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Grand Rapids, MI - Sans ArtPrize

The train run was standard :) It was a bit rainy and dreary on Monday so I mostly stayed inside, cooking and watching Game of Thrones. Finally finished the last Harry Potter movie and was completely fascinated with Snape's story, and disappointed that it only got five minutes of attention. Maybe the books are different but guess I'll never know :P

Tuesday was a little sunnier. I went outside to get some fresh air and ran into the camera crew. They say they're getting decent footage, "slowly but surely". Awesome :)
I got some pretty nice photos that day too.

On this train run, I'm reminded of how the best moments can't be shared with photos. My camera is not quick enough to capture the fox I saw dashing across a field this morning in pursuit of some small rodent. The train moves too fast for me to catch all the beautiful wildflowers we see along the tracks...Queen Anne's Lace, cornflowers, thistles, touch-me-nots. Peering through the trees I sometimes see deer picking their way through the foliage. The sun shines on leaves, and on the water, in a way that can't be captured in a photograph. What I'm saying is, I feel fortunate to enjoy this :)

We arrived pretty much on time. After finishing some chores, I took a bus to the arena and from there walked to a bunch of antique shops that I'd visited last time. On the way I noticed some street art, as well as an early contender for ArtPrize 2014 (scheduled for next week, darn).

Playing Ingress on the way, I was surprised to find that these large shops weren't portals so thought I'd try to submit one. To do this, you just take a picture of whatever you want the portal to be and send it in. It can take months to find out if you got it...

The shops were as I remember them. That is, cluttered. I love it :D

In the third shop, after quite a lot of eye straining, I found these 1960s Ringling programs!

These programs were printed back before the circus split into two units (Red and Blue). As a result, two of the programs ('62 and '63) feature the same acts and performers because they used to keep the same show going for multiple years. Weird! The ads in these programs are AWESOME.

The next day was opening day. Everything went smoothly in the show, though we had an awfully small audience. On Friday I mostly stayed at the train to do some chores, and later in the afternoon paid a visit to Vault of Midnight, a local comic book store. I don't read many comics, but have enjoyed some graphic novels (Sandman being my favorite). I took note of several series that I might want to try but didn't buy anything. New graphic novels are expensive!!

Probably going to get THIS SERIES. In paperback. From Amazon where it's $0.99.

The weekend shows went without a hitch. On Sunday between shows some of us went to Georgios Pizza right next to the arena. After eating Brett and Jameson took turns playing Frogger.

After the last show on Sunday, I said goodbye to Jameson as he went to fetch his car in Virginia. Then I went across the street to take pictures of some of the partially set up ArtPrize entries.
So bummed to be missing it this year :/

Now I'm back at the train typing this :)
Next we go to Dayton, Ohio. Two years ago we were there in April, around the time I joined the circus. My blog post from that visit is pretty vague; wonder if I'll remember it!

Other stuff:

Two of our clowns with miniatures of themselves.
This is either cute or creepy depending on your view of clowns :D

(photo courtesy LaRena)

Siam under a rainbow! Now THAT'S cute.

(photo courtesy Ryan)

The Bloomsburg Fair is going on and I'm missing it :( :( My friend Nasheed is there and took this pic of this year's giant pumpkins. There's usually only one giant pumpkin...must've been a good year for gourds!

(photo courtesy Nasheed)

For those who have been wondering, "What IS this Ingress nonsense?", here is an explanatory video. Fun fact, there are currently seven people (over)actively playing Ingress in the circus.

To show the scope of the game, here is a map of Ingress portals currently in play across the world
(only high level portals are shown, so imagine 4x this number and you'll have an idea).