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Jameson and I enjoyed a stay at a Residence Inn in Worcester.
The next morning (afternoon rather) we found out that the train had arrived early for once!!!!!!
Perhaps it's because we were only about an hour away to begin with :P

We went grocery shopping, then went our separate ways. I went to Flour Bakery + Cafe to get lunch and reminisce about our last visit to Boston :) This time I got a roasted chicken sandwich with pureed avocado and jicama. I'd never had jicama before! It's sweet like an apple, but the texture is more like a water chestnut. Yum!

(photo courtesy indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com)

After eating half the sandwich I was full (they're big!). I wrapped up the other half for later, but a few blocks later encountered a homeless guy asking for food and gave it to him. I am blessed every hour of every day with a job, a place to live, and the means to feed myself.

Moving on, I re-located the honey store I'd visited last time. It's called Follow The Honey and they literally only sell honey and honey-related products. Their inventory was a little different than last time...they had a special Tupelo honey that never crystalizes and a weird African honey called Aseda that was kind of medicinal in flavor.

The chestnut honey that I'd bought last time was nowhere to be found, so I was glad I'd snatched it up two years ago. This time I settled on some Oaxacan raw that they had "on tap". It's a darker honey with a reddish tint, and the flavor was very different than other honeys I've had before...sort of fruit and caramel. It was worth getting a small jar!

After that I went home. Well, I played Ingress, THEN I went home :P
There are lots of things to blow up in Boston. *evil laugh*

The next morning I got to participate in an elephant brunch!
The dancers, clowns and other PR participants got a ride to the arena in these:

(photo courtesy Cynthia)

The rest of us helpers got there via Uber or the company bus. After a late start we walked four of the elephants down to Faneuil Hall. We had lovely warm weather and a great crowd!

Mabel's watermelon was stolen from her, but she didn't care. She still loves carrots more than anything <3
(from left to right: Siam, Luna, Mabel, Tonka)

The walk to and from was really nice, although we had to jog a few times to keep up with the elephants!
This is the first walk/brunch we've done in a while, and it was refreshing.
CLICK HERE to watch a brief video clip of our arrival at the Hall. I'm on the far right near Ryan, the bald guy.
CLICK HERE to see more pictures from this event!

On Thursday my dear friends Erika and Ranjan came to a show! Beforehand Erika and I grabbed a quick bite at a restaurant near the arena. Since I last saw her, Erika's gotten a new job, a new house...and a new baby! Two months to go, and it'll be a girl. Congratulations you two!

Friday was a day of rest, then an evening show. The crowd was big and rowdy and that's how we like 'em :D
After the show I met Jameson's friends Jon and Diana. Jon is a drummer and attended Berklee with Jameson, and Diana is a social worker. We went to Boston Beer Works for drinks and snacks. Since it's fall they've got a "Pumpkinfest" section in the menu. The fig-glazed kielbasa with rye sounded good, and it was :)

After this awesome hang, Jon and Diana gave us a ride back to the train and we showed them our rooms.
It was great to meet two very cool people :)

Saturday was a busy day! I had two visitors for the morning show. Mike, a local tuba player and his family, and Walt, a local trombonist and his son. I took Mike, his wife and three adorable daughters backstage before the show. Although we don't have Animal Open House here in Boston, the elephants were in an area where I could safely take a few people. Several members of elephant crew very graciously allowed us to view the elephants and take a picture!

After that I took them to see the horses and the less-exciting human backstage habitiat :P
I think they had a wonderful time with the tour and the show. The girls drew me some thank you pictures!
They're hanging proudly on my cupboards :)

Walt and his son got a similar tour after the show. Their seats were right behind Brett's bandstand, meaning I was facing them the whole time. I didn't realize it was them until Walt started making "air trombone" motions at me lol! We talked about the show, the animals, what it's like to be on tour all the time, and the various differences in our jobs (he plays for the Lion King). After the tour his son took a picture of us in front of the portal.

I don't usually have a chance to give backstage tours, let alone two in one day. I had a lot of fun showing off my workplace. And it was wonderful to have various circus friends, crew and cast alike, participate in making my friends' visit a special experience. Thank you everyone, especially elephant crew :) And thank you Walt and Mike for coming to the show!!

Saturday turned out to be a busy day for everybody. During the second show one of our Wheel acrobats took a tumble. Most of us didn't see exactly what happened, but it looked like he didn't fall per se; he somehow got dragged under the wheel and pressed into the catch mat. He was able to walk off while we played Emergency music and the clowns covered. From all accounts he's only suffered a cut on one hand and should be fine. Hooray!!

The drama continued after the shows were over. At the end of the day we all went out to catch the bus, and were surprised to see it sitting behind a locked gate in the arena lot. We got on the bus and waited for someone to open the gate, but to everyone's surprise the security guard refused to let the bus out, claiming that we had to wait until 11pm (about 1.5 hours). After our Ops Manager was called we were able to leave. But wait! There's more.

The next morning I caught the 10:30am bus (this was the last bus from the train to the building). As we approached our usual drop off point, we were surprised to see a barricade blocking our way. Our bus driver tried to turn in, but once again security refused to let us pass (reason unknown). With our bus literally sitting crossways in oncoming traffic, ten minutes before Preshow, we had to sit and wait for about five minutes while our Ops Manager was once again called to run outside and MAKE these people let us go to work. Oh but wait. There's even more.

Our clowns came to work and found that their dressing room had been rifled through. Several noses ($10-20 each) and powder socks were missing, along with Taylor's concept costume sketches. Either the building cleaning crew had thrown them out, or someone had stolen them.

All of this left a bitter taste in our mouths for the last two shows in Boston. I don't whether there were security issues, or miscommunications, or what. I've heard various rumors, everything from disgruntled security guards to complicated upper management conspiracy theories. Whatever the case, in my opinion, there is NEVER a good reason to leave a bus packed full of men, women and children sitting in oncoming traffic. If they didn't want us to drop off/pick up near the North Station crosswalk, a different location could have been arranged. It was just really unexpected treatment from the famous TD Garden of all places.

Overall though, Boston is a really fun and enjoyable city. Crowds were great and the weather was fine for most of our stay. I wish we could stay longer!

Other stuff:

Today the Blue Unit says goodbye to trombonist Andrew and his S.O. Lisa. You will be missed.
See you both down the road!

(photo courtesy Andrew)

The view from Ryan's trailer this week.

(photo courtesy Ryan)

There was hockey ice under our rubber mats, causing condensation to form. We used fans and sawdust to help keep the floor dry.

Pie Car Jr. couldn't fit in the arena with us and no space was provided for them, so staff members set up card tables and used microwaves and hot plates to continue feeding us hungry folks.

With one free hour and help from four people, Ben (sound crew) managed to make a "sleeve" of Ringling temp tattoos. You inspire us all, Ben.

(photo courtesy Ryan)

This thing at MIT...I don't know what it is, but the photo at left is from two years ago and at right is from a few days ago. Does anyone ever let it thaw???


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 20th, 2014 12:40 pm (UTC)
The "thing" at MIT is a liquid Nitrogen tank. Looks like it's full now and the earlier photo it was about half full. It doesn't thaw unless it's empty because liquid nitrogen is so cold. A lot of my friends went to MIT and I used to hang out there with them all the time.

And the TD garden hasn't been the same since it became "TD". It used to just be the Boston Garden. It changed owners a couple times and management changed, not for the better I guess.

I wish I had seen that the circus was coming to Boston sooner, before I made plans for the weekend, it's been a long time since I went to a Ringling Bros. circus. I love the circus, I would have come into town for it. (I live about 1.5 hours out of Boston.)
Oct. 20th, 2014 01:35 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the info! I've been curious :D

We didn't have any problems two years ago. I don't know what the issue was this time. It's not uncommon for items to go missing from dressing rooms in this or that city. And miscommunications aren't uncommon either. This is the first time we've actually been prevented from getting to work, though. To me, that's just unacceptable. Whatever the issue in upper management or wherever, there's no reason to take it out on the crew, performers, and circus kids.

Dang. I should've checked my friends list to see if anyone wanted to go. I don't often think to do that on LJ.

We're going to Bridgeport CT next if that's close enough for you to come to a show...if not, I'm sorry we missed you and I'll try to poke you next time!!

Edited at 2014-10-20 01:37 pm (UTC)
Oct. 20th, 2014 05:03 pm (UTC)
Sadly Bridgeport is about 3 to 4 hours away for us. I should have suspected you would be local when you mentioned Manchester and Worcester. If you draw a line between the two on a map, and notice where the line crosses the MA/NH state border, that where I live.
Maybe next year when you head up here to the frozen north. :)

I hope you enjoyed your visit to Boston. Faneuil Hall may not be there next time you get up here, they are talking about remodeling the whole thing. I hope they don't, the place is so full of history, I think redoing it would ruin the flavor.
Oct. 21st, 2014 03:33 pm (UTC)
Wow that sucks! To alter such a historic building seems a shame. But, if it's got mold or termites or is unsafe, well...I guess it's understandable...

Boston was wonderful. I feel bad for Bridgeport for having to be after Boston :P
Oct. 21st, 2014 06:25 pm (UTC)
It's not that the building is unsafe, apparently it has "choke points" and they want to gut the interior and make it more "shopper friendly". Personally part of the charm is the old market feel for me.

I always go there around the holidays, they put up twinkling lights and decorate beautifully, at night it feel magical between Christmas and New Year's. One of our traditions is to head into town during the day either on New Year's eve or Day, there are ice sculptures and performances and it's just a nice festive atmosphere. Then you go inside to get warm and get hot cocoa and pastry.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )