March, 2001

Circuses, Not Bread

Late this morning the whole of the Schengili-Roberts family descended upon Skydome to see the Garden Bros. Circus. Erika was a real trooper — she got back from the film set of Death to Smoochie at around 5am this morning, and was game enough to be woken at 9am in order to head down to the Circus pre-show by 10am. Vanessa, of course, had a blast. Prior to the show she got to see a lot of the animals — tigers, camels, zebras, elephants and mountain goats — and managed to get a ride on an inflatable slide. Then it was time to take our seats, where we got to see the performances. First, a firecracker leaps across the stage, which sets a man on a ladder on fire, who then proceeds to jump into a large pool of water. Vanessa was pretty much goggle-eyed from this point on.

Over the course of about 3 hours (including a 1/2 hour intermission) along came all of the other acts: various gymnasts, a tiger act, acrobats, dancing/walking dogs, high-divers, trampoline acts, trapeze artists, elephants, a clown and more, all presented within the traditional three large rings. Vanessa had a great time, looking and exclaiming at the various things going on. One of those things was an elephant having an enormous dump — one that would have easily filled Erika’s flower garden — Vanessa was quite impressed by that. 😉 Earlier, during the intermission, she got up the courage to go on an elephant ride with her mother, on a small little Indian elephant named Maria.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been at a circus either for that matter — the last time I was at a traditional circus (excepting a performance of Cique du Soleil’s Quidam which came to Toronto about 5 years ago) was when I was a “tween”, when a traveling circus (quite possibly Garden Bros.) came to Keswick. It was certainly done on a smaller scale back then — it was held in a typical large canvas tent — but I remember being closer to the action that we were at Skydome. And it was definitely a blast!

Seen this bag?Afterwards, Vanessa went home with her mother as I went to the Convention Centre, to try and track down the backpack that Erika accidentally left behind from the Canada Blooms show. I’ve called during the week, trying to get a real person who knew something about lost and found, without much luck. So, since I was in the area, I thought I’d check it out in person. I needn’t have bothered. Talked to a couple of security guys, who didn’t know anything about a lost backpack. Crap! Will keep hounding them, but I doubt it’s going to turn up.

The backpack I’ll definitely miss. I’m also annoyed because it contained a couple of items as well: a copy of The Artists’ Way and my Samsung Yepp portable MP3 player. The book was easy to replace, as I stopped at an Indigo store on the way back home, though replacing the Yepp will be more expensive. Not that I plan on getting another Yepp — I was on the verge of taking a hammer to the damn thing at times, it was often so flaky. Brief digression: flakyness of the Yepp I had included simply turning itself off at odd times of its own accord, sometimes freezing in the middle of whatever piece was playing, the display caught in a perpetual loop preventing me from going forward or backwards between files save when being played, etc etc etc. A surprisingly poorly designed piece of hardware, all things considered. And costs way too much for what it is — which ain’t much. Am thinking maybe I’ll splurge and get a CD-R-based MP3 player. On the up side, took my time browsing through the book store, quickly absorbing a book on industrial design by Raymond Loewy, and was on the verge of buying an interesting-looking book on Shakespeare, but simply stuck to getting a replacement copy of the book lost in the backpack.

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Expedition to the R.O.M.

This day definitely ranks as a good day. Erika came home surprisingly early from her film shoot, coming home at about 4am this morning (was expecting 9am or later). I got up a few hours later, and took Vanessa out to the venerable Royal Ontario Museum. I gave her the choice of either going to the Science Center or to go see Dinosaurs at the ROM — she chose dinosaurs. It’s funny, we visited the place about a month or so ago, and I figured when she said she wanted to see the dinosaurs, she’d want to see the actual dinosaur exhibit, bones and all. Silly me. She actually wanted to see the animated Maiasaur exhibit, where kids get to slap a button on a console and a 10ft high animated Maiasaur appears doing such things as drinking water, running, snorting, etc. While visiting the ROM, I had the strange feeling of time both standing still and moving forward at once. Today's Colour: BlueI’d swear that nothing has changed in the old dinosaur exhibit since I was a kid — and that’s a long time ago now. The mannequin of the archaeologist putting a dinosaur bone in a cast has been around since the 60’s I’d swear, and I suspect it may be even older. On the other hand you have things like the Maiasaur exhibit, the “Bat Cave“, and Inco’s “Dynamic Earth” which are relatively new (and both of which Vanessa loves). I remember when the ROM was a real Victorian-style institution, with standardized rows upon rows of stuffed animals, birds, butterflies and bugs of all descriptions in glass cases. The current version of the ROM is much more fun for kids, though it’s lost something its haunted, almost hallowed nature to me. This was the ROM that used to have the outdoor Ancient Chinese Garden which is frozen like a fly in amber in one of the stories from Alice Munro’s “The Moons of Jupiter“. Am really glad that Vanessa enjoys herself there, and will look into getting a family membership next I head there.

Interesting side note: finally read my personal emails from Friday and it turns out that my Frantics Web site has been selected as a Yahoo! Canada site of the week. Neat! 😉

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