Saturday, July 27, 2013

Savannah Library Tour Extras!

Greetings Everyone,
Just a few days left of the 2013 summer reading tour.  Looking forward to some downtime in August, but now it's time to share some silly photos from the first half of the Savannah Library Tour - one of my favorite places to perform and visit.  My cousin Dylan, who assists me during July, and I were able to make a few quick stops between shows at one of my favorite places - Universe Trading Company - which always has quite the eclectic collection! 

Of course, after having baby duty during the weekend before the big Savannah trip, this is the position of choice on the way to the first show of the week.  Dylan is driving and I am napping - and my cover is one of the extra snake pillowcases.  Not the most comfortable position to be in, but after getting up with my 8 month old three times the night before I'll take what I can get.

Don't worry - this snake pillowcase is just a back up - no snakes inside! 
  Then it was on to the shows where I decided to see how far I could reach into my table - and Dylan decided to take a lovely photo of said event.  I am going to get my revenge one day.

A true magic table - where half of your body can fit into a space only half as wide.
Another thing you never want to do when you travel with an assistant is to fall asleep first...because you never know when he will put millipedes all over your face.  Thankfully these little guys were nice enough not to poop acid on me like they do at the beginning of the summer when they are getting familiar with being handled.
Good thing these guys only eat rotten and decaying stuff! 
Of course, having an 8 month old (and two more older siblings!), I just can't stay awake after the sun goes down - thus the following pic was taken by Dylan once again.  This one made me a little more nervous...

He then decided to head toward my...head.  It was a little tense for a moment or two but he cooperated and went back into his cage without a hitch...or a sting. 
And now, it's on to the fun times we have between shows.  What does one do when there is an hour to kill before showtime.  Go up the street to the local antique store and take silly photos.  Enjoy!
A Velocirapter! 

Here I am with a pirate doing my "hook" impression. 

Dylan with the same pirate, Dylan.

Every antique shop needs a 10 ft long and 6 ft high dragon.

It takes courage to stand between two lions.

Interesting expression...

Dylan thinking about food as always...

This was just a cool Victorian era bird house "mansion."  It was very cool. 

Dylan is trying to look "kingly."

My serious look.

My seriously angry look.

My tribute to Disney's Robin Hood - one of my favorite movies EVER!!!  Do you know the reference?

Life size pirates looking across the store at the dinosaurs...
We also always perform in the basement of a library in Savannah that has this guy or girl (we are not sure which) sitting in the window.  It gives me nightmares.  Who is it?  I have no idea - I have never asked them about it in all these years of performing there.  What I do know is he/she/it gives me the creeps...

Scary statue...but I still managed to get close enough for a picture!
Another interesting tidbit that you may not be aware of - when traveling for an extended period of time, I always fill up the sink in our hotel room with water for the snakes to get a drink.  Cornbread usually drinks immediately and then goes back into his pillowcase.  However, our new albino ball python is not so easily trained.  He decides here that he is going to use the sink like a spa and just soak for a while - and by a "while" I mean half an hour.  I kept refilling it as it would drain slowly over several minutes.  I'm not sure if he ever actually drank any water, but he certainly seemed to be enjoying himself.

Living the good life at the Snake Spa.
Then it was time to dry him off - he is very sweet and cuddly - as you can see below.

Cuddly like a kitten...a kitten without hair that is coldblooded that is...
On a side note, evidently lots of people are now wanting to know which hotel and room I stayed they can make sure that they do NOT book that room and/or use that sink.  Whoops.

And finally, to end the week we performed in the Beaufort Library System for the first time with two shows - one in Bluffton and the other in Beaufort.  Being right across from the Beaufort Arsenal and Visitor Center - we had to take a photo.  Mine is better than Dylan's - if you don't believe me, just take a look below.

Dylan with two thumbs up. 

Me trying to climb the gate and sneak a real life Spiderman...
After a full week of shows, 12 to be exact, I came home to find that I had a surprise waiting on me - baby millipedes!!!  There were between 20-30 babies as far as I could tell, and they are about the size of a small millipede that you would find outside in your flowerbed.  However, they will grow several more inches as these are the largest millipedes in the U.S.

These babies were hiding underneath the half-eaten carrot. 
Until next time, everyone have a great summer!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Molting Dubai Roach Caught on Film!!!

Below you will find a quick video of a Dubai Roach as it goes thru it's final molt before reaching adulthood.  I was able to hold the roach while it completed it's molt as I was changing and cleaning out their cages.  As you will see, it's easy to spot a freshly molted roach as they are snow white for a few hours afterwards. 


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Sleeping, Roaches, and Other Random News!

Greetings Everyone,
You just never know what a blog post will consist of during the hectic summer months - we are now at just over two weeks left in the summer reading library tour and things are going great.  My regular July assistant, my cousin Dylan, is back and does all my driving, merchandise sales, and loading and unloading.  However, his favorite time is between shows when he can do this:

What a lazy bum! 
 Of course, I really can't say too much as, after a full day of 3 shows and being in the library from 9am to 6pm, I look something like this:

Exhausted after a long and great day of shows. 
We have recently had great shows in York County, SC and, while we still have not been able to make it to Carowinds one evening, we were able to do two, no three, things of note while in town.  First, we went to the midnight premier of Pacific Rim, which was actually at 10pm and not midnight - evidently that is the new thing with midnight showings...who knew.  By the way, I would give it two thumbs up if you are looking for a good, mindless action movie with big monsters fighting big robots.  Second, we spent almost an hour in a local Petsmart showing off the albino ball python.  Lots of people came up and took pictures with us and several folks who were terrified of snakes came up and touched him before they left the store.  Third, we met a guy who sells hissing cockroaches and were able to pick up a few to add some variety into our colony along with two MONSTER cockroaches - a boy and a girl who will hopefully produce MONSTER babies!

After arriving home for some local shows over in Lexington, SC, I was changing out some of our Dubai Roach cages and found this guy all by himself at the bottom.

You ever just want to shed your skin and start afresh?!?
As you can see, this guy is shedding his skin (molting) and is about to become a mature roach.  I was quite pleased to find this taking place while I was around so that I could hold it and observe the process from the comfort of my own hand.  The white part is the new roach and the dark part is the old exoskeleton.  Here are a few more pics of the process:

Notice how tight the two antennae are as they come out of the old head.

Here are the wings coming out - I think this may actually be a girl due to the shorter looking wings, but it could be they were just needing to dry before being stretched out.  Not sure.
 These roaches are also the main food source for our 4 scorpoins, 4 tarantulas, and our 3 year old...just kidding about the 3 year old.  Here is a nice shot of one of the scorpions enjoying a lovely helping of Dubai Roach:

This makes me hungry just looking at it.
We were also able to see lots of cool libraries over the past few days - I love the entrance to this particular library in York County:

Lovely Japanese Maple and vines over the entrance!

Inside the ramp area - very cool!
And of course, it never gets old seeing one's name in lights...or at least on a sign.

How Underwater Explorer!!!!  Oh, and me! 
Finally, I do get asked sometimes if I have any "normal" pets.  I do - if you consider 2 hairless cats to be normal.  Here is my little girl holding one like a little baby:

This is Reagan, my little girl, and Poe, her snuggly Sphynx kitten.  Poe is, of course, named after Edgar Allan Poe. 
Not only does Reagan love her kitties, she also loves all things rock-related.  No, not The Rock from wrestling, but actual rocks made from the rock cycle over thousands of years.  So, on the way home from Rabun County after a great library show, we brought her home some lovely rocks in a mysterious little pouch as well as a geode that she could bust open herself. 

Rocks, rocks, and more rocks.
The discerning among you may notice that there are two pouches - that is due to her younger brother, Grady.  He must have the same prize or chaos would ensue.

And now, for my final "finally", we were able to eat at one of my favorite BBQ places while in Clayton, GA for shows.  I have blogged on it before - it's Oinkers, and they have some awesome BBQ sandwiches if you are ever in the area.  They are also faster than any fast food restaurant I have went to - were came in, ate, and kept driving in about 10 minutes.  Impressive.

Yes, it is as good as it looks. 

 As I close out the blog, I know many of you wonder what I do once I get home and relax with the wife and kiddos.  Well, one of my favorite things is to practice my archery skills...on my 8 month old Toby.  Here is a bulls-eye!!!

Just call me Robin Hood. 
And with that pic of epicness, I bid you all farewell - until next time! 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Brer Rabbit and Friends and An Article!

Greetings Everyone,
I just finished up my last show before the 4th of July break - although I do hope to have a chance to perform some street magic around Downtown Augusta during the holiday weekend.  I always enjoy breaking out the cups and balls on the streets and making some tips - so if you happen to see me out and about and see my street show - do consider leaving a tip! LOL!  Here's what to look for:

Look for a crowd like this...only less green and more red, white, and blue.
Now then, I had a great time performing today for the fine folks of Eatonton, GA, the home of Brer Rabbit and friends, Joel Chandler Harris, and the Uncle Remus Museum.  I love the mural in the meeting room at the library - one of my favorites!

A very cool mural, author, and museum. 
 Along with a good month of shows in June, there were also a few silly moments.  I have now officially had both the tarantula and scorpion roll their respective containers off of my table and onto the floor, at which point they have also both popped open and cracked their containers.  Both times the crowds screamed (kids in delight, grown-ups in terror) and alerted me to the escaping critters, which were both put safely back into their containers and then given upgraded, non-rollable containers for all future shows. 

There was also the show at the Friedman Library in Augusta where I had the front row all hold up their finger to fill the bottom of my pan to see that it is empty before producing a snake.  The first child to reach his finger up didn't fill the bottom INSIDE the pan, but instead heard me say, "Feel the bottom" and put his hand on the bottom of the outside of the pan.  Everyone else, who watched him do this, then repeated the same thing so that no one actually felt the inside of the pan at all.  For the rest of the show (I have them do this with 3 separate pans at different times) they continued to always touch the bottom of the outside of each pan.  It was a classic case of "monkey see, monkey do." 

There have been some GREAT reactions to the critters, including a few grown-ups who have gotten up and ran out the room - normally at the very beginning with the snake magically appears and then oftentimes a second wave of screams and scooting backwards when the hissing cockroach makes his appearance during the middle of the show.  But overall, I have really enjoyed being able to let the audiences come up and see the animals up close after the show is over - some of the children have never seen many of the critters - especially so up close and personal.  Here's a few photos of children petting the new snake after the show:

I have enjoyed using this guy in the show this summer - he's doing a great job and meeting lots of folks!
Hope to see many  more folks as the July shows start back up after the holiday weekend!

Happy 4th of July everyone!

P.S.  I almost forgot about the article mentioned in the subject - whoops!  Here's a nice little blub in a local newspaper in Barnwell, SC.  The millipede did a wonderful job posing for the pic!