birthday. The restaurant even kindly gave me an $8 discount on my meal since it was my special day; I should have had two breakfasts!

Today for our "Scare-athon" Ryan and I watched "The Hitcher" (the original), which turned out to be more of a thriller than a horror movie. I wasn't too impressed, but I guess all our choices can't be gems.

Tatiana made me a delicious birthday lunch while we watched the movie; I was definitely lucking out in the good food department today.

I spent the majority of my day responding to the over 300 birthday messages left for me on my Facebook page. It sure meant a lot to me that so many people took the time, even just a second, to wish me a Happy Birthday. It got me all verklempt!

To add to my birthday bounty, I received a box of videos in the mail from my friend Andrew Scharff, and a care package from Jason and Justin Senft. They sent me and Sara copies of their photo of me and GiGi that will be in the new Federation Mondiale Du Cirque calendar, and they also sent along photos for John Moss and Becky.

Ryan and I spent most of our free time during the shows geeking out on the videos that Andrew sent. It was definitely a birthday highlight....cause I'm a nerd.

Ryan had a new idea for the package delivery bit that we tried out in the second show. While the long sound effect of the package breaking was playing, Ryan and I just stood completely still instead of mugging and reacting like usual.
It earned us the biggest laugh out of everything we did in that performance. Just for standing still and letting a sound effect do all the heavy lifting!
After busting our butts in the hillbilly gag, I remarked to Ryan, "We're working WAY too hard!"

After our musical opening to the second half, John Moss made an announcement that I was celebrating my birthday. The whole time I was looking around nervously to make sure there wasn't anyone sneaking up behind me to pie me in the face.
On the contrary, the only pie I got today was a slice of homemade pumpkin pie from Sherri that was simply scrumptious!

Mike, the drummer, was also celebrating his birthday today, and he was nice enough to share a piece of his birthday cake with me. Folks who share birthdays have got to look out for one another!

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Present To Myself

Hey everyone,

Today I celebrate my 29th birthday, so I'm going to take the day off from blogging.
You'll get two posts tomorrow. See ya!


Thursday, October 18, 2012

AuxVase Or AuxVasse? Depends On The Price! (Dedicated To Sherri Shepard)

Wednesday, October 17: Auxvasse, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 90
Lot: Lions Club Grounds

This morning Ryan and I kept occupied with business stuff: mostly figuring out scheduling for some of our winter activities.

Our advance clowns, Dave and Sherri Shepard, are finished with their work, so they came to tour with the show for a few days before they head home.
While I was visiting with them this afternoon they gave me my early birthday present, "Madagascar 3". I enjoyed watching it, and there were a few circus jokes that made me laugh out loud.

On the opposite end of the movie spectrum, Ryan and I watched the Italian horror film, "Suspiria", for our "Scare-athon".
It wasn't a bad movie, but the music was incredibly annoying, and they kept playing the same three songs over and over throughout the movie. To make matters worse, the music and sound effects were much louder than the dialogue, so I was constantly adjusting my TV's volume.

Turn your speakers all the way up and try and listen to all 6 minutes of that song without wanting to jam a fork in your eye.

Today was a nasty, cold, rainy day. I didn't want to leave my trailer to do the shows, mostly because in addition to the dreary weather, I could feel a sore throat coming on.

On the plus side, I was very happy with the audiences tonight. Judging from the size of the town I wasn't expecting anyone to show up. Let's just say I was pleasantly surprised.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Elsberry Iced Tea

Hey everybody,

My apologies. Yesterday I had absolutely NO phone or internet service at the lot. You all know the drill; you get two blog posts today!

Monday, October 15: Warrenton, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 29
Lot: Athletic Complex

I had a great morning. I got away from the lot for a few hours and got a lot accomplished: I did laundry, I got groceries, and I went by the post office to mail some of our autographed 8x10 photos, and a DVD to Pat Stevenson. The DVD contains a welcoming speech from Mr. North, Ryan, and myself that will be played at an upcoming convention for the Kapitol Klowns and the Emmett Kelly-Bello Nock CFA tent.

Today for our "Scare-athon" Ryan and I watched "13 Ghosts". It isn't the greatest horror movie I've ever seen, but I enjoyed watching it. My favorite part were the creative make ups for the titular spirits.

Gloria Wilkinson, the former head of wardrobe for the Ringling Blue Unit, came to visit today. I was glad she stopped by to see me and Ryan.

We always perform on rocks in Warrenton, so I had already mentally prepared myself; I made sure to be extra careful when I fell down in the gags.
We took the face plant out of the surfing gag to save my hands and wrists; the replacement bit still got a laugh, so I'll call that a win!
Roger Estill, one of my Facebook friends, let me know that he was coming to the second performance, so I went out at Intermission to visit with him. He showed me some pictures and video of his minature carnival. Very impressive stuff!

Tuesday, October 16: Elsberry, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 39
Lot: Page Branch Park

As I wrote earlier, there was no cell or internet service for me today. Since I couldn't sit in front of Facebook all day and slowly rot my brain, I sat on my couch all day and watched a lot of the TV series "Nip/Tuck"....and slowly rotted my brain away.

I was feeling sick to my stomach and exhausted for the first show, so I tried not to over exert myself in the ring.
I felt much better for the second show, so the evening definitely ended on a positive note.

Monday, October 15, 2012

C'mon Ride The Train!

Sunday, October 14: Washington, MO-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Miles: 84
Lot: Fairgrounds

A storm woke me up around 2:30 a.m. The wind was blowing so loudly that I checked The Weather Channel app on my iPhone to see how severe the storm was. Luckily it all died down eventually and I got back to sleep.
When I left my trailer in the morning to drive, I could feel that the grass was very soft from the rain. It was definitely a good idea to have everyone move to the edge of the lot last night.

The lot in Washington had a few soft spots. The ground was slanted, so all the rain water drained to one end of the lot. The one trailer that was parked in that area dug some impressive mud ruts.
Luckily the rest of the lot wasn't too bad, and the sun came out later in the day to help dry the ground.

We were right next to a lake, so I took Emmie over to swim right after I parked. He wasn't interested in playing in the water though; each time I threw him in he swam right back out and attacked me.
That's my boy!

This morning's pay day was cause for more celebration than usual, because I finally paid off the loan that Mr. North gave me over the winter. Whoo hoo!

Today for our "Scare-athon" Ryan and I watched the 1980 slasher movie, "Terror Train" starring Jamie Lee Curtis. She must have been busy that year; I believe both "The Fog" and "Prom Night" also came out in 1980, both starring Miss Curtis.
Our favorite parts of the movie were: 1. The Groucho mask that the killer wore for awhile 2. Young David Copperfield performing some of his illusions (and I'm assuming leaving the movie off his resume for the rest of his career) 3. The fact that the most annoying character was killed first (Thank God; I don't think I could have stood his horrible jokes for the whole movie. Now I know how people feel when they hang out with me and Ryan!)

"The secret woid is murder"
"Isn't that the guy that works with Elmo on Sesame Street?"

As I mentioned earlier, the lot today was slanted. The hill sloped towards the back door, so every time we ran into the ring to do a gag, it was like running up Mt. Everest (because I'm so out of shape). 
In the surfboard gag I exaggerated the degree of the hill by tumbling head over heels towards the back of the ring about three times after receiving a board to the face in the surfing gag.
Mr. North got a huge kick out of that bit and requested that I put it in the second show as well. Hey, as long as he foots the medical bill!

Claire Wedermyer and her friend Sally came to watch the second show. I met Claire when we were both clowns on Ringling (on separate units though), and she was also a clown on Kelly Miller.
It was nice to catch up with her after the show. Her friend Sally even helped me out by giving me a quick back adjustment. I pulled something in the first show and she got me back in fighting shape in no time flat.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

King Of The Rats

Saturday, October 13: Troy, IL-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

The show bought me and Ryan a new toy to use next year. It has been sitting at Radar's family's house for a few months now, and they finally brought it to the lot today.
What is it, you may ask? You'll just have to wait until next year for its unveiling. Wah ha ha ha!

Today for our "Scare-athon" Ryan and I watched the 1979 German film, "Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht".
The movie is stylistic and atmospheric, which are fancy words for boring. At least we learned a little bit of the German language by watching the film.
For instance, did you know that "Byrgermeister" is the German word for mayor? It sounds like "Burger Meister", which instantly made me think of....

....Mayor McCheese! A burger that's the mayor! I feel like I've cracked the DaVinci Code!!!


I was feeling burned out today. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. I did not want to go out in front of the audience and do the same thing we've been doing for the past 36 weeks. I need a break!

Luckily Ryan and I had a great visit with Mr. and Mrs. North between shows, so that gave me the shot in the arm I needed to power through the second performance.

I joined Radar's family for dinner after the shows. When we got back to the lot the power had just been turned off.
All the vehicles on the show moved either off the lot completely or at least to the curb since rain was expected during the night.
In 2009 the lot in Troy was a hellish mud pit, so I could definitely understand the reasoning behind our move.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

"Kin They're Ashamed Of"

Friday, October 12: Troy, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 33
Lot: across from RP Lumber

Radar's mom, step dad, and sister came to visit for this two day stand. They always make it out when we get close to St. Louis.

Our CFA Tent is going to be taking part in a convention between the Kapitol Klown Alley and the Emmett Kelly/Bello Nock tent next week.
Ryan and I are making a welcome video that is going to be played during registration; this afternoon we filmed our segment.
After we finally settled on a good filming location (without too much noise, wind, or sun), it took us forever to get a good take. We kept flubbing our lines and cracking each other up.

Tim Tegge came to visit today. He had a car load of goodies to look through; I ended up buying two Ringling programs (1970 Red Show and 1989 Blue Show), and two DVDs of Ringling television specials (1971 Red Unit hosted by Jack Cassidy and 1979 Red Unit hosted by Danny Kaye). Score!

The first audience today was not giving us anything back for our hard work; it was pretty rough. At least the second show was a little better.

Ryan and I have been slacking on our "Scare-athon" this week. Besides both of us being busy with different projects, we just haven't been inspired to watch any of the films we have.
Today I got seven horror movies in the mail from Netflix, so our interest was renewed.
We watched "Pumpkinhead". It was.......a movie. Not exactly the best film to get us back into the swing of things, but you have to start somewhere!

More like Pumpkinbutt. Hotorini!

After the shows I joined Radar's family for dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, Cracker Barrel.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Too Many Syllables

Thursday, October 11: Benld, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 38
Lot: Benld City Park

Every time we come to Benld, more and more businesses seem to be closed for good; it's a pretty sad sight.
I remember in 2009 our date in town was rained out and we had an impromptu day off since a suitable replacement lot couldn't be found.

A local clown, Rob Nacu, and his family came to see the first performance. While I was visiting with him at Intermission, there was a little boy stabbing me in the back with his light up sword.
Without even looking I reached behind me and quickly disarmed the child. After waiting a minute to let the lesson to sink in, I gave the sword back. Clown ninja skills, baby!

There were lots of power outlets around the lot, so many people (myself included) were plugged into city power all night.
I tell ya, having electricity all night really makes you feel like a human being!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Boy And His Duck

Wednesday, October 10: Greenfield, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 26
Lot: Rives Lake

We were on a tight lot today. Some folks were parked across the street; the one benefit they had was that they were in campground parking spots, so they had power and water all day.

We were right by a huge lake, so I took Emmie over to swim. Naturally, he loved it. I was surprised that he eventually got out and came back to me on his own.

My duck and I had a nice bonding moment at the lake: I was lounging on the grass and enjoying the warm sun, and Emmie was next to me drying off and preening himself. For those few perfect minutes he forgot about his life's goal of wanting to kill me, and we were captured in a Norman Rockwell-esque picture of contentment.

The Blue Unit of Ringling arrived in St. Louis, MO today; they were about an hour and a half from us. Unfortunately their load in was very close to our show times, so only a couple of people came to visit.
Henry, one of the clowns that Ryan and I worked with on the show, caught a ride with Joey Frisco and his children.
It was nice to visit with Henry before and after the second show. His primary language is Spanish; I was surprised at how well I followed along with the conversation he, Ryan, and Tatiana were having. I was even able to contribute to it!

The generator truck ran all night, so with the help of my heater and electric blanket, I was nice and toasty while I slept.

In closing, here is a picture from Sherman, IL of me with Ethan, aka "Dum Dum". Thank you Melanie for sharing the photo on our Facebook page!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Double Post. Stupid Internet.

Hey everybody,

The internet connection yesterday was atrocious, which is why I didn't post a blog. Today's signal isn't much better, but at least I can open Blogger. That means I'm posting two blog entries today! Oh you lucky people you!

Monday, October 8: Sherman, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 30
Lot: Athletic club grounds

It was so cold this morning that condensation had frozen on my truck windows. I used my Flying J Advantage card to chip the majority of the ice away, which numbed my hands in the process.

Upon our arrival at the lot in Sherman, the Byrd Family CFA tent had coffee and donuts for everyone. I went over to warm up, fill my insatiable appetite, and visit with the tent members.

Today was much warmer than this past weekend, thank goodness. There was a cold wind blowing, but being in the sun felt wonderful.

Ryan and Tatiana got me an early birthday present while they were out shopping today:

I just love my new Keurig brewer. In addition to the machine they bought me an accessory that lets me use my own coffee grounds, so I don't have to rely on just using the K-Cups.

While compiling video footage of our gags from past seasons of Kelly Miller, I watched the 2010 gags filmed during the first couple of weeks of the tour.
I was surprised to find that they weren't complete failures as I remember them. Now don't get me wrong, there were a LOT of things we could have done better, but there were still some very funny moments.
Sadly most of that stuff got cut early on, which probably explains why we were so disappointed in ourselves at the end of 2010.

At the second show tonight there was a little boy dressed up as a clown in the audience. During package delivery I joked around with him a bit: I asked if he wanted to take my spot in the show so I could have a break, and I also inquired if he had come to the circus in a car with 40 of his friends.

At Intermission I went out to visit with him and his family, and to find out why he was dressed up. First I asked the obvious question, "Did you lose a bet?"
His mother told me that it was his choice, and the little boy (Ethan aka "Dum Dum") told me that he liked clowns and he wanted to be one.
Ryan and I signed one of our 8x10 photographs and gave it to him. Hopefully we made his night.

Honestly, doing my best to give Ethan a good impression of clowns was about the only thing that kept me going for the second show. It was pretty rough.

Tuesday, October 9: S. Jacksonville, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 47
Lot: Prairie Land Museum grounds

This morning I went to Walmart to go grocery shopping, and I also got a much needed (and unfortunately expensive) hair cut.

The Byrd Family CFA tent took me, Elisa, and Mr. North to lunch today. We went to the Kottage Kafe (thank God there wasn't a Kozy or Komfy at the beginning of that title) where I had a horseshoe, an open faced sandwich topped with cheese and french fries. Apparently that sandwich is only found in the Springfield, IL area.

Bill Prickett made the 2 1/2 hour trip to come to the lunch and see our show one more time. He also brought some goodies for me, Radar, and Elisa.

Louie Delmoral showed up today with different Carson & Barnes elephants. Armando has to go to Fort Worth, TX for a Shrine date, so Louie will be filling in for him until he gets back.

At Intermission of the first show I went out to visit with the folks who took us to lunch. I also had a child from the audience ask if I could go home with his family. I told him that all depended on what kind of food they had.
He then told me that he would train me; I was a little concerned until he clarified by stating that he could train me to be a runner. I declined on the grounds that I am too lazy to go running.

During the second show I was remarking to Ryan what a beautiful night it was. It wasn't cold and the wind had stopped blowing.
Unfortunately by the second half the wind had picked up considerably and by tear down it was beginning to rain.

One more quick story from the second show: during the quiet part in the surfboard gag, you could hear Louie in the back door commanding one of the elephants to lower her head.
When Ryan was going to pull the megaphone off my head, he commanded me, "Head down, Steven!", which made me laugh.

There were a few power outlets scattered around the back yard, so after the shows I plugged into one and had power all night. Huzzah!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Is This The Hat You Were Looking For?

Sunday, October 7: Illiopolis, IL-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Miles: 48
Lot: school grounds

An addendum to the blog about October 6: For those of you keeping score, Ryan and I watched "An American Werewolf in London" for our "Scare-athon".
It is one of my favorite werewolf movies, and the transformation scene is simply fantastic. On this viewing I also got added enjoyment out of the fact that David Naughton, the film's star, reminded me of ringmaster Kevin Venardos (who Ryan and I worked with on Ringling) in both his looks and voice.

The resemblance here is especially uncanny.

Back to our day in Illiopolis!

It was another cold day, but at least the sun came out to provide a smidgen of warmth.
Last night I washed my yak clown wig, and today I took the time to re-sew snaps on both the wig and my skull cap.

Today was pay day; after the past week of scrimping by on a very tight budget, it was nice to have cash in my pocket again.

Dave Williams and Rick Purdue were in the audience for both shows. The turnout for the first show surprised me, but then I took into account the fact that there didn't seem to be much to do in Illiopolis, much less on a Sunday; I'm sure the townspeople must have been starved for entertainment.

At the beginning of the second package delivery bit, as the final cat cage was being rolled off, the two tigers inside had a brief skirmish, full of sound and fury.....signifying nothing.
I quickly got the audience's attention back to me by chanting, "Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!"
That was the extent of my comedic genius for the day.

Since, as I stated earlier, there wasn't much going on in Illiopolis, Radar, Elisa and I ordered Chinese take out for dinner. Apparently the restaurant (likely the only one in town) didn't really have their act together. They kept calling Elisa back to tell her that they were out of the things she was ordering.
Finally the delivery came though, and my food hit the spot perfectly.

After I pigged out on my orange chicken, Ryan and I watched "The Thing". We just love the film's monster effects and Kurt Russel's crazy hat.

You tell me which is legitimately more terrifying

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Look Out!

Saturday, October 6: Lincoln, IL-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Miles: 55
Lot: Best Western Plus grounds

It was freezing this morning! Naturally, when I needed it most, my generator decided to overload every time I plugged in my little electric heater. Razzin' frazzin' $600 paperweight! (Please excuse my Yosemite Same profanity)
I bundled up in my trailer until the show power was turned on at 9 a.m. Well, actually it didn't come on until closer to 9:30 this morning; I paced back and forth with impatience until I was able to run my heater.

Unfortunately my little heater had a hard time keeping my trailer warm today. The wind was blowing constantly; without it, the day wouldn't have been nearly as cold.

During the first show, I was chasing Ryan in the skeleton chase. I was swinging my shovel around and mugging it up like usual. Then, most unusually, the shovel flew out of my hand, hit the bally cloth on the edge of the ring, and toppled head over end into the preferred seating section, missing a little girl by a few inches.
I quickly abandoned the schtick I was doing and made a big deal of fussing over the girl and making sure she was fine; luckily she was laughing the whole time.
I'm frankly surprised that the shovel left my hands at all. As cold as it was, I can't believe it wasn't frozen firmly in place.

After the shows (with no further endangerment to the audience), a bunch of folks from the show made their way over to the bowling alley next to the lot.
Jeremiah had set up a beer pong tournament with permission from the alley's owners. I was more interested in having something to eat, bowling, and staying warm!
Radar, Elisa, and I played two games. I am very glad that we decided more than one, because I was able to redeem myself from my dismal performance in the first game.
And no, no bowling balls went sailing off my fingers into the crowd!

Saturday, October 6, 2012


Friday, October 5: Eureka, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 60
Lot: Lower Park Eureka Lake

Today was cold and dreary. I made sure to stay inside and keep warm. I even took a nap for the first time in a couple of weeks; it felt great!

Bill and Nancy Prickett came to the first show today. They brought cookies for me, Ryan, Radar, and Elisa. I went out at Intermission to thank them in person; I also visited with Dave Williams and Charlie Bellatti, who were sitting with the Pricketts.

It was nice to have friends in the audience at the first performance. We could have used them at the second show; the audience wasn't giving us anything to work off of. I imagine it was because they were freezing.
The funniest moment (unintentionally) came in the surfing gag. When Ryan was trying to get the audience to feel sympathy for him, they were dead silent.
Mr. North tried to get the ball rolling by yelling out a loud, "aaaaaaaaw", but the audience remained unmoved.
I yelled out to our boss, "It's no good, Mr. North!", before kicking Ryan in the butt and resuming the gag.

The one upside to the low temperature was that we had power all night. Ryan and I used that to our advantage and watched the next entry in our "Scare-athon": the 2010 remake of "A Nightmare on Elm Street.

While we were watching, Ryan was struck with a brilliant idea. We hooked my iPhone up to his speaker system via a cable, and I played fart sound effects throughout the movie at the most inappropriate times.
Since Ryan and I have the maturity level of 12 year olds, we found this to be the funniest thing since the invention of slipping on a banana peel.

This guy is a lot less scary in the middle of a gas attack.

Friday, October 5, 2012

I'm Just A Poor Boy

Thursday, October 4: LaSalle, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 24
Lot: Next to Midwest Center

Today's lot was just a block away from a Flying J. Hip hip hooray! What a glorious day! Are you going to stop rhyming, you say? I just may!

Our friend Alex Zaprudsky came to visit with us again today. He must be a glutton for punishment; he has hung out with us a lot this season.
He brought some delicious homemade lemon cookies (mmmm wemony fwesh!), and he also brought me an early birthday gift: freshly ground coffee, a GIANT coffee mug, and a framed picture of him with me and Ryan. Thanks Alex!

Alex was nice enough to take me, Ryan, Tatiana, and Nico to Walmart today. I dumped all of my saved change into the Coinstar machine so I would have cash to pick up the groceries I needed.
I had to do that, because I am dead broke this week. I'm so poor that my duck has started throwing bread to me.

The lot today was rough. Not as bad as yesterday's, but it still gave us a bit of a leg workout. It seems like all the worst lots are saved for the last month of the tour.
In addition, it was cold and rainy. I was surprised how much mud there was in the backdoor; the elephants created a trench on one side of the bandwagon that planks had to be laid across. Yuck.
The rain finally slacked off for the second show, but the temperature continued to drop. Remember when I complained about the heat this summer? I take it all back!

After work Ryan and I drove over to the Flying J to use their RV dump station. We wanted to do it tonight because we figured there would be a mad dash to dump in the morning (imaging that visual just made me laugh).
It turns out we probably would have been fine to wait, because there were three dump stations open. A big group could go through in no time.
Still, it was nice to get it done without having to rush to drive to the next town.

Ryan and I decided to just park at the Flying J for the night since there was space for us. I knew Radar, Christian, and Elisa were at the Denny's attached to the truck stop, so I went in to visit with them while they ate.

I wasn't planning on eating since I am so broke this week. I'm so poor that I can't afford to fly off the handle; I have to Greyhound off the handle instead.
Elisa took pity on my dire straits and let me eat the toast from her breakfast meal. Even though it was delicious, it actually made me feel worse that I had sunken to that level of mooching.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

I Must Have "Mist" You

Wednesday, September 3: Marseilles, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 67
Lot: Commercial St.

The entire drive I was trying to remember what the town of Marseilles looked like. Once I pulled onto Main Street, I instantly recognized it.

Today for our "Scare-athon" Ryan and I watched "The Mist", which is an adaptation of a Stephen King novella. It was directed by Frank Darabont, who directed "The Shawshank Redemption" (great film) and the current Walking Dead TV series. In fact, I recognized a couple of actors in "The Mist" from that show.
The movie was alright; I just don't like films that rely heavily on computer generated effects. The ending was surprisingly dark; it definitely left an impression.

The lot today was terrible. There were so many holes, bumps, and ruts that we could hardly stand still, much less do any fancy footwork.
The hillbilly gag was definitely the most difficult (and exhausting) act to pull off.

It started raining a bit at the end of the second show. It rained on the jump this morning too, but we were free from bad weather for the majority of the day.
I was happy that it was a comfortable temperature in the evening. I made sure to enjoy since it is supposed to quickly turn very cold for the rest of the week.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

"Praise Him!"

Tuesday, October 2: Rochelle, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 32
Lot: Calvary Lighthouse Church grounds

Even though the route slip said we were playing Rochelle today, we were actually about three miles outside of town in Hillcrest.
It was a strangely laid out lot, so some performers were parked very far from the back door. I was all by myself on the midway, right by the main entrance.

Carolyn asked me how I scored such prime real estate, and I answered that I know people, just not the right ones.

I had Emmie behind my trailer until I found out that the elephants were going to be passing by there. In addition to him being in danger of getting squished underfoot, I was also right next to a road that cars were speeding down all day.
I moved him where the elephants and cars couldn't get him. A much safer place. Right beside the tigers.

In the afternoon there was a production meeting for next year's show in Mr. North's RV, the Jomar. Everyone involved in the creative process looked over the running order and talked through transitions. It seems like we'll have a very smooth performance next year; we only had to move a couple of acts around in the second half.

Since my house was on the midway, I tried to be conscious of my appearance as I prepared for the show. I put on a jumpsuit while I made up so people waiting to enter the tent wouldn't have to see me in my underwear while I powdered outside my door. I'd prefer for any emotional scarring I cause to occur in the show.

Valerie is taking a series of photos of different folks on the show where in one picture they are in their house wearing their street clothes, and in the other they are in the exact same pose, only wearing show wardrobe.
Today she took mine, and they turned out great!
Check her blog for more to come!

Since we are next to a church, the pastor was the guest ringmaster for both shows. He practically led the congregation, er, audience in a revival before Ryan and I came out. He had people yelling "Hallelujah" back to him and the whole nine yards. We were just waiting for the tambourines and snakes to be brought out.
Of course once we began the performance, Ryan and I were yelling "Hallelujah!", "Amen!", and "Speak it, brother!" to John Moss as he was trying to get through the opening announcement.

In the package delivery bit, I also found time to comment on the guest ringmaster's unusual way of starting a circus.
In the first show, after the package broke, I sheepishly suggested to John Moss, "Maybe we could say a prayer for it?"
In the second show, I solemnly turned to John and intoned, "Forgive us, for we have sinned."
John Moss later joked with us that for that town only we should be introduced as "America's Favorite Heathens".

The first show was tough to get through. The audience wasn't putting out much energy, which instantly zapped mine. Maybe the guest ringmaster did too good a job of making them think they were in a church service.
Luckily the second audience was much livelier. It's amazing how much easier our job is when the audience is having a good time and giving us energy to feed off of.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Monday, October 1: Belvidere, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 56
Lot: Boone County Fairgrounds

Now that we are heading away from Chicago, we're into the "rest of the tour": the homestretch to Oklahoma. Not my favorite part of the season, but it means we're closer to having a break.

This morning's jump was slow and boring. It took a long time due to the high number of stop lights; I also got caught behind a couple of school buses.

After getting settled in at the lot in Belvidere, I went by the post office to mail off the first batch of autographed Steve & Ryan photos. Don't wait, order yours today!

Today for our "Scare-athon" Ryan and I watched the French film, "High Tension". We both enjoyed it, but unfortunately I had read about the movie's twist ending online, so there was no surprise for me.

I had a rough first show. At the end of package delivery, there was no sound effect of the package breaking (maybe we SHOULD learn to be funny without sound effects!) for the blow off, so I fumbled through an ending and Ryan and I beat a hasty retreat. No matter how fast you run though, you can't get away from failure.
Since I was all flustered, I almost exited through the wrong curtain. I stopped right before barreling through when I remembered that there were camels and a zebra behind it that would probably stampede if I spooked them.
I awkwardly ran around the bandstand and out the other curtain. It was not the most graceful exit for an already dismal comedic endeavor.

The reason the camels were in the curtain was because the cradle act wasn't working today. That also meant that Ryan and I had to rush to get changed for the hillbilly gag. At least my adrenaline was pumping from my near death experience, which helped me move faster.

The second show was more spot on from a technical standpoint, but audience wise it was just as rough as the first.
I was feeling pretty down (especially after being spoiled by the great Chicagoland audiences for the past three weeks), but a faithful fan of the blog, Sara Trudo, picked up my spirits with a gift and an e-mail.
Earlier today she brought some food for the elephants, and she decided to also bring a gift for the two people on the show that eat like elephants, me and Ryan.

I was under the impression that Sara was at the first show, so I tried to find her and give her an autographed Steve & Ryan photo. In the wonderfully uplifting e-mail she sent me, I found out that she had to drop off the goodies and run. God bless you, Sara!

Tonight was one of those nights where I'm glad that tomorrow I get two more chances to do a better job.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Merrily We Roll(ing Meadows) Along

Sunday, September 30: Rolling Meadows, IL-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Radar, Elisa, and I went to Egg'lectic Cafe this morning. I just had to visit it one more time since it will be (at least) a year before I get to sample their delicious eggs benedict again.

I decided to get my weekly errands out of the way today since my truck was already unhooked; plus I had time on my hands and a replenished wallet (yay payday!). I did laundry and got groceries (reminder to self: never go to Walmart on a Sunday again).

After the first hillbilly gag we noticed that one of the tires on the laundry box was flat. Luckily Castro had the shop truck close to the back door, so I wheeled the box over and asked him to put air in the tire.
As soon as he filled it up, we could hear the air rushing right back out again. Castro determined that the problem was the inner tube inside the tire; he promised to fix it tomorrow when he had more time.
Thankfully the wheel stayed intact for one more show and being loaded into the back of my truck.

Our friend Jeannie came to see the show one more time before we leave the Chicago area; she brought delicious homemade cookies with her. Yum!
After work Jeannie took me, Radar, and Elisa out to dinner for one last hurrah.