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Bits and Pieces

This week was off to a much better start.

I was able to get a lot of work done on Monday. While several people seemed interested in buying various instruments I'd listed online, no one has actually pulled the trigger yet. Oh well. Just gotta be patient!

Partway through the day I got a call for my first gig! Trevor (local trombonist and BAC employee) sent this gig my way as it was initially offered to him but he was unable to take it due to scheduling. Looks like it's going to be a Phil Collins tribute band. Fun!

So on Monday I skipped practicing, because I'd only brought my large bore horn to the store and wanted to start back up with the small bore for this gig. I went to the gym instead. During my workout there was a passing thundershower, and when I stepped outside I was greeted by this vibrant rainbow. Wow!

From there I drove home and had a nice relaxing night, watching Katanagatari while listening in on my boyfriend giving music classes online. I enjoy hearing his voice and am glad he lets me "audit"!

Tuesday was also good. I was in front of the computer a lot, but there are things that really need to be done before rental season starts. Like inventory, and ordering products that we'll need for the school year. It's an interesting experience for me to be doing these processes in a smaller store. At Music & Arts, inventory systems were already in place and the ordering of rental equipment/accessories was mostly handled by a different branch of the company. Here at BAC with just fifteen employees, everyone seems to play a role in gathering the necessities.

I spent a lot of time Tuesday counting all of the reeds in the store and manually adding them into the ongoing POS inventory. At the same time, I used the information gathered while doing inventory to create an ordering spreadsheet that will hopefully make it easier for us to place orders with our suppliers. At the same time, there are many products in the store that do not yet exist in the POS or are incomplete entries, still needing SKUs or pictures or correct pricing. So as I was doing inventory and creating an order spreadsheet I was also updating product information in the POS. It may seem tedious, but come rental season I think we'll really appreciate the ease of having all of this at our fingertips. And when inventory is done, I think I'll be proud to have contributed to a large chunk of BAC infrastructure.

After work I stuck around to practice, but didn't go to the gym (opposite of Monday). Playing through scales and traditional method books was kind of "meh", and I didn't feel that it was good prep for the tribute band gig, so I decided to try something else on Wednesday. After practicing I locked up the store, hit the grocery for some little things, and went home to listen to Phil Collins and take notes. Non-musicians may not realize this, but a lot of work goes into pre-gig preparation. What's the sound you're going for? How long is each piece, and how much playing will I be doing? What's the visual style of the band? What equipment will I need besides my instrument and charts? How will I need to breathe, or articulate, or sustain? What did the composer want? And on and on. And yeah, this is my first KC gig and I want to do a good job :)

Wednesday at work, nothing special. I got a lot done. After work I stayed at the building to practice.

Yes, I practiced circus music. Playing scales and such is fine and all, but it's hard to be passionate about it. I brought the music from "Built to Amaze", because the music for that show was pretty involved and I wanted a good butt-kicking. But first, I printed out a part from my very first show with Ringling, "Fully Charged".

Fully Charged was my least favorite show of the three that I got to perform. The music and theme were kind of dark, and it seemed kind of low in the energy department (ironically). But there was one piece that I always loved to play and looked forward to every day, and that was the Aerial Straps act. I loved how epic it was, and the weird key changes, and the singing trombone line. And I loved watching Dima and Nadia perform during this act. Fully Charged was my first experience with the circus, and watching two full-blooded circus people perform was just mind-blowing. I was in awe every time, it never got old. I couldn't understand how they could fly from those straps, night after night, flawless and strong each and every time. Watching them taught me the meaning of trust. Watching them do it every night taught me the meaning of circus: Real Magic. Creating it every night, every show.

(NOTE: if you wanted to hear the trombone part, you can hear it better in THIS VIDEO. I chose to share the video above because it shows the whole act.)

I wish there were a better clip out there, but also glad that one exists at all. The act I'm talking about starts at the beginning and goes to exactly the 6-minute mark. Anyway, I printed out my part for this act and played through it. And thought about Nadia. For those who don't know, Nadia passed away shortly after the announcement of Ringling's closing. It is amazing how much more loudly, and confidently, and passionately you can play when you care about what you're playing.

After practice I hit the gym, then went home.

Thursday and Friday kind of flew by. Work, work. We had various people come into the store, parents with kids looking to try instruments and discover what they might enjoy playing for the upcoming school year. On Friday afternoon, someone dropped off this interesting trombone for repair. I was surprised at the art deco design and the angled cross braces, both unusual. But what really caught my interest was the bell. Most trombone bells have a rolled edge, to improve sound but also to reinforce the bell structure. Thin brass can crack! But this trombone doesn't have a rolled edge! And the edge of the bell is VERY sharp. After a little research I found out that this trombone has the nickname "razorbell" for that reason.

There were also some neat vintage items inside the trombone case. Maybe once this guy has had a good cleaning I'll take him for a spin.

Then it was the weekend. Yay! I had to get up bright and early on Saturday for a meeting with True Colours, the Phil Collins tribute band that I'll hopefully get to work with. We had a nice meet-and-greet, then discussed band operations over bagels and donuts. The manager/producer wants to create some promotional materials first, then book us in theaters in the major cities surrounding Kansas City. We'd have one performance per month. We went over the stage design and setup, and we each got a folder for contact info and parts and such. This looks like it'll be a lot of fun! I'm still a bit worried about how we'll be learning the music, but there's a lot of time between now and the first filming, and I'm sure the details will come together. I'll be glad to play some fun stuff with some cool people.

After the meeting I drove home because my boss was supposed to come drop a bunch of stuff off for me, just appliances and such that he's got lying around and doesn't need. But repairs are still in full swing at the factory, and I think he ended up having to work all afternoon :/ So I spent the day catching up with housework: groceries, vacuuming, dusting, laundry, ironing, and responding to emails. While taking a break for dinner I noticed lots of photos popping up online from Brian Miser, former Ringling Human Cannon. A few months ago he'd purchased a Red Unit train car, and this week it was transported to his property in Peru, Indiana (CLICK HERE to read a story about this). Because it's on private property and not traveling the rails, Brian is allowed to keep the Ringling logos on the train. He'll be using it as a living space for visitors and members of his circus camp.

Here's the train car en route to Brian's house. They took the "trucks" (wheels and wheel housings) off and put on some temporary wheels so that Brian wouldn't have to lay down tracks. Meanwhile some 18-wheelers transported the trucks to Brian's house, where they were positioned in preparation for the car. Finally a crane was brought in to lower the car back onto its wheels.

Doesn't it look lovely by the lake? I'm so glad that one car was saved :)

(both photos courtesy Brian M and/or Treasures of Miami County)

Although most of the other Ringling train cars may not enjoy such luxurious surroundings, surprisingly the majority of the train HAS been preserved in one form or another. Most of the cars have been bought by private owners, museums, dinner trains, etc. This info is from Nikki (train crew) who for some reason still reads my blog even though it's not interesting any more :P She got me up to speed on what's happening with the Ringling cars. Thank you Nikki!!

Even though many cars will not be able to keep their circus logos, I think it's awesome that the majority have been saved from scrapping! Still, gotta admit I was amused to see this article detailing how a Ringling train car caught fire during scrapping. Why am I not surprised! The story is HERE.

Anyway...after dinner I decided to finish scrubbing the bathroom (I always put that off until last) and was startled to find a HUGE spider in the tub. Now, normally this wouldn't be an issue, I'd either squash it or take it outside. But this is the FOURTH huge spider I've found in the bathroom in the past FOUR days. NOT COOL YOU GUYS. I made an unplanned trip to a hardware store for the strongest repellant I could find. I wanted to try diatomaceous earth, but they were sold out. Instead it was a regular border repellant, and while I was at it I got a wasp trap too as they've been following me indoors. Then, because my Dad suggested it last week, I picked up a hummingbird feeder. How silly, to kill one living thing and feed another. I feel bad to kill spiders, but these are the hunting kind that don't make webs, and they are fast, jumpy, bitey, and difficult to catch. And nobody likes finding them at random around the house for days at a time. Wasps, sorry-not-sorry, I don't feel bad at all about killing those. Sting-y jerks.

On Sunday I had wanted to do something...go for a walk, or spend time at the art museum again. But I also had errands to run, and they took longer than expected mostly because the manager at FedEx was there all alone. His underling had called in sick. He was clearly stressed but trying to keep it together. I was the only one with a package so just suggested he take care of the printing side first, I had a phone to entertain me and could wait all day. When he did finally get to wait on me I did all I could to cheer him up. He was a cheerful dude anyway so it wasn't hard :) I hope someone will do that for me when rental season hits in August haha.

At Home Depot, I found the diatomaceous earth so decided to buy a bag. Strolling through the plant section, I was surprised to see a tray of flytraps! And they were all in various stages of dying off :( Boooooo Home Depot! They were on clearance, so I picked the one with the most rhizomes that looked least likely to die and took it home. What? Don't judge :P

I forgot how annoying these things are to repot. Ugh. It took what felt like an hour and made a huge mess, but eventually I had the plants divided into two cups. We'll see how they do.

Then I spread the diatomaceous earth around the edges of all the windows and doors, and even at the edges of the walls in some places. Anything with an exoskeleton will be in trouble. That took a long time too. I ate lunch and took a nap.

I was startled awake a little while later by a loud buzzing. My first hummingbird guest! He was too fast for a picture. Looking forward to seeing more!

After dinner I drove out to Overland Park to take in a concert by the Overland Park Civic Band. They were very good! The weather was strangely chilly, but many people still came out to listen to the band play. It felt like fall and was really nice. My favorites were a "dueling tubas" number, a euphonium solo, and a really sweet trumpet line in one of the medleys. The last number on the program was "12th Street Rag"...circus Emergency Music. Amusing. My coworker Kristy played flute for the concert, and she did a fantastic job.

I guess you could say this was a pretty "normal" or "boring" week. No food adventures, no sightseeing. Get used to it. Now that I'm stationary like a normal person it's time to go into money saving mode. Also, I know I'm behind on transferring the blog to WordPress. Sorry.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 27th, 2017 11:39 pm (UTC)
Circus Train Cars
It was my understanding that all of the circus train cars were purchased by individuals or groups with the intention of modifying or otherwise preserving them but I guess I was wrong. It is heartbreaking to see these coaches that just a few months ago were fully functional and in service being cut up for scrap.

I wish you well on your new gig.

Jun. 28th, 2017 01:20 am (UTC)
Re: Circus Train Cars
You are correct. A member of train crew also corrected me yesterday, and I edited the entry to reflect that. I didn't know that the majority of cars had been purchased, the last list that I saw had 10-15 cars on it. Sorry for the misinformation but glad that I was wrong! It has been corrected!
Jun. 29th, 2017 11:32 am (UTC)
Re: Circus Train Cars
I just realized that I took a picture of the coach that Brian Miser purchased back in March when you were in Cincinnati and have been using it for my wallpaper. I thought that car looked familiar and sure enough the numbers match!

I am always impressed by the love that circus workers have for their profession and their efforts to keep those memories alive. I know that Mr. Miser had to spend some serious dollars to purchase the car and have it shipped and moved to his property. It is comforting to know that this treasured bit of Ringling history is safe and in good hands.
Jul. 1st, 2017 10:08 pm (UTC)
Well, "normal" not "boring"
Haha, well, it's okay to live the stationary life ... actually the Phil Collins tribute thing sounds pretty cool.
Jul. 4th, 2017 03:39 am (UTC)
Re: Well, "normal" not "boring"
You're right! Trying to get used to it :)

I hope it will be cool. We'll see.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )