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Since the overland to DC was so short, Jameson and I made plans to spend Monday at the Natural History Museum. We'd both been before but not recently. There were some new exhibits, including two photography galleries showcasing National Geographic's "20 years of Nature's Best Photography" and specifically the photography of Frans Lanting. The images were displayed without frames, in an intensely high quality. A summary to the side of each photo described the conditions under which the photographer took the photo, equipment used, and their thoughts and feelings as they captured the images.

Because it was spring break, the museum was VERY crowded. We inched our way through a display of skeletons of various animals, saw the bugs (but couldn't get into the butterfly dome because there was a waiting list), and enjoyed the hall of gems and minerals.

Fighting the crowds took its toll, and we were ready to leave before we got to see everything. The train was getting in late, so we got another hotel. Jameson found an incredible ramen place called Toki Underground for dinner. When we arrived we were surprised to find that it was a tiny upstairs room that could seat maybe 20 people tops! The wait was an hour, so we walked around the neighborhood and got Jameson a haircut :) Then it was time to eat!

The room is covered with stickers from all kinds of organizations (but mostly bands) and lined with display cases full of collectible Japanese dolls.

(photo courtesy thrillist.com)

For an appetizer we ordered the fried chicken steamed buns (also known as bao).
We'd never had steamed bread before but have always wanted to try it. It was delicious! Slightly sweet and chewy, a perfect match for the spicy chicken.

We both had ramen for our main meals. I got the "classic", which came with pulled pork, vegetables, a sheet of nori, and a soft-boiled egg. It was hot, fresh magic.

Highly recommend Toki Underground to anyone visiting DC!

The next day we returned to the train to rest up before the week.
Opening day went well, so did Thursday. We had awesome crowds both days but especially on Thursday and Friday!
Here's Friday's rowdy bunch singing along to Uptown Funk (thanks for the video Ryan!)

Mr. Feld came to visit our show as well. We ran into him in the hall, on the way to the bandstand.
I got to shake his hand! A good day :D

(photo courtesy Forbes.com)

During the Friday split I went to get a haircut. It was very warm out, so I strolled around and enjoyed the weather. For food Jameson and I visited a Chinese place right next to the arena. Our boss had been raving about it, with good reason. The dumplings were scrumptious! And handmade!

For the evening show we had a guest on the bandstand, Kevin Burns, trumpet with the Airmen of Note. He brought a professional-grade camera and managed to capture some wonderful shots of the show! And the band ;)

I'm especially grateful that Kevin took this picture of Asia getting ready to do her spindle spin. It captures one of few times Asia is "looking" in my direction. About a month ago, just because she seems to be looking at me, I started nodding to her right at this moment in the show. At first she didn't respond. But after a while, she started doing it too. Now we take turns; sometimes she nods her head first and I copy her, and sometimes she seems to wait for me to do it first. Maybe she's just doing it at random and I'm guilty of anthropomorphization, but even so, it's freaking cute. In my mind at least, it's a special little part of the show that we share. I'll miss this, and her.
Thank you for this photo, Kevin.

Saturday was a standard three show day. We had excellent crowds. Sunday, the same, three shows and great crowds. We came in to an amazing surprise on Sunday morning: Brett (our boss) took our road cases over to elephant crew and asked to have the elephants paint them! The paint may not stay on for long, but for now it's beautiful. Thank you elephant crew!

Now we have a few days of rest, followed by several one-show days. How nice! The only downside is that the train will stay parked in Anacostia (a relatively unsafe area) and the commute to and from the arena will take about an hour. Still, I'm looking forward to playing at George Mason U again!

Other stuff:

A few weeks ago Johnathan Lee Iverson took the time to interview me for an article. JLI is the ringmaster for the Blue Unit and also happens to be an incredible writer! Check out his in-depth look at girly tromboning HERE :)

This weekend was April's 6th birthday! She enjoyed a fruit and veggie cake made by her handlers.
Happy Birthday little lady!

(photos courtesy Adria C.)