Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Welcome to The Player's Lounge Baby....

One of the many interesting things that I get to see that most other people don't is the VIP and backstage areas of different arenas.  While the circus was in San Diego, the performances were at the Valley View Casino Center which is a smaller and older arena that has a wide variety of concerts, events, roller derbies, etc.

What I found most interesting about this particular venue was how everything was built in the mid sixties...then never updated.  Usually, this would mean a pretty run down building that should be bulldozed and started over again *cough* Selland Arena *cough* but incredibly, while everything in the building was straight out of 1965, it was in exceptionally well maintained and in good condition.

For example, I spent a bit of time in the Valley View Casino Player's Lounge (oh yeah!)

Mostly because it was quiet, dark, a fantastic place to catch a nap during split shows (err...take my laptop to one of the giant orange couches and do some number crunching!)

I don't even know you could legally buy furniture that color after 1981...
So, the place definitely had charm and some really cool other traditions.  Every show that comes to that arena gets a custom poster made by a local artist and they are incredible.  Almost every wall backstage has these posters lining them for wrestling, concerts, circuses, etc.  (the one for my show was awesome, I'm still trying to find a way to get one because they do very limited print runs).  Here are some of the awesome examples:

And the not so awesome examples, but the artist can only do so much...

Sadly, they were also bolted to the wall.  If this autographed Tiesto poster woudn't have been, I'm not sure I could have trusted myself not to try and steal it.
So, a successful run through San Diego, I'd certainly give the city a thumbs up and look forward to returning in the future.  Assuming I remain with my current show, I'll be back in two years and I'm sure there will be plenty more great posters to look at by then.

Monday, August 19, 2013

San Diego - Insert "Whale's Vagina Joke Here"

I decided that I needed to pick back up the travel stuff because I really do get to see a ton of cool stuff and it seems like this is as good of a place as any to keep a record of it.  The last stop on the tour was in San Diego, which meant there was uninterrupted week of Anchorman references and jokes (like the one in the title line, if you're confused, go to this video for an example).

For the heck of it, a female associate and I decided to bounce out of Anaheim at the end of the last show, rent a car and drive to San Diego to get a couple extra days in what we had heard was a pretty cool city and I'm pretty glad we did as it also basically gave us a three day weekend.  During that time, we got to see some exotic animals at the world famous San Diego Zoo:

Because, of course, I don't see enough Elephants during the work week...

My Humps, My Humps, My Humps, My Humps - Check it out!
Spend a day in the ever reputable city of Tijuana, Mexico:

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The beach was beautiful and as nice as any we had seen in California if you ignore the trash piled up and the third wold building codes behind you.  Sadly, the water was also ice cold which surprised me in Mexico.

Rooms here were about $18 a night.  We considered checking in, then we decided it was time to take a break from the tequila shots as we were obviously feeling their effects.

This is the arch, which apparently was supposed to be a tourist attraction at some point, why anybody wants to rip off tourist ideas from St. Louis is anybody's guess, but hey, at least the food was great:

And a day spent at Sea World San Diego (because between working in a circus and going to the zoo, we hadn't seen enough exotic animals):

The entire trip, gas + car + hotel, etc. really only ran me about $300-400, which I consider well worth it given the amount I got to see and experience that I wouldn't have if we would have stayed on the train.  Since I have no idea when I'll get to return to San Diego, I thought the days off and extra sightseeing was well worth it.  

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Where Has the Summer Gone?

As the old saying goes, "time flies when you're having fun".  If you are willing to put stock in that colloquialism, then I must be living a pretty awesome life.  I was actually shocked when I realized that I hadn't given a travel update since Tucson (almost two months ago).  

After a week in Phoenix, we shot into California and have been bouncing the Golden State ever since.  While I hopefully will get time to do blog entries about every city, post all the pictures (I've never been a big picture taking guy, but since taking this job, I've taken hundreds) and give an update on the type of stuff that us circus folk manage to find to entertain ourselves in each city.  

A few updates on life in the circus, as I mentioned already, it's still pretty great.  While I'm still relatively new at this game, I continue to build relationships every day and the longer you're out here the more people start trusting you and allowing you into their cliques.  One way I measure the number of connections/friendships I am making in the circus is the number of Facebook friends I have in the show.  While this may seem like an exceptionally shallow and pointless way of keeping score, there is a method to my madness:

Back in college, when Facebook first came out, I friended just about everybody who you could because...well...I don't remember exactly why, but we did.  You meet twenty people at a party and have 21 friend requests by the next night and find yourself wondering who some of these people actually are.  Since I've "grown up" I no longer spend my days actively trying to expand my social network, at this point it's already at a sufficient size.  So, to date, I have only sent a friend request to two people in the circus while I have received friend requests from about twenty.

My "people you may know" have started to change from distant friends of friends I had met once, distant family and people who I have been actively trying to forget for one reason or another, to 3 clowns, the show PR manager, some show riggers and other various and sundry show folk.  I suppose if I needed a digital example to show the change in the people I come in contact with my Facebook news feed would be a good one.

Before I took this job, the only time I had ever spent in California was in LAX running between gates, so it has been an interesting thing to see all the good and the bad that the 31st state has to offer.  So far, the weather has been incredible, since we rolled into town, we have had ONE day of rain and the weather always seems to be sunny and warm.  That being the good part, as somebody born and raised in the midwest, everybody out here is insane.  Let's go down my top five examples:

5. The Government of Alameda County:  So far, this county (and several others, my apologies for not being inclusive) have managed to solve all problems of urban blight, homelessness, city services operating properly and the buses run on time.  Wait, that's not true, but they do seem to have managed to eliminate the dastardly plastic grocery bag from all local stores.  I'm sleeping better at night knowing that the local government has its priorities straight.

4. The drivers:  In every part of California, I've discovered that all drivers are either insane, blind, jerks, impaired with who knows what substance or some combination of both.  

3. Whomever owns Arco Gas Stations: These maddening places which dot the landscape of California only accept debit cards and cash, only have one place you can pay to operate a dozen pumps and everything is at least 20% more expensive than I think it should be.  As a side note, they don't take the company gas cards.  Forget those guys.

2. Anybody who lives in Ontario, California:  The place is every bit as exciting as your local TGI Friday's restaurant and the only thing that every local I talked to could suggest to do for entertainment was to go to the mall. 

1. The guy who was walking around the U.S. Open of Surfing on Huntington Beach with "Free Hugs" written on his back and torso.  This particular gentleman (I use the term lightly) was one of many who were sporting this look so I generally ignored it.  However, when this guy walked up to me and grasped me like a long lost relative to inform me that "I looked like I needed some love, man", "I was giving off some broken spirited vibes, man" and "the beach is a wonderful place to commune with the spirits of the ocean" (man?) I decided that another part of the beach was a good place to explore.

Well, big three show day tomorrow, so I'll cut things off there: 

"May all your days be circus days"