Tag: travel

S&US Tour Diary – April 5, 2013 – Idaho Falls & The Bus Ride From HELL!

The morning of April 5, started early, early early. Just a few short hours after we had gone to bed. In order to make it to Idaho Falls in time for our AMAZING crew to set up, we have to be on the road by 6:30am, which meant, for me, being up before 6am.

We were on the road by 6:30am and had a much, safer trip to Idaho Falls. Because we hadn’t gotten very far the night before, we still had a close to three hour drive.

We arrived to the hotel by 9am and it, the Candlewood Suites, was just awesome. Kitchen in every room, an ‘honor system’ store in the lobby. Free laundry. A DVD player in each room and the latest DVD releases at the front desk you could check out for free. We were all pretty bummed we didn’t get to stay the night at this place. It was pretty great.

Most of us just crashed when we got there. In the afternoon we headed over to the theatre and took in the downtown area of Idaho Falls where the theatre was. Lots of fun stores there: a gaming store (Dungeons & Dragons), a metaphysical store (sage, singing bowls) and a yarn store to name a few. Had a great meal at the Snake Bite Cafe (amazing Idaho potato Waffle Fries).


The show in Idaho Falls was great. The crowd was into it and the suggestions were fun. We had a few tech issues, but rolled with it.

To give you a little info on Alien Barbershop, it’s a mini structure within a structure called Puppet Variety Show. The variety show has three acts. First is a trio of bunnies. Second is two random puppets performing and act. The finale is the Alien Barbershop.

Now the fun comes in that some of the people in the Bunnies, loop around and are in the Alien Barbershop. I am one of those, so I have to improvise in the Bunnies scene, then sing the lead part in the Alien Barbershop. It makes my brain melt, but it’s really a ton of fun.

The Alien Barbershop suggestion in Idaho Falls was North Korea.

Here was my rhyme:

You make statements
That have no class.
You’d better watch out
Or we’ll nuke your ass.

The crowd loved it. I had originally wanted to have the last word be impotent referring to North Koreas threats, but couldn’t think of a rhyme, so I went with ‘nuke your ass.’

Other fun spots included a ‘Sounds Like A Song’ in which I sang a big band ode to Cocktail Wieners and a “Sex Ed” scene with Ted Michaels in which he was insanely hilarious.


The show was a blast and we got a standing ovation. The people were incredibly nice. We did a donor meet and greet after with puppets and it was a lot of fun.

Then…the nightmare began.

After the truck was loaded and a brief food pitstop, we were on our way to Hamilton, Montana. According to our tour book, Hamilton was 4 hours away. Oh, if only.

I’m not quite sure what happened, but it became the buss trip that never ended. Every couple of hours I would look at my GPS on my phone it it would always, somehow, say there were over two hours left.

I couldn’t sleep at all in the seat on the bus (think airport shuttle type bus) and as the evening wore on it just became longer and longer. I tried to zone out listening to HARVEY on ListenToAMovie.com but it didn’t work too well.

The joke became that we’d actually died on the ‘cataract’ bus ride the night before and we were now stuck in purgatory on a bus ride that would never, ever end. That’s how bad it was.

Once we FINALLY, MERCIFULLY, got into Hamilton, Montana, the game of finding out where we had to go exactly began. It involved the bus making several u-turns and three point turns until we were finally able to get to bed.

Total time on the bus…over 7 HOURS! We were finally in our rooms after 7AM! Ugh.

Now, I will say our accommodations in Montana are amazing, and I will talk more about them tomorrow, and it would have been fantastic to get to spend another full night in them. But more about them, with pictures, tomorrow.

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S&US Tour DIary – April 4, 2013 – Performance Day Salt Lake City

(Again, unedited and not spell checked. Just posted.)

APRIL 4, 2013

I woke up the morning of the 4th with a determination to eat better on the rest of the tour so as to not have a repeat of last night.

I did my wii fit exercises in the hotel room. No, I did not bring my wii fit with me, I recorded my regular workout session on my iPhone and then listen back and followed along. Worked surprisingly well. I then went out for a thirty minute run.

After the run I wanted to grab some healthy food and used yelp to find a subway to get a veggie delite. There was one about a block away and I hoofed it and when I walked up to the subway there was a barbecue joint right next door. The universe was being cruel. I chose the subway. After eating, getting back to the hotel and showering it was time to get up to Kingsbury Hall for show rehearsal.

There’s a new piece in the show called Windy. It’s a very ‘muppet show-esq’ piece to the song of the same name. It features table top puppetry and I manipulate e feet of one of the singers. It’s difficult because its hard to see the monitors during it thanks to the black velvet beekeeper masks we have to wear while performing. We needed to run through this several times. As well as a few other set pieces of the show.

After rehearsal there was tech rehearsal, then dinner, then prep for showtime. I was sporting brand new, all black, Converse high tops and, because I wanted to class things up a little, a skinny black tie.

The Salt Lake City crowd was incredible. I felt I could have done better improv wise. The best improv bit was a film noir that took place at Temple Square park. It was so lucky that Tyler and I went there the night before. In just started working in things I had seen there and the audience loved it. Also the alien barbershop, my favorite structure, went well. The song topic was Polygamy.

Means many wives.
The though to which,
Makes me sick with hives.

I was disappointed in my performance in Windy. The feet were way off and I felt I let Allan, the senior puppeteer on the tour, down as it was his feet I was controlling. I shook it off though and vowed to do better the next night.

After the show it was time to get on the bus towards Idaho Falls, ID. We had a three and a half hour long drive. It was only about ten or fifteen minutes into the drive when we realized that there was something wrong with our driver. We were in a big, fifty six seat, chartered bus and this guy could not keep it in the lane. He was constantly veering between lanes and other cars were swerving around us. It was not fun.

We finally got him to pull over and there was a mass exodus off the bus. We were going to wait an hour for another bus but it was well past midnight. Our intrepid tour crew made the decision we’d stay at a nearby Comfort Inn and travel on to Idaho Falls in the morning.

Side note: we later found out our bus driver is scheduled to have cataract surgery next week. Yeah.

So day two ended at a comfort in after midnight. A good show, some precarious bus riding and then sleep.

Thank you Salt Lake City, goodnight.

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S&US Tour Diary – April 3, 2013 – Pain In The Side

Okay, so I’ve been attempting to write every day while on tour with Stuffed & Unstrung. It’s been a little rough, as you see, because of some of our travel woes. So I figured the easiest way to get my 500 words per day would be to just journal about the travel adventures.

These are unedited and basically just barfed out, so don’t expect too much. They’ll appear about two days behind, but were written on the day.

Here we go!

APRIL 3, 2013

The first day of the Stuffed & Unstrung tour was rather uneventful. The first day is always a bit like a reunion. You get to the airport and see a person or two you haven’t seen in a bit and you catch up on what’s been going on.

The reunion, this time, took place at LAX and it was good to see folks I had net seen in a while. The flight from LAX to Salt Lake City was uneventful and shorter than expected.

The flight was rather uneventful. I did upgrade my seat because i was ticketed in an middle seat. Ugh. Hate middle seats. I’m an aisle man. Just like knowing if I need to get up I don’t have to bother anybody. So I paid the $29 to upgrade to a window but one with no seats in front of it, so I was free to move about the cabin.


Once in Salt Lake City we met up with the parts of our crew who flew in from New York and we were off to the hotel.

I had never been to Salt Lake City and found it to be rather beautiful being surrounded by mountains and all. Once checked in to the hotel, a bunch of us decided to take a walk to take in some of the downtown sights and grab some food.

While looking for a place to eat, some of our crew wanted to just go to the food court at a mall downtown. Puppeteer Tyler Bunch and I wanted to sample a little more of the local flavor of the area outside of Sbarro so we struck out on out own.

We decided upon a Brazilian Steakhouse. If you’ve never been to one, they are pretty great. All you can eat and just many different kids of meat. Certainly not for our vegetarian friends. We ate our fill and then struck out to see the rest of Salt Lake City.

I quickly realized I had eaten far too much as I suddenly started getting a pain in my side. As we walked to Temple Park downtown, my side just kept getting worse. Temple Park is beautiful. I wish I could have appreciated it a bit more but I was in pain.


I took a pedal cab back to the hotel and laid down. I was not feeling good at all. One of those, “I’ll never eat that much again. Ever.” Types of not feeling good. Surprisingly, after lying down for 20 mins I was right as rain.

I then met up with Tyler again and we met up with a friend of ours who is teaching at University of Utah. We had a pleasant visit with her and some of the other professors from the school and then were back to the hotel for bed.

I do get quite excited for these tours and so sleep on the first night is rare. I was up way later than I should have been but luckily didn’t have anywhere to be until 12:30pm.



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2013 Goals Part 1

“Announcing your plans is a good way to hear God laugh.” – Al Swearengen, HBO’s Deadwood.

I’m dragging my hinder getting my 2013 goals written down because the job search is sucking the very life out of every fiber of my being.  I have, however, had the goals I’d like to get accomplished in 2013 rattling around my in my head and have a few moments to get at least some of them down.

– Get a job –

Self explanatory.  I’m on this one.  Been on it for months.  Hoping something comes through soon.  Very, very soon.  In the meantime: www.HireGrant.com

– See the Grand Canyon –

Grand Canyon
Copyright by Moyan Brenn

I don’t have the finances to plan a big fancy trip this year.  Luckily I’ll have a job taking me to Austin in May so that’ll be some travel.  But I wanted to get some sort of ‘no business’ travel on the books that I can look forward to.  I have only seen the Grand Canyon from the cabin of an airplane and I’ve always wanted to see it so that’s my travel goal for 2013.  See the Grand Canyon.

It’s only about 8 hours away by car, so I figure this is pretty doable. Perhaps I can even book a few gigs on the way to make it all a write off.  But even if I can’t, I want to see the Grand Canyon in 2013.   Not sure is I’ll go rafting (never done that) or ride a burro down to the bottom, but I’m excited to make this happen.

Will I walk out on the Skywalk?  I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.  (Sometimes afraid of heights.)

– Time Skippers –

In February 2011, I finished writing my first ‘young adult’ novella.  It’s a 20,000 plus word story called Time Skippers.  I wrote the first draft out by hand.  Then I did a rewrite as I typed it into Scrivener.  Once that was done I had it proofread from spelling/grammar and then printed out two copies.  One I gave to my mother (a voracious reader) and one to a good friend who is a published author and very graciously offered to read it.  My mom, of course, said she loved it and said she can give a more detailed critique, but we’ve yet to do so.  My author friend read it and, to be polite, gave me a major (and appreciated) ass kicking.  The ass kicking though made me shy away from getting back to doing another rewrite.  Recently, I’ve been thinking more and more I should drag it out and, you know, do something with it.  So towards the end of 2013 I printed out three more copies.  Two went to friends and the third went to an English teacher from high school.  I’m expecting critiques back from them very soon

So, for 2013, my goal is to do another rewrite of Time Skippers once those critiques are in.  Then, if I can find a good editor (and afford it) get it professionally edited and then…get it out into the world.  The plan, I’m thinking right now, will be to get it professionally read and recored and put it out piece and piece as a podcast much like Scott Sigler or Mur Lafferty do.  If there’s enough interest, I’ll explore self publishing.  But who knows, maybe the podcast will become so WILDLY popular I’ll get a book deal (Ha!).  I’ll never know till I out it out though, right?  So coming in 2013…Time Skippers.

The other main reason behind wanting to get it out is because I actually have two other books half written, but I’m forcing myself to get Time Skippers ‘done’ before I work on working on those two.

That’s it for goals right now.  Much more on the way.  But I’ll wrap up this post by giving you the synopsis of Time Skippers.

Temp logo for the book.

“When thirteen year old Maureen Kell is forced to stay with her recently widowed Grandmother, she prepares for the most boring Spring Break in recorded history.  Little does Maureen know she’ll soon become PART of recorded history after a group of mysterious strangers attack her Grandmother’s house and her Grandmother saves her from capture by sending her back in time to 1775 with the mystical practice of Time Skipping!  Now Maureen has to find her way back to the present and figure out a way to rescue her Grandmother, all before her parents return to pick her up at the end of the week!”

And without giving too much away, The Grand Canyon makes a cameo in the book.  Hmmm, maybe that trip can be a write off after all.  Research!

Have a great week!

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