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Sunday, March 06, 2005
2005/03/05: the circus
3:14 PM
despite having gone to bed at almost 7am (note the time on my prior blog entry), i woke up at my usual saturday noon-ish. after showering (note: shower music was Mushroomhead's Superbuick), i remembered that i needed to get, among other things, a new black printer cartridge, as mine had run out earlier in the week.

i made a quick jaunt to target (which i'm not fond of, but at least it's not wal-mart, and it looks better/less trashy), where i quickly found the cartridge i needed. this is quite different from my experiences with previous printers i've owned, where often i've struggled to figure out (a) which cartridge i need, and (b) where i could find it.

additionally, i picked up a particular spongebob dvd for baby kitty because it contained our favorite episode, "Sailor Mouth" (which we've incorrectly been referring to as "Sailor Talk" all this time). in it, spongebob learns a "dirty word" which, since it's a kids' show, was "bleeped" out with a dolphin sound, making for a particularly funny sequence where half the dialog is dolphin sounds. in much the same way that full nudity can be less sexy than clothing, censored dialog can often be funnier than if the words were really there. (for reference, compare the censored/uncensored versions of the dvds of The Osbournes).

i watched it while she got ready for our evening. a couple days ago, she'd asked me whether i wouldn't mind going with her to the circus, and, being the good friend that i am, i said yes. i'd purchased our tickets online friday afternoon (yay modern technology!), and so we were good to go.

traffic downtown was atrocious; it reminded me why i don't do concerts larger than bogart's size (about 1200 people capacity). after loads of driving, and even more not-driving, we finally found a parking lot only a block from the big huge place where the circus was. it only cost $6 (which, for you brits, is probably about 12p right now), which i thought was not bad, considering.

we made our way inside, past kiosk after kiosk of merchandise for sale (not to mention the food counters as well). it was nearly all the same stuff at each counter, too, which was weird and quite disorienting -- we were walking through a crowd along the outside of a great circle, passing the same kiosk many times, like some crappily-animated 50's cartoon or something.

i noticed from the merchandise that this was something like the 134th ringling bros and barnum & bailey circus. my quick math made it clear, then, that this had been going on since the civil war. pretty crazy stuff.

a testament to how small a town cincinnati actually is came in the form of noah sweeny, aka 'nati kid from the animal crackers, a cincinnati hip-hop dj crew. we'd been there only a short while and i ran into someone i knew.

we found our seats, naturally flanked on either side by families. in fact, as you'd expect, we were the odd ones out, as a survey of the crowed showed families everywhere. i made a mental note to try to contain my own "sailor mouth".

our view wasn't bad -- we were on the corner of the rounded-rectangle of the floor, at about row "t", meaning we were 20-odd rows up. when the lights when down, it was a sea of twirly lights, one of the many overpriced items at the ubiquitous kiosks. here's what i mean:

the crowd

yes. those things were $16 to $18, depending on the variety, so that pic shows about $1000 in the pocket of the circus and the big huge venue we were at. amazing.

a couple quick notes:
the first bit of action was right in front of us: a man and a woman, each on their own tall pole, which had a ring at the top. the poles swayed back and forth, and the crowd ooh-ed and aah-ed appropriately.

the pole climbers

the woman was hot, by the way, except for the ugly yellow sequined costume.

what i found more interesting, though, was the shadow of the pole climbers cast by the spotlight onto the crowd.

the pole climbers' shadow

baby kitty got a phone call around this time:

baby kitty on the phone

she was actually able to say someone, "no, i'm at the circus, i'll have to call you back." i'm jealous. incidentally, later on that evening i heard the little boy in the family next to me say the same thing into what i'm assuming was his parents' cellphone. seeing an 8-year old say that into a phone was funny as hell.

after that, there was the requisite trapeze act, which pretty much did what every trapeze act does.

the trapeze act about to begin

oh yeah, there was a magician guy too, but the pics of his didn't come out all that well, and it was really only funny if you were a kid, i guess. speaking of kids, i stole a pic of the kid behind us playing with his $18 light thing.

some kid and his lightup toy

i'll bet it broke later that night at home.

next were the horses, which baby kitty of course loved. i personally am not so into horses, but here's a pic anyway:


pretty much that pretty girl just led them around and made them switch directions and that sort of thing. i was more marvelled by the training that the feats themselves.

another quick note here: i personally am fascinated by "process". by this i mean, how something, a piece of art, perhaps, gets to where it is. thus, the above comment on the training. in fact, much of the time i was watching the rings where the action was not, becuase to me, the action there was also fascinating: setting up the next act, tearing down the previous act to make room.... that stuff is great.

so, the next act, which i watched them set up, was this huge spinny thing with a dude in it, kind of like a hamster wheel on a rotating mechanism. ah, screw the description; here's what it looked like:

spinny thing

it's blurry, of course, so just in case you can't tell, the yellow blur in the fat end is a guy. he basically made the thing spin about the center by crawling forward in the hamster-wheel part. after a while, during the descent of the rotation, he would jump or do flips. all this was pretty impressive, but then he got out of it and got back on it on the outside of it:

spinny thing

wow. he did somersaults and stuff on the outside, too.

time for another quick note: the last time i saw the circus i think i was maybe 10-ish. it was in the 80s, definitely, and before 6th grade. one of the things that has happened since then to change my view of circus acts is that i earned a bachelor's degree in physics. so, i'm watching this guy run around on the outside of the thing (wtf is it called?!), and while everyone else is thinking "ooh, i hope he doesn't fall!", i'm figuring out where he has to stand so that it's perfectly balanced. (it's right about where the big hamster wheel part meets the frame.)

next were the elephants, which pretty much did a variation on the horse act.


it was cool though.

oh, and there were also some musical acts, which i felt neither the need to take pictures of nor the need to remember, so (obviously) this isn't a full recap of the show. i hate musicals, for the most part.

here are some more elephants, though, to make up for it:

more elephants

in addition to the musical numbers, there was also a high wire act, a clown act, and a little comedy-music thing which wer only mildly entertaining. the one remaining cool thing, though was the motorcycles in the ball-shaped cage:

a ball of motorcycles

you can't tell all that much from the picture, but that sphere has three motorcycles driving around inside it. this never ceases to amaze me, though now that i'm older i understand better how they keep from running into each other.

oh, and there were some chinese acrobats, too, but i figured i had pics of chinese acrobats on my hard drive that actually came from china, so i was not bothered to take pics.

so yeah. there's the circus. i actually enjoyed it, and baby kitty had a great time, so that was cool.

afterward, we went to york street to try to catch my friend todd's band black magic rhythm, but after being there for a while, we realized we hadn't eaten all day (except for the cotton candy) and so we took off. sorry todd! we went to shanghai mama's, a great chinese restaurant downtown. the orange faux ribs (vegetarian!) there kick major ass.

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