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The New Normal

This week I worked, 10-6.

I'm starting to understand things a little better at this point. I'm adding more products to the website, variances for each product, etc etc (if you've ever done retail stocking/inventory you know what I'm talking about, if not, don't worry about it). I've listed several instruments for sale on the BAC site and Facebook and Craigslist and all over, but have not sold anything this week. It happens. Part of the problem may be my pricing, which not surprisingly is not accurate yet. Then there's also demand, which I really have no control over other than to promote my brains out and hope someone needs what's being sold.

But anyway. I enjoy the organizing aspect of things. I've gotten to proofread some flyers and such for my boss, and that's something I like doing as well. Kristy (repair tech) and I are getting along pretty well. She's the only other girl on the retail side and I'm glad she's there. We seem to have similar ideas about keeping things clean and having cookies around and such ;) Plus, I really enjoy watching her work. When a customer comes in with a repair that can be done while they wait, she gives them her full attention and then masterfully repairs the instrument in minutes. What a cool skill.

Matt (my boss) is an awesome repair tech as well. In fact everyone in the store can make repairs except me it seems. I'll have to learn! But first I've got my own stuff to do. There's just so much to be done, and customers coming in at random, so some days it feels like I've accomplished frustratingly little. But I'm convincing myself that things are still getting done, it just seems slow because I'm having to flit from one thing to another rather than wiping out one thing at a time. It's good to have multiple things going...if I get brain-tired of one I can spend time on another.

Here are Kristy and Matt tidying up the repair area while I work on adding products to the website.

Outside of work, I don't have much to report. The big excitement this week was discovering a stuffed animal that I'd had as a child and thought I'd never see again. His name was Peaches. I was reading an article about the circus closing, and at the bottom of the article was a link to this unrelated story featuring a picture of the stuffed dog. I was very shocked to see it. I think the last time I saw this toy was when I was eight or ten years old? Twenty years ago. Anyway, now that there was a picture, it was possible to find the toy again. I did a reverse google image search and found the brand, name, and year of production. With that information, I went to Ebay and Etsy. I found only one for sale, and it wasn't tattered and worn by time either...a woman in Florida had lovingly restored it to like-new condition. Yeah, there was no way I was passing up the chance to have a beloved childhood friend with me again. Peaches II arrived in the mail on Monday.

I've been trying to keep track of my circus family as they scatter to the winds. Many people are using this painful time to take road trips, travel, explore. I enjoy seeing their adventures. Some fortunate ones have already found work in other entertainment venues, and are rehearsing or preparing for upcoming performances. Way to go, y'all :) Others are at home with their families. Still others seem to have disappeared. With fewer updates on facebook, it's hard to know what everyone's up to.

At this point, I'm really focused on visiting Jameson. Geez. It upsets me that I don't know when I'll see him next. Being patient is haaaaard. Neither of our schedules are solid enough for visits yet. I'm determined to make it happen during the summer. But in the meantime. Waiting. Sucks. At least he seems to be doing well. Other than the frogs coming to get him...

I had expected to work on Saturday at the factory, sorting some instruments they've got languishing in the attic. Instead, thanks to a last-minute repair demand from an area school, the repair department found itself ultra-busy and I found myself with a three-day weekend. I'll make the most of it!

Saturday, I woke early thanks to my recently reset internal clock. I used the time to cook food for the week and clean up a little. While I was cooking it began raining pretty hard. We were under a tornado watch. In this video you can hear a whooshing sound...I thought it was thunder at first but it was constant. I think it was wind in the distance...

After the storm passed there were these beautiful mammatus clouds.

But just a half hour south of Kansas City, apparently the storm got pretty bad. Check out this hail.

Anyway, the storm passed. I decided to visit the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Every single person I've met in Kansas City has insisted that I go. And it's free. Ok you guys, I'm going!!

Before going inside I wanted to check out the sculpture garden. I liked the shiny metal tree, and this black graphite-esque sculpture. And also these people walking through this triangular sculpture, looking like ghosts.

The museum as viewed from the base of the sculpture gardens.

After walking through the gardens, I made my way to the steps and looked back across the lawn.

Inside, the first artwork I noticed was a series of tapestries depicting Greek mythological characters and gods. I was amused by this one, in which Phaeton receives "parental instructions".

I was shocked at how large the museum was. It's four floors of art! I like to look at everything and take my time, so I decided that I'd do two floors and save the other two for another time, as I only had three hours before the museum closed. The plaza level featured European artworks from 200 C.E. through the 1900s, and a section of Egyptian, Greek, and Roman art.

I was amazed by this secretary bookcase. Made in Germany between 1740-50, it was crafted from thousands of pieces of multicolored wood carefully cut to make the three-dimensional scene.

There were many items made from silver in the museum, including a Folgers coffee service made entirely from silver. Here is an item from another set made of silver, gold, and ivory. The leaves around the base were so delicate and looked almost real, I should have taken a picture of them.

This was the stem of a covered chalice (fancy wine glass) made of ivory. Amazing.

Monet, of course.

I just liked this vase. I didn't take down information for all of the art that I saw..sorry!

In the Egyptian section, there was a lot to look at. A mummy, casket, and coffin of a noblewoman. Various statues and figurines that were buried with the dead to assist in the afterlife. This carving was engraved on a wall in a burial tomb and shows a husband and wife with a table full of food, along with an inscription asking the gods to provide sustenance in the afterlife.

This is Sumerian art, a winged "genie" fertilizing a date tree.

The lobby level featured African art and modern art. I didn't take as many pictures because it was pretty crowded down there, and it was hard to get clear shots. Plus, to be honest, I'm not really into most modern art. The photography section had some really nice portraits. The walls were covered with various three-dimensional geometric art, where artists made use of color and light and just plain physics to create some interesting effects.

My favorite art of the day was this piece, "Blue" by Wassily Kandinsky. I know I just finished saying I don't go for modern art, but for some reason this one really appealed to me.

Later on at home, I discovered that Kandinsky's art is heavily influenced by music.

On display in its own exhibit space was Nick Cave's "Property". I have seen Nick Cave's art twice before, once on display in the subways of New York City when the circus was playing Brooklyn, and again with the circus in Vegas, while Jameson and I were out seeing the sights. I did not know that he was native to Missouri.

According to a plaque near the sculpture, ""Property" includes a caricatured figure representing a racial stereotype. The title Property recalls slavery, as well as the lifecycle of things sold, used, and discarded, then intentionally appropriated by the artist for creative transformation. He hopes that the sculpture will cause viewers to ask themselves, “How have you changed? What work have you done?”"

And so after reading this I was startled, and amused, to see that a portion of the artwork contained date nails.

A ceremonial mask in the African art section. Most of the African art consisted of sculptures, costumes, thrones, or weapons, almost all of which were made to look like naked people with huge boobs and butts and members...and conservative caucasian me is a little to shy to be photographing those just yet.

By the time I wrapped things up on the lobby level, the museum was an hour from closing time. I called it a day, hit the grocery, and came home. I spent the evening transferring posts from this blog to the new site, and also took time to clean my trombones. The Williams especially was in need of a good cleaning, as I'd played it exclusively through the end of the circus. I washed them inside and out, vacuumed the cases, and polished them with microfiber, removing the sawdust and pyro ash and the last vestiges of their time in the circus.

Meanwhile, Jameson was playing a gig with the Greg Warren Band in sunny Florida. I miss him as always, but am very happy that he's having fun and playing some awesome gigs!

(photo courtesy Paul Mac)

On Sunday I woke up a bit later, which was nice. I had a slow morning of working on this blog post and just enjoying breakfast and the lovely weather. There was a notice stuck to my door about insect control that will take place on Tuesday, so tomorrow night I'll have to stash my food and dishware somewhere safe. Bugger.

In the afternoon I decided that it was too nice to stay inside. I drove to Swope Park, only about two miles from where I live. It's a huge park that includes the KC Zoo, an amphitheater, and several golf courses. There is also a community center, a nature preserve, a zipline, a bike trail, and several walking/hiking trails. I wanted to try the mid-sized trail located behind the Lakeside Nature Center. The Center was open when I arrived, so I went in to check it out. There were touch displays and a play area for the kids (a lot of it was set up to be appealing to kids) and many rehabilitated animals, who due to their injuries could not be released back into the wild.

I am thinking of volunteering here, if they need someone.

Time to try Fox Hollow Trail.

This was definitely a more "natural" trail than I was expecting! It started off pretty clearly marked, winding its way among limestone boulders.

A pretty flower growing from a crack in a boulder.

After a while, though, it became barely more than an animal trail...and a few times I did accidentally follow an animal trail instead! I ended up finding my way back to where I'd seen a map, and took a picture this time, and tried again.

Following this narrow path through some tall grass, I noticed fresh deer tracks and wondered if I'd see any today.

Crossing a shallow creek, I was struck by how peaceful it was.

Soon after the creek, I rounded a corner and startled a doe. She was not that close to me, but close enough that I could feel the vibration of her feet hitting the ground as she jumped to get away from me.

If you had trouble seeing her in this video, she's near the center of the frame and maybe a little to the right, running away between the 2-5 second marks. You can see the flash of her tail at 4 seconds.

I navigated the rest of the trail pretty easily, although it was muddy from yesterday's rain and much of the trail signage was MIA or downed.

This was a fun trek. I'll be back again for sure!
Back at home I got cleaned up and had something to eat, then relaxed and enjoyed the evening. It's weird that I'm going to have tomorrow off as well.

I have to say, while I would much rather still be working with the circus, I do appreciate the peace that comes from being in one place.

Other stuff:

Normally I do not like to solicit, but this is so ridiculous that I had to do something. Apparently there is a movement going to prevent Alexander Lacey (Blue Unit big cat trainer) from taking his cats--animals that he OWNS--back to Europe with him. Feld Entertainment is currently requesting a permit to transfer the animals through the US Fish and Wildlife Service. I'm guessing that the reason Feld is making the request is that Mr. Lacey may have had transportation for the cats covered under his contract with Feld. If the permit request by Feld is denied, Mr. Lacey may have to pay for their transportation himself, meaning less of his money will go toward the tigers themselves thanks to the ridiculousness of a US government agency. Personally I have a problem with that, so I took time to make a comment supporting approval of the permit on THIS SITE. If you have time, please do the same. Here is the body of my comment, I'm sharing it so that if you don't know what to say, you can just copy/paste the parts of this that you agree with:

"As a government bureau concerned with conservation, the US Fish and Wildlife Service should know that the Lacey family has made incredible contributions to the preservation of tigers as a species by breeding them for more than twenty generations, and by spreading conservation awareness via live performances and interactive exhibits. The four members of the Lacey family have bred and cared for over 500 big cats, including lions and tigers. With only around 3,000 tigers remaining in the wild, this is no small contribution. The Lacey family should be applauded, not punished, for their significant role in preserving this endangered species. The fact that the Laceys have been able to breed and care for so many big cats is a clear indication that they take big cat conservation, and their personal responsibility in caring for these animals, very seriously.

Functions of the US Fish and Wildlife Service relevant to application PRT-22685C include "Protecting endangered species" and "helping foreign governments with their international conservation efforts". Denying permits to legitimate applicants based on personal opinions about circuses is not a function of the FWS.

In closing, the tigers are privately owned by the Lacey family, not Feld Entertainment. During his time in the United States, Mr. Lacey has cared for all of his animals according to the laws set forth in the Animal Welfare Act and according to the standards of the USDA. Mr. Lacey has the right to take his property (these animals) to Germany with him. If the request by Feld to transport Mr. Lacey's animals is denied, the Laceys would have to apply for the permits and fund the transportation of the animals themselves, meaning less money going toward the care of these tigers thanks to the actions of the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

For all of the above reasons, I would encourage the US Fish and Wildlife Service to allow Feld Entertainment to re-export Mr. Lacey's tigers, which are his property, to Germany. In addition, while you will likely receive more comments against the granting of the permit, I would implore you to value QUALITY over QUANTITY. The purpose of the FWS would be served in placing value on science and logic over speculation and emotionalism when considering this application.

If any member of the FWS would like to contact me regarding this statement, please contact me at your convenience. Thank you for your time."


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 29th, 2017 06:59 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you are still updating on your life. And glad things are settling in well for you. I've taken your words, and added a few of my own in support, and posted at the link site. Fingers crossed his furry family gets to travel home with him on Feld's dime. If it is denied he will still be able to travel with them, won't he? They won't remove them?
May. 30th, 2017 12:58 am (UTC)
Eh, sorry it's not very interesting. Kansas City is nice so far though, and I'm happy to be here.

Thank you for taking time to write. I know it's a pain sometimes. To be honest, I don't know how these things are handled at all. You'd think that if everything were in order he should have no problem taking the tigers back to Europe. I don't know how much public opinion plays into the Fish & Wildlife Service's decision making process.

To me, it seems like if they denied the permit, the tigers will have to live SOMEWHERE and SOMEONE will have to take care of them. Since they are Mr. Lacey's property, forcing the tigers to stay here essentially means forcing him to either stay here or sell them off so he can go home. Denying the permit seems to create a lot of unnecessary cost and hassle for everyone involved. So I hope it won't happen. But if it does, the next question would be what will happen to the tigers? They can't force Mr. Lacey to stay in the US, and they can't force him to sell them either. They can't take them from him without good reason. So what exactly would be the benefit to anybody?

The whole thing is stupid. Hundreds of stupid people screaming about "free the tigers" and refusing to realize that they're just making everything worse for the animals for the sake of feeling gratified when they "win".
May. 29th, 2017 09:26 pm (UTC)
Your old home, car Red 38...
Hey Megan,

Hey... I know you said your car was 38... But what was the serial number? I have found that these two cars, 41315 & 41406 went to Cincinnati Dinner Train and I remember you saying something about that company and your car... It's official now... If one of these is the serial number for Red 38...then your home won't be scrapped... I'm happy about that as I'm sure you are too...

I'm still playing catch up on your blog... I'm up to Sept. 2014 now. I read when I can...and loving it!!! Well,Just thought you'd like to know...

Scot Isley
May. 30th, 2017 12:59 am (UTC)
Re: Your old home, car Red 38...
Hi Scot,

Yes, car 38 did go to the Cincinnati Dinner Train. They will remodel it into a dining car, no Ringling logos or anything, but the shell will live on. I am happy about that. Thanks!
May. 30th, 2017 10:31 am (UTC)
Re: Your old home, car Red 38...
I understand that one of the conditions for buyers of circus train cars is that all Ringling markings must be removed and that quite frankly has me confused. I know it's a copyright thing but if Feld really cares about the circus like he says he does then he should applaud and support efforts to preserve these artifacts. It's not as if the Ringling name means anything to Feld now.

By the way, I work in Cincinnati and was going to suggest to the owners of the Dinner Train that this car be named in your honor...unless you object.

Thanks for keeping this blog alive.

May. 30th, 2017 12:59 pm (UTC)
Re: Your old home, car Red 38...
You know, everyone thinks that the Felds are supposed to have some sort of charitable attitude about this whole thing. Feld Entertainment is a business. They are selling their own property. This has nothing to do with "caring about the circus". The logo is being stripped because the Felds still own the name "Ringling Bros.", and it is their right to decide how that name is used. If they do not want "Ringling Bros." on the side of a dinner train, I don't blame them. And by the way, clearly the name does mean a great deal, otherwise they would have just sold that off too.

Also, they have donated MANY train cars over the years. There are some at museums in both Sarasota and Barbaroo, as well as at Feld Headquarters, which have the logo on them, which are available for the public to see. They are also planning to donate some cars, logo included, to a homeless project run by the ministry that served circus folk for nearly the entire history of Ringling Bros. They can't be expected to donate two miles worth of cars; they've donated SOME. Is that not enough?

I'm sorry but I'm very tired of people making these sorts of statements about the Felds. Being self-made millionaires doesn't mean you are required to be charitable. It's also not a cause for criticism. If anything it's something to aspire to. The Felds saved Ringling from bankruptcy back in 1967, and kept the show running, often at a financial deficit to themselves, for fifty years. Do you know why they REALLY had to close the show? Because everyday people were not willing to buy a $15 ticket to come see it. How much money have you personally invested in supporting the circus over the past decade? It's easy to blame the Felds, and they are partially responsible due to some of their business choices. But they're definitely not the only ones responsible. There's no point in continuing a show that no one comes to see.

Cincinnati Dinner Train names their cars? If you want to suggest it I won't stop you, but "all aboard the Megan train" sounds kinda weird haha!
May. 30th, 2017 07:34 pm (UTC)
Re: Your old home, car Red 38...
I enjoy your writing, but I find myself getting angry every time you blame consumers "who were not willing to buy a $15 ticket" to come see the circus.

Let's do the real math here. I went to see Red (yes, your show) in Greensboro this spring. My ticket alone was $47. This wasn't a fancy ticket; it wasn't in the ozone layer, but it was all the way up at the concourse entrance (roughly level with the aerialists). Parking was $10 at this venue. I wanted one of the elephant mug snow cones, but at $15 each, it was far out of my budget. Programs were $15, too. All of the souvenirs were expensive.

Let's multiply that for a family of four, assuming that Junior and Missy both want a souvenir. We have a conservative estimate of $228 (just tickets, parking and two $15 souvenir items -- no snacks, although our hypothetical family would have been on site for three hours or more). That's a far cry from "a $15 ticket," even if we adjust the cost for any available discounts.

RBBB provided wonderful entertainment. (I loved the acts from Benny and Nicole, and I really enjoyed talking with Justino about his buddy Cody.) It's incredibly expensive to produce such an epic show, even before you add the costs that most employers wouldn't have (such as providing transportation and housing for employees, not to mention hotel vouchers for employees if train housing isn't ready on time). I accept that those costs will be passed along to the consumer. I also realize that a lot of families are struggling economically, and there are more affordable options for family entertainment.

For most families, RBBB would be an occasional treat, similar to a Disney World trip -- not something a family could afford to do every year. So please, no more "$15 ticket" references. It simply isn't an accurate description of the cost to attend a show.
May. 30th, 2017 09:12 pm (UTC)
Re: Your old home, car Red 38...
I'm sorry. I didn't mean to say or imply that consumers are solely responsible for Ringling's closure. Clearly there were many factors, including business decisions by the Felds, which I did mention in the previous comment to show that I was aware that consumers are not entirely to blame for the closing.

I used $15 because that was the Groupon price for 2015-2016 in nearly every city. No, there was not always a discount for Saturday or Sunday, so you're right, it's not fair of me to make assumptions about what people pay, especially with prices being different in every city. And taking into account what people pay for their tickets + souvenirs + parking. In any case all of that goes to prove the point I was trying to make, which is people weren't willing to pay for it. Whether it's because things were too expensive or it was just a once-a-year thing or what, people did not want to pay for it more than once per year. Was this something that the Felds could have "fixed"? I don't know. They could have lowered ticket prices further. They could have sold off some elephants to afford the show for a little longer. They could have lowered employee pay, or cut benefits, or made cuts to their own "salaries". But to me, that does not change the fact that if you're a production show running at a deficit, until ticket sales go back up, it's just delaying the inevitable.

You may notice that when you go to the movies, anything that you buy from the concessions area is also more expensive than it would be elsewhere. This is because the theater does not make money from the ticket sales. Feld is very similar; they sign five-year contracts with these arenas, and only receive a small portion of ticket sales, so they try to make up for it with souvenirs. It's stupid, I agree.

There's no good way for me to explain why I feel somewhat bitter about this, it's not something that I think you'll understand. There are other factors, such as animal rights laws being passed, and people who for the entire five years of my circus career always bugged me for free tickets and never once bought any, then complained that it's all the Feld's fault when the circus closed. Circus fans who immediately began spewing hate toward the Felds. Put it this way. I was in the circus for five years, and for five years I had a lot of one-on-one interactions with ticketholders, whether it was during preshow or a backstage tour or through my blog, or through various comments sections online. Over the past six months I've had The impression that I got was that people were not willing to pay to see the circus for a variety of reasons. And that was a hard pill to swallow.

But it's no excuse for being a jerk, and I am sorry.

(edit added later because I was at work) I am very sorry if my comments made anyone feel bad, especially those who took time to visit with me while the circus was still going. I am definitely very much aware that most folks are not out for the free tickets, and most folks were genuinely supportive of the circus. I'm glad for all of the amazing people that I was privileged to meet while with the circus. It was fun for me to take people backstage, and to show what the circus is really like. I truly appreciated the magic that could be shared there.

Edited at 2017-05-31 12:42 am (UTC)
May. 31st, 2017 12:52 am (UTC)
Re: Your old home, car Red 38...
I want to try to explain why I feel such bitterness sometimes toward "the general public". Those feelings are due to a combination of events and experiences that took place over the course of five years. Some examples:

Bringing a childhood friend to a show, taking them backstage to see the animals up close, and then later having them unfriend me because they read a PETA article about how our animals are treated.

Providing tickets to friends and family who would ask for them every year, and then when it was announced that the show was closing, and when I could not offer those same folks free tickets, being told that "it's not worth it" and "this is why the circus is closing, it's too expensive".

Being told far too many times in comments and in general online how evil Feld is first for removing the elephants and next ending the circus, how they're sellouts because they didn't choose to charitably extend a failing show for a time specified by those same people who are unwilling to purchase tickets (I realize that this is not everyone, and that not everyone should be expected to afford tickets). What really, really got to me in this category was the number of those people who belong to a Circus Fan Organization. These were people who were supposedly supporting the circus, yet the immediate response was hate and vitriol toward the people who had kept the show running for fifty years.

The fact that when the Felds announced that the elephants would be taken off the show in 2015, there was little or no public outcry. There was a year during which protests and petitions could have helped. There was much complaining about the Felds online, and much sadness, but no motivation from any corner to take action. This was very hard to swallow, as it seemed like an apathetic confirmation from the public that what PETA was doing and saying was acceptable, and the results were acceptable.

In the fall of 2016, Ringling held a media campaign to try and prevent NYC from passing an exotic animal ban that would have prevented the circus from performing in the city. It sent out flyers and emails and made phone calls. Feld Entertainment typically goes to court alone to defend itself from frivolous legislation like this, and spends their own money and time to fight those battles. Alone. And this was the one time they outright asked for public support. Myself and many others spent a great deal of time writing letters, sending emails, and making calls. The law was passed anyway. In Feb. 2017 when the Blue Unit was performing in Brooklyn for the last time, people were still asking, "Where are the elephants?" and storming out angrily when they found out the elephants were not there to entertain them.

I could go on but you get the idea. This is not meant to be a string of excuses...I'm talking through this myself too because maybe talking about what's causing the bitterness will help to clear it. When the circus closed, because my blog was popular among the circus crowd, I got a lot of comments and input. Many of those comments were from good-hearted people, and thank god, because otherwise I don't know how I'd have gotten through until May. And many were from people who wanted to gloat, or who wanted to use me as a soapbox to vent about the Felds, or use me to get free stuff now that the show was closing, or to heap abuse on me for whatever opinions I held and chose to share on my blog. I was accused of censoring my blog, of being bribed to write good things about the Felds, and of course, of being an animal abuser and trying to cover it up with pretty words. This was not once in a while, it was every day. Every day from January through late April, I would wake up to piles and piles of commentary. And really it started before then, when the elephants left, but it escalated in those last few months. On top of the accusations and nastiness there were questions, endless questions about why this and why that, where was my train now, what was everyone doing now that the show was closing, how do we feel, where will we be on x day, where are the free tickets...

May. 31st, 2017 12:52 am (UTC)
Re: Your old home, car Red 38...
I know I'm not supposed to let things like that fester, but they did. It freaking hurt. It hurt to know that in the end, many people were sending well-wishes as a bit of flattery intro to a later request for tickets or items. It hurt that I posted in my blog about two circus friends dying within a few weeks after the announcement (both committed suicide), but the big concern from the peanut gallery is why did I write nice things about Kenneth Feld, he's such a monster. It hurts that people STILL continue to send me links to PETA articles and have the gall to ask me if it's true that myself and others stabbed elephants to make them do things and whip tigers until they bleed.

I don't know if I can ever explain how frustrating it is. It would be like everyone you know questioning whether you're a child molester because someone who hates you made a photoshop of you doing inappropriate things, and it goes viral. And every day that you step outside you have to wonder which of the people looking at you is judging you. Your "friends" act like everything's normal, but then ask you confidentially over drinks, "...but seriously, DID you?" And then imagine complete strangers taking time to camp on your lawn with homemade signs claiming that you've done terrible things, waving a photoshopped pictures of you doing inappropriate things to a child, so that all your neighbors can see and hear and start to believe it. Because if it weren't true, people wouldn't be so passionate about it, right? And no one comes to defend you. But they'll all smile to your face, that's for sure. And when you finally decide to move on because your life is ruined, suddenly all of these people come out of the woodwork to wish you well, pat you on the back, and say, "Well *I* didn't believe the rumors. You're a wonderful person in my book!" An outpouring of support now that you've been forced out of the neighborhood. Get the analogy? I don't know if anyone can understand what that's like until they're on the bad end of it.

But again, I don't want to make excuses. It's something that I need to deal with and not take out on others, especially the people here who have been so wonderful, and so supportive. I will never forget how awesome it was to have people who read my blog come to visit me, and to be able to give them tickets or take them backstage. It was really one of the best parts of working there, and rather than being bitter I should be thanking all of you for it. I am sorry.

Edited at 2017-06-01 03:27 am (UTC)
Jun. 1st, 2017 02:56 am (UTC)
Re: Your old home, car Red 38...
Thank you for responding so honestly and openly.

Thank you, too, for providing a weekly "backstage tour" -- a virtual one -- for so many complete strangers. Most of us would never have the experience of living on a train, seeing the backyard of America pass by from the vantage point of a vestibule, watching a legend unfold again and again from a backstage perspective. You made it possible for us to enjoy a glimpse of that through your words and images. It has been an incredible journey. Best wishes as you craft your next adventure.

Jun. 1st, 2017 03:11 am (UTC)
Re: Your old home, car Red 38...
If there had been a job just giving backstage tours/tours of the train, I would have happily done it. It was awesome, and I know it meant a lot to everyone who got to do it.

Thank you for understanding. I'm working on putting some things behind me so I can be a better person.
Jun. 3rd, 2017 02:42 am (UTC)
Re: Your old home, car Red 38...
I really didn't mean to stir the pot with my comments. Deep down I know that Feld's decision to close the circus was based on business concerns but as I see it Ringling Bros. was much more than just a business. Indeed, it was a part of the very fabric of what made this a great nation for 146 years. We're talking about an institution that has helped generations cope with the harsh realities of two world wars, the great depression as well the personal hardships of everyday life by providing wholesome entertainment for millions. With the loss of this treasure our nation becomes a little bit poorer and a whole lot sadder.

Thank you for sharing your unique perspective on the circus with circus fans like myself. You have opened my eyes to the efforts by the Felds to keep the circus going as long as they could and for this they deserve our gratitude and support. The pain of the loss in my heart is very real and sometimes makes me comment in ways nonsensical and unfair and for that I am truely sorry.

I wish you much success and happiness in your new position.


Jun. 3rd, 2017 03:43 pm (UTC)
Re: Your old home, car Red 38...
No worries, I'm kind of glad you did. All of that had been sitting on my chest pretty hard.

I agree with you. Ringling was more than just a business. And I think it was to Kenneth Feld too (maybe not so much to the sisters, I don't know).

But regardless of its institutional value, it was still a show and had to be treated as a show, where your employees need to be paid, and all 300 employees need health insurance, and elephants need to be fed, and props need to be repaired, and trains need to be moved, and arenas need to be filled. Real costs, necessities, that must be paid for whether ticket sales are up or down, to keep Ringling Bros. going whether it's seen as an American institution or a production show. Was it worth preserving? Yes! But who was going to pay for it? If not the Felds, and if not "the public", who?

I think that Ringling Bros. was not something that anyone was willing to invest in keeping any longer, and that's perfectly ok. It happens to tons of shows, and this one had gone on for decades longer than every other show out there. It was a good run and many people got to enjoy it. I guess I just wish that in place of some of the criticism, there would have been more preventative action. But it's done now and there's no use being angry, so I'm going to make an effort to let this all go. Thank you for having a hand in that process. And thank you for sharing your opinions and thoughts and feelings.
Jun. 3rd, 2017 12:43 pm (UTC)
Thank You
I have just finished binge-reading your entire blog over the course of about three weeks.
Thank you for writing it. I started reading already knowing the outcome, of course, but nonetheless shared your excitement at beginning the job, the "romance" of living on the train and of spending your time both playing music and exploring the world while waiting to play music again.
As someone who nearly joined a circus two decades ago, I am glad to have had this peek into what it is like.
I envy you the opportunities you have had to work with people so dedicated to their craft, their expertise and to each other.
All the best to you in the next chapter in your story!
Jun. 3rd, 2017 03:21 pm (UTC)
Re: Thank You
Whoooah haha. Well I'm glad you've enjoyed it!

Yes, I am very, very grateful. While I don't like how things ended, I'm glad that the circus existed for so long for so many, and that I got to be a part of it.

Thank you :)
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