Friday, February 20, 2009

Richmond, Russian, and the end of a Pop-Tart Era

Hello friends and family,

I am in Richmond, VA. I am pretty exhausted today, but I will be very busy the next two days, and it’s been a while since you’ve heard from me! The reason I will be so busy (and so very, very exhausted) is that this weekend is our first six-pack. For those of you who don’t know, a six-pack is two three-show days back to back. Not only that, but we also have load-out on Sunday, which means it will be quite a marathon. [look at all those hyphens!]

I was hoping that today I would be able to share a video with you about Eric’s negative encounter with one of the train bathrooms from a while back. But unfortunately, I can’t seem to figure out how to work this chip-converter device that I’ve been after for so long. Don’t worry, I’ll keep trying at it, because this one is too good to give up on. More later!

Anyway, Virginia. The building here is much bigger than the other ones, and the town seemed more populous, so I thought the crowds would be good. I don’t mean to say that they aren’t, but… wake up, Richmond! There’s a circus in front of you! With that said, I met a charming group of girl scouts today at a PR, and the soap gag did get a good response. I guess I can’t complain, pre-show has been much calmer! Apparently with the large size of the building comes a small amount of space outside. Many of the animals are being kept backstage for the first time, which makes for a more interesting walk from cue to cue. On the way in I pass the horses and donkeys, and then tiptoe past the zebras. I have mentioned this to many of you before, but zebras are crazy! They spook very easily, and Book, Eric, and I have been particularly cautious after some of the stories we’ve heard. The ponies are nice and docile though, and we were enjoying a nice velvety nose-pat with them until one of the charming animal crew told us it was not a petting zoo. Oh well. If you look through one of the side doors, closer to end-track, you’ll find an elephant looking back at you.

On Monday, the day we arrived in Richmond, Book, Eric, and I went out to dinner with Brandon and Dustin. We went to a Japanese Hibachi grill, something I’ve never done before! We all sat around a big grill and had our food cooked right in front of us. They make a great show of flipping the spatulas about, and tossing food, and making flaming onion volcanoes, etc. Our chef was a little awkward about the number of times he dropped his utensils (and once flipped a lemon RIGHT into Brandon’s sauce, *splash*), and blamed it on last night’s tequila. We had a wonderful time nonetheless. Impulsively, Eric said, “Y’know what? It’s on ME.” So thanks to him! He said he just wanted to see what that felt like.

As I’ve mentioned (happily) to many of you before, I’ve been learning Russian! I had been wanting to work on a new language before I got here, and there could be no better opportunity than this. I’ve been asking the Russian friends I've made for new vocabulary every day (they are all very enthusiastic teachers), writing it down, and memorizing it phonetically. Then I learned the Cyrillic alphabet from a book. It is quite a challenge, not so much because of the letters that we don’t have in English, but because of the ones we do have that mean different things! Such as H which means N, P which means R, and backwards R that means YAH. Huh? One of the sound guys was kind enough to make me a copy of his Rosetta Stone disc the other day. I am very excited about this because the program is supposed to be excellent, and from what I’ve done with it so far, I think that review is accurate. I made a mild fool of myself yesterday when I told my friend Roman; “elbow jumps”. I meant to say “horse”, but the words are very similar… Practice, practice.

[If you’re curious, horse = loshuts, and elbow = locuts]

In other news, Book and Eric have both quit PopTarts. They did this simultaneously and independently of one another, which I think is very funny. They were pretty much eating them two meals a day for a while there, and both report feeling much better all the time.

Well, it is late and I am sleepy.

Miss and love you all!

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